Wednesday, November 2, 2011


While driving home the other night I heard several interesting commercials on the radio--Give the gift of hairplugs for the holidays! Give the gift of plastic surgery for the holidays! Now, I could go on for hours about the idea of gifting such, shall we say, personal gifts. But the most interesting thing to me is the novelty that is "the holidays."

First things first--I am fully aware that there are indeed multiple religious holidays in December. I do, in fact, fully believe in the right to celebrate these holidays! So stay with me. I am not here to bash other faiths.

No. My fascination lies with the sudden need to exterminate...dare I say it? Christmas! Ok, it's done, the "C" word is out. I have been told many times, that due to fear of offending anyone, Christmas just simply cannot be uttered. Uhhhh huh.

Just this morning, I turned on my TV to a lovely IHOP commercial. Now, I love fluffy, syrup covered treats for breakfast as much as the next girl, so this ad had my attention. I watch as they serve up a plate of pancakes with red and green sprinkles! Yum! Yes, it's true, the new "holiday" pancakes are here.

Come on. Can we call a spade a spade, please? Because the last time I checked, Hanukkah is commonly represented with the colors of blue and silver (please, correct me if I am wrong.). Christmas is commonly represented with red and green. So why must we neutralize Christmas? I would understand the need for plurality if other colors were used, but alas, there were none.

Think about it--all things Christmas must be neutralized, taken apart and rearranged to cater to....who? I know of no other holidays that celebrate by decorating trees and hanging stockings. So why are Christmas trees and Christmas stockings suddenly reduced to Holiday trees and Holiday stockings? These traditions are unique to the holiday celebrated among Christian denominations--the holiday celebrating the birth of Christ.

Many people I have listened to about this subject have explained to me that relating Christ to CHRISTmas, is far too offensive. We must be an open, free thinking people! Free of any prejudices. Many of the same people have explained to me at different times that we also need to be free of greed! Free of self centered consumerism!!!

Uhhhh huh.

So let me get this straight, to be free of prejudices, we must deny Christians the world over the basic right to use the proper name for one of their biggest holidays ? Other holidays are just fine, but a Christian one cannot be tolerated. How free thinking and open minded. It seems prejudice against Christianity is the only legal prejudice there is left. Somewhere along the way, Jesus replaced Lord Voldemort as "the one we don't speak of."

Now, free of greed and self centered consumerism, I can get behind that! This year, it is my goal to try to purchase as many gifts as possible through charitable organizations. I say this not out of pride, but because I think it is very important for me to really reflect on the meaning of this "holiday"--peace and good will towards men, Christ centered love of neighbor.

But what happens when you take Christ out of Christmas? Well then, we have a baseless holiday! It has no purpose, no meaning, no tradition. When children ask why we get presents, what do we tell them is the occasion? What exactly are we celebrating? I was told that the meaning of Christmas is simply to be with family and the people who matter the most. Lovely. But aren't we about to do that with Thanksgiving? No, I am not saying that Thanksgiving has no other basis or tradition. My point is we gather with those we love annually on Thanksgiving. But there are no presents. Why? Hmmm.

Birthdays are an annual event. Birthdays have presents. Is there any special birthday to commemorate on December 25th by giving a loved one a gift as an expression of your love and appreciation?? No. Absolutely not. That is not politically correct. Problem is, by removing the meaning from Christmas, have we not just created a greedy, wish list induced, self-centered consumer based holiday? Wordy, but wasn't that a problem in the first place???

Perhaps Shakespeare was not quite on the money. Perhaps that which we call a rose, by any other name, does not always smell as sweet.

Give me Christmas back. Give us all Christmas back. I don't want a menorah to be renamed a "holiday candelabra," I just want to call a Christmas tree a Christmas tree. I happily respect the traditions of other faiths. Please respect mine. And give back to the world a concept that it so desperately needs--peace and good will towards men.

God bless.
And, though a bit premature, Merry Christmas and a blessed holiday to you.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Adventure is out there!

I love adventure. Always have. As a kid, I pretended I was mountain climbing by scaling our stairs with a clothes hanger in my hand. In my head I was always going to some grand place--a rainforest in South America (it's like America, but south!), having tea in London, on a quest in the African jungle, and on and on. It's amazing how your sense of adventure changes as you grow up. Not that it dies, but how we adapt to see the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary. When I was little, adventure seemed to require getting on a plane to some far off mystical land and taming elephants. And in all truth, I did get one "far off mystical land" experience (elephants, not included). Ireland was the trip of a lifetime. Mama dearest and I conquered the tiny country with little more than a map, a car, and the kindness of others. Adventure indeed! Life endangering at one point, but you can ask my mom about that (hehehe). I don't know if I'll get there again. Shoot, I don't know if I will ever make it out of the country again. But adventure still beckons. Life for the past two years has indeed shown me that! Job changes and getting married and moving to Arizona--not on my list of thrilling destinations from the past, but this, I soon realized, was a mistake on my part!--moving again! Now Bakersfield. I admit this did not immediately strike me as a hub of international delight. Heck, neither did Arizona. But lately I have been discovering the adventure that lies within me own home! (yes, "me" and not "my"). In my kitchen, to be exact! Which leads me to my latest quest as...........(pause for dramatic effect) Culinary Conquistador!!!...ok, the name needs work, but you get the idea. I've always liked to bake and cook. But I do believe that lately I have been falling in love. My kitchen has become my private jet, my epic ship and my beat up roadtrip car. I have ventured to the homelands Italy and Mexico, to the deep south and the deep sea, to tropical islands and dessert heaven. In the past few months, I have discovered that mangoes, basil and brie belong in chicken, that truffle oil will make anything amazing, that white wine and cream are the fairy godmother to a pasta Cinderella. Red wine and balsamic vinegar glaze over filet mignon? Seriously, TRY IT. My list of places to explore has grown with France and Japan at the very top :) (crepes and sushi? sushi crepes? hmmm) I have dabbled in France before, but I think it's time for an all out excursion and exploration. From there, who knows? Germany, India maybe. I think that each week, I am going to try to make at least two things that I have never made before, be it a main dish, side, dessert, or whole meal. Last night was just plain old leftover mom's meatloaf and mashed potatoes (despite my recent explorations, this remains Eric's favorite find. Easy enough). I had woken up the night before with an acute longing for chocolate molten cake. It was still there when I woke up, so off to the market I scampered with my ingredient list in hand. And what fun! I felt like I had ventured off to a magical place with chocolate I had never heard of before (because 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate is soooo exotic ;) And at home putting the plates together complete with vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate fudge, I was in presentation heaven. The best part is, since there's still only two of us (until a whole other adventure starts), I now have 8 little cakes sitting in my freezer (for emergency purposes, of course). *disclaimer--that is not my cake in the picture. My ganache did not have such panache.* Wonderfully enough, this has become quite a spiritual experience as well. Some say beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, but I say it's good food. It's fascinating how so many natural things can combine to make something so delicious. I mean, seriously if God didn't like us, there would be no cacao beans, no berries ( a recent thought while devouring crepes). Here I have found my indulgence for my inner child's taste for exploration and my taste buds. Perhaps the only Italy I see for a while will be in my own kitchen. If that's so, then I intend to explore it. So here it is. My new charter, my declaration of exploration. Adventure is out there! And by there, I mean literally over there in the next room over.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Oh my goodness, it has been quite a while. So much has happened in so little time. As I write this, I am sitting in Bakersfield, weary from a morning of blog overhaul (oh, the horror)and thinking about the past year. What an adventure it has been. Shoot, the past three months! I got married, moved to Arizona, hated Arizona, fell in love with Arizona, started a new job, quit said job, packed my leeettle apartment up and moved to Bakersfield (twice, but that's a looong story) for Eric's new job in Kern County. Yikes. Needless to say, I have been a bit of a stress case lately (I've got the skin to prove it). But through it all, happy times--there have been many. Once I find the magical cord that gets my pictures out of the camera, I will introduce you to my love, Flagstaff, AZ as seen by moi (sooo thrilling, right?) For now, I shall regale you with my tales of newlyweddedness.

I married Eric on July 8th. He's been my best friend since we were in high school and we basically grew up together, which is lovely :) this is one of my favorite pictures from the day. It had been a very trying week and all I wanted was a big hug and a second to breathe. I got it right after the ceremony and it was literally a second! haha such a whirlwind of a day. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to post more than one picture at a time, but once I do, I'll post a few more of the day, particularly the ceremony. I spent a lot of time in tears. I was so overwhelmed by God and his sweetness. I felt so humbled with gratitude thinking, "All of this is for me and he is just for me? Do you really love me that much?" So lovely. Hard to believe it was already three months ago. And speaking of, I must sign off now and do the task that has been haunting me all this time--thank you cards. With so much running around the past few months, they are now packed in a box that I need to locate and open and complete. Hopefully, I will stop feeling horrible after that.