Who Told You Who You Are?

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As I’ve read Caucasia, a novel for a literature class I’m taking, I’ve been struck by how artificially constructed race (or gender) is, and how race is simply a culture-ized idea with no “biological definition” as Micheal Omi puts it. (Racial Formations, Michael Omi) I can see the primitive survival aspect of evolution which required “different” to trigger an instinctive wake-up call to possible danger, but now that we as a society have moved past the caves, spears, clothes made from the skins of animals (sort of) and cave paintings, maybe we as writers can help deconstruct some of this latent fear-of-different, power trip that leads to social and political marginalization, where the dominant culture/race is the only lens or even the primary lens the world is seen through.

As an artist who is a half Chinese, half European woman of a certain age, I am aware that “male-white-American” is a limited perspective, one I bumped up against just yesterday.

So I stopped by for tea, with two, white, male, fifty-something scientists, one a chemist, the other a geologist. They were in the middle of writing up a proposal for a soil remediation project in a Russian sounding place near the Arctic Circle. They welcomed my fresh energy and the chemist, a shaved head, bespectacled guy who peered at me over the top of his glasses, seemed eternally wearing an “oh really” mask, while he simultaneously swaggered in his rolling office chair, and plucked away at the laptop’s keyboard.

The chemist shook his head knowingly when I recited the name of my Women’s Studies Lit/Writing class, “Writing Women’s Lives: Strategies for Representation and Histories of Domination” which to be sure is a mouthful. He shook his head, smiling smugly, like he really had the skinny on life, then he made an attempt to be fair minded, saying we’re all different, but followed his platitude with the assessment of women as complicated and meandering, and men as direct.

I made light of this, acknowledging that women are indoctrinated to be subtle and pleasant. I smiled and described an interaction with my partner, where I initially resisted being direct and had to practice just telling my truth, in the mirror no less! Two days later I managed distill my vague, apologetic abstractions down to two concrete requests. Voila! Success! As I spoke to the chemist I began to wonder how much of gender or race is culturally constructed. This guy seemed to see these things as concrete: Men are this way. Women are that way. I am white. You are the other. He was efficient, intelligent, powerful, the one getting things done—what was of true value. I wondered if his position would be different if he were say Black or Chinese? He’s still male, which actually seemed the trump card.

As I sat at the café-style table with my blue-eyed, white-haired geologist friend I was regaled with the Fibonacci sequence, capillary flow, ambient waves and ways scientists protect their formulas and procedures, sometimes with the low tech addition of something like food coloring! It was fascinating, even when the chemist chimed in to our conversation, “I actually get what he’s saying.” Was he insinuating I did not? No, he could not be that blatantly cliche. I must have misunderstood.

I found tea with the two, white, male scientists stimulating and thought provoking on many levels. The whole white-male superiority seems odd and contrived–a thin as air, wispy idea of power, likely fabricated by some guy in a dress/religious robe–or a lab coat.

As a writer, I strive to remain aware of these biases, and explore social, political and cultural nuances, (and maybe even my own defensiveness) which will color my work with a deeper understanding of the diversity of the human experience.

Not you typical Love and Lettuce post, lovelies, but one I’m pondering. I think deconstructing our biases on any level can help us evolve and achieve deeper health, whether it be physically, spiritually, emotionally or culturally-politically.

Love and Lettuce,
Kathryn

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Green Light Magic Recovery Drink

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My best post-workout, replenishing drink.

4 cups greens
3 cups water
1 tablespoons wheat grass powder
1 banana
1/2 whole, unpeeled, organic lemon
1 tablespoons vegan protein powder
1 tablespoons ground flax seed
2 teaspoons maca (if it’s early and you want energy)
1/8 teaspoons ground stevia leaf
1 teaspoons ground rooibos
1/2 teaspoons ground dulse

Blend in Vitamix or other powerful blender 1 full minute. (The lemon requires extra blending.) (2) 24ish ounce servings.

Cheers and be so, so well beauties!

Love and lettuce,
Kathryn

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Oh, Raspberries Make It All Worth It!

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Seriously, vegan isn’t hard. After all, there are raspberries!

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New Year’s Ponderings

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What an amazing year. I took on a plant based life style. I started writing a novel. I got way better at voting for what I want. (Thank you Lance.) I’m physically stronger. (Merci encore, mon amore amis.) I can see, after having emergency surgery. (Thank you Colin Ma.) Lost my stepdad. (Love you Dude.) Been a year, just living the life I like…along with what life threw up on my front porch, being human and all… (Got to get a cat.)

Yet this next year, I want to quiet my inner sloth, and I want to shoosh my immediate gratification monster. The petty addictions are what derails, or at least slows, my train of dreams: Stay in bed where it’s warm and cozy, because it can’t be time to work out yet. Put any random thing that looks good in my mouth. (As long as it’s vegan.) Check email, FB, and texts, at least 50x a day. Really? What if I checked only 1x day? Is this electronic thing like Lays potatoes chips? Can I have only one? Can I get up early? Can I resist that cookie, or not bake them in the first place!

Just today sister, I whisper to my inner naughty, addicted child—just today believe you can. Stay focused, just long enough. You CAN do these tasks just once. You can get out of bed early. That Costco sample isn’t the answer, unless the question is, how do you stay ten pounds overweight? Having a novel, a fat investment account, and a lean body…It’ll be way more fun, I tell my slothy, sleepy, snacky, media loving alter-ego. I promise.

A toast beauties, to focus, to choosing well, to saying yes to what we really want.

Love and lettuce,
Kathryn

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Speak

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A story about a asking for what we want.

“Give it up girl,” he says after listening patiently to me tell another woman’s story. “That’s very nice for Cherie, but I’m waiting for what you have to say.”

Jeeze, I am an adult woman. Why is this so hard? I nod and measure my breaths into even and silent in-and-outs. I close my eyes and a tentative smile stretches my lips into a flat curve. Then what were my words, dissolve into smoke and drift lazily out of me, like incense, then float through the parked car’s half-open window. I watch the now indiscernible words, carried away on the light, cool wind of the early evening.

He’s waiting, all easy and quiet, leaning against the car door. I can only hear the water-rushing sound inside my own head. He draws in a breath and holds it, as he’s holding what he just realized: All is not well. He exhales and with a smiling sigh, does one of his side tip nods. Days like this pop up, even in the best relationships.

“Come in,” he says finally. “My girls can wait. This is important.” My face is hot, both with the sticky words caught in my throat, and with the surprising notion that he actually wants to know.

Once inside he points to the futon-couch, covered in a t-shirt-soft, burgundy-colored material—the very same color as the dress I wore on our first date. I lower myself onto the place I know his girls sleep when they stay with their Dad, and I run my hand over the soft fabric. I move my gaze to his. His golden eyes are fixed on me, waiting.

“I love you. I’ll do anything,” he starts. “Just be specific.” I am suddenly aware of the fullness in my chest and settle into this new sensation. Something occurs to me: What I thought was his—is mine: I own this thing–my own desire; my own need; my own voice. I look into his well-intentioned eyes, my gut swimming with a mixture of hope and doubt… and I throw away all my trained-in, so-called female subtlety, and opt instead for words so obvious, they cannot be misinterpreted: raw, crass and descriptive words; raise your eyebrows and say “oh really?” words.

Just as well. It’s all practice, all just a grand experiment towards becoming more open and fun, and creating the life I like.

So, I do. I just say it–and VERY specifically, just like he asked.

I wait. I hope. Finally, I exhale. No risk, no gain, right?

“That’s it?” He asks, his voice colored with one part confusion, one part relief.

I nod, naughty and sheepish.

“Lock the door” is all he says.

Alrighty then. Game on!

So, I have to actually say it? Okay, I will. Got it, and I will speak up, even if it’s unlikely to go this well. I just like me better as a grown-up who simply tells it like it is…and gives her lover what he needs to please her. This man gets to be hugely successful with me, because I’m that kind of girl.

Cheers Lovelies–to speaking up–because we can, because it’s fun to stretch ourselves and because our satisfaction and joy blesses our lovers, and everyone who we come across in our lives.

Love and lettuce,
Kathryn

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I don’t know what’s next

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So I have a newbie vegan dilemma. I thought I was changing what I ate, not my whole life. Okay, please don’t laugh or cringe, but my leather things are starting to feel…strange. Incongruent.

Leather, animal goods: They don’t seem seem to fit into what’s emerging inside me. How could I have not seen this before? The scope and acceptance of the (food industry) insanity, feels like total sci-fi. I’m not sure what my next step is, except to keep following this path that keeps extending before me. It seems the world is numbed out, and only a few have the clarity or courage to see it. This supposed diet path has changed since I started four months ago, when I thought I just wanted to be healthier and do a little food experiment.

It’s bigger. (And easier, as far as the food.)

We really do as consumers have the power to turn this whole destructive, disease making, cruel thing around. Our bodies, the earth, the animals, our souls–all are effected by this simple food (and other goods) choice.

I’ve always thought of myself as kind, and of course unwilling to kill or abuse, NOW, I choose to not let others do it for me. Not the food industry. And… maybe not even my favorite shoe maker… I am not a perfect vegan. Or perfect anything for that matter. I’m just a stumbling, questioning newbie trying to figure out these new things I’m just becoming aware of.

But, just one thing: I will not pretend I don’t see. I think that’s where it starts.

A toast beauties, to unnumbing, to embracing our own truth and the truth of the state beyond us; to being okay with the discomfort that leads to growth and positive change; and to simply what’s right for the greater good…because we f–ing can!

Love and lettuce,
Kathryn

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Like Water for…Muffin-top?

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I’m a compulsive snacker, especially as I’m making holiday goodies. And that sometimes gets me cushier than I’d like to be.

This time of year especially, my finger goes to wagging: You missed your last workout, Kathryn dear. The between meal “little bits” have piled up like falling snow, making your belly look an aweful lot like (Jaws shark music here)…muffin top!!

Eek!! I wake in the dark early morning hours, shaking my head and making requests of my celestial Genie: Flatter belly please. Just ten pounds lighter? And remind me to eat only when I’m sitting down–not standing at the break table or grazing through the Costco Sunday buffet!

Then I thought: Could I be thirsty, not hungry? Could it be that simple?

I see my lean, fit friends with their water bottles. My sexy yogi friend Clair chugs from a giant white Hydroflask with a travel sticker from South Africa. Very cool. My ripped guy Lance always sets his hydrating, sparkling glass of water on the floor, beside the bed. Hmmm.

How about trading that muffin-top producing snack compulsion for a water habit? Would it make a difference? It’s a start. It can’t hurt. Just the opposite: Pure water is simply a life giving necessity. Every cell requires it. Organs need water to function. The brain shrinks with even mild dehydration. Low blood pressure, constipation, false hunger, lack of clarity–all can be symptoms of inadequate hydration.

Also, drinking water could be a snack replacement; a consumption activity without the calories! And I could add some lemon, or green tea or even chickpea miso!

Now drinking more water isn’t some panacea for all that ails you, and you can over do water consumption, but for most of us, I think there’s a sweet spot a little further from where we are.

I do have a Hydroflask, from when I volunteered for Tedx or one of those cute canning jars that used to hold Grandma Ramona’s jelly!

That’s it! Muffin top out. Water in!

I haven’t told anything you don’t already know. It’s true. Maybe I’m just reminding myself, thinking up easy ways to be healthier and more beautiful and have more clarity and inspiration. Maybe I’m thinking my every-woman, regular folk kind of story, can awaken a life changing “ah-ha” that creates a shift for you, or someone. You never know when that magic moment will happen, or what will trigger it.

Cheers lovelies, lifting my water glass, my water bottle, my canning jar AND my Hydroflask high! To our capacity to make little changes, that somehow add up to a life we love.

Love and lettuce,
Kathryn.

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Practicing for Thanksgiving

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Vegan Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie!

Try it with kobocha squash, maple syrup and Ener-g egg replacer. Easy peasey to make plant-based deliciousness!!

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The Eclectic Salad

Ecclectic Salad

What happened to be in my fridge:

A foundation of fresh organic greens
A little chick pea salad with dill
Sweet purple potatoes
Lance’s tomatoes from the garden
Italian black rice (chewy and sweet)
Maybe a spicy falafel patty

An organic dill pickle on the side, for good digestion.

How about a drizzle of balsamic vinegar?

Then throw on as many beautiful pumpkin seeds as your heart desires!

A toast beauties, to making a nutritious, sexy meal with what you happen to have hanging around!

Love and lettuce,
Kathryn

P.S That jar of yummyness there? I just followed a pico de gallo recipe (about 2 cups) then just blanched 2 cloves of garlic and 1 medium carrot, whirled the whole thing in the food processor with 2/3 cup of mustard. Holy moly, it reminded me of the habanero mustard sauce I had in St. Thomas!

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A Philosophy Conversation: The Rope and the Snake

In The Cemetary

Good morning Beauties!

Most of you know I’m eternally-learning, still getting my bachelors for a decade now. This term I’m taking a philosophy class, where we’re studying different ways people in Southeast Asia view the world, existence and God. Fascinating. What you see below I posted on the Asian Thought discussion board, and as I did so, it struck me that this conversation continues today. In fact just the other day, me and that guy texted about a branch of this topic. This 2,000 year-old conversation continues. Or is it a 200,000 year-old conversation?

My instructor’s question followed by my answer:

Question: What is Shankara (Hindu guru, 868 A.D.) in his Crest-Jewel of Discrimination trying to tell us with “The Snake and the rope?”

Answer: “The metaphor of the rope and the snake seem important to Shankara, as he mentions it in various places within the text. So, an individual sees a snake and is understandably frightened, because the snake can do harm. Fear is necessary for survival in order to avoid harmful or potentially fatal elements. That works. Then the story continues. Later that same person comes across a rope, and sees it as a snake and has the same fear response. This is a problem, and one Shankara sees as a major obstacle to finding freedom and illumination and becoming one with Brahman, the Ultimate Reality: This superimposing of a memory (illusion) on the current reality. Shankara is giving a concrete, visual representation of a mind-state which causes the seeker to live in Maya, the chaotic illusion that is this world. Shankara seems to be inviting: “Come walk with me, but see that pile of rope for what it is–a pile of rope.”

A kombucha, wheat grass toast lovelies…to seeing what is…to shrugging off our misperceptions…to laughing at our fears, or at least not letting them coerce us into doing something stupid…or unkind.

Love and lettuce,
Kathryn

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