When I was eighteen, I knew everything.
No, really. I knew it all. I had been to Europe. I had seen behind the Iron Curtain. I came back to my small little town and got myself to a university that was really hard to get in from out of state. I met my husband there and we got married. I knew it all and I was ready to take on the world.
Then, all of a sudden, a year or so into our blissful first year of marriage, we moved away to a different state. Other than school and a summer in Dallas, Texas, I’d never really lived anywhere else. Nashville was different, but still very southern and so things were good. Then we bought a house and the ugly truth began to creep on me that maybe I didn’t know quite as much as I thought I did. Things about interest rates and escrow and insurance and taxes. But, I continued on. The day that Lucy was born was when I finally accept the cold, hard truth.
I knew nothing.
Nothing about how to raise a child, or how to make your mortgage shrink by paying more on the principal, nothing about how much I should really be paying for a new car, and was it safe enough for my new baby? So, what did I do? I did what everyone does … I called my mother. She and my father were Forrest’s and my sounding board for about the first five years or so of our marriage. My mom was my internet at the time, my resource for wisdom and experience. The internet (as we know it now) was just getting started and was only really good for email or the occasional search, but you would often get random, useless information. I totally jumped on board, however and we had our first home computer (a Mac, do you remember those first ones? the little computer icon that smiled at you?) so that when we moved to Idaho, we could email our parents. Well, we could email MY parents (because his parents didn’t have a computer at the time) and we could do things like book plane tickets home. It has now become such an amazing part of my life that I never leave home without at least my iPhone or my iPad (usually both) because I feel naked without it. Where would I be if I couldn’t have Google at the touch of my fingertips? Or a text from Lucy asking me to check her grades on Pinnacle (she could, in theory look herself, but the schools are built like bomb shelters and only texts get through)?
I was taught at a young age that with power and blessings comes much responsibility. I have also since learned that with the internet and all the wonderful things it does for us, comes many, many choices. Some good, some bad. Some will open new doors for us, and some will just flat out lead us down the wrong path. With access to such a thick, rich stew of possibilities, it is our responsibility to choose wisely and morally. We need to separate out the helpful from the useless. There is only one real way of doing this, sitting as we do behind a computer screen, our fingers poised over the button that says “buy” or “install” or “accept.”
I have become a comment reader.
I don’t even install a free app on my phone without reading at least ten of the comments left by others. If it has less than three stars, I never even bother. This is true for everything. Hotels, books, recipes, apps, clothing and shoes that I either book or purchase on the internet are scoured for the comments section. Even the blogs that I read have comments that I peruse, interested in what others have to say about the recipe I’m considering trying or the ‘take’ on what the author had to say. Sometimes you find the best information in the comments, the best ideas, the best advice.
And the best inspiration.
For dinner tonight, I am making Salisbury Steak. I know, visions of elementary school lunches are swirling through your head. This recipe, however, I found on my new favorite blog SkinnyTaste that my friend and fellow author, @JenD_Author, directed me to. I love comfort food, and I made this (although, not this recipe) recently. It was surprisingly well received by the family. When I first stumbled upon this recipe, there was almost an immediate ix-nay by me because it called for ground turkey to be mixed in with the ground beef. Disgusting to me in every sense (taste, sight, smell and texture), I will not eat ground turkey. It is simply not worth my time. BLECH. However, I scrolled to the comments to see what crazy people are actually eating this, and one of them mentioned using ground bison instead of turkey and would it change the calories? Hurriedly, I found the answer that, “no, it shouldn’t change the calories.” I then got on my phone and Googled “ground bison vs. ground turkey” and found a clever little chart that compared all the top ground meats, their nutritional content, how much fat, how much cholesterol and how many proteins. Turns out bison is lower in every other ground meat, and higher in protein in just about every category. Go HERE to see.
The other good news is that, although bison is considerably more expensive, it is also almost always grass-fed, humanely treated and raised without any antibiotics, and not fed any other animal by products. This is a win-win. Now, I’m not saying go out and buy only bison meat (at $8.99/lb, in case you are wondering – crazy cost), but I am saying, if you are like me and can’t stand turkey, but want a lower-calorie option, bison (as an occasional treat) seems to be the way to go. It also tastes WAAAYYYY better.
But tell me about it in the comments.
PS. It SHOULD be said that the other part of my inspiration today came from my friend @becwritesbooks who’s blog I read this morning about writer’s block encouraged me to write SOMETHING. Even if it is a blog about Salisbury Steak and not any more on my novel. Sigh, the novel will get done. Eventually.
And, in case you are wondering what Lucy is eating amidst all this beefy beefiness? Salmon cakes. Giada’s (aka The Skinny Italian – she can’t possibly eat all that) recipe. I flove her food.