Wednesday, June 23, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 172: Keep Your Childhood Memories, But Know That Every Moment There Is A New You

Last night my dad went to bed and I stayed up a little longer. I pressed my face against the glass window in the dining room and stared out at the Gulf waters. My dad lives right on the water in St. Petersburg, Florida. Palm trees rustled in the wind. The rippling of tiny waves in the distance made me feel calm. I stared straight ahead for what seemed like a long time. Two flashes of lighting appeared by the old smoke stacks in the distance. The stacks my father mentioned would be torn down anytime now. They were using a gas system now and the stacks wouldn't be needed any longer.

The silence throughout the house made me lonely. My mind filled itself with all the memories of my time here. Like the time when a possum got in the house and my friend Sara had to capture it in a laundry basket and let it loose out the front door. I remember giggling with my friends in the upstairs bedroom, telling ghosts stories until all hours, spending endless hours in the pool, putting tin foil on my sunglasses with my friend Lena thinking it would reflect the sun more and make our bodies turn brown, water skiing behind my dad's tiny Boston Whaler. Boats, lotion, water, friends, laughter, outdoor dining under the umbrella, lizards, crickets, cockroaches...memories just came flooding in like a huge tidal wave and then passed and left me standing there with the awareness of the cool tile under my feet and the fact that it was very late.

I wandered upstairs to bed. I kept the window blinds up, turned off the light and let the sound of the palms and water soothe me to sleep.

I woke up and my dad already had the coffee on. We chatted a bit, had a little breakfast. The time goes so slow here. It's good. There's no hurry to get anywhere and my dad and I really didn't have any big plans today. Suddenly I said, "Maybe we can take the kayaks out." My dad looked at me and said, "Sure!" We walked to the side of the house and dad noticed that an old hornets nest was inside one of them. Cockroaches scurried around the bright orange plastic which seemed to magnify them.

We carried the kayaks out and dropped them on the lawn and dad hosed them off. We dropped them down from the cement wall onto the beach and slid them off into the water. I flipped off my flip flops and sank down with my bare feet into the white sand. We were off.

Once out drifting on the water, my dad tried to calculate how long he'd been at this house. He figured he'd been here since he was 39 years old. I'm now 40. It didn't seem possible that my dad had settled into this house at an age younger than my present age, but I guess it was true. As we paddled along, my dad pointed out an Osprey's nest on a boat marker. The Osprey cackled at us, thinking we were prey to it's offspring. We were now out in the open channel.

"Yeah, I've been here a long time. I'm going to miss it, no doubt there," my dad continued, as if the pause gave him time to reflect on what a wonderful place it has been for him. Soon, he will be letting his house of almost 30 years go for life in a retirement community.

We continued on in silence in our respective kayaks. Every now and then we'd drift together and make a remark on our surroundings. We watched enormous pelicans near the Mangrove trees devour entire fish, the seagulls would follow close behind picking up any remains. I watched my father silently paddle in front of me.

I wanted to seize the moment. I didn't want things to change. I wanted to freeze time. Just as I was thinking this, my father was swallowed up by Mangroves. He had entered the Mangrove tunnels.

Huge tunnels were formed by the trees and you could kayak through them. Inside, under the shade of these trees, there was a feeling of being far off on some ancient expedition through the Amazon. It was as if we had gone back in time. Once out on open waters again, civilization returned instantly. People zoomed by in speed boats, fisherman near by pulled up their nets, jets flew overhead.

Sweat poured from my brow in the final stretch back to the house. It must have been 90 degrees outside. Good thing I had suntan lotion on. We pulled the kayaks up onto the grass again, pulled off our sweaty clothes down to our bathing suits and jumped in the pool. The water cooled me instantly.

Later we sat under the shade of the porch awning and ate leftovers from the night before. I know things will change. I've always known that, but somehow, this time, I want to hold on to each moment.

Also published on my blog Lessons from the Monk I Married

Monday, June 21, 2010

What's Up?

I live in an amazingly beautiful world. 
Sometimes it's so easy to have tunnel vision and see only the the part I'm hurriedly focused on. The rest is smudged into a foggy haze, overlooked but always there. Waiting humbly to be noticed. Appreciated. Enjoyed.

When I look up from where I'm placed in this world I'm surrounded by beauty. I often miss this in my day as my eyes bore the road only straight ahead of me.

As I begin to focus more clearly on what is beyond. Small glimpse of wonder appear. Is that really always there. I know in my heart it is. But I forget to look.

It needn't be extravagant to marvel at the beauty that surrounds. When I look for it I will find it everywhere. The truest colours of life are exposed. 
A palette that no earthly artist could ever compare.

There she comes. I only need to walk that bit closer. In the right direction till I find what I'm looking for.

The Magnificence is always far higher and real than any wall man can build.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

How can I get this?

Ok, I have lost about 15 pounds in 3 months; I have never been so tone (lean) in my entire life. Even with that I still need some major improvements in my arms and tummy area. Does anyone know any exercise I can do on the floor without hurting my back? Regular sit ups are not cutting it. Thanks in advance ladies!

Chantale Merchant

Imagine credit to

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sunblock & Sunscreens - Hazard or Protector?

The very ingredients in sunscreens that offer sun protection, may also have adverse side effects. Some of the chemicals used in sunscreens are feared because they are said to enter our bloodstream through ongoing topical use and may have hazardous effects once they accumulate, either in our bodies or the environment. In a disturbing investigation of 952 name-brand sunscreens, the Environmental Working Group found that 4 out of 5 sunscreen products offer inadequate protection from the sun, or contain ingredients with significant safety concerns.

There is also a growing awareness that sunscreen ingredients like the paraben's and Benzophenone may function like human estrogen's and actually disrupt the normal hormonal functioning of the body.

To assist consumers in their decision making, the Environmental Working Group has created a database of sunscreen and sunblock products. Each product is scored according to its effectiveness at blocking UVA and UVB rays, as well as the amount of ingredients that have been linked to health concerns like cancers, developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergens, persistence, and bioaccumulation. Each product ingredient is given a score between one and 10 (one being the best, 10 being the worst) in each category, as well as overall. I highly recommend this website as it's unbiased. Do yourself a favor and check it out. What I found most alarming was that a lot of the "baby" sunblocks were the worst offenders. Go figure!

All the best,

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Paulina Porizkova Discusses Kate Hudson's Breast Augmentation

Paulina Porizkova Discusses Kate Hudson's Breast Augmentation

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Almond Milk

Almond milk can easily be found in a lot of grocery stores. Where I live it's expensive. A lot of people don't realize, it's very easy to make. All you need is a blender, sieve or nut milk bag, water and raw almonds.

I personally find it's best to soak your almonds the night before. Almonds are difficult to digest because of an enzyme-inhibiting substance in their brown coating. Soaking almonds overnight removes these toxic enzyme inhibitors so that the enzymes secreted during digestion can do their job. Also the gluten breaks down, so the digestion becomes much easier. Phytic acid, which inhibits the absorption of vital minerals, is also reduced. This helps our body get the benefit of vitality contained within them.

For those of you who don't like Almonds, you can make any kind of nut milk. This is also a nice change for those of you who like soy milk or rice milk.


Soak one cup of almonds in water over night. Rinse them the next day. In a blender add 2 - 3 cups filtered water and the almonds. Blend really well and strain. I always like adding a 1/2 tsp vanilla to the almond milk. This will last 3 days in your fridge.

You can also blend in a natural sweetener like coconut sugar or agave and add cinnamon or nutmeg or chocolate powder for a sweeter drink.

Health Benefits of Almond Milk

- Almond milk is rich in Vitamin E, a known antioxidant, and thus, is believed to good for those undergoing detoxification programs.

- Almond milk contains high levels of unsaturated fat and has been associated with lower risk of heart attack.

- Almond milk has been found to contain little to no saturated fat and no cholesterol, making it extremely good for those suffering from high cholesterol problem.

- Almond milk does not contain lactose. This makes it easily digestible and the perfect alternative for those suffering from lactose-intolerance.

- Owing to the absence of saturated fats and presence of unsaturated fats, almond milk can be said to be good for those trying to lose weight.

Nutritional Facts about Almond Milk

- Almond milk is rich in protein and omega fatty acids.

- Almonds milk does not contain cholesterol and saturated fats

- Almonds milk has high levels of vitamin E and unsaturated fats

- Almond milk contains minerals such as zinc, magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron.

- 8 oz (237ml) of almond milk contains 70 calories, 2gm protein, 10gm carbohydrates and 2.5 gm fat: 2.5g

- Almond milk has zero fiber.

All the best,


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How to make a Fruit Fly Trap

Last year I was watching a local cable show and they were talking about inexpensive household hints. One of the hints was how to make a fruit fly trap. It sounded simple enough, and better yet, it's cheap. You can purchase ready made traps, but I'd rather save the $11.00
I have been using this remedy ever since I saw it on TV last year. It does work. I love fruit, and I haven't had a problem...not one pesky fruit fly.

What you need:

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar
  2. A small mug or condiment bowl
  3. Dish detergent
Simply fill the bowl, 1/4 way with the apple cider vinegar and add 1 small drop of dish detergent. Place your bowl beside your fruit bowl or other food source that would attract the fruit flies. That is it. Done.
Here is an online article I've found and the only thing they do differently is they use plastic wrap and poke a few holes. For me, I have personally found this step to be unnecessary. The fruit flies are attracted to the aroma of the apple cider vinegar and the dish detergent makes it so they can't fly out.

All the best,