Monday, July 15, 2013


With a name like Shannon, I grew up pretty jealous that all my siblings could shorten their names to have legit nicknames. Shortening my name gave strange results...and my parents are the only ones who can get by calling me 'Shan,' and it leaves a sour tone hearing it from anyone else, unless of course it's family, and they have asked permission.

In junior high, a friend called me 'Nun'... high school, some friends called me Dils or Shannonbobana. At work we referenced each other by the order by which we were hired, so I didn't mind being called "#1." My college roommates started elongating my name to Sha-nay-nay or Shananigans or something. Those became too difficult and didn't stick (thankfully). My first job out of college, my coworkers had fitting nicknames for everyone, which is where 'Pickles' began. They questioned renaming me 'Fish' when they found out I swam in dirty Lake Michigan on my bike ride to work. Thankfully that didn't stick either. And when I switched jobs in Chicago, my coworkers were hesitant to tell me that since there was another Shannon in the office, they came up with an ingenious nickname for me that they hoped I wouldn't mind. What was it? Pickles, of course. Sure, just call me 'Pics' for short! Or if you're my coworkers daughter whom I babysit and who wasn't old enough to understand, call me 'Packles.'

Then came nicknames from boyfriends. It started with 'sweetie' and 'honey' from a southern gent which made me feel a bit old. I felt just as photogenic as the A&F model I was dating when he called me 'babe' until I realized he was that skinny from cocaine. My serious BF couldn't choose between 'crazy pants' or 'sleepy pants' depending on if I was flying a plane or taking my 2 hour train commute that day, so he eventually settled on just 'GF' (for girlfriend who was queen for acronyms). The next serious boyfriend called me 'babe' as well, which I decided to enjoy again...until he started calling all his friends 'babe' and the word was like a great song that was quickly overplayed on the radio.

Lately the nickname of the year seems to be 'baby'. I get it. It's like the Patrick Swayze line in 'Dirty Dancing': Nobody puts Baby in the corner. It was romantic in the movie, sure. But she's not a baby, nor is anyone who is of the age to date. Perhaps the nickname can be justified by the delivery...using a deep voice vs. a coo. No, nevermind. As a dude, how would you feel if I called you 'baby'? I might as well call you 'cute' too. Ew. Like I said, great for others, not for me.

'Hey' or 'Hey there' or 'Hey you' takes the cake for worst way to address someone though, in my opinion. Either they've forgotten my name or they are too lazy to say it. Let's get personal.

One of my couple friends call each other 'Love'. Though the word is a little overrated, I appreciate this for a nickname. As a couple you (should) know more about the person than anyone else, so I think a great nickname reflects that special connection. After going through a painful breakup with the 'babe' and having a new guy call me that...I challenged him to come up with a better one and it's probably my favorite yet: Honeysuckle. There was a lot of thought and meaning involved and I felt like one of a kind.

They say it's the small things in life that mean the most. Maybe this is one of those for me. So some rules of thumb: if we just started working together, or if we date...let's just stick with first names.

Turns out I'm actually quite fond of the name Shannon. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

safety words of affirmation

It makes my day getting messages like this from none other than a client! I've been bike accident free for two years now!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

plant-based nutrition

I go back and forth with being vegetarian or not. What tends to dictate my decision the most is the availability of it.

As I've learned to do with most of my big decisions and life changes lately, I decided to read to influence my decision more on this subject. I, for lack of better wording, half-assed a 3-week cleanse called 'Clean'...which had me eliminate grapefruit, oats, honey, and coffee...which was basically the reason I loved waking up in the morning! It basically eliminated acidic foods (even veg like tomatoes and citris) and allergic triggers (caffeine, dairy, gluten). It did not eliminate meats, but encouraged small meals, and smoothies to replace some meals...and most importantly waiting 12 hours after your last dinner bite before eating your first bite of breakfast. I do agree that too much acidity is bad for our bodies and promotes the environment for cancer, but I'd actually prefer to have tomatoes and grapefruit any day over's just a gut feeling :)

Now I'm in the middle of a book called "Healthy Eating, Healthy World" about focusing on plant based nutrition, and I think this aligns more with my gut feeling. So many diseases have been reversed by diet...even just a week sort of cleanse. And being a so-called vegetarian seems like a cop-out. You can eat boxes of crackers and cheese from the spray and call yourself a vegan even, but this isn't plant-based, and sure isn't healthy.

I shared some of my reading with my roommates a couple months ago, expressing that I'd like to possibly just eat fish once a week, otherwise mostly plants. Turns out they were interested in joining in. We're calling ourselves 'free-gans' though...we will eat meat if others share it with us, or we will cook meat if we have company over.

For the first time in a month or so, I had meat last week...chicken one night, ribs another. Perhaps I've never paid attention, or perhaps I just never had this reaction, but I definitely didn't feel as light and energetic the next day. Not that I enjoyed the stomachache, but I was happy to feel my body react. Even happier to have plenty of veg to go back to!

It's as if I can taste food flavors again. I know it's mostly from having such fresh produce that we're blessed with from the farm. After harvesting some bug and hail damaged kale, I set to work making kale salad, frozen kale, kale chips, and kale burgers. Will have to look into some kale brownies next :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Taking apps!

My little feets are getting twitchy for some more world travels! Anyone who's interested, let me know!

Timeframe will be between Halloween and March 1. Preferred Thanksgiving and Christmas in the midwest. I'd love to visit a couple continents I haven't seen, like Africa and Australia, but I'd go back to SE Asia in a heartbeat. Maybe Europe fall, and winter/New Year further? Bueller? 

Wild neighborhood animals

Yesterday, I was blanching and freezing our boatload of hail-damaged swiss chard, when I went outside and saw this!...

I didn't have my camera to capture the exact puppy, but it was a black chihuahua giving me the same 'who are you? what are you doing here?' expression...that mimicked my thoughts exactly. I had a hunch he belonged to our neighbor, but there were no tags. I didn't want him to run further, but he yelped when I tried to pick him up, so instead we did a little 'I chase you, you chase me' act to the neighbors house. I was pretty impressed that he followed. The little freaky yipper behind the fence turned out be a pretty cute pup after all!