You know how we're being told, and admonished, and screamed at hysterically to wash our hands as often as possible? For at least twenty seconds? Like every time we touch anything at all? Which, along with not touching anything at all, least of all our eyes, nose or any other part of our faces, is supposed to help keep us safe from the dreaded Swine Flu? It is even suggested that we sing the Happy Birthday Song, or the ABC Song, so that we'll lather for a sufficient amount of time to kill all of the nasty germs we've inadvertently acquired in the thirty minutes or so since we last washed our hands. Well, while Swine Flu Mania is turing us all into Howard Hughes (yes, I do have face masks and rubber gloves on hand), there is an up side.
Washing your hands while singing Happy Birthday or the ABC Song, or even while slowly counting to 20, gives you a 20 second break every time you do it. A pause for your paws, if you will. Plus, who can think about anything stressful while singing the ABC Song? Call it your Inner Child Meditation.
Now, as we all know, meditation can ease stress. And easing stress can help boost your immune system. It's a win-win situation.
So skip the hand sanitizer when you can. (It only works so many times in a row, anyway, before it becomes useless for a period of time.) Use good old soap and water and sing a nursery song. Bet you'll smile!
I kept thinking I knew what it was about, and it kept surprising me. All the way to the very last paragraph, actually. It uses shades of Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia and others of the genre to tell a story about life. And being what you are. And learning and growing, sometimes painfully (very painfully). It asks whether you can go back again, and what happens when your dreams come true. What will happen to Peter Pan if he truly never grows up. And what if he does.
I mentioned in a previous post that I would share my morning smoothie experience. Today is your lucky day!
As the weather grows colder, fresh, local greens (the Dark Leafies, I mean) become harder to get here in the Northeast. And, okay, sometimes I feel too busy to shop and wash and chop and sautee. But greens make me feel good, so I don't like losing them. I was planning to do a Fall planting of arugula and kale on the terrace, but my building had other ideas. They thought a terrace renovation might be nice. So I packed up my garden on Labor Day. Sigh. On a positive note, the terrace is much less leaky now, so it was all for the best.
But that lack of greens got me thinking about a greens powder I used to use, called Green Utopia. I went out and bought some, and re-started my smoothie habit. I was really only thinking about it from a nutritional perspective, but what I found was that the benefits were larger than I expected. Not only do I feel more balanced and energetic, but things are - erm - flowing better, too. Digestively speaking. So, in a sense, I'm doing a mini cleanse. With very little effort at all, I might add. Cool.
Anyway, here's what I typically put in my morning smoothie:
6 ounces juice of your choice 1 scoop Green Utopia powder 1 ounce aloe vera juice (very healing for the digestive tract) 1 serving liquid multi-vitamin (might as well get it all done in one shot) 1-2 tablespoons plain yogurt (not Greek yogurt, though. It's too thick) 1 teaspoon flax seeds (if I'm using a blender and not just my shaker) Frozen blueberries and/or raspberries (again only if I'm using a blender)
Directions (like you need 'em)
If I'm using my shaker bottle, I'll stop at the first four, or sometimes five ingredients. Add them all together and shake-shake-shake. (Sometimes I dance while I'm shaking. It helps wake me up. Plus, it's fun.) If I'm using a blender or immersion blender, I add everything and hit the button.
Other options, of course, are many. When I can get my hands on some, I'll start adding maca powder, for instance. (Maca is a Peruvian root, which is dried and ground to a powder. I have found it to be a great hormone balancer.) Cacao powder is another good option (any excuse to add chocolate).
What do you put in your smoothie?
Disclaimer: I do not work for, or have any connection with Bluebonnet (maker of Green Utopia). I just like their product.
I have a tendency to complicate things. You're shocked, aren't you. Well, it's true. It's often what's at the heart of procrastination, for me. Because I have a big, complex idea in my head, and so I think I need to have lots of time and it will be hard and, well, big and complex, to accomplish whatever it is. So then I don't start.
Sometimes this tendency results in overkill. For instance, I can't just put granola in my yogurt and call it done. No, I have to add flax seeds. And raisins. And almonds and maybe walnuts. And some cinnamon. Possibly some chocolate chips, if I'm feeling feisty. And maybe some fresh fruit. Same goes for salads. Lettuce, tomato, cucumber? Please! I'm just getting started! My morning smoothie (about which I will tell you more later), has at least six ingredients on any given day. At least three of them are there because they're good for me.
Last night I got hit with the simple stick.
I even said to ChuckieT, don't get too excited about dinner. It's pretty simple.
Will it taste good? he asked.
Oh, it should be tasty, I replied. Just not particularly fancy.
That's all I need, he said.
After dinner he said it was possibly the best pasta I've ever made for him. In fact, he insisted that I blog about it, so I would have it written down. So I wouldn't forget how to make it for him again. That's pretty high praise from ChuckieT.
Easy Cheesy Pasta
This is pretty much my take on caprese, which you will immediate see when you read the ingredient list. A word, first, about those ingredients: make sure they are as fresh and high quality as you can find/afford. That's the trick to simple, I'm learning. At least in cooking. Buy good stuff and let it do it's thing. In other words, have faith. (Hmmm. I think I've just had an a-ha moment.)
Rotelli pasta, enough for two people (I prefer whole wheat - I think it adds more flavor) Pine nuts 2 cloves garlic, chopped Olive oil A hefty handful of fresh basil leaves, julienned (that's a fancy word for sliced into strips) 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 10-15 grape tomatoes, sliced in half 2 1/4-inch slices of fresh mozzarella, cubed Sea salt Freshly ground pepper
Cook pasta as directed on the package, drain and set aside.
In the now dry and empty pasta pot, turn heat to medium high and toss in a handful of pine nuts. Stir around until they begin to brown and/or smell nice and nutty. Remove and set aside. Pour in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and turn heat to medium-low. Add garlic and sautee for 30 to 60 seconds. Add herbs, turn off heat and stir to coat. Add pasta, tomatoes and mozzarella, salt and pepper, and another drizzle of olive oil. Stir. The heat from the pasta and the pot itself will wilt the herbs and melt the cheese. Scoop into bowls, sprinkle with pine nuts and serve (with a fork, if you're me; with a spoon if you're like ChuckieT).
The only downside to this recipe is that we didn't end up with leftovers for lunch. It was too good. You might want to cook double the amount and hide half of it away. Seriously. Hide it.
I've been trying to write a post about the power of positive thought. It was to be an in-depth look at some of the arguments for and against. It was supposed to be a way for me to become clear about what I thought. Positivity has been coming up a lot lately - on a blog I follow, in Barbara Ehrenreich's new book, in all the media attention thereto. (BTW, I haven't read Ms. Eherenreich's book. I did see her interviewed on The Daily Show, though.) Then, last night I got more bad news. I am positive I don't like that.
There are now four people in my life who have been diagnosed with life-threaghtening things. And many more who are affected by these diagnoses, as I am. I feel as though the wind has been knocked out of me. Four times.
And to keep myself from sinking down underneath the sadness and the fear, and setting up residence there, I need to list some things I am grateful for, and which are going well.
1. I have a loving husband who is with me in all of this.
2. I am healthy.
3. I have two adorable dogs who make me smile - sometimes in spite of myself.
4. I have a job.
5. I have a new knitting group, where I get to just sit in the company of like-minded people and ply my craft.
6. I have great friends, who will listen when I need to talk, and let me be silent when that's what I want.
7. I am a Reiki Master. There is something I can do.
It does help to write this list. If this is what is meant by positive thinking, then yes, I subscribe. I'll leave the science, the cause and effect, the blaming-the-victim arguments for later. Thinking about good things, positive things, in the midst of all of this helps.
Tomorrow, ranting and screaming and punching inanimate objects may be what I need. We'll see.
The twins occupied a small table in a cluster of them in an alcove of the concourse. They wore bright clothing meant for thirty-year-olds over their skinny, old-lady bodies, and their identically dyed and styled hair formed mod red helmets over identical faces bold with mascara and lipstick and rouge. They clutched identical cell phones, into which they each held forth, wheeling and dealing and generally showing the world how it was done. Old age was given no quarter here.
I fantasize that they were real estate agents. Or possibly casting directors.
Sometimes New York offers up its essence like that.