Monthly Archives: July 2008

I am so angry.

I am not sure I have ever been so angry.

My body is one big knot.  Each day, I wake with a new knotted up muscles.  Today it is in my right shoulder.  Yesterday it was on the left side of my neck.

Yoga last night helped temperarly.  My yoga bliss was a much needed reprieve, even if it only lasted  a couple of hours.  Today, the anger is back in full force.

I can feel it when I breathe, a hallow dullness in my chest, a slight dizziness, my head light, my thoughts muddied.

The tears come at the most inopportune times, when I most need them to stay stuffed down.  I teeter on the edge of control, trying to put on a happy face and keep moving for the sake of my family and many times not too successful.  My poor husband, I’m sorry.

This is a lesson in fear and weakness.  Do not let things build up without saying anything.  Years worth of frustration and bitterness are very hard to deal with all at once.

I love mu shu. It has been one of my favorite things since I was a kid. My parents used to take me out for Chinese food regularly just so that I could have it. Yum yum yum.

I have been searching for years for a great mu shu recipe. I never did find the perfect one, but as with almost everything I cook, I took a recipe and tweaked and changed and tasted and tinkered until it was just perfect and I am happy to say that the mu shu recipe is ready for sharing.

This recipe is fresh and crisp, but not crunchy. It is flavorful and traditional in taste but lighter in weight and calories.

There are some compromises that I have made due to the availability of ingredients, family likes and dislikes and ease of making. I use flour tortillas instead of mandarin pancakes because I have two kids and no time to make them and I haven’t found them in any of the stores I shop at yet. I also leave out the traditional black mushrooms because my husband doesn’t like them and again they are a little tricky to find. Both of these could be found in an Asian grocery store and we have plenty of those in Seattle, but the extra trip just doesn’t seem worth it when it is just as yummy and a ton simpler without those things. I apologize to the traditionalists out there.

The work in this recipe is in the preparation. There are quite a few parts that need to be prepared and ready to go before cooking, but each is very simple.

Let’s get started…

Marinade the Meat
2 T. Soy sauce
1 T. white wine
1 T. Hosin Sauce
1 t. Sesame oil
1/2 pound of boneless chicken or pork in small strips or shredded*

Mix the marinade, add the meat, stir and let sit at room temp for 15-20 min or in the fridge for at least 1hr.

*This is a great way to use left over roasted chicken or pork roasts. Whether the meat is cooked or not does not really effect the recipe at all.

While the meat is marinating…

Veggies
2 cups Napa Cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 cup bean sprouts

prepare and collect all the veggies on a dinner plate, cutting board or bowl to ease dumping into the wok later

Cooking Sauce
3 T chicken broth
2 T soy sauce
1 T white wine
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 t. sugar
1 t. corn starch

Mix cooking sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Prepare Eggs
2 eggs
pinch of salt
1 t olive oil

  • beat the eggs in a small bowl with salt.
  • Heat olive oil in wok on medium heat.
  • Add egg and cook, lifting the sides to allow the uncooked egg to run underneath. When just a little runny is left, flip the egg patty over and then slide out of pan onto a cutting board.
  • slice the egg into 1″ x 1/4″ strips

Set aside for later

Prepare garlic and ginger
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 in section of ginger

mince garlic and ginger and set aside

Prepare green onions for serving
4 green onions

Julienne the green onions into 1 inch thin strips and place in small serving bowl to place on the table.

Now, everything should be prepped. This can all be done in advance and held in the fridge until you are ready to cook. Cooking this takes only a couple of minutes so don’t start until you are ready to eat. You must be ready to move quickly and serve immediately.

This would be a good time to warm your tortillas. I recommend the fajita size flour tortillas and about 2-3 per person depending on appetites. A quick and easy way to warm your tortillas is to place them on a microwave safe plate, sprinkling each tortilla with water and microwaving on high for 30 seconds. Right before serving, flip the tortillas and microwave on high again for 30 seconds.

Ok, time to cook…

  • Heat 1 T of olive oil in your wok on medium high heat.
  • Add garlic and ginger and cook till aromatic, about 1 minute.
  • Add your meat that has been marinating and cook until heated through, stirring constantly – time will depend on whether your meat was previously cooked or not.
  • Add all the veggies at once and mix them in. Cook for about 1 minute until cabbage begins to wilt slightly.
  • Add cooking sauce and egg and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about another minute.

Remove from heat and pour into serving dish.

To serve…

Take one tortilla, spread a little hoisin sauce on the tortilla, spoon meat and veggie mix into tortilla, top with green onions.
Roll into a little burrito and enjoy

This is a cover and cross reading, using the first 10 trumps and the I-X of Cups, examining my heart’s desire.

The Spread

For this reading we will be using the following cards…

I-X Trumps (Major Arcana)
I-X Cups

The spread is a cover and cross layout. Shuffle the trumps and cups seperately and them deal up the top cups card in the covers position and the top major arcana card in the crosses position.

The Question: How am I doing in my love life?

The Cards:

Covers: III Cups
Crosses: XI Justice

The Answer: This indicated you come to a mutual agreement. Raise your hand if you’re sure. [HUH?]

Examination of the cards

III Cups

My take: A pyramid of three cups sit amid a party atmosphere. Masks and beads lend to a feeling of mardigra. Letting loose, free wheeling, having fun, spending time with friends.

The card: Celebrations, good fortune, social rituals (weddings, births, deaths etc), beware of overindulgence.

XI Justice

My take: A woman with no eyes, wearing armor, hold a set of scales. The sky is dark and stormy and scales contain bright lights. Everything is in balance. A resignation to what may be may be. You are armed and ready, although you may not totally see what is coming yet.

The card: Justice, fairness, making the world a better place, fighting for the little guy, beware of being too judgmental.

Reading Analysis

I am always so off with the Justice card. It confuses me that a card that appears so often for me, just doesn’t resonate or stick me. I guess it could also just be that it speaks to me in a different way. I always want to think of it as balance instead of justice and fairness. Hmm, we will have to keep our eye on this one.

As far as the cards go, my marriage is very much about fairness and teamwork and working together to better our lives and positively influence those around us and this weekend we had two parties and saw many people we love.

Really, never anything too dramatic when it comes to my love life. My husband and I are solid. We are best friends, comfortably intimate and truly a team. We love each other deeply and just like being together. I can’t even imagine not walking through life with him. We are truly lucky.

This is one of those dishes that I just made up out of the sky one day. Hmmm, what to eat for lunch, combine a bunch of random stuff and poof, great dish. Well, some of the time it works out that way. As is also the way with these types of dishes, the ingredient list may seem a little eccentric, but it is a clean out the randoms in your kitchen kind of dish and boy is it good.

As with all my recipes, I recommend that you try it and customize it to your own liking. That is what cooking is all about. If there is an ingredient that you don’t like, or don’t have, omit it or substitute for it.

Since this is a kitchen cabinet meal, use what you have. No chicken? No problem, this would be good with any meat, no meat or tofu. Perfect use for leftover meat from last night’s dinner. Pretty much any vegetable would be great in this and any kind of rice will do just fine. The green olives and peperccinis are pretty integral to the flavor of the dish, but if you are strongly averted to one or the other, this dish will stand up just fine with just one of those. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make this dish your own.

Funky Chicken and Mediterranean Rice Salad

1 c. cooked cubed or shredded chicken
2 c. cooked brown rice
1/2 c. chopped red pepper
1/2 c. roughly chopped mushrooms (I like cremini, but any kind will do)
1/2 c. finely chopped or shredded carrots
1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
1/4 c. chopped green olives (my favorite are the garlic stuffed ones, but any will do)
1/4 c. chopped peppercini peppers (you can find these by the olives)
1/4 c. Italian Salad Dressing (this is My FavoriteNewman's own parmesan and roasted garlic salad dressing, use yours)

Putting this together is pretty simple.  Mix it all together and serve. The chicken and rice should be pretty warm when added.

mmmmm, tasty!

We are now moving away from Wands and onto Cups.  Cups deal with personal relationships and emotions.  The next several readings will deal with the people around me and my relationships with them.

For this first Cups reading we will use the I-X of Cups and return to numerology to select the card.   I will be using my first name and “adding up” the letters in my name to determine what card represents how I am doing in my personal relationships.

Karin

11+1+18+9+14 = 53 = 5 + 3 = 8

VIII Cups

The Answer

You tend to get involved in structured, open-ended relationships.  You like a structured framework around your relationship, allowing you to speak your mind.  Your best friends will be like thinkers and people who you feel you can share all your secrets.

Sidenote:  Your future involves making a departure of some sort.  You will travel to see someone at a distance.

The Card

*My take:  A figure climbs a set of pillars resembling stairs.  Eight cups are laid out on the floor below.  The “stairs” seem to be leading to the moon.  The sky is dark and starry.  You are departing, leaving on a journey, whether physical, psychological or emotional.  The cups, representing the people in your life are waiting at home, supportive and grounding.

The card: Following a new path always requires abandoning something.  The eight cups represent that that you are abandoning, whether it be a project, relationship or situation.  The moon represents an intuitive leap.  The man is nude, indicating a primal connection to his intuition.  Basically this means that your current path has come to it’s logical conclusion and now it is time to look to the moon (your intuition) for you new path.

Reading Analysis

Well, my life now is revolving around my new path and trusting my intuition to lead me to it, so this card makes sense, but what it has to do with the current state of my personal relationships, I’m not sure.  I have a feeling that the path that is coming to an end has to do with me only taking care of my kids.  Maybe by taking this new path, I am leaving behind some of the focus on everyone else around me and turning some of the focus on myself.   I can’t help but feel a little guilty about this.  This new path will definitely be a departure from my current existence.  In the answer it discusses what I seek out in friendship and that is generally a correct assessment.

* Please remember that I am learning and so the “My take” sections are my impressions after looking at the card.  These will change and come together with the real meanings as we go.  My goal is to come to a general meaning that resonates with me and coordinates with the card’s meaning.

This is a classic Celtic cross spread using the major arcana and wands cards we have been using so far to get a little more detail about the state of my career.

The Layout

The Celtic cross layout is one of the most classic and popular layouts. It generally give you a good overview of the past, present, future and how you can expect things to go.

Here is the general layout

       3         10
 5     1     6    9
       2          8
       4          7

Shuffle the wands and the major arcana cards separately while asking your question.

Deal the top two major arcana cards into positions one and two. These two cards are a cover and cross duo (this is really hard to represent without creating a separate image), but use your imagination.

Deal the top four wands into positions 3 thru 6.

Shuffle the remaining cards together, again asking your question, until the cards are finished and then deal the top four cards into positions 7 thru 10.

Here is some detail about what each position means.

1. Covers You – The current situation
2. Crosses You – The challenge you will need to confront and overcome
3. Above You – The best you can hope for, given the current conditions
4. Below You – The past foundation that needs to be considered
5. Behind You – Something that just happened the is influencing the situation
6. Before You – Something that is just about to happen that is influencing the situation
7. Who You Are
8. Who they want you to be – represents all the people around you and what they want for you.
9. What You Want
10. What you get – The end result, the answer.

The Question: What can I expect from my career this year?

The Spread

1. Covers You – IV Emperor
2. Crosses You – XI Justice
3. Above You – III Wands
4. Below You – X Wands
5. Behind You – IV Wands
6. Before You – VIII Wands
7. Who You Are – V Wands
8. Who They Want You to Be – II Priestess
9. What You Want – VII Chariot
10. What You Get – VI Wands

The Answer

Right now you are dealing with strong personalities, high expectations and power plays. Be strong and resolved. You need to make your own decisions. Your challenge is to set the right priorities and then go for it.

Success lies in joint undertakings. You must overcome past defeats and get out from under the things that burden you. Just recently, you cemented a deal. Just coming up, you are tying up loose ends.

You are the one on the front lines, you have good skills. Others want you to give input and read their minds. You want to be recognized. You have the opportunity for career advancement.

The Cards

IV Emperor – Covers You (the current situation)

My take: Order, ruling over things. Things are laid out before you in a straightforward manner.

The card: Fathering, law and order, social responsibility, power and structure. You have great power, use it carefully and thoughtfully. Be careful not to misuse it as you may be seen as tyrannical.

XI Justice – Crosses You (the challenge you must face and overcome)

My take: The scales are balanced. The skies are dark, she is blinded and armored. Whatever is in the scales shines brightly. You may not see what you are seeking, but all is as it should be?

The card: Fairness, being too judgmental, fighting for those less fortunate. The blindness indicates an unbiased approach to situation.

III Wands – Above You (the most you can hope for if circumstances don’t change)

My take: A man sits waiting on a rock as a ship sails in through the sky. The man is naked and vulnerable, yet surrounded by three rods, protectively. Something speeds toward you. You have the strength to handle it, but you must be patient.

The card: Waiting for signs of success and a return of your investment of energy. Beware not to become to wrapped up in initial success. There is still much work to do. The man is naked to show the purity of his intentions. You have chosen the path and set the wheels in motion and now must wait to see what happens next.

X Wands – Below You (past foundation)

My take: A naked man is crouched, 10 rods hovering above him. Very strong force of power. A triangle is at the top of the card, shining light down . His head is bowed as if in prayer or submission. Surrendering to situation, knowing you have done what you can and now it must play out on it’s own.

The card: The man is weighed down by the obstacles, problems and crumbling of his idea. This plan may have run it’s course and it is now time to look forward to new ideas. Beware of becoming a slave to your own ambition.

IV Wands – Behind You (just happened)

My take: The door is ajar, seen through the woods. Four towering wands surround the door. A fiercely bright light is just beyond the door. It’s so close you can taste it. You have all the strength you need, just reach our and take what’s yours.

The card: Stability, solid foundation. All plans and good ideas must eventually be acted upon or they just disappear. It is time to take action.

VIII Wands – Before You (coming soon)

My take: Eight wands fly through the air along with 8 doves. Things are in motion. Spirits are high and all is flowing well.

The card: High energy. Everything is clicking in high gear. You are inspired and can see your path clearly.

V Wands – Who you are

My take: Battle, Men with wands fight, stand guarded and ready against attack. You are armed and ready for the battle ahead.

The Card: There are several possible meanings to this card depending on the context. Most obvious is that there is a battle. Others include that the group is armed and ready to fight together, or they are ready to work creatively together. Each man is isolated from the rest of the group, indicating that the group is either fighting or working together from their own isolation.

II Priestess – What you are to others.

My take: She is mystical, psychic. She looks for higher meaning in things and finds comfort in the mystery of life.

The Card: The ability to tap into the subconscious and yet stay grounded in the present. It’s a delicate balance. A withdraw from the norm of the day to day.

VIII Chariot – What You Want

My take: This is a swift moving card. There is a man in a chariot with two white steeds and they are riding a wave. There is a huge steel contraption in the background reminiscent of an oil rig. This grounds the card and takes away some of the otherworldly qualities. I feels of being swept forward and taken for a ride. But, you must make sure to remain grounded in real and secure things.

The Card: Confidence, willpower, pride, arrogance, youthful energy, anger, insecurity. The path has been contemplated and chosen and now it is time to set forth. The road is not set in stone and you must keep your eye on the ball and not be distracted by the emotional forces acting here. With the right focus and dedication, you have the willpower, energy and confidence to fully succeed. The oil rig represents the beginnings of creating our mental framework, of pulling up ideas and thoughts from our subconscious and beginning to turn those into tangible attainable products of the real world.

VI Wands – What You Get – Then end result or answer

My take: A man stands on a balcony, 5 wands holding him up, his arms held up in victory, a bright light shining from the top of the remaining wand, which he holds firmly. This is reminiscent or roman times. This man looks like a leader and definitely a victor.

The card: Victory, plain and simple. A moment of elation and enjoyment of your accomplishment is in order. Just be aware that this feeling is temporary and the wheel of fortune will soon begin to move again.

Reading Analysis

Well, it seems like things are going to start moving and that success is definately possible and even probable. There is a group aspect to what I will be doing, but maybe not directly. It indicates that the decision has been made and now it is time to move on it. This still confuses me as I don’t know what decision has been made. A couple of things have happened over the last week or so. A friend of mine mentioned a part time web gig for a friend of hers that does cranial sacrum work and then I got this sinus infection (ouch and sucky) and did a bunch of research on holistic ways of approaching sinus infections, and from several other directions I am getting bombarded by the alternative medicine thing. I have a horticulture degree and herbology and holistic medicine have always been great interests of mine. It is worth looking into and exploring, but I can hardly say that I know for sure about that. If I know anything for sure, it is that I would really like to be a yoga instructor and that I don’t want to do the web thing forever. With the yoga thing, i am a good year away from even having that discussion with my instructor so I can’t see that this is it. The only thing I can think of is that the events of the last week or so have put something I’m not quite aware of into motion. I’m going with that.

Recently, I went to get my hair done. I am pretty bad about doing this and maybe get in twice a year if I am lucky. Usually I wait on pins and needles for my stylist to tell me how damaged my hair is and how I should really be using this product or that, for sale at the salon of course.

But, I waited and waited and this comment never came. Instead, while she was cutting away, she exclaimed, seemingly out of nowhere… “Your hair is gorgeous! It is thick and soft and healthy, what in the world have you been doing?”

Well, I have never felt like my hair was anything close to gorgeous. When I was a small child, i had a severe case of cradle cap and would itch and pick at my scalp. This has left me with permanent bald spots on the top of my head, on either side of center. I have always had to compensate for this when styling my hair and it really bothers me.

My mother has thinning hair and I became really worried that as I aged, my hair would start to disappear. That being a huge nightmare to me, I started to do research about hair thinning and health as well as restorative growth of hair. I am not a big fan of pharmaceuticals or chemical treatments and so decided to try to avoid those types of products. Rogain and the like are also targeted at a specific kind of genetic pattern baldness and this is not really my issue, so skip that.

I tried several types of hair products and nothing really came of it and after wading through research and article after article of crap, I was almost ready to resign to the fact that there wasn’t much I could do. Then I came across a good piece of advice and some pieces of information that just seemed to make sense.

What do I have to lose? I thought. And so I changed two simple parts of my hair care routine and a little less than a year later, my hairdresser is giving my hair accolades and asking me, rather than telling me, what I am doing to take such good care of my hair.

So, are your squirming to know yet? Well, don’t get too excited. It is so simple. Here it is…

1. Stop washing your hair so much.

and

2. Stop using hair products with parabens in them.

That’s it!

NOTE: I am not a physician and this certainly won’t work for everyone, but I have noticeably thicker, healthier hair and even have new growth in the thin areas that have persisted since my youth. Please don’t hold me responsible for your results.

Here is a little more detail and some tips for those of you who may be interested in this.

About Washing Your Hair

It is recommended that you only wash your hair once a week, but that was impossible for me. I actually started with every other day and then lengthened the time by a day or so until my hair was so bad I couldn’t stand it and made that my schedule. I wash my hair on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Twice a weak. By the last day (especially Tuesday), my hair is starting to get on the greasy side, but hey that’s what pony tails are for.

Now, this does not mean that you can’t or shouldn’t get your hair wet in between washings. Washing your hair, in this context, means putting shampoo on your hair. In between washings, I rinse my hair thoroughly and rub down my scalp (no fingernails). I also use a small amount of conditioner (also paraben free) to help with manageability.

When you do wash your hair, you may need to use a little more shampoo than you usually do, but do not wash your hair more than once.

Paraben Free Products

Parabens are preservatives that are used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. They can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation. Toxins pass easily through the skin and hair follicles are active pathways. Buildup of these toxins can prevent your hair growing and regrowing to it fullest potential.

There are many paraben free products available. I use Avalon Organics Nourishing Lavender Shampoo and Conditioner., but there are many available and they can usually be found at your local health food store or easily online.

These products can often be a little more expensive, although if you shop around and look online you should be able to find a good deal on a great product. Also, if you have a Trader Joes near you, check there. I pay $4.99 for the products I use. The retail price is about $8.95. That’s a significant savings.

The only other thing I can think of to note is that you may need to use a little more shampoo on days that you wash your hair. More natural hair care products are not as foamy as those hair care products that are full of chemicals, and then on top of that, your hair is dirtier than usual and that keeps the soap from foaming as well, so just use a little more. No need to go overboard, just a little extra. Don’t however wash your hair twice. This is very damaging.

I hope that this simple two step system to healthier, fuller hair benefits you. Of course there are no guarantees and it won’t happen over night, but I can say that I have noticeably more hair where my thinning spot are and my stylist thinks my hair is gorgeous. What’s better than that?