Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Curried Roast & Carrots

(from Better Homes & Gardens Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes)

* 5 medium carrots, cut into 2" pieces
(I used about a half bag of those peeled baby carrots)
* 1# boiling onions or 2 C. chopped onion
* 1.5-2# beef chuck pot roast
* 1/2 C. apple juice or water
* 1/3 C. chutney
* 2 T. quick-cooking tapioca
* 2 t. curry powder (I used a generous T., love the stuff!)
* 1/2 t. ground coriander
* 1/2 t. crushed dried mint (didn't have any)

* 3 C. hot cooked cous cous or rice

Put carrots and onion into 3.5-4 qt. slow cooker. Place meat on top of vegetables. Combine juice (or water), chutney, tapioca, curry pwd, coriander, and mint in small bowl. Pour over meat.

Cover and cook (low heat) 8-10 hours or (high heat) 4-5 hours. Serve w/cous cous or rice. Yum!

I find the Masala Tandori Naan at Trader Joe's. It is a perfect sopping complement to this recipe!

First day of class today went well! It's a nice bunch of people--16 all told--ranging in age from 17 to 50-something! I'm going to enjoy my role as co-teacher very much. Nice to start on Wednesday as our class times are Mondays and Wednesdays; and yes, we are meeting on Labor Day. Oh well, some sacrifices are called for in adult ed, n'est-ce pas?

Not much else to report; still waiting for Godot....i.e. the Super Secret Extra Special Visitor coming in, oh, 16 days or so, but who's counting? LOL....

ciao for now!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Watching Katrina

I'm taking a 'me' day; was planning to go to Maggiez Farm but couldn't muster up the zip needed to motor-vate out of the city. She's on tenterhooks about this hurricane, as she's got friends in the area who are at this moment evacuating the city....and their destination keeps changing. So plans and people are in motion.

Looking at the "visible satellite" map gives you a real view of Katrina, and putting the map in motion makes it pretty clear that NOLA's headed for a whole heap of wet trouble. Selfishly, I'm glad my sister moved from there to Galveston in the year since Ivan threatened the Gulf....seems as though it was a good intuition. Sigh.

Meanwhile I worked on 10 people in the last 4 days, which is plenty after a 'vacay.' I also attended the last class' graduation ceremony yesterday afternoon. It was a bit emotional, and once again underscored my belief that teaching isn't the best fit for my was wonderful to see all my former students receiving their certificates, and sweet to hug and congratulate them--the ones that I worked with in Student Clinic were happy to see me, and the ones I taught in Lab class were not! So there you go. I know where I belong, and it isn't at the head of a classroom!

I've been mooning around today, shopping and cooking--which is one way I calm down when I'm feeling emotionally askew. There's a chuck roast simmering in the crock pot with a variety of veggies and spices that will eventually become a curried pot be served with whole wheat cous cous and masala tandori naan. I'd love to serve it to my dear one so far away, but that will happen in time....not all that long now, but still an eternity away. Guess I'm previewing the recipe!

Blessings and prayers to those who are facing a hurricane today, and to their family and friends around the globe who are facing it with them.

Friday, August 26, 2005


My visit to Harbin has changed me in ways that I could only see when I returned to my routine here at home....

I'm eating way differently. At Harbin I was walking constantly (outdoor living is so wonderful that way), not sitting down in the car or at the computer or in meetings etc. My diet was mostly Larabars and salad with baked tofu in it. I'm trying to keep that trend up--especially since I'm getting ready for a Special Visitor next month and would like to look especially fetching!

Uh oh I just got a phone call from a friend in a nursing home I said I would visit this morning; I spaced it so have to leave RIGHT NOW!

ciao for now

Thursday, August 25, 2005


I'm happy that I didn't overschedule myself yesterday (always a pitfall for me) as it's been so nice to be gradual about assuming my "real" life (ha). I had 3 private clients yesterday and that was all--which was plenty, but not overwhelming.

Today I've got to meet with my co-teacher for the new class starting at the Providence Holistic Body Therapy Program (massage school) on the far I have only taught Massage 2, and have been a TA for both M 1 and M 3, but this time will be co-teaching Massage 1 with a neat gal that TA'd for me the first time I taught M 2. (GOD that was confusing.)

Oh well, at any rate she is excited about doing the presentations, which is the very part of teaching that I dislike the most, so we should be a great duo. And they're so scared at first, it's wonderful to see them open up to giving and receiving touch in this weird culture we inhabit.

After I meet with her, I've got a shift at the clinic for 4 hours--which will go quickly I hope. The dogs are still not sure I'm coming back when I leave for the day, so staying home is therapeutic for all of us!

OK the shower beckons, ciao for now!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Home sweet home....

I'm back in the desert again....after a day of driving across the vastness of California and Arizona. I feel an utterly inexplicable delight at seeing those giant wind machines around Palm Springs....they make me grin like an imbecile, turning turning turning around.

Arrived around 7:30 p.m. last night and had an ecstatic reunion with Sun Bear and Angus that lasted several hours. My son slept here but was not around much during the days, and the dogs needed lots of hugs and kisses (Sun Bear) and throwing of squeaky toys (Angus) to reassure themselves of my return.

Unpacking was hilarious as I took out many many articles of clothing that never made it out of the suitcase at all. Ha. The laundry pile is surprisingly small considering that I was gone for a week! (But the dirty clothes are dirty indeed....)

And I cleverly didn't schedule anything until 3:00 this afternoon, so have a lot of time to spend reacquainting myself with these humble walls. Time to pay bills and make phone calls.

And yes, the sweet return to the late-night and early-morning cell phone calls to the special someone who is still far away, but not as far away as they have been for the last week. Driving eastward I couldn't help but think I was coming closer, closer to them, coming home to the familiar routine of our private murmurings and secret sharings, weaving a web of intimacy that feels ever stronger.






Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Blogging in Monrovia

Doesn't that sound like a movie title?

I'd completely forgotten that Nikki had a laptop with her--one, because Harbin doesn't have wi-fi, or cell phone access (which was a little frustrating for me, the recently phone-addicted), and two, because I haven't seen her for 4 days! But she does have one, and we're plugged into the wi-fi here in outer L.A.

I got a ride from Harbin to Petaluma yesterday with a guy I knew peripherally from the Tucson sweat community, and met Nikki in the Whole Foods parking lot around 2:30 (Sky and I had to go to Harbin one last time on the way south!). She and I hit the road shortly after and I drove until about 7:30, where she took over the wheel. Being at these late night dances (9:00 p.m.-5:00 a.m.) has reconfigured her Circadian rhythms, so she was fine to drive until 10:30 or so, when we found ourselves at the Holiday Inn in Monrovia, CA. Free wi-fi and a breakfast voucher were all it took to cement the deal. We were in for the night.

Re-entry after a week away is difficult but made easier by the presence of a friend who also experienced magical events at Harbin. Returning to the world of the clothed and chlorinated! Harbin's pools are ozone-ated, no chlorine and lots of free cold spring water, available at taps all over the property.

Yesterday at a gas station, I was made very aware that clothes which could be construed as "overdressing" at Harbin could equally be construed as "underdressing" in the outer a man stared unselfconsciously down my shortalls, wondering if I was wearing a top (I was, thankfully). O ye constricted and repressed masses of human folk, get thee to Harbin Hot Springs!!!

Thanks to all of you for the comments that have accompanied me on this special trip. Feeling like it's time to get moving, moving across the desert, returning home again.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

OK, so I lied....

....about writing more on Saturday. It's Sunday night and the sun has dropped behind the hills surrounding this paradise. My last full day at Harbin, and it was a good one. I finally discovered how to get into the hottest pool; if I go in the sauna and get hot enough to shower off with cold water, it's much easier to walk willingly into 110 degree water that is neck-deep!

I met some great folks over the past couple of days, trying to chat someone up to give me a ride to SF tomorrow morning. A wonderful fun lady named Susie and I met yesterday afternoon, and then saw each other again at Kirtan (sacred song) this morning. We were cutting up and giggling in the back row, so eventually excused ourselves to be silly elsewhere. She's a keeper!

Also had a mystical wordless connection with a woman yesterday that was repeated today. I can't really talk about that since it is still a mystery to me what happened, or why, but at the same time I don't need to understand what happened to know that it was very special.

Apparently Harbin is just like that....

OK this is my last transmission until I return to the desert. I've got 1 and a half minutes left on the computer so I'd better hit PUBLISH now!

ciao y'all!

Friday, August 19, 2005


Today was the day that Nikki took off for San Francisco for a swing dance event happening all weekend long. I've been sleeping less and less as the vacation goes on....something to do with an ongoing argument between my curves and the flatness of the platform I'm camped on, along with the chill which has increased every night since Tuesday. Neither the platform or my curves are willing to compromise, which meant that this morning I actually NEEDED a good soak to get warmed up and loosened up. Then it was on to the cafe for coffee and email time.

Had an awesome massage treatment today, and then spent the rest of the afternoon curled up with a good book. One must shower with soap before entering the pools, and I didn't want to dilute that massage oil on skin that's been fried and dried and soaked for 3 days straight. It felt good to just be oiled and lie in the sun with a good decadence!

So Nikki is gone, my belongings are pared down to a bare minimum (2 sarongs, a pair of shorts, and a flannel shirt; plus toiletries) and stashed in the back of Mindy's truck, and tonight when Mindy gets off of work we are heading to her house--where I will get to sleep In A Bed! O frabjous day, calloo callay....

More tomorrow, promise!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

tales from the road, sort of

Howdy everyone! I'm at Harbin Hot Springs and have been here since Tuesday. I couldn't actually write from the highway so this will have to do. Nikki and I alternated driving 200-mile shifts from 5:00 a.m. until about 10:00 p.m. when we arrived at Mindy's in Lower Lake, CA. The last half hour or so I was glassy-eyed at the wheel, but Nikki was awake and kept me on the road by her clever navigational skills. We visited with Mindy for a couple of hours before both collapsing in exhaustion on her spare beds.

The next day we took our time getting ready to head into Harbin, and stopped by her ex-husband's house a few miles away (long-time ex; they have evolved into "really good friends" by now) and it's been at least a decade since I saw Bob. He looks almost exactly the same! How is it some people just don't age?

He decided to come with us for the afternoon into Harbin, so we all drove down to the hot springs and did the registration thing and the find the campsite thing and the set up the tents thing, and then finally Nikki and I were ready to go find the darn hot water!

There are several pools of varying temperatures. One large warm pool which is about 98 degrees, next to it is a very hot pool (I have yet to make it in there all the way) at 110 degrees. Further back is a cold plunge pool and I don't know the temp of that one as I've not ventured into it either.

That whole complex I've just described is either a quiet or silent zone, so since I wanted to gab I went to the other pools. There are shaded gazebos in between the pool areas, and sun decks, and grapevines trailing everywhere....pretty awesome!

The heart pool is indeed shaped like a heart, and is kept at about 100 degrees. That's the kiddy pool and conversation pool. There is also a close-to-regulation size pool that you can swim laps in! Yippee! So glad I brought my swim goggles. You can't imagine how nice it is to swim laps in the nude. hehehehehe

So, everyone pretty much walks around in various stages of undress. Since I'm used to going to a sweat lodge, public nudity is not a big deal for me. I love wrapping a sarong around my hips and going topless! Got to watch out for the sun though, as much of this skin is tender!

So this is our 3rd day here. I've got a spa treatment scheduled for tomorrow morning. Tonight is the big weekly dance jam so a treatment will feel really good tomorrow morning after dancing late into the night!

There is some form of entertainment almost nightly....movies, concerts, etc. Last night heard a wonderful songstress sing heart songs and of course we all joined in. It was wonderful and healing.

The only possible thing that could improve this vacation would be the addition of a certain special person....but for now it is simply wonderful to be here!

Internet access costs $.15/minute here, so I'm outta here for now!!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

As promised....

it's a few days since my last post, and I'm getting into the packing. I'm starting to get excited! Nikki and I are meeting later to make a bunch of nori rolls for the road, and pack her car. I'm spending today cleaning my house in preparation for my son's being here, and packing my gear.

There's a cardboard box on the kitchen floor slowly being filled with food: Larabars (awesome raw food yummies), a jar of almond butter, and a few cans each of pineapple chunks and tuna and chicken. Boxes of 'easy food' from the cupboard--risotto, hot & sour soup, sesame teriyaki noodles & sauce--are coming along as well. We're told there's a community kitchen on the campgrounds, so I'm bringing food for the stay as well as for the drive.

And I just found out that my dear new angel friend has 5 days off in a row next week, and could have come for a visit--but didn't mention it because I already had plans!!! It's hard to say what I would have done, given this information a week or so ago. Would I have willingly ditched my girlfriend and our road trip in exchange for the company of one so dear, so special, and so titillatingly distant?

(I fear that I would have done just that. And I hate admitting it--even to my own self, not to mention outting me to all of you. Sigh. Honesty really is the best policy, but sometime it just sux anyway!)

Meanwhile I'm starting to look at this trip as an essential step in the cleansing and healing of my soul and spirit and body and mind, preparatory to meeting said sweet angel friend in mid-September!

Have I mentioned that I'm in love? And that driving 16 hours in the direction opposite to the one I yearn to travel is counter-intuitive, to say the least?

However, I know that all things happen for a reason, and this is no exception. Sorry, Taza, you don't get to change the rules for any reason, no matter how personally convenient it might be. I'll love Harbin Hot Springs. I'll appreciate being in a different climate for awhile. I'll enjoy having this time with my friends Nikki and Mindy, plus the unknown adventures that await!

Can't help but look forward to September, but am trying so hard to stay in the present moment. It's hard to do....but necessary practice.!

Thunder booms in the near distance so it must be time to post this! I'll have the use of a laptop, so look for blog entries from the road!

ciao for now....

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Toksy day

Feelin' a bit tosky today. That's a word from an old sci-fi novel by Tanith Lee--she wrote 2 little novels about a futuristic society that I really enjoyed. Both books had a lexicon of words that the folks of that world used, and "tosky" was their word for neurotic. I think it has a nice ring to it!

Gettin' ready for the trip to CA....we'll be leaving on Monday, way early in the a.m. to get a jump start on the long day of driving. Right now I don't really feel excited about the preparations. Seems like there's a lot going on internally, and the external busy-ness hasn't become fun yet. I have no doubt that it will, the closer we get to actually going, but for now I'm just gnawing on my figurative fingernails, wishing I had more money and a greater will to be pleasantly 'het up' about the coming adventure!

The sun's out, the humidity is high (for Arizona, that is--Midwesterners would probably find this balmy and enjoyable!), and I have to go waaaaay out east in a few minutes for a couple of massage appointments. After that the day is mine, so I'll be back on the home front, allowing my mood to shift and change gradually. Like all things, this too shall pass.

Oh, don't worry, I'll be back here in a day or two, jonesin' to get on the road! But right now the preparations are still in list form, on the "To Do" one instead of the "Yay, Done!" one.

In the present moment, all is complete. So won't you join me in the present moment, taking a breath and allowing all to unfold as it should, in perfect order and timing.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Stormy Monday

Well, once again I'm using the Poetic License (Sect. 3, Paragraph 27). It's not stormy actually, just softly overcast. I got up in the middle of the night to close my car windows, and was awakened twice more by lightning and thunder. The first time it was actually the lightning that interrupted my dream! I wondered who was flashing lights at me....

The Rillito (say: ree-YEE-toe) river she was a-flowin' today! Wonderful to walk upriver with the flow running in between my feet and loosely-fastened Tevas. The riverbed isn't wide, and it isn't even running bank to bank, but there was enough water to entertain the 3 of us as we wandered wetly.

I went to Maggiez Farm yesterday for a long-overdue visit. Once again, no "actual work" was done, but we had plenty of "actual fun" listening to music, drinking a few beers, and laughing over our blogger friends. Some we share and others are exclusive to our own personal tastes, which is predictable. But we like to share blogger tales that don't intersect online. Thanks to Magz I have expanded my personal universe a bit, and have learned the joys of trying to write for an audience.

So I'm hoping it stays cloudy today. Days like that happen so seldom here. The return to the work week, the return to scheduling phone calls around the "free" minutes (grin), etc. A soft outer landscape will buffer the return to the daily grind!

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Oh, I'm floating so wonderfully today. Like a helium balloon that has lost just the right amount of gas, I'm bobbing at a steady level--not soaring out of sight into the heavens, nor bumping along disconsolately on the ground--just lightly hovering at the perfect height. Effortless buoyancy.

A week or so ago at the sweat, I overheard someone ask a woman about some part of her life. They wanted to know how something was going. Her reply made me pay attention because she said, "Oh, I can't really talk about it yet, it's still not completely formed. Talking about it now would be premature." (I'm paraphrasing of course.)

That's how I feel about what has been happening in my life. It's still inchoate, still gathering power, still assuming a shape. Amorphous but slowly becoming more substanstial and defined. But defining a thing, limits a thing....remember the exercise in Buddhism class? Where I explored a common object with one finger, while my eyes were closed? The teacher said, try to do it so slowly that you can observe your mind gathering the data, until the breakover point when it Knows what the object Is. And--notice the mind's discomfort at Not Knowing!

What the mind does is Define Things. The mind's ingrained habit to clamp down on an object and Define It categorizes that object, and then it can no longer be anything else.

I'm not interested in putting the mantle of captivity or limitation on this feeling. I want it to continue to float effortlessly, moving gently to meet me in the morning, tucking me in sweetly at night. Staying by my side throughout my day. It's a sweetness, a levitation; I'm rising in love, floating in joy, not trying to manipulate or control or push or pull. I can feel myself wanting to direct it, and then catch myself....I let go and once again flow with the magic.

Non-attachment = Freedom....but is it possible to Love without Attachment? Without coercion, without manipulation? Have I learned enough to try again?

I'm happy for my feelings, and for the thoughts they bring to me.

And I'm happy for allowing this the freedom it needs to become what it will.

Friday, August 05, 2005

A quiet morning at home

I didn't walk today, that's a bit of a surprise for me. I teach starting at 8:00 on Fridays, and it just didn't seem worth the rush.

My sleep patterns have changed lately and I find myself awake at an early hour, on the telephone, speaking softly with my new angel-friend. Getting up and going for a walk is usually a natural follow through, but with the Friday morning schedule it seemed kinder to just loll around at home, enjoying coffee with chocolate milk (Horizon Organic; Costco sells it in a case of 27 6-oz. boxes!) and a pb/toast sandwich.

Ahhh, simple pleasures are the best, aren't they? Staying home instead of walking. Eating a simple meal and savoring the experience--peanut butter does give one a lot to savor, doesn't it?

Choosing to indulge myself, just a little bit, on a morning when much will be demanded of me at the student clinic--and, by the way, the students are getting GLOWING reviews from their clients, I am so proud of them!

Taking care of myself, is a gift I give the rest of my world.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Another day

Good dreamy morning, out there. I've been riverwalking and there are few traces of the turgid muddy torrent of the other day. But there's a bit of mud left over, and the sand has that just-swept look. Walking on hardpack (I know that's a snow term, but I'm using Poetic License, Sect. 109, Par. 73) is a lot easier than slogging through soft sand, so we travelled far today.

The wilder, southern-drifting arm of the river backs up to one of Tucson's many city parks. As a matter of fact I sometimes go swimming at this park as the pool is newer and cleaner than the one closest to my home. I love that Tucson has so much outdoor space readily accessible to the average person. It made the transition from the boonies much easier.

I still crave the silence and space of unhindered Nature, and around here I can usually hear or see evidence of other humans. No surprise there, it's a city of over 850,000 people! So, for now it's just fine. I'm able to be mostly invisible here; that's easier in a large city than a small town.

I was thinking about the Matrix today. I only saw the first one, and there's a part where Agent Smith tells Neo (it is Neo, isn't it? Well--Keanu Reeves, you know) that the human population acts like a virus on it's host, this planet. I had to agree. Sadly, we don't seem to have been able to successfully curtail our resource consumption to match what is readily available. We've been greedy, and short-sighted, and downright mean about MeMyMine and the hell with YouYourYours.

Don't know how I got onto this tangent today, but I've been a little drifty lately in general. Sometimes it takes me to strange places, other times beautiful ones. And of course, 'strange beautiful' as well. (Thanks Jimi)

Big sigh, the day beckons; time to marshal my brain cells into some semblance of order!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Hijacked by an angel

I've really been "elsewhere" for the past week or so. I've made an effort to continue with the mundane (and not-so-mundane, like earning a living) details of my life, but a lot of things fell through the cracks. I think I'm back, but I'm also definitely changed. I just finished dancing wildly down the hallway to a fabulous Bill Miller song. Now that is just not something I'd usually do at 7:15 a.m., with not even one whole cuppa down the hatch yet!

Getting a taste of enlightenment gives me the motivation to continue living an ordinary life, but in a non-ordinary way. I'm not sure that will make sense, but can offer a Buddhist saying to help explain:

"Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water."

(Picture a monk smiling inscrutably.)

Oh, I've been touched so lightly, so gently; and still the force of the contact knocked me clear out of my habitual orbit. Wow, wow, wow. It's heady stuff, the stuff of dreams; I'm transported beyond what I previously believed were my limits. The ability to access non-ordinary states of being while typing, for instance; the sending and receiving of amazingly powerful energy over distance--that kind of thing. Serendipity aside, this is f*cking awesome!

I am humbled beyond belief, and also feel magnified to new heights of expression.

Need I say more, except thank you?