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In a perfect world, Sundays are lazy days with nothing to do and nowhere to go. In reality, these kinds of days are rare in my world.

The first half of the day usually involves some kind of clean out of the refrigerator. I get ambitious when I shop for the week, all full of ideas of meals to cook.  But then my schedule gets full and I get home late, take out in hand.  Which means Sunday breakfast is a often a salvage of vegetables almost past their prime, and they find their way in an egg scramble or as the base for a poached egg.

On this morning, I looked in my pantry and discovered a gluten-free pancake mix about to expire.  For many reasons, I haven’t had pancakes in almost two years—sacrilege, really. So, I made a perfectly nice stack of pancakes.

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Then I started thinking about a dish I’ve seen in a restaurant I like to visit, Buvette in the West Village of NYC.  Sometimes they serve a waffle sandwich, which has a runny fried egg, cheese, and bacon, and it looks heavenly.  Since I can’t have gluten, I’ve never had the good fortune to try it.  Thinking about this, I felt inspired.

And so I played with food.

My take on that mouthwatering dish ended up as a riff on Eggs Benedict.  Instead of an English muffin, I used a pancake as the foundation.  Bacon stood in for Canadian bacon (which I’ve never understood, anyway), and a single poached egg stood high and proud on top of my breakfast mountain.  A flurry of cheddar cheese and a drizzle of maple syrup tied it all together.

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It was delicious.

I hope you find room to play this week, and that it leads to all kinds of deliciousness.

xo, with goodness and grace.

 

Transitions are hard.

I remember this every time summer merges with fall and the weather starts to play with my emotions, teasing me with lingering heat and then shaking me awake with a bracing chill.

But, no matter the season, I like to go for long walks when I have the chance.  On these excursions, I’m reminded of the beauty of the moment.

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Here is where the difficult transition is eased.  Sometimes all you need to do is look down.

xo, with goodness and grace.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.”

–Howard Thurman

I woke up at 3 in the morning, startled by how I felt.  Head throbbing, nose stuffed to the point where it was hard to breathe, and eyes streaming heavily like waterfalls.  I could hardly pick my head up off the pillow.

I couldn’t remember the last time I felt this terrible.

I napped during the day, but at some point my headache changed over from a symptom to one that meant I was hungry.  I didn’t have any food made, so I dragged myself out of bed—woozy and ill-feeling despite my nap—and began rifling through the fridge to figure out what I could make myself in a pinch.

I didn’t want the carrot salad or sautéed kale or scrambled eggs or even a quick smoothie.

I needed comfort food.  I wanted something cheesy and gooey.  I needed something soul satisfying.

What I found in the refrigerator: Cotswold cheddar (which is studded with chives), uncooked Italian sausages I’d bought the previous evening, some onions and red peppers.  Forty-five minutes later, I ended up with cheese grits topped with a hearty sausage ragu.

While I was preparing all of this, a documentary about bartenders and the craft of creating cocktails played on the TV.  As I chopped and stirred and sautéed, I was inspired to watch people so engaged and present in a vocation they love.

I lost myself as I cooked, caught up in the whir of activity to get myself fed. You’d think all of the activity would have made me fatigued, but I seemed to get more energy from the act of cooking.  I often forget how much I love it, how it feeds me, literally and figuratively.

I was as engrossed in my meal as I was with the movie, cheering on the people as they rose to new heights in their profession.  I ate my food as the movie ended, and I felt satisfied.

And then I made chocolate chip cookie dough. Between you and me, I may have also eaten some of the dough.  And it made me happy.

A funny thing happened once I finished my cooking binge.  I felt better.  While I still was sick, I wasn’t quite as downtrodden as I had been just an hour or two before.  Something had shifted.  It was as if doing something I love helped me turn a corner on the road back to health.

Maybe when you do the thing that brings you to life, you start to feel alive.

What a beautiful lesson.

xo, with goodness and grace.

The other day, I overheard a conversation of a few of my coworkers.  One was lamenting the fact that her birthday was the day before.

I heard her say: “I’m sooooo OLD now!!!”

The reply: “Well, how old are you?”

The near hysterical answer: “25!!!!!!”

Then yesterday, I was running errands in the rain and escaped into a popular restaurant to grab a quick lunch. Popular in New York City usually means it’s too crowded to walk in and get a table, so I sat at the bar.  I’ve come to love sitting there because the bartenders are sweet and kind and always have great recommendations.  As the brunch crowd thinned out, the bartender came over and charmingly asked if I wanted more food, in the way a good server will because they know how to read people.  A simple, “Would you like to see the food menu again?” really translates to, “I can tell you aren’t hungry anymore, but of course you want more and I’m really cute, so I’m going to get you to order something else.”

I chose his recommended dessert, which he’d raved about and said he’d be ordering for his birthday in a couple of weeks.  I asked him what birthday he’d be celebrating.

He stopped, smiled uncomfortably, then heaved a deep sigh.  “32.”  He said this as if 32 made him an old man.  He went on to explain how difficult 31 had been. He, who presents an open, cheerful demeanor, now seemed weary and worn down by life.

Weariness of age seemed to be the theme of the week.

Coincidentally, I’ve been thinking about my life and what I want from the next few years. What I really, really, really want.  Like, really want.  (I’m still working on that.)  But I’ve been looking at it a little differently than the friends I just mentioned.

I’m 44.  I’ve never felt a need to hide my age.  I’ve never defined myself by my age.  I’ve never shrunk who I am because of my age.  But—and this is perhaps the most positive but I have ever written—as I get older, I feel a need to be true to myself and to not betray my needs or what I want in the deepest part of my soul.

In that regard, I look at age as an incredible gift.

This quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald was making the rounds on all my social media sites this week and affirms this.  It made me scream, YES.

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I embrace my age because it just means possibilities are in front of me, not fewer—because I know more of what not to do.  I honor myself because I can still turn it all around at any given moment—and the beauty of getting older is now I know I can.

I hope you find the courage to feel your age in the most beautiful way possible. And to embrace it for all its worth.

xo, with goodness and grace.

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