The Shrew View: On Culture and Values


My last blog indicated that values are based on what individuals or even a group of individuals hold dear.  Consider the Google definition of a value: (1) the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance , worth, or usefulness of something. (2) a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgement of what is important in life.  As a family counselor once said to my then husband and I when we sought help for discipline struggles that we were having with our children, “You first need to list what your values are before you proceed to implement a strategy to improve behavioral outcomes.”  As soon as I implemented this process, the behaviors improved immensely.  This would make sense because  we all know how critical communication is between individuals.  Unstated and implied values leave a vacuum which can result in chaotic outcomes.  Stated values remind us about what we hold in importance.

This now leads me to the topic of U.S. cultural values.  What are these values?  Are they political like conservative or liberal ideas?  Are they historical like our holiday observations and memorials?  Are they religious beliefs?  Consider the 1776 document, the Declaration of Independence, ” We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that amoung these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”  I would have to say that this is definitely a document of stated values.  This one sentence declares the right of the United States citizenry to remove themselves from tyrannical rule and move toward a system of self rule, a system which had never been implemented before in European Culture.  Once Liberty had been gained, the Constitution was enacted in 1789 to implement the rules of government and civil rights.  President Lincoln (1861 to 1865) had argued that the Declaration of Independence is a statement of principles through which the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted.  I happen to agree…In order to implement a strategy of desired outcome you must first identify your values, just as my family counselor so aptly indicated.  This is why Lincoln could justify the abolition of slavery (achieved in 1865) and why women could successfully obtain sufferage (achieved nationally in 1920).  The values statement that all men are created equal was successfully argued that it applied to all persons.  Men as a pronoun in the context of 1776 was used as a descriptor that could easily be interpreted as “all people” by the time a Liberty minded nation could see the application in a more evolved framework.

I believe that today we live in a country where the ends seemingly justify the means. This results in the chaotic outcomes I indicated earlier and is equivalent to our citizens as well as unnaturalized immigrants trying to childishly manipulate the nation for what they want (for instance undocumented entry into the U.S.; welfare of all kinds handed out in large scope without regard to a state’s ability to maintain budget constraints; marijuana use or sanctuary to illegal immigrants without regard to Congressional action…).  Instead, the nation must act like a parent by reinforcing the stated values  (the Declaration) and enforcing the rules (laws and the Constitution).  Ignorance of the Declaration and the Constitution in our classrooms should not be tolerated!

Even though our Founders were white Anglo-Saxon men, their education concerning governance and phylisophical nuances of human kind produced a value-based means system for our nation to evolve.  All elected officials swear an oath to follow the Constitution.  Political parties have a tendency to put in place officials that stray from this oath and focus instead on their party platforms (which often reflect constituent beliefs, not values) and lobbying interests (which often reflect business profitability) quite like children manipulating their parents.  Core values are discarded in an effort to maintain control.

My religious beliefs are sacred to me as an individual and are part of my happiness and freedom to worship.  Because I live in the United States, my religious beliefs should not restrict any one else from their Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness.  My desire to be unenrolled from political parties is part of my freedom to interpret the ideas of all Party platforms to be able to vote in an educated and responsible manner.  The protections afforded to me by the Constitution allow me to live responsibly amoung others who value these protections as well.  And the laws are applied equally to U.S. Citizens, meaning that no one individual is above these laws.

Our nation is by no means perfect.  Freedom is very hard to keep.  People’s tendency to control outcomes is an unfortunate by-product of Liberty and we need constant, consistent reminders of our core cultural values…Values born on 7/4/1776!

I’m Shrewd: Religion and Values

Religion and Values

What does one value when leading a secular life? What does one reflect upon when leading a secular life?  

When I was young I can remember that Sunday was sacred. My mom, dad, siblings and I went to church, mom would make an exceptional Sunday dinner and the whole family and sometimes a friend or two would make it a point to gather and enjoy eachother’s company. Most stores were closed and liquor wasn’t sold until after noon. For me, Sunday was time to relax before the busy week ahead, especially when school was in session. I valued the peace and reflection that Sunday’s brought.

While my children were young I began to implement a similar Sunday routine. It was different, however, because my then husband really didn’t want to “do church”. He liked that our children had this routine, but he didn’t value the practice for himself even though we both grew up in the same religion. For Sunday dinner I would either cook a traditional meal that my mother would have made or travel nearly two hours to eat and relax at my mother’s house with my siblings and their spouses and children. Unfortunately by this time my father had passed away.

Today the times have changed. Mom has passed away too and my children are grown and living on the other side of the country. Will my children continue similar practices when they have their own children? I suppose this might depend on how much they valued the past practice and if Sunday remains sacred to them.  Since 1999 every day now seems so busy.  Opportunities to work, shop, and be entertained have increased dramatically since then.  As a culture we have taken Sunday and made it as any other day.  One has to be very intentional in order to implement a day of rest and reflection…We wonder why our mental health is suffering so!  The practice of this day of rest is no longer valued by a majority of folks.  I find the secular way of living chaotic and mind numbing.  What does one value when leading a secular life?  What does one reflect upon when leading a secular life?  Is it fulfilling to take a walk in the woods with your electronic device?  Is science really an alternative to the wonder that is felt by simply taking out time to meditatively observe the expanse of the universe?  Can a Sunday morning political panel explain the complex nature of humanity?

We are seeing increased drug abuse, suicide, murder, homelessness and lack of respect for personal boundaries.  I contend that these selfish behaviors are a result from government (AKA secular) interventions that have, on the surface, seemed compassionate, however, in actuality they do nothing to connect a person to the spirit of giving and the value of this gifting.  Government programs are no substitute for personal responsibility.

We must get back to valuing a day of rest and reflection which is an intentional path for developing dignity and purpose for living.  Think about it…Do you want a government authority telling you what should be your values?  Aren’t values subjective?  If my government takes away my personal perspective, feelings or opinions of something and interprets them for me by a statement of “these are our values”, then must I comply?  And if I think or feel differently and express that opinion am I no longer part of my community?  This is not a hallmark of Liberty folks, instead I sense a tyranny beyond belief!  My work, my income, my home is no longer my valued domain; instead it is only valuable to the government for its programs and what they deem worthy to fund through their appropriation.

Be wary of Federal Government and political compassion.  Do not allow it to be a substitute for your own compassion.  Practice responsible free thought and expression by considering its cause and effect.  Put your values into service at home and in your community.  These are the greatest gifts we bring and they reflect our individually Devine purpose for being.

The U.S. Constitution provides the framework for American values and our elected leaders take an oath to uphold this framework, not to abuse the context and dare to eliminate or reframe the fundamental rights of the people: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Shrew U: I’m a Junkie…

Junkie – noun – a person with a compulsive habit or obsessive dependency on             something (Google Dictionary)


I like watching news shows on TV and listening to news shows on the radio.  Typically it’s how I start and end my days.  I am much more drawn to news commentary programs on the radio than I am to music while I am working or driving in my car.  It takes a really good sitcom or other entertaining show to kick me out of my evening FOX News or CNN habit.  I suppose I would have to categorize myself as a news “junkie” because if I am away from it for too long I feel out of sorts. I think I like news because it affirms for me that the world still exists regardless of humanity’s imperfections and the earthly disasters.

Last week I was following the hearings in Congress concerning Facebook and whether this company intentionally used its platform to stifle conservative thought, sell third party information, and direct a mostly liberal culture on its users who, knowingly or not, were used in a game of persuasion.  Is this persuasive behavior a new phenomenon?  I think not.  After all it is human nature to try to control outcomes which is exactly what these platforms attempt to do…I wish they would just get real about it!

Our Founders knew about this tendency of control which is why they specifically created our government to have checks and balances.  A tyrannical President can’t remain in power long when you incorporate a term limit, consistently elect representatives to direct legislation, and enact a judiciary to interpret the constitutionality of laws.  But what do corporations have to limit their control?


Corporations have a board of directors, shareholders, a workforce and consumers.  All too often shareholders are caught up in a game of chance, and “risky business” is perpetuated from the top in order to increase profits.  Unless you are carefully looking at your retirement portfolio, you too are caught up in this game of chance, which means that if you are an employee and/or a consumer of the product or service, you really don’t want this house of cards to tumble.  We are all “junkies” to the system!

Even the conservative commentary queens Diamond and Silk are in the game, making their living by using a corporation like Facebook to increase their viewership.  I guess their popularity is not enough for Facebook to worry about removing them from the FB platform…Does this mean that Facebook is “too big to fail” and not too concerned about their profits falling by pulling conservative viewership?  Consider the hubris of removing conservative free speech and reducing the profitability of the Diamond and Silk brand…We are all losers when this control of free speech exists.

Back to the NEWS>>> So what is it with “fake news”?  Well, by using the above logic we can see that we get our news from organizations that run as corporations.  These organizations are caught up in this game of chance too.  Decisions from the top are made to increase their profitability.  Viewership is important, but only because of ratings.  Therefore, if you give the viewer what they “want” then you succeed.  And what does the viewer want?  I don’t think many of the news organizations care because what I see is simply salaciousness, intrigue, teasers and shock.  Anything but actual and complete facts…but that doesn’t sell!

So here we are in this crazy world of our making.  We have bought into it because money makes the world go round as they say and it is habit forming.  Disengaging will cause numerous repercussions, but we must plug back into reality when we can.  Consider your  local community as the best place to begin.  As a civic leader in my own community I can attest to that.  And, in my small business my work makes me meet personally with my customers…My responsibilities can’t be hidden by corporate layers.

Watch the news with discernment, keep an eye on your investments, and use social media cautiously.  Oh, and shop local 😉

The Shrew View: “Lady Bird”

Always look at today for tomorrow’s inspiration.

Bridal season is underway!!  This is the time of year when I experience the heaviest load of work.  April, May and June brides and their entourage need their first fittings as well as those young ladies going to Prom, communication with July through October brides is happening nearly every day and my busy hands need to keep up with the details of nip/tuck.  My mind swells with lace, beads, bustles and bows!  Ever since Barbie married Ken I have delighted in the details of THE DRESS and how these details help to make the young woman feel her best on her special occasion.  I am blessed that my passion has lead to my own business, but practical aspects of my past held back this creativity (just as it happens for many folks).  Did my engineering degree and years spent working in R&D at various companies hold back my bliss?  I’d like to think that those years were actually the foundation for a more enlightened career choice…Always look at today for tomorrow’s inspiration 🙂

Even though my working life is somewhat full these days I must take enjoyment in other pastimes.  One thing that I enjoy doing is watching movies.  I recently had the opportunity to see “Lady Bird”.  This coming-of-age film received critical acclaim for its strong acting and fresh look at the gulf between childhood and adulthood.  Set in the year 2002, it wittingly balances stereotypes against our U.S. Culture’s timeless truths.

This film portrays the two strong female characters of a daughter and her mother.  Christine is the 17 year old daughter of a middle class couple who are temporarily struggling to make ends meet.  They have a modest home in Sacramento, CA.  Christine’s mother has her attend the private Catholic School because apparently the public school has proved to be much too violent.  It is obvious that Christine’s mother controls the household and all those who live in it (this includes Christine’s college educated brother and his live-in girlfriend).  You get the sense that the mother’s control issues are tempered with an inspired love that has had an unmistakable influence from a  childhood which was rife with alcohol abuse by her own mother.  Christine’s father is the tempering force that keeps everyone together.  He might struggle with depression from losing his job and remaining unemployable, but he seems to understand well that trying to control what happens around him is a losing battle…It is better to use some insight and guide the daily pitfalls toward positive meaning.

In her childish way Christine uses her personal strengths of perseverance, humor and curiosity to carve out her niche in society.  Her “power name” is Lady Bird.  She uses this name to help be identified as a strong though quirky candidate for each class presidential election and to help her compensate for her “lower” middle class position in life.  This name along with her curiosity and perseverance seem to give her just the right amount of boost she needs to cleverly insert herself into the higher social networks.

I found that Christine’s ability to explore her sexuality is an incomplete and naive approach.  She is quite the fiendish child in some scenes, however we don’t get to understand how she has figured out the adult nuances of protected sex in other scenes.  Catholicism after all is known for its strict adherence to abstinence, so where did she learn about these practical measures?  Should we assume that magazines, media and her peers are her guides?  Her mother definely doesn’t appear to be the imparter of such important information, but I could be wrong.

By the end of the movie as she leaves home and enters college she seems to have gained the adult perspective so needed for her to negotiate life’s intracacies.  This perspective is partially shaped from her Catholic faith.  Whether by choice or by accident, the familiarity of a home away from home is hers to accept or reject.  She embraces these benefits because, in essence, these religious guiding principles are central to the self-love that she needs in an all too lonely world.

True to form, I think this film does represent middle class female adolescent conflicts very well.  Has much changed in 15 years?  It’s been almost 40 years since I’ve been 17…pexels-photo-556663.jpeg…It’s still pretty timeless!


Shrewd Awakenings: Pay Attention to Your Being

Is modern feminism the woman’s declaration of “Pay Attention To Your Being”?

In my quest for a greater understanding of spiritual truths I do much reading and occasionally explore other blogs that might offer some potential wisdom concerning topics of spirituality and religion.  As a third generation Unitarian (currently known as Unitarian Universalism) my religion calls me to explore all religious truths in a responsible manner to guide me toward an authentic spiritual journey that brings my life meaning and informs my actions to do good works.  As Jordan B. Peterson relates in his new book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos:

Meaning signifies that you are in the right place, at the right time, properly balanced between order and chaos, where everything lines up as best it can at that moment…the place you live when you are guided by Love and speaking Truth and when nothing you want or could possibly want takes any precedence over precisely that.

One blog that I have been visiting for spiritual insight seems to be heavily focused on the man’s perspective of feminism as it relates to U.S. culture and the Christian religion.  The blogger pulls passages from news articles and Christian writers to critique them for feminist bias.  As one can imagine, these critiques when set against the highly antagonistic idea of “modern feminism” makes for a great number of comments from men in general and Christian men specifically.  The blogger does state on his home page that comments are to be made by men only so as not to derail the male perspective.  Comments from women are acceptable once the conversation thread has run on for a time.  The comments can range from hitting hard against the author of the article or book being critiqued to getting down right nasty about the women who are in these articles or books as examples of an experience.

I chose to comment on one blog post by relating my own experience in relation to the current Christian authored article that the blogger was critiquing.  My comment brought a flurry of new comments by men as being a woman with no authority to give a spiritual opinion on matters strictly left up to men only.  I did not mind this “bashing” because it only stirred my need to understand their resistance.  I was subsequently “put in my place” with quotes from Bible scripture.  Ah Ha!!  I can now apply my own insight on my blog about where I believe Christian men go wrong when they take a literal hard line on what a woman’s place aught to be in orthodox Christian teachings…Perhaps “feminism” is a symptom to their issues?

To give you some context, I am a wife, mother, sister, daughter and I currently work as a self employed seamstress helping women with their bridal gowns.  I have a lot of confidence in my work and this helps the 120+ anxious brides that I see each year as they attempt to put on a ceremony and celebration of one of the most import days of their life.  I would have to say that at least 80% of these ceremonies are performed with a Christian perspective even though churches are being used less often as the ceremonial venue.  The dress and the vows hold a very significant place of importance with all of these women.  I find that the modern bride is less concerned with the traditions of this celebration and more concerned with how marriage will transform her in the process.  Many times I will see the bride a few years later (sometimes with a baby in tow) needing help with her bridesmaid gown for a friend’s wedding.  They seem more beautiful to me than when I first meet them…Their sense of self and the transition to motherhood seem to have cast a special glow around them!

I believe that most husbands see this glow in their wives.  I would venture to say that this may have a humbling effect on the man, after all he can never honestly know the pain and sacrifice of his wife.

Back to the blog posts that I mentioned earlier…”My comment brought a flurry of new comments by men as being a woman with no authority to give a spiritual opinion on matters strictly left up to men only.”   A commenter named Luke who, I assume, is a devote Christian gave me several verses from scripture to substantiate his premises about women in relation to Christian teaching:

1 Timothy 2:11 – 12  I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

Here is my response…Woman was first to bite the apple from the tree of knowledge which allowed her to become like God, knowledgeable about good and evil.  Man took the bite next (also allowing him this knowledge) which left him vulnerable and in the position to forever make up for  this transgression to God because man was made first.  From this point forward women would forever bear the pain to bring forth life and both men and women would suffer through life until death (giving up immortality).  For a woman to be quiet means that she, as a woman, has the deeper understanding of life’s meaning because of her physical pain and her ability to bear children.  Her authority is to teach this understanding to her children.  She should not be a “mother” to the man in his adulthood.  This is very important!

1 Corinthians 14:34 – 35 …the woman should keep silent in the churches.  For they are not  permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.  If there is any desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home.  For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

Here is my response…Submission in this context places the burden upon the man to get closer to Christ, atoning the man’s sin for trying to be as God because man was not given pain of childbirth which clearly has made women more submissive in its own right (Law of nature).  Submission is not to the husband, rather submission is to the husband’s burden of his spiritual domain.  She was given time to teach her children, but to teach a man in church or otherwise is to thwart the man’s responsibility to himself and to God.  At “home” gives the couple the privacy for her to confront the man’s perceived inability to be a “man” in the eyes of God.

1 Corinthians 11:1 – 34  Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ…maintain the traditions…the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

My response…These passages refer to a linear system.  Consider my following graphic:


Notice that the woman is at the center.  She is “Transformational Suffering” which is her life cycle; birth, child, child bearer, nurturer, crone, death.  Her life is dedicated to life itself.  From her come the children who test authority and require guidance from a physical presence.  Their concept of God is inadequate until maturation.  The boy and the girl are the metaphysical order and chaos as noted in Peterson’s quote.

The man is closer to the Church (the physical good) and to Christ (the metaphysical good).  Man is “Physical Good Works” which is his dedication to the “Church” because his life cycle is less transformative; birth, child, laborer, death.  Through his good works with the “Church” he submits to Christ and becomes closer to God.  He is a role model to his family.

Both man and woman submit to Christ (the metaphysical good).  Neither speaks for the other.  Both maintain traditions for their family, however these traditions are in reality values of good works that the community also must emulate.  With shared values comes meaning for living.  And therefore this meaning is ultimately inspired by Christ (metaphysical good).

1 Peter 3:1  Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives.

My response…This passage affirms that wives should not act as a mother to their husbands.  A woman’s understanding of spirituality (the word) is always much deeper than a man’s because her suffering is greater.  This suffering begets nurturing.  Hense the next piece of scripture that Luke identified:

1 Ephesians 5:22 – 33  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…

My response…This linear progression is clear.  A man must understand his spiritual burden before he considers taking a wife.  A woman must understand the importance of her transformative Nature and its strength as nurturer before she becomes a wife and mother.  The husband’s role as father and spiritual Being brings meaning to the family unit and strengthens the community.  I will add another piece of scripture:  John 14:6  I am the way, and the truth and the life.

Our Judeo-Christen founding as a nation is central to our strength as a people (the “way”).  If we see that our U.S. culture is breaking down around us, we need only look at the push to secularize our Being.  Women are not doing this on their own.  So many men have given up on their role as laborer and maintainer of spiritual good works in the community.  When women become the laborer as well as the nurturer they tip the balance of spiritual strength in their favor and take the “moral” lead.  The classroom is then the nurturer, but without the spiritual “lingo”.  And meaning is a concept remaining out of a child’s grasp unless he or she is fortunate enough to have spiritual guidance at home.  I believe that modern feminism is simply the woman’s declaration to men and women of “Pay attention to your Being”.  This is also the call of the women’s marches and the “Me Too” movement.

How are you paying attention to your Being?  Read my past blogs about “Archetypes of the Human Spirit” for some possible insight.

Shrew Brews: Go West…

Beer, Beer, and more Beer…Ahhhh Vacation!

I thought that the beer scene in Greater Portland (Maine) was big, but a recent trip to San Diego, California proved to be another excellent place to experience brews and ambiance galore 🙂

During a six day trip I had the chance to visit and/or taste six breweries in the San Diego region.  First up was Karl Strauss Brewing Company which has several locations, however, we (my fellow travelers and I) happened to be near the one in La Jolla.  After an early afternoon of coastal exploring, taco tasting and seal viewing we were ready for some beer!  Karl Strauss did not disappoint.  Red Trolley (5.8% ABV), an Irish red with a sweet finish, was my favorite followed by Pintail (5.35% ABV), an American Pale ale with bright citrus hop favors.  The stout, Wreck Alley (9%ABV – love this name!) was good to end with because of its rich coffee flavor so I should have had some desert with it!  The Hive Five IPA was one that I could tolerate as an IPA, but its floral and grassy tones were too earthy for my tastes (of course I finished it though, lol).

The evening ended with a sunset trip to Point Loma and then dinner (and beer) at Ballast Point Brewery which had more selections than I could count!  I did manage to pick 4 tasters,  Moscow Mule Ale (8%ABV) just like its name!!, Pineaple Sculpin IPA (7%ABV) nice, Wahoo White (4.5%ABV) a Belgian style winner :), and the California Kolsh (5.2%ABV) dude it’s light but complex…A very nice end to the evening with their delicious burgers too!


At The Zoo on another day I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had on hand some local brews at their cafe stops.  I had to try the Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout (5.3%ABV) because my husband is a big fan of anything peanut butter.  Smooth and flavorful but not too peanut buttery, one was enough.

And then on another evening we found Coronado Brewery (located at Imperial Beach).  The brews were cold and the food was delicious.  The Orange Ave Wit (5.5%ABV) they say is Beligan by way of Coronado…I believe it! Mighty tasty I must say, and the Coronado Hotel was not far away…


The last day in San Diego just happened to be my birthday, so I wished that I could try to visit as many breweries as we could fit into the day.  Stone Brewing Tap Room was right beside the Petco Park Stadium. I am not even going to try to show and tell all the tastings this day except to say that I had fun and did what I could 😉

Mission brewery was in the former Wonder Bread Bakery and so the beer was better than sliced bread (so they say!)

And we found the Belching Beaver in Ocean Beach…a fitting Bohemian atmosphere for the place.  I had just a bit more peanut butter beer, yum.

So yes, that is me behind the bar at a very old hotel in Old Town.  They say the area is full of ghosts and we tried hard to find them, but they didn’t want to be found.  Tacos and more beer set everything just right…BOO!

I think I’ll be going back to San Diego because there is so much more to experience.

Cheers and Beers!



Shrew Brews: A Tasty Trip :)

In the mood for a different State of brews!

So what does one do with a drab winter day in southern Maine when the snow is almost gone and the temps are too mild to go on the ice?  How about go next door to New Hampshire to try out a couple of “new to you” breweries?  After all it’s not a very long drive (about 35 minutes), it’s Saturday around noon-time, and some good friends are supposed to be there too.  Let’s go!!

The first of the two breweries we visit is called Stoneface Brewing Company ( in Newington, New Hampshire.  The logo is a hop with a side edge in the formation of The Old Man of the Mountain (cliff ledges on Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains of NH that appeared to be the profile of a man’s face, but had unfortunately collapsed in 2003).  What a fitting way to keep the “Old Man” alive 🙂


I tasted four brews, Berliner Weisse with Blackberry (3.7% ABV), Kolsch (5%ABV), Dated Ella (5.2%ABV) and Porter (5.5%ABV).  Not surprisingly the Kolsch was my favorite, clear and crisp with floral and herbal notes.  And surprisingly the Porter was my second favorite…the bitterness was not too much and the finish was quite smooth.  The Berry was too sour for me, but actually the blackberry flavor made it palatable.  The Ella (heavily dry hopped with Australian Ella hops) was fine, but a bit too robust for my tastes.  There was a lot on tap so I’ll have to come back.

The atmosphere was cozy, smaller than I thought from the outside because it actually had a kitchen that served really good pub food with a gourmet flair.  I want another burger from there too…Nice job Stoneface!


Our next visit was to Great Rhythm Brewing Company ( in Portsmouth, New Hampshire overlooking the North Mill Pond.  The taproom was small, but the tunes gave it a great vibe.

I tried the Tropical Haze IPA (6.8%ABV) and Resonation Pale Ale (5.2%ABV).  I usually don’t like IPA’s, but the Tropical Haze had a nice fruity balance that helped lighten the finish.  Resonation was crisp and easy for me to enjoy as a Pale Ale.


We may come back here during the summer because I can imagine it being much more picturesque by the pond, and perhaps they have outdoor games and seating then too 🙂



The Shrew View: On Strengthening Awareness

Is it time for all of us to strengthen our awareness muscle?


Living in the United States is like a double edged sword.  The freedoms we cherish are at times unwittingly used against us.  Consider this passage from Hebrews 4:12:

For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

What I mean by this is that our Creator has brought forth in this country a time of peace that could hardly be imagined 100 years ago. This has not happened by chance or by accident. Much of this peaceful coexistence has developed through increasing our understanding of an individual’s God given rights that are tangable (like property rights) as well as intellectual (like free speech) and of our physical personhood (our bodies and identities). We put a high value on these rights because if not then tyranny would be allowed to reign free.  Yet we know that the duality of good and evil exists as fact.

Not even God can stop an act of violence. God does however judge the perpetrator and his or her actions. Humankind can put in place methods to alleviate violet acts, but humankind cannot necessarily stop the thoughts and attitudes of someone’s heart.

In separate instances I have been forcibly kissed, robbed, mugged, and molested. I choose not to be a victim because to do so I give over my soul and spirit to the perpetrator who takes great pleasure in their offense. This is the double edged sword. My creator has given me the personal power of awareness which I can use to mitigate the severity of most circumstances. Awareness allows me to think and live more strategically, and one way that I have actualized this is through the principles of karate.

Here are a few things that I would typically teach at my self defense classes for women and girls:

  • Walk with purpose (Have your keys ready to use for your car or home.)
  • Be in tune with your surroundings (For instance, don’t take your eyes off the stranger asking you a question…They want your guard down.)
  • Know your exits.
  • Listen to your intuition.
  • Say no and mean it.
  • Don’t feel rude by being loud or yelling to draw attention to a difficult situation.
  • Vary your routines when driving to regular destinations, choosing a parking spot, walking or running for exercise.

There is more good in this world than there is evil.  That is why it is so easy to live our lives without much thought to personal protection.  Awareness is the answer, not just for some but for everyone.


Shrew Brews: Beer with a side of Chocolate!

This week’s brews are from one of my absolute favorite Portland, Maine breweries, Allagash Brewing Company (!

Allagash crafts Belgian-inspired beer, their best known is Allagash White which I enjoy drinking from an ice cold glass with a lemon wedge floating on the top…this brings out the citrus and spice undertones very nicely 🙂

However, last week I went to visit their tap room on Valentine’s Day with my husband Stephen to celebrate our love and participate in the annual beer and chocolate pairings known as BEER HEARTS CHOCOLATE benefiting the American Heart Association.  My favorite this night was their JAMES & JULIE Flemish style sour brown ale, 6.7% ABV. Mahogany in color with aromas of raisins, cherries and caramel iced sugar, it paired very well with dark chocolate that was topped with a slice of candied ginger…MARVELOUS!  Stephen’s favorite was the Allagash White, 5.2% ABV, paired with milk chocolate having a crispy peanut filling…AMAIZING!


The Hibernal Fluxus 2017 paired with chocolate covered coconut and the Coolship Red paired with white chocolate covered raspberry were very enjoyable as well.

The atmosphere was cozy and inviting for a February day.  I am looking forward to spring and the opportunity once again to drink a flight in the lovely Maine outdoors at the Allagash Brewing Company.

We’ll be back soon!!

Shrewd Awakenings: River of Choice

Is it really about guns?

I am deeply saddened by the tragic events at the Parkland, Florida high school on Wednesday.  My heart goes out to all the families that are affected by this violent act.  I know that the whole country is mourning the loss of these innocent victims.  Sudden death at the hands of a human being is mind boggling.  How can a human being be capable of such a crime?

In my previous blog, The Archetypes of the Human Spirit (a series of 12 posts beginning on November 15th ) I relate about choice and the consuming nature of loss and/or failure…




I think archetypes like the all-consuming Monster Fish in the River of choice can offer a glimpse into the subconscious and why horrific acts by humans will and do play out in real time. Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung understood that the human subconscious grapples with the dilemmas that are experienced on a daily basis.  In most cases a person can deal with loss and/or failure by knowing that supportive and life affirming family or spiritual support structures are present for him or her.  Bad and irregular thoughts or dreams occur but are usually placed aside because reality is a manageable experience in this case.

But what if a person is out of touch with their “spiritual self” and reality becomes a series of experiences or choices that negatively affect them to the point where it becomes all consuming?  As if being eaten by a monster fish, the resulting by-product is either becoming the monster itself or being the excrement that flows into the ocean of despair.  The “monster” in reality feels the need to play out its revenge.  By the same token, the “excrement” can seem to be lost forever, recycling from river to ocean to rain and back to the river.  In order for tragedy to not befall the victim or victims, awareness about these subconscious conditions must be present.  I believe that this awareness can only be imparted by an “interceptor” such as the archetypal Guide.

One must have faith that this guide represents a forward path to hope.  This is why spiritual connectedness to our Devine nature is so relevant.  We all bear the responsibility of empowering each other with the knowledge of this connection.  To not have any idea about your Devine nature and subsequent Devine purpose within humanity’s context is another tragedy altogether…