Day 108 – Of spells and magick

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be able to do magic? To have powers that can change things for the better? I have. Many times. How wonderful would it be to solve all your problems and those of the wider world with a spell or two. Good spells only, because I believe that if you do something bad it will come back to you threefold. And I do believe that there are people who can do real magic, whether good or bad magic. I am not talking about pulling bunnies out of hats (illusions) or silly children’s magic stories like Harry P. I am talking about making things happen with rituals, amulets, spells, alchemy or incantations. Sorcery, witchcraft, Vodou (commonly known as voodoo), necromancy (communication with the spirits of the dead), any supernatural power – whatever you call it. Whilst voodoo was and is prevalent in Africa and the Caribbean, witchcraft, mysticism, shamans, paganism and magicians were/are more prevalent in Europe and America. The Native American Shamans/medicine men are famous for their natural powers. In the East we have genies/jinns, magi, snake charmers, oracles and magic carpets.

Faeries, leprechauns, the little folk – there are people who claim to see them. I would like to believe that they do exist. It adds wonder to the world.

A lovely film, an anti-fairy-tale made by George Lucas, Strange Magic, strangely did not become a hit like the other soppy fairy-tales out there. Why? Because it is different. Not the norm. It has a romance between two very opposing characters for one. It is my favourite animated movie for that reason, as well as the great music featured.

One example is the title song Strange Magic, originally by Electric Light Orchestra.

You’re sailing softly through the sun In a broken stone age dawn You fly so high I get a strange magic Oh, what a strange magic Oh, it’s a strange magic Got a strange magic Got a strange magic You’re walking meadows in my mind Making waves across my time Oh no, oh no I get a strange magic Oh, what a strange magic Oh, it’s a strange magic Got a strange magic Got a strange magic Oh, I’m never gonna be the same again Now I’ve seen the way it’s got to end Sweet dream, sweet dream Strange magic Oh, what a strange magic 

Medicine men and women were sometimes also persecuted as ‘witches’ and ‘warlocks’ because of their ability to cure disease and maladies with the use of plant materials and spells/incantations. This was actually an original form of homeopathy. Shamans still exist today and do their ‘magic’ in societies which accept them. Religious zealots killed off most of these knowledgeable people in the name of their various gods through the ages during the witch hunts/pogroms and a lot of very important information was thus lost to mankind. Gypsies, genuine fortune tellers and people like the late clairvoyant Edgar Cayce who could do amazing things should be revered, admired, not demonized.

Destructive magic or black magic as it is called, along with any practice/ritual that causes harm to either animal or person is obviously wrong but good magic has a place in our lives. Unfortunately people who do believe in and practice magic are ostracized except within their own circles and that is sad.

The world can do with more good magic. Pure magic and clean spirits. Making the world a better place. Chasing away evil.

Think how much we can save on fossil fuels and environmental pollution if we still had flying carpets…I would love one…

I came across this wonderful movie, fiction but apparently based on a real life story. It is called ExtraOrdinary (2019) and stars unknown, every day Irish people. Rose, the main character has special powers and can talk to spirits. It is really funny and well worth watching. It also makes you think, wonder.

eo

The Ancient Egypt series. River God (1993), The Seventh Scroll (1995), Warlock (2001),

The Quest (2007), Desert God (2014), Pharaoh (2016).

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In the above works of Wilbur Smith, South African author, we meet Taita – the slave with very special powers in Ancient Egypt. A series of books which will blow your mind with its beauty, tragedy and wonder. A quote from an interview with the author – ‘The idea for the novels came from the 1988 discovery of the tomb of a previously unrecorded Egyptian queen, who died about 1780BC. The academic who led the dig on the West Bank of the Nile invited Smith to assist in the transcription of precious scrolls found in a hidden niche. Smith used his imagination to expand on the material in the scrolls, written by the eunuch slave Taita about his beloved queen, Lostris, her lover Tanus, and the Pharaoh, whom Lostris had been forced to marry when she was only 14. “As a writer of fiction, primarily, and not as a historian, I have taken liberties,” Smith said. “I’ve added dialogue and built up the characters, but generally speaking the historical background is authentic.

Give a little space to magic in your life. It does not deserve all the bad press it gets. There should be no shame in believing in magic or magick.

A little magic recipe today for good health. Given to us many years ago by a Naturopath.

In a glass bottle with airtight lid, mix the following. The purest powdered natural/organic forms you can find of Cinnamon (4 parts), to 1 part each of ginger, turmeric, cayenne, clove, cumin, rosemary and a quarter part of garlic. Shake it all up and keep in a dark, dry place. Take about half a teaspoon of the mixture in hot water (with a bit of honey if you want) every morning or when you don’t feel well. It really works magic.

 

Namaste

Inia

Day 107 – Some days are diamonds, some days are stone

Now I am not a fan of country music, but they sure have the hard times thing down pat. And then there are days that are worse than stone. They should have continued the song, expanded it into…’and then there are bottom dwelling mud eating days‘. Days when you are freezing cold because you have not had electricity since 02:00 in the morning. It has been off for 8 solid hours, came on briefly and will go off again at 16:00. In this country they call it load shedding. I call it incompetence. It all should not really matter that much as we don’t need electricity to live except that there is a freak cold front with gale force winds outside. Listening to the winds trying to rip your little house’s roof off, trying to sleep but the wind coming through the gaps is too cold and restless. It is not fun either to lie in bed freezing your ass off. Not having a hot water bottle, not having coffee, not having anything to warm you up. Worrying about my poor rusted car out in the storm. Then it is very easy to feel sorry for yourself.

Each of us have hard times, some harder than others. We all struggle with things from big to small. Some struggle with physical things and some struggle with emotional things.  Some of us struggle alone.

When days are dark, friends are few. 

People don’t really want to know about your problems. Especially family. In my case anyway (except for my daughter and my mother). Family is overrated. When most of them ask you ‘how are you’ they mean nothing by it and continue on with what they want to say. Everyone for themselves.

I know this one pharmacist who when she sees you, immediately says ‘fine and you?’ before you can open your mouth and hurriedly moves on to other things while you are still thinking about a greeting. Ugh so false. Then rather ignore me then, I feel.

But in the greater scheme of things, my stupid little battles mean almost nothing. Some people are cold every day. Some people are hungry every day. Some animals are cold and hungry every day. Like the woman in the featured photo today. I think that she has reason to complain. I feel for her but because I have nothing, I have nothing to give but my sympathy and commiserations. I am an empath thus really feel other’s pain. I wish I could help.

So appreciate your coffee, your food, your warmth and comfort. Don’t take it for granted.

Wouldn’t it be great if everything could just go smoothly for once? I would really appreciate some help, Universe.

Until then in the words of Jeff Lynne and ELO

Hold on tight to your dream
Hold on tight to your dream
When you see your ship go sailing
When you feel your heart is breaking
Hold on tight to your dream
                It’s a long time to be gone
Time just rolls on and on
When you need a shoulder to cry on
When you get so sick of trying
Hold tight to your dream
                When you get so down that you can’t get up
And you want so much but you’re all out of luck
When you’re so downhearted and misunderstood
Just over and over and over you could
Accroches-toi a ton reve
Accroches-toi a ton reve
Quand tu vois ton bateau partir
Quand tu sents ton coeur se briser
Accroches-toi a ton reve
                When you get so down that you can’t get up
And you want so much but you’re all out of luck
                When you’re so downhearted and misunderstood
Just over and over and over you could
Hold on tight to your dream
Hold on tight to your dream
When you see the shadows falling
When you hear that cold wind calling
Hold on tight to your dream
Hold on tight to your dream
Hold on tight to your dream

xx

Your sister in hard times (my real sister or brother for that matter could not care a continental whether I lived or died). Blood is definitely not thicker than water.

Namaste

Inia

Day 106 – Let’s read

I love reading. I love it so much that over my lifetime I have spent thousands of rands on books. I have also given away most of those books to charity for resale. I have only kept a few which I can’t bear to part with. Fiction and Non-Fiction. Mainly large books on everything from botany to photography, but then I also have few treasured paperbacks. And of course my Gary Larson collection which I dig out when I need a lift, same as with my Chicken Soup for the Soul collection. And my Eric Von Lustbader collection for nostalgic reasons.

In my treasure trove of real books I have the book that has scared me more than any horror film ever made, any horror story ever told. It is the story of the political situation around the Mau-Mau/Kikuyu uprising in Kenya. It is called Uhuru and is by Robert Ruark (1962). That book kept me awake for nights on end with its riveting account of the atrocities people can (and do) commit against other people and innocent animals. For whatever reason they may have, it is always unacceptable. I would not suggest it as entertainment, but rather as a glimpse into the dark soul of colonialism, politics and ethnic hatred.

I don’t know how people carry on after experiencing something like that. Or sleep ever again.

I have such wide interests that I don’t stick to a genre, an author, a century. I read crime novels for relaxation and love Jonathan as well as his wife Faye Kellerman’s books. Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell, JDRobb (always enjoy Eve and Roarke), but that’s not all I read. I admire Margaret Atwood’s books immensely and if I had a heroine it would be her. MADDADDAM trilogy – life changing. You will never think the same about what we are doing on this planet after reading it. Michael Connelly, Janet Evanovich, Ian Rankin, James Patterson, Stieg Larson, Jo Nesbo, Sue Grafton, Tana French, Harlan Coben, Clive Cussler, Michael Crichton, Robin Cook, Frank Herbert, Dean Koontz of course but many others. They have all broadened my knowledge and mind.

South African writers I admire are Bryce Courtenay (wow – his insights in life and writing can wring emotion from rocks), Andre P Brink (to understand the old South Africa and its struggles) and Wilbur Smith (amazing books especially the Egypt series starting with River God – I skip the violence). These authors are all so different but all life changing. Read them.

The Secret History of the World by Jonathan Black 2007 changed my perception of so many things. So has Erich Von Daniken’s books. Sometimes these authors refer to things or books which I then investigate. It is a circle of never-ending learning. I love it.

I don’t have a problem with reading e-books, I actually prefer it at the moment. It is easier, cheaper and takes less space! Collects less dust. Because I learn so much, and sometimes forget…I reread my favourites from time to time, like I have done many times with Temple, the best Matthew Reilly book ever. I am currently rereading Origin by Dan Brown. This book has resonated with me as it is all about how religion creates antagonism and murder, the anti-religious who try to enlighten others but are ostracized and the age old questions of who we are and where we come from.

In Origin which is set in Spain, Dan Brown introduced me to things I never knew, never would have known otherwise as I have a bit of an issue with Spain. Mainly because of their bloody history of conquering lands and killing off native tribes in the name of religion, but also because of bullfighting. I just don’t like what they are all about. Little did I know that Spain has fascinating places like the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao with its unique art, Casa Mila, La Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudí’s amazing architecture and the Monserrat Monastery amongst others. If you would like to see and know more, read the book (with an open mind) or start here.

https://www.thenotsoinnocentsabroad.com/blog/dan-browns-origin-tour-of-spain

As I love to say – you are never too old to learn new things.

When I read The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns (2003 & 2007 by Khaled Hosseini) I  learned so much about what people go through in wars. I have always hated war and violence and reading these two books made me even more fanatically anti-war and so helpless and sad about what atrocities innocent people and animals have to go through. No more war!!

There are so many other books that I would love to mention but there is just not enough grey matter left to remember them all! I do remember the book that started my (adult journey) love for reading – A Winters Tale by Mark Helprin (1983). I actually wrote to him to tell him how much his book meant to me. He never replied though. Anthasor the flying horse will forever be in my heart and he is kept close if I want to read about him again.

anth

I will add to the list as I remember and would love more reading suggestions.

Books books books give me more books!

Just an easy meal for today, mash made with fried onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes. It’s simple, easy and delicious. Ideal for cold weather.

20200712_101948

 

Namaste

Inia

 

Day 105 – Of clouds and signs in nature

Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated with and by clouds. I have thousands of cloud pics taken over the years. When I was young, I always saw pictures and shapes in the clouds, resembling animals mostly, and as I grew up I began seeing weather patterns and stranger things. To me, a blue sky without clouds is utterly boring and more so, it makes me sad as it means no rain is due. Even a tiny fluff of white in the sky can mean that there is a chance of rain in the near future.

Clouds are miracles of water particles, ice crystals and a little bit of magic. They form when warm air rises from the earth and meets up with colder air in the sky. Their colours are dependent on how much sunlight they allow through, i.e. how dense the clouds are. Shapes of the clouds are determined by winds or air streams in the upper atmosphere. The shapes also change over high mountains and volcanoes. Clouds can be really high as in towering super-cells, or very low down to the ground as is usually found in rain storms.

When the clouds start building, I become excited as anything may be in progress. The clouds are alive, ever changing. Most people never look up, never see the beauty up in the skies but during the past few years more and more people have been cloud watching. It is basically because of the UFO phenomena. People are fascinated by UFO’s (I am too) but they never appreciated the clouds themselves. People thought I was so weird as I always had my camera hanging out the car window when I was driving snapping beautiful clouds. PS I have never made or caused an accident, I am very careful and aware of all around me on the roads. People may not always see UFO’s but they are coming to appreciate the beauty of the clouds in the process. One of my favourite YouTube channels is that of MrMBB333. He calls himself Earth-Watcher, and has daily posts about interesting weather phenomena, earthquakes, planetary alignment, the sun, moon and unexplained sky features, including interesting observations from all around the world.

I love lightning and rainbows. Lately many rainbows observed around the world are double whereas I am used to mostly single rainbows here in South Africa.

My favourite clouds are lenticular (beautiful, smooth flying saucer shaped and usually seen over mountains), mammatus (smooth, rounded look like boobies and means that there is a thunder storm on the way) and cumulonimbus (rain clouds). Cirrus clouds look like wispy painted stripes in the air.

Some clouds from my own collection :

Look up, see the clouds, appreciate them. And let me know if you see something awesome.

Like this…

I observed it in the clouds a few years ago. Any ideas how it formed?

wtf

And to eat while you are enjoying looking at the lovely clouds : Vegan Pasta Arrabiata. An Izzi (my daughter) speciality.

If you want to make it more wispy like clouds, use Angel Hair pasta.

Namaste

Inia

Day 104 – Comfort

Hi everyone, Izzi here!

It’s a beautiful cold and rainy day today. I plan to spend the day relaxing, keeping warm, drinking lots of coffee and snuggling cats. It’s amazing how rainy weather often triggers these sort of “chilled” feelings for me, like the rest of the world can just wait a while. For me, rainy weather is “me time” – comfort.

overgrown trees from window with drops in rainy weather
Photo by Sam Willis on Pexels.com
white ceramic teacup with saucer near two books above gray floral textile
Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

Comfort means different things to different people, but to me it means staying in my pajamas, playing games or watching series, reading a good book and eating a fantastically comforting meal. It means putting away the worries of the world in a corner to be attended to later, when the sun is shining and the soothing rain has left and I have no choice but to deal with life and it’s idiosyncrasies.

But on these days of comfort, it’s no reading the news or anything negative, no worrying about the future and no reflecting on the past. It is only now that matters, the immersion of self into the beautiful, comforting environment that I find myself in. It’s raining hard outside and it’s freezing cold, yet I am lucky enough to be snuggled up into a warm little cocoon with my two cats and last night’s leftover curry to enjoy – recipe to follow shortly. It warms your body and your heart!

I feel like this weather gives me permission to do the things I really enjoy, even if it is just lying down and listening to a scary story on YouTube with the rain in the background (scary stories are pretty great and more soothing than one would think!). They also teach you about potential dangers in the world and to be wary, which I learn from, but as I am relaxing in my safe little cocoon, it feels like nothing can touch me and I can just listen without thinking too much.

adorable animal bed bedroom
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Days like today remind me that life is precious and that there is so much simple, uncomplicated joy to be had, so indulge in these moments where the world outside is taking care of itself, and use the opportunity to take care of yourself as well.

Now for the curry!

Last night it was already rainy and cold, and it was my turn to cook, so I made a beautiful vegan Butter Chicken (no butter or chicken). I find that curry, when done well,  warms bodies, hearts and souls.

The curry itself is quite simple and relatively cheap- to feed 6 people, all you need is two cans of coconut milk, two tins of tomato, two onions, four cloves of garlic, fake meat of your choice (I used soy chunks and leftover “chicken” seitan, or you can use chickpeas, vegetables, tofu, whatever you want to soak up the sauce) and lots of spices (garam masala, ground coriander, turmeric, curry powder, chilli flakes, ginger, cinnamon).

Start by chopping your onions finely, and then frying them in oil or vegan butter. Add minced garlic and ginger if you have fresh ginger, otherwise add in ginger powder later. Once the garlic is almost cooked, add in your spices and fry till fragrant. Add the tinned tomatoes and cook for about 15 minutes. Blend till a puree, by using either a stick blender or normal blender (you can skip this step if you like your curry chunky). Add in two tins of coconut milk, your fake meat/ veg and two teaspoons of sugar. Simmer until reduced to the consistency of your choosing.

While your curry sauce is simmering, you can make your own homemade vegan naan- these came out so well, my heart was bursting with pride! All you need is yeast, sugar, all purpose flour, salt, coconut cream and oil (I used Nora Cooks’s recipe).

I brushed the vegan naan with homemade vegan butter while they were cooking, and the results were more glorious than I had anticipated. The vegan butter is extremely easy to make. You just need to whisk together 250 ml melted coconut oil, 60 ml olive oil, 60 ml coconut cream and a tiny bit of turmeric for colour. In a seperate bowl, combine 120 ml of unsweetened plant milk with two teaspoons apple cider vinegar and let it curdle. When curdled, mix the contents of the two bowls together, add salt to taste, mix again, pour into moulds of your choice and then chill till it is a desired consistency. Use a basting brush to brush the butter (in its liquid state) onto the naan while they are cooking, making sure to baste on both sides. It adds a delicious, rich and creamy flavour to your naan.

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Serve your curry and naan with fluffy basmati or jasmine rice.

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Enjoy and be comforted!

Izzi

Day 102 & 103 – What’s in a name

 

I like my name, I even have had a baby donkey and two children named after me over the years. The kids were my then boyfriends sister’s kid, and the other a very distant family member’s (who I only met once). The baby donkey I rescued from being slaughtered (sadly I could not save her mother) at the zoo where I worked for a few years during the late eighties. Personally I am prouder of the donkey legacy as it actually meant something, it celebrated the fact that I could save her life but reminded all of us of the delicacy and fragility of life. And those I could not save. That is why I don’t work in the zoo anymore, and will never visit one again either. Not ‘wildlife parks’ either. They are very cruel places.

The name I had then is not the name I have now. I am not the same person as I was, so I needed a new name. Another reason to ‘rename myself’ was the fact that I knew that my parents would not agree with the books I wrote so I published them under my new name. (It’s all to do with politics, old South Africa, conservatism and the search for parental approval.)

Names are given to kids according to the beliefs, traditions and eccentricities of the parent/s. There should be a law that once you reach the age of 18, you are able to change your name if it does not suit you. How many big people go through life being called Tiny or such, how many people are burdened by outdated family names, how many boys (usually) are called the same name as their fathers? Stupid and egotistical. How many surly people are called happy names like Melody or Hope, how many criminals called Faith or Charity? People who call their kids Hunter according to me should be shot, and  Brandi, Candi or Randy or Bambi…well. You can earn those names when you become a Playboy Bunny or a porn star. And if you name your dog Killer, well. Bad things should happen to you.

Please parents, don’t embarrass your kids. They will be teased miserably if you give them stupid names. I gave my daughter five very different (but all nice) names and said to her that she can get rid of all the ones that she does not like. She now calls herself a version of the main name and she feels comfortable in that.

You can’t grow into your chosen name, it has to change for you. Signify who you are. It should be fluid, changeable.

Like when we name our pets. We name them mostly for a characteristic they have. My pitch black cat is called Mesanitha – midnight in Greek. I rescued her through the Cat Society who saves feral cats from certain death as with many of my previous cats. When I saw her blackness I did not decide on her name immediately, but it came to me over the next few days. We had a tough time getting her to settle down but when she did, it was so worth it. The name suited her.

Your name should suit you. I got a stray doggie as a gift once, many many years ago. She was fragile, black and had lots of long hair. So I called her Whitney as I really liked Whitney Houston at that stage. She became her name and was a little diva, very loved and spoilt. But she could not sing.

And my daughter’s black cat, Neil (my grandchild pictured below) is special. He had many names in the past – he started off as being called Dante (like Dante’s Inferno) by his previous owner, but that name did not suit him so nobody ever really called him that. Over the years he had been called many different things but then suddenly, they started calling him Neil. And the name stuck. Not a common name for a cat but hey, he doesn’t seem to mind!

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And then there are my daughter’s friends – she had a friend years ago named Arowan. He was lucky enough to be the namesake of the Rowan tree. What a beautiful name. Like Lily, Iris, Rose, Amethyst, Willow. Gorgeous. But then there are others, who have had more unfortunate names – such as a friend of hers in high school who had been named a strange hybrid of her mother and father’s names. Most people were surprised when they learnt of her name, and it was never spelled correctly! Egotistical parents should be ashamed.

Some people enjoy their strange/ridiculous names, some do not. The point is that you must not simply become your name – you must become who you want to be, and let your name follow. Have you ever noticed that some people who share a name often behave similarly and share similar views? Perhaps due to some sort of collective consciousness, or just societal norms? These are interesting ideas to ponder.

Today’s recipe is very easy and delicious. It continues the fake is better idea. It is home made wraps with fake Kfc. Like the famous Twister. My daughter made the wraps by combining 2 cups of flour & a pinch of salt with one cup of boiling water plus 60 ml of coconut oil. She then mixed it, waited for it to cool down and kneaded it. She then let it rest for 30 minutes, rolled it out thinly, cut it in the round shape with a dinner plate and toast in a pan. Don’t toast it too much as when too hard it can’t be rolled up.

Add fake ‘chicken’ strips of your choice (in her case she made seitan like in one of our previous posts) and added tomato and shredded lettuce. She also added a vegan mayo, ginger and honey sauce.

wraps

Well, that’s it for today. Have a great one

Peace out

Inia

Day 101 – The Undateables – Living without love

The Undateables is a British TV documentary series that follows the dating lives of a wide range of people. These special individuals all  have long term conditions, disabilities, developmental disorders, and learning difficulties. It is a very compassionate look into the lives of people, mostly young, who are just looking for someone to love and to be loved in return. It makes me sad though that these people, while having to live with a disability,  also suffer from the rejection and prejudice of ‘normal’ people. Like one of their mothers said – they may be different but we all deserve love. Is that true? Do we?

My favourite ‘undateable’ is Shaine the poet with a learning difficulty. What a kind, loving, gentle man he is. He has found love which I am so happy about. He deserves all the happiness he can get.

I have been on my own now for more than two decades. Both by choice and because I have not found anyone who I want to share my life with. I was married once, briefly, when I was 27. It only lasted a few years and did not work out. I have had many short term relationships over the decades but never felt like any of them were meant to last. Nobody felt like ‘the one’. Maybe that is also bs.

I am an Undateable. Even without a legally recognised disability I have found it impossible to unearth a man who thinks like me, or will accept a woman who thinks like me. I am starting to feel like I do have a disability. Or more than one. Age, open mind, being different, being not like the norm.  Most South African men are conservative, closed minded both in their thinking and in their politics, want a similarly conservative churchgoing housekeeper/maid/nanny/slave who will quietly work in the background without voicing an opinion. Most of these men do things I don’t approve of (hunt, fish, lie in front of TV watching sport) or if they don’t, they are gay. They can’t accept that a woman who has lived since the early sixties can think for herself. And my age thus also counts against me. Most men of my age or older want young chickies, arm candy who will make them feel young. Ugh.

And I will never date a younger guy again, been there, done that. They have their uses, but none longer term. Like I said – I don’t like children.

Apparently kind, gentle men of around 60 and over are a dying breed. Or they are hiding. Like me?

But I won’t settle for less. I don’t want to share my life with someone who will bring me down. I want someone who will lift me up, inspire me. Make me better. I want a relationship, a partnership, not an ownership. If I can’t find that, then I’d rather die alone.

Mostly I like being by myself, but some days are sad. Some days the loneliness gets to me. My own company becomes boring.  Although I would find it extremely tough to live with someone again, I miss companionship from time to time, someone to share stuff with. Someone who lives somewhere else ;).

All meals are for one. All shopping is done for one (and one cat). If I did not have my cat I think that I would have gone nuts long ago.

And my music, I love my music for company. And the ocean. I guess I have enough.

Usually I perk right up after a few hours of listening to and dancing to oldies and have the strength to go on all by myself. Sometimes it takes a look at someone around me who feels caught/trapped in a very unhappy relationship to be satisfied with being on my own.

No man is an island, but maybe this woman is. A strange island with a lighthouse.

Meal for one today :

Take a washed potato, do not peel, cut it in wedges, fry it in coconut oil until golden brown. Enjoy.

Peace out

Inia

Day 100 – Real people and fake things

Welcome to day 100 of the lock-down. May it not last much longer. We have more freedoms now, but still have to wear the masks. I am iffy about that, like the fact that I can hide behind it, but hate that nobody can see me smile.

Regarding fake things…’What on earth is she on about now?’  I can hear you ask/exclaim. ‘Real is the only thing there is! Fake is for poor and uninformed, uncool people’.

Well, let me say like Borat…NOT! The most amazing things are fake. And we are talking about things here, things you can hold, buy. Not people. People should be real. Honest, down to earth, real. Relationships should be real. Fake people are awful. People should quit their fussiness, their little stupid fake mannerisms (like duckfaces, pouting and uppity habits), coyness, stupid posturing and ostentatiousness. I hate fake people with a passion, steer clear of them. But I love fake things. Especially those fake things which replace real things that comes from or causes the death of beautiful real sentient beings.

Fake fur is great – It saves the lives of real animals

Fake leather is great – It saves the lives of real animals

Fake feathers are great – It saves the lives of real animals

Fake silk is great – Is saves millions of silk worms and moths

Fake ivory is great – It saves the elephants

Fake flowers and plants are great – It leaves real plants to grow outdoors where they should be.

Fake wood is great (recycled plastic made to look like wood) – It saves our trees and the environment from pollution

Fake old things are great – Such as “antique” furniture and jewelry, If you like the look of something old, but can’t afford/access the “real” thing, or doing so would go against your principles, you can still enjoy it if it is crafted to look a certain way.

Fake meat is great –  It saves many, many animal lives, is healthier and tastes great.

Fake milk and cheese is great – It saves the lives of real animals

Fake diamonds and other gems are great – It shows the uber rich that we can have the same baubles they have for much less. Nobody knows which is which anyway.

Fake designer stuff is great – Same as above

Fake identities are great – Freedom of being who you want to be

Fake brand names are great – It shows the uber rich that we can have the same baubles they have for much less. Nobody knows which is which anyway.

Fake eyelashes and hair (wigs, extensions) are great – If nature did not treat you well to begin with, now is your chance to shine.

Fake photos are great – Because they make you realise that you can’t/shouldn’t believe everything you see

Fake news is great –  for the same reason

Fake boobs are great (wish I could get some) Fake lips…not so much.

and lastly… an exception.  I hate fake tan! It is fugly.

Today we are concentrating on some amazing fake food. Real food but fake as in plant based replacements for animal based products. We have made fake bacon, not the rice-paper bacon we have in our book but a different option. There are many choices in the vegan world for this previously missing flavour. Why fake bacon? Bacon is incredibly popular sadly. But do you know how cute and adorable and amazing pigs are? How they feel, think and bleed like us? Do yourself a favour and watch the movie Babe and read Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy. The pigoons are a hybrid pig/human breed and they are intelligent like pigs are. I cried for their losses of  the hero Pig One who saved everyone. I know that it is fiction but it may just expose you to a different way of thinking, that of animals having the right to life.

Now for fabulous fake food from Izzi:

Today I have tried, for the first time, to make seitan fake bacon, “facon”. It worked out surprisingly well! All the ingredients are easy to obtain, besides the liquid smoke. It is possible to make your own, but if you can get your hands on some, buy it – it will revolutionise your fake meat efforts- that, and dried vital wheat gluten. I am currently still using the washed flour method of making seitan, it is just more accessible for me (and cheaper).

I didn’t take measurements when making this recipe, just threw a bunch of things together till it tasted good! The main thing is that you need to recreate that savoury, smoky, umami taste of bacon, which can be recreated by using various ratios of the shown ingredients.

ingredients

Plus, not pictured above – chickpeas/white beans or black beans for texture. My facon had tiny specks of black- that is from the beans. If you use chickpeas, you won’t have that. Also, there is a way to add a fat layer, but once I have mastered that I will write an update 😀

You will need a blender, food processor or some kind of blendy thing that is strong enough to break apart the sticky gluten and work the flavours in there.

Step 1: Take a good amount of flour, mix with enough water to form a dough ball. Let it rest for 15 min in a large bowl, then add cold water and start washing the starch out, changing the water until the water runs mostly clear. You should be left with only a stretchy, glutinous mass.

Step 2: Put the gluten somewhere it can drip off its excess moisture, while we gather the rest of the ingredients. Marmite, molasses/syrup, chicken flavour stock cube, some sort of sesame-flavoured oil, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika (I made my own), liquid smoke, tomato paste and then the beans/chickpeas of your choice.

Step 3: Get your blending device ready. Break off bits of the gluten and drop into the blender (this makes it easier for it to handle) – depending on how much gluten you have and the strength of your device, you may need to work in batches. Now add your flavourings, to taste, but make sure you get a good amount of liquid smoke in there – that is really the key ingredient. Blend it all up till it looks good and mixed, then take it out of the blender and knead it till it it seems really gluteny and rubbery- this is necessary to ensure good gluten development and therefore texture.

Step 4: Wrap in clingfilm, shape it how you would like and stick it in the freezer till it firms up enough to slice.

Step 5: Slice thin strips –  you may need to roll them out as well to get them really good and thin and bacon-y.

20200705_155630They already smell great by this point!

Now, you can either fry them up and use in a dish of your choice, or you can use them as I did, in my vegan jalapeno poppers (goodness, it was delicious!).

For the poppers, make a vegan cream cheese (I used Cooking with Plants’s sunflower cream cheese recipe as I had all the ingredients already, but there are so many variations, so make one that uses the ingredients you already have on hand).

20200705_182827Now, grate some vegan cheese and mix with a bit of the cream cheese (a little bit goes a long way, but this is also depending on the size and quantity of your jalapenos). Add onion and garlic powder, some smoked paprika and a few dashes of liquid smoke. This mix is so good, you will be tempted to eat it all just like that!

20200705_183134

Next, cut your jalapenos lengthwise and de-seed. Place your cheese/cream cheese mixture into the hollowed out jalapeno, then wrap with a good-size rasher of your facon. Repeat with the rest of your jalapenos.

20200705_183308This is starting to look amazing!

20200705_184320Pop into the oven at 180 degrees celsius, and bake till the b(f)acon looks and feels good and crispy. For me, this took around 25 minutes, but it depends. It is also possible to fry them, but I haven’t tried that yet.

And then, enjoy! I can almost not describe how good these things were.

20200705_192715

“Fake” food is fantastic!

Stay real and buy fake.

Peace out

Inia

Day 99 – We all need rest days

Do you sometimes feel guilty when you don’t feel like doing anything? Just lying in bed with no wish to get up, get clean, get productive? Well – I am telling you that it is your right to not feel guilty, to feel like doing nothing every now and then, well, at least once a week! Sundays are usually the days when most people take off and just laze around and do the least possible. It does not have to be a Sunday, just choose the day that suits you best. Like a rainy or cold day. When there is no (or as little as possible) noise outside to enable you to sleep late if you wish. To put a sign on your door saying Do not disturb, to turn your phone off (we all need to be unavailable sometimes) and to stay in bed for as long as you want without feeling guilty!

There is a saying ‘ How can I miss you if you won’t go away?’ Think about it and what it means. It has the same concept as ‘If you love something set it free.’ So go and be by yourself, learn to be happy with and by yourself. Tell your partner that you are not in a social mood. If you have children to look after it is your own fault, you should have thought of exactly this when you decided to have so many kids. Farm them out to willing babysitters (just not me!). Remember, you don’t have to have kids just because everyone does. It is an outdated concept. Live your own life, work on yourself to become your best version. Not just a breeding machine with no life. This is YOUR life. Be happy, be free.

For decades I could not relax on a Sunday as it was so ingrained in me to have to go to church, even if I did not want to. I found it boring. It was so suffocating to only be allowed to do some things, wear some things, say some things. Even think some things. When I eventually figured out that religion was fools gold, the opiate of the masses, I sighed with relief, had an extra day to myself. And I was free.

By the way. To each its own, if you feel that religion works for you go ahead and do it but keep in mind that religion divides people, it does not bring them together. It creates hate, It creates the us against them mentality, the ‘I am …….. (insert your religion here) therefore I am better than everybody else’. The ‘only I am right, only my religion is right’ mindset. Can you see how that is mind-blowingly ridiculous in a world of 7  billion people? All with different ideas? In the small little coastal town where I used to live and work there were about 25 different churches – population about 32 00 people. Then there were church-less people, atheists and sects. And who has the correct ‘God’ or correct idea? Every Tom, Dick and Harry establishes their own church for donations and tax reasons. And because they think that they have the answers. They don’t. Just look at the history of religion – blood and terror and horror. Not something to slavishly follow.

I’d rather go on my own merry way of doing as best I can, living the best life, not causing harm –  without believing in anyone or anything. Nature is my church/temple and the Universe the only power I recognise.

The Wiccans have the right idea. They have a crede – Do what you may but harm none. We should all live like that is our motto in life. No matter who thought of it first or what they do. I personally think that they are cool except for certain things that I don’t agree with.

I don’t bow to nobody. But I am humble.

I don’t offer no offerings. But I give gratitude to the Universe.

I burn incense because I love the fragrances. Not because of any other reasons.

Be that as it may, Sundays are my days of rest, of doing as little as possible, of doing what I want. I do it quietly though and in my own space as I am considerate of others. I am not going to have loud activities or play my music at top volume, as I would never do it otherwise either. I am just chilling in my pj’s and later when and if I feel like it I may get clean, get gussied up and go to the shops for a naughty snack or a bit of fresh air.

What will I eat today? Well, I had some lovely grapefruit, coffee and health rusks. Maybe later that naughty snack…or wait – leftovers!  Leftover potatoes mixed with beans and mashed chickpeas and made into cakes. Perfect, not too much work.

My washing from yesterday is hanging out to dry and I will take that down at some stage, and if I feel guilty I may wash the dishes. Yesterday I could not relax as it was lawnmowing day where I live and all sorts of maintenance was taking place around me so I felt like I had to be productive. The rest of the week is very active with traffic, chainsaws and people around so Sundays are my quiet and rest days. Non-negotiable!

So go ahead, be naughty, be nice, be lazy, be restful, be yourself – just relax. Don’t cause trouble!

Namaste

Inia

 

 

Day 98 – The great outdoors

What do you like to do when you have a chance to venture into the great outdoors? I know that it is comfortable inside but we need to get fresh air, to recharge. When the opportunity arises, do you go for the mountains first, the forests or the lakes, the rivers, the seaside? Do you hike, ski, rock climb, fly your kite, parasail, surf, cycle, swim, drive aimlessly, picnic, collect flotsam and jetsam, collect rocks or shells, collect seeds, search for fungi, take pictures?

Do you bird watch (are you a twitcher) or do  you just enjoy the beauty around you? Do you dive into the deep blue or fly/jump into the wide blue above?

Or do you just enjoy your garden – big or small – or a park nearby?

There is beauty to be found everywhere in nature from the geological formations in a mountain environment to the vegetation in a forest environment. Some people even enjoy the dry desert and all it has to offer. Fossil hunting is amazing if you can find a place to do it in without destroying the integrity of the site.

If you know me, I adore nature in all its forms, shapes and sizes, but I have a favourite. The ocean. Nothing gives me so much joy, calm and serenity like the ocean. Whenever I have a chance I go to the ocean. Rain or shine, I love putting my feet in the water. I feel grounded, close to the earth.

At night I love to listen to the waves rushing to the shore (I live high above the ocean and about 5 km away by road but as the crow flies it is close enough to hear). It drowns out most of the traffic noise and other people-noise so it is very soothing. White noise to sleep by. Like frog sounds. The ocean is chicken soup for my soul. Solitude and the ocean. Combine them and you get my Nirvana.

I have always wondered whether there is a lighthouse out there somewhere far far away from everything where I can go and live. I would be by my beloved ocean and far away from all the terrible things going on in the world. I will be the best lighthouse keeper ever. Give me a call if you have an open position for me, lighthouse people. I would very much like to go and live on St Helena Island but they are quite xenophobic. You have to live there to apply for a position and you can’t live there if you don’t work there. ???? Strange but true.

Until that day comes, I will continue to walk in the forest, walk barefoot in the waves and on the sand, pick up rocks and shells and other flotsam to admire, bring the outdoors inside with me in the form of my finds and my photos, leave only footprints and keep on collecting rubbish to assist in keeping the great outdoors great.

Enjoy nature and  the outdoors and always remember to leave nothing behind and take only what is given to you. Shells or things that you find washed up on the beach or things that you can take without harm or damage to the environment. Don’t destroy or kill or harm.

 

Always breathe in that goodass prana. There is nothing better than fresh air.

Namaste

Inia