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 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?

(already have 4 loads done!)
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
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:



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


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.