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The Fearless Blogger is Regenerating


I recently discovered that what had been here before was here no more.

I’m not sure who/what/where/why – but all files related to fearlessblogger.com (as well as my c-panel user account) are now missing. (If you see them, please tell them to come home soon – tell them I’m not angry, it’s just that I’ve been so worried about them and I’m relieved they are ok.)

Fingers crossed, I should be able to restore my previous posts (eventually).

I’d be lying if I said trying to get everything sorted out hasn’t been frustrating (and since I don’t lie: it’s been fucking frustrating!). Still, my blog’s been neglected for quite some time (honestly, I only discovered it went missing last week, for all I know it’s been down for a couple of months by now) and the back-end stuff was a bit messy (I didn’t really get the whole CSS styles thing when I first started out, and my theme& plugins needed some updating).

Sometimes we need to break things apart in order to rebuild them.

The Fearless Blogger is regenerating.  

Arbitrary Day 2014!

redditgifts new exchangesI’ve just signed up to participate in redditgift’s 2014 Arbitrary Day Gift Exchange!

Last year, by the time I found out about redditgifts and the 2013 Christmas exchange, it was too late to sign up. Since then, I’ve been looking forward to a chance to participate in one.  Appropriately enough, I arbitrarily ended up on reddit a couple of nights ago and saw a banner for the Arbitrary Gift Exchange.

“What is this gift exchange?” you may ask.  Well, you can find more info here, but below are some highlights (the figures are from last year, but you get the idea):

redditgifts is a giant online gift exchange that started connecting internet stranger-friends around the world with one another in 2009. Last year we had 44,805 people participate in Secret Santa 2012.reddit arbitrary day 2014

Think about that for a second: 44,805 internet strangers from 130 different countries put their faith in one another and sent gifts around the world. Pretty awesome, right?

Participating is easy. It only takes a few minutes to sign up and create a profile. Once you do, you wait until matching day, when we run a big program that matches each person to someone else in a giant daisy chain. You’ll be given a person’s username, and you can stalk that person (in a friendly way) to find the perfect gift for them and mail it off. Someone else will be doing the same for you, and when you get it, you can post photos of your awesome gift online so we can all celebrate together.

There are a few different exchanges you can participate in, though reddit limits the number can sign up for at a time, to help prevent people from signing up for exchanges and not sending anything. When you sign up, you get to fill out a form with your likes & dislikes, favorite movies, tv shows, bucket list items, etc. that can be used by your “secret santa” to choose a gift for you.

reddit suggests a $20 minimum to spend on gifts, but ultimately it’s up to each “santa” to send their match something special. Since some people are flakes, and may not ever send a gift, some redditors sign up to be “rematches”, which means they will send a gift to someone whose santa didn’t come through (this is done for the fun of giving, since rematchers do not receive gifts in return).

Wayne Dyer talks about breaking down the word “universe” into “uni” (one) and “verse” (song). I love the idea of all of us in the universe singing and being part of One Song.

Oods Singing

Universe = One Song (A bit like this, only a different universe and fewer tentacles. If you’ve never heard the Ood sing, the image links to a song.)

My personal reason for participating in the exchange, is that I continue to be amazed at the never-ending ways the internet has been able to connect humans with other humans as we engage in this One Song. I love the idea that someone I’ve never met is (hopefully) excited to choose and send a gift to me, a complete stranger. And I’m excited for the opportunity to put love, energy and creativity towards making another total stranger happy.

There’s one more reason that I’m excited to do this.  For most of my life, between untreated ADHD, work, stress, and not knowing myself, this is the type of thing I’d either sign up for and flake and feel guilty for letting someone down or, once I gained some self-awareness, avoid because I knew myself well enough that it’s not something I would follow through on. I feel that I am finally at a place that I’m learning to be selective about what I commit to, and that I can trust myself to follow through on it once I do. This is an opportunity for me to feel good about myself for honoring a commitment and making someone happy.

If I needed another reason: redditgifts describes their mission as “to bring more happiness to the world”.  You can learn more about their mission and how they got their start in this video of redditgifts founder Dan McComas (kickme444) at a TEDx event. (if the video doesn’t load or play, you can find it here)

last day to sign up for redditgifts arbitrary day

Have you participated in something similar (or to one of redditgift‘s other exchanges)? What was your experience like?








I Made Bananas Foster (aka, Why I Only Cook for Myself)

beautiful bananas foster that someone else made

SPOILER ALERT! Mine didn’t look like this.
(image credit: marthastewart.com)

I’ve never been that into cooking.

There are two reasons for this:

  1. I eat too fast, so the ratio of preparation time to eating time feels a bit unsatisfactory.
  2. I’m not great at cleaning up after myself, so prefer to make meals that can be consumed from the same container they were prepared in.

Still, I’m trying to work on “mindfulness” and eating “cleaner” (as in simple, healthy food; not how my kitchen looks after preparation) and recently signed up for Abundant Harvest Organics, a weekly service that delivers farm fresh, locally grown, organic produce to my door.

Farm Box home delivery

She looks nice. I wonder how much it would take to bribe her to stay and help me cook the food too.
(image credit: http://sqpl.org)

In the more recent past, this is something I would generally shy away from, having learned my lesson from the before-recent past that I’m probably going to end up with a weekly week-old supply of moldy fruits and a produce drawer filled with liquified veggies. However, the AHO site includes suggestions for produce storage and preparation, as well as recipes based on the contents of each week’s box, which seems somewhat encouraging.

As I looked through the recipes for next week’s box, I visualized my Abundant Harvest Organic receiving self:

Gywneth Paltrow Cooking

EXACTLY like this. (Except less messy since there would be no toys or guitar)

I’m coming home from yoga, setting my bag down, taking off my shoes, giving my cat Marley some love, then slipping on an apron and preparing a healthy, nutritious meal that looks like an artist’s palette of fresh vegetables and quinoa.

After mindfully enjoying each morsel of my “good energy” meal prepared with gratitude and love, I’d take some time to upload the pictures I’d taken of it here, to my blog, to illustrate the recipes I’d share with you, dear readers. Your comments, with pictures of your own version of each dish, would inspire me to push past my culinary comfort levels, eager for others to benefit from my new found love of healthy eating.

Then Bananas Foster happened: It’s rum-fueled flames melting my matching retro cherry patterned wings and apron like a domestic Icarus, my culinary aspirations spiraling as they plunged to their death.

I’ve been really into bananas lately and had a few that were perfectly ripe.  Craving something warm, I decided to attempt a vegan version of Banana’s Foster.  (I’m not vegan, I just ran out of butter.)

After making a successful “practice batch” for which I winged the recipe (and did not flambe it), I decided to find an actual recipe that I was willing to risk four bananas for.

It got off to a rocky start – something seemed off, but I told myself that once I flambe it, it should turn out just fine. It took me several matches and a bunch of extra rum to get things flambe-ing (I have enough self-awareness to know there was no way I was going to be able to pull off the “tip the pan to the flame” move), but I finally got a bit of a flame going.

flaming bananas

The flame! The flame! <–what Tattoo would have said

For a brief moment, I entertained the thought of texting a couple of my neighbors to see if they would like some freshly made Bananas Foster. I don’t have many opportunities to feel domestic and neighborly, and for a few seconds I indulged the idea that it’s finally my time to cross the threshold from “single neighbor people bring home-cooked treats to” to “single neighbor who brings people yummy treats”.

“Where did you get the recipe?” they’d ask. “Oh, it’s so easy. Remind me to email it to you. The trick is to flambe it at just the right point,” I’d reply.

Then I noticed the flame was out. It still didn’t look quite right, but the bananas were starting to liquify, so I turned off the stove and spooned some into a bowl.

And I remembered a third reason why I rarely cook:  More often than not, my meal ends up looking like something a four year old “cooked” for you while playing in the back yard – a Frisbee for a plate, with a blend of grass and weeds, served over a puree of sand and mud, and garnished with some twigs and a pine cone.

Nailed it!

Bananas Disappointster

Bananas Disappointster. At least the bar for it tasting as good as it looks was set extremely low.


Enough hours have now passed to permit me to look back on my harrowing experience, framed in the perspective that only the passage of time allows.

At the time, I attributed the sooty color to using a cast iron pan, hypothesizing that perhaps it had something to do with the alcohol in the rum simmering in a poorly seasoned piece of cookware.

Gazing at the concoction, now cool to the touch, I still believe this theory to be true, and have but one regret:

WTF was I thinking when I decided to actually eat some of it?