Monthly Archives: March 2008
…I feel a bit worn-down and beaten at the close of March 2008. An ear and sinus infection came about as complications of the flu and it seems like I have been in a battle for half of March. Oh, I have. That’s why I relented yesterday and went to the walk-in clinic for antibiotics. That is also why I have had long periods convalescing, daydreaming and philosophizing.
Sometimes our bodies shut us down hard so there is no confusing the message to quit pushing. I came into March like a lion, full of pride and raging. Now, after many weeks of illness I feel meek and quiet. I have been watching people around me. I have been watching beginnings and endings.
I recall when I first moved out of the home I shared with my husband back in 2002. I left behind many things and moved into a wide expanse filled with sun. A living room open to the dining room and a bank of windows all around. Yellow. That was the first color I wanted; the color of Joy. I bought a tall blue rustic cupboard, something one might see in Country Living Magazine and into it I placed all my art supplies. It had four splintery shelves in the 8 ft x 3 1/2 ft cupboard, and it smelled just a hint like dust and barn. Often I’d pull out supplies just to color with crayons, everything spread on a maple table my mom had refinished when I was three-years-old. I did not even have a couch, yet.
My steps in those days were slow, with purpose. I’d pick up a local entertainment magazine and think what I might want to do that I had never experienced before. I was quite open to the thought of trying things and deciding if they were for me, or not. I felt centered even though I was in mourning.
Now, as I enter the spring of 2008 there is an urgency. I want so many things. I am off- kilter. Jealous. And, at times, down right lonely. I thought more healing would have occurred by now. My family often times feels like a disconnected jumble of parts and I am struggling to be a part of my adult children’s lives.
Empty-nester some might observe. But I always imagined a house full of my adult children, grandchildren, BBQs and Family Dinners, laughter and sunshine. As I carefully began life after divorce in that sunny place it is what I had in my minds-eye.
I do have a wonderful home with Mike in South Marquette. Our home has an almost romantic view of Lake Superior–just ignore the two smokestacks of the Shiras Steam Plant on the shore’s edge. We hike and fish, go on magical adventures. He is an easy traveler. Our photos cover the walls, family shots, nature trail captures. Plants are everywhere greening and freshening our space in the middle of winter. Red blossoming cacti, African violets.
Nonetheless, I am off balance, needy, demanding, frightened. I am trying to make careful choices again, what works for me, what does not. I need to go walk the trails under heavy hemlocks, let my feet move across soft ground so I can feel that slight give, that connection to Earth. I need to move my hands through soil and place Dahlias in the garden. I need to do Tai Chi on the break-wall as the sun rises. I need to regain my strength and let go of thoughts that constrained me to illness.
Last summer meant creative walks for those who traverse Marquette by foot or bike, skateboard or scooter. The door above that I like to thik of as, “She’s Come Undone.” Was a surprised of blues, the sky above, the sky on the door and the lovely clouds that cool our days. This line of doors apppeared ont he new Wrtight Street extension. the artist of the door is unknown (to me).
The last time my weight dropped below 190 was when I first met Mike (2004). His son and I would hike daily and often times I was barefoot in a skirt. I was happy and I smiled most days. Today I stepped on the scale and for the third time in a week the scale reported 192.4 and I found myself surfing the Net for fun skirts to hike in.
Some people have inquired as to how I am losing weight. In January, I was inspired to pick-up a The Best Life Diet book and journal put out by Bob Greene. It took a while for me to pick-up the book and start reading, and the preface is by Oprah. It was like I had an epiphany, Oprah is a beautiful women who is successful and helps foster positive change in people’s lives. That is what I want for myself (and for others)–but my weight holds me back. I want to lead nature journal hikes–but stop myself by thinking who wants to be lead down a trail by someone who is 200 lbs. So much more but my confidence wains behind many excess pounds. I am on the trail to lighter more positive consciousness, now.
The approach is to start drinking enough water, 48 ounces or more, and to cut-off eating 2-hours before bedtime. Easy enough and so I began. I am now in Phase Two which has me upping my exercise and starting to eliminate certain foods. I am using some portion control, now. But really the journal is what works for me. I am a natural journal-keeper and having to be accountable with words and chronicling holds me accountable and I can track my progress.
One thing I do that Bob Greene says not to, is I step on my digital scale everyday. This helps me stay on track. My goal is to lose 30 lbs this year and keep it off.
Michael the Younger stopped by today to use the workshop and stated he notices that most days I am smiling. He believes that is what is working–energetics. He could be right. But I believe it has to do with the scale headed in the right direction.
I searched the web for fun hiking skirts and came across the Wild Woman Primer written by Kiva Rose who recommends, “a lightweight, durable, nearly ankle length skirt. Not only are they pretty, but they can be easily hiked up to your thighs for river crossings, kept close to your legs for bug protection and can be worn wet in case you get so hot you can’t stand it. ”
The summer I spent hiking was in a hippie skirt, easily hiked up for crossing creeks and rivers, allowing for legs to stretch while climbing off trail, not quite hitting the ground and it certainly did keep bugs away–not a tick the whole season which may have just been good luck.
I also had a travel khaki skirt that I loved, so light weight it dried out ultra-fast. I stumbled across the Macabi skirt today online and it seems to be everything I want, accept for the price tag. But I just have to get me one of these skirts. For a review visit Backpack Gear Test.
I have started Week 6 of my weight loss adventure and my confidence is gaining, my smiles are noticed by family members. I have made it through a bout with laryngitis, a funeral, and other stresses. And while spring may be right around the corner in your neck of the woods I have a while before the snow melts and run off slows. We have to make it through muck season here in the Upper Peninsula. But I am dreaming of the sound of my feet on wooded trails. I am dreaming of my Keen sandals and hippie skirts. I am thinking of sunning myself on hot granite summits as the day tips toward evening. Let me know about your travels on trails and your weight loss dreams.
I once wrote and article that was published and published and published just like soup rewarmed through-out a week. Today I came across a blog post that showed just why soup is so healing. Journey Mama has a wonderful blog that warms my heart, often and this time she has posed on how to clean out the fridge. She made soup!
Intention in a Bowl
(Originally published by Inspired Times, republished by the Marquette Food Co-op and Munising News)
By Kim Elizabeth Nixon
The windows are fogging over and I find myself in front of the chopping block. To my right, on the big gas burner, is a pot of soup stock to which I will add minced garlic, chopped carrots, fresh herbs, and lemon. I have pulled from the refrigerator and cupboards all the possible ingredients, spreading them out wide on the oak kitchen table. I think of what is troubling the members of this house, and our community. Who is troubled over unmade decisions, the sniffles and cough, worries over loved ones? Who is in need of peace, of healing?
Cutting carrots, I recall the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh, who talks about daily practices as paths to meditation and a means to awareness. I think of my need to pull out the big blue pot, to bring comfort to those around me, and to bring my own thoughts to a center.
As a child, I would sit at the small kitchen table and watch grandma make the weekly pot of soup. Leftover veggies would go into a large container in the freezer and later combine with diced cubes of last Sunday’s ham and chopped cabbage. When the soup cooled, we would go visit the ill, homebound and out of work, passing out mint-green and blue Tupperware bowls with clear lids. I think it was Grandma’s way of dealing with the insecurities of life, her way of both finding and sharing hope. I can recognize now that she, too, was in need of healing.
I am aware of the studies that acknowledge boiling chicken produces proline, an amino acid that reduces inflammation, that the warmth of broth helps clear sinuses, and that psychologists now feel the “warmth and homeliness” value of homemade soup adds to the therapeutic effect. They say chicken soup can even improve memory and help prevent blood clots.
Laughingly, I read a report by Dr. Abraham Ohry and Dr. Jenni Tsafrir called, “Is Chicken Soup An Essential Drug?” which proposes that chicken soup fits the parameters of the World Health Organization’s Action Programme on Essential Drugs, which states that a drug is considered to be essential if it is “as relevant today as it was 20 years ago.” The doctors defend chicken soup as fitting the basis of four principles: a drug must be evidence-based, efficient, flexible and forward-looking
Chopping onion, paying attention to how thoughts arise and pass into the aroma and steam rising from the pot, I begin to feel lighter. Tension held in my jaw relaxes and I start to smile. I know chicken soup is therapeutic. The love and intention that prompts us to mince garlic and squeeze lemon infuses the pot of soup with healing. The sharing of soup spreads hope.
I warm French bread in the oven. Put a stick of sweet cream butter in the butter dish. I pull out my elephant soup bowls; they are deep and perfect for holding in two cupped hands while sipping broth. When your bowl is empty, an elephant, “the remover of all obstacles” when viewed as his Hindu God form, Lord Ganesh, greets you. Ancient healing. I await my family’s return home.
Kim’s Chicken Noodle Soup
- 2lbs. boneless skinless (hormone free) chicken thighs
- 1 ½ cup of carrots
- 1 ½ cup of celery and leaves
- 1 cup of chopped onion
- Minced garlic to taste
- Minced ginger to taste
- ½ bunch of fresh parsley finely chopped
- Fresh rosemary and/or lavender
- Juice of one whole lemon
- ½ bag of egg noodles (or more if you wish, adjust broth)
- 2 qts. of organic chicken broth
- Simmer chicken in stock (or broth) in covered stockpot until tender.
- While chicken is simmering, chop celery, carrots, onion, garlic, ginger and parsley. Set vegetables aside in a bowl – keep parsley separate.
- Remove chicken from stock; cool enough to handle.
- Cut chicken into strips, using a bowl and two forks.
- Return chicken to broth.
- Add vegetables and simmer covered for 10-15 minutes.
- Add parsley, rosemary and noodles; simmer uncovered for 6-7 minutes or until noodles are tender.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
You can vary your favorite chicken soup recipe to include therapeutic ingredients depending on the condition of your loved one.
With a wind-cold invasion a person will have chills and fever, but the chills will predominate. There may be headache, sneezing, cough, and runny nose with clear discharge, neck and shoulder aches, aversion to cold, and white tongue coating.
Use foods that promote perspiration:
With a heat-cold invasion, there will also be chills and fever, but the fever will predominate. There may be sore throat, runny nose with thick yellow mucus, red tongue body w/ yellow coating. This condition can worsen and result in nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, abdominal bloating, irritability, and strong thirst.
Use foods that promote cooling:
- Bok Choy or Celery
- Spinach or Chard
- Turnip or Potato
The month of February focused on nurturing, tying up lose ends and moving forward. Below is a bullet-ed list of the accomplishments that are bringing abundance to my personal, emotional and financial well-being and allowing me to create my world, my way.
Purchased car seat; a must for every grandma.
Applied Americorps credits to my student loans.
Paid off one credit card and 1/2 of another.
Developed a monthly budget.
Rolled a certificate of deposit without drawing any money off.
Money market account was set-up and funded.
Renewed my D.B.A.
Opened a business checking/savings with my credit union.
Placed my first photos in a store.
Had a feature article and my column published in Health and Happiness Magazine.
Received two hour-long massages.
Increased my activity and exercise level.
Yesterday became a day for family as unexpectedly I had a free-day from work. Mike and Beth stopped over to visit, return snowshoes and Beth came with a disc of photos from the Poetry Potluck readings held in 2007. I had been waiting for the full size images to develop a bio to place next to photos in stores–so of course I was thrilled.
Food, for me, is often a way to nurture those I love and I made Pork Hoisen with Basmati Rice. I had found affordable fresh peapods, bean sprouts and green beans and the sauce was whipped up with chicken broth, shoyu, hoisen sauce, honey and peach jelly. It was quite a feast and the nite was happy and satisfying.
Beth and I chatted about projects, her Etsy Shop and I got to view her recent work including the Builder and Caffienated Series as well as new The Birds and Bees collection. Mike the Younger was in the garage sanding materials. We talked about my show on the wall at Dead River which is coming up fast. Beth is in her final semester and working on her senior exhibit pieces; she also has work in the Oasis Gallery in Marquette, Michigan on Washington Street.
Dead River Coffee is on the same street as the Oasis Gallery and the proprietors are supportive of the local art scene. I was disappointed one day in how many photos I was able to place in another location and Theo offered to put my photos on “the wall” in early April. Beth is going to help me hang the shots. Where I have read my poems and submitted my written words, I feel more vulnerable when it comes to my photography. I am even thinking of downplaying that I am a photographer and call the collection I hang something like, A Poet’s Wanderings.
Mike the Younger is my significant others son. I call my boyfriend Mike the Elder. This naming system all came about during the first summer I dated Mike the Elder. I had no way to differentiate between father and son and it caused much confusion as Mike the Younger and I spent much time exploring the northern forest together, taking in reggae concerts and coffee.
Mike the Younger is a builder that wishes to focus on natural building, sustainable structures. this has influenced Beth’s Builder Series. The two of them are engaged and hope to move out to the woods and live off-grid. Mike the Younger is quite the craftsman and it is a joy watching him work with wood–a calm comes over him, it is spiritual. I remember him working on a piece for the Marquette Food Co-op when we both worked there I felt a connection between him and God as he worked.
As the Mile the Younger and Beth migrate out to the woods near the Yellow Dog River I am hoping to spend a few nights, take photos, document the land, write, and help haul my share of water from the stream.
Our evening together came to a close with the sunsetting. Mike and Beth off to get cardboard boxes before dark. Mike and I to ready ourselves for Monday. I felt playful and happy and my nite’s rest was deep.