Y2-Day 38-Juicing

You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy a freshly extracted veggie/fruit juice combo.  It is a shot of pure vitamins into your bloodstream and because it has no fiber it bypasses the acids in your stomach.  I don’t do it enough and I am not a daily juicer but every once in a while it just seems delicious and nutritious to me.  You can certainly order one to go at most health food stores but it is fun to be able to make your own.

Here’s a recipe that makes 32 ounces adding up to 500 calories total that I came up with today.  That’s 125 calories per 8 oz. juice and it couldn’t be fresher.  I love a cup right after exercise or a walk.  Then I have a solid breakfast when it is convenient or shortly right after.   It keeps in the fridge for up to two days but the first cup is the most nourishing.  I add a few drops of Stevia to sweeten it a bit because fresh juices taste so ….well…raw and real.   Wash everything first to get any dirt and bacteria.  If you are super finicky, use diluted vinegar and place all produce in a sink for a few minutes and then rinse off.  Purchase organic everything if possible.  It’s so pure and healthy it would be a shame to treat yourself to anything less.

9 oz. carrots – @ 4

12 oz. cucumber – one whole

4 oz. kale – @ 6 leaves

7 oz. celery

8 oz. fennel

12 oz. Asian pear – one whole, cut up into fourths

5 oz. lemons – 2 small

1″ knob of ginger

Y2-Day 37- Emancipation

Today would have been Cindi’s kill date.  She was to be put down today at the shelter and instead we won the lottery and adopted her on the 17th, thirteen days ago.  Who rescues who when you save a life?

I have been kinder to the cats because of Cindi’s love and adoration.  The warmth and joy this little doggie gives us is spreading itself everywhere and all over.  I have become mushy but I have become more responsible too.  She has unlocked another door in my heart I never knew was shut.  It’s as if a window to my soul has been opened and the sun is shining in.  Unconditional love and devotion reigns.

She is precious and I dote on her.  She follows me everywhere and just wants to please.  She has a mind of her own and instincts but is easily manageable because of her size and disposition.  She allows the cats to come right up to her nose and sniff her without barking or chasing them.  She obeys, she is trained and I feel like I won a prize.  I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want such a behaved little dog like Cindi.

She is a happy camper and smart.  When I come into the house or into the room she wags her tail and jumps around and has a regular ‘welcome home’ party for me – all that is missing is the banner and the party hats.  She wants to socialize with most every dog and person.  Ninety percent of her awake time is spent wagging her tail with frisky expectation.

She sleeps all night except for her grooming intervals.  Last night, I heard her snore.  Sometimes I hear her whimper in her sleep while she is dreaming.  Mostly, she is still and quiet and contented snuggled in a corner of her crate curled into herself and surrounded below and around by a cushy, plush throw.  I check to make sure she is breathing just like an infant.  “Oh no.”  Yup.

Wherever I place a blanket down, she is there to lay down upon it and watch me type, or read, or cook dinner or do laundry or fold or watch TV.

Her pure delighted gratitude full of instant glee –  when we go on walks, when we lay on our backs on the grass together looking up at the sky or when I give her a well deserved massage at night with lavender scented hands – is time well spent and rehabilitates, eases and renews my mind.  She soothes and heals my soul.

Who liberated whom?  We were made for each other and this was meant to be.  I am grateful to my friend J, the dog rescuer for giving me the heads up on this rescue and my loving husband for giving me the thumbs up on this family addition.

Happiness is writing with your pets by your side.


Y2-day 36 – Reality Lately

Have you ever been angry at the driver in front of you for going too slow or because they made an error in judgment that caused you to brake?  I do constantly and sometimes I am that driver and I get ‘yelled’ at by some equally incensed driver that informs me with their body language through the windshield they are not at all happy with me.

But what if I were to see beyond the image of the person and know that in some way they were distracted by personal concerns, pressures or stresses?

We tend to put up boundaries that separate us from others based on our past experiences and armor or walls up in anticipation of future experiences.  What if I treated each instant as a new one?

Being spontaneously present means to come to the table with no expectations nor assign it any history.  What is the meaning in that moment for you?

What defines reality for you?  What is the truth and what is the illusion?

Look in the mirror and ask to experience yourself differently.

I know that judgment is useful only as a tool for discernment.  Otherwise, it is a block to the awareness that love is in all things.  It always involves rejection.  Whenever I have a negative opinion or become critical, I know the ego, my big, fat, ugly, huge ego self is involved.  I am certainly not thinking of your welfare or having higher, elevated, mature thoughts.

When I think of good vs evil or us vs. them – I am separating from the belief that brings me peace, that everything is One.  And that One, is Love.

I am love and I need to integrate love in every action throughout the day because that may be the one thought on the continuum of enlightenment that will shine a light on the level of the reality I seek.

When I have a troubling or negative thought, I can choose again – a different thought – or give it to the Universe.  I need to surrender the dream because only love is real.

The feelings I have are repercussions of correct or incorrect thoughts.  When I attack myself or others I miss the big picture.  Do my thoughts bring me peace or anxiety?

Re-frame your thinking.  When you feel (fill in the blank) it is because you have judged yourself as capable of being (fill in the blank).  Choose Again.

When I recognize and come to the realization that really – all there is – is  Love, then call me a product of the sixties but it helps me re – member the love that we are and come from.  For when I take away all worldly goods, all material success, status, popularity and strip it down; when I contemplate on my body’s finiteness and meditate on my true essence and life force – all I see is LOVE.

I heard this yesterday – Life is worth breathing.  Delve in the sweet vibration of nature and bring yourself back to life and BE with the living.

I choose peace.  I choose unconditional love.  I choose to see Love in everything I see, feel love in everything I experience, hear love, smell love, taste love, give love –  for this brings me serenity and joy.

And when I am disturbed, I need to pause and re-member or rejoin with Love and make Love the master of my Life, again.

Y2-Day 35 – To Do Lists

I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming… suddenly you find – at the age of 50, say – that a whole new life has opened before you.

Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976)

Instead of an annual visit to the pediatrician, I am taking the cats for their annual check up tomorrow.

Instead of an answering machine message about a child when I come in the door, I am receiving vet reminders.

Instead of a play date for youngsters after school, I will be going to a play date with my doggie on Friday at a friend’s house so our same sized pets can socialize.

This is a new chapter in my life and I welcome it with the same devotion to living it to the fullest as always.  My circumstances and even some relationships have changed or morphed but I am still the same spirit inside this maturing body, still infusing my days with good intent.

I guess ‘to do lists’ are like Mad Libs booklets wherein you just fill in the blanks. Except now, in my seasoned years, instead of hilarious write-ins, I try to balance it out with some sense of decorum.

Y2-Day 34-experimenting in the kitchen

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Winston Churchill

I thought I would be brilliant and use the remnants extracted from my juicer and make crackers.  I placed what I usually toss into the compost pile into a large bowl and proceeded to add coconut flour, ground flax seed, nutritional yeast flakes, a half a ripe avocado and some spices like pasta seasoning and onion powder.  Then I kneaded it well with my hands, decided to give it a whirl in the food processor for a more even texture and flattened it onto non stick aluminum foil on cookie sheets.  I sprinkled crystals of salt on top evenly.  I scored the wet flattened mess into rough rectangular shapes with the back of a knife and baked it till the tops looked dry, turned each square over and allowed the other side to bake dry.  I used to create all sorts of ‘crackers’ when I was raw and dehydrate them so I just winged it.

Taste test: They were ok crackers, nothing to write home about, much better with raw hummus than alone and it was another way of recycling the discarded vestiges of celery, lemons, cucumbers, fennel, apple and carrots.  Also, they were wheat free and not very fattening with only the flax and coconut meals and avocado as the source of richness.  They did taste familiar though, kinda like the juice I extracted only solid and salty.  I added a banana to the juice and blended it for sweetness.  I can honestly say I used and ate or drank all the produce.

Tune in as I work my way through interesting recipes from others.  I am going to tweak it here and there I am sure but I would like to stick to some proven recipes from now on.  And I do it enthusiastically.


Y2-Day 33-Weekends

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.

Roman poet (43 BC – 17 AD)  

Weekends are meant to be savored just like every minute of every day.   – Cecilia  

As long as I can recall, we go out to eat on Friday nights.  It might have started on a different day of the week but it officially became Friday when student schedules freed us only on that evening and we made it the tradition.  As the kids grew up and asked to have friends and then boy/girl friends to come we accommodated and were happy to as long as we had our Friday meal together and could ask each other how the week went and what were the plans for the weekend and anything that came up that needed to be talked about.  Now that we are empty nesters again, we took our new dog out to Lazy Dog Cafe for dinner since they allow leashed dogs on their outdoor patio eating area and it’s their claim to fame.  It was kinda cute.

Yesterday, we spent the day frolicking with the dog, walking her and carefully observing three cats and a dog get to know each other.  I also started reading a new book, adding  to my vegan collection, called Vegan Planet – an updated version just released Jan. 14th of this new year.  I am looking forward to making some new recipes and sharing them on the blog as I traipse through the cookbook.

We just got back from finally seeing the movie Frozen and loved it.  What a wonderful message and the animation, the music and the pace is Uber Disney perfect.  Two weekends ago, we went to see Beauty and the Beast at the OC performing art center and it brought back the Disneyland days witnessing everything through the eyes of children.  As an adult, both these stories bring tears to my eyes – and dare I say it? – warm fuzzy feelings.  I am a mush these days.

As I sit here writing in the den, I listen to my zoo of pets and my prince charming snoozing, their even breaths falling and rising, the life in them visibly palpitating.  I look past the screened patio doors to the colors of the yard, greens and grays, browns and slate blues.

 Weekends are for regrouping, reconnecting and remembering.

If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it. – 

HerodotusThe Histories of Herodotus

Greek historian & traveler (484 BC – 430 BC) 

Y2-Day 32 – Close Encounter

When the fossil shop up in Arrowhead opens, they place a petite dinosaur out on the lake walk tied up to the railings.  All the kids love it and it lures them in to learn more about their geological physical surroundings  and possibly buy some special item in the store.

A certain new member of the family found the replica life like and being a social butterfly had no qualms about greeting this prehistoric ‘monster’.

Y2-Day 31 – Pecking Order

There’s a ‘flutter’ of activity at and around the bird feeder.  Must be lunchtime.  I have discerned four different types of winged visitors and each variety seems to bring buddies making the hub a lively center.  Nonstop landings and takeoffs on the needled branches create a visual orchestra like notes scampering on a sheet of music.  The elongated contraption keeps squirrels at bay and has six beak sized openings around its four sides.  The mottled, bubbly chirp of the chickadees sounds like friends gathered and gabbing in deep contrast to the bass squawk of the territorial Western Mountain Blue Jay.  The bird feeder swings as birds land, take a nibble and launch in flight.

Inside the warm cabin, the citrus scent of guava fills the upstairs; smooth rounded fruits with skin the color of pale, aged and yellowed paper and just as delicate, thin as a wisp.  They made it up the mountain from our down the hill backyard in fine form.  A few of them chopped up and mixed into my salad of organic fennel, cucumbers, cilantro and spring greens added just enough acid and sweetness.  Atop, I added some raw hummus seasoned with garlic.

Pale yellow and homegrown guavas compared to homegrown deeper yellow lemons against golden depths of granite.

By my feet, my doggie charm curled up, gently breathing and in full REM possibly ruminating on this past week and all her adventures, new people, places and animals in her life now.

And I, resting on my lounge chair by the light of day writing, just being, sensing, involuntarily beating my heart, captivated and surrounded by pure grace.

Y2-Day 30 – Time Continuum

There has always been a certain air of benevolence in this getaway in the woods.  It has always felt like someone has loved someone else very deeply here.  It has the markings of good breeding and great, mindful care and thought in its color, surfaces, and lighting choices.  We inherited and added to that stage with deliberation, calm and conscientious details.  It’s not a modern, updated version of a ski lodge in Colorado – it’s more of a …well…a treehouse.  Some of the fixtures and flooring might be dated but it suits the sensibility of the nest somehow.

I have always felt, and now more so know, we are the beneficiaries/recipients as well as the benefactors/patrons of this dwelling.  With Cindi’s company and paws, our footprints on this home are paved.

Observing the contentedness of another is happiness itself.

There’s a sign I have hung here that states proudly, “Blessed are those who are pleasant to live with.”  I originally bought it years ago when I had a house full of teens, angst, worry and tension and to remind myself ‘this too shall pass’.

Later, I realized it was mainly all about MY attitude.

Slowly, I have come to recognize it is important I set my sights on being agreeable yet balance it with attaining a detached, sober view laced with love.  I work tirelessly on letting go and allowing others the respect to live their own lives and have their own thoughts.  Imagine that.  When I fumble, there are always taps on the shoulder from one of my loved ones.

I brought the plaque up to the treehouse on my first of many ‘moving in’ trips.

The energy left here and the vibrations upon entering the threshold of our wooden gate, exude holiness for me.  There is a sense of peace in a safe haven.

As I set a course for the day – feeding and watching the birds, walking along the lake with my precious Cindi,  checking out the town library, etc…- I must remember to appreciate, value and above all – make each second and interaction – sacred.


Y2-Day 29 – Mountain Pup

Getting ready to come up the hill and packing for a new dog is like the first time you actually go out with your baby and diaper bag.  It’s a bit exciting, you’re not sure how it’s going to go and there is much anticipation and some trepidation.

I was advised to crate her in the back of our small SUV.  Poor Cindi never complained, whined or barked but driving up the winding roads to an eventual elevation of 5200 feet was enough to get her sick and she didn’t know where to sit or lay down or what to do because she sure as heck didn’t want to be around her uprooted breakfast.

At long last we made it to the cabin.  The first thing I usually do is put on a pot of organic decaf coffee.  Remember having an infant?  It’s not the first thing I did.  Instead I made sure she walked the grounds, her crate was in a centrally located place, her dirty blanket was put in the wash and then and only then did I unpack the car.

After settling in, I made myself some lunch and we took off for Lake Arrowhead.  This time Cindi rode in the front with me and loved it.  She never moved or fidgeted because I think she wasn’t keen on the whole crated experience for one hour in a moving vehicle.  She seems to prefer the proximity to her owner and everyone knows ‘those with queasy stomachs’ should ride shotgun.

It was 56 degrees out so I thought she might need a jacket but as it turned out it was quite warm in the sun and she had to take it off once we were out and about.

We walked around the lake, she wagged her tail and pulled on the leash to get friendly with every dog (no matter the size) she saw and then we entered a doggie shop.  Here we scoured the goodies and decided to come back at the end of our adventure so the treats we were bringing home to Beau, Rocky and Lilah (J, the dog rescuer’s dogs) would be fresh.  

Every shop in Lake Arrowhead is dog friendly and I tried on some clothes at my favorite place but like having a baby, dogs don’t always want to wait around and watch you in the dressing room unless they are sleeping and Cindi was pretty heady with scents she had sniffed and eager to check out the rest of dog town so I cut my shopping short.  After all, it was her first time up to the lake and I needed to respect her first outing up here and make it special and make it about her, not me.

Tonight, a warm relaxing fire.  I intend on snuggling up with Cindi by my feet while I eat, watch TV or read. I will bring her crate by my bed and put on the electric heater nearby.  I let her off leash finally to roam in a cat free home and she follows me everywhere or stays in her crate watching me or resting.

My friend J said ” You have a new buddy that loves you no matter what you look like, what your breath smells like, what kind of car you drive nor what kind of purse or clothes you own.  None of that matters to Cindi.  She loves you unconditionally, now and always, no matter what.”

I cannot believe my fortune.  It could only be better if the love of my life were here. Yet I do believe and imagine seeing the three cats down the hill dancing the jig, relieved or at least perplexed, giving my husband a wary eye.