Something to Occupy My Brain

When Brian and I stared renovating houses for a living I found my brain had a lot of free time available.  I spend a lot of time painting or cleaning or scrubbing vinyl siding by myself. My brain is like an ADD toddler hopped up on Mt Dew and Pixie Stix…. if not kept entertained it’ll run rampant and cause all kinds of trouble… like planning a My Little Pony Circus birthday party for my Pomeranian (Brain didn’t think it was an amazing idea…. because dying ponies purple and gluing glitter wings on them was a “bad” idea…) or worrying about government/alien conspiracies (Brian told me to email Amazon and return all my Doomsday Prep supplies…. he’s gonna be sorry when the aliens invade and we have to forage for Gluten Free food!)

Since Brian doesn’t appreciate all my planning and genius ideas it’s just best to keep my brain entertained quietly.  Brian recommended podcasts.  He got me started on educational stuff…. which I enjoy… I listen to a bunch of shows from TWIT tv.  (This Week In Tech… it’s an abbreviation, not an insult…) I enjoy them…. there are tons of interesting things to learn…. but… you know… “educational.”

I’ve recently discovered story style podcasts and I’m hooked on several really good ones.

You can listen to podcasts in several different ways… iTunes, direct from the web, Pandora, but I like using the Overcast App.  There is a free version, but I opted to pay the $5.00 so that I could download podcasts using data instead of only WI-FI… I like to be able to download new podcast when we’re traveling and I don’t want to have to wait for a WI-FI connection.  (There are other benefits, but that was all I was after.)

Favorite Podcasts:

Serial  – Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story—a true story—over the course of a season. Each season, we follow a plot and characters wherever they take us. We won’t know what happens at the end until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we bring you the next chapter in the story, so it’s important to listen to the episodes in order.

The Black TapesThe Black Tapes is a weekly podcast from Pacific Northwest Stories and Minnow Beats Whale, and is hosted by Alex Reagan. The Black Tapes is a serialized docudrama about one journalist’s search for truth, her enigmatic subject’s mysterious past, and the literal and figurative ghosts that haunt them both.

Lore – Lore is an award-winning, critically-acclaimed podcast about true life scary stories. The people, places, and things of our darkest nightmares all have real facts at their core. – Each episode of Lore looks into a uniquely scary tale and uncovers the truth behind it.  Sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.

Limetown – Ten years ago, over three hundred men, women and children disappeared from a small town in Tennessee, never to be heard from again. –  In this seven-part podcast, American Public Radio host Lia Haddock asks the question once more, “What happened to the people of Limetown?”

The Message – The Message is a new podcast following the weekly reports and interviews from Nicky Tomalin, who is covering the decoding of a message from outer space received 70 years ago. Over the course of 8 episodes we get an inside ear on how a top team of cryptologists attempt to decipher, decode, and understand the alien message.

Tanis – Tanis is a bi-weekly podcast from the creators of Pacific Northwest Stories, and is hosted by Nic Silver. Tanis is a serialized docudrama about a fascinating and surprising mystery: the myth of Tanis.  – Tanis is an exploration of the nature of truth, conspiracy, and information.  – Tanis is what happens when the lines of science and fiction start to blur…

Do you have a favorite podcast?  Share with me!





1. a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom:

I know I haven’t been blogging much lately.  I’ve just been feeling “blah’.  No real motivation to do much of anything…..

I’m trying to get back into the swing of things…. blogging and baking, knitting and photography…… yoga, travel and crafting…. and… well…. life.
So here we go……

The time that we were given


Where to begin?  How to begin?  There are not even words to measure… to explain… and yet I feel compelled… in my own words… in my own way to honor and say goodbye.

On September 1st my Mother and Father-in-Law were involved in a car crash that took them from us.

There are not words to encompass the heartbreak and horror.  To lose them both…. to lose all the possibilities and promise that we had before us.

They were my In-Laws…. and I adored them…. and they made me crazy…. and they got on my nerves… and I loved them…. They were my husband’s parents…. and I cannot thank them enough for raising the man of my dreams.  I don’t know if I ever told them. I thought we had time.

I cannot tell them in words… not in this life, but I can honor them.  I can love the son they raised, my husband.  I can love their daughter, my Sister-in-Law.  I can remember to never let a day go by without being thankful…. or an opportunity to pass without exploration…. or let an “I love you” or “thank you” go unsaid.

They were in my life for such a short time, but they will live in my heart forever.  And I am ever so thankful for the time that we were given.

– S


Never too Old to Sparkle

The other day I was at the salon getting my nails done… (Because heavens knows getting my nails done right before I spend a long weekend working on a bathroom renovation is a genius idea… But I was in a mood and feeling like doing something frivolous and pretty…. so a Maini-Pedi it was.)

3836a7faa920310545f223bce45b1d53Helen, the owner, and her client had been chatting and I’d been half listening as Tony finished my nails. I’d been left with instructions to sit still and let my nails dry… I’m bad about that… I was playing with the little fan and the various bottles of nail polish that had been left within my reach when Helen asked her client what color she wanted (she was getting French tips too) so I offered her the bottle of pink that I’d used. It was a very light pink with just a bit of glitter…. It’s not super eye catching, but it has a bit of a shimmer. The lady shook her head, “No, no,” she said…. “I’m too old for glitter.” I know I must have looked at her oddly, because she added, “you’re young… You can still wear sparkle.”

Huh?! There’s an age limit on sparkle? Who made up that rule? Probably the same moron who said you can’t wear white after Labor Day. (And who follows that anymore?)

Also, I’m pretty sure we were the same age… Or pretty darn close. She’d been talking about her kids and just guesstimating, I don’t think she was more then five years older than me… Mayyyybe 40?

So I’m admitting here that I’m 35…. And I’m totally fine with that. I’ve worked too hard to get here to ever be ashamed of my age. I’ve survived… I’ve learned… I’ve gotten better and I’ve got seniority now!20140705-094343.jpg

Why aren’t we proud of our seniority in life? We’re delighted by it in the working world. Seniority at work means we get more money, more vacation, first pick at projects…. Senior Associate is way better than Junior…. Right?

It’s not your AGE that limits you… It is your mindset.

(And maybe your knees… My knees are convinced that I really shouldn’t be climbing mountains…. But the rest of me is all for mountains…. So we tell the knees to suck it up… and we climb.)

Physical limitations are not a product of age… They are the result of use, injury or illness…. and can be healed, overcome or out maneuvered. (I do a lot of yoga to help my knees and keep me feeling good.)

Never let a number… Or someone else’s ridiculous notion of what that number represents….hold you back.

20140705-101443.jpgI’ll wear whatever color nail polish I want! I’ll wear white when I choose (not often, ’cause I’m a mess..) and I’ll be damned if I’ll cut my hair short just because I’ve reached a certain age!

The only thing you are ever too old to do is waste an opportunity. Get out and enjoy the world! Spend time with a friend….Read… Learn… Do stuff!!! Be happy. Happy people sparkle.

You are NEVER too old to sparkle.


Family Dinner Night Meatloaf

Every Tuesday night Brian and I host Family Dinner Night at our house.  We could have anywhere from 7 to 15 people around the table.  In-laws, Out-laws, Halfs, Steps, and sometimes a random friend shows up…. we take the “Family” part fairly loosely…. Blood relation isn’t really required.

Grandpa just turned 90 and since Grandma passed he has been doing much of his own cooking… he asked for one of my crock-pots (I did have seven…. so I could spare one.)… He seems to be enjoying his crockpot concoctions, but it does make me feel good to make a full, home cooked meal for him every week.

It is also nice to have the whole family together fairly often.  I’ve never understood why some families only get together on holidays.  I mean, I get it, if you live far away or something…. but if you live in the same general area?  What is the big damn deal about getting together on a certain calendar date?  I’m reasonably available most of the year…. if you want to see me…. call.  Have you noticed how miserable those winter holidays are because you are “stuck” attending events with relatives that if they actually gave a damn, could see you most anytime of the year?  It’s not special if it’s an obligation, people.  I just don’t get it… If family is important to you… then you need to make the effort to see them.

Anyway…. this is the meatloaf I made for Family Dinner Night this week.  It’s gluten-free (I don’t know why people add breadcrumbs anyway,) and filled with yummy veggies.  If Mom got to choose, we’d never have meatloaf, but ever-so-often I like to make a “manly” meal.  I cheated and didn’t make mashed potatoes…. since Brian and I are trying to stay low-carb I try to keep FDN’s low-carb and gluten-free too.  I did make (GF) Corn Pudding though….  so they’ll get carbs…. And everyone’s favorite Autumn Salad.





  • 2 lbs Ground Hamburger
  • 1 lb Turkey Sausage
  • 3 Carrots
  • 4 Celery Stalks
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tbs Garlic (More or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp WildTree’s Garam Masala Blend (More or less to taste)


Clean carrots, celery and onion.  Chop into big chunks and chop in food processor until diced fairly small (not a paste…. should still be slightly chunky).  Combine veggie mix, hamburger, sausage and eggs.  (I tossed everything in the Kitchen Aid mixer.)  Next add your chopped garlic and the Garam Masala Blend.  (I used a big glob of garlic and just sprinkled the spices in…. This a a more or less to your personal taste kind of thing.)

Dump the mixture into a 13×9 pan and  shape into a loaf.

Bake at 375º for 90 minutes.

Follow Me!

I’m trying to be more consistent with my blogging.  You know?  Be a “real” blogger and all.  So I’m thinking how do I like to connect with the blogs that I enjoy?IMG_6881  I subscribe to several that are delivered to my inbox, but I’ve just realized that I almost never read them from my email.  Most of the time I follow links from Facebook or even Instagram.

Hmmm….. I’ve got those… Actually I have personal and work Facebook pages, but not one for my blog. Okay… I can do that.

Instagram, check.

Twitter was a bit harder… I’ve got a Twitter account, but I don’t use it much.  I’ll admit… I don’t quite “get” Twitter.  Oh, I understand the concept, but I just don’t really care for the format.  I like Facebook…. I LOVE Instagram…. I adore WordPress…. Twitter?  I write a blog for heaven’s sake!  You want me to condense it down to 144 characters?  Yeah…. I’ve got Facebook doing my tweeting for me…. sorta check.  I’ll try to do better.

Here are a couple of different ways to keep up with me and my blog. So like me!  Follow me!  Tweet to me!







Photo Challenge: Be Thankful

I have been wanting to do a photo challenge for a while now, but it seems like I always think about it in the middle of the month and then I think… “I’ll start it on the first of the next month.”  And then I forget again.


Today is October 30th… Tomorrow is the last day of the month (and Halloween!  Eeep!).  So I have no excuse not to get started.  I even went out and created a personal Instagram account (I have one for work and I was just being lazy…)  so I can’t say “Oh, I don’t want to carry my big camera around.” I am never without my iPhone, so no excuse there either.

I have pinned enough Photo Challenges on Pinterest so I just had to pick one that I liked.  That was actually the hardest part.  Finally I just went with one that I liked the blog’s name: Positively Present.  (You should go look at her blog too…. really great ideas there.)  So that excuse is unusable too now.  I tweeked/add/changed a couple of the photos from her list, but mostly it is the same.  I cheated and moved a couple around just because I know I have plans that would make a couple really challenging.  Since this is the first photo challenge that I am doing I wanted to make it a bit easier for myself.


What’s a photo challenge and how do I participate?

For the next 30 days, I’m going to be taking photos of the items listed below — and I’d like you to too! There’s no real “challenge” to it; it’s mostly just a way to motivate us to focus on things that we’re thankful for. All you need is a camera, the list, and some imagination to participate.

Let’s Share! 

I will be posting my pictures on Instagram: Phoenix_Rize.  So follow me there and be sure to share your Instagram name with me too.  If you post your pics online, feel free to share the links in the comments section.

  • You don’t need to be a photographer to participate.
  •  Don’t let the word “challenge” scare you and prevent you from participating. It is just to “challenge” you to stay motivated.
  • You can take your photos anyway you want to — any kind of camera works.  And you don’t have to have an Instagram account… that’s just what I am using (this time… maybe I’ll try my big camera next time.)
  • Feel free to start the challenge at any time.  You don’t have to wait until the beginning of the month…. remember, I said that was a bad excuse?
  • If you post your pics online, feel free to share the links in the comments section. I can’t wait to see your photos so please share!

Thirty-Day Photo Challenge: Gratitude

Day 1: Self Portrait
Day 2: Family
Day 3: Happiness
Day 4: Leaves
Day 5: Morning Sky
Day 6: Books
Day 7: Something Funny
Day 8: Favorite Color
Day 9: Smile
Day 10: Nature
Day 11: Seasonal
Day 12: Hands
Day 13: Written Words
Day 14: Adventure
Day 15: Technology
Day 16: Animals
Day 17: Memories
Day 18: Daily Routine
Day 19: Best Friend
Day 20: Something Old
Day 21: Where You Sleep
Day 22: What You Wore
Day 23: Transportation
Day 24: Nighttime
Day 25: Artwork
Day 26: Something New
Day 27: In Your Closet
Day 28: Gratitude
Day 29: Light
Day 30: Self Portrait