Monday, December 28, 2009


What's your passion? What do you do, that when you are engaged, the rest of the world falls away?

About 5 years ago I discovered by accident I enjoyed cooking. I enjoyed the creation. I loved being a apart of something beautiful and sensual. My fantasies began with paging through gourmet magazine and creating the dishes, with family and friends there. What they said, how it nourished them. Did they say anything or just roll their eyes back in their head? Having loved ones over for a meal, I blessed the food in my hands, blessed the recipients and discovered the lineage of women in my family that had done the same thing. When I cook, I am surrounded by the women in my family. My great-grandmother Ethel is around me with a smile and the smell of flour. My great-aunt Mickey chides me for not rolling the noodles or pie dough thin enough. Margie stands over me making caramel and fudge. My great-grandmother Jeanne is a quiet presence, representing my mother's side of the family. They all contribute and all are a part of the meals I make. This might be creepy for some but is comforting to me. Sometimes I ask for help or guidance, sometimes I just feel their presence and smile.

I'm an introvert, off the scales each time I take Myers Briggs. I'm terrible at small talk, it seems a waste of time. Instead I smile and nod a lot, people tell me I'm a great listener. I become overstimulated quickly, again shutting down, smiling and nodding a lot. But with food, and particularly baking the world is quiet. The rest of the world fades away, it is me, my ancestors and the dough. For those minutes or hours, all is right with the world.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Remember the brother from “A Christmas Story”? All bundled up for the cold, he gets finished with hats and mittens and then has to pee? Once he gets outside he falls down and is so bundled up he can't get up? That's me today, and everyone I've seen.

I'm sitting inside and have a sweater, cardigan and v neck on. 2 pairs of socks, Ear bra. Quilt on my lap. I check the thermostat and even though it says 63 I am chilly. When I take the dogs out- who are crazy with cabin fever, I put on a few more layers. To answer a call I put my headset on over my ear bra and turn up the volume.

NOAA says it is only -6 with a windchill of -24. I know I've been through worse. I know that living up on the mountain there were nights where the windchill was -50. I think about meditating on Hawaii, or a Denver July day but decide against it, being present is better and I end up relaxing into the cold. I think my Minnesota accent is coming back stronger in the cold. I stubbed my toe this morning climbing over dogs in front of the fire, and what came out of my mouth? "Oh Jeez"!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pet Psychics a new trend?

Lately I've been reading stories online or in the paper about lost pets and psychics. Oprah had a pet psychic on her show who found a Pomeranian that had blown away in the wind. Two weeks ago, the Vancouver, BC newspaper had an article about a couple who had hired 2 psychics to find their very expensive pet. Today, an article about a family that had lost their doberman, offering a $10,000 reward

I wonder, why is this a new item of news? Before I realized that the connection I had with animals was something that most people did not have, I hired pet psychics or communicators for somewhere around 10-15 years. Then again I talk to the deceased for a living, maybe my hiring pet communicators since I was a teenager is not the best gauge of normal.

Is the idea that our connection with our animals is more than dominionism that woo woo? As a nation we spend hundreds of millions of dollars on our pets, and very little of this are vet bills and dog food. We train them, buy beds, clothes, toys, brush their teeth, buy cat trees, $50 brushes that help with shedding, we take them to day care, pay for airplane seats and support an airline devoted to transporting only dogs. We throw birthday parties, buy bigger beds because the animals are sleeping on our beds, and make celebrities out of “dog whisperers”. When they're young they eat our shoes, carpet, door jams, coffee tables and break through screens. When they're old we help them up the stairs, buy glucosamine or rimadyl for their hips and put up with deafness, blindness and loose “business”. We spend our days between joy and exasperation, wanting to provide the life we would want to have. After they are gone we examine their lives through our eyes often with regret.

We grieve our pets as strongly or stronger than our family members. Our facebook pages have more pictures of our animals than our family, and not only because of e-predators. We have dog parks, churches that allow dogs, and filter our dog water. Animals are providing something for us, couldn't this be something spiritual?

Have you ever been on a trip and thought of your animal? Have you ever been drifting off to sleep and thought of the cat outside? One thing I've encountered is that we all really can do this, and have. Those of us who do this for a living have just practiced it longer. We have learned what certain images mean, and do not have the emotional connection to the animal you have. When our emotions are involved we are less effective.

In the process of packing a house and moving a few months ago, my Golden Retriever Sean took off. He was usually back within 10-20 minutes, and hours had gone by, I was getting lots of wrong information because I was too close. I called a friend who is very intuitive (but would never admit it) and asked what he thought, he re-assured me Sean was around and fine. Later I asked Sean's sister from a different litter who also told me he was fine and where to look. I went to that area and he came bounding out of the local wildlife refuge, quite pleased with himself after 5 hours.

I have the honor of speaking with the animals both here and deceased, and yes all dogs go to heaven. Cats, rabbits, mice, gerbils, llamas and pot bellied pigs do too. Often, pets are the ones that meet us when it's our turn. The question I most often get is, “Are/were they happy?”

I can locate missing animals, using remote viewing and the animal's perspective as well as google maps. There has been enough evidence lately that finding animals via one of these gifts, that have been taken, run away or lost is real.  Being able to communicate with our animals is not that out there. Sometimes we need validation that we are doing the right thing. Sometimes there is a behavioral issue, sometimes a physical issue. Sometimes the animal is missing or deceased. We are with our animals every day, they are a large part of our lives. Whatever the issue, having the issue resolved will make a difference for us, our peace of mind and for them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Where to go and layers of the onion

A few weeks ago I got an email from a writer offering a coaching program in how to write, setting up one's space, etc for the tune of $600. While in theory having a coach, someone to be accountable to in my big hairy goal of writing seems like a good idea. To me a coach is only a way of keeping your promises. Why not instead, build the muscle of writing myself and keeping those promises to myself and spend the currently non-existent $600 on something else?
I find myself moved by the trend of doing something for a time. Julie and Julia- taking on a task like MAFC , Animal Vegetable Miracle (changed my life in thinking about food and our un-sustainable distribution system,) Such a Pretty Fat and Jen Lancaster's journey in losing weight. I am not going to try to be Martha for a year or write about taking yoga class down the street. I don't have much to share about my garden- the only thing that survived the big hail storm this year was my lettuce, still going strong. Non dog people I'm sure get tired of seeing all my posts about the dogs and their antics digging up buried cable or eating razor blades and I am no John Grogan.

I was too fascinated with literature in my english major to take many "creative" writing classes in college. I much preferred reading Mrs. Dalloway for the 20th time, looking for clues I missed than building adverb laden sentences about the mating of the ducks on campus (it was like gang rape, very odd to watch).

Here I am, envying writers that can take their lives, write a blog and suddenly be optioned for a movie, wondering what I could take on for a time. Then when I see another blog about someone altering their life to be someone else I roll my eyes. These blogs don't spend much time on my igoogle. I read Joyce Carol Oates and while I love and envy her writing ability never seem to finish her books, they're too depressing. I do love food porn but don't think I have the patience to describe everything that happens in my kitchen.

I have been noticing lately just how deep the desire for approval goes. I've joked in the past that I got an extra dose being in my family and from the midwest but now I wonder. I've been asking friends and the answers seem to vary by age. The older we are the less need for approval or turning oneself into a chameleon for our view of someone else's expectations. Then again, I've come across women whose response is along the lines of "I have never worried about that". Really, or is that the unconscious response we make when we haven't really looked? I remember when I was around landmark we talked a lot about lying and integrity files. The powerful leaders had the biggest integrity files, meaning the most items where they saw a need to clear the air or communicate something. The newer and least effective leaders had the smallest, as if saying by not really looking that "it was handled". Is this conversation the same?

While driving, in the right lane, mind you, I will go faster than am comfortable with or is true for me because someone I have never seen or spoken to in a hummer comes up behind me and tailgates for a few miles. I'm willing to drive faster than I feel safe driving to gain the approval of some chick in a hummer who is going to pass me the first chance she gets, talking on the phone while changing the in dash dvd for the kids at 80 mph?

I wonder what else there is. I say that now, being who I am and doing what I do I am the most comfortable than I have ever been. I don't feel that I need to hide much but how far down does that go? What else needs to be examined?

Maybe my project for at least the next 90 days is not being Martha, or Julia Child, or a Skinny Bitch but examining me? The time leading up to my birthday is every year feels very pregnant, and with 30 days to go until my 36th year I am curious where I will go and end up.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A rant about service

A few pieces of background about me. I love beer. Often when I am eating alone the tab may be as high as when there are two of us, usually due to beer. Second, I tip well. My sweetie says too well, as long as I've been impressed. (Actually it's more that he thinks said beer is impairing my ability to calculate) Fail to impress and I won't tip well. Oh, one more thing, I have a pet peeve about the use of "we" by servers. You are not the queen, ask me how I am if you really want to know but do not ask me how "we" are. That just is often a signal you the server are not present and don't care.

Okay, here we go. I'm a wedding officiant, and do this all the time during the summer. I often travel alone because Harry has clients, and hardly ever sit down while I'm traveling to eat. Today was a little different, there is a wedding at a certain 500 acre ranch just outside of Winter Park. The view is so beautiful, every time I come I just stop and look at the mountains. All thought ceases, and it's only me and the mountains. Alas, a down side to the ranch, none of the employees want to be here. The first time I came I didn't know where the wedding deck was. I asked two employees, they shrugged their shoulders and turned away.

Today, I arrived 5 hours before the wedding rather than my usual 30 minutes because the road here was going to be closed for a parade most of the day. Not sure how I'm getting home but I'll worry about that later.

Ok, I arrive 5 hours early, walk in to the lodge, and say I'm here early is there a place I can sit for the time being? The woman behind the desk rolls her eyes at me (?! for real?) and directs me down a hall to some chairs. It's so beautiful here I don't care. I look out at the mountains and sigh.

After a couple of hours I go into the restaurant for some lunch. (See background above)
The hostess says, "How are we today", uh-oh here we go. "I am great, you?" "Fine,", she snaps. Oh boy. She takes me to a table and starts taking away napkins before I can choose a place to sit. I move the one napkin left to where I would like to sit rather than where she wants me to sit.
Should I say that I'm the minister for the wedding today? That may change the direction of where this is heading but I really shouldn't have to. I glance at her energy and she's bright red. Ok, maybe she found her boyfriend with someone else but again why is that my problem?
I wait and wait, 5 minutes go by. A woman glances my way and asks what I would like to drink, she's no longer looking at me but past me, peppered with lots of "ma'am". When did I become a ma'am? I seem to have skipped through miss with my eyes closed, a few lady, but ma'am?
I ask what my choices are, and she offers the range of sodas. Too bad they don't have beer. I'll stick with water thanks. She rolls her eyes. Oh boy.

10 minutes later she comes back for my order. Again, doesn't look at me. I order a Caesar salad with chicken.

The table behind me has a different server, happy, chatty. The guests at that table are drinking beer. Hmmm. Oh well.

Salad comes. Not kidding, 6 pieces of romaine, with white bread croutons thrown around the plate. The romaine is lightly grilled, nice. The parm is real through a little scant. The chicken is luke-warm. The whole thing takes half the plate.

My water is gone, I ask for a re-fill. No answer or re-fill. The server walks by, waits until I take a bite to ask me how everything is. Walks away before I swallow and answer.

She comes back, my knife and fork are in the air, I am about to take a bite and she says, "I'll get that out of the way for ya ma'am." I look around to see if this is a joke, feels surreal. "Sure" It's just not worth a fight.

So I pay, small tip, and go back out to my car to get my computer again, only 2 hours till the wedding now. The doorman grunts when I walk out. When I return he opens the door, looking away. I say thank you, he (looking way mind you) says, "Yep".

What else? I have been to locations where there is always some employee huffy because they're the one who has to fill the ice but this experience is by far the worst. Almost time to get dressed in my wedding garb, I almost wish I didn't have to go in that door one more time. Ugh. DTR, bite me.