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May 2015

Tomorrow . . . Is Another Day

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Tomorrow

[tuh-mor-oh]

(noun)

A mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation, and achievement is stored.

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Tomorrow . . . always seems like a good day to get something done!  I'm generally a get-things-done kind of gal.  But -- there tend to be certain things that I just . . . put off.  

(For another day.)  

(You know.)

So . . . what's on my list of things I need to do NOW . . . but I just keep procrastinating?

  1. Set up the external hard drive to back up my laptop.  (It's sitting right there.  I just need to hook it up.)
  2. Organize my photo files.  (Oh my god.  Just get this done.)  (And move on.)
  3. Treat the wood floor in the kitchen.  (There is never a convenient time.  Accept this.)
  4. KonMari the craft closet.  (Deep breaths.)
  5. Go through the yarn bins.  (Just do it.)
  6. Call the plumber to fix the broken sink.  (SUCCESS!)
  7. Take down the hideous valance in the library.  (Yes.  After awhile, you just don't notice it any more.  But . . . I'm telling you . . . it's still there.)
  8. Put away the Christmas china.  (Yes.  It's still on display in my china cabinet.)  (This one is so embarrassing. . . )
  9. Write up the dang committee notes and turn them in.  (It will take you . . . oh . . . all of 5 minutes.)
  10. Get out there in the scary front wooded garden and deal with it.  (Take a big shovel.  Dig those problems out.)

How about YOU?  What are you putting off . . . until tomorrow?

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The Day the Music Died

Definitely a soundtrack kind of day . . .

 

Okay.  I've always considered myself something of a music-lover.  I like most all kinds of music.  (Except . . . not country.)  (Well . . . maybe some country.)  (But not much country.)  (And, well . . . not most rap.)  (But definitely some rap.)  (Especially when I'm running.)

Anyway.

I like lots of different kinds of music, and I tend to keep up with "new stuff."  My iPod music library is extensive, diverse, kind of eclectic.  This is not true for most of my friends (and definitely not for  Tom) . . . who tend to listen to whatever it was they listened to back when they were in college.

A couple of weeks ago, I heard about a recent survey that tracks just when our musical tastes "mature" -- when we become musically "stuck in our ways" and stop paying attention to pop music and "new" music.  (Taste freeze.)

Turns out . . . it's age 33.

Which sort of makes sense.  When you're a younger teenager, you listen to "top 40" and what's popular with your peers.  As you move through the teen years and on into your 20s, you start to explore genres beyond just what's popular; you begin to experiment and try "new" music -- both old and truly-new.  And you discover what you like.  (And then . . . you have kids . . . and start listening to Raffi . . .)

Anyway.  I think this is just fascinating.

But I didn't really think it applied to me.

After all . . . my iPod is filled with "newer" stuff.

Cage the Elephant
Muse
Jack White
Motion City Soundtrack
Modest Mouse
Beck
Florence + The Machine
The Black Keys
Taylor Swift  (Yeah.  I know.  Haters gonna hate-hate-hate-hate.  I shake it off.)

This weekend, I talked to Brian about the study.  I told him I thought I didn't fit the profile.

He looked at me with one eyebrow raised.

Me:  What?

Brian:  Come on, Mom.  Really?

Me:  Well, Dad, sure.  But . . . I like new stuff!

Brian:  Yeah.  You do.  But what is it that you listen to MOSTLY?  What is playing in your car EVERY time I get in?

Pearl Jam
Nirvana
Red Hot Chili Peppers
U2
Stone Temple Pilots

Yes.  My absolute favorites; my go-to music!  And . . .  you know how old I was when all of these groups were in their heyday???

33 . . . 


Step Into My Garden

These days, my garden is an exciting place to be.

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 (That's blooming pulmonaria, with hops in the background.)

Things are coming alive again, and beginning to bloom.  (And some things, like the hops in the upper portion of the photo, above, are threatening to take over the world!)

No matter what else is going on in my day, I take a couple of walks through my garden (early morning and then later in the day) to check out what's blooming and what needs doing and . . . what's threatening to take over the world.

Here are a few highlights from a garden-walk yesterday afternoon . . .

The Virginia Bluebells are brightening up the shady, wooded part of my garden.

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And the brunnera are creating a lovely blue haze in otherwise still-bleak corners.

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My favorite bulbs (besides crocus) are having their moment.  (These are grape hyacinths.  And next year, I am determined to plant more, More, MORE.)

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I can't remember what this yellow flowering plant is.  I just remember a nursery-person telling me it blooms early and long in the spring, and that was enough for me!  It's a true workhouse, and creates a welcome bright spot in my garden.  (It's growing all intertwined with my stonecrop sedum -- which will also bloom yellow, but until much later.  This yellow whatever-it-is is NOT sedum.)

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My "pea-pots" are popping!  I planted pea seeds in the center of this pot, and an assortment of lettuces around the perimeter.  A twin pea-pot has peas with spinach and kale.

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The hardy succulents are coming back.  I bring my not-hardy succulents inside for the winter, but I just leave planters with hardy succulents out and buried under some leaves.  It's always amazing to see how little care they really need.  (Because lazy.)

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 I have some "volunteer" iris that just showed up one year near my tiny little pond near the patio.  It's always such a delight to get a garden-bonus like this: something lovely that you didn't even plant! 

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And this . . . is a flowering quince, earning its keep for another season.  Several years ago, I attended a gardening conference and the organizers handed out "freebies" -- tiny little plants in tiny little pots.  Mine was a flowering quince.  I stuck it in the ground, and it didn't do much of anything for years and years.  I moved it here and there, because it seemed to be growing a bit (but not much).  For a while, I would think of digging it up and tossing it.  Because waste of real estate.  But it would send out a couple of lovely blooms in the spring to redeem itself.  Now, years later, it is COVERED with blooms and really quite something!  I still don't know what to do with it, or where it should "live" in my garden.  But I can't even think of getting rid of something that blooms like this in the spring!

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So.  That's what's happening in my garden this week.  (And . . . you'll find me doing battle with the hops this weekend.)  (Or I won't HAVE a garden by next week.)  (Just a hop farm.)

Happy weekend!


Call it a WIN

Last month, when I was visiting Erin in Pittsburgh, we spent a day shopping.  As we often do when shopping together, Erin and I drifted into a Barnes & Noble.  And kind of got lost for awhile.  

In the cookbook section (one of my favorite areas, I must admit), this book caught my eye.

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Sheet Pan Suppers.

It was the photo on the front (salmon and asparagus and tomatoes and lemons) that first drew me in.  But once I peeked inside, every single recipe looked great.

So I bought it.

Oh. My.

Great decision.

This cookbook (from author Molly Gilbert of the Dunk & Crumble blog) features appetizers, dinners, and desserts ALL "roasted" on sheet pans.  Molly's concept:  Throw everything together on one sheet pan and cook it together.  So once you're set up, you're done.  You can clean up and set the table and enjoy a glass of wine . . . while the roasting magic happens.  And when you pop the sheet out of the oven . . . dinner is served!

The concept is brilliant.  The recipes are brilliant.  This cookbook is a TOTAL WIN!!!

(And, really.  How can ROASTING everything ever be wrong?  )

I've tried many of the recipes, beginning with the salmon featured on the cover.

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Every single thing I've tried   . . .  from vegetarian fare (loaded sweet potatoes here) . . . 

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and roasted beet salads . . . 

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to fajitas . . . 

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and chicken curry . . .

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have been fabulous.

Like . . . really fabulous.

The recipes are incredibly tasty -- and simple.  Roasted goodness, easy prep, and super-convenient clean up.  

This cookbook is a huge WIN.

(I just wanted you to know.)

 

 


Blink of an Eye

When you welcome children into your life, you get a lot of well-meaning advice . . .

enjoy every moment

it goes by so fast

they'll be grown in the blink of an eye

That blink-of-an-eye part?

Totally true.

Because one day, there was this . . . 

Bath baby

and in the blink of an eye, there was this . . . 

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 Please join me in congratulating Brian . . . and his lovely fiancé, Lauren!

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I'm so proud of you, Brian . . . and so excited to have Lauren in your life - and, now, our family!

(But, wow.  That growing up stuff really DID go fast. . . )


Celebrate Cinco de Mayo. . . Ten on Tuesday Style!

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Tom and I love Mexican food!

(And . . . the hotter, the better!)

Over the years, we've been incredibly fortunate to live in a couple of places with excellent, EXCELLENT Mexican food . . . Fort Collins, Colorado (El Burrito anyone?) . . . Austin, Texas (with Fonda San Miguel being one of the highlights) . . . and we've visited many other places, including several locations in Mexico (and Belize -- just south of Mexico; similar cuisine).  (You'll note Michigan is NOT one of the best places for excellent Mexican food.*  At all.  We've had to become really good at cooking it on our own.)

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Our favorites?

  1. Thick, chunky guacamole.  (Pretty much . . . with everything.)
  2. Pico de gallo.  With fresh, crisp, slightly warm tortilla chips.
  3. Fish tacos.  (Preferably served with #1 and #2.)
  4. Sopa seca.  (With tortilla chips smashed in for a bit of crunch.  And plenty of sour cream.)
  5. Chicken enchiladas.  (With plenty of sauce, spicy - of course!)
  6. Huevos rancheros.  (No better way to start the day.)
  7. Snapper Veracruz.  (Jalapeños AND green olives.  BOTH make it best!)
  8. Chili Verde.  (Poured over beans and rice and maybe rolled in a fresh tortilla with a bit of cheese.)
  9. Quesadillas.  (With peppers and black beans and corn and a bit of fire.)
  10. Flan.  (Cool.  Creamy.  Rich.)

And, of course, it's all made even tastier with a nice, cold beer!

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How about YOU?  What are your favorite Mexican foods?

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  

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Join the fun!  Sign up to recieve Ten on Tuesday prompts here - or read other lists here!

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* When we first moved to Michigan (direct from Austin), we discovered that something called a "wet burrito" was a staple on menus here.  While it might be tasty, it ain't no burrito!  (We've always been too appalled to actually order them, but they're a sort of . . . casserole wrapped inside a GIANT tortilla, and smothered with a lake of mild salsa and cheese.  See someone's fond memory here.  Not really Mexican food, though.)


Seismic Gardening

We just enjoyed a truly fabulous weather weekend!  Every moment - from Friday through Sunday - was absolutely perfect for being outside.

I spent hours and hours out in my garden . . . raking and weeding and cutting and digging and moving.   I love this time of year in the garden!

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You start with crappy looking beds that look out of control and ragged and slightly desperate . . . and you just . . . dig in!

(Before)

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And, with a bit of work and a lot of love . . . your garden starts to look pretty darn . . . orderly . . . again.

(After)

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 Of course, sometimes you get a bit of a surprise.

And I'm not talking about a perplexing plant or a garter snake or even a big, old toad.  (Yep.  Had all three.)

No.  I'm talking . . . a seismic event kind of surprise!

There I was, sitting on my trusty garden cart . . .

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digging out some pesky grass . . . when I suddenly tipped off.

Now these carts aren't terribly stable, and that happens to me often enough that I didn't give it another thought.  Until Tom came out of the house.

Tom: Did you feel that?

Me: What?

Tom: It was an earthquake!  The whole house was shaking!

He was right!  We had a little earthquake.  And, being outside, I really didn't notice.  Except that I tipped off my cart.

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What do you know?!? 

Seismic gardening!

 


Something to Say

Weeds are nature's graffiti.

                           ---Janice Maeditere

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(And my lawn has plenty to say!)

Happy May!

I'm planning to spend lots of time in my garden today.
I won't be messing with my "graffiti," though.
(Because . . . secretly . . . dandelions delight me!)