Thursday, January 31, 2013

#19 QuitCHIR ~ Gently

Consistent, dripping or moving water changes landscape or etches stone.

Our attitudes and our interactions shape our landscape and etch the people around us

Have you ever wondered what one smile can do? Or one harsh word? A kindness? A selfish act? 

Do you bring an attitude of life, a breath of fresh air, joy, love and mercy into a room with you? Or does your attitude suck that room dry?

Are you okay with your answer to that question? 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

#18 QuitCHIR ~ Fractured

I've smashed a few dreams into smithereens. 

And yet, the inner girl who knows there's a pony in that horse pooh, somewhere, if she just digs deep enough, still wants to dream.

As much as I treasure the here and now, and I honestly do, I can't help pondering the what ifs, the hmmm's, the somedays. The practical adult who occasionally takes over my thoughts chides me for being simple and foolish. 

I dream dreams that narrow into specifics then develop loops and angles until they sometimes are hodge-podge, patchwork quilt dreams that look a lot like a life lived, messy, but lived. 

I wanted to someday hold a book with my name on the cover of it when I began writing. But that dream has changed enough that this is no longer really important to me. I do have the need to finish the book I started with my friend. Because she is writing and publishing and it's partially hers and she's stuck til I move forward. It's a great story, and the characters are fun and I like them. I guess this is an example of a broken dream that still has valuable pieces that can still turn into something, right? 

Dreaming can hurt, and maybe that's why lots of folks give up. Rob and I dreamed about homesteading and living off the land when we were young and adventurous. Reality got in the way. But there is still a part of me who fights off wanderlust, who really does think that possibility sounds satisfying to the core. And she also thinks driving around the country in an RV or living on a houseboat sure seem like wonderful adventures. Practical me says that I'd get seasick, fall overboard and drown, or discover that the fuel costs and parking fees would suck the very joy out of this quest. But then I run into someone who's dream didn't become reality until she was 65, and she's living it. Maybe some dreams are meant to stretch over a lifetime until all the puzzle pieces are on the table.

I believe I have picked up pieces of unfulfilled or broken dreams and placed them in a large glass jar. When I place it in the window and the sun shines through it, I am transported to the discussions, the thoughts, the lists, the hopes and the promise. So maybe, these dreams aren't wasted at all.

I see this dreamer quality in my kids, too, and I can't decide whether to be guilty for passing it on to them, or wanting to fan the flames of their dreams. So. I get caught up in their enthusiasm and I dream with them.

A dream that has failed is a dream tried, right? And failing is so much more that sitting on the sidelines and watching life pass by. 

Dream? I think I will.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

#17 QuitCHIR ~ Creaky Doors

Sometimes doors open into sunshine and fresh air. 

But a door can also open into shadows, gloom and the unknown. 

Not every darkened doorway leads to a bad outcome.  Just like sunlit paths that lead to the babbling brooks may not end in joy and happiness. 

Every cracked door and every opportunity has a risk. Because the sure thing might not last, or be a good fit or be the dream it promised. Shadows and unfamiliar noises can keep us from stepping over the threshold into into an opportunity that might be challenging, scary, and completely out of our comfort zones...and may end up being rewarding and beyond expectation.

It is our job to weigh the risks, count the cost of the worst case scenario, and look inside at our fears and insecurities. People of faith will seek God and pray, but people of faith also know that God does not think like we do, nor does He want us to remain unchanged and unchallenged. His goal is to transform me until I look more like Jesus and less like me. 

Here are some of the thoughts I wrestle with when faced with a door.  Is what lies beyond too risky? Or is my belief that I'm a (insert insecurity, lie you believe, etc. here) going to render me unable to let go of the doorknob, step into the unknown, and follow a path that disappears at the horizon ? And which decision will carry the most regrets for me in five years, ten years and beyond?

There are few large decisions that don't require a little hesitation when the cold metal doorknob rests in your hand. And that's okay. Hesitate, but don't let fear paralyze you.

Monday, January 28, 2013

#16 QuitCHIR ~ Connections

Humanity is so connected. Like the Kevin Bacon game I do think many of of are separated by just a few degrees.

I received a comforting reminder yesterday that no matter how out of control life gets, our lives don't spin away from God's notice.

An old connection has suffered a tragedy. And though I'm no longer in a position to come alongside and bring comfort, God still is. And as I pray about this loss, I can know that God has placed others in their lives, and that He is a present and ready help in their time of need.

This is what we were created for, to have relationships, to make a difference, to love and live and leave a legacy behind. Though I've lost touch with this family, the time we were connected isn't forgotten and even now I can pray for them. 

When we are part of the vine of Christ we are not alone. His blood runs through our veins and His Spirit connects us on a level we can't even begin to understand. 

If you have a struggle, if you feel alone, if you wonder if this life of faith is worth it, know that you are not a lone wolf. If you are connected to Christ, you are connected to life, and to hope, and to a future.  

And if you are not connected yet, someone who is may be praying for you.

Friday, January 25, 2013

#15 QuitCHIR ~ Zip Those Furry Little Lips...

My mom always quoted Thumper's mother's sage advice to me when I got a little extra complainy and whiny. 

Who could argue with Walt Disney wisdom delivered by a sweet furball? 

Certainly not the average seven-year-old in the late 60's. By that I mean me. 

Mothers seem to know certain things by instinct. 

Things like whining, complaining and mean-spiritedness just aren't good for the soul.

In looking for a definitive answer on how many positive comments it takes to cancel a negative you can find loads of answers. Ten positives to cancel out a negative? That might be a little high. But let's think it through. 

How quickly does negativity spread? Like little breeding bunny rabbits, I say. A co-worker or spouse or family member walks through the door with a brooding attitude and the whole climate changes doesn't it? 

A scowl involves a whole different atmospheric charge than a smile does. 

Some moods actually make the air crackle with intensity. A storm is brewing. Will the lightning be distant passive aggressive flickers on the horizon? Or direct and personal hits? 

And our emotions respond to the possible danger. Even if the electrical tension has nothing to do with us, we can still get caught in the storm. And we feel assaulted and respond accordingly. 

Laughter, smiles, sweetness, encouragement also breed like sweet little bunnies. Sunshiny attitudes can even chase away little storm clouds. 

So. Who do you want to be?  A gray storm cloud? Or a beam of sunshine? 

The next time you feel a sarcastic, mean, whiny, complainy, negative thought working it's way toward your lips, clamp down on it like a bunny on a carrot. Because, honestly, your comment may paint a better picture of who you are versus who you are complaining about. And it may bring a litter of more negativity. If you can't say something nice, kind, encouraging, then what's your motivation? And does it really need to be said?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

#14 QuitCHIR Hope...Always...

The tree is indeed an impressive creation. The smallest of stumps can sprout again. If the roots are alive the tree is, too. Trees also show the life they've lived through their very core. A ring forms and tells the story of the year, the hardships, the challenges and the inner strength of the tree. 

Resilience is not just for trees. Humans can bend but not break. Resilience means we can grow in spite of and through circumstances. Are you aware that the rings of your life tell a story of a life lived?

The droughts, the high winds, the rains will come. And scars are inevitable. But as long as there is growth, healing can come. If you are reading this you are alive. Where are your roots planted?

Hang in there. You might be working on the most impressive life ring yet.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

#13 QuitCHIR ~ Mind the Trees and Q's...

Don't you just love those philosophical questions? 

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, will it make a sound? 

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Knock! Knock?

Points to ponder, but don't lose sleep. 

Let the little questions take care of themselves after you wrestle with the big ones, ya know?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

#12 QuitCHIR Canvasing

Our lives can become bleak. 

I have felt like a fish in the bottom of a boat, out of the water, gasping for air even though I am surrounded by it. I have felt like the gray, filthy days of winter will never leave, that the trees will never bud, that the sun will refuse to ever shine again. 

Some of the most powerful moments in my life have come when I've nearly given up hope. 

My husband and I had some really, really rough spots in our marriage. Honestly, we should have gotten divorced, twice. But, and when I say this I'm not being flippant or pious or holy, I really mean it, God literally held things together. 

Because we were both doing our best to destroy our family. 

One of the darkest moments happened when he was actively drinking and not sure he wanted a family anymore. We'd been separated and he had come to visit the kids, and as regularly happened, he and I fought. 

The baby started to cry. I was so ticked, I started to cry. He flipped both hands in the air in angry surrender and headed to the door, to escape. Our three-year-old began to weep. "Don't leave, Daddy!" He wailed over and over. My husband walked out the door and shut it behind him and didn't look back. 

How could we come back from that? It was the ultimate statement. 

My life was a bleak gray, filthy mess. No sun. No singing birds. No smiles. No joy. 

But the next morning the sun did rise. And I got out of bed. And the following morning the routine happened again. Eventually, a small flame of hope ignited in me. And even though it was so hard, life was put back together again. 

That wasn't the only hard time. And I'm not a remarkable woman. I just did what I had to do to survive and eventually, beauty grew and God painted something amazing. 

My blessings overflow. And God has created a family that basks in His love. I need His love like I need the air I breathe. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

#11 QuitCHIR ~ Look For It....

There are miracles all around us. And we become so tunnel-focused and insulated that we forget all about the wonder, the awe, the breathtaking, that is ours to notice. 

When was the last time you truly focused on the exact here and now, and marveled in it? 

I am so prone to going through the motions. The sun rises. The sun sets. I tell my near dear ones that I love them, and sometimes, it's reflexive. My prayers become lists of what I'd like the God of the universe to do. Even the act of kissing my husband goodbye is often just blah. This, of course, is the same man who can leave me starry-eyed and slightly dizzy. 

Everything just becomes routine and the miracles, the special, the wonder, gets lost. 

Live in the moment. Taste that first sip of coffee and feel the warmth travel down your throat, smell it, enjoy it. Kiss your significant other like you mean it. Like you really want to take a part of him or her with you through your day. Tell someone you love them, and remember why you love them. Notice the sunrise. Or the puffy clouds floating above the earth. Listen for the singing of birds, or the sweet voice of the child in the other room. Pray like you have a relationship with your relationship is important to you, not because of what He could do for you, but because of who He is. Sing. Just because. 

Embrace wonder. It might just change your day.

Friday, January 18, 2013

#10 QuitCHIR ~ Visionary

My vision is SO distorted. This picture is how I see my world. Wavy lines, twisted shadows, and an almost unrecognizable image.  

My worldview, my personality, my experiences, my circumstances all pull at my senses so that what I see is a shadow of what is.

I find it fascinating that the Bible tells me I see things as puzzling reflections. Almost as if God understands my condition and that He is willing and able to work on my vision for and with me.

You know what truly amazes me?  God knows me completely. And He loves me, anyway. And I can say that about you, too. Regardless of how we see things, what images and shadows and distortions we hide from or shadow box....we are loved. We are valuable to the God of the universe. 

What big confusing mirror image would you like to have straightened out? Maybe you should talk to God about that. 

Have a great weekend.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

#9 QuitCHIR ~ All Work and No Play...

Boredom can suck the joy right out of life. 

We need to know enough about our limitations and bents so that we can thrive in the things we choose to do with our time. And in the things we need to do with our time.

Now. That said. I had a conversation with a friend who has taken on a two year project that requires her to do data entry and fix accounts. And she hates it. The job is self-directed and she is in a small room with two others but little interaction. And one coworker plays music she doesn't care for. She said she's thinking about finding a different job. 

This woman loved her previous tasks...was a cheerleader for her company just a few short weeks ago.

I've been in her shoes. A job that doesn't fit chafes like cheap wedges or tight polyester pants on a ninety degree day.  And I've been painted into the tiny corner where I wanted to leave a job so much that I took a significant pay cut and would have considered any job just to escape. 

What was my problem? Terrible fit. And here's the rub. I love a creative outlet. I NEED a creative outlet and these jobs had plenty of creativity. was my pattern. Assess. Dream. Plan. Pull off. Rest. Assess. Dream. Make it better. Rest. Assess. Recognize that I had done it, done it better, and reached a wall. 

My job, creative as it was, lacked the carrot that kept me chasing after the challenge. 

And then I began to hate my job, finding the negatives, picking apart the details, and planning my escape. 

I'd like to help my friend avoid this scenario because her current duties aren't a good fit in a company she loves

Here is the advice I gave her. 

Challenge herself to crack a two-year job out quicker and with greater efficiency so she can cross names off her list, turn the paper work over and shorten her pile, and move to a task that fits her better. She's a natural list maker and does like a good detail, so this could help. 

Communicate: I suggested that she talk to her supervisor and tell him or her that she is struggling. After all, no one wants to lose a great employee over a misfit job description. 

Creativity: I also told her to take frequent mental health breaks. To put ear phones in and listen to music that makes her feel alive instead of suffocated. To find the areas where she can stretch and grow and learn. 

My current position is not creative in nature. However, it constantly challenges me and I learn something new every day. As I've told you before, one of my hot buttons is learning. I love learning. Medicine is a field that will never bore me. 

Do you love your job? Aspects of it? Can you tweak something small that will add joy to your job?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day #8 QuitCHIR ~ Feeling Fine?

How do you feel right now? 

Exhausted, overwhelmed, overextended, bored, or on top of the world? 

Maybe you need to give yourself permission to take a long nap. Lack of sleep or rest can suck the life right out of life. If your sleep account is overdrawn, schedule a day of rest in your very near future or go to bed an hour earlier every night for a week. Avoid caffeine after lunch if you are sensitive to the effects. Or quit playing the snooze alarm game and just set your alarm for a half hour later than normal so your last half hour is actual sleep. Look at your productivity levels. Do you feel most productive in the morning? Do you love to work with the midnight oil burning? Rearrange some of your duties and responsibilities to fit into those times of productivity. 

Overwhelmed and overextended are danger signs. Can you escape some duties that are flexible, rethink the way you do a task or give some details away to another person?  Or choose to make those details unimportant for a period of time. Your well-being and sanity are more important than tiny details.  

When was the last time you listened to the cues your body is sending you? Do you regularly hit a mid-afternoon slump? Or a mid-morning crash? Eating breakfast, or adding protein to and cutting out processed white flour, white sugar from the food you do eat could make all the difference in how you feel? Try water instead of soda at lunch. Look for lunches that contain real food, not highly processed fast and hot "meals", or chemical concoctions that do not give your body the fuel it needs.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

QuitCHIR #7... Attitude Checks and Balances...

I spent a lot of time at the coffee shop yesterday. I had my pre-work hour long shift, went to work, and then worked a closing shift for someone who needed me to. 

It was a full day. On top of that, I had an article I had to write/finish with a deadline of this morning. 

Stress was part of the day. Plenty of stress, self-imposed. I've had a month to work on the article, and I did, for the most part. The article involves reading a book, and coming up with recipes that dovetail with the book for book club meetings. So, I used lots of brain cells trying to get this all done.  I finished trying out the recipes this weekend and they were typed in, tweaked and ready to go. However, the article itself needed writing. I wanted the extra shift at the coffee shop and work-work was still a large pile of things that needed to be done. 

So I chose to have a good attitude, and to let the details fall into place, and just do what I could to the best of my ability to do it. I also chose to pray about those details, because frankly, I need all the help I can get.

And. At eleven o'clock at night I was in bed with all the things done I needed to get done. 

And I managed to have some pretty meaningful conversations throughout the day. Had I chosen to stress about my to-do list I'm afraid it would have been an entirely different scenario altogether. My conversations would have been peppered with self-defeat, anxious thoughts, and probably lots of spinning tires with no forward motion

Do you have a looming burden? Have you prayed about it? Can you take one step at a time and whittle away until it seems less threatening? Maybe spending a peaceful hour at a coffee shop or discussing things over with a someone is what you need.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 6 QuitCHIR

Mondays can feel insurmountable. 

If your weekend was busy enough that you could not accomplish all you set out to do, let alone have an opportunity to relax, Monday can fall like an avalanche. 

But, Monday is just another day. We have given it significance greater than it deserves. 

Think about it. Monday (and Friday) are just days. And each day is a gift. And each day has it's own blessings and it's own trials. Don't let the Mondays in life steal the choice you have to look for the blessings. Don't put your life on hold waiting for the Fridays to begin living. And don't put off the choices that you should make on Wednesday until next Monday. Look up. Look to the source of hope and help you have. Look for the blessings in your day. They are there, maybe buried under the rubble of a disappointing weekend or a pile of work that has piled up on your desk, but they are there, just look. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day #5 QuitCHIR ~ Let's Reframe That, Shall We?

Did you read the links I provided yesterday? The brain rot article was extra fascinating to me. One point in particular resonated (don't you love being able to use Reader's Digest Words to Ponder?) with me. The section where he mentioned that stress is something to be expected, and we all know about the stressors in life (mostly changes like relationships, homes, jobs, health) but that being with chronic complainers and negative people is as lethal as stress to our well-being.
Which reminds me of a really stress filled time at work several years ago. When we got our new Windows based computer system half the staff had limited computer experience. And our whole schtick was to go completely paperless. Let me give a hearty laugh right now. Har. Har. Har. Paperless DID NOT happen. However, stress bloomed like those super growing trees that promise ten feet of growth per year. Part of the problem was the OOPS factor, our DOS based data didn't carry over as promised. So everything had to be re-keyed into the new system. That was just one of the issues. The stress and tension was so big I thought we might lose a few staff people. (No, not death, quitting, but there were times death might have been welcomed.) Anyhoo, we somehow survived that trial intact. We each kind of found a niche and learned it and then trained others who needed to know it. We still occasionally have a serendipitous moment when we stumble onto some sneaky and helpful shortcut. Long way of saying, stress and negativity definitely was the color of the day, week, month.  

Oddly, a few months later I began breaking molars. After the second one cracked and needed to be repaired I realized that during the tension of that couple of months my whole face hurt. I had been clenching my teeth, probably even as I slept, and I weakened teeth that had been repaired when I was younger. The weak areas were vulnerable to my stress. I became so aware of that little bad habit that to this day I feel my stress in my face. When my face feels tense I eventually check my stress level and work on some ways to decrease that tension.

The office has been quiet the past two days in spite of experiencing, with our entire city, a boil alert. We had a huge sewer implosion and it had the potential of contaminating our entire water supply. So we were unable to drink or cook with water unless it had been boiled for at least a minute. Each of us brought in our own water, a drug rep brought in water. Washing hands was a conundrum. Wash our hands with soap and contaminated water, then follow with hand sanitizer, or skip the contaminated water altogether? But we survived with minimal complaining. 

And a co-worker, who reads my blog periodically, reported that she was going to look at a negative as a positive. Instead of complaining that we have to park far away from our office (with the ready reminder of the security guard parked at the mouth of the parking garage where we are not supposed to park) she was going to restate the trek as an opportunity for extra exercise. Especially since she usually packs a Bible, a Bible study book and several bottles of water as well as her lunch. Ha. Ha. Way to go. Get that cardio on, Baby.

Have a happy, uplifting, positive weekend. What activities do you have planned and how can you frame them so that you can see the good bits and minimize the not so good ones? 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 4 QuitCHIR A Little Investigation...

Does the way you look at the world really make a difference?????

I did some poking around on the internet looking for stats and details about negativity vs positive mind set. Here are some very interesting links I found. I didn't drill down and look at the cited details so I can't say I agree with everything. But I found this information to be thought provoking. And I'm a big fan of thinking things through.

 Brain Rotting


Issues and Relationships

Health Issues

Don’t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. Your heart will always be where your treasure is.” Matthew 6:19-21 CEV

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Day #3 QuitCHIR ~ Countin Some Blessings

My day two "lose the negativity" quest went..., well, well. One of my most challenging of late co-workers didn't come to work. That may have helped a bit. However, one of the others was especially crabby. A little storm cloud followed her in and we chatted after she arrived. Mostly, she complained. A few minutes into her tirade I told her I was trying to be more positive and stop the cycle of negativity. She laughed out loud then told me that positive thinking is a crock. But I did effectively end the negative flow of her words. She teased me throughout the day but didn't launch back into her complaining. Hmmm. Interesting technique I may have to hang on to.

I noticed a few things about my day when I was looking for the positive: The sun was shining and the temperature hit the upper thirties, making it officially beautiful. Compared to an April 70 degree day, maybe not, but beautiful none the less. I started my day with prayer and chewed on some spiritual truths on my way to work. I made a dent in the stack of paperwork on my desk. Sometimes just digging in instead of dreading digging in and putting it off is really the best plan. Less wasted energy spent fretting. One of my co-workers had some time on her hands and offered to do a job that I put off because it's so overwhelming and insignificant but yet has to be done. ... Wow. That was a HUGE blessing. A doctor from another clinic not only held a door for me twice, the second time he opened the door, stood to the side and motioned for me to go through first. And not in an inpatient, "hurry up, Lady" kind of way. Crazy, that doesn't happen very often.

What happened to you today that you would call a blessing?

See. It's not so hard.

Today. Write a list of ten blessings, positives, greats, betters in your life, and stick it somewhere where you can see it.. And keep paying attention to what you are saying and hearing and try to add a little light, a little positive into your surroundings. You can do it. Shoot for one positive to one negative.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

QuitCHIR Day 2...Adding a Little Positive Into the Yuck...

QuitCHIR (Quit Complaining, Harumping, Imploding, Raging.)

Thursday and Friday at the office were pretty tough. Reentry after a few days of family and friends and celebrating holidays is tough. But when there are changes, transitions and unknowns on top of it, and several women who don't always deal well with any of these, negativity is a mushroom cloud. We all got a 1 1/2% raise and the government took 2%. We work in medicine which changes every year, more so this year than usual. Staff has changed, and folks are dealing with car issues, family problems, diets, and just overall stress. Monday, the first day that I had decided to pay attention to the waves of negativity I surf I got an eyeful and I just gotta say. WHEW!!!! I'm not sure there were any uplifting, positive comments uttered. Oh, there was black humor and sarcasm aplenty. But as funny as sarcasm is, it's simply disguised cynicism. One of the best things about my job is that when my morning appointments are done, the rest of my day is flexible, and I can come early and leave early. That can be a lifesaver. When I go in before we open, I have silence or lowkey interactions for long periods of time. Two of my coworkers do the opposite. They come in late morning and stay after we close up shop. Are we instinctively trying to create nests of sanity in our world?

What do your environments look like? The same quagmires? Do you have a safety net?

Today, I suggest that when we recognize a negative thought, or comment coming out of our mouths, or even out of the mouths of others, that we toss out something positive. Simply look at our half empty glass and pour something into it so it begins to look half full. You don't have to attack your friend, family member or co-worker with a glitter wand, though I'm thinking that could be VERY effective in some situations. Positive can be remembering that if there is a huge pile of horse poo there's gotta be a pony, right? Look for the pony in the poo. Or, maybe. put on the eyeglasses of compassion and agree with your coworker that maybe life is hard, but.... the sun is shining. You've both got your jobs and that she's good at her job. Don't forget to look inward and combat self-talk, too. Use this tool against your own inner monologue of negativity. You, each of us, has something to offer the world. Sometimes the most simple act can mean the most. Being kind, patient, upbeat or gentle can make someone's really rotten day begin to look up, even if that really rotten day is yours. 

Monday, January 07, 2013

QuitCHIR ~ 30 Days of Change ~ The Explanation.

How easy is it for you to plunge into negativity?

The lure of negativity for me? It's cake. Multiple layers of decadent cake slathered with creamy frosting and various assorted mouthwatering fillings. And as addictive.

When I begin complaining, counting flaws, finding fault, gritching, blaming, it becomes a crushing snowball in my life. And when I enter a location with others who are out of sorts, it's not long before I join them and built my ice fortress of ugliness.

So. Even though we are one week into the new year and I have yet to make official resolutions, I'm setting aside thirty days to make a change in the way I look at life. If I force myself to stop the cycle of negativity I won't catch the frozen snowballs of yuck that others throw my direction. Right?

So join me.

I'm going to call it QuitCHIR.  Quit Complaining, Harumping, Imploding, Raging. Start seeing the blessings in life, the good in others and the beauty around us. Because all of those three huge things exist. They just get buried in attitude, outlook and gloomy clouds of doom.

My suggestion, and feel free to expand on this idea, is to replace the focus on the stormy clouds with looking for the silver linings.

Day One

Recognize your negative thoughts. Are there situations and/or people that tend to multiply them? If you are very brave write them down.

Come back tomorrow for Day Two. A very positive step, indeed.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Not So Serious...

Or is it? 

Occasionally I run out of things to blather about. So then I have to get creative. Here's the grease that got my brain cranking.

Do you eavesdrop on people in public places? 


I must admit that I do. Sometimes, it's impossible not to. Those icky, awkward situations when folks are airing their dirty laundry in public. Or, you know, the parents cajoling, bribing, trying to talk sense into their out-of-control shrieking children. Or worse, the parent yakking on the cell phone and ignoring all sorts of screaming and bad behavior, only to reprimand the child in a horribly inappropriate way over something trivial. Yes, behavior that makes Christmas shopping all the more fun. 


And it's really difficult not to focus in on conversations where both parents are on cell phones at dinner and kids sit at a table playing video games. I think a full 80% of public cell phone conversations are ones that, if they didn't take place, wouldn't matter one bit.  


And my favorite of all places to overhear a conversation involves another cell phone scenario, a public restroom, in the stall next to me. Nuff said? Right? I can attest to the fact that ALL overheard potty stall cell phone conversations are ridiculous and more often than not noisy, all those flushing toilets and other ... stuff.


And then, there are the quiet conversations. The ones the inner mystery lover in me wants to investigate further. Just sayin. And finally the fun, distant tete-a-tetes wherein I get to make up conversations based on body language, gestures and lip reading. An exercise in fiction writing. :  ) 


 Do you eavesdrop?


Thursday, January 03, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Cinnamon Bun Cake

This is a really delicious and much easier scratch for a cinnamon roll itch. I Veganized (and eased up on the fat from this version).


1/4 Cup room softened Earth Balance margarine
1/4 Cup applesauce
3/4 Cup sugar
2 flax eggs (2 TBSP ground flax, 6 TBSP water mixed together and set aside.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/2 Cups non-dairy milk
3 Cups flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 Cup and 2 TBSP softened Earth Balance
1/4 Cup and 2 TBSP applesauce


1 3/4 Cups powdered sugar
3 TBSP non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon maple syrup

Putting it all Together:

Instructions for the cake:

Cream Earth Balance, applesauce and sugar, add flax eggs, vanilla, and milk. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into a 9 x 13" greased pan.

Prepare topping:
Stir together topping ingredients until cream. Drop evenly over batter by tablespoons and swirl through the batter with a knife. I pulled the knife horizontally through each row of cinnamon blobs. Then I did the same vertically until I had a pretty marbly pattern.

Bake at 350ยบ for 45 minutes.


Whisk glaze ingredients till smooth. Drizzle 2/3s over warm cake. And leave the rest for icing lovers to add as they desire to their own piece.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Thus Begins the New Year

Friends arrived on Friday to close out 2012 and open 2013 with us. This has become an annual event and I think this was year 5. The first year was bacon bacon everywhere. Then as our eating has evolved so have the feast contents. I do have an amazing cinnamon roll cake recipe that will be appearing soon.

The highlight of the trip might just have to be meeting Chloe though. We spent New Years's Day antiquing in the Old Market district in Omaha. Both Michelle and I found amazing deals on doors. But that was forgotten when we went to Joe's . Chloe is a rescue terrier mix with quite the personality. My favorite was what happened after the fashion show. She put her paw on my shoulder and I asked her if she wanted down. Her owner said she probably wanted a hug. And she did, a very long hug to be exact.

She climbed on board and was content to stay on board. Of.course she wasn't featherweight so I went to place her back on her perch, her little back legs hit the counter and kicked off while her little front legs climbed higher and wrapped tighter. Three times we played out this little scenario. Finally when it was time to go she let me leave. So cute.