Archives for January 2013

Thursday Ten: Where I Wax Poetically About Potatoes edition

1. Okay, I don’t know how poetic I’m going to get, but I had some of the best potatoes ever over the weekend and days later? I still am thinking of how good they are (I took a picture so they’d last longer). My grandpa used to make fried potatoes, and I miss that. I tried to make some a few weeks ago and while they were pretty damn good, they weren’t this good. I really love potatoes. I love carbs. It’s potatoes like this that make me wonder how people on low to no carb diets don’t end up going complete insane.

at peace and with a belly full of potatoes

2. I also watched Season 5 of Breaking Bad over the weekend and holy hell, Walt, WHAT ON EARTH IS WRONG WITH YOU WALTER? Not nice, that Walter White. I’m so sucked in. I’m so caught up and now? I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL WHEN FOR A NEW SEASON? Slightly tantrum inducing. I really want to know what happens next.

3. Tomorrow it will be February 1. How on earth did that happen already?

4. “My tailbone hurts.”
My tailbone hurts.”
“How did you hurt yours?”
“Kept falling back on it in gymnastics.”
“Maybe my tailbone hurt is sympathy for your tailbone hurt.”
“But you didn’t know that I hurt.”
“Maybe my tailbone did.”

5. The Jose Gonzalez version of “Heartbeats” has been in and out of my head for a few days.

6. When you spill something on your phone, do you lick it off or are you constantly aware of what a germ infested piece of technology it is? I’m asking for the person (who isn’t me) who got peanut butter on her phone yesterday. (OKAY FINE IT WAS ME)

7. Sooooo, about that weather we’ve been having…. DOUBLE YOU TEE EFF MOTHER NATURE?!

8. For the first year in awhile, I won’t be attending the Blissdom conference. I left early last year, thinking my sis was going to have her baby any second… but this year it is in Dallas and too far to drive, and well, I think I’ve mentioned the job situation. Financially, it doesn’t make sense to go, and really though I’d love to see a whole bunch of you, it’s not gonna be this year. But have fun if you’re going. Feel free to send me your extra swag. Especially if it’s chocolate.

9. Now that Breaking Bad is done, I moved on to Weeds. Just into Season Two and I’m already thinking, Meeeeeeeeh. I’ll probably keep watching (because really, what else am I gonna watch), but… yeah. Meh.

10. Sesame Street on Twitter yesterday? WELL DONE, GROVER. This made my afternoon a little brighter. Anyone else love this book when they were younger?

Because Even When I Don’t Need Reminders, Reminders Help


An estimated 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among women in the US during 2013; about 2,240 new cases are expected in men. Excluding cancers of the skin, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women.
Source: American Cancer Society

This was my post on Facebook this morning following some research I had been doing for work about cancer. Though I wasn’t researching breast cancer specifically, this statistic jumped out at me and I felt compelled to post it.

Within an hour there was a message in my inbox from a former colleague as he sat in the waiting room waiting for his sister who has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. Their mother lost her fight with breast cancer twelve years ago.

I wrote him back, wishing him well, telling him they are in my thoughts, that I’ll be cheering his sister on from Michigan as she kick’s cancer’s ass, and that I will walk in her honor when I do my fifth Avon Walk this summer.

There are too many daughters, mothers, friends, sisters, neighbors, grandmothers being diagnosed with the disease. AND, as you can see from that statistic up there, men aren’t excluded from breast cancer’s evil grasp.

And the older I get and the more people I meet, the more I see lives affected by cancer. And I don’t like it.

I can’t do much about it. I don’t have the know-how to invent a cure. I don’t have the money to fund large research grants or any of that stuff.

So I walk. I’ve already walked 160 miles to fight breast cancer.

I’ll walk more.

And so I will carry his sister with me on my 39.3 mile and beyond, and I will root her on from Michigan. I will keep doing the things I can do to make a difference.

If you would like to support me in the Avon Walk, please click this link to donate. I know times are tough, but every dollar makes a difference. As I type this, I’m 27% of the way to my fundraising goal.

My mind wanders

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Lately my mind wanders. It’s not always where it’s supposed to be when it’s supposed to be there. It’s scattered and withdrawn, it’s racing or it’s slow. It’s a busy place to be, this brain of mine.

And sometimes I am able to slow down.

Sometimes I am able to feel peace.

Sometimes the anxiousness about what is ahead and what is unknown, sometimes that is quieted for me for awhile.

And I’m grateful when it happens.

Kitchen Through the Lens: Cream Puffs

I have to admit, i wasn't not at all optimistic about these at the start. GROSS BLOBBY BLOBS

I’ve never had a cream puff before.

I don’t even think I’ve ever been tempted to eat a cream puff before.

Why did I put them on my list?


But… I’m glad I did.

I used a recipe from The Princess’s newest cookbook. Yes. I used a kid’s can bake cookbook. That means that this recipe was even simpler than it might otherwise be (I saw other recipes that used all sorts of ingredients  – including pudding mix?). This one was simple. Boil water, butter and a smidge of salt. Throw in some flour. stir until it forms a ball. Let it cool before adding eggs, one at a time. Stir those eggs in vigorously.

That egg stirring thing? What a freaking pain. Pop it on the cookie sheets into slimy hills as pictured above.

Then bake.

cream puffs. sans cream. so. puffs.

I did The Shred while they were baking. That is what we call “fooling ourselves” – will my workout cancel out the cream puff? Hmmmm… I’m gonna say yes.



homemade whipped cream is better than most things

Cut the top third of the cream puff off. Pile in some homemade whipped cream (what? You’re not making you’re own whipped cream? You should! It’s so easy!). Chill your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for a bit – then add a cup of whipping cream, a tablespoon of powdered sugar, and about a teaspoon of vanilla and then let that stuff blend. I always double the recipe because whipped cream is perfect for eating out of a bowl with a kitchen spoon.

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Add whipped cream to your puff. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top. VOILA. This was a tasty, happy, pleasant surprise. Delish.


Thursday Ten: We Could Use a Break edition

1. It’s been a tough week and it could have been tougher. My grandpa was supposed to have a heart catheterization today – and it’s been postponed because of a stomach bug (My mom emailed me, “He has the big D.” Thanks mom.) . My family is actually quite relieved – they were concerned about this procedure. Though heart caths are routine, everyone has been worried about whether Grandpa has the strength for it right now. It’s necessary in order to determine the next steps (surgery or a stent for his carotid artery), so they’ll have to reschedule the procedure — but my mom referred to the postponement as “divine intervention.” I think she and my aunts (as well as my grandpa’s tummy) just weren’t ready for another procedure right now.

2. When I wrote down my list of things to include in my Thursday Ten list, I made a note about being grateful the cath was postponed – but my note and shorthand looks like it just says “grateful heart.” I suppose that works too. In the midst of chaos, my heart is still grateful for what’s good.

3. It’s only recently that I’ve come to appreciate the joy in standing around a kitchen, drinking adult type beverages, cooking or watching people cook. It’s peaceful, the warmth of a kitchen. From someone who has “hated cooking,” it’s funny how much joy it brings me (bigger joy if someone else is doing the cooking). Yesterday at work, in the midst of cold I kept thinking that what the day needed was a warm kitchen, a glass of wine and the preparation of comfort food. {Instead I had a Coke Zero and a granola bar. Totally the same.}

4. I am now ready for season 5 of Breaking Bad. OH. MY. GOSH. I cannot remember the last time I was sucked into a show quite like that – I’m ready to dive into Season Five. I am gonna miss this one when it’s all over.

5. Aside from my Breaking Bad addiction, the girls have taken control of the Netflix. That’s why all the shows recommended for me are cartoons.

6. The Princess had a gym meet on Sunday and somehow forgot a part of her routine. It resulted in a lower score than she’s used to and she was pretty disappointed with her performance. My mom tried to make her feel better by telling her that at least the beam routine was perfect, to which The Princess responded, “Grandma, if it was PERFECT? It’d have been a 10.0. It wasn’t perfect.” I actually love that she recognizes that and that she knows that she doesn’t automatically deserve a 10.0 – that it’s earned with skill and precision and all of that stuff she practices at the gym.

7. The job situation has somehow made me table thinking of photography as a real business – not because I don’t want to, but because I’m terrified about y’know, actual stable income. As in HAVING actual stable income. Much as I’d love to do the work I’m passionate about, I don’t know that I could handle the fear. Some people have entrepreneurial souls. I have a soul that is laced with doubt.

8. This weather has been ridiculously cold. It was -1 degree (not even counting that pesky wind chill) when I woke up the other day. Hey world? THAT IS TOO DAMN COLD.
i never saw blue like that before

9. Kitchen Through The Lens – more projects are coming, I promise. The same winter blah that is bringing the cold yucky weather is also sucking up all the natural light so that by the time I get home from work and cook, I’m not generally satisfied with the photos because ugh, no natural light. I made a greek salad from the list a week or so ago and it was U G L Y, and the bad light? Made it look worse.

10. “I don’t care how badly you want a snow day, you are NOT putting your underpants in the freezer.” Actual thing I said yesterday. I’m told that kids also flush ice cubes down the toilet and wear their jammies backward in order to get a snow day. REALLY? There’s really just no way any child of mine is going to be allowed to freeze her underpants.

TIL Tuesday: Things In My Mailbox Edition

I haven’t done a TIL Tuesday (Things I Love Tuesday) post in awhile – and that’s a shame because it’s probably way more fun than reading about all of the things that are currently freaking me out or me griping about the weather. I’ve gotten some fun stuff in my mailbox lately so let me tell you a few things that I’ve gotten that I adore.

Kérastase Nutritive Nectar Thermique – Protect
This came in January’s Birchbox. Birchbox remains one of my random splurges these days – my house may be freezing but I’ll spend ten bucks a month to get a box of fun things in the mail. The Keratase is an awesome heat protecting styling product that does some awesome mojo when I straighten my hair (it makes no discernible difference when heat styling products aren’t used – at least for me). But I’ve used this twice now when straightening my hair and the end result is softer and shinier hair with less frizz. It also makes the ends look healthier. So full of win.

Actually, I love Birchbox in general. While I don’t love every product (perfume samples? Mehhhhhh…), I do love the fun of opening each month and trying things I wouldn’t try otherwise. I’ve found some amazing things that someday I’ll actually purchase. Probably.

When My Baby Dreams of Fairy Tales

I remember seeing the blog – the mom who made these amazing scenes every afternoon while her baby girl was napping. I know neither of my daughters would have ever slept through that, but the blog was lovely and now the images have been made into a book. I received a review copy today. My daughters love it, the photographs are lovely and I think it will make an excellent baby shower gift.

Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Secret Admirer

I know this may seem ridiculous but I am kinda glad to see they have Fancy Nancy growing up a little for her readers that are getting better at reading. It was one of my favorite series for Pumpkin and I was bummed to see her outgrow the series. Now we can hang on to this fun series a little longer.

And the hamster wheel goes ’round and ’round

scenes from a desk on a tuesday morning

It’s Friday night and I am alternately watching the dog contort himself to sniff his backside and mindlessly singing along to “Besame Mucho” which is what shuffle has decided would be next for my listening pleasure. I’m not fluent in Spanish, and haven’t used it in quite a long time – so you can imagine how the singing is going.

I’m fine if I don’t think too much – my sister was over earlier and we were talking about work. I haven’t seen her in awhile, and so I was explaining that I have about six weeks left of full time work. I explained that I have quite nearly exhausted the available options right now for next steps {Paused writing this post to return an email. And now I have quite nearly exhausted every option. One more email to write.} I could feel my eyes starting to fill up with stupid tears while I was talking to her – changed the subject, swooped up my niece, and tried to re-focus my thinking elsewhere.

It’s Friday and a weekend is here and oh, I am so relieved for a weekend – but that means that another week has swooped by and oh, they can’t all go by this fast.

I feel my brain getting caught in the hamster wheel and it’s the thinking that stresses me out and I really need to stop thinking.

I came home from work, pushed myself hard on the treadmill. The exertion felt good – something tells me that this is a far better use of my anxious energy than staring at the wall thinking of every worst case scenario (one train of thought today had me and the girls living in a refrigerator carton on the side of a road somewhere – a ridiculous thought, because even if things ever got that bad, cardboard living isn’t in the cards because there are other options). But that’s how my brain goes.

I hate my brain sometimes.

The same brain that gives me creativity and words and vision – the things about me that I love because I am creative can just as quickly be things that bring me misery because that imagination is an equal-opportunity imagination.

I keep thinking that writing it down, that blogging it will help. That getting it out of my head and out into the ether takes it from being some concept that keeps my brain churning and forces me to realize that it’s either not so bad or it is but that it won’t be so bad always.

Am I calmer now having written? Maybe.

The dog is no longer chasing his butt.

Shuffle is now playing The Civil Wars.

I am thinking of curling up in bed, seeing how many episodes of Breaking Bad I can watch before my brain gives up on me. There is nothing I can do right this minute to alter my situation. Absolutely nothing. (Unless you’re reading this and have taken pity on me and want to hire me to write everything for you ever.)

That’s what I have to remember. There’s worry – reasonable and irrational. And it just doesn’t make sense to let my brain run away with me right now.

I think I may have just talked myself out of my tree.

For now.

Thursday Ten: I Know It’s January But I Don’t Want Winter edition

1. It’s cold. It’s so cold. Duh Sarah, it’s January. But this winter has been erratic, weatherwise and otherwise. And now it’s acting like it wants to be winter. Temps for next week are looking straight up dismal and I’m already dreading it. I PICKED THE WRONG TIME TO LOWER MY THERMOSTAT.

2. Music I’m listening to this week – I’m late to the game but Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. I know “Thrift Shop” is the single that’s getting play, but I was wandering around iTunes and the first track from The Heist that I listened to was “Same Love.” I love the song and I think the video is lovely as well. I had made a comment somewhere last week about an old novelty hip hop song from the 90s – how cheesy and nonsensical the lyrics were – and I think that’s what I love about this album, and the evolution of hip hop in general. There’s still a fair amount of garbage out there, but some of it? It’s getting smart. And I dig it.

3. I can’t decide how to describe Zero Dark Thirty. It seems bizarre to say I enjoyed it – given its subject matter. It was extremely well done, in my opinion. It was disturbing and tense and for someone like me who avoids a lot of the grimness of the news like the plague, it really shook me at times, particularly the scenes of torture. I recommend it.

4. Yeesh, y’all. Two movies in less than a month. {I love it. I’ve missed movies.}

5. Pumpkin has lost a third tooth in less than a month. For someone like me who doesn’t usually have cash on hand, I’ve had to really be on my game about making sure I’ve got an extra buck or so around (I’ve decided the going rate is $1.50 a tooth after the $2 First Tooth Premium she got for the first one she lost. I can’t explain my reasoning other than it just seemed like a bigger deal than just a buck, and two dollars for something she isn’t gonna use anymore anyway? Pffft)

6. Second gymnastics meet of the season this weekend. The Princess had such a good showing last time that I have mixed feelings about this one. I hope it goes well but I also hope that she rolls with the punches if it doesn’t go quite as well. It will be what it will be, and I’m sure it will be fine. Doesn’t matter how many meets we go to, I still cringe when she’s on the beam. Actually, I cringe when all kids are on the beam. I hate seeing ’em fall off.

7. Conspiracy theorists. Just…stop. Then again, wouldn’t it be nice to be a conspiracy theorist and explain away all that we didn’t like or agree with and pass it off as untruths? I’m rolling my eyes at you, internet. Not all of you. Just some of you. You know, the ones who probably stopped reading this post a few items ago when I posted the song about marriage equality.

8. Days are getting longer and it’s not dark when I get into my car at day end. But it’s still damn cold.

9. Will I ever read a whole book again? I, uh… don’t know. I mean, I’d like to. Maybe when I run out of stuff in my Netflix queue.

10. Today is my yearly skin cancer check up to make sure that none of my many moles (y’all could almost connect-the-dots on my arms) are cancerous. While I don’t spend as much time in the sun now as I did when I was younger, I believe in preventative care if you’re able to make that happen. Getting a mole check doesn’t involve speculums but usually it involves my dermatologist hovering over me with magnifying eyeglasses and it’s somewhat mortifying to be inspected so closely by anyone, but… you know… beats the alternative. {Have you seen your dermatologist lately? This is your “get checked for skin cancer” PSA}

And so I reprogrammed my thermostat

Last week, I learned that my job would ultimately be transitioning to part time.

The implications of this, as you can imagine, have got me feeling all kinds of ways about things – life things, financial things, “who did I piss off in a past life?” things. There is no ideal time for plans to get knocked off course, and so it is up to me to deal with it somehow, to find a way to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and to hopefully come up with a way to make everything work before everything somehow falls apart.

I don’t love uncertainty.

You know that. If you’ve been around, reading this space for any given time, you know that. You’re certain of it, even.

I am not certain what the answer is.

I am not certain what I’m going to do.

That freaks me out.

All I can do is the best I can do and I struggle with that because the best I can do often doesn’t feel good enough. The best I can do often feels like I’m doing nothing. The best I can do sometimes involves watching Netflix for hours on end until I look at the clock and realize that maybe maybe maybe I should be sleeping.

I look at my bank balance and I wish that numbers didn’t intimidate me. I think I should make budgets and make solutions and possibly clip coupons.

I reprogrammed my thermostat so that as I type this, the temperature in the living room is starting to dip for the night and I am wanting to wrap myself in a throw blanket to keep warm. I’ve read you can save between 1 – 3% on your heating bill for every degree you lower the temperature. That shizz better be true.

But it’s something I can do.

When I feel so stuck and like things are out of my hands, to successfully program my thermostat so that maybe next month my energy bill won’t rival the national debt makes me feel like I’m taking back a little bit of control from my life – my life that seems to be holding the reigns while I am merely along for the ride. To prepare smaller meals to waste less food. To ease up on the Starbucks habit. To pack my stupid lunch every day for work even though I a) hate packing my lunch, b) hate eating what I’ve packed and c) would much rather go out for tacos.

This is not the end of the world. And I am told that everything will be okay (please, keep telling me that. It helps.). It will be. Nothing is as bad as it seems, but it’s all shaded by the color of uncertainty and frankly uncertainty has never made anything look better.

It’s my hope that struggle is temporary.

I’ll keep doing my best.

I’ll keep looking for solutions.

And breathing in and out.

And trying to focus on what is good instead of dwelling on what isn’t.

And I will wrap myself in a thick blanket and keep warm because otherwise my body will turn into a giant icicle because holy moley it’s cold in here.

Thursday Ten: Now With Less Teeth edition

1. Pumpkin has lost her second tooth. She hung on to that sucker as long as she could – she was downright fearful of it falling out, despite having just lost one on Christmas. But now, now… she is missing her two front teeth. It is adorable and cute and I am very curious to see what those big teeth of hers look like when they grow in.

2. Got some yucky bad work related news this week and so that’s…something. NOT how I wanted to start this new year, and I’m completely shaken by the bad news, but… crossing my fingers, hoping for the best.

3. Breaking Bad. Still addicted. Nightly ritual is curling up with Netflix and watching episode after episode until I can no longer keep my eyes open.

4. I wonder a lot about the saying “We aren’t given more than we can handle.” Because so often, I’m ready to cry out uncle, that I have had all I can handle. No more. I’m a tough cookie, this I know. I’d like to not have to be tough, though.

5. So, in trolling the internet, I found the coolest iPhone cases ever on Society6. SUPER cute. No more boring cases. There are some really funky styles here. Unfortunately, I’ll have to hold off on shopping for awhile. I’m sure that when I do go to look for a case, there will be even more to choose from. (I love that people are so creative!)

6. The kids easily adjusted to being back at school after two weeks of winter break.It’s kind of a relief to be back in a groove – they both get a little antsy, stir crazy with all that time off. Me too.

7. Sometimes I take pictures I love.
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8. You know what’s traumatic? Getting a bad haircut. ALL THE TRAUMA. I’m gonna get my bad ‘do fixed this evening, but man, I wish people could admit, when asked, that they don’t know how to cut curly hair. Save me some agony. Have you ever cried over a haircut? It seems petty to admit, but… it’s a pretty awful haircut. I think you’d understand.

9. One of my least favorite mom things to do is pack lunches for school. Oh, I love to write the notes that go in with the lunches, but packing the lunches themselves? BLEH. This week Pumpkin requested Greek salad for her lunch. Since we had some left from a Kitchen through the Lens project (I’ll post it next week…), that’s what I packed. Seems a bizarre school lunch for a seven year old, but yeah.

10. Why is there no Jetsons-esque technology that eliminates the need for people to fold laundry? I have baskets full of stuff that needs folding and no motivation at ALL to get any of it done. So, wrinkles. And then: ironing. Flawed plan. I’d love to never fold clothes again.