Monthly Archives: May 2009

Mud Puddles, Unicorns and Drug Busts

Just another fun-filled Earthfest at the Hatch Shell in Boston!  This was the first year I wasn’t the Early Bird, settling in at 10 am for prime real-estate.  This year the honor went to a couple good friends who did an excellent job locating us behind a unicorn balloon, which bobbed and weaved in the breeze like many revelers on the ground.

Unicorn

Of course, those dumb enough to get caught got caught:

Busted

Our blanket was the meeting ground for both old friends and new friends, and a few very exciting announcements!  And of course, healthy snacks to share.

Snacks

The happiest moment was seeing this little guy, plastic spoon in hand, enjoying a perfect day.

Mud, mud, I love mud!

Oh — and the music line-up was pretty great too: Shawn Mullins, Seven Mary Three, the Lemonheads and Soul Assylum.  Hello 1994!!  :)

This I Beleive Inspiration

I’m late to the This I Believe party … about 60 years late it seems, since the program has been on air since the 1950s.  Now it’s a regular podcast in my iTunes and I’m loving the little snippets of inspiration and thoughtfulness from famous and regular people alike.  No two segments are alike: last week I listened to Colin Powell share his belief in welcoming immigrants to the US, and the week before author Amy Tan shared her belief in ghosts.

This week’s podcast from the older, 1950s clips really struck me.  The gentleman is J. Frank Dobie, writer, folklorist and journalist from Texas.  In his essay for the radio program, Dobie declares that:

“For me, the beautiful resides in the physical, but it is spiritual. I have never heard a sermon as spiritual in either phrase or fact as, “Waters on a starry night are beautiful and free.” No hymn lifts my heart higher than the morning call of the bobwhite or the long fluting cry of sandhill cranes out of the sky at dusk. I have never smelled incense in a church as refining to the spirit as a spring breeze laden with aroma from a field of bluebonnets.”

His middle ground between dogmatic religion and naturalistic spirituality recall the courtroom scene in Inherit the Wind.  As the discussion after the podcast also points out, Dobie also reaches back to a time when one could believe in God AND evolution at the same time and not be troubled.  When did this schism happen?  When did God and evolution become mutually exclusive?

If, like me, you haven’t discovered this wonder yet, please check it out.  The podcasts are a great way to start, or listen to the audio on the website.  There are also thousands of essays on the website organized by topic.  It’s a great way to pass a rainy afternoon.  And while this particular one touches on a question of religion/spirituality I have long been intrigued with, they are not all this heavy-duty.  Promise. :)

Light on Yoga

Light on YogaAs a fairly new yoga student and newly minted yoga teacher, I’ve been picking up little clues around Yogaville that BKS Iyengar’s Light on Yoga is a must read for aspiring yogis.

So far, I’m on page 24 and already I feel that if Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are the equivalent to the Old Testament, then Light on Yoga is the New Testament.  Unfortunately, this simile which popped into my head while trying to write this post, is dredging up some of the same resistance I felt with reading the Sutras — I don’t like it when a third party is telling me how to be a good person and that unless I follow their rules exactly, I am a flawed/bad person.  (Clearly there are some issues to be worked out here, too ::wink::)

What I am enjoying is Iyengar’s arguemnt that both types of yoga, the physical and spiritual are needed to open the body, mind and spirit.  On page 22 he says:

“As a mountaineer needs ladders, ropes and crampons as well as physical fitness and discipline to climb the icy peaks of the Himalayas, so does the Yoga aspirant need to knowledge and discipline of the Hatha Yoga to reach the heights of Raja Yoga…”

This fits really well with what seems to be shaping up to be my life philisophy: everything in moderation.  Life is so much more interesting and dymanic when I am flexibile of mind and open in spirit.  The trick for me is also staying grounded in the midst of exploration – not an easy feat for this Pisces! :)

Any advice out there from the yoga community as I embark on what looks to be a very enlightening journey with Mr. Iyengar?  If you’ve read Light on Yoga what did you think?

Whole Foods not Whole Paycheck

In my neighborhood, we’re blessed with an abundance of grocery shopping

veggie haul

veggie haul

options: Whole Foods, Harvest Co-op, Shaws, Trader Joes, a handful of ethnic groceries (Portuguese, Korean, Indian, Brazilian) and in the warmer months, multiple farmers markers.

As a cost-conscious shopper, I devote a lot of time and effort to meal-planning, grocery list making, and food shopping.  I’ll openly admit that I LOVE it all: the planning, the shopping, the prep and the cooking.  In fact, food shopping is probably the only type of shopping I could do for any length of time without getting crabby.  The only thing I don’t like  is spending a lot of money on food.  As a healthy eater, I want the biggest nutritional bang for my buck and I don’t want to get price-gouged for being healthy.

Far and away my two favorite grocery stores are Whole Foods and Trader Joes.  The quality is excellent and the prices are right.  I feel like I can spend my money where it’s most important and not waste it on packaging or marketing. (Hat tip here to Michael Pollan’s section of The Omnivore’s Dilemma on the “supermarket pastoral” for enlightening me to this ploy.)

Because I believe and live the idea that you can shop nutrituously, organically, and healthfully at Whole Foods/Trader Joes for under $25.00 a week (for one person), it makes my heart sing when I find others online who have done the same.

Take His Better Half and her brilliant way of shopping Whole Foods  for a family of 6 (2 adults, 4 children) and how she navigates other foodstores for the best value.  I love Better Half’s argument that the shopper needs to decide what’s the most important thing for them to spend their money on.  Prioritizing your shopping list is a great idea way to help bring your weekly bill down.

The Kitchn also had a blog post not too long ago on how to save money at Whole Foods.  I think I forwarded this post to just about everyone I know.

While the blog posts themselves are great resources, I return again and again to the comments section on both posts.  It’s in the community response where I’ve found the most helpful tips.

With the cost of food on a constant rise, I’ve had to rework my own food budget and how I shop.  Gone are the days when I would purchase pre-packaged soups or pre-made entrees.  It is much, much cheaper (and healthier) to do it myself.

I’ve also rediscovered my freezer and am constantly looking for recipes and food that can be frozen.  Coupons are also getting second look because sometimes they are really helpful.  Most of the time I find they encourage overspending (buy two, get one free = not cost efficient!) but there are a few which have proven worthwhile.

The other thing we’re trying out this summer is a CSA. Starting in just a few weeks, I’ll be receiving a box a week of fresh, locally grown produce from Parker Farm.
Where do you like to shop?  Have you done anything to pare down your grocery list or change what you eat/the way you eat?  What have you found most helpful in saving money on your weekly food bill?

What I Read – April 2009

Hmmm … didn’t read much this month.  Went on another romance novel bender and sucked down Jillian Hunter books like they were going out of style.  I’ve got a couple non-romance reads started and I think I may actually be ready to read outside of the genre. :)

The Love Affair of an English Lord, Jillian Hunter

The Wedding Night of an English Rogue, Jillian Hunter

The Devilish Pleasures of a Duke, Jillian Hunter

The Sinful Nights of a Nobleman, Jillian Hunter

No stars this month.  These books were all good reads, but nothing too outstanding.  Though one could probably write a dissertation on the ridiculous titles of these novels.