Posts Tagged ‘lafitte’

A new record on the way to the #PhiladelphiaMarathon

September 22, 2013

Less than sixty days to the insanity!  I am becoming excited about walking the Philadelphia Half Marathon for OAR (shameless fundraising plug).  In an effort to not become injured, I’ve started to cross train at the gym.  Between kicking, swimming, stationary biking and (ugh) weight lifting, I was injury free until I dropped a bed on my foot.  Yup, you read that right.  I dropped a bed on my foot.  I was attempting to rescue pink mouse (REALLY? AGAIN?) and blue rat (new cat, same issue) and the board came crashing down.  After few A lot of curse words, I realized my foot was not broken just going to have a massive bruise. Right across the top of my foot.  It healed.  And I was ready to resume walking.

Today, I started on my Sunday morning trek with the goal of “hit seven miles”.  7.4 miles later, I unlocked the key to the front door.  Really.  Ok, the time wasn’t great but it was done.  I skipped a ready-made excuse of the pouring rain thinking WWTD*?  Yeah, if it’s raining that day, I’d go. . . better get used to walking in the rain (although when it hit downpour level I did wait it out under the entry to some local business).

Somewhere between mile five and six, I found myself aware of how I was pushing my body. I see why runners run.  There is a point where it’s the next step, the air in your face and a feeling that is so completely different than anything else I’ve felt.  I can’t remember the last time I walked seven miles (maybe never).  As I walked through the office park on my path, I saw a dead snake (ew, but grateful for his/her demise), saw two deer romp along the front of an office building and realized the town next to me has an intersection of Bartlett and Lyman.

Two hours after coming home, I’m not hobbled in pain.  And I’m thinking this is the best impulsive idea I’ve had in a long time.

 

Move the bed, get my toy human!

Move the bed, get my toy human!

 

 

*WWTD in no way shape or form resembles a popular religious acronym.  The fact that the third letter refers to a person with wildly long hair and a strange cult like following is purely coincidental.  Pretty sure the other guy ate pie.

They are #cats. Really.

July 26, 2013

Last night I popped open an e-mail from somebody I’ve known for roughly 9 years.  We crossed paths in graduate school and I have, what I would have termed until yesterday, an extremely causal acquaintanceship with this person: meaning if we were at the same party, I’d go over and say hello but not much more that a superficial relationship at best.

“Hi.  I believe in honesty.  I just wanted to let me know that in light of the Trevon Martin decision, I found your link on FB to demonstrate latent racism on your part.  I’ve seen a few of your posts about your cat who you call ‘the world’s dumbest animal’ and now this link about another person referring to a black cat in the same manner.  This IS racism.  I’ve expressed my concerns to you before regarding the names of your animals.  Please consider these types of posts and naming of your animals going forwards.  In Christ’s Peace. . . . “

What. The. Hell.  Ok, get a grip you dumb ass New England Liberal, or more correctly, get your head OUT OF your ass.  Lafitte is a cat. (You know, 4 paws, whiskers, tries to catch birds/mice and meows).  He also is quite dumb.  Cute but dumb.

Jackson IS named after Andrew Jackson.  Yup, there are some aspects of the Jacksonian Era that are questionable, there are also some pretty good things (the start of the national banking system) and some quirky things (oh, big block of cheese, to the victor the spoils and that almost burning down of the White House thanks to a party). And depending on who you are, credit for starting the Democratic Party.  If you knew something about history, you’d get that Laffite was Jackson’s side-kick in the Battle of New Orleans securing the port during the War of 1812 (albeit after the war had ended).

But here is the thing: they are C-A-T-S named after (one could argue) moderately important figures and legends in early American history.  One is orange, one is black.  I had Lafitte’s named picked before I even saw him.  I got him because Jackson needed a side kick.

I’m not denying the very real racism that exists in this country: I’m not denying that as a person of European descent I do not fully grasp the complexities of racism (but when you want to chat with me about sexism, discrimination based on sexual orientation or disability, give me a call).

I am stating for the record, having a dumb black cat named after a pirate doesn’t making me a racist.  But sending me an e-mail telling me I’m one, and then signing your e-mail using religion only re-enforces my entrenched beliefs about over the top liberal idiocy regarding issues and the looking for oppression around every corner in and demanding an apology.

Not everything has a hidden agenda people.  Sometimes, you just name your pet after a few quirky personalities in history.  It’s not like I named him Mussolini.  Now *that* would have been offensive.

And for the record? The writer of the e-mail is a white, heterosexual male.  Not that it should make any difference.

2 nieces, 2 cats, 1 box. I quit. #catspam

May 22, 2013

I had one simple task today. . . . wrap birthday gifts, place in box and mail to twin nieces in Oklahoma.

I'll ignore the fact you want me out of the box.

I’ll ignore the fact you want me out of the box.

This is my box.  Try again.

This is my box. Try again.

Wow, look, a BOX!

Wow, look, a BOX!

Maybe Lauren will take me as a present so I can stay in the box?

Maybe Lauren will take me as a present so I can stay in the box?

An hour later. . . a cat free box with presents for 8 year olds.

An hour later. . . a cat free box with presents for 8 year olds.

And yet, while making the mailing label, I find this.

You really think I'm giving up this box?

You really think I’m giving up this box?

I remember now why I shop on-line.

My take away from AWP and a mini-Hollins reunion? Travel as a Need.

March 10, 2013

Yesterday, I listened to writers discuss their craft at the AWP convention. I jotted down snippets on a legal pad out of habit and in the middle of listening to a panel discussion on writing in translation (for a very cool and free literary journal check out wordswithoutborders.org). It really wasn’t about writing in translation but about bringing the writing to translation. I think. It’s not the fault of the presenters; they were muses at that point. I realized there was passion. Artists, in general, receive the stereotype of passionate. As some point, and with great apologies, I lost track of the discussion and realized what I was hearing was passion OF career, something that is and has been lacking in my world.

I’m done. Not in a suicidal rage done, merely done. At the point of exhaustion, I see what the causation. Living without passion is not living. It’s survivalism. I have a few things I have to get done (notably that pesky shoulder surgery in exactly 37 days not that I’m joyously counting down). And then I’m leaving. On a jet plane. Ok, there are some very real steps in between: sorting through a few decades worth of junk to what will fit into a small storage unit in the town my parents reside, figuring out the where I want to go, where I need to go and uh, how to translate “I’m deathly allergic to shellfish” in every language known on the planet. I plan on leaving in roughly a year after I’m done with my shoulder rehab.

I am a huge proponent of knowing needs versus wants. I need to travel. I don’t need Disney; I don’t need turn down service. I need my backpack, my passport and well, the aforementioned card that says please don’t serve me anything with shellfish. Travel, of me, is activism. It’s the part that allows me to say to the world “no, not all Americans are like that” and to hear “No, xxx really isn’t like that.” I need to see the world, to take in the sights, the smells and show, if even to myself, that the world is much better and far less hateful than media outlets make it out to be. Travel is my idealism. Travel is hard; there is nothing worse than being curled up in a hotel room, in a foreign country 14 time zones from home where you don’t know the language or anybody and are miserably sick (ok, there are a LOT of things that are worse) without a common alphabet in common to figure out what medicine you might be taking (Ah, Tokyo. I really want to visit you again!). There is nothing more wonderful than being surrounded by a gaggle for elementary school students in Hiroshima practicing their English in the shadow of the destruction your country created peppering you with questions because they’ve found a ‘real’ American from Boston (where apparently a Japanese player was playing for the Red Sox) to pepper with questions about baseball, Boston and lots of questions that were not on the list.

I know when I plan to leave. I don’t know when I’ll be back. But I know, for probably the first time, I will be following my passion. And (almost) everything else is irrelevant. Of course, all of this is completely dependent on my mother agreeing to cat sit world’s dumbest animal. Completely open to ideas on where to visit anywhere on the planet outside of Western Europe, good travel blogs and volunteer stops along the way.

Resolutions and other nonsense

December 29, 2011

I’m not into New Year’s Resolutions – mostly because there seems to be a lack of creativity “I’m going to go to the gym every day” or “I’m going to quit smoking”.  A blog post circulated today about the UU church working on a wider justice, spiritual formation, more inclusive in its cohesiveness in the discipline of discussion.  Look, if I go to the gym every day, maybe it will help other members of my health insurance company (I mean, I’d probably be healthier and not spend as many health care dollars and all).  And no, I don’t smoke.  But, for me, many of the New Year’s Resolutions (like giving up things for Lent) have a self-serving motive.

The past year has, to me anyway, seemed to further create an us versus them divide.  99% vs 1%, Congress versus each other versus the American people, a complete and total increase in rising tensions: if you have a job, the insane competitiveness to prove why you should keep it, over and over.  It’s draining.  Maybe that has always been adulthood (how the hell would I know? I do know we have an amazing ability to glamorize and romanticize the past).

I think somewhere in the back of my head, I’ve always had this notion that people create resolutions on New Year’s Day after making a promise their higher power to never do anything like that again as long as they live.  Ok, that is probably my twisted humor after spending a few too many semesters at the overly politically correct institute of graduate theological education.  That and I’m a jackass.

This year, I decided to make a bucket list of some strange goals, some normal goals and a few I really have little control over.  If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t and I tried, well, ok.  I’m not going to involve going to the gym in this list.

1) Purchase as many items as I can from locally sourced suppliers.  Some things are out: cat food! Jackson only eats one type and I’m not about to go through changing the food of a 14-year-old fur beast.

2) Less trash tv; more books.  Ideally, I’d like to read 3 books a week.  Some fun, some more thought-provoking.

3) Have a job with benefits.  While I’m grateful for my temp job for the past 7 months, I’d really like to drop the 100% payment of my health insurance.

4) Write actual letters to my friends.  You know, the types with stamps.

5) Be more creative in my cooking.  I can make a killer potato soup but maybe expand out my culinary skills.

6) Give up on the fact that on opening day, I am 100% convinced the Cubs will not make the World Series.  I’m trying reverse karmic psychology on this: work with me.

7) Plug my ears and shout la-la-la-la when anybody equates my dislike of President Obama as being racist.  I don’t like how he has governed: I’m sure he’s a nice guy for a south sider but I’ve not been impressed with his presidency.  I think he was set up from the start as many thought he was the second coming of Kennedy or Christ depending on who you spoke to about the topic.  I didn’t like him in the primary, still don’t.  Of course, my standard for POTUS is either LBJ or Andrew Jackson depending on my mood.

8) Make the decision to redo the condo or sell.

9) Buy new storm windows.

10) Buy a hair dryer. It’s been on my to do list for 5 years. I only remember it the first really cold snap.

11) Go to NOLA this year.

12) Resist all temptations to dress up Laffite as clown for Halloween.

Just exactly how do I spend my days? Day 3 of 72

August 17, 2011

So, for today:

Evaluate your time. How do you spend your day? What things do you do,
from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep? Make a list, and evaluate
whether they’re in line with your priorities. If not, eliminate the things that
aren’t, and focus on what’s important. Redesign your day.

 

This one is a bit of  a struggle.  Like many people, I have one immovable block of time: commute/work/commute.  Now, given the nature of my job, I never know if it will be an eight hour day or a twelve hour day.  While I can’t do much about that aspect of my day (for the moment), I can take opportunities in my day to do what I value.  I found myself making notes of what I actually need to get done so I had a plan when I came home: goal for the day, deal with the kitchen.  DONE. :)  I was waiting for a meeting to start and scribbled a letter to my oldest niece because we haven’t talked in a bit then dashed off a quick email to a college friend about some information I thought she might be interested in.  Little things like taking the 5 minutes to reconnect, build community.

I realized during my morning drive time that one of the stories on NPR was about the ice industry: ok, I never KNEW there was an ice industry and that it was struggling as many of them used to be local businesses but are having issues with the centralized purchasing systems of box retailers.  Interesting.  I mean, I guess I can say I never thought about the ice industry before 6:20 am.

I found myself making a to-do list.  I’m a horrific about procrastination.  I need that task list. It gives me goals.  I knew I had to deal with my kitchen, today it was easy to take care of.  Dishes done, canning supplies stacked for this weekend’s project.  It didn’t seem like such a huge chore once I simply had it on a list of things for me to do.  Instead of sitting here at 8:00 pm thinking “I need to do something”, I’ve managed to do everything I needed to do tonight in a non-frantic pace.  I’m not one of those “work in 15 minute increment” type individuals.

Weekdays will always be tight for me: I never know how long I have to work in a given day based on a project I’m involved with.  I know I’m gone usually 10 hours a day.  Somedays, it can stretch to 14.  For me, the struggle is finding that balance of using “short” days to do some of the chores I despise so when I have a day off, I can do what I enjoy.  I do know tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the week: CSA pick up day.  That will mean an evening of plotting and planning.  I’m very glad I found the bottom of the kitchen table!

Evaluating commitments: Day 2 of 72

August 16, 2011

Mine are pretty simple: work and cats.  My family is pretty flung out so most of my time with them is crammed around various holidays.  I’m single which in and of itself can be a push/pull.  There are days it is exhausting (hi, if I don’t get it done, it’s not going to get done – the cats are lazy like that), there are days it’s lonely, there are days it’s fantastic.  Being single can make it harder to find community (you don’t have that instant introduction of kid-things, a partner who is probably more social that you are).  Being single takes time: nobody to share the household chores.

When I think of what gives me value in my life at the moment? I’m into canning.  There is something relaxing about chopping, processing, making various food items.  I am having a blast going to local farms and finding the produce that I want to preserve.  It’s my de-stressor (having tried knitting, reading and a host of other activities).  I’ve found a fun community on Facebook over canning.  I am able to reduce my carbon foot print by canning/freezing items that are grown in a nearby radius of my home.

My job is one of those things: it is what it is.  I have been working temp for a year or so.  My commute depends on traffic and my hours vary from 8 to oh 14 hours a day.  While yes, working is a necessity and yes it can be stressful and busy, with the economy as it is, I’m grateful for my job.  What I’ve learned in working in a stressful environment is that it is necessary to find slices of respite in the day.  Years ago, I’d never take breaks at work.  Now, I do.  I find that time for a walk around the campus to clear my mind before returning to work.  I jot e-mails to people.  There have been a few times at work where I’ve had to say “No.”  (and wow, is that uncomfortable as a temp!).

As I balance the commute, being single, trying to not live in an episode of hoarders, and watching a tight budget, I’ve learned that it’s ok to scale back.  I find myself only offering to do something when I actually want to (this is a perk of child-free, I don’t feel obligated to doing a host of things for my kids, the cats are GOOD that way!) participate in the activity.  My dirty little secret is that I probably do have a selfish life.  Yes, I donate my time, cash, efforts when I *have* the means.  I should do more.  A place for further reflections, I am sure!

50 Random Things About Me. . . .

April 13, 2011

So, a friend of mine made a list of 100 non-negative statements about her … uh, yeah. I’m not that brave. So, here are 50 random nonnegative (unless we pick opposite sports teams) about me.

1) I love to travel. My must go to before I die list stands at India, back to China, SE Asia circuit, Trans-Siberian Rail, New Zealand and Australia. Winning the Lotto would help this addiction.

2) I’m a good cook. I’m a really good cook when I put my mind to it – pretty rare – but a good cook.

3) I can travel for 3 weeks including a laptop and CPAP in a backpack the size of a carry on.

4) The aforementioned backpack is the only piece of luggage I own.

5) I once got stuck in the Paris Metro gates with the backpack while on crutches after having my hip reconstructed. It was pretty funny.

6) I’m wildly sarcastic and sardonic. 

7) I have Halloween cats named Jackson and Lafitte.

8) I love college sports.  Doesn’t really matter the sport … there is something about the passion.

9) I have 8 friends who are published authors.

10) I’m terrified of the dentist.

11) I’ve had surgery 31 times (hence the blog name).

12) I’m on the fence about the Kindle or other such book readers. Something about the feel of paper.

13) I actually have written a real letter in the past year. And mailed it.

14) My shower curtain has dancing monkeys on it. Ok, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

15) I’m left-handed.

16) I totaled my car while moving cross-country.

17) I recycle.

18) I’m fiercely loyal to my friends … but if you cross me?

19) I vote in every election.

20) I believe in day baseball, the Cubs winning the World Series and Santa Claus. Well 2 of the 3.

21) I go to church, uh, once a year.

22) I try to remember that most things aren’t as important as we make them out to be.

23) I think Oreos and Diet Coke make a perfect dinner. 

24) Occasionally, I like to splash in the big puddles.

25) I prefer tea over coffee.

26) I read just about everything . . . except vampire and romance books. Which is odd because 2 of my friends have published books in those genres.

27) I’ll defend just about anybody’s right for free speech … even if I disagree with them.

28) Casablanca is my favorite movie.

29) I enjoy watching people … we can learn so much by just watching.

30) I’m not as outgoing as most people assume I am; I’m actually pretty reserved.

31) I’m allergic to shellfish.

32) I dyed my hair brown once … it turned out orange. Whoops.

33) I love my 3 nieces and 3 nephews more than anything else on this planet.

34) I love red wine.

35) My favorite item of clothing is my Ohio State hoodie … it replaced my GAP hoodie.

36) I try to laugh as much as possible.

37) I support as many local businesses as possible.

38) When I swim laps, I sing Bon Jovi in my head.

39) I am amazed at my friends and family who can parent, work and find time for themselves.

40) I try to remember my Grandmother’s favorite question “what did you learn today?”

41) I have had bone grafts from cadaver donors . . . I hope I can make the same choice if ever presented to me.

42) I once threw a pan away after a cooking experiment.

43) I have a bobble head Jesus and Moses action figure doll.

44) I’m a slightly rabid basketball fan.

45) My mother’s name is misspelled on my birth certificate.

46) Every year, I really think the Cubs are going to win the World Series. One year, I’ll be right!

47) When I play tennis, I sometimes switch hands with my racquet.

48) I’m afraid of ice storms.

49) I graduated from Hollins College.

50) I’m pretty sure peanut butter is the world’s most perfect food.

PB and Oatmeal Cookies: GF style

February 13, 2011

Sous ChefSo, my trusted sous chef informed me today it was time to make cookies. Who am I do disagree with the adorable monster sous chef in my life? Apparently, gluten-free peanut butter/oatmeal cookies were in style in his little diva world. I was wildly happy to agree with his 4 pawed whim.

Now, one of the problems I’ve found with finding GF recipes is that either they require 3-4 extra ingredients or the directions are so convoluted that it would take a degree in cooking to figure out how to make them. 

I was pretty happy with this first attempt – they were a bit dry, my fault after the chocolate chip being too moist. But here is the outline for the recipe.  Feel free to tweak and play.  I made them as bar cookies – simply because I’m far to lazy to keep making them on a sheet. At least I’m honest!

2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened.

2/3c. packed brown sugar

3 heaping tablespoons of organic peanut butter (this could have probably been increased).

2 cage free, organic eggs.

3T of vanilla

1 1/3 c organic oats

1/3 c local, organic honey (could have been increased a bit)

Flour

Pre heat oven to 350.  Blend all ingredients except oats and flour.  Slowly blend in oats.  Add GF flour of choice until you are able to roll into a ball or spread into a baking dish.  You want the mixture to be firm but not crumbly.  My first batch I put in too much flour – I should have kept it at about 1 1/3c or so.  It’s more of a via texture type cooking.  Bake for roughly an hour.

One of the things I’ve learned in the GF cooking adventure is that it is much more sensitive to things like oven variations and you do have to experiment. 

Give it a try . . . I was happy – but in round 2? I’m going to add a bit more moisture!  I’d give it 3 paws.

Yummy goodness!

February 5, 2011

So, I had one of those look in the refrigerator and see what you can eat nights. Most of the time, that results in an uninspired, unoriginal cheese and egg omelette. Today? A snap quick recipe of organic yumminess.

One container of Trader Joe’s pre-made polenta.

One bag of Trader Joe’s organic spinach (raw)

1lb of Italian Mild Sausage from the fantastic 8 O’clock Ranch

1lb of Raw Milk Cheddar from the Neighborly Farms

I spread the polenta out on the bottom of the pan, layered with cooked sausage, spinach next then the cheese.  Cooked for about an hour at 350.  Yummy goodness.  Even have leftovers.

Didn’t have to be McGyver to make it. . . and everything is organic.

Oh, and in the did you know this? Jean Lafitte was Jewish. I told Lafitte this….and decided we lived in an interfaith household. Good thing I bought him that Hanukkah stocking this year on clearance.