Saturday, July 31, 2010

the excess noises of a nice day

Dearest Friends,

I'd like to start by saying that the person who's apartment is up against my kitchen wall has been blaring video games since early this morning, apparently they have nothing better to do with this gorgeous day.  It makes it very difficult to peacefully post.  I can hear the surround sound of their games OVER my computer music.  So, I had to shut off my music because it was just too much noise.  It's giving me a headache!  

It's an absolutely beautiful day!!!  It boggles my mind how some people would rather spend it inside shooting at fake cartoon people on their television screen.  And the sound, oh, the sound!!! I can feel the vibrations of the base in my skull.  I absolutely cannot take it.  I have been super close to exiting my unit walking to the front of my building and knocking on these peoples door.  But, what good would that do? Except probably piss them off, and incite them to blare the noise louder.  It's soooooooooooo obnoxious.  

And now, someone is revving their motorcycle.  Seriously!?!?!?  WTF!!!

But, today, is a GREAT day because in almost exactly 1/2 an hour one of my best best best friends from high school is coming over!! I haven't see her in what seems like FOREVER!!!  She got engaged this past winter, and I have yet to see the ring.  I cannot wait to see her!  We are going to have a blast, I will post about our visit tomorrow!!  

Have a gorgeous day and try to tune out the excess noises!

Love Always,

Friday, July 30, 2010

five years later

Dearest Brandon,

I didn't think I would be able to bring myself to write this post; I thought it would be too difficult, but I'm figuring as it is almost the end of July it is either now or never.  I'm sorry it took me so long.  

I cannot believe it was five years on July 10th, five years since the glass of invincibility I had lived my life under came shattering down.  Five years since I was given the heartbreaking news that you had been in a fatal car accident.  

We had a tumultuous relationship, you and I--one that was obviously not meant to be--full of drama, sorrow, extreme bliss, but one that also collapsed friendships.  The friendship between you and my sister is one that haunts her because she never was able to make peace with you.  I know though that you hear her.  

...because I know you hear me.   You know I struggle with death, and after-life, and all that comes to be--and you know it frightens me, but you help me.  The night you died I felt your presence in my bedroom, it was so strong, your presence there.  I knew, if I opened my eyes I would see you, but I was too afraid.  I squeezed them shut, and waited for your presence to pass because I was scared.  I recall how obvious the difference was to me--you being there and then you being gone.  How I've wanted many times over to go back to that moment and get one last glimpse of your dazzling face, and mostly the chance to say goodbye.  Perhaps, that is why you try and try again to reach me in my dreams.

I remember telling you once that my grandmother scares me when she visits me in dreams because she just appears.  And I know she's not supposed to really be there because she is not alive.  Is that why you call me before you come into my dreams?  So that I wont be frightened?  Thank you!  I love when you visit.  It's been a long time!  Come back soon!  The first time you visited my dreams, you called me to "warn me" you were coming.  Then, sat down to tell me you were alive and well... this gives me hope that we are alive in death--as paradoxical as that may seem.  

I'm writing this because it has been five years, and I want you to know that I think of you still... often.  Sometimes I feel your presence in my car, or I pass by the smell of your cologne and my pheromones go crazy.  I try to be still at these moments, and ever so quiet--listening, if only I could hear you.  On the 4th I drove up rt 30A... a place I had not been in a long, long time.  The wreath I made you is the only marker still left, hanging from the tree almost camouflaged into it--all the color gone from the flowers, and our pictures and notes disintegrated.  I'm glad I took a picture of the notes, so the memories linger long after they have been carried off by the wind. I looked at the wreath, marveled that it was still there, and promised to make you a new one.  Then, I prayed, silently--allowing myself to be overcome with emotion at this place where you took your last natural breath in life.  I allowed myself to be overcome with the love so many people once and still feel for you.

Be at peace my dear Brandon.
I love you always,

Thursday, July 29, 2010

a dash of baking and a bit of cleaning

Darling friends,

When I look to be good and productive I usually do some combination of baking and cleaning. Today, was no exception.   Usually these days happen when I wake up extraordinarily late and feel bad that I wasted a good chunk of the morning.  Today, I woke up at 10:20, to a text asking me if I was awake yet.  I rolled over, and sighed a long-deep breath, not wanting to get out of bed, but at the same moment feeling disgusting that I was still lingering beneath the sheets at such a late hour.  Well, I got home from work late last night, I tell myself to make it better.  And then hop out of bed.

I scurried over to the gym for a workout.  On my way home I needed to stop at the grocery store as I used the last little drop of coffee creamer this morning.  The grocery store is always a place where I spend too much time and money coming up with crazy kitchen baking/cooking ideas.  I was inspired today though!  I got everything I needed for my homemade MY OWN banana bread recipe!!! I rushed home eager to start the baking process!! 

Then realized I forgot the butter. . . and rushed back to the store. . . and back home again!  I love when that happens!  

Connie's Homemade Banana Bread Recipe (all my own)
Ingredients (makes 2)
*1 cup butter (smart balance)
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
*1/4 cup (or less) regular sugar
*4 eggs 
*2 cups buttermilk
*4 1/2 cups flour
*2 tsps baking powder
*8 mashed bananas
*1 tsp nutmeg
*cinnamon to taste (probably like a little less than an 1/8 of a cup)
*1 tbs almond extract
*2 1/2 tsps baking soda

Directions:  Cream shortening and sugars.  Add eggs and stir.  Stir in buttermilk and baking soda.  Stir in almond extract.  Add cinnamon and nutmeg and stir.  Add bananas and stir.  Add flour and baking powder.  Stir.  Pour into bread pans and bake for 60-70 mins (depending on pan size) at 375 degrees!!! ENJOY!!! 

While my bread was in the oven I cleaned out the refrigerator which was a sad, sad mess before I got to it!!!  Look how clean it is now!!! YAY!!! I feel so productive!

Have a productive evening, but make time to relax.
Love Always,

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

a letter to uganda

Dear friends,

Often in life we do things that help others: opening a door, smiling at someone, giving someone a hand with something, having a positive attitude in a bad situation (which happens to be my favorite).  Just as often we do things without ever knowing the impact of our actions--even sometimes the tiniest of acts can have the largest of impacts.  This is why it is with the utmost importance that we go through our days with joy at helping others through their life journey.  

One thing that I love participating in is child sponsorship through World Vision.
I sponsor four girls from all over the world:  Marcela from Chile, Riselda from Albania, Maria from Brazil and my latest sponsorship is Sawiya from Uganda.  

One of the greatest things about Sawiya is that Uganda allows packages, none of my other girls are able to receive anything larger than an envelope.  In the six years I've sponsored, I have only been able to write letters and put a sleeve of stickers or two in with my notes.  Sawiya is the first one I have been able to mail items to.  The day I sponsored her, which was the weekend before my sister's wedding, I drove to Target and bought a whole bunch of cute little girlie things to send her way.  I was overjoyed at buying these things for her, it boosted my spirits.  

In the box I placed:  two shirts, the one pictured here, and a yellow t-shirt with sequence on the shoulders, the hot pink skirt, a plaid dress, slippers, orange and pink flower bracelet, a package of underwear, two sets of flower stickers and a letter introducing myself to Sawiya as her sister in this life.

I finally was able to mail this package to Sawiya as well as a letter to Marcela (my first sponsor child) today!  I wish I could see her face when she opens them!  I hope it is "drenched with luminescence."  

Love Always,

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Darling friends,

I love how wonderful Eat Pray Love is.  There is something in nearly every "bead" that I want to share because her thought-provoking writing wanders my thoughts.

In her 39th bead Liz describes this Indian boy she meets at the Ashram where she studies.  She goes onto explain how he captured her attention and that she struggled to figure out what was so special about him.  She writes:  "Why was I so moved every time I saw his face--a face so drenched with luminescence it looked like he'd just come back from a long vacation in the Milky Way?  I finally asked another Indian teenager who he was.  She replied matter-of-factly: 'This is the son of one of the local shopkeepers.  His family is very poor.  The Guru invited him to say here.  When he plays the drums, you can hear God's voice.'"

"He who's face gives no light shall never become a star."  This passage reminded me of this very special quote that I love.  Having a face that gives off light, that is luminescent is very important... it draws people to you.  Light of any kind tends to attract, in general.  I started thinking about all of the experiences I've had where people have attracted me because of the light they give off, or have made me incandescently happy like an overdoes of endorphins--all because of this light.

...then I started thinking about my sister's wedding.  Part of the magic, and the effervescence that was contagious was the luminescence in her face.  She was on vacation in the Milky Way that day--and took us all with her.  

Be a light,

Monday, July 26, 2010

desire is the design flaw

Dear friends,

I started India last night.  This is the second third of Eat Pray Love.  I am in love with this section because already it has got me thinking.  

In her 38th bead Liz talks about Yoga.  I've only ever participated in Yoga once.  I was in middle school, clearly much too young to appreciate the value of this ancient practice.  It was my favorite choice in gym class for two reasons:  first, it allowed me to get out of playing basketball (which I hated most), and "all we had to do" was stretch and lay on the floor in the dark listening to classical music.  Obviously the meditative part of this was lost on me--or never explained because our culture fears and forbids conversation of anything deemed religious--especially in school.  So, instead of clearing my mind and finding my balance I lay on the floor thinking about whatever boy I currently was crushing on, a chronic condition of my life.

I still don't know anything about meditation over ten years later.  When I have tried I fall asleep or boredom kicks in--perhaps, I don't know how to do it, how to clear my head of toxic thoughts and let the universe rush in.

Liz explains Yoga,which comes from the root word yuj meaning "to yoke," to attach yourself to a task at hand with ox-like discipline. "And the task in yoga is to find union--between mind and body, between the individual and God, between our thoughts and the source of our thoughts... It is a dedicated effort to haul your attention away from your endless brooding over the past and your nonstop worrying over the future so that you can seek, instead, a place of eternal presence from which you may regard yourself and your surroundings with poise."  Oh, to be able to do this.  Sometimes, I think I am, or wonder if I'm just "faking" living in the present.  And I do this so very well.  I think I fake it so well that I trick my mind into a state of transcendent bliss.  This doesn't always last because I inevitably go back to dwelling over past events or worrying over future plans.  How do I live in a perpetual state of "now?"  

She also says that we need to try to disentangle the built-in glitches of the human condition, which "I'm going to over-simply define here as the heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment."  Liz's psychologist friend describes it as "desire is the design flaw."  I thought about this, and yes, none of us are happy/content all of the time.  In fact, most of us are probably content less than half of the day--though I personally strive for more than that.  Is desire really to blame for this?  Desire does certainly complicate things.  I desire so many things in life, and perhaps the realistic fact that I wont obtain all that I want would cause me to be unsatisfied or unfulfilled?  But, as we grow up our desires change.  Desire is one of the supreme factors that motivate us to do awesome things in life, to pursue seemingly impossible dreams.  We cannot live without desire.  We wouldn't be human without desire.  Even a shadow of desire moves us.  Changes us.  Leads us.  Maybe, we sacrifice a perpetual state of happiness for the ability to desire.  

Dream always, desire always, love always,

Sunday, July 25, 2010

a little bing of organization!!!

Dearest Friends,

Allow me to begin by saying that I had the most fabulous time visiting my cousin, Sarah in the town where she attends her medical rotations.

After our Wegman's visit, Sarah and I decided to listen to music and dance around her apartment for awhile while she (I was already in the only outfit I brought) got ready to go out for dinner.  We ended up going to this authentic Italian restaurant that made their own homemade everything including the pasta!!! It was delicious.  

On our way home, we had to drive through areas of town that were not very nice looking.  One of Sarah's medical peers says "and this would be the interesting part of town," as though part of a tour all of our heads turn to look outside the windows of Sarah's minivan to marvel at the dilapidated buildings around us.  Not five seconds after this revelation I hear the door locks click down, and we all burst into laughter.  This was one of the funniest parts of the night, for me.   

Needless to say, we did not have ice cream for dinner like I had recommended! lol

One of the things Sarah and I always do when we are together is run errands.  I got a dry-erase calendar to hang in my kitchen and I bought dry-erase markers to compliment this purchase!!! I was so excited to change colors and decorate my new board.  My old calendar I made on snapfish in December, and needed to go.  I needed a fresh calendar to compliment my new outlook on myself and on my life.  This was the perfect solution!!

One of my favorite things about this visit was watching Family Guy Star Wars--because Star Wars is my absolute FAVORITE movie EVER!!! And chatting it up with all the med students and residents.  

This weekend, I learned that I am a huge nerd, and I love that about myself.

Love Always,

Saturday, July 24, 2010

some bing bling

Dearest friends,

I woke up early this morning to the loud, obnoxious revving of my neighbor's motorcycle.  Having had to endure this horrific sound many Saturday mornings past, I will never own one of these!!!!  Sorry to all of you men out there who like cycles and want to marry me ;)

Last night, I was on skype (awesome program) with my cousin, Sarah who is a medical student a couple hours west of me.  We were talking about our plans for the weekend, and I decided that if I felt like it the next morning I would drive to visit her.  Well, after waking up to the motorcycle, I drove to the gym that was randomly closed at 9:00 a.m. (they are supposed to be open at 7?!?) and decided this was a sign that I was destined to visit Sarah today.  I drove home to shower and leave for her town.  I arrived two and 1/2 hours later as Sarah came in from her intense run up the long hill.

SARAH WOULD LIKE ME TO ADD: "I look like I'm going to die [in the pictures].  There is still make up under my eyes because I was sweating." (she laughs hysterically in little bursts) "Oh my God my laugh," she says and then I run to the sink to spit out my diet Coke because I almost choke... this is as she's telling me to write this addition.  

I am blogging from her adorable living room that I've only ever seen in the background of her skype screen!  But, because of beautiful technology I feel as though I've been here before.  

Since arriving here, I ventured into Wegmans and was able to experience the AMAZINGNESS that is this place!!! No wonder all of my friends who went to college out here miss Wegmans.  It is truly marketing genius.  Sarah and I grocery shopped and then sat in their dining (yes, dining) area to eat lunch.  And their sandwiches are soooooo delicious! I recommended we have ice cream for dinner, so perhaps we will be doing that!  =)  

I plan to be back in my town by 11:30 p.m.  We shall see . . . 

Enjoy the day, xo
Love Always,

Friday, July 23, 2010

passion fruit with a side of good life

Darling friends,

Last night, after my delicious dinner I was elated.  And, like One Republic sings "when you're happy like a fool let it take you over."  It was a beautiful night--the perfect state of warmness.  I threw on my new red sweatshirt from Gilly Hicks, jumped in my car, and raced to find an open Starbucks.  I was unsuccessful.  But, on this journey of happy joy riding I ended up behind a group of people in their Jeep, with the top down of course.  They had their hands in the air, clapping, and singing!  Joy rushed through me.  Oh life, you are good!  

The Starbucks across from Barnes and Nobel (a good fifteen minutes from my house) was closed at (9:00, it was 10:37).  How could it possibly be closed so early, I thought.  And then in a state of complete irrationality I drove the fifteen minutes down the road to the other one in my area .  It too was closed.  On my way to the second Starbucks, I was again behind a beautiful reminder of life.  The car in front of me had a bumper sticker that said "remember who you wanted to be."  This, naturally, got me thinking.

hmmm. . . who did I want to be?  Ballerina.  Atmospheric Scientist.  Actress.  Astrophysicist.  Film Editor.   Housewife. Teacher.  Writer.  I think always a writer.   The rest, they were like distant beats in vacant chambers of my soul tempting me to remember.  Pick me.  Remember?  You wanted me once.  A long, and not so long time ago.  But, now. . . now, I want to be everything--which is perhaps why I am a writer.

So here I am, today, in the early evening (when I knew it would be open for sure) sitting at a wooden Starbucks table, sipping a venti iced passion fruit tea, and writing.  I am freezing because the air conditioning in here is ridiculous.  Though, I am enjoying every minute of it.  

Today, I remembered that first and foremost I am a writer.

Love Always, 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

eat; mangia; come!!!

My dearest guests, 

Welcome to the eat portion of Eat Pray Love.  And welcome to my kitchen.  Tonight, you will be experiencing long grain wild rice with eastern spices, and zucchini, onion, summer squash and tofu pan fried with soy sauce and sesame seeds served by our amazing head chef. All of this will be complimented with "Team" Jacob's Creek Cabernet Sauvignon courtesy of my brother-in-law (thank you, <3 you), who added the "team" into the name of this delicioso wine seeing as I have been converted since the movies!! The vino will be served in my Tiffany and Co. glasses that I feel like a million dollars drinking from =), but really in all honesty weren't very expensive.  How I came upon these glasses is a long and semi-funny story for another time.

So, here I am with this amazing meal, which I normally do not cook for myself, but I feel as though I am cooking for all of you too.  So, I was inspired to cook tonight.  For me.  For you.  Mangia!  

I've been thinking about the notion of having a relationship with your food.  After all, cooking is passion.  Food is a very important part of your life.   It is nourishing the temple of your body with vitamins, anti-oxidants, iron, etc.  But, food is also allowing your lips and tongue the utmost pleasure of tastes, and spices, and memories--all packaged into one succulent bite.  In the perfect combination of sweet and salty your food can be divine ecstasy--it can increase your awareness, your emotions, your desire.  

And so my dearest friends . . . Tonight, I had a relationship with my dinner!!  

While I was eating. . . oatmeal chocolate walnut cookies were baking in the oven!! Courtesy of my mother's semi-homemade recipe--where one step in the directions is literally to take three fist-fulls of oatmeal haha!  Who needs measuring cups anyway!!!

Can I even tell you how much I love the words for eat.  Not so much the American word, it sounds kind of rough.  But, mangia... I think I love this word because it was often said to me as a child in the presence of the old Italian cooks in my family.  I espeically love the Spanish word for eat, which is "come."  You pronounce all of the letters, of course, so it actually sounds like co-m-A.  But, I love that in English you would pronounce this come, like come here, come and eat with me!!! 

come and eat and mangia!

Alla Salute,