Still no knitting happening here. I've been working on Owen's stocking:
Here's a close-up:
It's even cuter now that Santa has a head. As soon as this is done, I'm starting on the felt Advent Calendar and then Sydney's Sugarplum Fairy stocking, which I may have to completely wing since the replacement instructions have not arrived in the mail as promised...
I also spent much of the week furiously sewing Halloween costumes. I managed to finish everything on time and both kids were adorable as could be.
Aren't they cute (and can you believe I made them)? Of course, it couldn't be Halloween without someone getting sick. Sydney went to bed with a fever on Friday night but managed to rally for trick-or-treating (fortunately, an activity that doesn't involve much spreading of germs - I made sure she didn't stick her hands into any bowls of candy). She's still really sick but at least doesn't seem to be getting worse. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop and for Owen to get the fever. So far, so good, but it's always just a matter of time with these two (what one gets, so does the other).
The week was so hectic I didn't get a chance to do much interesting cooking or baking, but I did make cream scones from Alice Waters' Art of Simple Food for breakfast yesterday. They took literally 5 minutes to stir up and were really yummy. I also spent much of the afternoon yesterday jarring up and pressure canning a 10-lb tuna I got from a local fisherman a few weeks ago. My foodie friend Chris and her husband helped me through the process, thank goodness (Mike knows his way around a fish - something that I, having been raised vegetarian, most definitely do not). There's nothing more intimidating than a giant dead fish staring at you with its glassy little eye (in this case, the eye was bigger than a quarter - not so little!). I actually had two fish, but the second turned out to be too far gone. Mike buried it in their backyard, where hopefully it will turn into some awesome compost in a few years. It was sad to not be able to eat any of that gorgeous fish.
Interestingly, the subject of fish was the second topic on Fresh Air this afternoon on NPR. There was a sustainable fishing expert on as Teri's guest, talking about how incredibly devastating our current factory fishing industry is. They basically go out on these giant ships and locate the schools of fish using the same technology the navy uses to locate submarines. There's no guesswork or "Perfect Storm"-type marriage of fishermen and the sea - it's very precise and incredibly hard on the ocean ecosystem. I was reminded of how lucky we are to live here in the Pacific NW where we can go to the coast and get sustainably-caught seafood from local fisherman. Oregon has the only certified sustainable shrimpery in the world. Even better, our local grocery store, New Seasons, marks all their fish based on sustainability criteria (they have green - good to go, yellow - okay in moderation but with some potential health/sustainability issues, red - avoid), making it really easy to see at a quick glance what the best options are when you're at the meat counter. Have I mentioned before how much I adore New Seasons?
I had another interesting experience last night, when I attended my first Buddhist meditation session at a center in SE Portland. I didn't stay for the whole thing since I was worried about my sick girl (and Bill was nursing a pinched nerve in his neck all weekend - fortunately that seems to have dissipated), but I'm seeing so much possibility in meditation practice. A few weeks ago, on a whim, I checked The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buddhism out of the library. Several years ago, my mom went with us to Hawaii for a week and found a little orange book, like a Buddhist version of the Gideon Bible, in her hotel's nightstand. She read it and told me how fascinating and insightful she thought it was. I wasn't really at a place in my life where I was interested or ready, but I must've filed that thought away until something brought it to the surface recently (no idea what - I can't remember exactly why I was inspired to check that book out).
I haven't talked much about this, but I've suffered from depression off and on (pretty severely at times) since Sydney was born. I've been on and off of Zoloft, and for awhile I was resigned to the fact that I'd just be on it forever, like an insulin-dependent diabetic. Then, I read The Omega-3 Connection, which is by a researcher who has experienced great success treating psychological conditions like depression, anxiety, ADHD and even schizophrenia with fish oil. His theory is that our modern diet, which is extremely low in Omega-3 oils (in particular, DHA, which is almost exclusively available from oily fish), is to blame for much of the increase in these mental illnesses. He noted that pregnancy and breastfeeding in particular depletes the mother of Omega-3s because the baby takes what it needs. If the mother doesn't have an adequate reserve, the baby will totally drain her, resulting in issues like PPD (post-partum depression). When I read this, it made so much sense. I've been taking fish oil supplements for about a month now and I feel fantastic.
In looking around for other ways to feel better without Big Pharm, I stumbled across yoga (which I used to do all the time but haven't regularly since I was pregnant with sydney) and meditation. Meditation naturally led to Buddhism, and after I read a little bit about Buddhist philosophy, it made so much sense I had to check it out for myself. One of the things I really like about it is that it's more philosophy than religion. I'd always assumed it was some sort of mysticism with one or more deities, but in fact Buddhists don't really worship any higher power (beyond one's own mind and the natural Buddha nature therein). There's so much potential there for getting rid of the negative, harmful thinking that my depression and anxiety really feed off of. I'm still at the point where it doesn't all make perfect sense, but I'm ready to learn! I figure it can't hurt...
Check back next week, same time, same station, for more cooking, baking, sewing, mental health-improving (and maybe even knitting - !) fun with the Gardiner family. Happy November!