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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Whey More to It

Whey is liquid serum remaining after milk has curdled as in cheese and more recently, the yogurt making process. It is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, protein and digestive bacteria. Whey is very popular in sports drinks and protein supplements. However, whey can be used inside and out of your body and home.
  • Drink straight or mixed with a fermented beverage, or hot tea. Add sugar and lemon juice for lemonade.
  • Replace water for soaking and cooking grains. Use in place of water or milk in baking recipes. Include in soaking legumes to increase digestibility. Freeze in ice cube trays to add to hot soups and smoothies.
  • Lacto-ferment almost anything – cabbage, beets, radishes, zucchini.
  • Use with fruits and chia seeds for smoothies.
  • Because whey is slightly acidic, it helps improve the health of your scalp works where your hair gets its nourishment. If hair needs only a light wash, use in place of shampoo. Deep condition by pouring whey through hair and allowing to dry. Rinse. Whey can also be used in place of gel or mousse.
  • Whey is all purpose cleanser-toner- moisturizer. Apply whey to cotton ball and use as daily.  Commercial products include whey as it is gentle and slightly anti-microbial.
  • Soak tea bags and apply to tired eyes for five to ten minutes. Feel refreshed.
  • There are claims that a whey bath aids lipid replenishment and has an anti-inflammatory effect. It can also be beneficial in the treatment of dry skin and fungal infections. Add one to two cups to bath water for a soothing detoxing effect.
  • Finally, whey can be used to water acid loving plants, in the garden, and in compost.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rethinking Minimalism

Without too much attachment...
I just finished an email to my neighbor. I have stuff. She has way more than I. She even has a butler building to store the extra. The reason I bring it up is I have been saving mason jars I received but have emptied.  I need three lids. Sure, I could go buy them, but I just bet she has some I can have. That’s the thing with those of us who keep stuff; if you need something, we either have it or know someone who does. 

I came to the idea of minimalism in my search for living with less. That search was fueled by my desire to quit my job and stay at home. I knew the basics of saving money, paying off debt, and preserving what I have. What I needed was support for living without an income, at least for a while. I also sought to find a community of people who held values outside of mainstream consumerism.  

I had a wonderful journey through fabulous and interesting blogs. What I didn’t find was much variation in people. Most were young, single, and free. And while they were excited to be quitting their jobs, traveling the world, starting some new adventure, I expect that young people do just that. I am sad that any young person would believe the goal is to go to school, graduate and land a position as a cog in the machinery, no matter what the benefit package.  (There were also families working to manage on single incomes and those on religious paths.)

I was looking for people over fifty who were rethinking their goals and life choices, especially those who are working class, self educated, independent thinkers. This is a different breed from those with resources and assets. After reading hundreds, literally, of blogs, I concluded that while they may be out there, perhaps they don’t blog. I did find two blogs I follow that fit that category which brings me reassess minimalism.
Yesterday was my shopping venture. I have committed to shopping locally so made the rounds to three grocers in my community. Because I believe in supporting those in my life, I buy what’s on sale just in case someone needs it. When I completed my journey, I have enough to feed a small army – and they will come. This is my blessing – that I can keep the storehouse full.

I have another friend who thought we could come up with another word that explains our process. We both embrace the need and process of eliminating clutter from our space. Regularly, we address knickknacks and sit-abouts gifted. But what of us who love our books? The library is fine for popular fiction, but not classical literature. And did you know that if your credit card expires you will lose all the books, etc downloaded to your Kindle? Have we forgotten the joy in turning the page? I spend hours a day reading online, but I go to bed with a book.

Remember picture frames? Not digital, but the kind that sit on desk or hang on the walls. It is nice that we can so easily share memories electronically, but when there is no power or the storage system fails have we attended the image long enough to even give an accurate description? 

I love a long email from my friends. I cherish a handwritten letter. Letters, books, photos, jewelry, scarves, CDs, video tapes, plants, animals, clocks, scrap paper are all slipping away. Everything is being converted into digital formats to save what? 

My goal is to live without attachment, even to the source of my happiness. My home represents the life that I love. I gather the things that support and increase my joy. The rest is clutter. That’s what I let go. Today, I also let go of the idea of being, in anyway, a minimalist. I am all about love and pleasure, being present and sharing, opening and representing Divine Love – to the maximum.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Queer Isn't It Part Two

Authors notes continued:

Then I met this incredible woman I so wanted. She was a lesbian, like had always been a lesbian. She was butch and confident and seemed independent and powerful and gaga wonderful. We sat in the coffeehouse. She drank rocket fuel. I drank herbal tea. She pointed out a beautiful woman at the counter and said, “That’s so and so, she’s bi-sexual. I never sleep with women who sleep with men.” I was so hurt in that moment. It did not stop me from falling in love with her and holding that love for another ten years. When she called I answered even though she only showed up as platonic. She escorted me to more parties, dances, and gatherings than I can count. And she treated me as her date. At this writing, and having finished this novel, I imagine today, that the reason we were never more than friends, though we camped, danced, played, and even cuddled in bed together was because forever, I had slept with a man. There was concrete proof – I had children. 

It is easy to say she was only one person, but she was not. I camped on Wymin’s Land. I personally met lesbians who lived without male interaction. We even had a female ranger for the festivals on state land. Children were allowed at festivals but the boy children had to stay in separate space and the mothers go there to tend them. Even as this was not how I felt or believed, somehow the message passed through. One afternoon my son was outside the front of my home picketing with a sign that read, “Boys are good!”

Yes, boys are good. Men are good. How can we expect to have a successful movement if we forget the inherent goodness of each other? How will we stand against oppression if we are divided against ourselves? When will we stop living by labels and open to the full expression of being human?

My novel addresses these issues in a way I feel is unavailable as of yet. At least I haven’t heard this dialogue. I mean lesbians discussion their attractions to people other than lesbians. The mainstream media play with same sex attractions, but where are the stories from the inside? For my very short journey into the transgender population I met lesbians in relationship with female-male trangender people who felt put out and left out of their previous lesbian communities because they were not lesbians any more. So what are they? And who decides if one is lesbian enough?

I challenge the notion that wearing a label is sufficient. I further challenge the idea that I need a label to live a certain lifestyle or even that I need a partner. Single does not mean I am looking, or interested. Because I am not with a woman does not negate my sexual preference. And just because I am with a woman doesn’t mean that I have no other ideas or interest in how, when, or with who I build my life, share my home, or support my community.

Somehow, homosexual had become all about who we are sexing and who sexes us. We wear the pins, carry the signs, and wave the banner, but when will we start celebrating the diversity of being human. And beyond tolerance, it is time we practice acceptance. My hope is that we can create a space where we can openly talk about how and what we feel free of the fear that we will lose the love and support of those we hold dear.

Thank you reading my work.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Queer Isn't It? Part One

These are the author's notes from my novel, Whisper In My Ear, for your perusal and consideration. Though a work of fiction, the characters confronted issues I found deeply personal and rarely presented in public platform.

Comments welcome and encouraged. Thank you.

The author's notes:

Even though we see all forms of sexual expression in the media and on the internet, there is still some taboo about actually having sex, forming sexual unions and especially how relationships look. In the United States, we are still hoping to establish the standard of legitimate relationships as occurring between one man and one woman – literally XX and XY genetically. The reality is that the world has survived with all forms of coupling and people live, grow, have families and build communities in any and all combinations.

Within the queer community one would expect a sense of acceptance, hope and understanding of those outside of the mainstream, but queer itself is rather watered down and undefined. So to resolve the muddle we have factions. We are separated again by gender identity, gender preference, race, religion, color, sexual proclivities, sexual expressions, sexual preferences, and more.  It would seem that with all this choice we would be able to find someplace to fit in, to belong, but I challenge that those are just tiny boxes that rather than include, exclude.

You can’t come in if you used to do this, or that. Once you get in, you can’t even think about doing these things. Well you can think about it, but don’t tell anyone. And if you do tell and it’s the wrong person no one will like you anymore and you may as well get out. No, we don’t put people out, but we don’t want people who do, think, or feel differently than we think you should do, think, of feel in our box.

That is not a new story. It can be applied to any club, religion, church, cult, click, or country. One of the innate longings of human beings is to belong. We seek out people like ourselves to socialize, build community, and feel safe. But belonging need not become a trap. Somehow we need to open the doors and accept the breath of human experience. Notice that while it is nice inside this space we call safe we are missing out on a whole world. There are people who are completely different from us and they are interesting. Sometimes the people inside the box with us would be more interesting if they could share their true feelings and ideas.

How beautiful is the varied garden with trees, bushes, shrubs and bulbs? How varied is the view as we watch the annuals bloom and the perennials return? What is the point of living in a limited world? Do we really feel safe? And what happens when the person with the different idea is you?

Having lived inside the lesbian experience for over twenty years, I encountered many forms of separatism and ostracism. In the beginning I spent time with women who identified as womanist, or womon, or wymin. Their distinction was to not be one joined with man. They took on titles as sybil, priestess, or goddess. They locked their doors and their hearts to men. They were not necessarily lesbians; nor particularly interested in sex – mostly not at all, it seemed. 

The problem for me was I had come out as lesbian in my thirties. I had been married. I had a son. And I liked sex. While my attraction to women was not new (it had lived unexpressed in thought, word, or deed) the lifestyle was. I had lived a rather strict religious existence and was firmly taught to control my thought, never allowing progression in a direction unfitting the beliefs. So, I didn’t, much. The day came when my attraction was toward a particular woman, who I believed was or might be a lesbian. She lived with other women, dressed like the lesbians seemed to dress and shaved her head. She was sweet and friendly and cuddly. To me, she seemed a perfect opening choice. However, she redirected my fancy and said she was my friend and would support me as I figured it out. I figured out a small bit and fell in love. 

That first relationship was and still is a bright star in my heart/mind. It was when I first heard the word queer used as an empowering rather than derogatory word. We were in love, LOVE! We held hands in public. Danced and hugged without fear. We believed we were setting the standard; changing the world. When people saw me they knew I had found my calling. When it ended, I thought I would die. Rather dramatic, I know, but that’s how it is with new love. 

Apparently I didn’t die and went on to have even more powerful loving experiences. While I was figuring things out, sorting my way through a new process and community, and having had no sexual partner for six years, seven months, and four days, I met a man. He was warm, gentle, open, accepting, loving and kind. He was also persistent, sensual, and interested in getting together. So I did. Repeatedly, and often. And at times I didn’t have a grrlfriend, or had grrlfriends who didn’t have sex. Before I ever made a single move, I told him I was a lesbian, but had not figured out how to find the ones that had sex. He said he completely understood. He loved women too. There was no attachment and no commitment. Just a moment in time.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Whore's Bath

Take a tip from the professional to save time and money. Wash the target areas: Pits and the other “P”. Unless you’ve been sweating up a storm or smell like who done it and why, is there any reason to run a full bath or shower?

Consider some other resource saving tips, different from the drink water, eat ramen noodles, live in deprivation plan.

Wait until there is a sink full of dishes to wash them. Doesn’t work if you only have one serving set, but great when you have service for four. I have a family. They visit. I have stuff for when they arrive.

Wash bras in the shower, while you are wearing it. Bras need to rest for at least 24 hours (if you want them to last). Wash on, remove, rinse and hang to dry. Dryers destroy the nylon/latex/spandex and elastic that make bras useful. Panties wash well by hand as well. In the old days we always washed our undies in the sink; first, to ensure cleanliness and second for privacy.

Damiana Liqueur
Have more wine, beer, or your favorite liquor/liqueur. Enjoy the first sip straight, and as appropriate add ice or seltzer to the remaining serving. Lately, I have purchased my lager in a large bottle (“40” though fewer ounces) and I pour the serving into a glass. I find I am equally satisfied with eight ounces. No harm is getting all the antioxidants from the bottle of red wine, unless you want some for tomorrow. Try 2:1 wine to seltzer or mineral water.

As that favorite lotion runs low add an ounce of cold pressed oil to extend usage (Olive, grapeseed, or avocado). Remember the skin is the largest organ of the human body. What we put on it is as important as what we put inside.

And back to the shower, shatter the illusion that a good wash means standing (or soaking) beneath mounds of suds and bubbles. Besides the increased time and water it takes to wash the product off, the skin is either prone to drying out by SLS (sodium laurel sulfates) and its friends, or left feeling silky by petroleum products and chemicals. Return to a simple castile soap in liquid or bar (Kirk’s Castile or Dr. Bronner’s and equivalents).

We have been seduced by marketing to believe bathing luxury equals excessive product use with the oohs, ahs, and oh yeahs of naked women. Men, too, are now targeted for foamy fancy. No more rugged outdoor types whistling and singing. And what ever happened to “squeaky clean?”

Once, the bathing regimen began with a bath or shower, followed by oil or lotion, then dusting powder for what moisture might arise in the Pertinent Parts. We have traded personally tending our bodies for mass marketing. That’s why a day at the spa seems so special. We willingly offer hundreds of dollars for someone to rub oil and lotions all over our bodies. (This does not discount the therapeutic benefits of massage.) Our bodies need daily anointment and this attention does more that offer soft skin. It increases our awareness of our health and well being. This personal dedication is long-term self investment.

Wash clothes only as needed. Hang worn items in fresh air. Spray with a fabric freshener. Spot clean soiled areas. Limit dryer time and hang to dry.

Men’s clothing is better made and last longer. Whether purchased new or used, consider the Men’s section for items that will meet your need – t-shirts, sweat pants, lounge wear. Study the women’s clothing before purchase for seam and fabric integrity, button attachment, and workmanship. Women’s clothing comes with extra buttons, thread, and sequins. If I wanted to sew my clothes, I could have started there. Women are expected to repair and replace clothing often; men, not so much.

Eat what’s in season. That’s where the sales are. Buy planning to eat again. Pumpkin, butter, apples, sugar, flour, and cheese will all taste good in three months. They were on sale for the holidays. The apples and pumpkins need to be prepared before storage, but the rest can go right into the freezer.

Eat what’s in the pantry, freezer or cupboard. The new and different is often on the back shelf. Reach out and touch it. Find a new way to prepare what ever you find. Make being creative the adventure. I really enjoyed my sauerkraut chocolate cake.

Shop someplace different. Buy something different. Legumes are low cost high nutrition, but are not limited to the beans sold in the local grocery. Check out ethnic stores for dried beans and lentils. Purchase a spice and experiment with bold new flavors. When I miss San Francisco, I cook a pot of chana masala. Just the smell lifts my heart and I easily find my self at Palwan at O’Farrell.

When in doubt, simply add more wine.
I am all about saving money. How else am I going to stay home reading, writing, and drinking beer, etc.? I could live on less, but what’s the point? My goal is to manage my resources that I can live the life I love. Deprivation is a different game. My pattern of shopping and saving allows me to enjoy my life today. I continue to meet my financial obligations (bills) and commitments (contributions and donations) while enjoying what are to me the finer things of life – Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, chia seeds, CafĂ© Bustelo with raw sugar and half and half, and of course, wine and beer.

Happiness is an internal, personal responsibility. Go get you some!

Elderberry flower liqueur - Yum!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Weakness

I have a low tolerance for bullshit – those unnecessary comments and conversations that drag other people in just for the sake of confusion, chaos and conflict. We all have friends who share their own versions of the truth and live them. I like the term “Yarn Princess” for them. I listen, but do not invest in the version or outcome. It is easy to nod politely and smile. I have loved them for years and apparently this is a part of their basic design. Then there are those who claim to desire friendship but can’t come up with the truth even as it is being offered. They stick to whatever insane message is swirling in their heads and insist that your buy it. No thanks. 

I have been saving that opening phrase for when I have a job interview and they ask me what my weakness is. My general response is that I am dependable, reliable, accountable, punctual, and responsible. I am an excellent employee. I have an excellent job history and record. How long will I stay? As long as it is working for both of us. My weakness? Oh, yes. I have a low tolerance for bullshit. I am not interested in gossip, chit-chat, or anything for which I am not being paid. I come to work to earn money (and get material to write) and I socialize on my own time. Now, I understand that people these days spend most of their lives at work and so want multiple needs met there. I, on the other hand, only want to do my job, well, and get paid, well. 

My desire for sincerity and honesty extends into all areas of my life. It seems that we have become so accustomed to protecting our feelings that we are unwilling to face or tell the truth. To say I am protecting your feelings is not quite true. I am protecting myself from your reaction when I tell you the truth. Following this discussion with a friend, she shared, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.” We refrain from truth telling because we are avoiding another person’s madness.

What if I gave up my fear of your feelings? How would our relationship look if I trusted you have the facilities to manage information just as well as I do, or better? If I am unwilling to share the truth with others, am I telling the truth to myself?

For the last month I have been with my Family of Origin (FOO) and as there is no direct communication with me I have been managing on third party hearsay and innuendo. When I ask directly the information is filtered and relayed to convey the best possible light and deflect responsibility/blame. There are some blatant realities, but they are glossed over in favor of the next course of action. Sometimes I long to shout the truth then realize that perhaps there is no interest or that the investment lies elsewhere. Our delusions serve us and we will live and protect them until the day they become useless.

Sometimes I wake with an idea I think will make things easier. My place it to accept what is, even in the face of how it could be. I now let go of my need for everyone to be open and honest. There is no Tom Foolery in this situation. It is serious and intense. But in Love and Compassion, I stay on task and to ease what burdens I can. This freedom from working I claimed for myself has been a blessing for my parents and grandchild. It is in celebration that I extend my resources. 

I am just barely thinking about working part-time. There are a couple of places that I think would be fun. I enjoy interacting with people in light and carefree moments. That I can do for work. My joy is to show up without pretense and support whatever cause I have been called to. This is who I am.