Liebster Award…I Confess Creepy Things

liebster

So I was nominated by the fair Kendra to participate in the Liebster blog tag.  I’ve already won this a few times, but I love yakking your ears off in response to surveys (and–thanks K–you gave me a blogging topic for this weekend, and I wasn’t coming up with anything, so you SAVED ME); I will happily and humbly accept your nomination.rihanna rising gif

1. When you find an insect or arachnid in your house, what is your immediate response? Do you scream? Rescue the bug and let it outside? Kill it? No, I will not judge you (too harshly) for your response.   Depends on how big/hairy it is.  If it’s longer than an inch or so, it goes underfoot.  Otherwise I try to put a cup over it and slide an envelope beneath that and dump the whole package outside (UNLESS IT CAN JUMP OH GOD THAT’S THE WORST WHEN THEY CAN JUMP AND THEY JUST RAM THEMSELVES AGAINST THE GLASS OH GOD OH GOD).

2. What is your opinion on so-called “white lies?” Are they necessary in certain cases to avoid hurting someone? Or should they be avoided at all costs?  Hmm.  This is too dang deep for a blog survey…how do I say this without sounding awful..? I tell a lot of lies.  Storyteller by nature, et cetera…I just really like embellishing stories to get a reaction out of people.  I add harmless little details that I think’ll make it funnier or something.  I don’t even realize I’m doing it, which is the scariest part.  I’ll actually convince myself that the embellished version was the actual course of events…if I’m ever telling you a really fanciful story, you should ask me if I’m lying.  I’ll probably blink dazedly a few times and respond with “Oh…I guess I am!”  I DO STRIVE TO AVOID THIS on the blog, though, because it’s much harder to accidentally type up a lie than speak it.

Hmm, what was the actual question?  Oh…white lies.  I don’t think you should lie to avoid hurting people, but don’t deliberately tear someone down either.  Honesty is always the best policy…like if they ask for a critique on something that sucks, just point out the flaws along with the good points.  There’s always good points.

3. What is one of the most bizarre/detailed/vivid dreams you have ever had? Have you ever had a dream that predicted something in the future (yes, this was inspired by the aforementioned dream I had)?  Well…heh.  Do I ‘fess up here?  Every dream I have is extremely vivid and bizarre.  Extremely.  My most recent dream (meaning last night) was that my brother and I had accidentally murdered Shrek the ogre.  Also, my brother was Remus Lupin, from the Harry Potter series, except he was wearing a bra, patterned with oranges.  (It was quite a lovely bra.)  The big oak tree in our yard was actually the Whomping Willow, and we stowed Shrek’s corpse in the Shrieking Shack which was nearby, through a tunnel.  (Realization: it was actually supposed to be Snape that we killed, but I guess my brain subbed in the image of Shrek because it couldn’t picture a dead Snape..?) Then the police showed up, saying there had been a reported attempted break-in at our house.  I had this really awesome grandma who didn’t resemble any of my actual grandmas but she could do kung-fu and she took out two of the cops with her walker.  Then the rest of the police force showed up, but it turned out to be my childhood Taekwon-do class, so there was a brief happy reunion before our living room turned into the PE gym and we lined up on opposite sides of it, getting ready to square down.

That was actually kind of a tame dream for me.

4. Do you eat food that you’ve dropped on the ground? Or throw it away in disgust? Do you follow expiration dates on all packaged food, or only with dairy products and other mold-prone food? This was inspired by the fact that I recently threw out a tub of almost-empty yogurt that had expired a month ago. Even I have my limits when it comes to expired food.   Depends on the type of food.  Is it good chocolate?  I’ll eat good chocolate off a toilet seat.  (I’ll, like, rinse it off first…)  I eat most foods off the floor.  I’m exceedingly ignorant-by-choice of the types of bacteria that thrive in carpets.  It makes life so much simpler.  I am kind of obsessive about expiration dates though…I have an awful nagging fear that I’ll get food poisoning and die if I eat something even a day past the expiration date.  It just looks so final…it’s scary, man.

5. Do you have one or more social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc…)? How has it affected your life, both positively and/or negatively? Or do you prefer to stay off of such websites?  Yup.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest; check, check, check and check.  I’m a really big fan of social media.  It allows me to connect with others, like my old Wyoming friends, stay in touch, and promote things.  And I love the tiny windows into other’s lives.  (I’m the kind of person who cranes their neck to see into people’s houses when they’re driving past, not because I want to, erm, see anything explicit, but because it really fascinates me to see the kind of spaces other people spend the majority of their lives in.  Is this another thing I can attribute to just having a writer-brain? :D)  I don’t really think they’ve had a big negative impact on my life.  I don’t think they’re interesting enough to get addicted to…only blogs and Tumblr have that power over me.

6. Why exactly are there warning labels on things such as bottles of hairspray stating “Do not use near heat, flame, or while smoking.” “Avoid inhalation.” “Avoid spraying in eyes”? Do these companies think we are idiots, or are they simply terrified of being sued by a person who says “You didn’t tell me that it’s dangerous to use my hair dryer in the bathtub!! How dare you do such a thing!!” Yes, this is somewhat of a rhetorical question, so instead of answering it, feel free to share the most absurd warning labels you have ever seen.  Yeah, I think it comes of the companies being afraid of sue-age.  (Haha…)  Why would you even use your hair dryer in the bathtub anyway?  Are there really people that hellbent on multitasking?

7. Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? If so, what was his/her/it’s name? Was it human, animal, vegetable, mineral, or alien?  I…well, I did.  Her name was…*cringes* Plecostomus, because that was a type of fish I had in my fish tank.  I just called her Platty for short.  I’m not sure she wasn’t human; she was humanoid, but she had green skin and red hair and in the world she came from capitalization was reversed so she wrote her name pLATTY.  I was…a special child.

8. Do you talk to yourself on a regular basis? Or perhaps to your pets? Have you ever engaged in a fascinating discussion or argument with yourself? (Please tell me I’m not the only one who has done this…)  Well, I journal daily, which is essentially an elaborate written conversation with myself.  Sometimes if I’m alone (or in math class) I’ll make snide little remarks to myself, but I don’t know that I’ve ever had a fully-fledged self-argument, a la Eleventh Doctor in Nightmare in Silver.

nightmare in silver

(photo credit the BBC)

9. When was the last time you sent an actual pencil-and-paper letter to someone? Do you think handwritten letters are always more intimate and personal than an email or text message, or does it depend on the situation? Speaking of which, can you write in cursive (I can’t, so don’t worry about being judged here)?  I probably send more snail mail than most people, but I still haven’t sent a letter in a long time.  Maybe it was…a year ago??  People don’t do it nearly often enough, but I love getting handwritten letters.  I feel so shpecial upon receiving one, and I definitely feel like there’s a stronger interpersonal connection there than with email.  That said, I also love email, since it’s so much more practical and speedy and allows me to keep up with friends whom I don’t see on a daily basis! (Love ya, Cleo!)

can write in cursive.  Pretty well.  I’ve got a fancy fountain pen and I spent a lot of one summer trying to make my script as pretty as possible.  My normal, note-taking, paper-writing printing is somewhat of an ugly lovechild between printing and cursive…teachers hate it, I hate it sometimes (all the letters are nondescript lumps), but it looks vaguely artistic.

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10. Do you feel as though TV or magazine advertisements actually make you more likely to purchase the product being advertised? Or do you simply enjoy mocking them and/or laughing at them? Feel free to mention one of the strangest, best, worst, most sexist, or most creative advertisement you’ve ever seen.  I mean, I’m sure they do influence my purchases.  I try not to let them, but if they weren’t effective, advertising wouldn’t be the multi-billion-dollar industry it is now, right?  I do like to mock them; and a lot are selling naked women, rather than, um, the actual product.  BUTBUTBUTBUTBUT–the Phillipines version of Pantene made this really awesome commercial about negative labels that are applied to women vs men and how we can break through them, and it’s one of the coolest commercials I’ve seen in a long time.  Worth a watch:

My 10 questions time!  I’m upset that no one did my sock drawer survey.  (Except for TeenieYogini.  She’s just better than all of you.  *sniffs haughtily*) That hurts, you guys.  SOO I’m just going to steal the some of the questions from there and TAG people so they HAVE to respond, mwahahahaha…

  1. Show us your sock drawer.  *PEERpressurePEERpressure*
  2. Favorite type of workout?
  3. Favorite type of cheese (or cheeze)?
  4. What would your last meal be?
  5. Favorite outfit?
  6. Favorite caffeinated beverage?
  7. One of your favorite fictional characters has shown up on your doorstep ready to take you on the adventure of a lifetime. Who are they, and where do you go?
  8. Any tattoos you’d like?
  9. Hair color? Would you ever dye it? Chop it all off?
  10. Favorite smell?

And I tag:

1. Kris @ Plants & Pages

2. Andrea @ I Run for Donuts

3. Cleo @ The Literary Flaneur (yes I’m going to keep tagging you for these things; as your sassy clumsy friend I’m just going to pressure you into doing more and more surveys and stepping away from your insane TBR pile)

4. Kailey @ The Caffeinated Runner

5.  Lacey @ Life Hands You Limes

6.  Joelle @ On a Pink Typewriter

7. Alex @ The Run Within

*counts names on fingers furtively* Crap, that’s only seven.  All the other blogs I read (that haven’t been tagged already) are either too topic-specific for this kind of thing, or are too BIG (in terms of follower count), and nominating them sort of feels like yanking on an upperclassman’s sleeve to ask where the bathroom is.  I AM NOT WORTHY.  If you’re reading this, consider yourself nominated, I guess!!  I am so totally stoked you are reading this!  Congrats on your life decisions!

Y’all should recommend some more blogs to me.  Any other ramblers out there, either fitness-, food-, or literature-related?  ALL THREE?  I must meet some more of my kin.  We must form a tribe.

Friday Faves

Featuring: food finds, fun, fur, accomplishments and attempted alliteration.

1.  Accomplishments: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, meet 3-dimensional puzzles.

DSCN3906 DSCN3911 DSCN3918 DSCN3920 DSCN3922 DSCN3924Up in our Wyoming cabin, the bro, the friend, and I happened across a vintage Peppercricket Farms 247-piece, 3D PUZZLE.  We slaved away hours over this thing (at least, I did–the bro and friend dropped out 70% of the way through [weaklings]) and I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been kinda waiting for an excuse to show you my handiwork since then. 😀  Or that this puzzle was my sole driving force for the three-day span it occupied; I ate, breathed, and slept Peppercricket Farms.  I even missed dinner one night???!!  What could have possibly possessed my soul so fiercely as to cause such an unthinkable outcome??

Other news in the accomplishments department:  I’m running my second 5k evah next Saturday, the 25th!  (You can read the recap of my first 5k here.)  I’m simultaneously pumped and terrified–since the great fooeing of the knees, running has been rather hard and painful for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful that I’m at least able to run with knee braces at this point, but I’m also out of shape and in pain and such and consequently I’m not nearly as speedy as I would like.  For this reason, I’m not hoping to PR on my 5k, but I am hoping to finish strong–that is, resist the urge to walk!  Running is an extreme mental hurdle for me, and I only hope I’ll have the strength to jump it.

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The race is South Bay Veterinary Hospital’s Run Like a Dog 5k–I’m stoked because of the proceeds going to the humane society. 🙂  Also, it’s pet-friendly, so hopefully I’ll get lots of chances to ogle and photograph all the cute widdle goggies! 😀  Daddio shall run too.  Fun!

2.  Fur: The many joys of peanut butter.  A few days ago, I introduced dog Zixie to the many joys of the spread and put the ends of a jar to good use.  We both had great fun.DSCN4029

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Yes, my dog looks like a fox.  And yes, after this session, the remaining peanut butter levels testified to exactly how far her tongue could get into that jar:

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🙂

3.  Fun: The world’s smallest potato.

DSCN4094I don’t know why, but I crack up every time I look at this guy.  Obviously, Mother Dearest and I are such talented gardeners!

Once upon a time I had a pretty orange manicure, but now I’ve traded it in in favor of a more natural earth-inspired nail look.

DSCN4083You know those lucky ducks whose jobs are to come up with witty nail polish colors for the bigshot companies?  Well, I call this look “Girl Who Had Way Too Much Fun Digging For Potatoes Gloveless”.  Catchy, right??  O-P-I hiring office, here I come.

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Fortunately, Mother Dearest and I have also harvested some (marginally) larger potatoes, and other glorious summer veggies (pole beans, snap peas, radishes, etc.)–I’ve got my eye on a satay from Vegetarian Times for these babies.

Fun, part B:  Scavenger Hunt w/ Little BroAlphabetical, photographic scavenger hunt, no less (“Take a picture of something starting with A, B, C, and so on, no skipping letters and no going inside.  First person to finish gets a 10-point bonus; duplicate picture points go in favor of the 2nd finisher.”).  Yeah, ‘at’s right, folks, we’re bringin’ sexy good, wholesome fun back!

DSCN4012Here’s my Wasp Nest for “W”.  Do those white caps mean there’s still eggs inside the nest??  Ook.

4.  Food Finds:  Ketchup Curry, and Rockin’ Rice.  A few weeks ago I made PBF’s Crock Pot Curried Lentils (minus chicken thighs), which in my opinion was amazing (or maybe I was just really hungry) the first day and then faded into meh for the remaining servings.  Not to fear!  This mehness resulted in the discovery that I l-o-o-o-v-e the rather offbeat combination of curry + ketchup.  Like, a lot.  Like, enough to maybe make my own recipe out of it.  Nummy stuff, you guys.

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(^^Such a beautiful photo.  Ain’tcha proud?)

Food Finds, part B:  PlanetRice Lightly Milled Sprouted Brown Rice.

Lightly Milled Sprouted Brown Rice 6 x 20 oz. Stand Up Pouch

(Photo from PlanetRice’s Website, Link Above)

Are we thankful we discovered this!  We picked it up on a whim while at Albertson’s in Sheridan, Wyoming, and it turned out to be the best rice Mother Dearest or I have ever tasted!  Not to mention the fact that it’s like a healthy combination of white and brown rice–sprouted, too, so extra nutrient power–and pleases my entire Standard American Diet-eatin’ family!  Hooray!  You have no idea how hard it is to find something healthy that will do this!  Thank you, PlanetRice.  Highly recommended.  Now hopefully we’ll be able to track some down back home…

*****

Well, this was a fun post!  Mayhap they will start to become a regular feature–a Fantastically Fun Friday Faves Feature!  Or, in the interest of not being murdered in my bed by a band of bustling, boisterous, alliteration-averse apes, I should prune the practice of such postings and crack down on the current craziness to circumvent catastrophic consequences.  Happy Friday!

I’m back! Have a health survey.

Insert fancy and outrageously witty intro here!  We have just returned from our weeklong Wyoming stay, and my brain is the happiest sort of mush.  It has been a whirlwind of a week, not to mention the drive home (have I told you yet that it’s 17 hours??) but I was left with lots of wonderful memories and mementos.  Time to resort to the oldest blogging trick in the book–it’s SURVEY TIME!  😀  No, they never end up being as easy-breezy as they seem, but at least my frazzled neurons don’t have to bother with the creative strain of coming up with a post topic.  I saw this healthy-living survey on Run2YourOwnBeat.  But first, since we have just returned from Wyoming, the obligatory horse picture:

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Whew.  Okay.  Onto survey!  This is such a brilliant transition.

1.  What did you eat for breakfast?

Grape-nuts and chia seeds.  As I’ve said before, my body is shunning oatmeal lately and I woke up too late to really fix something “fancy”, so cereal it was.

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Yay for recycled pictures! 😀

2.  How much water do you drink a day?

Too much.  A gallon or more, plus milk, fruit and veggies, etc.  I’m not sure why I’m so thirsty (we’ve done the diabetes testing, yes) but it hasn’t had any adverse side effects so far.  Other than constantly-full-bladder syndrome.

3.  What is your current favorite workout?

Running medium-distance, around 3 miles—I just wish I was better at it and that my knees favored it more.  I’m also looking into CrossFit…although at the moment, I am epically non-fit, cross- or otherwise.

4.  How many calories do you eat per day?

Heck, I don’t know.  A lot, probably.

5.  What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Carrots + peanut butter, pita + hummus, fruit, air-popped popcorn, cheese sticks, nuts, nut butter, etc.  The standard.

6.  What do you usually eat for lunch?

Carrot & peanut butter sandwich?  This seems to be my go-to lately.  #thebomb

7.  What is your favorite body part to strength train?

My wonderful legs, because cardio kind of counts as strength training them and also it hurts very much less than upper body.

8.  What is your least favorite body part to strength train?

Arms.  Back.  I’m weak.

9.  What are your “bad” food cravings?

Chocolatewhyisthisevenaquestion.

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First time ever trying Kona (coffee) Cake...I did a lot of worshipping the Dark Lord over this trip.

as is an Oh She Glows' Iced Mocha Green Monster

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Anti-inflammatory!  Anti-inflammatory!  Woot!

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MY handiwork!  MY handiwork!! (happy dances)

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I am woman, hear me roar.

10.  Do you take vitamins or supplements?

Often a multivitamin, a B-12 occasionally, and an acidophilus/probiotic supplement ever since my trip to Costa Rica and the ensuing gut bug. 😦  Bleh!

11.  How often do you eat out?

Rarely.  I think this is more based on lack of planning on our family’s part than disdain for outside eateries, however.

12.  Do you eat fast food?

Nope.  Actually, wait, hold on, I can’t really say this, can I, when I stopped at Burger King on our road trip just yesterday??  I ordered a veggie burger, sweet potato fries, and a large water.  So I guess I do—but once a year, or even more rarely than that.  I was hungry, you guys–beyond that, I was hangry.  You must really process this, understand how pressing the situation was.

🙂  (Source)

13.  Who is your biggest supporter?

Mah bad self.

14.  Do you have a gym membership?

Nope.  But I have a makeshift home gym in the garage!  It suddenly occurs to me that I’ve never showed you a picture of this, so here you are.

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It’s a bit roughhewn… 🙂  There’s a yoga mat in front of the TV for yoga DVDs, a few dumbbells/reistance bands, a dreadmill, a rowing machine, punching bag, weight cage, and pull-up bar.  Plus…a couch…for the Y-chromosome-havers of the house to play video games on (sigh).

15.  How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

Oh, 9, at minimum.  Coffee the next morning is a given if I’m up past 10 studying or something. Smile with tongue out I sure wish I could be one of those people who just lights-outs for like four hours and then pops up ready for a new day (pretty much every other teenager I know), but I likes my sleep.  I’m a zombie without it.

16.  Do you have a “cheat” day?

Not consciously.  I eat a lot of chocolate.  I’m not cheating on anybody with it, though, so my conscience is clear…

17.  Do you drink alcohol?

Hahahaha.  I’m younger than you think I am.  I have been known to get a little heavyhanded with the vanilla extract, though.

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35%!!!  What can I say, I’m just a rebel grrrl like that.

18.  Do you have a workout buddy?

Mah bad self.

Also, as aforementioned, Daddio and I are running a 5k this month and participating in next year’s Seattle-to-Portland bike ride.  We shall see how training intensively together goes.

19.  What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?

To be honest–I’m still working on that commitment thing.  I was really good for about two years, then with my knees, I fell off the bandwagon for 8 months and even though I’m not loving all the…changes…this forced exercise break put my body through, I’m finding it extremely hard to get back on said bandwagon.  You feel me? :/  I’ve tried multiple times to get back to my pre-fooey-knees exercise and health regimen, but no luck so far.  Lately I have discovered some new highly inspirational healthy living blogs, though, and they’ve helped a bit–also, my impending upcoming 5k is a huge motivator.  (I’m a competetive chickie.  What can I say.)  All I know is that I definitely want to get back to my old level of fitness, but it’s going to require a lot of mental stamina to do so.

20.  What was the last healthy thing you did?

Oh, I inhaled!  Inhalation is actually a really beneficial practice, providing oxygen to your entire body and providing a low-grade ab workout, while also serving to calm the body by reassuring it that it is not in a state of suffocation.  Winking smile  I jest, I jest.  No, once I really get up and at ‘em this morning, I plan to incorporate some form of strength training into my workout.  Been missing out on it lately in favor of running/exploring! Smile

Your turn!  Pick a question and answer it in the comments, or do the survey yourself! 🙂  Maybe you’ll be my healthy magic motivator.  Also, does your brain tend to turn to mush after travel?  I must confess I haven’t been exactly productive in the time we’ve been back…

Running While High

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7,434 feet above sea level, to be exact. 😉

How can you not enjoy your evening run when you’re enjoying the above scenery^^^ while mowing through it??  I really wish I could just move this mountain back with me as my own personal running field.  Alas.  No matter what Dr. Seuss and any number of inspirational speakers may say, it’s severely hard to move mountains.  I couldn’t even figure out how to get the rope around it.

I was a bit worried about the oxygen-related complications this much of a jump (hardeehar) in elevation would cause while exercising, especially with intense cardio like the tempo work the friend and I were doing on our run–but it was actually kind of nice.  🙂  Too focused on the burning and hacking in my lungs, I didn’t notice my legs or core muscles fatiguing at all, even on the largest hills! 😀  It was a beautiful run (and I was proud of this post title) and I felt immensely accomplished after cooling down back in the cabin.  We only did two miles, at most, but there were quite a few hills, there was a thunderstorm chasing us (insta-motivation!), and we booked it.

Afterward we were quite tired.

DSCN3819And I need an excuse to show you this ice cream picture from the amazing KENDRICK PARK ICE CREAM STAND–seriously, this ice cream is one of my favorite things about the yearly trek back to Sheridan.  It embodies summer and childhood and post-swim-lesson starvation relieved by sweet, sugary, crunchy, creamy heaven.  You can just taste the nostalgia, like they churn it into the ice cream itself, and I could swear there was a hint of chlorine about it somehow, a happy tribute to memories of swallowing gallons of pool water before indulging.  The taste of simple childhood.

Except they removed my favorite flavor, Bear Claw.  Don’t ask me about how it tastes, because I will yadda on about Bear Claw until you have the urge to break out the claws yourself and maul my face.  Anyway, this time I got Espresso Almond Fudge in a Sugar Cone.

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DSCN3881Sweet silky heaven on a hot summer day.

This post has not been cohesive because my thoughts right now are for some reason not terribly cohesive, but we’re cool (haha, ice cream pun) with that, okay?  Okay.

 

BLOGOVERSARY

So I was perusing Plants & Pages and discovered (well, it was already lurking in my subconscious, but this brought it to the top of my mind) that not only is today my blogoversary, it is also the birthday of Harry Potter and JK Rowling and Neville Longbottom.  Now if that’s not awesome enough for you I wash my hands of you.  I’m feeling pretty prophetic right now.

(You know you’re a Potterhead when you can’t help but hear the theme music that goes with that scene as you watch that .gif…)

To spare you from all the sap that would normally come with this type of occasion, I made you–not cake, as I had once thought, but Chocolate Covered Katie’s Double Chocolate Brownie Batter pancakes, topped with peanut butter and–what else?–the mandatory sprinkles and a candle.  As my attempted shortstacks always do, it turned out kinda ugly special homely, but that’s all right.  They tasted delicious, if a bit…legumey from the gluten-free flour I used.

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DSCN3548(^^Oohooh, smoke. Fancy photographin’ times.) 😉
TGITO IS 1!!!  BLOW THE NOISEMAKERS!!  BANG THE CYMBALS!!  THROW GLASS AT A WALL AND WATCH IT SHATTER INTO PRETTY PATTERNS!!  It’s the occasion of the year!

Okay, no, I promised myself I wouldn’t get too .gif-happy when compiling this post.  But between the pancakes, the Potter .gif perusal, and my ecstatic electronic celebration, it’s shaping up to be a fine morning indeed.

Today, on the actual, much-hallowed blogoversary itself, I thought I’d share some “tricks of the trade”–in other words, techniques, sites, and programs that I wish I knew about before I started blogging!  It took me a long time and a lot of poking around to eventually discover most of these, and they’ve proven immensely valuable to my overall blogging experience!  So, without further ado:

  • PicMonkey!  Seriously, if pictures are at all important to you and your blog, visit this site.  You don’t even have to make an account or membership or anything!  PicMonkey is one of those things that really sounds too good to be true–it’s a free, online photo editor (though you can upgrade to access more features for $33/year) with tons of special effects, overlays, text options and fun graphics.  Did I mention it’s free?!  Quite possibly the only downside is that, since it’s online, you can’t access it anywhere like you would be able to on photo editing software dowloaded to your laptop, only places with WiFi.  But it’s pretty amazing stuff!  Some images I’ve created with Picmonkey:

Stitch consolation

Stitch Confessional

Hummus Pasta 015 picmonkey

And PicMonkey helped the pictures on my latest poemography post to go from this:

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to this:

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by muting the colors (“Dusk” effect”), bumping up the browns (“Boost” effect), and spotlighting the lone plant (“Spotlight” effect).  I know some people are principally opposed to photo editing (*cough cough* Cleo *cough cough*) but I think when the lighting isn’t right or you just need a different mood from the photos you’re working with, effects like this can be extremely helpful.

So…visit PicMonkey!  Start clicking around!  You’ll be surprised at all you can do (this includes making collages!).

  • Making Grab Button Images/Basic HTML Coding.  It’s apparently very helpful to have a “grab button” for your website that visitors can, erm, “grab” and display in your sidebar.  This way, when their readers stumble across that image on their blog, clicking it will direct them to your blog, so more people can meet you!  For example, Kiss My Broccoli and The Smart Kitchen both have these types of buttons, which you can find in their sidebars.  I myself don’t have a grab button–I dunno, to me it’s a bit too much of a shameless self-plug (is this anything anyone would be interested in me doing??)–but I used this tutorial to create the new New Reader/Citrus button in my sidebar.  I wish I’d known how easy HTML coding could be when I first started blogging!  I created the image itself by having a photoshoot with Citrus :), selecting my favorite shot, adding the text in PicMonkey, and then transforming it into a button that, when clicked, will take you to my To the Newcomers post.  I wanted new readers to be able to find this introductory post quickly and easily, and what better way to do that than a picture of the world’s gorgeousest bird??
  • Making .gifs.  Not that I made any of the .gifs in this post, but there’s several tutorials floating about the internet on how to construct them, both from your own videos and a conglomeration of stagnant slides.  Like a hybrid of a photo and a video (without annoying audio!) they can be an interesting and interactive form of media…and, for the record, they’re pronounced .gif.  🙂
  • Picasa, and Gimp.  Picasa is another photo editor, this one hosted by Google–it’s downloadable, and lets you organize your photos and optionally share them in an online album.  The “I’m Feeling Lucky” effect is great to use when you just need to spruce up photos a little bit–it brightens colors and sharpens edges.  And an online album can only be good times for you and your blog.  Gimp is also free, and downloadable; an open-source program like PhotoShop but marginally more confusing.  I use Gimp mainly when I need to blur something out, resize a photo (though you can do this in PicMonkey too) or apply a fancier effect, like in this picture, where I leeched the color from half the photo:

such vibrancy

(And a little “behind the scenes” for this photo, in case you think I just happen to have someone to kiss hanging around the house: this was achieved by me slipping my brother’s jeans over my arms and his shoes onto my hands, and bending over so my hands were resting on the floor.  Camera on self-timer on the floor.  The pink shoes are my actual feet, and the grey shoes are hiding my hands.  🙂  Ah, the magic of photography!)

  • Windows Live Writer.  Another program I wish I’d learned about way sooner!  This is a downloadable program that allows you to compose posts even when you don’t have internet access, and it syncs up with your blog account when you hit “Publish”, sending it right to your blog to go live.  Many bloggers use this program because the importing and editing of photos is much faster and goes much more smoothly than with WordPress!  And it even lets you see what your post is going to look like on your blog as you’re composing it, because the “compose” box is like an empty post on your theme…I’m not explaining this very well.  Anyway, try it and see what I mean.  Myself, I don’t use this very often, because for some reason it tends to double each photo in my Media Library, thereby making me take up twice the space the post normally would, which is not fun times…
  • WordAds.  If you’re looking to make money from blogging, one of the most popular and stress-free ways is probably by enabling advertisements on your site.  (I’m actually looking into this–I just don’t want it to degrade my poetic status if I “sell out”…)  For Blogger bloggers (teehee), you can use the program Google Adsense, but for the non-self-hosted, WordPress.Com bloggers, WordAds is the program of choice.  Additionally, perusing Pinterest today, I came across this post which details two other ways you can earn money by blogging: sponsored posts, and sponsored tweets.  May be worth looking into.

Now it’s my turn to ask the questions! 🙂  If any “big-time” bloggers happen to come across this post, would you be so kind as to enlighten me about these aspects of blogging that still baffle me?

  1. How do you Instagram such beautiful food photos?  Surely you didn’t take them with your smartphone…but I can’t figure out how to upload camera/computer pics to my Instagram account…
  2. You know those bars you put in your sidebar that have all the icons for all your social media profiles in a row?  Yeah, how do you make those?
  3. Blog logos?  Pro designer job, or possibly DIY?
  4. Tips for selfies in the sidebar?  We don’t want anyone thinking I look like this all the time…

DSCN1727(Although, in this total glamour shot, my undereye dark circles are virtually nonexistent!) 😉

So…how’re you celebrating this fine occasion today?  You can join me in my .gif-and-pancake-palooza and, afterward, raise your fork in the air in delight, so glad The Girl in the Orange is in your life…or I suppose you could just get a little creative in celebrating Neville’s birthday.  Cuz I mean come on, the guy always gets overlooked.  And ya gotta love that accent…

WIAW: Intervention + A Smile Experiment

In my post about the weekend I mentioned that with all the cakes, pies, cupcakes, cake pops, and other manner of sweet things around the house, I was the burgeoning owner of a MASSIVE sugar addiction.  I’ve never been quite sure why this happens with me; I only know that I seem to have a very addictive personality, and things like desserts and blog-reading and vlog watching are its downfall.

I’ve been trying to “get clean” all week; I’ve improved somewhat, in that I no longer uncontrollably beg for a second slice of cake after finishing a meal, but I still have a ways to go in conquering this craving.  Over this week, I’ve been trying to slowly dial back my sugar consumption–today, I was supposed to go completely no-added-sugar, but, alas, we had muffins in the freezer…

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The day started off well–I had a light (for me) breakfast of Chocolate Covered Katie’s 2-ingredient energy balls (in a lovely Tupperware container), followed by a banana and natural peanut butter.  True, the dates in the energy balls have a lot of sugar packed into their volume, but…I think running justifies this?  Even if one is only running 3 miles..?  Not sure.  Anyway, I needed an energy-packed snack that wouldn’t weigh me down while on the hamster wheel.

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Accompanied with some Celestial Seasonings African Rooibos tea!  I love everything about this tea–from the smell to the taste to the texture to the color.  It’s “red” tea; and, for the record, when the box bragged of cherry and toffee flavors, I thought it was too good to be true…but the stuff is truly like sweet dreams packed into tea bags.  And caffeine-free!  I’m addicted.

(And yup, I read food magazines over breakfast!)

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Lunch was simple–I’d like to say I was writing so much I didn’t really have time to put together a fancy lunch, but the truth is that I’d been telling myself I was going to work on novelling any time now for about the past four hours, and I really didn’t want any lengthy meal-prep to interrupt my procrastination.  So.  Leftover scrambled eggs + veggies in a whole-wheat tortilla it was.

(Afterward I was quite dismayed that I didn’t put any avocado in this, so I ate half an avocado on its own.  Also another tortilla.  Also some swiss cheese, and pickles.  I was HUNGRY, and craving eggy/cheesy/salty things!)

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At around 2 o’ clock, blood sugar levels must have dropped, because the intense sugar (and chocolate) cravings came back again, full-force!  They were quelled temporarily by a lovely (and oh-so-stunning, right? ;))  green–er, brown–smoothie made with banana, milk, spinach, and cocoa powder.  Thick, delicious, and easy to down while writing (which I was actually doing by this point!).
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But, of course, nothing gold can ever stay.  It was 5 o’ clock by the time my thoughts rolled around to dinner, and I was planning to make NeverHomemaker’s baked veggie pockets; alas, the dough required two hours of refrigeration!  I still went ahead and whipped it up as quickly as possible, but I needed something to tide me over until actual dinner could begin–I found solace in two banana-pb-chocolate chip muffins popped from the freezer (saved from breakfast at the Hatchday Party!).

DSCN3362Conveniently, by the time it was time to need to knead the dough (sorry–couldn’t resist!)  not only my blood sugar levels, but my serotonin levels as well, seemed to have dropped markedly, and I had, alas, worked my way deep into the heart of a Cloud of Foo.  (This is a term I coined a couple of years ago to describe the oh-so-lovely and horrific mood swings plummets characteristic of the adolescent brain, and also for the longer bouts of depression characteristic to my brain.)  I’m convinced that kneading, however, was invented by a furious baker, long, long ago, who sought a way to vent his anger without disfiguring the faces of his comrades.  Or perhaps a god of stress management.  At any rate, I felt much better after a heated 10-minute kneading engagement, and after about 20 minutes outside working on my volleyball skills with Family & co.

I was also smiling the entire time I was kneading–not because it had instantly lifted the dreaded Cloud of Foo, but because I, reader of things, had once heard that smiling, even if forced, releases immense amounts of endorphins into one’s brain, thereby instantly cheering them up even if they were formerly in a Cloud of Foo!  (Of course, I didn’t allow any members of Family & Co.  to see me at it; because, as you know, when one is battling a Cloud of Foo, one is too sullen to even attempt to be in an agreeable mood.  One becomes so stubborn that one doesn’t let one’s family see them attempt to smile, for fear that one’s family will think they are cheering up!  The last thing one wants when one is in a sullen mood is to be perceived as anything but sullen.)

Did my 10 minutes of forced smiling have any effect?  Marginally…I think getting my blood stirred up via kneading and volleyball was more efficient, though.  I also headed out to the garage/home gym a while after dinner to bang on the punching bag, and that was relieving.  Still, I think by then I was kind of resigned to feeling crappy for the rest of the day–I’m just looking forward to waking up in the morning, when my Cloud of Foo and I can “reset”.

A final, more WIAW-related line:  I’m drinking some more herbal tea as I type this up.  Partly in the hopes that it will soothe my frenzied mind, and partly because it tastes so awesome.  I think I might read some Bible before hitting the sack.  As I frequently remind you, my religion is as-yet-undecided and ever in flux, but I find it worthwhile for the philosophical value alone.  Nothing like pondering the meaning of life and morality to take your mind of Clouds of Foo.Dramatic Tea and Birthday Cake Baked Oatmeal 003

Let the Festivities Commence

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Great-Grandma’s Lemon Meringue Pie recipe, preserved in the physical, non-Pinterest family recipe archives…

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IMG_3847 IMG_3848Yeah, I’ve been in a bit of a sugar coma these past few days.  I’m usually pretty good about staying away from the point where my stomach actually starts to hurt, but this week…

IMG_3864As it so happened, it was Little Bro’s birthday and Daddio’s birthday and parental anniversary and…my blogoversary is in 10 days!  (That really didn’t have any bearing on this weekend’s festivities, but I felt like including another “and”.)

I was going to make you guys a special virtual layer cake for the blogoversary (DYING TO MAKE THIS RECIPE FOR LIKE THREE YEARS NOW WHY DOES NO ONE IN OUR FAMILY LIKE WHITE CAKE MMMRRRGAHAH), but to be honest, I think I’d rather the above baked goods carry over as catering for the weeklong blogoversary celebration I plan on doing.  I’m hoping to do a 7-day series of posts full of blogging tips and maybe some other miscellaneous writing tips as well…not that I consider myself in any way qualified to give either, but…

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I also made you butt-ugly cake pops from the leftover frosting + cake cuttings from the Minion Cake!  (No one in our family has any idea how to make cake pops, so we just globbed up all the leftover crumbled cake and frosting, shaped it into our best attempts at spheres, and popped them in the freezer overnight.  This can hardly be called technique, but they were still mighty tasty.)

IMG_3867(How could I pass this recipe up for Little Bro’s party??!  [We used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen to make the cake {aka the best chocolate cake my taste buds have ever had privy to} and a Rachael Ray buttercream recipe, so the entire thing {save black icing + candy} was homemade!])  Despicable Me FTW!!

(^^Pretty much me every morning when I go to make a breakfast smoothie.)

Okay, sorry for the memeion overload.  That last one wasn’t not rebloggable, though.  Hugs to all!

Random festivity pics…

DSCN3024Sparklers!  For some reason when I set it to “Fireworks Show” mode, my camera’s shutter speed gets reeeeeaallly slow, so I can capture trails like this when people wave sparklers around.

DSCN3025This one’s a “W”.  I feel like that’s an omen of some sort.  I guess if your name begins with a W, today is your lucky day!  (I suppose it could also be a cursive “Z” gone badly…)

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IMG_20130717_132138This is my friend’s froyo bowl from the hatchday party, and I still can’t get over how dang pretty she made it.  ^Skill.

DSCN31893rd place–my LASER tag game is improving.  (LASER is an acronym, standing for “Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation”, did you know this?  I’m irked by the fact that the vast majority of the population doesn’t.  This is the reason why I am also irked when people spell it “lazer”, BECAUSE YOU CAN’T MESS WITH ACRONYMS, all right?)

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Minion cake, all suited up and ready for action!

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&pizzapizza.

Any celebration going on in your neck of the woods this weekend?  Thoughts on minions and/or the meaning of life?  (Bonus points if you can combine the two, and quadruple your score if you do it in verse.)  Would you be interested in me sharing my great-grandmother’s Lemon Meringue Pie recipe?  Things you’d like me to cover in my 7-day blogging tip blogoversary series?  Let’s take this party down to the comments section!

(WordPress is insisting that “blogoversary” isn’t a word.   I would have thought better from the best dang bloggin’ platform around…)

MIMM: Hatchday, Pretty Light, Knees, and Insane Decisions

Hey everyone!  How’s your Monday going?

DSCN3124 DSCN3127 DSCN3137 DSCN3143 DSCN3160 DSCN3159Mine’s been pretty…pretty, to say the least.  As a Washingtonian, such flagrant displays of sunshine are something of a rarity, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ve been taking full advantage of these picture-perfect summer days by frolicking about, soaking up the Vitamin D.

I’ve never really been one of those people who need an extra boost on Mondays to get through the week, even when school/activities are in session–I’ve just never hit the “Monday wall” that I guess so many people run into.  I’ve already confessed my nerdship to you guys–Monday is basically my favorite day of the week!  Not only is it usually pretty light on homework because teachers don’t like to take the time to concoct elaborate assignments over the weekends, school STARTS UP AGAIN and I know it’s going to be the beginning of a (potentially gruelingly) glorious week!

Still, it never hurts to get a little extra boost, even if your biggest worry right now is that the hammock that’s callin’ your name is gonna get lonely.

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The weekend was pretty enjoyable marvelous.  I hosted Citrus’ third hatchday party–I made sad-looking but still (IMO) cute cockatiel cookies and we bopped around outside.  There was a sleepover and we all got very slap-happy.  We were tired in the morning but there were muffins (with both lemon and seeds–perfect for a bird named Citrus!) made by me and a frittata made by Mother Dearest (with potatoes inside–tasted like hashbrowns!!).  I do so love hashbrowns.

Alas, we did not have a circular cookie cutter, so I had to shape the sugar cookie dough (nomnomnom) with a beer-can chicken prop-thing.  (My culinary vocabulary falters when it comes to meat…)

To make the cookies, I used the Savvy Vegetarian cookie dough recipe, this recipe for coconut whip as a frosting (tinted yellow with food coloring), Craisins for eyes, chopped up Watermelon Laffy Taffy for the beaks, and mangled “orange slices” candies for the orange cheek circles.DSCN3042 DSCN3052

This totally didn't happen what are you talking about.  Not straight from the beater, never.

This totally didn’t happen what are you talking about. Not straight from the beater, never.

I wouldn't recommend using A Taste of Thai coconut milk (pretty popular brand) for the whip--it has some sort of stabilizer added that prevents it from working too nicely.  I used...whatever this brand is.

I wouldn’t recommend using A Taste of Thai coconut milk (pretty popular brand) for the whip–it has some sort of stabilizer added that prevents it from working too nicely. I used…whatever this brand is.

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Beaks!  Haha

Beaks! Haha

Aaaaand the final result.  Bit homely, but that’s okay! 🙂

Citrus approves.

Citrus approves.

Other marvelous things today…

Can we talk patella bracing for a sec?  I’m in love.  I don’t think that’s hyperbole.  Anything that was enough to lift me out of the forced 8-month running break thanks to these dang knees is virtually a Messiah in my eyes.  (I think it was probably the braces in adjunct with my rest, stretching, physical therapy, orthotics, supportive shoes, and therapeutic ultrasounds, but hey, whatever works…)  To my surprise, I haven’t lost all of my (nonexistent to begin with) running prowess, and the braces allowed me to attend my first *OFFICIAL* XC practice last Friday!  I hope to attend two more this week!  We’ll see how that goes…alas, my mileage maximum right now is approximately 3.  (Maybe four on the hamster wheel?)  By the end of the summer we’re supposed to be easily running 8…

This brings me to my first INSANE DECISION OF THE DAY!  This one is way less insane than my other one, but it’s still a big thrill for me.  I signed up for another 5k!!  This one’s on August 24th, and, while running in the heat ain’t exactly my cup of tea, I’m beyond stoked!  If I can even get close to my time on my first-and-only 5k, then it will be a huge reassurance for me that, though my knees doth plague me, I can get my kickassery and (somewhat) speed back with enough motivation.  (To any “serious” runners out there reading this:  I know a 5k is not a huge distance.  It’s kind of a menial race.  But, alas, my body is NOT DESIGNED FOR RUNNING WHATSOEVER [sitting and blogging is more my speed, how ’bout you?] and a 5k is a big deal to me!)

Sweet Potato Chocolate Pancakes 009(Throwback to the morning of my first 5k, waiting in the starting line.  Pay no attention to the ominous disembodied hand on my shoulder; someone else is cropped out.  And notice the fear hiding behind the forced smile–the glazed eyes, the overall absent disposition.  I was convinced I was going to die that day.)

Incidentally, you know what’s harder than running a 5k?

………………………..Biking two hundred and two miles.

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Yeah, it’s insane.  We’ve covered this.  And it will require buying a new bike, and/or some road tires for my current trusty steed mountain bike.  But recently (yesterday-recently), la madre de una de mis amigas (I’m not sure why I phased into Spanish here, but I couldn’t think how to word it in English) participated in the Cascade Bicycle Club/Group Health Seattle-to-Portland bike ride, a one- or two-day event that spans a total of 202-point-something miles.  Which gave me a sudden and intense burst of inspiration.  It’s a recreational ride, not a race, but from my extensive Googling of the thing last night it looks. epic.  And everyone says you need to dream big and set high goals to keep your morale buoyed, right?  So.  I’ve got a year to train.  I post this to the internet so I can’t back down–next year, Daddio and I will be participating in the 2014 Seattle-to-Portland ride.  And we will rock that epic $#*@.

Much moreso than for running, my body (and quads) like biking.  While the farthest ride I’ve ever taken to date was just 40 miles with lots of hills, and I died afterwards–I’ve got a year.  Best get on this.

Ahh.  The inevitable foot selfie.  (For some reason I just tried to spell “foot” as “fut”…)  Daddio and I went on a short (10 mile?) ride today, and I plan to get some running on the hamster wheel done as well.  Fitness, here I come!

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And arrachgha, yes, I need to do a poemography post today, since I’ve skipped out on that for, what, three weeks?!  Problem is, I only have one line to work with… #poetictrialsandtribulations

“Rather than people who shine–

I like people who glow

is the line, but I’m not sure how to weave that into a poem.  Would it be all right if poemography was extended to flash fiction?  I know I made the rules, but you guys can change them.  I’ll luv ya forever 😉

Yesterday

(oh look, here I go again with the uber-creative titles!  Next one will be witty, I…er, promise…)

So here I am with that thing I said I was going to do that now I kind of have to do because I told the internet about it.  Funny how that works out.


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So yesterday I started off, perhaps slightly ambitiously, on this new thing by heading straight for the kale.  At least I stuck with traditional, refined pasta and swapped out good ol’ familiar steamed green beans for asparagus (I can’t even stomach the stuff–I know there are plenty of spear-savorers out there but I can’t get myself on board!)  And Mother Dearest likes tomatoes–I do, after something has been done to them (roasting, saucifying, drying, etc.)  Fun fact:  I cannot stand raw tomatoes!  Apparently, however, I (against my own free will) ingested about a pint of them per day in utero…I probably overdosed as a fetus, hence my aversion to those salty sweet fruit impersonators to this day.

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Such a glamorous pic, right?  Complete with the coffee-stained counter and ever-faithful geriatric Magic Bullet…he’s like a friend to me.  I love him so.

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I vant to suck your blood… *hisses*

There’s something so wonderfully ironic about fanged vampire garlic that a pic had to be posted.  Would it ward itself off?  
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Oh, look how purty!DSCN3005 DSCN3009

And here’s my failed attempt at a setup, thrown together in the midst of a gnawing-my-own-arm-off-so-let’s-shoot-the-dang-thing-quickly mania.  Look, there’s a prop!–a dessicated lemon!–so it counts.  Oh, dear, can we make that a hashtag?  #gnawingmyownarmoffsoletsshootthedangthingquickly

It’s even funnier more disturbing if you take it out of food photography context.

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Gettin’ all up in mah food’s business…

Happily, you don’t need a prop to get a nice close-up texture shot!  I felt all fancy-like and used the good dishes, and topped each serving with some sliced almonds and fresh-grated parmesan.

This actually went over pretty well, despite the (shhh, hidden) kale:  Mother Dearest approved, Daddio made a rather funny face and said “You got carried away with one of the herbs in this…fennel or oregano or something,” which was hilarious because there are absolutely NO herbs in this dish, save the garlic, if that counts.  😀 (But he did proceed to eat the whole bowl!) It was very lemony, though, and I think perhaps the EVOO flavor shone through a bit much.  At any rate, found it delicious, and am appreciating leftovers cold as lunches now.

So, overall, chalk up this Meatless Tuesday as a success!  I think the pasta and parmesan helped 🙂  Slowly but surely, we can work our way up to TVP…tofu…hemp seeds…Mwoohahahahahaha. 😉

Costa Rica Photo Dump

No, I don’t have anything earth-shattering to say right now.  No, I have no spunk or seriousness or awesome alliteration to share today.  No, I have nothing worth blogging about, really (I’ve been curled up on the couch all day for the past two days nursing a wicked GI bug and a protein smoothie) but I realize I’ve kinda left you guys alone for more time than I am comfortable with! 😉  10 days…where are my manners?  So, just to reassure you that I have not died (and was in fact having the time of my life on vacation), I’d like to provide you with some of the stunning vistas of my last 12 days of existence…

Smiling tree!

Smiling tree!

Ladies and gentlemen, the single scariest creature in the universe.  Not only is it as long as your forearm plus the length of your hand, it can carry 25 pounds (I half expected to see my backpack scuttling away in the night...)

Ladies and gentlemen and those in between, allow me to present to you the single scariest creature in the universe. Not only is it as long as your forearm plus the length of your hand, it can carry 25 pounds (I half expected to see my backpack scuttling away in the night…)

Tacos made by angels.  The best in my life!  (Broccoli..?  And copious amounts of cheese!)

Tacos made by angels. The best in my life! (Broccoli..? And copious amounts of cheese!)

Chester, the walking stick

Chester, the walking stick

Zip lining through the canopy!  (I am ridiculously proud of this photo!)

Zip lining through the canopy! (I am ridiculously proud of this photo!)

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Post-zip-lining face. The wheel spat so many little flecks of grease back onto the zip liner that I became freckled for a day. I dunno, you guys, I would date me…

I also became Angelina Jolie for a day, thanks to a special tropical leaf-flower thing.  Except Angelina probably has better hair.  Give me a break.  There were minimum showers and cosmetics available.

I also became Angelina Jolie for a day, thanks to a special tropical leaf-flower thing. Except Angelina probably has better hair. Give me a break. There were minimum showers and cosmetics available.

No words...except I must state that 7 different hummingbirds landed on my finger at the sanctuary!  (They can sniff out the avian personalities, I tell ya...)

No words…except I must state that 7 different hummingbirds landed on my finger at the sanctuary! (They can sniff out the avian personalities, I tell ya…)

Baby leatherback turtle, just hatched and being released to sea...again, no words.

Baby leatherback turtle, just hatched and being released to sea…again, no words.

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I was feeling poetic, you guys.

I was feeling poetic, you guys.

A very iconic-looking stick.  I'm not sure why I thought this...just stick with me here...

A very iconic-looking stick. I’m not sure why I thought this…just stick with me here…

Attempting to do yoga in the surging sea.  (In a lightning storm.  I'm smart.)

Attempting to do yoga in the surging sea. (In a lightning storm. I’m smart.)

Failing, and deciding to try summoning Poseidon instead.

Failing, and deciding to try summoning Poseidon instead.

Pots full of warm mud, at a spa...*shudders* at least my skin seems softer now.  It felt like slathering warm bird weaning food all over one's self.

Pots full of warm mud, at a spa…*shudders* at least my skin seems softer now. It felt like slathering warm bird weaning food all over one’s self.

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Yes, the name of the owner of our tour boat was actually Victor Hugo!!  I die.

Yes, the name of the owner of our tour boat was actually Victor Hugo!! I die.

 

First time ever trying Kona (coffee) Cake...I did a lot of worshipping the Dark Lord over this trip.

First time ever trying Kona (coffee) Cake…I did a lot of worshipping the Dark Lord over this trip.

We saw the elusive Resplendant Quetzal!!  I didn't get the best picture of him out of my group, but you can still marvel at his beauty.

We saw the elusive Resplendant Quetzal!! I didn’t get the best picture of him out of my group, but you can still marvel at his beauty.

I also saw fireflies for the first time in my life; I feel my childhood is now complete!

With this, I bid you adieu, at least until tomorrow.  Wish me a speedy recovery! 😀