Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: November 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Whip It! A review

okay, so I haven't done a movie review in a long time. And it's actually been a few weeks since I saw Whip It!, Drew Barrymore's new vehicle; but it's great fun. Women in roller skates, beating up other women on skates, a young woman's empowered response to rejection and her ultimate victor. Sounds like a feel-good movie yes? It's great fun. I enjoyed every candied minute of it. Located in Austin, Texas, the gritty locale reminded me of my small town VFW Hall. And the banal, dead-end small town could have been my own hometown. All of us want to have something that we're good at. Growing up in a small town, it's never easy to find that thing that will inspire you and even break you out of what would generally be an assumed life: marriage, kids, blue-collar job, etc. This story is a fable of a young girl finding her 'thing', experiencing her first love, and finding her own voice--in the face of lost love. A dad's support is thrown in for good measure--just to make it a true fairy tale. Smile.

While I'm doing reviews--check out Modern Family--my newest favorite show. The best 30 minutes since The Big Bang Theory--at least since the days of my own big bangs...ha! I laugh the entire 30 minutes. Meanwhile I'm reading a great book, There's a place for you, about a woman's first trip to India and her discovery of herself and her mother's childhood in Calcutta.

You've got to love entertainment. Oh and I have video skype that works now...yeah! So I get to see friends, not just talk to them. . . . better than entertainment!

Closer and Closer

I've been assigned something fairly unique this year at work. Along with my usual editing, marketing and fundraising assignments, I've been asked to write a book--a book about the women's teachings. It's been a great challenge; and it's allowed me to see myself in an entirely new way. Don't get me wrong, I've always considered myself a writer, that is, poet, songwriter, short essay and opinion. But to string together arguments and themes across multiple chapters and more than 40,000 words is entirely new territory.

I still wish I had the capacity for fiction,which I find to be the most sublime and moving art in the world. Plot, character development, denoument, all those elements that really bring story together--that I would still need to learn. But this nonfiction summary of the Teachings of Yogi Bhajan for women, along with my own personal experience with them, has been a great exercise and challnged me in ways I never imagined.

I'm very close to completing the final first draft. Along with this new book project, I'll also be the primary contributor to a new blog to support the I AM A WOMAN project I edited this past year, which should launch in December. I'm also completing my new sadana album, Beautiful Day, very soon; and hope to have the new CD available for Winter Solstice. To be so close to completing two projects and beginning another is exciting. For someone who considers herself a bit of a couch potato, I've got a lot going on!

Wish me luck! And keep a look out for my CD, Beautiful Day, exclusively available from KRI ( and word of my book should be available in the spring. Also look for the launch of the new blog as well. I'll provide a link here when it's up and running.

May you find yourself approaching a long-awaited goal
May you challenge yourself in new ways
and may the fruits of your labor
bring you excitement--and joy
and may we all experience
the infinite nature of our creativity
and capacity.
May you be happy
May we all know a happiness
that only comes from a job well done....

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Eating Season

We're entering the 'eating season' and it's bringing up issues that I've struggled with my entire life, it seems. I recently went on an intense food protocol and lost 15 pounds, which is a good start; but I've got a long way to go. And today, at 41, it's more about not returning to that cycle of boom and bust, emotional eating and deprivation dieting. I'm done. But part of being truly done is recognizing why I eat the way I eat--and how those patterns came to be--so that I can change them. But another part of it is imply deciding. It's almost exactly the same sensation I had when my teacher challenged me about being vegetarian, she said simply, "it's just a decision." But it takes what it takes to get to that decision and I've had years and years of struggle with depression and sugar-addiction. Now free of sugar for 28 days, I realize how much of a contributor it was and is to my depression cycles. So, if I want to be free of the cycles and no longer be a slave to my eating patterns, I simply had to decide that my relationship with sugar is negative and detrimental. I'm still working out what that will look like in the long-run. Never having sugar again? or playing with fire and occasionally allowing myself a treat?

But for now, it's been an exploration of me, my cooking habits, and real food. Here's my first successful new recipe:

Faux French Onion Soup (that tastes like the real thing!)

3-4 onions
Olive Oil
1-2 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
3 Heaping Tbls Dark Barley Miso paste (more or less to taste)
Salt or Shoyu to taste

Chop the onions into slices; brown on medium heat with olive oil until carmelized (10-15 minutes). Splash or two of Balsamic Vinegar. Deglaze the pan with water and then add more water to cover the onions and produce a broth-like texture. Simmer. Just before serving, add the miso paste. Once the miso has been added, don't bring to a boil. Serve with Swiss or Gruyere cheese melted on top and toasted, whole-grain bread. Serves 4-6. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Maine Way

It seems the Maine Way didn't come through on the hopes of so many gay and lesbian couples around the United States. But the problem with putting something like this to the vote is that the most progressive decisions made in America, the constitution not withstanding, are made in the courts. As Linda Hirshman so aptly discusses today on The Daily Beast, these issues shouldn't be matters of referendum. They should be decided by legislators or the court system. If we left it up to bigots to move this country forward in fulfilling the dream of the founders, "every man is equal under the law", then we wouldn't have equal rights for anyone but the white majority in this country. Saying it's a religious issue is simply a cop-out. Trust me, growing up in the South, hating black people was its own kind of religion--and prior to the protection established under the law, people used that same religion to defend their bigotry--as they are doing now with gay marriage.

Matters of justice and equality should never be put to the whims of a fearful, bigoted voter base, however sincere their vote may be. We vote for representation and we entrust those representatives to create legislation that protects the constitution and the individual from the bigotry and hatred of the masses. That's the point of the republic. Initially created to protect the white man from the heart of the equality established by our laws; we can now turn the republic's machinations against itself and use it to protect the underrepresented from the masses.

Group think is dangerous; not because it's always wrong but because, like water, it tends to move down, toward the lowest common denominator--and in this case it's pure bigotry and fear of the other in the name of religious fervor. And it's not just Christianity; every organized religion repudiates homosexuality, not because it's inherently evil but because most religions are patriarchal. Homophobia runs in its blood.

Until religious people--of every stripe--stand up and demand that everyone, rich or poor, white or black, gay or straight, is a child of God and deserves the same rights under the law and equal respect in the world, then I feel gay rights will continue to fight an uphill battle.

Today is a day that religious people everywhere should be ashamed of themselves. Love has nothing to do with bigotry. And the silent majority of religious people need to step forward and no longer allow fear and bigotry to set the legislative course in this country.

"Love is love." -Yogi Bhajan