Green Monster – My New Crush

I work at home, in front of my computer, and if I don’t get out of the house to work out I might take 100 steps on a given day. I like to eat. Actually, I love to eat. And I often eat out of boredom or restlessness so I eat more than my body needs when I’m being particularly sedentary. 

For a couple of months I’ve been experimenting with drinking homemade smoothies instead of other meal options like a sandwich. I came across green monster smoothies when searching around to try and find something filling, yummy, and highly nutritious. 

When I first started making them I used recipes (do an online search for green monster smoothie). Now I have a couple variations that I know work great and they taste fantastic. 

The basic recipe is kale or spinach, liquid (I use coconut milk or water), fruit, protein. For good measure I throw chia seeds in there. 

The best version is what I call a chocolate peanut butter cup. I add a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder, cinnamon, honey, a big scoop of peanut butter, and a banana if I have it. Best thing ever. 

The prettiest version is extra kale, a few strawberries, some vitamin C powder, a raw egg (don’t judge, we have backyard chickens), and some peanut butter. It’s so green and pretty, I love it. 

The main drawback is that often the smoothie is a rather disgusting color. It can look like anything from stew to, well, something pretty unappetizing. On those days I just drink it down as fast as possible. 

Oh, and it helps to drink it out of a straw. Trust me. On occasion the blender doesn’t quite do the trick and I’m too much of a cheapskate to get a juicer or a more heavy duty blender. Straws help on those days.  

Here’s some pics, in case you’re into that :)

A Poet in the Family

My husband’s great great aunt, Emma Safley, was a poet. She lived in small town Iowa and was a stay at home mom to 4 children. Quite honestly, this is probably why I like her work so much. Having been a stay at home mom myself for the first 10 or so years of motherhood and a work from home mom currently, the essence of her words have always touched me. I read her poems and I recall moments from my life. They make me smile, laugh, and sometimes sigh from a twinge of sadness.

I’m no expert, and in fact I don’t really like to read poetry all that much, but I find her work genuine and honest and at times quite a bit snarky which suits me perfectly. Take this one for example:

Just a Stone

I once showed a friend a small striped stone
That I had picked up on a wild beach
Along the North Sea in Scotland.
“What’s that?” she asked,
As if it were a common lump of dirt.
“Just a stone,” I answered.
“What will you do with it?” she wanted to know.
“I’ll lay it on a shelf with other treasures,
And sometimes I’ll pick it up and fondle it,” I said.
She snorted.
I never let her see any other stories.

Isn’t that funny? She cracks me up.

One of the things I love so much about her poetry is that she talks about ordinary things, common things, as she calls them in the title of her book. Just ordinary experiences, like washing and hanging clothes. But then she adds a bit of magic.

The Day of the Butterfly

It started like any ordinary summer day:
I was hanging a washing out in my usual way,
Thankful for sunshine and soap and a washing machine,
Four lively children to wash for, and washing come clean —
The commonplace things mothers find to be grateful for,
Not expecting, and seldom receiving anything more.

As I lifted my hand to brush something out of my hair,
I glanced at a window-reflection. Incredibly, there,
I saw a butterfly resting on top of my head.
(There were flowers enough in the garden, let it be said.)

It waved its beautiful wings a time or two,
And when it was ready, it weightlessly lifted and flew.
I’ll always remember the day. Ever after I wear
A butterfly memory perched in my everyday hair.

And then sometimes she was sad. I don’t know a lot about Emma, but I imagine this was about her husband. I remember the first time I read this one, I think I had just read a bit of her sarcasm and was reading along. The title didn’t warn me to the deep sadness here.

Practice Makes Perfect
He couldn’t bear to see me cry,
And not that he is dead and gone
I have no tears. The well is dry,
Yet aridly my life goes on.

And so as to not end on a sad note, here is one where she is at the same time poking fun at the women that ask her to read poetry to them and being vulnerable about how meaningful her writing is to her. Enjoy! And thanks for reading :)

Stricken

Because I am sorry for Program Committees
I said yes I would read some of my poetry
At the November meeting of the Ladies Improvement Society.

I gave them my best: my ecstasy and my grief,
Serenity and turmoil, tragedy and beauty,
Hyacinths to feed their souls.

They clapped politely when I stopped,
And then hurried off to line up
For refreshments.

Of course you can’t really eat hyacinths.

Missed Opportunities: Correcting Past Mistakes

Years ago, shortly after my husband and I were married, Fleetwood Mac got back together. Minneapolis, MN was on their schedule and since were living there at the time and are both fans of the band, we looked into getting tickets. 

We were young, working to make ends meet, paying off school loans, and after much deliberation, we decided we couldn’t afford it. But no worries, we thought, we’ll catch them on their next tour. 

But it was not to be, Christine McVie left the group after the tour and that’s when we realized we’d made a big mistake. We didn’t want to see half the band. We wanted to see it all and we missed that opportunity. 

We promised each other not to let opportunities like that pass us by again. While concert tickets are pricey, what’s a few bucks to see an icon?

A few years later, Elton John came through Minneapolis on a tour. Another favorite of ours, and we found ourselves beginning to make the same mistake, considering not going, because we thought we couldn’t afford it. But wait, we said to ourselves, remember Fleetwood Mac? And so we went to see Elton and it was amazing. Lesson learned. 

Last night, after 18 years of waiting and saw Fleetwood Mac, complete with Christine McVie, in concert in Denver. We almost didn’t get tickets, they sold out so fast. It was touch and go there for a while, we even resorted to searching on Craigslist. 

Was it worth the wait? Totally. It was amazing. Amazing. So amazing. 

Here we are waiting and trying to entertain ourselves.

Hurry up and start already. #fleetwoodmac

A photo posted by Karen Arnold (@iamkarenalma) on

Impatiently watching the stands fill up.

2 minutes. There's more people here. #wecanstartnow

A photo posted by Karen Arnold (@iamkarenalma) on

My only regret is that they didn’t do Songbird. Maybe next time.

Hispanicize 2015

Here’s my presentation for those of you who missed it. Feel free to stop by the booth and ask any questions if you’re at Hispanicize. We’re here today and tomorrow.

Top 10 Secret WordPress.com Features: And why you won’t want to live without them.

#WPlovesHispz15 #hispz15

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