Monday, November 1, 2010

Election Tuesday

Sometimes I feel like the Democratic and Republican party are like angry parents arguing and the American people are the children worried that they did something wrong, kept in a constant heightened level of fear by all the fighting, while they say that they are trying to do the best by us. The system has seemed to swallow up even the best of intentions. Sure perhaps at one point Democrats and the Republicans saw more eye to eye but resentment has grown so much between parties that no matter the amount of couples counseling, we are heading into a divorce if they are not all ready separated.

Nothing seems possible in a country or "family" that is so divided. I know a lot of people are jaded right now and I can't blame them. It is difficult to remain optimistic when neither party is willing to go that extra centimeter, forget the mile.

On the other side perhaps our "parents" wouldn't be arguing so much if the American people could be more unified with what we want and really put in the work of getting it. Now the American people are for the most part very hard working people, that is not what I am saying but we forget how much power we have as consumers, voters, etc. We spend so much time thinking that we are powerless but the country doesn't run on some selected officials, it doesn't run on dunkins, it runs on us!

If we decide to wake up, if we decide to stop making decisions based in fear and think pragmatically about the overall good for this country as a whole and the people that are in it (including same sex couples, immigrants, etc) than we can truly become a strong nation again. If we allow all these things to divide us further versus uniting us than we will be lost as a country and people.

So if you are planning to vote tomorrow, I hope that you keep in mind that we are all in this together. This isn't a big king of the hill game although sometimes it sure feels like it. I remember in that game, the king doesn't stay kill of the hill for very long.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I am feeling like I am coming out of a spiritual/emotional hibernation right now and am wanting to be active. I am very excited that I am part of a lot of projects and activities at the church including the Community Garden and the task team for the Green Action Group (GAG)I laugh at the acronym. Also still on the Social Action Committee. I love that the church is so supportive and a wonderful place to really act out my intentions and passions. Although excited, it is also daunting when you commit to a lot of groups. I guess it is nerve wracking to depend on one another especially in a group setting. We had our first Green Action Group meetings and it seemed to be a good preliminary meeting. I am actually part of the core group which will be seeing through the church becoming a green sanctuary. It is also very exciting. There are some strong minds in the group and sometimes I have difficulty getting forth what I think or feel if I am being over powered. It is good for me however and part of my continued growth. Along with being involved in these groups I am also looking forward to being more physically active, do more artistic activities, and spend good time with friends.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Flying with some difficulty!

So yesterday I went to an Aerial Fitness class at the Cirque School in Hollywood, CA. Recently I feel like I need to get back in balance with my mind/heart/body. I have a bad habit of getting too cerebral and losing track of keeping my body healthy and happy. I think this is a bad habit of a lot of people. We always have things to occupy our mind and keep our attention. Of course media encourages us to stay sexy/healthy and exercise about 30 a minutes a day but messages put out there seem unachievable and does not take in account how busy we all get. Anyway I had a great time and it was nice to get myself out of my comfort zone. My friend Jace and I both had butterflies in our stomachs before we went. Its a beautiful space surprisingly as it is right on Hollywood Blvd. It is set back in an alley and is a nice open gymnasium with trapezes and silk hanging from the ceiling. Immediately I caught the playful energy that was all around. We sat on couches and filled out our forms saying we wouldn't sue if we broke our necks and played with the dogs that were lounging around. While waiting we got to watch some of the workouts going on and people doing tricks. It was pretty impressive. Secretly I always wanted to do the silk that I saw at the circus. It just looks so beautiful, and I love things that are seamless like that.

Our workout was extreme to say the least. It opened with some pilates with a ball and it was a fun playful warm up which was pretty challenging. We broke into pairs and Jace and I started at the first station....a rope! Its funny because we had joked about the rope in gym class and the fact that we both do not have much arm strength. With yoga they have gotten better but I still felt intimidated. Well luckily we didn't have to climb it. We did have to lay on our backs and then hand over hand slowly bring ourselves up to standing and then back down again. Damn was this hard. The rest of the workout was equally hard and focused on a lot of core and arm strengthening. We hung from the trapeze and then had to bring ourselves up and then back down again. What a core workout, while you are scared that you are going to fall and break your neck. After the second one I was nervous as I felt like I was getting weaker but was able to finish three. We went on the silk and I did a summersault on it. What was nice was time was up and I was mentally blocked on doing. It is a little daunting but she was determined to have me do it and I was glad. The problem was we had given our all and were so exhausted but then realized we had to go around to the stations all over again!! This time they even choose more difficult exercises to do around the station. I had to sit out once as I was feeling really dizzy and overheated. Even though my pride was telling me finish it I listened to my body and only sat out one station and was back again. This time as we went through the stations I was able to do another trick on the silk. This time I was able to let go and hang without my hands! It did hurt/pinch a bit but was very excited.

I feel that it is very healthy to do things that challenge you and put a little fear into you. It helps to keep you determined and up for anything! I am hoping to pay for a series and get better and better at this.

Green Sanctuary!

More on the environmental activist side of things. The social action committee and ourselves are tackling the mission to get our UU church on the band wagon to become a green sanctuary. We are going to be doing this by having an event later in September, where we will show this movie Renewal: Stories for America's Religious-Environmental Movement and plan to have a discussion after wards. We are working on collaborating with religious exploration, which is the area of the church that works with all the children. We will especially be working with the teens that have shared a passion in having the congregation become a green sanctuary. We are planning on making this an event and plan to have it be completely sustainable. All the food will be locally grown, all recycled biodegradable paper products, etc.

The hope is that this event will start a momentum going and we can develop a commitment from people interested in starting a committee. Realistically this type of project could take years and cost a lot. We have to be realistic about what things we can tackle without putting a lot of money into it. We already have reusable mugs we use every Sunday. That is example of the type of small changes we can make but other things like changing all the toilets to low flow will take a lot of money and time. Hopefully this will have a secondary impact with the teens. We are hoping to have them as leaders in this movement which will help them in developing greater feelings of self efficacy and empowerment.

So very excited about this and all the great things we are doing at the church. I am also planning to join the committee on developing a community garden at the church. Very excited. It will be so amazing to be a part of such a project.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Wow it's been a year since I turned 30, and since I went through the month of rituals that took me on such an in depth investigation of myself. This year for my birthday I went to Vegas for my friend Erin's wedding. It was incredible to get a way and although there was some running around and activities to do, I enjoyed the time where I spent with myself. Those moments are so rare now and it was a good reminder that I do indeed like my own company and to take time away to spend with myself. I got a massage in for my birthday, haha that might be my birthday ritual as I went to the spa on my birthday the year before. Anyways, there was one ritual that I thought that I would keep with. This one was initially recommended by my friend Jessica and involves writing a letter to yourself for your next year's birthday. So on my birthday I was the first one to wish myself a happy birthday.

I'd like to share what I wrote:
Happy 31st!
It's been a year. I wonder where you are right now. Is everything familiar or would I not recognize the life you have now? At 29 and almost 30 I am really happy with my life right now. Sure some things are up in the air still. I am hoping for a job in my field, the stipend is starting to wind down. July 21st is when supposedly that's it, presto! supposed to have a job. I have faith in you though that you can do it. You have the determination and the passion. You probably will laugh when you read this having found some place or something that makes you feel happy and fulfilled. I hope so. I hope that you don't ever let any self doubt ever stop you. You have it all inside of you, you just have to own it. I think the desire to want to help others is more important then skill. That can be developed over time but the real drive to want to help and the compassion cannot be bought. I hope that you have found a regular rhythm for your self, been able to integrate things that you love into your life. Its so easy to get caught up in the every day and forget about what you love. Right now Brian and I are so in love. Remember that is what is important is the two of you. Nothing could be more important. Don't let anything could that. It might just be a year from now until my 31st but every year has already brought so much change. No doubt another year will be the same. I think we are starting off with a good beginning. I am celebrating turning 30 and embracing it totally. Thought it was funny that someone at work was surprised that I had written I am turning 30! on the top of the flier. I actually at first didn't understand why I should be upset I am turning 30. I am grateful for everything I have received and accomplished before 30. Why shouldn't I celebrate it? So what do I hop for myself in a year from now? Just to continue to realize what is really important: friends,family, purpose. Purpose and career come third. I hope that you have gained more self confidence and assurance. You have done some much already that I am proud of. Keep up the good work!

Love Tessa (Your 29/almost 30 self) :)

-Response: It was really amazing to read this and see where I am now. I do have a job in the field now, working out of a psychiatric hospital where I am obtaining soo much knowledge. I am not receiving hours right now but soo much experience. Hoping to get this internship in Burbank and start seeing clients in August. I am integrating things/activities that I enjoy back into my life. I see my friends more often, go out, participate in planning events, etc. Something as simple as filling up my ipod, listening to music. I didn't have time to do that before when I was finishing school. There is one line in the letter that really helps me, "I think the desire to want to help others is more important then skill. That can be developed over time but the real drive to want to help and the compassion cannot be bought." Often times I psych myself out and this helps me to be comfortable where I am currently.

So I wrote another letter to myself which I will open when I turn 32. Looking forward to learning more from myself :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

To vegan or not to vegan

As I have a nutty yummy vegan banana bread baking in the oven I am writing this entry. The concept of baking/cooking vegan has always been a mysterious endeavor that always intrigued me for many reasons. Besides the how I feel that health and eco wise makes a lot of sense. Now I am not even close to giving up my omnivore ways but I do want more options in my life where I can make/eat fresh good food when I am in such a mood although the next moment I might be struck by a desire for a big greasy slice of cheese pizza. I don't want to come from a point of depriving myself but be more aware of what products are out there and give myself more healthy options. I am pretty sick of packing the quick frozen meal, high sodium soup, etc. For instance, I just got a recipe to make tofu lettuce wraps that I am very excited to make this week.

I just bought this book called The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes. It is written by Kris Holecheck and holds numerous yummy contraptions including muffins/cakes/cookies/pies. Recipes like pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, french toast muffin, You are My Sunshine Loaf....will keep me busy for awhile. Luckily I have a husband and co workers that definitely welcome any sugary contributions.

So as go clean up a disastrous kitchen which has seen two wars today, first with the vegan baked mac and cheese I made (pretty good but have to get used to soy cheese) and now the banana bread I pledge to try to be adventurous even if sometimes it only goes afar as the kitchen . :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Waste Not

So back in my summer between elementary school and high school I went to this camp. We met some of the other kids from other schools in the area that would be going to the high school. We climbed ropes, learned about astrology, about team leadership, and the environment. What struck me most was at the dining hall where they actually took a measurement of all the food that was wasted at the end of the meal. Little by little over the days the amount that was wasted went down as we became more conscious of how much we put on our plate, etc.

Similarly over the last few years I have started to recycle more items and more regularly. This cut my trash in half or more! Also I try to buy items with the thoughts about the packaging and how easily it will be recycled. This can all be summed up with the concept of the carbon footprint but its more than that, its living consciously with every action you make and it is as important as the items you buy or throw away.

This feels even more important with so many people out of work and having difficulty feeding their families. A friend of a friend doesn't even have money for gas/food. This is real and its hitting home.

Recently trying to find ways to not waste food. Often times I would just go to the store and buy whatever I found appealing. Half of it would go bad because I would forget about it or not find a use for it. Now I try to think of what I have and how I can use it and trying to get creative. Tonight I'm making bread pudding for the first time. My husband always leaves all the bread ends so I would have 4/5 small bags of all these stale bread that I would throw out. Yuck. So instead transforming it into something yummy.

Something that seems disposable might have a use after all. I have found old yoplait yogurt containers to work very well to mix paints. Toothbrushes can be used to clean around the house. Although this might sound gross to some, some companies like Preserve will take back old Preserve tootbrushes/razors and will recycle them, through their Gimme5 program.

Companies like Salvation Army, Good Will, Got Junk will come and pick up items from you for free.

Will continue to share ideas of how to make small changes that ultimately will make a big impact!