Just Lynn

One woman. One name. One hell of an attitude!

recipe for borscht

Written By: witchypo - Nov• 24•13

When my boyfriend herd that I made borscht, he asked me to make him some. This time, I started with 2 pounds of ground beef, and about 3/4 of a pound of kielbasa, which I fried, drained, and set aside.

kielbasa frying

Then, I diced a medium sized white onion, 2 cloves of garlic, and some leek, which I browned in a little butter.

garlic onion leek

Just before this was done, I added some ginger, rosemary, basil, dill seed, salt, pepper, and a couple of teaspoons of paprika.

onions and spices

Meantime, I poured 2 large cans of tomatoes into a stock pot and ‘squished’ them, but left large chunks and then added the onion and spice mixture and meats to the pot.

meat and soup base

I threw in 4-5 cans of water (I use the empty tomato can to measure the water), and brought it all to a slow boil.

ingredients

I usually add ‘hard’ veggies like the celery, carrots, and turnips first, let them cook a while, and then add ‘softer’ veggies like the potatoes and squashes so they don’t over-cook. I also usually used large carrots, dicing half and shredding the other, but in this case, all I had were ‘baby’ carrots, so its a choice/need thing.

veggies

In this case, I used carrot, potato, beet, celery, onion, leek, garlic, beet greens, kale, spinach, peas, beans, and corn. Of course, you can add cabbage if you like it or just about anything else you’ve got kicking around.

wear gloves!

Safety Ranger Bob says you might want to wear gloves when working with the beets. It’s also a good idea to leave the stubs of the beets (where the stems meet the top of the root) on to use as a ‘handle’ while you grate them. Oh! And I don’t know if it really makes a difference, but I usually cook 1/2 of the shredded beets and carrots with the soup, and then just before it’s finished, add the rest so that they are el dante (firm) when its served because I like the ‘meaty’ texture it gives.

When all the ingredients are cooked to satisfaction, I often add a little beef gravy if I’ve got it to give it a richer flavor, and check spicing just before its done. For serving, I like my borscht with a little Greek yogurt. Numo!

By the way, once my Ukrainian boyfriend saw what I was up to, he informed me that this was NOT ‘borscht’, but that certainly didn’t stop him from having a second bowl ; )

moxibustion

Written By: witchypo - Nov• 03•13

Well, finally got smart the other day and called my acupuncturist, Dr. Sally. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of years, so we visited for a bit and then she asked what brought me to her.

‘Pain’, I told her, and explained my last set of treatments kept me practically pain free for months, which was impressive considering my age and arthritis, but that lifestyle changes combined with the strain of keeping up with work, my house, and the rest of the daily grind had lead to multiple strains and injuries. That caused pain and inflammation which made exercise difficult, and the situation snowballed from there.

Of course, I’d figured it was arthritis, and put off going to my GP because I didn’t want to be put back on long-term medications. Eventually, it got bad enough, though, that I went to my doctor and found out that it was tendonitis, for which he prescribed muscle relaxants and massage therapy. Without medical insurance, however, I needed treatment I could both afford and trust, so I’d decided that accupuncture was my best bet.

As I filled her in, Dr. Sally checked me out, and told me that multiple incidental strains had caused scar tissue to build up in my muscles and that the best way to deal with it was moxibustion. Then, as she pin-cushioned me with needles, she explained that she’d be attaching moxa (small rolls of ‘paper’ wrapped mugwart) to some of them, and burning it as part of the therapy.

”Moxibustion stronger medicine,’ she said. ‘Heat from moxibustion melt scar tissue. Work faster.’

Picturing Captain Jack’s smoldering beard in the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies, I chuckled, but agreed, and next thing I knew, I was sitting in a chair, stuck full of needles, with tendrils of smoke rising from my shoulder.

As usual, Dr. Sally asked for feedback, so I ‘canned’ the jokes and tuned into my body.

What I found was that, far from painful, the smoldering moxa rolls were sending a gentle, soothing warmth down the length of the needles and into the sorest of my muscles.

‘Wow! It’s like soaking it in a hot tub…’ I told her, ‘or when you get an epidural and you can feel the drugs flowing into your spine…!’

‘Moxibustion good medicine,’ Dr. Sally grinned, and sent me home with instructions to relax and keep the treated areas warm to encourage healing.

That night, I still experienced pain, but it was bearable. The following day, however, was the first in months that I was almost pain-free for the majority of the day!

Since then, I’ve had two more treatments using moxa burned on needles (as well as in a moxa box), and ‘cupping’ (another form of acupuncture therapy). What I’m finding is that, while the pain hasn’t disappeared, it has become less frequent and acute, and that it last for less time than prior to treatment. This is encouraging, and I’m excited about the opportunity to learn more about moxibustion, as well as other alternative treatments.

Perhaps I’ll continue to post bits and pieces on the topic, too, to remind myself in future that I shouldn’t ‘put off’ getting help when I need it(?)

fruity pancakes

Written By: witchypo - Oct• 29•13

Last weekend, I just couldn’t eat another standard breakfast so I whipped up something a little different… fruity pancakes!

I started by bringing a frying pan to medium heat, adding a teaspoon or so of butter, and then another of coconut. Once it’d melted, I added roughly 2 cups of water, brought it to a boil, and dropped in a handful of cranberries and a squirt of liquid honey (1-2 tbsp?).

fruity pancakes with cranberries

fruity pancakes with cranberries

While it boiled, I diced and added two apples,  a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a touch of orange zest (1/4 tsp?). Meantime, I whipped up a few pancakes (from a boxed mix), and kept stirring the fruit mix until it’d reduced to about 2/3 volume and the fruit was soft.

apples, cranberries and honey

apples, cranberries and honey

Just before the fruit was done, I took about a teaspoon of cornstarch, added just enough water to it to mix it into a thin paste, and added it to the fruit along with about 2 more tablespoons of honey.

orange zest

orange zest

 

With the fruit coated in a sweet paste, I poured it over the pancakes and topped everything with a sprinkle of walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup.

pancakes frying

pancakes frying

Truth is, I have no clue how ‘fattening’ or ‘healthy’ a breakfast it made, but I can say that it tasted great and was a nice change from eggs and toast <| : )

pancakes with fruit and nut topping

pancakes with fruit and nut topping

 

 

I never dreamed!

Written By: witchypo - Jul• 16•13

The Dog was checking out one of my sketches and hesitated to give it back. ‘I envy you your talent,’ he said, ’cause it lets you do something few people can… you can bring your dreams to life’.

‘Yah!’ I thought, ‘and if it was that easy…!’

Just then, though, a maddeningly calm voice in my head asked ‘how do you know it isn’t?’ which set off a mental chain reaction that lead to a startling discovery.

Despite all I’ve said about books like ‘Psycho-Cybernetics’ and ‘The Secret’,  and despite having used them to make some of my dreams come true, I never thought to apply their principals to my art. Instead, even before trying to draw again in June I, apparently, decided that the best I’d be able to do now would not be as good as it was when I quit years ago, and that I’d never be good enough to get paid for my art.

Of course, it wasn’t a conscious descision, but once I realized what I’d done… or ‘failed to do’… I recalled two of the common principals of those books… that one must envision themselves as doing or being something in order for it to happen in the real world… and that one must set their ‘will’ aside and allow themselves (their bodies) and their lives to fulfil their maximum potential. That reminded me of the fact that I don’t always know what I’m going to draw and that I’ve often found consciously deciding ‘what’ to draw and ‘how’ usually lead to less than satifactory results, while ‘letting my hand do its thing’ usually got me better sketches, or even showed me I could do things I didn’t know I could.

Then, for perhaps the first time in my life, I set aside what I figured I ‘knew’ and openned my mind to the potentials and possibilities this realization presented, and realized that if I could find a way to apply the same processes to my art as I’d applied to getting divorced, buying a house, and fining love, I might one day find myself living the life of a successful artist!

Now, I’ve just got to figure out how…!

do something with it

Written By: witchypo - Jun• 24•13

You know, I’m still giggling over how shocked my buddy, ‘the Dog’, is about my being able to draw. ‘Three years and you never mention you do this…?!’ he asked, but the truth is that I had. He just didn’t take me seriously.

Since I started drawing again a few weeks ago, though, he’s become something of a fan and constantly compliments, critiques, and challenges me, which is nice ’cause it reminds me of my teen years when friends used to bug me to draw this or that while we hung out. Unfortunately, that usually leads to The Dog telling me how talented I am and that I should do something with it, and that makes me really… really… uncomfortable.

You see, what ‘The Dog’ doesn’t know is that I’ve been there, done that.

I’ve already been told that I have talent. I’ve been told I should go to school and make a career of it. At 47 years old, though, I am not about to go into debt for an education or career that I won’t have the time to make ‘pay off’. Starving artist…? No thanks!

The other thing that The Dog doesn’t ‘get’ is that it’s been 25 freakin’ years since I’ve put any serious effort or time into drawing so its almost like starting all over. Hell! I didn’t even know if I could draw any more! Now that I am trying, though, it seems that I am a little more capable than I figured and its surprising me on a regular. So, it would be cool to take a little time and find out what else I can do before I start thinking about making money at it.

The biggest reason I’m not letting anything go to my head, though, is that I had very personal reasons for learning to draw, giving it up, and for starting again, and what I haven’t admitted to anyone is that I have very personal reasons for worrying about what drawing again may do to my life. That means that I may also have reason to give it up again, so its not something I’d want to go nuts on and learn too late that it was a mistake.

Anyways, got no one to talk to about this so had to spill my guts. Will have to think this through more..

sketchin’

Written By: witchypo - Jun• 20•13

Hung out with the boys last night and did a little sketching. The Dog challenged me to draw some things which was cool ’cause buddies used to do that when I was a teenager and it gave me something to ‘play’ with. Then, my BF and them started hassling me because I never finnish a sketch. Of course ‘finnish’ is a relative term but they didn’t want to hear that so I stuck with one longer than I normally would have and it turned out okay.

sketch of a vaguely native looking male

sketch: male, south american?

Of course, the proportion, postion, shading, etc. aren’t great, but I’ve only been drawing for a few weeks so I can’t let that get to me. More importantly, I found that when I ‘tried’ to draw things they often didn’t work out very well, but when I turned my hand loose and just let it do its thing, it’d suddenly get better. The botom right portion of this sketch, for example, was drawn with conscious effort, while the bottom left was my hand playing with shading…

detail of native looking man

detail of native looking man

 

I think the feathers turned out much better, and I really liked the way their edges turned out. May have to play with that some more : )

reflection

Written By: witchypo - Jun• 19•13

Years ago, a virtual stranger gave me a book so old and cheesy looking that all I could think was ‘why?!’ This month, when I finally gave it a shot, though, I discovered that the book, ‘Psycho-Cybernetics’, was written by plastic surgeon, Maxwell Maltz, who condensed what his career taught him of people, self image, and success, into this self-help guide to  ‘happiness’. Of course, I was miffed with myself for not having read it sooner, but suspect that I wouldn’t have ‘gotten it’ the same if I had.

When I read, for example, that Maltz believed an ‘unrealistic’ self image was what drove each and every one of his clients to seek his help, I’d normally have doubted such a ‘blanket statement’. Instead, I asked myself how realistic mine was, and was surprised when my mind showed me a page torn from a colouring book with a black and white line drawing of ‘me’, replete with ‘escaped convict’ hair, a ‘pig’ nose’, ‘tree trunk’ legs, and a host of other defects.

‘Is that, really, how I see myself?!’ I recoiled from the image, but knew without question that I’d been taught to identify with these defects just as early, and surely, as I’d been taught to colour.

I know because I caught my reflection in the mirror one night about a year ago and was genuinely surprised and confused by what I saw. The woman in the mirror, you see, looked far too good to have any connection to me.

‘She’ was perhaps 5 foot 7 or eight inches tall, looked to weigh about 120-130 pounds, and appeared to be in her mid 30’s.  She had shoulder length auburn hair that waived around an oval face, highlighted by full, bowed lips and bright blue eyes and wore a sleeveless black sheath dress that revealed strong, toned arms, a narrow waist, and flaring hips. In it, she looked as though she’d be as comfortable and confident on a red carpet as she was on a bath mat.

Of course, I knew that ‘she’ and I were one, but even as I accepted the unfiltered input from my eyes, my brain tried over-laying my reflection with the defects that supposedly defined ‘me’. It was then that I consciously realized how unrealistic and limiting my self image is, and when I became determined to learn to be habitually conscious of that fact.

Now, I’m glad I hung on to this book because I can’t, really, talk to anyone about this stuff but books like Psycho Cybernetics give me the chance to get advice from ‘experts’ like Maltz. I just wish I could thank the fellow who gave it to me because it seems he was right after all.

 

 

surprise!

Written By: witchypo - May• 30•13

A couple of weekends ago I tried drawing for the first time in years and got a bit of a surprise.

Of course, I was rusty – the pen felt as awkward in hand as my doodles looked on paper – and it wasn’t long before I was tempted to quit. Too curious to do so easily, though, I tried a trick my father taught me when I was a kid, instead.

With my eyes closed, I drew a simple scribble, and checked it from all angles for any likenesses or associations it might evoke. Once I’d decided what it looked like to me, I then used some of its lines, and added to them, to make the ‘scribble’ into an easily recognizable ‘sketch’ of that thing.

Then, I scribble, check, sketched until I was racing like I used to as a child.

Still, the pen felt awkward enough that I, eventually, ground to a halt and found myself simply staring at it.

Had I lost what little ability I might have had…(?) I wondered, but knowing that thinking… or more aptly ‘over-thinking’… had caused me to give drawing up in the first place, I hit the break on that mental train before it could build up a good head of steam.

‘Steam… train… mechanics… ‘basic mechanics’…!’ I spun, flipped, and fiddled the pen between fingers… one after the other… feeling for what I couldn’t see. Then, something in me ‘clicked’, I froze, and keeping hand and pen in exactly that position, I tried another scribble.

As different as it was from my usual grip, and despite conflicting information from mind and body, things finally felt ‘right’, and I ripped through another half dozen scribble-sketches to give myself time to get comfortable with it. Rather than encouraging me, however, my drawings only seemed to cause a growing unease.

I drew one last scribble… a rough circle… cleared my head and, on a whim, let my hand do its thing.

Its first few strokes were short… hesitant.. and only made a mess. But, I stayed out of it and my oblivious hand picked up strength and speed until it was laying lines down haphazardly. A nose appeared… an eye… the strange creeping feeling grew stronger… and then I was looking at the head and shoulders of a masculine looking creature much like the orks in fantasy movies.

drawing of an 'ork'

drawing of an ‘ork’

Decent, I thought, but it felt like I was looking at something a stranger had drawn, and that’s when it finally hit me…

Of course, it’d look like a stranger had drawn it because I wasn’t the same person I’d been 25 years ago when I last seriously tried to draw. Too much life… too much change… and, even as I thought that, an excited curiosity grew within me.

What would I see if I kept drawing? How would all that change affect my art? What could I learn about myself?

Unfortunately, I got interrupted and had to set my drawing aside, but I feel like this is something I need to pursue if for no other reason than to satisfy the curiosity that’s been gnawing at me all these years.

 

 

Goodbye Witchypoo

Written By: witchypo - Mar• 03•13

Years ago when I chose the witchypoo.com domain name, it was as much to poke fun at myself as to suit my esoteric interests. Once Witchypoo became the only name by which some people knew me, though, I kept it year to year and host to host for the sake of convenience and sentimentality.
Last week, when I realized it’d been ages since I’d bothered to post anything to my site, though, I wondered if it might be time for a change. My interests and life style had changed many times in the decade or so I’d been Witchypoo, as had the ways people used the net.
No sooner had I thought it, though, than I discovered my domain name registration had expired (ding, dong, the witch was dead!) and I needed to choose a new one. ‘But, which one…?’ I wondered.
As I mulled it over, two thoughts stuck out from all the rest.
The first was that, despite my intent to share some of myself through my site, I’d seldom if ever posted an unguarded word. The second was that, while I have to share almost every moment and aspect of my life with others, this was the one place I could do what I wanted… the one place that was truly ‘mine’.
So, with the help of the amazing staff at A Small Orange, I chose ‘Just Lynn.com’ as my new domain name, and will be working to rebuild my site to better reflect who I am now. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but hope that – in the long run – it’ll be worth it.
Enjoy!
Lynn

here’s a joke for ya’…

Written By: witchypo - Jan• 03•13

So, a chick’s shooting stick near the bar when she over hears two guys sharing relationship advice. Just as she’s expecting a ‘Hallmark moment’, though, the first guy gets frustrated. ‘I know…!’ He raises one hand, palm outward. ‘My mouth’s what causes most of my problems.’ ‘No shit!’ the other agrees. ‘Like… you don’t just tell your old lady about the hooker you had cause it’s mean and’ll only hurt her feelings!’ ‘Yah! ‘Cause when your old lady finds out that you not only thought about… but went out and bought yourself sex with a hooker, she’ll be glad you spared her feelings by lying to her!’ the chick thinks, when she realizes she’s waiting for a punch line that’s not coming. Thank goodness we’re not dating those guys, eh ladies…? Kinda’ reminds me of a line Mulder used in the Xfiles…

“You’re an invertebrate scum sucker whose moral dipstick’s about two drops short of bone-dry.”