Friday Five: Applesauce! And other fine fall treats!

Deb writes:

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This is the first of three batches of applesauce and applebutter created in my kitchen this month. And it’s the inspiration for this week’s Friday Five!

1. What’s your best homemade treat? Is it worth all the effort? (It doesn’t have to be something canned.)

I make a lot of great homemade treats and all are worth the effort. I’m trying to lay off baking & making ice cream at the moment because I have to be beach-ready in 41 days. Last year I did make my first batch of apple butter and served it over pork tenderloin, which was yummy. It’s hard to get into the fall vibe quite yet, though. It was 104 today.

2. At our house, applesauce and football are the harbingers of fall. What are they at your house?

Football and any temperature under 95. Seriously. It was 104 today.

3. Someone gave me an “automatic” apple peeler from one of those home cooking product shows. (It doesn’t work all that great.) What’s one kitchen contraption or tool you’d gladly trade me for it?

I’m a huge fan of all kinds of kitchen gadgets, but I think we may have gone overboard. Strawberry huller? Avocado slicer? Those are called KNIVES. I use all mine so not sure I can say with any great certainty that I’d give any of them up.

4. Whose the best chef in your home? Why?

Ummmm. Me. I’m the only one there.

5. Cider, apple juice, or hard cider? Discuss.

I like to drink hot Trader Joe’s Spiced Apple Cider when it cools down. But not right now. Did I mention? It was 104 today.

Friday Five: Surprising Finds!

janintx writes:

Only afterwards, do we realize that we have “found” something that we like–like a new way to look at something; a new (to me) author; a new song or hymn; a new food. Today share with us something that you like that seemed surprisingly “new” to you sometime in the near past. It could even be a RE-discovery.

Here is a list, but you can choose your own five items you would like to share! Please join us today in playing FF.

1. author

I’m late to the Jonathan Tropper bandwagon so in anticipation of the film (which actually released today), I’m reading This Is Where I Leave You. I’m really enjoying it.

2. shampoo

Alas, I have been a loyal Aveda customer for nearly 25 years. I am a slave to the Color Conserve collection and cannot be dissuaded, despite the best efforts of many a salon professional.

3. food

Oddly, it’s cotton candy. Last weekend I went to dinner at a swanky restaurant downtown and as my friend and I were pondering dessert, we were offered home-made cotton candy. A bit incredulous, we were told that it’s really delicious and a regular part of the meal service. Our server brought us a beautiful pink pouf of cotton candy and it was so whimsical and fun. We ate the whole thing. He told us that people have very polarized reactions to the cotton candy – they either love it or get angry and ask that it be taken away. Wierd.

4. activity

One of the new things that’s going around as a fun activity is painting studio classes. You pay around $30 for 2 hours and all the materials and instruction. You can also bring wine. The teacher guides the class through a painting class and you copy either a painting the instructor has done or a classic masterpiece. I went to a class and did a version of Starry Night. I found it really relaxing and engrossing. Something I’d definitely like to do again.

5. music

I’ve gone back and watched Pitch Perfect a few times. It’s even better than it was when I first watched it. I just finally got the soundtrack and have been rocking it non-stop.

Friday Five: Random

revkarla writes:

Hello Pals~~
Random Friday Five is back!

1. If you could sneak away anywhere this weekend, right now, all expenses paid, where would you go and what would you do?

Easy – San Francisco. I would jump at the chance to be back home in the beautiful Bay Area. Since expenses were paid, I’d probably do some spa time at the fabulous Burke-Williams, and eat at the best restaurants in the world. I’d also run up to Napa and do a little tasting.

2. What is for lunch today? (one of the very first FF I ever played asked this.)

I’m going with a salad because I sort of sinned at dinner last night. Totally worth it, though.

3. Along that first-FF-I-ever-played theme, what are you wearing today?

It’s a day off for me, so some yoga pants and then a bathing suit and then some going out fabulousness.

4. Along the Today Theme, what are you doing today?

Today I am FINALLY getting the hair did. Egads. It’s a disaster. Then I have a friend coming over and we’re going to spend significant time by the pool. Finally, I’m dressing up and getting sassy to go out to dinner with a friend. It’s going to be a good day.

5. Along the random theme, what is your favorite scent, and why?

I love lavender because it’s beautiful and relaxing. The scent I wear, however, is China Rain, an exclusive of Body Time in Berkeley. Love it.

Resistance is Futile

A couple of weeks ago, one of the instructors at my yoga studio was in a very serious car accident. She was able to walk away from the wreck almost completely unharmed, except for some soreness, because she had had a seizure and was unconscious at the time of the crash. Obviously, that’s not a good thing and she’s getting treatment for that, but because she was unconscious, her body put up no resistance to the impact, which helped prevent injury.

I began to think about this in terms of how we respond to various events or “collisions” that life brings us – new relationships, broken relationships, career opportunities, loss, good fortune, opportunities, smackdowns, celebrations. It’s easy to relax and go with the good things but we tend to tense up and try to brace ourselves against the impact of things we don’t necessarily want to happen.

The thing is, they do. They’re still going to happen. Life is still going to throw things at us that we don’t want. And we keep trying to brace ourselves against them, creating emotional, spiritual and psychological tension that ultimately causes injury. We are engaging in the same behaviors over and over but expecting a different result. What if we just let stuff happen? Because, as we’ve said, it’s going to anyway. What if we just allowed ourselves to be held by God through difficult times/feelings/situations and let them come to us and see what happens? Obviously, this would exclude anything that is abusive, dehumanizing, or any other criminal situations. I’m referring to everyday, garden variety life.

Living this way requires a tremendous amount of faith, openness and humility. Asian cultures take a number of lessons from the bamboo tree. The bamboo is not the biggest tree, but it’s one of the strongest. It bends with the changing winds, but is often the sole survivor after a major storm. It has a complex root system that allows for its tremendous flexibility. The fact that it can bend means that it is less likely to break. Additionally, the Japanese character for “smile” or “laugh” includes the symbol for the bamboo because the sound that the bamboo leaves make when the wind blows sounds like laughter. Difficulty both forms and reveals our character. As much as it sucks, avoiding it only prevents us from becoming who God intends us to be.

I am currently spending a lot of time examining the places where I’m holding on to resistance and I’m doing it with the help of a very good therapist. As much as I like to think of myself as someone who easily bends, I still have places where I want to hold onto things that feel safe to me. Doing yoga has been a big help for me mentally and physically because it both strengthens and increases flexibility and forces me to trust the support systems that are in place. I highly recommend.

“If you are not trained in a trust of mystery and some degree of tolerance for ambiguity, frankly you will not proceed very far on the spiritual journey. Immature religion creates a high degree of “cognitively rigid” people.” – Richard Rohr

We Are Unicorns

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been having some conversations with friends about where we fit into culture. We’ve started to call ourselves Unicorns, because we are beautiful, powerful and very rare 😉

We are single, employed, in our 30s/40s/50s and beyond, independent, well-traveled, intelligent, and, to the consternation of many, quite happy.

You see, this is the first time in history we have existed. We don’t need to get married for economic security or social standing. This isn’t to say we’re opposed to marriage at all. Rather, we think of it as something that would be great with the right person, but we’re not desperate to find that person. And God forbid we say we don’t want children. I recently read an article about a woman who had decided not to have children and it took 6 years to find a doctor to perform a sterilization operation because they were all sure she’d change her mind. No one ever says that to someone who wants children. We’re SUPPOSED to want to have children and if we don’t now, we will eventually. At this point, I’m too old and even if I weren’t it would require some significant medical gymnastics that I’m not interested in pursuing. I’m not opposed to parenting, but I have no interest in having children and pretty much no one believes me when I say that.

Our culture doesn’t quite know what to with us. Right now, our culture is content to make us pay more for our taxes, travel and dry cleaning. And please don’t get me started on paying for other people’s life events. We pay significant amounts of money for other peoples engagements/weddings/showers/babies, and we don’t get jack. Birthdays don’t count because everyone has a birthday. I swear the next time I get a promotion I’m throwing myself a shower and you people are buying me some damned gifts, because my life choices haven’t cost you a dime. My other thought is to start a kickstarter campaign to pay for my vacations. I would only do it if I could see the look on the faces of the people who get the invitation. That would be awesome.

Our churches DEFINITELY don’t know what to do with us. Churches like to put people in boxes so they can tailor their programs. There’s Singles, but really they mean pre-married or divorced. There’s children, youth, married adults, senior adults. That’s pretty much it. Except for doing age-appropriate things with children, I’m opposed to this kind of segmenting of our communities, anyway. People are people. My brother’s church is doing a whole sermon series on parenting. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I’m sure there’s some applicable things to most people, but that’s not appealing to someone who isn’t and may never be a parent.

We are a trail-blazing minority. And trail-blazing is a lonely business. We don’t have a built in social system of the other moms at school, wives of our other couple friends. Our closest friends are friends from long ago, and making new friends is not as easy as it once was.

I’m not asking for a whole revamping of how we do things, but I am asking for sensitivity and inclusion. When I’ve spoken to married friends about this they’re shocked at some of my struggles. None of my friends are mean or heartless, just a bit clueless because they live in a different reality. Pay attention to the unicorns in your life. We are rare and beautiful, but don’t forget powerful…