Archive for September, 2010
Some things in life just never get easier. Some things, no matter how much prayer, attention and self-help books are thrown at them, remain difficult. There are some aspects of every job, relationship, personality or whatever that just take work. For example, I’m a super shy person when it comes to speaking up for myself. I would rather sit through an entire movie with your chair leg on my toe than ask you to move. An extreme example, of course, but illustrative of my point and believe me – I’ve had some pretty uncomfortable things go on in my life way longer than a movie as a result of my inability to voice my opinion about them. But rather than beat myself up for being a total wimp, I am starting to get to a point where I can honor the part of me that’s…well…wimpy, and accept it for what it is. It’s a part of me, and if I’m going to accept myself, that part has to come along too. Not that I can’t change (oh god…not that again!), but I don’t have to. I do have to remember that I’m a whole and healthy woman, just as I am – that I’m enough, if not for the rest of the world at least for me.
Speaking of self-acceptance, if you haven’t taken Amy Bacheller’s essential oils classes, you really should. It’s a weekend well spent. The Saturday class is all about the culinary aspects of essential oils and how they can be used in food, for flavor and healing. The second day – my favorite – is all about using the oils for spiritual purposes. She teaches how the oils aid us in living in abundance. The different scents can empower us for all sorts of things and are reminders of what we should be doing – or what we need. I bought some called “forgiveness” which helps me remember to lighten up on myself. Cherie gave me some called “valor” which is useful to me pretty much all the time. I put “peace and calming” on my kids on the way out the door to school (just occurred to me I should maybe try it half an hour earlier….). Anyhow, the oils are great and Amy is an amazing teacher. The next time the classes are offered is November 6th and 7th and they’re filling up fast. Don’t be afraid – call and register today.
“Dear Hilloah. Thank you for the very positive experience serving as a “kitchen angel”. Linas, Joe, Gina, BarbaRaw, Tyler and Brenda were a joy to work with. I was unsure on how I wanted to use my knowledge and skills as a career and I feel that I’ve gained a better perspective on my career goals. I found out that I really enjoy catering. Participating and planning the morning breakfasts and lunches made me see why my catering events have been unorganized and unprofitable. I’ve returned home motivated and organized.
Again, I had a wonderful experience. I just may take the catering class again in November.”
There’s nothing like knowing that your job reaches beyond your desk. The appreciation for what we do here, from our students, our angels and our graduates makes it all worth while.
Here’s a photo of my beloved sister Katey. She’s turning 50 this weekend, and I’m driving up to Oregon to be with her on her birthday. I still remember the day she was born..I was 12 years older, and she was such a beautiful child. I’ve adored her all her life, and vice versa. So why would I even think of missing her birthday celebration? Sometimes work is a priority, and other times, we just need to make time for our family. So I’ll be celebrating with my Libra sister in Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast. Well, Living Light is a family, too. Cherie’s 92 year old Dad has been ill for awhile, and we all just love Fred. He’s been living here in Fort Bragg for several years, and we feel lucky to know him. It has been hard for Cherie and Dan to do all that they do at Living Light and also care for Fred, but I know they feel blessed at the same time, to have him near. Luckily, Cherie and Dan are very supportive of each other. Cherie’s longtime friend and former Living Light diva Terry has been traveling back and forth between here and Costa Rica to help make sure that Fred has someone with him all the time. She’s known the family for many years, and is such a wonderful and devoted friend–a true angel on earth. It’s good to remember how important love and friendship really are to all of us. We are fragile beings here on planet earth, and love is the answer. Who cares what the question is?
Here we are at the autumn equinox – one of the two days a year that are perfectly balanced between light and dark - twelve hours of each. That’s pretty cool. It begins the sign of libra – the scales. In the early Christian tradition, Michaelmas – the feast of Michael the Archangel (who is also portrayed with a scale), replaced the pagan celebration of the changing season. It begins the fall. – the end of the harvest – all that. Of course, it means from here on till Christmas the daylight will be a little shorter every day which can be kind of a bummer, but can also be kind of cozy once the day is done.
Balance is one of the things at which I don’t always excel. Often I wake up full of optimistic hope and find myself a taut little ball of worry by lunch time. Sometimes I put all my thoughts and energy into others, while at other times I’m completely self-absorbed – usually all in one day. It’s a tough one for me. I tend to feel more comfortable with extremes. But on this day of balance, I’ll try and maintain an even keel and, for once, eat as much healthy stuff as dessert!
Speaking of dessert – this November we are offering Pastry Arts – Unbaked! II. We only offer it once a year, at holiday time, but if you’ve taken the first Pastry Arts – Unbaked! you won’t want to miss it. And – if you haven’t taken the first class, don’t despair – you can take them back to back (with a little break in the middle for Thanksgiving). Pastry Arts I will be held November 20-23 and Pastry Arts II goes from November 27-30. My hero, Vinnette, will be here to teach alongside our in-house pastry master and resident intern, Tyler Levitetz. So give me a call and sign up for our holiday pastry classes – the perfect way to balance out your year.
Marcella Ray left Living Light last Friday. She has been here since July 8th – a total of 70 days. She has taken every class possible during this time and according to her they have been “completely worth every penny!” She has made it a habit to stop in at the office at least once a day to give and receive hugs. “Honey! Life is too short not to enjoy yourself!” Not only will we miss her hugs, her witticisms, but most of all her smiles. Even when she was concentrating on what she was learning, she always has a smile for you. We will miss you Marcella; now you go and RAWK your part of the world!
This last weekend Archie and I rushed to put the split wood away into the wood shed. Of course we did not make it as we have so much still yet to do. And though it rained all day on Sunday – ¾ inch of rain – it was not enough to hurt the wood. We will be doing it some more throughout this month.
It was pleasant on Sunday to watch old movies such as Desk Set with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn and a fairly newer one, 10,000 BC , while also knitting on our soon to be born granddaughter’s baby afghan. They choose white, tan, and pink stripes and some wonderful soft yarn. So yummy to knit!
We also read out loud from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver and her family. It was awesome reading about growing organic gardens: tomatoes, asparagus, cherries, and so much more. Yes, it was a nice weekend.
I missed a blog last week due to all the work we had to do to wrap up the Living Light Showcase and get ready for a new batch of students this past weekend. We are also participating in being licensed by the State of California which is adding to our paperwork. Fortunately all the students have been willing to initial, sign, and date each and every page that is necessary. Whew! It’s over – until October, our last session this year!
Once I got home on Saturday after checking in the last bunch of students I just chilled by the pond and read my latest MaryJaneFarm Magazine. The main focus of this magazine is living close to the country – even if in your apartment in a city – and organic, organic, organic! There are crafts, many garden tips, and recipes. It is not a raw food or vegan magazine, but the recipes offered this time around were two vegan, a vegetarian, as well as two standard ways of fixing main dishes. There was an article on Café Gratitude as well. In fact the theme for this issue was gratitude.
One of the articles talked about the gratitude of eating a piece of pie with whipping cream and realizing it all came from the farm: from the neighbor’s milling of his wheat, to another neighbor’s cow who provided the cream (not vegan, sorry), the rhubarb grown by the baker herself. Reading this almost made me cry at the simplicity of food and the true gratitude one receives when eating fresh homegrown foods.
Sunday I picked basil from our yard and made fresh pesto. I also used the garlic that we had harvested earlier this year. We have two kinds of garlic: regular and elephant. I love the elephant garlic as it is a milder form, yet still delicious. Mary Jane had an article about how she grows and harvests her garlic. She also sells the seeds. Archie and I decided to order some – $18.00 per pound. It should come in a week or so, just in time to sow the seeds for next year’s harvest: yummm!!!
According to informed sources, Mercury in retrograde is behind us…it went direct yesterday, September 12th. And so our time of contemplation, reorganization, delays, and challenges SHOULD be behind us. Someone forgot to tell my computer about the change, and it’s been a bit recalcitrant today. But I’m keeping a bright outlook, knowing that there’s a time and place for everything. And I know that the fall energy is going to triumph and bring us into a progressive period where everything becomes easy, and energy flows almost effortlessly. I”m ready. Meanwhile, Dan and Cherie must have been tuned in to the energy of organization during Mercury retrograde, because they rolled up their sleeves and completely organized the executive offices, which now look pristine and ready for action.
And not a moment too soon, either, as Cherie’s new assistant, the delightful Terilynn Epperson just took her place beside them in the executive office.
Actually, the timing simply couldn’t be more perfect because our monthly honoring of various departments just happens to focus on the executive office for September. Whew! We want to make sure that there’s plenty of space available for all the cards, letters, and gifts that should be making their way to the inner sanctum this month! Thanks Dan and Cherie for all you do! xxx
So – I’ve already written about change but I haven’t specifically written about change here at Living Light. There’s been a ton. Lots of people are moving on which, of course, means lots of new people are coming and it’s all very exciting. But, at the same time, it’s super sad. Sometimes, the sound of opportunity knocking is delightful and sometimes it’s just annoying.
It started upstairs where we lost Brandon, our assistant demo coordinator, who went on to pursue his art back home in Colorado. He’s been outstandingly replaced by Gina. She was a student here back in my Marketplace days. She’s delightful. Brandon was closely followed by Meagan, pastry chef extraordinaire, who is following her path to success . Our own Tyler has stepped up to the cake plate and is doing a great job doing Meagan’s work. Then there’s enrollment’s own Miss Mary who’s left our department for travel and new pastures. She has yet to be replaced. The incomparable Colleen – our super fab chocolate creator – is giving up her post as Cherie’s personal assistant in order to open her own LA based business. Terrilyn, a recent graduate, will replace her – most superbly, I’m sure. And most sadly, for me, of all – my Raw Food Roommate, Amanda, is moving on as well. I’m super excited for her, but I really don’t want her to go. I’ll miss her terribly. But changes open up new doors and create opportunities we never even imagined. Good luck, Amanda. Good luck to all of you. And welcome to all the new people and new opportunities here.
Speaking of new opportunities, we have a new Associate Chef and Instructor training starting this Saturday. This program is the foundation of our school and gets one ready to pursue any career in the raw food world one desires. If you’re local, we’re running a special, too. You can save up to $725.00 on the whole thing. If you don’t want the complete training you can just come for FUNdamentals of Raw Living Foods this Saturday and pay only $290.00. Knock, knock locals. That’s a really good deal so give me a call and sign up today.
At least Saturn is still a planet, unlike poor Pluto, which has been demoted. I must say that when I was a kid, Saturn was my favorite, and it WAS because of the rings. I liked the looks of the planet, not knowing at the time that it can be a stern taskmaster, bringing our attention (sometimes rather painfully) to things we need to learn. Well, just thinking about Saturn and Pluto together today, I typed them in to our modern oracle, Google. I found that there is something called a Cardinal Climax, which has to do with a quantum planetary shift – a critical tension point initiated by Saturn and Pluto who get together every 8 years or so. And this particular climax happened in July 2010 (thought I felt something!). Quite fascinating stuff, and apparently, how we get along together as individuals, communities and nations heading into 2012 is key (so that’s it - all about restructuring our priorities, apparently). And from the looks of the news these days, it’s high time, too.
At any rate, whether you are happy with Pluto’s new status or not, the important thing to remember is that Pluto’s astrological symbol indicates that the essence of spirit feeds physical matter through the medium of receptivity. So maybe it is time to listen within and follow our intuition, which can lead us on the path to raw food. When we eat more raw food it’s interesting how we become more attuned to the natural world, and when we are more attuned to nature, we are in a receptive mode.
We can learn more easily what our bodies need, and how to nourish them in ways that help us stay in tune with the cosmos. Sounds like pretty big stuff, and yet so simple, really. Which is one reason it’s nice to be involved with people who are interested in the living food lifestyle. As hectic as the world can be at times, it is good to have a positive focus as we move forward. If you watched the Living Light Chef Showcase, Hot Chefs, Cool Kitchen, you’ll know that you don’t have to feel deprived either. You can enjoy a variety of gourmet dishes that your family and friends will also love. If you missed it, there’s still time to sign up for the replay with all of those great recipes, too.
Cherie will be giving a talk on Monday, September 6th at 7:00 PM at Shay Lynn Baird’s popular event in Healdsburg California: Monday Night Live at Cafe Gratitude. The topic will be Careers in Raw Food, and Cherie definitely is the person I know who is most qualified to speak on this topic. The photo on the left is of Cherie and Chad Sarno in the early days of Living Light. He went through the Living Light training, became a Living Light Chef and Instructor, and toured with the school for many years when it was still a “gypsy school”, traveling to locations around the world. After leaving Living Light to launch an incredibly successful independent career, Chad went on to become an internationally known chef/consultant, opening restaurants all over the world. And he is just one of the success stories at Living Light.
Living Light and Cherie Soria are success stories in themselves. From the early years, Cherie, husband Dan, and their staff have worked hard to create the professional, well respected facility that Living Light has become over the past 12 years. In fact, most of the chefs featured in the recent Living Light Chef Showcase are Living Light graduates who have gone out in the world to create exciting careers. The list is just a small sampling of Living Light student success stories.