what’s for dinner?


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I don’t think I eat anything all that special, strange, or different, but with startling regularity, someone really makes me wonder.  My parents were foodies before there was such a thing; going to cooking schools and coming home to experiment on me.  I was the last child and they were trying to find something they had in common.  I don’t really recall them making anything strange or all that special, but  their adventurousness made me a willing accomplice.

While I “grew up” in Mississippi, I really became me in Oregon.  Hippy country, full of tree huggers who eat twigs and bugs and cook out in the wilderness just for fun.  I’m saying all of this tongue in cheek, but I had a date recently and when I said something about backpacking and cooking on a camp stove, this was beyond his comprehension.  Camp cooking taught me to be creative in a bowl.  We always ate great while out on the trail.  No MRE’s for us.  It just requires a little forethought and planning.

There was no planning or forethought for this night’s meal.  It was let’s get creative with what I have in the fridge.  Truthfully, that’s how I cook most often.  I’ve mentioned here how much I enjoy one bowl dinners.  Last night I had a friend over and I felt like I dropped a Siberian delicacy in front of her.  She asked lots of questions and wanted to know how it was all done.  I was flattered and mystified.  What did I make that was so amazing, you ask…

Pearl couscous with curry roasted cauliflower.  I was so hungry I didn’t get a picture.  I added lots of curry powder to the cauliflower before roasting in the oven and a can of diced tomatoes to the finished couscous.  It was warm and wonderful, perfect for a cool, foggy night.

Going back through previous posts I’ve found a few bowls to whet your appetite and tempt you into making something new for dinner tonight.  Here’s an easy curry bowl  (pictured above) and here’s another twist on my pearl couscous bowlThis post is for tofu, but I make roasted cauliflower the exact same way.


Life in black-and-white


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There’s a challenge going on all over the Internet, people challenge each other to take a black-and-white photo representing life for seven days. No people and no explanation. My friend Grace challenged me and I was so excited. I love taking pictures and looking at life through a camera lens.

Taking photos in black-and-white forces you to look at shadows and light a little differently than you normally would. It makes you look a little deeper.


Back in high school I loved playing in the darkroom and loved what I could do in black-and-white. These days since my primary camera is my phone I rarely do anything intentionally in B&W. I’ve been playing with the filters on my iPhone camera and with Hipstamatic and have figured out my phone can do so much more than I knew.

I am going to try and keep this up for a bit. For the first few days I challenged a couple friends, but today I’m challenging you. And by you, I mean all of you. Let’s see what you can do. What does your life look like in black-and-white?  Don’t make me call you out.  Post it in the comments section if you want.

If you need some motivation or ideas there are all sorts of photo challenges floating around but here’s a few I have followed.

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is one I’ve done for years, but have fallen away from lately.

Cee’s Photography always has a challenge going.

There’s always the self-motivated Project 365 or post-a-day…

Morning musings: choosing sides

Having been through a divorce and various breakups, my own and friend’s, I know that we choose sides. I’ve chosen sides. I’ve had people choose for and against me. It’s human nature, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.

Sometimes the friend is yours from start and that’s the natural position, to leave with what you brought. Sometimes you realize your friend is the problem, for both you and the other person. Sometimes you don’t have to choose sides.

In a perfect world you don’t have to choose. You can amicably agree that this is not meant to be and walk off into your own sunset. Sadly though, usually someone feelings are hurt, someone’s upset, someone has to be the bad guy and friends feel like they have to choose sides.

With divorce and break up’s being more than norm, than the exception to the rule these days, people feel more and more like they have to take sides. What do you say, or how do you say to your friends, I don’t want you to choose. I want you to be friends with both of us.

With technology, there are so many new wrinkles to this question. Now, not only do you have to choose whether you see this person in the real world, you have to choose whether or not to be “friends” online. It’s not even OK to “like”your friends’ ex because you took your friend’s side.

I find this all so disappointing and disheartening. Friends should be valued, treasured and savored. Life is too short to create rifts and angst where there is none. We are all multi faceted and are different things to different people. Why not embrace that?

I’d love to know your thoughts and experiences you have had. Would you do things differently? What did you say to your friends?

The sounds of summer


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One of the reasons I moved back to the south was to experience summer. Summer in Portland was never long enough to grow beautiful tomatoes, and until recently, was never very warm. Native Oregonian’s would say otherwise, but growing up in the south, summers with 90 degrees plus and oppressive humidity is what we’re accustomed to.  As a result folks here do ridiculous things like let cars idle with the air-conditioner running. Breaks my green little heart.

Upon moving back to the south, I hadn’t realized some of the things that I had missed.  I really missed the sounds of summer, which in the south that means tree frogs, crickets, and cicadas.  It is finally getting cool enough in the evening that I can open the windows at night again.  The sounds of the southern night lulling me to sleep.  Almost like camping, but in my own comfy bed.

While cicadas are supposed to come out every 13 or 17 years, they have been out the last two.  Last summer Ginger kitty brought me several.  So far this year, thankfully, she’s only brought one into the house.  I’m knocking on wood desperately hoping I haven’t just jinxed myself for her to bring me more.  Earlier this summer when I first spotted cicadas, I found a sight that tracked the little buggers.  Now I’m finding this may be just one more effect of global warming and higher temperatures.  Check out this article from Scientific American for more information about the current brood that is hatching four years early.

In case you haven’t had the opportunity to come in contact with a cicada, they go through two distinct phases.  The first of which, they look like a mid-sized marble with a hard shell they slough off.  They emerge from their shell/skin over night and leave an empty carcass.  When they emerge they look like a huge horsefly with a bright green head.  They are also quite LOUD!  At times it’s like someone turned the radio to all static, cranked the volume full, and walked away.

Last night when Coe and I were out for a midnight stroll, we saw this guy in the middle of the sidewalk; a work in progress.  

When we got out for our walk this morning, we saw this dew covered cicada.  I wish I had gotten better pictures of the dew on his wings, but did the best I could with my phone.  Click on the image for a larger view.


I hope your summer is sounding great. Even if you have to be chained to a desk today, make it a Happy Friday!


finding life’s texture…


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I haven’t been writing much lately… Well, I have been writing, but nothing has made it to far as hitting submit. Most things I’ve written lately haven’t even gotten far as going back to proofread. I’ve written a lot of random ideas as they pop in my head, half thoughts, and nonsense.

I’m really trying to find some inspiration to get me to write again. Even the photo challenges lately have not been inspiring. I also think the summer heat has sapped my energy and my creativity.

One of the things that occurred to me recently is that in Portland I was in contact with all types of people during my day. It was on public transit, walks in downtown during lunch, or at the distillery on the weekends. I don’t have that kind of interaction with people here. Additionally, the type of people I’m interacting with are less varied.

Back in the spring I went to Buenos Aires and found the energy of the city so inspiring and stimulating. Almost immediately upon return to Memphis that energy was used up to maintain my sanity, peace, and equilibrium. I have known for some time that Memphis is not the city for me, but Buenos Aires confirmed that.

So, trying to get back into the swing of writing and creative endeavors, this week’s photo challenge is texture.  This tree has been speaking to me for a while.  Does it say anything special to you?

Toast Tuesday began with a…


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One of my favorite things I do at work is teach.  While a good portion of the time I do research and write reports no one cares about, I spend a good bit of time teaching.  When I was in school, I was a terrible student.  Mostly because I was bored, uninterested, and distracted by a 100 other things.  As a result, I wanted to teach and make it more interesting for those coming behind me.  In college I did tutoring as part of my teacher training and decided I didn’t like kids enough to spend my days with them.  At that point teaching was tabled.

Not so surprisingly, life has a way of making things happen that are supposed to.  So today I am teaching 100 bored, uninterested adults about how to research internal databases and a bunch of other snooze-worthy stuff.  Because we are going to be sitting there for three full days, I was trying to come up with fun activities to break up the monotony.

In googling ideas, something struck me… something they would not be expecting.  With 100 people, an assortment of instructors, and time that needed to be filled while we changed over between classes, this exercise will carry us for the three days.

I came up with a list of over 100 story starters.  Each person will draw one from a bucket and have to write two or three lines.  I’ll share any good ones, and of course, the really bad ones.


Here’s a few to get y’all started.

You find a map leading to buried treasure, but it’s buried under…

David asked me to meet him at the corner bakery to…

It was all over the internet before I got to explain…

At 3 in the morning we were still on the phone and she said…

The fireflies were lighting up the backyard while we…


I have a bunch of goody-two-shoes in my office, so I had to make sure these were pretty innocuous, but it’ll be entertaining to see what they do with this.

Let me know what you come up with…

Toast Tuesday: Focus


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I’ve been remiss lately in writing.  I’ve had so much going on and I just haven’t made the time to sit at the computer when I don’t have to.  While life has been moving swiftly, my creative juices have been flowing all over the place.  It’s been awhile since I have done the weekly photo challenge and I’ve missed it.  I finally found a few minutes to troll through some photos.

This week’s theme is Focus and Coe is most often my unwilling subject. She turns away as soon as I raise the camera or phone in her direction.  Mom… would you stop that!

I have gathered a few of my favorites that just weren’t meant to go on any walls or in a frame since they are out of focus.  While the focus isn’t quite right, the attitude is all there.

Toast Tuesday: Be Awesome


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I choose to surround myself with awesome, positive people. My work environment is full of dark unpleasant people and I have to work very hard every day to keep my positive attitude. While I am inherently a positive person, I have a very dark and snarky side that can take over if I let it.

For this reason, I listen to positive podcasts, positive playlists, and have happiness all around me at my desk. No matter where my eyes light, there is a little something to make me smile. We have to want it. I can’t want you to be happy and make it happen. You have to want to be happy and you have to make it happen.

I had a reminder of this recently. I have two friends; one who keeps talking about making a change, and one who took action to make a change.

My work friend I often joke and share life stories, came to me recently and said something has to change in the way I communicate with the world around me. I’ve got to do something different to make this happen. The old ways aren’t working. He signed up for a class and the very next day had an opportunity to apply something he had learned. He was so excited to tell me about how he learned something from each person in the class. On his morning commute when some old lady cut him off, he recognized that his initial reaction was negative and was able to change his self-talk.

I stop by my coworker’s desk many mornings on my way in and have “caught” him doing his homework. I am so excited and proud for my friend that he wants this for himself and is making it happen.

My friend that keeps “talking” about making a change… well, sadly, when a bump happened in his road, he immediately turned back to the negative. Turned back to all the bad habits and things that had found him in the sad space he has always been in. I’m a big believer of you get what you give. If all you are telling the universe is how much this life, this person, this ______ sucks, that is all you are going to get – one giant suck-fest.

I’m going to leave you with the new quote that is on my mirror now…

Grant me the serenity to kick some mother-fucking ass today and karate chop the shit out of anyone that is slowing down my train of awesome.

Now get out there and kick some ass!