Resistance just makes me hard

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Focus on Exercise: November (read all 10 entries…)
Focus on Exercise: Chest

I am still doing general exercises for overall fitness, but each month I am going to isolate and really work a different body part. This month will be the chest. Having a strong chest is very important, since is supports other parts of the body, and is necessary to increase strength in shoulders, arm, back and abs. Having a strong chest is also asthetically pleasing and makes shirts fit and look better (and chicks dig it, too ; ) )

It also gives me a chance to experiment with lots of different exercises, both weights and isometric, so it breaks up the routine of working out. I can do a standard workout, then go really heavy on the chest, and feel like I am making gains and not maintaining a status quo.

Focus on Exercise: November (read all 10 entries…)
Focus on Exercise: Build Endurance

I slacked off some after my 10K run, but I’ve been back in the gym (when I can!) regaining some stanima and endurance. Feels good to be able to run up the steps without being out of breath at the top.

Buy a house in the spring (summer)(now officially fall) of 2009 (read all 16 entries…)
No news...

is not necessarily good news. Our offer is under review of a bank “negotiator”. It could be a week, it could be a month, no one will tell us for sure. The only thing we are sure of is that we are hanging out here and being told to “just be patient”. Of course being patient is not my strong point, but fortunately I have my own personal Job here, reminding me that the house is worth the wait.

Make my life more important than my job (read all 25 entries…)
In Rememberance... Buttons 2003 - 2009

We had to make the painful and difficult decision to put our pet ferret Buttons to sleep tonight after a series of severe seizures left her crippled with no reasonable chance of recovery. We did all we could, rushed her to the all-night animal clinic, waited anxiously as the staff checked temperature, blood sugar level, responsiveness… After consulting with a vet very experienced in ferrets we decided the best and most responsible choice was to euthanize her and put an end to her continued suffering.

Buttons was a very good pet and a typical, curious, into-everything ferret of a very good temperment and behavior. For nearly seven years she was a constant source of fun, amusement, frivolity and joy. She will be sorely missed here, but we believe she is now bounding around the endless playground of Elysian Fields for ferrets. What we hope is to contain and remember the pleasure and joy she gave us while she was here.

Goodbye, Buttons. We love you.

Make more foods from scratch: Come up with a month's worth of vegan meals/recipes (read all 14 entries…)
Make a gourmet dinner for epiphany_7's birthday (3)

Chocolate Kahlua Birthday Cake

Okay, the sloppy icing and the birthday candles don’t exactly make it gourmet, but hey, we’re celebrating here!

Make more foods from scratch: Come up with a month's worth of vegan meals/recipes (read all 14 entries…)
Make a gourmet dinner for epiphany_7's birthday (2)

Second Course:
Applewood Smoked Sushi Grade Salmon atop Sauteed Asparagus Spears, Wild Mushroom Risotto with Red Onion Buerre Blanc and Parsley Coulis

Make more foods from scratch: Come up with a month's worth of vegan meals/recipes (read all 14 entries…)
Make a gourmet dinner for epiphany_7's birthday

First Course:
Seared Lumpmeat Crabcake on Odon Noodles with Cucumber Slaw, Avocado and Sweet Mango Vinaigrette

Go to Dragon*Con 2009 (read all 6 entries…)
Tickets Purchased!

Contemplating costume options…

Pray For Ru To Have A Better Living Situation, A Peaceful Home, And A Nice Neighborhood
Adding an icon

dedicated to Ru to my vision/meditation board. On the Ten of Cups we see a loving couple with their carefree children. The family home is in the background, surrounded by trees and water. A rainbow of cups is overhead blessing the scene. It is a symbol of what our lives could be at its best. The feelings represented here are an ideal that is within the reach of each of us.

First, there is joy. Joy goes beyond happiness, contentment, enjoyment. It is the feeling that comes when we know at the deepest level that we are one with all that is, and it is good. Unfortunately, this is not exactly a common feeling! Too often we are blinded by the trials of life and overwhelmed by their challenges. Joy exists, though, and is our birthright.

Peace is another aspect of the Ten of Cups – the serenity that comes when all elements are in harmony. There is inner peace and outer peace which are reflections of each other. If there is fighting around you, may it cease. If you are at war with yourself, may you find peace.

In readings, this card often signals a time of abundant blessings. It tells you that you can reach for the fulfillment you deserve, and it will come to you. You may find the key to happiness in your family.

When I am meditating I’ll look at this image and think positive thoughts for Ru and her family, envisioning blessings and abundance for them.

wish epiphany_7 an awesome birthday on August 1st!
Happy Birthday!!!

On your most special day know that I love, treasure, appreciate and adore you. You have made my life better in every way. I am more of a man, husband, lover and friend because of the love and patience you have shown me. I am stronger with your support, happier with your joy, more relaxed with your calmness, smarter with your discernment, and more deeply and passionately in love than at any other time in my life.

With this birthday and each one to come in the ensuing years, I hope to return to you some measure of the joy and solace you have brought to me. I honor your investment in me, and I want to continue to make you proud of me and our relationship. I want to spend every minute of the day for the rest of our lives thinking up ways to please you and make you happy. You are the most special person in the world to me. I can’t ask for a more trusted partner or loving and intimate friend.

I love you. Happy Birthday.

Make more foods from scratch: Come up with a month's worth of vegan meals/recipes (read all 14 entries…)
Make a hummus recipe for TreeHugging DirtWorshipper so she can mark that goal as done

Fresh Home Made Hummus

Prep Time: 10 minutes
1 16 oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), liquid and all
3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini(sesame paste) There is no substitute for this ingredient, but it can be ommitted for those who don’t like the taste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add liquid from chickpeas, blending and adjusting smoothness. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.

Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus.

Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well. Garnish with parsley (optional).

Serve immediately with fresh, warm or toasted pita bread, or cover and refrigerate.

Storing Hummus
Hummus can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and can be kept in the freezer for up to one month. Add a little olive oil if it appears to be too dry.

Now you can make:

Sundried Tomato Hummus (Add reconstituted sundried tomatoes with the ingredients in the food processor)

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Black Bean Hummus (Substitute 1/2 the garbanzo beans for canned black beans, add 1/2 tablespoon of cumin)

Butternut Squash Hummus (Substitute 1/2 the garbanzo beans for roasted, mashed butternut squash – a great autumn treat!)

Mark and celebrate every full moon this year (read all 9 entries…)
Honey-Mead Moon

First they praised him, then they cursed him, then they killed him, then they deified him. July is named for Julius Caesar, a man whose passion and influence can be traced through history until today.

While Caesar was not a man given to great drink, he did know how to throw a party. Sometimes all you can do during the dog days of summer is get out of the heat and tie one on. This month is the Mead Moon, which occurs when the days are long and the Earth is in bloom… and the beehives are heavy with honey. The perfect time to make mead: the liquor of gods. Mead from honey is quite possibly the oldest fermented drink known to man. The Egyptians drank it, as did Summerians, Etruscans, Romans, Greeks, Vikings, and Franks.

Want to celebrate the Mead Moon right? Pick up a pack of mead (its more commercially available now), invite your friends over, howl at la luna… do what you feel. You don’t have to contemplate or repent of anything this month. You’ve been working hard, enjoy some time off!

Mark and celebrate every full moon this year (read all 9 entries…)
Rose Moon

June’s moon is definately a goddess moon, the big mamma of all goddesses: Juno. It is the called the Rose Moon because roses and honeysuckle begin blooming this month. It is also the month of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, and the spiritual start of summer, and the end of spring. Because strawberries also bloom in June, this month’s moon is sometimes called the Strawberry Moon.

June is also known for the large number of marriages that occur over the course of the month. Juno is the goddess of marriage and a married couple’s household, so some consider it good luck to be married in this month.

This is a good time for taking stock of the year. It’s the mid-way point, so review what you’ve accomplished and what’s left to do. Hopefully you’ll find reasons for a celebration and put those strawberries and roses to good use.

Mark and celebrate every full moon this year (read all 9 entries…)
The Flower Moon

Once April’s rains and winds have subsided, the sun begins to warm up the earth and we’re able to get the gardens planted. Typically, May is the month we begin to sow our crops. Get out in the garden under a Flower Moon and put your hands into the soil. Spring is a time of fertility, and May is a fiery month indeed… full of lust and passion! It’s sometimes called the month of the Hare Moon, and we all know what hares are busy doing in the spring.

This is a good time to work on careers and jobs. Thinking about switching to a new position, or perhaps trying a new field altogether? Want to take a class or get your degree? Take the seeds you’ve planted last month, and allow them to bloom and grow in your favor. Do some fire divination this month to help guide you on your way. Under this moon, it is a particularly good time for renewal and rejuvenation, for vitality and for blossoming. It’s a time for love and relationships and for taking action.

What will begin to sprout and grow in your life this month? What do you want to bloom with this Full Flower Moon?

Mark and celebrate every full moon this year (read all 9 entries…)
The Seed Moon

In April, the thunderstorms of March are beginning to subside, and the wind picks up. Seeds are being blown about on the breezes, spreading life all around from one place to the next. Trees have buds on them, spring daffodils and tulips abound, and the birds are nesting once more. This is a time of conception and fertility and new growth, both physically and spiritually.

This is a good time to work on magic related to new beginnings. Since it is my birth-month, I look to turning corners and new horizons. It’s the time to stop planning, and start doing. Take all those ideas you’ve had brewing for the past couple of months, till the soil and plant the seed, and make them come to fruition.

Focus on a NOW project: Hike to the top of Blood Mountain (read all 4 entries…)
Also to offer a rememberance...

to Meredith Emerson, a beautiful, wonderful and much loved young woman who was kidnapped and murdered last year during a New Year’s Day hike on Blood Mountain. Although her killer was caught and jailed, nothing can ease the pain her family and friends have had to endure because of this tragic loss. I thought about Meredith during my hike, wondering what plans she had made for the coming year, how filled wih hope and ambition and youth she must have been. I am not painting a portrait of pity, here. She was vibrant and full of life and all indications (including the confession of the “man” who murdered her) are that she fought vigoursly for life with both her body and brains.

I think we all take the gift of our lives for granted too often. We sit in traffic or watch hours of TV or argue with the people we love, forgetting that our very existances could be taken away from us through no fault of our own.

I want to be grateful for every day that I have. I want people like Gary Michael Hilton to perish before they can do harm. I want people to remember what a wonderful person Meredith Emerson was.

Focus on a NOW project: Hike to the top of Blood Mountain (read all 4 entries…)
Return to Blood Mountain

Blood Mountain is the highest mountain in Georgia’s portion of the Appalacian Trail. A friend and I hiked it on a whim as darkness was falling, and the mountain thoroughly defeated us. For two years I have desired to return to Blood Mountain and make it to the top.

Today I did.

It is a relatively easy climb and there were many other hikers also enjoying the day and the outdoors. There is a beautiful view from the top of the surrounding forest. It was a three hour trek up and back, which explains how we got caught in the dark and rain last time.

Hiking alone also gave me time to reflect and contemplate how things are going. I didn’t make any new decisions or resolves, I just reinforced my convictions that I am on the right path (generally), that I want to do the right things (mostly), and that I can do anything I really want to do (probably).

NOW (No Opportunity Wasted) is a concept of filling your life with the things you want to do. Every day we have to go to work, take kids to school, pay taxes and bills, do laundry… But what would we do if the opportunity presented itself to drop everything and do the thing we most wanted to do? Would we jump out of an airplane, ski the Alps, dive with sharks, visit our grandchildren, race a car at 200 mph? The truth is life presents us with opportunities every day. I decided to make a list of things I really wanted that I thought would make my life more interesting to me. Each item on the list addresses a certain desire or motivation, be it “get lost”, or “shed your inhibitions”, or “aim for the heart”. And no item is cast in stone. If one day I feel like adding on or taking away, that is perfectly okay because the purpose of the list is to keep me open to the opportunities and to not waste them when they come.

Today was a Sunday, and I had the opportunity to do laundry, mow grass, watch Tivo, play on the computer or eat a bag of chips. I took the opportunity to hike to the top of Blood Mountain.

Make more foods from scratch: Come up with a month's worth of vegan meals/recipes (read all 14 entries…)
Make 4 Salad Dressing Recipes for July

Salad dressings are a great way to get us to eat our greens. Most dressings in the supermarket have way too many preservatives and added ingredients and the omnipresent high fructose corn syrup. These are simple dressing to make at home, using minimal processed foods and containing numerous healthy ingredients. They can go on salads or be used to marinate meats and vegetables for grilling and cooking, mixed with cold pastas or cold diced cooked potatoes, or dipping sauces for appetizers. Try Raspberry Vinaigrette over cold chopped watermelon.

Anyone lacking a food processor can still make these dressings, it will just require more time and elbow grease with a bowl and whisk.

Garden Herb Vinaigrette(Flaxseed oil is high in Omega 3 fatty acids, believed to be beneficial in lowering cholesterol and fighting breast cancer. Agave syrup is a natural low glycemic sweetener suitable for people on diabetic diets.)

¾ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 ½ cups salad oil
½ cup flax seed oil
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1 ounce lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cups mixed fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil, oregano, dill, marjoram), stemmed and chopped

Combine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, whole grain mustard, agave syrup, lemon juice, garlic, onion flakes, red pepper flakes and 1/3 of the mixed herbs in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until pureed. Turn food processor on and in a slow and steady stream begin to add salad oil, taking time to allow an emulsion to form. Add flax seed oil and another 1/3 of the mixed herbs puree. Add remaining herbs and pulse to combine. Adjust flavor with salt and pepper. Store in refrigerator in sealed bottle for up to 1 month.

Sundried Tomato and Rosemary Vinaigrette(Sun dried tomatoes are a natural source of vitamin C and Lycopene. Cold pressed virgin olive oil provides monounsaturated fats and antioxidents)

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 ½ cups salad oil
½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons raw sugar
2 cups sun dried tomatoes, reconstituted in red wine (or apple cider vinegar)
½ cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
3 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Combine apple cider, raw sugar, sundried tomatoes (and reconstitution liquid), rosemary, red onion, and garlic in food processor bowl. Puree until smooth. With food processor running, add olive oil and salad oil in a slow, steady stream, allowing an emulsion to form. Adjust flavor with salt and pepper. Store in refrigerator in sealed bottle for up to 1 month.

Asian Sesame Dressing(Honey is a natural sweetener full of vitamins and minerals, and can help with allergies. Ginger is an ayurvedic diet staple used to aid in digestion and lower cholesterol)

1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 ½ cups salad oil
½ cup sesame oil
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup honey
3 tablespoons fresh ground peanut butter
3 tablespoons green onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of fresh ginger, finely grated
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, ground
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of Schirrachi Sauce
2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds

Combine rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, coriander, black pepper and Schirrachi sauce in the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth, making sure the peanut butter is well incorporated. With food processor running slowly add sesame oil and salad oil in a slow, steady stream, allowing an emulsion to form. Add green onions, sesame seeds and cilantro. Mix until well blended. Adjust flavor with soy sauce (no extra salt needed). Store in refrigerator in sealed bottle for up to 1 month.

Raspberry Vinaigrette(Raspberries are loaded with powerful phytonutrients and antioxidants that can support your immune system and help your body to ward off disease. Coconut oil contains lauric acid which fights heart disease)

¾ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 ½ cup salad oil
½ cup coconut oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
3 teaspoons almonds finely ground
2 cups red or golden raspberries, fresh or frozen

In a small pot combine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, honey and raspberries. Place over medium heat and cook until berries break down and mixture is very juicy. Use a fine mesh strainer and strain mixture. Discard (or compost) seeds and berry pulp. Allow mixture to cool completely before adding oil. Using a pot or microwave, melt coconut oil and mix with salad oil. In the bowl of a food processor pour in raspberry mixture. With processor running add oil mixture in a slow and steady stream, allowing an emulsion to form. Add mint and ground almonds. Store in refrigerator in a sealed container for 2 – 3 weeks. (Note: Coconut oil is nearly solid at room temperature. You may notice some separation occurring when refrigerated. If so, shake or puree to re distribute.)

Fast one day a month to acknowledge others who are in need (read all 11 entries…)
Fast # 7 - Mother Earth and Earth Mothers

I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday, and since it required blood-work they didn’t want me to eat anything before the appointment. After I left their office I realized I was halfway through a fast already, and was going back to work and would likely be too busy for a proper meal anyway. So why not take advantage of the situation and perform yet another fast? The two-day fast earlier in the week actually felt pretty good, and I wasn’t suffering dire hunger pains anyway.

A good friend of mine is leaving Atlanta to work in an alternative cancer treatment center in Arizona. She is a wonderful woman who has helped turn my concepts around regarding food, nutrition, health, and our connection to the earth. Another friend, whom I work with, is leaving our company to start her own catering company that will focus on organic foods, local produce, and renewable resources. Both women are “Earth Mothers” in different ways. Both are strong, spiritual, grounded people who’s connection with the earth and the environment radiates out and has an effect on people around them.

I am dedicating this fast to our Mother Earth, and all our “Earth Mothers”. Their examples of living a natural, discerning, and holistic life continually inspire me to reinvest my efforts to live more economically, socially, spiritually, and environmentally responsibly every day. These women are not usually recognized in our media culture because they are not models or TV celebrities sporting the newest haute clothing or scandal de jour. They are not the spoiled, self-absorbed princess who tut-tut about social ills they have never experienced and will not do anything about. (There are, or course, exceptions. No one can denySalma Hayek’sEarth Mother status) The women I am honoring give of themselves, their time, their heart, their hands. They don’t ask what the world can give them, they look to give first. And they are at work all over the world, influencing the lives of children, husbands, leaders, other women and social structures.

And I want to focus on Mother Earth, the precious blue planet we are abusing beyond it ability to support us… or other life as well. The farther science looks out into the universe the more we learn how unique and irreplaceable this oasis among the stars is. Let’s not kid ourselves: When we poison the dirt and the water and the air to the point where we can’t survive, that’s it! There is nowhere else for us to migrate to. The planet will recover, in time. But we will have been evicted as poor renters who didn’t care about what we had, and trashed the place thinking we could just move on and things would right themselves. I believe this kind of thinking is unique in human civilization. Almost every society developed some kind of balance with the environment, respecting and even deifying things like lakes and forests and streams. Gods once populated the sky we now have filled with aircraft and satellites and talk radio waves. Sprites and pixies and gnomes lived in the forests we paved over with concrete. Our disposable societies have generated mountains of garbage and waste, some that won’t decay for thousands of years.

I may not be a tree-hugging, dirt-worshiping, hemp-wearing hippie (yet!). But I want to do more to aid and benefit our beleagured planet. I want to get back into balance with seasons and tides. I want to grow and harvest and recycle and reuse instead of buy and unwrap and throw away. And I want to help broaden the vision of the community I live in, to be more enviromentally sensitive, and to support and praise the Earth Mothers in our midsts.

Gain 43 cheers in support of the house I want to buy (read all 3 entries…)
Thanks to Maromera...

for the 43rd cheer that completed this goal! Although we don’t have an answer yet, I am sure that all the positive energy I’ve gotten from the great people here will ensure we get the house we want. Thank you all!

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