Post Thanksgiving

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Cards with caramel apples on the patio.  Turkey sandwich outside. Wizard of Oz. Turkey stock. Our lost and found family heirloom Santa. New and first artificial tree (yay). My view from the bathtub nursing my back I tweaked on the ladder.

And random oven baked bacon.

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Thanksgiving

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Greetings from the hammock while my butter|thyme|garlic basted turkey is roasting and I’m outside on the hammock chillin while Alfonse and my Dad enjoy seizure inducing channel hopping from the parade to football to…??

Some delicious pics from our day so far.  Starting with last night’s bacon bourbon hot chocolate by the fire with my boys Rob and Sean.  Thanksgiving Eve tradition. 🙂

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thanksgiving

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I’m rushing out to get on the road to Sedona but just wrote this in another venue and thought I’d share it here as it’s a Thanksgiving message that sprung in to my brain while making coffee just now.

I’m thankful to you all out there reading too who are making this little blog worthwhile and making me feel less alone in this big ol’ world.

I sincerely hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving whatever you are doing with whomever you are doing it, even if it’s by yourself.  There is always something to be thankful for.

(note “John” in this post is my teacher for 25 years: John F Barnes)

Something John has said only about a gazillion times hit me in a deep way this year. It was (and please forgive if I’m not getting it 100% perfect) “the purpose of your life is to enjoy your life”.

What a simple permission slip. For those of us who have been struck by trauma and tragedy (I know who you are), it’s often left scars in our very identity. Like “this is who I am now: victim”. Survivor guilt becomes a very real fiber woven in to the fabric of “who I am now”. And we become literally that: filled with guilt about being happy and finding enjoyment.
“If that person I lost isn’t here enjoying their life I don’t deserve to” or “If this terrible thing happened to me I have to live with it forever, I owe my sufferering to this event”. These are unconscious deeply rooted belief systems that lock in to the matrix of memory which is our fascial system. They drive decisions, relationships, emotions, daily experiences of life (I know none of this is new I’m just writing it out).

I retook 6 classes this year and dug in to some very deep nasty aspects of my memory matrix and rose up to hear John say those familiar words one day in Advanced Unwinding I think. He said them with such a twinkle in his eye and a light hearted spirit that it hit me like a white burst of happiness inside and it started to grow.

I started renegotiating my life with myself. I thought of my mother and sister whom I’ve lost and how they wouldn’t want me to grieve them forever, they would want me to move forward and live a brilliant life that I deserve. How it releases them as well from any guilt laden attachments to me. I looked at everywhere I’ve tried to “save” others thinking “how about saving myself for once and how about ENJOYING MY LIFE?”.

So I did. And every choice I’ve been making from that point forward is from that pivot point and that permission slip and I’m creating a hell of a fun, interesting ENJOYABLE life right now and feeling this new metamorphosis every day. Like I have a secret and my secret it “I’ve been through Hell and I’m not only still standing, I’m having an absolute ball”.
Then I realized THIS is the gift I’m to give. This being, this living, this enjoying. THIS is what I’m to share.
So, in Thanksgiving, I say Thank you to John Barnes for injecting this deep in to me with your words, for saying it over and over and over all these years so it could finally penetrate and clear the way igniting this permission inside me.
Happy Thanksgiving!

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stuffed pumpkins

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I intended to write the whole story of my birthday scavenger hunt this morning but *miracles in progress* are happening related to it which are gonna blow your dang mind so I will write it once I have the complete wild outrageous knockyoursocksoff story to tell.

I got invited to a pre-Thanksgiving dinner today at my dear friend Aaron’s house.  Let me just show you the menu he’s posted (burp!).  He’s a gourmet cook, a master backyard gardener and the most knowledgeable person on wine that I know so you know it’s gonna be a hullaballoo.

(the following is from Aaron):

Some of the things I’m cooking
turkey breast
Spiral ham
Pork tenderloin
Mashed potatoes
Bacon mashed tatoes
Couscous (with the turkey, shrooms, cippoline cuz I love Andrew & Nicole)
Stuffing
Cranberry sauce
Sweet potatoes
Baked apples
Banana bread
Ginger bread
And whatever random festive shit I find on the food network

I will have sodas and waters and beers and of course wine

Gulp!  And everything is homemade of course.

I decided to bust out my foolproof savory stuffed pumpkins so thought I’d share a little tutorial on them.

First off, here is the recipe which I first heard about on NPR then thought “ohyeah I will be trying that”.

It’s a dish that looks really dramatic and impressive but is totally simple to make.  If you can make a Jack-o-lantern, you can make this.  You can also adapt it in so many ways it’s not even funny–gluten free, grain free, dairy free, you can just put in that pumpkin anything you want to try.

I decided to stuff mine with this asiago/black pepper italian bread from Trader Joe’s, bacon, cheddar/gruyere cheese, lemon thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and half and half.

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You basically prepare your small sweet sugar pumpkin like you would for a Jack-o-lantern.

Pull out all the strings and seeds.

Then you prepare your stuffing just kind of rustically. I like to taste the elements all separately so I keep the pieces big (bacon, cheese, bread).

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You stuff all this dry stuff in your pumpkin, pour the half and half on top, close it up with the lid, put it in the oven at 350 for 2 hours and voila,it’s done.  It’s that easy.

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Mine are roasting right now.

When serving them I prefer to scoop the pumpkin from the sides and mix it up with everything else like kind of a bread pudding type of situation just because it tastes better to me.  You can also slice it which is very pretty but by that time I’m all about the eating aspect. 😉

I’ll edit with another pic once they are out of the oven but for now I’m gonna take a little rest as I hit the ground running this morning.

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Ready to come out of the oven!

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Last night my Dad and I did a father/daughter banquet and went, of all things, to a hockey game!  We had family friends in town who’s son plays for the University of Illinois hockey team so we met them there.  It was super fun and COLD in there.  Dad and I decided we will keep trying new things for our F/D banquets from here on out.

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Ok gotta lay down and work on expanding my stomach for the foodfest later.

And I’ll fill ya in on the MIRACLE IN PROGRESS once I have the complete details and maybe some more pics.  I’m super excited!  😀

i declare

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a small preview of our spectacular day/evening

My friend Mya did something absolutely AMAZING for me yesterday.  I am going to post in detail on it later because my car is dead in her office parking lot at the moment with many of the photo ops in it (dead battery and I’m waiting for my Dad to give me a ride) but let me just say she took me on an amazing birthday scavenger hunt with clues and presents and experiences that lasted for HOURS.  I will give it the proper writeup when I have all my material but while waiting thought I’d share this DECLARATION I made that kind of came in to my head while Mya and I were working on patients in her office yesterday before the magical afternoon/evening unfolded.

I hope this flies out to the Universe and lands on whoever needs it and back to me like a supercharged boomerang.

Yesterday these thoughts hit me while thinking about recently turning 55 (I LOVE this age and want to squeeze everything out of it I can).

I declare:

I will spend the rest of my life getting more expanded in mind/body/CURIOSITY (that’s the vehicle)/energy/inner space/thinking/feeling/etc.
I want to, as I age, get more expansive in every way I can. I vow to feed my curious mind, take risks, dig deep, reach high, defy logic, refuse to “age” in any kind of expected or conventional way.
Another phase of my life is just beginning and I’m on the runway. I’ve decided to use this gifted life to be all I can be and to continue to learn and be inspired and become more than I ever believed moment by moment until my last breath.
I will be an old woman with aged and learned hands offering treatments to babies seeing their potential reflected in my own that I’ve nurtured for decades paving the way with my own feet. And heart. And courage.
I will expand and feel entitled to every bit of it.
And I will make myself proud as I look forward and back.
That is my declaration!!!

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missing 2

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Popped out of bed here in Sedona and grabbed my notebook and  my second chapter started expressing itself.  As soon as I get my book blog up and running I’ll be posting these snippets there but for now, a small taste.

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this photo was taken just this last September on the Monkeyspoon porch

“I guess I’ll need to call the Urbana police soon” he said staring that long stare in to the expanse of the Atlantic ocean.

My father and I had many, if not most of our deepest conversations just like that.  Two Adirondack chairs side by side on the Monkeyspoon porch, both facing straight ahead at the sea.

Crossword puzzle in his lap; pen in hand.  My tan hands wrapped around a  coffee cup that had likely resided in that cottage for decades allowing countless of our ancestors to wrap and warm their own exactly as I was that chilly morning.

“Maybe give it one more day Dad?” I asked in futile resignation knowing that crisis had once again crashed in to another family vacation.  With my brother though, it had seemed neverending since his diagnosis all those years ago.

By the time we landed in that quiet porch summit, things like this had been going on for decades.  I was more annoyed than worried.  “He’ll turn up soon” I reassured my Dad as we attempted to move forward in to our beach day.

Inside, though, we both knew what a missing family member can mean.  We were way past the luxury of full denial by this time.

“Let’s see what happens today” he said and managed to give it one more fitful sleep before phoning the police and filing the report the next morning.

It was September 2010 and my brother John had been missing for a week.

 

true love

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In my family, we were not well trained on the art of an effective apology.  I’ve learned some about this this past year being on both ends of this equation.  Stay tuned for more on that.

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Yesterday I received these gorgeous fall flowers from my dear Alfonse.  The back story of why he sent them isn’t important.  One of the miracles of a sincere and heartfelt apology is that it dissolves the story that necessitated it.  Such is the case here.

Somehow with minimal and inadequate training, my brother managed to learn the fine art of expressing sincere remorse.  I’m learning from him.

He phoned me a little while ago asking me to text him a picture of the flowers and again telling me how sorry he was but my heart was long melted.  The power of Love.  True love.