Vegan La Revolución!

by RS on July 19, 2015

About three weeks ago for dinner, the Ol’ Man ate a barbecue pulled pork sandwich, corn on the cob and a salad. I’ve been shying away from eating pork for a couple of months, but occasionally I’ve indulged in a couple of strips of bacon or a slice of pork tenderloin. Every time ate it; I felt terrible.

But this time, I couldn’t bring myself to eating pork. Instead, I opted for the corn and salad. The next day I made the decision to eliminate slowly cheese and milk from my diet. Why? It turns out I am lactose intolerant.

I blamed much of my heartburn issues on the extra weight I was carrying. But every time I consumed some dairy product—yogurt, cream, milk in my coffee, cheese, ice cream—I was in discomfort. Nighttime was the worst. I was a little put off that my body was rebelling in this manner. It put the kibosh on my ice cream making adventures for the summer, and it also meant no more endless cups of coffee with half-and-half, or my favorite—caffe mit Schlag.

I figured I could get used to coffee without milk or cream, and substitute it with soy milk or any of the nut milks, but I also wanted to cut my caffeine. Why? High blood pressure runs in pater and materfamilias, and mine is high.

Until recently I’ve rarely gone to a doctor, but because of my gynecological issues, I’ve had numerous medical appointments these past six months. At my last visit and now two weeks of eating clean,  I hoped my blood pressure was in a normal range. Unfortunately, it was still elevated. Those numbers pushed me to make a change in my diet, and that’s when I decided I would eat vegan.

This past week I stocked up on the fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. I also have a variety of tofu to work into recipes.

For the next thirty days, I am challenging myself to stick to this new way of eating. On August 6th, I have a doctor’s appointment, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that my blood pressure is in the normal range.

I end this post with two photos and with the disclaimer that no animal was abused, harmed or killed in the making of tonight’s dinner.

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Vegan La Revolución!

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The Morning Pages

by RS on June 6, 2015

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I decided on my birthday in April to follow Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, a twelve-week program that inspires and nurtures the creative spirit. One of the exercises—and it’s one you have to do no if or buts about it—is what Cameron calls “The Morning Pages.”

Every morning before you do anything—walk the dogs or check email—you get up early to write three full pages—front and back. Thank goodness for Rhodia notebooks that don’t measure 8.5 by 11 inches because writing those three full pages has been and is a struggle.

Does that surprise you considering my posts tend to blather on and on? Truth be told, I don’t want to bare my soul first thing in the morning. Most of what I write on those pages are related to work, finances, some writing, the weather, and maybe if something is really bothering me, but over the years I’ve learned to keep certain topics internalized.

Surprising, right? I come across as a forthright person so why should it be so difficult to just spew out the joy, the frustrations, and the pain? I’ve discovered that writing about frustrations bores me because I come across like a broken record (remember those?). The joy has to be something that’s so out of this world (I have an agent! I have a major book deal and a six-figure advance! I’m moving to Paris!) that I can’t contain myself, but the pain, involving a whole slew of items from actual physical pain (there is none) to mental pain (oh, how I torture myself) and that is too hard to put down on paper.

When I start writing about my fears it feels as if I’m sitting at a therapist’s office with the onset of a flash flood of tears. Crying over events from the past that hurt me and that I can’t change; constantly worrying over the state of my health (I’ve become a hypochondriac); fears about the writing (thank you Grammarly, I really thought I understood comma usage) and a slew of other things that are enough to give me angina (see, what I mean?)

These morning pages have become the bane of my morning. There are days I’m able to write three full pages because I’ve latched on to an idea and just go with it, but most of the time I struggle. Some days I write two pages and other days I write one page (and, ahem, I’ve skipped a few days here and there). When I don’t write those three full pages, I feel terribly guilty and I that’s when I’m convinced I don’t have this writing passion. No matter how much I try to nurture to encourage myself, it’s simply not there.

Yet, recently, I’ve surprised myself. For a recent article, the words flew off the keyboard and landed onto the screen without having to use the delete key and make edits (as I did just a second ago, but that’s good too, the editing brain is working).

So there’s a lesson here. Maybe those morning pages are working in spite of how much I hate them. Creating art is all about joy, frustrations, and pain. I realized what I’m doing, avoiding that tsunami of emotion, I am stifling my creative self.

So, Julia Cameron, you’ve succeeded in convincing me of why I need to write those blasted morning pages. There will be mornings I’ll moan I have nothing to say for three full pages, but there will be other days when I’ll be laying out my guts and tears on the page.

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Hello, I’m Still Here

by RS on May 11, 2015

Image: Courtesy of www.nikon.com

My hibernation ended. It is as sunny like a grilled cheese sandwich (that’s what the beagle would say if he could speak). The winter was too long here in the woods, and even longer for me because of a health issue that had me worried. Fortunately, everything is fine. The dogs are fine. Work is fine. I’m fine. Well…almost everything is fine. What isn’t fine is the writing.

Have I hit a wall? Yes and no. I spent the last three months preoccupied with my health and decided I needed a break. I spent a good deal of time reading, averaging about a book a week. Work kept me busy: Scrivener classes plus writing and editing articles.

When I wasn’t busy with work or reading, my mind wandered to an uncertain future. Or—better put—any future. Yes, I was that concerned. Looking back on the whole experience, I was a tad melodramatic.

I won’t share the details of the malady because I’m not quite ready to announce it to the world, but I’ll say this: get annual check-ups. Don’t make excuses as I did about not having any time or not having health insurance or not trusting doctors. Don’t be as stupid as I was because you won’t necessarily be as lucky. If you haven’t had a physical in a long time call your doctor today and make an appointment.

After this health scare, I decided I wanted to change a number of things in my life. You don’t realize how short life is until you’re facing a serious illness. That’s when you want to take stock of everything you’ve done, figure whatever time you might have to do it better, and be happy (seriously, I’m fine).

Changes include a full glass attitude and avoiding the snark (although I still have my moments); I’m looking for ways I can improve my life via nutrition, exercise, but also spiritually.

I’ve become a middle-aged cliché, but wellness has always been a keen interest. But because I’ve been lazy, in good health, or have been in a caretaker position and ignored my needs, it’s never been a priority.

Until now.

I’ve learned during these three months you can’t control outside forces. I know that’s not a grand epiphany but for someone who is a closet perfectionist, control freak, and tends to react to situations that are not within my control this was a revelation. Thus the big takeaway is….respond and not react, and it’s become my motto of late.

When I find myself in that panicky fight or flight mode, I take a deep breath and respond to the predicament. Unlike my former instantaneous reaction of “Oh, CRAP!” Now it’s “Okay, take the time to figure out what you need to do.”

I still have quite a bit to figure out. However this need for an instant resolution can wait until I’ve come up with a feasible response that make sense to everyone, but most of all to me.

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