Thursday, July 28, 2011

Change of Plans

Well, if you haven't already learned via FB or suspected from my Woody Allen post, big change of plans:  I'm not going to Costa Rica!  Not now at least, and probably not for any length of time in the next year or so.  Why?  Because I'm fighting the urge to move constantly, and I'm going to sit my little butt down in DC for at least the next year. 

There were many reasons for making this change but here are a few of them:

- My cousin, Lisa, and I had a conversation when I was back in Cleveland for my parents' anniversary.  We were talking about life and work and travel.  Lisa was fortunate enough to finish college at a time when the US wasn't in the Second Great Depression.  I know this because she was able to work for a while, take off and travel for a few months, and then return to her job.  If only that could still happen!  But what she said that really struck me (and I don't even know if she intended it to) was that sometimes, you have to stay put in one place for a while, even if it is uncomfortable.

- I had a job interview!  Now, this job may not come through.  And if it does, who knows if it will be the right fit or my dream job.  BUT, the fact that I had the interview gave me renewed vigor towards this city.  I have put a lot of effort into establishing connections here in DC, and I don't want to leave before the miracle  happens so to speak.

- I'm applying to Americorps, and originally I thought both Costa Rica and Americorps would be compatible timing wise.  But, I learned that the direct service branch of Americorps (called State and National) typically takes volunteers only in the fall.  This is an opportunity I don't want to pass up.

- I've been doing a lot of journaling and meditation, and I'm trying to listen to my gut.  Yes, I feel silly having told everyone my grand plans for Costa Rica, and I have no doubt that it would have been an amazing experience.  But, my gut is telling me, to the best of my knowledge, that staying here is the right choice for now. 

I was talking to a friend yesterday who paid me a tremendous complement.  She commented on the honesty in this blog- and I am really grateful that she appreciated that.   Sometimes it can be humiliating to admit that I've changed my mind, AGAIN. My being honest means that I'll remain willing to share my sudden changes of heart- of which I'm sure there will be many.  I'm just doing my best to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

And just another nugget:  A friend sent me this video- its the 2005 commencement speech given by Steve Jobs at Stanford.  I found a lot of inspiration in this speech, and I think its worthy of being shared (you can find the text here).

And now, to keep working on the list, exercise more, fret less, and keep moving forward.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Contributions to a Terrific Tuesday

- Flash-mob Beyonce!
-This song
- Meeting Ben for lunch
- Dinner party plans for this evening
- Craigslist
- Pleasent weather in the mornings
- A cold pint of summer beer after work
- Maggie! And happy hours with lady friends

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Reminder

“Most people in the world are out to help, not hurt you. We spend so much time being told not to accept candy from strangers because they are going harm us that we forget that sometimes, the woman next to you on the bus just has some spare sweets to share.” – Alex

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Things I Love Thursdays

- yoga classes at Yoga District
- this amazing salted caramel ice cream recipe (freezes in a perfect gelato-like consistency)... if you don't have an ice cream maker, it's time to get one now, for this!
- walking around this city!  I can't imagine living anywhere else right now
- these shoes
- feeling sore after exercising
- Chai Creme Frappuccinos
- tea with LOTS of cream
- days that go quickly
- Baily's playlists

Today, this is so true.

I don't usually do this quote thing.  But, I love Woody Allen, so I'm going to share this one:

"If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans."

Now I just need to laugh, too.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Have the Heater On!

It's summer, and I'm sick.  I've been sick three separate times this month with the same sort of illness- its a slight cough, sore throat and glands, and stiff neck.  It hasn't put too much of a wrench in my plans, but its annoying, and I am VERY MUCH ready to be done.  The worst part is that I've seemingly recovered twice- let me tell you, false recoveries are horrendous.

At first, I thought it was stress.  Then I thought it was some horrible disease.  Currently, I'm reflecting on the very real possibility that it may be my body protesting the constant change of climate.  Not only does the city itself vacillate between moderate and sauna, but so does the office I sit in all day.  I have to have a heater at my desk sometimes, and some of the rooms are so cold I shiver.  I don't know the answer to this dilemma.  Any wisdom?

On an unrelated note, I just came across this website: Food Cyclist!  What a cool project.  I've read a bunch of the blog already and this place was a gem- Church Brew Works.  Check it out!

*note, this post does not have any pictures- I know!  I made a commitment to take my camera around with me and I didn't.  But this is a renewed commitment to having pictures on the next post.  Good news, I have my re-chargeable batteries back- thanks Emily! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

350 Bites of Wonder

I still don't have a camera to use that takes great pictures.  I ordered one online that I was very excited about, but when I got home and opened it, I realized: hmmm, this camera sucks.  The one I already have is sooo much better.  Alas, I need to hunt down those batteries from Emily, buy some regular AAs, and get to using that old camera :)

In the meantime, I'm left with my phone.  Honestly, it does an ok job.  But just ok, in my humble opinion. 

Anyways, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the preparation of 350 appetizers is no small task.  I think I did about 4 hours of prep work on Saturday and then 6 hours of cooking on Sunday.  It all started with the shopping. 

I LOVE shopping in Cleveland.  Well, in particular, I loved shopping at Sun Plum Market in Willoughby (I also really like their impressive website).  This place is amazing.  We bought enough produce for all of my appetizers, and then some, food for 70 people and my family for the entire week... how much?  In DC, this would cost around $150.  At Sun Plum, $50.75.  I gasped.  Well, shit.  Cleveland has its upsides. 

Then, the chopping.  
I. chopped. for. hours.  Peppers, onions, olives, slicing bacon in half length wise... I even outsourced some of it to my dad (which I swore I wouldn't do).  

But it amounted to some wonderful appetizers- I didn't get pictures of them all.  But I made:

Beef and Potato Empanadas
Bacon-wrapped Prunes
Carmelized Onion, Gorgonzola and Walnut Pizza
Grilled Eggplant, Roasted Pepper, Green Olive and Provolone Pizza
Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Crostinis

yummmm city!

Beef and Potato Empanadas (adapted from this recipe)

Bacon-wrapped Prunes, super easy, no other ingredients!

Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Crostini, again, very simple

AMAZING: Caramelized Onion, Gorgonzola, and Walnut Pizza

Amazed by Blogs

After yesterday's post on hyper-connectedness, I am (as we all are) being a hypocrite.  Today, I am enjoying our connectedness as I spend copius amounts of time reading the personal insights, fears, and expressions of other human beings- people I don't know and may never know, but whom I find inspirational.

Today I stumbled across a She's in Love with the World.  The whole blog is wonderful, heartfelt, and hits very close to home.  Sarah, the blogger, has a page of quotes about travel and women and this one caught my eye:

“If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.” 
                                                                                                                         — Jane Austen
I think one of my favorite things is to go from blog to blog via recommendations of the author, often found on the right-hand side.  There are some awesome people in this world, seemingly writing for me!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We are all so ConNECted!

In an effort to think less about the future of my life, I came across this blog that has a lot of interesting articles about traveling... falling in love while traveling, getting sick while traveling, being CONNECTED while traveling...

There are no answers to this dilemma of connectedness, not that I see right now anyways. I am the proud owner of a smartphone- and it has made life easier in a lot of ways (I have a GPS, I can get in touch with any business I need to, I can listen to music for free).  But the smartphone, when combined with 9 hours a day in front of a computer, leads to utter over-stimulation- too much connection!  It's a shame that I'm on the internet so much at home, but it's even more of a shame most of us are glued to computers while traveling as well! 

Sometimes I wish I could shake the travelers around me and say, “Get off Facebook! You’re in Italy!” Technology is helpful but we need to learn to turn it off, especially when we are in a place we may never get a chance to come back to. We need to learn to the technology off. Then again, maybe I just need to learn to turn the technology off (Nomadic Matt's Travel Site).

This is not to say that I will be remove myself from the internet.  In fact, the author is a travel blogger, so just like the rest of us, he is a hypocrite.  BUT he and I both have the awareness of over-stimulation, over-connectedness, a preference to be talking to people in a virtual reality versus the ones right in front of your face.  I'm not going to analyze why that is or what I (or we) should do about it.  I'm just going to let it be. 

Just about a month from now, I'll be in Costa Rica.  I will still be connected.  But I will be without smartphone and my days will not be spent in front of a computer.  I am avoiding setting expectations, but needless to say, I am looking forward to a change of pace. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Random Ramblings

I've spent the last few days (realistically, my whole life) thinking.  I'm quite a thinker, and I am prone to over-analyze.  Perhaps its a common trait among women.  But I think I may bring it to a whole new level.  Among other things- I am obsessing about what to do job wise...

I took this personality test a while ago.  I think it's pretty spot on as far as describing my personality.  It also has career suggestions for all personality types.  For ENFJs, they suggest:

-social worker
-sales rep (hmmmm, I'm not too sure about this one)
-human resources

I mean, some of them I get. Others, not at all.  ENFJs are characterized by being very empathetic and not taking criticism well (among other things).  But those traits are very dominant in my personality and I think they both make it hard to do something like sales or politics.  I am on a crazy search for answers!

Simultaneously, I am feeling both anxious and excited for my adventure in Costa Rica.  Here's a picture- a view from the farm.
This is a view of a nearby volcano.

The anniversary party went well- lots of work making 350 appetizers, but well worth it.  Pictures to come.