Monday, June 24, 2013

more on love and longing...

My friend of the unattainable man got over him, finally, but now she is pining for a young man who is less than half her age who doesn't even live here and only visits occasionally.  My cynical self would tell her that men really do care what a woman looks like (in terms of feeling attracted or not), so that she might improve her chances if she lost a little weight, put some color in her hair to hide the grey, and tried using makeup to better disguise her impending arrival at the status of senior citizenship.  She did get a smart new haircut and he noticed it and complimented her, but then said his mother cuts her hair like that, possibly indicating that he equates her on some level with his mother - not a good sign! 
 
Psychologists would probably say that she pines for unattainable men because she doesn't really want to have a relationship, but I think this explanation is simplistic and, among other things, ignores the basic human need and drive for meaningful connections with others.  Moreover, no one really knows for sure what explains our attractions to other people.  Our own personal psychology, hormones, upbringing, and cultural influences all play some part, but I think the explanation must also include experiences before and beyond this lifetime.  If we have all been here before, we have probably had close relationships (romantic, family, friendship) with thousands of individuals over the course of our many lifetimes on earth.  Also, who knows what relationships are like in the realms beyond what we know here.  These aspects could explain why sometimes, when meeting someone new, you feel like you have an instant connection with them - they totally get you and you totally get them.
 
My friend asks why it is so hard to express attraction to persons of the opposite sex, and I have no answer.  Intellectually I reason that a wish to know someone of the opposite sex does not mean that some passionate affair must necessarily follow.  The two parties ought to be able to be friends - to be able to acknowledge that there is something there beyond average acquaintanceship - without feeling so uncomfortable.  It seems, however, that any gesture of friendship when there is also attraction entails the risks of (1) being misunderstood (actually, understood - revelation of the wish for deeper connection) , (2) being rejected, and (3) feeling humiliated. 
 
Longing is truly painful - I know it, I have been there - but the feeling of humiliation that results from being rejected is even more painful and lasts far longer than longing.  Part of me wants to tell her to be careful and not risk rejection, especially since the odds are not in her favor in this case - he is so young, she is so much older, and there is no guarantee that she will be able to continue seeing him.  Longing does subside with time, and it is even possible to distract oneself from longing by focusing on other things.  Conversely, the humiliation resulting from rejection can be difficult to ever exorcise. 
 
Having said this, though, there was a time when I chose to play it safe and I do regret that choice.  The man died and he never knew how I felt and I never got to know him.  Maybe he would not have rejected me, maybe we could have been good friends, and maybe we could have learned something from one another before he passed on.  I will never know and I still wonder what might have been.  From this perspective, I feel inclined to advise my friend to take a chance.
 
Beyond all of the above, I think there is potentially strong healing power in the feeling of being in love.  I wonder if another approach might be to simply accept the overwhelming feelings of unconditional positive regard for the other person, immerse oneself in the feelings without hoping or wishing for reciprocation, and then in full awareness of the feelings, beam them outwards to include everyone in one's life and humanity in general.  I have no experience with this approach, but it is what I would try if I were in the state of longing again.
 
 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Eleven years on...

Whatever story you accept about 9/11, what happened involved a conspiracy. The official conspiracy theory is that a small band of Middle-Eastern men with only minimal flight training successfully hijacked four jet airplanes relatively simulateously and managed to fly three of them into buildings without being brought down by military defense airplanes, and that the WTC I, WTC II, and WTC 7 structures somehow failed because of fire.

Since 9/11, a lot of research has been done and discussions have occurred among scientists, engineers, airline pilots, and firefighters actually at the scene who all question the official conspiracy theory and who would like to see a new investigation. After looking at this body of scientific evidence and opinion, it is no longer possible for me to find any truth in the official conspiracy theory. Below are some links for anyone who might want to explore other explanations.

This issue is important to me because the official conspiracy theory was used shamelessly to, among other things, justify two wars, to rationalize torture and limitless detention, to demonize the followers of one of the world's major religions, and to enact legislation (the Patriot Act, FISA) that has severely restricted the freedom and privacy of US citizens. More importantly, though, to allow the official conspiracy theory to stand when there is so much plausible evidence pointing to other possible explanations dishonors the victims of this atrocity - not only those who died on that day and their families and loved ones, but also all the victims of choices made by our government afterwards, not the least of which are the estimated 1.5 million Iraqi civilian casualties of the illegal war in Iraq, and the more recent civilian casualties of drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The true perpetrators of the crime of 9/11 must somehow be found and brought to justice. I hope that this will happen in my lifetime.

Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth
Pilots for 9/11 Truth
Firefighters for 9/11 Truth
Journal of 9/11 Studies - Page for Beginners

Monday, August 6, 2012

Rethinking how things work here...

Recently, I was introduced to the work of Robert A. Monroe and his home-study program called Gateway Experience, "dedicated to developing, exploring and applying expanded states of awareness". The Gateway Experience utilizes special patented sounds proven to synchronize the hemispheres of the brain. I began this set of 18 CDs in early July, and will start the last CD tomorrow morning. So far, I have not experienced anything out of the ordinary as a result of doing the Gateway Experience, but I do find each session deeply relaxing and I think it is helping me to manage my stress better, so I will probably go through most of the tracks again and again in the months ahead, and maybe one day I will be surprised.

I had never heard of Robert Monroe before about two months ago, although the term he is very famous for, "out-of-body experience" (a.k.a. "OBE"), has been in my vocabulary for at least forty years. If you are interested, it is best if you read about his life here in his website, as I could only imperfectly rehash what has already been written there, and there are other things I want to tell you about now. There are many interesting things in the website, including some free downloads that would give you a taste of what the Gateway Experience is like.

After doing the first few tracks of the Gateway Experience, I felt I also wanted to read the three books that Robert Monroe had written during his lifetime about his OBEs, so I ordered them online, received his second book, Far Journeys, a few days later, and started to read it right away. The first chapter seemed pretty normal, but after that, I felt like I was reading science fiction! It was truly one of the strangest books I have read in a really long time, but I enjoyed it very much, and was very happy when his third book, Ultimate Journey, arrived a few days before I finished Far Journeys so that I didn't have to wait to find out what was going to happen next. His first book, Journeys Out Of The Body, arrived late last week, so I have only just started it, and it seems quite tame in comparison to the other two books, but I am sure it will probably fill in some gaps in my understanding so far. I think it is really useful to read these books as part of going through the Gateway Experience, but you could also read the books alone, without doing the Gateway Experience.

Far Journeys and Ultimate Journey have caused me to rethink entirely my philosphy of how things work here. I still think most things here are random, but I have abandoned the idea of "karma", and now believe it is possible to have just one life here, if that is all one really wants to have.

If you like science fiction, or if you think you might enjoy a really different reading experience that might possibly be mind-opening, read Robert Monroe's books.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The realization of randomness...

I have felt exasperated sometimes with people who might be categorized as "New Age" who think that the right belief system and good behaviour can save a person from the randomness of life on earth. These people believe that the good and bad experiences in their own and other people's lives can be explained by their positive or negative thinking and good or bad behaviour, whether in this life or in previous ones. They look at everything that happens to themselves and to others in this cause and effect way, without any regard for the fact of the randomness of life on earth.

I know a man who recently bought a car from a used car place. After about a week of driving it, a serious underlying problem with the car was revealed, and he was blaming himself for having bought a bad car. He seemed to think that if he had thought differently, or if he were more spiritually developed or a better person, he would not be in the situation of having a bad car. My reaction was "Maybe it has nothing to do with who you are as a person - maybe it's just a bad car", trying to open his mind to the randomness factor, but he didn’t seem to be able to consider it this way at all.  Of course, buying a used car from anyone entails a certain amount of risk and maybe he had been too trusting, which some might consider a character flaw. I could have argued that it might have been a good idea to have had the car thoroughly checked out by a mechanic before buying it - something practical like that. I didn't think of saying these things at the time, though, because his concern seemed to be deeper, as though it was some flaw in his essential nature beyond being simply too trusting or not careful enough that had resulted in him being in the situation of having a bad car.

I have tried to tell various New Age people that not everything that happens is orchestrated and fore-ordained, but they do not want to hear this and they even sometimes seem offended. When I start talking about randomness, most get quiet and take on a kind of superior attitude. One nice thing about New Age people is that they tend to be respectful and not very argumentative, so usually my statements about randomness are not challenged very forcefully, if at all, but I can tell they disagree and since continuing to talk about it tends to cause increasing discomfort, I usually back off and change the subject.

For me, the fact of randomness was a huge revelation that happened gradually over several years from observing or knowing about the severe pain being experienced by two close relatives. Fortunately for one of them, the periods of pain would come and go, with bouts of severe continual pain lasting anywhere from three weeks to four months and then subsiding for anywhere from several weeks to several months; in recent years, the periods of pain have become rather infrequent and of shorter duration, which has been a great relief. Unfortunately for the other person, the pain started five years before she passed on when she got shingles on her torso; for her, the pain never subsided, so that she lived out her remaining years in unimaginable agony. 


Some of the character traits of these two individuals include: kindness, optimism, helpfulness, loving actions, compassion, trust, and believing the best about others. These are two of the nicest individuals I have ever known, and I had not been able to explain their pain experiences inside of the belief system of reincarnation and karma, which in its simplest explanation is something like this: we live, we learn, we make mistakes, we die, we are born again, etc., and our future learning experiences are based upon some reckoning of the goodness and/or badness of our collective lifetimes, until we ultimately pay off all our debts and reach Nirvana/Heaven. I felt as though applying this understanding to these two dear relatives would be like blaming them for their pain and I could find no blame in them.  I refused to blame them, and I remember feeling angry when well-meaning friends would say things like, "Well, there must be some lesson that their soul needs to learn".

So I lived for some years with this conflict between my love for these people and this belief system that didn't really work in their cases, until I came to the realization of randomness. This realization allowed the ideas of karma and reincarnation to still exist, but in a new context, and it looks like this: Randomness is the only explanation of the random bad things that happen in the world: disaster, disease, accidents, death (not wars, or other intentional harm caused by humans). Of course there are things we can do to minimize risk such as eating well, getting enough sleep, observing safety precautions in dangerous activities, but random bad things happen here - it is the nature of life on Earth - and that is the karma of being here. The karma is coming back to this random place life after life to learn lessons. Maybe we have some choice about our initial circumstances, such as choosing to be born into a family where there is a reasonable likelihood that we will survive to adulthood and not be killed by war, famine, or disease - where we will have a chance of getting a reasonable education so that we can go on to contribute something to society - but randomness is always a factor. Nothing is really certain here.  As much as we try with our positive thoughts and good deeds, which probably do help to achieve certain things, or at least to feel better while we are trying and make life easier for ourselves and those around us, nothing is certain on this earth, and death is inevitable.  So the random bad things that happen to us and to our loved ones are not because of our own or anyone else's personal failure - they are not our fault - it's just what life is like here.

There may or may not be lessons for an individual who is suffering because of some random event, and as observers of their suffering, the only lessons that matter are the ones that exist for us  - whether or not we take advantage of the opportunity to exercise compassion and try to help them.  


If I would start a church, which is a fantasy I sometimes have, one of the central teachings would be the importance of the realization of randomness.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

French Fish Soup

Some years ago, I went with my family to Chamonix in France.  It was during the summer and we had a beautiful view of a lake and Mont Blanc from our apartment.  Each morning, we enjoyed warm croissants, both plain and chocolate, for breakfast.  We ate dinner out a few times at a nice restaurant we had found in the centre of Chamonix.  Their raclette was amazing, but I only had a taste of it because I was trying to cut back on bread at the time.  I ordered instead their fish soup and was really surprised at how good it was.  Recently, I found a fish soup recipe online and decided to try it with a few modifications.  I would say it is as good as what I had in Chamonix - rich and hearty.  Today I made it for the second time with a few further modifications and it is even better than my first attempt. 

Ingredients

450 grams fresh pangasius filet (frozen would probably work, too)
200 milliliters virgin olive oil
1/3 cup celery, minced
1/3 cup onion, minced
1/3 cup leek, minced
1/3 cup fennel, minced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 orange, juice of
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon red chili pepper
1 bay leaf
a few springs of thyme, chopped
small bunch of parsley, chopped
small bunch of celery leaves, chopped
small amount of safron (crush it, if it is in threads rather than powdered)
1 pinch cayenne
120 grams cooked prawns, unpeeled
1 litre water or fish stock
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste (optional)

Preparation:

1) Heat the oil in a large pan, add the minced leeks, fennel, celery, and onions, and crush the garlic on top of these vegetables. Saute gently until soft (4-5 minutes), stirring occasionally.

This is what the leeks, fennel, celery and onions should look like when chopped:



2)  Add the tomatoes, fish, and prawns, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the fish looks white (3-4 minutes).

















3)  Add the water or stock, red chili pepper, bay leaf, thyme, parsley, celery leaves, saffron, cayenne pepper, and orange juice, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer, covered, for about 60 minutes.

I used water and the juice of a blood orange.  The bowl contains the chopped celery leaves, parsley and thyme ready to go into the soup.  You can see the powdered spices and the bay leaf in the soup pot to the left of the chopped herbs before the soup was stirred.  The next photo is what it looks like before covering it, turning the heat down and simmering for one hour.
















4)  Remove the bay leaf.  Remove the prawns from the mixture to a small bowl and let them cool a little.  When cool enough to handle, peel them and discard the shells.  Return the peeled prawns to the soup.

I could not find any organic unshelled prawns.  The best I could find were these that had just their tails.  The shells are supposed to add a lot of flavor to the soup, so unshelled prawns are preferable.  The shells must be removed before blending.

 















5)  Purée the soup in a blender.  You will probably have to do this in at least two batches unless you have a very large blender, so you need to have a container ready to hold at least the first half of the puréed mixture.

The first photo shows the first one-half of the soup in the blender.  The second photo shows the first one-half of the soup blended and put into a container and the second one-half of the soup in the blender, ready to be blended.


6)  Return all of the puréed soup to the heat and heat it until hot enough to serve.  Season to taste with salt and pepper (I didn't use any black pepper - it seems fine with just the red chili pepper and cayenne).


7)  Serve with a tablespoon of creme fraiche in each soup bowl, or with a generous amount of grated Gruyère cheese.

8)  Cool and store in the fridge up to 3-4 days.

The soup looks more beautiful before it's puréed, but it is meant to be puréed.  In the recipe that I found online, the soup should also be strained after puréeing it, but I did not do that.  I like having some texture in it and straining it would take out a lot of the nourishment, to my way of thinking.

Friday, June 8, 2012

old friends found...

Recently, I reconnected with some old friends - people I knew from the mid-70's with whom I lived in a work-study programme.  We all got room and board and could attend free lectures for working at a hotel that housed people attending conferences across the street at a special institute.  We worked, meditated, and played together, some of us fell in and out of love with one another, some of us married.  We were young and idealistic, and reconnecting with those people and remembering our time together has reawakened in me a longing I'm having a hard time defining. 

Anyway, one of my newly-found fellow work-study mates recently posted in Facebook a song I had never heard before.  It has been running through my head for the last week and has become #68 in my list.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!  Pat Metheny - First Circle - Live in Japan.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

our divided house...

I think we need to try to move beyond the ideologies of our respective political parties and unite against the corporations that are buying our government. Our political affiliations and loyaties divide us and weaken us against the forces of corporate rule. We've got Monsanto engineering corn that ends up as popcorn in all the movie theaters, not to mention being fed to all the animals in our food chain, so we're all going to get sick from that so that we go to doctors who prescribe medications being created by big pharma and insurance companies whose standard operating procedure is to reject every claim the first time around hoping that the claimants will be too tired or too sick to try again. We've got the big banks who got bailed out by taxpayer dollars with no payback plan, who still gave big bonuses to their CEOs while foreclosing on mortgaged homes instead of having compassion on struggling homeowners. There are also the extremely wealthy who have gotten tax breaks that they do not need and who have so many loopholes anyway that some pay less than the average middle-class working person. Let us not forget the media which is actually owned by corporations, so what we hear in the mainstream media is what they want us to hear and not necessarily what is true or complete. There is also the military-industrial complex that benefits from our continued presence in Afghanistan and from war in general. The government agencies that should be protecting us (e.g., the EPA, the FDA) have persons in decision-making positions who are former employees of the corporations, so that they are working on behalf of the corporations rather than on behalf of the people. Our government has become a government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations. There are so many things wrong and I don't know how to fix it, but I know that our political alliances divide us.  Unless we can overcome our differences, we will never be able to overcome corporate rule.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

awkwardness...

There is this young man at work who has always been very friendly in the hallways. One day we happened to be in the elevator alone together, so I took the opportunity to finally ask him where he was from. He told me that he was from Iraq, and without even thinking about it, I said, "I am so sorry about what happened in your country", and then I burst into tears, and then I had to get out of the elevator because it was my floor. He kindly emailed me later in the day to say that he does not blame Americans and that I should not feel bad, and I thanked him for his kindness, and said that I felt that Americans should bear some collective shame for what has happened in Iraq, and that at least I, as an individual, could express my sorrow and regret when I have an opportunity. He didn't email back to me, but the friendliness in the hallways has continued, although perhaps tinged now with some awkwardness. The other other day, I read a recent interview with Dennis Kucinich that I felt compelled to send to this poor chap from the elevator. I had no reservations about sending it to him at the time, it seemed like what I absolutely had to do, but the result has been an intensification of the awkwardness on my side: I had forgotten that I had sent it to him, and then, there he was in the elevator when I left from work that same day, apologizing for not having read it yet, and I felt terrible! I really don't know what possessed me. I have always tried to follow my heart in my life, but sometimes it leads me in strange ways.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Zdenko Domančić Bioenergy Therapy

My search for truth in the area of energy medicine, which sort of began in the late nineties when I read the book Energy Medicine by Donna Eden, has led me in many directions in the last three years. I am still skeptical, but equally hopeful that working with people energetically really can stimulate their healing. I feel that it is only a matter of time before I am completely convinced of the efficacy of energy medicine, especially since I have found my energy medicine "home" - the approach that resonates with me most deeply - in the Bioenergy Therapy method of Zdenko Domančić. I feel so fortunate that I live a mere five-hour journey away from his clinic in Slovenia so that I could meet him personally and learn his methods at his clinic. I have attended the Level I and Level II seminars and I hope as time passes that I will have more and more opportunities to practice what I have learned, grow as a therapist, and eventually graduate from his training programme.

I respect Zdenko Domančić greatly. He has selflessly dedicated the last 35 years of his life to treating more than 1.3 million sick people with his methods. He does not charge a set fee for treatment, but leaves it up to the patient to thank him monetarily at the end of the four-day treatment in whatever way they feel is fair. If a person has no money, he does not turn them away. It takes three to six months to get an appointment at the clinic because there are so many people who seek this treatment.

Scientists in the former Yugoslavia, and more recently in Croatia and Slovenia, have carried out various studies of his methods. For example, he was asked to apply the energy to calcium carbonate crystals in a water solution. Prior to the application of energy, the crystals were square. After applying bioenergy, the crystals had transformed into shapes resembling plants and flowers. In another experiment, he worked on patients with gangrene and his methods restored blood flow and health to the diseased tissues in just a few days so that amputations were no longer necessary. Scientists tried to shield test items from his bioenergy using barriers several meters thick, but the bioenergy was proven to be as effective with the barriers as it would have been without them. Skin cells in a case brought into the clinic grew at a much faster rate than in the laboratory without any special attention from any of the bioenergy therapists at the clinic. It is therapeutic simply to sit in the same room while others are receiving bioenergy treatments from the bioenergy therapists.

There are many different methods in the world today for working with people energetically, but Zdenko Domančić Bioenergy Therapy is the first one I have found with defined protocols, refined during more than 35 years of practical application, to handle specific conditions. What's more, in order to be effective, one only needs to have received the Level I training at the clinic and to perform the protocols as taught. One woman at the seminar that I just attended told the story of treating a woman who had had unbearable dermatitis for seven years. After four days of bioenergy therapy, the dermatitis was gone and the woman's skin was "new - like a baby's skin".

Monday, June 21, 2010

Morgellons - a modern day leprosy

A little more than a year ago, I learned that one of my favorite musicians, Joni Mitchell, was suffering from a condition called Morgellons disease. Here is a more recent report that mentions Joni Mitchell and a baseball player named Billy Kotch.

The symptoms of Morgellons include sensations of stinging, biting, and itching of the skin, something crawling under one's skin, skin lesions that don't heal and within which red and/or blue and/or white fibres can be found, hair loss if the scalp is involved, lymph-node swelling, fatigue, and joint pain. Upon further research, I learned that people who live with other people who have this disease eventually get the disease themselves, so that whole families can become infected, and that if Morgellons sufferers have lived in a house and sell the house, anyone who later moves into the house can also become infected.

No one knows how this disease began to be transmitted, although there are theories that include chemtrails, aliens, and genetic engineering, probably because the fibers that extrude from the lesions have a composition unrelated to any known substance. The Morgellons pop-up menu at this website has excellent information about laboratory tests which have been conducted privately on Morgellons fibers. I found one site with an article saying that Morgellons has been around since the 1960's.

There is currently no widely-accepted cure, but following are some links to sites with suggestions:
 
having a Bath with Sun powdered laundry detergent with Colorsafe Bleach PLUS Alfalfa tablets, and other ideas

colloidal silver

many personal accounts from Morgellons suffers

Zappers!

I'm afraid to travel to the USA because genetic engineering seems to be going on there without much public outcry so maybe it is in the water and the food there, although possibly Morgellons exists in every country but Iceland, and at least already in the USA and Europe, so I guess I am not really safe where I live now anyway.

Yesterday, in addition to looking for anything new about Morgellons and further truth about 9/11 (another of my favorite topics), I went to Washington's Blog and read a lot about the oil spill, and also read some articles about extra-terrestrials (the link is one of five articles) and, well, everything started intersecting in my head in a weird way. Life really is so random. Maybe there are ETs who have infected the world with this new leprosy. Maybe it is rather evil scientists who are concocting these ills for humanity. Certainly there are greedy corporate executives who care more about further filling their already over-full coffers than whether or not our grandchildren can breathe, and politicians who continue to sell out to them. Maybe there is nothing we can do to prevent pain and destruction and the bleeding of oil on our beautiful planet. Maybe if it all vanishes it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, if we really are anyway so much more than what we are able to perceive. For now, though, since we are all still here and to keep to the point, I hope that a cure will soon be found for Morgellons before it becomes a world-wide plague.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bioenergy Healing - Zdenko Domančić

Zdenko Domančić is a Croatian man who has been doing bioenergy healing for more than 30 years. Depending on the illness, the treatments usually would consist of four 15-20 minute sessions with a person at the same time for four days in a row, and followup sessions depending on the condition. Rather than having private sessions with people, he does the work in a room full of people with all of the clients sitting around and music playing in the background. He asks only for donations of what a person can afford to pay and will accept for example a loaf of bread, some flowers, or a hug of gratitude if a person has no money. People line up down the street every day to see him as word of his work has spread far and wide. Apparently this therapy is effective in cases where nothing else has been helpful. In the following video, one man reports that his Hepatitis C vanished entirely, which is supposedly impossible.

Think About It: A Healing Documentary

Thursday, December 17, 2009

EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques®)

EFT is based on the idea that all emotional discomfort orginates from a disturbance of the body's energetic flow. Potentially, whenever a person experiences something negative, the body's energy flow is disrupted so that whenever they think about the incident in the future, or if an incident occurs that is similar to or reminds them of the original incident, the same kind of disruption occurs and leads to emotional discomfort and often even physical problems.

The technique involves recalling specific incidents of discomfort, feeling the intensity of the related emotions, using a setup affirmation, and tapping on various points on the body which correspond to the Chinese meridians. For unknown reasons, this technique allegedly consistently reduces the intensity of the emotions surrounding original incidents so that the person no longer feels the same intensity of emotions about past experiences. It has reportedly helped millions of people overcome depression, fears, phobias, and insecurity, as well as helped people overcome various types of physical problems such as, for example, pain, blood pressure problems, and tinnitus.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Buddhist blessing

Just as the soft rains fill the streams,
pour into the rivers, and join together in the oceans,
so may the power of every moment of your goodness
flow forth to awaken and heal all beings–
those here now, those gone before, those yet to come.

By the power of every moment of your goodness,
may your heart’s wishes be soon fulfilled
as completely shining as the bright full moon,
as magically as by a wish-fulfilling gem.

By the power of every moment of your goodness,
may all dangers be averted and all disease be gone.
May no obstacle come across your way.
May you enjoy fulfillment and long life.

For all in whose heart dwells respect,
who follow the wisdom and compassion of the Way,
may your life prosper in the four blessings
of old age, beauty, happiness and strength.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Crazy for God...

If Jesus were alive today, he would be a Socialist, a Green, or possibly a Democrat (I say possibly, because so many politicians who are Democrats have sold out to lobbyists and corporate interests), but he would definitely not be a neo-conservative Republican nor would he be a pro-GWB Evangelical. Jesus would probably equate such Evangelicals with the Scribes, the Pharisees and the money changers that he threw out of the temple, and call them hypocrites for supporting the war in Iraq and torture of other human beings, while at the same time taking a "pro-life" anti-abortion stance.

The pro-GWB Evangelicals were unable to see that although GWB said that he was "saved", he perpetrated many evils during his eight years of residency, not only upon US citizens, but also upon humanity in general. I have asked, "Would Jesus drop bombs on people?", "Would Jesus start a war?", "Would Jesus demonize a whole race of people?", and they have no answer. They don't see any conflict between their supposed faith and "saved" status, and their support of cruelty, torture, and demonizing and dropping bombs on other human beings, all in the name of "keeping America safe".  What about "turn the other cheek"?  They take the Bible literally only when it suits them.

I am intolerant of intolerance, which is something I guess I have to work on, and in the end I think it's not so important what we believe or what we say we believe, but how we behave and how we all treat each other. It doesn't really matter to me that someone thinks I will end up in hell because I believe differently than they do, however, I REALLY don't want to discuss it with them - my life and what I believe and my relationship to God/the Universe/All That Is is a private matter and not the business of any other individual.

Evangelicals believe the world began around 6,500 years ago. I think people who think the world started 6,500 years ago are living in LaLa Land. I cannot bear to listen to people who argue that because the Bible says that "man has dominion over all the earth" we should drill for oil in the Arctic wilderness instead of building smaller and more fuel efficient cars and developing alternative sources of energy. To me, the earth and all its creatures, forests, and seas are sacred, and it is our job to care for it all.

I have always feared that Evangelicals might take over the country someday, like a worst nightmare, shades of the Inquisition all over again, getting thrown in jail for not going to church on Sunday, or even for not going to THEIR church. They are still a minority, but their rabid proselytizing is effective with people who are weak or by nature fearful. The world is a random place where bad things happen, and such a rigid belief system provides comfort and a greater sense of security to some individuals. I just hope they will never be a majority. God help the world if they ever take over.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

love, longing, rejection...

Many years ago, I used to feel depressed and anxious a lot of the time. I don't know exactly what happened to me or when, but I rarely have such feelings anymore. I have come into some kind of emotional balance that I didn't intentionally seek, but that I quite like. Because I usually do feel positive and "up" most of the time, whenever I experience feelings of sadness or anxiety for no reason, it seems strange, surprising, a little confusing, and not really me. My experiences of the last few years have confirmed that these feelings usually do belong to someone else. I seem to be able to sense when someone I care about is having a hard time. I'll feel sad or anxious, and someone close to me will let me know, sometimes a day or two later, that something is or was going on with them.

Today I was sitting in my office and I started to feel anxious for no logical reason. About a half an hour later, my friend came in and told me the sad story that she found out that there is no possibility of ever being with the person she has longed to be with for the last two years. We have talked many times about her love and longing, and I shared her hopes that something would finally work out so that she could be together with the complicated man whom she finds so fascinating. She is really devastated and there is nothing I can do to help. I could only offer that I wished I had a magic wand and could make it all turn out in a better way.

It seems to be an unavoidable hazard of finally finding love that one has to go through the state of longing first. If only there was some other way! Longing, even if it does finally result in a loving relationship, can be such a waste of valuable time, because one can spend hours dreaming and worrying about the future and what might or might not be, instead of living in the now. During my sad and lonely years, I frequently found myself in a state of longing. I remember this state so well - how painful it was - and I hope I never find myself feeling this way ever again. I think that longing is really one of the worst possible emotional states to be in. One "falls in love", hopes and wishes for union, imagines all the ways in which one is not good enough for the other, is afraid to say or do anything to indicate to the other the depth of the feelings for fear of rejection, and then sometimes rashly does say or do something to disclose one's feelings and, in the worst case, actually does get rejected. It is really awful to be rejected by someone. Men are expected to make the first move in relationships, so they must experience being rejected much more often than women. I don't know how men deal with being rejected.

My daughter says I should just be there for my friend when she needs to talk and, in a little while, I should start finding fault with my friend's unattainable man - that this will help her get over him. It sounds like a plan, and since I don't have any better ideas, I will try it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

maybe it could change the world...

Today, 21 September, is the International Day of Peace, which was first celebrated in September 1982 after having been established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in that year. You can learn more about the International Day of Peace at the following link:

International Day of Peace website

Even though it has been in existence since 1981, I heard about the International Day of Peace for the first time only three years ago. I think the existence of this special day has not been very well advertised, so that many people still don't know about it, which is why I am writing about it here. Spread the word to your friends and family members about the International Day of Peace so that everyone knows about this day, and will think about world peace on this day!

I think that the International Day of Peace should be declared a public holiday in every nation of the world. Since it would be non-denominational, it ought to be acceptable to every nation as a new holiday. I think it would be wonderful if everybody, everywhere could have a break from their normal routine on the International Day of Peace. I think this would have the effect of bringing peace into the minds of everyone in the world, all together, on one day, and maybe it could change the world!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

kinda weird...

I haven't posted anything in a while. Not a lot to say, really. Just living my life, adjusting to being back at work after a long vacation and wishing more of my vacation had been at home. There are so many relatives, and I feel it's important to visit them as much as possible during my vacations, but this means that I never get to spend enough time at home. There are so many things piling up at home that will just have to wait until I retire to get sorted out. That's just the way it is. Only four more years, though, and I'm sure the time will fly away before I know it.

I have been watching episodes of the West Wing with my significant other. We are about at the middle of Season Four. I am enjoying this series very much - it is intelligent, funny, and educational. We have also watched all of the available episodes of Bones and The Closer. I like spending time this way and, by simultaneously doing my bead crochet, I don't feel like a complete couch potato. Compared to what kind of programming was available when I was growing up, I think that modern TV provides great opportunities for learning a lot about people, personality types, and social interaction. Other favorite shows have been The Gilmore Girls, Army Wives, Friends, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Quantum Leap, Joan of Arcadia, Judging Amy, Kyle XY, Babylon 5, Heroes, and Deep Space Nine (there are probably others that I can't think of right now). We have ordered most of these series from Amazon as we don't get consistent programming in English here. Sometimes we do get various shows, but the first seasons are missed out, or they stop showing them after a season or two even though new seasons are being created and shown in the USA. There's something really nice about watching a series from beginning to end without having to wait a week in between each episode or agonize about possibly missing an installment. I love this modern world, for this and many other reasons.

On the energy medicine front, I have been collecting some crystals and I made a special place for them. I think they are really beautiful and looking at them gives me a peaceful feeling. Theoretically crystals can amplify energy work and be used for healing, but for now, I am just enjoying looking at them. When I have been crystal shopping, I have noticed that I have a sensation of electrical energy around my arms and hands when I pick up quartz crystals. I think I am very sensitive to their energy. Here is a photo of my collection:



Since the spring of this year, during the working week and about once a week, usually before noon, I have been getting a phone call on my cell phone from a withheld number where the caller just hangs up after I say, "Hello?". Today, the caller called much later in the day and played a beautiful musical chord before they hung up. It reminded me of part of a song by Jonatha Brooke called "Always". I haven't noticed anyone at work who appears to be particularly interested in me, and I don't feel threatened or frightened, I just wonder who it is. It's kinda weird.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Imogen Heap

Imogen Heap is my current favorite modern musician. I consider her the most interesting composer I have come across in a really long time and one of the most technologically adept female composers since Laurie Anderson.

Imogen Heap spent a year secluded in her apartment composing her album Speak For Yourself which brought her a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 2007 (an award she should have won, in my opinion). The songs on this album are rich with layers of sound that she is amazingly able to recreate in concert using synthesizers and other devices. Her voice has an incredible range of nearly three octaves.

Her song Hide And Seek (#66), which appeared on a compilation album of songs of Grammy nominees, was my first experience of her music and an immediate favorite. Here she performs this song live:



I like nearly every song on the Speak For Yourself album, but one that I like the best is one called Have You Got It In You (#67). Unfortunately, there does not yet exist in YouTube a live version of this song that isn't mangled in some way, so here is a rather boring to look at, but at least beautiful to listen to version from her album:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

More Michael Hedges (#65)

This is probably the song most loved by Michael Hedges fans - Aerial Boundaries. It is perhaps the best example of his unique style and amazing versatility. Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Michael Hedges

Acoustic guitar is probably my favorite instrument in all the world, and Michael Hedges is one artist who explored the possibilities of this instrument like no one before him. Sadly, he died in a car accident in 1997 at the young age of 43. Fortunately for the world, much of his music is preserved in many wonderful albums, but who knows what might have been had he lived on.

To give you an idea of just how innovative he was, here he is performing the song "Because It's There" (#48 in my list):



Here is Part 4 of a seminar he gave in Pittsburg in 1991, where you can see some of his unusual playing techniques, and hear him talk about Bartok and the Fibonacci sequence:



Michael Hedges Biography

Michael Hedges website with links to Discography, Tunings, Transcriptions, and more.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Oh, my God...#64



Linda Waterfall singing "Way of Beauty".

favorite songs...

Here is a list of some modern songs that, when I heard each for the first time, my reaction was "Oh, my God! What was that song???" and I immediately wanted to hear each one again and again. As much as I prefer silence, I would still gladly listen to every one of these songs again and again. Today I added the song "La Guardia" by Tito Puente, from the album "Carnival". The numbers are just a way of keeping track of how many there are and have nothing to do with any kind of a "most to least favorite" categorization. I pretty much like all of them equally.

1. My Favorite Things - John Coltrane
2. Aspirations - Gentle Giant
3. Icarus - Paul Winter Consort
4. Bird Song - Linda Waterfall
5. Solisbury Hill - Peter Gabriel
6. Worry About You - Ivy
7. Love At The Five And Dime - Nanci Griffith
8. My Father - Judy Collins
9. Catch The Wind - Donovan
10. Excellent Birds - Laurie Anderson
11. The Flat Earth - Thomas Dolby
12. Crazy - Seal
13. Friday I'm In Love - The Cure
14. Everybody Wants To Rule The World - Tears For Fears
15. One Of These Things First - Nick Drake
16. Railway - Dando Shaft
17. Mama - Spice Girls
18. Message in a Bottle - The Police
19. Brothers In Arms - Dire Straits
20. Anybody Seen My Baby - Rolling Stones
21. Bo Radley - Bruce Hornsby
22. love is more thicker than forget - Jonatha Brooke
23. We Can Work It Out - The Beatles
24. Classical Gas - Mason Williams
25. 10,000 Miles - Mary Chapin Carpenter
26. Rain - Patty Griffin
27. Tango - Patty Larkin
28. Sweet Bird - Joni Mitchell
29. Mr. Tambourine Man - Bob Dylan
30. Honey And The Moon - Joseph Arthur
31. Know By Now - Robert Palmer
32. Lucky Man - Emerson, Lake and Palmer
33. And You And I - Yes
34. Black Coffee - All Saints
35. For Emily Wherever I May Find Her - Simon & Garfunkel
36. Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First) - John Cougar Mellencamp
37. A'soalin' - Peter, Paul & Mary
38. Goin' Up To Country - Canned Heat
39. Whiter Shade Of Pale - Procul Harum
40. Morning Has Broken (Traditional) - Cat Stevens
41. Passion - Raya O'Coal
42. Bloszfueszig - Broadlahn
43. Shotgun Down The Avalanche - Shawn Colvin
44. Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Judy Garland
45. Small Blue Thing - Suzanne Vega
46. Thank U - Alanis Morissette
47. Lady Of The Island - Crosby, Stills and Nash
48. Because It's There - Michael Hedges
49. Stolen Land - Bruce Cockburn
50. All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan) - Jimi Hendrix
51. Sorento Moon - Tena Arena
52. Could I Be Your Girl - Jann Arden
53. Sand And Water - Beth Nielsen Chapman
54. Hammond Song - The Roches
55. Raincloud - Lighthouse Family
56. In The Arms Of An Angel - Sarah McLaughlin
57. Learning To Fly - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
58. One Of Us - Joan Osborne
59. Keep Your Distance (Richard Thompson) - Buddy and Julie Miller
60. Change The World (Sims, Kenney, Kirkpatrick) - Eric Clapton
61. Highwayman - Jimmy Webb
62. Bramble and the Rose (Barbara Keith) - Kate Brislin and Jody Stecher
63. La Guardia - Tito Puente
64. Way Of Beauty - Linda Waterfall
65. Aerial Boundaries - Michael Hedges
66. Hide And Seek - Imogen Heap
67. Have You Got It In You - Imogen Heap
68. First Circle (Live in Japan) - Pat Metheny

I have a different list for classical music that I might post someday.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

pro-limited-choice

I have hesitated to write about the issue of abortion directly in my blog for some time now. It is a very controversial issue and I have not wanted to upset anyone by sharing my thoughts on this subject. Persons on both sides will probably find my views upsetting.

First of all, let me make it clear that I see absolutely no difference between the "Islamic" brand of terrorism and that of "Christrian" extremists who bomb abortion clinics and murder physicians in the name of some misguided "pro-life" stance. The murder of Dr. George Tiller on Sunday was an act of pure terrorism and definitely not Christian in any way.

Although I am a woman and a liberal, I think abortion should normally be allowed only within about the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Most miscarriages occur within the first 12 weeks, so before then, going to term with a healthy baby is just a potential. A woman should know by the 12th week (which is actually 10 weeks since conception, because the weeks are counted from the first day of the last period, with ovulation occuring two weeks after) if she wants to go to term or not and should decide, within this time, to abort or not. If she misses this deadline, then society should provide her with before and after health care, living facilities if necessary, and with adoption possibilities if that's what the woman wants, or with job training and social services including child care if the woman chooses to be a single mom and to work. Of course there could be very exceptional circumstances, like the woman develops a case of toxoplasmosis or German measles and doesn't want to bring a physically challenged child into the world. There should be provisions for safe later-term abortion in very exceptional circumstances having to do with the health of the mother or the viability of the child-to-be.

The dialogues that go on about this subject are usually either/or, black and white, with conservatives "against" and liberals "for", when what is needed is some kind of an in-between place. What really gets me going is that most of the people I have ever spoken with who are dead-set against abortion are also rabidly against government-provided social programs and services that would be truly needed if abortion were to be banned again, and most are also against programs about safe sex and birth control. Banning abortion will not prevent women from seeking abortions in ways that are not safe, as they did before abortion became legal, so that as before many women will die, along with their unborn fetuses.

Many of the people I have spoken with about this issue also supported the invasion of Iraq that has resulted in the deaths not only of more than 4000 US soldiers, but also of an estimated more than 1.3 million Iraqis whose country will never be the same again - who will not be able to go anywhere without reminders of pain and sorrow - so many lives and loved ones lost in this ill-conceived misadventure. So, conservatives who supported this war and who support war in general, how is war okay and abortion not okay? I have yet to hear a satisfactory answer to this question.

I think a woman should have a right to choose to a limited extent, and that society should be prepared to assist women who choose to continue their pregnancies. Maybe more women would make pro-life choices if they were assured of a social safety net.

Monday, May 25, 2009

close call...

Some weeks ago, I started experiencing a progressively worsening dull ache just below/underneath my right bottom front rib cage area. Lucky for me, I had recently ordered a book about liver and gallbladder cleansing, so started doing the simple seven-day cleansing program described in the book.

The program involves drinking apple juice every day for six days to soften the gallstones, and then following a timetable for taking two doses of epsom salts in water, followed by a mixture of virgin olive oil and grapefruit juice, followed by sleep, followed by two more doses of epsom salts. According to the book, one must repeat the cleansing program about every three weeks until no stones pass out in two successive treatments. As prevention, the book recommends performing the cleanse about every eight months.

I was amazed to see all the stones that passed out of me, but the pain continued for some days, perhaps because the gallbladder became inflamed from having been stretched by the stones to nearly its limit. The dull ache is slowly subsiding, I'm feeling better with each passing day, and I think I possibly avoided emergency surgery.

Since doing the cleanse, I have found various similar cleansing programs online, some using lemon juice instead of grapefruit juice, some with and some without epsom salts. While conducting this search, I remembered finding some years ago online a simple lemon juice and olive oil remedy for kidney stones that worked like charm for a friend of mine.

I just wonder how anyone discovered that using large amounts of olive oil and citrus juice could have the effect of shifting stones out of the body. It is mystifying how these remedies come into being.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

a weekend away...

Photos from the southern wine-growing region of Styria, in Austria, near the Slovenian border...


Thursday, May 14, 2009

unnecessary hurtfulness...

There's this very interesting blog I found because of a post in another blog of a friend of mine. This interesting blog has got a lot of historical stuff in it, plus commentary about politics and life and circumstances in the USA vs. other places. The blog owner is authoring a book and works for a rather prestigious magazine, and most of the people who read this interesting blog seem to be very highly educated and/or are writers themselves so are good with words and sharp of tongue. The blog posts are very understandable and I have felt inspired sometimes to make straightfoward comments based on my own life experiences, as I have done fearlessly in other blogs, only to notice later that all of the other subsequent commenters were saying things that were not so understandable - i.e., it was not always obvious to me how they got from the understandable blog post to their witty comments - and I felt embarrassed to see the stark contrast between the simplicity of my comments and the complexity of those of the others. Recently, I had the impression that one of the clever commenters had noticed me and, in an indirect way, implied that more time should be spent thinking before commenting, if one even should choose in the end to comment at all. Thankfully, at my request the blog owner, reluctantly because he thinks all comments are worthy, deleted my comments, thus saving me from indefinite public humiliation.

I have come a long way in my life towards learning to be strong and positive, but this meanness instantly reduced me to tears and I felt surprised that I can so easily crumble simply because of mean words of a person who doesn't even know me. I guess I still have some growing to do in that area. I feel better now that all evidence of my comments has been obliterated and I have also decided to be more careful about posting anything into the interesting blog in the future. I have found in my life that it's usually best to just avoid situations that potentially create emotional discomfort, like finding an excuse not to get into the same elevator as someone who I know doesn't like me so well. I really prefer to avoid all unnecessary hurtfulness in my life.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wiener Schnitzel revisited...

I had been living in Austria for more than 25 years before I tried to make Wiener Schnitzel myself. What a surprise! Not only is it very easy to do, but it tastes so much better than any Wiener Schnitzel I have ever eaten in a restaurant. The family agrees, so Wiener Schnitzel has become a favorite and regular family meal.

Nearly every restaurant in Austria offers Wiener Schnitzel. In my earlier post about Wiener Schnitzel, I mentioned using pork, but authentic Wiener Schnitzel is actually made with veal; the restaurant menu will usually indicate what type of meat will be used. It's not unusual for a restaurant to serve a Schnitzel of one piece so large that it hangs over the edges of the dinner plate!

Here are some pictures from the preparation of the latest meal. I used about 2 pounds (900 grams) of pork. Sometimes more than four eggs are required - better to start out with less and then add more if needed.

+ + + + + + + +

Prepare three large plates with flour, eggs, and bread crumbs...



Beat the eggs...



Get out a large cutting board and a mallet...



Work from the cutting board towards the stove, in this case, right to left...



Pound the meat until it's the desired thinness (remember to salt and pepper each side!)...



Coat each side with flour...



Coat each side with beaten eggs...



Coat each side with bread crumbs...




Place gently into a skillet of heated peanut oil...



Fry until deep golden brown on each side...



Don't forget the lemon!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

my obsession of the last six years...

I'm really not a very patient person, which is why I hate sewing. It can take days to make something nice, and almost every sewing attempt has ended in some kind of a disaster, like sewing one piece to another at the wrong place and having to rip everything out and start over.

Knitting also requires a lot of patience, especially if one wants to make something interesting. Knitting something beautiful not only takes a lot of time, but it can be very tricky to recover from mistakes with it. I decided, after stabbing myself with a knitting needle during an attempt to make a simple sweater for one of my children to be, that knitting wasn't really my thing either.

I do like crochet very much, though. I have made numerous scarves, and in my younger years even invented a small bag to hold my set of jacks and rubber ball. I made bags for my sisters, too. Crochet only requires one tool, the work goes relatively quickly (it's possible to make something beautiful in just a few hours), and it is also rather intuitive and easy to recover from mistakes.

Another type of handwork that I have always appreciated is beadwork with seed beads, especially that of Native Americans, and in my teens, I experimented with weaving beads and trying to replicate some of the patterns. I remember making a rather complicated and beautiful amulet of an eagle on a chain of beaded flowers for a close friend of mine and although I was very satisfied with the result of my efforts, I found the work tedious and didn't feel inspired to try making anything else after that.

I was therefore thrilled when my older sister taught me the art of beadcrochet in 2003. This craft which puts seed beads and crochet together has given me countless hours of pleasure in the last six years and I still feel driven to find new patterns and color combinations. I've made more than 400 bracelets and more than 40 necklaces. Each bracelet takes about four hours; necklaces take longer, depending on the length.

Following are scans of a few of my favorites.


This one with the dragonfly has a matching necklace and I wore them with a red gown to a ball at the Vienna Hofburg one year. The dragonfly is not crocheted, but is made with beads and wire.



The above bracelet was inspired by the colors in a painting in the home of a friend of mine. I like to wear it with an orange braclet on one side and a red one on the other.


This flower pattern is one of my favorite patterns. I made the above bracelet for a friend of mine who suggested the colors. I really enjoyed working with the bright orange beads.


I made the bracelet above for another friend of mine who wanted something with yellow, orange and red in it. There are approximately 30 different beads in the pattern. The pattern was kind of an accident, but a good one!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Donna Eden and Energy Medicine

One of the most comprehensive books on the subject of energy medicine is, in my opinion, the book entitled "Energy Medicine", by Donna Eden.

Donna Eden has been able to see colors around people since she was a child, and didn't realize that this was a rather unique ability until she was in her early twenties - she had believed until then that everyone could see the colors that she could see. Her ability to see colors helped her to develop the many techniques that are described in her book. She had a private energy medicine healing practice for many years and worked with thousands of people during that time. She also used her own techniques to overcome a number of her own health problems. More recently, she founded a school with a two-year programme for becoming certified as a practitioner of her methods (which, if I win the lottery, I will immediately sign up for).

Because I find it easier to learn by seeing someone do something vs. reading about it in a book, I recently ordered the 3-DVD "Energy Medicine - The Essential Techniques", described as "A Companion to the Book Energy Medicine or an Independent Program to Optimize Your Health", from her website. The quality of the videos is very good (although the user interface to them could be better), and Donna Eden is a delightful presenter. The videos contain six hours of Donna Eden demonstrating the exercises and techniques described in her book, including how to work with the meridians of Chinese medicine and the chakras, and her own unique exercises for improving the flow of energy within the body for better health, such as her Five-Minute Daily Energy Routine.

Whereas the videos are demonstrations of all of the many techniques described in the book, the book provides more background information and includes selected accounts of experiences with people Donna Eden worked with in her many years of private practice. She also touches on subjects such as the colors and meaning of the chakras. Since she is able to sense energetically and to see so much when she works with a person, everything she describes about the chakras is coming from her own personal experience and is sometimes very different from the explanations or interpretations of them that one finds in most other sources. For example, she is very definite that the first chakra, the root chakra, governs sex (in most other texts, this is assigned to the second chakra). She also says very firmly that, while the standard colors do serve as a guide, she sees many other colors in every chakra - that the various chakras in a person are frequently other than the colors assigned to them in the standard literature and that they often contain multiple colors.

I highly recommend her book!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wiener Schnitzel!

Tonight I made Wiener Schnitzel for dinner. It is so good when it's homemade, and so easy! Basically, you need rather thin slices of pork which you should then hammer with a mallet on each side until about 1/8 inch thick or even a little thinner. Salt and pepper the first side before turning over to hammer the second side, then salt and pepper the second side after hammering it. Dip the hammered meat first into flour so that it’s dusted all over, then into beaten egg until completely coated, then into fine (like coarse sand) bread crumbs. The breaded meat should be fried in a flat skillet with about ¾ of an inch of heated peanut oil. Fry on each side until the breading is a nice deep golden brown. Remove to a plate with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. It must be served with lemon wedges - squeeze the lemon over it before eating.

You can use chicken breast instead of pork, but you need to then hammer it a little more gently, because chicken breast is a much more delicate meat. When chicken is prepared this way, it is called “Huehnerschnitzel” in German.

As an accompaniment, I cut some broccoli into florets, peeled some brussel sprouts, added a fair amount of virgin olive oil and some salt, mixed it all up well with a slotted spoon, then put the mixture on an oven tray and roasted it at about 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) until a bit brown (about 10 minutes).

Saturday, March 21, 2009

20 minutes on the bus...

Since the beginning of November last year, I have been working towards becoming a Quantum-Touch® Certified Practitioner. One of the requirements is 60 hours of practice sessions, of which I have completed 53.5 hours, so I hope to achieve Certified Practitioner status by the end of April. Since late January, I have been giving free (since I am still an apprentice) QT sessions to people at work during my lunch hour in order to accrue the 60 hours. A part of me feels like this energy work is kind of like "hocus pocus", especially since none of the people I have worked on so far have reported any long lasting effects from their sessions with me, although most do report feeling relaxed, refreshed, and that their energy seems to be flowing better at the end of a session. I know that I feel energized at the end of a session or whenever I work with the breathing and imaginative techniques.

What keeps me going is the hope that this kind of energy work really does have a positive effect. I have heard and read about various results from QT work such as the realignment of bones and quick relief of pain, but I have yet to actually see or experience anything very exciting. The most amazing tale I have heard so far was related by a participant in one of the Quantum Touch workshops that I attended. She described the unexpected and remarkable healing of her father who had been hospitalized and had not been expected to pull through. The man, more than 70 years old, became very ill and no one knew what was wrong with him. He was rushed to hospital by ambulance and had been in hospital for nearly a week and was not expected to live. She called her friend, a Quantum Touch practitioner, and asked that he do some distance healing for her father. While he was on the bus, he did the distance healing for twenty minutes for her father. That evening, her father started vomiting violently. This went on off and on through the night. The next day, he started to improve, and he was discharged from the hospital two days later.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Some inspiring blogs...

I started this blog because of reading something in a book that I disagreed with so strongly that I wanted to express my opinion in such a way that more people than those with whom I live would read it. I really still feel very strongly that life on earth is random and that, while there may be a universal power or being, there is no universal power or being micromanaging everything that goes on here.

When I started this blog, I never expected that I would ever post as much as I have, since I really am a person of few words. Also, prior to starting this blog, I had only ever visited a handful of blogs, most of them political. Once I joined blogspot myself and had access to my own personal dashboard and its "Blogs of Note" page, a whole new world of really beautiful blogs written and assembled by very thoughtful and creative people was revealed to me, and my interest in my own little insignificant and unremarkable piece of cyberspace faded. I'm finding it more fun to keep up with what other people are writing and posting than to add much to my own blog, plus there is so much going on in my life right now and I don't have a lot of extra time to write. I do feel inspired by these other beautiful blogs, though, and maybe someday, if I ever get any extra time, I will try to make my blog a little more beautiful, or at least a little more interesting with photos or something.

If you look at my Profile, you can see all of the blogs I've been following. All of them are interesting in some way. Of all of them, three of my favorites are:

Merisi's Vienna For Beginners : Such wonderful, colorful, magical photos!
Strawberry Fields : More beautiful photos by Merisi!
Miradas Cantabricas : Amazing close-up photos of birds!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Everyone can be an artist...

"Are not painting and color inspired by love? Is not painting merely the reflection of our inner self, whereby even one's skill with a brush is surpassed? It has nothing to do with it. Color with its lines contains your character and your message. If all life moves inevitably toward its end, we should during ours paint it with our colors of love and hope. In this love lies the social logic of life and the essential part of each religion." -- Marc Chagall

I love this quote from Marc Chagall, because he seems to be saying that it doesn't matter if you can draw or not - that every person can express their own unique character and message through color. I think everyone can be an artist and should try putting color on paper or canvas. I don't have time in my life right now, but someday I hope to find time to do this.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Chicken Bryan

I really enjoy cooking and eating good food, and have collected many good recipes over the years. I've been thinking I might morph this blog into a recipe blog with photos, but I just haven't gotten myself organized yet.

One of the most amazing dishes I have ever had at any restaurant is the "Chicken Bryan" at Carrabba's. I found a copycat recipe from a Google search, but I think that it has way too much butter in it (nearly one cup!). Here is my variation. I'll try to remember to take a photo next time I make it, but that might be awhile, since BBQ weather is not exactly around the corner!

Marain's Chicken Bryan
Serve with steamed broccoli or spinach and a dry white wine
Serves 6

* * * * * Sauce * * * * *
1/2 cup dry white wine (110 ml)
1 small onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 Tablespoons butter (55 grams)
4 Tablespoons Chavroux (mild goat's cheese) (55 grams)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice (or to taste)
at least 1/2 cup cream (more or less - to taste) (110 ml)
ground black pepper
* * * * * Grilled Chicken * * * * *
6 chicken breasts, skinned
olive oil
salt
black pepper, ground
* * * * * Topping * * * * *
fresh basil leaves
10 ounces sun-dried tomatoes (in olive oil), drained (285 grams)
11 ounces Chavroux (mild goat's cheese) (300 grams)

Directions:

1) Sprinkle each chicken piece with salt and pepper and rub each piece with olive oil. Grill the chicken pieces on the BBQ for about 20 minutes.

2) While the chicken is being grilled, put the white wine into a small saucepan on medium heat and put in the chopped onion and the crushed garlic. Simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the wine is nearly gone.

3) Add the butter, about a tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition while the butter melts. Add the 4 Tablespoons of goat's cheese. Add the lemon juice and cream, but add it gradually and taste the sauce while you do this and add more lemon juice or cream, according to your taste. Later add some ground black pepper.

4) Rinse the sun-dried tomatoes under cold water. Just squeeze the tomatoes to remove excess water, then chop them into strips.

5) Just before the chicken is done cooking on the grill, preheat oven to highest temperature using grill setting.

6) When the chicken pieces have been cooked through on the BBQ, put them in an oven-proof dish large enough to hold all the pieces and the sauce.

7) Cover each piece completely with basil leaves, then cover the basil leaves with drained sun-dried tomatoes, then put about 3 tablespoons of sauce over each piece. If there is sauce left over and it will fit into the dish, put the extra sauce around the chicken pieces, then top each piece of chicken with a couple of scoops of the goat's cheese.

8) Put the dish into the oven (the rack should be at the highest setting that the dish still fits under the grill).

9) Grill for approximately 8 minutes (or until the the sauce around the chicken is real bubbly).

Thursday, February 5, 2009

a long-dead horse...

I've been a little under the weather, but also at a loss as far as what to write about, since what has captured much of my free mental space for the last eight years has shifted. In 2000, after the (still) unbelievable success of legal arguments not to count votes, I joined the ACLU. After 9/11, I started studying Arabic as a kind of rebellion against the demonization of Arabic-speaking people by the neocons and religious right. I wanted to be able to read their magazines and newspapers, and to have conversations with real people, and not just get the Western opinion and propaganda (this has since become a very long-term goal, as Arabic is unbelievably difficult). In 2003, I hoped and prayed that diplomacy would be chosen - that the inspectors would be allowed to finish their work - only to despair. In 2004, I found the book "The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11" by Dr. David Ray Griffin, suggesting in a very convincing manner other explanations than the official story and I became and will remain interested in this issue until a proper investigation is undertaken. The 2004 election result was a shock, since it was not in line with the exit polls or with polls in the run-up to the election. Further research produced information that electronic result flipping had likely occurred. I agonized nearly every day for approximately eight years about the erosion of democracy in America and, time after time, I watched Democrats in Congress cave in to every demand of the "administration" - it seemed inexplicable, as though the resident had some magic potion that turned everyone into obedient zombies.

I didn't follow everything in detail. It was all so much - too much - the warrantless wiretapping, Abu Ghraib, extraordinary renditions, Guantanemo, authorities no longer needing court oversight, probable cause, knowledge or permission of residents to conduct warrantless searches of private residences, the threat of indefinite incarceration at the whim of some goverment official. Even within the last weeks before the inauguration, further icky things were approved, like the dumping of millions of gallons of toxic waste from cruise ships one mile offshore of the eastern USA coastline.

Fortunately, about half way through these long dark years, I found some websites that became my daily dose of sanity: Glenn Greenwald, The Brad Blog, and The Existentialist Cowboy. Glenn Greenwald has the ability to explain legal matters in a way that is captivating and understandable and spoke eloquently and forcefully against the legal arguments used by Bush&Co to justify their lawbreaking. He is still speaking out about legal issues in a very understandable way, and it is worth subscribing to Salon to read his column without all the ads. Brad Friedman has been working tirelessly to inform public officials and anyone who will listen of the dangers inherent in the use of electronic voting machines - a true modern day hero of democracy who will go down in history as such. And Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy, raging against all of the atrocities, not only of the last eight years, but also of more distant times, showing connections between so many seemingly unrelated persons and events, and frequently putting into words frustrations that I had felt but could not voice - like a good thunderstorm to clear the air, he cleared my mind and helped me to see so many things.

I'm glad for and relieved about the regime change and believe that at least the intentions are more in line now with what the founding fathers had in mind, but I'm kind of wondering what Obama thinks about bipartisanship now that ALL of the Republicans and 11 Democrats in the House voted against his economic recovery package. Bipartisanship died even before Bill Clinton. The only "bipartisanship" has been Democrats going to the dark side. I wonder if he will somehow be able to revive this long-dead horse.