Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery

I'm trying a new thing, y'all. It's called mindfulness meditation and it's going great except for the part where I keep thinking about mindfulness meditation -- you know, just in general, and about how great it is and whatever -- when I'm supposed to be BEING MINDFUL, oh the irony. Like I will be washing dishes, which Thich Nhat Hanh says you're supposed to do mindfully, as in you are giving your full attention to the dishes you're washing and living in the moment and not thinking about what you need to do after that or how your meeting tomorrow is going to go or any of that stuff, and instead I'm thinking, "Hey! I'm washing the dishes! I should do this MINDFULLY because mindfulness is awesome. Yep. Mindfulness! I sure do love me some of that. How do people not know about this mindfulness thing?!" And then I break a glass because I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing.

I kid you not, I was ruminating on mindfulness today and while doing so I accidentally took a second dose of probiotics because I WASN'T PAYING ATTENTION TO WHAT I WAS DOING, aka BEING MINDFUL. I know. I obviously have a lot of work to do here, people.

Anyhoo, it's the first day of school and H is a freshly minted high school junior and I'm sitting by the phone today because she is feeling poorly, argh. We're thinking/hoping she's just hella allergic and not actually sick, but boy howdy, how much does that suck for my poor girl, feeling like crap on the first day of school? I hope she makes it through the day okay. Only two hours to go.

Speaking of school, I am officially enrolled in health coaching/nutrition school! YES! I am so freaking excited. Classes start on September 15th and I get certified on September 8th of next year. This is something I have wanted for months and months and monthsandmonthsandmonths. I had a momentary freakout over studying and tests and whatnot, seeing as I haven't done any of that for *cough* 26 years *cough*, but I got over that pretty quickly and now I am almost literally vibrating with excitement. Can. Not. WAIT. For classes to start.

Otherwise we're just trying to survive the heat ovah heah. I have been reading stuff: The Giver, because it's H's favorite book and I'd never read it; Tana French's Faithful Place, the third book in her Dublin Murder Squad series which is FABULOUS; a bunch of mindfulness meditation stuff -- Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron and Jon Kabat-Zinn -- and I'm pretty sure Kate Atkinson's Life After Life is up next, fiction-wise.

And watching stuff: The Strain has grown on me and now I'm all in, Rectify had a good second season, The Bridge is pretty awesome as well, and I think I like The Knick, maybe? Falling Skies is still SUPER STUPID and I probably won't watch next season. Cannot WAIT for the final season of Sons of Anarchy, the new season of American Horror Story, and for The Walking Dead to start back up. Oh, and Doctor Who! LOVE LOVE LOVE Peter Capaldi as The Doctor. LOVE. Nine was always "my" Doctor but I think Twelve might be my new favorite. As long as they don't write him too silly.

In other news, P and I saw Guardians of the Galaxy the other night and it was great fun, and I have a new favorite non-alcoholic beer: Buckler! Yeah. They serve it at the Alamo and it's pretty good, y'all. I like it even better than Clausthaler.

Maybe I should drink like ten of them and try to meditate again? I downloaded a timer app for my phone and everything! Now I just need an app that turns off my brain. Oy.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Stone-cold sober, as a matter of fact

August is flying by, you guys. One of my favorite things about summer, which is brutal here in central Texas, is that we finally get direct sunlight through our north-facing back windows in the mornings and evenings. I swear within the past five days or so we've gone from giant, soul-restoring swaths of brilliant sun to two skinny, faded columns of watery light on the wall behind our bed. Those seasons just keep on changing, eh?

I'm trying to hang on to the last days of summer by eating my bodyweight in fresh seafood and drinking gallons of fruity mocktails and ... mostly staying indoors, truth be told. Wake me when it's no longer 80 degrees at 7:30 a.m., won't you?

I went to my 30-year high school reunion this weekend and it was SO FUN. I drank nothing but water all night and still had a wicked hangover the next morning -- THAT'S how fun it was. (That was totally from the fun and not from being almost 50 years old and staying out way past my bedtime. Yes it was. Shut up.)

  • I was charmed by the number of my former classmates who had married their high school sweethearts while simultaneously feeling SO VERY relieved that I did not do that. Given that my high-school sweethearts consisted of a(n alleged) drug dealer, a(n eventual) stalker and a (I did not know this at the time, I swear) married man ... yeah. Dodged a whole clip full there, didn't I?
  • Also very relieved that I had the foresight in high school not to date anyone from my graduating class. Way to go, me. That would have made the whole reunion thing a lot more awkward.
  • All the women looked exactly the same as they did in high school, except for the ones who looked even better. I wonder if science ever will explain that.
  • It's amazing what can change in 10 years, as I'm fairly certain that at our 20-year reunion in 2004 there was no Facebook and texting was not a thing. Or at least, these things did not exist FOR ME. But now they do, which makes it SO MUCH EASIER to keep in touch with old friends. Which is very cool. And I feel old for even talking about this.
  • This was the first of our three-so-far reunions that I attended 100% sober and the one at which I had the most fun. That sounds like such a recovering alcoholic thing to say, and I don't even consider myself to be a recovering alcoholic, but there you go.

Anyhoo, YES. I am very glad I went. I did end up wearing a dress and flip-flops, just for the record. And I'm not sorry.

Now that the last summery thing on my calendar has come and gone, it's back to the usual August pre-schoolyear craziness. H's supplies and clothes are bought. She has cut and dyed her hair. I've entered all the school holidays into our family calendar. I'll be enrolling in an online nutrition institute for health coaching certification within the week, Deo volente. If a food can't be grilled, cooked in the crock pot or made into a cold salad, we're not having it for dinner. And my Kindle is all loaded up with meaty tomes to get me through autumn and the beginning of winter.

Let's do this, you guys.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ain't no cure

H and I spent two glorious days in Corpus Christi last week and all I have to show for it are sunburned feet. And a big bag of shells. And a shirt; I did get a pretty awesome shirt while we were there. And a bit of a tan on the parts that aren't sunburned. But THAT'S ALL I HAVE NOW.

It was a very fun trip. H and I travel well together. We should do it again, like, next week. And every week thereafter. Yep.

But no, we can't, because it's almost time for back-to-school and I am really busy watching television, you guys. Rectify is back on and I love it but I'm kind of hoping Amantha gets killed off sometime real soon now because she's ALMOST ruining the show for me, I hates her so much. The Bridge is back too and I love that one and everything about it is perfect and my GIANT crush on Ted Levine continues unabated. (I. Love. Him. SOMUCH.) Falling Skies is back but it's terrible now (except for Pope -- I heart Pope), so boo. Face Off is back too but I haven't watched last night's season premier yet, so shhh on that for now. The Strain is stupid but I can't stop watching it, and I'd like to take this opportunity to implore Hollywood to stop putting terrible wigs on hot bald guys, because some of us like them JUST FINE the way they are, thankyouverymuch. And finally, Drunk History is rocking my world right now. Up, down and all around. LOVE it!

And also I've been reading stuff! I know! Look at me, with the culture and shit! I can't remember what I was reading when last we spoke about reading but I'm still loving Karin Fossum's Inspector Sejer books and Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie books. I read The Silkworm, the second Cormoran Strike book by Robert Galbraith, who as you probably know is actually J.K. Rowling, and I loved it so much that I didn't want it to end. I bought a paperback copy of Tom Rachman's The Imperfectionists to read at the beach, and I didn't read ANY of it at the actual beach, but now that I've finished it my feelings are mixed. I liked it while I was reading it, but ultimately it was pretty depressing. Now I'm re-reading The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters, which is SUPER fantastic and highly recommended, because the third book in that series is just out and I hadn't even read the second one yet. So many books, y'all. So little time.

Aside from all the back-to-school stuff with H, my 30-year high school reunion is the next thing up for which I must gear. The tricksy organizers have totally thrown me off by declaring the event casual dress, like what does that even mean? What is casual?! WHAT ARE WORDS FOR WHEN NO ONE LISTENS ANYMORE??!! In Austin, "casual" could mean anything from that bikini up there to "you can totally wear cowboy boots and a bolo with that tux, bro," so I am stymied. Except I'm pretty sure I'm not wearing that bikini. Maybe a DIFFERENT bikini? Maybe a cocktail dress with flip-flops? Is that casual? Bermuda shorts with a ripped concert tee and heels? Cutoffs and pearls? Are the pearls too much? WHY IS THIS SO HARD?

Anyway, yeah. That's what's going on around here. And how has YOUR summer (or winter) been?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

This Week In My Kitchen :: Blog Hop

Playing along with Heather again this week...

You guys! I know, it's been two weeks. And it's just food again. This might be all you get out of me for a while. Apparently 6-12 months ago I decided to make ALL THE APPOINTMENTS for June and July, so the kids and I have been running back and forth to doctor and dentist and optometrist visits in what is beginning to feel like a Groundhog Day type of scenario. There have been plenty of doings in the kitchen, though.

  • Burgers are happening. I eat mine without buns, which is probably good considering how many other toppings I manage to pile on/around them.
  • I am trying really hard to perfect dairy-free tzatziki. REALLY REALLY HARD. Almost there. I'll probably post the recipe to the other blog once I've perfected it.
  • Muffins! It's this recipe from PaleOMG. They're cooling on my counter as we speak and my house smells AMAZING.
  • We had ribs and coleslaw for the 4th. That's it -- just ribs and coleslaw. That's all the food groups, right? Yeah.
  • I'm still making ice cream. I felt you should know. (This is the Salted Caramel Chocolate Chunk ice cream from Kelly Brozyna's Dairy-Free Ice Cream and it's ridiculously amazing.)
  • Sometimes leftovers-for-lunch means cold grilled shrimp, kimchi and half an avocado. And that's okay.
  • I am sooooo loving the direct sunlight that comes into our north-facing back windows in the evenings. It only happens in the summer and it's pretty much my favorite thing. My next house needs WAY more direct sunlight. This one is kind of a tomb most of the year.
Yep, that's it. I'm off to clean my brand new occlusal splint and google up some info on scleral contact lenses. Oy.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

This Week In My Kitchen :: Blog Hop

I've been meaning to participate in Heather Bruggeman's This Week In My Kitchen blog hop for quite some time, and now I am, yay! Heather's description:

Each day I find myself snapping a picture or two in the kitchen - a pile of ingredients, a table waiting for us to gather around, a sink full of soapy dishes, a cup of tea, dinner as it comes out of the oven - simple, everyday moments in the kitchen. These photos serve as a reminder of days gone by and as encouragement to carry on in this busy kitchen of ours when inspiration is lacking.

Things that have been happening in my kitchen this week:
  • Making almond milk -- definitely a weekly occurrence.
  • So many veggies for dinner most nights, and sometimes fruit, like grilled pineapple.
  • Haven't been making too many virgin cocktails lately, but this cherry-lime smash was a hit. I love cherry season!
  • Snapping green beans at the sink reminds me of childhood.
  • I usually have dinner leftovers for lunch -- chicken thighs, green beans and grilled apricots on this particular day. 
  • I continue to be obsessed with this dressing. I really need to start quadrupling the recipe.
  • I'm also obsessed with this local raw honey.
  • And homemade ice cream. I'm obsessed with that, too. We bought a new Cuisinart to replace our old cheapie machine that had lost its paddle and that together with Kelly Brozyna's new book means there is NO STOPPING ME NOW.
  • Homemade almond milk, homemade cold brew coffee, homemade iced lattes 4eva!
Thanks for the inspiration, Heather!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference."

June loves:
  • This garlic-maple salad dressing. I cannot stop eating this stuff on EVERYTHING. I am, in fact, thisclose to drinking it straight from the jar. (Be sure to use real maple syrup if you make it, not Log Cabin or some crap.)
  • Fargo, the TV series. It finished last night here in the US and no spoilers, but I loved EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of this series (much as I LOVE LOVE LOVE the film). Rumor has it this might be a one-off, and that's all we're going to get. I respect that, because it was perfect, but if we DO get another season I will watch the HELL out of it.
  • Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie series of books. I'm reading the third one now and I don't know what it is about these books, you guys, but I sort of want to live inside them all the time. She is so good at making her characters fully realized non-stereotypes that you feel like you know and love ALL OF THEM, even the bad guys. I have got to get hold of the TV series on DVD because JASON ISAACS OMG YES.
  • All these hours of June daylight. The sky brightens here at around 6 a.m. and it doesn't get dark again until around 9 p.m. and I love this so much, even though it's making me wake up early during the few months that I don't HAVE to wake up early, generally speaking.
  • Summer fruit, there is so much of it now! Stone fruits and berries are my absolute favorites and I can't stop eating them. Fruits and starchy vegetables are pretty much where I get all my carbs now. I might be the only weirdo in the Northern Hemisphere who gains weight in the summer instead of in the winter.
  • Non-alcoholic micheladas. I know. How pathetic. But I love a michelada and I've been making them with non-alcoholic beer and they're pretty good, you guys! Really! All they need is a little extra hot sauce to make you almost think you are drinking something fun and worthwhile. No, really. They're not bad. I swear.

June indifferences:
  • I've given up on Halt and Catch Fire because it's boring and stupid and I just can't with that female character who is supposed to be punk. Bitch, please. Some of us were actually alive in the '80s. We remember what it was like. You wouldn't have lasted A DAY.
  • I've also given up on Wil Wheaton's new show. I really wanted to like it, but it makes me uncomfortable in a way I can't quite define. Wil Wheaton is kind of the male Felicia Day, isn't he? I feel like he's a genuinely nice/fun person but I do not enjoy him in front of the camera, and I feel bad about it. A little bit.
  • Flies. My God. There are flies ALL OVER INSIDE MY HOUSE, I guess because it's been so humid and damp as well as hot. Flies are my least-favorite thing about summer. Along with ...
  • Sunburn. I haven't been sunburned in ages but boy howdy, I sure am right now, and it's my own damn fault for putting my hair up and not wearing sunscreen on my neck while we walked around a car show on Father's Day at P's request. I'm not even going to talk about how he found this bright orange '65 Mustang that he wants to buy, because I can't drink anymore, and thinking about it makes me NEED TO.
  • Dental appointments. This probably goes without saying, but I had one this morning and that was an awful lot of scraping that happened right then. Apparently I am clenching my teeth at night and grinding my sealants right off my molars and making my gums recede and I need a night guard to prevent it and I'm just saying, this shit never happened back when I was drinking. Oy.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Subtle innuendos follow

I have become a person who drinks not only decaf coffee at the exclusion of regular, but also non-alcoholic beer at the exclusion of ... um, regular. "What is the point of you?" I hear you asking, and with good reason. I'm afraid I have no answers for you.

We're nearly a week into summer vacation here -- H had her last day of school on May 30 -- and normally right about this time my cooking mojo would evaporate like spit on an August sidewalk what with EVERYBODY IN MY KITCHEN ALL THE TIME but oddly enough, I have been a cooking dynamo lately. Whole trout with the heads on? No problem. Grain-free, dairy-free (not strictly paleo, but close) pizza? No problem. Paleo banana bread, strawberry jam, peach jam, peach-raspberry crumble? Yep, yep, yep and yep.

And iced lattes. Always, always iced lattes. With homemade cold-brew (DECAF! haha) coffee, homemade almond milk, a tablespoon of grass-fed beef collagen powder, and a couple of drops of vanilla stevia extract. Yep. That is happiness in a glass, right there.

I've simplified my makeup/skincare routine for summer as well. Morning: mild cleanser, BB cream with sunscreen, a bit of undereye concealer, curled eyelashes, tinted lipbalm -- boom. Done. Evening: mild cleanser and a thick, creamy lip balm. Boom. Done. It's been so humid here that I haven't needed moisturizer at night. This pleases me. (But for that reason only. And I am TOTALLY OKAY with going back to a nightly slathering of argan and macadamia oils if the humidity wants to bugger off. Any. Day. Now.)

I finished The Good Earth and I absolutely loved it. Now I'm reading Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life and I am loving that one, too. It reminds me very much of Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking, one of my favorite comfort books. Maybe that's why I've been cooking up a storm? Hmm.

Let's talk TV, eh? I have full-on Stockholm syndrome where Game of Thrones is concerned. There's no point denying it. Fargo has been knocking my socks off. Loved Silicon Valley SO MUCH and I can't wait for the next season. John Oliver's new show is fun, and I seriously cannot stop staring at his dimples. I'm a sucker for dimples. Penny Dreadful took a while to grow on me but now I think I like it, just in time for our free Showtime subscription to run out, heh. I am undecided on Halt and Catch Fire; on the one had, Lee Pace!!11!one!!<3 <3OMG! Yeah. I like him. On the other hand, the pilot sort of didn't make any sense? Or something? I dunno. I'll give it a shot for a few episodes, anyway. Apparently Marilyn Manson will be on the new season of Sons of Anarchy so I would like that to start now, please, because I really sort of love him.

In movie news, H and I had a girl's day out yesterday, which included seeing Maleficent, and I thought it was fantastic. But then I adore Angelina Jolie and nearly everything she does. Also I FINALLY saw The World's End and now I have to buy it because it's awesome and I have the other two titles in the Cornetto trilogy and also because Simon Pegg is my spirit animal.

I would talk about music but I haven't been listening to anything new at all. I've had "1979" by The Smashing Pumpkins running through my head nonstop for days, if that gives you some idea of the state of things. What should I be listening to? What's your soundtrack for Summer 2014? I need ideas, people. Help a sister out.

Monday, May 12, 2014

All ye know on earth, and all ye need to know

Oh, you guys. April and May are such busy months here in the saltycrunchy household.

Last month P turned 49. I'd be all "mwahahaha" about that, but I'm a year and a half younger than him and payback is a bitch.

Also last month, my boy C turned 18. EIGHTEEN. He is officially an adult now and he takes that responsibility very seriously. He is doing so well now, really extraordinarily well, and I am so excited for his future (the specifics of which are still up in the air, but I know it will be fantastic).

We finally got to see H perform onstage for the first time in two years and she was fabulous as Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream. I keep forgetting how talented she is. I mean, objectively I KNOW she is remarkably talented, but every time I see her perform, it's like I discover it all over again. So proud of that kid.

I've been cooking, paleo-fying favorite recipes from Martha Stewart and the like, and drinking lots and lots of mocktails because alcohol has turned on me, you guys. I know. First Vicodin and now booze. It's like I'm not allowed to have vices! What kind of world is this?!

I've also been going through a phase of starting books, reading a couple of chapters, then getting bored and tossing them aside. Rinse, repeat. Right now I'm reading The Good Earth and I think I'ma stick with that one to the end but I'm not making any promises.

I have 22 herbs in the garden this year. Do you want to know what they are? Of course you do.
  1. some ancient mint I've had forever that keeps coming back
  2. cilantro (this has already gone to seed)
  3. cardinal basil
  4. serrated basil
  5. large-leaf basil
  6. amethyst basil (all of these basils are from my dad, who is a Master Gardener with the county)
  7. some really old sage that keeps coming back also
  8. bay laurel
  9. two different pots of flat-leaf parsley; not sure how that happened
  10. some sort of lavender or other
  11. last year's oregano
  12. last year's chives
  13. last year's garlic chives
  14. a new kefir lime because the old one died over the winter
  15. chocolate mint
  16. pineapple mint
  17. creeping thyme
  18. German thyme
  19. French tarragon
  20. dill
  21. fennel
  22. stevia
And four oxheart tomato plants, also from my dad, currently sporting a grand total of ONE tomato between the four of them. But who's counting?

We're having kind of a wet spring, which is good in the aquifer/horticultural sense, but not so good in the fun-in-the-sun sense. H and I are planning a mother-daughter trip to the beach sometime in July and all I ask is that it not rain for those few days, please. Just those few days. Mama needs some sun.