Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Lazy Holiday Yumminess to Blow Your Taste Buds' Mind!

Tis the season for jolly yummy foods.  Two of my faves were inspired by two things:  1) the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and 2) a blow torch.

I had the distinct pleasure of staying at the Fairmont a couple of weeks ago.  It was all aflutter and aglitter with Christmas.  I love that bar, so I had a light dinner thoere.  And, I had to try one of the special drinks "Vanilla Hot Toddy."  It was divine.  It felt like a velvety wash of vanilla rushed over the roof of the my mouth at the very same instant a melange of orange and whiskey and spices washed over my tongue and rang a bell at the back of my throat that said spice heaven.  What a glorious drink, particularly since I was just finishing up the battle against a flu. 

I sashayed up to the bar -- because this drink makes you sashay -- to tell them the drink was genius.  And, the bartender I told lit up like Rudolph and said "It is MY creation!"  I bowed at his feet, and perhaps because I offered him the respect that he deserved he told me the recipe:

Hot Water
Rye Whiskey (apparently very, very important that it be rye)
Slice of Orange
Whole Cloves
Cinnamon Stick
Vanilla Syrup 

I asked if he used whole vanilla to make the syrup.  He hadn't made the syrup, but admitted it would probably be even better if made with whole vanilla.  He didn't give me measurements but it came out great so here's what I did:

4 cups of water
1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
1/2 vanilla bean scraped and then dropped in water

Simmer for a little while until it is fully infused with vanilla.  Add small handful of cloves and two sticks of cinnamon.  Simmer a little while longer.  Then add a couple slices of orange.  Simmer a wee bit more.  While it simmers, put a slice of orange in a mug or brandy snifter.  Pour some of the vanilla "stew" in glass and rye whiskey to taste or tolerance.

Then, if you want to have some fun with a kitchen blow torch this is a delicious way to meet that need.  My mom loves chocolate, but I wanted to make something to torch...so that means Chocolate Creme Brulee.  I used Paula Deen's richer-than-sin-but-that's-ok-cause-it's-the-holidays recipe:

My twist on it.  I soaked a pint of blackberries in the Godiva Chocolate Liqueur for several hours.  Then I whipped up some cream, using a touch of the liqueur to sweeten.  So, after you torch the sugar topping to create that crackle top, arrange blackberries on top and then dollop with cream and top with one crowning berry.  DELICIOSA!  No kidding.  Possibly best creme brulee ever!

This is what they look like pre-torching and topping.   They would be yummy naked as well, but take the extra few minutes to kick it up that final notch!  

Buon Lazy Natale Appetito!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Snap! No More Cold!

    My dad was a genius for oh so may reasons, but one of the things he taught me was a really cool cold remedy.

    I started feeling wonky on Monday night, but thought it was due to an intense three hour workout.  Of course, I'd be wiped out after that!  But by Tuesday night I felt like I might be getting sick.  I started taking my go to remedy, Astra Isatis, which usually kicks these things out of my system.

Product Details

It kept my symptoms at bay until last night when I started to get chills.  So, I pulled out my dad's trick:  super hot bath while drinking super hot tea (or hot water with grated fresh ginger) -- until you can stand the super-hot no more.   THEN, wrap yourself in a big warm robe, get under a bunch of layers of blankets, and sweat it out.  I sweat for about an hour and a half, went to sleep and woke up in the middle of the night with a piercing sore throat.  

Yes, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better.  Felt wonky all day, chills until just now.  Another round of hot house therapy and the feverish chills are now gone.  Sore throat is now also magically gone.

So, give it a shot next time you have a cold.  And, I highly recommend Astra Isatis to keep on hand for when your immune system takes a dip for any reason. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lazy Thanksgiving Anyone?

The key to a Lazy Thanksgiving is eating the elephant one bite at a time.  In other words, if you are hosting Thanksgiving, you don't want to get overwhelmed by the three tasks at hand:

1.  Cooking
2.  Table Setting
3.  Cleaning/Last Minute Getting the House Ready to Receive Guests

I heard someone talking about doing a 200 mile bike ride.  He said "If every mile you ride you are thinking of the next hundred plus, you'll have a terrible ride."    Good advice for Thanksgiving prep: take it one mile at a time, one task at a time.

I just took a few bites off today because I want to be spending a good deal of the next few days writing.  So, I decided to do a few things every day.  Yesterday I got flowers.  Today I set the Thanksgiving table.  I will probably tweak it a little the day of, but setting the Thanksgiving table is one of my greatest joys.  One of the things I also did today (one of my vacation projects) was clean out and rearrange my garage.  While in there, I found a super cool piece of upholstery material that I hadn't used for a project that I realized would make a perfect tablecloth.  That inspiration lead to other inspirations...and before I knew it, the table was done.  


Then I realized I could definitely make cranberry sauce today as well as a nice squash soup that I may or may not serve on Thanksgiving but that will make the few visitors I'm expecting over the next few days happy.  The recipes were perfect to cook at the same time because they both have some common ingredients, and because both require chopping and cooking on the stove.  They were fun to cook at the same time.

Cranberry sauce is not one of my favorite things....or should I say wasn't until this recipe. I found it in the People Magazine I was reading while getting a pedicure yesterday. Nice synchronicity.  It is super easy and wildly delicious!

Ginger Cranberry Sauce
1/2 cu pecans roughly chopped (Lazy Solution -- Trader Joe's has pre-roasted chopped pecans)
12 oz cranberries
3/4 cu sugar 
3/4 cu fresh orange juice
1 t fresh ginger -- grated
1.5 t orange zest

Toast pecans in pan four to five minutes to golden brown -- OR do it the Lazy Way and buy them 
pre-roasted and chopped. 

Cook berries, sugar and orange juice for 4 to 6 minutes, or until berries start popping.

Add ginger and zest and cook 2-3 minutes minutes more. Remove from heat.Add pecans,
cover and cool. Chill. 
The soup, if you are interested is AMAZING and super easy too: 
I had a bit of a boundless energy day so I did the garden clean-up and refreshening AND because of the muddy paw prints after a few rainy days, I ended up starting a cleaning spree.  Now, I will just have to do the last minute touch-ups on Wednesday, post-cooking clean-up. 

Schedule for the rest of the week:

Monday        -- Pie Crusts
Tuesday       --  Shop for final ingredients
                   --  Prep ingredients for Stuffing
Wednesday   -- Mashed Potatoes -- Yes, they are even fluffier and more amazing when you do them the day ahead and put them in the oven. 
                    -- Make Pies
Thursday       -- Prep turkey and veggies, etc.

One bite a time.  One mile at a time.  One task at a time.  

I have to say I had the most fun today in getting all the house and food ducks in a row.   

... which leads me to my final Lazy Woman tip.  If there are things that you hate to do, DELEGATE.  Ask nicely and play nice, but ask for help with the things that drive you nuts or that you simply don't like to doThe name of the game is LESS STRESS and MORE JOY.  And, around the holidays, that will probably mean asking for help.

And, then in the spirit of the holiday, don't forget to say "thank you" for the help!

Buon Grateful Appetito to All! 




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Calling All Kick Ass Chicks

I had the exquisite pleasure of attending the Sister Giant Conference this weekend.  (sistergiant.com)  Marianne Williamson invited a most divine bouquet of talent to help shed light on one of America's biggest problems right now:  We simply do not have enough women in politics.

We have all been celebrating our newfound 20 percentedness in Congress.  But, damn, it's a far cry from the 50% it should be -- that we NEED it to be.

Most of us have an enormous deep-seated distrust and dislike of the political machine.  My mantra has always been:  Mothers, teachers, nurses, politicians -- I don't know how they do service at that level. 

I don't think anyone throws their hat into the political arena without being slightly insane because we all know the level of self-protection and preservation required to even withstand a campaign, let alone actively serve angry constituents.

Women especially always say "I could never do that."   Marianne understood.  We all feel too vulnerable to put ourselves in such a position.  She said we have a cellular memory of being burned at the stake for our beliefs.  No matter what your belief system, though, you can very likely relate to the profound fear of the political engine running you over alive.

Yet, Marianne inspired us all for two solid days with endless brilliant women who have ventured into politics, or support those who have.  She made it seem shockingly do-able, but more important, she stripped it to its core:  we NEED women.

We need women to fight for our hungry children.  Millions of children go to bed hungry, go to school hungry, and rely on having one meal a day at school.

We need women to fight against one of the largest profit-making centers in America: prisons.  People:  they are now building prisons based on third grade test scores. 

We need women to fight for our environment.

Marianne told the story about how female hyenas protect their young.  When the babies are eating, the females circle them, protecting them from the adult males who try to take their food away.

Her call to action:  Can we not at least be as powerful as hyenas in protecting our young?

Therefore, my request:  If you know of a woman who should run for office, tell me, so I can spread the word.  Let all your women friends know that that woman needs their support.  Ask people for money, time and effort on that woman's behalf.

We can change this broken world -- one woman at a time.

If you need inspiration, pick up Marianne's book, "Healing the Soul of America."

Friday, November 02, 2012

Things That Make Me Happy: Delete Walmart + Add Google + World Market

My most exciting purchases this week:  shoes, soap and soap dispensers!

First most exciting purchase is hot pink tennis shoes.   I jate shopping so I buy a lot of shoes online.  I've never ventured into buying workout shoes, but after having been fitted in a store for top of the line tennis shoes that caused me to lose my big toe nails, I decided it was worth a shot.  I found the cutest of hot pink and black tennis shoes and they fit perfectly.  Why?  Because I googled "ASICS tennis shoe fit" and figured out I needed to buy a half size up.  

Next Google project was in my effort to find another place to buy replacement dish washing liquid for my Dawn pump. I adore this stuff but I hate Walmart, which appears to be the only to buy the darned stuff, so I was scouring for an alternative.  What to my wondering eyes appeared in the Google results?  A RECIPE!  Yes, that's right on Food.com even! And it absolutely works!

Check it out.  Save time, save money and stay out of Walmart, by following this unbelievably easy recipe: 


And, finally, notice in the photo above, my very favorite purchase of the week: a hand soap dispenser than matches my Deruta pottery plate where I keep my soaps!  And, it's even plastic so I don't have to worry about dropping it, since I seem to be having "dropsy" lately!   I got it at World Market/Cost Plus.

It's the little things that bring me such joy.   Less stress and more joy....and a whole lot of beauty!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lazy Tip: Interval Living

in·ter·val (ntr-vl)
1. A space between two objects, points, or units.
2. The amount of time between two specified instants, events, or states.
3. One of a series of predetermined distances covered at regular time increments with intermittent periods of rest in an athletic workout.

Sometimes we have to celebrate the "space between."  I am so far behind where I had wanted to be with my book at this point in the year.  It has been hard to not feel very pressured.  My picture of what the book should look like at this point does not match the reality. 

And so it is with life:  reality crashing into the pictures you have in your head of what reality should look like. When I don't even make my minimum commitment of at least 1/2 hour each night -- which is an abysmally low goal -- it is easy to beat myself up. Yet my workload and health (up to a month ago) since I started the book in February have made it the true snapshot of reality.

Then I beat myself up and demand that I "catch up" on the weekends.  When the weekend comes I know that I also need to recover from my intense work load, and I need to rest and play and take care of things.  I woke up this morning with a new idea:  interval writing.  I have been doing it all day and realize now it is a great Lazy Woman tool. 

Interval training in the fitness arena is when you exert yourself intermittently at high and low intensity spurts.  When I have done this over the years it was extremely effective in terms of bumping up my fitness level and in keeping my weight down.   

This week I started spinning for the first time since 1998. I loved spinning in my 30's, but I had to stop because back then it wore down my immune system.  I am trying it again to see how my body will react all these many years later.  Most spinning classes have a level of interval training, but the first class I went to was designed as an interval training: sprints with low resistance and then hard uphill climbs, etc.  I enjoyed it, and the space between the sprints.

I have enjoyed my day of interval writing also.  It looked like this so far -- and will continue in this fashion through Sunday night:

  1. Yoga
  2. Spinning
  3. WRITE
  4. Hot Bath/Spa Time at Home/Relaxation
  5. WRITE
  6. Pedicure/WRITE (relaxing pedi combined with research for writing)
  7. Market
  8. WRITE
Writing is my sprinting.  The in-between activities allow me to come back to the writing with a lot more clarity and energy for another sprint.

I am excited to look back at this weekend of Interval Writing and see that it didn't have to be an angst filled weekend to be productive, and that the spaces between can be used for true relaxation and enjoyment, devoid of self-flagellation. 

Good times.  Good lazy times.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Best Laid Plans -- PART DEUX! aka Cops Like Donuts and PIE!

I am the worst about tasting food as I cook.  I just don't want to do it.  I smell things and that usually guides me far enough along.   It doesn't matter how damn delicious something is, I think I taught myself as a kid when I learned how to bake from my mom, that tasting stuff would be a rabbit hole for me.  But, honestly, I don't feel like eating when I cook. I'm far too distracted. If I am cooking all day long I will find myself starving at the end of the day, having forgotten to eat.  

In the case of Best Laid Plans - PART UN (aka ONE) choosing to NOT taste the pie filling was not the best idea.  The pie was not sweet enough for most tastebuds.  It was perfectly sweet enough for me, but for the general pie audiences out there it was not as sweet as it appeared. 
Looks can be deceiving, eh?

So, this time, I took a tiny bite of the filling to check the sweet/tart ratio and it was much better for -- again -- the general pie audiences in the world.

And, the venting on this pie was far prettier because I wasn't trying to be fancy with initials.  I carved initials on the Strawberry Rhubarb pie I made for my friend Bob's bday in June, and that didn't work either.  Sometimes I'm dense and need to get the lesson a couple of times before I resort to the less creative solutions.

So, this pie looked and tasted more like you would expect from such a picture. 

ALTERATION TO RECIPE FROM BEST LAID PLANS - PART UN (will be editing that recipe in a sec):

Instead of 3 Tablespoons of Fresh Lemon Juice, I probably used 1/2 of that. It was juice of one small lemon.  

Bottom line is it all depends on the fruit.  I think these peaches were a little sweeter, even though just as ripe as the last batch. 

So, next time you bake, channel the sexiest of chefs, Nigela Lawson and taste every damn thing and you'll be a far better baker than I.

And, definitely don't be as stubborn as I was, so you can have happy pie eating adventures where people are left smiling, rather than puckering!....unless you are baking for yourself and you like it that way! 

We shared the pie with the two cops in the restaurant.  They were happy and posed for a happy post-pie-eating smile photo:

Monday, October 08, 2012

Lazy Deliciousness: The Best Laid Plans

A little group I started that I call "CNC" -- acronym or reason we meet is not important, but suffice it to say I owe them a pie.   Last time we were supposed to meet I was sick and had to give an IOU for a yummalicious Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie.  Well, rhubarb has a very short season, so the CNC will be enjoying a Peach-Blackberry Pie instead.

The crust from Smitten Kitchen came out exquisitely.  And, it looked perfect as I put it in the oven.  I even buoyed it's buttery delicate self up with tin foil, but sadly it lost it's cute details, and of course, the best laid "CNC" instead of the normal pie venting marks, went all wonky on me.  But here's how it done been got this way:

Crust Recipe
Seriously the best most awesome crust which I discovered when making her Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is from the aforementioned Smitten Kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/11/pie-crust-102-all-butter-really-flaky-pie-dough/

1 basket of Blackberries
10 large Peaches
1 1/2 to 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (to taste: depending on how sweet the fruit)
Pinch of Salt

5 Tablespoons Flour
1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
Grated Fresh Nutmeg (several scrapings)

Glaze/Crust Protection
1 Egg White
2 teaspoons Water

NOTE RE: Pie Plate
I highly recommend you use one with a big lip on it.  See my post on 10/12 for pic of the improved pie made a couple days later with my favorite green pie plate with a thick lip. With this buttery a crust, you need it to have somewhere for it to ooze out.  Otherwise you will need to use aluminum foil around the pie plate to keep it from completely falling.  Not Lazy.  So, get a good pie plate with a lip.  I had left mine at a friend's so didn't have it on this nite.  Next pie much improved because of this lovely simple adjustment.

Preheat oven to 350.

Make an X at the bottom of the peach.  Throw in boiling water for about a minute.  Pull out of water and peels will come off really easily.  When cool, slice the peaches.  Toss with the blackerries, lemon juice and pinch of salt.  

Whisk together the flour, brown sugar and grated nutmeg.   Toss with the peach mixture above.  Let it rest while you roll out the dough, but at least 30 minutes.

Roll out bottom crust, put in pie plate with 1 inch overhang all around.  Put in the fridge.  Roll out the top crust, put on a flat plate and put in fridge.

Mix egg white and water together.  Get out your pastry brush.

If the peach mixture has set long enough, get out the bottom crust, and brush with egg mixture.  Put in the filling, scooping from bowl into the crust with a slotted spoon if it is super-soupy.  Leave the soupiest of the soup in the bowl, but you will have taken 98% of what is in the bowl over to the pie. 

Put on the top crust, crimp the edges as you wish, and cut decorative steam slits into crust to allow for proper bubbling to ensue.  Don't get all fancy like I did here (sorry it will not let me rotate this pic no matter what I do! LOL!) because with these buttery crusts, they need to be able to express themselves however they wish.  Simple slits work best.

Bake for 60-70 minutes normally.  This one took 80 tonight to get to double-double-toil-and-trouble delicious bubbling goodness.

I lost the beautiful edging took, but I guarantee no one will care!  Did I mention how unbelievably good it smells?  Oh my!

Lazily yours,

Happy Baking to All and to All a Good Night!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Lazy Travel Tip: Beware!

It seems to be the wave of air travel's future:  you can't necessarily trust that ticket you have in your hands!

A few months ago I was enjoying a lovely dinner in Denver and took a moment after the plates were cleared to use my iPhone to check in for my flight departing the following evening.  To my horror, the flight had been moved up three hours, to be smack in the middle of my last appointment.  When I called American Airlines in horror, they said they had emailed the change to me.  I get a lot of email, and I check my spam regularly.  I did not get an email about this.  I very rarely fly American, but promised then to try to avoid them at all costs in the future, and I have so far.

Three weeks ago I flew Virgin America. I went to check in to that flight and discovered I no longer had a seat.  Impossible.  I had made the reservation weeks prior and always get an aisle seat -- without fail.  They told me I'd have to get my seat at the airport -- after everyone else boarded the plane!  Impossible.  Another airline down!

Tonight a Facebook friend posted that he just went to check in for his 10:40 a.m. flight and he was informed that the flight was moved up to 7 a.m.   Virgin America strikes again.  They claim they emailed him that change.  His point:  this change is worthy of an actual, honest to God phone call, people!  He is flying out for a funeral, and would have missed it had he not noticed during his online check-in. 

Last Tuesday, I was driving to LAX at 6 a.m.  I received a phone call.  An automatic recording informed me that my flight was being moved UP from 7:48 to 7:23 a.m.   I hung up, called Delta and asked if there was a later flight and when it would get me in because I didn't think there was any way I'd make this flight.  I would miss my first appointment.  The customer service agent at the other end of the line thought he had misheard me when I said I had just been informed my flight was moved up.  He said "Oh no, we don't move flights UP."  I said "Well you did on this one!"  He looked and was embarassed to admit the error of his words.

I sped to LAX, raced to my parking lot, and sprinted to the security line where I had to ask an enormous crowd of people if they would let me move up in the line, explaining that as odd as it sounded my flight had been moved up almost 1/2 an hour.  They all stared and then in one magical moment as if rehearsed said in unison "Yes, gooooooo!"  Except.  One.  Person. 

A Delta pilot stared at me with his curmugeonly face set in stalwart silence, clearly self-assured that I was a liar.  I showed him my boarding pass and I said "This says 7:48 but this flight is leaving at 7:23."  He shook his head, judging me from his head down to his toes.

I sprinted to the gate.  It looked empty.  I saw a flight attendant disappear through the door just as I arrived within eye shot?  Huffing and puffing I ran up to the agent and begged, barely able to speak, "Please can you get me on!?"   The agent said "Just breathe."  I contested, "You don't understand I have to get on this flight. You moved it up!"   He said "It's OK, just breathe...."  Then I realized I had time to breathe because he was just about to start boarding.   We both started laughing at my idiocy.  The flight did take off at 7:23. It was just a nearly empty flight so not a lot of boarding to do!

I turned around to find a place to catch my breath before boarding and saw the judging pilot walking to a gate across the way.  I ran over to him, and said "I know you didn't believe me, so you have to come see this and talk to the agent!" I grabbed him by the elbow and he said "I STILL don't believe you!" as I dragged him over to my gate.  The agent explained that I was, indeed, telling the truth. 

Shocked, the pilot replied: "Is that even LEGAL?"

The bottom line is that pulling the rug out of your magic carpet rides should not be legal.  But, it does seem to be the new norm.  So, beware oh ye who travels our lovely skies.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Lazy Game On!

Game on.  Game is irrevocably on.  I have gained back just about all the weight I lost in at the beginning of 2011.  Due to glorious Bar Method, it's all a lot tighter than it was before.  Thanks to my mom, I've worked out since I was a teenager and have always been fit, but Bar really did shape, strengthen and tighten in the laziest of ways.  One hour, extremely efficient workout.  But, due to a persistent hamstring injury, I'm taking Bar "time out."   Working out hard in many different other ways now, but it's gonna take more than workouts to get off the weight gained due to persistent illness over the last year and a half.

So, the game is on to get the weight off, off, off.  

As of yesterday, I am back on track with Weight Watchers.   It is the laziest way for me to lose weight -- less stress, more joy -- because I don't have to think about it much, figure much out, or give up anything.  I had a half cup of Almond Dream Ice Cream with my favorite TJ Dark Chocolate Crisps, plus a tablespoon of toasted almonds this afternoon to beat the 110 degree heat, and I was in heaven for only 6 Weight Watchers points....which is a big yummy deal!

This game doesn't have to be hard.  This game doesn't have to kick my ass.  This game can be delicious and fun.  And, it's on.

The news of the day is this game has to be on FOREVER.  When I don't feel well -- especially when energy-less or pain-full -- I don't pay as much attention to exactly what is going into my mouth.   My body craves things it "thinks" will help it feel better, and I don't play the adult in this relationship.  I let it have what it wants.  Illness can rip down our guards.  Physical, emotional discomfort can take me out of my game.  I've got a pretty good handle on emotional eating (thank you Marianne Williamson), but this illness kicked my physical wellness butt for 18 months. 

What I learned:  I can't EVER stop playing the game.   So, today, October 1, 2012, I am committing to these three game pieces, rules and regulations:

1.  Reach my goal weight by the end of the year, and STICK IT!
2.  Weigh myself once a week no matter what.  Forever.
3.  If ever go 5 pounds over goal weight, have to start tracking all food until back to goal.  Forever.

Game pieces in place.  Rules understood.  Referees in place on the sidelines.  My goal weighted body in place waiting to be uncovered with sculpting and tracking. 

Ready, set .... PLAY! 

I got this game.  I got it.


Friday, September 21, 2012

ENDeavor Forever

This sign is missing the "eavor"....'Twas a poignant end to an era today as a huge crowd gathered just across the arroyo from JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena).  We saw all the proud scientists and JPL workers out on their roofs and decks.  How proud they must have been.

Then it started to get slightly hilarious.  Several false alarms in the crowd "I SEEEEEE IT!"  Hundreds of us would then strain our eyes to see what that person saw.  Then when the crowd was at its most peaceful, nearly serene even in the nearly 100 degree heat, all of us dripping with sweat, a toddler screamed and pointed up into the face of the nearby mountain:  "Thewe it is!  It's wight thewe!!!!!!"  

Moments after the ensuing laughter in response to that perfectly delivered toddler wisdom died down, we resumed staring west toward the mountains behind JPL, because it's last "stop," aka fly-over, was Griffith Park, a point west of where we stood. 

Then, all of a sudden you heard a ripple of screams that sounded like fear.  We all whipped around to face the OPPOSITE direction.  As we turned I think we all became conscious of that inimitable deep roar of the engines.  Then suddenly there it was -- right over our heads!  It was so low it felt like we could almost touch it.  We saw the bulging belly of the plane and the little flipper-like wing tips of the Endeavor peaking out over the top of big 747.   It looked like a momma dolphin was taking it's baby dolphin for a test swim:  "This is how it's done, my dear."

We all screamed because of the element of surprise, but I will admit I was slightly terrified for a half a second.  My first thought was danger because it was coming from the "wrong" direction, the roar was so ominous and unexpected, and the screams sounded just like a horror movie.  Then upon seeing the big white steel monolith, the magic struck all of our hearts all at once.  It was quite moving. 

It circled around and climbed much, much higher.  We couldn't see it for several long seconds, though we heard it still, and that's when my camera finally started working.  I think very few got that first shot of it right over our heads because we were all so stunned.

This is it coming back around, after it climbed quite a bit to go overhead toward JPL:

And here they are, not momma and baby, but really, a great wise old grandmother, being gently escorted by a virile young buck to her elegant retirement museum home:

They say God abhors a vaccum....that one door closes, another opens.  What new space magic comes, I wonder....

Thursday, September 20, 2012

MeTV = Lazy TV = Less Stress + More Joy

I may still be single because of the Mary Tyler Moore Show.  There wasn't anything shameful or needy about her singleness.  She had fun no matter what and never complained that anything was "missing" from her life. 

I love watching the old reruns of MTM, "The Bob Newhart Show," and my old fave "The Dick Van Dyke Show."  I am also digging one of my dad's favorites, which I wasn't really so addicted to as a kid: "The Rockford Files" where everything seems to be solved by a punch in the nose and a good car chase.  I love it, and I love that Rockford doesn't have the perfectly buff body, lives in a beat up trailer, and has very human fights with his dad.  Nothing too cringe-worthy or uncomfortable, but just enough humanity in everything to make it so I could relate or imagine relating.

Phone booths had telephone books in them.  People knocked at your door more because there were no cellphones, and it was often the simplest way to communicate.   Answering machines had tapes in them, and the color orange was super-hip.  Life was simple and good.

Everything was groovy.  I have to say even though I have my favorite modern comedies and dramas, I am finding MeTV to be Lazy TV.  I feel refreshed after a couple of back-to-back episodes of Mary and Bob.  

If you wanna get back to feelin' groovy, look for MeTV.    At the very least you can get some design or fashion tips, since it's all comin' back now.   But, I hope it helps you let go of some stress and bump up your joy factor.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Saladicious in a Glass

I had another friend ask me for the ingredients for my yummalicious morning smoothie again and as I was giving her the ingredients, I was thinking how fun it would be to see them all in a big bowl.  This is what I "drink" every morning.

I throw all of this in my Ninja blender and have the most delicious two big glasses of green over the course of the morning.  It is so sweet and refreshing.  No kidding, it feels like it immediately fills you with light and energy.  It fills me up to lunch. I usually am actually not hungry until a late lunch time.

Saladicious in a Glass

  1. Put 1.5 to 2 cups of WATER in blender.
  2. Add one FROZEN BANANA (I keep a bag of peeled bananas always in the fridge).
  3. Add about a cup of FROZEN PINEAPPLE.
  4. Add a couple big handfuls of KALE.
  5. Add a couple big handfuls of SPINACH. 
  6. Cut up one APPLE (any kind -- I like apples that are less sweet because the banana and pineapple are sweet enough).
  7. Peel one ORANGE (I cut the peel off - it's much faster).
  8. Put in 2 or 3 tablespoons of HEMP SEED.
  9. Put in 2 or 3 tablespoons of GROUND FLAX.
And, yes the blender will be completely FULL, and you'll wonder how it's all going to work out!  Never fear!  Blend on high for as long as it takes for everything -- including the kale, which tends to take longest -- to blend up nice and smoothe.

Drink the elixir of the Gods.  It is so sweet and delicious.  It does NOT taste anything like vegetables.  It tastes fruity, sweet, and light. 

Lazy Healthy Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Katydids Done Teached Me!

This lovely lady Katydid, whom I was referring to as a boy grasshopper for days joined us in our home several days ago.  The first day she was hanging out on the white black out curtains near the patio door.  The second day she hung out with my dad in front of his picture.  The third day she hung out with Buddha.  And, for the last two or three days she's been on the TV.  I thought she was into the Olympics.

I was worried that she was sick because she hasn't gone outside.  Yesterday I brought her some spinach and leaves -- when I thought she was a he grasshopper.  This morning I found her with one little teeny pellet under her.  The cleaning lady was just here two days ago so I knew it wasn't dirt.  I thought she must have pooped.  A few hours later there were four and when I saw there were four, I noticed one had infintessimally small little antenna!  She's a momma!

And, I'm a katydid grandma.  I'm gonna go out and buy little bonnetts.  No pacifiers needed.  They are quiet.  I gave her a tiny leaf shaped bowl of water and some fresh grass, but apparently she has all she needs.

I started my day by burying a dragonfly. I love dragonflies and had found one on my floor yesterday. I carried it to the orchid and it opened its wings a few times, but it was clearly not in good shape.  This morning it was lifeless, so I buried it with the rosemary tree so I won't forget it.  I thought it was a bad omen to have one die in my presence.  It was about an hour after I buried it that the katydid moved from the orchid to the top of the TV and laid her egg. 

Had she not moved to the top of the TV from the more natural place to have her babies -- in the orchid plant -- I wouldn't have seen the life.

I know this is a great lesson to not be so attached.  I am so sensitive to creatures dying, I have stopped the feeds of friends on Facebook who post photos of suffering animals. I am overly-sensitive to it all. 

But, apparently, the katydid also has another meaning. I own this book but can't find it for the life of me.  Luckily I found a blog writer who had my exact experience of having a katydid alight in her life. From the Best of Mother Earth blog (http://bestofmotherearth.com/2008/08/24/the-katydid.html):

The book Animal Wise by Ted Andrews said: These animals teach us how to blend and shift our energies, to change how we have been approaching things. We may during this time try doing things a different way. These animals often show up in the beginning of a new endeavor when individuals are initiating new lines of work and creative activities.

Synchronistically I am starting a big new project AND I am also doing my best to reignite the fires of my book when not feeling incredibly well. I wrote 150 pages pretty easily over the course of five months, but I have a long way to go to craft it into a good book, so I've been at an impasse.  Perhaps Katy will be my good luck charm in turning the tides, and in doing things differently.  I'm going to say she is.

And, I'm going to remind myself that the Lazy Way to look at death is as much a part of life as life.  One creature dies.  Another is born.

And, I love the way Thich Nat Hanh speaks of death as just a changing of forms.  As Hanh quotes the soul that has passed looking down at his still living love: "Darling, don't you see me in my new form?" 

Here's to Lazy flowing transformation....Gotta go get baby katydid bonnets for the babies now at the local Katydids R Us.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Flax to the Max -- A Yummy Lazy Health Tip

I've been indulging in the wonders of flax seed probably for over 20 years.  When I first learned of its benefits I was told to take the seeds and grind them in my coffee grinder.  Eating whole flax seeds is not as good for you.  Grinding them allows for all thier nutty goodness, oils and enzymes to run free in your system.  

I dutifully ground my own flax seeds for years until, well.... until I became a Lazy Woman!  Lazy Women make smart choices about where their energy is going to be spent.  I simply chose not to make that effort.  

I switched to Flax Seed Oil and lost steam on that one because I didn't find it as versatile as the ground flax.   Several months ago I accidentally ran into the Ground Flax Seed at Whole Foods. Good times.  I had always thought that already ground seeds must not be as potent as freshly ground.  In fact that may be true, but if it's a choice of not eating flax seeds or eating, I think this is a good Lazy choice for me.   Since I have a smoothie each morning, it's super easy to throw a couple tablespoons in my smoothie each morning, and it just adds a slightly nutty flavor. It is such a potent supplement that is really easy to use.

If you have high cholesterol, diabetes, inflammation, heart disease, menopausal symptoms, digestive issues, or oh my God so many other things (google it!) -- Flax Seed will help your system!

If you don't have a smoothie every day, there are lots of creative things you can do with flax seed, including sprinkling them on salads, fruit, grains, etc.  I actually love the flavor of ground flax seed on brown rice.  Yummy!  I learned that trick from a Japanese Restaurant in NY in the 80's!  

But, here is a new one. The other day when I was at Whole Foods, they had samples out of banana slices sprinkled with Ground Flax Seed.  So yummy, and a great afternoon snack that tastes nutty and delicious.  I've had it a few days since trying it.  I actually like it best when the bananas are cold.  Room temp is great too, and maybe it's because it's Summer, but a cold sliced banana with Ground Flax Seed sprinkled on top has an extra little kick.

Buon Lazy Healthy Appetito to all!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lazy Wisdom: Be Your Own Divining Rod

My dad didn't grow up on a farm but he grew up in Michigan surrounded by them.  Also, family members and friends had them, so he knew farms and farming. My grandma always had a farm-like garden burgeoning in her back yard which yielded lots of yummies including her famous raspberry jam. 

My dad truly was a farmer at heart. I think if he had pointed his genius in that direction, he would have done some very exciting work.  One of the defining books he gave me was "The Secret Life of Plants" which really changed how I viewed all living things and our connectedness.  As a kid I read it a few times, as did he.  We talked about it a lot.  And, we did the experiments.

I loved talking about how everything is connected with my dad, and it certainly gives me comfort now that he is gone.   He was with me in spirit the other day, though, at Whole Foods. 

I was trying to choose between two products.  My wonderful Whole Foods supplement section guru, Marie, couldn't make the decision for me, and saw I was stumped.  She said "Well some people do muscle testing."   I have been familiar with muscle testing for decades, and my acupuncturist does it routinely.  But I would need help, so I started to look at her with the look that said "Well, do you want to help me with that..." when she replied.

"Say your name," she said.  I did.  She asked if I noticed that I moved forward when I said my name.  I had noticed.  It was very odd.  She explained that that forward movement is the equivalent of a yes, or positive response.  Moving back is negative.  

She put one product in my hand.  Definitely forward.  Almost dramatically forward.  She took that out of my hand and gave me the other product.  Backward.  Most definitely back.  It was a clear "yes" and and a clear "no."
I ran home to test myself on the bag of supplements for which my acupuncturist had recently done muscle testing on me to see if I still needed these supplements.  I got the same exact responses she got.

One of the things my dad had witnessed many times in his life on farms, and had used himself on and off farms were divining rods.  He told me how you can make one with just two sticks, and with this primitive device, you can locate the flow of water underground.  One of my very favorite movies (that I have seen at least 100 times) "Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House" has a wonderful character Mr. Tesander, who brings a divining rod to Cary Grant's property to find the location of his future well.  My dad would craft divining rods for all kinds of quandaries and always get the right answer. 

He gave me my first pendulum, which is essentially a modern day divining rod.   My dad probably knew this leaning/yes/no trick too.  Maybe he even told me about it.  Probably when I was a teenager and barely listening.

Well, it is one helluva Lazy Tool.  Have fun with it in all your Lazy travels!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tennis Elbow Anyone? - Miracle Cure Thera-Band Flexbar

Earlier today, I ripped the pillow case off a pillow.  Why is that shocking?  Because it didn't hurt.  I've been battling tennis elbow for several weeks now.  The only thing that was causing me any relief was taking days off.  But, it was effecting how I was playing, and believe me, I'm not good enough to have a handicap! It was also effecting how I moved about in the world, and what I grabbed for, reached for, etc.  I've even been using my left arm a lot more as a painless alternative, and I'm right-handed.

A Facebook friend, who also happens to be one of my high school mentors, suggested the Thera-Band FlexBar, saying that it cured his tennis elbow almost immediately. Other friends piped in that it was, in fact a miracle cure.  I googled it: same reports.

Product Details

When I tell you how quickly this worked, you will understand the level of miraculousness.  I received my Thera-Band Flexbar YESTERDAY!  I did the exercise a few times last night. Usually, in the night I tweak my elbow in such a way that it gets a little angry.  Not once last night!

And, I have been tentative with my right arm since the injury started.  I don't jerk things toward me.  I definitely don't go ripping pillow cases off of pillows.  I did it unconsciously this morning, and for a split second I thought "Oh my God that was stupid! That's going to hurt!"  And, it didn't!  

If you know people who play golf, or kayak, or do any other sport where the elbow can get tweaked, pass this on!

I got mine on Amazon -- The red one was perfect for me:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Making Babies the Lazy Way -- Cactus Style

In honor of the ultrasound I had today, I thought we should talk baby talk. 

You, dear reader, may be aware of this, but most of my visitors, aka friends, don't know  how incredibly easy it is to create little cactus worlds out of the cactus you already have. 

Cactus are constantly having babies.  They must be very busy at night when we aren't looking.

This is how easy it is to create your own little cactus world.  Take a baby off of a burgeoning cactus plant you have, like this one. 

You can literally just snap off one of the flowers and stick it in the soil.  It doesn't even have to be special soil.  Any soil is perfect for these babies.  I remember hearing years ago that it had to be a special cactus starter, or some such un-lazy crap.  So, I didn't try it until I moved into this house, where there are wildly prolific cactus that were just begging me to try to plant them elsewhere.  The first ones took to their new environment immediately.

This is how I used my favorite bowl from Deruta that I held in my lap on the way home from Italy 10 years ago like it was my new baby, speaking of babies.  It got a crack in it so it is now a lovely planter.  Ever single cactus in her was a cutting from another plant.

Yes, even those Kalanchoe plants that you can always find at Trader Joe's, your local grocery store or nursery.   You just snip off a branch and stick it in the soil.  Done!

These started as little tiny babies because I wanted to highlight the cool pots.  Now the pots are nearly obscured because they grew so fast.  They aren't unhappy but I'll be moving them soon.

Happy Lazy Summer Gardening to you!