Welcome to my blog. My blogging journey began about in August 2009 as a photo-a-day blog which has since transitioned to combine my love of good food and photography. Today, using as many local and fresh ingredients as we can, my boyfriend and myself spend time researching recipes, making our own adaptations, cooking, taking photos, eating, and finally reflecting on all or part of the above listed process here. I hope you take the time to not only read and look at our photos, but please cook some of the recipes yourself. You are invited and encourage to leave feedback as we continue our culinary journey!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Retirement Party

Today, I was truly moved. At 1 pm this afternoon, my place of employment had a retirement party for an employee who had worked there for 27 years. She is 79 years old.

I had worked with this woman for the past year since I had been there. Every day, she comes in with a smile on her face. Sometimes she is a bit talkative, which I admit was a true challenge for me---since when I am on task I am not the one who likes to put things on hold and have a conversation with another person. This is a flaw within myself. But with her, it didn't seem to matter-I knew I needed to be patient because I had so much to learn.

The amazing thing is that this woman was not retiring at 79 because she wanted to. She retired at 79 because she had to-her MS has progressed to a point that made it difficult for her to come to work everyday. She had promised herself that she would make it to 83 before retiring.

I can only hope that in my own life I am that active, and that caring. For 30 years this woman worked as a public school teacher---and for 30 more at the MS Society--all the while developing curriculum and helping people with MS meet their basic needs.

This woman has a true circle of friends. Her neighbors drive her places, help her clean her home, care for her pets. I guess the saying holds true here---what goes around comes around.

I don't feel like I can explain my own emotion around this event in a just fashion---I was truly moved to the point of tears when she was walking out of the office. Everyone lined up in a processional style to say goodbye. We all hugged. We said goodbye.

But thankfully, she will be back...but unfortunately, she will no longer grace us with her presence everyday. I will miss the stories of how things used to be...her wisdom, her grace, her smile. But, her commitment to helping others lives on through all of us, and so we will continue to do the best we can.

Ghost Tour

Saturday, October 24, 2009. A ghost tour in Old Town Alexandra with a wonderful mix of good friends. It wasn't really scary---but I can't say I didn't learn anything.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall Leaves and Lazy Cat

Washington DC is full of fall flavors---squash, apples, cool weather, and colorful leaves. Because of the rain, most of the leaves turned brown quickly...but yesterday I found a rare treasure, a tree full of red and yellow leaves. How beautiful!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I feel like I need to make better use of my creativity, but how?...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Last night, I went to a Community Yoga Class. Once a week a nearby Yoga Studio hosts a free course. It's fantastic, especially for those of us who are on a limited income.

A little over halfway through the course, the power went out, so we practiced yoga in the dark and silence. I have to admit that it was pretty strange to be in a room filled with 30 people with no electricity, exercising in complete silence.

We were near the end of our practice anyway, so the teacher turned a portion of the course into more of a medititation. She told a few stories of her class (she works at a school during the day) and listed a few Dalai Lama quotes. One quote she read off I really liked. I couldn't seem to find it as I searched today---but it was something about ourselves being our biggest setback, not other people.

I did however, in my search find another Dalai Lama quote that I enjoy. I've been working a lot lately, and I've been losing a lot of my patience and compassion. So, I do feel like this quote is a good one to live by.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Nintendo Wii evening

My Housewarming party, a fun evening with good friends.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Lifetime of Updates

Lately, I've felt inspired to take on each and every challenge that comes my way. I feel strongly that life is about experience, and its these experiences and challenges that keep me striving to be a better person. I don't like to own "things." I moved about a month ago with about two suitcases full of clothes, five boxes, a guitar, a bike, and a dresser. I find that refreshing--to not own much but be able to pick up at any moment and change my lifestyle.

I've had some moments in these past few weeks where I love my job. And I've had some moments where I hate it. Yesterday, I went to an FDA hearing for Fampradine---a symptomatic treatment for MS which assists with walking difficulties. The drug was approved by the FDA. I had two clients that testified in hopes that this drug would help them and improve their lives. One who wants to play ball with his son, the other who needs to care for her mother and has difficulties doing it because of her walking disability. The other eight testimonies were equally moving; some of the testifiers had even been on the clinical trial for this drug with successful results. As I sat there, listening to each individual share their life story in 4 minutes or less, I felt truly blessed for my job and encouraged by what I do. I was moved to tears.

Yesterday was not the only time I've been moved to tears in these past few weeks--it seems to be happening more and more often. Maybe its because as I get older, and I see that things never seem to change, it makes me sad and angry. When I see someone homeless on the streets, obviously hungry and cold---this brings me to tears. There is nothing I can do; the amount of money I could offer is not enough to change this individual's life. And even if I could or I did give money, this is only a band-aid to an ongoing problem. Especially when I read Thomas Pogge (philosopher) and he notes multiple times that only 1% of the developed countries wealth could eliminate world poverty----I begin to feel hopeless.

So I've started to do things for myself, to better my own life, to reach my own goals. Next year, I will run the Chicago marathon. There, I've said it in a public forum so I better actually do it. Eventually, I will move back to Chicago so I can be with my beau, instead of flying back and forth. I will travel, at some point in the next year, to a foreign country that is new and unexplored by me. I will join a gym, taking dancing lessons, and possibly continue yoga/pilates. Okay, so these things aren't particularly adventurous, but I enjoy them and thats all that matters.

First they Hugged...and then they fought

More kittens.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Last 10 Days in Photos


I've been a bit slow with the photos, I admit. The reason for that is because since my camera broke, it makes me angry to use it. I'll update when possible but am trying to avoid the camera at the moment. Hopefully soon I'll have a new one---I'm thinking an SLR this time! Ooooh!

The last 10 days have included: honoring Senator Puller (VA State Senator) as MS Legislative Ambassador of the Year, advocating on Capital Hill to ensure that the CLASS Act is included in the final Health Care Reform legislation, and a trip to Chicago for Columbus Day. Over Columbus Day weekend I visited Daniele, Mary hosted a bonfire, and my friends and I had lunch at Medici. What can I say, nothing but fantastic. :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday October 4, 2009

A beautiful fall day including a bike ride and brunch with Laura W.

I've been busy lately, as you can see, but things are great overall. I've been enjoying the beautiful fall weather and the changing colors of the leaves here in DC.

Saturday October 3 2009

Working the overnight site at the 50 K MS Challenge Walk. Critters for a Cause play games with the participants as they finish.

Friday October 2, 2009

Melissa has a potluck and makes spiked Apple Cider and Pumpkin Spice cupcakes. Perfect for the fall weather.

Thursday October 1, 2009

The day my digital camera broke. That's right. I pulled it out of my purse and turned it on---much to my surprise the screen no longer was showing any photos and had a large crack on one side. So, actually, my camera does work I just can't see the photos after I shoot them. Very disappointing. I guess its time to start thinking about getting a new camera. I guess thats what I get for not using the case...

Thursday October 1st a few friends and I headed to Qdoba and then to the Latin American Film Festival to watch "Lonely Loneliness" an Argentinian film. It was a bit quirky, but I think we all really enjoyed it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I made a really great pork roast for dinner. That's right, a pork roast. I feel like when you reach the point when you are cooking pork roast for dinner-that is the point when you truly become an adult. Throughout college, students "cook" meals like mac 'n cheese, Ramen, and then later move on to a variety of pastas with simple sauces. But now--I cook pork roasts. I am an adult.

I suppose I've been an adult for awhile now. I'm closer to 30 than to 20. For the last year, I've been managing every penny of my budget-saving just enough so that I have enough money to meet my basic needs. I'm about to open a retirement account. A retirement account! That's insane!

My pork roast consisted of: the pork (of course), baby carrots, cauliflower, and a special sauce all thrown together in my crock pot. I love crock pots-but yet, another thing that only adults need and use.

Maybe this is also an adult fascination, but I find myself in love with food. It doesn't matter what type: healthy, greasy, international, american...I like it all...and I like to learn to cook it all. Next week I will make a tofu and potato yellow curry.

And no, I didn't take any photos of the pork roast. But trust me, its tasty.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday, September 29

Kitten Love

Monday, September 28 2009

Finally a 3 day weekend and a day off work. My beau and I took a trip to the National Archives so I could see the Declaration of Independence and other historic documents. I figured that I should stop making excuses and use the day off to go.

Sunday, September 27 2009

Finally, a sunny day in DC, at least for a few hours. This past Sunday was the Latino Festival in Mount Pleasant. The parade is the most impressive part of the day. What strikes me most about these photos is how colorful and festive the outfits are.

During the parade (which lasts about two hours) South and Central American countries are represented by musicians, dancers, and people walking in the streets. Children of all ages participate in the parade, as well as the very elderly. For these few hours on a Sunday afternoon I sat back and watched the parade participants and onlookers celebrate their culture and customs which are too often ignored and forgotten.

Saturday, September 26 2009

A rainy Saturday afternoon. A Peruvian BBQ at Nico's. A visiting boyfriend. A fantastic, relaxing Saturday.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I've been bad about the photos this week. Things have been crazy and I have a lot of projects in my new apartment. Our internet is finally up and that is fantastic. Next projects: figure out something to do with my bike (hang it in the main hall) and get a cable splitter to run the cable into my room.

Last night I volunteered at the Homeless Children's Playtime Project. It was my first night and something I plan on continuing to do at least every other week. I have no photo, because sometimes photos aren't appropriate. The kids are all 8 and under and living in a shelter. They're a bit wild and don't quite understand the concept of following rules, but as long as I can get through the two hours working with them without having anyone gravely injured, I figure I'm doing a pretty good job. Last night we had a freeze dance party, played with play-dough, and read The Little Mermaid. At the end of the night, the kids snuggled up against me and feel asleep in my lap while I read them stories. Again..for the safety of the kids, no photos were taken. I'll try to be better about the photos in the upcoming weeks.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Flooded by Negativity

In a fast paced city, its easy to get upset when things aren't going our way. To explain how things have been for me for the last few weeks, I will describe the things that went wrong with my day.

I get up for a 4 hour (2 hours one way) drive in a car to meet with a state senator. Get to my zipcar and GASP it isn't there. Zipcar takes 30 minutes to find me a new vehicle which means that although I speed all the way to the meeting, I was still 15 minutes late.

I got home approx. 2pm and needed to take a few things for the Salvation Army. Also had some work to do so needed to have internet. So, I went to Salvation Army and then yogurt place to use the internet. Their internet was out, so I moved on to location two. Their internet was also out so I moved to location 3. Not to mention that I had to buy something at all three places in order to use the internet that wasn't functioning. Frustrating.

And, I feel like thats how things have gone for the past few weeks. Just, small things, but all gone wrong. So here is my new motto: think positively. My negative attitude is affecting my emotions, and also my friends who surround me. I need to focus on the good in life instead of the bad, and get over it if something doesn't go my way. Time to stop being angry.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

MS Activist and I meeting with Senator Holtzman in the middle of nowhere Virginia.

The second photo shows what the drive was like through the mountains.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

This photo explains why I've been MIA. I moved to a new place and we don't have internet hooked up until Wednesday. So, I'm out for the evening mooching internet at Pan Lourdes Cafe. Although I'd rather have internet at home, the discovery of this cafe is wonderful. I bought a Snapple and a wonderful sweet Mexican Empanada for $2.04. Seriously?! That is so cheap.

Not having internet has been hard. On one hand, its nice to try to do other things and be outside of the house rather than sitting on the computer at work all day and coming home and again, sitting on the computer all night. However, not having internet has caused a couple stressful situations when I haven't been able to look up directions and needed them. Also, in my relationship. Being in a long distance relationship I will tell you first hand-INTERNET IS CRUCIAL. I am relieved that I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and on Wednesday we will once again be able to surf the net, but not having access has really been a strain. But, I suppose it makes me thankful for what I do have--thank you Skype, for your existence. Also, I'm glad that I've learned to have a life outside of my computer. :)

For those of you who have not seen me around, don't take it personally. Things have been crazy. Tonight is the one and only night this week that I came home straight from work, every other night I have someplace to be---and that is pretty typical lately. I'm looking forward to a lovely weekend with the boy-I have no plans as of yet and want to keep it that way. But for now, I must remain in this busy world of running from one thing to the next, trying frantically to keep up with my to do list both at work and at home.

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

A Sunday afternoon tennis match. Living my past. (photo 1)

Sam, trying to be sneaky and crawl through my desk. But, he's too huge and gets stuck. Poor, stupid Sam.

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at the Ama Tu Vida Campaign with fellow MS Activists concerned with outreach to the Latino Population. (top 2 photos)

Celebrating the fact that it is SATURDAY with my fellow friends at Marx Cafe for Spanish Rock night. (bottom photo)

Friday, September 18, 2009

A cold, dreary day at the Capital.

Thursday, September 17th 2009

I took no photo today. I do remember, though, that there was something I wanted to take a photo of. I was on the bus on the way home after a long day (and long week) at work. I small a mother get on the bus with her 3 or 4 year old sun. He sat on her lap and just laughed and laughed and laughed the entire bus ride home. His laughter and smile was so genuine, and his mother seemed young, lively, and also happy to just be in that moment with him. I wanted to take the photo but didn't have the guts to interrupt that intimate moment between mother and son...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

DC Voters Rights! A trip to the DC City Council.

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Cat attack. Since Maggie snuck up behind Sam and took a huge nip at his tail, Sam takes revenge.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm moved. Since I have no internet in the new place and I paid for a cupcake merely to use the internet connection, I may as well make use of my time and make an update.

My new place is great...much smaller, but cozy and colorful. And, the cats (Sam and Maggie) are adorable.

I'm feeling a higher than normal amount of stress this week which is due to getting things set up after the move, selling my belongings that I no longer need, working late Tuesday, Wednesday, and also working Saturday, and trying to see friends that I haven't seen in awhile. Saturday I have plans to go Salsa dancing, I've been so insanely busy that I haven't been able to go salsa dancing in ages.

Also, I've been reflecting a lot on my year in DC. I've been here one year. Wow. I still love Chicago, but I also love DC. I've been thinking a lot about how its really taken one full year here to get my life where I wanted it. After one year, I'm finally taking Pilates classes and looking into joining the local gym. I'm volunteering on Thursday nights...these are the things that were my goals. So, what did I do in the past year? Adjust, I suppose.

Alright, I suppose I have to go now to play with the cats and get ready for a work call happening in about an hour.

Monday, September 14 2009

With the move, I inherited two cats. Maggie really likes my computer.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The move. We're taking apart my bed. John is supervising.

Saturday, September 12 2009

Free Opera at the Nat's Stadium. Okay, so it was freezing but still enjoyable!