In case you were curious....

I know you have probably wondered about it all your life, so let me just say...

There is right around 80 pounds of ground meat in a small elk. After the good steaks, the stew meat, the roasts and some jerky meat, you end up with about 80 pounds of ground.

Eighty. 8 - 0. From a small elk.

So. Got any good burger recipes? After nearly 30 years of this, I'm out of ideas. :-)


Pot Addiction

Yes. I may be an addict. I can't help it. Every time I see a great sale on pots and pans, my heart beats a little faster and I have to talk myself down off the ledge. Oh! Did you think I meant THAT kind of pot? :-)

What is wrong with me, anyway? I have so many utensils that I have to have backup storage for them in the pantry. I have 3 complete sets of cookware and I STILL WANT MORE!

I want the pretty enameled cast iron ones from Le Creuset in their amazing "Flame" color. I want those adorable speckled Paula Deen sets in only, like, three of her color choices. Rachel Ray! Love those! Kitchenaid! Gotta have! Oh, and the red cookware from Lodge. Copper and stainless and even a really cheap tamale pot at the grocery store...they all capture my attention. Plum, orange, bronze, butter: I don't even care if the colors go together, I love them all.

Have you seen all the fantastic colors of utensil sets on Zulily and Woot lately? Oh, and all the pretty bakeware?

I think I need help.


A-Z Happy

Just for fun, here is an A-Z list for achieving happiness. Which I stole from my Happiness Tip of the Day blog, which I have sadly ignored for a couple years. :-)

Accept Accept that you are not in control of everything. Accept that you are responsible for yourself and your actions.

Bend One easy key to living happier every day: bend. Do you ALWAYS have to be right?

Cherish Cherish the moments. Stop what you're doing for a moment, pause the frantic to-do list that's playing in your mind, and look around you. Notice the simple, trusting love in the your child's face. Notice the hopeful look the dog is giving your while you eat your sandwich. Notice the crystal blue of the sky or the perfect, fat snowflake floating earthward. There is always something to cherish, if you look.

Deny Deny yourself the privilege of complaining, even to yourself. Try it for one whole day. Try it for the first hour of every day. Just try it. You might be surprised.

Evaluate Is what you're doing working for you? If not, try something different. Maybe you can't change the thing that bothers you, but you can change the way you think about it.

Freshen Change something around to freshen your life. Rearrange the living room furniture. Reorganize your closet. Change the pictures in your office. Wear something different than you usually would. Try a new recipe. Familiarity can breed boredom, so change it up!

Glance Back, Gaze Forward Spend more time looking forward than thinking about the past. Imagine the future you want and take steps toward building that for yourself.

Haven Choose your haven and notice it when you land there. If your home is your happy place, don't rush in and start right away on your myriad of chores. Take a moment to relish having made it home. Maybe your office is the place where you feel successful and valued. Look around when you get to work in the morning and appreciate what your employment means to you.

Insist Insist on happiness. You do that by quashing the impulse to whine, and by making a conscious effort to focus on the good. When the people around you are behaving like a bunch of negative Nellies, turn the conversation to good things and repeat as necessary. Insist on a positive tone and it will eventually be your default state.

Jump Run, jump and play. Jog, walk and dance. Whatever you do, keep moving. Being sedentary leads to stagnation.

Karma I'm going to reverse the old saying for you: Sow what you wish to reap.

Listen Listen more than you speak. Listen to your heart. Listen to the hidden meaning to the things people say. Listen to the silence, and listen to the songbirds. Listen.

Meander Instead of always taking the shortest, most direct route, take the time to meander. To go the long way, or the scenic route. Even if all you're doing is wandering around your own house, slow down, take note and be present in the moment.

Nonsense, Sense and Embracing the Mystery If you're expecting everything in this world to make sense, you're moving backwards, sister. Learn to accept that not everything makes sense. Life isn't always fair, justice isn't always done and people are never going to behave the way you want them to. When you accept those simple truths, life gets easier.

Objectivity One important key to consistent happiness is learning to look at situations objectively. When someone says something that seems insulting or mean or petty, step back and think for a moment. Is that what they were really saying? If someone is staring at you in the mall, is it because you have a toilet paper tail or spinach in your teeth? Maybe it's because you're looking damn fine. Take the time to give other possibilities a thought, before you react by being hurt, offended, nervous or embarrassed.

Pursue We Americans are guaranteed the right to pursue happiness. So pursue it! Build it, nurture it and grow it. You may have noticed that we are NOT guaranteed the right to have happiness bestowed upon us.

Quality vs. Quantity Focus on quality. Instead of eating an entire candy bar, have one piece of really good chocolate. Choose fewer pieces of high-quality, beautiful, classic styles instead of blowing your entire wardrobe budget on the latest trend. Instead of trying to visit every landmark when you're on vacation, choose a few and spend some real time there. This is important for relationships, too. My Sweet Hubs and I have learned that we do better if we work separately during the day to get our respective chores done without interruption, and focus on each other in the evening. As much as love him, I really just don't get as much done when he's in the room. It's much better to get the work done and be able to focus completely on each other later.

Relax Learn to ask yourself a few questions. Is this really as important as I'm treating it? Do I have the power to solve this? Is it my place to solve it? What's the worst that can happen?

See What You Want You will see what you look for. Unhappy in your job? Look for things to like in it. Irritated with your spouse? Watch for the qualities you love about them. Annoyed with your children? Notice their good points.

Talk Talk nice. To yourself. If you wouldn't say something to another person, don't let it be part of your internal lecture series. Would you walk up to me and say, "Trish, you have really got some thunder thighs going there."? Of course not. So don't say it to you, either.

Unwind What do you do when you get home from work or shopping or taking the kids to school, or whatever else it might be that makes your day busy? Yeah, I can just see it. You fling your bag into a chair, grab out your cell phone and call someone. Then you talk while you rush around trying to get dinner on the table, to bring a semblance of order to the room you're in, help a child or six with homework and keep the dog from barfing on the carpet. What would happen if you tried this, instead: Leave your cell phone alone. Leave the TV off. Sit down for five minutes, just five little minutes, and notice your own breathing. The dishes, dinner, homework, whining kids, cell phone and dog barf will all still be there in a few minutes. Just give yourself five little minutes to breathe.

Vision An important key to happiness is in learning to see things from the right perspective. Learn to view the dishes in the sink as evidence of your abundant food. The hamper full of laundry as proof that you have plenty of warm clothes. When your two-year-old throws a tantrum loud enough to tilt the earth on its axis, deal with it, sure. But also be happy that your child is healthy enough to scream like that. It's all in how you look at it.

Wait Wait a moment. Before you get mad about something, wait a moment. Before you react, wait a moment. Give yourself a chance to let the anger fade before you act on it. Before you whine, wait a moment. Before you criticize, wait a moment. In only a few seconds, the urge may pass and you might see that it wasn't worth the effort you were about to expend on it. Wait.

X-ray I saw a clip of Jennifer Lawrence telling the world that seeing her chest on an X-ray showed her that her breasts are uneven. Jennifer Lawrence has uneven breasts. I guess we're all just people, aren't we? Imperfect, uneven, flawed people. So what's stopping you?

Yeast I want to tell you about yeast. Yes, yeast. Yeast are single-celled organism, a fungus, and more important than you might ever guess. It is because of yeast that we have bread, beer and wine. If a single-celled fungus is capable of creating such an important change in its surroundings, what is possible for a complicated organism like you?

Zip it Maintain some privacy. Don't share every gruesome detail of every single thing that bugs you. You don't have to tell anyone that you're having a bad hair day, that your dinner last night was a little overdone or that your significant other farted so much in their sleep that you need to repaint the bedroom. You don't need to tell anyone about the most recent spat with your spouse, or how someone cut you off in traffic. Sometimes, talking about those things gives them an importance they don't really merit. Your friends will probably comfort or commiserate, and then tell you their latest tale of woe. The next thing you know, the whole world seems gray. So keep the minor mishaps of daily life a private matter. Tell yourself they aren't important enough to think about anymore, let alone share with someone else. You'll see it makes a difference in how important those mishaps seems to be.

The Right Measure

They taught us in Home Economics that we should always measure dry ingredients with a dry measure and liquids need a liquid measuring cup. You wouldn't measure your inseam with a surveyor's transit, and you wouldn't try to measure the distance from New York to Los Angeles using your dressmaker's seam gauge.

So why do we try to measure our lives and selves by using the wrong kind of measure? You can't measure your marriage by reading a bodice-ripping novel. You can't measure your own beauty by looking at Victoria's Secret catalogs. 

My friend has lost over 100 pounds, but when she looks in the mirror, she can't see it. She is still measuring her reflection with the negative self-opinion she formed 100 pounds ago.

I often find myself feeling intimidated by the brilliant women I talk to at our corporate office. They are college-educated, extremely intelligent and high-powered people. I have to remind myself that I don't have to be playing on the same court to be a talented athlete in my own right.

If you want to come to an honest, realistic and appropriate assessment of your life, your looks, your relationships and your job, you have to learn which measure to use.

Use the right measure for all things.

Measure joy and love by the warmth that fills your heart. Measure people by their intentions and their heart. Measure love by how much of it you can give. Measure success by your contentment. Measure your job by the comforts it provides for you, such as a warm house and a full belly.

Stop using your bank account, or a comparison to someone else's finances, as a measure. Money? It's really no measure at all.

Meet, Re-Meet

Last weekend, I met someone I already knew. You know...those people that you see from time to time, somewhat more than acquaintances, whom you think you kind of know, but you find out later that you didn't know very much at all?

I knew that she is intelligent and hard working.
I knew that she is beautiful.
I knew that she is the mother of sons, that her first marriage was troubled and finally ended.
I knew that she remarried, and that her new husband has a lot of the same qualities that my own Sweet Hubs has. (I know that because my Sweet Hubs and hers went to school together and have known each other practically all their lives.)
I knew that she was patient and very kind, and is tolerant of the profoundly chicken-hearted. (I knew that because she is a dental technician at my dentist's office. Everyone within a mile of that office knows I'm a chicken.)
I also knew that she is a vibrant person who seems to me to be saying "YES!" to life every day.

As it turns out, those things are really only scratching the surface of this gorgeous woman I thought I kind of knew.

She is faithful, funny and compassionate. I never guessed at her wicked wit or saw her as a grandmother. I got to see a glimpse of her loyalty, honor and devotion. I got to see a bit of her intrepid spirit and her amusement at life.

It is good for me to be reminded regularly that people are always so much more than they first appear. It doesn't matter if that first impression is good or bad, the person is sure to be far more multi-faceted than I ever guess. Of course, none of these observations make me any less afraid of the dentist.


Simple Things

Simplicity can be such a beautiful and comfortable place to be.

It's a perfect autumn day here: cool enough for a light jacket, the sky is a brilliant, breathtaking blue and there is a warm kiss of wood smoke in the air.

I found a new snack to put in my favorites list. Not that the Santitas brand has ever heard of me, but these are delicious! Santitas Sazonados. Yummy!

Good coffee.

Smiling co-workers.

Butternut squash soup.

A soak in the hot tub under starry skies.

A kiss on the warm skin of my sweet hubs' neck.

All very simple things.

All blessings.

What I See--Alita

Oh, Alita! What can I say? We've known eachother for so many years! Alita and I became acquainted first because our husbands worked to...