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Lillies & Lettuce


I Am A Cat Quotes

Excepts from "I Am A Cat" before I have to return it...

"My master suffers random spasms of concern about his growing daughters. Their growth is unpreventable, and they are certainly all growing. Indeed, the speed of their growth reminds one of the sheer blue force of a bamboo shoot accelerating into sapling size in the garden of some Zen-perveying temple." - 492

"It is painfully easy to define human beings. They are beings who, for no good reason at all, creature their own unnecessary suffering." - 493

"'Mr. Jizo, the people in this town would like you to move. Would you be so kind as to do so?' And the Jizo promptly replied, 'Of course I'll do so. Why ever didn't they come and ask before?' With that he slowly moved away to a corner of the crossroads." - 510

"Human beings are, alas, so made that the more they indulge in secret schemes, schemes whose very secrecy breeds evil, the deeper they drive the wellsprings of their own unhappiness. And the specific reason why so many ladies are so much less happy than the average man is precisely because ladies overindulge themselves in secret schemes." - Yukie, 511

"If one is to make a worthwhile study of mankind, it is vital to seize upon eventful moments." - 519

"The saying goes that even motes of dust, if enough of them pile up, will make a mountain." - 521

"The foregoing events occurred precisely as I have recorded them and, as external realities, they left their quaint, little ripples on the stream of time." - 529

"We'll follow a path as thickly wooded as possible, one where even in daytime few people pass. Then, before you know it, we'll find ourselves thinking we're far away from the dusty city and a feeling, I'm sure, will grow within us that we've somehow wandered away into far-off mountains." - 535

"Well then, how about joining me for such an adventure? I'm sure we'll enjoy it. An experience to be treasured. Everyone, sometime, that's how I see it, really ought to hear a tiger roar from the depths of night." - 536

" 'That passed,' the poet said, 'so may this too.' " - 548

" ' As I was saying, 'I plan, I plan,'
Daylight darkened
And the night began. " - 552

"I am not at all surprised. Your weeping does you credit. All artists are essentially emotional and their tears are distillations of the truth of things." - 566

"I was sleeping," he managed to get out, "like a white cloud on the mountain top. I've had a delightful nap." - 584

'One must perish into life.' - 590

"The heightened self-awareness of our contemporaries means that they realize only too well the wide gap between their own interests and those of other people; as the advance of civilization daily widens that gap, so this so-called self-awareness intensifies to a point where everyone becomes incapable of natural or unaffected behavior." - 598 - 599

"In the old days, a man was taught to forget himself. Today it is quite different: he is taught not to forget himself and he accordingly spends his days and nights in endless self-regard. Who can possibly know peace in such an eternally burning hell? The apparent realities of this awful world, even the beastliness of being, are all symptoms of that sickness for which the only cure lies in learning to forget the self...

Who simply sit and, sitting all night through
Under a drifting moon, themselves withdrew
Themselves from Self an thereby came to be
Free of the world and from all Being free." - 600

"When individual awareness grow so strong, how can mutual gentleness be expected?" - 602

"The choice is yours. As Seneca advises, no man should carp at life when the road to freedom runs down every vein." - 604

"The moral is simply this: that one should always be war of the common human failing of allowing oneself to be blinded by habit to basic realities." - 610

"Well, the grounds for my forecast have already been stated and, I think, accepted: that modern society is centered, to the exclusion of all else, upon the idea of individuality." - 614

"The point is that they can only live together if their separate individualities are sufficiently harmonious. No question of disharmony arose in the old days because, being in the Confucian phase 'two bodies but one spirit,' husband-and-wife was a single person." - 616

"Now that the pressures of individuality are bringing on all sorts of nervous disorders, we are at last able to grasp the meaning of the ancient tag that 'people are carefree under firm rule.'" - 622

"Which is pleasant and quite normal, but the sad fact is that long-continued, pleasant normality becomes a bore." - 633

Ch'u Yuan is the main Chu poet.His representative work is 'On Encountering Sorrow' (Li-sao),the longest Romantic poet ever in China,totalling 373 lines & 2490 words.Style is descriptive & full of imaginery & mythological allusions.Its greatest achievement lies in its use of symbolism which is not hyperbolic to reflect his thoughts & ideals.The content relates his lifestory & his anger of the evils of court intrigue & the decadence of the nobility.After being banished from his beloved state at the orders of evil courtiers that influenced the ruler,the righteous poet was forced to wander about,writing poetry,including 'Li-sao',obeserving folk rites & legends that greatly influenced his works.Finally when the Chu capital fell to the Chin troops,he drowned himself in despair & agony on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese Lunar year,into the River Mi-lo.There was a search for his body & the people threw rice dumplings into the river to feed the fish so they would not eat the poet's body.From this,we can see the love the people have for him,which leaves him an illustrious name in history who gained everlasting respect.Over the years,it came to be the famous Dragonboat/Rice dumpling Festival. The picture on this page is a cartoonised version of him,as he carries a triangular shaped yellow colored dumpling. - Taken from http://www.angelfire.com/journal2/wen/chou.html in reference to a reference in the book.


New Shoes & Profound Experiences

I've finally got those expensive, amazing new shoes that my Mom has been promising me since my last birthday. They came at the cost of more than a little embarrassment (note to shoe shop owners: hiring "cute" college boys may be a good move for delivering sells to any college girl that catches their eye, but it can be intimidating to the less interested folk) but they are oh so good shoes. This is the beginning of quite the relationship - I realize what they mean by "love at first sight." Admittedly, I passed this pair up once or twice for some cuter ones with buckles and stitching, but eventually arrived back to it for its "staple" soles and narrow design. I was biased towards the poor pair at first, wanting a cuter set (how callous of me) but as soon as I tried them on... "Its like I've known you forever, babeh."

Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I am not a clothes/shoes/material possessions girl (except when it comes to books and food) - but though my new shoes and I have only had a blissful hour together I'm ready to sing praises about the way the thick cushions caress the soles of your feet and the tender support offered by the heel. They may be plain and simple, but I have found the perfect match... for my feet.

"Just going to go garden for a minute..."
I feel like I reached a milestone last night. August, for those of you who don't know, is the worst month to be a Missourian. Heat and humidity forces itself into every corner and cranny, including the empty space between your ears, making everyone cranky, hot, sweaty, and tired. The past few years this has been the time of year where my feeble attempts at gardening die. I would poke a nose out of our air-conditioned-to-the-state-of-an-igloo house and decided that the flowers would have to fare on their own, I wasn't nuts enough to go outside!

Thankfully, things have changed. As I set up some make-shift trellises for my Happy Cherry Tomato Plant, sweat literally falling in waves into my eyes, it dawned on me that I've come a long way from the feeble, timid, very ignorant (compared to now!) gardener of yester-year. Anyone who would cast their eyes over my current garden (99.8% weeds, one Volunteer Happy Cherry Tomato Plant, five bean plants, four half-dead or dead tomato plants, and some scraggly cucumbers) would probably raise both eyebrows and snort in disbelief. But trust me. Things have changed! I think one of the hardest transitions for the molly-coddled, milk-comes-from-the-grocery-store city kid turned wanna be gardener to undergo is to be able to stroll out into their garden (however, erm, dainty it may be) and mindlessly set to work, being able to ignore such annoyances as mosquitoes, heat, and - most importantly - sweat.

Oh yeah. Its sort of like getting caught in the rain-storm without an umbrella. Once you get to a certain point of "wet" you stop caring about the rain at all anymore. Especially when you know you have a nice, hot shower coming and these clothes were going straight into the laundry anyway.

And so, it was as I dug into a pile of stinks-as-bad-as-manure mulch to tenderly tuck between my bean plants, that something deep and profound clicked. I was covered in sweat. I could feel the bites from some friendly chiggers on my legs. My clothes stank. And I was happy.

There. I think the most important aspect of being prepared for the sort of life I want has finally, somehow, settled into place. Acceptance of the cost of some fresh organic tomatoes? Love of doing hard, rewarding work? I'm not sure, but I know for certain I've moved into some important stage of life and gardening... and I'm happy to be there.


Tender Loving Cauliflower

1 large head of cauliflower
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of hing (optional)
3T ghee or butter

1. Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Steam until almost tender. Drain well.

2. Mix the flour, salt, and hing together in a large bowl. Add the cauliflower and toss until throughly coated in the flour mixture.

3. Melt the ghee or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and immediately stir to coat with oil. Sauté, stirring frequently, until brown.



Tempura (Basic)

3/4 cup unbleached white or whole wheat flour
3/4 cup soy or besan (chickpea) flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2T water
Oil for deep frying
4 - 5 cups sliced vegetables

1. Combine the flours, salts, and water in a blender or beat until smooth. Chill. Add more water if necessary.

2. Heat the oil for deep frying. Have a platter covered with paper towels nearby.

3. Pat the vegetables dry with a towel. Dip each piece in the batter to coat thoroughly.

4. One at a time, gently drop the pieces into the hot oil. Deep-fry until golden and crisp, turning once or twice as necessary. Drain and serve immediately.

Urad and other dal flours can be substituted for the soy or chickpea flour.

The trick is to have very hot oil and cold batter.



Pickled Baby Carrots

1 pound baby carrots
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T dill seeds
2 T sea salt

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook carrots for one minute. Drain in a colander and run under cold water. Place carrots in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Mix water, vinegar, sugar, garlic, dill seeds, and salt in a saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and let simmer for five minutes. Pour over carrots and let cool. Transfer carrots and liquid to an airtight container; refrigerate at least 24 hours before sampling. Keeps for about three weeks.

Works well with green beans, sugar snap peas, peppers, and cauliflowers too.



Spring Cleaning

I keep all these notes from work about interesting facts, links, or ideas. Of course... all those notes end up in a big, messy pile that I just can't stand. Time to sort through and publish the most useful of them!

"Adapt to the pace of Nature, for her secret is patience." - Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet, 1803 - 1882

"Of remedies oft in ourselves do lie, which we ascribe to heaven." - William Shakesphere

"Earth's crammed with heaven." - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

"Its a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best you very often get it." - Somersel Maugham

"In the night the cabbages catch at the moon, the leaves drip silver, the rows of cabbages are series of little silver waterfalls in the moon." - Carl Sandburg

Good foods to nibble before bedtime - cooked apples, brussel sprouts, tofu, millet, oats, walnuts and squash.

Choose cloudy apple juice over clear! Unfiltered apple juice contains four times more free radical fighting polyphenols than filtered. (Or just eat an apple!)

What to do when you feel afraid.
Pause - create space for what is happening inside you.
Name it. What are you afraid of?
Remember a larger truth.
Breathe with the fear - fully experience it.
If you are numb, empathize breathing in.
If you are feeling like things are too intense, empathize breathing out.
Offer compassion to yourself.
Turn your attention elsewhere.

Here is an idea... take any fruit or vegetable that you like and try to find it in literature!

The yam/sweet potato debate... in New Guenia, if a woman plants it, it is a sweet potato, if a man plants it, it is a yam.

"Mother feed me, I am hungry." - Filipino prayer, recited while planting rice.

Information on... beans!
Beans enrich and replenish the soil. Beans are often grown with corn so the corn can serve as natural bean poles!
Well cooked beans means very soft!
Ginger, cumin, hing, black pepper, and chilies are all good friends to beans because they stimulate the digestive fire, Agni. These spices are traditionally sauteéd in ghee or oil before being added toa dish. Savory is called "the bean herb" and customary season in Europe. Sauteé dried herbs in a little oil before adding.

Advice for those with Low Blood Sugar
Try 200mg of chromium daily to remove symptoms of low blood sugar.

Have your main meal at lunch, keep a regular eating schedule, and make dinner a vegetarian meal.
Eat whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fresh whole fruits and veggies.
Try adding coriander, cumin, fennel, cilantro, basil, rosemary, and turmeric to your diet.
Drink hot, boiled water to strength the digestion system, cut cravings, and normalize appetite, hunger, and weight. (Explains why I do so well on three large mugs of green tea a day!)

Links to Various Places of Interest
method : home - A green cleaning supply company with some unique items for sale!
Recycline - I get my tooth brushes from these people! :D
Recycle Bank - A community is paying their residents for recycling - with coupons to local stores~

The Baby Bunch - A cute floral design made out of fake flowers and organic baby clothes! Neat, creative, pretty little gift, isn't it?

Yoga Journal : Home Practice - A great series of guides for how to get invigorated in the morning and cool down at the end of the day. I plan on following this series of advice to get my day in order.


Ordered My Bento Box!

I use to be so good at saving money. What happened to that kind of attitude and personality? Ah, well... at least I got all the necessary things today: shampoo, bird food, cat treats... and a bento box. Seriously! If I'm going to start eating my own prepared meals, I need to have a really cute, really adorable, beautiful bento box to carry my lunches around in, don't I?!

... of course I do. Anyway, I've been feeling a "bento fever" coming on for a couple weeks now, ever since I stumbled across Biggie's Lunch in a Box blog. I need to bring a lunch to work/school anyway... so why not have it be in an adorable bento box? After a little shopping around (and a tiny bit of money finally making its way into my bank account) I picked out a Sakura "Koban" 2 Tier bento box from J-Box. It's very beautiful! Classy and elegant - I can see myself using it for years! I can't wait for it to arrive, though it'll take another two to four weeks...

Bento boxes appear to be quite the craze, too. A quick glance through Lunch in a Box's links has taken me into a large LiveJournal community where bloggers update almost daily with pictures of their bento lunches. I have to say I'm really impressed - but... really don't plan on spending as much time as everyone else seems to on meals. I've got studying to do!

Speaking of studying, I tried to track down some school supplies today... but really, what do you need for college beyond some pens and notebook paper?

Edit ... Wow. They have a "Bento Challenge" livejournal group that competes to design differently themed bento lunches each week. I have to say I'm tempted! Once I get the hang of packing my own lunch efficiently, I'll have to try out a few of their challenges!