If it makes you feel like you want to vomit.

Just a quick post to commemorate the day, what with it being my last at [international hair and beauty corporation]. I’m officially a stay-at-home freelancer.

Image courtesy of Raving Dave

I heard a friend say this once, “If it makes you feel like you’re going to vomit, you’re on the right track!” She wasn’t talking about a night at the bar; rather, she was talking about how to know if a decision or life change was right.  I’ve been thinking about this little saying for the past week or so, because as I’ve gotten closer to my end working date, the uncertainty of what I’m moving toward has become more real in my brain, more prevalent in my thoughts.  It has made me feel like vomiting, a little!  Because I have had a tendency, in the past, to go charging toward something thinking it will be the perfect thing, the solution I’ve been waiting for!, only to find that it, too, has its pitfalls.

This is a much different change, though, and I’m excited.  I’m working with a great company, and the transition feels really natural, not at all jarring.  The timing feels right, and I’m so excited to see what’s next!

 

Advertisements

FOOD! refrigerator pickles

I made these today.

I don’t love pickles, not really.  Something about dill pickles just doesn’t suit my palate.  Dill itself I think is quite divine, but dill pickles don’t interest me at all.  Bread and butter pickles (I think this is the type, the sweet ones?), on the other hand, I do like these.  Which are basically the same as refrigerator pickles.

All summer long I’ve been splitting a CSA share with a friend.  Every week we’d get something different – lemon cukes, edamame, kale, thyme, what-have-you.  More than anything else though, we got BEANS.  Every damn week, BEANS.  Green beans, wax beans, I don’t know the exact nomenclature, but there were OODLES of them.  And I loved to eat them, but I wasn’t creative enough, and got bored, and a lot of beans went to waste, unfortunately.  The whole time though, I was thinking how great it would be to pickle them! But it seemed too daunting, and so I didn’t.  I think I’m a little scared of canning because of something I read in a book once about botulism, maybe in East of Eden, or similar.

But, I digress. Refrigerator pickles, on the other hand, so easy!  I found a few recipes, like this one, and just adapted it, because some of the recipes I found seemed like they wanted to be fancy and I just wanted the most basic one I could find.  No fanciness of ingredient for me, just a plain old McDonald’s burger, thankyouverymuch. Also, I had this big old jar, so I adapted for the size of the thing.

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 cups cucumbers (pickling cukes are great, but no need to discriminate), thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cups vinegar (I used 4 cups white, 2 cups apple cider to cut the tartness)
  • 3 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoon celery seeds

Prep:

Place cukes and onion in a gallon jar.  Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Carefully pour liquid into gallon jar and refrigerate.  Let chill 3-4 days.  Pickles can be kept for up to 6 weeks.

Voila! I tried mine after they’d been in the fridge for about 12 hours.  The cukes were still very raw and crunchy, but the flavor of the wash tastes about right, so I’m excited to test them again in a few days!

Are you a pickler, or a canner?  Leave your tips in the comments below!

American Woman, redux.

So many good things today.  But this was a  highlight:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I had lunch with my friend, Russ, today at the lovely Indian restaurant Gandhi Mahal, in South Minneapolis, near Lake St. and Hiawatha.  We ordered the lunch buffet, which was loaded up with all gluten-free choices, plus a few dairy-free options. And dessert: 3 options, all gluten free.  And some kind of magical fried chickpea patties, also gluten free. He had read an earlier post re: this album, and just happened to have it in his collection, and gifted it to me (Thanks Russ! Cherishing this as we speak!). A funny bit in this: Russ and I worked at a coffee shop together back when blogs were just becoming a thing. And I lamented them endlessly! How boring to read about what some joker had for lunch, or went on vacation… Clearly, I didn’t understand the depth and breadth of what one is capable of communicating via this commendable medium.

beautiful. fighter.

There’s not much that either one, or both of these songs cannot cure.  Pretty sure of it.

Sometimes you have to get a little angry.

Then remember: Yes, you are.

hosted!

I don’t know why it’s taken me forever to figure this out.  Installing WordPress on my computer so that I can do all sorts of wondrous things has been nearly as painful as contemplating chewing off my own arm, like that guy in 127 Hours, a movie which did not hold my attention.  Or else I was knitting or cooking and only marginally paying attention to a movie which probably required a lot of visual processing, so it was all just lost on me.  My point being that WP is hopefully installing as we speak.  Maybe.  And then, perhaps, I can figure out how to use it and not funk everything up!  Woo-hoo!

Did I mention I’m wanderlusting?  Whereas the Daily Show will give you a moment of Zen, I am giving myself a daily dose of torture, or inspiration, depending upon how you view it.  I’m somewhere in between, myself.  The image du jour:

I’m practically salivating over anything Montana-related at this point.  Except for fires and the like.  Except if I were salivating over wildfires, I would be, theoretically, helping the cause.  Anyway.

I’m not just fantasizing about any old place in MT, it’s one area in particular.  It starts in Red Lodge, stretches north by way of U.S. Route 212Beartooth Highway, which, according to Wikipedia, passes through portions of Custer National Forest, and Shoshone National Forest and near the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness.  U.S. 212 winds in and out of Montana and Wyoming, with a layover in Cooke City, until it finally ends just a bit further along, at the northeast entrance of Yellowstone.

We camped along this route a million times when I was a kid.  An oft-repeated story of Ang-as-toddler occurred while staying at Island Lake Campground, elevation 9,600 ft.  Not ever a graceful child, I fell into the very-very cold water one night and, because I was pretty short, drenched all of my little jeans.  The jeans were hung outside overnight to dry, but the temps dipped that night, and we awoke to frozen pants, and I started to cry.  This is where opinions differ.  I’m quite certain that I was crying because I saw snow on the ground.  The three other members of my family insist it was because the jeans were frozen.  I have always disagreed with this premise, but no longer dispute it when told around the campfire.  There are other stories they don’t tell, like the time when, raising it too quickly, a flaming marshmallow launched from the stick, landing squarely on my cheek.  Or how, as a teenager, I insisted upon wearing makeup throughout our annual westward trek, secretly convinced I would pass some hunky guy on trail.

So, while we’re at it, let’s take a moment to ruminate on how much we love the National Parks and Forests, shall we?  What is your fave Park or Forest?  Share your memories in the comments!

today, part I: wild.

I started today with a run.  You know what I’ve found?  Before I go to bed, if I set out the clothes I’m going to wear in the morning, it becomes a no-brainer to go for a run.  I mean, for the most part.  If you’re going to sleep, you’re going to sleep, and some days there’s not a damn thing that can be done to change it.  But, most of the time, this simple maneuver gets me up out of bed, and onto the trails before I even know what’s happening.  It’s like you’ve already scheduled it into your subconscious calendar, so it’s automatic.

My point being, that I set out my clothes last night, and went for a run first thing this morning.  A longer route around the lake, to turn the 2.7 of the shoreline trail into a 4-miler.  Easy peasy.  Except that I was wearing a new pair of socks, which are smart wool, which everyone swears by, but I can’t get behind.  They’re still wool, and they still itch a bit sometimes, and I’m already damn picky about what I wear on my feet.  So, the run was sort of whiny and bitchy, and I stopped 3 blocks from the house and removed shoes and said socks, and happily walked the remaining distance barefooteded.

I worked from home today, which is always lovely.  After the run, I had some coffee, and started to work.  I took a short break mid morning to read a bit, because I am currently experiencing the wanderlust, in anticipation of a road trip to KC, then Denver and maybe the Black Hills, and this book has got me roped in:

http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Found-Pacific-Crest-Oprahs/dp/0307592731/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340815040&sr=8-1&keywords=wild%3A+from+lost+to+found#reader_0307592731

I saw this featured somewhere a few months ago (and yes, it may have been in a trashy People-mag type publication), and thought it sounded interesting.  When it came up in the library queue, I scanned the prologue, which, I suppose, really has to be the most dramatic piece of the whole book.  It read a bit too indulgently, somewhat reminiscent of “Eat, Pray, Love,” which, while a decent read, is kind of unpleasant somehow.  I picked “Wild” up again another day, just to give it one more chance before returning it to the masses, and found that it’s really good.  The woman is from Minnesota, so there are all manner of references to this great state.  The bulk of it, when she’s on trail, rewinds my mind instantly to all those ill-advised backpacking trips of the college years, the love and the hate and the dehydration-induced drama and waterworks…  She makes it funny, poking fun at herself and seeing the humor in her surroundings and inner dialogues.  It’s mildly painful.  And yet… it’s got me thinking about that old Dana Design holed up somewhere in the basement.

Then this:

popped into my head.  And I felt a little less wild.

…and returned, a marathon finisher.

After 18 weeks of training, it’s all over, and I crossed the finish line!  Not that I really doubted I would, I was more uncertain in what condition I’d cross it.  I want to do a whole recap, because I feel like this training, this process of the 18-week marathon training, has had a profound effect, but it’s more than I want to go into tonight.  I have yet to experience the 2nd day post-marathon, and as most would agree, that’s the day the toll of exertion is exacted, so sleep must be imminent.

of a holiday-weekend Sunday

I can’t sleep, which is always a bummer. Instead, I’m laying on the daybed, in the screened-in porch at the cabin, hiding under the blankets, playing with my phone. And figuring out how to use Siri. Which is awesome because now I don’t even have to write out what I want to say. And I can keep telling her things to write.

Here are some pics from my uber-relaxing, highly lazy, mostly solo weekend:

20120528-021447.jpg
Where I’ve been stationed for the majority of the past 2 days.

20120528-021550.jpg
Lake Superior Lake Trout

20120528-021626.jpg
Trying to impress with the screen-side camera lens, which Dad pointed out they already had on their iPads.

20120528-021848.jpg
My contribution to the meal: home-brewed kombucha (Dad isn’t a fan; hence, a mere sip in his glass).

wagon wheel, 1st ed.

Happy Friday, friends!  Here are some nuggets (or nougat, if your taste buds swing that way), that I’ve happened upon during this week’s frolicks amidst the interwebs. 

The 5 Creepiest Urban Legends (That Happen to be True)

Cracked is one of those horribly wonderful sites that ropes you in with some random Facebook post (in this case 6 Great Old-Timey Comics for [Traumatizing] Kids) and then keep you sucked in by peppering each and every page with lists of stupidly innocuous things that for some reason you MUST find out about right this very second.  I found 5 Creepiest when I navigated over to their Horror section, seems like it might actually be worth a read.

Radiolab : Crossroads short

I love me some radiolab.  Topics are usually pretty obscure but well researched, and the production is kind of campy and odd, so it makes for a fun and experiential listening experience.  Perusing podcasts this week to facilitate my morning toilette (which, in French, means getting ready, and not anything gross or poop-related), I came across this short which piqued my interest ginormously.  The subject is Robert Johnson, a 1920s Blues musician who, initially, was really, really bad.  Until, that is, he sold his soul to the devil.  He is still considered today to be one of the best Blues guitarists who’s ever lived.

Outside Mag + Gluten-free feature

And, heading back into the known world… I’m pretty sure pre- and post-race festivities (read pasta feed and beer gardens) are not nearly as fun for gluten-free runners they appear to be for the non-allergic counterparts.  It’s been an interesting challenge to find advice suitable to my needs, to the extent that I basically stopped trying, and just rely on my Clif and Luna bars to get me through.  This article (Are You Too Sensitive? The gluten-free movement isn’t just a fad. It could be the performance boost you’ve been missing.) popped up in an email and, while it’s a bummer that more and more peeps are becoming sensitive/allergic to gluten, it does make me happy that there’s more exposure and thereby more info available.

Pre-run eating, quelle PITA.

In case you’re wondering, I’m basing the quelle above on my belief that pain, in French, is douleur (and I’m totally not even bothering to look this up right hyeh), which would make PITA (aka pain-in-the-arse) feminine, necessitating an appropriate, um… ah, I don’t have any idea what form of speech or whatevs that would be.  Rejoinder?  Nope.  It’s quantifying something.  Again, not looking it up, yo.

Back to the original point: trying to figure out when and what to eat before runs makes me want to stab myself in the groin with an icepick.  It really doesn’t, but it’s fun to think about, isn’t it?  Yes, yes it is.  Anyhoo, this is a good post to check out if you want some suggestions about how long in advance to eat stuff if you’re doing a long run, or a shorter run, or what-have-you. Basically, I think it all comes back to this: eat a Clif bar.

1 space after a period. It’s a real thing (and yet it feels so wrong).

This is a real thing.  It’s not just laziness.  And yet… I simply DO NOT WANT to do it.  It’s in my make up to double-space after the full stop!  Yes!  I did learn to type on a typewriter!  It was in a dingy old classroom at Harding High — on green typewriters, I’m almost certain of it!  Alas, I must move with the times.

And finally, in honor of 2 beautiful babies born to friends this week, a bit of Monty Python irreverence:

kombucha experi-fermentation, bottoms up!

Despite my lack of posts, the kombucha is coming along nicely.  I have bottled a few batches, and even had the nads to drink a few bottles!  I’ve only allowed others a sip here and there, and then only those whose composition is tried and true, by way of raw-food retreats and Master Cleanseses.

Here’s the bottle of the stuff I drank tonight.

liquid gold, texas tea.

Bits and pieces I’ve picked up along the way:

  1. It’s important to taste the brew regularly.  I didn’t realize this until after the first big growth batch had passed its prime and tasted very much like vinegar.  For some reason I was hesitant to do this at first, as though I was growing some exotic cocktail I’d never tried before.  Now I taste it every few days, and am getting a better sense of the process just by looking at the scoby and the tint of the liquid.
  2. Bubbles aren’t automatic.  I was surprised to discover my first batch was flat.   I thought this was just another benchmark I had missed, but a friend recommended a little beer-brewing trick, which worked.  I then corroborated the tidbit by looking it up on the ‘net.  You know, the internet?  Yeah, I’m connected.  (you have to forgive the wackedness, I really just want to update the dang blog, and it’s late, and I’m loopy.)  It’s simple: just add a little sugar to the bottle, close it up, and let it sit for a few days.  I don’t know exact ratios right now, I’ve just been adding a scant teaspoon in each 16-oz bottle.  What it comes down to, I suppose, is that the little buggers have food (sugar) to eat, so they’re happy, and the by-product is the fizzies that can’t escape from the bottle because it’s closed.  There are laws of gas and physics here, that I could possibly explain.  No, I really couldn’t.
  3. Stockpile bottles in advance.  My roomies have been saving Snapple bottles for me for the finished tea.  But you also need a good amount of filtered or clarified city water (boiled then left uncovered to allow chems, etc. to escape) when you start a new batch, so you’ll want to have a place to keep that as well.  Ideally, you would have enough water to bring the temp of the sweet-tea mix down to tepid before adding it to scoby/wash.

That’s all I can think of, though I’m sure there’s more.  At some point, I will add some info on the water kefir, which has been a great addition to the kombucha.  It takes much less time (1-2 days) and is infinitely tinkerly-able!