A Story About Broccoli

I was making dinner the other night and giggled a little to myself as I cut up broccoli to add in some vegetable stir fry. I was recalling a story my mother and father have both shared with me on a few occasions, a story that makes them smile and laugh every time they remember it too. As it goes, when Grammy (my mom’s mom) married Papa (my mom’s dad) she had come from a very poor family and hadn’t been used to cooking with fresh vegetables. Knowing Papa liked broccoli, she prepared it one evening for dinner but not knowing the proper way to go about it, she’d cut off all of the flowering head and only cooked the stalks! There isn’t a whole lot more to that story other than the charm of knowing that detail and loving her all the more because of her gaffe. I think it’s just darling and though she’s not been with us since I was young, I know Grammy and I would be great friends today (our shared fondness for shoes, clothes and bags as evidence) and until we meet again, I have this story of a memory passed along from people I love, always with a smile.

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image via Whole Foods Market on Instagram.

Spiders still on the brain

In the shower the other day (why wait a few days to post this, you ask? I had to get over the trauma…don’t judge me.) washing my hair, massaging my scalp, admiring the handy mosaic work Mumbles and I did whilst tiling our shower (more to come on that, promise) and there it is…a moving mosaic tile…no. A spider! Ugh. Now I’ve gotta keep one eye open whilst rinsing and hurry up so I can get the heck outta there. No one wants a spider in their hair. No one. Least of all me. I’m just really not a big fan of spiders.  Despite my fear, I’m at least able to laugh about it sometimes and recently got quite a chuckle when I saw this clever guy circulating on Pinterest:

And then I was thinking I know a lot of other people (the rational ones, like me) that are afraid of spiders but I wondered what my life would be like and how much easier it would be if I made friends with spiders like Freddie Prinze Jr. in the movie Down to You (which was weird and okay but pretty much a let down, right? Like, you’d watch it on a lazy Saturday curled up on the couch if you were getting free HBO as a six month trial but wouldn’t ever put it above anything else on your Netflix queue). I wanted to show a video clip of that scene but turns out, it was such a bad movie that there are hardly any YouTube clips of it. Bummer. But this person gave it a pretty good run down in the Hunt for the Worst Movie of All Time.

And in another non-sequitor but still spider-related, it must be huge spider breeding season because I’ve seen a few people post photos on Facebook of large creepy crawlies they’ve come across and I, too, just about fainted when I saw a huge brown stripey spider that built a crazy (very intricate and impressive) web between two trees about 7 feet away from each other and all the way to the ground outside our house.  It was all well and fine – I knew he was there, catching bugs and being all scary but then someone had the nerve to disrupt the web and now all I can do is dwell in anxiety that he’s roaming around somewhere.  I’m hoping a bird ate him.  I have a mind to post a note on the tree that says “if you killed the spider that recently lived here, please let me know so I don’t have to worry about him surprise attacking me. Thanks.”  Then, last night while Mumbles and I leisurely walked to dinner down the street, we noticed that just about every pairing of trees lining this busy street had at least one of the same humongous eight-legged stripey guys  with their own crazy webs between trees.  Eww.

Netflix and my obsession with television

Are you a Netflix customer? I didn’t realize that I was supposed to be so angry about all these new changes but I think I’m catching on. At present, I’m a little spoiled with all my tv viewing options – last year Mumbles signed us up for a 6 month free trial of all the movie channels and when I got super sick in January he took such pity on me that he decided not to opt out of it so I could watch all the sappy love movies I wanted to at all hours of the day despite the fact that it was very likely I’d already seen them 5 times or more (Charlie St. Cloud, Something New, Enchanted, and the list goes on…) That coupled with my brilliant idea to get Mumbles a Netflix subscription for his birthday last year (I’m a big fan of gifts that ultimately benefit me) so he could watch Entourage season by season and also because it became quite clear that Blockbuster was never gonna make it and I wanted to keep the ol’ movie-in date night alive.

So now here we are and Netflix is making all sorts of crazy changes so that it doesn’t seem like the steal it was before…yet — and it might just be me — it also doesn’t seem like a rip off. When I think about how much we’re paying for all the movie channels plus the streaming and mail-in DVD, well, that’s when I get a little remorseful. I like to think that we’d stream more often but until they really bulk up on the selection I can’t see that happening. I think the only real reason I’m clinging to Netflix is that I’d like to be able to request all the seasons of Veronica Mars if I wanted to, but I just found out BFOTB has every last one of ’em so that solves that insecurity. With how full my DVR is each week, we really do have plenty of options for which way we’re going to kill time watching tv. And now that I think about it even more, I feel really guilty/successful because when Mumbles and I met he wasn’t all too into television….now he is hooked! [insert evil laugh here].

Stay tuned for what I’m watching this week and let me know what your thoughts are on the whole Netflix debacle. Staying a subscriber? Jumping ship? Don’t really care about that extra $8 a month?

Spiders. Gross.

Wouldn’t exactly call spiders my biggest fear but I do really despise them. Weird thing is though, as much as they freak me out, they’re also sort of fascinating.  Maybe it’s because my brother had a rose hair tarantula while we were growing up and (aside from the housekeeper who accidentally knocked over Theresa the Tarantula’s little home one day forcing said housekeeper to scream and barricade the door until someone from the family got home), Theresa was quite gentle and non-threatening.  In fact, my dad used to go so far as to call her “beautiful” and he sure did get a kick out of taking her for “walks” in the backyard.  My dad’s a funny guy. 

For as much as I hate spiders and the alarm and anxiety they cause when I encounter them, you think I’d be all about killing them.  Unfortunately, I just can’t muster up the courage to kill bugs – part crunch factor and part “what if it jumps at me or survives my act of attempted murder and comes after me in full force?” This is especially troubling when Mumbles is out of town and I must resort to finding a can of bug spray/hair spray/anything that will kill it so I don’t physically have to squish it or get within close range.  I’ll never forget living in the sorority house and lying in bed seeing little things dangling from the ceiling (about a dozen baby spiders – gross) and then a few days later sitting at my desk and out of the corner of my eye spotting a furry legged dark spider on the wall.  Just about died of shock, I did.  And what could I do but run downstairs in hysterics begging anyone to come kill it for me, only to be forever traumatized by not finding aforementioned monster when returning to my room?  Sleep with one eye open is right.  Geez.

Here’s another thing about spiders: I’m pretty sure they have a worldwide web (ha! see what I did right there?!) that lets all of them know who their fearful prey are, who they can most easily taunt and torture with their creepy crawly i-have-too-many-legs wily ways.

I’m only saying all this because I discovered a bite on my abdomen which means [I shudder to even think!] there’s probably a spider in my bed. GROSS. Mumbles gets home tonight and you can bet we’ll be fogging our place when we go out of town this weekend.  Eww. 

Here’s another one of AT&T’s great commercials – just picture me playing the part of the demure red head and imagine my dad taking that bad boy of a spider for a walk instead of smashing it into smithereens. 

Our hearts are heavy and light.

“I think it’s appropriate right now, this idea that people need other people, this idea that we’re not alone, that we’re all in this together. Life is a lot of things. Our hearts are heavy and light. We laugh and scream and sing. Our hearts are heavy and light. Peace to you today.” – Jamie Tworkowski, To Write Love On Her Arms.

Fill your own cup

my new pretty lovely water bottle - beautiful to look at, inspiring me to drink more water!

Have you ever seen something and thought “I have to have that!” but you don’t buy it and then you can’t stop thinking about it?  That was the case with this here lovely. 

I’ve really been trying to drink a lot more water lately and with all the “don’t use plastic water bottle” messages and scary BPA negative health effects, I try to keep reusable tumblers at my desk at work.  For a while my daily routine was a glass of juice in the morning, a cup of coffee (or three) in the office and a glass of wine at night.  I was getting no hydration at all during the day – caught up in work, too busy to even fill my cup.  So now I have this beautiful glass water bottle to inspire me and remind me to fill my own cup

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about stress, work/life balance, being a better manager, leader and employee, serving others better and more effectively and then settled on this: how can I serve myself better?  If I’m happier, more productive, healthy, that’s how I can better serve others.  So, my new question is “what do I need to do today to be happy and feel successful?”  I’d challenge you to ask yourself the same thing.  It’s so often that I get into the office, get wrapped up in answering other people’s emails that I don’t have time to do the most important things I had on my own list of things to do. 

Speaking of which, writing is something I’ve been seriously slacking on too, and I can tell because I feel similarly to how Mumbles does when he doesn’t get to exercise enough – lathargic and kinda cranky. Writing is one of the many creative outlets I love so I also scooped up this darling retro and bold lovely to inspire me to jot down creative inspirations, thoughts and ideas throughout the day. 

the paper has lines of type that say “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” – a good reminder to get creative throughout my work day!
What do you keep with you to inspire creativity and good-for-you thoughts and behaviors?