awellseasonedbook

~ Le vin, c'est délicieux!

HEADLINES TO READ: Peacock in Trial – Justice Served

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 4.53.38 PM

For quite sometime now, I’ve had my mind on the wonderful world of peafowl. Yes, I blame my incessant mockingbird who is still squawking like a maniac outside my humble abode.   (I have aged a good year or two from that blasted bird, but he has had enough screen-time so I am moving on to a new conversation.)

I present you with the glorious peacock.

The case being made against our pompous, feather-frilling fowl was that this bird is completely useless.

Let me clear my throat here and say…it was at that point in the conversation, I knew I had entered into some kind of high court for bird justice system, in which I was the official, high-ruling Supreme Court justice. Quickly I put on my black robes and walked up the high stairs to stand as chief justice in the case being made against the peacock. I heard thus statements:

  1. You cannot go into a restaurant and order peacock. (This is true…Peacock a la King has yet to make an appearance on the menu.)
  2. You cannot gather eggs from the peacock for food. (Again…I haven’t had scrambled peacock eggs or used them to dye for the Easter Bunny….eeewwwww!)
  3. You cannot use the feathers from a peacock to stuff into your pillows or duvet comforters for warmth. (True again…plus that would just be awwwwwkward!)

I must say at this point, things were looking very grim for our green friend. The verdict to be handed down seemed inevitable…USELESS.

But alas, the silver-lining came shining through in this bird’s last minute defense.  Let us dive a little deeper. The peacock has found a way around being slaughtered for dinner, a way to hold onto her eggs, and a way to keep her feathers intact.

Useless? No. CLEVER.

Smart and beautiful, even if she is a bit dramatic, this beautiful bird has found a way to keep her head off the chopping block.  I think we could all do with a little more peacock drama if it will save our hides once in a while.  Coveted by kings and queens for her beauty and brains, the peacock maybe one of the most clever birds around.

Final verdict:  FABULOUS!

(I see a future for me in bird justice…National Geographic is calling my name!)

~mb

It’s All in the Details

  

Brekkies a la Samedi

  

Potato/Potahto

  

Summer Guide to Housework

Laundry day.

My day of reckoning finally came. I had to take a long look up and down and all around at the fabric mountain towering before me. The clean clothes that needed to be folded and put away last week, were now needing to be ironed, folded, and put away this week. I don’t know why I do this, but it did give me some time to think about how much I hate housework.  In fact, I would probably need an exorcism every week if the job title of homemaker was my only existence. My schedule would look something like:

5:00 a.m. Make breakfast

7:00 a.m. Walk the dog

9:30 a.m. Grocery shop

11:15 a.m. Exorcism

12:30 p.m. Drop off dry cleaning…etc.

Readers please know, I do not poke fun at the homemaker title. I don’t make fun of it because I don’t think there are many women who are merely homemakers. The idea of having only kids, cooking, and cleaning to fill up their days is from older era.

This got me thinking about June Cleaver in her pearls, high heels, and crinoline stuffed dresses tending to hearth and home. She did not have aforementioned laundry pile (clean or dirty), nor did her refrigerator have that shriveled-up rouge tomato that escaped from his clamshell case and is now taking up residency somewhere in a back drawer. I would also imagine she did not have a starch encrusted iron, or greedy neighborhood cats yowling at her doorstep (don’t ask – but there were 4 on mine this morning…ugh).

I say all of that to say this: I have some updated household tips from my unpublished, “Bite-me June Cleaver” arsenal that are tried and true. They are not gender specific and they provide easy ways to get the mind around doing mundane housework.

Here we go!!!

  1. Laundry: In order to make the pile seem smaller simply start wearing the clothes as you’re folding them. Socks? No problem! Pop those babies on your feet. Scarves? You were feeling a bit of a draft anyway, right? Sweaters? Pamper yourself in that cozy knitted goodness! Who cares if by the end of the folding session you are wearing 6 pairs of socks, 3 scarves, 4 t-shirts, a pair of pajama bottoms, and a knitted hat.
  1. Kitchen: Move all the dirty dishes to one central place in the kitchen. Clean off the counters. It gives the illusion that you’ve been working for hours. Then your loved ones can easily wash the dishes…because after all…you have been working for HOURS!
  1. Ironing: Send it out…it will cut down on your #1 items from above. Bonus!
  1. Dusting/Windows: Rotate by doing only one of these a week.
  1. Vacuuming/Floors: Because vacuuming and hardwoods can be done daily this is truly your “me time”. If people ask you to do unpleasant things…like clean the gutters, toilets, dinner with the in-laws, or clean the cat box…well, you simply can’t because you were just getting ready to vacuum or mop…(and now you’ll be thankful you are wearing all those socks because your feet will get wet, but you will be prepared!)

That was merely a glimmer of hope I give to you all. I sometimes like to imagine that June was a chain smoker and a pure lush at parties with multiple party-fouls. This can also make housework easier and it brings a smile to my face.

The last defense mechanism gets pulled out of the big boy closet…so use it sparingly. When the mountain of laundry is too big or the dishes too dirty, Imagine when June smiles she is missing one front tooth as she smoothes down her immaculately starched apron.

Good old June.  Wait!…I think that line is from Lassie. Darn it, I’m crisscrossing my classic TV shows again!

Friday…finally!!

mb

Finding Nemo…I Mean…Intrinsic Motivation

Finding intrinsic motivation can be a killer for many people. Not only does it feel impossible to find, as we’re turning over stones and reaching for our magnifying glasses, it’s also so damn personal. It’s personal to the point that when we do find our “zen” and share it with friends and loved ones their responses are usually something like, “Huh?”

What makes you tick on your side of the street and what makes me tock on my side of the street are two different things. I like to believe these clocks (all that ticking and tocking) make up universal energy that becomes available to others.

So whether you’re starting a new gym membership, a new diet, a scheduled surgery, a new job, a new pregnancy (if so…congrats!), training for a marathon, cramming for an exam, or dedicating your life to writing that first book, that force field of energy we are collectively creating is ours to share and to tap into whenever we need (and haters can basically stick it because they can never tear down that energy.)

[Sidebar: Force field of energy???!!! That sounds so Star Warsish….Luuuuke….!!!]

Key Notes:

  1. Our intrinsic motivation creates a universal pool of energy to tap into when needed or when starting something new.
  2. Clocks are awesome.
  3. Haters can stick it.
  4. Pregnant moms and dads…Congratulations! Welcome to the secret world of crazy and it’s all over when they learn how to walk…just sayin’.
  5. I love Star Wars.

OK! My work is done here!

mb

Finding Youth

Lately, I’ve heard a reasonable amount of people dropping comments about how old they feel, or how old they are getting, or they “can’t” because of their age. I like to call these phrases “time-bombs” and because I was hearing so many “time-bombs”, I had to stop and pay attention to the world of human beings.

I started thinking in my 4-square headspace: What makes the young person feel old? and What makes the older person feel young?

I see it all the time. The haggard youth in their 20’s dragging their sorry asses around looking disgruntled, unamused, and with the weight of the world on their shoulders. Then on the other side of the street the 40’s/50’s crew who are vibrant, quick, competitive, enjoying strength and life.

So how do we slice this mystifying melon? (any fruit would be sufficient here…I will not be offended if you need to substitute for dietary purposes)

Is this the cure Ponce de León was searching for – calling it the Fountain of Youth? Or is this merely the, “Get over your cry-baby self and grow up effect?

(Hmmmmm…I know I just threw out a lot of scholarly terminology for you to sift through, so I will give you a moment to ponder.)

My conclusion is that I simply do not know which option makes more sense to me, but I can say the Fountain of Youth sounds sexier (and that has to be worth something).

mb

The Sonoma Mockingbird Dilemma

At 3 a.m. I awoke in the midst of sheer unadulterated silence. The night sky was peaceful and quiet. My first instinct was to fall back asleep, however it then became obvious. It was too quiet. What was happening? Why were my ears ringing with the silence of the summer moon? Was it true?

My Sonoma mockingbird has finally found true love! He’s flown away! Gone to follow his dreams and make a living for himself in the big city.

With his departure, I felt the need to drag myself from my slumber in celebration, make myself a coffee, and relay the message on. I feel good things are on the horizon. I am a touch melancholy though, I mean after all, he was with me as I closed down one job to enter studies into another.  Ahhh, but one cannot be too melancholy because the blaring car alarms, manic amphibian gurglings, and obnoxious whistlings were wearing me out.

So as I get ready to close this chapter down…wait…what’s that I hear? Chirping crickets? A sick cat?….sigh…to be continued.

mb

Summer Reading Project…Should Be a Fun Read!

IMG_5982

Drunk Snails ~ Not the Recipe

On my run this morning I saw an odd thing. With feet pounding on the pavement to “Fever” (The Black Keys…seriously a great song) I saw the shimmery trail left behind by a snail. The footpath (word choice?) spiraled around and around, looping around in crazy circles, veering to the left, and then swerving to the right.

Activate Imagination: I immediately imagined a version of Snail Happy Hour, in which afterward this poor sap of a snail started making his way home.  He was probably a bit in his head thinking of the girl that shot him down.  She probably wondered why he didn’t pursue her. He wished he could have been more successful.  She wished she was prettier.

Bottomline:  He missed the girl.  She missed the boy.

Now the evening is over and here is this guy meandering all over the sidewalk as he contemplates his life and she’s not texting him…she’s a snail…no fingers.

Zoom out – Me running in headphones, reading the scene like the most avid CSI detective and thinking (other than damn – I’m glad I’m not a snail, and don’t drink and drive) is there a lesson to be found within the madness?

Is there a moral to this story? Can we get the girl or the boy and stay true to ourselves? Or are we just a bunch of drunk snails roaming around?

And now I leave you all with this very deep snail knowledge, because it’s Friday and I’m sure you have your own happy hour to attend to.

mb

Caution: Butterfly Kisses of Death

IMG_5969

Plastic People

While enjoying a favorite rite of summer passage by perusing through an overly priced fashion magazine that is disappointingly filled with a high volume of uninspiring make-up commercials, I stumbled upon something that caught my eye:  Manga Eyes Mascara.

At this point in the article, I am well aware male readers will do one of the following:

  1. Stop reading – because I lost you at the word mascara
  2. Continue reading – After all it’s a golden opportunity to catch a sneak peek into the crazy-ass world of women
  3. Continue reading – because you follow an excess amount of manga and you want to prove to your cyber-woman you really do care. (Aweeeee…so sweet!)

Ok ladies: How do we feel about Manga Eyes? Is this really a thing? Will we in years to come be teaching our daughters how to look like manga characters? Yikes!!!

I am all for artistic rights and I realize makeup has a very special place in the art world, however this gave me a bit of a start. Freaky manga characters are maybe less than inspiring, because well…proportionally…they are freaky!  It’s a scale thing.  No one should have eyes that take up 1/2 their face.

I am going to take a stance (in all my California glory) and say to the makeup world:  Seriously? (eye-roll) Shame on you! I’m tired of plastic people.  Isn’t life hard enough?

I leave those of you who have a beating heart inside your human body to ponder:

What is your definition of beauty? After all: We aren’t cartoons and thank God – because frankly…I don’t think I could compete with Baby 5. That manga-girl is one crazy-cat!

Happy Friday!

mb

P.S. Mockingbird Update

Mockingbird:  still at it.

New onto the scene:  Woodpecker (I know…Right?)

(*Seriously…I think I may have to fight them to the bloody death. Calling all gamblers…any wages?)

My “How to Kill a Mockingbird” Face – Pontificating, Scheming, & Planning

Dear Readers,

I am not a violent person.  I am the nicest person known to mankind, but I am seriously over it with the mockingbird living outside my bedroom window.  I am becoming a pained person, an impatient person, and a grouchy sleep deprived woman.

SOS:  What to do?

1.  Close all windows and deal with the summer heat while wearing headphones, because yes I can still hear him through the glass windows.

2.    Down glasses of red wine while writing down long drawn out eulogies regarding the death of all mockingbirds in high hopes that I will find mental relief.

3.  Move into a hotel. (but chances are he will try to Skype me!)

***SERIOUSLY, THIS IS NO BUENO!!!     ~mbPhoto on 6-10-15 at 10.44 AM

How to Solve the Nonsensical Question of: Half-Full vs Half-Empty?

How often do we hear the phrase:  Is your glass half-empty or half-full? What does that even MEAN? (I do expect honesty here.)

I imagine the story behind this phrase unfolded as follows:

Once upon a time, long, long ago, one late night at the bar, a man (sorry boys) with drink in hand, suddenly discovered he was in need of a refill, “Hey barkeep!” he shouted across the dimly-lit room.  At that exact moment he froze and thought…wait!…shut the front door!…I may actually have too much in my glass ALREADY [enter shock, silence, sobriety][exit man]. (Before we get too far, yes, he did pay his tab for all you upright-standing citizens who were concerned he had dined-and-dashed.)

It was then at that moment on our blustery winter’s eve (because why not) another rhetorical phrase was birthed into the world of words. Yes, right there on the leather barstool. (Sorry for the graphic figurative language…but, not quite sure that is even a thing…because I mean after all…it’s figurative.)

Problem: So how do we combat this undeservingly profound, ridiculous, and menacing question?

Solution – I’ve Got Your Back:

Let’s assume it’s inevitable that people for centuries to come will nonchalantly ask you out to dinner, “So are you a glass half-empty kind of person or a glass half-full kind of person?”  You, the responder, may then travel into the depths of your soul analyzing and discovering all kinds of powerful psychological connotations, deep inner criticisms, or even worse…self-doubt and/or apology.

Ewwwww! NO! Not apology!

Therefore, next time you’re out for drinks and your dinner date asks, “half-full/half-empty?” you can now respond with the utmost dignity by responding with one of the three following ways:

  1. Non-Verbal Action: Pick up your current glass via thumb and index finger (be sure to grab the water glass – NOT the wine glass), slowly rise from the table and deposit the glass into the closest garbage receptacle. Don’t forget head-toss and maybe even throw in an evil-eye over your shoulder. (Women, you know what I’m talking about.)

            Outcome: Dinner will be over because after all you did just throw away restaurant property.  However, toss back the last of your Chardonnay and make your way to the nearest pizzeria.

  1. Verbal Response: Commit to memory:  “Monsieur/Madame, I will not humor you by answering that question because I for one only drink from the pouch of the Capri-Sun.”

            Outcome: Dinner continues, but your dinner date will now question your choice of beverage and wonder whether or not you lied when you said you did not have children.

  1. Tableau Vivant Response 90/90/90: Slowly stand up and move right arm into an upright 90-degree angle bending at elbow. Position left arm at a downward 90-degree angle also bending at elbow.  Hold the pose for at least 90 seconds.  This will baffle your dinner date into never again asking you stupid questions.

            Outcome: You will have earned a tremendous amount of respect from the theatre world. Accept your round of applause, bow, and then continue dinner while commenting on how delicious the chicken tastes.

Voila!  Always happy to assist my faithful readers.  It is for you only I slice these issues down into their infinite components.

Ciao!

mb

4:00 P.M.

We’ve all been there. Rough times.

Girl Meets Summer: A Tale of Love and Music

With summer officially here in my world of teaching…and now officially here in my world of not teaching, I say this: I feel like I’m on the verge of an audio listening experience bender with the high hopes of taming boredom’s beast until classes begin. I have considered what this might look like. For example I might finding myself writing short stories to new-wave, gender-neutral song titles. That could be fun, after all, who doesn’t want A View to a Kill or to be Forever Young? Sign me up for both!

This classic tale of electronic jamz meets California girl will end sadly though as the inevitable remake of a U2 song will come on…aaaand…I’m out.

As I quickly run back into the loving arms of my favorite current artists, I will think back fondly on all the fluorescent colors from my past and think…damn. Then a spiral of criticism, disdain, slander, and mean-tennis-girl-at-net-aiming-for-face will enter my mind and peace will flood over me.

I’ll take a hipster any day over the hot mess of the past (and because I secretly think hipsters will end up ruling the world and I need to be on their good side…no seriously…world domination…be nice to them).

mb

Voilà: Sangria with Oscar Wilde

IMG_5877

The Limes Chime In

The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it... I can resist everything but temptation. ~Oscar Wilde

The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it… I can resist everything but temptation.
~Oscar Wilde

Melon Talks: Part Three

The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future. ~Oscar Wilde

The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.
~Oscar Wilde

Melon Talks: Part Two

Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship. ~ Oscar Wilde

Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship. ~ Oscar Wilde

Melon Talks: Part One

How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being. ~Oscar Wilde

How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being. ~Oscar Wilde

Fighting the Good Fight

Sunday mornings are so quiet and peaceful in Sonoma County. It’s hard to believe the world even exists upon waking.

Sounds great, right?

It is great – except for when it’s this quiet even the smallest noise can produce quite an impact. A moderate-sized noise amidst the piercing quiet will give one a jolt. A mockingbird, however, who moves into the neighborhood and bellows out his obnoxious sonnets of car alarms, crickets, frogs, honking horns, and stray ally cat cries that sound like they are choking on mice tails is down-right ear-splitting.  All this hoopla…for the girl.  Dang….and impressive!

This bird moved into my neighborhood a few weeks ago and he never – ever – ever stops. I think he has frightened all the girls away because it’s not for lack of trying that he isn’t finding a mate…and no one is that unlucky.

This got me thinking (because obviously I’m not sleeping anymore) – How hard are we trying to get that one thing we want?

Whether it be the job we want, the relationship we desire, the words we want whispered to us, the salary that brings tears to our eyes, hell – even a great cup of coffee. How strategic are we becoming in the art of effort? It all boils down to work ethic, precision, and the ability to shake out the clutter filling our heads and just simplify.  Easier said than done…I know.

I hope that my dear friend Mr. Mockingbird will find his one true love because my sleep-deprived days are depending on it and hopefully we all keep fighting the good fight because our lives depend on it.

Make Your Luck,

mb

What’s For Dinner?: Chobani 2015

IMG_1248

Chobani 2015: Lounging

IMG_1242

Keep It Simple

IMG_1246

Darling Name for a Wine: Emma Pearl

IMG_1250

Jump to Your Heart’s Content

Have you ever thought about jumping ship?

Abandoning the diligence and duty you serve for others in order to pick yourself up out of the muck and mire of the daily grind? It all got me thinking:   How do we keep ourselves content in between the curtain calls of life?

Ask yourself  –   What is it that makes your clock tick?

I asked and I was shocked by my answer…

  1. Food
  2. France
  3. Wine
  4. Writing

Gasp!!

~m

Tomorrow Is Not Today

Sorry for such a long time since we’ve last met. So much can happen in one day.

The sun wakes us up. It invigorates our minds and imaginations. It determines our goals for the day and then sets so beautifully to settle our minds, hearts, and souls.

Today I got to thinking – Do we fully meet the goals we set forth upon waking?

As we shower, brush our teeth, and make plans for the great hours cast before us each morning, how often are we satisfied at the end of the day? As we rest heads on pillows are we validated by the completion of these goals or do we say…tomorrow…I will do it tomorrow?

There has been a lot of change in the world for me and I’m not sure, but I think this is only the beginning.  In a world that moves too fast and is too loud I try to remember – tomorrow is not today.

Push on and be yourself – you are the only person worth being – and you are great. Love your muse and be thankful for their presence.

Happy Memorial Day,

~m

Voila! Banana Muffin Triumph!

IMG_1239

Do You Know the Muffin Man?

Home Test Kitchen – Day 2

Recipe: The Humble Banana Muffin  

Taste: Delicious and like a banana muffin with only a slight aftertaste (that no one in my family could detect but me)

Tears: Only tears of joy

Swearing: Not unless you count the Warrior’s Cry after battle

Texture: Like how a muffin should look…yummy, soft, and moist

Expense: criminal, but with a good-heart

Result: Ohhhhh Yeah (Kool-Aid Man Style)

Literary Inspiration: The Picture of Dorian Gray. These muffins could quite possibly sell their breakfast souls in order to retain their beauty and taste (and to become comfortably numb to the cost of flour).

Problem Solving: The major issue for me was the cost (I’m a schoolteacher for crying out loud). This flour costs more than an hour of minimum wage in the United States, therefore if you have food sensitivities you may want to take out a 2nd mortgage on your home (but then you good-food-people-of-alternative-cooking-land know this and I’m sure you’ve already mortgaged out a few times already).  Also, I’m pretty sure it’s written in the pages of world history textbooks that long ago pepper sold for more than the price of gold and you know what they say about history repeating itself and all that nerdy awesome historian stuff.

Culprit: Wheat – because it is you I’m peacefully trying to replace.  So yes, I’m pointing my finger at you wheat.  Which finger? I will never tell.

Hunch: Too much wheat running wild on the streets. These gangs of wheat thugs are armed and dangerous!

Next Steps: Eat my banana muffins and make a French press while practicing my lousy French on my cats. Viva la muffin de banane!

Until Then: Think about reconfiguring the lyrics to, “Do You Know the Muffin Man?” into “Do You Know the Gluten-Free Muffin Man?” I have a feeling that muffin man has teeth made of gold and only operates in hundreds (I imagine him looking like the Monopoly Man but way more hipster!)

Happy Eating,

mlb@AWSB

P.S. I think I secretly have expensive taste and therefore I can justify this great recipe from the good people of Cup4Cup.  Thank you for helping change the world.

Recipe Link:  (http://www.cup4cup.com/recipes/banana-muffins/)

Post Navigation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 324 other followers