Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shutter Click & Chat 11/30 and more

Meet the giant rattan tea kettle-yes, it was on clearance for $12.00. I think it's fabulous. Huh? Used for? Silly, this is a work of art, an adornment if you will, for our toast and coffee station. My grandmother thinks it's "purty", thank you very much! What have you got? Come on, we all have something!

Shutter Click & Chat 12/7 December, already?! Theme: Winter

NaBloPoMo No mo'! Yes, this is my final blog post for NaBloPoMo November. It's been a blast, and if nothing else it has certainly kept me looking at everyday happenings in life as potential blog posts. I'm not signing up for December instead, I am focusing my energies on my first zine! I'm very excited about this new venture, it is something I've wanted before I even knew what a zine was. My own little publication, now isn't that what it's all about? I've been reading, collecting and silently critiquing some works of fellow zinesters. I'm ready to have a go of it, I'll keep you all updated of my progress.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our Celebratory Feast

As some of you well know, our Thanksliving was postponed in lieu of actual living. Well, we shared in our celebratory feast and subsequent antics this evening. Here are a few highlights and interesting asides.

The Table: All clearance, all the time! Vase-$3.99, salad plates .49 each, dinner plates .99 each, leaf plates 1.49 each.

The Spread: Hoppin' John, collard greens, bird (I'm sorry, bird.) winter blend vegetables, homemade gravy, mashed potatoes, baked sweet plantains, Brown n' Serve rolls, iced chocolate cake, and NY style cheesecake.

The Folly: 100,00 Pyramid on DVD- guess who won? You give up?! Surely you jest. Well, okay... The Pubescent One and I kicked their cheating (I saw some timer shaking going on) high-on-glucosides-and-tryptophan-heckling-festive asses. Who's your momma?! Tries to curb enthusiasm.

A Fascinating Fact: Morningstar Farms bacon strips have single-handedly restored my faith in the possibility that soul food can be cardiovascular-friendly. The greens, the Hoppin' John-slap yo' momma mouthwatering good madness!

In short, once again- late or not, we've put the fun in dysfunction! Until next time...


Friday, November 28, 2008

Edna & Other Black Friday Folly

No shopping for me today! There's just something about a good deal that sends me racing to the register with the most impractical items. Instead I will work on the Gimme Gimme Giftsmas tree.

I spent about 2 hours hurling expletives and dusty boxes around the garage last night. The search is on for all of the necessary accoutrement to this year's Gimme Gimme Giftsmas tree and other holiday decorating hi-jinks. (I will be neither outdone nor beat to the punch by the neighbors this year. Isn't that so, Joe?) We, well okay, I've decided on silver this year. It's been a couple of years since I've done the silver theme. Hallmark holiday whore that I am, there are far too many decoration-filled boxes to sift through, deeming my mission to corral only those items which are silver an arduous task at best. But, silver it must be. This is in part due to the desire to employ the tree topping duties of the esteemed, Edna the Giftsmas Cat.

I still remember the day I found her on a blistery Black Friday afternoon in NYC. (see paragraph one) Alone, sitting misplaced amongst the tumult of the Macy's department store toy section. She lay there, a tad battered, bent and looking quite odd. I picked her up gazed into her slightly crooked ominous eyes, shook her (I also smell everything, don't ask.) and straightened her snowflake wielding paws. All the while wondering, "what the hell"? Then, I turned her on her head revealing the "clearance" sticker just then, the store's in-house PA system sounded. A clerk, with an acute sinus problem said, "Take an additional 25% off all clearance items..." Say no more, Edna is coming home with me. I bustled through the crowd; Edna tucked firmly under my arm, defense elbows akimbo, all you weak and otherwise unawares, "outta my way"! You'd have thought I stole her! Thinking back, I'm not proud, really I'm not, well, maybe a little. Laughs.

Well, that's where it ends. We made it into our taxi and she's been family ever since. Much like any family member during the holidays, she's been met with mixed reviews. What do you think? Do you have an "Edna"? Yes, it's time to resurrect Shutter Click & Chat. This Sunday 11/30, show me something only you love. Yeah...nods and claps like the contestants on the Family Feud, I think this will be a good one!

Peace and good deals!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksliving

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."

I'm up and about making phone calls. I'm getting the dish on the feasts everyone is serving up on their good dishes. I'm chatting with old friends, and new friends, near, far, and true friends. I spoke to my sister and uncle and mother today. I hugged my Guy and kissed my cats. I am not celebrating today, I am the celebration. Life is a celebration, thank you for sharing in it with me. Every comment, every cackle-yes, even you lurkers-I feel your presence and I am grateful. Happy Thanksliving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


The Mercado family feast has been postponed. Eh, fret not it's one of those confutable impositions I'd mentioned previously. And, a flexibility I'm afforded only by the pleasures of residing a blissful 3,000 miles from both our families.

Thanksgiving in our home is a time for family, reflection, conscious dining and slowing it down with or without the aid of tryptophan. This year however, we are moving at a much faster pace than we'd like. A pace all too familiar to many who are also chasing I mean the American Dream. In short, Favorite Guy must work. Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but my dinner puts me in the kitchen anywhere between 8-12 hours. There is just no way I'll sit idly by and watch my tasty morsels inhaled; seductive flavors slaughtered by the mangling of hasty mastication. Oh hell no! We'll just wait.

In the meantime I've been getting busy in the Test Kitchen employing my down home southern roots in the veganizing of what I call my "wounded soul-free soul food delights". I just put my foot in a pot of black eyed peas! Yes, my foot and not the pig's. They are amazing! The Test Kitchen recipes will be transcribed from food stained scrap paper scrawlings for your pleasure shortly!

Have a peaceful pleasant holiday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Books Read By A Scribbling Butterfly

Catchy isn't it? I'm getting caught up on some blog love I've received recently from a few of my favorite bloggers. First, a tag-and yes, you're right I did ditch my running shoes, however this is a book meme. I always make time for reading and writing. So, Charmaine here is the meme, and the dish on some of my favorite reads.
List the following:

(a) Fiction book
(b) Autobiography
(c) Non-fiction book
(d) A fourth book of your choice from any genre
Explain why the books are essential reads in no more than 30 words per book.

Fiction: The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd-This book broadens parameters and redefines the meaning of family in ways that are both enlightening and entertaining. Plus, it's set in South Carolina.

Autobiography: Lost in Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia (Erm, memoir, autobiography...semantics!) Like this adolescent aspiring Zen Monk, I had aspirations far beyond those of the typical adolescent and, parents far beyond typical Earth dwellers.

Non-Fiction: The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion- Joan explores love, friendship, symbiosis and grief in this novel in a way that is so raw and naked. This is pure emotive porn for the psychological voyeur.

My Choice: The Intellectual Devotional: As a child, the dictionary was my bible. As an aspiring adult, this book, an empty journal and a black pen with a comfort grip is all I (currently) need.

I chose these books namely because they flew under the radar. I hold a special place in my heart for the classics, but my right hemisphere can't help but carve a niche for the trendsetters. I'm also going to tag a few folks, cause I'm nosey:

Tiesha of Flytie, Denene of MBB, Mequet of Mequet is Crafty, Renee of Cutie Booty Cakes and Ms. BarB of A Place of Comfort

Master scribbler, Denene Millner, of My Brown Baby has bestowed this honor 'pon me. I am thrilled. I'd seen it on a few blogs and thought, "Well, where's, I mean, I sure would like one of those." (Brooke, I just know you're making some spot-on astrological correlation between my Cancerian needs and this award.)

Le rules are:
1. Post the award on your blog.
2. Link me for giving it to you.
3. Link the originating post here.
4. Pass the award on to five more deserving people.
5. Post these rules for your recipients.

And here is where I (per usual) bend 'le rules'. I'm nominating one blogger; Ms. Bar B. of A Place of Comfort. Ms Bar B. regularly spins tell-all tales of life's perfect imperfections.

And lastly, butterflies are one of few- very few, flying insects that I am fond of. This makes the award received from bold, beautiful, sassy, astrological acumen-filled Brooke, of Jewelry Rockstar, extra special. The rules for this one are my favorite kind, non existent. Is your blog cool? Of course it is! Have at it!


Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm back!

Here are some highlights, of my blogosphere detoxification. In no particular order, although I wish I could remember the order in which it all went down, it would make for an interesting study.

I cut my hair (about 2 inches) with my craft scissors, two mirrors and a 12 oz bottle of beer. I haven't straightened it all out yet...I'll keep you posted.

I designed and created so many pieces of jewelry for Crafeteria 3 that my fingers were swollen and burning.

I watched enough Forensic Files, Snapped and Cops for a few lifetimes. During which time I realized how depraved the world really is. (We don't watch much boob tube here, thankfully.)

I learned not only was George Washington a liar and a cheat, but his wooden teeth-well, they weren't all wood; some were that of slaves and, animals. Um yeah George was a scary dude.

I saw the movie Trauma. A story of a man who awakens from a coma and can't decipher what is real from what isn't. It was traumatic and I am still trying to decipher the plot! But, Colin Firth has now made his way to my list of under-weight (by my standards) studmuffins and cool points go to the director for an interracial romance that wasn't purely sexual.

I bought a pair of $1 shorts and $15 yoga pants that fit like a great lover.

I ruined Jordan's life again, and Joe helped! Yay! Or, "whatevs BFD".

Lupe got a new coat, it's houndstooth and just what you'd expect to see in Forest Hills, around the first of the month when the seniors come out for half-priced lunches and slow walking on a busy city street.

I explained to Yael that not all married gay couples own horses like Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. I'm not sure why, but she was certain that our friends whom she lovingly refers to as, "The Husbands" must own horses since, like Ellen and Portia they do not have children.

I discussed "Indians" (Native Americans) pilgrims, genocide, slavery and the holocaust with my grandmother. Grandma is a scholar but a grandma first, "Child, it pains my heart to think how they did them people. Oooh Je-sus." She is seriously the best.

I'm sure I've missed some stuff. You see, it certainly wasn't a dreadful time, but I'm glad it's over. And you, "how you doin?!"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Um...yeah, so like now what?

Well, it isn't the keyboard, but the port that's damaged. I guess tomorrow's plans include an electronics store of some sort. I feel, oddly in tune with a cashier. Y'know the one who looks at you askance when the register conks and you offer her...insert ominous music I haven't a clue what to do with myself. This PC is giving me messages about cookies. Cookies?! Alright, okay already. I'll go eat cookies.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


My keyboard and the batteries in my camera are dead. I'm blogging from Yael's PC in our home office which is situated on the wrong side of the house for both my Mojo and my OCD. Surely, there's a past post you've missed. Why not have a gander. I'll be back soon, I hope...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Anus Sniffing in The Kitchen

My love of language has been none short of rewarding throughout the years. It is with that acknowledgment that I skate through each day, knowing, waiting, for it to backfire. Waiting for my frequent use of hyperbole, and double entendre to turn on me in some undeniably irrevocable way. Words are our friends (they've also cost me some), censorship is not. In our house, if you can read it, you may read it. As Denene over at MBB conceded, I must concur, "There is a special place in Mom Hell for me".

In a not so unusual moment, in our ever busy kitchen, Yael strolls over and asks, "Mom, what's an ann-uss"? Her head, nodding syncopatically as she emphasises the syllabicism. I look up, "a what? How is it being used?" Off to her room, she retrieves a new book that she and Favorite Guy picked out on their standing Monday date. She reads, "Then I sniff her ann-uss. It smells rich and full of Celeste". In an instant, every lewd, horrific joke about happy clams, meat pops and other X-rated folly I engage whilst my children are within earshot floods my conscience. I look to Favorite Guy who has turned his back on the impending train wreck. He stands motionlessly. He has a faith in his powers of invisibility that can be rivaled only by the Emperor's belief that he is clothed.

Hand outstretched, I request the book. Front cover, Newberry Honor holding author, check. Back cover: Ages 8-12, check. Harper Collins publishing, check. Everything seems in order, so I go back a page or two. Celeste and Reggie are the best friends' of best friends. Celeste is a dalmatian...Reggie is a sheepdog*. All is well again. As the busy kitchen sounds resume, Favorite Guy slowly begins to show signs of life. With a gleam in my eye a chuckle escapes, I turn to Yael and nodding syncopatically I retort, "an a-nus is a butt hole". Have a fun and fabulous weekend!
* The excerpted phrases are from: The Wish by Gail Carson Levine

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Number 4

"Expound on my yoga practice beyond breath and posture." This was the 4th objective on my now defunct list of 35 things to accomplish before my 36th birthday. I deleted The List blog, I deleted the lists, I accepted this challenge as my last.

This morning, just as I opened my eyes the switch flipped, power on. Make haste, it's time! The thoughts begin to translate from their foggy morning haze and, before the coffee has been poured, the list is written. Firmly tacked into the conscious of a fresh day's thoughts are the self-imposed demands of days' past. They're scrawled alongside those of the day before that. There's no fresh sunrise, just stale air and a heavy spirit.

My days have endings with no beginnings. I need restoration. I need a cleansing breath, a clean slate, an empty list and bright eyes. I need to awaken to a sunrise, an endless sky and an empty page.I deleted my blog because it is yet another measure of a life already in progress; a chart of a path already taken, a path which seems to begin in the middle of a mediocre day.

When I set out to do anything, no matter what it is, I begin at the beginning and I do my best right on through til the end. That is the way I need to live each day, from start to finish; a fresh breath, a sunrise, the essential cup of coffee and my very best me. That being said, I have pardoned myself of all lists and confutable impositions. I have replaced them with a cleansing breath, bright eyes and an endless sky. I have replaced them with one goal, the restoration of the light in me. Returns to Adho Mukha Svanasana.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Speed, Sanity and The Power

Of Centrifugal Force

First a bit of history. I am quick. I move quickly, speak quickly, dance on 1, learn quickly, anger get it. I am married to the most laid back person on the planet. As a result of that union we have two fairly even paced/tempered children. "Yadda, yadda yadda", what this all means is that everyone is the house is operating at a speed much slower than mine. This is insanity inducing. Most verbal disagreements escalate in the heat of my inability to allow the other party to respond. (Actually, I have many times answered my own question/accusation and gone on to the next one before Favorite Guy gets a word in.) Think court, only you are sentenced before you can answer the first part of the indictment. It is equally frustrating all across the board.

This week I am introducing some new lessons, one of which is long division. Can I just tell you that long division has never been as long as it's been this week. I have had to break these problems down into so many steps, that I can't even add anymore. I realize that I am completely devoid of sense when I operate at any speed less than warp. It's as if any semblance of logic and order spills out where there exists little or no acceleration. Ack! I'm powered by centrifugal force!

This would explain some other recent issues; sewing is one. Surely, I should not apply Danica Patrick like force to the pedal. Especially, when I have no idea what the hell I'm doing in the first place! What's a girl to do to slow down? Does anyone else have this problem?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

DIY Jewelry Displays

I made these for my upcoming venture as a vendor at Crafeteria 3, and they were free! I found the idea for this cake stand style jewelry display on this blog. I used some pre-existing, orphaned, (not enough for full service) thrifted plates, saucer, bowl and brass goblets. I then secured them to one another with Liquid Fusion urethane and, "Voila"!

The pillows which will display chokers and necklaces were sewn by me (Pauses for applause) on the evil Singer with gifted fabric from a dear friend who knew I'd have use for several yards of her company's "free, ugly samples." (Note: "free, ugly" supplies of any sort is an oxymoron.)

Creating something new, from something old makes me feel warm and giddy inside. How about you; what did you do today to make yourself smile?


Monday, November 17, 2008

Give it away, give it away, give it away now!

Watch. Comment. Win.

Well maybe, we can't all be winners. Isn't that true Carol Hom? Carol Hom was a grammar school phenom, but I whipped her "Ha-ha-you-spelled-gingham-wrong" ass in the Spelling Bee! Nevermind how long ago that was, I won. Forgive me, I digress.

Want to be winner? Drop a comment here. You don't have to check out my breath taking jewelry designs on Etsy or book a cheap flight to my Crafeteria 3, craft fair debut or even follow this blog; packed with sweet morsels for your mind, body and, spirit. Just leave a comment. One comment, on this post and, you're entered into a drawing to win a fabulous, one of a kind, original "Peace 2008" bracelet. This 7.5" pure raw brass design has been masterfully embellished with Indian glass and assorted new and vintage findings. It's quite lovely, I must say.

Fine print: This drawing is not open to you (Yes, I reserve the right to be childish.) if your opinion regarding Santa Claus in this thread differed from that of mine on page 3. Strictly coals for you! The drawing will be held on December 5th, ensuring that I have something other than Crafeteria anxiety to post about. I am an expert planner, indeed.

And, of course, peace.

Married Black Female

I've been feeling embarrassingly stalkerish lately, not bad-but awkward. You see, Yvonne, over at The Rest of Yesterday has phenomenal taste in music. I've taken to visiting her page, catching up on her recent posts, brewing a pot of coffee and just hanging out there all day. I realized the extent of my stalkerish ways when I deliberately went through her entire playlist to find the song that was trapped in my head from the day previous. Widens eyes and hums Twilight Zone theme. And yes, it gets worse. Whilst listening to that song; Right as Rain by Adele- not once, but twice, I read through her recent film and TV recommendations. "God On Trial?! Hmmm, theology and philosophical law, now this is brain porn". So, I summoned Yael, Queen of the Remote Control, to auto-tune God on Trial. Then, I listened to Tropicalia by Beck and Sympathique before leaving her blog. Sings, "Je ne veux pas travailler." Unhealthy much?

God On Trial is a made for television screenplay set in WWII Auschwitz where imprisoned Jews put God on trial for breaking his covenant with them. It aired on Sunday at midnight, of course I watched with the Favorite Guy. For those of you who may not be in the know, Favorite Guy is a believer, and I believe one can not know. You can imagine this makes for interesting family room fodder. We seem to be on the same page with the film, however. We found it conceptually stimulating and well depicted. Giving exception only to the portrayal of the quasi-angry, blasphemous scholars and the ending, which I will not reveal. Even if you're not into theology, I'd recommend it for the multifaceted historical accounts of God's judgment, and the philosophical aspect of the film overall. The DVD is available for purchase here. Merci, Yvonne!


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shutter Click & Chat 11/16

Shutter Click & Chat 11/16 Friendship

This is my favorite commercial! I can so totally relate. While it may be difficult to believe, I wasn't always the refined, exemplary model of style and poise that I am today. Long ago, even before the time of the Favorite Guy there was a special someone who brought color to my awkward adolescent days. Whether that color was an attribute of her buoyant personality or, our royal blue eyeliner, matching mascara, and Wet & Wild iridescent hot pink lipstick, deliberately escapes me right now.

Christina and I have been friends for over 25 years. We've outgrown slam books, DIY hair and eyebrow fiascoes, and pranks involving large Chinese food orders for delivery to the neighbor's house. Don't be fooled, we're no less prone to acts of impropriety. This picture was taken at a Mexican Bar & Grill, it's our version of the Table Tango. Music was supplied by the in-house Mariachi band, per my request. We would've actually danced if we could stand! And you, what do you like to do with your friends?

Shutter Click & Chat 11/23: Blogger's Choice!

This is a great opportunity for all of you lurkers to join the fun! Yeah, you!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Obligatory post

Damn you NaBloPoMo!

Quick and painless post today. I'm busy designing the most amazing (aah the modesty) jewelry display table ever. Yes, I am daring to venture from the comforts of home to bring the magic of Pretty in Peace to the Greater Phoenix area. Can you just imagine? December 5th, me; sans beer, in the company of more than 4 people (hopefully) at once, whilst wearing shoes, and probably...oh the horror-socks! Now, that's living on the edge. Stay tuned...

Oh and one more thing, Joe and I have been at it, in front of the television again. Do you know that men wear corsets? They most certainly do, and I'm not talking svelte, effeminate men either-think Norm or Cliff from Cheers in a corset, coming to a town near you. Hmmm, wait til I call my grandmother.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Another day, another year...

Another reason to celebrate. On November 14th 1988 Favorite Guy and I became official. No, not married silly, I was fifteen. We began dating, we were officially "going steady"; approving nods abound. See, in the years before the Great Flood, there was a science; a paradigm for exhibiting the quality of one's home training. Call it what you will, it worked and it makes for good storytelling for our children and their children.

This anniversary, while different, is as deeply profound and heartfelt as our nuptials celebrations. It marks the beginning of our friendship, it is the beginning of our promise to like each other. Marriage, and the commitment to love and honor is a promise we've made to ourselves-a statement of integrity; the people we are when no one is looking, on a piece of paper that no one sees. Our friendship, the laughter shared, good times, hard times and tears-that is who we are; inside and out, every day of every year. It is the foundation and the forefront of our union. It is at once, the cover of the book and the moral of the story we've written for our children and their children. Friendship: a cause worth celebrating every day of every year, in the story of us.

And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

Kahlil Gibran

Thursday, November 13, 2008


No, no, no, I'm not going to rant about the imminent eradication of rabbit ears-or whatever the whole deal is with converting our televisions. Seriously, I'm clueless as to what old dude in the commercial is even talking about. I have a different dilemma.

Last night, Favorite Guy and I- and then just me because I live a life of excess, watched several back to back episodes of Sex Change Hospital. I pass no judgment as to why anyone fortunate enough to have skipped the perils of the pussy would want one. But I'm telling you, I think the show (or the cup of dark coffee, Raisinets and handful of wasabi soy almonds at 12:00 am whilst glued to watching said show) did something to me. I woke up this morning like a rabid, hungry, homicidal beast. I have been in a foul mood all day. Exacerbated only by this uncontrollable hunger! Perhaps I should kick someone's ass. If nothing else, I'd burn off some of the shit I've eaten.

So, um yeah, stay away from Hormonal Disasters Television-that's my tip for today folks. Carry on, there's nothing to see here. But seriously, what is this converter box business?


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

If math was poetry...

There has been much discussion of money lately. I've been talking, teaching and lamenting over money. As has been the story for most, surely it has to be simpler than this...

Yesterday while teaching, Yael, clearly in "Losing. Energy...Batman"-mode began cracking her knuckles, twisting in her chair...basically displaying signs of sheer misery. Her pencil kept mysteriously rolling from our dining room table- that and, the point kept breaking. As annoyed as I was, I completely understood her frustration. I feel the same way when Favorite Guy and I sit in the office reviewing the books for our business or worse, the budget for our home. The science of money sucks. We've been at this, streamlining our budget, for-well honestly, for the past 2 years since I quit my "job-job", but in theory this has been a 20 year work in progress. It's just not very easy and it isn't any fun.

After our lesson for the day was complete, Yael buoyantly burst from the "hot seat". I thought to myself, "Wouldn't we all be so much better off, if math was poetry"? And then, I remembered this poem and the genius of Shel Silverstein. His work is timeless and ageless. I was probably about Yael's age when I learned this poem in school and it's even funnier now!

Enjoy. Peace.


My dad gave me one dollar bill
'Cause I'm his smartest son,
And I swapped it for two shiny quarters
'Cause two is more than one!
And then I took the quarters
And traded them to Lou
For three times -- I guess he don't know
That three is more than two!
Just then, along came old blind Bates
And just 'cause he can't see
He gave me four nickels for my three dimes,
And four is more than three!
And I took the nickels to Hiram Coombs
Down at the seed-feed store,
And the fool gave me five pennies for them,
And five is more than four!
And then I went and showed my dad,
And he got red in the cheeks
And closed his eyes and shook his head--
Too proud of me to speak!

-Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Day Trip

Over the meadow and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go.

Come sit, have a glass of sweet tea. I have some awesome, exciting news to tell.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mmm Mmm Monday

Spinach & Lentils

1 cup lentils
1/2 white onion sliced
6 cloves garlic
1 celery stalk sliced
10 oz package frozen spinach
14 oz vegetable broth
10 oz water
1 tbs Herbes de Provence
2 tbs vegetable oil
fresh ground black pepper
salt (optional)

Saute onions, garlic and celery in vegetable oil until crystallized. Add lentils, vegetable broth, water and Herbes de Provence. Bring to a full rolling boil, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 45 minutes or until lentils are soft. Thaw, strain and add spinach to mixture, simmer an additional 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat top with fresh ground black pepper and serve alone or with Jasmine rice (shown) or french bread.

Hey, what's that on the rice? Shredded carrots for texture, just as tasty with diced cucumber or firm tomato slices! This recipe usually calls for twice the onion and cumin instead of Herbes de Provence, give it a shot for some variation. Serve the variation with Jasmine rice or Naan.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Shutter Click & Chat 11/09


Perhaps it is because I used to get scolded for it in my youth, (my grandmother believed my cackling to be unladylike) I just don't laugh as often as I should. What's most unfortunate is that I am damn funny, surely I should be reciprocally entertained.

This particular incident was one such moment. My usual razor sharp tongue and lightning fast wit would be reciprocated.

It was the first company-wide corporate event since I'd returned from my maternity leave. With my old shape back and my new-found (temporary) boobs, needless to say I was feeling anything but humble. A company officer from another branch approaches my good friend and colleague Nate and I. He says, in his best Larry Dallas voice, "And, just what is this vision of loveliness, Nate?" As I turned to respond, because of course, he was referring to me. Nate raises his beer and quite matter of factly says, "Why this is Hefeweizen my good man!" There she blows, bring on the cackles! Will you just look at me?! Laughs.

Shutter Click & Chat 11/16: Friendship
This really was fun. Until I started digging, I had forgotten all about these awesome photo outtakes and the folks who made them possible. So, next week let's look at friendship-show me your friends!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Optimal Illusion

So far, meal planning is not going well. I found a site, but they do not offer any actual meals, just a space to plan them. Uh, yeah, not so helpful since the problem has been the extra 500-700 calories I manage to squeeze in with my current menu. I was hoping for suggestions, but that was a bust. There is still hope, but a girl has got to keep going.

The next hurdle in the phase, portion control. I have no concept of portion control. When you grow up in a Southern home you've had enough when you lapse into a post-gluttonous haze. Then, and only then is grandma happy. Grandma is, well a grandma, Bingo arms and house coat hips are what authenticates them, at 35-not so much. So I did some research and figured the best route for me to take is the Optimal Illusion route. Quick and easy, you simply eat your main course on a salad plate and stick to the pyramid guidelines 1/2 vegetables, 1/4 meat/protein, 1/4 grains/starch.

Last night, I made whole wheat penne with a Florentine sauce and added fresh grated Parmesan. Total calories in a 6 oz serving: 350. Of course I missed my usual fist sized serving of toasted garlic bread and wine, but I was satisfied and it was significantly less food than I'd normally serve myself. Conclusion, using a salad plate for the main course creates the optimal illusion; mind over matter.

PS: No big recipes here, Fresh & Easy brand whole wheat pasta and Classico Florentine sauce.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Damn near a score ago...

I traded in a youthful life of reckless abandon and spontaneity. I also parted with my flawless taught abdomen. Yes, I traded it all in for what was to come from room 486. And not easily I might add, but from the fruits of 27 hours of labor. We named him Jordan.

Favorite Guy is so wonderful about celebrating our labors of love. Every year during our children's birthdays, he celebrates me-bearer of the fruits. Here's how it all went down this year as Jordan turned 17.

Wednesday evening, I had a lavender and jasmine tea foot bath while perusing this month's issue of Real Simple magazine, washed my hair, moisturized and massaged my scalp in a delicious herbal blend of sweet almond and tea tree oils.

Thursday afternoon, the actual big day, we headed out for a late lunch, (But not before I snagged the cutest shirt dress from Target clearance $12, size small, thank you very much! It fits like old love-I will wear it and post pics soon.) engaged in some good food and giggles, wrapped it up with chocolate mousse and pictures.

And brought the evening to a close with the traditional mom baked cake and the scrapbook shot!

I'm still in shock at how quickly these years have gone by. Yes, even with our fair share of hormonally charged days that seemed to go on forever. I've thoroughly enjoyed every minute!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

NaBloPoMo Amnesty

Have I told you the glare from the monitor really brings out the color in your eyes? Simply divine.

I read something somewhere about flattery, I hope it really works as I forgo my blogging duties in exchange for birthday celebrations and libations.

Peace and cake

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

She speaks...

"We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak".

I'm sure some of you were worried about me. Wondering, what is up with her? Does she not understand the magnitude of this election? This historical moment? This promise of hope? Isn't she proud? Does she not understand what this means for all people but people of color especially? What's her deal?

I've studied this election more fervently than any other political event in my immediate history-meaning anything that a grade and subsequent scholarship weren't riding on. There were moments when this election turned into a study of myself, family, and friends. There have been many an anxious evening. There have been many moments of doubt, self-doubt, doubts about justice, equality and supposed freedoms.

Have I always been supportive and faithful? Absolutely not. There were times when I felt I'd flee, which is so unlike me. There were times when a win appeared at some deep subconscious level as a loss with a title and a ribbon on it. Fear. Legitimately so in a campaign where I found myself so frequently checking and double checking facts. Could it be? Maybe. Perhaps, the historical racial construct of the America I know has made it near impossible for me, a black woman, to believe in the possibility of a black president?

So divisive, all of these thoughts, these beliefs, these ideas and ideologies. And, then comes hope-the final divide and the fatal chasm of fear that separates those who have none and those who do, like us. The Mercado Family proudly supports the Obama Family, yes we do.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In with the new...

Staged photo: I'm actually eating in a dimly lit room in front of the computer.

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty.
She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the hell she is.

Ellen DeGeneres

Fitness and healthier lifestyle regimen, of course. It is Fat Tuesday wherein I get to rant about the excess bags, and chins that accompany the pounds. Yes, I'm aware that it is Election Day here in the US. In fact, it fits quite well with my strategy. I am electing to share my weight woes with an inattentive,preoccupied blogosphere. Think of it as blogger's fine print.

So, the dish: I have lost 1.2% of my body weight this month, my goal is 12%. If I was on The Biggest Loser, I'd be on the way back home, head hung low. (Have I told you that show makes me cry every time I watch it? My inner sore loser can not take the pressure.) I'll be honest, I was less committed than I should have been. I don't feel guilty at all, I did take some value from the month's experience. Note: Beer and donuts pretty much put the kibosh on successful weight loss. In other news, I walked just over 35 miles last month compared to a completely sedentary September, that was commendable.

This month I have made a few changes. I am planning all of my meals for the week, in advance. There I go planning again. And, I have joined a diet journal swap. Yes, I will document each day's triumphs, areas for improvement, meals, things I've learned, and funnies. There are always funnies to be had where reduced caloric intake meets increased physical activity. See, that's one right there. This, my friends, is going to be interesting.

I'm working out the details of how I can post my meal plans and recipes for all to access without going completely crazy. Methinks I'll need the Favorite Guy's help...stay tuned. And you, how are you this fine Fat Tuesday?

Peace: 0g Fat

Monday, November 3, 2008

Friends Forever

Cat Party-Mixed Media Collage T.Allen Mercado 11/08

“I love cats because I enjoy my home;
and little by little, they become its visible soul.”

I'm sure I've previously mentioned just how much I love to plan parties. Party planning is up there on my list of favorite things to do. So, a few weeks ago when I realized the anniversary of Anju and Biju's arrival was approaching, I started mentally mapping all the details of feline festivities. It wouldn't be long before I'd realize, logistically, this was a feat even I might not pull off. That is when the cat party contingency plan took effect.

Much like conventional party planning, there were mental lists, ideas jotted, scratched and jotted again. I conferred with the Favorite Guy, Yael-I even tried Jordan. He shrugged me off and instead inquired about his upcoming birthday plans. Even the guests of honor, Anju and Biju looked at me quizzically offering their ideas and suggestions only in exchange for treats. Even, their replies were hurried and laconic.

As the date neared dangerously close (as in the day of), I took the reigns. After grooming both my precious companions and adorning them in sparkly new collars, I called upon my creative muses; paper, glue sticks, stickers, scissors, Picnik and good old Pinot Grigio. I don't know about anyone else, but I had a blast!

Anju and Biju were rescued from the home of a pet hoarder last November 1st. Gunky eyed and undoubtedly too young to be separated from their mothers, they came to live with us in their new forever home, and so it goes.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Shutter Click & Chat 11/02

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.

Gratitude-when I think of things of which I am most grateful, nothing surpasses my marriage; the beginning of our story. Above are photos of mementos we've collected and stored in the trunk displayed in the first image. 1991: Our wedding guestbook. Left to right: Crab fossil from our first (and last) child-free vacation; symbolic as Joe and I are both Cancers. 1992: a lock of Jordan's hair from his first haircut over the bathroom sink. 1999: a love letter from my favorite guy on our 8th anniversary. Yes, we still write to each other; e-mail, text messages, cards and more. 2000: The cake topper I created for Yael's first birthday cake.

There are so many more cards, letters and other pieces of our history in the chest. Memories of times that were not always easy, but always worth it, and for this I am forever grateful. And you? Who what are you grateful for?

Shutter Click & Chat 11/09: Laughter

I hear it's contagious, so let me see YOU laughing. We've all got at least one candid picture of ourselves engaged in hysterical laughter. Don't be shy!

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Why? Because I like to live on the edge.

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