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The Los Angeles Times printed an article about hard-of-hearing people. This article helps people understand what it is like to be a hard-of-hearing person who does not read lips or wear hearing aids.

Do I Knead a Bread Machine?

Bread.

The staple of life.

Now that I’ve gotten used to making my own fresh vegetable juice, I’m thinking of bread. I recall reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a few months ago and coming across a passage by the author’s husband (Steven Hopp) who makes a fresh loaf practically everyday.

He says, “I know you’ve got one around somewhere: maybe in the closet. Or on the kitchen counter, so dusty nobody remembers it’s there. A bread machine.”

A bread machine? Nope, don’t have one in the closet or on the counter or anywhere. I’m lucky if I can find a spatula in our kitchen. During a party this spring, I was talking with the host’s mother. She’s in her late 80s and makes her own bread. I told her I wanted to learn so I could make homemade pizza dough, whole wheat, pumpernickel, etc.

“But I don’t have a bread machine,” I said.

She practically fell out of her chair laughing. I guess if you really know how to make bread the old fashioned way, you knead the dough. By hand. For a long time.

“You have to feel the dough to make sure it’s right,” she said.

Call me crazy, but kneading dough by hand actually sounds fun. I think I’ll try it (although I have no idea what it’s supposed to “feel” like, so I’ll have to wing that part). In the meantime, I’ll keep my eye out at garage sales for someone else’s barely-used, dusty bread machine.

A Meditation Walk

“Let’s take a meditation walk,” my mom suggested when she was visiting earlier this week.

That sounded neat.

“What is it?” I asked.

My mom said it’s when you take a walk in nature while meditating on a word or phrase. As you walk you don’t necessarily seek out specific things, but you do open yourself up to whatever gifts or lessons nature has to teach.

My mom, dad, and I all piled on our coats and boots and headed out into the woods. When we passed the woodshed, we discussed logs. When we passed the garden, we discussed vegetables. We talked about family and food and the gorgeous day. Before long we had finished the loop. Not exactly meditative. Oh, well. We still enjoyed each other’s company and the crisp air of nightfall. That’s priceless in itself.

Meditation walks are probably best when each individual wanders off on his or her own path. This morning I threw on sweatpants and headed outside. I was still wearing my pajama top. I had yet to comb my hair or eat. But I wanted to be outdoors first thing.

I choose to meditate on the words: “I will rejoice and be glad in this day.” The wind brushed against me with affection. The pines played a rustling tune. The sky offered colors of deep blue. The sun poured forth armfuls of warmth. I don’t know what this day will bring, but good or bad, happy or sad, easy or tough, I rejoice in its beauty.Š

Halloween

I’m debating what to do about Halloween.

I loved dressing up and collecting candy as a kid. But as an adult – and someone with a growing awareness of our country’s health crisis – I don’t want to encourage the consumption of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavorings…you get the idea.

I could hand out boxes of raisins, but I hated that as a child.

I could hand out toothbrushes, but again, that’s no fun.

I could bake something – treats using crispy brown rice cereal and natural peanut butter – but I know homemade goods would get thrown out by vigilant parents.

I have a friend who has her kids put their loot in a pile before bed. During the night the Great Pumpkin comes and Poof! their candy is turned into little games and trinkets from the dollar store. I also know a dentist who gives money in exchange for the kids who turn in their candy.

Hmm.

I was reading a recent issue of Body & Soul magazine and saw a small article on fair trade. Most chocolate, the article said, is exported from the Ivory Coast where kids aren’t going to school because they’re working on cocoa farms to help with family income. Buying fair trade products ensures that the money goes directly to the farmers and their communities instead of all the middlemen. And it just so happens that you can buy individually wrapped pieces of fair trade dark chocolate (according to some studies, dark chocolate does have a few health benefits).

Click here for a link to the article and a list of the companies.

Napping Yoga

After a couple of weeks away from yoga, I wanted to ease back into the practice. So I went to a restorative class this morning. It was a new studio, and I wandered back to the office to sign in as “Drop In.”

“I’m a drop in too,” I heard another woman say. “This is restorative yoga, right?” the woman continued. “The kind where you lay around and rest?”

The yoga instructor smiled. “Yes. I call it napping yoga.”

It’s a fitting name because it’s so deeply relaxing. Today, we opened with a few side stretches and twists. The rest of the class we spent in Reclining Bound Angle Pose, Seated Forward Bend, Waterfall, and Savasana.

It was heavenly

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