Monday, March 23, 2009

Back to reality

I just spent the most magical weekend at a hippymom retreat in Dallas, where the food and drink were abundant, a smoky haze filled the air, a crazy artist sang opera and painted my portrait, and amazing women came together to talk, laugh (so much laughter), cry (just a little), dance (one amazing dancer and her loving admirers!), meditate and basically just plot to take over the world!

However, I'm home now. Back to reality and all the myriad little annoyances that come with reality. Sigh. Things like a broken car (but I'm told it should be a minor repair), a dead battery in a rental car and a husband who is slow to take back said car and gets charged an extra day at DOUBLE the rate I rented it for. Plus, there's the stress of work, a messy house, and never enough money.

However, even though these little annoyances seem quite abundant at the moment, I have decided to approach them with a new outlook. I know that they are little things that are stressful NOW but are hardly worth remembering a year from now.

Compare that to the smile of my son, or the look on a teenager's face when she gets the right answer 3 times in a row, or seeing an amazing sunset. Those are things that I will remember, that I want to remember. I suppose I need to not "sweat the little things" or whatever the title of that book is. :)

For a while, I thought that it would be enough to cultivate gratitude in my heart and life. And it works wonders, believe me! But it's not enough. Just because I am grateful to be healthy and have a roof over my head, enough to eat, a loving family, etc etc etc (and I could definitely go on!) doesn't mean that I won't get worked up over a dang car. I have been known to overreact. Yes! Me! Shocking.

The thing is, because I have this tendency (I think many of us do) to get so annoyed, I have to start laughing at those annoyances, and consciously focusing on the fact that they are minor setbacks. Even if it costs money, money is only a tool, free to flow wherever it needs to go.

It won't be easy. I'm not good at NOT being Type A, and I don't have a lot of practice. But maybe with a new mindset I can be free to Type A on the things that DO matter, and relax about the things that just don't.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'm a muse!

I am the subject of a gorgeous portrait. That I will be buying at a later date and paying for for the rest of my life. Hooray!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Free" time?

You'd think that I'd have some free time this week to update, but it doesn't look like that was in the cards.

I've been really busy this week! I rented my regalia for the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony (yes, they are REALLY on's only March! But it worked well for me, since I was able to take care of this during my spring break!), got my cat fixed and also discovered that my gorgeous girl kitty is actually a handsome BOY kitty! Oops! It was all the fluff! (giggle)

I've been working out this week, which feels great! My goal is to keep this nonsense up when school starts, and actually LOSE SOME WEIGHT! Crazy ideas, I know.

I'm also getting ready to drive to Dallas for a retreat with some amazing Hippymoms! If you haven't met the Hippymoms yet, head on over and holla! Unfortunately, my car is acting all wonky. Look, it's even a relatively common problem! Boo-hoo-hoo! So, I'm taking J's car. Except that the inspection expired in.....JULY. So that needs to be fixed. The Universe has been trying to tell him this and he's been blatantly ignoring the message, so yesterday he got a ticket. Gah. That man irritates me. He redeems himself by being handy and nice, but honestly, the irritation to pleased ratio is highly skewed towards irritation.

So, I'm off to try to clean myself up a bit, and hopefully I'll have some really awesome stories about crazy hippymoms! Hee-hee!

Oh, remind me to tell y'all about how my phone was stolen by my kiddos at school. You know, some inspiration for the aspiring teachers out there. Snicker.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring Break!

Oh, hallelujah!!!! Thank goodness it's finally here! I was going nuts!

I'll be back soon with updates, but the past few days have included a trip to Chuck E. Cheese that left me trembling and the theft of my cell phone.

And I made cupcakes, too!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A bad influence

Resides in my house. This one is sneaky, making it harder to resist her charms. Usually, when I see Nutella at the grocery store I am able to resist. It's the #1 reason why I eat a snack before going grocery shopping, after all. But on those rare weak occasions, when Nutella whispers from an end cap so invitingly, "Hey, let's have some fun...." I find that she has snuck into my grocery cart.

When we get home, I try to hide her in the cupboard, but she always ends up near Peanut Butter. After PB wants to be Nutella when she grows up. All silky and smooth, with chocolatey whispers and hazelnut dreams, poor PB just can't compete.

Now, Nutella isn't brass and bold, like some of the other characters I hang out with. That's why she's invited around more often than, say, Chocolate Cake. Chocolate Cake just chills on the counter, yelling "Hey! I'm in here! I'm lonely and lovely. Come eat me, baby! There's cold milk in the fridge. We can do it nice and slow!" Rawr. That's nice when you're younger, but as you mature, you want friends who are more refined. This is why Nutella is so sneaky. She pretends to be refined and Ooh-La-La French, but really she's just a slut in a beret. Not that there's anything wrong with that, since she does clean up nicely.

Whenever I open the cupboard, she's there, peeking out at me from behind PB, who's giggling at my gaping mouth. She flirts and reminds me of her charms, and how great she would be on a piece of multigrain bread. I tell her I've just eaten a delicious meal that was filling and balanced, and she tells me that NOTHING is balanced without chocolate. Point taken.

Mmmm. Yummy.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Zen of Silence and Lentil Stew

I've been silent all day. It's been strange and peaceful and slightly surreal, but I attribute that to the fact that I've got some weird snoozy kind of cold.

I wanted to make a yummy dinner using only what I have on hand, since I don't have a car (mine is currently broken. Sigh) and didn't want to venture out into the world, anyway. Plus, my texting skills are rudimentary, at best, so I don't like texting J a big ole grocery list.

Whic leads me to my lentil stew: zippy yet healthful, vibrant and alive, it allowed me to use up kale that was valiantly holding onto whatever life force it still had in vain hopes that I would eat it. Thank you, lovely kale. Thank you. While the little green lovelies bubbled away on the stove, I sauteed red onion, added crushed tomatoes and jazzed things up by adding 1 cup of red wine and 1 cup water, instead of 2 cups of water. I added the softened lentils, and the chopped kale (that had revived nicely after being cleaned, de-ribbed and soaked in cold water). That's it! Crazy!!

To really make it sing, I made the saffron cream included in the recipe, but I used sour cream, since I didn't have yogurt. It was lovely and makes me feel rich, since I have SAFFRON!

I served this with slices of grain and seed bread spread with real butter. Oh, yummo.

Lively Lentil Stew

No voice.....

I've lost my voice! I have no voice at all (well, a little today, but nothing yesterday and I'm not talking today to give my sad vocal cords a chance to rest), and I've been sick since Tuesday. I think losing my voice is a result of me pushing forward and taking DayQuil to be able to teach when really, I should rest. But at my school, we get berated for having subs. Sigh. I'm definitely a firm believer of the idea that when you are sick, you should stay home and rest, but that's really not a part of the American psyche, unfortunately. I have received a lot of flack for this my whole life, and as a teacher, it seems like you are a "bad teacher" for taking a day off when you are sick. So, now I'm being punished by having no voice.

This is excruciating for me, since I love talking. I definitely feel like I have a disability, since I don't want to go anywhere public, as I feel rude by not talking to people, and have to write out notes to communicate. I can understand why people who use ASL (that's American Sign Language to you, bub) often prefer to stay within small communities, where communicating is easy because everyone speaks the same language, so to speak. Oh, the puns are not intentional, and man, are they bad! Sheesh! Sorry about that.

Fortunately, J and P are dealing with this remarkably well, probably because I don't have to care for P all alone right now. If I did, I can imagine that the poor kid would be irritated with me.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

St. Patrick's Day without meat

I want to make some traditional Irish food for St. Patty's day, being half Irish and loving a holiday that celebrates green, Spring, my son's birthday (well, his birthday is on St. Patrick's day, so they are forever linked to me), and beer! I also love corned beef. But, I don't really eat meat anymore.

I want to make colcannon and soda bread, but have never made either. I'm looking to you, dear readers (yes, all four of you!), to help me out here. Sure, I could turn to allrecipes, and looking for the recipes with high ratings and reading reviews usually steers me in the right direction. But if you, important reader, can provide me with a recipe that you know to be delicious, I would appreciate it ever so much. And I will take pictures, too!

Hippies being hippies

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