Monday, March 23, 2015

It Rained!

Happy Monday!

It's officially springtime and last night we got rain, just a little but hopefully enough to wash away some of the pollen that has been plaguing me and so many others I know. This is going to be a busy, busy, busy week. Not only is it the last week before spring break, but Mason and I have a number of irons in the fire that seem to all need our (read "my") attention at the same time. It's interesting how these life tides ebb and flow, and how something that didn't pan out last year has a different meaning this year. I can't say it's less exciting or important, just that after a big disappointment and the passing of another year, I think one comes to realize that no matter what, it's all going to be okay regardless how it plays out so let's just enjoy the ride. I know this is true for me, and it seems like it may be so for Mason, too. 

Dave is back in school and not liking this class or the time it is taking to make school happen with work and family. I can honestly say it's so much easier to make it happen when you love the curriculum of your classes. I spent 5 1/2 hours editing video Saturday night and when I realized it was 1:30 AM, it seemed as if I had just sat down to get started. 

As we all head out the door this morning to work and school, remember to be kind, smile at people you don't know and hug those you do - just because! Have a great week.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Your Taste

Happy Monday, mother nature has been sure that she did not want to give us a real winter here in California, but she's not all the way sure she's ready for spring either. Our weather has been fickle, overcast with cool breezes one day, and then the next day it'll be bright and sunny 80°. Doesn't feel much like early March. I'm not really complaining, however we really need the rain. The rivers and lakes are going to be nothing but puddles this summer.

On other fronts, we have lots of exciting opportunities on the horizon. We can't share the details yet, but as soon as we can, we will! Mason is cooking like crazy and we are having a blast coming up with video ideas since I am loving my video classes so much. I edited my first video all the way through and though it's still very basic, I am getting more and more comfortable using the program and tools. I want to do so much more, I'm sure you all understand when you have an idea or a vision in your head of something you want to create, yet when you take action the end result is not even a fraction of what you imagined. Right? In one of my classes, my professor shared this little tidbit with us and did it ever speak to me! Maybe it will speak to you, too. Monday's are rarely our favorite day of the week, but if you can think with something that keeps you engaged and doing what you love, even if you are not as good at it as you would like to be, then I will have done my job! Really, take the minuscule amount of time it will take to watch this and enjoy a little spot of inspiration. Taste

Happy Monday and keep on moving forward, one step at a time and even if you don't get "there" the journey will be worth it. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

How Do You Know?

A little slice of life in America.
Happy Monday!

How do you know when to accept or decline? How do you know when to move ahead, slow down, or stop all together? How do you know if accepting a job is the right fit for you or even, why you are here to begin with? How do you know? I don't know. I don't always know if it's best to say yes or decline mostly because the information that is provided to begin with isn't always all of the information. I typically keep moving ahead until some force outside of my control slows me down or stops me - I don't think that is the best way to operate. I've gotten pretty good at knowing if a job is good for me or not simply based on the idea that my life with Dave and Mason comes first. I only have one child and if a job will prohibit me from attending field trips or cooking demos, it's not for me. And the grand daddy of all of life's questions, "Why am I here?" Some people live their whole lives and never really get clear on that answer. 

I've had some ideas along the way of what my purpose in life might be, but only recently did some things click that made it very clear why I'm here and what I need to be doing. Yeah, that's really cool, but it's not the be-all end-all it may sound like. Knowing what and why doesn't necessarily answer how, or when. Okay, when is a no brainer, when is now, but how? Let me back up a little and share how I got to what and why. Laughing! Is this feeling a little bit like, "Who's on first?"

"I'm back in school and I am working on a certificate in applied art and design with a multi-media emphasis. After getting my communications degree, I am back taking the classes that are fun, and for me, functional. I am LOVING my video classes (editing and production). When I was 8 I was sure I wanted to be an actress (super star and all), but my mom told me I wasn't the right type, I wasn't tall, thin or the blonde/blue with the makings of Farrah Faucet. I let go of my dreams in my early teens and believed that I was fat and looked like a boy. When I turned 30 I decided my mom was full of shit (not her fault, she did the best she could with what she had at the time) and I started taking acting classes. I loved doing that but then I came to a fork in the road and decided to marry Dave and have Mason. I'm glad I did and I love that Mason is so much like me (mostly, some times it pisses me off all to hell!), and after helping him make "movies" or cooking videos and being in these video classes I can see that my dream was not really to be a movie star as much as it was to work in visual communication and to teach. I have naturally done it through ceramics, crafts, cake decorating, cooking, painting river rocks, photography and so many other visual outlets. I go to school and some days it takes all I have not to squeal out loud (it would scare the crap out of the young'uns - and so early in the morning)! I have so many ideas and I am so inspired I can hardly sleep at night. Just wait, if I only bring a fraction of my ideas to life, I will leave a legacy that can't be rivaled! I feel like I found my purpose. WOW!"

This was a bit I wrote as soon as the pieces snapped together, in fact, it was as if it wrote itself. Is that how we know, we just know? I suppose that can be true, but it wasn't until I put myself in the position to be doing the things I love to do that it all came so undeniably clear; I'm here to tell stories, visually, that inspire people and encourage them to be all they can be. This I know.

What do you know and how? Have you given much thought to why you are here and what your purpose might be, or is? I'm sure you've pondered it a time or two, but do you know? I would love to hear your thoughts on all of this, as it pertains to me or you, or just in general. Have a great week and no matter what, put yourself in the position of doing the things you love, and you will know, you will just know. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

What's the Lesser of Two Evils?

It's Monday again! How do the Mondays seem to come back around so quickly? I know, I know, all the days come at equal intervals but Mondays seem to be the least popular. My last entry spoke to the idea that being busy is a choice, but to some degree, there are things that have timelines and deadlines and if not met, bad things happen. I am busy and to the things I have no say in the matter, I'll continue, and to the other things, well, it all depends on how awful the consequences. We have a number of weeks more to prepare and sell Dave's moms townhouse and then our visits will be just for that, visiting.

School is keeping me very busy (there's that word again) but incredibly stimulated creatively. The video editing and production projects we are doing are really fun and we are working with video in ways I never thought of. At this point of my education, all I can think is, so many ideas, so few years left in my life to see them all to fruition. 

I don't have much new information to share this week so let's keep this one short and of the things on my list of things to do that does not have awful consequences when it is not fully published on time. Happy Monday!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Busy is a Choice

Happy Monday!

I feel like time is slipping through my fingers like sand. I'm back to school 4 days a week and my business is booming so that is leaving little time for anything else. I am loving my classes, video production, video editing and a web development class. The web class is interesting but absolutely not something I would ever do for a living, it takes all I have to stay awake and retain the data from class to class. The video classes on the other hand, are so much fun! All I can think about is what will my next project be, what can Mason and I produce in the kitchen and I'm finding my wheels turning with what I can do to produce virtual tours for my real estate clients. I'm so excited, I can't  turn off the creative mind spin.

Busy is one of those words that comes and goes in our lives, and yes, busy is a choice and to that end, I want to drink in every single drop that life has to offer. I likely say yes far too often but that is why I can look back on so many amazing life experiences. Of course, there comes a time when I have to say no as we all understand, there is just one of "me" and so many opportunities. My goal right now is to work, to list properties, to help buyers find homes and to keep working with Mason to help him say yes as much as he can, too. And he does! He absolutely gets from me a zest for life and trying all kinds of new things. I love that about him and I hate it, too. You see, him saying yes means me saying yes and I don't always want to do the same things he wants to do. So be it, we take it day by day and do the best we can.

What's new with you? Share some good news with me so I can feel like I am more in touch and connected to my friends than I know I really am right now...yes, I am choosing to be busy but it's all in the name of a good financial plan! 

Monday, February 16, 2015


Intimacy at the Inn
Happy Monday after Valentines Day! 

Dave and I spent a lovely weekend in the El Dorado county wine country where we took in some beautiful springlike weather, lots of wine tasting, good food and I even worked a bit. Actually, it was a trip that was mostly work, but under the circumstances, I'm not sure I can call what I do work at all. I have a 5 acre parcel for sale in that neck of the woods and I needed to get my sign up. I also created some flyers and posted those at every mini-mart, grocery store, hardware store, restaurant, Inn and winery - yes, Inn and winery(ies)! Seriously, I call that simply working smart. 

We went to the Charles Mitchell Winery in Fairplay where they were hosting a bottle your own wine event, that was an absolute blast! The wine was really good and I am now in the process of designing labels for the two cases of wine we bottled and bought. Hey, if I bottled it, it's "my" wine and I can label it as I see fit! I really took this opportunity to not only market a piece of property, it was also some time away for Dave and I. 

Since December, Dave has been working with his sister to help his mom transition to an assisted living facially and it's not been easy for anyone. Dave and Terese have been faced with the daunting task of being respectful adult children while also having to take charge and make decisions for their mom. Many of you have been through this with different story lines, but the bottom line is, it's not easy. Things have settled down and everyone is adjusting, but this time away is just what we needed. I knew for sure when Dave was so tired on Saturday night, that he was struggling to keep his eyes open at dinner. We went back to our Inn and he was sound asleep before 9 PM. I had to chuckle, he was fighting sleep like a 4 year old fights an afternoon nap! It was sleep he really needed and I'm glad he finally gave in and let his body and soul rest. That's what happens when one marries a strong, hard working man, he has a tough time admitting he too must really let go and rest. 

We did some wine tasking, purchased and thoroughly enjoyed a piece of whiskey cheddar cheese and most of all, we just enjoyed each others company. I believe the time we slip away as an adult couple to reconnect is one of the the reasons we are still so in love after 13+ years of marriage. It's not as much about sex as it is about intimacy - time to reflect and remember why we fell in love to begin with. If you haven't gotten away with your lover, make plans and do it, you will be glad you did. And yes, I said lover, not husband, wife, partner, spouse, but lover. And for my single friends, you all need to make time for yourselves - get away and reconnect with all the things that you know make you great! A weekend away as a single lady is on my calendar for at least one weekend out of every year!

With all that said, Mason was over the moon to have us home (another benefit of going away, your kids appreciate you just a little more - absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?) and we fell happily right back into the day to day monotony of our lives. Yep, right back to our happily ever after...Happy Monday!

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Pay It Forward Kind of Weekend

Happy Monday!

We have rain, lots of rain! It's been a wonderful weekend; busy, social, and lots to share. First off though my America Cooks with Chefs episode has been posted, so for those of you who wanted to see it, here it is

Dave had drill this weekend so Mason and I were left to fend for ourselves. I worked on Friday and on Saturday showing property and I'm keeping my finger crossed that an offer I wrote that was not accepted will come back to life. I have a ton of business in my pipeline right now and it's amazing that my phone keeps ringing with more referrals and inquiries. I'm loving it! On Saturday I showed a couple of homes and one in particular is on my normal walking route, I was excited to see inside as I just knew I would fall in love. Nope! This house was totally weird, it had lots of wasted space, unusually shaped rooms, smallish bedrooms (for as big as the house is, they could have allocated space much more efficiently), an updated kitchen that again, was shaped in such a way that I can't imagine moving around very easily while trying to work in it and to top all of that off, it has white plush carpet all throughout! What?! It's funny how we plug in what we think something will be just from walking by it on a regular basis. In any case, I'm glad I got to see it and I hope whoever buys it finds it to be exactly what they are looking for.

Later, Mason and I went to a "Pay It Forward" potluck and met many of the people I interact with on Facebook with. This is a group that practices all kinds of random acts of kindness just because. We have a Facebook group and we share when someone does something or witnesses something kind for someone else. It's fun to belong to this group, but the fact of the matter is, most of us practice these kinds of loving acts every day just because it's who we are. 

On that note, on Sunday I opened my kitchen to two friends who have expressed on numerous occasions that they want to know how to meal plan and cook for their families. I set the date and informed them that I would share with them how I map out my week to feed my family without the stress of having nothing in the fridge or having to shop every day on a meal by meal basis. My goal was to do it for under $100 and to provide them with at least 7 dinner ideas and food that would be leftover to make lunches, too. I was able to do it easily. Basically my plan is a max pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts that I cook on Sunday in my Crockpot seasoned with Spike. I make a big green salad so it's ready to eat, and for this plan, I also added in a pot of chili. I compiled a list of things that can be made using chicken and chili and then created a shopping list to make a number of those dishes. Of course, all of our pantries are different so you may be able to make any number of dishes based on what you have in your house. My shopping was done at WalMart and I got more than what was on my list for $79.63. I doubled up on the ground beef and I was able to get all the ingredients for another whole meal that wasn't part of the chicken and chili plan. The basic premise is to have a main dish made so when you get home from work, assembling a meal is simple. For example, 1 chicken breast diced served over a bed of greens (with cucumber, tomato & onion) with a table spoon of chopped peanuts served with some homemade Asian dressing (I made up a bunch and sent each woman home with the recipe and a jar of the dressing - not included in my budget) - Chinese Chicken Salad for dinner! It's easy because the chicken is already cooked & seasoned and the salad is made, too. Same thing with the chili - a flour tortilla with a little grated cheese and chili heated in the microwave, add some greens, tomatoes and onions and you have an easy, delicious wrap for dinner. If you just do a little prep on Sunday, you will have easy meals for the whole week. And if you get tired of chili and chicken, put it in the freezer and it will be just as good when you need to pull it out in a pinch! From the feedback I got, it wasn't just the idea or planning that was helpful, the fact that these two ladies could actually make the food with me, see how to dice the chicken, learn that chili can be made in less than 30 minutes (some think that chili is hours or even days to make - only in high profile cooking competitions is that possibly true!), or how easy the other dishes come together when you put the main pieces in place was what really empowered them to know they can do this in their own kitchens at home. 

On February 18th Mason will be Guest "Cheffing" at High Hand Cafe in Loomis, CA. We went to see the kitchen and meet Chef Chris to talk about what he had in mind for Mason to do and they completely agreed that Mason would work the wood fired pizza oven. Mason is totally excited and is practicing throwing dough. Of course, when you practice throwing dough, you end up eating pizza!

Dave got home in time for dinner on Sunday and Mason tossed some pizza dough and he and Dave made their idea of the "Best Pizza Ever!" Watching them craft their individual pizzas I decided that I would rename our kitchen the "Family Room," what do you think? 

So that was my weekend, blessed beyond measure and so grateful for all that I have - that includes you! Big smiles and happy Monday.