Monday, April 6, 2015

She let go

I heard this poem during a yoga class recently and thought it was beautiful!  
She Let Go
She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of fear. She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely,
without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a
book on how to let go… She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her day-timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

Author:  Rev. Safire Rose.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

One way I cook with tofu

Tofu is like a dirty word to some - mention it in a group, and you'll instantly see noses turn up.  At first, I was clueless about how to prepare tofu and integrate it into our meals.

Fortunately, I have become more tofu savvy and cook with it all the time.  Now I'm on a mission to turn other people into tofu converts.  So here's one way we commonly cook tofu:

I buy the extra firm or super firm tofu variety for most recipes because it has more of a solid texture (it also comes in silken form).  Sometimes, I buy the already cubed tofu, but most brands of tofu come in large blocks that require you to cut it up into smaller pieces.  Because most tofu comes packaged in water, you will want to dry it out a little before cooking for an even firmer texture.  I pull out a couple of hand towels to soak up the moisture. Usually, I cut up the block into smaller pieces and THEN blot the moisture out.

After covering the tofu with the towels, I press down gently and then leave the towels on the tofu for about 5 minutes. Once I'm done waiting, into the pan it goes!

It is totally normal for the tofu to break up a little
 like you see in this picture.  
I add a few tablespoons of oil with my tofu and turn the heat up to medium-high.  I use a wooden spoon to stir until it becomes golden brown.  Then, comes the good part - flavoring!  Because tofu is really absorbent, you can marinate it in anything.

**As a side note, I always found the aversion to going vegetarian curious - almost every recipe with meat calls for outside seasonings or sauces for flavor - why not switch to a healthier alternative like tofu? Ok, sermon over.**

One last tip: if you don't like the soft texture of tofu, cut your tofu pieces smaller.  Big pieces of tofu have the golden brown outside and a lot of the soft-textured tofu inside.  The smaller your pieces are, the more of the crunchiness you'll have from cooking. 

We made an asian salad for this recipe, so I added some soy sauce into the pan.  In addition to the soy sauce flavored tofu, we combined:

1) bagged salad
2) dry roasted peanuts
3) raw water chestnuts
4) won ton strips

And that's it!

Get yourself a BIG bowl of salad (I eat about half the bag)
and enjoy the final product!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

We are human BEINGS not human DOINGS

I sometimes wonder if the show The Walking Dead (you know, the TV show about the zombies?) is more real life than we all realize!  So many of us are exhausted, worn out, dog tired, or dead on our feet.  Despite the toll that sleep deprivation and stress take on our relationships and health, we've become a culture that glorifies busyness.

How many times have you asked someone how they've been and they respond: "BUSY!"?  The response almost comes across as an boast and an invitation to ask about the person's activities.   Working towards goals and being engaged in our jobs, families, and communities can be incredibly satisfying and lead to fulfilling results.  Action is how we turn our dreams into reality.  But where do we stop?  And at how much does this productivity cost us?

It's as if busyness is a new form of "keeping up with the Joneses" and somehow, checking more items of your to-do list makes you a better person.  Or, blame it on the Protestant work ethic that has permanently left its mark on how we view society and shaped our opinions of how its members should act.  Or maybe it's even a way to bring meaning to our lives (your life obviously cannot be trivial if you are booked up solid all day every day, right?).

I can attest to feeling anxious or jittery when I'm not working on something.  I feel lazy if I'm not engaged in something productive.  Periods of time of inactivity and quiet are not a vacation or laziness.  Solitude, reflection, and times of idleness are necessary for our heath and allows us to take a step back to get a macro perspective of our lives.  It inspires us to make connections we wouldn't otherwise see because we've got our heads down in focused work.

I don't write this from a perspective of having this balance all figured out - I continue to learn what works for me and what doesn't.   Sometimes, I still over commit and have to lean on my family when I feel like I'm about to have a meltdown.  Thank goodness for a supportive family and a resolve to improve!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The challenges of being a bunny momma

Every year a Easter approaches, I cringe just thinking about how many adorable little baby bunnies will be purchased, then abandoned (pet rabbits CANNOT survive outside), or flooding animal shelters.   6 years ago, I was just as impulsive when I decided to take on a pet rabbit.

My in-laws were shopping local yard sales and knowing that Aaron and I were looking to take on a small animal for our apartment at IU, they called us to tell us that someone was giving their rabbit away for free at the yard sale.  Awesome, I know.  We decided to take her, and promptly went to the store to buy her all the  "necessities."

As we started doing our research, we learned we were doing all the wrong things: feeding her food that was a horrible diet (but is very colorful and enticing at the store), providing her bedding that was toxic (which is also very easy to buy at the store), and not giving her enough space for exercise.  Learn from my initial mistakes and check out my tips for responsible rabbit ownership:

1) Rabbits need a diet of 80% hay and the other 20% should be fresh vegetables (ideally leafy greens).  Don't bother buying the colorful trail mix at the pet store - most of it is junk and should not be consumed by rabbits.  To save money per pound, we buy 50 pound boxes of hay from a feed store.

2) Look for a rabbit-savvy vet.  Most of the time, you end up having to go to an exotic vet and paying a premium unless you are lucky to find a vet who has gone out of his or her way to study rabbits.

3) Rabbits need lots of space - our rabbit Mimzy has a 3 ft. x 9 ft. cage, and she is let out every evening for supervised exercise.

4) Be prepared to clean - a lot!  While rabbits are easily litterbox trained, they get their hay EVERYWHERE.  And the hay they eat makes the room where they live smell..... organic.

5) Get your pet rabbit spayed or neutered.  They are EXTREMELY susceptible to reproductive cancer and fixing them prevents these from developing.

6) Most rabbits do not like being picked up and are extremely fragile (they can break their own backs by kicking too hard).  When they bite, it REALLY hurts (trust me, I know - Mimzy is a biter!), so they may not be ideal pets for small children.

7) They can live between 7-10+ years.  Mimzy is 8 years old now!

Aaron and I will undoubtedly adopt another rabbit after Mimzy passes because we've fallen in love with the little creatures, but they are definitely a lot of work!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Embracing the runner in me

A little more than a year ago, I would have never said this.  I would have told you that running caused a lot of pain and frustration.  And it makes you feel like a complete klutz (when I first decided I wanted to run, my gait was less than smooth, and I felt clunky!). 

As strange as it is, I had to practice to get better at running.  At learning how to listen to my body, how to breathe, how to adequately hydrate myself, and how to deal with the disappointment of not performing at the level I desired.

 I am so thankful that I now look forward to my runs and feel like it allows me to see my life from a more positive perspective.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Guinness World Record Challenge: Most Pet Food Donated in One Week

We give away 50 tons of pet food every year -
we can use all the donations we can get!
In a previous post, I mentioned a goal that I am working towards of "global proportions."  I'm finally ready to share my secret: I am organizing an effort to break a Guinness World Record for the Most Pet Food Donated in One Week!

This record of course, will benefit the pet food pantry I manage: The Indianapolis Pet Food Pantry and Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside will take credit for the record.  Our goals are simple:

1) Collect enough food to break the record (a little more than 13,000 pounds - here is the record:

2) Draw attention to FIDO's work.  Even though FIDO is a small non-profit, we have big work to do (help improve the quality of life for Indy's outside dog by getting them adequate shelter and getting them off chains), and more people need to know about what FIDO does so they know how to report abuse and neglect. 

3) Bring in more FIDO supporters.  We can always use more donors and volunteers!

The record attempt will take place September 22nd - 28th

I couldn't be more excited!!!  This is a really fun way to help animals AND attempting to break a world record is on my life's to-do list!  Ahh!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

You should know!

It's good to be back after a blog hiatus (unplanned!)...

Here are a few things you might not know about me:
I love kittehs!
  • I absolutely hate raw tomatoes, but I will go to town on salsa. 
  • I am truly a cat person who just happens to love dogs too.  I think I can relate to cats more in that they are so adventurous and curious. 
  • Even though I'm a cat person, I can think of no better way to spend a rainy afternoon than napping with my two pooches!
  • I have a ridiculously long life goal's list - like, we're talking over 200 goals, folks!
  • I am totally a night person.  I have tried a few times to pretend to like going to bed early and being a go-getter in the morning, but it just ain't happening!  I'm writing this at a quarter til' 1.....
  • Diet coke is a perfectly acceptable morning beverage. 
  • My degree is in economics, and if you'd told me several years ago that I would be working at an animal shelter, I would have laughed at you.
  • Speaking of animal shelters..... Some day, I want to put my business training and background in economics to use and do research for the field.