Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cheese Curds Squeak When You Put Them in the Microwave

Dear Friends,

My apologies for not entering into the blogosphere for a while. I’m slightly in shock that it’s almost been a month. The minute I stepped off the plane, from CA to MI, life took a speed of its own: non-stop fast-forward. I feel like I’ve been in a dead sprint and now I’m standing on the side of the road, gasping for breath and realizing something’s got to give, lest I pass out from exhaustion. More on this later, but I promise – PROMISE – that I will be more diligent.

Random Fact of the Day: I have added onto my personal Bucket List* and have moved “meeting The Pioneer Woman” to the top. She is brilliant. Additions include:
-Meet Stacy London or Clinton Kelly from “What Not to Wear.”
-Get my hair cut by Nick Arrojo when I pay off my student loans.
-Visit Peanut Butter & Co. in NYC and eat at their restaurant.
*These are all subject to change.

Another random fact: Beach volleyball is my least favorite sport in the entire world. However, since most summer holidays are spent at some friends’ parent’s house on the lake, I am often stuck playing it. I am not good. As a disclaimer on Memorial Day, I gave a mini-speech and said to my very competitive, college volleyball player extraordinaire friends, “ I’ll play, but you need to know that even though it looks like I’m not trying as a miss the ball or hit it behind me or off to the side or into the water, I AM TRYING MY VERY HARDEST.” Seriously, somehow, the ball just never ends up where I aim it. I would rather be doing a back handspring or sprinting contest. Anyway, miracle of all miracles, I WASN’T HORRIBLE. One of my friends even set the ball to me and I SPIKED IT. I don’t know how the ball ever went over the net, but it was like my reflexes and the wind were in sync that day, and I finished happy, sore and contemplating the 2016 Olympics.

Gratitude of the Day: This weekend, I took a short trip to Sheboygan Falls, WI for a bridal shower for my sis. Food, good food, is something that I think the world is less than appreciative of, disguising itself in thin hamburgers wrapped in foil or a Hot Pocket tossed into the microwave, as you’re running out the door. I’m just as guilty. And actually, I sometimes enjoy that kind of food. I’m currently craving Pizza Hut pizza. However, I’ve been trying to appreciate fresh, homemade food.

So, this weekend, I was grateful for really beautiful, satisfying food: bacon biscuits topped with eggs, asparagus and Swiss, homemade fruit salsa with baked cinnamon & sugar pita chips, chocolate mousse cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory, to name a sampling. Then, a stop at Trader Joe’s just about did me in, purchasing dark chocolate pretzels and dark chocolate covered almonds with sea salt and turbinado sugar. How I wish there was a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods in West MI. But I’ll stop now. This is the GRATITUDE section, not the “Wishes” column.

Thoughts to Ponder: For the past year, as you know, I feel like life’s been a bit of a limbo – never really sure where I’m going to end up job-wise, location-wise and career-wise. In the past month, as life took on a pace that left me wheezing (literally too, thanks to a sudden flare-up of allergies), I’ve felt the slow creeping of panic begin to overtake me. It had lain dormant for a while, and I had found a semi-calm place of contentment. However, as my days sped by, my quiet time came to a halt and my prayer life ceased, moments of frantic panic began to overtake me. That’s when I knew, something had to give. It’s something I’ve struggled with all through college – this need to fill my schedule. And in that, my life becomes a frazzled conglomeration of fast coffee dates and avoided phone calls, where I’m not even present, focusing instead on what’s coming up, what needs to be done.

So, last weekend, I slowly let go of the need to control, to be “status quo,” to have everything figured out and laid out neatly in a row (look at that – a rhyme, even before the rhyming section!). In the past month, several people have asked me what I love, what I dream of, what I wish. And I’ve come up with one thing. That is, to “create beauty.” In college, my mentor had said to me, “You know, Nicole, you were made to create beauty.” But to me, that wasn’t practical or tangible enough and I brushed it to the side and eventually dismissed it.

In the last few weeks though, I’ve realized that’s where my passion lies. That’s why I adore reading fashion magazines and think Sephora is a haven and find a release in writing. That’s why I could look at clothes for hours and find a certain sweetness in color and texture and movement. It’s why I like paint chips and makeovers and a finished room. It’s why I relax when I’m baking and read cookbooks for fun. All of these things lend to the creation of beauty. And I don’t know how this will come to fruition in my life. As a job, as a hobby, as an outlet.

In a partial answer to that, two friends of mine and I are launching a new fashion commentary blog soon, in a celebration of the art of fashion and design. We’re currently wrestling with a name. We have lists of dozens of names, but all the good ones have been taken: Little Black Blog, Trendmill, Tongue in Chic…but when we have a name, the posts will start to fly. It should be pretty entertaining, and they are much more funny than myself, so I think you will enjoy it, even if you aren’t particularly interested in fashion. Stay tuned.

And Now, a Rhyme: This weekend I went to the Land of Cheese/The warm wind blew a gentle breeze/On the way home, I saw 20 deer/Since they’re my favorite animal, it gave me great cheer/This week, I continue training for another race/Working to pick up my current racing pace.

Until next time,