23 November, 2007


Now, I have blogged about trusting those little voices in my head…not the ones that secretly tell me to do evil things like eat another luscious homemade treat or enjoy my 4th cup of coffee, but the ones that cause a nagging feeling to do or not to do something…my intuition. I recently found a website http://www.pisces.com/... while doing, ahem, “research for my thesis". Well if there was a better way to describe my personality, I have yet to find it. The one thing it did say is that Pisces have a unique sense of intuition, which I have been working on trusting for the past 6 months or so and I do believe it is becoming really defined.

Today, I was trying to order about 5 books on Amazon.de (from Germany). The one specific book that was first on my list was called Food for Life, The Spirituality and Ethics of Eating. I reeeeeeeally wanted it and was even contemplating whether to have it over-nighted to me as it was “calling” to me to read it. I finally got an account on the german website which was a challenge in itself. I went through the whole 5 step process to purchase the books and then came the most hated sentences of any internet user “INTERNET EXPLORER CANNOT DISPLAY THIS PAGE!” I thought no biggy, I just refreshed the screen and to my dismay, it put me back to the beginning log-in page. Well I did this about 3 more times before I was ready to scream. At that time Karin walked in and I had her look over the page, maybe there was something in German stating that my order could not be processed. That was not the case so with her guiding me this time, I started the process yet another time. When the same damn page popped up, I exclaimed ‘Son of a Gun’, which brought her extreme laughter since she had never heard that phrase. Not in the least bit ready to expel laughter, I said that I was giving up. She said, no, try it one more time….

It of course happened again and I suddenly said. “There is a reason that I am not supposed to order the books today.” I will do it tomorrow. Something told me about 3 tries back to stop, but I didn’t listen to ‘it’. Well, that was about 4 hours ago and I had been diligently working on my thesis (55 pages now!) when Peter walked in with a package that was in the mailbox addressed to Karin. Since she is gone, I said that ‘for some reason’ I think it is for me and I opened it. Inside the package was the super-duper-can’t live without-book that I so desperately was trying to order. I had forgotten that I had already ordered the book when Karin and I ordered a bunch of books about a month ago. All of the other book came in the same week we ordered them, but for some reason this one was delayed. It had been ‘calling’ to me from the mailbox the whole time I was trying to order its replacement! hmmm…..

22 November, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I am currently proof-reading my fellow Peace Students dissertation for his PhD degree. It is about the growing epidemic of orphans in Africa (specifically Uganda) because of the rise of AIDS/HIV causing their parents death. It is so interesting that of course, I now want to go to Uganda and open an orphanage! Actually that is my “retirement” desire some day…to live out my life surrounded by orphaned children. Mmmmm just the thought makes me smile!

Anyway, because of my reading his 232+ page dissertation, I now realize that I could conceivably write my own, thus someday acquiring my own doctorate degree….Dr. Melinda Lies! Of course I am proofing Paul’s paper instead of writing my own thesis at the moment, so maybe I should concentrate on finishing my own measly 80 page paper before I set my sights on a couple hundred.

Oh and yes, this is how I am going to spend my entire Thanksgiving...thankful that I have eyes to see, fingers to type and a brain to comprehend it all!

15 November, 2007

Art…it’s in the eye of the beholder!

My new friend Marcel wanted to get together and since I only know exactly 4 people in the area, I gladly accepted his invitation. He picked me up and we drove to a home depot-ish store because he wanted my opinion on wood flooring that he is going to put in his bedroom. After going to a couple of stores, he said we needed to buy some paint brushes because “we” were going to paint on these canvases that he had bought the day before. I told him that my brother got all the skills in my family in regards to art and that the only painting I am good at is slathering a whole wall or room with one color. He said he had never done it either, but he wanted some art for his wall and didn’t want to buy any.

We got to his place and there on the floor was 2 large blank canvases and 1 smaller one, 6 tubes of paint ranging from light yellow to orange to bright red. We got started and I realized quickly that I actually have a little talent in the art department and so did Marcel; although we had very different styles. I finished mine first and was starving! He said that; oops, he had forgotten that he was going to make some soup for us to eat. I said not to worry, that I would throw together something….this was a greater challenge than I thought, as his kitchen was not quite as equipped as his painting supplies. I still had my creative juices flowing so I found some rice and lentils as well as a semi-equipped spice drawer and a pantry with some fresh veggies. I ended up making curried lentils with carrots over rice, yum! The funny thing was that when we sat down to eat, the food looked like the paintings as the lentils were orange as well as the carrots and with the brown rice (which had a yellowy tint) and red fruit tea it was the perfect meal to accompany the completion of our masterpiece!

No artistic talent? I just let go of that rope!

14 November, 2007

Sandy visits again!!!

Yea, my faithful traveling friend once again treked across the ocean to Europe. She had almost 2 weeks here and if she thought she was in for a relaxing vacation, boy was she wrong! ha ha

She had about a 2 hour nap and then she was put to work in the kitchen. We had a group of 16 here and it was dinner time! AFter about 3 hours in the kitchen we had an American dinner on the table (in her honor)...quinoa salad, veggie burgers and oven baked french fries! I had miscalculated how long it would take to prepare the food so an additional hand in the kitchen was a much needed gift! You cannot tell in the photo, but between Sandy and Karin are about 2 layers of pots, pans and dishes on the floor (no cabinet space left). We had pretty much used up every cooking thing in the kitchen!

I did 'allow' her to relax a bit...we tried to make it outside for part of the 3 hours of sun we got. It rises over one mountain around 11.30 only to fall behind another around 2.30. She is sitting in my 'Sun Place', which is one of my favorite places on the property. It is really nice to sit there when the sun shines and read, do yoga or just take a little snooze.

The next day we took a nice walk along the Via Claudia Trail which runs by the Schalklhof and is an old road used during the Roman Empire. It was a dual purpose walk as we had humanely caught 2 mice the night before (Sandy is holding them in their little cages) and had to take them far away so they can live in the forest instead of in our walls. It is actually kind of a fruitless venture as some joke that the mice make it back to the house before we do. Regardless if there is any truth in that statement, catching the mice does get me out of the house and down the trail most days.

Luckily we did get a chance to enjoy all the great weather for 3 days as it started to snow soon after her arrival and did not stop!

hello to Michael

This is the little snowman Sandy made outside the kitchen window. He was completely covered by more snow in 24 hours, but then 2 days later the snow was almost melted and all that was left of poor Michael was 3 black beans, some ribbon and wilted flowers...oh well, I loved him while he was with us.


It snowed about 5 inches in one day. Luckily it was not really that cold (no Kansas wind!). This is the Inn River which runs past (in the 'backyard' of) the Schalklhof.

Looking out at at the Tee Pee's. They have little ovens in them and Sandy and I wanted to stay overnight in them one evening (the night before it snowed), but that idea got shot down by the others quickly...Unfortunately, that night was our only chance and we missed it. I will just have to do it myself!

04 November, 2007

My Nemesis is a Rope.

A simple rope redefined my life. It all started a couple of weeks ago when I, as an unsuspecting pawn, trailed along behind Peter, Paul and Guenter…and no Guenter is not to be mistaken for Mary. Peter and Paul had a class of kids from Switzerland coming to Native Spirit the following day just for one day. They were going to have the kids cross the Inn River in a large inflatable boat to the other side where they would then hike up to a flat spot, cook out and do nature things. What Peter needed was for the boat to be paddled across the Inn with one end of a rope while he hung on to the other. Once the rope was tied off on both sides then the kids would be able to safely make their way across with limited paddling. Another reason was that it had rained recently and the river was rushing very very fast and they may not be able to make it across before getting expelled further down the way.

Well, instead of going into town to rent a movie Guenter and I joined, Paul in the raft and I tried not to let the freezing cold water touch me. By this time, it was around 6 PM and the sun had sunk behind the mountain hours ago. Peter pushed us off and we were catapulted downstream. We were paddling as hard as we could and almost made it to the other side but we were so far downstream that we had run out of rope and Peter had to let go of his end. We got back to our side of the river and pulled the boat back to the starting point. This time, I suggested that since Peter is about 1000 times stronger than me AND is a certified river guide, that maybe he should be the one in the boat while I stayed dry on shore holding the rope.

It was agreed upon and with the 3 men on board they made it to the other side, but not without a struggle and having me run along the tree tangled rocky cliff-like shoreline down stream as not to loose my end of the rope. By this time it was getting darker and the rope was getting heavy from the force of the water. Paul had one end of the rope on one side of the river and it was so hard to keep it taunt that every time it plunged into the water it would practically pull me in. I finally wrapped it around my waist once because my strength was giving out. The men then decided that they needed the rope further up creek at the original starting point, SO with Paul on one side and me on the other we slowly made our way back. On both sides were rocky ledges leading into the water with knarled trees jutting out here and there, so in the quickly fading light it was very hard to maneuver my way back.

At one point the rope plunged into the river pulling me off my feet and into the Inn. The water was freezing as it soaked me to my knees and I quickly jumped back on shore. By that time it was dark and I could hear the men yelling on the other side, but the river was so loud that I could not hear them. Then I heard Paul say the words that would have caused me to kill him if he was standing next to me. He said “Melinda, keep the rope out of the water.” I held my tongue and kept plodding slowly forward over trees and rocks grasping for any kind of support I could hold onto. As Paul informed loudly over the sound of the river of the importance of keeping the rope taunt, I really wished that he had not learned the English language. After the 3rd time, I screamed back at him my reply…something like “no kidding”….or maybe it was a bit more harsh with some words thrown in that would have gotten my mouth washed out with soap had I been young. We finally made it back to the original starting point which was a bit wider than where we were and I suddenly realized that my end of the rope would not reach any tree strong enough to tie onto. I yelled at the men to give me more slack. They were deliberating about something so I hung on and waited. At this point I was cold, tired and wet but really feeling proud of myself that I had made it all the way to where I was without letting go of my end.

All of a sudden I heard Peter yell something that sounded like “let go of the rope”. I thought for sure I misunderstood him so I yelled back “WHAT?” and this time it was unmistakable “Melinda, let go of the rope.” I was dumbfounded! Let it go?? I had just dragged the damn thing for a half an hour or more upstream in the dark by myself; I was certainly not going to let it go now. I yelled back that just give me a little more rope and I can make it to something that I can tie it to. Once again came the reply of leeeeeet iiiiiit goooooo. I screamed at the top of my lungs “NOOOOOOOOO!” and then the reply, “Melinda, LEEEEEEET IIIIIIIIIIT GOOOOOOOOO!” I yelled some more mouth-washing-quality words and with all the strength I had left, I heaved my end into the river. I was so angry at that point that I started to cry, I figured what the hell; they can’t see or hear me so I will just vent my frustration the way my female hormones dictate. I laid down on the rocks and sobbed as I looked up into the night sky. I do not remember the last time when I had been so physically and emotionally spent. My whole body was hurting as well as my pride. I kind of felt like a failure although I knew what I had accomplished was a difficult feat. I could hear the guys yelling to each other across the river and knew they were probably as frustrated as I was, but that really didn’t comfort me like it could have.

As I laid there feeling sorry for myself, I suddenly realized that the rope had enormous symbolism. It stood for the parts of my life that I need to “let go of”. Even though I have relaxed about 100% in regards to control issues, I still had things that I contemplate too much and search for answers when only time can tell. In letting go of the rope I was in fact releasing the fears I carry around. I did not appreciate the way the lesson had to be learned, but of course life lessons are rarely all peaches and cream.

I made a bracelet of a small old piece of rope that I had found when I first arrived in September. I had kept the rope in my room and used it for numerous things whenever the MacGyver in me surfaced. It was currently not being used because its former job as a curtain tie had been eradicated. I twisted it into a braid like figure and tied it onto my wrist. I now wear it as constant reminder that whatever life throws at me, I can handle and I can carry uncertainty with me for awhile, but then there will come the time when I have to let go and allow the higher powers that be take over.