Ok, I’m just gonna keep it real. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about who I am, my purpose in life, and am I fulfilling who it is I am? Pretty deep questions, not sure of the answers, as life is a mystery and there truly are so many unknowns. However, I did have this idea I would like to share.
Several years ago when I was commuting for work I used to listen to Dr. Laura on the radio. I always remembered this one caller that had an issue with her boyfriend. She continued to explain her situations and Dr. Laura said a brilliant thing- that to this day has stuck with me. She told the caller that when they were stressed they always took their frustrations OUT on each other instead of WITH each other. This is interesting because she said that couples (could apply to any kind of relationship really) who share their frustrations have better relationships.
So after sharing my thoughts with my husband he said something really profound (he has a way of doing that). He said these kind of “feelings” come up because its the ego’s way of protecting itself- it doesn’t want to see change, its comfortable and stuck in one place. Ego comes from a singular place and can run our lives if we don’t learn how to get past it (or sometimes simply ignore it!). So these frustrations/challenges are the egos way of “keeping us in check”. This was an awesome insight and just had to share with you. Have you had a realization/Ah ha moment you would like to comment on?
There’s nothing quite like Fall. It’s always been a favorite season of mine. Cooler weather means sweaters and boots, changing colors in nature, good books with tea, pumpkins, delicious soups, movie nights and Halloween! Here’s a list of things were planning this Fall:
1. A visit to the local pumpkin farm is always a must. Our favorite is Peltzer Farms in Temecula to play, pick out pumpkins and watch pig races!
2. I’ve always wanted to host an Oktoberfest Celebration (chock full of sausage and beer) with friends and neighbors. My inspiration is here
3. Make this and use up the last of the cherry tomatoes in the garden
4. How fun does this giant DIY Jenga game look?
5. Visit the Whaley House Museum in San Diego for a spooky good time- a real haunted house!
6. Riley’s Farm for apple picking. Super fun for families. A yearly tradition for us
I would love to know-what’s on your Fall to do list?
One of my favorite aesthetics of Japanese design is in the garden. In a traditional Japanese garden, design emphasis is placed on the balance of yin/yang, harmony, mystery, and meaning. Here are some of the fundamentals in Japanese landscape design:
1 Gravel or sand- “Karesansui”-which in Japanese, translates as “dry mountain water”. This style of landscape is meant to be viewed but never entered- except for raking and maintenance purposes.
2 Rocks- Each selected as a work of art and it’s shape, color, texture, and character are carefully considered.
3 Plants- The seasons dictate which plants to use. Each plant is selected for its leaf colors, bark, stems- even branch pattern. Asymmetry is the goal.
4 Water- Represents change. It represents impermanence: it flows. A stream, pond, lake or even just a simple granite water basin creates ambient sound that’s conductive to meditation.
5 Paths- Paths are meant to guide you through the garden and are constructed in such a way that a visitor must move carefully and slowly through the garden.
So yesterday I made this simple little Jerk Shrimp Salad with Kiwi Vinaigrette. It was pretty tasty. I got rave reviews from the family on the shrimp and my husband told me I’m like a restaurant. I’m pretty sure he liked it. Anywho, here’s the recipe if you like a super fresh, tasty salad. Bon Appetit!
You will need:
2-4 cups of raw shrimp (thawed)
2 tbsp. Jerk Seasoning for shrimp
4 cups of baby greens (or any type of greens you desire)
1 avocado-cut into chunks
1 bell pepper- chopped
1 english cucumber- peeled and sliced
4 kiwi- fuzzy skin removed
1 shallot- minced small
1 tbsp. Red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. Olive oil
cracks of pepper
Season Shrimp with salt and jerk seasoning- set aside. Remove fuzzy skins of kiwi, mince shallot. I used a small food processor to puree the kiwi but you could mash them too. Then add kiwi puree, shallot, olive oil, red wine vinegar and cracks of pepper to a small jar (shake up all the ingredients- this is the vinaigrette).
Next, get all the veggies chopped, prepared for the salad and plate. Heat up the grill (I use my Staub grill pan- this thing is pretty awesome). Cook shrimp thoroughly. Add vinaigrette to the salad, then shrimp.
p.s I get my Jerk seasoning blend from a great store- Spice Merchant in Temecula, Ca. Jerk seasoning consists of brown sugar, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, mustard, nutmeg, ginger, mace, thyme, chili powder and cayenne powder.
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends: they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” Charles William Eliot
Books have always been a companion for me. These are books that have a special place in my heart. They have been pulled down from the bookshelves over and over again. My little paper treasures…
Rain of Gold- Victor Villasenor
This book was a gift from a Villasenor family member, who is also a wonderful friend. Victors work is colorful, passionate and deeply poetic. Having met him on several occasions, his gregarious personality is larger than life and his language and spirit is a feast for the soul and heart. His storytelling begins with his family’s journeys in the time of the Mexican Revolution. It is a tale of struggle and triumph, as well as a beautiful story of two young lovers.
If this is a man, the truce- Primo Levi
The true story of Primo Levi’s own internment in Auschwitz in 1944. In this book he chronicles the everyday life, challenges, struggles and heartbreak. In spite of the horror, Primo Levi lived through it. Perhaps his wish in writing years later was to illuminate the dark and painful times and struggles, helping us see that there can be light at the end of dark.
Wild: From lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail- Cheryl Strayed
I picked up this little gem after reading highly recommended reviews about it in a magazine. From the title you might expect this to be a hiking guide. This is a memoir. A true story of a young woman coming to a cross roads in her live after making many poor life decisions. Her struggle leads her to nature (the Pacific Crest Trail) to regain herself back. Her writing style is personal, raw, honest and courageous. Her story truly remarkable!
Diary of the way- Ira Lerner
This book also happens to be my husbands most cherished books. Beautiful pictures throughout. Written in 1976, it covers the lives of three artists:
Yukiso Yamamoto- a Rodokan in judo before starting his path, nonetheless in middle age, in Aikido. Even well into his 80′s, he still did Aikido. He is my hero! His belief was: “Be diligent when working, and playful when playing. Many are skilled at their labor, too few well-versed at play.”
Lily Siou- practices herbal medicine and acupuncure. Here she stresses living in balance (yin and yang), treating disease naturally and keeping the chi (energy) alive and well. She says “Man arises from nature, and gets along most effectively by collaborating with nature, rather than trying to master it.”
Andrew Lum- a teacher of Tai Chi Chuan he talks of societal conflicts, ways of centering oneself through physical movement and meditation, thus reflecting a centered mind.
Essential Dogen: Writings of the great Zen master-Edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi and Peter Levitt
Many years ago I had the priveledge to meet and attend one of Kazuaki Tanahashi’s shodo (calligraphy) courses in Claremont, California. “Kaz”, as he liked to be called has translated many of Dogen’s philosophy teachings into books. He has been Dogen’s “voice”. This book is a collection of Eihei Dogen’s teachings. Born in 1200, he was a visionary, poet, writer, scholar and leader of a spiritual community. His introduction of Zen makes him one of the most widely read and studied Buddhists. Here is a delightful excerpt: “Mindfulness and a respectful heart on each moment are applied in daily activities including work, interaction with others and cleansing ones body. Practicing and living in this way helps us to clearly see, understand, and value what is right before us as none other than the wholeness of life itself.”
The Cooking of Japan-Time Life books (out of print)
I picked up this cookbook at an antique store years ago. Whenever I see high quality Japanese items I have a tendency to buy. This book, from 1976 is a lovely cookbook. It is said that the Japanese “eat with their eyes”, presentation is key and this book proves that to be true. Stunning pictures, recipes and an in depth look into Japanese culture and traditions.
The Illuminated Walden- Pictures by John Wawrzonek
The content of this book is composed of essays by Henry David Thoreau, one of my favorite humanists along side the photography of John Wawrzonek. The picures were all taken at Walden during the seasons. It really is a special book. Thoreau talks of his time at Walden- “I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much more over and above my usual allowance.”