A Vacation Tale

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Vacations are expensive and exhausting so we tend to take them infrequently. The past few times, my husband has picked the venues. Las Vegas and now Colorado/Utah. Next month we are taking the 10 hour drive to NJ and back to see his parents. Let me say that I am enjoying spending time visiting and getting to know my SIL better. I think Vail is a beautiful place and the scenery is gorgeous. However, I hate Utah. I hate the desert. And for everyone who has said, “but it’s a dry heat” about the weather – screw you. If it’s 102 degrees and sunny, it’s too damn hot. It’s especially too damn hot to go traipsing up some hiking trail to look at rocks – even if they are red rocks and in an arch pattern. Let’s put it this way: my people wandered the desert for 40 years; had I been one of those people I would have told Moses to stuff it and my family would now be idol worshipers.

The arch I took I the picture of above? 10 steps away from an air-conditioned car. That’s the only way to do the desert.

Meanwhile, the beautiful evergreens and river are in Vail. There are lakes so very blue it seems as though they are not real. There are colorful flowers everywhere; along the streets, in windowboxes, growing wild…the Vail Village appears to be a sweet European town (with prices that make you look twice to be sure you are seeing the decimal point in the correct spot- yikes!). Vail is also at a higher elevation than we are used to, so despite drinking copious amounts of water and eating ibuprofen like pez, I have had a headache since the plane landed on Saturday (if you are counting – and I am – that is 4 days). That’s what happens when there is 15% less oxygen in the air to breathe.

For the cost of this vacation – half of which sucked – we could have gone to somewhere tropical with a beach. My dream vacation. The one I have been wanting to take for years. The one I never get. The one where the water is clear, there is a slight breeze coming off the ocean, and there is no plan for the days. The one I come back with a slight tan and am rested from. Is it wrong to want a vacation where I don’t have to eat at fast food restaurants and pee in dirty gas station bathrooms because we’re driving and need to make good time?

So, what have I learned from this experience that I can share to make it worth your while to have read this far?
1. Subway makes a decent salad if you have to eat fast food.
2. Pack plenty of ibuprofen and drink a lot of water at high elevations. It
won’t help your headache, but that is about all you can do.
3. If someone asks if you want to visit Arches National Park, just say NO.
4. It is the heat – dry or humid doesn’t matter. It just sucks when it is hot out.
5. I will not let my husband plan the next vacation. Or maybe we will take
separate ones.

Being a Before

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We’re on vacation and this is the only picture I’m happy with. Despite working out more regularly and training for my first triathlon, every picture with me in it has been a disappointment. I see the excess weight and am not happy with how I look.

Reframing some of these as my “before” pictures and continuing to exercise and eat carefully. Time, patience, and consistency. Next vacation I plan on being in a lot of photos as an “after”.

Jumping Without a Parachute

One week ago, I walked into my place of employment, quit, and walked out. It was something I knew would happen eventually. While I was initially happy there, a lot of changes took place that made it a soul-sucking, panic-attack-inducing, mean-girls club.

Since that moment, I’ve spoken to other women who are in jobs like this. They may be satisfied with the type of work they do, the hours, or the pay – but they are miserable because the people they work with are backstabbing, gossipy women and men who share personality types typical of middle school mentality despite being adults.

Why do some adults never leave middle school behind?

So, I quit and have thrown my energy into my own business. I’m writing, marketing, blogging, and planning – busier now than I was before but happy. My stress is decreased despite having more at stake. I’m finding my inner voice and joyful self again.

The moment I knew this was the best choice for me? I was sincerely grateful the people/management I worked with were so horrible because without them I never would have found my wings to soar.

Gluten-free “Spanikopita style” Crepes

SAVORY CREPES
Makes 8-10 savory crepes

1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour Mix*
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Cooking spray for pan

Preheat a 7 inch skillet/crepe pan over medium heat.
Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix well.
Spray pan with cooking spray. Pour batter (about 3 tablespoons) onto heated skillet with one hand; with the other hand, tilt the skillet so the batter completely coats the bottom (pour any extra batter back into the blender so the crepes are not too thick). Cook about 1 minute, until the underside is very light golden brown. Loosen the edges of the crepe with a spatula and turn it over in the skillet. Cook the other side about 30 seconds, until it is a spotty light golden brown. Slide crepe onto a plate and cover with foil.
Repeat Step 3 with remaining batter (be sure to brush skillet with more butter before you make each crepe).

The flour mix I use can be found here

FILLING
This is where you can get creative! I sauteed a chopped onion and 10 ounces of fresh spinach until tender and then mixed with farmer’s cheese and feta cheese. You could use cottage cheese or ricotta, kale, Swiss chard – whatever beautiful greens and protein are available.

I fold the filling into each crepe and brown the package on a pan and then serve them with a side of fresh seasonal fruit.

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On Grief

Grief is part of the human condition. We can grieve for jobs, health, the death of a love oned, or even a certain way of life. In the past 7 years I lost my first marriage, almost lost my child in a custody battle, lost my mom and grandmother, and almost lost my brother to addiction. Time does heal some things.

I am married to a wonderful man and we will celebrate our 6 year anniversary this fall. My child is with me, although now she is slipping into becoming a teenager and that will be a whole new letting go process. My mom has been gone since 2011 and I still have times I want to pick up the phone and call her. My grandmother has been gone a year; she adored my dogs and when they get into trouble or do something funny I want to tell her and hear her laugh.

There are days when I don’t think about those losses – there is acceptance. And the next day I may find a recipe stuck in a book with my mother’s handwriting on it and it makes me cry.

Grief and loss changed me. I appreciate the people I have in my life and don’t waste time on people who drain me. I pick up the phone (to call or text) friends and make it a priority to spend time with them. And now I’m making the transition to working for myself because life is too short to be unhappy 8 hours a day at work.

When I turned 30 years old, I measured success by what I had. By my doctorate, my house, my dress size, my job.

When I turned 40, I measured my success in friends, happiness, and the love in my life.

It will be interesting to see what 50 brings….

Salmon Patties

Just got home from a weekend with friends and instead of grocery shopping I decided to take a nap. That meant that around 6pm I had a hungry husband and daughter who were not amused by my suggestion of cereal and carrot sticks for dinner. The idea of grocery shopping was not appealing, so it meant a trip to the pantry, scavenging in the fridge, and raiding the garden.

2 cans of salmon, drained
2 eggs
1 onion
Italian flat leaf parsley
gluten free breadcrumbs
1/2 red bell pepper
salt and pepper

Throw all ingredients (except bread crumbs) into a food processor and pulse. Place breadcrumbs on a plate and season well with salt and pepper (or any herbs you want). Make 4 patties from salmon mixture and roll in breadcrumbs. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add some olive oil. Cook patties on each side until brown. Flip carefully.

Procrastination

I am a secret procrastinator. On the outside, it seems like I am always doing something – writing, starting a private practice, marketing, and working at the hospital. Forgot to mention driving back and forth from home to my daughter’s school, volleyball practice, spending time with friends, cooking, and attempting to work out. Then paying the bills, laundry, keeping the house clean enough for an escape route if necessary, finding time to call or email friends, and taking care of the dogs.

1.Part of the secret: classifying naps as meditation. I can meditate for 2 hours sometimes in an effort not to do some task I would prefer not to do.

2. Another part of the secret: writing a “to-do” list. Writing it out is something yet not actually completing the tasks. Plus, it makes me appear efficient and super busy while taking away the stress that I could be forgetting something. One of the items on the to-do list is “meditate.”

3. Research. In this day and age that means getting online. If I’m online, I should check in on Facebook to see what is going on (social connections are a good thing), LinkedIn, and Gmail to make sure there aren’t any important emails that require a response. LinkedIn is work, right?

4. Make a snack….this could be why I’m overweight. :(

Sometimes I wonder if procrastination is simply a way of my brain telling me that there is too much on my plate (literally and figuratively).

So today I am taking a deep breath, figuring out what needs to be done now and what can be postponed or delegated, and just getting it done. First item on the list: meditate.