Archive for August, 2014

Today I have wasted a bit of time on social media sites, edited a few photos, cleaned a bit in the kitchen and my bedroom, spoken with a friend, and when finally prompted by hunger, but more because my teenage sons woke up, I needed to make something to eat.  In my bid to cook more meals, but not spend a lot of time in the kitchen because I have a ridiculous schedule, a frittata was the winner for our main Sunday meal!

It actually took longer to type out instructions than the prep work took, so let’s get to what I typed and you can get started …
If you have a mandoline, a nifty vegetable chopper slicer gizmo, or a food processor (does anyone even use theirs?  I find the cleanup such a pain that it just sits on my counter collecting dust), any of those will work to chop both the onion (first to get it cooking while you prep the other veggies) and/or other veggies.  You could use broccoli in this or cauliflower or brussel sprouts (thaw out a small bag or box of frozen and cut them in half if you want to speed up cook time) or spinach or asparagus.  You can change up the cheese, add roasted red peppers, mushrooms, capers, or olives.  You can leave out the onions, use different cheeses, add bacon or sausage or ham or chicken or Italian sausage.  Serve it with sauce or not … it’s so flexible 😀
I usually use:
12 eggs
3 – 4 cups veggies (*unless I’m using spinach and then it’s a full 10 oz container of fresh spinach meaning like a bazillion cups)
2 cups of cheese
3 Tb butter and 3 Tb olive oil, but you could probably get by with 2 & 2
About a cup of meat if using
Sometimes salt, but that’s hardly ever needed with the salted butter and the cheese
Today’s frittata I dub, Italian Zucchini-onion Frittata Extraordinaire 🙂
It has yellow squash in it as well, but I can’t tell the difference once it’s cooked.
In a fit of squashy inspiration, I bought 8 zucchini and 8 yellow squash at the store last weekend along with some Vidalia onions to sizzle with them.  Unfortunately, the inspiration didn’t last, and the squash sat languishing in the refrigerator.  My daughter has eaten a couple raw, so I was happily not facing such a huge pile of potential waste as could have been the case 🙂
You can see from the exchange with her while she was at work today, that she too was concerned about the poor zucchini …
I took out three of the zucchini and two of the yellow squash, and my younger son twirled those through the spiral slicer thingy.  If you don’t have one, you should get one … I use ours to make zucchetti regularly, and I run the occasional beet through it when the mood strikes me.  I chopped up one of the onions while he was taking care of the squash. However you cut them up, you want to end up with about 3 – 4 cups of veggies total*.
Turn the oven onto 375 degrees right about now.
In my oven safe 12-inch skillet I melted 3 Tb of butter and 3 Tb of olive oil over med-high (8) heat, added the chopped onion and sauteed for about 3 minutes, and then turned the burner down to med-low (4).  Add the squash to the skillet with the onions, and turn the burner back to med-high.  Saute the veggies until the onions are translucent and a little brown, then add 3-6 cloves of garlic, chopped.  Stir for about a minute, then sprinkle the mix with 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.  Cover the top with 10 slices of American cheese, and turn the burner to low.
In a separate mixing bowl, break 12 eggs and scramble them (a Magic/Nutri Bullet works great for this!).  Pour the eggs over top of everything, and stir gently to get the eggs down to the bottom under the veggies and distribute the cheese.  Turn the burner to high, and let sit for two minutes.  Remove the skillet, sprinkle with pepper, and put it in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, or until set and to the desired level of brown on top.
I heated up some low-carb spaghetti sauce in the microwave during the last five minutes of cooking.
Once you are happy with the top of the frittata, pull it out of the oven, slice into 8 or more wedges, and serve with two or three tablespoons of sauce over top. Yummmmy.
Now that the family has been fed, and I’ve prepared my post for the day, it’s time to take a look at my second discussion question and assignments for the week.  This 3-day weekend is a great opportunity for me to get ahead in my coursework and relieve some stress in the coming weeks.  I’m also hoping to compose a couple of weeks’ worth of posts for my social media outlets, as I’ve let my presence drop more than I like there.
Until then …

… is associated with summer and early autumn. More generally, dragonflies are symbols of courage, strength, and happiness, and they often appear in art and literature, especially haiku. Read all about them @ Wikipedia: #dragonfly #odonata

from Instagram:

Emotional Whatever-you-call-this

Today my feelings were all over the map – up, down, and sideways.  This image, found at visually reflects this.


I accomplished a great deal at work both today and yesterday.  We work only a half day on Fridays through the summer, and today was the last one for this year.  By the time I left at 1:00pm this afternoon, I had completed a number of items on my to do list, and was at a good stopping point.  Since this is a long weekend, I created a new list so that I can start fresh with that on Tuesday.  I placed the list on my keyboard, so that I will be able to pick up without a long delay trying to get my head back in the game quickly.

Yesterday was my day off from school since my weeks run from Thursday through Wednesday, and I spent a few hours looking for an appropriate outfit for my friend’s funeral service this evening … I left the mall as they were locking the doors.  I then stopped to get a prescription filled, and shopped for nearly an hour waiting for that to be filled … it was a busy night at the pharmacy.  I got home somewhere around 10:00pm, and tried on the clothes for my daughter to see.  We determined that I had chosen poorly, and that I would have to go back today after work.  I put together a quick post on Instagram that would be shared here, and I finally lay down to sleep around midnight.  I was exhausted, and fell asleep quickly.

This afternoon, I did the shopping, found a great outfit to wear, went home, showered, did my hair and makeup, put on the outfit after running the pants through the dryer to get out a few wrinkles, and I left for the service.  It was a lovely service with the full choir from the church in attendance.  The church was my deceased friend’s church, and she had been in the choir.  She had been a member of the choir, and her robe was draped across her seat.  It was a lovely gesture.  The words of the minister mirrored mine from August 26th closely, and my friends and I cried together as we all honored the beautiful being that she had been.

We are told not to speak ill of the dead, but I commented to my friend that no matter how hard I tried, there was not one negative thing that I could say.  That is what I consider a true testament to her goodness.  The overflowing parking lot and pews were yet another.

Friends who no longer work with us were there, and it was good to see them.  It was good to gather to reaffirm our friendship and love.  I saw someone who I’ve missed, and I gave and received a LOT of hugs … and Kleenex … we shared a lot of Kleenex 🙂

On the way home I was hit with a wave of sadness and depression that was so strong I had to pull over.  I was snubbed by a coworker at the service, and I will not soon forget that.  I won’t act on it … I’ll act as if it never happened, and I will work to understand why she did it, and I will work to determine what triggered that emotion, but in the short term, it stung.  I felt utterly lonely and bereft, and I reached out to several friends.  I thought that maybe my children would want to go to a movie, but two were asleep, and my oldest had plans with her friends already.  This brought me down even lower.  I texted a little with two friends who had been at the funeral, and was greeted online by another friend.  A third friend from the funeral called me, and we had a good talk.  Her call helped pull me out of my funk, and my online conversation took a turn toward the silly and speculative bringing on a fit of laughter so hard that I was out of breath and my stomach muscles hurt … it was fantastic, and I love them both for helping me, and for just being my friends.

Tomorrow morning is the interment, and I am still undecided at to whether or not I will be there.  I think that I will go to sleep, and see how I feel about it in the morning.  I know that I will feel guilty if I don’t go, so I most likely will.

After that I will be working on homework for most of the rest of the day since my first discussion posting is due.  I plan to work on my assignments as well, and have decided to stick to a personal due date of Sunday for assignments rather than Wednesdays, because that causes me much less stress.  This weekend I have an extra day off of work, and I will be devoting that to getting a jump on next week’s assignment.

Today, while driving my son home from school, he mentioned that we don’t do anything together anymore, and so I’m planning to take him out and take some new pictures with him if there’s a break in the heat.

Such were the ups and downs of my day, and my plans for the weekend.  It’s a struggle to juggle (did you see what I did there?) all of these responsibilities, and to manage my time well enough to allow me to keep everything running smoothly, but that’s why I’m writing this blog.  Day-to-day issues may seem too, well, day-to-day, for a blog, but the purpose here is to convey how I handle work, maintain a household, discharge my parental duties, include social and entertainment events and obligations (not too many of these), maintain a fitness regimen (this is still in the planning process at the moment, but is part of the personal realization in performance psychology), meet new friends to expand my social circles and activity options (see previous parenthetical phrase), and complete my PhD in Personal Psychology.  I will chronicle my journey with the hope that it may provide insight to someone who is struggling to do the same, or give another the confidence to begin their own journey.

Until tomorrow …

from Instagram:

A Virtual Retreat

This week I experienced an emotional roller coaster. I found out my friend’s death was imminent, I became extremely ill that night, and the following morning I was told that my friend has passed during the night. In addition to these blows, this week is my first week in school, I was handed a fast-track project to work on, and asked yesterday to develop a charter for another project by the end of business today.

I completed all of my assignments, completed the charter, conducted a successful kickoff meeting with the exception of calling the other company by the wrong name at least six times, but they’ll get over it, and through all of this I have been grieving. I was amazed that my illness passed so quickly as well, and I apologize for not mentioning my speedy recovery last night as I had planned although with the death of my friend, I don’t think anyone was bothered.

I spent a half hour or so at lunch today in my recently departed friend’s office with the door closed. I waited until lunch for the office to be mostly cleared out so that I could sit in the chair where I used to sit and chat with her in order to work through some of the pain of her never occupying that space again in privacy. I realized that I was more upset about her passing than I was when my father passed away … that’s how special she was.

For the last hour or so I’ve been sifting through my photographs that I was finally able to access, trying to find one that would convey how I’ve felt all day – probably how I’ll feel tomorrow. I made a commitment to post in this blog daily throughout my doctoral and personal growth journey, but my wanderings through my photos took me past midnight before I knew it. I’ll count this as yesterday’s, request understanding, and post another before the end of the day 🙂


I passed this photo initially, but came back … moved on … came back, and decided finally that this is a place where I could spend a few hours just collecting my thoughts. It’s peaceful and private and beautiful and … calm …

It doesn’t reflect how I feel exactly, but more reflects the state of mind toward which I am working. Tomorrow will have many more highs and lows, and I will refer to this photograph periodically to help me relax, center, and exist mindfully in the now.

Glossophobia.  The short version of the definition is fear of public speaking.

I have Googled that for you here: in case you are interested in the etymology of the word, a longer definition, history of the phobia, prevalence of the condition, or you just want to see in action.

We were given an assignment to:

“Choose one area of the Doctoral Dispositions where you see yourself as having the most potential. Explain why and how you will develop that disposition and what help/resources you will require to do so. How will developing this disposition help you with your dissertation topic selection and the goal of learning how to conduct scholarly research?”

The dispositions are listed below:

At Grand Canyon University, Doctoral Learners:

  • Are committed PractitionerScholars, passionate about their field, who become leaders in the disciplines and communities they serve.

  • Are self-directed learners, able to self-motivate toward their continued pursuit of knowledge.

  • Value critical thinking and feedback, possessing an openness to new ideas, ready to challenge assumptions and consider other viewpoints.

  • Are committed to reflective practice, asking questions of both self and others.

  • Understand and know how to communicate effectively.

  • Are committed to producing scholarly research that is ethical and academically honest through asking questions, solving problems, and enhancing performance in their professional roles in order to contribute locally and globally to their field of study.

It was difficult for me to choose a disposition for this assignment because I feel that I have a large amount of unrealized potential in communication.  My writing is generally clear, and I read thoroughly and listen attentively, but presentations or any public speaking engagements are a huge weak point for me.  I ended up going with the first disposition for the assignment, though, because, while I am passionate about psychology, and have stayed current in various areas of psychology through the years, I have no direct work experience (experience among my family and friends, however, has run the gamut of psychological phemomena).  I do have experience in public speaking, but it is still a source of anxiety for me.

Luckily, my position as a project manager in information technology has forced me to conduct meetings and presentations, which has forced me out of my public speaking comfort zone and into a place where I no longer hyperventilate prior to a presentation (thank goodness!!!)  I have also been extremely fortunate to have a supervisor who supports my development in this area.  He coaches me, praises me when I succeed – even if it’s merely facilitating a meeting about which I was nervous, and he consoles me when I stumble or freeze in front of my audience.  It has been with his assistance that my confidence has grown to the point where I no longer freeze and blank out when confronted with an audience, and no matter what anyone says, thinking of people in their underwear just doesn’t work – it takes practice and repetition to hone public speaking and presentation skills.

Today will be yet another test of my public speaking mettle when I facilitate a meeting with some a group of individuals from three large, successful, international companies.  Much of the conversation will carry itself, but I will still need to keep the conversation moving in the right direction in order to cover the topics in the time available.  

I’ll let you know tomorrow whether I sink or stink 🙂

Until then,

She Will be Well and Truly Missed.

My friend and coworker passed away today.  Last night really, but I don’t know the exact time … it doesn’t matter.  Today was a sad day with her office standing open yet dark … like the hearts of everyone at work … torn open, wounded, bereft, dark.

It started last year when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  It was in October and stage 3 if I remember correctly.  She underwent surgery in November, and continued with chemotherapy treatments up until a few weeks ago.  She was given a clean bill of health in March, and was able to work longer and longer hours as the months went by until she was finally back full-time in the last six to eight weeks.  I was happy – WE as a group were happy – we were whole.

Then came the appointment in the first week of August.

The appointment was on the 7th or 8th, and when she didn’t return Monday it wasn’t unusual as she felt puny sometimes and had to stay home.  Tuesday. Wednesday.  I asked around, and folks thought she would be back soon. Thursday. Friday.  Surely whatever treatment she had received, or whatever was ailing her would have passed after a week, and so I hoped that she was able to rest up, and looked forward to seeing her on Monday.  Then Tuesday I asked around again, and folks started asking me, but I didn’t know and couldn’t fathom anything serious … she had been cured, damnit!!!  Wednesday.  I asked two friends at work if they could send our sick friend’s address to another mutual friend who wanted to send a card, and while both acknowledged having the address, my mention of a card was met with crickets and I began to suspect what I think these two already suspected.

Thursday.  A friend at work who had been asked to keep the news close to her chest finally took pity on me and let me know that the cancer was back – that it was terminal, and we cried, but I still never dreamed …

Friday.  I found out that she probably wouldn’t be back to work, but I still thought that I would see her … still would get a chance to let her know how wonderful I think she is, and how important she has been in my life, what a wonderful example of “how to be” she is, and let her know that I love her and I will miss her dearly … I wanted to tell her that when I see signs that say, “Be the change you want to see in the world” that I think of her.

Monday, yesterday, I found out that she had been admitted at some point into ICU, and that her family was being called in to be with her at the end … at the end … at the end of her time with us, and I left and I drove around and I sat in the back of a grocery store parking lot, and I wept.  I came back, and I cried at my desk, and my other friends at work cried, and we worked to keep our minds occupied as we waited for word.  I asked if we were able to see her, but only family was permitted at that time, and so my message would go unsaid.  Her best friend said that she was in contact with her husband, and so I asked her to ask him to please tell her that I love her, and that I am sending a hug … a final hug … a virtual hug … a virtual bear hug for the unbearable speed through which she had to walk the path to acceptance …

I cried while I drove around at lunch … on the way home … in the restroom … whenever I met someone’s eye who was also sitting vigil in our strange New World way as we conducted our modern version of wailing and gnashing of teeth … I cried myself to sleep.

This morning I was told upon arrival that she was gone.  She who a mere 18 days earlier had cheerfully tackled her duties and chatted with passers-by through a full workday.  She who not two months ago ran a 5k with her husband … in the blink of an eye, her sweet, smart, kind, witty, snarky, patient, classy, silly, gentle, generous self is with us no more – ever.

And so I cried some more, and I put on a hat for the day to honor her memory, and I hugged friends, and friends hugged me, and we worked … together in our grief we carried on with our responsibilities because she would be furious with us if we did otherwise.

And I cried some more throughout the day – I’m crying now – I’m crying for my loss, and for her best friend who’s also my friend and now bereft, and for all of her other friends, and for her family, and  … and most especially for her … for how frightened she must have been to find out that she had so little time, for how happy she would have been that her family was able to gather with her, for how worried she was about how she was leaving things undone that were her responsibility, for how I know that she was more worried about others than herself to very last moment of her life, and then I cried a bit more for me because I was not ready to say goodbye.