imad 2010 was sublime start to weekend

Although every IMAD is cherished for the special day it is [in 2007 I survived getting hit by a car but that is a different blog post] 2010 was fantastic. Hopefully we'll go into more detail on the IMAD blog [no shoulds here!] but let's recap: there were enormous breakfasts with buckwheat pancakes, there were pedicures [my toenails are sparkly green], there were perogis, there was shopping, the first IMAD anthem was created and sung and then we celebrated with 11 others at dinner.

I spent most of Saturday recovering. Then had dinner at the fabulous Thai place, sen yai sen lek with my pack, attended a Betsy-Tacy Twin Cities gathering and laughed so hard. Then ECD Sunday night, last week before the ball! It has been a blissful cure to the February crabbies.

I hope everyone had at least some fun this weekend. Here's to March, spring is around the corner.

IMAD 2010 begins

I hope you'll join us in celebrating the Marys in your life this year. More updates on this years festivities can probably be found on our new event blog.

Blessings for a happy peaceful IMAD to all!

tired but spirited

The past 2 [3] days of work have been fairly hellish and my sleep has been full of weird dreams. In one my mother and I were shopping for undergarments, but that's a post for another time.

There is also big fun happening this week and it started last night. HN and I went out to dinner [sweet potato fries at the Herkimer] and to see Blythe Spirit at the Jungle Theatre and it was a delightful production. I highly recommend it and since it is actually running through the end of March 6 days a week you all have a chance to see it, [unlike the Klingon Xmas Carol where I felt like a tease because it was gone by the time I gushed about it last December]. There really isn't a bad seat in the house although if you didn't want to crank your neck you may want to avoid row AA. I noticed that there are 5 women and only 2 men in the cast and I had to wonder how much WWII had to do with that considering that Coward wrote the play in 1941. As I walked out at the end I had to wonder is it a bit misogynist that play? Yes perhaps, why then did I enjoy it so much? Hmmm. I'd be interested in other opinions if you have one.

The fun continues this week with both a writing get together tomorrow night and IMAD this Friday. Stay tuned here for special IMAD updates and perhaps even a surprise...

Tonight is the Y, I don't want to go, but I am going. Thank goodness I agreed to meet a friend it is getting me out of the house.

sweet enough

When picking a mate I firmly believe that if you are going for a long haul she or he cannot be too sweet. Kind and polite are up there as well. [and no when I was 23 I had no idea of this] However if you are sensitive to sugar food can easily get too sweet. It happened to me just last Tuesday.

I was trying to adapt an old Swedish recipe for ginger cookies from my wife's family for the first time. I even had company. We used whole wheat flour, coconut oil instead of shortening, kept the butter as butter and sweetened it with agave. The dough which we chilled in a handy snowbank seemed very soft but we felt still workable for a first try.
We had to roll chilled dough balls in sugar then bake. I decided that we should use palm sugar and my intuition told me to use the palm sugar cakes I had bought at the local 'Asian' food store. Big mistake, they were yummy but just two cookies sent my blood sugar through the stratosphere and made me sick for all of the next day. [others not as sensitive finished them off happily] I was hungry for a success.

I had almost stopped reading the smitten kitchen blog when the cider doughnuts were cooked in shortening instead of lard. I strongly feel if you are going to make doughnuts and you aren't a vegetarian go for the lard. Luckily I got over that quickly, because it would have been a shame to miss these cupcakes.

These would not be considered sweet for most but I had to make adjustments to them for me. If you are not sensitive to sugar don't wait any longer go out and make these now. If you do have sugar sensitivities read over my notes below and then go out and make them, you won't regret it.

I had white chocolate on my shelves [from the truffles my niece made for the wedding!] I used that for the mint cream. Since it was quite sweet I only used one ounce instead of the two. I love mint so I doubled the amount of peppermint. I also noted that sticking your bowl in a snow bank to chill works really well.

Then I melted the chocolate, Lindt 85% cacao with the butter. Chocolate can't be too dark for me. Since I was going for the extra mint I didn't add the espresso.

I mixed just 2T of palm sugar, this brand, with 3 yolks. It was easy to whisk by hand, until thick especially when watching the swedish men work as a team to win the the cross country race. Note that with palm sugar and eggs with dark yolks it will not turn 'lemon colored' mine was more like butterscotch colored.

Then I combined the eggs with the chocolate and vanilla, beat the egg whites with 2 more T of palm sugar [instead of 3] and salt and folded the whites into the chocolate mixture. For some reason the folding did not go stellar but well enough [I blame the excitement at the end of the 30K xcountry race] and they baked up fine.

Whip up the cream and eat. They are yummy, easy on the blood sugar and let's just say impossible to eat just one.

I hope all are enjoying some sweetness in some form this weekend.


I am going to attempt to limit the therapy in this post.

My relationship with food has been pretty blah the past couple of years. Although I love to cook for people occasionally and I am committed to giving us home cooked nutritious food very often at the same time I have gone through days of not wanting to shop, cook or care about food. Still have not figured out why ...
My writing partner is awesome for many reasons but one of the things I enjoy about her is how she is always interested in what I cook for her, appreciating it and asking for recipes. I love the appreciation but I take after my grandmother. I hardly ever cook from a recipe. I do a lot of guessing for her.

Today I was hungry for my late lunch, there was hardly any food in the house* so I threw some thing together that turned out pretty brilliant. I thought of making it for my writing partner which is when I realized I had just made it up again - no recipe. So I am going to be proactive, dear wp here is what I had for lunch today should you ever be interested before I forget it. For those who don't care about 'recipes' you can probably see a million ways to alter this and I encourage you to do so.

Make a roux, I used about 1T butter and 2T of spelt flour [of course I didn't measure],
salt and pepper,
then after it cooks gently for a minute I whisked in about 1c of goat milk,
when that was smooth and simmering I whisked in the juice from a can of tuna,
then I added about 1c of water, and half a bag of frozen spinach
and 2 'fingers' of sheep feta cheese
cooked gently stirring occasionally, then added the tuna from the can I drained previously.

I served this on top of barley and chopped red peppers from the garden this summer. It was great. There now I don't need to remember.

Oh and I found a gift today!
Now where has Trina Hamlin been all my life? She and her harmonica are awesome.

*I realize that compared to most of the planet my 'no food in the house' is completely inaccurate. I am blessed with good healthy food, just lacking in inspiration I guess.

musical regrets

I had plans for this post that were partly derailed by YouTube. I had several posting ideas but this one spoke to me most strongly so I guess I will do it anyway and work around the video lack.

Since September 2009 I have had 8 people die that affected my life directly. Of course being human I think about how all this death affects me. Though I am deeply aware that death casts it's affect over a large group. Some of these beings were close to me, some not. Some were family, some friends. One committed suicide and one was murdered. Some were elderly and may have welcomed death. Some were complete surprises. *sigh*

When I think about them all as a group words like grief and pain come to mind. Mostly I don't really know where to go from here. It seems each time after I incorporate a death a bit another one hits me. Each death has changed me and it's at the point now where sometimes I look inside and don't recognize myself anymore. Like my internal landscape is being terraformed.

I stumbled upon a song which really sums up my emotional state after all these deaths and I wanted to link to a video for it but it seems one doesn't exist. Too bad. But all of Glow's music is on CD Baby you can check it out if you want.

I feel like I am 15 years old again and a bit silly having a song speak that strongly for and to me, it seems a bit odd. But who am I to deny the comfort the universe offers.

I am not sure how much just the lyrics will convey, The song is Regret from the album Rain Theory:

I'm coming to terms with what could have been
And I'm scared
You were one of thousands one of many
But you're the one that I miss
What did I do, what did I say
Can I go back, there is no way
What would you think if I called you now
What would you say, what would you say
Coming to terms with what could have been
What would you say
I miss your violin in my living room
Your violin in my living room

© 2003 Glow

I have been assured that all this death swirling around is not typical, but I wonder. Perhaps it is and I was just asleep before?

surprised laughter

I had a story in my head this morning. I was sure one thing or the other was going to happen. The first option I didn't really want to happen, but I thought it probably would. The second I wanted to happen but it seemed unlikely. Then I opened my computer up and surprise! a third option had happened. I was stunned, I reacted and then I laughed out loud. Then for the next hour I giggled every time I thought of how stunned I had been that I did not accurately predict the future.

You know because usually I totally can predict the wait, no I can't. [ I can't read minds either] Yet there I was getting wrapped up in the stories my mind can spin. Forgetting that there are options that I can't even imagine that are just as likely to happen.

The actual story scenario is not important, because the story can be about anything. What your boss will say if you are late. Whether someone will ask you to dance. If someone will remember your birthday. So often I am stuck in a story of my own making, dreading something, or perhaps having huge expectations. Totally unaware, asleep to the world.

Completely forgetting that not buying into my internal stories, not creating a story in the first place is also an option. I could just see what happens, you know, when it actually happens. Then I could decide how I want to respond to what happens. Is it possible to remember the absolute infinity of the world and other people's actions around us? Ah well.
I did get a fabulous laugh out of it.

In other news the piece of fiction I am actually writing; word count: 66,356
A story to continue.

gorgeous weekend

This was just one of those weekends.

It was beautiful and simple and fun and restorative. There was rest, although sometimes interrupted by hairball hacking. There was kindness. There was two evenings of dancing. There was incredible Indian food. There was reading. There was connection. There were friends meeting. There was sad news. There was throwing things away. There were plans of spirit. A normal weekend.

But I was not usual, I was blessed with ease. I was full of laughter and quiet. My interior was spacious, more than that, it was huge like I had swallowed an ocean. I had room to accept all of me and then others. I was happy. I was grateful.

I was awake, I still am...and tomorrow is a day off.

Austrian plum blazers

Being a big fan of the Winter Olympics [Summer not so much] I am delighted when they start. although I end up seeing very little. This year I may have some time to watch some events. I plan on doing my de-cluttering this month to an Olympic background which should be fun. I love that 'high' I get when I throw stuff away. A huge pile got sorted this afternoon. Olympics are also the perfect background for taxes I think. If I had been organized I might have signed up for the knitting olympics and knitted something for myself [a real challenge for me]. Oh well something to keep in mind for 2014.

I saw some of the opening ceremonies, those guys in suits giving speeches made me feel like I was in a meeting at work. One of my favorite parts, the plum blazers the Austrian team women wore. [can't find a better picture] I would love one. Now I am totally laughing at myself that the clothing stuck in my mind of all things. It looked like a really nice blazer.

Still feeling happy and resilient, totally rocks.

Full Tank

Such a better week. I feel like I had one full week of being ill. Then another week of recovery. Finally this past Monday I started to feel like myself again. Then the catching up began. Then joy.

There is an idea in the Chemistry of Joy. That we all have a reservoir of resiliency which we can draw upon to deal with the stresses that occur in life. Some of us have huge tanks and it takes a lot to deplete us, some are born with smaller tanks and get depleted much more quickly.

I was sitting in my Resilience Training after group last night. We were doing our beginning meditation and checking in with ourselves. I suddenly realized that I was happy, seriously happy verging on giddy. As the evening went on I just got happier seeing people from last autumn's RT group and experiencing the great tea ceremony/ritual/mindfulness exercise that one of our group leaders prepared for us. My negative mind pointed out that it wouldn't last forever [of course nothing does] but I just smiled and told myself I was going to enjoy it anyway.

Later when I was home I realized that my tank [whatever size it is] felt full. Even with all the stress of work I am dealing with it better. Even though one day I had an afternoon migraine and had to cancel a dinner with a friend. The good parts of this week, well I really gave them my attention. I had a great writing afternoon and really felt connected to my story again.
Word count=65635

I had 2 'workout dates' with friends and had fun catching up and working out. I had a fab lunch with one friend and a nice dinner with another. Something I had been dreading didn't happen...I hadn't even realized I was dreading it, but I guess I was because I felt a lot of relief when it didn't happen. In between it all I shoveled snow and danced and did my best to let go of the idiocy that is work and appreciated all my co-workers. We are all in this boat together. [is it sinking?] It's been great to feel a lightening up of my grief from the past few months.
I hope I can manage my 'tank' better and keep topping it up so that I can operate on a much more even keel in the upcoming weeks. Qi gong tonight.

So my wish for all to have a stellar weekend, be nice to your sweetie, your pets and you!

tired of illness, no reading and rice?

Thanks to all who sent me wishes for good health. This week has been a big improvement over last week although whatever it is I have/had, it certainly is not leaving quickly. An odd quirk to my illness, I desperately wanted to read while eating [trying to eat] while I was sick. It was so hard to maintain the no multi-tasking ban. I have not yet figured out why. Because it's comforting? Because I didn't want to think about food? No clue yet.

My word count increased but I am too lazy comfortable to get up and get my flash drive, I made it over 65,000 words, that I do know.

I am going to take part in this "write your @ss off" this Monday. Because it sounds like fun. My joy deserves the attention. yeah!
So proof that my illness is passing, I had some fun this week, including the opera on Thursday night. Free tickets, dressing up, and a fabulous performance of Roberto Devereux added up to a wonderful evening even if I was radically short on sleep for a second night in a row. Since this is an epic tragedy in grand opera style I wasn't planning on buying tickets, my life seems all too full of tragedies nowadays but when they were offered I could not resist. And really the tragedy in opera is so over-the-top, so melodramatic, so illogical that I was still transported away from my here and now. Brenda Harris' voice made my spine shiver in the very best way.

I am still on the wacky no wheat, no corn, no dairy[cow] check for food sensitivities, my illness is dragging it out in a rather irritating way. I have plans to eat with different friends 3 times next week and that is really the most challenging thing about eating this way. Finding a restaurant. Should be interesting. An odd result of the eating change, I am getting so tired of rice! I love rice, I never thought such a thing was possible. Even though I eat spelt and millet as well, apparently I have a rice limit and I am finally reaching it. Even yummy crunchy terriaki rice crackers are losing their appeal.