Category Archives: blogging

10 realizations that have changed the way I look at life

They say the key to being a writer is figuring out who you are, finding your voice. I’ve come to a kind of epiphany about life: you never can find yourself because you’re changing all the time. Every minute, every day, every experience is shaping your reality and your person. Finding your writing voice is the same, each piece you write allows you to grow. At least that’s what I see in my blogging experiment.

I like to think I have a unique voice, that I am funny and charming in my blog posts. I hope my readers perceive me that way. That’s why I’m so excited and nervous about participating in NaBloPoMo this month. In order to post something every day I need to write something every day. In order to write something every day, I need to have interesting things to write about. In order to have interesting things to write about I need to be interesting and I worry that I am not interesting. But this vulnerability is what makes NaBloPoMo simultaneously thrilling and crippling.

So I decided to examine my life, what have I learned in my 24 years that might be of interest and might be mistaken for life lessons?

  1. Accept responsibility – it has taken me 24 years to really appreciate what it means to make a mistake AND accept that I did something wrong, but I finally discovered that by taking responsibility for my actions, I learn more about how to act in the future.
  2. Look at things from another perspective – I have been known to be impatient, my schedule and my wants and needs often were the only things on my radar. By taking a step back and seeing the situation from another point of view I can let go of less important wants while making my needs known.
  3. Listen – it turns out that listening is not just waiting for the other person to stop talking so I can say what I’ve been thinking about the whole time they’ve been speaking. Listening is a learned skill in which you don’t just hear what is being said, you also comprehend and process it.
  4. Question everything – gullibility is possibly one of my more endearing traits but it is blind acceptance of information. Ignorance is not bliss: always check facts and research topics before believing them.
  5. Every moment is an opportunity – carpe diem (or YOLO if you’re a stupid person) is a great motto. Don’t let opportunities pass you by, because although life is the longest thing you’ll ever experience, it goes by fast.
  6. You are in control – my parents have always given me excellent guidance but at a certain point you can’t live your life based on someone else’s idea of what your life should be. Surround yourself with people who will guide and advise you but give yourself permission to make the final decision.
  7. Forgive and let go – Probably the hardest lesson I’ve learned: the only person I can control is myself. When someone slights me, whether it’s big or small, I forgive them and forget. Don’t let someone live rent free in your head.
  8. Don’t define your limits – You (like the limit of f(x) = |x|/x as x approaches 0) are limitless (the limit doesn’t exist, is calculus humor still relevant?) You can never stop growing in your career, in your spirituality, in your sexuality, in your relationships, in yourself.
  9. Practice make perfect – a horrible cliche, I know, but it’s true, you cannot become a master without trying something over and over again. Period.
  10. Be thankful – there will always be people who have more than you and there will always be people who have less than you. Focus on what you have and give thanks.

-xoxo-

What observations have you made about life that help you day to day?

NaBloPoMo

I seem to be just in time to participate in National Blog Post Month in which bloggers are challenged to post something new every day throughout the month of November. I’m excited to test my limits and try to get into the blogging spirit this month so it looks like you’ll be hearing a lot more from me.

I’m hoping I can commit to such a lofty goal (especially since I’ve barely committed to blogging once each week). I am easily distracted by shiny social media whenever I am sitting at the computer, so giving myself clear guidelines will help me focus back into the schedule I once kept like clockwork. Wish me luck!
It’s late on a Saturday now. And I’m not sure I’ve EVER posted on a Saturday, so I’m at a loss for what to write. Here’s a play-by-play of my day. I was called off work due to weather and a slow day at the restaurant so I ended up spending my day finishing a pair of crocheted teal and tan bunny slippers that I recently sold on my Etsy store

While crocheting I like to have a TV show playing in the background. My most recent series is The Carrie Diaries. I thought it was going to be a dumb attempt to stretch the story of Sex and the City but I actually am really enjoying watching it.
I got a little restless so I rode my bike to the park where my boyfriend, Dana, plays bike polo. If you don’t know much about bike polo, I would describe it as a cross between equestrian polo and roller hockey. Two teams of three bike-riding players try to score goals using mallets. It’s very exciting to watch, I have not participated. It was also draft night for Portland Bike Polo Bench League. I was thoroughly entertained hanging out with these passionate players while they took turns picking players for each of the 4 teams (Dana was one of the captains). 
That’s when I remembered, “It’s the first of November! I was gonna do that blog thing and I’m already failing.” And now you’re all caught up. Happy (late) Halloween!

Ohio Buckeye Protein Bites

It’s Food Fun Friday (which, let’s face it, is every Friday) and I will share with you an alteration of a recipe that is a family favorite: Ohio Buckeye Cookies.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Ohio Buckeye Protein Bites

Inspiration for these cookies hit me on the head, literally, as I was on a walk. There is a tree called an Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra) which can be identified, according to my tree identification book:

Leaves have 5 to 7 short-stemmed, lanceolate leaflets, each 4 to 6 inches long and 0.5 to 1.5 inches wide. The yellow flowers, hairy below and with stamens longer than the petals, are borne in erect panicles, 5 to 7 inches long. The capsule, about 2 inches in diameter are spiny on the surface and usually enclose two seeds, about 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. Brown bark is fissured and scaly. Grows 50 to 90 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet in diamet; crown oblong, rounded. Also leaves and twigs have an unpleasant odor when bruised.

Which probably means very little to most of you but, the plant nerd that I am, I couldn’t leave out any of those details.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Ohio Buckeye tree nut and leaves

It was this very nut that fell from it’s lofty branch and hit me squarely on the top of my head. Like Isaac Newton before me, I was struck with an idea (although I will not claim that my idea will change the course of science as we know it) and a craving for the buckeye cookies my grandma makes.

When I came home I looked up the recipe for this delectable treat. I was surprised by the amount of sugar added to many of the recipes I found and decided to work out a recipe for more of a protein bite in favor of this sugar packed morsel.

These are the ingredients I used.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: ingredients for Ohio Buckeye Protein Bites
Add peanut butter, rice milk and seeds to a medium sized bowl.
Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: ingredients for Ohio Buckeye Protein Bites

Stir until everything is mixed together. The mixture should be very sticky, but not liquidy at all. 
Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: peanut butter filling for Ohio Buckeye Protein Bites
Using a spoon and your hands, form 1-2 inch balls out of the mixture and place them on wax paper to keep them from sticking. 
Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Ohio Buckeye Protein Bites without chocolate
Put in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Once the peanut butter balls are chilled, remove them from the freezer.
Melt your chocolate over a stovetop or using a microwave, being careful not to burn the chocolate. 
Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Melting Chocolate
While the chocolate is still melted, dip the peanut butter balls in the chocolate, covering them completely. 
Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Ohio Buckeye Protein Bites

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Ohio Buckeye Protein Bites dipped

Return the chocolate covered peanut butter protein balls to the wax paper. 
Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Ohio Buckeye Protein Bites

Return to the freezer for 4 hours (or overnight). Store in refrigerator. Makes about 24 small peanut butter protein balls.
Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Ohio Buckeye Protein Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar (16 oz) natural peanut butter (I use chunky, but if you prefer smooth, use that)
  • 6-8 tablespoons rice milk (any other kind of milk should work fine too)
  • 6 tablespoons hemp seed, flax seed or chia seed
  • 6.4 oz dark chocolate, or about two regular sized chocolate bars (85% or higher cacao is ideal, I used Chocolove)

Directions:

Add peanut butter, almond milk and protein powder to a medium sized bowl. Stir until everything is mixed together. The mixture should be very sticky, but not liquidy at all. Using a spoon and your hands, form 1-2 inch balls out of the mixture and place them on wax paper to keep them from sticking. Put in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Once the peanut butter balls are chilled, remove them from the freezer and melt your chocolate over a stovetop or using a microwave, being careful not to burn the chocolate. While the chocolate is still melted, dip the peanut butter balls in the chocolate, covering them completely. Return the chocolate covered peanut butter protein balls to the wax paper and return to the freezer for 4 hours (or overnight). Store in refrigerator. Makes about 24 small peanut butter protein balls.
And now for the poem that comes in every Chocolove chocolate bar:
Strong Dark
 
Sonnet 75
So are you to my thoughts as food to life,
Or as sweet-seasoned showers are to the ground;
And for the peace of you I hold such strife
As ‘twixt a miser and his wealth is found.
Now proud as an enjoyer, and anon
Doubting the filching age will steal his treasure,
Now counting best to be with you alone,
Then bettered that the world may see my pleasure,
Sometimes all full with feasting on your sight,
And by and by clean starved for a look,
Possessing or pursuing no delight
Save what is had, or must from you be took.
Thus do I pine and surfeit day by day,
Or gluttoning on all, or all away.
William Shakespeare 

I’m Back! (and hopefully for good this time)

Every website I’ve ever read about blogging says to never tell your readers that you took a break from writing because they either didn’t notice and now realize or they did notice and don’t need you to tell them. But it felt weird for me to return to the blog-osphere without at least addressing the multitude of changes that have occurred in my life. First, I graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Rangeland Ecology concentrating on Restoration Ecology in December.

Here’s me standing next to the portrait of the founder of Warner College of Natural Resources

I moved back to my hometown and I got a job as a hostess and expeditor at FATE Brewing Company in January. They opened in February in Boulder, CO and I have loved working here and making new friends.

This photo is from their website

In April, I visited Portland, OR…

…with my mom, Debbie…

This is at a lovely breakfast place called Cheryl’s.

…and my best friend, Alyssa, and her mom, Wendy.

This photo of Alyssa and I is taken outside our hotel, Hotel D’Luxe

We sampled some local cuisine and toured and fell in love with the city.

Voodoo Doughnut

Also in April I started my second job with Boulder County Parks and Open Space. I am working in Education and Outreach, which means I get to go hiking in Boulder County at least twice a week talking to people about nature and the like. And they pay me to do that.

This is me in my uniform.

I also get to eat lunch with adorable critters like this Eastern Fence Lizard

…enjoy the beautiful wildflowers like this Rocky Mountain Columbine

…and churn butter, do laundry by hand, play games while dressed up like a 19th century prairie woman (Summer Heritage Event next Saturday 07/20 at 5:30pm at Walker Ranch).

On June 6th, I turned 23 years old, and was lucky enough to celebrate with my family and friends.

In June, I pet sit for the two most entertaining hounds I’ve ever met.

The black on is Stella and Hank is the brown one

 And just last week at the beginning of July I visited my best friend Kristen in L.A., CA (Hermosa Beach)

This is Kristen and I at the only winery we made it to (we meant to go to more but you forget things like that when you share a bottle of wine).
In Venice Beach we tried to match the cover of the Jack’s Mannequin album Everything in Transit
The fish market at Redondo Beach

So far it’s been a fabulous year. Except for the part when I got attacked by a wild turkey. That was one of those times when I wish I were on a reality television show because I bet it would be hilarious to watch now that the trauma has (sort of) worn off.

So I guess that’s the end of this post, you’re all caught up now and you can look forward to a post with a new workout on Workout Wednesday and a post about buttermilk cake on Food Fun Friday.

What’s that you say? You want to hear the story about the turkeys? Well okay if you insist.

It all started back when I was about 5 years old. A goose at the Denver Zoo bit me and ever since I have had an irrational fear of large birds in particular, but birds in general as well. They fly by, near your face and eyeballs, with those sharp beaks and gouging claws. Let’s not forget how closely they are related to dinosaurs like T-Rex. And then I saw that Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds and it was all over.

But recently, due to my job with BCPOS most likely, I have had to make peace with this fear. I have started observing birds in the wild (instead of avoiding eye contact) and found humor in some of their actions. I was even was able to see the cuteness of a goose when I saw these goslings at Walden Ponds, east of Boulder.

One fine day I was patrolling at Heil Valley Ranch, just west of Longmont, CO. I was on the Lichen Loop enjoying the slight breeze and the gentle sunshine. I came across a group of wild turkeys. They were nesting in this area so I’d heard them in the distance on prior trips and had even seen them from a distance but this group was just off the trail.

They are the strangest looking birds, with the wrinkled, sagging skin around their heads and necks and they make sounds that I can only describe as a gurgling metallic bleat (whatever that means). I observed them, and took a few pictures as they walked away from me. Then I set off to continue my hike. The end.

Just kidding…

I was barely past the larger group of turkeys when I saw and heard a patch of western wheatgrass near the trail rustle. It startled me but I figured it must have been the wind. Regardless, I turned to look more closely and saw the feathers of another turkey. She had flattened herself to the ground probably out of fear of the strange creature that had approached her with quick, noisy footsteps. I turned to leave her alone but she decided it was time to protect herself (and her chicks).

In one swift movement she had made herself as large as she could by throwing her wings out and over her back and was merping (another turkey sound) her head off. I yelled in a frightened sort of way, which might not have helped the situation. Then in what I can only assume was an effort to make herself more aerodynamic she put down her wings down close to her body, lowered her head and charged toward me. I circled around a rock because I didn’t know what else to do (probably smart as since I’ve heard that turkeys have been know to puncture car tires so there’s no telling how my bare legs would hold up).

She reversed her charge and came back around the rock from the other side, still in the same head-down, wings-in position. My memory is a little fuzzy but I remember being chased around this rock multiple times before I began my mad sprint down the mountain, (away from the trail in the direction I wanted to go, toward the bit of trail I had come in on) backpack bouncing up and down.

She chased me about 20 yards in a herding matter and all the while I am hollering and yelping. I don’t know if she exactly intended to chase me right toward where her chicks were cheeping around on a bare patch in the grass, but I was forced to leap over them. I counted about three, possible four, adorable balls of fluff and feathers as I careened by/over them. My radio, clipped to my backpack belt, broke and fell, lost in the tall grasses. My ponytail fell out of its fasten as my hat blew off my head. I snatched the hat out of the air before it was carried away on the wind.

She stopped on a boulder, like a sentinel, ensuring I was gone for good. Then in a panicky way she scurried around collecting the oblivious chicks. I made it back to the trail with adrenaline, fear and sadness pulsing through my veins, tears splashing down my cheeks. I knew it was no good to go forward so I turned around and went back, defeated by a turkey.

And that is the end. Except I did end up finding the radio. I know that was concerning all of you very much; a poor radio left out in the rain with mad, wild turkeys on the loose.

Tell me about your experience with wildlife, domestic animals, children in the comments below.

It’s been a month . . .

I have officially been a Blogger blogger for one month after switching from blogging with WordPress and it has been quite a process to move. I’ve been recording all the things I did in order to make the switch because I could not find a straight answer all in one place during my move. This made it a very complicated, technical and sometimes stressful experience for me. However, I think I am down to the last steps in the move (tiny details that I am probably the only person who will ever notice), and I am very pleased with my decision to switch.

Why I switched:

  • Personal preference was a major factor. I have now used both the WordPress and Blogger platforms for blogging and personally I’m a Blogger girl.
  • Part of this preference for Blogger is due to the new design and seamless connection with all Google software such as AdSense and Google+
  • I didn’t like that WordPress only allows bloggers who own their domain to add advertisements. I am very new to blogging and I’m not ready to make that kind of commitment (It’s too soon, I’m too young!) I love that Blogger, and the affiliation with Google allows AdSense.
  • I am new to Google+ but I really enjoy this mode of social networking. It’s awesome to have it synched so easily to my blog.
  • Additionally, I believe Blogger is easier to use, or at least more intuitive, but this is personal preference.
  • Finally, a somewhat superficial reason, you can change color, font and background of words with blogger, something that is only available to domain owning bloggers on WordPress.
Router Freak [dot] com

A list of things to do:

  1. Research. Make sure it’s really what you want, like I said, this is a complicated process full of headaches, sadness and hair-pulling. Don’t go through it just to find out you prefered the old way better.
  2. Export old blog. In WordPress go to your Dashboard > Tools > Export > Download export file > Save. If you already have posted in Blogger go to Customize > Settings > Export blog > Dowload File > Save to be sure the new file won’t overwrite these posts (it shouldn’t but better safe than sorry right?). Use this application to translate your WordPress file to a Blogger compatible file. Then go to Blogger and go to Customize > Settings > Import blog > Select file > Import
  3. Check that all posts are correctly formatted (I had to go through and edit the captions and re-center all images).
  4. Set-up your new blog before going public with it. You don’t have to be super knit-picky about it but make sure things are generally the way you want them before informing your readers you’ve moved. That way when they arrive at your new home it will look lovely and clean, not like a construction zone with caution tape draping across every wall.
  5. Post a goodbye post to old platform to redirect followers to new blog. Also post to other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook your new blog location.
  6. Use a redirect program to automatically send people to new post when they try to go to old post. Unfortunately you can’t do this without owning the domain. Kind of a Catch-22 if you ask me, nobody ever seems to ask me though.
  7. Go through old pages on old blog and relink old posts to new posts. This took ages and probably isn’t completely necessary if you are willing to lose some page views. I wasn’t.
  8. Find link ups in old posts and link to new posts. Another very tedious step which I am still working on. All my posts in my new blog that were imported from the old blog link to posts that are on the old blog instead of to these same posts on the new blog. The links are just a web of lies.

    Gabriel Weinberg [dot] com

    Consequences:

    • Only hardcore readers will follow you to your new blog (thanks guys!) so expect a drop in your readership. The return to previous view counts did not take as long as I expected though.
    • I’ve said it multiple times throughout this post but you should really understand that this is very time consuming process. Add all of this on top of keeping up with new blog posts and you’re in for a rough couple of weeks.
    • Getting used to the new blogging platform takes time but when I go back to WordPress I find that it, while once the only way to blog for me, is now confusing and Blogger makes sense. Brains are weird. Give yours a chance to adjust before throwing in the towel.

    On the bright side, if you love blogging and have decided that you need to make the switch it is probably all going to be worth it. Keep your spirits high and remember why you started your blog in the first place.

    Cute Girly Quotes and Sayings [dot] blogspot [dot] com
    Which platform do you prefer and why?