Friday, July 30, 2010

The Best Laid Plans...

Princes Street Gardens, 2008

It's sort of scary when you start to form a concrete "plan." I have to put the word "plan" in quotes because I know very well that I could try to plan everything down to the wire and yet something could topple the whole scheme completely. I tend to work better in open and organic circumstances. It's a lot more fun and custom fit too…to follow our unique roads and marvel at the scenery as it passes by. To watch our dream destinations get closer and closer.

It's also scary when you share said "plan" with others. In one way it's liberating and awesome because  it's out there but in another it's open to criticism, nay-sayers, and folks who might be upset by or threatened by it. I have also had unfortunate experiences over these past (almost) 32 years when trusting others with my dreams. I began to feel very protective so I wouldn't be "stripped" for ideas or swallowed up by "grabby" energy, feeling betrayed in the end. That's when a person starts to hoard their dreams and ideas and they begin to feel smothered. Not a good feeling.

I admit these are very candid thoughts. I started to resent feeling like I had to squirrel away my dreams for fear that someone else might try to usurp them. I completely understand that it's usually in a subconscious way that stems from low self esteem, but still...

I've recently started to share again (slowly) with lovely people who I feel safe with. It's all been a very big part of my regrouping...because sharing is what I want to do.

So…back to the "plan" :)

I am still in the midst of saving money and paying down debt. I feel that has been the story for a while now, although lots of other yummy stuff has been simmering in the background.

I am doing well on the debt front. I've managed to consolidate the credit card woes down to one…so I just have that and my student loan outstanding. I've also been putting money into my savings account and (for the most part) not touching it…even for my Apprenticeship. Though at times the balance still feels light years away from where I want/need it to be...

I want to finish my Apprenticeship (which will be another year after this November). I'm learning so many amazing things about myself there that I know it's integral to my future. By then my savings and debt should be under even better control!


I get quotes everyday via e-mail and these are ringing very true to me right now:

"The buffer of time gives you the opportunity to get it right before it manifests, to take pleasure from the vision and from the molding it into place... Can you imagine if everything was manifesting instantly? You would manifest this, and then you would manifest it away. And then you'd manifest that, and then... It would be a difficult thing if you were instantly manifesting every whim or every misaligned thought. It's so much better that you have this buffer of time where you can feel it into perfection before it manifests into your experience."
--- Abraham 

Excerpted from the [Abraham Hicks] workshop in Ashland, OR on Tuesday, May 16th, 2000 #514

"Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success."

-Dale Carnegie


And now we come to the Scottish part of my plan.  I won't put that plan in quotes because it will be. The "how's" are the only thing in question. I think I'll  refer to it as "Project Thistle"  :)

I've started making a list of all the things I think I want to do out there. So far I have:
  • A writing workshop or retreat (or both) in the Highlands
  • A cooking class on the Isle of Skye
  • Gaelic course on Skye
  • Working in exchange for lodging with a friend on Skye
  • Experience week in Findhorn
  • Volunteering in various places (Iona, replant trees in Highlands, etc)
  • Classes at The University of Edinburgh
  • Lion's Share week(s) with friends in Edinburgh (and other places)
  • Woof it?
The list keeps growing and I welcome more ideas…collaborations? I figure I can start researching the costs and put together a proposal for a grant. Whether it be an educational or artist grant, I'm not sure. And I'd have to research visas...etc.  I will, of course document the whole experience here :)

More aspects of the "plan" are to expand my blog and hopefully start creating income with it. I have been given a few good ideas from friends (including an e-book of my recipes and selling my photos). I want to start budgeting my time accordingly so I can move forward! It's as if I'm living a double life at times. The commuting into the city every day for office-work Lee Ann and the Earth Mama, cook, writer, photographer, all around creative being Lee Ann. The latter hasn't been given enough space and time to grow lately.

Happily I do feel as if the dam is breaking (in a good way). My good friend Sara is embarking on a new phase in her life and I feel like it is another one of those happy/sad catalysts. I will miss seeing her in the office every day but I know it's the beginning of a shift.

One by one the winds change and blow us in the directions we are meant to go.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

BLT Potato Salad


I, in my infinite wisdom, decided to make this on one of our "hotter than hell" weekends.  So this genius had the oven going most of the day (I also made some delectable granola).

4 medium, gorgeous, yukon gold potatoes
Mixed greens
1 package (nitrate free) bacon
canola or olive oil mayonnaise
1 pint grape tomatoes
onion powder
sea salt
mustard powder
red wine vinegar

Cut the potatoes into bite size pieces, put in pot and cover with cold, salted water.  Let sit while cooking the bacon.

I cooked the bacon on a rack in the oven so it could get nice and crisp!  I also ate roughly half of the precious stash before it made it to the salad. Try to hold yourself back :)

Bring the potatoes to a boil and then reduce heat. SImmer about 10 minutes.  Drain and cool them down with ice water.

Slice tomatoes in half and add to potatoes.

The dressing:

Whisk about two tablespoons of mayo with a dash o vinegar, oil, mustard, onion, and salt.  Add one minced garlic clove and mix into potato/tomato mixture.  The mayo really gives this salad the BLT flavor.

Add greens and crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.

*If you want to eat it over a few days…keep greens and bacon separate and add before serving*

Saturday, July 24, 2010

D.J. Baby Bok Choy

So this is how my brain works sometimes. I basically bought baby bok choy because of a Saturday Night Live sketch.

Yup. :)

and I just made up the dish in a pinch:

3 bunches baby bok choy
1 container of stir fry greens
1 can baby corn
1 container firm tofu
1/2 pound roast beef
crushed red pepper flakes
chili powder
garlic powder
onion powder

I marinated the tofu in tamari and then browned it, and rubbed the roast beef with chili powder...and set aside.

Throw the corn, beef and greens into the pan and cook until the greens wilt.  Then I sprinkled more tamari, garlic and onion powder to taste. Add the tofu in at the end.


And now, for the SNL sketch.

I had to name it after "D.J. Baby Bok Choy."  The sketch might not be for everyone, but I was rolling.  I went to The Fashion Institute of Technology and live in NYC.  I'm telling you, this guy exists!

If the screen is black...just click on it and it should re-load...

Monday, July 19, 2010

My 15 Minutes

 My free hat...and well earned t-shirt!

My co-workers and I went on our second annual Staten Island Yankees game last Monday and it was, as always, a hilarious evening.  We did an all you can eat plan...and boy did we take advantage of that! One of us still had a sandwich in his pocket on the ferry ride home...though I'm not naming names.

We tend to get a little rowdy. This year we kept trying to get one of the mascots over in our area for a photo...which led to one of the braver moments in my life.


They asked us to play a game..and they needed a guy and a girl.  We nominated Rob and Sara but things started to look shaky when Sara found out she was going to have to sing.  So I stepped in and exercised my knowledge of old pop songs. We were playing finish that lyric, and I got "I'm a Believer"  by The Monkees. It's like the game was meant for me. What else could I have done?  I couldn't disappoint our tens of fans...

 The crowd goes wild

 Rob and I mentally prepare...

I know you've been wanting it. So I give you...the Performance:

There was a guy behind me feeding me the words...and at first I didn't realize what he was doing.  I wanted to turn around and say, "Dude, I got this!"  LOL 

 Rob and I return to normal life...

I found my reaction to the whole situation really interesting.  I calmly took up the call and though I was nervous, found that instead of being outwardly focused on all the strangers watching/listening to me...I was inwardly focused and just had fun! There was a time I wouldn't sing in front of one person...let alone be on a big screen, anywhere.

Go Yankees!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cultivating Well Being

The fabulous fruit shake cart near my office 

I've been sticking to my routine of going to Bryant Park with my book, and the days I get to lie on the grass are the best...surrounded by the unique and random crowd that tends to gather there.  I also walk through part of Forest Park on my way home.

 Pigeons hanging out in the park

A couple weeks ago I went to Levain Bakery on the Upper West side to buy cookies for my boss's birthday (AMAZING cookies, btw). It was one of those mornings that reminded me of a time when I really liked living in New York City.  The air was cool and I met my friend and co-worker, Sara, for a coffee and pastry before heading into the office.  Talk about changing the day! It was nice and chill outside the bakery where we chatted, drank coffee...and I got powdered sugar all over myself. :)

So this got me thinking about all the activities I do to help me stay sane and happy.  Including hanging out with friends in places I've never been.  Sometimes being a tourist at home is needed to make you see things from a different perspective.  Like having pizza and (sshh) beer in Gantry Park...which looks across The East River to Manhattan from Long Island City...

Pepsi Cola Sign in Long Island City

Drawings on the Boardwalk in Gantry Park, LI City

And there is always pub food and heavenly beer at St. Andrews...I'll be going there again tomorrow evening after a movie in Times Square.

Bar, St. Andrews Restaurant

I have also been to a Staten Island Yankees game this week with my TV Guide Magazine colleagues.  I ended up volunteering for a game which was put up on the big screen.  Stay tuned for more on that in a future blog :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Domestic Bliss

My Sprouts!

I've recently gotten back into the joy of tending my hearth.  Spending the past couple weekends making yogurt, sprouting sprouts and knitting!  Yes...knitting again.  I can breathe.

It's been a little slow going because of the heat...and my refusal to put the air conditioner back in.  Note to self: Never live in the South.  I am, however, settling into the heat to a point where I can tolerate it and not be miserable...but I don't enjoy it.  Sort of how I feel about living in New York City :)

I actually started writng this blog on 4th of July weekend. The heat has sort of forced me into nap-mode on the weekends.  Maybe that's what I need right like a cat and sleep to cope with the heat.

This past weekend I had my Apprenticeship day (which is always a day I can breathe) and then Sunday was a homemaking day...although laundry fell into the oblivion that it always seems to in favor of cooking and catching up on assorted TV shows and singing along to my iPod in the kitchen.

As I participated in all these activities I started thinking about this blog entry, just sitting waiting to be finished, and I realized that it's very hard for me to relate my feelings about tending the hearth and home because their mine.

On Saturday I had a lovely conversation with one of my herbal Sisters. We were discussing what our ideal jobs would be.  I found that "Homemaker" was the most accurate title I could come up with.  Is that going against feminism? I think not. Tending the hearth is such a joyously feminine thing that I completely revel in re-embracing it! I adore making my own yogurt, bread, granola, sprouts, knitted items...etc.

Although yesterday, as I braved the heat and switched on the oven to make granola for the first time (and crisp bacon for a BLT Potato salad), I realized that I do resent having to squish all these luscious earthy pursuits into one or two days over a weekend.

However, I'm confident that one day the time will be right and I will find a "homemaking" position.  Until then my weekends will be very busy :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Patriotic Berry Salad I'm a day late and a dollar short.  But the salad is red, white, and blue!  :)

It was not intended as a 4th of July treat...but it's a really easy and beautiful berry salad for summer cookouts!

1 pint blueberries
16 oz. strawberries
Plain yogurt
Fresh mint
Lemon Juice
Lemon Zest

Slice up the strawberries and mix with blueberries and the juice and zest of half a lemon. Roughly chop about a handful of mint and toss with yogurt and honey to taste.  Done!

And now for your viewing of my NYC rooftop 4th of July:

It was a wonderful evening with friends and hot dogs and beer!  I love me a good cookout.