My secret life; remember to chant for peace

Originally posted on Not Just Sassy on the Inside:

wizard book cover

It all started when my cousin’s twins got me to sign up for Disney’s Pixie Hollow.  I really enjoyed it.  The twins grew out of it while their mom and I kept playing…  Late last summer Disney shut it down.  I missed it.  Kept running searches to find similar sites and finding disappointment instead.  I looked at Wizard 101 a few times before I tried it.  Once I tried I became intrigued.

I’d never played a complex computer game like that before and much of it seemed mysterious.  I was especially surprised at how much the game’s help files didn’t tell me.  I did lots of research and found posts on the site’s wiki and various blogs that helped but it seemed odd to have to gather information from all over the place.

One of the things I’m good at is putting together complex information and finding a way to…

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Microwave Oatcakes with Tweaks

By some now-mysterious means I picked up a post on a blog I don’t follow that described how to make oatcakes really easily in a microwave.  You can see the original post with video and recipe here.  It sounded like a great idea so  I tried it, halving the recipe to make just one serving and was pretty disappointed.  First, 1-2 minutes must be for the most powerful microwaves.  I’ve now made these several times, tweaking each time and adding time each time.  In my 1100 watt microwave it takes five (5) minutes to get it actually cake-like.  Which means in my old 750 watt microwave it would have taken six or seven.

So, the first time it came out more like porridge.  And boy was it bland.  I’ve been kind of amazed each time at how little banana flavor comes through. I started tweaking with some spices to give it flavor and have settled on this:

1 banana

1 egg

1-1/2 tsp flax seeds (I used ground)

3/8 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk (you can substitute various forms of milk or use water)

1/2 c. rolled oats (you can replace with almond meal)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

dash nutmeg

I put all of it in a small food processor and whir till it’s well mixed.  Then pour into a microwave-safe bowl.  In 1100 watt microwave, cook it on high for 5-6 minutes (depending on how moist or bready you want it to be).

I was convinced from the beginning that this could be good and I’m glad I kept tweaking because now I enjoy it as a change from my usual breakfast fare.

Electrolytes and nudges from the Universe

 

Note:  I posted this a long time ago on the other blog.  Been thinking about it lately because I realized that, while I’m still taking Concentrace and making smoothies, I don’t really think about it any more nor make a concerted effort to make sure I’m getting all I need.  Thought while I reminded myself, I’d share the info again.

In 1998 a guide in Italy played me a tape as we tooled around Tuscany, “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie”*, a surprisingly entertaining and funny discussion (and I still thought so when I got my own copy and listened without the lovely hills of Chianti flying by) of our bodies’ need for a full array of minerals, how badly those minerals have become reduced in our food (soil) and water supply, and recommending that everyone take a mineral supplement.  The guide had researched it and came to a product from the Great Salt Lake (one of the few places in the world where the complete array of minerals exists).  I bought some minerals from Trace Mineral Research, producers of a complex called ConcenTrace that comes from the Lake and has all the minerals.

At the time the chronic fatigue was bad enough that often I couldn’t really tell whether a new supplement or treatment made a difference or not. The minerals were expensive (on my budget; and they’ve come down in price since then) and so I drifted away from using them even though I could tell they had some kind of impact.

A few years later—and somewhat improved on the CFS front—during a hot summer I started taking walks and noticed that I felt kind of drained when I finished. I’d been hearing about electrolytes so I bought an electrolyte drink at the health food store and was amazed at what an impact it had. I started drinking it more often and my energy definitely picked up.

Not long after a friend of mine handed me a recording of a talk by Rob Robb in which he mentioned electrolytes and how people on a serious spiritual path often have a deficit in electrolytes and need to be sure to take electrolytes. He concluded that a mineral supplement (such as ConcenTrace) is the best way to keep electrolytes up.

Somehow I hadn’t previously made the electrolyte/mineral connection. But by the third message concerning the need to take minerals/electrolytes I got it. I’ve been taking ConcenTrace ever since (Vitamin Shoppe now has their own trace mineral supplement that uses ConcenTrace and is a good bit less expensive) plus working on more minerals through my rainbow smoothies.

No practitioner ever made that connection for me and it has really helped, so I encourage you to follow your own instincts as well as your practitioner’s advice. I’m so grateful that the Universe (or whoever up there gives the occasional push) kept nudging me until I put it together. A lot of times just what you need is sent to you; trick is to recognize it.

* The tape seems not to be available any more though Amazon has a video and Dr. Wallach now has his own line of mineral products.

“I practice turning people into trees.” Ram Dass

yogaleigh:

Love this advice

Originally posted on THE BARDO GROUP:

 

photo-37

“When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying, ‘You’re too this, or I’m too this.’ That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.” Ram Dass a.k.a. Richard Alpert (b. 1931), American spiritual teacher and author

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No writing 101?

English: Close up of the felt-tip STABILO poin...

English: Close up of the felt-tip STABILO point88 fine 0.4 Polski: Zbliżenie końcówki pisaka (cienkopisa) STABILO point88 fine 0,4 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s taken me a while to realize that instead of feeling sparked by participating in writing 101, I’ve felt increasingly stultified.  After the first few, for some reason the prompts left me cold and the more I tried to participate the more I felt my posts growing stiffer and less me.  Instead of finding a stronger voice I’ve felt like I’ve been losing it.

Generally with prompts I’m either so inspired that a piece immediately starts writing itself in my head or so uninspired that my mind goes completely blank every time I contemplate it.  Occasionally if I’m slightly intrigued but don’t immediately start writing in my head, the piece will start coming together later.  But usually if the prompt doesn’t grab me right away it never does.

I don’t know what it’s been about the assignments for writing 101 but I’ve just felt blank.  Even the ones where I could manage to dredge something up based on the suggestion have felt like they came out stilted.  I’ve felt like I’ve developed a voice in the three years I’ve been blogging.  When I force myself to write about something that doesn’t really interest me, though, I can see that I lose that voice.  The writing becomes formal and stiff like I’m back preparing briefs on econometric forecasting in utility cases (don’t ask–it’s even more boring than it sounds…); you can write about it well enough to make your case but there’s no way to give it your personal flair…

I’m curious how other people work with prompts.  Can you write something on any prompt any time?  Do some prompts inspire while others leave you cold?  What happens when you try to write about something you’re not really into?

Losing Then, Losing Now

Gratz Park Inn

The 15th assignment for writing 101 arrived on the heels of finding out that a 17-year-old restaurant in town is closing its doors.  The assignment:  Think of an event you’ve attended and loved and imagine that it it’s been canceled or taken over.  Jonathan’s is more of a destination than an event.  But it has been a favorite place since I moved to town shortly after it opened.

Located in a boutique hotel that’ occupies a historic building in the old Gratz Park area of Lexington, Jonathan’s attention to detail and insistence on “cooking local” combined with the lovely decor and the elegant atmosphere of the hotel make each dining experience a nice event.  News of the closing came as a shock.

At the same time I realized that experience has taught me there’s always something else lovely that arises.  That there’s nothing to be gained by hanging around mourning over lost things that can’t be restored. I used to take these things hard.  When I got the news that Lexington’s 103-year-old department store, Wolf Wile’s, closed in 1992 I had what an aunt used to call a “go-to-pieces”.  My grandmother shopped there when Dolph Wile still owned and ran it.  My mother and her sister shopped there after his son, Joe, started working there in 1927.  I shopped there as a kid–after Joe Wile had taken over– and was thrilled every time he met me at the door and personally guided me to my destination while regaling me with stories of my mother and aunt as children.  I felt like a piece of my childhood was lost.

At that time I felt like places and people from my past were disappearing and I wanted to hang on and make it stop. I took every closing, every death, every change so hard.  Over the years, however, with lots of meditating, chanting, and yoga and lots of thought about impermanence and the inevitability of change, I feel more calm in the face of loss and change. Not that I don’t ever cry or feel sad about these things.  But then I let it go.  I know that life is good and that every loss opens a door for something new.

I’m disappointed that Jonathan’s at Gratz Park Inn won’t be there.  But already another chef I really like is slated to take over the space. Jonathan is probably going to open another restaurant.  Out of the loss, I’m seeing two great gains on the horizon.  Often loss leads to more and/or better.

Abandoning the new

When I was younger I tried to keep up with what was “in”.  Well, you know, as much as a nerd-ish person who marches to a different drum can be “in”.  I kept up with the latest music and read some of the latest books.  Fortunately as a hippie I didn’t have to keep up with the latest Parisian fashion, as long as I wore the approved hippie garb.  Actually the basic style I adopted then is still pretty much my style.  Regardless of what the fashion world is doing…

English: Young girl dressed in hippie fashions...

hippie fashions of 1969 Wikipedia

In the 90′s I started realizing that I didn’t know about the current music — hadn’t for a while. Though I’d kept up with anything new from my old favorites, I no longer knew which bands headed the charts.  Strains of Miles Davis or Les McCann were more likely to waft from my radio than rock ‘n roll.  By the early 90′s my taste shifted to meditative music.  At that time I knew all the major names in New Age music.

Too many years of school with too many books to read cut into my ability to keep up with anything new.  Again, by the late 80′s I jumped into reading metaphysics and for some years I knew the latest and greatest by all the big names in spirituality of that era.

Then in the “aughts” I realized I didn’t know any more who wrote the latest.  Whose album should be grabbed from the shelves immediately.  Here and there I picked up a book someone recommended.  The late KKSF introduced me to new music occasionally.  A friend turned me on to Jai Uttal.  But I was out of it.  All aspirations to cool, out the window.  Not that I ever ranked on any kind of cool meter. But now I’d officially become hopeless.

Not that I cared.  Somewhere in there I realized that all that I needed to know or learn about walking a spiritual path existed in the collection of books I already owned.  Doing practices brought more insight than reading.  And with every stage of growth I could re-read one of those old books and it became new as understanding deepened.  I even found myself sorry I’d underlined or marked anything because those passages rarely seemed key when I went back with new eyes.

After collecting records, tapes and CDs for over 40 years I owned more music than I could listen to.  Whatever I felt in the mood for from French pop (anybody else love Julien Clerc?)

Julien Clerc

Cover of Julien Clerc

to jazz to classical to 60′s, 70′s or 80′s rock I could hear.  Though I expanded my collection of soft, meditative type music — mostly to keep from going mad listening to the same stuff in my yoga classes — I couldn’t see the point in buying another and another just because they were new.

Age is part of it.   But age doesn’t automatically end the desire to be cool — witness all the 40+ Hollywood types who look like mutants thanks to their pursuit of youth and coolness.  I think three decades of meditation, yoga, contemplation, etc. helped me to put coolness in perspective.  Just doesn’t matter.  Being up on the newest and the most in this or that…  doesn’t matter.  I don’t know who the hot new artists are or what book I “should” be reading.  Don’t know, don’t care.  And what a relief it is.

 

 

 

Split-level

Traditional Side Split Level Home

Split Level Home (Photo credit: Wikipedia)  Not much like ours…

At 12 we moved from the “big city”  of Flint, MI to a small town nearby.  Our new quad-level was considerably larger than the house we’d had in Flint and my dad, who came from a pretty poor family, was so proud.  Although I’d rarely played the game, I was for some reason thrilled that our garage had a basketball net.  I’m so not an athlete — hard to imagine what went on in my 11-year-old brain when we were choosing among a few houses but the basketball net factored into my vote for this.

Flint was still “Buicktown” and really at its peak.  Most of the dads in our little town drove the gently curving road along the river to work at Buick or something auto-related , whether in the main office–like my dad– or the factories.  In those days, Chevy, Ford, Fisher Body,  and AC Spark Plugs all had shops there producing parts of and for cars.

Buick

Buick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We loved our new house but we all leaned toward the cool color palette and almost every room in the place glowed bright yellow.  Initially that drove us nuts.  My mother redecorated with gusto for the first months.  All the yellow went first.   Dad learned to cope with a much longer commute.   I tried to adjust to my new life.

I’d become shy and withdrawn in sixth grade.  Having gone to school with lots of the same kids from kindergarten on, this new, introverted me, struggled with being thrust into a new school.  But I loved our split-level; loved escaping back into the fold and just enjoying the new house without all the scary kids around.  My dad could read the paper in the living room and I could hang out down a level n the family room watching TV and Mom could sit in the dining area off the kitchen writing a letter.  Except for Thanksgiving and a few other special occasions, the formal dining room sat empty.   I’m puzzled by the penchant for “open floor plan” homes in which everybody is stuck in the same space as everyone else all the time.

That love of having lots of space has stayed with me.  I lived in plenty of tiny apartments and I could adapt.  But when I owned a three bedroom house, I turned one first-floor bedroom into a sitting room and another into a dining room.  Upstairs a big loft area made a great yoga space right outside my bedroom.  I used every room.  I might sit and read for a while in the sitting room, then watch TV in the living room.  Or write a brief at the dining room table before practicing yoga in the loft space.  Only had two levels though.  There’s something about a house with four…

This piece is for day 11 of the writing 101 series–tell about the home you lived in at 12.  I’m still struggling with a lot of these prompts so expect me to keep on skipping among them and throwing other stuff in.

Childhood Thanksgiving memories, lifelong love of that food

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Our_(Almost_Traditional)_Thanksgiving_Dinner.jpg

Wikimedia

 

I’m kind of a foodie so you’d think a prompt like the one for Writing 101 #10 – tell about a favorite childhood meal — would leave me spinning around trying to decide which story to tell. But I was actually a picky eater as a child so I have more memories of meals I wouldn’t eat.  But Thanksgiving was always special for me.

My dad’s next oldest brother and his family were the only relatives who lived near us in Michigan, although in another town.  Everyone else on both sides lived in Kentucky.  Though our two families got together randomly several times a year, the one absolute was Thanksgiving every year, alternating houses.

My Uncle Bill’s three girls are the only cousins anywhere near my age so for me, lonely only child, they were the closest thing to sisters and I looked forward to every visit.  Bill had a great sense of humor and somewhere along the way he made up a song to “Frere Jacques“: ” Next Thanksgiving, next Thanksgiving, Don’t eat bread, don’t eat bread.  Stuff it up a Turkey, Stuff it up a turkey. Eat the bird, eat the bird.”  He’d lead us all in singing it, accompanied by lots of giggling (and, when we grew older, some eye rolling from the adolescent corner).

In hindsight I know my mother and my aunt were always worn out by the time the feast hit the table.  But I at the time I just noticed the camaraderie and the enjoyment of the great food.  Picky though I was, I happened to love turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, et al., so the icing on the celebration for me was a meal I loved.

Because of those happy gatherings, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  I still make a big deal out of it even though I’m now cooking for only two.  I make a big feast and put lots of leftovers in the freezer.  Because I love the foods of Thanksgiving so much I’ll eat them happily any time of year; ending up with those meals to pull out later is part of the thrill of the day.  Sometimes I even hear echoes of the little song we used to sing.  I know the fond memories of the people mingles with memory of the food and together they make the tastes and scents of Thanksgiving more heady and enticing than most other meals.

Note:  By this time you may have gathered I’m following along with writing 101 pretty loosely.  Yes , we did just skip from assignment four to assignment 10 with a Daily Post prompt in between.  Many of the prompts have seemed to me to invite fiction and I’ve been really off of writing fiction for a while.  So I’m just using this opportunity to be inspired by prompts from wherever and to practice writing, work on posting more often and have some fun while trying to hone my blogging skills.

Check out my Thanksgiving menu and recipes here.

In the airport

Carlo Dolci - St Catherine Reading a Book - WG...

Carlo Dolci – St Catherine Reading a Book – WGA06372 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I haven’t been wanting to write on a lot of the prompts for writing 101 but I did like this daily prompt, so I thought I’d throw it in albeit not on the right day.

This one is short and sweet for me.  What would I do if I had time at the airport and none of my electronic devices were working?

Nothing would change really.  I don’t use my devices in the airport.  I always have a book and I spend most of the time reading.  I also occasionally get up and walk around.  If I have a long time I hunt for the best place to get a cappuccino to sip while I read.

The only new thing would be looking for clocks.  I don’t wear a watch and I’ve gotten in the habit of checking the time occasionally on my cell phone.  So on my walks I would check in on the time.  No big deal — not like a cell phone is the only way to find out.

And, if I may posit an extra twist to the scenario, I’d love it if no one’s electronic devices worked.  I’d so enjoy sitting with my book and not listening to 10 overly loud conversations between fellow passengers and people who aren’t there.  Most of those conversations are so pointless I don’t understand why everyone considers it so necessary to have them..  all the time.  Others tell me more about people’s personal lives than I want to know.

I remember  the days when lots of people were reading.  And people actually talked to one another.  One and another who were both actually present in the room.  No frantic tapping.  I could dig that.  And of course I’d look a lot like the lady above…