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Happiness Challenge

Cortney posted this on her blog, and I’m going to take up the challenge because I think it’s a great idea to think about what makes us happy:

Post 10 things that are going right in your life right now. I don’t care how small. You’re happy with your cup of coffee. You saw a flock of geese flying over. ANYTHING. Things that make you happy. Things that make you smile. Go:

  1. Napping with my terriers
  2. Being married to David
  3. Running my own company
  4. Doing work that helps people understand themselves and each other with more compassion
  5. Bellydancing
  6. Cooking with my CSA vegetables
  7. Getting better at photography
  8. White chocolate mocha and breakfast empanadas at Fair Bean Coffee
  9. Remembering to meditate
  10. Having great friends

Let me know if you post a list on your blog!

Rather a lot of updates

I’ve been neglecting my blog lately, mostly because I don’t know where to start. Life has been, well, crazy.

My Nana (paternal grandmother) passed away a couple of weeks ago, and that has been really hard. She was a really important part of my childhood and early adulthood. She suffered from dementia in her final several years, and was at a rest home in Santa Barbara near my parents and one of my aunts. I didn’t spend very much time with her over the last few years, and when I did it was hard to relate her to the woman I knew during most of my life. So I have regrets, and sadness, and the usual anger and confusion and stress that comes with grieving. I like to think that her always free spirit is really free now and that she’s in a joyful place.

It’s impossible to encapsulate the things that she shared with me, and I’m not ready to go public with all those memories. I’m finding it strange to be grieving again at the same time of year last year I was grieving my dog Simon. Then last night I found out a friend from my early days in Austin passed away unexpectedly a year ago. She was 50. Her name was Breeze, and she taught me how to read tarot cards when I first moved back to Austin in 2001. She was quite a mystic, so I hope she’s enjoying the next part of her journey.

Meanwhile, on the career front things are coming together. My company, DiamondMind Consulting is going to be officially incorporated in the next couple of weeks. We’re making connections in the community and working on a case study. I’m also writing articles and developing presentations and workshops. I’m starting to get the hang of this entrepreneur/consultant thing:

  1. Try Stuff
  2. Make Mistakes
  3. Try More Stuff.

Maybe I can expand that into a workshop…

Most of my ethics/business/OD blogging is going to be moving to my company blog. Please do check it out if you’re interested in that sort of thing. My partners will be contributing their considerable wisdom as well.

Also on the happy front, David and I celebrate our Halfiversary on Monday. Six months of matrimony, and we haven’t killed each other yet. And I think I’ve managed to actually send all my thank you letters for wedding presents. Please let me know if I missed you…

I’m going to try to be a better updater. Stay posted for more dog and food pictures.

A Conversation

Him: I feel really awful today
Me: Are you getting sick?
Him: No.
Me: What do you think is wrong, then?
Him: *shrugs*
Me: What are your symptoms?
Him: *describes symptoms*
Me: Why is it that you are describing the symptoms of the stomach flu, and yet you don’t think you are getting sick?
Him: I’m not getting sick, I am sick.
Me: Aaaahhh! *brain explodes*

Literal man strikes again. I pointed out that he could have avoided the twenty questions if he’d let me know he was making that distinction initially, but his response was the usual, “But then I would have had to use words.”

The scary thing is I am becoming an amazingly astute mind-reading, but I guess my radar was down this time. Maybe I should take up palmistry…

Cookies Are My Heroine

This recipe has been dubbed “best ever” by my husband, who gets to eat Tiff’s Treats on a regular basis. I surprised him with a box of freshly baked cookies a couple weeks ago when he had to work late (I so rock).

I love cookies. I love them in an indecent and dangerous way. And warm, homemade cookies are really just the bees knees. This recipe is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe, but there’s nothing light about them when I’m done with it, other than the texture which is a little airier and chewier than your average cookie. Enjoy!

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 5 1/2 ounces)
1 cup quick oats

3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk; set aside.

Place sugars and butter in a large bowl (I use my KitchenAid mixer); beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla and egg; beat until blended.

Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Stir in pecans, chips and coconut. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned (they usually take a couple minutes longer in my oven, make sure they’re not raw in the middle). Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.


Weddingstravaganza, Part the Second

We spent Friday through Monday in Santa Barbara doing the wedding thing all over again. My parents threw us a couple of great parties. They hosted a rehearsal dinner at the house, which my brother Shaun cooked a stupendous Ethiopian Feast for, and a luncheon at the Harbor Restaurant which is right down on the water. David’s parents came out with us and got to enjoy a trip to the Botanic Gardens, The St. Barbara Mission (very historical), a whale watching trip, and a winery. David and I also went to the SB Zoo and took some cool pictures.

I went to the Botanic Gardens, and my friend Roxanna took me for a Bachelorette Breakfast and spa treatment. David and I ate some awesome food while we were there as well, we had a great Mexican dinner on Friday, I grabbed my favorite peanut butter banana smoothie from Blenders on Saturday, when we also enjoyed Shaun’s feast, and we had some amazing sushi on Monday. So enjoy the photo tour below, lots more pictures on my Flickr page if you want to see more.

Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens:
The view
California State Flower
Ethiopian Feast:
Festivities in progress:

Iron Chef Shaun

Amber inspects the fish centerpieces for the reception:

Reception Day
Serenaded by Kaleo, longtime friend of Shaun and a native of Hawaii:
The amazing cake baked by my mom:

Last day, trip to the Zoo:
A final sushi lunch before the airport

Parties and Terriers

When they can’t get my attention, they wail on each other in the most amusing fashion.

DSC_1485I’ve been out of commission this week, I got the stomach flu the day after my wedding reception. And while it sucked, I am so very happy that it didn’t happen that weekend. All the parties were fun, and we had a great turnout at the reception. Kyla’s wedding cake was amazing, and Tracy and Donald took a million pictures, a selection of which can be seen on my flickr page (click on the badge to the right). Connie made me a fabulous necklace to wear, and Tracy did my hair and makeup. All in all, it was a great weekend. My childhood friend Roxanna and her husband Nic and baby Maxine came out for the madness fun, which was really cool. My brother was also out to visit and we got to take him to Fonda San Miguel for dinner, which he’d been looking forward to since I got him the cookbook for Christmas a couple years ago.

Anyway, I’ve had to take it uncharacteristically easy this week, which is probably good for me, as I’ve been running at top speed for a few months now. Funny how your body forces you to slow down when your mind won’t take the hint. Hello, three flus in three months? Blah.

I’m glad Weddingstravaganza I went well, part II will be in Santa Barbara in March, date TBA. In between I plan to write, rest, do more yoga, and have a nice, quiet celebration for my husband’s birthday.

Today's show was brought to you by the letter "V"

DSC_0215 Life at home with two young, affectionate, completely insano terriers has been fairly eventful. Especially for our now naked couches, whose adornment was sacrificed to Persephone, Queen of The Underworld, Destroyer of Pillows.
DSC_0128 Miss Priss, as I like to call her, seems all demure and sweet, but she is a terror when it comes to soft wares. And poor Loki doesn’t seem to be able to tell the difference between “Bad girl!” and “Bad boy!” This is actually pretty stressful for me, because was clear from the beginning that Loki had been badly abused, and so it becomes an issue to provide basic corrections to Persephone, because he starts to regress. I’ve got a call out to a trainer, but I suspect it’s going to mean group classes for Persephone, and home training for Loki.

Other than all that drama, which is mostly fun drama, Weddingstravaganza I is almost here. David and I have relatives and friends coming in from all over, and have a variety of events to manage over the next week or so. I’m looking forward to it, but it’s amazing how weddingy my elopment has gotten. I suspect I have only myself to blame.

What is really important is that I am very happily married to my favorite person on earth, and that is what we are celebrating. And also that I got a great dress and killer shoes.