Nov 30 2012

“Create Blog Post” Haunted

Twas the last night of NaBloPoMo and all on the screen,
Fingers were typing. New copy was seen.
Been a long month, intellect daunted.
Every day, every hour, “Create Blog Post” haunted.

Day after day and night after night,
Thinking of topics, of Comments and slights.
Don’t push too far. No vinegar. Use honey!
If content is good, we could maybe make money.

Chewing on pencils, then biting nails,
Writing and writing, some epic fails.
Don’t want to miss a November day,
‘Want to stay in the game. ‘Stay in the play.

Hours click by in terror, the sand slowly falls.
Darkness consumes the workroom and halls.
The date will switch over, midnight is coming.
With morning, who will be in the running?

Finally it’s done. I click on “Submit.”
My brain is exhausted. I can no more sit.
I linger, savoring, the moment just spent.
Give Comments on BlogHer, making a dent.

I spring to my bed. E-blanket on two.
Snuggling in covers, sleep long overdue.
Tonight is the night, I’ll never be sad.
I get it. It’s mine! The NaBloPoMo Badge!

I get it. It’s MINE!

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Filed under: Opportunities — admin @ 6:27 pm Comments (0)
Nov 29 2012

Needing some time off without the time, money or energy to go?

Don’t feel left behind. Go on a virtual vacation. I’ve been going on them for years, since the 1980s. I find the whole experience very rewarding, refreshing and recreational. And, when I say recreational, I really mean re-create-tion-al.

Once I began to understand quantum string theory and the fact that we live in a virtual holagram,  I said, “Hey! What the heck.” Nothing really exists and we’re all just movies playing in somebody’s mind, so I might as well focus on the somewhere else I’d rather be. It became easy to fine tune the existence channel, heading out to parts of my brain, unknown. So easy. It was a Woo-Woo and a Win-Win!

A virtual vacation world is waiting for you.

I’m amazed at how many people don’t know about meditation tapes. I say tapes, because all this was big in the 1980s when the mediation tapes actually were tapes, but I really mean tracks. Recorded mediation tracks can consist of instrumentals without talking or music with an overlay of guided mediation. I enjoy both, depending on my mood and where I want my mind to go.

So, before I introduce you to some of my all time favorites, check out this great mediation site, where they are so hep on sharing mediation options, they have free downloads. It a virtual smorgasbord of alternate realities, only a click away. Also, on this meditation site they explain, better than I can, why easing the mind every day can lead to higher activity levels, better performance and improved quality of life.

Here’s a wordless thunder storm with its soothing rain.

I love the nature tracks which take one to waterfalls, tropical jungles with calling birds or by the ocean. Usually they are without voice overlays. Listening to a few of them, you will become an expert on whether they are just playing a loop of repetitive sounds or whether the whole cut is original from start to finish. The thunderstorm experience above, is a great track that plays non-repetitive sounds, so it sounds fresh and real.

Just Google meditation or guided meditation to gather a bevy of sources and styles, including Tara Brach, Fragrant Heart, Audio Dharma and a host of other choices. YouTube is also replete with a selection of videos. Once you arrive in the meditation area, there will be more than anyone could hope to listen to in a month.

Guided meditations help people sleep better.

What’s my favorite guided mediation album of all time? Sanctuary Island by Robert Gerzon. I love it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to it. This one does have to be purchased, but it can easily be downloaded and you’ll be comatose before you know it.

So, get listening, get traveling. Run those imaginations wild.


Filed under: Head,Mind Gym — admin @ 1:04 am Comments (1)
Nov 28 2012

I love new fangled kitchen gadgets, but wouldn’t trade my old fashioned, heavy duty egg beater.

Why? A zillion reasons. For one, my grandmother used one and every time I use mine, I’m reminded of cooking with her. Then, I like using hand power knowing that if the grid goes down, I can still make whipped cream. Finally, I enjoy putting my energy into my food, feeling a connection with the eggs as they get frothy and the raw cream as it whips up. It’s just plain satisfying to feel the power of the beaters create a tasty treat.

Whoa! Look at these rich, orange Amish free-range eggs.

So, are you one who beats their eggs with a fork? Gets out the French whisk? Or plugs in the electric blender stick? Forget about it! Get a new “old egg beater,” beat up those eggs, rinse it off in a jiffy, put it in the dish drainer and have it ready to fight another day.

The beater’s handle sends a message to the eggs below.

Soon, you’ll understand why, in addition to my own fondness for them, I began to take old fashioned egg beaters more seriously. Last year, visiting my Amish friends, one of the girls used one to whip up an angel food cake.

“Are you kidding me? An ANGEL FOOD CAKE!?!?,” you say. No, I’m not kidding you. I sat there and watched her do it. A chocolate angel food cake that was absolutely divine, whipped up with an egg beater, then baked in a wood stove oven. Talk about being self sufficient. Every time I visit, I learn something new.

An egg beater was used to make my Blackstrap Gingerbread.

Traveling to the stores we’re used to, it’s hard to find new “old egg beaters.” I bought mine at an Amish dry goods store in Pennsylvania. But, you don’t have to travel that far. With the Internet, Amish hand crafted supplies are available on line.

For instance, here’s a good egg beater model. Nice and heavy and, “WHAT!?!?” How much? $69.95 Am I crazy !?!?

No, I am not, for this Country Egg Beater is a prototype of ones made in the mid 1900’s, has stainless steel blades with die cast gears and greatly outlasts competitors. You’d have to try it to see how heavy it is. This is crafted like things used to be and is American made.

Fast, efficient and full of egg beater love.

So, if you value the journey of cooking, as well as consuming the destination cuisine, consider investing in an Amish egg beater, if you don’t already have an old model of your own. It’ll make all the difference and you’ll live to thank me as you crank this luxury item around the kitchen. Look to the past for the tools of the future, I say.

At SunbonnetSmart, we’re living the Old Ways in a New Way.

Filed under: Food,Processing — admin @ 3:53 am Comments (0)
Nov 27 2012

On June 29, 2012, our area of the east coast was hit with 65-75 mile an hour winds and much damage from fallen trees.

Power was out for days with half a million residents in Montgomery County, Maryland affected. We were only out three days and our freezers held so we had no loss of food and besides, we didn’t leave town. But, some of our neighbors did leave, rather than live in the dark. When they returned, they complained about having to throw away food, many hundreds of dollars worth. At the time, I didn’t know there was anything else to do.

If severe weather threatens, donate your perishable foods.

I didn’t realize, and never had thought about donating food that might spoil to foodbanks before leaving town. After reading an article in the newspaper, though, I realized that many of the food banks have powerful electrical generators and can easily store food otherwise left to spoil as one leaves for safer areas.

In June, 40,000 lbs of food were saved to feed the hungry.

An article, “Power Outage Leads to Spike in Food Donations,” in the Gaithersburg Gazette, explained that less fortunate families were able to gain from other’s losses. Thousands of pounds of additional food were donated as a result of the storm. Rather than leave their food to spoil, residents aware of the food banks’ capabilities for generator storage, donated food before they left town, before it defrosted and was lost.

What a great idea and proactive way to handle the crisis of frozen food otherwise being spoiled. The Manna Food Center, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting hunger in Montgomery County, was able to save 40,000 pounds of food during the June 29th storm and its after effects.

I was glad the article caught my eye and wanted to pass the idea along to my community conscious BlogHer friends. Don’t be left in the dark about how to donate to your local food bank if threatening weather occurs.

Find the “Manna” in your area and see what their generator capabilities allow.

Filed under: Food,Health — admin @ 2:49 pm Comments (0)
Nov 26 2012

Traditional foods provide traditional health, the robust health carrying our human species down through the millennia.

When one is aware of their body and the preventative health measures the body can perform when it’s in working order, food as medicine becomes a profound concept. Every bite must be nutrient dense, full of building blocks to create and maintain the immune system that fights our microscopic battles. Every bite must provide vitamins and minerals so that metabolic cycles are able to finish their work manufacturing muscle, nerve, bone, connective and circulatory tissues. And, let’s not forget brain function. Every nerve in the central and autonomic nervous systems must be nutrient fed to function properly.

So, following the food guidelines, even desserts can be nutrient dense. A great example is this gingerbread made with blackstrap molasses, a sweetener full of iron and other vitamins and minerals. This is the type of food served in Williamsburg, VA and in colonial America. This is the food served throughout the Civil War and up into the late 19th century when industrialization evolved from the improving of manufactured products into a movement to improve nature.

Rather than just mechanizing the labor required to grow agricultural products, chemists also tried to increase crop yield by implementing chemical growth products and pesticides. In the long run, these chemicals have lessened crop output.

In addition, monoculture, or the growing of one crop over immense acreage without a rotation of crops to replenish the soil, has had disastrous consequences. Far from improving food output, our quality of life is severely threatened due to these short sighted practices. Building up the land in an organic, sustainable manner is truly the only option for feeding the world.

Meet Joel Salatin, the leader in sustainable agriculture.

Blackstrap Gingerbread, all ingredients organic

2 1/2 cups sifted unbleached white flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1/3 cup olive oil

Grease 8x8x2″ baking pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves into a large bowl.  Beat eggs in a medium size bowl until frothy.

Stir in buttermilk, molasses and oil, mixing well.
Stir liquid ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing well.
Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in oven for 50 minutes or so, or until top springs back when pressed.
Cool in pan on wire rack.
Prick top with fork and pour on lemon sauce, stopping when pan is full, using rest for topping when serving.
Serve warm with Lemon Sauce.

Lemon Sauce

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small saucepan, mixing well.
Stir in boiling water and bring to boil again, stirring constantly.
Lower heat and simmer, stirring, until sauce is thickened and clear.
Stir in butter, lemon rind and juice.
Pour over warm Blackstrap Gingerbread.

And, this spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.  🙂

Filed under: Food,Recipes — admin @ 2:57 pm Comments (0)
Nov 25 2012

Aye! Blackstrap Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce, an original recipe by SunbonnetSmart to be shared tomorrow, if ye be good and read what’s below!

Fit for a pirate king, this gingerbread recipe scoffs at modern sweeteners and honey. It takes after the only common sweetener known up until the end of the 19th century, blackstrap molasses. Without refrigeration, foods were preserved with high sugar and salt contents, but refined sugar like we know it was expensive and only available to the very wealthy. Most colonial kitchens, and really, those up through the Civil War and after, would have used blackstrap molasses for sweetener.

Blackstrap Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce and
vanilla ice cream. All organic and nutritionally
dense food. Good to eat and good for you.

A good thing, too, because blackstrap molasses is nutrient dense, a good source of iron and many minerals and vitamins. While refined sugar provides calories and not many nutrients, older more traditional foods like molasses were the nutritional powerhouses that helped sail the seas of exploration and discovery. Traditional foodstuffs are sorely needed today, when people are waking up to realize processed modern diets of the last hundred years are responsible for many illnesses and chronic diseases. Traditional nutrient foods are espoused on the website which shares the following:

“Dr. Weston A. Price (1870-1948), a Cleveland dentist, has been called the “Isaac Newton of Nutrition.” In his search for the causes of dental decay and physical degeneration that he observed in his dental practice, he turned from test tubes and microscopes to unstudied evidence among human beings. Dr. Price sought the factors responsible for fine teeth among the people who had them–isolated non-industrialized people. The world became his laboratory. As he traveled, his findings led him to the belief that dental caries and deformed dental arches resulting in crowded, crooked teeth and unattractive appearance were merely a sign of physical degeneration, resulting from what he had suspected–nutritional deficiencies.”

Eating gingerbread and molasses cookies, and other recipes adapted for blackstrap molasses, can provide nutritive, guilt-free sweets. Can you imagine having your cake and benefiting from it as well? Yes, it’s true! When one eats nutrient dense foods, one eats less before feeling full and satisfied. Most obsessive, compulsive eating is a result of the body being malnourished and trying to get enough nutrients.

The United States is no longer number one in health and longevity in the world.Not by a long shot. Our processed eating and sedentary lifestyles have taken us down to number thirty-seven. It’s time to return to the only diets available to our ancestors. Old style, organic, traditional foods are the way to health, along with exercise, fresh air and sunlight.

Tomorrrow: The recipe for Blackstrap Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce

Filed under: Food,Health — admin @ 4:06 am Comments (0)
Nov 24 2012

Wow! Let the audio-visual Thanksgiving weekend continue. Can’t seem to stop.

Today as I was “penny hiking” around YouTube, I came upon some of theBritain’s Got Talent 2012 summary clips. I like these much better than watching the TV show, because you see the best of the entries. While the regular talent shows go on too long for me, with me feeling awkward for those contestants reaching above their performance level. The summary clips spotlight the accomplished entries who could become professional entertainers.

Best of all, I love the shows where Simon Cowell receives his come-uppins, the ones where he is quick to judge a person on their appearance. He doesn’t seem to understand, even at his stage of the game, that talent and physical presentation are not necessarily connected.

So, maybe, if you watch TV often, you’ve seen this and it’s old hat, but today, I was left spellbound by the spectacular shaming of Simon. See what you think:

 Charlotte and Jonathan in audition.

Charlotte and Jonathan in the Semi Finals

Charlotte and Jonathan in the Finals.

From Wikipedia:

“Jonathan Antoine (born 13 January 1995) and Charlotte Jaconelli (born 24 August 1995), known collectively as Jonathan and Charlotte, are an Englishclassical crossover duo from Essex. They finished as runners-up in the sixth series of Britain’s Got Talent in 2012, being beaten to the winning post on 12 May by dancing dog act Ashleigh and Pudsey.[1] At the time, they were aged 17 and 16 respectively. Despite not winning, the young duo were offered a £1million record deal by Simon Cowell on his record label Syco. They have since released their album Together which reached #5 in the UK Album Charts. The album was released in the USA and Canada on October 30, 2012.”

Boy! Watching this uplifting story and listening to Jonathan & Charlotte sing was just what I needed to witness today. Such a miracle of creation.

Neither Jonathan nor Charlotte were born before 1995.

Filed under: Head,Vision — admin @ 4:02 pm Comments (0)
Nov 23 2012

Being habitually behind the popular culture eight ball as I usually am, it was a while before I got into Breaking Bad. I didn’t like the violent noises coming from the other room. Included were shrieks and cries of anguish, and that was just from the family audience watching.

Eventually, one cannot help but be pulled in by the cast of Breaking Bad. It’s inevitable and one might as well sit down and give in. If it’s not the cast, it’s the story line. If it’s not the story line, then you’d have to be a rock not to love the musical score. What a package. What a show. I’m a fan.

So, here. Just in case you missed the last show of Season Four, here is a great video clip of Walter White and his sidekick Jesse Pinkman burning down the meth SuperLab. But, there is more to it than that. Listen to the musical score and how the action is coordinated to its tempo. Masterful.

Walt and Jesse destroy the SuperLab.

Set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Spanish influence in the Flamenco guitar is hypnotic. It captivated me and I had to find the origin of this musical piece. When I did, I was very surprised, as the musicians are teenage brothers.

Look who’s playing this Breaking Bad score!

What great young musicians. Their mother must be so proud.The Taalbi Brothers were fifteen and thirteen years old when they composed the theme. As the YouTube title says, they “shred” flamenco rock guitar. I haven’t been so thrilled since Antonio Banderas played in the beginning of the movie, “Desperados.”

How the Fourth Season finale was filmed.

So, if you haven’t done the Breaking Bad marathon, now’s the time. It takes a firm commitment and several days. Work starts back bright and early Monday morning.

Better get started.

Filed under: Beauty,The Arts — admin @ 9:53 pm Comments (0)
Nov 22 2012

There I was. Minding my own business. Clicking through BlogHer, enjoying myself while reading and writing Comments.

And it happened. I started taking one of Jane Collins’ surveys, nothing extensive, mind you. Just a few questions on what I’d be doing the day after Thanksgiving Day. I answered without a second thought. I might check out a few Black Friday sales, but mostly, hating crowds and traffic, I’d be sitting at home eating leftover turkey. I selected my answers and voted.

The bar graph came up and whoa! Most people were planning on watching series TV shows and being couch potatoes. Oh well. Tut. Tut. I thought. Couch potatoes! Cheeze. Can you imagine! Ha-Ha. Watching series TV.

But then, that got me thinking. I remembered that Portlandia clip on YouTube showing Carrie and Fred Watching Battle Star Galactica, for DAYS.

Just one more. We’ll just watch ONE more.

That got me started. I just HAD to find the clip to add to my Comment, in case BlogHers visiting Jane’s post hadn’t seen it. In the process, I started looking at Portlandia videos. Seen them all, but had to, just had to revisit and watch. That did it. Having laughed at the TV serial watching couch potato just before, now I was not only in the mood, but obsessed on finding a serial show to watch.

I like spiritual movies that make me think differently.

Now it is 10:30 at night, and I just finished watching the movie, The Secret,AFTER watching two Battle Star Galacticas, movie on Alexandria, the newTreasure Island with Eddie Izzard as Long John Silver and to round off the spiritual rough edges, 3 Magic Words. These are all streamable on NetFlix and I had a blast. So, I have to admit, I didn’t wait for the day after Thanksgiving to begin couch potato activity.

I started two days early. Woo-Woo! It’s fun being me.

Filed under: Beauty,The Arts — admin @ 10:29 pm Comments (0)
Nov 21 2012

Oh, it always sounds so simple: a month’s worth of posts in thirty days and thirty nights.

Following the adage of easier said than done, however, the less time I have to finish something, the harder it is to do, which is a problem.

What’s the problem? Well, when I finally get time to myself to sit down and enjoy my writing for BlogHer, it’s when I’m really tired and would rather be slipping in between the covers, than into a desk chair to work the keyboard. But, work it I must, If I want to display that little success square “I Did It! NaBloPoMo 2012” on my web site.

Every night, I have to give myself the pep talk. The “outta’ the locker room and on to the field” mental boost to keep me going, just one more night. I treat myself to some drama as I imagine I’m Gloria, played by Jane Fonda in that movie that came out when I was a senior in high school, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t they?”The film was about The Depression, the futility of life and how, sometimes it goes on past one’s level of endurance.

One of the famous movie scenes from 
“They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”
by Director Sydney Pollack.

How I enjoy feeling sorry for myself. Whining as I sit here, moping around, wishing I had started earlier. I torture myself by looking at the bed. It is so close. So warm. Electric blanket turned on and up to level two. I pour salt into the wound of reality as I know I could quit NaBloPoMo at any time, finally descending into an eternal eight hour sleep, but also sliding down into the land of the wannabes. Somehow, I hang on my partner and start dancing, shuffling my feet over the dance floor and fingers on the keys. Whine. Whine. Whine.

Then, when my blogging thoughts, whatever they are, are finally posted, I feel such relief. I switch from Gloria staring at the water, to a self made Jane Fonda on the red carpet, dressed in Dior. Oh, what agony and what reward I take myself through every night. And, tonight, unusual for someone who loves to talk, I couldn’t think of what to say. On top of being Gloria, staring at the water, I was afraid I’d never reach the red carpet for my preening session.

So, take five.

Imagine my delight when I was making Comments tonight, getting ready to agonize myself into an undirected NaBloPoMo post and fortuitously came upon the ad for the “BlogHer ’12 Voices of the Year” e-book. What!?!? It’s out?

Well, I thought, I can’t start agonizing, yet. I have to Amazon the e-book to Kindle!

And then, I had to start reading it, because Voices of the Year at BlogHer ’12 was a phenomenal experience, just as Dawn from AlphabetSalad says it was. Being a little jaded that I’ve “seen it all,” I had no way to know how impressed I would be by the Voices when I first attended BlogHer ’12. Each reading was profoundly memorable. I had underestimated the impact and was, at times, moved to tears and then, unstoppable laughter.

So all I can say is, the Voices ’12 e-book is out! It’s available and you’re going to want to download it to your electronic device, read it and call it your own. Run, do not walk your fingers to click on the hot link above, because your BlogHer sisters, and some brothers, have volumes to share. No, make that Voices to share and an e-book, not a volume.

And, BTW, I’m “on the red carpet,” with my post done for tonight.  🙂

Filed under: Beauty,Literature — admin @ 10:04 pm Comments (0)
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NaBloPoMo November 2012