Something Stinks at Pig in the Park

As many of you are aware over the past two years I've been working to set up my business, Sosanna’s Closet.  Basically it’s where I sell clay sculptures, jewelry and more recently I've started carrying cloaks and dresses.  I've attended several Pagan-centric events, such as Pagan Pride Days Raleigh and several seasonal events at Truely Unique in Wilson with huge success.

Recently my hubby and I decided that we’d start branching out into other more mainstream festivals to get my art out there in the market.  One such even is called “Pig in the Park”.  (facebook page) Now I know what you’re thinking, Sosanna, this is a BBQ event, you’re a vegetarian, why would you go there? 
Well I’m trying to set outside my comfort zone.  I wanted to start making Pagans more visible in my community.  I wanted them to see that we’re just like everyone else.   

So I sent in my request to go to the event.  I was very excited.  I got the following reply from the Director of Tourism for the City of Goldsboro:

                                   What items do you offer for sale?

No greeting …

I replied:
 Hi (first name removed to protect her identity)
I sell handmade clay sculptures and wreaths as well as new age/metaphysical supplies.  Here is a link to my esty shop with some of the items I sell.  Saturday I will be at the Yule Bazaar in Wilson.
Today I got an email from the Development Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Wayne County that said the following:

I received a forward of your email to our tourism director. 

Just wanted to let you know that I do not think that you would be a good fit for our PIG IN THE PARK festival because of our venue and theme.  Last year, we had some new, unique vendors to the event and they were disappointed in their sales.  I’m afraid that you would be, too.

Have a good day,
Signature removed to protect identity

No greeting.  Had no one taught these people how to write a business email? 

No reference to why my shop isn't a good fit, just a statement that pretty much says one thing, YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE.

Now, being the type of person I am, Ms. Director had her signature on the email so I called her.  I asked her, “Why am I not a good fit for your festival.”  Keep in mind I’m looking at the page and seeing the list of Christian groups lined up to sing, and the reference that any “offensive” material is not permitted.

She stutters about and then says, “Well its pocket books, and people don’t do well that don’t sell pocketbooks and jewelry.”

 I said, “I sell jewelry.  I sell custom clay statues and figurines. “

 She said, well you know, regular stuff, jewelry and pocketbooks’.

 I said, “You mean Christian stuff.” 

She got all defensive and said, “now I didn't say that, you said that and I’m offended that you said that. I’m just trying to save you some money”

 I said, “I bet you are.”

She said “we’re non-denominational and we accept all colors and everything, if you want waste your money that’s fine, but people usually don’t make anything unless they sell pocketbooks or BBQ sauce.”
Someone came to my door and knocked and the dogs were barking like crazy, so I just said I’ll be writing a letter because I feel you've discriminated against me and hung up the phone.


I contacted the Travel and Tourism Dept of Wayne County which apparently only has one person working it and I only got a voice mail every time.  I also checked one the City of Goldsboro Page and didn't find anything to help me either.  (Facebook Page)

So I guess instead of investing money in my own city, I’ll need to continue to go to other more open minded festivals where I won’t be judged because of which gods or goddesses I follow.  I’ll have to continue to reach out to more open minded counties that welcome anyone to join their events and help stimulate their economy instead of doing that here in Goldsboro.

Thank you, Ms. Director thank you for reminding me ever so strongly why I spent so many years in the broom closet.

I would have posted the entire email here but I’m not really sure of the legality of publishing their email addresses on my blog, so I decided to leave that bit off.  I do want to say, that on the Pig in the Park vendor page it lists arts and crafts as being accepted and it doesn't say a damn thing about pocketbooks.

Namaste & Blessed Be!

Meatless Monday - Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes

One thing that I've missed so much since giving up heavily processed food is Au Gratin Potatoes.  I’ve never been a patient person and making the cheese sauce required for this type of dish and other dishes like Mac & Cheese were a struggle for me.  I’d always end up separating the sauce somehow.  It was so frustrating and after two or three tries I gave up.

I decided to give it one more try and it was sooooo worth it.   The amazing recipe is below.  Enjoy!

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

4-6 large russet potatoes, cut in ¼ inch slices
1 small onion finely diced
3 tbsp Butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups of milk
2 – 2 ½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese

The Potatoes
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Wash your potatoes
Butter a 1 – 1 ½ quart casserole dish

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Slice potatoes to about ¼ inch thick

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Layer the potatoes in the pan

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Finely dice the onion

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Alternate the potatoes with the diced onion

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Season with salt and pepper

The Sauce

Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium sauce pan

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Mix in the flour and salt and whisk for one minute

Stir in the milk and whisk

Cook and stir until the sauce has thickened

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Grate 2 - 2 1/2 cups of cheese
Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add the cheese and stir until the cheese is melted

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Pour over the potatoes and cover with foil

Bake for 1 ½ hours

Photo Credit - Renee Olson


Photo Credit - Renee Olson

This dish can easily be modified to include meats such as sausage or diced ham or perhaps adding a meat substitute.   Next time I’m going to try switching up the cheeses.  Maybe try a Gorgonzola mixture with sharp white cheddar.

Love to hear what you think of this one!

Namaste & Blessed Be

Wait! It’s just Weight.

So it’s the beginning of the new year and everyone is going crazy on their diets for the New Year.  Gym memberships soar, workout videos sell like hotcakes and by the end of February no one will be using any of them.  In 2007 Tara Parker-Pope wrote that 40% of those serviced ditched their resolutions because they were just too busy.

I was doing really well at my weight loss last year this time.   I was down to a size 10 and 8 was fast approaching.  I was working out every single morning and then my life had a sudden change.  Hubby ended up in the hospital with emergency surgery and my mother moved in.  Hubby got better and was back at work and I was here to take care of my mother.  She stayed with us from January – July.  In July I moved her into a nursing home, my sister freaked out and took her out of the home, then started telling everyone I was stealing her social security money.  I was devastated.  I stopped going to my grandma’s.  I stopped going everywhere.  

I stay in my house now, barely ever leaving.  I go outside to feed my chickens, or to clean up the dog’s yard, but that’s it.  Hubby has to force me to go into town and into stores. I have panic attacks when we leave the house.  Obviously since I stopped moving, I've begun to put on weight.  I still eat the same; I could however lower those portions a bit.  I’m back up to a size 16.  I like being a size 16, shape wise.  I believe that curvy “Goddess” built women are so sexy.  I can also say that hubby is very “Sir Mixalot”, if you get my meaning. 

So what’s going on?  Why am I talking about this again?  Yesterday a dear friend of mine shared a blog post from Dianne Sylvan, called Ten Rules for Fat Girls.  As I was reading, my chubby little heart was filled with joy.  Finally someone who got it. Finally someone was speaking up for the fat girls.  I quickly shared the post and liked her page.  Then I went back to start looking at her other entries.  I was just as quickly disheartened as I saw that Dianna was an author who’s picture I had to dig for on her webpage.  Her page is decorated with “beautiful” skinny girls.  So no matter how much she was telling me to be proud of whom I was in her rules, here she was contributing to the sizeism in popular media by not using her position to elevate fat acceptance.  I’m not saying she can’t have a skinny girl as her main character, there are many reasons for having that character but I was a bit puzzled and felt as though it were a mixed message. For more info on this I recommend checking out "Killing Us Softly" by Jean Kilbourne. Ed.D. 

I spend enough of my life feeling not good enough.  There’s a lot in the media already that tells me I’m not tall enough, or thin enough.  I’m not the right skin toned or have the right hair color and with their product I can be right.  I literally sit sometimes and just cry.

My friend then shared this video.

I want to be able to embrace who I am.  I want to be able to love me for me, and not for the size of my jeans.  I don’t want to feel bad when I look in the mirror or embarrassed when I see someone who saw me in my “skinny jeans”.  I look at those pictures and feel like such a failure now.  I’m still healthy.  I’m not hurting.  I’m not eating crap.  But for some reason I just can’t put that bad down.  Even when I read stories on NPR about how the BMI is junk science, I still hold myself accountable and expect myself to measure up to those guides.

It is self-defeating and abusive.  If someone sent me an energy request on my blog for guidance in a situation where I was their partner and I was treating them how I treated me….   Well I’d tell them that their partner was abusive and they should seek out counseling or leave the relationship.  Yet, I allow myself to pick up that bat and beat the shit out of myself daily.

It may take me a while.  I’m a work in progress.  Next Month I’ll be 44 years old.  I’m on a new goal.  A new resolution.  By age 45, I want to be able to say, I love me.  I love who I am, what I stand for and most importantly how I look.

After all, you know what they say about fat-bottomed girls.

Namaste and Blessed Be!

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - B is for Black Magic

Black Magic is defined as using supernatural powers for the exercise of evil, to attack white magic or draw power from purely evil sources.

Synonyms: witchcraft, sorcery, magic and necromancy

As a child I remember as early as six or seven that you could indeed be a Good Witch or a Bad Witch. By the definition, even "White Witches" or "Fluffy Bunnies" are still practicing black magic.

I used to be one of those “rainbows and unicorns” (also known as fluffy bunnies) witch myself.  I believed that no matter what I should never send out anything negative or harmful to others.  I thought that I wasn't able to defend or protect myself because it would return that energy back to me times three.

This is a video I found on Youtube about fluffy bunnies or fluffy bunny witches.

Over the last few years I've had a changing view of the magical world.  I've learned that if I cast a spell to help one person get a job, I’m also casting a spell that makes another not get the job.  The universe isn't as black and white as some like to think it is.

I believe that all energy out in the universe is in balance.  Light cannot exist without dark.  If you have never been in pain, you won’t appreciate feeling good.  I think that it is important to also note that some types of things are considered black, dark or evil simply because they are not understood fully. 

Many Goddesses such as Kali, Morrighan, Cerridwen and Hecate are considered “Dark Goddesses”.  To me these Goddesses portray a strength and perseverance that is unmatched by other deities.  From being a supreme war goddess to the holder of the keys to the underworld a Dark Goddess is indeed a strong one.

I light my candles and say my chants to the Goddess Hecate.  I ask for her wisdom to guide me through my life.  I take pride in the fact that even before she called me I was already living as many of her devotees lived.  As I embraced her I've been able to strengthen many of the gifts that I felt were always there for me.

I've started calling that dark energy in to assist with issues in the lives of others.  I've seen my art grow leaps and bounds since my dedication to her.

So to me, I don’t believe there is an underlying “evil” nature to Dark Magic.  It is when done correctly even so called Black Magic has its place.  On the next dark moon, pull out your candles and embrace the darker side of life.

Namaste & Blessed Be

Meatless Monday - Eggplant Parmesan

I know you’re afraid, it’s OK.  As a sworn meat eater when hubby and I met I was barely eating lettuce on a sandwich let alone trying anything as fully a “weird” vegetable as Eggplant.  In fact until we met, I had never even tasted it.  So first let’s get acquainted with it.

Eggplant is in the nightshade family.  It’s related to the tomato and the potato.  It has a meaty texture and most often has a purple skin.  This texture makes it a well suited substitute for meat.  It is actually classified as a berry and it does indeed contain seeds. 

Now on to the recipe: (serves 2)

Photo Credit - Renee Olson
1/3 Eggplant sliced
1 Can Tomato Paste
1 Tbsps. Basil (total)
1 Tbsps .  Oregano (total)
1 Tbsps  Garlic Salt (total)
1/3 package dried pasta
2 cups of flour
Egg or milk
Parmesan Cheese
White Cheddar Cheese (optional)

I’m going to outline 3 parts.  The eggplant, the pasta and the sauce separately.


Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Wash and peel one medium sized Eggplant (1/3 usually feeds 2)
Slice about ½ an inch thick

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add about 1 ½ cups of oil in a medium frying pan and put on medium high heat
Take 2 cups of flour and add the oregano, the garlic salt and the basil and mix

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Dredge the eggplant in either milk/egg mixture and then into the flour (for extra thick coating repeat)

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Place the eggplant slices in the hot oil 

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Fry until golden brown

Remove and place on a paper towel to drain

When I’m almost done with the eggplant slices I start the sauce.
In a small sauce pan empty the content of the organic tomato paste (small)

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add ½ teaspoon of oregano
Add ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
Add ½ teaspoon of basil

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add 2 of the tomato paste cans of water
Using a whisk stir the mixture adding more water to obtain the consistency required
Salt & Pepper to taste


Photo Credit - Renee Olson

About 3 minutes before the final eggplant piece is done I add enough pasta for two to at least a quart of boiling water.  Pasta should be served al dente, or should have a little bite to it when tasted. If you over cook the pasta it will be mushy.

Drain the pasta and add it to a plate
Cut a thin slice of the white cheddar from the block of cheese

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Place it on top of the pasta
Place the fried eggplant slices over the top of the cheese

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Spoon the sauce over top of the eggplant

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Sprinkle top with grated Parmesan

Serve immediately as the eggplant will soften quickly

If you want to skip the pasta completely, you can dip the eggplant directly into the sauce and eat.

Namaste & Blessed Be

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - B is for Bell

Bell - [bel]  (source)
1. A hollow instrument of cast metal, typically cup-shaped with a flaring mouth, suspended from the vertex and rung by the strokes of a clapper, hammer, or the like.
2. The stroke or sound of such an instrument: We rose at the bell.
3. Anything in the form of a bell.
4. The large end of a funnel, or the end of a pipe, tube, or any musical wind instrument, when its edge is turned out and enlarged.
5. Architecture - the underlying part of a foliated capital.

Bells are used in many religions around the world.  From Christianity to Wicca and many in between the religious use of bells is extremely common.

A singing bowl is a type of bell that can be used in rituals and meditations.

It is said to be a feminine symbol and is commonly used to invoke the Goddess in rituals.  It can be used to single the four quarters and to call the watch towers or the elements.  Some groups use it as a way to start a banishing ritual to remove negativity from the area.  The sound of the ringing bell is thought to ward off the evil/negative in an area.

Personally I have bells all around my house.  
Photo Credit - Renee Olson

My door knobs have bells and my office has wind chimes thought out.  

I have bells outside my windows and when I’m on conference calls my co-workers ask, where are you, it sounds lovely there?

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Hubby and I even have a bell on our motorcycle.  Bikers believe that “gremlin bells” protect the biker from harm, the sound of the bell wards off negativity and protects the rider from accidents.

In my rites to Hecate one of the best chants I've heard uses bells within it. It is really amazing.

And of course...  in the religion we call LOVE

Namaste & Blessed Be

Meatless Monday - Making Bread

Today we have a lot of reasons not to make our own bread.  Time is usually the main reason people give for not making their own bread. 
I tried to jot down a few of the ingredients in a loaf of whole wheat bread at the store:

Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Wheat Gluten, High Frustose Corn Syrup, Honey, Molasses, Yeast, Calcium Sulfate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Ethoxylated Mono and Diglycerides, Calcium Dioxide,…
woah woah too much stuff.

As we know if a product has things in it that I can’t pronounce usually I don’t eat it.  Eli and I have been spending about 4.00 a loaf on organic artisan bread from the local market.  I decided to try to make my own.  This is what I came up with.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

6 cups of flour
3 cups of lukewarm water
1 ½ tbsp. of coarse salt
1 ½ tbsp. of granulated yeast
2 tbsp. of finely chopped rosemary (optional)
2 tbsp. of corn meal (cover the cooking pan with)

In an extra large bowl combine all the dry ingredients EXCEPT the corn meal.  The corn meal is used to coat the baking pan so that the bread doesn't stick.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Using a sharp knife carefully chop the rosemary.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add the chopped Rosemary to the dry ingredients

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add water, I started with 2 ½ and added more as I tested the way the dry ingredients took the water. 

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Stir together until combined (No dry flour is seen)

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Cover with plastic wrap for 2 – 5 hours (I let mine sit for 2.5 hours with waxed paper over it, this worked fine) The mixture should double in size

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Divide the dough in thirds and using more flour in your hands create bread balls (I was able to get four out of my batch)

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Place on the corn meal coated baking sheet and let rest for 30 minutes

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Use a sharp knife to cut a X pattern in the top of the loaf
Bake in preheated 450 degree oven for 30-35 minutes

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Cool on a baking rack

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Slice and serve

This bread could be used in the place of the store bought brand in my Grilled Cheese recipe found here, or toasted up with a nice five bean soup.

Namaste & Blessed Be

Re-use Score!

Last night hubby and I went to the store to look for some cloak clasps for the shop.  We walked in the store through the garden center and I saw these cute little trees from Christmas.  They had artificial flowers in them and other decorations.  They were in a metal pot and were on clearance.

I picked one up and carried it in the store to check the price.  I scanned it and it said “.02”.  Yes, two cents.  So after we finished our shopping I went back to the garden center and found five of the little trees.  They’re probably about 8-12 inches tall.  I grabbed them all and went to check out.

The cashier rang them up for indeed two cents apiece. 

This morning I went outside and planted the little guys.  I’m not sure if they’ll live or not but check out what I got for a total of ten cents.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

And here's what it breaks down to:

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Five tree, five metal containers, five plastic planting containers, red cellophane for packing or wrapping gifts and lots of decor I can use for wreaths!

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Major Score!

I hope they live.

Namaste and Blessed Be

Pagan Blog Project 2013 - A is for Ankh

The Ankh is also known as the key of life or crux ansata, Latin for “cross with a handle”.  It is the hieroglyphic character for life in Egyptian.  The Egyptian gods are shown in drawings holding the ankh by its loop.  The ankh is one of the most widely used symbols from ancient Egypt.  From games like Crash Bandicoot to World of Warcraft the ankh has made its way deep into modern culture.

Some wear ankhs as a fashion statement and then we have others that believe wearing this image may mean death and damnation for the Christian, as it would be considered idolatry.  Anubis, the god of death and mummification was often depicted holding an ankh and it was often used as part of funeral ceremonies.
I found this really good video on YouTube about the “secret of the Ankh”.

Recently I had a request to create a statue for the Egyptian God Anubis.  While working with them I decided to add a few ankhs to my collections as well.

Here is the large ankh.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

I added the Eye of Horus, a symbol for the Sirius, a symbol for the Sphinx and water.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

The medium ankh has the symbol for the sphinx in the center.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson
The small ankh has the symbols for fire, air, water and Hathor.

The ankh is an amazing symbol and if you look at the ancient hieroglyphs you can see that the ancient Egyptians saw it as indeed the key to eternal life.

Namaste and Blessed Be

Liebster Award

As many of you know I participate in quite a few blog projects, giveaways and general marketing of bloggers, crafty types and the like.  I really enjoy getting to read up and coming bloggers and seeing what new things are out there.  I like to think that my blog offers others out there information and even a laugh or two.

I love to see other prospective and try to learn from others.  I get a few comments on my own blog from time to time and honestly I don't reply as often as I should.  Earlier this week I got a message on my Sosanna's Closet Facebook Page letting me know that one of my blog followers had selected my blog as one of her featured five for the Liebster Award.

Sabrina's Witchy Wonderland selected my blog, along with four others to bestow this award to.  Now I need to pass this on to five other bloggers with less than 250 followers and offer eleven facts about myself.

The idea here is to drive traffic via "word of mouth" to get other bloggers names out there.  Happy to take part in such an undertaking I'm really thrilled to participate.

So first here is my list

BoldlyGo - Blog about Trans* issues, disability and life.  The author rights with passion and vigor.

Good Green Witch - Blog about the state of our environment, from vegan-ism to deforestation.

The Cauldron - A Witch's Journey - From recipes, photography to spells, Stevie deliver's a delightful look at paganism and life.

I'm Not Hannah - Blog about life as a Pagan Mother, and the trial and tribulations associated with it.

Cordelia's Cauldron - Blog about being a Pagan Mom and Nana, I really like reading over this blog.

Now, I'm supposed to list eleven things about me you may not know.  I'm so very open here I'm not sure there are anythings about me you don't know. But here we go.

1. I'm a Counselor over at Pagan-Place.  I work the early morning at 6:00 am.
2. I now have a section on Kallan's Sunday Stew called "Sparkle and Shine".
3. I hate guns, but I support your right to have one.
4. I HATE biting into a raw onion.
5. I love love love Canyon Storm - by Gwain Nighthawk and Blake Octavian Blair
6. I have panic attacks.
7. I work 3 jobs.
8. My favorite color is purple.
9. I'm a Pisces.
10. I love Latin music.
11. I'm extremely shy.

Well there ya go.  There's my list.  I'll link over to the blogs above to let them know they've been selected.  If you get a chance to check them out I really recommend it.  Now I'll leave you with two of my favorite videos.

Ricky Martin - The Best Thing About Me Is You

Gwain Nighthawk - Flute Improv

Namaste & Blessed Be

Meatless Monday - Rice and Eggs

This meatless Monday post is a really simple dish.  It can be adjusted to fit any taste spectrum.   Let’s start with the rice.  There are all types of rice out there.  From Jasmine to Brown the grain comes in all shapes and sizes.  Recently there has been a rise in the concern around the amount of arsenic in rice

I love Jasmine rice.  It has a wonderful flavor and is often called Thai fragrant rice.  It is a long grain rice and works really well in this recipe.  Basmati is another wonderful rice to use in this dish.    Everyone has their own way of cooking the perfect rice.  Remember different types of rice will have different water needs so be sure to check the package before moving forward.  For this recipe I’ll use Jasmine rice.

On to the recipe!

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Rice of your choice
Two eggs

Jasmine Rice Instructions
Add 1 ½ cup of water to a medium sauce pan
Add ½ teaspoon salt
Add ½ tbsp. of butter
Bring to a boil
Add 1 cup of Jasmine Rice
Immediately cover the rice and turn heat to low
Set timer for 20 minutes

Perfect rice every time!
Photo Credit - Renee Olson

On to the eggs!

If you have the chance to get fresh eggs, I recommend it.  Fresh eggs are so much better than commercial eggs.  I have the luxury of having three hens in our backyard coop.  I get about 3 eggs a day so I have fresh eggs available all the time.  You don’t need a rooster unless you want to have baby chicks.  I supplement their pellet diet with our household scraps.  I feed them fruits, veggies and even oregano which is said to be better than the antibiotic slurry that some commercial egg producers use.   Also the color of the eggs is determined by the breed of the chicken you have.  The color of the egg, in my opinion does not change the flavor.

Egg Instructions
Next heat a small frying pan and add a ½ teaspoon of butter
Crack one egg in the pan and fry over easy

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Salt and pepper to taste.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add a small bit of butter to the bottom of the bowl and combine with the eggs.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

The yolk from the egg makes a gravy like consistency and it really a great way to start, or even end a Meatless Monday.

Note:  This is not a traditional vegetarian dish as some see animal products like butter and eggs as being “meat” and therefore not vegetarian.  This dish is not Vegan.

Namaste and Blessed Be