Thursday, September 25, 2008

Four Foods on Friday

I think I've missed the last two weeks, glad to be back at this. Click here to join in on the fun. Here are this week's questions:

#1. Melon. What’s your favorite kind?
Watermelon. So refreshing.

#2. Orange citrus. What’s your favorite - oranges, nectarines, navel oranges, tangerines, etc.
Oranges. I love the fruit, but I'm not a fan of orange jucie

#3. Oreos. What kind is your favorite? (Don’t eat Oreos? What about olives?)
I rarely eat them, but when I do it's only eat the middle, so it has to be double stuffed.

#4. Pot pie. Share a recipe. (No pot pie recipe? What about a casserole or some other hot meal you bake?)
I've published this one before.

Vegetable Pie
- 1TB organic extra virgin olive oil
-1 c. canned organic soybeans
-1 c. organic carrots, diced
-1 c. organic onion, chopped
-1 c. organic sweet corn (1 large ear stripped of kernals)
-1 c. organic broccoli, chopped-
-1 c. organic red bell pepper, diced
-1 lb fresh organic spinach, cooked, drained and chopped
-2 cloves organic garlic, peeled and chopped
-1 tsp nutmeg
-sea salt, to taste
-ground black pepper, to taste
-1/2 c. organic pecans, chopped (optional)
-2 frozen pie crusts, or recipe for two-crust pie
-1 c. grated mozzarella cheese or cheese substitute
-2 tsp organic sesame seeds
Sauté vegetables in olive oil until tender-crisp. Add garlic, nutmeg, salt, pepper and pecans. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes until the flavors blend.
Oven: 350 degrees for 20–30 minutes or until the crust turns brown. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

1) Line a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with one prepared crust.
2) layer the vegetables with the cheese beginning with the cheese and ending with the vegetables.
3) Top with another crust, seal with a fork and trim excess pie dough. With a sharp knife, poke vent holes in the top of the crust. Sprinkle top with sesame seeds.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's The Little Things I Miss

This past weekend I went "home" for the first time in over six months! It's not that I don't love my family, but we all live such busy lives time seems to escape us. However, that is no excuse.

A part of the issue is me. I have never transitioned well and I need to feel settled. I always used to feel torn when I went "home." There was so much to do, so many people to see, I felt like I was tying up loose ends. But this time was different. As much as I hesitate to write this, I wasn't stressed because didn't feel like I was going home as an absentee member of my family. I knew I was going home as a beloved guest. I was going back to my hometown, but I wasn't torn up over doing it all.

Yes, Massachusetts is where I grew up, it's where my family lives, it's a place that will always be comforting and familiar, but now it's not my home. I haven't really lived there since 2003. They say home is where the heart is... my heart is in New York. It's where my job, my social life, and my friends live. I've built a new life for my self here. I feel truly blessed, I have the best of both worlds. An exciting city life, with a supportive, loving suburban family who welcomes me back as a guest with no expectations of permanence.

My mom had tears in her eyes when she picked me up at the train station.
My dad squeezed me and held an embrace when I first saw him.
My sister (the child who loathes family dinners) and I talked non stop for two hours over dinner Friday night.
My puppy dog whimpered and jumped onto my lap when he saw me.
We laughed, as a family, more than we have laughed in a long time.
And then my trip was over. Back to New York, back to reality.

My parents never thought I'd become a city girl, but they have shared in my joy as I've grown to love it. And they are the first to admit that they love the perks that come along with their oldest daughter living in the Big Apple.

To be fair, though, there are a few things that city life doesn't afford me. I captured them on film, and figured I'd share them with all of you....

Our golden retriever, Tyler...isn't he handsome?

All that greenery and landscaping my dad prides himself on...

Basking in the sun! (Without all the smog and urban noise)

What about you? What are the things that you miss about "home"?

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm the Lucky One

I don't say it enough, so I'll say it now... I'm the lucky one. In this fast paced world that we live in, it's easy to loose yourself in the chaos, wallow in self pity, and take for granted all the little things.

After last week's bomb, my friends were truly amazing. They didn't have to say anything, they were just there. We went out, laughed, giggled, shared some great drinks (and stories). It brought me back to the college years when friends were all that mattered. Not that my friends aren't my world now, but we all have our own lives and our lives are more like Venn Diagrams than interlocking puzzle pieces.

I also just returned from a great 36 hour trip to Philadelphia. I left early Sunday morning and spent the afternoon with K, C, and L. Hard to be live that I hadn't seen C since graduation! Our conversation was bountiful and hilarious, like always. It was so incredible to see how much we've each come into our own in just 16 months. K in in the midst of her thesis for a double masters; C has moved to "Chi Town" and is loving mid western living; L is amazing us with her intellectual work as an author for a biotech company; and I'm thriving in the Big Apple saving lives one hospital bed at a time (well, almost).

A bonus to my Philly trip was spending Sunday night and Monday with the L's! No matter where I go, or what I do, they are forever a part of my life. R and J are getting SO big; however, it's not only their size that's growing but also their independent spirits and zest for fun. I can't tell you how much it warmed my heart to see R bolt down the stairs after his nap, and run through the living room yelling, "Hi Nurse Miss Kelly. I'm so happy to seeee you!" Spending time with O and T was also amazing. O is more than a "sister" she's a mentor and true friend. And T, he's always got an ear to listen and has great perspective on the challenges of my job.

*R &J: I know that you are too young to read this but you boys mean so much too me. It's been an extreme joy to watch you grow. J, you are now older than R was when I first met your family. Time flies! My "real job" can be stressful and upsetting, but You boys keep me grounded and remind me that it's okay to giggle uncontrollably for no reason, sing along to the music~even if I'm off tune, run around with underwear on my head, and climb on the playground.

So to everyone who's ever supported me, thank you, thank you, thank you! You are all amazing and I truly am the lucky and blessed.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

I have a 6th sense about people. Maybe it's a facet of my job, but I can tell when something is up, when there's an elephant in the room, and/or the atmospheric mood (oh, poetic!) is a changin'.

My vacation started last night at 5pm. I worked Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday nights, didn't sleep, and then took day #2 of PALS thursday day. When class got over at 5pm, I'd been awake for 29 hours and all I wanted to do was relax! G and I had plans for something around 8pm. I had texted him from class and asked if he would be terribly upset with a low key evening; he said that was exactly what he in mind.

In my twisted little mind, I thought that I'd (miraculously) be energized if I went and worked out before we met up. AFter 2 hours at the gym, I really wasn't energized, but the bags under my eyes matched the shirt I was planning on wearing. I took a quick shower and lied down on my bed to read my was 7:45. At 8:54 my phone was chimining (Ohhh, We're half-way there! Whooo-oa livin' on a prayer!). I picked it up, it was G telling me that he was downstaris. I got up and buzzed him into the building. Then I looked in the mirror and realized that I had fallen asleep on my book ; I had a huge imprint of the book on my face. Now there's a way to greet a boy.

I opened the door. He came inside. I sat on the couch. He sat on the couch. He asked me how I felt. I told him I was tired, but thrilled to be on vacation. I flashed him a smile. I asked him about his day. He told me it was shitty. He played poorly and then taught two lesson that were awful. I expressed my sympathy and then looked at his face. Oh boy, here it comes. I knew he had sounded funny on the phone this past week.

"Umm, that's actaully what I wanted to talk to you about...about us, this relationship, about just how far it can go....."

I swallowed, hard. I so wasn't ready for this talk. Not in my state of exhaustion. This was not how I wanted to begin my vacation.

"Don't get me wrong, I think your're perfect, and you have been more than great about this relationship, but I just don't think this is something I can do now. These last few weeks ,I've been freaking out. I'm playing poorly. I'm not here [as in this relationship] enough. I don't feel like it's fair, like I can't give it 100%."

"Umm. Did I do something?"

"No, no it's not you."

If anything, I've been so laid back about this relationship. All those of you who know me, know that I'm a tiny bit anal retentive, love to plan things, and content with a scheudle. However, things with G could not be like that. I was okay with waiting until the day before to make plans. I was okay, not knowing where we were going and/or what we were going to do until we were out and about. I was smitten with his company, his conversation, his affection. I felt so liberated flying by the seat of my pants...even it it meant that there were stretches of time (36 + hours) that I couldn't sleep. I understood that we had very different schedules, but I was willing to adapt. Don't get me wrong, I thought it sucked that sometimes we would go 2 weeks without seeing eachother, but I wasn't clingy. I didn't whine and complain. I never told him that he should come see me instead of going out with his friends. I made the best of the situation. I guess that's why I was so blown away by his admission. I never asked for more of his time.

He told me that his friends thought he was an idiot and that they were going to be so mad at him, becuase they loved me. I wanted to tell him that it wasn't about his friends. He needed to be the one interested in the relationship.

I told him I felt sick to my stomach when he said, "I'm not playing well." , I never intended to hurt his career, to be a distraction. He came back with, "It's nothing you did. I just can't handle a relationship right now."

And then I started to cry. I couldn't believe I did that...I don't cry; however, exhaustion got the best of me....and maybe I was more attached than I thought.

The "It's not you..." was supposed to make me feel better, but it only stung more. I always seems to play the nice girl who gets walked over and hurt.

"Well, it is what it is. What else do you want me to say?" I mumbled and blotted back some tears.

"I still wanna be friends. I love your company and hooking up hanging out . It's been amazing."

Listen up boys, that's great that you still want to be friends, but that's a senstive issue and it takes time. It's hard to go from dating (and all that it entails) to being 2 people who hang out, throw back some beers, and watch a football game.

"We'll see. I mean we were already friends with the same peopple before all this, so I'm sure I'll still see you out.

We talked for a few more minutes, I won't bore you with the details. Eventaully he got up, gave me a hug, and I walked him to the door. I turned the lock, put my back up against the wall ,and slid to the floor. I let the tears flow. I'm sure he heard me, the elevator hadn't come yet. I tried so hard to compose myself, but I was hurt and upset. After a few minutes, I got up and walked to my bedroom through my dark apartment. I put on my pajamas, pulled back the covers, and went to sleep.

I'd love to say that I was bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning, but that wasn't the case. My puffy eyes and stuffy nose were a painful reminder of what occured the night before.

Not wanting to dwell on this saga, I turned to my stress relief. I threw on my bathing suit, went to the pool, and then laced up my shoes and hit the pavement. I was gone for 3 hours. I feel a little bit better now, but mt heart still hurts.

I guess it's takes loosing something to realize how much it meant. The night I met G, I wasn't looking for a boyfriend, I didn't even like the outfit I was wearing. I had been out all day running errands. Not wanting to be late for my friends birthday dinner and party, I dropped off my parcels and headed out the door. When we first started seeing each other, I was torn. I didn't want to like him, but I couldn't help it. I got butterflies in my stomach when I saw him and my heart jumped when I saw his name on the caller ID. He won me over.

But now I'm lost.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Bye Bye Bullet

I've written many times about my mom's minivan. But just in case you have missed out, here are the highlights....

It's a 1999 (I was in the 8th grade when we got this baby!)
It's silver and always dirty.
Over the years it's acquired many dings and scratches. My mom loved to "bump" the car's hood against the wall of the garage, and let's just say that when learning to drive, I wasn't the best at avoiding the brush and shrubbery that lines our super long driveway!)

A little summary of where the "Silver bullet" has been:
Back and fourth to Virginia 4x;
Back and fourth to D.C. at least 2x;
To and from Philly well over 10x;
Plus back and fourth to NY at least 5 or 6x!
And those are only the longer trips. My mom hauled us kids all over the state, New England, and of course around town.

The car has had it's fair share of issues...
There was the leak that flooded the drivers side floor,
the broken drivers side electric window,
the broken ash tray/cup holder from an over excited dog slamming his paws onto it,
the short circuited dash board,
the radio that wouldn't seek the channels,
the CD player that would over heat after 2 songs,
the broken rear electric widows (hello cold draft in the winter!), the broken windshield wipers in the hurricane and their consequential backwards installation causing them to stall in the up, not down position,
the tail lights that all blinked when you stepped on the brake,
and the spastic spare tire that always rattled a little tune under neath the car.

Was I embarrassed by this car? You betcha! But then again, I proudly rocked the minivan my sophomore year, before I got my own car. Do you know what I concluded that spring/summer? Cops don't pull over soccer mom's driving minivans!

We always gave my mom shit and called her car the 'traveling trash can', but she really didn't deserve that. After all, my dad wouldn't be caught dead carting around the dog, the soccer team, groceries, gardening items, etc in the back of his new SUV. So the bullet picked up the slack.

My mom had said that she would drive that baby into the ground. I always assumed that my mom and dad would be driving that car when they drop my sister off at college in the fall of 2010;however,I guess I was wrong.

Today I got that phone call.... that my parents are breaking down and laying the bullet to rest. My mother's tone, made me worry at first that something was (seriously) wrong, but I should have known.
So what happened to spur this whole new car idea? That leak that caused the short circuit is back and the cost to fix it is the same as the car's value (pending nothing else shits the bed). Plus now the airbags had to be turned off and your can't use the air conditioner. (You all know, or do now, that my mom is getting to that lovelyt age of menopause. For her, A car without AC is like a sundae without a cherry!)

I'm still sort of in shock, after all htat car has been a part of my life for the past 10 years!

They're nor sure what they're going to buy, probably something fuel efficient and not at all luxurious, but no matter what they choose, it will never have the character, or the memories of the Silver Bullet.

RIP pal, It's been real.

Monday, September 08, 2008


I guess I worked straight through last week and completely missed getting my FFOF answers together, whoops! Anyways, here are this week's answers. Pop on over to Valmg's blog and see what others are writing about...

#1. Egg salad or deviled eggs. How do you prepare?
Hard boil eggs, allow to cool, remove shell, coarsly chop, add Nasoya, finely chopped celery and carrots, salt and pepper.

#2. French fries. Do you make homemade or frozen?
Homemade. I love to make baked sweet potato fries.

#3. Gravy. What do you use - homemade, jar, can or from a package?
For the rare occastion that I need it, I make it from scratch with the pan juices.

#4. Share a recipe for a hot (temperature, not spice) dish.
Green Curry Tofu from WholeFoods
Serves 4 to 6
Take advantage of summer’s fresh herbs and make a homemade green curry with chiles, mint and cilantro bound together with coconut milk. Serve this curry over steamed basmati or brown rice instead of noodles, if desired.

1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained
2 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
1/4 pound green beans, trimmed
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed
1/2 bunch mint, stems removed
1/2 bunch basil, stems removed
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
2 Thai chiles, seeded and roughly chopped
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled
1 (1-inch) piece lemongrass, peeled
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 (15-ounce) can baby corn, drained and rinsed
6 button mushrooms, sliced
7 ounces “pad thai” style rice noodles, cooked according to package instructions
3 green onions, thinly sliced
Lime wedges

Arrange tofu between several layers of paper towels on a large plate. Using the palm of your hand, press down gently to remove as much liquid as possible from the tofu. Change out the paper towels and repeat a second time. Cut tofu into 1½-inch cubes and toss gently in a bowl with flour. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Shake excess flour off of tofu then carefully transfer to skillet. Fry tofu, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over, 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a bowl. Add broccoli and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to a bowl of ice water until chilled then drain well. Repeat process with green beans; set aside.

Put cilantro, mint, basil, coconut milk, chiles, ginger, lemongrass, sugar and ½ cup water into a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to a large skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat; season with salt and pepper. Add corn, broccoli, green beans, mushrooms and tofu and cook just until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Divide noodles between bowls and top with curry, tofu and vegetables. Garnish with green onions and lime wedges.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Easy as ABC

Looking back over my last post I realized that I posted the unedited version. I'm mortified that all the spelling and grammar errors were present. Sorry about that folks.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Love 'Em, Don't Leave 'Em

I took report on my patient tonight and my heart sank.

80% burns, self inflicted.

He didn't feel loved, so instead he doused himself in lighter fluid and struck a match. If I have learned anything in the last 13 months, it's that suicide by fire is a long, painful, and not usually successful (initially). Instead, the patient waits until their body sucomes sepsis.

He's got a machine breathing for him.
His blood pressure is dependant on high doses of medication.
He requires continuous sedation of fentanyl and ativan.
His skin has been excised and cadaver skin is temporarily grafted onto his body.

Why did he do it? He's not awake to tell us. But we did learn from his friend that he recently came out of the wasn't well received. His family couldn't accept his way of life. He had failed- in their minds, to be the masculine ideal people hold on a pedestal. His family turned their back on him and now they risk loosing him. They couldn't see their son for all that he was. They were blinded by the gender issue.

I watched them sit at his bedside today, tears flowing. I heard them say, "I just don't get why he'd do this to us." I had to try hard to bite my tongue. They truly believed that their son did this to spite them, never considering that maybe it was his cry for help and longing for love.

And now I ask you all to do this. Love your kids for who they are, no what you think they should be. Let them live. Let the little girls play with cars and roll around in the dirt. Let the little boys play with the kitchen sets and put on dress up clothes. Cherish the time you have with them.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

guilty as charged

Tonight is Wednesday night dinner club and I need to bring dessert. I found a recipe that I created a few summers ago...bread pudding with apples, raisins, and cinnamon. It comes out best with day old bread, but since I've worked the last 5 nights my mind really hadn't planed ahead.

So today, after having been awake for 28 hours I made my way to Agata and Valentina to peruse their fresh breads. I love this store because they have little samples of all the breads and cheeses so you know what you are getting, I picked out a crusty raisin walnut bread that was just mouth watered as I thought about dessert. I asked the lady how much it was and she said (in her thick foreign accent) that it comes in mini loaves and they are "Two fiftty." I was shocked that they were so cheap, but I put up 2 fingers, said "Two?" and she nodded. She gave me the package and I put it in my basket. I grabbed a few gala apples and got in the line...the LONG line.

I waited 12 minutes.

The cashier rings up the two items. "Twenty six, thirty five."
She repeated herself slowly, speaking to me as if I were mentally challenged. I asked her how much the bread was and she said, "Twelve fifty. AND you have two of them."
UNh, uh. No No No. I wanted 1 loaf for "Two fifty." I stood there for a second, and sighed. A $25.00 dessert? I think not. I'm sure I could buy something premade for that cost.

But I didn't want to look cheap. This IS the Upper East Side of Manhattan...

And then it came to me. I don't know why I said it, but I blurted out, "Shit! I don't have my wallet. And I just waited in this line...I'm running too late to go home and come back."

I looked at the lady, gave her my best, "Oh my God, I'm so embarrassed face", apologized, and walked out of the store empty handed.

Barely out the door, the hugest grin came across my face and I started laughing. I don;t know how that idea came to me and/or where it came from. So unlike me.

I walked down the block and into the bakery. I picked up 5 jumbo gourmet cupcakes, paid $12.00, and left.

And on that note, I'm off to dinner.