Stayed out swing/blues dancing last night past 4am – asleep after 5.  There was an awesome live band – trio w/ pianist/singer, bass player, and drummer, which followed from the evening dance to the late night blues house party to play a set.

And still made it to church this morning to sing in the choir!

Two very different communities & different kinds of music, but equally welcoming and friendly, and I’m glad to be a part of both & feel at home 5 months after moving here.

First Church & Blue Sky

After a long week of job hunting, glad that it’s the weekend!

Time to get back to my blog and post some photos to brighten this overcast day – remember the beautiful blue skies from last weekend?

The First Church – here’s their website: www.firstchurchofmilford.org

The contrast of light & shadows against the blue sky struck me – looked like a picture perfect day, and I think a wedding going on as well – good day for it!

I was returning from a church picnic, having just taught a dance lesson in the Charleston. (more info on that dance style here)  It’s one of my favorite dance styles, really fun & energetic & the basic step is fairly simple.  A dance from the 1920s, it helped to influence swing dancing and the lindy hop in the 1930s.  A couple different people afterwards suggested I offer a “Swing Cardio” class in Milford.  Maybe I will!  Wouldn’t be a bad side gig to a nursing career, and would still be focused on community health.

“Blue skies, smilin’ at me…

…nothin’ but blue skies.. do I see”

Let’s Make the World a Better Place

One of my favorite blogs to follow is the blog “Bad Astronomy” by Phil Plait – offering a glimpse into the scientific and skeptic community.  If you have an interest in astronomy or science, I recommend checking it out!  Often I just scroll through and admire the amazing beauty of our universe through images of star filled skies and swirling galaxies.

I also find other inspiring posts – such as a speech made by astronomer Pamela Gay about “Making the World Better,”  and wanted to pass it along.  I like her idea of just doing something, and then asking if the world minds only afterwards!  And as they say, don’t let the turkeys get you down!

In her speech, what I call the turkeys, she refers to as trolls, and makes reference to the movie The Neverending Story, which was also a movie from my childhood.  In this movie, the wolf says that “people who have no hopes are easy to control.”  In another part of the movie, the childlike empress asks Bastian – Why don’t you do what you dream?  and he responds – I can’t!  I have to keep my feet on the ground!

How hard is it also for us to do what we dream about, to let our feet fly off the ground, to not let fear and despair control us?

“Para volar hay que empezar asumiendo riesgos, si no quieres riesgos lo mejor quizá sea resignarse y seguir caminando para siempre.”   – Jorge Bucay

This quote means that to fly, you have to start taking risks.  If you don’t want risks then at best you resign yourself to walking forever.

What do you dream about, what would take your feet off the ground?

“Make the World Better”  – link to the blog post by Pamela Gay

Good & Bad Carma

In an earlier entry I talked about my good luck at finding a parking space up on a hill, avoiding the flash flood that occurred shortly after.  My streak of good luck ended this past Wednesday, when I had my first ever flat tire.  I made a quick turn into a stone curb, and “pop” went the tire!  All I could do was drive into a nearby lot across the street while the air leaked out.

Luckily, my brother was on the scene and he knew how to change a tire.  I got to see how a tire is changed for the first time, and saw that it’s really not that difficult!  And the directions are in the manual.  And it seems that many people are willing to help out: even with my brother there changing the tire, someone walked over from a restaurant across the street to see if we needed help.  So even when something happens like this, it’s a good reminder that we all get by with help from our friends, that things go wrong and that’s life, but there are good people out there to lend a hand when it’s needed and make the world a better place.

I had been on my way to join some church choir members after our first rehearsal, and so after that I was even more ready for the company of some friends and a beer.  And again, all I could do was to smile & laugh about it – not much use getting frustrated over an already flat tire.  But despite trying to shake it off with a positive attitude, it did shake me up a bit, and I realized that I had locked my keys now in the car!  Once again, I had to rely on the generosity and help of friends.  A member from the choir drove me back home, so I could get my spare key and get into my car to drive home on my spare tire.  At this point you just have to laugh.

That was my Wednesday night.  Some good things came out of it though.

1. my big brother got to help me out – and show me how to change a tire

2. I had a great conversation with and got to know a choir member better on the drive to and from my house

3. I found online a good place to buy tires by reading google reviews, and now can recommend them to others.  So I hope you don’t run into tire troubles like me, but if you do – here’s where I went and got great customer service to replace my tire:

Discount Tire Center on 860 Boston Post Rd, West Haven, CT

Here’s to changing bad carma to good!  :)

Egret Feathers

Dishes are complean…  or at least a portion of them are, and I wanted to share a fun post with pictures!

Spotting something white out on the lawn I went to investigate, and this is what I saw:

The feather of a beautiful Great White Egret

and here’s from another angle:

In this photo it reminds me of a quill, poised to begin writing among the moss & leaves.

Last year about this time, I took a series of photos of Great white egrets which like to roost in the trees in this area, and this was one of my favorites:

taken August 24, 2011 at 7:20pm in Woodmont, CT      (click to enlarge)

don’t think any words I have can add to this picture

Why clean when you can complean?

Just a few days ago I invented a new word, by accident, “complean” which my spell-check doesn’t like.  It came about when I was saying to myself “I’m going to get this place completely clean” and it came out “complean” – and a new word came into being!  I’m not sure how trendy this word will be, but I shared it with my parents and now this blog, which my parents plus a few other people read, so that’s a start.

It can be used as a noun – meaning the state of being completely clean, or a verb, as in to make something completely clean.

It can be used as a motivation, to include the goal of completeness with the action of cleaning, rather than just an indeterminate amount of cleaning.  You could argue that there’s no such thing as complean as a state of being, since things are continually getting dirty, but it could exist as a goal, and an action towards reaching that goal.

Growing up, my room was always the opposite of complean – in fact, I remember seeing the winner of a contest for the messiest room in a kids magazine, and thinking that I could’ve beaten it!  It’s possible to live that way, as I did by separating my disorganized room from my organized school stuff, and developing an intuition for where everything was located in seeming chaos.

But I’ve found it’s much simpler now with less stuff and less clutter, and it’s part of the reason for my current philosophy about simplifying your life.

Speaking of, I’ve got to go complean the dishes!

Easy Tilapia – 5 Stars!!

Hello Again!  It’s been a while since I last posted, and I’ve wanted to write but been distracted by one thing or another – and so much has happened!  I’ve been taking karate for well over a month now and had my first test in karate, had a job interview, attended two showers for two cousins, had my parents visiting in town, injured myself & recovered, and now I’m studying for a class I’m taking Monday & Tuesday – a PALS certification to put on my nursing resume.

One thing in particular I wanted to share was coming across a really fabulous recipe, since I’m having fun experimenting with new recipes & learning how to cook.  I’ve been wanting to learn how to cook fish, so I asked my aunt where I could buy some good fresh fish.  I learned that Whole Foods and the Stop&Shop both have fresh fish.  I’d been avoiding the Whole Foods because of expense, but they actually had a sale on tilapia when I went & I got a couple filets for just over $4.

Now I had the fish, but I still needed the recipe.  Thanks to Allrecipes.com I found an easy tilapia recipe for which I had most of the ingredients.  And it sounded delicious, but it turned out fantastic!!  If you haven’t checked out Allrecipes.com, I highly recommend it.  Not only read the recipes, but the tips given by people who have tried the recipes.  This is what I did, reading the top reviewer which some 150+ people had said was helpful.  Wish I had a picture to share, but was too busy enjoying the dish!  :)  Next time I cook something that I want to share, I’ll try to remember.

The Recipe:

Here is the link to the recipe, and I’ll also describe what I did below:

I started soaking the fish in milk for several minutes, then coated in flour seasoned with pepper, garlic salt, paprika, basil, cayenne, ginger, and thyme.  Mince garlic & sauté in olive oil, then added the fish and sautéed on each side for about 3 minutes, also sprinkling each side with Parmesan cheese.  Half the lemon juice was also added while cooking the fish.

I removed the fish to a plate, and used the same pan to make the sauce.  The sauce was made with a couple small chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup white wine, the juice from the other half of the lemon, 1 or 2 Tablespoons butter, and some capers.

That was it, and the sauce just cooked for a few minutes, and then poured over each fish on separate plates.

As a testament to the 5 star rating – my mom was visiting and doesn’t particularly like fish, and was only going to have a small portion.  But we both loved it & had no trouble polishing it off – so this is one to make again & to share.