You are NOT what others think you are. You are NOT what your family, teachers,colleagues and friends think you are. If you want to successed in life the most important thing you need to do right no…
Source: The Start to Your Success
You are NOT what others think you are. You are NOT what your family, teachers,colleagues and friends think you are. If you want to successed in life the most important thing you need to do right no…
Source: The Start to Your Success
Ever have one of those moments when you tried something new and wondered why the hell you did? Not only was it likely to be as awful as you’d heard reports say it is, but you tried it anyway, like you’re on some super cool reality show challenge, and you wanted to test your nerve?
Enter durian fruit. (Drum roll, please!)
Hailed as the King of Fruits, in part because of its massive size and thorny spikes, this (beast) demands respect and is highly revered for its wealth of nutritional benefits. It is high in calcium, potassium, folate (folic acid), Vitamin C, and is touted as well an anti-aging, anti-cancer wonder fruit. A native of Malaysia and Brunei, but commercially produced in Thailand for export, a fully grown durian fruit can reach up to 3 kg (7 lbs), inside revealing five large pods of highly messy and famously
putrid stinky pudding-like flesh. The smell is so bad that some hotels forbid guests from bringing it inside their rooms and taxi drivers refuse to ferry it in their cars, yet daring newbies continue to seek it out, willing to risk odor for beauty or good health, while most locals consider it a delicacy.
My first durian encounter came at the Go Raw Café in Las Vegas last year, where I jumped at the chance to try the durian smoothie on their menu.
“Have you ever had durian before?” I was asked, as the three colleagues lined up behind the counter to review my answer.
“No, but I’ve heard so much about it, I just have to try it,” I chirped. I could hear crickets as the three exchanged knowing glances, telepathically deciding whether or not I was nuts.
With a heavy sigh, the chef/manager acquiesced and agreed to add more orange juice to the smoothie if I couldn’t handle the taste, and gave the nod to begin making the shake. I secretly did a little happy dance and I gave the rest of my order – delicious portobello collard wraps – then took a seat at a nearby table. I was going to try my first durian!
Wait… Hold on… Back it up. Did she say she’d add more orange? In the words of Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman’, “Big mistake. HUGE.” I have since learned the innate creaminess of durian blends well with anything but citrus. Better to enhance its flavor with fresh coconut, almond milk or cacao, and subtle spices. Not to knock the valiant efforts of the staff at Go Raw to get me to like one of their favorite foods, but as I gagged my way through their concoction, determined to fight my way through to the finish of what tasted like a garlicky orange creamsicle, I did not have a pleasant experience. (NOTE: The friendly folks at the restaurant felt they were doing me a favor in attempting to mask the initial smell of the fruit with orange, but as I grew more and more hesitant in the challenge, the drink thawed slightly and became harder to swallow with every quiff. This was attributed to the common knowledge that the frozen fruit is more odoriferous than its fresh counterpart.)
So why did I make a second attempt? Because if the virtues far exceed a minor (okay, major flaw), then it’s worth a second look, and because I binged shopped while out with a visiting friend. 😉 I spied it in the frozen foods case at one of the local Asian markets, chucked it into my basket with a squeal of joy at my find and not an ounce of sense. I kid you not. And now, as I’m moving soon and have to clean out the fridge, what better time is there to try?
Enter durian, Take Two.
Countless YouTube videos extol the miracles of eating durian from younger looking skin to never catching colds to it being a natural aphrodisiac. Smoothies seemed to be the best way to go, but if I was going to get past my bad memories, I had to do some research and come up with a more palatable recipe. I settled on the Sexy smoothie – why not? – and if I got past that, I’d try a simple fudge. Reportedly, cacao powder and vanilla help mask the odor, so much like stinky cheese, the finished product tastes better than it smells. Alas, since everything tastes better with chocolate, I defrosted my precious purchase and peeuw!!!
But I digress….
The recipe* by Summer Sanders is as tempting as her name is cool, and she presents a mighty fine argument for sexy longevity. I whipped up a pitcher full (*substituting 12 oz of coconut water plus 1C shredded unsweetened coconut for the young Thai coconut) and tucked in. Not bad! I could get to like this durian stuff. The odor was still there, but greatly
mellowed improved as I left the rest to sit in the refrigerator while I read for a bit and did a mini trampoline workout. I finished my second glass and felt energized and a little er… sexier. Could I be hooked at last?
Feeling bold and in need of something sweet to make from what I had on hand, I next decided upon Johnny Freesh’s Raw Coconut Durian Fudge. The recipe is amazingly simple to make, sets up beautifully, but is also IMHO one for durian lovers, not us newbies. Or perhaps, I should have gone with the rule above that everything tastes better with chocolate and added a healthy dose of stress-relieving cacao. At any rate, when I get back home I’ll pull the fudge out of the freezer and invite a few friends to try it with me. Maybe we should film our responses, just like on one of those super cool reality show challenges!
Maybe I’ll just eat the jar of leftover coconut butter, instead. Yum! Now that’s delicious.
Get out there and explore new things, then challenge yourself!
A tout à l’heure…
I would eat kale chips and truffles every day of the week if I could, but I digress.
During meditation this morning in my hotel room in São Paulo, I prayed again, as I often do, to bring people and experiences into my life that inspire and assist me in moving along my journey as a fully conscious human being.
What does prayer mean to you? My agnostic and atheist friends would say it’s bunk. Speaking to an unseen, unproven entity while pinning all your desires onto this force is outright crazy-talk to them. Me? I see prayer as a simple case of semantics. Whether I’m praying to an individual that represents perfection of spirit or sending out a request to a universal Source of energy in the All That Is makes no difference to me as long as my intent for change and living my own truth is pure. That said, in all things, one must be careful not to always “wish” for something. As Universal Law of Attraction teaches: you will be given the perpetual experience of wishing something to come true, rather than living that desire. Verbiage is critical here and I can’t stress it enough. Everything happens for a reason.
So, days later, it occurred to me that because I called out for these people to come into my life, it’s no wonder I sat in the Portland airport one early Thursday morning, a nervous wreck, wondering whether I’d get on the flight as a standby passenger, only to feel that sigh of relief, like I won the lottery or something, when the agent called my name and gave me the middle seat to LAX… saving me from missing my next work trip that afternoon. One of the last two people to board the airplane, I found my place in 11E between two women, one of whom immediately greeted me with a friendly ‘Hello’.
“Oh, jeez,” I thought to myself. “This one’s a talker! I’d better tell her how I’m operating on only two hours of sleep and need to rest before I get to work…. Where are my ear buds?”
Fortunately, in this particular case, my instinct for kindness was stronger than my instinct for survival, because Gwen C. and I ended up talking from the time I sat down till the time we stepped off the aircraft in Los Angeles, and it was one of the greatest conversations I ever had in my life. Gwen is a lovely, vivacious 73 year-old with an amazing attitude and she’s totally dialed in to the collective universal consciousness. We covered everything from the state of our current educational system to the care of aging parents; from needing to grow our own vegetables to finding our life’s purpose. Currently, she lives in Mexico but imagines a life traveling and meeting people while exploring new cultures. She’s well-versed in current affairs, dabbles in real estate, exercises, and eats healthfully to maintain her endless energy. Heck! I want to be like Gwen when I grow up and she’s interested in reading my blog. (Hi, Gwen! And thank you.)
I left that flight feeling jazzed and ready to go about my day, a luxury I’ve been able to re-create every time I think of her. I asked for this, right?
My 2 hours and 20 minutes with Gwen capped off an excellent few days of long flights, driving through the most gorgeous, natural landscape in America, meeting up with the newly dubbed ‘French traveling hippie’, eating raw chocolates, and listening to some Beloved music.
Back in the day, I was known to travel for good music. If my favorite band was playing within 500 miles, I was in the car on the road to see them. Now as a flight attendant I can stretch that distance a bit further, so when my friend Brandy sent me a flyer of Elijah Ray playing in Ashland, Oregon, I couldn’t miss out on yet another opportunity to see him perform live and rearranged my schedule to fly over from France. Around the same time, a friend on vacation from Paris, Cécile, contacted me on Facebook to say that while traveling through Canada via the Trans-Canadian, she discovered she liked “hippie things”: yoga, meditation, nature and music, and that she would soon be trekking from Vancouver down to California on her way to see some giant trees. Wow! A girl after my own heart! Growing up in Detroit, I’d dreamed of taking the train across Canada and exploring the wilderness as Cécile was doing. And suddenly I felt ashamed to have lived so close to the redwood forest in San Francisco and never visited those majestic trees. Even though I’m a tree-hugger at heart, had I been that
lazy ambivalent? I was a different person then. Although I practiced yoga and liked to putter around in the garden, I was caught up in the vicious cycle of television and shopping, living a superficial life at best. Cécile was living it, and traveling alone in a country where they didn’t speak her native language… an achievement I wished I’d acquired many years earlier than I did. I was proud and happy for her. We hoped to find a place to convene and see a familiar face while away from home. Perfect timing! Enter Elijah and the Peace Village music festival.
An in-flight road trip was born.
After landing in Boston, then Portland, and then Eugene, I picked up my rental car and headed for a little motel to crash for the night. It was nearly 10:30 pm, and I had to ring the doorbell to get service. A disheveled, middle-aged Indian man eventually appeared behind the glass in a pair of plaid boxer shorts and flip flops, buttoning his short-sleeved shirt over his tank top. I felt bad for possibly having waken him. Maybe it was the jet lag and sleep deprivation, but I wanted to snicker, too. A long way from Paris, I felt completely out of my element at this roadside stop in the middle of logging country. This called for a sense of adventure and humor…. He gestured for me to hold on a moment as he disappeared back into his apartment behind the counter, then the innkeeper’s vivacious daughter came out and took over the transaction. I hefted my bags up the stairs and squirreled away for the night. In the morning, I’d see exactly where I was.
It was lovely.
Incredible groves of tall pines, as full as any picture-perfect Christmas tree, swayed in the wind along the road on the drive from Eugene to Ashland. I could see how the famous vampire and werewolf families would use them as thick cover to hide their secrets, but we’re not vampires and werewolves. We Are Human: a term used to describe this physical condition we’re in, as part of the great race walking the earth, connected and yet lost in the quest for self-discovery. We Are as invincible as we are vulnerable…. The opening set of music from the artist who calls himself Human was just that: touching on our vulnerability while embracing our aptitude for life experience. (Regrettably, I did not purchase one of his CDs while at the show and cannot find him on YouTube, so if you know how to get in touch with his music, please let me know.)
During intermission, Cécile and I wandered around the campsite venue in search of refreshments and found chocolates, instead. Kristina Pescatore is the delightful maker of Kilikina’s Chocolate, the lovingly created, silky smooth, raw bon bons in delicious flavors like hazelnut truffle, raspberry and lavender. (You can have them delivered!!) She is truly turning her creative passion into a living, where work is no longer a job and inner peace is the payoff. Cécile jokingly offered her to teach us how to make the chocolates so we can
eat sell them in Paris, but we may have to settle on a visit and more samples. Not a bad thing, as this girl rocks feminine laid-back cool and I’d be happy to call her “friend” any day.
Kristina is also the other half of flugelhorn specialist, Max Ribner, whom I recognized from Medicine and the People, but now plays with Elijah in the +Band of Light-. Munching on whole grain bread with avocado, Max declared our tribe “clean hippies” (❤️) and excitedly told us how he and Kristina would love to visit Paris; take his music there and live the dream, traveling. He was speaking my language! Music, clean living, chocolate, traveling… Max gifted me his latest CD, ‘Leap to Flame’ which is fun, upbeat and full of talent, just like the man, himself. It was an honor and a treasure to meet this couple, both living from the heart in service to their fellow brothers and sisters. At American Airlines, they form what we call TeAAm, with two As and an eagle in the middle. This beautiful pair will be a welcome addition to the City of Light.
If you’ve read my posts before, you may have noticed Elijah is my musical crush, and to be included in his +Band of Light- family is a blessing. The man exudes grace and Love, and I’ve thanked him in return by sharing his tunes whenever I can (and will continue that tradition today). Often, I refer to him as an Ascended Master, as I believe he is definitely one of the angels among us, with his lyrics encouraging us to ‘Give Thanks’ and honor what we have today while consciously creating the space for a brighter future. I think he’s deserving of a much bigger following, but those fans who know of him are wonderful and true; their contact with him genuine. Beginning the set with a sound healing meditation, we gathered round the stage and let the vibration carry us where it may. Once the official concert began with Elijah’s +Band-, Cécile found herself in Hippie Central, grinning from ear to eat as everyone rose to dance and gyrate around us in front of the stage. Much as their parents did, little children danced with joy and abandon, the atmosphere supercharged with L-O-V-E.
I would’ve taken more photos but I was too busy singing and dancing, figuring it was far better to be in the moment than to record it for all time, so you’ll just have to make it to one of the band’s shows, yourself. 😉
As all good things must come to an end, though, the concert was forced to wind down as the curfew hour arrived. Even our raucous applause was too loud to warrant another encore, so the event organizer encouraged us to give silent appreciation and we chose… wait for it… JAZZ HANDS!! In return, we were treated to the celestial voice of an angel: Tina Malia in her precious duets with Elijah.
Life is what you make of it, and our time in Ashland was short but sweet. After the show, Cécile and I make our way back to our motel, where we’d only get three hours sleep before heading out. Loaded up on provisions from the Ashland Food Coop (vegan “Heaven”, she called it), as I headed for a flight out to LA where that divine reroute would have me meet Gwen, Cécile rented the same car and drove on to see some really big trees. Seated on the plane in front me: the incredible dancer I’d seen at the concert the night before, Elijah’s girlfriend, Amber. Reminding me of a more peaceful warrior, I imagine her the goddess of the Amazons, it’s no wonder they make a perfect match. (Reminder #2 – Google ‘ecstatic birth Amber Hartnell)
So, prayer. The power of intent.
When I left the familiarity of San Francisco fourteen years ago for the complete unknown in Santa Monica, it was to surround myself with people who were where I wanted to be in life. At the time it meant learning how to be a better writer by being around those who worked on screenplays, so I took a course and became a script supervisor. It lead to some eye-opening, fun, stressful, wouldn’t-trade-it-for-anything-in-the-world adventures. Am I a better writer? Only the reader knows, but I met some amazing people that taught me a lot.
Later, I’d call in others who could provide with guidance when I strayed off the path. I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing much. Financially and spiritually broken, I physically broke bones when I repeatedly said I needed “a break.” Words, thoughts, deeds, and actions are powerful entities, each with its own capability to manifest into something life altering. Choose them as wisely as you’d choose your friends or lovers. Trust in the Universal Law of Attraction that you will be given all that you desire, as well as be provided the tools and people who can help get you there. Be very clear in your request! When you are ready to make that call, the Operator will provide what you need. If you seek inspiration, ask and look for the signs. Suddenly it will be all around you. With any luck, it will come with a smile, a bear hug, and wisdom, all wrapped up in a delicious raw chocolate maple truffle with some fabulous music playing in the background.
Now, what will this week bring?
A travel update from Cécile: I’M ADDICTED!
Live your dream, French Hippie! Live your dream.
À tout à l’heure
If you’ve read my entry ‘Fortitude’, you know I can relate. My own NDE – or what was as close as I came to dying – taught me how to live. 💜
AngelicView: I think this is one of the most un-selfish things for a spirit/soul to do – to come to Earth for an incarnation only to benefit the evolution of another. This NDE (Near Death Experience) is one such case. Gary says that he was given the option to stay on Earth or go on, and the choice he made wouldn’t affect him at all. But if he decided to leave Earth, it would mean the mission failure of someone else.
I was taken in to surgery for routine spinal reconstruction after sever injury. I was prepped, made small talk with anesthesiologist, nurses and surgeon. Was given an IV, then gas. Counted backward to ten and then was out. At some point, while still unconscious, I heard the surgeon telling the staff to get me going again “What happened? Why does he not have a pulse? Is he getting oxygen?…
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When we were kids spending the summer in Atlanta, my father used to take my brother and I to the farmers market to load up the car with fresh peas by the basket (excellent for opening up and having pea fights, btw) and ears of corn by the bushel. As part of our chores we had the task of shucking, shelling, or peeling vegetables for hours at a time out on the hot balcony, but were often rewarded with ice cream and movies or my favorite, Six Flags amusement park. Then one day, knowing how much we liked them, Dad decided to surprise us with 13 whole watermelons. Maybe he got them on sale – 12 for $1, with the thirteenth thrown in like a baker’s dozen – but after we lugged them inside, he lined them up on floor all along the hallway outside the kitchen and ordered, “You kids better eat them dang watermelons!” Dad hated to waste money. “Thirteen?!?!” I cried. They were good and we slowly worked our way through them, but after that summer, I did not eat another piece of watermelon for about 22 years. As much as I loved the sweet, juicy fruit, I was all watermelon-ed out. Uh, uh. Not crossing these lips.
Fast forward to the 1990s… I can’t remember if I was tired of avoiding certain fruit salads, or whether I read how beneficial it was for me on the Blood-Type Diet, but I bought a small container full on a whim at the bodega on 76th & York, and tried watermelon again for the first time since that long ago summer. “Mmmm. It’s delicious!” I thought. All on it’s own? How did we ever put salt on it and ruin this pure sweetness? I resolved the fruit had to come back into my list of summer favorites.
Since that auspicious day in New York, I’ve broadened my watermelon repertoire to include salads and salsas, as well as margaritas and juice drinks. And although most of us only think of watermelon as being extremely, um, watery and aiding hydration, it turns out its benefits include anti-inflammatory properties and reducing body fat. It also helps cardiovascular function and is rich in potassium. Donc, with this catchy little tune running through my head and a quarter of a watermelon calling my name from the fridge, I had to make something quick and lovely to wash down my almond butter and quinoa cakes. Thank you, Vitamix! On this gray, rainy day in Paris, why not blend up a glass full of summer deliciousness?
Watermelon Cucumber Mint Juice
1/4 seedless watermelon (rind removed)
1/2 cucumber, peeled (seeds optional)
1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves
1 lime, juiced
Superfood boost: 1/4 – 1/2 tsp matcha green tea powder (optional)
Combine all in a high-powered blender. Using tamper if necessary to get the flow going, blend from low to high till smooth. Strain through a mesh sieve into a large bowl using a rubber spatula to scrape sides. Transfer back into blender container to pour. Garnish with cucumber slice and mint. Serves 2.
It’s so refreshing. Enjoy!
For kicks and giggles, anyone from the US of “a certain age” should remember the ’80s commercial ditty, ‘Summer Summer fruits… Just wouldn’t be summer without them’. Hmm… Nectarines. I think I’ll go buy some nectarines. 😉
À tout à l’heure…
Flight attendants know every grocery store on every layover they’ve ever worked. Be it Sainsbury’s in London, the smallest bodega in São Paulo, or the closest Trader Joe’s in L.A., we know the perfect pasta sauce in Milan; the best beers in Belgium; plus the most delicious yogurt to buy in Paris (and every baguette, too). Our bags are teeming with enough food to get us through the most demanding flight and, often, a whole 3-day trip. And in the final moments on any given day on international flights returning into the United States, you’ll find us in the galley trading half an avocado for a cupful of cherries, or debating whether carrot sticks and lettuce are okay to bring in the country while stuffing our faces with forbidden fresh produce prior to entry on our way home.
Part of this behavior stems from the fact that we can only eat so much of the same airplane food day after day, trip after trip, and let’s face it: airport food courts don’t offer the healthiest choices. Another issue is that our companies don’t provide us with crew meals, except on long haul legs of over ten hours flying time. We are only entitled (eye roll) to eat what is left over after serving all our passengers. On dinner flights that can leave us with one dried up chicken breast to split between eleven crewmembers… or nothing at all if you’ve gone vegan, like me, and are caught out unprepared.
If you’ve read my blog before you may know I live in Paris, but I worked in New York. Then, to make life more complicated and because I’m
sadistic crazy adventurous and missed Hawaii, I transferred to the west coast in March, so now I commute 11 hours by airplane to start or end my workday. That’s right. Some people get on the I-405. I get on an airplane for an insanely long time from Charles de Gaulle to Los Angeles, and in the hours before any given flight I’m always in a panic as to whether or not I’ll have enough food. Vegans eat a lot!
So in an ongoing dialog with one of my coworkers, she asked me to lay out a method to my madness. A means to sustain myself while on the go. Inspiration, perhaps, for her to incorporate more the vegan choices into her own lifestyle? One can hope. 😉
The easiest thing I tell her to do is to make friends with the produce department at her local store. Though Bridget and I both advocate organic, sustainable fruits and vegetables, many mainstream grocers like Ralph’s or Vons carry more and more organic produce than ever. While buying exclusively organic foods is not always conducive to keeping a low budget or for times when Whole Foods may not be within walking distance, get familiar with what’s recommended on diagrams like The Clean Fifteen.
Fortunately these days, most stores carry several types of pre-washed, organic salad greens in bags that, when opened carefully, also double as a convenient bowl for eating on the go. Again, relax… Not everything has to be organic. Avocados and pre-cut pineapple chunks, for example, are perfectly safe additions to jazz up an otherwise boring salad or to enjoy as a sweet treat, and you’ll intake some healthy fats and vitamin C in the process. Add some packaged herbs, like basil or cilantro (coriander), as many of these are hydroponically grown and are generally free of pesticides. These dark, leafy greens have wonderful medicinal properties to aid digestion and bring sparkle to the palate. Always keep in mind it’s best to get ANY veggies in you than none at all.
In my lunch tote today you’ll find bananas (nature’s fast food on a stick), melon, quinoa cakes, almond butter, salad wraps, sugar snap peas (which I had to scarf before exiting Kauai), lentil chips, and lentil dip. And I’m almost never without the ubiquitous nuts and berries, a few raw protein bars, plus the ever-present dark chocolate. Okay, granted some of the items are cooked foods, but I don’t beat myself up over not eating 100% raw when I’m still getting great nutrition. It’s all about maintaining a healthy balance. At the next stop or as soon as I’m home, I load up on greens.
How healthy is this, you may ask? Well, I’m proud to say that I recently had my blood work done by a holistic DO, and save for a deficiency in vitamin D – most likely due to living in a northern climate and being cooped up in airplanes – my test results came back with stellar numbers. Since practicing this whole foods, plant-based diet, I have never felt better, cleaner, or lighter. As someone who used to live off 5-hr Energy Drinks and coffee, I no longer have the need or desire to drink either, because I get so much natural energy from foods that thrive in the sun. And by substituting dates or maple syrup as sweeteners, I killed the beastly cravings and eliminated processed sugar, too. The day I woke up and threw away all of the sugar in my cabinet was a day I felt empowered to take on anything. Now I can walk past the best patisserie and not want a thing. Oh, and I never get sick. It’s liberating to feel so amazing and know that it’s real because I’m in control of my health.
The beauty of all this is that you can achieve this same health, this same glow, with a commitment to yourself and a little dedication to honoring all that you can be. Contrary to the myth that “vegan is hard” or expensive or even extreme, it’s totally doable and the benefits far outweigh a daily regiment of doctor appointments and pricey pharmaceuticals. If I made it work on a ridiculously abnormal schedule where my body doesn’t know day from night or night from day, so can you. Using these tips I describe above, small improvements add up to big change. Remember, you are worth it. Get busy living and live life deliciously!
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with nor do I receive compensation for any of the products mentioned or shown in this post. All photographs except The Clean Fifteen graphic were taken by me and you have my permission to share them. Please eat healthy and spread the word.
À tout à l’heure…
I Am a flight attendant. Although I work for a legacy carrier in United States and a terrible incident occurred today in the skies above the Ukraine, I and my fellow crew members worldwide are part of a family. When one of us is lost through tragedy, the pain is felt in us all and words cannot express our sorrow and anger.
My heart and light goes out to my colleagues and the souls who left us on Malaysia flight 17 and are on their way home. May they return soon and help us bring Heaven back to Earth. Peace be with them.
À tout à l’heure…