Saturday, January 30, 2010

New Habits

So, yesterday I started my new resolution. I did have to compromise on this grocery trip, however, and did shop at Walmart (gasp). I have an in-store credit to use up, and I certainly wasn't going to let that go to waste!

I stuck to my list and only bought what would fit in my canvas bag. And it all fit.

Going forward, I will not desert Walmart entirely. Certain things are just the best value there. Canned goods, like beans, tomatoes, things like that. And while I am going to make a commitment to buy local, local people do work at Walmart, and need people to shop there so they can have their jobs. And that's important, too.

Isn't it funny that it takes time and effort to live a more simple life?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Better Late than Never, I Guess!

I know, I know, January is almost over and I've finally come to terms with my resolutions. Better late than never, right?

I've been thinking about how my resolutions can benefit not only myself but the Earth, too. I think that resolutions often fail because the intentions are often primarily selfish. Stop smoking, lose weight, etc., etc. Last year, Gillian decided her New Year's resolution would be to become a vegetarian. The reason behind her resolution was not to benefit herself. After hearing information about how animals become dinner, she realized she couldn't eat meat anymore. And she has been a vegetarian for a year now!

So, I started thinking, what can I do that will not only benefit myself but my community, and ultimately, the planet? I mentioned a couple of weeks ago about just focusing on the basics. The needs, not the wants. After everything I saw going on in Haiti, I feel a need to get back to basics. Simplicity.

There is also the pull to keep it local. Buy local foods, from local shops, which benefits local merchants and farmers. And, by buying locally, those foods aren't being transported over great distances, which burns more fossil fuels. Amazing how it's all interconnected......

I've decided, then. Simplicity is the theme for 2010. In addition, buy local, shop local. And with that, for the environment's sake, only purchasing as much food at one time as I can carry in no more than two reusable canvas bags.

We will see how it goes! Stay tuned.....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Just Ate the BEST Dinner!

I love to experiment in the kitchen. Just mess around, put things together, see what works. In the winter, this is especially satisfying.

I've had a craving for some beef. Not something I normally choose to eat, but this weekend, that is what I wanted. Not burgers, something more substantial, and a better cut than just ground beef. Initially, I wanted beef short ribs, but I couldn't find them, so I settled for country style beef ribs.

It was a good choice.

Then I needed to figure out what to do with them! I knew I wanted to put them in the slow cooker, but with what? I finally decided on onions, mushrooms, some beef stock, and most of a small can of tomato paste. I threw it all in the slow cooker and let it go.

Wow. I made some mashed potatoes, and spooned the beef/mushroom/onion stew on top of the mashed potatoes.


No real recipe, I just made it up. But the flavors seemed to meld just right! And there's enough left for at least one more meal, if not two. I only did a pound of ribs, since it's just for me.

Success in the kitchen!

Friday, January 22, 2010

One Down, Two to Go....

....months of winter, that is. I'm trying to think positive, I really am! But when you haven't seen the sun shine in more than a week, when snow and ice fall all about you, and now the weekend will be filled with more WEATHER, well, all I can say is -


I am more than ready for a little blue sky above, and a little green beneath my feet. Blue sky will be easier to find than green grass in the next month or three, so I will take what I can get.

Plus, it annoys me that everyone is focused on the weather. Myself, included.

I have been battling a nasty cold that last 10 days, so really, I'm just a bundle of doom and gloom. Call me Eeyore. hehehehe

Actually, with everything that has happened, and is happening, in Haiti right now, I feel incredibly fortunate. I have so much. Any problems I have seem so inconsequential right now. It's a good time to count blessings, and realize that what I do have is so very much. And what I really need is very little. And, perhaps it would be good to live like that for awhile. Take care of the real needs, because all those superfluous things just don't matter.

Maybe I've finally found my New Year's resolution.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Some Weeks are Just Weird

Holidays are over. Back to work, back to school, right? Not so fast, bub......

Poor Gillian. She picked up some horrible crud, either from the kids at Winter Camp or from her Grandma. Regardless, she has one nasty case of the CRUD. Sore throat, cough, a fever, and just general YUCK. I took her to the doctor yesterday, they tested her for Strep, it came back negative. Diagnosed with one of those wonderfully vague viruses.

And now she is worse than she was yesterday! Did I take her to the doctor too soon? I've never heard of that being the case, but honestly.......I don't remember these vague viruses when I was a kid. Perhaps the microscopic organisms are winning?

So, the poor kid is dealing with the crud, and I'm just thankful for really good sick benefits. Between Dan and I, we've got the kid covered. But to have two weeks off for Christmas, and then get sick, just not a great way to begin the New Year!

Fortunately, the Hawkeyes won the Orange Bowl!!!! GO HAWKS! I think they surprised a great many people by taking the lead early in the game over Georgia Tech. and keeping control of the game until the very end. They proved their critics wrong and walked away with a solid win. They did the State of Iowa proud, and I have to say Thanks! and GREAT GAME!

So, after all the excitement of the game, and taking care of a sick kid, we find ourselves in the middle of a Winter Storm Warning. 6-9 inches of snow, lots of wind, and bitterly cold temperatures. Yep. Welcome to January in the Midwest. Yep.

Is it spring yet?

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year, New Focus

After feeling guilty about ignoring my blog the last few months, I'm feeling focused and ready to get back to it. It's a new year, and it's time to allow myself to get back to thing I love and enjoy!

The latter part of 2009 was pretty hectic. A 9 day trip to Amsterdam was amazing and life changing. Visiting a brand new (to me) city, meeting new people, visiting new places, and experiencing the Anne Frank House was absolutely fantastic. At some point I will post some pictures on my blog, but I do have many on my Facebook page.

After Thanksgiving, Gillian and I were busy with City Circle's production of A Christmas Carol Radio Play. This was WONDERFUL! I decided to try out when I took Gillian to auditions, and I'm so glad I did! We were able to participate together, and I will cherish this memory forever. I think I also caught the acting bug, because now I definitely want to try out for another show.

This brings us to Christmas. Which was a little messed up, thanks to the lovely weather. We were going to go to DeKalb, but instead we went over New Year's, which was actually better, because we got a longer visit!

And, now, we find ourselves at the beginning of a new year. A new decade. Okay, technically, the new decade won't start until next year, but we ARE into the "10s" so it does feel like a new decade. And wow, does it feel weird to you? Writing 2010 is taking some getting used to for me.

So, with this post, I am pledging to be a better blogger, posting the mundane, inane, and all things library. Family. And CAT!!!! Speaking of which, there ain't much better on a VERY cold evening than having a cat curled up in your lap....