4.28.2014

Much Prefer

I much prefer weekends over Monday mornings, especially when weekends include things like tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella paired with a red and Monday mornings include snow and slush and a gray sky.  It's like not even a competition really. 

If I had to pick foods that I could not live without, the list would include cheese and olives - any kind of olive.  Amen. 

4.25.2014

Read All the Way

In lieu of dying Easter Eggs last Saturday, I spent some time rearranging the dining room shelves.  My kind of happy.  It led me to color sorting my books into a rainbow ombre type of business like I've seen in many places and have wanted to copy.

It takes time that color sorting of books because here's what happens...

Does the spine which is cream but has orange words go with the greys/creams/whites or does it go at the tail end of the orange leading into the yellow?  Does the spine which is blue and green with a touch of red go with the blue, the green, or the red?

And finally, does that color which is apparently super popular for book spines these days and is like an aqua or a turquoise but not really exactly either of those go with green or blue?

It's tough.

Obviously this whole analysis of the struggle is very tongue in cheek as it's color sorting books.  First world problems at their finest right here.

The final product does indeed do to my eyes what I wanted and I feel this activity covered the same bases as dying Easter eggs on the Saturday before the Sunday morning.

I also feel like I might be entering a whole new level of neurotic, so there's that too.  Happy Friday!  May the weekend be like the best thing ever times three for you and yours.

If you have some spare minutes, because those are plentiful right, listen or watch or watch and listen this little blip.  I believe researcher Heidi Grant Halvorson just may be hitting lots of points which cause pondering.  It's all about the Be Good mindset vs. the Get Better mindset.  I always enjoy learning new things which make me look in the mirror and do some reflecting.


The basic premise is if we are operating in a Be Good mindset, we are functioning simply to compare ourselves to others and are setting ourselves up for failure.  It's the notion of I'm not a "math person."  Therefore, I just don't do that business because so and so down the hall is good at math, not me.  If we are operating in a Get Better mindset, we are functioning to always improve our own performance measured against our previous go at it.  It's the notion of there's no such thing as a "math person."  Or a skilled at cooking person.  Or a technology inclined person.  Here's where I add in my two cents.  I do believe people are sometimes naturally talented in areas but I also believe many times it is what we have been cultivated into and have worked hard to achieve.   So maybe if the Get Better against my own start point was applied to things we don't think we can do, we could in fact do them.  And eventually do them well. 

It's like the self-fulfilling prophecy a bit.  My mom was the queen of using this to get us to become public speakers and brownie bakers and leaders.  She calls it strong use of momma manipulation but I think it might be deeper than that and more positive than using the word manipulation.  Maybe it was more of creating an atmosphere of using the Get Better mindset.  

I'm rambling now so I'll stop with saying, I wonder where color sorting books for your dining room shelves falls?  

4.23.2014

The Leftovers

Although if I'm being honest, I actually whipped up these deviled eggs the Sunday before Easter and I don't have any hard boiled eggs as leftovers to use this week because I didn't dye any this year.  

And I would just like to state for the record that I actually remembered how to hard boil eggs this round.  Oh, I still called Momma Debi to make sure I had it right...but I told her the steps before she told me.  Win!  It only took years for my brain to put that into long term memory.  


Icing the eggs right out of the boil is the key to clean peeling, well in most cases it's clean peeling.  You still have to fight with a few and let those little suckers know who is boss.  It just wouldn't be fun if they all were easy now would it?

  
I made two different fillings for these eggs.  One was with the normal Miracle Whip, mustard, salt, pepper, and a splash of pickle juice all topped with paprika.  

The other one was more my style with Greek yogurt, mustard, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and more of a splash of pickle juice all topped with paprika.  

I thought they tasted real similar to the real deal and was happy with the experimenting.  But then!  Then I had Billy try one and he turned his face in an odd contortion and said, "Are they supposed to be sour?"  


I'm still counting it as an absolute success.  Different strokes for different folks.  Different taste buds too apparently.  My mom, sister-in-law, and I were visiting yesterday morning while eating toast about how once you start cleaning up cooking a bit with real ingredients, it seems your taste really does change.  It's all a process.  A process which still includes things like maple donuts and hot cross buns on Easter Sunday after eating "sour" deviled eggs all week leading up to the holiday.     

4.22.2014

Easter of This Year

Sometimes things are so right and so good, they don't even need words.  Other than to say this Easter was just what the heart ordered. 
 
Early church service attended with fancy dresses and filled pews and afterward fellowship. 
 
Indulged too much in Momma Debi's homemade hot cross buns and Dad-o's egg bake while the warm morning light streamed in. 
 
Coffee sipped slow and steady long into the day. 
 
Robins spotted and welcomed with open arms as signs of this season's newness. 
 
An orange skirt's pattern - the end to sweaters and other cold weather fashion for good, thank you very much.  
 
Old home movies watched until tears were in our eyes, from laughing at my brother's Honky-tonk Man winning lip-sync kindergarten performance and my four year old rendition of reading Just for You by Mercer Mayor on a floral couch and tears of  a different kind from seeing people like Grandma Gladys making gravy in the kitchen on Thanksgiving of 1988 while Grandpa Norman read the paper in his gray recliner chair.  Both kinds kept rolling when it turned to that same Thanksgiving, only this time at Grandma Audrey's house with Uncle Tige being his usual ridiculous self and then Lacie and Lindsey holding hands and dancing on the carpeted kitchen floor while Matt wore necklaces and a goofy hat as he jigged across the screen.  Oh family is it.  The only thing, through the laughter tears and the different kind of tears too. 
 
Clothes changed and then the day was played away in the sunshine.  Baseball, foot races - a certain kindergarten boy beat the pants off his aunt, riding bikes, and giving horses treats learning the important lesson of keeping your hand.  Being tired from sunshine and wind is the best kind of tired.  I always feel something after a day outside; there's not a certain way to describe it...it's just something
 
Easter Sunday was so right and so good. 
 
On a serious note, take video of your loved ones and keep it safe for future eyes.  It's beyond precious to have, to see family and friends in action is much different than a still shot.  It will make your heart happy and your heart hurt all at the same time and it's a keeper of a different kind of memory.     
 


4.18.2014

Hey Steam! Hey Tourist! Hey Random!

Food is always on the agenda when down in the desert.  My dad is a more than fabulous cook who loves to experiment and being in a real-city provides all kinds of options we don't have in our non-city and my mom makes homemade bread almost every single day.  So food, lots of food.  It's always there and around which leads me to having a two part goal while visiting the sunshine.  Number one being I eat pretty much whatever I want and number two being I never stop moving.  Running, swimming, biking, walking...all the time.  I feel better about consuming seventy-hundred calories in a day that way.

This round was pork on the grill. 


This next round was Mexican food out while shopping.  Which leads me to wonder...how many ways can a person take a picture of a margarita?  This many.  With other ones possible, of that I'm sure.  Also I would like to add that Momma Debi and I became slightly buzzed from our sweet and salty margs.  I'm not sure if I can state this next sentiment without there being some form of judgment but I've never been one to care much about others judgments so here goes...day drinking and afternoon buzzes are the absolute best.  One might say cat's meow there, but that one would be someone who doesn't think cats are rats in disguise.  One letter difference people.  One letter.  I digress.  Appetizing discussion eh?   


Hey steam for the win! 


First time gelato getter over here and let me tell you this.  Yum.  That's what.  Of all those choices, I went with salted caramel and was more than happy with the decision.  I really kept staring at the swirls; the way it looks is more exciting to me more than it tastes.  Well almost...because love a duck, it's delicious.  Delicious and pretty.  


Hey tourist!


I love my mom.  I love my mom and how she will play tourist with me and how she wears her sun hats with a side of robe.   


This is totally not staged.  And just goes to show you why I indeed have a lovely forehead crease which is semi-permanent, too much face squishing over everything.  I'm not sure if we were bossing Dad-o around or if there was an alien.  It's hard to tell.   


Then, there's this and this is a case of my dad not trusting me once again.  Oh he's kind of fake smiling through it, but don't let that fool you.  Lecture-ville was going down.  It's like he knows I am jittery in nature and get distracted easily.  He was freaking out about my camera being in the water.  Let me rephrase that.  He was freaking out about me holding the camera up to my eyes while my chin was under the water and the strap was wrapped around my head.  To this day, I just can't imagine why he would be nervous about that situation.  

Hey random!  

4.17.2014

Morning Always Wins, Always

Light streaming in on soft blankets.  Running right away while the air is fresh.  Coffee shared outside visiting with family.  Fresh lemons squeezed in unsweetened tea.  Momma D. baking bread, just asking for melted butter and honey.  Buds and blooms and green grass with sun spots all around.  

Morning always wins. 




4.15.2014

The Time I Smuggled Meatballs and Homemade Ketchup

While we are on the topic of new and opportunity, I'll continue right on here by sharing the first ever experience of eating at a place featured on the Food Network's show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives with spiky hair Guy.  He is my favorite.  I try not to like him sometimes because I think, he should be annoying right?  Spiky hair that's bleached, loud voice, talks non-stop, etc...  All leads to annoying.  But the truth?  The truth is I love him.  I could watch Triple D all the live long day and then get super hungry and find myself in the kitchen trying to make chips-salsa-macaroni-apple pancake-with a side of-fish taco.  

Does this happen to anyone else?  

Billy and I sometimes have to swear off the Triple D for awhile because of its dangerous tendencies to lead to eating at odd times.  Odd things at odd times. 

But inevitably, we come back for more. 

There was a Phoenix episode one day that Billy recorded and I love him for that kind of thing.  He always thinks of others.  Like in the sense of, you're going to AZ soon so you might want to check these places out.  

We watched it.  He fell in love with the meatballs and I fell in love with the fire oven pizza.  

So when I was there in March with my parents and my sister, after an afternoon of lounging and swimming, off we went to St. Francis with Billy on text stand-by. 


I knew when we pulled up, it was going to live up to the expectations.  An outdoor movie was playing, there was vintage chairs to sit in while waiting for a table, and the food was out of this world once seated.


Goat cheese and marinara, fingerling potatoes with thyme, the meatballs-the meatballs, and pizza.  Pizza with figs for me and pizza with lots of red for Sister Pister followed by Momma Debi sharing with everyone.  



I convinced the waiter to load me up with some of their homemade ketchup and a to-go order of their meatballs because I had to try, to try to get some of that home to Billy.  After all, it was his find and it wasn't fair to me that he wasn't there.  Oh he was there with us, via text and experience but not there physically.


It was the night before I flew out at dark-thirty the next morning.  When we arrived back at the house, my mom and I double bagged the portions and made room in the freezer with our fingers crossed the food's frozen state would allow for security success at the airport.  

The next morning, I walked through the beep beeper while my carry-on bag went through the scan scanner.  I was pulled to the side and asked, "Is this your bag ma'am."  

"Yes it is.  Please don't take the meatballs!  It's just meatballs I promise.  Please."  

Followed by a visit about St. Francis and some laughing and smiling, lots of smiling, and then I was on my way home.  

With the goods.  

I was a hero for many days in Billy eyes.  I had him at homemade ketchup.