Thursday, February 25, 2010

Same As It Ever Was

Great things are happening every minute. I'm in one of those moods right now...who knows how long it will last but for the time being, life seems so simple and obvious.

It has something to do with checking in on a favorite blog to find said blogger fulfilling her dream to have a child. Silly it seems: though I have never met this women in person, I believe she will be a great mom. I'm grinning ear to ear for her and her husband and their new lucky-as-sin girl. I'm a sucker for dreams come true (then again, who's not?!) and I like to think there's always a little magic cooking in the background.

Yesterday morning while getting ready for work, I stopped mid-mascara'd lash to think how ironic it was that I was mindlessly humming to Once in a Lifetime playing from the clock radio by my bed. I just used that as a blog post title and it felt synchronicitous to hear as I found myself starting another day. I stopped to take a good look in the mirror and to make a note to self...invite Talking Heads over for dinner, I'd like to get to know them better (the song always reminds me of Rock Star - put it in your que).

It's about hearing Yim Yames (Jim James - MMJ) covering George Harrison's My Sweet Lord while I'm writing about this feeling and thinking what a trippy-dippy happy moment. It's about soaking it in for nothing more than that (and the buttery, southern-goodness of his voice).

It's about friends who are coming in to their own as artists, professionals, parents, and dreamers. It's about feeling like there's more to this life than unloading the dishwasher and paying the bills. It's about paying attention to the small joys as much as the big ones and shrugging off the bad moods (because everyone has a bad day now and again). It's about treading lightly with friends who are too busy these days and slowing down with friends who aren't.

I like the moments of life change that seem so definitive, such as marriage or a world trip, but I’m more intrigued by those subtle things that rarely make it past the cutting room floor (like how it started to snow as we left for our walk and we both agreed it was the perfect time to be outside). The simple things in life are real treats and if you celebrate them, you get to celebrate every day.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One Lap Around the Sun

I'm all caught up in moments these days. We celebrated our wedding anniversary this past Sunday and well, you know, there's something about those milestones. We woke up from dreams snuggled under light snow that fell the entire night; we woke surrounded by the indulgence of the Brown Palace. Our eyes lifted in the spacious softness of a king bed, white clouds of sheets, and Down. We found ourselves dining at one of the best Denver brunch offerings. The day continued with light snow falling, champagne rising, and sweet smiles streaming from our faces. Year One - The Mailornishs (though it's misleading because we've been together for 8.5).

I must admit I am sad to see our first year of marriage end. I had signed up for it to be a good one so I buckled down and felt all the joys that come along with the possibilities of a lifetime partner. I was engaged in the moment and inspired to live this past year like the beginning of some great adventure. It was in many ways a coming together and a clear look at this guy who was my boyfriend, my roommate, my fiancé, and now my husband.

It’s funny what a year can do to a person’s perspective. I'm not entirely off my rocker though, I know I did some good PR work on the year. JH sent me a great e-mail Sunday talking about things that take a year (I'm putting it at the bottom of this post). It was such a fun note to find on our anniversary. I read it out loud to D as we drove across Denver. We smiled at the humor and the thoughtfulness.

It got me thinking again about what can happen over the shift of one year. What can be done to bring a person closer to living the life they were meant to live or simply enjoying the life they have on their plate? What if we took 365 days to invest in ourselves, our dreams, our relationships, our health, or anything we truly want to achieve? A year ago I would never imagine myself living 15 lbs. lighter than I have been the past 10 years. I must admit, it feels pretty good.

I sat with a friend the other day over lunch and we talked about the things we would do if we weren’t scared to just say what it is we wanted out of life. If we were ready to start our life’s true work, what would that be? Is anything possible if you set your mind to it? Year two might be a rival if I play my cards right.
_________________________________________________________
(I can't believe it's been a year)

  • It takes a year for light to travel 5.88 trillion miles
  • It takes a year for a Future Farmer of America member to receive a Chapter FFA Degree
  • It takes a year for a colony of 25,000 termites to eat an eight foot section of a 2"x4"
  • It took Alexander the Great a year to conquer Tyre
  • It takes a year for the planet Earth to make one orbit of its Sun (duh)
  • It takes a year to learn to fly supersonic jet fighters at the National Test Pilot School in Mojave, CA (and tuition is $500,000)(anniv present perhaps?)
  • It takes a year to eat through Andy's bird flu emergency rations
  • It takes a year before people start saying "well, the honeymoon's over"
  • It takes a year to settle into mister and missus Congratulations, you two!
xxoo, J&E
(um, it takes a year before we are officially outside the present-giving time period - I owe you a painting!)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Root Down

Don't you love it when you come across a new restaurant that's really friggin' cool and serves good food and drinks as well? It's like the stars are aligned on one corner of your world. It feels like an old friend upon first glimpse, like there is some secret kinship you have with the space, the atmosphere. You find yourself wondering when you can come back or who you need to bring back to meet said new BFF (and all of these thoughts occur before you have made your way through the apps). Even if you discover it years after everyone else and your friends say, "Oh yes; I've known about that for centuries. It's fabulous, darling. You simply MUST get over there." And you think, "Yeah I was there last night and I LOVED every minute of it."

That's the kind of place Root Down seems to be. As always, JH had a hot tip on the coolness in Denver and got the ladies to expand their horizons from the regular featured favs. You can imagine how excited I was to discover their desire to be a sustainable, local, organic joint when at all possible. That alone was enough to sell me on the digs, then I walked in and found the reused materials and uber-cool retro/contemporary/dumpster-dived decor and fell head over heals.

From the wall of colored rotary phones to the oversized, photo booth style pictures on both sides of the 50s retro bar, I was in for the ride. It is a fun, delicious place indeed. You simply MUST get over there (and take me with you).

We feasted on Hoisin Duck Confit Sliders, Veggie Burger Sliders, Organic Sweet Potato Fries with a Curry Lime Dunk, King Canyon Ranch Buffalo Sliders, Organic Beet Salad, Grilled Pork Chop, and Croissant Bread Pudding. Apparently the Margaritaville Margarita is a mind-blower and the best $3 marg in town. I choose the house red...now I know for next time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Once in a Lifetime

Talking Heads

This weekend we found ourselves in a familiar place: our friend's house on the Roaring Fork River in Carbondale. We've been lucky enough to be invited time and again (even with my off-kilter attitude). Each time we go, we find the familiarities of space and habit (such as daydreaming about the future, lovely family-style meals, and racking up the empty vino bottle count) as well as the curiosities of life unfolding. This visit, we found ourselves drawn mostly to the slide show on their TV as it ran through photos from old motorcycles trips, past new years celebrations, birthdays, and plain old Saturday nights. It was good to look back on all the things we have done with faces younger than they are today. Funny how life keeps ticking along and you catch little glimpses of memories or sew together moments from a collection of pieces each friend has in their mind. Soon this weekend will be another story in the box. I wonder what we will remember:
The Olympic Opening Ceremonies
(seriously, who gave the Canadians the car keys? I just had to mention it...)
Birthday Wishes

Droid Tutorials Sweet Baby Cheeks
Overstimulated and Uber-Tired Dogs

Great Views
Outdoor Adventure
Always Delicious Food
Inappropriate Conversation Followed by a Light Fog
and Friends

i heart you

I'm not usually a sucker for the commercialization of a holiday, or an emotion, or a culture for that matter (corned beef on on St. Patty's not included in previous statement). There was however something about this Valentine's Day that struck a little soft spot in my old ticker. I found myself drawn to heart shaped cookies and pink things -- oh-ing and ah-ing each item like it was the most novel symbol of love. Usually I'm not one to play into this crap; life is not about prequalified days, it's about moments wandered into; it's about finding yourself surprisingly present in a place you never expected or imagined.

This year we spent Valentine's Day with friends. Before we left for the long weekend, D passed along some cash to me knowing "the girls" would go shop. My sugar nut wanted me to buy something just because I wanted to, without thinking about the price (yes I am that frugal); really it was a sweet gesture (especially since he suggested a new pair of jeans, which was taken as a compliment to my semi-semi-hotness-ish). Instead I found my sweetheart a treat along the day in the form of a Venison Sausage Cookbook (just what he had been gunning for since Christmas). And yes, treating myself to Le Petit No. 2 Parfum by TokyoMilk (how cute is the name "I Made You a Mixed Tape" - a petit parfum solides scent) I found it at Interiors A La Carte, a cute little boutique in Glenwood Springs. I couldn't bring myself to spend the wade and I'm sorry to say Gingylou didn't bode so well in the gift department, even though she didn't seem to mind once we gave her a carrot.

Perhaps it's our one year wedding anniversary rambling it's way to our front door; or that fact that I've come to enjoy looking at what's around me and finding something in it that makes me happy; or it could just be that I feel lucky to have two great beings in my life; whatever it is, my heartbeat includes their count. Sometimes it's better not to think too much about why life can be so good. We come together in our own way; a way which creates the intimacy of our house and is a feeling only us three truly know. We go to bed at night, sighing about it all as we drift off to dream. We return each morning to one another, gentle touch and light kiss hello.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Even God is Gluten Free

Did I mention I spent a week touring the gluten-free world? A lot of people are vacationing/moving there these days; it's a hot spot. It was a nice visit but honestly I don't think I'll move there. I do not have celiac disease and I did not do it to loose weight. A friend (who does have celiac disease) recommended I try not eating any gluten for a week and then rage for a day to see how or if it affected my system, specifically my allergies. Her theory was that I would surely feel a difference if I had a reaction to gluten after a week of not eating it. I was intrigued.

I figured what's a week worth in trade for some schnoz reprieve. I started that day, I hadn't had any gluten yet and it just seemed natural to flow in to it. A wonderful side effect came when I realized I was so nervous to eat anything, for fear of hidden gluten, that I just ate fruit, veggies, and quinoa. I quickly shed two pounds (ah the secret pleasure to gluten-free eating). An eater at heart, I quickly got over the hump and sank in to partaking in more rounded meals and doing more research.

I began my gluten-free week feeling alienated from not only food but also friends who prepared food that I then wasn't eating. Slowly though, I discovered others who were trying to be gluten-free as well. I found restaurants and food products that cater to that crowd. I also found friends supporting the endeavor by suggesting I try this or that. I hit road blocks in the form of shuffling around the yummy pasta in the soup G prepared for art night. It just felt rude to not eat the meal in it's entirety. At the end of the week, sushi finally did me in. I knew that there was gluten in soy sauce and requested the gluten-free choice, but halfway through the meal D and I did a taste test and found it was shit. It was then that I gravitated into the rolls dolloped in proper soy. The next day I felt hungover though I barely had anything to drink.

Here's the deal: I love WHEAT FLOUR. Not exorbitant amounts of it, not the flavor per se but rather the nice doughy feel. I'm a texture girl and gluten-free living has a certain grainy texture to it. While there's a piece of me that likes that, I also like the smooth round curve of fluffy fresh bread. I could get used to life without it but I don't want to. I'd rather cut down half and treat myself otherwise. Isn't that what allergies are all about: system overload? Am I fouling myself to think I can go halfsies on this gluten-free living. As anything else with my diet philosophy, it's all about moderation.

More than that, I've been open to the conversation about nutrition with friends and family. I've been exposed to other dietary endeavours I might need to explore or considerations people mull in their mouths about their diets. It's a tweaking process of sorts.

My mom and I met for dinner a few weeks ago and she brought me the All Souls newsletter to tell me about the school's 50 year celebration. Facebook already beat her to the punch but as I perused the liturgical publication, I saw a short piece in the question corner regarding gluten intolerance. Apparently there's a low-gluten host option for Communion; parishioners can request it before mass. I guess even God is on-board with this...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Chain

Part of my new year's resolution is to continue a commitment to nutrition, namely some good old-fashioned food chain values. You know what I mean: eating more fruits and veggies; less vodka - yes, MUCH less vodka; purchasing products with less than 5 ingredients on the package; buying produce from local sellers that have a solid connection to the "the chain" rather than the bottom line of some corporation; and eating at restaurants with a slant towards sustainability.

Food, Inc. had something to do with me taking it to the next level. If you haven't watched it, netflix it my friend! But for me it's really more than just a quest for organic, sustainable eating; it's about treating my body like a system and wanting to put the most optimum things in it. It's about making the food I eat a priority rather than an afterthought. It comes in the form of reserving books at the library like Nourishing Traditions and Sugar Blues. I forget how scientific it all can be, which for me can be alienating. Not that I have bad eating habits, I just don't really think about how food affects my body. Last year when I was trying to loose weight, I naturally gravitated to cleaning up my diet and being conscious of how much went in my body. This year, I am more curious about what happens once it goes down the hatch. I wonder about things like: why eating bread makes me more bloated or just how serious are the physiological effects of sugar on my system. For example, I never really considered how sugar turns into alchohol in the stomach. It's interesting to think about since I'm someone who LOVES sugar and LOVES alcohol. They both garner the same mind-numbing, auto-pilot response from me. Coincidence? I think not.

I spend a lot more time at the grocery store reading labels. I've been breaking up with some of my favorite foods. I've been looking at where items are being shipped from and making it a priority to purchase less packaged goods. D is supportive with these types of "Mailornish Has A Plan" things. When I make grand sweeping discoveries, he relies on his culinary background to help me unravel the facts. He has been preparing more meals and we have been talking about different dinners options to get us out of the food rut. He also helps me find things to do with the unfamiliar red chard I purchased at the store because it was so colorful or takes the kale and combines it with chicken into some fantastic soup.

It's been a good adventure thus far. At times it has been humbling and a bit disgusting (i.e. leafy greens are hard on the system). There are setbacks and imperfections: I discovered a never-ending supply of hot tamales at work that sings to me like a sweet, sweet, sugar-urchin. As I wrestle with the day to day food choices, I relish in the fact that there will still be homemade mac-and-cheese and dessert in my future, and lovely new meals I don't even know about (Chateaubriand).

(P.S. I had to show you this uber-large meatball D created last night. I wish I could put smells online because this thing was tantalizing to the schnoze. Thankfully he broke it down into smaller bits.)