Monday, January 26, 2009

The Wellness Plan

So, I started back to school today, which is wonderful. I was so glad to be back and see my classmates. I gave and received many hugs. Of course, we hit the ground running, so there is already tons of work to do, but it still feels so much more purposeful than my desk job.

To make it through last semester, I had a rough outline of my wellness plan in my head, and I did a pretty good job of sticking to it. This semester I thought I would write it down and share it.

So here it is, in a nutshell: clean living. As clean as possible, anyway.
  1. Proper diet: including taking a daily multivitamin and limiting the refined sugar and white flour, etc. No fads or crazy diets, just nourishing my body with lean proteins and veggies etc.
  2. Proper sleep: That means as few all night study sessions as possible.
  3. Time management: even if I have to write myself a to-the-minute schedule daily (with breaks, of course), I have to stay on task, especially if I want to get some sleep.
  4. Exercise: SO important. Even if it does take an hour a day away from my books, I need to get up and MOVE.
  5. Very little alcohol
  6. Meditation time: sometimes a good workout is a good mental break, but I need time to attempt to still the torrent in my mind.
  7. Family time: accomplished most readily with family dinner, but I can't be nose in a book 24/7.
  8. Art: The hardest thing to make time for in my science curriculum. But I drag my poetry notebook around in my backpack, just in case.
  9. Brainless entertainment: especially TV that makes me laugh. Gotta break up the stress.
  10. Study, study, study: Nothing would give me a better endorphin rush than getting good grades.
  11. Proper Hand Washing: you would be surprised how this one simple thing will keep you from getting sick.
Go me! Yay!

Some days this is HARD to do. But just trying to be mindful of it daily really seems to help.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dream-Author as Murderer

I'll blame NyQuil and James Bond for last night's dream. I was watching "Thunderball" prior to bed, and I have a nasty little cold.

I was dreaming vividly about being a writer (I know, I am typecasting myself) and I was trying to work out under what circumstances my character would push a person off a rooftop. I was trying out different rooftops and victims in my dream. I even pushed Pavarotti off the Hilton in San Francisco. I know, Pavarotti is already dead, but it was pretty dramatic and windswept and raining, so very compelling as an image.

There was a lot of riding in elevators to the tops of tall buildings in that dream. totally bizarre. Not really sure what that means. I dream about being an assassin pretty often, actually. I just love 007, so that doesn't shock me. I am, in real life, the last person on earth that any agency, government or otherwise, would hire to kill people. I look like everyone's cookie-baking auntie.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I got a little bit of extra sleep last night, so the dream machine was up and running.

I dreamed that I was learning to play the guitar and the piano, and I was getting a lesson about syncopation from Roger Taylor (the drummer from Duran Duran). The lesson was taking place backstage in the midst of a concert or music fest of some kind. We were behind the curtain and the lights were kinda low, but there I was, first strumming on the guitar and then setting it down and playing some chords on the piano. I lost a lot of the details of the dream after I woke up, but it was sorta fun to be getting a celebrity lesson.

I have always wanted to play a musical instrument, but my efforts in that regard have always been spotty and underfunded. I may take up some music lessons over the summer or after I graduate.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Poetry-Sonnet II

Sonnet II

Weep, sad willow tree, bend green boughs, and weep.
Under wind’s weight, let your branches sway low.
Penetrating, reaching, your roots go deep,
Searching blindly, ache to find water’s flow.
Picturesque, planted in your remote field.
Lonely meadows in waving grass repose.
Sun-dappled undergrowth, shadows revealed,
Self-cast, far removed from stem, thorn, and rose.
For if these errant flora should draw near
To try to share your patch of fertile soil,
Though the sun shines warm and the air is clear,
Life tangles and perishes in your coil.
Beautiful you are, but doomed you will be
To stand alone, an island in the sea.

© Stacie Ferrante

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bartering vs. Buying

Maybe it is the recession that is getting on my nerves, but I am starting to look around for things that I can get rid of, sell, or trade to get the things I really need. I don't actually really need much, but things still feel unbalanced. I seem to have too much of things I don't need, and someone else might be able to use.

Of course, most NORMAL people tell me to just have a garage sale and get a little bit of cash for my randomness. I don't really know if I have enough "big" items to attract the folks that love to comb over that stuff. My other issue is that watching other people paw over my things gives me an unaccountable case of the creeps. I am leery of strangers to the point of near xenophobia, which is funny because I am generally very outgoing. But having that many strangers near my house and trying to decide if my silly heirlooms are worth 50 cents causes me to want to flee screaming. I wish I was overstating that.

Mostly I want some new, unique, and artistic objects d'art or services that really connect me better to my friends. I don't want to deal with too many strangers. I want to do things for and give things to people I can get more of that intangible stuff from. I'm looking for a little spiritual currency. I am trying to explain it and feel I am doing a pretty poor job at it.

For example, say I have a single antique vase that came from my family but that isn't my favorite and I would be willing to part with it. It isn't worth enough to sell to an antique dealer, and in any case they are not the sorts of folks I relish dealing with, especially after my experience having that old mixed box of silver and silver plate appraised. But if a friend thought they might like to have it, because it would look cute on their windowbox or something, I would gladly give it. And maybe that friend would buy me a latte, or paint my toenails for me, or give me a cute drawing I could frame and put on the wall.

Or maybe I could make something small like my lavender and lemon tea cake for a friend who likes sweets in exchange for some venison that their hunting father filled their freezer with.

Or I could write a little poem or story for someone, and they might want to do something for me from the art that they practice.

Or I could work someone's trade show booth and score a new shirt or shiny object for my effort.

Little things that friends do for each other is what I am after, I guess. But I get so isolated by my crazy schedule that I lose out on a lot of that, and seem to offer less of it because I am so focused on trying to keep my family in home cooked meals. Maybe if someone made me a casserole I could feed my family with, I could help paint a set, write a play, milk a goat, make some cheese, organize some books, or whatever thing would teach me something new and get me out of my own head, where I just tend to chase myself in circles.

Sure, I could work harder and pay people to do those things for me. But that is impersonal. Sometimes that is alright, but right now I would rather do small things and trade small gifts and get some new experiences and objects connected to memories and people that I care about.

LOL. Maybe I can find someone who needs more of my quirky stuff and energy who can teach me to manage what little money I have. I have a bunch of financial books, but they just make me depressed.

So, I will start with this: I have a collage I made when I was a working Chef. It is in a poster frame and currently hangs over my desk. It has funny little things clipped out of magazines, pictures and quotes and a cute photo of Julia Child. It might look good in someone's kitchen. I love it, but I would like to make a new one and need the space. Want it? I'll give it to you. If you live in Reno or the Bay Area, I will bring it to you. And if you want to trade me something for it now, great. Otherwise, surprise me with something small and personal later.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dream-Spleen Cuisine

I have been pretty spot-on in the ESP department lately. Just weird stuff is occurring to me and then coming to pass, etc. Way out there stuff, too.

I had a totally strange dream last night that I was tasked with making a large pot of soup. and the only protein available to put in it was a large spleen, about the size of a football, presumably from a cow or pig. I didn't want to put it in the soup at all, but apparently I was obliged to. So I chucked the whole thing in the pot with the intent of cutting up after it cooked. I concentrated on making the other ingredients in the mixture taste good. I had to nudge the spleen to the side each time I stirred the soup or when I had to taste it to adjust the seasonings. The total focus I applied to the soup was very intense.

In the dream I had to defend making this soup that I really didn't have to make. These two young guys were making fun of me. I fished the spleen out of the soup and took my 10" chef knife (affectionately nicknamed my 10-inch Dick...long story) and made quick work of cutting it up before scooping the meat up and putting it back in the soup. When I walked away I mistakenly left my knife on the counter.

I have no idea what that dream means, but it turns out there is such a thing as spleen soup. It is a German dish called Milzsuppe. If you are into organ meat food like that, here is a recipe.

I also read a thing, while I was doing research to try and figure out my dream, that some cultures believe that eating spleen is a cure or a treatment for menopause symptoms. Hmmm. I seem to be in the demographic for that, but if eating spleen is the cure for my troubles, I am in for continued symptoms. I don't approve. At least, my palate doesn't approve of eating blood filtering organs. I like to think that this makes me an aristocrat by nature, that I eschew offal in general (with the exception of fine foie gras and the occasional plate of sweetbreads) in favor of the leaner and more palatable muscle meats.

Bizarre. Don't know what it means. If anybody has a guess, or wants to take a humorous, um, stab at it, feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Image credit:

Breeze-stirred grassy meadow
Air soft with humid summer doldrums,
Unsaddled and skinny-dipped
Sun warmed and pinked pale skin.

Carefree, immortal, youth's folly.
Climbing trees far older and wiser,
Reaching out on desiccated limbs.
Shouted admonitions to be careful.

Sickening crack and free fall fast.
Turning in midair to land on my back,
Looking up from the base of tall grass
Fluffy clouds in a sea of cerulean.

Before the pain of blunt force-stunned lungs,
So peaceful staring up, not breathing.
Certainly this would be the only time
I would mistake Ohio for heaven.

(c) Stacie Ferrante

Friday, January 2, 2009

General Malaise

It must be the job.

Or something in the water at the job.

But I am kinda cranky.

Being at school is totally stressful, but also entirely wonderful and autonomous and fantastic. After being off work for four months, I am back at the office for a few weeks during winter break. It is annoying. That, in and of itself, should not be worthy of a blog post.

But I am crabby all the time right now. The dogs are driving me to distraction. The husband and kiddo are conspiring to make messes everytime I get things cleaned up. The Dachshund keeps jumping into the dishwasher when I am trying to load it. I feel snappish.

I need some Zen, sitting on top of a lonely peak, by myself time. I can't even be alone at home, since for some reson that labrador retriever has decided I am her servant and I think she has dementia because she asks for food two seconds after she eats. the house is decidedly not quiet with the near constant barking and whining. Grrr. That is me growling.

I wish I could say that there is at least some comic relief here in my being generally annoyed. Maybe I am having perimenopausal hormone imbalances. Fuck it, I don't know. I feel like I want to back a truck up to my house and get rid of a bunch of stuff. Either that or I need a bigger house. There just seems to be no place for all the effluvia. Even my desk is a bloody mess of papers and I would set fire to the whole thing if it weren't for the fact that SOME of those papers require action on my part. Feh.

I need a bulldozer. I'd like to lighten my load for the new year. When I was a youngster, I moved to my first apartment with only what would fit in the bed of a pickup truck. Not anymore. Last time I moved I had 53 boxes just for the kitchen.

I love my stuff and I hate my stuff. I'm drowning in it. I feel like I am complaining about being too rich or too skinny or something. I have no reason to be crabby and every reason to feel blessed. So why do I want to torch it all?

This being forty thing just might be for suckers. Midlife crisis? How cliche.