Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fresh Starts

I find New Year's to be such an interesting holiday. While some might celebrate with chic city style, others know that they will be wearing the party hats and grabbing those obnoxious noise blowers to bring in the New Year. Wherever you are or whomever you are with the occasion is an event. Even more entertaining to me is our fascination with the ball of crystal wonder that twinkles in the vacant dark sky. The thousands of eco-friendly light bulbs that illuminate the ball's descent as the clock strikes midnight not only marks the beginning of a new year, but also the fading flicker of the old year. The sound of the pop and sizzle from the freshly opened champagne bottle is melodious to my ears. The gentle lull of the saxophone as it plays the song "Auld Lang Syne" drowns out all possibilities of fear and apprehension that the approaching year might bring. Yet, New Year's to me is so much more than a Parade of Roses or a kiss at midnight; it marks the evaluation of a year and the fresh start that is much needed after trudging through 12 months of the daily grind.

I would be lying if I said there weren't things I didn't liked about the New Year. For starters the constipation that the gym experiences do to girls trying to tame their tummies for the quickly approaching Spring Break season, is one of the most annoying and irritating events that tests my patience daily. But, for the most part I feel rejuvenated from the feeding and family frenzy of the holidays and ready to conquer and accomplish more than I did the previous year. You see my yearly ritual for the New Year began in the 8 th grade, where I wrote all of my goals for the New Year down and posted them in my closet. Every day I would look at them and each turning of the calendar year I would bring the scraps of construction paper down from my closet ceiling and post new ones, and the tradition has stuck with me ever since. Being forced to look at your goals in the face everyday is a wonderful and constant reminder of what we want to accomplish in this year and in this life. I am floored at how fast 25 years can escape me and still I have so many goals and aspirations that I am hoping to achieve. Yet, I see how facile it can be to put dreams and hopes on the back burner and say ...Ohhh next year or next week, but in reality the New Year is a reminder that there is no better time than the present.

The present........yes, the time is now. You see we have all been given the gift to celebrate another year and to watch the infamous ball drop one more time. Yet, I ask you how are you going to make this year different than the last? While I tend to be the Type A highly goal-oriented person, I realize that not everyone is programmed like me. Therefore, maybe pick one goal you want to accomplish or one habit you want to break. I promise you the satisfaction of accomplishment is one of the sweetest boosts of confidence you will ever experience. Thus, this year I encourage you to leave all your skeletons in the closet and to leap out of bed on the 1st of January with a spring in your step and a smile in heart knowing that this year belongs to you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cookie Cutter Christmas

One of my favorite childhood memories is the aroma of homemade sugar cookies permeating my nostrils, while my mom and I prepared for good ol' Saint Nick. My mom and I would sing and dance to our favorite songs by Bing Crosby and Amy Grant for hours. We both had our own tasks. My mom was in charge of the batter and I was the designated cookie cutter; and if you know me, you can believe I took this job very seriously. I had a basket devoted to all of my favorite cookie cutters. I would line them all out in front of me in a row as I contemplated which cutter to use. I had snowmen, gingerbread men, stars, trees, angels, and a vast array of other culinary carving figurines. I will never forget the way my mother's face would cringe as she watched me slather icing all over the cookies as well as different aspects of my own body. I would always walk away from the counter with globs of icing in my hair, on my face, and a rainbow of color on my freshly washed clothing. Yet, the smile on my face that radiated from ear to ear was evidence of my love for the holiday season.

Looking back I now realize how important it was to me that everything was just perfect for Santa. I wanted St. Nick to feel welcomed in our home even if my epileptic Yorkie, Suzan Nicole, sounded like she wanted to eat his reindeer for dinner. Unfortunately my mild obsession for the man in the red jump suit transversed onto the school bus a very dangerous place for Santa lovers everywhere. I remember the day like yesterday, I was wearing an oh so festive holiday outfit, with my matching bow, and jingle bell socks as I took my usual seat next to my neighbor, Jason. We were chatting it up about our weekends and I was meticulously describing all of my preparations I had made because Santa was coming to town. I had cleaned my room, brushed my teeth every night, and made Christmas cookies in order to be a good hostess. I remember as he looked at me and just began to laugh, he doubled over with his hand across his mouth and asked me if he could tell me a secret. Naturally curious, I said, "why of course." He looked at me expressionlessly and said, "Santa is Dead!!" I shooshed him and told him Santa had elves everywhere and if he wanted to get presents to never say such horrible monstrosities again. I stuck my little nose in the air and told him I wasn't listening to him anymore. That evening when I got home from school I will never forget the bomb my mother dropped on me as she revealed to me the stupefying news that Santa really had kicked the can.

I don't know if I ever fully recovered from this shock, but I continue to make progress as the years go by. I look at what we do now on Christmas and can't help to laugh because Santa would be so disappointed. While I have kicked my cookie habit, for a healthier lifestyle and a not so pudgy physique, I still enjoy the smells that come from our kitchen during the holiday season. The early morning Christmas ritual of opening gifts has now traversed into late morning coffee and movie marathons. While secretly I have always yearned for a large family with lots of holiday rituals, what I have received is an intimate gathering with my mom and dad around the TV. We usually have a couple of gifts to open, but we have even resorted to going green and scrapping the wrapping.

I think like many things in life we get caught up in what the perfect cookie cutter holiday should be. The one where everyone gets what they want, the family gets along, the decorations are immaculate, and the food is sinfully decadent. While this is a zealous and a commendable goal, in reality it is not practical or obtainable. Thus, this Christmas my hope for you is to embrace your own family traditions and the things that make the holiday special to you. Remember that holidays and life in general don't have to be cookie cutter perfect. In all actually my favorite cookies were the not so perfect ones, the gingerbread men who had lost a head or the star that had lost an arm, because everyone knows their ten times sweeter because you always remember to eat them first.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The most wonderful time of the year?

I am one of those people who believe that Christmas music is so great that it should be played at least for three months out of the year. I also have no problems acknowledging that the powder sugared dusted earth is one of the most beautiful and serene sites the eye can see. Therefore, I am pretty much a so-called jolly soul during the holiday season. Yet this morning of all mornings, I was reminded that this is not the case for everyone this time of the year.

I woke up this morning grabbed my cup of joe and flipped on my favorite news program the TODAY show with Meredith, Matt, Al, and Anne who I like to believe know that I am a die hard fan and faithful viewer. I was sauntering over to my computer in the hopes of robbing wireless internet service from "jim the fruit snaza" when all of the sudden I heard the distinctive sounds of a woman sobbing. I mean the crying was uncontrollable. I looked out my window and there in the bitter cold walked a woman with no coat dragging her purse. I mean in my head I am going through all of the horrible things that could of happened to this person. I decided right then that I had to make sure she was ok. So here I am in my night gown, glasses, and hair in a massive nest like mass on top of my head, running out my backdoor to catch the weeping woman. As I approach her I call to her "Excuse me, Excuse me are you alright." The woman looks at me with her dark mysterious eyes and for a moment quits weeping and says, "oh I am fine." The woman then begins to walk away at an alarming speed with the sounds of weeping clearly audible. I just stood there in the blistering cold trying to understand what just happened.

It was so blatantly obvious to me that this woman in no way, shape, or form was ok; yet she proceeded to try to make me believe that everything was just fine. I then asked myself how often do we all put on a facade of happiness? When is ok to have a really good cry? All these questions I pondered as I looked at my own life. For the most part I am generally jolly and merry and on the occasion I am not I tend to find my own haven, my own place of surrender to sulk in solitude.

Yet, if we were honest with one another what we all want is someone who can listen to us and just care. We might find pleasure in the quiet of our own room, but in reality we all are just searching for someone who genuinely commits to caring about our day, our joys, and our sorrows. I often say I have this genetic defect and that is that I sometimes love people more than they love me in return. This is fine because over the years I have become callused just like the palm of someone's hand and I can handle the fact that my love isn't always reciprocated. Thus, as an adjustment I try to put my yellow blinkers on, but the darn caution lights just don't seem to work. While I still find myself in this vulnerable position, wearing my heart on my sleeve, I guess I wouldn't have it any other way because the satisfaction of helping a friend (or a stranger for that matter) far outweighs and personal strife I might experience from unrequited love.

I honestly don't know what I would have done if the woman would have said anything else but" I' m fine." All I do know is that as we approach the heart of the holiday season, remember that "the most wonderful time of the year" can be quite the contrary for many people. And sometimes the most reassuring force in the world can be a friendly hug, an open ear, and a warm heart.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fabulously Flawed

It is true. No one can escape the fact that we all are fabulously flawed, we all have these obnoxious and perhaps endearing defects to our character. While some would be distraught to learn of this shocking info, I take it with stride and know that in some ways these are the things that separate us from the norm and make us all the more alluring and interesting.

One of my friends and I were talking the other night about expectations and what it is that can make a person who has been pursuing another for so long in a matter of days realize that they had been mistaken. I like to believe that often times we fabricate these perfect images within our heads of the people we want to pursue, date, and perhaps marry. You know what I am talking about, the guy who opens the car door for you, says please and thank you, and is infatuated by you and only you. It is only when we begin to spend time with one another, that we become blatantly aware of others shortcomings. That he no longer opens the car door, he forgets the meaning of please, and his infatuation for you is now mirroring that of his favorite sports team. While some can handle the fact that no one will be perfect that no one will fulfill the pristine image that they have created in their dreams, others can't handle the fact that in their mind the person they envisioned will never live up to their great expectations. They are tragically flawed like the characters of a great novel. Yet, I like to believe that it is only through these blemishes that we realize the characteristics that truly define who we are and give us a unique quality that no one else has.

It's not just in relationships its infiltrated in to every aspect of our lives. All I have to do is open up the recent headlines of the daily newspapers and I will find smatterings about all the flawed people and events in the world. While I believe flaws can show our individuality, I also begin to wonder if human flaws are really not just an avenue to highlight the humanity that resides within us all. Let's take for example, President-elect Barack "Star" Obama who has publicly and openly admitted to his struggle with cigarette cessation and his multiple attempts at kicking the nasty habit. Even Oprah Winfery has publically acknowledged that she has fallen off the weight-loss band wagon and now weighs 200 lbs. Why is that we secretly feel more connected to these people when we see them through a not so perfect light? Is their something in us all that relates to the imperfections of others?

I feel that it is only when we are cognizant of our character defects, that we will be able to recognize the things that make us different and the things that can hold us back. Thus after much personal reflection, I have developed a running tally and in no way a comprehensive list of the faux pas that define me. It is through this pastiche of traits that I hope you will realize that while your flaws are individually distinct in many ways we are not all that different.

To begin on the brigade of flaws, I would like to start with the fact that I am a 25 year old stuck in the 1900's in technology and advancements. I have a 7 year-old laptop which resembles a small brick accompanied by the biggest battery pack known to man. I pay for Internet monthly yet I don't recieve the services, but I keep paying for it. Now some of you will think I am indolent for not addressing this issue, but this is yet another fabulous flaw of mine...confrontation. I avoid altercations and any form of disgruntled friends like the plague. I instead like to approach life with (at times I am sure overbearing) joy even at 7 am in the morning. I can't go to bed without flossing my teeth and brushing my pearly whites which is due to a childhood night terror about Mr. Decay obliterating my teeth. I love alliteration and try to use it as much as I can in daily life (ex. Fabulously Flawed). To be honest I hate looking in the mirror because I never like the reflection that is thrown back ever wrinkle, lump, bump I find as a glaring imperfection portrayed to others. My patience is something of what I call non-existent and I show that by twirling one of the curls on the right side of my head continuously. And let's be honest I always have room for one more glass of wine.

While these are just a few of those flaws that I am willing to own up to, I hope that you to will stop and think about those imperfections that personally define you, but at the same time connect us to one another. Thus fess up to the flaws, embrace them, and delight in the fact that being Fabulously Flawed allows you, like the other characters of novels, to be the heroine of your own story.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

To a Quarter of a Century

When do you reach the point when you stop celebrating birthdays? I hope never. Today just happens to be the 25th anniversary of my birth and quite honestly I feel as wonderful and youthful as I did when I was 15. I have many beliefs in life and one of them is that we only get better with age. While some would disagree whole-heartedly as they try to recapture every morsel of their youth, I have decided to live each year and experience all I can in that year and then -move on to the next. You see with each year I gain experience and knowledge and while the looks and beauty of our youth may fade at an alarming speed I find something alluring and enchanting about the wisdom and sense of self- awareness that comes with each calendar year.

Now don't get me wrong their are moments that I look in the mirror and think wow...is this what being 24 and in med school does to a person. I too have started to see the little lines of age creeping up around my eyes and mouth. I like to call them my smile indentations and the signature sign of a life full of laughter and happiness. Even more wonderful is with the turning of each chapter in my life I have found that I become a little more comfortable in my shoes, and more accepting of who I am. We all have our own hopes and passions for our lives and I look at what I have done in the last 25 years and am amazed. I have traveled to some of the most beautiful places on earth Spain, London, Italy, El Salvador, and lets not forget the gorgeous terrain of Maine. I have ran 4 marathons and have devoted my life to serving others through medicine. I feel so richly blessed because I have some of the most amazing family and friends that anyone could ask for. Thus adding another candle to the birthday cake this year for me is only an indication of the things I have to look forward to in the year to come.

What do I want for the next year ? In medical school we are forced to look as the psychology of age and it just happens that 25 is a pivotal role in development. It is the year of self-evaluation. You look at your life and decide if it is going in the right direction. Are you happy with the events that have occurred or are you going to change the way you live? I find it an interesting evaluation because right now in medical school I feel like my life is on pause. The world around me revolves friends get married, buy houses, and have babies and I am stuck on the endless wheel of studying and stressing. Don't get me wrong I am very happy for these people in my life, but wonder am I missing out on something. Am I paying for an institution to take away the so-called best years of my life?

Yet, after this deep contemplation I realize that what matters right now is the present. I want to enjoy each day whether it is my birthday or not to its full potential. I can't focus on what other people have or are doing, but only on myself and where I am currently. Thus here is to Pasko panache being 25, in medical school, single, and fabulous. Here is to loving the outdoors, running, La Croix, the Biggest Loser, and peanut butter. Yet even more important are the years to come and the things I have to look forward and to experience like for example growing old and wearing ridiculously large hats with feathers...yes the possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Creatures of Habit

I am continually fascinated by how we all are truly victims of monotony. You see I don't think we aim to be, but it is just so easy and comfortable to do what we do everyday. The science gurus claim that it takes 2 weeks to make a habit, and if that is true I wonder how long it takes to break a habit- good or bad. I start to think about all the things I do daily and how they are programmed into me. I wake up, start my coffee(lots and lots of coffee), turn on the news, and the list of daily jen to do's continues. And why does it bother me so much when my routine is jostled just a smidge? Is it just me or do others depend on this routine and doesn't this memorandum of structure just make our lives void of all spontaneity?

All of these questions brought me to a fond memory of the summer I spent in Boston doing research at MGH. Each day I spent in Boston was a well mapped trip with no unexpected turns or stops. But perhaps the most interesting discovery I made that summer was that I was not the only one who was stuck in their own routine. Each morning as I scurried around the infamous "nunery" where my father had so graciously found living quarters for me, I would walk 45mins to work. I would never change my route but would delight in window shopping on Newbury and the daily tai chi-ers in the Public Garden. Yet, as I hit Charles St. my favorite street in Boston I would feel this bit of apprehension as I approached the eclectic boutiques and shops. You see everyday I would pass Panificio a local breakfast nook and bakery that had seating that overlooked the picturesque city street. Each day I worked in Boston I woke up at the same time, walked the same route, and each day passed the same man in the business suit drinking his coffee and reading the Boston Globe. I don't know what came over me each day, but I couldn't resist a coy smile and a wave. Every day it was just the same, he would smile back and raise his coffee mug as I scurried on my way to catch the bus.

I am not going to lie this 30 something man was alluring and mysterious. I would often make stories up about who he was and why he showed me his pearly whites every day. It wasn't until my last day in Boston I decided to make my monotonous walk a little more spontaneous. As I approached Panificio I decided to meet this mysterious man. I walked up to him and asked him if the seat next him was taken. An hour later we had discussed everything from our own daily routines to the beautiful city of Boston. He even invited me out on his boat later that evening, which I kindly declined. Although, I will never see my window waver again he showed me that we are all just creatures of habit going through the routine waiting for a chance for a change of scenery. I believe to often we let our daily routines dictate our lives and we resist opportunities for new experiences.

Thus, I encourage you this next week to spice up your life, let loose, and mix it up. Refuse to be a victim of a life that is just going through the motions. Instead you should resist and perhaps brush your teeth before you wash your face or take a different route to work --you might just find that you are a rebel instead of a creature of habit after all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

There is no need to be frumpy....

It is unfortunate that I have had to become an online style stalker. You see I truly believe that there is some reward in going to the mall hunting down your purchase and trying it on. For me it is the reassurance that I am getting my money's worth and that it fits the contours of my body in just the right way and that it is worth the swipe of my debit card. Yet recently the demands of medical school have been interfering with my savvy shopping, and I have been experiencing bonafide withdrawals from shopping... some might call it an addiction, I like to refer to it as a form of self-expression. I often ponder where I gained this passion that has kept me up many of nights perusing through websites or checking out the latest Style magazine and then I realized that I had many years of training as a Fashionista. I would like to blame it on my mother who from an early age would dress me in the most stylish of children's apparel and place me in my stroller as we would begin to embark on a day of mother daughter bonding...Shopping. We were a team my mother and I as we would traverse the malls for hours. I have heard stories about how much I loved these retreats as my mother would push, I would smile with glee as I stuck my little paws out of the stroller and touched every article of clothing that passed by. Little did my mother know that she had a fashionista in training on board. It was here in that stroller that I had my first exposures to the rich cashmeres, the silks, and warm wools that populate my closet today.

Yet, even today I find that style gives us more than articles of clothing to cover our bod, but is a form of expression about the way we feel about ourselves. I have many mantras in my life and one of them is Dress for success. It is a factoid that I do better on tests when I look prepared and professional. While many of my friends can pull the sweatpants, side pony just stumbled out of bed look, I can't. Now don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with sweatpants, I am just indicating the way I feel about myself when I try to perform this look...frumpy. There are many things I have vowed to in life and one of them is to never be Frumpy McFrumperson.

One of my best friends and I laugh as we think about the future, and we have promised each other to never be victims of frump. While she lives in New York the capital of style and glam and I in the dashingly stylish state of Indiana (hahaha geez louise) we converse about the day when Anthropology and Manolos will populate our closets. Even though our individual style is different where she has this mad style that is a mixture of bohemian -art galleria elegance and I have this Jackie O wanna be eighties vibe we both concur that the idea of losing our sense of style would be a travesty to our souls.

However,"to each be there own", and if you are thinking that I am crazy mad that is fine. Yet, as sad as it may be I do believe that as a society we are perceived by the way we look. This is why I encourage you to embrace your own style and develop it. Let it flourish and prosper.You are never to young or to old because the best thing about style is that it resurrects the timeless beauty of every woman. And honesty ask yourself is there any reason to be frumpy............

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Did Cinderella ruin us all?

Over the past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about happy endings, are they possible and do they even exist. I have been perplexed with the question did Cinderella ruin us all? Now let's just get a couple of things straight I am the queen of fairy tales and happy endings. As a child I would watch Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella over and over, I was mesmerized by every song, dance, and character. I mean Cinderella was high on my list of life long professions. Yet, I wonder if all my countless hours with Cinderella have somehow shaped my expectations in life.

Let's take Prince charming for example....now where in the world does he live because I need his number. I sometimes wonder if the original author of Cinderella was trying to make a parody of men or suggest that this kind of treatment is only found in the fairy tales. Yet, I cannot help but dissect my own life and expectations and wonder are my expectations too high. While I realize that no man will be coming around with a glass slipper to see me,(thank goodness I wouldn't want anyone to see my feet) I still feel that as a society we have lofty ideals on what to expect from love and even marriage. I guess I would explain my love life as well, selective, call me even picky, but I prefer to acknowledge it as knowing what I want. I don't think anything can tonk me off more than women who settle for less than their best. Why do women do this? Why do we stay in these ridiculous relationships which end up being fabrications of what romance and love truly are?

You see every honest woman out there will tell you she too wants a happy ending---her own story. The problem is that a Cinderella story is not a goal to be achieved, but an ideal to strive towards. We all want to believe that the shoe fits, that the guy is a perfect match, but in reality the shoe is always a little snug and needs to be broken in. You can't expect perfection, but there is no problem striving for it. Thus, I believe that Cinderella was an instrumental part of my education. Not only did she reaffirm for me that happy endings are possible no matter what you do or your background, she opened my eyes to see that we are all destined to have own story our own slipper. While your guy probably didn't come riding in on a white stallion, I am sure you recognize the way that you two compliment each other. If you are asking where in the world is my good 'ol Prince C, I encourage you to not settle and to maintain your expectations. Because Prince Charming is out there but perhaps he is incognito as a guy who leaves the toilet seat up and forgets to recap the toothpaste occasionally.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Coloring inside the lines

I think coloring was probably one of my favorite activities growing up. I could color anywhere or anytime. I don't know what it was about coloring, perhaps it is the copious amount of color provided from that one beautiful Crayola box, or maybe just colors like neon orange, macaroni and cheese, and purple pizazz that would get my creative juices flowing. Regardless, I would sit so jubilantly crayola poised in hand ready to create a masterpiece always careful to never encroach across that dark line. I was meticulous in the way I colored. Perfecting every solid color and mastering the art of staying within the lines. In preschool I even insisted that my mother write a note so that I would be allowed to use the small crayons even though my classmates had to use the bigger crayons. I told my mother that I could have more accuracy and control with small crayons, by in large creating a more perfect crayola smudge.

It would not surprise you then that for much of my life I was one of those people who refused to step out of the comfort zone or traverse the lines. I led a life that strived for perfection and playing by the rules. It has only been recently that I discovered how beautiful it is to live a life outside the lines. I feel that most things we choose not to do or experience are done out of fear. While fear can be paralyzing, I realized how scintillating and exciting spontaneity in life can be. Since this revelation I am determined to live a life that colors with all the crayons in the coloring box. I want to experience, travel, and delight in the things of life that truly matter. I want to drink and enjoy great libations. I want to take chances and put myself out there. I want the beauty of the world to embrace my every step. I want to see the good in every person and creature. I want to believe that each ordinary day has the potential to be extraordinary. I want escape from the insecurities that hold me back. And mostly, I want to share with you the joy and happiness that awaits for you just outside the line.

Therefore I encourage you today to leave your paint by number projects in the closet and instead create your own Picasso wherever you go.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Domestic Divas are made not born

I often wonder if the Martha Stewart's of the world were always so kitchen savvy or if they had one on one training from gonache gurus and bundt cake prodigies. You see the truth of the matter is I will always be the girl who brings the jell-o ring to the pitch-ins or the salad bowl to Thanksgiving. I have accepted the fact that not everyone is destined to be a domestic diva. It takes time, patience, and practice. All three of which I don't have. I would love to blame this inconvenient truth on my mother, Cath. You see, my mother is one of those rare culinary creatures who can cook anything and whip up a meal from scanty ingredients in a matter of minutes. She makes the most sinfully sensational two- layer chocolate cake from scratch. I remember watching her as a child as she would mix and blend throwing sugar, eggs, and flour in a bowl without reading a recipe card or following the back of the box verbatim. I asked her once how she knew all of the ingredients were in the right proportions and she took her index finger swirled it in the batter and placed it to her lips....It's perfect she said. My conclusion to my conundrum is that I was never forced to cook because my mom was so stinkin' good I never needed to learn.

Thus, this brings us to the education and domestification of a die hard diva. I have concluded that the only way to approach diva-dom is to put a little effort in and recognize my strong suits. So I have reflected about the things I do really well. I make a mean beater, egg-beater that is. I can shake the box of golden wonder, pour, and solidify with the best of them. I also can make yogurt parfaits that are as beautiful to the eye as they are nutritious to the soul. Oatmeal now this is an art, one of fortes. I can do things with oatmeal you've never dreamed of. I don't use those soggy flakes from a packet, but the old-fashioned (a smidge like myself) cook em on the stove oats. You can throw anything in it berries, raisins, nuts, chocolate, and of course my favorite peanut butter. Yep, that is about all I am good at unless you count boiling water or using Ziploc steam bags as an art. Therefore, I am left with lots of room for improvement.

My plan is to pick one realm of culinary creativity and go with it. I encourage those out there who are also domestically challenged to do the same. My genre of choice is soups. I love soups there is something about that warm goodness as it slides down my esophagus to swim in my stomach that makes my soul smile. I am going to breakthrough my domestic diva depression and discover that I gotz mad slicing and dicing skills up my sleeves. Chunky soups to purees from colors of red to green, I am going to be the queen.

Ok I tend to believe in the power of positive thinking and even this my friends my be a bit of a stretch for me. Yet, I still am going to try to put my creativity to the test. While I am probably going to strike out 95% of the time, there is the hope that the remainder of the 5% will be extraordinary. Thus, grab a glass of wine, throw on your most figure flattering apron, and get to work because if you can't conquer diva-dom at least you can look like you play the part. And let's be honest if you should fail remind yourself of an important question, who else would bring the jell-o ring to your next party?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Delicate Flower, I think not?

I think there in times in life were we need to be just straight up honest with ourselves, no beating around the bush and one of those times ladies is when "He's just not that into you." I happened to watch the Sex in the City episode where this phrase originated a couple of weeks ago and at that time had no idea how useful and poignant it would be in my own life. Now to any male closet readers out there stay tuned because I have a lot of advice for you. You see as the story goes I am the usual suspect without a date to every event. This is not to make you feel sorry for me or to pity me. I actually really like going alone because it allows me the opportunity to be for the lack of a better phrase a "social butterfly". It however is my mother who has issues with the absence of a male by my side and her insistence that I be accompanied, which usually leads me to the acquisition of a date. Thus, the selection process of a date begins and believe me this is no easy matter. I have one quality that everyone of my dates must have---They must play well with others-a.k.a have the quality of the "chatsky" and making pleasantries with strangers. Simple, right? Not necessarily.
I have a wedding I am going to in December and in a timely fashion the invitation arrived and my date-o-meter wheels were turning. I selected a date and sent the most charming email of the top 10 reasons this guy should come to this wedding with me, leaving all the disclaimers that should be in invitation. If weddings aren't your thing.....if you are busy......if you are are spending time with your grandma.....I mean several opportunities for him to opt out. I sent this email Monday and today would be Friday and still know reply.
This means either my email is lost in cyberland, he's is deathly ill and can't reach his inbox, or "He's just not that into me". I choose the latter. Let us dissect this. If he would have been interested he would have emailed back that day or at most one day later. Yet, MEN (yes you) I have a few pointers. I still have not received any correspondence from the young gent which in my eyes reflects a lack of tact, couth, and the oh so important class. While I am not the type of woman to wait by cell phone or check my email every 20 secs hoping you will write or leave me a message, I do believe in the courtesy of correspondence . It also is at an advantage to just tell a woman your not interested, because if you try to be coy it will come around and bite you in the bum. You see women have this wonderful quality of talking and before you know it your one time event has turned into hate and discontent from an entire squad of women.
I, on the other hand, find this humorous in a sense, but also a humbling reminder. I will go on my merry way and in the words of Gloria Gaynor I will survive. Yet, I felt it important to share with you all the value of recognizing "He's just not that into you" because it can save both male and female alike the blood, sweat, and tears of trying to decipher mixed messages. Remember, Honesty is the best policy; and contrary to popular belief women are not delicate flowers.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

When no one is watching

So there are a multitude of things in life that I do that I would never do if anyone was watching. These are the quirks and idiosyncrasies of Jen and the things I delight in behind closed doors or on a walk. I encourage you (whoever you might be) to think about your own bits-o-honey.

My number one favorite thing to do when no one is watching is eat peanut butter right out of the jar. Why is this so liberating? Perhaps it all goes back to my childhood and how my mother would have chased me around the house with a flyswatter if she would have ever seen me doing this deviant act. Yet, maybe it is just me appreciating the fact that I don't have to share it with anyone right now. Thus, I will delight in continuing to spread my oral flora all throughout the jar.

Karaoke anyone? Ok, so I might not have the voice of a song bird but there is nothing like my favorite oldies but goodies station 107.9 the TRACK to get me rockin' out in my car. First of all I hate cars. I have this love for public transportation, but since I live in Indiana a car is a necessity. Regardless, I love singing at the top of my lungs in my car. I love the looks from the passersby as I do my best Aretha Franklin with my cellphone as my microphone. There is nothing sweeter!

Dancing queen.....negative over and out. Yet, in the vicinity of my own home I can really break it down. Where it would take multitudes of drinks (perhaps pints) before I could get up enough liquid confidence to show you the moves of an extremely white girl, in the walls of my house I am transformed into a dancing diva. Whether it is Micheal Jackson's thriller to my lovely lady lumps I gotz moves.

Perhaps people see me, I guess I just don't care, but I love to watch people. We truly are the most interesting creatures. The way we interact and coexist just continues to amaze me. I love to watch the emotions of life in the faces of others joy, humor, love, sadness they all carry this incredible immensity to me. I guess perhaps for a brief moment I am the one looking in on their story making my own judgements and conclusions like the reader of a great novel.

Lastly, embarrassingly enough I love to walk around my home in my underwear. Who wouldn't right? Its liberating and I NEVER would do it in front of anyone. I have a hard enough time putting on a bathing suit. Yet, I have decided that I have way to many cute underwear and I feel like not enough people get to enjoy them. Therefore, I need to appreciate them all the more.

Enjoy your quite moments alone the moments where you do the things no one would ever expect. The moments in life where all of your reservations are lifted. If your nervous about this, just imagine me out there singing and dancing in my cute underwear while singing into my spoon of peanut butter.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My love affair with Fall....

It's true, I' m not going to lie, I am madly, deeply in love with Fall. I haven't been able to pin it down yet to what it exactly is that makes me smile ear to ear, but I am going to try to conglomerate all of the things I adore about it.

I would first like to talk about leaves, not just green leaves, but rustic oranges, bold reds, and sunflower yellow shades of wonder. It lights up the picturesque streets and showers drops of loveliness all over sidewalks.

The aroma of decomposing leaves is one of the most invigorating smells i can imagine. The way the crisp cold air slides down your bronchi and rattles in your chest, is a feeling I long for all year round. The sound of the leaves shivering on the branches as the northern wind aerates between their nearest neighbors, it is music to my ears. The way the wind kisses my cheeks with the color of the most suttle red lipstick.

The tastes and smells of warm apple crisp permeating my nostrils. The way my mother would sing as she baked and sprinkle crumbles of goodness over everything she made. The gorgeous food that covers the farmers markets. The butternut squashes, yams, pumpkins, all such gorgeous shades of orange. The aroma of soup from the local Co-op that satiates my soul with each spoon I heave in my mouth. The pumpkin lattes, the cup of coffee, and the hot chocolates that are the only thing that will conquer our internal shiver and leaves up gleaming after each cup.

And we cannot forget the Fashion. Cath (my mother) likes to call it my mariam the librarian scheme; but I cannot help my love and passion for turtlenecks and cardigans. There is something about the way the turtleneck embraces every crevice of my torso and protects that dangerously naked neck. The way I can run around in tights and BOOTS! I delight in how a hooded sweatshirt can let you remenisce back to old high school football games. Scarves and mittens are allowed to be awakened from their hibernation from boxes packed away in the spring.

Tonight, as I was finishing up my daily 9mile jaunt in Bryan park my favorite park(the baby/dog park as I like to call it). I could hear the leaves creak and crackle under my feet, the wind glided through my chest, as my eyes dashed from side to side trying to take in the beauty and vibrancy that enveloped me. I saw my favorite tree. The tree that if you walk all the way around it, each side has a different color orange, red, and green. It has the same uniqueness and old time splendor of ancient architecture. It shows its plumage to me like a peacock does to its mate. I am awestruck each day I pass it.

Unfortunately, I know that very soon the splendor and vivaciousness of the leaves will pass only left with the brown naked bark. A reminder to me that time scurries on even if I feel like I am running in place. Thus, let us raise our glass to Fall, my hero, my lover, my friend, let it last while it can.....until we meet again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I just can't rave enough about the liberating feeling of traveling alone. I have done a lot of traveling in my days, but have never gone somewhere and not known a soul. Thus my journey begins. I love to run and have somehow incorporated it into another passion of mine traveling, in short I run marathons in places I have never been before in order to explore the unknown. My adventurous spirit led me to Portland, OR a city I owe more than any currency can buy. I feel like it is important to preface this story with my history--never had a serious boyfriend, don't go on alot of dates, and busy medical student. From the moment I set foot in oregon my luck was on the up and up. First of all the people were amazing; everyone so friendly and kind always willing to help a girl out from directions to shopping. My hotel AMAZING (check it out) It was the local gathering place for natives of portland and guests. On the Max(their public transportation) I struck a conversation up with the guy standing next to me. It was one stop later and he asked me if I would like to do dinner. Like that....my entire dating percentage had gone up by 50 %. I went and had a lovely time no expectations of if he was going to call or if i ever wanted to see him again it was just people getting to know people.

There are many things that I delight in and one of them is a good farmer's market. I cannot express to anyone the innate beauty that was before me. I just remember standing in the middle of the market with tears streaming down my face. It truly was one of the most gorgeous displays of fruits and vegetables my eyes have ever seen. I walked around as if in a trance from one fruit vender to the next. I even asked the perfect artichoke vender wearing a scarf the perfect color of artichoke green if i could take her picture. I not only was enchanted by the lifestye of the city, but also the vibe that resonated within its city borders.

I think it is comical how life has a way of handing you exactly what you need. I was studying in the lobby of my hotel in the foyer. I remember this mysteriously handsome young man sat next to me. I continued reading about parasitic worms as if i had some interest in them, but all i could think about was how the guy next to me might be a model. It just happened he asked me about my light reading and from there it's history. We chatted for the next hour about life, books, and the city. As I got up to leave for dinner, I will never forget how the thin, blonde hair, perfect smile guy asked lil' ol me if I wanted to have dinner tomorrow. In the world of Jen Pasko this is an anomaly. Things like this don't happen. I wasn't about to let this opportunity pass me by.

This date I guess for a lack of a better word was probably one of the most sexually liberating experiences you can only imagine in movies. He picks me up, and in all honesty I was nervous, he had drove his car and all I could think of as I hopped in was OH MY GOSH HE IS GOING TO CHOP ME UP INTO LITTLE PIECES..........I mean I had only know the guy a total of 2hrs. Yet, he took me to this vegetarian sanctuary where I dined,wined, and laughed all evening. However, all good things come to an end. As we pulled up to my hotel, I kept thinking ok when are we going to make out... but nothing. So I said goodbye, confused and headed up to bed. I had just slipped into my pajamas when I received a text message. The text was from Riley: I know its late but I don't know if I will ever see you again and I didn't even kiss you even though I wanted to is it to late to stop by? Ok cheesy...call me a sucker -it worked. I replied with smile and a chuckle- meet me on the mezzanine. I tromped down the stairs with my side ponytail and pj's and was greeted by that all too gorgeous face. We sat down on these bar stools and just started making out. Believe me, if you knew me not really my style in any other circumstance this never would have happened...Ever. I just remember laughing as people sauntered upstairs as I was participating in the most public display of affection of my life. Perhaps the thing that struck me most was the gentle tremble of his hand that caressed the small of my back. He trembled while I was as cool and calm as I had ever been and couldn't help but smile. The thought that this gorgeous man was nervous or at most vulnerable was one of the most beautiful discoveries of this entire trip. I will never forget Riley though I think we both knew we would never see each other again, maybe that is what made it that much more exciting. Yet, I will be forever grateful for the new found confidence that he instilled in me, and the brief moment that he let me capture my very own"Scarlet O'hara" moment.

Making progress

I often am in a quandry about how we define progress. As a medical student my progress is constantly based about how well I do on tests.( I'm not going to lie I might be the finest No. 2 pencil scantron bubbler in the world, so step back). But in all seriousness should we not define our progress based upon the knowledge obtained and our mastering in implementing it. It is only recently that I believe that I truly have made progress in my life. I in my own way have stumbled upon the things that make me tick. For so long I have been concerned about making others happy, being the best, and being everything that I am not and somehow along the way I realized that none of this is progress, but a lousy attempt to prove my value to myself and others. I have realized that my definition of success has drastically changed over the years , and that I no longer will sacrifice my happiness for a society driven ideal of success. Therefore, my first blog is in honor of progress.....The progress I have made within myself (Oprah would probably call it soul searching) over the past years and the realization that the only measure of true success is in our progress. Example A: Technologically illiterate woman turns blogger.....now that my friends is progress.