Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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If we were having coffee this weekend in Tucson, I would try to cool you off and ask you to join in a rain dance before you go. Our wildfires are very hard to control with no rain, so things are out of hand here in Arizona. I know the weather is warm all over this summer, but we are truly surrounded by a burning ring of fire. We went out early this morning to a produce distribution near our home. Our produce haul this week includes a 20 pound box of fresh dates. They are beautiful. Please help yourself to some while I pour you some iced tea. I will be studying Pinterest for date recipes to try that do not include baking…it is too hot for that. Sit back and tell me how your week and your writing has gone. Is your muse treating you well?
If we were having coffee I would tell you I am really enjoying that Audible subscription I purchased. I am tearing through the books, and loving the podcasts. I may disable myself from true reading with my own eyes, but I think it is super fun to have a great voice read to me. It is the perfect companion for my job. I continue to learn more every time I go to work. Yesterday I learned exactly where the big mesquite tree branch is in the parking lot. I was leaving work, obviously kind of distracted, and backed right into said tree branch. I had a long way to drive home with a shattered rear window, and later discovered body damage on the door that will require repair. I had to stay calm while hoping my window would not drop out on the road behind me in severe heat. I made it into my garage, had some exchange with the insurance company, then slept on it.
Of course I wish I had not damaged my car, but I always ask “Compared to what?” I did not hurt anyone else or anyone else’s car. I do have insurance coverage to repair the damage. I reflected on the central messages of my most recent audio books…I decided this accident was the flash of reality I needed to sell this car and get a much smaller more efficient model. I can save money on my insurance premiums by purchasing a small car, so I am going shopping for a Prius. I think it will be fun, and will suit my present lifestyle much better. I am not in a big rush. I have to get my car fixed in order to trade it in. This turns out to be some kind of turning point that will not require a dark night of the soul, just a car purchase. That is why it is an excellent idea to listen to Buddhist philosophy before you smash your rear window. Since one never knows when one may smash a window, it is always good to listen to the Buddha. The same might be said of death. Nothing is more valuable than equanimity.
How is your writing? I am still enjoying tea reviews and weed Wednesday. I shot some footage yesterday to use next Wednesday that I think will turn out well. My short fiction this week was again kind of gloomy and dystopian. The memoir book has been very helpful to me as a guide to creating fiction. I have not written much of it, and have not thought about character development and story arc, etc. Like my poetry, I have miles to go before I create my masterpiece, but I find the journey interesting and stimulating.
Speaking of stimulating, have some more iced tea. I have Peppermint Butler brewed for a cool zing and a caffeine buzz. It pairs well with the dates. If you know any simple, bacon free (I am a vegetarian), date recipes please let me know. I think I might attempt date chutney, but I am low on ideas beyond that.
Please stay hydrated during your visit to our hellish weather. Visit our hostess, Emily, at Nerd In The Brain to stay in touch with this digital party. Share your own post, drink some coffee, and let us know what is happening in your life.
Since this is a digital and moveable feast, next weekend we will converge in New Orleans at the blog of our original coffee share hostess, ParttimeMonster. We do this through the magic of the internet. Thanks for stopping in today.
The essence of effective self care is self knowledge. If you begin to understand yourself just as you are it becomes easier to please your senses and intellect. Your body craves healthy food and activity, and your mind thrives on stimulating conversation and reading. Writing, art projects, and journaling lead one to discover inner talents and insights. Clearing or updating personal space is an ongoing project that gives great satisfaction. Creating excellent work and play environments in your own home make life much more pleasurable.
I like simple pleasures like beautiful plants and fresh foods. Since I like to cook and find it therapeutic, I can always spend an afternoon in the kitchen having fun. On Sundays I like to prepare food for the week. Bob takes a meal from home to work with him most days, so I pack a few servings to get a head start on the week. If I also take time to do some deep cleaning tasks on the weekend, my work during the week is lightened, and I enjoy the clean environment. I know cooking and cleaning might not sound like self care tasks to you, but in my mind they are basic. I don’t pay others to do these things for me, so making it an adventure in creative homemaking is my only good healthy option. I feel accomplished and well cared for when I have some chores finished. I then relax completely.
I do not plan an entire day of effort without some direct rewards. I often make sweets and desserts on the weekends, and clean my bathroom extra well. I treat myself to some sweet concoction and take a lovely long soaking bath in my sparkling clean tub. I use essential oils of lavender and grapefruit, and take a tall glass of iced tea to drink while I soak. This is at least as good as being at a 5 star hotel for me, because I don’t have to travel back home…I am home!! I provide my own room service, slip into my own bed with fresh linens, and sleep soundly.
How do you make your weekends work to combine tasks that must be done with some relaxation and fun? Everyone has a personal style, which is why each person knows best how to be true to that style.
Find the freshest, most attractive produce in the aisle
Cook it as little as possible in order to create a masterpiece
To satisfy all your senses, to tempt your tastebuds in style
Consider presentation, flavor balance, and prep with ease
Jars of layered salads, wraps, burritos, and quinoa bowls
Bring out the healthy chef within to take care of nutrition
Take gourmet living seriously by designing a diet for souls
To live in balance with nature is a healing prescription
This poetic invitation to vegetarians on Mondays is inspired by the #veggiepoetry people on twitter. I stopped eating meat in 1969, and do not miss it, so this is a sincere recommendation. It is also my daily poem for National Poetry Writing Month. Find more poetry at the #NaPoWriMo site.
I am excited about this excellent promotion to share compassionate meals. The idea of going vegan has spread like wildfire for many good reasons. I agree with all the reasons, including the animal cruelty problem, but I still eat some dairy and eggs. Many folks are trying it for weight loss and finding it to be effective for that purpose. Once they embark on a meatless diet they feel lighter and usually are cured of a few chronic healthy issues.
I personally know how very unpopular it is to tell other people what to eat. Nobody wants to hear someone else control their diet unless they have paid a nutritionalist to do so. It is my opinion that the best way to convert the meat eaters to my way of thinking is to introduce them to foods that are delicious and easy to prepare. If they like the way it tastes they will be motivated to make it and eat it frequently. If it does not suit their tastebuds it will be difficult to stay on any prescribed eating regime. I never try to change anyone’s food choices, but do work on expanding them. I relate because when I became a vegetarian at the age of 19 my own diet was “American teen” minus the meat. I ate fries, potato chips, Dr Pepper, biscuits, bread, hush puppies, and a few vegetables. I did like spinach, but my palette was very immature and limited. It was a nutritional nightmare, but I learned to prepare a wider variety of dishes, and my horizons expanded. I think we can all benefit from learning to make healthy foods, and try new ones available on the market. I like ethnic restaurants a lot for this purpose. If I find something good I knock it off at home.
I like this challenge out of all the bazillion challenges being thrown down at the end of the year because it is about sharing. The sharing is intended to convert, but it starts as sharing. When I invite friends out to eat I choose places with good vegetarian food that I really like, for obvious reasons. This often results in new discoveries for my dining companions whether they order a vegetarian meal or not. They see what I order and how much bang one gets for a buck compared to a meat based cuisine.
I plan to participate in this challenge often because I will also learn from the other participants. If you have any resolutions or aspirations to lean into a more vegan style of eating this is an excellent way to find out how to do it. It is probably easier and tastier than you might imagine. You can follow the action on twitter at CompassionateMeals or search using the hashtag #compassionatemeal to find out what others are eating and sharing. Like #MeatlessMonday, it will have an endless treat of good ideas and recipes, no doubt. Get behind this delicious campaign, gentle readers.
If we were having coffee I would tell you that today is the first day of a commitment I make to myself and the planet during this month. I want you to consider trying it too. You are the one who decides exactly what processed means in this context. You define the challenge, which is not a diet, but an experiment. I have participated in October Unprocessed for the last couple of years. It is an enlightening voyage of discovery for me. Although I think of myself as a clean eater, I am not nearly as saintly or thrifty as I appear to (myself to) be. My trips to Trader Joe’s are all about the packaged goods as well as the high quality and good price on staples. I eat chips and crackers that cost too much and deliver too little nutrition for the buck. There are excellent substitutes. I have prepared this year by purchasing a major stash of good popcorn. This tried and true snack item can be dressed up for all occasions with seasoning. I invite you to join me for a cup of tea or coffee and a trip to the popcorn bar, which will be set up all month for your nibbling pleasure. Choose your own toppings, seasonings, butter, or even make your own popcorn ball with nuts and sticky syrup.
I am happy to be back at the weekend coffee share with so many of you who live far to the north of me. This week I collected a fabulous Norwegian recipe for soup and a bushel of apple recipes form some of the writers at this friendly table. I love to experience the vicarious digital winter through you. My grapefruit tree is full of fruit just starting to ripen. Soon I will no longer need my brand new air conditioner. This is what winter is in Tucson. Although I spend my childhood in Pennsylvania loving snow and four seasons I have been away from that for too long now. I truly would freak right out if I had to endure real winter in the north. Props to all of you who tough it out, drive right on through it. You have my full respect.
No matter where you live I am going to recommend that you try the October Unprocessed challenge. Taking a look at how much of one’s diet is packaged and transported at greater expense than the original food in said package is an eye opener. I discover when I take this month to examine how and why I purchase so many convenience items when I enjoy cooking as one of my favorite activities. Starting with fresh ingredients always yields a superior product. I know perfectly well how to do that, yet I am lured into impulse purchases of items represented as “healthy”. In fact, I snarfed down my last crispy rice crackers after midnight, so I have gone off the wagon before I even started. The idea for me is not to create guilt, but to gather information that will help me improve my diet over time. If I discover delightful alternatives I have no need to return to processed foods I have used in the past. This does not mean Trader Joe and I will be breaking up any time in the foreseeable future. It does not mean that on November 1st I will not return to using mass quantities of bacos (fake soy bacon in bits). Some things just make me happy. Bacos are essential to my mental well being, but I can go without them for a month to prove that I am not an addict.
Thanks for visiting the Weekend Coffee Share. Do visit my fellow writers, not all of whom are serving digital health food. You will find all kinds of hospitality here. Read, write, and share your thoughts with this international crew each weekend for a lively exchange of ideas.