Summer Is Over Fruit Galette

I know summer is officially over when the fruit in my kitchen starts to look pathetic.

Only at the end of summer, when we have binged on fresh fruit for 3 months, will we let bing cherries and peaches wither in the fruit bowl. It is this time of year that I rally the remaining troops and position them to fulfill their destiny as something edible rather than consign them to the compost bin.

Summer fruit’s last chance for redemption comes in the form of this fruit galette.

Fruit Galette Ingredients
1/2 of the Galette Dough (look down)
1 1/2 cups pathetic fruit, peeled
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon cold unsalted

Your first order of business is to make your galette dough, which is basically, just fancy pie crust. This recipe, calls for 1/2 of the recipe I provided above and will make 1 galette approximately 8 inches in diameter.

Galette Dough Ingredients
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/3 cup ice water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

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I make my dough in a food processor because I’m new school. It goes like this. 1) mix ice cold water and sour cream together and set aside 2) Put the dry ingredients into the bowl of your processor and give them a churn. 3) Drop the butter pieces in and pulse 8-10 times. 4) With the machine running drizzle the water and sour cream mixture in just until the dough forms moist curds. 5) wrap it in wax paper and put it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.

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While your dough is chilling, prepare your filling. The technical recipe for this calls for berries; however, I use whatever waining fruit we have on hand. In this instance, the fruit du jour was decrepit cherries and an emotionally damaged pear. I slice my fruit but you could also dice or chop, the idea is to get it small enough that it will cook in 30-35 minutes.
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When your dough is finished chilling’, place it on a highly floured work surface and, to the best of your ability,  roll it into an 11-inch circle. I’m going to take this moment here to remind you that the grocery store sells pre-made and pre-rolled pie crusts. This galette dough can be frustrating to work with for newbies because it is basically just butter and some flour being held together by miracles. Anyway, spread your fruit on leaving about 2 inches all the way around for you to fold it over.
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Fold your edges over. Tell your inner perfectionist to F-off because it’s supposed to look “rustic”. Wet the edges with a little bit of water and then sprinkle the top with sugar and drizzle with honey. Bake at 400 F for 30-35 minutes. I bake mine on a stone baking sheet, but any baking sheet will work.
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You’ll know it’s finished when it’s golden and the fruit is well cooked.
 FYI, this recipe was modified from Baking with Julia: Savor the Joys of Baking with America’s Best Bakers because we are fancy here.

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com

Be stronger

You can count on me to completely lose my shit twice a year; once in September and once in January. I call it, taking a ride on the crazy train. I know I have arrived at Breakdown Station when every little thing starts to piss me off. When my perspective turns bitter because it seems there is always something more to do and it is all my responsibility. When my usually positive and sunny outlook goes dark.

I mention this now because it is nearly September and that means the Crazy Train is approaching the station.

The September freakout occurs when summer exhaustion meets a new school year and then combines with the fact that my company is about to enter the fourth quarter of our fiscal year and I’m not sure how I’ll accomplish all the goals I set for myself by 12/31/–. These three factors converge to create a complete derailment featuring anxiety induced frustration and rage.

The January derailment occurs when holiday exhaustion meets the second half of the school year and then combines with the fact that my company just entered the first quarter of our fiscal year and I only have 12 months to accomplish all the projects we scoped.

Looking at them now, September and January seem to be two very dangerous and obvious kinks in the the railroad track. However, for the first time since embarking on my career and becoming a parent, I see and understand this pattern. More and more, I see that keeping the trains running on time, for me, is about two things:

#1–Recognizing when I need to calm the fuck down

#2–Knowing what it takes to calm the fuck down

During practice this morning, my yoga teacher said

“Notice if every little thing is pissing you off; then get stronger.”–Anna McLawhorn, Three Dog Yoga

Granted, she said this within the context of Warrior 2 (Virabhadra) which we had been holding for what felt like 3 hours, and we were all a little pissed off. But I heard it within the context of my own life and my own mental state.

“Every little thing IS pissing me off and I DO need to get stronger.” I need to get my shit together and take back the things that make my life work, like yoga and writing and sleep. Those are always the first things to go when schedules fall apart and life gets hectic. I need to calm the fuck down. I need to get grounded. I need to stay on track.

 

 

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com

 

Better Than a Kick to the Dick

The other day, I had the neighbor kids over for a playdate. There are actually 4 kids belonging to this particular neighbor, but on this day, I just had 2 of them in the playroom; 3-year-old Lily and 6-year-old Jake.

As is typical, an argument erupted within minutes of their arrival. Jake, in his carelessness, had somehow bumped Lily. She was incredibly pissed about it and was headed back home so she could report the offense to their mom who was folding laundry one house over.

In response, Jake initiated threat level orange apology tactics. When he realized he just didn’t have the apology that was going to come between Lily and tattling to their Mom, he went all in.

Fortunately, or not so fortunately for Jake, Lily was in the mood to negotiate and it went like this:

“Lily, I will let you kick me in the dick if you don’t tell Mom.”
“I want to kick you in the dick two times,” Lily countered.
“No, Lily, please, one time, and you have to promise you won’t tell Mom anyway.”
“How hard do I get to kick you in the dick?”
“As hard a you want, but you can only kick my dick one time and you can’t tell mom what happened.”
“I’m going to kick you in the dick two times and I won’t tell Mom.”
“Okay, that’s fine, hurry up.”

So I realize that I could make this story be about a few different things:

It did not escape my notice that Lily is one hell of a negotiator. I could turn this into a whole big thing about women and just when and how it is that we lose the ability to advocate for ourselves with conviction. But I won’t; that’s not my bag of dicks and there are a lot of amazing women marching around in pussy hats making that point much better than I ever could.

I could also make this a story about family values and opine on how exactly dick kicking becomes a viable form of currency in a household. I could post my judgement to the Internet and proclaim that under no circumstances will there be dicks kicked on my watch because I’m obviously a better parent than one that allows dick kicking.

But I won’t and you have yoga to thank for that.

Yoga teaches observation without judgement; to experience something without applying your own personal filters to it. To let a thing be what it is instead of what you make it (yoga nerds, that’s Satya I’m talking about).

So this is just going to be one of those “kids say the darndest things” stories. I’m going to laugh as a write it.

And that is better than a kick in the dick.

The names in the story have be changed to protect the innocent.
This story originally published on www.groundingup.com

Instagram and the Yoga Selfie

I don’t know very many people who are willing to admit that they love social media; even as people are scrolling their social media feeds, they are talking about how they never go to their social feeds because it is an obscene waste of time and completely contrived.

And to that argument, I will say “oh for sure, that shit is a complete time suck and much of it is a fabricated representation of everyday life.”

But I will also tell you that I absolutely love social media and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Social media helps me feel connected to friends and family who live far away or that I don’t see on a regular basis because I don’t have much free time and I use it to keep current on local and worldwide news.

Also, most of my yoga education comes from my studio or from the Internet; social media is how I find those resources. Which brings me to the point of this post and it is this:

My social media streams (mostly Instagram) are full of pictures of professional yogis doing complicated yoga poses perfectly. Where is the stream for the 40-something working mother of two who might have time to take a picture of herself if her kids take a nap? How do I get that person in my social media feed? Where are HER pictures?

So this morning, I decided I would post a picture of whatever pose popped up in my Instagram feed first and it was this one:

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Camel Pose, Ustrasana, if you care about sanskrit. This is what mine looks like and I’ve been doing yoga for 7 years:

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I took this while my toddler napped. I didn’t have time to shower or change out of my jeans. I am pretty excited about the backdrop though as I have been looking for a good use for the shipping crates that our speakers came in. 

From time to time, I think I will do this as a public service to anyone out there who thinks they can’t do yoga because they aren’t fit or flexible enough or might be worried about looking like an ass.

Most real life yoga looks like mine, not what you see on social media and yes, I could spend my social media time meditating or calling my mom, but, first, let me take a selfie.

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com

 

How To “Do” Yoga On The Rocks

I don’t remember how I first heard about Yoga On The Rocks. Maybe my sister, who lives in Denver told me or maybe I read about it in Yoga Journal; that seems like something they would cover.  Regardless, once I learned about the outdoor yoga event, held in the spectacularly beautiful Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado, it went directly to the top of my ever-growing “Yoga Bucket List.”

Yoga Bucket List (a sampling)
Start a yoga blog ✅
Write a kids yoga book
Attend international yoga retreat ✅
Yoga at Giants Stadium
. . .

The list goes on, but you get the idea. So this was finally my summer for Yoga On The Rocks. The event is just as amazing as Yoga Journal (or my sister) said it was. And, as a public service to all the yogi’s out there, I’m going to offer you my unsolicited advice (my specialty) for having the best Yoga On The Rocks experience.

Unsolicited Advice Starts Here:

Arrive early

The Red Rocks Amphitheater seats 9,525 people; however, to accommodate space for yoga mats, the venue sells out at about 2,000 yogis for this event. You’ll buy your tickets online but if you want to have the best mat placement, plan to arrive at your seats at least 30 minutes before the instruction starts.

Parking is no problem as the venue is designed for far more people than can be ticketed for this yoga event.

Wear layers

Colorado mornings are chilly, even in the summer. Wear warm layers. The venue seating faces east, so once the sun warms you, you won’t need the extra clothes.

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Pack snacks

There are event sponsors in attendance at the top of the amphitheater; however, don’t plan on much in the way of food vending. Caribou Coffee was there with a cart and Silk was there with a yogurt station for the vegans or the really hungry carnivores. Propel was there with water. And randomly, Chipotle was there with chips and guacamole (this just made me sad I couldn’t get a breakfast burrito).

Remember your sun protection

Like I said earlier, the sun hits you from the east, which happens to be the direction you’ll need to face the stage and the instructor, so sunscreen and sunglasses are highly recommended.

Print your ticket

They were’t set up to check your cellphones for your ticket, so print it out so they can scan it with their scanner guns. Also, I’m not sure what the Will Call situation is, but it is removed from the venue by a decent distance and it seems like a major pain to try to go that route if you even can.

Bring your “festival” yoga mat–

The smell of stale beer that hit me as I approached the amphitheater served as a not so gentle reminder that this is a concert venue at 6:30 AM and that just a few hours before I placed my mat in row 50, an inebriated Widespread Panic fan was dancing and spilling his or her drink, food, and who knows what else in the exact same spot. Actually, a few of those fans were still in the parking lot, grilling their breakfast, nursing their hangovers, and gearing up for another show that night. They had breakfast burritos.

The venue has obviously been cleaned since the concert, but still, bring that old mat you haven’t gotten around to recycling yet instead of your brand new Manduka. This can its practice.

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Prepare for instructor du jour

Ironically, yogis can be extremely inflexible when it comes to accepting different teaching styles and philosophies. It is unlikely that you will have received instruction from the instructor teaching at Red Rocks the day you attend as they rotate through the summer. Our practice was lead by Samy Mattei, who is a teacher at The River yoga studio in Denver.

The sequence was an easy 60 minute vinyasa flow appropriate for all levels. There is a big screen showing demo yogis working their way through the practice, so if you need a point of reference, you can look there.

The River yoga studio seems to subscribe to a “you are beautiful” philosophy and I found the fluffy “we are all just really really beautiful and special on the inside” pep talk a bit much. I know I’m not alone in that and I wish that instructors would consider their audience before they roll out the woo woo.

The other thing I noticed was the fact that we didn’t OM anywhere in the practice. I’m not sure if this was an intentional omission or if the instructor just forgot, but if ever there was a time for an OM it would be with 2000 people on a beautiful summer morning in one of the world’s greatest acoustical venues. I feel robbed. I want my OM dammit.

Plan a post-practice hike or picnic

While finding a parking spot is easy enough, traffic leaving the event venue is a little slow. I recommend taking a hike in the stunning red rocks near the vicinity. There are several great hiking trails and loops that start and end right at Red Rocks. So, take a hike rather than sitting in traffic.

Relax and have fun–

Attending this event is incredibly easy. It is essentially hassle-free. And even if you don’t have a great time, the price of entry is only $14. It’s not like you just paid $500 to see Widespread Panic or something.

 

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com.

 

My Year in the Blogosphere

Sometimes, people ask me if my BLOG makes a lot of money. When I am finished laughing, I explain to them that since launching GroundingUp last year, I’ve published 61 posts, and have had thousands of readers from all over the world (I see you Swaziland). Then, I like to disappoint them with the news that this BLOG has made exactly $0.00.

Fortunately, financial gain was not the founding principle of this BLOG. Yes, there are BLOGs out there designed specifically to generate online advertising revenue or drive a social media following, but this is not that kind of BLOG.

So what is it?

The insurance industry executive in me often demands to know what the business case looks like for this Internet property. It wants to talk about content strategies, click-through, and content marketing plans. That voice wants to know who in the hell is responsible for Quality Control around here and just what our ROI looks like.

And, until recently, I haven’t had an answer.

But, a few weeks ago, I attended a Q&A session with the comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Buried in the typical list of audience-generated questions about Jerry’s creative process was a question about his view on failure. And to this he said,

“So what, you told a joke, it bombed, move on, so what?”–Jerry Seinfeld.

I was immediately struck by two things about this statement.

1–Holy shit, Jerry Seinfeld is a yogi

Jerry Seinfeld is famously aloof. Even before he had “Fuck You” money, he was often considered detached and oblivious to situations around him. And yogis are all about detachment, or aparigraha.

In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty . . . in the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, which is the prison of past conditioning. And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.–The Law Of Detachment, The Chopra Center

2–It’s okay to have an aimless BLOG about nothing in particular.

Seinfeld ran for 9 seasons and often received criticism and praise for the simple fact that it wasn’t really about anything. That didn’t make it any less amazing.

It’s extremely difficult to find clear headspace for a creative endeavor when you are frantically trying to nurture a family and a career; where the stakes are so high you can’t risk even a moment of detachment.

But here, it really can just be about creativity, trying something out, and letting people see an authentic version of me–with typos and grammar mistakes. Here, there are no stakes. It’s going to be fine if site traffic is down for the month of July or if I never find a viable way to monetize this content. And maybe, all this will ever be is yet another sketchy corner of the Internet.

To that I say, so what?

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com