Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I'm Addicted To...

...FOOD! I'm absolutely not ashamed to admit it, either. I posted yesterday about the real reason I love food (cooking, of course!) but I get pretty darn excited about eating it, too. I've had a very slow day at work so I've spent it looking up recipes that are just wonderfully bad for you (helloooo crescent roll recipe ideas) to add to our Superbowl menu. Friends are coming over for the game and I decided well in advance that I wanted to make really bad food and enjoy the heck out of it. Yes, I have laughed at myself often for how far in advance I think about what food to make for an event but I seriously cannot help it. I'm addicted.

I'm a very healthy eater on a daily basis and I take nutrition/exercise very seriously. I've lifted weights forever and I really enjoy doing all forms of cardio. I was a big gym rat for years too, doing mostly kickboxing and weight classes, but I've gravitated away from that and do what I can to be outside for cardio. Of course, as mentioned in many posts, I also take running very seriously and I love it. I mention all of this because I honestly work out as hard as I do so that I can treat myself.

All of this said, I registered today for a fun little four mile race on Superbowl Sunday where you wear jerseys while running! I mean, how fun is that?! I decided I simply must do it and represent O'Hara and the Giants (since they clearly didn't represent themselves at all this season!) AND give my body a nice little jump start before ingesting macaroni and cheese, spinach dip, beer...oh, and there will likely be a couple, if not several, crescent roll surprises as well after looking at that link. :-o

Man, I love food.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Who Dat!

I have absolutely no relation to New Orleans nor have I followed the Saints ever but I really really love that the fans say 'who dat'. So, yeah. I said it here. Man, what an awesome playoff win for them last night. The young kicker who kicked the winning field goal in OT seriously just had his career made, yo. Now, the Saints are Superbowl bound! Awesome stuff.

Anyway, my weekend was great! My brother and sister-in-law were in town and we got to do some fun things together. I had a terrific 5 mile run Saturday afternoon and then we went out to this little parlour in the West Village that night. Two things: 1) I was reminded how old I am when a guy bought me a shot for his friend's 22nd birthday party and 2) I was also reminded how much fun it is to be 22. Hahahaha! We had a blast out with friends though and I got to see some people I haven't seen in years. The shot guy also grew up a town over from mine in Georgia AND lives one block from me in the city. Talk about a small world. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and much needed laughter.

Sunday, I got up and started looking through my recipe book while I had coffee. Recently, I've been feeling like something's missing in my life and I haven't for the life of me been able to put my finger on it. As I looked through my recipes, it dawned on me. Cooking! I come from an interesting background that's a mix of creativity and logic. Dad was a very stoic man who worked hard his entire life, even without graduating from high school. He had tunnel vision in terms of what it meant to be successful and he saw only that, nothing else. My mom was a painter and free spirited navy brat. She grew up all over and developed an independence that allowed her creativity to shine and blossom. She's an amazing water-colorist and I can't tell you the amount of cards and notes I've gotten from her over the years with her sweet drawings. I'm happy to say that I got the best of both mom and dad (and I'm not too proud to say the worst too at times, ha!). I'm very responsible and wise with things like money/work yet I'm a creative dreamer at heart. I was never gifted with a hand to draw or paint but I was blessed with a love of creating. I must also mention that mom's artistic nature was not cut off at the paintbrush, if you will. She had a love of cooking that I adored from the second I was old enough to understand what she was doing. Mom worked part-time our whole childhood so there were a few nights during the week that she didn't cook. The nights she did though I was right by her side, watching and learning. See, mom didn't just measure and mix ingredients. Mom created something. She took an idea in her her mind and processed it through to what she would create in a meal that was far more than food. It was love. To me, there was nothing better in the world than to watch mom do her work. She was my own personal 'Julia Child' and the way she would create dishes was magical to me.

I am in love with cooking because of that. The process for me is a manifestation of not just my skills but of my love of nurturing and taking care of people. It brings me joy to cook and I realized that, by not cooking as much lately, that creative side of me has been stifled. Therefore, it's exactly what I've been missing. So, sitting there with coffee in hand and recipe book in lap, I decided that I am going to get back on target with cooking something new at least weekly if not more than that. Since it's just little ol' me in my apartment, it makes cooking a bit tougher but, nevertheless, I need to stimulate that creative side of me again. More often than not, I don't cook from recipes unless it's something brand new where I'd need a little help with ratios of ingredients. Usually, I glance at a recipe and come up with my own form of it but I've decided to show my cookbooks and recipes some love and get to workin'.

Sunday's creation was homemade corn chowder with potatoes and fresh thyme. At first glance, the recipe sounded great but I was skeptical of the amount of veggie stock AND cream it called for. It appeared like it would be far more of a soup than a chowder. Um, corn soup? No thanks. At any rate, I was true to the measurements and was totally mad at myself in the end that I didn't go with my instinct. I even made a fair amount of roux for it and it was just thin and one dimensional. I like my chowder to have levels when you take a bite and this was 'elementary', if you will. I like the flavors involved together but I already know what I'd do differently next time and, sadly, it involves changing nearly everything, ha!

At any rate, it completely satisfied just what I needed and I was so glad for that. Now, I just have to figure out what the heck I'm gonna do with a big pot of bland chowder. Grrrr...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


With the start of a new year often comes new goals, aspirations, resolutions. There's excitement in the air and the feeling of possibility all around. For many, a new year brings hardship as well. It pains my heart to know that, for lots of people out there, another year might mean another year to battle illness or another year where they feel alone. I know that life is not all sunshine and rainbows, but that is precisely why I feel even more affirmed in my changed mindset.

This morning on the bus, I looked around at all the people on their way to wherever. I watched their faces as some looked weary, some looked refreshed, some looked angry. I saw a mother giggling with her two sons and I saw a man in his sharp suit reading the paper. I saw a woman dressed to the nines with an enormous diamond on her finger and I saw an old man in weathered jeans and shoes, no doubt freezing from his lack of proper winter clothing. I saw all of these individuals sitting right around me and wondered if I could ever be someone who could reach and affect all of those different types of people.

What I knew to be absolutely true as I glanced around is that I am meant for something great. I have no idea if that means being a mother or owning a business or leading a non-profit organization. It could mean I volunteer or sponsor a child or care for the elderly. It could mean a million different things but, the one thing I know, is that I am excited about the realm of possibilities out there for me. I believe that god refreshes our spirit with a sense of purpose when we are ready and able to hear his voice. I believe that, when we are prepared, he gives us the tools and armor to walk through this life with passion, zest, and vibrancy. He gives us that purpose and mindset of helping to change the world. I think that what so many people miss in this life is that each and every second of the day is a chance to be alive. An earthquake in Haiti just killed thousands of people two days ago. The heartbreak of that is the question of whether those people were ever lucky enough to know what I know or feel what I feel. Did some of them ever feel truly loved or were they accepted and cared for? Were their hearts treasured or lives embraced?

God is so good in how he showers us in grace and mercy and love. I feel alive in ways that give me purpose and hold meaning over my life. I feel enveloped in blessing for various reasons and sometimes I think that, if only I could spend five minutes with one of those strangers on the bus from today, perhaps I could help them feel loved, even for a second. Why must there be so much difficulty in this world where there should be one simple thing: love. If only we could all look at the world with new eyes and step forward with new purpose. If only each step we take could be a reflection of acceptance, love, non-judgment. If only we could see others as god sees us and lay down our lives in honor of love. There will always be uncertainty and lack of control in the world, always. It is what we do with that which determines our happiness.

I praise the lord for the small daily blessings he gives me which allow me to see the world now in these ways I mention. I know that 2010 is going to be amazing for me because I know the truth of where this happiness comes from. It is unbelievably comforting to have this hope and peace. I mention it all today because I outwardly challenge myself to keep walking forward in truth and light. I challenge myself to be open to any and all possibilities that are far outside what I think is "right". From there, I truly just might help change the world.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Welcome to 2010!

Holy moly, did we seriously just start a new year? A new decade, even! Wow, what a neat feeling though. It feels like there are new opportunities to find, new adventures to embark on, and new experiences to have and it all feels so exciting. I've never been a huge "celebration" person when it comes to New Years Eve, BUT I certainly appreciate and embrace the significance of it.

This year has started off very interesting for me. Last week, I met up with Tom for the first time since our breakup and it went very very well. We were able to talk about SO much (we literally talked for hours) and it was honestly the most productive conversation we've had even in nearly two years of dating. The talk went so well that he ended up coming back for the weekend and we had even more amazing conversation. I couldn't begin to try and write out all that was said but, the bottom line is, we are both doing great in our lives individually and the lessons we've been learning about ourselves as people has been pretty astounding. He's been on quite the journey in moving back to Maryland and deciding to pursue photography as I have equally been on my own journey, as cited in this here blog. :) At any rate, we are at an interesting place right now and I'm being faced with my first big challenge in being patient, letting go, and trusting that the lord will bring me right where I need to be. I say that because we have a pretty up in the air situation in terms of whether we'd like to get back together or not and now is the time to exercise just what I have been working on: trust.

What I do know to be true, above everything, is that I will be ok and I will continue moving forward as I have been should Tom and I not work out for good. I have worked so hard and become so much of the person I've wanted to be, and that is the biggest and best thing to happen to me in many years. I don't regret an ounce of opening up my heart over the weekend and sharing just what I feel. In fact, doing so without worrying about the outcome is the most terrific feeling, and I hope to hold on to the peace that comes with squashing fearful thoughts. I think Tom and I are both at places where we're sure of what we want and we're focused on what is best for us as individuals, so only time will tell if we can embark on this journey of life together or if it's best suited to really say goodbye.

Above all, I am excited about a new year! I pray for peace and blessing over my life and for wisdom filled direction, always. May 2010 truly be my best year yet!