Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday: What Do You Wish For Fall?

It feels so good to get back into a routine and back on the Wishcasting Circuit. My focus has been all about getting a good grip on transitioning from summer into fall. My job goes back inside, I am back working in the schools, I work a little later which means my mornings are consistently open, which I absolutely love, especially living in the Northwest where you gotta get the sunshine when you can get it. With all that said, I am excited to be back and I am very excited to participate in this post as fall is my all-time favorite season. 

Jamie Ridler over at Jamie Ridler Studios asks, "What do you wish for fall?" 

...implement "Sunday Shutdown." No computer, websurfing, or e-mail.
...cook, bake, and experiment in my kitchen.
...transitioning over my garden from summer crops to fall crops.
...sleeping with the windows open just enough to feel chilly yet cozy.
...taking the time to rest and read daily.
...getting lots of good sleep and exercise (Crossfit) so I keep my immune system strong.
...hanging out with friends on fall evenings. drinks. walks around the lake.
...wearing my favorite fleece and jeans down at the farmers market while sipping on some chai.
...eating pies, chile, and roasted veggies.
...cuddling with my partner while watching a movie.
...playing with pumpkins, visiting pumpkin patches, making/eating pumpkin muffins.

Monday, September 26, 2011

pearl jam, kitchen notes, and mental toughness

It's raining. It's not drizzling or misting or grey. It's for real raining. That's what happens when you live here, right? You have been enjoying a fairly sunny weekend, you have tons of energy, and then WHAM! Overnight, your sunshine fantasy land crumbles or rather melts to the ground because the heavens have opened and are going through a cathartic awakening, shedding lots and lots of tears. And it does not seem to stop. And in a weird way, I am welcoming the rain. Ask me in three months if I am still welcoming it and showing my gratitude, and I will probably laugh in your face.

Since my last post, my laptop hard drive collapsed. By collapsed, I mean the damn thing doesn't even turn on without the system32 error causing mayhem. So until further notice or a financially viable solution is reached with what I am going to do with my laptop, I'm sharing with the man. As the saying goes, "Sharing is caring." I will be doing my best to write more on the blog, but I find myself engaged in other endeavors. For instance:

*I fell in love with Pearl Jam. Charlie and I went and saw the PJ20 Documentary on Friday night down at Cinerama, which by the way, if you have not seen a movie there, go now. Leave whatever your doing and go down there. What was so interesting is that I "knew" Pearl Jam but the group had its high points while I was in my late childhood. Charlie on the other hand, experienced the true love of the band. Our generation gap became apparent while I was sitting in the theater and loads and loads of 35-40 year old fans filled the theater around me. I came home and while I was puttering around the house on Saturday before a S'More and Hot Drink Party, I dug out all the Pearl Jam CD's and rocked out. What was so cool is since seeing the documentary, there was a personal connection and knowledge that connected me with the music. This is not about music-this is about artistic appreciation. All in all, I fell in love with a wonderful band over the weekend.

*I am becoming a Kitchen powerhouse. A lot of experimenting in my kitchen has been happening. I have all of these amazing ingredients and am loving trying new things. For example, my boss has an Italian Plum tree in his yard and he gave me a bag of about 40 of these plums. Since we have access to this amazing thing called the internet, I searched and got a recipe for Italian plum coffee cake. Delicious. Local. Perfect for fall. Sundays are my new kitchen days. Cooking delicious foods for the week prevents the "WTF will I have for (fill in the meal of the day here). 

Sunday Menu "Fall Induction" (Click for recipes)
-Cheddar Chive Buttermilk Biscuits (Using chives from the garden)
-White Lightning Chicken Chile (Using jalapenos from the garden)
-Italian Plum Crumble Coffee Cake (Using plums from a fruit tree)

*I started Crossfit. Yep. That crazy, hardcore, extremely challenging workout. I LOVE IT. Not only does my body feel absolutely great, but I am sleeping so well, not craving sugary and fatty foods, and loving life. That powerhouse feeling stays with me each and everyday and I started my first "real" week this week outside of my on-ramp class. Try it. Do it. Love it. 

The last thing that has been on my mind is developing mental toughness. I know that I am addicted to comfort. I like being comfortable. I like having things go my way. I am pretty certain that many people can relate. When we transition from season to season, there are microchanges that our bodies and brains go through, especially when leaving summer and entering fall. Our bodies want to hibernate, we may feel a little more depressed and under the weather, it becomes harder to get up and get going. Here are some simple tips to develop your mental toughness during transition time:

1. Start exercising. Sounds simple, yet daunting. Do it in the morning.
2. Get outside, even if its pouring. Put on that cute little Gore-Tex jacket and get in some air.
3. Find quiet time. Even if its turning off the radio while your commuting. 10 mins a day does wonders.
4. Drink loads of water. It will make you feel alert and limit your sugar cravings you get around 2-3pm
5. Make love, not war. Spend time with your partner. Have a confirmed date night once a week.
6. Don't overschedule yourself. Enjoy blank space in that calendar of yours. Say no more.
7. Enjoy some sleeping in time. Our bodies need it in this damp weather. Shoot for at least 7 hours a night.
8. Eat your veggies. Enough said.
9. Tune into the universe. Yoga, meditation, church, praying, whatever. Just tune into something bigger.
10. Connect. Spend time with close friends, make that phone call, write that letter.

Alrighty then. Develop your mental toughness in this time of transition. Seems to be the theme all over the place. Enjoy the start to your week. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Transition is Yummy

Fall is here. I wish I could have bottled up the last few days of hot weather and was granted the magical permission to take out the bottles on the grey and cold days and let them loose to lift my spirits. But, no luck. Fall is here. It is cool, crisp, grey, cloudy, and I feel it in my body, my bones, and my blood, right down to the core of my soul. It was a fast transition for me. The transition from being outside all summer for work and then heading right into fall programs with school age youth happened so fast that I was nearly knocked off my feet.

Transition and change are the typical themes of fall and they can be a bit funny. They are funny in the sense that we crave change yet we sometimes don't handle it super well. I know for me personally, this week was a BIG adjustment from the track I was on. My hours were different; I was going into work later, I was getting home later, eating later, going to bed later, and overall feeling pretty wacky. I also started Crossfit last week and it is amazing. It is intense and it works me so my body was also adjusting to all the new movement & training.

So here I am, sitting in my writing nook on a bit of a gloomy Saturday, in a state of complete peace. Fall reminds me to take it slow, go inward, notice, observe, and savor.

There are so many things I absolutely love about fall...
...feelings of fleece and cuddly clothing hearty meals
...movies on the couch 
...lounging in the fluff of a down comforter with a book and cup of tea school & office supplies
...walks under changing leaves
...baking/eating/drinking trips with loved ones
...nights with friends
...fall vegetables
...wool socks

Another thing I love about fall is the natural tendency to just slow down. To take the moments as they come and to enjoy the time with family and friends. Fall also reminds me to take care of myself a little better, both physically, mentally, and emotionally and also to remember that life is good. It is always good. We just have to bring back the little things and savor each and every one of them...perhaps with a glass of wine. :)

My friend/colleague Jamie gave me a wonderful recipe for a Zucchini Pie. It is delicious and warms the soul from the inside out. It's also a great way to use up any summer zucchini, and if your garden got out of control like mine did, I am sure you have some left. Enjoy!

Zucchini Pie

3 cups grated zucchini
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup flour
1 cup grated provolone cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tsp fresh basil
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

preheat oven to 350.  Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, reserving 1 tsp of the Parmesan.   Spoon the zucchini mixture into a 10 inch pie pan, sprayed with oil.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown.  Sprinkle with the reserved Parmesan.  Cool 10-15 minutes before slicing.  Enjoy!

I added a premade, frozen pie crust, too, even though it doesn't call for it. I cooked it for about an hour. So good! :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

on celebration

finding pockets of time to write has been difficult. to be perfectly honest, the weather has been too damn nice to be inside behind the computer. along with the sun and bluebird skies, i have been consumed by amazing, perfectly created celebrations. the summer included 3 weddings, a funeral (a.k.a "a celebration of a wonderful man's life,"), Charlie's 40th birthday, and the celebration of a successful summer working with tiny humans at summer camp.

tonight, after returning from a fabulous all day adventure with the man, i started thinking about celebration. mainly why it feels so good to celebrate, how the intricacies of celebration weave together and bring people from all over to a magical moment to witness and be part of another's bliss, and also, why we need more celebration on this planet.

today, i jumped on facebook for a very brief minute and saw that people were commenting on where they were on september 11, 2001. for some, it was in a yoga studio or church, deep in prayer, sending light & compassion out to the world. for others, it was in a classroom or at a sporting event. for me, i was sitting front and center in spanish class in auburn, maine when my principal got on the intercom and told us very calmly what was happening. i remember feeling sadness. a deep sadness because i knew that the world would never be the same again. from that point on, i grew to be part of a society that continuously instilled a silent fear into the general masses. words like terrorist alerts, patriotic duty, homeland security, and war on terror have become so prevalent that i have come to be completely numb.

now, 10 years after one of the most devastating events in our nation's history, i feel that in spite of the horrific nature of terrorism, hate, and war, we must make the concerted effort to celebrate more.

this summer taught me how important it is to celebrate...
...2 people coming together in union and starting a life together
...people's lives, even after they leave the planet parents and my family, especially when they travel many, many miles to visit partner and his accomplishments, at work, in school, and at home gardening adventures and all the yummy veggies and herbs
...just because

celebration is that moment we sometimes forget. we put our hearts and souls into planning something, then give all of our elbow grease to the effort, and then after final completion, we have this funny tendency to just move right onto the next thing. celebration is the important step. it helps seal the deal. it allows us to enjoy the fruits of our labor and bask in greatness. why do we skip this essential step? perhaps it's because there is so much to do, more items on the never ending list, so many people to include, or we feel that the celebration has to be extravagant.

i love books. i love to read. i love finishing books that i start. just yesterday, i completed a 400 page read that was pretty intense. it was all about women's sexuality across all ends of the spectrum. it consisted of lots of personal interviews with women of all demographics and it had a certain depth to it. every night for the past 3 weeks, i would plug away, trying to get at least 10 pages in before bed. and on the weekends, i would sit for a couple hours mowing through. when i finished the last page on the couch yesterday, i jumped up from where i was sitting and pumped my fist in the air and yelled, "i finished! i finished the damn book!" it was my personal celebration for mowing through a great yet intense read. no champagne required, just a little mini-celebration.

whether we bust out the cake, balloons, and champagne or simply give a kiss and say, "today was super great," we must take the moments to enjoy what this crazy, wacky life has to offer.

here is to celebration in many of the moments that comprise our days.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Ahhhhh...the magical feeling of a long weekend. I am sitting here in my writing nook with a cup of tea and two pieces of toast getting ready to bring the dog down to the marina for a morning walk. It was so yummy sleeping in until 9:30am. Just being in the space of quiet and rest does wonders for the soul. I plan on enjoying the day, bringing my book to a soft, grassy spot somewhere with my Nalgene filled with delicious iced tea, making a loaf of zucchini bread, harvesting some tomatoes from the garden, and if I feel like it, tackling some housework. But, this weekend is about being mellow. Enjoying some downtime. Following what feels good. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

August Break and the Summer Recap

It's September 1st and I am back in the blogosphere. For the month of August, I took not only a blogging vacation but I also took a one month social media fast. It was absolutely enlightening to spend one entire month away from Facebook. Lot's of juicy learning lessons I will be sure to share in the next few posts.

My August break was pretty fantastic. The weather got better here in the Pacific Northwest and Seattle saw some much needed sunshine. My garden is in crazy full bloom-zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs galore are sprouting every which way. 
Zucchini Galore...
On the contrary of taking a "blog & Facebook break," August was a busy month as well. My parents came and visited for a week and it was fabulous to spend lots of time with them. We enjoyed lazy afternoons, a great day down at Mt. Rainier, eating crab outside, and roasting marshmallows in a cute new fire pit. My mom helped me in the garden, my dad enjoyed some time away from work, and they got to take the ferry up to Victoria, B.C., and stay overnight in a 5-star hotel. Yay for them :)

Mt.Rainier visit while the folks were in town.
The Man's sister also got married last weekend which marked a huge celebration. There were showers, a very fun bachelorette party on Bainbridge Island, fun prep, and a great day for a beautiful wedding in Ballard. The festivities were so enjoyable and I am so blessed to be part of such a wonderful family.
The most beautiful wedding cake in the world from  The Man's sister's wedding.
August was also a time to take care of myself. I started getting back to the gym again, got some massages, and took some time off which was super nice and restful. All of this combined with reading great books at night, getting at least 8 hours of sleep, eating delicious & fresh summer produce, and getting some sunshine luv made for an amazing last month of summer.

The summer has been a roller-coaster. It has been full of happiness, tears, laughter, creativity, grilling, lemonade, date nights, walking, a great chaco tan, 3 weddings, 1 funeral, trips to Colorado & Maine, sunsets, hiking, journaling, reading, digging in the dirt, taking breaks, resting, family, friends, brainstorming, learning, children, pizza, yoga, and soooooo much more. This summer proved to be busy yet at the same time, restful and enjoyable. With the end of summer comes a bit of sadness. I think there is the tendency to look back and think, "I wish we could have done more," or "I had all these plans and expectations." What is important to think about which has been a huge learning lesson for me is that although summer is that time of year when we try to pack in as much fun as possible, we have to remember that we still have life and all its "lifeness," including bills to pay, jobs to go to, housecleaning, laundry, and day to day domesticity. 
my new serving bowls...compliments of Goodwill
I think another important lesson we can take from summer is that we can always make room for more fun, no matter what season we're in. So what's next? Well, back to writing, more reading, working in the garden, and planning more fun and rest into daily life, even though summer is almost behind us. 

Happy September and it's good to be back!