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Oh, reeeeeeaaalllly?

So, I described my current situation to a friend as burning down the house to see what's left, a la phoenix.  One can never be sure what will burn, now can one?  And, as some other friends often say, even dirt burns with enough fire. 

I was talking to himself about something innocuous.  Work and my increasing malaise about my work, I think.  I said, "But I like to work."  And, himself laughed quite brutally in my direction and spat out, "What job have you ever liked going to?"  It was quite the bonk on the noggin, in addition to being rather harshly said and unappreciated by me.  But, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that this is what this phase is about.  I've done this before.  I just haven't done it lately.  So, while I was reeling as though punched, I tried to focus on the words that came rambling after.  Something about how my theory was that I liked to work and so would I be one of those people who said they would keep working after I won the lottery and some other stuff. 

There's always a second punch in boxing--first the blow that stuns, then the knockout.  Perhaps I should get a tattoo of this fact. 

This came next, "The only job I've ever seen you like was the restaurant--the one you worked the hardest at, worked the longest at, and made the opposite of money at.  I don't think you're getting this work thing right.  The goal is to make the most amount of money in the least amount of hours."  Bam.  I laughed weakly and left the room.  Good day, sir.

Here's what was in my head, "Really?  That's the goal?  Really?  Maybe it's your goal.  I'm not sure it is my goal."  There was also a dash of,  "Who are you?  Why am I listening to you?"  So, today, my thinking is thus: What is my goal with work?  If I'm going to try and figure out what will light up my soul for the rest of my life, what will engage me and fulfill me, then what is my goal with it all?  Or, is that my real goal and do I just need to figure out how money can be a part of it? 

I'm off to do something.  I can't decide what.  I have a rain cloak that I'd like to finish for camp and gardening to do.  I need to go to the grocery store and see if I can get my car to run for more than a one way trip that ends in a jump in some parking lot.  I need to do a lot of things.  But, I think I'll just do what I want until dinner.  Let's see what happens next.

Any second could be THE ONE...

This was the message of a recent commercial for one of the mobile phone networks, saying you need their speed because you might need their services to, in this case, be able to sit next to what might be the next great love of your life.  Sigh. 

It strikes me that all this living life by the second is going to drive us mad eventually.  While I like the social networking and knowing interesting snapshots of seconds of my friends and acquaintances lives, there's a micromanagement that seems to be embedding itself in our culture.  Even before my eyes can adjust to awake and light, I've grabbed the demon iPhone and looked to see what messages I have.  I try to tell myself it is because I have children who might need me.  Realistically, I'm ready for the show...I'm turning on the tv show that is the lives of people I know.  Entertain me, bitches! 

Sometimes I feel I've gone all 1984 on observing the lives of others.  And, it also occurs to me that Orwell went too dark with how all this would happen.  He thought it would be evil and imposed upon people.  He failed to see that there could be ways that all of us would gladly open up our lives to the exposure he feared.  I mean, last week, I had to sign an official work policy that nothing I post on a social networking site or blog can be construed as private.  It further stated that, should I comment on anything work related, I should make sure to post a disclaimer that my views were not the views of the corporation.  Now, I've never confused my personal views for those of any corporate entity, despite many corporations trying to exact their views upon me through advertising or other sorts of insidious marketing...despite having to sign off on policies of the corporation that do tell me how I should think and act.

In the end, all of this is why I've come back to this very site to do the blogging about my internal life.  I'm pretty sure no corporate entities care about my thoughts, but I'm opting for a more narrow audience of friends and like minded observers.  I hope.  In the end, I've no illusion that anything I post out here in cyberspace is private.  In fact, I'd love to come up with something so worth saying that it would rock some little world where it might be important enough to get me fired.  I just don't have any really good subversive ideas at the moment.  Damn it. 

So, here's a thought from something I read and I cannot find where it came from--even google is no help. "When you care, you are compromised."  Hm.  Not a bad thing, just something to think about.  I find this jumps up to bite me most in situations where I underestimate how much I care.  I underestimate the risk or the amount of compromise.  Just spitballin' here.  No conclusions.

Have a marvelous day.  I'm off to plant lettuce and to let KT Tunstall ask me if I know how wonderful I am.  Then, I will let Macy Gray remind me there is beauty in the world.  And, I'll top it off with a whole lot of Louis Armstrong. 

Today, I'm reading...

"Very often we get stuck seeing things a certain way rather than using our entire mind to see all sides.  Like a holograph that changes pictures when you change your angle, so does nearly every situation that relates to your environment--you've just got to be willing to stretch your brain to see things differently." --Dr. Eric Plasker, The 100 Year Lifestyle

So, Dr. Plasker, I am supposed to make a lobular jump, eh?  Switch the lobes of the brain with which I am looking at my life.  Okie dokie, smokie.  Let's do  it. 

"...she would continually recreate her problems by the way she was living her life." (same book) Hm.  I know that feeling.  I see that happening with someone I love.  I wonder how I am doing this, as I suspect we all do to some extent.   

This book is fascinating me today because it is  discussing getting external and internal environments that match and work together to create the life you want.  Fascinating concept. 

And, I have two sick kids today, so I've been reading this against the backdrop of "Coraline" and "Kung Fu Panda", two movies I love.  But, the jury is in and the ruling is that I will cry at almost any movie right now.  Hm.

Now, for gardening.  Be well, my peeps. 

From the pit of sad...

Today I was chatting with a friend on my current state of affairs.  I was complaining of my inability to see my next steps, to see any idea of what I want to be should I happen to grow up. I described myself as a big pit of sad.  And, it's true.  But even in the pit of sad, I need a few mantras.  My friend described his own pit of sad and said he was building a rope out of the pit.  My mantras shall be the beginning of my rope.  Hope springs eternal.

I've recently been exposed to two ideas that come up in my head a lot.  "Progress, not perfection." And, "Turning my feathers into gold." 

I've come to see that I'm much more prone to perfectionism than my underachieving self wants to admit.  My old over achieving self that was raised in the expectation of not just perfection in tasks, but in my whole life, is in there somewhere wanting perfection and involving my pride in the whole shebang.  Every time I start to judge my projects lately, I just stop.  Progress, not perfection.  I can do that. 

As for the other mantra, I saw a letter to the editor in the local paper.  It was in support of Michelle Obama's program to quell the tide of obesity in our country.  I have been on a personal mission about food for enough years here that I've made it a part of me.  I also have the added goal of turning back time on the aging clock.  So, I exercise, eat super healthy, get enough sleep, practice health care maintenance and the like.  I've become frustrated at my inability to somehow transform myself into the bikini model ideal I sometimes fall prey to in my head.  This letter to the editor spoke of just taking up less space with your body.  It made the very cogent argument that if your body has leveled out to where it seems to be comfortable, why not turn what's there into it's best state?  And, it struck me that it's exactly what I've been preaching...except to myself, at my core.  Oops.  The letter said one should turn one's feathers into lead with weight lifting and the like.  No, not for me.  Instead, I want my feathers to be gold.  I can do that.  I've stopped the incessant wii fit daily weigh ins, the crazy running that my body absolutely hated and I feel amazing.  I'm dancing, gardening, hula hooping, and triking.  I love it.  I'm moving toward gold and my body seems to really like it.

I'm listening to "I Will Survive", the Cake cover.

Article I need to submit

I need to put this somewhere I cannot lose it.  Bad things happen to perfectly good computer files in this here cyberspace I call home.  

The Spinach Nacho Practice

This afternoon, on a lovely spring drive with a friend, talk turned to things spiritual.  Talk turned to practice, actual spiritual practice.  Or, as she deftly paraphrased a prayerbook concept, "Putting feet under one's prayers."  That's when lightening struck.  I realized that my journey through conscious eating, spiritual nutrition, food ecstasy, slow food, locavores, urban farmers, healthy eathing, pharmaceutical eating and other food flights of fancy had taken me through a land of much valuable information that completely derailed why I wanted to start preaching the gospel of cooking for our souls.  I was not explaining the very message that the kitchen can be the soul of practice.

I once read that the only exercises the human animal will willingly do reapeatedly, even practicing them to perfection, were those that engaged their senses of well-being, fun, play or survival.  I certainly have incorporated into my own life a number of physical activities that nuture my well-being in a fun and playful way.  They engage my soul in the same way my soul engaged with the vibrancy of life when I was a child.   But, they are in no way child's play.  I have long maintained that children are far better at living than adults, anyway. I often make a game of daily chores that would otherwise be drudgery.  Zen teachings say "Before Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.  After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."

I have learned that entering my kitchen in a playful and reverant state with a clear intention to cook up that which will nuture those for whom I am cooking is essential to nourishing the soul of the eaters.  I am in the kitchen in service to the care of those who will consume my intentions in the form of delicious food.  Don't ever mistake that this is some serious act of spritiuality that must be attended with somber dread.  No, this is a joyful moment in my life attended with simmering joy and usually a glass of red wine.  A facebook post recently reminded me of one of my favorite Tom Robbins' quotes, "There are only two life mantras: yum and yuck.  Mine is yum."  (Still Life With Woodpecker)

In this talk of practice, I pointed out that it is hard to convey, in the course of a one hour workshop, how to accomplish this practice.  But, I think I can walk anyone who is interested through an example of my practice. 

Today was a day of managing a health issue plaguing me, a migraine.  Migraine headaches are a new addition to my life and I plan to send them packing as soon as possible.  In this very discussion on practice, I also picked my friend's vast resources on women's health, migraines and the like for resources and suggestions.  Armed with that information and a vague idea of a light dinner, I reverantly and not so playfully (headaches suck) entered my kitchen with the intention of nourishing myself in a way that would not make my head hurt more.  Basic.  Effective.  I was in no shape to drive to the store for special ingreadients, so it was strictly a what's on hand affair. 

I swirled the olive oil into a skillet counter clockwise.  Widdershins to cut from my time and space the ache upon my head.  I happened to have a bowl of morning leftover herbs cut from my spring garden:  sage for wisdom and healing, chive buds for new and painfree beginnings in my brain, rosemary and basil for protection and healing.   I smelled each and toasted my impending health.  I threw in a handful of grape tomatoes (health and protection) and gave them a gentle red wine shower.  A quick and sparing fresh grind of sea salt and generous grind of black pepper sizzled when they hit the wine and oil.  While the tomatoes got soft, I grabbed a bag of not so fresh spinach (strength of all types and one of the best leafy greens to support overall health and to possibly lessen the headaches) that was begging to be saved from the compost heap.  An amazing amount of spinach can be sauteed down to barely a snack, so I thought of nothing by my soon to be health as I threw handful upon handful of leaves into the brew.  A beautifully foil wrapped pie wedge of Laughing Cow cheese mixed with the wine for a creamy base of cheese sauce-ish (sauce-ish=coats the dish, but the dish isn't a big swimming pool of sauce) and a handful of a wonderful shredded mix of Italian Cheeses (mozzerella, parmesan, romano) finished off the dish.  I took blue corn tortilla chips and covered a large dinner plate with a single layer of the chips.  Why trouble you with this detail?  Because, this dish is pretty healthy.  If it's your dinner, you want to eat far more dip than chip...unlike when you eat most of those other less healthy dips.  To achieve this dish as a dinner, dip to chip ratio needs to be about three to one. Dip to chip ratio is completely important for achieving maximum nacho liftoff.  By the time the chips were spread over the large plate, the dip was ready.  Safety mom first pierced the skin of each grape tomato to allow cooling instead of molten grape tomato mouth explosions.  It's a value added service I provide.

These steps took a total of ten minutes and that is with a bit of dithering about looking for ingredients and putting all the stuff back in the fridge.  I then poured a nice glass of red wine (because I love it) and sat out a bowl of blueberries (great antioxidant, protection) before lounging upon my queen of the kitchen throne to enjoy my dinner.  Now, I was just cooking for myself and to cure my malady.  I had no input from or obligation to others in my household.  However, I do live with others and I always make enough for me and enough to share.  It's one of my few personal rules.  Sharing food is one of the great joys of life.  Not surprisingly, I had the opportunity to share almost immediately.  Previously not hungry people appeared to 'just try one."  Yummy noises were made.  The headache lessened.   Life is good.

Somehow practice has gotten a bad rap.  Or, maybe in our hectic lives, it doesn't sound exciting enough to devote one's time to practice.  Yet, we drop everything when the latest fitness guru tells us we need to get up fifteen minutes early to do our stomach crunches.  That may last a few weeks, but cooking is for life.  Slainte!


On failing brilliantly...

It was bound to happen, the meltdown.  As right as rain, which it is today.  As certain as a woman's cycle, which is exacting its cruelty upon me today.  As awful as the night at work last night.  Yes, this meltdown was scheduled.  Brilliantly scheduled by me and the universe.  To be honest, the universe is doing all the heavy lifting, but I just really need to stand here to take its 2 x 4 to the head and ass.  See, it's easy. 

When the aforementioned energy blocks were revealed and acknowledged, I still wanted to be an observer in this mess.  Of course, that is a bad strategy for getting through something and learning.  Terrible strategy, really.  Perhaps, that is why my higher self, after getting a bonk on the third eye chakra from an actual rock--o.k., yes, it was a magik rock, set upon my alter the intention to get this moving on the new moon.  I had grand plans of rituals and procedures and diets and a shopping trip and research...ah, research, my playdate friend of procrastination...that would never be accomplished.  And, the universe laughed.  Intention is enough.  The universe laughs wryly at me, but then it gives me a hug in the end.  Sometimes there's painful stuff sandwiched between those two steps.

At first, the tears shyly crept out and struck at odd times, seemingly motivated by all the music I downloaded on the new phone.  I downloaded these tunes, mostly stored on the hard drive of my own computer.  However, there are some songs I've not heard before.  Coninkidink?  Doubtful, But, the floodgates were due to open.  And, the convergence of the forces the night after the new moon, which I neglected to honor with any of those well-intentioned plans, is also no accident.  Um, thank you for helping.  I do mean that, but I'm a bit afraid of what might happen next, right? 

After a lovely trip home that followed an almost ten hour work night in the pit of venomous energy, loss, and no productive output, I cried buckets and nearly had to pull over.  Had there been any traffic, it would have been necessary. 

Today, I cared for myself with lazing in bed watching a movie--a movie that was no accident in arriving this week, "Eat This New York'.  And, that is when the latest message from the universe was made apparent.  I fail brilliantly.  Epicly.  When the last realization came that my soul was whispering to my heart, "Epic fail, darling,"  I was so sad and brokenhearted.  But, I realized today that I fail quite well.  Brilliantly.  Of course, it is epic.  I've always maintained that one must go big or go home.  Well, no, to be more precise, I'm more 'go big or lay down and die'.  It is essential to my soul to adventure to new frontiers.  I must learn.  There's bound to be some hard lessons.  That's kinda how learning works.  The exact words that came into my head were, "Hey, I fail brilliantly!"  And, my heart seemed excited about that somehow. 

That is all.  I have a universe sandwich I need to finish.  Slainte.

Notes: "Eat This New York"  If you love restaurants, especially in New York, and/or love icons of the restaurant industry including a chef or two, watch this.  Also, it has a very decent soundtrack available on iTunes.  Enjoy!
I don't know, truly.  I know that half of discipline is showing up, so here I am.  I have little to say and little motivation to continue today's path.  But, I've been mighty productive, done some grown up stuff, and I've put lilacs in my car flower vase for the ride to work.  I hope aromatherapy works.

So, I am now going to pamper myself and listen to music in my quest to prepare for work.  Good luck to me.  I'm even starting to like my iPhone enough to have downloaded a few songs on it.  Yea, me. 

Have a marvelous day.  I'm singing, "Here Comes the Sun." Sing along, won't you?
So, today, my inner writer was reawakened.  It isn't that I haven't been writing, but I certainly haven't been writing for fun.  I've completely left out the story of my life since Facebook stole my brain and time, then the restaurant came and closed, now there's catering and a thousand projects, activities and stories.  All yet to be back blogged.  Oh, like I have a backblog of ideas for stories.

Before I go on, I officially add How Bizarre, OMC, to the soundtrack of my life.  Wanna know the rest?  Hey, buy the rights!

What compelled me to run back into the arms of my long-lost lj lover?  Privacy.  A smaller group of friends.  That sort of thing.  But, I'm still not locking it down.  I don't think anything I post on the web is truly private, so what's the point?  I am an open book.  I see no other solution I am willing to implement.  Oh, and a conversation with Squid's art history class, wherein Squid reveals her largest career desires in life.  Dun dun dun.

In all, it has been a perfect grey fall day.  I awoke to fix the twins healthy lunches.  It makes me happy.  I try to cook as much as possible to make up for missing cooking everyday at the restaurant.  I made a new kind of coffee and fed my Shatto cream addiction.  I took Squid to school on a pleasant drive there with her, came home and made a pair of earrings to wear to coffee with the class.  Sweet action.

In the course of one of the most pleasant and lively conversations I've had with a group of people in a bit, much was discussed.  Much. was. discussed.  The topics of self-perception and self-delusion came up.  The topic of what our souls would wear, a topic the Squid and I have much enjoyed over the years.  I've probably written about it, but my soul would wear an orange, pink and purple paisley utilikilt, with either go-go boots or heeled combat knee high snake boots, and...pasties.  And, my soul smokes because it just looks cool and souls don't get cancer in this scenario.  Immunity.  Also, see the need for pockets in the utilikilt.  Yes, we've given it quite a bit of thought.  And, now, we've dragged others into our little rumination.  Mwah.

The conclusion drawn on self-delusion was if ten friends were held in a room and questioned by someone scary who made them tell our personal weaknesses and foibles, the results would be possibly devastating to our continued positive self-image.  You mean my robust and rather uncontrollable laugh isn't exactly joy bringing to everyone?  The horror!  Would our delusions revealed make us better people or just level us?  No conclusion and no volunteers for experimentation. 

It's Squid's early day and we stopped on the way home to visit the lions at Swope Park.  We took the path less traveled and explored down a truly beautiful path with grueling stone steps.  They seemed so quaint on the way down.  Mother fuckers.  But, we took pictures and enjoyed the day and kept the philosophical chat rolling.  We both have writing projects on our minds and we were talking about love, relationships, institutionalized feelings or expectations of feelings, and fear.  Big words were used.  Bigger ideas cowered under our microscope examination.

On the drive home, I was enjoying a little brain CGI film of my soul, the smoking, topless, kilt wearer.  I further determined the pasties would indicate my soul's mood that day and today was hot pink, sparkly flower shapes.  My soul's boots were all about kicking butts and taking names...against weighty philosophical problems.  The issues of our times.  A live, technicolor, low budget, animated philosophy super hero.  But, hot. 

I like these ideals my brain sets up for me to aspire to and see in my soul.  Are they delusional or just good, clean (ish) fun? 

The latest concept in a book I'm reading, Stumbling on Happiness, is that certain beliefs, despite all experimental proof of their inaccuracy, despite having living, breathing resources who are currently participating in the situations, and daily are disproven to us, we keep believing--and not just for a little while.  A long line of your ancestors also believed them.  The most notable two of those beliefs?  Money will make us happy and parenthood will make us happy.  In reality, a certain amount of money will keep us from becoming very unhappy, but after a certain point, it's all a matter of mind-numbing shades of grey.  And, parenthood is a grueling task that has been shown in studies not to make one happy during the day-to-day...instead, it does in fact make us more unhappy.  But, to believe otherwise is to have everyone sleep in and the world's economic gears grind to a halt, and, to have the species end as we all fear the fruits of procreation.  Oi. 

So, what if self-delusion is just another instance of this sort of belief?  It is the hinge pin of the door to our will to live, our hope, our relative sanity?
 
Nothing to see here.  Keep it movin'.

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To remind myself


 
 

 
April 2, 2009
An Ambitious Foundation
Virgo Daily Horoscope

You may feel like a true visionary today as you address practical obligations related to your survival. Though thoughts of your present circumstances can cause you to feel dismayed, your main focus will likely be on all you hope to accomplish in the future. As your potential no doubt seems infinite in the atmosphere of your mind's eye, you will likely be more apt to make plans that are as ambitious as they promise to be rewarding. Try not to let the possible challenges interfere with your optimism today, as the farsightedness with which you contemplate the future can help you make plans and formulate goals that will change your life for the better.

When we look beyond the circumstances constraining our potential in the present, we discover the possibility of a future that is an expression of our creative and innovative abilities. There may not be much we can do to influence the manner in which our lives are unfolding right now, but we can focus our energy on those steps we can take to ensure that our futures are as fulfilling as we wish them to be. A visionary spirit and a tendency to be farsighted can be strong assets to us as we consider how our choices will influence that which is yet to come. The desire that fuel us right now will become the foundation of a life plan that helps us to realize our most ambitious dreams. The future you envision in your mind's eye today will help you create concrete goals that are as stimulating as they are fulfilling.

Note: Whatever stock I do or do not put in horoscopes, I absolutely believe somethings are put into one's path for synchronicity alerts and universal reminder opportunities.  This set off the "yes, yes, oh, YESSSSSSSS!" alarms. 

More later. 

Tags:

Dr Frankenscope



You need a good stiff test of your powers of discernment.  For a few days, refuse to jump to any conclusions whatsoever. Be skeptical of all theories about why things are the way they are. See if you can thrive without clinging to any ideology. Instead, be bursting with the intention to discover the raw truth, no matter where that leads you, and even if it seems to contradict your rules to live by.  Leap ahead many years in your imagination and tune in to the guidance of the ripe and vibrant wise guy or wise woman you will ultimately become.  And,  I hope you won't be in the least apologetic as you carry out your assignment: Serenade your seeds. Bathe them in your tender concern. Infuse them with your intelligent love. Whether your seeds are literal plants or more metaphorical in nature, make it your priority to sweet-talk them and guide them into the next phase of their growth.

Oh, Rob Brezney, why must you be so deep?  For once, couldn't I just wear purple to be lucky or don't step on cracks to avoid breaking backs, go to bed early, smile at my detractors, ignore gossip?  Something obviously easy.  Noooooo. Get in touch with my inner elder.  Fine.  I counter with this:

You have to start by changing the story you tell yourself about getting older...The minute you say to yourself, 'Time is everything, and I'm going to make sure that time is used the way I dream it should be used,' then you've got a whole different story.
Diane Sawyer

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