Archive for March 2012

Our Perspective   Leave a comment

What we choose to emphasize will determine our perspective.

Howard Zinn

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Posted March 28, 2012 by mayakey in conscious living, musings, quotes, spiritual practices

Beautiful Blue Eggs From Red Cabbage   Leave a comment

Despite the snow/blizzards that some parts of the country experienced this past week/weekend obscuring the start of spring, this is the week of the vernal equinox. Every year it’s my chance to have fun dying Ostara eggs. Since my (Catholic) JustFaith prayer formation group met today, I brought my Ostara eggs to share with everyone. Yes, I’m a new age Catholic, and proud of it. I love celebrating Mother Earth and her cycles, life and death, light and dark.

Yellow, blue, and dark pinkish brown eggs

Yellow (turmeric), blue (red cabbage), and pinkish-brown (beet) Ostara eggs.

Anyway, back to the eggs. This year I did beets, red cabbage, and turmeric. Just like last year, the turmeric makes for beautiful bright yellow eggs. Believe it or not the beautiful blue eggs are dyed in red cabbage. The beets had the most disappointing results. I can’t remember if I’ve ever dyed eggs with beets before, but I guess the trick is to not rinse them off when you take them out of the dye bath (see the comparison of the rinsed and unrinsed pink eggs in the photos). They are both a brownish pink, but the rinsed ones are more brown with a light tracery of pink while the unrinsed ones are a little more obviously dark pink. Too late for me to get a picture I learned that while the eggSHELL didn’t turn so pink, the egg INSIDE is a beautiful light pink. Maybe that’s an even better lesson for girlie-girls: the pink egg is more beautiful on the inside. 🙂

Pinkish-brown eggs

Rinsed and Unrinsed beet-dyed eggs

Usually when I’ve dyed eggs in the past I threw the raw eggs and the dye material in the pot and boil it together, then let it sit to cool off. This year I boiled thedye material the night before, and then strained it into jars where I soaked the eggs for several hours. It works much better that way. This technique would theoretically also allow you to gently crack the hard boiled eggs before dying them so that some you get a dyed network on the egg inside. I’ve yet to do this on purpose, but there are always a couple eggs that crack while boiling and they end up with a beautiful under-shell dye job. Since I’m using food-based dyes instead of synthetic dyes I have no problems eating them.  Now, however, I have a couple jars of beet juice and cabbage juice that I just can’t bring myself to throw down the sink (or on the compost). I wish I had more eggs to dye.

Posted March 21, 2012 by mayakey in food, spiritual practices

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Open Invitation to a Future Child   Leave a comment

Dear future son or daughter,

With a loving and hopeful heart, I invite you to come join our family, blessing us with your presence.

I am deeply grateful for the many blessings that I have received throughout my life, and I would like to share them with you, pass them on to you, and help to bring you new ones. I cannot promise that we will be perfect parents, but by the grace of God we will be good parents as we love you, teach you, nurture you, and enjoy life with you.

With love,

Your future mother, Maya

Posted March 16, 2012 by mayakey in pre-pregnancy

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My Cheater Green Onions   Leave a comment

Starting my herb garden has been very slow going, mostly because much of it requires infrastructure: a dividing fence on the property line and removal of the current lawn. But we do have a good start on our alium planter, which is really a planter with rose bushes that will eventually have a carpet of onions and chives underneath (and maybe garlic). I planted chive transplants last year, and they survived to sprout again this spring. This year I’ve also planted chives from seed, so we’ll see how that goes. Hopefully eventually my alliums can crowd out the weeds. My focus has been on chives since I can’t get them readily from the farmer’s market and I feel horribly deprived without a constant source of chives. But we do have some green onions, too, although they are the result of “cheating”.

GreenOnionsSproutingFromBulbs

The main cluster of onion bulbs.

I think this was Mike’s idea, although I don’t really remember. Year before last, I think, he asked if you could grow a sprouting onion bulb to get more green onions. I didn’t think it would root, but we decided to try it to find out. I dug a couple of holes in the soil in a pot whose previous resident had passed on, and we planted the sprouting onion bulbs that had inspired the question. And what do you know? They rooted and kept growing. We were able to harvest green onions (the leaves) for quite a while. Then again this winter we had a week or two in which all of our onions started to sprout, and since we like having a ready supply of green onions we tossed them out into the allium planter. It was midweek, so I literally tossed them in the planter to really plant later. And now I know that onions only have to be contact with dirt to root. By the time I made it outside with my trowel, half the onions (that had landed with the roots down-ish) had rooted right there on the surface, so I just half buried the rest and let them be.

GreenOnionsSproutingFromBulb

Green onion sprouts from a single bulb.

They won’t grow another bulb (at least the first batch didn’t), but I’m not at this time growing them for the bulb. We’re primarily growing them for the greens, and I’ll consider it a major bonus if I can get a flower. But whatever we get I consider it a bonus since onion bulbs at the farmers market are pretty cheap, but now we’re saving money by not having to buy green onions (of which part of the bunch usually goes bad before we can finish it anyway. You can see from the picture of the single bulb that you end up getting multiple sprouts from each bulb.

I didn’t snap a picture of it, but I’m experimenting with cheater garlic, too. Again, it’s just a couple cloves of garlic that had started sprouting, so I decided to plant it and see if I can start growing my own garlic. We’ll pass on the green garlic since I predict the farmers market will soon be inundated with it, and see if we can get a bulb.

Posted March 12, 2012 by mayakey in gardening, photos, shopping

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Hair Donation, Apparently It’s Presumed   Leave a comment

“You got your hair cut!/Did you cut your hair? It looks great! Did you donate it?” That has been the almost universal greeting that I have received in the last two weeks since cutting my hair. My mother-in-law commented this weekend after hearing a few people great me like this (and having our priest call me out during his homily as an example of sacrificing for others) that from the reactions you’d think that the whole purpose of growing my hair and then cutting it short was to donate it. I know other people actually do that, although in this case it was just a side-benefit of my “hair plan” to grow it out as long as possible and then cut it super short.

It is absolutely heartening to hear that so many people know about hair donation, and I think it would suck to be the person who cut off several inches of hair but DIDN’T donate it and would have to repeatedly say so. I have to say that hair donation may be the most successful social marketing campaign ever, all the more impressive as the popularity began long before Facebook etc. made social marketing part of our conscious lives. It seems that everyone knows that when you cut long hair, you can donate it. I’m most familiar with Locks of Love, and that’s where I donated mine (and my husband’s hair, which had been sitting in the to-do pile since he cut it two days after our wedding). But I just did a quick web search and at least two other organizations came up in the results, both also creating wigs for kids/women who have lost hair due to medical problems.

Posted March 5, 2012 by mayakey in personal care

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Fasting In Solidarity   Leave a comment

It’s that time of year again, Lent, the time for 40 days of fasting. Fasting means many things, and of course includes eating less especially on Fridays. But not being someone who is keen on doing something just because “I’m supposed to”, “it’s tradition”, or because I’m told to, I’ve struggled some with the Friday fasting/abstinence. As a kid I really looked forward to being old enough to participate in these rituals. As a conscious adult my attempts at fasting usually fell flat, though, in large part because there’s no real impetus, no reason. Then I met my husband who absolutely disdains the practice of abstaining from meat as a holdover from medieval days when that practice was supposedly instituted on the peasants (but not necessarily the nobility or those who could give a contribution to the church). In any case, I had never encountered a good reason for the practice of abstaining from meat. I understand the spiritual tradition of fasting, and while in part I can buy in, when I’m hungry, shaky, and grumpy fasting doesn’t seem like such a good spiritual practice. Then several years ago when doing JustFaith, I first heard the proposition to fast in solidarity with the poor around the world. I immediately latched onto that, it made so much sense and really just felt like the right thing to do!

So back in 2007 I decided that fasting in solidarity with the poor would be a Lenten practice of mine. Yeah. It’s 2012 now and I still haven’t figured out exactly what that means. For the first few years I just interpreted it as small simple meals (no fancy ingredients and no/limited expensive animal products), with no high-calorie processed snacks in between. That’s fine, but it doesn’t involve doing anything different from normal, and for the last few years I’ve been restless. Normal for us is vegetarian stir fry, rice and beans, meatless dinner salads, basic pasta, potato/onion/egg, etc. Mostly simple meals. Last year I discovered that Catholic Relief Services includes recipes from various third world countries in their Operation Rice Bowl packet, and I thought that would be a better way to make this a specific practice. But I got lazy and didn’t go hunting for recipes. This year I went to the CRS website to get the recipes and discovered that several of them are dishes I can’t cook right now in season. Tomatoes and bell peppers may be in season in the global south right now, but not in the global north. And I don’t see how eating produce shipped from the other side of the world is solidarity with people who don’t have that luxury. I’ll stick with this theory of simple meals on Fridays in Lent, but just acknowledge that it still feels somewhat hollow of a commitment.

I’m back to the idea of fasting as reduced quantity of food, in solidarity with people around the world who cannot afford multiple filling meals each day. So far I’m 0-for-3 on eating fewer than three meals, but at least they are small not-filling meals. Unfortunately, that is also normal for me as I usually eat to no-longer-hungry as opposed to eating until full. And again, I have no self discipline and tend to give in and eat something when my stomach growls at me and my legs feel shaky. How Muslims get through Ramadan is beyond me! I’ve been trying to get down to 2 meals this year, and I’ll keep trying. Since this is a spiritual practice it is the thought, thoughts, prayers, and intentions that count, right?

Posted March 2, 2012 by mayakey in spiritual practices

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