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Dinner Salad as Art

July 1st, 2014

Oh, the summer! I love the foods of the season.

This Wednesday, a dance friend shared her abundance of romaine lettuce with me. I went home with the freshly-cut lettuce and no other dinner plans. It was hot. Salad for dinner on the porch sounded perfect to me.

Now, I’m not a big fan of meat but I wanted a filling salad to make into dinner. I raided the refrigerator to see what I might find.

I found: 1 hard-boiled egg, hemp seed hearts (high protein/mineral content and buttery texture), one carrot.

This wasn’t quite enough for two people to fill up at dinner. I know that seeds are particularly high food value, and so I got into the cupboard for pepitas (pumpkin seeds without shells). I also found a can of black olives to add a little healthy oil and flavor.

At that point, it looked really tasty but not yet filling enough. If we had some canned beans such as garbanzo beans/chickpeas or fava beans, I would have put those on it. I had no luck in the bean department so I searched my mind a little. Enter the freezer! I thawed about 2/3 of a cup of green peas to divide between us.

At this point it looked filling and tasty. I’m not a vinegar fan (and it doesn’t work well with my allergies) so I prefer very good olive oil as the basis of my dressing. Since it’s summer, we have a few herbs growing well outside right now, so I picked some fresh dill weed and cut that up with scissors.

The final touches were a sprinkling of Gomasio (crushed sesame seeds and sea salt, available from Eden Foods at most food co-ops and healthy stores… or online at EdenFoods.com

An Encouraging Quote

May 31st, 2014

Aha! LightBulb

The good news is that for every one person who doesn’t like you or the things you say or the work you do, there are a dozen people who adore you and absolutely want to see you succeed in life.
– Rosetta Thurman

I love quotations. It’s fun to search online quote pages for inspiration, but sometimes the quotes are not worded exactly right, or they are attributed to the wrong famous person. For that reason, I particularly love collecting quotes myself. Sometimes they come from reading an article online, sometimes from reading  or listening to an audiobook.

Today’s Inspiration
Today, I got a newsletter from Rosetta Thurman, a young woman with lots of vim and vigor and sparkle in her eye. I met her on Twitter a number of years ago and I just loved her spirit and attitude.

Rosetta’s website is called Happy Black Woman. She talks there about the choices she’s made to have the life she desired (rather than the life others thought she might best prefer).

When we met, she was still working a day job and she had chosen to move from an apartment into a room of a house so she could use her money differently. She pared down her things and made choices about what she loved.

Now she travels a lot doing workshops and classes to encourage others who are interested in being deliberate about their lives. She particularly works with people who have dreams about businesses of their own, helping them develop what she calls a “side hustle” while they have a job, so they don’t have to change too quickly and risk too much all at once.

Kindred Life Choices
I have had a different but similar story. In 1990 I gave up unsecured credit (it felt out of control, I didn’t have the sense of choice I feel from Rosetta). Slowly I’ve let go of things, got more things to replace them, got rid of those, repeat until we have less stuff (but not as little as my goal).

I’ve been self employed since 1999. I make a lot of choices to do with less so that the ups and downs of self employment don’t hit me as hard.

My travel is usually basic rather than deluxe (car or train rather than plane, staying in hostels or with friends/relatives rather than hotels). Clothing comes second hand except for shoes and undergarments. None of these choices feel like a compromise, because they are conscious choices. I do get two luxuries: good food and good yarn, because of my health and my work.

Back to Rosetta
Rosetta doesn’t know I’m writing about her. I get absolutely nothing from posting this. However, the quote above really struck me today. I know that we all sometimes worry about the wrong people when we’re feeling unsteady… and we all feel unsteady some days. (Thanks, Rosetta!!!)

Be the Rainbow in Someone Else’s Cloud

May 29th, 2014

Dr. Maya Angelou, Poet Laureate, speaker, world citizen/elder, lover of life and Phenomenal Woman,* died today. I’m crushed.

I saw her twice and both times she rocked my world. I tend to love moments and then forget the specifics, but points she made have stayed with me years afterward.

The second time I heard her, she had a crowd of mostly students (at Michigan State University). She referenced a 19th-century black song with a lyric “…when it looked like the sun wa’nt gonna shine any more, God put a rainbow in the clouds.”

Here is a powerful 4-minute video of Dr. Angelou. It includes a reference to that song and how we can aim to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.

Listen. Hearing her may change your day. In my case, it changed my life.
Be the Rainbow… Like Maya Angelou.

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*Phenomenal Woman
By Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me. 

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

___
Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” from And Still I Rise.
Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Publisher – Random House, Inc.

A Sigh of Joy

May 13th, 2014

tulipsWe finally have spring here in mid-Michigan. It was the hardest winter to live through that I remember, and I’ve lived here over 50 of my 55 years. We are winter-weary city slickers this year.

Perspective
We had a devastating ice storm 3 days before Christmas, and 40% of the Capital city was without power. Some friends outside city limits were 8 days without.

A friend slept on our couch one night, and I cooked Christmas dinner for me and 2 friends. Brian worked a 15-hour day on Dec. 25 getting the store computers (where he is webmaster) up and running so they could be back up and open on December 26… after being closed for 3 days before the holiday.

Juicy Spring Day
It rained big, fat drops this Monday, off and on most of the day. In other years, we might have complained. This year we agree that it ‘s better than snow.

Almost everything is green now. A week and a half ago, we had very few buds. Now look at it!

Rain
©1966 by Adrian Keith Smith
Age 4
New Zealand

From the Book:
Miracles, Poems by children of the English-speaking world
Collected by Richard Lewis
Simon and Schuster, 1966

The rain screws up its face

and falls to bits.

Then it makes itself again.

Only the rain can make itself again.

green spring

The Feelings of Mothers’ Day

May 10th, 2014

I wish to share with you an excellent post from writer Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) about motherhood, non-motherhood and loving where we are on the spectrum. As a woman with no biological children and none in my home, I have no regrets where I am as self-appointed “fairy godmother” to many.

20140510-143507.jpgLove to all on this mother-celebrating weekend. I have the fortune of a good relationship right now with my gutsy mom, and will enjoy that. We did not always feel this ease together. (Photo is my mom, age 79, who can out-run her 55-year-old daughter… literally… in a foot race.)

If you are one of those who have pain from a sad relationship (or non-relationship) with your own mother, I send you love, empathy and acceptance. May you have time with (or memories of) someone who does love you and see you as wonderful, just the way you are.

(The post I am linking here is on Facebook. It seems to work even for the public who choose not to have an account there, or members who are not logged in. Let me know if it does not work for you.)

Three Sorts of Women, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Will You be Our Valentine???

February 13th, 2014

Will you be ours? Come solo and we’ll serenade you… bring a group of friends and we’ll celebrate you… bring the family and we’ll get the kiddos singing and dancing. Everybody can relate to love, no matter what their life situation is.

The Fabulous Heftones are Lynn Hershberger (Hefferan) (me) and Brian Hefferan… arguably the most romantic act in Lansing.

The Avenue Cafe is in the former Gone Wired Cafe (same owners, new name). It’s on the 2000 block of Michigan Avenue in Lansing, Michigan… my favorite block in Lansing. (Down the block from Green Door, across the street from Emil’s Italian Restaurant, sharing a wall with Everybody Reads/Triple Goddess Bookstore.)

It’s a family-friendly neighborhood “pub” of sorts… food made in-house and Michigan brews, and good locally-based music. Harmony, followed by more harmony.

Please join us.

(If you can’t make it… click here to hear us sing By the Light of the Silvery Moon.)

Warmth under a Blanket of Snow

February 6th, 2014

It feels like eternal snow here in Lansing…

Allowing the snow to be a blanket (warm, snug, fluffy), because it persists in tugging on my awareness like a toddler pleading, “Mom, Mom, Mom…”

Choosing to change all word meanings toward the concepts of “warm” and “knit.”

My JoyBug looked tucked into a soft white blanket, before I woke her to create a day together.

JoyBug

Sitting in a cafe, near the corner of two fully-windowed walls… Six inches from the sidewalk snow blanket.

Giving thanks I’m in a place where we are warm and safe indoors most of the winter. And where we can buy wool sweaters instead of raising sheep, shearing them, washing, carding, spinning and knitting the wool.

thin walls on a snowy day

And where I can enjoy tea leaves from halfway across this globe, prepared for me for a few dollars.

Abundance, warmth and knitting are the words of the day. Even if I never pick up my knitting needles & wool.

So, how are YOU?

Help from Strangers… NOT on News at 10

January 26th, 2014

Snow!

It has been a bear of a winter here in Mid-Michigan!

A few days before Christmas, we had the biggest ice storm in recorded history. 40% of the city was without electricity and there were some folks who were out of power for over a week.

Trees were down everywhere. Many roads were un-driveable because of branches and power lines in the streets.

After that we have had periods of deep snow, and extreme cold. We are all done with winter around here.

20140126-013048.jpg

Today ‘s Adventure
I was afraid driving from Lansing to Owosso today. Merely 25 mph seemed unsafe at first (6:00am on a Saturday). It was good that there were very few drivers on the road!

Generally, I opt out of travel in difficult weather these days. I have finally given into the fact that I am human, and this is Earth. Nature is bigger than I am.

However, a friend’s car is in the shop, and her child needed to go to a standardized college-admissions test. I chose to make sure the kid stayed on track, and that’s how I found myself driving in drifting snow.

I love to drive, and drive a LOT (my JoyBug turned over 200,000 miles today. I have a better than average skill at handling my vehicle. I was still concerned enough to not feel safe sipping my hot cup of tea until I arrived an hour and a half later (it usually takes less than 45 minutes).

Short-Term Drama
Near my destination, I did get pulled into a drift on a back road (no ditch, thank goodness… A drift in the middle of a flat road). I had taken a good shovel with me and un-beached the bug. That was ONE way to wake up quickly!

Four men passing by this country road (in big vehicles) stopped to push me out. Three guys wasn’t enough… but that 4th guy was the charm. I’m so grateful!

Again, it is proven… Most people are good. They just don ‘t make the news.

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Make mistakes.

December 31st, 2013

Author Neil Gaiman on creating:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

“Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

“So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes.Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

“Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.”

Watch his whole 17 minute speech here. Wonderful. Inspiring.

Read more here if you enjoyed that.

…not quite knowing what you are doing.

December 13th, 2013

Be brave enough to live life creatively

The creative is the place where
no one else has ever been.
You have to leave the city of
your comfort and go into
the wilderness of your intuition.
You can’t get there by bus,
only by hard work and risk,
and by not quite knowing what you are doing.
What you will discover will be
wonderful.
What you discover will be
yourself.
- Alan Alda 

Oh, Yeah! You are Beautiful!

November 30th, 2013

I’ve been talking a lot with local friends and some internet friends, about how mean women are to themselves about their bodies. How they really do believe there is a perfect shape and they aren’t it. Unfortunately, some also criticize others as well.

There are magazine articles about “downplaying your flaws” and more nonsense of that sort. How about “show off/be proud of your favorite features!!!” ???? How about that?

Correct Your Flaws?

I heard a radio advertisement this week, offering plastic surgery to “help you correct your faults.” To give you a better shape.

UGH. Big UGH. What a horrible business to be in. Cutting people up to make them look different. (I’m all for plastic surgery to help put people back together after accidents and the like… this is not what I’m upset about.)

I am the same age as Michael Jackson… who looked fine as he was born… and had HOW many surgeries to look different? I ache for him that he couldn’t just be happy as himself… with the amazing talent he had.

Plastic surgery is elective, which means a doctor gets paid directly by the patient rather than going through insurance. It’s a BUSINESS. I’d invest in good therapy to help me develop boundaries and confidence, over surgery, any day! Therapy is cheaper and so helpful!

Go On, Find Something to Love!

Which parts of your body do you like? Have you ever thought about it? If not, it’s time to consider loving that pretty knee or your laugh, your freckles, your curly hair that has a strong personality and which other people envy even on humid days.

My friend J has beautiful, small, tapered fingers. Although she wore a bigger dress size than me, she wore a full size smaller wedding ring, a size I wear on my pinky finger.

J also has a beautiful back… smooth, pale skin and a straight posture. She never knew her back was an asset. Once when we were in our young 20′s, I sewed her two dresses that showed off her back and pretty hands (back “cleavage” and tapered sleeves)… one pink crepe satin for dress and one blue knit for work. She looked SO beautiful in those dresses. She didn’t think of herself as beautiful, but I surely did.

I know I have beautiful long hair. I have had this hair since I was a teenager, except for 9 years while I was a young businesswoman trying to look old enough to work. No matter what my weight, my hair is pretty. My legs have always been lovely. Mom says I have the “Carvey calves” which come down many generations of my matriarchy.

My weight has fluctuated from a little high in high school, to a member of Weight Watchers (I weighed more than my man who was 8 inches taller than me), to a healthy normal weight, to a too-thin person for whom most food caused me uncomfortable reactions such as hives, to a menopausal woman for whom food is finally friendly but whose body is now trying to protect her inner organs by making a small tummy fortress around her abdomen.

Take a good look at the photos here. The women I dance with have a rainbow of differing features. They are all BEAUTIFUL. Beautiful. So are you.

Keep Lovin’… or Find Lovin’ for the First Time

It’s important as we see our bodies change while we live our lives, to see that we have those pretty hands, eyes, hair, feet… at least let someone else tell us how beautiful our back is (in J’s case), or to let my friend A tell me how beautiful my curves are while she’s helping me pick out clothing for my slowly-rounding 55-year-old figure.

You may have an amazing smile, a soothing voice, expressive eyebrows, the best tush the world ever saw (my friend W), the loveliest round female tummy of all (my friend M, here she is below… gorgeous and confident, with roundness that some women would wish to dissolve… yet my, she is pretty).


Curves mean we are mature. The Hollywood ideal is very close to pre-puberty, and I see this as hurtful to each of us as well as our society. We can look good at all ages.

Your Differences are your Good Parts

The very things that make it hard for you to fit into “normal” clothing may be your best asset! Those are the things where you are different and noticeable.

Don’t cover up… instead find a way to celebrate. Delicate hands deserve bracelets. Eyebrows want lovely eyeglasses over which to peek, or perhaps bangs that let them take center stage. Strong shoulders are queenly and elegant, and beautiful in a halter top or drapey shawl.

Beautiful “grrl” curves beg for a scooped neck or v-neck. Hips love a good shirred wrap to make them more shapely and alive. Don’t hide your special features!

Take a Deep Breath of Kindness for Yourself

It is the holiday season. We can spend it enjoying company of friends or worrying about our weight and whether it’s OK to eat that hand-made gingerbread cookie. Balance and proper portions will make us feel healthier, but guilt for enjoying special treats need not be part of our six-week holiday experience. Be kind to yourself, OK?

ALL OF US ARE BEAUTIFUL. I love you. Consider loving yourself, too. Please.

Homage to My Hips

these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top

Lucille Clifton

YUMMY Pumpkin Pie for the Food-Restricted

November 19th, 2013

I am a Thanksgiving baby. I was born the day after Thanksgiving, and this year my day falls exactly on the US holiday.

I love pumpkin everything. I don’t know if that has to do with the timing of my birthday, but it may. I want pumpkin pie instead of birthday cake. Yum!

However, about 8-10 years ago I got socked with a long list of “normal” foods which typically make me feel crummy. Pumpkin was fine, but for 5 years I could not eat dairy or eggs (and a host of other things).

I got diagnosed in early spring. I knew I had to figure out how to make pumpkin pie so that in late November I could have my birthday pie.

I made some HORRIBLE pies. There was one I would not even eat, it was throw-food-away worthy, and I’m not one to waste. However, I think I’ve got it down now.

My beloved Brian loves pie. He’s tasted a lot of pumpkin pies in the last several years, and his vote is for this recipe, despite its limited ingredients.

This recipe can be used for vegans, celiacs/other gluten-free eaters, lactose-intolerant folks, and the rest of us with a lot of limitations. I use soy milk. Any milk with a lot of particulate matter should work… almond or oat milks might also substitute well. I’m a bit skeptical about rice milk here, though… it’s pretty thin.

Please: Pass this recipe around! There are SO many people who need something they can eat happily and without reaction! I want to help those who will be tempted to cheat (and feel lousy afterwards) during the holidays. If you want to print it or send to a friend, and you know how to download a document, here is a PDF Adobe Acrobat version for you:

LynnH’s No Nothin’ Pumpkin Pie Recipe in PDF format

It’s one thing to stay away from a restaurant where you can’t eat, or perhaps to choose the right thing from many choices on a cafeteria line. It’s another thing to sit in the same room with Grandma’s pie, for hours and hours while idly chatting with family members (who are eating the forbidden).

If there is no healthy choice, some of us will choose to eat food which makes us suffer in the long run. I love bringing pie to holiday gatherings, and then I can eat without pain.

Note: This is not diabetic friendly as written. It’s dessert, and it has brown sugar in it. The sugar is not required for browning, so you may be able to figure out how to adjust it for your own needs. Maybe adding some fruit juice or unsweetened applesauce and letting it cook down a little longer would work, but I have not tried that myself.

That said, please enjoy!

LynnH’s No-Nothin’ Pumpkin Pie

I was born the day after Thanksgiving. This is my “Birthday Pie” every year. Cake, I can live without. Pumpkin pie, never.

At a potluck with many pumpkin pies, my pie-afficionado husband declared that he liked this one as well or better than the others. I consider that a blue ribbon.

Makes two 9″ pies

Main Ingredients:
2 Unbaked Pie Crusts in 9″ pans (make or buy one you can tolerate, there are Gluten-free and Spelt versions in the healthy food store’s freezer department)

1-3/4 cup Soy milk (Unsweetened—I use Westsoy Organic.) If you tolerate dairy
milk, goat milk, Oat Milk or Almond milk, they should substitute well. I have not tried them.
1/2 cup Golden Flaxseed Meal (dark works, but the filling appearance is speckled)
3-1/2 cup (2 sm 15oz cans or 1 lg 30oz can) Solid Pack Pumpkin (not pie mix)
2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt (optional)

Spices, as desired (leave out some or change amounts):
1-1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Ginger Powder
1/8 tsp Cloves

  • Preheat oven to 375F / 190C.
  • If you are making your own crusts, make them now. If you purchased frozen crusts, pull them out and separate them while frozen.
  • Measure soy milk into large measuring cup or small bowl. Slowly mix in flaxseed meal (I use a wire whisk).
  • In large bowl, place all other ingredients. Add milk/flax mixture (above) and blend thoroughly with whisk.
  • Fill unbaked pie crusts with filling. Cover edges with foil (optional) for the first 45 minutes in the oven.
  • Bake. Depending on the moisture content of your ingredients, it will take no less than 50 minutes and easily an hour or more. When the very center of the pie filling is boiling energetically, it is done. Do not be too eager, it’s tastier if you let the center truly cook through. It caramelizes… yum!
  • Let the pie cool. Refrigerating overnight will help it cut perfectly.

Note: My pie pans are glass/pyrex. Your baking times may be different if your pans are metal or ceramic.

Keep Walking

November 18th, 2013

20131118-121817.jpg
I love to walk and I love our earth. (I don’t love camping… so my walks are relatively short, but frequent.)

I just found an eloquently-written story at National Geographic. This man is starting a 7-year walk in Ethiopia. (I visited Ethiopia during holidays 2004-05, which makes this extra fascinating. I took the above photo in northern Ethiopia while I was there.)

An Afar proverb: It is best, when you are lost or thirsty, to keep walking under the sun, because eventually someone will see you. To be tempted into shade, to drop under one of 10,000 thornbushes, means death: No one will find you.

Keep walking. This is a metaphor for many inner journeys as well.

I loved reading this short story. I wonder how he can write like this in the middle of a powerful journey. When I’m traveling, I tend to get sucked into the moment. I’m glad he can write for us.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/12/out-of-eden/salopek-text

A Halloween Laugh

October 31st, 2013

Oh my gosh, this is so funny I’m laughing out loud.

My first trick-or-treaters came at 10 after six. It was a group of about seven older kids.

I went to the door and said “I’ve got stickers! Do you want smiley faces or flags?”

They all turned around and ran away….
Then two boys came back and asked for smiley faces.

I’m laughing so hard I don’t need any more trick-or-treaters to make it an excellent night!

Photo: Pumpkin pie transformed into a smiley face/ jack o’lantern by Brian when I wasn’t looking one day. He keeps me smiling.

The pie was made with an allergy-friendly, celiac-friendly, vegan pie recipe I developed when I couldn’t have milk or eggs. Try my recipe for LynnH’s No-Nothin’ Pumpkin Pie