Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Strolling in the Perambulator with Mary Poppins

"Come along, we don't have time to dawdle. Spit spot! Pick up your feet. You are not as finely turned out, as I'd like but no matter. We are off!"

Going for a walk with our Nanny, Mary Poppins has indeed been an eye opener. She's sort of a cross between a nice Mommy, a bitchy nun and Baba Yaga who may eat you if you aren't careful where you step.
So please DO be careful.

We've learned a lot at the leading of this character from the author P.L. Travers who published the first of her Mary Poppins series in 1934. I admit that my knowledge of this story came to me via Disney and the movie of the same name. It was both fascinating and a bit unsettling when I watched it as a child. I didn't know whether to trust Mary or fear her. She is so unpredictable! Kind, well, not really. Civil, yes. Calculating, aware of the Universe's secrets and very proud of her less than stellar looks. What? Mary Poppins was not a beautiful Julie Andrews???  NO. Mary Poppins, (while practically perfect in every way) was really quite plain. Yet it did not stop her from admiring her visage in every mirror she came across.
Mary Poppins tells us to Love Ourselves. As we ARE.
To always keep a weather eye on the horizon. To go with the flow of the Universe and be able to adapt to the changes in the circumstances or the changing of the wind. She also tells us to not take things so seriously. Even miracles. Did we have tea on the ceiling? Yes we did. Was it a miracle? "Absolutely not. You can have tea on the ceiling anytime you wish. Such an idea. Why, I never! Sit up straight and don't pinch your sister."

I had never actually read the novel and found it to be quite amusing! There were some elements in the writing that were familiar to me via the movie, but in actuality there was quite a lot of difference and P.L. Travers was distraught with the movie's depiction of her writing when if first came out. Most of us in StoryBook Club though preferred the movie to the book (which is saying a lot because we usually prefer the book version to a movie).

How'ere, I would say that there were several stories within the book that really took me back to the Magick of Childhood. I especially liked the story of Andrew the dog and the returning of the stars to the night sky. Both of these stories were new to me, and they really captured my childhood wonder and the miracle of imagination to me. I felt like I was six again as I read it!

There are LOTS of themes out there to try to decipher Mary Poppins:

*One idea is that she was a Witch and that P.L. Travers was Pagan and into Theosophy. I agree that there are symbols and traits that can back that up.

*There are also conjectures that Mary Poppins is a Christian theme with Mary symbolizing Mary the Mother of God and that the chimneys are the gateway to Spirituality and the rooftops are the upper levels of Spirit and that Andrew is an Angel. I can certainly appreciate those threads.

*There are other ideas that Mary is a Time Lord and her carpetbag is a Tardis.

*Another idea is that Mary is actually a teacher in Hogwarts. Ok so she was killed in the first Voldemort Uprising so you didn't see her in the J.K. Rowling notes...
I like all these ideas too!  But first let me finish this joint......(cough cough....ah).

That's better. It's just all too amazing to be true! But SO wonderful to think on! Wouldn't it be wondrous to be able to jump into a painting? Or ride up a bannister? How about gluing the stars back in the heavens when they fell? I'd personally love to have a conversation with Andrew....or better yet, my dog Monty! I'm sure he'd tell me lots of things.

And well, there it is. It's the fact that we do NOT know everything. And much like God (or Spirit or Fate or whatever you call it) trying to teach us things, we can only learn from experience and imagination.

Here are some things I've learned from Mary Poppins:

*We are supposed to be Good.

*Stand up straight (figuratively and literally).

*Take your medicine. (but appreciate and take in the Good that comes from it too, realizing growth can be sweet).

*Don't dillydally. Get to the Point.

*Be your Best and always try to do the Right Thing.

*Admire Yourself. You ARE beautiful.

*Pick up after yourself. Don't make a mess for Others.

*You are allowed to have Fun and get Dirty as long as you hurt no one.(Harm None, do what you will :)

*Remember to Appreciate everything around you.

*Always Sing! It makes you and everyone around you feel better and understand things.

*Feed the Birds. Be Kind to those less Fortunate than You.

*Love makes you feel Grand!

*Don't be Sad. Au Revoir is "till we meet again" and not really Goodbye. (even if it means the Next Life)

But before we go, we should eat something and have a Nosh up. :)
And so we did!  We met at Korinna and Robs' house on 17 Cherry Tree Lane and it was splendid!

There was Tea (of course) and Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy, Homemade Rolls, Scones, Pies, Jammy Dodgers, Honey Butter and crumpets and good clean lively fun and some swearing.

*I did not hear any swearing Michael. The Nerve of you to say so."

And so now we push on to Next Month's Theme in time for Winter Solstice, Yule and Christmas!

We are walking VERY quietly in the Woods and trying to find GNOMES.
 I HIGHLY recommend that this is the FIRST book you should read:

"Gnomes" by Wil Huygen, Rien Poortvliet
There will be a test. :)

Till then, may we wish you a loverly cuppa and some English Allsorts.

Happy Thanksgiving from StoryBook Club who is very thankful for our group ....
and to Mary Poppins for keeping ALL our secrets in her pocket!

Life IS what you make it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bali Blog will call you.....Come to me, you special writing...

This last week, I have fleshed out a wild hair, and no, I didn't need tweezers.

I used the week as a culture soak of a sort. Imagined myself immersed in the culture, environment and sites and experiences of being in Indonesia. Bali, specifically.

The place conjured up tropical vistas, luxurious weather, colorful clothing, different religious practices and foods!

Why not go and immerse myself on a Creative Learning Experience of my own choosing?

This week I watched hours of "Trekking the World- Discovering the Earth's Most Awe-Inspiring Places". A 6 CD disc collection from my library about fantasical REAL places that just oooooze spiritual goodness. I would HIGHLY recommend it.
Harry and I enjoyed it very much!

I went to 2 different cuisine restaurants that I've never tried!

Thai Food at "The Bankok" in Liverpool, with Lynn & Mike and the most decadent curry puffs, deep fried tofu, freshly delicate spring rolls, a big bowl of coconut curry with scallops (the broth was unbelievable at the end!) and banana pastries with coconut ice cream and Jasmine tea. Soooo delicious!

The other restaurant was "New Century" Vietnamese food on Kirkpatrick St. Syracuse. Went with a big bunch of foodies! Mike and Linda, Tim and Dani, Polar, Tom and Harry! A big group of interesting and fun friends who love to eat!
I learned much from them!
Most of us were there for the Pho Soup. A gigantic bowl of brothy deliciousness made with your choice of meat. You add the veggies, sauces and herbs that you like. At the end of the bowl, the broth that has marinated is just amazing!).

Also tried Vietnamese egg rolls and ginger chicken wings. One delightful find was Vietnamese Coffee. So thick, creamy and sweet. More like hot chocolate with a rocket fuel kick!

I will be going back to both of these places again and again!

I found that I behaved in my "Bali" a bit more deliberate in my choice during the day. I thought about cooking in the morning for the evening, rather than coming home to it at night ravenous. When you cook with whole grains, it is more of plan ahead style that is helpful.

When I thought I wanted to read, I devoted myself totally to it or any other thing I wanted to do. I really tried to live IN THE MOMENT.

I learned a LOT about Buddhism and Hinduism as well as learned about Holy places and Sacred Temples from that area.

And about their Holy Men and Women

Very different, and yet fascinating.
Also, that these two religions do live peaceably together in certain parts of this big world.
That was comforting and encouraging to hear too...

Yes, I had my regular work to do. I'm also in the midst of several large projects for my business and home as well as at my different jobs.

No Matter! I'm trying to add some Zen Quality of NOW into my existence.

Went to Nirinjan Kaur's Kundalini Yoga Workshop and Chanting program and her music concert for afters last night as my Bali finale.

(Say that 5x fast. Bali Finale, Bali Finale, Bali Finale, Bali Finale, Bali Finale :)

It was very heart opening, enjoyable and totally different in Yoga training as well as music style. Think CHANTING. Think Chakras. Think of "OM" ......in a group for 2 hours.

It was fun to do it with my friend Christine too, who was also into it. Ok, and I admit, some of our Healthful Spiritual Outing had a Marguarita's name all over it :)

Here is one particularly enchanting meditation, to open and enliven the Kundalini energy. We did this mantra for about 10 minutes there.
Click these words to Check it out!
I found it to be totally addictive and it could've gone on longer for me.
Or maybe it did. I wasn't really aware of time....

As a musician, I also very much enjoyed this very different musical presentation, sitting cross legged in front of a microphone leading it. Very different. Very Spiritual.

This was the song that made me want to go see this group....Click here to listen.
We are all Spiritual.
We have to look upon all being as such.

Anyways, it was a week to enjoy my body, pampering myself, working thoughtfully, relaxing consciously with no guilt and enjoying life and my choices.

I hope your week was just as Grand!

This is as an idea was really interesting and I will try again in the future as a good experience to become aware of others' cultures.

A readiness to learn teaching experience of Art, Music, Food, Theology, Culture, Fashion and Environments!

Namaste. (which means "Salutations to you. I honor the Spirit with You.")

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bali on a virtual budget :)

Ok, so it's grey and snow is falling here in CNY. Not Bali-like at all. It freaking SNOWED today.
And that's ok. How'ere, the last couple of days have brought me much personal pleasure even so!

Yesterday, I had the day to myself before work. I got up with Harry at 5:30am. I wished him well, I read, and I wrote, and den? I went back to bed at 9am. How awesome is THAT?  Fecking decadent.

Know what else I did?

Yoga every day. Been eating whole grains....Ok, I've had the side glass of alcohol. Watched "Trekking the World~ Bali", 2 versions of the "King & I" and "Anna & The King", also a Netflix on "Fierce Spirit" and gathered strength from the cold wind. I've also cooked Coconut Curry Shrimp with rice, eaten papaya and smoked salmon and  pampered myself with hot baths, oils and nail polish. I've taken my vitamins faithfully for 2 weeks. I've tanned. Used my Netti pot and had it surprise me hours later with a gush of saline from nowhere. (I didn't realize that your head is a fucking cavity with a lot of secret hiding places in there...)
I've read decadently in the evening swaddled in a blanket with my dog.  I've taken naps and gone to bed early and got up when I felt like it. Been working too, checking emails and raked a lot of leaves. Been loving my man, Harry, so much for letting me find and harness my voice. I also finished editing my memoir. Fucking A! How awesome is that? Hardest thing I've ever done besides push two babies out of my vagina. But surely I digress.

During this "DIY~Bali Retreat", I've realized that:

1) Yul Brenner is one HOT fecking male.

2) But not nearly as hot as Yung-Fat Chow. Good God, but that man is sexy. 
3) That's a LOT of freaking satin in the Lady Leonowen's dresses in The King & I...
This dance scene is EPIC.

4) I feel that the actor that depicted her son in The King & I resembles a Civil War version of "Eddy Munster" only like a real boy.

5) I like the actor's portrayal of the son in "Anna & The King" way better.

6) While I like the musical (sucker for musicals, I am....) I actually prefer "Anna & the King" for the story line and yet both movies depict differing versions of the same story. However, after getting hooked on the story line and the historical basis of fact, and researching it a little, the real story of the King of Siam and Lady Leonowens' is much more tragic.
Check out this link for the REAL Story of the King of Siam and Lady Leonowens

7) as is the difference in the endings of Tuptim and her Buddhist monk's lives in both movies.

Other than that,
Bali is fine. Thai food all week, eating really awesome food, tackling projects like the hot tub, that Wayne is rebuilding (the parts came TODAY!!!) and finishing the memoir are reason for one more glass of wine.

Merlyn, somewhere in Bali, chanting and stretching and eating a lot of damn good curry.

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera....

Monday, November 11, 2013

Romanesco Brocolli and Sacred Geometry

I'll confide to you a weakness.

I sometimes wander the aisles of grocery stores in search of weird things to try.

I call it the "WTF Theory".

Like, I'll see a veggie or a fruit or food item and say "WTF are you?"

If I really don't know what it is, or what it tastes like or how to cook it, I'll buy it.

Case in point:  Romanesco Broccoli.

The fact that it said the word broccoli tipped me off but other than that....it looks like it should've been growing in an underwater environment. I envisioned clown fish swimming around it when I held it in my hands.

My friend, Tom joined me and Harry for lunch after the church service we played for and because Tom is a vegetarian (I'm a recovering vegetarian but still have leanings....) we thought we'd cook it up. He too, was impressed with it's beauty. Tom and Harry mentioned the Fibonacci Sequence, the Golden Ratio and Sacred Geometry was evident in it's construction. Truly, it is a thing of beauty!

 Fibonacci broccoli

The Golden Ratio, is evident in nature.........

I'm not going into the math here....but if you want to see it, just google it. You have fun with that. Instead, I'll just marvel in it's beauty.
So for this days' ponderance,  I thought I'd ponder math in nature and show you some of its beauty, spurred on by the awesome inspiration of Romanesco broccoli.

Fibonacci Cactus
Fibonacci Pinecone
Fibonacci Mollusk
 Fibonacci Sunflower

Fibonacci Rose

 Fibonacci Hen and Chicken (or Sedum, I can't tell...)
 Fibonacci Storm
 Fibonacci Human

Fibonacci in Space
 Fibonacci under the microscope (this is an angelfish ovary cell, evidently...)

I thought it was all so very interesting, beautiful, and cosmic....

All brought to me by wandering in the grocery store with a curious attitude about broccoli.

But more importantly, back to the broccoli....
Tom and I decided to cook it up with some olive oil, garlic, onions, soy sauce in my cast iron skillet.

It was delicious!
Try something new today.

And give thanks for a much bigger theory, marveling in the Universe, in the Gods, all out there so mysteriously connected......yet always seemed spurned on by asking WTF?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Time for some Self Love and priority to Focus on it!

Tomorrow is the day that I start my self imposed wild hair "DIY~ Bali Retreat Staycation."

A time for some insight, pampering and structure for me, along with rest, dance and armchair traveling through music, movies, books and tapes.

I'm glad you are along for the ride! I love adventure. The ideas that I have take me to many new and wonderful places, full of goodness, creativity and expression. This week I've prepped by buying some wonderful fruits, veggies, ingredients and new and wonderful curries to cook with!

But what I need to first implement is STRUCTURE for my schedule. You see, as a self employed minstrel,
I wear many hats, and have many jobs. My life is flexible due to the nature of my work. My life is written in dry erase markers. But for this week, I will be implementing some actual structure and routine in my daily schedule.

I've been looking online at retreats round the world and schedules are very important to be able to accomplish some personal time.

I also will be putting in elements of creativity and surprise into my day.
Into a jar, I will be putting in strips of paper with ideas for pampering (facial, manicure, pedicure, self massage, oil treatment, hair treatment, etc...)

And into another I will be putting ideas for creative expression (journal, drawing, vision board, music, dance, photography, etc)

I intend to surprise myself every day with something FUN and Good for me!

 I am setting a schedule for myself to be able to find the time I need to do what is important to me this week.

There will be time for Yoga, Mediation, Creative Expression, Walks, Swimming, Tanning and personal care, as well as naps and reading time.

I intend to have fresh made juices for breakfast, and will be cooking with more whole grains. A detox tea will be enjoyed in the morning, and Golden Milk (Turmeric Milk) will be savored in the evening. (Recipe follows at the end)

This is not about losing weight, but living more deliberately. Less media and a news fast will be an important part to me. Focusing on the good in people, blessing others with Love, offering forgiveness to the Spirit, and meditating on my own life and purpose. Being grateful. Enjoying music and harmony and giving thanks to the Universe for my body and how well it serves me.

 So this much I will do:

I start this week of my personal retreat, by leading a Church service in Syracuse for a big congregation tomorrow morning at the FUU (First Unitarian Universalist Society).  I am honored to be asked to build the service, lead the sermon and to also perform and offer my music for the congregation. It is a service for Peace, Remembrance and Forgiveness for "Forget Me Not Day", for "Veteran's Day" and for the month of November which is "Drumming Month". I think the timing is beautiful for a kick-off! I have asked for Special Friends of mine to also offer their gifts and talents of music as well for a healing program. I am very much looking forward to it!

This week, I will also treat myself to dinner out to some Thai food (as close to Balinese cooking as it gets around here, locally, I think). I've never been exposed to it much, so I am looking forward to learning new things and tasting new delights!

During the week, I intend on enjoying some new cooking recipes, some movies ("The King & I", "Eat, Pray, Love", "South Pacific" and "Anna and The King" to give me that "Bali feeling").

I will also try to go swimming and get some extra rays!! I will wear some lively colors, batiks or clothing that I have not worn in awhile. I will feel good in my skin!  I choose to feel good about myself. I love me. It's not vanity, vanity comes from the Ego. Ego is a liar. No, real self love, loves "warts and all" as it were.
(and no, I don't have warts, it's just a saying. But even if I did....I would love them :)

The end of my week, next Sunday, I will (after practicing Yoga daily all week) be attending a Yoga Workshop and Concert by Nirinjan Kaur and look forward to it as my grand finale for this week of personal growth, spirituality, and physical gratefulness! The timing on this workshop and concert is also perfect!

I hope that you have a wonderful week ahead!
I will try to blog daily, as my Gift to you and to give you my updates as a Gift to myself.

Namaste. :)

Golden Milk

Heat 2 cups of milk (I use Almond milk) with 1/2 - 1 tsp turmeric powder, a pinch each of fresh grated ginger, sugar or honey to taste, and 1 cinnamon stick. You can also add cardamom if you like. Cook until the milk comes to a full boil. Drink while it's hot.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

DIY~ Bali Retreat Staycation....Prepping for takeoff

Let me preface this by saying that overall, I take pretty good care of myself and my Mate.
But I hate taking vitamins.

I also am a big one for Self Help books, tapes and videos. I love learning new things. I read and cook and do...all the time.

But in advance preparation for my "DIY~ Bali Retreat Staycation" (done here at home) I've been ordering a lot of library books, DVDs, CDs and also gathering what I have here at home.

But first....
the vitamins. Dr. Andrew Weil, offers some amazingly honest and practical info on health and diet.
I like him. He looks like Santa and I trust him. He is also not rail thin, nor pumped with over the top muscles, but is a healthy fit man.
Dr. Weir says that everyday we should take:

~A multivitamin
~ C
~Fish Oil
I am also throwing in a supplement for my Adrenals.

And that's a LOT of pills when you look at them.

They also make me feel queasy when I take them...and fiddle farting around with them and all those containers makes me feel really peutrid.
So... what I did to alleviate this conundrum......I bought one of those compartmentalized pill/vitamin dispensers at the Dollar Store. Sat down last Sunday night for 5 minutes and made up a weeks worth of vitamins.
I take them with my breakfast meal....(or the dinner meal if I forget :)
So far so good....

I am also prepping my cupboards and larder for more "Whole Food" cooking once again.
Or "God's Food" as I call it....and less "Man's Food" (processed). 
I'm also taking this opportunity to learn about another culture, foreign to me. "Readiness to Learn" if you will. And I found out that the Balinese eat a diet heavy on grains, fruits and veggies. Meat is added TO something, not as a main dish. And I've been eating a diet much the same for the last year.
(ok, with some chips from time to time... :)

So, I took the time to shop, and cleaned out and organized my pantry....

Bought more real grains, beans, seeds to cook with. Will buy some tropical fruits next week, along with some more avocados and odd veggies. I haven't really ever had Thai food before...
but am willing to try new things. 
Like....I intend on trying this Peanut Sauce...and taking myself out for Thai or Balinese Food next week.
Who wants to go out to eat with me? Mike? Lynn? :)

 Also got a hell of a deal on Hummus at the grocery store....
buy 2 get 3 free! That will help with munchies and wraps...
Also, I'm planning on having some Detox Tea every morning...and Turmeric Milk in the evening.

Am fighting an earache, so am also going to cleanse with my Netti Pot daily, as well as Hot baths, Scrubs, Oils, Massage, Swimming and Tanning....

 So, for the rest of this week...

I'm finding my Yoga and Pilates DVDs, and CDs...
Also lining up some movies....
Like "The King & I" and "Anna and the King"...."Eat, Pray, Love"....
"South Pacific"....and setting aside some Yoga/Meditation/Chant sort of music for relaxation therapy.

And trying to get all the laundry and yard work done...
(I will still have to work, and practice Christmas music...and we are recording a Kids CD too...) in between times...

but am making the time for ME coming up and I'm excited!!

How are you doing out there??