Looking Out My Window

I love to sit on my living room sofa and look out the window.

I live a block or two from a city park that is atop a hill. I can see only a sliver of the park through the trees and neighboring houses.

The road wending through the park is no longer open to automobiles. Pedestrians only. That made it nice when the Chromos were young and we would would through the park to the other side and the statue of famous authors for whom the park is named.  Except, of course, for the dog poop and shattered glass. And the people who think the DOGS MUST LEASHED signs don’t apply to them and their pooches.  Don’t get me started.

Anyway, sometimes I’m startled by what appears to be a vehicle driving or a pedestrian walking on the ridge pole (roof peak) of a neighbor’s house. The house is just the right height for the ridge pole to align with the road. It took me a few times to figure out what I was seeing.

This particular neighbor also has numerous birdfeeders and may also spread birdseed on the ground. There are flocks of birds who hang out on the wires in front of the house who then swoop behind the hedges. Sometimes the flapping of all those wings is startling.  It’s Hitchcock-esque.




MJ Monday-Meal: My New Sandwich

Here’s my new favorite sandwich.

It’s made with turkey (good deli turkey, not the slimy, fat free stuff that you buy in plastic tubs), pesto (my supermarket sells small jars of premade basil pesto), roasted red peppers, and provolone on a sandwich thin (I prefer sandwich thins to bread because they’re not so . . . bready).

Spread pesto sauce (stirred well to incorporate the olive oil) thinly onto each side of the sandwich thin, as if it were mayo or mustard (I’m not a fan of either condiment).

Add a slice of turkey (doubled over) to each side of the then, then top with strips of roasted red pepper.

Add a slice of provolone. Personally, I prefer smoked provolone, but my husband doesn’t, and he buys the cheese at a local warehouse store, so that’s what I use.

Slap the two sides together and voila, a sandwich.

Thursday Thought-Self Help: Discover Your Genius

Several years ago, I spent a year doing a self-awareness/improvement project, using a book called Make Your Creative Dreams Real by SARK as a guide.  She had quite a reading list in the book, and I read every single title that was available from my local public library. I ended up purchasing at least three of the ones I read. The book I reviewed last month, Orbiting the Giant Hairball, was one. Today’s review is another: Discover Your Genius by Michael J. Gelb. The subtitle is “How to Think Like History’s Ten Most Revolutionary Minds.

Gelb himself admits his choice of subjects was arbitrary, but he presents good reasons for picking the ten people he did:

  • Plato (Deepening Your Love of Wisdom)
  • Brunelleschi (Expanding Your Perspective)
  • Columbus (Going Perpendicular: Strengthening Your Optimism, Vision, and Courage)
  • Copernicus (Revolutionizing Your Worldview)
  • Elizabeth I (Wielding Your Power with Balance and Effectiveness)
  • Shakespeare (Cultivating Your Emotional Intelligence)
  • Jefferson (Celebrating Your Freedom in the Pursuit of Happiness)
  • Darwin (Developing Your Power of Observation and Opening Your Mind)
  • Gandhi (Applying the Principles of Spiritual Genius to Harmonize Spirit, Mind, and Body)
  • Einstein (Unleashing Your Imagination and Combinatory Play)

The book includes biographical and historical information. He examines the commonalities and the unique aspects of each of his subjects. There are little quizzes. Suggestions of simple things to incorporate into your own life. In short, there was so much good in this book that I found trying to copy it all was a waste of time when I could simple purchase the book for myself. So I did.

I know there is only one woman included, but many genius women are lost to us simply because they were female.

I know both Christopher Columbus and Thomas Jefferson are politically incorrect these days. No excuses.

I still like the book a lot.



About a year ago, it seemed as if everyone was reading this book. People I knew claimed it was life changing. There was a wait list at the library.

I wonder how many people were as disappointed in the book as I was.

I found the book little more than a rehash of other books I’ve read. Now granted, I’m older and at one point in my life was deeply involved in a corporate career, so I read as much as I could about worker smarter not harder. Many of the suggestions in this book have been a part of my routines for years.

I have to ask myself why I keep looking for a magic solution.

MJ’s Monday-Meals: Mexican Lasagna & Mexican Slaw

This meal started with this recipe for Mexican Slaw. A friend had made it on retreat and I loved it. I had made it for something–I can’t remember what now, but there were leftovers, so I decided to invent something to go with it.

Over the years, I have read and tried many recipes for “Mexican Lasagna.” I’ve even liked some. But on this night, I had to work with what I had on hand.

  • Chicken  (a pound or so)
  • 1 14-15 oz can corn, drained
  • 1 14-15 oz can diced tomatoes with chili seasoning
  • 1  14-15 oz can seasoned chili beans, drained BUT NOT RINSED
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 2 8″tortillas
  • 8 oz shredded Mexican Cheese blend

The first thing I did was preheat my oven to 350F.

Then I sprinkled the chicken with about a tablespoon and a half of the taco seasoning and cooked it in a frying pan.

While the chicken cooked, I drained the can of corn. I mixed the corn with the can of chili-seasoned diced tomatoes (something my supermarket sells). Then I drained the can chili-seasoned beans–I think they’re pinto beans with chili seasoning. The key here is to drain BUT DO NOT RINSE. I almost always rinse canned beans, but not in this case. I added the beans to the corn and tomatoes, then added the rest of the taco seasoning packet.

Once the chicken was done, I shredded it with two forks and added it to the vegetable mixture.

I sprayed a square glass baking dish with cooking spray, then laid in an 8″ toritilla.

I topped the tortilla with half the veggie-chicken mixture, then covered with half of the shredded cheese, then repeated the process.

Bake in the 350F oven for thirty minutes or until heated through and the cheese has melted. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then cut into 9 squares (I have a large pizza cutter I use for this).

Serve with the slaw.