My Log Cabin in Alaska

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Perfect Salad

Last week I made one of my famous noodle and green pea salads in preparation for my daughter's visit. Although she cannot bear the taste of green peas, she loves my salad and I make it often whether she is coming or not. I also prepared turkey drumsticks for the grill, my feeble attempt to create a memorable and nutritious meal for the loving children who would be coming to help me with some work on my little house project.

So my wonderful helpers include of course my daughter, the oldest of my brood, my homemaker, bridge builder, super-mom, girl scout leader, and now part-time-working-out-of-the-home mom. Her hubby, my first son in law, pride of my heart, provider and great father to my granddaughters. And of course the grand daughters, my first. I cannot see them or think of them and not remember the day my daughter, full of trepidation, shyly slipped her store bought pregnancy test from under her coat. She was afraid of what I might say, since she was young and not fully settled. But I already knew in my heart that her chosen life partner and love of her life would be there forever, and all I could think of was….. Well I could not even think for the joy in my heart. I would be a grandmother. And that just about says it all. But the best part is that I get to have that same feeling absolutely every time one of my children presents me with the same news (total so far and all inclusive is 8). And I wanted to make sure I fed these wonderful lives the best way I could!

But as always, I digress, always chasing rabbits, straying from the story line, but you know well, when you prepare a meal for anyone, your mind is on those precious lives.
So what is my special recipe?
  • Salad noodles, the whole regular sized package, cooked according to package directions (when I follow the directions)
  • Most of a jar of salad dressing or mayo, lately I have been using the olive oil or canola oil style and it works pretty good.
  • And a can of peas, well drained, since the hubby loves to drink it cold from the can.
  • Then I add what ever I feel like might taste good that day. I would list those things, but I may run out of room, the template here is only so big you know! I few things may include: (or not)
    • Minced onion
    • Minced celery
    • Mushrooms, brown or white, sliced or chopped
    • Cheese, your choice, cut to your favorite size
    • Pickles, dill or sweet depending on the day
    • Jicama do try to pick a good one, though and cut it up small!
    • Olives, green or black
    • Pimentos
    • Sweet corn nibblets
You get the idea, you put what feels good at the time, then add in the spices you like as well, easy on the salt, heavy on the cilantro or the parsley, dill adds a kick, and you can never have too much garlic or ginger for my darling husband! You can go nuts with the seasonings and not hurt a thing!

If you throw in some cooked chicken or ham or what ever sort of protein you are interested in, you have a full meal. Hey, add what you like, how much you like, it’s your salad!

After a hard day toting heavy lumber to the upper floor of my tiny house project, we sat down to dinner. My daughter took one bite of the salad and just closed her eyes to savor the moment. With her mouth crammed full she announced, “This is home! This takes me back to everything good.”

Now, as a Mom, you gotta admit, that is a compliment. Especially when you take into consideration that I put stuff in that salad that I had never put in before! However - As an adventurer I must add that this is not just my perfect salad recipe, it is my recipe for life. And it is that life that my daughter always remembers. You may have a plan for your day and you may follow it to the best of your ability, but there are times when you need just a bit more of something different. Never be afraid of throwing a new ingredient into your life, add some spice to your routine, and try some new crunchy adventure. Because the treats and treasures that make up those memories are never what was laid down in a concrete plan, but they are the things thrown in because they promised to taste really, really good, just for that day.

Salad may be good for the body, but adventure is good for the soul.

Feel free to click on that little comment button down there and add your own thoughts on salads or adventures! Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

At the grindstone

Wow, the news is just crazy today. Viagra for the Brain, this cool new drug that makes a person some sort of super do'er! Work 20 hours a day, get hundreds of cool things done - all at one time - at a top notch quality. Uh --- hello out there --- That's called Motherhood! And it don't take a pill ta get 'er done!

No, it takes elbow grease. Time at the grindstone. That good ol' term, 4 letter word called work.  I worry about folks who think they need to take something to get more done and get it done faster. Seems like a fast track to a mental illness. Remeber all the old movies about folks who are looking for the fountain of youth? What happens the next morning? The poor person either dies or turns into an ancient mummy. Yea, I think I will stick to the old fashioned way.

But, as always, I digress! I was talking about having my nose to the grindstone. I have read three books, taken hubby to the doc four times, canned carrots, and put up a bunch of turkeys (in the freezer) since I was in here last. I am about ready for a vacation. I have also been working daily on some specific skill in my writing - every day. Yea, back to the grindstone. But in baby steps.

I do have a plan:

1. Write some every day
2. Edit and revise only after I have completed a section
3. Loosely follow an outline and organize thoughts in a scratch pad
4. Read, read, read in the genre I am writing
5. Read, read, read for pleasure
6. Write some more
7. Research little factoids important in my story
8. Write a bit and read some good blogs
9. Research agents and the market
10. Go sit in the garden and reflect, then start over

Of course that is on top of the regular work around the place, but it is becoming routine, habit, somewhat easier. Hmmmm it occurs to me that when you lay some garden tool to the grindstone, it works much better. Is that what is happening to me? As my muscles tone up with the yard work, my mind tones up with the writing. My outlook is brighter and even the hubby is happier. Life is good.

As to the grindstone on the Garden Bench, I think my next goal will be to add a new page. Any suggestions here? I am soooooo not comfortable with all the techno gadgets and stuff like that, but since I read this cool new book, I am inspired to start a page dedicated to books, my own and those that I have read. I would like to write a book review, but it will need its own little plot in the garden. And if I just learn a little bit each time, pretty soon this will be easy, too!

And I think in another corner of the garden I may try to figure out how to list some of the wonderful blogs I have been reading. So, with the planning outlined, and the tools lined out, it's back to the grindstone. Time to learn something new.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Inspiration vs Planning

I should at least try to get in here more than once every six months! When I opened this thing today, they had made all sorts of changes! But I am here and I am going to try to dust some of the cobwebs off the bench, pluck a couple of weeds and maybe arrange a few pretty things in the garden. I know that I have a whole bucket full of tools to use, but it occurs to me that they work better if you know how to use them. I suppose I could just try a few of them and see what happens. If I don't like it I will either run away and hide from this scary laptop, or I will try to dig it up and toss it into the recycle bin!

Now, is that a bit of planning or what! Now that I think of it, I am also a list maker! Yea, I am a planner! NOT. This is not even good inspiration. And I know it. I shudder to think that I may be considered lazy, don't think that one is in my list of descriptors. Not sure that I can think of my self as not wanting to learn something new. I jump with joy at new learning and new concepts. OK, here's me being honest, don't like change! Sure! The person who has moved more times in her life than a Gypsy and brags about being flexible. Well, maybe I just don't like it when someone surprises me with a change, but that is what flexible means isn't it. Is it truth time yet? I hear a tiny voice in the back of my head and I am looking for a flyswatter or the mosquito repellant, but it is still there. Ok (see me peeking out from behind the bench and quivering in my flipflops) I would rather face a room full of spiders, snakes and mice! I really don't like technology. Not comfortable with computers and I am not sure I trust all of this. (Are my many birthdays showing yet?) Here is one of my mantras, maybe it is a crutch, or an excuse: It's not if the computer will crash or get hacked, it is when! And when technology fails, where are we! So that is why I don't get in here much, and it has cost me more than I care to say. But I digress! That is not what I came in here for.......

Planning vs Inspiration.  Which one shall be my guiding light. Which one will carry me to great heights. Face it, I believe in inspiration.

The fire that burns in your soul and will not be quenched until you fan it, feed it, and let it move you. The ideas that come to you in the middle of the night, or during dinner, and you scare everybody in the room as you jump to capture that moment on paper. Or the juicy tidbits that float into your soul while you are so busy with something else that you can do nothing but try to memorize them - and do a horrible job on what you are currently working on while your mind wanders. Then the tidbit slowly dissipates, your current project looks like your youngest grandchild worked on it and you stand there feeling like you just ran a marathon in your brain. Yea, that sort of inspiration. Now that I look at it this way it does not seem very efficient, but where would we be without it. Inspiration. Your muse advising you with that small voice. The words which simply must be divine in nature and origin! Maybe I can instal a switch, turn it on when I am ready to use it, then switch it to 'silent mode' when I need to do other things. ---- Methinks me muse jest stomped off in a huff! ---

Planning! There we go. A nice orderly life, you know exactly what is next and how you are going to do it. Anyone reading this who has ever known me just snorted **** bubbles! I have a theory about the word plan. First of all it is a four letter word! Second, if you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plan! Finally, I don't care what it is, when you lay down a great plan and set out to follow it, someone is going to throw a wrench into it and flub it all up. It's Murphy's Law! Never fails, you know "The Best Laid Plans of Men and Mice Go Oft' Awry!"

So, I am screwed. But, no, I am also stubborn as an old grey mule and I kick twice as hard! I do still have a couple of rusty tools in my own bucket that may be of some use, if I just get them out, clean them up, and actually use them! My favorite: I am a list maker! Now, granted, I have had doctors tell me that it is a characteristic of BiPolar Disorder! (Yea, I'll show him bipolar and stick both ends of that pole where it shouldn't go!) Don't you believe a word they say, they are out to get you! (but don't tell that doc I said that!)

Lists are good, Make a master list of all the big and little projects you would love to get to some day. Don't even prioritize, and make sure there is room at the bottom to add more projects and room at the side to make notes for each project as you think of them. Now, make a list of the things you have to do each day. You can prioritize that one, or jot it down in chronological order. The one major thing on this list is that you have a big slot in there for 'Projects' He-he-he now we got a plan! And I can tell you, it sure is fun to be able to mark stuff off that big list!

So, Here I sit, with a new list, and on my list is "learn how to work that *%!@* blog" Also on my list is "write a thousand words a day". (Cheese-cake) My children will be glad to know that the dishes are also on that list, but they are on the bottom of said list.

You know, I just got a thought, sitting here on the garden bench and looking at my tools. An outline is a great list! I wonder if an outline will help my writing! I don't have to actually prioritize it, just list stuff I want in the story, make room to the side for added notes, and if I use the word processor, I can cut and paste and move stuff around. And that cool little notepad that I keep in my pocket for those moments of inspriation, I will just flip that baby out and add to my outline when I need to. Wow, what an inspriation!

Now to try one of the tools on the top of this particular page! Maybe a picture!
Well, capturing a pic from facebook didn't it, after hours of fighting with a slow computer and trying out all of my other programs, oh yea, spell check on this didn't work so well for me. I Be Tired Now, gonna go someplace else and rest!

I do love my garden bench, next time I will try to learn something else.
Drop a comment if you would like, share your own views on inspiration or planning.
Untill we meet again. Happy gardening in what ever medium moves you!