I have been thinking lately about why our society seems so disjointed and out of sync with itself. It has come to my attention that something is seriously missing. I am going to go back to my religious upbringing for just a moment. In my Sunday School classes we learned that Jesus overturned the money-changers tables in the temple, he also said something along the lines of “for the love of money is the root of all evil”. As I look around our World, I wonder if Jesus words have been lost among those who proclaim to be his followers. Lets explore this deeper, granted I have no intention of quoting any form of the Bible or Jesus, I am simply going to pull from my memory and my understanding. Maybe I missed the point in Sunday School, maybe I am the one that is completely ignorant.
First off, Jesus always preached peace and acceptance. Not judging anyone and accepting everyone. Seems to me that this is probably the disposition of empathy. So to preach about who is going to hell, and how people are living in sin, seems to me, at best to be judgmental and at worst hateful. So if you follow Christ, how can you balance your prejudice against his teaching? Oh that’s right, the old testament was full of angry God destroying the wicked. Hmm, if you really think about this, first off the Bible is mostly written in metaphors, secondly, you are a fallible human. This means, hold on for a moment, sit down, YOU ARE NOT GOD! Oh snap, yes I just went there. You are not in a position to judge what is right or wrong, I know this for a fact. You see I was judgmental and self-righteous for many years. I felt that I was better than those who lived in what I considered a sinful life. The problem was, my life was a mess as well. I had no place and no right to look at how any other person lived. You see, I am not God, either.
The other missing piece in our life is based in our pursuit of material goods. Christ lived a life of poverty. He traveled and lived off the graciousness of others. He was what we see today as a Welfare Queen. Oh snap, yes I just went there. He traveled and he taught, but he did not hold down a real job. He also lived on very little. He was not focused on owning the best donkey or the best clothes. He simply wanted his health and he found happiness in serving others. Wow, what a concept, living on very little and not needing everything you see. What Jesus embodied was empathy and love. He did not hold himself higher than others. He even forgave those who did horrid things to him. We can all just stop seeking revenge and seek peace through forgiveness. By the way Jesus was not a white man. This is a fact, he was of Jewish decent and he was Middle Eastern. So take your racist views and choke on that fact.
Wow, so yeah, I went to church for many years. It took me leaving the church to understand how the Bible should be interpreted. As a member of a church, I was told that by being faithful I would be blessed. I could expect my money problems to be taken care of. I could expect to be rich in this life, if I was faithful. I expected and was gravely disappointed. It took losing everything several times for me to understand letting go. I now embrace life not things. I see our society as pursuing too much material goods to achieve happiness, when happiness is just out of our grasp.
I read an article this weekend about not pursuing your passion as a means of making a living, instead pursue a career you do not hate. I think this is the worst advice I have ever heard. First off, when you lose sight of your passion you lose sight of your happiness. When we talk about making a living, we have a standard that is unsustainable. We have this need for growth, for the sake of growth. This eventually ends in destruction. What we are forgetting is that when we pursue our passions, we must be willing to sacrifice things like comfort and excess.
The things that are missing in our World are passion, compassion and empathy. We have lost sight of our own happiness and we have lost sight of humanity. It saddens me that my generation grew up with Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street and Star Trek. All of these sent a message of equality and diversity. Loving our fellow humans is natural, yet we tend to find bitterness and hatred easier to embrace. In a generation growing up with the hippy movement and the idea of free love we have totally pushed those ideas away and embraced consumerism and love of material goods. Once we see these things for what they are, maybe then we can embrace the true concept of being Christlike. Until then your religion is not for me, I will find my own path leading a life so much more in tune with Christ’s ideology than anything I have ever seen in a Church. I really hope one day the light shines brightly enough for all to see, until then I will be content in my passion for a better World.
The last month was overwhelming and I am grateful that I only worked one day. I have only worked once so far this month, but again am very grateful. First off, I have everything done medical wise except one Hep A shot and my yearly checkup. The check up happens later this month. The second Hep A is gonna be tricky, I may have to get that abroad. Scary!
There was a screw up with both my passport and my Visa applications. I sent off a new copy of my Visa application, that was the easy part. The passport got mailed to the wrong location, luckily I found where it was mailed and when it got delivered. The PC travel person is going to expedite that for me. I was freaking out, my birth certificate is with the application and that took three weeks to get. I was so worried I would have to start over and then I would miss my deadlines again. Luck was with me this time, all is well. Everything is going to be okay.
Picked up most of my stuff for the trip. I have my luggage and shoes all figured out. I even have some movies to pack with me. I bought a steri-pen, headlamp, small compact blanket and a solar charger today. I have clothes and sandals ordered and they should be here this week or next. So much of my wardrobe was not appropriate for the climate, I had a fun time buying a new wardrobe. The only things i need now are some nice button up shirts and a few more bras and then pack it all up.
I am now volunteering three days a week at the nearby high school. I am being educated all over again. The students are interesting and there is not a lot of structure, it is an alternative school. I now understand how my kids could fall behind in school and end up graduating late. The benefit is that they learn to manage themselves, which can feel like it is backfiring.
Last week Richard messed up his foot somehow, and I ended up taking him to the doctor twice. So my social life is now consumed with medicine and doctor appointments. On the up note, he has decided to not drink for a bit to lose weight. I need the break as well. Maybe we will both drop some weight, not that he needs to.
I bought a jump rope, I forgot how bad I suck at this. I spent about 5 minutes jumping, and I can only go about 4 rounds before I have to stop and start over. It is amazing how much just that little bit will cause your heart to pump. So even if I have to jump for 5 min intervals over the course of the day, I am gonna do this until I leave. I plan on packing the rope with me, it is weighted and small enough to stuff in my suitcase.
I have been so busy that I have not been riding my bike or eating right. Today I got groceries and bought a ton of veggies. I also had some bananas going off and needed to be used. Are you ready for the most amazing recipe? Two bananas, break them up into a blender, add ice, two large teaspoons of coconut peanut butter ( you will thank me for this) add a bit of whole milk and some plain yogurt, I prefer greek, but just plain works as well. Blend and have a happy mouth and tummy. I actually only had about 6 oz of this. The rest I put in a container and stuck in the freezer. You need to pull it out about 1 hour before you want to drink it and pour it out. If you have space I suggest freezing in single servings, but I do not have the space so it all went in together.
I used whole milk because the more I read about food the more I realize all our health issues began when we declared war on fat. All the low-fat, skim, and no-fat items are so overly processed and calorie ridden, you may as well enjoy the full fat and just control the serving size.
Yesterday I had an appointment to take my computer in for service. We were lazy and got up later in the day. I was hungry so we agreed to go grab a bite when we got there, not that mall food is spectacular, but once in awhile you can find something good. We ended up at Dukes Chowder House, which is a great fallback since I do eat some seafood and that is their specialty. We both ended up with what is considered a small plate. I truly enjoyed mine and want to recreate Richard’s dish sometime soon. Mine was Prawns Del Cabo, which was a cilantro shrimp with an avocado salad and a cilantro sauce served over wild greens. Not a huge amount of food but just enough. Richard had these salmon sliders. Thin sliced salmon steaks grilled and layered on top of a crostini of good molasses bread. It had pesto then salmon, more pesto and some tomato slices on top. It was tasty according to him. I think I will put an avocado slice on this when I recreate it. But really fabulous food should come in small plates. It makes you take your time to savor every bite.
The idea of utilizing small plates is to keep your portions small. This is especially important at a buffet or potluck style meal. I have this issue, and I am going to try to remember to only use a small plate. We all too often mindlessly eat, which is funny to say since I am reading a book about that right now. I know that I fill a plate, I eat until it is empty. So unless I munch on kale and carrots for the rest of my life this is a problem. I know that I am in need of motivation, and after having that meal I realized what my motivation is going to be. Creating great food on a budget. If I try to keep my cost down, that also limits my portion size, it is a win win situation.
As you may already know, my life is about to take a huge detour. Well actually I am choosing a different way of living. As I get ready for this new adventure there is so much to do in preparation. Things such as apply for my passport and Visa. Get all my shots and a full physical. Thankfully I am not working much this month, so I can get a ton of this stuff done. My dental exams are all done and will be uploaded this week. My immunizations minus my Yellow Fever shot will be done next week, I think. My blood tests will all be done next week as well. I have to wait until late March for my full physical, but otherwise everything is right on track.
Richard is trying to get a job in California to be closer to his girls, which I think is not only important for them, but for him as well. Having your partner run off cannot be easy. I can only imagine since I am the partner running off. As the time gets closer, we get closer, and that I think is amazing. Never in my life have I had someone support me so much.
The other thing that starts to really set in, is that no matter what I do, there is no promise of safety. I actually like it that way. Why do anything if there is not challenge, no danger? That being stated, the idea of my mortality has come up. It actually started with a friend of mine telling me, he didn’t know if I was going to return from Africa. It was a strange comment, but one that I cannot ignore. I have never really thought about my death much, except that I will have all my organs donated, my body donated to science if they can use it minus the organs and in the end I will be cremated. That being said, I also do not want those that are left behind to mourn my death. I want them to celebrate my life. A New Orleans style wake is about as wild as you can get, and that is how I want it done. I want people to understand that no matter what, I lived my life the way I wanted to. This means that when I do go, it will be doing things I love. I think that given the choice, I would choose to live life on the edge and with uncertainty.
Being a person of little if any faith, I do not want my life to be a reflection of fear or of propriety. Instead I want my life to reflect adventure and fun. This means drinking too much, loving too much and living too much. So these are the value that I hope people remember about me. None of us are immortal, we will all cease to exist at some point, in my case I want people to remember how I lived my life, not who I was but the love I have to life and adventure and the people who I include in my life. I love them all. Even my parents, who I often state facts to the contrary. I love my mom and dad and my siblings. I just have nothing in common with them currently. That is the truth, I really am not interested in spending much time with them, but I do love them. You hear that mom? Yes I finally admitted I love you.
I resent many things from the first 30 years of my life. Mostly I resent having no courage to discuss my dreams or even to pursue them. I regret not standing up for myself and allowing people to push me down. However, without those first miserable 30 years, I would not have enjoyed the last 13 years to the point of fully understanding who I am and where I come from. So yes the truth is hard, I tend to hide from my past. I come from people I have nothing in common with and it seems as though I look down upon them, but the reality is they helped build me up. By allowing life to take nose dives, I have learned how to pick myself up. I have also learned how to really love life and to live it as though it were the only one I have. And that to me, is likely the best gift I could have ever received. I love you all, each and every one of you.
Last week I decided to make enchiladas. This can be expensive and tedious, but oh so worth it. I sauteed up some peppers, shrooms and onions for the filling. I also cooked up a 6 grain rice mix and added pinto beans to it. Mixing all those together with cumin and cayenne pepper powder for a kick, this was my filling. I rolled up my enchiladas and shredded pepper jack and cheddar cheese over it. I added the sauce, which unfortunately came from a can, I have no idea what is in the sauce and it is convenient to purchase the can. I again shredded cheese over the sauce. This is one of my few cheese heavy dishes. I had quite a bit of the stuffing left over. The dish itself fed both dinner and I had two lunches from it. Overall it cost about $30 to make and I got 4 meals out of it.
The good news is that there was two half blocks of cheese left, and the filling from the main dish. I took the filling and put it into a pot. I added another can of beans, this time great northern beans, since I had those on hand. I added a few cups of water and more seasoning. I simmered it for the better part of a day. In the end I still have half a pot of chili, and I have already had 3 meals from it. I cut some of the tortillas into strips and made crispy little strips to put into the chili. I also shredded a bit of cheese into it. Overall this $30 worth of groceries has made nearly 11 meals. So at less than $3 a meal ($2.72 to be exact) I have made a great couple of meals and managed to be frugal and healthier than if I had bought a pre-made meal option. And I still have tortillas and cheese left over for quesidillas if I choose.
To next time you make a dish that requires multiple ingredients and they tend to be rather spending, try taking what is left over and creating a casserole dish or a soup and stretch those ingredients to their maximum. Healthy filling food on a budget is not that difficult, you just have to consider the possibilities.
Here I am slowing everything in my life down. Simplifying it, trying somehow to find peace and joy. Stress is a modern invention. It was brought on by the idea of time limitations. By upholding a 40 hour work week, we feel the pressure of obligation to be somewhere at specific times. I have not really had to deal with that idea since I left my lab job in May. Unfortunately, the Peace Corps brought this idea right back to the forefront of my life. I now have deadlines and not only am I dependent upon myself to organize my time, I need other busy professionals to do so as well. This puts a huge stress in my life, especially when I have already had these professionals give me a bit of their time to get documents ready, now I have to go back and beg for their time to fill out forms that I missed the first time. Oh sadness and stress. The great news is I do not work the rest of this month or likely most of next month, so I have the time, I just hate to put them out for my sake, but it is necessary. :(
I am a strong person. I know I am. It still does not change the fact that when someone repeatedly is cruel to you in an on-line forum that it hurts. It hurts more when you actually know the person and considered them a friend. Even though I deleted said person, they are still skulking around on mutual friends pages. Until last night I could not figure out how to actually block all of my posts from their view. They posted what I felt was a weird and negative comment on something I posted to my partner. I guess I poked the sleeping bear by responding that they were negative. They responded back and I just left it alone. Then again last night they put up a ton of hashtags on how horrible a friend I was. My partner got annoyed with the continual notifications, which I decided not to respond to. I finally just deleted the post. I posted on his page simply the word: “Done!” she continued to poke. He called me and was like what the hell is going on? I have no idea why anyone would continue to harass, which is ultimately what it was. Had it been a total stranger I would not have even cared. Also a total stranger would have tired on no response and left it alone to find entertainment elsewhere. I am still confused and angry. The hurt is gone. Replaced by anger.
The problem now is, what to do if I see this person in my life? Do I do what I did last time and pretend it did not happen? Do I walk away and appear the bigger person, or do I confront and potentially escalate the situation? I am going to choose to walk away. I am less then 6 months away from leaving and I do not need any sort of legal problems to hang me up.
To be honest I am not the first person to be abused by this person through social media. I am also aware of other types of criminal intent this person has had. If I were vindictive I would have them arrested. Alas I am not. I just want them to leave me alone. To not say or do anything at all. You can have your poor opinion of me, yes it hurts but I am an adult I can take it. But please for the sake of everyone else, stop attacking any post I make on other people’s pages. It is weird and it is immature.
You have a drinking problem, hell you have mental issues, but I am certain you can take control if you want to, but instead you focus on me. It has taken me years to realize the problem is that my happiness is a alternative universe to you. For some reason any and all things in my life have some sort of impact on yours. I wish I knew how to break that tie? I wish that I could somehow help you see things differently. I cannot, I never could. I realize that my mistake was to try to continue to be your friend. You helped me out a small bit once, but I helped you out on a much grander scale. I am not keeping count, I am just keeping myself from falling for the guilt that you try to place on my shoulders.
Your life is your life. It is not my responsibility nor is it my place to make you feel better about yourself. Buck up bitch and get over it.