CSA Week #12

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS: Strawberries….last week I announced that we would be able to offer bulk flats of berries to CSA members. Apparently, the strawberry patch didn’t get the memo! We …

Source: CSA Week #12

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Dot

Dot joined her sister Dusty at the Rainbow Bridge on November 30,2015. If I thought it was bad when Dusty went, I knew it would be much worse when Dot went. And I was right.

Dot was a rescue kitten from the same house across the street from us in Chicago. She was abandoned in the snow when a family moved. One woman from the family looked for Dot for about 5 minutes so we know that at least she was missed.
Later that same day, I heard Dot call out in a very loud voice.   Like Judy Garland, the very little girl with the great big voice!    I went out to look for her, and I did see her. She was making her way through a chain link fence and it looked like she had found what she was looking for at that moment.
The following day, however, John was coming home and he heard her call out. This time she came to him. He brought her up to our third-story apartment, and there she stayed.
Dot had a bad hip from the time we took her in. We do not know if she was born like this or if she was injured in her days outside in the snow. The vet seemed to think that she was about 6 months old but she was quite small. She fit into John’s hands back then.

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Tummy Dots

At first we named her Tiny Tiger.  But she quickly started to get bigger and that name no longer suited.  So we changed her name to Dot, for all the dots on her tummy that can be seen in the photo above.

Dot was never fond of having her picture taken so photos tend to not be very flattering.  Her so sweet personality barely shows.  Dot was the epitome of Scaredy Cat, running and hiding whenever someone came into the house.

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Eyes All Aglow

This photo was taken in our apartment in Thurston, and Dot has one of her typical postures of shoulders hunched and eyes big.  It cannot be seen from any photos how her hip impacted her abilities.

When Dot was a little kitten, I used to take a shoestring or a drawstring and wave it in front of her.  Like all kittens, she was attracted to it.  I would then run down the long hall of our “railroad” apartment, and she would chase me.  We did this many times a day, with jumping on chairs at both ends.  This did strengthen her hips and back legs.  And it was fun for both of us.

Morning Habit  Another thing Dot loved to do was to sit in an open doorway and look out.  I suppose it gave her the illusion of being outside, which was usually much too scary for her.  She did not care about how much warm air she allowed to escape!  Or hot air came in!

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Front Door in Summer

Dot would sleep just about anywhere!  Here are some of her favorite sites.

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Preferably Mommy’s Chair
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All Cats Sleep A Lot
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Cat on Red Chair
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Fuzzy
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There She Is
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Velvet Pillow

Dot and Dusty rarely slept on the same piece of furniture at the same time.  Occasionally a spot would be battled over.  Guess who usually won.

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Happiness is
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Good Girls

When we moved to our house in Springfield, Dot found the best vantage point.  She was The Inspector.  She had to approve all the comings and goings of everyone in the house.

There was one best place for this, and it completely displaced Mommy.

Oh well.  Some of us are Ascended Life Forms and some, not.

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Takeover Begins
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Takeover?

 

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Takeover Complete
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Diamond Dot

When Dusty got so sick and needed to be put to sleep, we all cried.  Dot grieved much more than we expected, given how apparently adversarial their relationship had been.  Of course, we were not around at certain times and had no experience of the potential or actual closeness between our two girls.

John and I moved at the end of April 2015 into the condo where we now live.  Dot liked it a lot at first.  One thing to love was the wall-to-wall carpet.  She could lie down anywhere in comfort.

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Carpet Lounge

Not long after we moved in, Dot started to cry a lot.  We did not know what the cause was, and it began a round of trips to Companion Animal Clinic.  Even though the clinic was back in Springfield, we made the journey many times.  We so appreciated the care from Dr. Carrie Casita.  Carrie did her best to help us diagnose Dot’s troubles and to attend to them.

It was not for several months that we realized Dot had a detached retina.  She had lost much of her eyesight.  She had us all fooled, for she continued to act like she could see.

The crying went on but started to reduce.  Dot had some pain issues with her hips, some thyroid issues, and some kidney issues, all detected and treated by Carrie.  It was probably elevated blood pressure that caused her retina to detach.  Running up and down the stairs with her Mommy could have caused that.  That is sad.

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Foos You Can Use

When Daddy got a great foosball table, Dot made use of it too.  It became like a little house for her.  That was just how charming she was.

Some of the best things about Dot:

her whiskers

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Just Because

her soft fur

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Cover the Nosie

 

her walk (which I am not able to show you):

a sort of cross between a strut and a stalk.

It was confident and deliberate,

with shoulders held high and moved low,

with feet placed softly just so.

and of course her cuteness

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Regal

Dot, you are deeply missed.  I hope to join you in spirit in the not too far off future.

In the meantime, you are reunited with your sister Dusty.  Perhaps you are spatting with each other.  Perhaps you are sleeping next to each other.

One day.

 

TRE Practice and Meditation

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Today marks a week of starting my TRE practice. Per suggestion of Jessica Schaffer (my teacher http://www.TREpdx.com) I do a little bit every two days.

First I clear a space in my sewing room / study to do this.
Second, I ground myself, using the weight shift practice.
Then, I sit down and let the tremors begin.

It’s always fun to me to see where they (the tremors) go.
I like to play with the ways my body releases things.
I can feel that some areas have more trauma storage and
I like to try to emphasize tremoring in those areas.

For the past week, I have simply allowed tremors to occur.
Today, I made my first try at directing them.

At first, I let tremors go wherever.
Then I adjusted my foot position, and noticed where the tremors originated.

I directed tremoring to my upper thighs.
I have fat storage there and
I believe that implies trauma storage also.
It felt so good, like the release was going down to my bones.

I also experienced release in my upper body, all along the length of my spine.
My arms always shake a lot.

One time, tremors went up my cervical spine to the base of my skull.
That felt amazing.
I had a headache and it shook right out!

I am starting to notice things in day-to-day life that include similar movement or feeling.
I am allowing them to release as they occur, if it is appropriate.

Last time and today, I incorporated a meditation at the end of my TRE session.
I signed up for the Oprah Winfrey – Deepak Chopra series at the start of November. http://www.choprameditationcenter.com

This is my way to teach my nervous system. Now that trauma is released, I want to replace it with calm. What could be better for that than meditation?!

My First Experience with TRE

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TRE: Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises

I took a workshop in this technique on Friday and Saturday, November 6 and 7, 2015. As a person with SEID (Systemic Exercise Intolerance Disorder), formerly known as CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome), I was told to take it easy.

Jessica Schaffer, the presenter, was very professional and respectful of my limits, with specific guidelines and suggestions for me. Without knowing a thing about this technique, I was open to the experience, and I followed her suggestions.

TRE was immediately very powerful for me. I began to experience the tremors before the technique instruction was completed. I was aware that my arms were shaking a little bit and that I felt movement in my upper torso.

When we laid down to induce tremors, my entire body shook right away. I did not let it go for too long, yet it was hard to stop. My body was much more responsive than I expected.

I felt like laughing!  But I restrained that impulse.  Perhaps I should have expressed it.  But the room was quiet and I did not want to call attention to myself.

I put the brakes on the technique per direction but it took a while for the tremors to slow down and stop. Then I laid on my side and rested.

I felt some unpleasant energy (pain) in my temples. They felt hot. My hands were cool so I pressed my hands to the hot areas. It helped a little bit. However, it took me a while to understand what was happening.

The next day was day two of instruction. I learned a modified technique which made it much easier for me to reduce the level of tremors my body gave off and I was able to control and stop more easily.

I also experienced a “headache” that day. The pain, the headache, the experience of my brain stem and my nervous system resolving this first experience of tremors, continues as I write this on late Sunday afternoon.

I have often experienced what I term a “CFS headache.” It is deep inside my head, and I’ve identified it as originating in the HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal). I don’t know if technically this is correct, but if not, then it is perhaps brain stem.

As my brain stem and central nervous system absorb the effects of tremors that release trauma, I am patient. I am continuing to do somewhat normal activity, with a bit more rest and a period of meditation and a nap.

I want to wait until this resolves so that I have an idea of what is going on, to report to Jessica Schaffer. I am very hopeful that this method of release will free me from some of the long lasting effects of trauma that I continue to experience.

For example, I still deal with hypervigilance on a frequent basis, without even being aware of it. I still have attacks of shame that are completely unrelated to the intentions of others. I have done and continue to work on these via the cerebral cortex, but the body memory persists.

Perhaps I can free my body of some of these memories, create new more health neural pathways, and resolve some of my default responses to a better degree. I certainly hope so!

In Memory of Dusty

Dusty went to the Rainbow Bridge on the afternoon of Thursday, the 5th of February, 2015.

Dusty was the most *in love with life* spirit I’ve ever known. Such enthusiasm! Right up until just a few days before she was put down, she was loving life: going outside, eating every two hours, running around the house, and generally enjoying her life.

She started out as a rescue cat in Chicago. She was abused by a teen-aged boy across the street from our apartment, and I wanted to do the right thing. I went and asked him if he minded if I took her, and he sheepishly said the single word, No.

Mari was moving in with us just then, and Dusty moved in with her. 🙂 We all agreed that Dusty should be spayed, and a few days after that surgery, she came down with Panleukopenia and almost died. We all visited her in the animal hospital as often as they permitted, and Dusty made it.

When Mari left a year later, Dusty stayed with John and me.

Dusty was like a little Superball back in those days. She had incredible amounts of energy! She used to torture the poor Gato, wanting to play. He was aging and mostly wanted to sleep. 🙂 For a while, her baby name was Changuita, Little Monkey Girl, because of how much she bounced around.

Fast forward to 2005, when John and I moved to Oregon. Dusty and Dot were packed in their kitty crates in the back seat of our Saturn Ion. Sometime the second day, John opened the doors on the crates and Dusty sprang out of hers. (Dot stayed in hers in terror.)

Pretty soon, Dusty was roaming all over the car, and she tried to sit under my feet as I was driving. I had to scold John to remove her from there. LOL
She slipped out of her harness at a gas station in Wyoming.
She slipped out of her harness and made her way well down the path at Mason Dam, halfway across Oregon. Fortunately for us, we had trained her to the clicker. Just as we clicked for her, two golden retrievers were coming up the path, and she turned and raced back to us. Otherwise, she’d have been in some bear or cat’s tummy.

Dusty started to show signs of poor health when she required teeth to be removed. Eventually all she had left were a few front teeth; she was not blessed with strong teeth, but she still tried to eat dry cat food. She still loved milk and ice cream, popcorn and cookies, and anything she could beg from the table.

A few years ago, she developed an “owie” on the side of her neck. I was taught by Dr. Gent at Companion Animal Clinic in Springfield, OR, how to drain this sore. Every day for 2 years I cleaned that owie. Dusty got so she knew when I brought out the bottle of peroxide and the cotton balls, or even said the word “owie” to her, and she would lie down for me to attend to her.

I wish I could say that Dusty and Dot loved each other, but in fact they tolerated each other. Two such different cats could have hardly liked each other. Dusty did make friends with the local bunnies, however. They are the same orange color as she was, and they looked so cute together, huddled outside under the mock oranges.

Here are a few photos of Dusty from over the years. I hope you enjoy them!

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Tote-ally Disappointing

In pursuit of self-support and paying for my new (to me) car, I reserved space at a crafts fair for 3 days last week.

I made a dozen tote bags from recycled (new) upholstery fabric samples.  The fabrics are easily washable — but I did not pre-wash DSCN5862DSCN5863DSCN5864DSCN5865 DSCN5866 DSCN5867DSCN5868them.

Each bag is lined and reversible.

I priced reversible bags on Etsy and found that cotton quilting fabric bags went for $15.  Since this is a modest town I felt that to be a reasonable price.

In 3 days I sold 3 bags to 3 new customers.  Thank goodness for my friend Janny who bought 2 more.

Lots of folks looked, turned them inside out and fondled them, but I suspect most of the customers were on a fixed income and $15 was out of their price range for bags, which are to be had at the grocery store for free.

Alas! live and learn.  My expectations to sell all my bags were inconsistent with reality.  I have to laugh at myself.

I learned one thing, that many artists find socializing as important as selling their wares.

Some of my online friends have requested to see pictures of my totes so here are the remaining items.  Only one is not reversible (the last one.)

 

Thank you for peeking!

 

GFV Parsnip Spice Cake with Cashew Cream Frosting

When I first read the recipe for parsnip cake, I thought it was kind of weird.  But then I remembered that the glycemic index for parsnips is higher than that for carrots, and who does not love a good carrot cake?

Being a gluten free vegan, I had to adapt the recipe given by the farm, from Epicurious.  I often adapt recipes from different sources or combine them; for me a recipe is a starting point.  🙂

I want to give credit where credit is due, so I borrowed some of the ideas from Susan O’Brien’s recipe for Carrot Cake in The Gluten-Free Vegan, published by DaCapo Press, which I purchased at Bob’s Red Mill store in Milwaukie, Oregon.  If you are ever in Milwaukie, this store is a great place to visit and a destination for those of us who are gluten-free.  Try the grilled cheese sandwich!

Susan O’Brien’s cookbook is a wonderful user-friendly place to start gluten-free vegan cooking.  I changed methods and ingredients from her recipe, but the fact that she gives a gluten-free vegan carrot cake inspired me to proceed with my own parsnip version.  🙂

I accidentally added double the baking soda which made the cake rise much better than it usually does, to my delight.  So I am including that in this recipe.  If you don’t get the same results, just reduce the baking soda to half, which is the normal amount.

GFV Parsnip Spice Cake with Cashew Creamy Frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a cake pan with about 100 square inches, such as a 10 x 10 or 9 x 11.

Cake Ingredients and Instructions:

2 tablespoons egg replacer powder

Whisk with 4 tablespoons water and let sit while preparing ingredients.

½ cup applesauce

½ cup canola oil

1 cup brown sugar

½ tablespoon vanilla extract

Place above ingredients into food processor with regular blade. Process until very smooth and creamy.

1 ½ cups gluten free flour

4 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt

½ tablespoon cinnamon

½ tablespoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon each ground nutmeg, allspice and mace

Whisk together in largest bowl until well mixed.

1 ½ cups grated parsnips (shredded in food processor is fine; 1 large peeled parsnip yields this amount.)

1/3 cup unsweetened dried fine coconut shreds, if desired

handful of raisins, if desired

handful of toasted walnut pieces, if desired

Stir and mix well into dry ingredients.

Mix egg replacer powder with wet ingredients in food processor briefly, then combine all wet ingredients with dry. Stir well and make sure it is not too stiff a batter. If it is, add a little vegetable milk or water until the consistency is easily smoothed into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cake should rise quite well.

Frost with Cashew Cream Frosting, if desired.

Cashew Cream Frosting

1 cup raw cashews

2 tablespoons coconut cream + 2/3 cup water, or scant cup of coconut milk

1/3 – ½ cup agave syrup

Place cashews in blender and grind to a powder.

Mix coconut cream and water until well mixed, or use coconut milk.

Pour into blender and add agave syrup.

Blend on medium speed, stopping frequently to make sure it is mixing well.

Blend until very smooth and somewhat thick.

Use as frosting.

My husband is not a vegan.  I made cupcakes for him at his request.  I frosted them with the following ginger cream cheese frosting loosely based on the recipe found on the Epicurious web site.

Here it is, if you would like to try it.  It must be refrigerated, but those cupcakes out of the fridge were a nice treat for him.

Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup or more agave syrup

finely chopped candied ginger

Mix all ingredients well.  Frost on cake or cupcakes.

If you try any of these recipes and like them, please let me know.  I would love to know if your results are similar to mine.