Friday, November 19, 2010

Response to Ramble Ramble

I think there is a fundamental difference between wishing you had done something differently, or seeing that what you did in the past was wrong, and having "regrets".

re·gret:–verb (used with object)
1. to feel sorrow or remorse for (an act, fault, disappointment, etc.): He no sooner spoke than heregretted it. 
2. to think of with a sense of loss: to regret one's vanished youth.
3. a sense of loss, disappointment, dissatisfaction, etc.
4. a feeling of sorrow or remorse for a fault, act, loss, disappointment, etc.

 I think that feeling "sorrow" or "remorse" 20 years after the fact, is a bit useless.  If you learned from that action at the time and have since changed, awesome, why feel bad about teasing a kid in 5th grade when you knew it was wrong.  You probably felt bad enough then, there's no reason to think back and feel guilty about it now.  Of course you wish you could go back in time and apologize, or make a different decision.  But you can't.  None of us can.
Wishing that you had saved money, heck, I think nearly everyone looks back at their past and wishes they hadn't spent money on this or that, or that they had spent money on this or that, but it's in the past, and if you have learned from it already it doesn't help you moving forward to sit and feel bad about it.  Are there things that I still feel bad about that I have done in my life?  Of course!  Do I have that moment when I'm feeling down and I start to watch the movie in my head of all the bad, mean, horrible things I feel I've done in my life?  Of course!  Don't you?  For someone to say they have no regrets in life, I think they're lying, or they need to look up the definition of regret.  There's not one thing in their life, that when they think about it, they get that funny, yucky feeling in their gut?  I doubt it.  Everyone has those things, to deny them is useless.  I prefer to say "I strive not to have regrets".   Of course there will always be things that I look back on and wish that I had done differently in my life, but I wouldn't be where I am now without them, and perhaps that sick funny gut feeling I get is actually helpful, perhaps it keeps me from making the same bad decision again.  Maybe regret is useful.  I made the decisions I did, at the time I did, based on the information I had at the time, and based on where I was developmentally at the time.  Maybe it was the right choice, maybe it was the wrong choice, but all those choices have led me to where I am now, and I don't regret where I am.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Quick & Easy

Ok, so I have to share the two easiest, fastest, and still delicious recipe’s that are my standby’s when I don’t know what to make for dinner and I’m really, really hungry.

The first is Couscous Curry.  It’s quick, easy, and you can eat it hot OR cold, which is pretty much the best thing about it.

I have to give credit where credit is due, I tinkered with a recipe from this AWESOME cookbook called “Vegan Express” I highly recommend it if you are someone who wants to go vegan but thinks “I just don’t have the time.”

2 cups water
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 cup frozen green peas (thawed or not, doesn’t really matter, you’ll cook them later)
½ heaping cup chopped cashews (I use roasted and salted ones)
½ heaping cup raisins (you can substitute almost any dried “berry” I’ve used currants and it turned out tasty)
1 heaping tsp ginger (fresh or jarred, NOT powdered)
1 ½ teaspoons curry powder (sometimes I use even more, depends on what you like)
½ tsp turmeric
salt & pepper to taste

1. boil the water and add bouillon cube in a nice large sauce pan.  Once the cube is dissolved, add couscous, remove from heat, cover and let stand.

2. While completing step 1, measure out your peas so they can thaw slightly, measure out your cashews, then chop, measure out raisins, cut up your ginger if using fresh and get out the rest of your ingredients so you have them ready to go.

3. Uncover your couscous and add all the remaining ingredients, stir together then cook over medium heed stirring constantly for 2-5 minutes, or until peas are no longer frozen. 

4. Serve or put in smaller containers and into the fridge for lunch/dinner the next day.

SUPER EASY AND DELICIOUS!  I have been making this one for 3 years now, and it takes me about 20 minutes total now that I’ve got it down.

The second dish is one I’ve recently started using, and it is pretty much the best recipe ever for a quick dish in a pinch.  I like to call it “BBQ Goodness with Tempe”  Another recipe altered from the amazing "Vegan Express" cookbook.

1-2 pkgs tempe (any type) cut into cubes
enough veggies to fill a roasting pan very full
   ex: sweet onion, peppers (red & green), sweet potato, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms)
1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, enough to coat all the veggies & tempe

1. preheat oven to 425° and line your roasting pan with foil (clean up time drastically reduced by this step) and spray lightly with some kind of cooking oil/spray type item.

2. cut up all veggies into good sized pieces.  Slice onions and separate rings, potatoes should be smaller as they take longer to cook.

3. I like to put my veggies in a large bowl to mix them with the BBQ sauce and then I pour them all into the roasting pan (sometimes in two batches)

4. put in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the veggies are done (check the densest veggies first), stir after the first 10 minutes to make sure everyone gets BBQ coated veggies.

I also like to serve this with some rice flavored with a bullion cube (once again, I use Rapunzel's) and made quickly and easily in my rice maker.  Basically I periodically check on the rice cooker and when it boils I throw in my bullion, stir and recover.  Have I mentioned I LOVE rice cookers?

Well, I hope you enjoy these quick and easy recipes.  Let me know how they work for you, and especially what kind of veggies you use.  If anyone wants to share a good BBQ sauce recipe, it would be welcome!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wanted: President of the United States of America

I was listening to NPR the other day and they were talking about how people are disappointed in Obama.  Many democrats are either switching to the republican party or may not turn out in the high numbers they did for the 2008 presidential election.  (Though many say turnout for midterm elections are always lower than for presidential years)

This got me thinking.  I was recently hunting for a job and I looked at a lot of the employment ads that are out there on this great big thing we call the intranet.  So, what would an ad for President look like? What’s his job description?  Is he really doing that bad a job?

I looked it up.  Google search: President’s Job Description and you get job descriptions for CEO’s and corporate presidents.  But search for President of the United States job description and you get all sorts of interesting things.  My favorite was the job description I found at this site:  Black Dog

Presidential Job Description
Looking for a new job?  Maybe you'd like to be President of the United States.  Here's a job description in case you're interested.  Be sure to tidy up your resume before you apply!

Job Description U.S. President

Minimum Requirements:  
Must be at least 35 years old
Must be a Citizen of the United States
Must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years

Term of Employment:           
4 years, with the possibility of a second 4 years
Salary: $400,000 plus
$50,000 expenses
$40,000 transportation
free room and board

Job Responsibilities:           
Choose cabinet members
Command the armed forces of the country
Meet with leaders of foreign countries
Make treaties with foreign countries
Appoint judges and ambassadors
Propose new laws
Sign bills into law and veto bills
Protect and defend the laws of the United States
Pardon criminals
Report to Congress once a year

Doesn’t sound too bad.  Or at least it didn’t until I read this from “It has been called the most difficult job on Earth. The president of the United States is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for four consecutive years. The job is extremely stressful. Visible signs of aging usually appear within the first year of a president's term. “  hmmmm “Visible sighs of aging”?  I think I’ll pass this one up.  Besides, I have a part time job now.

When you look at the salary, $400,000 a year does sound pretty nice, but when you factor in that you’re on duty 24 hours a day for 4 years, that’s only about $45/hour.  But I guess you have to factor in the expenses, transportation and the fact that you don’t need to pay for room and board, but if you owned a house and didn’t sell it, you’re still responsible for paying your mortgage (that is if you have one).  So, it’s probably a little more like $61/hr which isn’t that bad when you think about it.  But I suppose one would have to factor in the health risks associated with this, and the relative “cost” for missing out on family time.  I’m not that ambitious.  So now we know how much money the president makes.  Roughly.

The job description above can be a bit misleading though.  “4 years employment with the possibility of a second 4 years” but only if the majority of an entire country thinks you did a good job.  That’s a lot of people to please, and my mother always said, “You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” 

Yes, you can Command the armed forces, but you need congressional approval for any deployment lasting longer than 60 days and you have to notify congress within 48 hours of declaring war (like they wouldn’t know). Treaties can be made, but only “with the advice and consent of the Senate” with a two-thirds majority.  He can choose judges and ambassadors, but congress has to OK it.  He can propose new laws, but unless someone in Congress agrees to introduce the law, and Congress passes it, nothing happens.   Pardoning criminals… one of the few that’s self explanatory.  Reporting to Congress, well that one is self explanatory too.  Although the constitution doesn’t actually specify once a year, it’s much more vague, “from time to time”.

So, our forefathers put a lot of safeguards into this job description when we look at it closely.  It seems like there’s not much the President can do without someone looking over his shoulder or without hoops to jump through.  I think this is a good thing, and I also think we should all consider this when we judge whether or not President Barak Obama is doing a good job.  I know I wouldn’t want his job right now, but I’m still glad I voted for him.

Want to see the actual text in the Constitution?  I found this helpful on-line version at Cornell University.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

Once a week or so, I go online and read blogs.  Most of the blogs I read are blogs of people I know.  It’s pretty cool to hear about what’s going on in their lives, even though we live on opposite sides of the country, or even when we live on the same side but aren’t in touch that much anymore.  I enjoy this. 

Today I was reading “Unbounded Mama” and Angie talked about new beginnings in September.  This really resonates with me, especially because my birthday is at the beginning of September.  I used to think this was a bad thing.  Growing up in New England, school starts in the beginning of September and of course with all the hubbub surrounding the beginning of school, back to school clothing, supplies, haircuts, etc.  Often my friends would forget my birthday or didn’t even realize it was my birthday.  I learned to let it go, and now if people forget, I don’t sweat it.  It has made me extra conscious about trying to remember other’s birthdays though.  I know how great it feels when you get a happy birthday from someone you haven’t talked to in a long while.  Even if that’s the only call/text/card/e-card/email you get from them every year, it’s nice to know that they remembered and took the time to wish you well.

Angie said “January first has nothing on September” and I agree, so I’m making this my new year’s celebration.  Typically spring is thought of as the time for new beginnings and fall is when things come to an end, but I think in the south it’s the opposite.  Fall is when we can finally go outside and not be covered in a fine sheen of sweat by the time we make it to the driveway.  Fall, winter and spring are the outdoor seasons here.  So different from Utah where if you didn’t ski, winter was the time to hunker down and hibernate.  Eat lots of carbs and add on an extra layer of fat under that sweater to hopefully help keep you warm.  Here, it is time to go outside and explore!  No more mosquitoes and water filled air (they call it humidity, but I think “water filled air” is a more accurate description), time to go outside without slathering on the bug spray.  Look out world, here I come!

Now let’s see, New Year’s Resolutions…
1. To eat less fat.
2. To climb, dance, love, give and write more
3. To finish my play
4. To say NO in order to say YES
5. To be more direct.
6. To go to Yoga and find my balance
7. To age gracefully
8. To drink more water.

So here goes.  This time next year I will be more… more me.  And you are invited to the journey.