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Moving out

I thought I would be continuing here for travel posts but I remembered my other blog should be continued for this sort of matter. Please follow our adventures at Driving on Jenny’s Pancakes! Here is the link: http://drivingonjennyspancakes.wordpress.com I started it two years ago when we left Bar Harbor after graduating.

Last night was a little raucous. We moved out of our house and had a going away party at N’s parents apartment. About 25 people came, there were margaritas and burgers and as always Kool and the Gang. Drank too much, but loved every second (worth it once in awhile still), and making sure to fuel up with hot water and lemon, B12, and green & antioxidant-rich smoothie this morning, we more than managed to go back home to clean the toilets, floors, walls, oven, fridge, basement, etc. One final trip to storage and by the afternoon we were DONE. I’ve been exhausted and on and off crabby ever since. Doing all that packing and moving and carrying kicked my butt coming right off of crutches, but I am very proud of myself and it whipped me into better shape.

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Tonight will be low key and I’ve warned everyone I might let my head fall in the dinner plate. They asked if we should have soup then or a bowl of mashed potatoes or… I don’t think it’ll be comfortable no matter what. Maybe lukewarm macaroni and cheese would be alright (not that I’d get that in a million years) or a pie. In any case, food-face or not, sleep will be long and welcome and tomorrow I have a long list of things to do before we head out.

Please head over now to my other blog! I’m sure it’ll take a few days to post things, as we will be camping and internet-free mostly but read posts on other travels if I can convince you with pictures (although my writing from even a couple years ago makes me cringe. Ex. Notice how many times I say “this”)

I’ll make sure to post another photo here if I do end up falling asleep in my dinner.

YT, JS

 

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5 Traits of Resilient People

I’m in bed and can’t go to sleep. With only a few days left here my mind is buzzing with anticipation. I got up and did something I do a few times a year: paint. I’m finishing a painting at the last minute – tomorrow I’ll pack the little bottles up. But now, back in bed, not interested in the energy required to follow the fantasy fiction I’m reading, I grab my computer. Major faux pas, I know. The bedroom is for sleeping! Don’t cross that line! You’ll ruin the energy! True. But I just want some distraction. Enter my daily dose of Huffpost Healthy Living. 5 Characteristics of Resilient People. I come across articles like this all the time but usually skip over them because I want to be a resilient person but I don’t want to do the work. Similarly I ignore the Mindful Eating articles because they all tell you to stop eating before you’re full and I kind of think on pasta night I should live life to the fullest next to an endless bowl of (gluten free of course) noodles.

But I really want to be resilient. Already I’m doing a fairly good job, but there is a hell of a lot more room for improvement. My recent challenges were not necessarily temporary, so I’m in need of long term attitude adjustment.

1) Practice mindfulness – the art of paying attention. Monitor the thoughts that come through. Observe vs. react. Ex. Is this feeling ever going to go away? Enter fear. Or…impartial curiosity? Pay attention to what’s right in your life. Turn up the volume on the beauty that surrounds us. Realize we are part of an amazing recycling program.

2) Don’t compare yourself to others – Essential. There is infinite potential to be jealous of other people. Whether you want a lover, better health, ease, clothes, looks, whatever – it’s out there to want. Presently I spend an embarrassingly amount of energy and waste a lot of mind space on comparing my lack of fitness to the uber athletes of Colorado. But, and I like this, “realize that every soul has a different journey and therefore it is pointless to compare the path of your life with someone else.” And this is where you say “Yes, but…” but don’t. Keep it simple. We do all have a different journey – so different that we are all uncomparable. Noncomparable. Whatever, spellcheck. But continue to improve yourself. Just because you have a unique journey and no one else matters in this respect, don’t give up on who you could be.

3) Understand that after every setback is a transformation – Nothing ever would change if we weren’t challenged. We misunderstand setbacks as these big bummers but can you imagine how boring life would be without these interesting turns of events? Bleh! Forget that! And, it’s so true we come out stronger. I still think I’m a sissy pants and that’s why I’m reading this article in the first place but I used to be an even bigger sissy pants so I’m grateful for these challenges to whip me into shape.

4) Laugh ;P Sometimes, especially in hard times, you have to actively look for opportunities to laugh. But, along with characteristic #1, Practice Mindfulness, you’ll notice there’s always something goofy going on. If you’re really stuck, watch the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine says MAYBE THE DINGO ATE YOUR BABY!

5) Let go of trying to control your life – There is definitely a wind that blows that pushes us about, leading us to this and that. The best we can do is put up our sails, keep our eyes wide open but soft and unafraid, and trust that this is going to be a good ride, no matter what.

Goodnight,

Jellyflower Sunfish

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Back from Maine and Goodbye Crutches

What does weening off of crutches mean to me? Full speed ahead to the kitchen! And with less than 3 weeks left of living in our Colorado home (and being on the go more or less for the next 2 months), I couldn’t be more inspired to bake and cook up a storm every day.

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There are three tasks:

-Focus on and use up odd ingredients in the fridge and pantry (ex. rock hard dried apricots, 1.5 bag dried coconut, hemp protein powder, ALL the gluten free flours, and funky grains)

-Tackle recipes I’ve been too lazy to take the time in reading how to really do them (ex. chocolate without dates – see below)

-Spend LESS money on groceries! We’re in budget mode people. We were always supposed to be, but now it has become real and in our face that where we’re living August-on is double our present rent, and we’re road tripping all July and have no idea how that’s all going to happen with me being unable to digest BEANS….ugh. But did that stop me from spending $9 on asparagus last night? Granted, I didn’t realize it until she wrung me up but mostly because you gotta eat asparagus.

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I’m allowed to walk without crutches now so it is a freakin’ GOOD day. Already life is so much easier, being able to carry things in 2 hands, or even 1 hand is an improvement. I’m using one for longer distances than across the room but that’ll last only a few days. It’ll be a long road to a more complete sense of recovery, but the hardest part is over. Now: strength train like never before, and bake and cook to my heart’s delight.

Raw Chocolate: 2 flavors

1/2c Cacao Butter (or half and half with coconut oil)

2T Maple Syrup (Honey didn’t mix for the first batch)

4t Cacao Powder

Pinch Vanilla-Infused Sea Salt (Or: salt + vanilla bean innards)

Extras: 

1. Goji berries & Finely shredded dried coconut

2. 1/4t Maca & 1/4t Mesquite

3. Freshly grated ginger

Carefully melt cacao butter in a double boiler. Take off heat, stir in sweetener, vanilla bean if using, salt, cacao powder. Divide in 2 bowls if making too I mean 2 flavors. Then do your thing. I used  little peanut butter cup shaped molds and parchment cups here, but you can do anything. Pour in the liquid chocolate, then refrigerate until you can’t bear it anymore (1-2 hours really). 

And I celebrated walking with getting new walking shoes. They are so funny! I am living the opposite of barefoot runners! My physical therapist said they look silly but when I laid my eyes on a pair I was like “score!”. Magenta and hot pink. The craziest cushion you ever did see, and they’re mine. http://www.hokaoneone.com

Eat chocolate, and be good to your hips.

Yours truly, Jellyflower Sunfish

 

 

 

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This evening, with time alone to think, a wave of what can simply be called feeling sorry for myself took me over for a bit. Thoughts summed up as this is not the way it was supposed to go. Four surgeries, too many moves, no job, no real path, no new friends made in years because of the other things. Zoom out: and I’m comforted by this: Some people get a later start than others.

I feel like the gun went off and I took off running, I tripped, got up and tripped harder, got up and tripped even harder, over and over and over again. And it happened so consecutively that I didn’t get 5 feet past the start. Thinking of typing up my resume again for our move to California makes me nauseous. How did I manage to be this person? Many people, especially in their twenties, feel lost and like they haven’t gotten anywhere. I thought determination and energy could get me out of this lot but I seem to be the shining star of it.

But. If there were to be a God, let’s call it a Nature Force, I imagine this NF waving a magic wand over the planet. Each of us has free will but the wand is cast over each of us as well. I know which things that were under my control got me to where I am today and I know which things have been subject to the wand. Damn that wand! Give me a freakin break!!!!

Thinking about this NF is calming however. I’ve been embracing misfortune as just that: a stroke of bad luck. But one step further is I’ve been embracing stuff as just that: a stroke of this and that. It is possible to simplify the story of your life. See it as a canvas. NF throws some paint and other stuff at it, and us, the canvas, reacts – chemically, mechanically, emotionally, psychologically. (Can’t you just imagine the canvas reacting?)

dandelionCheck this canvas out. The earth created the Rocky Mountains, these ominous clouds, this lush field and it’s dandelions. Man put up a fence. The scene is interactive. We surrender to what we see.

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late, or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Yours Truly, Jellyflower Sunfish

 

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Day 1 Again

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This was my big outing today: the 10 steps out the door and onto the sunny deck! Once I got there I was too tired to stay barely any longer than taking this picture but let me tell you I AM SO HAPPY! Yesterday I had my right hip labrum repaired and, fingers crossed tightly and magically, this is the beginning of a more full sense of recovery for realz. The surgery went very well. The remaining tissue was enough to not have to make an IT Band graft, so 10 points to that. And therefore I was not straddled and pulled over a pole (something like this: http://www.mizuhosi.com/products/orthopedic-fracture-trauma/hana-ssxt/) for as long which saved my back and prevented my vajay jay from going numb for the next month like last time! 10 points to that. AND my Mama Bear is here all the way from Maine and her soothing motherness has obviously been – well there’s nothing like having your mom there when you’re sick or hurt. Countless points to that. NC is here helping me in the middle of the night get on and off the toilet, bless him. Points, points. 40 likes on facebook from people – so kind. 3 bouquets of flowers. Endless glasses of water, cups of tea, and bowls of watermelon.

So, feeling like a lucky ducky.

YT, JS.

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Modifications From Childhood Part II

My dad used to make creamed tuna on rice: a sauce of (I think) milk, white flour, onions, and canned tuna over white rice, with peas of course. I’m sorry Dad if I ever complained about this humble meal because you made it so much but thinking back I loved it! Yum! So yesterday when I got a rare hankering for tuna I knew what to do: attempt a Jellyflower Sunfish version.

COCONUT CREAMED TUNA AND RICE

Creamed Tuna:

Olive Oil

Most of the can of Coconut Milk

A bit of Tapioca Starch (I’ll try a different gf flour next time just to see the difference)

Whole Red Onion

4 Cloves Garlic

Generous amount of Smoked Paprika

Peas

Salt

2 Filets of Tuna (Be considerate of what kind and the source! Check out: http://lifespa.com/5-safety-rules-eating-fish/

Rice:

Brown Rice Cous Cous

Chicken Broth as the liquid

Kale

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We had this served with roasted balsamic carrots and watched The Wolf of Wall Street. Terribly long and disturbing movie!

Last fancy meal before surgery! Yours truly, Jellyflower Sunfish

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Mesquite and Lysine

I usually screw up smoothies because I put too many things in it, trying to drink my supplements, so I’m finally cutting down a little to find the flavor in my breakfast. This morning’s was good enough to share!

Lysine Smoothie

Water

Strawberries

Banana

Coconut Butter

1t Mesquite Powder

1t Chlorella

3 shakes of Trace Minerals

1/4c Chia

mesquite

Now I didn’t say it wasn’t weird. That’s still a lot of things, but they all have their place. I’m going to talk a little about Mesquite powder. This is not a BBQ smoothie. It doesn’t come from the hardwood used for grilling. The superfood powder comes from the pods of the plant. It’s kind of sweet and nutty. It is a source of lysine, iron, manganese, zinc, calcium, and potassium. Lysine is the inspiration for why I started taking mesquite. Lysine is a necessary building block for all protein in the body. It plays a major role in calcium absorption, building muscle protein; recovering from surgery or sports injuries; and the body’s production of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies.

But the exciting thing is it’s been shown to help combat herpes simplex infections, for example helping to prevent and treat cold sores. There is a hypothesis that lysine inhibits herpes activity, while another amino acid, arginine, promotes it. Unfortunately there isn’t loads of proof to back this up (a few studies), but it’s worth it to at least try to keep your ratio of lysine and arginine anti-outbreak. To give you an idea, fish, chicken, beef, lamb, milk, cheese, beans, brewer’s yeast, mung bean sprouts and most fruits and vegetables have more lysine than arginine, except for peas. Chocolate, coconut, oats, wholewheat, peanuts and soybeans have more arginine than lysine. ARGININE IS AN ESSENTIAL AMINO ACID TOO! It plays an important role in cell division, the healing of wounds, removing ammonia from the body, immune function, and the release of hormones. So we’re certainly not trying to avoid it! But the ratio of lysine to arginine is something to keep in mind when you have cold sores. 

The more effective way to prevent cold sores is to manage your stress and maintain an overall healthy diet. Make mental notes of what happened in the prior week to an outbreak. My triggers are extreme stress, drinking too much and eating too much sugar (which are also extreme stress to my body!), and of course just catching a regular old cold. While we can’t always be perfect and can’t always keep our stress down, it is SO helpful to at least become more aware of the cause and effect mechanisms within our bodies.

I am eager to try mesquite powder in baked goods. Supposedly it lends a sweet flavor and you can use it as half your flour mix. I’ll post when I do (if it comes out alright!). This weekend is Dandelion Day in our little mountain town. They made it our town flower years ago to promote awareness and protect the poor little weed from nasty chemicals! So I’ll be experimenting with how to bake with dandelion root powder – stay tuned!

Yours truly, Jellyflower Sunfish

 

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Thoughts and Then thoughts of rhubarb

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I realized why loss of body function is so hard – I mean, beyond the physical challenges. If you are an active person, or an athlete, if you will, you probably strongly identify with your activities or your activeness. And when you lose your ability to be active and perform these activities, who are you?

This became apparent yesterday because our mountain town is hosting a film festival for films about inspired, push-it-to-the-limits active people who are living the life surfing, climbing, skiing, biking, running, etc. And for those of you who this resonates with, it really is considered the way to live for you. I didn’t realize this was how I wanted to live until about 18/19ish. Slowly but surely I was converted to the hyper-active lifestyle, hungry for adventure and determined to use my body. I got the climbing bug in 2006 and loved it more than I’ve ever loved anything, and then I hurt my shoulder and never went back. And then it was hiking, road biking, yoga and dance, and each time I got more limited from injuries I found something else. It didn’t take long until I was pouring myself into walking, haha! Seriously making it my sport. Until I couldn’t do that anymore….

So at this film festival I was surrounded by adventurous, fit young adults, high on their active lives, and I became miserable at the weirdness of knowing I am like them but I can’t be. But what is this misery about? It’s because I had identified so strongly with these things, and thinking I was this kind of person – not the other kind, that to be pushed out of my box left me questioning who I was left with with myself. And here lies the lesson: that we need to be flexible in life. Something may happen that changes you so much that you don’t know where your feet stand, so can we adapt and live life fully and happily on new grounds? When you lose an external thing that makes you happy, can you realize that happiness actually came from within and it can be found again, and has nothing to do with the stimulus?

It’s less than 3 weeks now until my next hip surgery. My spirit is – well I don’t want to say quite broken, but it’s dull colored, and kind of a mush lying on the ground underneath a stormy sky or something. It’s a long time until I can really walk, and an even longer time until I can hike, and a depressingly long time until I can do something hardcore adrenaline rush (the goal is surfing since we’ll be on the west coast). And I get really down thinking that my life is nothing right now. A whole year down the drain. But I know that’s not actually accurate, and so the trick is to look more simply: who am I and who are you? One that exists. Breathes. Mind. Observes. Heart. Feels. This, and more simple stuff, is the definition of living. It may seem that all the stuff in those films is really living and that being in your pjs watching netflix is not. But the bare bones of both is the same. It doesn’t matter.

So now I try to keep my perspective simple. Today I made strawberry rhubarb cobbler (see below!). I cried. I sold Rhonda the Honda ❤ <3. I did physical therapy. I reflected. And tonight I’ll make dinner and I’ll probably watch Harry Potter (5/8 baby). The bigger picture makes me feel like a loser but I’m living all the same. And this proves we can’t judge people for their lifestyle choices. Of course we all have our things that make us feel ALIVE, and we can compassionately wish that others may find this. And we can try and find it for ourselves. But in healing, when we have attributed this alive-sensation externally and begin to lose our full hearts, remember there’s a life parallel to this world – the unchangeable Self, the constant, the spring of satisfaction that dwells within.

And remember, it’s April 25, and it’s time to dine on rhubarb stuff!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler

5 stalks rhubarb, tough bits cut off, chopped in small bits

16oz or more of organic strawberries, halved

1t cornstarch

1/4c maple syrup

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1c oats

1c flour (I used brown rice, buckwheat, and sorghum)

1 1/2t powder

1/2t or less of salt (I am using more and more salt by the month!)

4T coconut oil

1/4c pomegranate molasses 

1. Toss rhubarb and strawberries with cornstarch and syrup (the first 1/4c if you’re using maple syrup  throughout). Place in greased up glass baking dish. Bake 15 mins at 400*

2. Mix flours and oats and powder and salt. Then mix in with spatula or your hands the oil and molasses/rest of syrup. Spread evenly on the fruit mix when it comes out, then throw it in there for another 15 or more mins.

3. I really want to have this with homemade meyer lemon coconut milk ice cream but I’ve been eating too much dessert, so this is for breakfast people!

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Enjoy, love and peace. Yours truly,

Jellyflower Sunfish

 

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The beginning of strawberry recipes

I just had an epic night. I’m paying for it now,  but it’s worth it every once in awhile! I MADE myself go out. It had to be planned, and dinner needed to be early enough that I wouldn’t feel drawn to the usual pajama and tv life. By the time 7 rolled around I was in a sour mood. These injuries have their moments and yesterday I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. Also necessary every once in awhile. But I followed through with the plan because I knew there was no chance of recovering without some serious distraction.

Usually our little town is happenin’ on Fridays but dead on Saturdays. So it was a pleasant surprise that the local hangout was packed with smiling faces. There was a good band and everyone was there. We made some awesome new friends and once the bar died down we were drawn into another place with perfectly cheesy dance music that makes you question it for 1 second but then it’s literally impossible to stop dancing for the next 2 hours. Someone pulled a chair into the middle and I danced pumping my arms around for the entire time. My shoulders are killing me today! Everyone was so supportive that I choked back tears – half the people didn’t know why I was sitting on a chair in the middle of the dance floor but they welcomed me full-hearted and it was a beautiful experience. We fell asleep to the ringing in our ears from hell.

I made a healing chicken soup (I keep forgetting that I need to do more for food as medicine for my poor hip) that was very simple but perfect for pre-gaming. And this morning I woke up, wanting to strangle my yesterday-self, but followed through with the plan: Strawberry Quinoa Muffins. Sustenance. So here they are!

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Chicken Soup for the Spirit

1 Whole Chicken (4-5lbs)

Broth: 14 cups water

1 onion

1 Whole head of garlic

2 Carrots

3 Stalks of Celery

Handful dried Shitakes

1t Whole Peppercorns

1 Stalk of dried Lemongrass

2-3′ Fresh Ginger

Soup: 1 onion

3 Carrots

4 Stalks Celery

2c Kale

1c Mushrooms

1 Red Bell Pepper

Grated fresh ginger

1t Salt

1t Red Pepper Flakes

1/2 Head Cabbage

1/4c Herbs (I only had tarragon)

1. Throw Chicken and Broth ingredients in a big pot and simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours.

2. Take chicken out and strain everything. Put broth back in the pot, throw in the soup ingredients, and cook for another 30-45 mins. Tear apart the bird – get every bit! And then save the bones (ziplock bag in the freezer) for the next broth.

3. Serve, eat, and feel good about yourself.

Strawberry Quinoa Muffins

2  1/4  c GF flour mix

1t power

1t soda

1/2t salt

1t Five Spice

1/3 c cooked quinoa

1c thick Coconut Milk

1/4c Maple Syrup

1/2c melted Coconut Oil

2 eggs

1 lemon’s zest

Strawberries!

1. Mix dry. Mix wet.

2. Dry + Wet + Quinoa + Strawberries.

3.  Bake in parchment paper muffin thingies at 400* for 20 mins.

4. Cool for an unfortunately long time before removing from tins or else they’ll crumble like crazy (obviously deal with one crumbling so you can eat it within 10 mins)

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YT, JS.

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Shakshuka and Corn Muffins

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I had a protein shake at 5 so I was nervous I wouldn’t want dinner but HA HA HA now it’s 7, things are in the oven, and I’m so excited to sink my teeth into Shakshuka and Corn Muffins! My only concern is did I make it too spicy? I’m such a baby so 1/8t cayenne might have been means to ruin it! (later: it didn’t)

Ok, dig it:

Red Quinoa Corn Muffins

1c cornmeal

1/4c corn flour

1c cooked red quinoa

1T powder

1/2t salt

1c coconut milk

2 eggs

1/4c olive oil

1/2+ c cilantro

1/2t chipotle powder

1. Mix dry

2. Mix wet

3. Mix all together, then quinoa and cilantro

4. Bake for 30 mins at 400* in parchment paper muffin thingies

wet muffins

 empty muffins

Extra Veggie Shakshuka

1T olive oil

1 onion

1-5 garlic (do what you want people)

1 golden bell pepper

1c finely cut kale

1c small florets broccoli

2 14oz cans diced tomatos

2T tomato paste

1t chile powder

1t cumin

1t smoked paprika

pinch cayenne

5-6 eggs

parsley

 S&P

stovetop

1. Saute onion until soft.

2. Add pepper, broccoli.

3. Add garlic and kale.

4. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and spices, S&P now or later (remember we are obsessed with Maldon finishing salt).

5.  This is where it gets silly. You could simmer it for a bit, then add eggs, cover and simmer for 10-15 mins on stovetop. But I like the idea of baking so I baked it in with the end of the muffins, plus 15 or so, so maybe keep checking it after 20 minutes in there.

And then go make someone get a bottle of organic cabernet sauvignon at the very last minute.

shakshuka

Yours Truly, Jellyflower Sunfish