Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Codeine is my BFF. Patient, loving, faithful codeine; where would I be without you?! You see, without codeine I am most certain I would have hacked up one or both of my lungs--and quite possibly a few vital organs--sometime within the last forty eight hours, as a result of this Taliban-released scourge that has been feasting on my rotting respiratory system like a starving zombie at an all-you-can-eat brain buffet. But codeine knows I have suffered enough from this bane, and BF that it is, it can't bear to see me suffer any longer. Instead, codeine wants me to sleep the sleep of a milked up newborn, to spend 22 of the 24 hours that make up my day in an Amy Winehouse haze, watching mindless daytime television, eating nutritionless comfort foods, while laying prone on the sofa, surrounded by more pill bottles than the illegitimate love child of Michael Jackson and Courtney Love.

Codeine doesn't care that my cottage is a filthy mess, that Ricola wrappers and tissues litter every square inch of the floor like New Year's confetti, that dirty dishes are piled high in the sink. Nor is codeine repulsed by the fact that I have not showered in days, and am beginning to look like a deranged Yeti. Codeine understands that tidiness and personal hygiene come second to sweet, drugged slumber, and that there will be plenty of time for eyebrow tweezing and leg shaving once this pulmonary weapon of mass destruction has been defeated and destroyed.

I hold out hope that that day of defeat will soon come, but until then, I am eternally thankful to my BFF, codeine, for helping me forget about things like time, work deadlines, personal hygiene, diet and nutrition, exercise, and social committments, and allowing me instead to focus on important things like Judge Judy, The Dog Whisperer, I Love Lucy reruns and old Pink Panther cartoons.

Thanks, friend--you're the bestest!

Classic Hot Toddy (PRINT RECIPE CARD)
There are many variations of this hot drink which originated in the 18th century, but it's traditionally made with tea, whiskey or brandy, and honey. If you'd like, you can add a bit of cinnamon or cloves to it, substitute orange for the lemon, or top it off with a small pat of butter. However you enjoy it, it is sure to warm you up on a cold day. Me? I'm hoping it knocks the #$@* out of this pesky cough of mine, once and for all.

1 1/2 ounces whiskey (or brandy, if you prefer)
1 ounce honey
1/3 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice (or a slice of orange)
3 ounces boiling water or hot tea
Cinnamon stick (optional)
Pat of butter (optional)

Pour boiling water or tea into a mug with whiskey or brandy, honey and lemon juice. Enjoy!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day

The first big snowfall of the season is hammering the Northeast today, but I am happily tucked away inside my tiny red cabin in the woods, with a big pot of homemade turkey chili simmering on the stove, and my most comfortable flannels keeping me cozy. It's been yet another emotional roller coaster of a week (2009 has to be will be better), and so I am grateful that I can be home today, nurturing my soul with small, simple things like cooking, writing, wrapping gifts. Tonight I am going to settle in with one of my all-time favorite movies, The Bishop's Wife, (Cary Grant stars, which alone makes it worth watching in my book) and a good bottle of Cabernet, before climbing under a mountain of down and settling in for what I hope will be ten much-needed hours of sleep. In the meantime--from my kitchen window--I watch the snow pile up on the treehouse just outside.

Only six more months until summer. Fortunately, until it's warm again outside, I have my kitchen sink chili to keep me toasty inside.

Kitchen Sink Turkey Chili (PRINT RECIPE CARD)
There is no right or wrong way to make this chili--if you don't have some of the vegetables I've listed, don't panic. Simply use any other veggies you might have on hand such as chopped green beans, diced potatoes, turnips, butternut squash...whatever!

olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno (seeded and minced)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 - 2 1/4 lbs ground turkey
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (with jalapeno's, if you prefer)
2 - 15.5 oz can beans (any type: pinto, pink, black, kidney...)
1 carrot, diced
1 sweet potato, diced
handful+ frozen corn
handful+ frozen peas
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
salt + pepper (to taste)
sour cream (optional)

Pour a bit of olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat, then add onion, peppers, garlic and turkey. Saute until turkey is cooked, then add tomatoes, beans, veggies and spices. Lower heat and cook chili for about 1 hour, or until carrots and potatoes are tender. Spoon into bowls and top with a spoonful of sour cream.

Makes about 6 servings.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Donate Life

Two months ago I was giggling in the back of an urban rickshaw with my cousin, Bev, giddy from the effervescence of champagne at the Oyster Bar, the energy of New York City, and just generally happy to feel alive again (I'm back). This Saturday night I was crying with her on the phone, trying to find the words that would ease some of the unbearable pain she is feeling over the loss of her sister, Bernadette, who was snatched away from this world way too early this past Friday. But there simply are no words to describe Bev's loss, to soothe her broken heart, and so I will not even attempt to find any. Instead, I am writing this morning to encourage all of you--if you have not already done so--to sign up today to become an organ and tissue donor. Bev's sister was one, and as a result of that amazing gift, eight families will be receiving a Christmas miracle this year.

Through loss, life.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Here we are in the final month of 2008, and if there was ever a year I was happy to wrap up + send on it's merry way, this would be the one. I am an optimist by nature, but 2008 has challenged even me. In just 27 days a fresh new year will be upon us, and while I am sensible enough to realize that that flip of the page is merely symbolic, I am still looking forward to flipping it.

I don't have a grand plan for the coming new year (well, other than to welcome it with open arms + a full glass of champagne) as I am not one of those people who makes annual proclamations about losing ten pounds or exercising more. Rather than a list of rigid resolutions that will just add more stress to my already stressful life, I'm instead making myself a list of aspirations for 2009--things that I would like to do over the course of the year that will give me joy, add richness to my life, make me a better version of myself. Honestly, if I accomplish half the things I am about to list below, I will consider this little exercise a success.

I am not the sort of person who tells other people how to live their lives; instead, I prefer to follow the credo 'live and let live'. But with the economy, the country--and the world, quite frankly--in the state it's in, I encourage each and every one of you who reads this weblog, to cut yourselves a little slack this coming year. Pay the bills, tend to the family, do what you need to do each and every day to survive, but don't forget to nurture your souls with things that make you happy. Because, (as my best friend Cindy reminded me just this past week) this is the only life you have. So, even if you've lost money in the stock market, or lost your job, or are simply down about the state of the world (or your life) in general, never forget that today might be the only day you will get to watch a sunrise, eat a slice of blueberry pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, try your hand at something new (yoga? karate? oil painting? writing?), give a bear hug to that person you truly love, take a ridiculously long, hot shower, fall asleep on top of flannel sheets (and under a goose down comforter), sit by a roaring fire.

How about we all be a little bit selfish next year, my friends? I don't think there is any shame in carving out time for yourself and doing something good for YOU. And next year, I look forward to inspiring you as I set out on my journey, and hearing all about yours as well. Together, let's make 2009 the year we nurture our souls.

Love and peace to you all,

My goals + aspirations for 2009...

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NYC Museum weekends San Diego Get back to trapeze school Nurture my friendships Hike New Paltz again
Be joyous Spend more time in the country Cultivate a garden Learn to juggle Have more fun Cook more dinners for friends BBQ each and every week Get back to crafting (I haven't forgotten you Crafty Suzanne readers!) Save money Spend more time with my family Take more roadtrips Finally figure out my %#$!!@ camera Cook something exotic I've never cooked before Give up Tylenol PM Live simply Get to New Haven for clam pizza Make homemade marmalade Go mountain biking Plan a trip to Africa in 2011 Rock climb Be more creative Kayak Plan a girlfriends weekend Volunteer Learn to love yoga Floss regularly Get to Maine Drink more water Explore more of NYC Wake up every day grateful for something