Friday, December 29, 2006

Cheers to the French (75)!!

In the spirit of New Year's, I'd like the share my favorite cocktail recipe. It dates back to the 20's prohibition days and is not like anything you've ever tasted before. The combination of flavors is a delight: not too sweet and will leave you wanting more due to the organic flavors of the gin. As always, use the highest quality liquor for best results and less likelihood of a hangover. A lady should always take these things into consideration. This drink is great with pistachios!

The French 75
1 part gin
1 part triple sec or Cointreau*
1 part champagne

Pour over ice in a shaker and shake briskly. Serve in a champagne or martini glass with a twist of orange zest.

*Cointreau is sweeter so if you use it, use less than 1 equal part. This drink should not be as sticky sweet as a Cosmopolitan or other modern cocktail.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

New Year's navel gazing

During this time of year when it is cold and the night is longer is a fitting time for oneself to look inward and reflect on where one has been and wants to go. Life will not slow down and if you don't take time regularly to reflect and realign your direction, it is guaranteed to pass you by.

A lot of people don't believe in new years resolutions but I've always done it. So, this year, instead of the normal 'nourish my body with whole foods', 'exercise 4x per week', 'read a book a month', I'm going big. Well, for friends of mine like N & M, this might not be, but for me, a Prada, LV and Nike junkie, this will be interesting: I'm joining the bandwagon of people that for one year are not buying anything new (with the exception of items related to health & safety, such as car repairs, basic make-up, and underwear). Pants will be hemmed, shoes resoled, DVD's rented and items bought from Craigslist. The goal is not necessarily to just save money which I'm sure we will as a side effect but it is two fold: bring fewer new items into our home and allow myself the freedom of turning away from ads and commercials and know that they don't have power over me. So, it will be an adventure - which is also my second resolution.

May 2007 be a year that carries the wisdom to lead you on a path of peace, good health and a new adventure.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Peace and Happy .mas!!!

Find your wrapping paper and the new redesign of Christmas here.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Ego is like a room of your own

Ego is like a room of your own, a room with a view with the temperature and the smells and the music that you like. You want it your own way. You'd just like to have a little peace, you'd like to have a little happiness, you know, just gimme a break.

But the more you think that way, the more you try to get life to come out so that it will always suit you, the more your fear of other people and what's outside your room grows. Rather than becoming more relaxed, you start pulling down the shades and locking the door. When you do go out, you find the experience more and more unsettling and disagreeable. You become touchier, more fearful, more irritable than ever. The more you try to get it your way, the less you feel at home.

--Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Fab Four's Noble Truths

On the fortieth anniversary of the Beatles' Revolver, Sean Murphy reflects on a generation's sonic introduction to Eastern thought

By Sean Murphy

I WAS IN COLLEGE in the 1970s, already a diehard Beatles fan, when I first heard rumors of what seemed impossible: a Beatles album that was even better than the White Album or Abbey Road—a record that, although successful when released in the 1960s, had been eclipsed by the band’s subsequent achievements and never received its rightful due. I ordered mine from England to be sure of getting the correct version—and before I knew it, I ended up like countless others before me, sitting in a darkened room, listening over and over to “Tomorrow Never Knows,” and trying to figure out how to meditate.

The year 2006 marks the fortieth anniversary of that album: Revolver—the first presentation of the Beatles’ fascination with Eastern mysticism and its possibilities for the Western mind. Eastern philosophy had been popular in certain circles since the 1950s, but it wasn’t until the mid-60s that it began to break into the mainstream, triggered in part by Revolver’s intimations of “another road where maybe I could see another kind of mind there.”

Although it was long overshadowed by the following year’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, many listeners regard Revolver as the deeper, more serious album. Compared with the highly ornamented, self-conscious Pepper, Revolver seems down to earth, gritty, real—yet it already displays many of the innovations for which Sgt. Pepper would later be acclaimed. It has arguably aged better than its flashier sibling; and in two major end-of-the-century surveys, by Virgin Records and VH1, it surpassed Pepper as the greatest album of all time.

Released August 5, 1966, Revolver introduced an entirely new sonic palette to rock ’n’ roll, exploding then-current notions of what pop music was and could be. Notable were the first of George Harrison’s raga-influenced sitar compositions—which some observers point to as the birth of “World Music”—as well as backward guitar solos, tape loops, psychedelic sound effects, and other innovations that would change recording forever. As the Beatles’ first album-length attempt to deal with subject matter beyond romantic love, Revolver can also be regarded as their first “concept” album because of the network of closely linked themes that run through it. (Lennon later denied that Revolver was a concept album, but he said the same thing about 1967’s Sgt. Pepper!)

Revolver stands as perhaps the most pivotal recording in the Beatles’ career, marking their transition from teenage heartthrobs to social commentators, visionaries, and spokesmen of a generation. The album also ended the era of Beatles songs that could be reproduced in concert, signaling the entry into their “Studio Period,” where their creations would become dependent on the use of sophisticated production techniques. After 1966 they would never tour as a group again.

How could it be that the same band that had won worldwide fame in 1963 for singing “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah” could have produced such a musically sophisticated, acclaimed masterpiece as Revolver a mere three years later?

As it turned out, they had a little help from their friends. Bob Dylan turned the Beatles on to marijuana in 1964, and shortly thereafter Lennon and Harrison were slipped LSD without their knowledge at a dinner party. Both found the experience terrifying, but saw enough potential to merit further experimentation.

“Soon,” Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1971, “I was popping it all the time.” Motivated by these experiences, Lennon became interested in Buddhism, particularly Timothy Leary’s adaptation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Retitled The Psychedelic Experience, Leary’s interpretation presented the Tibetan text’s death references as pointing to death of ego—in other words, enlightenment (in Leary’s view, a condition achievable through the shortcut of LSD).

“What I’m interested in is Nirvana, the Buddhist heaven,” Lennon reported in an interview shortly after Revolver’s release. Harrison, who had meanwhile become deeply involved with Hinduism, later said that “until LSD, I never realized that there was anything beyond this state of consciousness. . . . There was no way back to what I was before.”

Lennon later claimed to have taken a thousand trips in an attempt to extinguish his ego. The drugs first opened his mind, and then, by his own account, clouded it—but Revolver came at the height of the expansive phase, when anything seemed possible. McCartney and Starr were soon to follow in their bandmates’ psychedelic footsteps; but despite the pharmacological influence, the Beatles’ quest was real, and they explored it not only through drugs but also through study, meditation, and yoga. McCartney even built a “contemplation dome” in his backyard.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Hand We Are Dealt
The Buddha's maps for the journey to wisdom and happiness are attractive to many people because they are so simple. Essentially, he taught that it doesn't make sense to upset ourselves about what is beyond our control. We don't get a choice about what hand we are dealt in this life. The only choice we have is our attitude about the cards we hold and the finesse with which we play our hand. When the Buddha taught his ideas twenty-five hundred years ago, many people understood him so well as soon as they heard him that they were happy ever after. The people who didn't understand him immediately needed to practice meditation, and then they understood. --Sylvia Boorstein, It's Easier Than You Think

Monday, December 11, 2006

USDA Attempts to Pack Organic Standards Board With Corporate Agribusiness Reps: Organic Consumers Fight Hijacked Seats on NOSB

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dooney & Bourke Warehouse Sale - Starts Today!

Starting at noon today and running through Sunday afternoon is the annual Dooney & Bourke warehouse sale. Granted, they've gone after the tween crowd (which came across as low budget LV) but they still make really good bags. So, I'll see what I can find and if anything jumps out at me for holiday gifts. Most bags at 40-70% off which you can't shake a stick at that!

Happy shopping!

From New York/stamford, Connecticut:


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Seen on a lower eastside street of Manhattan. That pretty much says all it needs to.

Stone Barns!

I'm so excited - a couple months ago when I visited Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, I wanted to be a part of it. Just down the road from Kykuit, the beautiful grounds were purchased by John D. Rockefeller for his wife but the recently and beautifully renovated Stone Buildings are now open to the public.

Since Seattle and my volunteering at Seattle Tilth, my heart has been longing for those days of getting dirt under my fingernails. After submitting an application to volunteer at Stone Barns, I didn't hear anything but followed up with subsequent emails until I heard back. I just got word on Monday and have received multiple emails offering to put me to work. The size, philosophy and approach of Stone Barns is a guarantee that I will not only be able to get a wide breadth of experience but the incredible knowledge and passion of the people that I will be interacting with about agriculture (those cute sheep!) to the chefs at Blue Hill (that use foods from the grounds & greenhouses) is sure the guarantee that my longing will be satisfied.

I'll start in a few weeks helping to pull weeds from the iron woods and then hang out in the greenhouse. Truly starting from the ground up.

In good health,