On Dreamboards and Being Sick

It’s our theory and we’re sticking to it. We had a sick plane returning from Cancun. Both Craig and I were hit with a head/chest cold and have been struggling to fling it off for the past week and a half.  It’s annoying not having energy and not sleeping well and being stuffy. For me, the worst part of being sick is not being able to go for my swims. I’d be a complete idiot if I went swimming. I miss the way I feel after a swim workout though.

I don’t do well being physically inert. I joke that swimming is my “hydrotherapy”, but that’s more apt than I tend to let on. It’s not only my body that hums along better after a swim. My head clears. The bright side of situations is more apparent. Without the workout, my mind can be a “tricksy” place as Gollum might say, full of dark corners and thoughts. A bad neighborhood to take a stroll through. I begin to recall with accuracy times in my life when I have been humiliated, or when I have said things I shouldn’t — or worse — times I didn’t say or do things I should have. Dwelling on what I wish I’d grabbed on our way out of the apartment during The Fire is a new addition to the nasty neighborhood. Exercise is my Kerry Strugg vault out of stinking thinking, and doing without it makes me grouchy.

My non-exercise antidote this week has been to create a new Dreamboard. For those of you unfamiliar with this tool, it’s a visual representation of what we want in our lives moving forward. Go through magazines and cut out photos and words and phrases that resonate with you.  Get some colored markers, and on any size board you like, depict what you would like to manifest or achieve in your life in this next year or so, the more color the better.  My new one has a home with a lovely kitchen, work intentions, vacations to beaches and woody places, peace and tranquility, generosity, and London on it. It felt great to do, and went a long way to guide my mind into happier neighborhoods.

I also like to make soup when I’m sick.  Here is an easy throw-together Vegan Mushroom Barley one that has a surprise of tarragon in it. It came from a recipe book that burned up in The Fire, so I cannot correctly attribute it, but it’s a go-to in our house. If a splash or two of red wine or sherry happens to end up in the pot, that’s okay too.


1 cup barley, uncooked

2 cups plus 9 cups water

Olive Oil – enough to coat bottom of pot

Earth Balance (Butter) – 2 Tablespoons

Garlic – 4 cloves minced, or heaping teaspoon of crushed garlic

Onion – 2 medium chopped

Tarragon – about a ¼ cup chopped

Mushrooms – about a pound (I get three trader joes pre-sliced mushroom bags)

Carrots – 4 large, sliced

Salt – ½ teaspoon

Pepper – several grinds

Almond Milk, ½ cup – enough to color the soup a creamy color.

Place barley in a small pan and add 2 cups of boiling water.  Cover with a tight-fitting lid and let stand while you make the rest of the soup.  Drain well before adding to the soup.

Meanwhile, melt the Earth Balance and oil in stockpot, and add garlic, onion, and tarragon.  Sauté stirring frequently until the onion starts becoming translucent.  Add mushrooms and carrots.  Sauté several minutes, then add 9 cups of water, drained barley, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook uncovered 50 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the almond milk, stir to incorporate, and serve.



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