Be free-floating, allowing the situation to surround you, and be in it. Take in the full surroundings, including the temperature of the water.
This may bring incredible clarity, presence and focus. This is what is means to be a jellyfish.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Music Monday! We Jamming!

Boy, did I jam.
For the past week I have knocked out gobs of jam.
I have even had days where I made 2 batches in one day!
(which is a lot harder than it sounds, especially when you are making at least a batch a day.)
With still plenty of mangoes to do more.
It is why I haven't blogged much lately.
I have been too busy cutting mangoes and measuring sugar and squeezing limes and mixing, and mixing, and, mixing, and mixing.

Jam. And plenty more to make more.
And of course I made some juice too, so jamming and juicing.
So it should be no surprise if asked what I have been up to, well, JAMMING mon.
Thus, there is no other song that has been going through my head.

I found this video that also has the Spanish lyrics, which me encanta!
(Have I mentioned I want to learn Spanish? I do. But that is another story. )

Cupboard Full of Jam. 

Ooh, yeah! All right!
We're jammin'
I wanna jam it with you
We're jammin', jammin'
And I hope you like jammin', too

Jam on, mon!
Oh and if you would like to purchase some wonderful mango jam, please contact me!
I need to sell some of this, can't possibly give it all away.
I will ship too.
Plus, I need to replenish my jar inventory, so let me know if you would like to buy some of this sweetness.
I was told by a cousin of hubby's that it was the best mango jam he has EVER had. And he has tried them all, so he says.
How's that for a compliment?

I wanna jam it with you
We're jammin', jammin'
And I hope you like jammin', too

Monday, August 5, 2019

Music Monday ~ It's the End of the World As We Know It BUT I Don't Feel Fine

It has been very hard for me to blog lately.
I have started writing, thinking it would be therapeutic, but then it just hurt too much.

It started really with a big life change, a sudden instability, uncertainty in my life.
About 3 weeks ago.
Then, a random terrible thing about 2 weeks ago. (A garbage truck smashed into a parked vehicle of ours in front of our house. Cue fighting with insurance company, about the worst thing to have to do.)
Then a certain uncertainty. My life was truly upended.
I was raw, hurting, lost. I just could not bear even writing about it.
About anything.

Then hubby showed me the news.
Last week it was the environment.
Las Vegas and the grasshopper swarm, Greenland's Ice sheet melting.
Biblical levels of scary shit.
My nerves were fragile. I really could not bear writing.

Then, the shootings.
Last week, California was terrible.

Last Saturday, El Paso was horrific, I was glued to the TV in shock.
I even sent my kids each a message about it because I started worrying they would just be at the store and encounter such senselessness.

Then, slightly recovered when I went to bed, but then wake up to Sunday's monstrous shooting in Dayton.
I was on the verge of tears yesterday, seriously questioning:
I just can't even write about it now without feeling a sense of hopelessness for this world.
I am terrified for my children.

I started singing this song back when it was just the environment freaking me out.
A slight addition of whimsy to the conversation we were having at the time.
It kept playing in my head for days.

It's the end of the world as we know it
(It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it
(It's time I had some time alone)
It's the end of the world as we know it
(It's time I had some time alone)

But seriously, it IS the end of the world as we knew it.
This is a different place that I grew up in, a different place that even my kids were born into just 20 years ago.
I didn't have this fear for their future when they were little. 
But I do now. This is a terrible world, where people have ruined the environment, and the culture.

Sorry for this doomsday rant, but this is the toned down version.
I have written this 3 times, stopping when the panic and tears were smashing in.
Today, this toned down version will do.
My hopes are that things will start to improve, all around. I am ever the optimist.
You all know that, if you ever read this blog before or follow me on Facebook.
Always looking for the sun through the clouds, so to speak.
Always seeing the positive, or way through.
But lately, that has been hard. So much hate, so much scary shit, so much to get through.

I am sure I will be back to my motivational self soon. I will be fine.
What choice is there really?
As hubby says, get over it.
He does not like the pessimist me. I can't say I blame him.
So here's to hoping this week sees some positive shit.
Happy Frikin Monday.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Weekend Musings ~ More Kitchen Busyness

Along the lines of healthy eating, fresh herbs from the garden, and keeping busy in the kitchen, I am sharing some further busyness I have had in the kitchen.

First, we found these GREAT herb cutting scissors. If anyone shares my dislike of chopping fresh herbs, these are for you. Lots of cutting edges with one cut.
THE BEST herb chopping scissors
I always had rosemary pop across the counter when I chopped it with a knife, and it felt like it took forever to chop the mint and basil, and to get the leaves in line for cutting a whole other struggle.

These scissors make it, dare I say, fun to chop up, or cut up, the herbs. Gather herbs and put on the scissor blades and cut. Then keep cutting. I lay the scissors on their side and keep cutting the pile of herbs until it gets the desired chopped-ness.

I think I go a little crazy these days with using the herbs and cutting them up. I do it nearly every other day. But what yummy results!
Tomato Cucumber Salad, with fresh cut herbs

This is tomato and cucumber salad. So much better with fresh cut herbs.
(Yes, the cukes look yellow but that is from the Badia Sazon Tropical I used.)

Another project in the kitchen ~ hubby had decided to give up Diet Coke and needed something else to drink. (though this was short lived it turns out). I had been trying for years to get him to drink water, and give up the cokes. But he doesn't like water, which is, well yeah there is no flavor! But, he would stand for bubbly water, and settle for adding flavors to water like Mio's. That gets pricey and old quite quick. So we had this brilliant idea, make iced tea!
Sun Tea to be exact.
Perfect for Sun Tea
I honestly don't know why we didn't think of this sooner. Well, we had the idea for Sun Tea, but of course the day after we bought that awesome drink dispenser (glass), it was cloudy outside. No sun.
Tea Boil
So a stove top boil it was. It still worked, and lovely home brewed tea was then chilled, and the option to add as much, or as little, sugar as you like.
Home made Iced Tea
He did great for 2 weeks. No Diet Cokes.
But alas, it was not meant to last. He broke down and had one. Then of course that was it.
Off the wagon, and now there is more than one 12 pack of Cokes in the fridge.
But this weekend, if the sun cooperates, then more Sun Tea there will be!

I like spending time in the kitchen, when it is not urgent dinner, or required meals especially. And especially on the weekend where there is no rushing out the door in the morning, to return at the end of the day totally unmotivated.
I guess I should also write about those days, as I suspect I am not the only one who often feels like the kitchen is the last place I want to be, especially during the workweek.

Take-out happens more regularly than I like to admit during the week. (the staff at the Chinese place down the road know me by name these days, not just phone number. When I call now I say this is Rebecca and they know what I am going order. When I walk in it is like greeting old friends. They say 'Hi Miss Rebecca, how are you?' We chat about how busy it is or not busy, and the hard week or weather.. Old friends I see every week, sometimes more than once a week.....)

Weekends are so much easier for me to get my butt in the kitchen, and get busy.
No rush, no panic, no cooking while stomach is growling. (That is the worst, am I wrong?) 
That is when I enjoy being busy in the kitchen.

What busyness have you gotten into in the kitchen lately?

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Thursday Thought of the Day ~ What If?

If you are like me, I see all kinds of hypothetical pictures or memes meant to make us think, encourage, or help us be more thankful, or even provoke some emotions (good and bad).

I may even have shared some of these questions, as sometimes they do help us see things in a different way, help us examine things we may not have done before.

But sometimes, they do get tiresome. Or are even ridiculous. And sometimes we are just sick and tired of it all.

So I found this brilliant. What if there were no hypothetical questions? 

And now the loop of hypothetical questions is complete.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Weekend Musings ~ Herbs and Hot Peppers

I have been so lazy this weekend. Some would say that is what weekends are for, but after two days of lazing about - I took Friday off to get a good long weekend in with Monday being a holiday - this morning I was feeling like I HAD to do something.
I decided I just had to get a little bit busy in the kitchen.
Hot pepper vinegar ingredients, vinegar not pictured.
I got to cutting up some carrots and onions for our long planned hot pepper vinegar.
We have been planning it for weeks. We have what are supposed to be ghost peppers  - my MIL planted and then left with us to tend while she is away. They have been getting bigger and turning from green, to orange, to a deep hot red color.
Watching the hot peppers get redder and redder
We have watched as day by day the get redder and redder, somewhat anxiously. Ghost peppers are supposed to be the 2nd hottest peppers on earth. The  deep burning red hot color perhaps an indication that these things are dangerously hot. They don't have little tails like some ghost peppers we have seen, but suspect these will be just as hot. Perhaps my mother-in-law's (MIL) garden had a little magic going on ~ it has been known to happen with her peppers. Maybe cross pollination or something, but sometimes her 'seasoning' peppers have a little kick, and her hot peppers are not as hot as you would expect. But these, these seem crazy hot!
I suspect magical things going on, she has magic garden hands. She grows fabulous things.
Hot peppers - SO RED
A mention of putting some in a vinegar to preserve for her return was met with excitement on her part. Oh, and of course she wants us to save the seeds for next growing season, so the seeds had to be carefully extracted. I left the peppers for hubby to cut.
Ready for the peppers, then the vinegar.
Hubby knows how to cut to save the seeds, plus his tolerance for hot peppers is much higher than mine. One whiff of of him cutting these up, my throat burned and I had a coughing fit.
These puppies are HOT!
He declined using plastic to protect his fingers, brave man.
I moved on to basil and rosemary infused olive oil - though not together this time.
They each will got their own jar. Maybe next time.
Basil plant
We have a fabulous basil plant out back. Check this site for Basil 101, with a link to a heap of recipes and ways to use basil. I have come to love basil aioli too, so here is a nice basil garlic aoli recipe, Aren't we all a little tired of only making pesto with basil?

We also have two fairly small rosemary plants, one mine and one we are tending for my MIL.
Plant sitting this rosemary plant for MIL
There are so many uses of rosemary. It is great with almost any meat, in breads, and of course pasta sauce. Here is a nice article on the many uses of rosemary, including some links to drink recipes and even for using in beard oil!
My rosemary plant- in front of the pepper plant.
I actually got this from MIL so it is related to hers.
I have been wanting to use this abundance of good herbs, but I find it is hard to do in everyday cooking. Wait, I don't cook every night. Sometimes what I cook just does not call for these, and sometimes I just don't want to run outside to get some. Lazy hits me at various times.
I decided some infused olive oils would be perfect, as I use olive oil nearly every time I cook. It may add just the right amount of flavor to dishes that don't necessarily need the fresh herb.
I decided to just use the mason jars I have, rather than buy new glass jars for the oil. I still have so many mason jars from last years mango jam production, why waste money on more glass containers?
(Sorry, I can't believe I didn't blog about that mango jam last year! It was so popular, I got asked by 3 people this year for more. But sadly our tree did not produce like last year so I will be lucky to get one batch done. 3 of those jars apparently already spoken for.)

I got enough herbs today for one rosemary and two basil jars.
So easy! Add barely chopped herbs, then add oil. Let sit. Really, it has to be the easiest thing to do, and such good results. I made a small batch of basil infused oil a few weeks ago and have been using and it is great! Some recipes say to heat up the oil, but in keeping with the lazy theme, I am just doing the 'leave on the counter where the sun shines in' method.

Don't search herbs on Pinterest for inspirational thoughts and sayings, by the way. Unless you want the option to search for 'herbs for witchcraft'. It was a suggested search after typing in 'herbs'. If you are as curious as me, it takes you to some pretty interesting things. If I kept going, I would have been a witch by the end of the day.
At least I have my kitchen protected and safe from evil. I will let you know about the fortune.....
Basil plant - plenty to protect and potentially plenty of fortune.
A Sunday morning full of healthy plants is still a good day. Especially when I know the garden has lots of protection itself, in the form of lizards. They are a bit camera shy but I managed to get this one before he ran off hiding.
Garden lizard, I could not get any closer. The lizards in the garden area are camera shy.
We have plenty more peppers, too. By the time we are done, we will have way too much hot pepper vinegar.
Finished. Not bad for a Sunday morning. Now the only ingredients left are time and sunshine.
I think I am going to infuse some oil with hot pepper too, and maybe even try a relish or a salsa. There are options, but with the heat of these, it will be interesting to see how edible these things will be.
Still a bunch left to use and to turn red.
So many hot peppers. A little goes a long, long way. Seven are still green! So we have plenty!!
What else could I do with them all? Hmmmmmm

If you have any ideas for hot peppers, basil, or rosemary, please share!
(I really don't want to have to resort to hot pepper spells or carrying around basil in my purse.)

Monday, June 17, 2019

Music Monday! The Ocean

I asked for suggestions, and a great cousin of hubby's said she was listening to Led Zeppelin yesterday.
This request led to an evening of the band for me and hubby last night, and nearly all day streaming the band at work, until I found one that spoke to me, that fit. This one does, more or less.

But seriously, so many good songs to choose from. So many!

So many that brought back memories of my brother. He was the one who first introduced me to this band. Through his closed bedroom door. He was a musician, a true connoisseur of good rock music.

So many hubby had stories about. He knows stories of the band members, and he introduced me to The Song Remains The Same movie. If you have a couple hours, check it out! It is worth it, I believe.
The concert was at Madison Square Gardens, this video a part of it.
They put on a great show, excellent musicians.
And, story from hubby, Robert Plant didn't even realize he was rubbing his fingers through most of the concert, he was in another realm, if you know what I mean. But what a concert!
I know I am late to the Led Zeppelin fan club. But I am certainly a fan now.
Perfect for listening to all day, the variety of songs is amazing.
(and no, Stairway to Heaven is NOT on my favorites list from them!)

But this song, The Ocean, well it is great and it fits.
Even though ~ "The ocean is a metaphor for the "sea of heads" faced by lead singer Robert Plant "in the auditoriums", according to the group's biographer Dave Lewis" 

Since I just spent nearly every weekend over the last six months training in the ocean, with a great race last weekend in the ocean, and the song mentions mountains, where I lived before here, and has a classic Led Zeppelin riff, well it was a no-brainer really.
This song is epitome of a Led Zeppelin song, and a great song for Monday. What better way to start a long week ahead? A great song to get the riff stuck in your head.

Thank you to cousin Su, for without your suggestion my Sunday night and Monday would have been so blah. Instead, it was rich with great music and memories and stories. Thank you.

Lyrics below from here, so you can sing along, though good luck ~
I believe no one can do as good as Robert Plant.

[Count-In: John Bonham] - "We've done four already but now we're steady
and then they went: One, two, three, four"

Singing in the sunshine, laughing in the rain
Hitting on the moonshine, rocking in the grain
Got no time to pack my bags, my foots outside the door
I got a date, I can't be late, for the high hopes hailla ball.

Singing to an ocean, I can hear the ocean's roar
Play for free, I play for me and play a whole lot more, more!
Singing about the good things and the sun that lights the day
I used to sing on the mountains, has the ocean lost its way.

I don't know.

Sitting round singing songs 'til the night turns into day
Used to sing about the mountains but the mountains washed away
Now I'm singing all my songs to the girl who won my heart
She is only three years old and it's a real fine way to start.

Oh yeah!

It sure is fine!
Ah blow my mind!
Oh when the tears are goin' down!
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

Ooh so good!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Weekend Musings ~ I CAN Still Race

What a race!
The Flowers Sea Swim, a very well done event, this year is the 27th year it has been going!
I trained a long time for this, since January.
All through training, I simply wanted to just be able to swim a full mile without stopping.
And at the start, I realized just how hard that would be.

But, after months of training, I knew I could swim that far, even if I did stop to get the mouthful of water out of my mouth, or massaged a cramp, or slowed to get a better look at the fish.

So the day came, and I wanted to swim it faster than I had in every training session.
I was excitedly nervous. The weather was beautiful, even if a bit hot. The ocean was calm and a few clouds gave us some relief from the sun sometimes.
Me and my numba! Never so proud to wear J16!
Especially after I got my number painted on me! I felt so good, actually, with that number on.
It was official now.
Now, I just had to stash my stuff - they had a shuttle to take our stuff to the finish line.
And warm up.
A few swimmers warming up.
At this point, just a few of the swimmers were warming up, and keeping cool, in the water.
Thankfully, the Cancer Society had a tent that offered FREE sprays of reef safe sunscreen. They really sprayed it on, and it made all the difference for me. I tend to burn quickly and with already damaged skin from years of abuse, so this was great!
Great offering of tents at the starting line, with sunscreen water, or just shade.
Plus, a tent for water or juice, even cokes if you wanted. But me starting to get a bit nervous, I was very glad for some cold water.
I wasn't nervous in the way that I wondered if I could do it. I was anxious to start. I was nervous about doing well. I was alone there, hubby dropped me off (wasn't up for the crowds and heat), and I didn't see anyone I knew. I never did this before, so wasn't sure how it would all play out. How do you get 900 people to start a race together??
Pre-race Jitters
So I turned in my stuff to shuttle, and then went in the water to warm up my muscles, cool down my skin.
Headcount, pic from 2018 Sea Swim
Finally, the swimmers briefing, then the headcount, then we entered the water. I was near the beginning of those lines so I had to tread water and wait for the rest of the huge group of swimmers to enter the water. All nearly 900 of us.
The chaotic start, from 2018 Sea Swim
What a chaotic start!
The horn blasted to start, and I had to anxiously wait until everyone ahead of me moved before I could even start. I could NOT move until they did, people everywhere. Lots of bumping, swatting, kicking, waves, splashes. Ugh.
It took a bit for the crowd of swimmers to disperse, but finally I had some room to really stretch out and swim. And swim I did!
I surprised myself as the urge to compete appeared out of nowhere. I was determined to pass as many people as I could, I pushed myself the entire time, stopping only if I was choking (inhaled a lungful of salt water) or about to swim in to someone.

And when the finish line appeared, a feeling I hadn't felt in 30 years kicked in.
The best sight to see in this type of race.
Volunteers waiting to give you number and medal.
The first race like this I have ever done ~ I learned so much:

  • I learned that NO ONE swims straight but me. (I tell myself these little lies to make myself feel better, I am sure I veer off to the right regularly) 
  • Because of swimmers that do not swim straight, but right in to you, I learned swallowing one mouthful of sea water is unpleasant, and takes some time to recover from.
  • I learned to GIVE LOTS OF SPACE to swimmers who were doing the breast stroke. Yes, I learned that after a swift kick to my, um, chest. OUCH!
  • I learned that the competition bug appears whenever you race, but in this swimming race I felt like I did 30 plus years ago when I was on the swim team. What a feeling!
  • I learned I have NO real concept of how far I swim when in open water in an area I have never been swimming. I really did not know how far I went, or how far I had to go until I reached the finish line.
  • I learned it is totally awesome to see a STINGRAY while you are swimming a race! And that this is a perfect reason to slow down a bit to get a good look, even if it does mean someone will then swim in to you. 

  • I learned what it is like to have a drone filming the swim stalk you. As my sister said it must have liked filming my butt, it seemed to hang around me for a long time. But, as said above, maybe it wasn't that long because I had no real concept of how far I swam with it stalking me.
  • I learned that the sight of the finish line brings out the desire to swim as crazy fast as you possibly can, and that you suddenly MUST overtake as many other swimmers as you can so you can finish strong, i.e BEAT THEM.

The finish line, these swimmers are the last ones, but they did it!

  • I learned how LONG it actually takes to GET TO the finish line once you see it when swimming.
  • I learned to enjoy the awesome feeling of coming in 327th out of almost 900 swimmers, when you thought you would be more like 500th.
  • I learned how SO good a pepperoni pizza is after a race, after not having had it for MONTHS.

My after race reward. I went back for a 2nd slice of pizza.
Yes, I am doing this next year. It is a great event, and perfect excuse, i.e. motivation, to train and keep in shape. To avoid pizza for months, to then enjoy it immensely after the race, all worth it.

From the little speech Kelsey Grammer gave (he is in the white shirt on stage next to the podium) he will be back for his 3rd time next year. (When I showed my kids this pic, they said, 'Who is Fraiser?' lol)
If I kept up with the Olympics, I would have recognized some of them who came this year too, but sadly I am not familiar with the group. Though I did seem them all. They were having a great time. See the full list here.
Star-studded stage. Well Fraiser studded stage.
(Sorry the pic is so bad, I was tired and full by this time, so I was not very concerned about pics.)

It was a great day, event, race. I know I am hooked now. The feeling of competition, of doing well, of having months of hard work and training pay off. I WILL be doing this again next year. Hoping to have hubby walk it too. Or at least have someone go with me. Because that was the only downside, I was there alone, plus I didn't win a raffle prize, so maybe next year. But, it was still a great event. And I should mention the swag bag was pretty decent!

 A good swag bag includes:
bag, water bottle, medal, luggage tag, little toiletry bag, deck of cards, mini towel
(tee shirt not pictured)
All for a good cause too! All registration proceeds this year will be donated to the Special Olympics Cayman Islands. Please check out all my links I put in here, there are some great sites to see and great causes to support.

The final results will be up in a few days, I can't wait to see my time.
Also, I would like to see if that drone was filming my butt.