Monday, November 29, 2010

This Lil’ Vegan had Me Some Crabs!


It’s been just over a year since I switched to the vegan lifestyle.  I’ve surprised myself by becoming very devoted to a very new way of nourishing my body.  Even over the recent Thanksgiving holiday I managed to eat vegan about 95% of the time – even while away from home.


Sometimes a big ol’ exception has got to be made, and tonight’s dinner was one of those times.

Michael, his cousin Rafael, and two of his friends, Kyle and Chris, went crabbing today.  Around mid-morning I got a text message from Michael:

“Be advised we have 50 crabs.  Pound and a half each or so.  Be hungry!”

No way was I missing out on THAT meal!


Clockwise from Michael (in the back), Kyle, Mike, Rafael, and Chris.  We had to expand our table to hold all the bowls of crabs, bowls of melted butter, bowls for the shells,  bowls of coleslaw and mixed vegetables, and a plate of cornbread.


By the time the crabs (and the guys) arrived here the crabs had been cooked, cracked, and cleaned – awesome!!!  Some we simply ate cold, others we warmed by steaming them or baking them in the oven.

Since we’d had warning that the crabs would be arriving, Mike had time to make a big bowl of coleslaw, and I made a pan of cornbread when I got home from work.  With cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, melted butter, and lemon slices, we were all set for a feast.


Photo proof that I ate crabs!  Yeah, that’s a big ol’ pair of pliers next to me.  We are not equipped at our house with shellfish pliers so we made do with what we could find.  They worked great and the big roll of paper towels was also heavily used!


I have not had crab this good since visiting New Orleans a couple of years ago.  In fact - dare I say it - but these California Dungeness crabs were BETTER!  Now I know why many people in this area serve up these crustaceans instead of turkey on Thanksgiving Day.


We all put away a LOT of crab and yet we still had at least three bowls like this green one full of leftovers.

I have a feeling I’m going to be an omnivore for a while . . .

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Not sure we’re quite ready for THIS yet, but it’s something that fascinates me.  Tiny homes!  Tumbleweed Tiny houses, to be precise.  Mike and I toured this one in Sebastopol, CA., last weekend.  It’s even on wheels in case you need to move! 20101009_0118Jay Shafer owns Tumbleweed Tiny homes and this little beauty is his personal residence.  He’s lived in it for about 6 years now.20101009_0120This is the second time I’ve seen this particular little house, but Mike’s first.  He was pretty amazed at the size. 20101009_0119 Two comfy chairs in the living room with an eensy pellet stove in between.  Across from them, on the other side of the room is a built-in desk just big enough for a laptop and writing surface, where Jay does all his work and runs his business.

20101009_0123Every inch of space is used: built-in shelves hold office supplies and kitchenware.


A ladder, which can be tucked away when not needed, is the only way up to the sleeping loft.  Lovely!20101009_0125 The tiny, two-burner stove (probably propane).20101009_0122 The crock hold Jay’s water for cooking & dishwashing.  Gravity-operated ;-)20101009_0129More storage just outside the tiny bathroom which has a shower and a composting-style toilet.   Sorry, no photo. 20101009_0127

For better photos visit the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company’s website.  You can also check out all of Jay’s other designs.  My fave is the Epu.  I’m trying to talk Mike into helping me build one of these little beauties in our backyard.

Wouldn’t that be fun?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Keepin’ it Real – in Cubicle-World

Back by popular demand, this post was originally published on:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Keepin’ it Real – in Cubicle-World

I’ve been feeling a little guilty about my last post.  True, I still believe that cubicle-world sucks.  And I’d rather not have a day job but, at the same time, I am incredibly lucky to have it, in this economy, when so many people are out of work, and have been for weeks, months, or a year or more.  THAT sucks!

And now that I’ve complained and whined about the stuff I don’t like at my new job, let me tell you about some of the stuff I DO like about my new job.

The people.  As a group they are great.  Very nice – the biggest wig will say hello to you in the hall, and make sure they introduce themselves to new employees.  I haven’t seen it yet, but I hear the OWNER of the company shows up from time to time and treats everyone the same – because we are all important.

I know!  You hear about that kind of attitude, but you rarely see it.  I was skeptical at first until I put that in context with some of the things that have happened in the three short months that I’ve been there.

For example, on the 3rd of July an email came out from Human Resources telling everyone to go home after they’d worked just 6 hours instead of 8.  And that the entire next week, following the Monday off, would all be casual days – jeans and tennies!  (And if you work in corporate America you know how we worker bees LOVE casual days!)

Then there’s the walking club.  The owner and the Big Wigs (and I use that term affectionately ‘cuz so far I haven’t met one I don’t like and who has not treated me with kindness and respect) are all very concerned about their employees’ health and fitness.  We have a walking club, anyone can join, we walk as a group (for safety, mainly) on Mondays and Fridays.  You keep track of how many times you walk and when you’ve got 20 walks you get a $25 gift card (I forget to where but am sure it’s somewhere cool) OR when you’ve got 40 walks you GET A DAY OFF!!!

A day off!  That’s why I don’t know where the gift card is good for - because I’m so focused on getting that extra day off!  WOOT!

The company also put on an awesome Health Fair this summer where we got free cholesterol screenings, body fat checks, blood pressure readings, and lots of swag from local businesses like a direct-to-you produce company, Weight Watchers, Jamba Juice, and so on.  And there are on-site Weight Watchers meetings for anyone who wants to join that group.  Yep, they meet right in our conference room twice a month – how convenient!

Also, there are giveaways.  On my first day I was given, in a reusable tote bag made from recycled materials (because the company is making every attempt possible to be “green”), a Paula Deen signature skillet.  It’s very cool.

Twice since then I’ve won stuff – cookware, of course, since that’s what we do at this particular company, manufacture and sell cookware.  I won some Rachael Ray products in a raffle (yep, we make her stuff, too) and then, at a tailgate party in our parking lot (where the executives did all the cooking, and they even had veggie-burgers!) I won more stuff.  Within a year or so I figure I’ll completely replace all the old stuff in my kitchen with brand new stuff!

Oh, and I guess some higher-ranking person or another is a big A’s fan because during baseball season there are free tickets every other day for every reason you can think of and sometimes for no reason at all.  AND, get this: if you win tickets and it’s an afternoon game?  You get the afternoon off.

You read that right.

You get the afternoon off to go to the baseball game.  PAID time off.  AND a free parking pass.


Birthdays are special.  Cubicles are decorated with balloons and streamers so everyone in the building can go by and extend birthday greetings, special coffee is brought in for the birthday “kid,” maybe a gift or special bakery treat, and always a card.

New babies are HUGE.  Even the male employees get baby showers (whether they like it or not) with duck-shaped cakes and gifts.  Employees who move on to jobs at other companies are sent off in style and wished well and – missed.

So, in spite of my initial complaining and the feeling-sorry-for-myself attitude, I’m quite happy at my new job.  If I have to work - and until Mike and I are old enough to collect our Social Security, and until Obama has issued us our “free health care” cards, I do have to work - well, I’m glad I work there.

Oh, and I have pictures in my cubicle now.  :-)