Gorgeously Green Flexitarianism

Let me start this blog out and say that I am now "Officially Balanced".

I probably should've had you sit down for that statement, and I apologize.

What I mean to say is that for the first time in my life, all 52 years of it...
I have been out of whack.
Or whacked.
Or whackadoo.
Your choice.

I've done a lot of soul searching, some apologizing (to myself as well as to others) and some serious restructuring of me, my lifestyle and my choices and attitudes.

And I think I've FINALLY got it together!  (I should probably also knock on wood when I say that.)

This is what I've learned and I share it with you now, to help you, or to bond with you.

I've made amends in my head for how people ARE.
I've let go of lost hurts and chalked it up to a learning process.
I'm grateful for those that are in my life.
I'm grateful for those that are not.
I pray and I totally believe in the spirituality of a lot of belief systems.
I'm loving ME in all my forms.

Like my blood pressure and weight, for instance.
My blood pressure was high before (150/90) but is generally daily 105/ 70.
I weigh myself daily... and chart it...(it's a habit that I'm tracking like my Gramma James did about the daily weather.) The number itself on my weight is constant. I'm down about 15# from a year and a half ago and I'm maintaining this weight of 188-190#.  I'm not ashamed of that number. It's ME.
I look in the mirror and sometimes I see my chubs... and sometimes I think I'm pretty damn HOT.
Yes, I'm liking me quite a lot.

Harry and I have no medical insurance and so it is imperative for us to take care of ourselves.
Especially now that we are aging. We've partied hearty for many years. Ate crap and done our share of drugs. And that's ok too. I LIVED. And I lived to tell the tale.

And tell it, I do.
I've been through some wild shit.
I'm currently trying to finish up my memoir. It's been quite a process! I'd say it's the hardest project I've ever worked on besides raising two kids. It's almost done. I will be looking into getting it published this year! I'm very excited about it.

I'm also very excited that my eating habits have changed and I'm loving cooking and choosing things to eat.

My juicing adventure proved to me that a high alkaline diet makes me FEEL better and happier and I love the way food tastes and I'm much more careful about the spirituality of it all.

For one, I've given up buying meat. I haven't bought meat since before New Year's 2013.
I just don't want to be part of the system that is fraught with so many problems like animal cruelty and disease for the animals to health concerns and obesity for humans.

I do NOT want to be a "Cash Cow" for the health care system. 

If I want to eat eggs, cheese or yogurt, I'm buying it from a small local farm where I know they treat their animals with care, as humanely as possible and without antibiotics. I only buy where the animals have pasture, room to live and a hen has actually SEEN a rooster.

Because while I love eating meat and cooking with it, I do NOT want to participate in the agribusiness of it all. How'ere, I am not going to be a zealot and turn my nose up at a friends' house for dinner if they serve meat and have gone to the trouble and desire to make something wonderful in their eyes!
It would be rude and unkind and ungrateful to them and also to the animal that gave of itself to do so. 

I guess you could call me a "Flexitarian".  

I'm a Vegetarian most days, but I will eat meat on occasion if offered to me as a gift or at a party.
But don't buy or make it especially for me.
I'm really, really happy being a Vegetarian!
Without buying meat, I feel pretty wonderful about cooking with ingredients and learning new recipes too.

I'm currently loving this book that a friend gave me a couple of years ago called:
The Gorgeously Green Diet 


I'm truly loving this book. But the nice thing is that I've been doing a lot of the suggestions in it for years anyways! But I'm liking the tips, hints, links and recipes.

For instance, while we've been composting, Harry & I are going to look into getting a good unit for inside and outside to make our composting cleaner and more functional.

All this is not new to me. I was a Vegetarian for years when I was in my 20s. I also baked all our bread when my babies were little. (We are talking 8-10 loaves a week and by HAND mixing and kneading).

I'm considering getting a bread maker, now that there are such good eco ones out there.
Nothing like good fresh sprouted bread! But pricey to buy...

My fridge and cupboards are wonderfully stocked with good fun things to cook with!

As far as our not having any medical benefits goes, I truly feel that because I'm eating better, exercising and dealing with my stress, I should be pretty healthy and I AM.

I try to get a massage every couple of months, and when our season is busy I go to the Chiropractor quite often. 

I am enjoying my alone time and using it to read and write and pamper myself.
I get out with friends (with and without Harry) and I'm really quite happy with my life.

I think that the AMA is great for triage and keeping tabs on health. But I'd rather manage my own health with preventative and alternative care. If I go to the doctor I have to be really, really sick or unstoppable bleeding. I don't pay for insurance. As a self employed musician and part time employee at a college, health insurance is too pricey for us! So our doctor visits come straight out of pocket in full. 
I'd rather try to be as healthy as possible, take care of myself as best as I can and live as happy as I can make myself instead. 

It's working!

I cook with whole grains, heavy on veggies, drink some good red wine, drink more water than any other drink, am on no medications, occasionally smoke a little green (for fun and for stress management), walk my dog, play good music, have friends over quite regularly, I laugh a lot and I love truly.

My blood pressure is perfect. My health is outstanding (and I'm knocking on wood :)

As far as gigs go, I love to play music. Just adore it. Am I stressing when we have a slow spot in our year? No. As Harry has often told me, "Gigs are cyclic. Go with the flow." And so I am doing that too. 

Whatever comes to us, we are going with the flow. In the downtime, I'm practicing, learning new music, working on a new CD and writing my book, walking with a good friend on her twin treadmills for exercise while watching "Ugly Betty" on her big flat screen, and making some money. 

I've forgiven folks for who I thought they should be...and made amends with who they actually are. And I still appreciate them for that. 

Life is good.

And I think that this is why I'm feeling so balanced. My diet, for one, is as healthy as it's ever been. It's more like The Mediterrean Diet that they say is so perfect. Olive oil, veggies and whole grains and a little red wine and dark chocolate. An occasional good beer or shot of rum will not hurt me nor throw me under a bus.
I am not bombarded with chemicals and the reactions to them and so I am feeling quite calm and lovely.

How do I know that those chemicals affect me? I've been eating really healthy for 2 months straight. Juicing, vegetarian...feeling good. But last week, in a rush, I stopped at a McDonald's to buy a Fish Filet. Ok, I know it wasn't fish. More like fish lips and tails. But I thought, it's "fish-ish" and Harry and I haven't eaten and I was late to open mic. At least it's not a burger right? So I ate it. 
And guess what?
I have witnesses. Yah, I won't be eating that shit ever again. 

Harry has lost weight too and he's even backed off of coffee. We are only drinking one pot a day now :)
I allow myself one big mug of the hot steamy brew in the morning and then I am done for the day.

I'm may not be perfect...but... I'm pretty damn awesome. 

And so are you too. 

I hope that these, my silly words of wisdom, help you as well!

Enjoy YOU.


Toronto and The Falls~ Part 4

Up and out early on this final day of our wee get away.....
and we said a grateful goodbye to our friends and hosts for our mini vacation!
We've SO enjoyed our time here, with our friends (who are more like family) and this beautiful get away in this toddlin' town! We loaded up and were driving out of Toronto at 8:30am to head back. Harry needs to get started on gathering gear and working on a script for a play- of which rehearsals start tomorrow! 
No rest for the wicked...nor the self employed!

But mayhaps a quick side trip to Niagara Falls along the way?

Oh why not?
I really want to see the Niagara Whirlpool. Evidently, after the water comes crashing down over the falls on both the Canadian and American side…it careens down the river straight until it comes to a deliberate RIGHT turn. While there, it spins around and then shoots off to the right. I’d love to see it in the spring when it’s really running. Maybe in a couple of months. But now, we are here and I’ve never seen the falls in winter and really want to!

I just adore Niagara Falls. I’ve been to it with all the important people in my life. It is a magickal place indeed. There are Ley Lines all over it. I love it. I want to get some pictures of the whirlpool now and go for a bit of a winter walk.

 The landscape IS beautiful and it is COLD.
Bone cold.
 There is not a lot of snow, and I'm glad...
but there is a LOT of ice from the mist...
and the wind cuts like a knife.

 It's too cold to snow.
I want to go to the Falls now....
But first…
PLEASE stop and find me a rest room.
The coffee has hit and it isn’t funny.
Yah...Don't make me laugh.
Maybe it was the Falls' fault.
You know, the sound of all that running water.
Maybe it's because the rest room here at his part of the park is closed for winter and I am DENIED.
Maybe it was the fact that I drank that extra cup of coffee before I left.
Who knows? 
But Harry can’t find a place that is suitable for him to stop at.
I am past the point of caring.
I am considering baring arse in the frozen weeds in the woods.
We get back in the car and head back to civilization in hopes of finding a restaurant for lunch and for God's sake....a potty.

"There’s a Denny’s!" I cry out excitedly and point!!!
But no…he drives around trying to find the entrance and doesn’t take the one I so directly point out to him directly. (Read: "Damn you to Hell")

So we go over to Goat Island but all the rest rooms we find are closed for the season.

I am now, past the point of being kind, because now I am in serious physical distress and bonus, I have to shit now too.(which was probably the fault of the fruit for breakfast and the banana in the car. Yah, Kristin, you were right about those kiwis :) Me and my goddamn fruit.

After holding my water for too long of a time, my body has basically mutinied and said to me:
“Fuck you bitch…you want to stop up the works? Now I’ll give you something to cry about.”

So I say in my most non-directive manner: 
“GO BACK TO THE DENNY’S NOW’ which Merlyn utters in her best Linda Blair Satan Voice.
And so we do.
Thank GOD.
Just in time.

Angels sing as I flush.

I refuse to speak to Harry until after I am seated and have a cup of hot coffee in my hand.
I warm up to being only mildly frozen, while my pulsating liver, kidneys and colon resume a normal functioning shape and condition. After delivering to Harry the mandatory quiet riot act…
and thusly SINCERELY promising to him, that I will indeed return the favor of being indecisive and halting when he has kidney shut down and HE has to go next time. 

I am purged. In so many ways. :)

Ahh. Better. 
Lunch is now on the way and after eating and refueling we have plans to go back to Goat Island now that I can actually walk without pain or …fear of possible incident or spontaneous combustion. And as if the Gods were in sympathy for my earlier plight, a total stranger checking out of the hotel attached to the Denny's gave us a $10 coupon towards breakfast!
Sweet. :)

It was worth waiting for, but it is COLD. It was so fun!

This whole trip has been a Godsend and amazing!

Here is the view of the American side of the falls...
Not as striking as the Canadian side's view...
but a wondrous force of Mother Nature to be sure!

Can you say BITTER COLD?


 And yes, I love him. He drives me crazy sometimes...

But he is my snuggle bunny. 
And we go through everything together.


The ride home went without incident and we had a tremendous time these last four days on our very blessed winter vacation in Toronto, Niagara Falls and now back to reality and Central New York and home.

I hope you enjoyed the trip and my stories too?

Toronto Trip Part 3~ ROMiny Soup

Saturday morning found me waking up at 9:30am and I thought the house was still asleep. So tired were we from our pub crawl and trek the night before that we crashed and burned in a big way. So quiet was the room that we slept in, that when I got downstairs, I see that Kristin had already made pancakes and the kids were all up for several hours. It was a sweet loungy morning in our jammies.
Harry had a bad hair day in the morning :)

 More Merry Mischief music but this time for Kristin and Jeff, and we were also really happy to trade tunes and listen to the CD that Kristin is on in the Toronto Community Choir for Christmas. Her choral group did all European Christmas music and I dearly want a copy. I especially loved their version of “Lo, How a Rose ere Blooming.” It is one of my all time favorites.

And then, we were off again and the lot of us, 4 adults and 3 children went to the ROM. It is short for The Royal Ontario Museum and is jam packed FULL of history, culture, art and information from all over the world.  I think we were there about 5 hours!


 Kids getting into some meditation poses :)

I love this shot of Sarah...

it was candid of her trying to pose like the statues :)

 Some really amazing Buddhas, Kwan Yins and the like!

 A huge armor display!

 A respite...we are all getting tired!

 Harry enjoyed himself immensely

I love that Grant totally photo bombed this pic below :)
 Greek busts....
 Hey.... :)
 Reliefs, sculptures, paintings, jewelry..

SO much history and art!!
 Native American wing....
 SO much to see and do here!
 A candid Sarah shot...

This is "The King of Hell"....so it said on the sign.

I mean....I think you ought to know something really important like this.
The day ended and we left, tired but happy…and happy to be together.

Kristin and I dropped off the family at the house, and made an important side trip to the LCBO (which stands for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario…i.e. “the liquor store”).   
 I’ve never seen a place quite like it! It was like 3 floors with a parking garage underneath and an elevator to like…the “wine floor!” We tasted some whiskey. It was our DUTY and privilege to do so.

Then she and I went back home and created a fabulous dinner while drinking several glasses of a Merlot and chatting girl talk in the kitchen. She made a great stir fry with fresh veggies and lots of ginger and I made our new favorite “Buffalo Tofu Bites” while the guys watched the SU basketball upstairs and the kids played.
All the food was fabulous! The kids loved the tofu too!  It was really tasty…but then again, anytime you dip anything into EVOO and bread it and bake it to a delicious crispness…then into Red Hot and Blue Cheese, it doesn’t suck :)

The rest of the evening was spent snuggling in a couple of puppy piles on couches, Jeff lit a welcome and cozy fire in the fireplace, there was more wine, and we watched Pirates of the Caribbean “At World’s End” with the kids…which we enjoyed the view on a huge flat screen TV.

Perfection. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. EVER.

Winter in Toronto Part 2~ Meandering and Clubbing

Friday morning found us lazily having coffee and long fun discussions with Kristin in her beautiful home after the kids and Jeff busily left for work. They have rented a gorgeous large home and it is quite stunning! 
We soaked each other up and then after our 3rd cup of inspiration we decided to go “see Toronto on a driving tour”. 

 It was a grey and drizzly day, but no matter! Kristin bombed around streets, up this one and down that one, showing us the sights! Such gorgeous neighborhoods we floated through! What beautiful neighborhoods of Rose Dale filled with mansions!

We boogied around Toronto, lounging and enjoying our adventure

…and then a special treat to a coffee shop for something sweet . We stopped into a Bohemian sort of artsy coffee shop for a cookie. I couldn’t decide, so I got a buttery shortbread and a big thumbprint and Harry & I split them both. Then we ate Grant’s chocolate cookie because after one bite he was full. So sad when that happens :)

 When we got back to the house, we played music for them and the kids helped us with many songs while Kristin made a delicious dinner of salmon and salad for us all.
After the dishes were cleared, and we were stuffed, they got a babysitter for the evening and the four of us went out for a pub crawl! To prime the pump, a couple of us armed ourselves with “car-beers” and I’m not saying who :)

We were off to Queens Street for a few drinks and much needed comraderie! Saw some great shops and sights!

Check out that dress!!
And fur stole!

And the BLING and Tiaras on the wall!

We went to several bars, the first being this one, which was a piano bar. 

Saw a sign for Kareoke, 

but WHEW! NO WORRIES. Not tonight! :)

We drank several pints as we meandered our way through the dark, yet busy nighttime streets!

My drink of choice originally was a pint...but later I turned to my friend, Tequila (as it makes me pee less :) We wandered through the fashion district, past China Town and into the grittier parts of the city. We hoofed out way over 30 city blocks through the mild winter night window shopping, enjoying live music, and reveling in the company and also managed to work off our pints and fresh salmon dinner!  The night was magical and the pubs (especially this one) was just perfection!

It was “clubby but gritty” and I really  really wanted to play on this stage!

When we walked in and got a great seat up front in the corner, a good Bluegrass band played a lot of original music. Bonus!

The bass player looked like Jesus. Thank you God! :)

 Lots of  fun and great friends to share it with!

After we sleep in a bit...and our legs recover from the slippery long walk....

Tomorrow the ROM!