Block Printing

Oh my goodness. Is it seriously the end of October already? Where did this month go? Also, happy Halloween! I hope you have a fun night planned. We've already got so much candy at the house from parties over the weekend, that I'm seriously considering not trick or treating tonight. We'll see if the girls can convince me otherwise. :)

I'm ready to tackle a couple more house projects this month. I ended up getting that really cute antique settee from Craigslist a month or two ago. I added more down to the seat cushion and took it to the cleaners. It needs to be picked up tomorrow. So now the settee is ready to be reupholstered!

I went back and forth about what fabric to choose. I have always loved this one from Lee Jofa and then seeing this image made me seriously think twice. But the rust color is not great with my mustard rug and the price is insane considering I need about 10 yards.

Design by Meagan Camp, who has a lovely blog HERE

I love the busy-ness of the pattern. It feels happy to me and seems perfect for a secondary sofa (still doing the white slipcover on our roll arm - that's happening this month too!). Then when I was thinking of doing the sticker walls in my girls room, I decided a similar idea would make for a really cool fabric. I found or made some quick clip art of things that have special meaning to our family. Mostly reminders of places we've lived.

This is a really really rough draft. I only spent a couple minutes putting this one together, just to get an idea of where this could go. I think there's potential! There will be probably twice as many little objects and the colors and detailing will have to change. I might make a second design to alternate in and create a damask pattern. Each one will be about the size of a salad plate. I'm thinking of just making a couple lino cuts and block printing the whole thing myself on a heavy, inexpensive linen (thinking of sky blue right now). The other obvious option is using Spoonflower, but upholstery weight printing is almost as expensive as trade fabric. I kind of want to just try the hand-blocking project anyway. It seems like an easy and fun thing to do. I feel like the hardest part will be the carving.

Have you ever hand-blocked fabric before? I think I mostly excited by the idea of have a truly special fabric that can't be found anywhere else. Speaking of which, I found some AMAZING custom fabric prints on Etsy. Check them out HERE.

Important announcement

I hereby announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America.

As I have limited financial resources, my campaign staff will consist of one person -- myself. Campaign headquarters will be this blog.

I feel that as the only candidate who refuses all contributions from everyone (no, no, please, keep your money), I am the only candidate beholden to no special interest. And therefore, the only honest one.

Here are my positions on all the hot button issues of the day.

Gay marriage: As long it doesn't hurt me or cost me any money, let the gays do what they want. They'll find out soon enough that there's no better institution than marriage to take the gaiety out of being gay.

The current war: In the old days they used to subject prisoners to hard labor, which often consisted of going to quarries and breaking rocks with picks. So why have we sentenced our country to an equally futile labor on that worthless pile of rocks known as Afghanistan? Because we want their warm water ports? Osama is dead, long live the Taliban. And if the Taliban decides to invade us, next time we can just pay them back with nukes -- without setting foot there. Afghanistan is such a desolate place already, I doubt anyone will notice anyway. "Nation building" is just a euphemism for "nation destabilizing."

Bases abroad: Let Japan, Germany, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and every other country pay for their own defense. The only reason we should have troops over there is if we decide to invade them.

Foreign aid: We should consider it when, and only when, our own budget is balanced. At that point, we should have a national referendum to see how it should be allocated.

Illegal immigration. Build a tall fence along our southern border, electrify it, and post armed guards every hundred yards. Shoot anyone who comes within firing range. Just kidding. Here's my real plan: American citizenship will be open to anyone who has either a million dollars (unless he's a criminal) or an IQ over 115 (we need to start catching up with the Chinese, and now). Otherwise, try your luck elsewhere.

Tax reform. A lot of people seem to feel that the only way to simplify the tax code is to flatten it. (Why?) Eliminate all the loopholes, including the mortgage interest deduction and the charitable deduction, and keep it graduated. In fact, the graduation should extend through income levels of $500K, 1MM, 2MM, and 5MM a year. Obama's labeling of couples making 250K a year as "millionaires and billionaires" is wrong. But the idea that someone making five million a year is going to lose his ambition because he is netting slightly less is also ridiculous: if anything, with less money, he should work harder. Then, with no loopholes, you should be able to lower the overall rates, which would be the greatest stimulus of all. My heart refuses to bleed for someone who can't buy a sixth house.

ObamaCare attacked the spiraling cost of health care by adding more people to the insurance rolls, which only increases costs. We need to attack the problem at its root, by driving costs down. This means less insurance, not more. People should be given incentives not to visit the doctor as often (think higher co-pays) and be given incentives for a healthy lifestyle. We don't need more sick people visiting more doctors, we need more healthy people.

College loans: since college is a waste of time and money for most people anyway, let's not throw any more money down that drain. There are certainly cheaper ways of proving you're smart, like acing the SATs and then not going to college. Whom would you rather hire: someone who got 800's and had the wisdom not to attend college, or someone who got 650's and then partied on his father's dime for four years?

The inheritance tax: Keep it. For those who would abolish it: sorry, but you can't take it with you. Once you're dead, you give up your rights as an American citizen. (All those who would like those rights back are welcome to vote for my opponents.) No one earned the money that their parents worked for.

Energy: If solar and wind power can prove their economic feasibility, fine. Otherwise, convert to natural gas. We have a 200 year supply of it. So people should be allowed to frack wherever they want, as long as they return the land to a pristine state afterward. In order to insure that they do so, all fossil fuel companies will pay into a fund which will go towards that end. And the government is not allowed to "borrow" from this fund the way it has from Social Security. It's high time we got our fracking energy independence -- if you'll pardon my language.

The Chinese have already declared a trade war on us with their piracy of intellectual material, their purposeful stifling of the yuan, their lax pollution laws, and their government-sponsored attempts to undercut certain US industries (like the solar industry). We can either continue to pretend that they haven't declared war, or respond with a tariff. I say the latter. If they respond by no longer buying our bonds, fine; under my administration we will no longer be running a deficit anyway. And if they want to sell the bonds they own, fine. It will merely depress the value of their own holdings and drive up interest rates in general, which is fine with me: I'm as tired as everyone else of getting less than one percent on my money market funds.

Lobbying: all campaign contributions will cease immediately. Our politicians have been bought and paid for by special interests for far too long. All campaigns should be publicly financed, and every candidate who has 20% or more support will get an equal chance to be heard. (I have not quite breached that level so far, so will have to content myself with this blog -- for now.) The idea that not being able to spend hundreds of millions on air time abrogates one's free speech is ludicrous. We need honest legislators, not prostitutes.

Affirmative action will no longer be race-based, but will be economically-based. A poor kid from the ghetto should get a leg up over a white middle class kid, but a poor white kid from Appalachia should likewise get a leg up over a middle class black kid. The only thing our current affirmative action policy affirms is that our diversity is not our strength.

Abortion should be available to anyone who wants it, free of charge from the government. This will be one of the best investments the government ever made. There are only so many resources, and kids are too important to be just an accidental byproduct of screwing. (A worthwhile life begins not at conception, but at birth when you have two parents who love you.) If you find abortion morally objectionable, then don't get one.

Welfare should be available to everybody who agrees to have Norplant implanted under her skin (and the equivalent drug for males) and who's willing to work for it. The only exceptions to this rule are the blind, the crippled, the infirm, and the retarded, along with those under 18 and over 65. People already on the dole shouldn't be popping more kids with their only plan of support being more welfare.

Yes, the cute little slogans at the end of some of the paragraphs are ridiculous oversimplifications. None, however, are quite as unsubstantive as "hope and change."

Confessions of a beta male XI: Drinking

One primary difference between alphas and betas is their drinking styles. You'd think that alphas might drink less, given that they tend to already be high on life -- or at least on themselves. But that doesn't seem to be the way it works.

An alpha drinks simply because it's fun. I drink when I need courage -- or at least a certain numbness.

After he's had three beers, an alpha, whatever his actual build, feels like a twenty-seven-year old Arnold Schwarzenegger. After three beers, my beer muscles only grow slightly: I'm still an ectomorph, albeit a slightly more toned one. 

I don't find others' vomiting either charming or funny, and find my own extremely unpleasant. I've seen alphas step outside to throw up, then just calmly go back inside to continue drinking.

After his first drink, an alpha thinks, mmm, that tasted good. I think, that drink just cost me five bucks plus tax and tip: was it really worth seven bucks just to feel a little dizzy?

An alpha will drink a three hundred dollar bottle of wine on the company dime and think, hey, I'm a classy guy who appreciates quality -- let's have another. I think, that's basically six glasses at fifty dollars a glass, which works out to maybe five dollars a sip. I have no idea whether the wine is actually good because all I can taste is the money going down my throat.

After a few drinks an alpha thinks, getting a buzz on is a GOOD thing. I start wondering how many brain cells I've just killed.

An alpha may take pride in his "empty leg." I know I'll never win a drinking contest, so the thought would never even occur to me.

For an alpha, beer goggles can turn a 3 into a 7. (Alphas have a tendency to view 5's as 7's to begin with.) The prescription on my goggles was always weak: they might turn a 6.0 into a 6.5. (Then again, alcohol occasionally did give me the courage to start a conversation with that 6.5.)

Towards the end of the evening, an alpha will have one more "just for the road." I pull out the tablet of Vitamin B I brought and ask for water, to counteract the dehydration alcohol can cause.

An alpha will then pile into his car, secure in the knowledge that he's such a good driver he'll never be pulled over even when drunk. I walk back and forth in the parking lot until I think my blood alcohol level is legal.


A swimming buddy yesterday related a story that he had only heard from his 87-year-old father about eight years ago:

His father had enlisted in the infantry in 1943, after his freshman year of college, and was sent to fight in Europe with the 104th Mountain Division -- the Timber Wolves. He was supposed to have been part of a two man Browning Automatic Rifle team, but when the Army found out that he was an engineering major, they turned him into the Company radio man. Because of this, he was usually positioned fifty yards behind the front line, which often meant the difference between life and death.

The Timber Wolves, based in Holland and Germany, fought in the Battle of the Bulge as well as in many other lesser known battles of WWII. The soldiers in his Company got to the point where they could tell just from the sound which shells were going to land close by and which weren't. One day my friend's father and his unit were walking along a road when they heard a mortar, then the ominous whistling which meant that a shell was about to land nearby. The entire unit jumped into a nearby bomb crater. Then the shell exploded.

When my friend's father looked up, he saw that every single other man in his unit had been killed. He realized he had to deliver the bad news to headquarters, so he unstrapped the radio -- radios were cumbersome affairs back in those days -- from his back. When he tried to contact headquarters, he found that the radio didn't work. A quick examination revealed the reason: it was riddled with shrapnel.

The radio had saved his life. 

By the end of the war, that young man was the only one out of the 200 men in his Company who hadn't been either killed or wounded.

If it hadn't been for that radio, my swimming buddy would never have been born, nor his children, and so on. All of human history, of course, is filled with stories like this. Some people die, and some survive and procreate. And so much of what happens is just a matter of luck.

It's impossible to hear a story like this, though, and not marvel at the hand of Fate.

Jenny's Favorite Things Part 2!

Get excited! It's another Favorite Things give away HERE!!

Lactic Accidentally on Purpose


I am so damn out of shape and I'm hoping I'm on the turn around now after three workouts in two days.

I know, I know, maybe its not exactly recommended to work out hard and stupid, much less for consecutive days, but I swear it's what I need to kick start my fat ass!

I found this lady who holds these boot camp style work outs in a grocery store parking lot near my house. I then paid this woman to help me kick my own ass the last two mornings. And, just in case that wasn't enough, I've started pilates twice a week.

More later...I swear I'm too sore to type.

Jo Totes Give Away

Up for grabs is an adorable camera bag from Jo Totes! Each bag is lined and padded with completely customizable interior compartments. I think I would pull out our fancy camera more often for day outings if I had one of these.

To enter to win any bag on their site (check them all out HERE), leave a comment on this post before Tuesday November 1 at midnight. For a second chance to win, join the Jo Totes Facebook page.

**CONGRATS TO LIZ!!! and thanks again to Jo Totes!**

87 is the new 37

Whenever I read of a 37-year-old who has been caught with this amount of drugs, I quietly think: glad they caught him, hope they get a conviction. Then I go on to the next article. But somehow when I read about an 87-year-old being caught like this, I can't help but think: Way to go, grandpa!

Think of the average 87-year-old. If he's still alive, he's probably lucky to get across the room with his walker. But this guy -- Leo Earl Sharp -- still had the juice to be committing crimes, and not just any crime, but a big one.

I'm not quite going to say he's my hero, gotta admit, there is something admirable about him.

Here's how I want my obituary to read:

"John Craig, 104, was killed in a knife fight in a medium security prison yesterday in Washington state. He managed to kill four other inmates before the fifth one killed him. Craig succumbed to his wounds almost immediately.

"Craig had been convicted the previous year of statutory rape. At his trial, the 103-year-old Craig had groused, 'How the hell was I supposed to know she was only 17? She told me she was 21, and anyway, she was plenty willing.'

"But the judge said that Craig should have known better, and sentenced him to a two year term. When Craig then told the judge he'd better be looking over his shoulder after Craig got released, the judge added an extra year."

(It's my blog. I can fantasize if I want.)

Halloween Costume Choices & Pagans

Without a doubt Halloween is our families favorite holiday in this house. Having a Christian husband and Christian community Halloween is the one time a year where everyone embraces having a Witch around and enjoys themselves. So I do my best to go BIG! Decorations, Costumes, The BEST Candy on the block, even treat bags for mom with special offers, coupons, gift cards and more adult candy...  Seriously all out means ALL OUT for me!  This week I've been focusing on finding the perfect costumes for my kids and for myself. We all love to dress up and my oldest son is super excited that he will be able to wear his costume to school for Hallween! Of course now I also have to send in treats for his party as well - but being a Public School, they don't allow anything edible, so I'm going to have to find something "small toyish" to serve as a treat...

Because of all this and the simple need for me to find affordable options I have been searching through a number of websites, stores and whatever to find everything we will need and our last minute add on's and additions to our Halloween decor, and whatever else... 

This year my oldest asked to be a Skeleton, my youngest wants to be a dragon and I am going to be a Greek Goddess... I think... My daughter is only 10 months old, so she isn't going to get to pick her costume this year, but I'm leaning towards witch maybe? This morning I was watching Good Morning America and they were talking about costumes for children and what is and isn't okay... I thought, "If your child is old enough to pick their own costume, let them!" It's not like a child is going to pick out a costume which is to scary for them, they are going to pick something they like... Problem solved...

But then one of the reporters had her 2 year old daughter on set and they were talking about her costume. She was dressed as a devil girl - tiny corset, horns, tail... It was SOOO cute! And for a second I though, hmm, maybe Madie could be a devil this year... That costume is just adorable. Then I thought again - "Is that really the image I want to project?"

Now, some people see the costumes people choose for Halloween as just that - costumes - clothing - nothing more. But is that really it? Are they simply clothes? Or do they show at least a small part of who we are on the inside? I would not ever dress as a monkey, an angel, a hooker or a nurse... Why not? Well, cause it's just not WHO I AM... A Greek Goddess on the other hand is completely me! As is a Witch, a "dark angel," a Pirate and a Vampire - all costumes I've worn. So doesn't that tend to connect the idea that we (or at the very least I) dress according to who we are internally? Halloween is said to be the day when we become outwardly who we are internally... I, and my choice in costumes, does seem to reflect that. People with crazy funny scenes of humor tend to wear funny costumes, people with a sense of beauty or holiness towards life tend to dress in costumes of that nature, people who have a darker sense of humor or a darker outlook on life tend to wear those costumes... I mean think for a second about who you are, and then consider the costumes you have worn... Chances are, unless you were wearing them for a play or something where you had no control over what they are, you picked your costumes soully because they spoke to you, they reflected you, at least on some level.

So then I thought as a Pagan, am I comfortable with my child being a devil? I don't believe in a devil, so should is it any different than a child dressing as any other mythical creature? Why then did the idea of my daughter as a devil - a cute devil no less - bother me so much?

Well, I have considered it a bit, and I posted a few questions online to see if other parents felt there were costume themes which were off limits. While none of the answers I got related to devil costumes or anything, many of the responses did refer to racist or "Nazi" type costumes as big "No-No's" for their kids. So although it wasn't quite the same thing, it is similar enough for me to think that my aversion to a costume theme isn't wrong, it's just on a different level. AKA, I'm not crazy! lol 

But then I started to think, WHY am I so bothered by this devil? Should it bother me?

I obviously would never tell anyone else what they can or can't or should or shouldn't wear for Halloween, but I started to wonder if we wear costumes which reflect who we are, are devils really something we, as Pagans, should gravitate towards? Most Pagans, Witches and the like have, at least at some point in their practice, had to explain to someone (friend, family, neighbor, co-worker, etc) that Paganism, Witchcraft, Wicca, Druidism, whatever, has NOTHING to do with the Devil. We do nor worship the devil, we do not believe in the devil and we don't have any other supposed connection with the Devil or anything demonic... Why then would we want to walk around in a costume which would only reinforce such misconceptions? 

I'll be honest, until today it was something I never thought about. I, like so many others, simply thought, you dress up as something different, not as yourself... But again, do we? Would someone who is not racist dress up like a KKK member? Then why would someone who is working (even passively) to reduce the level of connection between the Devil and their own faith then turn around and wear a devil costume - or put one on their child?

I've always been careful to ensure that there were no devils in my decorations and treats. Mostly because I don't like them, I feel they are cheesy and in some cases they even make people uncomfortable. So I've never seen a need for them. Plus, I do my best to make sure that all of our Halloween decor and activities can or do double as Samhain decor and activities... Again, having a Christian husband it's the easiest way for us to compromise... I don't hand pentacles because they make my husband uncomfortable, and I would never think of hanging demons or devils on the wall, much for the same reason. But also because I wouldn't want someone to walk in to my home, see a Satan statue and think "Oh, yeah, she's a witch, of course she loves Satan." Which makes me wonder why I never thought of this kind of thing before... Maybe just because it's never come up, or maybe because on some level I wanted to believe that our costumes and who we are are two different things (especially after some of the costumes I've worn) or maybe it's just because until now, I didn't reach a point in my life where I was working so hard to promote understanding and tolerance between faiths - so I didn't need to think about this stuff...

Whatever the reason, I'm glad it came up. Just like those other mother's I would never allow my children to dress as a KKK member, a Nazi or even a Confederate Soldier, but now I realize there are a few other additions that need to go on that list! And I'm thinking some rules need to be put in place before my children get old enough to remember they weren't always there.


Zurana Horton, the mother who died shielding her children from stray gunfire on the streets of Brownsville, a particularly lawless section of Brooklyn, has gotten a fair amount of publicity. For having used her own body to ensure the safety of her children, Horton is certainly a hero.

The NY Post this morning ran an editorial about her case being a good example of why the police stop and frisk policy is a good one:

The article mentioned that Zurana, who died at 34, had 12 children. What the article did not mention, but I am curious to know, is how many fathers were involved, whether Zurana had ever married any of them, what sort of child support the fathers were paying, and to what extent her family was living on municipal assistance.

The legacy that Zurana will leave her children is that they had a mother who loved them. The legacy she leaves the taxpayers is probably less benign.

Fancy Fridge

I'm running out the door, but wanted to say a big THANK YOU for all the living room submissions. I'm a little blown away by how many we got and I can't wait to look through all the emails this week! Thanks again, this will be fun.

I'm renting a car today to buy some finishing materials outside the city for a bedroom that is getting photographed this weekend. I can't wait to share the photos with you the first week of November hopefully.

In the meantime I thought I'd share some clever ugly fridge cover up ideas from around the web. I will always love Nick Olsen's Brunschwig wallpaper solution.

via domino

And how can you go wrong with a chevron chalkboard?

image via apt therapy

My friend here has a great prewar apartment, but her refrigerator looks a little prewar too :) so we're going to cover it up. The cork option HERE is my very favorite I think. I don't really need to cover up our fridge, but I would do it anyway. It looks amazing and seems more functional than the regular magnet situation.

Have a great day and see you back here tomorrow. xx

"McCain vs. Buchanan"

A must-read from Steve Sailer:

Wanted: House Tours!

I loved getting to share the nitty gritty details in Emily and Todd's house tour recently. It's so fun to hear about the thought process behind design decisions! I've been thinking that it would be really exciting to add detailed house tour posts into my regular posting schedule here on LGN.

But rather than showing a whole house in one post, I want these tours to be room-specific, sort of like the format we used with Emily's house tour. I like focusing on one room at a time so that we can get all the angles and details.

This month I'd love to feature living rooms. If you're proud of your living space and think it'd be a good fit to share here on LGN, feel free to email me a couple of your images and I'll get back to you with a questionnaire.

jenny @ jennykomenda .com

I'm also looking for project-specific submissions to share here and on my Babble blog. Look who I featured today.

I'm so, SO excited to see what all you amazing, talented, creative readers have been up to!

Images by Aubrey Trinnaman shared in this D*S post. Check it out for more images of Jordan's beautiful apartment, which was so fun to collaborate with her on! Everyone always wants to know where we got the ikat settee (Nate Berkus for HSN) and the drapes in her bedroom (the fabric is by Thomas Paul for Duralee) :)

"How to Spot Psychopaths: Speech Patterns Give Them Away"

An article which appeared on Yahoo yesterday:

A couple excerpts:

Using computer programs to analyze what the men said, the researchers found that those with psychopathic scores showed a lack of emotion, spoke in terms of cause-and-effect when describing their crimes, and focused their attention on basic needs, such as food, drink and money....

To examine the emotional content of the murderers' speech, Hancock and his colleagues looked at a number of factors, including how frequently they described their crimes using the past tense. The use of the past tense can be an indicator of psychological detachment, and the researchers found that the psychopaths used it more than the present tense when compared with the nonpsychopaths. They also found more dysfluencies — the "uhs" and "ums" that interrupt speech — among psychopaths. Nearly universal in speech, dysfluencies indicate that the speaker needs some time to think about what they are saying.

Focusing their attention on food, drink, and money, are themes this blog has mentioned in the past. One of the things that distinguishes a sociopath (which is essentially another word for a psychopath) is their utter lack of human(e) feeling. Therefore, after committing a murder, which is the last time a nonsociopath would be thinking about food, they are so relaxed and unperturbed they will immediately think about food or drink. And they will do anything to get money. We all like money, but for sociopaths, it often takes on an almost talismanic meaning. (As in, sociopaths are the root of all evil.)

Use of the past tense is certainly interesting, and makes sense. ("That was the old me, now I've turned over a new leaf.") I had never noticed the more frequent uses of "ums" and "uhs" before, but that makes sense too. ("Uh, officer, the, uh, gun just flew into my hand and, um, just went off on its own.")

What I had thought the article might mention, but didn't, is a tendency I've noticed with at least two sociopaths I've known well: they like to overpronounce their words, like overly actor-ish news broadcasters. I've never been sure whether this is because they are so in love with the sound of their own voices, or because it is just their naturally uninhibited way of being emphatic -- or both.  

That, um, concludes this, uh, post.

No Man Should Crush Another Man's Dreams

Tonight I was laying on the floor upstairs playing with Bracken while Taryn was listing some stuff on our store. 

And it was pretty much like a Dream of Heaven...

Then Bam....

I turn my head aside..

I close the petals of my Heart...

And I remember,
Countless times my life.....
....... my dreams were crushed.
By the greed, or hatred, or fear
of another man..
Lifetimes of Wars
of "Campaigns".....
Of having my Dream Crushed

And of Crushing the Dreams of other Men.

I remembered in my past Life when the Chinese soldiers came and killed all of us.

And I remember a lucid dream I had,
was up maybe in Seattle...
somewhere where I've never been..

And huge clouds were rolling in from off shore,
and we knew it was Poison gas
And in the cloud were boats carrying gazillions of Chinese soldiers
And we lived in a parking garage in the city
we had hermetically sealed it with plastic..
I guess we had a clue what was coming
And we were watching the soldiers running into town on this TV screen....
And they came to where we were
I know one guy got shot....

So here I was in Heaven...
Flashed on a Past Life...
and a freaky future dream...
And shut the frig down...

My Spirit has been a Warrior
and a Monk
for a lot of Time...

Killing and being killed....
...Seeking Refuge

And I saw how the pain from these Lifetimes
and the fear of having my Dream taken away yet once again.
Made me stifle my Joy...
Took me from the blissful present..
To a fearful future...
based upon a painful past.....


And I thought about what has been done to people in Iraq.....

How many MILLIONS of dreams have we CRUSHED
to fill some fools Greed,
      and hatred...

Millions of DREAMS Crushed..

And in Afganistan.....
And really pretty much all over the world....

I mean our President....
can just suddenly decide to kill anyone anywhere....
And is doing that....

The Leaders of the "Civilized World"  (that's a good one)

Are doing that....

A bunch of countries ganging up..

and destroying a bunch of other countries..

High school Bullies,
On the Payroll of the Money Men

Crushing Dreams

Because they want their stuff,

they are afraid of them,

and they hate em...

So let's go Destroy Millions of Dreams...

Millions of Lifes.


Excuse me.....
This is not a sustainable behavior.

We are here to Live the Dream
Created by our hearts and intentions
as motivated by our Souls...

The Masses have been DRUGGED
Drugged on "Food" that turns their minds to mush,
Flouride in their drinking water that negates any action of Will
Hypnotized by a huge screen, sittin in their Living Room
Not a lot of livin going on there...
More like, slow dying.

So the masses have become docile idiots
who feel as long as they got their big screen TV, some Fritos....
and some Prilosec, and maybe heart medications..

and something for the Joint inflammation...

Hey man, they livin Large

But here's the problem with their big scheme to stupify the Masses



You mess with Iraq,
your shooting your own foot...



Guess what "Heads of State"

If you are in it to make lots of money

You are OUT

We don't need ya.

If you are there, to Represent our highest dreams.

Sign up here.



Like intelligent people...

Who understand HOW IT IS.

We can be at Peace with the World...

The World can be at Peace....

But only with Peaceful Intelligent Heartful Leaders...

The World needs some serious changes

We need Leaders who CARE.

It's all about the Common Good.....

And if as always there are folks who just can't stand anybody different than them...

We give them the Moon to Colonize....

 OK, I declare myself President of the World..

And I make 2 Laws.

#1  No Man or Woman Can Crush Another Man or Woman's Dream..

#2  There will be no Presidents of the World...

Well I gotta get back to work.

Should Pagans Trick or Treat?

Should Pagans Trick-or-Treat? It's a strange question, right? I mean, we all hear how Pagan and "evil" Halloween is and why "good Christians" don't participate. What about Pagans participating in the Christian traditions though? As Pagans, we're usually all to willing to claim the roots of the celebration and enjoy the one day a year when everyone openly enjoys their Pagan side. What about the Christian side of Halloween or "All Hallows Eve"?

And, there are quite a few, both Pagan and Non-Pagan, who happily scream "Halloween is Pagan, and should be kept for Pagans. Christians need not attend." While I find this thinking rather black and white as well as incredibly immature, I understand the emotions behind it. I was raised being told that "true Christians" did not revel in Pagan celebrations and should not allow their life to include Pagan traditions, mythologies or influences. So for me growing up, there was no Halloween, no Christmas, no Easter and no anything else that could have been Pagan in origin. Of course, now I understand just how ridiculous an idea that is giving the Pagan origins of Christian mythology... But none the less, I tend to agree with it. IF you are going to belong to and pledge your allegiance to a religion, and a God, which teach that all others are false, you should be willing to completely immerse yourself in that religion and it's teachings and reject all others, right?

So at least on face value, I understand the belief that Halloween (as well as other disguised Pagan holidays) shouldn't be Christianized...  That said, I also understand that religion is about rules and teachings, faith is about interpretation! So please don't take this to mean that I am angered by the celebration of Halloween by the majority of Non-Pagan faiths, although honestly there are a few with anger me, but that's for another post.

So lets get back to the original question here... Should Pagans, trick-or-treat? It is true that a great many of today's Halloween traditions have their roots deep in Pagan beliefs of old. And for modern day Pagans these roots are all to visable, even if the population at large does their best to deny them. All to often though we Pagans happily forget about the Christian roots which Halloween has as well!

Halloween, as it is known today, is NOT in fact a Pagan Holiday, nor is it Christian though. It is a mash-up, a mosaic of sorts of Ancient Celtic & Roman pagan traditions and of much younger Christian celebrations. For the Celts, this was the time of year when the veil of the underworld lifted and all sorts of spirits, fae and mythical beings roamed freely. This was the time of the Wild Hunt, a time for divination and honoring the past & the Gods. This was a time to be thankful for all the harvest had brought and a time to prepare for the long winter to come!

For the Romans it was a time to celebrate fertility and their Goddess Pomona, who presided over fruits, orchards & gardens. It was a time of ritual, prayer & celebration to honor and thank this goddess for the fertility of their lands. However, this is not the Roman Holiday which most influenced Halloween, that honor is reserved for Feralia, or the last day of the year (Feb 21 by the Roman Calendar). The main purpose of this day was to give rest and peace to those who had departed in the previous year. Again, we see rituals, prayer and gifts for the dead. It was the day when the souls of those who passed were finally able to travel to the underworld.

In many ways we can simply point to these, and similar clearly Pagan celebrations around the world as a clear Pagan basis for Halloween, but that's not where the story ends!

In the fourth century A.D. the then emperor of Rome, Constantine, declared Christianity the only lawful religion, and basically declared war on any and all other beliefs, religions & traditions at the same time. At the time, most Celtic lands were under the rule of Rome as well, so Christianity was not only enforced on Roman peoples, but the Celts and Gauls (now known as French) as well. Overtime, many once Pagan traditions and customs were altered and "Christianized." For the most part this came out of the new Church's need to keep one pagan communities from falling back on their old ways, but it is also generally understood that law or not, Christianity was not able to completely erase the old ways as it had been hoped! And in the seventh century, the then Pope Boniface IV introduced All Saints Day, also known as All Hallows Day (Hallow meaning Holy). This day, celebrated on November first, was set aside to honor God and the Christians who had died for their beliefs. And just as we Christmas Eve has become nearly as important as Christmas Day, All Hallows Day had All Hallows Eve, or Hallowe'en.

Regardless of why the Church supported new holidays the fact is that the Church in fact did contribute to today's celebrations of Halloween. One of their major contributions was the tradition of "Souling" or "Guising." To understand Souling, it's important to understand that at the time there was a strong teaching that when one died they would go in to Limbo to "earn" their way in to heaven. The prayers of others were one way for someone to earn their way to heaven, so families would have a "mourning" period where they would say extra prayers to speed their loved ones to their destination. Souling was a tradition which could not have existed without this highly Christian belief. Soulers or Guisers (depending on where they lived) would go from house to house and beg for food (oatcakes or current bread) called Soul-cakes. In exchange for these cakes the poor would offer prayers for the loved ones of the family who had passed - thus speeding their way to heaven. In areas of Scotland it was customary for guisers - as they are called in that area, to preform a "trick" before receiving their threat. This "trick" could be in the form of a joke or a dance or something similar. In areas of Ireland on the other hand it was more customary for soulers to "trick" those who should refuse them a treat by smashing glass or stopping up their chimneys.

While many of the customs such as costumes & masks, carving gourds & pumpkins, and divining are without a doubt a throw back to more pagan of days, it's very clear that the main origins for our trick-or-treat traditions are, in fact, Christian. Taking all this in to consideration really begs the question... If Halloween is a Pagan holiday, and not appropriate for Christians, is Trick or Treat really appropriate for Pagans? 

My answer? Of course it is! Pagan, Christian, or whatever else, if you enjoy Halloween, celebrate it! Halloween as we celebrate it today is NOT Pagan! It's NOT Christian! It's Cultural! It's a mish mash of altered traditions, practices, stories & beliefs meant to do one thing - Entertain! Simple as that! So enjoy!


My son recently came home from Afghanistan for a two week leave. My biggest worry, of course, has always been that he would be injured or worse. But I was also mildly worried that he might get some form of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, so I was on the lookout for any signs that he might not be his usual rude, obstreperous, humorous old self.

He was kind enough to allay those fears even before he arrived home. We spoke to him by phone when he first arrived in the States, and he said that he had brought us a present: a camel spider and scorpion encased in glass. I commented, "As long as the spider's dead and it's not going to break out and escape in our house." Johnny immediately replied, "Well, actually it's not dead, it's cryogenically frozen, and the glass it's encased in is pretty fragile. Oh, and just so you know, it's a pregnant female."

He added, "I was also going to get one of those plastic severed fingers you can get in a novelty store, you know, just to make Mom happy, but I didn't."

When he arrived at LaGuardia, we of course greeted him joyfully, whereupon he informed us, "I just came home because it's an obligation, not because I wanted to. What I really wanted to do was send two of my buddies to the house to tell you I had died." He chuckled at the thought, "Yeah....that would have been good." (It wouldn't have been good for him; had he done that, he probably would have died, at my hands.)

At dinner that night, he kindly put any remaining doubts we had about him having PTSD to rest. He looked at our dog and mused, "I wish Tyke would stop telling me to shoot couples in parked cars." I laughed at this Son of Sam reference; my daughter laughed as well. Johnny then asked Rebecca, "Do you know what I was referring to?" Rebecca couldn't answer, so Johnny mocked her for being the type to laugh at jokes she didn't get.

When Johnny's mother pointed out that -- like most people -- her ears were not exactly at the same level, he reassured her, "You know, I always thought you looked like a Picasso painting."

After we had discussed politics for a bit, Johnny said to his mother, "Unless you have a certain testosterone level, I'm really not all that interested in what you have to say." When he saw me trying to repress a grin, he added, "Dad, I'm not sure you qualify either."

When my parents came for a visit, my wife suggested they try the sea salt -- rather than the regular salt -- with their lamb. Johnny then said, "Mom, you've got to stop calling it that, it's so pretentious." A few minutes later he pointedly asked, "Could you please pass the mine salt."

After a few days Johnny went to spend the weekend with an old friend now going to college in New Orleans. Upon coming back, he wasn't particularly forthcoming with any details about his trip, but he did volunteer that he had made a mistake by coming back and should have stayed in New Orleans longer. To underscore the point that he was bored at home, he said, "You know, after being back here for several days, I realize, I really miss the Taliban."

At one point, after I had made a few lame jokes, Johnny offered, "You're so funny Dad. Geez, my diaphragm can't take any more of the spasms from laughing at your jokes."

When I mentioned to him that I was going to put up a post about the Lord's Resistance Army, Johnny asked, "Didn't Steve Sailer just write a post about that?" I said yes, but mine was going to make a different point. Johnny then retorted, "If you're not going to call your blog 'Just Not Read,' you really should call it, 'Just Not Said -- Except By Steve Sailer, Who's Already Said It'."

Well, at least Johnny doesn't have PTSD.

Five more months....a long time to hold your breath.

Fresh Off a Mini Shopping Spree

[Get it? Mini. Because I was shopping for dollhouse furniture. I'm hilarious on Fridays.]

While I haven't had much time to dedicate to fixing up the dollhouse yet, I've been keeping my eye out for great deals on vintage dollhouse furniture on etsy and eBay. I've been trying to buy only wood pieces, but those Petite Princess pieces are just too cute to pass up, so I nabbed a few favorites from that line to round things out. Want to see what I've got so far?

Brass bed!? You know it!

Either the chairs or the sofa (or both) will get reupholstered.

Look at those teeny tiny little pulls!

For the foot of my brass bed. You know I love my florals, but this bench is crying out for stripes.

Getting a new picture.

Pink phone for the desk probably

Every room needs a mirror!

I got this WHOLE LOT for $5! Check out all the brass pieces.

Including a brass high chair? Not so comfortable for baby, but very chic looking.

Pretty secretary and a demilune.

Big (well, about the size of a piece of paper) persian rug for my living room!

Pretty folding screen that needs some paint desperately.

Yup, that's a zebra hook rug.

I'm sure, like in real life, I'm mess with most of these and paint or reupholster, but I think it's a good start. I'd love to DIY most everything else going into the house. I spent about $100-$150 on all these pieces, which is about what I planned for. The goal is to have the finished dollhouse, including a custom (rotating!) stand, ready to give to the girls on Christmas. They're going to help with the actual house repair projects, but everything else will be a surprise.

Who else joined in on the challenge? I'd love to see what you're up to!

Nice guys, average guys, and sociopaths (IX)

Situation: A nice guy, average guy, and sociopath, all of average intelligence, are put together in a social situation. What do they think of each other?

Nice guy: At first likes both. Continues to make excuses for the sociopaths's behavior long after it is apparent to others that his behavior is inexcusable. When someone points this out, the nice guy replies, "Well, I guess he has a dark side, but I certainly don't think he's a sociopath."

Average guy: At first sees the nice guy as boring, and thinks the sociopath is really cool and dynamic and fun to be around. Sees him as what he wants to be -- courageous, cynical, funny, and irreverent. As time goes on he eventually sees the sociopath for what he is -- disloyal, dishonest, self-serving, and hypocritical, and grows to hate him. Still sees the nice guy as a turkey, however, and avoids him as much as possible too.

Sociopath: Sees both of the others as potential marks. As time goes on, he realizes that the nice guy is a much better mark. When he sees that the average guy has caught onto him, he hates him back in turn. Resents the nice guy for so obviously having come from a loving family, and for being so naive.

Situation: You run the 400 meter dash for your college team.

Nice guy: Shows up to every practice, trains hard, and gets so nervous before his meets he sometimes throws up beforehand. Is somewhat in awe of the muscular guy on the team who is so fast.

Average guy: Shows up to most practices, gets nervous before the meets. Realizes that many world class competitors take performance enhancing drugs. Finds out about a food supplement store whose proprietor sells steroids on the side. Knows he would feel bad about cheating, but the really deciding factor for him is that he doesn't want his testicles shrunk, nor does he want to grow breasts after he stops taking steroids.

Sociopath: Doesn't really enjoy practice, and skips it whenever he feels like it, but looks forward to the meets as a place where he can strut his stuff. Occasionally throws up after a race as he doesn't get nervous ahead of time and just eats whenever he's hungry. As soon as he hears about the local dealer, seeks him out and goes on the juice. Figures those side effects he's heard about will never affect him.

Situation: You brush up against someone in a bar, causing him to spill his drink. He takes a swing at you, and without thinking you instinctively swing back, knocking him out. What do you do then?

Nice guy: Is absolutely mortified at what he's done, and is afraid that he might have caused some sort of permanent damage to the other guy. Asks the crowd if there's a doctor in the house.

Average guy: As the realization of what he's just done sinks in, he looks around to make sure his buddies have witnessed his glorious feat. His exultation as he realizes he will be able to dine out on this story for a long time is tempered by a moment of panic as he realizes this could get him into trouble. He quickly says to his buddy, "You saw what just happened, right? It was self-defense."

Sociopath: Once the guy is down on the ground, stamps on his head once for good measure, and also kicks him in the ribs. Doing this feels awfully good to him. He says somewhat threateningly to the surrounding witnesses, "It was self-defense. I had to make sure he wasn't going to get up and attack me again." Then adds, in aggrieved tone, "Crazy guy like that, you never know what he's going to do." He is immediately filled with the hope that he will get to do this again, and soon.

Making My Own

I have never been a big fan of craft time. But the older I get and the longer I practice the more I realize I prefer hand made tools. So I'm getting away from buying them and learning how to do things like carve a want from an apple branch, and make my own candles. Part of my reason is simply because the older I become the more I have a need to control everything - including how and what my tools are made of.

There are still some things I think I will purchase rather than make my own of, simply because I'm less than an artist and I'm a perfectionist, but anything I can make myself, I will be. This week I've made a new Scrying Mirror, Pendulum and I've harvested a branch for a new wand from a fallen apple tree. Next I plan to perfect my jar candles using coconut oil, bees wax & essential oils! From there, who knows where I'll go next... I've started to study herbalism, so I hope to start making my own teas, tinctures and incense formulas, but at the moment, I'm not there yet, so I'll continue to use the formulas others have given me!

My New Scrying Mirror

I'll keep you all posted on how the creations come along! And I've been considering opening an ETSY shop to sell my Scrying Mirrors on - because it went that well! But I haven't decided yet... Again, I'll keep you posted if I do!

DIY Campaign Style Side Tables

Yesterday's post on campaign furniture in the kitchen reminded me that I hadn't shared this easy DIY yet. These photos are old in-progress shots from an eDecorating client.

We bought two of these Lack tables in the sky blue color:

And 16 of these brass corners (they're about $5 for a set of eight) and just tapped them into the very outside corners of the tables (tops and feet).

So easy and very inexpensive!

It looks like the light blue Lack table is not available any more, but there are some very pretty high gloss versions at IKEA now. (Wouldn't the birch be just gorgeous with the brass? Or that glossy gray!) Prices range between $7.99 and $12.99 each, which is about the cost of a sandwich here in NYC. Not too bad for a pretty and unique version of a classic Parsons style side table.

Follow up on the Witch Trials Sign - From Witches Rising!

The following was posted to the Witches Rising Facebook Page! 

To close the loop on the call to action issued earlier this week, we reached out via phone and email to the manufacturer/distributer of the “SALEM WITH TRIALS: CAST OUT ALL WITCHES” signs recently spotted at Raley’s / Bel Air Markets / Nob Hill Foods. Before releasing their contact information more broadly, we wanted to make them aware that these products were considered by many to be both offensive and incendiary. We also wanted to give them the benefit of doubt that no harm was intended and the opportunity to make it right by committing to remove these items from their product line moving forward. They have since removed these and other similar signs from their website and sent us the following statement via email earlier this afternoon:

“At the Ohio Wholesale Family of Companies our intention is never to hurt or discriminate. We are truly a family-oriented company and we strive to put smiles on the faces of the retailers that graciously purchase from us as well as those of the customers that walk through their stores. We sincerely apologize for the artwork that suggests that we have made light of a very serious part of history, the Salem Witch Trials. We have already removed the items with this artwork from our stock and will no longer be selling these pieces. Future catalogs will no longer have these products either. We know our customers have a choice when it comes to who they buy from and we respect the opinions of all of our customers. Please accept our apology and know that we would never intentionally discriminate against any race, religion, or belief.”

We deeply appreciate their prompt and gracious response—and we encourage folks to give them their positive feedback and patronage via the channels outlined below. After reviewing their extended catalog, we believe that many members of our community will find their Halloween product line to be generally witch-friendly and rather charming!

Ohio Wholesale, Inc. / Kennedy’s Country Collection
5180 Greenwich Road, Seville, Ohio 44273

Campaigning in the Kitchen

I'm still loving campaign furniture. I think it looks especially fresh in the kitchen (like in this CHH spread)! Christie had a local carpenter build a campaign style storage piece for her beautiful kitchen and I love the look.

I'm thinking of using my campaign chests together to replace my island (which is on it's last leg - the drawers are getting really hard to use). I did some measuring last night and if I wanted to reuse my marble top, it would fit perfectly. I'm considering doing butcher block instead, but we'll see.

To make the dressers counter height I was thinking about adding a row of drawers (salvage a third dresser with the same dimensions?) but I'm leaning toward building up the height with legs, like the island in this AMAZING kitchen below, though not quite as much leg, I only need about six inches.

image via Plain English

Think I can pull it off? Any tips?

Also, today on Babble, a round up of some of the most affordable furniture the interwebs have to offer!!


A friend sent the following email last night:

"On the plane ride from Costa Rica to Atlanta my girlfriend started conversing with another woman. The woman related that she’d been bitten by a tarantula while in Costa Rica. The clinic she went to was awesome – they waited on her almost immediately, it was cheap, they sent her away with three pills and she was fine – what a contrast with the US health care system. She also told us that she lived in Cambridge for years. Based on that, her appearance, and the Costa Rican vacation, I'm guessing that she’s liberal. She also mentioned, by the way, that a tarantula bite is not poisonous, just painful.  One might wonder why she needed any care at all, but no matter, the care was awesome.  

"If I’d been quicker on my feet I would have responded with the following story: We spent a lot of time with David, our primary host for the surf camp. At one point he said his ear had been hurting on and off for a year. He described his symptoms,which were consistent with swimmer’s ear. David had gone to a Costa Rican clinic a while back. He was seen almost immediately, and the visit was inexpensive, but the doctor told him there was nothing that could be done for him and he should take ibuprofen. [My girlfriend] recently had swimmer’s ear and had the medication with her. She gave it to David and after three days his pain was gone."

I guess the moral of the anecdote is that the US health care system is overpriced but more competent than those in Third World countries. But the email got me to thinking: why is it that liberals always try so hard to look for the worst about the US and the best about other countries? 

This is not a brief for how everything here is wonderful: there is plenty wrong here, including overpriced health care. But the way liberals struggle so desperately to talk up Third World countries is actually comical.

The same people who rave about the artistry that goes into a clay pot or a wood carving would never be caught dead praising the intelligence which went into, say, designing a space station.

The same people who rave about the ecology-friendly lifestyle practiced by the Yanomamo Indians -- in stark contrast to our own -- would never dream of mentioning their penchant for cannibalism.

The same people who pride themselves on being "open-minded" in fact keep their minds closed to all the the most rigidly leftist mindset: socialism (though not by that name) is better than capitalism, race is a social construct, etc. etc.

I once heard a liberal use the following phrase: "a really horrible person, you know, like Richard Nixon or Idi Amin." The liberal actually thought he was demonstrating his fair-mindedness by including Idi Amin, a black man, in that horrible company. 

Nixon was not a saint, but he didn't gain power through a coup, he never personally tortured political opponents, didn't keep the heads of his enemies in his freezer, and never killed his wife for having an abortion. But, evidently he and Amin were morally equivalent.

You can twist yourself into a pretzel trying to insist that there are no differences between people (or peoples), just as you can when you try to insist that there are no differences between countries, other than the moral ones which show us in a bad light. 

I guess the direction our country will go in next depends largely on who our next President will be -- someone nice and smart like Barack Obama, or someone horrible like Mitt Romney or Jeffrey Dahmer.

Real Estate Dreaming

It seems like a lot of people say you either really love living in NYC or you really hate it. After more than a year here, I think I can safely say we love New York. I've been surprised at how doable it is with kids. Who knows if we'll stay forever, but it is great for right now. My husband is loving his work and I'm having a great time. I do worry a teeny bit about my girls here though. They say they love it here, but they also talk a lot about wanting a dog and they reminisce about our backyard in Cambridge and in Delaware (they mostly miss the family of bunnies that lived in our backyard in Dover). Part of me thinks we should consider moving up to Connecticut or Westchester next year so the kids can have a more normal childhood, but I just can't wrap my mind around adding a three hour commute to my husband's already too-long work day.

Lately Brooklyn is feeling like a good in-between option. The commute to my husband's downtown job would be super easy. And most Brooklyn neighborhoods feel a little quieter on the streets (more kid-friendly) and it's easier to find a place with outdoor space. I keep telling Michael that we just need a cool 10 million so we can buy a townhouse in Brooklyn Heights. No big deal right?

Check out this one that's available for (only!) $14 mill. What? Don't you real estate stalk all the crazy expensive homes in your city?

This townhouse is HUGE for NYC (or anywhere I think) at 7,000 square feet. I want to marry that front door. Completely amazing.

The view's not bad either.

Welcome home, Mrs. Komenda.

Oh my word, that moulding! Those doors!

Here's the back parlor. ('Parlor' is such a great word, btw. Let's bring it back.)

The butler's pantry is on the first floor by the back parlor. This house was MADE for parties. I think the rolling cabinet is a cool idea for storing away drinks and bigger counter items (like blenders and toasters and stand mixers)

LOVE the thick counter tops in the kitchen, and that range of course.

Another one of the sitting rooms (there are a few). This one feels perfect for teenagers.

This is such a cute girls room. This is purple done right. I really like how there is a great mix of super modern and very traditional antiques in this home. I want that rug for my living room.

And if you're crazy like me and get a ridiculous kick out of floor plans (even when they're super pixilated! sorry), here are the bottom three floors:

and the top three:

While I don't think the decor is completely my style, the place is gorgeous, right? If you want to see even more of the house (in FULL SCREEN!!) click here. But if you buy it, please let me decorate it for you and help you throw your first party! :)