Inspiring ‘Strong!’

I’m not too big into movies since it’s hard to keep my attention focused for that long. Especially when the film drags out or becomes predictable. Nonetheless, I’m really into documentaries! I like all types… especially ones that I normally wouldn’t be interested in at first glance, such as ‘Strong!’

It features Cheryl Haworth, an Olympic heavyweight weightlifter who has competed in three Olympic Games, winning the bronze medal in Sydney in 2000. The film is about her efforts at the end of her career to compete at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

It also tells the story of Cheryl’s weightlifting career, the strenuous training for competition, and her personal experience of being big in a culture that values women who are small. She states that her large size is a plus, in that it makes her sturdier and more stable, enabling her to lift weights in excess of 300 pounds, but at the same time, admits to feeling big, heavy and cumbersome, to feeling unhappy in her body — a body that’s good for weightlifting, but not appealing in today’s society.

She’s very funny and doesn’t hold anything back. Which makes your heart break for her when she confesses how much she’d just like to “get whistled at every now and again.” And when I heard that she wishes she was smaller and could wear pretty clothes and be a pretty girl I was like, “Uh, what??” How could someone so accomplished and as strong as her still be influenced by our artificial culture??

It hits home how warped our society has become regarding the standard of beauty for women. And how influential it can be on ALL women if it can effect such a successful woman as Cheryl.

Towards the end I was sympathetic and I was rooting for her to stick with it. To continue to be all she can be. And that all us females have the ability to ignore the mainstream and see ourselves from the inside out. Her and all women have so much to offer other than trying to stay young and obsessed with being smaller than a size 6. Of course we all know this, but we buy into what the media says all the time!

This film definitely got me thinking about my unordinary life and to keep listening to my gut and instincts, and trust that I am doing exactly what I want to do at this given moment — Just me and Mr. Basketmaker, and our two dogs Chance and Jaxson, working and living our unique adventure in rural, middle Tennessee.


A little tidbit about Cheryl Haworth: She studied at the Savannah Arts Academy and has a bachelor’s degree from Savannah College of Art and Design. 

Interested in seeing the film too? If you have Amazon Prime, then it’s free to watch. If not, it’s only a few bucks to rent it online here: Independent Lens: Strong! If you’re interested in Prime, the link is below. Eric and I love it. Two-day shipping, movies, tv shows, books… in 2014 the yearly membership paid for itself many times over! Like when his planer broke down during his busy season and the cheapest price we found was on Amazon. The cost to ship was over $100 but if we got Prime, the shipping was free. So no-brainer! We purchased it and reaped the benefits all year!

If you want to check out the trailer…

Mr. Basketmaker Speaks: Salsa (Again)

The following post is from Mr. Basketmaker himself. And yes, he already did a post on salsa. But that post was his own homemade pepper salsa (see it here.) This is about his new favorite salsa that he felt compelled to write about. And yes, we do eat a lot of salsa in this house.

I’m sharing with you what I think is the best salsa on the planet!

While visiting with our friends Jud & Suzanne from Georgia, they put out a bowl of chips and salsa. The brand of salsa was “Mateo’s Gourmet Salsa” which I have never heard of before.

And yes, I’mateos-salsa-basketmaker-speaks-2013m going out on a limb saying it’s the best salsa on the planet. But I will continue until I’m proven wrong.

What makes this salsa great is that it is chopped very fine. A lot of salsa makers like to claim that their salsa is thick and chunky.  These salsas can have bigger chunks of tomato and onions but many times they seem to be mushy and then watery at the same time.  This is the anti-chunky salsa yet it still has a thick consistency.  It has that Texas heat feeling and makes you go back for more. Our hosts found it from Costco’s so I guess since we don’t have one near us we will have to have some sent up to us… hint hint.

(editor’s note: Yes, Mateo’s salsa was good, but I will always say that Eric’s homemade salsa is the best salsa on the planet and I cannot be proven wrong on that!)

**Nobody needs to send us salsa! I found it online. If you don’t have a Costco’s nearby, you can find it on Amazon but in a bulk 6-Jar pack: Mateos Gourmet Salsa

Super Healthy (and Yummy) Cereal Mix.

I accompany Eric on the road for most of his teaching workshops. Lucky for him that I love road trips! And, I am a freelance art director so I am able to work in the back seat of the odyssey (a.k.a. the basket buggy). We call it my ‘mobile office’ and my clients never know that I’m not sitting at my desk (while I’m talking to them and working on their projects in the back seat of an automobile).

I enjoy these trips because I get to meet so many people from different parts of the country. On a trip to New Jersey, our host, Connie, invited us to stay at her home. Every morning, she would put out several boxes of cereal on the table with fresh fruit. She showed us her and her husband’s favorite mix of cereals and informed us on why her doctor recommended the mix for them (I’ll save you the details).

For the record, Eric has been mixing different brands of cereal for some time now in the hopes of getting me off my beloved Lucky Charms. You see, I am a cereal nut. Not just a cereal nut but a crazed, sugary cereal nut. Eric can tell you that I had to have my bowl of Lucky Charms in the morning and many times at night as a before-bed-snack. I knew all this sugar was bad, but I was addicted.

I occasionally would switch it up with another sugary cereal, but it was still the same bad sugary habit. He eventually got me to switch it up occasionally, and eat Cheerios – BLEHH… (are we still talking about an Adult here???). But it did not satisfy me. Until, we met Connie and her super healthy cereal mix that is yummy! I was hesitant at first when I initially sat down at Connie’s table (especially since a gastrointestinal specialist suggested these… I thought “great… we’re about to eat cardboard”), but now, I eat this stuff every day. And I always add blackberries. I looooove blackberries.

So I told my over-achiever husband to take a picture of all the cereals involved for this post. I say ‘over achiever’ because, as a lazy, procrastinating artist like moi, I requested a photo that is not professionally styled! (I mean… I don’t want to look bad when you start comparing my photo skills against his!)

He came back a little later and handed me the camera. He said, “I took two photos: one with the flash on, one without.” I downloaded the only two images. (I usually have to take at least 15 pics to get one good one!) I asked for a casual grouping of boxes with a bowl. However, that is not the photo I got! He made it too perfect! At least he let some of the boxes stay open. But I should be grateful. If I took the shot, there would probably be several dirty dishes in the background and lots of crumbs in the forefront. So it’s good that we’re not embarrassing ourselves with a closeup of our dirty kitchen counters!

Our Heathy Mix:
1 box Uncle Sam Original with Whole Wheat Berry Flakes and Flaxseed
1 box Kashi Go Lean Crunch
1 box Kelloggs All-Bran Original
Then we add Almond Breeze instead of milk and fresh Fruit (I’m partial to blackberries but any fruit will do!)

The Uncle Sam’s can be hard to find since not all grocery chains carry it. We did find it at one of our stores but it was almost $5 for the box, and the boxes, unfortunately are on the small side (they are tiny)!  But we found it on Amazon in bulk (6 boxes) which came out much cheaper (about $3.29/box) than buying it at the local store and it ships right to your door. And if you save up items in your Amazon cart to a total of $25, items can qualify for FREE super saving shipping! I love when that happens. I supplied a link below to the one we purchase (or click here).

If you do find Uncle Sam’s at your local grocery store, here is a link to receive a coupon!  CLICK HERE for Uncle Sam’s Cereal Coupon  Fill in your email address and they will send you a printable coupon for $1.00 Off!