Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf

The NRA is SOOOOOOO powerful… how can we ever beat it? We can’t because they’re SOOOOOO powerful… right? Except, huh… not really? Because…

Screenshot 2018-02-23 16.25.07

NRA Spending in 2016

Dude. That’s WAY lower than I was thinking, right? One million in direct spending, in $8,000 increments per candidate. And 3.6 million in lobbying… do we just not have a concept of how far so little money goes? We could beat that with $1 a person in TEXAS who wants to outlaw assault rifles! What in the literal hell is stopping us?I mean Jesus… we could kick their ass with concerted effort and Oprah! Gun Lobby Influence Sminfluence!

What was that John Oliver said? There are more members of Planet Fitness gyms then there are members of the NRA!? I’m tired of getting pushed around by these assholes! Who’s with me!

John Oliver on the NRA…



Almost a Valentine’s Day Article…

So I entered a submission for “love stories pertaining to bodies of water” (specific, don’t I know it) from a Canadian environmental magazine. Now, I work for a Canadian manufacturer in the environmental field even though I am based out of Texas, so that’s how I can see these sorts of things. And lo and behold- I DO have a love story that pertains to a body of water… it just happened to be in Texas. Unfortunately the whole article concept was scrapped because I was the only one who submitted anything and a lone Texas story in a Canadian magazine wasn’t really what they were after. But I’ll be damned if I won’t share it here! So I give you… a love story.

At Lake Travis in the early years.jpg

Judging by my penchant for wearing a bandana instead of a cap I peg this as 2000 or 2001.


I love rivers. My husband loves the ocean. It makes perfect, if slightly ironic sense that we met at a lake.

I had moved to Austin for college and was going through water withdrawal. I grew up in a town with 2 rivers running through it; I was never more than five minutes away from jumping in cool water on a hot summer day for all of those early years. And Austin is a green city, with a river running through the middle… but water you don’t want to jump in was a new one to me. Town Lake (inventive name, Austin) is the section of the Colorado River that runs through town, of course. I crossed it every day on my way to and from school. But there would be no swimming in Town Lake… it wasn’t THAT kind of lake. In fact, today I’m impressed with the courage of folks who paddle-board on it. What if you fall in, people? That is more faith in balance skills than I have, personally. So I saw water every day… but I couldn’t touch it, and I thought it was the only water around. I felt like I lived in a desert, honestly, in those early days in my new home.

Then one spring night my brother and I went camping at Lake Travis, just outside of Austin, with a large group of waiters from his work and their friends. There was a campfire. A guitar. Laughing. Talking. Stars overhead and a lake near at hand. It was too cold to go swimming, but THIS was water you could touch if you wanted to. It was a revelation- I hadn’t even know about this lake before that night! Driving home the next day, with classes to try to make, my brother turned to me and said “That Luke would make a good brother-in-law.” I do believe my response was to ask which one was Luke? But once a name was put with the handsome face… I didn’t disagree. Now mind you, I hadn’t said much to this stranger, it wasn’t like we stayed up all night talking and staring moodily into each others eyes or anything. He was just the shining star on the other side of a campfire, lighting up that night on top of the cliffs overlooking Lake Travis.

Soon afterwards this stranger with the wild bachelor reputation and I met again. And I can be forgiven for asking “which one was Luke” considering he called me Beth on our second meeting. He redeemed himself enough for us to wind up dancing that night, outside of the show we were both at. An official first date would follow, after some cajoling on his part. I was 19 and he felt like destiny- to say finding him so young wasn’t in the plan would be an understatement. And I was right about that too, because at the end of that first date he picked me up and swung me around and said he was going to marry me- and I told him that yes, he most certainly was.

And so it went- we spent many of our next years living in Austin and driving to Lake Travis every chance we got. I never got used to the fact that it took us 45 minutes to get to swimmable water, but at least there WAS water to swim in! We cooked, we swam, we camped, we laughed, and we lived… and 4 years later, exactly on the cliff overlooking Lake Travis where we met, he asked me to marry him. He seemed quite nervous honestly, considering the answer would have never been anything but yes.

And we are water folk to this day- fishing, paddling, camping, tubing, and swimming. When life picks up speed and it goes too long without it we feel it in our bones- and getting “on the water” becomes a priority. Our toddler loves her life jacket so much she wears it around the house and our older girls learned to swim against the current of the clean and clear San Marcos river. Water runs through our life like…well. You know.

And so we love the ocean. And we love the rivers. And we also still love one very special lake… where it all began all those 19 years ago.

Major League Gun Control


“Politicians… I go to you. I stick up for you. And you no help me now… I say fuck you Politicians. I do it myself.”


Here is to voting out EVERY goddamn worthless politician that fights harder to save embryos than our children. Who thinks outlawing the means of death for one will stop it but outlawing the other isn’t even worth trying.

Here is to ANYONE that can spend the infrastructure money to make our goddamn schools fortresses so I don’t have to glance sideways to just double check that a crazed gunman isn’t stalking up the elementary school steps where my 8 year old goes EVERY. FUCKING. TIME. I. DRIVE. BY. IT. Just you know, let’s at LEAST do that while we talk about fixing the problem itself.

Right to bear arms was instituted when we had muzzle loading guns- so go back to that. Everyone can have a muzzle loader. AR fucking 15s… not so mother fucking much.

And I am SORRY- we have pussy hat marches… and yet this keeps happening in our country?! Our marches should be bigger for this issue. What would those hats look like? Can you crochet a head wound?

My government doesn’t protect my children. They don’t protect your children. They. Don’t. Protect. Children.

What stone can I throw, what effort can I make, what horn can I blow…I guess lets recall that the walls of Jericho were felled by a horn (In that made up story) so maybe, if we blow the horn often enough and harder…

And so I say fuck you Jobu. I do it myself.


So if Republicans won’t outlaw assault rifles because “outlawing guns won’t stop people from getting them and killing people” then what the hell is their point on outlawing abortions?

Because fucking seriously.



Some random thoughts that can’t be fleshed out to full blog posts:

  • Goal for 2017 was to lose 10 lbs… only 15 to go!
  • The concept of taking no shit while not being an asshole about it is a knife edge to walk and might very well end up being my life’s work.
  • I often wonder if other adults still show up for appointments with toothpaste on their shirts. Or have such messy closets. Sometimes stuff like that can feel adolescent… but maybe it’s just human… I’m really not sure.
  • Somehow we ended up taking away the bottle, potty training, and taking the 2 year old out of her crib all at the same time. And by god- what felt like it would end in disaster has turned into the easiest transition on all of those. Third times a charm I guess? I think we as a society wait too late to potty train these days- we started at 25 months… you gotta start these toddlers before they hit the defiant stage- because early twos they still want to be super helpful.
  • What are we going to do with the extra $100 a month we now are saving on diapers? Buy all the food this growing toddler is sucking down… it’ll be a wash, methinks.
  • I should paint more. I should write more. I should cut and color my hair on a more frequent schedule. I should read more actual books. I should clean… I should I should I should I should. I should also probably stop beating myself up over it…
  • The girls were asking what the cats’ names would be if they didn’t have their current names. I suggested they all be named Stoppeeingonthebathmat.
  • The dog is scared of the fire alarm and now every time I cook he frantically jumps over the baby gate to get into the other side of the house. You freaking burn something ONE time around here…




Mussels in Wine Sauce Recipe

My, how I love me some mussels; and not JUST because you don’t pay for just a TON of shell when you buy them like you can with other shellfish! Can we talk about this issue for a second? I love clams. Love them. But when I go to buy them they, as are the lovely mussels in this recipe, are sold in the shell, by the pound. And that’s all well and good, but clams have extremely thick and heavy shells… so I feel like you’re paying a LOT for the packaging. Alright, here’s an analogy. You know when you go to buy software (you internets pirates wouldn’t understand…) and it’s in a box almost the size of a cereal box? And then you open it and it’s just a normal sized CD? Why so much packaging?! That’s your clam right there. And then you know how old school incandescent light bulbs are packaged in just thin sleeves of cardboard? One of the most fragile objects and it’s in this insanely thin, lightweight, and easy to open package? That’s your black mussels right there. So clams are QuickBooks and mussels are light bulbs.


Look you jerks, I need that space in the recycling bin for beer bottles!


I have a bright idea…

I made these mussels for years in just the wine, garlic, and butter sauce- and oh my are they good like that. But the addition of the diced tomatoes, basil, and parsley really takes this recipe to the next level. Crusty bread for sopping up sauce a must.

3 Tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup finely diced onions (shallots if you want to get all uppity about it)
2 cups white wine
2 diced tomatoes
2.5 lbs black mussels
small handful mixed fresh parsley and basil, chopped

In a high sided sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and onions to melted butter and sauté until aromatic. Add wine, bring to a simmer. Add mussels and diced tomatoes and cover pan. The mussels are cooked when they open- don’t overcook till they’re rubbery BUT WOE BE TO THEE WHO UNDERCOOKS so like, walk that knife edge, okay? Serve over pasta of your choice or just in a bowl by themselves with crusty bread on the side. Garnish with a generous amount of fresh parsley and basil.

Don’t eat the unopened mussels or risk… unpleasantness. I’d have put ACTUAL pictures of mussels in this post, but I’m writing this while still recovering from the stomach bug I wrote about in the last post and thought that a google image search of shellfish was probably bad idea in my current state.

The Reason Not To Put “Lose Weight” On Your Christmas List…

Why should you not do that, I ask? Why should you not throw a stupid, off the cuff thing like wishing to lose weight into the ether? BECAUSE SANTA HAS A FUCKING SENSE OF HUMOR IS WHY. So yeah, I lost weight on Christmas… 4 days of not eating much of anything and violently puking will do that to a person.

So here’s the story: I ended up in the emergency room at 4am on Christmas Day. Got a shot (NOT IN THE ARM) for pain. Had to swallow Lidocaine for such intense, stabbing stomach pains. Writhed in agony from 8pm to 4am due to (I am about 80% sure here) the insane acid reflux from all the puking having irritated my esophagus and weird esophagus nerve pain transferring to my upper back. Didn’t know that was a thing, but Google says it’s rare but possible, and considering the back pain went away with swallowing the Lidocaine it seems to be the case.

Now, originally I thought it was food poisoning, and it might be. But it also looks like my husband and 8 year old got a lighter (SO THANKFUL WAS LIGHTER) bout as well, so might be norovirus. The description of women with it saying they’d rather be in labor than suffer through norovirus again is spot on considering I said that EXACT thing at least twice. And that it goes away… and then can come back. Because the abject horror of having another night on Thursday like I did on Monday was insane. I thought I was better.

And here’s the weird part. That second go round I KINDA had pegged what the back pain was about. So while I couldn’t do anything for the violent puking, alternating hot and cold water from the shower onto my upper back… it kinda tricked the transferred nerve pain into going away. I’m sure my husband checking on me facedown in a running shower was weird. The choice to ask me “Are you asleep?” instead of “Are you dead?” must have taken some back and forth for the poor guy. I wasn’t either, but was pretty close to both. He wouldn’t have worried so much if he had seen the Cirque du Soleil move I’d pulled of turning the water from cold to hot with one leg while not moving my upper back off the marble shower tile floor. Flexibility is all in your head, turns out. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

So yeah. Remind me not to ask for someone to declutter the house next year so Santa doesn’t send a goddamn house fire my way.




So, the public figures have been tumbling, one after the other, as I sat over here and stalled on a blog post for most of the month. (Combination of 3 weekends away from home capped off by a family shared cold. Damn you, worn down immune system!) But here’s what I can say about recent events: Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out, sexual predators… mostly because I bet you’d like it.

And today I read about that most annoying and insufferable public journalist… Garrison Keillor. Writer’s Almanac… BARF. So breathy and over emoted! Prairie Home Companion… so under emoted and full of off key warbling and just boring story telling- I’d open my veins before I have to listen to it. And yet, people bought his schtick! How in god’s name I don’t know, but I saw this comment on an article earlier: “Not Garrison Keillor! Who’s next, Santa?!” And I have numerous problems with that comment, but my main one is to ask if the guy who makes you sit on his lap is the best example to use there?

Anyway. Tumble away, dominoes.

Tumble away.

On Meditation and Lettuce

“Pick a mantra that feels right to you” the meditation app says.

And I don’t even know the name of the app I’m using (but of course now I just HAD to check. It’s Meditation Studio) but it isn’t important. What is is that I was trying to follow a six minute Releasing Self Doubt meditation because I’d kinda felt like I’d been missing the mark, parenthood-wise lately. And I wanted to move past self recrimination to actually being a better parent and maybe self doubt factored in there and what the hell, I had six minutes to solve all my problems, sure.

But… it wasn’t the right guided meditation, I guess. Or maybe requires more than six minutes? Because to “Pick a mantra that feels right to you” and then repeat it into the cathedral you imagine is the inside of your own chest (yup. You read that right.) didn’t work. And it was probably that the mantra was wrong. Or my wishes for this six minutes was wrong, but I didn’t get where I wanted to go. (Internal-chest-cathedral-that-you-repeat-your-mantra-in imagery, I promise, actually pretty successful.) But it was the mantra I think. You pick it yourself and there’s the rub- it’s your fault if you don’t do that part right. Some examples were “I am enough” or “I am strong”… I picked “I don’t blame the lettuce.” Again, dead serious here that I spent 6 minutes mind speaking a quote about lettuce into an echoing Sistine Chapel-esque space where my own ribs were the flying buttresses.

And here’s why that mantra didn’t work- it’s aspirational instead of something I feel I am. Because me? I kinda blame the lettuce, a lot, as it pertains to parenting. Catherine Newman wrote about it better here and a quote she references struck a nerve.

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

So all this is to say, I seem to blame the lettuce way more than I would like around here as it pertains to raising these here chillins. These sweet little lettuces… I need to treat them more gently than I do sometimes.

The other day we’re carving pumpkins… and I start setting arbitrary limits on design or complexity… because I don’t want them to get frustrated? Or take eighteen hours? And somehow I think it’s their fault if they don’t just accept that dictated down to them? And one of the lettuces was okay with that. And one of the lettuces had a shiny film of tears… after such a joyously raucous pumpkin gutting and her repeated stating that she doesn’t know how many Halloweens as a “kid” she has left… And sure, I gave myself a time out about it, but not before I told her to stop having an attitude about it. And yeah, I went back and helped her with her more complex design I had unbent on. And yet I stomped all over the lettuce, and felt/feel awful about it.

And so, perhaps Releasing Self Doubt was not the meditation to do, I guess. And they didn’t have a self recrimination one. Or a “Hey, treat these little people more gently and stop being an asshole” one… or even a “hey you’re REALLY good at recognizing this stuff after the fact but if you could just start catching it on the front end and preventing your own shitty behavior that’d be great” …but woe is me. That is, I guess, a lesson that can’t be learned in an App. Or in six minutes.

And I fear- a deep down, scary fear,  that I’ll never actually strike on how to learn it. That I’ll forever be over here, futilely trying to grasp it. Clawing at the door that leads to it, like whoever that poor skeleton was off to the side of the Path of the Dead at the end of the Lord of the Rings. That I’ll see what I need to change, but never accomplish it.

And sure, I learned a lesson here. But when, oh great echoing chest cathedral, will the lesson be learned?

Turmeric Chicken Breasts

Turmeric is not one of those spices you get in the prepackaged 10 count spice racks, but don’t be afraid of it. It is readily available and not expensive. I bought my 1 oz jar for a little under $3 at my regular grocery store (not even the good one on the hill!), and in the spice world one ounce goes a long way.  Besides, it’s the next big thing in 2017, just like coconut oil was in 2014. Google it if you want to see a bunch of millennials smearing it on their faces and then claiming it’s the reason their skin is so good. (Newsflash: it’s because you’re 23, idiot)

This dish is easy, quick, and the chicken turns a beautiful yellow color. And then with the blackened bits from the griddle pan, Mmmm! This one is differently flavorful, but not so different as to require work to get to a point of appreciation. It’s not smelly cheese or sardines or anything, is what I’m saying. My kids loved it the first time they ever had it. Try it, you’ll see.


How is it we all ended up with those tongs in our first apartments? Did any of us ever buy them or did they just show up somehow? Forget the Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory… I want to talk about the red handled shitty tongs conspiracy.   -Image by Sky_24

(20 minutes to prep, 2 hours to marinate, 20 minutes to cook)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
¼ cup coconut milk
3 Tbsp. Asian fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. local honey
½ tsp. ground turmeric

(Chili powder or any asian hot sauce aside for Sriracha is a good addition to the marinade if you want this with a kick. What do I have against the cliche of a hot sauce that is Sriracha? Well for one thing the spelling annoys me. And two, it’s very one note on the palette and not worth the hype. And three… I like being contrary, if I’m honest about it.)

Pound chicken to about 1/2 inch thick and cut into smaller pieces to get them to a more manageable, deck-of-cards-esque size. Combine all other ingredients in a storage container and whisk briskly to make the marinade. Add chicken to the marinade, making sure all pieces are coated. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Heat griddle pan (or skillet, if you don’t have a griddle pan) over medium high heat. Add chicken in batches, being sure not to crowd, and cook until done. The thickness that I pound mine and the temperature of the griddle pan means mine are cooked in about 3-4 minutes a side. But cooking time will vary depending on temperature of your stove, the pan you use, size of the chicken, air pressure (not sure about that), ambient temperature (even less sure about that), and other factors (seems likely and a good way to cover my ass here). Make sure you’re getting some nice and dark browned bits on the chicken as you cook- don’t be flipping too soon, is what I’m saying.

Would be good with rice, a spring greens salad, and a sauce made out of plain yogurt, lemon juice, and herbs. Or with roasted broccoli and couscous topped with some hot sauce and maybe cilantro…

*Full disclosure: your recipe writing food blogger over here just ate cold pizza for lunch after a “breakfast” of two cups of black coffee. Do as I say, not as I…