Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chestnuts a'Roasting

The season/month/year continues to speed past - where does the time go?

Today I played my last Holiday Harp Gig in a local insurance company lunch room - & am not ready to put away the Christmas music. Hmm, family, beware!

I'm enjoying the treats of the season - huge pomegranates - I brought one to a Solstice Circle last night, appropriate for the longest night.
At Saturday's brunch,
our hostess had mixed pomegranate seeds into melted chocolate - what a lovely treat!

I'd noticed a basket of local chestnuts at Harvest Fresh, & then this bit on Suzie the Foodie's blog about roasting chestnuts!
Sold! Over the years, I occasionally get a few handfuls of the nuts (though the blight wiped out many of our N American Chestnut trees, there remain pockets of trees which survived)

Fresh chestnuts are ~ 1/2 the price of imported Italian Chestnut flour - & I can whir them in my mini processor to use in a recipe or two - perhaps some pumpkin scones? Or Chocolate brownies??

Susie recommends getting out the rolling pin to smush the nuts & begin to extract the meat.

So I scored, turned the oven to 375* & roasted for ~ 20 minutes. Hmm - I'd forgotten how similar to sweet potatoes or squash roast chestnuts taste! & you need to peel the inner skin as well as the outer - I'm glad I only roasted ~ 20, lol! I roasted the second large blue squash a day or so ago, so think I should try the pumpkin scones (egg free!)

We're going to my daughter's in-laws for a Christmas brunch, these would be fun to take along - & my granddaugters are always interested in grammie's concoctions. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a perenial favorite - it will be fun to see what they think of chestnuts!

I found a suggestion not to use xanthan gum in quick bread recipes over on gluten free gourmand after
making the scones - will try leaving it out next batch!

Vegan Pumpkin Chestnut Scones

combine coconut milk & vinegar before mixing flours to make 'buttermilk'

1 1/3 cup brown rice flour blend (brown rice flour, potatoe starch, tapioca flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup chestnut flour (fresh roasted & ground)
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground cardamom (seeds from 3 pods)

-- sift dry ingredients together
-- cut in 6 tablespoons of coconut oil

-- puree:
¼ cup agave nectar or honey or brown rice syrup
1/2 cup pure pumpkin (I rough chopped & pureed with other ingredients

1/3 cup of coconut milk (or your favorite milk) combined with
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (& a splash of raspberry vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Puree wet ingredients till smoothe, then mix into dry, adding more coconut milk if needed. I bake on a pizza stone, so I don't preheat the oven! Flatten dough on stone, cut into 8 wedges, bake at 425* for 10-15 minutes (till toothpick comes out clean)

What a simple vegan recipe! While I've been using a mix of coconut oil & butter, it came out great with just the coconut oil - & no eggs - my daughter will be happy!
Chestnuts have been called 'the grain that grows on a tree' - fortunatly, gluten free! They are a very low fat nut (54 calories per oz, hazelnuts have 180)
Here's a table with some of the nutrients from this website.
There's a more complete breakdown here - note the high level of potassium, there are only a couple mg. of sodium! Since they have a high water content (1/3-1/2 water) they are best stored in the fridge or frozen.

Chestnuts, cooked/4 ounces

Calories 149
Total fat (g) 1.6
Saturated fat (g) 0.3
Monounsaturated fat (g) 0.5
Polyunsaturated fat (g) 0.6
Dietary fiber (g) 5.7
Protein (g) 2
Carbohydrate (g) 32
Cholesterol (mg) 0
Sodium (mg) 31
Vitamin C (mg) 30
Potassium (mg) 811
Magnesium (mg) ----------------------------- 53
Calcium (mg) ------------------------------- 46

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gifties & give-away(s)

The countdown continues! How are you doing 'getting ready' for the holidays?

The gal friends & I have a holiday 'brunch' & present exchange over at Martha's on Saturday - I'm bringing the lovely gluten free scones, & found this latkas (potato pancake) recipe over @ Suzi's - I may make a couple for myself before I head over, (or take along my mini processor n the 'fixings') as one gal is bringing a potato dish & using 'regular' flour - boo!!

I made a 'sample' batch this PM, using sorgham flour, a potato, 1/2 onion & clove of garlic from my CSA, & a free range egg - delicious!!

I finished my gifties for our exchange; sweet half round napkins that you can fold into a 'Christmas tree' shape! I found the holiday angels & skating girls in the discount area of a local fabric store. These are two sided, I used 1/2 a 'fat quarter' for the reverse. I'll take along the Nisse I made last year, with his bag stuffed full of the (wrapped) napkins.

I made one for myself that includes a little pocket for the wooden chopsticks, spoon & knife which I carry in my purse (for times other folks might use plastic utensils.) It rolls up & tucks away quite neatly.

Check out the give away over at Two Thousand things - a $50- gift certificat from Bamboosa - wow, what a neat company!! Organic bamboo, & US made products! Check them out - & enter the give away! I have several bamboo shirts that I LOVE! These look especially nice.
& there's a note to go check out the other blog - Tigerlily's Book - & there's a wonderful give-away there as well, for non-toxic nail polish!! So check out Piggy Paint 'natural as mud' - I WANT SOME!!

I invited my almost 5 yr old grand daughter over for awhile this evening - it's always fun to have her visit & get to be an 'only child' for a few hours. She typed a bit (is picking out her name!) & had a foot bath (with epsom salts) before heading home.
On the weekend as we walked through the back yard, she told me that I was "probably lonley, since you're not married to that guy - I forget his name - any more, & you live all alone!"
She'd just seen 'Papa Michael' - 'that guy I was married to' - earlier that day! But he has a teen son with health problems, & he works out of town, so isn't very 'involved' as a grandparent!
Still . . . . out of the mouths of babes!!

Tomorrow it's time for my Bodaceous Babes to meet for tea - this time at 'Tea's Me' in Sleighbells - a wonderful year round Christmas shop! I invited my friend Donna, & she's coming to check out the group. I called the owner a few weeks ago to discuss gluten free choices - she suggested the Curry Chicken salad (Fowl Greens), I'll have that, minus the scone, with a pot of the White Christmas tea. (Mutan White Tea, Vanilla, Almond and Cardamon). It's interesting to see how different places approach gluten free. At favorite local restaurant, the host said 'we'll bring a bowl of fruit!' to replace the bread . . . no problem, not an issue.
At another (VERY well known 'nice') restaurant the waiter said 'the soup only has a tiny bit of wheat in it - it won't hurt you!' thanks but no thanks! I had a chicken 'pannini' without the bread - came very nicely presented, with extra meat & cranberry sauce. No minestroni soup, sigh.

I am still working on legwarmers & the fingerless gloves. I've been reading knitting novels (Chicks with Sticks & a murder mystery series, beginning with 'Knit one, kill two') & knitting - fun combo - except . . . all those descriptions of the lovely yarns in the fictional yarn shops entice me to stop in 'next door' (the yarn shop is 1/4 block from my office!) & pick up a yummy skein of this or that. Sigh . . . today it was some lovely red silk! & NOT on sale -

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December Daze

Does the season seem to be racing by to you, too?? I think my mind is still in November. It's grey & rainy (was COLD last week, with my first frozen pipes in this 100 yr old farm house!) Threats of bad weather kept my group of galfriends in town on the weekend, rather than our planned Holiday trip to the big city (Portland). We had coffee at our regular watering hole, & dinner at a lovely restaurant where I've played several times - to the delight of all! The food was delicious & well prepared, & blissfully gluten free (yes, there was bread on the table, but not in the sauces! & since the others chose 'cakey' deserts, I got a poached pear with house ice cream & chocolate sauce all to myself!)
My grandkids, as well as my son & his wife are all in 'Nutcracker' last weekend & this, so I went along to help backstage (& watch from the wings) for Sunday's performance. I began dancing with the senior teacher 30 years ago, after seeing this show, so there's always a bit of magic! Emily, almost 6, was a little sister of 'Marie' (often 'Clara') & had a duet on the front of the stage during party scene! She loves ballet - took classes in the summer up in their area, & seems to thrive with all the dance. The 9 year old is a clown & an ice princess, so again has some extra bits.

I'll be playing over the lunch hour at a local ins. office, You can head over to my Ladyharp blog for my post on the season's Holiday Music.

I've been working on more fingerless gloves, & somehow yesterday misplaced (lost??) my bag of knitting - sigh!! Where?? Had it (I thought) when I went to the car, didn't have it when I reached my office!! Was distracted by texting back & forth with my dau-in law about something she's making for a friend (she created the pattern for me, so I was sending her measurements, etc)
& I'm working on the presents for my 'Mom's Group' gals for our brunch next weekend. For several years our group has been a steady 6 or 7, several have joined so 10 - 12 could be present next week!! It's a simple item, & I'll make 12! My 'treat' for the Brunch will be the yummy Gluten Free Scones - no nuts, as one of the gals is sensitive to tree nuts. & head over to Hanlie's blog for a great re-cap of the info on coconut oil!!
The year I joined the group, I knew there was a holiday 'brunch' - but not that it included presents! So sat in amazement as gals with full bags made their way around the table, placing a small bundle in front of each plate! I've made ornaments, blessing stars, & etc, & recieved similar gifties. Last year, one of the gals had gone to France in the summer, & brought back a cutwork placemat, another year, we had a glass 'candy' from Italy from another adventurer!

Off to work on the presents!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Whew - seems like 'forever' since I've written!

GF Thanksgiving went very well - was at my son's & they'd gotten a GF baking mix, so Angie made a GF pie crust, & I mixed up the pumpkin filling, using coconut milk so my lactose intollerant former hubby could have some (& reminded them to save some mashed potatoes before adding the 'fixings') . . . my daughter made stove top stuffing, & just used veggies in the bird, & we had both wheat & GF rolls - delightful!
Over on 'Grain Damaged, there's a great post on gluten sensitivity,Several of my friends seem irritated that I'm avoiding gluten, tho I 'don't have celiac disease' - I tell them I'd rather not 'find out' by becoming seriously ill! This article really explains it well!

I've been divorced ~ 20 years, (& married ~ 18) & my 'X' & I were always friends, so it's pretty easy to spend family holidays together. His 93 yr old mom & ~ 15 year old son both came as well.

Since then it's been work n dance & reading & . . . Knitting!
It's kind of 'if you give a mouse a cookie.' (if you start knitting a project, you're going to want to visit the yarn shop, if you visit the yarn shop, . . .)

My mom, majorally 'crafty,' taught me to knit when I was a kid, & then again several times. Over the years, I've knit various things - socks (usually in the round), leg warmers, dolls (basically like a gloves), shells - but I can't recall ever knitting a 'grown up' sweater! My mom made her own sweaters, using pretty sport weight yarn - usually synthetic, as the crutches wore holes in wool pretty quickly. I've made doll sweaters, & sweaters for kids . . .

So a few weeks ago I was at the library, looking for a book in the Young Adult area & kind of browsing the shelves, when I came upon Elizabeth Lennard's 'Chicks with Sticks' - a series about teens in Chicago who take up knitting, & form friendships & a S & B group 'don't mind the Frogs' (ripping out 'mistakes')

A few weeks before that , I'd paid a visit to our local yarn shop & picked up a couple of skeins of varigated yarn for leg warmers (for me) & some pink to begin ones for the little ballerina granddaughters. I'd run out of one of the pinks (all gathered from the 'sale' boxes :) so ventured back, hoping to find one more ball of that pink 'superwash' wool. YES! Mmm mmmm mmm

One of the 30% off boxes held a pile of soft & cushy'Merino Frappe' & I got a handful of skeins in pink, then looked through the sale books. Like cookbooks, folks probably only knit (or crochet or . . .) a couple of patterns from any one book, so I often just get a few from the library. But this one had a cute ballet sweater, & I thought it would knit up nicely in the 'frape' . . .

So I also got 'Speed Knitting' (Kris Percival) & began the sweater with a delightful raspberry pink yarn. The ties turned out way long (I followed the instructions!) So I think I'll trim them back, & maybe felt the leftover ends! My mom had a sweater in almost the same raspberry, so it reminds me of her. Lois had a great 'eye' for matching colours, & would knit afgans in sport yarn, slippers, & for awhile, cotton bandage 'strips' for soldiers!

Today the project is some fingerless gloves - it's COLD outside (OK, so it is December!) I chatted on the phone to a crafty friend who lives in Portland & also knit as we talked - our own little crafty session!

I need to begin making my 'Mom's group' gifts for our Brunch next weekend! (I've knit cute little neckwarmers, this year I'm sewing something) . . . but also need to finish that glove . . .
What are you working on??

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks

There are so many things to be thankful for! Food, shelter, warmth; friend, family, good work (& renumeration for that work!) . . .

This afternoon my son will pick me up for Thanksgiving at his 'country retreat' (so I'd better get packed, hmm??) & I'm picking up some extra veggies - the 'holiday harvest order' from my CSA. I was conservative, our receptionist mentioned getting pounds of potatoes & carrots, etc. I'm only getting more of a few things before they take ~ 2 month break (& have a baby!)
My son & his wife are planning on some gluten free yummies - will be fun to see what they come up with!

One of the veggies I've really enjoyed this fall is squash (or pumpkin) - which Katie & Casey suggest baking small to medium squash whole (prick several holes in it first!) - which is SO easy!! I've been baking it while I roast other veg, & then cut it open, scoop & wash the seeds (pulling off most the strings), lightly salt & bake them a little longer. My granddaughters BEG for squash seeds 'Por favor!'

The four year old told me 'my brain tells me I need to have more!' & I told her that they're good brain food! So if you are making pumpkin pie, consider getting a nice local squash or pie pumpkin, & baking it yourself!

I've also been enjoying fresh pomegranates, which are so yummy & nutrient packed. Look at the SIZE of this one!
They are so easy to eat - just score the skin lightly, break off a section, & break out the little juice packed seeds! You can sprinkle them on salads (I keep intending to do that) or just eat them by the handful. A few years ago I read a suggestion to pop the seeds off in a bowl of water, if you're doing a lot, & don't want your hands stained. For eating out of hand, I just do a small amount & don't worry about it! MMM - I need to get a few to take to my son's!

Happy Turkey Day!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eat the Fridge - Step 1 - CLEAN the fridge!

Over on her blog, Suzie suggests 'eating (from) the fridge' this week, as we prepare to load our plates (& fridges) over Thanksgiving. My fridge is bursting at the seams, as, though my daughter & I share veggies from our weekly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) pick up, we are hard pressed to keep up with the abundance.

Fortunatly, much of the current 'share' are root veggies which keep a bit longer - like these lovely HUGE carrots!

As you can see, my fridge really needed a good clean out & scrubbing - so I began that process with the bottom shelf & veg. drawers!

I decided to switch my fridge storage from the ubiquitous plastic bags to non-reactive glass. My mom had a nice set of the rectangular containers, which are hard to find &/or expensive.

A trip to the Good Will yesterday garnered a bunch of large glass bowls ($1 - $4 each) which I washed up before starting on the fridge! Several of these are mixing bowls, & I got a couple of tall vases for the long stemmed kale or chard! Plus a glass salad bowl for lettuce.
I'll probably add some more, as I find the sizes & shapes that work best! I generally eat out of bowls or medium plates, so got down a stack of larger cobalt blue glass plates to use as covers. (I found a few domed covers as well)

I began with the bottom shelf & drawers - first step was to get everything out! That shelf also holds jars containing oils (some flower infused) for making salves & lotions.
I love the big stem of Brussels sprouts - (middle of the photo) they keep well on the stem (& save our farmers a lot of work!)

Ugg - seems like the shelves always need a good scrub! Fortunatly, hot water, some baking soda & 'elbow grease' took care of the shelf grunge pretty quickly, & the glass shelves are easy to remove & clean. Now to reload! . . .

But those brussles sprouts - I popped them off the stem, . . . hmm, maybe I should make Rattatoui with some of the sweet potatoes (which DON'T want to be refrigerated, so I store them in a shoebox!)

That means I need to get out the nice wok I picked up as well - & note the lovely wooden spoon (Yew) from my friend & spoonmaker Peter - like the little 'tea spoons' that I eat with, this is a favorite! Peter & Lorraine have been cooking with one for about 20 years.

The onions & garlic also come from the CSA, they try to provide aliums weekly in some form. I haven't had a wok for awhile - always enjoyed that large surface for stirfrying! (& am happy it's steel - didn't want aluminum, or 'non-stick' coating)

I simmered the onion & garlic skins while sauteing the veg (in coconut oil, natch!) & poured a little liquid over the veg, & added some Italian herbs before returning them to the cassarole & putting them in the oven for ~ 1/2 hour.
Now, back to that fridge! . . . . . . .

TA DA!! OK, so the photo's grainy - but I now have the veg in glass bowls, only a couple of bags (celery root & a romanesco cauliflower) in one cripser drawer! Now on to the shelf above (some eggs, more oil, a few veg that are being consolidated, & the rattatoui is almost done! (added cauliflower, beet & carrot & baked ~ 10 min more)

Here's my bowl with the last of the rice n lentils from Tue in the bottom, the rattatoui, some quickly sauted chard, & a dolop of pesto, & cherve from one of the Playschool moms. I used a sprinkle of raspberry vinegar on the chard, which I sauted in the wok as the rattatoui was finishing. The spoon & chopsticks are from Peter, the bowl from a local potter.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weaving a Website - Tutorial

I spent much of Saturday at my office with a co-worker, then on my own, working on our website!

This fall we started using an on-line appointment booking system, & wanted to add a 'buy now' button for our gift certificate sales, since our long lasting SNOW put quite a damper on GC sales last winter!
It took awhile, since I hadn't added a button to the site, & the box showed up on the page with the html code - was that right?? But when we 'previewed in browser' - there it is!! YEA :) (I've added buttons on the blog, & the process was similar)
The only button options read 'book now,' & Steph needed to disable the customer booking feature, as we're still learning the system ourselves! She set up the on-line appointment service, I'd done most of the work on our website.

A couple of years ago, 3 of us attended a Chamber of Commerce sponsered 'webinar' - why you should have a website, & some 'tips' on making it work for you & your business.
There were, of course, a few 'professionals' offering their services, for a hefty fee! & Nan (we sublet from her) wanted to hire a 'site building' group, but it would be several months before the 'star' site-builders (& most expensive) were done working on sites for the Library & a local city - & all she wanted was a SIMPLE SITE.
At that time, all we had was info on one page hidden in the Doctor's site - inc. brief bios of Therapists who'd moved on a couple of years before. (His Home page didn't even have a link to the info about us, tho we'd sublet from him for ~ 20 years at that time!) I had a link to that PAGE on my site, & grumped about getting the info updated (& maybe mention of us on his 'home' page??)

I'd had my own website for several years at that point (OK, several!), & had built one using Yahoo Sitebuilder, where I'd registered the domaine names. Sue (who attended the webinar) offered to help, Nan signed up for Yahoo sitebuilder (in process of registering the domain name) & we went to work.

Sue hadn't worked with the site & didn't like the templates, but had used office programs, so helped get it going from 'scratch' (no templates for her!) - grumbling all the way!! She had taken lovely photos of our locations for an ad, & knew how to import those, & how to use grids . . . our receptionist worked for that premier site building group for awhile, & had some ideas (& is great at proofreading!) She 'sent' us the logo, & we added it as a banner.

So for several years, we've had a 'pretty plain' site, with a rather garish green background, the logo, photos of the offices (at first 3, then 2), only 4 pages. Rather boring - but up & running, & Nan was impressed. When a phone book 'ad gal' ran some searches, she was also impressed, since I'd used the 'properties' feature to add info on each page.

Steph has done all the work getting the on-line appointment system going, (did I mention she's half my age? & that I was the first of the therapists to get my sessions into the online system?? :) Nan began talking about hiring someone to 'spruce it up' - meanwhile, could we get a link for buying Gift Certificates on the site??

So in the AM, Steph & I, working on laptops, got it done! I looked through the templates, & found one with a banner with one of our Logo elements, & put the info on how to order a GC on-line on that page, linking it into the other pages.
In the afternoon, I went back to the clinic, & worked on it some more - ta da!! [yes! It still needs some editing, lol]
In about 2 1/2 hours I'd transfered the info from the 'old' site to the 'new' pages & cleaned it up a bit. Steph, meanwhile, spent some time looking the site over, getting ideas for consolidating the info, so we'll be tweeking it more before the ads run. & I'm going to be looking at other sites, deciding what to incorporate on wesite 'round 2.'

Do you have (or want to have) a website??

If you're blogging, you already have most of the skills you'd need to build your own! Sure, it wmight not be quite as 'showy' as it might be if you hired a professional site-builder! But . . . do you really need one? Either way, you need to determine what info you want on your site - your 'who, what, when & where' info!!

I enjoyed using Yahoo - but send me your prefrences!!

Here are some 'how to begin' thoughts-
a Tutorial on Weaving your own Website:
  • Choose a name for your site, & register your 'domain' (you may have a site available thru your e-mail provider - that's how I built my first site) & sign up for a hosting service (you may need help with this part - I have 'geeky' son & former hubby as my 'tech' guys!)
  • Check out other sites! Bookmark ones you like, & jot down ideas (on paper or in your 'office' prog) Ask friends to send you to their favorite sites. Check out the sites of other bloggers
  • Go thru the tutorial (if available) on your site-host
  • Go thru the templates & pick some you like - play with putting some basic info on different ones. The one I used for our site was listed as 'charities' & came with a blue or brown banner - I wouldn't have thought to look there, so be open to checking other categories than 'your' service!
    (I use 3 different templates on my site, one for each main category - harp, (music) wedding harp (flowery) & healing (yoga)
  • Write, write, write! Write about things you think you might want on your site! Think 'who, what, when & where' - what info do you want on your site?
  • Gather pictures! Use your camera, use your phone, look online . . .
  • REGOGNITION: If you have a logo, consider putting it on your site! We use our logo on each page, & the new banner I chose has one of the logo elements prominently displayed. If there's a key phrase, use that! Use this on all your business cards, flyers, website, business facebook page, etc
  • WHO: info about yourself, your training, your background ('about us')? You can have pictures here,
  • WHAT: There are two places for this - your HOME page ('index') is the first page people (usually) see - make it pop! Give a 'who, what, when, where' overview, then get to the details on the pages.
  • & WHAT services or products do you offer? What makes you stand out as unique? What is your special training? ('services')
  • WHERE are you located? Is yours a physical location, or are you set up for on-line orders? Do you have an Etsy shop, or do you want to sell through your site? ('location') This week I intend to put 'yahoo map' links on our 'locations' page.
  • WHEN: are you open for business? (we didn't put that info on our site, as we have two offices with different hours) When did you begin? How long did you train for what you do?
  • CONTACT: How do you wish to be contacted? We have our phone numbers & our physical addresses, & I put the City & State on each page, as well as in 'properties.' How many times have you gone to a website & found no info on where they're located? It doesn't matter if you merely provide services on-line - but if you have a physical location, put the city!! ('contact-us')
  • LINKS: These are certainly optional, but fun! I love to link within the page - & do that a lot on this blog! (like this one on the bennies of magnesium, which I also put on my personal website) If you refer to colleagues, you might put links to their pages. I have links to the gents who made my harps on my own website, & links to the the clinic website. Check to be sure your links work, & update them when you need to!
  • Networking systems like Facebook - you can have a 'business' page (I am working on Nan on this one - 'we could have a blog' 'we could have a business Facebook page' . . . ) I just found a friend request from a favorite Mineral Make-up business - YES!
  • PHOTOS: You can insert photos at any point - I took some clues from scrapbooking, & play with captions & background 'paper' (text boxes that I choose a background colour for, & place behind the photos with the 'arange' button.
  • UPDATE OFTEN: This was one of the 'hints' at the webinar - play with your site, add stuff, search it yourself!! Get your friends to search it - that brings it to the 'top' of the que when others are looking for it!! I have been bored with the clinic site for awhile, & felt I didn't have the freedom to play with it that I do with my 'own' site - so it was nice to hear 'we need to update it' . . . Even if you have someone else build your site, see if you can learn how to do updates yourself!! Get in the habit of checking your site monthly, & seeing if there's something you need to change or ad!
  • Your BLOG: is one possibility for updates - I notice more & more businesses have links to their blogs on their site.
  • WHAT'S NEW?: This is another optional page - & one where you can feature what's going on. Are you volunteering for an event? (We offer massage for an annual event, & donate Gift Certificates to fundraisers) Did someone join you? Do you have new items on Etsy? You can also Blog about these things!
  • TABS: I have my tabs on the side, & when I shifted the info to new pages, brought the site up & tested them out - a few linked to the old site (I'd used names like 'local2' for the new locations (local) page - & didn't get some of the new links in! Quick to change - but you need to do it!
  • The more smoothly your website flows, & the more attractive it is, the more fun it will be to list the address on your business cards, flyers, in your ads, etc :)
Last - have fun with it!! Please send me any links to your favorite sites!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Laughing all the Way - Joy Diet week 8

This summer a galfriend visited who is 'certified to teach Laughter Yoga' (how silly is that!?!) Folks all over the world are joyously engaged in this energizing activity.

She gave a brief history, then had us do various 'exercises' (mental & phys) to generate laughter, & commented that even 'fake' laughter generates the same lovely endorphins & other 'feel good' hormones!

Like several others, I rather skimmed the chapter, but found plenty of opportunities to smile & laugh. Today was a classroom day at 'playschool,' & I found myself popular with the kids (& fortunatly, my 4 yr old granddaughter was willing to share me!) a hand held here, a make-believe game or 'paint with me' = 'will you come put a puzzle together?' etc all morning.
At one point, one little girl began painting on the 'paint wall' (rather than on PAPER pinned TO the wall) & came to story circle with purple paint on her nose & chin!! Three little girls, inc my granddaughter, scrubbed the wall & paint tray with MANY towels & had a grand time doing it!

I've had a lovely music & dance filled week as well (square dancing with the gkids on Sat, a lovely concert Fri PM - Jamie Sieber on electric cello . . . dance classes, etc)

Peruse the other blogs for some fun videos, inc a 'candid camera' type bit at Starbucks!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dance n Play - Joy Diet week 7

I love to dance - have I mentioned that before?? (tee hee!)

Now part of the 'story' Beck asks us to rethink - my mama, who loved to swing, run, skip, swim, PLAY, had polio when she was 9, back in 1921. Her grandma Laura, who lived here in the valley, decided she needed 'state of the art' care, & brought her over to live & receive treatment at the Shriner's Hospital. Unfortunatly, at that time, 'treatment' involved a number of surgeries on her hips, knees & ankles, so she walked with braces, then crutches throughout her life (till @ 85, when she began using a wheel chair!)
Plucky lady, who came back home & rode her pony to the top of near by Black Butte, when her gal friends hiked it, camped, did crafts, kept her own home, went to secretarial school so she had a job during the depression, etc. But she couldn't easily skip or swing . . . while a classmate who also had polio recovered more 'naturally' (no surgery) became the 'star' basketball player in their HS! She was never bitter, but did 'wonder' if she might also have walked with a slight limp, & been more 'normal' with the family's 'natural healing ability!'

. . . I took piano lessons, but not dance growing up, did a bit of waltzing around the living room with my dad when we watched Lawrence Welch - & never good at ball sports, I 'hated' PE, & didn't think of myself as enjoying exercise.

In my late 20s, I went to the 'adult exercise class' taught by a world class ballet teacher with my sister-in law, & tho not dressed for it (I was in jeans!) took the class - & LOVED it!
I soon began commuting (an hour each way) to take class a couple of times a week, my hubby & kids joined me (My daughter went on to take a Dance Minor in college) & within a few years, we were actually GOOD at this dance stuff!!

I began taking Tai Chi a few years later when studying massage, as my mentor felt it was a good way to incorporate good body mechanics into my work, & also something I could teach at some point.

Dance - belly dance, ballroom, ecstatic (free form), jazzercise, hula, & most recently square & round dance are all fun ways for me to exercise & always put a smile on my face. All 3 granddaughters will perform in our studio's anual 'Nutcracker' this year, with the older two having 'special' roles! The youngest prefers free form, but 'needs' her grounding in ballet (which she enjoys at times)

So my week of 'play' included:
Sat: 'Mom's group' (social) Ballet, Trick or Treating with the in-town grandkids on Main Street, & a Halloween party with my friends (172 kids!) - & two of my friends made 'gluten-free' desert - apple pear crisp, & pumpkin roll!
Sun: Playing harp for a Harvest Festival our church sponsored (which inc G F chili, cornbread, & a repeat of the apple pear crisp)
Mon: Square & Round Dance lessons at the Grange
Tue: West Coast Swing class (1st in a series, & my first time with this dance) & picking up my veggie 'share' from my CSA
Wed: [Worked' at the Playschool the 4 year old attends - so playing with a group of 16 kids & 4 other adults - I taught one of the moms to Hula Hoop (she hadn't for years - & it's hard for folks to 'get' that we need to use the bigger, heavier hoops!) Sister Circle (in town 'Women's spirituality book group')
Thur: Water Aerobics, Sister Circle 'two' (just beginning, as the other's 'full'), watching the granddaughters rehearse for Nutcracker, & dinner with both my kids & the girls (# 1 & only grandson was home with his mom) - & the 4 year old was disappointed we didn't get to the Ecstatic Dance . . . so invited me for a sleep over :)
Today: This AM I'm checking out that Water Arthritis Class that I may help teach (didin't last week with sick grandbaby) there's a concert tonight at a friends country venue, with friends driving

- This was a pretty 'normal' week for play - so as others have mentioned, I already play a lot!!

Last night the youngest granddaughter invited me to cuddle with her/spend the night, & I was restless. Having seen mention of Tarot readings available thru a friend blogger's Etsy shop, began brainstorming on "what could I do??" & thought of some Astrology 'bite size' sessions, info on cycles that I find helpful, & some of my friend call occ & say 'could you give me that 'Pattern of Response' list again??' Or "could you help me with the Year at a Glance? Or 'tell me again about Chiron' . . .
My former hubby read charts so well, & I loved reading the books, looking at the chart, sharing my own insights - & over the years have done some mini-readings. Sooo . . . stay tuned!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Joyful Treats!

Play! What a delightful week's project. Most of my week has been spent with a sick granddaughter (now on the mend!) I didn't have any AM appointments this week, so was able to hang out with her. Fall here (Oregon) is full of wonderful colours, & last weekend I actually got some yardwork done! Cut the lavender, trimmed some blackberries, put brush on a pile for my son-in law & his dad to haul away.

As I look at other's lists & writing about 'treats,' I find resonance - my 3 granddaughters & lone grandson, bring me a lot of joy!
I began the week (last Fri) at a local boutique having a 30% off sale - I usually just buy a bit of jewelry or other small something there - found a georgeous, soft orange jumper, & melon coloured tank top that I got!! & just realized that's what I'll wear to my friend's Hallow's party tomorrow!

My wee dog Gracie always triggers a smile (unless she's swiping something she shouldn't have - why did she decide undies are a good chew toy??) & she's great at snuggling. I got her as a puppy, & she already lived with kids, so she's a Chihuahua who adores 'our grandbabies' :)

I love to dance, & have been taking a square dance class - this week was challanging (had I missed last Mon? I may have) - how can I remember 'scoot back' means go FOWARD & 'shake' your opposite's right hand?? Scoot BACK?? But it's so much fun, & it seemed like everyone was getting mixed up, & we'd have to stop, often with lots of laugher!

Fun seeing how many of us mention massage & pedis as favorite treats - since I 'do' massage, & LOVE them, too! & I was sched to receive this week, but needed to watch my granddaughter - so have that on my list (to sched with someone else, as that friend's way busy now) for next week!

I enjoyed Martha Beck's image of taking the 'detour' to the art store, & grabbing supplies right & left! Around the corner from my office there are both a knitting store & an art supply - I love going in either & feeling textures, seeing the range of colours & different 'treats' - wondering what I might do with this or that (esp if it's in the sale bin!) & a fabulous fabric store across the street. So I find myself 'detouring' often.

I remember my mother in-law grumbling at the mention, in one of her mags, someone objecting to smelling greasy fleece! If it's fresh, lanolin smells heavenly, & if there's some sheep s___, it's usually dried & pretty inoffensive - she had raised sheep, & loved the smell of lanolin. Horses smell good to me, & cats. Have you ever smelled an owl feather?? It must be the mice they eat that make owls & cats have similar fragrances!

I love the produce at our local grocery - esp the Organic & local, & picking up the veg of my CSA share. & finding recipes, from their newsletter, on-line & in books; with creative new ways to use them! A favorite simple treat is my coconut/cocoa powder/ carob mix that i usually snack on before bed (1-2 Tbsp, so about truffle size!)

The LIBRARY is the other direction from my office, a block to the West, & I made two trips this week - dropping off books, & picking up one I'd 'ordered' from our interlibrary system, a new mystery by Diane Wei Liang. I'd read her 'Eye of Jade' a week ago, then saw she had a second in the series. Next to that are the swimming pool & 'upper city park' with a great play structure, & lots of areas for a bit of Tai Chi - so my urge to move can be easily satisfied on a longer break.

Like Kathryn, I am mostly debt free (my house payment is less than most pay for rent, I pay my CC off monthly!) & also treat myself to handmade jewelry or bits of art (& like others, often find that getting something 'wee' satisfies the urge, & doesn't take a lot of space! I took a workshop in a favorite bodywork technique in early Sept, & am going to a friend's Hallows party tomorrow evening.

I take a candlelit bath with scented Epsom salts (essential oils) a couple of times a week, & burn candles when I play the harp, esp. on High Holy days (like Hallows). & light incense on one of my alters every few days - nag champa, sandelwood, copal, myrrh, rose, lavender, . . .

LeWenda shared her list, which included sevral of my favorites - the sight, sounds, smells of the sea! These on-line connections, & sweet comments; children's art, smiles & laughter; wild flowers, music (& making music) . . . .

Oooh - handmade pottery & wooden spoons are two of my almost unconscious every day treats! The cup in the last post is from a potter I took a workshop from last year - loved it - but wasn't sure what I wanted to make 'next' (did ornaments for my galfriends & a few dishes myself) & I ALWAYS eat breakfast with one of my wooden spoons, & choose the bowl.
Well, now I usually have a pumpkin smoothie, so use a handthrown 'goblet' & one of the spoons. My daughter & her hubby enjoy Fiesta Ware - in all it's cheerful colours, so have a 'rainbow' of plates, bowls & cups (the grands enjoy it when their plate matches someone elses' cup or bowl!)

I didn't do much with Divine Decadence - I find myself smiling a lot - that's one of the things that's been 'noticed' about me - I've even been told I smile 'TOO MUCH!" (by the abused daughter of restauranteers I worked for a coons age back) . . . & that's a hard one to turn about! What would one do, frown a lot?? I noticed years ago that some of my clients age 'happily,' & others always look gloomy - I'd rather have laugh lines!

Ooo, isn't that next? On to PLAY!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall soup & tea

Found a recipe for Wise Women's tea on another blog, & went out to the garden to gather some of the herbs (*), then to my cupboards -
1 part each:
Lemon balm *
Mugwort *
Rose hips
(she added sage, chaste berries (vitex) & horsetail)
cover with boiling water & steep 10 minutes, strain & add honey if desired. I love to use this handy little French Press, easy to just press & pour, & then top up with more hot water.

This week the littlest granddaughter's been home sick, so I've watched her till my first massage. Today she returned to playschool, & I'll be in the classroom with her on Fri. It's fun spending time with them, & I'm not looking forward to their (proposed) move across town. My daughter found another house today that reminds her of her *favorite* home - one she wished she could move lot & all from the smaller neighboring town! It's a bit less than the one they've been looking at, with a HUGE yard, & right across the street from the grade school the little one will prob attend!

She's been sewing Halloween costumes for the girls, & finished them - delightful 'flower fairie' garb. I'm invited to a Halloween party at my friend Nancy's, as she lives on a popular Holiday block, & always has lots of kids at her door. So she invites friends for a pot-luck & game time. I will prob make pumpkin soup - found a recipe in 'what to eat when You're Expecting' while looking up info on gestational diabetes for a friends daughter. I'll leave out the hazelnuts for the party, as my friend can't have tree nuts, & add Garam Masala spice mix.
(*Note, this book was written in the mid 80s, has some good tips & recipes, but isn't the 'latest word' in what to eat. They, like my daughter's European trained doctor, really promote eating many servings of veggies, few fruits, & little or no sugar - it's not 'gluten free' - but does have some good ideas & recipes!)

Hazelnut Pumpkin Soup (addapted from What to Eat When You're Expecting - a serving counts as 2 yellow veggies)
1 T coconut oil
1-2 leeks, well rinsed & slice the white base
1/2 onion
2-4 cloves chopped Garlic
1/2 C chopped hazelnuts
1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp (or more) Garam Masala or Pumpkin Pie spice
fresh ground pepper (a few grinds)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 chopped carrots
1-2 chopped sweet potatoes
1 # Pumpkin (I oven bake 1/2 big squash, or whole small squash for ~ 40 min)
4 C veggie stock
1/2 C coconut milk
Saute the onions & leek ends in Coconut oil till onion is transparent.
Add Garlic, & vinegar
Add chopped carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin puree (smash with a spoon, if you bake it yourself, or use tinned pumpkin) & cover with veggie stock & coconut milk, simmer ~ 10 min to blend flavors, adding soft part of leek tops toward end. Thin with a bit more stock if desired, garnish with parsley.
Can swirl a bit of coconut over the top for contrast.

I made some for my daughter's little family yesterday for lunch, & had to add som more pumpkin for dinner. I also sauted more onion & 4 or 5 button mushrooms (seasonal would be grand - say, chantrelles!). We have sweet potatoes & carrots from our market 'share,' & had a salad with the lovely fresh lettuce & arugula.
If you roast a fresh squash, do save & rinse the seeds, sprinkle with sea salt, & roast them as well (~ 20 min, check & stir occ)
I'm also making some Hummus using the recipe from Bob's Red Mill garbanzo (fava) bean flour! It's such an easy way to make hummus, which makes a great protien rich spread!

Hummus using Garbanzo Bean Flour
1 1/2 C water - boiling
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 C garbanzo flour - whisk into the water, & cook for 1 minute while stiring - then reduce to med low & cook 5 min., turn off

1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp salt
grind the cumin, seeds & salt in a seed grinder (electric 'coffee' mill reserved for seeds & herbs)
Stir into flour mix

2-4 Tbsp Stock (I make my own)
1/4 C sesame paste (tahini)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice or vinegar
2 cloves Garlic
- puree with garbanzo paste in food processor till smoothe.
- add salt & pepper to taste, place in jars or bowls & cover; let set at room temp for an hour for flavor to 'set' before refrigerating.
I'm going to add some of my squash puree to half the mix, as I have a LOT from the first 1/2 squash my gal friend dropped by!

Ooo - I just noticed my Myer lemons are ripening - so I can use 'fresh lemon juice' in the hummus!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Book & more books

Today was GORGEOUS; I spent much of it outside, doing some pruning & fall cleaning. Then going thru my blog roll, to do some pruning of inactive blogs, I stopped by some I LOVE, but hadn't visited for quite awhile.
I found this set of questions about reading habits & books over @ Serena's, & snagged it from her (she'd picked it up from Jennifer, invited us to play if we wanted! The quote above is a wee hand bound booklet, made by a local bookbinder/artist. It's tucked to the L of the blue books on the top shelf of the photo at the bottom of the blog (did you follow that??) cunningly placed on top of some of the apron 'pieces'

On to the questions:

Do you snack while you read? I often eat a meal with book in hand. I try not to get food on the book, though, & use cloth napkins.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read them, or does the idea of writing on your books horrify you? I do with some of my book group books - usually just star a passage (in pencil!) or maybe write a few words. I rarely highlight, but sometimes did in college. Oh, & then there are things I disagree with - I may note my opinion (even in a Library book, shame!)

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog ears? Leaving the book open flat? Usually a bookmark but, if I don't have a bookmark readily available, I will use scrap paper, gift cards, business cards, a bit of fabric, piece of yarn, & occ. leave it open ..... I'm definitely not one for dog-earing a book.

Fiction, Non-Fiction or both? Both. I adore non-fiction books on metaphysics, esoteric, self-help, nutrition, spirituality (inc. several compilations of prayers, & books on various traditions: Wicca, Buddhism, several Bibles, the tall old book on this tall living room shelf is Unity's 'Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, pub in 1931 that belonged to former hubby's grandmother), also Native American & NW history, & autobiographies or personalized non-fiction. I want to know something about the real person who wrote for me.
I also adore fiction - so many kinds! Fantasy, (I ordered Lord of the Rings while I was in HS) historic fiction, young adult books, mysteries - esp ones that somehow tap real events or issues (Barbara Coel - Arapaho, Rhys Bowen - Molly Murphy (turn of the century Irish detective) Alexander McCall Smith, etc), Mary Stewart, & anything by Barbara Kingsolver or Ursula LeGuin (whom I've seen/heard 3 times) & local authors! & if there's a harper in a book, so much the better! I'm always on the lookout for new books (or series!) about harps & harpers . . .
My friend Ellie Gunn just finished her first book, about a Scottish midwife during the time of the Highland clearances, One Handful of Earth. Well worth a read!
I love meeting authors, & hearing them read their own work. Our local bookstore (which sells new & used) does a great job with having several authors speak each month.

& then there are all those necessary reference books: HERBs, gardening, Astrology, flower essences, cookbooks, natural health, I Ching & Tarot, relationship, astrology, Feng Shui, Tai Chi, Reiki; & the music books (mostly harp, but some piano, some seasonal, & of course a dictionary & thesarus.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point? I usually read to the end of chapters, but can put it down if I need to. & I can find my place fairly quickly, if I haven't marked it.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
Rarely - I generally get meaning from the context of the words around it. I may look it up later.
An aside: I'm dyslexic, but it mostly shows up in spelling, as my vocabulary is quite large, & if I know a word, I recognize it. I will often mispronounce a longer or unusual proper name, & have to make myself break it down & sound it out. I never 'knew,' until we tagged my daughter in about the 7th grade! I tend to scramble letters at the end of a word I don't know, & spell MUCH BETTER with a keyboard than I ever did with just a typewriter. I do appreciate spell check, but don't often use it (love that backspace key!) & I can text :)

What are you currently reading? I just finished 'Eye of Jade' - a poignant new mystery by Diane Wei Liang, who was in a Chinese labor camp (as a child!) during the cultural revolution. There were some of those - oh! I know what that means - words, & I would be delighted by images - old men with bird cages joining the AM Tai Chi (a friend who teaches tai chi & visited China described seeing those gentlemen SWINGING their bird cages!) & Roger Zelazny's book two of '9 Princes in Amber' series (sporadically)
My book club books: 'My Stroke of Insight' (Jill Bolte Taylor) 'the Joy Diet' (on-line group). Third Street books gives me their 10% Book club discount for the on-line group, too!

What is the last book you bought? A dear little book on Buddhism for 50c - from the 'Friends of the Library' rack in our Library lobby. (a librarian friend commented on 'feeding' OUR book habits, & 'maybe we should sell bookshelves, too?' That evening my son-in law was asking my daughter if they could give one of the girls' bookshelves to one of his employees - my dau & I said "NO!!!" in unison!)
I have to watch my book buying, Powells on-line (free shipping with $50 order!) & Amazon are particularly addictive. I'm working on clearing clutter (get rid of any books??) & paring down . . . do I really need more books?

Are you the type of person who can only read one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time? I usually have at least two or three books on the go.

Do you prefer series or stand alone books? I enjoy both. I love some of the mystery series, Carey's Kushiel series, Roger Zelazny's Amber, Gael Baudino's Strands, the Lord of the Rings, C S Lewis' Narnia, George McDonald's Princess books, Earthsea, Harry Potter (variations on the same theme, by the way - the education of a young wizard), Charles de Lint . . .
There are some authors that I find redundant, so one or two of their books are more than enough!

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over? I often recommend something I've just read & enjoyed! If folks play the harp, I recommend Gael Baudino, (esp. 'Gossamer Axe') for her sense of magic & music is unparalleled! & Porter's 'Just David' is such a classic! (she wrote Pollyanna - this is equally poignant & sweet - David plays the violin!) & for those ready for some life changing info - Bruce Fife's 'The Coconut Oil Miracle.'

Do you have a library card, & lend or borrow books? Oh, yes! I went with my mom regularly when I was a child, studied in the library in college, & had town & college library cards several times!
My mom often said we came from a line of 'teachers, preachers & farmers' - she could remember her dad reading 'GWTW' (Gone with the wind) when it first came out, sitting in a rocking chair with the tears running down his face!
I work just across the street from our library - so usually have 4-10 or so checked out at a time (3 weeks, & I can renew online) Eye of Jade is a library book.
I also borrow books from friends, & lend some books out. I occ. get more than one copy of a book, or have to replace one that's been lent. When I teach Reiki, I take a stack of books for folks to choose from, & usually get them back :)

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?) Hmm - organize??
Well, I group some books by size (height of book & shelf) if they're large they have to be on a taller shelf, (or flat or on their sides) & if they're tiny, they can fit on a very short one. I do have themes & group things, but some fiction is mixed with non-fiction; & there are never enough shelves, & some are in the garage . . . (as are some of my daughter's books, hence her dismay at the thought of having one less shelf)
I am a Virgo & do pretty much know what's where - but it's not a system anyone else would necessarily understand!
I immediately thought of the time 'Monni' was cleaning & organized my mother-in law Dordy's books by colour - Dordy was appalled - & I think it took quite awhile for her to find anything!
The top shelf has a couple of books by Matthew Fox & one by Thich Nhat Hanh, a couple on cleaning & organization, then a bunch of cook books & ah herb ref. book. The one with the (torn) green dust jacket on the lower shelf, Oregon Geographic Names, has a blurb about my grandpa & his E. Oregon farm. Quite a hodge-podge on that shelf, N A art, flower essences, a Japanese fold book, several on healing, the tall ones on end . . .

-- this was fun! I do love books & reading.
I grew up on books, & library card from a young age. Recently Kayleen (4) & I were looking at 'Winnie The Pooh' which I'd drawn in (orange crayon) before I was three. My mama cried, as I'd just gotten the 4 book set in hardback - one of the few 'nice' books I owned! I hid behind the couch to do the drawing, . . . Kayleen was impressed!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Risky Business - diet of joy

MMMM risk!
I finally 'caught up' & read this chapter right away, then didn't think about it a lot during the week . . .
But when I reviewed the week, a couple of opportunities have presented themselves, related to some of the things I've thought of doing.

I take Deep Water Aerobics sporadically at our local pool, & several times over the last year have had mini-conversations with one of the teachers (Pool manager?) Rob, who knows I teach Tai Chi, & asked if I were interested, maybe, in teaching for them? One of the slower classes? But I might need to get certified in teaching water classes . . . & I 'should' talk to Jason sometime.
I pursued it a bit, talked to them both in the coffee shop (casually) after class one time. Looked online & saw that there are occasional classes for teachers at a water center ~ an hour away.
So on Tue the other teacher, Jason, brought it up again, & INVITED me to come observe (participate in?) the Arthritis class that meets M, W & F mornings, & perhaps I'd be interested in teaching that class? YES!
I couldn't go Wed, as I was at the Playschool, & today was sched for an 11 AM massage - but the client's kids are sick, so I marked off to visit this morning! I may still need training for water classes. I've taught Tai Chi since the early 90s, but find it challenging to self-promote, so this would be awesome. Esp. if I'm part of a teacher 'bank,' so I don't have the responsibility of being there EVERY time.

The second unexpected opportunity came when one of teachers at a local Yoga school called, & asked if I'd be 'interested' in playing the harp for a Sun afternoon Yoga workshop? I met with her & the co-teacher last night, to work out details & plan a Sat 'intro' in a few weeks.
I love co-facilitation, & have 'put out' that I'd enjoy doing that with the harp, providing music for workshops. So here's the opportunity! I've also been interested in teaching some Tai Chi (or having the Breema folks come for a workshop) in that studio, & have done a few 'baby steps' in that direction.

You probably noticed, I like my 'risks' to come to me!! Oh, don't get me wrong - I am willing to step out there, too - but find that being in the flow works best.

When I decided I'd like to move to Breitenbush, I began doing some fill-in (& helped develop that program) for the massage team. I remember the founder & manager meeting with me (& my boyfriend, already a resident) & asking if I were serious about wanting to move there (I must have already put in my app. for Healing Arts), if I was, they wouldn't advertise out of house . . . then one of the team members asked if I'd like to fill-in for her the month before my start date, & if I'd like to be her housemate?
I filled in, & when she returned from vacation, she'd decided it was time to leave, so I was 'senior householder' in a two person (with kitchen & bathroom!) house, my second 'full-time' month! (Many new hires go through their first summer in a platform tent, or in a less 'cushy' space)

So, risk!! I'll keep you posted :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kick Depression!

Here's the post I wrote on Magnesium - took a few days to finish, but I began it before the Joy Diet post on creativity, so it shows up below the other!

Bottom line - most men & women in the US (& prob other 'developed' countries are low on Magnesium - women typically get half the daily requirement, & men a bit more! It's crucial for many functions (more than 325) & deficiency is linked to MANY disorders!

& supplements are pretty inexpensive, esp. considering how many benefits there are to receiving adequate amounts!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Joyful Creation - Joy Diet

This week our 'diet of Joy' took us into an exploration (creatively) of our desires.

As 'Her Grace' wrote, "I chose to act on a small desire: drinking a particular flavor of tea, dancing in the kitchen, . . . " For me it was playing with a pattern & sewing an apron, 'sitting' in the morning with sick granddaughters, picking up my CSA weekly 'share,' making a delicious Pumpkin Smoothie & more roasted Broccoli soup, playing harp for my first Taizé service (contemplative, lots of candles, brief prayers) . . . 'being' attentive to the moment.

I journaled a bit, & yes, made lists, did Self-Reiki, washed a few dishes, swept the kitchen, . . .

Several of my burning desires were related to creativity, & working on the apron, changing the pattern a bit, & buying a fun apron book felt like a beginning there. I've also been thinking about health/immunity, etc; which are definatly a passion. & think of training I'd like to finish (Breema certification, perhaps a beginning Sacral-Cranial class)

Today at my 'Bodaceous Babes' Red hat luncheon, one of the other women, very enthusiastically, mentioned how excited she has been to learn about the benefits of coconut oil as a preventative/cure for Altzheimer's!! I followed up her comments - & the other gals were LISTENING & interested! Reversing Altzh.?? Just coconut oil?? She also had encountered Mary Newport's work with her husband, Steve, & also has dementia in her family, so would enjoy avoiding it. At least one seemed ready to go buy some, & begin using it!

Kara wrote about sometimes being 'too wordy' & that's something I struggle with - 'do you want the 50 c or the 5 $ answer?' I sometimes ask someone who's asked me for info. I've worked on 'not casting pearls before swine,' & focusing on sharing info with those who are truely interested, in a way that they can relate to.

With Chiron & Ceres, the wounded healer & nurturer, in my 3rd house of communication, part of my spiritual gift is to do with communicating & sharing 'nurturing' information! As a Virgo (sun), that's often about health & healing.

My daughter teases that she'll make me a shirt that says "ASK ME ABOUT ___" but which passion should we put?? Hmmm - maybe something like a dry erase board on a shirt - so I could write in what I'm currently studying!

Today my daughter visited her Nutritionally minded MD, & when she asked whether he advised getting the Swine Flu vaccine, (I've never gotten a flu vac., hoped she & her girls wouldn't) he referred her to Dr Mercola's website, & "educate yourself . . . "

I just laughed when she said that!! OK, I knew immediatly he didn't think she should get the vaccine!! We watched the 4 part video on the site, featuring MD Russell Blaylock,& by the end, she'd decided AGAINST getting vaccinated or having her daughters (4 & 9) vaccinated! Dangers include hightened risk of developing degenerative diseases inc. MS, rhumatoid arthritis, & Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), which could be triggered by recieving the vaccine.

One of the suggestions (more on this in my next blog - + info on upping your Magnesium intake - stay tuned!) Dr Mercola makes: Optimize your vitamin D levels. "As I've previously reported, optimizing your Vitamin D-3 levels is one of the best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, & Vitamin D deficiency is likely the TRUE cuplrit behind the seasonality of the flu -- not the flu virus itself."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall n Winter Blues - Magnesium to the rescue!

Do you get enough Magnesium?? If you're a woman in the US, you most likely receive only HALF of the body's requirements daily from supplements & food! (daily requirement is between 500 & 700 mg/per day - see formula below for calculating your 'ideal' amount!)

Last Wed. a client who's dealing with foot pain (plantar fascitis) was in for her weekly massage, & at the end of our session, I asked how much Magnesium she takes. Well, some - a multi, so she's getting ~ 200 mg (each) of Ca & Mag a day (we checked the label, & she takes 4 rather than 6), plus whatever she receives from food. (The current 'RDA' is 400 mg/day for adults) YIKES!!

I suggested she check with her doc (one of the NDs) about taking more! Ironically, my client also has fibromyalgia, which is often linked with low Mag. levels, & 15 years ago, a DC in Salem recommended all his fibro. clients take more magnesium - why hasn't our doc, a Naturopath, suggested she take more? (she knew he'd be peeved that she's only been taking 4 of the multi . . . she's begun taking all 6, & will ask at her apt this week. Did he mention it before, & it just never registered?)

Meanwhile, I picked up a Cal mag citrate 'effervescent powder (500 mg C, 500 mg Ca, 200 mg Mag) & extra Magnesium in cap. form (150 mg) for a whopping $13 & $11 (before my ~ 40% employee discount!) So, like the Vit D, it's relatively inexpensive - & so worth it!
In our office, D-3 runs $8 for 1000 IU, $13 for 5000 IU - & many docs are now doing the bloodwork to determine the amount you need - minimum of 800 IU of D is recommended for most adults in the NW as we go into winter! (up from the old dose of 400 IU for adults) & many folks take 2000-5000 daily, after having the bloodwork done!

That evening at my
women's book group, a couple of gals mentioned beginning to feel the fall & winter *blues* nagging at them, so the next day I poked around for magnesium recommendations, & found this article on Magnesium by a woman whose doc prescribed Cal/Vit D-3, & 'mentioned' she 'probably' need more magnesium -

She writes that she didn't get the Magnesium, as her doc just said 'probably' - but after reading about it potentially helping menopausal gals & trying some, her energy IMMEDIATELY increased: "Within 24 hours, I began to feel better, and my energy level was much higher. I figured at that time that it was just a coincidence, because the sun had been shining a lot, and that always makes me feel better, too."
She goes on to say she continued to feel "
more energetic, and way less depressed" even on cloudy days!

Over the years I've seen client after client benefit from upping their magnesium levels, & an MT writing for one of our massage mags estimates ~ 80% of Americans are low on this precious mineral, due to mineral depletion of soil,
& our current diets.

Magnesium helps make leaves green, as Iron makes our blood red! Think leafy greens - DARK leafy greens (dandelion, nettle, kale), chocolate, (mmm), whole grains & beans - but if mag isn't added to the soil (or the nettles etc. wildcrafted from healthy soil) there's less & less available. In addition, the potassium & phosphate fertilizers used in 'conventional farming' also interfere with uptake! (another reason for eating as much local OG food as possible! They are likely to provide more nutrients!)

A blood test won't reveal mag. deficiency, as the Ca/Mag ratio is always the same (2:1) in the blood. Symptoms of deficiency include: muscle twitches & cramps, restless legs, bone spurs, tight muscles, hard stools; here's a list of issues assoc. with low mag. levels (inc. celiac disease, aging, PMS & menopause, chronic diseases, etc!!)

I found a great article by a nutritionist also talks about why we aren't (typically) getting enough, & how to determine a level for yourself. Well worth checking out!

Magnesium plays an important role 325+ biochemical reactions in the human body, including the transmission of hormones (such as insulin, thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, DHEA, etc.), neurotransmitters (such as dopamine, catecholamines, serotonin, GABA, etc.), and minerals and mineral electrolytes. It also protects the cells from heavy metals, & protects the brain from Altzheimer's & Parkinson's!

Do you begin to see the importance of this essential nutrient?

I'm excited to find Krispin - She's written several books, inc: "Naked at Noon, Understanding the Importance of Sunlight & Vitamin D." Born in 1946, Krispin has been studying nutrition all her adult life, & articulately shares her info!

Krispin offers a formula for calculating the amount of Magnesium you need, based on weight: 5 - 10 mg per day per kilo of ideal body weight, or 2.5 - 4.5 mg per day per pound of ideal body weight.

To compensate for deficiencies and/or losses the new RDA is expected to be 500 mg. per day. My Krispin-RDA is a total of 500-700 mg magnesium daily. (the current RDA is 350 mg)

Determination of optimal amounts must take into consideration both body size and activity level. Magnesium is a key component of the ATP cycle in the cell which produces all energy.

Example: 70 kilos or 150 pounds= 350 mg. to 700 mg. daily.

So think about your consumption of organic & wildcrafted leafy greens, & check your supplement bottles - if you're taking more Ca. than Mag, try upping the Mag a bit. I like to use 150-200 mg caps (power inside) & a citrate or malate form, & take one or two a day, in addition to my multi.

Krispin offers suggestions on the most bio-available forms, & suggests folks experiment with timing, spreading your doses throughout the day. (some find that Mag gives them too much energy if taken before bed, for others, it helps bring sleep!)
Some docs & nutritionists feel we should get = amounts of Ca & Mag, others feel the ration should be slightly higher in Mag, & you may need to try different forms to find what works best for you!

Krispin writes:
"In a recent study analyzing the diet of 564 adult Americans, both male and female, the average intake of magnesium was less than two-thirds of the RDA for men and less than 50% of the RDA for women. This means that men, on average, are getting under 200 mg. magnesium daily and women get under 150 mg. per day. When you take into consideration the current RDA is less than half of the probable adequate amount of magnesium (required) you begin to see the scope of the deficiency problem."

At 142mg, (plus what's in her food) my client with fibro & foot pain currently is one of those women receiving about half of the RDA, & by this calculation, could take 4 or 5 X the amount she does currently, & will probably begin feeling less sore!

Another regular client mentioned she's going to have heart surgery 'soon,' as she has calcification in the heart (aorta?) . . . when I asked about her magnesium intake, she commented that she 'used to take it, but haven't for awhile.' I suggested she start taking it again! My daughter's nutritionally oriented MD recommends a higher level of Mag. for his patients, who rarely experience heart attacks or strokes. & when on-call at the Hospital, he would add Mag to the IVs of heart & stroke patients.

Like Krispin, I'm not a doctor! Please check the info out for yourself!

As a massage therapist, I've seen many clients respond favorably to increasing their
Magnesium intake, often within the first week; & feel most, if not all, of my clients could use more!

Epsom salts (Mag sulfate) in the bath are one way to ease sore muscles, I often recommend that following a massage, or between sessions! My mom & grandma put Epsom salts in a foot bath (dish pan) with water as hot as you can stand, whenever I felt 'punky' as a kid. Now I add essential oils (rose geranium, clary sage, lavender) to a jar of Epsom salts, & these enhance the relaxation.

& if Magnesium helps stave off that winter depression (yes, I took mine this AM :) . . .

On another note, for anyone who's feeling an urge for a spot of fall cleaning, 'things fly-lady's taught me' gives
an excellent overview of one blogger's adaptation of fly-lady's great tips for restoring order to our homes!