Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Run that Makes You Look Forward to the Next

I have been sick the past two days so this is a post I wrote on Friday about an awesome run.  It helped me remember that my fall runs are very, very close.

I was looking forward to this run all week! The temp was supposed to go down to around 50 overnight and I knew the temp was going to be in the low sixties and low humidity in the AM.  I didn't mind getting up early and walking the dogs first.  They were ready to go too.  I think they realized how gorgeous it was outside too.  They were frisky and and happy as they bounded through their usual paces.

I also knew today I was going to be able to get in my 4+ miles even though I had not done it in a couple months.  I could just feel it in the air.  My iPod started me off with "Womankind" by Annie Lennox from The Women soundtrack and really got me moving.  The beat is great and very uplifting.  I just added it to the mix a couple days ago and it is definitely a winner.  I also like the next song from that same soundtrack called "I Feel It All" by Feist.  It has a great beat but is a little bid subdued so it kept me from bursting out of the gate.

As I ran I noticed that the leaves are starting to fall from the trees and it made me smile becuase I know I will have more beautiful runs like this one coming up.  Eventually I cam to my some what comedic song on my mix, "I Play Chicken with the Train" by Cowboy Troy.  Don't judge me.  It's a combo of country and hip hop and it works and makes me smile every time I hear it.  It also makes me want to dance in the middle of the run.  Someday I might just do that.

Moving on, at about 20 minutes I got that feeling, you know that feeling that you get when you have hit your stride, your breathing works and you feel like you could run forever.  Made me wish I'd gotten up even earlier so I'd have a little more time to do just that.

It seemed like every song in my mix hit at just the right time to either pump me up or remind me to keep my pace even.  Songs like "The Good Stuff" by Sid Maudlin and "Send Your Love" by Sting, remixed version and finally the best one, right at the end, "Straight Ahead" by Tube and Berger.  "Straight Ahead" hit as I was on a straight away towards my endpoint.  I did 4.3 miles in 38:30. :) I am now in a fantastic mood and can't wait for all of my fall runs!

Entire Playlist
Womankind, Annie Lennox
I Feel it All, Feist
I Play Chicken with the Train, Cowboy Troy
Hong Kong Garden, Siouxie and The Banshees
Aphrodisiac, Bow Wow Wow
Show Me the Money, Petey Pablo
Head Like a Hole, Nine Inch Nails
The Good Stuff, Sid Maudlin
Merengue, Robert Abigail (featuring DJ Rebel)
Send Your Love, Sting (remix Dave Aude)
Belleville Rendez-Vous (French Version), Beniot Charest
Straight Ahead, Tube and Berger

Friday, August 27, 2010

My Island: Rick Gets a Buddy

If you are new to my blog you can read about "My Island" by clicking the "My Island" label at the bottom of the post.  Short version: I send people there that I believe have no business being in the gene pool or really with most of the population.

Here's a list of who is there and links to their posts:
Brittany Spears, Amy Winehouse, Lindsay Lohan, Rick Santorum (this was the first post so there were a few people sent right off the bat)
Ann Coulter
Elizabeth Hasselbeck
Ocotmom, Nadya Suleman

This was a hard decision, not because I don't think this person belongs there but becuase I have a list in my head of others who belong there as well.  Also it was difficult because although I was familiar with this person, I did not have the in depth knowledge I feel I need to have to send someone there.  As I have said before, I do not send people willy-nilly.  I am not going to just toss the likes of Snooki there just because she is a moron.  She's relatively harmless really and provides some people with a good deal of comic relief.

The person I chose in many ways frightens me.  His name is Glenn Beck.
Thank you Wikipedia and Photo by David Shankbone for this seemingly cute photo of a jackass

Just looking at this photo steams my hair into frizzy ringlets.  It was hard to do the research on this 'man' becuase everything I read made me angry.  This man twists and bends history for his own benefit and dare I say amusement.  He twists charitable religious organizations into Communist and Nazi organizations.  At one point saying, "Christians [should] leave their churches if they hear preaching about social justice because they were code words for Communism and Nazism."

Um, k.  

He later elaborated that he meant that if confronted with a Black liberation theology church, such as that of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, one should find another parish.

Do those things sound the same to you at all?

His conspiracy theories are the product of his ADHD and really it's all about the attention.  He thrives on it through all of his media outlets.  It's how he makes his money and the only lucky thing for him is, he is just delusional enough to believe his own rhetoric.  Even some conservatives back away (slowly, no sudden moves) from this nut.

He frightens me becuase he is on TV and people that are too lazy to go back and actually learn about history are listening to him.  Here's an example from a CNN Opinion article, click the link for the whole article.

"Waiting for Beck's "American Revival" show in Orlando, Florida, in March, 70-year-old fan Joseph Cerniglia told me he was way too busy for civics lessons when he was raising kids and working as a stockbroker and then cider-maker. "I have learned more from Glenn Beck -- learned more about American history and government, from Glenn Beck -- than in the previous 40 years of my life," the retiree told me."

Now you may get mad at me for calling this guy lazy but he his.  He is learning his history, not from actual research, he is using the abridged/edited for content Conservative Cliffs Notes version!

You know what happened when you took a test or wrote a paper based on the Cliffs Notes edition, right?

I could go on and on about how instead of being intelligent, he attacks on a personal level such as making fun of the President's 11 year old daughter (I don't care if he apologized, it was for attention and he got it), or the fact that he throws in with Sarah Palin (that just makes me throw up in my mouth a little, can you imagine what their kids would be like, ick) and how he thinks that reclaiming the civil rights movement is the right thing to do because "-- because we were the people who did it in the first place." --.  


I honestly think this man says it quite well when talking about Glenn Beck.  Seriously hilarious and also dead on the mark.

At the end of the video linked above, it is suggested that Glenn find a place to hide and we'll tell him when it is safe to come out.

Since we cannot trust Glenn to do that, I think he needs to be taken, kicking and screaming to "My Island."  I think he'll like it actually.  We'll tell him that the government sent him there and all his brilliant conspiracy theories can play out in his head.  He can share them with Rick Santorum and Ann Coulter.  He can draw his chalkboard diagrams in the sand and have a grand old time. He can teach his version of history to the likes of Brit Brit and LiLo, maybe Amy will audit that class.  I think Elizabeth and Octomom might like him a little too much.  We'll have to watch that one.

Stay tuned for the next arrival.  I believe they will be dropped off in a few weeks.  Like I said, I have a list of people that belong there. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Sticks Are Not as Dull as You'd Think or Who the Heck ARE the People in Your Neighborhood

East Jabipp
Cow Town

Growing up, this is what my neighborhood was called.  I honestly don't remember complaining about it.  We had woods to play in, complete with creek and lots of trees to climb and swing from.  Our street had four horse farms and every home had at least two acres of land.  No lines painted on the street and no sidewalks.  It's hard to call that a neighborhood.  We did have a neighborhood of sorts behind our house, across the creek.  It was always quiet and we never had anything really happen.

We had a couple of friends from softball that lived in that neighborhood but they really were not close enough to walk or ride bikes, especially in the evening until we got a little bit older.  One day, when we were on our way home from school, our friend from the neighborhood decided to ride her bike to our house to meet us.  As we got off the bus in front of the house, a naked man jumped out of the brush about 100 feet away from our driveway. 


Yes, a naked man was in the street and motioning for us to go away essentially.  My Mom sent us in the house and then realized that our friend was on her way, she couldn't go in the house with a little girl on a bike on her way.  My Mom saw our friend turn the corner and start riding her bike.  The man ran back into the brush by the side of the road.  Our friend rode right by...head turning as she passed where the man went in the brush.

When she got to the house, my Mom said, "Did you see the man next to the road?"  Our friend said, "Yep!" with a big grin on her face.  My Mom then called the police and then called the girl's mother.  The police showed up and found the man in the bushes.  The police hadn't given him anything to put on but asked my Mom to identify him.  My Mom felt bad for him so she went inside and got some of my Dad's underwear for him.  

We never got the full story of what his deal was.  I assume he was high or crazy or both.  Every neighborhood has their stories, even the non-neighborhood ones.  It just goes to show you that it's those quiet places you have to keep an eye on or actually...covered.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Life is About to Become Somewhere Close to Hades



Moving stuff from one room to another.

These are words and phrases I cannot stand.  We are going to be doing some renovations on our 'big room'.  This room is called the big room because that is all it is, a big, effin' room.  It is about 40x14 feet.  When we bought the house we knew that it was used as a rec room.  We were not going to use it for that purpose however because there was another larger room that was perfect for a large tv and a comfy couch.  Now, keep in mind this is a 1950's Cape Cod style home.  Large rooms a a little odd and are usually additions on a house.  The reason the prior and first owners of the house did this was because they had 7 kids...in 3 bedrooms. 

I am going to let that sink in for a moment.

So, we have this big room that was really poorly built; freezing in the winter and sweltering in the summer.  Probably poor insulation in the outside walls and ceiling.  Since we did not have a basement, it became the basement while we figured out what the heck to do with it.  Now, it is packed with useless crap. 

We have been tossing around the idea of tearing down the walls and insulating this room so we will be a step closer to our grander designs (including stone floor, 'Masterpiece Theatre nook and dining furniture) and so we can have nice big family dinners at a nice big table.  We have started organizing the room and moving various items to more permanent homes in the house.  We have made not so much dents in the clutter but maybe pinholes or thoughts of dents.  Today I was given the news that we have a week to clean the space out entirely.  The demo will commence in a week and a half.

Yes, it appears that our local contractor (neighbor) will be getting a full time job soon so he has to get this done ASAP.  Um...yeah...remember how long it took to get the closets done? 

No, you would not remember that because I was not blogging at the time due to the fact I had ripped all my fingernails out from stress and my typing abilities were nil.

Ok, not really but is was bad.

It is going to be unpretty...I am telling you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Planning is Key...or...Why I Was Late to Work Today

Although I just started regularly writing about healthy living, I am not a stranger to the brown bag (or lovely Built lunch bag or large Whole Foods lunch bag).  I know how much to cook if I intend on having leftovers the next day and I have go to lunches just in case I happened to not have leftovers because I went to the local bar and had a REALLY good seared crab cake (and maybe a Victory Festbier)  for dinner with the husband.

However, I cannot stress the importance of planning when it comes to healthy living. 

This morning, unplanned,  I let the dogs sleep in a little...no really...M-dog has been difficult to get out of bed at 6am lately so instead of trying to lug all 86 pounds of him off the bed I decided maybe he needed an extra 30 minutes. 

Issue, I did not plan for this last night so my morning was a little more haphazard than usual.  Essentially, I ended up 30 minutes behind schedule.  I was able to get 30 minutes in on the elliptical after the walk but I planned to make then drink a Green Monster this morning.  My first EVER!  Since I was running behind I did not have time to wash the special cup I use to make my smoothies.  It is special because I use an immersion blender and none of my other cups allow the head of the blender to fit all the way to the bottom.  Of course since I thought I was having a smoothie this morning, I did not have any overnight oats either.  Instead I had to settle for cereal and nectarines.  Then, since I had no leftovers, I needed to come up with lunch.  I went with my go to salad; grilled chicken (I keep grilled chicken in the freezer at all times.  I usually get a family size from Whole Foods and grill the whole thing for dinner and the freezer), toasted almonds and dried unsweetened cranberries with vinaigrette.  I also brought a tomato to cut into wedges (I don't like them on my salad).  I threw a couple of snacks in the bag and lunch and breakfast were ready for me.

Now, while this sounds easy, I did this all wrapped in a towel with another on my head (ok...maybe I was running around with a towel only my head but the curtains were closed and I was having one of those moments where you are still sweating from your workout when you are done your shower).  Yes, I still had finish getting ready. 

If I had planned everything the night before (30 minute sleep in, washed out smoothie cup, etc), I would have had a leisurely morning with the doggies, added an On Demand ab and back workout video and been able to have breakfast at home instead of at my desk at the office...way too late in the morning after waking up at 6am.  

Instead I am wearing my lazy curly hair do, a skirt that I am not crazy about wearing to work and a nagging feeling that I should have done about 15 minutes on the elliptical.  It's all good though.  I still did pretty well on the fly and tomorrow is another day. 

Also, since I am running in the morning...M-dog will have to get up instead of hitting the snooze bar. ;)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Why I Resent Bob Marley

You are thinking, "How can anyone resent Bob Marley?!  He is the most laid back dude that ever lit a joint."

I know it is strange but I have had a building resentment for the man over the past few years.  It started when we got back from here:


Pronounced ang-GWIL NOT an gee a...it is a British West Indies island, not a Latin one
Have you ever been here?  It is an amazing place.  Anguilla is next to St. Maarten and is a British West Indies Island.  One thing that is absolutely wonderful about it is that it is surrounded by a coral reef through which cruise ships cannot pass.  This makes it so you have all the benefits of the island and its tourist (not touristy) industry but no mobs of people inundating the island off a ship every day.

Sidebar: I have nothing against cruise ships per se but if you go to a town that has ships come in and compare it to one that doesn't, you are going to find the one that doesn't is quieter, more relaxed and less expensive.

My family spent a week here after my Mom had been going a few times a year (she still does).  She has fallen in love with the place and it is easy to see why.  There are miles upon miles, even for a tiny island, of the most perfectly white sand beaches you have ever seen.  There are beach shacks for simple and very good island food and beach bars right there so you don't have to go far for a rum punch or A Carib.  The breeze carries the message of relaxation and the food and drinks help it along.

It is as if you are in the place you are supposed to be in order to listen to Bob Marley correctly.

Yes.  I know.  It is traditionally associated with Jamaica but since I have yet to go to Jamaica, this feels right to me.  I listened to other music while I was there of course but nothing seemed to go right to my heart like Bob when I was in that place.  I could close my eyes, laying on the beach and feel like I was floating on a wave of relaxation; no cares, no worries.  It is something that if difficult to attain anywhere else and explain.  All I can say is, when you have it, you don't want it to end.

Back in the US, I thought that if I listened to the music, I would be able to transport myself back to that place and state of mind...

no such luck.

I felt like there were pieces missing that made it so hearing the music made me long to be there, it didn't just let me be there in my mind.  It made me a little sad.  The more I tried to listen, the worse it sounded.

Now, I listen to a radio station that will play Marley occasionally, especially during the lunch hour.  On those workdays at lunch where I have to rush home to let the doggies out and then try to eat something at the speed of light and rush back to the office, you'd think a block of Bob would make me feel better...


Half of me has an overwhelming urge to change the radio station (or put my fist through it depending on the day I am  having) because I can't be there, go there anytime soon or at least bask in the memories.  The other half wants to desperately to get that feeling back that I can't change the station, chasing the dragon if you will.  It's an exhausting battle of wills going on in my brain.  I end up tired from it...but I still have to go back to work.  Grrrrr.

And that is why it is possible to resent Mr. Bob Marley.

I don't want to resent him, really I don't.  In order to resolve this problem I think what I need to do is hop on a plane, go to Anguilla (with my laptop) and get me a fix of Bob, rum punch and white sand.  I think if I do enough research there, I can find a way to make the music right again for myself.  If it requires many trips back and forth to test theories, so be it.  You gotta do what you gotta do.  Maybe then, 'every little thing's gonna be alright'.  I can only give it my best shot.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Opposite of Healthy Living

I have learned so much by reading blogs because people are actually talking about their experiences, not talking about them in theory.  With what I have learned so far, you'd think I would avoid some of the sillier mistakes that people can make when they are striving to live healthy lifestyles.

I under ate yestdarday.  I literally NEVER do this.  I love food to a fault so I rarely ignore it.  I got up and walked the dogs, did a 3 mile run, only had enough time left over to stretching and a little ab work.  I got ready for work, packed my lunch (tuna sammy with lettuce, fresh tomato and wheat bread) and snacks.  I then made myself a smoothie (nectarine, blueberries, almond milk and Stonyfield fat free vanilla yogurt and a scoop of green powder).  I drank my smoothie and my coffee on the way to work.  Not a bad start.

Things go downhill from there.

At lunch, my boss asked me to run some paperwork to the bank.  No problem.  I had an errand to run too so I decided to do that and run back to the office for my sammy.  I hit the bank and then ran to pick up some more facial moisturizer.  There was a sign that side tracked me...SHOE SALE.

Um...yeah...buy one get one half off...

That is what the problem was, if there had been a regular sale, no problem.  I would have found a pair and got out.  BUT, this sale required careful consideration.  I needed to find two pairs of shoes at about the same price to get the most out of it.  I guess I lost track of time because when I left, I was STARVING and my meal was still 15 minutes away.

I got back to to the office, shaking, and quickly made my sandwich.  It was delish.  I love tomatoes and tunafish.  It's kinda like tomato soup and tunafish but since it's summer, you don't really want the soup so much.  Despite my hunger, I was able to enjoy what I was eating. 

The shaking is probably what should have told me I was in big trouble.  I had blood sugar problems in my 20's.  When that happens, it takes my body a long time to recover.  The shaking led to a headache which led to nausea which meant I didn't want to eat my snack.  Not eating my snack made things worse and also meant I could not take anything for the headache.  I made it to 5pm and munched on a mini Luna bar.  I took my headache cocktail and got into bed for an hour.

P felt very bad for me and took me for my fave comfort food...sushi.  The miso coated my stomach and then the sushi, mega protein, and a little bit of comforting rice made my body very happy.

When I stepped back and look at the spiraling of events it just reminded me of how important it is to pay attention to your body.  Listen to the cues it gives you because it is a wonderful and complex living machine.  You have to fuel it correctly to not only just function, but function well.  Today, I missed the boat but I learned or was reminded of some important lessons.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Healthy Living Blogging: What Does It Mean?

 In honor of joining Healthy Living Blogs...Here are my thoughts...

Awhile back, I was about 186lbs.  I did Weight Watchers, got down to 155lbs and then gained it all back.  Then I did it again and went down to 143lbs.  I am still working on losing a little more.  I felt good at 143lbs but plateaued.  I was getting frustrated so I had my husband hide the scale. Seriously, I don't know where it is.

After two months of not having a number stare me in the face every morning (ok, sometimes many times a day) I started to rely on my body more than numbers.  How do I feel today?  What do I feel like doing for exercise?  What do I feel like eating?  Are these pants tight/loose/clean?  Ok, the clean part wasn't a feeling but more of a smell but you get the idea.  I started reading 'healthy living blogs' and they gave me tons of inspiration, recipes and general good advice.  Some of the info worked great for me (overnight oats, new veggie rich recipes, new workouts, etc) some didn't work out so well.  I am not going to tell you which ones because I am sure they work for some people, just not for me and I would not want to keep you from trying those things.

I loved the blogs I was reading and I wanted to be a part of the community.  The people were all so positive.  I liked that.  I am not really that but am trying.  My only worry about blogging about 'healthy living' is that some of the blogs (NOT ALL) I visited seemed like they were just about food and fitness and exercise.  That doesn't work for me.  Why?  For me 'healthy living' is all encompassing.  It is about living your life, your whole life, in a healthy way.  That means that I write about those things above but I will also write about things that have nothing to do with those topics because I need an outlet for other subjects in order to keep my mental health healthy.  To me, it is all woven together.  I now realize that I don't have to box myself in to just writing about a few topics.  Healthy living has to be woven into the craziness of my everyday life in order for it to work for me.  I hope that you stick around to see the whole fabric. :)

If Wishes Were Cool Water

I don't think I need to tell anyone that resides in these United States that is has been a long, hot summer.

**If you are in your 30's and beyond you might remember that the Long, Hot Summer was made into a made for TV movie (original was a scathing version in the theater in 1958) with Cybil Shepherd and Don Johnson.  It was almost too hot for TV.  I remember watching it from the top of the stairs outside my bedroom while my Mom had it on in the basement.**

Anyway, sorry for the sidebar but that is what the heat and humidity in the northeastern US will do to you, not fry, but slowly poach your brain.  It will also cause your hair to look like crap most of the time.

When I was little, we had a neighbor who had a pool.  Her name was Ada; so it was naturally, Ada's Pool.  It was a holdover from the pools of the 1950's; big, L-shaped and  had a 'deep end' of 10ft.  It was fed by spring water which meant is was REALLY cold for half the summer.  It didn't really matter though.  We were cold water kids.  We swam in the waters off Cape Cod.  To us, blue lips were cool.  The only bad part about the cold pool water was when we came home and had to race past the air conditioning unit in the dining room of the house, towels tightly wrapped around bare skin, otherwise you might freeze solid in the middle of the living room.

This summer I wished I was that little kid again.  We know very few people with pools and those we do know live further than next door and no one has a pool from the 1950's.  On really hot days this year I would find myself daydreaming or half remembering the joy of being able to play in a pool of cool water: having my Mom rate my dives off the diving board, Marco Polo, swimming through weighted hoops and diving for coins.  I remembered what it was like 'going under' that first time of the day, the rush I would get from the cold water enveloping my skin and quickly reducing the surface temperature of my body.  Then I'd pop up and the water would stream down my hair, chlorine stinging my eyes a little not just from the chemical but also from the sun reflecting off the water.

These days pools are small, shallow, square and are usually the temperature of warm pee by early July.  They cannot compare to the cold spring water, 10 foot depths and 1950's curves of Ada's pool.

On the hot days that are still due to come, you'll find me cruising along the bottom of Ada's pool or jumping off the diving board in a glorious cannonball trying to make it down to 10 feet...in my mind at least.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's in the Works: My Island

In trying to get over my Gym Fear I have been trying to get there more often rather than depend on running in the neighborhood.  Also, I don't want to hear from P that I am wasting money, belonging to a gym but not going blah, blah, blah.  Anyway, the treadmills are set up so that you can watch TV, like most gyms.  What I find funny is that the tv's in front of me, one to the left and one to the right are always on CNN and E! respectively.

What I am finding out is that these two channels, not so different from each other.  On one hand I have a well known person making a fool out of themselves with outlandish comments in an interview, solely for press (you know, no such thing as bad press) and then on the other hand I have a shot of Snooki baring her patoot after leaving a sex shop (girlfriend should know better than to go commando in a skirt that short).   See, not so different.

So these two channels are giving me ideas for the next person to get shipped off to My Island.  The problem is, I have SOOOOO many people to choose from these days.  I feel like I have gotten behind on my travel agent duties.  So, here is a small recap of who is there.

Brittany Spears, Amy Winehouse, Lindsay Lohan, Rick Santorum (this was the first post so there were a few people sent right off the bat)

Ann Coulter

Elizabeth Hasselbeck

Ocotmom, Nadya Suleman

I even have a place for kids of the My Island inhabitants if there is not another parent in the picture

There are a couple other posts about My Island but they deal mostly with what is going on there and responses to requests.  Click on the My Island label to see more.

There is no one currently flying stand by so I have room in that category and I have a few usual suspects to send but I want to do my due diligence.  I don't send just anyone there.  They really have to have some terrible qualities... like qualities that really nothing at all makes up for their general terribleness (I was not really sure that was a word but spell check seems to think it is).  Qualities that should probably be removed from the gene pool.  I am sure you can think of a few people that deserve a one way ticket to My Island.

Would you like to make suggestions?  

Monday, August 16, 2010

When things Fall Into Place...Instead of Apart

It is a good thing. 

Awhile back I started this blog and I was crazy about writing and posting and following and then ... I hit a wall.  Work got crazy, I had to work more hours at the Lottery Yarn and I stopped blogging.  I never stopped to ask myself why.  Looking back, I think that was wrong.

I loved writing and loved the new community.  Why did I stop?  I felt like I ran out of time.  The thing is, I didn't run out of time, I ran out of time for me.  I was setting aside time for my job, my second job, cleaning, cooking, errands but I set no time aside for me.  Maybe that is why I am so cranky.

So I started again.  I did not put a ton of pressure to blog daily but I did find myself thinking about writing again.  The little spot in my brain that enjoyed it woke up and wanted to work.

Then, the comments started to roll back in, not as many as before but there are some lovely bloggers that remembered me.  Then I saw that SITS  was in Philadelphia and although it was sold out, I sent an email to be on the waiting list.  Then, a friend told me a should be a writer (yes, I have heard it before but at this time, it worked with the falling into place thing) after reading what I wrote in my blog.  Then, I was offered a ticket to the SITS conference.  I was able to wrangle a day off from Lottery Yarn and


There is me, going to a social media conference to network and learn how to love my blog more through all sorts of ways.  I am excited about meeting Kathy, Tiffany and Francesca.  I have known them for awhile on line and I get to meet them in person.  I am excited to take this writing thing to the next level and I hope you will come along for the ride. :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Writers WorkShop: The Craziest Reason I Ever Got in Trouble as a Child

 This is a bit of a rehash of a post from a few years ago but it is very much in line with today's Writers Workshop assignment although I was more teen than child at the time.  It is also very funny...at least to me. :)

Awhile back I wrote about my Cape Cod summer love (ok, not really love but you get the idea). I mentioned that there were bells involved at some point and that I would write about them later. It is now later.

So this guy that I met on the Cape who turned out to be the best kisser ever and I were out on the beach near our house one night. It was dark and I couldn't see my watch. I didn't worry though because I could always hear the church bells ring the hour. I had to be home by 11pm.

So there we were, kissing on the beach on a blanket. The moon was out, the water lapped on the beach and his sweatshirt smelled heavenly, like suntan lotion and 'guy' (in a good way). So I listened for the bells to let me know what time I needed to be home. You can see where this is going. I of course lost track of time and never heard the bells. My Mom sent my brother out to the beach to look for me and of course he saw me but what was he going to say, "Um excuse me, but can you get your face off that guy because it's after your curfew and mom is pissed"? Considering he was all of like 7 or 8 at the time, I think not. So he of course reported back that I was kissing a guy on the beach on a blanket. (BTW, my brother was also the one that told my Mom about my tattoo and my bellybutton piercing. Thanks, T.)

Eventually, I must have gotten it through the kissing fog in my brain that it was late and I did not hear any bells. So we made our way back to the house. He left and I went inside. Sitting at the dining table in their nightgowns (not pj's, nightgowns) were my mom, my aunt and my grandmother. They were all still up. My mom was all, "What were you doing out there this late, you were supposed to be home by 11pm, yadda yadda, yadda." I was all, "But it wasn't my fault. I didn't hear the bells!" They all looked at me, like "What is she talking about." I said, "You know the church bells. I was waiting to hear them and I didn't hear them. It's not my fault!"

 ***crickets chirping***

BWAAAHHHHAAAA!  All 3 of them burst out laughing, trying to compose themselves to be mad at me. My mom snorted then my aunt. Eventually I just had to walk away because they couldn't stop. Unfortunately, I still got punished the next day. I had to come in an hour earlier my last night on the Cape. From then on, every year, I was the butt of the joke about "The bells, the bells!"

I would not have normally chosen to rehash an old post but considering that this year... OVER 20 years after this incident... my mother chose to say, "Oh, listen, those are the bells, Jen." I think that this post is relevant to the topic of Writers Workshop. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Love and Marriage...and other stuff


This is the man I married 8 years ago today.  In all fairness, I did ask him to give me blue steel as I took this shot. :)  He drives me crazy in good ways and in bad (wasn't that part of the vows or something?) and he can grill.  

This is better.  We were a match made in heaven.  We are both difficult people and he lets me win most of the time.  He has a kind heart and a very soft spot for the fur babies (sometimes too soft considering he'll let G-dog take my side if the bed if I am not careful).  When we first got together, he played guitar, wrote me songs. He made me cards and one time when he was teaching a camp, made me flowers out of paper.  He was hilariously funny and could disarm you in a second with is terrible puns.  One time he even spray painted his love for me on a football field.  No joke.

Now it is eight years later.  He is no longer a teacher, the guitar case is a tad dusty and I have heard all his jokes...I am not kidding...EVERY SINGLE ONE.  I have not gotten flowers in a while, paper or otherwise and song-writing has been replaced by power point presentations for his sales job. 

Sometimes...it makes me sad.  

Then I remember, this is the man who comforted me when I was at my very lowest and supported me when I left my last job and took a much lower paying one to keep my sometimes questionable sanity.  This is the man who no matter how hardened, cynical or jaded I become, he tries to make me laugh (and usually can).  This is the man who silently stood by and let me go off like a raving lunatic on USAirways when they screwed us out of a weekend away, just because he knew I needed to do it (also I suspect he didn't want any misplaced anger going his direction, smart that one).  He makes sure he tells me he loves me every day, even when I don't feel like saying it back, and kisses me every night when we go to sleep.  

...and he can grill...

I have it pretty good I think. :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Yum! Veggie Meal On My Own

I had the house to myself last night.  That means drop the a/c a couple notches, both doggies on the bed with no grumbling from M-dog and a veggie meal for me. 

Sabrina over at Rhodygirl Tests wrote about Zucchini Pasta a little while back and I was dying to try it for all the same reasons she wanted to do it.

1.  I love a big bowl of pasta but do not love the cals that come with a big bowl
2.  I love zucchini and there is plenty of it right now

This is what I was working with

The recipe for the zucchini pasta is very simple. 

Zucchini Pasta
-Use a veggie peeler to peel ribbons of zucchini. 
I was trying to figure out the best way to do this as I wanted to have some of the skin left on the zucchini pasta both for nutrition (fiber) and for looks.  The green stripe along either side of the ribbon looked pretty.  I found that if I stripped off the skin on 4 sides of the zucchini length-wise and then started peeling for the actual pasta after that, I got exactly what I was looking for.  The ribbons were about an inch wide.    I peeled only until I started seeing seeds.  At that point, the zucchini looked like a square block.  What I should have done was grate it and toss it in the freezer for adding to other things later but I already had a ton so it went to the compost pile.
- Steam the ribbons over salted water for 2-3 minutes.
- Toss the zucchini with your favorite sauce or simple topping

Sabrina used pesto which looked amazing.  She also suggested marinara or even just some garlic and olive oil. I had a bunch or really good looking tomatoes from my CSA that were begging to be put to good use so I made a quick sauce with tomatoes, cipollini onions, garlic and white wine. Other than the chopping/seeding of the tomatoes, this recipe is very quick and easy.

Tomato Sauce
- Seed and chop tomatoes (I used 4 large), chop onions (3 small cipollini but you can use any type you like), chop garlic
-Heat a little olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add onions.  Allow to soften at least, you can caramelize too if you like the flavor, add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds (I am TERRIBLE at letting garlic burn so I always add it when there are other things in the pan already), add the tomatoes and a little salt.  The tomatoes will give off a good deal of liquid, allow it to cook down to concentrate the flavors.  Once most of the liquid is gone, add some white wine (I poured anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup I think, just out the bottle) and allow that to cook down.
-When you are satisfied with the consistency of the sauce, remove from heat and add zucchini ribbons, toss gently.
-Plate and add your fave cheese to the top.  I used a pecorino romano. 
-Something I did not do which I will next time is allow the sauce and the zucchini to sit for a few minutes to let the flavors meld.  I realized that I needed to do this when the dish kept getting better the more I ate.  :)

This is what I ended up with

You'll notice I had an ear of corn in the first pic.  I ate that as an app, raw over the sink...OMG so good!  If you live in the Philly area, Maple Acres Farm in Plymouth Meeting has the BEST CORN EVER!

This dish was wonderful.  I will make it again and again.  I think next time I will make less sauce and allow the texture of the zucchini to be highlighted more.  It was similar to pasta and I found that the ribbons with a little green skin were firmer (in a good way) than the ones without skin.  This could be a great side as well especially if you have a significant other or other dinner partner that must have their meat at every meal.

Funny - I had a green stain on my hand from holding the zucchini and peeling.  I have zucchini all the time and this was the first time that happened.  Took a little scrubbing to get off too.

Let me know if you give it a try!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

If I Could Do it Over...

I love Mama's Kat's Writer's Workshops.  They really get me thinking about events in my life, things I'd like to do, etc.  This one was odd though because I was having a hard time picking a topic.  This subject won out when I pulled a number out of a coffee mug.

1.) If you could do it over again…

The problem with this is, I would not want to do many things over because I believe that the teeniest, tiniest change can alter an entire life.  That scares me a little.  If I had changed my path by one footprint, one small decision to skip rather than run or walk things could be very different, better, worse, etc.  Then I thought about what I would WANT to be different and went backwards from there.

I came up with one thing:

I wish I had switched majors in college. 

I kick myself every day for this.  I got to a point in school where Marine Biology was not doing it for me anymore.  I didn't like the professors (they were oh so high and mighty with that #3 school in the country for Marin Bio label), I didn't like the fact that there were almost no jobs with only an undergrad degree (more school!  WHAT!?) and I hated the fact that for each science course I had to take a lab with an other 3 plus hours a week for only 1 credit.  I was also taking geology courses but I think I liked the subject more than the thought of actually getting a degree in it.  All I wanted to do was get out of school.  I am not sure if it was just because I was in major I didn't love anymore or if it was because at the age of 19 or 20 I wasn't ready to know exactly what I wanted to do with my life.  I truly think it's the last thing.  I mean lets face it, it took me until I was 35 to figure out how to deal with my hair.  How was I supposed to figure out my entire life at 19?

Hind-sight being 20/20 I would have done exactly what another friend had done, drop the science and major in something in the English department.  Even then I loved to write and I loved me some literature.  I didn't have her guts though (love ya L!).  I still don't.  I was afraid to make a change like that for fear of facing the same ire from my parents when I suggested to them that I take a semester off.  It is so funny (not ha ha funny by any stretch) to look back on it now because I could have told them and worked it out.  I have only myself to blame...

and to fix.

Maybe it's time I started looking at what I can do about what I WANT to do...what I could do if I HAVE (not had) the chance to do it over again.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cape Cod: Beach Beard

If you have been reading for awhile and even if you haven't you know my love for the Cape of Cod is infinite.  There are things that happen there that don't happen in other places.  I feel at peace while I am there.  I am able to soul search with ease.

This also happens:

Ritual shaving of the beach beard.  What is a beach beard you may ask?  For the past few years my husband, brother and his friends have had a beach beard 'contest'.  There are no winners really it is more an exercise of laziness to see what they look like with facial hair.  Most of them are pretty clean cut the rest of the year  but they let themselves go while they are on the Cape.  A day or two before leaving they shave their beards into something to attract attention. 

When you are in an area like Cape Cod THIS attracts attention.  Peter and I were walking to a cafe at the marina on our last day and all of a sudden he doubled over with laughter.  It seems the teenager that was walking towards us gave him an incredibly dirty look.

I decided to walk a few steps ahead after that.

Don't get me wrong, it is amusing and they seem to take much pleasure in the traditional ritual. 

I just worry that one year we are going to see men in their cranberry shorts embroidered with whales and women in the Lily Pulitzer showing up at our front door with torches and pitchforks.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Journalism Today: Fail

I read an article today regarding how a dog attacked its owner.  Now, I realize that it is awful that this happened.  I am sure that the victims were scared and hurt.  When I first read it my outrage was more about what probably caused this to happen (dog did not just go nuts) rather than what I am about to write.  When I stepped back and thought about the way the article was written it got me thinking more deeply.

Is that what journalism has come to in print media?

"When Deborah Hankin's boyfriend left her and his gargantuan Cane Corso Mastiff, she continued to care for him like her own, feeding him every day at 2:30 p.m.
But in return, the beast turned around and mangled her and a friend Saturday afternoon at her home"- Philadelphia Daily News 8/2/10

This lead reads like a fiction short story rather than a news article.  That in itself is disturbing enough.  The rest of the article was poorly written as well.  The more I thought about it, the angrier it made me.  There was absolutely no research done for this article.  The writer took it upon herself to use the skills she learned in a  fiction class to make her article appear more interesting.  That is not news writing. 

It seems to me these days that when journalists...and I am using that term VERY loosely... are tasked with writing about a subject, they sometimes feel the need to either glamorize/exaggerate it, no better than a reality tv show, or they insert their own opinion in what is CLEARLY not an opinion piece.  I see this daily in any number of print and tv journalism pieces.  It seems to me that some journalists do not know where the line between opinion and fact lies.

I like to write.  I did not go to school for it but even I know the difference between an opinion piece and a news piece.  Both types SHOULD require research from different angles and both should read like a well informed person wrote it.  A news piece should cover all the angles, tell the facts and give readers a well informed idea of an issue or event.  An opinion piece should show both sides, or many sides of an issue then proceed to use well thought out research, writing and words that would back up the opinion of the writer.  Don't they teach this to aspiring journalists anymore?  I am torn between believing if it is laziness on their part or ignorance.

I guess in a world where reality tv is king, Rush Limbaugh is considered informed (about his own opinions and not much else) and the Tea Party thinks that "Don't Tread on Me" is their own motto (please, again lazy people that could not come up with their own slogan) this is going the be the norm rather than the correct.