Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Proud to be an American

For the first time ever, I am proud to be an American. For the last 8 years its been an embarrassment, and prior to that I was sort of neutral and not really concerned with matters of global importance.

But last night was a historic event that has given me a renewed hope and uplifted my faith in humanity.  We, the American people, as well as the world deserves a thoughtful, intelligent leader with integrity. Something that has been sorely lacking for far too long. I am hopeful that our new President will be able to repair the damaged international relationships and steer this massive ship in the direction of peace and prosperity in a way that serves the greater good of all.   This historic election represents an evolutionary step, a shift in the American conscience. 

The new residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave embody my vision of what it is to be an American family  with strong values, a loving committed relationship, genuine partnership, and a sense of fun. I couldn't imagine a better role model for a healthy marriage.  Has anyone ever seen the current leader acknowledge his wife and life partner, much less show openly his devotion and affection?   I hope our new First Lady makes it her mission to help this country value family. We fail miserably in this area compared to other nations and our children and future deserve better.  I commend Michelle Obama for her unapologetic statement that being a mom is her most important role.  The importance of the feminine role has been blurred and devalued and I think she will help correct that. She's been brilliant so far and her influence is only just beginning.

I can't help but feel moved at the celebration this is for the African American community. This is certainly something that touches their community in a special way.  A dream has been realized. I am proud to be a part of the generation responsible for finally blurring the division of color.  It's a victory for all Americans to have made this leap forward.  

Barack Obama has demonstrated that anyone can be anything they want to be if they operate from the place that allows G*d to work through them.  His success is inextricably connected to Source Energy and his decisions are made with this Higher Good working through him. It is apparent in the most admirable campaign this country has every seen, his interactions with is family, and his demeanor and message.  He has got a long, damaged road that's been left for him to rebuild and I can't imagine a person better equipped to handle it.  While he has the fortitude to apply pressure when and, more importantly, where appropriate.  I believe, he will be instrumental in bringing a message of peace to his work as our President.  

On one of the morning news shows today I think it was Meredith Vieira who said, "He [Obama] reflects light back on all of us."   The time has come for America to be a servant to the Greater Good and a bringer of light.  Darkness cannot live in the presence of light.  Today, November 5, 2008 brings promise of being a brand new, beautiful day. 

Friday, September 12, 2008

Brilliance can be found...

on youtube. :)

When I first met my spiritual teacher, she told me that what bothers us the most in someone else is really a reflection of what we don't like about ourselves.  Therefore, as hard as it may be to see it in the moment when someone irritates us, they are a gift.   They are an opportunity to discover something about ourself and grow.  I also learned the quicker you learn the lesson, the quicker the irritation goes away and the irritating circumstance or person stops coming into my experience. The longer it takes you to learn the lesson, the louder and more frequent it gets. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Woefully negligent...

I've been negligent of my blog, you would think that this would have meant I've been busy and really its not. I've just been lazy.

We've been having a beautiful summer, its the first summer where we have not over extended ourselves with plans, trips, and commitments. Nearly every weekend has been a relaxing time, sticking close to home and enjoying friends and of course, Ian.  

Following closely on the heels of the Vitamix arrival, I was able to finally purchase the Excalibur food dehydrator to add further variations and dimensions to our raw food cuisine.  While I am far from 100% raw and don't really have the desire to become so, I've been enjoying the ability to make healthy snacks of different textures.  The experiments include a delicious fresh blueberry jam (blueberries, agave nectar, lemon, and dates). Half of this batch became fruit leather which Ian enjoys.  Corn chips came out only ok. They are good, but I think that recipe is going to need some more tweaking.  The winning recipe that has come out of the dehydrator has definitely been the cinnamon buckwheat cereal. I've made two batches of this so far and it is a yummy, crunchy, filling, and nutritious breakfast or anytime snack. Made with germinated buckwheat, maple syrup and cinnamon  it is made even better with sliced banana, strawberries and almond milk.  Even Evan enjoys it and my mom took home a container of it to snack on. 

I scored today at a local farm. I went in to buy nectarines and corn on the cob and noticed a box of tomatoes by the door. When I inquired the owner told me they were "# 2's".  The #1's were on display for 3.89/lb. The #2's were not aesthetically perfect with tiny lines or scars on them and therefore the whole box (24 lbs!) was available for $10.00. I was thrilled at this find and now have about 6 trays of tomatoes dehydrating in the Excalibur. I also made a large batch of fresh salsa and a delicious tomato based vegetable juice...with some to spare. 

Tonight we are off to the beach to have a picnic and fly Ian's new kite.   

Thursday, July 17, 2008



What started out as my desire for some chocolate icecream, turned into yummy fudgicles.

2 cups young thai coconut meat 
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup raw cocoa powder
1 TBSP vanilla extract or split a half vanilla bean and scrap out seeds
Dash of sea salt
~2-4 cups of ice

Blend first 6 ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth and creamy (delicious pudding!), then add enough icecubes until the consistency and taste of softened chocolate icecream.

Eat about half out of a bowl, like I did.

Pour remaining into popsicle molds and freeze.  

As you can see, Ian loved these!

Monday, July 14, 2008

My Crystal Child

I posted a portion of this entry on my son's webpage.

Today's conversation with Ian was so moving. We spent the morning lounging around playing and talking. I love having conversations with him. I think maybe this morning I mentioned having a little belly ache but didn't think much of it. Then later we were resting on the couch and talking and he offered me one of his grapes.

"Grape Mommy?"

No thank you Ian.

"Mommy tummy hurts?"

A little bit.

"Shut eyes" he told me.

I shut my eyes and heard him kiss his hand and then felt him pat my arm. I opened my eyes.

"Eden pat mommy. All better. Mommy happy."

Touched by his sweetness I welled up a little and said,

You are such an angel.

He put his hands together and said,

"Eden angel hands."

I agreed, "Yes Ian you have angel hands."

He corrected me,

"All people angel hands."

Ian thinks all people have his healing angel hands.

I was so touched by this. He's such a beautiful spirit. He is often quick to kiss our adult boo boos when we get them or massage our backs. He gets worried and concerned when he sees other children crying and I explain they feel sad or have a boo boo. He usually runs to hug and kiss them. Unfortunately, other children don't often welcome Ian's affection because they want their own mama. I am trying to teach him other ways to effectively focus his great empathy and caring in these situations but love that his first desire is to help them by enveloping them in his own energy. He's a special little man.

I believe Ian is one of those special Crystal Children, coming to this place in the wake of the Indigo Children (I think I am one of these). I love those quiet moments we share when his light is shining so brightly. He's wonderous and I am lucky to have him here to teach me so much.

Excerpt from website link inserted in text: The Crystal Children will be more consciously aware of their direct contact to the divine. They will provide insight into our innate potential abilities and operate from a viewpoint of group consciousness. As they grow, the idea of ‘competition’ will seem strange. They will bring much love and unity to the people of Earth and radiate this in their beingness for others to see. The Crystal Children, who are born in the new millennium, will be attentive of their mission to bring a higher consciousness to the world. By the time they are young adults they will be at the forefront of shaping the new earth with their teachings and healing abilities; having benefited from the authority on Earth of the Indigos before them.

Post-Fast Report

I ended up completing a 4 day fast on raw juice which I am pretty pleased with.  My goal is to build up to a 6-8 day fast since real cleansing doesn't reportedly start until day 5 of a fast. But overall, I am glad to have a done this practice. Baby steps! My body is trying to re-start digestion now, it's still a little sluggish.  But I feel lighter, cleaner, and clearer in mind, which is the whole point and the exercise in discipline is always a good thing.  I am going to continue juicing until dinner for a while.  I definitely renewed my love of juice. Over the past few days I enjoyed a variety of fresh juice including; pineapple, pineapple-cilantro, cucumber-pear-ginger-cilantro-mint, spinach-apple-lemon, and carrot-apple-ginger, just to name a few. Several were just "everything but the kitchen sink' vegetable concoctions.  I found they tasted great with ice cubes made from coconut water.  The chlorophyl in green juice is similar to hemoglobin and coconut water is very similar to blood plasma, so together they make a wonderful combination both delicious and nutritious.  I equate drinking freshly extracted juices to be as good for adults as mom's milk is for babies and toddlers. It's the perfect food.  Ian even helped himself several times to my green veggie juices. What a great way to get green food into kids!

Spinach Strawberry Salad

I had this at a family cook out recently and it appeared mostly raw. My aunt gave me the recipe and I only had to tweak it a little bit.
1 bag baby spinach 
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1/2-3/4 cup walnuts

Poppyseed Dressing
1 vidalia onion, chopped 
1/3-1/2 cup agave nectar (adjust to desired sweetness)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (Fresh lemon juice would probably be very yummy too)
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 tsp salt

3/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds.

Add first five dressing ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. With the blender running, drizzle in the olive oil to elmulsify.  Turn off blender and add poppyseeds. Pulse once or twice just to mix in.
I used part spinach and part rainbow chard for the salad since I've been getting a ton of it from our CSA.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Foster Dog Diaries - Day 22: Just One of the Dogs

Daisy is officially just one of the dogs now.  I think she finally has accepted that the dogs are her main companions and that she herself is one.  The whining has decreased significantly and her favorite person has switched from me to Evan. 

She has been nearly perfect and there has been no more shenanigans about being in a crate, or being separate from us. She has developed some independence and is definitely less clingy and needy.  She even laid out on the back deck by herself for about a half hour today while we did things in the house. Not a complaint. This is a huge improvement in three weeks! 

It looks like Daisy has gained some weight because her hip bones are no longer visible and she seems to be building some muscle in her hindquarters.  She is eating well, still very affectionate and very tolerant and gentle with Ian.   I think the last homepathic remedy we chose for her was perfect and it has really helped her over her intense separation anxiety.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Glorious Week of Summer

We've had a beautiful week. The weather has been summery and warm but not too humid and Ian and I have managed to get to the beach three times.   On Monday we met our friend Christine and her children at Ninigret Park where there is a small pond and sandy beach as well as a playground. Ian finally overcame his recent fear of playing in the water and had a blast splashing about.  On Wednesday we met our Mom group friends Kirsten and Kristen and all the kids at the same location.  And finally today my friend Carrie, who is my parents neighbor in MA, came to visit with her two children and we spent a few hours at Quonachataug Breachway where there is a great little strip of beach along the salt ponds. 

On Tuesday the electrician finally completed wiring our new whole house fan, the Airscape 1.7.
It's relatively quiet and after running for three evenings in a row, our whole house feels very cool, in fact its downright cold in the morning.  It's taken a few days to master the art of strategic window opening, but I think we have the hang of it now. As soon as the day warms up, we shut all the windows and close blinds on the sunny sides and the house pretty much feels like it has been air conditioned.  I think this might have been one of our best investments.

On the raw food front, I have recently felt like my eating had gotten a bit out of control.  I pretty much started veering off the raw food path last month during the graduation/birthday/father's day hoopla as well as other cookouts and never seemed to make it back to a healthy way of eating. One thing I have over the past year eating raw foods is that SAD or cooked foods are ADDICTIVE! Once I have some, I can go a few weeks before I finally get back on track. This week was that week. Eating when I am not hungry, finishing my plate even when I am full, or eating by the clock have all contributed to some major binging and an increasing scale to show the damage. Yesterday I finally had enough, bloated, grouchy, and feeling overall ick, I began my second juice fast.  I did one last October for about 2 days.   

So since yesterday I have been enjoying a hearty array of fresh organic fruit and vegetable juices and, you guessed it, the vitamix has been doing the work.  I simply add the fruits and veggies to the blender and let it whir and then strain the liquid through a nutmilk bag.   A nutmilk bag, I recently learned, is a shrunken down bag used to strain paint. So after spending $15.00 on my first one, I got three today at the hardware store for $6.00.  Score!  

In any case,  its pretty amazing how satiated I am from juice. The beauty of a juice fast is you get all the benefits of a fast (toxin cleansing, digestive rest, etc) without suffering because your blood sugar is kept stable and your body is flushed with all the vitamins, enzymes, and water that it needs.  It's like feeding your body liquid gold.  Since your body is not using its energy to digest anything, it can do other things like eliminate waste matter, bolster the immune system, make new cells, etc.   I feel wonderful! The bloating is gone and those pesky 7 lbs are melting away.  I've found fasting, even just fasting on juice until dinner for a few days, is a great way to break through a weight loss plateau if that is the goal.  For me, the raw diet is not about losing weight, which is probably why I've ate this way more and more over the last 12 months.  It is a lifestyle that resonates for me and I'm enjoying the journey without any particular destination.  
The other beautiful thing about a juice fast is it re-calibrates my palate and my feeling of fullness. Simply, I just make better food decisions for a long time to come after I break the fast.  Not sure how long I'll go on this one, but the second day has been pretty good so I think I'll keep going.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Rawcreational Activities

I've been having a great time with the new Vitamix blender or, as I like to call it, jet engine with a blender on it. It has made new recipes possible and old recipes even better. This past week I tried several recipes and have really enjoyed the results
One night we made a beautiful cold cucumber soup, from a recipe my friend Kirsten gave me. It was really simple to do and I added chopped cucumber for something textural interest. We paired it with some raw vegetable spring roll wraps (shredded zucchini & carrot, cilantro, mint & scallion) with a mango dipping sauce and a "peanut" (almond) dipping sauce.
Another night I prepared a raw alfredo sauce, which turned out creamier and more delicious than the unhealthy cream and cheese based sauces. I served it over spiraled summer squash noodles with spinach and marinated portabello mushrooms. It was divine!

Raw Freedom Community (RFC) is one of the best resources I have found for raw food creations and most of my recipes I have either gotten direclty from there or gotten ideas from there and then morphed to my pleasing. However today I tried a Raw Cheddar Sauce from that site and its probably the best nut based cheese I've had yet...and I"ve had some good ones. I actually had not decided how I was going to use it before making it, and considered my options as I licked it off a spatula. As it turned out, Ian came in asking for lunch. I spiraled off a couple of zucchini and we both enjoyed a raw vegetable version of the all time kid favorite, Mac n' Cheese. It was super yummy.

For a family BBQ on Friday I brought a veggie lasagna. I've made several versions of this in the past, but the sauces were incredibly smooth this time thanks to the Vitamix. All of my SAD (Standard American Diet) family members seemed to enjoy it. And they devoured the triple berry cake with black rasberry sauce. I overheard someone say that the worst thing they could say about the cake was that it was healthy. Unfortunately, I did not take any photos of the cake, but I included a photo someone else posted from RFC. Mine looked pretty much the sameThe last thing I made (and the only thing I can think of right now) is a brownie with caramel sauce. I haven't taken a picture of mine yet, but maybe I will tomorrow. They are wonderful for a chocolate craving and because they are made from raw chocolate, which is a superfood, my body is also nourished as I indulge in these treats.
Now I am saving up for a food dehydrator, which should even further expand my rawcreational activities in the kitchen!

Foster Dog Diaries - Day 16

It's been two weeks since Ms. Daisy's arrival. About a week after we got her, Evan posted her ad on the CDRN website. We didn't even need it though because I was able to interview a home that had contacted me several weeks ago and it seems like a perfect fit! Daisy will most likely be headed to sunny Southern CA to spend her days with a single retired woman. I couldn't have thought of a better situation for her. The only downside is the retirement will not start until mid-August, so Daisy will be with us for several more weeks. Oh well, it gives us more time to get her in better physical condition and work on her manners a bit more. Daisy has taken well to raw food and about 50% of that heavy plaque build up on her teeth is gone now.

After a couple of doses of the first homeopathic remedy that was prescribed for her, we realized it was not the right one. The only thing it did was turn the mildly annoying whining into a feverpitched screaming every time she was left alone. After 2 days of this, I was ready to kick her out the front door and frantically contacted my homeopath. We came up with another remedy and this one seems to suit her symptoms (screaming, dog aggression, inability to be alone, anxiety, stress etc) and we saw an improvement within minutes of her getting her first dose. The biggest signal that we had given her the right remedy was soon after her first dose she was laying next to Evan. Daisy, in the previous weeks, had shown that she was VERY territorial and possessive of people and places, such her crate. We called Marley towards her (our alpha) and Daisy very appropriately kept her tail and head down and scooted out of her way. Success!

A day or two later she and Camber were upstairs and I guess Camber (the sweetest pup in the world) wandered to close to Daisy who was near Evan and Ian and she trounced Camber. Camber has never encountered such an inappropriate display of dog behavior retaliated quickly but they both stopped when we yelled. Camber has held that grudge ever since so she and Daisy cannot be left alone. To compound that relationship, Camber is our lowest ranking dog right now and with Daisy coming into the house their would already be tension between these too as Camber doesn't want to be ranked lower than the spayed newcomer. We simply don't leave them alone, though I have caught Camber nipping Daisy's but when she walks by. Other than the raised hair between the two younger girls, Daisy is getting on well with the other dogs and has even been caught trying to play with Isaac.

The excitement for the week was definitely the night Evan, Ian, and our friend Kelly and I went for our usual walk to see the horses around the corner. We left Daisy alone upstairs and when we came back she greeted us in the front yard. She had broken through the screen in our living room window. She was so thrilled to see us, she came running right up and Evan carried her back in. Thank goodness she didn't go off exploring and she came right too us. From now on windows are opened from the top only.

Speaking of Isaac; We've had a very brave and rather annoying deer visiting our yard recently. She stands about 10 feet from the dog fence casually grazing, while 5 crazed dogs hurl themselves against the fence barking wildly. The deer is not concerned and she shows up at least twice a day. After about 2 weeks of this, we put Isaac's ID tags on and took him out back. I focused him on the deer and let him loose. He chased her off and then I called him and he came running back. As a reward we played tennis ball with him, but Ian was begging to take him to the river in our back yard for a swim. As we made our way down to the river, Isaac either saw the deer or picked up its scent and he took off. He's been gone about 1.5 hours now and I am starting to get a little concerned. He's 10 years old and a good scent dog so I am optimistic that he'll come back on his own. This didnt' stop me from driving the neighborhood a few times to see if he emerged in someone else's yard, but fingers crossed that he comes back soon.

(Updated: Isaac returned 2 hours later, still carrying the tennis ball he took off with. He sauntered up the hill rather slowly so he was probably running full tilt for the entire two hours. I just gave him a dose of arnica (for muscle soreness) and will put him to bed now.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Foster Dog Diaries - Day 7

Here we are at a week. Daisy is now fully integrated with the dogs. This was pretty easy since I learned that she has no interest in them whatsoever.  Her separation anxiety (from me) has kicked in full force and she spends much of the time whining or howling if she is not right with me. The only time she shows any dog aggression is if she is near me or in what she considers her crate. She is possessive more than aggressive if I had to define it.   We are on day three of her homeopathic remedy and I am wondering if maybe it isn't the right one for her.  This was more of an observational post because I haven't figured out which direction to go with her. Certainly she will need a home that either wants to work through separation anxiety or someone who wants a velcro companion. I'd like to see some improvements in this before she is placed. I'll have to think on what the best approach will be for her. Ok, she is crying pathetically at the back door now....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Foster Dog Diaries - Day 5

Daisy continues to impress us with her sweet and gentle nature, however she did show us the 'dog aggression' reported to us by her previous owners.  Any of our other dogs going near her crate or at a gate elicits a very demonstrative display of teeth from Daisy.  I suspect that she is truly a lover and not a fighter, that she may be in conflict with forces in her previous life that told her she was the Goddess of War. Where she clearly was the sponge  that absorbed the negativity that generally exists prior to a divorce. Being tremendously affectionate and devoted to Ian and I and showing separation anxiety when we leave the room, I think she would really enjoy canine companions if she could only get past her animosity towards them.

For a start with her transition, I approached my homeopath about doing some pro bono work for CDRN. She agreed and today she took Daisy's case and very quickly we identified the remedy to start her on. She received her first dose today. I am hoping this helps ease her transition here so she can release some of these unhealthy behavior patterns.

After some more screaming and howling when left alone, I decided she needed to meet the dogs.  First I brought her down to the pens and let her meet them through the fence. There was a lot of barking and growling, but I did manage to let her know which were good approaches and which were not going to make her any friends. She so wants to please me. She gazes up with these big round brown eyes and I can see how much she hopes she can trust me as she accepts the behavior I am asking her to do (or not do.)  Next I crated all the dogs and let her out in the dog yard to sniff around and also to leave her own scent.  Finally, I let Isaac out.

A word about Isaac. I don't think before today have I every really appreciated his gifts. He is the canine equivalent of a really good counselor.  Throughout his 10 years he has been so purely content with his own place as a happy dog that he has no emotional baggage ready to do battle with the emotional troubles of any dog I introduce him to. Being a retired alpha of our often large pack, he is no stranger to expecting and commanding respect when needed, yet he was always a benevolent leader. He's always been the one to teach puppies the ways of the world, giving each lesson at just the right time in a gentle way the puppies understand.  He's always been the only dog I could put with ANY transient or troubled dog...even the most aggressive are not inspired to engage with Isaac. He puts them at ease, by allowing them to be. He creates the safe space for them to have their troubles in his presence and accepts them.  Imagine the world if more people could do this.  Reserve judgement and practice the art of non-reaction and acceptance.  Isaac, the laughing one, you're a good dog.

Back to the story, Isaac came out and immediately went to greet Daisy. Instinctually he froze for inspection, usually the job of the new or lower ranking dog, however Isaac sensed that he needed to tell Daisy he was not a threat.  Daisy sniffed then scurried away.  He accepts her need to be the way she is and does not engage in an unhealthy way.  So, he gave her space and played fetch with me .  I stayed out for a few more minutes and noticed that Daisy would try to hide behind me and then if Isaac came close she would shove her head between my calves and snarl ferociously.  Right then I refused to let her use me as her shield or reason. Without me near, she was not nearly so demonstrative.  Once I was confident that there would be no bloodshed, I decided it would be best if I left the yard and watched from afar.

Ian and I played outside and I watched the dynamic unfold.  If Ian went to close to the fence, then Daisy felt it more necessary to defend her little space bubble. The further away we were the less of a show she put on and the closer she would allow Isaac to get to her.  Watching Isaac carefully ignore her, it allowed her the space and time to approach him.  Isaac brilliantly allowed her to come close and then he moved away. He was allowing her to come close so he could demonstrate that he was not a threat to her by moving away from her.  He wasn't moving away out of fear, he would just casually turn his back to her. Once he even laid down showing her that she could approach him and he was calm and cool. In a way telling her that she could relax too.  In on adorable moment she offered a single playful bounce towards him, but he didn't see it. 

It's really sad that she doesn't know how to be a social dog but I see the desire in her.  A willingness to find her way to a place where she knows how to socialize with other dogs. A place that won't be so lonely for her.  So she doesn't need to whimper in isolation. Where she no longer plays the role and carries the burden of the Goddess of War. Where she can be a delicate flower to cherish. 

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm In Love

I am head over heels for a new love.

He's big, he's black, he's got buttons that I know just how to push to make him groan.

He's everything I ever wanted and didn't know I wanted. 

The way he makes me feel, like I can accomplish things before I never thought possible.

He's the one I have been waiting for, the one I can't live without.

So goodbye old reliable, you've been great while I was waiting for The One. 

But even you know you don't compare.

He's a machine. 

He's beautiful.

My mother-in-law can have her little one back.

My Vita-Mix is here.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Foster Dog Diaries - Day 2

Evan got up early with Ian this morning so, theoretically, I could sleep in or at least lie in bed and maybe read.  The first order of business every morning is to feed the dogs. This was to be Daisy's first meal here and first raw meat/bone meal ever.  As I was laying in bed listening to the early morning noises, dog bowls clanking, Camber whining for her breakfast, the coffee pot being turned on, I remembered that the form Daisy's owner filled out said "food aggressive."  I hopped out of bed and ran down to make sure Evan was aware of this warning for our newest resident.  He told me she had her food already and was not eating it.  I walked into the dining room and she was lying in her crate staring at her bowl.  (We keep our temporary residents in a crate on the first floor for the first two weeks, then when the other dogs and her finally are together they are already familiar with each other. This system works well for us.)
I sat down and opened her crate.  I reached in, she wagged gently and looked at me sheepishly.

I gave her a few encouraging words and told her how good she is.  She licked the chicken back.

I pet her and talked to her and she started licking it a bit more curiously, discovering that maybe this strange looking concoction in the bowl was actually edible.  

I picked up the chicken back and kept speaking quietly to her and soon enough she starting eating the whole thing.  I can't get over how mild mannered this dog is so far...granted its only been 24 hours.  Generally it can take about 2 weeks to really see a dog's personality.

She ended up eating her whole meal with a little encouragement. I sat outside her crate and fed her by hand and Ian sat on my lap, I did not see the slightest indication of food aggression today which is a good sign.

This evening we took our usual walk around the corner to see the horses with Ian.  Daisy was with us and our neighbors invited us in.  She met the horses, calmly and cautiously nose to nose with their newest lease - a gray thoroughbred gelding who was much more anxious about his new accommodations than Daisy has been about hers.  She also wagged furiously for their teenage son and happily received the pets from the whole family, including the father. Her form specifically says, "shows fear and aggression towards strangers, especially men." I guess Daisy didn't read up on how she was expected to behave because fortunately we have not seen any indication of this yet. The most difficult thing I think we need to work on his her leash manners and tendency to bark too much but she's so soft, I think she'll be easy to train.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Foster Dog Diaries - Day 1

Today we received a dog via the Canaan Dog Rescue Network.  This is a non-profit organization I co-founded in 2004. I currently serve as Vice President. Evan and I do a lot of work for this group and right now, that contribution is in the form of a 36 lb dog.  I thought it might be interesting to document her transition and growth with us from now until she is adopted by a new home.

She came to us with the name "Athena."  It is a general practice for us to change the name of a dog as soon as they come to us, particularly if they may not have been coming from a happy place.  Athena, being the Greek Goddess of War is much much too harsh a name for this delicate little flower of a dog, whom I now call Daisy.  Daisy's previous owners are getting divorced and unfortunately this sometimes means the dog needs a new home.   Canaan Dogs are not the easiest dogs in the world to own. Most of your typical dog breeds, labs, goldens, poodles, and so forth are bred purposely to be companions of humans meaning their wild dog tendencies have been selectively bred out of their temperament. Canaan Dogs are natural dogs and for thousands of years their temperaments evolved in the Negev Desert.  When people collected them and started breeding them purposely, there has been some genuine effort to keep the wild, feral dog temperament intact.  Semi-wild dogs are extremely intelligent, wary of new people and places, and extremely territorial. Canaan Dogs retain a lot of these characteristics but most can be mitigated with proper handling and adequate socialization. Not everyone who gets a cute Canaan Dog puppy knows what they are in for and fast forward, three years later, we take in dogs like Daisy.  Dogs like Daisy who barked too much and received a shock collar to try to stop it.  For a soft dog, a shock collar likely
 packed the same punch as if she was beaten. 

So today Daisy came to us. Her owners stayed very briefly, only long enough to hand us her paperwork , bring in her crate and kiss her goodbye.  She was given a very heavy sedative for the car ride and still isn't quite recovered from that yet.  I'm interested in seeing her drug-free personality.  We took some pictures of her upon he arrival so that we can look back and compare what she looks like in a few weeks. 

We will be immediately switching her to a raw food diet, the diet all of our own dogs have been on exclusively 
since 2001.  I fear she is going to go through a significant detoxification. We expect the tartar and bad breath will be gone very quickly though.  Once she is acclimated with us and our dogs she might be able to run in the fenced yard which should help her muscle tone.  Dogs fed raw food raises the bar on what a dog in radiant health looks like.  We'll see how Miss Daisy does as she gets used to life at here for the short term.  I hope to keep up a blog on how she blossoms.

Finding Bliss on a Motorcycle

Today was a lovely day; sunny and warm. Ian and I went to yard sales first thing this morning so Evan could sleep in. When we returned, Evan's mom picked Ian up to go to an art show and out to lunch, so there we were with a whole day to ourselves.  I don't know if it was the weather or the opportunity of having a day without Ian, but I really wanted to take a ride on the motorcycle.  

At about 2 pm, we were ready to go and in a departure from things organic, vegan and health conscience, I suggested that the ride be to go get ice cream at Buttonwood Farm in CT.  For all of you Rhode Islanders, this is CTs answer to Brickley's in RI with the added bonus of ambience. In late summer the whole place is surrounded by massive sunflower fields. It's really impressive. The ice cream is almost as good too. 

Off we went. Evan donned his red handkerchief on his head, a look I find very sexy, and I climbed on the bike for the first time since the Summer of 2005 when I was pregnant with Ian.  The ride to Griswold, CT from here is a beautiful one on tree lined roads. The sun was warm, the breeze was refreshing.  Riding there, so close to Evan and free from parental responsibilities I remembered what it felt like when I was falling in love with him.  At the same time I was envisioning our future together as well as being present at that moment.  I felt our eternity in every direction, our past, our future, and the depth of that wondrous present moment. It was indescribably perfect.

My life is rich. I am blessed to have a wonderful husband who I find unbelievably attractive and enjoy spending time with.  We have an intelligent and loving son, a beautiful home and a joyful life together.  Its funny how a simple Saturday afternoon ride on a motorcycle can all of a sudden be one of those moments. Those moments where everything in my life is in perfect alignment and the feeling of deep inner peace. Of joy. Of immeasurable bliss. 

 I love you Evan.   

And you can't sell the bike. 

Favorite Salad

Made one of my favorite summer salads for lunch today.

2 av0cados, diced large
2-4 tomatoes, diced large
corn from 2 cobs (uncooked)
a handful of cilantro
a squeeze from half a lime
a drizzle of your favorite oil (I used Hemp Oil today)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Toss and enjoy!

Dinner Yum

Last night was a perfect summer evening. It was Friday. Evan came home from work early and we went out for a family bike ride. When we got home, I pulled together a quick evening meal.

At about 3 pm, I had marinated portabello mushrooms in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and set them in the sun to warm up. I stuffed those with my homemade (raw, vegan) garlic cheese made from cashews (similar to the recipe in the link, but not exactly) and placed them on top of a bed of fresh romaine from our weekly CSA haul. I topped the salad with diced red peppers and zucchini and sliced tomatoes. We finished it off with a drizzle of more balsamic vinaigrette. On the side was raw corn on the cob (cooked for Evan). Ian's plate consisted of a few salad ingredients wrapped in rice paper.

Ian ate about 4 of these style veggie wraps the other night, but tonight wouldn't touch it. When corn is available, he often doesn't see anything else as food. He usually happily eats raw corn, but he had to be like Daddy so he ended up asking me to cook his too. When I was pregnant with him, corn on the cob was one of my cravings and I ate a lot of it. It must have imprinted on him.

We washed it all down with herbal ice tea made from half fresh pressed apple juice and half herbal tea (lemon zinger and rasberry zinger). It was a light and refreshing meal that we enjoyed on our porch. If you have never tried corn on the cob raw, you don't know what you are missing. When it is in season and fresh, it is delicious, crunchy, sweet and needs no condiments. It is also easier to digest than cooked corn and digests as a vegetable instead of a carb. (Note to those who are carb conscious!)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Miraculous Messages From Water

I am particularly fascinated with Quantum Physics (Quantum Mechanics) as it is one in the same as spirituality. Or, you could say, it is the science of spirituality. Last night re-watched "What The Bleep Do We Know!?". The first time I tried to watch this 2 years ago, I lost interest shortly into it. I wasn't ready. I didn't understand. This time, I made it through the whole movie. Now, I wouldn't say it is a fantastic must-see, but it had some interesting parts. I prefer books on Quantum theory better than this movie. However, there was small reference to something very interesting. A brief scene that pointed to the research of Dr. Masuru Emoto.

Check this this site on the Miraculous Messages from Water. Dr. Emoto took pictures of frozen water. Big deal, right? Well he also took bottles of water and taped words (thoughts) to them and left them overnight, then photographed them to illustrate how thoughts (vibrational energy) can influence the molecular structure of this basic molecule vital to our existence; water. Since our bodies are 60-70% water, mirroring perfectly the 60-70% water that makes up our planet, how much do the vibrational thoughts we offer as an individual and as the collective humanity effect our experience? I mean, if a single person's thought projected onto a bottle of spring water can make beautiful organized molecules and disorganized ones, depending on the thought, think of how we can effect our own experience, such as our own health and happiness. Cool stuff.

Our thoughts precede the manifestation of physical experiences in our lives.

Choose wisely. Choose consciously.

Please feel free to leave comments!

Photo: What water looks like when offered thoughts of love and appreciation.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Trees and Vines

I've been busy clearing the underbrush that is dead, scraggly, and otherwise impeding my view. Never being one who particularly enjoyed outdoor labor, I have recently discovered the joy of snapping dead branches, gathering rotted logs, and wrestling the persistent, suffocating vines that want to drag an otherwise healthy tree down.

I am fascinated by how strong those vines are, how they shoot down roots at every opportunity, and shoot up tentacles to climb the healthy trees, using them like a step ladder to reach higher than they could on their own. All in an effort to get to the highest point possible to receive the energizing rays of the sun but without a sturdy trunk to get there themselves. The vines remind me of someone drowning; grasping and clinging to whomever comes close and pushing them under so that they can reach the surface to breathe, while their savior is sacrificed.

The vines are covered in prickly thorns too. When I engage in a rousing tug of war with one, often I am injured by the thorns. Clearly they are there for that very purpose but they don't stop me. Nothing feels as good as winning that battle as a massive ball of prickly vines releases it's hold on the tree and comes tumbling down. It makes the scars worth it.

Gently, I help the tree stand up tall again.

Some are too weakened by the assault of the vine and the final fight to be free. I feel sad for them. 20 foot tall trees with their tops touching the ground in weakness. I prop them up against a nearby tree, give them an encouraging word or two and hope for the best. I've only given them a short reprieve. If they don't develop their own sturdy base to anchor themselves, then the vines will come back and overcome them.

Some are unaffected. The older trees with great round trunks and vast root systems shake off their vines easily. The vines are nearly dead and just barely hanging on. The give up easily and come down with minimal effort on my part. They really didn't need my help at all.

But some other young trees rebound taller and stronger than they were moments before. Skinny trunks right themselves while their leaves flutter happily in the spring breeze. Because of my work today, that many more trees are free to stand tall and can reach towards the sun's energy. They will grow stronger and next time the vines come creeping they won't get weighed down by them.

It's gratifying to know that my toil is clearing the view for all of us.

Photo: Arborvitae ("Tree of Life")

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hello, um, My Name is Renee...

and I am a blogoholic.

Yes, I admit it. I have a complete fascination for reading other people's blogs, the obscure details that they choose to share and usually with a greater sense of humor than I am capable of. It's like a Seinfeld episode when you read a really good one. I find myself hitting my favorite blog spots and feeling utter disappointment to discover there is nothing new to feed my addiction. A month goes by with no new blog and this junkie starts sending hate mail to the author demanding a fix. Ask Keith.

And speaking only to fellow blog junkies, isn't it just fantastic when you get a mention in someone's blog? It could be a casual mention in a blog that is read by 5 people, but hey, it's there. In print. For all the world...or just a handful to read, admire, and envy.

Blogs are a great invention. Everyone can have their little corner of the internet where they are the starring role and others gather 'round to read about their latest trip, their latest meal, or their latest excursion to buy socks....which, if the author is good, can be very entertaining.

Blog On my friends!......I am going to need it when the horrible TV shows that make up the summer line up starts and renders the other "Big Box With Lights" a useless source of entertainment for 3 months.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dum ditty dum ditty dum dum dum....

"I wrote myself a part and went straight to the top. I recommend that to anyone." Ricky Gervais (British Comedian)

Recently I have had a friendship come into my life with someone I've known for a long time. I'll call him Chief. Chief is an enthusiastic person who realized at a much younger age than most of us, what it is he wanted to do when he grew up. He on some level always knew he would be Chief. He didn't get their instantly, but by simply doing what he loved and doing what felt good he has now found himself in a place of incredible energy flowing towards him and with him.

When the time was perfect, and timing is always perfect, Chief began to beat his own rhythm. As he is finding, people with a similar rhythm start to gather around him and join in creating the most awe inspiring flow of energy in the same direction. Now, Chief may not consciously realize he is doing this but for me, its so much fun to watch. Chief is going to find that as long as he follows his bliss, what he loves, and keeps beating the drum to his own rhythm, people whose drums beat a similar rhythm will flock to him. The people attracted to the light that is streaming through him will all fall in line, opportunities will present themselves, and life experience will continue to be an endless stream of joy and success. At the same time, people in his life whose rhythms are not in time with his own will be repelled by the discord and will fall away - some will be repelled quietly and some will protest but fall away they will. It is uncomfortable to live with the noise, with light shining in their darkness. That is okay. They need to find their own rhythm in their own time.

Some people are stuck in the land of missed opportunity and do not realize it. They live their present moment regretting the decision they made in the previous one. This is a vicious cycle because they forever miss the present opportunity because of excessive focus on past or future. Light comes into the present moment, doing what you love channels this energy and creates more of it. More people, more energy, more opportunity, more joy and with it more material success. The most fortunate thing about this path is that the material success is secondary to the joy of doing and being. People who chase the material success without the bliss of doing will tire themselves out chasing. Maybe that's where the term "rat race" came from because they spin their wheels with the throngs of others perplexed at how a seemingly few got ahead and out of the race.

Writing this, I just thought of one of the books I read to my son frequently and it just took on a whole new meaning in this moment. An "ah ha!" moment. I love it when that happens! The story starts with one monkey happily drumming a drum and by the end of the book millions have joined into the rhythm. Along the way, there is material success with "rings on fingers" and "hand picks an apple." Monkeys with compatible instruments join in the rhythm with banjos and fiddles. But in the end the leading monkey is still blissfully beating his drum because that is where his joy of being resides.

"One hand two hands drumming on a drum
Dum ditty dum ditty dum dum dum"
... progressing to
"Hand in Hand More Monkeys Come"
...culminating with
"Millions of Fingers and Millions of Thumbs, Millions of Monkeys drumming on drums."
Dum Ditty Dum Ditty Dum Dum Dum

Chief, I am so proud of what you are doing and I am so grateful that your light reaches all the way to Rhode Island.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Crazy Day and Rachael Ray

I finally posted a blog that I originally wrote in January so you need to look in the January file for it. I can't get it to post here and don't feel like figuring out why. 

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Five People

I read somewhere a while ago that we are most like or become like the five people with whom we spend the most time. That's really profound, if you think about it. It makes me stop and think about how and with whom I choose to associate and to what level. I value depth, creative ideas, and people who are genuine. Some people are as deep as a puddle, totally content with the status quo, or offer fake politeness but would happily turn and mock you when you turn your back. Of the latter type, I can forgive them. I don't choose to spend time with them but I understand that they are only displaying in full view to the world their own insecurity with themselves. I am bored by the status quo keepers and oceans inspire me, not puddles.

I value my husband for his openness, loyalty, integrity, and most of all his stark contrast to myself. He has two feet planted firmly in the ground of logic and reason. If it weren't for that tether to common sense, I could easily float away with my own philosophical musings. I value that the tether is more like a bungee cord so that I never feel confined, judged, or oppressed, simply reminded that not everyone can follow my thought process.

I have a best female friend that I value for unbelievable listening skills, gift of validation, and unequalled level of compassion for others. She inspires me to become more thoughtful, careful, a better listener, and to try to leave the world a better place in whatever way I feel is right.

I have recently made a new friend, or as the BFF would say, I chose her. I was attracted to the beautiful spirit of the new friend based on very little information. But as I am getting to know her, she is proving in every way that my first impression was correct. She is effusively positive, has an uncanny way of always looking at the bright side and expecting the best. She is the perfect living example of the Law of Attraction, and I think, without having ever heard of it. I admire her patience, joyful nature, and value her positive outlook on life.

And of course, I value my son. Children are so pure and connected to their source that they are great mirrors for those around them, as they so often mirror the emotion of the people they are closest too. My son, in his own right, is empathetic, affectionate, and joyful. His love and purity of spirit enriches my life in numerous ways. His very existence inspires me to be a better person.

My mother, while we don't spend a lot of time in close physical proximity inspires me with her ability to not judge. She understands the value in listening and the fine but important line between hearing and fixing. She has allowed me to make my own decisions and learn from my own mistakes. Because she allows independence, I feel more accomplished. There is value to letting your children fail and succeed on their own because it fosters growth and builds self esteem. I hope I can strike the delicate balance between being a hands-off, yet supportive parent of an adult child that she seems to do so naturally.

It feels good to spend time on positive relationships and, by Law of Attraction, more will come if I follow the bliss. Simultaneously, and without any conscious effort, unhealthy relationships will slip away making room for more inspiring people. There are many other positive influences in my world, but I find it comforting to know that if the people I spend time with help shape who I am, then I am going to purposely choose people I admire, value, and who make me a better me by spending time with them. And, just as importantly, I hope I do the same for them.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Once upon a time there was a spider. She lay her web carefully, deliberately, and methodically. Her web is put in place for one reason; to trap a fly. She spins and she spins, getting closer and closer to her prey. Her prey is stuck, it resigns to belonging to the spider. The spider is not aware of the thousands upon thousands of other flies in the world, her sights are set solely on the one in her web. The fly tries to flee, but as the web gets tighter, its trickier to escape. The optimal time to escape was long ago, but does that mean he can't?

Energetically the fly is only trapped because he chose and continues to choose to be prey. The fly is free to choose NOT to be prey, and sooner than he thinks possible the webbing would release its hold and he would be free. The energetic vibration of the spider only sees "prey" so as soon as the fly shifts his vibration, every being in relation to the fly must shift to accommodate. The only way anyone in this world is a victim is because they are susceptible to the predator. If the susceptibility is removed, the predator must find a new victim. Of course, our poor fly believes that there is no way out of the web and as long as he holds that belief, that will be his truth. His destiny is laid down clearly, his life will be consumed by the spider.

So I say to the fly: You are the creator of who you are. You can live with purpose and passion or you can live as a victim. It's your right to choose. Are you prey? Or are you free? A flower is a much better choice for landing than a sticky web. You see that flower nearby? The very flower you can see through the tangle of web. The flower will get picked someday. There are other flowers too, and flowers are more hospitable than spiders you know. Your future is your choice and that choice never disappears, no matter how tightly wrapped in web you get. You think the more tightly wrapped in web you get the harder it is to be free? I say, NO! The only thing impeding your escape is your commitment to, or resignation to, being prey. The spider is just doing what works and is not to blame for your decision to be prey. You either are her prey or you aren't. It's your choice. What do you choose fly?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Slaying Dragons

Over the past year I have slain several dragons; undesirable behavioral patterns that were not beneficial to anyone, least of all me. It started the first time I met a gifted homeopath working in RI 2 years ago. My friend who saw her, referred to her as a Sage and I think it is an appropriate term. For 6 months I was skeptical, but the more I read and experimented, the more I realized I needed her help. Always being one for self-evaluation and change, I felt stuck. There were things about myself that I didn't like and, honestly, didn't feel represented who I truly was on the inside. However after several attempts, I was unsuccessful at changing these patterns on my own. I needed something to help me transition, shed the ugly layers of my personality that I grew over my lifetime to reveal someone more like the people I admired. I was so full of judgement, fear, and defense mechanisms. I didn't know how to be open and friendly to people. I wanted to achieve a sense of calmness, clarity, and genuine compassion for others. Of course, with these mental and emotional challenges came unpleasant physical symptoms: because all that ails us physically is directly a result of our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. This is something I have learned to be true through my experience with homeopathy.

Following 8 months of sessions and 2 carefully chosen remedies, I have experienced growth on many levels. I'm no longer in a job I resent or a body I poison with rich and addictive foods. My body is free of unwanted physical symptoms, or dis-ease. Most of the time I experience great clarity in thought, I am able to not "react" to things that are done or said to me but recognize that I am calling my experiences to me. I look for how to grow from negative circumstances instead of being a victim of them. I find it easier not to react to other people but to listen and validate. Granted, I don't do any of this as well as The Sage, but each day I gain more wisdom and clarity and find even greater peace, patience, and love for others.

This is until my husband and partner decided to attempt an adult conversation with me about some of his concerns on the domestic front. He approached me in a healthy and loving way and in a complete departure from the direction I am trying to grow, I, in a phrase, lost my mind. Instead of listening to his concerns, validating his points, and working as a team the way I promised in our wedding vows, I took everything he said as a personal attack and sulked. How's that for clarity and growth? Not exactly my proudest moment.

It made me realize that I do have more dragons to slay. I sit and think about why I get so defensive. And more specifically, why am I such a procrastinator? Why do I hate being micro-managed with "to do" lists (even if I make them myself!) yet also don't know how to accomplish things without them? Why do I so deeply in my core resist my time being structured? Of course, like any normal person, I can first blame my parents. After all, they overdid the control thing a tad during my teen years and I responded with absolute rebellion. However, I'm 32. I cannot blame my parents for my current behavior patterns and responses when I should be adult enough to decide to change them. But can I? We're talking 15-20 years of deeply instilled habits. Rebelling now isn't rebelling against some parental dictatorship over an arbitrarily early curfew, rebellion now is only hurting me and my familiy in the end. I don't know how I am going to right this glitch in my path to wellness, but I am damn sure going to somehow. I think I may need to visit The Sage again, not sure I can take on this beast by myself.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

On Compassion

I get daily quotes from the authors of Ask and It is Given. A lot of them resonate for me, but this one is really good. It is this belief that helps me to be a more compassionate person and also to not let myself be affected by the undesirable actions or words of other people.

"These beings, that are acting out in those ways that you find so awful, are tormented and suffering in ways that you will not understand. Their horrible acts are extensions of that pain. We also have to say to you -- no one who is not a vibrational match to that could be their victim." - Abraham- Hicks

I try to remember that when someone does or says something that irritates me. It is a reflection of their own pain, fears, and thoughts. If I can see this quickly enough I am able to respond to them with more compassion than I ever (in years prior) thought I was capable of. I used to be so quick to judge and snap. If I do find myself having an emotional reaction, I need to recognize that that is a susceptibility in ME. It is MY pain, fears, and beliefs in conflict with whatever the other person is putting out there. When I recognize this, which is not always as quickly as I would like, I can recognize that the only reason it bothers me is because my weakness is a perfect match to their pain. If I change my energy - and by that I mean my emotions - around the given subject, my need to react goes away and conflicts are avoided. I am getting better and better at this as time goes on. Recognizing other people's "stuff" or emotional baggage as soon as possible helps me avoid conflict and, actually help them to feel better too. Because then I am not longer reacting to them as I am supporting them to help find a place of feeling better.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mommy Group

In September I joined a local group on comprised of moms in my community. Most people who I told about this, looked at me cock-eyed and offered some variation of, "YOU joined a mom's group?" Implication: You are socializing with new people purposely?
Why yes, yes I am. I told you I have grown!

I admit, this may be one small step for your typical, well socialized human but it was one giant step for me. Yes, it was a step , ok, LEAP out of my normal, antisocial comfort zone, but I felt ready to do something new. I am happy to report I love it. I've been to several meet up events over the last few months and have enjoyed meeting new people and their kiddies. Of course, there are some ladies I feel more inclined to spend time with than others, but overall everyone has been welcoming and friendly. The group has offered Ian and I the opportunity for several outings a week but we generally only attend one or two. The bonus is, this keeps me from the other nasty habit I have to fill my time. Shopping. Granted, now that Ian won't ride in a cart anymore shopping no longer has the same appeal. What I like most about it is I now know of several moms whose company I really enjoy, but at each event there is the opportunity to meet new members so there is always the chance of making new friends. It seems the moms really bond on the Mom's Nights Out, which I have yet to join in on. I hope to soon.

A small subset of this moms group started a babysitting co-op. It is managed through the website We just started this up, but I think it is really going to work out well for us. Each member, once approved is alloted 40 points to start. Then, when you would like a sitter, you put out a request with the date, time, and how many children. The other moms in the group indicate whether they are available and you choose which one will watch your munchkin(s). The cost is 1 point per child per 15 minutes. So it ends up working as a trade. You earn points when you babysit for others and you pay points when someone babysits for you. It really is a great idea and as the group gets more used to using it, I think it is going to be really helpful to everyone that participates.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Crazy Day and Rachael Ray

I wrote this almost two months ago but wanted to wait to post it until after the episode aired. However, the episode has not aired yet and it probably won't, so here it is anyway!

A couple weeks ago I was contacted by the Rachael Ray show for a possible upcoming segment, that they have since abandoned. Last week they contacted me again to see if I was interested in doing a "pet psychic" segment, they wanted a champion dog that had an odd behavior or something that would be "helped" by the pet psychic. I didn't have such a dog but, being swept up in the fun of TV, told them I'd think about it and get back to them. I phoned my friend Amy whose dog Skye is a Champion but decided last July that she was done showing. Fast forward, after a bazillion phone calls, a meeting and "back story" taping, and four days, Amy was set to go the studio on Tuesday to tape the studio audience segment.
Monday evening started normal enough, but slowly took on a life of its own. Amy and I spoke and she was upset by the directions the pet psychic was planning to take with her "reading." (Her "reading" was neither psychic nor helpful). Amy, being a caring and sensitive person, expressed some dread over getting herself into this predicament. I, being the one who essentially put her there, felt exceedingly guilty. I was also seething that this "psychic" was so obviously manipulative as to hone in on a sensitive matter for Amy and use that as her "reading."
8 pm Phone Call: I encouraged Amy to cancel if she felt better about it. She agreed. At this point Pat was going to babysit Ian for the day so I could accompany Amy to NYC. Thinking I'd still get some errands done, I emailed Pat with the change in my plans but to tell her I'd still see her in the morning.
10 pm: Phone Rings
The producers promise Amy that the psychic will not broach the undesirable subject and that they don't run that kind of show, etc. Blah blah blah. Amy's trusting spirit caused her to agree to go to the taping, I with more than a little doubt in their integrity, agreed to go with her to NYC. So now we're back to getting up at 4:00 am, so off to bed I go.
11:00 - I'm finally in bed my head spinning with everything that might happen the following and how I might react to it. Sharpening my razor claws if they so much as try to push Amy around, I was ready to slay this psychic and the producers if they gave me the slightest reason. I was so disappointed in how contrived the whole situation was. I mean, I know you can't really believe what you see on TV but, I guess I never really imagined how much so. So in retribution, I enjoyed imagining being able to call that out onto the carpet if given the opportunity. Yes, my mind spins in strange directions and the later it is, the stranger the train of thought.
I finally fall asleep, my guess is about midnight.
12:45 am - " MORNING! " Evan and I greeted by the toddler who was convinced it was time to get up and start the day. I can't even remember who got up and put him back, it might have been Evan. But either way, I was up and now listening for the pitter patter of feet so I could promptly send him back to bed....which I had to do at least twice. I think he finally fell asleep by 1:30, so I finally fell sleep again by 2:00.
3:00 am - PHONE RINGS. One of my doula clients is in labor, water broke so she is sure today is the day. I cheerfully agree to await their next phone call so I can go be with her. I then spend the next hour and fifteen minutes, partly dozing and partly downshifting my emotional state from ready to claw someone's eyes out to lovingly attending a woman while she births her child.
4:15 am - I call Amy (she needed to be up to leave) to tell her I will not be able to come with her to NYC. I think she was disappointed but she could have just been sleepy. Finally, I hope to get a few hours sleep before I have to go to the hospital. I settle into bed.
4:30 -PHONE RINGS It's the expectant dad. They are going to the hospital. Alright, up I get, shower, and leave the house by 5:20.
5:30 am - CELL PHONE RINGS. It's Evan. Baby is already out. (WOW, ok, did they even make it to the hospital I wonder?) Back to plan A, I call Amy, turn the car around and head to Mystic arriving right on time. I request a pillow for the ride to NYC for some reason thinking I will sleep on the way. Fortunately, my emotional claws were now filed down because I had to change gears into "birth doula" mode and, as with real claws I couldn't regrow them on such short notices. It was better anyway, my outlook about the upcoming events was more curious and optimistic. Besides, functioning on less than 2 hours of sleep, I wouldn't have been capable of any savvy word exchanges.
10:30 am - We arrive at the studio. That's right, 4 hours. The 2 hour and fifteen minute drive took four hours. Blech.
By 11:30 we were ensconced in a tiny 10x10 "green" room with Amy's name on the door, a sad looking plate of fruit, and a bucket of ice and soft drinks. Amy and Skye were brought to the "audience holding" room to await her interview while Lindsay and I turned off all the lights to create a movie theater atmosphere, sunk onto the hard couch to watch the live feed on the plasma screen.
Amy did wonderfully with the interview, handling herself with grace and charm. She quickly realized she wasn't really supposed to talk much it was all about the animal communicator. You could see it that Rachael Ray wasn't all too enchanted with her guest and pretty much stumbled over the words of having to call her a communicator or a psychic. The psychic lady didn't stick to her agreement and did delve into an area that was supposed to be off limits, but Amy handled all that just fine. It was painful to watch the ludicrous way in which this psychic "told" the dog what she said she needed to hear knowing full well, all the nonsense she was spewing was from the phone interview she had with Amy the previous night. Rachael, clearly a dog lover, was very tuned into Skye and worried about her nervous behavior. She was only shaking a bit, which, and I think most Canaan Dog owners would agree, would be expected in such a situation. Skye, who before cameras rolled quickly allowed Rachael to approach and pet never really wanted to warm up to the "animal communicator", allowing only one brief scratch when she was focused on something else. I consider Canaan Dogs a pretty good judge of character.
Amy returned to the room and received several compliments from various producers about her segment. The producer heading up this segment rushed into the room and asked Amy what she wanted cut from the piece. I thought it turned out pretty well too, though I won't really know until we see how it is cut.
So here is the interesting part. After it was all over, the producers started implying that we were expected to leave the set now. The night prior when Amy nearly backed out to the producer, she had been told that we would all get to meet Rachael and take a photo, etc. So she inquired. The producer said that she would try to get her to come by during her next costume change and warns us that she'll only have two minutes.
So here was the single most interesting part of the day for me. In walks Rachael, followed by three producers standing in the doorway. She walks into the tiny room, spots Skye on the couch and heads right for her, ignoring Skye's warning growl, wraps her arms around her and was hugging her and talking quietly to her. Skye, by this point is busy looking over Rachael's shoulder and keeping a watchful eye on the people lingering just outside the door. A minute of the two minutes goes by. She has not spoken a word nor even looked at the three humans standing the room. I say, "You really love animals don't you?" Ignored.
She gets up and turns to walk out of the room. Amy, who was standing by the door, subtly body blocks her and asks if it would be alright to take a photo with Lindsay, as its her birthday tomorrow. I think I heard Rachael mumble "Sure" flatly and then poses for the photo. Walks out the door. Without looking at her, I think she reached out and lightly touched Amy's back and said, "Thanks sweetie" very quietly. Then she was gone. It was the strangest two minutes. I mean, no "Hi", no "Thanks for coming", NOTHING. There was absolutely no acknowledgement of the three humans standing in arms distance from her. BIZARRE. Lindsay said later, "Someone forgot to wind her up." I mean I wasn't expecting any meaningful conversation or deep discussion, but a "hi how are you, thanks for coming," I don't think would have been too much to ask. Maybe she was just on autopilot because she is ushered around by producers from costume change to makeup to stage and back and is probably not used to having to be social between activities. I don't know. I will say she was strikingly beautiful in person, more than she appears on TV. I was surprised by that. She also had put on a fantastic black dress that Lindsay and I both envied.

And that's it. We carried our stuff out to the car and we were off. We stopped for a smoothie on the way home because we were all starving. Believe it or not it took nearly four hours to get home too. So to recap that's 8 hours in the car, 3 hours in a tiny room, 2 hours of sleep , and 2 minutes with Rachael Ray, and that's my crazy day!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Law of Attraction and Coconut Noodles

The Law of Attraction
I am compelled to give a brief explanation of the Law of Attraction as it is bound to be a recurring theme in my posts. The Law of Attraction is based on the knowledge that all matter in the universe emits an energetic vibration. Living beings emit a stronger vibration than inanimate objects (though they emit a weaker vibration) and each vibration attracts a similar vibration. So when one offers a thought with a strong vibration (indicated by the amount of emotion one feels when thinking the thought) its vibration attracts more thoughts similar to it and eventually leads to the physical manifestation of that thought in the person's experience. Therefore nothing in life is meaningless and nothing in anyone's life is accidental or coincidental. Everything in our reality is created by the person who experiences it, whether positive or negative. Therefore we can all become conscience creators of our reality simply by offering thoughts purposely. An incredible book, called Ask and It is Given, explains this in detail as well as how to use this to bring positive things into your life, with the underlying theme that you must always do what feels good. When you feel good you are in vibrational harmony with Source Energy. One may refer to Source Energy in a number of ways, such as Vital Force, Universal Energy, or GOD. As such Source Energy is where we all come from, where we all return to (purposely) and is within each of us. We are never fully disconnected from this Universal Energy, however everyone is at different degrees of connection at any given moment and the level of this connection can be determined simply by how we feel. When you feel good, you are connected. When you don't feel good, you aren't and your job is to find a way back to connection (=feeling good.) When you feel good, you attract good things and the Universe continues to expand, giving birth to new wants and desires. There is never an end to the journey or the wanting so it is important to enjoy the process and attract desirable experiences. That's the quick 2 cent tour of the theory.

This theory was introduced to me by a homeopath I was working with last year (the birth of the thought), and it intrigued me so I searched out more resources (attracted more thoughts). The theories behind this really tied my scientific side into my spiritual side and it simply works for me. Some people find spiritual guidance through their chosen religion and relationship with GOD and that is great. There is no one correct path. For me, the concept presented in this way resonates for me and I feel it is helping me grow in ways I never imagined. I also like the tangibility of it. When I started exploring this, it was simply a matter of observation to realize that the theory had some truth in it. Examples of its truth became apparent as soon as I started looking, which in a way is proof of the theory itself. My positive attention turned toward this subject and proof of its truth started appearing to me...via the Law of Attraction. Amazing.

...And Coconut Noodles
Well this entry turned out to be more about the Law of Attraction than it did about Coconut Noodles. I thought they would receive equal billing, but alas they don't. What I have to say about coconut noodles is this: One of my two new favorite ingredients for food preparation is Young Coconuts (or Thai Coconuts). They are a young (duh) coconut with the green outer covering shaved off, but the furry brown nut still covered in white fiber. When cracked open you get the delicious fresh and cleansing coconut water which is fantastic in smoothies and a soft, jelly like coconut meat. The very young coconuts have very soft jelly which is great for smoothies, puddings, and ice-creams, all dairy-free. I am planning to make an ice "cream" as soon as my second new favorite ingredients arrives. Organic, raw Agave Nectar which is the sweet nectar of a cactus. A great sugar substitute that does not cause an insulin spike nor does it have any chemical aftertaste like the unhealthy sugar substitutes that are so common. I love it in my (raw) lemonade which is super simple. I juice a whole organic lemon, fill the pitcher with water and add agave to taste. It's very refreshing.

I ordered a case of young coconuts from a local produce market and processed them this morning, freezing the extra meat and water for future use. I used the more firm meat to cut thin noodles and saved them for lunch. I then created a raw "peanut" sauce (actually raw almond butter) that was nothing short of incredible, covered the noodles and topped them with grated carrot and diced cucumber. It was HEAVEN. I filled Boston Lettuce leaves and ate them like wraps. Even better was Ian devoured them which pleased me. He even ate raw vegetables dipped in the incredible "peanut" sauce. It was my favorite raw food dish yet. YUMMY. It's really important to me that Ian eat enough avocado and coconut because they are full of the healthy fats so important to his growth, and since he doesn't drink cow's milk I try to pay attention to stuff like that. I'm really looking forward to making the ice "cream"next week. Truly healthy, guilt-free, you-could-eat-it-for-breakfast, ice"cream".

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


I'm not a fan of labels. They are so formal and final. I have an internal struggle against being dogmatic about beliefs and allowing myself freedom to make choices. Being labeled automatically triggers a desire to rebel...against myself, sick huh?

I was contemplating the term VEGAN. An awful sounding word, isn't it? It sounds so, empty, yet snotty and militant at the same time. As in,
"I am VEGAN. I wield pointed carrot sticks for nourishment and as weapons against meat eating neandrathals."

It also feels so FINAL, like a vow of celibacy. "From this day on, I vow against the consumption of anything tasty of animal origin, never ever again will I allow myself to sink so low." See, that's just not me. Culinary pursuits are an art form, an outlet for my own creative energy. I respect when others practice this art, no matter their medium. Though for my own consumption I prefer that a slab o'meat not be the star of the show.

The first self-proclaimed VEGAN I met was 10 years ago at one of my college work study jobs. She, above all else, shaped the nuance of this word for me. VEGAN was a nice enough person but I distinctly remember her statement that she was the healthiest person she knew, as she sipped her bottled Evian, which, no doubt, she recycled. At that point in my self evolution, I found her intimidating and self righteous. Maybe I still would. Or maybe it's just a matter of perspective and now I'd find her enlightened. Maybe others find me intimidating and self righteous. I guess its all a matter of the shoes we're standing in at the time. No one likes to have their own "truths" challenged. But, if a belief is so readily challenged maybe it warrants re-examination? The universe serves us up constant lessons (which I've learned we call to us through the Law of Attraction.....another topic...) and when we are bothered by something, well, that just means there is something to be learned. It's hard to remember this in the heat of a moment, but I try to.

In any case, I also remember an end of summer barbeque at VEGAN's house where her carnivorous housemates were not allowed to grill animal flesh on her side of the grill. At the time, I didn't understand the need for territory delineation on a Weber. Was she afraid that steak would leave animal cooties on the grates that would jump onto her veggie burger? For health reasons, I understand that grilling creates carcinogens but that would be true for food of animal or vegetable origin. In any case, it seems that people who choose a cruelty free diet are usually doing so for animal rights reasons, and those people appear more directed and purpose driven in their choices. While the health conscious folks seem less militant in their ideals. Just an observation from these worn-down, fleece-lined slippers.

I feel better physically and contented spiritually when I avoid meat and dairy. But in the end, I eat what I want when I want. For the last 5 or 6 months, that choice has been primarily for organic, plant based foods, and increasingly raw, organic, plant- based foods. Occasionally I enjoy the eggs that my friend, Kelly, generously gives to us. Ultra fresh, free range, organic eggs from happy and well loved chickens. I don't have any problem with that...right now, but who knows? I may grow to feel better avoiding them too. My spirit feels lighter knowing I am not contributing as much to the factory farming industry or negatively impacting the environment with animal product consumerism. On the contrary, I also enjoy dining out and not nitpicking over every ingredient in my meal. Life is too short for that. I eat what I want to eat and most of the time I want to eat plant based food. And when I don't, I don't. Call me crazy, but please don't call me VEGAN.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

My First Official Blog

I guess I have been doing a blog on my son's baby picture website, but I am feeling limited on subject matter there. Anyone who knows me (well) knows that I have a lot of ideas and things that go through my head but often those thoughts are either repressed or shared with one of exactly three people all of whom probably tire of my musings. So for them, I will help them share the burden. I suppose a diary would work, but my guilty pleasure of playing on the internet lends itself more to blogging, so here goes...

Evan told me to name this blog Renee's Random Thoughts, indicative of his interpretation of my inner processes. The "random" tells his perception of me. I often ponder how he views me and most of the time I envision this nice guy who is a really good sport. He allows me the freedom to explore new ideas and new ways of doing things, probably hoping the whole time that most of these new practices do not "stick" and start influencing his life experience. My recent exploration into vegan raw food is one I imagine he hopes will go away very soon, or at least that I will just go back to cooking some form of dead animal and slather it in a reduction or butter sauce whether I partake or not. However, the culinary adventurist in me is excited by mastering a new style of cuisine as much as the natural health enthusiast in me is resonating with the philosophy. I am quite sure more posts will delve into this topic, as well as my life as a full time mom now among other things. Stay tuned for more...