I want a cliché perfect Saturday morning - wrapped in an afghan, and overlooking a beach holding my Keurig coffee in a fancy mug.  Instead, it's Mr. Coffee, old sweat pants, messy hair and old ratty slippers, shivering, overlooking my boyfriend's computer den.  My life is not living up to my clichés, and I am frustrated.  Frustrated because being at peace is such a fleeting feeling...

Last night, my boyfriend and I went to the "Natural Mystery Community Circle," which was in Durham at a nature refuge...

The description drew me in:

This guild includes seasonal celebrations, sharing circles and exercises that
deepen our connection to ourselves and to the natural world. It is a place for
us to restore ourselves through experiences that bond us with one another and
with the natural community around us.


I figured I'd be renewed and restored by meditations and chanting around a campfire.  I didn't know what to expect, but I fantasized paganism and awesome.  What a great way to start a weekend!

We were running late, though, because I was wolfing down cereal and piling myself in warm clothing, and then because my boyfriend stopped for one of those gas station "coffee drinks" made of chemicals and cream. 

But... the GPS said 40 minutes; the meetup started at 6:00 and we'd make it by maybe 6:20!  Then, we hit traffic... and more traffic... and more traffic...  By the time we got there it was 7:15, I'd wolfed down a linty protein bar from my purse, and my back hurt from sitting in a truck for an hour and a half... 

The theme of the circle was "ancestors."  Everyone was piled into a small house on the nature refuge, and many people had brought a dish, something from their heritage.  Even though I was already full, I sampled stews, vegetables, cakes, and breads...

There were about 20 people, and all of them were very friendly, coming up to introduce themselves, and to welcome us into the community.  I was work-week tired, distant, and excessively introverted, which is the way I've felt lately...

A wide man with long grey hair called us all out to the campfire.  We'd made it in time for the stories...  The themes of the evening were 1. ancestors who were no longer with us, and 2. community.  I was unable or unwilling to share a story or feel connected... my disconnectedness was thick, like a force field.  It takes me a while sometimes to open up to people, though... Maybe next time I come, I'll share my stories...

The discussion was centered on community, and how our ancestors had more community than we do, now.  In our age, it's electronics and feeling alone...  I sometimes want more community, but then again, sometimes I like my New Yorker mentality, move fast, get out of my way... 

On the way home, I was thinking about community, and my disconnected feeling... I don't have to feel that way... I have several communities - my friends, my family, my boyfriend's friends, and his family, groups I'm involved in...  

Till next time,

Sh'Bieue
 
 
Ever since my last post, many things in my life have changed, but some have stayed the same. Change can be different but stagnant...

One odd difference is that I haven't been writing at all.  I've never in my life written so little.  But another change is that I am living with my awesome boyfriend now.  He is wonderful and very time consuming, and he hears too many of my words.

Another change is that I'm in grad school now -- Environmental Assessment.  I am not sure what I'll do with all this learning, maybe nothing, but knowledge is always good: "Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever."  Sometimes when I'm learning something new, I first get a flash of excitement, but then a second flash of, "I'll die someday. What's the point?" That second flash is just the reflective side of my subconscious.  

Since I've last written, I've gone through Level One and Level Two Reiki training.  I've taken classes ranging from edible plant identification to gun safety to comedy improvisation to Jewish mysticism to martial arts.  I created a dream board.  I've learned about GMO's and gotten passionately upset.  I've seen negative attack ads on the Affordable Care Act and gotten even more upset. I've sometimes been immensely inspired and other times immensely frustrated:  there are annoying parts of my personality that I just can't seem to change. I don't want to spend any more time fighting these same battles and yet even if I have the tools to win the war against myself, I can't seem to do it.   

In other topics, since my last post the Republican administration has decimated North Carolina. For six months straight, I'd open up the Raleigh News-Observer and read something that made me flash with fury.  The Republican administration despises teachers, schools, medical care, Mother Earth, and 99% of the population. Sadly, the administration has the power to destroy everything
  
But when I started this blog, I wanted it to be inspiring. I wanted to post about the good things that are happening.  So I leave you with this little bit of inspiration with the promise of more inspiration later:  

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/martinluth380369.html

Till Next Time,

Sh'Bieue
 
 
 
 
The intelligence level of articles in the NY Times is way beyond the scope of the right wing "news" in North Carolina.  At work, I scan through about 10 local North Carolina newspapers every morning, and the fear and paranoia is confounding to me.  We would NEVER have a section labeled "science" in the News-Observer!

Here's a green article from the NY Times this morning:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/realestate/debriefing-because-green-goes-with-everything.html?ref=science&_r=0

Time to dissect California?
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/04/us/vast-oil-reserve-may-now-be-within-reach-and-battle-heats-up.html?ref=science

Another liberal news source is the Huffington Post, and it also has a science section.  Who knew?!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/science/

A green section too?  Oh, boy!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/green/

And just for fun, here's a balanced look at fracking:
http://www.stuffyoushouldknow.com/podcasts/frick-fracking-works/

Happy Monday!

Sh'Bieue
 
 
In the McCrory-red deep south, it seems like nobody cares about sustainability, but in truth, "green" has already taken over the country.  The topic of sustainability is going to get really annoying in the future, especially as current college students start graduating into the workforce...

On the University level, students are being greened to death.  Almost every University study program at UNC-Chapel Hill has at least one sustainability class as a requirement.  No wonder McCrory wants to cut funding to what he believes are "nonessential" school programs!  http://www.sph.unc.edu/images/stories/academic_programs/nutr/Syllabi/2011_2012_Spring/702454529_sy_nutr245_20122.pdf

At UNC-Chapel Hill, students are urged to take a "Green Pledge":
http://www.carolinagreen.unc.edu/CarolinaGreenCommitment/tabid/341/Default.aspx

In California, even the K-12 students are learning sustainability topics:  http://www.calepa.ca.gov/education/eei/

Here's a fun green blog: http://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/thegreengrok/

Cool Stuff: http://center.sustainability.duke.edu/systems-sustainability

And just for fun, a green-oriented newspaper: http://www.treehugger.com/

Soon, green will be coming to your neck of the woods!

Sh'Bieue
 
 
On Saturday, I went to a 6-hour intensive wild game class at the Piedmont Wildlife Center in Durham.  The intent of the class was to teach the clueless how to humanely kill, skin, gut and prepare wild game for gourmet consumption.  The result was tasty, but I still have images of split-open bunnies in my brain.  

The class was taught by a a Native American woman and her strong-as-balls 6'2" red-bearded husband. The students were initially put into 6 teams - duck, rabbit, raccoon, wild boar, wild greens foragers and cooks, with the five hour goal of turning several live animals into an extremely ambitious dinner.  

It was the chilliest day so far this season. After going around the room and introducing ourselves, we went outside in the cold, and observed the slaughter of a 75-pound wild boar.  That is where I got the most squeamish.  The male teacher demonstrated the gun that would be used to kill the pig.  I hid my face in my boyfriend's jacket when the gun went off.  I thought I would feel worse for the pig -- I was practically shaking beforehand -- but once the pig was dead I just saw it as meat.

What happened next was a little bit of a blur, but it involved the slaughter and splitting open of 3 bunnies and 3 duckies.  My toes were frozen and numb about 2 hours into the workshop.  I was cold, and pretty uninterested in participating, so I just observed the demolition as it took place.  

I felt bad for sitting inside the house, trying to warm up by the fire as everything went down outside.  But I was afraid I'd screw something up, cut or skin an animal wrong, and have something go terribly wrong, for instance accidentally piercing the gallbladder and ruining the meat, or scaring the animal, which could make the meat tougher and not as tasty.  My boyfriend also played the role of "observer," but he didn't seem to feel as guilty about it as I did.  

At the end of class, we sampled a fancy procession of foods, including rabbit prepared 3 ways, duck prepared 3 ways, sausage, ribs, and a wild foraged salad. 

I came out of the class not quite feeling comfortable about slaughtering and preparing wild game myself, but with the confidence that, if I were truly put in a survival situation, I could probably do it.  

On the drive home, my boyfriend and I were a little nauseous, and we couldn't fathom the idea of eating meat for a few days, so we stopped at Trader Joes and spent $20 on fruit and yogurt for Sunday brunch.  Then we came home and took very long showers. On Sunday, neither of us were able to eat meat all day long, and we were comparing our horror movie mental images of split-open bunnies and duckies.  I probably won't be able to eat meat again for a couple of days.  But I'm sure that, within a few days, I'll be able to eat some sterile antibiotic-enriched chicken pumped with hormones.  I'll be sufficiently separated from my food again.  My boyfriend said that if they added enough chemicals and hormones to mass-produced chicken, it probably had no soul to begin with. I rather like that theory.  

This morning, I'm doing a load of laundry to wash the wild game smell out of the remainder of my clothing.  Then, back to work, and back to my normal life. Whew!

Sh'Bieue
 
 
I learned about this AFTER I replaced two toilets and threw away the receipts, but it's essentially a way to get a free toilet:
http://www.raleighnc.gov/services/content/PubUtilAdmin/Articles/WaterSenseToiletReplac.html

Enjoy!

Sh'BIeue
 
 
Here are some of the things I've heard on the television in the last few minutes --  "Rare Christmas tornadoes in the deep South.  No fatalities but plenty of cleanup in Oklahoma City.  In Reno, slush is making a mess of streets.  Outside of Denver, snow plows are trying to clear things up."  However, here in Va Beach at my parent's house, it's 45 degrees and the weather report is dull.

I've been here only 6 hours, and already I'm stir crazy.  I'm thinking of the piles of laundry at my house, all the stuff I'd like to be doing at my house, all my unfinished business, but I feel disturbingly divorced from it.  Mom made dinner, a senior special that we ate at like 5:00 p.m., so basically we'll just chill and watch the tube until we crash.  Right now, I'm hyper.  So is my brother, and he is starting to make strange things out of food, just cuz' he's bored and below 160 pounds, and he's convinced he needs to gain 3 pounds.  (And he's determined to do it tonight!)  I'm living vicariously through his gluttony.  So far, since dinner, he's eaten a small plate of nachos with sour cream, a big handful of cheese and crackers, and a pineapple and spumoni parfait (which he's currently choking to death on.)  I'm laughing hysterically at his gluttony.  

While he stuffs his face, I am writing, just trying to accomplish something... 

I'm currently on the 3-month plan for figuring out what to do next with my life.  I can't stay in my current track forever, but I'm not quite sure what my next track is, yet.  I'm trying to be somewhat green, still recycling, still composting... I'm just not 100% perfect.  Far from it, in fact!

In the time since I've started this blog, my little world has gotten less green -- for instance, at work, they've stopped recycling cardboard.  Every afternoon, we stack the boxes from all our incoming packages on top of the garbage cans, and the cleaning people take the boxes and dump them into the landfill! It's highway robbery of our planet.

Oh no, my family is punch drunk and starting to devolve...  Mom is trying to talk Southern.  Brother is sharing life details that NOBODY wants to hear while he strums his guitar.  And dad is doing an old man dance.  Just a normal Xmas evening at the folks.  

Happy Holidaze everyone!  

Sh'Bieue
 
 
I have come to realize my biggest failure in my life: I sell myself short.  I have widely more potential than I give myself credit for, and yet I have not allowed myself to be widely successful.  I need to stop doing this, or else I’ll never “feel” entirely successful.
 
Someone said to me once that he wished I were “on” all of the time, and not just some of the time.  However, there was no way I could maintain being “on,” because “on” was a role I played sometimes, and I couldn’t 24/7 live up to that role, or else I’d be exhausted.
 
Life has forced me to grow up a lot this year, and it’s also made me really appreciate the blessings that I have.  I have learned to be more comfortable in my own skin, rather than constantly shifting from “on” to “off” and wearing myself out.  I’m not the shy little girl I used to be, and I’m not scared to say what I mean, because life is just too short.
 
I'm lucky to be where I am, work where I work, and live where I live.  I'm extremely lucky for the people in my life.  As long I’m in this current sphere of existence, I need to stop this self-sabotage, because I’m not only hurting myself and my success, but I’m also not bringing 100% of my energy to my friends, to my job, and to my life.  I cannot promise perfection or a 100% change, but I can promise I’ll be aware of it and try much harder... 

As Tim McGraw sings, "I'm not as good as I'm gonna get, but I'm better than I used to be..."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO0keYA21oI

I haven't posted much "green" information lately, but stay tuned: 2013 will bring fresh topics and a renewed outlook on life!

I think.

If you have any questions or comments, or if there's a "green" topic you'd like me to discuss in a future blog, please send me a message!  

Love you all!  

Sh'Bieue
 
 
I have been referring to myself as the "faerie princess" because this last week has been so stressful that I have had to separate from myself and refer to myself in third person.

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I have been sick with Lyme Disease this summer.  With the suspicion of "coinfections," I've had quite a bit of labwork done.  They actually know me by face and name at Labcorp, and they even know which vein in my left arm gives quickest blood draw... 

Anyway, my latest set of labwork indicated some protein that shouldn't have been in my blood, indicating a VERY serious illness, much worse than Lyme.  

But the doctor said it's also possible that the Lyme threw off my numbers, and that I was fine...

So there was another set of labwork.  And then, there was the waiting... A whole week of waiting to find out if I would have the opportunity to live a happy, healthy life.

Meanwhile, I scared the sh*t out of all my loved ones.  And I found out that I have a TON of loved ones, and many people who care about me.  And I realized how blessed I was.  I have AMAZING people in my life.  My brother was the bestest of the best -- he listened to me worry constantly...  But so did many other friends...

"What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger..."  I used to hate that expression.  But this week, I became very aware that if I survived this week of utter hell, I would come out the other side a much better person...

I cannot go back to the girl that I was.

Ever!!!

And that's not just a temporary thing.

I feel different, and I see the world differenly.  Oddly, I'm grateful for having had this week of hell, but only because I'm going to survive.  

I have had a week to reflect from a place of pure hell, and I've come out ok!  

I have reflected on my entire life, and now I see it from a different perspective, something more holistic than that "annoyed" girl sitting in traffic on Six Forks Road, pissed off because she can't drive her Mitsubishi Lancer at 50 mph.  

Last night, I went to a weekly "workout" at a friend's house.  It was December 3rd, and yet it was 70 degrees outside, and beautiful.  I could see every star in the sky from his backyard.  

I skipped some of the workout, laid down in the grass, and looked up at the stars.  And for the first time all week, I felt at peace.  I  sensed that everything would be ok. 

It must have seemed strange, to my workout buddies.  As they were punching bags, and doing painful things with weights, I was lying on in the grass, looking at the stars, and finding peace.  I can only find that sort of peace outdoors.  I love NATURE!  After all, I AM the GREEN GIRL!

Last Saturday, I went to the mall and went to the Clinique counter and got a makeover.  That's something I do when I feel bad -- I go to a makeup counter, get fixed up, and then spend a bunch of money on makeup.  Half the time I return it later...

But I've realized that's silly.  I am using "getting pretty" as a way to feel better, feeding on that mall consumption energy, when what I really should be doing to feel better is...  Volunteering!  Using my energy in a positive way!

I have SO MUCH to give the universe!  I have SO MUCH good to share!  And I have narrowly escaped death (or at least it feels that way...)  I need to volunteer, give back, do something to make the world a better place for SOMEBODY, ANYBODY!

It's been 3 hours since I've learned that I'm healthy.  I am currently sitting on my couch, drinking sparkling wine, and celebrating, quietly.  

I will never go back to the person I was before this week, I am sure of it.  I have so many blessings in my life, so many opportunities, so many amazing things, and so many amazing people.  I couldn't be a luckier faerie princess.  I could not have made it through without this week without my amazing friends and amazing family. 

I live on a beautiful earth, and I have a beautiful life.  I am the luckiest faerie princess on the planet.  

Till next time,

Sh'Bieue