Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ginko Biloba

The first tree in the National Audubon Society's Field Guide to Trees that Anthony got me for Christmas is the Ginko Biloba.  I remember my dad teaching me to identify this tree when I was young.  The fan-shaped leaves are so distinct, it is an easy one to remember.  This is an ancient tree.  The Biloba is the only surviving species of its family Ginkoaceae (don't ask me how to pronounce that) - believed to have been preserved from extinction by Buddhist priests in China, Japan and Korea.  These trees can live to be a thousand years old and have been used for their medicinal qualities dating back to 2600BC. 
I will also never forget my first dorm room in college.  I lived there for two years and every fall the hallway would reek of rancid butter and vomit... it took me a long time to realize it was coming for the female Ginko Biloba tree not-so-wisely planted years ago directly outside the building along the sidewalk.  As people walked by they would step on the fallen, rotting fruit and track it inside.  Its a beautiful tree, one I hope to plant near my own house someday, but I will make certain the female is discreetly planted in the back of the yard, out of smelling distance.  :) 

My husband got me these tree and bird field guides for Christmas this year per my request.  My father was an avid naturalist and bird-watcher.  My childhood consisted of hikes through the deep woods of Maine.  They were not just hikes though, they were lessons.  My dad would stop every few feet and point out a native, or sometimes non-native, species of flora, or sounds and signs of fauna.  This is how I learned the distinct call and coloring of the black-capped chickadee, phoebe, finch and nuthatch.  Occasionally he would even collect bear and moose scat from Baxter State Park and store it in our freezer for a later lesson on determining the animals last meal.  At first I did not think much about this, but as I grew up I started to wonder why other kids did not have wild animal poop in their freezers.  Then I realized it was pretty weird and so began my teenage years of rejecting my father's strange quirks and avoiding being seen with him and his red-suspenders in public.  Thankfully, that was just a phase and it was not too long before I accepted his unique qualities. However, it was not until these last few years, as I have grown up, married and now have my own baby girl, that I started to really admire and cherish these "strange quirks" and "unique qualities" about my dad.  I had a few beautiful months with him this fall to reminisce over past memories and glean any last knowledge and wisdom from his beautiful mind.  He passed away in November.  With the sorrow of his passing came a deep longing and determined desire to become more like him.  In some way I think loving what he loved will help fill the void.  Its not just me, my husband quickly acquired a deep reverence for dad, finding inspiration from my dad's many projects and life-accomplishments.  My husband even asked for red suspenders for Christmas.  Of course I got them for him.  This explains why a blog I started years ago to document my craft projects, has morphed into something different.  Last year changed me.  My baby girl was born, and my father passed away.  There is more to document now than craft projects.  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

of consistency

If there is nothing else consistent in life, at least you know without a doubt the seasons will always come and go.  This is one thing about New England I have learned to love, hate, and hope for...February is almost over, how do I know that?  Well the calendar definitely helps, but the days are actually getting longer.  The sun rises at 6:30am and sets at 5:30pm.  With this, I realized I had not visited my blog in almost a month.  In the world of blogging I seem to be a more faithful follower than I am a keeper of my own blog :)  With that said, here is my update:
1) Blog once a month:  Its still February and here I am!
2) I completed a whole book in January!  Jane Austin swept me up into the Bennett family, so I could not put "Pride and Prejudice" down.  I am unofficially going to try to finish one book a month now instead of only for the year.  I also finished a excellent book "A Praying Life."  I highly recommend this down-to-earth account and examination of making prayer a part of life, not as a duty or chore, but as a privilege.
3) I have started the back of my sweater! I am about 3" up and just starting the cable pattern :)
4) I visited my dear friend from ago early in January and was delighted to spend a weekend with her and her husband in Miami.
5) I am going to wait as long as I can on the hair least until summer.
6) The dinner party will happen when its time :)
7) I am two weeks behind on my Time magazines, so I will bring them with me wherever I go and page through them when I get a chance.
8) "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30   ( I peeked twice, once for a word and once for the reference, so I need to practice a bit more :)
9) We are anxiously waiting for the snow to melt to we can get back out on the trails!
10) I have a plan to help me remain faithful in prayer to my 11 people, I need to put the plan into action.  I'll share my plan soon!
11) Of my favorite new words are:
    ROIL - to displease or disturb
    RIFF - a succinct usually whitty comment
    LACONIC - using few words; concise
    TRUCULENT - expressing bitter opposition; fierce

What new things have you been trying or learning? 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

of fruits and veggies - in moderation

After two days of fruits and vegetables, my husband and I decided we did not want to risk hating vegetables forever, and so we broke our fast.

1) Was it worth it?
Yes.  I felt surprisingly refreshed and energized.  My body adjusted fairly quickly to the high-fiber foods.  My favorite part was filling my house with fresh produce and finding creative ways of preparing them.
2) Will I do it again?
Nope.  I have firmly concluded that moderation is better.  For those of you who know me, know that for me to say I have NEVER craved cheese more than the end of day two, you know that means it was pretty intense :)  I will however continue enjoying my bi-monthly box of fresh fruits and vegetables from Boston Organics.  And we will continue to enjoy green smoothies
3)  What did I learn?
I learned a lot of new recipes.  My favorite was pesto stuffed portobella mushroom. 
4) Do I recommend it to others?
Nah. Just try different ways of having lots of fruits and veggies everyday.  Maybe make one dinner a week (or month) of just veggies.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

of fruit and veggies - preparation phase

I am on day three of my preparation phase, which means I have phased out caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt, meat and most dairy of my diet.  We went grocery shopping last night and as you can see our house is now stocked with LOTS of fresh fruits and vegetables!! 

Overview of my food intake today: smoothie early morning, with yogurt, lettuce, mango, banana and 100% cranberry juice.  Oatmeal with lots for fruit and rice milk, veggies and hummus for lunch, corn chips and black bean guacamole.  Everything tasted great... however I am a little concerned about how my body is adjusting to the high-fiber foods :)  I will have some pasta for dinner and I made a quiche with potatoes - all fairly low-fiber food.   I have also increased my water intake to make sure I do not get dehydrated.  I will probably back off from the fresh produce tonight, in hopes of stabilizing my body.  Although I did not get a ton of sleep last night, I have had a steady energy level all day.  No headaches.  Got out in the snow and brought Jake to the beach - beautiful white desolate wonderland.  Looking forward to a cozy night at home with hubby. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

of fruit and veggies - detox

Next week I am going eat only fruits and veggies for 3 days in hopes of helping my body rid itself of toxins.  If you want more information, visit  Dr Ben Kim's website from which I based my schedule/plan. To paraphrase, fruits and veggies are the easiest foods to digest for most people, and they hold strong vitamins and minerals that aid our body's digestive and immune systems.  I will use as much fresh, organic produce as I can afford.

This is my shopping list for Monday:
Fruits: bananas, apples, pears, mangos, oranges, grapefruits, lemon, limes, clementines, peaches, berries and melon.
Veggies: avocados, spinach, arugula, swiss chard, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, cabbage, onions, sweet potato, squash, asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, beats, basil, garlic

I will use extra virgin olive oil sparingly.  And drink water, herbal tea and 100% fruit juices. 

I will try to take an hour walk everyday outside for fresh air and do a 15-30 minute yoga routine.  

My schedule:
Phase Out:
Monday - no caffeine or alcohol
Tuesday - no sugar, salt
Wednesday - no meat, dairy
Thursday - no grains, no animal products

Detox Cleanse: Friday - Sunday
-strict fruit/veggie diet
-no soaps, lotions, cosmetics - instead coconut oil is good for chapstick and moisturizer. 
In order to experience a mental/emotional cleanse, I will try to truly rest during this time as well, and am considering turning my phone and/or computer off for period of time during these three days. 

Phase In:
Monday - hummus and rice milk
Tuesday - eggs
Wednesday - legumes and whole grains (oatmeal and brown rice)
Thursday - fish
Friday - yogurt and goat cheese
Saturday - chicken and caffeine tea
Sunday - chicken sausage
Monday - turkey and wraps

Can you tell I like lists? :)  I do want to say that because I have never done something like this, I am not sure how my body respond.  That is why I am removing and adding things gradually to allow my body time to adjust.  However, if I begin to experience headaches or nausea due to lack of protein, I will phase hummus and nuts back in sooner. 

I think I've convinced my husband to join me for as much of this as he can take. 

Does anyone want to try this with us? 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

of firm determination - 11 Resolutions for 2011

One definition of resolution is "firm determination."   I have firmly determined that I want to do the following sometime before year's end:

1.  Blog once a month.  Baby steps.  My last blog was in February 2010.  I have recently been inspired by my friend's blog dot in the city, and so I am determined to update my blog at least once a month.
2. Read on book cover-to-cover.  I am a book hopper.  I start about 90% more books than I finish - if that makes sense.  I think the only book I finished last year was Three Cups of Tea - amazing book!  So this year, I will start a book determined to finish it.  I have not decided what book... debating between Pride and Prejudice, The Knitting Circle and Dream's of my Father.  Any recommendations?
3. Knit a sweater.   I know for who... but it is a surprise and she may read this before next Christmas when I plan on giving it to her. :)
4. Visit an old friend.   Technically I already booked my plane ticket to see a dear friend of mine from college, but I will try to visit another old friend at some point in 2011.
5. Get a new fun haircut!  I have gone to a hair dresser once in the past 7-8 years.  I hope my hair will grow long enough for locks-for-love, and I will have it "professionally" cut....this time. 
6. Host a dinner party.  I'm thinking fancy or themed.
7. Page through every edition of Times magazine that I was subscribed to for a Christmas present.  Maybe I will finally get a clue to what is going on in the world.  I may not read every article, but at least the headlines :)
8. Memorize 11 passages of the Bible.
9. Hike 11 miles on the Appalachian Trail - with my hubby of course :)
10. Pray for 11 people. 
11. Learn 11 new words a month.  Word for today - littoral: of or pertaining to the shore of a lake, sea, or ocean.

I think eleven is a manageable number.  I love lists and so I am excited to start checking the boxes.  January blog post - check!  Happy New Year!

Do you have any firm determinations for this next year?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

of Valentine's Day

I did some research trying to find something more to St. Valentine's Day than the commercial buzz this time of year brings with its red hearts, candies and roses. All I could find of significance is that Valentine comes from the Latin root "valens" with means "worth." So I guess we could say this day is more a day of "worth" than "love."

I hope that everyone can feel worthy today and everyday of being loved.

Song writer Eden Abhez once said, "The greatest thing you will ever learn is to love and be loved in return." I believe this quote holds so much truth. Love hurts. Love heals. Love disappoints. Love encourages. Loving someone is a risk, and opening your heart to receive the love of someone, is an even greater risk.

How do we love without abandon? How do we love someone without expecting it in return? How do we open our hearts and let someone love us knowing there will be days they will hurt us instead?

This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. - John