Friday, September 17, 2010

The Chinese Moon Festival

The Chinese Moon Festival is this really cool event where the moon is honored. This year, it falls on Sept 22. I have a bunch of posts scheduled for Sept 21 over at Gypsy Magic but I can't put the link in because it isn't posted yet. And what I did was, I put up a bunch of stuff here that didn't seem appropriate for Gypsy Magic site. I posted them early so I could go ahead and link them. So... if you're wondering what the heck all that moon festival stuff is, now you know!

And if you are curious about the Festival, and don't want to wait until posts show up at Gypsy Magic, here's the scoop. There's even a recipe! So, read on:

Once upon a time, the earth had ten suns. They burned the crops and people suffered from famine. Houyi, a lesser god and a highly-skilled archer, felt sorry for mankind, so he decided to shoot down nine of the suns. After he shot down the suns, he became a hero. He had a beautiful wife name Chang’e (also a lesser god) and they lived happily together. Houyi gathered many followers and one day they all went hunting together regularly. One day, on Houyi’s way back home the Jade Emperor (the highest god) gave Houyi a pill which granted eternal life as a reward for shooting down the suns. He warned Houyi, “Make no haste to swallow the pill.” Houyi loved Chang’e very much and did not want to leave her, so he gave the pill to Chang’e and let her store the pill in a safe place. Chang’e put the pill in her jewelry box. But one of Houyi’s apprentices, Peng, discovered this secret. He decided to steal the pill.

One day Houyi and some other disciples went to the mountain. Peng pretended he was sick so that he could stay at home. Everyone went to the mountain except Chang’e, who stayed at home. Peng burst into Chang’e’s room and forced her to give him the pill. Chang’e knew she was no match for Peng so she took flight and flew far away. She did not want to leave her husband, so she stopped at the moon which is close to Earth. After Houyi discovered what had happened, he was very angry and heartbroken. He looked up into the night and called Chang’e’s name. He saw that on the moon there was a shadow that looked like Chang’e, so he ran and ran and tried to get to the moon. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t reach the moon.

As for Houyi, he built himself a palace inside the sun as “Yang”-阳 (the male principle), with Chang’e as “Yin”-阴(the female principle). Once a year, on the 15th day of the full moon, Houyi visits his wife. That is why the moon is full that night.

The moon cake (月饼- yuè bǐnɡ):

The moon cake is a traditional symbol of the Mid-Autumn Festival. There are many legends surrounding the moon cake. In one tale, moon cakes originated in ancient times to pay homage to the moon. According to other sources, the moon cake was invented as a way to honor the Moon Goddess Chang’e. In what is perhaps the most famous tale, it is said that during the end of the Mongolian- ruled Yuan era Han Chinese rebel Zhū Yuán Zhānɡ distributed a secret message baked in moon cakes giving the instructions “revolt on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month”. On the night of the brightest moon these revolutionary fighters successfully attacked and overthrew the Mongolian army.

And if you want to make some, here is a traditional recipe:

Mid-Autumn Moon Cake Recipes
By Yan Can Cook, Inc

Makes 2 dozen

  • 1 can (17-1/2 ounces) lotus seed paste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2-cup non-fat dried milk powder
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup solid shortening, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg yolk , lightly beaten

1. Mix lotus seed paste and walnuts together in a bowl; set aside.

2. Sift flour, milk powder, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl. In large bowl of electric mixer, beat eggs on medium speed until light and lemon colored. Add sugar; beat for 10 minutes or until mixture falls in a thick ribbon. Add melted shortening; mix lightly. With a spatula, fold in flour mixture. Turn dough out on a lightly floured board; knead for 1 minute or until smooth and satiny. Divide dough in half; roll each half into a log. Cut each log into 12 equal pieces.

3. To shape each moon cake, roll a piece of dough into a ball. Roll out on a lightly floured board to make a 4-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Place 1 tablespoon of lotus seed paste mixture in center of dough circle. Fold in sides of dough to completely enclose filling; press edges to seal. Lightly flour inside of moon cake press with 2-1/2 inch diameter cups. Place moon cake, seam side up, in mold; flatten dough to conform to shape of mold. Bang one end of mold lightly on work surface to dislodge moon cake. Place cake on ungreased baking sheet. Repeat to shape remaining cakes. Brush tops with egg yolk.

4. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F. oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

Copyright Yan Can Cook, Inc. 1991.

Moonlight Sonata

A great song for the moon festival, don't you think?

First Moon Landing

Here we have a really nifty way to celebrate the Chinese Moon Festival. We can watch a video of the First Moon Landing!

Bad Moon Rising

I don't know if it's appropriate for the Chinese Full Moon festival, but I do love this song!

Moon River

A great video, and a great idea for songs to sing on the night of the Chinese Moon Festival!

A Moon Walk for the Moon Festival

It's different, not what you'd expect, but I do think it could be something fun to do, don't you? What could be more appropriate than moonwalking on the night of the Chinese Moon Festival.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Big Dreams

Over at the Prosperity Project, we're doing a 30 day series on the secrets of self made millionaires. The first one is Dream Big, and I've already realized something important.

Not only do I get scared when I start having those big dreams of my spectacular future, I am not consistent with what I envision, and worse than that, my dreams and ideas of what my ideal and wonderful life would be are at odds with one another. So, I am already stuck and it's just the first day.

I have no idea how to make those big dreams fit together in a rational way. I'll show you what I mean:

Dream #1: Multiple streams of internet income, and all I have to do is sit at the computer for 3 or 4 hours a day, blogging, creating, interacting with my multitudes of readers, while the Google Checks, the Amazon Checks, and the PayPal deposits just roll on in. I can go where I want - when I want - because I'll have a really cool state of the art laptop and wireless internet. If the weather gets shitty - I can just get into my pretty much new, well maintained, totally comfortable, mileage efficient, and lovely vehicle and go someplace else. I like this dream a lot! (The freedom factor in this one is huge!)

Dream #2: I am a much beloved teacher of Reiki, Art, Color Healing, Shamanism, Gypsy Magick, Animal Communication, and whatever else I find interesting and fun to teach. My classes are always full. My phone is always ringing with people wanting to talk about classes, or their experiences, or to express how awesome that last class was. My calendar is full and yet I do find time to go attend workshops and classes myself, always expanding what I know, and finding ways to experience new things. (The I'm so cool factor is big in this one - lots of strokes here.)

Dream #3: Wow, I'm an artist. I have a great studio full of cool art supplies and every morning I go out to that studio with my freshly brewed espresso and just go crazy creating "wow" art. My agent comes periodically and fills his/her van up with art for galleries that are panting for more. My checking account is overflowing and I hardly notice because I am having so much fun simply creating cool stuff. In the evenings I hang out in the hot tub with friends. (The fun factor is the greatest draw here.)

So there they are - I thought there was more, but I just realized that the rest of my ideas are simply variations on the above themes.

I can get excited and energized thinking about each one of those big dreams. The problem is that they seem to cancel each other out. But now that I've written them down, I'm starting to see how they just might fit together...

I could have multiple streams of internet income... and be an artist... I'd just have to have a base of operations - a place for the studio, and after a huge push to get a bunch of stuff created, I could hop into my vehicle and head for some R&R. But how would the classes fit into this scenario? Maybe I could schedule classes with 2 or 3 weeks of down time in between.

Let me see... Art in the morning... followed by an afternoon on the internet... rounded off by classes in the evening. I could theoretically schedule the classes ... hmmm... a full day on Saturdays - back to back classes with a nice long lunch break. Sunday afternoons for more energy intensive events like medicine wheels, journey work, sweats, etc. And then 2 or 3 evenings a week for the other classes. As long as I schedule 1 or 2 days during the week for down time - it might actually work... It would be nice to have two whole days exclusively devoted to art. I know - that could be my "down" time, my "rejuvenate my brain" time. I could just get into that flow of color and form... turn off the phone and be in the zone.

So, that gives me plenty of time for art, and if I did 4 classes on Saturday, 1 on Sunday, and just 3 others during the week - well - that's a lot of classes. Let me see... that means 7 classes - I could be doing reiki, art, animal communication, shamanism, tarot and divination, and color healing. That's 6 classes which means plenty of time for one or two more if I feel so inclined. And if I scheduled them to all start on the same week - and run for the same length of time 4 or 5 weeks - my rest and recoup time would be available with no problem. Then I could hop into my vehicle and head for the hills with laptop in tow and plenty of time for solitude and relaxation.

Geez... I started out this morning thinking it was impossible and now here we have it... my big dream!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Me, a Jedi?

Ok guys, I've been reading the code of the Jedi and I'm thinking it might be a cool set of rules to try to live by. I like how it sounds, and I'm wondering what my life would look like if I actually "did life" in the Jedi way.

So, to that end, I've uploaded the following:

Hopefully my attempts to be one with the force won't turn out looking something like this:

Creed of the Jedi

Jedi are the guardians of peace in the Galaxy.
Jedi use their powers to defend and protect, never to attack others.
Jedi respect all life, in any form.
Jedi serve others rather than rule over them, for the good of the Galaxy.
Jedi seek to improve themselves through knowledge and training.


A Code of Belief for Jedi

1. As Jedi, we are in touch with the Living Force flowing through and around us, as well as being spiritually aware of the Force. Jedi are trained to become sensitive to the Force's energy, fluctuations, and disturbances.

2. Jedi live and focus on the present; we must neither dwell on the past nor be overly concerned about the future. As the mind wanders, focusing on the present is a task not easily attained, for the mind is not content with the eternal present moment. As Jedi, we must release our stress and ease our minds.

3. Jedi must maintain a clear mind; this is achieved through meditation and contemplation. Our minds can become cluttered and infected by forces and attitudes that we encounter every day, and must be purged of these unnecessary elements on a daily basis.

4. As Jedi, we are mindful of our thoughts... we focus our thoughts on the positive. The positive energy of the force is healthy for the mind, body and spirit.

5. As Jedi, we trust and use our feelings. We are intuitive, more so than others and with this heightened intuition we become more spiritually evolved as our minds become more harmonious with the Force and its influences.

6. Jedi are patient. Patience is elusive but can be consciously developed over time.

7. Jedi are mindful of the negative emotions which lead to the Dark Side: Anger, Fear, Aggression, and Hate. If we sense these emotions manifesting within ourselves, we must meditate on the Jedi Code and focus on purging these destructive emotions.

8. Jedi understand that physical training is as important as training the mind and the spirit. We understand that all aspects of training are necessary to maintain the Jedi way of life and to perform the duties of a Jedi.

9. Jedi protect the peace. We are warriors of peace, and are not ones to use force to resolve a conflict; it is through peace, understanding and harmony that conflicts resolve.

10. Jedi believe in destiny and trust in the will of the Living Force. We accept the fact that what seems to be random events are not random at all, but the design of the Living Force of Creation. Each living creature has a purpose, understanding that purpose comes with a deep awareness of the Force. Even things that happen which seem negative have a purpose, though that purpose is not easy to see.

11. Jedi must let go of obsessive attachment, both material and personal. The obsession over possessions creates the fear of loosing those possessions, which can lead to the Dark Side.

12. Jedi believe in eternal life. We do not become obsessed in mourning those who pass. Grieve as you will but take heart, for the soul and spirit continue in the netherworld of the Living Force.

13. Jedi use the Force only when it is necessary. We do not apply our abilities or powers to boast or be prideful. We use the Force for knowledge, and exercise wisdom and humility in doing so, for humility is a trait all Jedi must embody.

14. We as Jedi believe that love and compassion are central to our lives. We must love each other as we love ourselves; by doing this, we envelope all life in the positive energy of the Force.

15. Jedi are guardians of peace and justice. We believe in finding peaceful solutions to problems, gifted as we are we remain negotiators of the utmost ability. We never negotiate out of fear, but never fear to negotiate. We embrace justice, protecting and preserving the fundamental rights of all living creatures. Empathy and compassion are vital to us; it allows us to comprehend the wounds caused by injustice.

16. We as Jedi make a commitment to, and are loyal to the Jedi cause. The ideals, philosophies, and practices of the Jedi define the belief of Jediism, and we take action on this path for self-improvement, and to help others. We are both the witnesses and protectors of the Jedi way by the practice of our Faith.

The Jedi Code

There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no death, there is the Force.

~Star Wars

Fresh Corn on the Cob

Cook fresh corn on the cob in microwave with husks and silk intact. They will cook in their own natural moisture, and taste really yummy. Here's how:

Cooking Timetable:

  • 1 ear - 1 1/2 minutes
  • 2 ears - 3 to 4 minutes
  • 3 ears - 5 to 6 minutes
  • 4 ears - 7 to 8 minutes
  • 6 ears - 8 to 9 minutes.

Place on dampened paper towel.
Turn ears over and rearrange after 1/2 cooking time.

When ears are hot to the touch, remove and wrap in kitchen towel or foil. Let stand at least 5 minutes.

Remove husks and silk (which is easier than when cold) and serve with melted butter.

Greetings From Iowa?

Some people have too much time on their hands!
I thought farmers worked for a living!
Actually, I'm just complaining because I'm jealous - what a neat idea!

Dale Ungerer tosses seat cushions to look like pats of butter onto his 32 foot long prize ear of corn, which he made by stringing together 1700 plastic jugs on a frame.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

153 Chickens Rescued

153 chickens rescued from man's bedroom??
Yes, it's true!
And I thought having five cats was bad...
Here's the story:

The SPCA has confiscated 153 fertile broiler chickens from a Rylands man who was keeping them in a darkened bedroom.

The man told SPCA inspectors, who arrived at his home late last week, that he was a former employee of Rainbow Chickens. (Probably it was a place that looked like this)

City SPCA boss Allan Perrins said the man claimed he had "rescued" eggs from his former employers and put them into his oven where, "to his surprise", they hatched.

Neighbours called the City of Cape Town health department complaining of a stench emanating from the house, and officials from the department who inspected the property found the chickens.

They called in the SPCA.

Senior SPCA inspector Peter Lombard said: "The place was a mess and the room was dark." (I looked but couldn't find a single picture of a dark bedroom full of chicken shit)

Lombard told the homeowner he had 12 hours to find a more suitable home for the chickens, which were evidently neglected and badly fed.

The man called the SPCA on Thursday and signed the chickens over to inspectors - but then contacted them again, asking for the animals to be returned to him because he had found a home for them on a Faure farm. (Probably doesn't look much like this)

Many of the birds had already been put down, Lombard said. (I'd like to think it was something merciful and soothing ... like ... well ... this)

"Broiler chickens are genetically bred to feed 24 hours a day and resort to cannibalism when they don't get enough food," he said. (Be very grateful that I didn't put some pictures of that here!)

The SPCA ethics committee will consider the man's request about the Faure farm and make a ruling.

By Janis Kinnear

Monday, September 13, 2010

I have to go now.

I'm having an old friend for dinner.

Alan Watts talks about money

The following is from another speech given by Alan Watts entitled "From Time and Eternity". I'm not quite sure what I think of it, especially since today I don't have enough money - and he says that money isn't real - and I say - ok.. but having to pay the bills is real... real for me... so - what do you think?

(sorry, looks like this video is no longer available on YouTube
but here's a link to the ones that are: Alan Watts on Money)

*"Do you remember the Great Depression? One day everything was going all right. Everybody was pretty wealthy and had plenty to eat. The next day everybody was in poverty. What had happened? Had the fields disappeared; had the dairy vanished into thin air; had the fish of the sea ceased to exist; had human beings lost their energy; their skills and their brains?

No, but on the morning after the Depression a man came to work building a house and the foreman said to him "Sorry chum you can't work today, there ain't no inches." He said "What do you mean there ain't no inches?" "Yeah" he said, "Yeah, we got lumber, we got metal, we even got tape measures." The foreman said "The trouble with you is you don't understand business. There are no inches. We have been using too many of them and there's not enough to go around."

Because what happened in the Great Depression was a slump in money. Human beings are so unbelievably stupid, that they confused money with wealth. They don't realize that money is a measure of wealth, in exactly the same way that meters are a measure of length. They think it is something that is valuable in and of itself. And as a result of that get into unbelievable trouble, in exactly the same way time is nothing but an abstract measure of motion.

And we keep counting time. We have the sensation time is running out, and we bug ourselves with this as we sit and watch the clock. Supposing you are working, are you watching the clock? If you are, what are you waiting for? Time off? Five o'clock, we can go home and have fun? Yeah, fun. What are you going to do when you get home? Have fun? Or are you going to watch TV, which is an electronic reproduction of life which doesn't even smell of anything and eat a TV dinner which is a kind of a warmed over airline nastiness until you just get tired and have to go to sleep. You know, the great society.

This is our problem you see. We are not alive, we are not awake. We are not living in the present."

*This speech was slightly edited for clarification.

Confusions of the Mind

Here we have Alan Watts audio from Disturbing confusions of the mind. I love this guy.

The Alan Watts Story While many in the 60's played the stock market and paid their mortgages, Alan Watts lived aboard a colorful houseboat, writing, speaking, and inspiring a generation to re-assess their values.

For more than forty years, Alan Watts earned a reputation as a foremost interpreter of Eastern philosophies for the West. Beginning at age sixteen, when he wrote essay for the journal of the Buddhist Lodge in London, he developed an audience of millions who were enriched through his books, tape recordings, radio, television, and public lectures.

In all, Watts wrote more than twenty-five books and recorded hundreds of lectures and seminars, all building toward a personal philosophy that he shared in complete candor and joy with his readers and listeners throughout the world. His overall works have presented a model of individuality and self-expression that can be matched by few philosophers.

His life and work reflects an astonishing adventure: he was an editor, Anglican priest, graduate dean, broadcaster, author, lecturer, and entertainer. He had fascinations for archery, calligraphy, cooking, chanting, and dancing, and still was completely comfortable hiking alone in the wilderness. He held a Master's Degree in Theology from Sudbury-Western Theological Seminary and an Honorary DD from the University of Vermont in recognition of his work in the field of comparative religions. He held fellowships from Harvard University and the Bollingen Foundation, and was Episcopal Chaplain at Northwestern University during the Second World War.

He became professor and dean of the American Academy of Asian Studies in San Francisco, made the television series "Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life" for National Educational Television, and served as a visiting consultant for psychiatric institutions and hospitals, and for the United States Air Force. In the mid-sixties he travelled widely with his students in Japan, and visited Burma, Ceylon, and India.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wash Your Hands Right Now!


Well, I just discovered that hand washing affects your moral judgment and gives a more lenient attitude toward sinners and wrong doers. And since I'm pretty sure I fall into both categories, it occurs to me that before reading this page a good hand washing might be in order!

wash hands

I find this really interesting. It has all sorts of implications! For example - would something like this help when you're having a problem with your significant other? with your children? If someone gives you a hard time, couldn't you just suggest a good hand washing? It might be better than a hand wringing in a bad situation.... Does a picture of someone washing their hands have a similar effect? Could I post something like that on my front door? I'm intrigued by the whole thing. So... Here's the article, what do you think?

The old adage that cleanliness is next to godliness has now received scientific support after researchers discovered washing your hands can affect your moral judgment.

People who wash their hands make less severe judgments. A new study has found that people are more likely to be lenient in making decisions if they have just washed their hands.

British scientists who carried out the research said the findings suggest that jurors in criminal trials who have cleansed their hands may make their verdict less severe.

This suggests that voters may be more likely to excuse a politician's misdemeanours when going to the ballot box if they have just had a shower.

In the study, 22 people who had washed their hands, and 22 who had not, were made to watch a disgusting three-minute clip of heroin addicts from the hit film Trainspotting.

All 44 were then asked to rate how morally wrong they deemed the series of acts shown to them on a scale of one to nine, with one being acceptable and seven being very wrong.

The actions included stealing money from a wallet, lying on a job application, cooking and eating the family dog, killing a dying plane crash survivor to avoid starvation, and abusing a kitten.

All said they thought the actions were 'wrong'. However, the participants who had washed their hands were less likely to judge the actions as harshly as the group who had not.

In another experiment, a group was asked to read sentences with words such as 'purity' and 'cleanliness' before being posed the same moral dilemmas. Another group was given sentences with neutral words.

Again, the 'clean' group judged the unethical behaviour less harshly.

Lead researcher Dr Simone Schnall, a psychologist at the University of Plymouth, said: "We like to think we arrive at decisions because we deliberate, but incidental things can influence us.

"This could have implications when voting and when juries make up their minds."

Lancaster University psychologist Professor Carey Cooper described the findings as "terrifying". He said: "It suggests that washing can make us more prepared to accept wrongdoing. It is very scary when you think of the implications, especially in the judicial world."

Article by Murray Wardrop

Distractions and Blog Posts!!

Here's a perfect example of how I get distracted on the internet! I started out with an intention today of putting one post on each blog, and between posts, working on cleaning house, and if there was any time left over, finishing up the flyer for beginnings. And this is what happened:

I started with Two Feathers Reiki. Put up a nice little post called "Decisions Decisons" and the proceeded to make a number of ... well ... decisions. I try to keep my images hosted only on free sites - and in my latest search for image hosting I found the My Opera site - and decided to upload the images for Two Feathers Reiki and Way Cool Pictures over there. So, I went there to upload the image for the decisions post, and somehow ended up making ... I know how crazy it sounds ... another blog.

That being done, I loaded the dishwasher and then posted a Tolstoy quote on Way Cool Quotes, and (thus far) successfully talked myself out of investigating Tolstoyism... Hurray me! Then I posted images of ridiculously flexible people on More Cool Pictures... and put a bunch of trash into trash bags. So far so good.. I then trotted over here to Shirley Twofeathers.

My intention was to post about my absolutely most favorite food in the whole wide world... and in my search for actual information about the Ice Cream Bean, I ended up watching videos on doing Reiki with Horses! Which lead to the following video which I thought was really super cool:

Oh... and wait... there's a part 2!!

I really like this guy! Probably he's mostly full of shit - but it's cool shit, and well, I like him. Here's some more, because even if you've had enough, I haven't!

This is an interview - I love what he says about self love:

And then I found his Spirit Rap which is really powerful, so I thought, hey, this belongs on Feathers and Bones! There's even a CD, which I went and found at Amazon (here's a link - Spirit Rap) and put on my wish list for that mythical time when I have actual money.

And then, while posting at Feathers and Bones, I realized that I still haven't replaced the missing graphics that came with the template for that blog, and which disappeared when the person who made the template disappeared for a time and let the image hosting lapse... so now it's on my mind to get in there and fix that.... but wait... enough Shirley enough... go ... I dunno .... wash your hands! Which I have now posted... and ... (deep breath) ... (huge sigh) ... I'm now going to do some... what was it? laundry?

Wow - Food of The Gods

ice cream bean
"A delectable snack that comes in its own natural wrapper"
much loved by children.

ice cream bean

ice cream bean

This is my absolute most favorite food! I've never seen it here in the US, but when I was growing up - it was - well - Nirvana whenever we got it. We called it Guaba and sometimes Guayavana - neither of which is actually correct. A more popular name for it is the Ice Cream Bean. And it really does taste like vanilla ice cream! I remember when we moved into the house in Chupientza, there was a large tree growing right there in the compound. I was so excited. Imagine my disapointment when I discovered that it didn't produce fruit continuously all year round.

ice cream bean

ice cream bean

ice cream beanThese pictures are making my mouth water! What I would give to have one right now... hmmm... my first born child?

Here's the scoop on it:

ice cream beanIce-cream Bean (Inga edulis)

Although numerous species are called the ice cream bean, this is the most common species attributed the name. The fruit is a long bean pod, sometimes a few feet in length, which contain sweet, juicy, white pulp that has a soft cotton wool texture and tastes of vanilla ice-cream. The pulp surrounds a large smooth black seed. This large nitrogen fixing tree is native to Central and Southern America.

  • Description: Medium to large sized tree up to 60+ feet tall.
  • Hardiness: Will stand temperatures to the 30's when mature.
  • Growing Environment: Grow in full sun. Naturally occurs near river banks, so it enjoys year-round irrigation.
  • Soil Characteristics: Well drained, but tolerant of a wide range.
  • Climate Requirements: Warm humid areas - can grow in most parts of the tropics and subtropics.Not tolerant of frost or drought.
  • Propagation: By seeds.
  • Culture: Trees grow easily from seed, often becoming a weed below the adult tree. Limbs are very weak and easily broken by wind.
  • Harvesting: Pods are harvested when fully rounded usually over summer.
  • Length of time until first crop: Three years
  • Marketing Notes: Very attractive to children. Short life of only a few days off the tree.
  • Uses: Almost always eaten fresh. Trees are sometimes planted to provide shade to coffee and cacao plantations.
  • Native Range: Native to riverbanks, swamps and lakes of the Amazon Rainforest.

Here are some pictures of what it looks like growing and blooming:

ice cream bean
ice cream bean
ice cream bean
ice cream bean
ice cream bean

Gosh I wish I had the time and the location to plant a few of those seeds and grow a couple of trees!!

ice cream bean

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Please Do Your Part!

Today is National Mental Health Day. You can do your part by remembering to say hello to at least one unstable person.

Hello there dear reader!

Well, my job's done!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Feel the Lethargy and Do It Anyway

Here's a little something I found ... I wonder if simply reading it will suffice to get my motor revved and me up and running... OK, probably not. What if I read it out loud? Maybe if I read it in a really loud voice??

So, here it is from Holly Zenith:

Yuck, it’s tax time again. One of these days, you’ll get your hands on the documents you need and you’ll fill out your return – on time this year! But not right now. That’s too much hassle.

You’ve been meaning to start that running program, but not tonight – you’re beat.

You’re at work and you’re sneak-surfing on the internet. Whenever anyone passes by, you alt-tab quickly back to a bogus spreadsheet. You know you need to get back to work and stop loafing, but you just can’t get focused.

Do any of these scenarios sound like you? Maybe it’s not taxes, exercise, and work that you’re putting off – maybe it’s a heart-to-heart conversation with your daughter, or maybe it’s cleaning out the junk drawer in the kitchen. Maybe it’s folding a basket of laundry. Clipping your toenails. Whatever it is, you just can’t seem to get motivated to do anything!

Sometimes it isn’t fear of failure that holds us back. Sometimes it’s just plain old lethargy! And if that’s the case, you probably won’t finish reading this article, because when you’re feeling lethargic, the last thing you want is to be motivated!

I don’t know about you, but often when I’m feeling lethargic but otherwise perfectly healthy, I have conflicting voices running in my head. One voice wants me to snap out of it and get things done that I promised myself or others would get done. The other voice whimpers, “Leave me alone.”

Here are two techniques that I use to snap myself out it and get moving on things again:

1. Movement creates movement. Once you make any move at all, you’ve begun creating momentum, so it’s easier to keep moving. Sometimes it seems to require the combined forces of the entire Universe just to launch that first little bit of movement. Sometimes you have to bargain ruthlessly with yourself. I promise myself some great reward for small effort. It’s ridiculous. “Just open the folder on the computer that has the report I need to work on. Then click on the report and it will open. THEN I can have a candy bar.” Once the report is open and I’m chomping on my candy bar, it’s easy to jump right in and get to work on it.

If you’re putting off shoveling the snow, promise yourself a reward for getting your coat, boot, hat and mittens on. If you’re putting off starting that running program, promise yourself a reward for setting your running clothes & running shoes out and for setting your alarm a half hour earlier. You get the idea. Just do what you need to do to get moving.

2. Placate the child. I adapted this from The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by Neil Fiore. It’s the little child in you that doesn’t want to do what you, the adult, is asking yourself to do. Maybe the child is whining that you never let it have any fun, or it’s afraid that once you start working, it will be all work and no play, so the child reasons it’s best to just not start.

Prevailing wisdom is that you need to reward yourself AFTER a task has been completed, which is the theory behind the first strategy. This strategy is the other way around. Whatever it is that you’re doing that you don’t want to give up, negotiate a little more of it in exchange for starting whatever it is you’re putting off. For instance, if you’re watching TV but you need to shovel the walk, promise yourself that you can watch to the end of JUST THIS program. Or finish the chapter in the book you’re reading, or have that snack you’re fantasizing about. Or tell yourself you can surf on line for 10 more minutes, and then it’s back to work. Then make sure you do it!

If your lethargy is chronic or persistent or is accompanied by other symptoms, consider seeing a doctor. At the very least, consider some lifestyle changes, such as getting more sleep, getting more exercise, and improving your eating habits.

I have a little saying that I use on myself. “The less you feel like it, the more you need it.” Fit people often feel like exercising, but out-of-shape people rarely do. People who eat healthy diets often have a hankering for raw vegetables, but people who live on a diet of junk rarely do. Highly productive workers do take breaks, but they don’t let them interfere with their productivity – they take a short break, and then they get on with their work. And so on.

Are you putting something off right now because you just don’t feel like it? Before you click on another link, before you visit another site, or before you read another article, pick one of the two strategies and put them to work. Maybe you’ll even come to my website and email me to tell me if it worked or not! (Don’t do that until AFTER you’ve knocked that thing off your to do list, though!)

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