Friday, April 30, 2010

Everyone Wants to Bang a Drum - Part Deux

The last two weeks have been difficult for me.  I've been grouchy, impatient, negative, and just generally down.  I lost all desire to do reiki, yoga, write, or work on the "Artist's Way".  I haven't blogged for a while now.  Not because I haven't had anything to say, but because I've had no motivation.  I've wanted to tell you about my son's Dr. visit, where the Dr. just encouraged me to give him drugs instead of figuring out the cause of his allergies.  Or the conversation I had with my fellow pilots about grass and fertilizer.  It seems I'm in the minority because I'd rather have a yard filled with dandelions rather than chemicals.  Or my return trip to Portland and the fate of my Seven for All Mankind jeans.  But those blogs will have to wait.  Because tonight I feel rejuvenated, and it's all because of a man and a drum.

A few weeks ago my neighbor told me about a rhythm  workshop for kids that was being held by Jim Donovan, formerly of the band Rusted Root.  I signed my son up for the class, and was delighted to find out that there was a class for adults afterward.  I have taken a Transformational Reiki class that focused on Native American drumming, and previously been to one drum circle.  Drumming is definitely something I enjoy and want to pursue further, so I was very excited about the class.  I was not disappointed.

Jim really has a way with kids, and my son had a great time at his class.  The adult class was called Rhythm Renewal, and to say it helped me get my mojo back would be an understatement.  All of my friends that are fans of Rusted Root may disagree, but I for one am happy that Jim left the band and found his true calling.  I am suddenly energized and excited and ready to write and blog and be creative again.  I don't know exactly what happened tonight, but it's like the rhythmic beating of the drum helped me to break up whatever block I had that was making me so negative.

In the past, I've had reiki classes where I felt like everything the instructor said was exactly what I needed to hear.  Tonight was one of those nights.  From the message about being present with my son when he needs me, to the Native American song that brought me to tears, to the need to confront my fears and work through them, every time Jim opened his mouth (or beat on his drum), I felt like I was absolutely in the right place at the right time.

Drumming seems to be the one time that I am not self conscious, and I stop worrying about what other people think of me.  I just get lost in the drumbeat, and I find myself in an almost trance like state.  It's unbelievably relaxing, and yet energizing at the same time.  Like Jim said tonight, we waste a lot of money in this country trying a multitude of things to help us relieve stress and relax.  If only more people realized it was this easy.

I have no doubt there is more drumming in my future.  My husband went with me tonight, and I'm hoping he enjoyed it enough to do it again.  I would love for this to be a new family hobby for us, although the neighbors may not find that idea as exciting as I do.  Even if I'm the only one to continue on with it, I am grateful to Jim for helping me get back on the right track again.  And I promise to fill you in on the Dr., the dandelions, and the jeans later.

Definitely check out this website.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Just A Quote

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
Albert Einstein 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wine, Glorious Wine

Well, I've officially fallen off the wagon.  And it was all due to a good friend of mine.  Actually, I can't blame her,  I know I'm responsible for my own actions.  Her goal for the night was to get me to have a glass of wine, and my weakling will-power acquiesced quite quickly.  She's just lucky I enjoy her company, otherwise I'd have to remove myself from the peer pressure.  And being one of my few regular blog readers she gives me good advice.  So I guess I will just have to develop some restraint.

How was the glass of wine, you ask?  I felt guilty the whole time I was drinking it, and I was mad at myself for not stopping at one glass.  I didn't feel any worse this morning than I have the rest of the week, so I guess maybe it's time to start enjoying food again.

I'm just concerned that it's a slippery slope.  Once I start having one glass of wine, I'l end up drinking the whole bottle.  A plate of pasta and I'll start wanting it every night.  And oh, do I want some dairy.  During the diet, I knew I couldn't cheat at all so it was easy to control myself.  I had it in my head I was going to make it thirty days, and I was determined to do it.  It was a contest with myself, and I do love to win.

 My concern now is that I have never been the type to have self control with food.  If I have one piece of candy, I end up eating half of the box.  It's not just one scoop of ice cream, but two.  I just hope I can control myself once I start eating delicious things again.  I'm still going to attempt to stay off of the wheat, sugar and dairy for a while.  Well, except for the yogurt.  I have been craving that for weeks now,  so I think that might be my next indulgence.

I attempted to cut open my first coconut today.  It was a lot of work, and then it ended up being pink inside.  What a disappointment.  I did taste some of the water, I hope I don't end up with food poisoning.  Maybe I'll just keep buying the coconut water in a container.  I'm going to attempt miso soup tomorrow.  Hopefully, I'll have better luck with that.

My husband just told me it takes a certain number of days for something to become a habit.  When I googled it, I found everything from 21 to 66.  I just hope it's less than 35, which is about how long I have been on the diet.  I think it has definitely changed the way I eat, and hopefully I can continue with the good habits.  I guess only time, and the size of my jeans, will tell.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Do Birds Pee Pee?

Two blogs for today, a bit out of order.  I spent yesterday shopping, and the day before I was preparing to come to work.  I did my usual 3 hour food prep for the trip, and as I had already had a frustrating day I didn't really feel like writing.

Bird poop started my day off on the wrong foot.  Now, normally a little thing like bird poop on my car wouldn't frustrate me, but this day every little thing was a huge annoyance.  I can no longer park my car at the front of my house, because of the Bradford Pear trees planted next to the road.  Whatever you do, do not ever plant a Bradford Pear.  "Oh but they look so pretty", you might say.  Let me enlighten you on the Bradford Pear.  Everyone that has come to my house in the last month has said, "What's that smell?", as they step outside.  The guesses range from everything from rotting garbage to fish, but it's the Bradford Pears.

The other day I parked out front and the tree dropped all of it's blossoms on the car.  It looked like I had a green and white polka dotted car. In the winter the birds drop berries from the tree onto my car, and they immediately turn  into glue and are impossible to remove.  So if you choose to plant a Bradford Pear, I tried to warn you.  Now that I've given you more information than necessary about stinky trees, I'll get back to the real story.

Because of the reasons listed above, I've started parking out back.  Lucky for me, there is another tree back there that overhangs my car.  The birds must sleep in the same place every night, because every morning there is a nice patch of poop in the same place on my windshield.  Now I have nowhere to park my car that it won't get annihilated.  As I was complaining about the poop, my astute 4 year old asked a question that made me laugh.  "Mommy, do birds pee pee?"  Now, I can honestly say that that is a thought that has never, ever crossed my mind.

The day progressed with several other minor annoyances, which I promptly turned from mole hills into mountains.  The straw that broke the camel's back was getting my food ready for work.  I was blending something, and for reasons that can only be described as temporary insanity, I took the lid off of the blender while it was running.  I covered the kitchen and myself with the neon green spinach drink I had been making.

Unable to take it anymore, I sat on the floor and started crying.  My son came over and gave me a big hug.  A few hours later, I was making dinner when he and my mom came into the kitchen.  "Are you going to make another mess Mommy?," he asked innocently.  "I hope not,"  I replied.  He turned to my mom and said, "She cries when she makes a mess."

The old saying goes, "You learn something new every day."  This day I learned that my blender works much better as a projectile rocket launcher than it ever does as an actual blender.  I also learned that if I'm going to have a PMS melt down I should do it when my son's not around, so I don't scar him for life.  And you've learned not to plant Bradford Pears.  That just leaves the unanswered question about birds and pee pee.  Seeing as I have to be up at 4 am, we'll have to leave that lesson for another day.

A Guessing Game

My husband asked me yesterday if I did anything with my free time besides blog.  Yes, I do.  I went shopping for six hours yesterday on my overnight.  That's why I didn't have time to blog.  I didn't intend to shop for that long, it just took me that long to try on 30+ pairs of jeans.  Out of those 30, I ended up with one very expensive pair that fit.  I could never understand why people spend so much money on jeans.  Then I put on my first pair of Seven For All Mankind.  The rest, as they say, is history.

I do not spend money like your typical airline pilot (or I guess I should say like your typical airline pilot's wife).  I am very frugal, some would call me cheap.  I normally shop somewhere like Kohl's, or if you've read my previous post, my neighbors trash pile.  If I shop somewhere like Macy's I don't buy anything if I don't have a coupon or it's not on sale.  But I am a sucker for sales.  I bought my Seven's from Nordstrom Rack, on sale of course, and they look better than any jeans I've ever had.  That could also be due to the fact that I am skinnier than I have ever been, but the jeans still make a huge difference.

After my shop til you drop afternoon, I was famished.  I saw a sushi place, and the fact that it was called "Sushi Land" should've been a clue that it wasn't completely authentic.  Upon entering, I realized that the entire restaurant was staffed by mexicans.  I don't have anything against mexicans, I just didn't expect to see them making sushi.

Here's your quiz for the day.  I'll give you three guesses which city this restaurant was in.  Nope, you're wrong.  How do I know you're wrong?  Because never in a million years would you have guessed Portland, Oregon.  The sushi was ok.  My vegetable roll tasted suspiciously fishy, but I can't really complain.  I had two rolls and a miso soup for $3.50.

It is true you get what you pay for, whether it's $3.50 sushi or $100 jeans.  I learned my lesson about the sushi, and even though the jeans fit like a glove I may not be able to keep them.  I don't know if the enjoyment of looking good can override the guilt of spending so much on them.  I'll let you know what I decide next week, as I'll be back in Portland for another overnight.  The jeans will make the trip with me, I just don't know whether they'll be on my bum or in a bag to return.  One thing's for sure, I'll find somewhere else to have dinner.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dumpster Diving

It's trash night in my neighborhood.  I have a love/hate relationship with trash night.  I hate to see my neighbors put out trash that could be reduced/reused/recycled.  It absolutely breaks my heart that some poor kid with no toys could be playing with something that's just going to get bashed to bits and head for the landfill.

I love trash night because I enjoy turning trash into treasure, and I have benefitted from some of my neighbors cast offs.  For instance, my son is riding a two wheel bicycle, complete with training wheels, that was discarded by my mom's neighbor.  I once rescued a numbered print in a frame from a trash pile.  When I got home, I researched the rest of the set on ebay auctions.  Three others had sold ranging from $600-$2000.  If I knew how to get it evaluated I probably would have sold it by now, but I like the picture so I'm happy to keep it.

I think my husband has given up on trying to dissuade me from picking through other people's trash.  Just last week we went for a walk and I asked if I could take home a wicker table that someone had in their trash.  He actually took it out of my hand and offered to carry it home.  Imagine how mortified he was when we turned to walk away and noticed the homeowner standing on his porch.  He had an amused look on his face since he had been watching us the entire time.  Previously,  the neighbors thought only I was a dumpster diver.  Now my husband was branded as an accomplice as well.  I don't actually think he minds me rescuing items from going to the landfill.  He just doesn't like that they litter our garage until I get around to doing something with them.

I just don't understand why people throw useful things away.  Amvets will come and pick up anything right from your front porch, all you have to do is call them.  How easy is that?  Or what about an organization to help needy families?  There's one here in town called "Off the Floor", which accepts donations of furniture to give to people that don't have any.  And it's a tax right off.

I'm always amazed when we go to England.  My sister in law puts out one tiny little trash can, as do the rest of her neighbors.  The rest is either composted or recycled.  People in this country seem to think we have a bottomless pit where we can store all of our garbage.  Don't even get me started on the amount we consume, I'm just talking about throwing away usable items.

There are several pick up trucks that prowl our streets on trash night.  It used to be one lone truck, but now that the economy is in the toilet it's a race to see who can get the most treasure.  Last week I watched a man load a washing machine into his truck by himself.  I was amazed, and slightly encouraged.  At least someone was saving stuff.  Then I heard one of his competitors say it all still gets taken to the dump anyway.  They collect it because they get paid by the pound.

If I ever lose my job as a pilot, I think I might start a second hand shop with things I've found by the side of the road.  Of course, I'll keep their origins out of my marketing plan.  Until then, I will continue to scan the curbs as I drive home on trash night.  I'll pick up any small pieces I can save, and feel sick to my stomach about the furniture I can't lift by myself or fit in my car.  And I'll continue to hope that one day, people will realize it takes less time and effort to drag the trash to your front porch for Amvets than to drag it to the back for the landfill.  Besides, think how good it will make you feel to know you're helping your fellow man.

How to schedule an amvets pickup in less than 5 minutes
Off the Floor

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Here Fishy Fishy

My son and I went to the Strip District today.  I know what you're thinking.  That's a place his Dad should take him when he's 18, not his Mom when he's 4.  But the Strip is just the local term for our outdoor market/warehouse district.  I love to go shopping there, and so does my son.  That's because his reward is to go look at the live fish and lobsters at the fish market.  I think he thinks it's a pet store, or "free zoo" as our friend coined it.  Unfortunately for these aquatic creatures, they are going home with someone to be enjoyed in a completely different way than their pet store cousins.

Normally, my husband and son to the fish market while I shop somewhere else.  I just can't stand the thought of all those poor fish swimming around, not knowing that they should put on their best "gimp fish" act so they don't end up on a dinner plate.  Unfortunately for me, my husband wasn't with us today.  

My son is old enough now that it is hard to put one over on him.  I tried to stand with my back to the tank and nod and say "uh huh" when he was pointing to different fish.  He wasn't falling for it and wanted me to look.  He managed to get my attention by grabbing the claw thing that they use to pick lobsters out of the water.  "Can we grab one?", he asked innocently. "Um, no."  I know carnivores won't understand, but I just can't look something in the eye and consciously choose to end it's life.  "I'll have that one", as if I'm choosing a new sweater.

We went to the strip because several of my girlfriends came over for dinner tonight, including the one from Taiwan.  She helped us make several dishes, including one with lotus seeds.  I don't even really know what they are.  Even though she showed me around the asian grocery store the last time we cooked, I still felt like a fish out of water shopping there today. (Pardon the pun).

She says they have a saying in Taiwan.  "We eat everything with four legs but the table, and everything that flies but the airplane".  The saying makes me laugh, but I don't think I would last very long over there.  That being said, she has introduced me to some very good vegetarian dishes.  

I grew up in a house where Italian food was considered ethnic, so it's nice to be shown how to cook some things I'm not familiar with.  My son had his first mung bean pancake today at the strip and loved it. So did I.  Maybe we can work on those next time.  Until then, I think I'll wait to visit the fish market again until my husband is with us.  We'll just have to make do at the free zoo.  That way I won't be depressed when my son asks to take something home with him.

A New Day and a Fresh Start

I actually wrote this yesterday, but didn't get around to posting it until today.

I have been a bloggomaniac for the last two days.  Probably because other than the 8 hours I flew last night, I have spent a lot of time on my own the last two days.  Six hours sitting in the airport yesterday, 5 ½ hours in the back of an airplane today.  And I’m trying not to read.  This week in the “Artist’s Way” the assignment is to stop reading.  The idea is that I will get more accomplished, and spend more time doing other things.  Important things.  Like writing.  This is the one part of the 12 week course (I’m starting week 5 now), that I haven’t followed religiously.  I have tried not to read at home, but it’s hard not to read when you’re killing time at an airport.  People-watching only amuses me for so long, and then it becomes depressing.  I’ve also had a hard time giving up my email, but that’s not really reading.  Is it?

I know I’m not supposed to say this because it’s bad for business, but I love riding in the back of empty airplanes.  I can actually bend over and get something out of my bag without putting my head in my neighbor’s lap.  The only problem is, the airplane is half full and the only person with his seat reclined is the guy in front of me.  I barely wrestled the computer away from the seat back before he crunched it in between the tray table.  I know a lot of you will disagree with me, but I really wish seat backs didn’t recline.  They should at least have a back up signal, like a truck, to give you some sort of warning.  That way you could move your computer, drink, and/or body parts out of the way before the person invaded your personal space.

Enough complaining.  Today is going to be an amazing day and a fresh start for me.  It began at midnight last night, when my Candida diet officially ended.  Yippee!  I’m still not eating wheat, sugar or dairy.  Although that probably sounds pretty restrictive, it’s a whole lot better than what I had been doing.  I celebrated at 12:30 am with some sushi, and I ate the ginger and wasabi.  Actually, it wasn’t much of a celebration.  The only time I cheated the entire 30 days was on day 29, when I ate the same thing.  The sushi was allowed, but I’m not sure about the pickled ginger.  I can’t have vinegar, and I’m not sure what it was pickled with.

I woke up this morning at 6 am and was on the beach by 6:40 for the sunrise.  It was beautiful.  I had wanted to spend more time on the beach, but there were scattered rain showers in the area so I figured I’d head home early.  I managed to make it to the airport for the 8:15 flight.  I’m still amazed how much I managed to accomplish this morning. 

I had planned to have a big, celebratory, back to eating breakfast at the airport.  Unfortunately, I was in Tampa and the choices were pretty meager.  Either Quizno’s or TGIF, and everything had bread, white potatoes, or cheese.  I settled for a overpriced oatmeal from Starbuck’s and my new indulgence - rice cakes, almond butter, and cacoa nibs.  Obviously I brought that from home.  Not quite the feast I had been longing for, but I’ll make up for that tonight.  I’m already salivating over what I’m going to order at the Thai restaurant.

I actually lost 10-15 pounds this month, and the challenge will be to keep it off.  If I actually start working out again I might be able to do it.  All of my clothes are too big, but I haven’t wanted to buy new ones because I’m afraid I’m going to gain the weight right back.  If I keep up with that attitude I probably will.  What I meant to say is, “I will keep the weight off for good”.  Maybe I’ll buy some new clothes when I get home to encourage me. 

I’ve used up all my useful thoughts for the day and I can’t read until tomorrow.  And the guy in front of me is really annoying me with his reclining seat, so it’s time to put the computer away.  Where is my “seat back kicking” four year old when I need him.  Just kidding.  I can’t get mad at someone that pays my bills.  I guess the only thing left to do is catch up on some sleep before we land.  Calm down, I’m in the back of the airplane - remember?  I’m off to dream of sugar plum fairies, Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, coconut lemongrass soup and spring rolls.  Night night.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Why Did The Pilot Cross the Road?

Because she was in the crosswalk, duh.

It’s a good thing I stopped before stepping into the crosswalk at 5:30 am this morning.  If I had stepped out in front of the sign that said, “State law, yield to peds in crosswalk”, I would have been splatted by a car.  Maybe the driver didn’t know what a ped was?  Maybe she was illiterate?  Maybe if the picture showed a car hitting a person, drivers would actually slow down and pay attention.  Nah, we’re all in too big a hurry.  What we really need are crossbars similar to the ones at railroad crossings.  When a pedestrian wants to step into the crosswalk, they push a button and the bars go down.  Take that impatient drivers.

I’ve learned my lesson with crosswalks.  I actually walked into one a few months ago, because I knew I would beat the oncoming car and assumed they would stop.  Very gutsy move on my part, I know.  The woman in the car actually had the audacity to start flipping me signs and was irate that I had crossed in front of her.  The “new me” is trying  to maintain a peaceful attitude about things, but this woman really pissed me off. 

Another thing that really pisses me off is when people speed through my neighborhood.  When we bought our house five years ago, we didn’t realize that at 5pm our street turns into a dragstrip.  People use it to cut thru to another neighborhood.  Although the speed limit is 25, and there are at least 10 young kids that live in the 4 houses around me, drivers take no notice.  My son can be standing 2 feet from the road with his bike, and the cars still accelerate as fast as they can from one stop sign to another.

My husband has reached the age, God love him, where he has taken it upon himself to start yelling at people as they speed down the street.  I am terrified this practice is going to end in tears, either for him or our house.  He is either going to have someone get out of the car and beat him up, or they will come back in the middle of the night and egg our house.  I try to remind him that when he was a teenager he just laughed at old men (sorry honey, older men), that stood in the yard and yelled at people to slow down.

 My dad actually kept a baseball bat in the coat closet that he would get out when he was trying to protect the neighborhood.  I guess he figured if the person speeding saw the baseball bat he would think twice about picking a fight.  I don’t think my dad needed the bat though.  The fact that he was 6’3” and weighed 300+ lbs was probably enough to keep people in their cars.  They probably drove even faster once they saw him coming with a bat.

Where has our civility gone?  Is it so difficult to be kind to each other?  Why can't we all play nicely together?  Is it so difficult to wait 30 seconds while someone crosses the street?  Or to take 5 seconds and slow down so you don't run over a child?  I wish I knew the answer to these questions.  Until I figure them out, I guess I will be more cautious in crosswalks. Or start carrying a Louisville Slugger.

Four Things You Can't Recover

Four things you can't recover:

The stone........after the throw.          The word.........after it's said..

The occasion....after it's missed.      The time.........after it's gone. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Where Oh Where Has My Little Boy Gone

My baby turned 4 today.  For some reason, I have been calling him 4 for a while now.  I think it's because he's always been big for his age.  He didn't potty train til he was 3, and you should've seen the looks I would get changing his diaper in a public restroom.  The look that said, "What is that 6 year old still doing in diapers?"  When he was 3 I would say he was 3 1/2.  Then he started saying he was 3 3/4.  It was very cute.  I certainly don't want him to grow up any faster, so this year I will say he is 4 until the day he turns 5.

He likes to help me cook, so I let him help me bake his birthday cake this morning.  Here's how it went.

1st attempt - Dropped an egg on the floor
2nd attempt - Knocked over the oil into the spice rack
3rd attempt - Mom pulled her hair out.  Just kidding, it actually went well after that.

My son helped me ice the cake, and then I decorated it while he was napping.  We had a Thomas themed carrot cake, complete with a graham cracker Tidmouth Shed and almond railroad track.  It looked pretty good if I do say so myself.  I couldn't tell you how it tasted, because I can't eat it yet.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it though.

This seemed to be the year of creatures as birthday gifts.  His aunt sent him sea monkeys, and I am extremely jealous.  I always wanted sea monkeys as a kid.  And an easy bake oven.  Why is it easier to remember what we wanted instead of what we received?

He also received an ant farm.  This one I am not so excited about.  Don't get me wrong, I have a new found respect for ant's this year.  I even tried not to kill them when they were in the house a few months ago.  I tried at least half a dozen non toxic things to get them to leave.  The vinegar worked to the extent that they wouldn't cross the line where it was sprayed.  Cloves didn't work.  Baby powder may have worked a little.  I don't even remember what else I tried.  One thing I didn't try was just asking them to leave.  I know it sounds crazy, but some people swear it works.  I'll give it a try next time before I bring out the ant traps.

At least it doesn't bother me any more when I see ants in the garden.  I used to try and get rid of them. Now I realize they are actually quite beneficial in the garden and am pleased to see them.  Maybe I'll respect them even more after I watch them in the ant farm.  Or maybe I'll leave the ant farm to the boys and relive my childhood watching the sea monkeys.  Now if only someone would buy my son a pony.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Quick Way to Sell Your House

I wanted to write about coconuts today.  But my husband is lying next to me in bed waiting for me to watch Jamie Oliver.  It's very sad.  Instead of lying in bed reading books, we both have a laptop on our laps.  Anyway, the coconuts will have to wait til I have more time.

In the meanwhile, here is an interesting concept.  Supposedly, if you plant a statue of St. Joseph upside down in your yard it helps you sell your house.  I'm not Catholic, and I haven't tried this myself.  I have heard from several people that it works, and you can be sure I will try it if we ever move.  Our previous philosophy has just been to price the house so low you are bound to get offers.  You know, the always intelligent concept of Buy High and Sell Low.

So if you are selling your house why not give it a try?  What do you have to lose?  Just do it at night so the neighbors don't think you're crazy.  Never mind, what do you care anyway?  If this works they won't be your neighbors for very long.

Your new real estate agent

Monday, April 12, 2010

Just A Quote

"Be the change you want to see in the world." - Gandhi

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, I'm At Peace, How Bout You?

I could never understand how my co-workers could spend all afternoon in their hotel room.  When we would show up for the van in the wee hours of the morning and I would ask what they did the day before, I was always dumfounded when the response was, "I didn't leave my room".  Now, I'm sad to say, I get it.  Although I did leave the room today to go for a short walk.  I just had to get outside.  But normally I use my hotel time for me time, which means e-mails and blogs and writing.

I managed to accomplish a lot this afternoon.  I did yoga, some paper work for work, and an hour long phone call.  I also managed to assemble some sushi that I had brought from home.  It took me almost two hours to prep everything last night at home, but it was the best meal I've had on the road all month.  Of course, there was a sushi restaurant across the street from the hotel.  It figures.

My phone call was with a wonderful woman I met in Sedona in February.  She introduced me to flower essences, and has been counseling me in their use.  I was a little skeptical at first, but as with many things I am experiencing, seeing (or feeling) is believing.  I have been taking them for a month now, and the results are quite amazing.

When I went to see Michelle, I didn't have any physical ailments.  I was just looking for some clarity and direction with a few things in my life.  The essences have helped me with my self confidence and negative self esteem.  Before I started taking the essences, I used to worry about everything - ninety percent of which never materialized anyway.  I now find myself with a much more positive attitude and sense of relaxation.  I no longer lay awake in bed at night stewing over the problems of the day, or worrying about some calamity that will most likely never happen.  They have brought a subtle shift in perception and new found peace to my life.

Previously, I would have berated myself for "wasting" so much time writing.  "I'm not good enough, what will people think, no one cares what I have to say".  These were the thoughts that would have been whirling around in my head.  Now, I don't care.  Writing is something that brings me immense joy (a mystery in itself), and I will continue to do it.  And best of all, I have no doubt that it will lead to something big.  I don't know if it will be a book, but I have never had this kind of positive feeling and absolute knowing that something will come of this.  I attribute that to the essences.

If this sounds hokey or impossible to you, I urge you to try it anyway.  Remember, I thought the same thing before I tried it.  Below is a link to some frequently asked questions, and more detailed information about how essences actually work.

What are flower essences?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Forget Al Queda, It's Monsanto That Should Terrify You

This is a quote from the New York Times from a Monsanto official.

"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food," said Phil Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate communications. "Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA's job."

Why should that bother you?  Well, only because there are many, many people in the government that make decisions about this that have ties to Monsanto.  Who is Monsanto?  You may not know.  And I will admit that even though I try to eat organic and healthy and do what's best for the environment, I had know idea what a devil in sheep's clothing this company is.  I'm disgusted that I've been giving my son non-organic soy milk to drink.  I think he has a milk allergy, so I've been switching to soy.  I think I'd rather have him have allergies than ingest Roundup.

That's right, Roundup.  You know, the stuff you spray on your garden to kill weeds.  Have you ever watched a weed wither and die after it's been sprayed with Roundup?  Well guess what, Monsanto has genetically modified most corn and soybeans grown in this country to be resistant to Roundup.  What that means is you can spray an entire field with Roundup, and it kills everything but the vegetables.  Now, call me crazy, but I'm a little concerned about the Roundup that's left on the corn and soybeans that I am feeding my family.  

But here's the great part, we're not supposed to worry about this because the FDA is here to protect us.  And Monsanto is not required to make the results of it's limited testing studies public.  They were also granted exemptions for the minimal amount of testing required for two of their three corn varieties.  Due to a lawsuit, non biased research is finally being conducted and has found the possibility of kidney and liver problems, along with negative effects in the heart, adrenal glands and spleen.  "Roundup residues present in one modified corn are much higher than those found to cause toxicity in human embryonic cells and endocrine disruption", says Gilles-Eric Seralini, a researcher.

The Center for Food Safety estimates that more than 70 percent of the processed foods in US grocery stores contain some genetically modified ingredients.  It's time for us to wake up and smell the chemicals.  I urge you to take a look at the website below, and some of the things Monsanto is doing to try to put small farms out of business.  I can't believe we stand for this in this country.  I'll quote Jamie Oliver again and voice my battle cry, it's time for a Food Revolution.

Gov't Officials linked to Monsanto, and lawsuits against small farms

Roundup Kills More Than Weeds

You've Come A Long Way Baby

You won't believe where I am sitting to type this.  Go ahead, I'll give you three guesses.  Chicago?  Good, but not specific enough.  I am sitting on the floor in the hotel bathroom, with my laptop propped up on a towel on the toilet.  Disgusting, I know.  The only place less clean than a hotel bathroom is an airplane bathroom, and we won't even go there.

I'm in here because my guys are taking a nap out in the room.  Until a minute ago I was trying to do some studying for work, which involved audio, and I didn't want to wake them up.  Why didn't I go to the lobby you ask?  Good question.  Unfortunately one I didn't think of until I started to write this.  Now I'm too lazy to move.

As you can see, we made it to Chicago last night.  Uneventfully, which was a shock.  We went to the train diner for lunch, and my son was appropriately impressed.  I guess I now understand why people trek all the way to Chicago to take their daughters to the American Girl store.  We have just done the same thing so my son could have a traingasm.

Previously, I would be mortified to be sitting in the hotel room at 2 in the afternoon (and on the bathroom floor, but we already discussed that).  My husband's idea of vacation is to rest and relax.  Mine is to cram as much sightseeing as possible into a day.  I can sleep at home, why do I want to pay money to go somewhere else and take a nap?  But we're actually back at the room due to my suggestion.  My son really needed a nap, and though we could have pushed through, I found myself suggesting an afternoon siesta.  Why?  So I could write of course.  I can't believe I'm as happy writing a blog as I would be at Navy Pier or the aquarium.  We're headed downtown later, so I guess I have the best of both worlds today.

And best of all, my guys are actually going home tomorrow on an airplane that I will be flying.  I have been an airline pilot for 10 years, and this will be the first time my family has travelled with me.  It's about time.  I just hope it's a good landing.  If not, I'll just blame the Captain.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Quote

"Do not speak, unless it improves on silence".   - Buddha

Boy do I like that one.  If only I could abide by it.

All Aboard

I have a friend that requested drivel, and she's one of my few regular readers so I have to oblige.  (You're right, dear friend).  So the rest of you will just have to suffer.

This will be a quick one, because we are attempting to fly standby tonight to Chicago.  It originally sounded like a good idea.  We're taking my train crazy son to "All Aboard", a train themed diner.  I think we're also going to hit the aquarium.  Unfortunately, there is a thunderstorm coming and not many empty seats on the airplane.

One of the perks marketed by the airline industry for it's employees is the ability to fly for free whenever you want.  Some of our flight attendants even wear shirts that say, "Marry me fly for free".  I almost feel like that's a bit of false advertising though.  You see, there has to be an empty seat on the airplane to fly for free, and in this day and age of consolidating flights, there aren't a lot of empty seats.  If you have no constraints on your time, you can afford to get bumped off a flight and just take the next one(or the next one, or the next one).  It may take you two days to get there, and the cost of a hotel room or a night in the airport, but your plane ticket was free.

Don't get me wrong, I am not in any way complaining.  It is a very nice perk to have, we just don't have much flexibility.  Especially with a four year old.  So I'm sending up a quick prayer to the non-revving God's that someone doesn't show up for the flight tonight so we can have their seat.  Wish us luck!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Seeing is Believing

I'm having a problem.  It's the same problem I have all the time.  I start something, and I am completely gung-ho about it, and then I start to lose interest.  I wanted to write every day for a year.  Well, I am writing every day, but I wanted to blog every day.  I knew if I took one day off then it would be two, and before I knew it it would be a week that I hadn't written.  But it's getting too hard to write every day.  I just don't have enough time because I am doing the exercise's in the "Artist's Way".  So I am going to take a break from writing the blog every day while I am doing the 12 week course.  I will still write occasionally, just not the drivel like last night.  And I will promise you and me to go back to writing more when I'm done with the "Artist's Way".  Ok, on to the exciting stuff.

I am about to enter the last and final week of the excruciating Candida Diet.  I don't think I ever want to see a Granny Smith apple again.  I have learned a lot from this diet, and my tastes have changed for the better.  I wouldn't say I've acquired a taste for almond milk, but it doesn't make me gag anymore.  I now realize that we consume way too much dairy, and I have actually started eating greens every day.  And I'm skinnier than I have been since, well, ever!  My husband actually called me boney last night!  I've been called a lot of things in my life, but boney was never one of them.  So I guess the diet does have some advantages.

I went to the nutritionist yesterday, and we did some muscle testing, or kinesiology.  I didn't know anything about it until a friend introduced me to it about a month ago.  It sounded and looked like a bunch of baloney.  It's probably easier to read the link first, in this case, to understand the procedure.
Description of muscle testing

I was trying to explain it to my husband the other night, and instead of the above link we watched a youtube video.  It looked so hokey and so fake it was ridiculous.  If I had not experienced it myself first hand, I never would have believed it.  To start, I held my arm out to the side, and as a test said "My name is -------".  Almost caught myself there.  The nutritionist tried to move my arm down and could not.  Then I said, "My name is Janet", which it isn't.  I thought to myself, I'm just going to hold my arm up and nothing is going to happen.  Funny thing was, I couldn't hold it up.  Even though I had every intention to resist, I couldn't.

When we started the testing,  Janet had different vials of allergens.  I didn't see what she had picked, and had no idea what she was testing me for.  I have intuitively thought that dairy, sugar, wheat, and non-local honey were culprits with my allergies.  Without knowing it, these were exactly the things I failed during the testing.  The honey was very strange.  I told her I thought I was ok with local honey, which proved true in the testing.  Then she wrote local and non-local honey on a piece of paper.  Again, I had no idea which one she was testing, so there was no pre-conceived notion on my part.  We had the same results with the paper as we did with the vials.

So what do I think of all of this?  Strangely enough, I believe it.  If you google muscle testing, there are as many sites that call it a crock as try to explain it.  What do I say to that?  Seeing, or in this case feeling, is believing.  I didn't, and still wouldn't, believe it if I hadn't tried it myself.

I have to say I'm still disappointed with the results.  I was hoping after 30 days to go back to my dairy loving, yogurt eating days.  It seems that those days, alas, are history.  I guess I had better get used to the almond milk and brown rice wraps.  I wonder if I will ever develop a taste for goat milk?  Yeah, I doubt it too.  I just realized, she didn't test wine.  Maybe we'll leave that one alone, I don't think I want to know.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, It Soon Will Be Tomorrow

The laundry needs to be put away.  I can't do the dishes in the sink until I empty the dishwasher.  I need to bid for my schedule for next month.  I need to write a blog.  So what am I going to do?  Go to bed.

I haven't been slacking, really.  I've been working my way through the "Artist's Way" book, and that is taking almost an hour a day.  I was actually up before seven this morning working on my writing.  And I spent almost 2 hours with the nutritionist again today.  I have some really interesting things to write about from our session.  But you'll have to wait til tomorrow.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

So this is another cop-out, non-original post.  A friend of mine pointed out that if I intended to write every day, there would inevitably be some less than stellar entries.  Maybe instead of making things up on the bad days (or on the too tired days, like today), I'll just write quotes.

I have received the following in several emails.  Again, I question the authenticity because sometimes it's a father, sometimes it's a mother.  But even if it's not true, it's still a very good sentiment.  I wish you all enough.

Here it is - 

Recently   I overheard a Father and daughter in their last moments together  at the airport. They had  announced the departure.

Standing  near the security gate, they hugged and the   Father said, 'I love you, and I wish you  enough.'

The daughter replied,  'Dad, our life together has been  more than  enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish   you enough, too, Dad.' 
They   kissed and the daughter left.

The Father walked  over  to the window where I was seated.  Standing  there I could see he  wanted and needed to cry. I  tried not to intrude on his privacy,  but he  welcomed me in by asking, 'Did you ever say   good-bye to someone knowing it would be  forever?'  

'Yes, I have,' I replied.  'Forgive me for asking, but  why is this a forever good-bye?'.

'I am old, and she   lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and  the reality  is - the next trip back will be for my funeral,' he said.

'When you  were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I wish   you enough.' May I ask what that  means?'

He began  to smile. 'That's a wish  that has been handed down from other  generations. My parents used to say it to  everyone.'   He  paused a moment and looked up as  if trying to remember it in  detail, and he  smiled even more. 'When we said, 'I wish you   enough,' we were wanting the other person to  have a life  filled with just enough good things  to sustain them.' Then  turning toward me, he  shared the following as if he were  reciting it  from memory.

I wish you enough sun  to  keep your attitude bright no matter how grey  the day may  appear.

I   wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even  more.

I wish you enough happiness  to keep your spirit alive  and  everlasting.

I wish you enough pain  so that  even the smallest of joys in life may  appear bigger.

I  wish you enough  gain to satisfy your wanting. 

I wish   you enough loss to appreciate all that you  possess.

I wish you enough hellos  to get you through the final  good-  bye. 

He   then began to cry and walked  away.

They say it  takes a minute to  find a special person, an hour to appreciate  them, a day to love them; but then an entire  life to  forget them. 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tarantula Arbors

This has been a fruity week for me.  I spent the day yesterday trying to make some sense of the grape vines at my mom's farm.  They have been neglected for years, and I'm trying to build an arbor to get them growing in a way that we can actually eat them.  Although the few grapes we had last year were almost inedible they were so sour.  I may be doing a lot of work for nothing.

This is not my first attempt at grape resuscitation.  I recruited some family members (names withheld so they don't shoot me) last year to help with the arbor.  They decided it would be a good idea to make a tarantula arbor.  What, you've never heard of a tarantula arbor?  Well, I hadn't either.  A tarantula arbor has a central point, and then spreads out in 4 directions like a plus sign. The supports for the arbor are long pieces of trees that you've just chopped down.  Now I'm all about recycling, so normally this would be fine with me.  The problem is, the grapes were growing up the tree, and it was decided to leave about three feet of the tree still standing (and therefore growing).  My complaints that the tree would just continue to grow, get bushy, and obscure the grapes once again fell on deaf ears.  

Needless to say, it is now spring and the tree continues to grow.  I do not know how to operate a chainsaw, or I would have fixed this problem myself.  The farm is a weekend place for us, and I'm sure the locals were all laughing at our arbor attempt.  City slickers?  Yep, but we're learning.  Slowly.

Today I spent pruning my raspberry patch at home.  Of all the things growing in my garden, I love the raspberries the most.  There's nothing better than going out to the backyard in your pajamas to pick the berries for your morning cereal.  At least nothing better to me, the neighbors might disagree.

These last few days have given me a new appreciation for farmers, as I know how much effort it takes to run my small vegetable patch.  I buy organic vegetables from a local farm, and I can't imagine how labor intensive it must be.  Never a day off, at the mercy of the weather, bugs, and bunnies.  I'm glad they do it though.

Speaking of bugs, I've found another one that doesn't fit into my vegetarian love of animals.  Grubs.  I despise grubs.  We never had much of a problem with them, until I brought home a bag of mulch one day.  As I emptied it on the flower bed, I was mortified to see a ton of grubs in it.  Hindsight being twenty twenty, I should have immediately scooped the whole thing up and thrown it in the trash.  Being lazy, I tried to pick most of them out, but that was obviously less than successful.  So now I have a yard full of grubs, and the moles that have decided the grubs taste delicious.  And little brown patches in my yard because I won't use chemicals.

I'd like to learn more about biodynamic farming, maybe that would help with my yard pests.  I know next to nothing about it, but what little I've heard sounds a little beyond belief.  If I've learned anything from this past year, it's to keep an open mind.  Maybe by this time next year I'll be building fairy houses.  Or maybe I'll just be rebuilding the grape arbor for the third time.

Cherry Valley Organics

Friday, April 2, 2010

Grouse and Turkeys and Bats - Oh my!

Why did the grouse cross the road?  I don't know either, but she sure took her sweet time.  When have you ever seen a grouse sauntering across the road?  I never have, until yesterday.  Actually, I've had quite a few animal encounters since yesterday.  My mom has a place in the country, and we were driving there last night when the grouse went out for her stroll.

I was in the woods around dawn this morning, and it was amazing and peaceful.  And I can attest that yes, it actually is coldest right before the dawn.  I was sitting against a tree writing, and I saw three separate sets of deer.  Later in the day we were sitting on the porch and we heard a flicker, which is a type of woodpecker.  On the drive home today, I almost ran over a suicidal turkey that decided to jump out in front of the car.  And whoever says turkeys can't fly is dead wrong.  He moved out of the way pretty quickly.

I once came upon a flock of turkeys in my backyard in the city.  I don't know who was more startled when I came around the corner, them or me.  They took off flying and ended up on the top of my neighbors third floor roof.  I hit the ground like I was in combat, because I had no idea what the sudden noise and cloud of black things were coming at me.  It had to have been pretty funny to watch.  And it was quite strange to see a turkey on the top of a roof in the city, perched like the hood ornament on a car.

I have been learning more about animal symbolism recently.  I mentioned in another blog that Native Americans believe that the characteristics and traits of animals symbolize things in our own lives.  I thought I'd see if there was any kind of connection between these animals from the last 2 days.  Most of these are from Ted Andrews book, "Animal Speak".

Grouse - Sacred Dancing and Drumming - new rhythms will open new flow of energy in  your life

Deer - Gentleness and Innocence - Gentle luring to new adventure

Flicker - New rhythm, time of rapid growth,  creative changes, study the use of percussion instruments

Turkey - blessings that the earth contains, along with the ability to use them to great advantage

Hmmm.  I'm beginning to see a pattern here, and that was just the last two days.  Now, I also had a strange experience with bats at the zoo a couple of weeks ago.  I have always hated bats.  There's a resident bat in the barn at my mom's place, and he's always freaked me out.  At the zoo they have a bat enclosure where they can fly back and forth.  Various types of fruit are arranged on the wall, and the bats hang off of it and eat.  I've never seen a bat eat.  I was enthralled.  I could've sat and watched them all day.  Can you guess the symbolism of bats?

Bat - Transition and initiation, promise of rebirth and coming out of the darkness

So it appears I may have some changes coming in my life.  But I already knew that.  This entire year has been life changing for me.  I had a private reiki session with my mentor yesterday, and I don't think I could adequately write what I experienced even if I wanted to.  If I had to use one word to describe it - Rebirth.  I'm ready for the changes, the challenges, and the new rhythms.  I can't wait to see what will wander in front of my car tomorrow.