Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Is It Pizza That You Like?

My 1st Homemade Pizza!
Driving home from work I was wondering what to eat for dinner when I remembered I had a pack of pepperonis in the fridge.  And what better to do with pepperoni than make a tasty homemade pizza?!  Keep in mind I've never ever made homemade pizza so I was going out on a limb with that idea.  But, I searched some recipes and behold my creation:

Wheat crust (from scratch), homemade sauce, mozzarella & pepperonis
The sauce!  Tomato sauce & paste, oregano, fresh garlic, salt & pepper.  

In order to make it a well-rounded meal I needed some kind of veggie side dish.  Instead of a leafy salad, I decided to buy coleslaw mix and a cucumber to create a salad, dressed in olive oil, organic apple cider vinegar and pepper.

Then I finished dinner with a bowl of Breyer's all natural Neapolitan ice cream before settling in for some reality TV.

Sweet pizza dreams,

Monday, May 30, 2011

How Much to Buy a Green Thumb?

I know nothing about gardening, planting, growing anything - aside from the fact that I know dirt must be involved.  I know so little, in fact, that today I asked my mom if I could use the minuscule amount potting soil (for indoor plants) that I have to plant my new perennials in front of my house.  Her stifled laughter before calmly responding, "no sweetie," was her way of subtly hinting that I really was as clueless as I had suspected. 

After employing mom's help in picking the right kind of plants (perennials) for the right light (partial sun) and the right compost (or whatever it's called)...I now have this:

It's hard to actually see what they are since they're so small now, but if all goes well and I manage not to kill them - they should eventually look like:
Hostas with their flowers bloomed
Saxifraga Touran
Let's hope the combo of the two blend nicely and I can keep them alive so they have time to blossom and grow out.

Praying for a greener thumb,

Saturday, May 21, 2011

To Write Love on Her Arms

*In the spirit of honesty, I'd like to disclose that the title of this blog was stolen from a non-profit dedicated to shining light in a world that is all too often dark.* 

The genius of that title actually comes from a story of a woman, who during her struggle with drug addiction, depression and self-loathing, etched "fuck up" on her arm with a razor.  In attending a suicide prevention conference yesterday, I had the privilege of hearing the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms tell her story.  The thing that stuck with me the most about the story he told is that when she wrote "fuck up" on her arm, it was about identity.  So to write love on her arms, literally or figuratively, would mean that her heart had stopped identifying her as a fuck up and had started to love her.  Love of self would be born into her new identity. 

I think the reason that particular revelation resonated so deeply in my soul is that I am still on that journey from fuck up to love.  I've slowly made my way down the path and "fuck up" is distant from where I currently stand.  I'm much closer to "love" and it's definitely within my reach.  And while the path isn't perfect, I've made a promise to myself to continue stumbling, walking, running, crawling, whatever I have to do, toward "love."

When I was younger, I was always trying to please everyone around me and had never stopped to actually think about what I wanted, who I was, what I believed in, what I liked or didn't like.   I wanted liposuction because I thought my legs were too fat.  I hated my lips because they used to inspire my peers to ridicule me.  I was afraid to think for myself because someone had told me I was stupid.  Yet, where I stand today is a place of confidence.  It's a place where I can look at the magazine cover girls and want to eat an extra meal in their honor.  It's a place where I look at my lips and smile smugly because I didn't indebt myself to a plastic surgeon for them.  It's a place where I'm less afraid to say what I feel and why I feel it.  It's a place where I'm not just able to say what's on my mind, but I'm less apologetic for it.  It's a place where I know the things I like, will sometimes try things I think I don't, and will openly proclaim the things I  disdain.  It's a place where I'm learning more about myself and writing love on my arm each day; a place where I'm trusting God to continue leading my way.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Lesson in Humility

Life is messy; we all know that.  And, sometimes we get so caught up in that we forget the that we really aren't that important.  We forget one of the great commandments, "love your neighbor as yourself."  We forget that we aren't better than anyone else even though deep down we know that to think otherwise is absolutely foolish!  God has a way of humbling us, though.  Last weekend, I received my lesson in humility. 

See, I have repeated many a diatribe against my neighbor; criticizing her shitty parking habits and judging the lack of sanitation in the yard where her dogs would either be lying or barking incessantly.  And yet, she's never returned the fucked up attitude.  Last Saturday, she stopped me as I was headed to the hospital to see my grandma.  At first I was mildly annoyed because my mind was not up for chit-chat.  It turned out she just wanted to let me know she'd thought she'd heard someone in one of our back yards a few nights before.  She was merely being neighborly.  Then, as she told me she was about to lose her 2nd dog to cancer, my heart was instantly softened.  I had to hold back my tears when I looked at her suddenly skinny dog over the fence looking up at her with such sad eyes. 

I realized that day that God was talking to me...He was showing me that it isn't just His grace and mercy I should be seeking.  I realized that she had shown me grace.  She had never returned the judgment and contempt, which I so often displayed - even if only within the confines of my house. 

She put her dog down yesterday and my heart goes out to her.  I know that pets are family; you love them and get attached to them.  And, ironically, I miss his bark...

Humbly yours,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Unicorns & Glitter!

If you've seen a Progressive commercial lately, you know that some things just go together.  So, when my friend thought I should write about courage OR patience, I thought, "why not both?"  Now, they don't necessarily have to go together, but they can often work together at different times in our lives. 

So let's begin to uncover the meaning of these words that are often thrown around as meaningless buzzwords when advice is offered in our times of need.

"The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear."
"To act in accordance with one's beliefs, especially in spite of criticism." 

I disagree with the first definition in that courage doesn't mean we are fearless; it means we proceed in spite of our fears because we believe in what we're doing.  On thinkexist.com, there are a total of 238 quotes when you click on the topic of courage.  The one I felt most drawn to was this one:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

I think that quote really speaks to the fact that courage isn't about successfully accomplishing anything; rather, it's about daring to try and involving your whole being in the process - even if you know failure is possible.  

"The quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like."
"An ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay."

Personally, I like the 2nd definition better because it reflects the conscientious decision a person has to make in order to achieve patience.  It's something that has to be deliberate and requires discipline.  Again, thinkexist.com has many quotes on the topic - 89 to be exact.  There were actually two quotes that really spoke to me and what I believe patience to be based on how it's defined.  

“Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow - that is patience.”

“Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength."

Do you see how courage can work with patience and vice versa?  If I'm willing to go for something I believe in and it requires courage for me to do so, you can probably bet it will take patience, too, because I may not always reach my end goal as quickly or painlessly as I hope to.  Or, when I'm patiently waiting and nothing happens, maybe it's because I haven't activated my courage to change the situation.  Being complacent in life doesn't require courage or patience - it's baring your soul, displaying your vulnerabilities and jumping full force into life that does.  

Where in your life can you use a little more of either of these?  What are some other virtues or concepts that "go" together in your life?  Let me know because I'd like to explore more topics!   

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Torta de Limon Anyone?

Do you ever suddenly crave the acidic tartness that is a lemon?  Is it any surprise that I do?  Sometimes that sour bastard needs a sweet companion to tame it's ass, though.  That's probably why lemonade was invented, but I one upped the lemonade by bringing to life my very first lemon cake.  It wasn't as moist as I had hoped.  In fact, my batter came out more like cookie dough than runny cake mix, but hey - that's what happens when you mix one website's recipe and another's high altitude baking instructions with a mediocre baker [hint: me].  Maybe it wasn't perfect, but those who were brave enough to partake in my concoction were polite enough to tell me it tasted good.  I enjoyed it too, provided there was a giant glass of milk to help it through my digestive tract.  Below are some cake shots for you to feast your eyes upon.
Ignore the broken pieces, it hadn't cooled when I took it off the cake pan thingy.

What a Girl Likes (& often needs)

Dear Ella Rachella McFriendy,

Today, my Facebook stat was laden with self-pity because it was such a gorgeous day and I wanted someone to spend it with.  You, my friend, delivered!  I've been blessed with a friend, confidant and fabulous sidekick.  I think the retail and gelato therapy we indulged in today was just what I needed. 

I'll definitely be seeing you again, mr. deep dark berry gelato...
Now as my aging, aching body lays on the couch exhausted, I can fondly remember the day and the beautiful friendship, clothes and taste bud orgasms it brought me.

Sincerely spent (cash & energy-wise),

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lasik Success!

I can see!!!  You don't even understand how excited I become when I can read the fine print on a Chantix commercial!  While my eyes are still healing and I've got a constant rotation of eye drops circulating through my eyes, I'm so grateful that I went through with getting Lasik!  I would recommend it to anyone that's been verified as a good candidate. 

P.S.  I got my first REAL pair of sunglasses today; a pair of Kate Spade's and I loooove them!  I'm thrilled at the thought of future sunglass shopping opportunities.

No longer vision challenged,