Nourish

Nourish by Elaine GriffinThe theme of this months NaBloPoMo is Nourish. As an aspiring food blogger you would think my mind would have immediately thought this would be a perfect opportunity to blog about food.

Interestingly, my first thought when I read the word Nourish was how to nourish my soul.

What nourishes my soul?

My little dude who is sleeping soundly in his bed.

My little girl who is balled up on my lap making it hard to type.

Good food, that I will gladly cook myself.

Good wine.

The company of all the family and friends in my life that I love and respect, who’s presence just makes it all better.

I have all of these things, much of the time.

There is one thing missing, though, and it is my desire to have all of these things at the beach.

Sure, I live in the beautiful Finger Lakes, with no shortage of lakes, sandy beaches, and waterfalls. But I long for the ocean. The smell. The sound of crashing waves. Pelicans. Dolphins. Warmth.

Someday.

What nourishes your soul?

Photo Credit: Katarina 2353 via Compfight cc

If You Could Live Anywhere…

Yesterday’s NaBloPoMo prompt was “If you could live anywhere, where would it be?”

This is something I have given a lot of thought to lately. Honestly, I’m very unhappy where I am. I try to make the most of my circumstances and find something to be grateful for every day. But our house needs work, and we have no money to do it. It’s too small for us. There is no closet space. My office is the dining room table. These things are manageable, but when you are in the middle of it all day, every day, it gets old. Depressing. Overwhelming.
And while I do have family that lives close – in-laws, aunts and uncles, cousins and nieces, my own parents and sisters live a two day drive away. And I miss them. Terribly. Every day that my children learn or do something new, or every time people who live close say they don’t see us enough is a heart wrenching reminder that my family gets to see us twice a year at best.

A couple of years ago we took a vacation to central Virginia. I loved it! I used to live in North Carolina and I hated it. Too many pine trees, and not enough fall color. But the mountains of Virginia are amazing, and it is relatively close to the beach. I have always wanted to live at the beach.

More importantly it is a one day drive to Upstate NY, and a one day drive to Georgia. A good happy medium, I think, with the opportunity to see both of our families more often. And the opportunity for more happiness and less heartbreak.

Autumn leaf color
Autumn leaf color (Photo credit: INABA Tomoaki)
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If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

NaBloPoMo: Let’s Do This

BlogHer NaBloPoMo badgeDo you guys remember when I participated in NaBloPoMo last year? For those who don’t and have no idea what I’m talking about, go visit the NaBloPoMo site on BlogHer. In short, NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) is a challenge to write. One post a day for the month; it helps get the creative juices flowing, and it’s a darn good way to build your community of blogging contacts (friends) because not only are you encouraged to write, but you are encouraged to read other NaBloPoMo posts.

Last year when I participated, I had just started blogging, and was just starting to get comfortable and cozy at BlogHer It was a crazy hard month, and I thought I might go insane. But I lived. I wrote. I felt good about it. And, I met some of my best blogging friends. I heart them.

Until today, I was really undecided about participating this year. Things are crazy. But aren’t they always? Plus, this year, I know what to expect. I know that not every post has to be EPIC. I could post an Instagram picture and write a couple of sentences. I could just write a couple of sentences. It’s all good.

So, I’m doing it. And, I’m also going to NaBloPoMo over on Elaine Griffin Designs. I need the creative jump start. I hope you will join me and enjoy my insanity!

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Guest Post at Rough and Rede

I was very privileged to be asked to guest post again this week for my friend George at Rough and Rede. I “met” George last November during NaBloPoMo, which was hosted by BlogHer. How very brave of George to imerse himself in a sea of powerful women bloggers! We have been corresponding since last November and I was very pleased when he asked me to take part in his “Voices of August 2.0″ series. So please, go read my post, Evolution of Self and also be sure to check out George and the other guest bloggers

Letdown.

sad faceYou know that feeling you get any post-huge holiday, where you have planned and plotted, prepared and executed. And suddenly what you’ve been eating-breathing-sleeping for days/weeks/months is over. You just walk around your house aimlessly, not knowing what to do. And…it feels really damn empty.

That is how I feel post NaBloPoMo. Suddenly, I have writers block. And I’m tired. And I have absolutely no thoughts. NO THOUGHTS, PEOPLE!

After a month of marathon writing, which I so totally enjoyed, I have spent the last several days not even thinking about writing. It’s like, if I don’t have a goal, then what is the point. Because come on, folks, there was no WAY I was missing a day. That’s just not how I roll. I always meet or exceed my goals! Okay, not always, but you see where I’m coming from. And I love blogging, right? So why the let down because I am sans a goal? That’s just…dumb.

I’m almost wishing that I had NaBloPoMo’d this month. But I thought I needed a little break from the pressure. And I had a shit-tastic Thanksgiving weekend and then week after. And honestly with Christmas coming and having all sorts of commitments, it is for the best that I did not participate. Right?

So today I’m writing this little ditty because it came to me, and you know as writers, when something comes to us, we have to write it down, lest it be gone for-ev’s. But tomorrow I’m picking myself up and I am going to have some writing ideas. I mean, I have some, but I’m not in love with them right now.

If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, I would love to hear them. Come on people, help inspire me!!

happy face

My last meal, or, possibly, this year’s Christmas dinner

Julia Child rocks
My childhood hero! Photo courtesy of http://www.dirtcandynyc.com

I love great food. And I love to cook great food. It’s so much more satisfying than getting great food out. I grew up watching Julia Child in my grandmother’s living room. I have seen her kitchen actually – twice! I have spent countless hours both preparing and talking about food with my mother and my grandmother. I have poured over cookbooks, cooking magazines, and online recipes. I have watched thousands of hours of Food Network shows. My husband says that is the TV’s default channel. Whenever he comes into the room and the TV is on, it’s on Food Network. I plan an entire two-week Christmas menu months in advance.

I decided recently that if we won the lottery I would not hire a private chef, but I would purchase every gadget and every ingredient I ever wanted. I would have a ginormous garden and I would spend all my time gardening and cooking. This is what would make me most relaxed and at ease.

So yeah, I love food, but I have no idea what I would want to eat if it was my last meal. Does anyone really know what they would eat? It must depend on the day and your overall mood and level of hungry. I’m going to plan what I want today, and maybe it will stick with me and that will be my final plan. Or maybe we’ll just have this for Christmas dinner!

this is the finger lakes region of new york state
The beautiful Finger Lakes region! Photo courtesy of http://www.cedaradirondack.com

We are very lucky to live in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York State where we can get fresh local produce, meat, cheese, wine, and pretty much everything else you would want, year-round. Since this is my last meal I’m going for a full seven-course menu with wine pairings, and I’m going to shout out to my favorite wineries.

Appetizer: Tuna tartare, paired with Heron Hill Winery Chardonnay

Soup: Tomato bisque, paired with Glenora Winery Sangiovese

Salad: Spring greens with figs, blue cheese, and champagne vinaigrette, paired with Lamoreaux Landing Semi-Dry Riesling

Entrée: Pink and green peppercorn crusted prime rib with au jus, garlic mashed potatoes, and sautéed shaved brussels sprouts with pancetta, paired with Americana Vineyards Baco Noir

Cheese: Fruit tart with goat and blue cheeses, paired with Sheldrake Point Riesling Ice Wine

Desert: My mom’s chocolate sugar cookies with whipped cream for dipping, paired with Fox Run Vineyards Ruby Port

Digestif: McKenzie Bourbon Whiskey from Finger Lakes Distilling

And of course, I would prepare all of this myself, except the cookies. But I won’t do the cleaning up!

What would you want to eat for your last meal?

What writing means to me

I am not a writer, but I do write.

When I was a teenager I used to write angsty poems about boys. I also wrote said boys intense love letters that I would never send. I wrote in journals at this point. Journals I still have. Journals I hide. I still feel embarrassed to let anyone read them. I guess it’s because somewhere inside of me I am still that chubby girl who feels the sting from loving and never being loved in return. So when I was a teenager my favorite part about writing was having a place to put these feelings of sadness, loneliness, and rejection.

When I was first in college I wrote many an essay on feminism and women’s lives. Believe it or not, at age 19 I knew all about what it was like to be a woman. Sometimes I discovered a little something about myself, but self-reflection was not really my goal. I was too busy with the important work of being a young feminist and making my mark on feminism. I didn’t realize I had to know myself in order to be a good feminist. As I worked toward my bachelor’s degree at Ithaca College, my focus had switched from feminism in general to the broader reach of sociology. I wrote a lot of heady work about the connection between race, class, and gender oppression. I became interested in politics, and I really thought I could change the world. At this point I wrote of course because I had to. But my writing really made me feel powerful. To be studying these concepts and being able to effectively break them down to people who knew nothing about them made me thirst for more. I wanted to go to grad school and write and talk about race, class, and gender oppression forever. I wanted to be a writer.

And then I didn’t get into the grad school I wanted to go to, and I kind of gave up hope. And then I got married. And then I got pregnant with a surprise baby. And then all I wanted to do was be home with my surprise baby. So now, somewhere between five and ten years post-college, I have done a lot of things that do not include writing. I brought two beautiful babies into the world. I have crafted countless amounts of baby clothes, tutu’s, and greeting cards. I have schooled myself in graphic and web design and marketing so I can have a career that is satisfying and that will allow me to stay at home. I was fortunate to land a job as a freelance researcher and blogger, which got me back into writing. It was boring and I don’t do the blogging part anymore. But just getting back into writing every day gave the confidence I needed to blog for myself. I thought I wanted to rediscover myself as a witty, self-effacing mommy blogger. And I still kind of do, but after doing some writing and reflecting on my life I have realized that I don’t really know myself at all. Life has happened, and I’ve lived through it without giving it much thought. Writing for me now means a lot more because I have the confidence to discover who I am and share it with the world. Writing now is about having a conversation with myself and with my readers. It is about storytelling; telling the gory details about what it is like to be a wife and a mother, and still hold myself and everyone else together. Writing is about connection; being part of a support system and a cheerleader for other women. Writing for me now is about self-discovery.

I am a writer, because I write.