Monday, January 25, 2010

TIGERS & Chariots

After a lovely lunch with my dear daughter Mary (Thai) I came home to concoct a salad with greens from our Sat. Market & roots from the CSA share, & from my yard, this little pile of Chickweed (Stelleria media) & yarrow. With a light sprinkling of raspberry vinegar & my (wamred up) olive/coconut oil & balsamic vinegar this was just what I needed! Susun Weed is a great fan of Chickweed, & it's a sweet, mild green - if you've never tried it, it's a great winter salad green.

This post on simple & frugal fare is inspiring - I'm also a fan of raw (GF) rolled oats!! & salads . . . . green smoothie girl offers lots of suggestions for the dinner Arlene suggests. & if you ever think your home is small, check out their 'mini-moblie' cottage!! Less tahn 200 sq. feet!! The single-wide I lived in for several years, at over 400 sq. feet was HUGE! & my 950 foot home is a castle!

In a few weeks it will be the Chinese New Year, & the year of the Tiger! I'm a metal tiger, & will turn 60 this fall, so am looking forward to this year. It already feels exciting, intriguing, fresh & happy. My friend Gwynne, who is a Feng Shui practitioner, is offering a FREE confrence call this Thur, Jan 28, offering tips for welcoming the year &

***Astrological forecasts for a Metal Tiger year
***Predictions for the year by Feng Shui Grandmasters from Taiwan, China, Malaysia, and Singapore

***Simple, fun and inexpensive ways to prepare your home and business for the Chinese New Year
*** How important it

is this year to use Feng Shui to rock the Tiger energies with my forthcoming “Chinese New Year Party and Rituals in a Box” and “Golden: Year of the Metal Tiger” live events
Just click on this link to register for the free call!

I've begun driving my daughter's last car, as she & her hubby inherited a newer Nissan from his grandparents in the spring. I had my dad's '91 Chevy Lumina (Bluebird) since his transition in the early 90s, & it's been good to me. I've passed it on to friends who were in need of another vehicle, so this 'loop' feels good.

'Aurora' is a '99 Mercury Sable wagon - great for hauling harps n grandkids; a bit bigger than I'd thought my 'next' car would be - but a great price (free!!) & newer. I took 'her' in for an oil change (with the mechanic that's worked on her for my daughter), & had a tune-up a s well; next new tires.
I tend to balk at driving a car I haven't driven before, but am enjoying the shift. She's a long car, & the grandkids LOVE riding on the bench seat in the very back! Took all 4 of them to S. School & then out to lunch on the weekend, & no one was crouded!

I've been working on rearranging my living room, & attacking the clutte r (yet again!), & Gwynne suggests that as the first step in preparing for a new year - clear the decks. The new arrangement of the L room feels good - I've moved the couch away from the wa ll, & made a 'cozy nook' for reading/knitting by my lovely Tiffany style lamp.

I need to rearrange the rest of the room, & think about having the piano tuned . . . .

OK - time to head to work!!
What are you working on??

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Isn't this a fun word?? I discovered 'rangooli' over at voyages d'iles, voyage d'elle basically, what I'd call 'doodling'
I have doodled off & on for years - esp in school, as I am one who learns better if my hands are occupied! My kids remember me on the phone in one small house, sketching a 'blue onion' dish pattern around the door & on the walls - I'd fill in with blue paint later. Like now, the rest of the house was in piles & stacks . . .

Do you fill notbooks, edges of programs & other such with rangooli??

Or 'journal' in circles & spirals at times?? A friend who taught journaling in the 80s sugg. playing with what you put on a page, & how - change it around - play with it! Notice how it affects your writing - does taking a different 'route' change what you write?
And for all you Gluten Free (or want to be) folks who've missed GRAHAM CRACKERS - go check out G F Girl's recipe!!! SUPER YUM!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Square through four

New Moon yesterday - how the year is flying! Molly offers some great tips on Clearing while you're cleaning - great to combine with New Moon (Would be easier if I could find my floor, lol!! But I am making progress & want to implement some of these ideas!)

I've been doing Lots of dancing - ballet, ecstatic, & I finished the 'basic' Square dance lessons on Monday! Our class 'graduates' this Saturday - & I feel much more 'at home' with the calls! One of my best friends through grade & High School & my college roommate both took up Square dancing in the late 70s, when I began studying Ballet. My roommate became one of the few female callers, & called for several clubs over the years. She's now 'retired' from calling, but still dances.
For about 15 years I took ballet classes several times a week, did some point work (beginning that when I was in my mid 30s!), was in performances with our local studio, & enjoyed it immensely. For awhile, the whole family took ballet, & this last winter, all my grandkids (& my son & dau-in law) performed in the Nutcracker.
Over the years, I added other dance forms - belly dance, Ecstatic (free form), Dances of Universal Peace, studied & teach Tai Chi/Qigong, & love them all.

I began taking ballroom classes about 10 years ago, & learned more about 'partner' dance, as much of what I'd done had been more core or individual work. With the ballet background, I was often chosen to help the teacher demonstrate, & that was fun too!
Though we have a lovely ballroom, dances haven't been well attended, & are rarely offered, & dances in other locations are often fundraisers & quite expensive, so there's not much opportunity to practice what we're learning! And while the teachers recommend 'rotating' partners during lessons, which gives the beginning dancers opportunities to practice with more experienced dancers; at actual dances, it's much rarer to dance with more than a few folks, as most couples dance with each other.

Then a couple of years ago, my Ballroom buddy Steven invited me to try Round Dance, basically, ballroom done with a 'cuer' who gives direction, so everyone does the same moves. Fascinating! It takes the pressure off the 'lead' to think of patterns. Our cuer teaches two step, waltz & cha-cha, & we took each series. Having grown up in the Grange, it was fun to go out to the hall for the Round dance lessons, & I went to a dance or two, but with only a sketchy memory of grade school Square dance, I sat out half the dances, which alternate square 'tips' & round sets.

Steven wasn't interested in Square Dancing, & is busy with the ballroom (which he manages), so last fall, I decided to join the Square Dance lessons on my own. (& invited a gal friend who used to dance to join the lessons mid-stream)
Our club hosts dances twice a month, & area clubs offer 'New Dancer Dances' (& our members car-pool to attend) around graduation (they offer classes around the same time); so I've gone to a couple of dances already - & rarely sat out!! One of the 'rules' is that NEW DANCERS NEED TO DANCE! So the more experienced dancers dance with us!! There were enough dancers at our last dance for 6 squares (48 dancers on the floor, with another 8-10 sitting out!) & I only sat out a few dances! I was asked by THREE different guys (inc. a teen who took the lessons with us) to dance when I did sit down!!
The club also has 'experienced' clothes sales, so I've picked up several skirts (remember tie skirts?? They make a great square dance skirt, with a bit of eyelet sewed to the bottom) & one outfit; usually $5-10 per piece, & several soft petticoats. A number of the gals dance in 'prairie' skirts - about calf length, & not as full as the shorter skirts. My galfriend also got a skirt & top - pink Seminole style patchwork - lovely!!

Yikes!! It's almost 11, time to join my Red Hat sisters for lunch (& get all dolled up!!)
My most recent project is starting some socks - bamboo & superwash wool!! Several of my friends have been knitting socks, so I got a book from the library with a likely sock pattern, some of my mom's kneedles, & (sigh) another trip to the yarn stash store, to choose something yummy to knit with - I'm calling the colour 'nutmeg' (BBQ sauce doesn't roll off the tongue quite right, . . . ) cheers, babuskas!

Friday, January 8, 2010

*** MAGIC ***

 I think my word for 2010 is  * MAGIC *

This year already feels full of possibilities & opportunities.

& I'm seriously working on reducing clutter, both at home & in the office
(& yes, need to get off-line & on task!!!)

I take part in an on-line 'conversation' group of women who respond to questions every few weeks. This morning, the gal who invited me to participate sent a personal e-mail quiring if the ~ 20# weight loss I experienced over ~ 8 months & mentioned recently had been 'mostly' from the switch to coconut oil.

While that's defiantly contributed, the switch to Gluten Free has played a big part as well! This is what I sent to the group:

yes, (much of the weight loss) seems to have resulted from the shift in oils (using coconut
& olive oil while avoiding others) in the spring, then going GLUTEN FREE in the summer!
I love having a waist again :) The main
thing I notice if I get some stray gluten is bloating.
I use high quality digestive enzymes or vinegar in water with questionable meals.

My energy level is up, & I WANT to move/exercise more because of the extra
energy, I find myself craving 'bad' stuff (anything with gluten, high
fructose corn syrup, & unsaturated oils) tho I still love things like GOOD
chocolate, fresh fruits etc. Pomegranates - I will miss those when the
season's over!!

This link to Grain Damaged offers a good overview of gluten sensitivity.
(the gal who asked about my weight loss suffers from IBS, & this article focuses
on food sensitivities usually playing a huge role in IBS, with wheat/gluten being the main

Hmmm - I also got a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) membership this
year, with a local organic farm. I tend to buy local/Organic as much as
possible (I choose coconut as one of the 'from far' foods - still OG) but
having the CSA membership really cuts down on buying 'other' (non-organic)
food. & prompts me to eat more veggies, which we 'should' anyway!

So that's another slight shift. Since 'my farmers' use water from their own well, the
veggies are grown fluoride free - & fluoride interferes with the body's
ability to absorb necessary iodine, while the chemical fertilizers used by
NON OG farmers cut the amt of Magnesium available.
One of my 'additions' this year is a good water filter - that removes the
fluoride! Sigh. Why do *they* have to mess with our lovely NW water??

& 'of course' cutting soy as much as possible from my diet has helped (my
dau still uses some in cooking, & it's also 'hidden' in lots of things)
since soy depresses the thyroid, & coconut balances it, the inclusion of
coconut combined with the exclusion of most soy tends to boost the
metabolism (unless one had an overactive thyroid, then coconut would help
calm it down!) & much commercial soy sauce contains gluten, so Chinese
restaurants are pretty much 'out' unless they're conscious & REALLY offer
gluten free (soy sauce free) options.

Many women start eating more soy during menopause, for the phyto estrogens
- but with the thyroid depression, I suspect that's tied to weight gain!

Restaurant eating has gotten much more selective - I'm a Virgo, & have
been 'health conscious' for years; going gluten free gives me the 'excuse'
to say "Aw, I'm grain damaged - can you bring me . . . ." (a salad w
olive oil & vinegar - or no dressing, a soup not thickened with flour, not
something breaded or fried . . . ) & lots of nice veggies . . .& watch
my friends scarf down a huge plate of something greasy . . . (fried in
un-saturated un-healthy oils to boot!)

****** so that's my personal 'formula' for having dropped ~ 20 # in the last 18 months. & people
have begun noticing - one of the NDs that shares our office asked how much I'd lost the other
day! Her husband has dropped 30# since going Gluten Free last spring; she & their teen son still
eat some, but much less than in the past.
"LIVING WITHOUT" mag has a list of 10 'Must Dos for New Celiacs' (I so like the term 'Grain
1: Understand your disease - research!
2: Build a Medical team
3: Join a Support group (my dau's best friend is part of ours, I haven't gone yet)
4: Check your Pantry (read lables & toss. Segragate gluten-containing food if one or more family
members still eat the stuff!)
5: Stock the Basics, including some good GF mixes! - Personally, I enjoy having a 'larder' of flours
as well, so I can add play with tweeking recipes (like the chestnut scones!) but I've always been
a 'creative' cook!
6: Dust off your apron (& make some new ones!)
7: Buy a bread machine (my dau got one for Christmas that has a low carb/gluten free cycle
I'm more an oven gal, myself! But do have access to it! & a dear client brot me several GF mixes
as a Christmas gift!)
8: Patronize Local Businesses - YES! & if they accomodate you, TIP WELL & let them know you'll
9: Don't settle
This could be our motto for life - don't settle!! Breathe it in!
10: Exhale - relax - it will be all right - & even better!

Exhaling reminds us to - INHALE!
A psychic friend told me in a reading that when I found myself craving bread, to remember to
take a moment to breathe! That my body was craving more *fuel* - & to think of Oxygen first!
so go outside, hug a tree, & take a DEEP BREATH!!

Oh, dear!! Here's a link to an article on how agave nectar (which I use sporadically) is made!!
Guess I'm retiring that bottle!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 - Dance of Spirit

Woo hoo - New Year! It feels good already - & (come Feb New Moon) it's a Tiger year - & I'm a metal tiger woman!

I often spend some time revamping my living space (painting, re-arranging, tweeking) & most of Sun was in the kitchen, washing counters, folding laundry (have one of those laundry closets off the kitchen) . . .

& that afternoon, went out for a friend's BD dinner (Chinese, so just had salad & steamed rice, as they cook EVERYTHING with breading &/or soy sauce, which contains wheat!) . . . & a glass of plum wine :) Then a GF desert at a nicer restaurant (chocolate flourless tort!) & off on a shopping expedition wher
e I found this lovely red PURSE!!

My dear friend Gwynne, who is a Feng Shui consultant, suggests a shiny red
purse as a statement to the universe that you expect abundance! When I saw this one at our fav. discount store, & checked that it had adequate pockets & a zip for the checkbook etc, I knew it needed to go in my cart for the New Year! One in Purple is another option.

I have a sweet Red Hat coin purse that a friend gave me from her mom's stash, a sweet sparkly addition to that red purse! The Staffordshire 'CALICO' tea pot is full of yummy chai I made from scratch! My Breitenbush housemate Ray (who worked in the kitchen) would be proud - he'd make fresh chai every few days, which our other roomie, Emily & I would happily drink; but always begged off making!

This is a variation on Rosemary Gladstar's "Longevity Chai" (from 'Family Herbal' p. 38)

6 slices fresh ginger (fresh)
a cinnamon stick, broken (or several Tbsp cinnamon chips)
tsp ginseng rootlets
tsp licorice root
6 shizandra berries
6 crushed cardamom pods
4 whole cloves
simmer for 15 min (don't boil!) in 1 quart water.
Strain into a warmed tea pot, add ~ 1/3 C coconut milk per cup of tea (I just added in the teacup) & stir briskly - add a bit of honey (I used 1/4 tsp per cup) - mmmm!! She suggests adding vitex berries or pepper corns, I had the schisandra, an 'adaptogen' like ginseng & other long life herbs - this is from the Mt. Rose Herb website: "
The lignans in the (Schisandra) berry appear to protect the liver by stimulating cells that produce much needed antioxidants. Because of its adaptogenic properties, it has been applied next to some herbal medicines like Ginseng as a stimulator for the central nervous system, increased brain efficiency, improved reflexes, and an accelerated rate of endurance."
It's common for Asian users to steep berries in fruit juice, or do the 'soft simmer' (as for the chai), using ~ 1 tsp daily.

Well, I must be 'off' to my office, to RECEIVE a massage from our newest therapist! What a great way to begin the year - 'see' you soon!! & Many blessings for a prosperous 2010!