Archive for June, 2011

The Gift Of The Absurd


June 27th, 2011

circus
Is it just me? Or does it seem like life has been getting more and more absurd lately? People have lost their grasp on reality. Or maybe reality is just too undesirable for people to see right now. So we create these barriers. The foundation for the most insanely absurd world ever to be. That’s what it feels like to me right now.

tsaExhibit A. This poor woman is dying. She’s 95 years old, and she was trying to get on a plane to visit family and share her final moments. She unwittingly became embroiled in a TSA scandal after they felt something funny in her depends. They literally forced her to remove her depends so they could be inspected. I actually got into an interesting discussion about this last night. I understand the reason for the increased security. Of course. We all want to be safe. But when our barriers get so high that we can’t see the pain we are inflicting on a dying 95 year old woman, it’s time to reflect. Isn’t it?

hospital
I am going through something related to this. Five years ago, I was in perfect health. Then, I was exposed to toxic sewer gas in the home I was renting. I’ve gone into this IN MORE DETAIL in earlier posts. The medical aspect of it is absurd. It’s frustrating. And I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I have struggled and fought hard for my health with mysterious issues that are debilitating and expensive. I swam upstream through a medical system that offered very little help or answers. But the most painful part of it to me is the injustice. This issue will more than likely cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of my life and all so that my former landlord could save a few thousand dollars on maintenance. And while he admits to knowingly exposing me to this gas, I’m out of luck. They can’t prove what caused my illness because they don’t know what it is. A perfectly healthy person develops a bizarre immune system and/or liver disorder after being exposed to toxic gas, and he contends that it’s a coincidence. Are you kidding? Really? And the most insane part of it is that he gets away with it. And why? Because this world is absurd! Or perhaps, more realistically, because there is no money to be made from this particular incarnation of misfortune.

autoimmune epidemicI am not the first person this has happened to. Author, DONNA JACKSON NAKAZAWA, has written a book about this. That the incidence of autoimmune related illnesses is skyrocketing. She believes it is from the increasing onslaught of toxic substances that we are exposed to in the modern world. Our immune systems are breaking down, and the medical establishment is creating barriers because nobody is ready to deal with the issue. I am here to tell you though, these barriers are hurting innocent people! This is a problem that is not going to go away. You can only brush it under the rug for so long.

foreclosure crisis
Unfortunately, my problem is only one problem in a sea of problems that people are now attempting to brush under the rug. The foreclosure crisis is affecting many, many more.

financial crisis
Not to mention the impending financial doom that everyone can’t stop talking about. Is it just me? Or are people getting sick of seeing the bad guys winning? Over and over. Enough already! It’s insane.

crash aftermath
Today is officially the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of my BIG CRASH. A time to reflect. A time to look back at how far I’ve come. The last few weeks, I’ll admit I’ve been down and out. I get depressed and hopeless sometimes. It seems like the obstacles never end. Some days, I just want my old life back. Before all of this craziness. It seems so unfair. But what I’m realizing is that dwelling on that just sets me back further. Physically, it triggers my autoimmune issues. And emotionally, I just get depressed. I need to change my outlook. This is absurd. It’s insane. It’s hilarious! Really. It’s like Bill Clinton saying he didn’t inhale. Or Anthony Weiner sending weiner pictures to people on the internet. It makes no sense! So why am I taking it so seriously? No more! I am going to find away out of this mess. And the answers are going to be hilarious…and creative…and a gift! Mark my words.

Exhibit B
Exhibit B. This is my friend, Kristen. She is amazing! She is a musician and a single mom and a survivor. She is recovering from a brain tumor. But you would never know it. She has the most amazing gift for finding joy in every situation. This week, she has gifted me with one of her amazing, creative solutions. One of my big obstacles right now is getting around the limitations. I am selling my products in two wonderful venues, LIVE LIVE AND ORGANIC and the NE FARMER’S MARKET. I would do more, but I can’t. I physically can’t make that much product because of my issues. My leg goes numb if I stand too long, and I have to wear a pain machine the entire time I am working. I would hire someone to help me. But unfortunately, my landlord left me with a mortgage worth of bills to pay so I could save him a little money. I have to find a creative solution. Enter Kristen!

kristen
Kristen started ‘Kristen’s Front Porch Grocery and Lounge’. She has brought some amazing people together. On her porch. There are a number of products available. KALE CHIPS. Tempeh. Fresh vegetables. A CSA drop. And salsa is coming soon, I hear. It’s about as local as you get! She is amazingly selling a LOT of chips! I am actually having trouble keeping up with the demand. But best of all, it is a low pressure gig. Perfect for healing!


Yesterday, she had a front porch social hour where I met Ryan (who makes the tempeh) and Sarah (who grows the veggies). It’s so inspiring to see people coming together and getting around the obstacles. We can do this! THANK YOU, KRISTEN for reminding me that we are empowered and enlightened beings. We have the answers! And we don’t need to give them away. Maybe the bad guys do always win. But their game is crashing and burning all around. And the good guys are rising from the ashes! VIVA LA REVOLUCION!

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Deja Vu


June 20th, 2011

cloudy
Well, the view is a little cloudy these days, but the light is still getting through. Though admittedly, there were a couple days last week when I wasn’t so sure. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I am slowly recovering from a couple different accidents (a TOXIC EXPOSURE and a CAR CRASH). These have been inspiring a number of complications which I am discerning how to navigate. I haven’t figured out all the answers yet, but I can tell you that the outcome is destined to be something unusual. A lot of issues related to this struggle are climaxing right now. In a big way. It’s complicated. As such, I’m going to break them down over a few posts. As I try to digest them.

eyefb
One of my big dramas this week has been with my eye. I was sitting in my apartment, typing on my computer last week. Seemingly out of nowhere, I started to get this really dry feeling in my eye at the same time that it felt like there was a foreign object in it. At first, I thought I got an eyelash in my eye. But when I looked in the mirror, I found this…

eye
A big, ugly, growth on my eyeball. Attractive, right? Now before you get too freaked out, I should tell you that it’s not contagious. And on top of that, this EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED TWO YEARS AGO. It’s some IMMUNE SYSTEM MALFUNCTION, episcleritis. The last time this happened, I was freaked out. They referred me to an immunologist who I waited five months (on pins and needles) to see.

eye up
I went through all manner of testing (which I should add I am still paying off). And where did that get me? Pretty much nowhere. The doctor at the time told me that I didn’t have lupus…YET. Well, last week after this happened, my doctor told me I should go back to rheumatology and get checked (essentially exactly where I went two years ago…for the second time). This would have been my third trip to rheumatology. At this point, I had a meltdown. Seriously. What is the point? Every time I go, it’s this horribly expensive ordeal that’s really stressful, they never figure out anything, and at least half of the time someone (who shouldn’t even be licensed to practice medicine) tells me I’m a hypochondriac. NO WAY, JOSE. I’m not doing that AGAIN.

anomalies
At first, I demanded to get sent to the Mayo. I was really upset. The good news is that this spurred a heart to heart with my doctor that was long overdue. The bad news is that they don’t know what is wrong. It is likely some variation of autoimmune disease. This is completely NOT SHOCKING to me. Unfortunately, autoimmune diseases are hard to diagnose anyway. Especially weird ones. It could be that it’s lupus. Or it could be something else. Whatever it is, it’s not lighting up the classic profile of test results. So they basically just keep an eye on me. And watch out for more complications until they can figure it out. This conundrum has caused a number of complications in my life that also climaxed this week. Epic sagas which deserve their own post. But in essence, I’m not even sure if I want them to figure it out honestly. Because if they do, all they can do is put me on steroids for the rest of my life. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will also know that my LIVER IS NOT RIGHT. So while I would appreciate the validation, I don’t think that is ultimately a viable path for me. Not if I want to live anyway. Have I mentioned that this has been going on for five years? This is difficult enough for me to digest, and I’m a fairly open-minded, free spirit. My poor mother is about to tear her hair out. Yesterday, she hung up the phone on me because I decided to wait on the Mayo. Interestingly, this was my mild drama from last week. There’s a lot more of that coming down the pipe. Let me tell you…

kale bed
In other more inspiring news, my garden is looking great! Here is my KALE FOREST. On the end, we have a couple rows of dino kale. The rest is green curly kale. The two plants that are flowering are actually the two that survived the winter. Amazing! I have been munching off of this bed a lot this week. We had a few nice rainstorms that really perked up all my lettuces.

lettuce bed
Speaking of, check out my other lettuces. Looking good!! The swiss chard and the romaine are looking mighty fine! I filmed a video for PRL TV of me setting up my garden beds this year. I hope to have that ready soon.


I have some arugula and WILD SPINACH that is going to peak soon too. I love summertime! My grocery bill is going down, down, down.

berries
I also picked some perfect alpine strawberries the other day. These are the best berries I will eat all year. So good! They are red all the way through. Not like the big white in the middle ones you get at the store.

So all in all, I’m hangin’ pretty tough out here. I don’t think I have ever experienced such dramatic and rapid change in my life as I am currently experiencing. And I should add that I am a change embracing bohemian type of girl. But this. This is truly epic. More on that later…

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Raw To Go


June 13th, 2011

logo
Guess what wonderful surprise I had waiting for me in my mailbox the other day? A care package from RAW TO GO, a new company founded by my classmate at 105 (now MATTHEW KENNEY ACADEMY), SONJA.


If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember THIS POST I did way back when on Sonja’s amazing shop project. Interestingly, we both ended up bringing variations of our shop projects to market (not what I would have predicted at the time).

fourbarsSonja developed this amazing line of granola bars. She sent me four different flavors (though two of them are still in the testing phase and may not make it all the way to market): Monon Mix, Pecan Pie, Curry Delight, and 100% Analog.  I love these granola bars.  It’s hard to say which is my favorite.  It depends on the day.  My boyfriend is really partial to 100% Analog (which was named after him).

analog
He is a RECORDING ENGINEER who is partial to the analog way of doing things. It’s the most pure and unadulterated sound. That’s where the name comes from. It is so cute how much he loves these bars. He wants to give them to all his friends. He’s like, ‘I bet I’m the only sound guy in the whole world who has a granola bar named after him.’ He’s probably right. This raspberry, macadamia, almond, vanilla yumminess is hands down his favorite.

monon pecan
The pecan pie and the monon mix flavors are the two that are available for purchase on the RAW TO GO WEBSITE right now. Both are outstanding. I can’t decide which I like better. I think I’m a little partial to monon mix, and my boyfriend is a little partial to pecan pie (which works out well and prevents fighting).

curry delight
The curry delight is the other flavor which is still being tested. I can tell you that it was a HUGE HIT at 105. I was quite addicted then, and things haven’t changed. I really hope this one makes it to market.

curry analog
You can always write to them and make requests! Maybe if she gets enough of them, something will happen (hopefully before I run out)…

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First Farmer’s Market


June 7th, 2011

dewdrops
Look at these perfect little dew drops on my WINDOW WHEATGRASS GARDEN. They look like little diamonds. A perfect omen for my first day at the FARMER’S MARKET.

ready
Here I am all packed up and ready to go. I wasn’t sure how much to make. So I was way beyond ready. I’m kind of relieved actually. That is wasn’t as busy as I was ready for. Because I practically killed myself doing all this. Truth be told, I’m still working through a lot of ISSUES. Things without easy answers. So the actual pace of this market might be right on target with my capacity at the moment.

booth 34Here I am manning my booth at the market. I’m in booth #34 (right next to the info table) at the NE FARMER’S MARKET. I have to say that the farmer’s market is one of my favorite things. I love it! The energy is great. And the other folks that are involved are all great too. It definitely feels like I’m starting to connect back into society from a perspective that is closer to my heart. So that is a very positive development. According to MATTHEW SANFORD, figuring out how to connect back into society after an illness/trauma is the culmination of every healing story. Maybe that means I’m finally starting to see the peak of the mountain!

kombucha
Directly behind me is the Que Kombucha booth. I love these guys. They make the best kombucha. They grow sprouts too. And the best part is that they love kale chips. So we have a trade going.

revolucion
My friend, PAIGE, came to visit since it was my first day. And she spotted this truck that pulled up right in front of our booth. The door has a little cartoon that says ‘Viva la revolucion’ or something like that. I’m taking that as an omen too. No more sitting on the sidelines. I am now officially part of the revolution. VIVA!

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Head In The Clouds


June 2nd, 2011

clouds
Well, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve had my head in the clouds lately while I contemplate my next move. If you’re just tuning in, I found out last week that I have a ‘FISSURE’ IN A DISC in my lower back. I just had a follow up with my doctor and learned some interesting things. It could be that there is just a rip in the disc OR it could be that it’s actually ruptured and the goo is leaking out. They can’t tell for sure until they do a discogram. Needless to say, my head is spinning with possibilities. Like, what does this mean for my nascent CHEF BUSINESS? Do I have time for this? Can’t they see that my business is taking off? I mean, don’t they know that I’m HUGE IN NEW YORK? :) (Kind of like the Tom Waits song. BIG IN JAPAN). Admittedly, this is not exactly how I planned things would go. But really, none of this has gone ACCORDING TO PLAN, and it hasn’t stopped me yet. It’s just a matter of unlocking the key to the silver lining. Right now, I’m still a bit puzzled…trying to make some sense of it. I just have to remember to stay open to the answers.

kale bed
In the meantime, gardening is a great way to keep your feet on the ground while you contemplate possibilities. This is my up and coming kale forest. I had one LAST YEAR too. Though last year, I didn’t get to tend to my garden as well as I would have liked because of the ACCIDENT. Actually, last year my garden was kind of a chaotic mess. This year is going to be better. I can tell. The weather is already being much more cooperative.

tomatos herbs lettuce
This bed is a little more heterogeneous than the kale forest. It’s got tomatoes, herbs, peppers, and several varieties of lettuce/greens. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE GARDENING? I filmed a video of me setting up my garden this year for PUNK RAWK LABS TV. It’s going to be a good one…

arugula sprouts
These cute little arugula sprouts that are just starting to see the light of day. This year, I think I timed things better. So that everything won’t come due at the same time. Hopefully this will help me eat things more efficiently.

wild spinach
This little guy is a wild spinach seedling sprouted from the BLACKBIRD NATURALS seeds I GOT IN THE MAIL recently. They are purple! The swiss chard behind it is also looking lovely. It’s just starting to perk up.

strawberries
The strawberry plant is starting to flower too. Soon, I will be enjoying the best strawberries I will have all year. I can’t wait.

straw lemonadeThis is a glass of raspberry lemonade I made for myself right before I took my bike ride to the garden. I just threw a couple raspberries in at the end and did a pulse. Mmm…so good! I highly recommend this. A very refreshing pre-bike ride delight for a hot summer day. Summer comes in short spurts up here in the NORTH COUNTRY. So you’ve got to appreciate it while you can.
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mississippi
Here is me riding my bike over the mighty Mississippi on my way home from the garden. I try to ride my bike there a few times a week as part of my physical therapy. I love having a reason to check in with her (the river). She has inspired so many great works of art.


One of my favorite songs about her is BIG RIVER by JOHNNY CASH. I love how he talks about meeting her accidentally in St. Paul, MN. Just like me. I live in St. Paul, but my garden is in Minneapolis (just across the river).

mpls skyline
Here’s a pic of the Minneapolis skyline from the Mississippi River bridge the other day. Part stormy. Part inspired. That’s pretty much me right now in a nutshell. :)

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