Stepping out

I was looking forward to May as a time of rest and being at home and pottering around but all that is getting a bit too restful . My friends are busy with visiting children or visiting their kids. The town is too crowded to drive and park and do anything much. I’ve been doing a bit too much work in the  garden with not so good consequences for my back although the garden is looking rather colorful .  So Im finding it rather painful to walk on slopes. And I’m not sure that stoicism in this case is a good thing. So haven’t been walking much either. All that is my sad story. 
Then today there was a friend setting off to the hills in the Northeast. 
And after getting over the wave of envy and resentment that washes over one when someone else seems to be doing something adventurous which we wish we had the gumption to organise ;  I thought -I am living in the damn hills after all!  So why dont I use this time to explore .
I  took the car out to the Lovedale road, parked and walked along for an hour. I got my walk on level ground on a nice well tarred road which contrasts with our pot hole ridden one ; a new place to explore, velvety green tea fields on one side, tall trees on another, vistas of train track and tunnels.
Most of all there was the joy of stepping out of my usual ruts . It takes a little leap to do something new, to go somewhere new… and to do it alone. And the happiness in overcoming inner resistance to actually do something a little difficult is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
 Somewhere new I promised myself every day of this week.
In the rush of leaving I had left my phone behind, so there was no stopping to take photographs. Another time!

Dropping A Key

The small man
Builds cages for everyone
He
Knows.
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
For the
Beautiful
Rowdy
Prisoners.

A poem from Hafiz, a Sufi poet of the 14th century.

First I did not understand what it meant. Then I read an explanation by Chris Guillebeau on his blog, The Art of Non Conformity.

Cage-building is protecting yourself and your interests, making yourself look good, and discouraging good ideas because you weren’t the one to come up with them. Key-dropping, on the other hand, is making other people look good, building them up, expanding the pie.’

I like the idea of ‘dropping keys’ or helping other people open up some part of their lives. Sharing your knowledge, skills, whatever money you have. Right now, it is happening with a friend of mine who runs a furnishings business. I’ve helped her to start making some quilts and the idea for this came through another friend of mine. So it’s like a chain of people holding hands.

For instance, the poem came from a quote of J.D. Roth about his happiness on the Happiness Project and it took me to the Art of Non Conformity. And it struck a chord with what is going on in my life right now.

Tomorrow is a big sale of hand made products. My friend is very excited. After 15 years of struggling she says, she is finally organized before the date, has a lot of stock ready, her bag of things to take, (we wrote the list of things like bill book, scissors which she usually overlooks in the heat of the moment and it is all sitting right here); has transport, lunch and all the other small details organized. It is good to see her palpable happiness and to feel, that I have contributed in some way to it.

I’m trying to think back now on the times when people put a key in front of me. We don’t evolve alone

Riches

I was stretched out on the sofa which I’d moved to a new position by the window today. A new vantage point opens up new vistas.

I’d removed a couple of stools so the room looked better with less. Through a half open door, I could look through a dark wood framed window to the outside. A fresh green creeper glowed in the afternoon sun. The swing shone darkly against red cushions. Music soared from the radio. My maid, Jess, was washing up in the kitchen. Water, electricity, sunlight, cleanliness were flowing.  I’d finished grocery  shopping for the month and bought the vegetables too for the week. I could afford to  bask in all the comfort and close my eyes into a wonderful afternoon nap.

But, the greatest contributor to my sense of well being was , I realised, a book I was reading. Whenever, I come across an author I connect to instantly, then I am pervaded with a terrific sense of content. When I’m loath to get on with a book, because then it will ‘get over’, I know I’m there. Its a great sense of happiness for a few days while I spin out the book. Maybe its like finding a friend or a mind you connect to so much.

Now, its a book by e.l.konigsburg. She writes for children actually, but it doesn’t feel like it at all. I like the clarity of her thought and that of her characters . The book is ‘ the view from saturday’ and won the Newberry Medal.

Note: The drawing is nothing like me but I liked the feeling it conveys.. ‘Charcoal sketch of my fab friend stretched out on a battered old sofa,in front of her home an old Dodge 50!Wot a life sun spain ,coffee, company’ By Beth Pearson

Just Do It

The way to translate an idea into reality  is to just start doing it. Take that first misguided, tentative step. Now.

Otherwise, one tends to keep thinking about the idea, thinking about perfection, asking for ideas and opinions and waiting for the right time and sometimes, the idea slowly dies out.

I’ve been thinking about a blog about finance basics, for people who want to get their finances into a healthy state, for some order and method , for women mainly and dithering about it.

Today being ‘Woman’s Day, I thought would be a good day to launch it. I had neither title nor anything written down. And less than a couple of hours to do it. But I have at

http://itsallaboutmoneyhoney.wordpress.com/

Its off the ground in a very raw state. Its sure to see many many changes.  But I hope will reach some people.

I found this post on doing it now, its never going to get easier…. from the energetic go-getter Ramit Sethi. Read it to get inspired to get on with all those things you want to.

It’s all about honey

Cooking is an activity enjoyed when there are people around who appreciate good food (and you:-). Ditto baking. I’d practically stopped baking once the kids left home. But, since I’m going  visiting , this morning was large scale baking.

Honey bake is such a family favorite, that its practically a family heirloom. Still, Im sharing the recipe here so other people can taste the goodness.

Honey Squares

Ingredients:

Flour – 13/4 cup

Baking powder – 11/4 tsp

Salt – a pinch

Butter – 125 g

Brown sugar -100g ( I use 1 cup of powdered jaggery instead which gives a special full flavor)

Eggs- 2

Honey -6 tbsp

Flaked Almonds – 2-3 tbsp ( I used chopped cashew instead)

Mix all the ingredients together well for 3-4 minutes and bake  for 15-20 min . You can scatter the almonds on top for a better look

Nutrition: Honey, eggs, jaggery, almonds are good for you. The rest is good in small doses. And the idea of eating home-made cake gives a great lift.

Another good bake is  Honey Coconut Biscuits. They don’t take too long to make either, which is one of my chief criteria in cooking.

Honey Coconut Biscuits

Ingredients:

Butter-125 gm

Sugar – 1/2 cup ( increase to 3/4)

Egg- 1

Grated coconut – 2 tbsp

Honey – 2 tsbp

Flour – 1 1/2 cup

Baking powder

Grated cocconut -1 cup

Cream butter and sugar, add egg,beat until light and fluffy.

Add coconut and honey, beat well until combined. Fold in sifted flour , mix well.

Roll teaspoonfuls of mixture into balls, then roll in extra coconut.

Place on lightly greased trays at least 2″ apart and bake in moderate oven for 15 min

Happy eating!