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Archive for the ‘Various and Sundry’ Category

Hey gang, sorry to have been MIA for a few days – I’ve been living life and, consequently, I’ve neglected writing about living life. 🙂 We’ve been camping and hanging out in our gardens and pool, and just generally doing all those summertime things that will be impossible to do altogether too soon, when autumn winds begin to blow winter our way. Hard to imagine in light of the current heat waves, but it’s coming – it always does.

I’ve found that when I’m feeling most settled and in a gentle, but happy, rut, I write less. Why is that? Maybe it’s because when I’m in the middle of a sh*tstorm or when I’m trying something exciting and new, there is more to talk about? Or maybe during those times, I just need help sorting out what I think/feel about things, so I start to pound the keyboard with more enthusiasm than I can muster when life feels “normal.” Hmmmm…something to ponder….another day….

It’s been 105 days since I started juicing every day, since I started meditating (nearly) every day, since yoga became a driving force and crow pose started looking less like an uncommonly torturous maneuver and more like a real possibility (I’m totally getting there – I can get my toes off the ground for a few seconds at a time, but I still keep chickening out when it comes to holding it for longer – there is a lot to be said for a healthy fear of falling forward and knocking all one’s teeth out). It’s been 105 days since I decided that “being vegan” wasn’t enough and started making healthier choices for myself, so that it didn’t feel like a silly, pointless word. Now I can call myself a “mostly raw vegan” and it feels meaningful to me – welcome whole plant foods that haven’t been created in a plant!

Gone are the chemical-laden cosmetics and household cleaners! Gone is most of the stinkin’ thinkin’ that could so easily hijack my day and send me into multiple mini-funks (I say “most of” because, hey, I’m human). Gone is the obsession with whether I’m doing life right – what does that even mean?? I have no idea, but believe me, I used to spend a lot of time worrying about it.

Life IS good. I hope this is true for you, wherever you are.

 

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So, these past few days I’ve been noticing a rather unpleasant grumpiness inside myself, manifesting itself outwardly. I was thinking at first that maybe meditation was just not working, and that all this zen I’ve been filling myself and my life up with had somehow dripped and oozed away from me, like so much primordial slime. I mean, how does one know if there is actual progress and that they’re not backsliding into old habits, if they can’t actually feel something tangibly gorgeous all the time? It is concerning, when you think perhaps all the effort you’ve put into something has been a waste.

But.

Yesterday I read something; I don’t recall it verbatim, but the gist was this: it is unlikely the meditation isn’t doing its job – what is more likely is that I’m noticing, not having, unpleasant grumpiness more, BECAUSE I’m meditating and better in control of my thoughts.

That’s kind of an interesting way to look at it, right?

Looking more deeply at my mood, I realized I am not actually feeling more grumpy in general at all. Quite the contrary – I’m feeling so much more chill and happy these days that when I’m having a self-inflicted suckfest of major proportions, I totally recognize it and can much more easily flip the switch back to “normal.” See, meditation isn’t so much about feeling nothing but peace – it’s about noticing what’s different and being able to get yourself back to peace when you’re not feeling so zen at all (like when you’re stuck in traffic and swearing a blue streak under your breath and questioning the intelligence of everyone else on the road).

Of course we all fall back into old ways of thinking/being from time to time. Life is a whole lot of one step up and two steps back action. The thing is, progress is a lot more fun than perfection.

 

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I opened our pool yesterday, and after such a smooth, clean opening last spring, imagine my surprise when I took the cover off this year and…yuck. The walls were speckled with mold, the water was an unappetizing shade of green/brown, and the walls below the waterline were slick with green/brown slime. It’s funny how sad it all made me, given I was just at the lake the week before and wading in fish poo and grody underwater lake plants.

Anyway, I got to work – I started to fill the pool from its half-way mark (about a 12 hour process, with our 25,000 gallon pool), removed the old patches from last summer when our cat, Charlie, dunked herself accidentally and clawed her way back out. I cleaned up those areas with bleach and rubbing alcohol, and replaced the little patches with fresh ones that didn’t have mold under them. Ick. Next year, we’re replacing the liner, but it seemed pointless this year, given the whole thing is only 2 official seasons old.

Then, the really disgusting work began. I mixed up a batch of general purpose pool cleaner, and grabbed a scrubby sponge and set to work cleaning all of the walls (above waterline), from outside the pool. There was nothing in me that was willing to hop into the murky, freezing water. A whole lotta elbow grease later, the upper portions of the walls were looking a whole lot better – blue, and without the black polka dots. As the water level rose – s-l-o-w-l-y – I began to brush the walls and floor below water level. This isn’t a super fun task from inside the pool, but it’s even worse from outside. The pool will telescope to about 18′, so even when it’s retracted, it’s a bulky 6′ long, and the only really effective angle to clean is to stand directly above the area needing a scrubbing, and then plunge the brush repeatedly into the water and out against the walls. BIG fun, as I’m sure you can agree.

By 9pm yesterday, I turned off the hose to the pool. It still wasn’t quite full, and I didn’t want to risk forgetting about it overnight. I probably could have gotten a jumpstart on running the pump and filter, but I was pretty much over it by the time the sun set.

This morning, just a few hours in and the pool was “full enough” to run the pump (and looking a whole lot like a duck pond, complete with cottonwood seeds floating that looked a lot like feathers). I turned it on and it was running, but nothing was happening with the water return. Hmmmm…oh yeah! The pump was set to “Closed” so nothing was coming in or leaving. Major “duh” moment. Anyway, I got it set to filter and everything was moving along, er, swimmingly. 🙂 After adding 4 bags of shock (enough to turn this brunette into a blonde, should I take a quick and chilly swim), the pool almost immediately changed color from green to blue – totally a win, right? I added about 18oz of algaecide, for good measure.

Now, yes, the water is the right color, but the filter is working overtime to remove the dead algae and whatever other particulate is still suspended in the water, blocking my view of the bottom. If someone didn’t know about the dead leaf in the bottom that they “should” be able to see, they might think it was ready to rock and roll – it looks that pretty at a glance. But since I’m in the the know, and I cannot see that leaf in the bottom, I know that the water is cloudy as f*ck and I shan’t dip the merest tip of my toe into that water until it’s all sorted out. I’ll have to vacuum and backwash it at some point tomorrow or Sunday, but need for the chlorine levels to abate before any skin gets exposed to the chemical landfill I’ve created in my own backyard.

I will say that when we close it all up this fall, I will double the amount of chlorine called for this size pool, just to make double/triple/quadruple sure I don’t have another springtime pool fiasco in 2018.

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Goodness, gracious, what a whirlwind this past 7 days has been! We left for Wyoming last Wednesday right after our granddaughter’s kindergarten continuation, then up to the lake to spend (what we thought would be) 6 days, only to be called back Saturday night for my older daughter’s labor. 🙂 So, exciting, to have our new grandson delivered Sunday morning so we could spend the last 3 days of our vacation with him. He’s like a little pink wad of bubblegum, all squishy and adorable…

I’ve gotten over the “ick” of having eaten too much cooked stuff while I was away. You don’t realize how much grains can weigh you down until you have a several-day binge after not eating that way for over 80 days (yes!). Anyway, a few happy green juices and smoothies and my skin has stopped freaking out and I’m not feeling so sleepy.

While lakeside, I was able to do some ahhhh-MAAAA-ziiiing yoga to the sounds of howling winds and choppy waters (which is a lot more zen than it sounds). The only issue was finding somewhat level ground, since it’s super hard to do Tree Pose when your feet are standing on a bunch of weird bumpiness. Regardless, it was fun and surely the fisherman were enjoying watching the crazy Colorado hippie stretch it out in the crummy weather. 😉

I don’t have a whole lot of motivation today – funny how vacation zaps the will to work right outta me, but hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be feeling a bit more in charge of my own work ethic.

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Well, we had an incredibly sweet ending to what was supposed to be a week long camping trip – our beautiful grandson, Sebastian was born today! We left the lake last night around 9, got home after midnight, hung out at the hospital until 2am when it became apparent that Bash was in no hurry to arrive. We took our little big girl, Joie, home so she could sleep while her brother  kept her mama up all night in labor.

Anyway, long story short, he made his grand appearance at 11:06am today and we have been positively enchanted ever since!

* on a side note, health-wise I am not feeling so hot. Too many days eating too many cooked carbs and not enough greens has me feeling about 50 years older and dragging ass (an issue exacerbated by the lack of sleep during the past 48 hours…) I’ll need to be better prepared for our next trips, so I can avoid all the yuckiness of eating bread with every meal, even if it IS whole grain and organic.

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I was asked by a close friend recently, “But what if the world as we know it ends and you HAVE to eat meat so you don’t starve?”

Well, that’s a bit of a no-brainer, boys and girls. In the case of the world ending and there being a scarcity of food, ALL of us are going to be a lot more humble about what we put into our mouths and bellies. Those high and mighty, “It’s fine to eat cows, but it’s a sacrilege to eat dogs,” folks are going to be taken down a few pegs, too. Grasshoppers and grubs and biscuits made from mud mixed with lard will totally be on all the coolest menus. It won’t be just me having to change my way of thinking about food, now will it? And to set the record straight, in the case of a zombie apocalypse, I have no intention of wandering around, half-starved, in search of tofu – I’ll be eating brains, just like the rest of you.

The point of eating a vegan diet TODAY is that I don’t have to eat meat. I live in a place where I have many, many options, and my choice is to not eat anyone who has lived a miserable existence at the hands of factory “farmers,” thereby increasing the perceived need for more someones to live miserable existences. I am simply NOT important enough to contribute to anyone else’s suffering. Frankly, all moral quandaries aside, my whole body looks and feels better when I eat entirely vegan and mostly raw, which is a huge (yeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwg) bonus!

I know it rankles many of the folks in my life’s circle who continue to eat/wear/use animals/animal products when I don’t, but the thing is, I’m doing MY thing. I don’t agree with your way of doing things, either, but I’m not abusing you in any way about it, subjecting you to weird, half-smirking lines of “what about” and “what if” questioning, basically ridiculing me for believing what I believe. If anything, it makes me less inclined to do what you think I should, on the grounds that you’re kind of pissing me off with all the rude assumptions about my answers to the questions you’re asking. I didn’t ask YOU about what underpaid, 7 year-old child laborer made your Nikes, did I? (but that is something you should totally be considering)

The way I’m living feels right to me. I have in no way solicited any opinions about that, from anyone. Agree or don’t. Change or don’t. Whatever *you* are doing, *I* will continue to do my thang because it makes me happy.

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Milk

I have never been a big fan of milk – it has always felt so…thick and mucus-y.  Ew. If my mom were alive today, she would recount coming over to visit during my pregnancies and having to watch me pinch my nose to chug half a gallon of milk, in order to “get enough calcium.” Oh, had I only known back then what I know today, I could have saved myself such misery…

It’s a wonder, then, how much I enjoy vegan milk alternatives, especially the ones I make for myself at home. While some of the grocery store versions are meh…okayyyyy, they are still full of mystery ingredients that I do my best to avoid. Those, then, are options I only explore when I’m feeling too harried and hurried in my usual day to day (atypical, for sure). The cleaner mouth-feel of plant-based milks is just so appealing to me, and because of that, I find myself sipping ice cold “milk” any old time of day. You know, instead of forcing myself to choke (and keep) it down.

I bought a SoyaJoy soymilk maker 8 years ago, and still use it about once per week, but I’ve found lately that making milk from raw nuts, a few dates, and some salt results in an end product I actually CRAVE. I’ll shake it up with raw cacao powder for a late night snack, or add it to an occasional smoothie (I still prefer juice to smoothies because a weird texture can really throw me off), or even sip it straight out of my sexy “GODDESS” mug. I can almost hear the milk calling me throughout the day from its glass jar in the fridge. And the real beauty is I can use all of the pulp from the “milking” process (granola, veggie burgers, bread, raw cookies…) so I’m not wasting ANYTHING. Yay!

I’ve heard the dairy industry it taking exception to plant-based milks being called “milk” and I figure that since I take exception to socially accepted cross-species breast feeding for adults, and because I figure that anything milk-like should be able to call itself milk if it wants to, I’m going to keep calling my veggie milk “MILK” because calling it anything else based on someone’s hurt feelings seems utterly ridiculous (and because “nut juice” just sounds wayyyyyyyyyy gross). Milk. Milk, milk, milkety milk. Toughen up, kiddos.

A few people will argue with me about the calcium content. Ummmm. Sure, you aren’t getting a ton of calcium from milk made from walnuts, or say…cashews, but no one is getting as much calcium from a glass of dairy milk as they would get from a cup of almonds, either.

Frankly, I’ll take the almonds. 😉

 

 

 

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Noooooope!

It seems like I’m always growing weird sh*t on the kitchen counter – kombucha… sauerkraut… kimchi… It’s a never-ending cycle of lacto-fermentation.

Last night, I opened a bottle of my newly-minted pineapple kombucha (over the sink because my homebrew likes to fizz all over the place and make a colossal mess). The brew tasted strangely of beer – hoppy, sulfury – which apparently is a result of over fermentation (I’m guessing that’s because the sugar in the pineapple sped up the process? I’ll have to experiment and try it again). Anyway, I commented about this beery anomaly and my husband, being a brave soul, asked to try it. I handed him my glass, he took a sip and… nooooooooooope. I don’t think his eyes actually watered, per se, but he was not impressed.

I have clearly not converted a new fan of this crazy probiotic happy juice – yet. I’m going t give him another shot tonight, this time of the blackberry brew that turned out utterly amazing. My hope is, eventually he’ll see the light and I won’t be the only one knocking back a bottle every day.

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LOVE

I’ve been listening to pretty much every audio interview from this year’s Hay House Summit, and as with every year, the most prevalent theme, the single common denominator for every spiritual and health speaker is “love.”

I’m not talking romantic, riding into the sunset, hand-holding luuuuuuuuuuuurve, here, though that is surely important in its own way. I’m talking about the energy that makes all things wild and wondrous possible. Love in the way that the Universe intends, in that when you send love out to the farthest reaches of the galaxy, all positive things manifest in your life.

On a daily basis, I send love out during my meditation, as directed by davidji. Breathe in love from the Universe, breathe it back out to everyone/everything. Love to my family, love to my friends, love to mere acquaintances, love to all beings, love to people who have wronged me (yes, even you, since you and your crew still lurk here and that means you very likely feel at least somewhat guilty for your behavior – let it go and try to be better.  I have and I am.). Love creates space for more love whereas anger, hurt, jealousy, and insecurity (which all are basically different incarnations of fear) all take up so much space they eventually consume their hosts.

What does giving away all this love do for me? Interesting that you should ask. First and foremost, it creates a good-mojo-infused morning, every morning. Second, I’m seeing so many odd but lovely synchronicities beginning to unfold, from always having exact change find its way into my hand at checkout, to random checks showing up in the mail. Seriously, all “love” IS in this world is an investment of good energy into the world, and when we invest that energy, it returns to us.

You don’t have to take my word for it, but I think you would be cheating yourself if you don’t at least try it.

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Me-ness

Not to be confused with “meanness,” me-ness speaks to the essential state of being my self. It’s my fundamental essence of fun/creativity/joy/peace/love/individuality. If I’m talking about myself, it’s me-ness. If I’m talking about you, it’s you-ness. Get it? 😉

Anyway, the point…

I was talking to a friend of mine who is burnt out on her job. She’s caught up in all the internal BS that is common to pretty much all corporate roles, fraught with backbiting and slacking and idea thievery and all sorts of other dramas we run into in the typical workplace and she’s wondering why this is all worth it. Ho hum. I imagine most of us have been in precisely that spot, and frankly, it’s a boring, boring tale.

Now, I don’t know about you, but the whole entire reason I even have a job is to allow me to fund the things that contribute to my me-ness. If a job basically robs me of that, then I no longer need or want or keep that job.

How about you? Are you well settled into your you-ness, or are you working/living/dealing in situations where your soul is being deprived of the precious oxygen that feeds your individual essence? And if it’s the latter, what do you intend to do about it?

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