Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Fasting Diary: Three Days In Review

I just finished a three day cleansing fast this past week. As I had posted in a previous blog ("Three Day Cleansing Fast"), I drank a lemony water mixture (along with plenty of plain water) for three days, without food. I kept a running diary of how I was feeling both physically and emotionally on each day. Here are my memoirs of those three days. . .

D a y  O n e
My first day without food. A Wednesday. A day that I work in my office. Tomorrow, however, I will be working from home, so I'll be interested to see how the days compare.

I made it through (Phew!). I was actually only slightly tempted to put food in my mouth, but the thought quickly vanished when I reminded myself of what my purpose is in doing this fast.

What is my purpose in doing this, anyway?

Oh yah. . . to cleanse my body. Basically, a detox. I had been feeling that my eating habits were getting a little out of control for some while now, and I wanted to do a good cleansing to help get myself back on track.

The morning was fine. Of course I had a few hunger pangs here and there, but not too bad. Oddly enough, around 11:00 a.m., I had my biggest food craving of the day. It doesn't help that many people in my office decide to eat at there desks around this time. So, I had to deal with some pretty strong food smells. I just kept busy with work. Often throughout the day, as I was faced with little pangs in my tummy, I could hear my yoga instructor in my head saying, "feel it, acknowledge it, and let it go", as if he was trying to talk me through an uneasy pose. This was tremendously helpful.

I started observed my hunger pangs. I would watch when they would start, how they would feel, and how they would travel in my body. This, of course, was all fascinating to me, and is certainly unique to each person. I also observed my urination patterns. Well, let's just say, I went a lot! As the day progressed, I did find my urine becoming more clear. Woo! I was on my way. About halfway through the afternoon, I found out that Darren and Emma, who had decided to join me for the cleanse, did not make it through Day One. And that's ok. I told each of them, that this just isn't for everyone. Generally speaking, it was a busy day at work, so before I knew it, I was sitting on Bus #27, making my way back home.

Today really seemed to be a day of reflection for me. Throughout my day at work, and especially on my bus ride home, I thought about how I've been living my life, and the choices I've been making. Mostly when it comes to food, but this certainly extends to other areas as well. I had been succumbing to every dietary whim no matter how unhealthy (I think I ate ice cream at least three times last week!). My glutinous behaviors need to come to an end. I thought about Buddha and how he teaches us that self deprivation is good for the soul. Self denial is a means to spiritual enlightenment, afterall, and I have not been practicing that much lately.

And then I thought about those of us that don't have a choice about not eating. I wondered if the hunger I was feeling, felt different to them. I am pretty sure that it does.

By the time I arrived home, I believe my family had finished dinner, and I was thankful. I played a bit with Otto, and soon it was time for him to go to bed, and me alongside him. I went to bed hungry, but I was fine. I was just proud that I made it through Day One, more than anything.

{Total Lemon Water: 60 oz  / Total Plain Water: 100 oz}

D a y  T w o
I woke up this morning feeling a wonderful sense of serenity. I can't express just how gentle I awoke, but it was quite wonderful. And not the least bit of hunger. Today was Thursday, and I was working from home. Dottie and I walked Emma to the bus stop. The morning was glorious. There was a faint fog and a slight mist hanging in the air. The temperature was perfect, and it felt good to be walking out in it. I was happy. By the walk back, the hunger was rising and I was determined to not let it take over. I got in the house, grabbed my laptop and a Nalgene bottle full of lemony water, and headed to the upstairs office to start my day early. I got into my working groove just fine. But as the day wore on, I started to feel hungrier. Today, it was harder to just let the feeling pass. I was holding onto it for whatever reason, and I was suffering for it. I also felt much more anxious today. Almost like I was bored with this and it was enough already. But I kept my focus on my work, and luckily, I had a lot to do.

Perhaps it was the lack of two 90 minute bus rides, but I found that I did not philosophize about what was happening much today. I was more in a coping mode. I found that I was clenching my jaw, and breathing deep throughout the day, as the hunger would come to me. In retrospect, I'm pretty sure if I could have just rationalized my hunger pangs a little better, as I had done the day before, I would have fared better physically.

To be quite frank, I also noticed that I was urinating less today.  But then again, I was drinking less water. However, I am proud to report (and I apologize if this is sharing too much), but I finally had a bowel movement today. A pretty normal one I'd say, and I'll leave it at that. By lunch time, I was having a hard time focusing, and decided to get my mind off the lunch hour. I treated myself to an express pedi, and within forty minutes, I was refreshed, and back at work. That was probably the best thing I could have done today. It really got me out of my head. . . and my belly!

Later in the afternoon, a wave of sleepiness came over me that was almost overwhelming. I didn't lay down and nap, but let's just say, I certainly could have! I knew I should have been drinking more water throughout the day, but I just didn't feel like it. The thought just turned my stomach. But I am sure the lack of water was probably contributing to my fatigue.

By the end of the day, the troops were milling about the kitchen, formulating a plan for dinner. Before the grill was even fired up, Otto was in his stroller and we were walking the neighborhood. It felt great to be outside. Otto dozed and we took our time. By the time we got home, dinner was over and I was making preparations for bedtime.

A few times in the evening, my family saw I was having a hard time. They suggested I stop, since I'd come so far already. I appreciated their concern, but decided to hold steady my course and stick to my plan. So again, I would go to bed hungry. But yet again, the feeling of hunger was overshadowed by the feeling of pride, for having exhibited great fortitude, when faced with the challenges of the day.

{Total Lemon Water: 45 oz  / Total Plain Water: 80 oz}

D a y  T h r e e
Again, I woke up this morning in the most peaceful way. Just lovely. I wish I woke up so gently every morning! And again, no feelings of hunger. Today was my last day on the fast, and it was Friday. Today, I will take the #27 bus into Hartford. I had a rough day yesterday, but I knew today would be better, because I was almost done. Up until today, I had not experienced any headaches. Just some irritability yesterday. Well, sure enough. . .they showed up today in full force! I had heard that the headaches will come as you are releasing toxins from your body. All day I had them. I also had a sharper little pain at the base of the back of my skull. This was interesting, and it is something I will investigate further. Today I was met with a lot of positive vibes. Compliments from friends telling me how great I was doing, and even a compliment on how wonderful my skin looked. How about that? That was enough for this gal. . .I was gonna make it! 

Now don't get me wrong, today had it's challenges. First off, on Fridays, my firm provides a bagel smorgasbord for the entire office. Not only did I have to contend with the wafting aroma of toasting sesame seeds and warm cinnamon everywhere I went, but I had to look at nearly every person in the office traipsing around with a bagel hanging out of their mouth! And it wasn't until today that the urge for coffee really hit me hard. Everywhere I turned, all I could smell was hot, rich and delicious coffee. So again, keeping busy, and fighting off the headaches with more water was my plan. Luckily, I didn't have nearly the trouble I had yesterday, getting all my liquids in. My tummy felt generally better. I did notice, in addition to the headaches, my urine changed from being previously clear, to being cloudy. I put two and two together, and made the assumption that my body was truly flushing out more toxins. 

By lunchtime, I had to get out of the office. It was a nice day, so I took a walk around the block, and sat outside for a bit. You feel different when you are on a fast. You are in a zone. What "zone" this is, I cannot say. But you are in a bit of a limbo of reality. You are observing people and their actions from a different point. Not so much from the outside. . .but almost.

I went back inside and finished up my day. I had decided that I would eat that night, since technically, I had completed my three full days of fasting at 7.00 p.m. When I got home, dinner was almost ready. 

It feels strange to end a fast. It was a strange way of living for a few days and to see it end is . . well, I don't want to use the word "sad", so I will just leave it at "strange". It is a journey that I was on, all by myself, from within my own body. It is a personal journey that nobody else can really understand or relate too. I am reminded of the saying that is to the effect of "Every man must do two things alone: he must be born alone and he must die alone". 

And he must fast alone.

{Total Lemon Water: 60 oz  / Total Plain Water: 80 oz}

I have been tightening the reigns on my eating since my cleansing, which is easy since I find that I am feeling full more quickly now. Once I broke the fast, I was instantaneously delighted with the array of dietary options at my fingertips. Although I am sure it will be a short-lived appreciation, as I know how quickly complacency sneaks up on us. I am feeling good in the days immediately following my cleansing. While the headache remained for a day following, mentally, I feel balanced and serene. I am surprised at how differently I experienced this cleansing, from the ones I've done in the past. I am older now, and find that I am reading it from a more emotional, rather than physical, perspective.

Will I do more cleansings in the future? Probably. Will I put a stop to my "glutinous" behaviour? This, I am starting to see, is all relative. After Buddha popped into my head on Day One, I decided to revisit some of the writings of "Siddhartha", a favourite book of mine written by Herman Hesse. As I was flipping the pages, I came upon one particular passage that stood out and spoke to me in regards to my fasting experience:

"...he joined a group of five other wanderers like himself. They told him he should fast - eat very little food - and then he would find the truth. So Siddhartha ate just one bean a day, or one grain of rice. He became very weak and ill. One day a milkmaid went past and offered him a bowl of milk. He drank it. Then he ate some food and began to feel strong again. 'From now on I will take the middle way. I shall neither starve my body nor feed it too richly, but will eat just what is needed and no more.' The five wanderers could not believe that Siddhartha had broken his fast and left them."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Three Day Cleansing Fast

Day One's Batch
(enough for three people!)
Several years ago, I was very diligent about routinely doing a fast to cleanse my body. I had heard of a "recipe" from my cousin. Basically you drink a specific lemon water (water, lemons, maple syrup) for three days, without food. It sounded kind of shady, if you asked me at the time, but it was a plan of some sort and she swore it was totally healthy. I ended up really liking the fast and would do it about twice a year, whenever I felt yucky, and it seemed my body wasn't working right. And each time after my fast, I would feel much better, and would not crave junky foods, but rather, had the urge to eat healthy foods.

So, a little while ago, I stumbled upon this blog on, that gave a recipe for a lemon cleanse diet. I checked out the ingredients, and sure enough, it was the same cleanse I had done all those years ago! Although there was one small difference: the original recipe called for cayenne pepper. Wow! I was amazed to learn that this was an actual legitimate program, developed in the 1940's by an alternative medicine practitioner named Stanley Burroughs. Of course, I saw this as a sign that it was about time I start another cleanse, and so I began to plan for my next fast.

Further research revealed that this cleaning was actually developed, as my cousin had promised, specifically to remove toxins from the body, and even eliminate unhealthy cravings. Burroughs published this diet in the book, "The Master Cleanser". In addition to drinking lemon water and plain water (no food!) for 3-10 days, the book outlines a dietary "ramping up" (or "ramping down", as the case may be) for three days prior to the cleanse, and a salt water flush every morning and evening. I had always just done the fast with lemon water and plain water for three days, and that was what I plan to do this time. But The Master Cleanse website gives all the details along with some really helpful information.

Here is the single serve (10 oz) recipe. The fast requires you to drink 60 oz per day (in addition to 100+oz of plain water), so I usually make 6x this recipe so I have the entire days' batch on hand:

2 tablespoons organic lemon juice (fresh squeezed, approx 1/2 lemon)
2 tablespoons organic maple syrup, grade B
cayenne pepper powder (as much as you can tolerate*)
10 oz. distilled water

I start my three day cleansing fast today! I'm excited. From what I remember, the fast is easy, without too much hunger pain. Emma and Darren said they would like to join me on this cleanse, so I'm very excited to hear what they think about it too. I will be writing a post-fast account of my experience over the next three days, so stay tuned. . .

* "Cayenne Pepper has many wonderful properties. It is a stimulant which raises the metabolism (something that is important when not digesting food). It increases circulation, which is very helpful when cleansing because one often feels slightly cool, likely due to the low metabolism which results from not digesting food. Cayenne Pepper also acts as a blood thinner and purifier, which can help with digestion. Perhaps most importantly, Cayenne Pepper, like the Fresh Lemon Juice, helps to break up the mucous in our bodies. Mucous is where all our illness causing substances get trapped. This is why we get stuffed up, congested, sneeze and cough. Breaking up and eliminating this mucous is one of the major benefits of The Master Cleanse." (excerpt from "The Master Cleanse")

Monday, May 23, 2011


17 hangers & 17 garments
currently hang in my closet
This weekend, I ironed everything in my closet in under 15 minutes, while Otto played in his crib. This is huge for me! What a great feeling to be the owner of a closet that is so manageable. And with an 8 month old on the loose in our house, I really can't afford anything less than "simple & easy" from my closet.

Since my Project 333 reform, I can now take a quick peek inside and tell exactly which pieces are absent. That is because there are only 17 hangers hanging in my closet; a hanger for each garment and nothing more. So today when I saw one hanger dangling empty, I remembered....ah, yes, the navy cardigan is hanging to dry in the basement. Prior to P333, this would have been nearly impossible.

What a wonderful number!

These are the hangers
that were purged from
my closet!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I am an organizing freak!

It's true. I like things organized. Just ask Emma. She's heard me mutter "A place for everything, everything in it's place", more times than you can shake a stick at. Probably not a favourite quip for 13 year old ears. But I have to say, although my intentions are true, my house (and life) are not nearly as organized as I'd like. But I'm getting there.

Some organizational relief!
My studio area of the office finally has
ample storage for art supplies, CDs and even fabric.
This may have something to do with my urge to document every outfit I don, during my Project 333. I'm just starting Week 2, so I think it's completely feasible to go back and actually implement this idea. Don't laugh, but my vision is to track the outfits in a spreadsheet! Just imagine it: each wardrobe piece listed in columns along the top, and the days running in rows along the side. I can simply check off what I've worn for the day, and I'm done. I do love me a good matrix!

Just what is the point of all this, you may be asking. Well, when all is said and done, I'll have an accurate tally of which pieces I have used the most throughout the project . . . which ultimately could prove to be invaluable information as I plan for future Phases.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Project 333: Day 6

Almost one week through the project!!! All is going pretty well, although I seem to be having a mental block when it comes to wearing "work" clothes on the weekend and vice-versa. One goal of mine with this project is to break down my differentiation between "work" and "play" clothes, and have all pieces I use be truly versatile. There really is no reason this can't happen, and any stumbling blocks are purely mental on my part. It's only week one, and I shall continue to work on this throughout the project.

Today, I woke up to a rainy, chilly Monday. A quick check of my Weather Channel App confirmed rain and possibly thundershowers throughout the day, with and a high of 65. Well how about that?!

Otto & Me: Day 6
(photo courtesy of Emma)
If you've seen my List of 33 Items, you may have noticed that I didn't bring along black pants for the ride. Am I out of my mind??! Black pants are usually such a staple for me, that to leave them behind was a risky move. But I figured as my Phase 1 enters the summer months, I wouldn't get much wear out of them.

So this morning, in an effort to keep my legs dry and toasty, I decided to pair the black capris with black knee socks and the Viardots. I threw the grey tee on top with the black jacket and I was done. What a great success! I actually really like the look of the capris paired up with a true sock. Cute and a lil' funky. Of course the goldenrod shoes might also have something to do with that...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Keeping In Touch

When I was riding home from work on the bus yesterday, I saw a woman that looked like a friend of mine, walking into a restaurant. I haven't talked to this particular friend in probably two years! No tiff, no falling out, just two busy lives that have grown apart. Now, I knew right away that the woman I saw wasn't my friend. But she looked close enough to get me thinking about her. And I thought about her enough to pick up the phone.

It felt unbelievably good to reconnect with my friend! Why did it take me so long to reach out to her? And more importantly, how did I lose touch with her in the first place? Sure we are all busy, but with today's technology, it is easier than ever to shoot an email, fire off a text, or even make a phone call.

I was so happy to chat with you after all this time. I think of you lots and I miss you lil' Elf :)

The Cloth Alternative!

Some of our WAHM's...Otto's fav fluff!
We have used cloth diapers on Otto since he was about two weeks old. Before he was born, I did a lot of research. If you aren't schooled in the art of cloth diapering, trust me when I tell you...the options are endless! In addition to scouring the internet for information, I also visited the most charming cloth diaper store, A Child's Garden in Northampton, Massachusetts to ogle the lil' beauts in person! I even bugged Vanessa, my sister-in-law, to learn about her experiences with cloth diapering a decade ago. When all was said and done, I decided to start Otto on a variety of diaper types, so we could learn what would work best for us. Here is the rundown on the different types of diapers, what we liked, what we didn't like, and what we're still using today.

Basically, all cloth diapers need an absorbent part on the inside (called the diaper, soaker, or fluff) to soak up whatever the baby "produces", accompanied by a water-proof layer on the outside (called the cover) to keep whatever the baby "produces" on the inside. There are many ways of achieving this.

AIO's / AI2's
AIO's (All-In-Ones) have everything integrated into one diaper entity, very similar to a disposable. They are easy to use, but take forever to dry. There is a hybrid of AIO's called AI2's (All-In-Twos). These incorporate a removable inner soaker pad, which is as easy as an AIO, and will dry much faster. We have used the FLIP AI2 system with Otto, almost from the beginning. I like these because there is nothing between the soaker pad, and the baby. Other AI2's have a fabric pocket that baby wets through, so once the diaper is used, it ALL has to be washed. But with the FLIPs, the cover is separate and can usually be used over again. We did inherit a slew of FuzziBunz  from Darren's friend*. These are the type with the fabric pocket. I would have never tried these had they not been given to us, but they have turned out to be a favourite.

The next general category is a cloth soaker with a separate cover over it; two distinct entities put on baby independently of each other.

The Fluff First. . . 
An Old Fashioned Prefold;
still an economical & versatile choice
The simplest, original version of fluff, is an old fashioned rectangular prefolded diaper. This is probably pretty close to what the cavemen used. :)  While this is the cheapest of all fluff options, it does require some extra work getting it on baby . There are a variety of folds to conform this rectangular fabric to baby's body, and then it needs to be fastened with either old fashioned diaper pins or Snappis. Prefolds are a nice option, because you can customize the fit to your baby's body -- if you're good at folding. When Otto was first born, we used organic prefolds from Vermont Diaper Company, a small company run by the Pruitts out of Mountpellier, Vermont. These diapers are great, but I never quite got the hang of folding them, so leaking was a problem. Also, prefolds need to be prepped before you start using them, in order to fluff up the fibers and make them absorbent. We boiled ours in hot water with a tiny drop of Dawn dishwashing soap about four times.

Thirsties Fab Fitted:
a sized fitted that Otto kept outgrowing

The wonders of a OS snap system
.  . .our FLIPS!
Fitteds look very much like disposable diapers, with elasticized legs so no folding is needed (Yay!) and built-in fasteners (either snaps or velcro). Both varieties come in either OS (one size fits all)
or a sized option. I prefer the OS, hands down! I'm amazed at how these diapers expand or contract with the manipulation of a few snaps. The weight range on many fitted OS diapers is from around 8 - 35 pounds! At 8 months old, Otto is still wearing OS diapers he started out with, but alas, the size XS fitteds have long been removed from his diaper shelf.


Now .. . for the piece de la resistance! WAHMs might have something to do with my mini obsession over cloth diapers. There is an entire subculture of  WAHM"s (Work At Home Moms) who design, create and sell *AMAZING* cloth diapers, right from their own homes. Since they usually work by themselves in their spare time, these diapers are produced in micro batches, and are often hard to come by.

One of Otto's Newborn Mutts
I am on the mailing list for my personal favourite, Muttaqin Baby. Every time Michelle, the owner, puts a diapers up for sale, she sends out a notification. If you want one of her diapers, you had better move fast, because they don't last. And I can't forget The Good Mama, another WAHM goodie. Both of these diapers can be purchased through Hyena Cart, an online marketplace for earth-friendly, handmade wares. These diapers aren't cheap, and can cost nearly $30 a piece. But these lil' works of art are all handmade of high quality materials, and each one is unique! These are top of the line, and well worth every penny.

Now The Covers...
Covers are all fitted, and all have either velcro or snap fasteners. Otherwise, they don't vary too much. But out of all the covers we've tried, I like the Organic Cotton Imse Vimse the best. The front has a huge panel of soft velcro, that makes fastening super easy. And the quality can't be beat. They are a little pricey, so I supplement with Thirsties, which are affordable and well-made. Oh, and I also cheat. I use the shells from our FLIP system as covers. Really quite resourceful, if you ask me. Plus. . .they are my only OS covers, and we all know how I feel about OS, don't we?

Love this cover!
Organic Imse Vimse Safari print
So. .  I have a small confession to make.  We do not cloth diaper Otto 100% of the time. I wish we did, but I am not the only one that cares for him, you see. Since my mother lives with us to help out with Otto, she's got her hand in the mix too. And for whatever reason, she has her reservations about using cloth diapers. The irony boggles my mind that the only person in the house who was actually raised with cloth diapers, resists the concept!  When I diaper him, I use cloth, when my mother diapers him, she uses disposables, and when Darren diapers him, he uses whatever Otto happens to be wearing at the time (a true diplomat)!

I won't brow beat the benefits of cloth diapering, but there are many. I'm very glad we cloth diaper Otto, in whatever capacity we can. We are making a difference environmentally on many levels. . . and even socially, as I've been learning through the WAHM mamas I'm getting to know.
* Yes, that's right. . .Otto uses some pre-worn diapers. Initially, this grossed me out. But I got over that fast! In fact, I have purchased many of his dipes used, as long as they were taken care of properly: washed in a good "clean" soap that won't leave residue (we use Charlie's Soap) with no bleach or fabric softener.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Project 333: Day One

Day One...done! 
I feel my first outfit on the Project was somewhat anti-climatic. It was not planned or premeditated. After Dottie & I walked Emma to the busstop (in my pajamas!). . .this is what I threw on. 

I worked from home today, and had to bring Emma to drama class later tonight, so I knew it would be a long day. Guess I opted for complete and utter comfort. 

The Beginning

My Project 333 starts tomorrow and I'm ready! Although today I found myself contemplating switching out scarves on my list. The light blue one for the grey one...

Ok, enough is enough, Linda! If anyone has over-thought this to death, it has been me. (Just ask my family...)

And so, I'm done and I'm ready. And all will be fine.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Kitchen Garden: Retaining Wall

View from the street
(Dottie and Otto stand guard)
Well, we are finally building our Kitchen Garden! It will be a small one, right outside the kitchen side door. In the past, we have had a small plot there with herbs and flowers, supplemented with potted plants along the walkway. But now we are adding an entire tier and extending the planting bed by over four feet!

Living in one of the state's hilliest areas, the first step (as is the case in almost any landscaping endeavor we decide to undertake) is to build a retaining wall. Now mind you, this is completely new territory for both Darren and me. We are basically learning as we go, and so far, it's going pretty well.

 If you take a look at the "BEFORE" photo, you will see the driveway on the far left and then the top of the driveway retaining wall. The composter is sitting in the original herb bed, which will probably remain it's future home once this project is completed. That bed runs to the black edging, and then you can see the start of our "lawn" which has recently been reseeded. And the whole thing has a downward pitch, toward the driveway. To level our planting area, we will build an approximately 24" high retaining wall where the black edging is, and level off the new 48" wide bed to meet the height of the lawn. When all is said and done, we will end up with two tiers of gardening beds!

This is the sunniest spot in the yard, and it receives just about full sun. I've wanted to do something to spruce up this bed for awhile, but the whole project was really spurred by my mother's request. Incidentally, my mother has always had her own garden, plus she is an amazing cook. So we saw no option but to accommodate her.

Completed trench for retaining wall (left),
sod being taken up (right)
Our kitchen garden will incorporate vegetables and herbs for everyday cooking. . . .a real workhorse of a garden! We're not quite sure what will happen off-season. Gardens I've always had in the past, have been tucked away on the outskirts of the yard, or in some lower field on my parent's farm. So now we are posed with the challenge of having a garden which is in reality, a literal extension of our lawn. Being an ample sized bed, in such a high profile spot of the yard, we really need to think about what happens when it's barren, before the snow falls.

But for now, we have the start of our retaining wall. We have dug the appropriate size trench and have laid process stone. We also started taking up the sod from where the new bed will be. As soon as time permits, we are ready to start laying the first course of stone!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dandelion Greens

When I was a little girl, I used to help my grandfather forage for dandelion greens. We would gather bags and bags! Now, as an adult, I realize just how labor intensive this really was. But at the time, I was with my grandpa, and could have collected those greens all day long!  Once cleaned, my grandfather would cook them. If memory serves me, he would simply sauté them in olive oil and maybe a smidge of garlic. Simply delicious. I grew up loving these slightly bitter greens, and to eat them was quite normal to me.

So you can imagine my surprise, when several years later, I learned that not everyone felt the same way I did about the dandelion. I remember one particular afternoon, playing in the schoolyard. It was quite warm, and the kids were playing "Mama had a baby and it's head popped off!" with the dandelions. (We all know that game. . .don't we?!) What exactly transpired next isn't entirely clear in my head. I must have mentioned something about how yummy those greens tasted, because what I do remember is getting horribly teased. Apparently these children were not fortunate enough to have tasted lovingly prepared wild dandelions that they had harvested with their grandpa.

Poor them.

In retrospect I have come to realize several things:

#1: Although not knowing it at the time, I had a rather unique childhood. It was only as an adult that I could begin to appreciate my childhood experiences, especially those relative to the bounty of the simple, good earth. My grandfather was instrumental in that. And growing up on a farm influenced me greatly too. I would wander around on any given summer afternoon, sampling the goodness that the gooseberry bush, the rhubarb stalk and the birch leaf had to offer. At only seven or eight years old, I knew exactly where, amid our 80 acre spread, I could find any one of these delicacies. How about that!  I don't know many adults that could even identify a you?

#2: My grandfather was a fabulous cook. However unconventional it was in those days, he did a lot of cooking for their large family of five children (and later, a slew of grandchildren). With such a large family, economy was key. Foraging for something like dandelions was free, it was delicious, and it was nutritious. Today, dandelion greens are known to be high in Folate, Magnesium and Dietary Fiber. They support digestion, and are believed to have medicinal properties that reduce swelling and treat some viruses. In my grandfather's day, I'm sure they were just cheap. Cheap and good.

#3: What goes around comes around. Today, you can find dandelion greens at specialty markets for quite the price! And a quick search on the internet will produce many delectable recipes. But that wasn't always the case. What was once snubbed as a weed, is now a coveted culinary treat in many circles. Thank goodness our society is coming around again. Growing up in the late 70's as I did, I experienced first hand, a decline of our American culture. "Homemade" was happily traded for "Pre-made". As both parents began to enter the workplace, "quick and easy" became the status quo, and we quickly forgot pieces of our heritage. I am so happy to see a resurgence of all that is homemade, and a new-found appreciation for craftsmanship, detail and tradition.

Dandelions are good. And they are good for you. With pesticides and the plethora of chemicals out there today, I'm not sure I would forage wild greens as my grandfather and I did 35 years ago. But there are many markets that do carry them, and they can often be found at farmer's markets. While we are now starting to see these greens gain popularity and favor among cooks everywhere, for me, they have always held a special place in my heart, and on my plate.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Project Delay

Well, today was the day I was supposed to start my Project 333. It ain't happening.

But I am in pretty good shape. Most of my closet, drawers and basement have been purged. I have have come a long way since I started this endeavor, and for that, I am ecstatic! . . .but I'm just not ready. I am down to about 42 items, and I just need the extra time to really sort through and figure out what is going to work best for me, and my lifestyle.

Nerves are mounting a bit too. Truth be told, I am scared that I will cheat!  That being said, I want to be sure I make the best selections, so that I am not even tempted. Although, with a family like mine, I don't think cheating would realistically, even be an option.

So, instead of a start date of 05.01.2011, it will now be 05.10.2011.
Pretty clever, eh? I mean, really, who will even notice?

Stay tuned. . . .