Won’t you join me?
Today has been a lazy day for me. I just can’t seem to wake up. I had some tea this morning and did some reading. Well more than some, before i knew it, it was 1:30. So i made some lunch and tried to get motivated to work on my monologues, but i still felt so tired. I layed down with my dog next to me, and fell asleep reciting the lines to her. Now i’m awake again. I made a fruit smoothie and am trying to get my mind on the right page. Did i not sleep last night or am i just being lazy? Trying not to feel guilty, i remember the recent words of a good friend: The body never lies to you. At first i wanted to protest. “Well, my nerves make me feel close to sick when i get in the audition room and if it were up to my body, i would just run out of there, give up. But I know i don’t want to do that, so i stay.” But, after further discussion, i agree with him. You body will not lie to you. The way your mind interprets the feelings you have is where you get into touble. But the body, purely, and simply always tells the truth. It may not be a truth you want to hear, but it is the truth nonetheless. So maybe i needed the sleep. Working on these pieces isn’t supposed to be a chore. When i feel ready, i will work, and i wont feel guilty about giving my body what it is obviously crying out for. I will keep my heart center and listen to my body.
Do you agree? Share an experience with me…
Baking always makes me feel a sense of accomplishment, so i will leave you with a delightful cookie recipe i discovered the other day. These are the perfect light cookie to snack on with some tea, while working and getting things done 🙂 I just love the red, jam in the middle…it reminds me of my heart center.
Heart Center Cookies
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 1/4 c. packed, brown sugar
- 1 egg, separated (save both parts)
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 c. all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 c. finely chopped walnuts
- 2/3 any flavor fruit jam (jam works best)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheets with butter. In a medium sized bowl cream butter, sugar and egg YOLK. Add vanilla, flour and salt mixing well. Shape the dough into balls, roll in egg white and then walnuts. Place on cookie sheets about 2 in. apart and bake 5 minutes. Take them out and with your thumb if it isnt to hot, or a small spoon, make a little reserve in the middle to fill with jam. Bake another 8-12 minutes depending on desired firmness of cookie, i like them a litte crunchy. Oh and you don’t have to use a red jam, i just think it’s pretty. I also used apricot and they were delicious too.
I hope you a great weekend!!
Geez people, get your minds out of the gutter 😉
Bella loved it. It was her first snow. She ran funny because she couldn’t figure out why she kept getting stuck, so she sort of did this bounding thing across the yard with right and left front, then both back ones at the same time. She couldn’t quite figure it out. She tried to eat it and dig through it. I would throw her snowballs in the air and she thought they were real balls, until she chomped down on them and they turned to powder in her mouth. I wish had video of it, it was hilarious!
I love when it snows. Everything gets so quiet. I could have walked for hours outside today, but was only dressed for about 30 minutes. The landscape goes from this bland brown mush to a beautiful black and white photograph. All the houses stick out from the hill across the lake, and every now and then you can hear the faint laughter and joyful screaming of kids sledding, enjoying their day off from school. Now for some baking and meatball making 🙂
On this cold day I am making Giada’s meatballs. I am using beef instead of turkey because the only ground turkey i could find at the store up here said “with added flavoring,” sounds…yummy. Luckily i had some grass-fed beef in the freezer.
Giada’s Meatballs and Homemade Marinara
- 1/4 c. plain dried bread crumbs
- 1/4 c. chopped flat leaf parsley
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp. whole milk
- 3/4 c. grated Romano cheese
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 lb. ground turkey, preferably dark meat
- 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 5 c. of marinara (recipe below)
In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, 1/2 c. of cheese. and salt and pepper. Add turkey and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Shape the meat mixture into bite-size balls. In a large skillet, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook without moving or turning the meatballs until brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and brown the other side, about 3 minutes longer. Continue to cook until all the sides are golden brown. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the flavors blend, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 c. of cheese. Put some cooked spaghetti or pasta of your choice in the pan with the remainder of the sauce and toss to coat. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl and serve with the meatballs.
Marinara Sauce (makes about 8 cups)
- 1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
- 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 dried leaves
In a large pot, heat olive oil over a medium-high flame. Add onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste.
I am going to saute some fresh zucchini and asparagus to go with it, if you wanted, you could toss any veggies you like with the pasta as well. I’ll have some pics tomorrow of this perfect meal for a cold, winter’s day. Happy Monday 🙂
I want to talk about Joy today. But before i do, i need to tell you the remarkable thing that happened to me last night, served up in the form of a hard lesson. I went out to meet an old friend at the J. Clyde in Birmingham. After about an hour and a half there i went to the restroom. When i washed my hands i took off my rings, an original artist’s piece i bought in L.A. and a ring that belonged to my grandmother who recently passed away, and laid them by the sink. I didn’t pick them up. I just forgot. I proceeded to sit at the table for 30 more minutes not noticing that i did not have those rings on. I got on the road to Jasper and drove about 3o more minutes. i was fiddling with the back of my middle finger, the way i always do with the back of the ring, and realized that i didn’t have them on. I called my friend who was still there and asked her to go into the bathroom to see if they were there…not there. They asked the bartender if anyone had turned any rings in…they hadn’t. I turned around and went back. While i was driving, my friend and another girl we were sitting with went around and asked every woman if they had seen rings in the bathroom. No one had. I got there, in tears, and walked around again, to every table and explained that it was my grandmothers ring, and if anyone saw it to please turn it in. Nothing. I was so devastated. Im such a believer that people do the right thing. I try to do the right thing and hope that, when something like this happens to me, it will come back to me. But no one was doing the right thing. I finally had to leave, feeling terrible. I had lost the one thing that i felt connected me to my grandmother. This ring. A ring so different from all her other jewelry, it suggested that she had some other life that she was keeping secret from everyone. I stopped to get gas and my friend who is a manager at J. Clyde called me…someone turned them in. I imagine, after realizing that they had picked up not just a piece of jewelry, but a piece of my family history, that they felt guilty. Not wanting to turn it in while we were all standing there, they waited, until we left. I just want to say thank you. You did the right thing, and though i was so careless with something i value greatly, i am forever grateful that you turned in those rings. See, things do come around. People are good. So try to do the right thing. You may want someone to do it for you one day.
Now, on to what i wanted to talk about today. Joy. Yesterday I met with my coach who is helping me with my grad school pieces for the first time. yesterday. It went really well. We talked about the monoloues and about my feelings toward grad school and the impending auditions. She told me that i didn’t seem to be finding much joy in this process, and possiblly in acting all together. It was true. I love acting so why can’t i find joy in doing it? I imagine it is rooted pretty deep. When i got home and started thinking about it, i discovered patterns in my life. When i was young i was a dancer. Jazz, Ballet, and tap. But I don’t remember finding joy in it, even though i have always loved dance. I do remember how i hated being the tallest in class, thinking i looked awkward, and wondering why i couldn’t do the rib isolations and plies like all the other girls. Eventually, i got frustrated and quit. Then in middle school I played tennis. Again, I love tennis, to this day i watch it religiously on t.v. But i couldn’t find the joy here either. I was a doubles player, but wanted desperately to play singles so i could get the recognition, be seen as a great tennis player. Everytime my coach put me on a singles match, i would lose. I could never get my serve the fastest. Frustrated once again, i quit this too. This goes on, throughout my life. I find something i love, and then all my demons rear their ugly heads and the need to be perfect, loved, and recongnized takes precedence over serving the art. I cannot find the joy. When it comes to acting, it is no different. I am constantly putting pressure on myself to do it “right.” I feel i am being judged and must be “good” or seen as “talented.” But that isn’t what this is all about, and not why i intitially fell in love with acting. She encouraged me to change the way i looked at the audience and what i was doing onstage. With the image of a mighty oak in my mind, roots deep and growing toward the heavens, i needed to start grounding myself before i perform. I also am working to change the way i look at performing all together. Instead of seeing it as standing in front of a judgemental audience and trying to win their approval, i need to start seeing it as a time to share a bit of myself. To give of myself and serve the audience, the character, and the piece as a whole. I like this new vision. I want to work at it. JOY. Finding the joy in acting again. Finding the joy in the process. Finding the joy in life. Now i have to be careful to not make this a competition as well. I mean i can find the joy. I will find so much joy, everyday. I will channel my inner Ren and Stimpy and find so much happy and so much joy that it will make your head spin. I….
Stop. Breathe. Ground yourself. This is the challenge. To overcome the habits and form new passageways. To fight my demons. I haven’t quit acting. It’s the one thing that stays in my mind and that has to mean something right? So here’s to not quitting, not giving up on the things that you know in your heart bring you joy, even if you are having a hard time finding it.
What would you like to find more joy in?
My people! My readers! I bright and shiny hello and happy new year to you! (What is left of you that is) I understand, i have been gone a long tme. I understand you are terribly disappointed 🙂 But I have good news…I’M BACK. I took some time off from the blog because, honestly, i didn’t have many positive, exciting, interesting things to bring you. I was in it. And for those of you who have ever been “in it” you know what i am talking about. But that is behind me. Of course there will be ups and downs, just like before. But i needed some reflection and now i can tell you about it…to an extent. I mean, we all need our secrets right?
Where to start? Well, i moved out of Los Angeles. What?! Yup i did. It was such a hard decision but it felt like it was the right one. I still question it every single day, but i have to trust that following my heart at the time will bring me good things in the future. I came home for many reasons. I was broke, for one. I wasn’t finding jobs, like any jobs. I wasn’t auditioning. I didn’t feel like an actor. I was saying I was an actor and i believe that, i am an actor, but i didn’t feel like one. No creation. No work. My family was also going through some minor crises and i thought that i should be close by, in case the bottom dropped out. So, i packed the car and drove back across the country. It was so hard to do by myself, but like most things i put my mind to, i got it done. After I returned home, my Grandmother died in early December…if i regret coming home every single day, it was worth it to be here to spend some precious time with her before she passed. I was able to attend the funeral and read some of her poetry in the service. It was so special to me to do that, after all, i must owe some of my artistic talents to her…
So now I am here with Bella, in Jasper Alabama, sitting in a lakehouse that is 20 minutes from a grocery store. It is lonely and isolated. But i need that to study and write. I am currently working on Graduate School auditions. We can talk about schools once i am accepted. But know for now my outlook is possibility. It’s that simple. I hope that this year brings you joy and good things. I hope that you eat some nourishing, delicious food, i will try to bring you some recipes; that you meet new people that will enrich your life; that you make some goals because you want more, not because it’s the new year…and that you accomplish them; and mostly that you remain open to new things, even the things that seem bad, because you never know where they can lead you.
I appreciate you for reading this. A woman walked up to me at the funeral, who I did not know immediately, and she said “i read your blog. i keep up with you.” It felt amazing to know that. So I promise to keep writing, even though i should probably change the title of the blog now 🙂 Thanks for hanging with me if you did. It’s going to be a new and exciting year!
Or just you. You know who you are. Not much going on lately. Still waiting to hear on this job. Still waiting to hear back from unemployment. Still dreaming of backpacking Asia (and the world for that matter) Still deciding…
At least Bella is having fun…
I will spend the next two weeks counting the days until Eat Pray Love is released; eating and drinking with my best friend who is home from Cairo; Driving up the coast to explore where wine is made; and making big decisions, or not, depending on the weather. What will you do?
Today I made a beef tamale pie with a cheesy, corn bread topping. I bought ground beef and didn’t know what to do with it, besides the same old stuff I always do, so I googled recipes and decided on this one. I halved it to fit into an 8/11 shallow baking dish, if you want to make one the way the recipe calls for, in a 9/13 baking dish; just double what I’ve listed below. Enjoy!
Beef Tamale Pie (with cheesy top)
- 3/4 lb. ground beef (I prefer grass-fed, it’s better for you.)
- 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 large onion (or a small one)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/4 c. chopped bell pepper
- 1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5, undrained)
- 1 small can of corn (or half of the regular, or the whole thing, get crazy!)
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. chili powder
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 c. yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 c water
- 1/4 c. sliced ripe olives
- 3/4 c. whole milk
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1/4 c. cornmeal
- 1/2 c. shredded, cheddar cheese (try to find it without all that orange dye)
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
Preheat your oven at 375 degrees. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and brown beef. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, cook 2 minutes. Pour off grease (I didn’t do this because I used grass-fed, and there isn’t any) stir in tomatoes, corn and seasonings. Cook 5 minutes more. Meanwhile mix 1/4 c. of cornmeal with a 1/2 c. of water and stir into the mixture. Cover and cook on med-low to medium for 10 mins. (I say this because I cooked mine on medium and some got stuck so it sort of depends on your stove) Add olives and pour into baking pan.
Now mix the topping. Heat the milk, butter, and salt over the stove in a small saucepan. Add 1/4 c. of cornmeal and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in egg and cheese. Pour mixture around the edge of casserole, and then middle. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Let stand, and serve. You can really garnish this dish however you’d like, more olives, sour cream, salsa, cilantro, the possibilities are endless. Happy Monday!
P.S. I got a new cookbook…..