Posts filed under ‘Raw Travel’
Have you ever won anything? I’m trying to think if I have, and I’m not coming up with anything. I’d like to say I won the Living Light employee valentine haiku contest last year but I didn’t. Kate did. Anyhow, guess what? Living Light won “Best Culinary Arts Training” in the Best of Raw Awards at the Raw Living Expo last month. This is really cool because these awards are decided by popular vote (that’s people like you and me), rather than bestowed by some mysterious board somewhere, proving that we really and truly are the best raw culinary school there is. And we have been for fifteen years now. That’s something to be proud of. Cherie gave the keynote address for the weekend which is a great honor and something to be proud of, too. What an impressive place Living Light is – and how fortunate I feel to be a part of it!
Last Friday was my four-year anniversary of working here, speaking of being a part of it. That’s a while, for the likes of me. What’s the difference? Well – obviously – I’m much more grown up and settled than in the past. But beyond that, this company has really taken the time to work with me and find a place where I fit and can continue to be an asset and all that good stuff. And as they even continue to pay me for it; it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Congratulations, Living Light, for being voted the best. And thanks for making me a part of the Living Light family for such a long time!
I have so very much to be thankful for right now. Oh my goodness – it’s ridiculous! This week’s holiday really helped me to put it all in perspective. First of all – I have some wonderful, beautiful, amazing friends. I had the honor of seeing some of them on my holiday journey this week and it was such a fun reminder of why they’re my friends in the first place. I’m so grateful to an often benevolent universe for these special gifts! Second of all – I’m grateful for the opportunity to actually connect with my father. I don’t do it very often, but have made the Thanksgiving journey so many times now it’s a real tradition. It was just my daughter and me this year – no brother, son or boyfriend. But – that’s okay. If we felt a little lonely, so be it – we also felt connected to the past and were present for this year’s small celebration. And thirdly – I am so very, very grateful for my coastal home and the people who fill it. I love all of you!
Tonight is our Living Light holiday party. This is always a good time. It’s a chance to get dressed up and hang out with work friends. I’m looking forward to it. We always play games and have a white elephant exchange and yummy food. It’s another connection for which I’m grateful today – a chance to connect in such a festive way with the people I see almost every day. And it’s another chance to be present for my life today and be honored by the opportunity to work for and with such wonderful people. The holidays have begun in earnest and I’m happy to say I’m right there with them!
Can Thanksgiving really be just a week from today? Come on. That’s crazy talk. Fortunately, each year I do the very same thing so I needn’t come up with any plans and fortunately again, my annual plans include Thanksgiving dinner at a pretty posh country club so I really don’t have to plan, let alone cook, anything. But – I do need to locomote myself and my children to this annual event which is a six hour drive with the last bit often through chain-requiring snow. This is really no problem, either. All sorts of people put chains on their cars everyday. Plus my daughter and I are world class ride-around-in-the-car types now, and my son has an iPod so we’re all good. And this year, we’re adding a stop at some of my very most beloved friends’ on our way to and from our final destination. It all couldn’t be nicer, really. It just feels so soon! I mean, once Thanksgiving has come and gone my kids birthdays are right around the corner and about a minute later it’s Christmas. Oh well – nothing to be done about it, of course. I mean – I have had a year to prepare – it’s not a surprise. But – I’m no where even close to having saved up the money for that Bettie Page dress I’ve had my eye on for months and now it’s almost time for holiday parties and how’s that going to work?
Okay – hopefully that was my holiday complaining for the year. Let’s get on to my holiday happiness which is, as you know, eating. Did you know we have whole cakes and pies you can order from our café? We do. You can get one of our raw vegan pumpkin pies for your celebration next week. Yum! And we have vanilla or chocolate cheesecake. We have a super fancy lemon poppy seed cake that looks stunning and tastes divine. You need to give us a day or so to create your masterpiece, so come in and order one today! Happy holidays!
We had some unusually chilly weather here for the first few days of September, but today the sun came out and it is warm and mild, with nary a wind (other than a gentle breeze from the ocean). More like it! Fall is always just gorgeous here on the Mendocino coast – by far the nicest time of the year. More like a real summer than summer is sometimes (unless you’re partial to fog). Did I mention that fall is MY favorite season? Most definitely invigorating and inspiring, too. Fall classes here at Living Light are in full swing, and we’ve got two tours coming up – The Science of Raw Food Nutrition Tour with the Drs. Dina in September and October, and The Raw Food Revolution Tour will head to Florida right after Cherie, Martine Lussier and a group of volunteers wow people who love vegetables with a spectacular Saturday dinner at World Veg Day in Golden Gate Park October sixth. Cherie is featured in two new online magazines – one out this month: VegWorld, and a great interview will be featured in the Nov/Dec issue of a magazine from Australia, Living Foods Magazine. Cherie also blogs once a month on Kevin and Annemarie Gianni’s Renegade Health site; she’s putting the finishing touches on her new book, and has just completed a new e-book for kids. Also, Cherie and her dog Winky just won the look alike contest at our local labor day dog show! Of course, behind every great woman is a supportive man, as you know, and Cherie’s husband Dan Ladermann, tech guy, photographer, dog lover, and Cherie Soria enthusiast, fills that bill nicely, thank you.
So here we are in September. The days are evening out and the stars are getting a little sparklier. I love this time of year. Traditionally, this is the warmest time of year here in Fort Bragg, but so far this year is pretty cold and wet. Our students look cold, anyway. I don’t think they were anticipating it being quite this “coastal”. Oh well – we really don’t give them a much of a chance to enjoy or be bummed out by the weather anyway. We pack as much learning as we can into their time here so that it isn’t wasted. They spend all their time together becoming the next shining stars in the raw food world. I get to watch them come to Living Light strangers and leave friends – the kind that have experienced a powerful life event together – the ties that truly bind.
Ever since I was a child I have been blessed with wonderful female friends. Some of them are still with me from preschool days and some are newer, but I have always had solid sounding boards, loving arms and wise souls upon whom to rely. What a gift. I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship and what it means. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” used to be a popular saying, but I think most of us can agree that that’s not true. Apologizing when appropriate is a big part of a healthy friendship. I’m a firm believer in keeping one’s opinion to oneself unless asked for it too, but there’s nothing friendly about keeping too quiet when someone you care about is off track. Basically, I try to be a good friend by being honest and open and as funny as possible. And I must be doing something right because why else would I deserve all these amazing women who have stood by me for almost fifty years? Cherish your friends. Create ties that bind.
Summer is winding down, and although we haven’t suffered a heatwave here on the Mendocino coast, I have to admit I’m glad. All of the grass has turned brown and the flowers are looking a little sleepy and overstressed. The main reason I’m glad though, is because I am crazy about fall. Maybe because I always loved school and the excitement of learning new things, which is why it is inspirational to work at a school. Our students prepared a delightful Mediterranean meal yesterday, and nearly 50 of us enjoyed it complete with white tablecloths and flowers. It’s really lovely to be with the students. When I first came to Living Light I was a teacher, but since then my job in marketing has grown and I now spend all of my time in the office. So it’s an extra special treat not only to taste their food but to see their happy faces – they are proud of their creations! If you’re thinking about going back to school, and you’d like to study gourmet raw vegan foods with a group of inspiring people who gather here from around the globe, this fall we have a great line up of courses including Associate Chef and Instructor training, Gourmet Raw Food Chef training, the complete Science of Raw Food Nutrition Series and Pastry Arts I and II ( II is offered just once a year). Back to school for a new future!
I’m back in Fort Bragg. I’m back in the fog by the Pacific Ocean. I’m back home. I had a wonderful month off, but it sure feels good to be home. I’m so looking forward to meeting the students at Living Light and seeing all my beloved co-workers again. A friend asked me if I was even going to remember how to do my job. I told her I hoped not so it would be a fresh, new experience. But – I do remember and am looking forward to getting back to it. And I’m looking forward to a green juice! Oh my stars – I have missed it. Anyhow – I’m ready to hit the ground running on Monday morning all rested and ready to go.
Just to recap the last leg of my trip, my daughter and I visited my aunt Hannah in Wisconsin. We had an absolutely lovely time – even though I’d never met my aunt in person, being at her house felt so comfortable. It felt like home. Well – a home. A hot, humid home. Anyhow – the visit was delightful and she and uncle Joe live right on the Flambeau River and we got to go out on Joe’s boat. It was such a nice time. Then – I don’t know what happened, but we were just pretty much ready to go home. Not only were we almost broke, we were just over it. So – we just drove, slept a little bit, and drove, slept a little bit more and drove home. And here we are. Back to the foggy, familiar old grind. Super yay!!
My daughter’s time at music camp ended Sunday. After an absolutely wonderful performance, we packed up her stuff and started heading west. It feels good to be going in a homeward direction. We stopped at Niagara Falls the next day – the only diversion in a day of driving. It was powerfully beautiful, much more so than I had anticipated. It was a little more touristy than I’d anticipated as well, but did afford some excellent people watching, including an Amish family who were just as delighted by my daughter’s appearance as we were by theirs. After that it was just more driving and more gas stations. If I come back from this trip with nothing else (which is highly unlikely), I will come back appreciating how very big this country is and how full of people. It is vast and we are many.
But today I’m not driving. We’re spending two nights with a friend in Chicago. It’s a beautiful break from driving past miles and miles of wilty corn. It’s fabulous to be in a city, too, and wonderful to see a familiar face. Speaking of familiar, the view from our window overlooks a park and then the lake. When I woke up this morning, there was a farmer’s market in the park – all sorts of organic yummy food right outside the door. Anyhow – check this out: while were walking around sampling peaches, etc., I ran into a Living Light graduate who spent last summer with us. What are the odds? It was weird and comforting at the same time. I guess in spite of the vastness of the country and the many, many people who live here, we’re never too far from a friendly face. See you soon, Fort Bragg!
This week is a contemplative one for me. With my daughter at camp, I’m on my own for ten days. I’m actually camping for most of it – hard to believe, I know, but it’s true! And – I’m actually kind of enjoying it. I have lots of time (well…all of the time) to myself to read and write and I’m in such a lovely place. When I think of all the different environments I’ve been in in the last three weeks it really amazes me. The colorful southwest and then the south for the first time. I now get why Faulkner wrote the way he did. Then Ohio and Pennsylvania. It’s all been so different and so beautiful. And now I’m here in Westhampton, Massachusetts – a true bucolic paradise. It’s all green fields, red barns and white flowers. And Northampton is just up the road and truly – it looks like a New England movie set. And guess what? I found a place to get green juice!
All this driving around through different places has made me appreciate how foreign Fort Bragg must feel to lots of our students. For one thing, I can vouch for how much cooler it is than most of the rest of this country. And I’m sure it’s missing all sorts of things our students are used to having around. Traveling is fun and exciting, but it can also be strange and scary. I’ll definitely have a new level of compassion for the students I work with as they make that life changing decision to come study with us at Living Light.