Saturday, February 18, 2006

Book Review

I just finished reading "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco (published in 1980). Years ago, I read his novel "Foucault's Pendulum" (published in 1988), and really enjoyed it. So I decided to read "The Name of the Rose," which was also made into a movie. I haven't seen the movie yet, though I plan to rent it soon. But that said, I was disappointed in the book. It didn't seem as well written (or as well translated from the original Italian, or perhaps a combination) as "Foucault's Pendulum." Perhaps he was still developing his style.

There are many times where a character goes off on a long diatribe that doesn't contribute to the plot in any significant way. If I was reading the book in bed, it tended to put me to sleep. I don't suffer from insomnia, though if I did, I'd probably keep this book nearby. The book is set in a monestary in the Middle Ages, and thus is full of Christian theology and Biblical references. I've never been a Christian, but I'm usually interested in mysticism of many types. But for some reason, this particular book seemed overly pendantic. The narrator was likeable enough, and the mystery did hold my interest enough that I plowed my way through the book, but that didn't overcome the its flaws, from my perspective.

I hope the movie is more interesting.

Have you read the book? Did you enjoy it and find it of value? If so, please enlighten me!

That Vegan Thing

Over the past few months, I've been eating more and more like a vegan. I've been eating less dairy and eggs because they cause me digestive problems. I get along fine that way (I'm one of those people who really likes tofu) and I really appreciate the fact that foods without cheese and cream are also lower in calories. Although I consider myself a vegetarian (for about the past 12 years), I do eat fish and seafood occasionally.

My food choices have thus far been primarily about health. I originally stopped eating red meats because of a family history of colitis. As mentioned above, avoiding dairy and eggs keeps me from having health issues, too. Though I do value the fact that I'm not personally contributing to animals living in cramped and unhealthy conditions, I know that vegetarianism isn't for everyone.

A couple of nights ago, though, I had a dream which involved a pool of water being formed (temporarily) on my Aunt's driveway. When the water was drying up, there were three large salmon flopping around in the evaporating pool. My companions and I knew they would die soon, and I was given a knife and told to put them out of their misery. I just couldn't do it, though, and I handed the knife off to someone else, covering my eyes and turning away. The question that ended the dream was "well, should I be eating fish, then?"

Today I went out to lunch with my parents at a local diner, which isn't particularly vegetarian-savvy. This is the type of situation where I might normally have a haddock sandwich or some such thing, but after that dream, I couldn't do it. I'm not sure what my long-term decision on this is, but for the moment at least, I'm feeling that I've made a further step down the vegan path.

[As a footnote, if vegan food interests you, there's a really cute blog about it that I've linked here, called The Vegan Lunchbox.]

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A Curious Dream

I was hanging out with a friend in his apartment (a dreamtime friend, apparently; I didn't recognize him from waking life) in a city. We went out for a while, to get something to eat, but when we came back to his street, his apartment building was gone. Not demolished or burned down, but just...not there. He was incredulous and upset, and checked up and down the street, and several adjoining streets, making sure we were in the right neighborhood, looking at building numbers, and just generally freaking out. Finally I made him stop and look at me, and said, “look, it's obvious we've somehow gotten into a different reality. You're trying to solve this with logic, with your left brain, but it's not a logical situation. I know you're not going to like this, but we're going to have to solve it with magick.” I asked him to take me to a place in nature. He said there wasn't anyplace, we were right in the city, but finally admitted there was a golf course nearby, “but we're not supposed to go there.” I said “perfect,” and we snuck onto the golf course and found a cluster of trees with low, gnarled branches. We sat down to work our magick. Pretty soon we started to see fantastical creatures walking around the golf course. My friend was still incredulous, but I took it as a good sign that we were between the worlds. Unfortunately, that was when I woke up, so I don't know if my right-brain solution got us back to the reality we started in, or not.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Life-Long Learning, and All That

My Freewill Astrology horoscope for the year says, in part, “Virgo: in 2006, you will have greatest success if you approach every experience as a student. Your ability to experience happiness will expand if you re-ignite your love of learning and become perpetually ablaze with curiosity.” Well, that's certainly happening so far! The month of January (and February thus far) has been very busy, but filled with interesting new experiences. A sampling:


Quester and I are finally, thanks to our good friend K, doing something we've talked about for quite a while: taking ballroom dancing classes. We're also doing some cross-country skiing, and thinking of buying our own equipment (at which point the rain came, and much of the snow melted away...sigh). I'm deepening my study of Reiki, and my yoga class this session is focused on exploring mindfulness. I'm also doing more writing (and have lots of ideas for blog entries and articles, Dear Readers), and my circle is focusing on some in-depth self-exploration centered around a workbook we're working on together. I've also been learning some new skills at work. Phew! I think I, like my kids, am an unschooler.


My eldest, Crow, age 9, is also a Virgo, and he's excited about learning too. He's reading to himself more, and becoming the bookworm I knew he'd be. His basketball playing, and understanding of the game, is strong and improving. He's diving into a computer game called “Civilization,” which sparks his interest in history, geography, and cultures around the globe.


My little Capricorn, ElvenTiger, age 7, is having a great year so far. She's learning to read, and doing really well with it. She, too, is a basketball player (Quester is coaching her team); she's very new to the game, but really determined and enthused. Her love of art of all types is flourishing, as well as her penchant for cooking.


Quester has been not only coaching, but also refereeing for the older kids' teams in the league, so he's keeping busy with that. His music is always a front-burner priority, too.


So, that's what we've been up to when I've been away from this blog for a while. Oh, and a lovely mountain adventure with friends (sans kids) that involved heading up to K's family cabin, seeing a concert at which we all danced crazily for hours, doing some skiing, and driving home in a snowstorm. Plus our community celebration of Imbolc, which included a fire in the fireplace, poetry reading, and a delicious feast.


Hope you're doing well this season, as the days grow longer and we inch slowly toward spring!