Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Carpe Diem this Holiday Season!

Opportunities come and opportunities go.  How many times I've wondered, "what if I had gone to Berkley instead of San Diego State" or "what if I had said yes to that job opportunity."  Weighty life choices are not always easy to make.  But when the fun ones appear... Carpe Diem, seize the moment!

Courtesy Psychology Today
Being a fan of live Improv, one of the first rules at improv is don't deny.  There aren't too many rules in improvisation, but if you say no to your partner, the scene can come to a complete stop.  Why wouldn't the same hold true for opportunity?  So many opportunities happen while socializing over food and drink.
Carpe Diem.  Seize the day, boys.  Make your lives extraordinary - John Keating, a character played by Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society (1989)
All of us are fairly consumed at the moment with making the holidays just right.  Travel arrangements, cooking, buying gifts, decorating...I could go on and on.  But at the end of all the planning and execution, it's about being together.  Oh yeah... and being present.  When I'm in the "present" space and let go of a bit of control, I'm usually rewarded by unexpected moments.

This last Thanksgiving was a perfect example.  I planned enough by having all our ingredients handy and hoped all the family members would fall into their usual roles to help.  If not, that would be okay too.  Low and behold, my dad kept popping in the kitchen.  Enough reason for my mom and I put him to work.  He gave us lots of laughs making pies.  I'm pretty sure he's never had a hand in making a pie  and had we all three not gone with the flow, he probably never would have.

My husband is an ace at seizing the moment when one strikes.  Thank goodness, I'm along for the ride.  One post softball game Mexican restaurant visit, one of our friends on the team had her dad, Clive, visiting from England.  John, the extroverted one of the two of us, chatted him up and the next thing I knew Clive had invited us to stay with he and his family in the countryside of England.  And we did!  What an extraordinary experience visiting the countryside with them.  We would never have ventured off the beaten path to the steep hilled village of Clovelly, truly pub crawled or experienced a home cooked meal with such a lovely family had we not said "yes" to our scene back at the Mexican food restaurant.
Photo of Clovelly courtesy
This holiday season, prep to your little heart's content.  But don't forget to relax, quiet the mind, enjoy those around you and make your life extraordinary when the opportunity presents itself.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Extracting Pomegranate Seeds Worth Every Last Ruby Gem

I admit it.  I've been intimidated for years at the prospect of harvesting pomegranate seeds even though I love the taste of them.  Why? 

My over-active imagination envisioned the tough, leathery skin giving me all kinds of problems to the point of having to break out a Sawzall.   If a power tool approach was required then I would certainly have pomegranate splatter everywhere!  Evidence staining my hands, walls ... well just about anything.  A horror flick in the making with it's little innards popping every which way.

This year it was time to get out of my own way with the arrival of pomegranates from my grandmother's yard.  She has been harvesting from her trees ever since I can remember and I don't recall any horror tales; just beautiful seeds and lovely jellies.  Unfortunately, I hadn't witnessed her strategy for attacking the red globes and made up my own over dramatized scenario.

Not wanting to waste a food which is known to be high in antioxidants, I tackled an extraction last week with a few tips from my mom.  And no power tools required!

Cut off the ends to aide in stabilizing for the next step
Score the leathery skin
Soaking helps soften the skin and working in the water prevents juice from splattering
The treasures are embedded in an inedible white membrane
Using thumbs to get under the seeds worked best
Liquid courage

Every time I face a fear head on, whether it is as simple has harvesting pomegranate seeds or something much more serious, I am usually always rewarded.  Rewarded in conquering the fear and rewarded with the outcome.  This week's outcome ... a bounty of red ruby gems!

In tonight's salad

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