Monday, December 21, 2009

After a week of busting my butt, it's all over. It feels so strange not to have homework or anything on a deadline... it's both comforting and confusing. Just what am I supposed to do with all this free time?

Thankfully, there's projects to work on and housecleaning to do; tonight we're transferring Genki to his home-away-from-home in preparation for my big trip (the gerbils go to a friend's place). Recently, I bugged my boyfriend into getting me some suede dye as a Yule gift (~giggles~ and hey, it was cheap too! he got the big gift this year) so I could recolor a pair of boots I'd gotten a couple years ago. The really light tan color wasn't doing anything for me, and they're loose around the ankles too, so after I order more dye they're getting grommets and lacing. It's fun to see a cheap pair of pseudo-fashion boots undergo this makeover ^^ I just had hoped that one bottle of dark red would be enough! Oh well, I'll get more eventually. So far, they're looking good.

Knitting is also on the list of things to do, and I think I'll be bringing my mom's shawl project with me when we go down South. It's always nice to have something for my hands to do during such long car rides.

If you don't know about Pandora Online Radio, I recommend Googling it and making a Bela Fleck station--some of the best bluegrass, acoustic, jazz, and mixed genre music around. Incredibly skilled musicians here, so check it out! Also makes sweet background music to whatever you're doing. ^^

Relaxing is nice.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cooking small

It's finals season.


I've spent today at home, studying as long as my attention span will allow so that hopefully tomorrow's tests will go well. Somehow I need to find time to work on projects as well; eh, it's sink or swim anyway. Best get to paddling.

The upshot of spending all day at home is that I actually have time to cook. Tonight's dinner was about as quick and easy (prep-wise) as it gets.

Stuffed Butternut Squash Halves

1 small butternut squash (ten inches tall at best)
Shredded cheese of your choice (in my case, cheddar)
Bread crumbs
Bacon bits
Bit of sage

Preheat oven to 400 degrees or thereabouts; the oven here is old and finicky and I'm always guessing at it's real temperature.

Chop the neck off your little squash, and cube it up for another recipe; mine ended up rather mushily in pot roast. Be sure to leave the top of the seed-compartment intact so the filling doesn't spill out one end.
Halve the bottom and scrape out the seeds. Place each half on a square of tinfoil large enough to hold everything in, and fill them as you like. I put in about a tablespoon of cheese, covered that with crumbs, covered that with bacon bits, a bit more cheese, more crumbs, and a good pinch of sage on top. Wrap them up and pop them in, checking at a half hour to see how done they are. With an oven-mitted hand, give them a squeeze; or stick a toothpick into the thicker bit where the neck was attached to see if it pierces easily. I let mine go for an hour and they were perfectly done.

As I had thought, the crumbs soaked up any liquid let out by the squash while they baked and the bacon bits had become tender, salty bites (I'm lucky enough to have real bacon bits, as opposed to flavored cardboard lol) with the cheese holding it all together. Next time, I want to try it with blue cheese and ham. :) Flavored tempeh would also work well... so would leftover taco meat, chicken, tuna, anything really. Using a little squash cuts down cooking time and helps control portion size too--I was cooking for one tonight, and my squash-bottom was about grapefruit sized. Just right.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Snow at last

Coincidence or not, it's amusing to think that by the time my thoughts turn to Skadi, it finally starts snowing.

Lately, I've been on a Freyja kick--who is she? What does she really stand for? What kind of person would she be if mortal? These kinds of questions turned me to a website called, which offers a very complete (albeit from one person's point of view) look of Freyja, the lore concerning Her, and even comments on many pictures/drawings/likenesses of Her.

It's very nice to find a new source of information and to read the thoughts of others; I was even lucky enough to get a glimpse of Freyja as described by this godhi: he equates her name with Berchta (thought by some to be a seperate Germanic/Continental goddess), which means "Bright" or "Shining", and so our Lady of beauty brings people together through love with Her light shining upon all. She is seen in those who prevent strife, who appear lovely to all, and even those of us who set up our friends on dates in the knowledge that they'll hit it off (and everyone but those two know it!). She seeks out passion above all; according to the information on FreyjaFirst, the names Odhin and Odr are both translated as "Passion", though in slightly different forms. Freyja seeks out those who live at the forefront of all things and dive into every activity fully aware of that moment. This shows that we can also learn to live in the now and (cliche as it sounds) live each moment as though it were our last.

However, I disagree somewhat on one point. When it comes to Freyja's modern image as a battle-goddess (and subsequent comparisons to, say, Ishtar), the author of FreyjaFirst sees this as wholly wrong, as She works to bring people together through goodwill and love. As for my views, I have read the posts online of others who saw (very generally) the Aesir as more battle-oriented gods while the Vanir tend to fight only in defense of them and theirs. As I found this view first, I've had much time to think it over and see how it seems to "fit" with what I've discovered. Even now it makes sense: the boar is a powerful symbol of Freyr and Freyja, and was worn on helms to protect the wearer in battle. More animal symbolism can be seen in Her associations with/aspects of hawk (or falcon) and cat: both are hunters, and a mother cat will fight to the death to protect her kittens.
Another sense of this could be seen in the Aesir-Vanir war; I can imagine that Freyja, known for seidhr-sorcery, could get a glimpse of what those on the other side were up to. (Seidhr, or "seething", is thought to be closely related to shamanic practices as the practitioner went into a trance in order to see how future events might turn and what might be done to change them.)

In any case, let it be said that while I have discovered a new source of information through another person's knowledge and experience, I do disagree with the author on Freyja's status as a goddess of battle. Rather than seeing Her as a total pacifist or as leader of the Valkyries, I tend to see her as a protectress, giving Her loved ones strength and guidance when they most need it.