Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Erin's No-Bake Energy Balls

The "original" of this recipe comes from one of my favorite bloggers, The Frugal Girl, via Money Saving Mom via Smashed Peas and Carrots, and it's my new favorite treat.  I'm trying to ween myself from processed sugar and this recipe calls for honey instead of white sugar, so I'm a big fan.  The sweetness of the honey and chocolate balances off the oats, and the texture is chewy without being gooey.  Come to think of it, these are a creamier and denser version of a granola bar.  Here's my adapted recipe:


1/2 cup peanut butter (I'm a huge fan of Laura Scudder's creamy pb)
1/3 cup of honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (if you have the choice, get the finest shredded one you can)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips


In a medium bowl stir together wet ingredients: peanut butter, honey, and vanilla.  Stir in oats, coconut, and mini chocolate chips.  Make sure everything's completely mixed.

Refrigerate mixture 30 minutes to make mixture easier to handle.  Scoop out 1 tablespoon or less and press to compact and roll into a ball.  Makes about 18-24 balls.

Store in the refrigerator.

Easy-peazy lemon squeezy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

White Bread

I recently discovered this recipe and am in love!  It gives me a crunchy crust with a hearty and moist inside.  It's the best of both worlds.  The simple ingredients make it even more appealing.  There's no added sugar or butter.  So, it feels pretty healthy.  The first time I tried this recipe I ran out of white flour in the middle of making it, so I substituted about a cup of whole wheat flour and it still turned out well.  I'll admit, the all white flour version tasted better, but the appeal of whole wheat has me thinking about trying it again.

The original recipe comes from James Peterson's Baking cookbook, here's my adaptation.

White Bread

4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups room temperature water
1 /1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast, room temperature
1 teaspoon salt

Measure flour into bowl of stand mixer.  Use the back of your fist to make a deep well in the middle of the flour.  Pour in the water and sprinkle yeast over the water.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Mix, add salt and mix more.

Add dough hook.  Mix for 2 minutes to moisten flour (or 3 minutes if by hand).  Cover bowl gently with plastic wrap (you can use this same sheet of plastic wrap 2 more times - so keep it) and let sit for 20 minutes.  Knead dough on medium speed for 7 minutes (or 15 minutes if by hand), or until smooth.  It's okay to turn on the mixer to high to get the dough to slap against the sides of the bowl.

Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 2 hours.  Coat your bread pan with cooking spray.

Punch down dough, turn out onto very lightly floured surface and press dough into a rectangle.  Fold both ends (the shorter sides) into the center.  Start rolling the dough fairly tightly toward you until the seams are facing up.  Pinch the seams to seal.  Using the sides of your hands, push down on the edges of the cylinder.  Fold the edges in and pinch the seams to seal.  Place roll in bread pan, seam side down.  Spray one side of plastic wrap with cooking spray and gently cover pan.

After 30 minutes check to see if it's almost the size you want in the finished loaf (if not, keep checking on it until it is).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, making sure the top rack is in the middle of the oven, with a second rack on the bottom.

Fill a small bowl with luke warm water and set aside.  Fill a sheet pan with a 2 inch rim with 1 inch of hot tap water.  Place on bottom rack of oven.  Remove plastic wrap and slide loaf onto rack over the pan of water.  Immediately dip your fingers in the small bowl of water and flick water on the oven walls, repeat.  Close oven and wait 30 seconds, then repeat.  Bake about 25 minutes, until top is golden brown.  Let bread cool on cooling rack until cool enough to turn the bread out of the pan and finish cooling on its own.

This makes 1 loaf.  To store, cover the cut end with a piece of aluminum foil and place loaf inside a paper bag.  This keeps the crust crunch.  Of course you can keep the bread in a plastic bag, but that will soften the crust.

May I suggest enjoying it topped with butter and homemade strawberry freezer jam.  I'll post a freezer jam tutorial soon!

Don't be discouraged if you are new to bread baking and it doesn't turn out.  I've had plenty of loaves not turn out right when I've tried a new recipe.  Just keep trying.  Practice makes perfect!

Cajun Pasta Fresca

This recipe originally came from allrecipes.com.  It's one of our go-to recipes and makes enough for lunch leftovers.  The fresh tomatoes give the dish a bright flavor and the cajun seasoning brings complexity and spiciness.

Tonight, we were faced with the all too common dreaded question, "What are we going to do for dinner?"  We both don't make it home from work until 6:30 pm and we've been so busy lately, we haven't meal planned and grocery shopped properly for months now(!)  Eating out is just too easy a solution for our tired brains.  But, we're getting better about finding creative solutions, because let's face it, agreeing on a casual dining restaurant (no fast food, thank you very much) and driving wherever it is ends up being a hassle in and of itself.

Okay, back to tonight.  The husband suggested (somewhat jokingly?) Panda Express because it's his #1 favorite option.  The problem is (and he knows it very well) I now loath Panda Express.  I got tired of it a year or so ago as I started trying to eat more vegetarian options when we went out.  So, that means what I end up ordering is a Panda Bowl with mixed veggies with eggplant.  Not very exciting (even if he will let me steal a bite or two of his orange chicken - my achilles heel!)

I digress, so, I told my husband he could take himself to Panda Express and I'd scrounge the kitchen for something suitable for myself.  Apparently, he didn't want Panda Express badly enough to venture solo.  So, he made a cup-of-noodle-soup-like-thing, which does not appeal to me at all.  I started thinking about what meager ingredients we had, what I could make with the least amount of effort, but still was somewhat healthy.  I then remembered the pint and a half of three different varieties/sizes of tomatoes my friend brought me last week from her backyard garden (I'm so envious!).  I had no idea what to do with all of those garden-grown tomatoes until tonight when I also remembered my Cajun Pasta Fresca recipe that calls for 7 Roma tomatoes, and I mentally calculated that the tomatoes I had were equivalent in volume.  I felt adventurous and inspired to make it work, it sounded like a fun challenge.

Apparently I've never posted this recipe!  Bizzare.  I must have taken pictures of it several times but never actually sat down and wrote the recipe.  It's okay, because I linked to the original recipe above, so you can follow it there.  Just know that I omit the parsley and always half that recipe for the two of us (also my husband is a complete omnivore, so I'll cook up some chicken breast on the side to mix in with his portion).  It gives us plenty, plus left overs for each of us for lunch the next day. Below I'm giving you the recipe as I made it tonight, and it turned out just as good (dare I say better?).


1/2 box dried spaghetti (we like Barilla Plus in the yellow box because it's multigrain)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped (my mincer was dirty, otherwise I would have opted to use that)
1 1/2 pints of fresh from the garden tomatoes in any variety and combination, rinsed and chopped to no bigger than 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or less, depending on your salt preference)
1 1/2 teaspoons cajun seasoning (we use McCormick's)
1/4 cup shredded colby jack cheese ('cause that's what I had in my fridge, and I'll probably opt to use it next time as well)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (the kind in a can, 'cause that's the only kind I had - the legit kind is always preferable)


Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Break spaghetti in half and dump in boiling water.  Cook 8 minutes, or al dente.  Drain and set aside.

While waiting for the water to boil, start heating up oil in large skillet over medium heat.

Briefly saute garlic in heated oil until fragrant, 30-60 seconds. You do not want it to brown.

Stir in tomatoes with their juice and sprinkle with salt, and mix up.  Let the mixture bubble for several minutes, then mash slightly with a fork.  It should be really easy.  If it's not, let the mixture continue to bubble a few more minutes and try again.  Once the whole mixture is nice and mashed, stir in cajun seasoning and cheeses and mix.  Add spaghetti and toss until coated.  Serve it up and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Loaded Cheesy Garlic Bread (Updated)

UPDATE: I baked this from frozen, wrapped in foil, and it turned out just fine.  Next time I'll consider omitting the mayo all together because it was just too overpowering!


One of my most favorite recipe blogs is Favorite Family Recipes.  I can't remember how I stumbed upon them, but I added them to my Google Reader a while back and 99% of the recipes are ones that I really want to try.  They use ingredients that are "normal" and in my comfort zone, and the recipes are ones that both my husband and I can enjoy. 

I recently saw their post for Loaded Cheesy Garlic Bread* and it looked like something my husband, a pizza lover, would like.  Score.  Plus, it's something that you can make ahead and freeze for a quick dinner.  Erica says she does it as a side, but we ended up getting plenty full on our portions, so this would be a great family dinner.

I opted to take my French bread baguette and cut it in half width-wise, and then halved each half length-wise.  I cooked two quarters, and froze the other two for later.  We haven't yet baked up the frozen ones, so I can't comment on those, but the fresh ones got the "do over" approval from my husband, which is a great sign.

Since my husband is pickier than I am with food I ended up mixing only the ingredients he would want, then I split the mix and added in the rest of the ingredients.  I've modified the recipe the way I made it, but of course head over to their website for the original recipe.

  • 1 loaf french bread, cut in half widthwise, then again lengthwise (you'll end up with 4 quarters)
  • 1/2 c. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
  • 2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise (next time I'll use a bit less since we're not big Mayonnaise fans)
  • 3 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 small can sliced olives
  • 40 slices turkey pepperoni, chopped (20 for us combined, then another 20 for my husband's half)
  • 1/2 c. mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced and chopped
  • Preheat oven to 325-degrees.  Line baking sheet with Silpat or foil.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, mayonnaise, cheese and half of pepperoni using a spatula or wooden spoon.
  • Move half of mixture to another mixing box and add remaining pepperoni.  Spread evenly over two quarters.
  • Back in the large mixing bowl add olives, mushrooms, and onions.  Spread evenly over two quarters.
  • Bake two quarters at 325-degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is slightly crispy.
  • Wrap remaining two quarters in foil, then put in ziplock bag or wrap in saran wrap.  Tuck in freezer for another meal.
*I see Garlic in the name, but the recipe doesn't call for it . . . odd
Comment below if you try it, and let me know what you think!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Organizing your Email Inbox

I came across this interesting and well-written article from Unclutterer.com.  I thought you might be interested in it.

I'm pretty Type A when it comes to personal and work emails, so I generally don't have a huge problem with an overflowing email inbox.  But, I do know some people who are inbox hoarders.  Admittedly, I do sometimes get busy and my inbox gets unruly, much like a neglected lawn will tend to get pretty scraggly if you don't mow it for a few weeks.

This article is pretty minimalist on the approach to email.  It definitely encourages you to delete each email as soon as you identify the action item.  This is a bit radical for me, but I think something to aspire to, or at least find a happy balance.  If I'm being honest, I'll admit that of the emails I do save in subfolders thinking they'll come in handly some day, only 1-3% of those emails are ever referred to again.

My biggest take home from the article was the use of Evernote.  Although, I could see someone moving their hoarding habit from email to Evernote.  Still, it's a thoughtful way to stay more organized and in a "doing" mode.

Take a read and then let me know what you think in the comments below.  Is it too extreme or sound advice?  How do you manage your email inbox?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Personal Mission Statement

I was trying to get some resources for my Mission Statement and of course went to Google.  I came across a really helpful tool from Franklin Covey and encourage you to check it out and see what happens when you create a Personal Mission Statement.  I did one for myself first before I did one for this blog and it really was a very cool experience.  It helped me focus on what's most important and it gave form to some goals and thoughts I've had running through my mind off and on for the past few years.  Most importantly, I felt it allowed me to believe in the possibility my deepest, darkest dream of being a novelist could be a reality if I choose to pursue it.

It only takes 5-10 minutes, so don't be intimidated by all the steps.

Here is my personal mission statement:

I am at my best when I am challenged.
I will try to prevent times when I am underutilized.
I will enjoy my work by finding employment where I can create and organize.
I will find enjoyment in my personal life through trying new things.
I will find opportunities to use my natural talents and gifts such as listening to others, empathizing, and teaching.
I can do anything I set my mind to. I will be a novelist.
My life's journey is searching for my passion so that I can leave the world a little better than I found it, and helping others along the way, so that I may die in peace.
I will be a person who has my friends and family with me. The sum is bigger than it's parts, and I am who I am because of each of them.
My most important future contribution to others will be making them feel like the most important person in the room.

I will stop procrastinating and start working on:
  • being less introverted and shy,
  • wasting less time watching TV, and
  • spending more time visiting and communicating with the people I care about.

I will strive to incorporate the following attributes into my life:
  • making others feel special and important,
  • being more exuberant, and
  • loving everyone.

I will constantly renew myself by focusing on the four dimensions of my life:
  • committing to exercising daily by not sleeping in late,
  • studying the scriptures with greater purpose,
  • continuing to seek for knowledge-informally or in a school setting, and
  • becoming more confident.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Beggars: To Give or Not to Give? That is My Question

Photo from lds.org

I was waiting outside my husband's office a few months ago, reading a book, when a homeless looking guy walks up to me and just stands there. "Hello," I say. He mumbles something unintelligible. His mouth is full of granola, which makes sense since he's holding a plastic baggie with granola. "You're hungry?" I attempt to translate. He shakes his head yes. "I'm sorry, I don't have any food on me," I tell him. "Come up the street and buy me some rice," he responds. "I'm sorry, I don't have money to spare." He starts walking away mumbling at me something that sounds like "eight years," and that I don't mean "sorry" because it doesn't come from my heart, then calls me a b#%*+.  I felt a angry - I did mean sorry from my heart!

In fact, the subject of the "right" response to beggars has been on my mind a lot lately.  Especially after reading The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.  The book is famous for portraying the grisly reality of the Chicago meat packing district in the early 1900s, but I thought more disturbing was the plight of the immigrant family and their seemingly futile struggle to make ends meet.  They suffered hunger, cold, and death, despite working hard and being good, moral people.  The descriptions of starvation hit home to me, reminding me of the beggars I see daily.  I started to think how if they are hungry, like the characters in this book are hungry, and if I am repulsed by the inaction by the people the immigrant family meets - then shouldn't I feel compelled to provide the beggars with something.  So, why don't I?

This inner struggle becomes more real as I ponder the idea that if I presume to be Christian, which I do, then I should be acting as Christ would, if he were here.  Of course he's perfect and he would be able to tell the scam artist from the person in genuine need.  But, what does he ask of me who can't make that judgement?  I think he asks me to give to anyone who asks (Luke 6:30) and that when I do good to others, I am doing good to my Savior (Matthew 25:35-40).

Around this time I had heard a story of a friend who had shared a simple granola bar from her bag with a beggar.  I thought, hey, that would allow me to help people without just giving them money.  So, I tried that the next time I came across a beggar who said he was hungry.  I offered him the granola bar and he said no!  He told me he had a ton of granola bars, but what he really needed was-  And I just cut him off there and walked away, I didn't want to hear the rest of the sentence.  Apparently he was hungry, but just wanted cash.  It validated my earlier concerns, and I haven't offered a beggar anything since.  I feel so jaded after that experience.

I am just as conflicted about how to respond to beggars as I was before.  My heart goes out to anyone who is in need.  Yet, if I give to one beggar, really shouldn't I be giving to each beggar - because how can I judge who needs it and who doesn't?  But, I can't afford to give to each beggar.  But, can I spiritually afford to do nothing?

What are your thoughts on this issue?  What do you think and do when you encounter a beggar?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Favorite Friday: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber

Photo from mrclean.com
 A long time ago, I used to do a weekly Favorite Friday post about a product I really liked and wanted to share.  I stopped because I was running out of things that I absolutely loved, until now.  So, here's a brand new Favorite Friday for you.

Back in college I cleaned houses to help pay the bills.  I used lots of different products to clean bath tubs and showers, which I hated cleaning even more than toilets.  First of all, it's really awkward to clean and rinse without actually getting in the shower and getting wet.  Second, soap scum is really difficult to clean.  There were a lot of decent and good products I used, but nothing that I was super happy with all around.

(Disclaimer: I'm sure if you're on Pinterest you've doubtless come across a million home remedies for magical cleaners.  I can't speak to those - I've always been curious to try them but have never taken the time.  Oh, and I'm sure there are more economical and environmentally friendly products, but again, I'm not going to speak to those options.)

I bought Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber and thought for once there's truth in advertising - it really worked like "magic."  In the past I'd used the regular Magic Eraser and was pretty happy with it, so I was curious about the Bath Scrubber.  In the pack I bought at Target I got two white scrubber pads with some grooves in it.  They are about the size and thickness of a regular sponge.  The directions tell you to get it wet and squeeze it a few times to get the cleanser activated and it foams a little bit to let you know it's ready to go.  Then you scrub away and rinse the soap scum down the drain.  Simple as that.  For tougher soap scum, I had to go over certain areas to get through all the layers.  It took some patience, but it worked, and was worth the extra effort.

To know if this is a product that will work for you, I think you should know my cleaning routine.  I have a tile shower tub with glass doors.  Every day after showering we squeegie the glass doors, and about once a week I take Soft Scrub and an old rag and go over all the surfaces.  This weekly maintenance does a pretty good job.  But, after a month or so, I can notice the build up on the floor and the glass.  That's when I break out the Bath Scrubber.

Be warned, this is pretty much a one-use product.  Maybe you can get away with two uses if you're starting out with a tub that's in good shape.  You'll find the scrubber starts breaking apart, and without the built in cleanser, it doesn't do nearly as good a job at getting the soap scum.

Have you tried the Bath Scrubber?  What do you think?  Comments below.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

I had a teacher in 4th grade who cheered us along one day, saying "Today is the first day of the rest of your life!"  I really didn't get along with this teacher and I just didn't understand this quote he shared, and so for the longest time I'd always hated it. 

It's still a bit annoying to me in its cheesiness, but I can now appreciate the message of fresh starts and looking forward.  I suppose it's appropriate the phrase is atributed to Charles E. "Chuck" Dederich, Sr., who founded a program similar to A.A. for substance abusers in the 1960s.  Although, you don't have to be an addict to find peace in the thought that today is a blank canvas.  No one is immune from struggle or defeat.  What I like best about this phrase is that it's forward looking - so what if you screwed up yesterday, that was yesterday and today is here, so try today to be who you want to be.  It's never too late to try to turn over a new leaf.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Carpe Diem 30

This is day 30 of my project to seize each day. You can learn more about what inspired this 30-day project here

Well, this is the last day of my 30 day tribute to the life of Chris Rudolph.  I didn't do anything special just because today was day 30.  Maybe I should have, but maybe if I did it wouldn't have felt authentic.  

Regardless, they way I seized the day was by not procrastinating.  I'm a huge procrastinator and always have been.  It's something I constantly try to overcome.  But, when I came home from work instead of plopping in front of the TV and vegging (which is what I wanted to do) I decided to be proactive and start dinner and do the dishes.    (So, I realize this sounds pretty lame and basic to you, but trust me, the way our crazy schedule has been lately, this is kinda huge, sadly.)  I turned on a podcast and went to work.  Somehow listening to something while I'm working in the kitchen makes it so much easier.  I felt pretty proud of myself when all was said and done.  I definitely felt much better about myself for not being lazy and procrastinating these "chores."  The strangest part is that I felt like I had as much energy, if not more, than I had when I started.

Have you ever noticed how doing things like watching TV to rest only make you more tired and lethargic?

Lesson learned: just DO it already!


Honestly, I feel a bit sad now that I'm done with my project.  I am happy, though, that I accomplished what I set out to do, which was honor the life and memory of a friend by trying to do my small part in continuing his legacy of seizing each day.  I do not pretend to come one tenth of one percent close to what Chris accomplished in his 30 years.  I'm only me and can only do what I can do.  But I learned I can do better than I've been doing.  I can do more in my own life to cherish each day and live life more fully. 

One of the biggest lessons I've learned from the past 30 days is that you find what you look for.  In looking for the wonder in the world, for the good and the exciting, I saw it.  I can tell you without a doubt that the things I saw these past 30 days I wouldn't have seen if I hadn't been looking.  I would have missed out on so much by just not paying attention.  

The other big lesson I learned is that we all have power that we don't even realize.  When I started this project I had no idea how many people would read the posts.  I was shocked by the responses I got from people who were inspired to do something in their own lives to seize a day or a moment.  It really epitomizes, rightly so, Chris' influence perfectly.  I feel so honored to have passed his torch, so to speak, to other people, and I can only hope that the influence will continue to live on and never die.  A living tribute to an incredible man and friend.

So, may you feel inspired to do something to seize the day.  Something that spreads love, laughter and joy to those around you.  And may that enthusiasm continue to spread the world over.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Carpe Diem 29

This is day 29 of my project to seize each day. You can learn more about what inspired this 30-day project here.

This has a bit to do with the problem I was explaining on day 28 with trying to get into a routine.  I'm learning some times you just have to commit, and if you make a mistake, just keep trying.  So, today, I slept in.  Again.  Ug!  So, I was pretty irritated with myself all day about it.  On my way home I decided that I should just go for the easy 3 mile run I had missed in the morning.  It was still light out and my husband wasn't going to be home from work for probably another hour, so I really didn't have an excuse not to do it.  So, I seized the day, or what was left of it, and did my run.  It was rough, I'll admit.  Running first thing in the morning I feel much more energized and brisk, by the end of the day I'm tired and my legs feel like bricks.  But, the important thing is that I did it.
Also, on my way home I saw this photcar with "Carpe Diem" on the window and just had to share with you all.  I'm not sure the story behind it, but it was just too perfect.
Lesson learned: it's okay if you fail, you just have to keep trying.  You may not be able to accomplish your goal in the time and way you expected and that's okay, because the bottom line is that you accomplished it.

Carpe Diem 28

This is day 28 of my project to seize each day. You can learn more about what inspired this 30-day project here.

I don't think there's one big thing I did, but I did do several small things.  The two most "interesting" are:

1.  Since I was up late Saturday night babysitting, I severely slept in Sunday morning (unintentionally).  When I got up I was a little bummed with myself thinking I wouldn't have time to do my yoga routine.  I've been a bit of a slacker lately in the workout department and my general mood has taken a hit for my laziness.  I'm one of those people who need to work out to get those endorphins pumping so I don't walk around like a sad zombie all the time.  I've been having a heck of a time getting back into a regular routine since I finished my marathon in October.  Since then I've been pretty hit or miss with my work outs.  So, last week I came up with a detailed schedule and Sunday was supposed to be my Day 1.  I digress.  So, there I am doing my daily cat brushing and meditating feeling sorry for myself for sleeping in and missing my yoga and had a little ahaa! moment.  I didn't have any place to be for a few hours so I figured, why not just do my work out now?  So, I did.  I felt so much better afterwards.

2.  I made some last minute bread sticks to go with some Italian Wedding Soup I made.  I'll post the recipes for those soon.  I ran out of regular flour and substituted wheat flour.  They turned out fine, but admittedly were not as yummy as the regular version.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Carpe Diem 27

This is day 27 of my project to seize each day. You can learn more about what inspired this 30-day project here.

Today I had a date with one of my nieces. It was such a treat to be able to hang with her one on one and get to know her better

I don't have any children of my own so it's become more and more important to me to build stronger relationships with my nieces and nephews.

I babysit two of my nephews today. They are adorable and so smart. I love their hugs and cuddles.

For me there's nothing more rewarding than quality time with my family. I cherish days like these!

Carpe Diem 26

This is day 26 of my project to seize each day. You can learn more about what inspired this 30-day project here.

For day 26 I got up early and did some yoga.

At lunch I stole away to get out of the office and go for a walk. The sun was out and it was beautiful. I've been staying in at lunch lately because it's easy, but being outside is so much more restful.

Later that night my husband took me out to a nice restaurant for dinner that was some place we had never tried before. There's something about exploring new places that really excite me.

All is all an excellent end to a busy week.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Carpe Diem 25

This is day 25 of my project to seize each day. You can learn more about what inspired this 30-day project here.

Today I went to book club even though I wasn't able to finish the book. I'm so glad I did. It was just 4 of us and no one else had read the book either! We just chatted. It was so nice to have some girl time and get to know the women from my church better. Getting to know women outside Sunday helps me develop more meaningful relationships and feel more connected. That's something I have struggled with in the past and it feels good to be overcoming it.

Lesson learned: take time to develop relationships with others to be more connected.

Carpe Diem 24

This is day 24 of my project to seize each day. You can learn more about what inspired this 30-day project here.

Day 24 I hung out with two of my big brothers. I love my family and I have some really cool siblings. As a little kid my brothers avoided me, so it's still a trip some times to think they actually wanted to hang out with me.

Lesson learned: family relationships are important. If you can, spend time and get to know them better. If there's bad feelings, forgive and move on. If you can't forgive, instead develop close friendships.

Carpe Diem 23

This is day 23 of my project to seize each day. You can learn more about what inspired this 30-day project here.

So, on day 23 I decided to stop talking about something and actually act.

I've always been conflicted about how to respond to homeless people. On the one hand I am a Christian and believe I should love my neighbor and share when they are in need. On the other hand I'm pretty jaded about homeless people. I understand some beg as a career, try to guilt you, or use the donated money for drugs or alcohol. And, where do you draw the line-if you give to one person shouldn't you give to the next? Do you give to the same person every time you see them? So, I've been really torn between my heart and mind about how I should respond in a way that satisfies my religious beliefs and what's practical.

It's especially been on my mind since I've been working in the city and see homeless people daily. I also happened to read The Jungle recently and felt even more concerned about humanity. So a few weeks ago I reasoned that I would keep a granola bar on me, so when I came across someone saying they were hungry I could give them something besides money. That way I could satisfy my religious belief to share with my brother in need and my practical belief that if someone says they are hungry I'll give them food instead of money so I don't enable a drug habit.

Well, day 23 on my way home there was a man sitting in front of the train station with a sign that said "Hungry" and a paper cup. I leaned over and asked him if he would like a granola bar that I had pulled out of my bag. In a condescending tone he said he had a whole stack of them, but what he really wanted was-and that's where I cut him off saying "oh, you don't want it. Okay." and walked away. I really didn't want to hear it.

So, now I'm feeling pretty jaded. I'll offer again eventually to someone else, but it's going to take a while not to feel so gullible.

What do you do when you see a beggar?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Carpe Diem 22

This is day 22 of my project to seize each day. You can learn more about what inspired this 30-day project here.

Today we went to look at a model home in a new development near where we live. We've been curious about it and have wanted to check it out. At the spur of the moment this afternoon we decided to go check it out.

We're not house shopping. Yet. We're actually signing a new lease at our current apartment. But, now that our lives are starting to settle down we're ready to start thinking about what's next.

Carpe Diem 21

This is day 21 of my project to seize each day. You can learn more about what inspired this 30-day project here.

The day started out on the right foot. I rolled out of bed when my alarm went off at 6:30 am. I did my meditation and had my QT with our cat. Then I went for a run. It's been raining most of the week so I knew I wasn't going to bother with the dirt trail. Instead I hit the bike path.

I usually run with music and my eyes focused on the path. I tend to ignore the people I pass by. Not this day!

With seizing the day on the forefront of my mind I ran without music so I could enjoy the run for what it was. I kept my head up and my eyes forward instead of down. And I said "good morning" as I came across other people on the trail. That sounds easy, but it's not for me because I'm naturally a shy person. A little more than half of the people acknowledged my greeting and either smiled or returned the greeting. Even so it made me feel more connected and more a part of the community of early morning trail users.

Because I was choosing to seize the day I was looking for positive things to share. So when I came across a low hanging tree branch saturated by rain I noticed how beautiful and bright the green leaves were for St. Patrick's Day, rather than be annoyed that it was in my way.

A lot of life is what you make of it. You'll find what you're looking for - whether it's the good in what's around you or the bad.

Acknowledging and reaching out to those you come in contact by saying a simple "hello" enriches your experience of the world around you and helps you feel more connected. Try it if you're feeling low and you won't feel low for long.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Carpe Diem 20

This is day 20 of my project to seize each day.  You can learn more about what inspired this 30-day project here.  

Today I walked in the rain. Without my umbrella. It made me feel like a kid again :)

Carpe Diem 19

This is day 19 of my project to seize each day.  You can learn more about what inspired this 30-day project here.  

Yesterday I went to a baby shower for a friend. Normally I avoid baby showers, but I decided to put my issues behind me and went and had a great time. I met some new people and chatted with some I already knew. I even volunteered to draw in the pictionary game :) When I got back home and sat and thought about it, the things I was worried about weren't even an issue.

Lesson learned: get over yourself and enjoy opportunities to celebrate and get to know other people better. Appreciate being part of a community.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Carpe Diem 18

This is day 18 of my project to seize each day.  You can learn more about what inspired this 30-day project here.  

Today was another rainy day.  I got off the train grateful for the advantages of daylight savings.  My husband was working late and I was in no particular hurry to get home so as I was leaving the station I decided to take the long way home.  It's really not much longer, but I'm usually in a hurry so I take advantage of every second I can.

I'd never walked that way home from the station before and I thought, what the heck?  Why not!  I opened up my umbrella and found myself looking down at the ground, weaving through the people ahead of me-I guess on auto pilot hurry mode.

A gentleman passed me and asked me which way the train was headed that just pulled out of the station.  As I continued on my way I caught the eye of a friend from church and smiled hello.  Small world.  Isn't it funny to think of ripple effects like that?

As I continued on my way I noticed just how much prettier it is on that side of the station.  I decided to snap some pictures as I enjoyed my walk.  I think one of them is of a walnut tree, if you look closely you should be able to see the black walnuts.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Carpe Diem 17

Today I just paused amidst the hustle and bustle of the commute home to appreciate the beauty around me. Now that I'm a little jaded by the big city I find it really easy to complain about the bad smells, dirt, smog, etc. It's often difficult to see the beauty. I took a few pictures. There's nothing dramatic or particularly appealing, but to me there is beauty in the busy movement, color and lights.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Carpe Diem 15 & 16

It's a bit of a cheat, but I kinda did the same thing for yesterday and today.  Please don't be upset :)

I've been playing around with iMovie, making a film for my nursery class at church.  I've never worked with the program and have been messing around with it, watching tutorials, and bumbling my way through.

It all started a few weeks ago when a co-leader came up with the idea.  I offered to film it on my iPhone and then volunteered to edit it and put it on DVD for our ward talent show.  I was so excited for the chance to try out the software.

It's a bit of a struggle.  If I'd have known ahead of time I definitely would have filmed differently.  But, all in all it's been a fun process to explore the software and do something a bit more creative.  I can feel those juices flowing.

Take home message: volunteer & create!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Carpe Diem 14

Sorry this post is a day late.  I was so busy seizing the day yesterday :)

My husband and I went to visit my parents who live 2 hours north from us.  It wasn't seizing the day in the sense of being spontaneous, but it was seizing the day in the sense of taking advantage of and opportunity while it exists and not procrastinating something important.

For the past two years I've been working with my Dad to record his personal history.  At first it started with me just being interested and asking him some general questions about his life.  From there it bloomed into a defined project of recording interviews with him and scanning his photographs.  Eventually, it will be polished up and published in a book, like one from blurb.com.  It's been a long process with both of our busy schedules and him being able to come down and spend a few hours with me, or me being able to make it up there for a few hours.

In January I finished transcribing and compiling the data from our last interview and was ready to schedule our next one.  This time I wanted to get the story of my parents meeting, falling in love, and marrying.  So, I made plans to drive up with my husband to my parents' house to interview them together.  It just happened to turn out that the Saturday we were planning to head up was the same Saturday of Chris Rudolph's memorial service.  I ended up rescheduling with my parents so I could attend the memorial.  It was tricky because both my parents and we have pretty busy schedules, but we figured out a Saturday the next month that would work for everyone.

The day before we headed up I was thinking how neat it would be to not only audio record the interview like I usually do, but to video record it as well.  Unfortunately, I don't have a dedicated camcorder.  My siblings in the area do, but I didn't really think about doing this until the day before.  So, I tried to figure out what else I could do.  I have an iPhone that will record in high resolution, so I figured that might just work.  And it did!  We were all surprised at how great it looked when we watched a sample of it later.

I had a great time hearing them reminisce and hearing some of the same stories, but then hearing lots of new ones too.  My Mom even said she learned some new things from my Dad that she hadn't heard in the 50 years they've been together!

I treasured the moment and the experience.  I know the video is going to be something that I, and the rest of my family, will be able to treasure.  My parents will not be around forever (I know this on an intellectual level, but have not yet comprehended it on an emotional one) and there will be a time when I won't be able to go to them to ask.  So, I have to seize opportunities now and not procrastinate.

So, in parting, that's my advice to you.  Don't procrastinate.  Ask your parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, or family friends about their history.  Don't wait for them to volunteer (some never will, thinking there's nothing interesting to tell).  But, oh!  There's such a wealth of information there to be found.  Stories yet to be told.  And you'll never know until you ask!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Carpe Diem 13

This morning I slept in when I should have been doing my morning work out. Shoot! It threw off my morning routine. I had about 30 minutes left before I had to hop in the shower. I had basically 2 choices: do a quick yoga workout and skipping my meditation and my brushing the cat (it's our QT together and he LOVES it) or do my meditation and brush the cat and skip yoga.

I am admittedly nutty about my cat. I don't have children so he's pretty spoiled and treated like family.

I feel like in the end QT trumps everything else, you never know how much quality moments you're going to have. So I skipped yoga.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Carpe Diem 12

Today at work a co-worker asked me to go for a walk with her at lunch. I had planned to just eat and read today but thought taking advantage of the chance to catch up with her was a much better choice.

It was such a gorgeous day in the city! The sky was blue and there were a ton of people out and about. It put me in a good mood to be out in the sunshine and feel connected with someone else. It's so easy for me at work to get caught up in the task at hand that I don't take the time to stop and just chat and connect with other people. Those days I feel isolated and grumpy. Not today, I was in such a great mood and much happier. Plus, I got in great exercise which generated some good endorphins :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Carpe Diem 11

Today was a really good day.  I happened to have the day off so I went for a run on my new favorite trail.  I seized the day by taking a different route than the one I had planned.  Honestly, I was a little hesitant because I was worried about if something happened then my husband might worry about me.  Then I remembered I had my phone which has Find My Friends and I had my trusty can of pepper spray, so I was pretty covered and felt confident to try something new and exciting.

I was SO glad I did.  The new trail was even better than the first one.  After a few turns it narrowed down to a thin trail and wove through little mini hills and valleys protected by trees.  It really felt like being out in the middle of nature, rather than the edge of civilization.  It felt so energizing to be out there breathing in the cool, clean air and stretching my legs.  I just wished I could have gone longer.

That wasn't the only seizing I did today, though.  I had an appointment back in my hometown.  On my way back from the appointment I decided to go the long way and drive through the old neighborhood and past my old house.  Then on the spur of the moment I decided to drive by my friend's old house.  She moved in middle school, so she's been away from the neighborhood even longer than I have, plus I don't think she's been back since, now that she's on the East Coast.  I jumped out of my car and snapped a photo as quick as I could, trying not to look like a creepy stalker.  I shared it with her and she seemed to appreciate it.  Granted, the house really does look almost exactly the same all these years later.

Oh, and I did even more seizing when I hit the grocery store on the way home to pick up the ingredients to make my husband's favorite meal for dinner.  It's been so long since we've had a proper, good home cooked meal.  We usually get home from work so late we have to cook quick meals, and the weekends we're too exhausted to do fancy dinners.  So, I took advantage of having extra time on this day off and made lasagna.  I even bought some apple-grape Martinelli's to make it even more special, and rounded out the meal with some French bread and broccoli.  We sat at the dining room table, dimmed the lights and lit the candles and had a nice meal and chat.  Moments like these are my favorite with my husband.

It was such a great day today, all because of small decisions I made to seize the day.  I was so empowered by all the positive energy from making those decisions, I'm still in a great mood.

Now, your turn.  What have you been doing to seize the day?  I know you have!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Carpe Diem 10

Image from The Wall Street Journal Online.

Today I was surfing Pinterest again and came across a nifty little post from The Wall Street Journal online about The 25 Documents You Need Before You Die.  It reminded me of another post from one of my favorite websites, Unclutterer.com, that I read last year which really inspired me to get my online life in order by creating an In-Case-Of-File.  Not only for those left behind when I die, but for me now to have a secure location with all my updated websites/log ons/passwords.

I started my In-Case-Of-File several months ago when I happened to have nothing else to do at the time.  It was a bit laborious and frustrating, and I haven't worked on it since.  Until tonight.  I kept wondering today how I was going to seize the day.  I figured what better way than to stop procrastinating on this project and jump right back into it.  (It was hard to turn off The Big Bang Theory and get cracking, I'll admit.)

Again it proved laborious and time consuming.

The good thing was I got my four different email address straightened out and consolidated.  Gmail is great for that.  I have my main email address that I use daily, but I also have my old hotmail address that some people still send emails to, my professional email account, and my pseudonym account I like to use for my online presence.  Instead of checking four different emails all the time, I just have the three extra email inboxes forwarded to my main one.  There were a few bugs, and some emails hadn't been getting forwarded.  So, straightening that up took a bit of time.  But, it was helpful because going through all these old junk emails I was able to take note of a bunch of websites I have accounts with and took the time to log in and update my passwords, change my email preferences (stop sending me emails I don't read already!), and clean them up.

Ahhh.  I feel the zen-like peace approaching.  I'm still not done, but I feel a whole lot better and even more encouraged to keep it up.  Tomorrow, in fact, I plan to spend at least an hour on it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Carpe Diem 9

My day started off on the wrong foot and I've felt off all day long.  This is how it started: my alarm went off, I turned it off, rolled over, and promptly fell back asleep.  Exactly 3 minutes later I wake up startled and confused and realize I'm rocking and rolling.  My husband and I look at each other and realize it's an earthquake.  I, the native Californian, am freaking out wondering if we should brace ourselves in the doorway and grab our cat.  My husband, native midwestern, says it's no big deal and to go back to sleep.  I oblige and end up sleeping in until the last moment before I'll for sure be late to work.  (I find out later that rock and roll earthquake was a 4.3.)

By some miracle I make it to the train station as I see the sign indicating my train is approaching and race up the stairs.  I'm thinking how lucky I am to catch the train in time.  I reach the platform panting.  No train.  My 8:11 am train never shows.  By the time the 8:18 am ambles into the station it's already full.  Standing room only.  Sigh.  I'm able to snag a seat 20 minutes later.  Good, because my back is starting to ache.

I'm able to sneak in to my 9 am Monday morning meeting before it's started, so I'm not "late."  Phew!

The rest of the day is a blur of editing, printing, filing, and emailing.

I come home, watch some tv, pick my husband up from the train station, grab some Taco Bell and head home.  My husband's going to have to work some more tonight, so it's a quick meal.  We get a call that someone's on their way to pick something up from our place.  It's a race to tidy up the apartment so it doesn't look too trashed when they get here.  I'm washing the last dish as our visitor stops by.  After he leaves I tackle the mountain of laundry on the bed that needs folding and putting away.  Amidst the pile I sit down, over come by all the thoughts swimming in my head.  The doubts, worries, stressors come to the forefront and my eyes get watery.  Today it just feels too overwhelming.

Okay, time for a break.  I seize the moment and head down to the hot tub.  Still in a pretty angry mood.  The water's nice and hot.  I lean my head back and stare up at the nearly full moon.  It's so beautiful.  A bit of peace enters my heart.  There's a mist passing across the moon casting a halo around it.  It reminds me of an all seeing eye.  I let my thoughts wander and think about all the things stressing me out.  I feel the knot of stress loosening bit by bit as I let myself think things through.  About 20 minutes later I feel like myself again.  Nothing's changed in my life, but I feel recharged and push those worries back.  They are after all worries, nothing I can do to change them.

Lesson of the day: seize a break when you need it.  Better yet, seize it before you need it.  Looking back at my day there were so many times I could have taken that break to recharge (on a run before work, on a walk at lunch, mediate when I got home from work, etc.).  Had I done that, I wouldn't have gotten so strung out by the end of the day.

This picture of our cat has absolutely nothing to do with the post.  Except, it makes me smile to remember how tiny he used to be.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Carpe Diem 8

Tonight, after dinner I was lounging around and surfing Pinterest. I came across a photo of a brownie in a mug that caught me eye for 3 reasons.

1. HubLub and I earlier in the evening had been looking through old pics on our computer and came across one of my chocolate cakes. It looked so good we almost went to the grocery store for ingredients.

2. I was really in the mood for a dessert. Like, really in the mood.

3. I'd heard about, and probably at
one point tried, baking a dessert in a mug. It seemed like such a clever idea. And such a brilliant solution to reason #2.

At that moment all three reasons added up together in my mind to inspire me to seize the moment. I literally immediately got up and headed to the kitchen. I pulled out ingredients and followed the recipe.

In a matter of 5 minutes I had the finished product in front of me. I tried two recipes: gooey chocolate mug cake and a chocolate chip cookie dough cake.

The chocolate one was better than expected and very rich.  It's best eaten with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. The chocolate chip one was a total disappointment (too eggy) and sadly ended up in the trash.

Well, that's life for you, isn't it? You try something completely new and half of the time it's a waste. But, oh, the other half you find something you really like. It makes it all worth it when that happens.

Here's your chance to seize the day and whip up this uber quick dessert right now.

In a microwaveable mug combine an egg, 1-2 Tbs cocoa powder, 1/4 cup of powdered sugar. Nuke for 1 minute. Serve with ice cream. Rich enough for two people to share one mug.

Note: I used 2 Tbs of cocoa and thought it was too rich.  Next time I'm going to try 1 Tbs.

Recipe via blogs.babble.com

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Carpe Diem 7

Today was awesome. First, I went for a run in the hills. It was gorgeous and inspiring. It's my new favorite place to run now. It really set the tone for an incredible day.

Later, I had breakfast with a friend from high school. We have been Facebook friends for a while but haven't hung out since high school. We actually reconnected at Chris' memorial last week. She's a runner too, so we'll be going for a run some time soon. I'm kicking myself for not keeping in touch with her, she's so rad. I'm totally stoked.

In the afternoon, the HubLub and I went for a walk and took pictures at the reservoir. It was such and amazing day; the sun was out and the skies were blue. It felt so good to be out and about, it reinvigorated my spirit. There's just something about the sunshine and nature that puts a smile on my face.

The cherries on the top though were a Facebook message from a person I really respect who told me they appreciate these posts, and a Facebook tag from a friend who was inspired to do a project with her daughter because of the posts. Thanks everyone so much for reading my blog, and for paying it forward! I'm so humbled by the support.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Carpe Diem 6

Today I did something simple to seize the day. Since the HubLub was invited out after work by his boss, my evening was suddenly wide open. I decided I was going to go grab some dinner and have a chill evening.

Then I thought about it more and decided to take it a bit further. I decided to go some place new and some place I like but the HubLub doesn't. So walked home from Bart and went straight to the car and drove to a newish Indian restaurant I've been curious about and have been unsuccessful in convincing Ian to try.

I walked in the door, looked around and quickly surmised this was a legit restaurant. Complete with waiter. Uh oh. I'd already committed by walking through the door, so when the waiter asked "How many?" I replied, "One."

I sat down, checked out the menu and ordered the most popular items - chicken tikki masala and a side of naan. I pulled out my kindle and read. At a table for four. By myself. I owned it and didn't feel too self conscious. I just acted like I do that all the time :)

The food was really good and I recommend it, although it's a bit pricey to me.

So, another day, another adventure. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Carpe Diem 5

I was sitting in the kitchen at work eating my lunch and reading a book.  Outside the skies were gray and gloomy.  The streets 31 stories below were still wet from the morning rain.  I looked at my watch and figured I had about 30 minutes left until I had to get back to my desk.  I could either stay where I was somewhat warm and cozy and finish the book I was really enjoying (On Writing by Stephen King) or I could grab my umbrella, put on my coat and go for a walk.

Well, it was a no brainer.  With the spirit of Chris speaking to my mind-

"Grab a poncho, put your spare goggles in a zip lock bag, and get after it. There’s no time like the present; we are all subjects of a natural cycle. What we do with the time we are given is our choice."

-I geared up and headed outside.  In the same spirit, I decided to walk a route I'd never done before.  I headed north a few blocks, hooked a right and then an immediate left when my path was blocked by a pretty shady character.  At that point the sun had started to peak through the clouds and I saw the most magical thing.

A block ahead of me was an upscale apartment complex and out in front was a sculpture about 10 feet tall in the shape of a circle.  The center was hollow, as you'd expect, and I suppose it's normally a water feature with water sprinkling down the hollow.  Since it had been raining, there was a mist coming off the sculpture as the wind passed through it and the light was hitting it just right that you could see it floating in the wind.  It was quiet and magical in it's gentleness amidst the business of the city.

I turned right again and headed toward the piers.  I noticed a sign identifying a scenic walkway.  Why not?  I followed the pathway down a pier with a series of office buildings lining the center.   I chuckled to myself as I passed a trainer and group of clients as they shuffled back and forth with elastics around their ankles.  That seems to be a popular thing these days, boot camp out on the Embarcadero, where everyone can see you.  I suppose that's supposed to be motivating?  I'd be embarrassed.  I made it to the end of the pier and followed it back around the opposite side of the building back to the street, passing a homeless man sitting on one of the dozen or so benches.  He was looking out across the bay.  He didn't look disheveled and didn't have the ubiquitous shopping cart loaded with crap, but I did notice that haven't-showered-in-a-while scent as I walked by.

I looked at my watch and realized I had 5 minutes to make it back, knowing it would take me at least 10.  I sucked it up and figured I'd just have to be late.  I took the most direct route back to the office, which happened to put me outside the Federal Bank and next to a handful of Occupy SF protesters.  I suppose they could have just been homeless, sometimes it's hard to tell.  But, there were two clean cut older men trying to hand out flyers as I passed.  They didn't seem to fit the image of the stereotypical Occupy protester.

As I made it back inside and arrived back at my desk I felt warmer than I did before I left for the walk.  I felt so cozy.  And I felt so glad that I went out in the crappy weather and wondered why I ever thought overcast skies or rainy clouds were ever a good enough reason to keep me inside at lunch afternoon.  Thank you Chris for your inspiration and your wisdom :)

And, for the sake of having a picture, this is what it looks like when I'm at the computer typing up a blog post.  "Rolls" makes himself right at home on my lap.  I love it!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Carpe Diem 4

I guess yesterday got me paying more attention to what's happening around me. I was sitting on the Bart train for my 40 minute ride to work absorbed in my book. After a few stops I looked up for really no good reason and saw a cute family: mom, dad, a young girl, and younger boy, all standing up in the aisle next to me. I looked back down at my book and started to read again but I couldn't focus. I just couldn't stay seated with these little kids and tired looking parents. I stood up and asked the mom if she'd like the seat. Her husband translated and she sat down and drew her son to her side. Admittedly I gave myself a pat on the back, but really I just couldn't not do it. I kept looking around hopefully expecting someone else to offer up their seat to the dad and daughter still standing. It didn't happen.

And for today's photo we have "Rolls" our beloved cat. I was about to get up and get some things done but I saw how comfy he was and I just couldn't disturb this sweet cuddle time just yet. :) This counts more as savoring than seizing, but that's just fine!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Carpe Diem 3

 Today I woke up a little bit earlier than yesterday (yeah!) and went for a quick run, sans music.  Usually I tune in on my runs to help get me through the "grind."  But, today I felt like I didn't want to just get through the run, I wanted to be present and experience it.  I stopped thinking "Am I running fast enough?", "Am I running too fast", "How much further?", or "Have I run far enough?"  Then, I started relaxing and just enjoying each moment without trying to compete with myself.  I even stopped a few times to take some pictures without stressing that I was either going to get back home too late, or I wasn't going to be able to get in a certain mileage.  It felt really nice and freeing.  I paid attention to the sky instead of the pavement in front of me, and enjoyed the pastel colors that come as the sun is rising.

As I was on the pedestrian bridge taking the first photograph the lyrics "Let the sun shine in, let the sun shine in, the sun shine in . . ." were as much literal as spiritual.  It was a great beginning to a new day.