Archive for December, 2010
Today is the last day of twenty ten and I just can’t help but feel a bit reflective. I think I’ve had enough coffee not to get too sentimental – but I’m definitely looking back a little nostalgically. I went through a lot of changes in 2010, some outward and some internal and I’m ready for a year of maybe a little less upheaval. I have moved twice this year. Not the fun kind of “hey the new house is finally done!” moving, just the boring old “we have to drag all our stuff to another house” kind. Hopefully I don’t have to do any of that in 2011. And, I’ve had to do some growing and some letting go. I’ve had to make myself vulnerable (my very least favorite) and I’ve had to accept all sorts of things I don’t like. The good news is that all this moving has finally brought me to a wonderful cozy home and all the growing and accepting and vulnerability has made me better able to appreciate and love everyone in it.
How was your year? For a lot of you, 2010 was the year you graduated as a certified raw food chef from Living Light. For some of you it was the year you came back to Living Light to take Pastry Arts – Unbaked! Some of you completed our brand new advanced Science of Raw Food Nutrition series and are ready to be science instructors yourselves. Those are some big, fabulous accomplishments. Congratulations, Living Light Class of 2010. I’m super proud of you! Are you ready to greet a new year? I am.
This is the last blog of the year. What will the New Year bring? Will Archie build the Great Room? If so, I get to get a piano, ooooooooooh! I can hardly wait! So! What are your New Year’s Resolutions?
Will you go raw for 30 days like some of the people in our office are doing? If you do, be sure to do so with a buddy so you will make the stretch.
Living Light International is having another Hot Raw Chef Video Contest. This time, the theme is Sweet Valentine. Send us your video starting January 1st – we are giving away over $5000 in prizes! Details are going out today. If you have not subscribed to our free e-newsletter, do so now by going to our website, www.rawfoodchef.com, or for contest details visit www.hotrawchef.com.
What are my resolutions? To enjoy each moment as it comes, and if they are not full of joy, to give them a kiss and wish them well.
I remember once, when I was a child, over hearing my mother tell someone she hated Christmas. I was shocked! I always thought she was just as filled with excitement and cheer as I was. It wasn’t until I grew up and had children of my own that I really understood. Don’t get me wrong – neither my mother nor I think children ruin Christmas – they actually add extra layers of joy and fun, but also extra layers of pressure. Plus – they’re expensive. And they get so wound up! Anyway, now that my children (and I, for that matter) are older, I’ve learned to release some of that pressure and relax. We’ll all enjoy tomorrow much more that way.
It’s Christmas Eve and I’m pretty much alone here at Living Light. There aren’t any students here right now and the Café and Marketplace closed early. That’s okay. I like the thought of everyone heading home to be with loved ones. I’ll be with mine soon enough and in the mean time I can write this and finish up all the holiday treats left in the office myself. A bunch of us here are going to go raw for thirty days next month and thank goodness, cause the treats have gotten a little out of hand – even if Kristin didn’t bake as much as usual. Anyhow, I hope this special day finds all of you happy and healthy and enjoying yourselves. I’m actually feeling pretty peaceful about tomorrow. Whatever isn’t done or bought or remembered is going to have to stay that way and I’m just going to enjoy my family and my home. Happy holidays!
Can’t believe it’s been almost exactly a month since we started our holiday blogs. So much has happened this month; so many things to do, and now they are nearly all done and it’s the night before Christmas Eve. And my son Simon is making his way down to Fort Bragg from Prince Rupert, B.C. He flew out of the Yukon Territories a week ago, went to visit his Dad inland in Hazelton, B. C. and called from Vancouver, B.C. yesterday saying that he’d arrive in Portland today to see his aunts and cousins.
And then it’s another day or two until he reaches the Mendocino Coast. Last time he came down he arrived at 3:00 AM. I’m hoping he doesn’t drive half the night. Being a mom, I tend to worry, although I try not to. I made some raw chocolate chip cookies for him, and have started some sauerkraut and a big batch of buckwheat granola. I usually like to make him baked scones when he comes to visit, so I’ll do that. Even though he is fully grown, I still like to make special things for him. But my big dreams of doing my once a year baking for the office didn’t really come to fruition.
Oh well, I still accomplished a lot–got all the boxes off on time to family and friends, and today was a flurry of gift and card exchanges at the office. So now it’s time to put the finishing touches on the house–is everything perfect? There’s something bittersweet about the holidays, too, isn’t there? You think of those who are not here any more, of memories both good, and at times, well–not so perfect. But overall, the feeling is more sweet than bitter.
I think the overwhelming truth is that the feeling is love. It’s time to forget the petty concerns of ordinary life, and concentrate on what is truly important: good friends, family, peace, love, and joy. I saw those last three words in the window of the local plumbing shop this morning, and I thought, yeah….that’s it, and thank you for reminding me. Wishing all of you a joyful, peaceful, and love-filled holiday.
I have to say that Archie “ticked” me off recently. I received a bonus from Dan and Cherie to use in the Living Light Marketplace. We carry all of our instructors favorite knives carefully selected by Cherie Soria at our retail store. I asked Archie what he would like and he said a knife. He went and selected the knife – a Mac– and also looked at the knife sharpeners. He liked one – the Henckel’s Sharpening Steel – but said that we could get that later. Great! I went and got both with the thought of wrapping the sharpener up and putting it in his Christmas stocking.
We went out to dinner with friends before going to the Festival of Lights that night at the Mendocino Botanical Gardens and I put my stuff and Archie’s knife and present in the trunk of the car. Archie asked if I bought the knife earlier and I said, “Yes, it is in the trunk”.
The next morning I got up and poured myself a cup of coffee intending on taking a sip and then going to the car to bring in the stuff, (but I would leave the sharpener in the trunk–sneak sneak). That way I could sneak it in the house later. As I am pouring the coffee I notice my coffee carafe from work on the sink. Oh, no! “Honey, did you bring in my stuff from the car?” “Yes, I did. I see you decided to buy the sharpener after all.”
It’s so funny that Mary Elizabeth blogged about the light yesterday. We must be on the same wavelength. I got an email in my inbox from my favorite Urban Shaman, Donna Henes, whose blog on Huffington Post was all about winter solstice and the dark time of the year, when we are craving the light. As Mama Donna points out, the Norwegians even have a special name for the dark time: Mórketiden. And it’s apparently when we are confronted by all the things we normally try to avoid–overeating, drinking too much, thinking gloomy thoughts, and so forth. So it must be true that Winter Solstice, which is when the light begins to increase again, is truly a time for celebration. Being a Nordic sort (of Danish heritage) myself, I can totally relate. Sometimes the darkness makes us feel that we are in limbo. But what occurs in those northerly regions, by the grace of nature herself? None other than the Northern lights.
And Mary Elizabeth’s blog post “Sunny Day Days and Green Day” , while quiet all summer, has had over a thousand views since October. So at this time of year, people really are thinking about that golden shining orb we all love so much.
At Living Light we’ve had lots of shining stars in our galaxy all year–our students! This December’s newsletter tells the tale of the blessings that have shone upon us throughout 2010. We are grateful for each and every one of our students, and all the people who will come into our world in 2011.
My intrepid co-worker and fellow blogger Kristin has been so good about keeping the holiday mood going in our blog whereas I just completely fell off the holiday wagon (sleigh?) last week. I don’t know why – just wasn’t feeling it, I guess. But I’m back in the holiday mood now and ready to rock it. Some of you may be saying, “Why bother?” and I don’t really blame you but, you have to admit, these winter holidays really do draw us all together – whether we’re loving them or hating them. The bottom line is we can’t avoid them so we may as well obsess on them.
Which winter holiday do you like best? I don’t know enough about some and way too much about others to make a real choice. But – I have a tree inside my house right now and we’re all going to open presents on the twenty fifth. But – none of us are going to church and my daughter and I may feel a little more spiritually connected to the twenty first. Anyhow, all the winter celebrations appear to include light, on some level. What a nice, unifying thing – so beautiful – and such a nice shiny addition to these ridiculously short days.
Light is an obvious component of our philosophy here at Living Light. Our mission statement begins: Living Light International is an organization of dedicated individuals devoted to sharing knowledge about healthful, vibrant living and transformation of body, mind and spirit. This includes, among other things, living lightly on this planet – doing as little harm as possible. What a beautiful spiritual focal point for the season. Let’s all be living lights!
The Fort Bragg Food Bank means much more to our city than just giving food to those who are having an economic hard time. They also accept clothes to give to participants. The Cheshire Book Store aligns with the Food Bank and encourages their patrons to buy books and then gives them to the Food Bank to distribute to the children in line.
Some of our neighbors donate their extra fruits and veggies to the Food Bank, and some to the Senior Citizens Center. The great thing about Fort Bragg, California is the volunteers: there are so many organizations. It will be hard for me, once I retire, to decide for which program I will volunteer. Will it be hospice, the hospital, the Food Bank, Senior Citizens Center, the dog park, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens or other organizations that need help? I am looking forward to making some decisions in a few years!
Living Light often times goes to Big Brothers and Sisters and gives food demonstrations to the children as well as the 4H Club, Harvest (our local supermarket), and the Mendocino Coast District Hospital. We have also given the hospital staff tuition specials for our culinary courses. We particpated in the Salmon Restoration Association Barbecue one year. We got a few dirty looks at first as people thought we were trying to convert them – as if! I told them that we were offering vegan raw salmon cakes as an alternative to over fishing the ocean. I then offered a sample and they were surprised that it tasted so good! I was exhausted by the end of the day, but it was fun to watch people change their minds in a positive way. The children kept coming back for seconds and more! Yes, it was a good day.
Okay – seriously? I just dumped green juice all over my lap. Very annoying. But – the good news is that I wore my baggy, stained old jeans today so as to be dressed appropriately for decorating the Living Light Inn for this weekend’s candlelight tour. So – I guess the universe, in all its magnificent wisdom, aligned the days upon which I needed to both spill green juice on myself and hang Christmas lights. That’s comforting. I suppose stuff like that’s happening all the time but I only notice it when I actually get covered in green slime. As 2010 winds down it’s hard not to feel a little anxious about 2011. I like little cosmic reminders that I don’t need to personally fret and worry about every detail of my life. And I’m pretty proud of myself for calling a big messy spill a “little cosmic reminder”. 2011’s going to be just fine.
If you’re waiting for stuff to align itself for the new year and you’re an Associate Chef and Instructor grad, maybe you should come back to Living Light in February and complete your Gourmet Raw Food Chef certification. Ethnic Flavors actually begins on the last day of January and runs through February 4th. It’s followed by a week of Raw Fusion and then a week of Raw Event Catering. What a fun, productive and delicious way to start your year! Give me a call and register yourself for the next level of raw vegan culinary excellence today. Super yay!
I was listening to the radio this morning and there was a local program on KZYX with Laviva Dakers called The Family Connection. She was speaking with an author about the meaning of Christmas traditions. During the conversation, they discussed that St Francis of Assisi was actually the first to bring the idea of the nativity scene to the public, and was very instrumental in making sure that peaceful animals were present during the birth of the Christ child. Coincidentally, I happened to be wearing my faux leopard coat for the first time this season. That brought to mind a family legend from the 1950s when I was growing up. My Uncle Darwin, who was always a bit of a high roller, gave my Auntie Barbara a mink coat one Christmas, and she fainted. When my mother retold the story, I always got the impression she thought the whole thing was a little outre (and maybe Auntie B was faking the faint, anyway). And that made me think about how, even though my mother has been gone for more than 25 years, I always seem to channel her at Christmastime.
I like decorating the house, and thinking about all the people I’ve loved past and present during the holidays. I love to wrap beautiful gifts (just like Mom did), and get dressed up, and be a part of the hustle and bustle of holiday time.
Working at a raw vegan school, I realize that we are creating much different traditions today. Instead of mink coats, we have Peta, instead of turkey, we might have something entirely different on the menu! While my mother’s favorite song was O Holy Night, (which I still love), mine might be Reindeer Boogie.