Category Archives: I’m still awesome.

What’s Up With All the Instagramming?

Interesting and beautiful things are everywhere.

Interesting and beautiful things are everywhere.

I knooow that’s what you guys are asking yourselves. Well, those of you that ‘follow’ me social media-wise. I’ve had Instagram for awhile, but I didn’t really start using it until a few weeks ago. Now I’m trying to add one post per day. Is it as simple as me just wanting to participate in something fun? No. Nothing is ever that simple.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, more than usual even. Trying to get some new perspectives, change old habits, pay attention to how different things make me feel. ln much the same way that I notice eating certain foods make me feel sick, consuming various types of information and media were also starting to make me feel gross. Now, this isn’t going to be one of those long, ranty posts about how much Facebook sucks, but I will say, that I started noticing that it wasn’t making me feel very good. I’m not going to lie. I friggin’ love Facebook. However, I found myself getting super annoyed and cranky with people that honestly, if Facebook wasn’t around, I would have no contact with whatsoever. I found myself getting wrapped up in the enormous long-winded oversharing dramas swirling around. Spending time wondering, “Gee, I wonder how so and so is doing with her whatserwhosit”. Is that necessarily bad? I don’t know. I’m what’s known as a ‘super-empath’, I know it sounds very new-agey, but whatevs. It’s what I am. Basically, I it’s a really nice way of saying I very easily get wrapped up in other people’s shit on an emotional level.  So, I started to back way off on Facebook. I deleted it from my phone. I did what dieters do when they try to get ahold of eating habits and check-in with myself when I found myself logging on to the blue beast, asking myself “Why?” Why are you checking in? This is what I discovered, most of the time when I was checking in, which honestly was frighteningly frequent, I was either:

  • Bored
  • Lonely
  • Procrastinating

Does FB really help me with any of those things? Sure it kills time, but it’s certainly not helping me achieve any of my goals, and aiding in procrastination isn’t great either. It does help with loneliness, but so does a text of a phone call. Anyhow, I’ve backed way off. Yes, I’m still on FB probably once a day. Sometimes not. I feel a lot better. Does this mean I’ve given up social media? Oh, God no. Which brings me to…

Instagram. (BTW, yes my account auto-posts to my FB and Twitter unless I unselect it. I can’t decide if this is obnoxious or not.) As opposed to FB, Instagram is making me feel pretty good. For one, I’m using it as a tool to find beauty in my everyday life. Well, beauty and humor, but I think those go together. I subscribe to other members that have similar ideas, but also that post amazing photos. So, instead of checking in on political rants or people’s divorces, what I’m seeing are incredible photos of MOMA, sunsets in Hawaii, knitwear, meals people are proud of. It’s a really different vibe, and it makes me feel better about the world around me, and what I’m putting out there. Pretty deep for a photo app, eh? Also, I have GOT to  become a better photographer. No, it’s required. I have new clients, and some that are in the wings, and in the world we live in today, if you are a writer, you better be able to take some decent photos. Publishable photos. I’m trying, you guys. I think I’m getting a little better every day.

Twitter, I love you. You’re a different post altogether.

If you want to see my photos, there’s a button over there —> to follow me on Instagram. You know, if you want to, or whatever.

In defense of..well..me.

I work at home. I am a writer. I write things. I write articles for news and entertainment and I also write commercial posts for various websites. I feel the need to explain this because there seems to be a misconception about what I do all day. I write. I guess if I was sitting at a desk in a building owned by someone else, instead of my house it would be easier for people to grasp. Please think about that when you ask me what I do all day, or if my house is really clean. Is your house really clean? I mean you aren’t there all day, so there isn’t anyone around to make dishes or mess it up. No?

Yes, working at home has a lot of perks, I get to make my own schedule. This also means that I end up working at night and on weekends a lot. I don’t have to drive anywhere, there are lots of snacks. I can listen to whatever I want to as loudly as I want to. I can take a break and go for a walk. These are all true. I am also really lonely. It’s just me and the dogs here. This is why I love the IM, and the FB, and the Twitters. You are my co-workers. It would be nice if you would add up all the time you spend shooting the shit with your fellow office mates before you make a shitty comment about how I’m on there all day, because it’s actually far less time than you spend at the water cooler. I just have a visual record of my time wasting.

Because I publish things online, and know how to use Mailchimp to send newsletters, and know how to post things to WP, does not mean I am a web designer. It does not mean that I know how, or that I want to make you a website. It does not mean that I know how to write code. It means that I am a writer, who has grasped some pretty basic software in order to get things published online in the hopes of making some money. To me, that’s like saying to someone, “Oh, I see you are taking pictures with your iPhone. Would you like to photograph my wedding?” See how that’s crazy? Yes, I’ll write your newsletter. No, I will not “do” your website.

Also, no. I don’t want to work for you for free. Would you ask your friend the plumber to come around and fix your toilet for free, you know to add to her client list to boost her credibility? Oh, that would be rude? Huh.

I am a total brat for complaining about my sweet deal. I am truly lucky and grateful for the opportunities I have. I have just grown weary and tired of feeling defensive all the time. I wouldn’t trade places with anyone, and it’s a small price to pay for my charmed existence. But still, it’s annoying.

The Horribly Mangled Remains of A Julia Child Recipe.

I love Julia Child. A lot. I have an autographed photo of her that I bought off e-bay sitting next to my desk. She is the keeper of all things good and wonderful about cooking and food. My child loves watching The French Chef on DVD, there’s nothing like exposing a 5 year old to making your own sausage, complete with explanation of various casings, to ensure she knows EXACTLY where food comes from.  I am not sure if Julia would be proud of what I did to one of her amazing recipes or if she would smack me with a wooden spoon.  I mean on the one hand, she encourages using what you have, on the other hand, I made broth out of Worcestershire sauce. Yeah.

Yesterday was one of those wait until 4:00 and then start to freak out about what I want to make for dinner days. So basically, just like any other day. I know, I know,  I might give off a vibe that I’m one of those extremely organized know what I’m going to make for dinner all the time because I’m such a great cook and huge food snob types, but no. I’m not. I mean, I’m not organized, all the other stuff is true.  I happened to be putzing around on-line and checked out some recipes I’d bookmarked from the site Smitten Kitchen. SK happens to be one of my favorite food blogs, ever. That’s saying a lot because I subscribe to probably two dozen. Anyhow, she had a great post on a baked spinach recipe from Julia Child. . Coincidentally, I own the Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but I’m lazy, and it’s so much easier to have someone from the internet tell me what to make as opposed to looking it up myself.  Per usual I did not have most of the ingredients in the recipe, so I really took some liberties with it.  Here’s what I did:

Serves 6
Yeah, good luck with that. This stuff is tasty. I’d say serves 4.

3 pounds fresh spinach
One Bag Frozen Spinach

3 1/2 to 4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Salt and pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

1 cup beef stock
This is where it gets really funky, I made a “broth” out of Worcestershire sauce and water. I don’t have the exact ratio of Worcestershire to water, because it was immediately after devising this evil concoction I realized I should be documenting and blogging. Anyhow, I like it pretty strong, so I’d say it was at least 2Tbspns sauce and the rest water.

3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
One cup of leftover sliced Provolone, diced.

2 tablespoons fine, dry breadcrumbs
How about a 1/2 cup of Panko instead?

Preheat Oven to 375.

Nuke the spinach about 5 minutes with a little bit of water, per instructions on package. If you don’t have a nuker, cook according to pkg directions. Put it in a colander and strain it, squeeze out as much of the excess water as you can with your hands.

Melt half your butter in a pan over low heat, and then add spinach. Cook until most of the water is gone. Use your judgement here, you don’t want it to be super juicy, but you don’t want to burn it either.

Sprinkle flour over spinach to coat, and stir it. Then add your broth a bit at a time,  I used all of mine, but the recipe says to just add 2/3 of a cup, and then again, use your judgement regarding the remaining 1/3.  Bring to a simmer and stir frequently. Add salt and pepper.

Remove from heat and stir in about 1/2 the cheese.  Put it in a smallish, greased  casserole dish. Top with the rest of the cheese, and the panko. Melt the remaining butter and drizzle on top.

Cook about 30 mins @ 375 until lightly browned and bubbly.

Surprisingly good, considering the amount of bastardization.

I was a bit worried about how this would taste, considering the complete re-working of the recipe, but it was amazing. I really like my Worcestershire broth, and plan to use it again.  Next time I make this, and I will, I’m going to add a couple of drops of Sriracha and maybe some Truffle Salt. We’ll see, I might kill it entirely if I add too much.

This picture does not do my meal justice. I am not a very good photographer or food stylist. I'm working on it!

I served it with some ham, and am planning on reheating some right now for breakfast. I’ll probably also have a poached egg. Stop drooling, you’re disgusting.

First Time at The Rodeo?

Slippery Slope from the top, last year.

You’d think that with the surprise and horror I welcomed the first snowfall, that maybe I was new to this whole winter scene. Transplant from Florida maybe? Perhaps we just moved  from the tropical climes of Southern New Jersey? No. I have lived in Maine my ENTIRE life. I was born here. My people were here a long, long time ago,  we are a northern people. I however, am completely unprepared every year and each winter am on the receiving end of a firm smack on the ass from Mother Nature.

Heat – A typical October conversation:

Me: “Crap, it’s going to be freezing tonight.”
Husband: “What? It’s so soon! It was summery yesterday.”
Me: “I know right?”
Husband “Ok, call the oil people”
Me: “It’s Sunday. Do we have any wood left?”
Husband: “I dunno, let me check…” Goes outside to woodshed we pass by every time we walk into the house. “Like two sticks.”
Me: “How much do you like this coffee table?”
Care to travel down  Slippery Slope with me? Yes? Awesome.

Clothing –
We recently had a snowstorm that the weather people totally did not predict. It was not snowing when I sent Kid to school, so she was wearing sneakers. By the time I picked her up there were 4 inches of snow on the ground.  Not totally my fault, right? My fault: Kid has no winter boots.  We run to the local clothing store, and by local I mean only, that has Kid sized boots. 

Sales Clerk: “Hi, let’s measure your feet and see what we can do.” Measures Kid’s feet.”Ok, she’s very close to a 1. Somewhere between 13 and 1 so I would go with 1.”
Me: “Wow, that’s bigger than I thought.” Looking around shamefully.
Clerk:”What size are these?” Holds up Kid’s sneakers she has been wearing EVERY DAY with no complaints.
Me: “Um, 11?” 
Clerk: “Oh.”
Made it around treacherous corner! Yay!

Kid: “I need new boots, they have to be pink.”

Clerk: “Yes, yes you do!”
 Looks over shoe department until she finds the only pair of Kid sized boots in pink. Price, $40.00.  Granted, they are super nice.  But if someone had gotten her ass in gear and not waited till the last minute, I probably could have saved $20. 
Driving:

My driveway is about 1/8 of a mile up a hill. If you’re my friend on Facebook, you will know that winter is the time of year when my status updates transition from bitching  about how hot I am to bitching about how much I hate my driveway. Check it out, I live IN MAINE. We have months and months of snow and sleet and shit. It is probably one of the only states where people legitimately need to have SUVs. Especially people that live on the top of  Slippery Slope (that’s what my driveway is named). Do either Husband or I have 4wd? Nope. Why? Because we are idiots. Because we buy our cars in the summer with no care to the world not thinking about the cold dark winter lurking right around the corner.  
Almost at the bottom, the end is in sight. 

This year, I had the added joy of experiencing the first snow storm without winter tires on my car, why? Because I forgot to get them. IF I put studded tires on my car, I can get up the Slippery Slope about 85% of the time.  “But, Kate” you ask, “What about the other 15% of the time?”  I’m glad you asked. I walk.  Usually after spending at least 20 minutes of peeling out, swearing, backing up and trying again, and of course the “get it rocking and gun it” method of driving up a hill in snow, which usually fails, but kicks up an amazing amount of dirt and ice, and causes a fair bit of smoke from my tires.

At least we have a decent plow/sanding guy this year. I’ve had 6 quit in the 10 years we’ve been here.  Most of them just went out of business. Or so they say…..