Your Weekly Diversion, Week 31

IMG_0447

Photo courtesy For Arts Sake Boutique

Week 31. Just when you don’t think things can’t get worse, all hell breaks loose and people die. Then the spin machine wobbles, spitting out more crazy, and causing many to scratch their heads nearly bald. As a Buddhist, I was asked recently by a reader of this blog if I hate the president. I’ve been taught, as you probably have, to hate bad actions but not the actor. I said no, but sometimes I know I say that I do, so troubled am I by his demeanor, utterances, actions and incitement to anger and violence. It’s a process.

IMG_0458

Sign available from Rustic Decorating

What should we do with our negative emotions felt towards other beings, especially public figures who seem to be sending our civilization and the world hurtling toward mutually assured destruction? I practice Metta meditation daily, and sometimes, not as often as I wish, I remember to send it toward Washington. I also have used the 12-Step practice of praying for those towards whom I feel resentment for two weeks, three if necessary, until the resentment eases. I offer thanks to the person who reminded me through that question that I have a spiritual obligation to exercise the practices I know. Both Tricycle magazine and Lion’s Roar have run features in the past eight months offering Buddhist perspectives on this very dilemma.

IMG_0453

So, first distraction right here! Do you know your Ayurvedic mind type? Check this out to learn more.

IMG_0454

Graphic courtesy of Devon Hosford

Organic or not? Fooducate explains that for the most part, organic is better.

Smiles are very good for you. They’re great to see and great to get, and wonderful to give. Some say smiling is healing. Here’s an exercise from Karl Duffy that really works.

IMG_0457

Photo from stoffy/Reddit

Animals provide wonderful examples of joy in action. Portraits of dogs at the beach illustrate my point. And this video of a bunch of dogs, and a cat, enjoying a swim is exhilarating to see, and “Happy” by Pharrell makes the perfect sound track!

 

Namasté

img_0154

 

Your Weekly Diversion, Week 30

IMG_0438

Photo courtesy of Julia Webb, flickr.com

This is Week 30 of my chronicle of changing times, except I’m not really doing that, just offering a brief general observation, followed by interesting diversions to edify my readers, as they have edified me.

IMG_0444

Sylvia Boorstein, photo from onbeing.org

This week’s observation: as we are stunned by the “fire and fury” and “locked and loaded” off the cuff blurts spewed Eastward and globally to our collective potential peril, it helped me to read what Karl Duffy posted this morning on his daily Mindful Balance blog, a quote from esteemed Buddhist teacher and psychologist, Sylvia Boorstein, starting with this:

The line from the Dhammapada, a compilation of sayings attributed to the Buddha, that seems the best expression of wisdom, is: “Anyone who understands impermanence, ceases to be contentious.”

Impermanence means that whatever is going on right now will change, for better or for worse or in some other way we cannot foresee. So being freaked out by the crazy machinations of any world leader, East or West, is a waste of the limited precious moments of this life. Click on the link above and read what Sylvia Boorstein says about it.

IMG_0439

Having a home to call one’s own, be it transitional, rented or owned, is deemed essential to a healthy life. If you have land you can use, even if you don’t own that land, this house can be brought to the site and “built” in under 10 minutes. The company, Ten Fold Engineering maintains that a foundation is not required, just stable ground, and when the structure is towed away, it need leave no trace. The structure can even be completely off the grid. While not available for most of us yet, it’s an example of what can be done. The structures can be stacked and connected to form multiunit dwellings.

IMG_0442

Photo from calfinder.com

Homelessness is a serious problem in the United States. Over half a million individuals were counted as homeless in 2015, as this site details. They do report that the number of homeless people has declined, although my working in New York suggested otherwise. For more modest examples of housing one can build out of materials often seen as “trash” check out Calfinder, the videos here or Relax Shacks for plans and tons more information.

Another challenge can be having a home but no longer having access to one’s usual faculties if dementia robs one of speech. But, it’s not always as gone as it seems.

Let’s just remember, we are only one call away for someone who needs us, as Charlie Puth sings. Let us hope that they remember, too.

Check out this video on YouTube:

 

Namasté

img_0154

 

Your Weekly Diversion, Week 29

IMG_0426

On week 29, I’m wearying of the ongoing drama. Aren’t you? I guess the interviews with people who picked the current leader and still believe they did the right thing, that all their needs will be met, has done me in for now. So I’ll choose “Cake Boss” or “Waterfront Bargain Hunt” for now and leave the political punditry for another day.

Rice field

This week I want to bring a health threat to your attention. I have become aware that much if not most of the rice sold in North America contains high levels of arsenic. Arsenic is a carcinogen and very dangerous. The main reason it’s so high in rice is that in the American South and other areas where cotton was raised, arsenic was used as a pesticide and contaminated the soil. Those areas are also good for growing rice. Although pesticides with arsenic were banned in the US decades ago, the soil in these areas remains contaminated. The problem exists in many other rice-producing areas around the globe, too.

9/24/12 Daily Dose arsenic in rice CREDIT: Globe staff; iStockphoto

Dr. Michael Greger of the website Nutrition Facts has devoted a number of his videos to this topic. He urges against drinking rice milk or giving it to children. He said that crisped rice cereal isn’t safe for children, as it is probably the food highest in arsenic in a typical child’s diet. He warns against using brown rice syrup, a popular substitute for high fructose corn syrup in health store treats. Washing raw rice, as well as boiling it and then draining off the cooking water the way you cook pasta, greatly reduces the amount of arsenic in the cooked rice. And as you can guess, where the rice you buy was grown makes a huge difference. Consumer Reports addresses this issue as well. Both sites say the safest sources of rice are California, India and Pakistan because the arsenic levels are lowest in rice from these locales.

IMG_0429

Today we went food shopping at Aldi. Do you know about the Aldi stores? If not, see which Aldi store is closest to you and check it out. We have one here, and the prices are amazing and the quality of the products is first rate. I’ve shopped there three times in the past three weeks and still haven’t spent $100. That’s not per week. That’s adding the three trips together! I do stop elsewhere to pick up a few items they don’t carry, but that’s okay. They maintain low prices by not advertising or playing mood music, by charging for plastic bags so people bring their own, and charging a quarter to release a shopping cart from their corral, which you get back when you bring it back and connect it to the next one in line. They pay their employees pretty well and give decent benefits. Aldi plans to open 900 more stores in the US by 2022. They are in Europe as well as North America and are based in Germany.  The Aldi corporation also owns the more tony and well-known Trader Joe’s. Today I looked for safe rice, and they had a nice-sized bag of brown basmati rice from India, so I bought it.

IMG_0753

We’ll end with “Sunnier Days” by Diego Garcia. Let us enjoy the good in each of these days, and have faith that even sunnier days are ahead.

 

Namasté

img_0154

Your Weekly Diversion, Week 28

IMG_0419

Week 28 brought us to new lows in American politics. We saw a brand new White House staff appointee let loose a crude rant against several others in gutter terms we’ve never heard or read in public media before, leading one of them to resign and with more dignity than one might expect. We heard the so-called leader of the free world deliver a grossly inappropriate political screed at a Boy Scout Jamboree, to an organization explicitly apolitical and determined to remain so. Their president later disavowed the screed and regretted allowing him to speak. Enough said.

IMG_0420

Smudging with sage and other herbs is a wonderful way to clear the air, literally. I’ve used it in my office on occasion and in my home when a cleansing vibe was called for. At work I’ve always used a leaf of sage clasped in the jaws of a binder clip, moving about the room rapidly so that my colleagues and staff don’t fear the building is on fire. There’s a no-candles policy, so I suspect smudging would be taboo if I asked. This article expanded my awareness, and perhaps will yours. I’m also looking for an abalone shell.

IMG_0421

This morning I got my first look into the interior of the new Tesla 3 and figured you’d enjoy seeing it, too. It’s $35K, which I agree is a lot, but we just bought a loaded Hybrid Toyota RAV4 for a bit more than that. I have two more years to pay on my Prius and when I’m ready for another new car, I’ll consider a Tesla.

IMG_1614.JPG

This recipe for a vegan reuben sandwich yielded the most delicious flavor I’ve ever had in a vegan sandwich, bar none. And I’ve enjoyed yummy vegan sandwiches in some of the best New York vegan restaurants. I loved non-vegetarian reubens years ago, and I’ve missed them. I’ve seen recipes for homemade seitan flavored with pickle juice to get that tangy corned beef taste, but it takes too long to make compared to this one. The recipe calls for marinated tempeh, sauerkraut, rye bread, homemade Russian dressing, and vegan Swiss cheese. It makes two wonderful, filling sandwiches that even an omnivore would scarf down.

Now that I’ve tweaked your taste buds and distracted you nicely from the headaches of the day, here’s some toe tapping thanks to the amazing Steve Martin and Edie Brickell.

Namasté

img_0154

Your Weekly Diversion, Week 27

IMG_0410

House number from eBay.uk

Today in the midst of Week 27, we are also in the midst of summer. I have finally been able to harvest vegetables from my garden, planted late, only on May 27. I picked tomatoes, Swiss chard, cilantro, lemon basil and young scallions, And as I am trying to get in more exercise, I walked to our community garden, which is a good ten minute, brisk walk from the house.

IMG_0412

I must admit that in part I am motivated to be more active again, since being sick a couple of months ago, by my new  Apple Watch, as I just knew I would. I waited for over a year for this one, wanting the Apple Watch 2 so I can wear it in the pool and ocean. I’m enjoying Minnie’s cute voice telling me the time randomly as well as when I ask for it, and so far I like this clock face best. Her toes tap and eyes blink with the seconds and her hands point to the minute and hour. There are great fitness reminders. I selected the breathing option, so once an hour I’m reminded to take seven deep breaths during a one-minute breathing break. I’m also reminded to stand up at least once per hour, which I usually do, but it’s a great reminder when reading and writing, because I can sit virtually motionless forever, and when I finally stand up, I’m so stiff and achy. I like that breaking news items, texts and weather and traffic warnings I get on my iPhone come through on my wrist. I just have to silence the watch when seeing patients to avoid unnecessary distractions

IMG_0413

Looking for a crafts project, for yourself or with your older children? Why not make some cool paper stars! This blog gives step by step instructions, in Danish. Fortunately there’s a yellow “translate” button on the lower right so you can change the text into English and a number of other languages.

I love cat people. When I see a car decorated with cat stickers, it makes me feel good.

IMG_0416

This story exemplifies why I think most cat people are really cool.  And here’s a sticker I’d be willing to put on my car, and those who really know me know why!

IMG_0415

 

 

 

 

We’ve been enjoying listening to the Coffee House channel, Channel 14, on SiriusXM Radio.

IMG_0418

My cousin turned me on to it  when I visited her in Tennessee last month. One artist I’m enjoying is John Mayer, and “In The Blood” is one of my favorite songs of his. In a live version he explains that it came to him, lyrics and melody, in only seven minutes. I love the tune, but the words are sobering. It seems to highlight the nature versus nurture debate. Are we destined to repeat the characterological traits and mistakes of our parents, or with insight can we chart our own course? As a clinician, a psychodynamically trained psychologist, I believe the latter, but there are plenty of examples of the former. I chose this version of “In The Blood” because the audio is of a much better quality than the live ones I found, and it gives the lyrics which are truly food for thought.

 

Namasté

img_0154

Your Weekly Diversion, Week 26

IMG_0400

Welcome to Week 26 of our circus. Our monkeys have been swinging wildly from tree to tree, spinning, obfuscating, flirting, lying, blaming, chattering about nonsense, and it all makes my eyes roll in my head.

IMG_0402

I need diversions, and I’m sure you do as well so here we go. First, we need cake! Yes, we do, and we need confetti cake, with or without Elmo and friends.

IMG_0403

Or maybe we need Iced Lemon Pound Cake (vegan). I’m not sure which I’ll make first.

IMG_0404

Now that we’re drooling, I have good news and bad news for us. The bad news: Cheese is addicting. Dr. Neal Barnard has been exploding our craving with facts we don’t want to hear. Apparently certain aspects of cheese are transformed into a morphine-like chemical that reinforces our desire to have more cheese. The advertising world and restaurants know this. Witness the oozy, cheesy ads for pizza and other foods. As a vegan who began eating cheese again, and I feel guilty about it because I do know about the pseudomorphine stuff, and I know dairy is inherently cruel. A calf has to be taken from his mother so humans can have the milk. There’s a lot of suffering in that unnatural separation. The good news:  Miyoko’s Kitchen. She’s making cultured Buffalo Style Mozzarella we need to try.

IMG_0405

We can also enjoy Field Roast Chao cheeses that are produced  in Greece from coconut milk and tofu. I know it sounds weird, but it’s the tastiest, meltiest, sliced vegan cheese available in most supermarkets. It makes great grilled cheese sandwiches, especially when the bread is slathered with Just Mayo egg-free mayonnaise before grilling. And I totally trust this product which we use exclusively at home.

Who knew this would be another food blog? Well, it is what it is, and food is a great diversion, isn’t it? Yummy food isn’t called comfort food for nothing. So, we have to eat, so why not eat healthy and eat happy, too!

This week we sold all the CDs that Decluttr.com would buy and donated the rest. We listen to satellite radio at home and in our cars, and Amazon Music via iPad and Bluetooth speaker, so they’ve just gathered dust. I saved one out to give a friend. It was “Shteyt Oyf (Rise Up)” by the  Klezmatics, and I’m going to share now “I Ain’t Afraid” in English and Yiddish, originally written by Holly Near, that I’ve loved since I first heard it. Don’t you think the world needs to hear this? Please share!!!

Namasté 

img_0154

Your Weekly Diversion, Week 25

IMG_0378

Twenty five weeks feels like a long time, almost half a year. I started this blog as the world found itself in the grips of a dismal, shocking, discouraging, unbelievable, and heretofore unthinkable period of global history. In this time we’ve seen legislated environmental safety measures rolled back, facts cast aside in favor of subterfuge, and allies sent reeling with rudeness as they’re treated with a failure to commit to continued support, and pacts and agreements are sent to the dustbin. Sabres are rattling, juvenile phallic jousting is in full, disgusting display, and we need our distractions today even more now than then. So I’m publishing this a little early.

IMG_0380.JPG

First I have a unique jewelry find. What can be more diverting from distressful circumstances than shopping for pretty things? This high frequency jewelry has natural energy properties tailored to one’s particular need. I see they’re selling out on Touch of Modern, so if you want one, don’t miss out. You can also visit Om d’eon directly.

IMG_0381

Sometimes the best diversion is a cute animal doing something funny. What could be better than a raccoon pancake face?

IMG_0383

Okay, maybe it feels as if I’m wasting your time today. That would be terrible, right? Surely wasting time is never a good thing. Well, if you think so, you’d be wrong. Check out the Importance of Wasting Time.

IMG_0382

If you’d love to treat yourself to a pretty necklace but find some too expensive, why not make your own? Here’s a DIY beachy necklace that looks pretty easy, so check it out here.

Beauty is as beauty does. Let’s celebrate beauty today, look for the good, explore the overlooked, resonate with harmony and turn away from discord. It may require turning off the news for a while, as much as I vehemently support a free press and the hard work of those reporting and researching the truth. We need them desperately and the facts they unearth. Don’t let anyone tell you the mainstream media don’t matter. Without them we’d be left with rumor, innuendo, falsehood, doxxing, and outright fake news, hacking and selfish hatred.

So for now, let’s have a beautiful day!

Namasté

img_0154