Monday, January 25, 2010

#Magnificent Mondays! #2: Confucius Says...

Quote of the Week: "If someone else gets it in one try, I will try one hundred times. If someone else gets it in ten tries, I will try one thousand times. " Confucius

Rumination: This quote by the famous Chinese philosopher is one which is becoming more and more dear to me as time passes. Too often we are caught up in what others do or have, how much they earn, how much they spend. As mothers, we become competitive in how fast our children walk and talk, whether they sleep through the night just like someone else's, whether or not they hit the ground running in kindergarten. Learning to go at our own pace doing the very best that we can, and redoubling our efforts to achieve our goals is always a lesson that is worth learning and relearning as we journey through life.

Mantra: :"Unique and unrepeatable diamond am I"

Recipe: Carrot ginger soup! Just the thing to keep you trying for your goals!

Ingredients: 2 tablespoons sweet cream butter

2 peeled and chopped onions

6 cups chicken broth

2 lbs peeled and sliced carrots

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

one cup whipping cream

salt. to taste

white pepper. to taste

sour cream

parsley sprigs

1. Put a pan on medium high heat.
2. Place butter and onions inside of the pan, stirring until onion is limp.
3. Add broth+carrots+ginger to the pan.
4. Cover and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat to simmering(the carrots will be tender when pierced).
6. Remove from heat.
7. Transfer mixture to a blender.
8. Pulse mixture and then puree to smooth the mixture.
9. Return to the pan and add the sweet cream.
10. Stir over high heat until hot.
11. Ladle into bowls and garnish with sour cream and parsley sprigs. Enjoy!

*When blending, be sure to be careful of not filling the blender more than halfway. Also, leave one corner open and cover with a towel.

Exercise: Out of bed, your chair, stop and now:

1. Inhale deeply.
2.Raise arms up above the head.
3. Put arms down by side.
4. Inhale and repeat 3x.
5. Inhale.
6. Now bend the knee and raise the right leg, then the left leg.
7. Repeat 5x.
8. Inhale and done!

Salutations: That's it for this edition, and if you find your enthusiasm flagging for your New Year's resolutions, it is not too late to reset and try again! With this cheerful soup inside of you and brighter days ahead, go for your goal and use your own timetable of ten times or one thousand times to achieve what you want this year!

Bis vivit qui bene vivit,

Doula Angelita

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard."
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is Tuesday, not a bad day, not a good day, but it is almost over. You are looking forward to settling down for the night, the cares of the day behind you. You are bathing the baby. You are cooking dinner. You are gathered with friends. You are leaving work, just one more thing, and you will be gone for the day. You are looking for a place to sleep for the night. You are on the cellular, talking to your friends, "Where are we going tonight?" You are laughing, crying, happy, sad. You are living and breathing and then, oh then, the world has flown away, you are in the air, on the ground, the heavens fall, there is crushing pain, then blackness.

You are trying to breathe, the weight of concrete pressed into your chest. You pick yourself up from the ground, dazed. The earth groans and shifts again. Sirens howl around you, the sun has fled, the cold night air whistles through the gaping wounds of broken bodies. You look and see blood silently pumping from your arm, the glint of bone grinning at you. The screams of survivors, the screams of the trapped, the darkness, so dark, where are the streetlights? You try to call for help on your cellular; all lines are busy. Trying again, it is simply there in your hand, no dialtone. You feel something wet under your shoe; a hand, and you see the dark liquid in the gutters. Pipes burst, probably. You shuffle on, where are the houses? Shoved and jostled by the pressing crowd, you are calm, so calm, but the night is full of those crushed, those whose life is leaving them. The bodies, in the streets, on cars, hands and feet and legs twisted and still, so still. You see a small body, wrapped in a blanket. It makes no sound and never will again.

You wake. The pain from your wounds, the smell from baking corpses, no food, no water again. A man stumbles by, undead, unliving, eyes of glass. Women keen for their lost ones. You keep looking for the addresses of people you know. Even the skyline is different; something is wrong. You cannot process it. Someone has a radio; all who can, gravitate towards it. The voice on the radio talks fantastic nonsense: earthquakes, the unimaginable human suffering, people trapped under buildings, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, aid, help, aid, man says "It cannot be long now. They now know about us, and we are not so far away. It cannot be long now." He is older, smiling though he leaned on a stick heavily, his arm bandaged in an old shirt decorated with blood stains, another shirt wrapped around his leg which was bent into a pretzel. The rest of the news was full of more: one airport, no way in, all roads destroyed, the Palais National in ruins, as well as the Cathedral. In shock, you swing your eyes towards the skyline and your jaw opens as you realize what you could not grasp before. When you come to your senses, and sit up, you see the old man sitting on the wall, propped up by his stick. Hobbling over, you start to ask him the latest news, but he is dead. Someone has taken his transistor, and blood from his mouth stains his beard.

Another day, what day is this? Still no lights. Still no food. The lying voice, the well-fed, well-watered voice on the radio, brightly talking about the dire situation, how aid, help, ships, medicine, water, food, money was coming to Haiti. Planes were circling in the sky, fighting over the tiny airstrip, fighting to come save Haiti. Troubling talk of troops, Marines, armed forces...people scrambling over dead bodies, bodies that were so far gone as to become liquid..a mother cradling a one is a thief, but all are hungry and thirsty..some people found bread, food, water, rice, and shared, but it is not enough. People sleep in the streets at night, the screams go on, but no one sings now. The air is full of desperation and death.

Can it be another day? The lying voice says that it has been a week since the catastrophe. Can it be true? There are reports of aid, but who is getting it? Not you. Not your neighbours. Not your family, whoever is left. Not anyone that you see with your two eyes. More and more people do not wake after sleeping. The screaming buildings are falling silent. No one is a thief, but who has money for the shopkeeper? Where is the shopkeeper? Your hand goes through a window and you stuff flour into your mouth. The rush of others pushing to grab at candy does not deter you. You open your mouth and put food into it.

Some people now are talking about leaving Port-au-Prince, going to Cap Haitien, to the countryside. Others are leaving for Jaromi, in the Dominican Republic. The lying voice said that there was some medical help there. Others, the lucky ones, are going to try to beg for asylum in the United States. They are going to go to the US embassy in Port-au-Prince, where they will push against the gates and scream and cry and moan until they are heard. Others don't care: they have lost everything. "It is time to speak with fire" they say. "No one is listening, no one cares. Where is the help?" The lying voices say that pretty soon the rescuers will leave. People who can, text frantically. "Help us, save us, we are alive and soon to be dead". The messages go to Miami, where grief and shrieks fill the air, and impotent rage abounds.

"We are doing all we can to help" says the president of the country next door.Some laugh at his words; everyone knows that they discriminate against Haitians and are afraid of a wave of locust-like dark people into their land. People are beginning to leave, they cannot take the darkness, the shadows, the people that are alive and then dead with the taking of a breath, the trucks full of bodies rumbling by, the graves dug and filled with those that could be saved, but weren't. They cannot take the rumbling stomachs, watching the living turn to ghosts, old ones and children passing from the world at the blink of an eye. They cannot take the smells, the fact that there are trucks for the troops, and trucks for the dead and no trucks of water. They cannot bear to listen when one man stands atop a destroyed building and says "I was in the Army of the United States; I know that they can drop water and food to us. Why don't they do it? They are going to send in the Marines like they did before. They are going to take our country again and give it to the dictators!"

You sit, dizzy from the blood that continues to pump from your body. You don't remember when you ate last, you lean against the door to rest. The murmur of voices, snatches of song, pass you by. Those who can are leaving, migrating, moving away from the trash, the stench, the death, the lack of hope, the lying voices.A voice in Kreyol, educated, calm saying "Do not leave. If you come to the United States by the water, they will send you back from whence you came." "Come, get up" urges a voice, but you cannot, cannot. You must rest. Eyes closed, you hear your countrymen's feet moving, the surge of humanity flowing out of the body of the country like blood from wound.

For more information on the topic of Haitian relations with the Dominican Republic, please visit as well as for stories directly from Hispaniola.

Monday, January 18, 2010

#Magnificent Mondays #1: Moderation and Soup

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Eat and drink to live. Live not to eat and drink; for thus do the beasts." The Talmud
RUMINATION: In honour of the New Year and of the recent celebration of Rosh Hashanah, it is time to evaluate and fine-tune our resolutions. One of these, for many of us, is to be serious and mindful of our health, the health of our bodies, our minds, our spirits.
The Talmud instructs that eating is pleasurable. A small drink brings pleasure and joy to the heart. It is not a crime, nor a sin to enjoy our meals. It is in being moderate that one can truly enjoy and savour the tastes and flavours that go into a good meal. Looking forward to a good meal brings joy and comfort. It should not, however, be the highlight of the day, each and every day, to the exclusion of all else!
When the winds blow cold, the rain and snow pelt down, the skies are a dark and foreboding grey, it ia a time for restorative and nourishing food. It is time for feeling the comfort of a full stomach, and a time to be careful to nourish the body and not simply to sate the appetites. It is time to bring rest and rejuvenation to body, mind and spirit. It is time to be mindful of amelioration and exhilaration of every part. It is time to start, and why not now?
MANTRA: ohm mani padme hum(ohum mahnee pahdmay hooom)
This is not a test of best pronunciation, simply a way to open your mind, heart and spirit to relax, renew, rejuvenate, and refresh. This mantra, a popular one, gets the breath working, and if said aloud in a strong and mighty voice, will orient and focus the mind. Try it; it's free, and it cannot hurt!
RECIPE: Faux chix soup!
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 large, cleaned, peeled and chopped, carrot
1 chopped potato
2 cloves of garlic, minced
5 cups vegetable stock
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1.Heat oil in a large saucepan.
2. Add onion.
3. Saute over MEDIUM HEAT until golden.
4. Add celery and carrot pieces to the onion in the saucepan.
5. Saute all ingredients for five minutes.
6. In the saucepan, add broth, garlic, potato, thyme and bay leaves.
7. Bring to a simmer until vegetables are tender; approximately 30 minutes. 8. Remove bay leaves after 30 minutes.
9. Season soup to taste. Serve with warmed bread, homemade croutons, a grilled cheese sandwich...enjoy!
EXERCISE 1-2-3: Out of bed! Right, now:
1. Stand up straight.
2. Inhale deeply to the count of five.
3. Exhale deeply to the count of five.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for a total of three times.
5. Next,
6. Lift arms up, palms facing each other.
7. Calmly lower arms to side. Repeat thrice.
8. Shake arms and hands, one more inhale-exhale, done!
SALUTATION: That's it for this week! Try the recipe and see how good you feel, not to mention the lift that you get from having your home redolent of good-for-you home cooking! Try the exercise and see if you don't have more energy in the morning. Try the mantra, and clear away the daily detritus that builds up inside. Just give it a go, and see what changes can happen when doing small things to improve you!
Greenest blessings 2010,
Doula Angelita
San Jose's Community Doula
Bis vivit qui bene vivit!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

San Jose's Let's Go Princess! Programme

Inspired by recent stories on America's obesity epidemic, President Obama's call to service and the economic slump of the past two years, one woman is putting her best foot forward to help the women of San Jose to get into better mental and physical shape.

Doula Angelita, San Jose's Community Doula, is launching a walking program in March. Not just an ordinary exercise regimen, but a chance for women to connect, to share their burdens, to reach solutions and just to have sympathetic ears to listen to them.

"I envision this programme as a means of getting women out of the house, off the hamster wheel, and into a community event that is budget-friendly, good for heart, mind and soul, and a way to interact with other members of the community." says Doula Angelita.

The name, Let's Go Princess! is one of Doula Angelita's personal mantras, one that she uses when things are not going smoothly. "It actually comes from a phrase that Randy Couture, UFC champion uses on a commercial, but it so motivates me that I incorporate it into my everyday life," declares the doula. "If it motivates me I figured that it would motivate others as well, and so christened the programme with that name."

The Let's Go Princess! Programme will take place in the mall at Santana Row first, but Doula Angelita hopes to expand the programme to other area malls as well. "I am really excited to begin at the Santana Row mall; it is not only a beautiful location and well-suited for a walking club, it is easily accesible, and has a host of lovely shops and good, healthy foods like Amber India and Pasta Pomodoro. I cannot wait to get started, and I am working with the management at Santana Row to see if we can get some surprises for our walkers!"