Author: Debra  //  Category: Personal Growth

One of the things that I struggle with is that there are too many things that I want to work on at any point in time.

So, try I end up doing a lot of dabbling. I do a little bit of this and a little bit of that. And the bits are quite excellent, buy but there’s so much unfinished and unmastered. I want to focus on refining skills as much as I want to increase the volume of skills.

But how do you choose? What gets put into the background and potentially forgotten, seek so that time is spent truly developing talents on one subject?

At work, I want to spend more time with emerging web technologies. HTML5 and CSS3 are calling to me.  I want to branch out to other CMS systems, not just WordPress. I want to program some SQL.

At home, I fall back to knitting in the evenings when I can’t decide what other media to work on. It’s like comfort food when you’re sick. It’s familiar and healing. But it’s also not a growth opportunity, and another passion is put aside while I create in fiber. This isn’t a bad more info

thing, but it sometimes feels like a cop out.

I am learning to work with pastels. But I want to spend more time with watercolor pencils. And then there are those 4 canvases and acrylics sitting patiently, waiting for the crow project I’ve been developing.

And then there’s this growing itch to work with wood. It’s been too long and there is something that makes the core of me feel really right when I can find the object buried inside of a branch. There’s a sandblasting technique I want to try, and lathework I’m longing to do.

Oh, and the pile of steel I am collecting for when I learn to weld and use a plasma cutter.

And writing that book to fund the tools I want. I suppose that still takes precedence.

But today…there’s my 8 to 5 eMarketing job that only allows me coffee breaks to daydream about being a mixed media artist. I am fortunate enough to love my work, since I can satisfy my graphic artist right brain along with my technical coding left brain.

I wish I didn’t waste so much time on sleep when there’s so much creating to do!

Spicy Peach BBQ Sauce Recipe

Author: Debra  //  Category: Recipe Share

Having bought a case of California peaches and enjoying fruit so perfectly ripe that I had to eat them over the sink for all their delicious juices, ambulance I wanted to experiment with the flavor. The local farmer’s market supplied me additional fresh flavor components.

Brian is not a fan of fruit, bronchi but I keep sneaking it in to our dinners, recuperation and he keeps on enjoying it. When he came home from work Friday, he remarked how delicious it smelled. I put some chicken on the grill and did a final baste with this BBQ sauce and waited for his reaction. He really loved it and asked what I used, since it was very different from most of my other smokier BBQ sauces. He didn’t even flinch when I told him I’d sacrificed 3 of my peaches to make it. The flavor was sweet and tangy and had heat without burn.

This sauce will only work with peaches that are really ripe and full of flavor. Off season peaches will not do this sauce any favors.


3 large very ripe peaches peeled & chopped (make sure they are very flavorful)
1 small Onion chopped (I used a Vadalia)
2 Hungarian Yellow Peppers seeded & chopped (leave the veins in for more heat, can substitute jalapenos)
3 cloves Garlic chopped fine
2 cups Ketchup
1 cup Chardonnay
1/4 cup Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 T Light Soy Sauce
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 t fresh ground Cinnamon
1/8 t ground Clove
1/8 t Chipotle powder
1/8 t Habenaro powder

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan. Bring ingredients to a boil, then simmer until onions and peaches are very soft, approximately 20 minutes. Let cook slightly, then use either a stick blender or food processor to blend all ingredients until mostly smooth.

This made about 4 cups of sauce. It will freeze really well. If there’s any left after this weekend…

Ferret in the Coffee Jar

Author: Debra  //  Category: Writing

I want to talk about my writing process but my brainmeat is in hyper mode.  When I went to edit this entry, generic I realized I had started but didn’t finish most paragraphs. My brain was already writing the next one before my fingers could catch up.

I had a rough time settling down to sleep last night. I’ve been doing my writing in the evenings due to work projects taking my major thought processes in the mornings. It seems that this creativity streak doesn’t want me to rest.

My refusal to get involved with more than 3 summer TV series has left me with more creative time. I can’t believe how my stress levels have decreased as my time for creating increases. I need to remember this when I get mired in anxiety and chaos.

For a long time, no rx I’ve been getting in my own way with finishing this book. I keep trying to force things and stalling. So I went back to the way I do most of my art. I start with a concept then dive in. What develops from there is anyone’s guess.

I had an important secondary character placed in the story to move it along where needed. I thought I had a slight concept of his background, treat but last night I decided to work on his backstory. When I sat down, I had no idea what I was going to write. I started listing out a few facts, and 1200 words later, the reason he’s in the story became painfully clear. It was like his life had sticky tendrils that have ended up pulling the story together.

When I was in Tucson, I wrote a key conversation, but I had no chapter leading up to this conversation. When I sat down to pick up the story line this past weekend, I started a chapter following the timeline where I had left off. When the chapter came to an end, much to my surprise and delight, the very next chapter had to be the conversation I wrote. It was as though I wrote a perfectly shaped puzzle piece without even trying.

I guess what truly confounds me is that I don’t try to do this. All I am doing is telling a story. Some days, it doesn’t feel as though it’s one I’m creating as much as telling one that I know and am just remembering it.

It’s liberating to not have a plan. And I believe that when I do my final editing, there will be much clean up work to do. But I have more confidence now that I don’t have to know what comes next in the story, I just need to tell the story of these people and then fill in the gaps.

I often reread what I’ve written the next day and most times I honestly can say that I had no idea that was going to work, but pleased that it did.

Delicious colors

Author: Debra  //  Category: Art Department

After my drawing materials binge last week, help I got a 50% off one item at Michaels that was good for one week starting yesterday. There was a $79 Pastels set I couldn’t stop thinking about.  (Mostly, I was thinking, I don’t have $80 bucks to throw at pastels right now)

Well, the 50% off coupon got me back there to get this pretty set of colors. It allows me to have a decent palette to experiment with. After I got done all the things I needed to do yesterday, I sat with my sketch book and did a sprig of wild red raspberries that pleased me.

This morning, I ended up wide awake at 5am. This time I usually use for working on the fiction I’m writing. By the end of the day, it seems that I don’t have any more words in me. But I still have a desire to make with the pretty. So evenings are for drawing.

I tried a drawing this morning and couldn’t get past the words in my head. I’m not pleased at all with what I ended up drawing, but I suspect that if I pick it up again in the evening, I can salvage it.  So this leads me to believe that days are for writing, nights are for drawing.

And the middle of the day is for digital graphic design and coding. I have a sneaking suspicion that knowing this can help my frustration levels decrease dramatically.

Well, it looks like it’s time to make with the digital world portion of my day. Toodles!

Long Hot Weekends = Ribs

Author: Debra  //  Category: Recipe Share

Here’s today’s plan of attack (aka Recipe Share Time!)

2.5 lbs of baby back ribs will be rubbed down shortly (11 am) with the dry rub, adiposity wrapped in tin foil and put back in the fridge to sit until about 3 pm.

Dry Rub Braising Sauce
8 T Brown Sugar 1 Cup White Wine 2 t Whiskey
2 T Kosher Salt 2 T Apple Cider Vinegar 1/2 t Chipotle Powder
1 T Chili Powder 2 T Worcestershire 1 T Molasses
1/2 t Black Pepper 1 T Honey 1/4 t Paprika
1/2 t Jalepeno Salt 2 cloves Chopped Garlic
1/2 t Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 t Thyme
1/2 t Onion Powder
1/2 t Cayenne Pepper

At 3, sanitary I will heat the braising ingredients to boiling, then pour over the ribs and reseal the tin foil well. This will be placed on indirect heat (250˚F) on the grill for 2.5 hours.

At that point, I need to drain out the juices and put them in a pot with the rest of the sauce ingredients and let it reduce to a glaze.

The ribs will finish being grilled (about  3 to 4 minutes on each side) until they have that lovely grilled look and texture, then I’ll give them a quick coating of the sauce before serving them.

The only side dish I’m planning on is some corn on the cob.

I can taste it now! This is gonna be gooooood! (Anyone wanting to invite themselves should be prepared to bring their A-game for dessert or be willing to completely weed my garden!)

Desperate Weekend

Author: Debra  //  Category: General

Later this afternoon, try I will begin my long weekend. For reasons involving being faced with how tenuous and unpredictable our lives are on this planet, salve I am compelled more than ever to fill the weekend with things that matter.

I fully understand that what matters to me is my own personal take on things, and neither reflects nor imposes itself on others.

The list of things that matter is great, but I’ve narrowed a to do list of things that matter and can be done this weekend. It sounds mundane at first: Clean up the yard & install new shutters, update the gazebo (paint, new carpet, pest eradication, fix electrical), finish the website demo for WAS, find and use my sketch pad, visit the funeral home, go to the racetrack.

The essence behind those tasks is anything but mundane.

  • Yard: Taking care of my little spot on Earth to make it better and taking pride in my home so that it is a place I always am happy to come back to.
  • Gazebo: This is sacred space for thinking, decompressing, and for entertaining friends. I want it to be a place that others want to share with me, strengthening my sense of community with my chosen family.
  • Website: Strengthening my sense of global community and living up to the promises I make.
  • Drawing: Allowing my inner child and artist to grow and have an outlet that balances my stress and keeps me healthy
  • Funeral Home: Sharing my strength and love with a friend who lost her husband because I believe every little bit counts.
  • Racetrack: I could say that I’m supporting a cause, representing with pride the place I work, or networking. But the fact is, this I am doing purely for fun.

And that is the best celebration of Memorial Day that I can have. Having fun while remembering what others have done to give me the freedom to do all the things that I feel matter.

Saw my future, now to change it.

Author: Debra  //  Category: Art Department

While on vacation, help I started writing again. I wrote in the car, buy in Tucson, in the shade, in the sun and when I wasn’t writing, I was dreaming of writing.

I wish I could have done more.

That’s the thing right now, I’m feeling the pressure of time, along with the pressures of fear, stress, responsibility, distractions and anxiety.

I picked up a couple of books from my mother’s art library. One on technique, one on how to pull the creativity out of my head.

So, I have websites to create, house repairs to be done, gardens to tend, seeds to plant, and a basement to clear out. These can’t be ignored.

I have astronomy meetings, skies to view, weather to record, science to learn, and targets to practice blowing to smithereens. These will not be ignored.

I have jewelry and sculptures to carve, books to write, images to draw, and canvases to paint. These need equal time with all the rest.

Most days, this list gets to be so overwhelming that I don’t do a thing that I want. That needs to stop getting in my way.

I’m trying now to figure out how to better fit it all in. Scheduling doesn’t work with art…creativity happens in it’s own time frame. If sleep didn’t keep me healthy, I’d sacrifice more of it, but seeing as a good night consists of 7 hours, it’s not easy to trim off more.

I’m willing to sacrifice sanity (overrated), TV (except for Doctor Who), and IM time (Adium is my primary social contact). The bad habit I need to break first is that of ‘thinking’ over ‘doing.’ Doing something, anything, will be more satisfying than sitting here thinking about what I should be doing.

Maybe I’ll just put a spike strip on my easy chair to get started.

from whence we came

Author: Debra  //  Category: Personal Growth

Just spent a week with my folks. It was a good trip. There were a few things I learned that I need to remember.

  • Stress can kill you slowly and painfully.
    • I think that anger can be addicting. Most addictions degrade your life and health, eczema this one is no different.
  • Most anger just isn’t worth it. Let it go.
    • A lifetime of holding on to your anger can actually cause your heart so much stress that it starts to fail. For me, medical this is a genetic reality. I do not want the people and situations that have made my life challenging and difficult to be what ultimately kills me.
  • Anger can make you look petty and foolish.
    • The people you let in to see your anger can see that you are only telling your side of the story. It’s part of being an observer, this that you can see what the angry person is blinded to. Behaving like a frustrated 5 year old doesn’t further your case, and most likely, makes people pity you in the embarrassing way.
  • “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.” – Thomas Szasz
    • That has always rung true to me, but now I think it needs modification. “; the healthy remember only the lesson, not every gory detail.”

I think I have been shown a fork in the road. I will take the path on the right and try with all my might to not wander off into the weeds as often. It just could increase my quality of life now…and 20 years from now.

streaming live

Author: Debra  //  Category: Art Department, Education

When I get back from vacation, disorder I’ll be sitting with a couple of school advisors to see if there’s a program locally that fits what I want to do.  If I have to take a lot of classes that aren’t interesting or what I feel is pertinent, anesthetist then I’m not going to bother. I don’t want to waste time or money. I am not after the degree, medications I’m after the education. And I want to learn what I want to learn. I’m at the age and stage in my life that I know what my goals are and if a degree program doesn’t get me there, that’s fine.  I have never performed well when being forced to learn/do things that feel like a waste of time.

In the mean time, I picked up a book on weather. It’s full of great photos and illustrations and covers all the basics in terminology and concepts. From there, I want to move on to basic weather forecasting. I’m enjoying learning more about weather patterns and how to better read the data. From there, I will probably look into space weather.

From Graphic Design to Meteorology, I’m really in a place to learn. Filling my head with lots of new thoughts is what is keeping me sane these days. For relative values of sanity, I guess.

And now…off to work.

Excuse me, what?

Author: Debra  //  Category: General

I got judged today and was found lacking.

What amuses me (now) is how little I cared that the judger did the judging, this site or that her assessment was so far off the mark to be laughable.

Seriously. Salespeople really need to be savvy enough to not assume anything about the people that they want to sell things to. Do not assume that since most smaller credit unions are not technically savvy that we are automatically one of those. Do not, hospital EVER, esophagitis talk to the person in charge of web technology as though she must just be a secretary given the task of maintaining the web because she could type well.

As a salesperson, talk to everyone as though they are at least a little bit smarter than you until they prove you wrong.  Because if you err to the other side, and I am part of that error, then I will make you look horribly foolish. In fact, it will be my pleasure to do so, so that you never, ever make this mistake again.

It is 2010. IE6 is NOT worth spending any time testing for website compatibility and meta commands are not the current “best practices” method for Search Engine Optimization. At this point, I’m really not going to be an easy sell for your services since I pretty much think you are living under a rock.

I’m not used to being underestimated and when it happens, I find that I enjoy making the offender very uncomfortable. Same thing when someone calls me Debbie a second time after being asked nicely to use Deb or Debra. You just don’t do it.