Santa Bebe Came Into Town!

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Yesterday was Christmas 2015. In our household, that means, first and foremost, “Santa Comes into Town,” per Child of Mine aka COM.
Yes, He still believes in Santa, I let him play along, or he is he making me play along! I am beginning to wonder, who is fooling who?
Oh well!

As well, Christmas is a day my family, who believe that, Jesus Christ is born and comes to bless their loves. So, I honor them with the privilege of being with them in spirit. I grew up in a Christian household, and we got gifted on Christmas with new clothes, shoes, and feasted on all sorts of special foods and treats on this day!

For 2015, we spent Christmas Day at the Lakshmi Cow and Animal Sanctuary in Bangor, Pennsylvania, a 30-minute ride from where we live. We signed up to volunteer to feed the animals, and share a meatless potluck lunch. We also volunteered to carry a dish/es with us. Everybody we hung out with, we were meeting for the first time. But we did not feel like strangers.

In fact, from the time at the Animal Sanctuary, I learned two things:

  1. I am a small god; my conscious and soul is that which makes me.
    I had never thought of myself as a “small god”; I call myself “a human,” and that’s the way I live my life. I believe in the notion of communitarianism, human living, I believe in Karma, in horoscopes, zodiac signs. I believe that we are the pioneers of our own lives.

Still, I will embrace my new-found realization that, “I am a small god,” because I believe our conscious guides our every action or inaction, thoughts or pronouncements. Our conscious cannot let us rest happily, whenever we are not representing ourselves or our social relations as we should.

  1. If I refuse to smile, I refuse to see positive about myself, and deny to live the beauty of life. I get myself stuck in negativity, stress, depression and agony. [Well, I knew that, but I guess I simply refuse to practice it. That was my mantra in 2013 —time has taken its toll on me. Challenge 2016

Well, I learned a couple of more things

  1. Just because you are Hindu Indians does not mean you are not scared of cows. Quite like the common stereo type that, “Africans live in perfect harmony, with no fear of animals or bugs, because, “They are Africans, duh!” I was shocked on seeing our Hindu lunch-mates running away from cows, while COM and I got into their face, up and close, feeding and patting them!
  2. Cows eat rice, they eat watermelon, they eat carrots, they eat bananas. Cows eat the same foods at humans. They eat cookies as well! Oh! Do not feed cows, by throwing food on the ground or in the dung; it is dirty and will get them sick!
  3. When a cow grows old or dies, do not ask, if it is slaughtered for food. It is buried or cremated. I had to bite my tongue, and not talk about those yummy beef cows in Uganda, that also give us Mulokoni [soup from cow hooves], hide for mats, and accessories, horns for decoration and accessories too, and lots of milk.
  4. By the way, cows farms exercise preferential treatment of their cows! Those who specialize in beef or milk cows do not keep newborn calves, but pass them onto other farms happy to take care of them.
  5. Turns out, I do not have to schlep myself all the way to an Ashram in India for a mom-free retreat, when there is one in my neighborhood, called Aisha Vidya Gurukulam! They’ve got classes for kids, as well, on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month. Me thinks, at my convenience! I might have to check that out.

I am re-living the fact that:

  1. Children bring blessings. Plenty of COM’s Christmas gifts this year were courtesy of my BFF, and golden Aunty Jude. And thanks to Cyber Monday, if at all there was any difference in price! Yes, I contributed, but I cannot thank my BFF enough for her kindest generosity; she always comes through! Living proof, you don’t need religion to do good, if you have a human heart!
  2.  Surprises are always welcome and greatly appreciated! Child procrastinated on writing his “Dear Santa List,”Christmas and thought he was not getting any gifts. Then Christmas morning he climbs upstairs, face to face with a living room full of gifts! He loved all his gifts, so he said, when I asked him. No special preferences!
    He was animated about plenty of the gifts, “No! No way! It’s a Wii U control [from his Dad]…Now I can play with Cole!”
    “Minecraft Legos! We can build together, mommy,” immediately co-opting me.
    But then he saw The Guitar, “This is all I ever wanted!”
  3. Live Life freely, wildly and be earthy! Don’t ever be afraid to try something new. In fact, take your child to venture out with you. If it is to feed animals on a rural farm on Christmas Day, go for it. Meatless potlucks, partake, and bring a dish! Hang out with retirees, like you are one of them; there will always be commonalities — running, gym, health eating, and vegetarianism. Experience is the best teacher!
  4. Always prepared to be flexible. Allow another person to dictate your schedule, sometime. Done with the Christmas Day, I planned to pat myself on the back and pop my collar for my “Santa Hat-trick,” settle down, sip my ginger tea, and read 109 pages of #JanetHalley’s Genealogy of #FamilyLaw.

Child of Mine had other plans, to drag me into building a Minecraft Lego City. I went in kicking and screaming, but in fact enjoyed becoming a “Minecraft Lego City Builder,” earned a “Stamp of Approval,” and very much enjoyed learning to lego- and Minecraft-away! Learning never stops!

I guess my biggest challenge is gonna be, returning to myself. Saying no to all the luring things that are not good to this body. It is gonna take 20 lbs under, to measure success — I literally need to tuck away that much! Yes, I am sick and tired of seeing this face, and have to drop it. I cannot give up on myself! Never!

And throughout all my experiences, I reconnected with the value of keeping positive, and letting positivity surround you. Yet, I still heartily believe that it is ok to share one’s sorrow and sadness, as a phase in life, a true testament of the human spirit and beacon of hope and optimism that things will always get better!

This is to hoping that everybody, near and far, had a fabulous Christmas Day. Let us continue to give, let us continue to love, and be loved. Celebrate!

World Food Gatherers – Acorns are Just for Squirrels! 

No wonder, I am always jealous of the squirrels! Especially in the Fall season Particularly, when I see them enjoying the Acorns. I always knew, I was missing out. Ignorance is so faminizing!

Processed with Moldiv

Processed with Moldiv

See, I am a wild food hunter-gatherer. I am not afraid to venture out and scout for any food growing wildly; I don’t spare trees, no shrubs or weeds or soils. It is a reflection of my upbringing and nutritional diet.

I was born in the Pearl of Africa. Our family grew our own food, as well as partook of what nature freely provided. When we got sick, my mom would comb the bushes and trees for leaves, shrubs and grasses to cure all sorts of ailments like, fever, malaria, cough or cold, stomach pains and aches, headache, cuts or burns. You name it, she knew and found the medicine, employing the knowledge passed down to her by her mother and her mother’s mother.

As kids, we enjoyed fruits growing wildly on trees, beyond our backyard, such as, mangos, gooseberries, guavas, jackfruit, and plenty more I don’t know by English name. Soil and clay were not spared, either. Property ownership was to “The Commons”, not the now predominant individualized possession, which has overtaken communities, including in my origin.

To date, I am still a naturalist. Forget organic, the “post-modernist” newly found love for all things non-GMO! Funny enough, some “non-GMO” obsessive compulsives, denigrate wild foods as ‘unhealthy’ and ‘unsafe’ to eat. I call that ignorance!

Take for instance, an incident that happened last fall, while out on a group hike in our neighborhood big State Park. Along the hike in the woods, I stopped with Child Of Mine and his two cousins to pick and eat blueberries straight from the tree. One self-avowed “Mother Nature Keeper” expressed great shock that we were eating “unwashed wild fruits”! I thought to myself, what’s the worst that would happen? Guess what, we didn’t die!

Yet, she’s not alone with that form kind of ignorance. Several of my social relations have frown upon me picking apples, pears or peaches that grow freely on trees in my neighborhood. Undeterred, I still pick wild Dandelion, good for tea, salad, and a constipation remedy. I enjoy crops of wild mint for my tea and salad, blackberries and more in my backyard!

Ironically, I am often sternly cautioned that the fruits and shrubs might contain pesticides, by those whose “Organic” fruits comes from grocery stores, whose main source they have no clue about! Btw, one of the grocery store suppliers failed to give a straight up response, when I asked if and how the eggplant I bought from their store, could be “seedless” and still “organic”? I stopped buying their brand.

So, as I ate the “O-chestnuts” I bought from the grocery store, a thought crossed my mind that should ask Siri,”If, acorns are good for human consumption?” Voila!

Sorry neighborhood squirrels, may the eating competition begin! Hello trees in our yard; here I come!  With empty bags and buckets, COM and I are gonna pick, crush, roast and grind acorns this weekend. For all kinds of recipes — paste, pie filling, soup, pudding, flour, or just roasted stone of acorn. And since we’ll be picking from the ground, I am hoping they’ll dried and good to go.

It’s the Fall y’all! Let’s enjoy the Fall Harvest wild food hunter gatherers! Scavenger hunt