Archives for category: laugh it out

this morning i did my very favorite kind of workout.  i worked and it was outside.

it was time to bring in some more fire wood.  i think i did about 8 or 9 trips.  the wood is kept in an outbuilding down a little hill from the house.

it was a horrible continuous disappointment to kenai because he thought that i was heading us to the trailhead of the hill we usually walk in the morning.  seven times he was excited.  the eighth time he just sat and watched me.  the ninth time i’m pretty sure he gave me the finger.

i’ve been back to pretty strict paleo since the first of the year.  i did no wheat over the holidays and i deserve a medal for this.  the holidays were spent in mennonite country at a mennonite grandma’s house and hanging out in a mennonite bakery for internet a couple times.

anyhoo, one of the pesky side effects of being primal is lots of energy.  as i loaded up the wood strap with purposeful reach and squats, hefted it up, walked up the hill, i thought i could do this all day.  i probably could have if my stomach didn’t start grumbling so bad.

no, i don’t eat before my first physical activity of the day.

another thing that i like to do is to get as acclimated to the temperature as possible.  meaning, i try to wear the minimum in the cold.  generally as long as my head, neck and feet are warm, i’m good.  my purple flannel owl peejay bottoms and a long sleeved t-shirt, socks and boots, my red kikoi and a knit hat was all i had on.  of course, i was always half expecting to hear two soft plinks when my nipples hit the ground.  but, i could barely hear my footfall on the snow.

so, if 145 pounds of hot haitian ass carrying about 10-15 pounds of wood didn’t make a sound, i never would have heard my nipples fall into the snow.

there are only two really great ways to work out as far as i’m concerned.  1. something that leads to a real, visible accomplishment, i.e.: firewood for the next few days in a nice neat stack, a mountain climbed, an obstacle course conquered and 2. dancing.

so, after this morning’s wood stacking, with this extra energy my still intact nipples and i are ready to boogie.

 

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checkout girl:  What is on your hands?

me:  It’s henna.

checkout girl: Oh, have you ever tried Indian food?

 

on the other side of the globe, people are warming up their ovens, stuffing a large bird’s privates with bread mixtures, pulling on their elasticized pants, and getting together for family drama.

i love a day dedicated to eating and being thankful.  i am among the very, very, very lucky few that get to eat daily and have mountains of things for which to be grateful, also on a daily basis.

the past couple of days have been very tourist-y.  we took a bus tour of the city.  it hit the major highlights and although it has an on/off option, we only got off at a couple places.  it still took all day.  this city is fascinating.  my hosting friend has been talking a lot about how the past and present coexist so peacefully here.  after the bus tour, we went to smoke (take a guess?) at the hookah bar.  at the next table over was a woman sitting cross-legged on the cushions in full abaya puffing on the hookah sipping a coke and texting on her phone.

one of the places we got off the bus was the iranian souk.  it is located down at the port. on one side are the old wooden dhows and the other are the freight ships.  the souk is just 30 or so stalls jammed together with stuff flowing out of their doors-a cornucopia of goods.  since it is right on the port, the pottery, buckets, pots, pans, tapestries, plants, incense burners, etc., go straight from the ships onto the shelves.  my favorite little corner was stretched to its seams with canvas bags full of spices.

we also switched buses at the abu dhabi mall to grab a shuttle to yas island.  on the island is an amusement park with the world’s fastest roller coaster, a formula one race track with it’s own little harbor of yacht berths, and an ikea.  the amusement park is aptly titled ferrari world and it is dedicated to speed.  one of the attractions that i need to come back for is a racing car simulation.

yesterday, we headed out to the western region to pick out my hosting friend (okay, i’m just as annoyed typing that out as i’m sure you are reading it.  she will be known henceforth as K.) ‘s apartment.  ladies and gentlemen, when they say desert, they aren’t kidding.  immediately outside the city is an ocean of sand and a very straight road running through it.  the dunes are enormous.  along the crests, the sand twirls up in a wind choreographed ballet.  off in the distance we saw three camels walking.  then, we saw a superiority of them in green blankets being herded by a bedouin man.  then, there was another line of them, barebacked and free walking along the road.  in that group was a juvenile who broke into a run to keep up.  there aren’t many things that are equal parts amusing and heart-melting as watching a baby camel run.  then there were hundreds of them.  some were nearly white and others were almost black, but most were the same color as the sand, creamy with a tinge of orange.  then, there was nothing but sand.  as we drove, we saw an island of green way off in the distance.  it was an oasis.  then, an hour later, great swathes of date palms cut through.  then, nothing but sand.

the town that K will be in is another island of green in the vast stretches of cream tinged with orange.  there is a mall with all the personality of a cardboard box and a co-op that looked far more interesting.  as we drove around the town, we counted three women.  all the activity was men.  i’m sure that the women were home cooking and caring for the children…or working inside running the place?

on the way back, there was nothing to see but sand, until suddenly there was a small grove of trees.  nibbling at the rare greenery was a herd of Arabian oryx.  it was so special to me as they have just been currently been re-introduced to the wild after near extinction.  i didn’t see a male with its fierce, splendid horns, but it was really good to see them anyway.

now it is thursday morning, thanksgiving day.  i feel so fortunate that my life is being crafted into something of such bounty that every single day is beautiful and full with things for which to be thankful.  enjoy your meals and your lives.  make it awesome.

no, i don’t have whiplash literally.  only metaphorically.  although, those of you who know my track record with bodily injury wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to know that i have it for real.

before i’ve even had the chance to blog all about my adventures in africa, i’m waking up for the second day in abu dhabi in the united arab emirates.  i’m wearing a dress over jeans with my simple silver coin pendant and feeling unbelievably naked.  the dress code here is cover nearly every inch but the half inch of wrist, the fingers, and the toes need to be dripping in jewels, the shinier the better.  also, i felt the need to line my eyes with dark grey.  i’m working up to black tomorrow.  i usually don’t wear make up.  the women here are like women everywhere.  we all like to be seen.  since the face is the one exposed feature, they are flawless and over the top.  eyes are immaculately outlined and the skin is buffed and powdered to a satiny sheen.  the robes are called abaya, not burqa, actually. (i’ve seen about three women wearing actual burqa.  the burqa are actually metal masks that cover the eyes and mouth.  to me, they are very sci-fi and would look very comfortable being worn by seven of nine.  (geek alert.)  i would love to share pictures of all the different models with you, the sleeve details, the trims, the different black fabrics (silk, cotton, satin-shiny, heavy, nearly sheer) but if i take a picture of a muslim woman, well, this would be my last entry.  okay, so i wouldn’t be killed, necessarily, but i might lose an eye or a hand.  okay, so maybe not an eye or a hand, but i would definitely get in trouble.

anyhoo, as i was saying.  the women’s face are like jewels set in a dark cloud.  one woman even had the most deliberately styled unibrow.  it was like a dove in flight and put my dear frida to shame.

while the women are like dark, beads shimmering on a string, the men are white arrows darting around.  their head coverings float behind them like quivers with the black “head bands” look more like crowns.  my hosting friend explained to me that the black head bands are actually twisted into a figure eight.  it is done this way because when they would sleep in the desert long ago, they would keep one loop around their wrist and one around their camel’s leg to keep them from wandering off.

it is clean here.  like, really, really clean.  from my hotel room overlooking the road, the sound of the traffic never stops.  all night the cars sped past.  if feels more like an amusement park village than anything real.

the first night here, we went walking on the corniche (it’s like a boardwalk but much fancier) and even the sky seemed unreal.  i told my friend, who is hosting us, that i felt we were in a snow globe.  it just feels like a very contained environment where my reality is not allowed in.  it’s definitely a reality here, just not mine.  i am acutely aware that i am in a culture very different from the ones to which i am accustomed.

so far, we’ve walked the corniche.  it was bubbling over with children riding bikes, families picnicking on the grass, in-line skating teenage boys and awed tourists.  we’ve gone to the marina mall and bought water from starbucks, standing in line with young pre-pubescent sheiks (pronounced shakes) in their white robes (kandora) and fabulously draped stylish women.  we’ve gone to the heritage village and museum.  there, they have different small compounds with the traditional housing and tents in which the emirs and the people here used to live.  they are exquisite in their simplicity.  they are remarkable in their intelligent design.  the museum had pictures of abu dhabi in the sixties: it was an oasis scattered with these tents and palm frond huts.  it was, to my biased eye, far more exquisite than this western style parlor illusion that i am seeing around me now.  the village also had some workshops dedicated to the traditional crafts.  i couldn’t leave without a delicate glass candlestick made by an egyptian man who told us that our faces were as beautiful as the moon.  he offered us coffee brewed with cardamom and saffron to wash down our chocolates he insisted we take.  he works there eleven months of the year than heads home to see his three children for one month.

we’ve had indian food in the mall food court that rivals any indian food i’ve ever had.  of course, since this is the closest to india i’ve ever been, it stands to reason.  we’ve sped around in taxis that are more like mini-limos with drivers who really seem to enjoy the wide, straight roads.  we’ve gone grocery shopping in the grocery store that is just like nakumatt in kenya but bling-ier.  we’ve sat in the complimentary steam room here at the hotel.

one of the most amazing things is how well thought out everything is.  the one thing i’ll mention here (only because i’m running out of time…we’re off to our next adventure!) is that the room key to the hotel is also the, well, the fuse box to the best of my electric knowledge. this means that when you unlock your room to come in, you pop the key into a slot and boom…lights.  when you leave, you take the key with you and the electricity is off.  i’m trying to figure out how to do that in my house in the states.  imagine the savings!

on that note, please have an adventure of your own today.  it doesn’t have to be traveling across the globe but you do need to get out of your house and do something awesome.  then, you need to tell me what you did in the comments below.  that is all.

(okay, on the traffic thing:  i’m sitting here typing and my son is having a bowl of cereal.  he just came over to me and said that he figured out the sound of the traffic.  the lamborghinis particularly makes this sound:  mmmmmmyerr poor, mmmmmmmyiam rich.)

yeah, i wish.

today was spent sitting in the car, then sitting at the aviation school, then sitting in the car, then falling into the sleep of the dead, then sitting in my living room to type up a forever long annotated bibliography for school.  not wild, kids, not wild at all.

however, my son had a pretty cool day:

what?  a picture of a mosquito?  what’s cool about that?  you say…

ah, if only you had super laser vision, you’d see that that is a plane that my son is piloting.  yep, my offspring, who i carried in my womb, birthed, breastfed and diapered was flying a plane today.

it was his first flight lesson.  he sat in the actual pilot’s seat of an actual plane.  and he flew the darn thing.

the distance from that plane that you see here in the picture is the distance i’m most comfortable being from planes and my flesh was all up in the drivers seat.

whatever.  so what if a fifteen year old boy is cooler than me, right?  right?

seriously, though.  i’m SO proud of him.  his face when he got out of the cockpit after they landed was like a piece of the sun!

my furry feral friends, i hope you had wild weekends away from your computers and gadgets.  the outdoor time with just our bodies, plants, and others always refuels me in ways that nothing else really can. since i’m always on island time, i just found out that may is mental health awareness month, so i’ll be writing a couple times a week about depression.  after this month, it will probably make an appearance at least once a week in my posts.  it’s an important issue to me.

but, today is monday, and i like to let y’all know what i did with my weekend.  i would also really, really love to hear how you spent yours.  hint, hint, nudge, nudge.  below.  in the comments.  like, type it in, people! my weekend started early.  i got to go up to montpelier on friday to visit my new friend.  she’s not paleo, but she’s hardcore weston price.  so in the spirit of open mindedness, i sacrificed myself on the altar of a thai rice ball.  sweet baby jeebus, yum!  it was so good that it is the first thing i report in a weekend chock full of awesome.  it was still warm.  of course, gluten free, which is essential.  (in the spirit of full disclosure, weston a. price was my gateway into paleo eating.)

we wandered around for a little bit.  in town, we walked three stories up to a dance school that i hope to frequent in the fall on a very regular basis.  i really miss dance classes.  yes, zumba, i flirt with you and you’re fun and all, but you just can’t scratch that deep dance itch.  (montpelier also has a kickass crossfit gym.  i really, really miss this one that first seduced me with it’s hardcoreness.  this is how i’m easing into the announcement that i’m moving to montpelier in the fall.

okay, back to the weekend. my friend C asks me, rather nonchalantly, if i’d like to go feed some lambs.  what?  hells to the yeah!  so i got to meet the lambs.

bottle feeding the lamb...it would sigh after each swig. melted my little wild heart.

after loving on the lambs, we walked up to check out the others that were able to suckle from their moms.  there were 14 of them.  they were frolicking (literally and only when referring to lambs is that verb viable).  they also had a llama and a cow to keep them company.

llama

cow.

(i’ve labelled them to avoid confusion.)

after the animal time, a.k.a. future buffet recon, we went to her house and snacked on raw cheese, chopped veg, and fermented veg.  we then went to a party and supplied beef sliders and roast turkey.  so yum.

saturday was supposed to be my son’s first flight lesson.  most teenagers rebel with drugs, sex, piercings.  mine can’t.  so, he rebels by deciding to be a pilot.  it’s all very passive-aggressive.  he knows i’m terrified (terrified!) to fly.  born with no wings, no hollow bones and all seems to be proof enough to me that i shouldn’t.  i digress.  his lesson was cancelled due to bad weather.  (vermont, up yours!)

so, he went to spend the night at his buddy’s place.  that’s right, kids.  the wild woman had the place to herself.  she celebrated by watching this movie while awaiting the rapture, going for a run (A. RUN.) with the dog, and ate fish smothered in onions that had been sauteed in almost a cup of butter and a red wine reduction.

first, the movie.  i love this kind of shit.  i would love love love to be a spy and hit man, with all those sweet skills.  but not like in real life, cuz it’s actually pretty boring, all that data collection.  i love the adventure.  but, in my dream, i’m never in any REAL danger and when i find my target, i fire a dart with a slow-release drip of chocolate.

secondly, the run.  after watching jason statham, i always tend to have a mysterious surge of energy.  hmmmm….i chose to pretend i was ‘on a mission’ by tethering the dog to my waist with his leash, putting on my vibrams and heading out the door.  kids, i was surprised by how far i went!  i think that the three things that factored into the distance were: 1. it has been a really, really long time since i’ve run, so i wasn’t burnt out.  it’s not my favorite thing to do.  2. i was on a trail i’d never been on before, so it was novel.  3.  jason statham crush chemicals.  i also didn’t stress myself about it.  it wasn’t a “workout”.  it was just me and the dog out having a good time.  so, i would run, sprint, walk, rinse, repeat.

third, the fish.  it was supposed to be steak.  but, the aforementioned kid put the steak back in the freezer instead of the fridge. the onions were already golden, soft in the butter and the wine, so i just grabbed some frozen fish and let it stew together.  not my first choice, but, butter and wine and onions all combine in a way that the rest doesn’t matter all that much.

of course, the house to myself meant i could get naked and walk around.  so good for the wild soul!  shed those clothes as often as you possible can!

oh, and, yeah, there’s this little thing that happened, too.

if you can't guess, here: my hair is purple in some places.

clearly, someone watched far too much of this as a kid.

sunday was equally full of fun.  the kid came back.  we hit the rocks by the river near our house.  both of us in our vibrams.  i’m still too cold to go completely barefoot.

the water is brown because of tannins, not sewage.

for dinner, since the kid was back, no fish, no onions, no wine.  but, i’ve done my best to raise him right, so it was steak….sauteed in butter.

that was my weekend.  hit me up with your adventures.

my cousin and i are a lot alike.  we look alike-well, mostly.  she’s the long, tall, thin version of me and i’m her with curves to spare and 8 inches taken off the top.  personality wise, we are both pretty wild.  each in our own way, but untamed we are.

she’s always fun to hang out with because where i love to talk about all these really cool ideas, she’s the one with the follow through.

i introduced her to this book a few months ago.  i’ve yet to make a recipe from it, but she’s done at least three or four by herself.  this weekend i spent with her, she decided it was time to follow yet another one.  dandelion wine!!!!!

when i was a little girl, i went outside because it was there. (thank yougeorge mallory!)  as i got older and became more of an indoor pet, i needed a siren call.  herbs were it.  they were what got me back outside to forage, play, seek out the green mysteries.  i’ve made plenty of tinctures and oils, but wine?  not yet.

here’s what you’ll need to make five gallons of wine: (five gallons????? what do you take me for wild woman, a lush?  nope.  but this shite is tasty and it takes a year to make and you won’t be drinking alone.  this is for sure a community celebration kind of thing-both in the making and the tasting.)

a SHIT TON of dandelions-2 cups of blossoms per gallon.  (we-and by we i don’t mean me-picked 10 tightly packed cups worth of blossoms to make….FIVE.  GALLONS.)

golden raisins (1 lb per gallon)

oranges/lemons (2 each per gallon)

sugar (2 lbs per gallon)

a packet of wine yeast (we used champagne yeast)

a five gallon crock or clean plastic bucket

car boy and air valve (or go old school, use empty apple cider gallons gleaned from your healthy food store and use either a balloon or one of those condoms that you’ve been meaning to use cuz you bought it in such an optimistic moment…i digress)

a bunch of willing kids (i think this may be the most important ingredient.  my cousin and i did a lot of talking and giggling about who knows what in her kitchen while our collective four kids were off in a field picking dandelions.)

and several liters worth of patience.

you can get the book or do a google search to find instructions for the specific steps or this will be the longest. blog. entry. ever.

i will touch on the highlights.

when both of our families, totaling 8, were sitting out of the porch making up songs and BAD raps while the sun set around us as we freed the yellow blossoms from the green sepals.  her daughter, my comedic soul mate (the one person in this world who may ACTUALLY be funnier than me!) figured out a fantastic twist and pull method that decreased the frustration level of this task by a factor of 15.

discovering that those darn kids had actually picked EXACTLY enough for our recipe.  like to the blossom.  PRECISELY ten cups of bright yellow flowers.

washing the antique five gallon earthen-ware crock that my cousin scored from her mother-in-law.  (all i ever scored from mine was a bad taste in my mouth for mother-in-laws.)

breathing in the aroma of 10 cups of dandelion blossoms, orange juice, lemon juice and raisins.  it’s like nothing else i’d ever smelled but close to so many things.  it is almost like mown grass.  it is almost like a new flower.  it is almost like candy.  yet, it is like none of these things.

adding sugar.  and then more sugar.  and then more sugar.

everyone in the house having to stir the slush mess with the huge wooden paddle, obsessively.  even my cousin-in-law, all 6’2 mountain man of hisself.

two days into the fermentation, i nickname the crock the “pot o’rot”.

watching the past three episodes of glee with my little cousin and turning the sound down during the commercials to gush about puck’s hotness.  in the pauses, we would hear the pot o’rot gurgle as the yeast feed and bubble.

here’s the basic procedure in pictures:

blossoms, peels, and raisins. yep, we ran out of the goldens.

introducing the white death-meant for the consumption of yeast and yeast only, kids.

the yinnish yanginess of it all.

squeals the sugar, "i'm melting, i'm melting." (sorry...too easy.)

first stir of millions.

these little buggers will eat the sugar and we get wine. what a tradeoff, suckers!

full crock

two days later-notice the way that the pot o' rot seems much fuller (it's all the yeast farts!) i had a better pic but couldn't resist the lurking kid.

this project is the best of the wild world.  lots of outside time, using an ingredient that most people pour pesticides onto (suckers!), laughter on top of giggles layered with guffaws, community, and, at the end of it all, shifted consciousness, in this case, wine.

dear american women, you are strong, liberated, powerful…but damn your posture sucks.  no seriously, i don’t know why the humble, “i’m not here” slouch is so popular here.  this is always the most obvious to me in zumba classes.  maybe it’s because there is so much latin music that we dance to that makes this characteristic stick out so sharply.

i’m sure that there are deep socio-political-psychological reasons for this.  yes, i can be a powerhouse  at the office if i just hide my boobs.  or, maybe it’s the trend (has anyone else noticed how slouchy teenage girls are just oh so charming and lovable in movies?)

this shoulder slump seems to be married to the conspicuous lack of ass jiggling that isn’t happening as well.  it may be a cultural thing, sure.  where i come from, my ass shaking ability is seen as moderate at best.  i’ve seen women in my country whose hips and ass do not seem remotely hinged to the rest of them when they dance.

i know, i know.  you’re not a sexual object.  do you have to be?  is that all your body is?

i lift my chest high and wiggle my wiggler, even when no one is watching, even when a bunch of people are, for one reason.  it feels good.  there, i’ve said it.  my body likes to move in all the different dimensions available to it.

this morning, my instructor said: “in this dance, we clap our hands above our heads and it’s not just for fun, it increases your fitness.”

i could hear a murmur spread through the class.  “oh, it increases my fitness.  now i’ll do it.” was almost audible to me.

i get it.  i mean, i didn’t start meditating until my thirties because it doesn’t burn any calories.  well, maybe five calories, but i inhale more than that in airborne microbes on each breath.  so, i kind of understand this thinking.  i really do.

but, please, please, please….this is the merengue, the samba, the mambo, the salsa, hip hop, greek and middle eastern music that we’re dancing to…clap your damn hands and shake your ass and throw your tits in the air already cuz it’s fun.

in other news, a little backstory:

my hair is growing out and is a little…unruly.  (yes, southern lady from barnes and noble, i do have big lips, a negroid nose and unruly hair and yes, again…i do have black (although you strung that one syllable word out into four) in my family and am damn proud of it.)  so, in the mornings, i slap a hat on.  after my workouts, i throw the hat in the bag with my sweaty workout clothes until the next day.

today, i took my hat off when i got to my car and cradled in its folds was my underwear from yesterday.  so maybe, just maybe, this cranky post comes from the fact that i did a whole zumba class with a dirty pair of underwear up against my skull.