Stop mindless browsing

I have a problem.  It is called “mindless browsing on the internet”.  I get drawn into link after link after link.  Pretty pictures.  Interesting articles. Wikipedia. Anything but focusing on writing the novel, completing the work, blogging, or something productive that will pay off down the road.

I decided I don’t have time for the time wasting, what with baby already taking up several hours that I used to do…what exactly with?

The first step was cutting myself off of Facebook last week.  Quel experiment.  I mostly did not miss it, although yesterday I wondered what, if anything, L’s dad was posting.  (I used to notice he used to tell me those things eventually though, music he was listening to, photos he had taken…then I had to pretend I hadn’t already seen it on his facebook because nothing ends a conversation faster than, “oh, I saw that on your facebook already.”)

I notice I miss it the most when I’m trying to distract myself from a task at hand. It was a plentiful array of amusements: superficial messaging, stalking-cum-overly-friendly-interest cultivated in the lives of strangers, cute baby shots, irritating posts, gags, birthdays, new music, videos, changing self-flattering profile photos (“selfies”), useless life updates….not to mention the constant, unspoken invitation to compare ourselves constantly with our friends, followers and acquaintances.  Will I too go to Hawaii or buy a BMW? Will I win a pulitzer and get a phD in muslim studies?  Don’t I want that?  After I cut myself off, I dreamt about a woman who constantly posts personal information about herself and her family. Did I go into withdrawal? In my dream we had had a passive aggressive fight….she sent somebody to tell me she was mad at me, a la sixth grade.

The second step – gah- is cutting myself off of email during work hours!  And feedly, an excellent google reader, which is my new time wasting time waster.

I decided I had to get tough with myself.  Bam!  Enter “Stay Focused” a chrome app.  Apps are super easy to use in Chrome.  This one also works across several platforms.  Find it here.  Basically, you enter in the sites you are addicted to — ahem– I mean that you like to browse, and it limits your time within them to 10 minutes (automatically, although you can try to change this and permit more time it will guilt you with a message of, ‘are you sure you want to increase the amount of time you are wasting? that doesn’t seem very wise…).  How….clever.

Either I’ll now become extremely productive, or I will write a novel or blog all the time!!  Or I will discover new, unblocked websites to waste my time on, outrunning the blocker from site to site to site.

I wonder if this will work…..



The (almost) superfast lunch series

I work from home. Mostly, I eat leftovers for lunch.  I am not that big on bread. But sometimes, sometimes….all the leftovers are gone, through miscalculation or attack from other wandering members of the household (i.e. brother).  Then, it is just me, my wits and my raging appetite.

Luckily we keep a rather stocked pantry.

This is a series without photos. Let’s get this straight! This is about fast cooking and satisfying a need not the glory of food production!  Make it fast and wolf it down between dropping baby off at daycare and getting on with the day’s labour! Now, for some people, their needs could be satisfied with raw vegetables and a piece of the macaroni and cheese they made on Sunday.  Fridge to mouth. That’s not me.  Me? I need something reasonably fresh and on these rainy summer days, warming.

But these are superfast for people who regularly spend an hour making elaborate meals.  This can be in yo’ belly in about 20 minutes, stat!

Sorry, this series probably will not have photos because they are conducted and created in real time, and end up hot in my belly pre-styling and pre-photograph.  Although maybe I’ll just keep the camera in the kitchen. TIME WILL TELL MY FRIENDS. TIME WILL TELL.



Source: LUMAS

Lumas is a German-U.S. photography gallery with a massive online presence.  I discovered it several years ago and have coveted their affordable photography ever since.  I think buying a piece from here was on my list FOREVER but somehow I can never seem to justify doing so.  They have reprints of classic pieces, up and coming as well as limited edition prints from established artists.  


I see they’ve recently reorganized their site and it’s a bit wonky in places. The old categories are gone and they have illustrations, movie stills, digital art and painting now in addition to the old photography standbys! They’ve also expanded the number of galleries they have around the world.  Why do I imagine parting with $600 would be much easier if I didn’t hand it over in person… For some reason I chose all images of women but there are landscapes, abstract pieces, still lives, magazine covers, the whole gamut. 

Check it out here.

Homemade cough soother

I wouldn’t exactly call this a syrup because once you do a half and half with honey, it doesn’t have a syrupy texture anymore. Of course you could amp up the honey to something like 80:20 but then you’re basically just eating honey.  I don’t have anything against eating honey, per se, but my body seems to resist if I consume excessive amounts of simple sugars, so I try to resist.

I’m pretty sure this homemade remedy, for which I am providing an unrecipe (aka, a recipe without detailed amounts) is responsible for my FINALLY getting over the most virulent day-care infested cough-cold that I have had since the baby arrived!   I am still coughing but with much less frequency.  The other thing that really helped was slathering my throat with vicks vaporub (I am a vicks addict), wrapping a scarf around it, and slopping it onto the soles of my feet and then putting socks on.  Then I covered myself with a heavy down comforter that mitigates even the tiniest chill in the air (throwing it off in the middle of the night) – and finally – success!    That plus getting MORE SLEEP, always a battle with the earliest of early-morning babies.   I did a quick google for a homemade cough syrup but I couldn’t find one that seemed to hit all the bases.  A lot were just ginger plus lemon.  DUH. Of course you need ginger plus lemon.



  • Ginger root
  • Red pepper flakes (numbs throat)
  • Honey (soothes throat)
  • Fennel seeds (digestive support, flavour)
  • Yellow onions (onions & garlic are natural anti-inflammatories)
  • Elderberry tincture (optional – for vitamin C, FYI Safe with breastfeeding)
  • Nettle tea (good for liver support)
  • Garlic cloves (I should have added these but somehow I forgot)
  • Cinnamon sticks (tasty + various health benefits too numerous to list)
  • Olive oil (soothing on the throat)
  • Lemon or lime – fresh juice
  • Apple cider vinegar

Does that sound disgusting? Cause it actually tastes pretty good.  Especially if you are a fan of sweet, spicy ginger candies normally.

  1. Slice onions, chop garlic and ginger.  Sautee together in olive oil for about 10 minutes at low heat.
  2. Add water, a cup or so, and toss in red pepper flakes (a few tbsps), fennel seeds, loose tea and  the cinnamon sticks.  Bring to a rolling, headily scented boil.
  3. Juice as much lemon or lime juice as you have energy for.
  4. Reduce liquid to about 1/2 cup – cup (depending on how much of this good juju you want and how much honey you have, you will go equal parts honey and decoction).
  5. Cool & combine in glass gar (mason jar works) with equal parts honey, and stir in lemon/lime juice.  VOILA!  Take teaspoons as you wish, or use as a concentrated sicky tea solution and combine 1:2/3/4/5 parts boiling water depending on your desire.   Burns so good…yum.

FYI, oil of oregano and echinacea, two of my go-to herbal supports for sickness, are not appropriate for breastfeeding mothers.

Optional additions?  Tumeric, orange juice, mint….although for the best flavour you might want to reign it in.

Let me know if this works for you!

Here are some other, apparently more useful recipes that work off of the power of onions.  A poultice here – I had one of those nasty deep seated coughs that wasn’t dislodging…and a kid-friendly onion syrup, which I could have been trying on DD.  Now I know for next time….

Reading: 1rst dibs’ magazine

There’s a few e-design magazines that I don’t even have time to enjoy most of the time! (Can you say “Lonny”?) But they definitely merit attention.  One of them is 1rst dibs ‘introspective’ magazine.   It uses a beautiful page-turning format and the articles always have great photography.  The articles are usually brief profiles highlighting today’s designers.  (Click to see the high res image).


One of the best features is “The Talent” which is kind of a whos who of the up-and-coming.  They always conclude with completely unaffordable 1rst dibs pieces.  (1rst dibs is a high design online source).


Check out the full piece featuring NYC based design group THE SCOUT.  These are some fantastic eclectic interiors that really float my boat!  One of the great thing about the spaces featured in this piece is they rely on the brilliance of decorating, not amazing airy architecture, which most of us don’t have, sadly.