Monthly Archives: June 2011

Bob is making me reaaallllly happy

For the past few days, I simply cannot get enough Bob Marley. Many thanks to this lovely gent for reintroducing me to the “Legend” album – it was a staple in my high school rotation o’ tunes and somehow I’d completely lost touch with it.

Tip: The remastered version (which I had to buy since my “Legend” album is on – wait for it – *cassette*) contains some wank-ass iteration of “Buffalo Soldier” that blows major wang. So if you want the rockin’ remix from 1984, it’s on the “Legend Rarities Edition.” Trust me – it’s a must. Listen to a sample here.

Soldier on, beloved ganja mon.

Daily irony: J.K. Rowling talks failure to Harvard grads

Attention all comedy folk who have been overrepresented as commencement speakers in 2011: *This* is a real story that’s actually moving and thought-provoking. *This* is what we’re looking for on graduation day. Not 15 minutes of jokes and self-promotion, followed by five minutes of tawdry pseudo-inspirational life lessons.

As much as I love you all for your televised comedic gold, I’m talking to you Conan, Colbert, and yes even you, Poehler (despite my earlier post).

A few choice excerpts:

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

“The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity.”

“Happiness lies in knowing that life is not a checklist of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.”

“Choosing to live in narrow spaces leads to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the willfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.”

“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.”

And now – without further adieu.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Looks beautiful, smells like shit












My front yard, that is. It’s really coming along thanks to my awesome landscaper/gardener/friend, Al. We’re about halfway finished. But I won’t let anyone sit out there until that fertile mulch airs out a bit more. It actually has chicken poo in it. If I catch a cat rolling around in that, I will lose a screw.

But if you’re gonna have shit in your yard, it should always be that pretty, doncha think? And include a tiny tin goat?

“Eat your veggies or you’ll get scabs behind your ears!”

That’s always been my grandma’s prophecy anyway. So far, I’m in the clear. I guess my mother raised me well when it comes to a balanced diet – even though, as a wee one, I was caught more than once drinking a glass of milk that turned pink as I simultaneously spit my beets into it. These days, beets, spinach, a little goat cheese, and a sprinkling of walnuts might be one of my favorite things to nosh on.

Some things do change, it seems.

Enter the Soupstravaganza of this past winter, which is begging for a warm weather encore. To be honest, raw vegetables really aren’t my thing (blame my Vata dosha – read: raw vegetables should be minimized. Oh, and *gas* is a problem. DUH.). I’m much more in love with them when I can roast them or cook ’em up in a soup or stew. Which means summer can be a bit challenging for me, though there are certainly toasty warm days when I crave a big bowl of greens with all the trimmings. But generally, I need to mix my lettuce and whatnot with warmer, richer foods. Frankly, this is also a great way to turn what’s usually regarded as a light, healthy meal into a heartier, still-healthy meal that doesn’t boast the Chinese food “oh-shit-I’m-hungry-again” effect after an hour. Just keep in mind that *greens* should comprise the bulk of the meal here. Also, jazzing up said greens by adding flavor in this way nixes the need for dressing. So you bulk up your nutrients while cutting out the fat. Sweet deliciousness.

And with that, I bestow upon you the “recipe” for this evening’s dinner. Note that this serves one as the main dish; two as a side, if you insist upon serving it as such. The best part of this may be that it takes about ten minutes to go from fridge to table. Tweak as you see fit, eat as you will. Forks up!

Hearty Spicy Salad

2 cups mixed greens (I use half spinach, half baby greens/arugula)

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

Half an avocado, cubed

3 Tbsp. sweet white corn – frozen or fresh, if you’ve got the latter on hand

1/4 cup Whole Foods organic spicy black beans, drained – don’t rinse!

1/4 cup brown rice pilaf (I use this brand, which you can get in the frozen aisle at Whole Foods. All you do is warm it in the microwave for three minutes. You could also use plain brown rice – I buy this brand’s version of that as well, available at both Whole Foods and Costco. But I like the spices in the pilaf, not to mention the dash of extra veggies.)

1 *small* handful rice & bean chips, crushed (I crumble these suckers right here on top of any and every salad I make – it’s the best way to add crunch and an extra kick of flavor without going the crouton route. My friend Laurel got me hooked on these – I buy them at Whole Foods or QFC, but they’re also sold at Costco and I’m gonna to need to go that route soon because they’re like CRACK.)

Bonus for those who give a rat’s ass – this is both vegan and gluten-free. Veg on!

(P.S. In the spirit of full disclosure – because I, like George Washington, cannot tell a lie – that photo above is *not* the salad I made. It’s actually not a salad I ever made. I just had no idea when I whipped this thing up tonight that it would be as good as it was and, thus, photoworthy. Not that any photo I’d take would be remotely as well-styled as what’s going on here. So just play along nicely and trust that it was pretty…sans the dressing. And the chickpeas. Booyah.)

Holla, NYT!

This is, by far, one of the cleverest, funniest, smartest op-ed pieces I’ve ever read. As a humor writer at heart and a communications strategist by trade, I commend you, Thomas Vinciguerra, for blending the best of both worlds. Your chariot to The Writers’ Holy Land awaits you.

I can’t handle it

Oh dear gawd. Quite possibly the sweetest thing ever seen on the planet in all of time.

Things accomplished

  1. JAMBOX acquired (red, of course). Oh YES. That lovely little gem in the photo above is en route to my doorstep. I’ve had what I refer to as the Third Floor Issue for a while now – that is, the difficulty of listening to my tunes on the upper level of the casa (where I spend the bulk of my time). I love my trusty Geneva, but I don’t really like blasting it to levels that might disturb the neighbors, particularly in the summer months when my windows are open. And I can’t hear it at all if I’m in the master bathroom (where I also seem to spend an inordinate amount of time), what with the water and/or fan running. There’s also the issue of wanting to jam on the patio when I don’t feel like dealing with earphones. Alas – enter Yves Behar, who solves oh-so-many of my tech problems, and always with drool-inducing design at the helm. I’ve read rave reviews of this sucker and decided to go for it – apparently this tiny Bluetooth speaker busts out some serious volume (and also doubles as a speakerphone), and I love that I can easily tote it around with me. In the office, it’ll stream from my laptop; then I can take it into the bedroom, bathroom, or out to the patio and stream from my iPhone. It retails for $199, but I found it for $175 on (no tax and $4.99 shipping). SCORE.
  2. 401(k) invested. In August 2008, I consolidated all my 401(k) accounts – which were scattered amongst three previous employers – into one Self-Employed 401(k). It was such a paperwork catastrophe in and of itself that I couldn’t deal with allocating it at that point. So I told Fidelity to talk to the hand, took off with three friends for a month at a beach house in Orient, and four weeks later, watched as the stock market melted before our very eyes. Even though I understand volatility and all that beeswax, I was secretly happy my moolah was still sitting in the cash reserves. But then…that’s where it sat for nearly three years. Until last week, when I finally got on the phone and engaged an advisor to help me put together an investment plan and allocate my account accordingly. A bit of a laborious undertaking. But still. Whew. Finally. Next up: the rewriting of my will, living will, and durable power of attorney. Talking about death should make for good times. (And P.S. Apparently June is National Make-a-Will month. A good reminder that we should all get on it if we haven’t. It appears to be fairly simple and inexpensive on LegalZoom. I know it seems totally illegit, but take it from the woman who divorced online! ;-))
  3. 85 Broads in action. I met with Jill, the co-chair of the local chapter of this network of fine, fabulous, enterprising ladies. Upon joining, the founder & CEO asked me to write for their Forbes blog, as well as lead one of their infamous Jam Sessions – both to share my story/journey and inspire others to follow their hearts (even if they first have to put it back together). So here goes nothin’ as far as The Leap is concerned – pitches are being drafted and an outline for the Jam Session is percolating in my ever-scheming-and-dreaming brain. I really hit it off with Jill – who’s also a Microsoft alum-turned-entrepreneur (as is her husband), and a born and bred New Yorker/Long Islander/Yankees fan! I’d forgotten how much I miss New Yawkers – those direct, candid, tell-it-to-your-face people who pepper every sentence with “fuck,” but would give you the shirt off their backs in a second. I’d already been harboring a hankering for an NYC jaunt – and my time with Jill only made me further yearn for an ASAP trek to the lustrous city. Gotham, take me away!
  4. Composting. I could no longer stand throwing food – scraps, coffee grounds, stuff that molds in the fridge (whoops) – and used paper towels into the trash. So I bought a BioBag bucket and the corresponding 3-gallon BioBags and stashed it under my kitchen sink. The whole lot – bag and all – is tossed straight into my townhouse community’s food/yard waste bin and I’d say I’ve cut my “regular” trash in half. And no, it’s not smelly! Miracles do occur…in the name of Mother Earth.

In honor of grads, dads, and all that

Say what you will about Sir Jobs. This is still my favorite commencement address of all time.

Though the divine Ms. P. knocked one outta the pahk at Hahvahd last week.

Me = goat mama. Again.

One year ago, I became an official adoptive parent – to lovely little Annie, who resides at the Farm Sanctuary shelter in Orland, CA. Last December, I had the pleasure of meeting Annie when my friend Michele and I made a trek to the shelter during a weekend trip to the Napa Valley. It was wonderful to see – live and in person – how well cared for these animals truly are, and that the shelter itself is indeed a large, meticulously maintained sanctuary for so many animals who have been rescued from the abuse and neglect of the factory farming industry.

While Annie was a bit skittish around humans, there were a couple goats who were more than happy to make our acquaintance. Melvin – an affectionate Angora – followed us around incessantly and continually head-butted my hand in request for another scratch of the ears or rub of the chin. Then there was tiny Justin, who had just arrived at the shelter after saving his own life by chewing through the rope around his neck and throwing himself at the front door of a Sacramento woman.

At the time of our visit, Justin was still in the shelter’s “hospital,” recuperating in a clean, spacious enclosed area inside the shelter office, where Farm Sanctuary employees could keep a close watch on him at all times. Michele and I spotted Justin at the end of our visit, and Sophia – the education coordinator for the Orland shelter – encouraged us to spend some time with him. Something about this little goat really touched me; despite his obvious cruel start in life, he had pushed through adversity to save himself. And now here he was, one minute jumping around as only goats can, practically clicking his hooves in glee, and the next minute, carefully nibbling hay from our hands. He was a gentle soul with a strong spirit. I was officially in love.

A few weeks ago, I received a letter from Farm Sanctuary, asking if I’d like to renew my sponsorship of Annie. I knew I wanted to re-up for another year, but wondered if they’d let me “spread the love” and instead cover the cost of Justin’s care for the next 12 months. I dashed off a quick email to Cyndy, the giving coordinator, and shared my experience with Justin during my visit. She responded with a resounding, “Yes, of course! We love to have people bond with their animals!”

And so it is. Cyndy sealed the deal with the photo above, noting, “This shows Justin with what we like to think is a big attitude!”

Little goat, big attitude. Proof that, as the old adage goes, attitude is indeed everything.

Beware of extreme goat cuteness

A beautiful post from one of my favorite food blogs – this week also featuring the cutest newborn goats you’ve ever seen. Aptly named Peanut and Peabody.

Someone help me. I am dying from adorabilitis.

(Photo courtesy Cannelle et Vanille)