Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dribble Dribble Drool

I have plans for an upcoming post regarding one of my Christmas presents this year. It wasn't on my list, but boy do I love it and want to share it with you.

However, it's going to have to wait a couple days. I'll be taking the National Certification test for massage and bodywork tomorrow afternoon at 1pm. Today was "let's see how much we can fit into one brain" day.

I've studied for about seven hours today. It went really well with the exception of a short binge of leftover Christmas cookies at the fifth hour.

The rest of the cookies have been tossed out.

It's after 9pm now and I'm going to stop studying. If it isn't in there now, pushing myself to exhaustion isn't going to do any good. So, I'm going to sit back and study something a little more interesting for a couple hours, then go to bed happy:

View Image

Good night, all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Return of the Sun

Very significant cosmic goings-on lately, n'est-ce pas?

I had very high hopes for viewing the lunar eclipse in the wee hours of Tuesday morning; I was even going to set my alarm clock for 3:30am so I could wake up and see the pinnacle of it. Alas, we had thick cloud cover and there was no point.

However, last night we managed to pull together an impromptu Soltice celebration, complete with a bonfire. Which was actually more of a really good fire as we were in an urban area and actual bonfires are forboden. Still, we did a little ritual, stood around and told stories, chatted, and a couple of us even jumped over the fire as we were putting it out.

All in all, it was a good evening. A lovely, if slightly irreverent, return of days. Which is exactly how I prefer it.

In terms of the more widely accepted holiday that happens in a couple days, I'm pretty much all finished my preparations for it. I've got my presents purchased (what few there are this year), and today I'll be making my entree for the big day. Normally I just make chickpea cutlets, but I'm really hankering for something a little different this time around, and instead I think I'll make a variation on Isa's Stewed Tofu and Potatoes in Miso Gravy from Vegan with a Vengeance. Basically, I'm just going to leave the taters out, as my plan is to smother said stew over the mashed spuds that will already be on the table.

Other than that, it will most likely be pretty quiet the next few days. It is snowing here now, lightly. It would appear that for the first time in a very long time, we will be having a white christmas. Actually, we may have had one last year too, now that I think about it. They are becoming increasingly rare as I grow older.

Yesterday, I took a walk along the bike path. I was the only one on it. The path was trodden snow, and on either side of me the bare branches reached up to form an arch. From between the trees on the western side I caught glimpses of the lake, slate gray and dotted with floating ice. It was stark, cold, and peaceful.

I think that pretty accurately describes this time of year, don't you?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New York City!

I returned home from my whirlwind "weekend" in NYC last night around midnight. I cannot begin to tell you how much fun I had while I was there. I arrived late Monday evening and arrived at my friend's place later than planned because 1)plane took 45 minutes to de-ice. WTF? and 2) I completely missed the subway stop by like 5 stops and had to back track.

Tuesday during the day was my "free" day: my friend had to work so I had the day to do with as I pleased. I spent it wandering around lower Manhattan, specifically China Town.

I must have walked close to 10 miles that day, because not only did I hit China Town, I somehow also managed to include SoHo, the Bowery, The Village (both east and west and Greenwich), NoLita, a piece of Little Italy, and another neighborhood I believe I'm forgetting. So, by the time I met up with my friend in Union Square, I was completely exhausted and my knee had given up the goat and gone home early. But the evening was just beginning!

We had dinner at Pure Food and Wine, which I highly recommend to any and all food adventurists. It is a raw, vegan dining establishment and nothing (save our tea) was heated over 118 degrees. But believe me it doesn't skimp on either the ambience or the richness in the food. I will admit things started off a bit rocky: we were there for 20 minutes without even being asked for our drink orders and others who were seated after us had already been served food. But we managed to flag down a waiter and our drinks were comp'd because of the wait. Score! We started with a Dr. Cow cheese plate, with mustard greens, rosemary crackers and cranberry compote:

I am so glad I got this, because we cannot get Dr. Cow here in Vermont unless we special-order it online. Having never tried it, I didn't want to take the chance. These cheeses are phenomenal. Seriously, the best faux cheese I have ever eaten, hands down. My friend Mary - who is an omnivore - was likewise impressed by them and agreed you could not tell the difference between Dr. Cow and real cheese. My friend Mary ordered their signature dish, the lasagna: 

It looks almost too good to eat, doesn't it? My main course was the spanikopita:
That is a cashew cream covering it. This dish was amazing. I scarfed it down. It was very rich, but also very flavorful. For dessert, we ordered an apple tart with maple "ice cream". Mary considered it the highlight of the evening and it was very delicious. Comparable to the fat- and dairy-laden originals you can get in other places. No picture, I'm afraid. I was too excited to tuck in and forgot.

The next day we had an early lunch of paninis (not vegan, but mine was vegetarian) and hung out at a pub for a little while drinking a hard cider and playing boggle:

After that, we headed for Babycakes vegan/gluten-free bakery to indulge in some cupcakes. We decided to bring them back to the apartment and pop open a bottle of champagne Mary purchased to celebrate my changing of careers and new job life.

All in all, it was a wonderful - if too short - break from the norm!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Southward, ho!

Well, "south" in a manner of speaking. I've tweaked my Monday schedule somewhat, and after work today I'll be heading to to New York City to visit my friend Mary for a couple days. I am soooo excited! I've needed to get away for a couple days.

It's a short trip, but I'll be packing as much as possible into it. Tomorrow I'm going to do something I've never done in all my years of going to NYC - I'm going to explore China Town and Little Italy. I don't know how I've managed to avoid these two areas. I think I've always been focused on mid-town Manhattan. But my friend lives within walking distance of both so I'm going to take advantage of that.

Tomorrow evening we have reservations at Pure Food and Wine. It is the place to go for raw, vegan food. I'm looking forward to it, although I think my wallet may curse the day I ever heard of it. I am so unused to going into a restaurant and having my choice of items, it may take me forever and a day just to order! I took a look at the menu online..... mmmmmmmmm! I cannot wait.

I'll do my best to post some pictures upon my return. In the meantime, I need to get to packing, and checking in, and possibly actually going to work.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

This Post Demonstrates How Far Away My Mind Wanders When Not Actively Engaged

Top 10 Truths Valid the Galaxy Over
as brought to you by Star Wars

10. When entering hives of scum and villainry, always be cautious.

9. Short, furry help is better than no help at all.

8. When getting your mack on, it is wise to first check parental lineage.

7. It's okay to be a stuck-up, half-witted nerfhearder, so long as you aren't also scruffy.

6. Always let the tall, hairy, strong guy win.

5. Truth is dependent upon one's point of view. One man's Sith Lord is another man's father.

4. Come in little packages, amazing things can.

3. Don't get cocky, son.

2. Sometimes your own actions end up bringing about the things you fear most.

1. No matter how mean and cranky you've been, there will always be someone there to forgive you at the end of the day.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dream Interpretation?

Anyone? Bueller?

So.... this is the big dream I had last night/this morning. Any thoughts as to the meaning?

We are hiking through the woods (ubiquitous "we". Not quite royal but more than me). We are on a mission of some kind to find something. I somehow get separated from the rest of the group and end up next to a frozen large stream. It is important for me to cross this stream. As I attempt to do so, the ice breaks up and the water is no longer frozen but moving along at "mountain stream in the spring" velocity. However, I don't get swept away (or wet, for that matter). Instead, I use my shirt to scoop up a ton of pebbles from the stream floor. They are beautiful, multicolored pebbles, and they are important. In fact, it was what we were hoping to find.

The pebbles are the key to everything. They will help solve the energy problems. Unfortunately, as soon as I scoop the pebbles up, there are a lot of other people clamoring for the pebbles too. They come out of nowhere and start scooping them up with abandon. There might have been heavy machinery. But, you see, I have my shirt full of pebbles, and I'm delivering them to the people who can help make a difference. We have all we need, cradled right there in my shirt.

But there was something protecting the pebbles, and it got angry that we took them. A great large, smothering, gooey (yes, gooey) blanket enveloped everything. It came from the sky and just settled down. The military was trying to fight it but it was too big. However, before it settled down on my merry band of adventurers, it hovered just a little bit and told us to explain ourselves. We somehow managed to convince it that we meant no harm and we needed the pebbles to fix what was wrong. But the Great Gooey Glob said, no no. Suddenly, we were back at the stream bed, putting the pebbles back in. The stream returned to normal (not frozen but not rushing) and we walked away, without the pebbles, but also without everything being smothered. There was no one else there, just us. Everyone else after the pebbles disappeared.

Anyone wanna give this a crack?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lessons from Sandy

I finally scheduled my National Certification examination. December 29th. Just squeaking in with my goal to be nationally certified by the end of the year.

As a result, I've amped up my studying. Ie, I've actually started studying. As I was sitting in the laundromat trying to ignore the creepy guy sitting at the table behind me studying, I happened upon this little tidbit in one of my textbooks and thought I'd share.

Behavior seems to be the outward manifestation of attempts at homeostasis, and we seek sensations that organize our brains. When behavior is effective in achieving some sort of balance, it will be reinforced. ... It is important to recognize that repeated behavior is accomplishing some form of homeostasis - even destructive behavior such as drug addiction, excessive exercise, eating disorders, rage, thrill seeking, crisis orientation, and the deliberate creation of pain. An attempt to eliminate one form of behavior without replacing it with another way of achieving homeostasis almost always results in failure and reversion to old behaviors.*

It seems so simple when she says it, doesn't it? All of our habits, good and bad, are an attempt to keep the body "on the level." When we look to change a habit we don't like (binge eating, for example) we have to find a new way to keep our body "level". If we're using the bingeing as an emotional coping mechanism, trying to quit without finding a healthy outlet for the emotions will only cause us to fall back on old habits. Ie, eating an entire chocolate cake by yourself within a 24 hour period.

Not that I've ever done that.

Anyway, I don't know if I had any place in particular that I was going with this post. This little paragraph just really struck me as important somehow and maybe someone would get something out of it.

Or not.

* Fritz, S. (2009). Mosby's Essential Sciences for Therapeutic Massage: Anatomy, Physiology, Biomechanics, and Pathology. Elsevier: Missouri. ISBN: 978-0-323-04869-9. pp 84.

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