the edible alphabet

“Art must be honest,” he told me. I pondered that statement for weeks. Anyone can paint a circle on a canvas, but someone wholly believes in it.

Writing must to be honest.

This is not a statement regarding the truthfulness in facts or stories. This is a statement about truth to one’s self. I’ve spent countless hours researching blogs. I want to know methodology for success. What do people want to read? Food…. humor… weight loss. I can’t write about any of this. I just don’t care enough. It would be weak writing and a disservice to talent. It would be dishonest. And it would extract from writing the very thing I love–the essence of self expression.

In the spirit of all that is honest, a quote:

“In the name of the best within you…do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.” Rand, Atlas Shrugged

From where I sit,

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-ka

Also, the edible alphabet:

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from the perpetual “new girl”

First, this is what birds do in Texas

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Also in Texas….I have become the perpetual “new girl.”

  I love the rush of a new job…new apartment…new location. I love the idea of the “unknown.” It’s refreshing to regularly be granted a clean slate in the workplace…to realize no one knows your weaknesses and to determine you will be better this time.

The life of a perpetual ‘new girl.’ “I’m so sorry, I’m new,” is always an appropriate excuse. And, “Apologies for being late. I’m got lost.” is also acceptable.

But there’s some not-so-fun parts as well. The ‘new girl’ constantly must prove herself professionally. She will meet colleagues fond of a professional “hazing.” And she will constantly feel lost (in all concrete and metaphorical senses…).

A word of advice: Enjoy the wandering.

-ka

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go stag

It was a long day at work.

Thirty students, 10 hours on the clock, and one angry teacher. And besides, I had been excessingly healthy this week (after all, I do have two gym memberships now…) I started circuit training at the gym (not to be confused with circus training which involves elephants and acrobatics..)

That said, I deserved a drink. So off I went, stag at the local, margarita in hand and a plate of tex mex (Texas does make the perfect nachos)…deep in the heart of Texas.

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I enjoy patronizing a good happy hour alone. I bring a book and sip a well-crafted cocktail. The paradox of being alone in an overcrowded room makes me feel anything but lonely. I am contently lost in a book and lost in my mind. A world of adventure has opened itself to me. I am in good company.

Sometimes, however, I wonder if traveling is the best choice for me. If I’ve driven myself hundreds of miles away from family and friends to chase an ideal. Am I youthfully foolish only to miss out in the end? John Mackey, founder and CEO of Whole Foods, promptly responded to these questions:

“In my early twenties, I made what has proven to have been a wise decision: a lifelong commitment to follow my heart wherever it led me–which has been on a wonderful journey of adventure, purpose, creativity, growth, and love. I have learned that it is possible to live in this world with an open, loving heart. I have learned that we can channel our deepest creative impulses in loving ways toward fulfilling our higher purposes, and help evolve the world to a better place.” (Conscious Capitalism)

To follow my heart, to cultivate my passions, to become stronger and wiser–this is why I’m here. The choice is clear for me, for now. Go stag.

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the south’s dirty little secret

I signed up for a second gym membership today. That’s how it goes when you travel. After an hour or so of vigorous exercise, I was 150% certain that always having a gym readily accessible is fully worth the two separate payments. With fresh blood to my brain and my mood extraordinarily improved, I worked up a hearty post-gym appetite.

At home, rummaging through my bare cabinets (I just moved in last week; there wasn’t much to rummage through) and tiny refrigerator, I stumbled upon the South’s dirty little secret.

Actually they may have a few…

Grits.

I resent the South for keeping this from me. I beseech on behalf of everyone north of the Masion-Dixon line: Why? And I swear, when I return home, I will bring grits with me.

Fish and Grits. A dinner for one.

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I confess, it was supposed to be a dinner for two or rather a dinner for one and lunch for that same one the next day, but the cheesy, buttery grits were that delicious.

And a brief word of advice: Eat fabulously.

Happy Easter! If Only I Knew How to Dye an Egg

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Happy 3-day weekend! …to those of you whose employers observe holidays. After spending much of my professional career in a hospital, I was most pleasantly surprised to find I had Friday and the entire weekend off (whaaaaat?!).

Some morning coffee, some new friends, some hiking, some reading by river

(yes, there is one in my backyard), and much sipping of wine throughout the day, everyday.

A pictorial account of  this holiday weekend.

Coffee!

coffee. mmmmmmmm.

coffee. mmmmmmmm.

coffee..

coffee..

And more coffee!

And more coffee!

Enchanted Rock. First visited circa 1989. Revisited March, 29th, 2013. Although just three years old when I first climbed this massive rock (more accurately, I was likely carried up this rock by my long-suffering parents), the feeling of standing at the top, looking miles around was forever impressed on my young spirit. There is a great something to be said for conquering a rock (or any piece of land for that matter). Raw and persistent physical exertion produces victory. So twenty-three years later, from the top of a massive rock.

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And much thanks to a beloved Trader Joe’s in San Antonio. A lunch fitting for an afternoon of reading on the river.

smoked salmon and honey chevre on raisin-basil crackers

smoked salmon and honey chevre on raisin-basil crackers

very delicious

very delicious

peach salsa

peach salsa

the most perfect crackers of all time

 

 

 

 

 

Now, off to enjoy the rest of this coffee.

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eatwelldrinkoften

Austin, you’re so cool. Seriously though..

Hotels are inexpensive, the bars are fabulously unique, and the food is amazing. Beyond that, the people make this city. Imagine coy-hipster-culture meets Texas hospitality. It’s a town full of people who are passionate about music, art, and living simply and fully. This quintessential Austin philosophy of life may be very best expressed on the personal business card of our pedicab driver, Bradley:

The locals referred us to Rainey Street for drinks and dinner Saturday night. During the day, Rainey Street looks like little more than a residential street with some randomly-scattered food trailers. This is misleading. Rainey St is actually a unique group of restaurants and bars cleverly disguised as mere and unremarkable residences. Of course, as this is Texas and as this is Austin, large back patios and outdoor stages for music are also a staple for Rainey.

Upon recommendation of Bradley, we…

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eatwelldrinkoften

Welcome to the *charming town of Waco. My first stop into town was at a local H.E.B. (certainly no Trader Joe’s or Whole foods). “Um, excuse me, where’s your cous cous? You know, cous cous. Oh, no cous cous? Thanks anyway. I guess I’ll just explore your 4 isles of mexican food instead…”

If you come to Waco, bring your own cous cous.

A celebratory bottle of wine was still in order …

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The Simple Life. Little did I know “Simple Life” would be a great bottle of Pinot Noir (light bodied with smooth, constant undertones of vanilla. Mmmmmm). The Simple Life would also prove to be …. symbolic.

Exactly ninety miles between big-city Dallas and super-hip Austin is…Waco. Waco is no Dallas or Austin. Waco is…vast expanses of empty land with an occasional strip mall. It is the wild-west-meets-suburbia. Mmmmm. Strip malls.

So I went hiking and ate Tex…

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rivers and roads

A new life here in New Braunfels, Tx. It was hard leaving from my visit in Pittsburgh.

There’s something quaint and cozy about that town. Between rolling hills and steel bridges, it bares composition. The familiarity was deeply comforting, even more so as I’ve been traveling for the last 3 months. I felt the warm sense of home tucked away in the steel city.

All the way from Pittsburgh: Food porn, compliments of E2. I was going to order the risotto, but these meatballs looked badass.

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Back in New Braunfels, a new job. A new apartment. A new resolution. I told myself I would live differently for a bit. Less connected. More simply. That I’d cut out means of mindless cognitive stimulation (excessive television, excessive facebook, excessive anything) and invest in mind and body.

A celebratory supper. For myself. By myself.

grilled salmon burger. trader joe's hummus dressing. trader joe's cowboy caviar. jalapenos.

grilled salmon burger. trader joe’s hummus dressing. trader joe’s cowboy caviar. jalapenos. I missed trader joe’s.

And now… my retreat.

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From somewhere between Austin and San Antonio.

-ka

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Why Rockport has a steadily declining lizard population

Owen and I sit on the EcoPod’s front steps on a cool Saturday morning.

There is just one coffee shop in Rockport of which I was a patron this morning. I was bitterly disappointed by the coffee but pleasantly surprised by the crab spinach quiche (mmmmmmm). Some good reading only helped assuage the turmoil of a disappointing cup o’ joe. Fortunately, any cup of coffee can be improved with a splash of Whiksey…and I did happen to have a bottle of Texas’ finest…

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Back to sitting on the porch of the EcoPod, Owen beside me. Owen is my very misbehaved canine friend. He may be likened to an egocentric child who believes the world (or the backyard) is his playground and who regularly disturbs the order of the coastal Texas ecosystem by hunting lizards. Nevertheless, life is bettered with a canine friend. 

This is what happens when I arrive home, 5pm, Monday through Fridays:

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Finally, from the porch of the EcoPod, a suggestion: If you are having a lazy Saturday, spike your coffee and turn on some Black Keys. You are sure to feel positively badass all-the-while maintaining a mild-mannered afternoon.