Mourning an Icon (Goodbye, Spock)

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I remember the exact moment I decided to watch Star Trek.  It actually wasn’t that long ago.  I asked Zach, “Do you think I’ll like Star Trek?  Should I watch it?”

“Sure,”  he replies.  “The Next Generation is really good.”

“No, I mean the original.  I have to start from the beginning!”

Because I’m really obsessive like that.  Sure, I would have been perfectly fine if I had started with TNG (it’s literally the most amazing thing ever).  But I needed to start from the original.

Oh was the pilot horrendous!  It was long and boring, but I knew it wasn’t the cast we all know and love, so I pushed through it.

Except Spock.  I loved Spock, even in that awful pilot.  It only got better and better and I was a Spock addict.  There was a humanity about him that no other character on the show had.  Even though he was the one “without emotion” he had the most depth, and the one who could empathize the best.  After all, he was someone who could mind meld with others, something so ridiculously intimate that the idea of emotional expression was put into question.

I have my criticisms of the films, but Spock stayed true to character.  It’s not surprising, because Nimoy himself took the character seriously, and developed a connection and understanding of Spock that went above and beyond what is required of an actor.

And then the new films!  The only reason I watched the new films was because of his cameos.  I figured, if it’s good enough for Spock, it’s good enough for me.

I know I’m talking a lot about Spock, but that’s the character I know him best as, and love the most.  Nimoy was passionate and kind.  When he talked art, he talked substance.  Spock wasn’t a curse to him, it was something he embraced and made his own.  The character of Spock will never belong to the franchise, it’ll always be his.  There aren’t a lot of fictional characters that are so deeply connected to a real person.

When I was trying to think about others that reminded me of such a character, I immediately thought of Bob Ross, Jim Henson, and Julia Child.  All of these people made a difference, and all of these people are ingrained in our brains and culture, for all the good reasons.  They are timeless.  I’m glad too, because sometimes I lose so much faith in what we have on this Earth, and then The Joy of Painting comes on, or I see a great Spock quote, and it gives me a lot of hope.  Happy trees, muppets, good food, and going boldly are my religion.

Even though Leonard Nimoy is no longer with us, he’ll live long and prosper in our lives and memories.

Until next time, LLAP.

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Taco Cravings

So, apparently, everyone is just getting a lot of snow all over the country.  And for some reason, our house is in this little pocket where we’ve been getting more snow than other parts of our neighborhood…

Because of the cold and snow, and living in Colorado, I feel like a dried up leaf.  I had to bust out our humidifier yesterday just so I didn’t have to chug water the entire day.  I can’t get anything done if I have to pee every 5 minutes.  And I feel a little trapped in our house.  I miss the sunlight, friends, and like, hotdogs and stuff.

But I’ve been eating a lot of tacos.

Like, a lot of tacos.  I’ve basically been turning everything into a taco.  Because tacos are easy, you can make them however you want, and when you’re snowed in and don’t have a lot in your house and can’t go outside, you can make tacos.

So here’s my latest taco recipe that ended up being an experiment gone well.  Sorry I don’t have pictures, but it’s an easy recipe that you can truly make your own.  And this recipe makes a lot – great for a lot of people, or for leftovers.

Black Bean and Yam Browns Egg Tacos (that’s a mouth full… bum dum dum)

Ingredients:
1 medium yam, shredded
1  15oz can of black beans (drained and rinsed thoroughly)
2 eggs
Sriracha (to taste)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Olive oil
Creamy dressing of your choice (I used Cosmo’s spicy ranch dressing)
Soft corn tortillas (or whatever you like for tacos)

Directions:
In a preheated skillet, cook and brown the shredded yam in about a 2 TBSP of olive oil and a pinch of salt.  In another skillet, scramble the eggs until they are cooked, add the black beans and sriracha and combine.  When the yams are done, add them to the egg/bean mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Plate the tacos, and add the dressing on top.  Easy peasy.

It’s almost to the point I’m going to need a separate page of taco recipes on this blog.  Because I’m considering make some breakfast tacos for lunch…

Until next time.

30 Day Shred: Level 2

On Sunday, a friend came over to our house to hang out and do nerdy things with my husband, things that I’m not nerdy for.  They insisted I hang out with them, but I was bored, and started messing around with a puzzle we had bought and never put together, a really long time ago.  However, when I started separating the pieces, this is what came to mind:

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I realized I had never done a puzzle before.  For some reason, I just assumed I had.  Hasn’t everyone done a puzzle before?  Not me.  I was so flustered and said I needed a nap, and now Zach thinks I have narcolepsy.

The snow and cold makes me want to nap all the time.  I don’t really feel like being active when it’s in the teens when I wake up.  But, I [eventually] forced myself to get my workout done this morning, and finishing level two of the DVD.

However, along the way, I worked on music and singing for about an hour leading up to actually turning the DVD on and starting.  I felt pretty inspired this morning, and found motivation to work a lot harder on music than I have been doing lately.  Sorry, but no workout is worth it for me to stop inspiration!  I was still singing when I started exercising.  Actually, I think because I was so happy, my workout went much better.

So, my thoughts on level two.

It’s definitely a little harder than level one, but not a ton.  I enjoyed it more than the first one, my favorite move, for some reason, being the walkout push-up.  My criticisms: when Jillian Michaels says you should be gargling your heart or feeling like you’re going to die, it makes me laugh.  I will never want either of those feelings.  I like being tired and sweaty and even winded, but not death feelings.  I’d recommend not pushing it that far, if you’re really struggling with the exercises.  Work up to it.  Also, the stretching and cool down at the end is definitely not enough at this point.  I got bad leg cramps after the first day, and spasms at night.  I’d recommend doing more stretching (positions) than she does, and holding each position for at least 30 seconds.  Since I’ve been doing the stretching, I haven’t had as much pain or problems.  I’ve been having some back pains lately, but I think I strained it doing something else, not the workouts, and I still haven’t had problems with exercise with my back (actually, sitting and laying down I feel it – perhaps I slept weird?).

I feel like I’m getting more energy, and I’m definitely stronger than just a couple of weeks ago.  Also, cravings of bad food aren’t as strong, even though I just finished eating a cookie.

So that’s all for now!

I’ll have a new recipe up for tomorrow!

Until next time.

30 Day Shred: Level One

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Since I’ve started a new fitness regimen, I’ve decided to kind of journal about it/review products and other fitness things I’m experiencing along the way.  It has a two-fold effect (hopefully): first, hopefully it’ll help other people that may be reading my posts, and second, (and most importantly) it’ll make me accountable.

Now, I’m not a hardcore fitness person, I’ll just put that right out there.  I don’t like doing a whole lot of things in extreme, and I’m not looking to get a thigh gap or rock-hard abs or anything like that.  I’m seriously just doing it for fun and to be healthy.  There is a weird thing in the fitness world that likes to focus a lot on looks and shame others if they never attain the “perfect” body.  They say things like, “well, you’re clearly eating badly” or “you’re not working out correctly” if they perceive someone as not having the body they think one with a high fitness level should have.

So, I’m definitely not that person.  I eat well and walk a lot for my health.  Everything else I do on top of that, is seriously just for fun, and to see what my body can do.  If I’m not having fun, I ditch it and do something else.  Life is too short to waste time on stupid workouts that you hate, just to achieve a certain body.

I shall step down from my podium now.  There.  Ahh, it’s so nice down here!

I decided to start off with Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred because right now, I’m on a DVD kick.  I’ve done this DVD before, a bunch of times, but always with mixed results.  The first time I tried it, I was still recovering from my back injury, and this made it a lot worse.  Now that everything is much better, I also am more aware of my limits.

I’m also not going to do this DVD for 30 days.  Mainly, because I’m not trying to lose 20 lbs in 30 days, and also because I want to move on to new things every week to mix it up.  I’m sure I’ll revisit this DVD though in the future, especially as I’m able to do more, it’d be interesting to have a second go at this and be able to do the advanced versions on most things.

It’s actually a fairly nice workout.  It’s great when you want to get in cardio and strength and you have a limited amount of time.  She calls it circuit training, and it is, and kind of seems like a light version of the HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training).  I just finished level one, and I’m definitely seeing a difference.  It was a little hard in the beginning, trying to start something new (and I haven’t worked out in months).  I struggled the first couple of times, and I needed to go to bed by 8:30pm every night, but I got through it.  I just had to remind myself that it won’t always be like this, that starting is the hardest part.  By the weekend, I had a lot more energy, my appetite was down, I was able to stay up later, and I could do the workout without stopping.

I still have some back issues, and I have knee issues, so I tend to stay around the lower impact versions of the exercises.  I still feel the burn, but I don’t blow out my knees or back (I shall have none of that!).  For abs, I pushed much harder, and did the “advanced” version as best as I could.

Even with today, I’m pretty spunky.  I woke up fine, and right after my workout, I had a snack and went right to house chores without much grumbling, because I wasn’t completely exhausted.  To be honest, throwing this into my schedule has made me more productive.

All in all, I recommend this particular DVD.  I’m starting level two this week, and also adding in something else, which I’ll blog about next week.

Until next time.

 

Vegan Taco Meat and Lucky Fridays

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Today is Friday the 13th, and while I know a lot of people see it as an unlucky day, I see it as extra lucky.  For one thing, it’s a Friday.  Already, it’s got so much good built up in it, so the 13th makes it extra special.

So let’s make it more special with a new recipe.

I know what you’re thinking:  Vegan taco meat – yuck!  I assure you, it’s not a yuck, especially when you add the right kind of seasoning.  Even Zach loves it, and he fights me on replacing his normal meat things with non-meat things.  But, I’m trying to cut out a lot of meat in our diet, especially red meat, because it can cause problems on your body, and when you buy organic, it’s not super budget friendly.

Plus, this recipe is SUPER easy, so it makes the alternative taco night still laid-back.  I adapted the recipe from Oh She Glows, because I didn’t have lettuce and I wanted a definite “taco/southwestern” taste, AND I wanted to make a larger quantity than she made (for leftovers) so my recipe deviates greatly from hers – but it’s most definitely inspired by her recipe.

Vegan Tacos (adapted from Oh She Glows)

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked green lentils
1 1/2 cup raw walnut pieces
1-2 TBSP Taco seasoning of your choice
Sesame oil (though you could also use olive if you want)
3 bell peppers (I used yellow only, because I love them and they were on sale)
1 sweet onion
Salt, to taste
Salsa/sour cream/any toppings of your choice

Directions:
Toast the walnuts in a preheated oven of 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.  Rinse the lentils, and then cook them in water on the stove, this took about 25 minutes, but I would start checking them around 20 minutes.

Cut up and cook the peppers and onion in a large pre-heated skillet at medium heat.  Drizzle with about a tablespoon of the sesame oil, and lightly salt.  Cook the vegetables until the onions are lightly caramelized.

Drain the cooked lentils and place them in a large bowl, adding the walnut pieces.  Drizzle with about a teaspoon of sesame oil, add the taco seasoning, and then mix thoroughly.  Add mixture to a blender (I used my Vitamix, but if you have a food processor, use that, and pulse until you have a nice crumbly texture) and pulse the blender and smash down the mixture.  I did this until the walnuts were almost pasty, so everything stuck together really well (and it looks a little like meat).  You can add some extra walnuts to the mixture if you want an added crunch.

We used soft corn tortillas that were lightly heated on the skillet, but you can use lettuce wraps, or even hard shells.  Spoon the “meat” mixture on the wrap, then add salsa and top with the veggies.

So there you go!  Hopefully this make taco night a little easier for some, and a little healthier.  Sure, we’ll probably still do an occasional meat taco night, but this is a lot more budget friendly for us, and definitely fills us up.

I also wanted to throw out there that I’ve started a new workout regimen, and I might blog about it.  I’m doing DVD workouts at home right now, so it’ll be kind of a DVD review/progress thing.  I also have a lot of home projects/DIY stuff, so you’ll be seeing more of that on here in the coming months, and probably a lot less of the personal stuff (although, I’ll probably mix in the personal stuff, it is a personal blog after all!).  Whenever I start watching movies again, I’ll have reviews up, but we really haven’t watched anything lately.  Except like, the Mindy Project.  It’s hilarious.  That’s all you need to know.

Until next time.

I’m Basically Katniss at Costco

Okay, maybe I’m not as awesome as Katniss.  Especially at Costco, even though it feels like the Hunger Games.  I hate going there.  I mean, I love the deals, I get certain organic foods there in abundance with prices you can’t beat anywhere else!  But I still hate it.  I dread it.

And I had to go yesterday.

Maybe it’s just the Costcos near me, I’m not sure, but they are more stressful than any other grocery shopping experience I’ve ever had.  I took a deep breath, and decided to have a good outlook before I went it.  The day was sunny and was going well, so nothing could stop me.  However, despite the sunny disposition of the weather and the Costco employees, I was glared at by a woman getting a cart right away.  This wouldn’t have bothered me as much, except I had smiled at her before she started glaring.  So yeah, that hurt a little.

And it happened a few more times, one glare preceded almost being plowed into by a cart.  ON PURPOSE.  Anyway, I’m just puttering away, trying to find some stupid quinoa, and smiling like an idiot.

The only conclusion I have, is that I have a hideous and offensive smile.  Or people become possessed with those enormous carts.  I’ll go with the latter, just to comfort myself.

Anyway, I think I’ll have some new recipes up soon.  I’m going to attempt to adapt a King’s cake for Mardi Gras for the gluten intolerant, and I have a few other recipes I’m clinging to that I’d like to post on the blog.  I’m hoping I can get in some more posts in the next couple of weeks as I do more projects/things I can actually share.

Until next time.

Party Planning and Getting Stir Crazy

I’ve been doing this weird thing lately.  It’s still the beginning of February, and I’m planning our 4th of July party.  I know, I’m totally insane, but I really, REALLY need the warm weather to stay and continue.  I know that Massachusetts is getting pummeled with snow, and I know we have snow in our forecast – but it’s just been SO NICE in Colorado lately.  Sunny.  Like it’s supposed to be.  And warm (most of the time) like it’s supposed to be!  We went through months of dreary, overcast weather and I can’t go back.  I won’t go back!

I’m clearly really dependant on the weather.

Because of the sun and warmth, I’ve been more productive lately than I’ve been in months and my mood is better.  So naturally I’m trying to keep it going by planning our 4th of July party.

I only do one or two parties a year, because I really go all out.  I don’t like people to be bored.  I don’t want people to feel left out.  It’s an experience.  I spend a lot of time and money on parties.  I’m not sure why, but it’s just something that I really love doing, and doing one in the summer is the best.  Our back yard will be [mostly] done by May, so we want to get the most out of it.  We’ve already earmarked lawn games to purchase, and right now we’re debating what kind of hammock to get, or whether or not we should wait until the back patio is done.  We even have a babysitter for one of our dogs that doesn’t like parties.  Yeah, we’ve got all the problems, as you can see.

To be fair (to me), planning a party several months in advance isn’t the worst thing.  Usually, I never give myself enough time.  That’s why our Halloween party never happened last year.  I go big or go home, and I had to go home for Halloween.

I definitely need to spend more time outdoors.

Until next time.

Meg’s Inferno

This has been a bumpy year so far.  I’ve mostly come to terms with the fact that, more than likely, the entire year might be bumpy.

This past week, I’ve been wrought with physical pain and generally haven’t been feeling well, and I’m pretty sure it’s diet related.  To add insult to injury in the food department, an ad from PETA popped up on my phone while playing a game, and it was so disturbing that I decided to cut meat out [again] right now.  I don’t want to go into the arguments for and against meat eating, because I think most of the arguments are ill-advised on both sides.  It’s seriously a personal preference.  I will say, however, that people should always eat consciously, whatever the food might be.  We are so disconnected from food and its source, that I think people should make a better effort at eating wholly.  We can agree with that, right?  Get to know the farms around you, check out local markets, etc.  You’ll find that everything tastes better, you meet new people, and it’s really affordable.  It’s fun.

Long story short, I’m back to green smoothies and a vegetarian, mostly plant-based diet until further notice (i.e., my pain goes away, and my energy comes back).  No juicing though.  I’ve been so severely burned by that repeatedly, that I can’t afford to become allergic to any more vegetables.

Aside from food stuff, we are still waiting on news about my sister’s dad.  He is fading at a really fast rate now – he no longer responds, and he cannot sit up anymore.  Zach and I plan on going to AZ to support my sister when he passes, but it’s a hard wait.  We’ve tried to get most of our things in order the past week, just in case we need to leave suddenly, but it’s still stressful.

So yeah, not a ton of happy rainbows around our house lately.  I feel like we’re powering through pretty well though, even if by the end of the day, we’re both so drained we watch crappy TV.  We do it together at least!

Sorry for the depressing update.  I’ll try to post something a little more up-tempo soon.  I just wanted to do a quick update to let everyone I’m still here!

Until next time.

Amy’s Song is Now Available!

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Hey everyone!  As promised, I’ve made my short novel, Amy’s Songavailable to purchase.  I decided, since the work is short and I just wanted people to be able to read it without my having to spend a ton of money, to make it available through Kindle.  I am not sure if I’ll publish it in a different way than this, but at this point, I doubt it.  I just wanted it to be available in an easy-to-read and purchase platform.  Since it’s a short story, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money that I don’t have, because I don’t care about making money off of it, so this was the best way for everyone, I think.  It is available to purchase for $0.99, or you can read for free if you have Kindle Unlimited.  Check it out HERE.  I’ll also have a page on this blog for the book, so check that out!

This may very well be the most terrifying post I’ve ever written, to be honest with everyone.  It’s super scary putting your work out there sometimes.  But hey, everyone has to start sometime, right?  Better to try and fail than not try at all!

I’m just happy to finally have a conclusion to this little project from last year.  Now, on to new things!

Until next time.