|The Original Environmentalists|
In this week's The Savvy Life Newsletter, I offered the following advice in tribute to Earth Day:
In this week's The Savvy Life Newsletter, I offered the following advice in tribute to Earth Day:
In the last 40 years, we have become a disposable society. The availability of cheap, throw away items is ubiquitous. It has become the norm to throw something away and purchase new instead of spending a little time or money to repair it. Before labeling something as trash, whether it is a shoe, a computer or a piece of furniture, analyze it first to see if it makes sense to have it repaired. This habit will help you contribute less junk to landfill and save money at the same time.
It was my grandparents who taught me to seek ways to have an item repaired vs. throwing it away and buying a new one. My grandmother grew up on a small dairy and quit grammar school in the 6th grade to help my great-grandfather milk cows by hand. My grandfather quit school during the 3rd grade to take over the family's ranch under the direction of my great-grandfather who had gone blind. They made do with what they had, took care of what they owned and did without when they couldn't afford something.
Farmers and ranchers were the original environmentalists out of necessity and practicality. There is a lot we can still learn from them.
|15 Minute Whole Wheat & Goat Cheese Pasta|
Last night, Dante and I got home from Fearless Fitness earlier than usual, so I decided to make a quick and healthy pasta meal for us. I placed a two handfuls of whole wheat pasta into salted boiling water and let it cook. When it was finished, I tossed in a few slices of goat cheese with the drained pasta and mixed it thoroughly. I added a little salt and pepper and that was it – the entire meal consisted of just whole wheat pasta, goat cheese, salt and pepper. The goat cheese melted into the pasta coating it in a delicious soft, velvety flavor.
I was originally going to make an olive oil and garlic based sauce to go over the pasta, but I took longer than expected to feed the dogs and ran out of time. Using the goat cheese as a sort of sauce in itself was a last minute decision and a good one! It took about 15 minutes from the time I set the water to boil to the time Dante and I sat down to eat. This is a recipe I will definitely do again as Dante and I practically licked our plates when we were finished. The recipe also appealed to me as the clean carbohydrates in the whole wheat pasta was well balanced by the protein in the goat cheese.
|The Mental Reboot Worked|
I think getting sprayed in the face by a citronella bark collar was exactly what I needed to mentally reboot. Although the last two days have been hectic, I have felt more in control and focused than I have in weeks.
I just got off the phone with my dad and he is feeling better and stronger with each day. Although he is anxious to get back on a horse, he is dutifully following doctor's orders.
Over the past two days I have also managed to put my desired time into Living the Savvy Life and the book is steadily taking shape.
Outside of a wicked stubbed toe that has me limping around today, last night was a wonderful and busy night at Fearless Fitness. I just wish I had a better story for my toe injury. Instead of being able to say something cool like, I jammed my toe sparring two people at once, I have to admit that I stubbed my toe running barefoot with the FFIT class. I think my ego is more bruised than my toe is swollen.
Finally, I am happy to report that the bark collars work on the dogs too! The Tosetti family has happily slept through the past two nights.
|Raccoons, Angiograms and the Fortnight from Hell|
For the past few weeks I have been sitting on the news that Kevin and I secured a book deal with Morgan James Publishing. The book, Living the Savvy Life is 60% complete and the final manuscript is due on June 22nd. We have been working to secure a publisher since June 2009 so we are very anxious and excited to get the final manuscript done and the book published. We have been pouring as much time into it as possible while still maintaining our regular work load.
Unfortunately, our first two weeks of writing has met with some fun and not-so fun challenges. I am a positive person by nature, and can usually go with the flow. However, the last two weeks have been… ruff.
Monday, April 5th
Family of raccoons moves into our oak tree. Dogs spend all night protecting us by barking incessantly. Never slept longer than 45 minutes at a time. Tough time focusing on manuscript.
Tuesday, April 6th
Forgot Coach Susan was on vacation and that I was supposed to cover her classes. Luckily, I happened to be at the school and was able to teach. Raccoon/Dog War continues. Day 2-no sleep. Really tough time focusing on manuscript.
Wednesday, April 7th
Up at 4:30 am to drive to Chowchilla for the cattle drive. Drove back that afternoon to cover Coach Susan's 6pm and 7pm classes. Pass out that night despite Raccoon/Dog War. Unable to work on manuscript – worth it because cattle drive rocked!
Thursday, April 8th
Up at 4:45 am to get to Fearless by 6:00 am to cover Coach Laura's morning class. Coach Erika is kind enough to cover my classes that night so I can buy pepper spray to help the dogs on their front against the raccoons. Dante and I both fall asleep before 9pm. Despite an all night vigil, Paul does not find one single raccoon to spray. Dogs bark anyway. Spent about an hour on manuscript.
Friday, April 9th
Normal 12 hour work day – Savvy Life and Fearless. A good day! Spent a solid chunk of time on manuscript.
Saturday, April 10th
Put family in car and drive five hours to Ojai for Paul to teach a longsword seminar at Thacher School the following day. Long, but wonderfully enjoyable day. Unable to work on manuscript.
Sunday, April 11th
Dante and I tour Ojai while Paul teaches 11 high schoolers how to use a longsword (it's a progressive school). Put family back in car at 3:30 pm for six hour drive home in torrential rain. Push poor Nissan to its limit. Despite long day and rain, still enjoyable. Spent approximately one hour on manuscript – better than nothing!
Monday, April 12th
Raccoon/Dog War continues. Trying to feel empathy for dogs who are just doing their jobs but am ready to kill them. Post note on Facebook asking for advice on dog bark collars. My sister-in-law Maria suggests getting a citronella bark collar which she says is effective and not cruel. My sister-in-law is awesome. Spent about two hours on manuscript.
Tuesday, April 13th
Go to Petco to buy bark collars and am shocked they are priced at $90 each. Pass on collars. 3:00 am – regret passing on collars. Tough time focusing on manuscript.
Wednesday, April 14th
Go to print final tax documents for The Savvy Life and FFIT@home after having done taxes weeks ago. FFIT@home prints fine. Software glitch with The Savvy Life. Worked on it from 6:30 am – 3:30 pm including spending two hours on phone with customer service. Stress level at maximum. Unable to work on manuscript.
Thursday, April 15th
Finally send in taxes. Still grouchy from previous days tax battle. 4:00 am - vow to purchase bark collars the next day no matter what the price. Spent about two hours grouchily working on manuscript.
Friday, April 16th
Take Nissan to shop and spend $1,000 on new brakes and struts, etc. Don't sweat it too much as car is paid off and otherwise in great condition. Found citronella bark collars at Pet Club for just $39 each. Feeling savvy! Happily purchase two. At 7pm get call from dad who hasn't been feeling well since the cattle drive. He informs me that he is going in for an angiogram the next day at 6:30 am. Everything comes to a screeching halt and nothing else over the past two weeks is important anymore.
Saturday, April 17th
Up at 4am and put Dante in the car for drive to Fresno. Unable to work on manuscript and I don't care. Meet my other-mom Linda and my brother at the hospital. They find significant blockage in dad's artery but happily, they are able to install a stent so dad is ok and in fact, our hope is that he will soon be feeling better than he has felt in years. What started out as very scary ended up being a positive event. Thank you Dr. Boran!
Stopped by my mom's place on the way home for a quick visit before heading back to Redwood City. Took a tour of the orchard and garden and was inspired to put in much needed work on my own trees and garden.
After two and a half hour drive home I relaxed with Paul and Dante for awhile before trying to take care of a few projects I had planned for the weekend. While walking past my bedroom window I looked out and saw that Spur had dug out and knocked down the Asian Pear tree that I planted last year. As I walked outside to try to save it, I became totally, completely and inconsolably hysterical. I cried like I have never cried before. It was primal. I felt overwhelmed, frustrated and stressed. It took me about 20 minutes to calm down and repair the tree. Spur was smart enough to stay as far away from me as possible.
I scared poor Paul who is not used to seeing me cry or be upset. We sat down together and he let me talk it out. The stress and relief of my dad's procedure, the lack of sleep because of the raccoons, the unusually large amount of travel and the stress of trying to make the June 22nd due date of the book just got to me. Knowing that we are traveling again this coming weekend and Paul is leaving for a 4 day seminar the following week also helped me reach my limit. Once I had a chance to get some of the emotion out with a nice hysterical cry and to talk it out with Paul, I felt a lot better. We also sat down and created a plan to help alleviate some of the upcoming stressors around Fearless and The Savvy Life.
In addition to creating a Get-Stuff-Done-Plan, we decided to put the bark collars on the dogs so we could start the following morning off with a good night's sleep. We each took a collar and followed the directions to put it together. We filled the mechanism with the citronella scent and as directed, blew into the hole to test the collar. Nothing happened. We started laughing at each other as the two of us madly blew into the collar to try to test them out. Finally, I put it up to my neck and barked which triggered the collar - blowing citronella all over my face. It was the funniest moment I have had in ages and exactly what I needed to mentally reboot me. We ended up having a wonderful evening and I smelled lemony fresh the entire time.
|Savvy Life Story of the Week|
I received the following email from my friend Jackie who stopped by Peet's Coffee last night with our friend Carla. It sounds like Peet's could be a savvy place to visit if you are craving a late night pastry!
The Peet's Coffee we visited last night gives pastries away (at least) an hour before closing! I used a gift card for tea and a pastry, and they only charged for the tea... I was confused and then one of the workers said she would rather give away the goods versus throwing them out at the end of the night. Carla also scored a free chai latte due to a barista's error. So, we walked away with two tea lattes and three pastries (I was hungry) for $2.85. LOVE IT!
|One of My Favorite Events of the Year!|
Last Wednesday I participated in one of my favorite annual events – The Chowchilla Stampede Cattle Drive. This is the fourth year that my dad and I have saddled up for the ride. The last two years we have been joined by my friend Janna.
The Stampede is a 50+ year tradition in Chowchilla. It marks the opening of a five day roping. It started in 1958 when the 150 cows that were donated for the roping happened to be housed on the other side of town. At a loss for how to get them to the fairgrounds, the organizers decided to "drive" the stock across town. On a lark, they thought it would be funny to take the cattle down Robertson Boulevard, the main street in town, and thus started a much loved tradition.
For dad, Janna and I, this year's event was much more adventurous than in years past. The first half of the drive is spent out in the country getting some of the spirit out of the steers. We then rendezvous just outside of Chowchilla and wait for the go ahead to walk them through town.
Just as we started into town, Janna and I were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to chase after two separate cows that went AWOL. For me, chasing down strays is the best part. Although once we got to the main part of town, the cattle started behaving themselves and walked properly. That is a good thing as the streets were lined with spectators who had no idea just how much spunk the cows had in them 10 minute earlier.
Prior to the drive, my mom met up with us to take care of Dante during our ride. She headed to my aunt's flower shop which happens to be on Robertson Boulevard and they watched the drive from there. Dante was very excited to see mom, Aunt Janna and Grandpa Haze riding past him.
My godmother owns a hair salon on the same street and we yelled our greetings to each other across the 75 mooing steers. You can understand why I enjoy this event so much. Not only does the whole town get involved, but I happen to be related to a good majority of them.
Outside of a horse slipping and almost unseating his rider behind me, the ride through town was relatively calm.
The best part of this year's drive happened when we got back to the fairgrounds. During the ride, there were approximately 40 people on horseback. Of those, 25 were there just for the ride and only 15 riders were actively handling the cattle. As we approached the fairgrounds, more than half of the riders peeled off and took their horses to their trailers leaving only 10 of us to get all 75 steers back to the corral.
We managed to successfully get the cattle to make a tricky left turn, but about half of them found a break in a fence and took off running into a side corral. Janna and I kicked our horses into a run and went chasing after them along with four other riders. As we were gathering them up, I mentioned to one of the other riders that getting the cattle back through the break in the fence was going to be like threading a needle. His reply, "Yup, like threading a needle with a frayed thread". We managed to get them out in less than five minutes.
After successfully getting all 75 steers back in their proper corral, we headed to my dad's ranch to give the horses a well earned shower. During the ride back the topic of conversation was when the three of us could get together again for another ride.
Me and my Dad. Note the ear piece for his cell phone.
On Robertson Boulevard just as we approached town.
*Photos courtesy of Janna Scott.