Wednesday, February 26, 2014

To Market, To Market

I had a job interview this evening to work at my local farmer's market. I'm grateful for all the ways my day prepared me. This includes: a flexible work schedule so I wasn't thinking about the interview all day but still had time to feel prepared, an especially peaceful lunch time yoga class, leftover nourishing seitan, pepper and onion wraps for dinner, a quieting bath, listening to a little Eckhart Tolle, a little Jason Mraz (Three Things and Unfold), and a little Krishna Das, playing guitar, and encouraging notes from friends. Usually I don't tell many people when I apply or interview for a job. I prefer not to have to say, "No, I didn't get it," numerous times. But for whatever reason last night I started writing a friend or two messages about it and then I kept going, mostly to people that live far away and who I'm not regularly in contact with. Anyway, I felt supported today by unseen hands.

The interview was only .5 mile away so I planned to walk. The temp was around 10 degrees (-15 C) and I could hear the blustery wind that did not sound inviting. It was so perplexing though once I started walking because I could hear the wind but I didn't really feel it. I wondered if the big snow banks were shielding me. Regardless the walk was a great way to get out of my head. When I was asked "How are you with the outdoors?" I responded, "I walked here." (Which actually maybe wasn't the best answer because then people started commenting and got off tangent and I didn't get to mention that I camp etc.)

Oh well. Overall the interview went fine/well. There were a couple questions I would have liked to answer better. Organization for example. "Yes I'm really organized." Not so great. Actually my answer was better than that, but not a lot better.

So it goes.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

This is What Wealth Looks Like

#1 - Hearing my Dad's wet shoes on the clean kitchen floor.

#2 - Actually, I was initially annoyed to hear the squeaky sound of his shoes, but then I somehow shifted to being grateful for the sound instead.

#3 - Walking the 1/2 mile or so to the ice rink to skate.  I'd had that intention one evening last week too, but I didn't have as much motivation as intention then.  I wore my snow pants so I could just plop down on the snow and put on my skates. The ice was perfectly smooth, no holes or chunks to trip on.  My mind was mostly quiet.  I sang a couple songs.  I thought, "This is what wealth looks like."

#4 - Looking up I could see Orion's belt, as had been pointed out on an evening walk at Itasca State Park last weekend.  Whether by moonlight in the forest or streetlights in the city - it was the same gleaming night sky.

#5 - "I’m not the only one who gets a boost from greenery; social scientists have documented that access to green spaces increases quality of life and reduces stress. In one study from England, the effects were more long-lasting than the happiness people experienced from getting a raise at work. This is hugely significant to our increasingly urban world population, where depression is among the top causes of disability."

Jennifer Vogt-Erickson

Monday, February 10, 2014


#1 - Good cooking start of the week.  Yesterday I made a fritatta (with plenty of leftovers) as well as some pumpkin cookies - partly because they sounded good and partly for my father's birthday.  The cookies only used 1/2 can of pumpkin though.  Usually I would double the recipe but I'm not used to cooking much with butter and I couldn't fathom using 4 sticks of it.

So I had a 1/2 can of pumpkin left to use.  I found the only other pumpkin recipe in the cookbook and it was for pumpkin biscuits.  So I also mixed up that batter yesterday.  Today I baked salmon, made coleslaw and the pumpkin biscuits.  I never cook three things.  Usually it's one and if I'm fancy two.  So this was impressive.  Plus leftovers again.

#2 - Part of the reason I was ambitious yesterday is I took this free class at Orange Theory .  I guess it is kind of like a group personal training class.  Half the class we were on the treadmill and the other half doing circuits.  I left with no intention of signing up, but then later in the day I started considering it.  My favorite part was the running.  I haven't run to music for a long time and though treadmills (especially treadmills with a view of McDonald's) aren't my thing, it was fun to do something different and I had so much energy later in the day.  I also think because of my my knee last year and then twisting my ankle, I'm just so grateful to be able to do it at all.  So today I signed up to go there once a week for the next couple months - until I'd rather be outside.

#3 - It's my Dad's birthday and I made him a birthday dinner (the coleslaw, fish and pumpkin biscuits).  I've been thinking recently about the fact that I won't always have his physical presence which I can't even imagine, and am so blessed he is a regular part of my life.

#4 -  I gave someone with a health situation a small gift certificate for restorative yoga.  I wasn't sure she'd want it (just sure I would), so I'm relieved to find she was touched by it.  I didn't want to be the annoying yoga pusher.

#5 - I was continually confused by a situation at work today, something that on Friday I was getting frustrated by; but today, I guess because I had the energy, I just kept finding it funny.  As the confusion got deeper I would write my supervisor, "This is a joke right?  This has to be a joke."  (And I wasn't sarcastic I was actually finding it humorous.)

Bonus quote - Can you imagine? 

If you really want to be free, criticism from others can be a gift. Feeling hurt by any criticism, feeling the slightest urge to defend yourself, means that there is something you don't accept and love about yourself. This the very part of you that you want to hide. Hiding creates separation, from yourself as well as others.

—Byron Katie

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Interuption to Normal Programming

I'm interrupting normal gratitude programming to bring you this extensive commentary - 

I went to the public meeting on the proposed mining and land exchange near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (Northern Minnesota).  They didn’t clarify during the comment period who the land exchange involved, but based on history I could venture a guess.  There was an open house before the public hearing where I guess I could have learned this as well as other info; however, I didn’t know that was what the open house meant.

It was that really cold Tuesday recently when schools were closed etc.  I’d made phone calls for the Sierra Club the night before recruiting people and some had weather concerns which I shared.  So I was surprised to say the least to see easily over 1000 people there.

I’ve mentioned to a few people recently that I’ve been a bit obsessed with watching Byron Katie videos on YouTube.  I was prepared to use her “The Work” strategy with the stressful thoughts I expected to experience at the hearing.  I exercised right before hand and came in with my intention/hope to provide a more peaceful than frustrated presence.

As I mentioned the place was packed.   I stood at the door and accessed the least crowded portion of the room and headed there.  After finding a seat (most were filled), I soon came to realize I was in the mining portion of the room.  Most people had stickers on that said either 500 (500 years of water monitoring/clean-up) or “I support mining”.  I hadn’t parked in the typical locale (no surprise) so I guess I missed the sticker passer outers.

The hearing was 3 hours of testimony – names drawn randomly each had 3 minutes to comment.  This was the last of three public hearings.  I’d read online earlier that day that a previous one up North had been largely supportive.  I was surprised at how many miners (with hard hats etc.) were there.  Later it was hinted at (unconfirmed) that some were being paid to be there.

Either way I thought about how silly it is that we see this issue as No NorthMet Mining versus Yes NorthMet mining, as if we are on opposite sides.  In fact – nearly everyone – certainly everyone living locally – wants clean water.  And nearly everyone wants sustainable jobs.

The number I heard was this may provide jobs for 20 years.  And that is the story repeated again and again throughout the world.  Water monitoring/clean-up/maintenance may need to occur for 500 years.  As someone skillfully pointed out MN has been a state for 155 years and the U.S. a country for 237 years and this company expects to be a corporation for 500?

Someone else pointed out that 8000 pounds of copper is needed for each wind turbine.  You know how people would say “save paper/environment” do it electronically?  Well, yes logging is tough on the environment but compared to mining for all our phone and computers and TVs – forget it.  Anyway, windmills and solar panels and light rail and electric car plug-ins need copper.  And the countries where that copper is being mined (Chile, Peru, China, Russia) mostly have less environmental safeguards than we do.

However, once again someone point out – we only recycle 25% of our electronics.  We already have all these mined material not being used.

So back and forth it goes.  Just waiting as each speaker began - to find out which side she/he is on.
So it goes the drama of humanity, of engagement, of being right.  This story unfolds night after night, hearing after hearing, room after room.  

But here comes an another example -

A young man gets up to take his 3 minute turn.  He is opposed to the mining – I don’t recall the specific reasons he provided…He ends his time saying something like, “I wish I could grab a beer after this with some of the miners here to talk.  But I won’t be 21 for a few months.”

I have to reiterate how divided this room is – not only divided by stickers worn, or where one was (which was clear as ½ of the room or the other would applaud), but also in appearance.  I was surrounded by barrel chested, somewhat scruffy big men (and a few suits too), the other side had a completely different look.  When one of them mentioned owning land or a cabin up North, I would inwardly cringe.  The men around me saying “I live there!”

And here was this skinny 20 year old college student who didn’t care about divisions.

For the future to look different – we have to BE different and he was my shining example.  He didn’t have the best factual argument (which I give to the person who pointed out that this is in the Great Lakes watershed where 20% of the world’s fresh surface water is found) or the most powerful speaker (which I give to a First Nations woman who moved me to tears), but he was a living embodiment of Rumi’s

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
There is a field.
I’ll meet you there.”

I left the public hearing around 9:30pm – about ½ hour before it ended.  As I was walking out I saw the college student, and guess who he was talking to? 

 A miner.

He reached out his hand, and someone took it, and there they were opposite sides, talking and smiling.

I waited until they were done and then told him how impressed I was by his lack of adversarial-ness in his comment.  What can we/will we/could we all create together?

In all the Byron Katie videos I’ve watched the most profound concept she has seeded in me is – 

“Defense is the first act of war.”

I won’t even attempt to explain that here as I am only at the beginnings of grasping it.  But she demonstrated the concept and I could glimpse the truth.

My sister-in-law gave me 365 Dalai Lama – Daily Advice from the Heart.  This is my favorite so far

“Loving thoughts and actions are clearly beneficial for our physical and mental health.  They express our true nature.  On the contrary, violent, cruel, and hateful acts shock us.  That is why we feel the need to talk about hem and why they make front-page news.  The problem is that little by little, insidiously, we come to think that human nature is wicked.  One day we might convince ourselves that there is not hope for mankind.”

On a lighter note I just read a great article on all this by none other than Aljazeera America

My favorite part -

"What we're seeing with the PolyMet proposal is kind of like their profile," says Betsy Daub, policy director for Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. "They're going to put their best face forward, and their best face is 500 years of water pollution."

The public has until March 13th to comment.  More info at the link.  Here is the email for comments.

When the last tree has been cut down,
 the last fish caught,
 the last river poisoned,
 only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.

Native American saying

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Marianne Williamson

This makes me cry.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


#1 - When I arrived at my brother's today my niece climbed into my arms crying because she did not want to brush her teeth.  :)

#2 - I took her to a community center with an indoor playground.  She mostly wanted to run (race) back and forth in the hallway. 

#3 - At the top of the play structure she hesitantly reached out trying to determine if there was a hole.  She was concentrating with her whole body and reaching.  The clear plastic was curved out so she couldn't find it and didn't dare step forward.  (She also didn't think to kneel or lay down and reach.)

#4 -  We watched some high school girls playing hockey briefly.  Something I've known about for a while but haven't actually seen.

#5 - I was tired of some animosity in my family, feeling really drained by it.  Luckily my plans for the day included a hot yoga class followed by restorative (all relaxing) yoga.