Monthly Archives: May 2017
The last Friday in May is Title Track Day. A title track, for those who may not remember what albums are, is a song that shares it’s name with the title of an album, like The Beatles’ Let It Be. It can also be a song from a movie that shares the name of the movie, like Princes’ Purple Rain. There are a lot of wonderful title tracks out there. You can give some of mine a listen on Spotify and let me know what yours are in the comments.
Thanks for reading!
May is National Meditation Month. Here’s a lovely one from Mike George’s 1001 Meditations.
Open to love. Imagine yourself as a flowerbud, head bowed, petals tightly furled. Gradually you become pleasantly aware of a warm tingle as the morning sun strikes the base of your petals. You lift your head and loosen your petals a little. As the sunlight gets warmer, you feel encouraged to open further until your exquisite petals, delicate hues and intoxicating scent are revealed in all their glory. In the same way, allow the warmth of love to open your heart, allowing its full beauty to be revealed.
May 17 is World Baking Day. One of the simplest things to bake is a cookie. One of my favorites is Spicy Oatmeal Crisps from myrecipes.com. I have found when I make these that the dough should be refrigerated for about an hour to keep them from spreading too thin.
Spicy Oatmeal Crisps
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, combine:
- 3/4 c. flour
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1/2 t. baking soda
- 1/2 t. allspice
- 1/2 t. nutmeg
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1/4 t. cloves
- 1/4 t. black pepper
- In a large bowl, mix together:
- 1 c. packed brown sugar
- 5 T. butter, softened
- 1 t. vanilla
- Add large egg to butter-sugar mixture.
- Add flour mixture plus 1/2 c. oats.
- Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto lined cookie sheets. Bake for 12 minutes or until crisp. Cool on plan 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Then cool completely on wire racks.
My life has gotten a bit hectic and I haven’t kept up with my blog schedule very well. For today, I had planned to celebrate National Love a Tree Day with a beautifully written entry about the beauty and necessity of trees as well as tree pose… but that’s not coming together. Time to switch to plan B. Instead, let’s celebrate International Pickle Day with a couple of silly songs because I feel like we could all use a little laughter.
First up, Mr. Arlo Guthrie and The Motorcycle Song, sometimes referred to as The Motorcycle Song (The Significance of the Pickle).
For some reason, thinking of this song brought another one to mind. Maybe it’s because Steve Goodman wrote City of New Orleans, which Arlo recorded, as well as our next selection. Here’s David Allan Coe with You Never Even Call Me by My Name. Even if you don’t like country music, you should listen until the last verse; I still laugh every time I hear it.
And just for kicks, here’s what is probably my most loved silly song: Roger Miller’s You Can’t Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd. Good advice for us all.
May you put your mind to being happy,
May is Gardening for Wildlife Month. Planning a wildlife garden to attract the type of wildlife you want can be fun. You can always purchase pre-planned kits from reputable sources or you can plan your own. The National Wildlife Federation has a certified habitat program and provides some great tips to get started.
To provide a balanced habitat, here are the elements you’ll need to consider.
- Food sources: Wildlife needs herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees that can provide food including pollen, nectar, seeds, berries, and the like. You’ll want to pick a variety of plants that will provide food throughout the year.
- Water: You’ll need to provide a source not only for drinking but also bathing and reproduction.
- Cover: Animals need and want cover plants so they can either hide or stalk their prey.
- Places to raise young: Many species have different habitat needs in their juvenile phase than they do as adults. Providing spaces for raising young will attract more wildlife.
National Etiquette Week is May 8 to 12 this year. I teach a quarterly Yoga Basics class and often get questions about etiquette in group yoga classes. Here are some tips based on those conversations.
What to wear. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on fancy yoga clothes. Wear something that is comfortable and that will allow you to move freely. You don’t need to wear form fitting yoga pants if you’re not comfortable in them, but you should wear something that allows the teacher to see the shape of your body in the poses to help with adjustments.
Yoga accessories. Students often ask about buying their own yoga mats and which one they should purchase. Most studios have mats available, so you don’t necessarily have to buy your own. If you do decide to buy your own mat, there are a number of inexpensive options at major retailers and there are also lots of more eco-friendly (and also more expensive) options available. When you’re ready to purchase your own mat, feel free to ask your teacher or other students for recommendations.
When & what to eat before class. The general rule of thumb is to avoid eating at least two hours before class. If you need to eat something due to scheduling conflicts or health issues, eat only something very light that won’t upset your stomach.
Don’t be stinky. It’s impossible not to sweat in most classes, especially hot ones, but it’s best to start out fresh and clean. And lest you think bad body odor is the biggest problem here, you’re wrong. Wearing perfume or other strong scents is the more common offense. Many folks have allergies or are sensitive to strong scents, so it’s best to avoid using perfumes before practicing.
Arrive early. Ten to 15 minutes before class is a reasonable time to arrive before a class. It gives you plenty of time to get your space, your props together, and get settled in. Arriving late is sometimes unavoidable but it is also very distracting — avoid it as much as possible.
Turn off your electronics. You don’t need your phone on your mat. Turn it off. A vibrating phone in a quiet yoga space is as distracting as a full-blast ringtone, so off is better than silenced or on vibrate. If there is a family or work emergency, let your teacher know, set up by the door, and step outside before answering.
Passing gas. Hey, it happens. Feel free to either laugh at yourself or keep moving right along. Everyone has (or will) do it at one time or another.
Don’t skip relaxation. Final relaxation is the most important pose in class. Some days, it’s easier than others to lie quietly, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t find it easy or don’t really like it. If you absolutely have to leave class early, let your teacher know before class and leave as quietly as possible before final relaxation begins.
Enjoy yourself. Yoga is serious but it should also be enjoyable. Allow yourself the gift of time to do something good for you. Don’t stress about not being able to do everything at first. If a class is challenging, modify poses when necessary and take breaks when you need to. If you feel a class is too gentle, allow yourself to give your body a bit of a break. To paraphrase Paul Grilley, the only incorrect way to do yoga is to feel nothing or to feel pain.
See you on the mat,
Day of Vesak is a UN recognized holiday to commemorate the birth, enlightenment, and death of Siddhartha Gautama, more commonly known as Buddha. Buddha lived in present-day India and Nepal between the sixth and fourth century BCE. His teachings focused on messages about compassion, peace and goodwill, lessons we can all observe whether we identify as Buddhist or not.
May is National Salad Month so here’s a simple, hearty salad to celebrate.
Crunchy Chickpea Spinach Salad
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 can chickpeas, drained
- 1/2 of large lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
- 1/4 cup feta cheese
Heat olive oil over medium to high heat. Add chickpeas and allow to sizzle, stirring occasionally. Squeeze the juice of the 1/2 lemon over the chickpeas and continue cooking about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and remove from heat. Combine with spinach, hard boiled eggs, and feta cheese toss well and serve.
When gardening for wildlife, using native plants is the best option for attracting local wildlife. One of the most useful plants in the native garden is purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). It’s benefits include:
- Attractive, long-lasting summer blooms add beauty both on it’s own and mixed in with other flowering plants in the garden. Blooms last from summer to fall and the seed heads lend intrest to the garden in the winter
- Butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds use the coneflower as a nectar source.
- Caterpillars and moths use it as a food source.
- It’s a hardy, naturalizing perennial. They self-sow, don’t need to be divided, and are drought tolerant. You’ll save time, money, and other resources .
- After the blooms fade, birds feast on the seeds.
Beverage Day is a day to celebrate whatever your favorite beverage is. Whether enjoyed in solitude or in the company of good friends, a favorite beverage can be comforting or bring us joy.
People who know me well, know that coffee is my favorite beverage. While I typically drink it black, it’s sometimes fun to dress it up. Here’s a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for a while. And it’s my new favorite drink!
- 6 cups water
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons cinnamon (I used a handful of cinnamon sticks)
- 2 whole cloves
- 1/2 cup regular grind coffee
- 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- whipped cream
Heat water, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cloves to boiling in a Dutch oven, stirring to dissolve sugar. Stir in coffee and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in chocolate syrup and vanilla; remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes for coffee grinds to settle. Strain coffee into a coffee server or individual cups, discarding grounds. Serve topped with whipped cream.