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  • Moments in Thyme . . . Who Took the Safe out of Safekeeping?




    By Joyce Wiatroski

    I’ve come to the conclusion that once one reaches a certain age there is no such thing as putting something away for safekeeping.

    For several years now, things I’ve put away for safekeeping have become so safe they’re never seen again. Have you any idea the time lost searching? The utter frustration?

    The taxing turmoil of turning the place upside down? Not to mention the discouraging defeat of facing the consequences of losing an item.

    I’ve gained a new respect for those folks who just pile things up on the kitchen counter, the dining room table, or the bedroom dresser. At least there is a good chance of finding what you’re looking for. Just dig through the piles.

    Woe to the neatnik who compulsively picks up! And do I ever learn? Well, not so far.

    I was gifted early in December with a copy of O Magazine — the one with Ellen on the cover? It’s a neat issue and it might have actually paid for itself if I hadn’t been so anal.

    In that issue, Hallmark ran an ad with a $5 off coupon for greeting cards with an expiration date of 12/24/09. Wow, what a deal! I carefully tore the little coupon along the perforations and, I know — you can see this coming, right? I put the coupon away for safekeeping!

    I hunted high and low — so sure I would have put it in my purse to have handy when out shopping. But no, it wasn’t there, even though I looked multiple times! As if the more I looked in the same places, the better chance I’d have of finding it. After all, how many places would I have put a little coupon?

    December 24th came and went and today, December 26th, as I swished dust from one surface to the next, I found a little stack of “items of interest” tucked away in the bookcase. Stuff we should toss when it comes in the mail, but that holds just a modicum of interest encouraging us to put it aside to look at later. Though later rarely comes.

    There sat the $5 Hallmark coupon—in the place of honor—top of the stack! Completely worthless. Yet, even with its value now void, finding it offered a small bit of comfort and consolation.

    Is this just another manifestation of old age, brain cells dying off producing more memory loss? Will a supplement help? More green juices? Or perhaps I should attempt to change my anal ways before my expiration date arrives?

    I’ll try to come to grips with the realization that things are only things. And I’ll tell
    myself it’s okay to leave some things out on the counter in plain sight. A place guaranteed to provide safekeeping! And you know what? Even if we do forget some things as we age, and misplace others, overall we’ll continue to manifest . . .

    Like fine wine, women grow better with thyme.

    Joyce Wiatroski is the wit and wisdom found on the foodiefumblings blog.



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    Moments in Thyme. . . Past Reflections




    By Joyce Wiatroski

    Saturday — a quick trip to the downtown library, a building crammed with knowledge and entertainment as well as a daytime refuge to many homeless souls. Then off to explore a new outdoor market.

    I love the city.
    Can’t imagine being away from the intoxicating smell of exhaust fumes, the cacophony of autos, sirens and church bells chiming the hour. After many a rainy Saturday, the sky is Florida blue, the sun shines benignly, tempered by a soft breeze and low humidity.

    Early April paradise!

    shopping1The produce the farmers parade looks pretty sad, but then the merchants don’t appear to be farmers. Wilted herbs, stunted red peppers nestled next to overgrown green cucumbers and giant, seed-filled zucchinis. Suddenly I’m surprised by perfect plump mushrooms bedded beside crisp, green snow peas. My mouth waters as I imagine the enticing aroma of the peas and mushrooms sautéing with sweet onions, grated ginger and a dash of roasted sesame oil. A few dollars change hands. Supper is solved.

    As I sit surveying the scene, my senses are pleasantly piqued with a wonderful mix of orchid candles and handmade patchouli soap. I suspect I will have to have some of each before I leave.

    Indulged myself! Hazelnut iced coffee and a warm fresh, buttery croissant lightly stuffed with caramelized onions and topped with poppy seeds. Probably 1,000 calories or more. Better walk an extra mile or two today.

    Live music across the way lifts the spirit. The fountains in the center of the square are bubbling up and a few adventurous children dart in and out. I wonder where I put the slides I took here a couple of years ago for a class assignment. Great candid shots of a group of kids from a foster home clowning around while cooling off in the fountains on a very hot, humid Sunday afternoon. Worth looking for.

    Lots of flowers and plants. Gorgeous orchids. Actually, the flowers and plants steal the show. It would be nice to have local, organic produce for sale. There are interesting artisanal breads and colorful ethnic salsas and a couple of coffee stands run by a mother and son with prices to put Starbucks to shame.

    Young and old, fat and thin, black and white. The yuppies, the guppies, and even the old mullets, swarm around the square competing for walking space with a group of foraging pigeons. Little red legs, iridescent green neck feathers and amber beady eyes pecking away at whatever crumbs they find upon the ground. I pull apart small pieces from the end of my croissant and toss them out to the avian crowd. They come from clear across the square for a few small morsels of bread, then rise en masse, as they leave for another crumb sighting, startling dozing seniors resting on the scattered benches.

    I reluctantly gather my things and prepare to leave, but not before I take one more turn around the square.

    Finding these notes from six years ago reminded me how easy it is to find pleasure in the little things in life regardless of social standing, finances or location. Whether living in a big city, medium-sized town, or tiny village; single, married, widowed, divorced, young or old. We need to get outside and enjoy the riches Mother Nature offers. Stroll in a park, hike in the woods, check listings for art festivals, outdoor fairs and craft shows. Soak up the beauty in life — it’s one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves. Get some fresh air and sunshine.

    Breathe deeply, smile widely and continue to manifest . . .Thyme


    Like fine wine, women grow better with thyme.

    ** Joyce Wiatroski is the wit and wisdom found on foodiefumblings blog. You can watch for her contributions on the Diva blog on Tuesdays.



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    Moments in Thyme . . . The Little Things We Do




    By Joyce Wiatroski

     

    “Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” —Gandhi

    As I thought about these simple words I was struck by the depth of wisdom they impart.

    When I take into consideration the magnificence of the universe on one hand, and the immensity of the challenges that face mankind on the other: securing world peace, protecting the environment, eradicating disease and alleviating poverty, I wonder how anything I do will make a difference.

    Gandhi’s admonition that it’s important to do whatever little we can, resonates a simple truth. A cumulative effort will produce dramatic results.

    Think about it.

    • I can contribute to world peace by starting in my own neighborhood. By reaching out to a new neighbor, I’ve made an acquaintance out of a stranger.

    • I’ve learned to smile at the homeless and greet handicapped people I pass on the street, instead of avoiding eye contact. When they smile back I no longer feel uncomfortable in their presence. Maybe their day will be a bit warmer and brighter, too.

    • With a concern for protecting the environment, five years ago I stopped using plastic or paper bags when I shop. I’ve accumulated a collection of canvas tote bags and like a piece of plastic we often hear advertised, I “never leave home without it”.

    • Even though I live on a very limited budget, I’ve made a small monthly commitment to an organization that helps the homeless—The Salvation Army Bed and Bread Club.
    There are many other worthwhile organizations that would appreciate a few dollars regularly.

    • Because I love and listen to my local FM station, practically 24-7, I support it with a nominal monthly donation. My small amount, added with the contribution of others, makes non-commercial news reports, classical music and mind-expanding programs possible for the whole community.

    • I subscribe to the local newspaper, along with the RSS feed for a major metropolitan newspaper, giving me a different perspective and assuring that I’m aware of what’s happening in the world at large, as well as in my own backyard. Apathy is dangerous. We must take an interest in our world locally and globally.

    • I subscribe to a variety of health, nutrition, and raw food related blogs and websites. With the marvels of modern technology, I take advantage of interviews, seminars and podcasts that inform and direct me as I pursue a healthy lifestyle.

    • I keep up with issues that affect me personally and take note of subjects that pertain to family and friends as well. This allows me to forward information and encouragement to assist others on the road to abundant vibrant health.

    • I take full responsibility for my own health and well-being. No one cares more about me than me. No one cares more about you than you. Never forget that.

    Many of the things I do seem so insignificant. But in retrospect, I see how important
    it is for each of us to do small things to make our neighborhoods a better place, to help our communities blossom, to heal relationships, to work on building healthier bodies.

    If we adopt the rationale behind Gandhi’s quote, and do simple things consistently, the outcome may well have a far-reaching and lasting impact.

    These individually insignificant actions will exponentially build a better world.

    It’s up to us to make it happen. Let’s continue to manifest . . .

     

    Like fine wine, women grow better with thyme.

    Thyme

     

    Joyce Wiatroski is the wit and wisdom found on foodiefumblings blog. You can watch for her contributions on the Diva blog on Tuesdays.

     



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    Moments in Thyme . . . Breast Cancer Awareness Month




    by Joyce Wiatroski

    EducationNotMedication_75

    It’s October. Once again we are inundated with the annual mammography marketing campaign.

    What we need is more emphasis on education and prevention, and less on detection, as a means for women to conquer breast cancer.

    Researchers at the Nordic Cochrane Center in Denmark studied 500,000 women to determine the results of breast cancer screening programs. They found that for every one woman helped by breast cancer screening, ten were harmed through false diagnosis or unnecessary treatments that devastated their health.

    Why is all the money and emphasis being spent on detection? What ever happened to seeking PREVENTION? Why are women not being educated on ways we can prevent this disease, instead of waiting to be diagnosed with it and then being given ‘treatment’?

    Cancer is a pharmaceutical pot of gold that we all buy into year after year.

    Shame on us.

    Think+Before+You+PinkThe big business of breast cancer is alive and well and extremely profitable. Before you fork out dough for more walks for the cure and pink ribboned paraphernalia, think about the industry you’re supporting. Think before you pink!

    Take a gander at all the companies that have jumped on the bandwagon with their Think Pink messages. Many of these companies are selling products that contribute to cancer. (Cosmetics and beauty aids made with synthetic chemicals, cereals and pastries made with processed white flour, sugar and hydrogenated oils, etc.) These manufacturers ask us to buy more of their products so we can get more cancer. Then generous souls that they are, they offer to donate a few cents from each purchase for more cancer research. Meanwhile, their profits steadily rise by riding on the coattails of breast cancer and its victims.

    As a breast cancer survivor, woman and concerned citizen, I believe it’s a mandate for every woman to become more familiar with the literature on how one can avoid known carcinogens—factors that have been proven to contribute to breast cancer.

    It’s also our responsibility to become familiar with the steps we can take to avoid this aggressive disease that will strike one in — how many women? Currently, it’s one in every eight. As we continue to ingest more synthetic chemicals and toxins from our food, water, air, clothing, cleaning products, etc. will we see this ratio escalate?

    One+Hundred+Year+Lie

    For an eye opening exposé on the correlation between synthetic chemicals to the near epidemic diseases we now face, I recommend reading The One Hundred Year Lie by Randall Fitzgerald. This noted investigative reporter shows, in layman’s terms, how the ‘progress of modern technology’ along with corporate greed has led us down the road to the current state of health in the Western world today.

    BCA_gerti_rgb+(Small)

    Are you familiar with Breast Cancer Action (BCA)? Check out this organization that is actively AGAINST breast cancer and all the contributing factors that have proven to be precursors of this dreaded disease.

    • Help support a worthwhile cause by joining the Think Before You Pink campaign.  Use the leverage of your influential purchasing power by NOT purchasing pink items that contribute to breast cancer and other debilitating diseases.

    •  Make it your business to know what’s in the products you buy: the food you serve your family, the cleaning agents you use in your home, the cosmetics and beauty products you use on your skin and hair, the synthetic fabrics in your clothing.

    •  Don’t expect the guy who is making his living by selling you these items to inform you they are harmful. Find out for yourself if they are safe.

    •  Don’t wait for cancer to strike and then look for a treatment. Make it your first priority to find out how you can contribute to your own well being and then take essential steps to prevent it.

    •  Don’t let big business, whether it’s the medical community, the pharmaceutical industry, chemical companies, or factory farms and food giants dictate our future.

    As women we need to unite and speak up for our healthful rights.

    cancer_controls_women_150

    Cartoon courtesy of Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at NaturalNews.com.

    As a concerned sisterhood let’s continue to manifest . . .

    Like fine wine, women grow better with thyme.

    Thyme

    * Joyce Wiatroski is the wit and wisdom found on foodiefumblings blog. You can watch for her contributions on the Diva blog on Tuesdays.



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    Moments in Thyme . . . Food in Film!




    By Joyce Wiatroski

    Recently, I went to see Cloudy with Chance of Meatballs. As interested as I am in food, nutrition, and the sad state of our collective health, a mainstream, animated film that carries the message “don’t fill up on junk food” certainly caught my attention.
    The film does a neat job of sending an important message to kids and their folks. Having your fill of easy eats, such as chicken wings, cheeseburgers, and French fries, has dire consequences. The message is: “ease up on the junk food before it kills you”. I wonder how many viewers will take the message to heart. I also wonder how many left the theater and headed for the nearest fast food drive-in window.

    On the ride home, I thought about how film influences our lives — how our culture is both reflected and informed by the films of an era.

    Film offers escape, entertainment, enlightenment and education. It’s a medium that encourages us to lose ourselves, for a short while, in the adventures, joys and sorrows of other people. People much like us, and also people whose lifestyles and mores are completely different from ours. Film transports us, visually and audibly, to new worlds offering the opportunity to gain new insights, and develop broader understanding as we grow intellectually.

    Before television, movies were our window on the world. Each current generation has grown up with some exposure to film. For many of us, movies are woven into the fabric of our lives, subtly influencing many of our decisions.

    MIT #5Film has always been a big deal in my life. As a kid, Saturday at the Movies included a double feature, newsreels, cartoons, and coming attractions (trailers). We spent entire Saturday afternoons glued to the big screen. All for a quarter. Imagine!

    As a pre-teen, after seeing a fascinating ice skating movie, I imagined myself as a swirling, twirling, Sonja Henie, waiting to be discovered on the ice rink at our local firehouse. The fact that I couldn’t skate backwards, let alone twirl, didn’t diminish the dream one bit!
    Then Esther Williams stole my heart, and the dreams went from the frigid skating rink to the sensuous movements of a lithe ballerina in the wet depths of an exotic swimming pool. I couldn’t figure out how to give my adoring audience a big smile, while continuing to breathe under water. The mere fact that I couldn’t swim very well didn’t begin to slow down those exciting fantasies.
    I went on to dance with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly — giving Ginger Rogers a run for her money. Dressed in glamorous gowns, I pranced upon the stage in my mind. The movies were a wonderful weekly adventure, teaching me to aspire and to dream. Movies magically opened up beautiful new worlds, expanding horizons for a skinny, freckle-faced New Hampshire girl.

    Now I seem to gravitate toward health related documentaries, yet I’m easily lured by any film about food. Food speaks volumes about nurturing, caring, and love. The joy with which we prepare foods for family, friends or simply for ourselves is a major component, adding to the total nourishment of the final dish, make no mistake about that. The sentiment that food and love go hand in hand is reflected in many a well-written film treatment.

    For a comprehensive list of food films, check out Gastronomica. I was entranced by some of the titles, for instance: Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers, Killer Tomatoes and . Many of my favorite food films are listed: Big Night, Babette’s Feast, Like Water for Chocolate, and so many more, along with plenty of informative documentaries. Check out the list and find some grand food related films to watch. Don’t miss the recent release, Julie and Julia. Just because raw foodists choose not to cook, or vegans not to cook with butter, watching Julia Child (Meryl Streep) make culinary history is a pure delight.

    Food — the center of attention.  What does that say about us as a society?

    Today we each have the opportunity to make healthy food choices the center of attention. An opportunity to nurture, care and show love to our circle of influence by setting a good example, eating to nurture the body, mind and spirit. It will be interesting to see what impact we have on our immediate circle and watch the ripple effect on the world.

    Maybe someday we’ll see a film entitled: Sunny with Chance of Kale!

    Meanwhile, let’s each do our part to manifest . . .

    Like fine wine, women grow better with thyme.

    **ThymeJoyce Wiatroski is the wit and wisdom found on foodiefumblings blog. You can watch for her contributions on the Diva blog on Tuesdays.




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