Posts Tagged by Burnout
|September 4, 2016||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Science and soul, Seasonal, Videos|
With Labor Day celebrations behind us, let’s rethink our daily labor.
It’s often a lonely, one-way journey down the very real road to burnout.
It is unhealthy, not sane or saintly, to put all things before yourself. Working more is not working better or smarter. Trust me; I know this to be true.
A 40+ hour work week takes an undeniable toll on your mind, your health and your relationships.
When all is said and done, we will not wish for more possessions or hours at work. We will wish for more memorable adventures and time with loved ones; good health; and a continued passionate, creative curiosity in life.
Be mindful in your daily work flow.
Look for inspiration; it is everywhere. Have a beginner’s mind. Embrace your passion with childlike abandonment.
With practice, you’ll find a unique personal-timing sweet spot where self-compassionate breaks meet passionate productivity.
I can be found with my muse-pup, Rusty, sitting under the redwoods, with paper and pen – should creative inspiration strike. There, I am open to the possibility of business and writing ideas, but I release them to the paper for consideration at another time.
In the big picture, there is no true place in the workplace for selflessness.
It leads to illness and resentment – the stuff of burnout. It empties you, making it impossible for you to create, find joy or give to others.
Make your work and your breaks part of a soul-filling, blissful process.
With dedication to your well being, design your days to be simultaneously productive, energizing and of benefit to others. With this, you become abundance, not depletion.
Can this self-aware design be had in a 40+ hour workweek?
Or would we best honor our souls by embracing the science that justifies a 3-day work week? Certainly, whatever the number of hours, it is imperative that we prioritize finding our uniquely personal sweet spot for our best life.
I challenge you to consider this:
If your knee-jerk reaction was something like, “I have no time to sit under a tree with a dog“, then you have missed my point. Get honest, personal and introspective. Because you’ve always done something one way, does not mean it’s best. Is your blinders-on, nose-to-the-grindstone, joyless way really working for you? Are you frequently complaining about your work? Are you chronically tapped out and exhausted each day? Are your relationships stressed? If you’re not sure, ask your family and friends for honest feedback. Be prepared to respect their words and make a change.
If you’ve read this piece to this point, you might have an intuitive desire for change.
Only you can change your circumstances. Because you deserve it, decide and do it. Now. ~Namaste.
Please share how you balance work & life. We’d love to know! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
Words to live & work by:
- “By refreshing our sense of belonging in the world, we widen the web of relationships that nourishes us and protects us from burnout.” ~Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone, “Active Hope”
- “With practice, you’ll find a unique personal-timing sweet spot where self-compassionate breaks meet passionate productivity.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” ~Audre Lorde
- “Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self. The one you’ve buried beneath other people’s needs.” ~Kristin Hannah
- “Only you can change your circumstances. Because you deserve it, decide and do it. Now.” ~Ruth Hagen
- “Rest and be thankful.” ~William Wadsworth
©2016 The Soulful Pet
|December 18, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Blog hops, Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, LOLs & BOLs, Pup culture|
This is a scary-new kind of post for me. Why?
It’s my first blog hop! I’m amateurishly rubbing elbows with fellow pet bloggers who I admire. Why else? While I’ve given you a few personal glimpses of me in The Soulful Pet’s first year, it’s been much easier to hide behind my sweet pup, Rusty. It seems that I’m not alone in the pet bloggers’ world in that way. Which is why this blog hop is called “Meet the Bloggers”, aka “The Grand Unmasking“. We’re all exposing ourselves a bit more than we naturally would without a push.
Why on Earth should I do this?
Why answer all these pre-determined, personal questions so god-knows-who can read into my soul? I squirmed as I asked myself this when I read about this event. My knee-jerk was “hell no!” Then I realized that it’s the writing version of my cliff jumping, ziplining adventure. So Geronimo!
First, to participate I have to literally expose myself in a candid pic.
I was going to cop out & use the uber-lucky selfie that I’ve slowly grown comfy with you seeing on The Soulful Pet. But, as with ziplining gear, vulnerability shouldn’t be pretty. So here’s a painfully raw, un-Instagrammed outtake (complete with trashcan in the background) from the selfie session Rusty & I originally endured for this site’s sake. We are blissfully selfie-challenged.
Deep breath. Now to answer those pesky, disrobing, probing questions:
What’s your favorite non-animal related book?
I just finished Chelsea Handler’s, “Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang.” She makes me laugh – hard. She puts the “coslopus” into being a strong, funny bitch. Love her. (She does talk about her dog, Chunk, in the book, but just in one chapter.) Was I supposed to be more cerebrally high brow with this answer?
What’s your favorite non-animal related movie?
Sooo many! I love to laugh, and I love a roller-coaster scare. So I’ll say “Bridesmaids” & “The Cabin in the Woods”.
What’s your favorite non-animal related food?
Does that mean it has to be vegetarian or vegan? A glass of juicy red vino & eggplant Parmesan is heavenly. I was pesco-lacto-vegetarian until I started cooking for my boxer. Now, I can’t wait to visit family in PA and have a REAL Philly cheese steak. Extra sauce, light on the cheese, no peppers or onions, soft roll – drool!
Who’s your favorite actor?
Now that she’s played a sex addict in “Thanks for Sharing”, I can properly answer this otherwise dull (sorry) question: P!nk!
What’s one thing you have to do every day?
Car dance & sing, usually to P!nk, Jessie J, or Karmin – turned up LOUD. Of course, if Rusty’s in the car I tone it way down. Not the dancing, just the volume. He loves it when I make a fool of myself. Today, though, even I was embarrassed to be with me as I jammed to Daft Punk on the way to the gym.
What makes you feel fabulous?
That’s easy: being loved & cute shoes.
What do you wish you were more skilled at?
Spanish & techie stuff.
What’s your favorite holiday?
A self-ish, elfless Christmas with loved ones.
I make a mean chicken & dumplings. Yum!
What do you like to do in your free time?
In no certain order: Hike with girlfriends; visit consignment shops & local galleries; bake; read; try new restaurants; drive thru the countryside & along the coast; and hang with my little man, Rusty.
What one word would people who know you use to describe you?
Why is this so hard to answer? Ugh! No, that’s not the word. Still thinking & feeling awkward. Can I phone a friend on this one?…. OK, I just asked 5 of my girls, & I got 5 words. I’m not picking one. They said: loyal, loving, selfless, compassionate & kind. I think I’m a golden retriever.
If your pets could talk, what one word would THEY use to describe you?
Trustworthy. I really try to be predictably stable, kind & fair for my pets – no matter what’s happening in my life. As it turns out, that’s good for me, too.
What is one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
I could write a book on this, and I might someday. Plain & simple, I survived the last year of my life: burnout after 20 years as a pet behaviorist, anxiety & learning that my husband doesn’t love me. Currently, I’m rising like a Phoenix from its ashes, reinventing myself as a writer. (I’m fascinated & inspired by our bonds with pets.) Loving family & friends – and Rusty – give my wings strength.
How is your pet most like you?
Rusty & I are both very sensitive to our environment & the beings in it, pets & humans, alike. We don’t like chaos. We’re extroverted introverts.
What can your body do for you that makes you most proud?
My intuition is pretty keen. I’ve learned to listen to her over the years. She’s saved my life & my sanity many times. And, she’s made me a better behaviorist, writer & friend.
If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?
On the heels of this horrendous past year, I’ve already made that change. I consciously chose happiness. As a result, I know that all of the other pieces will fall into place. I’m good.
Other than blogging, what are three things you do that bring you joy?
I can’t be alone in this: Couch surfing with my dog, cozy under blankets. When I’m stressed and/or I have a nasty case of writer’s block, I need to be in nature. And, I’m a super happy girl while sipping a delightful vodka cocktail, dining al fresco on a warm summer night with good friends. Cheers! Wait, there’s a fabulous fourth joy: MUSIC!
What’s one thing you could do to be more kind to yourself?
I’m learning to ignore negatives, whether they’re internal (self-talk) or external (haters). Life’s too short.
What drives you nuts about your pets? What melts your heart?
My pets don’t drive me nuts. I do hate thinking about how short their precious lives are. So I stay in the present, enjoying each moment with them, accepting & honoring who they are. They are my teachers. I’m blessed, not driven nuts. That and a warm snuggle or a howl fest, melts my heart.
If you didn’t have your current pets, what pets would you choose to have?
I was without a pet for 3 years after my soul-mate cat, Alex, & my boxer boy, Gumbo, died in 2006. Never again. I’d love 2 dog-friendly cats & one cat-friendly dog. That’s my perfect pet family. It just feels right. But Rusty is anti-kitty, so he’s solo unless his doggie buddies visit.
So now that I’ve peeked out from behind my pal Rusty to risk dying of exposure, please join me.
I need some company here. I’d love to hear from you. Why not answer a few questions yourself? It’s not so bad, after all. Maybe I should try skinny dipping next? Hmm…. I do have a friend who’s been trying to convince me to join her at a Buddhist retreat – naked in their hot springs. Happily peeling the layers off….. xxoo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2013 The Soulful Pet
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|August 21, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, LOLs & BOLs, Pup culture, Seasonal, Training/Behavior, Videos, Worthy reads|
I don’t know a trainer who isn’t restless around puppy season. (For me, that includes kitten season, too.)
That what’s-cuter-than-kittens? time of year is upon us again. Are you expecting the pitter-patter of four tiny furry paws in your home? You’re in for a simultaneously adorable, confounding, & sleep deprived rest-of-the-year. So I would be remiss if I didn’t temporarily don my critter-coach cap out of sheer compassion for you: I just wrote the instruction manuals you’ll need for your new family member. (Trust me: I’d be an uber-wealthy chica if had coin for every time I heard, “She didn’t come with a manual!”)
I got obsessively busy yesterday, posting 5 new how-to articles on The Soulful Pet’s sister site, Critter Consulting.
That’s where I hung out, pre-burnout. I braved the eyelid twitches & quicksand of necessary yet non-creative writing for you. And, much to my surprise, I survived. (Good girl! & Woohoo!) You may recognize these posts as my flyers that vets, shelters & some conscientious breeders put in their new-pet packages for over a decade. Now, they’re minty fresh: reworked & re-imagined, loaded with info & links, and fully printable. Only the best for y’all!
- “When You Bring a New Puppy Home”
- “Suggested Puppy Supplies”
- “House training 101”
- “When You Bring a New Cat or Kitten Home”
- “Prepare Your Home for a New Feline”
- “Adopt an Adult Cat” – Wait, that’s 6 and you said 5, girl! Yes, I added this classic as a reminder that adult pets need homes, too. Shelters are filled with lovely animals who find themselves there for many reasons. Let’s dispel the myth that they are “broken” & “risky”. Heck, we all have a story. We’re all flawed. (Did I mention obsessive?) And we’re all loveable.
What do you mean you’re not expecting a fur-kid?! Grrrr & hackles up!
Don’t you know that shelters & rescues are brimming with sweet little beings right now? Surely you know that the soul you’ll someday shake your head & swear that you can’t imagine life without is patiently waiting there for you – right? Please don’t tell me I just spent all day yesterday putting these how-to posts together for no reason. Get it together & check yourself. Adopt!!
Too much? My bad. If you can’t adopt, donate.
Give your heart, your brains, your mad skills, your goods, or your coin to the angels who care for critters-in-need. Giving will change your life. Really, it will. You’ll see…..
BTW – Did you even ask your current pets if they want to share you with someone new?
If you’re lucky & they agreed, you’ll want to read more from Critter Consulting’s always-updated resource list. There, you’ll find Dr. Lorie Huston’s new, 4-paws-up piece, “Keeping the Peace in a Multi-Cat Household”; Pat Miller’s “How to Teach Your Dog to Get Along in a Multi-Species Household“; and Mardi Richmond’s “Mixed-Aged Dog Packs“. All brilliant ladies with savvy advice….. brilliant!
My Rusty prefers the bachelor lifestyle. He picked two flicks to illustrate how adopting a second pet can go fab – or very, very bad. Enjoy!
Did you rescue or adopt a pet? We’d love to hear how they’ve touched your life!
Please share your story in the comments. Woofs & wags to you & your fur-kids! xo ~Ruth & Rusty~
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|July 20, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Pup culture, Training/Behavior, Videos, Worthy reads|
What happens when life becomes one dimensional? You burnout. I did.
I lost the balance in life between caring for others & caring for myself. My existence became about my work. As much as I loved it, a girl can not live on work alone. My schedule was filled with work; my days “off”, evenings & time with my hubby were all clouded by work. And my reading list was all about….. you guessed it: work. As a child & teen, I was a voracious reader of classics, novels & non-fiction, of all genres. The more variety, the better. This adulthood myopic must-read approach was killing me. Enough!
Last year, I put down the clickers & leashes to get 3D-whole again.
I started filling in the other dimensions of my life that were starved. My sustenance is rediscovered, pre-burnout things that feed my soul. If you’ve followed me so far, you know them: Hiking; trail running; quality time with my patient husband & good friends; music; baking; gardening; nature & animals (of course); writing; & …. reading. I had to unplug from the grind and reconnect with myself through these things.
For the longest time, I didn’t have a summer reading list.
I couldn’t have told you what I wanted to read that wasn’t related to training how-to’s. (My office bookshelves are filled with those must-reads. They’re important, but they weren’t good for me anymore.) This year is different. This year, I have a summer reading list. It’s my prescription to me, for me. I give myself permission to read what I want, when I want. Sounds pretty basic, right? For me, it’s a reawakening. It’s a reading renaissance!
I’m happy to share my restorative want-to-read-list with you. Here it is, divided into my soul’s areas of interest that needed rekindling:
Baking – I reviewed these gems in my post, “On burnout, bangs, baking, blogs & books….“.
Gardening & cocktails – Yes, they DO go together! There’s nothing better than a weekend cocktail made with herbs from your garden or your fave farmer’s market. Add my hubby’s grilled flank steak and my garden-fresh caprese salad, and I’m a happy girl. (Rusty’s thrilled too; he never misses a chance to taste test steak.)
- “Shake, Stir, Pour” by Katie Loeb
- “Edible Cocktails” by Natalie Bovis
- “Market-fresh Mixology by Bridget Albert
- “Artisanal Cocktails” by Scott Beattie
Celebrating our bonds with pets – Not the how-to’s, but the whole reason why.
- “The Secret Life of Dog Catchers” by Shirley Zindler
Shirley’s a sweet, courageous local gal. She describes her book as “a love story about animals & people”. She donates a portion of its sales to animal causes. (I’ve gifted her book 3 times already.) Jessica Dolce, creator of DINOS, wrote a wonderful review/interview. She wanted to take Shirley out for a margarita after reading her book, to hear more of her stories. Me, too. See? Full circle stuff. Watch Shirley describe her book for her successful Kickstarter campaign:
More on our bonds with pets:
- “The Radical Practice of Loving Everyone” by Michael J. Chase
Rusty gave you a heads-up peek @ this one via video in his May post.
- “The Possibility Dogs” by Susannah Charleson
- “The Soul of All Living Creatures: What Animals Can Teach Us about Being Human” by Vint Virga, DVM
- “My Animal, My Self: A Breakthrough Way to Understand How You and Your Animal Reflect Each Other” by Marta Williams
My interest in Marta’s book & animal communication stems from the many undeniable “knowing” moments I’ve had with clients’ pets. She’s also a fellow biologist, which intrigues me. Her workshop is on my to-do list. Open minds, remember? Luckily, Marta’s also a local gal. Heck, I’d like to have a cocktail with her, too. The “tails” she could tell….
Watch Marta discuss “mirroring”, a powerful concept that I coached clients on daily as a behaviorist:
Humor – Because laughter is good for the soul. And my soul’s idea of funny is quirky, irreverent & uncensored.
- “Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang” and “My Horizontal Life” by Chelsea Handler
I’m not as behind as you might think in reading Chelsea’s books. I finished her 2 newest ones first. Before you turn your nose up to her “low-brow” humor and question the entirety of my reading list, know that my mom, preacher’s kid that she is, devoured Chelsea’s latest deliciously uncensored read, “Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me“. And that’s saying something.
- “Man Up! Tales of My Delusional Self-confidence” by Ross Mathews
I will probably read this one first. I need some belly laughs, and Ross never fails with the funny.
Self-help – Don’t we all need a little life renovation? After all, happier, healthier humans have happier, healthier pets.
I consider Lissa my gremlin-busting guru. Watch her talk about how the mind can heal the body.
(Yes, it’s an hour long. Trust me: You deserve to take the time. Too stressed to watch? Then you NEED to watch.)
Whew! It’s an ambitious list that actually will keep me busy thru 2013 – because life happens. And that’s OK.
Is your reading list filled with have-to’s or want-to’s? Is it a 3D expression of your soul?
Or do you censor your choices for fear of what others might think? ‘Fess up: I’d love to know what you’re reading. No judgement here. Please share in the comments. Together, perhaps we can inspire others!
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|June 16, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Seasonal, Training/Behavior, Videos|
This morning, coffee in hand, I struggled with writer’s block & Facebook rules.
Both had me second guessing myself: Why am I writing, and who’s reading it? I began the day, deadline looming, intent on writing a Father’s Day post about why you shouldn’t put off telling important people in your life that you love them. It’s a worthy topic, but it just wasn’t flowing. So I procrastinated a bit and worked on The Soulful Pet’s FB page, instead. But the same pesky questions popped up. For all the good that social media can do, especially for animal welfare, it’s blocked, too. If I don’t promote (pay for) page posts, folks who “like” the page don’t see all of my posts. But they don’t know that. It’s a crap game, really. Facebook is soulless & frustrating, not block-busting. Sadly, it wasn’t a healthy procrastination, and the coffee pot was now empty…..
My mood instantly changed when I watched this video.
It is perhaps the most beautiful, magical video I’ve ever seen: Two souls simply reaching out to each other. I was instantly inspired again. Why? Because it spoke to my soul. And my soul had new, more pressing questions: What kinds of amazing friendships could be born before fear & suspicion are taught/learned? How would our world be different? Why exactly do we hesitate to tell loved ones how important they are to us? As I watched this with tears in my eyes, I knew I had to be in nature today. Writing would wait. Watch:
So I went for a hike in “my church” again.
I was grateful for all the things in life that I love & have reconnected with recently: hikes with good friends, walks with my hubby & dog, trail running, music, writing, reading, and time alone in nature. Burnout was a life block that I conquered. Thankfully, I was only trying to break through a bit of writer’s block now.
I thought about Maya, the adorable girl in the video, as I walked.
I love how she’s so serenely in the flow of her magic moment with the fawn. She’s so sure about what she needs to do to help the fawn. No doubt. No ego. No second guessing. Purely powered by soul. I remember having those moments with animals as a child. And I’ve seen clients’ kids with a natural, open sense for pets. But what about adults? Are they still possible for us? Are we all just too jaded, impatient, suspicious or fearful? I hate to think so…..
Suddenly, it dawned on me that I do still have those moments. We all do, if we’re open to them.
I’ve had many of them in my 20 years as a pet behaviorist. Once, while reviewing a client’s training goals as we relaxed with her dog, I casually mentioned that her dog’s name didn’t seem to “fit” him. She was surprised. (I was, too. I hadn’t said that to anyone, before or since.) She asked what name I thought better suited him. Without thinking, just “knowing”, I mentioned a very unusual pet name that popped into my mind. She stared silently at me. Then she confessed that that was her dog’s name before she changed it. We both realized that this info had never passed between us before. Because we had work to do, we brushed it off & continued the training session. Silly, right? Yet, somehow I’ve never forgotten that moment.
Looking back, I’ve often been told that I’m an animal magnet.
Perhaps you know that feeling, too. Do all of your pets somehow “find you”? It’s like you have a neon sign over your heart & door that announces: “All animals who wander are welcome here.” Me, too. As a trainer, I’ve had countless magnet moments. Pets, often cats, enter the room & introduce themselves to me mid-consult. After acknowledging their greeting, I’ll look up to see shocked expressions on my clients’ faces. That’s always followed by, “I’ve never seen her do that before.” Or – “She never comes out when we have guests.” With their pet cozied up to me, I explain that we created a calm, safe environment, which is attractive to animals. It’s zen, not magic. With practice & patience, we can all tap into it. Truly.
As I walked, I realized that this post was writing itself. It was flowing. But why now?
As with animals, magic happens when you’re true to yourself, in the moment. (That’s the lesson that little Maya’s video teaches.) Writing to please others, to fulfill marketing deadlines, or to earn page “likes” suffocates creativity & contributes to burnout. It also opens doors to gremlins that make me question, “Why write?” No more. I’m writing from my soul.
Fueled by a new determination to openly follow my bliss, I walked on.
And then the magic happened. The late-spring flowers seemed more colorful. The air was sweeter. And I wasn’t alone. For a mid-day hike, an uncanny number of deer crossed my path. I had my spotted fawn encounter. It wasn’t as dramatic as little Maya’s moment, but it was still sweet.
I invite you to walk with me for six zen minutes.
Sit back & relax. Breathe. Volume up, full-screen, watch:
This is my newly soul-inspired message, perfect for Father’s Day:
What better way to tell someone that you love them than to believe in them? If your child, like Maya, has magical “knowing” moments, nurture his/her unique gift. My parents did, and I’m so grateful. While I may stray from it occasionally, I’m always at my best when I’m true to it.
We adults can have our magic moments, anywhere, anytime.
Stay childlike & open to that possibility, and you’ll see. Believe & it will happen. When it does, it’s a true gift. Watch.
So what are your magic moments? Share your bliss; you might inspire others as much as little Maya inspired me!
PS – What about Facebook? I’m not playing that game anymore.
I’d love to see you there, but you might not see me. (Follow this graphic to remedy that.) No paid posts for me. I’d rather donate money to rescues & shelters. Hmmm….. how about a Fawn Rescue group? Wanna join me? Writing for a cause works magic for my soul. xxoo ~Ruth~
©2013 The Soulful Pet
|May 3, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Pup culture, Recipes, Soul food, Videos, Worthy reads|
So that’s what a midlife crisis looks like. Who knew?
I watched in fascination as Michelle Obama explained her bangs.
She was adorable, as always. But the bangs were bangin’ cute. Suddenly, I realized that a midlife crisis could be a good thing. I choose to redefine my own experience as a beginning, not a bitter end. I’m celebrating my midlife crisis & its accompanying burnout as an opportunity to more fully explore life. Lesson learned: When your work defines you, it also limits you. No more.
I had considered bangs, pre-FLOTUS. Really.
Sometimes a girl just needs a change, and that time had definitely come for me. Thanks to a friend who’s an uber-talented hair stylist, I took the leap, and I love them!
What else changed? I’m returning to the things that I love.
I forgot how they feed my soul. Nature, hiking, trail running, friends & family, baking, gardening, and reading – all had been on the back burner. Even my patient husband had been waiting for me to put the leashes & clickers down. He knew before I did that I was ready for a change. (He’s still not sure about the bangs, though.)
I’m thankful that the baking bug bit me again @ the same time that I returned to hiking/running.
Otherwise, my summer reading list would be a dangerous one. I’ve dedicated my reads to women who inspire me because they followed their bliss & their passions. It’s a lovely eclectic list that includes: Chelsea Handler, Lissa Rankin, Joy Wilson & Deb Perelman. For this post, I’ll highlight the bakers in the bunch….
Joy Wilson & Deb Perelman feel like kindred spirits.
They are self-taught cooks & bloggers. They weave stories around their recipes. Normally, I’m a get-to-the-point type of person when it comes to cookbooks. But not with these ladies. They are funny-smart and a bit self-deprecating. The unexpected success of their passionate blogs turned into book deals. (I’m often asked if this blog will become a book. Who knows?)
Deb Perelman’s “The Smitten Kitchen” is an instant classic that begs for a sequel, asap.
In her forward she discusses her insistence on cooking in an NYC kitchen that was so small its functionality was in question. Why would she cook in a city where any craving could be satisfied with a phone call? A friend advised her that NYC stoves were for sweater storage. Thankfully for us, Deb’s can-do, slightly obsessive persistence prevailed. I appreciate her casual delivery of detailed instructions (the hows & whys). My hubby & I approach cooking very differently. I learned to cook by baking, so I’m a recipe girl. He cooks intuitively, by feel, like I work with animals. Nothing wrong with that. Yet, I felt validated when Deb advised don’t let people “tell you you’re less of a cook if you need to look @ a recipe”. Her book is packed with are-you-kidding-me recipes. What ultimately won me over? I’m a pie girl. That began when my mom & I baked together. She’d offer to make a pie if I made the crust – always a fair deal. Deb makes her “Deepest Dish Apple Pie” in a springform pan, and she celebrates National Pie for Breakfast Day. Enough said. I want to hang with this chick. We could be besties.
Joy Wilson’s “Joy the Baker Cookbook” is an absolute treasure. Her bangs are pretty cute, too.
Her blog hooked me when she called her adorable cat, Jules, a “monster” who “terrorizes her in the dark” and a “jerk” who “lights up her life”. Then she celebrated his birthday by baking him a cat cake. C’mon. That’s inspired! Her book is just as wonderfully quirky. She spiked her grandma’s treasured banana bread recipe with bourbon, explaining, “I’m young & restless”. I support that. In the forward she affectionately recalls her dad sharing his baking enthusiasm with her. This rings true for me. My dad inspired my love for nature, via fishing. And he planted the baking seed. I fondly remember visiting his aunt & uncle’s Danish bakery in Pottsville, PA, with him. We were always greeted by my uncle’s handsome smile & hearty hug. Together, we sampled whatever goodies were still warm from the oven. To this day, I love the smell of freshly baked macaroons. So far, none have matched my uncle’s. And I like it that way.
Keeping it healthy is important. So is a sense of humor.
FLOTUS is spreading the word on fitness & a healthy diet. And so is my new fave, not-a-book-yet blog, Thug Kitchen. I’m a self-confessed foodie, and an enthusiastically amateur baker & photographer. Obvious, yes? I will sit outside with Rusty & a glass of iced wine (yes, that’s right, wine snobs: ICE), and cover-to-cover read a cookbook. But only if its author can write & make me laugh, too, as the ladies above do. So it was with great joy that I discovered Thug Kitchen. The incognito Thugs dispense sound nutritional advice via some hella colorful language. (Here’s my take on swearing: If it’s funny, go for it. If you’re swearing just to swear, stop it. If you’re easily offended, don’t read it. Don’t complain about it; just move on. Censoring sucks.) If you find yourself saying, “Who needs another cookbook?”, visit their FB page. It’s hysterical, the recipes won’t disappoint & it’s not dumb. The Thugs aim to “drop some knowledge on your ass”. The vibe is contagious to their fans, whose comments are also seriously, refreshingly, off-the-hook funny. I’m SO hooked. I can’t wait to read their cookbook!
Don’t worry, Rusty will benefit.
I just whipped up a batch of Thug Kitchen’s Sweet Potato Jerky Treats for both of us. (Super yum, no dehydrator required, & no Chinese toxins in sight!) Next up: Joy’s Crunchy Cat Treats. (Perfect for the poodle, too.) I also have some new biscuit trays that are begging to be filled with fresh garden & farmer’s market goodies. Rusty’s my little garden helper & taste tester. A fido foodie, if you will. As I bake & we sample, we’ll report back. Yes, I said “we”, and I mean it. If you can’t/won’t eat your dog’s food, there’s a problem, isn’t there? I hate the term “human-grade” for ingredients. It implies that our food should be superior. I question that. So does Rusty. To quote the Thugs: “Show your dog you f*cking love them.”
So what’s next?
Maybe I’ll go ovo-lacto-pesco vegetarian again. (Don’t worry, I won’t drag my dog or my husband along with me on that.) Maybe I’ll get some chickens. (Did you know that you can clicker train chickens?) Maybe I’ll take a yoga class. Maybe I’ll master the perfect cat eye. Maybe I’ll rent a house on the bluffs of Mendocino & invite my girlfriends to join me there. Maybe I’ll shock the hell out of my hubby & greet him, Mad-Men style, @ the door – in a dress, with a cucumbered Hendricks & tonic. (Never mind the anti-feminist throwback scenario I just painted. The dress would be the stretch for me. We’ll see.) I’m enjoying the exploration. What’s next? Who knows……
Have you tried something new lately? Assuming it’s legal, please share. 🙂 I’m always looking for inspirations!
|April 18, 2013||Posted by Ruth under Inspirational & motivational, Lifestyle, Seasonal, Training/Behavior, Videos|
It’s been 6 years since I stepped foot in my church.
So breath held, here I go ……
What kept me away? Bluntly: burnout & anxiety.
My little gremlin kept saying, “What if you fall again?” She had a point. The last time I visited my church, I took a frightening tumble. Confidence shattered, knees bloodied, I hobbled home. I was grateful to be in one piece, but my faith in my place in my church waned. Despite that, my soul remembered being fed by my sanctuary. She whispered to me steadily for 6 years, “Go back, girl. You love it there, and it’s good for us both. Go back.”
As I enter, I suddenly trust that I’ll quickly find my place & my path again.
My sanctuary speaks to me: “Where have you been? Welcome back!” My soul wells up with grateful tears. On I walk, remembering……
My church has everything that I need.
In it, there are no walls. Judgement, dress codes, hate, bigotry, & gossip do not live here. It is blissfully inclusive. It does not pretend to be something it’s not. I trust what it shows me.
I find my church to be a wonderful equalizer.
It is a bountiful reminder that we humans do not hold dominion over all living things. We are all integrally connected, part of something bigger than ourselves. We are not superior. We do, however, have a responsibility to gratefully honor & preserve this sublime gift – for all beings.
My fellow parishioners are a varied bunch, here. We respect each other’s rights to exist.
I am spiritual because of them. As I wander down my path, I’m reminded of the countless times I listened to pious humans in churches-with-walls insist (as if they knew for sure) that only humans have souls. In my soul, I know that’s not true. Do you see your pet’s soul? I do, too.
A quick aside: This doe was just 10 feet from me on the side of the trail. We communed for about 10 minutes before going our separate ways. To not frighten her, & to get this pic, I used a body language trick that comes in handy with cats & dogs, too. Keep your side to nervous animals, instead of facing them. You are less of a threat. Fearful pets are more likely to approach non-frontal body language. In fact, facing an approaching dog or cat (also called body blocking), can stop them in their tracks. If you want them to relax & approach (come when called, even), soften your stance & grant space. Study how your pets interact with each other & you. You’ll see wonderful examples of this body language communication translating across species.
I continue on to the alter.
This serene place allows me to collect my thoughts. Here, I am grateful for my sweet husband’s support as I realized my new calling as a writer. Here, I begin to write this post.
Nearby, flowers grace my path.
And sun pours through stained glass windows.
Further on, I find the Shakespearean sermon, scrawled on a pew.
I’m blissfully aware of the lack of walls & human preaching. The sermon is voiced by water, birds & wind: We are all indeed part of something grander.
Finally, I reach my destination. I am at such peace here. This is why I will return.
Tomorrow, Rusty & I will walk together.
I enjoy the solace of my church, but I find grace & joy in my dog, too. Thankfully, he’s all soul, no dogma.
What inspires you? What feeds your soul? Where’s your “church”? Please share…..
©2013 The Soulful Pet