Monday Mood: Wake up

Satisfaction and fulfillment are essential to living your best life. You can be satisfied when you meet your own expectations. You cannot please everyone and there will always be someone who is happy with a lot less than what you have.

Words from a wise woman

Being satisfied with what we already have is a magical golden key to being alive in a full, unrestricted, and inspired way.

One of the major obstacles to what is traditionally called enlightenment is resentment, feeling cheated, holding a grudge about who you are, where you are, what you are. This is why we talk so much about making friends with ourselves, because, for some reason or other, we don’t feel that kind of satisfaction in a full and complete way.

Meditation is a process of lightening up, of trusting the basic goodness of what we have and who we are, and of realizing that any wisdom that exists, exists in what we already have. Our wisdom is all mixed up with what we call our neurosis. Our brilliance, our juiciness, our spiciness, is all mixed up with our craziness and our confusion, and therefore it doesn’t do any good to try to get rid of our so-called negative aspects, because in that process we also get rid of our basic wonderfulness.

We can lead our life so as to become more awake to who we are and what we’re doing rather than trying to improve or change or get rid of who we are or what we’re doing. The key is to wake up, to become more alert, more inquisitive and curious about ourselves.

– Pema Chodron        

 
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Decked out for Summer

June 21st – the official first day of SUMMER

Formal date aside, this year summer started more than a month earlier than expected. It’s been mostly warm and sunny since I got back to Vancouver in early May.  June is usually an iffy month for unreliable weather.  Now you never know what to expect as normal patterns everywhere are changing.  Some drastically. Most people are starting to get used to diverse changes in climate but I’m not here to talk about climate change.  It’s real and it’s happening and we all have to weather the storm (pun intended) and hope we’re not too late to save this stressed-out planet.  

Personally, if I could control the weather by a push of a button I’d have it on perpetual early Spring mode with a rain shower here and there just to break up the monotony and to make sure everything stays green.  Then I’d have it snow in the city for 3 days a year max – December 24th to the 26th.  Also, the setting for sun would never feel too hot with “0” humidity and not enough wind to throw too many dried leaves everywhere which is a pain to sweep up…again.  But sweep up I must.  And every time I do, I admire the brand new flooring on my two outdoor spaces.  I did some Spring cleaning to be Summer ready.  Starting with…

I had a vision. It came from a magazine entitled “Home and Garden.’  I prefer the clean, elegant yet simple and straight wider floor boards.

Upstairs:

Noticing that some of the wood boards were starting to rot on the upstairs deck,

My deck AFTER.  The large planter used to be right smack in the middle.  A large barbeque and outdoor fridge sit in two corners (not shown).
BEFORE the wood was narrower, lighter and on an angle.

I enlisted the services (after careful consideration) of  Khatsalano Builders who specialize in outdoor decks and patios. I like that they’re local. They were professional, managed everything on schedule as planned (contractors are notorious for not sticking to schedule) and cleaned everything up as promised.  They also helped with added extras like moving two very heavy large items for me.  Thank you Jason, Jeff, Antoine, Davin and Mike.  Great guys.

 They totally re-constructed a large 500 sq. ft. deck pulling up all the wood and replacing it with timber-tech composite flooring. It looks great now, very clean, modern and best of all…bye bye maintenance!  No staining needed from now on.  I’m super happy about that.

Why composite over wood? For sustainability purposes Timber Tech decking is made from a combination of 100% recyclable wood fibers and 73% polymers.  Even their packing materials meet the sustainable forestry Initiative requirements. They’re working to achieve the highest level of recycling in the decking industry with a goal to make 95% of all TimberTech decking from recycled materials by 2020.  Almost there.

Talk about saving trees? Over the past six years, more than one million trees have been saved because people have chosen this type of decking over natural wood. And they’ve specifically designed products to look just like exotic hardwoods like Ipe which is cut from rainforests.

Narrowing down choices to closely match wood grain of door.

Downstairs

Wood in the process of being oiled. You can really see the difference in color and grain once it’s sealed.

For the downstairs courtyard which has French doors opening up to the outside from the main living area, I considered a clean-up only.  A sanding and staining.  That was until one of the contractors stepped onto the middle of the courtyard and his shoe went right through the wood.  He didn’t intend to make a hole but let’s just say it didn’t look good after that.

 So… decided to replace the previous wood with new wood.  I really wanted wood for downstairs with the realization that every 3-5 years it will most likely have to be re-oiled.  So…sorry trees. At a little over 300 sq. ft. it’s not a large area but wow…does it ever look amazing. They did some leveling, sealed up some areas which were bare and added two lights to light the way towards  a step-up dining area.

Finished product

After narrowing down from a few samples I chose an exotic hardwood called Red Balau from tropical hardwood forests in Indonesia which are essentially public lands, managed and protected by the Government of Indonesia.

The rich reddish-brown hue is a durable hardwood that is often compared to teak but less expensive. My concern is that it be resistant to shrinkage, splintering, extreme weather conditions, decay, mold and insect attacks (you know; should that ever happen).  Better to be safe than sorry. It is. I’m very happy with the whole aesthetic of both the upper and lower spaces.

BEFORE with a wood sample from Brazil I ended up not choosing.
It is Jia Jia approved

Khatsalano Builders Website:  http://khatsahlanobuilders.com/ 

Other considerations:

I also highly recommend VanCity Washing for eco-friendly exterior power washing and cleaning.  They made my awnings look like new again.  Of course they couldn’t do anything about the fading but I had totally forgotten that my awnings had stripes until they were finished cleaning them.  Fast, friendly, efficient and cost-effective.  Justin also power washed my outdoor furniture. They use all bio-degradable supplies when pressure washing everything from walkways to windows and everything in between.

Van City Washing Website:   https://vancitywashing.ca/

Hedge Trimming and leaf blowing was from a company called Higher Ground Gardens. I had to book them a year in advance but now that I’m aware of how it works I’m booked for next year.

Hedges + Gardening:   https://highergroundgardens.com/

Lazy Layla…just because I wanted to share a recent photo.

Well that’s my Spring cleaning story.  I’m ready for Summer.  How about you?

Road Trip

I’ve been back to my Vancouver home for just over a week now and have been going through a temporary phase of running on empty.  This has happened a couple times in my life where I feel the need to retreat and renew myself and just BE.  Usually brought on by adapting to a situation…a shock to my system resulting from a minor injury, a loss or combination of these things. A need for readjustment.  Nothing major. Just paying attention. I’m also in the process of renovating my outdoor living space.  And a few other things.

So on that note I’m posting some recent pics.  And I’ll be back before you know it.

Before Leaving Palm Springs it was getting too hot.  We took the tram to cool off.

Finally made it to the top! Took the recently re-opened Tram with friend Tamara 8,000 ft. above sea level. It was a spectacular ride.  Once there we walked around the trails for a couple of hours.

DESERT X® BRINGS THE FINEST INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS TO THE COACHELLA VALLEY TO CREATE ART, ENGAGE VIEWERS, AND FOCUS ATTENTION ON THE VALLEY’S ENVIRONMENT IN A MOST DRAMATIC and ENGAGING FASHION.

Sculptures by Karen & Tony Barone – a colourful couple we keep seeing at events around town.  http://baroneart.com/about-the-artists/  photo: d. king

This sprawling outdoor art exhibition stretching over 50 miles is a MUST-SEE. Photo: Tamara Gauthier

HOLIDAY HOUSE, PALM SPRINGS

These are place settings taken at Holiday House Hotel for their Fried Chicken Friday family style dinner where reservations must be made weeks in advance.  They thought it would be funny to seat a King next to a Goddess.  Goddess was male by the way.   It was a super fun evening. Photo; d. king

Holiday House Bar. Photo: d. king.

Before driving back to Vancouver we decided to take a detour to a resort in San Diego for two nights.  Mostly to be near open water. We stayed facing Mission Bay and the beach was a five minute walk from there.  It was a welcome place for the dogs to cool off.

Photo: d. king

We stayed at the Bahia Resort. This was just outside our room. The dogs were much happier here. Layla even took a dip. Photo: d. king

Enjoying the fresh air – Photo: d. king

On the grounds of the Bahia Resort – Photo: d. king

Bahia Resort  – Photo: d. king

The grounds were very lush.

The neighborhood leading out to the beach was quaint. Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Mission Beach, San Diego. Photo: d. king

The grounds of the hotel had the most gorgeous hibiscus. Photo: d. king

On the day we were leaving we went to La Jolla for lunch.  We stopped at a local Mexican restaurant.

There’s something fishy going on.  Photo: d. king

On the road in Redding, Ca. This is Sundial Bridge.  Photo: Tamara Gauthier

I think the way Tamara took this photo is really cool.  This was outside the UNO de 50 jewelry store on El Paseo in Palm Desert.  I’m wearing the same locket (gift from the Le Chien fashion show) on my necklace as the door handle and you can see her reflection in the glass.

Photo: Tamara Gauthier

Dressed Up – Asian Salad Dressing

This is a light, easy and flavorful salad dressing – perfect for Spring.

Photo Credit: The Creative Bite

Toss with greens of your choice and chopped cabbage, Add carrot slivers, crunchy chow mein noodles, mandarin orange slices and diced chicken (optional).

Ingredients (amount shown is for two people):

  1.    3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar.
  2.    3 tablespoons soy sauce, pref. low-sodium.
  3.    1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated.
  4.    12 teaspoon fresh minced garlic.
  5.    2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil.
  6.    13 cup extra virgin olive or grape seed oil.
  7.    1 tablespoon sesame seeds, lightly toasted.
  8.    1 tablespoon scallion, chopped (green onions).

Assemble:

  1. Mix first 5 ingredients in a bowl or food processor.
  2. If using a bowl: SLOWLY drizzle in the sesame and olive, peanut or grapeseed oil, whisking constantly so that the dressing will emulsify.
  3. If using a food processor, leave it running while you drizzle in the oil.
  4. When dressing is well combined, add sesame seeds and scallions.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate and use within a week.

Place ingredients in a jar and shake well. Some like to add a little sugar for added sweetness. I prefer not to although you can also add a bit of honey if you like.

ENJOY!

Monday Mood: Written Inspiration

Joan Didion

Joan Didion with her typewriter in Brentwood, 1988 (Photograph: Nancy Ellison)

Chance and choice converge to make us who we are, and although we may mistake chance for choice, our choices are the cobblestones, hard and uneven, that pave our destiny. They are ultimately all we can answer for and point to in the architecture of our character. Joan Didion captured this with searing lucidity in defining character as “the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life” and locating in that willingness the root of self-respect.

The dismal fact is that self-respect has nothing to do with the approval of others — who are, after all, deceived easily enough; has nothing to do with reputation, which, as Rhett Butler told Scarlett O’Hara, is something people with courage can do without.

Self-respect is something that our grandparents, whether or not they had it, knew all about. They had instilled in them, young, a certain discipline, the sense that one lives by doing things one does not particularly want to do, by putting fears and doubts to one side, by weighing immediate comforts against the possibility of larger, even intangible, comforts.

To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves – there lies the great, singular power of self-respect. – Joan Didion.

Souce: Brain Pickings.

Brain Pickings is a free Sunday digest of the week’s most interesting and inspiring articles across art, science, philosophy, creativity,  books, and other strands of our search for truth, beauty, and meaning.

Full Article:

https://www.brainpickings.org/2012/05/21/joan-didion-on-self-respect/

 

 

SAMURAW; you complete me

First off, I’m not a vitamin fanatic.

I have a fairly clean vitamin protocol and don’t go overboard with what I believe is not necessary.  I like to simplify my life with not having too many bottles of vitamins (many of which I end up forgetting to take) take up too much of my sought after shelf space. However, I do believe in adding some indispensables because it’s almost impossible to eat a complete balanced daily diet.   Even if you think you are; you are not.

Which brings me to my latest addiction…SAMURAW organic complete. It’s easy because all you have to do is add one scoop to pretty much anything.  It has no taste therefore it doesn’t compete with anything else you drink such as juice or smoothies.  It’s almost impossible to believe how many vitamins/minerals  is in one little scoop. I’m proud of my brother Brad King for having formulated this product.

It was first formulated with children in mind because it’s so hard to get them to take anything.  So now there’s an adult version thankfully for us adults who never grow up and I’m really happy about that.  Just had to share the wealth of wellness.

And if that’s not enough, here’s another testimonial from none other that Dr. John Gray; Author of the famous best selling book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zft5kR5zgXE

Website:  https://www.samuraw.com/

 

Feel-good Friday: the BIGGEST little FARM

Everything has a purpose – this documentary will go to prove.  If you want to be INSPIRED YOU NEED TO SEE THIS FILM.  No excuses.

Part of the Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) lineup in January,  it’s playing in major cinemas May 10th.

Short Synopsis: Idealistic city dwellers John and Molly Chester bought a farm on arid land an hour north of Los Angeles. Their eight-year struggle to turn Apricot Lane Farms into a biodiverse Eden is chronicled in this astonishing and uplifting epic.

Watch Trailer:

https://www.firstshowing.net/2019/official-trailer-for-wonderful-documentary-the-biggest-little-farm/