Thursday, February 28, 2008


Just had a lovely dinner chez Emi-Lou and Kev-Dog. Mummy's in town for the night, so we all hung out. There was a nice fire—so welcome on this one of the coldest nights of the winter thus far! Yummy food—lovely homemade soup, homemade bread, mango and avocado salad. Some wine. Funny puppy dogs. Colin wasn't there. He's working hard trying to wrap up lose ends at work before leaving for Hong Kong on Saturday. I have a list of things to do after I drop him off at the airport: bring Au Lait to get her nails clipped, pick up my clothes at the seamstress, pick up some very necessary products at Mirror Mirror... relax.

I'm taking tomorrow off to go riding with some EatingWell co-workers at Bolton. Never been snowboarding there before. The last time I was there was for a Nordic ski race in 97. Or was it 98? I remember doing well in that race. Because it was wet, the snow was sticking to our skis and all the really good racers were too lazy or spoiled to work through it.

I'm tired. Think I'll go to bed.

Monday, February 25, 2008

a whole pound of chocolate—or just one rich, sumptuous bite?

I couldn't help but be inspired when I read my sister Emma's contribution for Eat Peas this week. She's been thinking about this idea of extreme dieting and extreme obsessions all weekend. It's all very American she says—we do everything in extremes. We work hard, we play hard. We fixate on ideas to the point of being unyielding. That's the American way; that's how we get things done.

With the help of a little book and a big epiphany, Emma found her way back to moderation—and personal enjoyment. I was definitely inspired by her essay. I laughed out loud at parts; I felt a pang of recognition. Her situation resonates with many of us.

So how to stop with the obsessing? I think you'll find her solution both alluring—and doable. Oh, and you must read the book.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

home improvements

One true benefit I can see of staying home on a winter weekend is that you actually get the chance to be in your living space long enough to take care of it. After being cooped up for 3 whole days in our little apartment, I finally decided I needed a change of scenery. (I can't even think how the poor kitties put up with it day after day.) Col and I had cleaned the place from top to bottom and in doing so had found some unfortunate stains on our old, loyal futon. So we we set out on a glorious President's Day to look for a new futon cover. Our first stop was Burlington Futon Company, right around the corner. They were having a sale (yay!). After much deliberation (close to a half hour, I'd say) we finally agreed on a color and fabric and made our purchase. We felt so grown up!

But when we brought it home, we found the large panel of olive green to be to a little too bold for our little place, so we set out again—this time in search of some accent cushions to soften the new look. Would you believe it, we actually spent more time looking for cushions than the cover? That's because we first drove to Bed, Bad & Beyond in hopes of saving some money. But we found that all of their goods were highly priced, and very poor quality polyester. So we went back to Burlington Futon and found some neat circle motif cushions that we both really liked. And as you can see in the picture, Au Lait really likes them too.

So here is the result:




Sunday, February 17, 2008

let me start off on a better note...

Last night was amazing. Colin and I finally got out on the town. Or to the country, as it it were, since our dinner date was in Richmond, Vermont—at the Kitchen Table.

It was very cold outside, but the restaurant was full. The host seated us in the left-side dining room with mellow gray-blue walls, beautiful old moulding, simple black and white photography, and a gas-lit fireplace. The room itself was quite bustling with tables and people, but once we settled in by the radiator with our own little lamp-light, we barely noticed any of the other diners during our meal (but for the loud-talker in the corner).

They had a special holiday menu. We started with oysters on the half-shell with a shallot mignotte—mmm, nothing quite like oysters to whet the palate!

Then came the salad course. Col had his favorite, Caesar Salad. It was lovely—slightly cheesier than Leunig's lemony version. I had a baby arugula salad with fine morsels of avocado, blood orange, and fennel.

For main course, Colin had coq au vin—a wonderful aromatic stew with local chicken and these fabulous baby mushrooms that popped in your mouth. I've never seen Colin devour a meal quite like this one. He absolutely loved it. I had a tasty roasted spearfish with a gorgeous avocado quenelle on top, lemony couscous and tarragon butter. The wine was a bold and delicious Shotfire Shiraz from Australia.

We cleaned our plates and weren't finished yet! For dessert, we shared a rich chocolate cake with homemade honey ice cream and raspberries, accompanied by a deliciously decadent black muscat.

We were both in heaven. What a special evening. I can't believe I let my depressing morning overshadow such an experience!

not myself today

Instead of being depressed that I was still too sick to go to the mountain with Col today, I decided to revive myself with some retail therapy at TJ Maxx. TJ Maxx in and of itself is depressing enough, so I don't know why I insist on returning again and again to suffocate myself amidst aisles and aisles of excess junk. Still, I went. And I bought. A jogbra. I really needed one. I guess.

Instead of being depressed that I wasted my morning in a strip mall, I decided to go home and be productive. So I shredded papers. Months upon months of old bills and statements. I shredded them and put them in a big bag for recycling.

All that old paper dust, however, seemed to feed the congestive beast in my chest. So now I'm sitting here on the couch feeling even more depressed and sick. I probable would've been better off just going snowboarding.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

80s prom

If you had an 80s prom to go to on Saturday night, what would you wear? It seems simple enough, but when Col and I actually had a prom to go to this weekend, I was stumped. Do I try to wear pink satin with puffy sleeves and a sweet-heart neckline? Do I go for the shimmer and glam? Or black lace and stringy hair a la Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan? In the end, I opted for the third option, because it felt the most "me" and meant the only thing I had to buy was a pink flower for my hair. Colin went for the rock n roll look as well with black jeans, skinny tie and lots of eyeliner.

Turns out, for every guest, there was a different interpretation. Stacey, the birthday girl, wore a shimmery green prom dress and tiara. There was a Bret Michaels. A Punky Brewster. And one guy even came wearing a red leather jacket and robotic arm with Nintendo controls on it.


riding like a bond girl

This one's for L-Train: a video of me at Stowe this week-end in the hot Burton one-piece that I was testing. I felt like a rock-star.

And here are some friends we picked up along the way:


frozen peas & cozy kitties

Frozen peas. That's what Mummy said to me when there was no Eat Peas entry yesterday. I'm sorry to you all. A sickness kept me feverish and bed-ridden throughout the night and I just couldn't make it to my blog. Nourishing, the experience was not. But if I had made it to the computer in time, I probably would've written something like this:

6 Things That Nourish When You're Sick
(when you're all alone and there's no one to take care of you)

When you're sick and icy-hot, achy and coughy, cough, cough, cough, it can be difficult to pinpoint what will make you feel better. Especially if you're all alone and have to take care of yourself. Last night I was alone and sick (Colin is away for work) and managed to find some nourishing options without too much exertion. Whether they're truly healthful is another story altogether, but they got me through the night and that's really what matters.
  • Cheesey Toasts: Toast a piece of bread. When it's nice and crispy, take it out and layer some nice, yummy cheese on top. (Gruyere and Cheddar are my favorites). Put it back in the toaster until nice and melty. Voila! Hot cheesey toasts are the best comfort food when you're sick. Or any time really. Frank's Red Hot goes nicely with this combo.
  • Homemade Peach Ice Cream: I made this last week using frozen peaches, lemon and a touch of Grand Marnier. So good and soothing on the throat and to calm a raging fever. I was lucky I had some ready to eat in my freezer. In my mind, everyone should always have homemade ice cream or sorbet on hand in their freezer. But I realize that's not very realistic. You could just chew on an ice cube. Or make a quick smoothie in the blender with ice, fruit, honey, and yogurt or milk.
  • Hot Garlicky Chard: After all that creamy, cheesey goodness, you'll probably be craving some vitamins to fight the bug. Last night, I had a bunch of gorgeous yellow chard in my fridge and wanted to make something really quick and easy that required little time on my feet. Here's the trick: slice up the chard and put it in a hot skillet with a little olive oil. Cook it down a bit on high heat for a couple of minutes. Then add a clove of minced garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Take off the heat and stir in 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar. Serve with Frank's Red Hot (I was all about the Frank's last night). This was so delicious, I ate the entire batch and am convinced it's the thing that drove my sickness away.
  • Hone-gar (honey + vinegar): This one I learned from my mother. Combine equal parts honey, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, and boiling water (a couple tablespoons of each; maybe a little more of the water). Stir till dissolved. Sip slowly. This is a perfect concoction for chest congestion or sore throat.
  • Warm Kitties on My Belly: Enough said. When you're feeling crummy, there's nothing better than two little friends to warm you all over. It's better than hot water bottles!
  • Cadbury Mini Eggs: I just had to throw this one in there, because if you know me at all you know I'm obsessed with them. And you may even have read my Penelope Post last year about the scarcity of my favorite Easter candy. Last night, since I was alone, I had to go to the drugstore myself to stock up on flu medicine, cough drops and what-not. Well, wouldn't you know it, there were shelves and shelves of mini-eggs (right next to the Valentine's hearts) and in my feverish delirium, I bought 3 lbs ($15 worth). Still, today and feeling better, I don't regret the purchase at all.
There, I hope these tips help all of you in your time of sickness. They certainly helped me.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

making mends

How often do I say to myself lately, "I wish I was more like her... I wish I was the way I used to be... I wish I were better at..." The fact is, there will always be wishes like that. Regret for the passage of time. Sadness that so much has changed. That so much is changing.

You feel it too sometimes, don't you?

Inevitably, we feel it a lot with friendships and relationships too. "Why can't we love the way we used to? Why don't we eat dinner together anymore? Why are we always bickering? Why don't we talk anymore?"

What am I doing wrong? I'll tell you: what's wrong is when you wallow in it.

I've been wallowing this week and Col has been paying the price. I was wallowing so hard tonight, it was making me so tired, wound up and cranky. Finally, we dragged ourselves outside with our empty shopping bags and into the midst of a beautiful snowstorm. As we walked to City Market and started chatting, I felt the weight lift. We were spending time together and we were enjoying it. So much so, that we decided to go to Daily Planet and get a drink (it really is one of the best places to go in town on snowy nights).

We went to Daily Planet for a drink on a Wednesday night—instead of going grocery shopping—and all of a sudden we weren't asking those "Why" questions anymore. We were having a genuine deep conversation and getting to know each other again. We do love each other afterall. Why is it so easy to forget sometimes?

I really am trying to mend my ways and my attitude. I'm trying to stop feeling down on myself and start remembering why I love being me. Some days are harder than others. But on snowy days, it just feels a little easier to be glad—about everything.

Monday, February 04, 2008

sumtin' good

There's something good in every sour situation. Take, for instance, this entire day of February 4, 2008. Woke up late, got to work late, server down till 11 a.m. But since we couldn't access our e-mail or the internet or any of our files for 2 hours, that meant I got to have a super-long "brainstorming" meeting with my friend Nicci and we had a good laugh about aphrodisiacs and the Bush Administration's stimulus package (which I inadvertently referred to as "stimulation package" in a later meeting—thanks to all that libido talk, you know).

Meeting upon meeting, got out of the last meeting after 5, just in time for the server to crash again and to see a mouse scurry across Paula's boot. We bonded in commiseration. I had the shakes from too much thinking and proclaimed, "I don't think I can drive home yet!"

"Wanna come over for a glass of wine?" Paula asked. She's lucky enough to live 5 miles down the road in Charlotte.

"Yes!" I proclaimed. And I think I took Paula off guard. But we went to her place and had some nice wine, yummy gooey cheese and crackers. And by the time I got home, I felt much, much better.

There's always sumtin' good to be had when you end the day off right. That means: a new Peas Weekly posting, more cheese and crackers for dinner (and some salad and fruit for good measure!), kitties purring by your leg, computing next to Col, and having a drink—be it water, Witte or wine—in my favorite Simon Pearce goblet.

Good Monday, everyone.


Friday, February 01, 2008

national wear red day

Today is National Wear Red Day. Why? For one, February is heart awareness month—and it's not just for men. National Wear Red Day is meant to raise awareness about heart disease risk for women—and to inspire empowerment. Read more about it at Go Red For Women. And wear red today!

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