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Friday, March 29, 2013

Foodie Fridays: the Involved Salad

Foodie Fridays: the Involved Salad

Definition: The involved salad is composed of lettuce and one or more other elements. Also refer to the super involved salad composed of lettuce and many other elements. Also, simply the salad, of which there is only lettuce. 

The Involved Salad Typical and Atypical Ingredients:

  • Mixed greens (the darker the better)
  • Tomatoes (Campari or Cherry are my favorites)
  • Peppers (I like to use yellow and orange ones for that fresh burst of flavor and color)
  • Carrots (Chopped is the best way to go believe it or not)
  • Avocado (See previous Foodie Friday post)
  • Hummus (Add the protein and the garlic zest)
  • Broccoli (Tear the florets up and toss them in)
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (Pack a powerful punch of flavor so be careful not to use that many)
  • Artichoke hearts (Break them up into small pieces)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Author Thursdays: Author Goals

Author Thursdays: Author Goals Haiku

Platform, send book out,
Market and sell other book,
contests, write, write, write

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wildlife Wednesdays: The DNF

Wildlife Wednesdays: The DNF

 Sometimes time and space align to bring you a moment of irony. Some call it "perfect timing" while others refer to this phenomenon as hilarious.

I am a geocacher. It is one of the hobbies I pursue regularly and think about often. DNF's or Did Not Find's are nothing more than a challenge for the average geocacher. They present a learning opportunity, a chance to advance your craft, and a way to hone your finding skills. At times they can be aggravating, such as when the DNF signifies a cache that is actually missing, misplaced, or with wildly inaccurate coordinates. In all my geocache finds (200 now), only very few have I found when they were misplaced or far from the Ground Zero coordinates. Of those that I have found, I have looked for at least 50 more that I did not find. Sometimes I didn't bother putting enough effort looking for these or the area was too muggle heavy and I planned to go back to look. Some of these, though, are truly missing. And here is the geocacher crux. I don't want to assume that when I can't find it, it doesn't exist but I'm getting close to that point in my geocaching career that when I can't find it, it truly is missing or buried in the forest without markings.

Here is the story of my favorite DNF:

At an undisclosed location in Washington State, two friends were hunting for caches in the area. She chose one and the hunt began. Behind a historic building at a sign was ground zero. It was fairly dark and the two friends whipped out their phone flashlights and swept up and down the sign and the surrounding area. After a thorough search, they looked up the hint, but still nothing. After twenty more minutes overturning every stone, they gave up. A week later she went back by herself and spent half an hour searching. She searched high and low and turned over every rock again. In the daylight, she was convinced that she was going to find it. She was fairly convinced, going over all the previous logs that it was on or very close to the sign but nothing. A week later they both went back, determined to find that sucker. He started perusing one side of the sign and she the other. Exasperated that it was difficult to find and obviously a creatively concealed cache, she said, "I'm convinced it's on the sign but there's nothing that comes off." And with that she grabbed a chunk of wood in her hand to exaggerate her point and lo and behold it came off in her hand. They had finally found the DNF and could log it as a smiley.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Toiling Tuesdays: My Resume Binder

Toiling Tuesdays: My Resume Binder

I walk around with a binder full of resumes. The binder also contains what I call my "cheat sheet" for job applications. This cheat sheet is full of any and all information a job application might call for. This way I can fill out all those empty spaces without checking for a phone number or an address in my phone. I can look prepared and professional, plus I can fill out one of those babies in a flash!

My resumes are organized into folders (the ones you get for filing), labeled by type. I've got my general resume in long (like CV) and short (for quickies), as an engineer (technician, PCB layout, assembler and general), Restaurant server, and as a writer. That way, if I'm talking to anyone that matters for job hiring, I'm prepared to give them something tangible they can use to look me up later.

My binder also comes with my business cards (general and for details regarding my book).

I also carry recommendations and my certification certificates (for food service).

In my mind I always carry interview responses, general knowledge about myself and my job history, and a sales spiel for my book (my product).

Nestled in my backpack in which I carry my binder full of resumes (which incidentally houses my laptop) I have one of my books for what I deem "an instant sell."

I carry at least two pens in my binder and two pens in my backpack.

When that job comes calling, wherever I may be, I will be prepared.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Socializing Sundays: First Dates

First dates can be awkward. First dates can be flirty and fun. To make the most out of this opportunity, it helps to be prepared and have some creative ideas. The best first dates are usually those that incorporate, 1. Conversation, 2. A shared activity, and 3. Putting yourself in the best light. 

1. Conversation: It is unwise to go to a noisy location on your first date. It is also not the greatest idea to do an activity in which you cannot talk to your date, unless you are into adventure dating (that is an entirely different ball of wax). Examples of dates that would inhibit talking during your date include going to the movies, a concert, a loud bar. This brings into question the entire point of a date, which is more than likely, to get to know the other person. 

2. A shared activity: You can bond over a shared activity, especially if it is something you are doing together. Also, try to choose something that you are moderately good at but not the most experienced professional at. You don't want to make him/her feel inferior or like he/she has to teach you everything and you flounder away the entire time. Pick something that can challenge both of you and put you on an equal footing. For example, bowling. If you are not remotely on the same level then it is not as fun to play together, however if it is anyone's game then for one you can see how the person reacts to competition, losing, winning, etc.  

3. Putting yourself in the best light: One time on a date I suggested meeting up for scrabble at a Starbucks. He agreed without hesitation. Come to find that during game play he cannot for the life of him add up the points on the tiles. Now, this isn't rocket science, it's simple arithmetic! Do not agree to do something that will show you in a poor light. You want to impress your date, not have them wonder how on earth you ever graduated from high school. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Foodie Fridays: The Avocado

Foodie Fridays: The Avocado

Avocados are quite versatile. They can be mashed up into sauces or sides, sliced and placed in salads or sushi, or cut in half and eaten with a little vinaigrette. I tend to use the avocado raw, plain, and unadorned.

There is an art to preparing an avocado. Step one is to de-sticker the sucker so that you can compost the skin. Step two is to cut around the entire fruit longways and pull apart the two halves. Then you can get fancy with your knife work and hit the large seed with the knife so that it sticks into the seed a bit and then twist it out of its place and throw it away. The last step is gutting out the good parts. I usually just use a fork or a spoon.

Avocados contain the good fats, proteins, vitamins, potassium, and more.

 Avocado or guacamole makes a great topping for any burrito or in any salad!
 Less well-known is the avocado smoothie! I wholeheartedly recommend trying one of these bad boys, just be careful of the added sugar.

True story: When I had my wisdom teeth removed, I ate/drank avocado smoothies every day as I recovered. They are thick and delicious.

One of my favorite stores of all time carries avocados in a five pack, which is great because I eat 1/2-1 avocado every day. However, if you buy five near-ripe avocados they have a tendency to ripen all of a sudden and nobody likes an overripe and browning avocado. One trick I use is to stick a near ripe and ready avocado (or two) into the fridge to slow down the ripening process. Or, if it is too late and you must gut the avocado you can store the thick goodness in a Tupperware in your fridge to enjoy in spurts. It will turn brown but still be uber delicious and ready to consume! If it starts to smell funky then it's time to chuck it. Generally I would never keep a gutted avocado (unless it's store bought with preservatives but why do that when you can buy 'em fresh?) longer than a week in the fridge.

Pair your avocado with some salmon and you've got a super serving of those omega-3 fatty acids!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Author Thursdays: "The Street Smart Writer" by Jenna Glatzer and Daniel Steven

Author Thursdays: "The Street Smart Writer" by Jenna Glatzer and Daniel Steven

I am more than halfway through this book and I am rapt, reading through every tidbit of advice and laughing at all the personal stories the author describes. I would wholly recommend this book to any aspiring author with one caveat, it is now nine years old. That is an eternity for the evolving art of writing and publishing. There is a world of new information and new scams to be wary of. I would love to see an updated version or a sequel as it were. Here's a link to the book on Amazon if you're interested:

Or you can do what I did and check out a copy in your local library. My philosophy as a writer - and until I make the big bucks - is never to pay for any service intended to help my craft. I will pay to help other writers with their craft (i.e. purchasing and enjoying their self-published novel) but I will not fall prey to sharks and scams.

Jenna Glatzer even has her own blog,

I'm definitely going to check out some of her other books.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday: The Stump Geocache

What better way to get exercise and view what Washington state has to offer than geocaching! This activity is great for all ages and can be taken at whatever pace suits your lifestyle. You can pull an all day geocaching adventure or pick up a few here and there. I like to do both. I love the concept of geocaching from every angle. I enjoy finding something that is hidden. I love the creativity and planning that goes into most of the geocaches. I get giddy when I crack a harder than usual geocache whether it be container or location based difficulty. I especially find the places chosen fascinating. Both city, forest, and everything in between caches are enjoyable.

I'm beginning to get really into the stump geocaches. I'm not talking about piddling stumps where a tree was cut down but a humongous rotting specimen of prior grandeur randomly in the woods that only a geocacher or a serial killer would know about. For example:

This is one massive tree stump a friend and I found out on the Cedar River Trail near my house. It was out of the way of the trail, down a leaf-filled slope. The geocache was up and inside the stump, out of reach unless you literally climbed your way into the stump or shimmied your way over a branch that was like half of a scary-looking see-saw.

Here is the listing for this particular geocache, sorry for the spoiler!