focus

One of the things I struggle mightily with is staying focused.  I seem to recall a time when it wasn’t that hard.  But now, being unemployed and having M.S., I feel like after the wicked fatigue, the brain fuzziness is the worst.  This morning I stood scrolling through my phone for a good 40 minutes in the kitchen.  For no reason.  No purpose.  Just reading random articles about Steelers training camp and looking at people’s vacation  photos.  What’s the point of that?  I mean, the photos are always adorable (or funny) and I do care (maybe too much) about the status of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  But couldn’t I have used my time more efficiently?

Um, yes.  Yes I think I could.

And then, this afternoon, following some intense procrastinating, I finally made my way downstairs to the garage and set up my ‘Insanity’ workout.  And then wasted even more time.  Doing … I don’t even know.  I. Don’t. Know.

When I go to bed at night, it’s usually too late.  But I promise to get up on time anyway.  Which I don’t do.  Then, when I finally drag myself out of bed, I’m running behind whatever phantom schedule I’d made for myself the night before.  Today, when John came upstairs after his morning workout, all I said was “I have to make better decisions.”

And that is certainly part of it.  But another part of it is the idea that when you don’t have structure in your life, everything feels amorphous.  You just float around, certain there will be enough time.  Confident that all will be well.  There is something weirdly relaxing about that.  And I am lucky enough to feel that way because John is successful enough that I don’t need to work.  But it’s also a little disconcerting and disorienting.  I’ve spent my whole life independent.  Taking care of myself.  (Well, y’know, after my parents took care of me and I learned how to do a little bit of adulting).

But I’m so tired and so air-headed nowadays, that the idea of going back to the workforce is absolutely terrifying.  I think back to the end of my time at my last job, and I was so unhappy, I struggled so painfully every day to just keep my head above water….  Could I do it again?  Could I find the strength to have a career and keep my health under control?  Is finding out worth the risk?  I don’t know.

I read a quote recently — something about happiness is what you find beyond the fear.  It was the idea that if you felt uncomfortable or unsure, that maybe it would be worth pushing through to see what exists on the other side.

So I decided I would push through.  I would conquer my fear and reticence to try to sell skincare online.  I would reach out. I would embrace it.  What could the worst result be?  A no?  And so, this August, I am going to fully embrace selling Rodan + Fields skincare.  Because it is the best stuff I’ve ever used (and if you know me, you know I’ve been obsessed with skincare for a long time), because the people who brought me into the company have been unbelievably supportive and encouraging and I think it will be a work environment I can believe in and be proud to be part of.

I hope it helps me find whatever it is I feel I am missing.  I hope it is a positive experience.  And I hope I can help other people discover these great products (that might sound like a line, but I do inherently believe it).

 

contrary

I’ve been in quite the mood today.  So let me get a few things off my chest.

Watching Pittsburgh play last night was agonizing and heartbreakingly frustrating.  I’m sad their playoff run ended so soon — but I couldn’t have watched that team struggle through another game.  It was painful.  I will miss the veterans on defense whom I am assuming will not be re-signed next year (Kiesel, Harrison, Taylor … dare I say Polamalu?)  I will not miss watching the defense struggle when the Steeler’s defense shouldn’t struggle.  Ever.

Next up:  Whenever I begin watching one of “The Hobbit” movies all.I.want.to.watch is “Lord of the Rings.” I’m sure I’ll get over that one day and really crave returning to Bilbo’s adventure with the dwarves.  But right now — I just really need a little Frodo and Sam — with some Strider and Legolas thrown in.  Essentially the entire feeling of “The Fellowship of the Ring”  — none of which “The Hobbit” films have.

Let’s take a little trip down memory lane …. Hopefully it clears up some of my love for the LoTR films.

In early 2002 I’d just returned from studying abroad in Italy.  I’d wanted to stay another semester but circumstances (and finances) prevented it so I found myself back in State College, half-way moved into a room my brother sublet for me in a sorority house (sidenote: I am not, nor have I ever been, in a sorority). My parents had driven the two of us back to school on a cold January afternoon and nearly instantly headed home — for fear of getting stranded by the impending snowstorm.

The snow hit, and I unenthusiastically tried to put my room together.  I was sad, and scared and not at all happy to be back at school.  I felt alone.  Really, fully, in my bones, alone. So — after meeting the girls who would be my housemates for a semester (one of whom is still my great friend, so it all ended up working out!) I decided to go for a walk.  I bundled up (it was cold cold cold) and shuffled around State College (where the sidewalks weren’t all shoveled yet and no one was really out and about). After some walking and far too much introspective thinking, I found myself outside the movie theater and decided to see if anything was playing.  I’d seen Ocean’s 11 that break and had really loved it — I thought watching that again was vastly preferable to returning to my new ‘home.’

Ocean’s 11 had begun half an hour earlier, and wasn’t playing again for quite some time.  In fact, everything in the theatre had start times in over an hour, except The Fellowship of the Ring.   I had absolutely zero desire to see JRR Tolkien’s epic.  As in — none.  I’d read The Hobbit during middle school and enjoyed it.  But I had failed to be even slightly intrigued by the density of The Lord of the Rings.  (That’s the nicest way I can think to describe trying to read Tolkien).

But I also REALLY didn’t want to go back to the sorority house.  So I paid for a ticket, and after taking off several layers of snowy clothing and buying some popcorn and a soda, I settled into the last row of what was perhaps the smallest movie theatre I’d ever been in.  The previews had already begun (I remember thinking forlornly that I’d missed the best part) and I watched and waited for the film to start.

And — not to be overly dramatic — it completely swept me away.  And continues to do so to this day.

That movie, on that day, at that time — something about it was so magical, so transporting — that all the sadness and loneliness of being back at Penn State seemed to melt away into the background.  And strangely — it was also a turning point.  My college experience began to change then — school seemed less dismal, and I made new friends — friends to go drink margaritas with at Mad Mex, friends who came to see me in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, friends who brought me to cross training classes at local gyms  … and so many other things! — sometime I’ll have to revisit the day Minda and I drank White Merlot and watched an entire season of Buffy while the fraternity next door did mud slides on their front lawn.  The next year I became a total theatre school nerd, did lots of shows (both on stage and on crew) and made more friends who are still in my life today.

I know it probably sounds hokey, but there’s a part of me that feels as though that movie saved my life.  Certainly changed my life.  And maybe it did, maybe it didn’t.  But it feels like it did to me.  So a lot of times, when things feel a little overwhelming, all I want is to drift away into Middle Earth and forget my woes.

As I’ve written this, I’ve sort of marveled at how strongly things have marked time in my life.  I can remember so many clear details of opening the door to the movie theater in downtown State College (that no longer exists) and being overwhelmingly disappointed that not a single other movie was available for me to see.  And I also remember walking home in the blustering wind, still halfway in Middle Earth — plotting to buy the books (which I did) and read them from cover to cover (which I did not).  Totally transported to a place of imagination and wonder.   I saw the movie another two times in the theatre, and the subsequent sequels on opening night (Return of the King —midnight showing with my roommate at the time — nearly killed me!  I was so tired by the end and I swear — the sun was coming up when we left the theatre!).

So I stared this post with a completely different intention.  But I enjoyed walking down memory lane.  I am glad of the significance this film has played in my life (just ask the man — we both completely love it).  I’m glad I remembered the story of how I found it.  It’s been  a crazy trip down memory lane.  Insane to think it was 12 years ago.  Time is an amazing thing.

 

small blessings

Football is back.

Yes, it’s pre -preseason football, but it’s back and it’s new and all of a sudden, life feels a lot better.

Football has – as weird as this is to say – saved me more than once.  It was there, every Sunday, through some tough times in my life.  And for the three hours the Steelers play, things seem easier — clear.  Comfortable, familiar.

But right now – despite my best attempts to stay upbeat and positive — right now I need football season.  I need the black and gold of the Steelers.  I need the rush of a well executed offensive play, the jolt of a powerful defensive stop, the frustration of a controversial play — but more than that, I need the three hours every week when nothing else matters.  When life stops and football starts and things are simple.

I need that more than anything.

So thank God for football season.

roots

Gratitude Journal

November 3rd ~ I am grateful for family.

On Saturday, the man and I headed back down to Bethesda to the National Institute of Health to visit his dad after surgery.  We were lucky that my parents were able to watch Lucy Lou (she’s very ‘in demand’!) and John’s aunts were at the hospital as well, having made the drive from upstate PA that morning.

Family is ~ well, it’s a mixed bag, if we’re being honest with each other.  But when the going gets tough, it’s family who step up, family who are there when life feels really hard, family who holds you up when you are down.  I am grateful that both the man and I have been blessed with family who care.

November 4th ~ I am grateful for football.

All Dressed up for the Game

 

Possibly superficial.  However, football has been an integral part of my life forever.  Not only that, but it has been a comfort and buoy in tough times, something to believe in and identify with ~ a passion.  During some really low moments, the Steelers were there every  Sunday and for the few hours they played, all my baggage and angst got put on a shelf, and my emotions were wrapped up in the game.  And Penn State ~ well, Penn State football is engrained in my very being.  ‘Nuff said.

 

 

November 5th ~ I am grateful for Lucy.

It’s been nearly 10 months since Miss Lucy came home with the man and I.  Our lives have forever changed.  This weekend, my parents very generously offered to watch her while we did hospital visits on Saturday and drove up to East Rutherford NJ for the Giants/Steelers game on Sunday (it pained them to think of her being alone for so long ~ instead, she was cuddled, coddled and just spoiled in every possible way).  The man and I woke up two mornings without our little lady, and even though I didn’t think it would affect me so much, I missed her waking us up, I missed her toes clickety clacking on the kitchen floor ~ I missed her good morning kisses.  The house felt lonely and empty without her.

I am so glad we made the decision to expand our family ~ but more importantly, I’m so glad she chose us, just as much as we found her.  We all fit perfectly together. I feel blessed to have her (despite the fact that she drops some major stink bombs sometimes!).
And now, returning to our regularly scheduled programming ….

After our busy weekend, and even though we gained an hour, Monday felt looooong today and I wracked my brain trying to come up with something yum to have for dinner.  I had a partially formed idea in my mind to re-dedicate myself to cooking this month.  And not ‘fun’ cooking ~ as in, events or dinner parties.  Regular, every day cooking.  The ‘routine’ kind.

A few weeks ago, we made loaded baked potatoes for WeHangsDay and that felt like delicious and fairly easy plan for a Monday kind of Monday.

They were pretty delish.

 

 

 

 

 

I sliced some sweet Italian sausage, sautéed some mushrooms & baked broccoli while the man seasoned and cooked the taters.  We added dairy (who wouldn’t?!?) with some grated cheddar (for him) parmesan (for me) and sour cream (is it a loaded potato without sour cream? I think not!). And we settled in for our first weeknight of Daylight Savings with a hot dinner, a snuggly puppy and some DVR recordings.  A pretty nice Monday, if I do say so myself.

draft day

For those of you who are not avid football fans, today is the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.  I’ll be quite frank, I’m a very big football fan, but I don’t get all wrapped up in the draft.

However, the man and I thought we would “just turn it on for a minute” this evening as we sat down to enjoy some sushi … and we’re at the 12th pick and we haven’t changed the channel once.

The last time I watched the draft this intensely, Mario Williams went first to the Texans, and Matt Leinart dropped to tenth, following (amongst others) Vince Young and Reggie Bush.

As I sit curled up on our couch, I think about how sometimes, it’s really nice to be grateful for little things in the moment.  Here I am, with the man I love & my bestest friend in the world, our little peanut Lucy Lou smelling of banana chocolate chip muffins snoring between us, watching the draft.  It’s an amazing amalgamation of all the things we love.  Obviously, neither of our teams have picked yet (the man keeps saying coyly … “The Giants are the 32nd pick.  Wanna know why? Wanna know why?”  Long pause.  Sly look in my direction.  And then, at the same time, in completely different tones, we both say “Because the Giants won the Super Bowl.” ).  But it’s football.  In April.  And life is alright.

playoffs

As I may have mentioned, I am originally from the Steel City, otherwise known as Pittsburgh (or as some people have called it recently, the City of Champions).  My dad was born there, as was my grandmother (Jennie J).  I was also born in Pittsburgh.  I’ve moved many times throughout my life, but Pittsburgh always symbolized something to me ~ home, perhaps, when we never really had one.

We lived there from my sixth grade year until after I finished tenth grade.  It was right after the Penguins won their first two Stanley Cups, and the Steelers weren’t that good.  Everyone had a Penguins jersey, and we all wore them to school ad nauseum.  I even owned Penguin earrings.  I was lucky enough to attend my fair share of games, and when I was about fourteen, I attended a fundraiser called “Penguins at Your Service,” where each Penguin served as a waiter at a table, and the event raised money for Cystic Fibrosis (the Penguins goaltender at the time, Tom Barrasso, had a daughter with cystic fibrosis, and he was an integral part of the event).  The year I went, Luc Robitaille was our server (the year before, when my dad took my mum, it was Mario Lemieux!) and I met most of the players, and very shyly got their autographs.

BUT, as I am sure you also know, I have resided in Philadelphia for the past eight years, and most of my Philly friends are diehard Flyers fans.

Tonight, we hosted WeHangsDay on Friday (FriENdSday) and (un)fortunately, game 5 of the playoffs started at 7.30p.  Now, I will admit that in the years since we left Pittsburgh, my interest in hockey has waned.  I still ‘support’ Pittsburgh’s teams, but I’m only truly a Steelers fan.  I have my fingers crossed that no one is super upset at the end of the night.  And by that, I mean no one in our apartment.

For the evening, I decided to re-create my favorite sandwich from DiBruno Brothers, a high-end deli/grocery in downtown Philadelphia.  Since my offices are no longer downtown, I was seriously hankering for a Mamma Mia today, and couldn’t have one.

Luckily, we own a sammie press.

A Twist on the Mamma Mia

Here’s what you need to make 4:

8 slices bread (we used 3 cheese semolina)

pesto (20-25 basil leaves, 2 tbsp pine nuts, 2 tbsp EVOO, 2 tbsp grated parmesan, S & P to taste, 2 garlic cloves blended together in a food processor)

1 juicy red tomato, sliced and halved

8 slices of prosciutto

a lil bit of butter

4 thin slices of mozzarella cheese

What you want to do:

1.  Heat up your sammie press at medium.  Lower it to low right before you put the sammies on.

2.  Spread pesto  on one four pieces of bread.

3.  Place a slice of mozzarella on top of the pesto.

4.  Put 2 half moons of tomato on top of the mozzarella.

5.  Lay prosciutto on top of tomato.  Smear a smidge of butter on each of the 4 naked pieces of bread.  Put sammies together.

6.  Smear a little bit of butter on the outside of both pieces of bread. Place sammie in the center of the press.  Cook until you have defined grill marks (not charcoaled, but a good, toasty brown) and the mozzarella has melted.

7.  I half the sammies because it is easier to eat.  Tonight we enjoyed them with homemade guacamole and doritos (orange chips for Flyers fans 😉 ) and great company.

Cheers to Fridays, Friends and playoff FUN.

the reality of the situation

Last night, I watched three quarters (give or take) of a hugely important Steeler’s divisional game.  We lost, and that was disappointing.  But even more disappointing is the constant reminder of the fallibility of the human race.  That might sound odd.  So let me rewind a bit.

The Steelers are in the North Division of the AFC (in case this sounds like a foreign language, the NFL consists of the AFC and the NFC, each of which contain sixteen teams, broken down into four divisions of four teams; the most recent reorganization of all the teams occurred in 2002 when the Houston Texans joined the NFL).  The AFC North has had a myriad of teams and multiple names, but the Steelers and Browns have been part of the division (minus the three years that the Browns were ‘deactivated’ following then-owner Art Modell’s decision to move the franchise to Baltimore in 1996 and forming the Baltimore Ravens) since the beginning.  Since the most recent realignment in 2002, the AFC North consists of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Baltimore Ravens, the Cleveland Browns (back in 1999 as an expansion team) and the Cincinnati Bengals.

From the perspective of a Steelers fan (as I am sure it varies depending on which team one supports), prior to the Brown’s move to Baltimore in 1996, the Steelers’ biggest rival was Cleveland.  Following the controversial move of the franchise, Baltimore has become Steeler’s fans’ most hated opponent.  Watching the season opener this year, and the Raven’s blatant steam-rolling of my team, made last night’s game even more intense.  Especially following such a tough game last week (and one in which the Steelers emerged triumphant following years of Tom Brady coming into their house and shutting them down).

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I have a pretty deep passion for my team ~ possibly bordering on irrational at times.  I love the Steeler’s organization, and the way in which the Rooney’s choose to run their NFL team.  I believe that being a Steeler says something about a player’s humanity, and when a player’s conduct, or personal mores and/or values are not in line with that of the organization, most of the time that player is traded or released.  (Most recent case in point: Santonio Holmes’ trade in the offseason to the NY Jets following being named the MVP of Superbowl XLIII in the Steeler’s win over the Arizona Cardinals.  His crimes?  Apparently misconduct involving marijuana possession and charges of assault).  Also occurring in the offseason of 2009?  Ben Roethlisberger’s major infraction involving an allegedly underaged girl in a bar and heavy words, like sexual assault and rape.  But we’ll get back to that.

Bottom line, I am a true, bleeding black and gold Steeler’s fan.  As silly as it sounds, even when life is a little rough around the edges, or falling completely apart (as mine has in the past), the Steelers are there on Sundays, and it’s a very simple game.  Over 60 minutes, either they score more points than their opponent, or they don’t.  To me, football isn’t all about stats, individual players, fantasy leagues, and all the other mumbo jumbo that is inevitably a part of the NFL culture.  It’s about Sundays, and whether or not the Steelers score more points than whoever they face on the field.

I hate it when they don’t.  It physically feels disappointing, as though my heart has sunk  in my chest from the weight of the loss.  It’s infinitely more disappointing losing to the Ravens for a second time in a season.  I have a deep dislike for the men who wear purple and hail from Baltimore.  But with that dislike there is respect, as there must be for any opponent who is constantly a challenge, who constantly elevates and motivates their rival to produce their best effort.

Last night, in a fit of heated frustration, I decided to voice my opinion about the Ravens on Facebook.  Following last week’s dominant win, it was difficult watching the Steelers struggle to move the ball on the ground and complete passes.  Additionally (as is always the case) I felt that there were some questionable calls on the field, and some downright objectionable ball placements (I especially felt this way watching the Patriots Giants game- which aired before the Steelers took to the field for SNF).

So to preface my subsequent comments, let me just say.  1.  I believe (and it is my opinion) that the NFL tends to regulate their players and organizations, and establish rules and levy fines and hold members to a certain standard better than some of the other major sports organizations.  2.  I love the Steelers, and despite being utterly disappointed at times (much more than I was at their loss yesterday) I will always love them, unless they somehow manage to become everything about the NFL that I dislike.  I don’t believe that will ever be the case.  I will defend them even if I don’t always agree with the action taken.  3.  When I think about football, and the teams and players involved, it’s rarely on a personal level.  It’s normally all about what happens between endzones on a field once a week. When things make national news, it’s unavoidable.  But in general, what players do on their own time doesn’t catch my fancy.  I like when they’re suited up in black and gold, and fighting for 10 yards at at time.  Life isn’t black and white, but games are.  At the end a winner and a loser emerge.  And it’s solely about what happened on the grass for 60 minutes.

Before I begin though, there is another side to the story.

If my mind was heavy with thoughts of professionals in the NFL getting a pass for doing reprehensible things, nothing can describe how I felt as I hit my stride on the treadmill yesterday morning only to find myself reading about Jerry Sandusky’s many, erm, indiscretions (not even close to the kind of powerful word that should be used here) that spanned years ~ years!!! ~ and have been under investigation for the past three.   In my mind, there are no explanations that can wash away the shame he has brought to a University that I have loved practically since birth (or at least since when I understood what love and team loyalty was) and am proud to call my alma mater. All of it is so new and fresh and continues to compound in its level of horrific-ness as each new piece unfolds.  My initial reaction?  I’m utterly devastated, but even moreso, I’m furious that someone could tarnish a University that prides itself on its morals and standards because somehow their need to indulge in whatever it is they indulged in somehow trumped the history and integrity of Penn State and the love and belief that thousands of students and alma mater have in it.   I have held my head high for years because I believed in what Penn State stood for, and I believed in what Joe Paterno upheld in our football program ~ that university is first and foremost a place to learn, both academically and socially; that Penn State teaches everyone as equally as possible, to both know information, and to be the best version of oneself that one can be.  I took great pride in Penn State’s reputation, and in JoePa.

I feel, as I watch this train wreck unfold across every media source imaginable, so utterly let down by something I loved so deeply.  In an even worse redux of Ben’s allegations two years ago, I wonder if what I believed in ever existed at all.  There is nothing more heart-breaking than that.

So how does a person reconcile all these things?  Ben Roethlisberger, a alleged rapist.  Ray Lewis, an alleged murderer.  Jerry Sandusky, trumping them both, an alleged child molester.

Ben Roethlisberger, two-time Super Bowl winning QB and team leader.  Ray Lewis, Super Bowl MVP and the heart and soul of the Raven’s organization.  Jerry Sandusky, defensive coordinator for one of the best and most respected collegiate athletic programs.

What does it mean when organizations that make a point of outlining and upholding standards handle situations like this in what can only be thought of (especially in the case of Penn State) as questionable?  Where are the lines?  Can some be crossed and others not?  How did the Steelers, the Rooneys and the coaching staff, led by Mike Tomlin, decide that Ben’s situations (in Reno and Georgia) could be forgiven, but Holmes’ could not? How did eight boys over fifteen years allegedly get molested and no one in the Penn State organization be aware of it?  Isn’t it ironic (I had to look this up last night) that Lewis struck a deal to testify against his co-defendants, both of whom were later aquitted ~ and that the suit he was wearing the night of the alleged murder was never found?

How do we, as fans, go back to watching and enjoying football, when there -at times- feels to be an undercurrent of the miscarriage of justice?  So, Ben is absolved of his sins, he ‘finds’ God, gets married and all is forgiven?  Ray Lewis becomes a pillar of goodness in the Raven’s organization and it’s all good?  Plaxico Burress shot himself and did time.  He didn’t injure someone else.  He didn’t violate someone or take their life.  He shot himself.  And he did time.  How do you reconcile all these things and find the common thread that unifies all the decisions made and the verdicts given? As I mentioned before, it’s heart-breaking.

So, whether anyone agrees with me or not, I choose to love my teams when they are just that ~ teams, on the field, August through (hopefully) January every year, physically fighting it out yard by yard.

I don’t have a good explanation for what Ben did, how he handled it, or why the organization I love, the Pittsburgh Steelers, chose the path they did.  I don’t want to think about Ray Lewis other than twice a year when we face him on the field, and where I give him respect for who he is as a football player.  In regards to Penn State, it’s so much more personal and on such an otherworldly level right now (after all, I’ve had nearly two years, and a season and a half of football to reconcile with Ben) that in general, I’m just speechless.  I’m speechless at the allegations levied against Sandusky, and I’m speechless that something so utterly terrible will forever change my school.  In general, the fallibility of the human race, and the grand stage of football that presents it in regards to the above men, make me sad.

As a regular person, who goes to work every Monday through Friday, I want to believe in something greater than myself ~ I want to be part of something greater than myself. I want to believe that the organizations and people that I put my faith and love into are infallible, and will never let me down.  But humanity is fallible.  And with that comes the painful heartache of having to come to terms with the reality of situations, such as rape allegations, murder allegations and sexual molestation.  To me, it doesn’t feel fair.  I feel now, processing the Sandusky situation, much as I felt in 2009 when Ben made the news repeatedly for his incredibly questionable behavior.  Embarrassed, let down, misled.

Also, as I come to the end of this rant, I find that I don’t know how to finish what I’ve been rambling about.  So I’ll say this (again).  I love the Steelers.  I couldn’t imagine being a fan of any other NFL team.  I love Penn State.  I am proud to call it my alma mater, and I am proud of the tenets of, in my opinion, one of the best public collegiate institutions.  Neither the Steelers organization nor the Pennsylvania State University, despite my deepest wishes, are infallible.  And while that is disappointing, I still love them both.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t find things such as the above troubling.  It only means that I love them, damages and all.

a case of the mondays

Life can feel really busy, and as though it’s speeding by too quickly sometimes.  What with work, and commuting and trying to work out regularly, and getting household projects done, and keeping up with friends and family … days and weeks slip by almost imperceptibly.  And all of a sudden, it’s the downward slope of October and the holidays are around the corner.

Remember when you were a child, and your parents said that time goes by quickly?  And you thought, “That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard?”

I get it now.

The man and I had a great weekend ~ we had a date night on Friday, and enjoyed a new sushi place.  On Saturday, after getting my hair done (isn’t the salon just so decadent?), we cleaned the house, put together the photo collages (!!!) and then I was lucky enough to have dinner with my closest friend from high school days.  It was amazing, and she brought an incredible bottle of wine from the country of Georgia, where she spent several months teaching this past year.  (She’s sort of amazing ~ and awe inspiring.  She’s working on her thesis now so I was glad she was able to take the time out to come and catch up).

On Sunday, we indulged in a day of football, and hung out at our favorite bar, playing shuffleboard, watching the Steelers & Giants, and noshing on really awesome mussels in white sauce and hot wings (for him ~ I’m not a wings kinda gal).

Today, it was back to early beginnings ~ our drive to work was partially in the dark.  Ugh.  And then  we hit up the gym this evening.  Three miles in just under 34minutes ~ which isn’t so great, but also isn’t so bad.  Ten minute mile ~ I’m coming for ya!

As far as something fun to share that we cooked ~ I’m having a case of the Mondays.  All I want to do is curl up on the couch and fall asleep while John isn’t looking.  (It’s my M.O. when he’s in a TV watching mood, and my eyelids have lead weights attached to them).

My goal, once I get the work, working out, flossing (should be done once a day!) and all that other stuff down to a science, I’m gonna get on the ball with a weekly menu, so I have something fun to cook at least three or four days a week.

Until then, I can guarantee WeHangsDay every other week.  🙂  And catching up with the wine journal.

Happy Monday!

 

 

what i did for love

When I met my man ~ nearly four years ago ~ there was something about him that I just couldn’t shake.  We met each other under (in retrospect) quite interesting circumstances, but when I saw him, and shook his hand, I had this really uncanny feeling that we’d met before.

I was wrong.

This was not the first time.  It also wasn’t the last.  That I was wrong, that is.

Making our relationship work over the years is both fun and exciting, and an exercise in compromise.  I’ve learned how to shoot a gun (only once ~ I’m from suburbia, after all!), and he’s watched an entire season of “Dancing with the Stars,” because Hines Ward was competing, and I had to watch every week.

On Friday, I compromised a little more, and learned to make beef & broccoli.  I know this probably sounds amazing to most people ~ authentic Asian cuisine, yum!  But I have never liked Chinese food ~ never. ever. ~ and the man loves it, and for the first two years of dating, he used to tell people that he gave up eating Chinese food for me.  (“Well,” he’d say -with a smile and a sly look in my direction- mid-conversation about favorite restaurants, “I haven’t had Chinese food in two years.” And everyone would exclaim in horror, and we’d have to have the ‘Gwyn doesn’t eat Chinese food’ conversation … for the millionth time).

One of my great friends ~ Angie of the amazing brownies and chocolate chip cookies ~ also happens to cook the best beef & broccoli I’ve ever had (yes, I know my experience is limited, but this stuff is ridic!).  Last Friday, she came over and instructed me in the fine art of making her masterpiece (her non-baking masterpiece that is!).

And because I’m such a genius, I didn’t write it down.  I figured I’d just type the recipe from memory that evening, but instead, I hit the road to get to my parents house, so that on Saturday morning, my dad & I could drive up to State College for the PSU v. Iowa game.  (Sidenote: I’m not gonna get overly enthusiastic about PSU’s win for fear of jinxing something, but it was an adrenaline-filled game, and I screamed and jumped up and down, and chanted “We Are!” and sang the Alma Mater full volume … and my vocal chords hurt until this morning! … and had a fab time hanging out with my dad and maintaining our PSU tradition.  As I grew up going to games, journeying to Happy Valley in rain, sleet, snow and sun and then followed in my father’s footsteps and attended the great Pennsylvania State University, I can’t imagine having any loyalty to any other team ~ I’ve bled blue & white since birth).

Since I didn’t manage to put fingers to keyboard all weekend to discuss Penn State or the Steelers (oh thank you Mike Tomlin, Ben Roethlisburger, Hines Ward, Antonio Brown, and my new Steeler crush, Isaac Redman, for getting it done! Shout out to Daniel Sepulveda and Mundy for an awesome trick play, and to the entire Offensive Line who looked solid!!!!), I wanted to have a good post tonight.  Unfortunately, I dropped the ball.  I have the rough outline but have to review with Angie before I put it up ~ or, heaven forbid, someone could try to make beef & broccoli and it could be terrible ~ possibly utterly horrendous ~ because I forgot a step.  Ugh.  The pressure! 😉

Currently, there is a peach cobbler bubbling away in the oven (finally!) ~ another effort made for love.  Obviously, I’m missing my man.

So if your significant other is next to you, lean over and smack a wet one on them.  If the man was here, I would, too!

heartache

I woke up snuggled in bed, a distinct chill in the air, and I was both excited about the fall, and all the wonderful things it holds, but also mournful of the season that has passed ~ cold drinks on the patio, the warm heat of the sun, sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, barbeques …. Ah well.  Adieu ’til next year!

Despite wanting to have a low key weekend (I think of it as a battery recharge for the five days of work that wear me out completely) this one seemed to be jam-packed with things to do.  Today, after a yum breakfast courtesy of my lovely Mama, we went over to the storage unit to assess the workload necessary to clear it out of extraneous… stuff (I’ll refrain from saying ‘junk’ because it probably isn’t junk … but it has been in storage for years, so I don’t think one could call it necessary).  It’s amazing the amount of stuff I thought I’d lost, but it has been sealed up in boxes instead!  Very exciting stuff ~ and probably a lot of work for an upcoming weekend.

Then, I watched the Steelers’ painful loss to the Texans with my father.  No matter how much I try to be calm and collected, watching them this season (and with total honesty, the end of last season) is absolutely gut-wrenching.  Where is the fire?  And ~ say it with me Steeler Nation ~ where is our Offensive Line?  Ugh.  Not to mention the salt in the wound reading the news ribbon the rest of the day stating that Ben boarded the plane on crutches and a boot on his foot.  For me, being a fan is deep-seeded.  The Steelers are part of who I am.  No matter what happens this season, or any other, I will always love them beyond what is considered normal.  I have to have faith that they will figure this out and triumph as well.  But I’d like to think it won’t take until we’re 7-5 to find the fire.

Today also launched my third go-round with Shaun T and Insanity.  For some reason, those work outs work better for me than anything else.  I’m disciplined about it, and I find it challenging, so I keep up on it.  I was thrilled beyond belief that Workout #1 (Plyometric Cardio Circuit) was challenging, but not impossible (as it was the first and second time).  Yippee!!  I still think the man is crazy, but clearly, also very motivating.

On the food front, the peach cobbler has remained illusive thus far, but fingers crossed, it’s baking away happily tomorrow night.  Monday is coming again …. and this girl must get some shut eye before the rat race begins.