Thursday, February 17, 2011

Living in the Moment

I could not help but share. I love pulling in the driveway after a long day and Maximus is waiting for me in the window. This is from an article on Tiny Buddha. Found here.

Here are 5 tips for living in the moment that we can learn from our pets:
1. Pick a daily activity and spend time doing this, and only this, activity each day.
Watch as your cat or dog plays with their favorite toy.  They focus all their attention on that toy and all their thoughts are of how to reach it, catch it, and enjoy it. It’s almost as if there’s nothing going on around them.
They are completely engaged in the experience, and that makes it all the more pleasurable.
It’s not always easy to focus on the small things because unlike pets, we need to provide for and take care of ourselves, and that can create stress. But that gives us even more of an incentive to disconnect and enjoy the little things. We deserve the chance to be without having to overwhelm ourselves with thoughts.
2. Breathe.
Cats naturally breathe deeply with long, slow, equal breaths (or snores!).  When we hear a change in our pet’s breathing patterns we know we need to do something to protect them from what’s scaring them, cool them down, or take to take them to the vet for a check-up.
If we understand this change of breathing pattern is an important indicator of health in our pets, surely we can see that our own breathing patterns are an indicator of our well-being too.
Next time you’re watching the items pile up on your to-do list items pile up and you feel your breath shortening, take a moment to notice this. Then take longer, slower breaths letting the inhale invigorate you and the exhale calm you.
3. Dwell neither on the future nor the past.
A cat doesn’t sit around worrying about the big, scary dog she might meet the next time she leaves the house. She has good instincts and uses them when necessary—and until then, it’s not on her radar.
Too often we sit around worrying tomorrow’s work or the consequences of the things we’ve said and done, as if we can somehow predict and control the future. All this distracts us from the here and now, preventing us from living this current, precious moment.
When these worries feel they could overpower you, go back to your breathe. All you need to do is take each moment as it comes.
4. Enjoy your treats.
Give your dog or cat a treat and watch them enjoy it. Do they try to eat it while running out of the back door? Do they eat it while playing with their favorite toy or trying to dig a hole?  No, of course they don’t – because it’s not enjoyable to multi-task treats.  If they do, they miss out on savoring it.
So don’t watch your favorite TV show while chatting on the phone or eat a piece of cake while engrossed in your work.  Give yourself the full experience of the things you love.
5. Follow your instincts.
Animals always follow their instincts. They know how to hunt, when to run from danger, and how to protect their territory without having to be trained.
By listening to their instincts, animals stay alive and healthy—something we don’t always do well as humans. We’ll ignore our hunger cues, or stay in unhealthy situations far longer than is good for us.
If your body tells you you’re hungry, eat.  If your emotions feel out of control, take a break to refocus.  If your mind tells you it’s time to make a change, make that change! You know a lot about what’s good for you. You just need to listen to yourself.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Advice for a first time seller?

I was speaking to my Mom on Sunday about selling stuff online. They have lights in their home that she's thinking of selling on EBay or even Etsy (they are technically vintage). I did not have a lot of advice regarding this other than the fact that people love to buy items from sellers with positive ratings and feedback.

For those of you that have Etsy shops (I know a few of my friends do) is this the case on Etsy as well? Would you ever buy something from a brand new shop/seller? I've purchased a few things on Etsy that I've been very happy with. I had a very good interaction with one of the artists I purchased a pin from around Christmas. I like that personal touch.

Also saw this on Etsy today and just had to share:

Monday, February 14, 2011

What I miss

Since 1995 I've had a variety of jobs. More jobs than the average person perhaps. The good news is I have 'transferable skills'. Also, I do volunteer work each year so I've learned random things (such as how to card wool the old fashioned way).

There's a few odd things I miss about past jobs. Now mind you, I'm content in the industry I'm in now. I really enjoy my workplace, co-workers, and clients. I just can't help being nostalgic sometimes.

From my last job I miss the parties. There was the party where we carved pumpkins. The party with the Margarita Man. All of these while on company time. I was just thinking today about how much I miss having dogs in the office. I've worked in two offices where there were 1-2 dogs in each day. My office now would never accommodate that (nor would I expect them to). It was just nice during the day to have an animal that would not talk back and that you could give dog cookies to.

Do you have an unusual perk from an old job that you miss? Have you see this Margarita Man that I speak of?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hot Sauce Addict

My brother collects hot sauces (as some of you may know). He actually uses them. I was never really into hot sauce until friends of ours introduced us to the sauces by Pepper Plant in California. These are small batch sauces and the garlic one is our favorite thing to serve with meat (or put on a burger). There's something about Pepper Plant products. They are so good. It's also good with Mexican dishes.

A few months back I bought sriracha sometimes called 'rooster sauce'. Today's Globe featured this article about the 'King of Sriracha'.Although my husband is not a fan I find myself putting it on all sorts of dishes. I had it last night on ham broccoli quiche that we made. I read in 'Everyday Food' that sriracha is good in spaghetti sauce.

What is your favorite hot sauce? Are you addicted to the Rooster?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jamie Oliver, veggies, nuggets, and LA

I watched Jamie Oliver's show last year (that took place in the fattest city in America: Huntington, WV). Much of it was shocking (the scene where the children did not know what various veggies were). A lot of it was very touching and there was various 'breakthrough' moments as Jamie worked with the lunch ladies.

As it turns out, Los Angeles does not like Jamie. This was surprising to me considering how much Huntington resisted him (for those of you that remember the scenes with the radio DJ). Lately there has been a lot of press how kids that eat school lunch instead of home lunch are consistently fatter. I think back to the rare occasions where I would not take my own lunch to school. I would go to the line that was not hot lunch. Often I would eat a brownie and yogurt and call that lunch (sorry, Mom). More times than not I would bring a bagel with cream cheese or something like that.

I often dream about the tater tots and 'sticks of death' (those of you that lived in BU's West Campus in the 90s--pre student village--know what I'm talking about) from college. The funny thing is during my brownie and yogurt days and later mounds of tater tot days I was underweight. I did not go to the gym. These days I grow my own veggies, go to farmer's markets, and spend way too much at Whole Foods. Maybe the tater tots (in moderation) are not actually a bad thing if they are organic and made with olive oil? ;)

Friday, February 4, 2011

GMO Thoughts

I've often wondered if kids today just have more allergies or if there's better tests out there than ever before. GMOs have been in the news a lot in recent weeks. I wanted to share a list from Robyn O'Brien (the founder of AllergyKids.

Below is Ms. O'Brien's list on GMOs. I noticed last night my cheese was labeled GMO-free. It seems the labels are everywhere. I buy non-GMO seeds for my garden and never really gave it much thought. So I decided to learn more.

FIVE TIPS about GMOs and why you should care:
  • Introduced in the 1990s, this new technology was developed to enhance profitability for the food industry.
  • The technology allows food scientists to inject chemicals and food proteins into the genetic material of our food.
  • Eaters in other countries were given a warning sign when these foods were introduced in 1994 and labels were put on their food that essentially said: “Not yet proven safe”.
  • In the US, this new technology and the proteins it creates were introduced in 1994 without labels under the premise: “Not yet proven dangerous” while being patented by the agricultural industry for their unique characteristics.
  • Unlabeled food proteins that contain chemicals and other foreign ingredients can trigger severe allergic reactions that include difficulty breathing, asthma, eczema, inflammmatory gut conditions and in some cases life-threatening anaphylactic shock.
Bottom line: Americans have the right to know what’s going into their food just like eaters in other countries.


Do you see the non-GMO labels and also wonder what the big deal is? Is GMO just one of those things that you figure is not something to worry about? Part of me is more concerned with hormones and chemicals when I realize that we've been eating GMO corn and soy products for over a decade now. The other part of me thinks about how my office of 25 has 4 cancer survivors...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

#reverb10: Creative Prompt for February

One month into 2011, what question(s) are you living? Are there any prompts/questions that arose during #reverb10 that are still resonating in your life? Are you living new questions?

 This is a strangely phrased Reverb compared to the other ones. I guess it's asking if I'm living with questions 1 month into 2011...

The only questions I have are how to continue to balance work, volunteer work, photo club (one thing I'd like to do more of this year), and making sure the rental is successful during its first year. The snowdays each week have made it tougher than normal to stay on track. I've LOVED each and every snow day...but falling out of the routine is tough.

One promise I made during the original Reverb10 exercise was to ski and get out there into winter. I'm pleased to report I've done that (for a while there I was skiing every weekend). :)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Don't get hit by the plow"

I've lost track of how many days I've been snowed in this winter. I love it! I enjoy not having to go into work and just to be able to do what I please. Also, I enjoy making home cooked meals all day and having my husband here while he works from home.

I remember growing up and not having any February vacation due to so many snow days. This winter has taken me back to those times.

I enjoy watching the media freak out and come up with names for this winter of '10-'11. When we were kids it was just more time to sled, build snow forts etc. The one bit of advice our parents in the neighborhood gave were: "Don't get hit by the plow as you're in the forts and don't throw snowballs at cars" Once we did throw snow balls at a passing car (from the safety of inside a snow fort of course). My winter jacket at the time was red and black. I hid face down in the snow when the driver got out of the car and proceeded to scream at us. She picked me up by my red and black hood and said "oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were a boy" (in reference to my red and black non-girl looking coat).

So it's okay to pick a boy up by his hood and scream at him but not a girl? The other day I had a conversation with my husband over Tennessee's BBQ (nomnomnom) in regards to yelling at the children of strangers. If two children are beating each other up in a grocery store and disturbing the patrons is it okay to scold them if they are not your kids? This happened to me around Christmas and in my best non-parent non-bitchy voice I said: "this is not a playground." I surprised myself how calm I was as I looked down at two boys tussling on the floor of the grocery store. To my surprise the Mom came storming over yelling "How DARE you." "I am their MOTHER." I just mumbled something about how they had been fighting all over the store. In the parking lot I overheard her telling her boys that I was a WITCH (Salem, anyone?). I responded by saying "Happy Holidays!"

My husband said he would have been horrified if he was there. I was kind, patient, and really quite nice to this insane mother of two. It could have been a shit show. I think I was in the holiday mood or something. I felt badly for those two little boys that had to go home with that woman.

That woman is the very same woman as the woman that picked me up by my hood out of the snow fort. Only it's another Century and I no longer throw snow balls at passing cars.