POEM: Garden

garden by Mia McLaughlin
garden, a photo by Mia McLaughlin on Flickr.

I wandered through the landscape of my mind
As I often do
Looking for signs, symbols, changes unfurling
I stumbled upon a garden
A garden of resentment,
off, alone
shadowed and desolate.
Full of prickly things
dank puddles
growth and death
holding all the unsaid
the feelings and thoughts hidden
collected until it began to live
on its own.
Sad, angry, invalidated.
Waiting to be fertilized
by fear
by unspoken truths
Soil turned
by stuffing my needs away.

I stood in the center of this garden
this garden of resentment
Fingertips brushing the prickly foliage, releasing
the scent of anger, hurt
sharp and sour in the air.
Tasting the stagnation on my tongue
I watered the garden with my tears.

Stepping away from the garden
I feel it pull
I feel its sadness and fear.
For I am the creator of my landscape, I give it a gift.
A white picket fence with a climbing arch at the entrance.
Perhaps it will, one day, find new things to grow.
Unfurling change.


Week of February 28

This has been a crazy week all the way around. Work was busy with end of month close and all the associated work that goes around that. I got the third of four gum grafts that I have to do so the food section this time is non-existent. Somehow, pureed soup just didn’t look appetizing compared to the other food  porn I have posted. But onward to the week:

  1. New food product
  2. New toy
  3. Videos

So I didn’t do any real kick ass cooking this week since the gum graft puts a little dent into the whole eating thing which entails liquid, soft and lukewarm for a week or two. However in my search for stuff I can eat I found Fage yogurt that has some really cool mix-ins. I just went to look at their site so I’d have a link and and thought to myself, “doh, you mean that little part with the fruit bends into the yogurt?”  I was dipping my spoon into it and mixing it in the yogurt, well anyway, I wasn’t a huge fan of greek yogurt but this stuff is like dessert. Creamy, not too weird textured and the cherry pomegranate one is YUMMY! I have a couple of others I haven’t tried yet.

Ok feast your eyes on this baby! I got this immersion blender on Amazon and used my $20 Groupon so I only paid $6ish dollars for it. I totally get how guys get excited about power tools or cars, that mechanical stuff but I have 200 watts of 14″ (yes I measured) brushed chrome blending power in the palm of my hand! Sexy isn’t it? I figured it can help with the soft/liquid diet though the first thing I am going to make is whipped cream. I got some strawberries that I am going to cut up and eat with whipped cream ;).

Kind over Matter is a blog I follow and they often post stuff that I love and really resonates with me. This week seemed like woman’s empowerment week and I’d like to share the following three clips that were posted this week:

The message here is so simple but in our society where message is to be young, taunt, wrinkle free and fresh smelling it’s time to “Love your Tree!!!”

This is a TED talk by Eve Ensler about the embracing the power of the girl self whether you are a woman or man that’s a tie into her book, I Am a Emotional Creature: The Secret Lives of Girls Around the World the story at the end is worth the heartrending stories of the brutalization of women earlier in the talk.

YOU ARE SPECTACULAR! This is an amazing spoken word that should apply not just to women but men as well. We are all so much more than what is on the outside and I want all of you to know that I see that. ❤ ❤ ❤

Week of February 20

I can’t believe that February is almost over, it feel like it went by with mach speed. Here is hoping that March is a bit calmer and brings some fun “new” things. Here’s how the week went:

  1. FOOD!
  2. New Place (and food related, go figure huh?)
  3. Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade
  4. What warms your heart?

Three dishes this week though somehow I didn’t get any pictures of any of them. Failing in my “asian-ness” on the phototaking of my food :). I have been playing with the slow cooker again and did a beef stew that I normally do in a stock pot. It almost worked well but I think I had too much liquid for a slow cooker version, lesson learned and next time better beef stew. The next dish I made was Coconut Chicken Fingers. Quite tasty and even better with a little sweet, hot chili sauce as a dip. The final yummy for the week was an Brie and Egg Strata. Highly recommend this! Simple to do, make ahead and delicious. I am already thinking of variations of this ;).

I found a new McMenamins, the Riverwood Pub. I have driven by it numerous times but never actually went there. I really want to go there when the weather is warmer and sit out on the patio. It is more of the standard McMenamins “pub” food rather than dinner menu. I also had an Irish Stout and a Sleepy Hollow Nut Brown, both were quite good, so was the Lamb Burger.

I got a new laptop for work and was upgraded to Office/Outlook 2010. The new laptop is quite spiffy; faster, lighter, built in DVD drive, web-cam, all kinds of bells and whistles. I am quite happy with it and still figuring out all the stuff. Also, work related, our intranet pages and team site was finally upgraded to SharePoint 2010. I finally got the calendars I have been coveting along with a few other features.

And now a question, what warms your heart?


I ❤ this video!


Week of February 13

It was again another mixed bag of things experiences this week. I didn’t do a couple of things I had planned but I guess that I have time in the coming months to get those things accomplished.

  1. Food
  2. Book
  3. Google voice
  4. FlowerGarden
  5. New people & party games

I brought out my slow cooker feeling that I wanted to do something warm since the weather has been so crummy. I threw together a pot roast, based on this recipe: Company Pot Roast. I had a smaller pot roast, well actually, it was half of a larger one I cut in half. There is no way I am eating 3 lbs of pot roast on my own. I scaled back the veggies a bit and 9 hrs later after coming home from a long day at work it was AWESOME! I didn’t bother making the gravy, maybe next time but I was so hungry I just ate. If anyone has any good recipes they’d like to share I am always willing to give it a spin. I loved the fact that my paper’s food section today had slow cooker recipes, one I am definitely going to try!

My other recipe was a Lobster Risotto. Now one would think, 5 ingredients, hard to screw up right? Well for those who know me, I fiddle, tinker and substitute ingredients a lot and when you have 5, I should have guessed that there would be less margin for error. Well, it wasn’t spectacular, I didn’t boil the shells with the broth, I had lobster meat frozen without shells, which I think would have made it better. So, note to self, try the recipe again the way they said, no tinkering.

Onto books, glorious books. I just finished The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. It sort of reminded me a bit of of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane but mostly because of the setting, New England. I am still mixed on liking The Lace Reader, there were some good elements in it but it left me wanting a bit more.

Google Voice, I signed up for an account, got a phone number and have been playing with it a bit. I mostly did it in the event I ever get a landline and need to link my mobile and landlines. But I am also hoping that I can lower my text plan by using this number instead. I am still playing with it, but not completely actively at this point. It has a lot of really cool features that I haven’t tapped into yet. More to learn…

FlowerGarden is an iPhone app. I am really having fun with the free version I got. I sort of miss digging in the dirt and this is virtual container gardening. I can also pick the flowers and make bouquets to email. This app is satisfying a place in me that is creative and making pretty things grow is always rewarding.

On Saturday I went to a co-workers house to help her celebrate her birthday and also to help with her latest donation project. Here is more about her birthday and the project. On a side note, tried a few types of Mexican candy, while I am not a huge sugar person, most of the candy was either sour, spicy or just kind of weird. I didn’t run screaming out of the room having to spit it out in disgust like some people 🙂 but my tastebuds grew up with a larger repertoire than most. I met some really fun people, learned to play a couple of games and did the “I dare you” Mexican candy taste test.


Week of February 6

This has been a crazy week, I felt like I barely survived it but onward, what didn’t kill me might be reloading so no standing flat footed. 😉 But in the meantime it was a different sort of new things week.

  1. Food, most of you are probably thinking “duh” at this point but I only had one new dish this week.
  2. Music
  3. Websites
  4. New experience
  5. My ball chair! I forgot to post about it last week.

Hope you aren’t hungry because the new dish I am posting about was awesome!!! I found the recipe for this 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta. I was really easy to make and really tasty. Couple of notes here, I used 3 cloves of garlic and garlic lover me made my own eyes water. Uh yeah, 3 cloves are a bit too much. The dish doesn’t reheat well so my hint would be to just mix the sauce with however much pasta in a serving and refrigerate the unused sauce. I ate a second helping the next day just mixing the sauce in and it was fine. The chicken was a really simple chicken piccata that I winged (yes I am using the pun again for those on FB). I always have chicken breasts that I have pounded flat in my freezer for those quick marinade and then saute or grill.

I am going to jump around a bit here and tell you about my new experience. I got a hot stone massage on Saturday. I have had a couple of hot stone massages before but they just laid the stones on you and kinda used them to massage you afterward. This was a massage with the stones. It was great! I am still a little sore and detoxing from the massage but it was one of the best massages that I have ever gotten. If you want to try it out make an appointment with Debbie at Tres Chic Salon.

I have been sitting a LOT at work and often find that due to my stature, most chairs are still a little too big for me. A couple of people I work with sit on exercise balls in lieu of their chairs. Personally, I fidget and had visions of myself falling off my exercise ball until, through enough negative reinforcement, that I would eventually stop fidgeting. But just to play it safe I got a chair with a base. It’s been a couple of weeks now, I haven’t fallen off and I really do like it. I am probably not building core strength as quickly as if I had just a ball but I have to admit, I have fun fidgeting and bouncing up and down on the ball.

I peruse several websites that have some fun and interesting ideas and link to other sites with fun and interesting content and so on and so on. This week one blog that I follow on FB, Kind Over Matter had a few links that really resonated with me and I wanted to share them. Oh for those of you sensitive to profanity, both of the blog posts do drop the f-bomb at least once. Just warning you.

  • Danielle Laporte’s blog White Hot Truth had a post called Bright Faith. I had seen her listed before on Kind Over Matter but never read anything. This post made me subscribe to her feed so I can get whatever tidbit she has for the week. The line that hooked me was, “It’s the Holy wow, I’m standing at the beginning of something that is so insanely ripe with potential that I wanna get naked and roll all over it right now, while singing rock opera…kind of faith.” I really liked that visual… 🙂
  • Along the same lines was a blog called Unicorns for Socialism’s post titled In Praise Of Fetal Positions, Meltdowns & Uninformed Decisions. I have to admit, when I read this post, I was a little envious of someone who could just put it out there, be vulnerable with this minor epiphany she had for the world to see. And it is always a good reminder: “You are worthy of love. And you can’t fuck it up.”
  • Third website is called Parachute Promise. They were a sponsor of KoM a while ago but I must have missed the post. I completely love the concept and it goes to show how something as simple as wanting to say “thank you” to someone who supported you through a difficult time spawned a business for someone.

And finally, some new music. Neil Gaiman posted this on FB, The Carolina Chocolate Drops with Luminescent Orchestrii performing “Knockin‘”. It’s so compelling plus I love watching them collaborate on what they wanted to perform. I love it so much went and bought the album. The song itself starts around 4:00.


Week of January 30

Still playing catchup with my blogs,  but I had a great week with a variety of new things experienced, explored and eaten.

  1. Food – I am starting to think that I am always going to have this subject in here.
  2. New place
  3. New books
  4. Happy Lunar New Year

New recipe Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca but I didn’t bother with the sauce, it was good on it’s own. I love broccolini and I just microwaved it and tossed with salt/pepper and a little bit of white balsamic vinegar to brighten the flavor.

My week took me to a few new places, I trekked all over the place to pick up some wine, got a haircut and pedi. I went out to Dominio IV in McMinnville to pick up my wine club shipment. I had been out there before but it had been close to a year since my last visit. They have completely redone their tasting room, as in they have one now and I was really impressed at how gorgeous it was and nothing like drinking wine at noon. My hair stylist has moved to a new salon and I was due for a haircut and got to check out her new digs. It’s not as upscale or fancy as the last place but she is SO much happier there and I had a glass of wine there as well. Sensing a trend here? I stopped drinking at 3PM, really!

Another new place I went this week thanks to Jana was Cafe Murrayhill. I had been meaning to go here for a while but just never got around to it. I wished I had taken pictures of my dinner, Seared Ahi,  it was delicious and quite pretty. Thanks Jana for a great last minute night out and fabulous conversation!

New books – well I am reading all the time because I belong to two book clubs. My two books that I read for each were Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley for my Sci-Fi/Fantasy book club and Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah is the February pick for the other. Dragonhaven, I really like Robin McKinley and have read other things by her but this one was a huge MISS for me. The concepts in the book was interesting but the first person voice of the main character was a 20ish male who was telling his story from age 14 to current time just bugged the crap out of me. It made it really hard to read. I had to keep putting it down because I was getting annoyed. Firefly Lane is sort of like Beaches in the Pacific Northwest.

Happy New Year if you follow the Lunar calendar, year of the Rabbit. I have my charms and bracelet from my NTC and Mom and this Goat is ready for 2011 ;).


Week of January 23

Ok I was a slacker and didn’t get my post up in a timely manner. It was not a quite a prolific week as the previous but still a good week.

  1. New recipes
  2. New people
  3. Yoga follow up

Ok foodie report on the line. I tried a couple of new recipes, Tandoori Spiced Chicken and Vegetarian Country Captain.

Both were pretty good recipes, the vegetarian dish is a take on a dish made with chicken. After eating it the first time, all I thought was…needs chicken. 🙂

The Tandoori Spiced Chicken was ok. I wouldn’t say an exemplary recipe but it was really easy, the greek yogurt kept the chicken really moist and it fulfilled my need for some protein.

The cucumber salad I threw together has cherry tomatoes, grapes and tossed with some seasoned rice vinegar and salt and pepper. I am a little “curried” out after that but I do have a couple of keeper recipes.

New people…met someone that I am thinking could potentially be a friend. His name is Brad and he appeals to that dark, goth-y part of my personality. I learned what it was like growing up in Memphis and being the white minority in a mostly black area. I have to admit, the black/white race issue, I just don’t understand. I grew up in a melting pot where race issues weren’t really the same. It was eye-opening and gave me a few things to ponder.

I survived my second yoga class and wasn’t in as much pain as the first time. I am still getting used to the style but I do like it. It is super challenging and I am pushing myself to try a few new things. The inversions are giving me a some pause but there are always modifications.