Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Meet Lilly


Okay, time to come back and check in with my adult friends. I've been busy watching so many Backyardigan episodes with my two-year-old grandson that I can literally sing their theme song.
It is snowing here in Portland, not a norm in this rainy city. In fact, my sister-in-law is stuck near her home and the police are not allowing her up a steep hill. So my husband is off in our four-wheel-drive, headed across town to help her out. So while I'm waiting for his safe return, I thought I'd introduce you to Lilly. Lilly is our great-niece and she just turned three years old.

Our little girl is very tiny. She is struggling with an illness for which the doctors do not have a definitive diagnoses. Around age one she quit eating normally and became very ill with ear infections, pneumonia, and other illnesses. Since that time she has been through countless tests and doctor's visits, and is currently seeing specialists in Seattle. They have said that she has super low B and T cells and non-functional antibodies. They have been giving her immunoglobulin G by IV to give her a boost. They know that she has many other symptoms like low appetite/slow growth but so far nothing to tie everything together. She has short telomeres and they think she might have some previously unknown form of Dyskeratosis Congenita.

Despite all of these hurdles she remains a joy to all of us who know her. Her hardworking parents divide their time between jobs, school, and caring for Lilly. In March they will go to Disneyworld as part of the Make A Wish program that will be granting a wish to Lilly, who is all things "princess." We can't wait to hear all about it!

In the meantime she had a very special visit with Santa. After waiting in line at Macys, for what seemed like forever, it was finally her turn. She had been worried about the visit, more than a little frightened. But then she just took off and ran to him, wrapping her arms around the jolly gent and proceeded to hug him intensely for what seemed like forever, not letting go long enough for her mother to get a good picture! After the bear hug, she proceeded to talk to him in what her mother described as a "strangely intense" manner for about five minutes! Her mother couldn't hear what she was saying, but the kindly Santa was quite taken with his tiny visitor, and told her mother she could come back anytime. (Click on the photo to see their expressions.)

We don't know what they talked about, but we do believe in miracles. So please say a prayer, or send healing energy to our little darling. 2010 is going to be a great year for Lilly!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Enjoying the season...




And the very best of what it has to offer - family, friends, love, and Evan Williams egg nog...




Taking my own advice to concentrate or "compartmentalize." Which is just another way of being mindful. Time to bake, cook, wrap, and hug those I love for the next couple of weeks. Hoping you all have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year. I'll be lurking and occasionally posting - see you next year!

P.S. Loved all the sleeping advice from my last post! Thank you!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How is your Intention Board?






Remember this post on Intention Boards? Well I thought I would bring you up to date on mine, and what has manifested and what is still in the works:

I had on my board the following intentions (all in short sentences or pictures cut from magazines):

THE GOOD LIFE - which included in small print: our countryside, made in america, eco smart, natural beauty, the best way - which is self explanatory - my intention was all of these things. (So far I have not bought a car, hoping to buy an American brand, but just haven't found one that I really like, we are recycling as much as possible and buying eco-friendly products - including cleaning supplies. Natural beauty comes from within - and I am always working on that.)

SIMPLE, WITH SOUL - My intention was to live simply and with great mindfulness. (So far we have been doing this. We're happier and healthier.)

BUDDAH, at Volcano Garden Arts - My belief system is mostly Buddhist, and this was a reminder to live my life with great love and compassion for all living things. (I have read several books by Pema Chodron and refer to her whenever I begin to feel negative for any length of time. She is a great guide during these difficult times.)

FEELING GOOD - My intention was to feel good by living my best life possible. (This continues to be a work in progress, but I am more clear on what is not working in my life.)

EATING BETTER CAN BE YUMMY - My intention was to incorporate more grains and vegetables in our diet without feeling deprived. I also intended to remove simple sugars as much as possible, and to eat less meat. (This also continues to be a work in progress, some weeks are better than others, but we are certainly eating more vegetables. Making all of our own bread from organic 100% whole wheat flour, and eating far less meat.)

BETTER SLEEP, BETTER HEALTH - Good sleep has been a big issue for me for some time. My intention was to figure out holistic ways of sleeping better. (Sorry to report this is still an issue - any attempt at better sleep has not been fruitful. Any suggestions?)

BUY ONLY WHAT YOU LOVE - My intention was to become very mindful of things I thought I wanted, and things that I wanted because I really loved and/or need the item. (I am definitely there. I only buy things that resonate in a good way.)

THE WEST, AT IT'S BEST - My intention was for my husband to attract a job in the West, where our family and friends reside. (Currently two possibilities in the West, one in the Midwest, and one on the East Coast. In the meantime we are enjoying living at beautiful Lake Tahoe. No complaints on this one.)

THE HAPPINESS BUG - My intention was to spread happiness, in any way possible. (I'm working on it...)

THINK OF IT AS ENHANCING YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE - My intention was to focus on those things that are life-enhancing and not negative or draining. (I do not watch any news programs, preferring to read what little news I can handle online. It only upsets me and makes me mad, which does not help in enhancing my quality of life.)

"THERE IS WISDOM IN ADAPTATION. LOOK AT THE SAGUARO, WHICH LIVES FOR MORE THAN 150 YEARS IN THE HARSHEST OF ENVIRONMENTS - Dr. Andrew Weil - My intention is to become adaptable to whatever circumstances may arise in my life. (We have adapted quite well to a completely different way of life. It's all in how you frame things sometimes.)

A PICTURE OF A BIG CACTUS GARDEN - My intention was to make one of these gardens someday. (Hasn't happened yet.)

ADDED SINCE THAT POST:

"THRU EDUCATION, PUBLISHING, AND WRITING ABOUT PHILOSOPHIES, BELIEFS, ETC., YOU WILL EXPERIENCE YOUR MOST PROFOUND TRANSFORMATION. - My intention is to become a more enlightened person, a better person. I feel writing is my way of moving forward in this endeavor. (I think blogging has made me realize my way of moving forward involves writing. Now I'm trying to decide if it is time to move on from blogging and put all my creative efforts into the book I have always wanted to write. I'm not sure I can do both at the same time.)

AN "ABUNDANCE CHECK" MADE OUT TO MY HUSBAND AND MYSELF - My intention was taking the advice of a blogging friend, Leah, who reminds us each month to write a check to ourselves on the new moon for abundance. (All I can say is this works!)



My husband never used his side of the board and now I am moving into that space... 


How about you? Did you do an Intention Board? If so, how is it going?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In The Spirit of Christmas



My blogging friend JC, at Lilac & Cats has asked me to post for two little boy cats who have been at Pet's Mart for ages in Renton, Washington. In the spirit of the holidays, please take a look and see if you might have a place in your heart for two little cats that are brothers.


Home for the Holidays ...


I went to PetSmart on Sunday.
The boys are still there.
Could you PLEASE put them on your blog.
They have been there for over four months.
All they want is a home for the Holidays.
They are at the PetSmart in Renton, WA
Sponsored by 

Please help me find them a home ...


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holographic Universe

 


As I have mentioned before, I will post on a book I've finished reading if I think it might be of value to others. The book that I have just finished is Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot. It was published in 1991, and was the third book by this incredible writer and seeker. Michael Talbot died not long after publication, in 1992, of leukemia.




The Holographic Universe is an extraordinary book. The main premise being that the universe is actually a giant hologram. The main architects of this scientific construct of reality is University of London physicist David Bohm, a protege of Einstein and world-renowned quantum physicist, and Karl Pribram, a neurophysiologist at Stanford University, and author of Languages of the Brain. They came to their conclusions differently and from completely different directions. And if they are correct - the universe as we know it is not at all what we believe it to be.

Talbot dove into many other mysteries as well. He took us along on a journey of exploration that involved healing, energy, near death experiences, out of body experiences, the construct of time, science, ufos, psychic phenomenon, and much more. But Dr. Stanislav Grof, in The Adventure of Self-Discovery explains it much better:

The new data are of such far-reaching relevance that they could revolutionize our understanding of the human psyche, of psychopathology, and of therapeutic process. Some of the observations transend in their significance the framework of psychology and psychiatry and represent a serious challenge to the current Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm of Western science. They could change drastically our image of human nature, of culture and history, and of reality.


This book would appeal to those who are interested in the above topics and/or a worldview that could answer many of the mysteries man has contemplated over millennium. I found it to be an interesting and face-paced read. Straddling my focus of science and spirit, it was hard to put down.

If you would like to watch (two) ten minute videos on U-Tube, go here and here. Or to hear Talbot, himself, explain this theory go here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Fun


Good Cook challenged us to all have a little fun. She joined in the fun via Mandy's blog and so it goes... So if you would like to play along, please do. Here are the instructions:

If you're reading this post, then you must:

(a) leave a comment and answer the below 25 questions that Mandy made up,

(b) write the answers to the questions below in your own blog post, if you have a blog, that is.

or (c) call yourself a scrooge in the comment below and refuse to answer them.

I hope you choose (A) or (B) but if you choose (C) then I'll just let the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future deal with you. If you do decide to write your own blog post about it, please mention Mandy since she is the author of these important questions. (Writers credit and all that jazz - thanks!)


(1) What is your favorite Christmas movie?
Love Actually! Hands down, my favorite!

(2) What is your LEAST favorite Christmas movie?
The Clamation movies, maybe.

(3) What is your favorite Christmas song?
O Holy Night. It plays in my mind all during the season for some reason.

(4) What Christmas song(s) drives you crazy?
Anything sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks.

(5) What is your favorite Christmas drink? (i.e. egg nog, hot chocolate)
Eggnog and bourbon.

(6) What is your favorite Christmas memory?
When my children were tiny and so very excited, and the time my daughter swore she saw santa outside the window.

(7) What is the best toy/gift you've received on Christmas?
My horse - Samanthy - when I was thirteen.

(8) What is the worst toy/gift you've received on Christmas?
A coo coo clock that my brother actually wanted. ?

(9) What do you LOVE about the holidays?
The spirit of giving, in so many ways.

(10) What annoys you about the holidays?
Grumpy attitudes, and lack of Christmas spirit - oh wait, that's two. Oh well.

(11) Do you prefer star or angel on top of a Christmas tree? Or something else?
Angel.

(12) What is your family favorite recipe at Christmas?
Cream puffs. But my husband insists it's prime rib, regardless of the fact he is the only one that eats red meat.

(13) Are you a Grinch or a Who at Christmastime?
Definitely a Who.

(14) Christmas light displays - Love them or Hate them?
Love them! We used to drive around at least once during the holidays to enjoy the houses that went all out on holiday lights.

(15) Santas at the mall - Fun times or Creepy?
Hmmm well, mostly creepy I would have to say. Although I have seen some that are really good.

(16) Christmas cards - do you send them, yes or no?
Yes, and my husband always does a letter - which has become famous in our circle.

(17) What is the best thing about Christmas, in your opinion?
The reflection on what is important in our lives.

(18) What is the worst thing about Christmas?
Too many, especially children, that do not experience the magic.

(19) When do you put the tree up and take it down?
It changes every year when it goes up, but it always comes down after January 2.

(20) Out of the 12 days of Christmas, which day and item would you want your true love to give to you?
Two turtle doves - I am becoming a bird freak.

(21) Why do you think that Grandma got run over by a reindeer?
I hate that song.

(22) Who is your favorite reindeer?
Rudolph, of course. He worked the hardest to get what he wanted.

(23) Do you believe in Santa Claus?
Duh!

(24) What is your favorite smell at Christmastime?
Baking - any kind of baking.

(25) What would make you happy at Christmas this year?
I believe we choose to be happy or not, and I choose happiness. But I would like every person in the world to have a full stomach this Christmas.

So how about you? What makes you happy about the holidays?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bloginar


I have found a new website (through one of you, but I can't remember who exactly), that is having a "bloginar" on energy and healing. Over the years I have read many things on energy and the mind/body connection and this series synthesises complex information very well. Some of this information is now being taught in mainstream courses. Many general practicioner offices now have Naturopathic doctors on staff, utilzing them for preventive health and alternative medicines.

Humans have an innate ability to heal themselves, and moving away from the pharma-based system we now depend on may be where healthcare needs to go in order to be sustainable. Utilizing alternatives, or working in conjunction with mainstream medicinal practices, makes sense for the future.

If you are interested, go to Healing Mudras and start here. It has several parts over the month of December.

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What makes your fingers fly?





I have been having an ongoing private conversation with a fellow blogging friend lately about the topics we choose to write about. She is an inspired writer and her blog is never boring. We chatted about the blogosphere giving us an opportunity to discuss topics of real merit. The topics that make you think, make you vehemently agree or disagree, and can cause one to possibly lose blogging friends. We are in a very unique period of history, and there is plenty happening.


We discussed the fact that some of us may choose a more banal writing style because we really don't want to appear controversial. I have to agree that sometimes I feel like I can be a bit overwhelming. I then choose to hit a more upbeat style for a while. I choose this because I feel the news is full of bad happenings, and life is so hard for so many right now. Not to mention I erased this blog at one point because I felt it had gone in a very negative direction. It was during the election and fall of our economy, and lasted all of three days. The feeling was that there was enough of that stuff out there, and I wanted to go in a different direction.

I still feel that way. But I also have to be who I am, and talk about those things that I feel are important. They are not always positive. But they are often the topics that make my fingers fly over the keyboard. I am a very passionate person, and my blog is my chance to let it flow, so to speak. To talk about the issues of our times that are having an impact on our world, however negative.

I had a conversation a month or so ago with a blogger who is a great writer. She had quit blogging because she felt she didn't want to participate because she didn't have anything positive to say - her life was very difficult at that point. Which has me wondering - are we becoming too worried about appearing nice? Are we losing men bloggers because we want to talk about only the positive/feel good stories?

What do you think? Do you get turned off by esoteric or negative topics? What do you look for in a blog that you follow? And by the way, what makes your fingers fly?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Youth will have their way...eventually



Does anyone doubt that "times - they are  a-changing"? The days of isolating a population, only allowing information that is sanctioned by the state are gone. Facebook, Twitter, blogging, the Internet, cell phones, have changed the world forever. Ideas will be exchanged. There is no stopping it now. With the exception of North Korea, the world is heading into a new era. They will think for themselves, thank you very much. They will have human and civic rights. They will have a say about global warming. Not every soundbite and political hack will be believed. And lets not have any more stealing of elections. At least not without a fight. The youth of the world will demand that changes be made - one way or the other, sooner or later. They're not waiting for the old to give way - they realize the old will not go willingly. Just as we realize that in the United States.

It may take some time - but change is coming.

I, for one, wish them the best in their endeavors. As a child of the Sixties, I recognize their power.

Monday, December 7, 2009

All Time Favorite Holiday Recipes

CREAM PUFFS!



I have made these cream puffs for years at Christmas and for parties. People love them! I remember making a platter of them for a New Year's party one year and we forgot to have dessert (the champagne was flowing...) A few days later my friend called and said she had eaten all but one! Not only that, but had given her husband the "eye" when he wanted the last one. She was thinking she wouldn't be needing any calories for a while.

It's a Betty Crocker recipe, and came from my very first cookbook back in 1971. It has been a family tradition to make these and deliver them to neighbors and friends on festive holiday plates. I usually make enough for each family member to have two, because one is just not enough! They are small, perfect for about two or three bites. My old cookbook is in storage so I went online to find the original recipe. The batter for the puffs was the same, but it included different fillings - so I started with the one I usually use, and added the other two as well.

Puffs
1 Cup Water
1 Cube Butter (4 oz) (or margarine - I guess...) 
1 Cup White Flour
4 Eggs


1. Heat oven to 400ºF. In 2 1/2-quart saucepan, heat water and butter to rolling boil. Stir in flour; reduce heat to low. Stir vigorously over low heat about 1 minute or until mixture forms a ball; remove from heat. Beat in eggs, all at once; continue beating until smooth.


2. On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by slightly less than 1/4 cupfuls about 3 inches apart.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool away from draft, about 30 minutes.


3. Make one of the fillings (directions below). Cut off top third of each puff and pull out any strands of soft dough. Fill puffs with filling; replace tops. Cover; refrigerate until serving. Store covered in refrigerator.


Vanilla Whipped Cream Filling: 
16 oz Heavy Whipping Cream
1 - 4 oz Pkg Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 Cup Milk
In large bowl beat beat all three incredients until soft peaks form. Fill puffs as directed and drizzle with chocolate frosting.

Eggnog Fluff Filling: 

16 oz Heavy Whipping Cream
1 - 4 oz Pkg Vanilla Instant Pudding 
1 Cup Milk
1 tsp Rum Extract
1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Ground Ginger 
In large bowl, beat pudding mix, milk, rum extract, nutmeg and ginger with electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Add whipping cream; beat on high speed 1 to 2 minutes or until soft peaks form. Fill puffs. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 hours. Just before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar or brush tops with light corn syrup and sprinkle with colored sugar or nonpareils.

Peppermint Whipped Cream Filling: 

16 oz Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar or Powdered Sugan
1 tsp Peppermint Extract
5 or 6 Drops Red or Green Food Coloring
In large bowl, beat ingredients with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fill puffs. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.


Chocolate Frosting: 
2 oz Unsweetened Chocolate
2 TBL Butter
1-2 Tablespoons hot water (or as needed)
1 Box Powdered Sugar. 
Melt the chocolate and butter, add the powdered sugar and add hot water, a little bit at a time (just so it is slightly runny), mix well. Drizzle cream puffs and voila!


Now for your recipes!

ESSAYS AND UTTER NONSENSE
PISTACHIO COCONUT COOKIES


 THE RAMBLINGS OF A DISGRUNTLED SECRETARY
FRENCH BREAKFAST MUFFINS

ARMY MOM'S PLACE
SWEET POTATO SOUFFLE



SIXTYFIVEWHATNOW
PANETTONE


CAJUN DELIGHTS
PECAN PRALINES


MY YEAR ON THE GRILL
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER NUTELLA CRESCENT ROLLS


WRITE PLACE! WRITE CHICK!
CHERRY 'O CREAM PIE & CHOCOLATE FROSTED PISTACHIO ECLAIRS



If you think of something you would like to share, drop me a comment today and I will add it to the above list. Also in my comments from the last post I had a couple of wonderful ideas for hot chocolate and a cream cheese appetizer - so check those out. Thank you for participating and I can't wait to try these recipes!

Friday, December 4, 2009

No More Bah Humbug!



Okay, so I admit I've been a bit of a downer here the last few posts. So now it's time to think some positive festive thoughts. How about sharing your all-time favorite holiday cookie/dessert/hor'doeuvres recipe? Drop me a comment by Sunday if you would like to participate, and I will post it on my blog on Monday. Please include the name of the item so I can link your blog and your recipe title. That's Monday, December 7th!

I know just the recipe I want to share...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Decade of Excess


I have been reading and watching television this week. Nothing like having the flu to get you to stay in one place. And I am fixated on stories of come-uppance:

Dubai is in the news quite a bit. I'm sure you've read stories of this city in the desert. It seems they wanted to have a bigger and better sin city than Las Vegas. The Dubai World is owned by one man who actually does not have oil on his little stretch of sand, so he thought he would just borrow all the money needed to build this little monument to excess. The world's tallest building, a palm tree island, mega malls everywhere. This particular dream uses about 250 times the carbon footprint to keep those indoor ski hills operating than the US. Their latest use of energy was to cool the scorching sand on the beach so people will not burn their tootsies running to the ocean that now has floating garbage. It seems they forgot to build enough sewer infrastructure, so they just dump raw sewage into the street drainage, and it washes right out to sea. Lovely. Except now the tourists, that are coming less and less, are not allowed to swim in the E-Coli infected waters. It gambled that the world would always have excess money, and that everyone would want to be a part of that particular dream (nightmare?) Only now that money is not so plentiful, Dubai is pretty empty. Maybe now the slave labor that built it can go home.

Nightline did a segment on giant jellyfish invading Japan. This is the ultimate come-uppance in my opinion. Japan has been overfishing for many decades. Using drag nets that kill everything it it's path. They, and others, have not cared one iota what they were doing to the ecosystem of the oceans. Including the vicious killing of dolphins for their ravenous unending demand for all things sea life. Now that they have killed all the predator fish around Japan, a giant jellyfish has invaded and is killing their catches. Hmmm - tofu anyone?

Nightline also did a segment last night on wives that have been left behind by their white-collar criminal husbands as they go to the big house to pay their debt to the society they scammed. The first one was about the wife of Healthsouth's ex-CEO Richard Scrushy. It seemed they were the toast of Birmingham, Alabama, with their own television ministry, 300 million in assets, and two 15,000 sq ft mansions. You always need two of those don't you? But alas, Daddy is going to have to pay back over 3 billion and that will leave little for mansions. They swear he is innocent, however. The second one, Karen Weinreb, had five houses, all lost, unfortunately/fortunately. Her husband was an unscrupulous hedge fund owner. We all know how hedge funds are doing these days. She actually sees now how the excess blinded her to the real world. I guess flying to Milan to buy your clothes can do that...

And last, but not least, I have been a voyeur of the undoing of the Real Housewives of Orange County. Now, I can hear your groan of protest against my very bad taste in television from here, but in my defense, I think these women are a microcosm of the rest of us. No we don't all have enhanced breasts, or wear sequins during the day, nor do we have fake tans all year, but most of us did get caught up one way or another in the decade of excess. It was impossible not to. I watched this program the first season, lost interest, and only recently became fixated once again. My daughter had it on at her house and after only two programs, I was hooked. It is the slow unraveling of their lives that I find fascinating. These women were all about the bling, the clothes, the cars, the botox, the dream of "you are what you own." Of course the program picks women who are less educated, and not nearly on the same scale as the women who had five houses and two mansions, but in their world they fought and struggled to look and be what the media said was beautiful and sophisticated. This season it is all falling apart. The bravado is slipping as their houses lose value, their jobs disappear, their lives become very real. One lady admitted, she was scared. Another dropped out of the program, as I'm sure she didn't want to be followed as she loses her home. Real estate is just not what it used to be in Orange County, and neither is her job selling it.

I think most of us were excessive in some way. Very few of us can cast many stones. Whether buying designer bags or spending too much on our homes, cars, travel, our children, sushi, most of us were not without sin during the decade of excess.

So where am I going with all of this?

I think we needed this decade to usher in the change I see coming. We've been humbled on a global scale. It's not just the United States, but the Mideast, Asia, Europe, Iceland. As someone said regarding Dubai - it is so two years ago! As the middle class disappears due to stagnant wages, rising prices in food and necessities, the world is beginning to see that their livelihood is inextricably tied to those without jobs. Because without them, there is no market for their goods. If we over fish the oceans we will not have fish worth eating. If we continue to drive big SUV's to the supermarket, we will forever be tied to Mideastern countries that use our money to attack us. If the US spends all if it's taxpayer's money on needless wars, there is no money for healthcare and infrastructure. We begin to see limits - to everything. As we focus on the small, we see the world differently. We can emphasize with those so much less fortunate. The veil begins to slip. We begin to look at our world from a global perspective. We are One on this small planet. It is home to all of us, not just those that want to exploit it. I look forward to the next decade. I hope that the decade of excess will usher in the decade of enlightenment.

I am permanently changed. I don't think in my lifetime, I will look at conspicuous consumption in the same way. When I see someone sporting all the bling, I just feel sorry for them. It was so two years ago.



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Goodbye Old Friend

(Roxy on the right, Lucy on the left, enjoying a Lake Tahoe swim.)

We lost a dear family friend yesterday. Dear little Roxy, my daughter's fourteenth birthday present. She was quite the personality. She "talked" - loudly and often. I can still hear my husband trying to shush Roxy, who was very loudly voicing her appreciation of going for a run, early in the morning as he was leaving the house. He was worried she would wake the neighbors. She was that loud.

She was the last puppy from a litter that should not have been. Her mother had been over bred, and when we arrived to see her, it was clear the family had been living off breeding their dogs. They lived in a tiny trailer in a small town 60 miles from Reno. Their children's beds were in the living room. Roxy was supposed to be a blond lab, but we found she was more red, and had a white splotch on her chest. We were assured that it not be a problem unless we wanted to show her. She was only going to be my daughter's pet, so we gathered her up and took her home. We knew full well that getting our money back, if there were a problem, would not be in the cards. We knew we shouldn't encourage such bad dog breeding. But she was already here, and we knew we could give her a good life, which was not assured if we left her behind for a better bred dog. No, not assured at all.

She was sweet, and we loved her dearly.

She was also naughty. Chewing through our beautiful Rose of Sharon, the big stalks belonging to our wisteria, and numerous other plants. We finally had to put chicken wire around all the trunks. Marley had nothing on Roxy. She was also a very industrious digger, excavating cavernous holes wherever she lived. She was busy, busy.

When we moved from Portland to Minnesota a few years ago my daughter decided to keep Roxy with her in Portland while attending college. I can still remember Roxy staring out the window as we drove away, wondering why Lucy was going and she had to stay. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do - leaving my children and Roxy behind as we moved 1800 miles away. But Roxy loved going to college. Stories abound of her leaving my daughter in the bedroom after a night of college partying to rejoin those still having a good time - all the while my daughter thinking she was sleeping in her bed. Roxy routinely slept in our daughter's bed when given the chance, the only clue being a warm spot right in the middle. She was also found on the couch - a big no no - by roommates on more than one occasion. Sneaking out and cleaning the counters of anything edible - including whole loaves of bread - plastic and all, was her favorite pastime. She loved beer, long runs, pizza, going in the car, garbage of any kind, swimming, all meals and snacks, and most of all - my daughter.

Our girl, home for the holiday, was getting bad reports all weekend. Roxy, the victim of bad genes, or so the vet said, was going downhill fast. After many vet visits, and thousands of dollars, the end was forthcoming. Our little girl was about to face life full on. After fighting with the vets to keep Roxy from suffering, and getting very little support, it seemed nature would take it's course. Her sister and brother-in-law were doing their best to keep Roxy comfortable until she could get home. Bless their hearts.

So dear little Roxy, the naughtiest dog we have ever had, as well as the one with the biggest personality, ended her struggle. My youngest, with her sister, took her to the vet for the last time. She fed her spaghetti, and spent the day home from work. Just as she did when we were still taking our daughter to soccer practice, Rox loved being with her person.

She was adored for eight years. She had the best food money could buy, warm/soft beds, exercise, experiences, and most of all - love. Rest in peace Rox, and say hello to Lady, Winnie and KiKi, okay?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bugs


The bug has bitten. All that hugging over Thanksgiving! All three of my siblings had been really sick the week before, and like all good siblings they shared what they had. I hope it's H1N1 so I can just get it over with. I'll probably spend the week catching up with all of you. Now where did I put that Tylenol...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Local News & UFO Sightings


It seems there have been an explosion of UFO sightings here in Nevada. Our local news did a segment on it the other night. They appear to be mostly sighted around mines (Nevada has some really big mining operations), and energy producing sites. I might add that the mines use tremendous amounts of energy.

The segment mentioned an organization that is dedicated to the scientific study of UFO sightings, and has as members people from the scientific community as well as NASA. It has people located here to monitor them. I went to the MUFON website and found it interesting.

Whether you believe in UFOs, or not, I find it interesting that more have been sighted in Nevada over the last three months.

What does it mean? I have no idea. It could very well mean that the military is working on a new toy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Feeling Grateful



This has been a tough year. For so many. And while I was lying in bed this morning, thinking of all the things I had to do today, I took some time to feel grateful for having these things to do. I had to wonder how many people in our country would not have a Thanksgiving dinner, let alone worry about every detail being perfect. And what about the world -

So I decided to be grateful, truly grateful that I have a family. I may not always get along with my sibs, but I love each and every one. Even if one of them is the polar opposite of me, politically. He is my little brother (age 50), and is genetically my "full" brother. We lost our mother to breast cancer when I was six and he was six months old. We have always been close - until W and The Rogue. My other sister and brother are "half" siblings, but we have never thought of ourselves as "half." We are whole in so many ways.

Thanksgiving is the time that is reserved mostly for the four of us and our families. All other get-togethers usually include friends and extended family. I find it is a good time for us. We talk with each other, revel in our children, laugh, heal our wounds. We have one rule in our family and that is that everyone is invited to Thanksgiving. Our family doesn't leave anyone out, no matter how obnoxious they have been during the year. Hurts and misunderstandings heal over turkey and stuffing, we have found.

So I will cook all day, make sure the house is beautiful for my little girl, who arrives tomorrow. Fresh flowers in her bathroom and bedroom. I will hug and kiss my nieces and nephews and play with their children. I will cook like crazy, loving every minute of it, then try to finagle some time with my daughter when her friends start to call. I will be grateful for this moment in time. No one is sick, we have enough food, shelter, and plenty of love. Life is good.

What are your plans? I hope you have a wonderful day, and for my international friends - hope you have a great day, too, even if you aren't stuffing yourself!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Men Who Stare At Goats


We went to see this movie yesterday. It had George Clooney, Kevin Spacey, Ewan MacGregor, and Jeff Bridges. All actors that I enjoy. I think what made watching the movie fun was first reading a special post that Linda Pendleton did a while ago. Go here to read about psychic spies - which is what this movie was based on. It was a special unit known as Stargate. She included a video of an interview with Joseph McMoneagle, who was known as Remote Viewer #1.

This movie was worth watching. It was funny and worth the price of admission.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

And The Pursuit Of Happiness...


I loved last month's Maira Kalman, especially considering the bill before Congress regarding health care.

Friday, November 20, 2009

We just never know...


We never really know what's going on in people's lives, do we?

Our neighborhood grocery store has decided to be uber-friendly. You can't walk through the store without being greeted several times. It gets annoying, actually, especially for someone like me who is trying to remember exactly what they came for. But yesterday as our groceries were being bagged, I noticed that the lady who was doing the bagging was not friendly even a little bit. In fact, she kept her head down, and when she had to look up, did not acknowledge my husband or myself. In this particular store, it seemed odd. Then I noticed that she seemed sad. Her mouth was turned down and her eyes appeared tense.

We really don't know what's going on in people's lives during this difficult time in our country's history. We do know that more people are going hungry, houses are being foreclosed on people with good credit histories, jobs are continuing to be lost every day. Nevada, the state in which I live, is number two in the race to be hardest hit. This lady, who is Latina, is part of a group often in the bottom tier economically. One can only guess why she did not feel like smiling or greeting, deciding instead to just get through her day.

It was a reminder to be kind to all those that cross my path, whether they reciprocate or not. To have patience, even when people are being impatient. And to be extra vigilant, giving to food banks, and charitable organizations whenever possible.

We just never know what people are going through, do we?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Purse shopping+husband = :-(


One of the very odd things about early "retirement" is that your husband comes with you when you go shopping. He would rather have pulled out his last hairs, by the roots, than join me on a shopping trip a year ago. He simply would have refused. His time was very precious to him back then.

I have a birthday coming up, and he kindly asked me what I would like, or what I would like to do for my birthday. I informed him that I wanted nothing more than a new purse this year. This sounded great to him. No worrying about the right size, color, or object for that matter. Just go buy a purse! Yay, he thought.

Macy's had a big sale today, so off we went to check out what they had to offer. Driving down to Reno from Lake Tahoe, we ran one errand and decided to split up - with me going to Macy's and him to REI, Lowes, and some other male-loved retailer. He asked when he should pick me up and I mentioned we needed to pick up my yarn that was being wound into balls by 5:00 - which gave us three hours. What!? His face registers extreme alarm! He was thinking a half hour! One hour at the most!

Needless to say, I had to set him straight.

A word of advice to my male blogging friends - if your wife, mother, sister, daughter, girlfriend, or grandmother says she needs to go bag shopping - be prepared. Do not try and rush her! You will only cause her to purchase one that will not do in the end, and only cause you another trip. So find someplace to settle, grab a snack, play with your I-Phone, bring your book along, whatever. But do not rush her!

It needs to be the right color for the season, it must hang the perfect distance from shoulder and fit snugly under her arm. Too high won't do - too uncomfortable - too low won't do - too uncomfortable. It must have the right and perfect opening - wide or narrow - it is a personal choice. Then it must have the right zippers, pocket for cell phone, additional inside pockets, and sturdy magnetic closures or other fun accessories. It requires that she do a pass through to see what is available. Then another pass to gather a few to take to the counter. Then she has to take everything out of her purse and put it into the new possibilities. Just to see how it hangs, how heavy it is, and what it looks like when she is carrying it. This is done with the saleslady urging her to buy the more expensive of the two or three. Which of course requires that she discuss this with other women standing nearby, who are engaged in the same activity. Comments and advice are appreciated, and exchanged.

You get the picture.

No, not to be done in half an hour. Not to be done in one hour. But less than three.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What's happening?


My grandson, age 23 months, always asks "what happen?" It's his baby way of asking what's going on? Lately I've been wondering the same thing.

I'm in one of those intense research modes. Sort of like studying for a very difficult class that has copious reading material. You remember those classes? Three giant text books and several books the professor wanted you to read in addition to the required reading? Or you have a giant project due at work that requires great concentration and coordination. But you keep reading other things that you know you shouldn't, and you are not getting your work done. Too many interesting things keep getting in the way.

Well that's sort of where I am right now.

I received two giant boxes of books from Amazon. I have a list for the library. I keep finding stuff that I want to explore on the internet and other blogs. I feel the need to go in a certain direction, but keep getting distracted. I feel like time is going past very quickly, and I need to be prepared. There is definitely "time anxiety." But for what?

What's happening?

Do you ever get like this?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Going Veggie, well mostly...

(Veggie "chicken")

Considering the latest information on meat and health, we have been cutting down on our consumption of meat. Trying to eat a mostly plant-based diet hasn't been an easy transition. Since there now is a correlation between cancer and eating meat, and not just red meat, I am making a decent attempt, however. I am quickly entering the second half of my 50's, and with a family that seems to have cancer as a nasty companion, I'm looking for some alternatives to our beloved recipes.

My husband is a reluctant traveler along this road. He loves meat! All kinds - usually half raw. So this has been a bigger transition for him. We are not complete vegetarians. But we are working on eating less of it. Factory farming is the main reason, but also environmental factors that can no longer be ignored. We need to find alternatives.

Enter Quron. It is a company that makes very good vegetable-protein products - not soy products. It's main ingredient is "mycoprotein (“myco” is Greek for “fungi”). The mycoprotein comes from Fusarium venenatum, which was originally discovered growing in a field in Buckinghamshire, England. In the late 1960s, initial product development began, soon recognizing mycoprotein’s potential as an efficient and nutritious protein source." In other words, mushrooms.

The end result is some tasty products. I really don't care for the soy-based meatless products. We have tried several. (Sorry, but Tofurkey doesn't taste much like the real thing.)

My vegetarian daughter is visiting for Thanksgiving and I really want her to enjoy the meal. It will probably include turkey because other family members would feel cheated without it. (Although the vision of Sarah Paylin blithely yammering away while all those turkeys lost their heads behind her has ruined my taste for turkey. Permanently.)

I made tacos the other night with their "hamburger" crumbles, and after adding the taco seasoning you could not tell the difference between what was in the pan, and ground beef. My husband helped himself to only a tiny little spoonful for his first taco, but came back three times and filled the shell with the "meat" after that. If he likes it - believe me, it must taste very close to the real thing. I think the key is to add it to the end of a recipe, not at the beginning. It does better with less cooking.

If anyone has any tips or products that we should know about, please leave a comment. Good Cook did a great post on E-Coli and alternatives to factory-farmed animals. There are farmers out there that believe in raising animals in a humane way for consumption. Although when visiting the website for Heritage Foods I found choosing a chicken that still had it's feathers made it a little more difficult for someone used to seeing her chicken nicely packaged in the grocery store. Which makes a strong statement in itself. BTW - has anyone else been creeped out by that commercial that has the turkey carcase being chased through the grocery store?

We are doing our best to stay healthy, eat more plant-based foods, exercise, etc. But the bottom line - food has to taste good. Food preparation is very important to me, and I am not going to stop cooking great food now. Fortunately, some wonderful chefs are jumping on the veggie bandwagon and some really incredible food is the end result. It think it's finally catching on. We had a Reuben sandwich at Vita Cafe on Alberta while in Portland this week that rivaled any that I've had. You had your choice between "turkey" that they made in their restaurant, or tempeh. I chose their "turkey" and it was delicious.

What about you? Any dietary changes?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Under a two-year-old thumb!

("Peace" from a two-year old.)

Two year-olds rule, there is no doubt about it. I had forgotten the power they wield. From daylight to bedtime the day revolves around my grandson. It's been twenty years since I've spent 24/7 with this particular age group. Bedtime has never felt so good! Ha.

And why is it, exactly, they seem to get more energy the more tired they get?

Of course all the incredibly cute and ridiculously funny things they do and say more than makes up for dragging tails at the end of the day.

I am helping my oldest daughter get settled in her new home. It has been a house with only one male this last week. This tiny male is an exacting supervisor. My daughter and I have missed his father and grandfather more than once in the last week. What is it about something that is put away being an attraction to take back out? We all know what it's like to move and finally get something put away, knowing you have 80 more boxes right behind that one. Naturally, this is very interesting to my grandson, who feels the need to take it back out to examine, only to abandon said objects in a heap, once he has satisfied himself that it is safe for his mom or grandma to come along behind him.

Pizza for breakfast, and late nights not-with-standing, I wouldn't miss the opportunity to be of service. It feels good to be needed, really needed, once your children are grown. It's that time between needing, and being of service, that is so good for the soul. I tend to take it for granted, sometimes. I've reminded myself that it might not always be this way. It may have been that remark my daughter made about me never dying, that she needed me to be here, that I realized that it wasn't always going to be so. I won't always be here. I won't always be strong enough to chase a two-year-old, 24/7. All things pass.

But for now, I am going to be grateful for the opportunity to feel needed. A simple thing, really. And it's the simple things that I'm paying attention to lately.

And also that only young women have babies.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane..


Okay, so it's not a private jet plane!

I'm off to help my daughter move. This is the crazy season for her husband, so he is on the run, and she is also moving at her job. My youngest also moved in the last week, and I have heard from her several times, unusual to say the least. Could it be? Am I needed?

Last I heard oldest daughter didn't have Internet yet. Geeze, withdrawals.

But I will have my little guy to chase, and a two-year-old moves pretty fast!

I'm not the only one...

(My kitchen last October.)

This article was interesting to me because of the lessons learned. This women tells the story of a remodel that did in her marriage. Having just gone through a complete remodel, I could relate to much of what they went through. It also highlighted the differences between some men and women when it comes to dealing with stressful situations.

But it was the last sentence that caught my eye...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Face Lift


I continue to be amazed and entertained by all the beautiful blogs that I visit. Like someone who crawls into their old car after new car shopping, I am comfortable with my blog, but it feels dowdy. One of the reasons that I became hooked on blogging? Because I was continually amazed at how creative people were with their blogs. Not only in the content of their posts, but also in the way they looked.

I have had people offer to give me a makeover for free, but not knowing them I have hesitated to do so. All those dire warnings about incorporating viruses with widgets has me spooked. So, I ask you, what do you think I should do? Give it a major makeover, or just incorporate a few widgets? Maybe a new header? Or just leave it be and concentrate on my writing?


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Biggest Fear


I think we all have a fear of something. Whether or not we have ever experienced it makes no difference. Somewhere in my life, or lives if you believe in reincarnation, I was trapped in a submerged car. As far as I know it must have been a dream, but the fear itself, is very real. I have had it for my entire life. This, living in the desert for most of those years. But even deserts have lakes, rivers, ponds, irrigation ditches, etc.

We were living in Minneapolis when the bridge collapsed and the ensuing disaster held the news for many months. Recently three young college students lost their lives after going into a farmer's holding pond during a night of stargazing in North Dakota. It can happen anywhere, drainage ditches are in every state. My family goes over bridges daily in Portland, Oregon, and I have gifted "hammers of life" to all of them. So please take just a moment of your time and read this.

You might want to pass it on to all those that you love, as well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Labeling Your Posts


Do you label your posts? You know that little box at the bottom that says "Labels for this post:"
Well, for some strange reason I decided early on that I wouldn't trouble myself with that little doohickey. Just a bother, I thought. Now I wish I had done it from the very beginning. I'm having to go back over 300 posts to make it easy to retrieve information.

Take a bit of advice - if you haven't already, then start labeling your posts. You never know when you might want to take a peek at what you've already written on a certain subject. If only not to contradict yourself! Ha

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fondue



We went out to dinner with friends last night to a local restaurant that serves fondue. If you have never had this fun meal, trust me - it's ideal for a cold winter night when you want to extend the meal to include plenty of wine and conversation. This particular dinner included both the cheese and the hot oil pot. It had a very cool butane burner that I finally found through Amazon.com which keeps the oil nice and hot. Much better than sterno. I've added it to my "wish list":


We have always had fondue for New Year's Eve. We never enjoyed the forced feeling of frivolity, preferring to stay home and have a nice fondue dinner in front of the fire. We start with a toast of champagne, and open a really good bottle of red to follow.


This year we have offered to babysit our grandson so our daughter and son-in-law can go out. I wonder if they will eventually decide to stay home as well. It is a great time to look over the past year and decide what worked, what didn't, and where you would like to go in the new year. At any rate, fondue is a fun way to spend an evening.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Current Ghost Story


I have asked my daughter to allow me to use a post she had written on another site regarding the paranormal activity she has been experiencing for a couple of years now. This incident occurred just the other night, and I thought it fitting for Halloween. She moves out in a few days, and in her, and her husband's mind, - it can't be soon enough. They have experienced knocking, banging, whispers, and my daughter has experienced physical hits to her body. She has felt someone sitting next to her on the bed in the middle of the night, and covers being pulled off of her and her family. A few weeks ago she heard a very definite "Get Out!" She said it sounded loud, as if someone were shouting. It woke her up.

They always sleep with their son between them. I have talked with several people about this, and I have it on good authority that my daughter may be psychic, able to see things that we cannot. I do know that these things started when she was a teenager, right after one of her boyfriends died in a car crash.

My personal thoughts are that old houses, and this one is over 100 years old, can have energy left over, and that if traumatic events occur in the house, it can have residue from these events. Of course, we have no idea what might have happened in the last 100 years since the house has been occupied. But it has a very weird staircase that scares the stuffing out of me. They are extremely steep, and wooden. I worry constantly about someone falling. The upper banister is very low - not what you would call "code" in any way! It is only about three feet tall, and anyone could just stumble and go over the banister to the wooden stairs below!

There is a very old man that lives next door, he's lived there since he was a young, working man, with a young family. One day we were chatting about the neighborhood, and he mentioned the stairs, saying he thought they were dangerous. He mentions this right out of the blue!

So do the stairs have something to do with the "haunting"? Could the ghost be trying to warn them before someone falls? Maybe their toddler? You tell me.

Anyway, here is my daughter's story from a few nights ago:


Anyway, the other night we had some paranormal activity. It was a weird, restless night. I FELT something there from early on in the evening when I was sitting in bed doing homework- and I ignored it. I am really past the point of being afraid of energy or entities (at least those that hang around my house) because they have never done anything to harm me. The worst they have done is try to get my attention which can startle and frighten me a little- but now I am accepting of it.

So I am laying in bed, awake, as I tend to do and my son is suddenly extremely restless. He starts crying and doing his writhing around on the bed thing and he keeps saying "No, NO
NONONONONONONO NO NO NO NO No NO NONO" (you get the idea). This was different from when he has night terrors though because he was communicating with me- he wasn't in a trance state, he was conscious. When he was saying this I could feel the energy in the room growing... eventually he changed what he was saying and started saying "Stairs. STAIRS. STAIRS. STAIRS. STAIRS. DOWN STAIRS. STAIRS. STAIRS! STAIRS! STAIRS!"

That
creeped me right the freak out. After about 20-30 minutes I finally got him to calm down and lay down with me. That is when I heard it.

We have very old doors and door knobs in our house. They are metal and they make a
squeaking sound when you turn them. Earlier in the night I had latched the door because my son is now big enough to get out of bed and make a run for it if he wants. Anyway, I heard the door knob turn and then the door SLAMMED. I screamed and sat up clutching Coleton to me. The door was open a crack.

"WHAT WAS THAT?!!" I asked my husband.

He suggested that it was the DOG- but I could CLEARLY see the dog across the room, curled up on her bed. It was NOT the dog. This was at 5:00 in the morning and there was nobody else up in our house. There were no doors or windows open anywhere that could have created a "suction" effect and I knew it.
I demanded that Erick turn on the light and he did and I SWEAR I could see something move through the room. It makes me feel crazy when I try to explain to people that I can see energy, but I just can. It's almost like a shimmer in the air... but shimmer is not the right word. In any case, the SHIMMER came and stood next to the bed and I told Erick where it was and he said he could not see anything. I told it to GET AWAY FROM ME. GET AWAY FROM MY SON AND STAY AWAY FROM US.

It left.

I didn't feel like staying in that room so we all got up and went downstairs and started our day... early.
Ever since that night I have been sleeping like a BABY and haven't felt anything there. I guess it listened, right?

Or maybe I am crazy. Either way- we move out in two weeks...
Sayanara ghosts.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Little Voice


I have watched Nightline this last week, and it was talking about Scientology and David Miscavige, as well as, James A. Ray, the "guru" leader who was responsible for the sweat lodge that killed several people and sickened many more. I'm sure you have all heard or read about these people in the news.

I would just like to say, as someone who has spent the last 20 years reading and studying a myriad of materials relating to human nature, the mind-body connection, spirituality, etc. - if someone tells you they know more than your "little voice" - run, don't walk, as fast as you can in the opposite direction. No one has the definitive answer to anything. You have just as much spiritual value as any one person, and your intuition is geared to keep you alive and healthy. It is nature's way of giving us a sixth sense about the world around us.

When I think of these people, and others like them, who think they know more than anyone else, the quote "absolute power corrupts absolutely" comes to mind. They may not have started out that way, but I think the ego takes over and these people actually begin to believe they are greater than the people around them. Sadly, it sometimes takes a tragedy to bring this fallacy to light. I can recall several cults over the last many years that proves this point. Anyone remember Jim Jones, and The People's Temple? I always wondered how such a tragedy could transpire, and I think it's because people give away their personal power to someone else.

We need to listen to our own intuition. We have it for a reason. It tells us it's time to leave the sweat lodge for some water and find a new way to spend $9,000.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sustainable Gift Giving


One of the things that our family is doing, like so many, is being very careful with purchases. I have begun to not only think about the price of an object, I ask myself if it is needed, but also what is the impact of that object on the earth. In the case of shoes for toddlers, the answer is almost always yes - they are needed. So I thought I would share these cute shoes with you. They are made by Simple Shoes and I ordered these through Zappos. I try to use local vendors for most things, but being a grandmother in one state, with a grandson in another, it is not always possible. In this case the shoes will be delivered the next day, free shipping, and return if necessary. Our younger daughter has been wearing shoes by Simple for a few years now. Most of hers are made of the sustainable product, hemp, with recycled materials for the soles. I like the product specs on these little shoes:
  • Constructed from washable, earth-friendly suede.
  • The suede is from an eco-certified tannery.
  • Certified organic-cotton fleece lining for comfort on your feet.
  • Organic cotton comes from non-genetically modified seeds. It is also grown without the use of pesticides and herbicides.
  • Recycled PET and natural latex elastic laces with pull toggle for a snug fit.
  • Foot form inserts are made from post-consumer recycled paper.
  • Non-marking, natural rubber outsole with toe bumper.
  • Even the box that your fun shoes come in are created from post-consumer recycled paper, soy-based printing ink, natural latex, and a starch-based glue.