11–20 of 29 entries from the month of: August 2008

Frida Friday

August 22nd

personal 012

During the last year, I’ve been reading different books, listening to new podcasts and spending more time in prayer than ever before. In this time of reflection and exploration, I’ve decided there is no such thing as coincidence. When a great opportunity falls into my lap, when I meet someone who I feel like I’ve known for years, when the guy at the coffee shop doesn’t charge me for a refill — these were all things I was meant to notice and appreciate.
For example, this morning at the gym there happened to be a 2002 issue of Smithsonian featuring my very favorite artist, Frida Kahlo. It was on the bench where I place my bag everyday as though the universe was just leaving me a little gift. Happy Friday! Magazines and other items occasionally pop up on this bench as freebies but rarely catch my interest. Today was my day to reap the harvest. Frida and I had a lovely breakfast.
My new job, also, could not have come at a better time or seemingly be a better fit. I feel like climbing on the roof and screaming, “Thank you!” to the sky. Thank you for giving me a profession that is so challenging, that forces me to learn and be my very best. Thank you for giving me back my commuting time so I can have breakfast with Frida instead of the hour of knuckle-gripping freeway time that had grown routine. Thank you for putting me here, now. I learned just the right amount from the previous job to feel steady enough, but not quite enough to be confident. This is a great thing; with too much confidence, I often find myself being lazy.

Colorful dinner

For the last few months I’ve been trying to figure out how I can see a nutritionist with my insurance plan. With changing insurance, it’s been tricky and I haven’t been able to make it happen. I’ve inquired at the gym about seeing someone and talked to a friend who is a registered dietitian. I love learning about health and figured meeting with a nutritionist would give me a better idea if my diet is balanced and what I can do to improve. Out of the blue this week I received and email from a colleague I know socially who happens to be a nutritionist. Would I like to be one of her new clients? She had no idea I’d been looking in to this. This morning we’ll meet and I don’t even have to worry about a co-pay. She’s building her practice and the price is more than affordable.
Again, thank you!

personal 008

Being intentional with what I want out of my day is providing amazing results. Creating a list of daily endeavors and reminding myself that action spurs progress is bringing more happiness into my life than I could have imagined. Happy Friday, friends. Happy Friday indeed.


P.S. Do you have any podcasts you regularly listen to that you find interesting, helpful and thought-provoking? I’d love to hear about them.

Posted in
Faith, Goals, Good to Great, Journal
Comments (25)

Jars of Renewal

August 21st

crafting la de dah 006
crafting la de dah 008
crafting la de dah 023

What to do with all those jars? Tempe doesn’t recycle glass in my neighborhood, so I’m often scratching my head in my kitchen trying to figure out how to put yet another perfectly good glass jar into use instead of into the trash. Let’s just say after several months of research, I’ve got a plan. If you are interested in a Fall craft and art series that will help tame the craziness that is holiday gift-giving, stay tuned. Start saving your jars and lids of all sizes. This week, wash them with hot water and rinsing them in a cold water and vinegar mixture will get them squeaky clean. Next week, we’ll get cooking.

“To cherish what remains of the earth and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.” — Wendell Berry


Posted in
Domestic Art, Happy Hippie, June Cleaver, Kitchen Talk, Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
Comments (29)

Cure for Heartache

August 19th

When I heard of a friend who was going through a rough breakup — including moving across the country and having to to leave her crafting supplies behind — I knew just the remedy. When once doubled over in mind boggling heartache, my smart mama lifted my chin, put knitting needles in my hands, and talked me through the next six months. The first few weeks and projects were ugly. By the time I’d created something worthy of sharing, I was on the mend and had a cute little shrug for to wear to happy hour.
Hence, a crafty girl’s miracle cure for heartache:

COAK: knitting roll
COAK: knitting roll
COAK: knitting roll
COAK: knitting roll
COAK: knitting roll

Voila — love from Arizona, all wrapped up in some turquoise happiness.

Posted in
CAOK, Domestic Art, Journal, June Cleaver, Uncategorized
Comments (33)

This Week

August 19th

~ I will swim like Dara Torres is in the next lane, cheering me on. Goal: 6000 M. To date: 3500 M. I officially have a new athletic heroine.
~ I will finish “The Shack,” and start something nonfiction for balance.
~ I’ll organize my CDs on my new external hard drive and make some sense of too many iTunes accounts.
~ I’ll get my guest room in order for African house guests arriving next week.
~ I’ll sit down and write a couple letters to friends.
~ I’ll make myself sit still and meditate in silence. (What is it about meditation that, like poetry, seems so daunting?)
~ I’ll run with intention, thanks to my fitness buddy. Goal: 21 miles. To date: 5.
~ I’ll try a new recipe: ginger and spinach stuffed chicken breasts, saffron rice, roasted broccoli.
~ I’ll try yet another vegan recipe for a staff retreat this weekend. At least this recipe looks more appetizing! Thanks Colleen.

What’s on your schedule?

Posted in
Goals, Good to Great, Journal
Comments (16)

Summer Media

August 18th

August Media

I’ve been reading gobs lately. I go through phases where all I want to do is read and then a month will pass without the desire to pick up a book. Summer is the perfect season for reading in Phoenix namely because it is so darned hot during most of the day to do much else outside. Plus, if you want to head out to the pool to lounge for an hour, why not grab a great book or a stack of magazines?
When A Crocodile Eats the Sun” is a heart-wrenching memoir of a Zimbabwean journalist who is struggling living abroad while his aging parents try to maneuver life in the current political nightmare dictator Robert Mugabe has created. This book puts the day-to-day struggle of White Zimbabweans into focus. It is an excellent read and if nothing else, it brings more due attention to a political and humanitarian crisis that has been mostly ignored outside of southern Africa. (I can guarantee if White Africans were doing this to Black Africans today, the world would be responding differently. And yes, I’m bias. I have Zimbabwean friends who have lost everything thanks to Mugabe’s terror — folks who had to flee in the night with nothing but their lives to watch their homeland crumble from abroad. It is disgusting what Mugabe has been able to destroy.)

An excerpt that sums this up nicely:
“It is sometimes said the worst thing to happen to Africa was the arrival of the white man. And the second worst was his departure. Colonialism lasted just long enough to destroy much of Africa’s indigenous cultures and traditions, but not long enough to leave behind a durable replacement. There is a paradox at the heart of Africa: it is mankind’s crucible, the motherland, the place where early hominids evolved and, presumably therefore, the environment originally most hospitable to man, yet Africa is not the economic laggard, the Cinderella continent, a byword for poverty, disease and underdevelopment; the Third World’s Third World. In 1963, Zimbabwe had the same gross domestic product as South Korea. Now South Korea’s economy is 120 times the size of Zimbabwe’s. Africa accounts for more than 11 percent of the world’s population and less than 2 percent of its trade.”

Four out of five bananas, absoloodle.

As for the others in the stack:
Lucky” made me cry and wince. It is another memoir, although this time it is the brutal story of a rape victim and how she survives and eventually thrives. Beautifully honest writing and Alice Sebold continues to be one of my favorite authors. Three out of five bananas.

The Shack,” has shot to the top of the best-seller list and you probably know the plot. Without giving anything away, I’ll just say God is a main character and she is an African American woman with an attitude. I am 150 pages in and truly enjoying the tale. Four out of five bananas.

Shop Girl” continues my love affair with Steve Martin. This movie is thoughtful and I love that he stars in the novella he wrote. I wonder if he imagined himself as this character? Clare Daines is pretty darn good too. Three out of five.

Gone Baby Gone” slugged me in the gut. It is a twisted plot that makes you question if there are ever really right and wrongs and if justice exists. If nothing else, it was a great introduction to the cuteness that is Casey Affleck. Three out of five.

Gabbeh” is a low-budget Iranian flim that I tried watching but kept falling asleep. You can’t close your eyes to movies with subtitles, so I missed about 80%. That said, the scenery is interesting and I’m not sure I’ve ever before seen a movie set in Iran. The countryside is quite pretty.

I am sad there haven’t been more great flicks at our local independent movie theater. Can you believe in Phoenix, a city with more than 3 million people, there is one tiny theater in Scottsdale showing independent movies? Maybe this week there will be a new crop and something will catch my eye.


Posted in
Goals, Journal, Media
Comments (9)

For the Fall Pumpkin Crop

August 16th

African capulana baby blanket
backed with black velour -- super soft
perfect use for that zebra ribbon

Baby blanket off to some friends who met in Africa and are having their first baby this winter.

lemony joy
i may be watching olympics while i craft...
Phelps inspired gold medal onesie
African onesie
wrapped and ready for the mail

Olympic-inspired onesies for the many babies expected this Fall.

Tag Burb cloths
taggie burb cloths
taggie burp cloth

Taggie burp cloths and changing pads too. And yes, I am already talking about pumpkins. Fall? Could you please arrive a wee bit early this year? I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.


Posted in
CAOK, Domestic Art, Journal, June Cleaver
Comments (14)

Three Snaps for Ginger!

August 15th

Ginger what? Ginger SNAP!
Sweet snack
Some people bring business cards to meetings
Housewarming gift that is certain to get a jump of joy

Some people receive business cards when they start a new job. Others place an order, wait a couple weeks and show up to as many meetings in the meantime with baked goods. Business cards may get thrown away after a meeting, but I doubt these gingersnaps ended up in the trash. I’m always trying to figure out a way to make my mark in the business world. I’ve met so many new people during the last two weeks and managed to feed more than a dozen. I think it is safe to say they either think I’m crazy or I’m going to quit to complete my Martha transformation. Regardless, they are sure to remember my name.
Plus, Martha would have hand-stamped her business cards and calligraphied recipe cards to go with the cookies. Not a bad idea, actually…


P.S. Rebecca recently mentioned her sister Shelley made the best gingersnaps ever. Challenge accepted. This recipe isn’t quite there, but I’m working on a couple new variations. When I get the alchemy just right, I’ll post my findings. On another note, it only took me knowing Rebilou some 20 years before I heard her say gingersnaps were her favorite cookie. Mine too. I have fond memories of grocery shopping with my mom as a little girl and her buying a big brown bag of gingersnaps and letting us eat them in the cart. We thought she was so brazen to eat before paying for them. Funny, the things you remember.
What is your favorite cookie?

Posted in
Domestic Art, Journal, June Cleaver, Kitchen Talk, Recipes, Uncategorized
Comments (21)


August 14th

Burst of color in the kitchen

MoziEsme’s mama posted a lovely quote this week about humility, and how faith guides us to remember to praise God first and be uncomfortable with other applause. Better yet, to redirect personal praise toward God, remembering that without faith, without His direction, we are simply lost. This is something that is regularly in the back of my mind. I think being able to accept praise gracefully is important, especially so for women in the workplace and more so when it comes to complimenting a woman’s appearance. How often do you hear a friend deflect your kind words with, “Oh no, I am so fat.” Or “Eh? This old dress? It was so cheap!” Learning to accept praise can be a challenge.
Then again, acceptance of praise and boasting about your own accomplishments are two entirely different things. The one aspect I want to change about this journal is the egotistical tone. I fear I am perceived as quite conceited and I can see why.
Look what I made!
Look what I cooked!
Look where I traveled!

Burst of color in the kitchen

Yikes. I need to take a step back and spend time reflecting on what fuels my desire to feed this blog, which ultimately strokes my ego. Ideally, I would love to see it make a turn toward something much more meaningful.

In the meantime, an inspiring quote from MoziEsme’s Mama:
A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Burst of color in the kitchen

We are powerful beyond nature.

Posted in
Faith, Flora and Fauna, Good to Great, Journal
Comments (29)

International Baggage

August 13th

Dear Finny,
Remember our August-September challenge for the Finny and Donk Sewing Adventure? Well, true to my word I made a couple of those totes this week and they are headed off today as gifts.
First up:

Finny and Donk Sew Along: August -September, tri-pocket tote
Finny and Donk Sew Along: August -September, tri-pocket tote
Finny and Donk Sew Along: August -September, tri-pocket tote
Finny and Donk Sew Along: August -September, tri-pocket tote
Finny and Donk Sew Along: August -September, tri-pocket tote
Finny and Donk Sew Along: August -September, tri-pocket tote

A colleague is leaving for a Fulbright Scholarship in Egypt. While her attire is changing dramatically to study and do research in this country, there is no need not to have a colorful tote. I used a sepia stamp pad and some African-themed stamps to add a bit of hieroglyphic love to this baby because I am just that nutty. Plus, how often do you get to use the word, “hieroglyphic?” I swear Ross Geller and I were meant for each other.

Finny and Donk Sew Along: August -September, tri-pocket tote

Segundo, una bolsa para mi companera quien va estudiar en Espana. Yep, this mochila is off to Spain with another colleague who will study Espanol en Sevilla. Oh, Spain, home of sangria, flamenco, espadrilles and Javier Bardem. What doesn’t that country have to offer?

Finny and Donk Sew Along: August -September, tri-pocket tote
Finny and Donk Sew Along: August -September, tri-pocket tote

This pattern is super easy and is fulfilling. I needed something simple this week and was thrilled to be able to use up more of my existing fabric stash. Take that JoAnn! So, even with your gardening, traveling and canning maddness, you should be able to whip one of these sweet bags up in no time. Speaking of time, do you know anyone having a milestone birthday in a couple weeks? I do. And her name is Finny. Oh, the celebration is about to begin!


Posted in
Domestic Art, June Cleaver, Sew Along
Comments (17)


August 12th

garlic, pre-oven
soaking peas
cooks illustrated does me right again
pita chips
cooked chickpeas
chickpea water
before and after 010
Roasted garlic hummus

Roasted garlic hummus. This is the first time I’ve cooked chickpeas and made the entire recipe from scratch. The result is good, but not worthy of the extra hour of cooking. Canned chickpeas are a-okay.

building the brownie
before and after 005
Vegan brownies, new recipe
Vegan brownies, new recipe

Vegan brownies. Also my first time making this recipe and once again, not exactly my cup of tea. If I am going to splurge on a chocolately baked good, you might as well give me the animal fat too. However my new coworkers feel otherwise and are currently dancing around the office eating these. You say brownie, I say blahnie.
For as much as I love to bake, there are few sweets worthy of the splurge these days. Must be the heat. Or the fact that Golden Spoon is keeping me a very, very happy girl in the dessert department. What? Another 115 degree day? I think I’ll take a large. Make it peanut butter cup. Although pistachio is pretty darn good. And so is minty chocolate. At 60 calories a serving, I’m bound to have tried the entire menu before the oven goes from broil to warm. Only three months left.


Posted in
Domestic Art, Happy Hippie, June Cleaver, Kitchen Talk
Comments (19)