Saturday, May 10, 2008

Kindred by Octavia Butler

I haven't read much of Ms. Butler's work since high school. She is brilliant. I'm reading Kindred right now and, oh my word, she is brilliant. I remember when I learned Ms. Butler was a Black woman, my first thought was, "I didn't know Black people wrote Science Fiction!" I was only 15 at the time and hadn't even read The Color Purple. I went to parochial school for all my life, save one or two years, and, it would seem, literature written by Black people didn't exist in those schools. But goodness, she is brilliant. And I remember that that was my initial reaction when I first read her work even way back then when my mind was still in the compliant, good schoolgirl, "don't think too hard or ask too many questions" fog I was conditioned to be in: she's brilliant. A genius. I am awed by her work. She inspires me in a way that I can't describe. Like . . . that fire inside me, that deep-down feeling about the book I will write, it becomes stronger and more pronounced when I read each and every word she has penned.

She is a great writer. I hope to be a great writer.

Kindred is a book I highly recommend. I'm about halfway done.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I need to make a change . . .

Supposedly, I'm a vegetarian. But I eat very few veggies. And most of the food I eat is cooked. I know I need to eat more vegetables and I know I need to eat them in their raw state. This will energize me and make me feel more alive. Right now, feel sluggish and always tired. I know the tiredness could be from the fact that I don't sleep more than 2 or 3 hours at a stretch since I am exclusively breastfeeding but eating better would help, I'm sure of it. I used to be really good about having a green smoothie everyday but lately, I've lapsed. I can go a whole week without ever eating live greens and my toddler does better than I do at eating fruits. I'm totally preoccupied with taking care of kids and the house and trying to squeeze out a couple of minutes to knit and read . . . I feel it. Sluggish. I've made many drastic changes in my life. I'm hesitant to make a drastic change like eating only raw foods *but* I can start by challenging myself to drink at least one green smoothie a day. I'm also challenging myself to get into juicing--I've got at least three books on the subject.

So, I'm excited about getting a good juicer although currently I'm trying to decide which I need more: a juicer or a good water filter. I might have to bite the bullet and get both (especially since I'm making our nut milk here at home). I've done the research on the juicer and know what I want to get. As for the water filter, I'm utterly confused. I want something that will filter out fluoride and chlorine (can you believe I actually smell the chlorine in our bath water?). It looks like I will need a reverse osmosis system. I don't want water that's completely mineral-free though because I know we need some of those trace minerals. Like I said, I'm confused.

Being healthy and well is not cheap. But you can't put a price on being healthy and well.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

One man's trash is another (wo)man's treasure.

So, today my hubby found a glass loaf pan in the trash. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it and it will be perfect for baking bread. I already have one clear glass Pyrex baking dish and the other is aluminum non-stick baking dish. I find that in the aluminum baking dish, the bread gets dark way too fast so I really prefer glass. I'm (perhaps overly) excited about acquiring a new dish and even more excited that it was free!

I noticed at Trader Joe's today that they now have their own brand of Agave nectar and it's waaaay cheaper than at Whole Foods. Woohoo . . . I love Trader Joe's. We always clean up in there.

On another note, I thought I had escaped this allergy season scott-free. But it seems that I, like other allergy sufferers, will have to pay my dues this spring. I've been sneezing and rubbing my eyes insanely. I can't even begin to tell all the things I've done in the quest to cure myself of allergies. It was one of the motivating factors for me switching to strict vegetarianism which was a drastic change for me. Right now, I've just decided that the only thing for me to do is to focus on my perfect health. Allergies may be with me for the rest of my life but they don't have to run my life. So I continue to live life gratefully, hankie in hand.

I just cut

Another loc at my temple that was dangling and really pulling and irritating me. It feels so much better to have it gone. Maybe this will clear the way for some strong growth at my temples. Right now, the right temple is almost completely bald.

This loc journey is really wearisome.

Monday, May 5, 2008

And it was good . . .


Well, I cooked the jerk seitan and coconut rice from Vegan with a Vengeance. It was good. I wasn't wowed but it was a nice dish. It really just made me miss the authentic flavor of jerk chicken. Nonetheless, my hubby loved it. My baby boy, on the other hand, only wanted rice. He didn't eat very well today at all so tomorrow I'm going to have to try to make that up. The chocolate chip cookies I made didn't last long enough for me to take a picture (despite the fact that they got burned). I'm not sure if the recipe is the chocolate cookie recipe I've been looking for since they were burned so I'll have to try it again.

The motor for soy milk maker we bought seems to have died. I called customer service and they suggested that maybe it was because the head of the maker got wet and that if I let it dry well, it'll probably work again. That's a possibility but I really think the almond milk is serving us well. Also, I would really prefer a juicer and I could use the money to buy one. The juicer I'm eying is the Omega 8005. I want a masticating juicer because I really want the pulp to be dry (so as not to waste expensive organic produce--although admittedly recently, I haven't been buying much organic produce). I've heard really good things about this juicer and, as an added bonus, I found this. It's soy milk made using the Omega juicer. It's a bit more labor intensive than using the soy milk maker but with my limited kitchen space, I need multitasking appliances.

My good friend who makes TruButter gave me a 4 oz. jar of body butter (Spanishtown scent) as an early Mother's Day gift. It smells divine and is so soft and smooth. I can't wait to wash my hair next just so I can rub this stuff into my hair and scalp. I'm thinking of buying a jar for my mother who could benefit from shea butter but who hates the way shea butter smells and feels. TruButter is completely different than the raw shea butter she's probably accustomed to. But it's hard buying gifts for my mother. Well, actually, it's an exercise in futility. But, nonetheless, I fantasize that one day I'll give her something that she'll love and cherish.

You know what my late night indulgence has been of late? Kaffree Roma Roasted Grain Beverage with two tsp. sugar and some almond milk alongside Whole Foods brand animal cookies. It reminds me of when I was a child and I used to drink Lipton tea with 'nuff white sugar and evaporated milk and butter cookies which my mom called "biscuits". Very comforting. And delicious.

Play I Some Music . . .

I love reggae music. I fell in love with reggae when I was in college. It started out with Bob Marley, of course, and then branched out to other roots type reggae. My foray into the world of roots reggae was prompted and encouraged by a guy I really dug at the time but once the spark was lit for reggae, I've never turned back. Nowadays, I don't keep up anymore with the new releases but there is one band that has a special place in my heart: Midnite. I still remember the first album I bought, the first concert I went to. Vaughn Benjamin's (the lead singer) music and voice and depth only draws me in more and more. But the man is prolific! I am working on acquiring every single album but it might not be feasible in this lifetime. Anyway, there's a track that I love off the album "Scheme of Things" called Lianess. That song inspires me to be a true lioness, strong, bold, graceful. So, in one of my bouts of insomnia, I finally made a video with images I had been collecting on my computer for years. It's great for meditation.

And say unto them
What is your mother?
Lianess
Principally rock solid of an Empress
When she be strong the whole Iniverse rest
When she be storm, she literalize the tempest
Yes, Yes . . .

But who can find a virtuous woman?
Who can find a virtuous woman?
Her loyalty is the priceless!!



The hubby is off for the next few days which is great. It often throws us off our schedule but it will be nice to have him around. Hopefully the weather will cooperate so we can do some fun outdoor activities (nothing spectacular--hanging out in the backyard is good enough).

I'm going to be cooking jerk seitan and coconut rice, two recipes from Vegan with a Vengeance which is written by the same author as Veganomicon. I'll also be baking "Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies" by Dreena Burton (whose cookbook Vive Le Vegan is also a great resource especially for those trying to limit their intake of soy). I baked these before but instead of adding 1/4 teaspoon blackstrap molasses, I added 1/4 cup. The cookies were still good although they were interesting tasting. The hubby loved them. My baby boy wouldn't touch them with a 10 foot pole. Anyway, I've heard such great things about these cookies, I figured I better give them another chance and do it right this time. I've had the darndedst time trying to find a vegan chocolate chip cookie I absolutely love. Maybe these will be it? If not, I've got a few other recipes on standby.

By the way, I absolutely love the website where the recipe is posted. It's Everyday Dish TV . . . a fabulous alternative to the Food Network. I'll vent, I mean, blog about this (and by this I mean Food Network's insistence on ignoring, no, snubbing vegetarians and Black folks and about every culture except for Italians and the French) in detail very soon.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I washed my hair yesterday

And it seems that a few more have started to thin at the base of the loc. So disheartening. The one loc that was really skinny at the root, I had to cut that bad boy. It was just dangling there and annoying me. But now I don't know which one is better . . . the patch with no hair or the dangling loc.

On a brighter note . . . I made cinnamon swirl raisin bread. My baby boy helped me knead and roll out the dough. He was looking forward to the bread when he took his nap and when he woke up, that was the first thing he asked for. He is eating a warm slice right now and he is LOVING it. I think I'll wait till it cools down some more.

In other cooking adventures, I made the Jamaican Yuca Shepherd's Pie from Veganomican. My oven is quite old and the broiler just kind of charred the top--but it was actually good that way. We are still eating it as it was a pretty big dish I used to make it. Can I just say it is a fabulous dish? I love curries and this particular dish gave me so many ideas of other curries I can put together. The dish was quite starchy (only about 2 cups of beans) for the whole casserole so it's not going to be a staple dish but in terms of comforting foods, this one ranks very high. I am so excited to make another dish from this cookbook (which, if you didn't notice has 143 customer reviews on Amazon.com, all 5 stars!!).

On another note, at the library in my town they've started a needlework circle. There are precious few activities I can attend with a baby in tow and so I really hope the library decides to keep the group going. There have been plenty of groups and activities at the library that were just discontinued I suppose because they didn't have the greatest turnout. It was a small group yesterday . . . only 4 ladies so I'm going to put an add on Craig's list and at the local supermarket when I go to see if we can get more folks. Anyway, it was there at the needlework circle that I got my first chance to knit all week. And so, I'm finally making some progress on the cotton crown (hat) I'm making my hubby for summertime. I started a few weeks ago using Manos del Uruguay Cotton Stria in Spice 215. It is a luscious yarn that has beautiful texture. It's knitting up quite nicely on Size 5 circulars. This is my first top-down hat and I'm using the instructions in Knitting from the Top, one of Barbara Walker's classic books. I'd say I'm about 65% done.

Even better than all of that . . . Have you ever heard a song on the radio that you just loved but you didn't know who the artist was? You search everywhere and ask everyone to no avail and then one day . . . you stumble across it. Pure joy!!! So I heard a reggae tune on the radio and for weeks, I've been wanting to know who the artist was and where I could get the song . . . I found it on YouTube after doing a search on google. I've been playing it non-stop ever since. It's "Below the Waist" by Queen Ifrica.

You know me nah go box you down, baby
Now, me just wan hold you down, baby
Him say gwan go put on your thong, baby
And before you know it, it's another, baby!!



Makes me wan wine up mi waist! :)
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