Friday, May 6, 2011

I've moved!

Two months ago, I moved to a new pro blogging platform and launched my nonprofit, in the process completely forgetting to let you know here! From now on, I can be found at The Solar-Powered Yogi. Be sure to update your subscription so you don't miss a bit of the excitement!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Photo of the Week- A Winter Kitchen

Oh my! I can't believe it's already the end of January. My 26th birthday is on Friday! It's very busy here at Fat Yogini central, as tax time is quickly approaching and my whole world is consumed with sending acknowledgment letters to the lovely people who have recently donated to the 100 Friends Project. It's not very exciting, but it must be done. In the meantime, here is a photo for your viewing pleasure. Thanks for stopping by!

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My mother-in-law preparing Sunday dinner. Albany, CA. January 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Grace's Lucky New Year's Soup

In the American South, they have a tradition of eating black-eyed peas and greens on New Year's Day to invite luck (black-eyed peas) and money (greens) in the new year. Who decided black-eyed peas were lucky, I have no idea, but they can be extremely tasty and very good for you, so let's eat up, shall we? It's not too late to get the New Year off to a delicious, and maybe even lucky, start!

Grace's Black-Eyed Peas and Greens (Soup)

3 small leeks (white/light green parts diced)
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced fine
1 Tbs. poultry seasoning
2 heaping tsp. good chili powder
2-3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 head savoy cabbage (frilly cabbage), cut into 2-inch pieces
4-5 roasted green chiles, diced (Ortega brand canned whole chiles are great)
2 large red bell peppers, cored and chopped
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 cup dry farfelle or rotelle pasta (corn pasta for gluten-free)
6 cups veggie broth
2 cups water
Parmesan cheese curls for garnish (optional)

Lightly saute leeks, onions and garlic in olive oil. Add poultry seasoning and chili powder. Mix it all about until leeks and onions are fully coated in spices. Add veggie broth, water, cabbage, green chiles, red peppers and black-eyed peas. Bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat, simmer for 40-45 minutes. Add pasta and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until peas and pasta are at desired consistency. Serve immediately, garnish with Parmesan cheese if desired and couple with piping hot cornbread. Happy New Year!

Our New Year's Day dinner and my first photo of 2011!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Photo of the Week- World's Tiniest Nativity

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One of my favorite ornaments, a teeny tiny nativity scene carved and painted inside a gourd, from Peru. Oakland, December 2010

Namaste and happy holidays, no matter what your faith tradition may be!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Femininity Experiment

Since I value honesty and openness, especially in the pro blog and yoga worlds where we are under a constant barrage of pressure to be exceptional, I have a confession to make: Often, I don't feel comfortable in my biologically female body and recently I've been feeling less and less connected to the feminine divine and even more resentful of this somewhat broken vessel than usual. To not be totally accepting of myself in all my fertility goddess glory makes me feel like a fraud. What am I doing with this blog? Wasn't my original goal to try to inspire other women to accept their curves and fight the sinewy yoga body ideal? Yoga and acceptance for all, right?

Somewhere I lost my way.

Every day over the past few months, I've looked in the mirror hating what I see, not seeing my soft fullness, cellulite and scars for what they've brought me through, but only sending bile back at myself for not being a feather-weight yoga guru. Let me tell you, self-hate is no way to inspire yourself to go to the gym or have a daily yoga practice. No. If you're anything like me, you'll just carbo-load your emotions, go back to bed and completely neglect all the little rituals that make you feel better. I didn't even realize my self-image had gotten so bad, since most American women share this angst to some degree, until I befriended two women who don't buy in to that bullshit. They actual dig their bodies. I can honestly say that they might be the first American women I've ever met who don't in some way hate their corporeal forms. They are not super models. They are just normal women who don't waste time with self-hate.

Meeting them put a rather harsh mirror up to my face.

But not the way you (I) might expect. For the first time it dawned on me how much of my life is spent on comparing myself to other women and constantly tearing myself down. It's a thought-pattern that's hard to avoid. Women in our culture are trained from a young age to hate each other and view each other as competition, in dating, fitness, employment and even among female family members. It's passed from mother to daughter, both in warnings of other women and cruel, damaging behavior to each other. But when every woman you meet is playing that same game, it becomes a matter of course, of survival. The rules of The Game require harsh self-judgment to ensure you'll be better than all other women in this twisted beauty pageant of life.

But what happens when you meet a lady who doesn't play The Game?

At the first, my own nastiness and pettiness was starkly highlighted for me, as was my lack of self-confidence. Without cause to turn the magnifying glass on them, I turned the magnifying glass on myself, trying to pick out exactly how I had become a nasty, petty, self-loathing creature, which, naturally, only leads to more self-loathing. Doesn't that sound like a party? When you're the only one in the room wasting all of that time and energy on a ridiculous game of Mean Girls, the utter futility of it all becomes really clear with the resounding question:

Why the fuck would anyone do this to herself or others?

Is it fun? Does it help anyone? Does it make the world a kinder place? Does it line up with yoga or Buddhism, the soul of my soul? I think you know the answer. So, today I'm starting over.

I vow to be kind to myself.
I vow to stand up for myself.
I vow to extend grace to myself and others in order to cause no harm.
I vow to stop consuming media that tells women we are worthless.
I vow to be vocal against the casual misogyny that fuels The Game.
I vow to never engage in The Game ever again.
I vow to spend time on myself and stop being a people-pleaser.
I vow to not be afraid of being hyper-aware of my body through Asana.
I vow to honor the Feminine Divine daily.
I vow to start giving myself twice-monthly pedicures, again.

No matter your gender identity, will you join me in these vows?
(Okay, maybe not the pedicures, but [insert your own ritual that makes you feel radiant here].)


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Happy Holidays! (part 1)

Sorry for the major gap again. I went to England, then the election happened, then had Thanksgiving, and the blog just sort of got lost in all of that. Interesting things are afoot, though. Big adjustments and announcements ahead! For now, I'm going to fill out the Christmas survey I've seen floating around the blog world over the past few days, because even though I'm a Buddhist, I still love the wonder and beauty of all the winter holidays, Christmas in particular. It reminds me of the very best of the rare happy family memories from my childhood. Things were very difficult every year around that time, but my parents still managed to make the home sparkle, fill our stockings with the best candies, bake the most amazing cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning and instill in us the wonder of the Christ story, His acts of love despite poverty and the possibility of peace on Earth through humanity's potential for good.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. I'm kind of a master gift wrapper as I channel my inner Martha Stewart.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial on account of California apartment living. Growing up in the country, though, my family would traipse out in the snow to cut down the yule tree every year.

3. When do you put up the tree? The day after Thanksgiving, another one of my family's traditions!

4. When do you take the tree down? Embarrassingly late. I like to keep it up as long as possible.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes. The organic, non-alcoholic kind.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? My very first phone for my bedroom (a rite of passage!) at age 10. It was clear, to show all the rainbow-colored inner workings. It also lit up when it rang.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My brother-in-law. He's a polite, soft-spoken guy who never wants to request anything. Tell us what you want/need, silly!

8. Easiest person to buy for? My mom or my four-year-old nephew.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, the world's tiniest nativity scene carved from wood and arranged inside a gourd as an ornament, from Peru. I'll post a picture at some point this season.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Handmade cards, always. Again with the inner Martha Stewart.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Regarding a certain relative I am convinced hates me: So everyone who knows me knows that I am vehemently anti-fur and I was also going through militant vegan-goth phase at the time, around age 18. This relative got me a multi-neon-colored scarf, most likely designed for a child, complete with dyed rabbit fur poof balls. No joke.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Elf

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I am a weekend before kinda gal. I get that from my dad.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Not that I recall

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My mom's special Christmas cinnamon rolls.

16. Lights on the tree (colored or clear)? White lights

17. Favorite Christmas song? Blue Christmas

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I live in the Bay Area! I do not require a white Christmas, LOL. We are very close to my husband's family here, so we always have a laid back Christmas Eve at my MIL's house and Christmas day at home, just the two of us.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Nope.

20. Angel, star or ribbon on top of tree? A beautiful punched copper star with lights

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Eve with Ben's family.

22. Favorite children's Christmas song? Uh, are there child-specific Christmas songs?

23. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? People rushing around consuming and being jerks to each other instead of spreading holiday love and grace to each other. That's the best gift of all, don't you know?

24. Favorite ornament theme or color? Rustic/country. Mostly wooden and copper ornaments with glass embellishments to really bring out the sparkle.

25. Turkey or ham on Christmas day? Nothing needs to die for my holiday festivities. :)

26. What do you want for Christmas this year? I want to go to Monterey Bay Aquarium with my family, little nephew included. Also, new yoga pants. Always new yoga pants.

27. Does anyone in your family dress up as Santa? We're thinking about dressing my brother-in-law up like Santa to tickle my nephew.

28. Age you discovered who Santa was? We didn't do Santa in my family. I think my dad really wanted us to appreciate how hard he and mom worked to provide for us.

29. Eggnog, hot chocolate, or apple cider? I have to choose?!

30. Traditional colors (red and green) or other colors? Copper, green and burgundy. We like to keep it Old World understated.

31. Do you have any Christmas decorations on your roof? Apartment living precludes it. :(

32. How does Santa get into your house? Chimney or magic key? He apparently shrinks very small to squeeze through the radiator.

33. Do you prefer gifts or gift cards? I really like experiences, not stuff.

34. Favorite Christmas Cartoon? How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Now it's your turn! How do you like to celebrate?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Photo of the Week- Fried Bug Vendor in Bangkok

Sorry for the lack of posts! It's been very exciting over here. My husband landed an amazing new job that will afford us location independence once he transitions out of his current job. We're also going to the UK in about two weeks to visit his new employers/colleagues and to have our belated honeymoon. Life is pretty sweet. I can't wait to take this photo outfit on the road again!

Today's photo of the week is of a peculiar street vendor in Bangkok, Thailand. If you look closely, you can see that his wares are (presumably delicious) fried and spiced insects of many varieties. I didn't try any at the time, because my stomach was already unsettled, but next time I think I will nom on some crickets.

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Insect vendor in Bangkok, Thailand, June 2010

Where I've Been!