Sunday, August 18, 2013

to be alone is to be

Today is day one of two weeks without the hubs. Almost every year he goes on a camping trip with his father where they survive in the woods, hiking and camping. As I dropped him off at the airport a thin air of loneliness came over me, as it does every year. Then I thought about all the things I want to get done, like mega cleaning the house, maybe making some crafts, and hanging out with the girls. I came home, ate some breakfast and as I scrolled through facebook, I noticed some people seem unhappy and talk about their single status and loneliness as the source of their unhappiness.

Being with someone does not equate to happiness. I learned early on in my 20s that to be truly happy with someone else, one must first be happy alone. And now, after 10 years of marriage I know that is still true. When we have opposite schedules I am often relieved to have some alone time. It's good for my soul to be completely quiet without the influence of another person, even the one I love the most.

I've also learned recently that we are both alone and yet never alone. We are a part of something bigger. We are not only a part of the human race, we are a part of this world, this universe. We are one. With what? With everything. And yet we are alone. We each walk our own path and are responsible solely for our own path. And so, while a part of me is sad and misses my hubs, I know that we are separated only by distance. We are still connected. As I am connected to you. I know I am not alone. Neither are you. xoxo

Saturday, June 8, 2013

to whom to i give this thanks?

i have made a conscious effort to live a more grateful life. to focus on the positive things and to be thankful for the things i have. this shift in my attitude has made me a happier person in general and i think has also brought people, things and opportunities into my life that might not have happened if i had a different attitude.

case in point, i have finally landed my dream job. yes, i have been seeking this opportunity for the last several years, but i truly believe that i did not get the job sooner because i did not have the right attitude. i needed to experience what i have over the last two years to prepare me for this job. and now that i have this dream job, i find myself thinking, "wow, i'm so thankful. i'm so grateful." then i immediately wonder, "well, to whom am i thankful?"

growing up in a christian household, the answer to that question would have been, "thank god." (or if it were a jewish or islamic household, the answer would also have been, "thank god." hmm. yeah. what about that?)

that conditioning has left me with a desire to direct my gratitude towards something or someone. it somehow doesn't feel complete for me to just be thankful without there being a recipient of my gratitude.

well, i can certainly thank myself. i worked hard and never gave up. i can thank my husband for supporting me without abandon. i can thank my parents, family and friends for the encouragement. i can thank my mentors and professors for giving me bits of wisdom and confidence. the list can go on and on. and this is where i learn that lesson of oneness. we are all connected. everyone and everything and every experience has brought me to this moment. so i can just be grateful. thank you. xoxo

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 and now

lessons i learned from the buddha:

1) life is suffering
2) acknowledge impermenance
3) on what i do now depends my happiness and misery

when i was 20, long before i would ever claim to be a buddhist, i did aspire to be one thing: a public defender. no, not a prosecutor, as i have had to explain the difference to my friends and family. public defenders represent people charged with a crime who cannot afford an attorney. to which i am often met with a blank stare, a fake smile, asked "why do you want to represent 'those criminals'?" or some other relentless series of questions of why, why, why...

but this post is not about answering the why. it is about feeling content that it all will work out. when i was 20 i realized i wanted to be somebody. and now, close to 15 years later, an undergraduate degree, a law degree, many ups and downs, i have finally been offered a position as a public defender.

i haven't started my dream job yet, so it does not quite feel "real," but looking back at my journey to this point i realize i wasn't ready for my dream job until now. not too long ago i was still searching, searching, searching for meaning, for "a break," for something. then my life got rocked and i lost someone dear. loss. it will teach you what you do, in fact have. you have the here and now.

it took time for me to accept that all i have is the here and now. this moment. but when i accepted that there are some things that i may not have, i may not have now, i may not ever have, i learned to be ok with it, and then i got what i wanted. but as i learned with lesson number two up at the top, even though i got what i wanted, i accept that i might not always have it. and that is ok. i am just grateful for the opportunity. i want to take each day and make the most out of it. starting with here and now.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Spring O-Higan

today is the celebration of the spring o-higan, the spring equinox. there was a nice service this morning during which i read the 6 paramitas. they are:
1. dana - generosity
2. sila - morality
3. kshanti - forbearance
4. virya - perserverance
5. dhyana - meditation
6. prajna - wisdom.

wisdom is the most important and will come from practicing the other 5 paramitas.

hubby remarked, as we often notice, that there are similarities between the buddhist ceremonies and native american ceremonies. today during the o-higan service the altar was decorated with flowers, as usual, but also with fruits and small cakes. setting out food during ceremonies is common in native american ceremonies.

small similarities like this have made it easy for me to practice buddhism. i was raised christian and attended baptist churches. but my mom and grandma always taught me small tidbits about our people's ways. so when i see the same symbols, it is familiar and it is comforting.

we are approaching a year on my grandma's passing. buddhists have a one year memorial just as we will have one for grandma. this too is comforting. i miss her greatly and listen for her voice and her presence when i am quiet and still.

things are right for me now. i feel a calmness i have not felt in a long time. i am thankful for my grandma's life, for the lessons she taught me and i hope that one day, i will be remembered as she is, as a woman who loved her family above all else.

I caught Grandma taking a nap during one of our day long family gatherings. She took little cat naps. I loved it.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Funemployment continued...

I am no longer keeping track of how many business days I have now been out of work. But last week there were some interesting developments and let me start out this post by saying I am 99% certain I will be entering a trial employment period tomorrow with a solo practicioner. I only say 99% because we haven't discussed the dollar bills, y'all. I do not anticipate getting an offer that is low. I think the offer will be fair. And so long as it is fair, I'm going to give this trial period my best shot.

Enough of the boring unemployed attorney talk. Let's get to the fun stuff. Last week was Valentine's Day. So much love in the air! Pfft! We do not "celebrate" Valentine's Day. Let me take a moment to be super cheesy here and just say that I love my hubby every day. No Hallmark holiday required. BUT. I did wake up early enough to make his current favorite soup, a lovely red lentil and coconut soup. This was my gesture to show him that I loved him eternally, as chopping jalapenos and onions first thing in the morning is not the most fun thing to do. I put it in the crock-pot so it would be nice and ready when we got back from the Field Museum. Have I mentioned I live in a bomb-ass city where there is a lot to do (often for free)?? Yeah. I do.

It has been quite some time since we visited the Field Museum, as well as the Art Institute of Chicago which I wrote about a few posts ago. In fact, the first time we visited both was when we came to Chicago after eloping. So, it has been almost 10 years since we visited these fine establishments.

I highly suggest that when you visit any of Chicago's museums, you devote an entire day (or 2) to each one. I promise you won't get through the entire museum in one day. I also suggest you wear comfortable shoes and sit down often. These museums are rather large and no one wants to visit a museum with a grump. So sit, please.

First, let me introduce you to Sue.

You'll find Sue on the first floor welcoming all visitors to the Field Museum.

Here's Sue's buddy the Pterodactyl. I honestly have no clue if he or she has a name.

When we visited the Field Museum we only went through 3 exhibits. We went to see the Lions of Tsavo (and saw much of the Mammals of Africa exhibit along the way), The Grainger Hall of Gems, where I got my sparkly fix, and Inside Ancient Egypt, where I got my "Ancient Aliens" fix.

Please bear with my sense of humor...
I couldn't resist. I love to say "wild ass."

I'm thinking the guy on the left looks like a wild ass. The guy on the right is trying to act like he doesn't know the other guy.
Ok, on to the sparkly stuff. Let me say these photos do NOT do the jewels justice. I mean these jewels were amazing. A.MAZE.BALLS.

this was one of my favorites. it really did look like it was on fire.

Again, the photo could not capture the rainbow that was glowing inside this opal.
This was my hubby's fave. He could totally relate to some dinosaur treasures.

 Again, there were magical rainbows pouring out  of these gems!! It was AMAZING people!!


Finally, we went to see the mummies in the ancient Egypt exhibit. I did not take pictures of the mummies because I think it's kinda rude to take pictures of the dead. Yeah, and it's kinda rude that they got dug up in the first place so that we could peer at them centuries later. But that's another soap box...

Totally Ancient Aliens shit!! I love that show.

I'm pretty sure these include instructions on how to build a structure that will open up a worm hole to allow space and time travel...
 This last pic was snapped mere moments before we got yelled at that the museum was closed! ruh-roh!
Proof that humans did not build the pyramids...
Peace out people! Hope you have a fabulous week. Try the soup I linked to. It is spicy and comforting after a day at the museum. xoxo

Monday, February 11, 2013

creamy vegan potato soup

i am always skeptical of any vegan recipes that claim to be "creamy." while i admit i have not fully given up dairy i have noticed that the more i eat a whole food, plant based diet, the easier it is on my digestive system. this recipe impressed the skeptic in me and i HIGHLY suggest you look past the word "vegan" and give this recipe a try.

i didn't follow Jenna's recipe to a T, simply because when i cook i don't really measure my ingredients, and i didn't have 5 potatoes. i added some pinto beans and spiced it up just a bit.

my take on her recipe:

1 spoonful of virgin coconut oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 large handfuls of baby carrots, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 large russet potatoes
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
bay leaf
dried thyme
dried red pepper flakes
4 cups (1 box) of vegetable stock
2 cups unsweetened almond milk

in a large pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. add onion, celery and carrots. saute. just before translucent add the garlic, a generous pinch of salt and pepper, thyme and the bay leaf. saute until soft and translucent. add the veggie stock and bring to a boil.

add potatoes and boil for 15 minutes.

remove the pot from heat. take 2 cups of the soup mixture, being careful not to include the bay leaf, and pulse in a food processor. add the mixture back to the soup and turn pot back on low. add the almond milk, pinto beans, salt and pepper to taste and generous pinch of red pepper flakes. warm thoroughly.

I hope you can see the difference in the veggies. The first photo is right after I added the veggies to the pot. The photo on the right is when I added the garlic salt and pepper.


Enjoy! xoxo

Thursday, February 7, 2013

lessons in certainty...the uncertain

day 6 of unemployment: today i am making a vegan creamy potato soup. potato soup and the rain are the only certain things for today.

every week hubs and i go to sutra study on wednesday night and every week i am challenged. each week the teachings touch on something i am dealing with. last night we talked about attachment and desire for certainty. obvi what i'm dealing with now is my unemployment/underemployment. currently i am unemployed, but i know soon another project will come along. but the big picture is i am underemployed. and that is the part that is so hard to accept. i admitted last night that i am angry. i feel like i deserve to have a permanent position where i can get on with my career and have the financial ability to buy a home or start a family.

as i said this very thing out loud, i was then reminded that even if i had that position there is no guarantee i wouldn't be fired, laid off, transferred or that i am even physically able to have a baby. and i had to admit that i recently had a conversation with my hubby's uncle who said in all his years, even he is waiting for his life to settle down.

so i learned my lesson that there is no certainty in life. and waiting for that perfect job to live my life is foolish.

in the meantime, as always, i am grateful for what i have today, this moment. i have my health. i have a roof over my head to keep me warm from the slushy rain and snow that has been coming down all day. i have some yummy smelling potato soup on the stove to warm my belly later. i have my wonderful hubby who encourages me and loves me.

i am also very thankful i live in such a cool city that i get to go to the art museum and admire amazing art (for free if you are an Illinois resident!). here are some pics i took in my "Ferris Beuller's day off" adventure. Sans Cubs game, sans Ferrari.

starting out with some impressionists...

Eve. she doesn't look so bad!

 Moving on to the Modern wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. Opened in 2009.
i love shit like this - interactive, meaningful and fun

yes, i ate a piece. a carefully selected red candy. tasted like cherry.
Jackson Pollock

Mao wearing blue eyeshadow. Andy Warhol.


Back to the ancient stuff...
Who knew the creature from Where The Wild Things Are existed in 8th century Asia?


proof that my dog is an ancient breed of chubbylapdogness