Laurie’s favorite things

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Just like Oprah has her favorite things, so do I and one of my favorite things is the Lush company. I found my first Lush store back in 2012 on the rue Sainte-Catherine in Bordeaux France and I fell in love with their Mission Statement and their products.

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I am not a makeup person, but I do enjoy taking care of my skin nowadays. I have only started moisturizing and cleansing my face since I turned 40. I joined the party late, but better late than never, though as my former history teacher used to tell us, better never late. I have to say that when I started moisturizing my skin, it was confusing because there are so many different brands out there and they all promise you the stars, the sky and the moon. When I found Lush and their products, I finally felt that I found something real made with respect to the ingredients, respect to the farming communities and respect to the environment. When I purchase Lush moisturizers and cleansers, I feel that I am contributing to a healthy business model and a healthier economy when I use creams made with lavender, orange flowers and Tiger Lilies, Fair Trade Organic Cocoa butter, Shea butter and the other ingredients are other floral blossom infusions. It is also made in Canada so it is regulated and inspected.

I have made an effort to use my dollars as a consumer in ways that help the world and help workers. I try to buy union made products as often as I can and I look for Fair Trade options as well. It makes me feel good and if I am going to shop, it is not something that I like to do, at least when my shopping is done, I can feel proud of giving back while getting something that makes me happy.

Nice clean, soft and moisturized skin makes me very happy.

Jack is a begrudging patient

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As I said yesterday, Jack has a bacterial/yeast infection in his ears and he needs the Otomax ointment twice a day for 14 days and he does not like getting the goopy stuff in his ears. I have a lot of practice wrestling with dogs much bigger than Jack, but I don’t want to wrestle with the baby. He does let me do what I need to do, but then he pulls what we call a Tuck where he sulks and won’t look at me for a while.

Tuck my sister’s Beagle lived with us for over three years and he made a huge imprint in our hearts. He was a character, he knew who he loved and who he didn’t and if he loved you he would follow you to the ends of the earth, but if he didn’t, he would bite the bejesus out of you. And when he felt slighted by those he loved he would sit in the corner and stare away from everyone and if you tried to get him to look at you he would look away at anything else other than you. He was not your average dog and I never thought that I would meet another like him, but with Jack there are times when we say that he is pulling a Tuck and it is always when Jack feels put upon, not getting to eat off our plates or getting his ears cleaned and now getting medicine squirted in his ears. Poor lamb.

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I love the pictures where you see Jack’s tail wagging a thousand beats per minute and also when his ears are doing their individual thing, I thought that the pictures of him on our futon really shows how small he is, he is our little baby.

One of the Nichols’s favorite: Larb

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These are most of the ingredients for Larb, a Thai recipe that normally uses ground beef, but as you see from my pictures, you can use ground pork or ground chicken if you like. The only ingredients that I didn’t take a picture of are the fish sauce, the red pepper flakes and sugar. This dish is so easy to prepare, all it takes is chopping; chopping the shallot, chopping the mint, the cilantro and the scallions. The lettuce needs to be washed and the uncooked rice needs to be toasted and ground. The only thing left to do after that is sauté everything in the ingredient list.

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The best part is now to come; spoon the yummy goodness of the Larb into the lettuce cups and eat up!

Clean bill of health all around :)

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Today was both veterinary and physician day for my husband, myself and Jack. First it was our turn and we brought Jack with us to our general practitioner’s for our well care check ups. Jack was the star of the waiting room, all of the other patients were gushing over him and he was preening, the little ham. Our doctor gave us both a clean bill of health and he told me to continue doing what I am doing and maybe a little more physical activity would be a good idea.

When it was Jack’s turn at the veterinary’s office, we were so happy to see that Jack lost two pounds and that is all thanks to our son with his strict dietary adherence with Jack and the exercise that he gives him. While Jack was getting his vitals taken, the vet assistant explained that she was going to take Jack in the back to take his blood and clip his nails. She picked up our Jack and he went happily, at least that was what his tail was saying. Minutes later we heard this crying and whimpering, I knew that Jack was crying because he is a HUGE baby, that is partly why I call him the little baby boy.

Actually before all of this, while we were in the waiting room, Jack was initially excited to be there, but as the minutes ticked by, his excitement diminished bit by bit until finally he wasn’t walking on his leash, he planted his backside on the floor and my husband was pulling lightly while Jack was being dragged towards the exam room. It was a funny video material. He was not very happy going into the room and he wasn’t thrilled after the nail clipping.

Aside from the nail clipping, the necessary vaccinations, all of which were not a big deal; however when the vet examined Jack’s ears, she found that Jack had a bacterial/yeast infection in one of his ears so he has 14 days of ointment to be applied to both of his ears.

So all in all this was a very productive and busy day. We are all more or less healthy as horses, just can’t run as fast.

Fall plants

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It is getting chillier and I wanted to take some nice pictures of the plants that are still looking very pretty during the last nice days. The weather forecast for next weekend is a little disheartening, they are predicting potential snow showers, jumpstarting the winter season.

I saw my first Christmas commercial, noooooo! It is way too early, the Christmas music, it was a Target commercial, was hurting my ears and the tinsel, glitter and bells were hurting my eyes.

I much prefer a slower and less relentless marketing campaign. It is way too early.

Interstellar: a movie review

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I went to the movies with my husband to be with him because as I told him, this movie or at least what I had seen of the previews, made me angry. My interpretation of the previews is that we were, by going to the stars looking for another habitable planet, acting like rapacious parasites. We ruin one planet and no matter, we just go find another.

Of course after seeing the movie, the story is more layered and complex, but I still left angry about farming and environmental issues. Which is very good I think, because movies should also be about stirring the pot and generating conversations and serious discussions.

I do have to say that once the movie gets into space, it is an exciting movie, full of suspense, wonder, danger and beauty. The acting is first rate and the technology and science are wondrous.

I kept thinking throughout the movie that deforestation, mono-agriculture, pesticides, herbicides and not nurturing the soil, all these practices are contributing to farm and environmental problems that make it so dangerous for our planet and especially ourselves; because it is our behavior that is making our existence harder, our planet will be fine if we ever disappear. This movie made us think.

Soup’s on!

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Food before”
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Food after:

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The weather outside warrants a hearty soup and roasted chickens. I have already made butternut squash soup this season, but it is one of my favorite soups so it got made again. Roasted chicken does more than just feed us with goodness, but it also envelopes the kitchen with intoxicating roasting aromas that last for the entire hour and a half that it crackles and roasts in the oven.

Best of all, leftovers for tomorrow!

We are becoming groupies

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That is our rock star on stage with his band Vanities playing at the CoCo 66 in Greenpoint Brooklyn New York and if you look closely at the first picture, you’ll see Jack’s adorable face in the lefthand bottom corner. As I said in the title; we are becoming groupies, my husband, Jack and myself. If our daughter weren’t away at school, I’m sure that she would have been with us.

It is exciting to see how the crowd responds to Vanities when they’re playing; people are, let me put it this way, enthusiastically moving to the music and everyone else has at least their head moving to the beat. The band seems, with every outing and every performance, to be getting more and more comfortable on stage and connecting a lot more with their audience. It is really cool to watch them evolve as a band and as young musicians.

Jack was happy to see our son on stage, his tail was wagging a mile a minute. We didn’t keep him there for more than a few minutes, we didn’t want to strain his little ears. When we got outside with him, he proved to be a big hit with the people hanging outside taking a break from the music. It was adorable because Jack does love being made a fuss over and he loves all of the attention.

Jack is such a ham. :D

Daily prompt: By Heart

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You’re asked to recite a poem (or song lyrics) from memory — what’s the first one that comes to mind? Does it have a special meaning, or is there another reason it has stayed, intact, in your mind?

Lyrics or at least parts of them never have a problem staying intact in my head. My memory has been deteriorating progressively over the past few years, but give me some rhythm and a beat and the words come back to me without too much hassle.

One of the first songs that I remember because I used to play the record over and over again when I was young is a song called “
Me and my Shadow” I loved the lyrics back then so much
Me and my shadow
my shadow and me
we’re always together
as close as we can be
we like painting pictures on
the walls and the floors
like rabbits and birds and that’s
not all
wherever we go
we got company
me and my shadow
my shadow and me

Maybe I haven’t forgotten because I used to play it during my alone time when I was happy and relaxed, listening to songs that I loved with a book in my hand. I hear the song play back in my head and I flash back to the old apartment where I would sit in the dining room on the old sofa next to the old record player while my father was at work and my mother and my sister were probably watching t.v in my parent’s room. Good happy memories.

Today is election day

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Today my husband and I exercised our right to vote. I have to say with a heavy heart that both of my children decided not to exercise their right to participate. Our daughter forgot to register for an absentee ballot and according to my husband when he spoke to her today, she wouldn’t have voted anyway. I had a passionate argument with my son today and it didn’t sway his decision at all. I brought up several facts such as the fact that people marched, protested and died for the right to vote and even today there are several states in our union who are purposefully putting roadblocks in place to deny the disenfranchised the right to vote. Texas requires a specific voter i.d to vote and there are very limited places to get one, some people have to travel over two hours to get that specific i.d. These types of restrictive i.d regulations makes it onerous to vote and it is done to dissuade certain demographic groups and they are primarily made up of the minority populations.

He argued that his vote doesn’t matter, I countered that au contraire it did. There are historical outcomes that prove him incorrect; some have been quite recent. All of this to no avail, he decided to be apathetic to the voting process. He did say that his mood may not be permanent, he could change next election year. That did little to cheer me up, I was sad that my arguments didn’t move him whatsoever and I know that my daughter would have been similarly unfazed.

We don’t have much power in this country and our vote is one of the last things that we have left to make our voice heard and leave an imprint of our decision as to which way our country should be governed and to know that I have two who don’t care and feel disassociated with their responsibilities makes me sad.

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