Friday, December 17, 2010

The Happiness Project

This is title of the book I am reading. The author is Gretchen Rubin. I came across this book in my local library on the shelf for "Best bets". It means I cannot renew the book and I will have to return it today. I am only on the page 84 of almost 300 pages. I procrastinated in reading it last week, and procrastination is actually one of my favorite topics lately. I even made Power Point presentation for my family about procrastination.

Now back to my topic about happiness. After I gave this presentation to my boys here, they seemed totally unfazed. I do not know if me telling them that what they do is called procrastination will make any difference right now. But, I believe that all experiences that we have in our life, including me giving this presentation to them, shape somehow who we are or who we become. Act now! Do something meaningful. Enjoy now, as Gretchen Rubin says on page 84 of her book.

p.s. You may think I am procrastinating now, but you are wrong: there is laundry in the drier. So the perfect time to guilt free blogging is while doing laundry :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cooking with love and love for cooking

For me it goes both ways. In my tiny kitchen I find solace that is hard to find anywhere else. When it comes to cooking I do not know about procrastination. It is always good time for me to cook. I love cooking and I rarely follow the recipe. If I do, it makes me really nervous, I usually screw up something and it does not turn out to be the way I want it. Well, I do follow recipes sometimes, it sometimes turn out to be OK, but I always modify something as I usually do not have all the ingredients the recipe is calling for. This is what I hate the most about recipes because in each and every one of them is an ingredient that I do not have. So, I cook "from my head". I do not think that I am able to make the same meal twice, because I always make it differently. Ingredients may be similar, but I add them in different order, I add different quantities, and I try it as I cook and decide what is the next step.

My family loves my cooking. I explained them that it tastes so good because "I cook with love". There is no tasty homemade meal if the love is not one of the ingredients. The love is magical. It combines that spices and ingredients in a perfect way. Adding love to your cooking with make your meals to be not only testy, but in a way your vehicle to spread the love.

For tonight I am planning on making the meal called "Turli tava". My son asked me several times to translate this word. We do not have translation of this word into Serbian, so when it is translated from Turkish - turli means "mixed" and tava means "pan". It is Turkish or Middle Eastern dish, but I adopted it through my Macedonian roots. It calls for all different kind of vegetables (mainly eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, onion, pepper) including the main ingredient okra. You can make it to be vegetarian, or with meat. When I make it with meat, I like to buy nice, fresh veal stew. It is fairly easy to make. The most of preparation is cutting veggies, and stewing the meat with onions, before everything is combined and put in the oven to bake for few hours. I like this to be baked in the slow heat to combine flavors. My hubby likes to add few pieces of bacon on top. I am not particularly in favor of this, but I will do it today because he specifically asked for it. This is another thing about my cooking: it is my way or highway. I do not like any suggestions, and like to add things just the way I feel they should be added.

Here is the recipe for "Turli tava"

■1 kg. mixed meat

■potatoes, tomatoes, paprika

■onions, okra

■aubergine, string beans

■1 ground onion piece

■cooking oil, salt

■red mixed pepper


Chop the meat and fry it in a pan with cooking oil. Chop the vegetables into small pieces, add the meat and some cooking oil and water. Put enough water so the mixture is boiled and still there is no much left after baking. Add spices and boil for a while. After that put it into a crockery baking dish and bake it on 2000 C for 1,5 hours. Stir the mixture 2-3 times during baking. The food is ready when it becomes brown.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday Report

Every journey starts with the first step. The same holds the truth when it comes to my understanding of meditation. For a longest time, and I can say, all of my life I resisted even thinking about meditation. It is boring, I thought. How is it possible not to think anything ( this is how I imagined what meditation is)? I cannot be so quiet in my mind, it is too busy to meditate. However, recently I discovered that meditation is not at all what I thought it was. In short, it is not "not thinking about anything", it is just focusing on your own being, your own present state of mind, body and soul. It is acknowledging there are things going on around you, and inside you, but the point is not to let these things destruct you from being aware of your lightness, your highness, your ability to connect to the higher power, to the shining light that we all belong to.

But, there is a problem with that. Now that I know what meditation is, I still do not do it. I am too anxious to let it go, to let go everything around me, to focus on only myself, only my own presence, my own existence. As if I am going to meet with the stranger, someone who bothers me, as if I just cannot stand my own company, as if my own company is burden to me, as if I, me and myself are just a group of those boring people who have nothing new to say to the world. Is this too harsh to say? Maybe, but at least it is honest!

Moreover, although I still cannot make myself relaxed enough to enjoy my own company in meditative state, I am aware of how dangerous is when people try to escape from their own being, their own feeling, their own fears. I may say: I will try to connect with myself, which I think I never did in the past. Will this bring me to a better place?