The Gosses go Paleo…week 1

We’re not actually going Paleo permanently.  I would never permanently give up cheese.

As many of you know, I got wicked sick after Finn was born.  (I’ll be writing a blog post on it since it won the last blog post poll…I just need to find the courage first.)  I was mostly healed in late November, but have been dealing with residual health issues since then.  My GI specialist recommended that I give up dairy and gluten for a month, but I’m a Goss, so I said…let’s take it even further!  And my husband is a Goss, so he said…I’ll do it, too!

So without further ado, here’s what we ate during week one.  I’ve separated these recipes into “stuff you could eat even if you’re not doing Paleo” and “stuff you probably wouldn’t eat unless you’re doing Paleo”.  Why?  Because I’d like this blog to be helpful.

Stuff You Could Eat Even if You’re Not Doing Paleo

  • Clean eating spicy roasted almonds – yeah, I’ll be making these a lot in the future.
  • Teriyaki sauce – I’d make this again, but not with coconut aminos…just use the real deal, soy sauce.
  • Sweet potato chili – I made this several times before we went Paleo, so of course I’d make it again.  Also, moms: this is an easy and delicious meal.
  • Coconut chocolate chip cookie dough bites – I mean, re-read that title.  Of course I’d make these again.  This was Grant’s favorite snack all week.  Also, to my peanut allergy homies: this is an awesome nut free version of the very popular peanut butter balls.
  • Honey chipotle meatballs – I did make these with maple syrup instead of honey so Finn could have some, but they were still delicious.
  • Chile verde – I didn’t have any pork, so I made this with round steak.  Best green chile I have made so far…and I’ve tested out several recipes.  It was interesting to have green chile without a roux, but it worked, man.  It worked.  This was Grant’s favorite meal all week.
  • Jalapeno cornbread muffins – it’s true, I would rather make my regular jalapeno cheddar cornbread muffins.  But I’m including these as a good non-Paleo recipe because I was so impressed by how they tricked my brain into thinking I was eating gluten.  (FYI: this recipe is technically not Paleo because of the butter and baking powder, but that depends on who you ask.)
  • Vegetables in a creamy pesto sauce – I don’t always love veggies, but I do always love anything in pesto sauce.
  • Spiced honey roasted almonds – not as good as the spicy roasted almonds, but perfect for those of you who crave salty and sweet together.

Stuff You Probably Wouldn’t Eat Unless You’re Doing Paleo

  • Zucchini tots – now, I wouldn’t make these again for myself…but I would make them for Finn.  He actually ate veggies!  I might like them more if they had cheese in them.
  • Pesto – yeah, no.  I want parmesan in my pesto.  But this was good enough for now.
  • Cilantro lime cauliflower rice – cauliflower does not taste like rice.  End of story.
  • Roasted garlic cauliflower hummus – this was good if you like cauliflower, which Grant does, and I don’t.  But at least it made celery edible.

So there it is.  I guess we came out on top this week – I liked most of these recipes.

And for those of you who are interested in trying out the Paleo diet, here are Grant’s observations:

  • Not enough fat.  Which sounds weird, because we’re eating a lot of meat, avocado, and coconut.  But we’re not eating any butter or full fat yogurt, which are great (according to me) sources of fat.  I have to agree with him on this one – I think we’re not getting as much “good” fat as we normally do.
  • Too easy to not eat enough fruits and veggies.  A lot of people doing Atkins or Whole30 or Paleo just shove their mouths full of meat.  But you have to make sure you’re getting enough fruits and veggies (or just veggies on Atkins, I guess) to assimilate all that protein you’re inhaling.

And here are my observations, which are much less serious:

  • Cauliflower is the most obnoxious vegetable to cut up.
  • There are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many coconut products in the Paleo diet.
  • No matter what the internet tells you, you cannot use arrowroot powder in place of tapioca powder.
  • Going to a birthday party BBQ while on the Paleo diet SUCKS.
  • Watching your 11 month old eat a PB&J sandwich or grilled cheese or bean & cheese quesadilla while you’re doing the Paleo diet makes you feel very shameful jealousy towards your own tiny progeny.

Grant and I both figured we’d feel like crap during the first week.  Grant did not.  I did.  Lots of shakes, inside out stomach feelings, and physical weakness.  The workouts I’ve been doing for six weeks were way harder.  I also had probably 1-2 bouts of HANGRY every day.

Stay tuned for week #2, and please feel free to ask me any questions you have about the Paleo diet, why we’re doing it, why we like it, why we don’t like it, why Finn is not doing it, or where babies come from.

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Why I chainsaw

There are many things to do on a ranch. Most of them are fun. This includes spending days on end using a chainsaw – heck yeah! As awesome as it is to wield a power tool that big and dangerous for hours on end, there are actually good reasons to do so on a ranch.

One of the reasons, and there are many, is to clear brush. Here in New Mexico, at least where I live, there is a huge invasion of a particular tree called a juniper. For hundreds of years they have been kept at bay by fires, both ones set by lightning strikes and by the Natives. These trees are meant to be on rocky slopes of mesas and canyons, but now they are starting to cover the grasslands. They use about 80 gallons of water per day, taken straight from the water table and stolen from the surrounding plant life, including the native grasses. So as the junipers are eradicated from grasslands and rolling hills, more grass may grow, more wildlife may live, and I can grow more beef.

Another reason to use my chainsaw is to keep my fence lines clear. These junipers grow super fast; they will be only a few feet tall for the first 3 years, then after that they just shoot up – they can be over 6 feet tall before 10 years old. If they are allowed to stay in a fence for that long, they will grow right through the wire, push over the posts, and make big holes in the fence. That is a bad thing if I’m trying to keep livestock where I want them…so I take my chainsaw to whatever tree may be in the fence. It might take a while, but if I need to mend the fence that will take even more time. And I may lose livestock, or they might get injured getting through to the off-limits area.

Then the last reason I willingly take up the saw is to stop erosion. This may sound like an odd reason to cut trees, but I assure you it is not. All of the trees that I cut I strategically place in places that have been eroded by rain run-off. If I place these trees where the water runs and is cutting through the dirt, the foliage will slow the water enough to drop the silt that it is carrying, and will actually start healing the cuts. This also will allow more grass to grow in the new soil, more wildlife and livestock will be able to be on the ground, and as the water quits rushing off the ground it will soak in and actually replenish the water table…little by little.

That last reason is the best. I get to heal the land by running a chainsaw!

A week in the life of ranch food

This post should be titled “a week in the life of Goss food”, because it’s basically how we ate in Phoenix, too.  Here are my goals with this blog post:

  1. To write about food (because I love food)
  2. To find out if you guys (our amazing blog readers) would like to read more about recipes, cooking, and healthy (kind of?) eating

So here it is…a week of what the Gosses ate.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Thursday Bean & cheese quesadillas & fruit Red beans & rice leftovers Chicken & squash enchiladas

I highly suggest learning how to make your own beans from scratch.  It’s cheap and they’re way tastier than beans from the can.  You can also hide veggies in them, add good fats to them, make a huge batch and freeze them, turn them into refried beans later, whatever.  We had two different types of homemade beans on Thursday – and the family loved them both.  Do you want my recipe?  Leave me a comment!

Enchiladas sound like a lot of work, right?  Wrong.  Here’s how I make them:

  • Layer of enchilada sauce (either homemade if I have some in the freezer, or I just suck it up and use canned if I don’t; I always make sure I have either homemade or store bought enchilada sauce in the house – ALWAYS)
  • Layer of corn tortillas (fry those suckers if you’re feeling really sassy)
  • Layer of vegetables (saute them first if you want them to taste better; and really, the options are endless here: squash, mushrooms, eggplant, greens, asparagus, onions, bell peppers, etc.)
  • Layer of enchilada sauce
  • Layer of corn tortillas
  • Layer of meat or beans
  • Layer of enchilada sauce
  • Layer of corn tortillas
  • Layer of enchilada sauce & grated cheese

DONE.  Skip the rolling, seriously.  Oh, and you can put sour cream in one of those layers too, as long as you’re not a cheapo like me (I never buy sour cream unless it’s a special occasion).

Also, it’s super handy to occasionally cook a bunch of meat or beans and then put them in the freezer.  So when I made these enchiladas, the only thing I cooked was the veggies.  Everything else was just assembly.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Friday Yogurt & granola & fruit (Finn ate eggs) Burger leftovers & chips Enchilada leftovers

It also really easy to make your own granola.  GRANOLA AT THE STORE IS TOO EXPENSIVE.  Again, want my recipe?  Leave me a comment.

Are you seeing a trend here?  We eat a lot of leftovers.  Want to know why?  Because I’m not going to cook three meals a day, that’s why.  But I’m also not going to eat frozen food or restaurant food every day, because it’s expensive as crap.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Saturday Cheese toast & eggs & fruit Red beans & rice leftovers & salad T-bone & pasta salad (Finn ate PB toast and yogurt)

If you have some leftovers, but not enough for a meal….add a salad!

Finn seriously hated this dinner, as you can assume from his separate dinner of peanut butter, toast, and yogurt.

Grant grilled the T-bone steaks.  That’s another tip for making homemade meals – involve your husband, especially if it’s something manly like grilling.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Sunday Grant: PB & honey sandwich – Me & Finn: eggs & toast & fruit Leftover pasta salad & sandwich (Finn ate mac & cheese) BBQ brisket, squash, and baked potatoes

Need a breakfast on the go?  Peanut butter & honey sandwich.  If you love jelly, throw some jelly on there too.  But don’t skip the honey – it’s great for energy.

The mac & cheese Finn ate (or pretended to eat) was homemade.  No, it was not difficult.  Here’s what I did: melted some butter in a pan, shredded some cheese and threw it in with the butter, poured some milk into the cheesey buttery goodness, cooked it down a bit, threw in some leftover pasta that I didn’t use for the pasta salad from the night before.  Done.  Also, I did try to feed Finn the pasta salad, and he acted like I was feeding him rotten monkey guts.  Hence the last minute mac & cheese.

(Or just make mac & cheese from a box.  There’s no shame in that…boxed mac & cheese is delicious.  I just had leftover pasta and was trying to figure out how to get Finn to eat it.)

Here’s the recipe I used for the brisket: http://www.adashofsanity.com/2015/12/easy-barbecue-beef-brisket/.  Except skip the liquid smoke, because that stuff is weird.  Also, if you don’t cook with smoked paprika…start!  What is wrong with you?

One more note: need a quick and easy sauteed vegetable for a side?  Squash.  Always squash.  It’s the easiest vegetable in the world to cook, and the easiest vegetable in the world to grow.  Not a coincidence.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Monday Crockpot apple oatmeal Leftover pasta & frozen pizza Leftovers from the night before

We had visitors stay with us on Saturday night, and cooking dinner and breakfast for a larger group of people can be a little intimidating.  The answer?  The crockpot!  I made the BBQ brisket in the crockpot (see recipe above), and I made the oatmeal in the crockpot (check out the recipe here: http://www.thegraciouswife.com/crockpot-apple-oatmeal/).  So I was able to serve my guests a homemade meal, but also hang out with them.

Also, on a sad note: Monday was the day that we picked Rio up from the vet in Santa Fe.  He had died there on Sunday afternoon.  Monday was a really hard day for us, so we didn’t even attempt to cook anything.  It was a perfect day for leftovers, frozen pizza, and lots of family time together.

We also had coffee and cookies at this place in Santa Fe before we came home: http://iconikcoffee.com/.  It reminded us of Cartel back home.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Tuesday Leftover baked potato, eggs, toast, fruit Sandwiches & chips (Finn ate BBQ, macaroni, and squash Korean elk with fried rice and cabbage

Who says you can’t have baked potato for breakfast?

Sandwiches are a Goss family go-to for lunch.  To make them relatively healthy, we basically make a salad and put it between two pieces of bread: lots of lettuce, onion, cucumber, and any other veggie we have in the fridge that can be eaten on a sandwich, like radishes, peppers, cole slaw, etc.

Do you have some veggies and don’t know what to do with them?  Fried rice.  You can make fried rice out of any veggie.  It can be Mexican fried rice, Chinese fried rice, American fried rice…I’ve run out of ideas here, but you get the point.

Also, if you don’t happen to have elk in your freezer like we do (thank you Katie!), then you can make this recipe with ground beef, ground chicken, ground turkey, ground rabbit, ground cat, etc.  Here it is: http://www.lizzywrite.com/2010/05/korean-beef.html.  This is a very easy dinner.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Wednesday Leftover apple oatmeal, yogurt & PB Ate out! Grant: skipped dinner – Me & Finn: leftover BBQ & potatoes

Leftover cooked oatmeal is not very good, so I mixed together some yogurt and peanut butter to have on the side as a breakfast dessert.

Finn and I went grocery shopping in Santa Fe, and here is where we ate: http://tuneupsantafe.com/.  If you are ever in Santa Fe, EAT HERE.  It was delicious!  I had lamb Barbacoa tacos, and Finn tried to eat most of them.

Grant ate a fancy Hollywood movie lunch, because they just filmed a movie here on the ranch.  I actually ate a fancy Hollywood movie lunch as well, about two hours after I ate at the Tune-Up Cafe.  Nursing moms are hungry, mmmmkay?

Grant skipped dinner because he’s a dude and not nursing a very active 10 month old.  Finn and I had leftovers, because I wasn’t about to cook dinner for just me and Finn.


So there it is – a relatively normal week of eating for the Goss family.

If you’re interested in me posting recipes, writing about healthy eating theories, reviewing restaurants in New Mexico, or just blabbering on about how awesome food is, please leave a comment and let me know.

Now…vote for my next blog post!

Let them eat cake.

It has been a bit since my last writing where we got the cattle…but then what? Well, I had to put them in the pasture that I wanted them to be in. I have decided to use a truck for the majority of my cattle work. This isn’t very true to cowboy culture, but I am ok with that; after all, being a cowboy isn’t my goal for managing these cattle. So when I move them, I put some feed in a truck, honk the horn, and away we go. Of course, there are necessarily some people on horseback to keep all the cattle together…

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We keep the pace pretty slow. Actually, we keep it at a cow-speed walk; that is around 2 miles per hour. There is no whooping and hollering, no getting the cattle all worked up, just a leisurely ride through the pasture keeping the cattle from getting too distracted with whatever they may see along the way.IMG_20160522_105446_515

 

(The feed that I put in the truck is known as cake…)

 

Things Finlay sees on a ranch that he wouldn’t see in the city

Post by Jamie

Specifically…things Finlay sees on this ranch (in northern New Mexico) that he wouldn’t see in the city where he was born (blisteringly hot Phoenix, AZ).  This is a picture focused post, because how else are you going to see the things that Finlay sees on a ranch?

(Also, don’t forget to vote for the next post!  The poll is at the end.)

Rain

Just kidding, it rains in Phoenix once every six years.  Here in Las Vegas, we recently went through a week or two where it rained every 1-2 days.  It was glorious.  We’re told that the rainy season may have come a little early this year, actually.  Check out the nifty climate chart on the U.S. Climate Data website.

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Wide Open Spaces

Don’t get me wrong, I do miss living right across the street from the Scottsdale Green Belt.  But seriously, how amazing is this view?  It’s our driveway.

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Moo Cows

Very up close and personal!  Finn and I help dad with chores sometimes.  This is us bottle feeding our neighbor’s calf.

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The Gator

Finn would have seen plenty of golf carts if we had stayed in Phoenix.  But here on the ranch, we have THE GATOR.  It’s basically a four wheel drive golf cart, and Finn thinks it is the coolest thing ever.  So does dad.

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Cookouts in June

Because really…who wants to be outside in Phoenix in June?

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This Guy

How awesome are these horns?  We also feed him when we occasionally help dad with chores, as he’s an old grandpa steer that lives at the ranch headquarters.

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A Good Start (in pictures)

Post by Jamie

I realized that I completely forgot to give Grant the photos we took to go along with his A Good Start blog post…oops.  Blogs are boring without pictures, am I right?  Here are a few:

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Thar they be.  The cattle.

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That is a portable cattle chute…which is a thing that basically makes it possible to transfer cattle from a trailer to a pen.

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It’s a real live windmill!  Grant is siphoning water for the bull.

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Loading up hay to feed the cattle before they’re put out to pasture.

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Grant being manly and throwing around bales of hay.  (He hates this caption.)

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Finlay is not much help with the cattle yet.

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But he is really, really, really good looking.

Things I’m thankful for since moving to Las Vegas

Post by Jamie

If you saw my last blog post, you already know that I took a poll to determine what my very first blog post would be.  I’m almost certain that my mother voted, cleared her cache, and then voted again…31 times.  I know she wants me to be more positive and thankful (because she’s my mom and moms are always right [ahem, Finn] ), so even if she cheated, I know she did it out of love.

So here it is: things I’m thankful for since moving to Las Vegas.  In no particular order.

AWD

It’s been raining here…a lot.  Well, a lot by Phoenix standards.  And while I did grow up in the country and I spent plenty of days and nights four wheeling through sandy washes (definitely never when the police were chasing me…really, mom), I don’t know jack about driving in slippery mud.  I’m so happy I have an AWD SUV.

Semilla Natural Foods & Santa Fe grocery stores

Most people who know me know that I am a little obsessed with grocery stores.  If I had tons of money and could just work a regular job that I could forget about when I clocked out for the day, I would work at a grocery store in a heartbeat.  But I’d pick one of those tree-hugging crunchy grocery stores.  Enter Semilla Natural Foods right here in Las Vegas and basically a billion of the grocery stores in Santa Fe.  Finlay likes them too.

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By the way, when you live in the middle of nowhere, you buy a lot of groceries all at once.  Like…a lot.

Amazon Prime ships to PO boxes

Because you know what?  We technically don’t have an address.  Yes, you read that right.

Lillebaby

I honestly don’t know what I would do without my Lillebaby carrier.  It helps me take the mom-obsessed and eternally curious Finlay everywhere with me.  It allows us to go on daily walks…and I can wield a sharp knife while making dinner without him yanking it out of my hands.

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Neighbors

Ours are amazing, end of story.  Brooks and Tomi are about the biggest blessing we’ve experienced since we moved here.

White noise app on my phone

Combined with the Lillebaby, the white noise app makes it possible for me to be an almost normal parent.  If you’re a fellow parent of a baby with sleep issues, I don’t even need to give details here.  To all the parents who have babies without sleep issues: please have patience for us when we say things like, “Sorry, I have to go home to put my baby to sleep for his nap because he won’t nap in the car or a stroller,” or, “One day I am going to pull an Office Space printer scene on my exercise ball, because if I have to bounce this kid to sleep one more time, I may stab myself in the eyeballs.”

So when Grant invited me to drive his cattle out to pasture, I knew I could actually attend this multiple hour event without Finlay having a complete meltdown…because when it came time to nap, I plopped that sucker in the Lillebaby and turned on the white noise app on my phone.  Oh, thank you white noise app.  I got to see things like this:

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Pediatric chiropractors

There is one in Las Vegas.  Holy cow.

Sleep training

I could write a book on what I think about sleep training.  FYI, I don’t mean CIO or Ferber, although I’m not going to say anything about those techniques because…well, because moms don’t need any more guilt than they already have.

Sleep training means I actually get to spend two hours a day with my husband, doing things that normal people (note: me before baby) take for granted, like relax on our front porch and drink in this view:

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The local country radio station

I love rap music.  I also love country music.  I do not like them combined.  Enter The Bull.  It’s amazing!  Sorry KMLE and KNIX, you suck compared to The Bull.

Not having to buy gas

I’ve been here a month.  I haven’t bought gas yet, and I have driven to Santa Fe and back once, and I go to town at least 2-4 times every week.


Hopefully you were at least mildly entertained by this post, or at least the pictures that included Finlay.  Because, let’s be honest – that kid’s adorable.

What do you want to hear about next?

A Good Start

Post by Grant

Well, I got my cattle. Twenty pairs; that is twenty mama cows and their calves. That is the first step in a long process of becoming a cattleman. It started a few years ago with some volunteering, then a couple internships, and two weeks ago I found myself picking out twenty pairs.

Brooks* and I took the two-hour drive from Las Vegas to Corona Friday morning and met at Melvin’s** house, ate some lunch, and drove down a dirt road for 45 minutes to get to the pens holding the cattle. After the introductions to the seller, Brooks and I started walking through the cattle, finding the ones that we wanted to start my herd, and writing down their tag numbers. It ended up being almost an even split; we’d chosen 9 cows with a heifer calf, and 11 cows with a bull calf. Not too bad…

Getting the cattle into the semi-truck proved interesting; I’ve never loaded cattle up a semi’s ramp. They don’t really want to go smoothly; way too many new things to stop and consider. Nobody got hurt, and all the cattle made it out in good shape. Except for number 68. When we got back to Melvin’s and let the cattle into his pens and counted them, we were missing one cow and no calves. Oops. So instead of celebrating by cracking open a nice cold beer, Marcus (the seller) and I got a horse trailer and drove back out to see if we could find ol’ 68; Marcus had let all of his cows back out of the pens, and there was no telling where they could have got to by then. Long story short, she had stuck around hoping to find her calf, so it was no big deal getting her back and loaded. An hour and a half, back at Melvin’s house, and it was finally time for the universal signal that the day’s work is completed: a cold beer. We stayed up til midnight listening to Melvin tell us stories and experiences that he’s racked up over the last 30+ years working cattle and managing ranches. Very interesting, but 6AM came pretty quick.

The next morning we were meeting the truckers who would haul the cattle to Las Vegas, and we were adding a bull to the load. We sorted the calves off the cows, split them in two groups of 10, and loaded them up. This time they knew what they were doing, so it was a total cakewalk. We put the cows in next; also a cakewalk for the same reason. Then the bull, who also was an easy load.

Two hours back to Las Vegas, an easy unload into the pens at the Charles R Ranch, and the cattle are mine.  20 mama cows, 20 calves, and one bull.

* My neighbor on the Charles R Ranch.

** The ranch manager I worked under for my internship at the Ranney Ranch last summer.

Climate change…all thoughts wanted.

Post by Jamie

Opinions are like….um….noses.  Everybody has one.

Especially when it comes to sensitive subjects like gorillas, transgender bathrooms, capital punishment, and whether it’s called a soda or a pop (it’s actually a Coke…they’re all Cokes).

One sensitive subject that I struggle with is climate change.  Check this out:

http://onpasture.com/2016/05/23/a-climate-change-picture-worth-thousands-of-words/

I’d love to hear your thoughts, whether you believe the idea of climate change or think it’s crazy.

P.S.  We’re definitely still working on our updates – stay tuned to hear from Grant on buying his very first herd of cattle (!) and from me on things I’m thankful for since moving here.

So Grant is ranching…what is Jamie doing?

Post by Jamie

Now that we have the blog set up, we have to start writing blog posts.  Grant’s posts are pretty straight forward, since this is a blog about our journey into the world of grassfed beef ranching…and Grant is doing the ranching.  But what am I going to write about?  I mean, what am I going to write about that people will actually read about?

So, to please the masses, I’ve decided to let you all vote on the subjects I write about.   I’ll blog on all of them eventually, but I’m letting the readers choose what the next blog post should be.  Here goes…