Straight from the Scullery

a blog about life, love, and the pursuit of food and happiness...

Monday, May 22, 2017

Veruca and the Voice of Reason


My husband listens to the radio every morning during his workout. On a normal day, I get the nutshell version over coffee and school lunch making. This past January, however, one frosty, dark morning had a slightly different twist. On this day, the workout was cut short and the wooden stairs coming up from the basement creaked beneath his feet a few minutes early. The light in the bedroom clicked on and sent me hiding under the pillow.
“There’s going to be a food truck festival here in the spring!” he exclaimed, knowing how absolutely thrilled I would be. I love food. I love food trucks. I love festivals. Plans were set in motion straight away.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Run Your Own Race

I was lucky to spend this past weekend visiting one of my kids up in her cute little college town. We celebrated her birthday, went to the movies on campus (if you’ve never seen ‘The Book Thief,’ make time to – and have your tissues close at hand), did some rearranging in her room, and hung out with her friends. The culminating event for our weekend was a half marathon we’d signed up for months prior, and her roommate would be joining our adventure. I have run my share of races; neither of the girls had ever attempted this distance before.
Training for each of us was….so-so at best. The girls were on track with a lot of discipline and excitement surrounding it until spring break hit. I was my usual self, running shorter distances and totally ignoring the best laid plans. Not smart, but not unheard of in the running world.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Eat Right and Exercise

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There are so many ways to diet, so many plans, detoxification menus, pros to one way of eating, cons to others, articles on foolproof ways of dropping pounds…it is enough to make a person shut off their computer and grab a bag of Doritos.
One diet plan allows you to eat fried chicken, candy bars, Coca-Cola, etc., as long as you only eat a little bit of it every three hours. Or try the Atkins Diet, which has you eating protein and giving up flour and sugar. There is the Blood Type Diet, the Cabbage Soup diet, the Skinny Bitch Diet, or the Caveman Diet. You can use the Fat Flush Plan to cleanse your liver. You can spend time measuring your Glycemic Index, eat grapefruit with every meal, ditch your aluminum pans, regulate what you eat based on your hormones, purchase prepackaged meals, find your yin-yang balance with regards to food intake, spend days removing toxins, pair your food better to maximize your digestive system, restrict your calories, drink olive oil and sugar water, go completely vegan, replace the bad carbs with good carbs, increase your fiber intake, keep track of points per item eaten, eat to make changes in your insulin production…have you stopped reading this paragraph yet?

Monday, March 6, 2017

Kaizen and You

The Japanese theory “kaizen” has been applied to many situations from business models to governmental policy to personal development. The Japanese word “kaizen” is literally translated as meaning “change for better.” Without putting you through information overload, I will tell you that Toyota has successfully used this theory to take their company from the lower end of the spectrum to the giant it is today. It has been incorporated into what is known as “The Toyota Way” under the translation “continuous improvement” (there is no Japanese word for “continuous,” so it has clearly been Westernized but is most certainly accurate).

Monday, February 27, 2017

Celebrate Your Gift

Some of my  favorite Time-Wasters (you know, the things we do throughout the day that entertain us for a brief moment while we check out of reality) are those silly little quizzes you can take which result in some description of your personality. I have loved them since pre-internet days when you had to wait for the next issue of Seventeen Magazine to come out, hoping someone had been clever enough to create a new version of what was ultimately the same thing with a slightly different twist. 
The internet (and BuzzFeed) have exploded this whole phenomenon into being a Time Waster with the potential to soak up every waking moment, get you fired from your job, and give you carpal tunnel syndrome all in the same week. I am happy to report that I have enough self-discipline to allow NONE of this to happen, though I will admit I am quite clear as to which Hogwarts House I belong, what my Patronus is, how my personality impacts my life, what color my aura is, and what my spirit animal is (I had a lot of time to do quizzes in effort to ignore all the political posts over the past weeks). 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Seven Generations

I hold many beliefs...some of them so ingrained within that I would venture to call them mantras. One that I return to on a daily basis for myself is this: Always frame things from a positive perspective. Maintaining this way of being is not just important to me, it has been a game changer for my life time and time again.
Stating this is not in effort to change you or your own ways. It's not a lecture on "always being positive...blah blah blah..." It is more a tool to help you understand the place from where my viewpoint is usually coming (with the exception of the occasional rant). That being said, I feel compelled to let you know that I am also a realist. Are things always positive? No, they are not. Positive aspects can usually be unearthed, and certainly there are better ways to handle difficult situations than others, but there are rough times that simply take a lot of damn work and a ton of emotional energy. And although I always highlight the silver lining in my mind, I am fully aware that sometimes things just flat out suck. Or sometimes, although there are great things going on, there still needs to be still leaves room to be better.
Such is the case, in my opinion, for the state of women's rights in America. The women of today have absolutely incredible opportunities waiting right in front of them, at veritably every turn. Picture yourselves in the middle of a beautiful city park with trees and lakes, meandering paths and birds flying overhead. This park is surrounded on each side with residential areas of all types....mansions, trailers, townhouses, shacks, condos, estates, log cabins, tents...every single option available is surrounding you in this lovely, magical park. And in the pocket of the cute little bag you're carrying is a jam packed ring of keys. On this ring are the keys to every single front door to each of the houses surrounding the can choose whichever option you prefer, and it is (literally and figuratively) just a walk in the park to get there.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Perfect Measurements

One of my favorite questions to ask a group of people is this: "If I tell you that I have a couple of apples here in this bag, how many would you say there are?" Seems simple enough, right? Just a quick question, met with a quick answer. Not as simple as one might imagine. You wouldn't believe the difference in opinions throughout the country. For me, its cut and dry. A couple is two. Always, no questions asked.

That answer is not the same for everyone, and what I have determined (after years of asking this very same question in a variety of ways), is that a couple means two to me. That is my definition based on my own experience. In reality, the word "couple" is extraordinarily vague to many people. It sits in a gray area, and is rarely agreed upon. To some it means 3. Others would say 3-5. Another would say "more than one." And many will argue their position with vehemence.

Imagine, then, the variety of answers to define the word "success." Talk about living in a gray area! Just thinking about the individual members of my family brings forth six, maybe seven different definitions. To some it means wealth. Others would say job title. Another would base it on the number of friends and acquaintances. Many will pass harsh judgment on not only your own personal definition, but also your position in life according to THEIR measurement. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Definitions and Questions

The internet is full of opinions on female confidence. Fulfilling your Inner Self. The Confident Woman. "Do You Have What it Takes?" And there is little evidence as to whether or not the traits listed hold true...because the actual Confident Woman doesn't spend time much effort or time reading and assessing the articles, questioning whether she is or is not as confident as she thinks. She just is and she's already well aware.

Should you choose to skim a few of those articles, you would find things like "confident women don't gossip." Instead, they spend their time discussing their own goals and visions. Confident women don't hold back, they set the trends, they are not people pleasers and they don't worry about much. They follow the QTIP rule: quit taking it personally. They welcome comfortable silence. Confident women don't glorify how busy they are, in fact, you'll rarely hear them speak about it. They are focused on their priorities and rarely allow themselves to get the point of being overwhelmed. Confident women are not defeated by failure, and peer pressure is not in their vocabulary.

As with all good internet articles, some of that is pretty on target...some of it might not be. Most of it gets too wordy to bother with, and a bit of it ends up pretty convoluted anyhow. And so, what is it we are really talking about here?

Confidence: (kanfedens) noun. a feeling of self-assurance arising from one's appreciation of one's own abilities or qualities.