Practicing Radical Acceptance: The Monday Edition

Letting go of fighting reality and accepting that it is what it is…that’s the definition of radical acceptance. It doesn’t mean that you have to like the situation. It just means that you accept it without judgement, feel your anger, sorrow, and make peace with the situation so that you don’t waste energy with forcing change for the unchangeable.  You breathe, half-smile, and keep going. 

Today’s lessons:

  • I can’t do anything about the situation that my friend whom I wrote about yesterday is in without stirring up legal or karmic trouble for myself. I acknowledge that I am p.o.’d about the whole deal, but can’t do anything about it.
  • My sister-in-law is in the hospital due to a reaction from a drug given during a routine screening procedure. I can’t change how her body reacted, nor can I slug the doctor, tempting as it is. I can choose not to under go that screening myself, and will get some incense going for her later. 
  • The daily hour of walking is enough exercise for Oakley, but not so much for me. His Pyr lineage means that he gets along with less exercise than Orion did. Pyrs were bred to watch over flocks from elevated places such as rocks or even trees. Brittanys were bred to flush and retrieve game. Until the last couple of weeks of his life, Orion could easily drag me around our local state park for two hours a day, digging holes in the back yard and reading the riot act to the feral cats in between. A half hour nap and he was ready to go again. 

So today, I accepted that I can’t change my friend’s situation, nor my sister-in-law’s illness. Even though Oaks does have a few drops of Brittany in there, he has the heart and soul of his Pyr ancestors. I accepted that, and will refrain from stressing and guilt tripping myself about his lack of interest in long walks.

I worked out to a Bollywood-style dance video, then walked Oaks for about half an hour. We’ll walk if the weather cooperates a little later. But we are both a lot happier tonight. 



Meal Planning in the Face of Change

So as I write this, I’m waiting to hear news about a legal issue involving one of my friends that has life-changing implications. Will the judge hand down a ruling and end it promptly? Will the lawyers drag it out? So many variables hang in the air for this hot wet mess. I can’t say anything else, except that I wait the long wait with her in spirit.

It’s not unlike waiting for test results for potentially serious issues. I’m too far removed from the situation to do anything except send Reiki and keep some incense going, but am still less than thrilled for her. 

Knowing that I will make myself crazy if I dwell on her situation, I distracted myself, writing some bits for a newsletter. Lunch was balanced: salad and a little chocolate. So many times it’s not the change in and of itself that is crazy making; it’s the space before it happens that leads to the pit of what thens and what ifs.

In these times, yes, you still need to eat mostly healthy stuff. One of my wise women said it best: “Eat two big salads a day and don’t worry about the rest.” Everything that you shouldn’t be putting on a salad is fair game. Go for it. It will help take your mind off of it, whatever it is. 




Go Fish

We had trout for dinner last night. Not just any trout, but trout from somewhere in northern Michigan or Wisconsin. I melted butter with a small dab of Dijon mustard, poured it over the salted and peppered filet, then sprinkled on some dried tarragon and baked it at 350 for about 20 minutes. Sliced tomatoes and steamed broccoli rounded it out. The mildness of the trout and the assertiveness of the tarragon balanced each other out pretty well.

Salmon and tarragon fight with each other. When I do salmon, I like to melt apricot jam in the microwave and throw in a dab of curry powder. Again, salt, pepper, pour on the glaze, and 350 for 20 minutes or so until done.

I get the pre-portioned filets when I go to Costco. Great to have on hand for those nights when it’s the last defense before pizza. Cod, hake, and tilapia all play nice with the trout seasoning mentioned above. Sometimes I’ll make a topping of mayo–REAL mayo, not low fat or Miracle Whip–grated Parmesan, and lemon pepper or Italian herbs. Pat on top of the filets, and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Not very often, but sometimes I’ll play with recipes from Julia Child’s books. Only on occasion and when I feel daring.

Most of the time, the above treatments keep the three of us pretty happy.  


Loving What You Eat and Eating What You Love and What Loves You Back

So after some months of watching carbs, restricting wheat, and moderate portions, the weight still isn’t moving much. I spoke with my wisewoman about the dilemma, and she brought up a valid but unconsidered point: am I condemming myself and my indulgences such as the occasional wheat-crusted pizza, or am I loving it and accepting myself? When enjoying in the present in the  latter frame of mind, a person’s body will be more tolerant of the incoming food. Not enough to mitigate allergies or sensitivities that can trigger a trip to the ER, mind you, but for things like my once or twice weekly wheat indulgences.  

Case in point: a couple of weeks ago, Hubby and I went to an Indian restaurant. I ate mostly vegetarian food, except for a tandoori chicken leg. Even though I did overeat, I had no real discomfort afterwards. I felt happy and satisfied, and had the mango custard because I could. I didn’t feel as if I had to have dessert in order to compensate for food I didn’t like. It just seemed like a natural closure to the meal. 

And then it hit me: how much have I eaten in this life that I haven’t liked in order to be a good girl or polite woman? Or to conform with what others are telling me that I should be eating?

I’ve been eating a lot of homemade Indian veg food the last couple of weeks. I’ve felt a lot happier and more satisfied. Sticking with reasonable portions, of course. Wheat is definitely off the table for most meals, but chickpeas masala with spinach makes me a happy girl, indeed. 

Scattered Monday Thoughts: The Entirely Too Early Edition

The fact that I’m vertical is a miracle. In the wee smalls this morning, some of the local critter population decided to have a party in the yard directly in front of the driveway alarm. Hubby finally turned it off after the tenth time through of the opening bars of “Fur Elise.” Beethoven I have no quarrel with; just not at a** o’clock. I couldn’t get back to sleep. 

What went through my head? Well, let’s try to meditate…focus on breath…focus on coolness going in and out of nostrils…no, not the theme from “Law and Order: Original Series…” no, just breathe–wait, is Oakley getting ready tho barf? No, he’s just giving himself a bath…ok, breathe. The breath draws in pure healing light…oh, why don’t I just get up? Oakley will want breakfast and it’s only a**:30. Too early. Ok, now I’m…

Jolted into irrevocable consciousness, I turned off the alarm on Hubby’s tablet. He was in the bathroom when it went off, then fell into snoring sleep after two breaths after he came back to bed.

I finally gave up just before six, made morning cups and Oakley’s egg, and have been getting on with it since. 

At a Loss for a Witty Attention-Grabbing Title

 I don’t have smoke coming out of my ears today. That’s a good thing. The new battery has completely resolved the issues with the cursor and Oakley’s tummy has remained stable. For those small blessings, I am truly grateful.

Made a slightly too spicy pot of soup for lunch today. The jalepenos spiced it up a little too much. Will add some more coconut milk–aiming at a Thai-style green curry. Not bad, but just a little too hot. Rice will help, too. 

Experimenting with more Indian food at home. We both like it. Why not? I have a book with reduced fat recipes. I eat Indian; I am happy. I am less likely to find ways to get into culinary mischief. Also a good way to slip in greens if spices, ginger, and other flavorings are involved. Check out Anjum Arnad’s Indian Every Day for easy and exotic deliciousness. Yum.

Per Dr. Weil, I’ve set the goal of eating more fish. Now if I could just remember that fried isn’t such a good thing… 


The Noisy Non-Self Sufficient Rural Life Exposed

I read a few too many issues of “Mother Earth News” in high school and college. They fueled dreams of living a self-sufficiant ecologically responsible life in a cottage or cabin on a quiet country road with wildlife next door and neighborliness abounding among the two-legged locals.

Not so much.  I have parts of that vision: the house on the three acres ( a very conventional very large stick-built brick affair designed and built by Hubby for his midlife crisis, even though I assured him I was fine with the red speedy-car-go-beep or the 23 y.o. blonde options) on what was a rural road when we bought it (now used as a shortcut between the major roads running to the north and south of our land).  

I hate to burst your bubble, but it’s a lot harder than they lead readers to think in the self-sufficiancy department. I’m good at planning and pointing, but not much else.  We would be effed if we were to rely on my questionable gardening skills and my utter lack of desire to hunt or to process animals for food. It’s very possible to have a bountiful fruit and vegetable garden in small spaces.  Two of my friends who live within city limits are avid, adept gardeners who have raised impressive amounts of produce in their yards. I have access to an organic farm that sells at one of the local markets, so I buy from them as much as possible. They have plans for a farmstand this summer. I hope so. The wait between market days is a long one, indeed.

In the quiet department, there are the mourning doves at daybreak. Their gentle song begins as early as 4 AM. It gives way to the shrieks of the starlings, crows, and sparrows engaging in territorial battles. We also get coyotes with alarming frequency and proximity to the house. There have been nights when the howls sounded as close as if they were trying to break in through the back door.

Non-wildlife noises abound as well. Farm machines lurch through the fields bordering ours, grinding their gears as they spray agricultural chemicals on the field. Riding mowers alert us to who is doing yardwork on a given day. Semis trundle up and down the road. On weekends, our road gets turned into a drag strip due to its extensive straightaway that runs a mile until the curve bends to the right and into the utility pole at the end of the road.

There are times, however, when the sounds are stilling, calming as a hand on the heart. In late summer when the corn is high and the wind blows at night, the rustling sounds like secrets. So do the evergreen boughs and maple leaves as they dance in the wind.

And there are times in the middle of night when I wake up due to my own internal nose to dead silence. Sometimes I’ll get up and look out the window at the stars, at the shadows of the evergreens stretching across the front yard.

In those moment, I remember why we moved out here in the first place.   

Last Week and Other Long Strange Trips

So last week launched with a rip-roaring start. At 1 AM last Sunday, Oakley had to go out. Bad. And at 1:45, then 2 something, then I quit checking on time. After a total of six outings in the yard between then and about 5 AM, he was empty, or so I thought. 

I tried to write after grabbing a nap, but the cursor began jumping around. It was not some sleep-deprivation-induced hallucination; the little sucker was bouncing all over the page. Wrote it off as a fluke, shut down, and stared at the TV as a focal point. 

Monday brought another round of follow the bouncing cursor. Oakley seemed OK. I gave the bad dream that was Sunday morning no more thought. Tuesday was OK in the canine GI department, but the cursor still bounced. I Googled the cursor issue. Most likely causes: moisture or some schmutz caught in the keys or, more ominously, a swollen battery pushing into the track pad assembly. Oh, and the minor inconvenience of a possible fire.  Ok, get it looked at while Oakley is at day care on Wednesday. The nearest Apple store is not too far off my errand route, so I thought that I could swing by and get it fixed.

Not so much. Oaks woke up at 1 AM Wednesday with tummy cramps and diarrhea. He barfed sometime during the night as well. Day care was out of the question. The only way I could get him to settle down was to sit on the sofa with him and turn on the TV.  When a decent hour arrived, I called his day care teacher, then the vet’s office. Could I get there at 9? Yes. By 11, the meds had kicked in and we both were resting comfortably.

Still, I didn’t know when or how I’d get to the Apple store. It’s 20 miles one way, and in order to save gas, I avoid making willy-nilly runs as much as possible. I made good use of my iPad, my phone. And strung a lot of beads. Many beads.

In the middle of this, Hubby came home from a business trip a day early. I was able to suck it up and do a very rudimentary tidying. He arrived just as I spritzed the house with the sage and cedar spray.

So today, he saw just how much the battery bulged. We made the 20 miles both way trip into deepest downtown Naperville, had the battery replaced posthaste by the Apple Geniuses, started salivating over the next MacBook, and stopped at an Indian restaurant to boot.

Mango custard is a sign of a better week to come, isn’t it? 

Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet

We’ve all had inflammation. It helps to protect injuries and enhance the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the impacted area. As it heals, the swelling and redness subside. 

When it sticks around, it’s a problem. Chronic internal inflammation is a contributing factor in heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s caused by environmental stressors and a lot of the non-food that’s taken up  camp in the food supply.  Dr. Andrew Weil recommends nutrition and supplements to reduce its presence.

I actually like this plan:

  • Dr. Weil gives clear information about the benefits of the suggested foods and serving sizes for each category.
  • Nothing is forbidden; just enjoyed in moderation
  • Fish and plant-based proteins are emphasized.
  • Chocolate and red wine consumption is encouraged. Again, in moderation. But encouraged. 
  • Carbs of the complex kind are ok. Healthy fat is ok. 
  • I mentioned the chocolate and red wine, didn’t I?
  • It’s adaptable to food allergies and preferences. 

All that, and chocolate, too. 

How Strawberries Came To Be

Next week’s Full Moon is the Strawberry Moon.  We will observe with a teaching story from the Cherokee.

After She created the Earth, Supreme Goddess created First Man and First Woman. All was well, but one day they had a dust-up and First Woman walked off in a huff. 

First Man ran after her, but couldn’t quite catch up. 

In order to slow First Woman down, Supreme Goddess created a plant with plump bright red berries. She dropped in in front of First Woman to get her attention.

It worked. First Woman looked at it, held one of the berries in her hand. The tantalizing aroma invited her to take a bite. Its sweet warm juice ran down her chin. She enjoyed a couple more, and as she nibbled away, her thoughts turned to First Man and the sharing of sensual pleasures with him.

First Man finally caught up with her. She started feeding him strawberries, and, well….let’s just say that humans were started that day as well.