Archive | December, 2013

Defining a Year

31 Dec

I have a policy about never wishing for time to move faster or complaining about a year and saying, “I’m ready to be done with 2013, can’t 2014 just hurry up and get here?” I think each day is a chance for something great and the change of a calendar year will not bring true change by itself.

What I will say about the years is that as they pass they each become remembered for the major events that happened in them. For example, 2008 was the year I got cancer; I’m sure many other things happened and that if I thought for a few moments I could even recall them, but it was defined by that singular event. Things that are negative do have a tendency to outweigh the happier times, but that does not mean that a year is never remembered for good things. I hope that 2014 will be the year my sister gets married or the year I first run a half marathon, I expect both of those will happen and I pray that nothing so terrible manages to override them.

The year of 2013 will always be the year my mother died. I still remember last New Year’s Eve my mother was in the hospital and I sat with her for hours and hours. I thought about the possibility that this might be her last new year and quickly stepped away from the idea, hoping it wouldn’t be true. Now I’m on the verge of this new 365 day cycle and I am so aware of her absence. I can say this now because I’m not wishing any part of the year away, but fuck 2013. I will take with me some fond memories but mostly I’m okay with saying I’m ready for 2014 if for no other reason than the chance to redefine.

My mom’s goal for me in 2013 was for me to write more posts in this blog than I did in 2012. I have now done that for her and for myself and I can leave the year on a high note.

Not A Cop Out

31 Dec

I am now writing from my cell phone. It is an interesting process because my typing cannot keep up with my brain. Although I like that the autocorrect feature is speeding up the whole thing.

I’ll be keeping this short for obvious reasons but so as not to make the entire post seem like a cop out I will leave behind a creative tidbit from my brain.

Imagine if squirrels could talk how much they would know about our personal lives from looking in our windows. Now imagine a squirrel with a sombrero on, that would be awesome right? Let me google image that and see if I can make that happen right now.

Google has everything. Thank you for this Google!

Google has everything. Thank you for this Google!

A Choice of Seasoning

31 Dec

I am a big fan of food. I’d call myself a foodie but apparently that has become snobby or taboo to say so I will say instead that I want to eat all the things all the time. This means that I go out to eat a lot and have pretty strong opinions about two particular restaurant seasoning practices and my ability to choose.

No Salt and pepper shakers- Okay chef, the food is awesome, thanks for cooking it for me, but nobody is above my right to season. Maybe Julia Child loved this beef bourguignon as is but I want it salty and peppery. Not because I’m insulting anyone’s methods but because I enjoy sodium, spice and everything nice. If these shakers aren’t on the table I will be asking for them and that just makes everything more uncomfortable. Now that I’ve asked everyone knows that I will be using them, whereas if they were given to me from the get go I could shake privately.

Tabasco Sauce- Whenever my waitstaff asks the inevitable, “can I get you anything else” I have created a reflex to always say, “hot sauce, thank you”. I then gauge how I feel about a place based on what they bring me.

  • Tabasco– NO! This is not acceptable unless I am being served oysters. If my food isn’t raw sea-life on the half shell, this is garbage and I will not accept it as hot sauce. It’s not even that I don’t like the taste, it just isn’t very hot and it makes everything all cayenne-y and dumb.
  • Frank’s Red Hot– This is a major improvement. I love Frank’s and I will have it stocked in bulk in my kitchen as long as I live but admittedly it is not the primo best cream of the crop hot sauce. It’s cheap and wonderful but we can still do better.

    A picture of the bottle with a rooster on it in case my Grandmother didn't understand the "cock sauce" reference.

    A picture of the bottle with a rooster on it in case my Grandmother didn’t understand the “cock sauce” reference.

  • Sriracha- Now we are talking. I don’t mind that this cock sauce make everything taste like cock sauce, that is what I want. It’s fiery and magnificent and I know that a restauranteur who makes the effort to stock this in their establishment knows something about spicy food and making customers feel cared for. Sriracha means love people.
  • Cholula- Oh dear god, yes. This is just my personal favorite so I feel a kinship with anyone who has it for me to douse all over my meal. If a place brings me multiple bottles of Cholula in their variety of flavors, it’s all over, I have found the motherland.

    Look at that marvelous woman on the bottle. So happy to be giving me joy.

    Look at that marvelous woman on the bottle. So happy to be giving me joy.

  • Any combination of the above sauces- Even if one of my choices is Tabasco, I no longer mind. Seeing that I have options and that someone else understands a girl needs to have choices gives me faith in people again.

Unresolutions

31 Dec

I am a huge advocate for New Year’s resolutions, I think they are a great way to make people feel capable of a fresh start. Sometimes however I find myself getting frustrated with the way people go about their resolutions. This idea of being better is great, but it often doesn’t stick and January One becomes a way for people to not have to make positive change any other time of year. To “resolve” something takes on a permanent meaning that has gotten lost in the Hallmark of New Year’s.

Losing weight; this is the big one right? As a member and advocate of the Weight Watchers program I think everyone should resolve to get their bodies to where they are happy. Everything comes together in life when you feel confident in taking care of yourself, the ripple effect is incredible. My issue with this stems not from the resolution itself but rather from the timing of it. Every year I dread my Weight Watcher meetings in January when there are lines out the door, no empty seats and people asking questions like, “what’s a point mean?” I wouldn’t mind it so much if not for the fact that three weeks later the seats go back to being half filled and the resolutioners who made me wait in line for an extra 10 minutes while they asked about e-tools weren’t gone. It’s predictable because if someone is losing weight because of the calendar date, they aren’t usually really ready.

This year I lost a pound both Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks, and it’s not a brag, but commitment is solidified when making good choices in the times that they aren’t as easy to make. So come January first, I still encourage this resolution, but as a life change, not a crash diet. I tire of hearing all holiday season, “it’s the holidays, do whatever and start being good again after the new year”. If there is knowledge of poor choices why make them?

I don’t want to be preachy, but I just was anyways huh? One of my resolutions will be to be less preachy; that way in three weeks I can go back to the know-it-all I am today. It’s a good plan.

 

 

Dumplings!

31 Dec

I went into my fridge to look for lunch and realized I had a whole container of handmade dumplings from my trip to NYC. It has taken all year, but this is the best moment of 2013 I think.

Let me just self-indulge and talk a little bit about the wonder of dumplings. They are dough-y goodness wrapped around meat-y goodness, TAA-DAA!

These dumplings once existed in the world... now they are gone.

These dumplings once existed in the world… now they are gone.

Somehow the lack of cheese in this culinary masterpiece does not even matter. I say this because most other things are best with cheese. My standard for something being truly incredible is if it can stand cheese-less (this does not mean that things requiring cheese aren’t also great… they just aren’t great pre-cheese).

I just sat on my floor to be as close to my coffee table as possible and ate dumplings with a big spoon while watching the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. When life is good, it’s so good. Maybe tomorrow to start off the new year right I will one up myself by eating noodles with chopsticks while watching Star Wars. It’s the little things.

 

 

Running: The Treadmill & Other Gymgoers

31 Dec

I always prefer to run outside, the cold air keeps me from getting sweaty and gross and it always feels like I’m getting somewhere. When there is ice on the ground, I have no other option than to go to the gym. Luckily for me there is a gym in my building that is quite nice, but I’ll admit that it’s proximity has not inspired me to work out more. Mostly the fact that it is close makes me feel like a schmoo for not being in tip top shape but let us be real here, I work out so I can eat more cheese. That is all.

This past week had a few icy days so many of my runs have been forced onto the treadmill and my first lesson learned was timing. What I mean is time of day because most of the day I can go and have the whole place to myself. I don’t need four treadmills but having other people on the machines around me has proven to be an issue.

Most recently I put off my exercise until 6pm, a time when everyone who works a 9-5 job is now home and somehow motivated. When I enter the room the treadmill all the way to the right was out of service and two were being used, naturally the only open one was right smack in between them.

The girl running on the far left was fit, trim and running at 7.5mph; the guy now to my right was running at 10mph. I will say that again in case anyone feels they misread something: he was running 10 miles an hour. As a point of reference let me state that up until this point I was running at 5mph for my longer runs and only because I knew anything less was sad, not because I found this extra doable. I was intimidated and I didn’t feel like I could run my normal 5mph with these two nut jobs on either side of me flapping their legs at the speed of light. I did my five minute intervals at 6mph and while I didn’t stop or die, I wanted to (stop or die). Each second felt like being forced to carry 100 screaming babies up Mount Everest all barfing and pooing. Maybe after the fact this seems like a bit of an exaggeration but I can assure you at the time I was in it and nothing has ever been stupider.

Did I feel proud that I did it? Was I pleased that these two fiends had pushed me to go faster and do better? Nope. Not at all. It was so lame.

Yet Another Goal

31 Dec

I keep setting these goals for myself and then scrambling to meet them. When I thought about getting to 58 posts for 2013 I figured I was too far behind now to even consider making it. Then this morning my inbox had my annual report for the year from WordPress and they informed me that I have 51 posts total for the year. I’m only seven away from making it?!?!

I’ve got this.

My original plan for the day was to get stuff done around my apartment, so now I will just write all day instead and end this year with another success. I have to.

Yesterday on my run I was supposed to do 25 minutes (a challenge I had met and overcome already two days prior) and halfway through I couldn’t take it and slowed to a walk for no more than 20 seconds. I felt like I had ruined everything, no longer could I say that I had run straight through, I was a quitter. I resumed running and no more than five minutes later I slowed again to a walk, this time for about two minutes. I was alone on the trail with my dog, the river and the trees all judging me (rivers I find to be particularly judgy) so I just walked and cried. Once I had gathered myself I chose to run again and this time I promised I wouldn’t stop until the timer was up. I ran through the cold, the shin splints, the exhaustion and the frustration. When I finished I still felt like I had failed.

Just after, I was on the phone with a friend relaying the events of my poor performance and he said, “So if you walked for about 2 minutes you still ran for 23; that’s great.”

That is great, and this morning I woke up more sore from exercise than I have in a while which says to me that I pushed myself and that’s what matters. I stopped running and could have called the whole thing a wash and walked the rest of the way home but I didn’t. I’m not encouraging slowing down anytime an activity gets tough, but I’m learning that if I do, what matters is what I choose to do after.

So I took a little breather from blog posts, that was my two minute walk. Today is the push and after this I only have six more posts to write before midnight…

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