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?

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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!

Toast Tuesday: Kombucha Cocktails

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I had a couple girlfriends over to share the awesomeness of all things kombucha.  Looking back at my previous posts, I realize that while I’ve touched on kombucha, I’ve not gone too deep into what it is and how to make it.  Of course you can just go find it at your local grocery stores these days.

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that is purportedly rich in probiotics and other stuff good for our tummies, joints, brains, and bodies.  I’m not a doctor, just a nerd who likes to play with stuff in my kitchen.

Here’s my basic recipe:
1 gallon water
10 black tea bags
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 scoby and starter tea

• Bring water to a boil.
• Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
• Turn off heat
• Add 8-10 black tea bags and let steep at least 5 minutes, but as long as overnight.

This must cool to room temperature before you add your scoby or starter tea. Any warmer than 85-95 degrees and you can kill you starter.

Cover with a coffee filter and set aside in a warm place, out of direct light, for about 2 weeks or until your scoby grows to cover the surface.  Start tasting your kombucha after 5-7 days.  When it tastes good, drink it and start the process over again.

If you want to add flavor to your tea, you can do it by adding, or substituting, 6 additional bags of tea. I like ginger tea (I prefer Yogi Ginger tea), chai, or green tea.

The cocktail I made for the ladies was a riff on the classic margarita.  Kobucha with it’s slightly tart flavor is a perfect pairing with lime.

1.5 oz tequila
.5 oz triple sec
1.5 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
Build over ice in a rocks glass and top with kombucha.

Perfect for a summer evening on the patio.

happy, grateful, blessed…

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We all have things that happen to us.  We also have those things that we make happen.  I make myself happy every day.  I make the life I want to live.  I make the friends I want to have.  I make conscience choices every day to be as genuine as I can.

Part of being genuine in my life is knowing what I can and cannot do.  I cannot control anyone else.  I cannot make anyone else happy.  I cannot make anyone do anything they don’t want to do.

I can make my life the best it can be.  I can be as happy, grateful, thoughtful, and peaceful as I want to be.  My life is mine to enjoy to the fullest.  I will not waste a single minute.  I will savor them all, for the ones we have are all we are going to get.  Make the most of them all.  Make every single minute count.

We cannot undo what has been done.  Be mindful of your words and actions.  The things you put out there cannot be taken back.  You get what you give.  If all you are putting out is hatred and anger, how do you expect to find genuine positivity and love?

Enjoy all the day has to bring; a good book, a new song, and a happy heart.

#lulahasahappyheart

 

Toast Tuesday: Hey so fun

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I recently went on a vacation of a lifetime. It was amazing, exhilarating, and exhausting. While it recharged one part of my spirit, it also depleted another part so tremendously. That’s why you haven’t seen me in a few weeks. Slowly I’m getting back to my center and this week’s supper club certainly helped. I made an amazing dish of pure cheesy decadence.

So many things have been running through my brain lately; memories and ideas galore. I think traveling unlocks a part of you that we normally have to keep shut away. When we travel we can be whoever, do whatever, and experience whatever. That kind of power and energy in the everyday is overwhelming and stifling, simultaneously, for me anyway,

One of the things my recent vacation reminded me was how much I love travel and adventure. The at home adventure I’ve found myself really missing is hiking. I’ve been seeking out trails in town and I’ve been doing more hiking lately. While finding trails near town is a little more challenging than in Portland, I have managed to find one right in my backyard, and another one about 30 minutes drive. I’m making my own little adventures.

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, that was the theme of our dinner. Queso fundido has been on my to-do list for a while. Back in Portland, this was a staple of our weekly jaunts to a favorite restaurant, Oba. When I started searching google, I was almost amazed to find it really was a dish of actual Hispanic origins and not just some yummy variation of cheez wiz with a fun name. I also got confirmation from my coworker who lived for some time in Mexico. She gave me some tips and said there were all sorts of variations.


So here is what I did for my queso fundido(or as Siri wants to call it hey so fun Dedo).

2-3 poblano peppers
1 pound Mexican chorizo (casing removed)
2 pounds Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 jar fresh Mexican crema

I made this dish entirely under the broiler.

Roast 2-3 poblano peppers under the broiler or on a grill until all the skin is black and charred. I did this under the broiler, rotating every couple of minutes. Once the entire thing is all black, put in a paper bag or a bowl covered with cling wrap. The steam will soften the skin so it is easily removed. Remove all skin, seeds and stem. Slice into strips, chop, and set aside.

In a cast iron skillet, cook chorizo until done. Crumble while cooking. Drain the chorizo on a paper towel, retaining a little of the fat in the skillet.

At this point, if you have time, put your empty cast iron skillet in the over for a couple of minutes to get good and hot.

Add half of your shredded cheese to the bottom of your skillet, top with all of the poblanos, chorizo, crema, and then finish with remaining cheese. Put back into the oven, under the broiler, until your cheese begins to melt. Pull the skillet out and stir. Do this every couple of minutes until your ingredients are combined. Allow the top to get bubbly and a little brown, about 5-7 minutes.

Serve straight out of the oven with tortilla chips or soft warm tortillas.


This was a perfect appetizer for 8-10 people.

Don’t forget the margarita, we are toasting after all.


Cheers to cheese, adventure, and constant exploration of all things good!

Toast Tuesday: Bluegrass and Booze

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A long weekend wrap-up in pictures.  There are both too many, and not enough, words to describe the amazing weekend we had at Bluegrass Underground.  Thank you to the awesome people that put on this show and make it all happen and to the incredible musicians who trek into a cave and share the experience of a lifetime.  Thank you PBS for giving us an amazing opportunity to see a tiny glimpse behind the curtain.

 

 

 

#protectpublicmedia. I ❤ PBS