Thursday, December 29, 2011


Well, 2011 is almost over. It's been a pretty stellar year. I ran a marathon, discovered that I love to camp, got married (!), went to Spain, moved to Maine, climbed a mountain, and, this Christmas, saw the desert for the first time (visiting my in-laws in Arizona). 2011 is going to be hard to top!
I'm looking forward to the new year with a sense of gratitude for all my wonderful memories from 2011, and a sense of hope that 2012 will prove to be lovely as well.
Of course, I have a few resolutions:
First, to make the most of the time I have. I think that I waste time in a lot of ways. I sit around watching movies I don't even like. I goof off way too much on the internet. I waste time and energy hating the way I look. I get mad about stupid things and waste time holding onto that anger when I should just let it go. So my first and biggest resolution is to live my life with more intention and to gently remind myself of this goal when I stray off course.
Secondly, I resolve to write fiction (in novel, short story, or play form) or poetry at least 4 days a week. I have several stories floating around in my head and I need to get them down. I'd love to write another novel but that seems restrictive, given that at least one of the stories is in play form. Mind you, it's completely ripping Wes Anderson off in tone so I doubt it will see the light of day, but that's not why I'm resolving to write. I'm always afraid to tell the stories I imagine because I think people will recognize themselves in them and be offended if they ever happen to read them or on the off chance that I were to be published. So I'm telling myself that no one has to see what I write and repeating it over and over until the day when pigs fly and I miraculously stop caring what other people think. I just hate that I have neglected my writing for so long because it's something that I've always loved to do- I've just become too self conscious to let myself do it. I'd like to remedy that this year.
Finally, my last resolution is a carry over from 2010- I resolve to go to the dentist in 2012. I finally met my other 2010 resolution to go to the eye Dr. this year, so there's hope yet.

What are your resolutions this year?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Party Planning

Sadly, the Hubby and I won't be able to host a Christmas party this year. Fortunately, we're having a New Year's Eve Party instead! (The biggest problem, of course, is that the majority of my serving platters are Christmas themed...)

Here's what I'm considering for my menu:
A few favorites from years past: Rotel Dip (I've taken to calling this Cardiology Dip b/c it's sure to keep your Cardiologist in business!), Cranberry and Blue Cheese Stuffed Endives, Meringues, Fig and Prosciutto Crostini, and Baked Brie.
And a few new ideas: Chicken Salad Bites (serving my favorite recipe on crackers or toast), Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs (time to actually use my egg tray!), Ice Box Cream Cakes, and Crack Dip (a favorite from my friend Jon's mom- it's mainly Cheddar and Red Pepper Jelly)

Of course, there's also the drink menu to consider.
New Year's Eve obviously calls for a Champagne Cocktail. I'm debating between the classic, a bellini, my favorite: the Poinsettia Cocktail, or just Champagne + Vanilla Vodka garnished with a strawberry.  I also think Martha's Champagne Punch looks divine.
I think that we should definitely revisit the Brandied Port (recipe for this and lots of other tasty holiday beverages in this post) and Brandy Milk Punch. But I'm still on the lookout for more drink recipes. The Bittercup sounds like something the hubby would LOVE but I tend to hate Campari.
I'm also going to offer some sparkling lemonade for a non-alchoholic option this year.

So, two questions today:
1) Which champagne drink should I serve?
2) What's your favorite NYE cocktail? I need ideas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


The hubby and I are heading down to Boston this evening to meet up with our friends who now live in D.C. One thing I'm really thankful for is that I've been able to keep in touch with my dear friends despite moving so far away.  I'm so excited to see them!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On Challenges

This weekend my flight from New Orleans to Portland got diverted to Boston at 1am. After a day of flying, I was, unsurprisingly, exhausted and miserable, sitting on the plane waiting to go into the airport, bracing myself to haggle with airline employees, wondering if I'd be forced to find and pay for a hotel room at such a late hour, and dreading the early morning flight that was sure to come the next day. It sucked. But, as I've done many times in the past year, I composed myself with this thought "You can handle this. You ran a marathon and that was much harder than this!"
 My marathon helped me drive for three days straight when I moved to Maine. It helped me climb Katahdin. It's been there through numerous travel days spent sprinting through airports desperately trying to make my flights. This accomplishment has given me a wellspring of strength and confidence to draw on whenever things get tough.
My marathon isn't the only challenge I've met that makes me feel this way. Climbing Katahdin and writing a novel (during NANOWRIMO a few years ago) give me similar feelings of strength and accomplishment. And it's not about being really good at something or having fun the entire time.  My marathon time wasn't that fast, Katahdin isn't that high of a peak, and my novel is terrible. Writing my novel was at times tedious and frustrating, Katahdin was exhausting, painful, and sometimes scary, and parts of my marathon were incredibly painful.  The reason that these experiences are important to me is that I chose to do something that I  knew would be really hard and I stuck with it until the end. From that I gained a better awareness of my own capabilities and the confidence that comes with toughing something out.
I've had to endure bad situations in my life in the past (high school, grad school, divorce...) and I am definitely proud of how strong I had to be to get through those times. But I have so many negative emotions tied up with those experiences that it's not a good idea for me to give myself a pep talk that goes "You can do this! This isn't nearly as bad as being bullied in high school!" If I thought about stuff like that when I was already tired and miserable, I'd probably just start crying.
But having ready examples of times when I faced challenges head on and came out smiling makes all the difference. This is one of the many reasons I love to challenge myself. I'm thankful for my lousy flight this weekend because it reminded me of this benefit of choosing to challenge myself. Now I just need to decide what my next challenge will be!