Monday, August 31, 2009

We Are A Nation of Guilt

Just now on the Today show, they were discussing all sorts of coffee drinks and energy drinks and how many calories they have and what their food/sweet equivalent are. Then I thought, why do we continuously make food the enemy? There is no food culture in this country except for larger portions and diet foods. This is ridiculous. I am not going to make someone feel bad for ordering a latte or for drinking a Red Bull. I don't eat meat, but I certainly don't threaten those who do.
Why is it the nation as a whole is very comfortable telling you what you should and should not eat diet wise? We have only gotten fatter not healthier with all this advice. How about a show where we say "Hey, you want that Big Mac, okay, go exercise for an hour every day and then go for it." I knew someone who was very healthy and he had a "junk day". A day where he ate pizza and corn chips and ice cream, without guilt. He believed if you deprived yourself it made it worse so pick one day a week where you fall of the wagon, obviously not gorging yourself until you puke, but if you want the ice cream, have it. I think this is better than saying never to eat it.
Diet Foods? Please, the sodium content in those alone are insane. Eat the real thing people. Make it yourself, go to a Farmers Market, keep the ingredients to a minimum. If you find you have to have Dunkin Donuts, get it and don;t bitch about it.
As far as calorie counting, I never got that either. I am not going to sit there when I am eating out wondering, "Gee, does this salmon in herb sauce have 600 calories?" Who cares? Everyone I know who counts calories is still overweight. Apparently that doesn't work either.
I think we all need to find what works for us, but in the end, self deprivation and lack of getting outside and moving around is what continues our horrible cycle of weight issues. In the meantime, stoip feeing guilty about eating, it should be a pleasure. Unsure of how to enjoy it? Look to the European nations of France, Italy and Spain. Leisure and good ingredients is what makes their food culture enjoyable. Have friends over, take 3 hours to have a meal and taste your food. You'll be surprised how un-guilty you will feel.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Someone else gets me

Rhonda Jean at Down To Earth posted an answer to a question a reader asked about "How to live like her?" As I read her post I realized she says everything I have wanted to say, but couldn't express it. Sort of sad for someone who wants to write, but I think a lot of it has to do with judgment. I am somewhat worried my friends will find me mad and chide me for not continuing looking for a paying job. I do in a sense, I am writing to submit to contests, massaging clients when I can and still trying to get Lia Sophia off the ground, though I think that one is going to crash and burn.
My reality has changed over the time I have been job hunting. We have become home owners and I have been writing much more. The idea of working in an office no longer appeals to me, but I do miss the camaraderie, but I get that on Jezebel and Facebook.

Here is what she wrote that struck a chord with me:
"There was a part of me that wanted to create so I knew knitting, sewing and writing would be part of my future. I wanted to give up work and be free to build a little homestead in my backyard where the sun ripened fruit and vegetables, rain collected from our roof filled rain tanks and where chickens and bees reminded me everyday that I was part of a natural world, not a corporate one."

Granted we have no chickens or bees, but the idea is there. Please read her full post as it is wonderfully well done and speaks volumes about where I want to go in life.


Monday, August 24, 2009


A fantastic weekend was had because it consisted of hanging out with various friends, all different and all lovely. Here is how it went.

FRIDAY: The hubby helped a friend move from Bergen County to Morris County.
I proceeded to meet up with our friends from PA who so graciously let me stay at their farm. They were coming for the weekend to stay at a good friend's house up the road. That night our neighbors knocked on our door at 11pm and we went to their house to play bocce, darts and drink wine.

SATURDAY: A friend came down to our house and the three of us ventured off to Princeton. We were invited to dinner at the house of a lovely couple we met at the Farm Sanctuary Hoe Down. The dinner was vegan and superb. Quite possibly the best lasagna I have ever had. They were gracious hosts and it was a wonderful time for all.

SUNDAY: I went to a dear friends baby shower. It was hot as hell, but it had a tea party theme and it was just charming and fun.

Today I went to the Hackettstown Farmer's Market on Main Street. I headed right to Godlewsky Farms stand again where I bought 2 beautiful bunches of Kale at $1.50 a piece, one head of purple cabbage for $1.50 and over a quart of tomatoes for a mere $2.00. Then I got eggs, from Mini Mac Farms for a mere $3.50.

I feel fortunate to know such interesting people and call them friends. Add to that I live in an area where I can meet and speak to who grows my food, it is all good.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees!

We had an Arborist come out to give us an estimate on what we want done in regards to tree maintenance and brier patch clearing. I must go to Lowe's and get Holly Tone and Preen for those that are going to stay with us. Let me take you all on a pictorial tour of how our land will be transformed when we hire him in the next month or so.

We tried to save this pine, but the giant vines and blasted ground ivy strangled her, so she must perish.

One of 2 cherry trees that are also being cut down. They are both dead, most likely due to lack of love and care.

The peach tree in front is being saved. I have weeded around it and laid down landscape paper. The brier patch to its right is getting completely cleaned out, Sorry bunny!, and the lilac tree behind peach tree is going to be pruned and weeded.

Yeah, this one is fun. This is a Black Gum tree covered and strangled by Poison Ivy. The vine is going to be removed and then I he recommended I use Round Up Poison Ivy. Considering how much I hate Monsanto, this pains me and I must find an alternative.

A plum tree. It will be weeded and mulched and pruned.

Pear tree that needs serious pruning and of course, mulching and weeding.

One of 2 Dogwoods we have that will live a happy life in our yard.

The crappy box woods and all its stumps and buddies are going. I think I am going to keep the azalea and make her happy that all the other crap will be gone. Not sure about the thorny bush on the end, maybe keep that one too.

Yew bushes next to house that are going bye-bye.

My tuckered out garden buddy!


Friday, August 14, 2009


I am a huge fan and usually have a few going at a time. I thought I would share what is on my current house list. Now and then I stray from just home stuff, but it is still a good thing to have.

Research more on raised beds for the garden
Call Brinks for consultation re: security system
Slip cover at Target for 80" couch
Rubber feet for marble pastry board (I only need 3 but I they sell them in a pack of 4 or less)
Check out IKEA's Lazy Susan inserts and Liatorp for living room.
fungicidal paint for where trees were cut
Zoetrope deadline is October 1
Call arborist to help remove, save, clean up back yard.
Sand side table(s), clean up, for bedrooms

There will most certainly be more added, but for now, that is what I have going. I'll let you know if I get any of it accomplished this weekend!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Day of the Triffids or Day-o?

These charming plants live in our yard. It is actually next to a pear tree and in the area of where our cutting garden will be. In July, my friend Nancy came over and we tore out one of these was brown, dead, rotting. It had a root system that blew me away.
I weeded this weekend and decided to go back over there and clean out what had been left behind. This is I pulled out with a hoe, a shovel and my hands.

Massive, thick and unruly they are. I still have more to clear, but this is what the area looks like now.

After doing some research online, I think this may be a Yucca plant. There are two more in the yard. Actually, there's just one. I pulled one out the that was not faring well on another slope. An explanation as to why anyone would think to plant tropical foliage at random throughout the yard would be helpful. There is no rhyme or reason to their placement, it is as bad as the fruit trees, but that is another post. I am waiting to hear from our extension office, they owe me a reply, for help in figuring out what to do with certain trees and pruning and gardening.

In the meantime, here is one of the rhododendrons I am trying to make fatter and healthier. She is the less robust of the two.

We also have toads in out yard which makes me very happy, though I scared the hell out of one yesterday when i grabbed it thinking it was a rock. I decided to place him in a dark area that he would enjoy. Under the yucca plant.


Thursday, August 6, 2009


This week has been filled with much to do.

Apparently we will be doing stuff on the house until the Second Coming of Christ. We have our lists of what we want to tackle individually as well as separately. We need to decide on paint colors for the living room, dining room and den. It has been decided that the den will one day morph into a mudroom/laundry room and have half the staircase moved to help utilize space better. We can paint it any insane color we want as it will change again one day. My brother is most likely cringing. He wants us to paint everything white and use accessories to bring in color. God bless his little soul.

I am still trying to set up my Lia Sophia Starter show. My poor Unit Manager...I may be the
first person who can't get a starter party set up. I am shooting for August 20th now. fingers crossed!

The October 1st deadline for the writing contest looms in my head. I still need to rework one of my current stories or start a whole new one. I am hoping to submit 2 or 3 stories, but I will let the muse take me where she wants. Luckily, I was able to work on my ever-in-process novel "Retrospect" yesterday. I love that story. I love my main character, Ryan. I will miss him when I am done with this, but that is the beauty of it all. You create life and then you let it go.

Here are links to books I currently have in rotation:
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
The Brethren by Beverly Lewis
The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs
Rogue Warrior by Richard Marcinko

What I love most is that they are so vastly different from each other.

Keep smiling and get out of the house and office my dears!

Miss Fifi

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Farm Sanctuary

(Happy, sleeping pigs)

Had a fabulous weekend networking, bonding and learning effective activism at the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen. Big, shout out and thanks to Miss Filomena who took me there!
They held a fantastic Hoe Down Saturday night and fed us superbly prepared vegan food all weekend.
It is easy for me to respect people who are compassionate and passionate for animals rights. Farm animals are a particular contingency that has no voice, no respect and seen only as a cheap commodity most of the time. I am not a vegan, but this weekend helped me see that I am getting closer to that healthy way of life.
Please check out these speakers that were fun, well spoken, fun and most important, educated in their beliefs and for their cause.

Child and family advocate, Amy Hatkoff is also a parenting educator, author and filmmaker spoke about her new book, "The Inner World of Farm Animals".

Chef Alexandra Jamieson gave a cooking demo and is also available for consults to help guide you on your path to healthier living.

Freeman Wicklund was one of the best, motivational-type speakers I have ever seen. He inspired the crowd with tips on how to be an activist that encourages, inspires and uplifts others. He is truly a treasure to the advocacy of animals.

Gene Baur co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary and his staff spoke to all of us as well. They deserve mad props for having the gumption to take on the beastly industry of agriculture. To make the lives of farm animals happier and safer. For promoting a plant based diet and for being the people they are. I am looking forward to next years Hoe Down and for getting more involved in the cause.