Saturday, May 31, 2008

Namaste

That which is of the Divine in me greets that which is of the Divine in you.

Of course, that is just one of many translations, but it all means approximately the same thing. This is just the more poetic version.

I am discovering that Saturday morning yoga is my "Church." I think this is filling something in me that I never knew was missing. Okay, that's not entirely true. I think I knew it was missing, I just didn't (or was afraid to) take the steps to fill it. 

Since my cousin (hi Chrissy!) first introduced me to this class and this teacher, I think I've only missed one class.  It's pretty much everything I've ever wanted in a yoga class: relaxing, challenging, spiritual, and fun. I've recently signed up for an additional course with her, Wednesday evenings in the park. My favorite park. I am so looking forward to it!

This class has also made me wonder what it would take to become a yoga teacher. I know this is not just something I can jump into (I can't even do basic inverted poses like the plow yet), but I want to learn more. I want to learn the proper names for the poses, and not just the translations. I want to learn how to do all those inversions and binds. I want put my foot behind my head. I want my shoulders to become more flexible and open up.

I want to learn more.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pescetarianism.

What the hell-o is it? A Pescetarian is someone who consumes no other meat but seafood. Technically, I am one, have been one from the start. I've never called myself that because, frankly, I so seldom ate it that it was essentially a non-issue.

However, it is time that I owned up to that fact. Whenever I call my self a vegetarian and order fish as an entree, I'm giving all those other hard-working, dedicated veggies a hard time. It isn't fair to their cause, and it confuses people who can barely understand the concept of vegetarianism to begin with (they're out there, believe me).

I initially gave up meat purely for health reasons. Heart issues run rampant in my family, and most of my father's side of the family (including my dad) have "met their maker" because of their ticker. I want to do all that I can to avoid that. Fish does have heart-healthy benefits that I am loathe to discount. I tend to rarely consume it because of all the over-fishing issues.

In my quest to maintain a healthy weight, I am faced time and again with restaurants who feel that a vegetarian dish must be slathered in cheese in order for it to be any good. So, what do I chose? A light, healthy fish dish or an artery-clogging cheese dish? I have decided, for the time being, that I will own up to my pescetarian label and chose the fish. I'll try to keep it seldom, as I have been over the past few years, but this is a step I need to take right now.

I will be struggling with my weight for the rest of my life. If I want to keep a healthy weight and I have to choose between fish and a cheese-covered cheese log, I'm going to choose the fish.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Book Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Those of you who know me know that I like to talk about food. A lot. It's a minor miracle that I'm not dubbed a "one-note wonder" by my closer friends. I've been hearing good things about the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. A few weeks ago, I finally picked up a copy.

It's a well-worn copy by now, mainly because while staying with friends in Maryland the book became a favored plaything by an obsessed four month old, but I digress. It's an easily readable book documenting Kingsolver's family's choice to not only eat locally for one year, but to be more involved in the process of making food, from beginning to end. Included in this is the growing of their own fruits and veggies, animals for their own consumption, and even the making of their own cheeses. 

In addition to Kingsolver's narrative, there are essays throughout by both her husband and eldest daughter. I found the book fascinating. At various places, I scoffed, I got angry, I made excuses, and I applauded their efforts. While the entries from her daughter come across as a little preachy and/or condescending, the over all message is clear: if we can do it, so can you. Quit your bitching, plan ahead, and just go for it!

The question is: how far can a family in modern America - a country that has arranged itself so that most of the population depends on just five conglomerates for the majority of their food - take this? Sure, our ancestors did it as a matter of course. But what of us?

The gist of the book is clear: too many of us have no idea where our food comes from, or what it takes to get here. From paying off cartels in South America for your bananas to shipping strawberries in from Ecuador off-season, everything you eat that is not in season where you live has some lasting effect on our environment.

Many of us know this. Many of us - especially those of us in the frozen north - immediately ask: what the hell do you expect us to eat? Our growing season is only three months long, four if we really push it. What do you expect us to do the rest of the year? The reality is, if you plan right, you can do it. That said, most of us don't have the space to can all of our own food to get us through the lean months.

However, every small change eventually adds up to a bigger change, and there is a lot you can do now to help things along. Frequent those farmers markets in the summer, buy local if at all possible. We in Vermont are lucky in that we have high-quality, rGBH-free dairy at the ready. Make your beef organic, grass-fed and local when possible. As Kingsolver rightly points out, we spare no expense when it comes to medicines, so why should we treat food any differently? Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to the prices of our food. Where would you rather your dollar go: to some nameless corporation out in California, currently seeing more Farm Bill money than any local farmer ever will, or Bob the next county over, who just wants to send his kid to college?

I'd love to eat more locally, and I do try to do it. Some weeks are better than others. As a vegetarian, I often have to rely on produce grown elsewhere and shipped, especially in the winter. But if I have to buy produce shipped from California, I'm going to go with the organic stuff. Hopefully one will offset the other, just a little. 

I'm a realist - I don't have the room or inclination to put up food for the winter. But, there are locals around here that will and do. I need to make it a point to give them my money instead. It may cost a little more, but it is money that is staying in Vermont. That is something I can support.

Phew.

Cass is back. Phew! Apparently she had a bit of a scare over the weekend, hence the disappearing blog. I hope things settle down for her and all is well. As much as I would miss her blog, I would rather her family remain safe!

On other news... this weekend was "economic stimulus" weekend. Because we all like a little stimulation now and again. Wink wink, nudge nudge. I bought two really cute dresses:

































My apologies for the blurriness of the pics - I am, apparently, unable to keep a steady hand when it comes to my camera (old piece of sh.. that it is). Anyway, the green one makes me feel like June Cleaver, but it's super cute and comfy. And the black one... I need to go on a date in the near future so I can wear it!

I actually didn't buy these with my "economic stimulus" rebate. I got 'em on sale and I could afford them without tapping into that money. The reality is, I'm pretty lucky. I can afford to go shopping when I want, provided I don't go overboard. I don't have any major debt, and I make a good living. I don't need that money (which, technically, is ours anyway if you think about it) to buy groceries next week or pay the rent. And I certainly don't need to go out and buy things I don't need just to make Dubya feel better about the state of the economy. It's a false sense of security that solves nothing.

There are people here that can't make ends meet. They're struggling to eat and find a place to sleep every night, but I should go out and buy $600 worth of crap I don't need? No. I can afford to do this, so I've decided that once my next paycheck comes and I'm certain all is well, I'm going to write a check for the amount of my rebate and send it off to the community food shelf. No one is going to go hungry because I decided to buy a new digital camera.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Agghhh!!!

Cass? Cass? Where did you go, Cass? I can't find your blog anywhere! First, WordPress says your blog is protected, then once I registered, it still won't let me read you!

If you're reading this, please send some direction. I'm going through withdrawal symptoms here. Shaky hands, twitchy eyes, random curse words... okay that last is normal but still.

Where are you, Cass?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Deep Thoughts in the Middle of the Day.

Sheesh. I hate peeling the ol' onion when I'm at work. Unfortunately, sometimes that's when I come to these little life revelations the easiest.

I didn't have many friends growing up as a child, and the majority of those that I did consider friends did little more than tolerate my presence. I had great difficulty fitting in with others my age. Ironically enough, instead of facing teasing for this, I was often ignored or forgotten (at least, that is how I perceived it). How much of it was me purposefully fading into the background to avoid teasing remains to be seen.

As with all things in childhood, this still lingers with me and affects my behavior. I expect to be ignored and/or forgotten, and feel almost relieved when it happens. Moreover, I am often surprised when people remember me. By expecting to be ignored, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of anger, justification and pain. Somewhere along the line, I learned that this behavior was okay. The reality is, it isn't okay. But it also will not change until I stop fading into the background and letting it happen.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. Even if it's just your own.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Thank you, Angie!

See what Angie got me for my birthday?















In case you're like "What the Effie May is that?", it's a yoga mat in forest green, a mesh carrying bag and some lovely mat spray in Citrus Splash. What a way to feed my new addiction (yoga, if you weren't paying attention). Thank you, Angie!

Eventually, I want to knit my own carrying bag, but I still need to finish this shrug for Robin's wedding. Which was exactly one week ago. D'oh! Good thing it was nice and warm at the wedding...

Friday, May 9, 2008

Down.

I've been rather down the past couple days. Which is really kind of miffing me because I was so up when I started out the week.

On some level, I know what it is. Work has been super stressful the past couple days and I found out some news regarding a close friend recently that has also brought me down (no, no one's dying, sick, or otherwise compromised). But for some reason, my mood just seems beyond all this, and I'm not sure what that underlying reason is. Unfortunately, I can't take the day off and try to figure it out either, as I just recently took several days off.

So, for the time being, I need to suck it up and get dressed for work. It's Friday, so I just need to find my way to 5pm. I have an offer to go out dancing tonight. I know I should take it as it'll probably shake off this mood. What I really want to do, though, is come home and curl up in my bed with a movie and eschew the world. 

Monday, May 5, 2008

Kate and Marie's Big Adventure

Thank god I could go with this title and not "Kate and Marie's Bogus Journey." 

On Friday, May 1st, Marie and I made the long trip south to our friend Robin's wedding in Maryland. We decided the easiest (and cheapest) way to go was to just drive down. Neither of us would have done this on our own. I'm not the world's most confident driver, and I've never really driven on anything more than Vermont's pathetic highways:












So needless to say, the idea of the New Jersey Turnpike was making us both a little uneasy. But face it we did, with grace and aplomb. And (most importantly) the idea that at the end of the trip there would be booze. We made the trip in about 13 hours, which was a little long but we got turned around in a couple places and stopped for food.

The house Robin had rented out was absolutely gorgeous, right on the Bay:













It was sunny and in the upper 70's/low 80's, which was made all the more pleasant with the knowledge that it was in the 40's in Vermont and raining. Ha ha! Robin and Jamie's wedding was gorgeous, and held at the golf club not too far away, also on the bay. As people were saying, Mother Nature knew better than to mess with Robin on her wedding day. As I don't really have permission to post pics of Robin or Jamie, you'll just have to trust me that they were both lookin' good (and that Robin's dress was gorgeous). The cake, however, I can post pictures of:












The green frosting is the same accent color used on Robin's dress and the bridesmaid's dresses. Very yummy cake: white cake with chocolate and lemon filling. Mmmmm. 

We drove back yesterday (Sunday). So today, I'll be taking care of chores and enjoying the sunny (if not slightly chilly) spring day in Vermont. I need to get my license renewed (afternoon at the DMV... yay!) and some laundry. Hopefully I'll have time for a walk at some point, but belly dancing is tonight and I'm looking forward to shimmying some of those calories off my hips.

Today, You are Ten

Well, as far as we know, anyway. We're not sure of your exact birthday, so we use your "Gotcha Day" instead. You've been...