Friday, November 30, 2012

The Omily Tarot: The Knight of Cups

Happy Friday everyone!  Have you got awesome weekend plans?  There's three more performances of the Circus Nutcracker with the beautiful Megan Hornaday at House of Yes!   You should go.

Today is another tarot day (can't believe we're into the Knights already!)  The knights represent a stage of maturity marked by lots of enthusiasm, but not enough depth of understanding to apply that enthusiasm problem-free.   Teenagers, anyone?  Well, most of them turn out ok, right?  Today's card is the Knight of Cups, which is perhaps particularly teenager-like, since cups rule our dreams, intution, and emotions, energies powerfully at work in teens.  Teenagers' poetry, anyone?  Incidentally, it's none to easy to google this card these days, because some dumb movie is by the same title is set to release in 2013.  Just try finding an image of the actual card!

The Knight of Cups

"This figure moves forward slowly.  He’s seated comfortably on his steed, and the little fish that peered out of the page’s cup is decorating his tunic.  This knight’s quest is to uphold the loftier ideas of water: love, union, intuition, imagination…all the beautiful things that connect us.  The knight of cups is the one that moves us to do the right thing even when we don’t feel like it.  He rides in our sense of duty, and our urge to satisfy a higher calling.  His exposed hands make him more vulnerable, and the wings on his helmet and heels suggest he’s not satisfied with earthly standards.
            That warm feeling you get inside when you sacrifice for others is the knight of cups, applauding your efforts and patting your on the back.  If you’ve ever walked away from a relationship because the romance died, you have been the knight of cups.  Holding out for the best, in ourselves and others, may be a nice ideal, but sometimes you have to get off your high horse and accept the world for the flawed yet wondrous place that it is."

That's right, idealists (teenagers!)!  Don't stop believin', but know that you have to work with what you've got.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Eating Omily: Post-Thanksgiving Plenty

Alright, guys!  It's a week since T-Day.  Are your fridge and freezer bursting?  Mine, too.

So far the best left-over treat we've had (aside from those extra pieces of chocolate-pecan pie!) has been something I've dubbed 'Thankful for Leftovers Soup'.  You can just call it spiced turkey soup with sweet potatoes and kale, if you're not into the cutesy name thing.

I started with a base of fresh garlic and onions, then added lots of kale, and let that wilt.  Meanwhile, I chopped up my left-over baked sweet potatoes.  Some of them were very tender, and others were still a bit al dente.  Once the kale was ready, I added a dash of curry powder, and smoked sweet paprika, and plenty of salt.  Then I added some of the stock I had made from our turkey carcass.  (I made close to a gallon of soup, and gave away close to another gallon in frozen cubes, and the stock is still taking over our lives!  A twenty-pound turkey makes a lot of stock!)  I added the stock, brought the soup up to a boil, added the cut up sweet potatoes, and a few handfuls of shredded turkey meat, and let everything get bubbling hot and delicious.  The very tender sweet potatoes dissolved and added a velvety texture and background flavor to the soup, while the al dente ones stayed in whole pieces to be eaten with the turkey and the kale.  Along with a couple left over whole wheat rolls, we had quite a delicious dinner, and an easy lunch for the husband to take to work all week!
The next day I found a tupperware of left over spaghetti squash in the back of the fridge.  I reheated it and served it with shredded turkey, left over roasted brocolli, and plenty of freshly grated Farmer's Market cheese.  It took about five minutes to throw together, and thanks to the cheese, still tasted fresh and delicious.

Of course, I've also enjoyed reheating my famous pumpkin soup with  cran-apple relish for lunch, and the occasional turkey sandwich, with cranberry sauce and truffled brie, on a roll.  We're nearly through all the broccoli, and of course, we're keeping most of the turkey meat in the freezer at any given time.  That way we can take turkey breaks when we get tired of it!  Maybe we'll get those mashed potatoes eaten tonight.  I'm never sure what to do with the stuffing, but thankfully there's not a whole lot of that left over.  I've heard you can pour hot broth over it for a kind of Thanksgiving take on motzah ball soup, so maybe that will be my lunch today, along with the last of the left-over broccoli!

Are you working your way through your leftovers?  Trying to give them away?  Panicking they're all going to go to waste??  Take deep breaths, and get creative!  Soup is the easiest way to rejuvenate flavours, and if you didn't make stock, you can always use extra herbs and spices and water, or buy store-bought veggie stock, if you'd rather.  Think of it as a vacation from cooking and shopping.  Our fridge probably won't run out until next week!

I'll be back for my next Eating Omily Post with an overdue review of a recipe from Candice Kumai's newest cook book: Cook Yourself Sexy!  This book is the perfect gift for people in your life wanting to commit to a healthier lifestyle, but without the tools and information they need to do it. Candice has such a fun, and positive voice, and her recipes are accessible for beginners, but delicious and beautiful enough to impress seasoned home chefs.

Till then, enjoy your turkey!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Winds Are Changing

 I spent most of high school living, and most of college professing the philosophy that change is impossible in some cases, and pointless in the rest.  I wasn't interested in striving for excellence.  My 3.5-3.7 was quite good enough for me.  I accepted my flaws: inflexibility, a crooked nose, and a big ass physically, self-centeredness and vanity where my personality was concerned, with a certain resigned grace.

This may seem obviously wrong: change is all around us!  The seasons, the cycles of our bodies, our relationships, the way bread goes stale...change is the rule, not the exception.  Well, I had a hard time in college, ok?  Blind faith in the concept that I could depend on thing to stay the same was very comforting for me in the midst of loneliness and confusion.  My relationship with my friends in Ohio was exactly the same, because we weren't ready to let ourselves grow and change yet.  The people I knew in college seemed determined to make college thirteenth grade and keep the exact same relationships, too.  Those things seemed vastly different to me at the time, but you know, you're not nearly as smart at eighteen as you think.  Or twenty-something for that matter.

I started yoga when I was eighteen, and my personal yoga trajectory was such that by the end of college I was beginning to loosen my iron grip on my ever so comforting philosophy of complacency.  I was comparing it to what I was hearing, and what I was experiencing in my yoga classes, and it wasn't stacking up in the neat and tidy manner it always had before.

Maybe the breakthrough was the moment I closed my eyes and relaxed into my forward fold...and experienced the completely alien sensation of my toes beneath my fingers: irrefutable proof that my hamstrings were changing, lengthening, and softening.  And my mind followed suit. 

Change wasn't always easy, let alone comfortable.  I spent Lent of my last year of college questiong my society-fed beliefs that skinniness, health, and moral supremacy are directly related.  Those beliefs collapsed quite easily once I looked at them clearly, and left me reeling on some very unsteady terrain. 

When I started doing aerial, the changes came fast at first!  Intense pain, followed by stronger muscles and amazing abilities.  Continuing to urge my muscles to let go and lengthen has been a VERY painful process, but the results are there, slowly but surely.

Now, I worship the divine cycles that guide our lives, easy to follow roadmaps to the beautiful changes we encounter all the time: arise, abide, dissolve; birth, growth, death; and of course, ever on and up in a spiral to the Heavens...The teaching of yoga that everything changes, and we have to accept that fact to find happiness was a realization that brought relief and joy: I could change!  I could be better!

Embracing change has enabled me to open and release when it's time to let go of something I've loved or trusted, whether it's a style choice that isn't reflecting who I am and how I want to be perceived, or a pattern of behavior that's damaging my marriage.  Being open to change, to the way things inevitably come and go, allows you to live with more freedom and happiness.

Of course, sometimes it's knowing that things will change that makes us cringe: like the way our bodies change as we age.  Our skin softens and surrenders to gravity, just like our hamstrings in a long forward bend.  Our hair releases its color and blends in with the earthy neutrals of a winter day, just like our favorite, over-washed pair of jeans.  Our muscles stop growing, and slowly start to shrink away from this earth, as we ourselves will do one day.  It doesn't have to be scary, or depressing.  Of course we mourn strength and stamina we once had, but we can equally embrace a time when taking it easy is is perfectly alright, when experience and perspective lends wisdom and ease to challenges.

There are things, too, that won't change.  My nose is still crooked, and though I've slimmed down all over as I build up more muscle, my ass is still big relative to everything else.  When dealing with changes I'm not too keen on, or things that I'd like to change that I can't at this time, that resigned grace that got me through my first couple years of college still serves me well, and it can serve you well, too!  Just balance it with openness and optimism.  Place your faith in the belief that natural changes are always for the better, and part of you that's really you, deep down, never changes.

Experience daily changes, and practice adapting to them with grace in your Asana practice.  Give yourself the freedom to need a prop one day and not the next, to be able to make a shape one day, and not the next, to do fifty chaturangas one week, and two the next.  Practice loving yourself, looking for that part that is the same, regardless of your outside circumstances.
Live Omily,
~em

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Omily Tarot: The Knight of Staves

I hope everybody has a delicious, colorful, rich, flavorful, healthy, and positive for the economy and environment Thanksgiving!  I know I did, and a crazy, busy, exciting one, too!

I'm just now getting my barings so I can get back to my weekly blog posts.  Lucky for me, the first one up is a tarot post, which is mostly pre-written!  Interestingly enough, while I often identify with this knight, at the moment, I feel almost the opposite: I can't wait for things to slide into a comfy and manageable routine!  I have enough on my plate with Christmas coming, without any extra adventures!  Of course, saying that has never stopped adventures from coming to my door...

The Knight of Staves
 "A fiery colored horse rears ready to charge forward.  This knight doesn’t believe in doing things by half measures.  The small red feather on the page of staves has grown into a beautiful red plume, only emphasizing this figure’s passion.  The page of coins kept his feet firmly on the ground, wanting knowledge he could apply and use.  In a similar vein, the knight of staves is determined to put his knowledge into practice, whether he’s ready, or has a good reason to, or not.
            It would behoove this character to get his horse under control and figure out his final destination before charging off into the distance.  I’m reminded of every kitten I’ve ever fostered: all enthusiasm, no brains!  Of course, sometimes a burst of passionate ambition is just what is needed to drive you forward through a rough patch or a big challenge.  This knight in shining armor is just the one you need to break you out of a prison of despair over feeling like you’ll never accomplish your whole to-do list, or pull an A in a particularly tough class.
            In a reading, consider where you need a burst of passionate energy, or perhaps where you’re charging ahead without really knowing what you’re getting yourself into, or communicating your intentions.  This knight would charge ahead with an engagement regardless of the well-founded concerns of his family and friends, or give someone a piece of his mind before fully understanding the situation.  We’ve all got him in our corner, whether he’s helping us or not, so you had better get to know him!

What do you think?  Are you feeling this energy now, or did it all get used up getting ready for Turkey Day?  You'll want it again as we get closer to the other winter Holidays, but for now, relax, and enjoy him from afar..."

~em

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Eating Omily: Thanksgiving Dinner-Don't Panic!

Ok guys, I know: Thanksgiving Dinner!  It's a big deal!  The whole point of this holiday, celebration-wise, is to eat food so delicious you can't stop yourself from getting more thouroughly stuffed than the turkey.  But Thanksgiving dinner is not some mythical beast.  In fact, it's easier than your average dinner party, because the menu writes itself!

Turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce.  I was once just like you: scouring foodnetwork and epicurious for the best, most show-stopping recipes, only to knock myself out with stress and worry on Turkey Day, and end up serving dinner at like, 8:00.  Not anymore!

Remember our mantra: if you start with delicious, local, seasonal ingredients, they'll speak for themselves.  No fussy recipes required!

So, other than with a box of croutons that says, 'stuffing mix', how does one make stuffing?  Did you get the list I suggested on Friday?  You'll need:

-celery or fennel
-onions
-garlic
-an apple or carrots
-sage
-rosemary
-a loaf of bread
-stock or broth

Put a big skillet on your stove, add olive oil or butter (or both), and when it's heated, add onions, fennel or celery, and carrots if you using.  Once they've had a headstart, add the garlic and fresh or dried herbs.  When the veggies are very tender and sweet, turn off the heat, and add the loaf of bread, cut or torn into small pieces, and the chopped apple, if using, and toss thouroughly.  If your skillet isn't big enough for everybody, do this step in a mixing bowl.  Add enough broth or stock to moisten all the stuffing.  Add enough that it looks like stuffing, but go slowly, and mix as you go so you don't end up with a sopping mess.  You can eat your stuffing right now, but most people like to turn it into a caserole dish and bake it till it's crisp on top.  375-425 will do you.  Maybe twenty minutes, maybe forty, depending on temperature.  Keepy an eye on it.

How about mashed potatoes?  You'll need:

-Potatotoes (the purple varieties taste the best and are beautiful on the table!)
-milk
-butter
-salt

I like to steam my potatoes, since it leave more nutrients in, but no one's going to call the police if you boil yours.  The smaller you cut them, the faster they'll cook through.  Just watch them closely; they're so starchy, they have a strong tendency to boil over.  When they fall apart when a fork is stabbed through them, drain them, and put them in a bowl.  Add a lump of butter, and a generous splash of milk, and plenty of salt.  I like to use an electric mixer to get mine fluffy and light, but you can mash them with a fork or masher for a more rustic texture.  LEAVE THE SKINS ON.  They are full of nutrition, and why would you want that extra work for yourself??  Don't overmix them though, or you'll have a gluey mess.  My husband likes them that way though, so maybe your family will, too.

Sweet Potatoes?  Just bake them!  You'll need:

-as many sweet potatoes as people your feeding
-foil

Not kidding.  Wash the potatoes and leave them damp.  Poke them all over with a fork, wrap each in foil, and put in a 350-400 degree oven.  When they start to hiss and steam, and leak a little, they're done.  Should take around half an hour.  Let them cool, cut an 'X' in the top, then squeeze the sides so they open up wide for butter, marshamallows, brown sugar, maple syrup, whatever.  Done and done!

Cranberry sauce is best attacked with a recipe, to make sure you get the texture right, but truly, it's not hard.  It's a great thing to make ahead, since it's best served cold anyway.

The key to a great turkey is to NOT stuff it (it takes too long to cook through without the hollow cavity to allow more heat to circulate.  Serve the stuffing on the side.)  Roast it breast-down, so the white meat stays moist.  Don't bother basting.  All you're doing is letting heat out of your oven and extending the cooking time by possibly hours. Slip pieces of butter and herbs under the skin before it goes in, and let it go to work.  If it's a big guy, take the time to brine it.

You CAN do gravy!  It's not hard!  It's just a thickened sauce!  I think flour is easiest: sprinkle it over your drippings, enough to visibly soak up most of them, let it cook for a minute, add a splash of liquor, wine, or stock to deglaze, them whisk in stock till you have roughly the quantity you want.  Bring it to a boil, and when it's close to as thick as you want it, turn the heat off.  Done.  If you have such a thing as a gravy seperator, pour the drippings in there first, so you can pour the juices out from the bottom, and throw out some of the fat, or else you'll have fat floating on top of your gravy within a few minutes.

Cook a green veggie any old which way you like best, buy your rolls from the same guy you get your bread from, and there you have it!  Thanksgiving!  Oh, I know, you still need pie, and for that you will need a recipe.  Alton Brown has an amazing one for sweet potatoe pie that will rival any out-of-a-can pumpkin pie you can find!

See?  Easy-peasy!  Good luck, guys, and let me know how it goes!

And it goes without saying you're sourcing your ingredients locally from a Farmer's market, right?  Right??  Don't make me come over there!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like...


What's that (other than bad pictures, sorries!)?  Could it be??  It could!!!

We've entered the best time of year to be in New York City: The Holiday Season!
There it is: My Christmas Gift mecca, and my favourite place to be lost: the Union Square Holiday Market!  Yay!! (Exclamation points!!!)

I love giving gifts.  It's such a special way to both showcase, and enhance our connection to others.  What's better than the look on someone's face when they open the perfect gift you chose for them?  I fly home to Ohio every Christmas to see my family and friends, and reconnect, and that trip somehow seems to start weeks in advance, as I wander around the maze-like market above, picking out each gift with care.  We connect online, on the phone, and via text messages pretty regularly, but even a long, uninterrupted phone call is only a shadow of a real conversation in person, when eye contact, and body language add so many layers of meaning to the extent that words can become superfluous.

Just yesterday I was hanging out by the Farmer's Market, waiting to meet up with my wonderful friend Rebecca, when someone went walking down Union Square West.  It seems likely this person had a mental illness, because he was carrying on a very loud conversation with no one at all.  I covertly watched him walking purposefully down the street, shouting away, and was suddenly reminded of my facebook feed: people holding a continual conversation with nobody in particular.  I realized that what compels this man to continue talking is probably the same thing that compels us to update our statuses: the human need for connection.  This guy was satisfying his craving to express himself to other human beings, but he was failing miserably at building real relationships.  What makes our twitters, instagrams, and facebooks so different?  What makes this blog so different, for that matter?

It's obviously not a bad thing to share things about ourselves with others via our internet social networks.  I do like reading what a friend I haven't seen in a while is up to.  It makes me feel more in the loop, and that makes me more comfortable picking up the phone and making a lunch date.

But what if it doesn't inspire you to connect in a more genuine way?  What if you satisfy your craving to express yourself and connect through these shallower mediums, and never go the extra mile to forge and nurture real relationships?  We can easily end up with five-hundred facebook friends, and only a couple real ones.

This time of year, when so many of us go to great lengths to connect in person, let's gently remind ourselves to take regular breaks from our computers and phones, and remember how critical in-person status updates are to relationships, and to humans.

Why not wrap up this blog post and give that friend a call?

Live Omily,
~em

Friday, November 16, 2012

Eating Omily: Go Get Thankful!

I've been gathering photographic evidence of a change afoot...New York City is always a magical place, but it's decidedly more magical as the weather changes.  Halloween was all but lost in the scuffle of Sandy, but Thanksgiving is on schedule, and it's great timing, since we all could use a reminder of all the things we have to be thankful for.

There's still time to put down a deposit on a free-range, happy, healthy turkey at the Farmer's Market!  At $5 a pound you may choose to opt for cheaper sides this year, but trust me: more than worth it!  I had to opt for a twenty-pounder this year to satisfy the ever growing parade of pilgrims that come my way from points mid-west.  I'm glad I'll have someone to help me carry it home!

Between the hurricane, and my trip to Ohio for my sister's confirmation, I'm still putting together my Thanksgiving menu, but especially in light of my higher than usual number of guests, I'm committed to keeping it simple and cutting a few corners: store-bought pie crust, rolls from Bread Alone at the Farmer's Market, and as few recipes as possible.  I know how to make mashed potatoes, stuffing, baked sweet potatoes, and green veggies with little to no fuss.  My dad can handle the gravy (I just have to get one of those separators so we don't have a half-inch layer of golden grease on top this year...)

I've already started picking up things I know I'll need: extra onions, potatoes, veggie stock, etc.  I'll leave the herbs till the last minute, of course.  My eyes are open for the Farmer's Market cranberries, but I haven't seen them yet, and it's possible they're a victim of Sandy.

Why not take advantage of the need for extra cullinary goodies and go on a Farmer's Market forray?  We ALL need to be thankful for farmers, and what better way to cultivate gratitude than to meet them face to face, and take from their hands the foods that will grace your table?  Turkey pick-ups happen the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so go put down your deposit, and start picking up stuff now.

How about baked sweet potatoes for an easy, cheap, and sure to be loved side dish?

Why not eschew those weird boxes of croutons labeled 'stuffing mix' for a loaf of hand-made artisan bread for your stuffing base?  Pick up celery, onions, garlic, and safe, and you're on your way to a stuffing like nothing you've ever tasted!  You can even get Farmer's Market butter!  Yum.

The Farmer's Market is also accepting donations: just pick up a special bag at the Manager's Tent, fill it with Farmer's Market goodies, and drop it back off.  The food will be donated to those affected by Sandy throughout the city, and you'll be doing two good deeds in one by providing extra business to farms that have suffered set-backs from damaged roofs, to ruined crops thanks to the storm.

The Green Markets are always accepting donations through their website, and you can choose exactly what you want your money to go toward, including farmers suffering because of the weather.

I'll be back before Thanksgiving, and I'll offer some simple recipes for your farmer's market fare.  Just pick up sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, fennel (or celery), onions, garlic, sweet, crisp apples (or carrots), a loaf of bread, sage, rosemary, and butter.

Happy Harvest!

P.S. If you're buying a 'free range' turkey from the grocery store, this is what its range looked like.
 Did I mention these guys are given tons of antibiotics to promote faster growth, and keep them from getting sick in their unsanitary conditions, and that this breed fattens so fast, it's not long before many of them can't walk, and they're so stupid they literally cannot breed on their own?
 Rather have one of these happy, healthy, better-breed guys?  There's still time!  Get out there!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Omily Tarot: The Page of Coins

I've been having my fair share of page moments this week, caring for a disabled kitten for the first time.  I've learned a lot about disabilities in general, and the true meaning of 'patience.'

Sorry, Kenny just flopped over again eating lunch and had to be set back up again.  He's doing better, really, just has to break the habit of putting one paw in the food dish to stabilize it.  It stabilizes the dish, alright, but then he goes right over.  Paws out, Kenny!  No, turn your wrist the other way...that's it!  Oops, sorry, he went over again.

He's getting better, truly!  Wait, there he goes again...

While I do need the clarity of the page of swords to distinguish between when Kenny is just distracted or lazy, and when he's tuckered out and needs a break, and a cold dose of reality in the form of a reminder that we just can't know at this point how much Kenny will improve, no matter how much effort I put into working with him, those things need to be tempered with a big dose of compassion from the cups, both for him when he's having an off day, and for me when I'm having a busy day and feel like I'm neglecting him.  Of course, a dash of dreaming of the capable kitty he may one day become doesn't hurt either...

The Page of Coins

"The page of coins holds his coin by just the tips of his fingers, but his gaze doesn’t have the awe of the page of cups.  His is more the gaze of the scientist, not wanting to disturb or influence that which he studies.  And far more than just a new undergrad with a major in accounting, the page of coins can represent anyone entering a new stage of growth, or learning for practical purposes.
            The page of coins takes a no-nonsense approach to growth and learning.  The king and queen will learn to sit back and enjoy what they’ve earned, but the page isn’t there yet.  The page of coins seeks knowledge that he can practically apply.  In a reading, consider if lacking certain useful skills is holding you back.  You may also ask yourself if you’re got your nose a little too close to the grindstone.  It’s ok to take a break and enjoy the progress you’ve made, as long as you don’t lose sight of the fact that you’ve still got a ways to go.
            In a reading, consider whether you’re being warned that you lack practical information that you’ll soon have a use for.  Contrary-wise, if your pinterest is full of home remedies, and repair instructions, this card may be representing you, and letting you know it’s ok to take a break and savor your knowledge.  It may be time to put it to use before you know it!"

The best way to give Kenny the help is needs is to obtain the practical knowledge of the best kinds of therapy for him.  Thursday we'll be seeing his vet again to talk about his progress, and discussing starting hydrotherapy.  Hopefully next week will be full of new techniques to apply!

~em

Monday, November 12, 2012

Life with a CHitty

On Thursday I made my way up to the ASPCA headquarters on 92nd near 1st Avenue to meet Kenny, our latest little foster.  Kenny, I was told, has cerebellar hypoplasia: a genetic condition that occurs in cats and dogs in which the cerebellum isn't fully developed at birth. 

If you remember your high school anatomy, you may know already that one of the biggest jobs your cerebellum does is give you your sense of balance and coordination.  And I don't mean balancing on your hands in crow pose; I mean balancing on your hands and knees without tumbling right over. 

Kenny is what I call a 'hard foster.'  He requires several (up to six) ten-minute physical therapy sessions every day, to help him learn to compensate for his condition.  As if having a terrible time balancing and putting your limbs where you want them to go isn't tough enough, another aspect of cerebellar hypoplasia is that Kenny trembles and jerks pretty much all the time.  The more relaxed he is, the less severe the tremors are, to the point that if he's sleeping, you'd never know there's anything unusual about him, but if he's concentrating really hard on something, like eating, tracking a toy with his eyes, or standing up and pooping in his litter box, he shakes and jerks violently, and usually falls over.  Which means Kenny generally needs one to two baths a day.

Kenny is fed four times a day, and each time, he is propped up on two little pillows, so he can sit roughly in the standard feline sitting position, and his food bowl is propped up on a yoga block so he can reach, and he then proceeds to, for all appearances, bang his face into his food in a state of frenzied excitement until he falls over.  It's simultaneously adorable, and heart breaking. 
 His head seems to do the most jerking, so the harder he works at seeing where his food is, and putting his mouth there, the more he trembles and jerks, which makes getting his mouth around the food that much harder.  He's already learned to compensate somewhat by taking big bites when he does get his mouth where he wants it to go, instead of daintily lapping up his food as most cats do, and he can finish his meal in about ten minutes if he's having a good day and only falls down and needs set back up twice.
It's incredibly heartening for me to see what a great appetite he has, and it's a powerful yogic lesson to witness his infinite patience with himself.  Over and over and over again he pushes himself up onto his front paws, painstakingly puts his back feet under him, sloooowly straightens his wobbly legs, takes...one...step...and tumbles right back over.

His veterinarian and I are very concerned with the fruits of his therapy sessions, and his own efforts, but Kenny just keeps giving it another shot, with seemingly no expectation as to what the result will be.  His therapy sessions tucker him out, but instead of getting grouchy, he simply stops holding himself up, tumbles over, and usually takes a nap.
He loves to play, and when he's rolling around on his back grabbing and biting at his favourite toy, you realize he's just a kitten, really.  He loves to be petted, and cuddled, and he loves playing with his big foster sister, as long as she's not being too rough.
I, of course, love him beyond all reason.  I hope to have updates of his progress over the next couple of weeks.   For now, just a reminder that peace and contentment in the midst of trying circumstances is possible.  Don't worry about the results of your work.  Just keep trying.

Cats with cerebellar hypoplasia, or CHitties, are generally otherwise healthy, and have normal lifespans, and good quality of life, but are often overlooked in shelters.  It's something to think about if you're interested in adding a cat to your life, and a lot of laughs.  Just youtube CHitty, or cerebellar hypoplasia to see videos of what these guys look like in action.  And don't be afraid to laugh!  They won't mind.

Live Omily,
~em

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Omily Tarot: The Page of Swords

I was hopeful I could get a post out yesterday so I would still be caught up for this week, but then I had an allergy shot appointment, an ashtanga class, a foster to pick up at the ASPCA and get settled, and an aerial class.  I am one busy bunny, guys!  Fortunately, I'm not too busy to get today's blog post out, and it should be no problem to get you one extra one next week to keep us caught up.  Today is a tarot kind of day.  We're slowly winding our way through the court cards, while I frantically search for time to work on interpreting the major arcana...thank goodness I'm posting these once a week or they'd never get done!  Today's card is the page of swords.  If you've been following the Omily tarot, you know I have a soft spot for the swords.  I feel they get a bad rap most unfairly.  Maybe I'm just partial since I'm an Aquarius, an air sign, and the swords represent the element of air.  Aquarians are seekers of the truth at any cost.  They love humanity, but don't always get along with people.  Sometimes I feel like I'm the opposite...but I think that's normal.  Anyway, those are sword traits, too, and not inherently bad ones!  Well, let's meet the page and see if he holds up to the stereotypes.

The Page of Swords

The page of swords stands on a little rise in the ground, and holds his sword in raised arms.  He might be prepared to swing, depending on which hand is dominant.  With his weight on his back foot though, he’s clearly not in an offensive posture.  He faces into the wind, ready to evaluate every idea that comes his way.  Now, personally, if I was a novice with a sword, I’d be keeping my eye on that big blade for fear of hurting myself with it, but the page of swords is brimming with confidence.  He has already grasped the fundamentals of his weapon, and is scenting the air for any other wisdom he can glean.  Indeed, he may be a little too sure of himself.  The page of swords wants knowledge he can use: to help, to hurt, or just to show off how smart he or she is.
            The page of swords tells his or her friend she’s being cheated on, and is shocked when the friend responds with anger and cuts him off.   The page of swords corrects every small mistake a professor makes, alienating her from further assistance and development.  On the other hand, the page’s bold approach may catapult him or her to the front of the class, and that friend who walked off in a huff will likely be back when she realizes she can always trust the page to be honest with her.
            A big part of learning swordsmanship is knowing when not to swing.  The page thinks he’s ready to fully control his weapon, but he may not always know when it’s best to hold off.  If you’ve ever put your foot in your mouth, you’ve been this page.  If you’ve ever thought you knew enough to put together that piece of furniture without the instructions, only to find yourself in the middle of a pile of pieces with a whopping headache, you’ve been this archetype, too.  The page is a figure brimming with the kind of keen curiosity that can all too often land you in trouble.

Now come on, who can't relate to that? I imagine my dad with a factoid up his sleeve, waiting for me to stumble into his trap so he can swing that sword for all he's forth.  Damn, foiled again.  Looks like I need to go sharpen my own weapon.  More truth, please!

~em