Learning by inventing, not by discovering.
Foods I cooked for the first time
- Breakfast: yeasted waffles
- Appetizers + soups: arancini, bruschetta*, gazpacho, split pea soup
- Meats: beef and broccoli, beef and guinness pie*, chicken w brown sauce, chicken empanadas, inside-out pupusas, meatballs*, pot roast, pulled chicken, whole chicken, wings
- Seafoods: crab cakes, fish tacos, salmon cakes, scallops
- Veggies: fried okra, spinach w pine nuts, squash dumplings*, stuffed mushrooms
- Sides, sauces and extras: carbonara sauce, cranberry sauce*, dumplings (chicken and dumplings), latkes, pepitas*, polenta cakes, tortillas
- Desserts + baked goods: apple tart, baklava*, blueberry pie, bread pudding, brioche buns*, clementine-chocolate chip buttermilk scone*, maple cookies, pumpkin pie
Places I visited
- San Francisco bay area: 5
- Napa Valley: 3
- New York City: 2
- Las Vegas: 1
Michelin-starred restaurants I tried
- Gary Danko
- Fleur de Lys
- La Toque
Notable ailments I experienced
- Concussion: 1.5
- Pink eye: 2
- Stress fracture: 1
- Fractured pinky: 1
- Ever-bleeding finger: 1
- I need to love with more than my heart knows how, so that regrets and excuses are not an option.
- Blood relatives will always love me
- My best friends may share meals, emails or adventures with me, or we may rarely talk at all, but they will never ever desert me.
- Health is fragile, not something that I can earn or buy. I need to listen to my body.
- Training and persistence pays off. I can now swim breathing every nine strokes (versus every three strokes) and run a nine-minute mile (versus a ten-minute mile).
- It’s okay to spend money to have fun. In the end, money always works out.
- I can create amazing design work if I put my mind to it. Winning three design awards for one project is proof enough.
- Everyone has things that can hold them back in life. It’s not always obvious, but when it’s made known, it’s good to help them tackle it head on.
Part 1: Struggles
And here’s an impressive nugget that bowled me over today when it occurred to me: You can’t “fall from grace.” Just into it. That’s the point–it is freely given, unmerited. The idiom is a myth; grace doesn’t get taken away when you mess up. That’s what makes it amazing (!). — Cricket
I love finding gems like this on Cricket’s blog. Her post, although in two parts, fit very well with what I’m struggling with lately. Grace is something that I constantly seek because I often feel like I’ve screwed up or been a jerk. It feels like heartbreak each time I realize that I’ve been wrong. And yet I keep making mistakes.
Part 2: I refuse to apologize for…
- being modest or classy (in behavior and my wardrobe)
- preferring high-quality, expensive things
- loving sports bar-type hangouts over clubbing at night
- not being a girly girl
- believing in stuff (God, faith, hope, love)
- not having a celebrity crush
- drinking tap water
- being a designer
- exercising at night (which limits weeknight hangouts)
- My triumphant return to running. I have run outside a total of three times now for 1.7 miles each time. Once right before the hurricane and my dad thought I was crazy. I am happy to report that no gusts of wind blew me astray. Running outside makes me feel at peace with the world. I love greeting people that I run past and seeing the changes in my neighborhood. I love the breeze of open, fresh air. I love propelling myself forward with each new step against the pavement.
- Compliments while swimming. I am not a great swimmer. I am purely a recreational swimmer who tries to stay fit. When someone compliments me on my technique, no matter their “workout” intentions, I am proud at how far I’ve come. In January, I was so scared of the idea of swimming, possibly drowning and struggled to keep a breathing pattern of every three strokes. Now, eight months later, I have discovered more efficient ways of swimming and conserving my energy. I can swim the length of the pool breathing every nine to eleven strokes. Breathing less makes me feel like I’m going faster, but it wears out my arms more quickly. I am slowly eliminating my under arm fat. No jiggles!
- Humility. Well, look at that. When I was getting too proud and looking down upon others, I get hit in the head (literally) and get a concussion. Being concussed scared me a lot and helped me put more of life in perspective. There is so much more to live for with the friendships and help of others than being selfish and thinking I can get by in life on my own.
- Support. I love my teammates. Sitting with me on the sidelines. Driving me to the hospital. Visiting me at the hospital after the game. Emails and chats. I am really glad to know that people care about my health even when I am clumsy and injury-prone.
- Sleep and rest. After a long summer of overtime, busyness and general craziness, I am glad that my slackened work agenda and the concussion is allowing and forcing me to rest. It is good to take care of myself.
- La familia. So what if one of them gets really angry at me for days. So what if one of them annoys me at times. When it matters, they are there for me. They stayed up until 1 a.m. the night of my concussion waiting for me to get home safely. They weren’t angry at all at the situation but glad I was safe and had fabulous friends to take care of me. They were also very glad that I have health insurance bc my life includes many accidents.
- The county fair. My home. I felt so at peace while at the fair this year and I was excited to share it with people who had never been to the fair before. I met great people in the knitting department and learned more about how the overall fair is run. I love logistics. I was also able to give back to my tents and help them move out. Those tents have been a huge blessing in my life and I could never repay them for the lessons they’ve taught me and growth they’ve provided. There’s really no better bonding than nine days straight in blistering heat, torrential rains and long hours with fabulous Christian brothers and sisters.
Things that I am constantly need more of:
- Home. A sense of love and belonging. A feeling of security and comfort.
- Friends. People who stick by me, respect me, trust me, laugh with me. People who push me to grow.
- Fun. Making memories, laughing til I can’t breathe, being silly, being surrounded by people.
- Support and encouragement. Reassurance.
Things that can describe the ugliness of my heart:
- Selfish. Wanting the best, wanting control, wanting what I think is best for me.
- Jealous. A pit of doom; I can get stuck in it and not know my way out.
- Proud. Not humbling myself, refusing to treat others as equal.
Please pray for me.
- Moments of pure joy. Forgetting the world and loving life while being absolutely silly and not caring who’s watching
- Mama. While my finger bled for hours on end, she sat with me and waited til I was ready for help.
- Prayers. When life is crazy, pray. When people feel crazy, pray with them and for them. I can never express how thankful I am for friends that care enough to do this for me. It is one thing to take care of me, it is a whole other level to pray for me.
- Tuesday’s football game. It was full of so much life and for the first time in a while, I didn’t shut down and run in a daze around the field. It is a team sport and I am playing for fun; I am relearning how to keep both in mind.
- Work. My coworkers and I have shared laughter and many long days turned nights recently. For a while I shut down at work too, but am slowly coming back to life.
- Fresh fruits and ice cream.
- Conscious decisions to turn my life around.
- Great danceable pop music slash workout music.
- The reminders and check-ins. The reassurance. The love and consideration.
- Open communication and honesty. There is no better feeling than getting things out in the open instead of bottling it up inside.
- Learning that people are real. Sometimes I think that my friends are invincible and perfect, with no regrets or flaws. It’s really good to dispel that illusion and in the end become closer to people because I’ve removed that bar of jealousy.
- Heartfelt talks with people I love. Hearing audibly that people care for me, to reinforce what I know and reassure me.
- Support. 1. Friends that back me up and understand me. 2. Friends that tell me the truth when I run to them in tears and frustration.
- Friends that pray for me. Both on their on and with me.
- Friends that sometimes know my heart better than I do.
- Learning to live life to the fullest and make the most of every moment. Learning to create memories and not wait for them to happen.
- Reunions. With family I haven’t seen in years and with God, whom I’ve neglected.
- Joy. Peace of mind. Being positive and enjoying life.
- Vacations. It is really good to get away from home, see old loves and make new friends.
- Disposable income. I really appreciate that my parents have taught me about finance and managing my money so that I have enough money to spare to have fun. As often as I sometimes worry about how much and how frequently I spend, I know that I am in control of my finances.
- Communication. I’m not the best at it, but I am always improving.
- Gym membership. Trial gym memberships. Being able to be active and exercise even while I’m away. Keeping my sanity in tact.
- Escaping DC during one of the hottest weeks of the year.
- Truth and honesty. Two things to live by.
- Fancy dinners. I appreciate that I can afford and experience them. While I may not appreciate it fully, I am able to say that I have been to some of the finest restaurants in the country.