reading: Loos, Buddhism, money


Girls Just Want to Have Funds, Susannah Blake Goodman — One really ought to know about money. I’ve been wanting to be more intelligent and strategic about my handling of money for a while. This is just the kind of book I wanted, clear and introductory.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Anita Loos — Edith Wharton called it the great american novel, the diary of a 1920’s gold-digger who serves as the ideal unwitting narrator, revealing so much more than she relates and entertaining us along the way.

“A gentleman friend and I were dining at the Ritz last evening and he said that if I took a pencil and a paper and put down all of my thoughts it would make a book. This almost made me smile as what it would really make would be a whole row of encyclopediacs. I mean I seem to be thinking practically all of the time.”

“I seem to be quite depressed this morning as I always am when there is nothing to put my mind to. Because I decided not to read the book by Mr. Cellini. I mean it was quite amuseing in spots because it was really quite riskay but the spots were not so close together and I never seem to like to always be hunting clear thorugh a book for the spots I am looking for, especially when there are really not so many spots that seem to be so amuseing after all.”

“…when a girl has a lot of fate in her life it is sure to keep on happening.”

Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, Thich Nhat Hanh — A compact guide to maintaining awareness in daily life (as if there were any other kind…). I’ve been reading about Buddhism as I recently came across some reference to it and realized how poorly I understood it (realized that I couldn’t explain it), but vaguely remembered finding it very interesting and useful in a research session some years ago. I’d been looking for something with the balance of spiritual and logical that Buddhism has because I often find life sad and difficult, am prone to melancholy (plus I am irritable, and often don’t like to be around people), and live too much in the past and the future (or some alternate reality) rather than the present, where life is actually happening. That is, my mind is not so healthy as it could be. The logic of Buddhism is appealing; instead of allowing your mind to succumb to reveries or frustrations of the past (illusion) or hopes for the future (illusion), which are often the root of unhappiness and dissatisfaction, you focus on the moment at hand, which it is inherently wonderful to experience. As you approach experiencing the moment at hand with truth and clarity, difficulties naturally fall away, unmade by wisdom.* Sounds nice, right? I can achieve it now and then. I think the logic holds. The origin of the title is the concept that there is no path to peace, for peace is the path. Get it? [I think I get it…] Enlightened yet?

*There’s rather more to it. I suggest reading a book.

It’s a very flexible system, beautifully simple and therefore easily adapted, I can see why it has gained such a following in the west. Karma and reincarnation come in at a more technical level, and while I wouldn’t say I believe in them (what is the point of believing in things, exactly? Or not believing?), I cannot help but find them compelling. They make for such a good story.

The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation, Thich Nhat Hanh — About to start this one.

Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World, Lama Surya Das — A really excellent overview of Buddhism with clear introductory practices. Especially good for western readers as it is couched in the experience of the author, who grew up in New York and so serves as a cultural (east to west) and temporal (ancient system to modern life) translator. You could think of this as an elaboration on the previous two titles, the first of which (and I suspect the second also) is extremely concise and not especially forthcoming. Easier to follow with this text in mind.

on the menu: homemade granola

Few foodstuffs seem to me as sublime, as supremely edible as homemade granola. It needn’t be expensive, and you can chuck in all sorts of nice things.


I use a Fanny Farmer recipe as a base, which I’ve modified over time with a smidgen of every granola recipe I’ve liked or think I might like. The result is a bit different every time, and always to my liking.

Here’s roughly what I did this time, though the proportions can vary quite a bit before it becomes distinctly different. I say add more of what you like most. The main thing is having enough of the oil/honey mixture to coat the dry ingredients evenly.

3 c oats

1+ c almonds (flakes, whole, or both – I like extra)

1 c pumpkin seeds

1 c sunflower seeds

1 c coconut flakes

1/4 c  dried cranberries (or any dried fruit)

1/4 c flax seeds

1/3 c sesame seeds (more like 1/4 c or none for normal people)

1/2 c pistachios or pecans

1 tsp cinnamon (adjust to your taste; the recipe can handle twice this if you like, also fine with half)

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 c coconut oil (or you can substitute 1/4 c canola oil with a couple of tablespoons of butter, but the coconut oil gives excellent flavor. I often add a bit extra.)

1/2 c honey (can substitute maple syrup here, too, or add in addition. I go heavy on the honey, too)

2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Warm oil, honey, and vanilla in a saucepan and mix well into dry ingredients, coating evenly.  Spread granola mixture evenly in a baking pan or sheet (line it with parchment paper for easy stirring and removal). Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until granola is deep golden brown, about 35 minutes (this part is flexible as well, you can do 25 minutes for a chewier texture or 45 for more crunch. The shallower the mixture on your baking pan/sheet, the less time it will take). Add dried fruit around the last 5 minutes of baking time. Let cool before eating or storing (it will harden as it cools, so expect it to seem slightly underdone when first removed from the oven). Store in an airtight container.

Note that I mean raw nuts and seeds here. A few roasted ones tend to work out OK if you opt for a quicker cooking time and adjust salt levels accordingly (or don’t mind the extra crunch).

aside: I love pistachios

I often don’t bother baking the dried fruit at all, simply adding it to individual servings as desired.


Add berries and a fraction of coconut or almond milk. Maybe some maple syrup if feeling decadent.