Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Spoons and Forks – it’s Jilly’s 24th

I’m kind of a treadmill Nazi – once I start running on one I won’t stop or switch machines regardless of the issue – buzzing noises, much needed bathroom break, bloody feet... So the day I stopped my running and hopped over two treadmills to run next to this girl I went to college with, (but had not seen since spring break senior year after avoiding her like the plague for the 10 dollars in gas I never paid) must have been a fateful day.

Jill and I reconnected last January for TNT –which any of you who read this most likely donated to either or both of us – so a thank you for that! – During our 6 months of training together we ended up forging our lil lives. There wasn’t much of the day we spent a part. And some of my favorite memories of running are in the early mornings on country roads or late at night on paired treadmills at the gym.

Jill is a straight up genius – if you ask her she will tell you that herself –but I will save you that and tell you how one day she turned to me on the treadmill and said “I think I am going to be a Dr.” I was encouraging with my comments but had no idea four months later she would be enrolled in her Post-Bach program at Columbia. Jill gets most excited when talking about curing people of diseases, and physics; like shaking excited in a way that makes her too cool for school – or maybe actually made for school; and therefore I support her current plans of being a forever student (don’t worry Jilly I will figure out how to house and feed you if need be)

In addition to her mental strength she’s a straight up hard body as well – what’s the toughest sport out there? You ask. – flipping upside down on a bar less than 6 inches wide –was that your answer – Yeah, Jilly is a gymnast to boot (probably another reason she likes physics so much) . I could sit here all day and list her accolades of three degrees, marathon runner, gymnast, physics tutor, amazing TaTa's and a girl that speaks her mind – all the time. But instead I will just tell you that it’s her birthday – and thank goodness for having her around.

Jill taught me how to do a pull up and I taught her how to run, we have laughed and cried on her kitchen floor, in cars, while running and sleeping, we have drank too much, eaten too much, run too much. Through everything we have helped carry each other dreams with our brutal honesty and absolute admiration. Happy birthday Jilly, my Running buddy, bff, hetero life -partner.

A WORD TO THE WISE OF NYC: Jilly is also a touch deaf – increased by drinking – so if you see her stumbling around NYC this evening – buy her a drink , but speak loudly and clearly – other wise guard your nose – she might punch it. Do not touch her unless you are told you can. If she is being rude to you and you think she is flirting, she’s not. She doesn’t like spoons, just forks.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Look at Life from Both Sides Now


Simply seductive
A spiting image of Joni in style and spirit
Running fool
Ambitious to see the world and love her family all at once
Hopeless romantic

Sarah is 25 – a quarter century and this fabulous soul sister has packed more into it than most do in a quadrupled lifetime. She is a literary genius captivated by fine writers and musicians; she harnesses their work and then pours into the hearts,souls and minds of little children all over the world. Spending the past three years on three different continents you would think it would be hard to keep touch - when infact Sarah often acts as the glue that keeps many of our long-distance friendships together - with inspiring emails, g-chats and hysterical historicals of her current life.

I met and immediately attached myself to this wonder woman, while she was sunbathing as a lifeguard during our beloved Mohonk summer. At the summers close she was given the title of Zen Butterfly – probably the most calm in spirit and easiest to be friends with – with a rock star that jumped out behind her blonde hair and bright smile.

All in all, my girl is a total hopeless romantic – she loves the great tragedies of heartache and more often than not finds the positive outcome. She loves love, she loves being in love. She loves the love that her parents share and friends search to find. She loves the many great loves of her life, She loves the idea of a long soul mate and future families, she loves sharing her love with her friends.

And my dear friend, we love being able to share it with you. Happy quarter century – continue to be a figure of beautiful living history in our present worlds.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Food For the Soul

I have rediscovered my kitchen. For me, cooking is about feeding others. I find no joy in cooking for myself - to feed my soul I must fill your belly. My world and homes have become filled with wonderful people, whom I love - feeding them has become a new creative outlet for me.

My favorite kitchen comrade,Sarah, often quotes - "those who share food never get fat" - in honor of her birthday week I thought I would share my latest creative kitchen concoction.

Warm Apple Spinach and Bean Salad with Sweet Lemon Mustard Dressing

1 bag of leafy green spinach
1 Can of cannelloni Beans
1 tomato
Pepper to taste
I large Purple onion
½ Cup raisins
1 Gala Apple

Set oven to 300
Wash spinach and beans – Pour both into a 9x12 glass baking dish. Place in oven

Pepper the tomato and add to spinach around 10 mins in.

Pour ½ tsb of EVOO into pan and caramelize onion. With about 1 min left add raisins –cover and after 1 min remove from heat — add on top of spinach and beans once warmed

Pour ½ of dressing and mix salad

Slice gala apple and place on top once salad is warmed

Drizzle the rest of the dressing

Dressing to taste (in order of amount to put in)
Whole grain Dijon style mustard
Lemon juice
Maple syrup
Sesame oil
Red pepper flakes
Nutmeg – just a dash

A side note - -Finish up this healthy meal with some delish in-season cookies http://www.joyofbaking.com/Gingersnaps.html

Friday, August 15, 2008

Life Tip on Q-Tips: No Penny Pinching

Reasons why the Extra 99 are Worth Every Red Cent:

    • It is your ears!!! (They come in handy from time to time. Not so much when you are reading my wonderful thoughts or, say, attempting to ignore your boss; but still! There are many reasons to like them. Bobby Dylan is one reason, Birds are another)

    • Pulling cotton remnants out of your ear from the pervious cleaning during the current cleaning seems counter productive

    • Mid-swab you notice that the cotton has moved down the stick and you are now just scraping your ear with a plastic stick

    • A PLASTIC STICK, it’s bad enough you are sticking things in your ear – don’t make them hard sharp objects

    • Only the “real –thing” seem to do that amazing trick of fitting in the cotton swab holder perfectly with that swirl look

    Many life lessons are learned the hard way - that said, the easy way isn't always the best way, but with Q-tips it may be, read and take heed!

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Home on Tioga Street

    Jess and B-Money moved into their new home this weekend. Binh-Man and I went down to head up "Team Nimble", keep Jess calm and help John Ford drink all the beer he purchased.

    Porch Sleeping -
    Home on Tioga

    Lazy Sunday started on a Saturday afternoon
    Beyond the boxes of yesterday’s houses
    Backyard ball with surfers and summer brews
    (Engineering on hold till Monday)

    Today we build memories for tomorrow
    In 100 years of yesterday’s wood
    Is your Mama home?
    No this is for free and it’s mine all mine
    Put this box in the kitchen
    Move this up to the attic;
    We’ll discover it new, years from now and wonder why.

    When the day is over
    This shower can clean us all
    It will start us fresh
    For Sunday;
    Sunday morning
    Let me sleep
    On the porch
    And watch the town pass by

    I’ll be returning here -
    In September - what a beautiful day
    Home; where life is good

    Sunday, August 3, 2008

    “While Lizzie Drives up I-95”

    A recount of my 24 for 24

    While Barry white is pumping in my parents empty nest Toyota trade-in for their mini van; Maggie, Clifford and I are mid-trip to the nations vacationland –Portland Maine, for my favorite type of vacation; a beautiful run. (Beach to Beacon 08)

    As I re-tell my early 3:30 am adventures of the day to Clifford , Dad-America keeps repeating the words nuts and crazy, but I am all his so he has no one to blame but himself.

    So here is starts with the end…July ends on my favorite day of the year, the day of my birth…how convenient

    As of late, stupid decisions seem to escalate in my head in those long moments between deep breaths and dreams at that moment, said ideas seem so sound I wake up believing I should accomplish them. Enter latest; “I should run 24 miles on my 24th birthday” I vocalized this to my new fabulously smoking hot and intelligent roomies and maybe in a moment of lacking intelligence Elle responded with an enthusiastic Yes!

    And it has begun; an email out to the boys; some mutual friends and the 1125 Roomies results in the quick set up of a pot-luck pre-run birthday feast. Where long after I had gorged myself on the wonderful veggie fare I tested the limits of my ever present lactose intolerance by devouring the 4 story cheese cream frosted cake.

    Tummy turning around 3 am, the one-and-only Sassy Pants delivers a wakeup call of “happy birthday you big freak-baby”. I throw on the running skirt (I am embracing the fact that running makes me smoking hott and I may as well look cute too.) Eliot loads up goodies for me on his bike as my sovereign and sanity keeper and we hit the road for the start of the 4 loops that will bring me 24 miles closer to being tired by 8 am.

    The first 5 mins of the run bring me pass my favorite watering hole / tummy filler, Alto Cinco, the boys that feed me two times a day are still drinking in the night before. Looks of disbelief as I trot passed with my spelunking lamp strapped to my forehead and a smile tight across my cheeks.

    Round 1 – 8.25 miles; Eliot saved my life as he protected me from crazy men in shady cars. He also helped me not think about the fact that my stomach was quite literally churning cream.

    Round 2 - 5.25 miles Missy and Elle start out with me as the is sun still down but peaking over the Syracuse horizon.

    Round 3 – 5.25miles The sweet Julie said “No liz, I will not let you run by yourself and stuck it our for some of the loop
    NOTE: (when you have moved in with three girls you don’t know, take them for a run at 6 am; you’ll learn if you love ‘em or hate ‘em right away; and I am hoping these lovely ladies feel the prior)

    Round 4 – 5.25 miles ;Last but by far not least my girl Jilly hopped in to bring me home and let me be a wee-bit cranky at this point about what now seemed a little bit like “my stupid idea” as she told everyone that we passed that I was running 24 miles that morning.

    I finished in a dead sprint with the same smile that was part of my night-lite four darkened hours earlier.

    Fast forward 10 hours later - Dad weaves in and out of Mass-hole rush hour traffic en route to our first father daughter race. And I know; that as Jilly said; I am blessed. Blessed for the fact that my feet and knees are as strong and stubborn as my mind; that I have friends who not only support me but join in; and blessed that I have a family I trust with my life; quite literally as I stay “calm” as dad breaks up the butt of the cars in front of me.

    It seems that life just gets better with each passing day; there is probably some fabulous reason that there are 24 hours in every day.

    From the start of it; it’s going to be a good year.

    Monday, July 28, 2008

    The Little Old Pear from Patagonia

    I’m in love with my local co-op grocery. I portion out my income so that I can afford the above average costs that it takes to support my local business and my local farmer. I enjoy the experience so much that I don’t even try to cheat the scale in the bulk food section (I may or may not have “lost” my keys in bulk food bins while “sampling” at a larger grocery chain) I do it happily. (I love that small shop feel where they know what I buy each week and tell me what they are out of before I have even made it to the isle.) So, today when I stopped by the Co-Op on my way into work I was so disheartened to find my pears were from Patagonia. Do I want to travel to Patagonia? Yes. And when I am there I will pick pears right off the tree and eat them all juicy faced. But the pear without the passport stamp seems unnecessary.

    Friday, July 25, 2008

    Permanent Impermanence

    I ran away from home when I was in second grade. It was a dramatic action (I’m a Leo) because I wasn’t allowed to watch TV since I wouldn’t pick up my room (shocker how some things don’t change). Therefore, I declared that I was actually an adopted child descending from the Royal family in England (obviously, my name IS Elizabeth) and owed no allegiance to this home (yes, I knew what allegiance meant we had to say the “pledge” to it everyday at school and I was somewhat of a precocious child)

    When I returned two hours later from the half mile I made it away from the acres of land that housed me for 18 years, Maria made the following statement (finger wagging, for not the first or last time in my childhood) “As long as you live in my house you do what I say, and until you are 18 you have to live in my house-- because I’m your mother; I am the only one who can take you out of this world and I don’t feel like serving jail time, so you’re just going to have to deal with the fact that I love you and I make the rules.”

    Needless to say, precocious children tend to challenge statements now and then; by the time I actually turned 18 Maria and I made a pact with each other (out of love). She promised I’d never have to live at “home” again; I promised to take my permanent address with me wherever I lived (to save her from junk mail and bills). This has kept most mother adult-daughter battles at bay (minus a two week stint where we drank some crazy juice and agreed that it might be “fun” for me to come home for a bit. Untrue). Also It has increased our appreciation for each other [I tend to call her when washing a floor on my hands and knees to “thank” her for instilling in me that nothing cleans quite like Clorox. She calls me when she is doing her only load of laundry for the week, since she no longer has a sweaty gym rat who needs three towels for showers she takes twice a day; or who ruins pans by burning eggs (dear God, it smells awful); who leaves her shoes smack-dab in front of the doorway; has a trail of clothes on the stairs up to her room; or mows down the side of the garage instead of the lawn] Even if, from time to time, My Momma drives the crazy train, I am pretty sure I played a big part in
    handing her the wheel.

    Regardless…point-o-my-story: Since that fateful summer 6 years ago I have moved permanently to everywhere except someplace permanent. It’s the eve before another move and I currently have a cell phone with a mailing address listed on an ocean Island in the Pacific; a license and voters registration where “bless her heart” is served with your sweet tea; and a car registered to the adress of my current office because the insurance woman said ‘pick the place the car will be the most’.

    In case you are a member of the USPS, CIA, Credit Bureau or the Wall Street Journal Subscription I never actually paid for, and can’t seem to locate me here is a list of all my declared permanent addresses (thus far):

    1) August 2002 – May 2003: Haven Hall, Syracuse University
    2) May 2003 – August 2003: Waialae Ave Honolulu, HI
    3) August 2003 – May 2004 : Day Hall, Syracuse University
    4) May 2004 – August 2004: Sadler Hall, Syracuse University
    5) August 2004 – May 2005: 715 Euclid Ave, Syracuse NY
    6) May 2005 – September 2005: 1000 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz, NY
    7) September 2005 – May 2006: 530 Clarendon Ave, Syracuse, NY
    8) May 2006 – July 2007: 517 West Academy St, Winston-Salem, NC
    9) July 2007 – July 2008: 103 H king park Drive Liverpool, NY
    10) July 2008--?.?.?: 1125 Westcott Street Syracuse NY 13090

    Home is defined differently by many people; for me it’s more of a feeling you give to someone. No amount of brick and mortar and walls touching floor (or lack of, i.e. 715 Euclid) could replace the people that have been inside them. In fact, since moving out on my own I tend to find myself most “at home” (and fast asleep on couches) in the houses I am not paying any rent or allegiance to. The acres of land that I once ran away from still house all of my memories of tree climbing, apple pies, soccer cleats, ballet flats, mother-daughter battle/makeup’s and sibling cuddle sessions. It’s those experience that have made me the person who is okay with having nothing that’s her own, besides a couch that she is overly attached to. Point – open up your idea of home to include as many places and as many people as possible because each person brings with them their own piece of their “home” to share. Also, if you ever find me sleeping on your couch, a pile of my clothes on your floor; or dirty dishes in your sink from food you didn’t / wouldn’t eat it’s not just my permanent impermanence; it’s a little gesture to say “I love knowing you” - just keep me away from your lawn mower.

    Sunday, July 20, 2008

    5, 4, 3...

    You don’t expect to need people.

    It just happens.

    And you only begin to need someone when you have no reason to, other than the pleasure of their company.

    Sometimes I think I have all the great people I could ever want for and right about then someone works there way into my life and they become irreplaceably “needed”.

    January brought about five new irreplaceable all at once. Starting with the break of 2008, if I was not running around with the The Fab Five (Petey, Carl, Binh-Man, Eliot and Myself) then I was (literally) running with my hetero-girlfriend, Jilly. Winter in ‘Cuse seemed a bit brighter, warmer and shorter than I ever have remembered.

    July is plucking them away one by one.

    This week we had our goodbyes with Petey, our lanky Italian designer who can turn plastic cups into light fixtures; fills our bellies with home brews and our smiles with laughter as he awkwardly catches me off guard with some absurd sexual comment.

    On top of it all, Petey is the coolest guy I know because his girlfriend, Raiken, is a smoking hot, for-real, legit firefighter-- suspenders and all.

    When your GF is that awesome you try to be with her no matter where she is, and therefore Petey has left his life-sucking job as a design guy for Chase Design (and inspired us all to not be scared to do the same). He put everything he owns into a U-haul; minus his plants and a his art work, that is currently on display at the musem of my bedroom as an attempt to make me keep my room less messy so I can enjoy fine art.

    A few months ago we went out for Petey’s birthday; The Fab Five drank a few brews at Empire as we shared our entrees (because Carl would have helped himself either way) and then relaxed with scotch and cigars. This week was Binh-Man’s birthday and the usual dinner crew of five was down to three, (Carl moved a few weeks back and is currently having too much fun talking firefighter dork-talk with Raiken.) While we each gorged ourselves happily on clams and salt potatoes, the table seemed smaller with out those two.

    If I was Tu-Pac’s kind of girl I would have poured out some crystal on the sidewalk, but I think pouring some of Petey’s homebrew on the patio of The Clam Bar could have the same effect.

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    About Me:

    I have some life goals.

    One of them is to actually appreciate this body-o-mine that I run into the ground. I wonder if the makers of Mad Men knew they would get a loyal fan when this quote last season gave me a reason to love the be-hind behind me.

    "She's a real lobster, all the meats in her tail."

    Other life goals include: to adventure my "tail" around in northern California; eventually become a bangin' cougar; and always rock the Knickerbocker name. I'm a big believer in "signs" so when I stumbled across the flickr picture with this title Cougars and Knickerbockers , I felt very confident about the possible reality of all of my forecasted accomplishments

    Monday, July 14, 2008

    Happy New Year*

    Some girlfriends celebrate birthdays with mani-pedis at the local “nature spa.” Joanna and I celebrated hers by comparing black and blue toe-nails and bunion scars after two days of running the local single-track trails in the nature of NC.

    Of the few, (but fabulous) girlfriends that I have, most are all miles away from me, but I have a tie with each that distance can not separate; because each friendship was forged over running some distance of miles together. Joanna is the friend that helped me realize that I physically could run a marathon. (She and I met at a James Bond party when we were introduced to each other as “the other runner girl”) JoJo turned, a smoking-hott, 28 years on Thursday.

    With two whole actual vacation days to my name I could think of no better way to spend them than heading to Winston-Salem, NC, to help her bring in her new year.

    For the first time since moving back to Syracuse, I had four days with no email to check, no stress to be had and absolutely no agenda, except for the following:

    1) Trail Running
    2) Watching the Tour de France (to feed our other sick passion of biking)
    3) Eating my favorite southern delicacies (anything that comes out of Martha’s kitchen and / or off of John’s grill; hummus from Mellow Mushroom; and breakfast at Mary’s of Course)
    4) Substituting our 8 daily glasses of water with coffee, wine, beer and margaritas.
    5) Napping

    (Hey, listen, while it might look suspiciously like a “task-list”; for a current work-a-holic, I promise you “naps” hasn’t been on any list of mine since Kindergarten…this is progress)

    But let the record stand - I am out of shape. Bla Bla Bla I run all the time, and who cares that I have done two marathons this year…it mattered not to my stomach as Joanna and her friend Cullen gazelled through the trails of Greensboro while I gasped for air and everything holy.

    As Joanna and I pounded out the miles and then recovered by laying around her house we also took chatty attempts to solve the questions of our current lives (I say attempt because it important to note that during this run I was so delusional I barley remember peeing on the side of the road) So, maybe no questions were answered except, “nothing” is great motivation. Having “nothing” to worry about, “nothing” to do and “nothing” but the company of great friends motivated both of us to start the New Year off right – with a smile -- (and sunglasses that were only fashionable during the years we were born)

    *Birthday’s are the start of actual New Years, I was a mere zygote January 1st 24 years ago therefore I introduce “Pantless Rule #1 and #2
    1. Birthday Month = The start of an actual new year
    2. Birthday = independent national holiday, find your self a great sale, take the day off and probably drink or eat something you wouldn’t normally ever consume