Monthly Archives: January 2013

Just Push Play: Mad for Madge

As a girl coming of age in the 80s and 90s, I love Madonna. It’s like a rule. (The same rule also causes me to get defensive and annoyed when Gaga pretends she isn’t away that she’s copying people. Come on!) So in honor of this last day of January and the energy prompts, I present my favorite Madonna song and video, which never fail to raise my spirits. Directed by David-Freaking-Fincher, the Metropolis-inspired video is ripe with awesomeness. (This video + Heathers make really wish I could pull off a monocle.)

I don’t know about you, but I will not be going for second best today. Bless you, Madge!




Categories: Let Me Entertain You, Life and Other Nonsense | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

In Praise of the Oxford Comma

As an ardent fan of the Oxford comma, this might be my new favorite grammar joke:

What grammar joke do you love?

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The Outsider: Mommy Edition

I recently read this insightful post on why it’s hard to be friends with other moms and found myself nodding in agreement. My husband, as is the case with the post’s author, is the naturally charming, likeable one. He’s the one who builds friendships. I’m the one who turns people off.

Also like the post’s author, I thought motherhood would provide a natural bond for me, sort of a sisterhood of stretch marks. Unfortunately, at least at my kids’ schools, this isn’t the case. For starters, I have little in common with many of these moms. Few of them work outside the home and they give me a sad look when they hear I do (as if we’ve fallen on hard times and I’m being forced to sell my hair and jewelry).

They all know my kids–they’ve been on the field trips and seen the chapel programs I’ve missed because I was explaining the allegory of “Young Goodman Brown.” They’ve helped at the Christmas party, opening up the treats I dropped of that morning; meanwhile, I’m grading annotated bibliographies. They volunteer at the pep rallies and book fairs, hand out awards, and take pictures. My daughter often asks why her friend’s mom eats lunch with them several times a week, but I can’t. “Because Mommy has class, ” is a tiresome answer.

I’m conflicted about it. On one hand I’m jealous (and suspicious for no reason) of these women who get to spend so much time with my daughter. On the other, I love working. Perhaps this is intensely selfish, but I feel like I need an identity outside of being a mother. I like to go to a place where, for several hours a day, I do something I’m good at, that I spent years studying to do, and possibly help other kids beside my own.

In the end, it is not these other mothers who exclude me–it is my own choices. And so I avoid them so I can avoid answering questions about why I wasn’t at some event, or why I work. When it comes down to it, my friends are my own and my children’s are their own. There isn’t a big Ven diagram that says these elements have to overlap. Although, it sure would make things easier.



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Vegan Fare: Product Review of Zen Soy Chocolate Pudding I blame Bill Cosby for this: sometimes I just want a cup of pudding. I don’t want to make it from a mix or actually cook. Instead, I want to peel back a lid, lick it, and dig my spoon into creamy pudding. Being vegan has diminished that experience . . . until now.

When I go to the natural grocers, one of my stops is in the substitute section to look at what types of dairy and meat free products have come in since my last visit. A few weeks ago, I discovered Zen Soy Milk Pudding. I’m not a huge fan of chocolate, but it was the only flavor available so my husband and I decided to give them a whirl.

Breaking into the pudding cup, it was just like being a kid again. Lid licking commenced and my spoon lifted out lovely clouds of smooth, glistening chocolate. The flavor was even better–rich and silky. It was a satisfying, divine way to treat myself after a long week. I know they have a number of other products, including a spin on Jell-O, and I can’t wait to try them. If they ever introduce pistachio pudding, I might dissolve into a pile of glee.

I do have one important request: please oh please start making Pudding Pops. I loved the heck out of those things when I was a kid.



Categories: Feed the Belly, Life and Other Nonsense | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The A and the B

A few years ago I took a seminar, paid for by my then employer, about being a woman in the workplace. It was one of those girl power kind of days where I might have rolled my eyes the entire time if the presenter had not been so likable, funny, dynamic, and, yes, energetic. In the end I kept all the information she gave us that day, but even without looking at them, I remember two important lessons I took away from her:

  1. Be your own cheerleader. Make a folder or file of the professional compliments you receive. It’s okay to keep reminders that you are A+ awesome at what you do. When I’m feeling tired or worn out on my job, I look at my folder and remember that it does matter to someone. I matter.
  2. Vitamin B-12. Pop one first thing in the morning and another one right after lunch. Better than coffee to keep your energy up.

What about you readers? How do you keep your energy up?



PS. Make sure to post your Super Bowl recipes, products, and link to be included in the Vegan Chow Down Super Bowl Edition.

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Bring on the (Vegan) Bowl!

Image Courtesy of Part Time Vegan

Next Sunday marks the Super Bowl, a day famous for snacks and party food. OUt here in West Texas, vegan food isn’t exactly in abundance on those buffet tables. So I’m looking for the best links, recipes, and products for vegan style Super Bowl food. What do you take to your get together that even the meat munchers can’t refuse?

Post them below and I’ll share them throughout the week. If you are sharing something from your own kitchen, make sure to link your blog so I can give you a shout out!



Categories: Feed the Belly, Let Me Entertain You, Life and Other Nonsense | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fear and Ignorance

I realized that this blog is a year old this month. So much has happened since that first post: publications, contributions, readings, and much writing. Fingers crossed that January 2014 I can reflect on the same types of growth. In honor of the birthday, here’s a repost of that first entry:

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Stephen King

Aside from my annoyance at his use of ‘a lot,’ I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. King. Since the third grade I have been writing something–stories, novels, really terrible poetry. Yet I have never termed myself a writer. In part, it’s because anytime I tell someone that I write, they tell me about their novel/screenplay/memoir that they have been writing. Then I tell them great and don’t mean it.

One of the fascinating things about writing is that, save educational shortcomings, most people can do it. We can type or scratch out words to make sentences, sentences to make paragraphs, paragraphs to make stories. But as I tell my students, writing is a skill like any art or sport–just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you do it well. The analogy I usually use is baseball (I teach a number of athletes). Most of us, precluding a physical impediment, can throw a ball. But can we throw it repeatedly in the strike zone with high speed and varied pitches? Probably not. There are only a select few who can and even they must train. Just because I throw a ball for my border collie doesn’t make me Jenny Finch. Writing is the same way. Yet one of the mysteries of writing is that a writer can be brilliant and never make the majors, so to speak. On the flip side, a writer can be mediocre and sell millions.

The goal then, from my humble prospective, is to be good. Reading and writing in abundance are key. In addition, to bring the baseball analogy full circle, I impart the immortal words of Crash Davis: “You gotta play this game with fear and arrogance.”


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Potent Quotables: Simple Saturday

Sometimes this is all we need.



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Just Push Play: Let’s Get Nuts

So I came home last night in a foul mood. Work was overwhelming and several other things had made me ten degrees of ticked off. Thankfully, the universe can sense these things and send me the cure to all that ails: Prince. I love Prince too much for words. And nothing rocks my mood like “Let’s Go Crazy.” It’s not my favorite Prince song, but it is one of the top five. My kids even go nuts when they hear it–proof we are raising them right. I mean, who is going to let the elevator break them down? Not me! Oh no, let’s go!



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BlogHer Call for Food Writing!

In lieu of my normal Vegan Chow Down Recipe and Review, today I wanted to spread the word to all the fab femme foodie folks out there who occasionally stop by. From BlogHer:

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS! Yes, that’s right: BlogHer is announcing its next e-book project, in partnership with Open Road Media! ROOTS: Where Food Comes From & Where It Takes Us. We invite you to submit your post for publication, and be a part of this delicious journey to places familiar and far-flung!

canned foodCredit Image: on Flickr


  • FAMILY: Your personal roots and traditions
  • LOCAL: Discovering the foodways where you live
  • HISTORY: Cooking’s roots and culinary history
  • TRAVEL: Exploring other cultures through food

What We’re Looking For

This book will not be a cookbook — though we expect to publish a handful or so of fine recipes. It’s more a love story about food, a collection of great writing, thinking and photography about the roots of specific meals, the memories that food triggers, what is preserved about a culture in its recipes, how food and cooking are tied to travels, as well as the roots we call home.

The Particulars

  • Entries will be chosen for publication by the BlogHer editorial team. We will pay $50 for each accepted post.
  • Submissions can NOT be recipes alone. If you want to submit a recipe, it is because it tells a “roots” story related to one of the above topic areas, and we ask that you include a headnote or accompanying text of at least 250 words. Recipe submissions that don’t meet this requirement will not be considered.
  • When you submit the piece, please include the category name (i.e. Family, Local, History, Travel) along with the title. We may change categories based on the total submissions we receive, but it will help us know how to think about your piece.
  • You must be the copyright holder (i.e. writer or artist) of all works you submit. Feel free to submit as many works as you like.
  • You can create something new to submit, or send us something you’ve already run on your blog, or a hybrid.
  • It’s likely that posts will be edited for the book, so you’ll hear from us to work together on the edits if we pick your submission.We will give notice regarding submissions’ acceptance/decline on or before March 8.
  • Deadline for submission: Midnight, February 11

Submit Now!

For more information and to submit click HERE. Hope to see some of my favorite food writers turn up in the pages of the exciting book!




Categories: Feed the Belly, Life and Other Nonsense | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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