Categories: Kristin's Earlier Blogs, About Kristin
My eldest son is leaving for college in less than a week!!! I still can’t believe it! For those of you who have gone through a child leaving home… it sure does sneak up on you, doesn’t it? Wasn’t he just yesterday a nursing babe in arms? I am still trying to wrap my brain around this one. Surely a BIG rite of passage for us parents, as well.
A few weeks ago in an effort to make a lasting BTD impression upon his still tender soul, I wanted to know if he, indeed, understood how wheat is in almost every baked good readily available. As he is an O, I felt it necessary that he grasp that fully. I asked him… “Do you know what wheat is?” He responded, in a snarly voice, “The Devil!!!” I just cracked up!! And so true for those O’s … I’m glad he gets it. We also talked about what types of food he should keep in his dorm room… like additive free beef jerky, fresh fruit, nuts… and he promised me absolutely no Ramen noodles! And I think I will order him a couple of cases of Unibars for good measure.
I know that eating cafeteria food in the dorms will be a challenge as well and we also discussed what would be good choices for him as an O. He has learned what foods he reacts to and how they affect his bodymind. And he doesn’t always make the best choices in the food arena… but at least he knows. And that is really all we can do as a parent… teach our children what we feel/know to be best. But ultimately it is up to them to make their own choices… in food… and in life. And to learn how to live with the consequences of each.
OK… the last blog on Samos… and this one has been a long time coming. I’ve been wanting to write about the people who attended this unique gathering on that gorgeous island for a long time… but what to say??? There is so much… and yet so much more that dwells beyond a description through words in that space between thoughts…
I must say… there were moments in the weeks before departing on this trip that I thought I had found a new level of insanity within myself. Here I was… traveling halfway around the world, to a place I had never been before, with people I had never met. I only knew my Samos companions through the forums… was I nuts??? There were moments that I was convinced… after years of teetering on the edge, I had finally fallen off my rocker.
But… for us B’s… what is life without a little adventure, eh? So I quelled my inner doubts and sallied forth.
It turned out to be a wonderful, memorable experience… for all of us, I think. There were so many shared experiences between us who attended from the forums…. Alek, our most amazing host, Ion, flowing with grace, Yaman, the gentlest of spirit, Kerensa, always chatting with the locals and making herself at home wherever she was, and Ellie, one of the sharpest wits I’ve yet to encounter… really too much to share within the space of a blog.
So… instead I will focus on the threesome I lived with for that week on Samos: Cockepelli, Tomatilla I. and Debra. Now… the most interesting aspect of our week together was that we were each of the 4 blood types… Cockepelli an A, Tomatilla I. an AB, Debra an O… and me the B. AND, two of us were secretors (Cockepelli and I) and two nonnies (Debra and Tomatilla I.) Talk about a Bloody Family!! Add to the mix that we were all from different countries too!! Azzap... take note... ;-)
I was… hmmm… just a wee bit concerned as to how well we would all get along. Was I in for some surprises!
Everyday, we shared breakfast in our apartment… actually two separate apartments but it felt like one big shared space for the duration of our stay. Now… with 4 blood types at the table, there was every food/drink/tea imaginable. I usually had Greek yogurt, which is the creamiest, smoothest, most delicious yogurt I have ever tasted… mixed with sliced banana, and also a soft boiled egg. But… there was also rye bread, spelt bread, pineapple juice, feta cheese, fruit, dates, nuts, coffee, teas, etc… so much so that there was not a square inch of table to be seen. And… what a unique experience to have breakfast with an O nonnie. Everyday, Debra would prepare a few soft boiled eggs and mix them with bananas, Harmonia, nutritional yeast, ground flax seed… sometimes some steamed broccoli as well… and I am sure there is more to this breakfast that I am not remembering. I like to think of myself as culinarily creative… but I don’t think I could ever come up with such an interesting combination. An O nonnie making the best out of her food choices… kudos Debra!! But my favorite part of breakfast is that we would talk and talk and talk… it took most of the morning. And if the weather was nice, we would share breakfast out on our balcony with an exceptional view of the sea…. So lovely it was to languish in unhurried time…
But… how did we get along together? I mean… all 4 blood types under one roof? Surely there would be some type of discontent, wouldn’t there? I am glad to report… almost nil.
How can this be? Well… for starters, Cockepelli did a superb job of being our Travel Right travel agent, making all necessary arrangements to and from Samos. Truly a blessing for all of us… and oh so organized!! Wow!! She made it all so easy. And what a joy she is to be with , too.
Tomatilla I. and Debra were delightful to be with as well. Kind, generous, gracious… and funny!!!! Oh my, we spent most of our time laughing, and laughing and… laughing. I’ve never laughed so much in my life. And yes… there were many Depends moments!
But honestly… I think it is due to wonderful people choosing a wonderful, healthy, balanced lifestyle that made all our congeniality possible… a lifestyle which allows each individual to attain their full genetic potential. There really is nothing else like the BTD. Thank goodness it is here for all of us.
So here’s to all the laughter. And as Debra said… if laughter is the world’s best medicine then we will all be healthy for a long, long, time.
I have always been one that has been strongly affected by place. It is an interesting word, as it has so many varied uses in English… to place an order, to place a bet, to put one’s self in someone’s place, to know one’s place, my place in life, a place in the sun…. But the meaning of place that affects me most is the sense of physical, bounded space that represents a “place”.
Some people can live anywhere and feel content and happy. I can’t. The space of where I live, the so-called energy of a place impacts me on levels I have yet to fathom. I have very definitive reactions to places… a felt sense that is difficult to put into words. But I must try to capture the feeling of place that I felt on Samos, and in particular, the small village of Manolates in which we stayed.
All of us visitors present on Samos talked about the magic of the place. Yes… there was a magic there… an ordinary magic… One morning, I hiked a short ways above the village and sat on a rock for a few moments… just to breathe and let the space of where I was sink into the center of myself. I realized that although I was halfway around the world from where I live, I did not feel far from home. There were similarities here to the landscape in which I live… and also many differences. I marveled at the hillsides seeing small plots of terraced, cultivated land growing grapes or olives amidst the wild greenery of the island. These small sections of cultivated land were unforced. They blended easily into the landscape as if meant to be there. When I was hiking and happened upon one, it was a surprise… unanticipated… and reminded me of hiking in my own cañons and coming across the ruins of a homesteaders cabin.
Manolates is perched on a hillside, up a steep, narrow road high above the sea, but with a view of the unimaginably turquoise blue of the Aegean from almost every angle. One of the most wonderful things about this place for me was the lack of automobiles… only pedestrian traffic was permitted and vehicles were parked in a lot at the bottom of the village. This made for a very peaceful environment, a total lack of noise pollution. In fact, the loudest sound was the fishmonger announcing his daily catches!
The only way to get around was to walk up steep and winding stone footpaths that had a sense of antiquity about them, although I have no idea how old they actually were. A deep level of timelessness has taken root there and permeates everything….
But the word that keeps coming to mind when I think of Manolates is authenticity. That is what I felt most in Manolates… and on Samos as well. Authenticity. Lack of pretentions. Space to be one’s own self… whatever that may be. And a clearness. Nothing of the overwhelming drone of urban life to be processed in the brain. Space. True space in this magic place. No need to armor the body with tension. Not necessary nor needed.
It was wonderful, in and of itself, to experience just the beingness of this place.
I spent an hour or so walking about the Manolates one afternoon, taking pictures of this lovely village… images and objects that happened to catch my eye. Click here to see some of the photos that I took that afternoon… click on any photo to view larger.
It has been a week since I returned from my sojourn to Samos, Greece and I am finally feeling my body has come back to rest on home soil once more… although my mind still wistfully drifts away to that lovely isle with the turquoise waters gently kissing its shores…
But… being a BTD gathering… I must talk about the “food, glorious food” first.
Where to begin except to say that the food was fantastic!! Now… I am not an easy traveler… I often experience an upset stomach when on the road away from home and I live for peppermint tea to soothe my rattled stomach. It wasn’t until the last day on the island that I realized that my usual touchy-away-from-home stomach was completely at ease. No uncomfortable bloating, no intestinal distress… nothing. Certainly, the high quality of the food and the loving way in which it was prepared had much to do with it.
Where we ate most of our food… a taverna owned and operated by Agapi, was a BTD paradise. Our hosts, Alek and Tasso, were instrumental in encouraging the development of mostly compliant dishes, using olive oil, rice flour, etc. Very little wheat to be seen except in the bread basket on the table… along with plenty of rice cakes. I had the same item for lunch almost every day… tuna salad… made to order. Each salad came in a large earthen-ware bowl and was made fresh… no pre-assembly, with an assortment of greens and compliant vegetables, a generous helping of tender tuna drizzled with olive oil and served with a quarter of a lemon. It was delicious and so satisfying… kept me going until dinner. And…. once they know your blood type, no avoids are served in your meal. So…. no olives in my salad (damn!)… even though others had plenty of olives in theirs. I even snuck olives from Debra until she learned that olives are an avoid for B’s. I tell ya… these BTDing friends don’t let you get away with nothin’!! Such love…
Now dinner… dinner was an event. Beautiful oven-baked lamb, turkey souvlaki grilled to the tenderest perfection with onions, garlic, and sweet peppers, juicy, falling off the bone rabbit baked with onions, carrots, celery and lemon, fresh sardines wrapped in vine leaves and grilled or dusted in rice flour and sautéed in olive oil, lamb chops, beef roast, calamari, and more… all flavored with fresh dill, parsley, and other Mediterranean herbs and accompanied with rice, if desired. Along with our entrees we were served the most wonderful dolmas I have ever tasted wrapped in fresh vine leaves, sautéed wild greens which had been collected on the mountainside, sardine, dill and rice flour miniature patties and the same made with zucchini, rice flour, dill and garlic, and those glorious salads. With ample red wine and the occasional white wine of the Muscat grape that Samos is known for… it was truly a BTD heaven.
But being a B… I must have a separate paragraph for the fried feta. This dish alone is would make being a B a pleasure. It was lovely… and so simple. Just onions and a mixture of sweet bell peppers sautéed in olive oil with full-fat feta placed on top until it softens a little. Invert onto a plate and, voila!! The best appetizer for a B ever!!
As much as I enjoyed eating the food… I enjoyed sharing food with other BTDer’s the best. No explanations, no questions as to “why won’t you eat chicken”? everyone making substitutions to fit BTD needs. We all understood each other. And that made for the best dining experience ever.
Many warm and heart-felt thanks to Alek, Tasso, and Agapi for taking such good care of all our dietary needs and requests.
And… how could I forget the fresh bowls of cherries we were served for dessert near the end of our visit… the first of the season. Truly the cherry on top of the cake.
A few weeks ago, after a brief but very intense snowburst, I was hiking up a steep incline. The snow had left a thin sheet of spotty ice on the trail, with patches of dirt showing through here and there. As I crept my way up the hill avoiding the ice and searching for the safe dry patches were I could get my footing, I realized that this was exactly how my life felt as of late… climbing a slippery slope and looking for the dry earth amidst the ice on which to stand.
So here I am standing on a small but rocky patch of ground, trying to get my bearings…
I have spent a large part of the past month preparing to go to the BTD gathering on Samos in Greece. I am thrilled, excited, and honored to be attending and can‘t wait to meet all those lovely BTDer‘s on the other side of the water. I will also be taking the IfHI certification exam while there… wish me luck! Getting my work in order to leave has been challenging as this is part of our busy season. Plus my son graduates from high school one week after I return and relatives galore are descending for that one. April was busy but what a whirlwind May will be!!
In the realm of eating… I went to an awards luncheon and what was on the menu?… of course… chicken and tomatoes. It is always chicken and tomatoes… why is that?? I know… it’s cheap and easy to prepare. No matter… I’ve been to enough of these events to know I will always be assaulted with chicken. So I just eat lunch before hand and nibble on the salad… which ends up being a mighty expensive salad I must say…
And yesterday, in my little health food store, I found some organic, non-homogenized whole milk… with chunks of cream in it even!! I was thrilled! It would be even better if it wasn’t pasteurized, but I think one must have a Jersey cow in the backyard for that option.
But the taste… oh the taste was beyond compare… plus a smooth, velvety texture. Comfort food extraordinaire. If you have the chance to try some… you must. I am not a big cow’s milk fan, and I almost never drink cow’s milk, but I could finish off a half gallon of this milk in no time. Unfortunately, I must be careful with milk consumption at present so I treat this as a special splurge. And I think I will make some maple-egg custard and vanilla bean rice pudding as a send-off treat for myself.
Time for some Carole King too...