Sunday, May 4, 2014

Quickest Beet Salad

READY   SET   GO!

Drain canned beets

          Add 1/2 pack crumbled Feta

                  Drizzle balsamic vinegar

                                    DONE

optional:
add chopped walnut
add sliced onion
add to a salad
add spinach
 Dance in circles with joy!


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Happy Things

Sometimes in my world what makes me happy are things. Time and time again these items boost me up and make my insides smile whether I need it or not.
Good smelling soap. Meyer's for the hands and Doctor Bronner's Magic Soaps for the shower.
Meyer's Basil
French wine that lists what grapes are in the bottle. 'Bout time! Hallelujah!!!
Coffee with body (I had a bad run for a few weeks).
Snacks that are flavorful without guilt (unless you eat the whole bag).
Our surprise new kid goat, Chuckie.
So happy spring from me to you. I hope you find things to make you smile in the daily madness of life. Peace!

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Year And The Removal Of My Siamese Twin

Almost a year ago in March we went to Las Vegas for a 4 day vacation and my life changed. I had a massage at the Golden Nugget for about $120.00. Now massages for me are sacred and infrequent so when this high dollar rub down was unimpressive I had to wonder if I could make a better living doing massage then my tired corporate 9:00-5:00. 

Spending 13 years in the same department I had many fantasies of other careers but nothing moved me enough to make any big changes. There was always something missing. I was as comfortable and as stuck as I could be. What started out a great opportunity with excitement and prestige became a job gnawing at my soul. The need for a change was a thorn in my side like in the movie Basket Case: A young man carrying a big basket that contains his deformed Siamese-twin brother seeks vengeance on the doctors who separated them against their will. Well, you get what I mean.
Basket Case 1982

When I got home from Las Vegas I was going to get the ball rolling but I got back into my routine and forgot about it. In May I said "oh yeah!" and decided to really pursue massage therapy and never stopped. I began school full time while working full time and was a mommy too. I knew it would be a rough 6 months but I was determined to make the career change. Massage hit all of the buttons I was looking for. Today I passed my national exam for my license.  The last step in making this urge a reality. There are many adjustments to this world of freedom outside of the corporation's "embrace" but I feel much more like myself.
 

“Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.”Martin Luther King Jr.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Don't Worry Be...Something Other Than Worried

First off, I have graduated Massage Therapy School with a 100%! Woot woot!

Without going into everything I'm trying a new approach to Christmas this year; no friggen worries! No, I'm not smoking anything. So far I'm less freaked out about everything happening ON TIME and perfectly than in the past and it's nice. Christmas Dinner has become our host night for extended family. We will have guests before Christmas too. Do I know what I'm cooking yet? NO. Do I have everyone's gifts ready? Pretty sure. Not. Once again this year's Christmas card has someone chopped off in one of the chosen images. If you've used one of those sites you know the cropping ordeal. Now it kinda cracks me up because that's who I am, well intentioned but imperfect and honestly I was over it.

I don't understand how I have been cooking for so many years now yet I still think I don't know how to cook anything (but awesome nachos and burgers). I actually have never made a turkey. This years right of passage will be TURKEY. Last year it was a roast which took a degree in beef. Maybe this is me being in denial but I'd like to think it's me trusting that the universe supports me and my winging it. There will be good food and good times.

In massage therapy class the first rule of thumb was don't judge your classmates...and if you do keep it to yourself. After all, you are vulnerable being undressed in front of strangers. That taught me a lot about my own judgements and need to express them. Would I want someone looking at my body on the table with judgement good or bad? In hopes that we each looked past the individuals' flaws or assets we instead found the studied muscles and bones that we all have. Our commonality.

Somehow that is part of my new relaxed perspective. I guess the less judging you do of others the less you do to yourself.
Happy Holidays, Ya'll!!
P.S. This pumpkin cake with brown butter frosting is pretty yummy and easy.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

There Are Many Roads To Detroit, Man

Qi translated is "breath" or "life force" in Chinese. Other ancient cultures have a name for it too; chi, prana, mana, lung, and ruah. In other words the concept and recognition of this -thing- has been around a really really long time.
photo from hawthorncenter.com
After more than 5 months in massage class where we have focused on physical massage this past week we turned outward to explore energy massage. This has had the whole class bouncing. Even the teachers seemed less guarded. Stories were told about bad spirits getting into open people, chakras were cleared, polarity balancing was done, Reiki was explored, a zero balancing experience was told where an ankle walked across the room and back. We tried to see each others auras and feel them too. People felt mine. I have one, BTW.

In class I've had that tummy buzz feeling like back when I'd be at a slumber party where we played the Ouija board and our hands slid and pointed words out mysteriously. Or when we chanted "light as a feather stiff as a board" surrounding our friend in her pajamas lifting her up to the ceiling with only two fingers on each of our hands.

I half believe the magic of energy and want it to be true but I half think there is a reasonable explanation to dismantle the nonsense. I'm more of an observer and less of a subscriber to everything because I hate to be wrong.

The teacher, who is a Reiki master, was explaining how Reiki is tuning in and channeling the universal energy that already exists into someone to heal what needs it. She said it can be done over the phone or by thinking about them. A leery student began to talk about what she does in her prayer group and the teacher said, "There are many roads to Detroit". I thought that was beautiful. If you want to send someone positive energy, prayer, white light, love, it's all same, man! It's all good.

I'm a little excited to shake hands with something that is accessible and non denominational. After all one of the main reasons I want to do massage is to give healing through touch. If it's my energy or the available universal energy I'm cool with that.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Flashback

1983 Macon Chronicle (Macon, Missouri) 
One September in 1983 newly into the school year and near my 14th birthday, a young boy my age named Danny Joe Eberle went missing while on his paper route in Bellevue. Days later his body was found a few miles away outside town on a rocky road near the Base.

By this time women's lib was in full effect and there were no stay at home moms within my group of friends. We were all latch-key kids so after school my girlfriends often favored hanging out at one friend's house. That mom went a little nuts because we ate all of their food, annoyed her sons and probably made a mess. Another of the mothers was more strict and wouldn't tolerate our food invasions at her house plus she had a lot of 'house rules'. A few of us just lived further away so hanging out at other houses was out of the way.

Once this murder occurred the moms got together and it was decided we needed to have a designated home to go to after school so we weren't roaming the streets to get snatched up by the boogyman. I was excited that all of the mothers were going to meet and talk about us. The idea was that we were to take turns at everyone's house so there was a share in our protection (and finally the food consumption). The moms were going to come home early from work on their day to watch us. Logistically it never got off the ground and we all ended up back in the Jeanettas' cupboards.

This was also a time when we watched slasher movies for fun like Friday the 13th and Halloween I,2,3, Terror Train, My Bloody Valentine and The Funhouse. I would be going home at night after watching a scary movie where 20 people got cut up in the woods and end up running all of the way. That year Halloween had an extra scary dimension knowing someone was really out there snatching up kids. I'm sure all of the parents were more afraid than we were. The line between fact and film was blurry for us but we still had the cloak of parental protection.

For further reading on subject check out A Need To Kill.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Coffee In The Dark

Around here the sun makes a sudden shift when the seasons change. The same day the weather changes the sunlight takes on it's new angle. In the flip of a flip-flop you need to change out your wardrobe. In this case to sweaters and long pants. Didn't I just get my shorts out? 

I start craving syrupy flavors added in my coffee. Pumpkin and allspice taste better now, not too heavy like in the warmer months. (But five seconds after Thanksgiving my tastes buds are done with PUMPKIN!) I want to lay down more rugs. Tone down the accent colors. Cook more and have plenty stocked in the cupboards. I dye my hair red instead of blonde. Cooler weather means long dog walks are tolerable but now we have to watch the clock so the sun doesn't go down while we're out. 
Photo credit Susan Weiner 
I wash the down comforters. Get the coats and scarves ready. The mittens matched up. We have coats but here they're more for fashion. Not hardly needed until February.

In Nebraska I don't recall the sudden shift around the equinox of a season. It was more like a bipolar episode going between high and low temps until you were in the belly of it. And then it was dark for 6 months. You got snow tires and changed to a winter antifreeze or your car wouldn't start. And you were so very cold. 

There would be spurts of sneaky warm days in March. We would layout in our shorts if it was 50 or 60 degrees desperate for sun, color and vitamin D. And then it would go back to sub zero and freezing at least until April, bipolaring until it was 98% humidity and 100 degrees. No wonder it's a very tornado friendly place.

I'm getting very sleepy...it's time for a pumpkin latte.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Flavor Of Love

You'd think I had an affair with all of the freedom of the night the newness of the setting and the lust for the flavors of something more delicate than thawed meat.
Many things have taken the back burner the last few years. Going to artsy movies and well, o.k. creativity in general have all shriveled from disregard. Energy and brain power seems to be used up in time management of kid meals, kid entertaining and kid needs among other must-get-done things. 
Gone are the days of paging through gourmet fish recipes and taking my time in the kitchen to prepare them. Food prep has to be quick and interrupted. As for eating out - that has to be quick too. The few times we've attempted it Mountain Man says, "This is the last time we take them out until they're in high school."

For my birthday we were invited to go out to eat and I jumped on it like a cat in heat. The prospect of a meal with adults and no kids, even if it was at IHOP, was a sublime gift.
Wine Map by Tuscaroa Mill
I poured over the choices. Where to go, where to go!! My creative juices although rusty turned on. Should we go to D.C. to a happening place or Middleburg steeped in history and texture or Bethesda where finding parking takes an extra 45 minutes. I settled on Leesburg. We are so close but I have little food knowledge of the area.
We went to Tuscarora Mill. I had often passed by the windows going to and from yoga. The patrons inside were enjoying holiday meals and after work tête-à-têtes. It always looked like a nice time, the reviews were decent and it has easy parking!

What a beautiful time. I took the lead and we started with a really good local wine with the help of the sommelier, a 2011 Verano
I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried pork belly which the chefs on t.v. often rave about. The meal was great. The company and conversation spectacular, I'm still soaking it in a week later with no regrets. The beauty of age.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Steam Trains Dream Trains

For months my two year old has been obsessively into steam trains. Every night I ask her what she is going to dream about and she says, "Choo-choo trains!" We rode the Metro but that just seemed like such a cheap substitute for the real thing. So I found her a surprise and we went over the mountains to Cass, West Virginia to ride a true blue steam train. 
Big Meadows Lodge

The route from our place was scenic as navigated by Mountain Man. We started on Skyline Drive a lovely road along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park. We stopped for sunset and a bite at the old Blue Meadows Lodge built in 1939. It had the same vibe as a Yellowstone lodge, timeless and nostalgic.
I already want to go back (without the sick kids next time).

We stopped for the night in Staunton, Virginia and did a quick a.m. tour of the attractive old town which was a decent size. I even forgot it was a weekday since we found parking during "morning rush hour". My kind of town. We left for Cass and went over 3 mountains arriving in less than two hours. The ears were popping a lot. Oh and near Frost, WV we stopped for gas justincasewewerestuckinthewoodslater. I went in for snacks and, shut the front door right now, I heard something frying at the cash register. Sure enough it was fried chicken!! The lady was jiving gossip, selling lotto and making buckets o chicken.
In Cass we had our choice of a 2 hour ride or a 4 hour ride and went with the shorter option with the little kiddies in tow, good move. The trains were big, steamy, loud and so cool. The cars are open so check the weather. Here is their link for info. 

After the ride we were on our way to stay in a cabin in Watoga State Park  for a few days. Looking for a place to stay that night we started in Snowshoe Village a huge summit complex/town built around a ski mountain. It was so deserted it was like we stepped into
The Shining summer version. So we opted for another town down the road and stayed in a pre -civil war cabin in Marlinton, WV called Jerico cabins. Our cabin was romantic and next to a babbling brook. We had to leave in the middle of the night for a sick baby and cut our trip short. But I hope to go back over the mountains and explore WV parks more in the near future where the  state motto is "Mountaineers Are Always Free" .






Sunday, August 11, 2013

Demolition Derby Date

Got us a dirt track date
Demolition derby figure eight
Eat my dinner off a paper plate
Eliminations start at 8
Friday night I had a hot date with Mountain Man at the county fair. We attended the Demolition Derby on the fairs opening night. It was $2.00 extra for the grand stand event. I called ahead of time to make sure we didn't have to worry about the event selling out. There was silence on the other end of the line. "You can come get tickets the night of the event and it won't be sold out. It's never sold out." I felt like I had stumbled upon a best kept secret. The greatest $2.00 I've ever spent.
The crowd was good for people watching and second hand smoke inhalation. We were near the front row to try and take some decent photos. But the entire fire department crew and every other visual obstacle parked right in front of us. We saw the 8 cylinders in 2 heats and then a final championship heat. The contestants' car paint and names were quite creative. Hood Bros., Derby Dogs, 666, Wild and Crazy, True Blue Heat, etc. It was a straight dirt track and winner was last car standing. Tricks like driving in reverse, double & triple teaming and escaping on the bank, were used. Such strategy, who knew? Here are my videos of the event  & here.
The announcer was lively and the waiting was minimal. The dirt and exhaust were nonexistent (except on the bleacher and my light seersucker pants). They announced that Wednesday there is a minivan demolition derby - words can't describe the beauty in the thought of one of the ugliest vehicles created being smashed into scraps where it should remain. (We have one.) I wonder if there are female drivers in that one. It's kind of their advantage.