Tag Archives: sense

grapefruitA wonderful, juicy pink!

Focus

Many people don’t focus enough on execution. If you make a commitment to get something done, you need to follow through on that commitment. Kenneth Chenault

Sundays are my favorite day of the week at the moment. It is the only day we allow ourselves to sleep in if the schedule allows. We sit long over a big breakfast and read the paper. One of the special things at breakfast this winter has been each of us having a half of a fresh grapefruit. Delicious!

I realized a couple of Sundays ago that eating grapefruit is one of the few things where I have to be totally focused on what I am doing. Most of the time while eating, I am looking at me phone, playing a game, reading the paper but not while eating a grapefruit. I have tried to be multitasking. Disaster! You have to look while you are cutting those slices – I like to cut on both sides of the membrane so that the fruit mostly slides out with the spoon – and also while you are eating so as to get every morsel of that fresh goodness. This effort made me stop eating grapefruit for a long time. Way too much bother.

Then we got introduced to pomelos, a cross between different kinds of grapefruit that you let ripen on the counter for weeks because it is easier to peel then. The fresh taste of pomelo is like a grapefruit but milder. That made me long for “real” grapefruit and so we got into the habit of buying it especially because it is available longer than pomelo. Actually, you see grapefruit almost all year long but they don’t taste good much after April. I will have to see where they come from in the winter months. Nowadays with the global market, they could come from India. Who knows.

When I was young, I think grapefruit wasn’t so popular or more expensive or something because the “Betty Crocker Cookbook” I have from the early 70s has as a “dessert” recipe grapefruit with brown sugar broiled on top and a cherry placed in the middle. I remember at the time thinking that was a wild thing to do. Now, although I am a GIANT sugar fan, the recipe seems like overkill in a big way and not my idea of dessert. But doesn’t that mean that grapefruit wasn’t so available back then? Or expensive or something?

Also, grapefruit knives used to be part of a normal knife set. I remember buying a knife set as part of my “hope chest” – another thing that has gone the way of the dinosaurs – and it had several serrated knives where the tip was slightly curved so as to be able to slice better. At some point I threw them away, no use for them. But there is still one of the serrated “steak” knives left and that is what we use for our grapefruits now. Got to be serrated. That fruit is tough!

There used to be “grapefruit spoons” with serrated tips. Do they make those anymore? Now with all of the juicers and stuff probably people don’t bother cutting it by hand. But there is something meditative about staring at a grapefruit and slowly cutting the slices.

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The view that clears my head

Conversations in my Head

“Man keeps looking for a truth that fits his reality. Given our reality, the truth doesn’t fit.”
―Werner Erhard

It is amazing to me how I always find confirmation for the conversations I have in my head about myself. Cleaning today, I had just enough distance in my brain to really listen to the “complaint” that was going on. The Watcher was listening. A series of events was analyzed and compared by that pattern-seeking-predicting machine in my head and absolute proof found for all the negative things “it” thinks about me. All of those things are “proof positive” that I am – – fill in the blank. Something about cleaning lets my mind free to go over everything time and time again. Maybe that is the reason I am always in a bad mood when I clean.

And suddenly it hit me what I was saying to myself and what that was doing to my mood and maybe my body. Negative thoughts have great power over you physically (there is this a kinesthetic test that shows it really accurately that I do with my students all the time) and I have been feeling unwell lately. How much is it because of the running complaint in my head? And I know from the classes I have done with Landmark Education that what you think, how you interpret a situation is not necessarily the “truth”. You can change your viewpoint and your interpretation is totally different.

With the sun shining through the golden fall leaves, I decided to change my point of view. Instead of cleaning I am going walking with the dog.

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Quote by Mark Douglas

What is in front of you…

As a general observation of the human condition that goes along with this, most of us spend our lives trying to change what is in front of us to suit the makeup of our inner environment, when all we need to do is change the way we think about what is in front of us and we will change the quality of our experience of it.

-Mark Douglas

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Alja at her favorite pasttime - Play!

Dogs in my Life – Part 2 / Dog 3

Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.
― Mark Twain

When we put Weia down, I thought I would never want another dog. She was so special, so much a part of us. But after you have lived with a dog in the house it is hard to live without one and so after about a month, I started looking in the internet for dogs to save. This time however, Wolfgang insisted on getting a puppy, so we found a breeder where the mother dog looked a lot like Weia – there is quite a range of looks in the Kuvasz breed – and we asked if we could be considered for a puppy. Interestingly, because it was the first litter, the breeder wasn’t sure that there would be enough puppies to give out. Usually the first litter is quite small. But “Devina” had 11 puppies in her first litter and after they were about a month old we went and picked one out.

Honestly, I would have taken them all home. Puppies are so cute as they stumble around and snort. I wanted a boy dog but Wolfgang insisted that we get a girl dog. Male Kuvasz dogs can get to over 100 lbs and there was reason to believe that I wouldn’t be able to control him so I agreed. We chose one little puffball called “Antares”, which is also the name of a star. It was very important to the breeder that we got to know the dogs before we picked them up – and also I think that they got to know us, they were very conscientious about making sure that the people who got their dogs would take good care of them -so we came a few times before we took her home and every visit with the whole bunch was a joy.

Alja all tired out - 10 weeks old (Note the rubber chicken under her head)

Alja all tired out – 10 weeks old

At the time we got Alja (pronounced AL-ee-ah and means “the Sublime”- we renamed her when we got home, Antares was a man), there was a lot of press about a polar bear cub that had been born in the zoo and we felt like we had our own little polar bear. Her fur is thick and bushy and her black-rimmed brown eyes look black from a distance and the black nose. Her paws were unbelievably soft in the beginning and wide and flat like a bear’s. She loved to play – not typical of the breed – and she was always so excited to see us and everyone else. It was always so cute, at least when she still weighed under 20 lbs.

But she grew up of course. She now weighs around 80 lbs and she still tries to jump up on us and on other people when they come, something we have never been able to cure. We were hoping that she would be different than Weia and get along with other dogs. To achieve that, we have tried to bring her together with other dogs as often as possible. We also take her regularly to a “day pension” for dogs so that she can have time with other dogs and get worn out from playing and we have never had a complaint there. But at home, if another dog walks by even if it is 100 yards away, all hell breaks loose. People who see it are shocked. She is so sweet with people and so aggressive with most dogs. We get lots of tips about what we should do to fix that.

The thing is with Alja nothing has seemed to work. Since she was a puppy, we have taken her to dog trainers. I have watched several Cesar Millan DVDs, I have read several of his books. I have read books about click training, about how to deal with a dominant aggressive dog. We had a private dog trainer who worked with us and Alja for six weeks. When it came to dealing with the aggression, she was shocked and helpless. We paid for two sessions with an expensive certified dog trainer and when she was there, Alja was perfect. The minute she left it was back to ground zero again. As sweet as she is in our four walls, when she gets outside and there are potential dangers to be seen or to be smelled or even to be imagined, she goes berserk. Kuvasz are very territorial and bread to be watch dogs and on top of that Alja is exceptionally “awake” for a dog. When a plane flies over, she stops and watches it go. At every wildlife track in the woods, you can see her go on alert and check it all out. As a result, we also have to really be on the alert. It can sometimes be very tiring.

Tired kids.

Tired kids.

That all being said, she is still a joy. Her fur is soft life silk velvet and she loves to be cuddled for hours. Alja is a young soul, unlike Weia who was so quiet and peaceful. Alja is full of bounding energy and is still like she was as a puppy, ready to play at the smallest opportunity. I defy anyone to resist her when she stands with her blanket in her mouth and looks at you with those big button eyes. She trusts us completely – at least in the house – you can do anything to her and she doesn’t complain. And when I come home after a whole day of teaching, even at 5 years old she still jumps for joy like I have been gone for ages. She is a wonderful energy in the house and we both adore her. We will do everything in our power to give her a long, healthy and happy life.

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Glass half full?

The Perfect Proverb for Today

An ageing master grew tired of his apprentice’s complaints. One morning, he sent him to get some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master told him to mix a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it.

“How does it taste?” the master asked.

“Bitter,” said the apprentice….

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”

“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.

“No,” said the young man. At this the master sat beside this serious young man, and explained softly.

“The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”

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