Talking to myself and feeling old…sometimes I’d like to quit, nothing ever seems to fit…

I’ll give you three guesses what song I am humming…and feeling even older because I had to enter the groups name in Google to get their song lyrics instead of Eminem’s because I could only remember the first few lines not the phrase that is the title. Sheesh and am waiting for Pandora to actually play the song I named my playlist, I started that playlist because of the book I read for my morning inspiration.

All that and  I forgot to say, “Good morning, Happy first day of Spring!” Winter tried to hang on with the last few days of cold wettish weather, but today’s sunny skies say it is in fact Spring!

It will be interesting to see what spills out into cyberspace this morning as this is an exercise of writing to my timer.  Yup, I need to get a bit more discipline going in my life again.  So once again setting a timer and just writing; and since my blogs of late have all been recipes or other AZRF related topics I thought I would just do a general blog for my 30 minutes.

The book I read this morning that put me in a Carpenter’s mood, although the term “read” is inadequate for the medium I admired and absorbed, is Peter Sis’ “Conference of the Birds” and the book itself is an inspiring retelling of a favorite 13th century poem with fabric feel pages and intricate details in the art.

It was not the book itself that started my humming, I remembered the first time I read the poem, still too small to really understand the spiritual subtext, I obsessed about how the Penguins were left out of the adventure. The poem tells of a conference of all the birds and then how they fly to find their God in a high mountain to end the worlds troubles, the journey is long and they face the obstacles anyone on a spiritual quest must face and only thirty succeed in entering the mountain. At the end, they are, of course, their own answer and the god they sought is in them. I missed all the important personal growth connotations when I read the poem in grade school, and instead obsessed about the Penguins.

Penguins can’t fly, I was indignant that they got left behind not because they were afraid or wrapped up in their own agenda but because they just can’t fly. This bothered me enough to do rewrites and invent various solutions from magical increase in penguin wings to swans who carried the willing penguins in hammocks between two of them holding ends in their beaks. I did rewrites and drew art that flummoxed my elementary teachers.

“What are you drawing Miss de Biasi?”

“Two swans carrying a penguin to the mountains of God.”


“Because penguins can’t fly.’

After a couple of weeks they sent me to see the school counselor who asked me to draw something else, which I did, but that is another story.

So anyway, while reading Sis’ version I remembered the dilemna of my youth and how being a bit of a “penguin” among flight birds I never seemed to fit, and then that song popped into my head, and I turned on my Pandora station and turned on my timer, then just had to know the rest of the lyrics and well that leads up back to now and only five more minutes on my timer, and me having given up on the Pandora station and switched to Carpenters on my I-tunes, which being old I can work better than Pandora as I have been I-podding for five years and Pandora-ing only one.

As to the Carpenters. I believe their music and that of Carol King’s are the epitome of early seventies pop. The flavors of Jazz, Nashville, and Rock are all kind of blended up with just the right amount of sweetness and pain. If they were a 21st century food they would be a blended coffee drink, the hot, bitter shot of reality so well swathed in smooth sounds and sweet phraseology by perfect voices that it slips down easy and dessert like. If, by some chance, you are to young to have ever listened to their early albums and are in a Colbie Caillat or Jack Johnson mood try out “Tapestry” by Carol King or the 1971 self titled Carpenters or my favorite the 1972 Carpenters album “A Song for You”.

As to Sis’ take on the ancient “A Confederate of Birds”, this is a perfect gift book equal to Gibran’s “The Prophet” or   Silverstein’s “Giving Tree” for simplicity hiding the deepest truths and all packaged in a visually appealing and tactile pleasing package.

And my timer has gone off and so I must get on with my day that is neither Monday or Rainy, but I still think I might just play that one again…..




Lentil Pate

Around 1530  the English gardener and English palette were introduced to vanilla beans, fava beans, cocoa, sweet potatoes and haricort via Spain and Hernando Cortes. Around 1545 potatoes and tomatoes were being cultivated, also brought from the New World. Lentils however were there from the Bronze age.

The following is my, Sally Frye, good cook of the Lord Mayor Abercrombie of Fairhaven’s blending of these lentils to make a Lenten Loaf or pate.

Pick any foriegn matter from 1 cup dried lentils and cover with 2 cups water. Discard anything that floats as well. Now chop and add 1-2 sprigs fresh Thyme, 3 T chopped fresh parsley (for all this recipe’s chopping the modern cook may find Pampered Chef’s #2585 Food Chopper indespensible, no I don’t sell or work for them, just love it!) and one large Bay Leak broken. Bring to boil and then lower burner temp to simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are soft and water absorbed.

Chop 2-3 carrots fine.

Saute 1 medium onion chopped and 3-4 garlic cloves pressed (yup, here again I use a Pampered Chef garlic press because they rock!) in 1 -2 tsp olive oil. As onion become transparent add chopped carrots and stir until carrots brighten in color. Add all this to lentil mixture with 3 T of water if needed to prevent burning and simmer another 10 minutes.

Dissolve 2 T arrowroot in 1 T water.

Puree mixture in food processor or blender (or if your pre-electricity like Sally mash a really, really, really long time with pastry blender) and return to pan.  Add arrowroot mixture and 2 T chopped parsley and stir until thick.

It to be used as dip or pate place in serving dish and cool. If to be served as meat substitute oil loaf lightly with olive oil and mold into pan, cover with foil or oven safe lid and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

May you and your family enjoy this healthy and tasty alternative protein.

Finding the Shakespearean Sonnet Version of the Arizona Rennaissance Faire

One week-end left, this is a perfect itenerary for the hot Saturday we are expecting, and be aware that all of my itineraries are youth friendly, although “Taking Indiana Jones to the AZRF” itinerary is surely better without toddlers or small children.

Although I enjoy the comedies of Master Will, and cherish his tragedies, my favorite writings are his sonnets with their hidden treasures of love, laughter and musicality, but finding a winning performance of even one of them is challenging. The following itenerary will allow the novice and veteran AZRF attendee alike, to find and enjoy the hidden treasures of the Arizona Renaissance Faire, which like the sonnets have rare beauty but are often overlooked in the raucous mass of material available.

Again the best day at faire begins the day before with discount tickets purchased from Fry’s Food Store’s customer service desk, pre-hydration (drink some water at dinner and before bed and if you wake during the night to pee from all that water) and a good nights sleep. May I also recommend sunblock, hats and/or a parasol. Parasols not only help you blend in with the local color they provide movable shade and are available at Cost Plus World Market or AZRF vendors, the on-site ones cost more but become an annually useful souvenire.

Travel east on Interstate 60 past Gold Canyon to arrive early at the Faire grounds, say “9”ish. This not only improves the proximity of parking but means you can start taking photos with gorgeously costumed patrons and be front and center for royalty’s arrival and the front gate show.

When the canon sounds (and DO plug your ears, its a real canon and REAL loud)  head into the gate and bear to your right where lovely lads and lassies will willingly sell you tasty beverages, I recommend an iced Dirty Chai or if sweetly delicious is your thing there is this Princess caramel thing…ask your servers advice and tell them what you like and I promise you won’t be disappointed! Next door add a pastry (I personally am addicted to the canoles, being Italian and all, but I have yet to hear any complaints about anything bought there).

Take this continental breakfast and head on into the fray; to your left  just past the Royal Pavilion seat yourself up front at the Fairhaven Theater for Don Juan and Miguel’s  “Renaissance Man” at 10:15 AM, although the act itself is hardly a well kept secret, this show often is.  Drink your coffee with caution for the show is an intelligent (at times) laugh fest that one can enjoy alone or with the whole family, and coffee through the nose is painful.

After the show head  back towards the entrance and the little stage tucked in beside the lovely booth from which you first purchased coffee (The Cappuccino Inn). You will know you are close when you hear the fae-like fiddling of Neidfyre, or perhaps if one is not distracted by all the shiny shops, she will only be beginning and you will be able to draw close enough to watch her bow fly(her show starts at 11:00).

After Neidfyre, stay at Monk’s Park stage. At 11:30 Melangell (pronounced Melanith)  will take you back to the time of druids, sidhe and selkie  in Gaelic song and story  (in fact rumors are that the woman bard be one of these herself!). In sooth, many years ago, when I first heard her perform for the Queen before she even had her own stage, I was moved to tears at the quality of her singing voice, and her stories remain favorites of mine to this day.

Next head to the left,  seated on the green grassy oasis between the stage and Turkey Legs is a woman dressed in off- white surrounded by pigments and possibly children. She is the AZRF’s own Painted Lady and one can indulge their inner child and outer artist by requesting a story and illustrating her garment. Early painters have the cleanest canvas but there is no bad time to listen to her artful telling of imaginative stories.

After your inner painter has had their say, and the story has wound to its conclusion, head back into the lanes keeping the tantalizing food to your left. Part of your assignment today (if you choose to accept it), is to attend to the musicians tucked in all the green and grassy bits, there are extraordinary ones all about the grounds. One such Lady of lyrical light is to be found as you leave the story lady. After gifting your ears (and maybe your loved one by taking a musician or two home on a CD) head past the rest of the kitchen’s, the knife and the axe toss and take a break at the lovely non-period restrooms (usable flushies!)

Moisturizing wax (yes, I do have some and I do like it) will beckon as you continue back towards the Rialto stage, as will multiple other sights and smells. Enjoy the journey and take your time, although I do recommend buying some real hydration at this point if you haven’t yet. (I like Arnold Palmers, myself, a nice off-menu blend of brewed tea and lemonade available at any Pop Shop.) Destination is the 1:15 show of the Clan Tynker Family Circus.  None of these siblings had to run away to join a circus, instead they became one, the  acrobatic antics of these actual siblings could as comfortably fill a Big Top Arena as a Renaissance Faire Stage, and humorous moments included, they are poetry in motion.

After Clan Tynker it’s time for a bit of Dungeon’s and Dragon’s, so first to the  Dungeon. Heading back towards the beginning of the faire, passing and browsing the shops, you will notice the Dungeon Tour. All art requires its quotient of pain and sacrifice and this artful and kitschy attraction will require a dollar per person sacrifice and colorfully highlights many of the painful reasons I prefer visiting the century, not living in it.

Pick up a cold drink at the Crown Pub and continue for further instruction in how well we have it with our Super Targets  and modern fashion as you continue around the corner and visit the Croft and Local Yokel’s Village. The King and Queen and their courts are visiting Fairhaven this festival day, so the local peasants are working extra hard at spinning, baking and blacksmithing but love to pause and answer your questions.

There, by Local Yokels, in the lovely shade of the green, look for Lady Tess who at 2:30 will explain the lengths and layers we ladies and lords go to to be Renaissance fashion plates.  Now on to the Dragons I promised, continue around the curve to the Storybook Castle, again this walk through will require a mere dollar entrance fee but I promise the charm and creativity of its dioramas are worth much more, and there is a quite fierce dragon!

It is now the hottest part of the day so I am leading you to the coolest spot (and cleanest restrooms) on the site. Travel past the Farm and petting zoo, feel free to wander in a bit if petting wee sheep appeals, and then keeping in line with the shops head into the historically accurate narrow market path heading to the Mud Stage. If you are hot and hungry, on your left will be incredibly delicious Italian Gelato,  sandwiched in between the shops of enticing clothing, pottery and jewelry.  Arrive in time for the 3:45 Theatre in the Ground by the Wyld Men, a show reminiscent of Monty Python style humor where all parts are played by the core cast and improv is the result of a well known script. Not only is this show funny, but as I said earlier, this is the coolest temperature wise in the whole place and the adjacent restrooms are always clean and well stocked flushies with rarely a line.

After the show, grab a bottle of water or large iced drink at Lancer’s Pub and head on through the lane past musical instruments on your right and pirate booty on the left  (still narrow but not the way you came). Browse and fondle the shiny things, maybe even purchase a bobble or two, till you find on your right the entrance to the Falconer’s Heath. Nature is the purest poetry so this sonnet day will end with the 5:00 Bird’s of Prey Show. Arrive early to sit in the shade, (a burning reason to do the afternoon Heath shows) then relax and prepare to be entertained and amazed.

Now its off to the cars, and if ye have the dubloons remaining, can I recommend making the incredible sonnet like day complete with a cabriolet ride to your car. If you pass one without passenger, just speak to the drivers and negotiate a treat for your feet as you leave.

In conclusion, whether you use my itenerary or design your own all of the AZRF acts mentioned and not mentioned are as worthy of your time and tips, this is just an attempt to give direction to those overwhelmed by the options. Tomorrow is the AZRF Itinerary for your inner Indiana Jones.

How to have the most perfect day of comedic entertainment at the 2012Arizona Renaissance Faire

Only four more glorious week-ends are available to experience the pageantry and revels that are the Arizona Renaissance Festival and it truly takes at a minimum of two full faire days to just see the best. What follows is my suggestions to the inexperienced or overwhelmed newbie who wants to make the most of the humorous entertainment opportunities. Tomorrow I will offer my day 2 itinerary for the more musicale and classic minded, but in creating a “do”-able guide, also know I am forced to mention only a fraction of the faire’s tres amusant performers and many shows that I know and love.

To begin, the evening before your adventure, pop by a Fry’s grocery customer service desk and pick up discount tickets (and new sun block). This little maneuver will save you 2$ per person over purchasing at the box office as well as possible time in line once there (and day after sunburn). Tickets can also be purchased and printed from the website ( at a $1 per person savings. Drink lots of water to pre-hydrate and get a good nights sleep.

A perfect Renaissance day  starts early,  leave your home to arrive in Gold Canyon about 8:30 AM. Your first stop is the Gecko Espresso Cafe ( for a hot dirty chai or another form of delicious caffiene.  Just past Apache Junction on the Interstate 60, turn North at Superstition Mountain Drive; The Gecko is located in the same parking lot as Basha’s. Once AM energy is properly bolstered, head another few miles east on Route 60, arriving at the Renaissance Faire Grounds between 9 and 9:15 A.M.

There are many advantages to arriving early; the most prominent are advantageous parking and not sitting too long in traffic.  Arriving early also lets you sample some of the flavor of the faire during the formal pre-show and the less formal but equally enjoyable massing of costumed patrons. Grab a Program/Schedule of Events  and peruse the plethora of pleasing performance available inside while snapping a few photos of the morning rabble.

The canon goes off at 10 am, plug your ears as soon as you hear “Prepare for canon fire!”, because it is a real canon being fired and therefore makes a real bang! Have your ticket ready and bag open for inspection as you make your way through the gate and into FairHaven. Bear to your left as you enter the gate and say hello to the Motley Fools singing historically funny songs.

Continue to keep the buildings to your left, meander past the food, past the axe toss (here will be your first flushing toilet facilities inside the gate),  the Maze and Pirate’s Pub.  Feel free to briefly browse the dozens of bright and shiny shops and baubles that twinkle and sparkle and beg your attention. A tiny notebook and pencil noting shop name, item and price can help you persevere in actually finding the places you want to return to later on in the day. May I recommend a a hot bag of candied nuts  to nibble while ambling.

Don’t spend too much time shopping, because your goal is the Dancing Pig Pub by 10:50.  A Pop Shop and Pub are both conveniently available to purchase a beverage and still be seated by 11 AM.  Grab a good seat (I recommend the first two rows on the right, but all seats actually are good seats) and prepare to be enthralled by the Jamila Lotus Belly Dance Carnivale.  The seamless blending of ancient dance styles and artsy modern choreography complement the talented musicians and showcase both the dancers’ skills and personalities.  I promise you at least one good giggle and a definite “oooooooh!” and “aaaaah!” before they take a bow.

This show alone is worth the admission price, but your day of entertainment has only just begun. Following Jamila Lotus, head on into the Tournament Arena and enjoy the verbal sparring of the feminine royals followed by antics and tricks of talented horses and their skilled riders weilding large pointy sticks.  After more than a decade of attending, I still find the Queen’s Joust to be the coolest of the day, for many reasons including the weather.

More water, or perhaps an Arnold Palmer will be well placed now as you head back up the way you came. Stop in Twig’s Shop and say hello to Zinnia, the Mermaid and if you are really lucky maybe even Twig, and take pictures with the most magical friends any adult can make. Now continue back the way you came to just past the Pirates Pub; at the Boat Stage cross over  the road and continue to walk towards the front while gandering at a whole new selection of shops (including Lady Chamberlain’s Book Shop, the only place besides Tempe’s Changing Hand’s Book store I ever buy the printed page; her shop is well stocked with period patterns for clothing, books on HT for armaments, period cooking, etc. as well as lovely bits of fiction.)

Next show on the docket is “London Broil” at the FairHaven Theatre starting at 1:45 p.m, so there is plenty of  time to shoot a few pictures with the walking history on the streets; or to stop by the Painted Lady on the Green and add a picture to her dress and catch one of her wondrous stories; or (a personal favorite) visit the greyhounds. If you get to FairHaven really early your bonus is  catching shade as well as some of  “Barely Balanced”, a relatively new awesome addition to AZRF’s lineup.

Time for another drink, and I mean water or something equally hydrating although Tudor Rose Pub can provide both hydration and inebriation from their beverages.

Now take your laughter sore sides out around the corner, again bearing to your left and locate the Middleshire Stage where you won’t want to miss “Hey Nunny Nunny” at 2:45. (Just past their stage and still on the left is a great place to grab lunch before you head over and sit down. My meat eating friends recommend the Chicken and mashed potaotoes; I love the potatoes.)

Pull out your maps while your waiting for the sisters to start and locate the StoryBook Castle by the Merriment Stage.  It is your next destination and here is your “map warning”, if you  drew a line from Middleshire Stage to the StoryBook Castle, the proportions of everything to the right of the line is heavily distorted, so just get the general direction in mind. When Philomena starts her stuff,  put the map away and prepare to laugh, chuckle, and generally guffaw at the silliest sisters evar (no past Catholicism required to get the jokes)!

Spiritual counseling session over, head to the Storybook Castle, you can cut through the middle or go around past the Mud stage, either of them work but Mudd Stage is much longer. There is a small entrance fee to enter but to any one who has ever loved a fairy tale, or like me has an affection for “old-school ” roadside attractions the StoryBook Castle is a magic all its own. My favorite this year is Daphne, I look forward to hearing what was yours.

You have now seen at least four full shows for your 20$(and maybe parts of others), paid a pittance for one attraction and are about to discover the “historical” instead of “hysterical” side of Fairhaven. As you exit the StoryBook Castle turn to your right and follow the road around the corner past the Greentree Weavers (amazing wares!) to the Local Yokel Village and the Croft, both are worth a browse as they present how the working folk of this time lived. (Anyone with a bent for textiles will enjoy a  Stick Weaving Set or a Drop Spindle that can be purchased in the Croft for a very reasonable amount). Now a bit further on the left (and across the street from some truly delicious crepes that even a vegetarian can enjoy) is the Palace Theatre where at 4:15 “Don Juan and Miguel”  will present their “Weird Show,” where anything can happen and often does. In their 24th year, I believe these two whipper-snappers are truly a “MUST SEE”.

Ahhhhh. Now the day is almost done and its time to review your shopping notes and pick up some souvenirs of this most hilarious and entertaining day in the 16th century. I hope you enjoyed your trip back in time and will return again soon because this was, as they say, only the tip of the iceberg.

If this were Shakespeare this would be his “Much Ado About Nothing”, stay tuned for my next post, an alternate itinerary I would liken to the “sonnet” day at AZRF.



Stay tuned for my version and Sally’s of a perfect day in Fairhaven

My sister is visiting this week so I have had minimal internet time on my days off of work but as there are only four more week-ends left to visit the 2012 AZ Renaissance Faire I will be posting this Thursday.

In the mean time I leave this bit of today’s insight….doing the things we have to do with joy and purpose is vocation and doing the things we want to do with joy is vacation; both are needed to be happy.


Does absence makes the heart grow fonder …oooooh, shiny things.

Welcome to Crowfae’s Rookery, if it is your first time, meander a bit among the headings and old entries, but excuse the dust,  I am still under construction and have been neglecting my upkeep a bit. If you are a returning guest, thank-you for coming and accept my apology for not returning home sooner. Some say absence makes the heart grow fonder, I think that is not always so, actually too much absence makes an audience wander.

Seems I have allowed my blog to become a low priority by action, however important it might be to me in theory. Perhaps today, I have only an audience of one; you, the individual currently reading this blog. May I state that if I make one person (you) laugh out-loud, think a little bit more before acting, or feel more loved or loving today that is more than enough to justify the time spent in my digital rookery, but it wasn’t the point I professed or my original commitment.

Funny isn’t it,  how often the goals and aspirations we as a species, political group, faith path, profession or even an individual espouse diverge (if not outright conflict) with the actual actions and tasks we perform.

So where is today’s Blog or this website for that matter leading? And, why follow?

First may I insert that I would hope less for followers than participants, but then add I am about watering my own grass not envying or stealing another’s because its greener; I am about leaving the world a bit better each day; I am about exploring new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilization, boldly going where no human has gone before….

So what I choose to present is an ever expanding map and travelogue and hopefully in time again a dialogue with others of our adventures in becoming  physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually fit members of the human race.

I am not so much leading as myself following the maps of other wanderers with an occasional moment or two of trail blazing, since not even the newest tech savy guidance system (as anyone who has found themselves hopelessly lost at the mercy of their Garmin can attest) is always accurate, and then sharing the success of these ventures.

We are what we consume, and our lives are the results of how we have spent our time. The greatest advantage and greatest danger of living in this the modern world is the availability  and constant marketing of things, ideas and activities. I  become so caught up in the pleasure principals of fast, easy and immediate gratification that an entire 24 hours and perhaps a considerable piece of income has been spent and I have nothing to show for it but the desire for more. Other times I remember the why’s and what’s of my souls true desires and consume by mouth and mind, ear and eye, those things that leave me full and satisfied; I spend my time in ways that leave my emotional, spiritual and fiancial accounts balanced and sleep soundly snuggled in my abundance.

Please do not misunderstand, I do not aspire to a black and white life of somber discipline of never’s, sin and shouldn’t’s nor will much of the writing on this sight be made of the previous high-minded stuff. Ethical and healthy is brightly colored, incredibly diverse, terribly tasty, and fabulously fun.

Pleasure is the never full cup that make my thirst increase, the happiness I seek and frequently find is the natural spring bubbling up that regardless of the presence or absence of cup or other circumstance cools my aridity. That is my journey, I want to be that spring and source, this morning at least I drink at it.

Today I have been given another full days credit of gratitude to spend and the fabulous vehicle of life to ride forth in, and I look forward to hearing from you.

What have you got in your wallet?