Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Road Warrior

In the mothership's enduring wisdom, it's not enough to condense three work trips into one. The trip must be as short as humanly possible. However, what they neglect to consider in the great southern land is that North America has horrendous weather from December through April, and it fouls up travel coming and going (literally). Let's hope I make it out of this itinerary alive and on time:

tomorrow morning: Calgary
tomorrow night - Saturday evening: Vancouver
Saturday night - Monday night: LA
[red eye flight, hope I get upgraded]
Tuesday morning - Wednesday evening: Chicago

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Breakup Cycle

Lately it has seemed that many of my loved ones' relationships have fallen to pieces. In Chinese numerology, eight is an indicator of change, so maybe the preceding year had something to do with it. From my experience and observation of others, something like the Kübler-Ross grief cycle comes into play. As a public service to those of you out there struggling with the death of a love affair, marriage, or anything in between, here is what to expect:

  • Denial that the end has taken place, perhaps with some hope that things will mend (although this doesn't always surface). It is tempting to try to hang on for dear life, but chances are you are merely grasping for the accoutrements that come with being partnered - triple dates, regular phone calls and emails, mutual friendships. Just let it go. Those people you met who are genuine will stay friends with you, and you can always establish these patterns with new people. In other words, good icing is not worth spreading over bad cake.
  • Depression over the loss of "the good times" and rehashing what could and couldn't have been done better on your part to make the relationship work. This is inevitable yet unrealistic, as relationships either work or they don't. Granted everything worth anything in life requires effort and care to maintain, it is unfair to place the burden of a relationship's resuscitation solely on yourself. A steady diet of Haagen Dazs, booze, and a playlist with Cher, Gloria Gaynor, Alanis Morrissette, and Kelly Clarkson on repeat will help alleviate this affliction, with possible side effects of bitterness and tighter jeans.
  • Bargaining with friends and family who, as it turned out, tolerated the significant other's presence while secretly deeming them a cheapskate/cold fish/douchebag/albatross/louse/worm/annoyance/wet blanket, you get the picture...As much as we want the truth, in the words of Jack Nicholson, when we are in the thick of it we generally can't handle it.
  • Anger when it finally hits you that he/she was cheating/lying/neglectful/hypercritical/hypocritical/boring/backstabbing/impotent/lazy/parasitic/abusive/[another unfavorable adjective] and that time was wasted ignoring these characteristics. This is amplified if the bastard left you for a banshee or skank resembling a d-list reality has-been. Channel this negative emotion into hitting the gym hard, volunteering for a good cause, even cleaning out your living quarters. Never ever ever contact them. The best revenge is a lack of concern for their existence, tied for first with looking effing smashing.
  • Acceptance that you are better off without and that it is time yet again to plunge into the dating pool, even though the though may evoke the Polar Bear Club dashing into the frigid Atlantic waters on New Years Day. This is absolutely necessary to be able to move on sans major baggage, even if you start by dipping your toes in, then wade around for a little while and acclimate. It is more fun just to cannonball in. However, DO NOT expect a lack of spark to "grow on you". If there's nothing there within two to three dates, go with your gut (a la Malcolm Gladwell) and avoid overanalysis, cut your losses and move on. A roll in the hay or two for its own sake is healthy, but don't forget the latex and visual inspection!

    To this, I will add one more:
  • Partial or complete amnesia that said assignation or partnership ever occurred. This is expected after meeting someone new who completely and utterly knocks your socks off and whose abundance of redeeming qualities makes you forget the past hurt and pain.

Happy coupling! ;)

Monday, January 05, 2009

No-Leftover Recipe: Creamy Pesto

For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed cooking. It's difficult preparing meals for one, particularly eating the same meal several times, so often I will invite friends to join me. Over the year, my goal is to find at least 1-2 recipes a month that are eaten in one shot, without sending any home with the guests.

Since I had basil in my fridge, I felt inspired to pulverize it into a pesto, even though it's a bit out of season. The nutty garlicky flavor is somewhat comforting, but I wanted to take the edge off a bit. Enter cream. A bunch of supermarket basil is enough for at least two batches of this sauce, so I made it this twice, once as a Happy New Year/Congratulations dinner for my friend T and is new fiancee, and the second time as a post-spinning repast with my gym buddy M. On both occasions, there were no (Barilla Plus for health) rotelle left in my massive pasta bowl. Therefore, I think this qualifies nicely as a No-Leftover Recipe.

Half-and-half is a fine substitute (and eliminates some fat and calories), and for a lighter sauce, leave out the parmesan while whisking the pesto into the boiled cream. Buon appetito!

(Even eating a half pound of pasta, I still have prominent collarbones now. Guess the triathlon training has been effective.)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Everything Old is New Again

Hey Knight Rider fans! Now you can get a KITT GPS to tell you when to make that next right turn. What's next? A tablet PC a la Penny's computer book (from Inspector Gadget)??

Thursday, January 01, 2009

If You're Gonna Dance, Dance!

Can you believe I've been jotting down my adventures and random thoughts for over five years now! It's hard for me to fathom that much time has passed since I was in Oman swekking and experiencing a completely different way of life. In some ways, not much has changed about me; life has meandered and taken some interesting turns here and there. On the flipside, I think my mindset is very different than when I first started typing away, even in this year. I can't say that I am unhappy or unsatisfied, as I have achieved many of my goals and then some. Are there still some things I want to accomplish? Of course! This year I really want to finish the NYC Triathlon and unlock some of my pent-up creativity, not to mention undertaking some more adventures. Naturally, I'd like to find someone to come along with me for the ride. However, I regret nothing and don't feel like I could have done more in my time on earth thus far. Too many people fall into a trap of measuring themselves against a skewed ruler or coveting someone else's "success" without remembering that others may have faced their own challenges to arrive at a good point.

2008 definitely was challenging on many levels, and I'm glad it's over. Not so much to put the rough times behind us, but to also appreciate the lessons learned from the struggles. Earlier this year, I aimed to have a hot date on New Years Eve. Schlepping all the way to Sydney for what was then an indeterminate amount of time threw a wrench in that mix, but in the end, I had more fun this year sans date than I have in the past three previous years. For the first NYE in a while, I danced. A lot. Everywhere we went. With many people. There's something about dancing that is so liberating and enjoyable, it doesn't matter if you misstep or lose the rhythm. It doesn't matter if others don't really know what they're doing either. It's infectious and gets others going, even if they just laughed or smiled. After a while, it seeps in and radiates throughout all your limbs, and you just go with it. In a word, it was fun! And even though I didn't have a hot date going into the evening, I still got my midnight smooch...

There's an old Italian saying my bisnonna used to impart on her grandchildren - "if you're going to dance, dance!" Meaning, do things whole-heartedly, give it all you got. I'm proud to say, Meme, I'm giving life everything I have, and the payback has been great.

Here's to giving 2009 our best shot. Happy New Year!