Saturday, January 30

F.A.B.B share

I really love hearing what others, and their kids, are reading or watching.
It's a weekend meme.


Films - anything you're watching
Audio - anything you're listening to
Books - whatever you're reading
Blogs - share a post you enjoyed, new blog, website

Watching

No films or TV this week, must squeeze in a period drama soon.... looking at luscious pictures of interiors while I wait to have my own house to decorate.

Listening

Discovered this artist - Anouka



rockier, pregnant, live version here.

Reading

I wish I could say that I've finished Mists of Avalon, at 10 pages a day with 1000+ pages..... see you in 2011 people.

Mistress of Spices arrived but too late for Book Club, ah well...
If you've ever read that one, Like Water for Chocolate, or Chocolat, pop in to throw in your 2 pence/cents/shekel's worth on our women and food theme.

The Wildflower also recieved some new books, amongst them include two new Slinky Malinki's.



Funny you mentioning the former Ruth!
She likes them both although took to the second, probably because of the fun messes, and she started covering her eyes for Scarface Claw.

Blogs

My computer is on it's last legs so haven't been blog hopping much.
Found, The Loving Path
And not a blog but cool... for book lovers.

So what did you take in last week? Or let me know if you write your own post.

My World Edenwild


Thursday, January 28

abc's of me

Felt like some fun...

A - Age: 39 years 3 months about 3 weeks
B - Book: Don Quixote, Women Who Run With the Wolves
C - Chore (dislike): cleaning the loo (toilet)
D - Drink: coffee, chai, black russians
E - Eat: pasta, chocolate
F - Flower: purple tulips
G - Gem: black onyx, white opal, amethyst
H - Height: 5'4" (164cm)
I - Instruments: dabble in saxaphone and piano but am totally crap
J - Joy: daughter's grin, Autumn sun, creating, back massages...
K - Kid(s): 1 and only, girl, 21 months old
L - Living: currently in Montenegro, by the sea. Heading for the mountains.
M - Music: Led Zepplin, Vivaldi
N - Noise: as much silence as I can get
O - Ornaments: mostly stuff from travels, Bolivian tapestries, Tibetan cymbals
P - Pet Peeve: someone rearranging my shelves (herbs, books, whatever)
Q - Quote:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Jack Kerouac
R - Right or left handed: Right
S - Sibling(s): younger brother, younger sister
T - Time you wake up: whenever the little one does
U - Underwear: black boxer-short style
V - Vegetable: bell peppers (capsicums)
W - Word: serendipty, daughter's - hipucs (hiccups)
X - X-rays: shoulder when I was about 12, and numerous ultra-sounds
Y - Yearning: creative space
Z - Zzzz: insomniac + insomniac child = -z

And for all those who remarked in the last comments - ooh, look yer face.... okay it's true, I'm usually on the other side of the camera..... had to dig this one up, about a year old...



Do let me know if you join in, I'll add your link in here.

An American in Norway
Created with Love
The Loving Path
My World Edenwild
Global Mamas
Cypress Sun
Raising a Sensitive Child

Tuesday, January 26

the power of no Presence

Being Present with my daughter through her first year was probably one of the most wonderful gifts I gave her. I will look back in years to come and along with the challenges I'll have that warm memory. So it was a gift to myself too.

It's too easy to disengage from our children by daydreaming of personal needs (I need/want to get X done), or to spend our time regretting the past (why didn't the birth turn out better), or worrying about the future (will I be able to do X for her).

Being fully present in the moment, in the right Now, takes conscious awareness and effort. It's tougher for some than others. Being present is one of the biggie parenting issues of the last 5 years. For me, it was part of who I am, and part of wanting so much more for her than I had in my childhood. And I have embraced it. Not always succeeding of course, but embraced it and strove towards it, and come pretty darn close.

However......

In my recent quest to declutter my mind, and to deal with the frustration of having so little time to myself, of accepting that, I came to a realisation, as we were out walking.

Firstly, I should say that I've come a long way through that acceptance. It brings peace of course, yet acceptance can't remove what is a soul need. I am afterall a Mindful Mama, and a creative mama, and a mystical-spiritual mama, who is up half the night, has a spirited child, craves silence, and only gets 2hrs a day of time alone.

So, the realisation was...... that being present as much as I am, in my situation, wasn't necessarily the best choice for us. Or at least, not any longer.

When we were walking, I was in the moment. I watched her poke different objects with her stick. I noticed what she noticed, what she took interest in, and heard the few words she uttered. I was in the essence of her simple happiness being out with her mama, stick in hand, meeting the world. I also enjoyed the Winter sun and the fresh air.

Sounds lovely, right?

Except.

Except that later that day my mind and my body were still craving the nurturing that I wasn't giving them. My body STILL needed sleep, and my mind STILL needed space and silence.

So on the next walk I thought, what did I lose if I wasn't quite as present during this walk? Or, what did different thing did I gain?

I stopped being as present and gave my mind the permission to wander. During the 1hr part-present walk...

- my girl had her mama right by her side
- she held her mama's hand
- she was content and secure
- she had fun
- I watched her explore her world
- I took joy in her simple discoveries and experiments
- I compiled a poem in my head, as well as a couple of blog posts.
- I made a decision about my creative life

This was a conscious de-presenting (?!), but I have actually been doing it for some time now. However, when it's been unconscious it's more of a disengagment, and it is often followed by guilt, or guilt at not feeling guilty. So not being present is actually really easy. It's more about being aware and making the choice to be or not to be, as it were. And not feeling bad for choosing not to be.

This is the dilema of the Mindful Mama - wanting to do it right for their child but needing the balance. Desperate for mind space yet choosing to be always available to her in these formative years.



I'm certainly not advocating not being present. I do believe that learning to be so engaged with my little one has enriched both our lives beyond measure. And learning to be present first is helping me now to understand and be conscious of being otherwise. Because it is a delicate balance, the scales can easily dip too far in either direction.

Ironically, it has supported my Present time. I had begun to disengage and daydream about what I wanted to be doing. Now I'm able to give myself fully to her, consciously deciding that this is our connecting time. And knowing that afterwards, I will allow myself the daydreaming whilst we walk or sit or cuddle together.

But it's a tightrope right now..... I'm learning, I'm pulling my hair out, I'm sitting in peace, I'm enjoying the love and deep connection, I'm exhausted most of the time, I'm relishing re-engaging with myself, I worry of unbalance...... it's all a journey.

Sunday, January 24

F.A.B.B share

I really love hearing what others, and their kids, are reading or watching.
It's a weekend meme.



Films - anything you're watching
Audio - anything you're listening to
Books - whatever you're reading
Blogs - share a post you enjoyed, new blog, website

Listening

To the sound of silence, as Husband takes the Wildflower on a walk.

Reading

A lot of stuff like this:
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reported that in 2008, more than 160,000 American youth, ages 19 and younger, underwent cosmetic surgery.
The Plastic Surgery Channel

Still working my way through Mists of Avalon.

Watching

Watched 2012, which really got to me for some reason. Although it's typical OTT Hollywoodness, it felt more possible than most disaster movies. And then Lisa wrote a succinct take on 2012. And John Cusack was easy on the eyes, sigh

Watched Valkyrie, really worthwhile perspective of the German stuation during WWII.

Blogs

Despite my laptop slowly dying, I'm plowing through and doing the blog rounds...

Idzie's post on Being Childish
Stacy @ Mama-Om has a fab mindfulness series starting here.
Another mother saying that your opinion is irrelevant over here.

Participants:
Lisa @ My World Edenwild

Thursday, January 21

Thankful Anyway Thursday

It's easy to be thankful for the good stuff, can you be thankful for the not so good?
(as serious or light-hearted as you like)
read more here



My daughter doesn't sleep for longer than 2hr periods, often waking every 45mins in the late morning. We go to bed together, after 11:30pm, and we wake together. She naps for 2hrs. While awake, she is a very physically attached child (although this is lessening) and very energetic.

Those two hours are the only time I have fully to myself, completely peacefully.

So...... the last 4-6 weeks, she has been teething her final front teeth. And to say it has been hell would be an understatement.

For the past 3 weeks we have gone to bed around 2am, with the constant wakings continuing.

That, as exhausting and as it is, I can soldier through. But teething brought on the WHINING. Like, every 20 mins, she flipped from contentedly playing to going floppy and asking to go to bed (her comfort place), or simply whining whining whining.

Through a sleep deprived brain, I put everything aside and focused on her. I played, read, cuddled, went for walks. Nothing lasted. After 3 days of this incessant whining and little sleep, and minimal time for myself, and then my moontime arrived..... I cracked.

I cried and cried, I even screamed. Not at her, just generally. I stabbed a kitchen knife into the bread board over and over, trying to release the fury.

I cried some more, telling her that mama had hurt her finger. She patted my head. We hugged and shared a moment. Then she started whining.

And I wanted to hurt her.

No, I never would, and 'want' is not truly desiring it. It's just a primal instinct to stop the source of my pain.

I walked out of the room, into my bedroom, leaving her crying on the floor.
I screamed and bashed a pillow around the room.

Then I returned to her........ and continued, because it just comes down to love. sigh

I thought about Thankful Anyways, and I was angry with them. I did NOT want to be thankful for this! I am a good mother, I'm always here for her, I don't leave her when it gets too tough, I didn't deserve this. I hated Thankful Anyway with a vegeance!

So I allowed myself the anger. When the Husband got home that evening, I told him that I was on the brink of insanity and he took her for an extended daddy time. I also told him that I was angry and that I'll be taking it out on him. When he smiled I didn't have the strength to smile back, but it did help me see a glimmer of the lighter side... somewhere under the murkiness.

So I stood outside, in the freezing cold night and I gave my anger away to the earth. For to the earth it is simply neutral energy. I gave myself permission to feel exhausted, depressed, pissed off, and enveloped in the dark.

After a couple of days, I was ready for the Thankful Anyway.



I am thankful anyway for this experience because
... my girl has a safe place, and feels safe, to release the emotions of her own pains in the only way a toddler can know how, towards her main carer.
... I am her safe place, and always will be.
... I find more compassion for other mothers.
... I proved to myself that I had come a long way since her birth. That instead of feeling sadness and guilt, I was able to feel anger. During the worst time, I am able to not blame myself and allow myself the right to 'negative' emotions.

If you've done your own Thankful Anyway, go ahead and add your link - directly to the post - to the linky below (not visible in feed reader). Grab the button up the top (right click & Save As) and a link back is always nice.



Tuesday, January 19

food scraps, children, and home

A neighbour and friend of mine has a little girl only 3 weeks younger than the Wildflower (21 mths). They are from Belgrade, Serbia, but as her husband is away for months, she came down to Montenegro last year to be with her own mother.

Her husband is away because he is a UN peacekeeper, and he is in Hiati.

Her pale sunken cheeks say it all.

It took almost 24hrs to discover that he was alive. Now she waits to hear from him every day, because the anxiety isn't over.

The poor and desperate people are fighting, and even killing one another to get to supplies. Helicopters couldn't land because people were trying to jump and grab hold. The streets reek with the stink of decaying body piles and sewerage. We all know that disease is rife in these situations. There are gun-fights and machete fights.

Along with her husband, there are another four Serbian (yes, the current 'evil doers' of some years back) peacekeepers in Hiati. They were offered an airlift out of there. To return home. To return to safety and back into the arms of their families.

Each one declined.

They felt that it would be deserting the people when they need help the most. How could they come home when so many had lost theirs?


AP Photo/Jorge Cruz


She was over here a couple of days ago and her husband called. He assured her that he was alright, he even asked if my girl was getting more hair.... but he admitted that he was hungry and getting hungrier.

Why? Because he was giving all the food that he got from the UN to the children. He asked, 'how can I eat when tiny children are walking around homeless, alone, and hungry?' My body covered in shivers at the thought of my small child wandering a disaster area alone, frightened, without us. Who would pick her up, when there are so many orphaned children, when everyone is in desperate needs themselves?

He's breaking up chocolate bars and sandwhiches to distribute scraps of food to as many children as possible. We rarely hear about these small but significant gestures. Especially of ones made by those other than American or British.

What shocked me, was that every UN worker is getting a daily food pack.... that they have to PAY for. It costs him about 10-12 Euros for his food.... which he then gives away anyway.

I'm not going to get into my anti-UN rant here. But I really want to slap someone at the top there, very hard. It might be tiny, but I'll do my part by sharing such stories.

To help, this is a great article.

Saturday, January 16

F.A.B.B

I really love hearing what others, and their kids, are reading or watching.
It's a weekend meme.



Films - anything you're watching
Audio - anything you're listening to
Books - whatever you're reading
Blogs - share a post you enjoyed, new blog, website

What with the Dark Moon and sleep deprivation, it's been a few days, huh? so, where were we....

Watching
Not much. Watched Stalingrad - harrowing. Along the lines of Platoon, Saving Private Ryan, that sort of thing. Interesting perspective.

Reading
Wrote a review for The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
Started Mists of Avalon, but with such little sleep recently (yup a Thankful Anyway coming up fer sure) I'm struggling to get to it. It's the most popular one but I went ahead and read the first two in the series last year.


I'm waiting on The Mistress of Spices but it might arrive a little late for the Book Club, we'll see. I've read the other two on the list so could chat about those anyway.

Listening

Van Morrison's greatest hits. Love his version of Moondance.

Blogs

This lovely self- discovery from Stacy @ Mama-Om.
green grocery shopping with Greenspell
Lots of bloggers are getting in on the One Small Change project
Toddler book recalled

And erm..... hesitant to promote this one.... it's mine... but it's NOT for everyone. It's my NON-mama side, fun, quirky, unusual, writing, art, culture... as a diversion from your own mamahood perhaps? It's quite non-essential, and thereby completely essential for me. It's where I go to be anything but zen-like and evolved, chuckle. It's my Bohemian Shoebox.

Add your link in the Comments if you've done your own.


Tuesday, January 12

non-airbrushing beauties

So, look, it's a step in the right direction, no doubt about that. But we need to go further, much further. The big shots feel all ethical and are all look-how-we-care, because they didn't airbrush a beautiful young slim model!


Jennifer Hawkins, February Issue 2010 Marie Claire

Not only is she a model, she was Miss Universe. Oh, I feel so much better.

Did you ever hear the stir around "Page 194"?

September Issue 2009, Glamour

Now that's much more like it.

Some magazine execs talk that after so much great publicity from that photo (and tons of mail expressing no less than joy) they believe that there will be more of this to come.

Let's face it, money talks. It's up to us to support this sort of thing, to let them know that we really do prefer to see real women in their magazines. Only then will they make the changes.

Sunday, January 10

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
Worth: Photobucket
Enjoyed:

This is a fiction story that wraps itself around the philosophical ideas of the author. Kuranda's prose is witty and deceptively conversational, and his ideas and observations are, on a few occassions, captivating. Despite the onus on philosophy, it's actually a fairly light read.

However, these good points began to weigh heavy (yes, pun) after the first quarter. The potentially exciting philosophical ponderings disintergrate, for me, into meaningless and sometimes off-putting excuses for adultery. Off-putting in that it becomes super dull, and because the wife is first, annoyingly passive (rather than fascinatingly so) and then self-reproachful for not accepting her husband's love as it was!

This is first and foremost a book of ideas, so the story is secondary. Yet it is the vehicle for the ideas, and for me, are driven not over the edge, but simply stall. I could have accepted his meanderings and disconnected ideas if his prose was lyrical, poetic, which, while good, isn't either.

What I don't accept are his flimsy philosophical observations. His basic premise - questioning whether lightness is preferrable to heaviness, or whether heaviness is a bad thing - is a worthwhile one. Yet the explanations are assumptions backed up by, more often than not, grammatical rather than conceptual links. Just using 'therefore' doesn't a legimitate point make.

I think that I would have enjoyed this in my early 20's, when I was particularly open to being pushed philosophically and everything seemed amazing because of it's new opportunity to push. There was no pushing now, and the gentle nudges were easy to forget.

I gave it 3 stars for worth because it does have it's place, mostly for stylistic and cultural reasons, and partly because it's so well known, so it's worth discovering what it's all about, if you have that much extra time. I didn't hate it, but I would have preferred having had spent my time chewing on a different book.

Saturday, January 9

F.A.B.B

I really love hearing what others, and their kids, are reading or watching.
It's a weekend meme.



Films - anything you're watching
Audio - anything you're listening to
Books - whatever you're reading
Blogs - share a post you enjoyed, new blog, website


Watching

Watched episode 11 of Eastwick. Really disappointing.

Thanks to Anonymous telling me of Lark Rise to Candleford, I squeezed every bit of life out of my bandwidth limit last month.

Besides asking for The Gruffalo every single day, the Wildflower also enjoys the world of Eric Carle brought to life. Really lovely this one. Can't find it on Amazon.com though.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other stories by Eric Carle [DVD] UK



Thought you might find this useful - If you want to convert flv files to avi (from youtube to watch on your TV for example), then a free software program is what I used.

Reading

Finished, The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. Occassionally funny, occassionally intellectually stimulating, mostly emotionally flat. Would have enjoyed it more in my early 20's methinks. (my full review)
I'm still waiting on my next Book Club title to arrive, so not sure what to pick up next for now.

The Wildflower (20 mths old) is enjoying, The Dancing Tiger (my full review).

Blogs

Enjoyed this poem by Sarah.
The ongoing issue with Brits' right to homeschool without deep intervention at renegadeparent.net.

Add your link in the Comments if you've done your own.

Lisa @ My World Edenwild

Friday, January 8

Mama's Latina Bean Soup

I was getting a little tired of the Cancer Moon's boggy energy last week and felt like a firey pick-me-up. Then a friend mentioned making all sorts of lovely things with beans, and it got me craving them.

I'm a big fan of soup - wholesome, comforting, easy.

As you know, I don't do recipes, so this is a very rough idea and measurements of what I created. It's very flexible.

Ingredients
Beans of your choice ready-to-cook and suitable for soup (I used haricot this time), 1-2 cups
Chorizo or equivalent (a spicy, fatty, needs-to-be-cooked cured sausage) (or veggie stock for a vegetarian version)
Onions, 2-4
Carrots, 2-4
Garlic, few cloves sliced or crushed
Water, about 4 cups
Tomato puree, about a cup (you don't want this thick and tomato-soup-like)
Cumin 1 tsp, crushed
Oregano 2 tsp
Chilli 1-2 tsp, crushed (depends on how much heat you can take, you want to take yourself to your limit)
Sugar 1 tsp

1. Lightly fry the onions in a little olive oil until partially cooked
2. Add water (or stock for vegetarians), sliced sausage (about 1-2cm thick), carrots (sliced same thickness), garlic, and seasonings
3. Simmer for 40 mins covered
4. Add beans and tomato puree, salt to taste
5. Simmer until meat is really tender, about another 20-30mins



Hmmm.... looks better than the pic, and tastes so yummy. And with creative and warming intentions, this was just the thing to add a spark to our day.

Wednesday, January 6

Blueberry Girl



The husband line is suspect, but otherwise, very groovy.

Tuesday, January 5

your opinion is irrelevant

A collection of things I've been told, directly or implied, as a parent.... so far. Mostly in regards to my parenting, occassionally directed at me but including all parents.

You're too lenient.
You're quite firm.
You're over-protective.
Aren't you going to hold her hand?
I would never let my children hurt themselves like that.
You let her crawl on the [public] floor?!
Start her on solids early, it gets you more time for yourself.
You're a great mother.
You're an inferior mother as you don't breastfeed.
Don't make it a big deal, just give her a bottle.
I don't really get parents that keep their children wrapped up at home. I dont think this is good for the child.
She definitely needs her quiet doesn't she, lucky she doesn't have a mother big on socialising.
Every child should have a naughty step.
She should be eating more.
Kids should be allowed to run wild.
You can't have kids running wild.
You should push her to sleep earlier.
You should push her to eat more.
It's unhealthy for a mother to spend all day with her child.
Sometimes I wish I could be a mother like you, and want to spend all day with my kids.
I think you're right to not vaccinate.
You're putting your child at risk by not vaccinating.
Don't you think she'll be lonely as an only child?
It's so much easier with just one.
I'm in awe that you've done this alone.
You have it easy with a girl.
Toddlers need to socialise with their peers.
Children need to get ill.
You're soft.
You let her tantrum?
You don't stop her crying?
She's not warm enough.
She's old enough to sleep on her own isn't she?
She can eat chunks of apple.
Let her say rude things, it's funny.
She'll be alright.
She's not distressed.
I'm so impressed at how you anticipate her needs.
Children need to be taught respect.
Children need to be punished.
You must get more time on your own.
Children need a little [white] sugar.
Get her used to noise, then she won't mind it.
I wish I was as mindful as you.
You're so relaxed as a parent.
Don't you think you can over-analyse things?
I think you worry too much.
You have to trust people [with her, and without my presence].
You can't trust others [as above].
Various anti-homeschooling ones.
A few  pro-homeschooling ones, made with the idea that there's solidarity in putting down schoolers.
I love how much you respect her, I need to learn that more with my kids.
You let her choose when to go to bed?!
Just use whatever DVD gets you the most peace.

The assumptions made:

- that I haven't already considered all the possibilites/choices.
- that I don't know my own child.
- that I don't know my own needs.
- that they know the full situation.
- that what's worked for them must work for everyone else.
- that I require their approval.
- that their opinions are universal truths.

Some are arrogant (and ignorant), most are well-meaning, but almost all believe they're right.



I'm an opinionated person myself, so I'm not annoyed by the opinions, or by the person's need to express them to me. Mostly I've chuckled at how strongly people feel and at their need to save me or my child from myself. Opinions are relative, subjective, and varied. I shrug and smile.
{I do examine thoughtful opinions. I'm not including here ideas shared during thoughtful discussions with other mothers or when I ask for an opinion.}

The thing that bugs me, is the person's belief that their opinion is right for everyone, and that their opinion, about my child, comes before my own. I mean, so many people actually feel this way. I know of two (childless) friends who have been offended because I told them (kindly) that their (strongly expressed) opinion was not relevant to my parenting, but will only be relevant to their children. I make no apologies. I'm more interested in protecting the sanctity of every parent-child relationship than hurting the feelings of the misguided.

Possibly worse, is that most of the opinions come from those who are parents themselves, and would likely feel threatened if their own practices were questioned. Thinking like this, however well-meant the expression, smacks of intolerance. And it's un-sympathetic to the parent. It always makes me think of other mothers, ones who might not be as detached about these things as I am, and feel hurt, confused, undermined, or worse.

The dynamics of the relationship between a parent and child is unique, a wonder, magical. No one can know it, not even another mother, you can only experience it. Allowing ourselves to become upset at external opinions, or to second guess our intuitive choices, and even to require approval to feel better about our choices, chips away at that precious gift.

And if you're the one giving the opinion, consider whether all you might be really doing is aiding a mother with that hurtful process. Do you really need to contradict, or even question? Respectfully, your opinion is irrelevant.

It's difficult enough navigating this mothering journey. There are infinite legitimate routes. I can only be on one at any given time. I choose the intuitive road.

Monday, January 4

Mama's Zesty Lemon Cake

Lemons have been in season here and a friend brought over a bag of them. What to do with so many lemons?! First I thought of gin & tonics with a slice (tequila shots, due to mis-spent youth, are very much out).... or there was cake.



I rarely think of cake when I think of lemons. For me, cake means chocolate or vanilla or some such thing. But I have one lemon cake recipe that I love, because it fits my two main criteria - must taste good and be easy to make. I thought you might like to try it if you find yourself inundated with lemons..... or there's G&Ts of course...don't let me stop you.



Preheat oven to 160C
Grease and flour a 9inch cake tin.

Sugar, 1 1/2 cups sugar
Butter, 1 1/4 cups softened unsalted (or 1/4 cup butter & 1 cup veg/sunflower oil, but add the oil later)*
Eggs, 3 med (room temp)

- Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix well.

Lemon zest, about a tablespoon is what I use
Salt, 1/2 tsp
Vanilla extract, about 1/2 tsp

- Mix in zest, extract, and salt.
This is the part where you think lively fun thoughts to transfer to cake.

Lemon Juice, 1/2 cup, from about 2-3 organic or at least unwaxed lemons
Milk, 1 cup (or 1/2 cup if using oil) and add oil now too
Flour, 3 1/2 cups (plain, all-purpose)
Baking powder, 4 tsp

- Add milk, juice and mix a little.
- Combine flour and BP.
- Add and fold in, then mix until just smooth, don't over do it.

Bake for about an hour. Until nice and browned and skewer comes out clean.

Apparently, if your cake peaks in the middle or cracks, your oven is too hot. I don't mind the cracking on this sort of cake, adds to its character I think, and doesn't affect its yumminess factor at all.



This is one of those cakes that depends a lot on personal tastes. You might want it more or less lemony, adjust the amount of lemon zest, or sweeter, add more sugar. No problem.

* I used the oil 'cause I ran out of butter, so I improvised. Worked out fine, although a little different of course.

Sunday, January 3

the creative high

I've been creative, and after almost two solid hours of this the other day, I was on a high for the rest of the day. And I believe the glow remains. I still feel it's tingle.


 Astronomer by Candlelight, Gerrit Dou

Over the years, I've been living under the Shadow of Impatience. Also, I allowed myself to be in a life where I felt restricted as well as pressured to be something other than I was.

What this meant, is that I was constantly self-learning, formally studying, or working jobs, that were usually not my calling. On the flip side, I would learn or work in something I loved, but was impatient, or felt pressured, to Do Something With It.

I would dive into a course of study for example, but wanted to be an expert Now, or start earning within a year, despite it being a vocation that would likely take years.



Now, at almost 40, I look back and see, okay, not wasted time, because I refuse to view my life like that, despite the pull towards that perspective.... but, I see how if I had taken things slowly and steadily, I could have achieved so, so much more.

I'm not a results-orientated person when it comes to career, I love learning for its own sake, and I've never been driven by the dollar. I'm okay at not being an expert, or not having that PhD (which was really just another trap). So that's not what I mean by achieved more.

What I'm not okay with, is the lie that I told myself each time I started on a new path - it's no use, it will take me years to finish this, to be really good at this, so there's no point.

I look back at say, 10 years, and see how I could have studied something slowly, even taken 10 years to do it, and here today, I would have the substantial knowledge of the subject. Or pacticed an art, craft, or skill.

And again, I don't mean because I would then be an expert and admired, or feel the sense of achievement, or have a brilliant career. No, what I mean is that I would have peace and regular highs.


Woman reading by candlelight, Peter Vilhelm Ilsted  

Without the anxiety of feeling I had to be or do something other than my passion, I would feel peace. I would be doing what I was doing for the pure joy of it. Not because of a pressure to do something useful with it.

And, without the constant stumbling due to the gaps in my knowledge or abilities, I would be able to enter the Flow of creativity more often and with little effort. Or even do something useful or earn money but in the area I was passionate about.

It's this latter awareness that really was a slap in the face for me.

At 30, the prospect of it taking 10 years to achieve my goal looked not only daunting but highly ridiculous to me. And so, I would drop that path and head to another.
Now, I'm on the other side of those same 10 years. An entirely different perspective of the time.

I have spent most of the last 2 months since I came up with my book idea, feeling frustrated, or trying to accept things as they were, because I had no time to write. Time was slipping away I felt.

After my realisation of time, I felt a new dawn.

If it takes me 3, 5, 10 years, to write this book, it will eventually be written, rather than choosing to do nothing and then look back when I'm 50 and saying, oh no, I did it again.

A huge burden dropped away.


Vasalisa, Laura Chicote

So a lot going on here: anxiety of fleeting time, pressure to Do Something Useful, frustration at lack of time, wanting something immediately....

I'm reigning in earthy energy, for steady progress. If the process is what brings me joy, which it most definitely is, then time is irrelevant, right?

How can creativity flow when we place restrictions on it, or when we demand ideal conditions. As a mother, isn't hoping for the latter just plain crazy?
It's likely that the 'perfect' conditions will be rare or non-existent. However, I have many many small moments at my disposal, and even the occassional chunk.
Either this is absolutely unacceptable, and so I change things, or accept things I can't change. Or, if I don't want to change things, I realise that I can choose to embrace the moments. The other option is to remain at a stale mate with life.

Right now, I'm choosing to embrace the moments.

And just like that, I fully see the lie learnt in my chilhood, that happiness is found only in freedom, in ideals. No, happiness can be found within limits, even for an Airy-Firey person like me!

So with this lightness, I didn't say, I can only write at this specific time, and didn't even say, I'm going to write. Instead, I picked up one tiny piece and examined it and played with it, and very soon, without realising it, I found myself writing anyway. Doing my passion, expressing myself, allowing creativity the Flow.

The flame of a candle, is it restricted, or is it the wildness of fire become productive?

What a high!