Friday, September 30, 2011

The People in Your Computer.

I check in on my Facebook account pretty regularly.
I love it. Clients schedule massage appointments and I post reminders of Yoga classes and such on the site. So, it's for business, right? And of course, I'd hate to miss out on some big social event or a night out with friends. And the jokes crack me up. And I stay in touch with family. So yeah, I dig the social media.
And yet, there must be something in the air these days. I have a diverse group of online friends and am seeing some harsh posts these days. Atheists posting on stupidity of religious people. Religious folks offending the "morally corrupt" agnostics and their parenting skills.
Then there's the political posts. "You're favorite politician is a criminal and a liar, and you're an idiot if you agree with them in any way." or something like that.
There's also a glut of "facts" that aren't that get posted. You know. "Facebook is charging". The amazing photoshopped pictures. The "missing children" and the breaking news that's actually several years old.
These things are not new on social networks, but it seems to me there's just way more of it this week, which brings me to my thoughts on the subject:
The world is diverse. It's part of the beauty of humanity. The online world is also diverse. There are people who disagree with you and with whom you disagree. Want to discuss it with them? OK fine. But please remember that these are real human beings with history and baggage and feelings that you're interacting with. You could hurt somebody's feelings. You'd likely never say mean things to someone in person, so why be a prick online?
Check your facts. If you're posting or re-posting some tidbit of information, do everyone a favor and google it first. Get your answer from a reliable source, or even multiple reliable sources. Better yet, check They do a great job at fact-checking internet rumors.  If you don't have the time or desire to check it out, then please do not post it! If you happen to see some false rumor posted, and you're compelled to respond, again, remember these are humans you're talking to. Find a gentle way of letting them down. I'm not the queen of tact here, so draw on your own resources to find a way to be kind.
Learn to spell-check. You know, those little red lines that come up under your words as you type? (most computers do this) Yeah, that means it's not spelled correctly. Oh, you're a person who has perfect spelling and grammar? Congratulations; now don't be a douche. No one wants everything they write to be scrutinized in that way, so put away your red pen.
Personally, I love to read posts of all sorts, from your political views, to your kid's tee-ball pictures. I eat that up and can't get enough. Like I said, just remember you're interacting with real live people with feelings. If you've had enough of what they say, you can always hide or unfriend them. That's kinder than being outright mean to them.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Complicating Simplifying

About twice a year, I go through my house and de-clutter. Room by room, I scrutinize everything. Nothing is sacred. Often, I'll give a pile of stuff to someone who can make good use of it. A friend, a charity, etc. Sometimes, I get the bright idea that I'm going to have a yard sale and make a couple bucks off my unwanted items. This is one of those times.
I haven't accumulated very many things since the last big de-clutter, so I find myself looking at stuff we've had for years that ought to have sentimental value but really doesn't anymore. Mostly, these things were gifts that I hang on to just in case the giver of said gift happens to come along and wonder where that item went. Pretty lame, right?
Or, as is the case with a few items in today's pile, they were wedding gifts. How long is a couple supposed to hang on to the candlesticks given to them on their wedding day?
It doesn't help that my 4 year old doesn't want anything at all to go. "Mommy, that's my favorite ...[teapot, water goblet, lamp, curtain]" Never mind that she's never seen many of these items before in her life as they've been stowed away in a trunk or cupboard somewhere.
For now, I'll box it all up and leave it for my husband to sift through. No doubt he'll want to keep a few items as well...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

night visitor

Kiddo likes to walk around the yard and collect things. The night before last, she left a pile of berries, acorns and other backyard treasures in a big pile on the back porch. Something in that pile must have been yummy, cause I noticed these when I went outside yesterday:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Up the River.

Today was one of the rare days where work was slow and the weather was absolutely lovely. I had to fight the urge to go running, or on a strenuous hike. I'm just getting over a tummy bug and not interested in being sick again any time soon. So I took a drive "up the river" to see if there was any impressive foliage yet.
 Although it was a lovely drive, foliage is not quite at it's peak.
Then the low fuel light came on in my car. Meandering home, I started thinking of breakfast for dinner. Then I remembered about some wild mushrooms at a nearby state park that would be great in omelets. Yeah, my stomach is often my guide.

It was a perfect day to climb the fire tower.

 Nice view! 

And check out the fungi. We call these "puff balls." When they get all ripe and sporey, they make a green explosion. You've got to get them before the spores come in. 
 Add butter, garlic, onions, kale, fresh garden herbs and local eggs. Oh, and lots of cheese.  
Shovel ready.

No complaints from me about having a slow day at work. The next couple of weeks will make up for it, and it can be oh so sweet to just take off and spend a little time alone every now and then. 

Indian Summer

We're having that last bit of heat and sun that in the North Country we like to call "Indian Summer". For me, it's pure bliss to have a few extra days of barefoot weather. Yesterday was spent at a local theme park with another family. It was like a play date without all the neurotic comparisons and awkward parenting moments that sometimes happen on "play dates". Kids laughing. Cracking each other up over next to nothing. Then back home to dress as fairy princesses and dance around the house.
Windows wide open. Grass is still green. I can be content to just sit in a warm and sunny spot and soak it all in.
Yep. Indian Summer is pure bliss.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

For the love of soy.

I love me some soy beans.

As a person who doesn't eat meat, these little things are a necessity in my household. Usually we get soy in the form of well-seasoned tofu, or this product called "textured soy protein". Now doesn't that sound appetizing? It's actually not bad, like ground beef without the fat. We use it in tacos and pasta sauce and the like. On rare occasions, I get my hands on some edamame - whole soy beans.
These little treasures came from our local farmers' market. 
There's lots of ways to eat edamame, but in our household, finger food is king. We boil the pods for a few minutes and toss 'em in a big bowl in the middle of the table. Then we have a big empty bowl for the pods. Similar to the experience of eating steamer clams at a New England cookout, we shell those babies and pop 'em in our mouths. Easy. Yummy. And the lil' one loves it so. That's a big plus. 
Soy beans are one of the most genetically modified crops out there, so if you're concerned about eating GMO foods, talk to the farmer, or read the labels carefully. More and more farmers are growing non-gmo soy these days, so it's not too hard to find. 
Soy is considered a "complete protein", basically meaning it contains enough amino acids to count as a suitable protein substitute for meat. Plus, it's loaded with fiber, calcium and other nutrients. Learn more about soy here.
If you haven't yet tried these tasty treats, I highly recommend it. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Balancing Act

The little one had her first piano lesson today.

This is her first scheduled activity that she has to be at on a weekly basis.
I'm going into that phase of parenting where I want to have her be exposed to as many cool things as possible without over-scheduling her life. You've seen the parents that fail epically at that. You know, the ones that have multiple things each week for their tiny one to do. Violin, soccer, karate, art, play groups, and so on. While all those things are great for kids, some parents can over-do it.
If you think your kids may be over-scheduled, here's an article with a few helpful hints for you.
While mine is only 4, and piano is just one new activity, I can see how parents get carried away and overdo it. Whenever she shows slight interest in anything, I want to sign her up for that activity.
Personally, I'm really more a fan of free-range parenting: allowing kids enough free reign and independence to let their curiosity and imaginations flourish.
The piano teacher lives in my neighborhood, so she'll have another safe place she knows when she's a little older and roaming the 'hood on her own. Even her scheduled time is part of my greater plan to develop her independence.
So, it's about balance. A fun lesson here and there, some free time to roam and explore, and a little guidance along the way. With a little luck, she'll grow up to be a smart, well-rounded and independent woman.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

couch arrest.

Hey. I'm down on the couch for the day. Say what you will about Netflix, their instant play feature has saved me from hours of torturous daytime television.
I'll spare you the details of my state of blah, and instead share a photo of my 4 year old picking up some stuff she broke:
SMKR, Eat your heart out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In Which I Plan My International Vacation

My husband and I are planning a trip to Europe next year. It's kind of a big deal.

First off, we'd be leaving our lovely little one in the care of close family and friends for the approximately 3 weeks of galavanting we've got planned. I'm sure it's going to be one of those things where we get all panicked and worried about leaving her for so long, and she'll be totally fine. Right?

Then there's the fact that I haven't been overseas before. I can count the number of times I've flown commercially on one hand, and I am a bit clueless as to how any of this is done. 
It's not that I've never been anywhere. I've driven up and down the east coast about a dozen times and have lived in a few different places. I've even been way up north to Canada (no great feat when you live in northern New England) and visited with family there, and I've been in plenty of awkward language barrier situations. 
I just know there's a ton of little things to know about and things I need to have and places that I absolutely must see and things I absolutely must not say or things I need to have for flights or crap I ought to just leave in the states ... The whole thing is just exhausting. The worst of it? We don't know what we don't know, so how would I know what to even ask about? 

It's not all that dire, though. We have a dear friend in Berlin that we can stay with for a little while. We'll likely fly in to Berlin and recover from the jet lag, and be belligerent Americans until we wear out our welcome. That's a start, anyway. 
We'll end up in France at some point as well. My husband lived in France for a year in high school. That was back in the pre-EU days, so I'm sure some things have changed. He'd love to go back, and I'd love to see France as well. We'll try and make it a bit of a second honeymoon, as our first one was an epic failure. More on that later...

We're trying to figure out how to cram in lots of places to see with the down time that we will need to drink wine and eat cheese. I'm most excited to be as immersed in the culture of these places as an only-English speaking American tourist can be. 
Hopefully, we'll look more like Rick Steves and less like Snooki and The Situation.

Got some travel advice for us? Feel free to post in the comments section. Ciao!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Taking the Ta-Tas for a Run

I went running today.
I am not one to consider myself a runner. I did run on the track & field team when I was in 7th grade, but couldn't get far in this town without puking. Really. At that time the now closed pulp mill was burping away and I did and still do think that the sulfur and chlorine gasses that came from it were hard for me to run in.
Or, and this may be more likely, I'm a wimpy runner. I have bunions on my feet. They look gross, but, more importantly, running can really irritate them.
Then there's the boobs. I've got some, and they really do ache after all the, um, bouncy running. They also tend to affect my back, so yeah, ow.
Then I finally found myself a pair of "barefoot" shoes that are fun to run in. And a damn good bra store that has great supportive sports bras. And voila! Running really can be fun!
There are 6 steep hills in my neighborhood. I live near the top of one of them. It's a great workout to jog to the end of one street and run up and down the hills. Sure, it would probably be easier to run on flat ground, but where's the fun in that? Also, I can get a real good workout in about 15 minutes on those hills. It's not likely I'll be a big-time runner any time in the future, but at least I can enjoy myself while I'm doing it.
All that running built up an appetite:
Yep. That's a vegetarian Sloppy Joe with a glass of red. On ice. I'm classy that way. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Welcome to My Universe

Something cool happens in my life every day. 
It might just be that I get a kick out of the little things. Either way, I think my Universe is cool enough to blog about. Enjoy.
What happened today? Well, the day is still young. So far, I'm actually feeling a bit crappy so I'm laying low around the house. We harvested some goodness from the garden, including green tomatoes, Swiss chard, a few small cukes, some accidental ornamental squash, and a pile of sunchokes, which I intend to roast for dinner. 
Also, I'm exploring the potato in it's many forms. The breakfast in bed* my awesome husband and lil' one brought me included a heap of home fries. Then there's the leftover potato-leek soup I devoured at lunch. Of course, I couldn't ignore those salt and vinegar chips in the cupboard. We'll roast up some potatoes with the sunchokes later. And much later? Vodka martinis in the hot tub*? Sure, why not. Potatoes are actually pretty good for you, with loads of vitamins C,B6, Potassium and Iron, among other things. Plus, we had a wicked good potato harvest this year, so that's what's on the menu.
The coolest thing so far today? My husband is finally starting to draw out the plans for our awesome new tile shower* and when he opened the box to check out the shower base, it was severely over-packed and loaded with packing peanuts! 
Here's the wee one making good use of those peanuts:
See how exciting my life can be?

*some examples of why I call it My Universe.