Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Adventures in Vegetables

This year I want to be adventurous, to go places I've never been, see things I've never seen, and eat all the amazing things I can. But let's be real here, I have a day job and a family and a life and while these are adventures un to themselves, it's not quite the globe trotting exploration of the world I might be inclined to.

But food. I can do food. This also dovetails very well with my continued adventures in healthy eating in the heart of the city. I admit in my youth I was not fond of vegetables, or at least the ones I had access to (never was a fan of cooked veg, and that seems to be the majority of what was offered when I was a kidlet). But I realized today at lunch that my vegetable repertoire is sorely lacking. Here’s a list of the veggies I eat all regular like:

+ broccoli
+ spinach
+ artichoke
+ asparagus
+ green beans
+ carrots
+ cucumbers
+ red cabbage (OK, all kinds of cabbage)
+ onions of many hues
+ potatoes of all shapes and sizes
+ salady greens (baby greens, arugula, red lettuce, other greenies found in salady type things)
+ beans (black and pinto, mostly)

These are on rotation pretty heavily in my diet, but I realized… it’s not like it’s a huge amount of different veg. My fruit list is vast and all encompassing and crazy like. But veg? I appear not to be very good at veg. I’m not counting in this list the things I consider to be spice or flavor, like garlic or lemongrass or basil or ginger. Cuz those get et with glee and abandon.

But it’s still not a huge list. So here’re some things I want to try to work into the rotation, because I've either had them somewhere and liked them, or they just sound neat and what the hell, it’s just dinner. Can’t hurt to try something new!

+ squash and pumpkin
+ bok choy
+ mushrooms of all shapes and sizes
+ leaks
+ jicima
+ tomatillo (I make a mean tomatillo chicken thingie, but how I love tomatillos, I need more of them in my life)
+ daikon
+ lotus root
+ potato onion (what what?!)
+ more peas, or beans not used in Mexican food
+ corn

Well that seems like a decent new list of things to try! I think I’ll look for more recipes for tomatillos first. Mmmmfuds.

Suggestions and recipes welcome!
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Wednesday, January 08, 2014


When I was in middle school, there was such a thing called a Slam Book. If any of you ever encountered one, you know of what I speak. Often they were just a horrible collection of asinine questions, often someone got butthurt about the answers, and as far as I can tell it was mostly used by girls to figure out if the boy they liked liked them back, or to make other girls feel bad. Ahh middle school. :::vomit:::

But whilst buzzing around the interwebs I came across the Proust Questionnaire and realized slam books had a more nobler origin. So these are my confessions, as they were asked of Proust. Perhaps they will be different next year.

Your favorite virtue
A willing and helpful heart.

Your favorite qualities in a man
Intelligence tempered with kindness.

Your favorite qualities in a woman
Intelligence tempered with courage.

Your chief characteristic
Love of the vernacular.

What you appreciate the most in your friends
Strong sense of humor, a willingness to help (whatever help is needed), and the diversity of the folks I love.

Your main fault
Worry and over thinking, when neither does a damn thing to change the situation.

Your favourite occupation(s)
Reading, writing, knitting, laughing around the kitchen table with friends and family.

Your idea of happiness
Freedom, building something worth while, sharing joy, simple pleasures.

Your idea of misery
Stupid people ruling my day.

If not yourself, who would you be?
Still myself, but the very best me I could possibly be - the fear gone and the courage always shining out.

Where would you like to live?
Ke'e, Hawaii. Or Paris.

Your favourite colour and flower. 
I think Proust said it so well when he said: "The beauty is not in the colours, but in their harmony." This, exactly. The color of the world in harmony makes my heart sing. Flame. Peacock. These are not just one color!

Your favorite prose authors
Garth Nix, China Mieville, Clive Barker, Jacqueline Carey, Anne McCaffery, Marion Zimmer Bradley, L. Frank Baum

Your favorite poets
Pablo Neruda, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Thomas Gunn, William Shakespeare

Your favorite heroes in fiction
Sandman Slim, Harry Dresden, Harry Potter

Your favorite heroines in fiction
Sabriel, Ozma, Moreta

Your favorite composers
Mozart, Vivaldi, Lennon and McCarthy, Tori Amos

Your favorite painters
Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Mercer Mayer
Mercer Mayer
Your heroes in real life
My Mom and my Grandma.

What characters in history do you most dislike
Seems like a gimme here that Hitler or Pol Pot and the like would be the historical figures I dislike the most. And I do. They are no good very bad people. But you know who I hate the most? The people who kill for notoriety and the idea that if they kill enough people they will be remembered. I will not list names here, for why would I want to remember these idiots and monsters, but the people who do those things are not worth remembering. The people they killed are. So. Lincoln. Kennedy. Lennon. Boston Marathoners. Sandy Hook kids. Collumbine students. These are the people to remember. Not their killers.

Your heroines in World history
Queen Elizabeth I, Zora Neal Hurston, Frida Kahlo, Judith Resnik

I've always admired Elizabeth, who took her backwater country and turned it into a power to be reckoned with. For a woman of this time to wield such power and strength takes some seriously hard ovaries.

I fell in love with Zora my senior year if high school - my English teacher assigned me to her to research and understand and I just really admired her point of view on African American culture. While I understand the criticism of her work for recording "quaint" black culture that would appeal/pander to whites, I really appreciated her capturing the way people really talked and really told stories to each other.

Frida is my art goddess. Tough as nails woman who painted the worlds within.

Judith was an astronaut, one of the first women in space. She was smart and courageous and died too soon.

Your favorite food and drink
All of them. Any of them. Can I try what you're having?

But if I had to choose... I'm pretty much always in the mood for Mexican and Japanese food. Nom.

Your favorite names
I only have one at a time! Heh. But ones that I like are: Olivia and Edward.

What I hate the most
Willful stupidity and adherence to ideas that have been proven to be false.

The military event I admire the most
The question is certainly indicative of the time it was asked. I admire no military event. War has caused no end of suffering world wide and does no one any service. Sometimes, there are reasons to fight. But most the time the fighting is about greed and othering of people. I admire noting about this.

The reform I admire the most
Obamacare (thus far). It ain't perfect (oh dear sweet monkeys it's not perfect), but it at least begins to address the societal problems of losing your whole life because you got sick. I fundamentally believe one should not lose everything you have because you get sick. Is it the best way to fix this problem? No idea. But at least he's trying and thinking about it and wanting to make a positive change.

The natural talent I'd like to be gifted with
Agility. I'm not terribly clumsy, per say, but I'm no gymnast. And I secretly wish I was.

How I wish to die
After a long life of adventures and love and making something that counts. And while on the subject, with a "do not resuscitate" order and people around me who respect that. No last ditch efforts. No unusual attempts to preserve my life. Let me go if my body really is not able to keep me here.

What is your present state of mind
Kinda hungry. Missed breakfast today. Makes it hard to concentrate.

Faults for which I have the most indulgence
The ones I understand, yes. The ones I work on myself. I can't condemn someone for the same faults I struggle with.

Your favorite motto
Get busy living, or get busy dying.
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Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Desires For the Coming Year

I have learned from 2013 that I am not in touch with the things I truly want. I'm talking the soul shaking, mind blowing, more right than I've ever felt wants and desires that, I admit, scare me (somewhat). I lean in to hear the whispers from my ghost, but have only just begun to understand her.

So here are the things I desire for 2014. Desire is an adjective I'm very uncomfortable using, and yet "want", "would like", "looking forward to", and other such pap do these things a disservice. No. I desire them. I crave them. I longingly think of them and get stomach wobbles and toe curls when I think of what they could mean.

A mad man with a box is the best example of adventure I could think of. Adventure looks like trying something new, going somewhere new, meeting new people, making new friends, helping people in need, staying true to the things I value most, saying yes and yes and yes again to the things that move my heart, doing the scary thing, doing the brave thing, doing the thing that I never thought I could. Being. Magnificent. And having the time of my life while doing it.

2013 felt like the year where the things I wanted to celebrate were put off for good reason, but never taken up again. I want celebration to be front and center this year. I want to celebrate the turning of the year, the equinoxes and the solstices. Celebrate the birthdays of my most favorite people. Celebrate the lives of lost friends, to treasure their memories and celebrate their lives. Celebrate my marriage to the love of my life. Celebrate the small things, of comfy beds and bunny slippers and cups and cups of tea. Celebrate the night sky of summer. Celebrate the full moon of autumn. Celebrate the gifts of life and find new ones to commemorate. Celebrate triumphs, celebrate set backs, celebrate tough times and celebrate easy endless afternoons. To celebrate and feel that each moment is a gift to be savored and shared.

I want to feel magical. I want magic to infuse the very essence of my being. I want the work I do this year to be infused with a sense of wonder. I want the things I create to delight and enthrall. I want the things I say to be the right thing at the right time to the right person. I want a little bit of fairy dust to settle on my cheeks and glint every time I smile. I want to step on sacred paths and walk confidently where they lead. I want to bring light and joy and peace and calm. I want to Make. I want to Create. I want to Write. I want the things I Make and Create and Write to bring magic back from the mists and into the world again. I want to have drinks with Wonder Woman, Morgan le Fey, River Song, and Hecate to compare notes, commiserate, and plan the next big thing.

Glorious magical adventures to be had and celebrated. Celebrated adventures that bring magic back into the world. Magical celebrations that are adventures unto themselves. These are the things I desire for 2014.
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gratitude-a-palooza: Family

Family can be one of the best things, and one of the worst, in ones life.

I don't define family by blood. I've had to expand the idea behind family to fit into what life has thrown me. I've had to make a family all my own, composed of yes those people who are related to me by genetics, but also by the people who are related to me by heart. The people who are more than blood, more than friends, they are... family.
So the Husband and I got married this year. There was a lovely fun party in our backyard. It was low key, as wedding goes, but it was still a wedding. I think this event, more than any other, really illustrated to me who my family is.

It's Ben's Mom and step dad, who came out to help us early and took care of the Monkey while we were on holiday. It's my Mom and Dad, who came to help put up lights, organize tables, or cover the hut so it wasn't quite so ugly. It's Lon and Kym, for a whole host of things, not least of which is that Lon wore the dress with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. It's Ash and Jeanne, who stepped up to do whatever it was that needed doing right that very second. It's Joyce and Vasily, for herding cats and performing the marriage ceremony, all while keeping a sense of humor. It's Andrew. It's Christine. It's Emily.

So today, on a day when it's all about family and all about togetherness, I would like to thank the universe at large for sending my way people I can count on, who will be there for me when the chips are up or down. Thanks for making them people I would be delighted to be trapped on a desert island with. Thanks for making them people I would walk through hell for, and who would do the same for me.

I am grateful to have people I love, who love me, around me today. Gobblin' turkey is so much more fun when there are awesome people to share it with.

Hope you and yours have a marvelous Thanksgiving!
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gratitude-a-palooza: My Five Senses

It's a very basic thing to be thankful for, but truly, my senses are the most marvelous things! And yours are too!

I love to feed my senses. Music, art, yarn, food, coffee, tea, oh my! A feast for the senses is one of the things I love the most. I contemplate, from time to time, what it would be like to not have access to the information coming in from my senses - not being able to see, or hear, or touch. I'm sure I could cope, but to lose a sense now would be hard.

I also have a touch of synesthesia, which makes things more interesting really. As I experience it, synesthesia is the phenomenon of information from one sense being intercepted/shared/interpreted by  another sense. Smelling color. Tasting sound. Seems odd, but for a long time I thought I was just a little bit crazy. It wasn't until I saw something on PBS that was explaining it that I realized other people had it too!

Now mine are really very slight, but it does add a richness to the world I didn't realize other people weren't experiencing. I can see sound most the time - music has shapes and colors that weave through my vision. Colors also have taste, but not all the time. And while I thought I was just being fanciful when I recognized personalities in words and letters that perhaps didn't already have them, apparently that's also a thing.

No wonder I never really talked about it with anyone else. It sounds odd all by itself! And yet this is how I experience the world. Sounds are kaleidoscopes and bring with them sometimes tastes and smells. Letters tell me when they are having a bad day and need to be left alone. However, the letter E is always my friend.

So I am thankful that my senses are fully functional for me and that the world is made to be experienced.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gratitude-a-palooza: TEDTalks

When I found out that a thing like TED existed, I kind of got glee all up in my everywheres. Ideas. IDEAS! Ideas that are changing the world for good. Smart people are DOING GOOD.

God's teeth and whiskers, ideas in the service of good for the world. Can you think of anything quite so delightful and amazing? Neither can I.

So TED. I love TED. I've been a fan of TED for years and when they started posting the Talks online, it was the only thing I watched for weeks. There are forces in the world that just want to watch the world burn. And then there are forces in the world that want the world to grow and flourish for all beings that live on it and in it and under it.

There are a million TED talks out there that will tickle your fancy, but here's a couple I think are actually mind bending and amazing that they are happening IN THE REAL WORLD. Real world here, people. Magic is happening in the real world.

Like this one: This guy, very mater of factly, tells how he's managed to create a system that saves the orangutan, creates and sustains economic independence for families by supporting and maintaining the habitat for the orangutan, and? Just for kicks? Solves environmental problems like deforestation and actually changes weather patterns for the good.

You know. As ya do.

How about bridging the digital and physical world divide? Cuz this guy is working on it. And making it open source.

How about amazing young women doing SCIENCE! And science that's actually important and useful.

I am so grateful that there are people in the world working on their passions, and that those passions are actually going to make the world a better place for all of us. I am grateful that TED shares this information with the rest of us as well, because it shares one of the most important things in the whole world:

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gratitude-a-palooza: Spirituality

There's this thing, happening. Happening to me. Happening to other people. Has been happening, keeps happening, and I hope never stops happening. It's hard to talk about, or write about for me, because it's deep down there in the gooey center of my being, and that part gets shy about sharing what's there and what's important.

But this is important.

I am grateful for the re-emergence of spirituality in my life. I am thankful that I can hear it again, and feel it again, and practice it again.

I was a sensitive kid (understatement), in more ways than one. I feel like I was plugged in to something when I was younger, that I could hear the whispers of the trees and that fairies visited me and that spiders could and did tell me about their day. The world was richer and more vibrant and more... everything really. I dove into religion and exploring that head first, knowing I was going to find what it was I was seeking there.

In short? I did not.

What I had felt as a younger member of the world was not to be found in the pages of a holy book, so I looked somewhere else. But what I was looking for again was not found on the altar of a high priestess or anywhere, it seemed, that structure and spirituality met.

So I walked away. I worked. I lived. I was in the world, and of the world, and did what was fun - raves, shows, travel, movies, boyfriends, food. I'm not one of those people who looked for enlightenment at the bottom of a bottle. No, I would have to say that I stopped looking, which in some ways is worse.

This was how it was for a while - no thought or care about the more esoteric aspects of life. What happens after we die interested me not at all - and still doesn't, really, but for different reasons now. I did not cultivate a spiritual life and felt that was the way of it.

But something changed in me. Something important. The seeker in me still felt the need to seek, to connect, to be part of the world in a different way than just going to the store or driving or talking on the phone.

I didn't publicize it, or talk to anyone about it. I just... started practicing again. Seeking again. Reading. Learning. Listening. Watching. Absorbing. Hearing what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it.

I am grateful that I am able to do this again, to feel the divine in my world again. I have returned to a place where I can hear the whispers of the trees, and I talk to the spiders before chucking the cheeky buggers outside. I have more to learn, to experience on my path. But I am on the path again, which is ... good.

So here's some stuff you might be interested in, if you too are seeking:
  • Oprah's Super Soul Sunday - really good interview with younger seekers and real advice
  • The Red Book - Sera Beak. A great book that gets you back into the swing of this spirituality thing.
  • 8 Minute Meditation - meditation can be the gateway to inner peace and spirituality. This is a no nonsense approach to what it is, what it isn't, and how to start your practice.
When you are ready, the right vehicle for your learning presents itself. Pay attention.

Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?
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