Monday, November 29, 2010

Looking Back and Facing Fears

 My heather plant now!

The Creative Dreaming year is fast approaching its end...although it certainly won't stop on December 31st...nor should it!  Life is an ever evolving creative dream, after all.

I started re-reading my blogs from the beginning of the year and wow,  how far I've come!

I started 2010 with "Cookies and New Beginnings" and then went right into "Creative Dreaming."

The biggest realization I've taken away from reading all of my old posts is that this past year I've been establishing a new root system. Now, I feel like I'm getting ready to hibernate a little after all the hard work and then the next step is to break through the Earth and follow the Sun.

There is still a little more than a month to go with the dreaming and a lot can happen in one month!

Pushing through that last bit of earth can prove tiring at times...and it can make you question and wonder and ponder changing your mind. I don't want to derail any of the progress...I need to give the Universe time to put all the pieces together and not change the game at the last minute. That's a sure fire way to never manifest! Paying down my debt and increasing my savings account have played a big role in establishing a new foundation.  As those numbers change, I feel lighter and less tied down.

I saw a distinct shift after my Ireland blogs...I feel like my sense of purpose gets stronger all the time and things keep getting clearer and clearer.

The clearest thing has become my desire to move out of New York. This is also scary...but a fear I'm getting more and more sure of facing. And it gets less scary every day.

I've faced a lot of fears over this past year and they certainly have made me stronger.
  • I've spoken my mind and expressed my needs

  • Created boundaries

  •  Spoken with people who intimidate me for one reason or another...

  •  Allowed myself to imagine life differently after being entrenched here for so long

  •  I've been spontaneous (Dublin)
  • I've shared my thoughts/dreams and opinions
  • I've started to re-imagine my website (which means I will be moving my blog eventually)

  • I've volunteered to write for publications

  • I've searched out and applied for freelance writing...but opted out because it didn't feed my soul.

  • I've stripped away very deeply rooted, but harmful relationships and forged new, healthy ones.

I'm sure there have been other little things that I can't remember...but they all come together to give me more confidence for going after my dreams.  Most of the time it's me asking people I don't know well for advice, help...or offering mine.  That's pretty damn good for someone who used to be too shy to talk.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Family Affair, Part 3

What's for Lunch? :)

The last day began with another delicious breakfast. We made a scramble with tomatoes, spinach, fresh basil, baby bella mushrooms, bacon, feta and Greek seasoning...

Elana had a yen for waffles...

More specifically...waffles topped with the stout ice cream from the night before :)

What can I say about this wonderful weekend?  I felt so at home and relaxed the whole time. Not to mention appreciated!  Elana wanted the whole "Lee Ann/Lion's Share" experience right down to the music I listen to when I'm in the kitchen. My iPod seemed to favor The Waterboys and Eddie Izzard in her house! We shared wonderful food and conversation and had the time, for once, to really hang out.

My cousin and I have been talking about doing this for over a year and now we want to make it an annual thing!  Why does it take so long to start such fantastic traditions? Better late then never, I say :)

Elana and I go way back :)  I have very fond memories of the Summer vacations she shared with my parents and I in New Hampshire when we were both in High School (Loon Mountain! The "Not So General Store")! 

SO much has changed in both our lives since then but the bond has only strengthened and I am so happy we can take the joy of spending time together into our adult lives and broaden it...and now Frederick is part of family fun!

They say you can't choose your family...but I doubt I could have chosen better.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Family Affair, Part 2

Chez Owens' cozy kitchen table

We have two meals to cover in this one, so get comfy!

To start...we slept in.  Yay!  It was almost 10am when I rolled out of bed and joined Elana in the kitchen, greeted by a cheery "Good Morning!!!"

Good indeed!

After chatting and lounging around with big cups of tea, breakfast quickly turned into brunch.  Which was fine by me.  The company was well worth the delay. (I love sharing breakfast with loved ones...something I miss living by myself. As I've gotten older I've become more of a morning person.  I actually can form entire sentences now instead of the odd incoherent grunt :).

Now back to the meal.

I started by turning our leftover pizza sauce into an omelette topping, using the extra mushrooms and some tasty spinach:

Elana manned the omelette pan (there's feta in there!!!)

The results!

And what can I say...bacon...oh bacon how I love you...

Freshly made orange, carrot, ginger die for!

The morning message with my tea:


Then were were off to run a few errands...including a trip to the package store and Dear God...the beer aisle...

Me, discovering the Scottish beer section...bliss!
"Some of the best moments of my life have involved a good bottle of beer in front of me..."

And this was no exception!

We chose this delicious coffee stout to make ice cream with. I've done this recipe with various kinds of alcohol, but stout works the best, in my opinion.

Elana's mixer put my wooden spoon to shame!

We likened these to the little ice cream cups we'd get as know, with the little wooden paddle spoon?  Although, these treats aren't for kids!

My throat medicine (I had to man-up and drink the rest of the stout!) I'm not sure any doctors would recommend alternating beer and tea...but it seemed to work out A. OK.

As the ice cream was freezing, and I was drinking, I started the spicy chorizo soup!  This is a soup I've made before (but hadn't blogged).  I started by browning the sausage with a medium size yellow onion and then added 1 can of black beans 1 can of red...then some sea salt, chili powder, cumin and cayenne to taste...followed by one carton of chicken stock and one tomato soup (this particular one had cream and roasted red peppers). Then I let it simmer away while we attended to other things.

Towards the end of the simmer, I added in some kale and then the juice from half a lime right before serving.  YUM!!!

To quote my cousin, "YAY PORK!!!"  

While I was doing all that, Elana prepared the pumpkin mac and cheese!  I use a Martha Stewart recipe for "Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese" and opt for canned pumpkin instead of the laborious steaming and mashing of fresh butternut squash.  I also love the sweetness the pumpkin brings to the table.

Delish! I really don't understand people who don't like mac and cheese...  :)

Store-bought garlic bread...mmmm...

Our Dinner companion...

And as if that wasn't enough, we made a ton of spicy kale chips (and I found out that my blog comes up first when googling "Spicy Kale Chips..." Go figure :)

Going, Going...Gone!!!  Nom Nom Nom....

And later, I ended the day with a nice dram of "The Balvenie" (neat) ...and rested the glass on one of my hand-made photo coasters! I forgot Elana and Frederick had a set...awwww....

I could not have asked for a better day...I even got a few snazzy pieces of clothing (on crazy sale) at Kohl's!!!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Family Affair, Part 1

This past weekend I headed to CT for a little cooking and catching up with my Cousin, Elana and her Hubby, Frederick.

I started my long weekend with new boots and a midnight showing of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows part 1.  I think that both the boots and the film are fantastic. I don't care what people say :)

I took Thursday and Friday off and it was just what I needed. Shaking up the schedule is a very good thing!

Thursday morning I tried to sleep in, but my Sister texted me at 8:00am...which threw a tiny crimp into my plans since I knew I'd be up until at least 3AM.  It also created a no-nap theme that lasted through Friday!

I took the subway in...went straight to the shoe store...and there was only one pair of the boots I'd been stalking for over a year. Success!

Then Sara and I caught up, caught dinner, and were off to the cinema! The movie was playing in every theater on the floor and we were surrounded by assorted crazies in costume...and some who we thought were in costume (awkward!). We were giant kids for the night and it was so much fun!


After a great night at the movies (and  4 hours sleep) I was picked up by my cousin's lovely husband and deliriously chatted away until we got to CT, which was difficult because I was rapidly losing my voice...damn you seasonal allergies and dry air! I tried to shake my Harry Potter hangover for the rest of the day by attempting a nap in a very cheery bedroom.  Not very nap I gave up.  Then, after my iPod died,  I tried to turn on the big TV.  It was like trying to operate a space station! It took a few instructional texts from Elana to sort it out.  Then I kicked back on the couch and enjoyed the fact that I didn't have to be anywhere or do anything. I laid around...ironically watching the TV Guide Channel. You can take the girl out of The Guide...

Then Elana came home and we were off to the market!

Stop and Shop is always a bit surreal (so much real estate...and space!) But we plowed through our shopping list and headed back to the house all ready to start our cooking extravaganza.

Me and Mount Tomato

Our Booty

The Friday night menu: 

Pizza with red onions and rosemary...

Shitake and baby bella mushrooms in a red wine tomato sauce:

(We rolled the store-bought dough [sorry!] with some of the rosemary and drizzled it with heavenly olive oil):

Take some mixed greens and halved grape tomatoes:

Add in some pesto-clad butternut squash:

And, voila! An autumn salad to die for!

The pizza in progress:

Dinner time!

We sat around the table, in front of the fireplace, with our meal and wine...The Lion's Share weekend in CT had begun!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Dress for Success

Wisdom found on a tea bag

"Dressing for success" has taken on new meaning for me.  I used to think of button down shirts and power, thanks to another wonderful Creative Dreaming assignment, I think of it as something much deeper. It's a way to move more fully into our dreams.

I remember wanting to buy "New York" clothes when I moved here, thinking my wardrobe was too "Connecticut."  Whatever that means.  It seems like style changes tend to accompany big life shifts, don't they?

For the past two weeks us creative dreamers have been charged with dressing up as our dream.  Inspired by Halloween, our creative dream leader, Andrea, asked us to dress up as our dream.

This couldn't have come at a better time because I have been re-assessing a lot of things lately...and my appearance is one of them (like growing my hair long again after years of it being short). 

Over the Summer I tried to girl it up a bit more after a long period of just letting things go (I used to NEVER dress down...but that was years ago).  In the Summer it can be easy with all the cute dresses!  Although I could have done without the heat, thank you :)

Now that it's Fall (YAY!) I have more of a challenge...and what did I find out when I really started looking in my closet? 

I don't like most of my clothes. 

They just don't feel like me anymore.  I thought that I would go through my wardrobe and appropriate things for who I am now, but it doesn't work for most of the old things...some of which I bought on impulse and never wore...or bought out of some need to fill up space.

During an outdoor meditation while apprenticing, I came to the realization that I want my wardrobe to reflect who I am now and who I was when. I want it to be warm, Earthy and full of fabrics that reflect my life and the things I love...wool, knits, wood (like my violin and the trees) , satin (like ballet slippers)...I want to dress sort of "urban/country" whatever that means :D

So...I did a wee bit of shopping.  Bought a new skirt, tossed two old ones...bought two new shirts...etc.

I'm also knitting a cabled cardigan with some fluffy, Earthy brown yarn...and hopefully some yummy boot socks in green and maroon later on...I'd even love to get new glasses (lighter colored frames) but I want to pay down my debt more ;)

I want to take the time every day to use my clothes creatively. It's a struggle some mornings but as long as I'm comfortable when I leave the house, I'm happy.

The week I started this exercise was sort of rainy.  One day, as I was leaving work, I caught my reflection in the elevator door and smiled.  I was wearing a rain jacket with red tartan scarf, cargo pants tucked into my rain boots, hair pulled back. Pretty much the way I dress when I'm in Scotland.  I was dressed up as my dream!  LOL


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

(Scottish) Breakfast for Dinner

 One of God's greatest creations...

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Give me eggs, potatoes, some sort of breakfast meat and I'm a happy gal.

Thanks to an order from The Scottish Grocer and my new Scottish cookbook...I made "tattie" (potato) scones, fried eggs, mushrooms, baked beans...and haggis for dinner this past Sunday night.  I was going to make it all for actual breakfast that morning...but opted, instead, for sleeping in and then lounging on the couch with my knitting and some tea. Ah, lazy Sunday mornings...

I ended up having Scotch instead of tea with dinner...the tea would have kept me up!



Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Lion's Share Knitting Circle!

Yarn, What's Not to Love?

On October 23rd I held my first Lion's Share gathering...and we started with knitting!

My Mother taught me how to knit when I was 12, or so, and I didn't stick with it very long.  I have always been an art and crafty gal, but knitting required a level of calmness and patience I just didn't have then.  Although, I have always had more patience while creating art of any sort.  It was always a source of amazement to my parents given my short fuse :) And to me, actually! I still have the first project I ever started (an unfinished gray scarf). Maybe one day...

A few years ago I decided to pick up the needles again, and asked my Mom to re-teach me how to knit.  I never looked back.

Knitting has been the source of so much more than sweaters and scarves to keep me warm.  I've gained friends (we had a knitting group at work for a while and it really bonded us), serenity, a sense of accomplishment, a creative outlet and confidence. I recently realized that it started to give me a "yes I can do that" sort of outlook.  I used to read a pattern and say, "I can't do that..." and then I would tackle it and learn and come out with a beautiful piece of clothing.  So pretty soon I started hearing "I can't" in my head and quickly replied, "What makes you think that? Of course you've proven that over and over get on with it!"

And I've gone on to apply that mentality to other things in my life. They just get bigger and bigger (but not always as warm i. e. "Taking the Plunge" in Scotland).  It's very liberating.  So start small but aim big, right?  :)

Now, back to the party...

On the eve of the good friend, Sara, came over to help prepare...We tried out a burger place called "Flipside." They stuff the burgers with cheese!!!

Hard at work...

And she brought along a guest...Johnnie Walker Black...who we then introduced to another friend, Glenfiddich...

More work...

And I finally introduced her to my boyfriend, (David Tennant's) Dr. Who...

A very welcome dinner guest ;)

Then I got to work in the kitchen making the dough for parmesan shortbread. (I got the recipe from "Sue  Lawrence's SCOTTISH Kitchen.")

Parmesan Shortbread

All the while I left Sara in front of the television with Dr. Who cutting up vegetables and seeding pomegranates.
 Out! Damn Spot!!!

 Pomegranate Seeds!

Barley with butternut squash, pesto, walnuts, onions and mushrooms

Carrots and yams with caramelized onions, herbs de provence and balsamic vinegar

Mixed greens with apples, walnuts and cheddar cheese

A delicious Fall lunch!

Sassafras Leaves

I also served a wonderful Sassafras and Mullein tea infusion, pumpkin dip with organic graham crackers and ginger snaps along with hot, spiced apple cider...which we married with a little bit of whisky ;)

And yes, there was actual are some projects I've (finally) finished!

 A stripey (Summer) Hat

 The beginnings of a cabled cardi

It was a wonderful afternoon full of yarn, food, laughter and food!  If anyone is interested in participating or hosting a circle, please get in touch!

Maybe I'll see you next time!

P.S. Thank you to all who attended and a HUGE thank you to Sara for all that chopping!