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Thu, Sep 27th - 8:06AM

Good Morning

WonderCat in crash mode Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

It's a bit hazy on the lake and I've got much to do. Sipping chicken broth this morning and sitting next to a curled up fur-ball of an Abby. Her mind is quieter than mine, I assume. Her days agenda simpler. Sometimes it amazes me when I think of all the things we do to wend our way through life. Each day a new set of adventures, people to chat with, animals and children to care for, information to take in, and hobbies to peruse. I emailed some pictures this morning as a thank you for a lovely day spent with some friends. Funny, a thank you card in the mail replaced by 25 pictures. They will enjoy them and I think it's just as appropriate, but protocols have changed.

Though a writer, I've never been a journaler. It's kind of pleasant, though, sharing my thoughts with the universe and maybe a few passers by who've discovered my mental wanderings. Remember to give someone a compliment today or give a pet an unexpected pat on the head.

Thanks

If you or someone you know is grieving over the loss of a beloved pet please learn about the program: Miss You So Much A Pathway to Healing:  www.TherapyoftheFutute.com/MYSMMain.htm


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Sun, Sep 23rd - 8:33AM

Celebrating Your Life

Here's Abby The WonderCat! 

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Have you ever faced a blank page awaiting your thoughts? It's amazing how, for some folks, that can be a big stressor. I've thought a lot about what makes some to return again and again to that blank page with determination to create valuable prose.  I've even worked at making that a more relaxed and enjoyable experience.

Since 1999 I've taught a writing class. It started out a Write Your Life Class to encourage folks to get something down for posterity about their unique experiences wending their ways through time. (That there's no such thing as time is a subject for a more esoteric blog.) The people who joined the class were not published writers but because my philosophy is: Writers should be read! They began to pick up on my enthusiasm and encouragement about their pieces finding a home in a publication somewhere. Since that time, I've had one win a national memoir contest sponsored by the Greyhound Bus company, two in the class were picked to appear in the New York Times best-selling book by Willard Scott titled The Older The Fiddle, The Better The Tune, one sold a column to a regional magazine, one had her humor piece, the first piece she'd ever sent out, purchased and published by the Christian Science Monitor, all in the class currently (about fifteen) have now been published somewhere. I'm bragging for them, I'm excited for them. What a high to see your name in print.

I salute anyone who has the courage to face that blank page. The largest reason writer's are not published is that they do not send out what they have written. I had a writing instructor once admonish, "You know how to write. Don't spend time in grammar classes or obsess so much you never send something out. You can have people and even your computer help you clean up your piece for spelling or grammar." If you don't know how to put a piece in the right format to send to a magazine, pick up a copy of The Writer's Market (it comes out yearly so there are a lot a second hand stores.) It lists magazines and what they want but also has simple articles on how to send pieces out. There are markets for everyone. Magazines like the national The Good Old Days publish reminiscence pieces from non-professional-writer-folks, and they pay!

What's fun about writing something is that you can celebrate something you care about. Pets come to mind. A special pet and a program I've created for pet lovers inspired this blog. Obviously, though, I've found that blogging leads one in other enjoyable directions.

Abby the cat is asleep with her Daddy as I'm up early sipping my Sunday Chai Tea. I'm about ready to make a couple pieces of toast on which I will top with yummy pulled pork. I shared the recipe in my last  piece.

Thank you for sharing time with me. If you have a piece you've written and would love to have it published, I admonish you as I do my students, Send The Sucker!

Thank you for sharing your time with me.

Have you lost a beloved pet or know someone who has? Please check out Miss You So Much A Pathway to Healing, a program for folks for have lost a beloved pet. www.TherapyoftheFuture.com/MYSMMain.htm 

www.Therapyofthefuture.com: Our professional therapy and teaching work. The RESOURCES area has many articles.

 


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Sat, Sep 22nd - 10:32AM

Pulled Pork, Hot Coffee and Problems with Psychotherapy

No, we're not vegetarians. My husband writes his column because of a love of food-all food-any food! I have the yummiest Pulled Pork recipe (see bottom of blog) and, yesterday, started craving it. So, this morning we are enjoying hot sweet pulled pork on toast along with cups of hot coffee. YUMMMMM. Actually it's strange my cooking. When I dated I made sure they cooked in case it got serious. My cooking is sort of a hobby, though, and some inspired by the food channel. You can't watch that long without finding yourself saying - Yum, I've got to try that!

Abby stopped by to smell, but as usual, after a sniff she was content and was off to play. She doesn't seem interested in human food but always seems to want a sniff. Strange. Her signal for a sniff is to stretch her body completely out to reach one paw up slightly touching the top of the counter

It's overcast in Seattle and the lake has no travelers, not even a kayaker. The floatplanes that take off here (we're an international airport) are not around. Many take off on Friday afternoons as city workers escape to their island homes and on Sunday afternoons as they return. There are a lot of interesting lifestyles in and around the Pacific Northwest.

I haven't spoken much in this blog about our work. We have been psychotherapists for thirty years. We created the method called NEURO-THERAPY Training, we wrote a textbook, formed a state-licensed vocational school and have taught our method for 19 years. If you recognize that psychotherapy as it is practiced today is limited - you will be interested in our approach. Psychotherapy as it has evolved in America, has been based on three, what I've come to call ABC models, each with an underlying belief as to why our problems exist:

Analytical (we are as we are because of deep seated problems, memories)

Behavioral (we are as we are because of our behaviors) 

Cognitive (we are as we are because or how we perceive things and how we communicate).

Gaining self control over many of our emotional responses, though, requires more than changing our thinking or understanding. Science has shown that emotion is more than a mental process, it is physical and chemical, as well. A truly effective therapeutic process treats all aspects of emotion. And must give people tools for long term management of emotional eruptions.

There has emerged a new, Neurological model for therapy (we are as we are primarily because of the inner working of the mind and body). That is the basis for our approach. We treat your emotions as an electrical - chemical eruption in your body. We teach you tools for better managing those damaging eruptions be they harming your health by diminishing your immune responses or making you feel bad and limiting your life interactions.

This is where our program for those who've lost beloved pets comes in. It is called Miss You So Much A Pathway to Healing. You know what is making you miserable, you don't want your grief to make you sick or limit your life, but knowing isn't always doing, especially with emotion. Learning mental training tools that are part of NEURO-THERAPY Training gives you back control of your emotions. It allows you to remember your beloved pet without the waves of grief and pain those memories have been bringing. It's a program that gives you tools that can help you with other areas of your life because it helps you with your emotional responses in general, not just in the specific area of your grief.

Thanks for sharing a few moments with me today.

Marilyn Michael

 www.TherapyoftheFuture.com  - our method

www.TherapyoftheFuture.com/MYSMMain.htm - Program: Miss You So Much A Pathway to Healing

Miss You So Much - An article

and...here's the recipe. 

Yummy Pulled Pork

1 large onion, chopped fine, 6 garlic cloves, peeled, 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 3/4 cup cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/3 cup ketchup, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce. 1/4 cup light brown sugar, 3 lbs of pork butt, trimmed of excess

Purée all of the sauce ingredients (everything except the pork) in a blender until smooth. Put sauce and pork into a large pot and add 1 quart of water. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, covered, turning frequently, for 2 hours or until the meat pulls apart easily with a fork. Remove from heat and cool pork in the sauce. When cool, shred the pork into small pieces. Remove the pork from the sauce and set aside. Reduce the sauce by two thirds. Add the pork back to the sauce. Serve hot over crusty rolls or like we did, over toast for breakfast.


Comment (1)


Fri, Sep 14th - 11:06PM

I'm Trying To Post...but can't get a screen...Ah Ha! Finally a screen in which to type

I appreciate the space in which to share my thoughts, but at times it takes persistence to bring up a screen. Am I alone here?

I guess I'm lucky that patience is much a part of my character. As a writer, though, I've longed at times for a personality with a little less patience and a life path with a bit more pith.  But, maybe there are enough Earnest Hemingways or Anne Rices. Just maybe the reading public is awaiting a celebrator of a good middle class life; tales from a generally happy gal who just never wrestled with that famed 'quiet desperation'. What can I say, you wouldn't call my life boring, I've had the pleasure of being my own boss, never commuting to work, spending five years working four days a week and spending the other three on a sailboat in a small idyllic town writing while my husband cooked, and waking up each day for seventeen years onboard a gently rocking boat in the middle of a beautiful city. There's my hobby of Indian cooking and tales to tell about my foray into stand up comedy classes.

What led me to stand up comedy? I admit to an ongoing goal of sharpening my humor writing skills. Talk about being out of your comfort zone! I'm not sure there is a comfort zone standing in front of an audience who are all awaiting brilliant humor to flow from your brain to your lips and wash over them elevating them to...needless to say, I salute stand up comedians. I clearly favor the left half of my brain. I can barely conger up weird, let alone have the persona of a weird artist type. And about my attempts to improve my humor, when we "left brains" decide to become more humorous we read three books on the subject.

After meeting an editorial deadline today, I'm treating myself tomorrow to, get this, a button show--a show by collectors of buttons. Maybe I'll return with some button humor for you.

Abby is a ball of fur, curled up asleep with her Daddy, they crash early and I'm a Jay-nighter. My muse tends to keep the same schedule.

Thanks for listening

Are you trying to recover from the loss of a beloved pet? Please take a look at my program for help, Miss You So Much A Pathway To Healing

www.TherapyoftheFuture.com/MYSMMain.htm 


Comment (1)


Sat, Sep 8th - 3:44PM

Deep Blue Water and Homemade Cat Treats

Wow, it's beautiful here on the lake! The water is a deep blue, the sky is a lighter blue, the white boats bounce around in the chop in sharp contrast.Two kayakers are madly paddling as a sailboater is swiftly tacking. Liveaboard - that's my prescription for happiness today. Abby is asleep on the back of the couch in her "I can see everything" corner of the room. I'm going to make Spanikopita today and freeze it. It's a little far from my hobby of Indian cooking but I took it on to strengthen my character by overcoming the intimidation of Phylo dough--just kidding. 

Here's an idea. When you have certain ingredients on hand, go on Google, type in the ingredients with commas between them, plus the word recipe. Up will come recipes that include your ingredients.

And, they even have home made cat treats!

Thanks for stopping by,

Marilyn

www.TherapyoftheFuture/MYSMMain.htm


Comment (1)


Thu, Sep 6th - 9:37AM

Chai Tea & Tradition

It's a Chai Tea morning. This libation is homemade and yummy, both the way it makes the boat smell and the sensation of sipping the warm blend of spices. My friend Sam Kirshid grew up in Pakistan and, like many families around the world, his family had a special recipe. Theirs was Chai Tea.

Whenever I make it, it reminds me of a treasured family tradition of my own. The warm drink inspired me to write. I hope you enjoy some sections from an essay.

One Christmas Eve tradition was a treat but always seemed a bit odd for my family. No one drank alcohol, and milk was something had ice cold with a meal or plate of cookies. On that night every year, though, they made Tom and Jerry’s all around. A rare bottle of whiskey would appear for the adults and the kids would enjoy vanilla poured straight into the hot milk thickened with a batter of powdered sugar and egg. A dusting of nutmeg gave it an exotic taste as it went down smooth and warm. I’d savor the smells of the nutmeg and vanilla and wonder why we had this yummy drink only once a year. It just didn’t occur to my family that the Christmas Eve tradition of this sweet, hot milk drink could be enjoyed at other times.

 

As an adult, I stayed close to my Middle American culinary roots and never tried hot milk drinks outside of a couple Christmas Eve attempts at Tom and Jerry’s. When coffee became gourmet promoting basic drip passé, I began drinking mochas. The steaming hot milk and sweetness of chocolate brought memories of the creamy milk drink of my Christmas Eves. The presence of coffee, though, somehow made it different. But, it was comforting and exotic in a similar way. And, they even had freshly grated nutmeg on the counter.

 

When a new libation called Chai Tea began appearing in coffee shops, I never considered it. Not having been raised on tea, I had never developed a taste for it. I vaguely remember my Aunt Mame sipping tea from china cups, but she was an anomaly in my coffee-fanatic family. We had percolators that sat on stovetops with little glass toppers to show the perking brew. Dad had an odd-seeming habit from his farm family upbringing of adding a few eggshells in the coffee grounds to “take the bitterness out”. We were definitely coffee people. Even after retiring, my father kept the tradition of morning and afternoon coffee breaks, usually with a sweet treat, often pie ...

then, in another section

One day a new friend from Pakistan shared that his favorite food memory was the Chai Tea his mother would always have for them. He offered to make it for me and, though concerned the element of tea would probably preclude my enjoyment of this libation, I looked forward to trying it. It used loose black tea that came in half-inch strings, not the powder filled tea bags that characterized, for me, a cup of tea. Into the boiling water went the tea, and then brown sugar, whole cloves, chunks of cinnamon sticks, and small rounds of fresh ginger. When the milk and cardamom powder were added to the boiling aromatic brew, it foamed up impressively. Then his family’s secret-several fifteen-second removals of the pot from the heat and reboiling.

 

The aromas grabbed me. This was clearly not the watery tepid brown drink I thought of as tea. He strained it and poured me a steaming cup. I was in love. Cupping my hands around the mug I was transported to exotic lands and at the same time back to my Grandma’s kitchen on Christmas Eve. It was lightly sweet and creamy smooth. And, beyond the nutmeg and vanilla of my Tom and Jerry memories, its spice blend was exotic and yet comforting. How lucky he had been. He’d enjoyed this amazing treat year around. It was his favorite food memory; I’m sure in a similar way that I look back fondly on those Christmas Eve cups of hot sweet milk and nutmeg.

While I was making my tea this morning, Abby stopped by with her funny habit of stretching her whole body out, legs in the air to just lightly touch the countertop. We've learned she's saying, "What are you making?" No, she isn't begging, she doesn't eat human food; just doesn't seem tempted. But, she wants to smell what ever it is we are making. Some things interest her more than others. I took a spoon and held it close to her. With a little squinch of her nose she walked off. Alas, the traditions and exotic smells did nothing for her. Maybe if she was Siamese...?


Comment (1)


Thu, Sep 6th - 9:28AM

Chai Tea and Tradition

It's a Chai Tea morning. Homemade and yummy, both the way it makes the boat smell and the sensation of sipping the warm blend of spices. My friend Sam Kirshid grew up in Pakistan and, like many families around the world, his family had a special recipe. Their's happened to be for Chai Tea.

Whenever I make it, it reminds me of a treasured family tradition of my own. The warm drink inspired me to write. I hope you enjoy some sections from an essay.

One Christmas Eve tradition was a treat but always seemed a bit odd for my family. No one drank alcohol, and milk was something had ice cold with a meal or plate of cookies. On that night every year, though, they made Tom and Jerry’s all around. A rare bottle of whiskey would appear for the adults and the kids would enjoy vanilla poured straight into the hot milk thickened with a batter of powdered sugar and egg. A dusting of nutmeg gave it an exotic taste as it went down smooth and warm. I’d savor the smells of the nutmeg and vanilla and wonder why we had this yummy drink only once a year. It just didn’t occur to my family that the Christmas Eve tradition of this sweet, hot milk drink could be enjoyed at other times.

 

As an adult, I stayed close to my Middle American culinary roots and never tried hot milk drinks outside of a couple Christmas Eve attempts at Tom and Jerry’s. When coffee became gourmet promoting basic drip passé, I began drinking mochas. The steaming hot milk and sweetness of chocolate brought memories of the creamy milk drink of my Christmas Eves. The presence of coffee, though, somehow made it different. But, it was comforting and exotic in a similar way. And, they even had freshly grated nutmeg on the counter.

 

When a new libation called Chai Tea began appearing in coffee shops, I never considered it. Not having been raised on tea, I had never developed a taste for it. I vaguely remember my Aunt Mame sipping tea from china cups, but she was an anomaly in my coffee-fanatic family. We had percolators that sat on stovetops with little glass toppers to show the perking brew. Dad had an odd-seeming habit from his farm family upbringing of adding a few eggshells in the coffee grounds to “take the bitterness out”. We were definitely coffee people. Even after retiring, my father kept the tradition of morning and afternoon coffee breaks, usually with a sweet treat, often pie ...

then in another section

One day a new friend from Pakistan shared that his favorite food memory was the Chai Tea his mother would always have for them. He offered to make it for me and, though concerned the element of tea would probably preclude my enjoyment of this libation, I looked forward to trying it. It used loose black tea that came in half-inch strings, not the powder filled tea bags that characterized, for me, a cup of tea. Into the boiling water went the tea, and then brown sugar, whole cloves, chunks of cinnamon sticks, and small rounds of fresh ginger. When the milk and cardamom powder were added to the boiling aromatic brew, it foamed up impressively. Then his family’s secret-several fifteen-second removals of the pot from the heat and reboiling.

 

The aromas grabbed me. This was clearly not the watery tepid brown drink I thought of as tea. He strained it and poured me a steaming cup. I was in love. Cupping my hands around the mug I was transported to exotic lands and at the same time back to my Grandma’s kitchen on Christmas Eve. It was lightly sweet and creamy smooth. And, beyond the nutmeg and vanilla of my Tom and Jerry memories, its spice blend was exotic and yet comforting. How lucky he had been. He’d enjoyed this amazing treat year around. It was his favorite food memory; I’m sure in a similar way that I look back fondly on those Christmas Eve cups of hot sweet milk and nutmeg.

While I was making my tea this morning, Abby stopped by with her funny habit of stretching her whole body, out legs in the air, to just lightly touch the countertop. We've learned she's saying "What are you making?" No, she isn't begging, she doesn't eat human food,just doesn't seem tempted. But, she wants to smell what ever it is we are making. I took a spoon and let her smell the chai tea. With a little squinch of her nose she walked off. Alas, the traditions and exotic smells did nothing for her. Maybe if she was Siamese...?

Marilyn

www.TherapyoftheFuture.com/MYSMMain.htm

 


Comment (1)


Tue, Sep 4th - 5:54PM

A bump in the ole blogging road

I'm working on the "why you can't see my uploaded picture:" problem. They are fun, I promise.

Marilyn


Comment (1)


Mon, Sep 3rd - 9:04AM


Mornings...coffee and napping cats

Good morning,

Mornings on a boat...they may very well be why one lives aboard. I periodically write for Living Aboard Magazine. It occurs that maybe I should write a piece about mornings over coffee. There's a slight breeze off the lake with only one small powerboat in view. My neighbors, the barge and the sloop are bobbing slightly at their moorings. My coffee is next to me on the bar in a newly favorite cup that sits on a rippled ceramic saucer (recently bought at an estate sale-a hobby).

For five years in the late 1980's we lived three days a week onboard a ketch (two masted sailing vessel) at the edge of Washington State's beautiful San Juan Islands. I once began an article...

A gull’s cry pierces the morning quiet of the marina, as I open the hatch and emerge into the mist with my coffee. The sound bridges time...

            I am ten years old, wandering an ocean beach awed by the sight and sound of waves and intrigued by the salt air smell and treasures along my way in the sand. I am filled with the thrill of discovery in a place so different from the wheat fields of my home. The seagull’s cries seem a haunting call and imprint on my mind this wondrous world of salt water and sea life. An intense and secret dream is born, to return and live life near the water.

            Stretching out on the cockpit cushions watching the steam rise from my coffee in the cool morning air I wonder, is there truth to the wisdom of philosophers who say that what we ardently believe will inevitably come to pass?

Abby is out on the covered back deck already napping on the wicker settee oblivious to the kayaker passing in a neon yellow craft. I'm not up early enough to catch the 5am scullers speeding by. It is the ever changing that we love the most. Living aboard a boat is a lifestyle choice not just a place to life.

Well, this morning has been more tale than tail. Thank you for letting me share.

Marilyn

 


Comment (1)


Sun, Sep 2nd - 10:31AM

Water, Water Everywhere - An extrapolating cat

Ah, welcome visitors! I'm watching Christopher Hitchens on Book TV while waiting for my boat's 6" wood toe rail (wood trim running around the edge) to dry a bit from any morning dew before I go to work on it with Cetol (a covering easier to use than varnish.) My muscles are less pained than yesterday afternoon when I finished sanding. I know a sanding couch potato is a bit of an oxymoron, but I prefer to think of it as evidence of my eclectic life.

Let me introduce you this fine morning to our original Kitty Cat. A classy cat from humble beginnings, my husband found her as a tiny kitten covered with oil hiding under his car (on the same day he'd been adopted by a puppy from a huge box of puppies at a large discount store in his hometown of Las Vegas. I know, I know, alas.) The puppy, Ginny, and Kitty Cat grew up together. She took over a year to loose her skittishness and penchant to hide. Not from Ginny, though. My husband put an alarm clock in the small pups bed for comfort and would find pup and kitten snuggled up together each morning.

She was very Siamese, though not a yeowler. She did, though, develop a distinct vocalization when she desired water from the tap. Cat lovers understand. Asleep on our waterbed one night late, Kitty Cat  woke us up demanding water. "I'm not getting up to give you water!" called out my husband. She persisted now on top of him. "Kitty Cat, I'm not getting up for you!" The pleading continued until she, now practically on his head, brushed his cheek with a wet paw. "Whaaaat?" Sitting upright.

Our waterbed had sprung a leak and the base was filling with water that was just beginning to seep over the edge!

We were amazed and never questioned that she had extrapolated.

Have you ever heard of a similar feline feat?

Thank you for stopping by,

Marilyn

www.TherapyoftheFuture/MYSMMain.com


Comment (1)


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