Thursday, April 22, 2010

6th Day of Fasting

Yesterday was the 6th and final day of my fast, and the day i broke it. i felt pretty even-keel that day, but i was excited to eat again. at around 4 pm i cooked some vegetable soup. i used fresh parsley and kale that had overwintered in our garden.

Strangely, eating after 5 days wasn't quite as triumphant-feeling as i thought it would be. it just felt normal. though i was only supposed to eat the soup that day, my tummy kept wanting more. it was hard to know when i was really full. i knew i shouldn't overstuff myself, but i ate some roasted seaweed, many handfuls of raw pecans, and half an apple. my tummy was grumbling like crazy the whole night, trying to process so much.

This morning i only craved another glass of lemonade. i think i ate a bit too much last night. i feel fine, but not bursting with energy the way that some fasters seem to feel.

Early this morning i woke up with several thoughts running through my head. This fast has been helpful in showing me a different way of thinking, and of putting together pieces of a puzzle i've been trying to solve. Originally, i wanted to go on this fast to detoxify as i felt sluggish and unmotivated. i have always had trouble focusing, and i'm a major procrastinator and worry-wart. During this fast, i felt oddly "normal." i didn't feel anxious or over-worried as i usually do. my moods were more stabilized. this makes me realize that i need to keep a better watch over my blood sugar dropping. during the fast, i could tell everytime i needed more lemonade because i would become suddenly irritated and angry. once i drank the lemonade i felt better. i believe that i have internalized a lot of these negative feelings that may have a large part to do with my metabolism and blood sugar levels. Maybe because this fast focused my attention so much on elimination of bodily waste, it was easy to see these negative thoughts similarly as "invaders," separate entities that enter into my mind and become stored inside my body as pent-up irritation. i've resolved to practice letting go immediately. Also, maybe just the simplified practice of drinking lemonade helped clear my mind and allowed me to focus on the fasting without thinking about too much else. i became a bit weaker through this fast, so it may have given me only enough energy to be aware of the fast.

another realization is that much of my hang-ups about food come from a deep-rooted fear of "not having enough" - physically, emotionally, financially. i think i've always been like this. it makes me act selfishly at times, and feel like i need to hold onto things for fear that i'll lose them or will never have another opportunity to have them. i think this feeling has impacted me negatively my whole life. i've read that if you want to experience abundance, you need to practice abundance. i had been trying to do that more consciously ever since the new year, but this realization compounds it.

and the last realization leads me to why i have trouble focusing. this doesn't have to do specifically with the fast, but i believe something about the process helped me to figure it out. it's not so much that i don't have enough energy, as i first believed, but that i MISUSE my energy. i divert it through anxiety, worrying, and distraction. the reason that i divert my energy is that i become overwhelmed very easily. i am not a good multi-tasker. i have always been jealous of others who seem to do many things at once so easily. i used to think this was something i should just get better at. but i have to accept that my strengths lie in different areas, and i need to develop those strengths. i am much better at doing one thing at a time. it takes me way too much energy to switch gears constantly. i believe this is the reason i am so detail-oriented. it allows me to focus much more fixedly. if i have too many things i need to do, it's like my brain just shuts down and i can't deal with anything. I decided that i need a way of organizing my thoughts to streamline my tasks so that i don't get overwhelmed. so far i haven't quite found a system of doing that, so i am searching around for one. but it feels good to know that i've found the root of the problem, and i can begin to work on it constructively.

Ever since beginning teaching at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, i have been sometimes overwhelmed at the prospect of teaching and all the planning it involves. there have been times i've freaked out and felt like i simply couldn't do it. but one thing that helped was to simply sit down and actively try to solve "the problem" - write lists of the materials i'll need, brainstorm on class ideas, and call people if i need help. this very basic way of tackling problems has been so much more helpful than simply beating myself up for not feeling capable right away. i AM capable. I just feel afraid sometimes.

anyway, this has been a rather long post. but i felt it was important for me to get these thoughts down. hope everyone's having a great day. time to go to the grocery store and get some cat food for Dozer. Here's a picture of him jumping on me when he wants to tell me something.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

5th Day of the Fast

yesterday was definitely the worst in terms of feeling cruddy. later that night my body temperature dropped a lot - i was so cold! i fantasized about eating warm soup. i also fantasized about eating some pecans - anything with some healthy fats in it. i got the hiccups, which was making me slightly nauseous as it was causing all the fluids in my stomach to jump around. I know it's normal to to get sick during the fast, but when you're already run-down it's easy to feel frightened that something is going wrong. for the first time since starting the fast, my stomach felt SO EMPTY. it felt so scary.

this morning i felt better, no sore throat and more energy. i had hiccups throughout the day, which is strange. i wonder why and if anyone else has had this reaction. i know i could continue on this fast longer, as i think the 4th day was probably the worst. but i decided to do my "Ease-Out" phase of fasting this afternoon. i started drinking the fresh-squeezed orange juice. tomorrow i will drink more orange juice and then cook a soup in the evening! i will eat mostly the broth, but it will be nice :) i guess that i have wimpy willpower. i know that sometime in the future i will try the fast again, maybe make it a yearly thing. if i can increase my duration each time, i will be happy.

i went to the grocery story today to get the oranges and some vegetables for soup and salad. i was very tempted by all the food i saw! i feel like i've lost some of the mental strength i had before because i'm totally obsessed about all the meals i want to make and the deliciousness of food. Though i eat pretty healthy, i'm definitely thinking of how good everything will taste! Evan's grandma is going to take us out to lunch next monday, so i am really looking forward to eating at Kuba Kuba, an awesome cuban restaurant in Richmond. last time i got huevos rancheros and tostones (fried plantains).

i was reading a Master Cleanse forum and  i found an absolutely delicious-sounding recipe for a raw "soup." i have not tried many raw food recipes before, but it makes me curious about getting a raw cookbook. i will post a pic when i make this soup.

This recipe is from The Complete Book of Raw Food~ Lori Baird, editor

Abeba and Anna's It's Really Soup:
serves 8 to 10 people

10 to 11 fresh Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 red or yellow onion, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
fresh basil to taste
fresh dill to taste
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Celtic sea salt to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 to 1/4 cup raisins
1 to 2 red bell peppers
1/4 jalapeno pepper (optional) (i used habenero because i love spicy!)
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped then divided
1 avacado cubed
1 ear of corn cut from the cob
1/2 sweet yellow pepper
finely chopped parsley for garnish

In a blender combine 6 of the tomatoes with the onion, garlic, basil, dill, lemon juice, sea salt, olive oil, raisins, red bell pepper, jalapeno, and 1/2 cup water.
Blend well.

Add 1/2 cup of the sun dried tomatoes, a little at a time. Blend well.

In a large bowl, combine the avocado, remaining fresh and dried tomatoes, corn and the sweet yellow pepper. Pour the blended mixture over the chopped veggies and stir well. Garnish with parsley.

and here's a pic of some yummy food i made last summer, as a celebration of food! it's a tofu scramble with cornbread and soy sausage. quite delicious.

Spring Bada Bing

hello folks,

here are some pictures from the Spring Bada Bing show at Plant Zero in Richmond. the photo of me is slightly blurry, but i liked the flowery dress i had on - it was so spring-like. i hardly ever dress up, so it was a nice change.

and here are some of the new pins i made for the show: Commodity Pins made using gel transfers of xeroxes of vintage food products, and Flower Pins made from hand-cut paper. i had fun making those.

the show had lots of great vendors. one of my favorites was an artist named Jaime Zollars. she had some beautiful silkscreen prints for sale.

thanks everyone who came out! it was nice to see some new and familiar faces.

Monday, April 19, 2010

4th Day of Fasting

i don't know how many people are actually reading my entries about fasting, but i like to write them down so i can look back and remember how i felt.

last night i started to feel a bit itchy on my face, and my throat felt a bit sore. during the night i didn't sleep well, and i woke up at about 5 am and felt incredibly weak and thirsty, like how it feels when you have the flu. in the morning i had a couple glasses of lemonade, and then went back to sleep until 2 pm. when i got up again, i felt better but still flu-like. i read that usually on the 4th day, the detoxification process happens more drastically. It's common to get rashes or cold symptoms as the toxins are eliminated (the body is fighting off the toxins as it would fight off disease).

last night was interesting because i felt a lot of fears and anger, and for the first time was able to look at them objectively as thoughts that enter into my body and mind. i realized i can choose to release the negative emotions right away instead of storing them in my body. i felt a lot of instinctual fears - fear of people being angry at me, fear of starving, being sick, even dying. i know that i wasn't going to die last night, but i was aware of how strongly my body's survival mode can kick in, in order to protect itself. i felt i was being challenged strongly by my own self, and had to be very self-aware in order to get through the night. in that way, it was a strange night, but extremely powerful. and not to get too into the graphic details of my bowel movements, but i do believe i'm eliminating a lot of old crap that has been sitting inside me for a long time.

i've decided to make my fast only 5 days long, so tomorrow will be my last true day of fasting before i ease-out into other fruit juices and vegetables. but we'll see how i feel tomorrow, i may want to continue. i know it is recommended to do 10 days, but i don't know if i'm ready for it yet. i will try the 10 days another time, maybe at the end of the summer.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

3rd Day of Fasting

so today was my third day fasting. i also did the "Spring Bada Bing" craft show at Plant Zero (i will post some pictures of that soon).

on my first day, i was considering stopping the fast early. but when i woke up the second morning, my mind felt clear and something in me did not want to eat normally as usual. i don't know if this was a physical or spiritual need, maybe both. but i wanted to continue the fast, so i did. i felt a bit light-headed and tired as i had the day before, but i didn't crave food like the first day. maybe because i stayed in most of the day preparing for the craft show and wasn't tempted by too much food distraction. i found that the mornings were harder, and that by evening i would feel better and not even need to drink quite as much lemonade.

this morning i felt absolutely fine, no hunger and no light-headedness. i didn't crave food at all. i had been a little worried about being on the fast and doing a craft show at the same time, but it was all good. and i didn't get quite as worked up and irritable as i usually do before a craft show. my boyfriend said i've been less moody since doing the fast, and i think that's true. he said that before i probably got moody from my blood sugar crashing more rapidly from eating sweets or food, but the lemonade drink keeps my blood sugar steady. whenever i do get irritable, i drink more of the lemonade and feel fine.

some realizations: i think that i have been chronically dehydrated, so this fast has been great for me. i don't wake up with a very dry mouth like before. also, i have a lot of psychological attachments to food, and i'm one of those people that "live to eat," not "eat to live." i use food to comfort myself, and i often eat more than i really need to. i am not overweight and i would consider my normal diet very healthy, yet sometimes i forget that food is for nourishment primarily, pleasure second. i think that when i start eating again, i will have a better attitude towards food and i will appreciate its role in my life even more. i will try not to over-eat. this fast has shown me that my body is an amazing thing, and that i will not starve if i eat a little less than normal. if i eat healthy, balanced foods, my body will be capable of extracting the nutrients it needs without having to go overboard.

good night!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Going on a Lemonade Fast

today was the first day of my "Master Cleanse" fast. you can find more info about it here. i first heard about this fast from my dad, who had a pamphlet describing the method. basically, you drink 6 - 12 glasses of a beverage made of fresh lemon juice, maple syrup (real maple syrup, not the fake corn syrup kind), cayenne pepper, and water. and drink plenty of water throughout the day as well. whenever you feel faint, drink more of the lemonade drink.

i've been very sluggish lately, and i want to do this fast in order to rid my body of toxins and become more energetic. several years ago,  i did the fast, and only broke it because of my "taste greed." i wasn't actually hungry, since the maple syrup provides sufficient calories and nutrients to get you through the fast. but food just tastes so good!

i was all excited to start the fast yesterday, but i decided to finish off the vegetables in my fridge first. so my boyfriend and i ate huge salads for dinner. it is recommended to do a 3-day "ease-in" where you slowly reduce your food intake. but we didn't do that.

anyway, it's almost midnight tonight and i feel fine. i felt a bit faint and light-headed during the day, but after i took a nap i felt much better. i had food cravings earlier in the day, but like i said before it wasn't so much hunger as taste-greed. and it made me realize how eating is such a huge part of my life. i love food and i cook almost everyday. around 1 pm today i started to freak out a tiny bit and wonder if i should do the fast. psychologically, i felt afraid i might starve! i don't even eat lunch until 1 pm most days, so that's just silly. Evan and i took a walk today and as we passed restaurants we kept commenting on how good the food smelled. not being able to satisfy a hunger feels wrong somehow. and scary. but people have been doing fasts for purification purposes for i don't know how long. it really takes mental discipline. all the times i would use to prepare food or take a break to eat become voids. what do i do to fill that time? honestly, not having to eat makes me feel a bit lonely. i had decided to do this fast for 10 days, but after this first day i already wanted to quit a few times. so now i'm resolving to do at least 4 days. it is recommended not to do the fast less than 10 days, but i'm just going to do the best i can.

wish me luck :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Summer Art Classes

I will be teaching several classes at the Visual Art Center of Richmond, located at 1812 W. Main St, Richmond, VA 23220. You may register online or by phone: (804) 353-0094. The Center is an amazing place with great facilities and talented instructors who are also working artists. Consider becoming a member, and you can get discounts on classes and other benefits. I am also teaching classes for children as part of the Center's summer-long youth program, ArtVenture. See the full brochure here. I will be teaching Silkscreen for ages 9 - 12 and 12 - teens, and a Paper Toys Class for ages 6 -8. 

The following descriptions are for my summer adult classes:

Carboard, Carborundum, & Jello: 
A Printmaking Introduction

This class will introduce you to fun, spontaneous printmaking processes. You will learn how to make monotypes, one-of-a-kind prints, and collagraphs, prints which are made using collage, to create prints that range from simple and graphic, to loose and painterly. Materials, plate preparation, inking methods, and printing both by hand and with a press will be taught. Beginners are welcome!

Tuition: $220 (members $205)
8 Wednesdays
June 2 - July 21
6:30 - 9:00 pm

Intro to Bookbinding: Decorative Sewn Spines

Make your own journals and books! Students will learn how to make soft and hard covers, and how to sew their books together to expose delightful patterns in thread. Projects include stab bindings, Coptic sewing, and longstitch variations. No bookbinding experience is necessary, though a little patience is required to get the hand of those stitches!

Tuition: $185 (members $170)
6 Tuesdays
June 8 - July 13th
6:30 - 9:00 pm 

Gelatin Printmaking & Postcard Workshop

This is a fun one-day workshop, great for beginners. Using water-based inks, students will use a slab of jello for their printing surface. We will experiment with hand-cut stencils and found objects to create unique, colorful images. Students will make prints and postcards to take home and swap with the rest of the class. All materials will be provided.

Tuition: $70 (members $55)

Section A
Saturday, June 12
1:00 - 3:30 pm

Section B
Saturday, June 19
1:00 - 3:30 pm

Section C
Saturday, June 26
1:00 - 3:30 pm

Spring Bada Bing!

hello local folks! (and by local, i mean Richmond, Virginia)

Come on out to the "Spring Bada-Bing: The BOSS of all craft shows," an independent artist craft show presented by the Richmond Craft Mafia. There will be over 65 vendors selling ceramics, jewelry, t-shirts, sewn goodies, prints, knits, and more! i will be vending my wares, which include original art, prints, zines, bookplates, stationery, and tees.

Sunday, April 18th 2010
11 am to 4 pm
@ Plant Zero, a creative indoor artist live-work space

Plant Zero is located at 0 E. 4th Street Richmond, VA 23224. This is directly off of Hull Street in the Manchester District of Southside Richmond. (Note: some mapping software gets confused by this address--if you encounter this problem, you can use 7 E. 3rd St, which is the secondary entrance to Plant Zero.)

hope to see you there!


hello everyone!

aside from the "Test" post, this is my first entry in the new blog. i have been planning to re-do my fine art website for quite awhile (coming soon, i promise!), and i thought i'd accompany it with a new blog since i was having trouble posting photos in my old one. if you'd like to check out posts from the old blog, go here. you can see that i did not update that one regularly, but i promise to update more often for this one. a lot has gone on in the past year and a half, so i may do a few flashback posts to show you what i've been up to. 

thanks for looking,