Three things — 10/23/14

Three things I’m loving this week

gone girl

1. “Gone Girl” - the movie.  Rarely is the movie as good as the book, but “Gone Girl” is an exception to the rule, maybe because the author wrote the screenplay, too.


2. Humans of New York. If you’re not following Humans of New York on Facebook, you should be. This guy (also here) yesterday broke my freaking heart, but the responses kinda restored my faith in humanity.


3. Sweaters. One good thing about cooler weather — thick sweaters. I used to hate big, bulky sweaters becuase I thought they made me look fat. I just don’t care anymore. I want to be warm.

Things I’m Not loving this week

1.  Cold rain. Most miserable conditions to run in. Add in wind…and you’ve got the trifecta of crap running/walking/exercising weather.

2. Rabbit holes. I hate it when one simple question leads me down some Internet rabbit hole for an hour. Damn my insatiable curiosity. (And I wonder where Lauren gets it from.)

3. Folding laundry. I’m done. Mamma had a bit of a temper tantrum in the laundry room when the bar holding up the girls’ freshly laundered clothes fell down again. It fell because there are so many clothes on it becuase the girls never put their stuff away — even if I stack it neatly in baskets and take it up to their rooms. So…that’s it, from this day forward, their clothes will go from the dryer into separate baskets. They can turn, fold, and hang their own clothes…or they can wear wrinkled crap…don’t care anymore.


Worth Reading — 10/22/14

A random collections of blog posts, articles and other things I think are worth sharing.

Time Magazine: 42 Ways to Make People Like and Respect You (Some pretty solid advice here…much of this I’ve given myself, especially 4, 6, 14-15, 18, 25…..I could go on).

Huffington Post: The 8 Best Things You Can Say to Someone who is Grieving (Useful info. Though, I hope to never have need for it…it’s inevitable that we all will).

CNN: What the Dying Really Regret (Print this out…hang it up. Read it every day and make peace — and find love — for the body you have.)

“What does it mean that so many voices out there insist that the body is something to despise because it is too fat, sinful, ugly, sexual, old or brown? That we teach each other, in thousands of blatant and quiet ways, to think we are shameful? That our bodies are something to be overcome, beaten into submission or to be despised?”

Salon: My Paralyzing Perfectionism (Interesting….and enlightening).

“What does perfectionism feel like?  It can be paralyzing. It means that every time I make a mistake, I re-live it over and over for the rest of the day. Sitting in the front of my brain (not the back—let’s not even go to the back) there’s a little critic who does nothing all day but judge, judge, judge. I should have said this instead that. If I’d only turned on Fairfax instead of La Brea. “

Huffington Post: Are You Living your Eulogy or your Resume?

“No matter how much a person spends his or her life burning the candle at both ends, chasing a toxic definition of success and generally missing out on life, the eulogy is always about the other stuff: what they gave, how they connected, how much they meant to the lives of the real people around them, small kindnesses, lifelong passions and what made them laugh.

And yet we spend so much time and effort and energy on those résumé entries, which are gone as soon as our heart stops beating. Even for those who die with amazing résumés, whose lives were synonymous with accomplishment and achievement, their eulogies are mostly about what they did when they weren’t achieving and succeeding — at least by our current, broken definition of success.”

Recipe: Summer Squash Caprese Salad

I got off the clean-eating/paleo wagon when I trained for a couple of marathons last year. Despite all the running, it didn’t take long for me to pack back on the 10 lbs I’d lost.

I’ve been working to get back to where I was pre-marathon and my new Practical Paleo cookbook has been a source of inspiration. I’ve cooked three or four recipes from the book so far (no, really, I did!) and they have all been fabulous. Even Dan and the kids liked a two of the chicken dishes I made.

I’ve pledged to try at least two new recipes from the book each week. Last night, I made this Summer Squash Caprese Salad and it was surprisingly delish!

I used a zucchini that I cut into “noodles”with my Paderno slicer, but I have to say I find the contraption to be kind of a pain and I wish I’d just bought a julienne peeler.

Also, I  used less oil than the recipe called for. I probably used two tablespoons, at most.

Summer Squash Caprese Salad


  • 2.5 cups zucchini/ yellow squash (julienned)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1/8 cup basil (thinly sliced)
  • 1 clove garlic (grated or finely chopped)
  • 1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt

Chop the ends of the squash and peel off the outer skin. With a julienne vegetable peeler, peel the squash into thin fettuccine “noodles.” You can also you a standard vegetable/potato peeler and get a similar effect.

Combine cherry tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper into medium mixing bowl.

Toss the peeled squash noodles with the tomato, basil, oil mixture in your other bowl. Mix well and serve chilled as a great summer side dish.

* If you prefer a hot dish, steam the zoodles for two minutes before adding to the tomato/oil mixture.

Just Write 109 ~ Jumping through the years

I have my windows down and the music up as I drive home from work. It’s an unusually warm October evening. It’s a gorgeous day. The leaves are at peak season. Color explodes on both sides of the street.

The girls are in the yard when I pull up. I’m surprised, but happy to see them outside. They are raking leaves into giant piles – one on either side of the driveway.

“I’m going to change, then I’ll come out & help you,” I say as I gather my work bag from the back seat.

When I come out, they are arguing about whose pile is bigger because whoever’s pile is smaller has to rake their pile across the driveway to meet the other one. The piles are nearly the same size and I don’t really want to listen to the fighting, so I just grab a rake and scrape one of the piles over the concrete myself.

When the pile is big enough to cushion bodies, I put down the rake & grab my camera. They stand across the driveway, hand-in-hand, ready for my “camera ready” signal.

I’m struck with a sense of déjà vu:

leaves 2008


leaves 2010


leaves 2011

2011leaves 2012 - 1

2012 leaves 2013




Time flies when you’re having fun.


About Just Write “What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”

Three things — 10/16/14

Three things I’m loving this week


1. Orange is the New Black. I went on a Mad Men binge when I was folding shirts, stuffing envelopes & sticking labels on bibs in preparation for the Her Times 5K and I actually finished every season of the show available on Netflix.

Everyone kept talking about Orange is the New Black, so I thought I’d see what the fuss was all about. It lived up to the hype. It’s pretty hilarious for a show set in a woman’s prison. (As you might imagine, it’s not safe for watching at work or with kids.)

IMG_0379 IMG_0380

2. The scenery. I cannot stop taking photos of the fall foliage. It’s just stunning right now. I love Pennsyvlania in autumn.


3. Kat Ritenour Photography. Kat is a friend of my childhood friend niece’s family and she agreed to photograph our very large extended family (and take separate family photos, too)  on Sunday. She’s posted just a few “teasers” on Facebook (see bleow) so far, but they are amazing. Can’t wait to see them all!



kat 6 kat4


Things I’m not loving this week

1. Wasting my time.  I answered an urgent request for volunteers to help with a local project. That day I worked through lunch, rushed the girls through homework, sped all the way over to the west side of town only to find that they had far more people than they knew what to do with. We stood there and were, literally, ignored for 15 minutes before we just decided to leave. We went to eat at El Canelo instead.

I have precious few moments to give, so wasting them is just totally unacceptable in my book. I won’t ever volunteer for that group or respond to any other request through that channel again.

2. Overthinkers. People love to squash good ideas. I usually don’t give them the chance (easier to get permission than forgiveness), but sometimes I have to. And the older I get, the less I’m willing to fight against other peoples’ fears. Meh. Fine. Whatever.

3. Negativity. I’m not even sure I want to keep doing this….looking every week for things that are pissing me off.  Why dwell on the negative, right? (And, besides, it’s not like I can really tell you what’s pissing me off, so…it’s all couched in this vague verbage that annoys me — oh….see…there’s another thing I don’t like.)


Humbling enterprises


I recently interviewed an astrophysicist about his work researching exomoons (moons outside our solar system that are big enough to be earth-like and, therefore, possibly sustain life).

In doing some preliminary research to write questions for the interview, I was blown away by the vastness of the universe and the galaxies around us that contain thousands of planetary systems. And I was struck by how very, very small we are.

We, with our careers and new cars and mortgages. We, with our social networks and reality TV and global warming and wars.  We’re consumed with our little lives. Everything is so important.

But, it’s not. The truth is that our existence is quite insignificant in the scope of time and space.

“It’s a very humbling enterprise,” the astrophysicist said about his work.

That it is.

Gain some perspective here.

Worth Reading — 10/15/14

A random collections of blog posts, articles and other things I think are worth sharing.

Calgary Sun: Student Responds to Bullying with Positive Post-Its and School Punishes Her (I love that she responded this way. I hate that the school was so stupid they didn’t know they should praise her instead of punish her. What if we all responded to hate with love? What a different world we’d live in.)

Eat Local Grown: 9 Ways Eating Processed Foods Made the World Sick & Fat  (Bottom line: Eat real food)

“Your body is designed to naturally regulate how much you eat and the energy you burn. But food manufacturers have figured out how to over-ride these intrinsic regulators, designing processed foods that are engineered to by “hyper-rewarding.”

According to the “food reward hypothesis of obesity,” processed foods stimulate such a strong reward response in our brains that it becomes very easy to overeat. One of the guiding principles for the processed food industry is known as “sensory-specific satiety.”

Scary Mommy: 10 Truths about Teenage Daughters (“That coveted item of clothing she just had to have? Fifty bucks says you’ll find it on the floor of the closet or, my personal favorite, under the bed. With the tags still attached.” YEP!)

BTW — this is great, too: The Scary Mommy Manifesto

Erie Times-News: Erie Program Heals with Horses (I love everything about this story…even the writer. She’s a former colleague of mine, though she’s definitely in a league above me.)


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