Goddess of the Week: Tara

Green Tara, Nepal, fourteenth century. Gilt co...Image via WikipediaMelissa wants a goddess for protection. I have the perfect one: the Tibetan Buddhist goddess Tara.

Tara has twenty-one character traits and each one is signified by a different color. But the two main ways that Tara manifests herself are as Green Tara and White Tara. Green Tara protects you from fear and all the things that cultivate fear (longing, pride, loss, all that stuff). White Tara protects you and your loved ones from illness so that you can all live a long life. So, really, Tara has got you totally covered protection-wise. She'll keep you healthy and she'll free you from all the fear-based baggage that keeps you from rolling with the guaranteed punches of life.

Here's a neat story about Tara. Millions of years ago in a different world or dimension, Tara was a woman named Yeshe Dawa. After living many lives, she had finally gotten really close to enlightenment. She was so close to enlightenment that these monks came up to her and said, "You are so close to enlightenment. You should pray that in your next life you're born male so that than you can finally reach enlightenment and become a buddha."

She was all, "Dude, buddhahood is not about gender. Enlightenment is not just for men, and it is no easier for men to achieve than for women. I will pray that I never be born a man. I will pray that I always be born a woman and that I achieve enligtenment as a woman so that I can help ALL women become enlightened." She did finally reach enlightenment--as a woman--and she became the many states of Tara. However, she didn't actually become a buddha. She could have, but she chose to wait outside the gates of Nirvana and send us compassionate vibes until all the ladies are as enlightened as her. Once we're ready, she'll totally join us at the Nirvana Bar for a mojito. But even before then, with Tara on our side, we can feel totally protected from within and without.

What do you say, Melissa? Is that what the doctor ordered?

Channel this goddess: When you are afraid, when you are ill, when interior or exterior forces paralyze you with fear and you need protection, when you face a glass ceiling.

Need a goddess: I got goddesses! Post a comment explaining what you need or want a goddess for. Check back in a week or two and see what you got. Submit to peer pressure. Everyone else is getting a goddess, why not you?
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Blogging: Fringe Benefits

Cover of "Traveling with Pomegranates: A ...Cover via Amazon
Just when I get all angsty and feel like blogging is a big time suck that keeps me from doing useful tasks, something happens to change my mind. This summer two things happened.

1. My blog friend Bec sent me the book Traveling with Pomegranates, by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor. Bec had read the book herself, and probably because this mother-daughter travel memoir involves discussions of Greece and reflections on the goddesses Demeter and Athena, she thought I would like it. So she just sent it to me. She has two young girls--one just a year old--yet she found time to track down my address, address an envelope, go down to the post office and send me the book. How cool is that? (More about the book later. I really liked it.) (P.S: Bec has a particularly cute post up right now: What's for Meat.)

2. My blog friend Deb and her fabulous daughter Carrie went out of their way to have lunch with me when they were driving through town the other day. We went to Pasadena's famous Pie 'n Burger. Surprise: we had pie and burgers, although not in that order. It was such a treat to meet two people I have admired from their blogs.

Here I am with Deb. She has great blog called Paper Turtle.

Here I am with gorgeous Carrie, who also has a blog: http://rosalindrevival.blogspot.com

Deb, being a master crafter, brought me this cute decoupaged M. It's different on both sides.
The children are partial to the slightly darker color side. I like them both. A collector of heart-shaped rocks, she also brought me this cute rock too.

So now I am all gushy sentimental happy. Sigh. My blogger friends be good to me. Sniff. Me is happy.
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Goddess of the Week: Bendis

Main floor, room 19, Athens & the Acropolis, 4...Image via WikipediaWendy needs an apartment-hunting goddess, and it needs to be a good one because she's looking in Manhattan, where postage-stamp apartments are snatched up in a heartbeat. I'm giving her the Thracian hunter goddess Bendis.

Bendis was originally from Thrace, which was in Southeast Europe, but like all goddesses worth her salt, she moved to the Big Apple to make her way in the world, and in Bendis's day, the Big Apple was Athens.

When Bendis went to Athens she couldn't find an apartment to save her life, and, being new in town, the gods on Mount Olympus wouldn't even return her calls. But Bendis didn't get discouraged. She let her unfailing fashion sense open doors for her. Wearing a fetching short skirt, a fur stole draped over one shoulder, knee-high boots and a hipster hat, Bendis was page five material in no time.

Soon, people were even having nighttime horse races to honor Bendis. Like modern relays, horse riders would pass a flaming torch (always a fun idea!) from one rider to the other until a horse and rider either passed the finish line or else everyone died tragically of third degree burns.

Secure in her celebrity among the people, she didn't have to look for an apartment anymore. Her worshippers made her a temple with a totally awesome view of the Parthenon, marble floors, a second bedroom, and even a garbage disposal (and those were really hard to find).

Bendis reminds us that when you are hunting for anything--from an apartment to the perfect macaroon (La Maison du Chocolat, Wendy), the key is to know your adversary and prepare accordingly. Do you have the right boots for the job? No? Then you need to get them. (How about these?) Don't take no for an answer. Meet obstacles with style and elan. People will be LUCKY to have you as a neighbor! You are charming, kind, witty, creative, and dependable. Don't forget it! You bring something to this equation. You bring you, and that's a big plus.

Channel this goddess: When apartment hunting, when hunting for your heart's desire, when updating your wardrobe, when looking for a good pair of boots or a hipster hat.

Need a goddess? I got goddesses! Post a comment explaining why you need or want a goddess. Then check back in a week or two and see what you got! It's fun, free, and easy! Go, go, go!
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Scout Report

Due to wild volatility in the market, investors are reminded that the safest place for your wealth may very well be soft doggy pillows, a literal steal if you are creative about what you define as a pillow. Holes in the ground are also a good bet, and I am willing to make one for you--just say the word, or not. How about I just make one and you use it when you're ready.

Investors are advised to remain wary of the Bear Market, and not because of recent decisions by S&P. Bears are just very unpredictable. Keep your distance.

Finally, while many investors continue to flock to gold, our research suggests that it is not very tasty. Kibble futures would be much more welcome.


Top Five Books for Bonding with your Thirteen-Year-Old Daughter

The great folks at the online literary journal Chamber Four asked me to submit a top five book list, ala High Fidelity. It's for a summer series they're running. So I submitted one entitled "Top Five Books for Bonding with Your Thirteen-Year-Old Daughter." I hope you'll check it out, and be sure to leave a comment! We like comments.


Goddess of the Week: Parvati

Shiva and Parvati as depicted in a paintingImage via WikipediaToday is my anniversary. Alas, my husband is 3,000 miles away on business, but I'm giving him a goddess because that's a present we can afford! I'm giving him Parvati, the Hindu goddess of marriage.

Parvati was created to be the consort of Shiva. Unfortunately, Shiva wasn't too into her, but Parvati was a determined goddess and did her best to win him over. She cooked for him. She did his laundry. She darned his socks. She cleaned his house and never made him vacuum or do the dishes. She even cleaned the rain gutters and learned basic plumbing so that he never needed to waste money on a plumber.

Alas, Shiva was still not interested because he had become a cave dwelling ascetic who renounced all pleasure and existed off, like, one grain of rice every six weeks. So, Parvati decided to cultivate a shared interest and became an ascetic herself. She moved into a cave. She dressed in black and read depressing novels and ate one grain of rice every three months.

Shiva remained unimpressed. Parvati decided she would woo him with her beauty. She went for a total physical transformation. She had the gods turn her skin gold, lost twenty pounds, and had a boob job.

Finally, Shiva noticed! He thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and married her.

Well, my dear Steve, here's to you! You may not have Parvati. I don't really clean much. I have no home maintenance skills. I'm a so-so cook. Let's face it, I'm a bit too selfish to cultivate shared interests. (Bob Dylan? I'm sorry. He sounds like he has a painful sinus infection.) And damn it all to hell, if I'm not losing twenty pounds for me, why would I lose them for anyone else?

BUT Too bad for you! You knew what you were getting when you signed up, and there's no backing out now. I have one goal in life: That's to die before you. I will do that if it kills me.

But enough about death, here's to our life together: I promise to love you and cherish you, to only go crazy when you can be sane, to never again sneak oatmeal into meatballs, laugh at your sun hat, or stick a loud clock up to year ear when you are sleeping. I promise to save you a piece of cheesecake and to, at least occasionally, maybe on holidays, let you choose what to watch on TV (except for local news; don't even try it).

Happy anniversary, my love, from your devoted (in a totally feminist and not self-denying sort of way) wife,


Need a goddess! A got goddesses! Post a comment explaining what you need or want a goddess for. Then check back in a week or two and see what you got. It's fun! It's free! Go! Now! Post!
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Pass the Book Winner!

Hello, Olga! You are the winner of the pass the book contest! Your name was chosen at random (I put names in a hat) so I will be sending you A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, a memoir/cookbook by the creator of the blog Organgette.

When I received the book from Deb, I was going to make banana bread, but then I remembered that the Finnegans really do not need more delicious carbs, so I can became Mean Mommy and made Cabbage Salad with Lemon and Black Pepper instead. Naturally, my unworthy dining companions were unimpressed and refused to be in the same room with it, but I'm beginning to see this as the real advantage of making food outside their comfort zone.

The fact that no one in my family would eat the cabbage salad should be your clue that is actually delicious. In fact, as Wizenberg herself notes, it's strangely addictive. And it is so simple to make! Wizenberg uses red cabbage, but Trader Joe's only had shredded green cabbage, so I used that. It probably isn't as pretty, but it was still yummy.

Here is my modified version:

2 T olive oil
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 clove pressed garlic
1/8 t salt
Shredded cabbage
Finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper

Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt in a small bowl. Whisk. Take as much cabbage as you think you need and then add dressing to your liking. Add the Parmigano-Reggiano and pepper to taste.

Hint: I had some extra dressing and put it on some leftover broccoli the next day and had a little broccoli salad. It, too, was delicious and very effective at scaring away teenagers! So bonus!

(Olga: email me your address at margaret@margaretfinnegan.com and I'll send you the book! Hooray for you!)