Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions: Part II

Having rehashed last year's resolutions it is time to move on to resolutions for the coming year. And I chose some biggies. I've always been big on the resolution making mainly because it is an opportunity for self-reflection and it gives us free-spirits a definite timeline.

Let me begin by saying that I've, thankfully, just read "Women Food and God" by Geneen Roth, which has helped me figure how I'm going to go about accomplishing this year's resolutions. The book is really about weight loss, but I found that her approach can be applied to just about anything a person may abuse in their lives be it food, drugs, TV, fb, etc.

The first resolution is to cut meat out of my diet. There are many reasons for this, the top being that it is difficult and expensive to find sustainably raised meat and fish, especially here in Hawaii. Having watched movies like "End of the Line," and "The Cove," and reading about the impact meat production has on the environment, particularly our oceans, I just can't do it anymore. It is highly unrealistic to think I can be an overnight vegetarian, even though meat is not something that appears on my plate every night, so I'm gonna take it day by day and not beat myself up over wanting a piece of chicken every once in awhile. And if I can get fish that's been locally caught, that's fine, but fish, especially has got to go. This is my humble plea to those of you who read this, to at least consider your fish consumption, watch the films I mentioned above and decide for yourselves.

Moving on to the second resolution, concerning drinking alcohol. Oh, crap, do I really have to deal with this? It's something that's been on the agenda for many years, but also a habit that has been difficult to give up. This is where Roth's approach comes in. She asks us to be mindful about what we are putting into our bodies and to look at the reasons why we are doing what we're doing. So my goal is to stop and think before choosing to imbibe, and really consider, is this something I really want right now, or am I trying to cover something else up? And if the answer is to cover something up, she asks us to go ahead and feel what it is we don't want to feel and face it without using whatever it is to numb it out. That's as far into as I'll go for now, we'll check back in on that next year.

So here's to a wonderful New Year to us all! May we discover ourselves.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year's Resolutions: Part I

It's time again for New Year's Resolutions. I personally like the practice because it gives me at least one chance throughout the year to do some serious self-reflection. In 2010 I resolved to define love and to become a better friend.

The first resolution was born out of a New Year's Eve extravaganza trip to New York City where I fell back in love with two of my best friends, the city itself, and well, life in general. With all the craziness the holidays have brought this year, it was great to reflect via the ole blog. How soon we forget our revelations and resolutions, although over the past year  I did manage to define love as unconditional, infinite, unexplainable. So, although it was an impossible task, love was semi-defined. Check. And also, uncheck because this love quest is definitely not over people. More on that later.

The resolution to become a better friend has happily been a huge success and a major personal triumph. On the same New York trip last year I realized how many wonderful friends have blessed my life, but that I seldom kept in touch with because life gets busy and you let it slide. Considering today's technology, there's no reason you can't maintain friendships even if you are oceans apart. Over the past year I discovered that my childhood best friend and I have become more alike than either of us could have imagined, a college friend who I thought had abandoned me had actually suffered a major loss, that making new friends is not as hard as I was making it out to be, that a psychic connection exists with a friend who lives precisely on the other side of the world, that I have a soul sister, that real friends never judge, and that the love you give and get out of friendships is absolutely necessary.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Gotta Try This: Homemade Eggnog

The only eggnog I'd ever had was the overly sweet store-bought goo. Until this Christmas when my sister's boyfriend (who's blog is this anyway?) decided to whip up a batch of the good stuff. Double Electrified Warning: this batch could easily serve a dozen people, it took us three days to finish it between three people. If you are not serving it at a party, maybe halve the recipe so you can finish it in a reasonable amount of time. Not only that, but one glass is plenty, more will probably give you a tummy-ache because it's so rich.

From "Joy of Cooking"

12 eggs (separated)
1 lb confectioner's sugar
4-8 cups dark rum, brandy, bourbon or rye (we used Bacardi Gold)
2 quarts whipping cream
ground or grated nutmeg

Separate eggs and beat yolks until light in color. Gradually beat in confectioner's sugar. Add very slowly 2 cups rum (or other liquor).Let stand one hour to dispel the "eggy" taste and destroy possibility of salmonella. Add, beating constantly, 2-4 cups more of liquor (we ended up with 6 cups total liquor in our batch) and 2 qts whipping cream. Refrigerate 3 hours (we refrigerated our overnight at this stage).

Beat 8-12 egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold into mixture. Serve sprinkled with freshly grated nutmeg.

Wow! This stuff is amazing! If you've never tried homemade eggnog, you must give it a go.We paired our nog with a brined and butter-basted turkey, roasted garlic sour dough stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, and roasted Kabocha squash. Yum! And to think, I did nothing but brine that turkey (more on that later). My husband took care of the stuffing, bird, and squash, and my sister made the potatoes. What a family, thanks everyone, it turned out to be one of the best meals ever. 

Please note: consuming raw eggs may be hazardous to your health! A reader wrote in (see the comment below) and pointed out that using pasteurized shelled eggs is a better option. I think the addition of massive amounts of alcohol should keep you on the safe side, but please consider your own health when making these choices. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 Autobio Playlist

The moment you've all been waiting for has finally arrived: the release of my 2010 Autobio Playlist, of course.

1. "Hurricane" by John Cruz

John Cruz is an amazing artist from Oahu. I've been fortunate enough to see him live a few times. This song in particular, really speaks to me.

2. "The Climb" by Hannah Montana, err Miley Cyrus

It's hard to work in an elementary school and not like some Hannah Montana. Plus, it's a great song!

3. "You Can't Always Get What You Want," by the Rolling Stones

Because you can't.

4. "Beat It," by Michael Jackson

For my amazing little talent show kids!

5. "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey

At the top of my lungs in the car (alone).

6. "Tiny Dancer," by Elton John

Because what's a mix without my favorite song?

7. "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw

Love this song! What would you do if you knew you were dying soon?

8. "Beautiful Boy," by John Lennon
For my beautiful nephews.

9. "You Really Got a Hold On Me," by She & Him

Gotta watch the live performance! Zooey Deschanel is amazing and this song is so true and great, a classic cover.

10. "You've Got a Friend in Me," by Randy Newman

For my little man, who I miss dearly. You've always got a friend in me JK!

11. "Edge of Seventeen," by Stevie Nicks

If I could be any rocker, it'd be her.

12. "Auld Lang Syne," by James Taylor

Here's to a great 2011!

Thanks to Becky for turning me on to this idea, what fun!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Practice in Visualization

We've decided to take everything off the walls in our house and replace them with art work that represents all the goals we're striving to accomplish. Here are a few of the top picks from Etsy.

A cute and simple reminder.


This print represents our dream of a road trip USA in some sort of recreational vehicle.


Someday, we'll be sailing around the world,

And Dustin will whiz by at 200 miles per hour!


While I take a leisurely bicycle ride through the French countryside.


Then we will be whisked away on a hot air balloon ride,


Only to be found plummeting off a bridge the next minute.


We'll try not to forget to tend the chickens.


Then I'll stroll on in to a fancy restaurant and order the best red wine.


However, the best cappuccinos will only be found at my very own coffee shop,


Where I'll begin working on the Great American novel.


It will not be a rare occasion when we sleep under the stars,


or pass time at our home in Greece.


It's never too late to become an emerging artist in New York City,


or skate on a frozen lake,


or eat your heart out.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Zen Cookies

After getting an electric mixer for an early Christmas present, I realized the cookies I made with only a fork and a bowl the other day may be my last batch of completely Zen Cookies. Meaning, my last batch of cookies made entirely by hand, with nothing electric (ok, except the oven).

On second thought though, molding each peanut butter cookie into a perfect sphere, then stamping them with the back of a fork, and cutting an entire cup of dried cherries in half, was actually a really good time. Nothing compares to the joy of perfectly shaped cookies and feeling the ingredients come together between your fingers. What I'd previously loathed about baking was feeling rushed, trying to stamp out three dozen cookies in an hour is miserable for anyone. Since I had all day to play with cookie dough it became a very pleasant, relaxing task. No wonder I'd loved baking so much in childhood, there's no concept of time when you're eight.

May your Christmas cookies be enlightened.

"When you can do nothing, what can you do?" Zen Koan

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Things That Make You Go Awe

This month there was an article in "O Magazine" about places and things that are awe-inspiring. In fact, the theme this month of the magazine centered around unexplained events and things that happen in nature or in our lives which fill us with awe.

This got me thinking about awe itself. It's an emotion totally unique to any other, when you are filled with wonder at something that just blew your mind. And if you think about it, we are always seeking ways to feel awe. When we plan a vacation, for instance, we look for destinations that will fill us with awe (which are hopefully awe-full not awful - sorry for that, couldn't help it). When you are looking out over the Grand Canyon, experiencing awe, what exactly is happening? Are we getting a little glimpse of heaven? Or maybe experiencing the divine? I really don't know, but here are some things that are awesome, and I wanted to share.

Monasteries at Meteora, Greece
We were lucky enough to visit Meteora in 2006. The monasteries sit atop these giant rock formations. It's amazing to think how they built them.

Swimming with Manta Rays
Mantas feed at night, so you gotta brave the dark water to swim with them.

New York City
I was awe-struck at everything about this place. Yes, there are many neat things to see and do here, but it was the vibe of the city, the feeling it gave you, that really gave me the mind-meld.

Riding a Motorcycle
Whether on the back, on my own, or even cruising on a scooter, getting out of the car and in the open air is like nothing else. You notice things and experience the road in a whole new way when riding.

Feel free to leave comments on what fills you with awe. May you experience it often.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mediterranean Nachos

This was actually put together by my sister's boyfriend, but I helped in the brainstorming process. It started out as a way to clear out some leftovers and turned out really yummy!

Mediterranean Nachos

Tortilla chips

2 cups artichoke cheese dip OR 1 cup artichoke hearts and 1 cup cheese (parmesan, mozzarella, or feta)

1 can garbanzo beans or 1 cup hummus

small bunch basil

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 tomato (or more if you like)

1/2 pound (or more) of shrimp

10 or more whole garlic cloves (unpeeled)

Handful of kalamata olives (split)

The amounts listed above are vague estimates, it really depends how much toppings you like on your nachos and how many people you need to feed.

Pre-heat oven to 400. Place tortilla chips on a cookie sheet. Blend garbanzo beans in a blender or food processor with basil and spoon over chips, or if you are using hummus, spoon hummus over chips. Sprinkle onion, shrimp, and garlic over all (leave casings on garlic to achieve roasted garlic flavor). Spoon artichoke dip over all, or if using hearts and cheese, spread these over all. Sprinkle with olives, tomato, and remaining basil. Place in oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is melty, shrimp is pink, and ingredients are heating through.

Substitutions: chicken for shrimp, parsley for basil, white or great northern beans for garbanzos, any olives you like for kalamata, pita chips for tortilla chips, chopped garlic for roasted...

Additions: spinach, extra cheese, bell pepper, red chili flakes, capers...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sacrifice in the name of Love

A tiny snippet of a little film called "Paper Heart," got me thinking, over many months, about the sacrifices we make for love. First of all, Netflix directed me to this movie after it noticed everything starring Michael Cera in my queue. The movie is about Charlyne Yi, a young comedian, who sets out to make a documentary about love. And just to clarify, it's not really a documentary, but a movie about making a documentary, so the actors are actors and not "real people" (ha! that made no sense, but maybe you get the gist). Anyway, in one particular scene, Charlyne interviews a romance novelist who suggests that any real love story must have the element of sacrifice, that the lead character must sacrifice something huge as a way to demonstrate his or her love.

So I thought about all my favorite love stories: Dirty Dancing (rich girl sacrifices social status), Gone with the Wind (boy sacrifices awesome bachelor lifestyle and pride), Romeo and Juliet (girl sacrifices her life, then so does boy), The Wedding Singer (girl sacrifices prior marriage proposal), Serendipity (both boy and girl sacrifice existing relationships), and this is not even close to an exhaustive list. Turns out sacrifice is a very common thread in many, many love stories throughout pop and not-so-pop culture.

In my own relationships I seemed to have unwittingly chosen this guideline to establish if the love is "real" or not. So does that mean then, that in order for it to be real, true love one person must make a sacrifice? And what if the opportunity to make a sacrifice for your one true love never comes along? Maybe that's why we get married, to show your partner you are willing to sacrifice the rest of your life to them to prove your love. Ha.

But let's turn this around a bit. The point is not to define love based on sacrifice, but whether or not we expect sacrifice from someone we love, or closer yet, we require sacrifice to be a component of love. So again, and less sarcastically this time, what of the drama-free relationship in which the closest thing to sacrifice is giving up on your hopes for Chinese take-out for dinner? Does that mean, because there is no heart-wrenching sacrifice, the love is somehow less valid? My head says of course not, but my life reads just like a romance novel.

It's difficult to think you may have been influenced so strongly by movies, books, and urban legends and I know my marriage has much more to do with love than sacrifice, but let me tell you, this idea of sacrifice being a love requirement has made me think twice when advising friends on the eternal question, "does he love me?"

Monday, November 29, 2010

Your Aura's Showing

Last week I went for my first aura reading. Not having a lot of experience in the clairvoyant arts, I didn't know what to expect. There we were, the three aura readers, their instructor, an aura artist, and me, shuddering with excitement and nerves at the thought that maybe they'd discover a hidden talent or worse, my inner darkness.

Turns out your aura is made up of seven layers. Mine are orange, purple, yellow, turquoise, sky blue, dark blue, and gold. The readers go through each layer with you in great detail, which I won't bore you with now, however, indulge me as I delve into one of my aural layers.

The third layer represents your emotional well-being. In my third layer the readers saw me, sitting at a window looking out at a beautiful yellow light, experiencing true joy. Just as they were wrapping up the third layer one of the readers says, "wait, look behind her." Turns out there was mold growing on the wall behind me, implying that this beautiful light out the window wasn't making its way in.

And no, I'm not making this up.

Being a Hawaii resident where it is damp and warm, I know that mold grows in damp, dark, and warm places. To kill it you must get light and air on it.

Here's to letting love be my light and air.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Inspiration

After watching Julie & Julia again the other night I became re-inspired, not only to blog, but to cook, and to write, and to generally live life fearlessly. After all, that's what Julia Child did.

Actually, it was after watching this movie the first time that I decided to start this blog. I'm not too sure what I hope to get out of it, but it is fun and it gives me writing practice in the very least (gotta get those 10,000 hours in you know).

For those of you who enjoyed this movie or enjoyed Julia Child's cooking show, you must read My Life in France. It details Julia's life before the fame and sheds light on all the very hard work she put in to get to that point. She was one dedicated, fearless, and deserving woman.

Not that I will ever fool myself into thinking I can cook from it, Mastering the Art of French Cooking is also a must read simply for the tone in which it was written. And for the unquestionable expertise.

Bon Appetit!

Merci Mrs. Child!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pie Crust: to process or not to process

Confession: I do not own a food processor. This only really becomes a major problem when baking, which does not happen in my household more than a couple times a year.

Enter Thanksgiving morning 2010 (aka yesterday) when I was faced with the task of baking two pies. My plan was to make an avocado pie and an apple pie. The avocado pie only requires a simple crust, like pat-in-the-pan or graham cracker so the double crust for the apple felt doable. Alas the avocados were not ripe and slight hysteria ensued. Braving the supermarket did not seem like an option because if one were to fight the crowds, one may as well buy pre-made pies, and this would not do as I had committed to homemade pies damnit! We were all saved when my brother-in-law discovered a bag of frozen blueberries under the half-eaten wontons in the freezer.

But now I was faced with making four crusts. With no food processor. And upon further inspection, no shortening. Google came to the rescue with this all butter crust recipe. Now, if you have never made pie crust by hand you should know that all this butter has to be "cut in" to the dry ingredients with some sort of hand tool, I use a sturdy and trusty fork. This must be done quickly as well so as not to allow the butter to melt. Fifteen minutes later and a blister on my right index finger all that dang butter was cut in.

After mixing the filling ingredients it was time to roll out the dough. With ease the dough submitted under my granite rolling pin and the result was beautiful, thick, golden dough draped generously over each pie. I can't help but think that my admiration of these glorious pies was exponentially increased by cutting all that butter in by hand and feeling that dough come together between my fingers.

So I'll admit it, these did not turn out to be the best tasting pies on the planet, but they sure looked good and I think I'll hold off on buying that food processor after all.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

In Gratitude

For all the complaining that comes out of me about not living in France, or having a million dollars, or probably not becoming the next American Idol, the truth is my life is downright good. Amazing, even. In fact, how did I get so lucky? Being Thanksgiving week and all, it is time for a little gratitude for all that is good.

Dear Universe,

Thank you for:

my home
the hammock on the lanai
sending me to live on the island of Hawaii
soft sand
new and old friends
clairvoyance (that was for you, BL)
Big Island Motorcycle Co.
that guy who sleeps in my bed
Hawaiian winters
allowing me to be born in America
family and new babies
those weeds with the pink seeds that glow in the morning sunlight on my way to work
getting me back on a motorcycle
coral reefs
good writers
my mentor teacher
the sky

Feel free to add to this list under comments below.

It IS all good.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Avocado Pie

Thanksgiving is almost here and it has become an annual tradition for me to make Avocado Pie for the occasion. It sounds strange, but give it a try because seriously, what could taste bad mixed with a can of condensed milk anyway?

Avocado Pie (award winning!)

1 pre-baked 9" pie shell (I have a special oil based recipe I use, but use whatever you like. I recommend avoiding a sweet/rich crust due to the richness of the filling)
1 large avocado or 2 "California" avocados (If you live in Hawaii, you know that our avocados are many times bigger than what you can get in the store on the mainland. You want about 2 cups of avocado meat)
1 can sweeted condensed milk
juice and zest of 1 lemon or 2 limes (more if you like it tart)

Mix avocado, milk, and juice in a bowl until creamy. I use my immersion blender to get it smooth, but chunks are ok if you mash it with a fork. Pour into pie shell and allow to set in the fridge for at least an hour. Serve with whipped cream. Always a crowd pleaser. Enjoy!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ode to an Artichoke

My once beautiful and productive garden has undergone a resting period ever since schedules got tightened once again around here. In other words, I haven't planted jack in forever and the only remaining veggies are those that last several years or have reseeded themselves.

When we first moved in I planted artichokes and asparagus. The asparagus has done amazingly well and while the artichoke plants are nice and leafy it had only produced one actual choke in three years. Until last week.

No one had even looked at the artichoke plants in many months. I was playing with my nephew in the yard when I noticed it, round and green and ready for picking, a perfect little artichoke crying out to me from its pedestal of pointed leaves. We promptly went inside to get some scissors, picked the softball-sized crown, and stashed it away in the fridge where no one else would see it.

The next night while preparing dinner I cooked myself up a little appetizer of artichoke and melted butter. No, the artichoke was not shared with anyone because trust me, no one else in this household can appreciate a thing like an artichoke at the peak of freshness.

Sitting outside on the lanai watching the sunset and savoring the choke by candlelight was one of the more powerful religious experiences I've had. Each leaf sang hymns in my mouth. And the heart, oh the heart, was my communal bread and wine. "Eat this, in remembrance of me," said the artichoke. And I did, and it was good.

The artichoke plants have been checked daily since then.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ideal Job of the Week: Assistant to a Literary Agent

"Do what you love. Love what you do." I, for one, and am so-uh-oh tired of this cliché. Maybe I'm bitter, but if I was doing what I loved it would involve daily screenings of Oprah, spontaneous trips to Europe, stocking my (non-existent) wine cellar with fabulous selections, a personal trainer named Gustav, and definitely no working of any kind. But in the real world we gotta work so if I have to choose then let us indulge the fantasy of an ideal job, thus my pick of the week: Assistant to a Literary Agent.

"Assistant?" you say. But of course. The real appeal in this job is the reading of the manuscripts and finding the hidden gem, the next J.K. or Salinger without dealing with the writers themselves. It's a beautiful idea really, and came about after reading an article in O Magazine (two Oprah references in one post, let's call it an O-fer) that instructed job seekers to follow their "hot tracks" or their particular interests, something like tracking a bear in the words. Being a self-help junkie, my own list of hot tracks was generated. And yes, drinking wine and traveling Europe were on it, along with reading novels. So I said to myself, "self, could reading novels for a living be a hot track?" Indeed!
After doing a little research on what it takes to be a literary agent as well as an editor it was quickly decided that legal stuff and negotiating contracts was not a hot track, which is a large part of what those folks do. To really get to the meat of it you gotta be the assistant (or intern but I won't go that far) who the agent bosses around and orders to read nine hundred manuscripts by Monday. To complete the fantasy picture me, lounging in my hammock reading a stack of promising tales and passing judgment on each, "rubbish," "bad," "preposterous," "insane," until finally jumping up and exclaiming "diamond in the rough!" while hitting my agent's speed dial.

I'm sure you can think of a thousand reasons why this would not be an ideal job. But don't ruin it for me, I'm still following the hot tracks.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

To Infinity...And Beyond!

Today was the last day I'll work with my favorite little guy. For the past two years I've enjoyed working as a one-to-one skills trainer for a boy with autism. He is pretty much the coolest kid ever and I'm so blessed to have had him in my life.

It is an amazing experience to observe someone with some very major challenges overcome obstacles I couldn't even begin to imagine. In the past two years I've seen this boy learn to read, master dribbling a basketball, offer sincerest comfort to those in need (including me), have meltdowns I was sure he'd never come out of, progress massively in reducing self-injury, and wow everyone with the darndest since of humor.

One thing is for sure, I will never underestimate a child with disabilities again.

For our last day of summer school we enjoyed watching "Toy Story," one of his favorite movies. He happens to know every line and does a great version of the theme song, "You Got a Friend in Me." I'll miss you my friend and I know now that I learned far more from you than you did from me.

You've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me
When the road looks rough ahead
And you're miles and miles
From your nice warm bed
Just remember what your old pal said
Boy, you've got a friend in me

You've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me

You've got troubles, well I've got 'em too
There isn't anything I wouldn't do for you
We stick together and we see it through
You've got a friend in me

You've got a friend in me

Some other folks might be
A little bit smarter than I am
Bigger and stronger too
But none of them will ever love you the way I do
It's me and you
And as the years go by
Boys, our friendship will never die
You're gonna see
It's our destiny
You've got a friend in me

You've got a friend in me

You've got a friend in me

Monday, June 7, 2010

Talent Show Follow-Up

Thankfully, our kids were allowed to participate in the talent show after all. It was a blast! And, although I might be biased, they really were the best act. No one laughed at them, in fact, they got so much praise for their little dance routine their heads were spinning. They danced to "Beat It," and wore matching outfits complete with a surgical glove dipped in glitter. This is what it's all about people. Special ed: 1, Regular ed: well, ok more than we can count, but one is better than nothing so we'll take it!

Fifth grade graduation was also the same week as the talent show. Soon I will be saying goodbye to the little guy I've been working with for the past two years. More on this later, but for now let's just say my feelings are very mixed on this topic. I sure will miss him though.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What Would Michael Jackson Do?

Who knew elementary school talent shows could be so hard core? Not me. I remember the talent show as a series of pretty terrible (including my own renditions of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "I Could Have Danced All Night") yet adorable performances. A couple of the students in our Special Education class have been talking all year about performing in the talent show and we of course encouraged them. Try-outs were last week and it didn't go so well.

First of all, the person in charge of said talent show agreed that our kids could perform. Then, after he realized we were serious, began back-peddling. He told us that if the routine wasn't good enough, they couldn't perform. His excuse (that we've heard about six times over now) is that he doesn't want the other kids to laugh at them. And by the way, they are dancing to "Beat It," and they are actually decent, on a scale of pretty terrible to adorable.

I will say that the routine was thrown together (by me:)) at the last minute, so that may have been a point of frustration for the talent show organizer. BUT here is a group of kids who are on the outer fringe of their peer group, who don't usually get included in much, or aren't able to do some things and they want to get up and perform. So let them! The reality is, they are used to getting laughed at, but the even bigger reality is, their peers need to learn that it's not ok. Just because someone is a little different, doesn't mean they should be discounted. This could be a learning experience for everyone and even more importantly these kids are actually getting a shot at doing something COOL for once. He hasn't said no yet, so I'll keep you posted.

This all reminds me of a defining moment I had back in high school. It was freshman PE and we were doing a track block, so we all got to sprint, practice the high jump, and throw a shot-put. It was actually a chance for the PE teacher, who was also the track coach, to recruit. There were some Special Ed. students in our PE class also. One of them was faster than any of us and had the endurance of an Ironman. One day I asked the PE teacher whether he was going to recruit the speed racer. With a confused look he answered, "No, of course not. He's in Special Ed."

All I can think about is the many things people with disabilities usually miss out on. Many will not get to play on a sports team, join the choir, go to prom, or participate in the talent show. All because it's not their "place." It's not only about including people with disabilities, but about teaching our kids, and allowing ourselves, to accept that some people are different, but that doesn't mean they don't have anything to offer or that they don't deserve a place right alongside of us.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Away We Go: The Review

To begin with, I'm intimidated by the word "review," so let's just consider this posting simply my thoughts on the movie Away We Go, starring John Krasinski (from The Office) and Maya Rudolf (from Saturday Night Live).

The film was recommended to me by a friend who suggested I watch it without any expectations, so it is in that same spirit that I suggest you do the same. Therefore, I'm going to try writing this without giving too much away about the plot. In fact, the main characters themselves are struggling with their own expectations about what life should be. They have come to a crucial crossroads in their life together and are trying to decide what their life will consist of.

And so, like all good coming of age stories, they search for it. Along the way they learn different lessons, about life, about each other, about love. Turns out they are just taking the long way home.

There were a couple of themes that struck me about this movie. I liked that no matter where the couple thought they should be, we as viewers knew that it was their being together that was the right place to be. Not a physical place, their love was home. I liked too the idea that sometimes the most difficult path to take is the one right in front of us. It can certainly be a challenge to accept where you are at, the big "this is it." But the universe has a way of bringing us around to that path no matter how far we stray away.

So we search and we search and we search for the answer, for that one right thing to appear, an angel perhaps to whisper in our ear or the stars to mysteriously align to make a message in the sky. And all the while the real miracle is that our very lives are the answer. Have a little faith.

Thanks MCL.

Love is: a product of faith

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Mother's Love

What better time to explore the idea of unconditional love than Mother's Day. It never occurred to me that my mother's love was unconditional until my first year of college. Sorry mom, bet you wished I'd have realized that one a bit earlier. That eighteenth year of life was one of intense heartbreaks and heartaches. The boy (yes b-o-y) I'd vowed to love forever had ditched me for another girl (and yes, I was a g-i-r-l too), I'd managed to fall in love with three other people, only one of which actually loved me back, so I of course promptly messed that up, too. Angst at its very best (or worst?).

Going home that year for Christmas break, I felt unlovable. But there she was, my mom, one of the only people who loved me not only in spite of all my shortcomings, but because of them. She was someone who listened endlessly to all my problems, empathized with her whole heart, and made me realize that I was indeed lovable, and loved unconditionally. The word unconditional is such a powerful word, in fact it is amazingly empowering to know that someone loves you unconditionally. So thanks mom, for loving me so effortlessly.

Love is: unconditional.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Non-Potato Chip Chip: Part II

As promised, I found a more environmentally friendly way to enjoy roasted seaweed. Instead of buying the seaweed individually packaged (per previous blog post) you can make these tasty and healthy chips yourself. And it really is a snap.

                1 package "sushi" seaweed (comes in sheets, dried but not roasted)
                sesame oil

Pre-heat oven to 400. Pour some oil onto a small plate. Place as many seaweed sheets as will fit onto a cookie sheet. Using a pastry brush gently brush both sides of the sheets with oil. You don't need much oil, just a very light coat will do. Add salt to taste on both sides, or whatever you like. Roast in the oven for about 3 minutes. Watch carefully as they will burn pretty quickly. You want them to maintain their green color, as soon as they start to discolor remove them from the oven, this in indication they are starting to burn. They will be ready to eat immediately. Simply tear them into chip sizes and enjoy. These chips will not last more than a couple days, but in the mean time store them in an airtight container with a cracker to absorb moisture.

What a great alternative to potato chips! Kids love them, too.

Friday, April 23, 2010

500 Days of Summer

!!!Spoiler Alert!!! Do not read this post if you have not seen 500 Days of Summer and want to as I'll be revealing major details about the plot and the ending.

This is not a review of the film, rather a review of how it affected me and my beliefs about love. Actually, it traumatized me so much it's taken over a week for me to sit down and write this. Don't get me wrong, the movie was quite well done, engaging, believable, and starred the lovely Zooey Deschanel whom I've been slightly obsessed with since her appearance in Almost Famous (my favorite movie of all time). I use the word traumatizing here because this film did more than just make me think, it seriously shook up my beliefs, which can feel disconcerting but is also what is so great about art (in this case film as art) and more specifically, the expression of love through art.

As a refresher, here is the story in a nutshell. Boy meets girl, boy falls hopelessly in love with girl although girl claims to not believe in love and does not want serious relationship with boy. Meanwhile, via flashbacks, we know something eventually goes horribly wrong between boy and girl, but we don't know exactly what. Love ensues. Girl suddenly breaks up with boy, boy is devastated, she is the only one for him, where did it go wrong? Boy tries to get over girl, sees her again months later and is hopeful they will get back together. Turns out girl in engaged and is now a believer in love and has met the one. Boy is crushed. Boy meets another girl, she is the one.

They had to throw us a bone with the happy ending and we're better for it because I couldn't bear this story otherwise. What most upset me was the unfairness of this love. Not because she broke up with him or because she didn't love him as much as he loved her, but because she said from the beginning she didn't believe in love. And you don't get to do that! You don't get to be fervently against love, drag someone along who clearly does believe in it, then when you meet someone else, decide well, hey I guess it's real after all. No. No! My perspective was firmly locked through the eyes of Boy.

It wasn't until after chatting with a friend about the film that it dawned on me that this story is all about perspective. Her comment was that Summer (girl) did the right thing. Did the right thing? This echoed in my mind for days until I could finally understand why she saw it that way. To her, Summer ended it when she realized it wasn't right to keep stringing him along, when she finally knew she didn't love him. Ok. Yes, this is a good point but it's still unfair. He was the one who believed in love all along, not Summer.

And mainly what's bothering me is there is a lot of Tom in me. Not the part about believing in your one true love, but experiencing that pain of loving someone so much and only getting static back in response. Love is so beautiful and wonderful and goddamn it ought to be fair too. But some people don't know how to receive that kind of powerful love, for some reason can't feel what you feel, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. It's not that certain people are meant to be together, it's that the give and take is connected between them, or in this case not. So the question remains, how is that connection made and why does it exist between some people but not with others? All I know is this: love is unfair. You just can't help who you love.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Very Healthy Non-Potato Chip Chip

Discovering Korean roasted seaweed solved my potato chip fix.

Roasted seaweed is a very popular snack for school kids here in Hawaii. It comes packed in thin layers about 3X4 inches in size, each pack contains about 10 layers, so it's a great snack size. Unfortunately, they are packed in lots of unnecessary plastic, so I'll be on the look-out for a brand that's a little more eco-friendly. The seaweed is crunchy, salty, and satisfying and seriously a lot like eating potato chips. The genius part is that one pack only has about 25 calories, less than 3 grams of fat, and contains a decent amount of vitamins A and C.

We can buy them at Costco and all the regular grocery stores here, but I'll include a link so you can buy them online if you can't find them where you're at. Be sure to check asian grocery stores, it is a Korean specialty. Click here to buy online: Korean Roasted Seaweed.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Quicky Quiche

This was my first attempt at quiche and it turned out so well I had to share the recipe. My version has a lot more extras, meaning it is much chunkier, than a typical version because I wanted to include lots of veggies to make it healthful. What's really great about quiche is you can do endless varieties, what's your version going to include?

1 store bought pie shell (refrigerated kind, unbaked)
3 eggs
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup half and half (milk will do, too)
1/4 of a yellow onion, chopped
2 salmon fillets cut into chunks (or 1 can salmon, drained)
2 cups Swiss chard, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 TBL fresh chives, chopped
1 TBL fresh Italian parsley, chopped
salt & pepper

Bake the pie shell at 450 for 9-11 minutes taking care to poke holes in the crust with a fork prior to baking. While it's baking whip the eggs in a large bowl. Add some salt and pepper then the mayo and half and half and mix well. Add all the rest of the ingredients, except half the cheese, into the bowl and stir, coating all with the egg mixture. Once pie shell is done baking, pour egg mixture in the pie shell and bake for 50 minutes at 425. Be sure to cover the exposed pie crust with some foil to prevent burning. After 50 minutes add rest of cheese to quiche and bake 5 more minutes. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes, quiche should technically be served at room temperature, but I won't tell if you eat it while it's still warm. It does need time to set up, so try to resist eating it right out of the oven.

Subs: any meat for salmon, any cheese for mozzarella, spinach or other leafy green for chard, herbs are interchangeable, dill would be nice.

Additions: tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, garlic, asparagus, peas, uh oh she's on a roll...

Combinations to try: ham & cheese, spinach, bacon & swiss, spinach & tomato, asparagus & gorgonzola, sausage & mushroom, shrimp & pesto, your idea here

Monday, March 29, 2010

Simple Simple Syrup

This cocktail saving tip came to me one night when I needed just a bit of simple syrup for one more drink.

1/2 cup water
4 TBL sugar

Put sugar and water in a coffee mug or other microwave safe cup and nuke on high for 1 minute. Stir. Sugar should be dissolved, if not microwave longer. Simple syrup is used in many different cocktails and is a life saver if you are running out of juice, tonic, or soda as you can make a pretty decent drink with one part liquor, one part simple syrup and two parts water. And I'm pretty sure that if you get to the point in the night when you are making microwave simple syrup, you won't care too much what the drink tastes like.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lychee Martini

An amazing taste combination. Great for a cocktail or dinner party as these are a snap to make.

1 part chilled vodka
1 part lychee "juice" (see explanation below)
2 lychees from a can per martini

To make one martini: place 2 lychee in a chilled martini glass. I use canned lychee because I use the "juice" from the can to mix the drink. Measure 2 shots of vodka into a shaker of ice (or just a cup of ice if you don't have a shaker). Add 2 shots of lychee "juice." Shake or stir then strain into your martini glass. That's it! To make lots of martinis simply use the measurements provided above. I was able to make 5 martinis out of one can of lychee, so plan accordingly.


Friday, March 5, 2010

She's So Granola! Granola

While strolling down the streets of NYC on a recent trip, I heard someone use this phrase as a descriptor, "she's so granola," and had to laugh. Being from Oregon, I think everyone in that state is at least a touch granola. So here is my handy granola recipe!

3 cups oats
3 cups chopped nuts (I use almonds and walnuts)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup oil (I use olive oil)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup dried cranberries

Pre-heat oven to 325. Toast oats on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent burning. In a large bowl mix nuts, cinnamon, and toasted oats. Heat oil and honey in microwave for 30 seconds and add to dry mixture. Mix well and spread on cookie sheet. Toast for another 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Return to bowl and add cranberries, mix well. Enjoy as a cereal, on yogurt, on ice cream, or...

Additions: flax seeds, coconut flakes, other dried fruits

Subs: pecans, mac nuts, raisins

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Just watched the movie Serendipity (2001, with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale) for the first time. As far as romantic comedies go I'd give it 3 stars as it has (almost) all you'd want in this genre, except of course a satisfying ending. Spoiler alert: Don't keep reading if you haven't seen the movie and want to. Don't know why I even bothered to write that since it has the mother of all predictable endings. You guessed it, they live happily ever after. So the whole premise of the story is that these two people meet, spend a magical evening together, go their separate ways and leave it for fate to decide whether they will ever meet up again.

You see, I think my problem is that on the one hand I really, really want to believe that the events of our lives are meant to be, that fate has a hand in all we do and steers us in the right direction when we begin to stray away. On the other hand, my actual faith in fate does not seem to exist. I've said things like, "it was meant to happen," often enough, but do I really believe it? The truth is that I didn't want Jonathan and Sarah to end up together in the end because it doesn't fit into my reality, into my explanation of how things work in this life. That crap just doesn't happen in real life.

Love doesn't work like that. So how does it work? You ask. Maybe when Jonathan and Sarah met, they really did fall in love, (please refer to the posting "Love at First Sight" for further opinions on this matter) but why oh why does that mean they are "meant" to be together forever? You can love someone a whole whole lot, but that doesn't mean that guy is good for you to be with.

Try and stay with me here. If fate, particularly as it pertains to love, were real than what exactly would be the point of living? If everything was mapped out ahead of time, if that was possible to do, than why do it?

Now to contradict. It is also just as impossible to believe that the events of our lives happen randomly. Could it really be by chance that ____(insert event of your life) happened? What about all those times when you KNOW you got a sign from someone, somewhere, well maybe from Fate herself.

All I've been able to establish thus far is that love does not happen by chance and also that we are not destined to love either. All I can come up with is that love must be something we can't quite understand, like God, or the afterlife, or death. So maybe love is God. Maybe love IS the unexplainable. Dare I continue in this quest to define it?

Love is: infinite, unexplainable

Sunday, February 14, 2010

How to Cook Your Life

Just watched an interesting film my mom recommended to me called How to Cook Your Life. You can download and watch it for free from Netflix. Or buy it here.

It's a documentary starring Zen priest and chef Edwards Espe Brown who translates Zen Buddhism to cooking and life. Sounds dry, I know, but he brings up some beautiful points about the making of food and it was really quite moving. My favorites parts:

- There is a Buddhist saying that goes something like this, "treat your food as if it were your eyes." And he goes on to explain this in terms of the preparation of food and the cleaning and maintaining of your kitchen tools. I challenge you all to try this, treat everything you handle in your kitchen as if it were your own eyes.

- When you cook, just cook. It is a time not for thinking about the school work you need to finish, re-hashing the day's dramas, or worrying about all the chores you have to do. A Zen master once told Chef Brown, "When you wash the rice, wash the rice. When you cut the carrots, cut the carrots. When you stir the soup, stir the soup." Cooking can be your daily meditation.

- Instead of looking at something you are cooking or growing as something you need to master or control, try and ask the food or plant, what can I do to assist you in becoming the best possible food or plant?

We are in such a hurry to eat these days. Yesterday as I was creaming the butter for a double batch of cookies by hand and cursing my not having the good fortune of a Kitchenaid mixer and really wanting to turn on the radio or TV for some distraction from the strenuousness, so I stopped. This time I was just going to cream the butter, to really feel it, experience it. And hey, it wasn't so bad. Actually, the cookies turned out to be the best I've ever made.

Cherry Chocolate Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

This is an adaptation to an oatmeal cookie recipe from Joy of Cooking. These turned out amazing! The combination of walnuts, cherries, and chocolate is magical.

Makes about 36 two inch cookies.

1/2 c butter
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBL milk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c flour
1 c oats
1 c walnuts (small pieces)
1/2 c dried cherries
1/2 - 3/4 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Cream the butter. Mix with sugar til well blended. Add egg, vanilla, and milk and mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and add to mix, combining thoroughly. Add oats, walnuts, cherries, and chocolate. I did all this with just a fork and a bowl, but feel free to use a mixer! Spoon cookies onto well greased baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-13 minutes at 350.

Additions / Subs: nearly any nut for walnuts, coconut, cranberries or raisins for cherries.

Notes: Next time I make this recipe I will add more oats (1/2 c) because I like the texture and it will lessen the sweetness. Hubs didn't think they were too sweet, so I would try the above recipe first.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Very Superstitious

I've never been superstitious, in fact I found it fun to defy superstitions just to see what would happen. Well that was before I hung out with kids with autism. The behaviors they exhibit can be unexplained, random, and downright spooky. It scares me when nothing I can see or think of has sparked a full out on the ground, screaming and hitting self tantrum. And there is very little I can do when my little guy reaches this level except keep him safe as possible. The most frustrating part is that he cannot tell me what's going on as he's basically non-verbal.

They say people with autism have heightened senses, they can hear, taste, see, and feel things typical people cannot. Which is in someways miraculous, but in other ways frightening and overstimulating. So I can only guess that these tantrums are caused by some level of over-stimulation that my senses aren't able to experience. My guesses have turned into rituals and my rituals have turned into hard and fast superstitions.

For example I do not wear perfume to school anymore because I became convinced the smell was causing self injurious behavior. Also I'm sure to bring a lunch with me and eat during the same time each day because I swear that him seeing me break this routine was a source for major tantrums a couple times.

I'm realizing as I type this that a lot of my so-called superstitions surround routines. People with autism tend to be obsessed with routines, insisting that everything, from brushing teeth to waiting in the lunch line, have a specific method. I suppose it is a way to create predictability in a world of chaos. Have I peeked through a window into this world by insisting on my own routines to prevent chaos? Maybe it's not superstition after all, just a bit of autism.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Only for Me Pasta

I make this dish whenever I'm cooking just for myself. I don't know why, but when I'm cooking just for me, it always turns out better. This recipe is a single serving, but it can easily be doubled, quadrupled, or made to whatever size you wish. As with all my recipes, this is just a base, while it is delicious as described below, have fun with additions and substitutions.

1 serving cooked pasta (usually 8 oz)
3-4 TBL olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp chili pepper flakes
1 chopped tomato
5 kalamata olives - halved
3-5 torn basil leaves OR sprig of torn Italian parsley OR both
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBL grated parmesan

Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add garlic, sautee till aromatic, about 1 or 2 minutes. Add pepper, olives, and tomato, sautee for another minute or so, until heated through. Add pasta, herbs, and salt & pepper stirring to coat pasta thoroughly. Put on a plate and add cheese, enjoy your dinner for one.

Additions: chicken, shrimp, spinach, mushrooms, onions, lemon juice, roasted red peppers...

Subs: any herbs you like for basil and parsley, feta for pamesan

Saturday, January 30, 2010


It occurred to me as I considered whether you ever stop loving people, because you break up, because they die, maybe because they are just gone from your life, that you never do stop loving them. Sure, you can get over someone, but how can all those feelings, all that love, just go away? Where would it go?

And then I realized that it doesn't go away. That we are able to continue on, to keep loving, to keep creating love for others. Our love doesn't transfer from one person to the next, it gets created anew. Therefore, we have an infinite amount of love to feel, to give.

This has changed my perspective on a whole lot of things. First of all, it made my past loves feel validated. I was always trying to justify my feelings, thinking I was so infatuated or that I didn't really know what love was at that time. And now I feel like, hey it's ok to have loved that person and no, it didn't work out, but since my ability to love is infinite, I think I'll be ok. It feels great to admit that I was really in love with those people, that my feelings were genuine.

This infinite love stuff has also allowed me to let more love into my life. And why not since love is an amazing feeling and I want as much of it as I can get. I'm not afraid to love someone, a friend, a cat, a cup of coffee, too much because even if I get hurt, I know I have more and more and more love to experience and to give. It's kinda revolutionary in my mind, no longer do I need to feel apologetic about my feelings, I just go ahead and let myself feel it. It's not like allowing yourself to love takes something away from you, in fact it's given me the ability to create even more love.

Yet still I'm caught between knowing this, having these feelings, and not knowing what to do with this information. There's a definite divide in social acceptableness here.

Take my friend "Leo." We met in college and had a great battle of a time defining our relationship because there was a part of me that loved him very deeply, but another part of me that knew he was destined for much greater things than to be my boyfriend. (I know, like there are greater things right?) So I let it go, my dream of our love. Yeah right, that's not quite how I saw things then because I faintly remember clutching to this dream like a starving, caged animal. But hindsight tells me my intuition was pretty good at restraining me from getting involved with him. He now lives very far away, and really is doing pretty great things. But the problem is I still love him. And not in the "I wish we were together," kind of way, but in the "you are such an amazing person and I love everything about you" kind of way. Now you can maybe see how I'm starting to cross the divide here. I'm married, he's in a relationship, and you just aren't supposed to love other people. And you definately can't tell them you love them. So it makes it kinda hard sometimes to have these feelings and well, just have these feelings that aren't shared. So here I am, sharing them. And maybe my husband will read this and wonder where my sanity has run off to and maybe Leo will read it and be a little creeped out, but guess what? I love him anyway, no apologies.

So here is the first word I can add to my definition of love: infinite. So far, I know that love is infinite.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Want to Say That!

Here is a list of crazy, funny, poignant, absurd, and brilliant words and phrases my 10 year old student with autism says on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Keep in mind he is barely verbal, so these phrases are about all he can say.

Happy Halloween!
Get offa me
Gimme back
Give me a hug, give me a hand
Stay back
Why do you TALK
Get back here
Run boy
Open the door, no. Open the door, no.
No, no, no
Jana wait
Scooby dooby doo, where are you?
This! (with cat walk style pose)
Who are you?
Alright, alright, alright
I'm sorry boo
Eat the bread, eat the bread
Stupid dog
Crazy cat
Excuse me, no kekaki
Waka willi kaka key
Hi sigh-o
And my personal favorite: Suck it!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mission: Revamp Biscuit Recipe

From grandma to mom to me, the original biscuit recipe was getting a little tired. Here's my version.

Makes about 10.

2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 or so grated parmesan cheese
1 TBL chopped fresh rosemary
2 TBL chopped fresh italian parsley
4 TBL chopped fresh chives
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil

Preheat oven to 350. Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl, mix with a fork. Add milk and oil, mix again until ingredients come together in a big dough ball. Sprinkle some flour on counter top and press dough flat by hand to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into rounds (I use a small water glass as a cutter). Place onto ungreased cookie sheet, bake for about 20 minutes or until barely browned on top and bottom.

Variations: herb amounts listed are never exact, if you don't have these herbs, use sage, oregano, thyme, or whatever sounds good. If you only have dried herbs, use about 1/2 the amounts listed above. Regarding oil and milk ingredients, I use olive oil and rice milk and it works just fine. Use whatever oil and "milk" you have.

Additions: garlic, green onion, sun dried tomatoes, chili flakes/powder...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Love at First Sight

I believe in love at first sight, here's why. There are plenty of good looking people in this world and you don't go around falling in love with every pretty face you see on the street. Love at first sight is when you feel something for that person, it's more than a "yeah I'd do him," reaction, it's gotta be more. We tend to write these feelings off most of the time. It's just infatuation. But infatuation is a really strong kind of love, just because it doesn't last forever doesn't mean those feelings weren't real, weren't life altering in many cases.

My definition of love at first sight is that spark, that moment of magic after you first meet someone or see them, a connection you feel and you know they do to. Simply attraction? Not when you can't stop thinking about them, when you think you see them around every corner, when you truly believe in running into them again, when logic flies out the window in a pair of ruby slippers.

And yes, of course I'm speaking from experience here. According to my definition above, it's happened to me numerous times in this life, including when I first saw my Hubs. Sitting in a college statistics class, I'd noticed him before, but he'd never looked at me. This is key because you both have to feel the connection for it to work. And then one day he sat right next to me and we looked at eachother, wow, his eyes seemed a neon blue as they met mine. "This weather is bullshit, I'm moving to Florida," he said and I was irrationally hooked. That day after class he clomped a few yards ahead of me in his big, black boots as "Today I met the man I'm gonna marry..." rang in my ears. Seriously. This is crazy right? Well this was love. The highest high and the lowest low. Just exactly how was I going to get this guy to marry me? And the rest is an even sappier love story.

But as we all know it doesn't always, well nearly never, work out in marriage or even a relationship. The fact is that the love is there, but why? Where did the love come from? Did we know eachother in a past life? Was my heart open just enough, and theirs too, to let our souls sneak out at just the right moment? When this type of love works out we say, oh well it was meant to be. But what about when it doesn't work out? Where does that love go? The other times I've experienced love at first sight were no less real than the love I felt for Hubs. So what is to be done with this information, that we can love people at first sight, that's what I want to know. I just don't have a good answer at all.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Swiss Chard and Feta Quesadillas

This is the fastest (and one of the healthiest) recipe in my repertoire. It's perfect for those nights when you just don't feel like making anything but still want something nutritious.

serves 2

1 bunch Swiss chard, torn into small pieces
4 tortillas, whatever you like
1/2 cup or so feta cheese
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
salt & pepper
few splashes Franks Red Hot sauce
1 TBL or so water

Place one tortilla in a pan over med heat. Add 1/4 of the feta on top of tortilla then 1/2 of chard. Sprinkle 1/2 of garlic, hot sauce, and salt & pepper to your liking over chard. Add another 1/4 of the cheese. Place another tortilla on top of all this. Add a small amount of water (about 1 TBL) to the pan and cover for a few minutes. The water will steam the chard. Flip the quesadilla and cook, uncovered, for another few minutes. Both sides of quesadilla should be slightly browned. Cut into 6 triangles. Repeat for 2nd serving.

Subs: spinach for chard, any cheese for feta

Add ins: mushrooms, tomatoes, cilantro, sausage or any cooked meat, salsa, corn...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A New Year

So it's a new year and I suppose another chance at getting this writing thing right. Right? So it's with a certain boldness and a Kerouacian confidence that I venture once again into the writing of a blog.

I've retired from caring for the elderly. It taught me a lot, gave me a great deal of stress, and I've since decided to not become old. Maggie, I hope the rest of your life continues toward some purpose, that of which I am obviously too ignorant to see.

This New Year's Eve was spent in New York city with a couple of my very best friends. It was so much fun my heart beat extra fast for several days after and joy seeped from every pore and folicle on my body. This phenomenon can only be explained with one word: love. Thus my revolation and resolution for this 2010 became the pursuit of the meaning of this thing we call love. Never, never have I been this crazy in love with everything around me: my friends, the books I read, the color of the sky, the songs on the radio, that lump that lays beside me each night, a cappuchino with a foam heart, old and dear emails, a random smiling face. I even love the keyboard this is typed with. And so the quest begins, whatever was ingnited in my heart in New York sometime after the clock struck twelve, I've vowed to find it, define it, make something with it.

As anyone knows who has ever been in love, it is terrible and wonderful all at the same time. I can't sleep, my mind races, I make irrational comments and subsequent blog posts, and yet the joy I feel is so great I'd trade it for nothing. So what is this? God? Insanity? I need to know in any event. So join me if you care to as I march along with the great masses who have ventured into this very same pursuit. Just what exactly is love?


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