Friday, February 29, 2008

Breakfast of Champions

I love getting boxes in the mail, even the ones I expect. My Mom sent me some Whey Kewl stuff, a heatable pack with lavender, and a nifty pop-up book! Also, this came to me yesterday and I could not be more thrilled. In my copious spare time (yah...right) I study. I borrow or get books on type, graphic arts, In Design, Illustrator, whatever I can get my paws on, and I Absorb. I often hop on the internet and do tutorials, or gift myself with a pretend task of some sort, a folder design, a newsletter layout, a web page, and I go at it as if I were being paid to do so. Yeah, boring life, eh? But, really, I love this stuff. I want to be better at what I do, and for free, I can keep my skills honed AND end up with portfolio worthy work at the same time.

This is a beautiful book, and it is filled with inspiring examples of excellent design work from some of the top design firms and some new to me as well. W00t! Expansion. Speaking of expansion...

I find that M&M's help greatly, especially the ones with Special Writing on them. These say "I love my Girls" and "Great Gramps". They were Valentines gifts to my daughters from their great grandfather (step-mom's grandpa). Of course I chuckle when I parse it as Great Cramps. But, that's me...goofy.

Yesterday was a Kick Ass Kitchen Day. We cranked out an amazing amount of work yesterday, and I will be returning this morning to arrange a platter and get a few things done before the event tomorrow. I will try to keep up with posting as best I can so continue to stop by to see if I am still alive. Virtual Pulse Check...

Here is some coolness to start things off today!

Your Daily Dose of Cool Things:

High Tech Noon!!!

Your Daily Dose of Wonderful Design:

Your Daily Dose of Inspiring Words:

Painting by Robert Gribbroek

"In the last analysis, the individual person is responsible for living his own life and for "finding himself." If he persists in shifting his responsibility to somebody else, he fails to find out the meaning of his own existence. "- Thomas Merton

Your Daily Dose of Wicked-Good Food:

Fruit Compote with Fat Free Yogurt and Walnuts

This is my breakfast this morning!

1/3 cup fat free organic yogurt
1 handful of walnuts
1 cup frozen berry mix warmed on the stove with 1 tablespoon of Agave Nectar
and, of course, the best part...Whipped Cream (a moderate and demure little dollop)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rasta Frasta...

Firefox has this for a  Blogger Dashboard this morning.

Safari has THIS. This is the way it SHOULD look.

I am perplexed. Yesterday I had error messages for Firefox that would not abate. I uninstalled my Firefox browser and went to Safari and reinstalled from there. Clean new program. Still fubar this morning. I NEVER have problems on my Mac. This is why I have a Mac.  No problems. Evar. Perhaps I should have paid closer attention when I noticed some of the letters beginning to rub off on the keyboard. The " A" for example.  The "S" does not have a top. And, wait! The "D" is missing a side!  Hold on a second...if I shift things spells SAD!!  My computer is sad!!!  So this means what, exactly? I am not sure. But as soon as I can figure it out I will send my computer some flowers to make it feel better. It is picking a bad time to go all sensitive on me.  Unfortunately, all my Keen bookmarks are in Firefox, so I must now go and export them to Safari. As if. As if I had time for this today.  Ah, damn. I have seven dog walks, a meeting, and an appointment for one of the kids early evening.  I will see if I can pull off a quality Keen post here. Be patient with me. Gah. AND Foo.

Your Daily Dose of Cool Things:

The History of Stuff

Your Daily Dose of Wonderful Design:

Your Daily Dose of Inspiring Words:

"It is still the first week in January, and I've got great plans.  I've been thinking about seeing. There are lots of things to see, unwrapped gifts and free surprises. The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand.  But- and this is the point- who gets excited by a mere penny?  If you follow one arrow, if you crouch motionless on a bank to watch a tremulous ripple thrill on the water and are rewarded by the sight of a muskrat kit paddling from its den, will you count that sight a chip of copper only, and go your rueful way? It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won't stoop to pick up a penny.  But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty brought a lifetimes of days.  It is that simple. What you see is what you get." Annie Dillard: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Your Daily Dose of Wicked-Good Food:

Pretty and Healthy Breakfast

My kids love this!

grapefruit slices
honeydew melon slices
fat free ricotta cheese
sprinkles (optional)

Mix 1/2 cup fat free ricotta with 1 tablespoon of honey. Scoop using a small ice cream scoop or melon baller. Alternate the pink and green fruit. Top with the ricotta. Sprinkle away! Very "Spring" looking, eh?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Water, Water, Water...

It didn't occur to me until I had all the graphics imported and lined up for this post that much of the content below includes something about WATER. Hmmm...maybe it is because I got a new water filter for the kitchen?

Last night was Travel Channel night. That means a hot date with Anthony Bourdain in Ghana and "Living with the Mek Tribe" a documentary about 2 guys (one explorer, one travel journalist) who sought out an indigenous tribe in West Papua, New Guinea and have been living among them for months. So, um, yes, roasted guinea pigs (*sniff* *whimper*) and penis gourds were de rigueur. I also watched "Manon of the Spring" with my eldest for her French class. T'was a fun evening. And, yes, I hate the Oscars. Hate. Them. Tears, blathering on and on..."I'd like to thank...yadda, yadda, yadda". Pwetty dresses, sure, but a phenomenal waste of time. I would rather watch Tony sip 98 proof liquor made from tubers and spit. Which I did. Gee, that would sell here in Good Ol' Ameeericka, Non? Not so Very Cool.

But this is:

Your Daily Dose of Cool Things:

Um, yeah. This makes me feel mighty lucky...
Forty-year-old son accused of tazing mom at party
The guy shocked his mother in the leg, causing her to fall and hit her head on the garage floor. The woman told police she wanted to press charges against her son because she was "tired of being abused." (Sun Sentinel)


Your Daily Dose of Wonderful Design:

Circular Communites

Check THIS out!!! Individually Designable Vases!!

Your Daily Dose of Inspiring Words:

Image by Me

"When a human being truly realizes that there is an absence of truth and happiness in his life, an absence of peace, then a fire comes from within. A real fire to find peace burns for that person from the heart, not from the head. That person starts to search.

Look for the thirst. It is the thirst within that propels us in the right direction. That is what we need-the rediscovery of the passion for joy. Let that be the driving force.

When this life feels full, when this breath is not being thrown away, kindness begins to manifest. Kindness is the outpouring of a heart filled with joy. That is when peace comes into our lives. That is when we begin to find the resolution to our problems. It is not that our problems are resolved, but that we find within a simplicity that is magnificent."

Prem Rawat Responds to Questions about Peace (Special thanks to Megan In Providence, RI for sending me this quote!)

Your Daily Dose of Wicked-Good Food:

Blue Cheese and Walnut Ravioli with Shallots and Dried Cranberries
(serves two as an appetizer of three each)

Won Ton wrappers
2 oz crumbly blue cheese
handful of walnuts
three shallots
oilive oil
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Whip up the cheese and nuts in a blender or food processor until it resembles a coarse meal. Moisten the edges of the won ton wrappers and place a spoonful of the cheese/nut mix in the center. Crimp and press edges. I use a cookie cutter to make them pretty (also cuts down on the carbohydrates!). Steam the raviolis. I use a plate on an inverted cup in a wok with water in the bottom. They take about 5 minutes. During this time, slice shallots and cook them in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss in a few walnut pieces for texture and protein. Add the dried cranberries and toss all together. Plate the ravioli on top of the shallot mixture. Serve with white wine, a sauvignon blanc or fume blanc is great. Champagne is even better!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cumin Over to See What's Up!

Click over to Pinch and Sprig (<---click those words or see the sidebar) for a lesson on this cool and, well, multi-faceted spice! but get out some honey and pepper first...

Winter by the Sea

I took my camera out to one of my favorite spots to look for eagles. Deer Island, in Amesbury, has quite a breeding population of bald eagles, and I have been swooped upon a number of times while there. Unfortunately, there were myriads of other folk there with cameras, too, and I left having not seen a single eagle. Oh, Poo!

I headed into Newburyport, stopped into The Grog for a pint or two of Guinness and some chili to gird my loins for the next portion of the day, the beach. I drove out to Salisbury Beach and had a blast. I met a wonderful dog there on the beach, and spent a lot of time listening to the ice as it flowed and crashed in the currents. Fingers froze a bit, so I headed back to the car to get warm, returning for the sunset about 20 minutes later. I am glad I went back for this. It was really gorgeous!!

I slept in late today! For one who rises at 5 AM most days, my being in bed at 9 was like a vacation. I need the rest, though, as next week is going to be crazy busy. Three full dog walking days, two full days in the commercial kitchen, a catering event next Saturday, a business meeting Wednesday afternoon and various other commitments will keep me going like a squirrel on crack.

I will whip up a Pinch and Sprig post today!! I have been so busy that the second blog has been ignored. My Bad. Martha Stewart has a full staff. Me? I gotz Me.

See you later over at Pinch and Sprig!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Maybe I need a Lion instead...

Six to Ten, Six to Ten, grab the shovel and do it again! Go Team!

This is the view out my front door this morning! And "six to ten" really captures the moment because while some spots got six, many areas in my town got ten inches in fluffy drifts of goodness. Next year, perhaps I should put down my camera and spatula and get me a truck with a plow on it. I could pay for my kid's college several times over if we have another winter like this one. This was seriously fun to shovel yesterday evening on my first pass with the shovel. Light, fluffy, considerate, kind snow. Okay, I kid, I kid...but I actually enjoy shoveling light snow. Color me weird, but it is fun for me.

Shoveling does turn me into an eating monster though. Several bowls of Honey Bunches of Oats with peaches were consumed. Followed by yogurt (that YUMMY Fage brand of Greek yogurt...oh, so gooood!) Then Mochi, the cinnamon raisin kind, with organic maple syrup. Don't know Mochi? Don't worry. By the end of this post you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

I have been scanning the Pet-Finder sites lately. Okay, honestly, I have been trolling the pet sites for a year now. I have spent more hours looking at dogs than I have potential dates from the "dating" sites this year. Here are some of the top contenders. Keep in mind I have screened all for compatability with kids and cats, personality, training, and Kyootness:

Top runner up, presently: Joy- a terrier/sheltie mix currently located in Connecticut

Milton- such a Sweetie! Check out 'dem Yoda ears!!!

Opus- A whippet mix

I don't need to hear from any nay-sayers on this. Nothing is written in stone yet. I am just looking about for the perfect companion. I want a medium sized dog with kind energy and intelligence. I want a dog to walk in the woods with, to cuddle, to lend more doggie context to my daily life. To love. Send me good vibes, please. Thanks!

Your Daily Dose of Cool Things:

"Paul Mawhinney, a 69-year old Pittsburgh man, is selling off his old record collection. Nothing too unusual about that, except that Mawhinney happens to own one of the largest collections of music in the world."- Paste Magazine (I think he also has a donut collection somewhere, too)

Silly Doggie!

Creative Mapping

Your Daily Dose of Wonderful Design:

Eco-Lighthouse (via Lost at E Minor)

Called the Lighthouse (BRE House), this is the UK’s first ever net zero carbon home that also meets the highest level of the UK Standard Code for Sustainable Homes.

Your Daily Dose of Inspiring Words:

Once upon a time, there was a large mountainside, where an eagle’s nest rested. The eagle’s nest contained four large eagle eggs. One day an earthquake rocked the mountain causing one of the eggs to roll down the mountain, to a chicken farm, located in the valley below. The chickens knew that the must protect and care for the eagle’s egg, so an old hen volunteered to nurture and raise the large egg.

One day, the egg hatched and a beautiful eagle was born. Sadly, however, the eagle was raised to be a chicken. Soon, the eagle believed he was nothing more than a chicken. The eagle loved his home and family, but his spirit cried out for more. While playing a game on the farm one day, the eagle looked to the skies above and noticed a group of mighty eagles soaring in the skies. "Oh," the Eagle cried, "I wish I could soar like those birds."

The chickens roared with laughter, "You cannot soar with those birds. You are a chicken and chickens do not soar." The eagle continued staring, at his real family up above, dreaming that he could be with them. Each time the eagle would let his dreams be known, he was told it couldn’t be done.

That is what the eagle learned to believe. The eagle, after time, stopped dreaming and continued to live his life like a chicken. Finally, after a long life as a chicken, the eagle passed away.

The moral of the story: You become what you believe you are; so if you ever dream to become an eagle follow your dreams, not the words of a chicken.

- Author Unknown

Your Daily Dose of Wicked-Good Food:

Grainaissance Mochi

"Mochi is a nutritious bake-and-serve rice snack made from whole grain brown rice. Mochi is all-natural and without additives, preservatives or colorings. It's also wheat-free and gluten-free. Mochi can be eaten in a variety of ways. Just cut into 1-1/2" squares and bake in a pre-heated 450° F oven for 8-10 minutes. Watch them puff up before your eyes!" (via the Grainaissance site)

Seriously, this stuff is addictive, yummy and chewy goodness. Try it out. You will be really happy you did!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sunny Morning in the Window

All of 17 degrees here this morning. The girls sat in the window with the flowers, the sun streaming in. I *had* to take out the camera. We are to get from 4-6 inches of snow here tomorrow night. I am so confused. 60 degrees one day...17 a couple of days later. I won't complain about the snow, though, as I love it, and we are at the tail end of winter now.

I have been busy as a taxi driver to the kids this week, as it is vacation week for them, and that means lots of mileage and pizza. At least I don't have to pay for a week in Cabo or anything. But, that does mean that I have had less time for this blog, thus the lack of a *daily* post.

Hello to India and China and the Netherlands, by the way! They dropped in yesterday. It was nice to see them!

Your Almost Daily Dose of Cool Things:

Office Trike!

Say "Hello!" to Lab Partners!

Um, yeah....tentacle implants!

Your Almost Daily Dose of Wonderful Design:

Your Daily Dose of Inspiring Words:

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,

When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide,

and measure them,

When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with

much applause in the lecture-room,

How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,

Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,

In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,

Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars. - Walt Whitman-

Your Daily Dose of Wicked-Good Food:

Potatoes, Carrots and Brussels Sprouts with Indian Spices

(serves 1 as main or 2 as a side)

2 large potatoes

2 large carrots (or a handful of baby carrots)

handful of sprouts, quartered

1 cup plain non-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon tumeric

(or alternatively, use curry powder)

Steam the above vegetables until just fork tender. Combine the yogurt and spices. Toss the vegetables in the yogurt mixture and serve.