Monday, July 30, 2012
My cast is off and I have been trying to get back into a normal left handed life as I can. Besides not having a tight grip yet, too painful, the muscles in my thumb and wrist are tight. Yea, I was offered PT- but come on, give it to someone who really needs it. Then, the other night at work one of the doctors saw me messaging my poor aching thumb and asked if I have ever heard of “Mudras”? When I shook my head with a questioning gaze- he smiled and wrote down the name and a website to check out- I did and this is what I found, and it has helped a lot. Thanks!
It is essentially Yoga for the hands and it is something that I think will be wonderful for my healing hand and for my harp playing. My hands, due to aging, are often sore after playing for a long period of time; these Mudras I think are going to be my salvation.
Here is a little about Mudras and some websites I found helpful. I have also ordered a book that was mentioned often with great reviews.
Mudras (Sanskrit for "seal" or "symbol") are small-scale yoga movements, systematic hand gestures involving only the arms and hands. In his book Mudra, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche defines the mudra as, "a symbol expressed with the hands to state for oneself and others the quality of different moments of meditation, such as touching the earth with the right hand as a witness to Buddha's freedom from emotional and mental frivolousness."
There are hundreds of mudra-gestures formed by the ancient yogis and sages, used in a number of traditions as a method of expression, meditation or evocation of energies in the body. Each culture seems to have developed its own mudra language but all are based on four basic hand positions: the open palm, the hollowed palm, the closed fist, and the hand with fingertips together.
Similarities between the traditions - Hindu, Tantric, Egyptian, Polynesian - are manifold. For example, the mudra of Anjali, palms pressed together, is nearly universal in its association with prayer. From the prospective of Indian dance, mudra is a method of pure expression that allows a dancer to tell a story in a universal language. Other more esoteric mudra practices are kept closely guarded by practioners; these special mudras in conjunction with other spiritual exercises are said to have the power to transform man into a living god.
Even the many mudras available for the general public have potential to arouse and activate one's energy channels (nadis) and centers (chakras). They are easy to do, and with proper instruction and meditation, they can help unlock electrical-circuits and subtle channels leading one to become more awake.
Mudras may be practiced almost anywhere. Perhaps when your hands feel cramped after sitting at the computer too long. First find your own natural mudras. See what happens when you stretch your hands, explore the feeling of your fingers curling compared to extending them outward. Recognize which movements resonate within you and then consult with a mudra chart to see what the ancient traditions say. See how mindfully placing your hands in traditional postures compares to your own natural movement. The pressure of the fingers should be very light and your hands should be relaxed. If you are tense at a certain place in the body, this tension will be expressed at a corresponding area in the hands.
Enjoy the primordial practice of mudras as you probably have since birth. One Nepalese tantric dance teacher says that babies are born using mudras, and if you ever watch a newborn's tiny hand movements, you'll see he is right.
Friday, July 27, 2012
Thursday, July 26, 2012
I have caught glimpses of a strikingly beautiful bird in my garden; it has not been enough to identify it until the other day the little guy decided to gift me with his presence while I was in the garden. I grabbed my camera, which he didn’t seem to mind and started taking as many pictures as I could click, a moment later another came, not quite as colorful- learning later it was a female..yippie, you know me…that means chicks somewhere at sometime. The next generation. After my fun I headed inside to find more about these two- also found out that they are disappearing due to loss of habitat- very sad. I plan to do all I can in my small backyard garden habitat to keep them going- perhaps you can too.
|male - wasn't afraid my nearness, very confident little guy|
Size & Shape
A large sparrow with a thick, pointed bill, short neck, chunky body, and long, rounded tail.
|the female - more shy toward me, this was taken with a telephoto|
Male Spotted Towhees have jet-black upperparts and throat; their wings and back are spotted bright white. The flanks are warm rufous and the belly is white. Females have the same pattern but are warm brown where males are black. In flight, look for white corners to the black tail.
Spotted Towhees hop over the ground beneath dense tangles of shrubs, scratching in leaf litter for food. They also climb into lower branches to search for insects and fruits, or to deliver their quick, buzzy song. Towhees can fly long distances, but more often make short, slow flights between patches of cover.
Look for Spotted Towhees in open, shrubby habitat with thick undergrowth. Spotted Towhees are also at home in backyards, forest edges, and overgrown fields.
A link to National Geographic's Nat-Geo Wild site for more information and to hear an audio of the Towhee’s voice; they have four different calls, you may recognize them from your garden.
A short word about my bird baths… my neighbor complains that the birds frequent my bird bath- a simple terracotta dish on the ground- but not hers… an expensive “real” bird bath on a pedestal. I tell her, birds are use to bathing on the ground in rain puddles in a hidden secure area.. Maybe she needs to take her bowl off the pedestal and put it on the ground. Do you have yours on a pedestal or the ground and what results do you have? Let me know-
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Got that taste for barBque at lunch? Here are a couple of my favorite ideas. They are quick, easy, and very tasty. Can be an entrée to a week night meal as well, just add a side dish and off you go to the table.
Open-Face Barbecue Tilapia Sandwiches
Grilled or broiled fish nestled on a bed of crunchy coleslaw and capped off with a drizzle of barbecue sauce makes this sandwich one of my summer favorites. Recipe per serving- just double, triple…for however many you are serving.
4 - 5 ounce fresh or frozen skinless tilapia
or flounder fillets
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup packaged shredded coleslaw mix with carrots
1 slice whole wheat sourdough, toasted
1/2 tablespoons bottled low-calorie barbecue sauce
1. Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. Lightly coat both sides of each fish fillet with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Grill for 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place fish on greased grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above. For quickness and connivance you can also cook this under the broiler.
3. In a medium bowl, stir together mayonnaise and lemon juice. Add cabbage; toss to coat.
4. To assemble, spoon cabbage mixture onto bread slices. Top with fish fillets. Drizzle fish with barbecue sauce.
Beef and Cabbage Wraps
I usually make up the filling ahead of time and freeze it in packets (about 1/3 cup each) to have when I want this for lunch or a snack.
1- 8 inch whole wheat or regular flour tortilla per serving; I also, sometimes use the smaller taco size tortillas and just fold them.
Filling: makes about 4 servings
12 ounces 90 percent or higher lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1 cup whole kernel corn
1/4 cup bottled barbecue sauce
Cooking instructions for filling, in a large skillet cook meat and onion until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat. Stir corn into meat mixture in skillet. Cover and cook about 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring once. Stir in the barbecue sauce. Cook and stir until heated through.
Making the Wrap
1. warm tortilla 20-30 seconds in microwave- this makes it easier to fold and roll.
2. to serve, spoon about 1/3 cup of the filling below into center of each tortilla. Top with coleslaw mix and roll up from bottom tucking side into self. If desired, serve with additional barbecue sauce drizzled over slaw mix.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Green tea is a powerful anti-oxidant and naturally contains tannic acid, theobromine, and polyphenols. Green Tea helps reduce skin inflammation and redness, protects and rejuvenates skin cells, and assists with the adverse effects of UV radiation exposure. Studies have shown that Green Tea reactivates dying skin cells that are at the end of their life cycle, and also note the potential benefits for various skin conditions including psoriasis, rosacea, wrinkles, wounds, and scars. Take advantage of the healing and medicinal properties of Green Tea with these skin care recipes:
Facial steams moisturize, relax muscles, plump wrinkles, eliminate toxins, dislodge dirt from pores, and are good for circulation. This recipe is refreshing, rejuvenating, and soothing.
1/8 cup organic Green Leaf Tea
1/4 cup dried organic Lemon Balm, increase the amount if using fresh Lemon Balm
1-2 TBSP dried organic Peppermint, increase the amount if using fresh Peppermint
Place Green Tea, Lemon Balm, and Peppermint into a large ceramic or glass bowl. Boil water and pour over herbs and tea, immediately placing a towel or lid over the bowl so that the oils being released from the herbs do not escape. Steep for 5 minutes. Place the bowl on a table or other surface where you can comfortably sit and hold your face over the bowl covering your head and the bowl with a large towel to make sure that no steam can escape. Make sure to keep your eyes closed and breathe deeply to inhale the therapeutic properties of the herbs. Steam for 10 minutes.
Toners help adjust pH levels, remove any residues left on the skin after cleansing, tone and tighten pores, and moisturize. This toner is little time consuming due to needing to make an infusion first, but well worth the effort, it is gentle, soothing, and beneficial for all skin types.
4 oz Witch Hazel Extract
2 oz Rose Hydrosol
1 TBSP Aloe Vera Gel
1 tsp Green Leaf Tea
1/2 tsp Vegetable Glycerine
2-5 drops Rose or Geranium (Rose) Essential Oil
First, make an herbal infused Witch Hazel Extract by placing the Green Tea leaves and Witch Hazel Extract in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake the jar daily and allow the mixture to infuse for 2 or more weeks. Once finished infusing, strain the Green Tea leaves out and reserve the remaining liquid. Mix the infused Witch Hazel Extract with all of the other ingredients, and pour into dark glass bottles.
Sunburn Mist can be used on sunburns or whenever there is a need of a little cooling off. Peppermint is very refreshing and helps provide instant relief for irritated and hot skin. Incorporating Green Tea into the blend helps reduce inflammation, redness, and the adverse effects of UV radiation exposure.
6 oz distilled or purified water
2 TBSP dried Peppermint leaf
1 tsp organic Green Leaf Tea
1-2 drops organic Peppermint Essential Oil (optional)
Pour boiling water over the Peppermint and Green Tea leaves, and infuse until cool. Strain out the leaves and pour the remaining liquid into a 4oz spray bottle. Add the essential oil (if using) and shake to combine all ingredients. Mist directly on sunburn for relief. Use within 1-2 days or store in the refrigerator up to 1 week.
Green Tea compresses are especially beneficial for sunburned skin and for treating various skin conditions. To create a compress from Green Leaf Tea, make an infusion by pouring boiling water over organic loose-leaf tea and allow to cool completely. Once it has cooled, strain out the leaves and reserve the liquid. Soak a clean cloth in the infusion and then place saturated cloth on skin for 5-10 minutes at a time. This process may be repeated several times a day.
I drink green tea daily, iced, with my dinner and I am sold on its health benefits; now, it is in my external health arsenal. I am attempting grow my own plants- I will let you know how it goes.
Monday, July 23, 2012
The often misjudged dandelion inevitably loses its regal mane and gains a touchable, adorable poof of seeds. After all that work, it finds itself being picked, only to have itself blown hither-thither by wish makers! Unpretentious to the end, however, the dandelion with its globe of white softness reminds us to welcome change and to let the wind carry us where it will. And, of course, that sometimes it's better to help out a flower than to worry about the weeds.
Kittens and puppies are keepers of a great secret. One of these little furballs can't catch a few winks without being crawled on, snuggled, and cuddled by his sisters and brothers. Before you can say "cat got your tongue," a writhing mass of felines has become a warm, contentedly snoozing pile of kittens. Next time you feel lonely or down, think of a pile of puppies or, better yet, find your sweetheart, your kids, or a few of your closest friends - and cuddle up into a pile.
The mystery of the bellybutton is in it stealth trapping abilities. As soon as you feel immaculate, there is bound to be a teeny, colorful nugget of lint hiding in there. Your first impression may be "Ew!" but, really, bellybutton lint is kind of funny. It's fluffy and soft and everyone gets it, even millionaires and astronauts. We could all take a hint from bellybutton fuzz (which is, after all, the silliest of lints) and take ourselves a little less seriously.
Fluff that collects under your bed and behind your desk is cuter than you think. Dust bunnies only do their hopping when a strong breeze blows or the broom comes out of the closet, and don't have long ears or cotton tails. They may seem like ordinary dust, until you change your perspective. According to author Robert Fulghum, these little puffy "bunnies" are made of you and me and stardust. And, if you can't buy that, well, dust bunnies make great cat toys.
What are your favorite and fun fuzzy things?
Friday, July 20, 2012
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Besides the hanging bird blocks, I use terracotta saucers to put peanuts for the jays and dove mix for…the doves. Recently I had noticed that within the group of doves that use the saucer there was one timid little female that rarely got anything other than the unwanted leftovers, which in reality wasn’t great stuff. Refilling the bowl only brought the "bullies" back to chase her away.
Wanting her to get her share, I set out a special little bowl, far away from the others, and filled it at the same time. When I went to check to see what may have occurred I found my sweet little dove sleeping in the dish set out just for her. The others were happily eating from theirs, leaving her alone. And it is hers… I noticed today that she was defending it, getting braver, less timid- she even chased away one of the jays!
i have named her - Takara- meaning precious treasure
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
This meal is so simple that it really doesn’t have a recipe. Steve one day just put some things together and ended up with a huge summer meal favorite. I love the look and taste of this dish; it is elegant enough for guests.
5 spice SeaBass with Grilled Bok Choy and Lemon Orzo
This is the best I can do for a recipe:
2 baby bok choy per person
Chinese 5 spice
1 c. orzo – uncooked
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 tbls olive oil
Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon rice wine on each fillet, then sprinkle fish, about a teaspoon per side, with some Chinese 5 spice; gently rubbing onto fillet; let sit for a few minutes.
Meanwhile; cut baby bok choy in half and sprinkle with a small amount rice wine. Mince/chop fresh garlic and sprinkle onto the cut side of the bok choy.
Grill fish and bok choy (cut side up so not to lose garlic bits) until cooked and serve with some Lemon Orzo. Orzo is a rice shaped pasta and cooks very quickly.
Lemon Orzo- cook per package directions, drain and stir in the zest of one lemon with olive oil.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of childhood into maturity.”
Bringing out the “Peter or Pamela Pan” in you is as necessary to our health and healthy living as eating and exercise. We need to let our Inner Child come out and remind us of the joys of youth and re-energize ourselves. If you haven’t looked for or found and nurtured your Inner Child, now is the time, let their energy bring back that youthful healthy glow that we all once had and can feel again.
Here Are 10 Ways To Find Your Inner Child:
1. Expand your 5 senses. Look at all the beauty that surrounds you. Take time to observe sunrises, sunsets, stars, moonlight, and nature. Listen to bird calls, children playing, trees rustling, happy music, and people laughing. Smell the aroma of food, flowers, and bubble baths. Touch finger paints, sand, the garden, and a baby’s small pink feet. Taste life.
2. Sing Silly Songs. Singing a song out loud is good for you. It is an aerobic activity that increases the oxygen flow in your body, and reduces stress. The lyrics you choose can effect your emotional well being, so grab the karaoke and make up a song. Remember, if you can’t sing well, sing loud!
3. Watch a lot of animation. Animation is engaging, filled with color and positively delightful; a terrific medium to affirm, enrich, and collect experiences that make you forget about the seriousness of every day life. Few things can touch your heart at the speed of classic Disney.
4. Go to children’s places. Family, friendly, and fun-oriented places for children are great stomping grounds to find and feel your inner child. Places like zoos, children’s museums, and parks all reflect a diversity of childhood behaviors that can trigger feelings of enthusiasm and emotion that may be missing in your daily life.
5. Create a concept board. Think about what your ideal childhood would be. Browse through child-friendly magazines or websites and cut out pictures or ideas that represent the perfect childhood. Maybe it’s a pink bedroom, toys, books, or Disneyland. Glue your pictures onto a poster board so you have a visual representation of childhood, filled with imagery and words to capture the child inside of you.
6. Play with children’s toys. When a child plays it is hands-down one of the most important activities to learn about people, the environment, and to be creative. Children have an amazing amount of energy and imagination. Toys play an important role in helping us become imaginative and confident adults. Take time out from being an adult and choose some fun toys to rediscover your inner child.
7. Read children’s literature. Children’s literature offers frivolity, colorful characters and an author’s message that can quickly capture the essence of childhood. Whether it’s a journey reading The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, The Westing Game by Ellen Rasking, or a fairy tale, you can discover great principles of life by devouring children’s literature and feeding your inner child.
8. Play games. Whether it’s video games, boardgames, or hide-n-seek, you will find everyone’s inner child comes out to play when games are introduced into a setting. There’s something magical about abandoning your inhibitions and reliving the memories of your own once upon a time.
9. Look at photos of childhood. Photos invoke a great deal of emotion. A picture’s worth a thousand words, and maybe a million memories. Even if your childhood was a cold oasis absent of laughter, you can use other people’s images of a happy childhood to cement your own thoughts of roller coasters, hot dogs and cotton candy.
10. Have a Happy Un-birthday. Birthdays represent milestones in our life. What is your idea of the perfect birthday party? Tons of presents, attention, a huge cake or a quiet gathering with friends and presents you’ve picked out? Whatever image you have in your mind, make it happen with a “Happy Un-birthday to You” and recapture the celebratory spirit only a birthday party can bring.
Monday, July 16, 2012
A few years ago discovering your “Inner Child” became a popular self-help learning tool for many, especially those who had experienced a trauma of some kind when they were a child. It helped repair that “traumatized” child within. I was one such person and in my early 40’s was introduced to the healing of your “child within” and in all honesty… it really did help me heal and grow in many ways as an adult. I occasionally forget to stay connected with that beautiful little girl inside and have to take a moment to sit back, say “Hello,” and play.
Deep within each of us lives the child we once were. For most of us, our inner child lies hidden beneath the layers that we've put on in order to become adults. In our rush to put on grown-up clothing and live adult lives, we may have forgotten the wisdom and innocence that we possessed when we were children. In meditation, we can connect with our inner child and reclaim what we have forgotten.
You can start by finding a photo of yourself as a child that you can look at for a few moments. Sit in a relaxed position, close your eyes, and start taking deep breaths. Set the intention that you are going to connect with your inner child. Wait for an image of yourself as a child to appear in your mind's eye. See your grown-up self hugging your inner child. Listen to what your inner child has to say. Perhaps your inner child wants to give you the answer to a question that you've been mulling over. After all, you never needed to look outside yourself when you were a child to know how you felt or what was true for you. You always knew the answers. There also may be an ache from a childhood wound that you can now heal by talking to your inner child and offering them the wisdom and perspective that comes with maturity. Or maybe you've merely forgotten how to see the world with childlike wonder and hope, and your inner child would like you to remember how. Tell your inner child that you love them and will keep them safe. Embrace your inner child and tell them that you are always there for them. Allow your inner child to always be there for you.
Connecting to your inner child with meditation is a very useful tool, but you can also connect with your inner child even when you aren't in meditation. Treat yourself to a play date, ice cream, or a walk in the park. Let yourself laugh and play more. Give yourself permission to be as wise as your inner child so you can stop focusing on what isn't important and start living as if every moment is precious. Your life will be filled with more laughter and fun.
(healthy living: tuesday~ 10 ways to find your Inner Child)
Sunday, July 15, 2012
thank you Fizz at Bernese Mountain Dogs @ Berntoak for giving me my first award for this blog. Fizz is Jesse's long distance welsh sweetheart who lives in England with her mummy. both Fizz and Jesse's blogs are fun to follow and have many friends who post back and forth. there are some rules that go with the award, such as passing it on, which I will do at a later date when my cast is off and I have my thumb back-i am so ready-ha!
thank you Fizz & her Mummy
p.s. a link to Fizz's special page on jesse' blog
Posted by margeaux
Friday, July 13, 2012
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
This is a super simple and superb tasting meal that is a favorite for us. Tart Seville orange juice mixed with herbs and spices makes the Esabeche paste, a seasoning mixture used in Mexico' s Yucatan region. Since Seville oranges aren't generally available in the U.S., we substitute a half-n-half mixture of orange juice and white wine vinegar.
This recipe can be used for a whole chicken, just the breast, or our favorite, thighs. Then grilled on the barbeque; this can be broiled in the oven as well. We also leave the skin on to retain moisture and flavor and remove it after cooking -if you desire.
Prepare escabeche paste. Pierce chicken all over with tip of a sharp knife; the rub paste all over chicken --pushing some under the skin. Place in a dish, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until the next day.
Grill skin side up first, turning occasionally until meat is no longer pink.
Menu ideas… last night we made it weekday simple with boxed Mexican Rice and canned Chipotle Corn. Anything that goes with Mexican flavors and chicken can be your side dishes. I sometimes do the El Polo Loco style; fold the chicken into a tortilla with some black beans, avocado, and onions- steve adds jalapeno peppers. Use your imagination and have a tasty fun meal. The paste is also used in Spain with rabbit, pork and fish.
in a bowl, stir together
in a bowl, stir together
8 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed;
1 teaspoon each ground allspice, cloves, cumin, coriander, and coarsely ground pepper;
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon;
1 teaspoon oregano leaves;
1/4 ground red pepper (cayenne);
2 tablespoons each orange juice and white wine vinegar.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Here are some great ways to beat the heat as we approach a summer that promises to be HOT.
Head to Cooler Climates
Place Ice Cubes on Pulse Points
Create a Rice-Sock Ice Pack
Steamy summer nights can make for awful sleeping conditions. Stay cool under your sheets with an easy-to-make rice-sock ice pack. Simply grab a sock, stuff it with rice and put it in the freezer for a few hours. When sufficiently cold, place it under the covers with you. Rice retains the cold for long periods of time, keeping you cool.
If your schedule and finances are flexible, the best way to survive a heat wave might well be to escape it. Head to a cooler climate and bask in the lower temperatures. Places Americans might want to consider? Banff, Canada, where summer highs average 70 degrees, or many spots well south of the equator, where you could find yourself in the midst of a winter chill.
Eat Spicy Foods
Ever wonder why people living in some of the world's steamiest locales, like India and Thailand, often eat super-spicy foods? When we eat spicy foods, we sweat. When we sweat, our bodies cool down. During a heat wave, load up on red chili peppers and other devilishly hot foods and condiments like jalepenos and hot sauce.
Eat Your Melons
It's important to stay hydrated during a heat wave, and one tasty way to do so is by eating water-based fruits, such as watermelons, cucumbers and grapes. Be sure to chill them for added effect.
Stop Fanning Yourself
Many people try to cool off by fanning themselves. It may seem counterintuitive, but fanning yourself actually requires energy, making you even hotter. Instead, sit still and relax for as long as possible.
Take a Cool Bath
Fill a bathtub with cool water and allow yourself to soak. This simple act will lower your body temperature and cool you down considerably. After resting in the tub for a stretch, drain out some of the water and refill with cooler water to continue the refreshing soak.
Place Ice Cubes on Pulse Points
In a heat wave, ice isn't just for keeping drinks cool. Fill a glass with ice cubes, wrap individual cubes in a towel or plastic bag, and place it directly on your pulse points, your body's quickest cooling spots. Easy-to-find pulse points include your wrists, neck and inner elbows and knees.
Avoid Alcoholic Beverages
Sure, it's tempting to indulge in an ice-cold beer or frozen cocktail during a sweltering night, but it's not really going to cool you off. In the long run, alcohol dehydrates you, just like the heat. Avoid temptation and stick with flavored water or juices to stay hydrated and cool.
AND…. Drink lots of water. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it may be the most important way to survive a heat wave. To get the most out of your beverage, add a few sprigs of mint to your glass. Mint creates a cooling sensation, making the water taste even more refreshing.