Thursday, May 14, 2015

courage and magic

I've read that some people in Chinese culture believe that courage is stored in the gallbladder. I have lost my store of courage. One day there was excruciating pain, the next morning I was in surgery.

I have had the most bizarre experience of my life. I'm physically better but I'm still dealing with a fair amount of emotional shock, the shock of having something so suddenly yanked from my body. Twice now in the last five years I have gotten to this hospital and have had something of mine taken out of my body. First it was my child, this time it was my gallbladder.

I'm not sure where life is taking me now. This week has been about recovery and tiny little attempts to get back my life. Today I drove the Jeep. Tomorrow I may not leave the house.

Throughout the experience I tried to take moments to make some sense of it. But between pain meds and an appalling impersonal hospital experience, there is almost no place to begin.

Just last week I was talking to a friend about the need to rest. Why is it that mothers only rest when they are ill? This was not the mother's day gift I had in mind.

I missed the biggest meeting of my co-op career. I cancelled our well-deserved vacation to the north shore of Minnesota. 

Nonetheless I was well hydrated.


Last week I was on top of the world, soaring through a number of dreams come through. There were things manifesting in my life that I had asked for years ago and I was seeing many of them come alive: marvelous growth of a friendship, career paths suddenly opening up in front of me, a terrific cooking class, intense love with my husband, spring. This week is something else entirely.

This morning I woke from a really nice dream with a smile on my face. In the dream I was riding my bike. I felt the wind in my hair and I realized that I live a charmed life.Then it hit me. Magic needs power and that power took a toll on my body. I completely depleted my stores of courage and magic.

If I had to do it again, I wouldn't change a thing.

Well...I'll do everything but gallbladder surgery I suppose.

Read More »

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Hail and Marys

We decided to come back from the 4-Acre Wood early because I heard there was a storm coming through, possible a severe storm. I didn't expect the marble and golf-ball sized hail that started to come down just after we made the bloody marys.

We ended the day with a rainbow and sunshine and a low county boil. All of which were most satisfying.

Happy May!

Read More »

Thursday, April 30, 2015

weekend photos

I have to give a speech tonight at a Co-op event so this week's energy was consumed by that anxiety. I'm actually very excited about it but there is always a certain level of anxiety involved before these events. I didn't have to help plan the event this year which relieved some of the stress. But I still have to show up and speak.

So just now getting around to posting these photos which I also posted on Instagram. I'm always so late to the newish things! While it is easier to post to instagram when I'm out in the woods, I'm dealing with this new problem of whether I should post to my blog or to instagram. Feeling lucky to have these kinds of first-world problems.

Read More »

Thursday, April 23, 2015

hunger satiated

If you know anything about me you know that I am hungry. I am hungry for great food and I am hungry for community. Put the two together and you end up with a very satiated Lotus.

A friend of mine from the co-op (who is also a former board president and great mentor while I take on the role) invited me over for "test kitchen" night. She and the co-op's cheese buyer were preparing some food items to feature in the upcoming newsletter that will focus on dairy and cheese. Another co-op staffer who also happens to be a great poet and photographer was invited over. So I asked my foodie friend to join me. It was a night of cooperative friends working on the cooperative newsletter. A night of wonderful community!

First up: the wine. I'm not much of a wine drinker and that night I realized the reason is because I'm rather bored with wine. That night I was introduced to a sort of wine I've never had before. This one was sour and dry. Everyone else informed me that I was the only one tasting the sour and that's fine because I loved it.

Next up: cheesecake, specifically Italian cheesecake. I need to pause for a moment to say that I am lactose intolerant which is why I brought my foodie friend because I knew that she could make up for my not eating much cheese. Yet I found myself eating cheese that night. I paid for it the next day but the experience was well worth it.

This cheesecake was light and fluffy, not dense at all.

That's my friend Jeff! He took the final food shots, while I took the in-process shots. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they plan to use both sets of photos in the newsletter. That night there was also a turkey meatloaf made with cheese curds and a salad with toasted pecans and blue cheese. I've never liked blue cheese and I discovered that's because I've never had good blue cheese.

Speaking of blue, it was a wonderful to see these flowers bursting up from the ground all over the yard!

Lingering thoughts from that night:
*Community is easy to find when there is food involved.
*Cooking and photography are so much better when done in a group.
*As board president at our local co-op, I think a lot about bringing in new Owner/Members to the store. Some of the food items found in the co-op can be intimidating, cheese for example, especially if you come from a culture that does not eat much cheese. Or a big variety of cheese. The goal of that night was to feature some recipes that would appeal to the general population of NE Minneapolis, not just the foodies or adventurous eaters. Therefore turkey meatloaf with cheese curds.
*I sound uber snobby when I  mention I am bored with wine, don't I? I don't mean to. I should mention that I was super excited a couple of summers ago when I had a rosé for the first time. Yep, just a plain old, ordinary rosé.
*Hunger of all forms can be satiated if I take up the opportunities that come my way.
*The photographer brought one of those bright garage cone lights. Awesome cheap lighting hack!

In the next few months I hope to write more about the local cooperative movement. Due in part to Minnesota state statutes, the Twin Cities has a vibrant cooperative community. I don't expect to be board president much longer (perhaps another year if I am re-elected) so I want to take advantage of being in the middle of this intentional community that has much to offer this great state and the nation at large.

Read More »

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Holiday complications

Holidays are complicated in this family. Easter is a good example. Dave was raised Lutheran but no longer wishes to pursue that faith. I was born a Hindu but raised by an engineer so I'd say maybe raised atheist in a way that rejects rituals rather than deities. But it is more correct to say that I was left to defend for myself, find my own sense of meaning. As a cultural and religious orphan, I reserve the right to choose the best from the world's religious practices. We think a lot about how to instill upon our daughter a sense of spiritual gratitude, stewardship, and compassion for those around us. Yes, it's a bit complicated but also simple.

I realize that the complication comes mostly from the fact that many of the religious holidays in the States is flooded by consumerism and sweets, both of which we wish to limit. So while Dave talked very little about what Easter means in a Christian faith, he ramped up the idea of an Easter basket loaded with candy. Whereas I emphasized the crafty aspect of dying eggs. We argued a bit over it and my need to limit sweets won out. He took most of the various Easter candy into the office.

Then we went to Easter brunch where the Lutheran part of the family mingled with the Catholics resulting in a strange recitation of the prayer before eating (not the prayer itself, it was the family dynamics). Strange because most of the people at the table had the prayer memorized, while the others seeking to pray in a different way stiffened their shoulders with discomfort. All the while, my little family looked about with amusement and curiosity. And then that was over and everyone dug into ham, turkey, salads, potatoes, etc. Eventually bunny ears were put on and everyone (excluding our daughter) began to drink. Heavily. I should add alcohol to the list with consumerism and sweets.

After a bit whiskey (believe me, I held out for an hour or two) we returned home and I asked for the meaning of Easter. He wasn't able to explain it to me without frustration. That is my issue with some of these holidays observed in his family. The adults are pretty much unable to share the meanings with me because they interpret my misunderstanding as disdain. They assume I don't respect the tradition but really, I just want to know more since I come from total lack of tradition in this area.

OK. Now's the time to fast-forward to the next weekend when we were able to drive to the 4-acre wood and engage with our own little tradition: scattering the the dyed eggs amongst the trees.

It's all about starting and maintaining our own traditions right? We began doing this when the little one was born. It engages our respect for the woods in an annual ritual sort of way. And it is fun.

Daddy, the belated Easter bunny!

I suspect that the eggs drew the fox into our area. It's just a guess but also a way to explain the boon of having a fox around to chase away the woodland mice.

While our holidays are complicated about our varying approaches the importance boils down to our ability to share time together out in the woods, just the three of us, giving thanks for the abundance in our lives and the love in our hearts. Love for each other and for our environment. Thus making me feel like anytime we get to spend in the woods is a holiday.

Ain't nothing complicated about that.

Read More »