Wednesday, January 28, 2009

12 Minutes

At 8:48 yesterday morning I looked up at the clock on the wall and seriously thought that I might:
1. Power vomit
2. Spontaneously combust
3. Die
4. All of the above

Sweat did not drip--it spewed--from every pore. I am guesstimating my heart rate was around 1,900 beats per minute. I gasped for air as if I was being waterboarded. My only rational thought was "Why? Why, Dear God...Why must I suffer so?"

I turned to the woman sitting next to me (who had an equally pained expression on her face, as if she was eighteen hours into a epidural-free labor) but my parched lips and pasty tongue were unable to form any distinguishable words, so I simply groaned. She looked at me, and although she was also gulping oxygen like a reeled-in carp, she somehow managed to find the strength to croak, "Only twelve more minutes left. We can do anything for twelve minutes."

And with those twelve words, I suddenly had the strength to go on.

No, I was not in my local emergency room, having eaten a rogue bad clam on Arthur Avenue the night before. Nor was I exposed to raw sewage, radioactive waste, Anthrax, or alien probes. Instead, I was at my 8:15 a.m. spin class, with the Spin Instructor from Hell--a former marine with the demeanor of a starved pit bull, the warmth of a pit viper, the compassion of Jeffrey Dahmer. And yes--I chose to be there.

Yet after 33 minutes, I began to question not his, but my sanity. "What in the world do I do this for, week after week, year after year?" I thought. "Am I out of my mind?" I wondered with what few neurons still fired upstairs, why I relentlessly tortured myself and my poor, middle-aged, gravity-weary body. Was it for that extra slice of cheesecake?...that second helping of pasta?...that crusty French bread dipped in that cheesy fondue? Yes...yes...and yes, again.

And with that confirmation, I mouthed a silent thank you to my spin partner for helping to get me over my 33 minute hump. Because what's twelve minutes of your life, when there's a warm, comforting fondue waiting for you on the other side?


Classic Cheese Fondue (PRINT RECIPE CARD)
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons kirsch liqueur
2 cups (1/2 lb) Gruyère cheese, grated
2 cups (1/2 lb) Emmental cheese, grated

For dipping:
Cubes of French bread
Sliced apples
Boiled red potatoes
Blanched broccoli florets
Sliced red peppers

Combine the cornstarch and kirsch in a small cup and set aside.

Rub the inside of a 4-quart heavy pot with the garlic, then discard. Place the pot over medium heat, add the white wine, and bring to a simmer.

Gradually add the cheese to the pot and cook, mixing constantly using a zigzag (not circular) motion, until the mixture becomes creamy (do not let the cheese boil!). Slowly stir in the cornstarch/kirsch mixture, then bring fondue to a simmer, stirring in the zigzag pattern for about 5-8 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Transfer to a fondue pot set over a flame + serve with bread, fruit and vegetables for dipping.

Serves 4

Don't Mess with My DoSiDo


The Girl Scouts of the USA confirmed Wednesday that it has reduced the number of cookies per box to save money because of rising transportation and baking costs. There will now be two to four fewer cookies in boxes of Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Shortbread Cookies, DoSiDos and Trefoils.

That's poppycock if you ask me.

Clearly this economy of ours has hit rock bottom, people.

Adorably Awesome.



I received an email from one of my readers recently which went like this:

Hi Suzanne,

My name is Dallas.

I like your blog.

I just wrote a book for children.

I think you might like it.

It is here: http://www.dallasclayton.com/products

If you do like it, feel free to share it with others.

Every little bit helps.


Thanks!


Happy New Year!


And so--being a six year-old child trapped inside of a middle-aged woman's body--I immediately headed over to Dallas Clayton's website to have a look-see at An Awesome Book!



Well, I have to say, awesome it is. Not just for kids, this deliciously illustrated little book reminds us beaten-down-by The Man grown-ups, too, that it's never too late to follow dreams, to think creatively, to aspire to greatness. And I love that it does it in a fun, wacky, Seussical way that is utterly charming. I'm getting one for every friend of mine who needs their day brightened. Which, of course, is all of them.

Take a peek at http://www.veryawesomeworld.com/awesomebook/inside.html

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's all about me.

I have a clean slate of a day before me, so I am going to be very good to myself.
Here is my grand plan for this Saturday...

Yoga class.
Sauna.
Sushi.
Writing.
Early bed.

I am loving 2009 so far.

Prayer for Today

Dear God,
So far today I have done all right.
I haven't gossiped. I haven't lost my temper.
I haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or overindulgent.
I'm very thankful for that.
But in a few minutes God, I'm going to get out of bed, and from then on, I'm probably going to need a lot more help.
Amen.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I heart you.


Yesterday, my friend Cindy, sent me that awesome video I posted by Kelly Corrigan. Afterwards, we emailed back and forth for a short while about it, and she asked me if I had a large circle of friends like that in my life--a group of friends that know each other's darkest secrets, share both the ordinary and extraordinary moments that make up a lifetime, grow up and grow old together. My initial reaction was no; certainly I have friends, but I don't have children, so I am not involved in the community in a way that someone my age with kids would be. I also tend to be somewhat of a loner by nature, so the circle of people I trust and confide in is fairly tightknit. But then last night on my drive home from dinner with Ronni, I started giving the question Cindy posed some more thought, and what I realized is that I do have a circle of friends like that in my life. Only I know what some of them look like, while others, I don't.

You see, what dawned on me in my orange Jeep Wrangler, at approximately 9:40pm, on Rt 100 in Katonah, was that some of those friends in my circle are you--my readers.

When I wrote I'm Back this past October, one of you posted this in the comments box...
"I really enjoy your blogs, you are an excellent writer and very inspiring. This entry in particular really made me think about my life which is a good thing (I think). Thanks for your entries and I am glad things are heading in a positive direction for you."

When I posted 2009, I received this comment...
"I have to say this blog entry was so inspiring. I love reading your blog, and since I am going thru a difficult time right now and feel so strongly about living and enjoying life and being "selfish", this entry came at such a perfect time. Its so nice to read someones thoughts that are similar to my own. Thank you so much for all your inspiration!"

And when my grandmother passed away last year, this letter was waiting for me...
"Suzanne, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My grandmother helped raise me and her passing was terrible for me. I hope that your parents and brothers are a comfort to you at this time. I am sure you are to them."

Perhaps in this strange, new, virtual world, friendships and bonds are different than they were for our parents generation. Perhaps we can be personal without knowing the person, can offer help and comfort without Tupperware or Pyrex being involved, can grow up and old together without ever seeing each others wrinkles or gray roots. It's inspiring to me to know that goodness still exists in this world, that someone will reach out--with no agenda, or self-interest at play--to give someone they never met, a virtual pat on the back.

If that's not friendship, then I don't know what is.




My friend BethAnne--who I have known since elementary school!--sent this to me this morning. I love it. Enjoy.

I Believe...
That just because two people argue,
doesn't mean they don't love each other.
And just because they don't argue,
doesn't mean they do love each other.

I Believe...
That we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I Believe...
That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I Believe...
That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance.
Same goes for true love.

I Believe...
That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I Believe...
That it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I Believe...
That you should always leave loved ones with loving words.
It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe...
That you can keep going long after you think you can't.

I Believe...
That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I Believe....
That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I Believe...
That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I Believe...
That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I Believe...
That my best friend and I can do anything, or nothing, and have the best time.

I Believe...
That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe...
That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I Believe...
That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had, and what you've learned from them.....and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I Believe...
That it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe...
That no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I Believe...
That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I Believe...
That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret.
It could change your life forever.

I Believe...
Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I Believe...
That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I Believe...
That even when you think you have no more to give, if a friend cries out to you.. you will find the strength to help.

I Believe...
That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I Believe...
That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

I Believe....
The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything;
They just make the most of everything.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Brilliant.

This is awesome beyond words. Thanks, Cindy.

Thank God it's Thursday.

I've worked a blazillion hours this week (not literally, but you'd never know it by looking at the big, puffy, purple bags under my squinty, glazed, bloodshot eyes) but my mom just sent me this little gem that suddenly made the day much more bearable. Cosmo's tonight with my friend, Ronni, will put hopefully me over the top. And, then....it's the weekend! Whooo-hooo!

Joan visited a psychic of some local repute. In a dark and hazy room, peering into a crystal ball, the mystic delivered grave news: "There's no easy way to say this, so I'll just be blunt - prepare yourself to be a widow. Your husband will die a violent and horrible death this year."

Visibly shaken, Joan stared at the woman's lined face, then at the single flickering candle, then down at her hands. She took a few deep breaths to compose herself. She simply had to know. She met the fortune teller's gaze, steadied her voice, and asked:

"Will I be acquitted?"

The Sex in the Suburbs Cosmo (PRINT RECIPE CARD)
1 1/2 oz vodka
3/4 oz triple sec

3/4 oz cranberry juice
1 oz fresh lime juice
Ice

Fill a cocktail shaker up halfway with ice cubes, then add the vodka, triple sec, cranberry and lime juice. Shake well, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Another Reason I Love New York...


...because miracles really do happen here.


For all you 150+ who survived that little unexpected dip in the Hudson (on this, the coldest day of the year, no less) may I suggest a Hot Buttered Rum this evening?

PS. Happy you're all ok. Freaking geese.


Hot Buttered Rum
(PRINT RECIPE CARD)
1 - 1 1/2 oz rum (light, dark or spiced)
1 teaspoon sugar (or a mix of plain sugar + dark brown sugar)
Boiling water
1 teaspoon butter
Grated nutmeg
Cinnamon stick

Place the rum, sugar and butter in a large mug. Add some boiling water and mix until sugar dissolves. Top with a bit of nutmeg, add a cinnamon stick and enjoy.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Snow-B-Q


I barbecued last night in the middle of a classic northeast snowstorm, by the light of a small flashlight, wearing layers of Thinsulate and Gortex, and it was the happiest I've been in as long as I can remember.

I am in love.

I am in love with irreverance.
And, non-conformity.
I am in love with coloring outside the lines.
And not eating my vegetables.
I am in love with sleeping at odd hours, if I so please.
And, laughing too loud at a stupid joke that only I get.
I am in love with the fact that I am becoming the person I want to be, and that I have finally--at the cusp of 45--stopped making excuses, or concocting explanations for my idiocincracies.

I am what I am, and who I am. And that person chooses to grill Caribbean pork tenderloin on a full-moon night, in the middle of a January snowstorm, while drinking summerhouse margarita's, and laughing out loud at the lunacy of it all.


Grilled Island Pork Tenderloin (PRINT RECIPE CARD)

I first discoverd this recipe for Island Pork Tenderloin Salad in Gourmet magazine back in 2003, and instantly fell in love with it. But being a Summerologist and all, I wanted to be able to cook it outside on the grill, so I got rid of the salad part and simply marinated the pork in a Ziploc bag for several hours, then threw it on the grill until the internal temperature reached 140°F. The result is a delicious BBQ-ed pork that pairs perfectly with mashed sweet potatoes, fried plantains, a spicy slaw, or rice and beans (or, go crazy, invite some friends over, and make all of those). And, just because it's winter, doesn't mean you can't head outside and enjoy a taste of summer tonight; summer--as I've said before--is not only a season, but a state of mind.

I'm living proof of that.


2 pork tenderloins (2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pounds total)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

Place all ingredients in a large Ziploc bag, combine well, then refrigerate for several hours. Preheat grill for ten minutes on high heat, then place tenderloins on grill, and sear meat on all sides until brown. Lower heat, close grill top, and cook for approximately 5-8 minutes on both sides. Tenderloins are ready when a thermometer inserted diagonally in the center of each registers 140°F. Remove tenderloins from the grill, and let stand on a cutting board for 10 minutes (temperature will rise to about 155°F while standing) before cutting into thick (1 - 1/1/2") slices.

Serves 6-8

Awesomeness

Lovesit! Props to Sarah Jane for sharing.