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Seven Deadly Sins Challenge December 8, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Mindfulness.

Andi has been working her way through the Seven Deadly Sins.  She’s covered Vanity and Envy and is about to tackle Lust.

Will she be able to wrestle it into submission? 

Debra posted the Buddha’s perspective on Envy this morning over on Dragonfly Road:

Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind. ~ The Buddha

Lyndatjie discussed Cinderella’s wicked stepmother and Envy on her blog today in an amusing post, Fairy Tales Can Cause Brain Damage.

Linda pulled all this discussion of sin together when she shared the Seven Deadly Sins Challenge on her blog,  BooksPhotographsAndArtwork, this morning.

Here’s the Challenge:

Each day take one of the Seven Deadly Sins and create a list that relates to you:

Day 1 ~ Vanity:  Seven great things about yourself.
Day 2 ~ Gluttony:  Seven guilty pleasures.
Day 3 ~ Avarice (Greed):  Seven worldly material desires.
Day 4 ~ Sloth:  Seven things you neglect to do.
Day 5 ~ Envy:  Seven things you lack and covet.
Day 6 ~ Wrath:  Seven things that piss you off.
Day 7 ~ Lust:  Seven love secrets

Whether we keep our lists secret, or share them with others, completing the Seven Deadly Sin Challenge encourages us to be mindful and aware of who we are and whether we are becoming who we want to be.

Oh . . . Me?

I’m delighted that Happiness is not one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Quote: Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point. ~ C.S. Lewis

Related posts:  Robin Hood & The Green Eyed Monster * King John’s Not-So-Hidden Motivations

Transformation and Reclamation December 8, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Magick & Mystery, Mindfulness, Writing & Writers.
Cover of
Cover of A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is the only book I’ve read more times than you can count (if you don’t count The Grinch or Green Eggs and Ham).

It’s also the movie I’ve watched and re-watched more than any other film, in many enchanting incarnations, starring George C. Scott, Patrick Stewart, Mr. Magoo, Alastair Sim, Albert Finney, Reginald Owens, Henry Winkler, Jim Carrey, Sir Seymour Hicks, and, even, Bill Murray.

Notably absent from my list . . . The Muppets’ Christmas Carol.  

A serious omission, indeed. 

* * * * * 

A Christmas Carol starts “slowly” with a dead partner, seven years in the grave, and a sour Scrooge in his counting house.

As Scrooge plays with piles of money and columns of figures, we meet Bob Cratchit (Scrooge’s long-suffering “clark”), Fred (Scrooge’s kind-hearted nephew), and various and assorted minor characters as they interact with the hard-hearted Scrooge.  

The real action doesn’t begin until the Ghost of Christmas Past arrives on stage.  Until that point, there is “more of gravy than of grave” for readers to chew upon and digest as Dickens whets our appetites.  

As he sets the stage for this engaging Christmas Feast, Dickens gives audience members a taste of the bitterness which consumes Scrooge in his interactions with the world.  Once we’ve had our fill of Scrooge, Dickens begins introducing us to ghostly spectres:

* A door-knocker morphs into Scrooge’s “dead as a door-nail” partner, Marley.
* Marley’s ghost appears amid the clanging of the chains he forged in life.
* Scrooge greets Marley’s ghost with a “Bah” and a “Humbug!”

By the time Marley offers Scrooge a chance to avoid a fate worse than death, readers are ready for the main act (and action) to begin . . .

This setting of the stage is necessary if we are to understand the full force and effect of Scrooge’s miraculous transformation ~ the audience must know who Scrooge was before they can comprehend the extent of the transformation wrought by his spectral visitors. 

If Dickens had rushed to serve the main course, by commencing with the arrival of the Ghost of Christmas Past, the book would be a “classic fail” (not a classic tale) because audience members would have no frame of reference within which to evaluate Scrooge’s heart-felt pronouncement at the end of the last visitation: 

Spirit!  Hear me!  I am not the man I was.  I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse.  

Why show me this, if I am past all hope?

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.  I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.  The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.  I will not shut out the lessons they teach. 

I never tire of Dickens’s wonderful Christmas Carol.  I don’t need to re-watch or re-read it to figure out how the trio of ghostly spectres will bring about the intended transformation . . . I already know that (and have most, if not all, the dialogue memorized).

Instead, it’s the masterful telling of the tale that keeps audience members like me coming back for second, third, and fourth helpings: 

As Dickens shares Scrooge’s story, he evokes emotions in the audience that are “more than usually desirable . . . at this festive season of the year.”

Related posts:  100 Books * 10 Holiday Classics * The Clean Book(Plate) Club *  A Sunset Dinner Cruise * Austen & Dickens Had It Easy

Food & Fitness: Holiday “Diet” Tips December 8, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Vegetarian Recipes.

I hate the word DIET.  It starts with the word DIE and that’s exactly how many feel when DIE-ting . . . as if we’re DIE-ing.

But He Who Must Be Fed is 6 feet tall and needs manly meals.  I am just over 5 feet tall and need NOT to feel deprived.

I don’t want to watch He Who Must Be Fed eating a dinner on a turkey platter while I graze on a small salad plate.

Trying to sustain myself with TINY portions would make me angry with H W M B F  for being able to eat anything that suits his fancy without gaining weight.

What works for me is to take a reasonable portion of whatever H W M B F is having ~ be it macaroni and cheese, lasagna, pizza, or any other calorie dense main course ~ and fill the rest of my plate with low calorie, high fiber foods that fill me up without filling me out.

So, I tend to have one slice of pizza, while filling the rest of my plate with cut up fruit and/or crudités (a more appetizing way of saying “raw veggies”).

If I had to fix raw veggies or fruit when in the throes of hunger, I would just reach for an extra slice of pizza.  So, I try to fill the fridge with produce that is ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Instead of washing and cutting up a rib or two of celery for a single meal, I prepare several ribs at a time, and keep them in containers stacked in the fridge along with carrot sticks, sliced red peppers, and cucumber.

Some fruits are easy to prepare on a moment’s notice ~ it’s easy enough to wash and slice an apple, or to peel a banana, to fill up one’s plate.  But other fruit is easier to incorporate into your meals if you fix it in large batches.

I buy whole watermelon, and cut up about half of it at a time, storing the cubed fruit in large, see-through containers in the fridge.

Same thing with whole cantaloupe or honeydew melon.

Or I make a fruit salad by combining a couple of apples, a couple of oranges, and some grapes with a can of pineapple (packed in its own juice).  The pineapple juice keeps the apples from turning brown and keeps all the fruit tasting fresh.

Because the fruit and raw veggies are already washed, and ready to serve, it is easy to put a low calorie, high fiber meal together for me, while H W M B F  indulges himself on pizza.

Other easy substitutions:

* Instead of salad, saturated with high calorie dressing, fill your plate with steamed broccoli sprinkled with a bit of garlic salt, or green beans seasoned with salt and pepper.

When eaten alongside of creamy macaroni and cheese, or cheesy lasagna, plain veggies taste wonderful and filling.

* Eat whole grain pasta (check the fiber content on the box), brown rice, and whole wheat bread, instead of plain white rice, white bread, or low fiber pasta.  The fiber fills you up (and empties you out) with greater efficiency than grains that have been stripped of their nutrients and fiber.

Make meatless meals:

* Instead of lasagna with meat sauce, make veggie lasagne with broccoli, grated carrot, spinach, or zucchini.

* Instead of papering a pizza with piles of pepperoni, cover it with strips of red, green, and yellow peppers.

* Make a delicious vegetarian chili with black, pinto, or kidney beans.

* Purée garbanzo beans into Hummus, for a low calorie, high fiber dip.

The most dangerous time of my dining day arrives AFTER dinner.

If I am typing in my office, talking on the phone, writing a letter, or reading a book, I avoid consuming empty calories in the evening.

In contrast, if I’m watching a  movie with H W M B F, it’s  easy to mindlessly munch on chips, chocolate, nuts, and ice cream . . . and double my caloric intake for the day.

My solution?

I don’t have one.  Sorry.

Mmm . . . chocolate.  


Actually, here’s a tip that might work:  M~I~N~T!

A minty taste in your mouth will make most junk food taste terrible:  Brush your teeth, chew mint gum, or suck on a peppermint candy.

Mmm . . . mint chocolate.

Related posts:  Holiday Parties * Top 10 Ways to Keep the Weight OFF * A Month of Meatless Meals * Lose Weight by Satisfying your True Hunger