Tuesday, January 27, 2009


"NEW MOON" by Maxfield Parrish


Today, the moon is 2% of full. To me, it's the time of the new moon!

I follow the old meaning of new moon, which is "the first appearance of the waxing crescent moon". (In astronomy today, "new moon" means "dark moon", when the moon is invisible.)

Following are some poems whose authors, like me, followed the old meaning by celebrating that first sliver of moon as it reappears in the sky:


The new moon, of no importance
lingers behind as the yellow sun glares
and is gone beyond the sea's edge;
earth smokes blue;
the new moon, in cool height above the blushes,
brings a fresh fragrance of heaven to our senses.

By D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)


I saw the new moon late yestreen,
Wi' the auld moon in her arms:
And if ye gang to sea, maister,
I fear we'll suffer harm.

From the anonymous Scottish ballad Sir Patrick Spens


The New Moon

What have you got in your knapsack fair,
White moon, bright moon, pearling the air,
Spinning your bobbins and fabrics free,
Fleet moon, sweet moon, in to the sea?
Turquoise and beryl and rings of gold,
Clear moon, dear moon, ne’er to be sold?
Roses and lilies, romance and love,
Still moon, chill moon, swinging above?
Slender your feet as a white birds throat,
High moon, shy moon, drifting your boat
Into the murk of the world awhile,
Slim moon, dim moon, adding a smile.
Tender your eyes as a maiden’s kiss,
Fine moon, wine moon, no one knows this,
Under the spell of your witchery,
Dream moon, cream moon, first he kissed me.

Zora Bernice May Cross


Here's a favorite from my childhood (and that's how Mr. Lindsay spelled cookie!)


The Moon's the North Wind's cooky.
He bites it, day by day,
Until there's but a rim of scraps
That crumble all away.
The South Wind is a baker.
He kneads clouds in his den,
And bakes a crisp new moon that . . .
greedy North . . . Wind . . . eats . . . again!

Vachel Lindsay


And here's a new moon poem by one of my favorite poets:


Day, you have bruised and beaten me,
As rain beats down the bright, proud sea,
Beaten my body, bruised my soul,
Left me nothing lovely or whole —
Yet I have wrested a gift from you,
Day that dies in dusky blue:

For suddenly over the factories
I saw a moon in the cloudy seas —
A wisp of beauty all alone
In a world as hard and gray as stone —
Oh who could be bitter and want to die
When a maiden moon wakes up in the sky?

By Sara Teasdale


When I see the first New moon,
faint in the twilight,
I think of the moth eyebrows
Of a girl I saw only once.

By Yakamochi


The winner of my Two-Year Blogiversary celebration is Lynda from "Among the Hedgerows " in Ontario. Congratulations, Lynda! I will be contacting you.

Friday, January 23, 2009


"QUEEN MEDB (MAEVE)" by J. Leyendecker

I learned last evening that I have been given (in my mind at least) a great honor. My blog has been listed as one of "100 Fascinating Celtic Culture, Language & Lit Blogs" by Best University. The blogs are organized by subjects, which include Celtic music, genealogy and heritage, literature and writing, art, spirituality, crafts and culture. For a list of all 100 blogs, click on this link:


In my two years of blogging, I have always felt that even though I gave my blog a Celtic slant, I did not address the subject of the Celts as often as I would have liked. In fact, it was my goal this year to increase the number of posts touching on what I call the magical and mysterious world of the Celts. Now, after being added to this list, I feel even more of an obligation to do so.

I installed Feedjit just before Christmas. This gadget not only tells me what countries Internet searchers are arriving from, but also the subject they are Googling. I feel that I must be such a disappointment for people looking up subjects in the Celtic realm, such as Celtic music, Celtic poems and phrases, Celtic spirituality and Celtic art. In particular, I get a great many hits on the subject of Celtic pixies, faeries, brownies and elves!

I especially felt that way when my blog was called Celtic Woman. Then, I'm sure, hundreds if not thousands of people reached my blog only to read about me blathering on yet again about the cold, snowy winter, when all they really wanted was the Irish women's singing group.

In the list of 100 Fascinating Celtic Blogs, mine is placed under the category of genealogy and heritage. I feel that is a good spot for it, and I have written some posts about my heritage.

However, to achieve my original goal for my blog, I have decided to feature a series of posts written by Aine, a Celtic maiden who lived in Ancient Britain.


I'll let Aine introduce herself.

"Hello, my name is Aine (pronounced awn-ye). I am tall, and I have golden brown (reddish brown) hair and green eyes. I am told that I am comely and that I have a willowy figure. I am 23 years old. I am a healer, having learned from my mother's great store of knowledge the medicinal and healing powers of a vast array of plants. I am also learning to be a wise woman, though I have a long way to go. Someday I hope to be a Druid priestess.

I live in a round hut with a heavy thatched dome at the edge of our village. Except for my pet owl, I live alone here. I also often have two wild visitors - a hare and a deer. I would never consider them to be my pets but I do have a mystical connection with them. I also love to ride among the wild horses, who let me tame them.

I have not taken a husband, nor do I plan to. I have chosen a solitary life. I will live here with my dried herbs, powders and potions, my amulets and talismans. However, do not think me a witch. This is a common misconception about wise women, but I do not cast spells or dabble in the dark arts.

We Celts are pagan, and worship female goddesses. We are a matriarchal - or matrifocused -society. Women are highly respected and we have equal rights with men.

However, this is a transitional time for my people. The winds of change are blowing our way, and they are not kind. The Romans are here now, and the Christians. The priests are trying to force us to accept their religion, but we are resisting. They denounce our goddesses because our worship of the female deities stands in direct contrast to and conflict with their patriarchal system of beliefs, in which men hold all the power.

Since I am able to divine the future, I can foretell great changes ahead for our way of life. But one thing I know - our Celtic women are, in many ways, better off than women will be, even all the way to the 20th Century.

Across the centuries - through Julie - I will be telling you about these changes, as well as about the clothing I wear, my jewelry and tattoos, the food we eat and the way we live, our art and our poetry. I will also tell you about the times I have had to fight like a warrior, although I am a peaceful and gentle soul at heart.

I have so much to tell you about our strong, intelligent and proud race, about our wonderful inventions, our remarkable artistic legacy. our deep relationship with nature and Mother Earth, and the role of women in Celtic society. I hope you are as excited as Julie is about hearing from me from time to time."


"CELTIC LADY" by Hastings


Researching the Celts will not be as easy as researching the 1920s for Bess Stanhope's Autumn Sketch Book, so when I make errors - and I am sure to - please correct me.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for my Second Blogiversary. Just leave a comment on the post below.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009



(What my outside world looks like - Brr!)

(What I WISH my outside world looked like)

(What my inner world looks like!)
Today is my second blogiversary! I started blogging on January 20, 2007 and had written 10 posts by the end of that month. I guess I had a lot to say! I've slowed down a lot now. I only wrote 89 posts in 2008, as compared to 254 posts in 2007.
Anyway, I thought it would be a good time to talk about attributing the art work that I use in my blog. I have to admit, when I first started, I was pretty clueless about attribution. And since I don't have a digital camera, I do use a lot of art and photos from the Internet. Plus, I borrowed a lot of art from other bloggers, who didn't attribute either.
But now, I make an extra effort to find the artist or photographer of the work I use, even if I'm borrowing it from another blog. I recently ran across the name of the artist of the Boat Moon painting. I have been "over the moon" about this painting for several years. I've featured it in a post, and have printed it out for collage work. But since I borrowed it from Daisy's blog, where it was unattributed, I didn't have a name or artist for it.
(Actually, I thought it was a book illustration from the 1920s-1930s. It just has that style.) I'm happy to finally, belatedly give credit to Nancy Bright.
Although I had never heard a word from anyone about misusing their work, I was kind of scared that I would some day get a dressing down from an artist upset that I had so cavalierly taken their precious creation.
Nine days ago, out of the blue, I got an e-mail regarding the painting of the daisies and the bee, above. Here's what Alana Harley had to say: "Hey, I am the artist who painted that painting. I was surprised when I did a search to find my work out there! lol."
Well, she doesn't sound too upset!
Then, just three days later, I received an e-mail from my favorite fantasy artist, Jane Starr Weils. (I did credit her work.) Here's part of what she had to say:

"Hello lovely lady!

I just had some wonderful friends of mine - Jenna and Doug from Greenelady Music show me your page they just found showcasing my work and their music!!!!! :)

I just wanted to write and say - well...Wow! And thank you! I am very honored that you like my work to feature it so as well as Greenelady music! Have you heard their album?! Sighs..tis absolutely lovely! Lovely!!! (Julie adds: No, sorry, I haven't checked it out yet.)

. . . . I do appreciate that you recognized and enjoyed all the Celtic knotwork in my work.....I have a lovely friend / fellow artist in the UK that actually thought I was from the UK due to all my knotwork woven through my pieces! Well, tis my heritage! I love it!!! I have actually settled now in upstate New York!

Basically, just wanted to write to say thank you! Am grateful you enjoy my work!

Keep writing! Happy creating to you!!!!
Love light and laughter
Jane Starr Weils"

I was thrilled to hear from Jane, as I just adore her work. I own three of her prints and have featured her art several times in posts.
In honor of my Two Year Blogiversary, I am going to give away YOUR choice of a Jane Starr Weils ---



All you have to do is leave a comment here. You can be an old or new reader. It doesn't matter if you are from the US, Canada, the UK, Europe or Australia. (Or anywhere).
I will draw a winner's name in one week.
Meanwhile, here are some links you might want to check out:

Nancy Bright's website: http://www.seatoskyzine.com/alanasgallery.htm (The Boat Moon painting is available as a greeting card.)
The post where I feature a lot of Jane Starr Weil's art: http://celticanamcara.blogspot.com/2008/09/celtic-lady-at-crossroads.html
Greenelady Music website: http://www.greeneladymusic.com/

Saturday, January 17, 2009


My new friend Fiona from "A pot, a thought and a smidgen of dirt" has given me this Proximity Award. Thank you so much, Fiona. (I recently "met" Fiona, who is from Nottingham, England, as is her mum, Margaret from "Margaret's Ramblings.")

"Blogs who receive this award are 'exceedingly charming' say its authors. This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!

"Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award. According to the rules I must mention eight more bloggers with whom I wish to share this:"

At this point I would ordinarily politely decline to accept an award, or give the award to all my readers who wished to accept it, because I so hate to hurt anyone's feelings.

But this one's easier. I don't have to show favoritism by hinting that this person or that person is a better blogger. This award is about Proximity, and I feel there are some of my Blogland friends who really fit that profile, by becoming more than just a commenter. These people are "there" for me, from sending me gifts, to e-mailing me, to giving me a boost - or a shove - when I need one, and even phoning me, in a few instances.

I got lucky because Fiona had already nominated one of my dearest friends, Leanne from "Somerset Seasons Dorset Days." Leanne, you are my anam cara, the heart and soul of England, my "adopted" country. How I would love to explore your beloved woods with you.

Lila of "Indigo Pears" - my first blogging friend,

Gemma of "Wild Woman in a Desert Garden" - my ancestral sister,

Carmen of "Writing From Life" - a creative mermaid.

I love you three, closest of all to my heart. We are the Four Musketeers, all for one and one for all. We're mostly the same age but we have one young'un too. Sorry, ladies, that I cannot participate in the round robin with you this time.
Mary from "Across the Pond". You have such grace, taste and class - and most importantly, empathy. If you had only done just one thing - sending me the book about "The Girls Who Went Away" - you would have been my friend for life. You saved my life.

Annie from "Bimbimbie". The thousands of miles between North Dakota and Queensland, Australia, cannot hinder our friendship. Our love of nature is our bond and our seal. What a difficult time you are having now, leaving Bimbimbie, "The Place of Many Birds." Thinking of you.

Anna from "Nature Girl". Anna, another nature lover and photographer whose pictures equal the words of the finest poet. Such kindness (and roses) you have shown me. Anna, I'm praying for you and your dear mother through this difficult time.

Rowan from "Circle of the Year", my kindred spirit and wise teacher. You know that I was a changeling, separated from my ENGLISH family at birth! You give me back the connection. I hope to walk the lanes and stately homes of England with you some day.

Vicki from "Victoria Station", her new blog that is just now under construction. Vicki, you have had the worst thing ever happen to you this year and yet you still continue to be my friend, even when I didn't deserve it. I fervently hope you are back writing soon.

Mary from "Back of the Moon". We started as co-creators of an art challenge and are now fast friends. Dear Mary, I'm so glad we ventured this, for look what it brought us! Keep creating your collages and your jewelry!

Janet from "The Lavender Loft", you are one terrific lady and I am proud to call you my friend. I look to you as a source of inspiration with my art. Just looking at your picture makes me smile. It shows your wit and whimsy which shine through in all you do.

Annie "Elf" from "In My Dreams". What would I have done without you on one of my worst days ever? You have the biggest heart! How I admire you for exploring your spirituality and reaching for the stars. You are always growing - don't ever stop.

Joyce from "The Secret Gardener". You knew even before I did that a NoDak gal and a lady from the Bayou could be fast friends no matter what parts of this country we're from. When can I come to one of your famous tea parties?

Colleen from "Utah Grammie". We are certainly soul sisters, so you really know when I need uplifting. Thank you so very much for the poem you sent when Penny died. And, your sense of humor is the best. You are droll, witty and just plain funny!

Okay, so I broke the rules by naming more than eight. I am a rebel, you know, though mostly a quiet sort.

Thank you Fee (may I call you Fee?)

Links to all blogs are on my sidebar.
Added later: I went to Anna's (Nature Girl's) blog to tell her that I had given her an award and learned that her dear mother - her December Rose - has peacefully passed on. If you know Anna at all, please go add your condolences.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Love Winter (She Said, Tongue Firmly Planted in Cheek)


I thought for sure I would see parhelia this morning. These "mock suns" or, as we call them here, sun dogs, are caused by light reflected off of or refracted through ice crystals in the atmosphere. (If it's reflected, they're white; if it's refracted, they're colored!) They are usually seen in the morning and the evening, and though there are usually two sun dogs, one on each side of and parallel to the sun, there can be just one.

There weren't any sun dogs to be spotted this morning, but we have seen them often lately. When sun dogs appear here, it means just one thing: "Baby, it's cold outside!"

And it was: 40 below zero F. this morning. We have a saying in North Dakota: "40 below keeps the riffraff out." Let me tell you, there were no riffraff out and about this morning! (PS - It's "only" 30 below now at 10:00 a.m.)

Instead of parhelia, we saw ice fog. Through the ceiling-to-floor glass windows at work, we had a spectacular view of this phenomenon as it hovered above the sinuous turns of the Missouri River.


This winter's one for the record books. At 61 inches of snowfall here in Bismarck, it's already the 13th snowiest winter on record. And it's only the middle of January! We can get snow here right through the end of April (Okay, I lied. I should have said, even into May).

The road crews are having a tough time keeping the streets cleared, and it's too cold for sand or salt to work. The streets are getting narrower and narrower as time goes by. Accidents are just waiting to happen.

I have never seen this much snow in North Dakota. Ever. (The area of the state that I'm from missed the great blizzard of March 1966.)

Quonsets and pole barn roofs are collapsing. The Wal Mart store in Minot (90 miles north of here) has been closed for a week for fear that the roof might collapse. People are being warned to keep their roof vents clear or poisonous gases could build up inside homes.
If cars aren't garaged or plugged in, they're refusing to start with that truly scary sound of protest: A-r-r-r, A-r-r-r-r-r,
Do readers in the South and in Europe know about plugging cars in? We install a heater under the hood, thread the cord through the grill, add a very long extension cord and plug it into an outlet in the garage or house.


The snow and bitterly cold weather has been hard on the wildlife and we will certainly be hearing high winter kill numbers this spring.


(Click on the picture to enlarge and see which
rust-colored blobs are leaves and which are robins.)



We all have our winter stories to tell: Cars dying, accidents and near accidents, getting stuck in snowbanks, windshields shattering (yes!). Here's what's happened to me since yesterday afternoon:

The building I work in is four stories high, built into the side of a steep hill. As I pulled out of the first-floor parking lot and onto the street, I saw our department director driving ahead of me. How strange - her SUV wasn't moving. Then I discovered that MY CAR wasn't moving either.
We kept spinning our wheels and resting, spinning and resting (it's impossible to get out the other direction - the road ends at Fraine Barracks, which is gated).
I was afraid she would back up into me but fortunately that didn't happen. Finally, I just crossed my fingers, gunned it, laid rubber and swept past her. (I learned today that she turned around, drove quite a ways down the hill, turned back and just floored it!)
When I got home, I discovered I was trapped by my seat belt. It took about 10 minutes for me to unlatch it. I had visions of myself freezing to death in my car, all because of a seat belt malfunction. Lord, what a way to go!
Things were fine until this morning, when Dan couldn't find my keys. (They may be in the car, dropped when I was trying to wrestle myself out of the boa constrictor grasp of the seat belt. Or, they may be in the snow.)
Dan used his keys, warmed up the car and drove it to the convenience store. On a flat tire, as he discovered. Now the tire is shot. Dan drove me to work in his vehicle. We made sure he dropped me off on the third-floor level.


Now you see why I am more sick of winter than I ever have been? Why I want to chuck it all and move somewhere South?
It's a good thing we NoDaks have a sense of humor or we wouldn't make it through.



1. A cozy warm house.
2. Good stick-to-the-ribs meals.
3. A husband who warms up my car every morning.
4. The possibility of temps of 30-40 above by the weekend.
5. The sun is shining!
"Oh, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?" - Percy Bysshe Shelley.
All these photos were taken this month in south central or southwest North Dakota. I borrowed them from KFYR-TV'S Sky Spy photos. Visit the website to view more ND photos and see attributions:
I learned on the news last night that the official low for Bismarck for the previous night was -44 degrees F!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thank You

At the end of last year I signed up for a Pay It Forward exchange sponsored by Michelle in Poland ("Miszelkowy Schowek" blog on my sidebar) and then completely forgot about it.

Not long after Christmas I received a surprise package in the mail, which contained the delicate necklace above,

earrings to match,

a pair of black earrings,

a decoupaged box to put them in and

A decoupaged memo pad holder. All items are handmade by Michelle. The photos do not do justice to these beautiful items!
I was totally floored at the number of things she sent me. I absolutely did not expect such generosity when I signed up for this exchange. What a kind heart she has!
Thank you, thank you, Michelle. I will treasure them forever. (Please check out Michelle's blog by clicking the link on my sidebar to see all the other lovely items she creates.)
And thank you, thank you to all of you who showed me such sympathy over the death of my beloved dog Penny (post below). I was astounded to receive messages from so many people, some of whom I hadn't heard from in the longest time and didn't even know they still read my blog.
All of them - old friends, new friends, friends of friends, anonymous readers - embraced me with such tenderness, love, care and concern. As many stated in their comments, my pal Penny has, I know, crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and is happily running through the meadows on the other side.
It's been said before, but Blogland is such a generous, supportive, NICE place. I am happy to live here. I don't think I would like to be in My Space or Facebook. I've heard of people bullying each other on the Internet. I watched a news show the other night in which teenage girls beat up other teenagers and post the videos of beatings. I've learned, sadly, that such things are not uncommon.
I have also heard of bloggers being unkind to other bloggers with words, which can be just as painful as a physical beating. Fortunately, I have not encountered this problem so far. Well, there was one commenter who said that my post about masks was "the stupidest thing" she's ever heard of. But, I have comment approval, so her comment never saw the light of day. Ha!
All in all, however, I think Blogland is a place where people genuinely care about one another. I know I have felt the warmth of their arms around me in the past week. It has been a difficult time but you have helped ease me through it. Thank you.
PS - I will be writing a post about Penny - I just need a bit of distance right now.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Our hearts are heavy today. Our beloved Golden Retriever Penny passed over to the Happy Hunting Grounds this morning.
Dan had let the dogs out early, while it was still dark, but only Gracie came in. Penny loved the snow and it was not unusual for her to stand at the door and play a game of tease with her ball. But she did not do that this morning, and as cold as it has been lately, she was always back in the house within a few minutes. Dan went out to investigate and found her lying in the yard with her ball beside her. She was only six years old, and she was perfectly healthy.
I am too overcome to write any more today and tell you how much this Big Red Dog meant to me. Gracie is lost and Dan, Kristen and I are heartbroken.