A Few on Friday

1.  I must have this burger at some point this weekend.

2.  Guess where I'm heading in a week?  Kripalu!  I still don't know how to pronouce it, nor do I know how I'm going to handle living in a dorm for a week but I'm going!  I'll be spending my week there learning about the treatment of trauma, doing yoga and not eating meat.  Good thing I'm going to get that burger in before I go.  

3.  I'll be coming in hot from a week of meditation and mindfulness straight to the Bruno Mars concert in Memphis.  Isn't life beutiful in its irony sometimes? 

4.  I'm heading out on a river kayaking adventure tomorrow.  If I get eaten by an alligator, I love you all. 

5.   Signed up for the St. Jude half marathon, it's in December and I'm pumped that this year I wont be triaining for a race during Christmas.  It's hard to enjoy Christmas Spirit Libations when you have to run 47 miles the next day.  I'm kidding, I've never run 47 miles.  I would die.  I would have died if I had to go to 27 miles.  Or my toe would have just fallen off.  Either one, death or toe falling off, is just not cool.  

ANYWAY.  I'm going to be running as a St. Jude Hero with a goal to raise $1000.  Here is the link to my fundraising site if you'd like to donate.  I'm pumped.   I know it's like 200 days away but I had to land hotel rooms so I figured that I'll just be pumped for 200 days.

6.  Speaking of running,  it sure is already warm at 6 am here in the MS Delta.  

7.  You know what goes well with warm weather?  Wine.  Specifially self serve wine.  Check the Greencork next time you are in Memphis, it's a self serve wine joint.  Maybe I should franchize it up in the delta.  Anytime I can get just a sampling of a Rose, I'm a happy gal.

I'm also a happy gal about a three day weekend, hopefully you'll get one, too!  Be well, have a great weekend!       


Pasta with Ricotta Meatballs

Regular readers of this blawg might be wondering.....Girl.  Where are the recipes?  What are you eating?   

Well...I'm not really sure.  Nothing to good, though, that's for damn. 

Well, that's not completely true.  I had some pizza from Lillos on Sunday night and if you're familiar with it you know that was good.  There's also been a semi-classy sandwich or two and this dish I'm sharing with you today.  But we'll get to that in a minute.

Let's talk about cooking.  Just like everything, we all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to cooking.  My strengths are:  casseroles, breads, pasta, basically any member of the carb family.  My weaknesses are:  meats and veggies, rice, timing everything to finish at once, lite and healthy meals.  Since we've recently acquired 1/16 of a 4H pig, I've been trying to do lots of pork and veggie meals.  Since that's not one of my strong suits, you can imagine that it's not going all that well.  But I'm trying; it's getting better.  Up on deck for this week is ranch pork chops which is, wait for it, some pork chops with a ranch packet sprinkled over them.  If I mess that up I might need to hang up my apron.  

But here's what I haven't messed up:  the 4H bacon.  Shut your mouth it's amazing.  A-MAY-ZING.  I'm not really one of those yes, this is lovely, but it would be better with bacon.  This 4H bacon, though, is out of this world and I might start to serve it with everything.  There are two pieces left in my fridge right now and it makes me nervous to think they'll soon be gone.  

So I leave you today with this pasta dish.  It was good, real good, as it's one of my strengths.  You may think it's a bit involved but its really not!  I made it in a Thursday with not to much fuss.  Enjoy!     
Pasta with Ricotta Meatballs
slightly adapted from Cooking Light

9 oz pasta
1 oz Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko
1/3 cup part skim ricotta
6 oz ground beef (90% lean)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 garlic clove, grated
cooking spray
2 cups marinara sauce

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.  

While water for pasta is boiling, combine two tablespoons of cheese and the rest of the ingredients through the garlic.  Shape the mixture into 16 1 inch meatballs.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat the pan with cooking spray and add the meatballs.  Cook for 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.  Add marinara, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook for five minutes or until meatballs are done.  Remove pan from heat, remove meatballs from pan with a slotted spoon.  Add pasta to pan and toss to coat.  Top meatballs with remaining two tablespoons of cheese.

To serve, place 1 cup of pasta mixture and 4 meatballs into a bowl. 

Serving size 1 cup pasta + 4 meatballs
Points plus 9


Change Directions

I've been thinking some lately about being comfortable in my own skin.  My mom said it on Sunday about a girl we all know.  She's comfortable in her skin, she said, like it was the most natural thing in the world!  Am I comfortable in my on skin?  I guess if you are, you don't have to ask right.  Probably. 

Fast forward to today, Anne Lamott posts on the 'book in her perfect Anne Lamott voice paired God's perfect timing.  This is what she wrote.  It's long, but it's good. 
There's a whole chapter on perfectionism in Bird by Bird, because it is the great enemy of the writer, and of life, our sweet messy beautiful screwed up human lives. It is the voice of the oppressor. It will keep you very scared and restless your entire life if you do not awaken, and fight back, and if you're an artist, it will destroy you.
My pastor said last Sunday that if you don't change directions, you are going to end up where you are headed. Is that okay with you, to end up still desperately trying to achieve more, and to get the world to validate your parking ticket, and to get your possibly dead parents to see how amazing you always were?
This is not going to happen. They are either so dead, like mine are, or they are insatiable, or so relieved that you did not end up divorced--or if you did, then heavily into drugs, like the Woodson girl, or more out of shape than you are, like Esther's son. It's hopeless, and this is the good news.
Putting those tiny pesky parental voices aside, what about, oh, say, the entire rest of the world?
Do you mind even a little that you are still addicted to people-pleasing, and are still putting everyone else's needs and laundry and career ahead of your creative, spiritual life? Giving all your life force away, to "help" and impress. Well, your help is not helpful, and falls short.
Look, I struggle with this. I hate to be criticized. I am just the tiniest bit more sensitive than the average bear. And yet, I'm a writer, so I periodically put my work out there, and sometimes like all writers, I get terrible reviews, so personal in nature that they leave me panting. Even with a Facebook post, like the last one, do you have any idea what it's like to get 500-plus negative attacks, on my character, from truly bizarre strangers.
Really, it's not ideal.
Yet, I get to tell my truth. I get to seek meaning and realization. I get to live fully, wildly, imperfectly. That's why I'm alive. And all I actually have to offer as a writer, is my version of life. Every single thing that has happened to me is mine. As I've said a hundred times, if people wanted me to write more warmly about them, they should have behaved better
Is it okay with you that you blow off your writing, or whatever your creative/spiritual calling, because your priority is to go to the gym or do yoga five days a week? Would you give us one of those days back, to play or study poetry? To have an awakening? Have you asked yourself lately, "How alive am I willing to be?" It's all going very quickly. It's mid-May, for God's sake. Who knew. I thought it was late February.
It's time to get serious about joy and fulfillment, work on our books, songs, dances, gardens. But perfectionism is always lurking nearby, like the demonic prowling lion in the Old Testament, waiting to pounce. It will convince you that your work-in-progress is not great, and that you may never get published. (Wait, forget the prowling satanic lion--your parents, living or dead, almost just as loudly either way, and your aunt Beth, and your passive-aggressive friends, whom we all think you should ditch, are going to ask, "Oh, you're writing again? That's nice. Do you have an agent?")
Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you're 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn't go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It's going to break your heart. Don't let this happen. Repent just means to change direction--and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn't mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon.
Here's how to break through the perfectionism: make a LOT of mistakes. Fall on your butt more often. Waste more paper, printing out your shitty first drafts, and maybe send a check to the Sierra Club. Celebrate messes--these are where the goods are. Put something on the calendar that you know you'll be terrible at, like dance lessons, or a meditation retreat, or boot camp. Find a writing partner, who will help you with your work, by reading it for you, and telling you the truth about it, with respect, to help you make it better and better; for whom you will do the same thing. Find someone who wants to steal his or her life back, too. Now; today. One wild and crazy thing: wears shorts out in public if it is hot, even if your legs are milky white or heavy. Go to a poetry slam. Go to open mike,and read the story you wrote about the hilariously god-awful family reunion, with a trusted friend, even though it could be better, and would hurt Uncle Ed's feelings if he read it, which he isn't going to.
Change his name and hair color--he won't even recognize himself.
At work, you begin to fulfill your artistic destiny. Wow! A reviewer may hate your style, or newspapers may neglect you, or 500 people may tell you that you are bitter, delusional and boring.
Let me ask you this: in the big juicy Zorba scheme of things, who fucking cares?
From Anne Lamott's Facebook Page, May 12 2014
Before anyone gets concerned, I'm not writing a novel, nor do I have pesky parental voices that I'm dealing with.  I do internalize and worry and wonder if I say the right things and regret it when I feel like I didn't.  I do hate to be criticised and spend more time zoning out on Candy Crush than I'd like to admit.  And I do have goals and dreams and honestly believe that if you don't change your direction then you'll end up where you're heading. 
And so here we find ourselves, back in the place where we always find ourselves when I process through all my feelings on this blawg: 
You're probably OK right now. 
Carry on with your Monday and if you'd like, change directions....


A Few on Friday

1.  If you're not listening to This American Life, A: why the hell not and B: go to this website immediately.  It's some of the top episodes ever aired.  I can speak for the episode about Harper High School, it's phenomenal.  One that I especially enjoyed listening to whilst on my commute is The Psychopath Test.  Wouldn't it be awkward if you found out one day that you were a Psychopath?  That would be so awkward.

2.  You know what else is awkward?  The amount I've time I've spent publicly rubbing my eyelids during this spring allergy season. 

3.  I have a running list of things I want to do but don't want to exert the energy required to do them.  A constant on this list is become a vegetarian or at least like a 99% vegetarian (I don't know what that is but let's move on).  I like this article by a food blogging vegetarian about what she eats in a week.  I also like noodles. 
 find it here
4.  I just had a realization that I want to be a vegetarian mostly because of animal cruelty/the often funkiness of meat but kind of because I just want to eat noodles and peanut butter.
5.  I missed/didn't miss a ton about social media but one thing that I did miss was quick visual reminders like these:

find these on Black Swan Yoga 183's FB page

6.  Heard on a morning show whist getting ready.  And some of this is paraphrased but the good stuff isn't.  

Don't ask boring questions on a date.  Ask unexpected questions!  Like......have you ever counted all of your freckles? 


To be fair, the ladies giving this advice wrote a book called "Smitten:  How the Brilliant Flirt" and they talked (at 6 am) with husky voices and said you only get rejected because you are so awesome.  

Confidence?  Yes, absolutely, all the time, bring it.  Being ridiculous?  Let's leave that at home.  

7.  The Big Browne Hound bounced around like a kangaroo when I got home yesterday.  For a dog who, on an exciting day, is best described as blunted...this is was exciting stuff!

Happy weekend, dudes!  Keep it real!  Hug your mama!  If you can't hug your mama, hug someone else!


Flappy Pork Cutlets and Doing Your Best

Let's be honest, people.   Eating healthy can be a bit of a bummer.  The portions are small, the cream sauce is absent, the baked-on breading flaps off at the corner a little bit.  It can appear dreadful, really, it can.  
But then, oh but then, you look a little closer and realize those are steamed veggies with some lemon juice and that the piece 'o pork is not just any piece of pork, but a piece of pork from a 4-H pig.  4-H pigs are lovingly fed and raised and (I've been promised) humanely slaughtered.  Makes me feel good to know where my meat comes from.  

Also makes me feel good to know that after this meal, I'm sitting on my couch thinking about the pineapple I'm about to cut up instead of regretting the Cinco de Mayo fajitas and cheese dip and brewskis oh my.  

I think the bummer of eating healthy is less about what you are eating and more about what it involves.  Eating healthy involves planning and calculating and washing fresh things and going to the grocery store on Sunday afternoon.  All of that stuff is not fun, at least according to lazy mind.  Lazy mind (friend of bad mind, anxiety mind, depression mind, etc.) enjoys sloth and gluttony and take out.  Lazy mind calls the shots as long as lazy mind is allowed to call the shots; lazy mind is more likely to call the shots the longer it's allowed to call the shots.  

Letting mindful mind (or clear mind or what ever you'd like to call it) take charge allows you to be less tied up in fun/not fun or want/don't want and focus more on what is the best thing for me at this moment?  

Instead of saying I'm going to get back on track this week!!  I'm going to say I'm going to do the best I can today!!  With food and exercise and kindness and budgets and attitude and all of that stuff that lazy mind says is no fun but mindful mind says sure does make you feel better.

Unless I fall face first into some ice cream in the next hour or so, we can chalk this up to a pretty good day...flappy pork cutlets and all! 

Interested in trying them?  Here you go!
9 points plus Panko Crusted Cutlets    


A Few on Friday

1.  I'm back from my Lenten hiatus!  I've got lots to say about it.  But not much motivation to say it.  Stay tuned, yo. 

2.  My big pretty legs have gotten a little bit bigger (and prettier, maybe??) it seems.  While I don't attach my self worth to the size of my hams, I do find thigh chafing and the horrid short ride up to be quite the bummer.  I'm now in the market for some roomier, longer runnin' shorts.  Suggestions?  Shorts to avoid?  Thigh shrinking cream?

Or maybe I could just say to hell with it all and channel Tanya Harding while I run.  Promise me you'll click on that link, it's amazing.

3.  Speaking of shorts:

4.  Things like natural disasters always remind me of how so much pain and so much beauty can exist at the exact same time.  People loose everything, people give everything.  It's goodness in action. 

I heard a story this morning on my way into work about a man from the coast who has pulled together donations and is cooking meals for people impacted by this week's weather.  He shared that after Katrina, he ate only MREs for about a week and a half.  When a crew came through passing out homemade meals, he said that it was, and still is, the best meal he's ever eaten.  Better than anything that's come from Commander's Palace he said.  So he got his truck, got some propane and some food donated and set out to feed the masses.  One of many wonderful stories circulating.  Keep helping, people.  

5.  Check out this awesome info-graphic for beating stress and increasing happiness.  Stress is zero fun, right?       

6.  Did anyone else obsessively watch the Boston Marathon last week?  I did, from my desk.  That Rita Jeptoo doesn't appear to struggle with the shorts ride up like this girl does.

7.  I need new makeup!  Things are orange over here up on my face.  I'm thinking Tarte as it's cruelty free and gets good reviews.  I need a solid make up counter in my life as not to stack problems on top of problems with mismatching color and all that jazz.  What do you wear?     

8.  And what do you eat for lunch?  I love a PB and J but I'm afraid that the time is quickly approaching where the sight of a PB and J might send me into a blind rage.  Remember I commute and don't have access to exotic ingredients. 

9.  If you feel like you don't have enough interesting articles related to mental health on your Facebook news feed, you should go 'like' our page over at the Sunrise Clinic.        

10.  I want to run this!!!! Who's with me?? 

Happy weekend, tater tots!  I'm spending my weekend at the Que on the Yazoo.  If you're around, you should come!!  Check it out here