Dec 4, 2008

A break from blogging

I'm guessing no one even stops by anymore to read my blog since I haven't posted in such a long time....Sorry!

I've been formulating things I want to blog about, but a lot of them are just so personal and I've been chickening out about baring my soul. It's been an intense few months and I feel like I've grown a lot. Nothing outrageous has happened, more that I've just been in a period of blossoming....learning more about myself and opening up.

I think it's time to return and start writing again though.

I'll be back soon....I promise.

Nov 12, 2008

Books I've Read - 2008

January 2008
Sarah (from the Canaan trilogy) by Marek Halter

February 2008
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

March 2008
Sense and Sensibility
by Jane Austen (sort of muddled through and never finished)

For some reason, I just wasn't reading for months - I'd try, and just get bored of a book or put it down one day and not pick it up again. So I read a lot of magazines and blogs and news articles, but not books. When that happens, chick lit is usually the cure. I don't know why, but it gets me back into the swing of a book routine every time.

May 2008
Fishbowl
by Sarah Mlynowski

June 2008
Norweigan Wood by Haruki Murakami
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder - comfort reading for sad days

July 2008
White Oleander by Janet Fitch (have been recommending this non-stop. Read it!)

August 2008
Love in Idleness by Amanda Craig
The Book of Dead Birds by Gayle Brandeis

September 2008
Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest To Discover if Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, Or Why Pie is Not The Answer by Jen Lancaster
Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella - oh chick lit, you make me happy

October 2008
Marley & Me by John Grogan - I have the world's worst bunny. Bunnicula some call her. Others won't call her anything at all. But she and I have a great bond that exists despite her crazy tendencies. I should write a book about Charlie and Me. She's my first pet, everyone else is afraid of her, yet she's changed my life.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire -
still trying to read it and it's going very slowly. Gave up. Reading a book for fun should be fun.

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella - needed a quick, light read to get the taste of Wicked out of my mouth and chick lit usually does the job. I don't know if I'm getting too old for it or if this particular book is just really annoying, but I found myself indifferent about the annoying shopaholic character, Rebecca Bloomwood. I vaguely remember being as annoyed by her when I read the first book so I don't know why I went back for more punishment.

November 2008
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - beautifully written and thought-provoking. How easy is it really to let go?






Oct 21, 2008

Noncommital underachiever

I'm stuck in the middle of the book Wicked and can't decide if I want to keep reading it or not. Everyone I know that's read it has given up at some point partly through... I'll trudge for a bit longer, but I don't think reading should be trudging, I think it should be a bit more glorious and enjoyable than that.

I had a big urge to knit last night...maybe I'll finally finish a project this year. Why is it always so easy to start a project and so hard for me to finish?

Last month I decided to work out regularly and have been slacking off these past few weeks. My weight loss has been up and down, lose 2 pounds one week, gain them back the next.

What is going on with me!? I need to get serious, make some decisions and make some progress.

Oct 8, 2008

A month and a half!?

It's been well over a month since my last post and that's just ridiculous. Had a few busy weeks, a few overwhelmed days of bingeing or trying to pull myself out of the cycle, some fun nights out, a few good books, some great progress with my crazy lady and lots of other things in between.

I will definitely try to be better about updating my blog more often....

I was tagged by my favorite friend MB (who I get to see at Christmas - yippee!) so I'll post it to get myself going:

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:50ish am
2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds are just so beautiful but if I were to get one, I'd want it to be some sort of "safe" diamond. Did you know there are even extraterrestrial diamonds?
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Pineapple Express. My friend and I were the only ones laughing. I still think it was hilarious.
4. What is your favourite TV show? Project Runway, Amazing Race
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? yogurt or a Kashi granola bar, fruit and coffee
6. What is your middle name? I have two
7. What food do you dislike? Onions!! A friend once filled my bed with onions - under the covers, in my pillows, everywhere. Luckily they weren't peeled or chopped.
8. What is your favourite CD at the moment? Can't stop listening to the Once sountrack (still) and listen to Radiohead nonstop
9. What kind of car do you drive? Volvo
10. Favourite sandwich? You know, I don't think I have one. Do most people?
11. What characteristic do you despise? I've realized lately that it is true quite often that the things you dislike the most in those close to you are the things you hate or fear about yourself...
12. Favourite item of clothing? Because it's fall - slippers or my down vest
13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Today, I'd like to go here - Kolarbyn Eco-Lodge
14. Favourite brand of clothing? I have no idea.
15. Where would you retire to? I want to retire to a farm in a warm climate
16. What was your most recent memorable birthday? My 30th was pretty great - Radiohead concert, a few days off from work, a party and night away with some of my closest friends
17. Favorite sport to watch? Tennis
18. When is your birthday? August
19. Are you a morning person or a night person? Definitely night
20. What is your shoe size? 9
21. Pets? Two monster bunnies - Bunnicula (Charlie bear) and Zooey
22. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share with us? One month since I quit smoking!
23. What did you want to be when you were little? Teacher and a flight attendant
24. How are you today? Hopeful
25. What is your favourite candy(lollie/chocolate)? Chocolate
26. What is your favourite flower? Lilies
27. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? The day my debt is paid off
28. What is your full name? Not on my blog. Or yours.
29. What are you listening to right now? Michael Kors and Heidi Klum hating on Kenley. I'm right there with them.
30. What was the last thing you ate? Homemade minestrone and biscuits
31. Do you wish on stars? Of course!
32. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? Cerulean Blue
33. How is the weather right now? Dark and sort of chilly
34. The first person you spoke to on the phone today? My mother
35. Favourite soft drink? Coke for a hangover
36. Favourite restaurant? Lately I love Pepperland Cafe
37. Real hair colour? light brown/dark blonde
38. What was your favourite toy as a child? I loved my tape player - that went along with the books (turn the page at the chime *dddrrrring*)
39. Summer or winter? Summer!
40. Hugs or kisses? Depends who they're coming from
41. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
42. Coffee or tea? Coffee in the morning, tea in the evening
43. When was the last time you cried? I'm probably due for a good cry.
44. What is under your bed? Charlie bear is hanging out under there right now with a few suitcases
45. What did you do last night? Watched TV and made soup
46. What are you afraid of? My own success
47. Salty or sweet? salty
48. How many keys on your key ring? 4
49. How many years at your current job? In a few months it will be 5!
50. Favourite day of the week? Saturday
51. How many places have you lived in? I think 10
52. Do you make friends easily? It depends if I'm in my shy mode.

Today I'm grateful for: crunchy leaves underfoot, bike rides after work

Aug 21, 2008

As I was told, "it's easier to understand your own culture once you learn another language"

I had a long discussion about language with one of the guests at the weddng in New Brunswick . She was a native French speaker and didn't learn English until well into her twenties when she moved to Toronto and it was required for her job. I had been feeling hesitant about ever being fluent in another language until I met so many people that weekend whose second language wasn't mastered until well into their adulthood. This woman mentioned to me how she never understood her culture as well until she learned another language. To be able to see how word choices and definitions reflect a culture's values and humor give breadth to your vision into yourself.

Quite an interesting reflection. I've been pondering that idea lately, so it was great to stumble upon these articles from NPR and Times Online about words in each language that are difficult to translate but are perfect descriptions for just about anything. These articles are both a few years old.

Some examples:

esprit de I'escalier [es-pree de less-ka/-iay] (idiom) FRENCH
A witty remark that occurs to you too late, literally on the way down the stairs. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations defines esprit de l'escalier as, "An untranslatable phrase, the meaning of which is that one only thinks on one's way downstairs of the smart retort one might have made in the drawing room."

meraki [may-rah-kee] (adjective) GREEK
This is a word that modern Greeks often use to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love -- when you put "something of yourself" into what you're doing, whatever it may be. Meraki is often used to describe cooking or preparing a meal, but it can also mean arranging a room, choosing decorations, or setting an elegant table.

yoko meshi [yoh-koh mesh-ee] (noun) JAPANESE
"As an untranslatable, this one ranks high on my list of favorites. I could not improve on the background given by commentator Boye Lafayette de Mente about this beautiful word, yoko meshi. Taken literally, meshi means 'boiled rice' and yoko means 'horizontal,' so combined you get 'a meal eaten sideways.'This is how the Japanese define the peculiar stress induced by speaking a foreign language: yoko is a humorous reference to the fact that Japanese is normally written vertically, whereas most foreign languages are written horizontally. How do English-speakers describe the headache of communicating in an alien tongue? I don't think we can, at least not with as much ease."

taarradhin
[tah-rah-deen] (noun) ARABIC
Arabic has no word for "compromise" in the sense of reaching an arrangement via struggle and disagreement. But a much happier concept, taarradhin, exists in Arabic. It implies a happy solution for everyone, an "I win, you win." It's a way of resolving a problem without anyone losing face.


Today I'm grateful for: fresh produce from local farmstands, backyard gardeners begging you to take cucumbers off their hands, blueberries, Across the Universe, white wine

Aug 20, 2008

Lusting

Found this camera for $100 cheaper than I've seen it elsewhere....


I want it. Fingers crossed that my car repairs aren't as bad as I am expecting. But....I drive a Volvo. It usually doesn't work that way.

Aug 13, 2008

Last day of my twenties....

Sitting around my apartment with no pants on, drinking coffee, surfing the internet, reading books. I thought I should do more than this, but I'm perfectly content.

Tonight I'm going to see Radiohead with Y and two of our closest friends (the couple whose wedding we met at). Radiohead! I've wanted to see them for years and their tickets are so hard to get. A birthday present from Y, and a present of sorts from the friends we're going with as they called me first for dibs on the two tickets.

Ahhh, good things. I feel content, I feel ready, I feel good.

Finally, I feel good.

Haven't really binged in a few weeks and I am starting to feel that all the pain that I've been holding onto and unsure of how to deal with is melting away. I'm conscious of it, I'm aware of moving past it. It's incredibly liberating. I feel like I'm OK on my own, OK without the weight of the past strapped to me and holding me back. I don't need to use it as a crutch, as a barrier....I can live without it. I can use it to make me stronger and better.

That scared little kid I've been for so long is finally growing up. And I really, really like who she's becoming.

Aug 7, 2008

de conduire au Canada

Little black dress
Road map
iPod
Sunglasses
Bathing suit
Book

I'm ready to go.

Wedding in northern New Brunswick Friday night (which may or may not be performed en francais), camping in Fundy National Park Saturday night, oceanfront camping in downeast Maine on Sunday night.

Today I'm grateful for: giddiness before a trip, seeing new landscapes, deep pink carnations

Jul 31, 2008

pure deliciousness

I wish I could have either written this poem or had it written just for me....


Gold (by Donald Hall)

Pale gold of the walls, gold

of the centers of daisies, yellow roses

pressing from a clear bowl. All day

we lay on the bed, my hand

stroking the deep

gold of your thighs and your back.

We slept and woke

entering the golden room together,

lay down in it breathing

quickly, then

slowly again,

caressing and dozing, your hand sleepily

touching my hair now.



We made in those days

tiny identical rooms inside our bodies

which the men who uncover our graves

will find in a thousand years,

shining and whole.

Jul 29, 2008

So many storms


The storms lately have been fierce and intense. Incredible shows of lightening with deep thunder crashing overhead and then rumbling off into the distance.
I love the looming darkness just before a storm. The buzz of electricity in the air...the rush to get indoors where you'll be safe and dry.

Jul 23, 2008

Rain, rain go away


I was actually going to blog last night for the first time in too long. Instead I had a baking disaster that added up to a bunch of lemon cupcakes that turned out bright yellow and sunken in on themselves. Thank goodness for supermarket bakeries. No pictures need be shared of the catastrophe. I even whipped up some yummy lemon buttercream frosting. Must find something else to do with it tonight.

New season of Project Runway started last week. I just love it! And it's indulgent TV that doesn't make me feel quite so guilty for some reason. Not that it's any classier than anything else on TV, but certainly Tim Gunn adds to the epicurean value, no!? And Heidi Klum is just too cute for words. How can you not want to have the two of them over for coffee!?

I'm currently stuck at work because it's raining so hard outside and I have not only no umbrella but a VERY thin little dress on. No need to put on a show for all my colleauges as I run by the windows in the rain!

Today I'm grateful for: girls' nights, being hopeful about love, houses in the woods, nights in with a good book

Jul 15, 2008

Book recommendations?

Book recommendations please?

Keep in mind, it's summertime and hot here (today it was about 91F and very humid). Do the seasons affect what you like to read?

Jul 9, 2008

Apologies and cookies for all

I have so much I want to blog about but a lack of energy to delve into any of those things and actually commit the time to it.

So for now, I'll leave you with this cookie recipe instead.


White Chip Cocoa Cookies (courtesy of Nestle Toll House)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (12 ounce) package white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, walnuts or other chopped nuts (0ptional)
DIRECTIONS
  1. PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. COMBINE flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by well-rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until centers are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Notes: I've been making these for years and everyone always loves them. I bake them no longer than 9 minutes, otherwise they get too crispy and I like my cookies soft and chewy. These are quick and easy and always a hit. They don't look incredibly pretty, but the taste more than makes up for it. I"ve just recently started adding nuts to this recipe and they're not necessary, but they add a bit of oomph to an already delicious treat.

Jul 2, 2008

MIA

Usually when someone does not blog for weeks it either means that life is better or worse than normal..... Nothing too specific has happened with me, but I've been having a few rough weeks and needed some space on my own to sort through some things.

So an update on what else I've been up to:

Reading: Norweigan Wood by Haruki Murakami. Can't seem to put it down! The characters have such an emotional depth and have drawn me into their lives by inciting sympathy, anger, lust, confusion, nostalgia, and longing. A must read.

Listening to: J'adore Carla Bruni and I've recently discovered the Talking Timbuktu album by Ry Cooder and Ali Farka Toure and can't get enough

Wishing for: a plane ticket to appear on my doorstep. Running away for a few weeks, basking in the sun, picking wildflowers, breathing fresh air, sleeping on a cloud, taking long walks.

Daydreaming about: a trip to France next year with a college roommate.

Packing for: a weekend away in Vermont, camping with 10 of my closest friends. My best friend is flying back for a few days and that makes it even better! Going to walk in the woods, eat s'mores, go on an alpine slide, buy and subsequently eat lots of cheese, laugh, talk, sing, drink. This is exactly what I need.

Life isn't so bad after all....sometimes I just need to take a step back and look at the little things.

Today I'm grateful for: 2 bunnies with the softest fur, raspberries, baking, air conditioning, packages from lovelies in Holland!

Jun 16, 2008

Reflection for a Monday

If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down.
- Mary Pickford

Jun 10, 2008

Christmas ain't got nothing on summer!

The most wonderful time of the year? SUMMER!

Having the best time already and it's technically still only spring.
  • Swimming in a friend's pool
  • Grilling in my newly discovered backyard
  • Barefoot dance parties in the dirt with my roommate
  • Camping in Vermont
  • Long walks in the flower-tinged evening air
  • Afternoons reading on the beach
  • Grilling in general - I'm like the newly reformed vegetarian who can't get enough steak and hamburgers - what's happening to me!?
My whole outlook is more open, my mood is lifted, my skin is golden. It's going to be a great summer - I know it! And if any summer should be good, it's this one. I am turning 30 soon, after all (and I'm admitting it!).

Jun 1, 2008

Warm June nights

I can't believe it's already June! Love sleeping with the windows open, the breeze softly blowing in while I snuggle under a light blanket.

Eating: chicken stewed with tomatoes, corn, black beans, cayenne, chili powder, oregano, chipotle and a dash of cinnamon. I love how the sweetness of the cinnamon contrasts with the fire and smokiness of the dish. Great quick dinner served up on a tortilla with some shredded cheese or sour cream.

Watching:
The Diving Bell & the Butterfly

Reading: Chick Lit


Daydreaming About: owning my own farm. Walked around Wagon Hill Farm on Great Baytoday and the millions of shades of green through the meadows had me yearning for a place I would love to settle some day.


Adoring: The new
Sex & the City movie

May 30, 2008

Hello lovah.....


I am so ridiculously excited!

Tonight is the premiere of the Sex and the City movie and a night of girly fun. Getting dolled up with my girlfriends and heading into Boston for the premiere and then an after party at a nearby club, complete with cosmo specials, look-a-like contests and hopefully some great outfits and shoes to ogle!
Off to get a pedicure at lunch and probably a new pair of shoes, because what better excuse than a SATC party? And a look back to Season 1 (Carrie's hair and that standard half-grimace of Miranda's!!):

May 28, 2008

No time to breathe

Haven't had much spare time lately so haven't had a chance to blog about the great trip to VT, wonderful meals, confusion, work changes, great music, campfires, s'mores and everything else that has transpired lately.|

Will try to make time in the next 24 hours!

May 18, 2008

Where does the good go?

After so many lonely, crazy, sad, angry, empty, awful months I started to feel like I was going to be OK. I grew more strong, complete, independent, comfortable, open, optimistic, free. But I still think about him.

I see the ocean, a tent, a certain shade of blue and I think of him. Music reminds me of him, even if its a song I've never heard before. I know I'm not meant to be with him, and when I think of the possibility it's clear to me he's not the one. Logistically, emotionally, practically - no way I look at it is right for us or me and "We" as a twosome are just not appealing to me any more.

So why do I still have him on my mind? Letting go just keeps going on...

It's less often that he comes up, and more often I find myself surprised instead of sad or traumatized at the invasion of my thoughts. And I suppose there will be a day that it will be OK, we always find a way to reconcile our past. I know there will always be a corner of my heart for him, but I'm happy to have found that I have so much more love to give and someone else who deserves it.

Today I'm grateful for: broken hearts do mend.

May 16, 2008

PSA - Appliance eating toilets

The only electrical outlet in my bathroom is on the vanity next to the toilet. This means that everything that gets plugged in ends up hanging out dangerously close to the sitting bowl of water below.

Or they end up IN it.

The most recent example of this was my hair dryer and it was plugged into the wall at the time of launch. I had no idea of proper protocol or safety measures, so I just kind of hoped for the best, unplugged it, and pulled it out.

I should probably go research what I should have done.

May 14, 2008

Slowly, slowly

I've been feeling anxious lately - perhaps the coupling of too much on my plate with the attempts at coming to terms with a lot of things going on with my family. But I'm trying to think about myself and understand what I'm going through instead of stifling and ignoring everything.

The cooking has been helping as it's a constructive, creative way to spend my time. In spite of the fact that it's food-related, I'm able to enjoy the effort and the meal afterwards without bingeing on unfood (junk that has no nutritional value other than comfort and pounds gained). I've missed cooking! And to be able to do it just for me is new. Previously, I only enjoyed cooking for someone else, the enjoyment came from sharing the meal, watching them savor the tastes, giving something. But cooking for just me is a whole new love!

I'm also aware of the fact that the exercise I've been doing is both for my body and my mind. If I focus on it not as a means of punishment, of removing the calories I've ingested throughout the day, of losing weight to get to a perceived happier place, it feels more like a way to just feel good. So basic but so true. To move because I can. To relieve stress and help me to sleep better. To enjoy the wind on my face or the oxygen filling my lungs or the blood pumping through my limbs.

Slowly I'm becoming the person I want to be. On my own.

Today I'm grateful for: the American robin with its big reddish belly, bundles of tulips spread throughout the house, sandalwood candles, Charlie starting to use her front paw a little more often, eating with chopsticks

Chicken Stir-Fry with Asparagus and Cashews

1/2 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 pound asparagus, sliced on the diagonal, 1 inch thick
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup chopped chives
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the cashews in a pie plate and toast in the oven for about 8 minutes, until they are nicely browned and fragrant. Let cool.

  2. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce. In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken in an even layer and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned and just cooked throughout, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a clean bowl.

  3. Pour the chicken stock into the wok and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Add the asparagus slices, cover and cook over moderate heat until they are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to the bowl along with the chicken.

  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of fish sauce to the wok along with the oyster sauce, lime juice and cayenne pepper. Simmer until the sauce is reduced to 1/3 cup, about 2 minutes. Return the chicken pieces and sliced asparagus to the wok and toss to heat through. Remove the wok from the heat and stir in the cashews, basil and chives. Season the stir-fry with black pepper and serve right away.
I would probably reduce the fish sauce and only had lightly salted roasted cashews which were a bit too salty for this recipe. I would also increase the cayenne a bit for more heat. Otherwise, delicious and quick!

Recipe courtesy of Food and Wine Magazine

May 13, 2008

A kick in the pants

Today I was able to get outside and go for a walk instead of staying in to binge. I made a choice. Seems like an easy choice, but most often, it doesn't feel that way to me and I'm left feeling powerless, sad and frightened. I'm so proud of myself for thinking of what would make me feel good instead of what would make me feel numb.

The weather is warm, the air was filled with the scent of freshly cut grass and flowering trees, and I managed to open my eyes and see things that make me smile.

Gold star day!

Today I'm grateful for: blossoming lilac trees, quiet tree-lined streets with Victorian homes and big lawns

May 12, 2008

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

So I don't forget to post this, because it's simply a recipe that must be shared.

I made this as a pie and used a pre-made graham cracker crust (the horror!), but the bars look great too. Recipe is courtesy of Tyler Florence)

(Since I didn't take a pic, I'm using this one. The blueberries in the recipe below are actually baked into the top of the cake)

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake (Bars)

For the base:
Butter, for greasing
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 graham crackers
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
2 lemons, zested and juiced
About 1/2 cup sugar, eyeball it
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

For the base:
Grease the bottom of a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with butter. Then place parchment paper over the top, pressing down at the corners. In a food processor, process the sugar, cinnamon and graham crackers until you have the texture of bread crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times to fully incorporate. Pour into the lined baking pan and gently pat down with the base of a glass. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes until golden. When done set aside to cool.

For the filling:
Add cream cheese, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar to the food processor and mix until well combined. It should have a smooth consistency. Pour onto the cooled base and then cover with blueberries. They will sink slightly but should still be half exposed -- as the cake bakes they will sink a little more and break down.

Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the center only slightly jiggles. Remove from the oven and cool completely before refrigerating for at least 3 hours. Once set, remove from pan using the parchment lining and slice into 10 rectangular bars. Dust with powdered sugar.

May 11, 2008

Since I was reminded,,,,

I haven't ended a blog entry lately with what I'm grateful for...so to try to recover from the heavy sadness I'm feeling today, and as a reminder that I'm truly a fortunate girl, here is my catch-up list.

Today, I'm grateful for: the many tulips filling my apartment with a little cheer, my warm bed, my curiosity about people and places, my memories of Peru, the sun on my shoulders, iced coffee, lovely friends who have become closer to me than family, laughing at being called The Dude while I drank Kahlua and milk (if only I had a bathrobe a la The Big Lebowski), learning new and healthier coping mechanisms to deal with things, maps, travel bookstores, the blues of Santorini (someday!), smooth linoleum and hardwood floors under my bare feet

Sunday afternoon baking

I'd been craving thumbprint cookies today, so as a pick-me-up for a slow Sunday decided to make some. Recipe is courtesy of Emeril Lagasse. I halved the recipe but still used the two egg yolks and these came out with almost like a shortbread. Delicious. The lemon is a nice subtle surprise and the liquid in the jam gives the filling a smooth consistency.


Raspberry Lemon Thumbprint Cookies

1/2 cup raspberry jam or jelly
1 tablespoon Chambord or kirsch (I used peach schnapps)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 2 large baking sheets.

In a small bowl, combine the jam and Chambord. Stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk to blend.

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions and beat just until moist clumps form. Gather the dough together into a ball.

Pinch off the dough to form 1-inch balls. Place on the prepared baking sheets, spacing 1-inch apart. Use your floured index finger or 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon to create depressions in the center of each ball. Fill each indentation with nearly 1/2 teaspoon of the jam mixture. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

May 7, 2008

shel silverstein

A friend today was in a stressful situation and reached out to me to get herself through the long waiting time. Who better can create a distraction and make you smile than She'll Silverstein? Reading his poems helped me feel a lot better too.

Here's another seemingly more appropriate for today:

Whatif by Shel Silverstein

Last night, while I lay thinking here,

some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow talle?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

Brought the bear in for some more tests this morning... Of course I waited a half hour for the vet to come in, all the while Charlie is stressed because she figured out exactly where she was, and I'm stressed because I'm listening the the man in the next exam room cry after receiving what I'm assuming is bad news. Charlie is at the vet now, they'll call me when she's ready to be picked up. They're encouraging me to do the x-rays as soon as possible. In the event that she has a kidney problem, it could be causing issues internally that should be treated ASAP.

May 6, 2008

Charlie bear


I had to take Charlie to the vet today because she's sick and we're not quite sure what's going on.... She's an old lady now, but my favorite bunny in the world (and my first pet ever!) so hope that everything turns out OK and that some good vet treatment and lots of love from me will fix her up quickly....

May 3, 2008

sat morning update

Thanks to a comment from Ms. Cookie, I am feeling much better about my task list. Prioritizing is key. So while I did prioritize watching 27 Dresses and eating ice cream over my list last night, I feel worlds better this morning. And I still got some stuff done. So if I need to carry some things over to next week, so what?

I'm not used to having free time, so when I do, I always come up with these grand lists of things to accomplish. And then when I can't to them all, I get so disappointed and frustrated with myself. Oh, time management, why do you elude me so?

Work
Laundry
(already have 4 loads done!)
Dishes
Make macaroni and cheese to bring to a friend's little sister and her roommate
Go through bills and pay off credit
cards (ALL my credit cards are paid off!! That’s an incredible feeling!)
Work out
(twice!)
Clean up mess left from leaking ceiling


Organize closet
Drop off clothes at Goodwill
Make cards
Write out already-purchased thank you cards
Rework budget for May
Study for the GREs - follow Week 1

Organize recipes and cookbooks
Volunteer at the NH public television auction Saturday evening
Visit bf
Survey camping equipment
Call my brother

May 1, 2008

Things to do...

I'm feeling overwhelmed about all the things I need to do in the next few days, so I decided to list them. BUT, I wanted to infuse fun things in as well to make my time seem more enjoyable and less like all chores and no fun.

Now, granted, this list may not seem all that long to you, but sitting here buried under a mountain of work, everything seems like a big deal.

What's that you say? Close your internet browser and start working. Blogging isn't going to help you scale Mt. Work! Yeah, yeah. Everyone needs a few minutes to refresh and recharge!

Anyway, here goes with my list for the next 4 days:

Work

Work

Laundry - the pile is almost as tall as me. I think it's approached 5 feet. Granted, it includes sweaters to be brought to the dry cleaners, it's still embarassingly tall for a laundry pile.

Dishes - I've been on a cooking frenzy and so the kitchen's been getting dirty a lot more quickly lately!

Organize closet - again. The system is working pretty well, but it's starting to get a little cluttered again

Drop off clothes at Goodwill

Work

Make macaroni and cheese to bring to a friend's little sister and her roommate (Yum!)

Make cards

Write out already-purchased thank you cards

Go through bills and pay off credit cards (Yay!!)

Rework budget for May

Study for the GREs - follow Week 1

Work out - already made plans with a friend for today and tomorrow (Yay!)

Organize recipes and cookbooks - I don't know if this will be fun or not. Let's hope so!

Volunteer at the NH public television auction Saturday evening

Visit bf and hope I'm not all PMSy and miserable

Clean up mess left from leaking ceiling

Survey camping equipment after I had to throw a bunch of stuff away the last time the ceiling leaked

Think of all the money I'll save by doing things around the house instead of being out drinking and shopping and spending!

Call my brother about a bike and making plans to see my fabulous nieces

OK, I'm tired typing all of this so I'm going to stop. I think that's more than enough for one weekend.

Apr 24, 2008

Naked toes

I have naked toes for the first time in what seems like years. No nail polish - no funky blues, sexy reds or girly pinks. And actually no bruises on my nail beds either which is also a change from the past few summers!

I'm going to get a pedicure soon; but for now, I'm kind of actually enjoying the nudity south of the ankles. Except when I still wear flip flops on chilly days and my toes turn blue. It makes it a little too obvious that New England weather is unpredictable!

Apr 23, 2008

Two Days in Paris....again

I watched Two Days in Paris again the other night. This time with the bf. The first time I saw it I had just met him and was watching the movie from a very different point of view. I had just met him after a very rough year following and even more rough break-up.

Watching this again reminded me that it's so important to be open and honest in a relationship...to yourself. I've made a solid, and at times very difficult, point of being me in this relationship. I'm vulnerable, I'm open, I'm trying to make this relationship about the two people we really are. And not the people we need the other to be, the people we want to be, the people we're searching for. Just each other.

It's amazing how much less complicated it is than I anticipated. Is it scary sometimes? Sure it is. Being vulnerable and emotionally available is one of the most difficult things for me but I'm learning. Practice is certainly making it easier....and I find the rewards incredible. A lot of this is coming from me facing my demons and working through them. And part of it is having supportive friends who've helped me to start opening up so I can be more open in a relationship.

Below is the part of the ending narrative by Marion from the film (not a full spoiler though - no worries). Julie Delpy is just so wonderful! I love her solo writing/directorial effort. Can't wait to see what she has in store for us.

----------------------------------

I confessed to Jack that the toughest thing for me was to decide to be with someone for good. The idea that this is it, this is the man I'm going to spend the rest of my life with. To decide that I will make the effort to stay and work things out and not run off the minute there is a problem is very difficult for me.

Here it is. One more, one less. Another wasted love story. I really love this one. When I think that its over, that I'll never see him again like this... well yes, I'll bump into him, we'll meet our new boyfriend and girlfriend, act as if we had never been together, then we'll slowly think of each other less and less until we forget each other completely. Almost.

Always the same for me. Break up, break down. Drink up, fool around. Meet one guy, then another, fuck around. Forget the one and only. Then after a few months of total emptiness start again to look for true love, desperately look everywhere and after two years of loneliness meet a new love and swear it is the one, until that one is gone as well.


----------------------------------

I had a conversation recently about the concept of one great love in a lifetime. Is there only one? I no longer idealize the relationship I had with J. I loved him intensely, but that love wasn't enough. There were far too many things muddling up our communication and our trust, we lost sight of ourselves in the power struggle against each other and our problems. I do solidly believe that in spite of everything, it was a great love...but I don't know that I can gain no other great loves.

My current relationship just feels a lot more mature. I was 21 when I fell in love with J and we spent the next 7 years trying to figure ourselves out in the context of our relationship, without full freedom to determine who we were on our own.

I value these past months I've had to really focus on myself and start to be comfortable and reliant on only me. It's been purely liberating. Bloody hard, but so worth it.

Apr 10, 2008

Oh, tropical bliss


Sorry for the delay in posting... I just got back from my week in Florida with the bf. Some highlights:
  • Spending hours on the beach, the constant breeze keeping us cool while the sun made my skin a healthy, golden brown
  • The jewel-blue waters of the Keys
  • Spending an evening looking at the stars because we didn't have any firewood - not a bad trade-off!
  • Mango daiquiris, margaritas, cold beers
  • Conch fritters, key lime pie and perfectly grilled salmon
  • Finally giving up my resistance to the idea of falling in love with someone else
I'm floating.

Mar 27, 2008

New color, new cut, all free

A friend of mine invited me to try out her hair salon, with all services free of charge. Since the stylists had just gone to the Chicago hair show, they were eager for people to work on to try out their new ideas and techniques.

Free cut and color? I'm all over it. My hair was grown out and mousy brown and I needed help! This isn't a student that cut my hair. She's been a professional for at least four years and just wanted to gain a new client in me put some advertising on my head.

Irina, my favorite new stylist, foiled all over my head with blonde highlights all over and some brown lowlights on the crown. For a cut, she kept some of the length which I liked, as she wanted to use my long face-framing layers as the highlight. The back is just a bit shorter, so it's a fun, funky cut. I even cut bangs (fringe)! I feel like they changed the shape of my face, bring out my eyes and are much more complementary.

I'm thrilled and have already booked a follow-up appointment for five weeks out. Nothing like a new style to boost your confidence!
These pics don't really show off the color as they were taking in flourescent light with my blackberry, but it's good!

Mar 21, 2008

I needed a giggle today

I'm cleaning up and I'm moving on, going straight and choosing life.

I think that happiness is a choice, a decision, not a natural constant state of mind. It's a lovely fantasy for me to think that some people are just happy all the time and if I hope hard enough, that person could be me. It's more important for me to realize that each moment contains a choice. The more I've been conscious of this fact, the more I've chosen to put on a smile or to think of the positive. Sometimes, even if the smile is fake or I'm pulling a ridiculously shallow thought like "I'm lucky because I have an iced coffee to drink", it can turn my mood upside down eventually.

I know I still have a lot of stuff to wade through in regards to what has led to me having an eating disorder. And I know I still have to work to beat this disorder and a fake smile isn't always going to be enough....but it's a start.

I'd been meditating on this choice of happiness a lot lately and it's one of the things that gets me out of bed in the morning. I love to sleep in. On top of that, I'm not very good at getting up. Those are two very different things and the combination is messy. Mornings that I'm moaning and trying to hide my head under the covers are many. But I became aware one morning that while I still am able to get up and run around my apartment getting ready and going to work and being around people and laughing and being alive, I should embrace all of that. Even the not-so-fun parts like a day of filing at work or taking out the garbage or paying bills. Because I can.

This week a man I know died. It's hard for me to even refer to him as a man, really, because he was just a 23-year old kid. His best friend, A, is a close friend of mine and the two of them are some of the nicest, funniest, warmest people I know. And they've both known more than their fair share of tragedy already. I'm still kind of struggling to figure out how I feel about it and what it means. But it has also opened my eyes a bit more to what's important. It's holding on to that I'll have to remember.... People always make these promises to themselves when someone dies that they won't take their friends for granted, that they'll exercise more, that they'll call their mothers once a week.....I don't want to make any of those morbid resolutions. But this is now the second person I've known in the past year who has passed long before their time. It's a wake up call, if nothing else, for me. And a terrible tragedy for those two men...

(without the heroin bit - "Choose Life" a la Trainspotting):

'Choose life, choose a job, choose a career, choose a family, choose a fucking big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments, choose a starter home, choose your friends. Choose leisure-wear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite and higher purchase and a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you've spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future, choose life.'

Today I'm grateful for: Breath, warmth, love


Mar 17, 2008

sooo tired

I don't know what's wrong with me, but I'm simply exhausted. I think my allergies are acting up which always so a good job of kicking my ass, but it seems too early to have this start! It's still snowing outside!

Two more weeks until vacation. Booked our first few nights at a beachside hotel in Fort Lauderdale and then we'll head down to the Keys for a few nights of camping. All the state parks were booked so we're staying at a KOA at Sugarloaf Key (Mile Marker 20). They have a shuttle into Key West, boat rentals, beachy goodness, a floating trampoline, and, according to weather.com, temperatures in the low-80s (27C)!!

I'll be shopping for a bathing suit this week - I'll keep you updated.

Mar 12, 2008

A week already?

How did a week go by without a single blog entry from me? Seems pretty indicative of how my life has been lately!
Things are good though. Some highlights from the past week:

I'm getting excited for my
vacation in a few weeks. I'm totally drinking fruity frozen drinks when I get there - it's a must! A few days in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, and then down to the Keys for some camping and general relaxation.

Things with the
bf are going well. I had a great weekend with him. Once thing though was I realized that I was only really giving him half a chance. I was comparing him to this idealized version of my ex and our relationship and because of that, he had a lot to live up to. Trouble is, that person I was comparing him to isn't real. I mean, the pieces I chose to extract are real, but they don't make up a complete person. And if they did, and if my ex was that guy, we'd still be together. But he's not. And it's not fair to me or to the bf to still have that imaginary third person lingering around.
This past weekend something shifted and I realized that for my own happiness, I wanted to give him, and us, a real chance. He makes me laugh, he makes me think, and I like him. That is enough for me to want to try.

A close friend, S, announced
she and her husband are expecting! I'm so excited for her. My youngest niece just turned 4 so I'm glad to have another baby coming along!

The days are getting
warmer. It is snowing today, but I'm going to ignore it and not look out the windows. Shouldn't be too hard as I'm at work and only the fancy bosses get windows.....

My girlfriends have started a book club and our first read is Jane Austen's
Sense and Sensibility. The idea was inspired by watching the movie The Jane Austen Book Club. A cute, sweet movie - great for a night in with the girls.

Mar 5, 2008

What I wake up and see


I thought maybe the pouring rain and thunderstorms would keep them away from my bedroom window today, but no....They're hardcore.
I suppose it's like an extra alarm clock!

Today, I'm grateful for: my health and mobility

Feb 29, 2008

friday blues

I'm drained.

Work has been crazy yet I haven't been motivated enough to keep up with the pace.
The weather's been either freezing cold or snowy all week and it's wearing on me.
MB moved today so we had the good-bye dinner last night. I had been anxious all day about it and that wore me down. It went much better than I had anticipated, and I left with more excitement for her than sadness for myself.
Bingeing has been on and off this week. I need to cancel cable - I know that tuning out to the TV is aiding me in my binge routines.

The positive: I have been working out, getting a decent amount of sleep and FINALLY finished The Namesake. No idea what took me so long but it was great. I started Mademoiselle Boelyn last night.

We're getting more snow this weekend and I'm actually looking forward to the excuse to stay home, live in my pajamas, watch movies and bake bread. I haven't had a decent weekend at home to myself in a while. The thought of it is actually thrilling! Does that make me pathetic?

Feb 25, 2008

it's war, binge monster

Today my crazy lady and I declared war on my binge monster. Am going to take this one day at a time and see what I can do to make myself healthier and stronger. I get too caught up sometimes fearing failure, so when I'm feeling good and eating well, there's a nagging doubt at the back of my mind that it can't last forever.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not entirely sure HOW to take things one day at a time, but it's something I'd like to learn. It seems to go against the way so many of us function. So I will focus on the present and make decisions for now. Right this moment. Get through today.

No comment

Three things from my weekend:

1. Booked flights to FL with the bf (i know, I know). Six weeks until beach time!! {inevitable bathing suit panic ensues}

2. Drinking champagne out of a Solo cup with a straw leads to very big headaches the next day

3. I made an apple cranberry tart this weekend and I think that's my new dessert. I hate making pies but tarts seem so much easier!

Also, feel free to leave me a comment to let me know you're stopping by. Would love to know who's visiting and reading this blog.

Today I'm grateful for: I'm really lucky to have the kinds of friends that I do. They're fun, they're supportive, they're funny, they're smart, they're wonderful

Feb 21, 2008

Bittersweet blogs


My best friend is moving to Atlanta in 8 days.... To lessen the 1,150 mile distance, we started a blog together to keep in touch, to contrast the areas of the country we live in, as a creative exercise. Each week we'll choose a theme and then take corresponding pictures. It seems like it will be a lot of fun. I won the coin toss so we're hosting it on blogger.

See us here: Two Tin Cans and a Photograph String

Feb 20, 2008

looking back

Something struck me when I found this photo today. The picture was taken about 4 years ago on my friends' annual camping trip to Crawford Notch. Something about me seems so young, so unencumbered...it made me smile to realize that those days aren't so far behind me, they're still here. I'm still surrounded by a great group of friends, I still lead a fun life and I'm happy. It's nice to take a step back once in a while and realize how special that is.

Today I'm Grateful For (a whole list of things that make me smile)

Ani DiFranco
Being barefoot
Before Sunset
Blueberries
Bunnies
Champagne
Cheese
Down comforters
Driving
Forest paths
Full moon
Girlfriends
Iced coffee
Kissing
Lyrics
Movies
Naps
Parties
Pasta
Poetry
Plane tickets
Radiohead
Sex
Shoes
Singing
Sunroof
Tents
The beach
Wine

Feb 18, 2008

it is not enough to wonder

Carrying around the weight of past loves has started to exhaust me lately. One love in particular. Perhaps still not entirely in the past. Or at least not forgotten. Remembering him almost daily, memories of us will pop into my head while I'm driving past a pond, listening to a story about lawnmowers, shopping for cake mix. After many years together, and many more still plans for what lay ahead, he inhabited so much of my heartspace that I'm still finding rooms that have yet to be boxed up and moved to the storage at Past Relationship Depot.

I've gotten past the point of trying to rush it along by simply pretending I'm entirely over him (or more likely, over us), but I would like an idea of how long this goes on. A friend reminded me today that it's not about forgetting them though, that will never truly happen. It's more about simply moving on.

I wrote today after months of not writing a single poem and it felt amazing. I had painted earlier in the day and I think that got the creativity flowing enough to unblock the literary energy.

I found a fantastic message board for poets to share their work with one another. It seems to be a great community of writers there who offer thoughtful critiques of pieces submitted and also support and encouragement for aspiring writers and poets.

So I registered with my pen name and posted a poem today. I've shared only two poems with two people in the 10 or so years I've been writing so the anonymity of the message board was helpful. The title of the poem is the title of this post....that's about as far as I could get with sharing today's writing on this blog. Baby steps!

Today I'm grateful for: indranthrone blue paint, Jane Austen, James McAvoy (just watched Becoming Jane!)

Feb 12, 2008

and what if there are no damsels in distress

A little update on some of the things I'm supposed to be blogging about:

Dating: Things are going well with the I-suppose-I-should-call-him-my-boyfriend-guy. I had a conversation with a 6-year old about him the other day. He wanted to know what his name is and if we are getting married. Without going into all the reasons why I don't want to get married in general, I just told him, "I don't know." I think that still kept him hopeful. And in return, I got to hear him tell me about his girlfriend too. More than a fair deal.

Quitting smoking: I've decided against the Wellbutrin. I was hesitant about it as it was, and in speaking to my crazy lady about it realized it's just not right for me now. Am going to work on the cognitive behavioral change effort and invest in some more Nicorette gum. But this time I'm going to buy the name-brand stuff that actually feels like gum and tastes minty instead of the generic stuff that is hard as rubber, tastes like burning erasers and make me want a cigarette instead.

Eating too much chocolate: Check. Oh, those Lindt truffles. Especially those Lindt truffles that can be bought in bulk so cheaply at the outlet store. They got me good today.

Hot actors: I'm crushing on Matt Damon currently. That Sarah Silverman video brought him back to mind. Those dimples...

And waking up and finally starting to be OK with being my most fabulous self: Will work on actually just waking up on time tomorrow. I'm supposed to be there early and we're having a snow storm. I'm trying to implement a bedtime for myself to get into a more regular sleep routine. My goal is to be in bed by 11:30 and shut the light off and go to sleep by 12:15. It's 12:03 right now. Oops.

Today I'm grateful for: fostering my creativity

Creative buzz

Last night after another very long day at work, I went out and bought myself some art supplies.

Watercolors
Acrylics
Oil Pastels
Brushes
Canvas
Watercolor paper
Acrylic paper
Pallette








I am so sick of coming home from work exhausted and not being able to do much more than lay on the couch and zone out while watching horrendously bad TV. And some nights I'm not even really watching....more like just staring. But the nights I'm actually paying attention to the shows aren't much better. I mean, come on....I'm getting hooked on shows like MTV's The Hills.

Yes, I admit it. I'm on Team Lauren. I'm a 29 year old, down-to-earth, professional woman who actually found herself sucked into a fake reality show about a spoiled socialite running around Los Angeles creating drama with her obnoxious, overly tanned friends (who are getting paid boatloads of money to hypnotize me into watching - $10K - $25K per episode!) I think they should pay ME to watch this drivel!

So last night I got home, made dinner, and busted out the pastels. And I have to say, while what I created may have been as pathetic looking as the programming that MTV is producing, at least it felt damn good to make!Today I'm grateful for: MB and being able to talk to her about anything, driving in the early morning sun, getting butterflies in my stomach when I talk to someone