Posts Tagged HalfFull

Baby, I’m Back!

Did you miss me? I missed you too. Yes, both of you!

Fantasy Football Draft

My brother and Mr. HalfFull drafted a San Diego Chargers player, so of course the jerseys came out for additional shenanigans. Too bad you can’t see Mr. HalfFull’s ridiculous championship ring in this photo. The commissioner wears three massive rings, so don’t start a fight with him during the draft!

Realistically, I knew I hadn’t blogged here in quite a while. But it really hit home last weekend before Mr. HalfFull’s Fantasy Football Draft.

He and his crazy friends do a live draft every year. One year, three of the guys (and some wives, including me) flew to Indiana for the draft!

But this year, the draft was at our house. Before the appointed draft time, I went out to dinner with the guys (and then disappeared until the following morning to spare my sensibilities). As we were chatting and catching up over dinner, my husband’s friend said that he reads my blog…or rather, he used to read it when I posted. Woah!

Two things struck me during this conversation. First, on the half full side, it’s awesome to have a third reader! Now I can address my readers as “all of you” instead of “both of you.” The second overwhelming feeling was embarrassment at my dearth of blog posts.

Posting Apathy

Why haven’t I posted more regularly? Well, there are lots of reasons.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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Coach ‘Em Up

You’ve probably heard about the coaching scandals at Rutgers University. First we heard about Mike Rice, the men’s basketball coach who abused his players. After that scandal came to light with video footage on the national news, athletic director Tim Pernetti resigned. Rutgers replaced him with Julie Herman, who was accused of being an abusive women’s volleyball coach in the 90s.

I realize that the stakes are high in college, but why can’t coaches motivate with positivity? A coach’s job is more than creating a winning team. It’s about teaching life lessons and molding good humans.

Good coaches are so important to set the tone for the team. They have the power to create a fun experience or a miserable one.

I’ve never been a fan of team sports, and I’ve never joined any sports teams myself. But Mr. HalfFull LOVES them. One of his favorite parts of teaching is coaching sports after school.

Coaching JV Softball

This spring, he coached junior varsity softball. After he met the girls, he would often brag that his team had the highest GPA of any athletic team in the school.

coaching

Coach HalfFull being half full during a pre-game chat

That’s Mr. HalfFull’s positivity kicking in! Yes, these girls were smart and did well academically, but they were not the most athletic group. In fact, some girls had never played softball with an umpire.

I attended the first scrimmage, which didn’t look a whole lot like softball. After two hours, they had only played two innings because neither team was able to field outs. Sometimes there were over 20 runs per inning, but not because the batters were hitting it out of the park. Rather, the pitchers were walking most batters.

At this point, I started to think that softball was volleyball appreciation season (because that’s Mr. HalfFull’s fall sport)! But somehow Mr. HalfFull was able to mold these academically successful girls into a winning athletic team.

By the end of the season, they were fielding double plays! It actually looked like softball.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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The Problem with Being Half Full

Last week, I was particularly excited about Wednesday.  I’m not sure why, but I was feeling half full in spite of myself.  On Tuesday night, I even stayed up late with Mr. HalfFull to watch a favorite TV show that started at 10 PM — that’s past my bedtime!  We usually watch the show On DEMAND later in the week, but I had half full energy and knew I didn’t have to get up early on Wednesday.

When I woke up on Wednesday morning after a full night of restful sleep, I was still feeling half full.  It was raining, but even that didn’t dampen my mood.  I proceeded to the kitchen and flipped the coffee mug over from half empty to half full, just to certify my mood to all who entered.

I did not have a long to-do list on this particular Wednesday.  Plus, I was excited to go to a luncheon at my friend’s house.  I even had grand plans to blog in the afternoon!  It was going to be a great day.

damaged car

At least my car didn't end up looking like this.  Although, I'm not sure this was a particularly attractive car to begin with.

But the problem with being that happy and that half full is that something bad is bound to happen.  I’m Ms. HalfEmpty; the universe was out of whack.  So just to put things into perspective, my beautiful car was smashed by an SUV while I was enjoying lunch.

It was a craptastic event, but I think I handled it in stride.  At least I wasn’t in the car, so I wasn’t injured and didn’t have the stress of actually seeing and feeling my car get crunched.  Plus, the driver came to find me and her insurance company accepted liability.

Having a damaged car is a huge hassle with insurance, adjusters, repair shops, and rental cars.  That’s what I get for being too half full.

  • Is it possible to be too half full?
  • How do you handle car collisions?  Do you flip out or remain calm?
  • Do you believe that something bad is bound to happen when you’re too happy?
Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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Half Full Malfunction

Last month, one of my dear readers (if it wasn’t you, it was the other one) brought an article to my attention that gave me some hope about my half emptiness.  In fact, I felt a bit vindicated.

The article is succinctly titled, “Is your glass always half full? Optimism could be down to a brain malfunction – and it may have caused the banking crisis.”  That’s quite an assertion!  Should I start to worry about my husband’s brain malfunction???

“According to research published today, blind optimism is related to ‘faulty’ functioning of the brain’s frontal lobes.”

Jumping in the Desert

Mr. HalfFull is quite optimistic despite being in a desert in the United Arab Emirates with temperatures over 100°F!

Whew!  I’m not so worried now because Mr. HalfFull doesn’t exhibit blind optimism.  He looks on the bright side of things and is generally a happy person, but still has a range of emotions.

During the brain imaging study in London,

“…all participants showed increased activity in the frontal lobes of the brain when the information given was better than expected.

However, when the information was worse than estimated, the more optimistic a participant was, according to a personality questionnaire, there was less activity in these frontal regions.”

Upset in Barcelona

After a bird poops on my foot in Barcelona, I'm not going to be optimistic!

I guess my frontal lobes are super active all the time!  Can you really fault me for responding to all the information?  I’m just exhibiting healthy half empty brain function.

I realize that optimists tend to cope better with life’s challenges and may be less stressed, but is that only because they are ignoring the facts?  Isn’t it good to see things as they are?  As a woman firmly entrenched in the half empty camp, I believe it’s important to acknowledge the negative too!  Perhaps you shouldn’t dwell on it, but ignoring it completely doesn’t seem like a good practice either.

  • Do you know a blindly optimistic person?  Is he/she annoying?
  • Are you worried about your frontal lobe brain function?
  • Do you tend to ignore negative information?
  • Do optimists have better coping skills and less stress?
Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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Period.

Period.  Full stop.  The end.

NZ waterfall

The lovely Whangarei Falls in New Zealand are not the flow I'm talking about

Nope, not that period.  I’m talking about that enjoyable time in the heroine’s journey, whether she is home or traveling abroad.  You know, the one that comes monthly — or 3 times in 10 weeks if you’re super lucky (or perhaps half empty).

If you read my packing list, you know that we had small bags — certainly not enough to last for 10 weeks.  The plan was to do laundry frequently and replenish toiletries along the way.  This included feminine products.

Our quest for feminine products ensued late one night after driving all day through New Zealand.  We were starving in the wintery darkness, but I wanted to make sure we found a store before closing time.  Thankfully, the first shopping center we stumbled upon contained a huge store called The Warehouse, akin to Target in America.  We found the appropriate aisle with a wide array of products.  Most of the brands were unfamiliar, but I wasn’t too worried because they all seemed similar to the products that Mr. HalfFull buys for me at home.

However, I did find it odd that the tampon packages were so small.  I checked the count on several boxes of various brands, which all seemed to be about the same.  I was slightly suspicious, but at this point I was too tired to care and figured it was a first world country with similar products; everything would be fine.

I didn’t end up opening those Kiwi tampons until Australia, nearly a month later.  Yes, they were indeed different; these did not include an applicator.  What?!?  I’ve NEVER seen a tampon without an applicator.  I’ve seen cardboard applicators and plastic applicators and even ones that collapse into smaller packages, but never NO applicator.  Hmm…this seemed a bit tricky.

bus safari

Ms. HalfEmpty midair in a remote, restroom-free area of Mount Kosciuszko in Australia

We haven’t told you much about our adventures in Australia, but it included a bus safari through the mountains between Sydney and Melbourne.  What’s along the twisty, winding mountain roads from Sydney to Melbourne?  Exactly, my point — not a lot of towns.  For much of the safari, we were bouncing along dirt roads on mountain cliffs that require a special driver’s license.  In other words, we were in middle of nowhere.

You might be asking, “What kind of bathrooms do they have in the middle of nowhere?”  Answer:  the porta-potty sort, with no running water.  So no running water and no applicator?  Way to think this safari thing through Mr. HallFull!  The same man who convinced me to walk out of an international airport had now stranded me in the rugged wilderness along the banks of the Snowy River during my visit from Aunt Flo.

At least I had the foresight to save hand wipes from airplanes and brought along antibacterial gel from home.  But yes, it was gross and uncomfortable, especially with one porta-potty and a busload of people waiting for me to figure out how to use an applicator-less tampon.

maxi liner

Fun facts on the maxi liner!

Although I didn’t run out of my American tampons until Australia, I needed the new maxis in New Zealand.  These too were different than the ones I’ve seen in the US.  But this time, the difference was fun!  The throw-away sticker liner included trivia; Mr. HalfFull and I learned all sorts of silly facts.  For example, did you know that in Pacific Grove, California, it is a misdemeanor to kill a butterfly?

So I guess my experience with feminine products in the South Pacific was half empty and half full.

  • Does your husband/boyfriend buy your feminine products?
  • Have you ever seen a tampon without an applicator?  Is this typical in foreign countries?
  • Do you think the lack of applicator is for environmental reasons?
  • Do you travel with hand wipes and antibacterial gel?
  • What products (or lack of products) have complicated life while traveling?
  • What products have made you chuckle?
Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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Radio Silence

Earthquake

No, this isn't warning Virginia residents that we are back in town; it was an earthquake!  I felt like I was balancing on a surfboard in huge waves as I heard things falling and clattering around me.

Dearest Readers (yes, both of you), apologies for our month of radio silence.  Mr. HalfFull and I are alive and a little more half full, having safely returned from our 30/40 World Tour over a week ago.  We arrived just in time for the first earthquake I’ve ever felt, and now a “once in a lifetime” hurricane to come!  Awesome.

You may have wondered why you’ve only read about our adventures in Fiji and New Zealand since we advertised that we would be visiting eight countries on a trip west around the world.  Fear not!  We will be telling you stories from our full trip in due time.  Perhaps our posts will be even better now that we’ll have the benefit of time for reflection.

Kohimarama, New Zealand

Ms. HalfEmpty gets internet time on her makeshift duffel bag desk in Kohimarama, New Zealand

Why we were such blogging slackers?  Bottom line, consistent posting turned out to be much more difficult than expected.  As I mentioned, internet access was limited.  On top of that, being on the move and changing accommodations (nightly, at times) made it imperative to book rooms and pay bills when we were able to get online.  Sadly for you (and my Mom), email and blogging came in low on our travel priorities list, thus falling by the wayside.

But on a half full note, we are back home with many stories to tell!  Stay tuned…

Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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Keeping Ms. HalfEmpty Full: Lean Meatballs

Meatball

A great meatball doesn’t crumble when you slice into it with a fork…delizioso!

In this second installment of my “Keeping Ms. HalfEmpty Full” series, I present you with an easy recipe loosely based on my Italian grandmother’s meatballs, as further clarified by my “meatballer” little sister.  This version has an improved nutritional profile for today’s carnivorous HalfEmpty wife.  Buon Apetito!

Half Full Mug

 

Lean Meatballs

From the kitchen café of Mr. HalfFull

Oven temp: 350°
Cook time: 30-45 min (ovens vary, ensure meatballs are brown)

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 lbs extra lean (95% or more) fresh Ground Sirloin —  this is usually the smallest package found at grocery stores
  • 6 slices of soft 100% Whole Wheat Bread, grated into bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Skim Milk just enough to keep mixture moist
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup chopped Parsley (fresh) — since fresh parsley comes in bushels, chop it all and freeze extra for later
  • Garlic (fresh minced or powder, to taste)
  • Sea Salt & fresh ground Pepper (to taste)
  • Oregano & Basil (dried, to taste)
  • Crushed Red Pepper if you like to kick things up a bit

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until mixture is consistent (not dry)
  • Hand roll meatballs gently to avoid packing them too densely

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  • Place meatballs on rack in a pan and bake until brown

Ms. HalfEmpty loves these meatballs because in addition to tasting delizioso, they allow her to control her protein portions.  When this Italian soul food is paired with a small portion of fresh whole wheat pasta and leafy greens tossed in a vinaigrette, she easily gets her proper ratio of vegetables, carbohydrates, and protein.

I enjoy the almost Zen-like ritual of creating a batch of meatballs on a leisurely Sunday with football on TV in the background.  [Aside from Ms. HalfEmpty:  cooking made Mr. HalfFull somewhat useful on football Sundays.  I don’t know if NFL Sundays will continue this fall, but I know he’ll still make meatballs and I may not be a football widow…win/win!]

Meatballs in sauce

Meatballs need to simmer in sauce

Once baked, I can put a few in a small pot of “basic tomato gravy” (a possible future “Keeping Ms. HalfEmpty Full” recipe) to simmer all day, and then freeze the remainder.  A great meatball (even the lean ones) should be tender and moist with absorbed tomato sauce, ensuring a light texture that doesn’t crumble when sliced with a fork.

Freeze Meatballs

Freeze meatballs so Ms. HalfEmpty can sustain herself when I’m away…happy wife, happy life!

One of my favorite ways to utilize leftovers is to fill a panini with thinly sliced meatballs, provolone cheese, sun-dried tomato pesto, and arugula.  Likewise, if you have pizza dough on hand, lean meatball slices are a perfect topping!

Finally, it’s important to consider Lemony Snicket‘s words of wisdom:  “Miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree on what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear.”

Mr. HalfFull is a 40-something extroverted optimist who spends his days teaching and coaching teenagers. He occasionally authors posts on his wife’s blog halfempty4now.com in support of his life’s work to help her see life from his sunny point of view.

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Is the Half Empty Mind Too Full?

Mr. HalfFull and I recently attended our first meditation class together, meeting over six weeks for an hour every Friday after work.  I thought this would be a fun activity for us to do as couple, perhaps becoming a habit for our 30/40 World Tour:  Quest for Passion.  After all, shouldn’t a heroine’s journey involve a bit of serious contemplation?

I’m not sure what we were expecting, but when our first class began with the instructor introducing herself by her given yogi name, it became apparent we were along for a trip onboard her granola cart.  Her furry white rug and specialized meditation pillow (shaped like a butt!) added to the ambiance.  To top it off, before each class she would don a vibrantly colored headscarf to complete her transformation from ordinary person to mediation master.  The only thing missing was the scent of patchouli; all we got was a hint chlorine and sweat, compliments of our local rec center.  Lesson learned:  you get what you pay for.

Meditation

I can win at this!

For the longest time, I thought that meditation was focused thought — thinking really hard about a problem.  If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s over thinking!  I can totally win at meditation.  I love to win.

Full disclosure:  I took Mr. HalfFull to a mindfulness session a few years ago.  It didn’t go well.  As we walked out, I said to Mr. HalfFull, “I’m terrible at meditation.”  He thought I missed the whole point, giggling at my half emptiness.  In hindsight, the mindfulness session was filled with skilled meditation practitioners, not newbies like us.  Perhaps a class would help me learn how to win at meditation!

I’ve learned that meditation is more about emptying your mind, as opposed to thinking hard.  I should be awesome at this; I’m already halfway there.  But how do I keep control with an empty mind?  I have lists to make and issues to ponder.  Who has time to sit around emptying his mind?  How is that helpful?

Intellectually, I grasp the benefits of meditation.  While taking the class, I was also reading a novel that summed it up nicely:

…in meditation what’s peeling away are your own thought patterns.  Worries, anxieties, clichés, bright ideas, ambitions, plans, mental and emotional hangups, all that half-conscious brain litter.  You strip the layers away, one by one, until the images grow fainter and fainter and the noise grows quieter and quieter, and bing! you arrive at the core, which is naked emptiness, a kind of exhilarating vacuum.

That sounds kinda neat, but I’m not exactly the prime candidate for meditation.  I have an over active mind that is not prone to silence.  On the other hand, I figured this whole Zen thing would be right in Mr. HalfFull’s wheel house.  But after the first class, I was surprised to learn that he was even more skeptical than me!  He had a hard time taking the instructor seriously, especially in the strange classroom located adjacent to the rec center bathrooms and their amazingly squeaky doors.

The third session convinced me that Mr. HalfFull was not as Zen as I suspected.  We were listening to a recording of a guy who sounded eerily similar to Antonio Banderas.  Don’t get me started on our instructor’s abuse of her iPod.  She’s never heard of playlists, and watching her fumble through the iPod menus was not conducive to my meditation.  I channeled all of my Chi to subdue the control freak in me who wanted to scream and rip the iPod out of that hippie’s fingers.  So I was off to a calm start.

But I digress; back to the recording with Sr. Banderas.  We were instructed to visualize his journey while lying on a mat with our eyes closed.  Antonio’s narration starts off in a grassy park in the center of town where he meets with his teacher.  The teacher tells him to go in search of peace and then mysteriously disappears.

So the student gets up and starts walking around town.  First he comes across a bookstore and thinks that will be a great place to look for peace.  He goes in and looks at lots of books and enjoys himself, but hasn’t really found true peace.  The sultry Latino voice states, “Theez iz not trrrue peeze.”  So he goes next door to the café.  He sips coffee at a table outside, talks to lots of friends, and has a wonderful time.  But he soon realizes theez iz not trrrue peeze.  So he walks further down the block and comes to a music store.  As a lover of music, he thinks this might be the spot where he finds peace.  He listens to various recordings and enjoys himself, but again theez iz not trrrue peeze.  He goes back outside in search of another location where he might find peace.  This time he finds a yoga studio and goes inside to take a class.  Afterward he feels amazing and is calmer, but still theez iz not trrrue peeze.

If you feel like you’ve been reading this forever, imagine listening for over 10 minutes.  Like us, Sr. Banderas is a bit frustrated and decides to go back to the grassy park to sit down.  Now the background music of the recording is building, and we sense that there will be a big revelation.  So we are all listening intently gearing up for the climax after this long journey.  The voice says, “I rrrealized that trrrue peeze iz…”  At that moment, you can hear the PA system of the rec center click on to announce, “Julie, to the front desk.”

Dalai Lama laughing

At this point, my calm, focused, Zen husband bursts into laughter.  His laugh is so funny and so inappropriate for the setting, that I start laughing at his ridiculousness.  The rest of the class is silent.  What kind of hobos laugh in meditation class?

Weeks later, Mr. HalfFull suggested that laughing can be quite Zen:

I know laughter opens the doors to perception, and it allows a thought to get in, because you’re completely unguarded and Zen-like when you’re laughing.

Laughing Buddha

Mr. HalfFull's beloved premarital artifact: the Laughing Buddha

We have this wooden Laughing Buddha statue in our foyer.  It was a decoration that Mr. HalfFull brought from his bachelor pad to our home.  I never liked it, and he’s not even Buddhist.  He originally displayed it on top of the TV cabinet, and I would move it to a hidden shelf reserved for his artifacts.  But that’s a story for another day.

I never noticed that the Buddha was laughing until Mr. HalfFull pointed it out to me as we were editing this post.  I just thought he was a fat guy with an open mouth (the Buddha, not my husband).  Maybe Mr. HalfFull is actually Zen:

Zen Buddhism embraces humor as an instructional tool and mode of expressing enlightenment, or satori. The Rinzai school of Zen teachings, the oldest Zen school in Japan, teaches that enlightenment cannot be attained through rigorous, logical thought, but only in a sudden, transcendent understanding of the universe. In this way, achieving Zen enlightenment is something like understanding a joke.

After the laughing incident, my rigorous, logical, half empty mind thought Mr. HalfFull was just inappropriate and lacked serious mental concentration.  But now it seems possible that he found a sudden, transcendent understanding of the universe!  I never knew he was so deep.  Perhaps he is my key to becoming enlightened and half full (or completely empty?).

Julie Nametag

Look for her at your local rec center!

For the rest of our meditation classes, instead of saying we were going to class, we would tell each other that we were going to find Julie at the desk.  We haven’t found her yet, but I look forward to making her acquaintance one day.

  • Do you meditate?
  • Have you laughed at inopportune moments?
  • Does Antonio Banderas’ voice make you randy?
  • Is there a special place for your spouse’s premarital artifacts?
  • Will we ever find Julie at the front desk?  Will you?
Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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Keeping Ms. HalfEmpty Full: Healthy Zucchini Pie

Zucchini Pie Slice

Healthy Zucchini Pie slice -- delicious!

I’m pretty sure our wedding vows include my promise to be Ms. HalfEmpty’s personal chef.  When we first started dating, she lived nearby and would walk over for home-cooked meals in what she called my café.  Now that I think about it, it’s unclear if she was ever formally invited!  Regardless, since then I’ve perfected a few tried and true recipes she loves, and it seems like a fun idea to share them with her readers.  In this first post of my “Keeping Ms. HalfEmpty Full” series, I present you with a recipe loosely based on my Armenian grandmother’s Zucchini Pie, with a bit of nutritional improvement inspired by Ms. HalfEmpty’s healthier eating style.  Bon Appétit!

Half Full Mug

 

Healthy Zucchini Pie

From the kitchen café of Mr. HalfFull

Oven temp: 350°
Cook time: 45 min – 1 hr (ovens vary, use tooth pick test to make sure pie is fully baked)
Ingredients

Simple ingredients make preparation easy

Ingredients:

  • 3 small Zucchini, diced
  • 1 large Sweet Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 large Red Pepper, diced
  • 1 cup of Feta Cheese
  • 1 cup of Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Canola Oil
  • 1 cup Heart Smart Bisquick
  • 4 Eggs, beaten
  • 3 tbsp Parsley (fresh or dried)
  • Garlic (fresh minced or powder, to taste)
  • Sea Salt & fresh ground Pepper (to taste)
  • Butter (for greasing 9″ glass pie plate)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until zucchini is coated
  • Lightly grease a 9” glass pie plate with real butter (Ms. Butter would approve)
  • Spoon bowlful of ingredients into pie plate, and bake until golden
Finished Pie

A golden Healthy Zucchini Pie hot out of the oven

Besides the simplicity of my grandmother’s recipe, what I really love is the versatility.  You can serve a slice of Healthy Zucchini Pie in the morning with a fresh-brewed cup of coffee, at lunch with leafy greens tossed in a vinaigrette, or even at the dinner table as the hearty side to a bowl of fire-roasted tomato bisque.  Ms. HalfEmpty is particular about getting her proper ratio of vegetables, carbohydrates, and protein at each meal, and one slice of Healthy Zucchini Pie does the trick.

I have been known to kick things up a notch on occasion (Emeril Lagasse would approve), and over time I have used this Healthy Zucchini Pie recipe as the canvas for using up any left over sundries in our fridge, such as sun dried tomato pesto, shredded Mexican cheeses, or even the remnants of a salsa jar after a leisurely Sunday watching football on TV.

And don’t get me started on how good bacon tastes when sprinkled into this (suddenly not so) Healthy Zucchini Pie recipe.  But as Oscar Wilde said: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

Mr. HalfFull is a 40-something extroverted optimist who spends his days teaching and coaching teenagers. He occasionally authors posts on his wife’s blog halfempty4now.com in support of his life’s work to help her see life from his sunny point of view.

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Who goes skiing for Spring Break???

Only a half full thinker would consider going skiing in the mid-Atlantic for Spring Break.  To top it off, the DC area even had an 80°F day in March.  But Mr. HalfFull convinced me that even if it was too warm to ski, we would still have fun.  So we set our expectations low, but still hoped for a ski opportunity.

As we were driving to West Virginia, the temperature gauge in the car read 75°F.  Had we made a horrible mistake?  We didn’t spot even a patch of snow on the entire drive up the lush green mountain.  At the top of the mountain, it was 55°F.  But in true half full fashion, we went to get our ski rentals (which were free that day since it was so late in the afternoon) and hit the slopes!  We got our ski legs back with about an hour of skiing before the lifts closed.  We also didn’t have to bundle up; I don’t think I’ve ever skied in such light layers!

Morning view of the slopes from our condo

Morning view of the slopes from our condo

The day we arrived was warm, but the temperatures dropped significantly during the rest of the week, and you could barely tell it was spring.  It certainly felt cold and windy out there!  We even got two days of new snow including one the day after we arrived, where we woke up to a beautiful view from our condo.

When we booked the trip, we also booked discount lift tickets with our package, but later found out that we each got 5 days of free lift tickets since it was the end of the season and we had booked lodging on the mountain.  Sweet!  When I went to rent my demo skis, I was expecting them to cost $35/day for value season pricing, but they only cost me $16/day.  Another awesome deal!

Ms. HalfFull drinks coffee by the fire

Ms. HalfFull enjoys her tall skim latte by the fire

I got to start my days out with Starbuck’s coffee by the fire before hitting the slopes.  I did not bring my half full/half empty mug on the trip, so I didn’t have to decide which side to use.  But coffee was great fuel for my ski days (and all days).

Mr. HalfFull skiing

Mr. HalfFull on the slopes

The vacation was only Mr. HalfFull’s second ski trip ever, but he was impressive!  Look at him skiing parallel down the slope like a pro.  He must have had a wonderful, yet humble teacher (Ms. HalfEmpty). I had fun on the slopes too, and even caught a little air that Mr. HalfFull was able to capture.

Ms. HalfEmpty airborne after a ski jump

Ms. HalfEmpty catches some air

We got to see some interesting ski apparel on the slopes.  The kids were all dressed quite well, but we saw several adults with jeans or sweat pants that were visibly soaked.  I’ve never seen that in Colorado, perhaps it’s a West Virginia thing.  But it makes me wonder if we will be able to rent ski clothing in New Zealand since we will be unable to carry our own.  Of course you can rent uncomfortable boots and decent skis anywhere, but what about the clothing?  We’ll have to see.  But if skiing isn’t in the cards for us in New Zealand, at least we got to ski once this season!

Western Territory view

Spring Break, Western Territory style!

Since Mr. HalfFull and I are at different ski levels, we did not spend all of our time together on the slopes.  Sometimes I would venture off to the Western Territory (accessible by taking your skis off and carrying them across the main mountain road), which only has black and double black terrain.  The slopes were not crowded, so in general, if you were skiing alone, you rode the lift alone.  However, at one point in the Western Territory, which is even less crowded than the regular ski area, a guy asked if he could ride with me.  There was no line and it was a long ride up, so it seemed a bit strange, but we ended up riding together.  I found out that this guy was from my area (just a few towns away) and was quite a character.  I had watched him ski down the double black terrain with ease despite the ice, so I knew he was a good skier.  I also learned that he had gone bull riding the previous week in Dallas!  Apparently it was his first time, but he won the invitational competition, to the dismay of the professional cowboys.  He explained that it was a real bull, he got thrown seven times, and he had lots of bruises despite protective clothing.  I also learned that he was flying to Jackson Hole to ski the following day, so he was just in WV getting warmed up.

snow on trees in Western Territory

Snow covered trees in Wild & Wonderful West Virginia made it feel like winter

In between bragging about his skiing and bull riding exploits, he complained about the snow in WV.  He was hoping for 11 inches of snow, but they only got about 2, so he felt like he wasted money by paying for lodging on the mountain and getting a free ski day.  Some people just can’t be happy.  Mr. HalfFull and I were thrilled that we had gotten to make first tracks in the powder that morning.  It was a nice dusting of winter on top of the groomed snow and we waited with excitement for ski patrol to pull off the ropes at 9 AM!  However, the snow did not do much for the Western Territory, it got even icier with the cold temperatures and was just a light dusting of powder that blew around on top of the steep ice.  So I see Mr. BullRider’s point, but I was happy for any snow and thoroughly enjoyed first tracks!

On Saturday the lift lines got a bit crowded, but people didn’t seem to understand the concept of joining groups and the lift operators did not see that as part of their job description.  Out West, they have specific lines for singles, doubles, triples, quadruples and the lift operators beautifully orchestrate the traffic patterns to keep the lines moving fairly.  But in WV, it was a free for all.  To make matters worse, they put the singles line farthest from the lift, which made no sense at all.  The point of the singles line is to jump in easily when a chair has an extra spot or two, so you need to be close to the front to do that.

I tried to jump in where I could.  On one lift that serviced mostly black terrain, but did have a green route, I asked a couple (male and female boarders) if I could join them.  For the first time in my life, they said no!  I was really surprised and I guess I looked it, so the guy followed up with, “We’re more comfortable just the two of us…we might fall.”  So it was hard to tell if they just wanted to be alone on the lift as a romantic couple of if they were new snowboarders who didn’t have much control exiting the lift.  But it was a four person lift and they were only two people.

After my lift line rejection, the two skiers behind that couple graciously let me ride with them.  I learned that one had driven from Indiana to pick up his buddy in Louisville, Kentucky.  He arrived in Louisville at 4:30 AM and got to the slopes that afternoon.  Woah, that’s quite a drive.  I’m pretty sure I would be asleep after that, not skiing.

pond skimming snowboarder makes it across the pond

Snowboarder skims across the pond as crowds cheer

Since it was the last weekend of the ski season, the resort had a pond skimming competition.  The staff created a small pond and groomed snow into a large hill near the pond for speed.  Many of the competitors wore costumes as they attempted to skim across the pond and jump out on the other side. Whenever a contestant had enough speed and balance to make it all the way across the pond, the crowd erupted in cheers.  It was especially exciting when some of the contestants were able to do 180° jumps off the final ledge of the pond.

Pond skiiming contestants

Costumed pond skimming contestants

Some of our favorite costumes were a sumo wrestler, half-naked cowboy, sword wielding Caesar, gorilla, 2 hot dogs (a kid and an adult armed with what Mr. HalfFull tells me was a “beer bong”), Teletubbie, and old man with cane.  The sumo wrestler turned around backwards before entering the water, which didn’t give him enough speed to skim the pond and his costume deflated underwater.

hot dog contestant

HalfEmpty Hot Dog descends the slope on his way to the pond (note oversized costume)

A little kid in a hot dog costume was super cute, but did not have enough speed to skim the pond either.  He ended up sinking and was short enough that he was completely submerged with the weight of a snowboard pulling him down.  To top it off, his hot dog costume had a lot of space at the top between his head and the top of the hot dog.  When he went under water, his head got lost in the costume.  When he didn’t resurface, a ski patrol woman jumped in to pull his head out of the water and then rifle through the costume to find his head and drag him to the side of the water where others lifted him out.  Scary!  Lesson learned:  if you find yourself dressed as an extra long hot dog, steer clear of the water or resize to fit the bun.

cowboy with guns prepares to skim the pond on skis

HalfNaked Cowboy with cap guns blazin' prepares to skim the pond

Mr. HalfFull especially enjoyed the scantily clad cowboy as he did his run with orange cap guns blazing into the air!

It turned out to be a fun half full trip with some interesting characters and a few surprises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • How do you manage expectations when the weather may not cooperate with your trip plans?
  • Would you ski without appropriate pants or in a hot dog bun?
  • Have you ever rented ski clothing?
  • Do you enjoy riding with strangers on the chair lift?
  • What would you wear if you were in a pond skimming contest?
Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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