Friday, May 30, 2008

Yo! Peeps!

I am heading off to the kitchen today to do remarkable things. We are catering an event tomorrow, too, so I will likely be off grid until Sunday, whereupon I will bestow upon you, my loyal readers, a Weekend Update! Have a good one today! And remember, BE KIND!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Your Own Back Yard...

I get an email every morning from a friend, Steve, who is in Thailand working in an elephant refuge there. He writes of blasting though the town on the back of a bicycle listening to Led Zepplin, the wild dogs, the monks, and the work he is doing. Sometimes when I read his stories I find myself anxious to get into the Big World to do Good Things. Hearing of his sitting for hours on a hard floor to be honored by the monks, making offerings of light bulbs, praying and learning to stretch himself into a shape that fits the life there, makes me yearn to be away, to be far from this American conclave of vinyl villages, SUV's, gum-snapping and yelling mom's at softball games, the consumption, the lack of Grace.

And then I remember that I, too, am doing Good Works, right here in my own back yard. I am raising two girls, pretty much alone, and caring for other people's animals. I carried my injured dog for almost 2 miles out of the woods, and she knows this. She thanks me daily. I help my friends often, and I try, I really TRY to be kind and giving every day, in as many moments as I can remember to do so.

I had a dream last night. One of those vivid and Real ones, and it brought to the surface some memories that bring a poignant thread to my day. When I dream vividly about people I miss, it brings them close, so close I can see and touch them, and then with the morning light, they vanish, leaving behind the feelings, and renewing the loss. Somehow, taking my limping dog for a walk in the cold morning light helped. It put distance and perspective on the shimmering seams of remembrances. This is who I am now. This is my life NOW. And I need to step into it wholly and fully and embrace even the feelings of wanting to be someone else, to do something else, and I need to let that sit and just Be for a while.

One foot in the past, one foot in the future...

I need to put both feet firmly on the ground Here and Now, and recognize the magic that is in my own back yard. How about you?

Break the Spell-O-Da-Funk with this Daily Earworm: (cause Davey Jones is just so Delicious. Ah, my youth...:

Your Daily Dose of Cool Things:

Skull Splitter Orkney Ale

The Boston Craft Beer Festival is in June. In Boston. Unfortunately, I am working both days. would be hella fun. Maybe you should go and tell me all about it. This beer RAWKS, though.

Tugboat Printshop

Hey, Ma! This place is in Pittsburgh! Go check it out for me!

Your Daily Dose of Wonderful Design:

World's First Zero-Cost Hybrid

Lion Sands...Oh, My!

Your Daily Dose of Inspiring Words:



"He thought about her. He looked at her. Every day on the slick, green seat, the last row, of a hot bus on the way home from camp. All tired, backs of heads dripping with lake water, shoes caked with creek mud, and sucking on pretzels handed out by the counselors, they would bounce on home.

Only once did they speak that summer. On the last, hot, sticky summer afternoon, visions of torpor, dazed on the ride. No one could hear them in the last row. But the words were spoken.

"Lisa, you have sleepies in your eye..." It was all he could muster from the reptilian brains he was working with at the time.

She took off her thick glasses, kicked the seat in front of her with her nasty looking Keds, and picked the crusty out of the corner.

And then, he couldn't believe it. She wouldn't.

She did.

She ate it.

And in that split second he felt more love for her than his little heart could comprehend.

It still haunts him.

40 years later." Me

Your Daily Dose of Wicked-Good Food:

Asian Pear and Cucumber Salsa with Cranberries

2 cucumbers, peeled and seeds removed
1 asian pear (may use regular pear, jicama, or apple)
1 small bunch cilantro
1/2 cup dried cranberries
the juice of 2 limes
4 scallions
1/2 cup olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper (FRESH)
salt and pepper to taste

Cut cucumber in to 2 inch chunks. Process by short pulsing 16 times. Remove from bowl of processor and place in a large salad bowl. Core, slice and finely cube the Asian pear. Process cilantro, to a medium cut to fill a measuring cup (1 cup). Process the jalapeno pepper to a fine cut. (Clean out the bowl immediately with hot, soapy water). Chop the scallions into medium cut.

Add pear, pepper, scallions and cilantro to large bowl with cucumbers, adding the lime juice, oil and spices. Toss in the cranberries and let marinate a few hours minimum. Best if left overnight!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Things One Should Not Shout Out Loud...

Waiting for just the right time

When talking to one's dog at 5:30 AM in the backyard, one should be careful of what one says out loud. I have spent much of the morning chuckling at myself for asking Lux, entirely TOO loudly:

"Sweetie, do you want to gnaw on your balls?"

Ah, yes, the simple joys.

We are expecting thunderstorms today, which I adore, though not so much when I am walking dogs, which I am today. I am hoping that the serious ones don't roll in until after 2PM when I am finished.

This morning, on our "administrative walk" I noted that the poppy which was still in a tight bud yesterday had unfurled. GAWDS!!! I LOVE that color!!!!

Your Daily Dose of Cool Things:

The Biggest Drawing in the World

Daily Earworm:

Your Daily Dose of Wonderful Design:

And Joy is Everywhere;
It is in the Earth's green covering of grass;
In the blue serenity of the Sky;
In the reckless exuberance of Spring;
In the severe abstinence of gray Winter;
In the Living flesh that animates our bodily frame;
In the perfect poise of the Human figure, noble and upright;
In Living;
In the exercise of all our powers;
In the acquisition of Knowledge;
in fighting evils...
Joy is there Everywhere.

Rabindranath Tagore

Your Daily Dose of Wicked-Good Food:

Frozen Cherries instead of Ice Cubes!

My cocktail last night was most yummy!

2 oz Ruby Red Vodka by Absolute
Tonic water
lime wedge
frozen cherries

Anytime you can substitute frozen fruits for ice cubes go for the organic and brightly colored ones. Try mango chunks or pineapple slices! Frozen raspberries in seltzer are delicious, too. At the end of the glass there are tasty fruits to nosh on. when the fruit is in season, simply wash and dry and freeze on a cookie sheet. Then bag them up in a ziplock for easy storage. Try melon balls!!! Canteloupe and honeydew look gorgeous in a glass with organic clear Blue Sky sodas.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What a day...

It is positively gorgeous here today. I am currently sitting in the shade in the back yard with Lux at my feet all dopey on Benadryl and gnawing on a chewie. She is enjoying the breezes, and hobbles over to the other side of the yard from time to time, limping awfully, wincing and whining. Her paw must hurt terribly. We did a block-walk just a bit ago, and she made it all the way around the block, but barely. I keep stuffing her toys with tidbits and distracting her from nibbling...I had to take off the cone; the humiliation was intolerable. At least for a few hours or so, while I am right by her to dissuade her from noshing on bandage. In the meantime, I have found some very Keen things for you to look at:

Your Daily Dose of Cool Things:

Photoshop keyboard skins from Photojojo

I dunno about you, but while my photoshop skills ARE growing, it sure would be keen to have a visual cue to the keyboard shortcuts. Take a look-see at this. I think it is well worth the money if you spend much time doing post-production processing or graphic design.

La Bottine Souriante

One of my all-time favorite bands. I try to see them whenever they show up in town here, which is often at the Lowell Folk Festival. If you are a fan of traditional music, specifically Quebecois music, you must find out more about them.

Your Daily Dose of Wonderful Design:

Nifty Blender Lamp How-To (via

Your Daily Dose of Inspiring Words:

Lies I've told my 3 year old recently

Trees talk to each other at night.

All fish are named either Lorna or Jack.

Before your eyeballs fall out from watching too much TV, they get very loose.

Tiny bears live in drain pipes.

If you are very very quiet you can hear the clouds rub against the sky.

The moon and the sun had a fight a long time ago.

Everyone knows at least one secret language.

When nobody is looking, I can fly.

We are all held together by invisible threads.

Books get lonely too.

Sadness can be eaten.

I will always be there.

from Raul at

Your Daily Dose of Wicked-Good Food:

Lentil Soup Extraordinare

1 quart broth (I used organic turkey I had in the freezer, you can use veggie broth or whatever works for you best)
3 cups addtional water
2 tablespoons oil (I used walnut)
2 medium onions
1/2 small bag baby carrots or 3 medium carrots diced
1 medium sweet potato diced
1 to 2 chicken sausages (I used the organic chicken/garlic ones from Whole Foods, these are optional, of course)
1/2 bag lentils
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
optional: 3 tablespoons nut butter (I used cashew)
sea salt to taste

Cook the onion, carrot and sweet potato in the oil until just tender. Add the broth, remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30-40 minutes. Serve with steamed Jasmine, brown or basmati rice.

The Third Wave

Now the crest of the third wave, the poppies, the iris, the azaleas in full blossom. Yesterday was QUITE a walking day. Lux and I headed to the woods to meet up with my wonderful new friends, Lisa, Bomber and Bailey.

Lisa, Bailey and Bomber (another arm shot by Lisa of the Long Arms)

It was a gorgeous morning!!! The lake was serene, there was a cool breeze and we chatted away up the BIG hill. Just about at the end of the walk we noticed that Bomber was no where to be found. We called and called. Lisa had to get back home so I walked the loop again, calling for Bomber. Lux had a blast. TWO TRIPS !!!! As we finally approached the trail head, there was Bomber loping along happily. I tethered the two and headed to Lisa's. Special Delivery!!! One wet and tired dog!

Next was a trip to T.J. Maxx for these:

Because, well, not that I USE them much any more, but a girl has to protect her assets. Running is a Gravity Accelerator, and, frankly, my lady lumps have gotten rave reviews in the far distant past. I would like to preserve them for the mummification process, as surely that will be the next time anyone sees them. Heh.

Back home for some work about the abode. And a nice long chat with my Mom. (**waves**).

Four o'clock means back to the lake for another 5 mile hike. (round three for the day) We got halfway around when I saw Lux come out of the water limping. Sure enough, she got a good sized gash on her paw pad and was bleeding. I CARRIED HER BACK TO THE PARKING LOT. over a mile with a 45 pound dog. Times like this I wish she was a Yorkie. She was sweet and gentle about the whole trip and did not squirm or cry. I popped her in the car and hauled out my First Aid kit. I washed off the cut with water and saline. I unwrapped a mini-pad (see! I told you they were great!!!) put on a dollop of antibiotic ointment and wrapped her foot and leg up with that rubberized gauze that sticks to itself. Home for a half a benadryl and dinner.

This morning she is still limping, and I will unwrap and soak her foot again this morning, then re-wrap with clean bandages. Hopefully, she won't chew and have to wear the Cone of Great Humiliation.

Update: Yup, she is wearing the Cone of Great Humiliation. Poor Girl! I changed the bandages and the wound looks clean. She shaved about a half inch circle from the paw pad. Ow.

I will post again later, but for now, Lux is off to her crate and I am off to the woods with Lisa, Bomber and Bailey.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Rain approaching: phone camera image

My New Buddy, Lila enjoying spaghetti: another phone cam image

Yesterday was a full and wonderful day. I did not make it to the morning hike at Wier Hill, because of child issues and late to school morning, but I did go visit Lila and her cool mom, Lisa and their dogs, Bomber and Bailey for a bit, then I headed off for dog walks for the day. I returned later in the day to walk Lisa's dogs for her because a family emergency made her unable to do so. I found a New-To-Me area called Goldsmith Woodlands, 170 acre reserve smack dab in the middle of Andover, with great trails. It was great fun. Lux was exhausted by the end of the day, as was I, and we went to bed at 8:30 again.

I have a French Barge worth of stuff going on internally these days. Lots of processing about parenting, which is very difficult right now. Also, I am fortunate to say that I have new friends winding into my life lately, and it makes me so happy to get to know them. I have one pen pal in the mid-West (Hi K.!) and my new buddy Lisa and her family and friends. It is fresh air breezing into my life right now, and it feels really good. Keen, in fact.

Your Daily Dose of Cool Things:

Galaxy Paperweight

Daily Earworm: Selena Cross: I'm Not Lost

Your Daily Dose of Wonderful Design:

Red Dot Design Winner BBQ

Your Daily Dose of Inspiring Words:

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love.” Washington Irving

Your Daily Dose of Wicked-Good Food:

Healthy Late Morning Snack

One banana
handful of almonds
2 tablespoons Earth Balance Spread
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons organic maple syrup

Slice the banana in thirds and then slice those pieces in half lengthwise. Cook the banana in the spread for three minutes then add the almonds. Continue to cook for additional 2 minutes then add the maple syrup, nutmeg and gently move the bananas and nuts around until coated. Serve warm.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

"I see it! I see it!!!"

So close...

Play with me St00pid Ball! Play with me!!

Got it!


There are days when I thank Gawds we discovered rubber. Lately, I have been very thankful for dog toys. She has figured out how to hold the regular kong ball upside down and squeeze just right to get the treats to come out. We have reverted to this new Kong toy. Much harder to get the treats from. Yay!

Your Daily Dose of Cool Things:

Click Here to see the artwork of Thomas Doyle

Daily Earworm:

Your Daily Dose of Wonderful Design:

Trends Now Kitchen System

Your Daily Dose of Inspiring Words:

A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit. D. Elton Trueblood

Your Daily Dose of Wicked-Good Food:

Persian Lime Pie

Our "regular" limes are called Persian Limes. The recipe below is similar to key lime pie, but a little different, a bit more tangy and with a little added ZIP! from the ginger.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

1 cup fine corn flour
1/2 cup AP flour
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated rind of lime
1/3 cup walnut oil

Combine all in a bowl and work with fingers until it resembles coarse damp sand. Press into a springform pan lined with parchment paper. (I used the medium) Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and cool completely.

1 can sweetened condensed milk (I know...I know...)
4 large egg yolks
the juice of six limes up to 1/2 a cup

1 teaspoon ginger juice (I used bottled ginger juice. You can find it at Whole Foods) Or reconstitute 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder with 1/2 teaspoon water.

Fill the pie shell with the filling and bake in the oven at 375 for an additional 15-17 minutes, until the top is lightly browned but not split. Allow to cool and dust with confectioner's sugar OR top slices with whipped cream.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday's Child is full of Spunk

I am lovin' this weather. The hiking and running has been most exceptional the past two weeks. Just cool enough to avoid overheating, and warm enough to bask in the sun a little bit, sitting in the back yard watching the flowers bloom. This morning Lux and I met up with Lisa and her dogs, Bomber and Bailey and the time went by so fast. The energy at the lake is so different in the afternoon. I go about 3PM for a second hike now, and find new people, different light, different dogs, and a much different experience. I enjoy them both, but in different ways.

Last night I finally caught the last episode of Cranford on repeat, nodding off slightly at the end, and I tumbled into bed and slept really well. Today is a doggie walking day, so I am off soon, but I wanted to stop in and throw a post at you.

Your Daily Dose of Cool Things:

Click Here to learn more about Efuel 100


The EFuel100 MicroFueler™

"The world's first portable, produce-where-you-consume, ethanol distiller. An easy to use, all-in-one unit. Just add the EFuel100 Feedstock Mix (EFuel100-FM, sugar and yeast) to the unit and press START--set it and forget it. In about 5-7 days, a tank full of Ethanol100 is ready to pump into your vehicle, using the built-in 50-ft retractable fueling hose. The MicroFueler is fully self-contained and self-monitoring. A convenient LCD display exhibits status and operating information. When pumping the ethanol, it operates just like a typical fuel pump at your local gas station. "

Cool Friends Category:

Click here to learn more about Tim Keating: Rainforest Relief

Tim was the first face I saw on my first trip to Earthlands last year. He was stomping through the woods with a hat on smiling. Each time I see him I thank him for being the first person I met there. He is an amazing person, a wild-forager, and an honest and open soul. I am really astounded with his work, and I think you will be too.

Daily Ear Worm:

Your Daily Dose of Wonderful Design:

Architectural Textiles: Juicy Jute

Your Daily Dose of Inspiring Words:

Now is the time to know That all that you do is sacred. Now is the time to understand That all your ideas of right and wrong Were just a child's training wheels To be laid aside When you finally live With veracity And love. Now is the time for the world to know That every thought and action is sacred. This is the time for you to compute the impossibility That there is anything But Grace. Now is the season to know That everything you do Is sacred. - Hafiz

Your Daily Dose of Wicked-Good Food:

This is a wonderfully full, jammy, ripe wine, easy to drink (ahem) and very reasonably priced ($9.99). Also of note, it did not suffer much for being kept in the bottle for a second evening sip or three. Some wines fall totally apart with storage, but this one faired nicely, which is good, because I don't quaff a whole bottle very often. Essences of cherries and black currant abound with this wine, and the tannins are respectful. They don't kick you tongue's ass, or stain your teeth a lovely purple. Highly recommended for a Wednesday night "Ghost Buster" adventure. I think Grant and Jay would approve. I know the ghosts would. Heh.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Yawn, Stretch, Sip...

About a month ago I found some ground coffee in the Dented/Dinged bin at the store for 3 bux. It was a "fancy" variety, too, environmentally sound and fair trade organic. It is yummy. Now, at the bottom of the barrel, so to speak, I regret not taking more packs of it. I have made my way back to coffee slowly, and only one cup a day, else the dreaded jaw clench and leg jitters take over at night. I will say though, that I adore the ritual of coffee and tea, the gathering, the pouring of water, the steeping, the waiting, the first sip, walking around my neighborhood on "administrative business" with Lux on leash, coffee mug in hand, shuffling away in the morning sun.

This weekend was very busy. Our catering event at The Groton School went really well. What a gorgeous campus!!! The meal was wonderful (if I do say so myself) and the people were relaxed and fun to serve. I got home after 11 PM, though, and considering my morning usually starts at 5:30 AM, weekend or not, I was pretty wiped out yesterday. I did manage to take Lux on her 2 hour hike later in the day when I had more energy, and a brisk 30 minute run before dinner. I am enjoying running again.

The weather here is phenomenal!!! Upper 60's and sunny with little to no breeze all weekend. Spring sure is Keen!

Your Daily Dose of Cool Things:


A personalized shopping site where you can choose vendors based on your needs and wants with regard to local products, environmental practices and impact and worker fairness.

Daily Ear Worm:

Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds "Stay or Leave" Live

WTF??? Category:

Ridemaster Pro

"The Ridemaster Pro simulates a real 15.2hh medium build horse. It allows the rider to ride to the screen in real-time. The horse is perfectly schooled and capable of doing advanced movements such as medium trot, medium canter, lateral work and rein back. The neck is movable and the leg aids are detected by ‘on the girth’ and ‘behind the girth’ sensors. All movements are mathematically correct."

I wish I could show you the smile on my face when I see this. Absurd, to me, but I am sure equestrians really NEED one of these in the living room. Cough. Sputter. Perhaps, being a chef, I really need a gigantic Hobart mixer in mine, so I can, like, practice making mayo while watching Jon Stewart.

Maybe the company who manufactures this can make me a Ridemaster Pro boyfriend? Now THAT would be worth it, right there, yessireebob.

Your Daily Dose of Wonderful Design:

Computer/Graphic Design Category:

And while it takes courage to achieve greatness, it takes more courage to find fulfillment in being ordinary. For the joys that last have little relationship to achievement, to standing one step higher on the victory platform. What is the adventure in being ordinary? It is daring to love just for the pleasure of giving it away. It is venturing to give new life and to nurture it to maturity. It is working hard for the pure joy of being tired at the end of the day. It is caring and sharing and giving and loving… Marilyn Thomsen

Your Daily dose of Wicked-Good Food:

Strawberry Protein Shake

1 handful of strawberries
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 cup silken tofu
1 cup fat free milk
1/2 banana
1 tablespoon of nut butter ( I used cashew)

Place all in blender and blend until smooth.