My ignorance (on blogging), and introducing a little thing I like to call “egg pancakes” (only because I can’t think of anything better to call them)

I’ll admit that I don’t know much about how blogging works before I say this next part… okay, now I’ve admitted it; here’s the “next part”: I feel like a lot of blogs repeat each other. Maybe that’s how it works, kind of like restaurants benefit from all being on the same strip of real estate. But I am annoyingly stubborn, and a classic (albeit oxymoronic) ivory-tower renegade. I don’t like posting things five bajillion other people have posted. Like my awesome recipe for lip balm. That’s right, you can’t have it. Go search, oh I don’t know, every other blog in the world and try one of theirs. They’re all good.

That said, I think this recipe is unique-ish. Given my recent attempts to use the computer as little as possible, I am probably not the most authoritative resource on whether or not this recipe (or something close) exists in myriad forms already, but I haven’t seen it, so here you go:

I don’t know what to call these babies. They’re kind of like latkes, but fluffier. They began when I started puréeing all my leftover vegetables in the morning, throwing in an egg, and frying it. Then one day, I discovered the one thing that I should always have leftover if I want to be happy in this life: butternut squash. Even if you are not a huge fan of squash or veggies (neither is my two-year-old, ok?), give these babies a whirl. I have only one word for you: fluffy. Fluff-ee.

For one approximately 6″ pancake (so multiply by however many you want to make), purée:

3/4–1 C butternut squash, cooked (and seasoned, if you like; mine usually already has salt and herbs on it)
1/2–1 C green vegetable of choice (I like either raw spinach, cooked green beans, zucchini [either way], or a stir-fry blend)
A little garlic and a little parmesan (real parmesan, not crumbly-dry-comes-in-a-green-plastic-canister parmesan)
1 egg

Fry in butter, as you would a pancake: until lightly browned on each side and not too wet in the middle. Top with some form of real, unprocessed salt, which is really stinking good for you. Eat it hot. Send me a thank you note.

Naked

I learned yesterday that photoshop magicians are now adding weight back onto models, who are so deathly skinny they look, well, like they’re dying. A wash of feelings ensued: sadness, pity, annoyance, disdain, pride, etc., and guilt.

Guilt because I photoshop myself all the time. Not literally; I really don’t even have time to look at my pictures, much less edit them. I mean I do what everybody else seems to be doing: I try to appear perfect. No, scratch that, not perfect, because that would be just over-the-top enough to get on everybody’s nerves. I aim for just shy of perfect enough to make people think I have it all together. It’s not only exhausting and dishonest on my part; think of what I achieve if I succeed: I make other people feel like crap. How do I know this? Because I feel like crap when everyone around me seems to have it all together.

I’m not saying we should all hang our dirty laundry out and gawk at each other. I am not talking about complaining. No, but about admitting the things that are hard to admit, embracing authenticity; taking pleasure in the remarkable things about life that even make grief possible.

A simple piece of music by an old college friend of mine speaks to this last bit. Sorry about the sound quality, but I wanted you to be able to see her reverberating smile. If you love it, here’s a better version. She is a lovely and passionate artist, brimming over with authenticity and gentleness.

I am reminded at last of Hebrews 12:1 from the NIV of the Bible: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Worst of all, my failure to be spiritually and relationally naked hinders my ability to be healed and to embrace Life.

Immuni-juice: Yellow and spicy

In the post-holiday slog that lasts from January to early April in the midwest, I find myself repeatedly battling the devilish viruses that lurk in the cold and dry—shut up inside the house with everybody else’s germs rubbing off on all the wrong surfaces.

One method I use to combat the dastardly viral invaders is the consumption of fresh, raw juice. If you don’t have a juicer, you can blend all the ingredients with a blender and strain (or not, but… ew…), but you definitely get more bang for your buck with a juicer. I’ve heard some people get down on juicers because we need the fiber that ends up in the pulp. Do we need fiber? Yes. Do we need lots-and-lots of line-your-pharmacy-shelves-with-supplements quantities of fiber? Not so much. Raw, fresh juice is full of enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and trace elements. Almost all of these are directly absorbed directly into the body, as juice requires virtually no digestion (source).

So without further ado, here is one crazy, kick-you-in-the-mouth, delicious, and immunity-boosting recipe… Don’t judge it before you try it:

(Serves 1)
1 chayote squash
1/2 C parsley
1/2 C spinach
2 radishes
1/4 large apple or 1/2 small apple
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1 whole lime, peeled (or juiced by hand)

1/2 small onion or 1/4 large onion
1 clove garlic
(Add these last two LAST and you may want to leave the room before you put them through the juicer depending on how much you normally weep when dicing onions by hand.)

Add a sprinkle each of cayenne pepper and cardamom and consume right away, but slowly. Anybody brave enough to try it? Let me know what you think!

Free as a Barn Swallow

I took an e-mail fast.

One day long.

36 unread messages in my various inboxes.

Thought: Why the heck do I have three different e-mail addresses?

Thought: Do I really weed through an average of 30+ e-mail messages a day?

Thought: No wonder I don’t have time for anything else. 

Action: Weed through e-mails as they come, switching important things over to one address with a good junk filter. Unsubscribe from some stuff. 

Action: Take a day-long break from e-mail once a month. 

Action: Install “RescueTime” to keep track of how much time I spend on e-mail, etc. during a given week. Pare it down. 

(Post title is from one of the best commercials of all time: http://www.commercialcloset.org/photos/videos//wamu-nude.flv)

Vibrance of snow

Once in a while, a torrent of wind and rain rips through a remote corner of the world, shredding physical constructs and leaving a trail of uncharted and unjustified complaints in my mind. In the looming great shadow of bare survival, the fact that I complain about things like red lights and feeling tired in the morning brings a rush of shame to my cheeks.

So, I recently set out to catalogue my complaints, in an effort to oust my hot topics and “by opposing, end them.”

My complaint log failed, mostly because it turned out to be a more exhaustive project than I had anticipated. But evidently, my subconscience was hard at work, because no sooner had I abandoned the project than something uncharacteristically optimistic happened to me. I was driving home from the dentist—which usually entails a bevy of complaints and several puffy, novacane-faced, how-stupid-do-I-look-when-I-do-this expressions in the ol’ rearview—when I was struck by the sheen of glossy new snow covering the intersection. Oily puddles and bum litter had been transformed into textures of landscape, and all around me, things were beautiful and clean. One sheltered tree still blazed November-red, and I was caught unawares by the vibrance of snow under red eaves.

Suddenly, I was struck with such a Pollyannish  notion, I almost didn’t recognize myself: what if we didn’t have dentists?! Oh for the love of amalgamated mercury alloy, what would I do if we didn’t have dentists! All my teeth would have, by now, rotted and fallen out (or come out Castaway style).

I inherited some pretty bad teeth, and so my trips home from the dentist are usually characterized by comments about how genetics were a terrible idea and how I should just replace all my teeth with implants already. But no—this time, I had a disturbing peace about the whole affair. When the light at that intersection turned red, I was thankful for the chance to snap a picture of the snow-covered underpass, and now I keep it at the fore of my memory in case I feel like griping about something. I figure, the world is full of enough sadness, why compound it by failing to see the grace of good dentistry and the cold mercy of freshly fallen snow?

I go back to the dentist in a few days. Wish me luck.