Saint Valentine’s Day

Whoever he might have been, he’s the patron saint of love and young people–both of which are in this super cute short from Disney. He’s also apparently the patron saint of beekeepers, but there aren’t any of those in this film.


When spin class feels like church

Tonight I went to spin class (or indoor cycling class), and even though there were 15 minutes before class started most of the bikes were claimed. I’ve learned people always drape a towel or put their water bottle on their bike, so you know where not to sit. I was about to get on a bike in the corner of the room when a middle-aged man walked up, shook his finger at me, and said, “That’s my bike”. I was clearly confused because there was no towel or water bottle, but he pointed to the padded seat that was on the bike. So I apologized, felt self-conscious, and then felt angry. There could have been a kinder way for him to tell me that.

While I was spinning and stewing, I remembered the time I accidentally sat where the choir sits at church and had to be told to move. And the time I accidentally sat in “someone else’s” pew–I got to stay seated, but they let me know it was their spot. Or the time a new family came to church and sat in the unmarked pews where the choir usually sits. It was a great reminder of what it feels like to be uncomfortable and unfamiliar with the unspoken rules of a group. And that grace and flexibility from others can go a long way towards making a person feel welcome.

So, spin class felt like church tonight.

I never look this happy in spin class
(photo from


So far of my 28 goals for this year, I’ve gotten to:

Try rock climbing
Make an article of clothing
Keep a journal
Participate in public speaking
Get CPR certified
One book each month. I’m behind. Does that count as 12 goals?
The Mama Bear book
Take a French class/find a French-speaking buddy
Make a dish each week from the Zuni Cafe cookbook
Go on a retreat
Write our will
Learn one dance really well
Create a core set of recipes by perfecting 10 of my own dishes
Learn to parallel park
Take an art class. Preferably screen printing.
A goal I’ll tell you about later
Thank you notes as a spiritual practice
Travel far, far away
Plan Service of Blessing for animals, collect for Blue Chip Farm
Learn to cut hair
Have a vegan month this year
Work on online branding by cleaning up my Google search results, developing LinkedIn account, having a more professional blog/website presence
Get rid of all plastic in our kitchen
Take a self-defense class
Spend a month away from Facebook
An article for a blog/website/journal
Throw a “favorites” party

The art “class” was actually a scarf dyeing workshop at my church, not a screen printing class…still on the hunt for one of those. Scarf dyeing is fun and relaxing, and it has beautiful results!

Scarf Dyeing

The blue one is my mama-in-law’s scarf, and the reddish one on the end is mine. We were scarf dyeing machines and made two more before the class ended.

I also (pretty successfully) cut my husband’s hair! Hello there, handsome husband.








The before pic is actually from a few months ago, when we were in Vermont and it wasn’t 2 degrees outside and the trees had beautiful leaves (sorry, tangent), but his hair was at least that long when I cut it. I found a great online tutorial that helped it happen.

I’m thankful I’ve gotten to have some creative space lately. I’m looking forward to keeping on with this and different disciplines in the coming month.

Nom nom.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say I love this cookbook. I already have the next 20 weeks lined up with recipes I want to try. I think it might be a good plan to only cook from it once per week, because she doesn’t skimp on fats, meat, or cheese in many these recipes. Since we stick to a pretty vegetarian/borderline vegan diet, these dishes are a treat!

So far I’ve made panade, which is a lovely bread casserole that uses a, um, plentiful amount of olive oil and has layers of caramelized onions, chard, and gruyere cheese. It’s a delicious way to use up bread that’s on the verge of going stale, and the leftovers are extra tasty when panfried with a further smidge of olive oil.


I also appreciate Judy Rodgers’ method of caramelizing onions–usually I use the Cooks Illustrated method of caramelizing them in the oven, but her stovetop method was 1) easy and 2) resulted in no charred onions, which I’ve had happen with the oven method.

The second recipe I tried was braised lentils, which uses an approach similar to risotto–allowing a small amount of liquid to be absorbed before adding more–but with lentils instead of rice. I could only find larger, green lentils at our grocery store. The recipe actually calls for Beluga lentils, smaller black ones which I can’t remember having seen before. They also called for a healthy amount of olive oil and were better the day after I made them. I think they’d also be better with smaller lentils, as she says in the book.
Braised Lentils

This weekend is going to be full of friends and food. Anna will be in the Poconos on a ski trip, and as fellow non-skiers we are going to get to spend some chill-in-the-lodge time with her. I can’t wait! Our dear friends Sammy and Elaine are also visiting us this weekend (yay, yay, and yay!!), and we’re hoping to share all the places we’ve found to enjoy around here–Canteen 900, the Boden, Lord & Taylor, and Banana Republic outlets, our Italian market, la puccia (it’s like a calzone, but better)…or we might just sleep in and chill. Either way, it’ll be grand.


Each year since I’ve turned 24, I’ve made a list of goals for my next year. I never get through them all, but I appreciate taking the time to be intentional–reflecting on how the past year went, imagining what I’d like to accomplish in the next year. Instead of listing an assortment of random goals, this year I’m hoping to be a bit more focused. I want to make small steps towards living fully and abundantly, as I understand it. So this year living intentionally will involve: cultivating healthy practices, making space for creativity, focusing on others, reading more than online articles and blogs, writing, doing some things that scare me, improving my cooking skills, and being more prepared.

28 Practices for 28

  1. Healthy practices and do something that scares me–Try rock climbing
  2. Make space for creativity–Make an article of clothing
  3. Write, and cultivate spiritual health–Keep a journal
  4. Do something that scares me–Participate in public speaking
  5. Be more prepared and focus on others–Get CPR certified
  6. Read–One book each month. I’m behind. Does that count as 12 goals?
  7. Write–The Mama Bear book
  8. Be prepared–Take a French class/find a French-speaking buddy
  9. Improve and expand my cooking skills–make a dish each week from the Zuni Cafe cookbook
  10. Focus on others–Volunteer
  11. Cultivate spiritual health–Go on a retreat
  12. Be more prepared–Write our will
  13. Healthy practices-Learn one dance really well
  14. Improve cooking skills–create a core set of recipes by perfecting 10 of my own dishes
  15. Be more prepared–Learn to parallel park
  16. Make space for creativity–Take an art class. Preferably screen printing.
  17. Do something that scares me. Not sharing this one yet.
  18. Focus on others and cultivate spiritual health–thank you notes as a spiritual practice
  19. Do something that scares me–travel far, far away
  20. Focus on others–Plan Service of Blessing for animals, collect for Blue Chip Farm
  21. Make space for creativity and Be more prepared–learn to cut hair
  22. Cultivate health and improve cooking skills–have a vegan month this year
  23. Be more prepared–work on online branding by cleaning up my Google search results, developing LinkedIn account, having a more professional blog/website presence
  24. Cultivate health–Get rid of all plastic in our kitchen
  25. Be more prepared–Take a self-defense class
  26. Cultivate health and focus on others–spend a month away from Facebook
  27. Write and do something that scares me–An article for a blog/website/journal
  28. Make space for creativity–Throw a “favorites” party

I have no idea.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
Thomas Merton

Living and remembering

This post from Penelope Trunk on living without regrets, or living fully, is spot-on for today. On 9/11 we remember lives cut short, violence perpetrating greater violence, brokenness, the sacrifices of others, the unpredictability of life and death, vulnerability, and those in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq who continue to experience violence and loss. What does living fully and without regrets looks like in the midst of this?