Sunday, August 30, 2020
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
How has 2020 been for you? If you are still alive, have a roof over your head, food in your belly, and friends and family to call - then I'd say you're doing pretty good. The rest is just window dressing.
2020 has been a difficult year for some. I've not taken the time to make a bunch of posts on the blog this summer. I have written a hundred different things in my head, even as drafts - then deleted them. Let me say it one time - I believe in equality for all, but don't believe all get it. I believe in personal responsibility and honor to my surroundings (human, animal and otherwise). I believe that we as a human race can do better for ourselves and our planet. But I also believe in reasonable goals and acknowledge that it may take many lifetimes to continue towards a peaceful world. Forward progress is still progress. If you look back thru history, we've come a long way - but we still have more to do!
So how does that really affect Books N Brew? I've stayed as a silent witness to many situations this year. I usually will not speak up in a crowd as I don't like being bullied. I don't like confrontation very much and would rather walk away then blow up and say some pretty vicious things which I may or may not truly mean. This right here is my platform. I don't accept ads for this site, I don't accept endorsements, so I answer only to me. I choose this space to be free from bullshit or drama or hate. This is just me, my food, my reading, my friends, my family, and my ideas that are put out to the blogosphere. Maybe it will reach someone, maybe it won't. This is a therapy to me to get my words out. You can read them, you can scroll on by. That is your choice in life.
You may be wondering what's been holding me back. Why haven't I written about this before now? One word? Anger. I was so angry at the mob mentality of people that I was seeing online, the social warriors who became bullies to others who didn't believe as they did. I was angry at people I know pushing others, calling them names and bullying them for not acting out (sorry, bullies of all kinds are not tolerated here). I was overcome with anxiety just reading news articles about our local and federal governments - not knowing if my job or my husbands job would be secure in the next few years. I was dealing with swirling emotions as I was staying home, working from home, isolating from family and friends and seeing the "I don't Care" or "I" culture folks who only care about themselves, laugh about being quarantined with too much time on their hands. I have been disgusted by folks who viciously attack those online when they ask basic questions. I am tired of people not being courteous as well as I am tired of people not taking initiative and using the correct resources to research their questions. My heart hurts when people choose to rant and rave about another person / business but make no efforts to talk to the person and or business and try to bring the issues to light. It's too easy to become inflamed over perceived slights when it could very well be the other party has no clue why you are so upset. What boggles me the most is that our American society has become so self-centered that it's almost unfathomable for many to even think outside of their comfort zone.
Remind yourself (yes I know it's hard) that others do not have the same experiences as you do. Try to look at a situation from the other side's perspective. It's okay to get a little angry at a situation, but don't let it fester. It's okay to feel anxiety or depression, but if it is stopping or limiting your daily activities or you have a major attack - it's also completely normal to have a chat with your doctor about it. These feelings and emotions don't make you "crazy", they make you human. Acknowledging them is the first step, not ignoring them is the next. We all need a time out sometime and fresh perspective from time to time. Those are my thoughts, my rant and rave for the summer.
As for the good parts - due to me working from home, the dog has had lots of attention (he's a bit co-dependent now), we got chickens (post coming soon!), and even though we've had too much rain in the spring / early summer, the heat finally showed up! Our tomatoes are now setting fruit, zucchini are pushing into giants, and the best of all, we figured out a way to turn our annual Gumbo house party into a Drive-Thru party!
If you take away anything from this post - let it be some hope that others are out there feeling just the way you do. Try to find one positive thing and hold onto it. Then take that little bit of light, and let it shine for others to see.
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Covid19 has changed our landscape, our present, our immediate future. It has brougt the realization that most folks were not as prepared as they thought to ride out 3 days, a week, let alone the 6 weeks that our schools and other places / events gatherings will be closed.
I have thought long and hard about this. I come from Irish_Americans, and this is just one life lesson we have always known. There comes a time in history when the world becomes smaller - that people need eachother. This is one of those times.
I would never have called myself a prepper - the term that many of the doomsday preppers - the time when they all thought that shit would hit the fan, i don't have a bugout bag or a cache in the woods. But I've always believed that we should be prepared in life for any emergency. I buy an extra bottle of shampoo when it is on sale; same goes for laundry soap, paper towels, toothpaste, coffee, flour, beans, coffee creamer. My husband is now more surprised when I forget to pickup the one extra spare than when I come home with a trunkful and a smile.
You see I grew up on stories of the depression from my grandma. She would say the her father would give milk to neighbors from their cow, as her father used to say "the cow doesn't know it's the depression". I could never understand why she would freeze a half cup of gravy and mashed potatoes - in a glass jar. It was a just in case measure. Most people who squirrel things away, try to use them before the next season. Too much of this and the effect then becomes a hoarding situation. I try to not be a hoarder. If I'm not using it, then I don't need it and out the house it goes!
Practicality is something that I see lacking lately. Logic, reason, common sense, self reliance, and due diligence. These are qualities we all need to focus on, as well as empathy, compassion, selflessness and grace. Be grateful for what you do have, and if you can help in any way, do.
I placed my new seed order last night. After I do some kitchen prep, my plan is to head out to the greenhouse for the annual end of winter cleaning event. My lettuce is sprouting in the cold frame. My garlic is popping up, and the leeks are looking fabulous! I need to pull weeds and dig out the raspberries, transplant the strawberries.
The world will keep turning on it's axis, no matter how you handle the reality of the world with covid-19 threats.
Soon the fear and worry of the world will ebb - for now tensions and the unknown are high. But I have faith in humanity. I have faith the communities will come together to support eachother. But mark this on the calendar - this will be a pivotal point in history much like 9/11 and even Columbine. You will define history as before and after. Before covid-19 you may have taken for granted being able to purchase such basic supplies without fear of running out. It may not cause such devastation, but it will cause a ripple affect and like all other world wide events, will bring out the true nature in others.
My advice to anyone reading this - take a deep breath. Look around you. Be thankful for what you have. Take an Inventory of your own self, your surroundings, and make a list. Do you have enough for two weeks? Are you being selfish in our needs? Can you make do with less? Can you learn to adapt? What is your worst fears, how can others help ease those fears? Can you help others ease their fears? How can you show more compassion in the days ahead?
Unfortunately when compassion is most needed, greed and scammers come out full force. Watch out for your neighbors - please be careful who you gift money to. Instead gift items like books, food, offer to do a load of laundry, and make sure you validate the source of the monetary request. Look back thru history - these times are when the rich get richer by buying up stocks and weathering the storms. And the shady folks thrive in the face of uncertainty.
I choose hope. My garden will soon be blossoming - and it's my hope to share it with you over the next few months.
Blessings and peace,
Saturday, February 22, 2020
Saturday, January 25, 2020
Sunday, January 19, 2020
This weekend I knew I had to make a choice of those steps. Instead of one, I made two! Two 5K races, both which benefit local charities, and both which are on road/trails in my area.
Why a 5K? My doctor even asked me that question. I feel it's due to the accountability of paying an entry fee. I don't like to waste money. I can also work up to it over time and I know that some folks that enter are the same boat as myself. I may never be first, and even if I came in last I know I will finish. That is the goal - completion. With my short legs I have to push to complete a 5K in under an hour. It sucks to get passed by someone in their 70's with long legs!
But my dreams / goals cannot be obtained with just exercise. In order to help reach my goal, exercise is only one part. I've been diagnosed with Familial hypertriglyceridemia. Basically it's high triglycerides (fat in the blood) without having high total cholesterol and passed down thru genetics. Supposedly it affects about 1% of the population (yay me). While most of the time people can control it with diet and exercise, there comes a time that extra help is needed. For the last 10 years I've tried statins, omega 3's, niacin, and a combination along with diet and exercise. I've tried limiting food groups, removing food groups. My numbers are still high, so we're trying a new drug and 3 month diet limiting foods with saturated fats and cholesterol and increasing exercise. We've already made some minor changes, swapping out things like plant butter instead of dairy butter or oatmeal in place of breadcrumbs for meatballs!
I am 1 month in of my 3 month goal. During the winter months I struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. It is very common for those of us in the Northern parts of the USA. It's gotten worse for me the last few years but this year I have a plan. Treadmill walking 3 times a week, day of yoga, day of weight training, a rest day, and a reading day. Couple this with dietary changes, and playing with the dog more, and the satisfaction of completing not just one, but two 5K's and keeping a gratitude journal.
Next up, the dietary swaps I've made - and what recipes are getting thrown out.
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
There have been so many changes over the past decade. I've gone from a single gal with a cat in my one bedroom apartment, to a married woman with a great husband and a dog in a country setting. Missy Kitty has passed on, but she left a big impression on our hearts that Sauk the Destroyer fills most everyday.
We've lost family and loved ones, friends, and have said goodbye to what seems simpler times (just by seeing the technology evolve). But we have gained so much more than just trinkets and material things. We've gained family, friends, new jobs, new skills, gained knowledge and perspective. But above all else, we have each other.
As I look forward to this next decade (and man by that time I'll be 51!), I try and think to myself - self, where do you want to be? How do you want to feel in 10 years? What if you could tell your 31 year old self ONE thing that you know now, that you had wished you had known then? Let me give you a minute to think on it. I'm going to do that myself...
I had to take longer than a minute. It's a hard question. If you changed the past, you wouldn't be sitting where you are today. And neither would I. But, there is something I could have done, had I realized that time was limited. If I could write a letter or a cookie fortune that would have hit me in a time that I needed it - it would say that. Time is limited - Spend it wisely with those you love.
My one regret of the past decade is not spending more time with Grammy. Grammy passed on at the end of 2010, and in that year I did not get enough visits in. You could say I was super depressed having just lost my dad. I fought it and hard, but weekends were spent sleeping. It was when I started this blog I started to come out of my fog. I spent more time with friends, I threw the epic St. Pats feast, I threw an awesome Cajun feast, spent time fishing with friends, and I met my husband. After that meeting, I went and saw my Grams. I told her I thought I found my one. She smiled. It's that smile and even her smirk I miss most on this day.
Thinking of now, what would I wish my 51 year one old self would tell me today? I know time is limited. I try and call and visit with my mom and sister and her kids as much as possible (living 4 hours away with a mountain pass between us). I feel connected via social media platforms to other family members afar. We have great local friends who we see and embrace those friendships like a warm blanket. We host a large gathering every year and in that moment - when everyone sits down to eat, to consume what we've put heart and soul into; and wander about our grounds to see what new things we've done to our place - is when I feel content.
I think my older self would tell me two major things. One is that the health changes that I am focusing on this year - move more, eat nourishing foods, shifting my mindset and refocusing on positive thoughts, and to let go of stress and drama - are my top priority and will lead to a fruitful decade of life. Due to some health issues, if I don't turn it around, or at least start the U turn, the next decade after this could be daunting.
The second is that forgiveness - even of those who don't deserve it - is about your own peace of mind. Forgive those who trespass on you or have done so in the past. Let old wounds heal, scab and scar over. You don't have to put yourself through pain to heal, but write them down, toss them into the fire and let them go. Take one step toward a better you by forgiving others, as well as yourself.
So if you are reading this - take a moment to think of one person that you may hold away from yourself. Maybe they were were unintentionally mean or cruel - with words, actions or indifference. Change your perspective and try to think of things from their point of view. Don't cast blame - don't think of the hurt that they caused. Don't let their words continue to cut you down. Forgive them for they may not have known how deep they hurt you. Forgive them for they may also have been facing their own demons. Forgive them because it's good for you to do so.
Take three deep breaths (hard for me to do right now without coughing) and let it go. Only you have the power to not let them continue to harm you. Holding onto hurt and anger only hurts yourself. In the grand scheme of all things - it's just better for you to let it all go and focus on the positive and let those hurts be life lessons.
In the last 10 years there have been many folks I've forgiven from afar, some more recent than others. One in particular comes to mind. This person was a part of my life in so many aspects. I was hurt by words, by actions, by indifference and after a long while of saying nothing - I let it be known I was hurt. Afterward, instead of throwing a tantrum I left the situation so I did not feel like I was a pawn in the middle of a chess game. I forgave the person in my mind almost immediately, but I needed distance. I don't choose to initiate interaction, and to this day - they've not done the same with me. I hold no hate or any grudge for this person - even though they seem to still make it difficult for those in mutual circles. I only hold love of our fond shared memories - and wish them nothing but good fortune.
There are others with minor trespasses that I've forgiven - but not forgotten. Those I'm still working on letting go 100% - but I won't allow any hurt or pain to hold space in my mind or heart.
My little slice of heaven does not have room for grudges and hate. Our gardens blossom due to time, attention, love, a little luck, patience, and a lot of perseverance.
My way doesn't work for everyone. There is no right path to happiness - and some folks will always just be miserable. You gotta find your own happy! I have and am looking forward to spreading it in the next decade!
Finally you may wonder what is in store for Books N Brew going into the second decade! More books, more reading, more cooking - and using food as fuel to help my health journey (more on that later), and more overall happiness and wellness from our little slice of heaven!
Just keep this in mind for 2020 and beyond. Your future is not yet written. Do something today that will honor your past, be present, and prepare you for the future. Take one moment each day - look around you and see how blessed you truly are.
Blessings of light, joy, love, and luck,