Friday, August 13, 2010

me. . . a chef?!

dearest friends,

Most of you already know that I absolutely love to cook.  It is one of my favorite things to do, and bring me a great deal of inner joy.

I decided in my quest to find God, to start by discovering him on my plate of food.  This may seem silly, but it's the place where I find myself happiest.  

Yesterday morning, Sarah, suggested I look into taking a cooking class, since I love this fine art.  One of the Culinary Institute of America's campuses is near where I live.  So, I looked into one there.  They have classes for "food enthusiasts," which I suppose I must be.  They have "boot camp," a two to five day intensive immersion into the world of cooking.   And, they also have weekend classes.  I decided to start small.  Weekends sound nice.  I took a look at their course selection and decided on "Gourmet Meals in Minutes."  I cannot wait!!! I'm hoping to learn some valuable skills!!! They serve you lunch, you learn to cook, and I get to take home an apron and their cookbook.  yay!

Love Always,

Thursday, August 12, 2010

getting high

Darling friends,

It's so easy for me to psychoanalyze everyone else--peel away their layers like the skin of an onion, exposing who they really are.   And yes, even sometimes then I still stay.  I have to live with myself forever, and so I hesitate to analyze myself.  But, last night, I think I did a pretty good job at unraveling a really crucial layer.  

Allow me to try and walk you through this. . . 

Happiness is a fleeting moment.
Inner joy is eternal.

I do not have inner joy.
So, I seek out happiness like a cocaine addict seeks out a high-- obsessively, anxiously.  It is all consuming. 

I act impulsively, always looking for that high, to suck in that temporary happiness--breathe it in, let it overwhelm my body--knowing fully that it will leave, and I will be left sullen, panicked, waiting for the next high.  

Therefore, when any opportunity comes my way, where there is the possibility of feeling that high. . . I take it, of course.  Sometimes, it is  self-detrimental, and I end up unraveling the tangled mess of my impulsivity.  Hurting myself, and hurting others.

The problem:  I do not know how to do it any other way.  I don't know how to find "inner joy," so I can stop seeking the happiness high.  I do not know, especially, how to find God.

Maybe, he is already carrying me.

Love Always,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

it's 11:11

Dear friends,

I turn over at night, thinking, wishing, hoping, dreaming.  I toss and turn and turn and toss for hours. 11:11.  1:30.  3:30.  5:00.  The sun greets me waving its warming beams into my sheer curtains like some haunting of happiness.  

I just need a little more room to breathe.  I'm drowning, suffocating in the wild roller coaster of decisions.  I want to rip off the blinders, and be free.  Oh, freedom the little licks of you I taste on my tongue are so satisfying, so beautiful, so welcoming.  But, I choose the blinders don't I?  And then I laugh.  Oh, me.  You are so reckless.  You should wizen up--and then I don't.  Ignorance is bliss, so they say.  For a while it is, and then the daunting task of unraveling the tangled stings of a million dumb moments eats your heart out.  But, isn't it all worth it?  Sitting there detangling the strings, because sometimes they speak back.  Sometimes, maybe, it just might not be tumultuously dumb.  Or maybe it is more than just that.  More than black or white.  More than right or wrong.  But, some shade of effervescent gray.  My gray world.  

"In my big dreams I wake up lying in a patch of four leaf clovers."  ~something corporate

So, I just lay there. . . thinking, wishing, hoping, dreaming. . . wishing, wishing on a thousand universes.   And then the sun in it's warming light welcomes me--births me into the turbulent day, like a baby being welcomed into the world.  Damn you, light.  Sometimes I just want to lay there in the darkness of another night.
(photos by maria)
Good night,

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

flowers and magic and love and bliss

Darling friends,

I think I am afflicted with what some religious scholars refer to as "Slumber Party Theology."  When I think of God I think of butterflies, and love, and flowers, and happiness, and bliss, and life, and stars, and magic.  Yes, even magic.  I've never been "afraid" of God.  Am I supposed to be?  It's all over the Bible... it's all over church... the awesome fear of God.  But, do I fear God.  No.  I never have.  It's always flowers and magic and love and bliss.  

Is that why I have big dreams?  I am such a dreamer.  I want so much out of life--I want everything--so much in fact, I'd probably--realistically--have to live 10,000 lives to do everything I want to do, I want to be, I want to experience, everything I want to live, I want to love.  Oh, do I want to love, and be loved.  To feel the sun from both sides--the warmth--the heat--the fire, like a strike of lightening, blue energizing glow surrounding my soul, my body, my heart,

Is this why I'm selfish?  Probably.  Because I want.  I want.  I want.  I need.  I.  I.  I.  And for God! Ultimately in life, we act selfishly.  We do what suits our own lives.  Bless, with a thousand universes those who act out of pure selflessness.  I used to think I was selfless that I do everything for everyone else--and mostly I think I do.  But, when it's big enough, when push comes to shove I will act in my own best interest... and damn everything else!  

"It all goes away. Eventually, everything goes away."  So says Liz.  Yes, ultimately the good the bad...the long nights, the blissful days.  They end.  All of them.  Everything.  I close my fist hard around the good moments, and watch as the sweet sand slips through.  Always, always it fall through the cracks.

Today, I read:

"Nobody amongst us is shown the endgame.  Devotion is diligence without assurance.  Faith is a way of saying, 'Yes, I pre-accept the terms of the universe and I embrace in advance what I am presently incapable of understanding.  There's a reason we refer to 'leaps of faith'--because the decision to consent to any notion of divinity is a mighty jump from the rational over to the unknowable.... If faith were rational, it wouldn't be--by definition--faith.  Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch.  Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark.  If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be... a prudent insurance policy.  I just want God.  I want God inside me.  I want God to play with my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on water."  ~Eat Pray Love 

So, God... carry me.  Dance inside my bloodstream.  While I don't want to know the endgame (because what fun would that be--after all).  I want some guidance.  I want you to help me cross that threshold into the joy of life, of living, of love, of adventure, of passion, of happiness... of bliss and butterflies and flowers and love and magic. 

Love Always,

Monday, August 9, 2010

all in

Darling friends,

I have to remind myself that in terms of the relationship I have with myself--I'm all in for life.  Which is why even though this new Lifehouse song, that I love, speaks of a relationship between two people.  I see it as a relationship with myself too.   Because. . . 

There's no way I'm giving up this time.
I have to remember who I am without giving in to who I think someone wants me to be.

There's nothing left to hide, I'm falling harder than last time.  
I have to remember that even when I'm falling hard, letting my hands off the handlebars maybe really dangerous.  I have to pause. 

Even if I lose the game, I'm all in.  
I'm with myself always... when I win...when I lose.  I'm with me for life.  So, I should sure as hell love myself.

I have to remember who I am.  Pause.  I have to be careful not to lose myself again. 

Love Always,

Sunday, August 8, 2010

a lot of hot air

Dearest friends,

The alarm goes off, the sky is midnight blue the sun waiting to kiss the horizon.  Your little bitty heart beats with anticipation.  After all, you had to get up this early.  

When I was younger my family used to go to the balloon festival about an hour north of my hometown.  I haven't been in years, but it used to be one of my favorite fall activities--and one of the most exciting "getting up early" mornings!  

Yesterday, I saw about twenty hot air balloons rise into the evening sky!  They were absolutely spectacular!!  The group of people I was with were pretty awesome too!  Being ever so dangerous sitting on the railing of the road we pointed, oooo'd and awwww'd, and laughed hysterically at the character balloons--my favorite was the tuxedo one!  This reminds me that with effort, and some hot air, our dreams take flight!

Love Always,

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Dear friends,

Sarah and I went to Wegmans for lunch today.  I LOVE WEGMANS!!!! Everyone who lives near a Wegmans always talks about how amazing this store is.   I had never experienced it until visiting Sarah.  It is the best grocery store I've ever been to--and actually, it's more like a grocery experience.  The last time I went to Wegmans I "had to try their subs while I was there," Sarah said.  I did, but I didn't order their sub sauce, instead I got my sandwich with regular spicy mustard.  So, this time...I got my ham and swiss  with their Wegmans' sub sauce--it was soooooooooo amazing!!! Mouth watering amazing!!! Then, I went down their bulk candy isle like a kid and got salt water taffy!  YUM!!! 

Love Always,

Friday, August 6, 2010

cloths, albums, and bing

Darling friends,

While I was home during the week my mom exercised her amazing sewing talent.  Ever since I was a little girl I remember my mother's sewing machine as a sound of comfort.  After she had put us kiddies to bed, she would sew bibs for her business--and I would fall asleep listening to the sound of her ambition.
 Mom bought a bunch of flour cloths (I think that's what they're called), and some really adorable cupcake fabric to sew a little applique.  I watched as she carefully ironed each piece of fabric, sewed it to the cloth, and delicately added pretty bows to the folded center of each.

Last night, I got the pictures I ordered from Rachael's wedding in the mail.  I purchased a 200 photo album a week or so ago for these photos.  Before beginning my day today, I organized the pictures and then put them into the album.  I actually ran out of space--I couldn't include the "after-party," but perhpas it is better that those pictures are left out 

Today, I am back visiting my cousin Sarah at her medical town =).  We always have so much fun.  This was a very spontaneous visit, in which I decided to leave upon receiving an early morning text message from her asking to visit.  Here I am!! We had a delicious fish dinner, prepared by Sarah.  This was her first time making fish by herself--I told her as long as we didn't die, I'm sure it would be delicious--and it was, and we're still here haha!  

Time to go walk to Friendly's for ice cream.  We have a big day planned tomorrow!  Stay tuned.

                              Love Always,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

distant, but close at heart

Dear friends,

I traveled to my family the past few days mostly because my dad's cousin, Andrew was in town visiting all the way from England.  I don't ever remember meeting him before, so this was an extra special visit.  He also brought his wife, Debbie and their two children, Isabella and Max--who were absolutely the cutest things ever and their darling little English accents were so cute! 

Having distant relatives is bittersweet.  You of course, want then to be closer, but are fascinated by everything at the same time--the journey, the place they live, the currency, the government, the way the general public views American's, etc.  I loved getting to listen to all of these things.

Our get-together was at a lake, as it usually is with my family (on both sides).  I got to experience real tubing--it was a BLAST!  We went to fast!  I held on for dear life and braced myself--today, my entire body is sore.  Isabella went with me the first time, she kept wanting to go faster--the brave little soul.  Max went with me the second time, he enjoyed tubing in a more leisurely sense, which was exactly my pace too.  As we were bringing the boat to shore, Max looks over at me and says "did you have a fun time?"  With a gigantic smile on my face I answered "Yes, Oh my God, I had so much fun.  But, that first run was a little scary!"  He replies "I know!!  I could hear you screaming all the way from the front of the boat."  

Love Always,

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

cupcakes and sprinkles

Dearest friends,

I love being home.  I adore everything about it.  The smell of my parents house--inviting and welcoming.  The sight of the enormous crabapple trees symmetrically on each side of my parents house.... and the beautifully quaint village I pass through that welcomes me there.  My soul sighs I love this place as I take each bend in the road on my way there.

Yesterday, mom and I frosted cupcakes together in preparation for a dinner with my grandfather and Anne.  It was such fun girl time.  My mom makes the BEST homemade frosting, you can't help allowing each finger to take a turn sneaking a bit to lick out of the bowl =).  We took turns using her fancy icing swirl and shaking pink and orange sprinkles on top. 

Frosting cupcakes with my mom is a special treat that I cherish.  I love the close relationship we have, the stories we tell, the laughter, spreading icing on each other's faces.  It's such a joyful experience.  I also adore how excited, with child-like enthusiasm mom frosts these cupcakes--and especially the little white doily she creatively places the finished cupcake into.  What a lovely prelude to a wonderful evening with family...

Later, dad grilled shish kabobs.  We sat around and visited--catching up and relaxing.   I love being surrounded by family, like being wrapped up in the warmest blankets in the wintertime, or eating comfort food.  My family is one of my greatest blessings.

Love Always,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

home is where the heart is

Darling friends,

I'm home visiting my parents today!  My grandfather is coming up for a family celebration. When I arrived home, mom and I started making dinner.  In the eggplant, I was cutting up for the shish kabobs, there were a bunch of heart shapes made from the seeds!  This made me joyful!

Have a fabulous day!!
Love Always,

Monday, August 2, 2010

who am I? I am That.

Dearest friends,

I've been questioning myself a lot lately.  I suppose the psychoanalysis classes I took in college don't help this situation much...or maybe they do.  I've kind of been on this roller coaster of emotions as of late, extreme bouts of happiness and then sadness and then hills of happiness again... and then oh look, plunge to sadness--where you want to throw your hands up in the air and say "woooo yeah, I am ready for this plunge," and then you end up chickening out.  But, oh,  once you hit that peak and your waaayyyy up there; the plunge is inevitable.  And the worst part--you see it. 

My mom seems to think that this is because happiness is fleeting--which it is--and that it is only when you have inner joy that you are truly "happy" all of the time.  Life isn't Disney World--of course.  And I mean, I know this.  She said sometimes it's as simple as telling yourself to be joyful.  But, I've tried like I'll get this burst of happiness and run out to go and get my Starbucks venti passion fruit iced tea, and I'm so happy, and then when it's gone I'm a little sad--not like someone died sad, but sad at the moment's end.  Or maybe disappointed is the better word?

So, I've been trying to discover who I am, which seems to be part of the key to "inner joy."  Who am I?  I have apparently no friggen clue.  I mean, I think I know, but then I start wondering if that's REALLY me or if that's society's influence on who I thought I should be... or is that really just a glimmer of my friends or my family, or whatever.  And I wonder if I'm so buried in this life that the REAL me will never "stand up."  Then, I start wondering if that's why I'm so attached to my name--my full name (first and last).  In my old relationship I explained that it would be difficult for me to change my name when I get married because it's me, and I'd probably go through this period of loss--and it made me panic a little inside.  Is this feeling because my name first, middle, last is the only thing I have to identify "me."  Because that's the ONLY thing I have concretely showing "this is me, this is who I am."  Maybe.  I don't know.  And then, when I'm thinking all these things I just want to tell my mind to shut up!  Like I don't care!  

My mom says I need to talk to God, apparently another key to "inner joy."  But, I really don't know how.  You would think talking to God would come naturally for me given the familial household in which I grew up.  Nope.  Aside from praying, usually selfishly, I really don't know what I'm doing.  So, I think tomorrow morning I'm going to meditate using a mantra.  Ham-sa.  Which in Sanskrit means "I am That."  Apparently, according to Liz  "Ham-sa is the most natural mantra, the one we are all given by God before birth.  It is the sound of our own breath....  As long as we live, every time we breathe in or out, we are repeating this mantra.  I am That.  I am with God.  I am an expression of God, I am not separate, I am not alone, I am not this limited illusion of an individual.  Meditate on whatever causes a revolution in your mind." 

Tomorrow, I go to war--with my mind.
Love Always, 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

laura comes to visit

Dearest friends,

One of my favorite things ever to do is host!  I love it when people come to my house to visit.  And this weekend, I got to do just that!!

On Thursday, one of my best friends from high school, Laura, text messaged me asking what I was doing this weekend.  "Not too much," was my response.  I was thinking maybe I'd read or write for a bit and that's all I had planned so far.  She wanted to know if I wanted company from Saturday to Sunday!  YES!  

So, Saturday around 3:10 I got the call from Laura telling me she had arrived!!! YAY!!!  We had such a lovely visit!  I haven't seen her in so long, so it was a much needed "catch-up" time.  We went immediately to an early dinner at Double O Grill, which is an amazing restaurant in my area.  It's so delicious.  I always get the bbq ranch chicken salad!  I don't even look at the menu anymore.  When we came back, we chatted and chatted about boys (haha of course), relationships and her wedding planning, friends, and family, and our upcoming reunion visit at the end of August.  Then, we decided to play two rounds of the game of Life, one of my favorites, and watched the movie "License to Wed."  

Chino and Mr. Darcy had so much fun snuggling!  Laura said they must know she needed "dog cuddle time."

This morning, we went to the best bagel shop in town, where they make their own homemade bagels!  Then, she continued on her way to visit her family, and I took Chino and Darcy for a walk on the bridge and home for a nice (not for them) bath! 

What a great weekend!!!

Love Always,