Friday, December 30, 2011

For My Pinterest Buddies

      I just saw the most amazing ring on Pinterest, but my stupid phone failed to repin it. It is THE ring I want for our 5 year. I need you all to help me find it again!  It is a beautiful emerald ring with a band made of a vine of leaves just like my wedding ring.

      The emerald is square cut, I think, and surrounded with small diamonds.  Please let me know if you see it.

The End is Near

      Both yesterday and today, I started end of the year, cop-out meme posts just to get something up here so you all would know I wasn't dead.  I lost interest in both posts half way through.  So I figured a random train of thought post might work out better.

      I'm not dead.

       The holidays, so far, have been amazing.  Just absolutely and completely enjoyable.  Even minor disagreements and stresses I thought were unavoidable with the crazy family visit were somehow sidestepped.  The family has come and gone, the pictures will probably appear some time in mid Jan.

      2012 is right around the corner.  So, if you believe in abstruse Mayan prophsies (or calendars), the End is near.  MacGyver and I are huge Mayan Apocalypse geeks.  While we don't really believe the world is going to go down in flames, we DO see it as a great excuse to have a party.  With that, you are hereby invited to MacGyver and My Mayan Apocalypse Party.  To be held sometime mid-December in Michigan.

       Also with an eye to the new year, I've been contemplating participating in Project 52 with the lovely Karen.  Normally, I don't do resolutions, and I don't make blog related committments.  I am a married Marine Lawyer and still a  complete committment phobe.

      But reading Karen and Katherine's recent Project 52 posts, I started to get jealous of all their fun and motivation I realized that this might be just what I need to push myself a little harder/further this year.  So far, I have 43 things.  Nine to go.  Any suggestions (please!)???

      Best wishes to all of you for a safe and happy New Year.  With any luck, I'll be back and posting in a week or so.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Longest Night

      Last night, we attended a beautiful Solstice Ritual at our church.  It was something of a culminating point for our Earth-Centered Spirituality group.  Our friend PaganGuy and I have been fighting the board at our church to recognize and incorporate this group for about a year.  Many, if not most, UU churches have Pagan groups - usually (but not always) CUUPs, Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, groups.  But this church is rather small and homogenous, and many long standing members of the congregation were worried that our forming this group would change the "flavor," if you will, of our church. 

      Well, it probably will, but the church is growing, and the flavor is changing with or without us.  After much peaceful struggling and trudging forward, we are finally a recognized official group within the church, and while Solstice was not our first ritual, it was our first ritual under our new official covenant.

     And it was a huge hit.  Attendance was very high, and the ritual was absolutely magical.  It included a visit from the Holly King/Father Yule and walking the labrinth*.  At the center of the labrinth, each participant received a rune from the Holly King, a portant for the coming year.  I received Othila.

      I haven't yet uploaded any pictures from the ritual, but I did get a couple of cute ones of Flintstone on my phone afterward.  And, because they came out of my phone looking aweful, I caved and did a little photo doctoring.  Which only proves, once again, that I should leave my photos well enough alone.  Still, Flintstone is so adorable in his Solstice jammies:





      Tonight, we're celebrating the Solstice at home, reading A Visit to Mother Winter and making Mother Winter's Gingerbread house.  MacGyver and I will be laughably trying staying up all night, symbolically keeping the Goddess company as she gives birth to the new born Sun, who we will welcome at sunrise.  Punky will be sleeping with a dream satchet (to include her Rune) under her pillow for portant dreams.

      In a major Pagan fail, I realized we actually should have done this last night.  I knew the Solstice was on the 22nd this year,  but I never bothered to check the time, and it was actually at 12:30am today, meaning the longest night was last night.  Oh well. 

      I am so far behind on everything right now.  The other attorney in my section had to leave earlier in the week for a family emergency, leaving me with doubled cases all week and THEN we got slammed with clients.  My office is ridiculous right now.  My stacks of cases are everywhere, amidst a chaos of unwrapped gifts, paper, and ribbon.

      Because I still haven't wrapped half the presents for Christmas morning.  And I think we're still short some stocking stuffers, too.

      Oh, and I realized we need to get my mom at least one more gift.

       And the kids never made their crafts for the grandparents, so we need to do that, too.  We had friends over for an impromptu dinner party the night we had been planning to do crafts.  It was wonderful, but a little hectic in a week I'm already so far behind.

      And some people will be getting holiday cards around New Years (if they're lucky).

      And I should be on my way home from work now, but here I sit, typing a blog when I should be doing 65 million other things.

      And there was something particular about the holidays that I wanted to put in this post, and I can't remember what it was.

      I am so excited about the holidays!  But so stressed, too!

      Ok, really, I'm not that stressed.  I'm not really an easily ruffled person.  But I'm not thrilled with how far behind I am.

      Man, I wish I could remember what this post was supposed to be about . . .

       HAPPY SOLSTICE ALL!

* Our church meeting room has a large labrinth for walking meditation on the floor.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Sausage" Casserole

      This started out as just a fridge clean-out meal and may become a comfort food favorite.  READ MORE>>

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lighten Up

      I posted something big and important (to me) this morning.  Then I immediately thought, "Man, that post is WAY too heavy (and preachy, and loooong)."  So this is my randomness post to make up for it.  AND to link up with the wonderful Shawn and IA for Talk to Us Tuesday, the link up with no rules!






 


Photobucket

      Yesterday, I was informed by Flintstone's teachers that he is an absolute genius.  Ok, so maybe those aren't the precise words they used, but it was close enough.  They were certainly all atwitter (and I mean that in the true meaning of the word; not like they were all up on the internet talking about my baby) about his amazing communication skills.  It started when I dropped him off in the morning and he stopped me and signed that he needed to be changed.

      I love that Flintstone can tell me when he wants his diaper changed.  I never have to worry about him being uncomfortable or being wet for too long.  Though it's not exactly the most thrilling sign to have waved in my face at 4am - an hour or two before I usually have to get up.  (Seriously!  This kid pees GALLONS at night.  GALLONS).

      So, he told me he needed to be changed, and I changed him.  His teachers thought it was the neatest thing in the world.  Then, that afternoon when I picked him up, one of them told me excitedly, "He is SO smart.  Guess who said 'Bu-bye' and 'Thank you' today?"  Awesome!  He's already said bu-bye a few times, but that was the first time for thank you.  I'm so proud of him.  He signs "please" when he wants something and now says thank you!  Smartest. Baby. Ever.  15 months old.

       AND, by the way, the cutest thing known to man:
Sorry such a cruddy pic, but I still love it.  This is my little veggie monster hanging out in the garden.  He has a half eaten sweet pea in one hand and a tomato in the other.  Kid loves picking veggies in the garden.
       Work remains crazy as ever.  I've been trying to develop my professional website, but to no avail.  I only have so much engergy that I can devote to work in a given day, and my clients tend to suck up all of that and more.  Last week, I had one of the saddest cases I've ever encountered (which is saying a lot).  This week, I have one of the most obnoxious clients.  I keep reminding myself that the matter I'm handling for this client is very important to them, and that I would be equally impatient.  But seriously, getting HOURLY calls and emails doesn't actually make me work any faster.  It just annoys me.  Deep breath.  Treat others as you would want to be treated . . .

      I'm wondering if that's always possible as a lawyer.

      Of course it is.  It would just be easier to think it's not ;-)

      We got most of the Holiday cards out in time (read: I think MacGyver is mailing them today).  I got most of the gift shopping done, but haven't wrapped any of it.  And if McGyver shows up in my office before I get this stuff wrapped, I'll frigging kill him.

      Punky has a boyfriend.  I'm not thrilled with this.  I was shy and socially awkward and a total late bloomer.  I didn't really start dating until about Sophomore year of high school (though, granted, I started with a vengence and more than made up for lost time by being a total player - but NOT a sl*t).  Punky is very social, confident, pretty, and she has a boyfriend.  Of course, she's spending all day today (and yesterday) with a different boy (and an absolutely fabulous one, I might add) . . .

      Oddly, what I think bothers me more than anything is that she says she and LittleBF "are dating."  When did 9 year olds start saying that?  No, you are NOT dating.  I'm pretty dang sure if you had gone out on any dates, I'd know about it.  Whatever happened to "going together?"  Is that dead terminology?

      Perhaps it's geographic.  One of the sad consequences of having dragged Punky all over the country at the whims of the Marine Corps is that she's picked up a lot of geographical terms that I do not use, and it annoys me for no real good reason.

      I say: Hot Chocolate
      Punky says: CoCo

      I say: teenager
      Punky says: teen

      I say: pop
      Punky says: soda (or soda pop)

      And there are pronunciation issues:  I pronounce syrup (sir up), Punky pronounces it (see rup).  Granted, this is because of an episode of Friends (for an explaination of why we have a freakish love of Friends in our home, read this).

      There are more, but you get the idea.

      We are still embracing the new holiday traditions at home.  Tonight we're making ethical gingerbread to be used Solstice night.  MacGyver is We're almost done with the first incarnation of the Wheel of the Year Tree.  I say first incarnation because I've already come up with a couple ways I want to change and perfect it.

       The Wheel of the Year Tree is something I came up with (though I'm sure I'm not the first to have come up with it) a while ago, but never got around to putting into practice until MacGyver came up with a couple of ideas that would work perfectly with the Tree.  The Wheel Tree is basically a year round holiday tree. 

      It is made of a few tree branches lashed together into a smallish tree, which will go in the center of our dinner table (MacGyver's brilliant idea).  From it's branches, we will hang seasonally appropriate objects.  Next Solstice season, it will serve as our advent calendar:  We will hang little numbered ornaments that open up from it's branches.  For Thanksgiving, we will hang leaves with things we are thankful for written on them.  At Ostara, we will hang wishes, probably in eggs.  You get the idea. 

      I'm very excited about this new tradition.  The tree is almost ready to be placed on the table.  I'll be sure to put up a post once we get into the swing of using it.

      I wish you all a happy and not-too-chaotic pre-Solstice week!

     
Guess Who!?

Someone got into the kitty's stocking and decided to go "fishing" with his catnip fish.


The Universe is Screaming at Me

. . . or, at the very least, it's nudging me very, very hard.

Note:  I started this post days ago, and have written it in chunks.  It may not be cohesive, but I want to get it published because I have follow-up posts I need to write!

      All Fall, I found myself in a cleansing phase, both literally and spiritually.  I went on a cleaning and organizing bender all over the house (which the holidays have since completely undone, sigh).  At work, I pushed through huge numbers of cases, tying up loose ends that had been plaguing me for months and smoothly transitioned into my new position.  Socially, I vowed to stop wasting my attention on negative and dramatic people in my life.  I even READ MORE>>

Friday, December 16, 2011

Look at All the Sky Fish!

      Yesterday morning, when I got Flintstone out of the car at his school, there were birds flying all over the parkinglot. 

      Flintstone "ooo"d and "aaahh"d excitedly.  When I put him down he clapped, pointed at the birds, and triumphantly signed "fish!"  "Fish!"  Flintstone, like his daddy, loves fish.  He runs up to the fish tank and signs fish until we pick him up to look at them at least once a day.

      I tried to show him the sign for bird, but he was too excited watching the birds to look at my hands.  This morning, when we got out of the car, he was looking all over, signing "fish," but, alas, there were no sky fishies to be seen.

      Now, enjoy some random, obligatory pictures:


Flintstone does not enjoy cold weather.  Mostly because he does not enjoy his coat.
Note: I went against my own rule and tried to edit this picture, which is why Flintstone's eye is black.
A kid after my own heart:  Starbucks!
Note: I drank the tea from that cup, not him ;-)

The coat Flintstone is wearing in this picture was mine when I was a baby.  It was the coat I was wearing the first time my mom left me alone with my dad.  There is a hilarious picture of when she came home to find me chilling in the back of the Jeep next to a keg, wearing that jacket.  Of course, no one knows where that picture is now, but still.

I made a centerpiece!  I never to stuff like this!  It even has a candle on top!

I took this picture through the french doors that open to our back yard.  I love looking out back and seeing the chickens wandering around.

Yes, a picture almost the same as the one above.  I couldn't decide which one I liked best.  You'll deal.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Traditions

      Well I am still not fully in the Holiday spirit, but I think with work as crazy as it will continue to be and the complete lack of snow at this latitude, I probably won't be until the Solstice itself.  I do, however, have more holiday spirit than I did last week because we've finally picked up with some of our holiday traditions.

      We got our first visit from the Elf on the Shelf. 


Who ever would have guessed he'd show up amidst the wine bottles?

       And we finally got a nice, reusable wood "Advent" calendar.  We fill our calendar with activities more often than candy or toys, and I'm looking forward to linking the calendar activities with the Elf's mischeif.  For instance some time in the next few days, we're going to go to the beach and make sand angels (because there's no snow here in the south).  I suspect that the Elf might follow suit . . .  I will try to put pictures here as we go.

      As of yet our Elf does not have a name.  He is a dark skinned elf*, and we have decided that he is most likely of Indian descent.  As such, we want to find a nice Indian name for him.  I have been putting my foot down when it comes to allowing Punky to name things after shiny things and random astrological/meteorological phenomena, and I firmly told her we are not naming the Elf Sparkle-Fairy Glitter-Butt or anything of the sort, which elicited much amusement.  Tonight, I'm going to ask NotDonna's husband, The Engineer (who is Indian) how to say Sparkle-Fairy Glitter-Butt in Tamil . . .

      In other news, MacGyver thinks the Elf might be starting to creep Punky out a little bit.  This morning he was hiding under the entry table, hanging upside down and took Punky quite by surprise when she bent down to pick something up.  Yesterday, while he was hanging out on top of the fish tank, she remarked a couple of times that she felt like he was watching her.  Isn't that the point?  Ha.  I'm sure he'll seem less threatening once he starts getting into mischeif.

      A couple nights ago, we all sat around the table and filled out Holiday cards (which we are only half done with and don't have any of the addresses to mail them, ahem, so maybe I should say Valentine's cards . . .).  We each wrote a short message to the recipient and we all signed our names.  I find this much more time consuming meaningful than sending cards that just say "Happy Holidays X!"  It gives us yet another chance to take stock of all the people we're grateful to have in our lives and why.

      We also have a special holiday tradition surrounding the tree.  We've begun purging all our meaningless ornaments and simplifying.  Our "basic" ornaments are now limited to squirrels and owls (MacGvyer and my totems, respectively), and fake icicles.  Then, each year, we each get to make or buy one new ornament, which gets labeled and dated.  Eventually, all our ornaments will be meaninful to us.

      I'm very much looking forward to our Solstice night traditions.  The night before the Solstice, we will attend a ritual at chuch celebrating the Solstice.  We will also, some day shortly before Solstice, bake vegan gingerbread.  On the night of Solstice, we will read A Visit to Mother Winter from Circle Round (highly recommend!).  After the story, we make Mother Winter's gingerbread house. 

       MacGvyer and I stay up all night together, symbolically keeping the Goddess company as she gives birth to the new Sun.  Since the kids can't stay up all night, we do a dream ritual for them.  What exactly we do isn't a set tradition yet.  This year, I'm thinking we will do dream satchets - small pouches with herbs said to bring about portent dreams combined with a little solstice symbolism (maybe some holly).  I'm also thinking of including the seeds we will plant at Spring Equinox.  The kids (well, really just Punky) will go to sleep with the satchet under their pillows and dream about the new year.

      In the morning, we go watch the sunrise, to greet the new born Sun.

      More traditions:

      We read The Grinch.

      We watch The Grinch, Rudolph (the clay-mation version with Herbie the Elf), A Garfield Christmas, The Santa Clause, Miracle on 34th St. - perferrably one of the versions with the Post Office ending (Check.), A Christmas Carol (Check.), and Elf (perferably with Uncle Boo).  MacGyver also likes A Christmas Story.

      We give something to charity and/or do something for charity.  Last year we did St. Jude's and Heifer International.  This year we're donating a lot of clothes to a local charity as well as to a village in Ecuador.

      What are your family's holiday traditions?

* MacGyver was quite disheartened when, as he was standing in the store looking at the elf a woman peered over his shoulder and oh-so-helpfully said, "Oh, that's a dark skinned Elf.  If you want a white Elf, they have more back behind the counter."  Yes, I get that she was trying to be helpful.  And honestly, if the situation was reversed (if MacGvyer had dark skin and the woman had told him where he could find a dark skinned Elf), I wouldn't have thought twice about it.  I may even have found the woman helpful.  Backwards and hypocritical, I know.  But true.  Either way, MacGvyer was did not like the woman's tone or implication.  We didn't care about the skin tone of the Elf, and MacGvyer told her so.  He told her that he was happy to know that the elves came in diverse variety and wouldn't expect Santa to segregate.  And the dark skinned cashier who overheard the whole exchange seemed to agree.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Doing All the Things!

       Recently, I was on a super motiviation high.  I got tons of stuff done, had tons of energy, and was a full-on productive adult.  Today, I am - um - less so.  So, even though I told myself I was going to start writing substantive, useful posts, I am once again reverting to my old favorite:  Pointless, random, disconnected bullets.

  • I seriously lost the motivation to even write this post after that first paragraph and skipped off to read all your posts.
  • I had the perfect gift idea for MacGvyer for Solstice/Christmas.  I just found out that it doesn't get released until February in the form I want for him.  EF!  Now I'm all scrambling to figure something just as good out.  But at least his Miniversary present is taken care of!
  • No, I have NOT finished my holiday shopping.  Hell, I've barely started it.  We all have birthdays leading up until December AND I like to procrastinate.  What?  I perform better under pressure . . .
  • Both of my parents (who are thrice seperated/divorced from each other) and my ever entertaining brother, Boo (of What's wrong with Boo Now? fame) will be driving down from MI in my mom's tiny Kia to spend the holidays with us.  My dad will be riding in the back seat with my mom's massive german shepherd, Scully.  It is going to be a hilarious debacle and just another day in the life for my crazy family. 
  • Boo has aparently come up with a new drink.  His new drink of choice is Vodka and Pickle Juice.  I am disturbed in so many ways.
  • I have put up some posts on my sub-pages lately without copying them to the Cheap Wine and Cookies main page.  Subsequently, very few of you read them, even though they were linked in other posts (not that anyone follows those links - why do we all even bother with them?).  So here's my little plea that you read:
  • I finally decided to give in to the tradition that is Elf on the Shelf.  Probably because of Pinterest.  Not that I do anything because of Pinterest *ahem*.  Of course, now that I'm all excited to start seeing where the little bugger can hide in our house, all the stores are sold out of them.  Maybe it's a sign.
  • We put our Yule/Solstice/Christmas tree up a day or two after Thanksgiving.  There has been lots of holiday music on the radio.  I'm still not really in the holiday spirit.  I think it's the weather.  As much as I love beach life and Jimmy Buffett, I don't think I'm cut out for the South.
  • I have such big plans for my herb garden this year.  I love my veggie garden, but that's really become more MacGyver's territory (surprisingly!).  The herbs, though, are all mine.  I really want to do a whole post about my plans, but then again I really want to do whole posts about 60 million things.  Damn job.
  • Since you read Plodding Along like I so nicely asked you to above, you know that I'm on a mission to read more because I've been missing books so much but I just don't have time to read if I ever want to sleep.  I have been reading two books, though, and doing pretty well with them.  So I added two more.  Brilliant, right?  The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell seems very interesting so far, but I just started it and am only 12 pages in. 
  • I also started Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong.  It is amazing so far.  I'm actually listening to it on CD in the car (much to Punky's chagrin I'm sure, though she hasn't said anything yet).  I'm so glad to have finally started listening to books in the car, too.  I'm loving it so far.  And this book, I can't even put it into words.  It NEEDS a whole post.  It needs dozens of posts.  I'm only 1/4 of the way through and there are 5 posts I want to write about it.  Seriously EVERYONE - EVERY HUMAN BEING - needs to read this book. 
  • MacGyver is also going to listen to the Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life CDs and may also read The Tipping Point with me.  It has been a while since we've read (or listened to) a book together.  I'm excited about it.
  • Punky continues to excell at everything, blowing test scores out of the water and being always on honor roll.  I suppose that's good reason to let her recent aversion to peanut butter slide.
  • Flintstone is the cutest baby ever, still.  He signs "wash hands" and "change" now in addition to his favorite "bath" letting me know this kid is going to be just as obsessed with being clean as his dad is.  He also learned the sign for "fish" just a couple days ago and listening to him try to say "kitty," which actually comes out sounding like he's hissing at the cat, is super adorable.  I really, really need to do a milestones update post.  You know, with all the other posts . . .
  • We've called him Monchichi for a long time, but lately I've been calling him my little Monkey because the kid was obsessed with bananas.
    And he LOVES to share.  Whether you want any or not.  ;-)  And, yes, he is sitting in his folded up stroller.  His idea.
    Lovin' Mama' cookin!
    Watching the train set the day we decorated the tree.  Flintstone loves to sign "train" now to get us to turn it on!
    Our humane, local, organic Thanksgiving Turkey - because I never got around to doing a Thanksgiving post.
    My boys.
    Walking with Daddy
    This is what I saw the other day when I showed up to breastfeed him at daycare.  Sunbathing like a lizard.  So cute.
  • There's so much more to say, but you've all probably all stopped reading by now.  Have a great weekend!  Ours is shaping up to be busy but fun.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tea - Not Just for Throwing in the Harbor Anymore

      Growing up 1/2 Canadian, I've always had an appreciation for tea.  While I drank more coffee, tea did make regular appearances in my hot beverages rotation.  I love hot beverages - coffee, tea, hot chocolate, hot cider, and hot toddies!  Just to name a few.

      For the last few years, tea has quickly been overtaking coffee - and everything else.  It started when I was researching trying to conceive (long before we actually could start trying). Living near a Teavana store, I quickly became a loose leaf tea addict.

      With my Ethical Eating journey, the way I look at tea (and coffee) has developped even further.  I urge you to purchase Fair Trade or Equal Exchange coffees and teas.  It makes a huge difference in the lives of the farmers and the global economy.

       These days, I start every morning with an excellent cup of Organic Fair Trade whole leaf green tea.  My current favorite is the Wulu tea from World Market, and I can't stop singing it's praises.  The health benefits are amazing.  And since I don't have to add sugar or creamers like I do to coffee (though admittedly creamers are half the fun of coffee), there are zero calories, just gobs of benefits.

      Since switching to green tea, I've seen many improvements in my health, mood, concentration, and mornings as a whole - much more so than I ever acheived with coffee or bagged teas.  I've incorporated it into some new herbal remedies I've been working on, and have acheived outstanding results so far.  Seriously, if you ever suffer from allergies, you have to read this.

      Herbal remedies and herbal teas have always been the realm of non-conformist hippies in my mind.  Sure, I'd recognize a few here and there, but the thought of creating my own tea seemed to be taking it a little far.  That is, until I found the mountains of scientific research backing up many of the health benefits of certain teas.

      Being easily swayed by science, and a lover of plants and all things natural, I've really started to dive in, with excellent results.  And I've drawn a new conclusion:  Just as a tiny bit of research opened my eyes to the fact that our culture has been completely brainwashed into seeing birth as medical instead of natural, we have also been "trained" to turn to chemical answers provided by large corporations when nature provides us with excellent answers.

      Now, I'm not talking about chewing on tree bark instead of taking pain killers after a major surgery or trying to treat cancer with tea (though study after study has shown that green tea very much helps with cancer treatments).  I'm talking about depending on a diet consisting mainly of vegetables to keep us healthy; using natural products to clean our homes instead of hazardous chemicals; and treating minor ailments with TRUSTED plants (see my Cold Remedy Soup).  READ MORE>>

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chores

The weekly blog hop with no rules!
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      "Why don't you do the dishes?" I whined.

      "Because I have you," my dad informed me simply, with a smirk - probably the millionth time he'd made such a proclaimation.

      Both my brother, Boo, and I replayed this banter with our parents on a constantly repeating basis over any number of tasks - the dishes, cleaning, dusting, pet care, you name it.

       When I was growing up, it was no secret that we were free labor for our parents.  When I was a little older, even my friends knew that staying too long at our house put them at risk of being put to work.  Growing up, for us, there sure as heck wasn't any sort of free ride.

       Everyone in our house contributed.  My parents worked long hours at hard, physically demanding jobs in order to provide for Boo and I, and we were expected to do our share.  We had a lot of chores over the years - regular, everyday chores like clearing the table, doing the dishes, chopping, stacking, and hauling firewood, feeding the animals, and keeping our rooms cleaned - to periodic tasks like dusting, window washing, and couch "fluffing."  (we had a really strange couch when I was growing up . . . ) We were also routinely wrangled into all manner of home improvement and landscaping tasks.  One of my friends still bemoans the ditch she ended up helping me dig one beautiful summer day when we were both about 12 (or maybe a year or two older?) and thought we would be spending the day sitting around gossiping. 

      Given my upbringing, it goes without saying that my kids have chores.  Too often today, I see kids (or, even worse, young adults striking out into the world) who are accustomed to having everything done for them.  Eighteen year olds who don't know how to do their own laundry* or prepare themselves a meal, and who, even if they did know, don't see why they should have to do those things for themselves.  I see 10 year olds who take their parents' actions completely for granted, who think laundry is Mom's "job," and believe that money comes from ATM machines.

      I find this a very disturbing trend.  I can see why some parents don't want to give their kids chores.  They want their kids to have happy, carefree childhoods.  They want them to have it better than they themselves did.  Our kids are so overscheduled anyway, why throw one more thing on the pile?  And, really, if we're just going to have to go behind them and fix it anyway, it's faster to just do it ourselves.

      Unfortunately, the consequences of these seemingly innocent thoughts can be dire.  The "real world" is a much harsher reality for individuals who grew up feeling entitled.  A young person who isn't accustomed to doing things for themselves and contributing to a group is extremely poorly equipped to function as a productive member of society.

       And what sort of examples are we setting for our children's future homes if we teach them that every chore that needs to be done is someone else's job?  We end up with adults who either expect their spouse to do everything for them or who don't expect their spouses to contribute at all, feeling like they have to now model their mother who did everything herself.

       Ultimately, even though they may will complain, chores are good for kids.  Chores make kids better people.  And, eventually, they lighten the load around the house.  Chores help children feel more like a cohesive and contributing member of an integrated family unit.  They give a sense of pride in one's actions and contribution (as opposed to the much more negative pride just for the hell of it).  There have been thousands of articles written and numerous studies done on the benefits of having children to chores.  I personally like this article from Psychology Today (because it is written from an anthropological standpoint, which we all know I LOVE).

      So it goes without saying that Punky has chores.  She has a dry erase chore chart on our fridge (that used to have little magnets, too, but those are long gone - thank heavens!) that details her daily tasks.  They have changed as she has grown, starting with little things like picking up all the toys in the livingroom and feeding the dog, to her current chore set, which includes:

-  Feeding and watering the dogs and cat, and cleaning out their bowls periodically
-  Cleaning out the litter box
-  Setting the table for dinner
-  Taking the silverware out of the dishwasher and polishing it (though on many nights I do the dishes too late or while she's doing homework)
-  Getting herself ready for school
-  Folding and putting away her laundry
-  Collecting, washing, and dating eggs from the chickens
-  Checking the mail

      Those are her daily chores.  She is also responsible for cleaning her room and her bathroom (not with chemical cleaning products), and she helps out with a wide variety of other tasks, depending on what we're doing.  She will wash windows when we're cleaning the house.  She takes the compost out to the bins and brings in the recycling bins after they've been emptied.  She is also a major source of entertainment for Flintstone while I'm getting dinner ready.

      All in all, the kid has a lot of responsibilities, and she is better and happier for them (though she may not recognize that right now ;-)).

       The author of the Psychology Today article mentions three results of having her children to chores, and I wanted to share them because I see exactly the same things in Punky:

1.  Punky glows when someone tells her what a help she's been or how shoveling the sidewalk has made it easier for some of our older neighbors to navigate. It's not a big deal - something said in passing.  But it's another little positive in her day.  And it happens a lot.
2. The number one thing that EVERY teacher and EVERY adult tells me about Punky is that how polite and helpful she is. 
3.  Punky has an enduring and pervasive sense of gratitude.  She thanks strangers, friends, MacGvyer, and me for little things we do for each other.

     Even Flintstone pitches in!  He loves to help me put away silverware (he takes it out of the dishwasher, one peice at a time, and hands it to me to put in the drawer).  He is very good at putting all his toys back in his bins when asked to, and he really loves helping "fold" laundry (read: throwing already folded laundry on the floor and dragging it all over the room).

       Do your kids do chores?  What are their chores?  How do/have their chores changed with age?

*  Ok, I actually didn't know how to do my own laundry when I was 18.  I had to call my mom from the laundry room in my dorm at Tulane and have it explained to me, but that was because we were so tight on money growing up that my mother was extremely protective of the washer and dryer.  After many years of lugging all the laundry and both us kids to the laundrymat, once we got our own machines in the house, NO ONE under the age of 18 was allowed to touch them.  Or even look at them.  Twenty some years later, she still has the same washer and dryer - very much worse for wear.  The washer is missing the knob, so you either have to turn the flat surface with friction from your fingers or use a wrench, and the dryer door has to be held closed by leaning a sledghammer against it while it does it's job.  But they both still work, which is pretty darned impressive.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's Not That I Don't Love You . . .

If your comment box is embedded below your post.  As in, it doesn't come up in it's own window when I click "Post Comment," then I can't comment on your posts.  I'm sure it's my government computer system, since I haven't noticed anyone out in blogland complaining about it, but it is still completely frustrating.

Then, if I try to email you the comment and you're a "no-reply blogger," well then I'm just annoyed.  Because I liked your post.  And I really wanted to tell you that.  But I can't.

So just do me a favor andchange your settings to make your comment box appear in it's own window.

Because if you posted something wonderful today about Bourbon Balls (Kaity) or about 10 posts I've tried to comment on lately (Freckles!), or something horrible like how many days until Christmas, Hanakkah, AND Yule (!!!), then you missed all I had to share with you.

For the rest of you, my loves who I can comment on and who I can't, I'll try to have a real post tomorrow.  My backlog is getting pretty severe, but on the bright side I am blowing through cases at work!  For now, check out the post I just put up on the Reading Site.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Un-Picky Punky

      Back in July, I asked you all to ask me anything you wanted to know about me in order to get the blog juices flowing, and you responded with some really excellent questions that I was very excited to dig into.  And I promptly didn't answer a single one of them.

      Well, that is getting rectified, at least a little, today. 

Lourie asked, "How do you get your kids to eat so healthy? My kids are very picky plus they are very texture sensitive. If it feels funny they won't eat it. Do your kids get along really well? Do they fight? Is it a happy medium of both? How are you keeping them busy when you aren't barfing or going to water parks?"

Karen wanted to know, "I have been wondering about your relationship with Punky. At what point did you start to feel like her mom, and what are things like between the two of you when she gets back from her annual visit with BioB?"

      Obviously, that covers a whole lot, and this post won't answer all of it, but it will touch on two important points, getting my kids to eat healthy, and my early relationship with Punky.

      Punky was 4 years old when she, MacGyver, and I moved in together.  She hadn't had a descent mother in her life since she was 6 months old (or ever, depending on how you look at it . . .).  MacGyver was a freaking amazing father.  For as much as that little girl had been through, she was amazingly well adjusted, polite, sweet, and smart.

      But she was not a particularly adventurous eater.  MacGyver regularly prepared home cooked meals, but he tended to stick to a few favorite recipes that were not quite in line with my typical cooking habits.  This was one of the sticking points in Punky and my early relationship.

      For the most part, Punky and I got along amazingly well.  But there were definitely bumps in the road.  She took a little time to get used to the idea of sharing MacGvyer with me, and I had a Hell of a time going from being a single student to acting as a wife and mother literally over night.  Actually, the majority of the problems were with me and my complete lack of understanding of how to interact with a 4 year old.  For the first couple weeks, I was completely frustrated.  She seemed spoiled and totally unable to entertain herself.  As it turned out, neither of those things were true.  She was just being 4.  She's actually one of the least spoiled kids you'd ever meet and with just a little guidance she became quite adept at entertaining herself.

      But this post is about food.  "How do you get your kids to eat so healthy?"  Well, with Flintstone it's easy because he really doesn't have a choice.  I eat healthy and did all through my pregnancy.  My breastmilk even tastes sort of like broccoli or kale (yummy thought, I know).  He's been exposed to tons of veggies on a daily basis, and has had very, very few processed foods or junk foods.  He hadn't tried cake or frosting until his first birthday.  And by exposing him to all sorts of veggies, I'm shaping his taste buds to enjoy them more.

      Punky was a bit more of a challenge.  She was totally open to trying new things if I broached it right.  There was a lot of "Hey, look at this awesome new food.  See how it looks like a mini tree?" or "this is neat because it's a kind of leaf that you can eat!"  So long as there was adequate excitement and novelty, she was in.  And if I could incorporate her into the preparation and make her feel like she had some of the decision making power ("Look at all the veggies we can have tonight, which two do you think we should make?" - obviously her choices were limited to veggies I presented to her), I rarely had any problem getting her to try things.

       And, most of the time, she liked what I made.  Sometimes she ate a couple veggies then tried to pick around them, but she had to try at least two whole mouthfuls of every vegetable we put on the table.  If she wanted dessert or seconds on anything, the whole portion of veggies had to be finished.  That rule still applies today.

      And it worked like a charm.  These days, the kid loves veggies.  The dinner she requests most often is a big spinach salad.  She loves brussels sprouts, raw veggies with hummus, even seaweed.  One of her very favorite veggies, she told me just the other day, is peppers.  She loves peppers.  Which is hilarious because in those early days, peppers was the one veggie she claimed she just couldn't stand.

       I'm really not sure what it was about peppers.  Maybe it was the taste.  Maybe it was just too unfamiliar because MacGyver barely ever used peppers in anything (and I put them in damn near everything).  Maybe it was the texture - though she disliked them in every stage of raw - cookedness.  Probably, it was just a little way for her to claim a little bit of power while her whole world was being turned upside down by this new mommy, home, state, school, life.

      But I was determined.  The child was going to eat peppers, and she was going to like them because I love them and I sure as heck wasn't about to stop cooking with them.

      This is the story of the magic recipe that ultimately converted Punky into a lover of peppers.  It remains one of her (and MacGvyer's) favorite recipes to this day.

      I will have more in the future about my relationship with Punky and about tips for getting your kids to eat healthy and to eat veggies, but for now, please read the Sloppy Joe Story.
    

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What's On Your Plate?

      Last weekend, Punky and I watched an excellent documentary together that we both want to recommend to everyone.

      It's called What's On Your Plate? and it follows two 11 year olds on their journey to find out where the food they eat comes from.   Punky and I both decided to review the movie right here on Cheap Wine and Cookies.  First, a little overview and my take:  

       The film starts when these city kids visit Ohio and discover just how much better a fresh tomato tastes.  READ MORE>>

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fresh Out of the Oven

Humane, Local, Pasture-Raised, Organic turkey seasoned with rosemary, oregano, and marjoram from the garden and stuffed with Farmer's Market carrots.  Sooo Yummy. Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Other Side of Giving Thanks

      One day is not nearly enough time for me to take stock of all the things for which I am thankful.  My life is nothing if not blessed.  Even a year would not be enough time.  From the moment I wake up (in a warm bed I am thankful for, next to an amazing husband and perfect child I am eternally thankful for, under a roof I am thankful to have, to get ready for a job I am thankful for, . . .) until the long, full day is done, every moment overflows with people, things, and circumstances that I can not adequately express my gratitude for, given any amount of time.

      Thanksgiving is a day of pure joy for the fact that I am so very blessed that I can never truly to justice to the purpose of the day.  I try to find some time to spend in quiet meditation and prayer for my gratitude.  Granted, sometimes this time is short, what with the chaos of cooking food I am thankful for and spending time with family I am thankful for.  But I try.  And this year, we are doing a Thankful Tree (pictures to come after the holiday - probably ;-)).  At every possible moment, I work to keep the Thanks in Thanksgiving.  In the same way that many Christians despise the term X-mas, I get annoyed when Thanksgiving is called Turkey Day.

      But the day is not only about Thanks to me.  Or, more appropriately, Thanks to me is about more than simply taking stock of what I have.  For me, Thanksgiving is also very much about awareness of, and compassion for, those who have less.

      There is no such thing as "Turkey Day" for those who cannot afford to eat.

      The sermon on Sunday at our UU Church was about Thanksgiving Prayers.  There were a number of prayers discussed, but the two that spoke to me most truly captured what Thanksgiving means in our family.

      The first is by Samuel F. Pugh:
O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.
Amen.

      The second is from the book Bless This Food: Ancient and Contemporary Graces from Around the World, an outstanding book for families of all religions.  It is this book's take on a UU prayer:

Eternal Spirit of Justice and Love,
At this time we would be aware
of our dependance upon the Earth
and on the sustaining presence of other human beings
both living and gone before us.
As we partake of bread and wine,
may we remember that there are many for whom
sufficient bread is a luxury,
or for whom wine, when attainable,
is only an escape.
Let our thanksgiving for life's bounty
include a committment to changing the world
that those who are now hungry may be filled
and those without hope may be given courage.
Amen.
- Credited to the Congregation of Abraxis

      This year, as you sit down before a pletiful meal, or as you find yourself filled with joy in all life has given you, take a moment to remember those who may be thankful merely to have a drink of water or see their children fed.  But do not then sink into sadness at the state of things.  Instead, rejoice in your ability to make a difference.  And on this day of thanks, make a resolution that this year, you will give others something to be Thankful for.

      Teach your children Compassion, Empathy, and Charity.  And also, teach yourself.  And remember that in every thing you have to be thankful for, there is something worth sharing.

       May you all have a wonderful, blessed, and safe Thanksgiving!  And if you are reading this, know that you are one of the many things I am Thankful for this year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Talk To Us!




      I have been wanting to join Talk To Us Tuesday for quite a while.  It's my kind of blog hop in that there are absolutely no rules at all!  That said, I've usually already put up my Tuesday post before I realize I could stick the Talk To Us Tuesday button op and the top.

      But today I remembered!  Awesome.  Plus, I needed a little somethin' for this post since I don't have anything in particular in mind.  Sure, I could finish the two already started posts I have.  OR I could pick up one of the 30 someodd post ideas and seeds still floating around in a word doc on my desktop, but really, it's just not that sort of day.

      I am still (and constantly) going like crazy at work.  I love my new job.  I get to truely help people every day.  Sure, it makes for crazy, killer scheduling and a never ending go-go-go pace, but I love it.  Not the divorces, so much, because that's always rather sad.  But at least I can be there for these people in these hard times and direct them toward other resources to help them through.

      And then when I get the consumer law cases - where someone gets screwed over and I get to go to bat for them - them I'm really happy.  I love those cases and I love doing something.  The differences I'm making are small, but they are real, and I love it.

      Though it does have a price.  The schedule, if I haven't yet mentioned it, it nuts.  Things are getting completely out of hand and I'm going to have to rein it in a little.  I hate to have to limit the number of clients I'll see in a week, but if I don't, I'll never have time to do the actual work.

      Yesterday, I had the longest child support negotiation ever.  I was new to the case, taking it over for a colleague who had a scheduling comment and I was told that it should be about 30 minutes, but that it was important to get the agreement hammered out because the whole thing was about to fall through and we did not want this to go to court (for the sakes of both parties).

      It took over 3 hours.  It was nuts.  I can't comment on any of the negotiation itself, but I will say that it was LONG, conveluted, and a little bit ridiculous.  And I will also say that attorney's have to possess somethign called "client control."  In simplest terms this means keeping your client from saying something freaking stupid in court or during a negotiation and helping your client separate out their strong feelings from their legal best interests.  Because, let me tell you, especially in family law, your feelings are rarely in line with your legal best interests.

      I found out yesterday just how HARD it is to work with an attorney who has NO client control whatsoever.

      The fact that X said some mean stuff to you when you two were splitting up doesn't mean a mother freaking thing when it comes to determining child custody and support.  SO STOP SAYING IT.  Over and over and over.  I don't care!  I was thisclose to directly asking the other attorney to get control of her client.  Erg.  Ridiculous.

      BUT, I still helped my client.  I kept the negotiations going when the other party (stupidly) kept wanting to try to let it fall through.  We succeeded.  And I literally ran out of the already dark, empty building when it was done to go get Flintstone.  Picking up our humane turkey had to be put off till today.

      All in all, though, yesterday was a pretty good day.  I got in good mommy time, good wife time, good lawyer time, and good Marine time.  And I can still feel the Marine time. 

      We have to run a CFT (Combat Fitness Test) on the 30th (5 days after Thanksgiving, effing brilliant), and so I've been working hard to make sure I get a good score.  I've always maxed it out in the past, which is a score of 300, but I'm not so sure this time.  We'll see. 

      Yesterday, I did 100 squats, 400 meters of lunges, 4 100 meter sprints, and 2 400 meter sprints (ok, by that point they were more like jelly leg shuffles, but still).  All in boots.  Heavy boots.  If you have never ran - really ran - hard - in boots, do not underestimate just how much more painful it makes it.  I am NOT a fan of running in boots.

      And today, I hurt.  Half the Law Center is waddling around like penguins with frost bite.  My butt and my thighs are killing me.  But it's good.  Even if I do look silly every time I walk.

      I've been doing some social network purging.  Trying to cleanse my mind of people who are negative or cause drama, that sort of thing.  I'm liking how far I've gotten so far, but I'm thinking I still have a long way to go.

      I just remembered that I was going to write a Thanksgiving post today.  Yeah, no chance of that happening now. 

       If you haven't been to my MacGyver Gift Idea Pinboard yet, please go now.  I need help picking him a gift, and I need to order one ASAP!!!

      I want to get another post up tomorrow, but just in case I don't:

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, ALL!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ri-Freaking-diculous

      I'm not a big proponent of the Occupy Wall Street movement. I generally support their cause, but, quite frankly, I don't have time for a new cause right now and I sure as heck don't have time to sleep in a park.

      But today, my interests are completely overlapping with those of Occupy.  And if you don't really "get" what the Occupy movement is all about, this is a perfect demonstration.

      The USDA recently published new guidelines requiring school lunches to include more fresh vegetables and fruits and fewer processed foods.  Sounds great, right?  Who WOULDN'T want that? 

      The makers of the processed crap foods that had been going into school lunches before.  Namely, ConAgra and Schwan.  These companies turn a big profit off stuffing our children with their cheap processed crap, and they're not about to give that up.  They don't really need to worry about that, though, because they have the one thing that truly matters. Money.

      Sadly, these days in the US, he who controls the money controls pretty much everything.  See, a politician can't get arrested without money and support from lobbyists.  And the division of wealth in out country has fractured so badly that the vast, vast majority of the money and power is controlled by very, very few. And if politicians want to get elected and stay in office, they have to toe the line of what the big bucks say.

      Don't believe me?

       Immediately following the publishing of the USDA's new guidelines, ConAgra and Schwan - two of the largest producers of processed crap for school lunches -  started leaning on Congress. Hard.  Then, a day or two ago, Congress did one of the most effing ridiculous things they've done in a while: They actually stated that processed, frozen pizza IS A VEGETABLE. 

      That's right, folks.  No need to worry about nutrition any longer!   Forget biology, nutritional science, and reality itself.  As it turns out, turning processed junk into health food is simply a matter of a vote.  And who the heck cares about diabetic school kids?  So long as the big corps get their greenbacks and the politicians in their pockets stay seated comfortably in Congress, everything will be ooook.

       I'm so freaking annoyed about this. The USDA guidelines were finally a much needed step in the right direction, only to be thrown right the heck back by something so effing ridiculous I can hardly believe it happened.  I am ashamed in the eyes of the world today and very saddened for our children.

      The old phrase goes, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." 

      Clearly.

      But I've always felt the need to add something along the lines of, "If you're outraged but not acting, you're a hypocrite."

      I will be looking up exactly which members of Congress voted on this idiocy.

      I am almost at a complete loss. This is just so nonsensical and stupid I could scream. Think I'm overreacting? Think pizza has enough veggies in it to meet nutritional requirements? Sure, maybe a homemade veggie pizza. But NOT the crap Congress was talking about. Just look at the list of ingredients. I'm not sure that even qualifies as food, let alone a vegetable. Pizza is a vegetable. And arguing over who got the bigger slice is math.

      So there's my little vent for the day.

Ef.

Read the Daily Mail article on this topic.

Finally, I'm thinking maybe this should have been posted under one of my subheadings.  What do you think?  Should this have gone under Ethical Eating or Recipes and Nutritional Information?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Uncontemplated Age

      A while back, almost two weeks ago now, I got a package in the mail from my mom.  It had this sticker on it:

      So, of course I couldn't wait to open it.  Inside, I found this:



      Yes, it's that time of year again.  Time to take stock of just how stone age old I am getting.  Time for MacGvyer to make fun of me and Punky to ask me if we had X or Y when I was a kid (2 years ago, she asked me if there were cars when a was a kid, sheesh!).  It's birthday season in the Cheap Wine and Cookies household.

      September - Flintstone and my dad
      October - Punky
      Novemeber - Me
      December - MacGyver *** Check out my MacGyver Gifts Pinterest board to help me pick a gift for him!!***
      January - MacGvyer's mom
      February - Boo
      March - My mom

      Yeah, Birthday Season.  Oh, and you know, with all those other holidays thrown in there for good measure. 

      Still, I had all but forgotten my birthday this year.  In the midst of all the craziness for Punky's party (which was huge), then Halloween and Samhain, switching jobs, going TAD, and just generally having 465 plates spinning, my birthday didn't even register.  And it was on a Saturday this year, too!

     MacGyver, not at all surprisingly, was already well prepared and had big plans up his sleeve.  Sadly, that didn't come to fruition because the illness that Flintstone had recently had turns out to be the sickness that won't go away.  99% of the time, it doesn't bother him at all.  After he got over the couple days of projectile bodily fluids, he was fine.  He just had this little cough that didn't bother him and only showed up once in a while.  Well, as it turned out that tiny nothing cough was slowly brewing into pneumonia.  Erg.  So I spent half my birthday in the Dr.'s office with him.  He was one very sad little monkey for a couple of days, but he's fine now.  Except he still has the cough.  Erg.  What ticks me off more than anything about all this is that we barely ever get sick.  We eat super healthy.  We don't smoke.  We're active.  We're clean but not antisceptic.  And thanks to all that and good genes, we don't get sick often at all.  And yet my baby has been sick-ish for weeks.  I hate it.

      And so we didn't do much of anything on my birthday, which was fine since I had forgotten it was my birthday anyway.

      MacGyver special ordered me a case of Crazy Richard's peanut butter (which contains peanuts and NOTHING else) because it is impossible to get peanut butter that doesn't have salt, sugar, or oil in it down here, and he got me three new pairs of jeans that I desperately needed (and LOVE - they fit perfectly - they are super hot).

      But that was it.  Well, I got 80 some odd birthday wishes on Facebook, which always makes me smile, but really, my birthday this year was a non-event. 

      Normally, I would insist on celebrating my birthday.  Any excuse to celebrate, right?  But there was just something different about it this year.  At first, I just shrugged it off to the whirlwind of other things going on in my life right now.  But over the course of the day, as it became clear that apparently everyone in my life (and I mean everyone) thought I was turning 28, it sort of dawned on me:  I never, ever pictured myself being 29.  I never had that moment a week or two, or even a day, before my birthday when I thought, "Wow, I'm going to be 29."  I don't think I have ever once in my life pictured myself being 29.

      Twenty-eight was easy.  I always figured I wanted to have kids around the time I was 28 (check!).  Heck, I even thought I was 28 half the time when I was 27 (something MacGvyer thought was hilarious and totally played along with until I was completely confused).  Twenty-eight was a great age.  It was easy to see myself at 28.

      And the problem isn't that I can't see myself older.  I can.  I can see myself when Punky is a teenager.  I can see myself more senior in my career.  And I can totally see myself as an old crone in a big house covered in ivy who acts like Sophia Patrillo and all the local kids think is a witch.

      But 29 never crossed my mind.  I never saw myself as 29.

      What does one do at 29?  The last year of my 20's.  Holy cow.  That seems big.  Except, really, who considers 29 "in your 20's" really?  Twenty-eight, sure, but not twenty-nine.  Twenty-nine is really the beginning of your 30's.  (Watch out for me to take that back vehemently here in the near future!).

       But I'm NOT 30.  I'm not "in my 30's."  Are you kidding me?  I am an adult with a house, a mortgage, a solid, respectable career, a husband, and 2 kids.  I regularly say things like, "when I was your age - " and "kids these days" (or words to that effect), and yet it all still feels completely surreal.  There are times - a lot of times - when I can't believe that I am a grown-up.  I look around myself and none of it seems real.  People coming to me for legal advice?  I have the power to tell people what to do with their lives?  Happily married with my own house?  Me?  No freaking way.  Putting on my uniform or slipping into a suit for court feels like playing dress up.  (The mom thing is different, and it gets it's own post).

       Some days, I don't feel grown up at all.  And because of those days, I can say confidently that there is no WAY I'm 30.  And, of course, I'm not.  I'm 29.  Or so I'm told.  But really, what is 29?  I suppose I'm about to find out . . .

Monday, November 14, 2011

In the Works

      I've been absentee lately, I know.  I have so much to post about, but no time at all!  I have barely touched a computer in days.  I really miss you all.  I have a couple posts in the works and about 6 billion others stewing in my head.  I promise one of these days I'll find the time to make bloggy amends.

      But for now, there is just too much else I need to devote my attention to.  I'm really digging in at work and starting a whole bunch of new initiatives and projects to enhance our office's ability to render legal support to the Marines.  I have big plans and I really need to devote my energies to that right now.

      On the home front, I'm still in massive cleansing mode.  With the Frost Moon (also known as the Beaver Moon) 4 days ago, I started a massive sweeping purge.  Cleaning out storage areas, getting rid of bad habits, and even doing some social network purging.  Because no one needs 500 Facebook friends.  Seriously.  I've been meaning to pare it down for a while now, and I've finally started.  I'm trying to trim my life down to only positive people and things.  No more wasting my limited energy on pointless matters (*much*).

      And, I suspect, once I've surmounted the initial hill in my big cut and clear, I may even be a better blogger for it.  More time for blogging if I'm wasting less time on other things.

      I miss you all, and I'm sorry I haven't been stopping by and commenting.  I still love you, and I WILL be back as soon as I possibly can.

      In the meantime, I can usually find time to throw up recipes around dinner time, so the recipe site is getting more regular updates than anything else.  If you're really missing your daily doses of me, please follow the Recipes site!

      For instance, the other night I made the most amazing Squash Soup.  Seriously.  I was completely blown away by how delicious it turned out, and it really only had a few ingredients.  Please check it out and give it a try, it is SOOOO worth it.  I haven't been this proud of a recipe in quite a while!

ALSO, I can't comment on your blog if the comment form is embeded below the post.  I don't know why, but it's pissing me off.  Last time this happened, all I had to do was delete all my cookies, however that isn't working this time.  I have actually read a bunch of your blogs then been thwarted in my efforts to comment.  If anyone knows the answer, let me know!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WWTK Wednesdays: My Style



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Hosted by Mamarazzi, Queso and Crazymama.
This week Mamarazzi is asking the questions and she is asking about your fave, must have make-up items, personal style and your beauty routine.
{1} What is your "can't go without it" beauty product/cosmetic?
{2} Do you apply make-up before or after doing your hair?
{3} How would you describe your personal style?
{4} How long does it take you to get ready each day?
{5} What is your one pamper, just for you, beauty splurge?
{1} What is your "can't go without it" beauty product/cosmetic?
This is a tough question only because I use next to no beauty products/cosmetics most of the time. Since I rarely wear make-up, I don't even use a facial cleanser; I wash my face with plain water. I exfoliate with coffee grounds. I always try to remember to moisturize, and I do almost always carry my lip gloss on me, even if I don't wear it. Cover Girl Wine Shine. And I couldn't do my hair for work without gel and hairspray.
{2} Do you apply make-up before or after doing your hair?
Like I said, I rarely wear make-up. I'm a natural kinda girl, and MacGyver has a pre-existing dislike for high maintnance eye liner addicts. However, if on occassions when I do wear make-up - clubbing, fancy dates, that sort of thing - I put my make-up on last - usually in the car on the way to wherever we're going (while MacGyver drives).
{3} How would you describe your personal style?
 I have more than one; I always have. When I younger, I looked at getting dressed more like costuming (my Halloween obsession being no surprise). It's not to quite that extent these days, but given the fact that the Marine Corps dictates what I will wear 5 or more days a week, I try to make the most of my personal style when I get the chance.
I wear a lot of bohemian style outfits - browns, greens, deep reds, and paisley; flowey dressed and tops, etc. I also like a lot of current styles, sweater dresses, boots, scarves, etc. I still enjoy my college style - jeans, little tees that amuse me, and my Heelys, sometimes a little punk, rarely a bit country.
And, of course I have my professional style. I really like fitted suits/ suit dresses with splashes of color, like a red blouse underneath. I'd have to say that my professional style is closer to "cute" and "flattering" than professional.
{4} How long does it take you to get ready each day?
In the morning, I get up an hour before I leave the house, but I'd say that only a max of 20 minutes of that is actually me getting myself ready.
When I get home, if I'm able to disentangle myself from Flintstone, it takes me 5 - 10 minutes to go from work to home (change, take my hair down, etc.).
{5} What is your one pamper, just for you, beauty splurge?
They are few and far between. I love pedicures, but only get one or two a year. Hell, at this point even a bath is a big splurge, esp if it's by myself (because the tub in our room is a big two person jacuzzi, it's almost a waste to take a bath alone). Hmmmm. . . Now I really want to just take a bath and read. . .

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