Monthly Archives: August 2014

Stupid Pumpkin Bandwagon…


Every year, I get slightly annoyed by how early all of the pumpkin posts come out… Everyone has their twist on dishes and drinks – both savory and sweet – on how to use the versatile squash.

And while it’s still hot and we can still swim and sweat, it seems so strange to even begin *thinking* about pumpkin.

Until, this…


Southern Tier Pumking has arrived!

Because I know Pumking can sell out in a hurry, I’m getting it while I can!

I’m still somewhat irked by the influx of all things pumpkin into my inbox. Yet, I am secretly intrigued by the recipes. Such that, last year, I made a Pinterest board called, “Stupid Pumpkin Bandwagon” because, yes, I have jumped on board.

Now… to find out who will have Pumking on tap first in the Twin Cities. Both Groveland Tap and Devil’s Advocate have it in stock. (I called around!) They just aren’t quite ready to tap it yet…

How do you feel about pumpkin flavored dishes?

Have you had Pumking yet this year?


On Saying, “No.”


We all have weaknesses. One of  mine, that I’ve been working on for years, is my tendency to hold grudges. I’d like to think that I’m getting (a little?) better.

But another weakness of mine is that I have a really hard time saying,


I think that may have been the source of some of my Summertime Blues this year.

There were several instances where I had trouble saying “no” this summer, even when saying “yes” didn’t feel good at all. But I did it. I can count at least five occasions this summer where I really wanted to say “no” but almost said “yes.” In the end, I’m so glad that I followed my instincts!

Here’s what I learned:

  • It’s freeing. It feels like a weight lifted. Otherwise, you dread the favor, activity or whatever else that you agreed to. It becomes something you feel obligated to do, not that you want to do.
  • Your real friends don’t get mad when you say “no.” The ones who give you a hard time about it – you can forget them. They aren’t worth your time. They were the ones making you feel pressured anyway.
  • It doesn’t have to be followed up with a string of excuses. Having a list of them may help you justify it to yourself. But all you need is one reason.
  • You need to live your life for yourself, not for someone else.

What’s funny? After discovering these insights, I thought I had this post ready to go. Then, as I was about to hit publish, I realized that just the night before that I didn’t say, “no” when I should have. And I was dealing with the consequences. I was angry and resentful.

So despite my recent successes with saying “no,” I still need some work! I’d rather feel great saying “no” for myself rather than resent someone for feeling obligated to say “yes.”


When I started this post, I had been cleaning out my office. I found an old notebook. I’m not exactly sure what the notes inside were from – perhaps an old direct sales seminar? Maybe a class in college?

But the words on the page reinforced exactly why saying, “No” is important.

It was perfect timing.

Listed in the notebook, in my handwriting, were four main questions, intended to help people determine how to lead their lives in the ways they want. In essence, they can guide you in finding some happiness by defining what you like and what you want.

  1. What do I want my daily life to look like?
  2. What’s on my bucket list?
  3. What would be the perfect day?
  4. What things do I love?

I have no idea when I wrote down these questions; but at the same time, I also had started making a list of answers on the other side of the page.

And what I find fascinating is that I’d probably answer these questions the same way now!

What’s also cool? I can cross off some of the Bucket List items I wrote down!  Like running a 5k and taking a trip to Australia (this fall!)

But what was even more eye-opening is that looking at the way I answered these questions made me realize that I’m still not leading the daily life I want to lead – doing the stuff that makes me feel good. I’m spending too much time feeling obligated to do things that I really don’t want to do. That’s living a boring life, not one with flavor!

I think it’s important to go back to these questions and answer them from time to time. You’d be surprised that by being clear about these things will help you discover how to tweak you life in small ways to make yourself happier.

The one I’m really thinking about? The Perfect Day. What a fun subject to imagine!

Do you have trouble saying “no?”

Have you ever said “yes” when you wanted to say “no?” (Or vice versa.)

How did it make you feel?



Aussie Funnies


Now that I have most or our upcoming fall trip to Australia planned, I’ve been reading some more fun things…

It all started with my Aussie friend Wineaux friend Helen, who posted a link on Americans guessing the meaning of Aussie slang. I honestly only knew five of these. And I know I won’t remember the others.

I’ll be meeting up with some Aussie’s my friends Jen, Kim and I met in New Orleans back on New Year’s Eve 2002. They’ve been giving us some travel tips. I liked this one:

“AUSSIE SLANG:  Can only be taught over drinks at night.”

From that site, I found myself hopping to others…

And then started to roll on the floor laughing… (Well, not literally. We have hardwood floors.)

Australian’s Answer Americans’ Dumb Questions

Outback Steakhouse as Explained by a Real Australian

There’s so much to see and so little time. It’s hard to research a destination when you realize you can’t do it all. I mean, who could see the entire U.S. or even just scratch the surface in two weeks? We’re planning to do as much as we can without burning ourselves out. Hopefully, I’ve created some balance in our itinerary.

We can hardly wait.


What I Learned from #100HappyDays


As of May 1st, I decided to participate in the #100HappyDays Challenge


71% of people who sign up and commit to the challenge don’t complete it, citing the reason is that they are too busy.

Are you really too busy being unhappy that you can’t come up with one thing each day that made you happy?

That statistic made me determined to complete the challenge. I was already writing in a gratitude journal. For this challenge, all I had to do is photograph one moment each day that made me happy and post it to either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

What I was really excited to do was fill up my Gratitude App with photos since it was looking a little light in March and April.

But there are a few interesting things I did not expect with #100Happy Days.

On the Photo Aspect:

  • Sometimes, even if you had a great day, when getting ready for bed, you realize that you forgot to take any photos. Does that mean you fail? I’d often take photos of my pooches and post them the next morning. They always make me smile anyway. Is that a cop out for not looking deeper?
  • Some wonderful things in life can’t be captured in a photo – like the way the breeze feels on your skin, or the high you got from a run. So then I’d share a photo of something outdoorsy or a sweaty selfie – which isn’t really interpretive of the real sentiment.
  • This exercise reinforces the power of visualization.
  • You realize that you now have a little piece of each day of your life for 100 consecutive days. That’s kind of cool.


On the Public Aspect:

  • Making your #100HappyDays public is difficult. People may start to think you are narcissistic or are image crafting. That’s not the point of the challenge.
  • People will make fun of you.
  • The one who makes fun of you the most may even be your spouse.
  • I now see that you can do this challenge privately instead of publicly. I didn’t think doing it publicly would be an issue; but I’ve learned that this kind of thing is more personal to me.
  • For this reason, I’ll stick to my gratitude journal; but Imay continue to collect a photo a day as a collage for the year!

 The Happiness Aspect:

  • I went through a period of summertime blues during #100HappyDays. I think I would have been worse off without the challenge.
  • On those days, I really had to dig deep to find something that I wanted to capture on photo.
  • This is a great practice for anyone who doesn’t already practice gratitude or who needs to get out of a slump.
  • Some may have found my #100HappyDays posts annoying, but what I find more annoying are complaining posts on FB. You know, those people who never have anything good to say and are just fishing for something.
  • If you tend to be a Debbie Downer or find yourself posting negativity, force to edit yourself and deliberately post something positive. You find that it’ll help you feel more positive.

I’m glad I participated in #100HappyDays. Yes, I’d recommend it or some other way, whether public or private to document your gratitude. Here are some resources for you:



There’s not much cookin’ going on this week!


  • Monday – Golf League – perhaps dinner afterward at The Happy Gnome
  • Tuesday – Dinner at my friend Kim’s place
  • Wednesday Andouille Sausage with Red Beans and Rice and a side salad
  • Thursday – Leftovers
  • FridayShrimp with Zucchini & Tomatoes
  • Saturday – My friend Stacy will be in town. I haven’t decided how we’ll dine quite yet!
  • Sunday – TBD




  • Monday – Golf
  • Tuesday Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile
  • Wednesday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile
  • Thursday – Run 1 mile in the am
  • Friday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile
  • Saturday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile
  • Sunday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile

Do you keep a gratitude journal or take photos to chronicle your daily life?

How do you do it?

Do you post publicly or keep things private?


What they did *after* their summer vacation…


Sophie & Shamrock Saturday

Last week, I shared what Sophie & Sham did on their Summer Vacation. But what did they do when it was all over? I think they were a wee bit tired…

photo 1(5)

photo 2(6)


photo 3(5)

Then came the long drive home…

photo 1(4)

I had never seen Sophie fall asleep in her water dish before…

photo 2(5)

Happy Saturday!