Friday, June 26, 2009

A Talented Legacy

Lots of deaths this week. In addition to some loss this week in our circle of friends, there was Farrah Fawcett, Jeff Goldblum and Ed Mc Mahon.

But yesterday's news of the untimely death of Michael Jackson was a big one.

You undoubtedly have seen the interviews and the replays of all of his music and videos over the past couple of days. They'll continue until there's another major news event.

Jackson was a part of videography from its infancy.

Of most importance for me, though, is what his music means.

He sang with soul; he was a genius at blending Motown (which I grew up with) with rock; some of his songs have social meaning; he provided escapism and joy; he brought dance and music together with such talent; he had a good heart.

But, primarily, for me, whose job has been heavily dependent upon music, he is quite memorable. Along with the launch of his albums "Bad" and Thriller", there was a launch in style. As aerobic instructors, we were gifted some pretty incredible music to teach to. And good music was pretty difficult to find. The beats were important. The message was important. But the motivating, upbeat sound was key.

Music was and still is in many cases critical to the success of a great cardio workout. We had Talking Heads, Devo, Level 42, Aretha Franklin, Eurythmics and Madonna, to name a few.

So, in the midst of all of the media mayhem, I chose, as a personal trainer, to play Michael Jackson's Greatest Hits in the gym today. Clients responded with where they were when some of the songs/albums were released. Some spoke of how he was acquitted of the crimes he was accused of. But it was overwhelmingly positive in remembering him and his music.

All in all, we look back to a career that many of us relate to in some way. We remember the talent, the gifts he had and the childhood he lost.

With his death he can finally rest in peace. It's my hope that we will let him.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rain, rain go away!

Today and for the entire weekend I have the pleasure to pet sitting for my daughter and her partner's puppy, Quimby. I have been looking forward to it ever since they asked us earlier in the week.

Every afternoon at around 3 p.m. my buddy, Otto, and I head to Normandale dog park. So I was anticipating taking not just one but these two little characters to the park this afternoon.

As of 2 p.m. there have been Biblical-like downpours. So I then had to decide: take them and bathe not one but two muddy dogs when I get home or stay home and let them wrestle. I opted for choice #2.

I realize how much that little park is a part of Otto and my life. The dog varieties are astounding and the 3 p.m. "shift" of park goers provides a whole lot of fun.

It has a little subculture of its own. We discuss everything from movies to dog food brands and harnesses from weekend trips to (touching on) politics.

So here I sit this afternoon at my computer, looking at the rain and these rascals playing tug of war with a stuffless animal.

I will bet there are some hardcore visitors at Normandale. But I'm not one of them.

Mind Over Matter

According to Robert Allen, best-selling author, "No thought lives in your head rent-free."

Think about that one.

T. Harv Eker, in an article written for Success magazine (July 2009), explains well Allen's way of thinking.

You pay for your negative thoughts in money, energy, time, health and happiness. It can actually cost more of all of those than one would at first glance realize.

Eker then explains how you can move to a new level in your life rather quickly. He suggests we divide our thoughts into two categories: empowering and disempowering. "Observe them, and determine if they are supporting your happiness and success. Choose to entertain only the empowering thoughts.....I call this process 'power thinking'."

He is convincing when he explains that humans are creatures of habit. We have to practice. He suggests practicing getting out of our comfort to someone you may normally avoid or try something that scares you.

"Living a mediocre life does not lead to happiness. What does lead to happiness is living in our natural state of growth and reaching our full potential."

I couldn't agree more.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Carrot Ginger Saute - great source of Vitamin A!

The sweetness of the organic carrots in this dish contrasts nicely with the warm spiciness of the ginger.

Six servings.

1T. olive oil
1/2 c. sliced onion
2 T. minced fresh ginger
1 lb. peeled carrots, sliced on the bias
1 T. warm water
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. black or white pepper
1 T. lemon juice
2 T. cilantro, roughly chopped

Heat olive oil in skillet over med. heat. Add onion and saute about 2 min., stirring frequently. Add ginger and cook for an additional min. Add carrots and 1 t. water. Cover and continue cooking for 5 to 7 min. until carrots begin to soften.

Lower heat to med. and add salt, pepper and lemon juice. Cook uncovered for 2 to 3 min. or until most of the liquid is gone. Garnish with cilantro just prior to serving.

Per serving: 53 cal. 2 g. fat, 8 gr. carbs, .8 gr. protein, 2 gr. fiber

If you have leftovers, turn into carrot ginger soup be adding several cups of vegetable broth and mixing in a blender before heating. Add cilantro garnish to each bowl.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ultimate Detox Salad

The best way to flush toxins isn't a fast or an herbal cleanse, says nutritionist Natalia Rose, author of "Detox for Women"(William Morrow, 2009).

Instead, eat water-rich food like leafy greens and cabbage to fight yeast overgrowth, restore PH balance, and eliminate impurities.

Remember -- organic is best.

Makes 2 - 4 servings

1/2 c. red cabbage
1/2 c, yellow bell pepper, julienne or chopped
1/2 c. carrots shredded
1/2 c. alfalfa sprouts
1 c. mesclun greens or baby lettuce
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
Stevia to taste
1 t. fresh garlic, diced

Place the greens on a serving plate and arrange the carrots, red cabbage, yellow peppers and sprouts in four circular piles along the top of the plate like a rainbow. Mix lemon juice, stevia and garlic together and drizzle over the top.

This recipe is the courtesy of "Detox for Women" by Natalia Rose. Natural Health magazine, May 2009.

hugs.....go a long way

Upon composing my last blog entry I began to contemplate, "..... dig my grubby little hand deep into the cereal box".

The innocence of childhood. The spirit of excitement with discovery. The passion for each new day. The exuberance with which emotions run. The freedom to say what one pleases. The many lessons that lie ahead. Time moving slowly.

I had the pleasure of visiting with my great niece, Chloe, last weekend. She is the daughter to my firstborn niece who is also my Goddaughter. Her mother, father and big brother, Jack are very special to us. They live close by but we don't see them nearly enough.

No grandchildren for us yet -- just a grandpuppy. So it was a real treat to hold this little two-year-old. Her giggles, her vocabulary and her hugs were delightful.

Sometimes they think you are so funny -- and for no apparent reason. Sometimes they think you look funny -- also for no apparent reason.

She says she likes cottage cheese. She also likes onion tops.

There's really nothing quite like having a child on your lap. They mold into your body with their warm elfish figures. Inevitably (and I guess if you're lucky) they lay their tiny head on your chest.

I got lucky Sat. night.

We'll get to see her for our son's graduation on Sunday. I guess I'll be serving cottage cheese and onion tops.

And maybe I'll get lucky again.

Mmmmm.....there are some simple pleasures life hands you that are cherished.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

"Wag More, Bark Less"

Portlanders are known for their bumper stickers. You can idle behind a car at virtually any stop light around the city and get a pretty good feel for what the person in front of you believes.

I personally try to limit my bumper stickers. I have to work at limiting them, though. I like to keep my car looking neat and clean. But I am also a fairly opinionated person. So there is always a "push/pull" within.

I guess you could say I am heavily into quotes. They are posted around my house. I like to gather them to recite at the closure my business meetings. I have them posted in the gym. They help me to live one day at a time. Hopefully they inspire the people around me.

They are gentle, daily reminders of what is good in life. They are little inspirations.

That's why I proudly post one of my stickers, "Wag More, Bark Less".

It's one of my favorites. I first got one out of the box of dog treats I once purchased at my local Trader Joes.

When I discovered it in my dog's box of dog treats, it at once took me back to my childhood days.

When I was a kid, I would always do my best to opt for the box of cereal that contained a "prize." You know, like Cracker Jacks. It made the eating all the more exciting. I would dig my grubby, little hand as deep into the box as it could reach to find the treat in my cereal. Upon first indulgence, it was a challenge I was determined to conquer.

Over this past year my favorite bumper sticker has begun to show wear.

Today, upon strolling N. Mississippi St., I discovered, much to my delight, that Salty's pet store sells this sticker in a variety of colors. It made my day!

So today, Sunday, I took the time to remove my old black and white one and replace it
with a fashionable pink and brown.

Take note.....voice the good before the bad, the positive before the negative, the happy before the sad, the compliment before the criticism, the smile before the frown.

It make so much difference to those around you.

If you try, you could see a difference in your life.