Monday, December 31, 2007

What a Difference a Year Makes

Wow. I'm sitting here getting ready to go to my friend's annual New Year's Eve party. So different from how things were last year. I was in so much pain at the end of last year. Life was tough and I felt so lost and untethered. And so alone.

And then I started "The Purpose Driven Life" and things began to change. I began to realize that my life really was not about me and my desires. And as long as I made it about me I would never be fulfilled or at peace. These days I breathe easier; I smile more easily and sometimes the smile is even genuine. (0: I love better, I forgive better. I allow myself to be forgiven. My whole life has changed. In one year. So, yeah, what a difference a year makes.

To those I know and love and to those I don't know...I hope that your new year is better than your last. I pray that you'll have peace and joy and find your place in the world. And I pray that your dreams come true.

Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Some Cheese with that Whine???

Two days after Christmas and I have lost my voice. AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

I'm trying to get work done before the end of this year and this happens! It's not fair!

What if I have something particularly wise or brilliant to say? What if I come up with the answer to the question of life or the best joke ever?

So now not only do I get to feel like crap, I can't even complain about it!

It's not faaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tastebud Boggling Strawberries n' Shortcake

Not to outdo myself, but being sick on Christmas means that I missed Christmas dessert. )0: I had gone to the trouble of spending $5.00 on out of season strawberries so that I could make strawberry shortcake.

Anyway, I decided to make it tonight. I developed a tasty little recipe for macerated berries (taste tested by an expert who is not me) that makes an incredible sauce that I pour over buttermilk biscuits and Haagen Daz Vanilla ice cream and top with extra creamy whipped cream. Not exactly what one would call low-fat, but definitely delectable.

Macerated Strawberries...

1 cup halved strawberries
2-3 tbsp salted butter
1 tsp white granulated sugar
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon juice

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan on low
Throw in the halved strawberries
Add sugars, cinnamon and lemon juice
Stir and let strawberries break down and create sauce (about 3 minutes)
Turn off the saucepan and throw in the last tbsp of butter
Let sauce sit for 2 - 3 minutes

...'n Shortcake

Serve over buttermilk biscuits and ice cream and top with whipped cream

My So Awesome Pasta e Fagioli

Since this blog is supposed to be all about me me me, I thought I would share how incredibly talented I am. I mean I can cook, bake, braise, glaze, roast, toast...I think you get the idea.

Anyway, I made this amazing Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Pasta & Bean Soup) for lunch today (I'm sick and I am so tired of chicken noodle soup that I could just scream). I got the recipe off of the internet awhile back and tweaked it a bit. So I just thought I'd share it.

Bon Appetit!

Pasta e Fagioli

1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
3 large carrots, julienned (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce can cannelloni beans (with liquid)
1 15-ounce can navy beans (with liquid)
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 pound (1/2 pkg.) ditali pasta

1. Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat.
2. Add onion, carrots and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes.
3. Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour.
4. About 50 minutes into simmer time, cook the pasta in 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of boiling water over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or just until pasta is al dente, or slightly tough. Drain.
5. Add the pasta to the large pot of soup. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and serve.

If you'd like, top with freshly shaved parmesan cheese or throw in some croutons for variety.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

In keeping with tradition, I spent Christmas at home with Rocky (my 70lb boxer/hound mix), sick as a proverbial dog. I actually look forward to spending the holiday by myself, but somehow I do always manage to get sick. This year was no exception. I feel like crap. No, let me rephrase that. I started off feeling like crap. At this point I feel like an entire pile of crap. My entire body aches, I can barely talk, and my throat has been killing me for four days!

Nevertheless, I enjoyed my holiday. And now I've added a new tradition to my holiday. I rented "Transformers, the Movie" from Pay-Per-View tonight (um, probably the best movie EVER made). And I will watch it and then, hopefully, go to sleep.

All in all, not a bad weekend.

Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Story of Me

Today's Soundtrack: Karate - Unsolved
Today's Mood: Content, at Peace & Exhausted

I am finally, once again, completely happy and content all by myself. I have always been a loner. For people who only know me superficially that might be hard to believe. I'm surprisingly extroverted to be an introvert. The thing is, my extroversion is primarily a "put on" to make others feel comfortable. I have always been happiest all by myself, sitting in a corner reading a great book. Or visiting a museum. Or going to the movies. I have always enjoyed my own company. I probably developed this love of my own company as a defense mechanism against letting other people close. As long as I was content with my own company I didn't need anyone else. I was happy to be alone. I cherished my aloneness. And never let anyone close.

Then, about 3 years ago I became friends with these extremely intrusive and bossy people (they're actually anything but intrusive and maybe only a little bossy), who somehow pushed past my perfectly built barriers and somehow wound up very close to my heart. Over time I became accustomed to their presence, to the extent that my own company ceased to be enough anymore. While I was still happy to find myself alone on some occasions, I much preferred the company of one or the other of my friends. My aloneness was no longer enough.

Some time later, due to horrible and painful circumstances which I fully believe now to have been necessary for my growth as a person, I lost both of those friends. One to physical distance and one to emotional distance. It was terribly difficult, day to day, knowing that I was all the company I would have tomorrow (truthfully, I wasn't completely alone; who can ever be completely alone on this overpopulated planet?). But the people who truly got me, understood me, and accepted me, were no longer there. I was back on my own. I missed them terribly. And all of the joy I used to find in my own company was like bitter fruit in my mouth. My aloneness was now lonliness. My solitude was solemnity herself.

They say that it's always darkest before dawn. There were some very dark days. Very very dark days. This new circumstance in which I found myself, wanting people around whom I was not able to have there, forced me to deal with some things in my life which I had been avoiding for a good long time. And this time, rather than turn and run (a skill which I had perfected to an art form), I chose to face the lonliness and forgive some old wounds and in the end forgive myself. The forgiveness was like a strong wind pushing storm clouds away. The light began to shine through for me again. I started to find joy in my own company again. Little by little the missing of my friends grew less painful, and I could laugh out loud again at memories of things we'd done or conversations we had had. Thoughts of them were no longer a bruise on my heart which I had to avoid touching lest I recoil in pain. And eventually, we became friends again.

There's more to the story, and perhaps one day I'll share. But for now, suffice it to say, that as much as I love my friends, I am perfectly happy and content once again.

In my own company.