For tattoos, new beginnings, creative works and flight.
Been feeling inundated with information and choice these days. Is this a particular burden of my generation, or a constant in the human condition throughout time? I wonder about that allure of travel, the opposing drives to root and lift off, and how fear and desire hold hands across the fence. Hm.
Last week, I had what nicole might call a heartfelt vision. Lying still at the end of a yoga class, perhaps drifting off a bit, I slipped into a state of deep connectedness to those friends who are far away, or soon to be leaving. At first, there was loneliness and the sadness of nostalgia. Then; a profound sense of peace and acceptance that we are all growing together on our separate paths. And last; joyful anticipation for that time we'll come together again, newly changed. xo
When I first moved to oregon I was totally enamored with kombucha. It was one of those expensive habits that I tend to pick up, and at $4 for a bottle of that irresistably fizzy tonic, it was not sustainable. So I started brewing my own. It's super easy, cheap, and brings me back to to elementary science class. This is how I do it.
What you need:
gallon sized wide mouth glass jar
already brewed kombucha
Bring about a quart of your filtered water to a boil. Once heated, stir in 1 cup of sugar until it dissolves. You'll want to turn the heat off at this point so the sugar doesn't caramelize. Then add 7-8 tea bags and steep for about 15 minutes. You can use any variety of true tea (camellia sinensis), of which black, white, green and oolong are all varieties. I usually experiment with a combination of white and green teas, as they are less processed and retain more nutrients. It's fun to play around with this, as each tea will give a slightly different flavor to the final product.
For the next step, you'll need a scoby. This stands for "symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria", also referred to as "the mother" or a sometimes a "mushroom". This living organism is what turns your sweet tea into kombucha, as the yeast and bacteria feed off the sugar and tea and produce all the good healthy fizzy stuff like B vitamins and probiotics. You can get a scoby from craigslist, or from a friend who brews kombucha. Or you can grow your own over a few weeks from a store bought bottle of kombucha.
To do this, leave the half-full bottle un-capped, covered with a cloth, in a dark place until it grows a scoby on the surface. The wonderful thing about brewing kombucha, is with each batch, a new baby scoby is produced, so they are usually pretty easy to find! Mine is named Stella and was given to me by an artist friend of a friend.
mother and baby from my last batch
You'll also need about 8-10 ounces of already brewed kombucha. If this is your first time brewing, buy a bottle from a health food store. Make sure it is unflavored, raw and unpasturized (such as GT brand). I always make sure to save some from the last batch I made.
Pour the brewed sweet tea into your *clean* gallon jar. Then add another few quarts of your cold filtered water. It is important to bring the liquid down to room temperature, as heat can kill your scoby. Then add your 8-10 ounces of kombucha, and your scoby. Sometimes the scoby will look brown on one side and white on the other, if so put it brown side down. Cover with a cloth and stash your jar somewhere dark and out of the way.
Wait! Depending on the climate, your tea will take 1-5 weeks to ferment ( hotter temps lead to faster fermentation). I really like the jars with spouts because they're easy to sample from. Your kombucha is done whenever it tastes good to you, it will get tangier and fizzier with time. When you like the taste, you can bottle or jar and refrigerate your tea. Use glass, not plastic. This is also a good time to experiment with fruit juices, or added flavors. Some of my favorite flavors are ginger and pear..... but it's also delicious as is!
In playing with lucid dream techniques, I've been especially drawn to Tibetan dream yoga. Within this spiritual practice, one must come to terms with the fact that "all things are of the substance of dreams" until attachments are shed and the transition from the waking world to the dreaming world becomes seamless. We can practice daily by labeling our waking world in dream terms..... xo
In my time with those young addicts, I was often surprised by their entitled demands for advil. Whether a headache, a toothache, or soreness from a hike, many were resistant to coping with even the small pains of life. Furthermore, the ones with the greatest intolerance for minor suffering were the ones who, in their pasts, had been most deeply wounded. Like an allergy, they seemed to have developed a reaction to pain so strong they turned to relief at any cost. One cost? The silencing of a teacher, a tool and a guide for change. xo
A month into this cleanse, and I have settled into a routine of sprouts and kale, quinoa and amaranth, and eggs and fish. I feel better, and I am still craving sugar. Now I crave carrots instead of cookies: progress not perfection, right? I've discovered that a red pepper can be eaten like an apple and even an excess of sugar snaps makes me feel sick and guilty. I've been drinking yerba mate instead of coffee and have replaced beer nights out with game nights in. My arm joints are speaking loud and clear. And, I am once again a joyful slave to cardamom in my teacup. xo
Giddy anticipation for summer is building. My hopes are for mountains and deserts, string bands and sweat and immersion into uncomfortable stillness. Also, I've had the same dream three out of the last four nights in increasing detail, depth and emotion. What Does IT MEAN?!
I had a dream on repeat last night like an apocalyptic groundhog day. Details include: a secret asian sociopath with unloaded automatic weapons, his mild mannered alter-ego, uneasy suite-mates and snap decisions. It all began hen a stranger turned to me and said, "here let me get her attention for you".... as he reached for a sultry blonde, this marked the beginning of a fervent race through a party, to the basement for an important backpack, and up the elevator to break into a board meeting. Once in, I had to convince the executives that the new pharmaceutical they were about to release had dire worldwide repercussions and a crazed zombie guerilla was in the building with a thirst for mass destruction. Sometimes he made it to the board room first and sometimes I was just ahead of him. Sometimes I wasted time with small-talk in the board room, but I was always convincing. Each round I honed my maneuvers a bit more: strategic placement of my backpack to save time or a quick shoe change for better traction. Sometimes I forgot whether I took the stairs or the elevator and wasted precious minutes, heart pounding that I made the wrong choice as we (the execs and I) barreled down an empty stairwell with fear on our tails.
Holga snap from a recent portland trip. I don't know if it's the yoga, yerba mate, snowy hikes, or game nights but I am positively buzzing these days! Also, yesterday marked three weeks with no sugar, alcohol, coffee or wheat, and the cravings are diminishing. Thankfuls include: mothers, a free ozomotli show, good friends and a slightly squished pocket gift; here's to looking up. xo