Monday, April 22, 2013


Some of my weekend was spent reading and watching coverage of the Boston Marathon tragedy. Many times I had to stop reading or turn off the news channel I was watching because it floods into me and I get overwhelmed. I do not like the 24 hour news cycle. I feel as though I cannot get all of what is happening - I get that particular talking head's points of view and so many of them talk way too much.

But that is definitely my problem; more than likely rooted deep within my AADD. Because it must be working for most others. Just not this other.

But I read, and listened, and waited. For the fear to begin tumbling out. And I have seen it here and there. Okay - more than here and there. It's everywhere.

I am not a good debater. I have opinions, but many times in the moment, I cannot make helpful use of the facts that my opinions are based in. I know what I believe.

I also know what I don't believe.

I don't believe Muslims are what we need to be fearing. I just read an article in The Washington Post that put a period at the end of that sentence for me.

‘Please don’t be a Muslim’: Boston marathon blasts draw condemnation and dread in Muslim world

In this article Qasim Rashid, the chairman of the Muslim Writer’s Guild of America, was reported to have tweeted. “Whoever the culprit, no religion justifies this act of violence. We must remain united against extremism.”

United against extremism.

That's the message I want to take with me.

Extremism is the thing to fear. Not Christians, not Muslims, not Jews, not Buddhists. None of them are to be feared.

I get enraged frankly when the fingers are pointed. And they do get pointed. I have pointed as well at times. I'm not proud of that. Ever.

We react and need a place to put our fear and anger. Then we calm down and try to sift through the fear-based ramblings to get to the core of it. I'm never certain if I get to the core.

I live in a colorful neighborhood. Not quite, but very near, the inner city. I am a white, Lutheran, middle-class, middle-aged, woman with blue eyes and white skin. There are plenty around here just like me. There are plenty around here not like me at all.

I have some friends that think my area isn't the safest or the toniest. I admit to having a few thoughts in these directions myself from time to time. But it is my city. I see the reasons people could be afraid. But I also see neighborhoods that are living their lives. Good people. It's just a neighborhood.

Doesn't mean I don't pay attention to the thugs. Doesn't mean I float through my day-to-day with a misplaced feeling of safety, but I also don't want to walk under the cloud of fear.

Frankly? I am shocked from time to time at the things that people fear.

They fear gays, they fear blacks, they fear Jews, they fear Muslims, they fear any damn thing that might be different from them. And then, when the unthinkable happens, when someone just like THEM does something heineous, well, then they point fingers at the parents, at the schools, at whatever they have to so they don't ever ever have to look and realize that sometimes people do bad, horrible things.

People do bad, horrible things. But this doesn't mean I'm going to stop being a person. I don't fear people. I fear the reaction behind people's fears.

Extremism is so easy. You've got your position, and that's it. It doesn't take much thought. And when you go far enough to the right you meet the same idiots coming around from the left.
(Interview, Time Magazine, February 20, 2005)
~ Clint Eastwood

Friday, April 19, 2013

Juxtaposition. It's Not Just for Decorating


I'm looking at this today. Out my windows because I don't really want to actually GO out there. Oh I will, but I don't WANT to.

I'm looking at all of that ^ on the same day I bought these.
Hope springs eternal. Even if spring doesn't.

Keep on keeping on everyone.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

For No Apparent Reason . . .

. . . let's have a Debbie Harry day . . .

Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring! Yes!

I am trying to forget that yes, it is snowing in my world today. Yes, I live in Minnesota, and yes, it does snow on occasion in Minnesota in April. I can deal. I know it won't last forever.

But in the meanwhile, I am cheering myself up today by shopping in my head. Care to follow along?

Firstly, I LOVE this. I don't know how, but I've been doing this for a season or two. I have found shorter chain necklaces while out thrifting and I wrap them around my wrist for a layered-chain look. Fabulous Dahling - to quote the verbose Mariah Carey (yes I'm still watching American Idol). This is an easy and beautiful accessory. I'm rocking it!

If I were tiny, effortlessly elegant, and wore Louboutins, this is how I would look. I will be doing my own version. Wowza on that bag. Check out Wendy's Lookbook for more.
 Spring coat fever. Love Zara. I am loving the jeans and heels. It's good!
If I ever got to have a do-over I would come back as this girl. I want to cut my hair and rock this. In my mind this will be my summer uniform. Maybe not quite so much sideboob hmm? Check out Karla's Kloset.
Summer hair c/o Ivanka Trump. We can all do this one yes? I kinda love her in spite of her dad. Or maybe because of her dad!
 Jean jackets are forever. Don't you love that frankly? Check out What I Wore.
 I have never had a classic beige trench. I have a white one. This may be my year to succumb. Lovely.

 Yes, these are back. What the hell are we calling them this time? I do love this look though.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Resistive Carbs

Are you following a nutritional model where you resist certain carbs such as pasta, wheat, rice, and russet potatoes?
Science does tell us that eating these types of carbs in over abundance will cause our body to release extra insulin and science also tells us that these insulin spikes can cause these excess carbs to be stored as body fat. You can disagree all you want, but this is truly part of the science behind eating more complex carbs and the reason so many eat lower carb when trying to lose fat.

Some hand-slappers will vehemently state that it's easy to resist the empty carbs because this is the nutritional path we should be on. What's wrong with you? If you're drawn to the dark-side, then you need to find the deficit within you that is causing these cravings, behaviors, weaknesses (weakness is never really spelled out, but that judgment is there - I put that out there myself at times).

The truth is all of us wish we were better in our food choices. I wish I only ate veggies, pristine protein sources, and good fats. But it simply isn't the case all the time.

So I search out help for myself so I can make better choices every day.

For instance, I have discovered when I butter my beloved peas, the insulin response is lessened because of the good fat. I have discovered that real cream in my coffee is the best thing about getting up every morning. I have discovered that Stevia does not taste like ass once you get used to it.

So, poking about, I have been hearing the chatter about resistant carbs and how they can benefit.

I'm not falling head first, but here is some of what I'm walking away with.
  1. When I cannot resist pasta, on occasion it will be in my 20 percent column to eat it al dente. I rather prefer my pasta this way truth be told. The science claims that if your pasta is not cooked to the saturation point it will not release all the sugar from the carbs in your small intestine. Saving the bulk for the large intestine. Less insulin spike! BTW - wheat pasta is no better for you regarding insulin. The same spike occurs. Wheat pasta is just as processed as the kind you grew up with. 
  2. If you want a bit of rice with your meal, eat it room temperature. The relationship between sugar chemistry and temperature is what makes the difference here. I'm still wandering around to find definitive science behind this. What I do know is the sugar is released slower when the food is cold. Resistant!
  3. Green bananas. Same thing basically. The riper the fruit, the more sugar. Enjoy your bananas on the green side. I prefer them this way. Interestingly enough, I had just read something yesterday about eating your banana as ripe as possible for some sort of health benefit. It's never easy peeps! There is always a divergent view!
I am not running out immediately to stuff myself with spaghetti and meatballs (love!), but when I do decide to make it, it will be al dente!


Saturday, April 6, 2013

No Grain Zucchini Bread

Do you love bread? Especially a breakfast bread? I remember in smellavision my momma's banana bread. My happiest moment was finagling the end piece while still hot and slathering it with butter. Mmmm!

I discovered zucchini when I was in my 30s and having my huge vegetable garden. The zucchinis would grow like mad and I found many ways to use them. Pancakes, jam, and bread. My original recipe was sugar and flour laden so when I discovered this one I was happy!

I found this recipe at Kelly Olexa's site, Body a month or so ago. I've tweaked it a bit from hers as I'm trying to not eat grains and I have no fear of the egg yolk. The original had oats and only egg whites.

Zucchini Bread

  • large handful (about 1.5 zucchinis) of shredded zucchini (I peeled mine)
  • 1.5 scoops protein powder
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (I used natural peanut butter although Primal frowns on this)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour (I used coconut flakes, unsweetened)
  • 4 tbl butter, melted
  • 1 tbl cinnamon
  • 2 tbl erythritol (or any sweetener, your choice)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Dump all ingredients in large bowl and mix with wooden spoon. 

Place in a greased loaf pan and bake for approximately 50 minutes at 350°.

The bread is nicely dense with a satisfying flavor of breakfast bread without the pesky grains we may or may not be avoiding. Win win frankly. Who needs those extra carbs?

See my little helper?

Then I get to eat it! That is the only reason I bake. Hot stuff out of the oven.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Words We Hate

My family and I were having a conversation a while back about certain words that make us shiver. You know those words, you read them or inadvertently say them and shudder or want to slap the writer with your mechanical pencil? A few of mine are:
  • moist
  • crotch
  • puss
  • creamy
  • amazing
  • very
Many more. They kind of come and go depending on my mood. 

And phrases. I have phrases that I parrot, but truly hate when I have to hear them. Most of them are business-speak. Company culture can really make me retch; just a little bit.
  • reach out - as in "I reached out to Mr. Sprocket."
  • at the end of the day - who's day may I ask?
  • on the same page - most of the time we are not even reading the same book
  • in and of itself - wtf is this?
  • take a meeting - take it where?
  • have a face to face
  • folks - hate this one passionately, I am not "folks"
  • bottom line - let's leave my bottom out of this
  • teachable moment - gag
My daughter, Bella, sent me an article yesterday that I read with relish, talking about this very thing. Word aversion. Moist being at the top of the list. Apparently it's at the top of everyone's list!

The article made me poke around and read more. The comment sections of a few articles were the BEST! Apparently everything makes someone retch. Language is powerful. The emotions that certain words evoke are both unexplainable and fascinating.

For instance, here's a list of "do not say" words and phrases I found on Vox Critica.
  • Nowadays (or these days)
  • Trenchant 
  • Heady stuff
  • Piqued my interest
  • Football (to mean soccer)
  • Foodie
  • Scenester
  • Reported (when applied to someone else’s opinion), also “informs us that...”
  • Literally (to mean really)
  • Proverbially (to mean figuratively)
  • At the end of the day
  • Apropos of nothing
  • For all intents and purposes
  • Just sayin’
  • No offense
  • As it were
  • Having said that
I kinda hate "foodie" too. Really? You like to eat and you're a "foodie?" Does that mean I'm a "coffeeyy?" Sorry, that was really bad. Hard to resist myself at times.

And here's a list of "do not say" that Kurt Andersen (former editor of New York magazine) left pinned to a wall after he had been let go (fired).
  • authored
  • bigs (meaning "prominent people")
  • bistro (okay in restaurant reviews, but sparingly)
  • boast (meaning "have")
  • celeb
  • comely
  • comfort food
  • duo
  • don (meaning "put on")
  • dubbed
  • eatery
  • eponymous
  • fin de siecle
  • flicks
  • hails from
  • hubby
  • indie (exception granted for indie rock)
  • intone
  • lifestyle
  • maven
  • New York's finest
  • overly
  • penned
  • queried (meaning "asked")
  • sentences beginning "result" or "reason"
  • scripted
  • sport (as a verb)
  • staffed/staffer
  • tapped (meaning "chosen")
  • , um,
  • , uh,
  • , well,
  • A who's who of
  • zeitgeist
What would you add to these lists? Are there certain words or phrases that make you run for the toilet? Speaking of that - toilet is one of my cringing words!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Four-Cheese Roasted Eggplant Casserole

We spent an early Easter Saturday evening with daughter Lorenzo and her Boy in her lovely townhouse. She and The Boy moved in a few weeks ago and have turned it into such a charming and warm home. I am so proud of that little nugget you just can't imagine.

She baked the ham and made Bunny Cake, Bella brought cheesy potatoes, and I brought a veggie dish.

I'm working on eating Paleo/Primal so I thought I'd bring something to fit with that. Even though I did have scoops of the cheesy potatoes and a piece of the Bunny Cake. Hey!

This had been burning a hole in my recipe file for a few weeks and this seemed like a good time to give it a try.

Four-Cheese Roasted Eggplant Casserole
1 eggplant
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup cottage cheese
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 tbl dried chives
1 cup tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 425.
  1. Cut the ends from the eggplant and remove the skin. Slice lengthwise into 1/4" thick pieces.
  2. With a basting brush, coat both sides of each piece with olive oil and place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put in the oven and roast for 8-10 minutes or until done. Cover with foil.
  3. In a bowl, combine ricotta, cottage cheese, and parmesan cheese with chives. Stir well.
  4. Prepare an 8x8 casserole dish with non-stick spray.
  5. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the dish.
  6. Take each slice of eggplant and spread with roughly 2-3 Tbsp cheese mixture. Roll eggplant and place seam-side down in casserole dish. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant. If there is excess cheese, distribute between both rows of eggplant rolls. Top with the rest of the sauce and mozzarella cheese.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes at 450 or until cheese is melted and slightly golden.
Serves 6.

What I would do differently next time:
  1. I completely forgot about the mozzarella cheese. I absentmindedly put a bit more parm on the top of the casserole dish. I don't think we missed it! I might try it with the mozzy, but why add those extra calories I'm thinking?
  2. I used a bottled pasta sauce. It was kinda sweet. The recipe calls for tomato sauce and I'm thinking I'll quickly simmer that sauce with some italian seasoning to use next time. Plain tomato sauce seems lacking in flavor.
  3. I also used too much tomato pasta sauce. I thought more was better. It was just saucy.
  4. I wasn't consistent with my eggplant slicing. Too thin is as bad as too thick with this recipe.
It was really good! I know some of you are avoiding nightshades for one reason or another, but eggplant has a great bread-like consistency and can satisfy that craving.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Personal Style Inspiration


Levis jeans, motorcycle jacket, gray scarf, Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses. I'd wear this today, right this minute. In fact I just might!

The reason for this random thought? I found this photo in a long-lost archive folder buried on my computer. One of those future-reference-folders that seem to become clutter. The photo is four years old. Proves how some things are perfect always.

Personal style is fascinating to me. Everyone has it. One of my daughters is a tad boho in her look. She tends towards flowy, longer tops with leggings or skinny jeans accented with a big ring and signature scarf.

My other daughter loves tailored blazers, dress pants in the Editor style, heels that you can Walk Like an Egyptian in; her casual style is nerdy and adorable t-shirts (some stolen from me from my long ago 20s) and flared-type or skinny jeans accented with her iPhone and sneakers.

I have one friend that lives more small-town and wears black jeans and some version of either a turtleneck or button up shirt. Keys snapped onto her belt loop.

Another wears lots of good jewelry, neutral colors, long sweaters and layers.

Yet one more is very classic. Fitted shirts, black slacks, a signature red leather jacket.

You can find me lately in gray or black, skinny jeans, boots, and carrying a very good handbag. A good handbag is my thing. Yes, I mean V E R Y  G O O D. I am a handbag bitch. Ha!

All lovely choices. I'd recognize all of them anywhere in a crowd, long before I saw their faces.

How do we develop our style? Is it our size? Our age? What is comfortable? What is affordable? What is on trend?

Or is it more a zone we've fallen into? A place we fear to pop out of? Or are we the one that pops? The one that others watch?

My favorite blogs around blogtown are fashion, daily outfit blogs. I enjoy watching how women put together outfits. When I worked downtown I would occasionally sit in the skyway, drinking coffee at one of the coffee shops, and watch the outfits. Jot down color combos I found interesting, jot down choices I found fascinating, jot down a handbag to check out.

Spring is nearly here in the northland where I live. I smelled it a day or so ago. The snow is receding at a nice pace (faster please). Even though I'm still wearing my boots out and about (6 degree windchill this morning - holy hell), I've seen some moccasins and flats dodging puddles and snowbanks.

What are we going to be wearing?