Tuesday, October 24, 2017

What's Missing?

Over the next few weeks we will wrap up our travels to Europe. We left the states in early July, so it's been nearly four months of traveling abroad. I find myself thinking about those things I miss, or that aren’t quite the same. For those of you who follow our travel blog, no worries, we will continue publishing posts and catch you up on our activities.

Now, back to this post – I’m missing friends and family, and fortunately I’m in touch with many of those people. I'm also missing the Pacific Northwest autumn; and unfortunately, by the time we get back the leaves will have fallen and the rains will have moved in. Because we are going home soon, that’s probably why I’m thinking about what I’ve missed and can’t wait to get back to. Case in point - food I eat on a regular basis, and then there's the goodies I make once in a while. While traveling full time, I’m able to try many wonderful regional specialties, and because I don't want to heft more of me around than necessary (remember, I pack light), I limit the sweets to one of, or a bite of one my husband has. Still, those tasty goodies are not MY go-to’s. Here's a few of my favorites:

  • Cooked thick or steel cut oatmeal with dried cranberries and nuts. Other than when I make it, the only person who makes it just the way I like is Kirby. Unfortunately, I won’t be anywhere near Kirby! Too bad I wasn't missing this early on in the trip when we were in the UK - oats were everywhere. But this will be an easy one for me to do. Oh, and its autumn, so apple cider instead of water will be perfect when I cook up glorious pots full of oatmeal goodness!
  • Kale salad – as in my chop-chop kale salad I noted in a previous post, Craving Kale. I haven't seen kale anyplace we have purchased groceries. I’m craving kale in a big way, what can I say. You know, before kale was the cool kid green it is today in the US, I never gave it a second thought.
  • Tacos – as in my homemade Tacos with just the right ingredients, not the this will do but it doesn’t do ingredient(s) I see abroad. I may just make them every night until I’m sick of them. Seriously, no chance of that happening - I've been eating tacos since I was a kid before there was any fast-food place selling them. I know tacos and they don’t come from a restaurant or fast-food drive-thru!
  • Organic peanut butter (preferably Kirkland brand) – love it on sliced apples or just off the spoon. And that reminds me how much I need to make my peanut-peanut butter-butter cookies (yes, that's one cookie and no typos)! Oh man, can’t wait!
  • Pancakes – as in my Daddy’s recipe for buttermilk pancakes made with Bulgarian buttermilk – no low-fat no-fat nonsense for those babies. And that means I’ll need real maple syrup from New England. Dang, that’s a lot of pancakes I’ll have to eat to use that stuff up!
  • Smoothies – my homemade goodness in a glass and also a previous post, Smoothie Nirvana. Thing is, I seldom have a blender available, and traveling light means there are things I sort of give up. It’s unfortunate because I’ve been making my breakfast in a glass since high-school. I MISS SMOOTHIES! But not enough to haul even a hand blender around with me.

Surprised that I should mention pancakes and cookies? While some of the healthier mentions above are good for me, and I really try and feed my body properly on a regular basis, it's about balance. I’ve never been someone who cut out everything that’s not good for me to eat. I just eat those things in moderation. Besides, most of the above is good for me, ‘cept those pancakes, the peanut-peanut butter-butter cookies, and, oh, there’s also my chocolate Kahlua brownies, and my macadamia nut white chocolate soft cookies right out of the oven, and then there’s...

Sounds like I need a fully stocked (food and baking supplies) kitchen! It’s nearly impossible for me to assemble the kinds of ingredients I need for my go too’s. It’s just not practicle. Plus, not all the kitchens have decent tools for cooking/baking even though owners note having what is needed. I may be hitting up a few of my friends or family members so I can cook – I MISS COOKING!  I make the best out of what’s available in stores and how the kitchen is set up in the homes we stay in, but it’s not how I’m used to cooking. I MISS MY KITCHEN!

You see, I wasn’t brought up with store-bought baked goods or meals. We made most everything from scratch. And I continued this way of cooking as an adult because the store-bought stuff wasn’t as good as the home-made stuff. So that meant, unless I made it, you wouldn’t find store bought muffins, cookies, pies, cakes, whatever in my home. Frankly, it's been a good way over the years to keep calories in check. Oh, but I need to make an apple pie because it’s the season for it, and I love warm apple pie with sharp cheddar cheese when the temperature and the leaves fall. Oh my gosh, then there’s my incredible pumpkin pie, and I love my home-made soups, and dang, I need to eat something after this ‘cuz I’m starving!

Thing is, with traveling full-time, I may not miss having my home and property. I’m missing a part of me. I’m missing my kitchen, my cooking. While I have gotten rid of most of the things in my life, you can bet I've boxed up and stored everything my kitchen had, except food of course. I know someday I'll have my kitchen back. Until then, don’t be surprised if I show up at your door...

I’m asked time and again what I miss with my full-time travel lifestyle. It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’ve always thought there’s a lot of truth in that. But for now, I’m willing to give up a few things (temporarily or perhaps permanently) for all the other things I'm gaining in this amazing traveling life. I realize there will always be a missing piece or two, or three in my life. Again, it's about balance, and I’m working on all that. I’ll figure out what I'm missing and try to make do, but I think it’s a good thing to test myself and see what’s truly important in my life right now. And I’ve got that with my traveling buddy who just happens to be my husband. But, oh, I need kale salad soon, and then there’s my roasted chicken with garlic and balsamic, my spaghetti with meat sauce, my chicken pot pie...


Puzzle2 photo courtesy of Willi Heidelbach

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Moving Beyond the Pain

Pain happens. And when it does, pain is real. It’s a fact none of us care to dwell on even though we all deal with its many forms at one time or another. In recent months, a number of people I know have had to deal with pain from accidents, health issues, family issues, and loss of loved ones. My thoughts on this subject, while personal, stem from the deep feelings I have on this very subject, and since I’m not there with you to talk about it, here’s what I’ve got to say...

There are many words to describe pain, but it boils down to two characteristics – physical and psychological. How each of us deals with it is truly a personal thing, but in the end, there is a reason why it’s there, so we must learn from it, and move through it. Reasons – well, there could be a number of reasons why the pain is there, but that would be a different post, so I’ll leave reasons for you to figure out. Learning from pain may not be something you’ve heard before. If you haven’t, perhaps that’s why you are still dealing with it in the same old way. Pain is not a friend to anyone, and I’m sure most people would not consciously choose it as a friend; but yet, I know many people who give up on it and just live with it – and that, right there, is a choice.

I would have to ask myself why, why, why is it there? I’ve done this many times and the more I ask, the more I try crafting my question in a different way – it may take time, but the answers do come. The secret is to figure out how best to craft that question. Believe me, you are not a wimp, and I know you can do this. The sooner you do it – the better for you! Although, I should point out here that sometimes you may just be afraid of what answers do come when you start asking the questions? If that’s the case, you better get on it soon and just deal with it! This is not woo-woo stuff. If you think this is a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, then how’s what you’ve been doing working for you so far?

Talking to your pain can be as real as the pain you feel. What have you got to lose? Here’s what I do – I fully bring my attention to the pain, noticing not only where it is located, but how it moves, and how it makes me feel. I try to picture it, talk to it and craft my questions accordingly. You may find that asking the more difficult questions is a journey on its own!

I don’t accept – this is my lot in life, or that it will always be this way – always and life are a long miserable time if you carry the burden of pain with you. So, don’t accept the status quo. If I can do this, so can you, and it doesn’t matter if the pain you feel is old or new. Fight the pain, be it physical or psychological, do battle, go to war and say yes to getting your life back. I realize you may not like hearing this, but it is as simple as bringing awareness to the pain, asking the questions, and letting it go.

Right now, this moment, accept what is, release the pain, and be better than you were a moment ago. Resistance to acceptance is a form of negativity and there are no possibilities in negativity - ever. Accept, and release the pain - open yourself to a new beginning. Allow the possibilities of the moment to flow into your life. There is another side to it, like a light at the end of a tunnel, but it's up to you to illuminate the way.

Bring attention to it - and let it go!

PS - don't bother asking me if this was written for you - if you think it was, then it was, like all my other posts...

Love, Michelle

Light at the end of the tunnel photo courtesy of Dawn Huczek