Stand-up Desk

by Marianne on 11/02/2015

in Create, Home

StandUp Desk

Did I ever tell you about my Stand-up Desk?  No?  Well, it’s pretty much my favorite thing, which is great, because I spend an abnormally large portion of my life in front of it.  It’s rarely this neat in real life.  It’s usually covered in sticky-notes, piles of notebooks, and random pages of scribbles, but it’s fairly easy to tidy up (ie: hide everything in a bin) when I need to.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, but now I spend most of the day standing. I keep a stool nearby for those moments when I do need to sit. That’s usually when I’m up to something complicated that requires an extra dose of brain power.  Normally though, I feel most productive when standing, and when my butt isn’t screaming obscenities at me.  Now I dread going somewhere if I have to sit most of the day.

As an extra bonus, all this standing also makes me put on shoes, which (usually) makes me put on clothes that aren’t pajamas.  That also will (almost always) encourage me to at least brush my hair and throw it into a pony tail.  These are good things, which I am grateful for when someone unexpectedly shows up at the door. (The exterminator really has no business knowing that my pajamas have tiny dogs all over them, but he does. Just one of the perils of working from home. (I know, #FirstWorldProblems.)

The desk is an Ikea hack and cost around $200 dollars.

IkeahackDesk  IkeahackDesk2

(Not all of the same items are available online now, so below are the closest found.)

We used some heavy duty Velco strips to secure the desktop to the base, and it does not move.  I also put some small adhesive pads under the legs of the monitor shelf.  It’s movable, but does not skid around. My desktop is around 63” X 31” and is a great size for a workspace. The overall height worked out perfect for me. Someone on the taller side might need something to raise the desk up a bit.

I love it!  And also really happy to have finally finished off the rest of my office space.


It sure seems that everybody loves hanging out in the office.  Here is just a peek of what is normally going on right behind me:






So much work happens up in here, it’s ridiculous!


Sitting all day is slowly murdering you.  So get off your ass, and try standing!

(Also, get you some dogs.  Foster and/or Adopt!)




Random Flowers

by Marianne on 09/26/2015

in Home

Random Flowers

I ran across this TEDx talk the other day about happiness that really struck a chord with me.  It was pretty timely; I had  just been thinking about my own happiness (and sometimes the lack thereof) and how a shift in my attitude might make my “right now” life better.  The speaker was Shawn Achor.  You should watch it (he’s pretty funny, too):

In the talk, Shawn posits that you can retrain your brain to have a more positive (and happy) outlook by doing these 5 things for 21 days:

1. (List) 3 Gratitudes

2. Journaling

3. Exercise

4. Meditation

5. Random Acts of Kindness

I’m in!  I actually ran out at lunch and bought a journal and started that very day.  Each page starts out with 3 things I am grateful for.

Today I am Grateful for:

1) Random Flowers

2) Having enough

3) That quiet time when all the dogs are fed


Random Flowers. These are not flowers from 1-800-Pro-Flowers that just show up at my door.  I mean, those are nice and all, but what I mean by random flowers are the ones that just pop up in my yard (or anywhere) that I had absolutely nothing to do with.  They show up despite my neglectful watering habits.  I’m sure these are still the work of the prior owners, but I’ve spent the last 3 summers alternating between accidentally killing all the growing-on-purpose things, and trying to keep the rest of the things from overtaking the neighborhood.  I’m not the best gardener on the block. But every so often, something new pokes through and surprises me.  It’s like, even though I failed at this gardening thing again this year, the world just gave me a little do-over.

Having enough. I have food when I’m hungry.  I have a home.  Well, technically, the bank has a home, but they let me live in it while I pay them the agreed upon sums of money each month. I have clothes to wear, even though I bitch about most of them not fitting me.  I can go buy something new if I want.  I don’t really have or want extravagant things, but I spend a good deal of time day dreaming about winning the lottery (and you can bet your sweet ass I bought a ticket today!)  But, I have what I need. I have enough.

That quiet moment when all the dogs are fed. This one just goes without saying. Mornings are insane and loud around here, and those few moments when the whole house is quiet (except for the crunch, crunch, crunch of 5 happy dogs eating) is the best part of the morning.  Time to make the coffee.

Here’s to living happy.


(PS – I ran across this post while looking for the name of these flowers.  They are Spider Lilies, and I love this story.)


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Cajun Lentil Dip

by Marianne on 07/26/2015

in Eat, Home

Dear Hummus, I’ve found another dip and it makes me very happy.  I still like you, but I think maybe we should see other dips.  I mean, when I see you in a restaurant, all made-from-scratch and perfectly creamy, I’m still gonna be like “Oh yah, I want some of that.”  But, don’t get your feelings hurt if I walk right past you in the grocery store and act like I don’t even know you.  It’s just that I’m sometimes underwhelmed by you in those tiny little $4 containers. Maybe we can just be friends?

The new dip of my dreams is made with lentils.  I love this stuff.  It’s so easy, and for about $2 I an make a giant vat of it.  Go get some dried lentils and give it a try.  The lentils don’t need to be pre-soaked, so they are cooked in about twenty minutes.  I like it with some Cajun spices (like Slap Ya Mama!), but I’ve also made it with Madras Curry Powder and turmeric for a different spin.  It’s all good!

Aside from being delicious, lentils stack up pretty admirably against chickpeas, so that’s a nice bonus. Check this out. (Chart found at


Lentils win in pretty much every category.

Cajun Lentil Dip

I seriously could eat this all day, every day.  Creamy, garlicky, and just a bit of spice.  So yummy!

It also makes a great veggie sandwich!


Cajun Lentil Dip
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3 cups
  • ½ lb. dried Lentils (Red or Yellow)
  • ½ Onion
  • 1 TBLS Cajun Seasoning (such as Slap Ya Mama!)
Per 2 cups cooked Lentils:
  • 2 TBL Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 TBL Lemon Juice
  • ⅔ tsp Cajun Seasoning (such as Slap Ya Mama!)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4-5 splashes Hot Pepper Sauce (such as Frank's, or Tabasco)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  1. Rinse Lentils in a colander and place in a pot covered with 2-3 inches of water.
  2. Add ½ chopped onion and 1 tsp salt.
  3. Bring water to gentle simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, until lentils are tender.
  4. Let the lentils cool, then strain to remove excess water.
  5. Working in batches, per 2 cups of lentils, add the remaining ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  6. There will be some extra if using 2 cups. (1/2 lb uncooked will yield about 3 cups of cooked lentils.)






Jackson Happy Tails

by Marianne on 05/24/2015

in Dogs, Home

I gave him one more hug, and kissed that face… oh that face!…and left him with his new family.  On the way over we talked about them, about how excited they were that he was coming.  We talked about how he would have a girl who was eleven, and that she really hoped he would sleep in her room and cuddle.  We talked about how he would have a new dog friend named Bob.  Bob has lots of toys to share.  We talked about how this worked – this fostering thing.  This was the promise I had made to him… that I would help him find a wonderful home.  I told him not to miss me, even though I will miss him.  Tears welled up a few times, but none fell, at least not then.  Everyone had giant smiles on their faces when I left, including Bob the dog.


Jackson found himself a great family and that makes me happy.  But that goofy little guy sure did leave a spot on my heart.  He was here about 3 months, and not one day went by without him causing at least a few out-loud laughs. He sat in chairs, he got stuck places, and he made hilarious noises when he played bitey-face.  He is a total clown.


Stuck under the couch

He’s such a great dog.  Perfect in every way. My heart swells just thinking about him.  And to think, he almost didn’t make it.  Just a few months ago, he was a stray, and was picked up and taken to the pound.  This was his former “address” where he was picked up:

He was skinny, and sad, and also unfortunately had heartworms.  The heartworms would keep him from getting to the adoptions building, so his chances of leaving the pound alive were grim.   He was just one of many email pleas that went out to local rescue groups.  He didn’t even have a name.



Luckily, he had a hero. A Red Collar Rescue volunteer saw his pathetic picture, and stepped up to sponsor him.  He put up his own money to get him out of there, and to get his heartworms taken care of.  That day Jackson became part of the Red Collar Rescue family.  That day his luck turned around.  The poor guy managed to get out of the pound with the beginnings of an upper respiratory infection, but at least he was out!  His freedom ride picture is the saddest thing ever.


Poor little guy.  But Jackson left the pound that day, and never looked back.  He’s living the good life these days.


All he needed was a chance.  What a lucky boy!

Happy life, Jackson.  You will be forever in my heart.



Be kind.  Be a hero.  FOSTER – DONATE – ADOPT


Blueberry Cheesecake Lemon Squares

by Marianne on 04/09/2015

in Eat

So, this happened last weekend. I was on a mission to try and use up the thousand or so Meyer Lemons still hanging on my tree, and the first thing that came to mind was Lemon Squares (And ironically, this actually only used up a total of 1 or 2 lemons,  so I’ve got way more to go!)

I haven’t made Lemon Squares in years, but they were my favorite thing in the world to make back in junior high. So easy to make. These guys are amped up with some cream-cheese and blueberry, which sends them over the top. They  are decadent; creamy, tart and sweet, and seriously more sugar than I’ve had in a single day in a long time. Just one should do ya!

I don’t normally have a big sweet-tooth; I’m more of a dark chocolate girl here.  But I do like lemon-y things. When I make these again, I’ll probably just do plain blueberries on top (maybe thawed frozen ones) and will definitely cut them into smaller squares, throwing the pan in the freezer for about a half hour before cutting them to make them less messy. Otherwise, perfection!


Blueberry Cheesecake Lemon Squares
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 16
Shortbread Crust
  • 6 TBLS Butter
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Flour (all-purpose)
  • ¼ tsp salt
Lemon Filling
  • 2 Eggs
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 2 TBLS Flour
  • 3 TBLS Lemon Juice
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • ¼ tsp Baking Powder
Cream-cheese filling
  • 1 8 oz block Cream Cheese - softened
  • ½ tsp Vanilla
  • 2 TBL Lemon Juice
  • ¼ Cup Powdered Sugar
Blueberry Topping
  • 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 3 TBLS Sugar
  • zest on ½ Lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease an 8x8 in pan
Shortbread Crust
  1. Slice butter into cubes, then beat with mixer for 30 seconds until smooth.
  2. Add sugar and salt, and beat until fluffy.
  3. Stir in the 1 C flour to make a dough.
  4. Press the dough in the bottom of the pan.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes
Lemon Filling
  1. Combine ingredients and beat for 3 minutes.
  2. Pour over the baked crust and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until edges just start to brown.
Cream-cheese Filling
  1. Mix together softened cream cheese, vanilla, lemon juice and flour until creamy.
  2. Spread on top of cooled lemon layer.
Blueberry Filling
  1. In a small pan, bring thawed blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and sugar to a simmer.
  2. Let simmer for about 3 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Spread or drizzle over cream cheese layer.
  4. Cool in refrigerator before cutting (or in freezer for 30 minutes).



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New Years Soup

February 12, 2015

Yah, I know it’s a bit late for New Years.  Half-way into February, and here I come with a post for New Years Soup.  This is why blogging isn’t the job that pays me… or maybe it’s because of that?  (Stay tuned for my Valentine’s Special, coming this fall! haha!)  I’ve been making this soup […]

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One for the Good Guys

January 19, 2015

This weekend I was taking my new foster pup, EmmyLou, to meet some potential adopters, and hit a little traffic snag en route. I mumbled “Asshole!” to the driver of the car who had been behind me in the slow-moving traffic jam, as he decided to use the entrance ramp lane to jump maybe 8 cars […]

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Merry (Doggy) Christmas

December 25, 2014

Twas the night before xmas, and all through the house,    Not a creature was silent, not even Maggie! The brown dogs had dug up the plants, I see    and had Molly on another all-night barking spree. Rusty is here to share in the joy    and make sure we shred every last toy. […]

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Sweet Potato Kale Hash

December 21, 2014

There is nothing that cures what ails you quite like a warm sunny-side up egg layered atop something delicious. And what ailed me this morning was about 2 gallons of wine, staying out past my bedtime, and way too much laughing last night.  Yes, another fun (and loud) Fraser family Christmas has come and gone.  […]

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Of Dogs and Upholstery

December 7, 2014

There are some risks inherent in fostering dogs.  Not the least of which is the possibility that they will take a piece of your heart with them when they go (to their forever home.)  Oh, they will, no doubt.  But when you factor in the fact that your heart grew ten-fold the day you brought […]

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