Thursday, December 22, 2011

Technology update and the paranoia kicks in...

Am I the only one that cringes when I get the notification from iTunes that my iPhone has an update that needs to be uploaded? Several months ago I was having trouble with my wireless printer. I spent 7-8 hours on the phone (this is not an exaggeration) with tech support at HP. I even gave the guy full access to my computer because at first, just the printer wouldn't work... then nothing worked! When we were done, I no longer had my music in my iTunes library but at least my wireless printer was back on line. He said, "I didn't make any changes that would effect that." But I didn't believe him because it worked fine before he started working on my computer. Nonetheless, he bid me farewell and I was on my own to contact iTunes support.

After several attempts to ask the right question of said "support" and not being able to make heads nor tails of the generic email responses that didn't actually have anything to do with my particular issue, I began dabbling around on my backup hard drive and found that my library was still there. When my iPhone went completely blank after an update and I no longer had ANY music on my phone, I got reckless and just started clicking on nearly anything I could find and suddenly... I found it! It had taken me six months but I finally figured out how to get the library back onto my iTunes and then update the library on my iPhone. Once I finally reloaded everything from my back up to my phone, I've religiously backed it up ever since.

However, when the little red numeral appears next to my "Settings" icon on my iPhone, I panic. I refuse to update my phone until I've had the chance to back it up at least three times. I'm completely paranoid that I will lose everything - contacts, music, emails, etc. And when I do finally plug my phone into my computer (usually only about once per month since the lost library incident) I panic and hit "sync" and "transfer purchases" at least three times each before I'll click the buttons to update the software on the phone or iTunes.

Having technology is supposed to make my life easier. And it does. Usually. People are so impressed when I can tell them if I'm free three Thursdays from now because I can consult my pocket brain (or my "wife" as my husband calls it because it keeps me organized). They are thrilled when I can tell them the 10 day forecast or what movies we've seen that actor in before. They are amazed when I can take their picture and email it to them. Or update my blog. Or scan bar codes to find a better deal on a product. That all amazes me too. But what if I lost all of that? Would my life go on or would I crumple in a heap unable to function?

I've put off my updates too long again and now the update that is currently being done on my phone will take 55 more minutes to download and install. And I will fret away every minute of it wondering if my beloved wife will survive. Or... maybe I'll go watch a movie with my husband. He cuddles better than my iPhone.

Good night. :-)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Nutrition by Dad...

For the past several months, I have been working pretty hard to take off some extra weight. My dad has encouraged me to do so for a while. He has been very supportive in telling me how great I look and how happy he is that I have taken some weight off. But... aside from that, he's not helpful! He doesn't understand give two thoughts about nutrition and you can absolutely forget about talking "calories" with him so when I go to visit him, all bets are off when it comes to dieting. (Luckily I've learned to compensate!)

During one visit last spring, my husband (who is also trying to lose weight) and I were treated to one of Dad's culinary masterpieces. After clanging around in the kitchen for a while, Dad called us down for breakfast. We were greeted with a pile of eggs that had to have been nearly a dozen eggs, ham steaks, a pound of bacon, and two English muffins for each of us. He had buttered them. I could ladle the extra butter off as he's famous for using a wad of butter, not a pat, on each half of the muffin. (It's nothing for him to go through a stick or more of butter himself in a day.) When we asked who else was coming for breakfast, he said it was just the three of us and did we want him to make some sausage? NO!

This weekend Dad and I had some family Christmas business to prepare for so I traveled out to see him by myself. After sleeping in a bit, I came down this morning (a lazy Sunday morning) and he asked if I wanted some breakfast. Having been down this road before, I asked "What are you making?" With a twinkle in his eye he said, "It's a surprise" and without waiting for my answer, he went into the kitchen and began the breakfast process. I figured it was best if I just remained in the living room pretending not to be worried about the calorie count that was about to be dished up. I probably should have jogged around the farm a bit in the interim but I was in my pajamas still and it was 10 degrees out.

About 20 minutes later he called me in for breakfast. He was pretty proud that he had made one of his specialties that the boys (my always-starving, never-picky, will-eat-absolutely-anything teenage nephews) love - Eggo-sauswiches!

What is an Eggo-sauswich? Well... you take two Eggo waffles and toast them. In the mean time, you take a extra large (think hamburger size) pork sausage patty and cook it in a frying pan. When the toaster dings you put a wad of butter on each waffle.When both masterpieces are ready, you assemble them like a sandwich with the sausage between the waffles, drench them in syrup (I was shocked to find that he wasn't even using REAL syrup even though they collect sap for it right on the farm!) and microwave the Eggo-sauswich for 30 seconds to make sure that the wad of butter has thoroughly saturated the waffle and sausage and the syrup is piping hot. Serve with a smile.

I have to admit... if I wasn't concerned about silly things like calories, cholesterol, or the like, I'd eat 'em more often because these danged things are really tasty! (Don't tell Dad.)

You can't take it with you...

In the past couple of years, my husband and I have taken a lot of trips. We are in our 40's, got married "later in life" (in our late 30's), and both have an interest in seeing and doing as much as we can in this world.

For the first few years of our life together, things were crazy - we lived in two different states, we bought a house together that needed rehabilitation from the ground up during the few hours a week my husband could visit and work on the house, we both had intense and busy full-time jobs, we got married (though thankfully we skipped the insanity-inducing extras with that), we took custody of my teenage step-son, we sold said house and I moved full-time to Cape Cod where I found another intense job, I got laid off, started a business... yes, life was a little out of control for quite some time. Don't get me wrong - it was (mostly) enjoyable and I wouldn't change a thing but it was hectic.

A couple of years ago we were offered the opportunity to go to Mexico for a week. My brother and sister in-law were attending a wedding and had rented a huge house on the water so we just had to get ourselves there. Neither of us had been to Mexico and although I had stamped my proverbial passport with nearly all 50 states in the US and my husband had traveled mostly outside of the US, we hadn't traveled all that much since we had gotten together. We leaped at the chance!

It was an incredible trip! We spent our days snorkeling in the crystal clear water checking out reefs and huge sea turtles, snorkeling in Dos Ojos Cenote, exploring the ruins in Tulum, lolling about on the beach or in the hammock reading. And we spent our nights dancing, eating fabulous food, drinking completely harmless and delicious local tequila. It was a trip we never thought we'd be able to take and yet, we managed to do it!

It opened our travel minds and soon we were planning our next big adventure! This past summer we spent two weeks traveling throughout Alaska. We rode ATVs in Denali, hiked the Wrangells, kayaked in Resurrection Bay, took glacier cruises to Meares and Northwest glaciers, saw Orca and Humpback whales, went to hot springs, drove 1,300 miles, saw bears, moose, lynx, ptarmigan - you name it! We borrowed my brother's truck and rented cabins etc along the way and sampled life in coastal Alaska and the Alaskan interior. It was an absolutely amazing trip!

I also managed to travel to Tennessee to see my brother's family twice this year, we go to Vermont every chance we get, and last weekend we went to New Hampshire for a quick little pre-Christmas getaway. We tend to take at least a short trip every 4-6 weeks whether it's to see friends in Maine or family in Connecticut - we're packing a bag and heading out!

Whenever I tell people what we've been up to, their jaws drop and they say "You travel more than any couple I know!" and we just smile. Why wouldn't we? We love to do it and we have the means to do it so what the heck?!

We know too many people that have spent years dreaming about "the trip" that they will take when they retire and then they retire and A) The money isn't there to take the trip or B) One or both people now have health problems that make traveling difficult or impossible. We don't want to be that couple. Why spend a lifetime dreaming about one trip when you can stretch a little and take several trips of a lifetime?!?

Where are we off to next? Well, the next big trip we would like to take is to Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. We are aiming for 2013 for this trip as 2012 already has two big trips planned - one to Missouri to visit family and another to a family camp in upstate New York with my husband's family. And of course, we'll continue with our quick trips as well.

Life is what you make it and we prefer an adventure that we are living to a dream that we are hoping to fulfill "someday".

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Parenting ain't for the faint of heart...

My step-son recently started dating a girl that he has been good friends with for several months. When he first started spending a lot of time with her, he said "Don't worry! Her mom is REALLY strict!" And... under his breath "Almost as strict as you guys are." (I have to admit that this makes me smile. I do NOT mind being the strictest parents around... because at 18 years old and in his senior year of high school, we don't have a lot of the troubles with him that most parents have with their kids this age. But... I digress.)

So... fast forward and he's now been officially dating this girl for about a week. I was away for the weekend and got a text from my husband. "J wants to spend the night at T's house. Her mother says it's fine and he'll sleep on the couch." My head pops off. It rolls across the floor. I hyper-ventilate, find my head, and respond "Uh... no flipping way!"

Someone PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me when it became appropriate for teenage boyfriends and girlfriends to sleep over at each other's houses? When did parents start thinking this was a GOOD idea? Maybe these parents weren't teenagers once because "It's okay because I'll be here all night" seems like a good bargaining chip but... you've got to sleep SOME time, right? I was a teenager. I know what I did when my parents weren't looking and it was only because I knew that they'd be looking soon that I didn't get into big messes that I couldn't handle.

I understand that I was brought up in a different time. I was brought up in a time and place when it was the very RARE occurrence that girls were getting pregnant (it happened but it was very very rare!), teenagers believed that oral sex was actual sex and was an incredibly intimate act (unlike the messages they get from movies, TV, and other kids that a blow job is the same as a back rub), and very few people were contracting sexually transmitted diseases (and that is SCARY shit!). I grew up in a time when parents set boundaries for their kids and... kids bent them a bit or worked hard to skew the rules (of course) to test their limits but they didn't walk all over them or get away with everything because the parents gave permission for inappropriate behavior or looked the other way. I grew up in a time and place where if you were doing something you weren't supposed to and someone else's parents found out, you were in just as much trouble with them as you were with your own parents and that was a GOOD thing! It taught you respect and good judgment and that you do have to answer for your actions!

I can't be alone in thinking that letting your teenager sleep at his girlfriend's house is a truly TERRIBLE idea. Can I? Relationships today move at such an insanely rapid pace that sleeping over just seems to set the perfect stage for extremely premature sex. I am not an idiot. I KNOW that teenagers have sex. But I would like to try to teach MY teenager that there is an appropriate pace to a relationship when you are that age and that putting yourself in certain situations is a recipe for bad decision-making at a hormonally-accelerated pace.

Kids these days advance their relationships so quickly because they have been de-sensitized to the seriousness of things like saying "I love you" and truly feeling it and knowing that it's kind of sacred; things like having sex when you are more ready than not (I really don't think many teenagers are REALLY ready for sex); like moving from liking someone's company at school to being in a 24/7 relationship connected by phone, text, Facebook, etc ALL the time. It moves too quickly and I think it's wrong!

We have managed to keep our teenager out of a lot of situations that could have gotten out of control and I firmly, absolutely, 100% believe that THAT is our role as parents. It's not to be the cool parents who say "Anything goes! Do what you want!". If we aren't holding in the reins for our kids and giving them the skills to develop solid, appropriate relationships then WHO WILL?!?! It's our job. It's completely thankless and we'll be the "mean" parents etc. but some day, somewhere along the way, our children will look back and realize that being their p-a-r-e-n-t and not their f-r-i-e-n-d was much more valuable in their development as a person. We have their entire adult lives to become friends with our kids but it is our RESPONSIBILITY to do absolutely everything we can to teach, guide, shelter (in some cases), prevent, and otherwise train our kids to make good decisions and be good people. Everything else is just gravy.

Please... tell me I'm not alone because most days, when I'm assigning chores, making him pay for his car insurance or telling him that he can't something that we feel isn't appropriate, I feel that we are very very alone in our parenting philosophy! Say it ain't so...

I'm so vain. I'll bet I think this post is about me...

Well... it is. I know. It's totally vain but... so many people comment on my skin and ask me how I have managed to avoid most wrinkles and have such a clear complexion. It's easy. It's because I'm lazy. I've been too lazy to ever learn how to properly apply make up and I am too lazy to be one of those women that goes through multiple steps in the morning and at night to wash my face. So... laziness has paid off for me.

I have tried different things throughout the years because my skin is pretty sensitive. I would just find something that would work for my summer skin and then winter skin would set in. By the time summer rolled around, what worked last year didn't work any more. I am lucky though - the issues that I've dealt with really are just about getting too dry, never acne or a ton of breakouts etc. I know that I am VERY lucky and I'm grateful. Again, I'm lazy and therefore the painstaking approaches to dealing with acne or multiple breakouts would not work well for me.

A few years ago I figured out the year-round combination that, knock-on-wood, has continued to work for me regardless of the weather. It's easy! I wash my face in the shower every morning with Dr. Woods Shea Butter & Tea Tree soap (I've tried other brands but this is the only one that doesn't burn my skin or dry it out beyond repair). It's a liquid soap that I buy in the natural section of Stop & Shop. I don't use a loofa or any other specialized puff, I use a good old fashioned wash cloth. As soon as I get out of the shower, I pat my face very briefly with a towel and immediately apply pure coconut oil - not coconut butter (lots of those lotions that smell so good are actually loaded with synthetic fragrances etc and that's bad all around!) - and I put a thin layer all over my entire face. I then brush my teeth and by the time I'm done with that, I rub off the excess oil from my face and rub it into my hands or other dry spots on my body.

That's it! Easy as can be which again, is good for me because I'm lazy.

I have only tried one brand of coconut oil - CoPure. It is made in Newport, RI by two very cool people that I met at a trade show a few years ago. I buy the 20oz jars and use it every day but it lasts a really long time!

Some things you should know about pure coconut oil. First, depending on the ambient temperature, it will change from a solid to a liquid and back again. Having this happen over and over is fine - it doesn't damage the oil at all. That's totally natural. It is also great for a ton of other things in addition to moisturizing your face. Swallow a teaspoonful for a sore throat, apply it to cuts to help avoid or heal infections, massage it into your scalp for dandruff, use as massage oil, cook with it... the list goes on and on!

My last skin "trick" is that I drink a lot of water. It's pretty much the only beverage that I drink - occasionally I'll drink a decaf coffee or some milk but water is most often my beverage of choice.

So there you have it!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat!

Okay - so we don't eat goose but we do know how to make some fabulous food to celebrate the season! Recently I hosted a cookie decorating party with family ranging in age from 1 year to... well... 70+. We decided  to keep the ovens vacant for the cookies by cooking the meal in crock pots. Each of us decided to make a different item in our crock pots and I aimed high and tried something I'd never made before. It was a hit!

I've spent the past year modifying recipes to reduce the calories in an effort to shed some pounds. When I came across a recipe for "Crock Pot Lasagna", I decided to give it a whirl but also to give it my "healthy twist". I'm really bad about measurements etc but I'll list the ingredients and let you try to figure it out on your own based on your taste.

My crock pot has a 6 quart crock so it's pretty large. Trim the amounts if you've got a smaller crock pot.

Two boxes of no-boil lasagna pasta
One large jar of spaghetti sauce
One small can of tomato paste
2.5 lbs of extra lean ground turkey
3 cups of part-skim mozzarella cheese
1.5 cups of freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 cup of fat-free ricotta cheese
Diced green and red pepper, broccoli or other "dry" vegetables. ("Wet" veggies like zucchini makes it really soggy.)

Brown the ground turkey
Mix the tomato paste with the spaghetti sauce so it is a little thicker than sauce
Spray the inside of the crock with non-stick olive oil spray (Don't forget this... otherwise just plan on buying another crock!)
Begin layering meat, three cheeses and sauce between layers of pasta sheets
Break pasta sheets to fit into the rounded corners of the crock

Put it on low in the crock for about four hours. Walk away and enjoy your life! When you come back, the lasagna will be done. The cheese on top doesn't crisp like it does in the oven but not having to babysit it is a great trade off!

Serve with a big salad and follow it with a long walk and enjoy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

All it's crocked up to be...

Recently I went shopping at Kohl's. I don't go there often but I got a coupon in the mail and needed a few Christmas items that I couldn't find locally so I gave it a shot. It was a REALLY good coupon - 20% off the lowest sale price PLUS $10 "Kohl's cash" back for every $50 I spent. (Okay... so I didn't read the fine print and get that it was Kohl's cash but the 20% off was enough to make it a great deal!)

So I wandered through the store and studied all of the possible items that I might like to purchase (I couldn't find the items I had gone there for though, unfortunately) while practicing my math skills of subtracting 20% from the lowest sale price. I'll admit that I was getting a little giddy about some of the sale prices until I started realizing just how inflated the every day prices must be in order for these sales to be possible. But... that's for another subject.

I am a total sucker for kitchen appliances - particularly ones that make promises to revolutionize my life and make slinging a great meal on the table for my family not only easier but with less hassle. Enter "The Crock Pot". The crock pot had to have been invented by someone whose life was insanely hectic and whose family wouldn't survive on frozen dinners and take-out menus. Man or woman, I'm not sure, but that person is my hero/ine!

I have been a long-time lover of the crock pot and have made soups, stews, roasts etc in them for years. I had a small yellow one when I was single and it did the job just fine for me. When my husband and I got together, we upgraded to a 6 quart crock with two heat settings - low and high. It turned out though that on this particular model, low = incinerator and high = space shuttle re-entry heat. Needless to say, things cooked a little too quickly! Most often the meat was a little tough. It also was so hot that I didn't dare leave it alone for hours while I went to work etc. (I'm still not sure that I'll do that... It just seems risky to leave a heating element unattended.)

So, when I wandered past the crock pot aisle, I had to stop to see what new features were available. Hazzah! There was the holy grail of crock pots! It was a Hamilton Beach Deluxe Set & Forget 6 Quart Slow Cooker. This was the Cadillac of cookers! Here are the things that I loved immediately: 1) It has clips on the sides that can lock down the lid so you can take it with you. The lid even has a gasket so that it seals up nicely! 2) It has a removable lid rest so that you don't have to search for where to rest a dripping, hot lid. 3) It has a probe. A PROBE! The probe goes through a small hole in the lid into the roast or other item and measures the temperature and... 4) It is fully programmable so that when the probe reaches the proper temperature, the heat automatically gets set back down to "Warm" so that the roast etc won't get over-cooked. The last feature is the most amazing feature... and the one I haven't figure out entirely yet. But... as I'm writing this... in the living room... in front of the fire... I can smell the incredible smells of the maple dijon pork roast that has just reached precisely the right temperature. Yep, just a moment ago, it beeped and (because I have to see it to believe it) it switched from "high" to "warm" just as promised!

To further convince this Doubting Thomas of its efficacy, I took my meat thermometer and tested the roast - it was perfect!

So... now that my family has just rolled in, it's time to go finish the side items really quickly and dive into the roast.

Having now successfully made the pork roast AND the crock pot lasagna, I am on a roll with my new gadget and I'm sure I'll be putting it to use frequently throughout the winter for a huge variety of new items.

Update: The pork roast was fabulous! It was perfectly done and my family loved it! The meat was tender and moist. We didn't have any apple sauce (which is a must with pork in our house) so we ate it with cranberry sauce which was delicious! When I took the roast out to rest for a few minutes, I threw green beans into the leftover liquid in the crock and cooked them that way - they ended up with a touch of the maple and dijon flavor - yum!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Buy Local...

It's Christmas-time and there is such a push to "Buy Local" that I decided that I was going to commit to buying 90% or more of my gifts locally. On "Black Friday" I decided that I would up that commitment and only shop at places that I could walk to - which is pretty limited where I live but since I really dislike crowds and I dislike the obnoxious traffic in Hyannis and Falmouth, this was a great way to avoid both. Maybe.

I headed out at around 11:30am figuring I would walk to the village, shop at the local stores, have lunch at the little lunch place, and walk home. Along the way I met a neighbor (he lives within a mile of my house so he's a neighbor in my book) that we had been waving to for a couple of years but had never met in person. He's a nice fellow named Charlie with a very boisterous Golden Retriever named Rex and both like to talk a lot. After about 30 minutes chatting with him, I made my way down to the little gift shop in the village.

I was greeted with... a crowd. Okay... it's Black Friday... I expected some crowds but this crowd made me glad that my car was safely parked in my driveway as the parking lot was a mess of large cars parked helter skelter. I went into the shop (I've never been there before) and it was cozy and inviting with bright lights and a wide variety of goods from soaps to candles to jewelry to Christmas decor to scarves and so on. I smiled inside thinking that I could probably find more than a few things for folks in this store and I was feeling good that I was shopping locally.

I began to move through the tight aisles and looking more carefully at the items on the shelves. The soaps were not made locally - they were made by large corporations that just packaged them nicely. The candles where lovely but again, mass-produced elsewhere. The scarves were "Hecho en Chine" (Made in China... in Spanish). The Christmas decorations were all made in Taiwan, China or India at mass-production factories. The more I picked up and studied the "Made in..." label on each item, the more angry I became inside. Not only were these things all mass-produced in some foreign country... but they had prices on them like they had been handmade just for me! I moved upstairs because I heard some ladies talking about the "adorable hand-crafts" upstairs but when I got up there, I found the same crap that I find in stores everywhere these days with prices twice as high!

I was now in a full-blown quandary. The store IS local. It IS a local person who owns it. Therefore, part of me feels like I should support the local economy by buying things there. BUT... everything is made in China or mass-produced and marked up so high that I was disgusted. I was feeling guilty about not supporting a local business person AND guilty about buying crap made in China!

I had to compromise so I selected four little metal signs for Christmas decor ("Joy" "Peace" "Love" "Cheer") and as I was wrestling with the above quandary, a saleswoman came over and gave me the full-court press about the little baskets hanging on the wall with holly on them. She kept saying how "darling" they were and so wonderfully made. I thought "Oh! Maybe she has just pointed out the ONE locally-made... or at least made in the USA product!" But no. As she moved away, I flipped it over and "Hecho en Chine" was on the little tell-tale gold label on the bottom. Hrmpfh!

I took my four little signs and went straight to the counter and checked out. I wanted so badly to comment to the salespeople about trying to "Buy Local" in a shop that carries only crap Hecho en China... but I didn't.

So after that rather irritating experience, I went to the little consignment shop just down the road. It has everything from little trinkets to furniture and everything in between. You just have to be willing to look carefully. I ended up spending more money in there because I found a handmade Santa Claus ornament made by a local artist (I like to imagine him as an old fella sitting at home whittling and painting these ornaments all year long) and this made me VERY happy! I also found a stoneware cookie press in the shape of a large Christmas bell. It was so sweet that I had to buy it!

From there I headed to the little eatery and chatted with the owner - a local woman who makes her own chocolates etc right on site - and we ended up realizing that we know some of the same people and that she would like to join my book club. Fun!

So... the score for the day ended up: Christmas shopping - 0 (The little things I bought were for our home) Meeting new neighbors and feeling like the day was worth it - 2. Not bad.

Now, however, my burning desire to open a little shop with ONLY items that are made, grown, produced etc within 100 miles has now been further fanned.

Unfortunately the rest of my Christmas shopping didn't fare much better. I visited several consignment shops and a few local church bazaars and got a few items here and there but for the most part, I ended up at a department store for the items on my son's list. I didn't have much choice after all was said and done.

I did, however, manage to avoid shopping at the mall 100% this season! We always go to the mall for one thing each year - my mother's annual donkey calendar. But this year, my husband was in the area anyway so I had him swing in and pick it up therefore keeping my mall shopping at zero and THAT is a big win as far as I'm concerned!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pangaea Point of View - huh?

I have been obsessed with the word "pangaea" since I first heard it many years ago. The image it conjures for me is the whole earth as one literally and figuratively. Puzzle pieces that slide together seamlessly and answer many mysteries of this planet. The entire world connected not by email or phone or wires but by soil, vegetation, flora, fauna - every aspect of what makes this earth intriguing, valuable, and priceless - connected.

Scientifically speaking, here's the real definition: Pangaea, Pangæa, or Pangea Pangaea, Pangæa, or Pangea ( /pænˈdʒiːə/ pan-jee-ə; from Ancient Greek pan "entire", and Gaia "Earth", Latinized as Gæa) is hypothesized as a supercontinent that existed during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras about 250 million years ago, before the component continents were separated into their current configuration. The forming of supercontinents and their breaking up appears to be cyclical through Earth's 4.6 billion year history. There may have been several others before Pangaea.

Isn't that cool? The idea of one supercontinent engages my imagination is such a variety of ways. Maybe it explains why certain fossils are found on different continents where they don't seem to belong. Maybe it explains a lot of the mysteries in life.

It's mesmerizing to imagine that the entire earth, at one time at least, could have been traveled on foot. And it probably was!

So when I was trying to come up with a title for this blog... my mind kept swinging back around to "pangaea" - "entire earth". I'm probably butchering it and making some poor scientist cringe. And grammatically speaking, I'm not convinced that I'll use it correctly 100% of the time but let's just assume that it's a verb, noun, adjective - whatever way fits best in the way that I choose to use it - and that it works.

Getting started...

Last year I started my foray into blogging by committing to trying 50 new experiences on Cape Cod and blogging about each one. It was part New Year's resolution, part effort to connect with my new-ish community, part effort to jumpstart my writing brain. Life got incredibly busy with two jobs and being a partner in a small business and although I did manage to knock off the 50 new experiences, I got a little behind on putting it all down in writing. I will. I must. Part of me gets really twisted up when I leave things undone so leaving it incomplete would not work for me.

That writing effort was a good start but I found that I often wanted to write about other things but because they didn't fit into my blog's mission statement, I redirected those efforts elsewhere.

Recently two different friends sent me invitations to read their blogs. Coincidentally, both are women that I used to work with, they know each other, but I'm not sure they realized that they started blogging in a similar fashion at about the same time. Both inspired me to blog with a wide open format and allow my mind to wander and share what catches my eye, my ears, my heart.

So here goes!