Status Report.

April 24, 2011 § 22 Comments

You know when you’re little and you break the family heirloom your great great grandmother squared made from toothpicks on her deathbed? My instincts were always to try and patch up the picasso-like pile of splinters as best I could, arrange my face into a bouquet of innocence, walk swiftly in the opposite direction and pretend it was all a bad dream.

Similarly, I am choosing today to skirt around the glaringly obvious issue of complete and utter blog absence over the past month. If I don’t apologise, there is no problem. Right?!

Unfortunately, I never filled you in on how the story ends. It ends with me running wildly back to the closest family member and, through impassioned snot and tears, regurgitating every detail of my guilt and offering an explanation so long said family member would have forgiven me by the time I came to my whimpering conclusion.

I’ll spare you the essay, but basically our internet modem broke and we’ve been chasing *unnamed service provider* ever since trying to arrange a replacement. When the net dies, my life takes a turn for the hermit. I’m actually blogging from the luxury of my mum’s internet right now (in Perth, waheyyy!!) but hopefully I’ll arrive home next week to a shiny new high speed modem. Vibrams crossed!

SO MUCH has happened in the past month or two. I’ve spent lunch breaks discussing buddhist philosophy, experimental nutrition and meditation with my eternally inspiring college buddies, evenings contemplating The Art of Happiness, and weeks riding a crazy raft of ch-ch-ch-chaaaange!

I’ll update you on the highlights whenever I have a spare 4 hours, but for now let’s embrace the present. Nothing like it!

I’m in the wonderful city of Perth, on the west-siiiiiiide. Dig it. I am so insanely grateful to have family here now and a subsequent excuse to invade at any given moment.

Mum and Andrew chewing up the catwalk, green bags in hand.

Speaking of grateful, mum and I were compiling a list of all the reasons we are insanely, monumentally lucky yesterday, after we had a huge whinge about various trivial, self-indulgent things that we later realised are, in essence, tripe. It’s a nice exercise to turn around a gloomy mood by listing all the reasons we are so incredibly happy and fortunate.

I’ll start 😀

I’m pretty chuffed to have a functional face, limbs, spine, kidneys, liver, spleen. They all go pretty damn hard, and are fairly amazing if you ask me. 

I’m also stoked to be surrounded by fresh organic food and passionate foodies. The ability to rock up to a farmers market, survey the scene, paparazzi the produce and fondle the fruit makes me one happy kidney bean.

I may have violated the red onions, m’bad. THEY JUST LOOKED SO JUICY!

This also made me salivate. $5 bananas? Unheard of! Are you feeling me Aussie residents?!

I am thankful for an abundance of raw, organic garlic, which I have been crushing and chugging on a regular basis to keep me perky. And by perky, I obviously mean stinky like a bucket full of chunder. (Now THERE’S an under-utilized word. Chunder. Bring it back!)

Designer corn.

You know how I feel about sexy, leafy greens.

A pomegranate in its natural habitat. (Probably should explain that we were at a local market in Perth that has a kick-ass community garden with delicious fruity candies ripe for the picking).

Baby green-thumb.

A gorgeous man rocking out on the harpsichord.

Ma is thankful for double shot espresso. My adrenal glands are thankful that I never cultivated the habit.




Lucky to have delicious fresh ingredients on hand to whip up tantalising vegan fare. Quinoa, kidney-bean, veggie, seaweed and tomato stew? I think so.

So extraordinarily lucky to have been taken on my yearly shopping outing with mum today. Material possessions in no way support happiness, but they can sure as heck make you smile! Especially when you score an amazing Lululemon hoodie complete with ruffles and thumb holes. I think I’ve written with zest before about my love affair with Lululemon, not only for their quirky, flattering sportswear, but also because their entire business philosophy is aimed at supporting the goals and aspirations of their staff, and treating their clientele with unheard-of courtesy and warmth. It’s love 🙂

Other things making the thankful list included:

  • Having a kick-ass family who love and support me through thick and thin, and veganism 🙂
  • First-world living standards.
  • Freedom (of speech, sexuality, career, education… to be a ranga sans persecution!)
  • Vibrams.
  • Dates (both the dried fruit, and the sexy dinnertime variety).
  • Comprehension, cognitive function.
  • Heston Blumenthal.
Quite a comprehensive list, in my opinion. What are you thankful for on this glorious holiday?
Profuse and heartfelt apologies for the absence. Hope to spice up the old blog soon!

Happy International Women’s Day & raw banana pie recipe.

March 8, 2011 § 14 Comments

I’m generally a punctual, reliable and downright conscientious individual.

With recipes however, an evil dark side lurks. You may have observed that promised how-to’s tend to evaporate into oblivion and are never spoken of again.

It’s certainly a pet reci-peeve of mine, and thus I blog before you today with all good intentions of nipping this ghastly habit in the bud.

My peace offering:

Raw choco-banana pie!

I originally made this raw banana pie to share with my man on Schmalentine’s day, and a couple of you have since requested the recipe.

The bad news is, I decided to include a big hit of raw cacao in my newest batch to make it a rich, chocolatey affair. I’m sorry to do this to you; I understand that you may just be repulsed by such an idea…:)

Simple, pantry-friendly ingredients:

BASE:

  • 1/2 c raw almonds & pepitas, mixed together (can just use almonds if you prefer)
  • 1 T raw honey
  • pinch (~1/8th t) celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon.

FILLING:

  • 2 medium-sized frozen bananas
  • 1 T raw cacao
  • 1/2-1 t raw honey, to liking

Place the 1/2 cup of nuts into your food processor and pulverize for around one minute until relatively fine. Then add 1 tablespoon of raw honey, salt and cinnamon to mixture and process until combined. Spoon your base mixture into a small crock lined with baking paper (mine was about 20cm in length and 10cm in diameter) and press into sides to make the crust.

Then add frozen bananas (chopped into chunks) into your processing beast and whir until ice-cream-like. Add cacao, and honey if desired. Dollop into crust.

This would be extra saucy topped with fresh strawberries, but alas none were to be had.

I lined my crock with paper, but you could definitely forego it and just eat it as is with a spoon. In fact, please do that.

Freeze for around an hour, and you have yourself the makings of a good night 😉

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You may or may not know that it’s also International Women’s Day today. In fact, it’s the 100th anniversary!

I am so incredibly thankful that I’ve grown up surrounded by strong, intelligent and inspiring women in a society in which gender discrimination is, for the most part, considered unacceptable. I have never been confronted with warped notions as to things I could or could not do as a female. I’ve been at liberty to express myself in whatever way I see fit, and enjoy the complete satisfaction of knowing my sex will never determine my destiny.

Historically women have not been so fortunate, and were forced to contend with damning scientific theories (ie. blood being diverted to the uterus for pregnancy thus lower brain capacity), marital domination, sexual atrocities (especially in times of war and unrest) and an array of painful and ridiculous fashion options (i’m thinking corsets, lead-based face powder and the modern stiletto!).

We live in fortunate times.

My mother is highly intelligent, vibrant and independent, raising the Bonne Santé gal solo – no mean feat.

Dad’s partner and my awesome step-mother, with a PhD in feminist theory, has informed my education more than any class or tut, expanding my vocabulary from the moment we met and supporting me through my awkward teenage years and beyond. Thanks to her, I am an unapologetic and empowered wo-man.

Needless to say, many amazing women exist in my life, and incidentally, the blog-world is FULL of them!

Which women have inspired you in your life? What do you like best about being a fierce and ferocious wo-man?!

 


Changing your mind about your career is A-OK!

February 15, 2011 § 21 Comments

Roses are red, violets are blue,

True love is scoffing a cream pie or two!

Bonne Hallmark day for yesterday, health warriors!

Being the big dreary cynic that I am I usually tend to boycott the whole mushy affair, taking my cut of the chocolate bounty and deflecting any stray sonnets that may be flung my way (ok, so no-ones ever written me a Shakespearean ditty, but if they did I would throweth it back in their face!). But raining on the love parade is a little mean even for me, so I decided to make amends with a big fat raw banana pie! Cos every man likes π.

I actually didn’t expect this baby to turn out so well, so in usual scatterbrain style I have no recipe. YET. But I do have a couple of (terribly lit) pictures to add insult to recipeless injury!

Kinda dramatic with the crazy purple background. We students improvise with whatever we have on hand…

…much like Bear Grylls, who we watched massacre an entire peruvian ecosystem, by candlelight. My sorta romantic valentine viewing!

I have a serious internal conflict raging in regards to Man vs. Wild. On one hand, I admire his resourcefulness, warrior-like wisdom and supreme indifference to personal hygiene/comfort… But the fact remains, my vegan soul cannot reconcile with his barbaric butchering of so many happy woodland creatures, merely for the purpose of demonstrating survival tactics in the unlikely event that you should wind up lost & alone in the middle of the Sahara. Cheers for the useful tips, Bear.

Here is another gratuitous picture of pie, with floral flourish. I’m embarrassed for myself.

Now that I’ve recapped my valentines pie triumph, I’ll be moving right along. What did you all get up to on Hallmark day? Do you celebrate it?

********************************************************************************

Yesterday, I received an awesome email/question from a friend (who I hope won’t mind me sharing) which I thought warranted a blog post. In a pistachio-nut shell, he is basically feeling a little dissatisfied with his career and educational situation right now, and knew I had gone through the whole quarter-life crisis, changing my life path scenario.

(FYI – for new readers, I was studying Film & French from 2008-2010 in an epic 5 year double degree, but halfway through realised I was not passionate about my studies and definitely had no inspiring plans for my future. I found my passion was health and after some tough soul-scouring, I left my degree to study Naturopathy. Result = happier, more energised, re-invigorated, life-addicted Katey!)

This is a simple outline of the steps I followed to make an educated, and ultimately life-changing decision about my future:

1) Identify your true feelings.

So you feel flat. Dissatisfied. Stuck. Whether it’s your job or your studies, try to identify exactly what part of the situation is giving you the willies.

  • Without reference to your boss/your lecturers/your uni/your finances, do you LOVE and feel passionately about your chosen area of interest or profession?

If the answer is yes, it’s clear that your unhappiness is circumstantial rather than intrinsic. With this in mind, you can work towards pinpointing and resolving the factors that are causing distress. If you have irreconcilable differences with your employer, perhaps it’s time to move on. I truly believe that our job should enhance our happiness, not be an obstacle to it. This may sound like a luxurious worldview, but the fact remains we all have a choice. Nobody determines the details of your life but you. If it means working somewhere nasty for cash in the interim, fine, but don’t sell yourself short and be absolutely confident in notion that you are a jedi-master of your own destiny. Wield the force as you see fit.

If the answer is no, then this can be a little scary. Like, holy basil the thing I’ve been working towards is suddenly kinda lame on closer inspection, scary. That’s ok! I’ve come to realise that very few people maintain a steady interest in one single area forever. Most chop and change around 7 times in their lifetime. Get your comforting statistics on!

So if you’ve realised that you’re deeply unhappy with your chosen area of work or study, move on to phase two.

2) Get your head around it.

I distinctly remember the night I was lying in bed thinking about my film degree, and the full weight of ‘I’m not happy’ hit me. It literally felt like a physical force. A jolt. A shock. Dare I say it, an epiphany? It was a fearsome thought that threatened to unhinge the doors of my comfortable little box in which I went to uni, zoned out in lectures and ignored the bigger picture. ‘Dropping out’ seemed like the habit of vague student drifters, not me with my inflated sense of pride and dogged adherence to the status quo.

If you have these thoughts but dismiss them as too implausible, really question yourself. Why am I ignoring my wants/needs?

The truth is, most people up-end their lives at some stage. You’re allowed. It’s ok. Once you’re honest with yourself and can sit comfortably with your new revelation, it’s time to get practical.

3) Logistics.

There is always a way of doing everything if you truly want to change. Now is the time to consider the boring stuff.

Research.

I immediately scoured the net to compile all my possible options for studying natural medicine. Remember to consider other locations and seemingly ‘far out’ prospects because you never know where your new life may take you! Be open. Ha!

Then, talk to all relevant parties. Phone prospective places of study, friends or family with knowledge/connections/experience, centrelink (or other government financial services that can assist you), universities, the higher powers that be…collate and dominate! Being armed with knowledge is going to make the plan seem less daunting, and perhaps a heck of lot easier than you initially expected. My mum said to me a while back when I was struggling with some random issue (not uncommon!) people are there to help you! Just ask. It’s so simple, but it really struck a chord. People are happy to offer assistance in any way they can – they don’t want to stifle or oppress you (unless they are an evil dictator) and can be an invaluable source of moral support.

4) Embrace freedom and liberation!

It’s intensely intimidating to fathom a sudden exit from the mould – but it can absolutely be done. The mind tends to over-inflate problems and new challenges to momentous proportions, ones which are decidedly manageable upon closer inspection. You’d be surprised of the support you’ll receive from others when you tell them your plans to re-direct the course of your life, and most will probably share similar stories of upheaval and change.

I’m happier than ever doing a new course that is actually interesting and invigorating – what a novel idea! Despite fears that you may be ‘too old’ or ‘too under-financed’ or ‘too scared’ to effect a dramatic change, really ask yourself why? Who says you’re too old? (There was a man who was 75 studying nutrition last year at my college!) What’s stopping you from manipulating my finances so I can get from point x to point y? What is life for, if not to unlock your passion and embrace every opportunity?

I think i’ve saturated you with enough motivational goo for one day, so I’m going to leave it there. But i’d be incredibly interested to hear from people who have made drastic life changes or who have advice for my awesome friend on finding career happiness!

Thanks for reading as always, and as much as I shudder to promote the holiday – you’re all my rosy valentines!

I am open.

February 13, 2011 § 13 Comments

Sitting at my computer listening to another instalment of the Great Health Debate, I became aware of a value that rests at the very center of my (molten) core. This belief has always been present in some form, but it has suddenly begun to solidify like coconut oil in the early days of winter.

It is not that a 100% raw vegan diet is the ultimate nutritional nirvana or that communism will save us from our modern social woes, rather it is the utmost faith in the notion that we should strive to maintain an open mind at all times.

Yes, that naff old saying. ‘Keep an open mind’ (and let your brains fall out).

I was sparked to enter this philosophical reverie while listening to the opposing sides of various dietary arguments, as presented in the excellent health debate series hosted by Kevin Gianni. As Mark Sisson presented the facts on the Primal Diet and spoke with passion about the research and motives behind his take on optimum nutrition, I was struck by how valid such a viewpoint was despite it being far removed from my own. I have many friends who eat in a more primal, low-carb, high-fat, animal-protein-heavy manner and I respect their judgement immensely. Conversely, Frederic Patenaude’s account of the benefits of the 80/20/20, high-carb, low-fat raw diet also left me confident that this was a viable dietary option on which to thrive.

In the past, I’ve scolded myself for showing little commitment to any one school of thought and sitting decidedly on the pointy picket fence in terms of ‘picking’ a diet. However, I’ve come to realise that being open to a variety of options may in itself be a worthwhile frame of mind. Most philosophies (be it dietary or otherwise) have points of value and can contribute to a greater understanding of the subject in question. Excluding the opinions and arguments of others surely places you at a disadvantage, in which long-term happiness may be compromised in favour of loyalty to a particular mindset or belief system.

Is it so incomprehensible that one can happily nibble upon many delicious tid-bits from a plethora of plates? Survey a smorgasboard of ideas? (Take a food/belief-system analogy too far?)

Being open is a helpful mindset on virtually every front.

I am open to the creative genius of others; namely this amazing raw pad thai from Lindsay at The Kitchen Operas.

Besides the benefits of embracing multiple perspectives, you can also be open to challenging your ingrained thought processes. Even the smallest irritations can often be re-framed if you take the time to question your pre-programmed response. Why is it my default setting to become angry when a slow-driver meanders at snails pace ahead? Perhaps they are unfamiliar with the road, looking for an address, or simply being cautious. Haven’t you been in all of these situations, too? Being open to the feelings of others can help defuse the rage because you realise not everything is a personal affront. Creating a negatively charged response only serves to raise your stress levels and little else.

Be open to going with the flow.

I am also trying to be more open to advice and suggestion. For a long time, I would seek the aid of others without really engaging with it. I would know that this certain tactic would improve my athletic performance, or that certain habit could help me make more effective use of my time. But knowing is not always concurrent with doing, and breaking free of established habits to implement something new is a daunting task. Being open to, and acting upon the wisdom of more knowledgable parties has proven to be more effective than ever. Who would have thought that actually taking advice could deliver such profound results?

I’ve recently taken up swimming laps again, even though I have known the benefits for years but was too intimidated to try. D’oh.

Stemming from this is the ability to be open to change. This is perhaps my most cherished pursuit as I strive to live by the notion of ‘try everything’. I don’t want to leave any stone unturned as I move through life, and dismantling routine, intellectual focus and location is an invigorating way to ensure diversity. Even just rearranging my room, or upending my morning ritual carries the symbolic weight of change.

Lastly, being open to the signs as given to you by life is paramount. I don’t mean magical instances where fluffy white clouds arrange themselves in the shape of your future spouse, or a butterfly tickles you on the eyelids to tell you you’re on the right track. I mean more subtle anomalies from which you can draw inspiration and insight.

The only butterfly paraphernalia you will ever witness in my house.

I truly believe that lessons are presented to us to help us learn, become more self-aware and grow, and without attributing it to any specific higher power I feel this is a beautiful thing.

When my finances are low (like now as a student), I find it incredibly hard to deal. It’s tempting to wallow in the kind of thoughts that screech ‘life is unfair!’, ‘all my friends are better off than me!’ or ‘I’ll never get where I want!’. But compounding the misery is futile at best, so instead I try to appreciate that this monetary drought will make me more resilient, thankful for future comforts and empathetic with those who permanently have so little. It’s not always easy, but being open is something worth working on.

What are your thoughts? Do you try to embrace the unexpected and throw a positive slant on things? Are you open to other religions, diets, mentalities and trying new things?

Detoxing in the New Year: Part 1

February 10, 2011 § 2 Comments

It’s that time of year again when people go cuckoo for week-long syrup fasts, fat-igniting magic pills and foul-tasting meal replacements that all serve primarily to reinforce the distinction between happiness and health.

Happiness is where they’ve been; partying, indulging, living. Health is that odious, obligatory task of taking out the trash.

People of all ages and genders have been wandering into my work wearing expressions that immediately betray their grim purpose; ‘Fix me with your herbal hocus-pocus!’

I begin to explain that a gentle cleanse does not have to equate to suffering and sacrifice…

…but they are already plucking the ready-made detox kit from the shelf, cringing as they turn over the neatly packaged box of potions that will ‘melt fat from their frame’ before you can say gimmick.

To them this temporary plan, albeit painful, is the only way they can truly repent for the sins of the festive season. Unfortunately, it is an established misconception that holding your nose in the name of health is a necessary evil, and however loudly I may protest, many people refuse to believe that good health and good fun can ever be reconciled.

Say no to Lemon Detox!

This worrying trend that I’ve observed in store is far from being an isolated phenomenon. It saddens me to think that this is the way many people visualise health, and as a result, they are missing out on the truly wonderful, miraculous and delicious truth. To perform a detox and attain permanent & lasting health, YOU DON’T NEED TO PULL THAT FACE!  It’s not so bad my tortured friends!

I’ve decided to write a series of articles that provide you with various options for detoxing and losing weight in a manner that is taste-bud friendly, and free from rigid rules and yawn-fest calorie-crunching.

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PART ONE: The Emotional Detox

Correct. This particular approach targets the noggin’; the control centre of our being that deserves a lot more love, and acts as the foundation for our continued efforts at attaining better health.

Like emptying your handbag of months of compounded crap, cleaning out your mental space can help you locate that inspiration you misplaced, the missing keys to your happiness, and the motivation that was rotting right at the very bottom, in a forgotten Tupperware container (don’t pretend you haven’t found decomposing matter in a hidden corner of your purse!).

Not only can taking the time to re-focus and re-group support a greater level of organisation, but having a healthy mental state also prevents the physical effects of stress from impacting negatively on your body.

Did you know that highly stressed individuals have permanently elevated levels of cortisol? This is a hormone secreted in the event of a fight-or-flight-type situation and would be useful if you were legging it away from a bear or a yeti. Being continuously depressed, anxious or strung-out however means your body produces cortisol consistently, in turn increasing your insulin levels and appetite, and hence stubborn belly fat is born.

Many natural health gurus also believe that holding on to negative emotions and failing to address underlying issues can be reflected in the physical – i.e. being ‘chubby’ because it serves an emotional purpose. Are you hiding behind your weight? Could it be that you are deeply afraid of the consequences of actually attaining your goals and having to live with the attention you might receive being thin? Sounds far-fetched, but the power of your mind and your prevailing beliefs is such that thoughts can and do manifest in the physical. Think about it, yo.

My suggestions for becoming a happier, more mentally mellow dude (in the gender non-specific sense) are as follows:

•  Ask big-picture questions. Go on, I dare you. One night I actually took the time to ask myself how I was doin’ and if I was happy with my studies/life/future plans. How shocked was I when the answer I came out with was a resounding, NO. If you find that you also aren’t jiving with your current job, living arrangement or overarching direction, why not hypothesise as to your alternative options? It’s your life; please build, tweak and sculpt it to your liking! Go forth and write, research, plan, enquire, chant and astrally project until you have a solution.

•  Take the time to offload all those pesky logistics/budget concerns and grocery lists onto paper. Ok, so needing to write a shopping list has never impacted negatively on my happiness, but I’ve certainly felt overwhelmed with thoughts about money and other tedious aspects of capitalist living that, once laid out on paper, did not seem so horrid. Be brave, allocate funds in order of priority (tip: SPLURGE ON CONSUMABLES!) and take the time to make a detailed to-do list that you can cathartically tick off with vigour! CONFESSION: Sometimes I include a bunch of things that I’ve already achieved, like ‘wake up’, ‘shower’ and ‘breathe’ to make me feel super productive 😛

•  Address interpersonal tensions. If there’s someone you’ve been avoiding or a friend you have unresolved issues with, make a concerted effort to heal that wound. Whether it means acknowledging that they are gone from your life, or trying make amends, decide on your preferred outcome and take warrior action (yes, you can be a friendship warrior as well as a Vibram warrior!).

•  Do the hard stuff. There are always things on my list that inspire a certain fear and weakness in the spongy parts of my spine (emailing someone with bad news, asking for a favour, paying a ridiculous, outrageous, outlandishly expensive parking fine…). When you want to put it off, you have to flex your confidence muscle and just it do (yoda, for nike). You’ll feel an empowered sense of accomplishment once you’ve volleyed all life’s tennis balls back into the opposite court (sometimes my analogies aren’t so catchy– let’s roll with it).

•  Clean up your shit. I’m not saying you live amid filth and squalor but if you did, hypothetically speaking, it would be wise to shovel out the poo. For everyone else, organising and cleaning out your room, house and car can have a profoundly cleansing effect on the mind. Feng shooooeeeey is not without it’s merits.

•  If all else fails, jump into the ocean. Or at least touch it with your toe. Or go somewhere in nature that you’ve never been before; a place that restores calm to your muddled interior would be ideal. Take the time to do some whimsical, meditative frolicking (of which you know I’m a fan) – any time spent tuning your nature chord is time well spent.

What are your tricks for cleaning out your emotional inbox?

No resolutions, but plenty of goals.

January 3, 2011 § 14 Comments

How did everyone pull up after the wild NYE celebrations? I emerged relatively unscathed as I am, what my goon-guzzling friends would call, ‘soft’.

I prefer responsible.

Truth is, I enjoy a good red. An expensive white. And perhaps if i’m feeling crazy, one of each. But I’m not ashamed to say, my days of downing tequila shots and hooking vodka to my veins are well and truly a memory of my 17-year-old self.

I actually have more fun when i’m not trying to avoid barfing all over the D-floor, and feel irritated with the hardcore drinking culture in Australia that seems to dictate anything less than 3 Jaeger Bombs per hour is sacrilege. But I guess if that’s what floats your dingy, then so be it.

Although i’m a little late with the end-of-year, new-beginnings theme, I wanted to share some of my goals for 2011.

I say goals because i’m never really one for New Year’s resolutions. I normally resolve not to keep any, thus leaving me in an endless paradox…

I also think the word ‘resolution’ implies a more rigid, fiercely defended, all-or-nothing approach that I see all too often with friends who go crazy eating, drinking and partying in the lead up to new years’, resolving to quit the excesses cold turkey at midnight on the 1st of January. I’m not judging those people who do, because I’m definitely guilty of adopting a ‘start-afresh-tomorrow’ attitude…but I have to ask myself, is this resolution really sustainable? Or will it end as spectacularly as it began?

This is why I prefer to have goals, with an emphasis on progress, learning and chip-chip-chipping away at something bigger.

So what are they?

In no particular order….

1. Attempt a half-marathon.

Attempt, people, attempt. This one scares me the most. If i’m a soft drinker, then I’m a wibbly puddle of goo when it comes to pain, endurance and mental stamina. But we are all capable of greater things than we know, right? So with that in mind, I’m taking it on. Maybe. Perhaps. We’ll see.

OH GOD IT’S ON THE GOALS BOARD, THAT MEANS ITS GOSPEL!

2. Think long and hard about coming off the pill.

I wrote a post not too long ago about the pro’s and con’s of the BCP, and on the advice of many individuals in the natural health scene, I feel it is something I want to eliminate from my life. This one may be on par in scariness with #1, because I know it’s going to be a crazy rollercoaster that could take years to even out my poor bedraggled hormones.

3. Save for a trip and travel to Japan.

Unfortunately I’ve never been one to prioritize travel; i’d rather save for material things, appliances, or organic leafy greens. This has to change, because while nice objects are pleasant, it’s all about our experiences and adventures. And Japan is somewhere i’ve wanted to go for eons; looks fascinating!

4. Be more spontaneous! Make the most of every opportunity.

In simple terms; stop being such a nanna. I tend to become quite set in my ways and dislike last-minute plans and unexpected changes. This is mainly because I like to know what i’m doing each day in advance, set mini-goals and never just have empty, open ‘free time’. It would certainly pay to be more flexible, and welcome a little spontaneity.

5. Improve at yoga and incorporate it into my daily practice.

I’ve been intimidated by yoga for as long as I can remember. This is because I have the flexibility of a corpse undergoing rigor mortis, and I also find it hard to relax and sit still. I know it’s one of those highly beneficial, life-extending activities, and i’m determined to eventually be able to touch my toes/shins/knees.

6. Include regular strength straining. Channel Arnie.

Building lean muscle will not only boost my metabolism and increase my strength and stamina, but also equip me with a rippling set of guns. I want guns.

7. Make a dentists appointment & remove amalgam fillings.

Holy baloney, you don’t want to know how long it’s been between dental examinations. It’s one of those things I never give any concern to, but probably should for the sake of my 2 remaining front teeth. Also, I don’t want poisonous mercury fillings gumming up my jaw anymore.

8. Start growing plants in the garden.

I already have an awesome little herb garden thanks to a dear friend that I got for my birthday, but I’d like to have a few more pots and start growing some herbs for everyday use. Currently, I’m excelling at cultivating this creepy species of yellow mould in the soil of the few pots I have, so I think I need to turn my yellow thumb green and wise up on horticulture.

9. Volunteer at local retirement village.

I gained so much out of my trip to the old folks home on Christmas day, so I want to check out any local opportunities to regularly connect with, and give some time to ageing residents.

10. Spend less on groceries each week. Implement smarter spending.

Self-explanatory. I splurge on consumables.

11. Experiment with raw and fermented foods in the kitchen.

I’m in such a food rut right now. I need to collect a few awesome recipes and become more familiar with creative raw cuisine, and of course, overcome my fear of ‘living’ foods that grow & ferment. Kefir tops this list.

12. Take a photography class.

I’ve loved photography for a long time, but since the acquisition of my delicious DSLR, I’d love to get some professional help in taking better pictures. Not just blindly adjusting the settings until the photo is no longer black

Well, there you have my master to-do-list for the year. I can’t wait to tick them off one by one, up the ante next year and be even more of a petrified mess come January 1st 2012.

I know many of you have also shared your own goals on your blogs, so a collective bonne chance to everyone for the year ahead!


Words to live by.

December 30, 2010 § 5 Comments

Hi friends!

Hope you’re all having beautiful, fulfilling days, as I am. Fulfilling, because I just accompanied my two girlfriends to see Tron. In 3D no less. My eyeballs bled. Yes, we ditched the men in our lives, and decided we needed a hearty dose of sci-fi, cheesy one-liners and geeky video game references. Don’t ask me why; it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I would have infinitely preferred Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, but apparently I am banned from seeing it until a certain cinephile buddy of mine gets his butt back to NSW.

Anyhoo, trivial details of my day aside, I wanted to properly recap Christmas day. Because besides the present butchering and the face stuffing, we actually accomplished something meaningful that left me with some thoughts i’d like to share with you.

Family shot (note: not my dad, my mum’s lovely new partner Andrew)

On Christmas day, after we attended to our own display of giving and receiving, Mum and I decided to try to give to others who may not have the good fortune of spending the holidays with loved ones. We organised to help out for the morning at a retirement village and serve bourbon-spiked tea and sugar-encrusted shortbread to the residents, and generally provide fresh ears for conversation and company. This was no great sacrifice, as I personally find older people fascinating and was looking forward to breaking with tradition on Christmas day.

I feel it’s a sad indication of our collective fear of aging and death, that the elderly are so often hidden away in homes and villages where their wisdom and worldliness is diminished; forgotten, lost. In other cultures, including many Asian ones I believe, families live in extended form, together, with grandparents looked after and supported by their growing families, and in turn imparting invaluable knowledge and helping shape the lives of the young. They are respected; a respect that is all but lost in Western society where ageism abounds.

As you can tell, it’s an issue that’s close to my heart, and on the day I felt quite emotional speaking to people who (for the most part) had so much to offer, yet who evidently lacked living, nearby or simply concerned relatives.

After chatting with some wonderful, insightful, wise individuals, I came away not only with the friendship of a few amazing characters but also a new sense of what it is to live, live well and reconcile with the inevitable physical decline of old age.

One lady, Betty, who agreed to adopt me as her surrogate granddaughter for the day, was exceptionally witty and grounded, and shared some invaluable advice that I felt would be nice to pass on.

She spoke frankly about aging and death, and said the most important thing is to simply get out and do as much as you can throughout your life; seek out adventure, embrace change and create those fond and happy memories that will later sustain you when you are no longer physically capable.

Being content with the sum of your achievements and knowing you grasped each and every opportunity must be a comfort when you are faced with the imminent possibility of your own non-existence. That confounding condition that is so utterly incomprehensible to us, as we make every effort to stave it off each day until we are forced to reflect upon it’s significance; when we too may find ourselves old and alone.

Heavy stuff, right? I didn’t intend to get so dull and dreary, but for a gal who contemplates daily the meaning behind our bizarre little life, preferably à la Monty Python, it seems an opportunity to learn from more experienced parties.

As someone who also likes to play it safe, be a bit of a wuss and embrace her inner nanna, it pays to remind myself that challenge, adventure and experience is what gives life it’s colour. And as much as i’d like to stay home on a weekend, sipping tea and perfecting the latest vegan cookie, I also have to temper this with a little excitement – shooting to fulfill my life in deeper ways than simply seeing Tron on a Thursday afternoon with two of my silliest girlfriends. {Although, the main character was rather cute (sorry Jarad). And I did happen to enter into a raging discussion with the girls as to his greatest physical attribute (Sorry again Jarad. No one compares to you, and I totally would not launch myself at the man if he were in the nearby vicinity).}

I’m so glad I spent some of Christmas day with new faces; ones that ultimately challenged me to consider not only how we treat the elderly, but also how it is that I want to remember my youth when I become old, stiff and incontinent. Moreso, obviously.

What are your thoughts on getting old? Do you feel you are ‘living to the full’?

Peace out, hombres.


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