Under the Hood.

Last month, I took Ursula to the shop. She’d not been driving right for a while but like a person without health insurance (hey, even in this day and age, it happens), we postponed the mechanic’s diagnosis until I was afraid the visit would be more of an emergency than a check up.

Diagnosis, please.

Diagnosis, please.

I was wonderfully surprised, then, when the call came that Ursula could come home with nothing more than a fluid flush and new power steering fluid reservoir. Sure, it wasn’t the band-aid price I was hoping for, but it was still a lot cheaper than, say, a transmission overhaul.

I was impressed with how much better she ran in such short a time. What had I been afraid of? She didn’t look any different, but boy, howdy! does this baby drive better. A little time, a little investment, and my nearly ten-year-old car received that much desired mechanic’s statement, “You have an excellent car.”

It right there and then squashed my desire to purchase a Chevy Equinox (although I wouldn’t turn one down as a gift. Just sayin’.).

Does that ever happen to you? You think you need a replacement, when all you need is a check up? A little look under the hood, a little TLC to get things back on track? Yeah. So, we’re not gonna count how often that happens to me, okay? Let’s just say this once was the trigger for something else.

I’ve been pretty disorganized for a while now. Pretty afraid to get into the dirt; afraid I might not make it out alive. I’ve been pretty chaotic now and then. At home, with the editing, with the writing. My peeps are always telling me I have too much on my plate. Aaron’s always offering to get me a new plate. Go figure.

MoJo Chaos

MoJo Chaos

In the back of my mind, I knew how to get things straight, but couldn’t make the leap. Happily, it happened a few weeks ago. One thing led to another and instead of rabbit-holing into more chaos, I discovered the one puzzle piece I needed to fit the others around.

It all started with moving my treasured cedar chest into the living room, and moving the computer desk out. I’ve designated about forty square feet in my living room as my writing space. There’s my writing desk and chair, reading chair, rug, bookshelf. I’m set.

MoJo Writes

MoJo Writes

I was inspired. As soon as the living room and writing space were complete, I realized how easy it would be to finally conquer the room that shan’t be opened the room formerly known as Dot’s. It’s been closed off since she left in February. Until now, I’d not been able to bring myself to go in there and clean it out. Sure, she took care of most of it before she left. But I couldn’t go into that half-empty room and face the reality that my daughter moved out and I was alone.

I could, however, face the reality that I had an extra room in my house to fix up the way I wanted. And that’s what I clung to. I opened the door, surveyed the not-so-messy mess, and got to work. With Mom’s help, in just two days, the Narnia Spar Oom and the room now known as the Peacock Room are in order. One is my library. The other is my crafting/activity/game room. The changes are subtle, but empowering.

So naturally it doesn’t stop there.

I’ve been controlling more of my schedule instead of letting things flow. This has opened doors for me to take on new projects and clients, as well as continue the work I’m already doing. Writing. Editing. Social Media. I can do it all, and do more of it, now that I’m organized physically and mentally.

But then there’s this.

I’d been unhappy with the Blog for a while now. Frustrated. And for the better part of three weeks, it wasn’t working right. I couldn’t post. I thought about just giving up and going with a whole new blog. Is this a midlife crisis about to happen? All this let-go-and-move-on-to-something-new way of thinking? Let’s hope not.

With guidance from my webmaster, I decided to take a look under the hood. I spent all of last weekend streamlining pages and categories and fixing photos. That’s no joke. 834 posts. A crazy amount of tags and miscellaneous input. After several restless months and seriously thinking of a change, I like love LOVE Frankly, My Dear . . . and don’t want to leave it.

Remember this?

Baseball on Pitcher's Mound. Frankly My Dear, If You Build It, They Will Come.

Field of Dreams

When my webmaster revamped FMD a few years ago, the response was staggeringly favorable.

And my looking under the hood this weekend brought back that original excitement. I like what we’re doing here. All we needed was a little check up.

So look up at the top menu. You’ll see new Page tabs, and new categories. We’re moving forward, but that doesn’t mean we’re moving. Just like cleaning up Dot’s room, a few things moved to storage. You can search “archived” for all the older, unrelated posts. Everything else has been reviewed and retagged for easier finding. There are a few new sections, too.

Sure, it doesn’t look much different. A little spit and polish is all. But the work under the hood? That makes all the difference in the world.

I hope you’ll stick around for another five years. And more. After all, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Am I right?

Keep moving.

Keep moving.

And Frankly, My Dear . . . that’s all she wrote!

WinCo Wins Wednesday: March 4, 2015

I love WinCo. But that’s not news, right? I love that they love me, too.

WinCo Wins - Cooking More for Less

WinCo Wins – Cooking More for Less

Ask me any day of the week, and I’ll tell you, I’m in love with their Bulk Bins. You can buy as much, or as little, as you need. Are you shopping for one basic recipe, or hosting a large dinner party? They’ve got you covered.

From pastas and starches to snacks and candies, buying in bulk is crazy economical.

My favorite is their long white rice. It’s a staple in my house. At just pennies per pound, I can pick up five pounds of rice for less than half the price of any pre-packaged bag.

Last week began my Empty Nest. I thought cooking for one would be lonely, but instead I find it to be fun and inventive. Each meal preparation offers more leftovers, and I love planning foods that are freezer-friendly. With less groceries to buy, I’ll also be able to experiment more and create new recipes. I’m looking forward to sharing this new adventure with WinCo.

I love being in my kitchen, cooking and baking. But sometimes, I love staying with something familiar and easy. For my first week of eating alone, I cooked once. Once. And ate five times. Not bad for saving a few dollars while eating healthy.

Using my personal Aroma Housewares Rice Cooker, I steamed two salmon filets over white rice and diced green chilies in chicken broth.

Green Chili Chicken and Rice

Green Chili Chicken and Rice

The first night I ate both salmon, but typically I’d save one for the next night. Once the salmon was gone, I added a can of chicken meat to the rice mix. With each serving, I enjoyed a flour tortilla and a glass of milk. That’s an average of just $1.50 per meal.

Talk about filling and feeling good!

The extra benefit of using my rice cooker, is that once it cools down, I can store the pot in the fridge.

As usual, my relationship with WinCo is a Win-Win situation, and I can’t wait to create new #CookingForOne recipes, and more.

And Frankly, My Dear . . . that’s all she wrote!

You may also enjoy reading:
WinCo Wins
My Real Italian Kitchen: Polenta and Sauce
Stocking up the Pantry