Categories: Kristin's Earlier Blogs, About Kristin
It used to be, that when someone mentioned the word “columbine”, the first image that came to mind was our lovely state flower... the Rocky Mountain columbine...a delicate blue and white flower with long, graceful, arcing spurs that grows in the most unlikely of places in the high country.
All that has changed now.
It was 6 years ago, April 20, 1999... a day that will live forever in the minds of all Coloradoans. One of those days that you will always remember “where you were” when you heard the news. I just happened to turn on the television as a fluke that afternoon and caught the local coverage of the tragedy of the Columbine School shootings... at that point they did not know how many students and teachers had been killed.
We reeled in the wake of it all, not only as a region, but as a nation, too. But I specifically remember an interview with a local sheriff who was one of the authorities that had entered the high school once all the students had been evacuated, and I remember that sheriff forcefully remarking that, “Whoever had done this was pure evil”.
That comment angered me above and beyond all else that was said about the Columbine tragedy. Dylan and Eric were not evil. They were teenagers... boys, really. Somebody’s babies. And remarks like that are especially damaging and abusive to their families and friends... to all who loved those boys.
A friend of mine taught at Columbine High School both before and after the shootings, and she had both Dylan and Eric in her classes. I asked her a couple of years ago about her impressions of them as students and she remarked that they were just like any other teenager, no different at all. She was also part of a governor appointed task force to study why a tragedy like this happened at Columbine High School, and they found a few interesting things. First of all, Columbine High School had one minute less per passing period than other high schools its size in Colorado. Also, the building is very industrial, all classrooms are the same size and configuration... the whole building was designed for efficiency, with a lack of spaces and opportunity for students and the entire school community to connect. The task force concluded that the lack of opportunities for connection within the school community could lead to students “falling through the cracks” as it were - completely disconnected from the school community.
Now... were they grasping at straws trying to find something tangible as a causation here? Perhaps... but I still believe it has merit. Every year at this time, in the weeks following the anniversary of Columbine, I find myself thinking about the importance of community to the well-being of all people, and the need for a sense of connection, or belonging to that community.
What has all this to do with the Blood Type Diet, you ask? Well, for those of you who have tried the BTD for awhile, you may have found that it can be a very difficult lifestyle to maintain by yourself under a rock somewhere. Sure, you feel great eating right for your type but everywhere you turn there is wheat, corn, and carrageenan. How much longer it takes to do grocery shopping just due to label reading! And oh the minefields of restaurants, potlucks, and yes, meals with family and relatives especially. How do you BTD with a reluctant spouse or child? What about maintaining compliance while traveling? How do I, really now, make it fit into my life... or make my life fit with the BTD??? Yes, very difficult to do as a solo act.
And this is why the importance, and dare I say, necessity of finding a community of support is so crucial to success on the BTD. There are many BTDer’s out there brimming over with knowledge, skills, lessons learned... and fortunately for us, Dr. D’Adamo has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to share, learn, and grow together as a community through the BTD Community forums. So if you are struggling with making the BTD fit for you, please take advantage of the wealth of wisdom available at the Community Forums.
I would hate for one of you to fall through the cracks...
Occurring around mid-April is one of my most eagerly awaited events of the gardening season... the arrival of the first tender spears of asparagus delicately poking their heads up through the soil. Every year I anxiously wait for the first signs of asparagus rebirth. It is the true herald of the Spring season. And it kicks my gardening drive into high gear.
Now, if you have never tasted fresh picked asparagus, then you are missing out on one of life’s truly great pleasures. Forget about the hard, woody stems, the almost rotting spear heads of stored asparagus. Really fresh asparagus is tender all the way down the stalk and has a light, “green” flavor that needs almost no cooking... just lightly steam for a minute or two and.... there you are... Asparagus Heaven. Not to mention that it is neutral for all blood types... certainly a “beneficial” for multiple blood type families such as mine.
It is worth finding a small space in your yard to plant a few asparagus crowns. Once established, they need almost no tending. I stopped weeding the asparagus years ago and only water through the harshest of droughts... It grows fine while ignored. As asparagus is a spring crop and highly susceptible to frosts, I planted a variety that comes later, rather than earlier in the Spring. Also, the crowns tend to work their way toward the surface of the soil... mounding with dirt every few years helps to keep them at a nice depth. It’s best to let asparagus grow for 2 seasons before harvesting, and harvest for only 2 weeks that first season. Each successive year you can harvest your asparagus a week or two longer before letting it fern.
So all this week I have been checking my asparagus for new growth and today... today I saw the very tips of the first spears emerging from the ground.
At last... Spring is finally here.
“Springtime in the Rockies”... for those of us who live there we all know what that phrase means... snow. Quite a bit of snow. Often most of the majority of our yearly snowfall occurs in the Spring. The snow of course is punctuated by very warm, Spring-like weather... but those of us old-timers know it is just a ruse... another snow storm is a comin' round the bend. The seesaw weather patterns are enough to drive even the most stable human being scallywonkers. So I keep my eyes out for simple sanity keepers. Here a couple of my favorites:
Color... what I crave now is color. So what a delight it was to discover in several HFS’s packages of mini sweet peppers in jewel shades of red, orange, and even yellow. Yes, the warmest colors of the spectrum and so appreciated this time of year and so good for the B too... especially secretors. And... they are the perfect size to chop up onto a salad, toss into a breakfast stirfry... but mostly I eat them as is, like I would a plum. Very few seeds and almost no membrane in these little beauties. But the color... the color... you B’s know what I mean.
About a week ago, I was hiking in the cañon on one of those warm teaser days when I was astounded to see several Swallowtail butterflies, the first of the season. Obviously blown in by a stray wind along their migratory route, how wonderful it was to watch them fluttering in the warm sun. I realized how I missed their light, erratic movement patterns during the heaviness of winter. I let these delicate creatures lift my weary heart in a skipping dance to the clouds.
Freshly ground flax seed meal is a must this time of year. When I eat yogurt with fresh fruit and flax seed meal first thing in the mornings, my energy stays stable and my mood bright and cheery throughout the day. Not to mention the benefits for your skin, hair and nails...
And... if all else fails on those snowy Spring days, I look out into my garden. I have a Laughing Buddha statue with a big round belly and a huge grin on his face. No matter what the weather, he is always smiling. And he is especially comical with a mantle of snow about his shoulders and a cap of snow on his head... a nice reminder to not take life too seriously.
I can’t help but join him in his grinning.
I work for an organization that is run by a volunteer board of directors, most of them retired women, or women who have spent their lives as community activists. They are a great group of brassy women who are just a hoot to be around.
These are ladies who LOVE to LUNCH. They have elevated lunch to its own art form, it is the central focus of their day... where to eat lunch and with whom. Every meeting, every activity without question, must be considered around the lunch question... and I am most often their intended target.
They LOVE to take me out to lunch. And it is almost always an establishment laden with avoids at every turn. Now, if there was one meal I could go without eating, it would be lunch. I often wish that I didn’t have to eat at that hour. It is a disruption to my day. But my body DOES need to eat at that hour, and meeting my body’s needs is a priority for me.
Now, I know that this is an act of kindness and generosity on their part and I do appreciate their need to indoctrinate me into the high art of lunching. But I do have difficulty meeting my own food needs within this framework and frankly I have plum run out of ideas on how to cope. They know I am on some sort of crazy diet and I did make the mistake of eating a main dish of chicken once. So now I often hear, “Well, we know you’ll eat chicken, dear” which they serve me at every opportunity. Oy! I won’t make a mistake like that again.
My usual tactic is to try to dodge the lunch hour... which is anywhere from 10:30 to 2:00 by their standards... if we have a meeting in that time frame I know I will have to deal with the Lunch Ladies, too. Sometimes I can prepare myself by eating a large breakfast and having a substantial snack mid morning and just a salad for lunch, and it is quite easy to pick out tomatoes, olives, and other avoids from a salad. But sometimes I am caught unawares by the Lunch Ladies, thinking I have dodged a bullet with an early morning meeting and, Oh no!!! It’s 10:31!! Now they are goiing to take me out for lunch!! And I am not prepared!!! Which means a salad is just not going to cut it.
The worst is when they want to treat me to a “nice” lunch and the “Oh, you MUST try the Chicken Cacciatore, it has the most excellent tomato sauce”, and I find myself struggling with meeting my own needs as best I can and, well, trying to please them. They are a bit older than me, you see, and, remind me alot of my own mother and grandmother. So I feel the need to “eat” in their presence... clean my plate, as it were, as if I was a child and not the grown woman that I am. Funny, huh. Issues with food often run deep.
So, I will keep plugging away at this one, forging ahead to find the clear space at the end. And maybe just grow up a little bit more in the process.
Lately, I’m having to live with a lot more stress than I would like in my life. Some of it is good stress... my office is moving to a beautiful location where there is opportunity to network with other arts organizations, we’re receiving more funding and are quite busy with many new programs and developments on the horizon. My husband’s business is on the rise once again after several years of barely surviving in the depressed economy of our region plus he has several performing gigs coming up. But our family is going through some rough spots - our recent bout of sickness, both boys facing major transitions in their school lives next year and all the fears and anxieties that accompany that, my father is coping with major health challenges, plus the everyday stresses of raising a family... any of this sound familiar? I bet it does.
All together, it just feels like too much.
So how does one cope? The first thing I do is to take a look at my eating habits. Even when I am stressed, it is still quite easy to avoid the avoids. Where I fall apart is in getting the right proportions and have a tendency to eat too many carbs and not enough vegetables, and looking for fast meals rather than taking the time to prepare a balanced meal. Making a commitment to schedule time each day for food preparation is a must. This can be difficult for me as I enjoy being more spontaneous and really enjoy food when it is something I feel like eating/preparing, rather than following a prescribed schedule. But scheduling does work best when I am over-extended and crunched for time.
I also increase my vitamin/ mineral intake, and look at incorporating more of the stress protocols. I find magnesium to be a key mineral in many ways, and certainly beneficial during stressful times.
And exercise... these are times when I must do yoga several times a week, and incorporate time away from family and responsibilities, even if only a few minutes a day, and try to squeeze in larger chunks when I can. I find my need for aerobic activity actually decreases when stress mounts, and I do not have the stamina I normally do. Going light on the cardio is quite beneficial.
Although seemingly paradoxical to the desire for alone time, I also need to find time to connect one on one with others. Today, I took my teenager, who is navigating some rough waters in his life, on one of my favorite hikes. I enjoyed it immensely... and even though I did this “for him” to have time with his mother, I realized I equally needed this “for me”. Funny how that works sometimes. We also went way too far on this trail, a total of 6 miles up and back with a elevation gain of over 1000 feet. But it was just sooo beautiful and we were having a wonderful time together. OK, I’ll work on letting up on the cardio next week.
We took some pictures from the trail of some of my favorite views, plus a couple of myself and my son, click here and then click on the links on the page for the pics.
Here’s hoping there is smooth sailing ahead... and enough coping skills for the inevitable rough waters.