1) http://nomnompaleo.com/ - a really great selection of recipes - many of them are Whole 30 or 21 Day Sugar Detox compliant (less so the latter) - and they all look pretty yummy! Fairly easy to navigate site, and very well presented recipes. I have made quite a few recipes from this site (which is unusual for me) and they have all turned out really well.
2) http://www.thepaleomom.com/ - this is much more scientific and technical, and the recipes are less to my taste, but she focuses a lot on auto-immune and other diet restrictions - so this is a really good one for FODMAP etc friendly recipes, though for me, the food doesn't quite hit the spot in the same way. Also really good if you are interested in the technical scientific detail of why some foods cause issues, and exactly what they are doing to the body to cause those issues.
3) http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/ - Melissa Joulwan - again the recipes come closer to hitting the spot here, though I don't tend to use it so often.
4) http://whole30.com/category/recipes/ - I really like the Whole30 ethos, and I've given my dad their "It Starts With Food" book, which hopefully will help him understand what changes to make to his diet a bit better! It's straightforward to do, but may not work well for people who need more severe diet restrictions - but I think it's a really great gateway for people looking to transition to a healthier diet, but not sure where to start.
6) http://glutenfreegirl.com/recipes/ - I have two of her recipe books, and these are a bit more outside my comfort zone as far as food choices (I'm not an adventurous eater!), but I like the style and ethos of it and there's lots of originality and creativity here!
7) http://21daysugardetox.com/recipes/ - again more about quitting sugar than paleo, but I think it also ends up being paleo-friendly but haven't checked!
9) http://slimpalate.com/ - another one that I haven't cooked anything from, but again comes well recommended and looks incredibly stylish!
The Journey to Ithaca
When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon — do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.
Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.
Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.
Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.
And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.
My poem (http://bentlily.com/instapoems/
It was the day we laughed so hard
we made the lavender bloom
I was five
it was crisp and clear
we were running like horses
a game of make-believe
happiness all balled up in our hands
shooting out of us in shrieks and bellows
I'm a cat
and I decided I was too
a fire-starter cat
with nothing to do
but chase the wind
they say it whips you in the face
but this isn’t how it works
if you run hard enough
the wind bores right into you
I don’t remember anything else
except the smell of the sun
sweet as meringues
the wind carried the rest away.
Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.
The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.
Of course! ;))
Take the test here to find out!
( cut for potential spoilery-ness... )
I was impressed by a) her quick thinking, b) her lack of body consciousness, and c) the programme's refusal to follow cliche!
Another thing I like about this programme - the relationship between the (female) Prime Minister and her (house) husband, which is equal and warm and funny and tender and mutually supportive. Refreshing stuff!
Some are a bit meh, but the majority are actually pretty useful pointers for being effective or making changes or getting stuff done, and occasionally there's one that really hits the nail on the head at the right time - as with yesterday's, which is below:
We all know that it's impossible to be perfect.
And I'm like "Ahhhhhhhh - that's how you work out when to do which one!" This is a common bog that I catch myself in, and his distinction above makes really good sense. I'm thinking of it as applying to both riding and writing, but it has usefulness beyond that too... Interesting! :)
I watched the BBC4 programme on Enid Blyton at the weekend, which was excellent. Helena Bonham Carter was superb as Blyton - with a chilling, horribly believable portrayal of a deeply-flawed woman, whose emotional development had frozen at the age of about 12 - the age she was when her womanising father left her mother, walking out on their young family. (Interesting article about this here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/
The script (based heavily on her second daughter, Imogen's, account of life with Enid as a mother) did a fantastic job of showing how Blyton was trapped as essentially an immature 12-year-old in a woman's body - the casual spitefulness and petty cruelties, the inability to empathise with anyone else's feelings, the terrible - literally unbearable - rollercoaster of her own uncontrollable emotions - making me-as-viewer pity her whilst finding her deeply unpleasant – were all powerfully portrayed.
More uniquely characteristic to Blyton, however, was her great reliance on the protective powers of escapism and fantasy, which resulted in the almost complete rewriting of any facts that didn’t fit to the way she wanted the world to have been. A counsellor acquaintance of mine from a few years back, had a theory that people who developed Alzheimers and other memory issues, were those who had relied on ‘forgetting’ as a coping mechanism earlier on in their lives – which I don’t think is accurate, but certainly Blyton would be a case for the prosecution on this, as she did indeed go on to develop Alzheimers before her death at the age of 71.
I was never a massive Enid Blyton fan – despite the fact that my mum was extremely anti-Blyton, thinking them “common”!! I found the Far Away Tree deeply creepy, her school story books were pervaded by a nasty odour of authorially-sanctioned peer bullying, and the Famous Five/Secret Seven books seemed both simultaneously unbelievable and unimaginative… However, it is a “formula” that did (and does) seem to work for an incredible number of people, and Blyton is still a best-selling, and multiply-translated, author, which is quite an achievement!
The quote in the subject line comes from Helena B-C, who said that she used it as the key to getting into Blyton's character... Again, deeply chilling!
Joyce Grenfell's hilarious skit "Writer of Children's Books" is well worth seeking out: 'A wickedly funny piece in which a writer of children's books talks in twee terms about how she writes her almost identical books by going into her Hidey-Hole and visiting the Land of Make-Believe is obviously based on Enid Blyton. "Now my husband has his own Hidey-Hole," she says, "where he adds up."' (See here: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-
Similarly, Radio 4's "Incredible Women" series with Rebecca Front had an interview with the spurious children's author, Eleanor Fane-Gore, who also seems to have been a parody of Blyton, including a chilling snippet about sucking the meat off hares' ears, and fictionalising her own daughter (under the same name!) as a rightfully-bullied "wet" character in Fane-Gore's school stories! (See here: http://www.comedy.co.uk/guide/radio/
I came across an interesting article today in the THE (another advantage of working in a university environment!) The article is: “The Wellbeing of Nations,” by Andrew Oswald (19 May 2011, Times Higher Education, pp 35-39), and he talks about the economics (more exactly, the statistics) of happiness. Interesting points below…
1) The answers that people give about how happy they are, tend to correlate well with the judgments of their friends, families and partners, as to how happy they think the individual is – which becomes more obvious the more you think about it really! But still, it does reflect a (perhaps surprising) unanimity of presentation – i.e. that happy people are consistently happy to all those they interact with, and unhappy people vice versa – what about those who put on a jovial face with friends, and torture themselves with depression in private? Or is that in fact not as effective a disguise as they think, and their friends still code them correctly as unhappy?
2) There is a strong correlation between where you are in your life-cycle and how happy you perceive yourself to be – people in their late teens (15-20) are fairly happy and that score then drops steadily to reach a low for people in their 40s (41-50), after which it rises steeply until it reaches a much greater high for people in their 60s – perhaps because by that point you’re just so pleased to still be around?! ;) This means that (if I am typical), I am currently on the downward slide (being in my 30s) with another decade or so to go of feeling dissatisfied with my life, before things start to improve! I can see why that might be the case – your 30s and 40s are the key decades for you to actually achieve or not the things that you might have wanted to achieve – relationship, property-ownership, career success, kids – there’s a lot of pressure in comparing yourself to a template of what you think you ought to have achieved or to what your peers have achieved, and where there are disappointments, these are often hard to come to terms with. By the time you’re in your 50s and 60s, you have perhaps adjusted for these, and either have achieved the markers that you considered important, or have adjusted your goals to accept what you actually have…
3) Things that the stats suggest have a high correlation to personal happiness (with comments!):
a. Being a woman – phew! ;)
b. Having lots of friends – I finally feel like I am improving at this, with a much more stable social group and a better balance of people to spend time with vs time spent on my own – having the horse has been a massive factor in this…
c. Being married or having a steady cohabitation – well, a no for me on this, obviously! – I do wonder whether the steady cohabitation has to be romantic in order to have its effect – what about a group of friends who live together as a steady arrangement?
d. Having a PhD – This made me laugh out loud! Hah! Finally it is good for something! I certainly don’t think that doing my PhD was good for my happiness, but certainly as I’ve got further away from the trauma, I can see the benefits more and more, so, maybe, yes… ;)
e. (and more generally) Having a good education
f. Having a higher income
g. Being healthy
4) What the stats suggest as the great negatives in life:
b. Serious illness
c. A recent divorce or separation – though, overall, the data suggests that two years after divorce, happiness levels rise again.
5) Whether people have children or not, turns out to not be statistically significant in terms of their personal happiness levels – which is surprising…
6) I thought this was an interesting quote: “Health matters. There is a great deal of research done by epidemiologists…to show that there seem to be very deep, powerful links between the quality of your mind – what is going on in your head – and how well your body works. We do not understand the mechanisms at all well.” I agree with this, and I’m really interested to see what is uncovered by this research, re the effect of thinking on body functioning…
7) I also felt a real sense of recognition at this: “…in a deep sense, we are animals of comparison. We cannot help it. What I want is to have three BMWs and for my friend to have an old Ford. That is what I want deep down, even though I cannot face up to that fact, and cannot say it to him or admit it to myself.” Hah! God, yes. I keep thinking that the times when I get really stressed about things, are primarily because I am comparing myself to what other people have, and how unhelpful this is…
Which, I suppose, begs the question – especially given that I tick a privileged number of the positives on the lists above – do I consider myself happy?
I’ve always felt – even at the points where I was finding life in general pretty hard – that deep inside, however difficult I might find it to access when things are proving tricky, I have an unshakeable core of optimism. I’m generally a happy person, who has to (and sometimes does – bad brain! no biscuit!) work quite hard to make themselves miserable. Even in the times that were pretty dark, I got a lot of pleasure from an incredible sunset, or a flower silhouetted just so, or the way a strange cat arched its head under my hand – and I think I’m very lucky that my brain works like that.
I’ve also worked really hard over the past five years or so – made a lot of changes to the way I think, to the way I interact with people, to what I spend my time doing – and I am definitely much happier with my life on a day-to-day level than I have been at any time I can remember before. The majority of this is down to the pleasure that I get from being around animals, and horses in particular, which I have made a much larger part of my life, and most acutely since last summer, in having a relationship that comes closest to a ‘my’ horse, which is the best thing that I have made happen in my life so far…
How about you guys? Do you see yourselves as happy people? And if so, are you happy now?
She starts off by taking issue with the definition of 'dressage' as "the systematic training of the horse". She proposes instead to redefine it as "the process through which riders inter-act with their horses from moment to moment, and learn the skills to do so in more refined and effective ways." For me, this works as a definition of riding full stop. It is not restricted to those "doing" dressage. At the other end of the spectrum, even a rider who "just" hacks their horse out on the trails can interact with their horse from moment to moment, learning to do so in more refined and effective ways.
( Cut for - as usual - length! )
"On the way to this lie many blind alleys, and many cycles of 10,000 repetitions. For if you are a disorganisd rider, your horse will succeed in disorganising you more, and only when you are a highly organised rider will you be able to organise the disorganised horse. You will then earn his respect, and perhaps even his love. But do not expect that the game will then be over, for our horses cannot not play it. Whenever you absent yourself mentally, for instance, your horse will find the loophole that you have just created."
Which brings us back to the model of the Push Hands competitors - our horses cannot but sense and respond to the weaknesses in our bodies and our riding form, neither can they refrain from offering challenges to our physical integrity as riders - though the way they may do so differs from horse to horse. However, these challenges are not meant personally, they are merely part of the kinaesthetic language of Horse. The only answer is for us to improve the skill with which we can communicate to them in that language - a lifelong challenge!
"Myrkyr is well rounded and smart, just like the author, scientist, politician, inventor, and chess champion. Although he may be shy at times, a sense of discovery is crucial for his happiness. Staying active is important, too."
Hee! This is pretty spot on! Particularly the staying active - which is good for him, whether he likes it or not!! ;-)
I have spent most of my life wanting to write and yet blocking myself in some capacity - and this is despite having spent 5 (lo-o-ong) years doing a PhD. However (and please disregard any or all of the below if it is not helpful for you) the thing that has (recently) helped for the first time has in fact been my horse-riding.
( Cut for LENGTH...! Lol! And Writerly Navel-Gazing! )
So, for me, taking this approach has led me to a whole new place in my writing, where I am actually enjoying being at the computer, which is the first time I have EVER felt that. It's still a work in progress, still a process of noticing what works and what doesn't and negotiating the inner voices, but I have faith in myself now, and I'm having fun!
( Tips on how to cue trot as distinct from pace? )
Posted originally to Equestrian, and reposted here for me - apologies if anyone is seeing this twice!
So, I know that there are a few people on this community who ride Icelandic horses and I would be grateful if anyone has any thoughts/tips to add!
I share an 18 year old Icelandic gelding called Myrkyr (or Marco for us English types who can't pronounce his proper name!) and I am having some confusions with reliably getting trot from him rather than pace.
( Pics behind the cut )
“Panksepp says a way to drive animals into a frenzy is to give them only tiny bits of food: This simultaneously stimulating and unsatisfying tease sends the seeking system into hyperactivity.” (pg 2)I had exactly this experience the other weekend, when I took Marco into the school to practice our groundwork with a handful of hi-fibre cubes - thinking that the treats would help reinforce the successful tries - but very quickly (after about 3-4 treats) he became completely fixated on the treats and obsessed about getting more treats. He stopped listening to what I was actually asking him, and instead kept offering behaviours I hadn't asked for in an attempt to get another treat. And there was a quality of frenzy about it, which was unsettling to me but which is completely explained by the quote above, which is an idea I had never come across before.
When I realised that the session was going pear-shaped, I put the treats away, and we spent the next while practising 'doing nothing if nothing has been asked of you' and him staying where he had been put (and not walking forwards to try and mug me for a treat), and me keeping my cool, and remembering to breathe! In some ways, it was a very useful session, because one of the things I'm trying to work on is allowing myself to make mistakes and not avoiding doing anything for fear of doing the wrong thing, so, looking on the bright side...!!!
I will remember that for next time tho... no more treats doing groundwork for Mr Marco!
Somewhere in my head is a long and thoughtful post about fear, and me, and riding, and I'm almost certain that this post isn't it.
But, on the grounds that performance anxiety is the main thing that stops me from posting here - sometimes I write whole blog posts in my head, and then never manage to commit them to the screen - I'm going to hash together this not-a-post about fear, and maybe it can be a bit messy and that will be ok...
( So. I've been thinking about fear a lot recently... )
So, he now has very neat staples just below his eye, and staples in his leg, with a HUGE bandage! He's on box rest again which he hates, bless him, but at the moment it all seems to be healing really well, and the vet is happy with it, so fingers crossed it continues so! And please God, let this be the last injury for a while...
I've tried to put links to the pictures below - I don't know why I can't upload the photos directly - perhaps because I don't have a paid account?
Poor Marco - a real franken-pony at the moment!
Aargh - long time, no post! Again!
Well, for the second week running, I have actually been able to ride Marco! Eeeeee! We're still only walking - well, and will be for some time yet, I think - but J rode him yesterday and he was still sound and happy to trot up today, so it _finally_ feels like we might be getting somewhere.
He's been off work since about... April? I think? And we've cycled through several different injuries and issues with his feet/legs, but eventually J decided that what he had was probably some kind of bone spavin in his hocks, so since then, he hasn't been ridden at all, and we also started him on a green-lipped mussel supplement called Pernamax, and it took a while to see a significant improvement, but certainly over the last eight weeks or so, he's been going from strength to strength!
I've been hand-walking him out on the common, for the last month or so, keeping him moving and doing odd bits of trot in hand - which is a really good sign of how much better he must be feeling, because when he was really sore, he wouldn't trot at all. And it just feels amazing to be back riding him again!
He's still a bit delicate - I got off today after about half an hour, when I could feel him struggling to work a bit harder with his hind legs - not uneven, but not the same kind of movement as I'd been getting up til then, and he stepped out fine the rest of the way home, so I'll check him again tomorrow before riding him.
Part of the thing for me as well, is learning to trust him again - not temperament wise, because he's a really steady, generous, lovely, safe horse, but when I was riding him back in the spring - before we really knew what was going with his legs - he was very clumsy with his feet, and would stumble a lot with his front legs, and one time he tripped on (I discovered months later) a half-covered over tree stump in the middle of the path as we were trotting round a corner, and just went down, throwing me off over his head - both of us ending flat on the ground! Thankfully, we were both ok, just cuts and bruises, but it means that I'm still cautious about whether he's going to be able to keep his footing and stay upright! He's barefoot at the moment though, and that seems to help with his footing on the roads, and the pernamax also seems to be helping with the stumbling too - he's not doing that any more. I just have to re-learn that he really is capable of managing his feet!
If I'm honest, riding him again is also bittersweet, because since Marco's been injured, I've been riding a couple of other different horses, and one of my friends at the yard keeps saying that if I want to progress my riding, I need to ride a horse with a bit more athletic ability, and I know that logically she's right - but I just really love Marco. And I really wish that he was even five years younger, so that I could have longer riding him now... Realistically, he's probably not going to be strong enough for me to start having lessons on again, even. And I'm not looking for another share, because I don't want to give him up. And I am trying just to enjoy the time I do have with him, but it's still... bittersweet.
Down to the yard this evening to sort out the monsters!
Diddi, bless his little zebra brindled socks, has learnt that humans mean dinner, and will come cheerfully up to the gate to have his head collar put on. He is leading so much better now - he just has to get the hang of being able to move his head in one direction and his feet in another. There is also still a LOT of work to do on being able to stand still, but that's quite a hard ask, I think.
Marco ate his supplement pills! They were stuffed into chunks of apple mixed into his dinner and there wasn't even any head-shaking, so either he didn't know they were there, or he is now officially used to the taste. I tried to get some video of him walking and trotting again, but I don't think it's possible to see much...
I also tried a new tactic with the hosing. It was really helpful writing up notes from Sunday, because it made me notice that although M was walking to the hose and standing while the water was over him, the actual moving towards the hose was reluctant in the extreme, and was getting more reluctant not less. So, I decided to try a different tactic today. Which was just marching past the hose, and then marching up to the hose and stopping. I didn't do any actual hosing. Didn't even turn the water on. I just wanted to get him comfortable to walk smartly up to the hose and be relaxed standing next to it. Gave him some treats while he was standing next to hose, and did lots of scratching and praising. I think this was a good plan, because I could tell that he was waiting for the nasty water, and then it didn't come! Hopefully, this way I'll be able to make a positive association with the water. Well, that's the plan, anyway. (All comments/suggestions gratefully received!)
Marco had pulses in his front feet again, so he was turned out with his grass muzzle on, which he was NOT happy about. I fiddled about with the straps on his muzzle, as it looked like it was too short to me, the muzzle bit was touching his nose, so I adjusted so that there was a bit of a gap between the two - about a cm or so. He is convinced that he cannot eat at all with his muzzle on - I have spent hours, trying to show him that he can eat the grass that pokes through the hole, but he just can't seem to get the hang of it. :-( Still, it's better than laminitis, so he just has to put up with it. When I put Diddi out, Marco came rushing up, trying to get me to take the muzzle off, and so I spent about twenty minutes giving him a massage, watching his eye to see what he liked - when I hit the right spot, his eyelid would lower and half-shut! And he loved it - at one point he did a little stretch, and then moved so that I could start massaging his butt! He also did a couple of bits of licking and chewing when I had done some massaging and then stopped. So, I was very pleased with that!Right, time for bed - an early start tomorrow!