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!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Creamy Broccoli Soup

A long time family favorite has been a visit to the 'Sage' Restaurant for fresh bread & their signature 'Creamy Broccoli Soup.'
Since she was little, my 9 year old granddaughter has asked to go to the Sage for soup. Since going gluten free this summer, we haven't gone there, though we could still have one of their awesome salads, or a soup made without flour to thicken it. (& no bread - sniff!) We have the recipe, which includes grated cabbage & carrots, plus a 'rouix' made with milk & wheat flour.

Last week's CSA share included 3 heads of Broccoli & one of cauliflower - & a suggestion from 'one of last years subscribers for broccoli/cauliflower soup: 'Chop up broccoli and/or cauliflower (and possible some onions and/or garlic) and toss evenly with oil. Roast at 400° until tender. Meanwhile, heat up some good quality broth (we use homemade chicken stock) on the stove. Add the roasted broccoli/cauliflower to the soup pot and simmer for a few minutes. Transfer about half the soup to a blender and blend smooth. Return to the pot and also stir in some grated cheddar cheese and/or cream. Salt and pepper to taste and serve hot with crusty bread. Easy, warming, and delicious!"

Can I just say yum??

This recipe is open to interpretation - I usually make my own broth by simmering trimmings (onion & garlic skins & ends, carrot tops, pepper & tomatoe ends, aspargus, mushrooms, etc) that I've stored in the freezer (keeps them from getting slimy in the veggie drawer!) for ~ 20 minutes while chopping the cauliflower & etc.
I don't add cole (cabbage, broccoli, etc) crop trimmings to stock - tends to make it too strong.
I do add a piece of Kombu (kelp) a bay leaf & fresh or dried herbs. Cheese can be added (or not) at the time of serving - I don't add it to the 'basic soup.'
I use coconut oil to spoon over the veggies, & I used that hot oven to roast a delicata squash & a beet or two (seperate pans) at the same time. I could see doing a beet soup using the roasted beets.

I added a grated carrot to that first soup; a sweet potato & about 1/4 of a small squash to the second batch. I chop the pieces of broccoli & cauliflower left whole pretty small, as that's a feature of the Sage version. That recipe also calls for Lowery seasoned salt (gluten & colour free, so my daughter has a jar), or I've used Hawaiian Alaea salt.

This makes a lovely curry as well - I add coconut milk to the blended soup, & a bit of curry paste (gluten free :) when I'm reheating a bit. Today I heated & curried some for lunch, adding squash slices, fresh red pepper, beet tops, fresh (uncooked) garlic, & a sprinkle of kelp.

This week our share included a fat cabbage & exotic broccolini or some such - doesn't it look too pretty to cook!!

Over on Suzie's blog she raises the question 'what is homemade?' - I tend to do a lot 'from scratch' - but like her sense of food made in your kitchen with love & care!

A friend who's Choktaw, Cherokee & Celtic (Welsh) told me her mom & aunties always sang while cooking, & chased her out of the kitchen when she was in a bad mood! I love that image, & remind myself to sing more when I'm cooking!

While blogging around, I found this delightful idea for a pumpkin smoothie!!
Oh my!
Pumpkin Smoothie* (* recipe from Chris Freytag, via 'journey to fitville)

½ cup canned pumpkin

1 small container Greek yogurt (1/4- 1/2 C)
Approximately 1 Tbsp agave syrup
Dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

6 oz (3/4 cup) almond milk
6-8 ice cubes

I made this a couple of times yesterday, scooping out pieces of the delicata Squash I'd baked the other day, & my favorite 'Greek Gods' Yogurt! Last night, I added ~ 1/4 C frozen blueberries - & it still tasted GREAT, plus having more antioxidents. Lee added a 'scoop of french vanilla whey protein,' & I tried that in the second batch.
I am going to experiment with sweet potatoes, as I have some of those from my share. I enjoyed this, as I love pumpkin/squash etc, but don't really care for the sweetness of pumpkin pie. This was just right!

& looking for a beet soup recipe, found one in The Sustainable Kitchen that calls for rhubarb! That would be good for a spring soup, thought of trying it with cranberries for the fall!
It calls for roasted beets, rhubarb, onion, garlic, ginger, 1/2 c red wine plus a bit of balsamic vinegar, stock & a bay leaf. It's heated & blended, with some of the beets cut into match sized slivers for garnish.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wings of Desire

Reading this week's chapter on Desire, I thought of several things.
Living 'on my own' with dog (& occasional visits from my grandkids & my daughter's cats) I am free to do/ be/ play/ read . . . as I please - with of course, breaks for work & other responsibilities.

My Nothing time is often spent doing self-Reiki & my favorite Chakra Chants. I follow that with a tune-up for my land.

I desire to include more creativity in my life! This week I took my granddaughters to 'estatic dance' at the college, attended a benefit dance, & took ballet this morning. It's also 'Art Harvest' tour time, where local artists open their homes & studios to the public, for a basic $5- fee.

I went 'touring' with several gal-friends last Sunday, & today took my granddaughters to 2 studios, inc. 'cousin Wendy's' (her coloured pencil drawing of squash appears on this year's cover)
Each fall I think how fun it would be to be one of the featured artists - & vow to do more 'art' over the coming year . . .

So among my desires - to actualize that wish to be more active with visual arts, to move toward a more spacious & gracious home (fine tune what I have, clear more clutter, organize art & craft areas) & to continue dancing more! Syncronously, the next item on our 'diet of joy' is an exploration of creativity.

The other desire that arose this week - persuing training in a couple of forms of bodywork - certification in one, & beginning to explore a second that's 'come up' several times this week. I have a list of things I've begun that I could complete, or intend to persue - I'm engaged in refining that list, & seeing 'what's next' with a couple.

What desires are tickling your fancy this week?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Joy Diet - Truth Dance

On Friday my book arrived at the bookstore, at the 10% discount price they generously offer for 'book club' books. I'm part of a 'women's spirituality' book group that meets weekly, & asked if I could receive the same discount for an on-line group, back when we were 'doing' the 12 Secrets.

I'm still working on getting 15 minutes of 'do nothing, & thinking about Truth as I read the first couple of chapters. One of my galfriends commented that some of her best 'do nothing' time takes place in a bath - oh yes!!

I love baths! I light a couple of candles (in a wall sconce), turn off the overhead, turn on the sink faucet for a couple of minutes to warm the water, do a bit of a Japanese 'rinse' in with the shower, then flip the stopper lever, pour in some epsom salts, & soak!!

I know some folks prefer showers, & I enjoy the connivance of rinsing off first - but give me a bath any day!! When I moved to the coast from Breitenbush in the mid 90s, the wee duplex had a shower in each section, but no tubs!! Fortunately, there was an electric sauna, & I regularly cranked it up, put on a CD with Cherokee chants, & steamed. So my friend's insight about nothing being 'easy - just get in the water' was delightful!

I've noticed several comments about movement arising with Truth - several people talking about loving dancing, & getting past negative self talk to get out on the floor & move! I, too, find dance takes me home in many ways. Since my mom had polio at 9, I realized that my whole gestation & early patterning had an awkward overlay. She walked with crutches, for balance, & which gave her an unsteady gait. We camped a lot, she loved to read & do crafts - sitting ocupations. Bird watching was another love, & she was sad when she saw birds 'constrained' by aviaries - was it a reminder of her own constraints?

I hated 'ball sports' & PE - but loved paper dolls, & had several ballet dancers among them. What a treat, in my 20s, to discover a world class teacher & studio in my in-laws' home town! We commuted, both visting family & taking several classes a week, moving here after 4 years. & it took a few more till my lower body 'caught up' with the grace of my upper body.

Along with massage, I studied Tai chi, another 'graceful' form. People see me as a dancer & graceful - something I didn't dream of in my awkward, shy teen years! This was another aid in reframing my 'story' - becoming more authentic.

Another piece of the story - having older parents & being an 'only' child; much of my childhood was spent with adults, much reading or doing crafts. Having a mother on crutches, I probably did less around the house than some of my contemporaries, as my mom had been brought up with a 'I can do it myself' attitude!! I did help scrub cupboards, traded off with the dishtowel (with my dad, mom always washed) & brought clothes in from the line.

So though attuned to service with my healing practice, I also respect & encourage independence & follow through on the part of my clients. I find myself impatient with negative self-talk & affirmations - those stories we tell ourselves: "Oh, after 40, you just don't heal like you did at 25 or 30!" "I'll never ____ " "People can't ___" . . .
I often invite reframing, & remind myself of that as well.

I see all healing as self healing, & encourage people to seek options (usually 'natural health' oriented!) Flower essences & Reiki are two ways I touch bases with reframing stories, both my own, & those of other beings.