March 2008

Ah it’s that time of year again, I’ve bought the kit and stocked the kitchen.  I’m also enjoying an artery-clogging meal of this amazing baked rigatoni dish I found in a Donna Hay cookbook

The pasta is gooed up with ricotta, parmesan, eggs, and sour cream and I added garlic and crisp bacon for good measure.  And I’m getting extra enjoyment cos I won’t be having any of *that* stuff for 12 days.  But it’ll feel good to mark the dismissal of winter food eating and remind myself what a green veg looks like. 

Here’s what I got in case it’s helpful to any other detoxers out there:

– the biggest bag of organic brown rice I could find – repeat it with me “brown rice is a detoxer’s friend”

– puffed rice cereal

– unsweetened plain soy milk (it doesn’t taste great but what else are you going to put on the cereal?)

– frozen veggies for when I get lazy

– frozen fruit for putting on cereal or whirring up a smoothie with soy milk

– eggs (I’m going to fry up some peppers and onions the night before, and then throw them in a container with a beaten egg and cilantro to nuke for breakfast)

– chick peas to make this recipe in the slow cooker

– almond butter to put on anything that doesn’t move for snacktime (or I’ll make oat cakes on the weekend)

– brown rice cakes – see “almond butter”

– pistachios – I noticed these babies hiding on the 20% list of page 13.  You can bet I’m going to be cracking a handful of those babies with a piece of fruit at snacktime

– the costco-size bag of almonds – repeat it with me now “almonds are a detoxer’s friend”

– a box of organic chicken stock (you have to check these carefully to make sure they’re not full of MSG and unprounceable ingredients)

– lentils to make an indian lentil rice thing, stay tuned for the recipe

– ground pork to make some kickin’ thai meatballs, stay tuned for the recipe

– a bag of sliced up cabbage for coleslaw, hopefully I’ll get to that recipe too

– some new vanilla roobois tea to trick myself into thinking I’m drinking red wine (I’ll be much too sober for it to work, but I can try)

I’m feeling virtuous already.

I got a message on Facebook yesterday from Tommy, a classmate from elementary school.  Apparently he’s Tom now but I’ll always think of him as soccer-loving Tommy.  I had a total crush on him in grade 5.  We lost track of each other after grade 7.   It was so good to hear from him. 

I grew up in the burbs outside Vancouver.  He was one of the kids from Barnston Island, a small island in the Fraser River.  There was only one bus that came to our school and it brought the white farm kids and the native kids over on the ferry from the island. 

My friend Corina and I decided to take our bikes there one day.  We rode to the ferry and took it over.  The ferry is actually a tugboat pushing a small barge and it only takes the trip across when people are at one stop or the other waiting for it.  Then we biked the flat country roads passing the farms and fields and houses.  We weren’t really looking but we found Tommy’s house.  His last name was handpainted in black on the mailbox.  Tommy’s house was a really tiny, really rustic place. 

I remember we stopped and looked and we were really surprised.  Me and my friends all had big suburban kind of houses.  For my family it was more about family-size and land availability, not so much the size of our bank account.  But it was my first lesson in Things Aren’t the Same For Everyone. It also gave me the first feeling that Things Are Different If You’re Native.

I have no connection to the place I grew up anymore.  I lived there from age 4 to 21 or so and could not wait to get away.  I moved to the city the minute I could.  My family moved away shortly after and now I’m even farther, on the other side of the country.   I guess that’s why it was good to hear from Tommy.  To feel some connection to a place that was Home at one time.  It sounds like Tommy’s doing great, he’s in Vancouver and still plays soccer.

I drove past the home where I grew up 5 years or so ago.  It’s exactly the same and so is the area.  It’s still a rural suburban kind of place.  The homogenous housing subdivisions haven’t encroached yet.  The Italian family up the road still have sheep in their yard. The 10 acre horse farm is still around the corner. 

Corina is the only other person whose friended me from my elementary days.  She still lives in there and told me that they’re building a new bridge across the Fraser river.  The highway that attaches to it will probably cut right through where I used to live.  I just hope they don’t build it too close to Barnston island.

“Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing.”

A Still Forest Pool: The Insight Meditation of Achaan Chah, Jack Kornfield


Have you done the “Sat Nam” meditation before? It rhymes with “But Mom”.  The Kundalini yoga folks use it alot.  I read that it means “I Am That” and I didn’t really get it before.  It also means “That” as in the “Truth” or the “Divine”.  I don’t really get that either, but it came to mind recently.

At work I was moved to sit next to some geeky guys who I didn’t know from Adam.  I wasn’t happy with the change, not the geeky guys so much as the changes.  I said some not-nice things about my new neighbours.  I was angry.  I was in SERIOUS RESIST MODE.  

I’m not going to repeat what I said in front of the whole interweb but to the dear friends I confide in (ok, let’s be honest it’s “Rant at”) thank you for liking me anyways.

It’s a funny thing about being unkind, we hate being victims of it but we all do it to.  In Leah McLaren’s column on the weekend, she was talking about her body and how one of her breasts is larger than the other which earned her the nickname “Biggy Small” in high school. OK it made me laugh but can you imagine? 

We say kids can be so cruel, but we all can and it’s not nice to see in yourself.  Heck if you think seeing it is bad, try blogging about it.  And that’s the point.  The minute we close ourselves off and say “oh boy that’s so not me” it’s just your Shadow side coming into play.  That’s the icky stuff we don’t really want to see.  You say “I’m A and I’m B and you can bet I’m C, but I sure has heck ain’t D”.  But you are.  Maybe just a little.  And so am I.

Because the fact is, we don’t get to choose.  I Am That means it’s a package deal.  And if it does fold back to the Truth or the Divine (I don’t pretend to understand this, just stumbling through the dark here) it’s because we need to accept it all.  It all just is.  And it’s all good. The Light doesn’t exist without the Shadow.

And when we’re able to get our heads there it reminds us how much we’re all connected.  Even when life cheeses us off and we choose to focus on how we feel so darn seperate.

So here’s how I know that to be true.  The other day sitting next to my geeky neighbours somebody brought up Firefly which is a favourite cancelled show and then we talked about what Joss Whedon is going to do next and we agreed that it will hopefully be more Firefly than Buffy.  And then we talked about how Summer Gau rocked in Firefly and amazing that fight scene was, it was like an intricately choreographed dance number, and yes, she used to be a dancer, she hurt her ankle and went into acting and no wonder she got picked up for Terminator, she’s been great we haven’t seen her blink once and thanks to the writer strike we finished the “series” by watching her jeep get blown up and since Fox hasn’t said they’re renewing the series (hello! you owe us, why do you think we even turned *on* the TV during the writers strike!?) we may never find out what happened.

(Sigh) So yup, I’m a package deal.  I can be unkind.  I am a geek.  I Am That. 

I went to a yoga class last week and since I was the solo attendee Krista asked me what I wanted to focus on and picked Hips! Let’s do Hips! 

She did an awesome routine with Bird of Paradise which I have never done.  Here’s Ana Forrest doing it, my version is more of a bent-knee variation, but you get the idea. 

Here’s how to do it.  First warm up with lots of lunging, Warrior 1 and 2,  a long juicy Triangle and whatever else you do to move the concrete out of your hips. 

Krista also did a nice variation on low lunge:

Start in high lunge, lower your back knee to the mat and scoot it back a couple inches before letting your hips sink down and forward.  Then place your hands on the inside of your front foot and bend your elbows (or rest elbows on the mat), lowering your torso to deepen the stretch.  Then lift the inside of your front foot to bring your knee out farther to the side.  This shouldn’t cause any knee discomfort but will really deepen the hip stretch.

Once your hips are like butter do this routine:

Get into Side Angle pose, right foot forward first, right hand on the floor on the inside of your front foot.  Place left hand on your waist and tip your elbow back behind you opening up your chest.  Hold here for 3 breaths.  Then bind by reaching right arm under thigh, left arm around your back from the left, grab your hands under your butt if you can or use a strap.  Hold for another 3 breaths continuing to keep your right knee open over your ankle as you spin your torso toward the ceiling.

Here comes the fun part.  Look down at the floor and holding your bind, step your left foot like a one-footed chicken until it’s next to your right.  Get your weight solid in your left foot and holding the bind, come up on your toes on your right foot.  Taking your time, come up to standing.  Straighten your torso.  Play with straightening your right leg without pulling your shoulder out of its socket ;-) Hold for 3-5 breaths.

Very slowly bring your right foot back down to the mat and unbind.  Awesome no?  Repeat on the other side.


So Gussie and I do this thing where he comes in the door at the end of the day,  I squat down to hug him and he takes a running leap from 12 steps away into my lap and body slams me with his full 35 pounds of weight, arms wrapped around my head.  That means he’s happy to see me.  It’s quite a balancing pose, I’d highly recommend it.

And then I say, “I *missed* you today”. And he says, “I missed you too!”

Last night after the usual body slam welcome he ran into the kitchen and found his yellow blankie on the floor.  Yellow Blankie is the Soft Source Of Comfort That Could Not Be Lived Without.

He yells, “Yellow Blankie!  I *missed* you today!”

Then he grabs it and runs out of the kitchen yelling, “I missed you too!”

That yellow blankie.  Always muscling in on my thing….

I went for a run today at lunchtime and it was a balmy 9 degrees celcius.  That probably doesn’t even show up on southern thermometers so I don’t know what the translation is but for barely-March here it’s pretty good.  I was in a t-shirt.  And a tuque just to be safe.  That’s the knitted hat thingy.  That’s what they’re called.

It reminds me of the time I was working with a woman in New York and she put a knitted hat thingy on her head and I told her that Canadians call it a “tuque”.  She was interested that we had different words for stuff and asked me to repeat it. 

And then when she was leaving she put her hat on again and said, “what’s it called?  A toke?”

I said, “um, don’t call it a toke.  It’s a tuque.” 

I’m trying to save this girl from running around sounding like a dope-smoking, tuque-wearing Canadian wannabe with a New York accent, you know?  I was just trying to help, but maybe we should have stuck with knitted hat thingy….

I used to think that if you were in a relationship where you lived under the same roof that you’d be in sync enough that you wouldn’t need to negotiate anything.  Things would just happen as they should and the important stuff would just be understood.  Wow eh?  What fantastical mythological rock did I crawl out from under?

I mean, “under the same roof” definitely requires negotiation – travel, money, who’s doing what to the dishes.  Bring a kid into it and a certificate in international diplomacy would not go unused.

Thankfully I’ve gotten better at it, because I wasn’t a decent negotiator period.  I was the num-num who actually went to a market in Mexico and just handed over money for something based on the first price that came out of the seller’s mouth.  I think their mouth was open in shock and awe while we completed the entire transaction.

So I’m going to Kripalu next month (Aside – I’ve heard that they don’t serve coffee at Kripalu, can someone comment on that if you know?  I’ll want to add “caffeine detox” to my to-do list if that’s the case). 

Since Kripalu is a mere 12 hour drive and I’ve been wanting to do a road trip so I thought I’d drive it.  I’m chatting this through with HoneyBunny (Another Aside – He hates being called that, I do it to amuse myself.  You think the joys of being written about against your will come for free bucko?! ;-)). 

He says he’s not comfortable with the driving part.

My first thought is “What, he doesn’t think I’m the kind of strong independent woman who can get my tukus to Kripalu?”  And I don’t even bother because I know he’d say a) He’s usually on the *business end* of my strong independent womanhood, he knows all too well, and b) it’s my 10 year old car that may not get my tukus to Kripalu.  Point well taken.

So he makes me a deal – we’ll do a road trip vacation thing sometime this spring or summer if I fly to Kripalu.  Done. 

And here’s the weird thing, you know how we talk about “being in the flow” or “going with the flow” and sometimes you’re not even sure if you’re in or out of the river? 

I *always* book a spring trip.  By the time February comes I usually have a travel itch that just has to be scratched.  So I plan something in advance for my mental health and the mental health of those around me.  This year I didn’t. 

I had meandered around on some travel sites and nothing was right.  And I had actually let it go.  And no itch.  And then last weekend I remembered there were interesting Kripalu programs coming up.  I did the research and negotiated with HB on Monday.  Found decent prices and had it all booked on Tuesday.  Done and done.  I guess I was in the river after all.