For Kobe Bryant
and his lovely young daughter
my heart goes with you.
Obviously, my heart also goes out to the seven other people who died in the helicopter crash, and all of their affected families, friends, and Kobe's many fans.
I've written before of my adopted Aunt Fran, my father's best friend from sixth grade, and our close relationship from my earliest childhood.
Fran, up until her 90s, was a diehard Lakers fan, and absolutely adored Kobe Bryant, along with the rest of the team. They were my favorite team as well, along with the UCLA Bruins.
I often called her on the way home from my meditation meetings, as they were roughly twenty minutes from my house, and many times I recall her asking me if she could call me the following night, as she was in the middle of watching a Lakers game. ;-)
As odd as it may sound, this was one of my favorite things about Fran, as she was so passionate about her Lakers, and got so much pleasure out of the games. She died a few months shy of her ninety-fifth birthday, still loving her Lakers, and still watching every game that was televised.
Basketball was one of my favorite sports in school, which was probably hilarious to watch, as I was so short compared to the other players. But what I lacked in height, I made up for in accuracy, and I was one of my grade's best at making free throws.
By the time I got to high school, I was no longer allowed to play on the team, as the gym teachers were afraid I'd get squished on the court by being caught between larger and older girls. And I knew they were right.
So I joined the tennis team instead. We went undefeated that year, but it wasn't because of me. I was a decent player, but not great, and we had a couple of truly great players on our team, including a girl with long, straight brown hair named Robin.
Robin had blue eyes, and reminded me a lot of my sister Carol, except that she was shorter than I was, which was always surprising; I was used to always being the shortest in any group my own age.
I was very accurate in placing my shots, but I wasn't fast around the court, which is how I got beaten most of the time. But Robin, with even shorter legs than mine, was like lightning . . . she was accurate and fast, and no one in our class, or from the other schools, could beat her.
And happily, because my parents taught me how to be a good sport, I was happy for Robin, and still had fun being on the team, even though I just practiced with the better members of my own team. And I always had fun playing against Robin, who was a wonderful sport and person, along with being an incredibly talented player. Being a sparring partner is an important role as well.
But I never lost my love for basketball, and every so often I'd go down to the courts after school and shoot baskets. My mom had put a basketball hoop up over our garage, in the house I grew up in, so I'd gotten way more practice at an early age than most of the kids we knew.
But we had moved across town at the beginning of the school year in 7th grade and, as I no longer had a basketball hoop at home, I had to practice my free throws at school.
We had also had a tetherball at home, which trains similar hand-eye coordination in a completely different way, and also doubled as a great way to blow off steam and relieve stress. I used it a lot when my older sisters were being jerks, which as they were teens was frequent, and my mom used it a lot when she was pissed at my dad. ;-)
These days I'm bemoaning the fact that I'm not getting nearly as much exercise as I should, which is clearly my own doing, and thus suffering the aches and pains that go along with allowing myself to get out of shape.
I no longer have a basketball hoop nearby, but I still have my Nordic walking sticks, so tomorrow Lolo and I are going down to the barn to check out a few things, weather permitting. We have a 100% chance of rain predicted, so if I don't catch a clear spell, we'll go the following day.
The barn is give or take 800' or so (243.84 meters) behind the main house, taking the winding driveway first downhill and then uphill again, both ways, so it should be a decent workout even though it isn't all that far. And if it's too easy I'll do it twice.
I know from experience that taking it slowly at first is the better course of action, not to mention wisdom; there is no sense in starting off too aggressively, and doing more harm than good. Strength and stamina build in small increments.
In the meantime, I'm also starting to get back into stretching and yoga, and I'll start back with qi gong after a few days, once my muscles are beginning to relax. The good thing is that these are all things I can do at home, with no equipment needed, save for my laptop (to watch the videos) and my yoga mat that I've had for years.
So my goal for 2020 is to uplevel my health, get back into decent physical shape, and get my first series of books published and available.
Marek and I are also both itching to SCUBA dive again, so tonight I contacted TDI, with whom I earned my Nitrox certification, to send me a new C-Card, as my current one is still in my previous married name. Ummm . . . no. Gotta change that now.
Naturally, since I did a large part of my SCUBA diving from sailboats, I've also been wistfully looking at sailboats, the original mobile tiny house movement, and really, really wanting to spend some time sailing again.
It's all doable.
One thing that will help me along the way is something I've known about forever, was reintroduced to it in a new form a few months ago, but have for no good reason been putting off doing until tonight.
Essentially described as a natural alternative to potentially harmful energy drinks, this is a newer take on the old marriage of raw honey and apple cider vinegar, which my dad and one of his close friends introduced me to in the early 1970s.
Reggie was a young teacher who taught at the same school where my dad taught, and as I was a young teen, and she was something of a free-spirited hippie, we hit it off immediately.
Her great love was travel, which is why teaching was ideal for her, because she traveled on the cheap during her summer vacations, and came back ready for the new school year, reenergized.
Reggie always carried a bottle with her of raw honey mixed with raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, in a half and half ratio, which she always shook vigorously before using. By mixing a couple of tablespoons of the mixture into a glass of water upon arising in the morning, she jump-started her digestive tract and boosted her immune system, which kept her vibrantly healthy.
This allowed her to travel all over Mexico, Central and South America,and later large parts of Asia, without contracting "Montezuma's Revenge," or any other health issues while traveling.
At her and my father's urging, I tried it . . . and hated it. It called for two tablespoons of the mixture in a cup of water, which to me was far too strong and tasted nasty, so I only took it sporadically, even though I knew it was effective.
But, in the interim, I figured out how to make it far more palatable, at least for myself.
The recipe for the natural energy drink, that I first ran across four or five months ago, was a take on this same remedy, but updated with what we have learned in the years since.
Touted as an Ayurvedic remedy, although I've yet to confirm that, the new drink includes a bit of coconut oil and cayenne pepper, for additional satiety and healing properties.
I knew instantly that it would not only give me the lasting energy I needed, but that it would be a great alternative for my husband Marek, as he often gets commercial canned energy drinks when he has to drive long hours late at night, which are almost certainly terrible for his health.
Even better, the combination of apple cider vinegar and raw honey helps to alkalize the body, healing inflammation, and reducing inflammation is key to healing a wide variety of illnesses and medical conditions, including everything from painful joints and obesity to heart disease and cancer.
Additionally, rather than plain coconut oil, I used some coconut oil into which I had extracted a whole lot of garlic, some months back, which I've been using topically to help eradicate fleas for my dog and cats, especially Bear. Hopefully it will give some extra healing oompf, and as the amount used was so small, I barely noticed the taste.
The recipe is as follows, noting that sourcing organic ingredients will be more than worthwhile:
2 tablespoons (30 ml) raw apple cider vinegar, with the mother
2 tablespoons (30 ml) raw unfiltered honey
8 ounces (236.59 ml) of hot (drinking temperature, not boiling) filtered water
1/2 teaspoon (2.464 ml) extra virgin coconut oil
a shake or two of cayenne pepper
Into 8 ounces of hot filtered water (I actually used 16 ounces), stir the honey and coconut oil in until completely melted, then add the vinegar and cayenne pepper. Stir vigorously until well blended.
If you choose, you can blend the ingredients together in a blending cup, which will make the drink frothy, and may be more palatable to some who find it hard to swallow oil.
In my case, I already add coconut oil and ghee to a number of hot drinks, and so didn't bother blending it, but I did double the amount of hot water, which to me tastes far superior than the original recipe as written.
Let me know which you prefer.
For me, doubling the water not only vastly improved the taste, but assists me in keeping myself better hydrated, which in itself will help me to improve my health greatly.
So this is my new daily drink, which I'll mostly take in the afternoons for increased focus and energy, and I may take it in the mornings as well, especially on those days when I don't have a smoothie. We'll see how it goes.
In the meantime, I plan to start posting far more frequently again, but I'm still in the middle of editing my upcoming book series, so it may be reduced until I'm finished with that project.
Hoping that this post finds everyone well and happy, that all our respective governments will figure out how to do much better for us all moving forward, and that we will together create a more peaceful and loving world.
Life is wonderful, and is getting better, better, and better. ;-)
All words are my own. I took both photos with my Samsung Note 8 smartphone.
Posting in the wee hours, as usual, so if there are any errors, I'll do my best to catch them tomorrow. Love you all.
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art and flair courtesy of @PegasusPhysics