Monthly Archives: December 2009

Transforming Wishes

wisdom at the Pony Soldier

Last week, when I was back in Portland, I spotted the Pony Soldier marquee that you see above. I happened to have camera in hand (I was not the one driving at the time) and so snapped a picture of the message. “A goal not in writing is simply a wish*.” So, in the spirit of dreaming big, declaring to the universe what I want and transforming those wishes into goals, here are the things I’ll be working on and towards in the coming year.

Body and Self

  • Take vitamins regularly. I grew up in a vitamin-taking family and so my singular act of rebellion in high school and college was to stop taking vitamins of any sort. I was very vocal in my vitamin rejection, announcing to my parents that they were a waste of time and money. However, over the years, I’ve come to realize that I function better when I add a few vitamins to my system, including daily doses of C and D (sitting in a windowless cubicle for 8-10 hours a day means very little sun exposure for this already pale girl).
  • Move more. While I was home in Oregon, my mom and I took a walk along the path in Maywood Park nearly every day. It felt so good to be outside and to be moving. This year, getting my body moving every day, be it a walk outside, a run on the treadmill or even just stretching on my ugly carpet, will be a regular thing.
  • Time to wind down at the end of the day. So often, I spend the evening plopped on the couch, staring incoherently at the television until around 11:30, at which point, I leap up to do the dishes and get myself ready for the next day. This means that I climb into bed fifteen or twenty minutes after midnight, with my body revved and my mind racing. It is not conducive to good sleep. I will be getting these tasks of life done earlier, so that I can crawl into bed with a little time to read and get quiet before turning out the light.

Work and Creativity

  • Write some books. Since last May, I’ve been working with a publishing company in the hopes of writing a canning cookbook or two. As the Magic 8 Ball might say, I “cannot predict now” whether these particular books will get made. However, I will not be deterred. I will write a canning book. Scott and I will self-publish a Fork You cookbook (we’ve been talking about it for years now, it’s time to finally do it). And, I will work on turning all those essays I wrote for my thesis into something more.
  • Make canning videos. Scott and I have been making food video since 2006. It’s time to focus the camera on the canning pot and making some entertaining, useful videos. Because, to be perfectly honest with you all, this is what I want to do. My dream is to have a food show (one with sponsors, investors and advertisers who would make it possible for this to be a full-time gig) that features canning, local foods, u-pick farms, farmers markets, homemade yogurt, home-baked bread and the basics of doing it from scratch while living in the heart of a big city.
  • Learn to use Photoshop. Back in the summer, Scott upgraded my camera situation, getting me a Nikon D90 to replace my D50. It takes very nice pictures (and, thanks to the ease and relative cheapness of digital photography, I can keep taking pictures until I get something lovely, straight out of the camera). But often I wish that I knew how to tweak those nice photos into the gorgeously vivid images I see all around the internet. I make minor adjustments in iPhoto, but I can’t do much there.

The Woo-Woo**

  • Love more. Myself, my body, my husband, my family and my world.
  • Trust more. Everything I’ve ever experienced has shown me that it always works out in the end (typically in ways that I’d never even conceived). And yet, I fret. I’m exhausted by all the worry. It’s time to skip it and just trust.
  • Hope more. The world is in transition. The planet is warming, we are inundated by stuff and the waste increases everyday. It would be easy to feel hopeless in the face of all that. However, instead I choose to be hope-filled. I hold the knowledge that this is a time of potential and that all is most certainly not lost.

Happy 2010. May it be so.

*This appears to have been said (with slightly more punctuation) by motivational speaker Mac Anderson. I was sort of hoping that it was the brainchild of some poetic motel desk clerk, but no.

**My all-purpose word for the mystical, intangible world of spirit and love.

Packing up

candles, people
I’m coming to the end of my time in Portland, and while I’m a little bit antsy to get back into regular life (after what seems like months of irregular life), I’m also pained to leave this city I love so much. Earlier today, I drove around the neighborhood where we lived when I was in high school. It’s been nearly ten years since I spent any regular time in NW Portland, and yet the streets around Wallace Park are as familiar to me now as they were then.

Lucy and Milo

It’s been a lovely visit, filled with family, pets, a party to celebrate the solstice, Christmas Eve dinner with friends so old they are essentially family, many visits to thrift stores and lots and lots of cooking. We lit candles and made our annual Christmas wishes. On Christmas morning, my parents and I chopped veggies, stuffed a turkey and cooked breakfast together, just as we’ve been doing for years. My sister wandered downstairs a little later, bleary from having gotten up at 6 am to drive a friend to the airport.


I’ve walked nearly every day with my mom. I’ve gone through a few lingering boxes of childhood relics. I’ve been to two different New Seasons. I’ve read seven books and slept at least 10 hours a night. I made bear claws for my dad upon his request. I’ve talked to Scott everyday and have wished that he had been able to come with me.

a Portland vista

Each time I come to Portland, I look around this jewel of a city and wonder why it is that I moved away. It is clean, friendly and incredibly livable. And yet, Philly calls. Tomorrow night, I’ll answer that call and go home.


I’m on a 6:18 p.m. flight to Portland today which means I’ll be leaving straight from work (this also means that I can print out boarding passes on a dependable office printer, as opposed to rousing my asthmatic home unit). As I dragged my suitcase along behind me this morning on my one-block walk to work, I was beeped at by two different cabs, each hoping I was a potential fare.

My immediate reaction to both instances was irritation, bordering on rage (each driver required a shake of the head to stop their beeping). “If I need a cab, I’ll damn well hail one,” I thought to myself. Experiencing this response makes me realize that I’ve been living in Center City Philadelphia too long. Here’s hoping ten days on the west coast will gentle my soul (even just a little) and help me shake off those protective city layers.

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This morning was this office building’s annual “Tenant Appreciation Breakfast.” I remember last year having an impressive spread, with bagels, cream cheese and multiple kinds of danish. When I finally made my way down there this morning, all that remained were a few cake-y muffins and some watery fruit salad. All week long I had been looking forward to that bagel, so I was a mite bit disappointed that there were none.

I thought about my missed bagel for at least an hour after the muffin was gone and eventually decided that it would be better to buy one than to continue to pine. I stopped by the office kitchen just before heading downstairs and oh joy! There were a few bagels left over from a morning meeting! I toasted up a half, delighted to be getting the bagel for free (and I only ate a half, whereas had I purchased one, I would have eaten the whole thing).

The Second Night of Hanukkah

Last night, cousins Amy and Jean hosted their annual Latke Party. Unfortunately, travel and the stomach flu kept a number of the expected guests away. Their absence didn’t keep the rest of from enjoying stacks of white and sweet potato pancakes, topped with sour cream and (my homemade) applesauce. Before dinner, Amy lit the Hanukkah candles and sang the traditional prayers. It was lovely.