Forget spring, I like winter cleaning

Seriously, spring is all beautiful days and frolicking outdoors.  Winter, however, allows for many days indoors which is why my basement now looks like this:

base 1  base 2   base 3  base closet

I soooo wish I had a “before” picture of our basement, but the lighting, as you can see, is not so good – so I guess I was never moved to take any pictures down there before.  BUT believe me when I tell you it had become a dumping ground for all things.  Anything that wasn’t being used regularly – ended up in the basement, anything that didn’t really have a home – ended up in the basement, anything that we thought, maybe, possibly, we might use in the future – ended up in the basement.  You get where I am going with this.

Now, the basement only holds well earned storage, things that are used regularly or seasonally, but not everyday.  Guess what that left room for?!

base play

That’s right, room to frolick – indoor style!


Daydreaming and hungry

photo via Roost

photo via Roost

I apologize in advance to anyone “detoxing” right now, cause this lady’s food photography is ridiculously tempting.  Short background, Caitlin, of Roost, married a guy who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.  She’s since committed to living a grain-free life, eating seasonally and cleanly and generously blogs about it all while showcasing her highly appealing pics….did I mention she’s also a food stylist?

Full disclosure, I have yet to try any of her recipes…..honestly the photography kind of intimidates.  BUT a little person in my house has been asking to make doughnuts and I think this Roost recipe, matched with this helpful tip from Weelicious (confirming I don’t need to buy any special equipment) makes the request hard to deny.  Mmmmmmmm, doughnuts.


It’s a funny thing

Me, taking pictures of my smoothies.  Here’s how it typically goes down, I return from the gym, sweaty, smelly and hungry.  I wash my hands (cause gyms have germs) and get to work making my shake.  There is rarely a plan, it’s totally based on what’s on hand, what needs to get used, how hungry I really am, etc.  So I whip up my concoction, pour it in a glass and then I take a picture.  Mind you I have not yet had even a sip of my breakfast, if I did there’d be a gross residue section on the glass and, although it rarely shows, I try to take an appetizing picture.  So there I am putting the glass, here and there trying (in vain) to find a little light and I’m hungry the whole time.  Now here’s the twist, I’m not even sure the picture I am taking will be posted.  I can make a yummy smoothie but occasionally, I can make one that is seriously difficult to choke down and some days (like today) it’s a total crap shoot.  But today was a winner and here it is:

Coco chai Coco Chai

1 cup Rice Milk

2 tablespoons Chai (I used the Tazo brand – it has sugar)

1 large handful raw spinach

1 handful raw cashews

1 scoop amazing greens powder (Chocolate kids version)

1 heaping table spoon Cacao

1 tsp maca

1 scoop Vega (Vanilla Chai)

1/2 to 2/3 cup  frozen organic cherries

Blend and serve and take a picture if you want.


Stop, Breathe, Savor

spazz photo via googling the internet

spazz photo via googling the internet

I’m kind of a spazz.  In all of my years (4) of playing tennis, my spazztastic nature seems to be the constant obstacle in my game.  I’ll be out on the court enjoying a friendly game, it’s a beautiful day and I’ll get that familiar bubbly excitement feeling – “HERE COMES THE BALL!!!!” My mind floods with all of the things I could/should do therefore taking me completely out of the moment.  I usually end up A) whacking the ball with all of my might – OUT! B) over-running the ball putting myself in a terrible position C) freaking myself out so much that I take my eye off the ball, swing and MISS – oh the shame of making NO contact at all.

Excitement is typically related to positive feelings but there are also roots of impatience, anxiety and wanting that accompany “excitement” as well.  What’s a spazz like me to do?  Stop, Breathe, Savor.  That word “savor” is best friends with pleasure in my mind.  It is good and positive and I naturally welcome any and all pleasurable experiences…..in fact, I want to savor them.  Conversely, telling myself to “slow down” seems to imply judgement – “I’m going too fast”, “I’m missing it”…….”it”, of course, being my LIFE.  Which would you rather tell yourself?  “Slow down” or “Savor”?  Me, I’m going with savor, whether I’m on the tennis court, doing errands, working, parenting, even relaxing – I’m going to be SAVORING.

 


Everything Zen

Bush’s album, Sixteen Stone, is me sitting in the library at the University of Colorado studying in 1994.  It was my study album for a whole semester, every time I cracked a book my CD player was there, best grades of my whole college career.  However, have you looked at the lyrics of Everything Zen?  Can this be right?  “minnie mouse has grown up a cow”……What the hell….. I’m new to learning about Zen Buddhism, but I don’t think “Everything Zen” has ANYTHING to do with being zen.

Ya know what does?  Have to do with being zen that is.  Suffering.  There’s a whole bunch about suffering in The Four Noble Truths, a main teaching of Zen Buddhism, here they are:

The Four Noble Truths

1.  Life means suffering.

2.  The origin of suffering is attachment.

3.  The cessation of suffering is attainable.

4.  The path to the cessation of suffering.

Growing up Catholic, there was a lot about suffering, “taking up your cross” and the like but I had never heard anything like Noble Truths, #3 or #4….granted I am far, far, far, far, far from a Catholic scholar.  But these Noble Truths offer hope, a guide for another option, notice it does not say suffering will vanish or disappear, it will still be there – so what changes?  Suffering is a big word, my mind goes to things like concentration camps.  But, like most things, there is a scale, the small things that cause us pain and suffering day to day and the big catastrophic type of suffering.

For example, me causing myself suffering because some one does not have the opinion of me that I want them to have.  A once close relationship has become difficult and challenging.  Or my jeans don’t fit today like they did yesterday, why do I have to suffer the water bloat?!  See, there’s a scale, it can be petty, it can be trite, it can be a tsunami but it can be stopped!  Well, the tsunami can’t be stopped but our reaction to suffering can cease.  Interested?  The podcast, Zencast 399 – Tools to Shift Our Perspective, available on iTunes for FREE, is a good start.

“I don’t believe that Elvis is dead” – Everything Zen, Bush

 


Worth repeating

I spent a fabulous amount of time on the internet last week, here are some articles, posts, etc. I want to keep track of:

1.  Awesome article from the beauty of it is about sunscreen (yes I seem to be dreaming of summer).  It’s confusing – the toxic stuff, the natural stuff, the ratings, this article has the links to the goods as well as her own breakdown of products that I found very helpful.

2.  Leave it to Kris Carr to make me feel good about some of my poorer choices as I wrapped up the holiday break……Crazy, Sexy , Gentle indeed.  I’m also getting ready to try out a few more of her recipes from her latest book, so far the juices have been one hit after another, so if you are thinking of juicing in 2013, this book is for you.

3.  “Water is the new oil crisis” – it’s a serious quote from Shiva Rose (of The Local Rose) on a project she did with Eileen Fisher.  But the article I found particularly helpful was more about CLEAN water and from my own city which, of course, makes it hit closer to home.  If you are interested in what you are brushing your teeth with, washing your hair with, cleaning your dishes with….not to mention trying to ingest 8 glasses of, then read this and then this.

4.  Yes, please

Photo via Gardenista

Photo via Gardenista

When looking for some fodder to help me actually plant something edible this year, I came across this article.  I realized another nice goal might be to have a dinner with all of my favorite folks, perhaps I’ll serve them something from my garden……and when I say “garden” I mean the pots of lettuce seeds that I hope will produce even just one leaf!

 

 

 


It’s a whole new world

One of the things my husband and I were trying to shift into is more bulk buying and less packaged goods.  Most of us know packaged goods are generally not good for us nor for the planet.  But we frequently got caught up in the logistics of living with this new idea – what kind of containers do we choose, how do we do this at the grocery store, what will we be eating?

The change started innocently, I wanted to invest in a few glass jars for my juices and smoothies so I stopped by our local hardware store and picked up 12 oz. Ball’s canning jars, they come in a package of 9.  Hmmm, I didn’t need 9 jars for smoothies and we were in need of glasses so we used the extra for some drinking glasses.  Well, there are only 4 of us in the family so I still had glasses left over.  Those I filled with some nuts and rice crackers that were basically getting stale on my shelf.

Guess where all that has led?

reorg 1

Shoddy photo of pantry

reord 2

Shoddy photo of baking and spices

 

Getting caught up on the logistics was so 2012, in 2013 we are making it happen.  Bring on the mistakes, failures and learning.  2013 is the “year of fun” – pass it on!