Saturday, February 27, 2010

Temptation 1; Resistance 0

Last Saturday, I had a showdown. It was between me and my arch rival--dessert. Carrot cake, to be specific.

I knew I was going to give into temptation so there was really no fighting it. There are a few things in life I find completely irresistible--weight gain, guilt trip, morning-after regret be damned--and cake is one of them. Given my ongoing thyroid dysfunction, this has become an even greater woe since I know that the cake I indulge in today, will mean weeks of self-deprivation and nightly engagements with my Dance Your Ass Off DVD.

The cake in question was going to be well worth the pain and suffering after the fact. I happen to work for a non-profit organization that has an herb club, and where there are herb clubs, there is food. Wonderful food. And one of their prize recipes is a carrot cake that is so sinfully rich and moist, packed with walnuts and coconut, and topped with a generous slathering of cream cheese frosting, that if God himself offered me the choice between this cake and eternity, I would be hard pressed to turn away from the fork.

Knowing that I and the cake would be having a confrontation, I decided up front that I wouldn't resist. What was the point? I would only end up feeling resentful, deprived, and craving something even more intoxicating and bad for a bag full of fried dough dusted with cinnamon sugar, that in our heavily-Polish populated area of Western New York are called fasnachts, and only come out during the Lenten season. Carrot cake can at least claim some nutritional value. Fried dough; not so much.

And besides, I rationalized, allowing myself to really enjoy the cake was in keeping with my self-renewal project of embracing contentment, inspired by Lisa Graham McMinn's book "The Contented Soul: The Art of Savoring Life." (2006) For me, there are several areas of life made especially for nurturing contentment, and one of them is food. Whether it's the growing of what we eat, the artful preparation, or the mindful savoring of something we enjoy without gorging ourselves beyond the point of satisfaction, food can be a source of pleasure and even a soul-filling experience when there is a food we greet with eager anticipation, savoring every molecule of flavor with abandon and guiltlessness. And it gives us an opportunity to be thankful for the skillful hands that create such gastronomic delights for the senses.

I succumbed to the cake, not without a small amount of remorse, which, by the way, quickly passed.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good Works of the Week

I'm always on the look-out for grassroots organizations that are helping to improve the world we all share. I came across a tiny little tidbit in a recent issue of Redbook about a tremendous group called Bead For Life which is turning the artistic skills of impoverished women in Uganda into saleable products, helping to improve their economic conditions. As someone involved in not-for-profit arts, I know a cool craft item when I see it, and I just love these beads!  My hat's off to co-founders Ginny Jordan and Torkin Wakefield for their efforts in getting this organization off the ground. Check out the products available or make a donation on their website

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Curator of the Week Feb. 21 - Feb. 27, 2010 - She Writes

Curator of the Week Feb. 21 - Feb. 27, 2010 - She Writes

This wonderful review was written by Julie Jeffs who's the administrator of the "Bloggers" group on SheWrites. Thanks Julie! If you're a women who writes, she the little widget in the column, right, and join the club!

"I chose Elaine Harrigan’s blog Blooming in Midlife not only for its wonderful writing but because for any of us who are navigating mid-life ourselves, we can find some camaraderie, with a healthy dose of humor and wit. Elaine also shares her posts from her writing for For instance, in a story written for titled “Puberty, Again? No Fair!” in which she lists what she describes as the Top Ten list of midlife’s little horrors including blemishes, body changes, moodiness … you know, all those things we already went through in 7th grade! We can all be thankful that Elaine decided in her fifties to “unleash her voice”; it is a joy to hear, er .... read."