Thursday, June 30, 2011

And Then There is Comfort Food

I guess I'm kind of a creature of habit for breakfast. Of late, I've been eating scrambled tofu with Essene bread, topped in a nut butter and a cup of miso broth. Yesterday, although it was a very warm day, I was craving oatmeal and buttered toast. OMG, a meal from my childhood.

I eat oatmeal often but not so much the butter and oh, how I love butter. I don't do well with dairy products but I still long for that comforting fragrance of butter, melting on hot toast. I make whole oats in a crock pot for Cody so I always have oatmeal in the fridge.

That's my breakfast in the picture, whole oats with honey and buttered toast. As I sat there, eating and making appreciative yummm's, I realized this is my comfort food.

Most people would opt for chocolate as a comfort food but I have to force myself to eat chocolate or sweets. Others claim macaroni and cheese but I wouldn't touch that, of course dairy. The picture of food looks pale and uninteresting but I was transported.

I think everyone has a comfort food. Anymore oatmealers out there?
What food would you Yummm after?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Would You Take The Food Or The Fuel?

I went to the Co-op to buy groceries and my bill was just shy of a hundred dollar bill. The picture above is what I got for my hundred bucks. I had three bags and not one of them was full.

Then I stopped at the gas station. My tank said half empty so I thought I'd bring it up to full. I know I have a Montana gas hog but how hoggie can it get? Fifty bucks to bring the needle to the top, which meant it would take a hundred for a fill.

I hate to be the cranky old woman who lives in the past, but I remember when we would drive up to a gas pump, toss a buck at the service attendant and tell him, "Give me a buck's worth." (We didn't pump our own gas back then.) We could do a lot of driving on that dollar and all the car engines were V-8's, too.

I notice the rising prices. They bite. Reagan said, "A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when "you" lose your's." Some economists say we are headed back to the "30's. Those were bleak times. Just ask your great grandparents, if they're still around. We never had a car during the 30's, couldn't afford one.

Do you think the economy will make us choose between food or fuel? I still see a lot of traffic on the highways and many of those cars get much better mileage than mine....... but, try driving one on Montana mountain roads.

Any one out there with a crystal ball?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Christmas in June

Saturday, packages were delivered to my door that made it feel like Christmas.

Two gorgeous aprons arrived in the mail. They were from Terry at
My Journey With Candida. Since I live my life with natural health, I was filled with joy when I discovered her blog that tells her story of recovery without drugs, from a long illness. Terry gathers and posts information that deals with natural healing. She uses her knowledge to help people and I've discovered her generous heart. I look forward to her posts and love our conversations.

She also designs and sews these neat aprons that came as a surprise. Polka dots are traditional for Flamenco costumes and here is my Flamenco apron. I like wearing an apron when I cook. Sloppy cook I guess but pretty aprons like this can add a new dimension to my cooking.
(And it really needs it !)

They are both so unique and beautiful. This one is a festive tropical print. WOW !!! How's that for cooking in style this summer.
Thank you, Terry, for the beautiful aprons.
They are a treasured gift.

Another package arrived that contained a pillow for the back. I saw it on Terry's blog and it looked so comfortable that I ordered one. It's called the Back Sac. You blow the amount of air into it that is comfortable for you. It's perfect for my computer chair and fits into the small of my back. It's firm but yet has a comfy softness. Makes me sit up straight, too.

It kinda looks like the old fashioned "whoppee cushion" my aunt used to keep at her lake house. If there's anyone out there old enough to remember them, that is . :)

That was my Saturday. A Christmas in June.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Sunday Walk/Run Thoughts and Sights

After a sedentary Montana winter, I'm ready for a more strenuous exercise program so I added running and rope jumping. I had visions of grabbing a jump rope and whipping out "hot peppers." Wrooong. Start slowly and work up, I've found. I'm up to 15 jumps and pause, repeat. Same with running. Walk, run, walk, run. It's coming.

Some thoughts and sights while doing the walk/run with Cody. I always notice houses that are at the end of a straight road. Bad Feng-Shui. See the "for sale" sign. There usually is trouble with these houses. Probably a divorce or they finally wised up that it's like shooting arrows when cars are coming directly at them.

Next we circled a small lake where the air smelled heavenly from all the trees and shrubs in full blossom. There was a crude wood step ladder leading over this fence. There's a name for them but it escapes me. Help me someone. Cody could go under and I wanted to take a picture of the steps but I was too focused on the rickety climb and I forgot.

Next we did the one mile enclosed walk by the dog pound. As I was opening the gate to enter, something bumped me from behind and if I had not been against the gate I would have gone flying. For sure. It was Tiberius, the 150 pound (still a pup) Neapolitan Mastiff. He and Cody engaged in play, making Cody (an Aussie) look chihuahua size. Tiberius' owner said he would weigh 180 at maturity. But he was a sweetie, slobbered on my running pants, and was totally pooped after one lap. Not Cody who was rearing for more but this old dame had enough and a hot soaking bath sounded like an illustrious choice. So we headed home.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 5 of the Blog Your Name Challenge

This is the final letter "I" of MANZI.

"I" is for Irish Dance.

High stepping, high kicking Irish Dance is wildly popular with younger people as it's an extremely athletic dance. The intricate steps are a fast and furious blur as the dancers feet obediently perform a choreographed selection.

"Riverdance" was an Irish Dance troupe that won great acclaim in 1994. This began a new popularity for the Irish folk dance.

All the dance expression is centered on the feet. Arms are either on the hips or close to the dancer's side. There are several explanations. I choose the one of dancing being forbidden during the Irish revolution so people could stand in front of a window in their homes and dance without moving their arms. Being true or not, Irish Dance doesn't use arm movement.


Below is a video of an Irish Dance Group, Irish Step Dancing 2009.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 4 of Blog Your Name Challenge

I'm posting Day 4 of the Blog Your Name Challenge. My name is MANZI. Today is the letter Z (a tough one).

The Z dance is Zulu.

Dancing and singing are vital parts of the Zulu lifestyle. Dance formations are important as they symbolize an event within the clan. Each dance tells it's own story, such as the frantic movement of the hunting dance or a calmer rhythmical motion of daily life.

Zulu culture has dances for various occasions, as coming of age or weddings. The dress or costumes are vibrant with color, extensive bead work and leather.

A typical dance is the reed dance, an ancient dance that symbolizes Zulu maidens bringing reeds from the river to the royal palace when the kings wives are chosen.

This letter Z was a tough one for dance, so humor me. It kinda looks like our hokey pokey wedding dance. You put your Right foot in.........ta da


Below is a video of Zulu girls showing their wedding dance.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 3 of Blog Your Name

I'm posting the third letter "N" of my name, MANZI.

N is for Novelty Dance.

Novelty Dances include unusual steps or names. They are often quirky or can be fad dances that retain some popularity. You'll see them danced at parties or private functions. The "Hokey Pokey," "Chicken Dance" and "Bunny Hop" are often danced at wedding receptions.

The great advantage of Novelty Dances is they require no special training or dance skills. They are fun, spontaneous group dances where anyone can get up, act crazy and have fun. No need to feel self-conscious because everyone is looking slightly silly and having a good time. :)

Examples of novelty dances: Susie Q, hitch hiker, chicken dance, shimmy, twist, creep, hokey pokey, electric slide, pony, monkey, bunny hop, loco-motion.

The video below is the Hokey Pokey being danced at a wedding reception.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 2 of Blog Your Name Challenge

I'm posting my name MANZI. Today is A

A is for Argentine Tango

This is a dance of Argentina that has recently taken the rest of the world by a huge number of devotees. The dance is
essentially walking, as the ankles and knees brush.

There is a big difference between Argentine Tango and the English International Ballroom Tango. English Tango dancers arch away from each other with a ballroom hold, while the Argentine Tango molds together in a close embrace.

The dance seems to be immediately addictive. It's popularity spread rapidly throughout the US and when people buy the special shoes, lessons and travel to Argentina, you know they're hooked.

Age is not a factor. Eighty year old movie actor, Robert Duvall found his passion in this dance. He made the movie, "Assassination Tango" about a hit man traveling to Argentina and becoming obsessed with Tango dance. If you're into the dance, you'd love this movie.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

M is for Manzi

Greetings Bloggy Friends. I'll be writing a post every day, beginning with the letters of my name .....MANZI, from Stephanie's Blog Challenge, What's so Random..

When I danced, Manzi was my stage name so my posts will be connected to dancing.
(Hey, It's all I know :)

My first letter is M for Mambo.
Exciting and wild, Mambo offers beautiful hip shaking. The high-energy dance originated in Cuba, a mixture of Afro-Caribbean and Latin American cultures, possibly getting it's name after Voodoo priests.

The dance offers distinctive hip movements, side steps, rock steps, points, kicks and flicks. The count is a 4/4 beat but in dance terms it's Quick, Quick, Slow. A slow is really 2 beats. The slow is what gives the undulating pause.

Some people say the Mambo and Salsa are the same but if you listen to some of the early Mambo greats, Beny More, Tito Rodriguez or Tito Puente you can find a big distinction.

I can remember the Mambo craze from the 50's when it was introduced in the U.S. by some of our popular musicians, Stan Getz, Jelly Roll Morton, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong.

Below is a BBC video showing some sizzling Mambo dancers

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Time Has Come

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things. I think I'll ramble a little about a few things that have been on my mind lately.

The above logo is from Stephanie's blog challenge at What's So Random. It starts Wednesday, June 15. A blog challenge where you write a post each day for the letters of your name. Your name has to be 5 letters or more. You can use your first, middle, last or a combo. See details at What's So Random.

Every flower plant in my back yard in Bozeman bit the dust while I was living in Helena. The time has come for me to replant everything. That is why, dear bloggy friends, my blogging chair has been a little empty lately. I've been working in the sunshine, getting dirty fingernails and digging holes.

Birds. Where are my birds? I need to attract birds. I bought 2 bird feeders and a humming bird nectar dispenser. Now, what flowers attract birds? I planted bee balm and petunias. Do you have any other suggestions. I still have to get a couple bird baths and then wait for the bird party.

Another thing that's been twirling around in my brain is a question about "True Love." I mean the Cathy/Heathcliff kind of romance that lasts, not only throughout a lifetime, but for all eternity. Throughout my life, I've yearned for that True love but never found it. My first husband was a full-blown Narcissist and it's impossible for them to love. Although I deeply respected my second husband, it still wasn't the True Love I yearned for. Don't misunderstand. My life has been happy because True Love is not a prerequisite for happiness.

Was I looking for pie in the sky and is there really such a love I longed for? There are couples who find it or so I've heard tell. This just wasn't in the cards for me.. This time, I had other lessons to learn. But could it be arranged for next life please? How about it, has anyone found their true love?

P.S. Please let me make it clear..... I'm not yearning for true love for myself at this late date but it was a conversation I had with my granddaughter while working in the gardens. She's at the "true love" seeking age. Ha

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Vigil

Driving up Montana #87, Fort Benton beckoned me to visit the famous site of "Shep" the Aussie Shepherd who kept vigil for his master for 5 1/2 years. Thinking, "this is a hokey time waster," I experienced some of the most heart-wrenching emotions of my life.

In 1936 an old rancher died in the Ft. Benton hospital and his coffin was put on a train headed for his relatives in Ohio. His dog, Shep, followed until the train's speed forced him to return to the depot to await the old man's return. Shep lived by the tracks and met every train. When the town people realized what was happening, many wanted to adopt Shep but it was apparent he had only one destiny.

The town looked after Shep by bringing him food, visits from a vet and stories were written about him. His story touched the hearts of many and Shep received letters and presents from all over the world. After keeping his vigil for 5 1/2 years, he was getting old. One snowy night he slipped on the train tracks and could no longer hear the whistle. Shep's long vigil was ended.

The above bronze statue of Shep, with his paw on a train rail still simulates his vigil. His remains are buried high on a bluff overlooking the town. You can reach the actual site by the path in the photo below. What a climb. Was I up to that? It was an extremely windy day and much of the path was a narrow precipice. Half way I panicked, too scared to forge on or turn back. All I could do is fight the wind and try to stay in the moment. When I reached the burial spot, an amazing thing happened, the wind stopped. I sat down and became one with nature, with devotion and the impetus behind vigil. Alone up there, I felt as if I could reach up and touch the sky and my tears flowed freely. In that moment, I was able to come to grips with my own issues as a strong love permeated my heart.

Even as I write this, many years later, I can't explain what happened high on that bluff but it was a definite epiphany that remains with me to this day.
There is a movie named "Hachiko" starring Richard Gere that tells the same message of a faithful dog who waits for his master's return. I don't know the history behind that movie, but it also tweaked my heart-strings.

A very short vid below also talks about Shep.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Headache? Aspen or Aspirin?

I'm growing my own "headache cure." What do we usually do when we have a headache? Most people take an aspirin and lie down to relieve stress. American Indians did something very similar, only they would just lie down in an Aspen grove and be lulled into a sweet reverie by the gentle rustling of the Aspen leaves from a soft breeze on a summer day.

My daughter and I used to hike in the woods and find an Aspen grove for a brief rest. We were soon refreshed and on our way. The family of trees is salicaceae including Aspen, Willow, and Poplar, giving salicylic acid. This eases pain. Do you see any similarity in the words aspirin and Aspen?