Embracing Change

Today I am thinking about change. I thrive off of change and I know it is inevitable but I know that I also have a strong resistance to it. When things are stagnant and repetitive I am not happy. I am uncomfortable and bored with life. But when things change I can’t help but notice my strong resistance. 

Change brings up personal questions for me; such as have I used the time that has passed wisely? Did I accomplish all that I had hoped and planned? Have I spent time doing things that are worthwhile, that will make a difference and propel me in the right direction in life?

I find that I am rarely satisfied with what I have done. I don’t know if this is a blessing or a curse. I think it’s a blessing because it encourages me to move forward and want to experience new things and become a better person. I think it’s a curse because rarely do I revel in my accomplishments or enjoy what I am currently experiencing. 

When I look back on my life and past memories, there are always more good memories then bad. My memories have been retouched like a photo, now they are a little hazy and look way better then the original experience, they are romanticized. This keeps me longing for the perfect past that once was or the possible future that could be. 

The future, an endless abyss of possibility, I find it overwhelming. I’m tortured with thoughts that anything I choose may be the wrong thing because I will miss out on something else, something that is better, something with greater potential.  In reality this will always be the case. There will always be something better and something worse then whatever experience I choose. The question is how to make a choice and be content without constantly feeling like I am settling. 

The only way may be to appreciate the present. For me this is a daily exercise, I have to remind myself every day to find the best things about my day, otherwise I live in constant state of longing for a moment other then now. 

I’m sure these are thoughts all of us have. I think I am so accepting and so ready to embrace change and then I see my resistance. I look at the leaves changing outside; fall is my favorite time of year. I want everything to stay as it is, but of course it does not. I woke up this morning to almost all of red the leaves missing from the tree in my backyard. I don’t want them to be gone, after all, there were photos I needed to take, times I needed to enjoy in my yard but it’s all gone now (at least for another year). 

That’s when I see a glimmer of hope and excitement, what will come next, winter is on the way, and I think of all the things I love about winter, the holidays, the food, spending time with family. Then there is spring when I generally travel; I can’t wait to go on another trip.

So I sit here looking at my holiday lights and the bare tree in my yard and focus on all the things that are beautiful about today, even if I am sad about the past and can’t wait for the future. Today is all that is guaranteed, it’s such a strange concept that I need to remind myself of every day.  

Do you embrace change or resist it? How?


California Sunset

Caught this sunset in the SF Bay Area this evening and noticed the heart in the sky afterwords. Truly spectacular.


Southwest Road Trip: Monument Valley, Hovenweep National Monument & Dolores Colorado

Monument Valley, Utah
We headed through Monument Valley; the ride was desolate and picturesque. I highly recommend renting a four wheel drive if you are doing any traveling in the Southwest.  There are so many opportunities to take random dirt roads, you'll regret it if you can't drive down them and explore. We stopped at a small cafe in the Navajo Nation Reservation for a Navajo Taco; fried bread with beans, lettuce, cheese, meat and hot sauce on top. The food was tasty and folks were friendly but I couldn't help but feel an overall sense of sadness because poverty is so widespread and evident on the reservation. I would like to return to spend some time touring the reservation and talking to those who live there.  For this trip we were just driving through, so we only got to stop for a couple of hours.

Monument Valley in Utah, United States
Mexican Hat, Utah, United States

Hovenweep National Monument, Utah/Colorado Border

We continued our drive to Hovenweep National Monument, a collection of prehistoric Puebloan-era villages spread across twenty miles. Hovenweep is truly a unique place.  The area was calm and serene with only a couple of other individuals at the site. There is a self-guided walking tour through Little Ruin Canyon that lasts about an hour, a must see. I could sense the calm and piece in the area and it felt like a step back in time. I was amazed that I had never heard of this place before.

Be sure to bring a hat and water as the sun is unforgiving and it can get much hotter then you think. We were fortunate enough to have a four-wheel drive vehicle we rented so we coild take advantage of the off road trails that take you to various secluded sites at the monument. The day ended with being completely alone next to ancient ruins, watching an amazing Southwest sunset with an orange red amber sky, sipping a glass of wine. Perfection.

Little Ruin Canyon at Hovenweep National Monument.

Sunset at Hovenweep National Monument.

Dolores, Colorado
Upon recommendation from a friendly ranger at Hovenweep National Monument we made our way to a small town named Dolores, Colorado to stay for the night. Dolores was an unexpected bright spot in the trip.  There is only one town square and everyone in the town seemed to be heading to Dolores River Brewery for dinner (the population is under 1000 people) and then across the street to the Hollywood Bar for Karaoke night.
River in Dolores, Colorado
Sitting at the Dolores River Brewery was a great opportunity to mingle with residents, who were all friendly and inviting. We got to know several of them as we drank beer and ate thin crust artisan style pizza (which was delicious by the way). 

We stayed at The Rio Grande Southern Hotel Bed and Breakfast across the town square from the brewery and bar. This place felt more like a shared home-stay. While the owners were very friendly and the home cooked breakfast was hearty, it wasn’t the cleanest establishment.  Although I still appreciated it for its history and local feel, if you are looking for a well-kept, clean modern hotel, this is not the place. On the other hand if a quirky experience in an inexpensive place is your style, you can probably hang. The town of Dolores has several other lodging options listed on the the Dolores Chamber of Commerce website.

One day I’m hoping to make my way back for the high-end wilderness/cabin experience at Dunton Hot Springs…so hopefully I’ll have a future review to share with you on that.  

The Brewery

The Rio Grande Southern Hotel B & B


Southwest Road Trip Day: Climb to The Top of a Sand Dune

On my way to the top of the sand dune.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park 

This park was one of those places we had no plans to go to and had never heard of.  For some reason I always had a dream of climbing to the top of a giant sand dune, so when I saw a sign for the Coral Pink Sand Dunes randomly, we flipped a U-turn and went down the long road, hoping what we found at the end would be good.  The road didn’t look too well traveled so we were a little concerned at first, but boy was I glad when we arrived. 

It was an abyss of sand mountains just waiting to be explored.  I jumped right in and started to walk across the sand to make my way to the top of the most prominent sand dune. The sand was so fine I actually had to get down on my hands and knees to dig into the sand to reach the final peak. I was a little concerned I might not make it even though I was only three feet away from the top.  I did make it and it was worth it. Now I can check climbing to the top of a sand dune off of my bucket list.

If you are in the Kanub, Utah area (near the northern entrance of the Grand Canyon) I recommend stopping in at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park for an afternoon. They allow a variety of off road vehicles including dune buggies to play around in the sand for the day or you can just climb and explore the dunes like I did.  I was happy enough with reaching the top of the sand dune and amused myself by taking note of all of the lizard and snake tracks throughout the sand. I know I’m a nerd. 


Southwest Road Trip

As we approach fall my favorite time of year, I'm going to spend some time reminiscing on one of my favorite fall road trips. Here on the west coast September and October are the perfect times to travel, gorgeous weather and shoulder season, so crowds are limited. A couple of years back I took a Southwest Road trip, I'm going to highlight some stops along that fabulous fall journey. Enjoy.

Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park

Zion National Park
Spent a day hiking in Zion National Park, taking in the gorgeous views, cliche but it was breathtaking.  Finished the evening in Springdale, UT at Oscar's Cafe eating green chile enchiladas on the patio, enjoying the dramatic southwest sunset. Absolutely amazing.

Road tripping to Bryce Canyon from Zion

Bryce Canyon National Park

The scenery here is as dramatic as ever, it's a must see. We finished the day at the Bryce Canyon Lodge for an afternoon glass of wine. We didn't stay the night because the rooms were sold out. Either way I'm a sucker for National Park Lodges and I make sure to stop in and see the lodge at each National Park I visit. I just love the old rustic feeling, it can't be beat.

It's a much farther drop then it looks here.
Loving It


Fresh From the Garden...Finally

Tomato & Basil Bruschetta with Crumbled Mozzarella
We've been working on our first garden and now that spring is in full swing we can finally start to reap the rewards of growing our own food - basil (tomatoes too, although they are not quite ready yet). Basil makes a wonderful addition to so many quick and simple recipes; it's easy to incorporate into almost everything you eat in late spring and summer. Here is one of my favorite simple recipes, good tomatoes and fresh basil are key to making this appetizer a success.

Fresh basil plant in our garden
Tomato & Basil Bruschetta
Serves 8 - 10
6 vine ripened tomatoes, diced into cubes (make sure they are nice and firm and very red)
8-10 fresh basil leaves cut into fine strips (discard the stems of the leaves and just use the leaf)
2-4 fresh peeled garlic cloves finely chopped (adjust amount according to how much garlic you like)
1 Tbs. of good extra virgin olive oil
A few pinches of salt, or salt to taste (garlic salt or fine sea salt works great)
1 Sweet Baguette, sliced and brushed with olive oil (about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil)

Basil leaves freshly cut
Prepare ingredients as noted above and combine tomatoes, basil, garlic, 1 Tbs. olive oil and salt in a bowl. Add additional salt or other ingredients to your taste. Cover and refrigerate the mixture to let the flavors combine. Slice the baguette into thin slices and put the bread slices onto an un-greased cookie sheet.  Brush one side of the bread lightly with olive oil. Toast the bread in the oven, olive oil side up under the broiler for 5-10 minutes, until bread is toasted and slightly brown. Remove from oven and top with a spoon full of the tomato bruschetta mixture. Arrange bread pieces on a platter and serve immediately. I have a large family so I often forego toasting the bread and preparing the individual slices.  It's a bit lazy but I simply slice the bread and serve the bruschetta in a bowl with a spoon, so people can prepare their own individual slices. The fresh bread soaks up the flavors of the wonderful simple and fresh ingredients. Serve it however you prefer. Enjoy.

  • Use the freshest ingredients possible, get basil, tomatoes and garlic from your garden, local providers/markets, local farmers markets, etc., organic preferred.
  • Cooking is an art form, so remember to think outside of the box. There are so many variations you can add onto this, for example sometimes I use small grape tomatoes, I find them much more flavorful then a standard beefsteak tomato. Other ideas...drizzle with balsamic reduction, sprinkle with fresh chunks of mozzarella cheese, remove the garlic...the options are endless.  Enjoy.


Simple Decor

Simple flower arrangement made from flowers in my yard.  Perfect decor for a summer BBQ.


Fava Beans on the Way

My fava beans are finally starting to grow. Only a few more weeks, I can't wait.  

Fava plants in my garden
Beautiful flowers from the fava plant
The fava bean pod starting to grow


Mini Bread Bowl

Good idea, not much more I can say about this one.  How we came up with it?   A couple of months ago we were on a road trip up the Northern California coast on the hunt for the best clam chowder in a bread bowl.  My boyfriend D refuses to eat a bowl of clam chowder if it's not served in a sourdough bread bowl (the way they serve it in San Francisco).  If you've never had it, you've got to try it.  It truly enhances the soup eating experience with a great bonus in the end...delicious bread pre-soaked with rich clam chowder, it's amazing.  We were way north of San Francisco and assumed the bread bowl would be easy to find.  Not so much, restaurants either didn't serve bread bowls or were sold out.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and often spur the birth of genius ideas.  I consider this one of those ideas.  D decided to convert his sourdough dinner roll into a mini bread bowl.  Ridiculously adorable, tasty, and not too shabby on the calorie count either.  Thanks D for your genius idea.


My Edible Garden Day 1

Lately I've had the urge to grow a garden. It was one of the main reasons I wanted a home with a yard, to  grow my own food.  The slow food movement is a big deal here in the Bay Area, everyone is always talking about from farm to table and growing your own organic produce.  I'm tired of talking about it, I'm ready to do it...

I have no idea what I'm doing. My boyfriend was kind enough to build me a garden box filled with soil he got from a friend, apparently he thinks I'm capable of growing a garden.  I think I am too, I just don't know much about it yet.  I was falsely encouraged by our odd warm winter weather this year and headed to the garden store.  I plopped some seeds in the ground, literally plopped them in.  I wanted to plan out my garden, I really did.  I was just so excited, I couldn't wait. I dug little holes with a spoon in slightly straight rows, plopped in some seeds and watered them.  The seeds included organic Red Russian Kale, spinach, chives and sage.

So the seeds are in the ground.  Now it's time to wait....and wait...and wait.  I'm checking every day, no signs of life yet.  I've been having dreams about a little green leaf popping through the dirt, so I know it's on the way.  I'm excited, I think I'm a little inspired by the magic of it all.



Sunset while driving home from Yosemite National Park. Gorgeous.