Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

Before I get too far (well, before I get anywhere at all), let me just tell you all how HORRIBLE I feel about not blogging in like, FOREVER.  It’s not that I’m wracked with guilt (except that I am), but I just enjoy blogging, and I miss it.  What can I say?  I’m a writer.  Alas, time is not my friend these days…  I honestly don’t know how Kath does it…three times a day!  I know her posts aren’t long or eloquent, but it still takes time to take, download and upload photos, in addition to writing a snippet here and there.  I find myself saying, “I don’t have time for (fill in the blank), and I don’t even have kids yet!”  Seriously, how does one fit them in?!?!  I suppose children are just like any other top-priority item; you just do.

All that to say, I’m sorry I haven’t blogged in awhile.  No, I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth (although it sometimes feels like I have) and yes, it’s good to be back.

And, as usual, I have lots to say!

(I’ll use bullet points to avoid the number-conundrum…my OCD tendencies make it hard to end on anything other than 10.)

-Check out my Maple Syrup post for the co-op.  The maple-bacon cupcakes (muffins if you want to sound “healthier”) are the perfect brunch item and will send the eyeballs of everyone to whom you serve them rolling into the backs of their skulls.  Make them this weekend!

-We went to Ohio this weekend to visit our friends, Emily and Dan, and Dave and Jen, and their new baby, Aiden.  I also got to see Susy, another dear friend and running-mate.  We had a fabulous time, although I didn’t take enough pictures (I never do).  I’ll be posting about our trip soon.

-I’m officially on “Easter Break” right now.  Except that I still get up at 0-dark-30 to drink coffee/eat breakfast/workout.  And I have school work to finish.  In fact, I’m going to the chem tutor this morning.  Oh, and I have tests in all my classes when I get back next week.  Not to mention the mile-long list I’ve made of stuff to bake.  So, really, I’m not taking a break at all–I just don’t have to go to class.

-A miraculous thing happened the other day:  I finished off not one, but TWO jars of nut butters!  If you don’t know already, this means I get to enjoy a rare treat TWICE–OIAJ!

-I made oats in the Smucker’s jar (left) yesterday for lunch: oats, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, flax seeds, a splash of strawberry kefir, dehydrated strawberries, cottage cheese and granola on top.  (Thanks for the granola, Susy!)  Of course, all that with a little peanut butter swirled in.  This baby filled me up for hours! Yay for having another one (Crunchy Barney Butter) in the fridge.

-Andrew and I fasted last night while praying for some friends who are going through a rough time.  I’ve never fasted before.  I’ll be honest, food is kind of a big thing for me (as I’m learning through the Made to Crave Bible study–more on that later–I’m doing with Emily), so when Andrew first proposed the fasting idea last week, I was pretty against it.  But, God totally changed my heart and by yesterday morning I was pumped and ready to go!  I had my last snack at about 4:45 (we haven’t been eating until 7:30, so snacking at that time is normal for me) and we prayed together in two sessions.  God totally provided (I thought I would be in agony; my tummy was growling, but I–obviously–made it through) and not only was it a great time of prayer and bonding with Andrew, but it also helped get me off my sugar-kick from this weekend and take one step further in my journey of leaving my food issues behind me.

-Speaking of food:  I made Pioneer Woman’s Simple Sesame Noodle salad with Beef the other night and it was wonderful!  This is something I saw on her blog ages ago and is included in her new cookbook.  Andrew also really liked it, but I thought it was way too oily, so I’ll be reducing that next time.  I added the beef to make it more of a meal (it’s a variation in her cookbook, not sure if it’s in the online recipe) and bell peppers for more color and nutrition.  Topped with chopped peanuts–yum!

-I’ve come to the (sad) conclusion that I need a cup of coffee to get me through my T/Th Statistics class (1-3 p.m. yikes!) without my eyes uncontrollably closing on me.  Guess that’s what happens with a 5 a.m. wake-up time and swim practice.  I’ve done recent “taste tests” and I’m not a huge fan of Tim Horton’s (unfortunate since they are EVERYWHERE around here) or the cute little local place here in the Orchard Park village, Orchard Perk, (although they may have more than one roast…).  I’d make some at home, but at the moment have no good coffee thermos with which to actually transport the coffee.  To-do for this weekend: find one!

-Easter is this weekend and Andrew’s grandma is coming for a visit!  SO EXCITED!  I’m running in the Bunny Hop 5K, which goes right by their house (neat!  I might have a cheering section), and I’m hoping to spend as much time with everyone this weekend as possible = get as much work done as possible before Friday night, and what in the world do we do with Hadrian??

-Did I tell you all I’ve officially gotten into the Dietetics Program at Buffalo State?  Well, I have.  I have one summer class before I start full-time in the fall.  I’m a little anxious about scheduling my fall classes since I schedule last (as a new transfer student) and the classes I need are small with only 1 or 2 sections.  I think the professors will provide an ‘override’ if I can’t get into something I must have, but I’m still nervous.

-I’m making steakhouse mac and cheese today from Cooking Light. CAN. NOT. WAIT.

Whew!  I think that’s about it… Or at least a good start getting caught-up!

Alright, sun’s coming up and I have dishes to put away and a hubby to wake up! Happy Wednesday/first day of Easter Break/day I get to bake :)

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I had some computering to do this afternoon (blogs, article-writing, etc…), and we’re having a bit of a heat wave here (it’s 50 out!), so I packed up my bookbag and took to the road.  My destination?  Panera and their free wi-fi.

I’ve been a busy girl these past couple days (which is why there has been a conspicuous lack of blogging despite still being on break).  After all our traveling, it’s been a constant stream of laundry, cleaning and dog taking-care-of.  I’m sorry, but I have come to the conclusion that anyone who owns a home and values cleanliness never has a ‘break.’ What I will do when children come, I know not.

Speaking of children…  I gave Hadrian a bath today.  Whew!  Is there an entry for THAT in my calorie counter?  Seriously.  And the bath is the easy part.  It’s the subsequent cleaning of the shower and bathroom floor, followed by washing all the towels I used that really makes it a dreaded event.  And I wash his beds.  And the multiple brushing sessions to attempt to de-hair him as much as possible before jumping in the tub.  So yeah, the bath is the easy part.  Even with a Great Dane in an extra-small tub.  Next time, I’ll snap a picture.

This is one of the main roads near where we live.  It’s part of my 3.5 mile loop and also how I get to the gym in the mornings.  Ahead of me is my destination and more civilization; behind me is the intersection with Quaker Road, which is the road I take to get to East Aurora.

I’m here!  Half-caff, half Hazelnut coffee and writing await me :)

And for completeness, here is a shot of the other side of the shopping center.

For as much as I’ve been here, I’ve never set foot into another store here.  We have a Chico’s, a Black House White Market, Francesca’s and Talbots, as well as Jos. A. Banks and a LOFT.  It’s probably just as well; the last thing anyone needs to be doing in January is spending more money.  (Note to Andrew:  EXCEPT for my boots and that awesome dress from the J. Crew catalog…;))

BTW, be sure to check out my latest post for the co-op: my best recipes of 2011!

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It’s official; I am now a freelance writer for the East Aurora Advertiser!

I’m so excited to share this news!  For the longest time, I’ve been saying things like, ‘I want to start freelancing,’ or ‘I should start writing again,’ but I never did anything about it.  Now, after I go back to school and sign up for 15 credits worth of science classes, do I decide to start writing again.  Go figure.

I’m not sure exactly what lit the fire under my rear end this time; it might actually have been school itself.  In realizing my dream job is being a health food writer, I think I realized that it would help to start writing (again) in general.  That way, I can start writing small pieces for different publications as I go through school.  …yet another reason my Eat This columns for the EA Co-op’s blog are good for me–I’m building a portfolio.

And isn’t there a saying or something about how people (in general) are more productive and efficient when they have MORE on their plate, rather than less?  That would definitely be true of me.  I may be the most efficient, crazy-busy person on the planet, but give me too much time on my hands and I’ll fill it with everything BUT my to-do list.  Like blogging.  And reading cookbooks.  And blogging.

Anyway, I digress.  I had a great time working on the article, and it turns out my subject’s family and Andrew and I have a lot in common; we’ll be getting together for dinner sometime soon!  I have another article in the works, too, so I’ll have to at least write a bit about that one–it’s about a ‘cupcakery’ opening in town!

For you out-of-towners, you can read the article here.  (I’ll brag on myself a bit, too: the editor emailed me shortly after I sent it to him and said he loved it and that he didn’t change a word, which, apparently, is quite rare.  SCORE!)

I’d say this calls for a celebration… :)

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here’s to multiple choice

Had my first night class tonight–Psych 100.  I am, apparently, one of the only people who DIDN’T take Intro to Psychology in college the first time around.  I did, however, take Sociology 100, as I learned from my transcripts.  (Nope, didn’t remember taking it at all.)

The psych teacher explained to us tonight that because she herself is in her last year of graduate school, she doesn’t have time to read papers.  Therefore, she said, we are the luckiest psych students at ECC, if not all college-dom, because there will be no writing assignments this semester.  The sighs of relief emitted from my classmates was AUDIBLE.

I was, perhaps, the only one in class who was just the tiniest bit disappointed.  Yes, you heard that right.  Disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong; essays and papers and book reports are time-consuming, and time will be in short supply around here for the forseeable future, so I’m not that upset.  But I did feel a slight pang of sadness that the ONE thing I know I’m good at, that I’m totally comfortable with, that I spent my ENTIRE four years of college the first time around doing, will not be a part of the only class it could have been.  I mean, I’m basically taking all science from here on out…

Here’s to all the extra studying I’ll be able to do with all the time I’m going to save NOT writing for psych!

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Get comfy, people, this is a LONG one!

This post was supposed to be entitled, “What am I doing with my life?” because when I decided to write about the quandry I was in, I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life.  Hence the question mark.

Boy, can things change in a week or two.  (Speaking of changes…  Be sure to check out the “Meet Holly” tab above.  In honor of my “new” self and future, I updated/changed the “About” tab and gave it a new name.  Let me know what you think!)

I am, in fact, going back to school.  I’ll be pursuing a B.S. in Dietetics from Buffalo State University, and then plan to become a Registered Dietician.  I start classes at Erie Community College Monday to get the core classes, like BIOs and CHEMs, out of the way.  I’ll probably spend two semesters there before heading to Buff State to take the nutrition classes.  This isn’t going to be a short process; I’ll be lucky to finish all the academic work in three years.

My dream job is to be a health food writer.  Ultimately, I’d love to get published in something like Shape or Men’s Health or the like, but would be happy just helping people eat healthier food!  I’ve always seen myself writing long-term, but never quite knew what about.  It’s important to me to have a flexible job/career; we plan on having kids one day and I want to be able to be home more than I’m away.

It all started about three weeks ago when Kath revealed the “R.D. Me” section on her blog, which was basically how she decided to become a Registered Dietician and then how she did it.

Actually, let’s back up.  It started some time in college.  The truth is that it didn’t take me long to realize news writing wasn’t my passion.  (And to be a good reporter, it’s got to be!)  While I wrote for the college paper, I did so half-heartedly.  I didn’t want to be a reporter then and I don’t want to be one now.  In all honesty, I got a Journalism degree because before college my dad said that’s what I should do.  I knew I liked writing and didn’t like math or science.  It was safe and I trusted my dad.  Dad, if you’re reading this, I love you.  Thank you for everything.  I just wish I’d known more about what was out there in the big, wide world before me and my “people-pleaser/I-can’t-quit-anything-self” went off to college.  Who knows where I’d be if it had occurred to me to change my major.  Or even just THINK about changing my major.

Anyway, I digress.

Shortly after graduating from Penn State with my Journalism degree, I remember wishing I’d gone to school for nutrition.  Or creative writing. I just knew writing for a newspaper (at least in the traditional start-at-the-bottom-and-cover-the-midnight-fires-and-shootings) wasn’t it for me. I spent four years in the Air Force working in Public Affairs and as an Exec, using my degree some of the time and learning invaluable professional skills as well.  After I separated (because that wasn’t my passion, either), I took a year off to just relax and enjoy myself and not jump into anything right away.  I realize not working is a foreign concept to some, perhaps most, but Andrew really wanted me to and who’s going to argue with that?  I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I DID know I didn’t want to just jump into the first Air Force civilian job on base that came my way.  I’m so glad I took the time off; I worked out like crazy, made some great friends and spent a lot of time de-stressing.  And believe it or not, I was quite busy most of the time.  It’s just the kind of person I am.  Between working out, taking care of a husband, animals and our house, cooking, baking, reading, working occasionally at the library and having a full social calendar, I was rarely bored.

During this time (from the time I got stationed in Ohio until we left) I’d lost weight twice (both times by counting calories) and gotten more interested in health and wellness.  I started eating healthier than I’d ever before and worked out with more intensity and purpose as well.  My running improved.  I started cooking and baking as much as I could from scratch, and using only whole foods on my menus.  Making the healthiest food possible became a passion for me.  (I wish I could say Andrew was as excited about healthy eating as I was; I’m still working on him.)

One year was well on its way to two when all of a sudden we were moving.  I’d started to feel like something was missing from my life, a sense of purpose, perhaps, but I’m thankful I wasn’t working before the move from Ohio to New York.

However, after getting settled into our hotel in New York, all those feelings of purposelessness and wasted potential came back with a vengeance.  At least in Ohio I had had a house to take care of; now I was cramped in our hotel, procrastinating on getting my resume and clips together to start looking for freelance writing work.  I’d always talked about wanting to do something with my life, more than just raise our future children and be a housewife.  I wanted those things too; that’s why I always said I wanted to contribute financially without having a traditional 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (or later) kind of job.  Andrew has been pushing me to go to cooking school for years, but I don’t want to be a chef.  I don’t want to have a bakery.  (I’m a morning person, but bakery-morning is too early!)

And that brings me to reading Kath’s R.D. post.  I spent an entire afternoon reading her post (and all the links throughout!) and ended up with a bit of a headache and feeling like there was no way I could do what she did.  She spent 2.5 years going to school and doing an internship, and it just seemed too hard and scary and overwhelming.

That’s when it hit me–I wanted to be a food writer.  All that school seemed so daunting until I envisioned my name with the initials “R.D.” after it in the author’s info section at the end of an article.  I grabbed the nearest magazine, flipped to the front section featuring the bios of the contributors and shoved it under Andrew’s nose.  “That’s what I want to be,” I said to him.  I wanted to be health-food writer.  I think I always knew this is what I wanted to do, I just never knew how to say it.  I mean, who else actually READS the contributor’s bios in magazines but me?

And then I slept on it.  And kept thinking about it.  And started googling about being a nutritionist.  And then I made an appointment to speak with the Nutrition Department Head at the University of Buffalo.  At first I thought maybe getting my master’s in Nutrition was the way to go, but after speaking with Dr. Farkas at UB, I learned that to be an R.D., you’ve got to do the undergrad coursework.  I also learned that while becoming an R.D. would be a lot of “extra” work that I might not need as a food writer, it really is a good plan in terms of opening doors and being the “expert” in the field of nutrition.  Basically, once I’m finished, I can ANYTHING, from working in a hospital or with a school-lunch program to opening my own consulting practice.

And I’m genuinely interested in learning all about food, nutrition and how the body uses food for fuel.  I’m so excited to get smarter about all this stuff!  While I’m a little intimidated by all the science, I think I need a challenge at this point in my life.  I’ve been afraid of going back to school, of failure, of hard classes and rejection for too long; the new me is capable of anything!

Of course, I’m a little anxious about the future, knowing this degree will be like a full-time job for the next three years (not to mention the internship) and a lot can happen in that time.  We’re ready to start a family, at least we thought we were, so that’s something that will be on my mind.  I can’t help but think, though, that maybe there is a reason Andrew and I are here, now, near his family when I start school.  We’ll just take it one semester at a time.  Goodness knows women have done much harder things than go to school and have a baby.

And getting this degree will be a lot different than my first time around at Penn State.  I was an 18-year-old college student who lived in the dorms and had a boyfriend; this time I’m pushing 30, married with a dog and trying to get settled into our new life in New York.  I had wanted to load up on classes (think 18 credits) to get going as quickly as possible, but then thought maybe easing my way in with fewer credits might be wiser, something like 12 credits.  I ended up smack-dab in the middle with 15 credits this semester, and think that my schedule of all sciences and one night Psych lecture will be perfect.

Going back to school also honors my late-grandfather.  When he died, each of his 20+ grandchildren got a lump of money, and it was important to me to use it on something intangible, like school.  He (and his wife, my grandmother) were both Ph.Ds in Chemistry and highly valued education.  I can’t think of a better way to use the money he left behind.

And let’s not forget back-to-school shopping!  And I don’t mean the clothes–the supplies!  (Although I suppose my recent Goodwill purchases in Ohio with Susy could be construed as “new” school clothes…)  My favorite part of summer was always just before school started when mom and I went to get notebooks and paper and pens.  While not quite the same as growing up, I’m looking forward to making a Target run with Andrew to pick up a binder or two and some paper.  I already treated myself to the backpack I’ve wanted since college… (I was too cheap to spend the extra $30 to get the one I wanted and have regretted it to this day–lesson learned!)

Here’s to going back to school–this time as the older, smarter, wiser version of me who knows EXACTLY what she wants!

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where i sit

This is where I spend most of my day.

In fact, it’s been where I’ve been spending MOST of my time lately, since I’ve been revamping some of my blog (will announce changes soon!), blogging for the EA co-op (again, will post about that soon) and some other word-processing/internet research items that have been on my to-do list.

The camera case lives on the floor to the left of the desk, and I keep the left side open for all the photo downloading I do.  I’ve started taping up important papers and such, like a pin-board, above the desk to keep me organized.  I keep a coaster for my water bottle or glass and, of course, the planner lives (and I mean LIVES) to my right.  The night we moved into the hotel I grabbed a mug from the cabinet and dumped a bunch of pens, pencils, a nail file and my chapstick into it.  Gotta be organized.

Sigh.  I long for the day I can have an office with a desk facing a window.

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Well, I didn’t get to much of ANYTHING on my afternoon to-do list…all on account of some darn rain!

After touring some houses with Andrew and our realtor, I headed back into the village to snap a few shots of the co-op mural (blog post coming soon, I promise!).  I took a couple pictures and realized I was STARVING and that it was already after 1 p.m. and I still had an errand to run, so I decided to break from my planned lunch at home (leftover southwestern barley) and get something at Taste.  Yay for working on being spontaneous!

I’d been drooling over Taste’s new “Bohemian Salad” since I’d seen it pop up on their “specials” board and figured it would be a great time to give it a try.  I threw the camera in the car and ignored the voice in my head that told me to throw my umbrella in my purse as I peered up at the sunny sky overhead.  Since I needed to stop in at Fowler’s to visit Abigail and for some chocolates (some for us, some for a special someone with a birthday coming up), I ordered my salad to go.  Before my salad was even finished the skies OPENED UP and it began to pour.  And pour.  And pour.

I lamented the fact that I HAD BEEN the most prepared individual on the planet, up until I left  both my raincoat and umbrella in the car.  Lots of good they would do me now.

I got my salad and by this time it was 1:45, so I decided to settle in at the bar that looks out the front window and eat until the rain stopped.  Well, it didn’t.

But, I struck up a conversation with the girl next to me (also umbrella-less and nursing a coffee) and was able to network a little and meet someone new.  It turns out she works at RedFish Art Studios, which is the one the artist who is painting the mural at the co-op owns, and her boyfriend writes for the East Aurora Advertiser and also just launched a website that has more of a creative-writing focus.  AND she’s in a Beth Moore Bible Study.  AND a bunch of her girlfriends in said Bible study attend a church we’d been thinking of trying out (Renovation Church in Buffalo) and LOVE it.  What a small world!

It never did clear up like I thought it might, but I’m pretty sure there was a reason God was urging me to strike up a conversation with my table-mate who was waiting out the rain next to me.


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