Thursday, October 29, 2009

Free Photo Booth

A little video to keep a smile on your face.
Say cheese... or whatever the free photo booth tells you to do.
Your choice.

{i'd listen to the photo booth... haha}

Julia Child and other Female Mentors

So a while back me and two of my lovely mom friends went to the movie “Julie and Julia”. I am sure you know of it... It is the story about two different women in different time periods trying to find themselves and who both turn to cooking to do so. The older women from the earlier period inadvertently becomes a mentor to the younger woman of modern day as both find, through their love for cooking, purpose in their lives. The movie is based on a book that I have yet to read, but the fun for me was I remember watching Julia Child’s cooking program as a kid...(we had very limited television programing up north where I grew up) I thought she was fascinating and like no other woman I knew, to be sure!
The movie itself was a delightful little number but I do know from a friend who read the book that Julie in the movie is not quite the same as Julie in the book....beyond that we all found it very funny, Meryl Streep was brilliant as Julia Child and the best thing was we went to an early movie and planned to have dinner after...WELL after watching a movie where...really, food was the STAR, our appetites we high and we were ready to sink our teeth into something a little more than pub food .... if you know what I mean. I highly recommend eating AFTER the movie.
Before I go one you have to check out Mrs. Julia Child herself...she TRULY is one of a kind...

Are you laughing?? Is it just me or is that lady funny???
She really just makes me smile....a lot!
So back to my lovely evening...we decided to go for dinner to a nice Italian Restaurant and had a nice meal and good conversation...we ended with an apple crisp cheese slice that we shared...yes that was Caramel Apple Cheese Cake...two favorites wrapped up into one...Delicious!(Believe me after that movie you WANT to eat...really yummy yummy food!)

So after the movie and after a email from a friend abroad, I got to thinking about women and their mentors. For myself, in my world I think mentoring has been lost somewhere in the modern technologies of our time. I mean right now I can google ANYTHING and find out about it. Now, don’t get me wrong...that is cool! But at what expense do these modern conveniences come at?
Stay with me for a moment, this is just meant to get you thinking, that is all.
I just finished reading the book Roots by Alex Haley. It is an amazing story about an African boy who was stolen from his village to be brought to America into a life of slavery. Alex Haley was this mans sixth generation grandson, who, after many years of research and writing published this book, Roots. A story about this African boy, his great-great-great-great-grandfather, Kunta Kinte. Because of the story telling tradition that Kunte Kinte learnt in his village and brought to his new life in America, Alex Haley was able to re-trace his grandfathers steps right back to the village he was stolen from. Not only that, when Mr. Haley arrived in that village...the village story teller was able to tell him everything that had happened before, during, and after Kunta’s kidnapping, because that story had been past from story teller to story teller in the village. I find that simply amazing and so powerful!!!!
I realize history story telling is different than mentoring but...maybe not as different as we think.
I think there needs to be more story telling amongst women...(well people in general...but the title of this post is Julia Child and other FEMALE I will stick to the female side of things.). There is SOME....but we need MORE. I once heard a woman say she hates to read biographies. It was in a book club I was a part of at the time, and the book we were to have read was, indeed, a biography suggested by....yup, yours truly. She felt that they, biographies, were a form of what made this woman so important that we should read about her life??? She did not read the book.
I was taken aback by her attitude...not because I had picked the book, but because my thoughts of biographies were so different. My thought was to learn about another’s life experiences and in this particular biography about a woman who over came childhood hardships to making something of herself. About a journey through an exciting career yet finding ones true self at the top of a mountain in the middle of another continent far from home. A story of a woman BRAVE enough to open her life, her mistakes, her triumphs,her falls, to us so that we may gather some wisdom from her story, and bring it into ours.
Everyones biography is interesting, everyone DOES have a story to tell...the thing is not everyone chooses to write about it and make it public. So I feel that woman, from my old book club, missed the POINT of the book. She missed the importance of sharing ones story with to speak.
(the book was "Lessons in Becoming Myself") by Ellen Burstyn)

Of course I am not saying run out and write your biography...unless you are truly moved to do so. I am just saying, share your story. Know that you are interesting. Someone will listen, learn and grow from what you have to offer. The scary thing about telling your story can be sharing the uglies...yup not so fun. You know those things we would rather forget along with that bad perm your mother gave you in grade know the one. It is a scarey thing to open yourself up to judgment of others, BUT we are not created with the spirit of fear...that comes from somewhere else, be it our ego, the dark side, the little devil on your shoulder...whatever you choose to call it, it stops you from sharing your wealth of life with others.
This mentoring does not have to happen from old to young, it can be young to old...both are equally as important, equally as effective.
What can I share with you from my life? Well, for a large part of my life I lived with a great desire to die. This started when I was a child..I wanted to die young because I knew through the bible stories I was told, that Jesus really loved kids, so I thought that if I died young I would be sure to be loved. And so this thought followed me for most of my life...some times stronger than others. But the thirties came and it was a big time of transformation for me. I experienced death, new life and true love all in a very short time. And through these events layers were pealed off of my heart; and yes it was a painful as it sounds, to reveal a love for life that I never knew I had.
Of course this is a “compressed” version of my journey...I guess you will just have to wait for
What I learned during these years was that our life is ours, and we can choose to live in the shadows or we can embrace the light of our dreams. We can choose to listen to the lys, or we can choose to see who God created us to be...Captivating, glorious, light-filled creatures entwined in a colourful exchange of love, life and relationship.
Are you still with me?
If you are, you rock! and I love you!

A woman
She sits alone
Words on her lips
Wait for ears to listen
Embraces to be made
Love to be exchanged
Words wait on lips
Ears are silent
A woman

by Catherine Basso

Peachy Pork Picante = BANGING

I was flipping through an old cook book my mom gave me when I got my first apartment a few years back, when I came across this recipe that immediately caught my eye. I was looking in the pork section (me likey pork! the other white meat!) for something easy that wouldn't require a lot of ingredients (thus saving me money). I decided the recipe for Peachy Pork Picante was easy enough and looked like it would produce enough left-overs to supply me lunch for work over the next few days. It also fits into my low-glycemic diet pretty well! And, yes, I did just start 3 sentences in a row with "I".

Here's the recipe:

  • 1 lb. boneless pork loin
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix (I ended up having to use more)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley minced (again, I used more)
  • 2 teaspoons veg. oil
  • 8 oz. chunky salsa
  • 1/4 cup peach preserves
--Ok, so you cut the pork loin into 1 inch cubes.
--combined the taco seasoning and parsley
--coat the pork cubes in the seasoning mixture by rolling em around in it. This is where the extra taco seasoning mix and parsley comes in (for me at least)
--brown the pork (bout 4-5 min) on medium-high heat
--add the salsa and peach preserves to the meat and let simmer

T'was so sooooo yummy!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Our Town and Country Show, Rangiora, New Zealand

Over here in New Zealand we are in our Labour Weekend so that means a day off this Monday and most schools have a teachers only day on Tuesday so it's a nice little break. Where I live we held our annual AMP show today.
I love it.
Nothing has changed since I was kid. This especially applies to the produce hall where old ladies enter their most fluffy sponge cakes, farmers their most (best?) hay bales, chicken owners their perfect yoke eggs, and kids can enter their most imaginative vegetable models.....that's a small run down of what you may find in there anyway.

This is not exactly the type of things I am "into" however I can appreciate the simplicity that it represents to me. Life back to the basics. "The good ol days" still peeking through our fast life and hyped up culture.

Also as the friend of a prize winning dairy farmer today, seeing the sense of accomplishment and pride in working off the land is somewhat humbling.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Black Bra

How about we all try this and report back???!!!!
Still laughing...happy weekend
love and light

The Black Bra (told by a woman)

I had lunch with 2 of my unmarried friends. One is engaged, one is
a mistress and I have been married for 20+ years.

We were chatting about our relationships and decided to amaze our men
by greeting them at the door wearing a black bra, stiletto heels and
a mask over our eyes.

We agreed to meet in a few days to exchange notes.

Here's how it all went.
My engaged friend:

The other night when my boyfriend came over he found me with a
black leather bodice, tall stilettos and a mask.

He saw me and said,'You are the woman of my dreams. I love
you.' Then we made passionate love all night long.

The mistress:

Me too! The other night I met my lover at his office and I was
wearing a raincoat, under it only the black bra, heels and mask over my
eyes.When I opened the raincoat he didn't say a word but he started to
tremble and we had wild sex all night.

Then I had to share my story:

When my husband came home I was wearing the black bra, black
stockings, stilettos and a mask over my eyes.

When he came in the door and saw me he said, 'What's for dinner, Batman?'

Making bubbles - Shaving Soap

Last weekend I attended a soap making workshop. It was a lot of fun. We used melt and pour soap for the craft. I will eventually learn the art of making soap from scratch, but for a beginner, this was a great starting point.

At the seminar, we learned a lot of creative ways to make soap. The possibilities are endless. You can make your soap as pretty or plain as you like. I liked the fact our melt and pour soap was vegetable based. It's glycerin based too so it's also very hydrating, not to mention it's not loaded with the amount of preservatives that traditional store bought soaps have. As I am on a quest to decrease the amount of preservatives I use in my life this is a good thing. Another nice thing is that you have control over what colorants and scents are added.

We often think of soaps for general cleaning or as a feminine least I'm guilty of that notion. However the instructor gave out a great idea for men. Shaving Soap. Nice!

There would be fewer preservatives and ingredients compared to shaving foam. It would also be a great gift idea for someone who is difficult to buy for. It's a simple item so regardless if you make it yourself or buy some, it would be a well thought out gift. It might also make the shaving ritual for men a little bit more fun. To get into the spirit of things, click here for a great video on how to use shaving soap. I like the idea so much, I'm even thinking about making one for my legs. Cheers!

All the best,


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why I Love Mom!

I got this email in my inbox about a week ago, and just read it today. Thought you ladies would enjoy it.


Mom and Dad were watching TV when Mom said, "I'm tired, and it's getting
late. I think I'll go to bed".

She went to the kitchen to make sandwiches for the next day's lunches.
Rinsed out the popcorn bowls, took meat out of the freezer for supper the
following evening, checked the cereal box levels, filled the sugar
container, put spoons and bowls on the table and started the coffee pot for
brewing the next morning. She then put some wet clothes in the dryer, put a
load of clothes in to the washer , ironed a shirt and secured a loose
button. She picked up the game pieces left on the table, put the phone back
on the charger and put the telephone book into the drawer.. She watered the
plants, emptied a wastebasket and hung up a towel to dry.

She yawned and stretched and headed for the bedroom. She stopped by the
desk, wrote a note to the teacher, counted out some cash for the field trip,
and pulled a text book out from hiding under the chair
She signed a birthday card for a friend, addressed and stamped the envelope
and wrote a quick note for the grocery store.. She put both near her purse.
Mom then washed her face with 3 in 1 cleanser, put on her Night solution &
age fighting moisturizer, brushed and flossed her teeth and filed her

Dad called out, "I thought you were going to bed."

"I'm on my way," she said

She put some water into the dog's dish then made sure the doors were locked
and the patio light was on.

She looked in on each of the kids and turned out their bedside lamps and
TV's , hung up a shirt, threw some dirty socks into the hamper, and had a
brief conversation with the one up still doing homework. In her own room,
she set the alarm; laid out clothing for the next day, straightened up the
shoe rack.. She added three things to her 6 most important things to do
list. She said her prayers, and visualized the accomplishment of her goals.
About that time, Dad turned off the TV and announced to no one in
particular. "I'm going to bed" And he did..without another thought.

Anything extraordinary here? Wonder why women live longer...?
Cause we are made for the long haul....(and we can't die sooner, we still
have things to do!!!!)

Peace on Earth-A Question for YOU!

I am an English as a Second Language teacher in Washington State. In my class, I have students from around the world. They come from different countries, religions, customs, traditions, and backgrounds. I feel so lucky to spend time with the world in my class. Somehow, when we come together each day, we are able to see beyond our differences. Our differences make us unique, but I have found, in my class, that we are more alike than you think. All of us strive to meet our basic human needs of food, water, shelter, safety, etc. Beyond that, most people feel love, peace, happiness, and care for the planet and the things on it are important. This morning I realized that 31 countries have visited my blog. Here they are in order of the number of visitors from each country:

USA, India, Australia, Canada, South Korea, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Germany, Netherlands, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Sweden, Austria, Turkey, Israel, Brazil, Italy, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Latvia, Estonia, Mongolia, Kiribati, Taiwan, Philippines, Kenya, Thailand, France, South Africa, Egypt, and Singapore.

Peace, in my mind, means living in harmony with each other and with this earth we live on. By achieving peace, we may have to go beyond boundaries of race, religion, politics, countries, etc.

How are YOU, as a citizen of this world, helping to achieve peace on earth?

This may seem like a very BIG question, but the answer may be quite simple. It may be as simple as how you choose to live on a daily basis.

I'd like to share some of your answers in a blog post. So please leave a comment at the end of this post. Don't be afraid to leave a comment. Your comment may be helpful to many people.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"True love is doing, not just feeling."
I saw this on a church marquee, but it fits.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What's Happening in Juneau

Up here in this woman's slice of the world, things are getting weird.
People are greatly resembling squirrels.

Given, there's no scavenging for nuts and running up trees, but there is a great deal of stockpiling and hiking, nestling and running around. And I've got to say, it's simultaneously the strangest thing I've ever seen and the most warming.

It's getting to be winter up here in Alaska, and unlike any other place I've ever lived, people are genuinely getting ready for it. Houses are being insulated. Car tires are being changed. Winter apparel is being bought or made or mended. Produce is being picked and preserved. Blankets are being made. Vitamin D is being stockpiled in huge quantities as the hours of sunshine diminish along with visits from tourists. On the days when it's sunny, people come out in droves to simply walk around in the sun. They bike. They hike. They kayak. And then they go home and put away their equipment because it might very well be the last time they get to use it for eight months. And me? As this is my first Alaskan winter, I'm standing in the middle of it all with my mouth hanging open. It's a sight to see for sure, but it's also so refreshing to watch people actually change with the seasons, working with nature instead of against it. When I lived in New Hampshire, Autumn meant bringing in the patio furniture from the deck and hanging some Indian corn on your door. Here it's a genuine time of preparation, hence the squirrel thing.

And I'm lovin' it.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

One should always stay in touch

With their inner child.

Mine is a bit of a misfit and delinquent. Halloween brings it out in me. I get this irresistible urge to prank people.

Hello, my name is Tressa, and I'm addicted to harmless pranking. There I've said it. There is no cure and I am about to fall off the wagon. We have a blue moon this month. It has to be a sign!!!

Here are a few of my favorites:

I just call this one RANSOM. We all know that person who has an unnatural affection for some common everyday item. It could be a remote control, a service bell, a door wreath. You must obtain that item and replace it with an appropriate ransom note. I like to actually cut out magazine letters and paste them on paper, but there are several ransom note generators on the internet that you can access for free. Be sure to ask for cookies or something you really covet like that green sweater. The real trick is to do all this unnoticed. It takes a bit of planning. Its best to make the swap during a family gathering. More people more better. You want to increase the suspect pool as much as possible. Be sure to leave the ransom note in the same place that the item was whether it was between the couch cushions or hanging on the door. Then wait.

Collect your goodies, return the item and expect to get busted....but hopefully you will have cookies so it won't matter.

Another favorite of mine is the GIFT WRAPPED CAR. It takes 2 people. This works best on older models with old fashioned grip handles but can be adjusted for other models. You will need soft rope, thick yarn or satin ribbon for this one. A lot of it....we are talking 10 yards or more depending on how thorough you want to be. Make sure its soft and the color won't run--you don't want to damage the paint job. You and your partner align on opposite sides of the car and basically wrap it up from under the car to over the car. Then I like to tie a pretty bow on top. I knot it so that my prankee gets the full idea. When the prankee tells you about this...laugh and pretend you didn't do it.

My sloppier sister once pulled this prank on my clean-freak sister: I just call it NEXT TO GODLINESS. It was Halloween and we were taking all our children out together. I was my sloppier sister's foil. We explained to our clean-freak sister that she wasn't feeling well, so of course the clean freak and I would be the ones who took her children with us while she rested. This gave sloppy sister a good 2 hours at neatniks house. Sloppy pulled a lot of small pranks....moving around knic knacks and personal items to make her go "hmmmmm", changing the way the cabinets were organized and that sort of thing but my favorite of all was when Sloppy soaped her windows from the inside out!!!! OMG it was 3 days before we told the neatnic that we'd done it..... The trick is...use mirror writing. It was beautiful.

Wow I can really feel my inner juvenile delinquent coming out! No I won't go crashing parties tonight! However if you ever want to, the trick is to hang out with your punch glass sipping until you catch the name of a popular person. Then go up to that person and tell them "Wow...OMG haven't seen you in freakin forever......" Trust me, the popular ones never want to give it away that they don't remember you and you are in.....
Happy Haunting!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I posted this on my Safe Space Coaching blog the other day and wanted to share with you all here.

Someone shared this with me recently. He was surprised I had never seen it before. It was so funny to me because it kind of describes my it was. I am practicing non-attachment and the non-accumulation of stuff! What he says is so true....see what you think.

Enjoy (and please pardon the rude bit at the end)....

i LIVE in a marriage obsessed culture*

So I loved this article on Modern Love that the NY Times ran.

It is an inspiration in a divorce epidemic.

Defiantly worth re posting here.

♥ Single Girl

* It's not totally a bad thing. It does lead for unrealistic expectations

A Canadian Thanksgiving...

Sometimes it is easy to take your way of life for granted and not realize that the whole world does not do as you do. This is what I have been more and more aware of as I get to know you lovely women around the world.....things like not everyone eats pumpkin pie! Thanks for the piece of info Widgey!!!

So for those interested, I compiled a weekend visit for you to enjoy at your leisure. Of course this is just one view of a Canadian Thanksgiving, but it gives you an idea of what goes on in West Coast Canada.
click on Canadian Thanksgiving and enjoy your visit......
And a special thanks to Carly who put this site together!!!

Got Migraine?

Studies say that about 30million Americans suffer from migraine, majority of which are females. Are you one of the many women who suffer from migraine? If you are, then this short writing is for you.

Migraine is one of the most misdiagnosed, mistreated and least understood diseases. I have not met one single doctor who was able to prescribe me with the right drug and give tips I could do to lessen its [migraine] occurrences. I remember seeing a couple of doctors in the past and neither of them believed that someone as young as I could suffer from migraine (I was 10 when I had my first episode of migraine. It was my father who diagnosed me). The doctors that I saw then did nothing but dismiss it as a “really bad headache.” I was simply told to pop mefenamic acid to alleviate the pain. When I hit my twenties, the only two doctors who really understood what I go through every once in a while were my dermatologists. One of the two aged ladies was generous enough to give me two Aleve pills for free every time I visited her. It [Aleve] didn’t rid me off of the pain completely, but I found it to be the most effective pill for my migraine. Advil and Tylenol were no help at all. Then again, you surely don’t want to be forever dependent on drugs, do you?

Now before I give you tips on how to cope with migraine, let me first ask you this question. Are you even sure it’s migraine, not just a simple headache, you’re suffering from? How can you tell if you are suffering from migraine?

  1. Your headache is generally concentrated on one side of the brain.
  2. Your headache is accompanied by aura (strange flashing lights).
  3. The pain is pulsating or throbbing (or something that can be likened to drilling a hole in your head).
  4. Your headache is accompanied by nausea or vomiting.
  5. Your headache makes you sensitive to light.
  6. Your headache makes you sensitive to sound.
  7. Your headache is made worse by physical activity.
  8. Your headache sometimes comes prior to your period.
  9. Your headache interferes with work or daily activities.
  10. Your headache requires bed rest.

I’m not telling you to be your own doctor and self-diagnose; my only goal is to enlighten you on some of the symptoms of migraine to help you understand those strange and utterly severe headaches you may be getting every now and then.

Pills are not the only way to go about when coping with migraine. Read on for some tips that you could do to help you deal with yours.

Tips for migraine sufferers:

  1. If you think you’re suffering from migraine, see a doctor. Nothing could be better than seeing a doctor who can help you manage your migraine. After all, only an expert knows how to deal with neurological issues.

  1. If you live in a country where the sun always makes its presence felt, always have your sunglasses, umbrella and/or cap/hat handy. An umbrella, unlike sunglasses and hats, may not be the most fashionable accessory to prevent episodes of migraine, but it is one of the most effective gears (esp. those umbrellas with heat insulators) you could carry with you on a hot summer day.

  1. Identify what triggers your migraine whether it be stress, certain foods, weather changes, hunger, lack of sleep, etc. Once you’ve identified the triggers, avoid them. Why risk it? If you know that salt and MSG give you migraine (they’re two of the most common culprits), then why eat foods loaded with salt and MSG? (Sorry to disappoint you ladies, but even sugary snacks can cause migraines)

  1. Keep a regular sleep pattern. What could be a more effective cure than a good night’s rest? Just make sure you don’t oversleep. Even oversleeping can give you migraine just as well.

  1. Eat regularly. If skipping meals gives you migraines, then keep a regular eating pattern.

  1. Exercise. Keep your body and mind healthy by exercising daily. A 20minute walk around the park is enough exercise if you’re one busy bee. You can also walk your dog every morning or try taking the stairs instead of the elevator if you’re headed towards the second or third floor (this is specifically applicable if you’re running late for work and if the elevator at your building often takes ages to go up and down).

  1. Drink plenty of water. Water does so much for our bodies than you think.

  1. Learn to manage your stress. Stress is part of daily life. Either you live with it and learn to deal with it or simply, let it kill you.

  1. Drink unsweetened apple juice. I can’t really explain what it is in apples that helps in relieving any migraine sufferer from the pain it brings, but unsweetened apple juice works considerably okay as a pain reliever (take note: pain reliever, not pain killer). (this particular tip is credited to my spiritual grandmother from Springfield, Missouri)

  1. Wear protective/anti-glare glasses. I can’t stress enough the importance of shielding your eyes from harmful rays or glares. All I know is, computers emit some sort of glare and radiation that could possibly be what’s causing your migraine.

*Disclaimer: I am in no way an expert on migraine nor am I a doctor of some sort. All that is written in here are based on personal experience and/or taken from people who have been generous enough to help me deal with migraine by giving tips that work.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Autumn Blessings

Enjoy a moments escape from your busy day.....

What's in a name?

There was a time when nicknames were predominantly stylish or a testament to awe: Joltin' Joe DiMaggio, Broadway Joe Namath, Air Jordan, Wilt the Stilt. Elvis Presley was the King of Rock and Roll. Frank Sinatra and his crew were the Rat Pack. Growing up, we had a friend and her Dad's nickname was Sharky Easy. I thought it the coolest nickname on earth, and how awesome that we, the kids, could call him that too.

My husband has a great nickname from college and one night over many refreshing beverages, my friends heard it. They didn't know it was meant to be reserved to a certain band of brothers so they started referring to him as JohnnyMac. I did too, and before long, my entire family and my friends followed suit. Only months and months later did he let me know, the name was more of a reference point to a certain era of his coming of age. Well, not any more. I told him I can't wait until our son and his friends can call him Johnny Mac. My own in-house version of Sharky Easy.

When you are a kid in elementary school, nicknames are rarely beneficial to your social status. While I was on the front end of peer pressure, I still had my turn. In junior high school, a sassy rascal pants-ed me. This was an unhip version of snapping bra straps (I had no bra straps! dammit!) So I got the nickname Peach Fuzz. In 7th grade, puberty was a long train ride away for me. This was the drawback and benefit of living in an era where all the dairy and meat products were not laced with steroids and antibiotics...girls grew at a normal pace. In 9th grade, a wretchedly sassy troublemaker donned me Flatty McPatty. Again, no bra straps!!!! And who knew I wouldn't grow out of it until high school, literally.

Once that lazy and late visitor puberty finally made me grow upward and outward I was free! Only to find out that creepy Teddy Ruxpin (his nickname because his name was very close and well, he was tiny) would don me with a new nickname that was even worse. I remember my step-dad telling me this pearl of wisdom: Don't react to it. Are you kidding me? I remember thinking....ummmm, I am a teenage girl. Control emotions? You might as well have asked me to wear a prom dress made of scrambled eggs.

A friend once asked if he could set up my roommate with his friend "Porkchop." Ummmm. No. Why the curt response? We were 31 at the time. Do you want to be called Porkchop at 31?

Of course, all of my close girlfriends had nicknames in high school that were more hypocoristic than destructive. Ditto that for girlfriends from college. It is challenging for me now NOT to call my girlfriends those names: TazBudPoo, FernBernWern, NatSprat, Tigger (who was also Snortin Norton), Action Jackson, Bell from Hell, Muppet, Jodio, MarciaGarcia, ShaNaNa.

I am certain this induction into the fun of nicknaming honed my creative skills and I have coined a few nicknames myself over time. And since the universe is fair, I think I have earned the chance to give a few out.

Believe me, none as socially demoralizing as Peach Fuzz. My intent is descriptive rather than malicious. I will admit, I ran with a wickedly clever crew in law school and in the middle of learning about Criminal Procedure and the elements of Tort Law, we spent inordinate time were the absolute worst about nicknaming. I think back and it was a long, long list: RedLegs, Gargamel, The Porpoise, Frosty, Wrinkle, DomPerignon...ahhh, the mere recall transports me back in time.

Once, at my best friend's house, we were discussing her pregnancy and potential name choices. She and her husband were not in agreement. She suggested Hub tell me his selections which I immediately deconstructed by demonstrating the many (and awful) nicknames we could create from said names. His wife, my friend, laughed and said, "SEE! I told you we can not name our baby ___, ____, or _____."

When we found out we were pregnant, as we discussed names, you know I put my brain in overdrive to test and retest the potentially ill-fated nickname our yet to be named baby might suffer. I worked those names from every angle and since the baby's sex would be a surprise, we landed on two very solid names. One for a boy, one for a girl. I think it is every parent's duty to consider the nickname potential. Fun nicknames are one thing. Porkchop is another. And PeachFuzz, well, thats just mean.

The day may come, when my son has a nickname. I hope its a good one. The day may also come where he dishes out nicknames to his friends, or worse, us. Maybe it will only be Johnny and JennyMac.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bring an Open Mind: An Evening of Song and Dance in Honor of the Kiribati People

Last weekend, I was invited to an interesting event in Seattle on the waterfront by my friend. She invited us to a botaki. I had no idea what that was. She explained that is was an event where we would celebrate with song and dance of the Kiribati (pronounced kiri-bas) people. The Kiribati islands are located in the South Pacific along the equator. My friend's mother and stepfather sail there often. They spend most of their time living on their sailboat or with the Kiribati people in their village. This is very rare. According to my friend, there are very few people who know the Kiribati people intimately. They don't allow many outsides into their culture. Julie and Tom spent so much time in the Kiribati islands, that they were adopted by several families on the islands. The elders of the islands are dying and so are their traditions. Julie and Tom have been recording the traditions of these people and have been preserving their song and dance. It is beautiful, to me, to see all the love they have for such a far-off land and such a different tradition. They have sacrificed their own comforts to live with these people and to learn from them. All the discomforts they have encountered are unnoticeable. In the botaki, Julie and Tom displayed a tremendous joy. They danced and sang and there was an enormous amount of food for everyone.

We could not help but feel uplifted up by this event. People from Asia, Africa, America, South America and other countries all came together to experience this intimate evening of celebration in a private home in West Seattle overlooking Puget Sound. The full moon was quite appropriate and seemed to symbolize how I felt that evening.....I felt full of all that is good.

When I was invited to the event, I wasn't sure what to expect. It was something I didn't quite understand. At the same time, I was curious and it sounded fun. I asked my friend what I should bring and she said, "Bring an open mind." So that's what I did. Here's the information we received from Julie before the botaki:


We are very excited that you will be joining us on Saturday for our celebration of unity with the Kiribati Elders and people. The theme for our botaki is E Naaka O.

E Naaka O refers to departure from the known, from routine, from the old, the seen, the everyday, from all you know and impart to others. E Naaka O---it is the wisdom of the Soft Wind blowing, cleansing, purifying, renewing, testing, changing, transforming.

The Elders say we live in the time of the dark moon, but that amid the encroaching darkness there is a tender blossoming that occurs, like the rare Pandanus bloom, the sacred Mataboro— the young, innocent flower that holds its love and promise for us all. It can be seen, felt, and heard in the stillness of your loving heart. It is an opening of great beauty, and the moment is now. (A picture of my husband, Seong Yoon, receiving a fern crown from a dancer)

We will celebrate E Naaka O with the traditional Kiribati dance, called the mwaie. This ancient dance comes from the ancestors of the Kiribati people. The mwaie is sacred and multi-dimensional. It is much more than what you see--an energetic dance in colorful costume. It is a sacred vehicle for journeying into the Beyond, a language that draws Spirit near, and a magic that draws people into unity, strength and happiness.

The dancers have been preparing themselves for many weeks for this day of merging and rising with Spirit. When Spirit comes, it can be very strong. Sometimes, the dancers cry, tremble, shake or scream. This is not nerves. It is the power of the flow passing through. It is different for each dancer, and different every time.

When this happens, you, too, may feel something. This is normal and good. The energies of the mwaie are very healing and uplifting. Take them in. They only bring goodness.

Below is a video of botaki that evening:

PBS Now had this to say about the danger the Kiribati people face:

Week of 12.12.08

Paradise Lost

Just this week, a top UN official predicted that by the middle of this century, the world should expect six million people a year to be displaced by increasingly severe storms and floods caused by climate change. But for many island nations in the South Pacific, climate change is already more than just a theory—it is a pressing, menacing reality. These small, low-lying islands are frighteningly vulnerable to rising temperatures and sea levels that could cause flooding and contaminate their fresh water wells. Within 50 years, some of them could be under water. This week, NOW travels to the nation of Kiribati to see up close how these changes affect residents' daily lives and how they are dealing with the reality that both their land and culture could disappear from the Earth. We also travel to New Zealand to visit an I-Kiribati community that has already left its home, and to the Pacific Island Forum in Niue to see how the rest of the region is coping with the here-and-now crisis of climate change.

According to Julie, my friend's mother, The Kiribati are already dealing with contaminated water. Tom and Julie are trying to bring a water purifying system to the islands, but it is expensive. During the last Tsunami that hit Samoa, the Kiribati were prepared to die. According to my friend, they all gathered in the center part of the village to wait for their death, but when it didn't happen, they just carried on as usual. More horrors of global warming can be expected to hit this part of the world, but the people, who have lived the same way for thousands of years, do not appear to be in fear of this. How sad it is that a people who have only sought to live in harmony with nature are the very ones that will most likely be destroyed by it due to the modern world that continues to pollute it. It seems a bit unfair, in my mind, but these people continue to dance and sing and live in harmony with what remains.

Canadian Thanksgiving

I'm from Canada and our Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching...October 12th! Though it's officially on a Monday, most of us will call it Thanksgiving Weekend. The Americans celebrate their Thanksgiving in November.

I personally love this time of year. We get together with friends and family over a big dinner (usually turkey) and have a good time. The Autumn leaves have turned color and the fireplaces are up and ready. It's also a time of reflection on what you are thankful for...thus the name Thanksgiving.

It's an old holiday here in North America and it got me there a similar holiday throughout the world? One where thanks is given? I would love to hear about it.

I myself am very thankful for my husband, daughter, family and friends (new and old). They are a comfort and joy. Whatever you are doing this weekend, I hope it's a great one.


This is pretty cool!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

the "Get Naked" Challenge

Are you up for the Challenge?
How exposed are you willing to be?
Click on "Get Naked"  and find out what you are really made of!
("the challenge" is found under "sorry we are having.....)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Are you ready for some football?!?!

I live in South Bend, Indiana. Most people have no idea where that is until I say the magic words NOTRE DAME. Notre Dame is actually a town unto itself these days, but originally its address was South Bend. We also have Holy Cross, St. Mary's, and Bethel College as well as Brown Mackie, Ivy Tech and IUSB. Some would call us a college town and that would be true, but Notre Dame is more than a university, its an American institution which makes us a tourist town. Notre Dame provides the largest employment base in the area and is supplemented by conference halls and numerous hotels providing lodging for Notre Dame related events. I work at the best hotel (yep I said that), Holiday Inn located in the City Center Building....that's us....the tallest building (and the best views) in the area.

Notre Dame students provide volunteerism for our social programs as well. You can find these earnest students contributing to our city in numerous ways from reading to inner city children to helping to build Habitat for Humanity homes. These students are at every food drive and every walkathon in our financially strapped community. They are helping us to rebuild after the disasterous turn the Nation's economy took a few years back. They are good people. I'm proud that we, as a community, have something to do with these incredible young men and women.

I meet the students often. They often come to stay at our hotel during thier college interviews and of course for games and to visit their visiting parents. Good kids.

So this would be enough to make our community grateful, but Notre Dame also provides Notre Dame sports....the most famous of which is FOOTBALL!!!! We love football around here. Blue and Gold are our colors followed closely by green. We are the FIGHTING IRISH.

If we can't go to the games, every bar and major restaurant in town, even the local Burger King, has them on big screen for us. We call out to the players by first name as if we know them personally. Jimmy is our first born son right now. He can do no wrong or no right depending on who you talk to. Tailgating is a verb. If we can't tailgate for real, we have tailgate parties. My neighbors BBQ in 30 degree weather and watch the game from a big screen TV in the Garage while having a freezing party outside in the driveway. Being cold is part of the experience. If the players are cold....then we want to be too.

My 16 year old son puts up signs on our front door during the biggest games of the year. NO MICHIGAN FANS ALLOWED. USC FANS ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK. He means it. He has a squirt gun. A big one and he's not shy about using it. He will be your friend every day but game day. On game day YOU are the ENEMY. You must be soaked.

We live and breathe Notre Dame football. We love them and hate them and yell at the players like they are our own misbehaving children when they don't play the way we want. We also shed tears for them for every disappointment and every incredible win.

I don't even understand all the rules and I've won on two football pools this year. The only rule I need to understand is WE ARE NOTRE DAME.

GO IRISH!!! Beat USC! (sorry USC...this year we really want it!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pumpkin Protest

Ok I intend NO OFFENCE in this post but seriously, what is going on over in the Northern Hemisphere that requires everyone dedicating their blog posts to pumpkins???? I realise Halloween is coming up but I thought it was at the end of October? In our family we choose not to celebrate it. Ultimately because Gooseman and I agree that is not part of our culture over here in NZ and the "trend" to bring it in over here seems pointless and more insane reason for over the top commercialism. I see the whole fun aspect it can appeal. Dressing up is always fun and trick and treating SOUNDS fun in theory (until the nutters of this world wreck it for all) but it brings me to thinking how different us New Zealanders really are over here. We don't tend to grab hold of the hype that other countries do.

So recently I've come across a whole array of pumpkin delights from pies, dips, pumpkin softies, home decorations, even pumpkin lattes! I can't even get my kids to eat a bit of roast pumpkin in this house.

Since becoming a parent I dread this time of year coming up because my kids are accustomed to so many American TV shows they see halloween as something fun that we are making them miss out on. Every year the moaning has increased and the questions of why we don't go out trick and treating is asked. Local community groups offer discos or alternative halloween parties to attend which I guess are a much safer way to celebrate but it all boils down to the fact that it means absolutely nothing to us as a nation. We aren't even in the right season and I don't know anyone in this country who eats pumpkin as a dessert. (Chippie sandwiches *snort*).

So it's got me thinking.......
what could NZ do to bombard the world with our way of life? Do you support halloween, and what do you do with your family?

The Time it Takes to Give a Bath

The Timeline:
6:30pm Grab four mismatched towels and washcloths out of the dryer and prepare for the flood that the rainbow was supposed to do away with forever. Collect an armload of blanket sleepers and lay it all out on your unmade bed.
6:45pm Head down to the kitchen to pour yourself a glass of white wine, grab a handfull of pretzels from the open bag in the pantry, and find a chair to stand on to obtain a hidden candy bar from one of many secret stashes. Baby Ruth... yeah baby!
7:00pm Gather subjects and herd towards the bathroom. Undress one and realize you must now address a poopy diaper. Collect hands and redirect all to the changing table. Use 229 wipes and clog the Diaper Genie. Head back to the bathroom and proceed to undress the remaining bathers.
7:15pm Begin filling tub with warm water and add a squirt of Burt's Bees Baby Wash. Perform quality assurance temperature test with your naked elbow wearing a tank top without a bra and a pair of sweatpant shorts from Victoria's Secret. Observe three bare bottomed toddlers laughing, squealing, and circling the perimeter of the bathroom like caged animals do at the zoo.
7:30pm Notice the three year old instruct the two year old how to push down and open the child proof cabinet locks and watch a bucket of bath toys spill out all over the floor. You sip your wine, while they hurl the toys into the tub and grunt for you to put them in. One. Two. Three. They are all smiles as you realize your energy reserves are drawing low.
7:45pm You sit on the floor amazed that the splashing generated by this trio can hit both the ceiling AND the mirror across the room. You wonder the damage they could do if they had super soaker squirt guns. You unwrap your Baby Ruth and prepare to restore your stamina and energy level.
7:50pm The little dog you and hubby bought in a moment of insanity wanders into the bathroom knowing full well he is out of the grasp of the terrorists. You see there is peanut butter and bits of cracker stuck to his back and neck. You reach down, and plop the furball into the tub, to the delight of the existing bathers. A dab of Burt's Bees Baby Wash and you clean a canine in under thirty seconds. Pit stop successful. You lift him out, briefly towel dry him and he scurries away.
8:00pm After proudly considering how efficient you are at managing this racket, you move to the edge of the tub, grab the oversized plastic cup from the movie theater and begin to wash hair. At salon de mom, they help you sing the Barney song Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah if all the raindrops were lemondrop and gumdrops...while you lather and rinse. One. Two. Three.
8:15pm Run a washcloth over their backs and under their arms and decide to let them play for one more minute.
8:16pm Sigh... and know that in less than a half hour, you will be able to shower for the first time in two days as your dreamy fantasy abruptly ends. The three year old loudly informs you that there is poo poo in the tubby. And sure enough floating in the water amidst the three little bodies and 40 plus toys is something that looks alot like the candy bar you just ate. You spring into action pulling one, two, three soaking wet little ones out onto dry land, as you scan the surface to isolate the dreaded brown submarine.
8:20pm You detain the brown submarine in the movie theater cup, that you now know will end up in the trash. You leave it all for later, pulling the plug on the drain then drying off your three shivering chickadees.
8:30pm You beatbox while informing the happy go lucky's that it is officially, "jammer time". They dance as you perform a toddler bedtime rap and put on diapers and jammies
8:40pm Obtain binkies and blankies, thank God for the opportunity to go grey at such a young age and for the three amazing little people that think you are a rock star, sing another song that's part of the bedtime routine and tuck them in, after covering their precious faces with kisses.
8:50pm Break out the Lysol wipes and begin to disinfect all the bath toys, the bathtub, and throw the cup of poo poo in the trash receptacle outside.
9:15pm Wipe down the walls, mirror, and floors and place all the wet towels into the washing machine.
9:30pm Realize that your shower is going to be delayed once again as a result of sheer exhaustion. Remind hubby to wake you up early to de-stink yourself. Don't bother to change out of your wet clothes, just collapse face down on the bed...all from the time it takes to give a bath.

Shelf Life of Makeup

So I posted this on my blog and I had no idea that some make-up things do not have that long of a shelf life!
Who knew! Why did no one tell me???
I am so new to all the make-up stuff that this pretty much shocked me!
Did you know mascara needs to be thrown away after only 3 months??
Me? Nope. Didn't know that!
So if you are like me, a newbie at the whole make-up thing, keep yourself informed!
This is a good little article online about it.
Although you would think I would link expiration dates with what happened to me about a year ago. I got pink eye and I am pretty sure it was because of my eyeliner I was using.
Didn't know that to "clean it" you were supposed to roll it over some tissue from time to time then use it. Know where I got that little tidbit of info? The doctor I went to see to treat the pink eye! (Which sucks soo bad! Hope to never get pink eye again! *knock on wood*)
Also, did you know that make-up companies aren't required by the FDA to include expiration dates? Hmmm... should we be worried about this? I mean, everyone goes crazy about food and their expiration dates because it is what we put in our mouths and stomachs. But, should we be a bit more worried with make-up?
rainbow eyeshadow eye shadow ben nye and mac c...Image by dreamglow via Flickr

I mean, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara is going onto our eyes which are sooo susceptible to
many infections and putting stuff day in and day out that might not have an expiration date on it, how are we supposed to know it is safe?
What if we go to the store, buy the "on sale" beauty product, but it's on sale because it's been there for so long? Would you feel "safer" and better about buying it if it were dated and had an expiration date on it?
I think I would!

And speaking of make-up: can anyone recommend a good primer that doesn't go over $15??? I hate the creases I get when I wear eyeshadow and need to get a primer ASAP. If you can recommend one you really like, that won't break my wallet, I would gladly appreciate it.
Thanks for reading!

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The Results: Homemade Toothpaste & Mouthwash

About a month ago, I decided to test out two recipes for homemade toothpaste and mouthwash. The recipes were very simple and could be made within minutes for just pennies. So I put them to the test. I have to be honest with you, I had my doubts on how effective these remedies would be. Let's face it, these are items that are instinctively purchased regardless if it's at the grocery or health food store.

Before I go any are the recipes:


The ingredients are Baking Soda, Coconut oil, Stevia and Peppermint oil.

1. Coconut oil: 3 Tablespoons
2. Baking Soda: 4 Tablespoons
3. Peppermint Oil: 20-25 drops
4. Stevia: 3 to 6 packets (I used 6)

Mix until blended and store in a container with a closed lid. You could also substitute the peppermint oil with Cinnamon oil, but I recommend adding a few drops at a time until you get the right flavor - it's strong.


1. 500 ml Distilled water
2. 15 drops Tea Tree Oil
3. 15 drops Peppermint Oil

Shake in a glass bottle before each use.
I used both the toothpaste and mouthwash twice a day along with dental floss (sorry, not going to cheap out on that item). The toothpaste took a little getting used to, as it doesn't foam. It also doesn't taste like traditional toothpaste. Once I got over that, I have to say that I really liked how it performed. My teeth are really clean. Now that it's been over a month, I have also noticed that my tooth sensitivity has almost completely gone away. My teeth are so sensitive, that I have had treatments at the Dentist for this problem along with religiously using a toothpaste designed for it does make you wonder how this simple remedy can work so well.
The mouthwash is surprisingly strong and it works amazingly well. Only a little is needed. For pennies, it does the job just as well as the store brands.
Overall, I really like the results of both the toothpaste and mouthwash. As stated earlier, my tooth sensitivity has almost gone away so that is an added bonus. For now, I will continue to use these remedies.

For anyone interested in trying these remedies out, I encourage you to do so. It's not expensive to make, so it's worth a try. My experience was a positive one, so for that I'm happy.

All the best,


I have a Dream...

'Inspire & Dream'
mixed media 
by sweetmango

I have a Dream...
by sweetmango.

As I write this, I am sitting at my large desk in the corner of the room that is used to create my art, paintings in both acrylic and oil, mixed media, photography, in fact anything that I can lay my hands on.  Except, aside from the small space that I have cleared for my laptop and an even smaller space for my coffee, there is no space on this desk.  This desk over the past few weeks has become the dumping ground for 'things' as I have made my way through the house organising, sorting, and generally re-designing my life through my surroundings.
I sit here, full of hope, new paths laid out before me, I am surrounded by choices and I continue to make what appears to be the right choice each and every time I see a crossroads before me.  This desk is right at this moment complete and utter chaos, yet every other room in the house is clean, re-designed, organised and it feels like the future I see before me, so I have in essence begun to create in the present moment the dream of my future.  This desk though, represents the part of me that can overwhelm some people, it overwhelms me too, but not for long and not very often, but sometimes, everything piles upon my shoulders and weighs me down in the most crippling of ways. Fear.
As of February this year I became a single mum of 3 kids.  I have a son, who on Halloween, will turn 8, he is one special kid, raising him is like raising the likes of the Dalai Lama, no really, that is what it feels like sometimes.  He is so wise and compassionate that sometimes I have no words.  Like the time when he was around 3 and I was getting into the car with him, I put my bag in and turned to him and told him to jump in the car... he stood there transfixed, deep within himself a million miles away from me.  The late summer sun shone brightly upon us and I once again a little louder asked him to jump in the car, slowly he turned his head as though he was moving through molasses.  His eyes came to rest upon me and he asked me, " Mama, do you think that God gave us a shadow so that we could see the reflection of our soul and know that we are never really alone?" So, yeah, like I said, sometimes raising my eldest son is a gift beyond words.  The next two, a red haired girl with hazel/brown/green eyes and olive skin and blond haired boy with the bluest pair of eyes you ever saw are unlikely yet perfectly suited twins.  Yes twins! So many people have said to me, "I just dont know how you do it, raise twins?" to which I always reply, with a laugh, "Well it is not like I can say that it is too tough a job for me and hand one of them back is it??!!  You do what you have to do, and when you finish doing that you begin the next job, that is how you raise twins".  I must be doing ok because they will turn 5 a week before Christmas.
Now, I digress, what I was trying to point out is this....I AM TIRED. really really tired.  I am worn out after 7 and a bit months of doing this solo, which I must point out was my choice, I was the one that ended the relationship.  I honestly feel like Cinderella, I dont stop, last night I was ironing at midnight and I had been doing it for over 2 hours!!  When did my life become this? This is not part of my grand plan, my new direction. Sigh.  But, you know what? Right now, right at this very moment it is what it is, it is part of my journey.  Yes I am overwhelmed, yes I am swamped but right now I am doing the best that I can.   Let me say it again for all of you who are feeling the same way WE ARE DOING THE BEST WE CAN.
So there
My house reflects my current situation, 90% is going with the flow, handling it and looking good on the inside and the outside, but 10% is a mess, 10% is so overwhelmed with everything that some mornings, some nights it is too much to contemplate.  But I have figured something out...I just need to tackle it all one thing at a time. Now I know this sounds obvious but sometimes we need to be reminded of these simple reciepes for creating a better life.
One thing at a time.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the whole picture that we are left reeling with no idea how to reach our goals, so the answer is to break it down sisters, break it down. Choose one big-ish job each day and take it on, do not look up and do not focus on anything else just this one task assigned for the day.
Today my task is this desk, and I am rewarding myself when I accomplish this task because this last area has been haunting me, teasing me, because you see, the thing is that so much of my future relies upon this desk, in fact everything i want relies upoon this desk. Next week I begin full time studies in Interior Design and Decor specialising in Advanced Design.  It is my dream, it is my future and it assures the future of my children.  My dreams revolve around this desk.  I think that is why this last area has become such an issue, deep down I am scared.
What am I scared of? Failing? The responsibility of this whole endevour? Not being able to find the time to fullfill my roles as student, mother, lover and the role of being me, Mango?
Yes I am scared of all of those things, but what scares me the most is being successful... true. I am scared of succeeding of doing it all and more and being even bigger and better than I am now. Why, you ask? Because I have become accustomed to living on next to nothing, of stuggle, of finding happiness when there is no money, finding happiness when there is no food, finding happiness when there would appear to be nothing .... I am scared of having it all.
See, even I laugh when I write that, I really do. What a crazy thing to be scared of, but crazy or not, it is a truth.  So now it is out there, it is not so bad as it feels inside of me all alone, now I have shared it with all of you it is far less a potent force upon my sub-concious and I am now able to face it and challenge its ridiculous notions.  Because that fear is like my messy crazy desk, it is only 10% of my thoughts, 10% of who I am, and it is a minority, so I am having a coup, i am overthrowing the dictator of my mind that says I am not worthy of success.  I elect to have my thinking done by the 90% of my brain that knows I am more than capable of the job description that is my current life and future dreams.
As for the desk, well after I finish writing this and drink the last of my coffee, I will do the dishes, put on a load of washing then complete the re-designing of my desk, everything will have its place and it will remain there, because over the last few years I became confused as to who I was, but now, now I know who I am, I have a strong idea of who I want to be and who I am becoming and now that the 10% minority dictator has been disposed it is time for celebration.  A celebration of the soul, of life and of being 100% authentically me.
oh and in case you are wondering, my reward that I am giving myself the minute this desk is completed?
A dress and a skirt, yes *insert smile* a dress and a skirt that I love, two pieces of clothing that are me.  That is my reward because we all need to reward ourselves for the big milestones dont we? and what better way to reward ourselves than with things that makes us feel on the outside the way we feel on the inside...I feel free, I feel flowing and I feel feminine!
How is your desk looking?


Always view the world with Love and Compassion.