07 November 2014

Friday Funny November 7, 2014

Halloween has come and gone and I am quite proud of the Content Publishing team for the great participation in the Goth costume theme. It sure brought back some of the fun we used to have in the old building around Halloween. I still have one of Harry’s spiders; admittedly, it is hard to find amongst all the toys. (#ifyouknowyouknow)  
Here is one of my favorites with my co-worker, Kristi.

We gained an hour last week, but I have been dragging all week. That may have more to do with the crazy week and not getting to bed on time, but I am blaming the fact that it is barely daybreak when I drive into work and it is dark when I leave. The season of darkness has descended upon us. Daylight Saving is non-sense, but this move trailer is senseless fun.

I have been trying to cut coffee out (again), but this week I didn't have the strength to resist the scrumptious bitter energy boost.

24 October 2014

Friday Funny - October 24, 2014

This poor sad little blog of mine is woefully neglected this last year. It hurts my heart more than a little since it is really therapeutic and quite enjoyable for me to share little tidbits.  I can't promise I will write anything of substance anytime soon but at the very least the Friday Funnies I compile for work can be posted here and hopefully breathe a little life into this corner of the interwebs. I started sending these to the team during a time I fondly refer to as "The Reign of Terror" - if you know, you know. Everyone seemed to enjoy them so much I have kept it up. And now, I am widening the audience to whomever stumbles over here. Enjoy!

Continuing the countdown to Halloween, for some spine-tingling fun today check out this collection of creepy two sentence stories.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, check out these videos:

On the agenda for this weekend around my home is pumpkin carving. What do you think of these ideas?
I have grand illusions that I can create something akin to the ones found here: http://themetapicture.com/brilliant-pumpkin-carving/

But I will be lucky to get something more like this.

Although, by the end I will feel like this.

I might be able to pull this off, but I would likely be scared every time I come home.

Or maybe this...

See the rest here – but be warned – not all are so office appropriate. J http://www.parenting.com/gallery/inappropriate-pumpkins?pnid=499937

One last one for fun.

Sources of photos:

04 April 2014

Childhood drama for the win!

With exasperation in her voice my mother would admonish me with the phrase, "Don't be such a Sarah Bernhardt!" 
It took some time for my young mind to figure out who this Sarah was and what my mother was really trying to tell me. As you may be as ignorant as my 9-10 year old version of me, Sarah Bernhardt was an actress in the late 1800's - early 1900's, who was known for being very melodramatic. Translated, my mom was telling me to not be a drama queen. What I heard was, 'You're too much to handle!' But I digress... that's another story.

As an aside, while living in the Czech I found a postcard of a painting by the famous Czech artist, Mucha, of a theater poster showcasing Sarah Bernhardt. I have it somewhere around my home. 

This afternoon at work we had a super Jeopardy game combing both teams for three weeks of questions. Nine of us were competing to get our hands up the quickest with the right answer. The questions were quirky and we all were struggling, blank faces staring each other down. 

But then this question came up at the end of round two:

Can you guess what the answer is??
That's right!

Yes!! Childhood drama (and trauma) for the win! Booyah!

Needless to say my co-workers were shocked and awed as I triumphantly said, "Who is Sarah Bernhardt!" To be honest, I was not sure that was the right answer, just the right era and took a guess. 

05 March 2014

February is for Heartbreak

February is the month of love. Thanks to that one singular day smack dab in the middle the whole month is flavored with gushy notions of love. Normally I get caught up in the hype, decorate the house, bake treats – but not this year! Nope. February has been a month of heartache and break-ups. It has been a rough month which has wiped me out emotionally. Saying a fond farewell to a long-term relationship was not easy, and there hasn’t been a day yet that I haven’t thought longingly about reuniting. Fantasized, really. I have gone so far as to live vicariously through others – and I must say it isn’t nearly as satisfying. During a snow weekend a few weeks ago I was out for a walk in the freezing cold, enjoying the beautiful white world, when I caught a hint of my forsaken love and it brought me to a full stop. I stood there on the sidewalk, in the snow, breathing deeply to a point of near euphoria. My resolve to end the relationship was worn thin and stretched almost to the breaking point. It was only a sense of social norms that kept me from walking up to the house from which the heavenly scent was coming from and asking for a cup of coffee.

Yes, that’s right. I’m talking about coffee.

Even though I have an obsessive love for that versatile bean, I decided to have a trial separation which started February 1st. I still long, yearn, and crave coffee.

On February 1st I started the auto-immune paleo protocol (AIP for short) which eliminates all high inflammation triggers such as coffee, chocolate, dairy, grains, nuts, seeds, eggs, nightshades, etc. It’s challenging, especially since it means I am making food from scratch for every single meal. (Although there is an awesome food cart called “Cultured Caveman” that has delicious food that is “safe” and has become my Friday treat.) It is a good thing I enjoy cooking because these days just about all my spare time is spent in the kitchen. But of all the things I gave up, coffee has been the hardest.

To help ease the transition, I have been making this weird “drink” that is surprisingly tasty. I found the inspiration on Mark’s Daily Apple. But have tweaked it to my own liking. Here is my variation:

Niffer's Warming Tea
1 Can of whole coconut milk
½ can of water
½ - 1 tablespoon of turmeric
1 thumb size piece of ginger, grated
½ tablespoon of cinnamon
2-4 tablespoons of honey
(Tip: buy fresh ginger, peel it when you get home then stick it in the freezer. When you need ginger for a recipe, grate the frozen ginger using a Microplane grater and you end up with finely ‘shredded’ ginger.)

Place everything into a pot and mix well. The turmeric will turn it bright yellow – be careful – turmeric will stain!! Heat on a low simmer for at least a half hour. Pour, and enjoy!

I leave the pot simmering and sip on small mugs of it during the day. Sometimes I add more honey when I need a sweet fix. Other days I add less water and have a more decadent drink. I've also mixed it up without the water and kept in the fridge overnight and make a mug by using the coconut milk mix and boiling water.

It sounds like a weird concoction but I made my mom try it and even she liked it (I’m still working on her to give kombucha and my homemade ginger kraut another try). Really, it’s a super healthy drink – coconut milk is chock full of good stuff, ginger is great for your digestive system, turmeric is a wonder spice that alleviates inflammation and can help fight cancer, cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar and is anti-bacterial, honey is anti-bacterial and soothing. Plus, it has a strong taste and a full mouth feel that mimics my coffee and cream. There are days when I actually crave this drink now. 

While I do hope that my break-up with coffee (and chocolate, and dairy, and nuts... everything that's off limits) isn't forever, for now we are total splitsville. What keeps me going is that I am actually starting to see small improvements. 
Dear Coffee, please just don't say good-bye forever. I miss you horribly. Really it's not you, it's me. I just need some time to heal, but I've never stopped loving you. I hope we can get back together real soon, because breaking up is hard to do.  Much love, Niff  xoxoxoxoxoxo

21 February 2014

Five Minute Friday - Small

Five-Minute Friday writing fun-ercise from Lisa-Jo Baker 
Prompt: Small

Today I was scheduled to be at a conference. I’ve attended this conference for the past three years, but this, the fourth year, my enthusiasm is waning. After dropping 'the kid' off at the airport this morning I started making my way through town to get to the location of the conference. I missed the exit from the freeway. I went the wrong way off the second exit. Siri had to guide me to the location. Once there, it was another ten minutes before I found which building I was supposed to be at. But even after I checked in and was sitting in the second (my first) small group session, I wasn’t sure that I had found where I was supposed to be – not really. I listened to stories and struggled with feeling small. Why am I here? My small life isn’t making an impact. Am I willing to abandon my life and move to faraway lands to make a difference? My faith is too small, my vision too small, my selfishness too big.

Perhaps, I am not too small – but rather I have not found where I belong; I have changed and no longer fit, not too small just a different shape.

Note to self - Don’t compare mandarins to grapefruits, and judge yourself small, you’re just different. 

{side note: I left for the lunch break, and just didn't quite make it back. I found a sunny spot at my favorite tea shop and a warm, delicious sweet mug of chai and decided to take care of myself.}

07 February 2014

Writing as Shoveling

Five-Minute Friday writing fun-ercise from Lisa-Jo Baker 

Prompt: write

Today is a snow day, a beautiful, white, quiet, work from home, snow day. While cozied up under a blanket, working away, and drinking cup after cup of tea. I could hear a neighbor shoveling and my heart was saddened that someone would want to do away with the snow, blemish it, and toss it aside. Looking out the side window of my front door I saw my neighbor Bob, not only shoveling his driveway but our whole alley way. My annoyance at his dislike of the snow was melted by his generous heart to serve all of us in the building. An hour later I decided to go for a walk, to get fresh air and enjoy the snow first hand. Bob was still out there shoveling. We chatted and I teased him that he was fighting a losing battle; the area where he had started was already blanketed with fresh snow. He knew that it would need to be done again in the morning, but that it would be easier than doing it all at once. And it struck me that writing isn’t so very different than shoveling snow. Sometimes it needs to be broken down into manageable tasks, just when you think an area is done you need to go back and do it again covering the same ground again and again, that it can often be an act of service to others, but also, sometimes, it can wait until morning.

05 January 2014

It Could be Worse...

I have a funny fetish. Truth be told, I have a lot of funny fetishes (how many jars of honey do you have?). One of the many is for shirts with thumb holes. Adding over-sized button holes to shirt cuffs and calling them "thumb holes" is pretty much genius in my book. But all too often I have a problem with my beloved thumb ports (that sounds better, doesn't it?); my arms are too long. Now, I don't know with any certainty whether my arms are too long or the sleeves too short, that is up for debate, although I'm placing my bet on it being the shirts problem. Whatever the crux of the problem may be, the result is the same: to use the thumb port, it pulls and pinches the skin between my thumb and index finger to the point of pain, and possibly ripping the shirt. Yesterday while I was running errands a new problem arose from not using the too short thumb ports, they also act as vents for very cold air to shoot up into my sleeve. It really is quite the dilemma.

Yesterday evening as a means of procrastinating and avoiding work, I called my mom and explained my dilemma to her. She responded with a family favorite phrase since childhood thanks to a book of the same name, "Could be worse!" My response:

"You are so right! It could be a whole lot worse. I could only have one shirt, or not clothes at all! I could not have a home to come home to and warm up in. I could be an indentured slave in India working in a quarry who has no hope of a better life. But I do have an education, and options, and have lots of creature comforts. It could be a whole lot worse."

How about that for a little perspectives check? God has been good to me, life is pretty great.

And for those days when the thumb ports don't reach my thumbs, I've got a solution - fingerless gloves! A week before Christmas the gym was having a gift boutique, and on my way out this cozy little gems caught my eye. The gal takes old cashmere sweaters and refashions them into gloves lined in jersey. Because they have been one of the better impulse purchases I have made, I wanted to share her work. Her Etsy shop is called Gasspedals and she is just as darling as her gloves. Although they could be renamed to "thumb port extenders" as they do a marvelous job fixing my problem, there's even photographic evidence. My cousin refers to them as "almost mittens," and that could work too - it's all marketing. 

Sad, cold thumb and vent exposing my limb to the elements.

A happy, cozy hand with the offending vent covered thanks to my Gasspedals 'thumb port extender.' Yay!