I Never Know What to Say

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When someone asks me how I like St. Louis.

This usually happens when I am at an event with a group of people I do not know. This happened to me at a luncheon a couple of weeks ago. A middle-aged woman, sitting across the table from me, squawked her getting-to-know-you question and I froze. With several sets of eyes on me, wanting to make a good impression, I stammered and said something like It's good. The cost of living is great and... you know. But I couldn't really come up with anything else. And I felt foolish.

That's not to say that there wasn't anything else to say. For example, I could have mentioned how everything is 15 minutes away. Seriously. I can get to all the important places in 15 minutes or less. And traffic? Nearly non-existent in this part of the country. Or I could have spouted off something from this handy list. Heck, the Huffington Post even compiled 26 reasons why I should appreciate this hidden gem of a city. Yet even though I have lived in St. Louis for 18 months, and will, for the foreseeable future continue to call this place home, I still feel out of place. So I fumble and try not to offend anyone when giving my answer. But inside it always feels forced. Like I'm faking it. My eyes betraying me, barely concealing the truth in my heart.

It's strange to call a place home that doesn't really feel like home. And at the same time, it's strange to feel like a place is home that you may never live in again. If I stammer a bit, please forgive me. I know you Midwesterners are a nice bunch of folks. For now I'm learning to be grateful for time to grow in this place however long that may be.

St. Patrick's Day Dinner Party

Monday, March 17, 2014

Growing up St. Patrick's Day was one of our biggest family get-togethers. Cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and just about anyone wearing green gathered at Lakeside Drive for a celebration of heritage and tradition. Crossing the threshold, the familiar punch of vinegar and corned beef nearly knocked you off your feet, as most of us only experienced that potent combination once a year. Grandpa Flynn wore his signature apron, with a giant "Kiss Me I'm Irish" button, while kids ran around the house trying on the paper leprechaun hat, posing for grandma's camera. Though time has passed and those epic parties are just a memory, I feel honored to continue this tradition by inviting guests into our home, sharing the warmth of a homemade meal and creating new memories. (And I am especially grateful to have a supportive husband who not only likes soda bread and boiled beef, but handles the after-party cleanup like a champ.)
The Menu:
-corned beef cooked with potatoes, onions, carrots, and celery for 9 hours in a crock pot
-roasted brussel sprouts with red pepper flakes
-roasted red potatoes with parsley
-funeral potatoes (minus the cereal topping)
-soda bread
-mac n' cheese
-spinach strawberry salad (guest contribution)
-mint chocolate chip ice cream pie
-key lime pie & cookies (guest contributions)

The homemade mac n' cheese was mainly for the kids, but several of the adults commented how much they liked it. The real hit of the party though was a "taste the rainbow" drink bar, where guests could sample various colors of soda. Definitely something I'll have to keep in mind for future parties.

*Party tip: Try setting the table with empty serving platters and bowls to help visualize where each dish will go beforehand. 

Words: Wisdom

Thursday, March 13, 2014

We must also remember that our worthiness, that core belief that we are enough, comes only when we live inside our story. We either own out stories (even the messy ones), or we stand outside of them—denying our vulnerabilities and imperfections, orphaning the parts of us that don't fit in with who/what we think we're suppose to be, and hustling for other people's approval of our worthiness. Perfectionism is exhausting because hustling is exhausting. It's a never-ending performance.

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

100 Pages Give or Take

I don't know about you but whenever I read a book, especially a work of fiction, I have this theory about the first 100 pages. That is, if I haven't gotten into the characters or plot during the first 100 pages, chances are I won't. Of course I can think of a few exceptions to this rule.

For example, a few years ago I made a deliberate effort to read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It was one of those books that falls into the category of I-really-should-read-this-in-order-to-be-a-good-human. With that motivation I toted a paperback copy around with me and read it every chance I got (mainly during my lengthy commute). At the time I distinctly remember reading the book and thinking It's going to get better. It has to get better. Over and over I kept repeating that mantra. In fact I held onto that hope for the first 400 pages of the book. 400! That's like a third of the book. But know what? It DID get better and I actually started to care about the characters. Not only that but I was fascinated by the political and social message conveyed in the story. Sticking with the book helped me understand what made the work such a pivotal and controversial piece of literature and made me wonder if there is a threshold at which something you dislike for so long can actually turn into something worth liking.

But back to the first 100 pages. Most novels tap out at about 300 pages. Which again is essentially one third of the book.  For me, this is what makes or breaks a book. And even though I might not like what I'm reading I rarely set a book aside, by simply choosing not to finish it. That's hard for me. Even if I really dislike a book I push through. Sometimes skimming to the last couple of chapters just for that fleeting feeling that I accomplished something. I'm not saying that's healthy or even advisable, but that's how I operate. In truth, I admire people that can set a book aside, return it to the library, and move on without a second thought. Sometimes I just feel obligated to finish a book, especially if it's for a book cub. But maybe I should rethink that approach. After all, escaping into something you like is much better than the alternative, right?

What about you, do you push through novels even if they aren't your thing? Or do you scrap a book if it hasn't captured you in the first 100 pages?

Image found here

Weekend Getaway: Kansas City

Monday, March 10, 2014

This past weekend I packed up my overnight bag and headed west. Traversing the entire state of Missouri to visit my good friend, Katie, in Kansas City. Since we're both the adventurous sorts we jammed a lot into a little amount of time. Making stops at the famous 18th and Vine Jazz District (complete with a giant Charlie Parker head), a historic Mormon site, eating our share of BBQ, and wrapping things up with a golf cart tour of the impressive Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. While I wish I could have stayed longer, the change of scenery was just what I needed, and I left feeling inspired and energized. Besides, who can resist catching up over flaky croissants?

Gender Neutral Baby Picks: Part I

Friday, March 7, 2014

Probably the number one question asked of any pregnant lady is What are you having? The other day a nine-year-old asked me what kind of baby I was having and I couldn't help laugh and tell her we were having a human baby.  Nowadays it seems impossible to think that 30+ years ago the technology to reveal gender prior to birth wasn't even available. Since GH and I have decided not to find out bébé's gender, I've been pulling together some cute neutral items in anticipation of stocking the nursery. And really, isn't anything in miniature automatically considered cute? Currently my favorite color combination is minty green and gold. Of course I might just end up buying a ton of board books and call it good.

1. baby newborn knit with pear from amazon. 2. sophie the giraffe teether from amazon. 3. linen pocket bib from etsy4. golden rod moccasins from freshly picked.

My Bookbloom All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger