Charting life's circuitous path

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A bit of this and that

  • The Penguins lost. 😥 Needless to say, yesterday was a very low day at work.  So, now I have to pick a new hockey team to root for (which is hard since the Pens are the ONLY hockey team to root for) and I pick…

43ffb5d0c5af4e8543b2027a1804d561Not as cute as a penguin, but at least I can say  “Go Habs!” without feeling like a traitor. 😥

  • May is my birthday month. 🙂 So, we’ve started early with a free burger at Red Robins and some delicious cookies from the Great American Cookie Company.  Have you ever had any of their cookies?  They’re surprisingly good!  They don’t have that preservative taste that a lot of non-homemade cookies have and they’re so soft and delicious.  We never bought mall food growing up and I’ve always wanted my own big cookie.  It’s a lucky thing that we’re so cheap or we’d be eating them all the time. 😈 Next week birthday celebrations include: ice cream and an afternoon tea at a local bakery I’ve been dying to try out.  The week after that?  Eddie Izzard!!  I love May!


  • I’m growing potatoes, bush cucumbers, carrots and eggplants in containers this year.  It’s the first year we’re going without tomatoes, peppers and strawberries.  We’re lucky to have a shaded patio, but it means very little sun for sun loving plants. 😦 There’s only so many tiny tomatoes or weedy peppers one can pick before one tosses in the hoe and gives up.  I’m hoping the cucumbers grow better since I’m keen on making my own pickles this year.  I did a trial recipe with Flour’s pickle recipe, but I didn’t tweak it right for my quantities and it’s a bit sour.  o_O


  • I love cooking desserts for my work potlucks, but I just can’t get it together for the impromptu potluck this Friday.  I want to make something with what I have in my cabinets, but that really limits my choices.   I came across this recipe and doesn’t it look delicious??  So yummy looking! ❤COCONUT-CARAMEL-COOKIE-SERVING-680x453

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New Year Wins

Every year seems to go faster and faster and become more of a blur. I stopped making a list for new year resolutions last year.  This might seem odd since lists are what I do – I make daily lists, financial lists, and even quote lists.  In a way, I see life as a series of steps.

But goal lists are meant to be broken.  Like saying “Never!” and then promptly doing.


An admirable yet very negative lists of resolutions I found on Pinterest. Wanting change indicates a dissatisfaction with the way you are.

Instead, I want to think of my wins this last year.  I dwell too much on what I’m doing wrong that I don’t need to sit down at the start of a new, fresh year thinking negatively about my current state.  What I’d rather do is celebrate all of the little and big wins that went toward making 2013 a fantastic year!

  • I’ve become more comfortable with the right portion size, so I’m learning to eat more naturally. Not like a bird and not like it’s my last meal before execution.  This might mean never hitting my “goal” weight, but I realized this year that my “goal” weight left me hungry 24/7.  So I came to terms with my body: I’m still right where I should be with weight and I’m happier for it.
  •  We went to our first party as a couple and had a blast!  The geek club has been a great source of potential friends and I’m so glad we’re taking the time and effort to go to events.  It’s not always easy to leave the comforts of home for a night out with strangers, but it definitely makes you feel more like part of a group when you do.
  • I learned to just “taste” food rather than “eat” food at potlucks.  Not only can I now face a potluck without the fear of losing control and wiping it clean, but I can satisfy my “tastebuds” with just a taste.  (I’ll let you in on a secret: I pretend I’m an editor of Saveur or somesuch and do an evaluation of the food before moving on.  Don’t tell anyone.  Even I think that’s a bit too geeky. 😳 )  It’s wonderful to finally not fear the (frequent) work potluck.
  • I was able to stop reading at least 3 books this year! 😀 This might sound silly, but I typically finish a book regardless of whether I like it or not.  It’s like an obligation or a hope that it must surely get better. The resulting gnashing of teeth are now gone with the small steps I’ve taken in breaking that habit.  If the book is really bad, I stop and move on.  Admittedly, I still find that I’m sitting through a lot of mediocre books, but I’m saving my teeth for the big smiles when I hit the good ones. 🙂
  •  My repertoire for homemade staples increased to sandwich buns and tortilla wrappers. I love the taste of a homemade whole wheat bun vs the store bought buns, and tortilla wrappers are so easy to make, it’s crazy not to!  I now regularly make the following staples from scratch:  chili/taco seasoning, granola bars, buns, tortilla wrappers, and soup.

 What wins did you have this year?  🙂

Here’s to another year of happiness in 2014!cb28ba73e3badcbec5a481f36a840201


Sometimes being just isn’t enough

Very rarely am I up so early in the morning that the sun is painting the sky a soft peach.  I was a bit edgy after the nightmare that woke me (my dream mother decided to take up drinking with my coworker – yikes!).  I settled on making cinnamon oatmeal, and sitting down at the computer to change the “scenes of blue” Windows background theme.

I picked cute kittens because, apparently, it’s a kittens kind of day.

We never had a cat growing up because my parents were 100% dog people.  Dogs of all shapes and sizes have bounded through our house, and the only cat to ever spend one night was from a neighbor who got the mischievous ball of fur back the next morning after a well-aimed scratch (children who grow up around dogs need definite cat training if all is to go well – trust me).  Fluffy puppies and tough dogs clutter the pages of our albums between photos of family and friends.

There are lots of smiles and candid shots of people having picnics, playing in parks, or sitting around the table.  Kids are laughing at an unknown joke, and mothers are sitting quietly with adorable babies at their side.  Big holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving are heavily featured with birthdays coming in a close third.  Picture after picture display moments where lives are captured by a bright flash.


Many of those people are still in the same places, building lives out of the spaces left when we moved away.  Phone calls and emails play “catch up” and while it pales in comparison to what the pictures show, it’s still a connection we attempt to make a few times a year.

Others we might see at the post office and feel grateful for the “lucky” chance that brought us together, but the pause necessary for a photo has long passed.  We leave them wondering what they’re up to, as our thoughts quickly scatter to the next task in our busy schedule. At best, the encounter is tinged with the warm brown brush of yesteryear.

Then there are those others.  The families that used to share movie nights together when the children were young, but now only send Christmas cards with cold, solitary signatures.  The child that laughed on the father’s shoulders now shifts uncomfortably silent on the phone with nothing to say (but so much to express).  Or the long-ago friend whose smile lit up the shot in our album, but now makes our heart race out of fear as to what we’ll say when we spy them at the deli counter.

I can see all of these types of people in the pictures looking back at me.  I’m not naive to think that people stay the same.  Every day we change just a little bit and every year we shift slightly to the left, to the right, but always just enough that we aren’t the same as the year before.  Gray hairs have started to show up in my dark brown bob, which was once down my back, and my skin needs copious amounts of lotion.  But most of these physical changes can be fixed – mended. It’s the small, physical distancing that leads to the emotional unraveling of years and countless moments together that scares me the most.

It’s the fewer phone calls (oh, didn’t I call you?), shorter meetups (hi! *smile* how are you? *smile* Good, we’ll have to meetup sometime when we can sit and chat! *smile*), and the eventual disconnect.

beach2This year we’re having Thanksgiving at our place.  This means that we won’t be meeting up with the rest of the extended family for our yearly shared holiday.  Will this become routine?  No. We’ll see them at Christmas and order will be restored.  Having Thanksgiving at our place has been something that my hubby and I had wanted to do for a long time, and it’s logistically impossible for everyone to meet up.  But there’s a quiver of fear deep inside me wondering what it’ll take to finally have things fall apart.  As much as I want to believe that family stick through thick and thin, I know better.  Right now, we’re okay, but we’ve been shifting to the edges of the frame for many years.  Slowly but surely the smiles have dimmed and members have drifted out of shot.  At times it feels as if it’s only my Grandmother holding it all together.

Relationships require a lot of effort and even family relationships. It’s so easy to let everyday life take control and lose touch outside of the occasional Facebook post.  I know I’ve let people down and have let friendships dwindle away due to a selfish desire to focus on me and only me. When I flick through the old photos I’ve scanned, my heart sinks amidst all of the family smiles that no longer shine and the unrecognizable faces bent so close to mine.

It’s also hard to rebuild the gap.  Lives have moved on and so much has happened that it seems insurmountable.

But maybe it doesn’t need to be.  Maybe it’s okay to let what was stay captured in the fading snapshot.  Today, we can and should focus on maintaining and being thankful for what we have now.  If we do, then perhaps those faces will stay in the frame for many more brilliant flashes to come.