Friday, June 28, 2013

Fast Friday randomness...

If I have the wisdom of a 40-something, the body of a (ehem) 50-something, and the dreams of a 20-something, then what the frick age am I? Age really ain't nothin' but a number, how 'bout that! Yea, we have limited time on this earth, but if you try to define yourself by how long you've been occupying the planet, you really are doing yourself a disservice. So screw it!


That train of thought came about from a friend's FB post:
"On the whole Paula Deen thing, all I can say is that I'm very glad that I am not being judged today for some of the things I did 27 years ago."

And then I realized 27 years ago was 1986 and had to be talked off a ledge.


Really busy as work drips in far too slowly, causing me to be behind at end of week, so this is a light post. Been squawking more over at Dark Meadow and Melanie's Gym.

Nicely said.

So simple. So awesome.

• How is it possible that this guy is teaching me how to exercise safely and not annoying the f*ck out of me?

We love you, Madiba! Hate to see you go, pray you're not in pain. Rest, great man. Heal if you can. Let go if you must.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Image from here.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Wonder if I spelled that right?

Survived the family reunion. Should have spent more time with people, but life got in the way a bit. Friday I thought I'd work a bit in the morning, but it never happened. We did make it to the Arboretum and wandered with a bunch of them, and then went to the cabins for sort-of dinner and hanging out. Drank some beer, played some cornhole (had some beginner's luck at it that pissed off Meara to no end...was pretty hilarious!).

Then I took a tumble on the pavement walking back to the villa where my mom and Lil Sis were staying (no, I wasn't drunk, just didn't see a dip in the pavement)...and I knew my body would need "me time" on Saturday. Woke up that day and my everything hurt. So we stayed in Saturday and caught up on sleep, then hit the Ghost Trolley Tour, and revisited the gang at the cabins afterward that evening. I didn't get nearly enough talk time with most of my aunts and uncles, but I'm hoping we can hit the next one, now that the 20-year ice has broken, so to speak.

I'm bruised up, but not really injured. Again, brings up the disparity of insurance vs. not...I thought of going to the doc for my left foot, which is still experiencing residual pain, but since it's a) feeling better every day, and b) never swelled or anything, I'm sure it's not injured significantly. But it got me thinking about how if I'd had insurance and gone to a regular doc, they likely would've ordered X-rays and if they couldn't see anything on those, an MRI. My impatience about healing faster could have resulted in needless expenditures (if I'd had insurance to burn), when in fact, I'm doing everything right already, walking more carefully, taking it easy, and it should be back to normal within the week. That system's quite broken, and while I do get worried about if I were to injure myself enough to need hospitalization, what that would cost...I'm also not sorry right now that I'm not paying into a system that's so screwed up. That said, I'll also breathe a sigh of relief when I'm forced into the system come January. It's such a cluster...

Check out Melanie's Gym for what's going on in my head right now about exercise. We're expecting Mom J to visit this weekend, so I've gotta get my work on! Have a great week, y'all!

Image from somewhere on Strong Lola, I think...

Friday, June 21, 2013


Awake. House messy. Husband and cat snoring.

Not hungover, but should be. I've turned into such a lightweight, I'm surprised my head wasn't hurting more from the 2½ beers last night. Should make the Brews Cruise interesting...

Mom's side of the family is in town, some folks I haven't seen in over 20 years. It's a little surreal. Did I say "little"? I meant, "when the f*** did we all turn into adults?!"

Work has me ornery...the boss keeps telling me I'm doing a particular thing wrong, but won't go into specifics. I don't mind going through a middleman to figure it out, but how am I supposed to fix what's broken if he won't tell me what I'm missing? So I'm using the family reunion as an excuse to blow off work for the rest of the week. Punishing myself, of course, but we'll survive the paycheck hit. We always do.

Meanwhile, got paid and made 2/3rds of it disappear with a mere few clicks of a mouse. That's always mood enhancing. Feels good to get those bills outta the way...just not sure how we're gonna eat the next 2 weeks. Again, we'll survive...we always do.

Delving into activity with people is always healthy, even with these wackadoodles in town. We'll pop down to the Arboretum this afternoon for some hiking, then dinner tonight at the cabins where everybody's staying. Tomorrow is the Brews Cruise in the afternoon, and the Ghost Trolley Tour in the evening. Nice to participate in some of the touristy stuff - Asheville's seriously chock full of trolley tours and attractions, that locals don't necessarily take the time to play at. Plus, c'mon, touring 3 local breweries...there's like, no downside there!

I'm very glad we live nearby for this reunion. The cabins are nice enough, but it's tight quarters, and I'm wondering how intact my Lil Sis's sanity will be after 3 nights with my Lil Bro. We adore him, of course, but the role dynamics of his marriage would make anyone question the institution. We're all practiced at holding our tongues, but when the alcohol gets flowing.....ah, families!

Gotta get moving, create something potlucky for tonight's meal, breathe some fresh air. Merry Summer Solstice, y'all! Have a great weekend!

Image courtesy of Takei's Facebook page.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Mental Floss

Gratuitous cat pic. Happy Monday.

It's hard not to take life for granted occasionally, when things fall into your lap. I got an email from my editor at The Laurel at the end of May, letting me know that work may dry up for a couple of months because they hired summer interns. OK, no sweat; still got my day job. This morning I had an interview with a boutique firm in town that should be throwing freelance projects my way in the near future. Hot damn!

It's interesting the pride you can feel from being able to pay the bills and put food on the table. It's not like I have a choice really. I'm a hard worker, and thank goodness for that, given the Hubs's past health issues and current job sitch. Interesting that I was handed everything from birth through college, and still came away with a solid philosophy of "do for yourself, cuz ain't nobody gonna hand you anything in this life." Wow, impressively horrific grammar there. Whatever, I'm grateful.

That said, I just sent my latest invoice to said above publication with their past dues listed. Certainly hope they come through on that soon, because while I'm trying to treat freelance work as gravy right now, the truth is that that dough is earmarked for the PA trip. We're going to the Mother Earth News Fair in September. Tickets and hotel already bought and paid for, but we're renting a car probably, which hasn't been reserved yet. Our car could easily handle the trip, but why put the miles on it? Plus, we're still saving for all-weather tires, and with our luck, we'd get early snow on the way up.

Knitted during my TV time last night. Really gotta get back to that habit, because it's seriously centering. At the very least, I want to get off the computer and Kindle at night. Knitting or long-hand outlining article ideas has gotta be more healthy than winding down with solitaire. And for all my talk of "I'm new at this" or "I'm still getting my feet wet" at freelancing, the fact is that I need to be tossing unsolicited articles out into the ether and stacking up rejections like a normal writer. A couple of bylines is a nice start, but I have enough writer's ego to know I want my words out there, that I have a POV that could prove useful to others. And contrary to the hilarious amount of slang in this particular post, I'm a fine writer. I may want to keep chickens someday, but they have no place near my keyboard.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Leslie S. Johnson Jr.
Timothy M. Lyons
A year and a half and 6 years later, I'm still struck dumb by their absence. I lose my words. I'd write about their lives, but I'd run way long; and I have to put on my big-girl pants and work today.
Hug 'em if you've got 'em today, folks. They're very precious creatures.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Observances

It's June 14. We had the windows open last night.

It's noon. They're still open, and I'm not sweating yet. I could weep with how delicious that is.

Other's people's ACs kick on occasionally, drowning out momentarily the noisy, chattery birds in the trees. The sun dips in and out. I can hear them clear cutting down on the road, or it might be a neighbor landscaping...the guy across the creek from us runs some kind of contracting business half out of his home. Still, these noises don't jar my ears or thoughts.

I stepped out front just cuz, put one of the chairs on the pavement and just sat for a couple of minutes. Felt the sun and then the breeze. Chatted up the handyman briefly. He must have a contract with the property management company, because he was just looking around the building for stuff to tackle next week. The indoor/outdoor rug outside our front door needs gluing down.

I popped back inside, went to reheat my coffee, discovered a daddy longlegs on my right sleeve. There was a bit of jumping around, and he flew off onto the floor and headed quickly to under the dishwasher. I didn't bother to go after him...I'll still take a daddy longlegs in the house over a Florida cockroach, everyday and twice on Sundays. I don't mind the bugs up here, just don't like them hitching rides on me.

My legs are still tired from the monthly hormonal enslavement, but I change clothes and lace up hiking shoes anyway, for a walk down the road. It's too pretty to be inside today. Yesterday, the power went out briefly and I was struck by how at-loose-ends I was without electronics at my disposal. Ended up playing games on the Kindle, instead of walking, reading, or knitting while I waited for power to come back on. That shit's gotta change.

I'll work Sunday, because we have the family reunion next weekend; and I need to prep for a Monday interview, but there will be lots of outside time too, drinking in nature, talking to the plants, getting some Vitamin D.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Soul Heal

I used to experience a pretty significant soul ache in Florida. So much concrete, so much heat, so much city, so much damp, so much missing. I hated walking out into that wall of heat to hop in my car and drive to a carefully landscaped business district, where the grassy patches and crepe myrtle trees did little to mask the fact that my work bordered the interstate and was situated across from a hospital with a helipad. The air traffic was abundant in Jacksonville, since it's still a 2 Naval Base town, and the car traffic was obscene. The only birds we heard were the feral ducks and geese, it seemed, and the trees didn't change color until January.

I'd try to eat lunch outdoors, to get away from the sterility and fluorescent lighting of the office environment, but it wasn't nearly enough. Nature in a city is a forced entity. I might feel differently about someplace like Central Park, because they've managed to keep it so vast, but your average city, even with a great park system like Jacksonville's, can't hide the fact that it's still an attempt at nature plunked down in the middle of an otherwise concrete jungle.

The heat was ever-present. It wrapped itself around you in the mornings on your way to work, clung to your back as you walked into the office, and wrapped itself back around you again on the drive home. With my short commute, I was practically home by the time the car AC was getting the job done. It slowed you down and induced fatigue. The trees were too far apart to provide adequate shade. In deep summer, it actually made my skin sting, and it's a wonder my McAss didn't get melanoma from living there.


Les has commented more than once now, how he's glad we moved here in the wintertime when everything was so dormant, because it makes us fully appreciate how lush everything is now. It's so overgrown right now, that traffic is delayed on my main road these days because contractors are clear-cutting along the sides of the road to keep the blind spots under control. Looks ugly at first when they're doing it, but I see it's quite necessary, because the level of growth threatens to overrun the sides of the roads. They also repaved the winter damage and added aggregate to the shoulders, which I'll be grateful for when I'm hiking.

My gods, the growth! So very much green!

I hopped out midday today to hit the grocery store, and it barely felt 75F out there. I caught myself thinking "whatthefuck, this is JUNE?!?!" as I walked to my car and rolled down the windows for my drive into town. Driving with the windows down in Florida was a luxury reserved for a small window in the winter months. Here, it's a necessity almost, so you can breathe in and taste the different flavors in the air. Honeysuckle and elderberry, wild strawberry and pine, it's a deciduous and coniferous explosion of the senses out there these days. I catch myself forgetting to exhale.

The soul ache I used to experience is healing. We're barely scraping by financially, and we haven't made friends here yet, but every day, I step outside my front door and am grateful for how different it is here, how beautiful and alive. The brook rushes past just below our front door, the plants are getting leggy, and the trees provide wonderful shade. When I can tear myself away from Castle (my current TV obsession), I'm going to be spending my evenings out front, knitting, reading, until the bugs drive me in. I'll be the one with the yarn in her lap and the big goofy smile on her face.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Dose of Motivation (with a Heavy Dollop of Self-Deprecation)

Surprisingly awake today. Still waking up with lower back aches, which I can't tell the cause of, but once the caffeine and Advil kick in, I'm cool. Pretty sure it's just my body telling me to exercise, so naturally I've been researching a new extreme in that area, because I have no realism when it comes to diet and fitness. I'm a triathloner trapped in a blob's body.

Not looking into any triathlons yet, thank goodness, but have been researching how to "chub-down" the mini workouts that make up the beginner Crossfit daily regimens. Because when you first look at them, they seem so simple. Something like 5 squats, 10 push-ups, 20 sit-ups, 5 many times as possible in 10 minutes. Heck, anybody should be able to do that, right? even if you're taking it easy and doing the push-ups on your knees at first. Hell, the videos even make burpees look easy.

Until you realize you can't squat. That something as simple as a full squat (more than 90 degrees)would cause you to injure yourself. And the shame of that flushes through you, but is quickly replaced by determination. Because maybe if I were doing my old PT exercises on an almost-daily basis, and walking and doing yoga regularly as I'd like to be doing, I'd have the knee strength to pull off squats without worrying about excruciating pain and faulty balance sending me on my ample arse....?

This is a big bone of contention in my head, and I'm quite over it. It's embarrassing to crouch down in bookstores, because I am then faced with the dilemma of "howthefuck am I going to get up from this position without looking like a 2-year old?" And I really do get up like a 2-year old usually, because putting my hands out in front of me on the floor to support myself on the way up is what works. And it's only slightly less embarrassing than bending down with my back only and having my impressively large rear end sticking out for anyone to gawk at...

So naturally with self-talk like that going through my head, it's time to turn over a fresh leaf. And all I can say is thank goodness for Strong Is the New Skinny, because it's philosophies like that one that are going to get me through this. I don't wanna be model thin, and I have no illusions of ever attaining that. I want to be healthy and strong, to be able to do the simple things that a healthy body is able to accomplish, and then to be able to push said body beyond its perceived limitations. Because right now, when squatting is a friggin' limitation...I'm over that shit.

Side note: While I fully realize how self-deprecating/derogatory the phrase "chub down" is, I can't help wondering if having groovy looking workouts "chubbed down" to fit the abilities and body types of say, the over-250 crowd, wouldn't be a nifty public service....hmm....

I swear, I must seem like I have the attention span of a hummingbird, with the way I'm purporting a new diet lifestyle every couple of weeks. I assure you, that's not the case, because unfortunately, I don't usually get the latest "lifestyle" off the ground enough to call it a success or a failure.

But what I am doing, with all this research, is figuring out what will work with me. I love the look of Whole 9 or Whole 30 (Paleo), which is basically the same thing as Dr. Hyman's Advanced Blood Sugar Solution (actually, the other way around...Paleo's been around longer), but I also know that with my sugar addiction, which has spanned at least 30 years, that no matter how good it may be for my body to remove sugar (and wheat, and white potatoes, and.....) completely, that I'm not someone who can just cold turkey it like that. I'd last maybe 2 days and then I'd backslide my way into a bag of Ore-Ida Tots with a side of Junior Mints.

So I'm taking pieces from each plan that I read up on, and making it into something that ultimately should result in my improved health. There's going to be days where I'm feeling Paleo and days where I'm feeling vegan. Both these concepts have merit, and those elements listed above are a great start. Tack on an almost-daily workout regimen, and I should see results.

It ain't rocket science, but it can require bimonthly tweaking for us normal folks who don't have a nutritionist and fitness coach on speed dial. I don't want to pay any mind to the numbers on the scale, so I'll be judging how my clothes fit and how strong I feel, and tweak my lifestyle accordingly. It's ever-so-slowly happening already, in the food choices I make; I'm able to look at what I'm eating and I think, "OK, this would be better if you removed this and decreased that and added this instead..."

And it helps that a lot of people around here look a little more fit. I swear there's less fatties up here in Asheville, but that's probably me being a tad judgey. I just know when I'm in a crowd of ladies at the farmers market who look like they just came off the hiking trail, all strong legs and fit bodies, it's motivating rather than intimidating. In the city, I wanted to hide from these folks. Now I want to pick their brains to find out how they keep themselves looking that good. At the garden walk last weekend, I found myself staring at a girl in a cap-sleeve T, because her body looked beautiful and I admired the daily work that likely went into keeping herself that healthy, while my knees and ankles started to ache just from standing more than 15 minutes.

Like I said, I'm kinda over it. Now to make it habit.

Image from here.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Old Dog New Trick

First foray into gluten-free baking = SUCCESS!

Admittedly, this recipe ain't exactly healthy. Calls for 2 c milk (when I'm trying to get off dairy), and I went the step further by using buttermilk, because we bought it last week for fried chicken, and the rest would go to waste otherwise, and I HATE that. The Minimalist Baker's recipe is what I'll try next, because it's vegan on top of GF (and I'm dying to know if they actually come out looking that good without using eggs)...this was just to get my feet wet. The first time I tried making GF waffles, I hadn't done my homework yet, didn't know what xanthan gum was, and the batter launched a self-destruct code every time I opened the waffle iron. With buttermilk, this batter was hilariously thick, so much so it cut the recipe in half, but like I said, this was a trial run, so I could see that it's possible for GF baked goods to still have flavor.

After the effort I put into them, Mrs. Butterworth's wasn't darkening this plate...that's real maple syrup and an organic banana. YUM!

I purchased a batch of Bob's Red Mill GF flour, as well as brown rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour separately, because I'm not the type to just buy what's easy without testing first. If I'm going to succeed at this lifestyle change, I need to do my homework. I'm hoping to try making bread this weekend, and since my bread's usually come out dense anyway, I shouldn't be disappointed!


This was a hard week, punctuated early on by extra body aches and a maddening lack of focus, which I later attributed to the fact that I had decreased my Paxil to the critical point. Paxil is a physically addictive substance, and I've decided for now, that detoxing off it requires a vacation or something, because it can't happen when I need my brain and body so badly. I was mentally unable to pull off much work the first 3 days, which makes the end of the week a total blast, lemme tellya...nose to grindstone time as I've set a quota for myself of 100 sites a week and on a good day, you crank out like, 20.

Did a bunch of planting, more seedlings. The latest batch of seed starts aren't happening at all, so I'll recycle that soil. Everything's starting to stretch up and out, but I fear I'm going to have low yields on almost everything due to a lack of pollinators. Haven't seen much in the way of bees, and the tomatoes and peppers are barely flowering. Patience.

Monday, June 03, 2013


This image is too full of awesome not to reprint someplace...

You may continue now with your regularly scheduled Monday. You're welcome.

Image from here.


I'm a person who benefits from a 2-day weekend (or break). The results are in. I've taken the last 2 or 3 weekends off, and the focus on Mondays is excellent.

This was a tiring, but good weekend. Quite a bit of outdoor time (documented over at Dark Meadow), and while my eating habits have me a little more run-down, I'm rallying.

Taking the time for "me" stuff was energizing. Whether it was working on the plants or knocking out an unsolicited magazine essay, I felt like I was taking care of me, and that's most important, remembering to actually do that occasionally. The curse of working from home is always having the feeling that if you're not doing something to earn money, then you're a slacker. I'm slowly organizing my time better and getting over that nonsense.

When writing hits me spontaneously, it usually results in good stuff. I took a Narration and Description class in college, where our final paper was supposed to be this well-thought-and-planned-out essay with notecards and outlines and weekly updates on how it was coming. I couldn't manage to focus myself long enough to pull off all the preparatory work the professor wanted out of me. Weekend before it was due, the subject matter hit me and I cranked out 23 pages. Got a B+. Considering how I blew off all the prep work, that grade was a tad generous; but it punctuates how sometimes the best writing comes out of your fingertips onto the keyboard without a whole lot of overthinking attached.

That's what happened Saturday. I've been wanting to write an article for consideration for Taproot for a while now. I've got some pretty serious idol worship going on for the likes of Amanda, Ashley, Ben, and that crowd. Originally wanted to write for their GATHER issue, but its deadline came up too soon after the move. RECLAIM is next. Seems I can't get away with writing memoir-style (well, hey, they say write what you know...), as that's exactly what the essay turned out to be, but I like what I wrote and if they use it, great! If they don't, I'm still quite pleased with myself for applying to a national publication, and I have ideas for essays for the issue theme after that too.

Looking ahead to June this week...June is Dad's aorta anniversary, Dad's birthday, and Father's Day all in the same month. Some writing may come out of that too. Then there's the family reunion for Mom's side, which is thankfully being held in Asheville this year, so we can attend finally and see folks. Les has met almost no one on that side of the family, and it's been 20 years since I've seen a lot of them. Should be a fun, albeit dysfunctional time :)