Showing up

I've hardly written any blog posts this year.  Maybe you noticed. Maybe you didn't.  Its been on my mind a lot and I've thought of different reasons about why I haven't: taking a break; don't know what direction I'm going; what should I write about; I need to change things up somewhat, etc.

But the real reason is because life has changed this year.   Last August I wrote a blog post about the Prochaska stages of change.  Knowing the different stages can help you recognize why you haven't quite got where you want to be.


Here's a reminder of the 6 stages:

1. Pre-contemplation - no intention to change in the unforeseeable future
2. Contemplation - seriously thinking of change; some ambivalence
3. Preparation - intending to act in the next month; reduced ambivalence and exploration of options
4. Action - taking action through modification of behavior, experiences and environment
5. Maintenance - work to prevent relapse and consolidate gain
6. Relapse - a recurrence of the undesired behavior or elimination of a desired behavior.

Looking at the stages, since January I've definitely been in action mode.  There was no thinking about it. That was all done last year. Its all action stations. But its not been easy to modify my environment and behavior and decide what I can keep doing and what I can't do.

The two big changes this year are that I've gone back to studying and am doing another Master's degree program in Personalised Nutrition.  Also, I've started working for Ceres in Sonoma as their client manager.  I've been a volunteer liaison for Ceres in Sebastopol for 3 years now and they've just started their own satellite office in Sonoma. Its a lovely role to take on but the reality is quite different from my expectation.

The studying in particular is taking up much more time than I imagined.  So there are lots of adjustments.


But I've missed my blog and missed it as a way of connecting with you.  So I'm going to try the "showing up"  tactic for a while and see how it goes.   I remember when I first started blogging for my jewelry business in 2008….. I had no idea about blogging  and how to start, but I just showed up and tried to write.  That's where I am again now.  I'm going to try showing up more often again and see where it takes us.

What about you?  Is there something that you are trying by just committing to showing up?  Let me know and we can support each other.
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Everything is tickety-boo

Lots of lovely things this week have made me feel that everything is tickety-boo:

Happy Birthday Chui!


  • A birthday for Chui and two friends this week! 
  • singing at the beautiful, moving, and touching British Legion service for Remembrance Day and Veterans day at Grace Cathedral.  Lots of bagpipes and then red poppy petals floating down from the ceiling of the cathedral as we sing Abide with me.  
  • buying Xmas presents ready to take back to England with me
  • meeting a friend for lunch
  • book club - discussing the sweet book "Mrs Queen takes the train"
  • a fun Food as Medicine class - the photo below is from our Tuesday group, just before we tucked into the fruit of our labors: Green Tea Buddha Bowl, pumpkin gnocchi with sage and cranberries, 'cream' of mushroom soup, followed by Rosehip truffles.
  • getting excited about our trip back to England
  • planting some new veggies in our garden ready
  • eating our first home grown passion fruit
  • continued sunny days
  • A sweet card from my sister
  • hearing about Batkid in SF - so heartwarming

I do hope you are feeling tickety-boo too.

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Everything is tickety-boo

Here is this week's list of things that made me feel like everything is tickety-boo:


  • I saw the movie About Time and so got to watch Bill Nighy for two hours!  I  love Bill Nighy- definitely something about him - but I also enjoyed the movie.  The conclusion of the movie is that everything is tickety-boo.  It is my perfect movie!
  • I bought a new coat and absolutely love it.  Really unusual.  Not really practical at all - its linen, not that warm, not waterproof - but just one of those items that you love :-D
  • the Northern California fall - we are still in the mid 70's in the afternoons, the rains haven't started, the vineyards are golden and red and brown and it is just gorgeous.  I'm making the most of it as next week I go back to England.
  • laughing at Harold, our pet parrot, who has had trouble adjusting to the clock time change this week.  His "cocktail hour" - when he gets a cashew nut everyday and we come in to be with him - is always at 5pm and he just didn't get why we were keeping him waiting an hour!  We've had a few noisy hours between 4 - 5pm this week but hopefully he is slowly adjusting!  His internal clock is just too good!!!!
  • Having a great final Food as Medicine class with lovely ladies.  We've been meeting for 9 months and its been wonderful to get to know them and see the amazing changes they have made.  I'll miss them - we've had a lovely time.  They are all inspiring.
  • having the neighbors round - albeit for a "water" meeting as we share the same well - but still, it was nice for us all to get together and catch up on more than our water system!
  • eating gnocchi for the first time and loving it
  • the smell of roasting quince and cloves permeating the house
  • eating the last of this years pears...they've lasted so well and are still so delicious.  Only one left..
  • enjoying a new truffle recipe - rosehip truffles.  

 I hope your week has been tickety-boo too.  Keep looking for those positives!

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We train them young!



We had our youngest ever member of the harvest team for our merlot grape harvest this year.  Talk about training them young.  Little Evelina definitely deserved her wages! She's just 20 months old.

She harvested - the low hanging fruit:


But spent most of her time on quality control, sifting through the grapes and making sure they were up to standard.



Let's hope she comes back every year.  She'll end up being a super grape taster - predicting the best vintages, no doubt!  Thanks for all your hard work little E! xx
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Got any grapes?

When Evelina arrived just over a week ago, we learned a new song - which is the cute Youtube at the bottom of this post.  It's all about a duck that asks "got any grapes?".


All week we've been singing "waddle, waddle, waddle", etc - but the song was very apropos yesterday as we were harvesting our one ton of Merlot grapes.  Yes, we definitely did have some grapes.


Craig, Chui and Evelina all helped with the harvest - as did some singing friends of mine (even though they didn't know the "got any grapes?" song) - Carol, Andy and Jeremy.  We picked for about 3 hours - each working in pairs either side of the vines.

All the grapes went in to half ton bins and on a truck John had rented.  They then went off for their custom crush in Sonoma.

It was a lovely morning. It always feels so connecting to the earth and also to friends to work together on the land.

I know you can't wait to hear the duck song, so here it is!:

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Harvesting crew expands

Our harvesting crew is expanding:

Here is little Evelina helping pick some figs:


And also some carrots!



She's doing well in her training - with lots of different fruits and vegetables to chose.....carrots, apples, tomatoes, pears, grapes, figs,....and also some stones to add to the pot!


Its a busy week this week as we have started our grape harvest.  The Godello (white) grapes were picked at 3am yesterday - in the dark!  This is our newest grape - a Spanish white variety that no one else is growing in California.  Our first vintage from last year's crop is being bottled now, so we'll soon be able to taste it.

We will pick our one ton of Merlot for our own wine tomorrow at the much more reasonable hour of 8am!  We are picking it ourselves with some friends and family.  It's always such a lovely day.  Picking a ton isn't too much work and then we all sit down together for a harvest breakfast.


Our main harvest (20+ tons) isn't scheduled yet as it is being bought by Jackson Family Farms (of Kendall Jackson etc) and they will decide when they want it.

With her own little bucket!
What are you harvesting this week?
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Jackson: the baby snow leopard


I met little Jackson yesterday in Glen Ellen.  He is a baby snow leopard born May 22nd this year.  What a gorgeous experience to see, touch, play with and photograph this beautiful animal.


I met Jackson at a Snow Leopard Conservancy event in Glen Ellen.  We've know Dr Rodney Jackson who is the director and founder of the conservancy and his lovely wife, Darla, for several years, through a mutual friend but this is the first time we'd been to one of their events.  Rodney is the leading expert in the world on snow leopards.  A fascinating man.  He works closely with rural herders and farmers who live in areas where wild snow leopards live and whose lives are directly impacted by the leopards when they prey on their livestock. He educates the people on how to protect their livestock and live with the snow leopards, rather than killing them.   I encourage you to take a look at their website for information on where he works and what the conservancy does.  Snow leopard Conservancy


Snow leopard Jackson was named after Rodney - even though its been said that Rodney would have been a better name for the leopard!!  Jackson (junior!) came from Project Survival Cat Haven and is an ambassador for his species.  As Rodney said, its difficult for people to support the conservation of a species if they've never seen one, so he arranged for Project Survival Cat Haven to bring Jackson to meet us.  What a delight.  Those lovely spots, big eyes and huge paws definitely work their way into your heart.


It was a lovely event - nice lunch, talk on what the conservancy does etc and precious time watching a beautiful animal.  Thanks to all who arranged it and were involved.  It was a truly special experience.  I restrained myself to only 86 photos so if you want to see more than I've put here, just let me know!
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Food as medicine

It was our final Food as Medicine class today. The class has been going 10 months now.  Its been such fun.


Today, we discussed how to read food labels and what to look for, and then I offered them a system of assessing the food they eat each day, with a goal of getting 100 points a day.

Then we cooked together and on the menu was a pecan pate, bell pepper and tomato soup, dill and horseradish potato salad and chocolate mousse.  It all went down well, and a lovely and colorful, as well as tasty.



It was a lovely few hours - and I'll really miss the Tuesday class.  My Thursday class ends this week too, so the summer will be a little quieter.
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Take time to smell the "flowers on Friday"

Taking time to stop, look at, and smell flowers is something I love to do...and right now, every time I go in the bathroom, the sight of this wonderful rhododendron plant through the window just stops me in my tracks.  It is so beautiful and full of flowers!  It just catches your eye and you have to stop and be amazed!


We have a few bushes, all different colors, but this one below is at its peak right now.




The others are lovely shades of pinks, purples and reds, and across from the rhododendrons are azaleas - also full of blooms this time of year!

What a stunning blaze of color.




So I'm going to start a 'flowers on Friday' blog post, making sure that some time of my week is spent actually wandering around the garden and enjoying all that nature has to offer.


It started last week with the peonies, and this week rhododendrons.....what will be up next week?


I hope you have found the time to  stop and admire nature this week...if not, how about today? It will lift your spirits and provide a little snippet of relaxation.  A wonderful moment in your day.

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Whole Grains Nutrition and Cooking Class

I'm back from vacation.  Had a lovely time.  Quite different - no roads or cars, only burros and boats - so that meant for lots of walking!


Tomorrow and Thursday I'm back at my Food as Medicine groups, with this week focusing on the health benefits of Whole Grains.  We are going to be cooking up some yummy food including:


  • my prize winning marmalade granola 
  • goji berry oatcakes
  • popped amaranth bread
  • supergreen quinoa salad
  • middle eastern oat groats, and
  • birdseed burgers (aka millet burgers!)


I am then taking the groups on a tour of Whole Foods to learn about reading food labels and the best food brands to buy.

Sounds like a busy and fun time!  I'll let you know how it goes and try to remember to take my camera!
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Food as Medicine group

We had two great mornings in our food as medicine groups this week - focusing on the health benefits of legumes, beans and lentils.


Here is the Tuesday group, as we sat down for a 4 course lunch together, eating what they had cooked together.


The menu was:

  • Lentil and caper pate with lentil chips
  • White bean pesto with poppadoms
  • Sugar snap pea and blood orange salad
  • Moroccan Bean stew (using black beans, garbanzo beans and red lentils)
  • Not-so-dumb blondies (using cannellini beans)
  • Mandarinquat brownies (using black beans)
Most of us don't get enough fiber in our diets and beans are a wonderful was to increase our fiber intake.  I love using the "Eden Foods" brands of cooked beans in my cooking, as they are cooked with kombu - a sea vegetable that helps to break down the oligosaccharides in beans, which is the part that causes gas.  Soaking your beans helps too - along with good rinsing - as the oligosaccharide is water soluble. Gas shouldn't be your reason for not eating beans! There are many ways to avoid it.


Beans help with :
  • stabilizing gut transit time - not too fast so that nutrients can't be absorbed and not too slow so toxins can't be reabsorbed
  • heart health, 
  • are an EXCELLENT source of anti-oxidants (more than blueberries), 
  • help maintain a healthy gut flora
  • high in folic acid and B6
  • are a good protein source
  • high in iron, magnesium and calcium
  • a good source of molybdenum
  • stabilizing blood sugar levels
  • eliminating toxins, carcinogens and excess hormones
  • producing butyrate from your gut bacteria which heals and protects the lining of the large investine.
So go eat some beans today!  
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Food as Medicine Group - Beans

My two "Food as Medicine" classes this week are focusing on the health benefits of beans/legumes/lentils.

Here are a couple of photos of two of the dessert items we will be making together.


I'll share some of the recipes later.  Both of these are gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free.

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Talk on Wednesday in Sonoma

If you are around on Wednesday and affiliated to St Andrews church in Sonoma, come along to hear my talk. Starts at 9.30am with some yummy food samples too.


TIPS FOR A LIFESTYLE OF HEALTHY LIVING 


THIS MONTH'S
FEATURED SPEAKER
ST. ANDREW WOMEN'S FELLOWSHIP is excited to invite all women to a very special meeting on Wednesday, January 9th which begins at 9:30 AM and will be held in the Conference Room at
St. Andrew Presbyterian Church.

This month's guest speaker will be the famed chef and guru, RUTH BAILLIE. 

Demonstrations, food samples and simple recipes tailored for the nutritional needs of seniors will be offered.


This event is being sponsored by the
ST. ANDREW WOMEN'S FELLOWSHIP.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 9TH
AT 9:30 AM

NOW SERVING

Tips for a
LIFESTYLE OF HEALTHY LIVING

~ Ruth Baillie ~

St. Andrew | (707) 996-6024 | andrewpres@sbcglobal.net | http://www.andrewpres.org/
16290 Arnold Drive
Sonoma, CA 95476
"Growing women's faith and friendship through the love of Jesus Christ"
- - Mission Statement of St. Andrew Women's Fellowship
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Merlot Harvest 2012

A week ago today, we were busy harvesting 22 tons of Merlot grapes! Phew.


The vineyard management crew began at 4am - in the dark with little lights on their heads to find the grapes!  I don't have a light, so that was my excuse to wait until the sun was up!



Harvest day is always one of the best days of the year. It's such a grounding, connect to nature experience to be in the vines all day, reaping the fruit, surrounded by the noises and chatter....and there were ducks on the pond, a great blue heron and deer all watching on.



As well as the vineyard crew - 12 pickers plus two others driving the tractors and loading the fruit etc, we had four friends join us to help with pulling the leaves out of the bins. The 2 ton capacity bins are pulled through the vineyard as the guys throw the grapes in, and we stand on little planks of wood at the side, diving in to get out the leaves.  As a result of having 4 friends with us, I think our fruit is probably the cleanest in terms of no leaves of any harvested in California! We did such a great job.





The "4" also picked some of the left over Godello from the previous week, to sharpen their picking skills.

The harvest was nearly 3 weeks early for us this year.  And the fruit looked and tasted perfect. The right sugar levels, the right acidity - it just all came together.


And we had some lively conversations over the grape bins - and some interesting times, for example when Mike leaned in to the bottom of the bin to get some leaves, but his feet came off and he teeter-tottered on the edge, not being able to get back up! Unfortunately, we didn't have our camera at this stage!


At 10.30am we stopped for a brief break and then were all finished at 1pm, when it was time for a harvest lunch outside, followed by some grape stomping.  Only Jeremy and I were up for stomping - the others had pathetic excuses, I can tell you!!!!  But J and I had fun and I'm sure they were then all envious that they didn't have sticky legs!!!!

First time stomper nerves from Jeremy..."do I really want to do this????"


It has been suggested that we need to use a larger bucket!

Hopefully from the photos you can see what a fun time it was.  Are you ready to sign up to join in next year????
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Harvest and Food as medicine

It's been a busy week this week.  As well as many of my usual things, I started two new "Food as Medicine" groups this week, AND we harvested our Godello grapes in the vineyard! More on the harvest soon.


The two new "Food as Medicine" groups were on Tuesday and Thursday. Each group consists of 9 women, and we will meet once a month.  This month we looked at some of the benefits of eating a whole foods plant-based diet, with a focus on the benefits of avoiding dairy in our diets.

After some time in discussion, we donned our aprons in the kitchen and went about making and tasting the following:

  • almond milk
  • brown rice milk
  • oat milk
  • cashew cream
  • whipped coconut cream
  • soft cashew cheese
  • cheese sprinkles
  • cheese cake
all without any dairy or animal products in sight!


Sadly we were so involved, I forgot to take any photos!  

The recipes for the milks are already on this blog, as is the recipe for the cashew nut cheese.

The cheese sprinkles were a great hit.  They are a non-dairy alternative to parmesan cheese or other types of cheese that you may sprinkle on caesar salad, vegetables, or pasta or....  The recipe came from the book "Let them eat vegan" and here is a link to the vegan parmesan cheese recipe by Dreena Burton.


The cheesecake went down very well, so I'll have to make that again and take some photos to share with you.

I really enjoyed our time together, and hope they all did too.  Looking forward to next month already.
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Everything is tickety-boo

There are lots of things I could put on my list for this week's blog post - the things that made me feel that life is tickety-boo - but one stands out to me.  And that is flowers.


Every day this week, I've been amazed by the beauty of the flowers around me. Those near our front door at just stunning ( I'll show photos of them later in the week).  It's incredible how nature makes all colors go well together!


But the sight that just took my breath away was the one shown in the photos here, of the Kunde vineyard in Glen Ellen, that has planted red and orange poppies between their vines this year. This is the first year they've done it and people were saying that highway patrol may ask them to mow it down soon, as so much traffic is stopping to take in the beauty!

We had heard about these poppies so took the time to go out and see them. A trip to visit the flowers. It was so worthwhile - and joyous.


I definitely felt tickety-boo every time I paused and just took in all the wonderful flowers around me this week.

I hope you found time - or will this week - to appreciate the colors and beauty of nature. It's such a great time of year for flowers.

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New Tickety-boo health coaching website launched

I launched my new tickety-boo health coaching website this week! Yeah!


I hope you'll take a moment to go and check it out.  It tells you what's involved with cancer coaching and health coaching; the benefits of cancer coaching; what types of programs I offer; ideas on how to keep laughing when times get tough;


inspiration for family and friends; how I got into cancer coaching; lots of resources; and my blog also posts there, plus other stuff that I hope you'll find interesting.

I'm excited and working at the moment to find a good location to run some group classes in Sonoma.

I'd love your feedback...feel free to drop me a line with your thoughts on my new site.  Thanks for taking the time to take a look.
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Everything is tickety-boo



It's that time again for my weekly post where I share with you the things that have happened this week that make me feel that "everything is tickety-boo". 

Tickety-boo is more than just a feeling, it is a state of mind.  It doesn't mean that everything has be wonderful, just that you look for the good in your life and focus on that.   It's all about valuing the good things around you.  A way of looking beyond difficult things and appreciating the often simple, little things that make a difference.

As I write my "everything is tickety-boo" post each week, I hope you'll get the idea and take time to think about what has happened to you this past week and how it can help you feel tickety-boo.



  • being touched by movies - laughing and crying.  This week was the Sonoma International Film Festival so I took a few days out and watched some wonderful movies. 
  • realizing that something I'm doing just isn't working out for me so deciding to not participate anymore
  • thinking the rain maybe be over - or nearly - and now it's time for sunshine
  • getting excited about family coming over to visit in May and June
  • having a lovely dinner at a friend's house
  • dehydrated carrot ribbons.  Tried this today and they are yummy and crunchy and crispy.  A nice little portable snack.  And because the ribbons are so thin, they dehydrate very quickly.
  • seeing all the California poppies flowering. While they flower all summer long, they are always at their brightest at this time of year.
  • my parents finding a new home for themselves
  • singing all day at the cathedral and sharing lunch with the choir
  • smelling the flowering lilac by the gate and thinking of my friend Janet who loves lilac

I hope you've felt tickety-boo this week, and have been noticing all the wonderful things around you. I wonder what will make us feel tickety-boo this coming week?
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