a journey from the heart

Archive for August, 2013


Calligraphic Meditation

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Calligraphic Meditation

The Mindful Art of Thich Nhat Hanh




Car-campin’ cookin’


I am recently home from a great week of car camping in the Olympic National Forest. Steven and I went with his mom, grandma, sister, her three kids, his two plus a friend, and my brother. It was a large, rambunctious, game playing, day hiking, cold creek bathing, (not all parties participated in all activities) group. And they all eat meat, packaged n’ processed food as the main part of almost every meal, including snacks. Except for me, the glaring exception.

So, what is a vegetarian, whole foods eating, lover of really good food supposed to do when faced with a week with omnivorous, processed food eating folk? Bring her own food! Lovely fresh fruits and vegetables, home-made Vegan Blueberry Muffins, hard-boiled eggs, pasture raised at Living Earth Farm, whole grains and organic canned beans. And lots of ice for the ice chests.

I made a rather tasty vegan chili one night, but alas, forgot to take pictures. However, I did take pictures of the Chana Masala. It was so yummy that even Steven’s 19 year old, self-proclaimed carnivorous son enjoyed so much he went back for seconds and thirds!

So, without further ado…

One-Pot Camp Stove Chana Masala…

Ingredient list:
Olive oil
Onion, chopped
Garlic, chopped
Curry Powder*** Currying Flavor
Tomato, diced
15 oz can chickpeas (well drained and rinsed)
Sweet potato, diced
Lemon juice, fresh squeezed
Fresh spinach, lightly chopped
Sea salt
Cracked red pepper
Cilantro (optional – oops, I knew I forgot something)

Sauté the onion, garlic, carrot and celery in olive oil until the onions are slightly transparent. Add a little water (to cook the sweet potato) sweet potato, chick peas, tomato, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and cracked red pepper. Simmer until chickpeas have softened and sweet potatoes are just fork-tender (about 6-7 minutes). Add chopped spinach and continue to simmer until wilted (about five minutes).

Serve hot.


Bon appetite. Even in the woods!

How’s the weather?

I am a weather geek! I wear that badge with honor. While I am quite the amateur, when I was in graduate school I took a weather and climate course that was just so much fun. But my love of weather, the wilder and crazier the better, didn’t start in grad school. It actually started in the womb.

Let me tell you a little story, one that I did not hear for the first time until I was in my early 30’s.

My mother and father were living off the coast of Florida, my father in the Air Force. About 7 1/2 months into my mother’s pregnancy (with me) a thunderstorm struck hard across the island. In her infinite wisdom my mother got up to close the storm blinds, and as she grabbed the metal chain (not the wooden toggle at the end) the house was struck by lightning.

Now close your eyes and picture this: my mother, 7 1/2 months pregnant, unable to let go of the chain as the electricity from the lightning races through her (did I mention 7 1/2 months pregnant) body. At some point my father knocked her away from the chain and she appeared fine. The next morning when she visited the military doctor, he says, “Why Mrs. Hamilton, the baby is just fine. She’s swimming around in all that fluid.” (Uh, last I heard, fluid is a conductor of electricity.)

Needless to say, within about 24 hours, labor began, and lasted for three weeks. Yup, you better believe it; even then I was one smart cookie. I arrived three weeks early! It was no longer safe in that warm, dark environment. Besides, it was obvious all the excitement was out here, in the real world.

Since then I have chased thunderstorms in California, Maryland, New Jersey and North Carolina, although truth be told I never really had to chase them in NC, they just magically appeared. There is nothing more satisfying than the rumble of thunder and the electric snap of lightning. (I now live in my eco-home of Oregon, where thunderstorms rarely occur, and while I don’t miss the humidity that is such a part of the best thunderstorm environments; heavy sigh…I do love a good thunderstorm….)

Of course it wasn’t until grad school, when I took that weather and climate class that I thought perhaps becoming a meteorologist would be fun. And then I thought about being in grad school, and all the work that would entail to start a new degree, and decided being an amateur was just fine by me. (Although I do still toy with the notion of taking my undergrad work in anthropology and applying it to an ethnographic field study of storm chasers.)

Anyway, for all you amateur (and not so amateur) weather folk out there, if you have a smartphone I highly recommend checking out the Weathermob app. It’s the perfect venue to report your local weather and include photos as well. For now, a little teaser….


Happy weather hunting! (Or just basking in the sun.)

P.S. I am @wldwthrwmn