Write things down and jump

It must have been four years ago now, or maybe five. I was a newbie blogger, still in my infancy and green as can be. Family was coming into town, but I heard about the Eat Write Retreat being hosted in DC and with little more than "Wow, that sounds like a great opportunity!" registered, apologized to my guests for the two-day absence I'd insinuated into their visit, and promised that our Cinco de Mayo party would still be had.

At Eat Write, I met some fabulous people. Jess, Casey, Evi...I'm so happy to know you, even though our paths have hardly crossed in the flesh since. Monica Bhide challenged me to define Em-i-lis in one word. I immediately said, "authentic." "Good" she said. "Now write down your concrete goals for the next year."

Write them down. Hold yourself accountable. Trust in yourself enough to believe that they could come true. You don't need to share these. No one might ever know.

"Write them down," she said. 

And so I did. They happened. Successfully.

Inspired by what can happen if you see something and simply jump towards it, I attended BlogHer the next year and also took a photography class. Later it was writing classes, more conferences, the opening of Em-i-lis Catering, teaching classes of my own, and a greater involvement in the Food52 community in DC. 

Many of those ideas and plans were once nothing more than brain dust and day-dreamy what ifs. What brought them to fruition was little more than a leap. It didn't occur to me not to try, and for that I'm grateful. Such fearlessness has not always been a defining trait of mine. I'm not even sure "fearlessness" in any way defines me now.

More, it's that comfort and confidence in ones own skin makes taking chances hardly seem like risky business. Don't get me wrong; I'm still really nervous sometimes but the angst comes after the blissfully un-angsty leap.

Do y'all know that when I took my first big catering job (for 50!), I'd never before cooked for more than 15? I'm not even kidding. It's distinctly possible that naive woefully under-describes my state of mind then, but I'm awfully glad for the jejune perspective that prompted me to say "100 hundred tea sandwiches to start? You got it!" 

It really didn't occur to me that I couldn't cook for 50. And it could have been disastrous. But I did and it wasn't. On the contrary, that meal was a roaring success.

Not everything has gone as swimmingly, but by and large, I'm wholly satisfied. Not least because it's been a long time since I said with regret, "If only..."

my desk right now. seriously.

my desk right now. seriously.

My 40 in forty for today: Set goals (big and small; literally, what do you want to do today/what do you want to DO today), write them down (critical step; don't cheat), read them aloud (whispering in your corner or screaming into the winds are both acceptable means of reading aloud), and get busy. Jump.

What's the worst that can happen? Really! Go!

Cheryl Strayed, the best pedicure color, funny story, yum

The utter randomness of that post title pretty much sums of my week. Let me also add that I completely forgot about Safari's recent crash proclivity, typed up an entire post yesterday and watched it disappear before my eyes in a flash. I drank from this, then.

applejack rabbit

applejack rabbit

And shut my computer and finished readying things for the fourth grade parent potluck we were soon to host. 

I love this school tradition. T and I host a potluck or two each year and always have such a fun, enriching night. We are so lucky to be part of such a fascinating community of parents and kids. Last night was no exception. Added bonus, look at this toasted coconut tart one friend brought. Lawd a mercy!

Earlier this week, I took a pal with me to hear Cheryl Strayed present her new book, Brave Enough. Essentially crowd-sourced, It's a compilation of quotes from her previous works that have resonated most often with readers. I'm not wild for it, but Cheryl is a deeply insightful, seriously lovely, funny woman, and I felt lucky to hear the many pearls of wisdom she shared. To paraphrase...

"We're all going to suffer. The best way to handle that is to carry it with us. What do you do with the ugliest thing you receive? I tried to make the ugliest thing beautiful." 

As anyone who's read anything by Strayed, you know that she's talking about her mother's death. 

"I reached rockbottom after she died. But she loved me so much and so well, and I felt I owed it to her to live a better life." That "glimmer" is what we must all search for when we sink toward the lowest depths because "ultimately there are things only we can do for ourselves. We are in charge of our own narrative- what defines/rules us? Does something bad define or teach us?"

Veering left, I need to tell you about a fabulous new pedicure color by OPI: Ro-MAN-ce on the moon. If you want a festive, sexy, gorgeously rich color, get ye to a salon and find this hue. I intended to take a pic of my toes to further entice you, but then I looked at said pic of my toes and realized that was not a good plan. Feet. Kinda yuck. Love mine in great heels but a close-up shot? Not as much.

On Friday, while dealing with the parking meter in front of the salon where I was about to discover Ro-MAN-ce on the moon, Jack called. I tell y'all, thick twice about teaching your children to use the phone. I had been gone not twenty minutes, the babysitter with the kids was there for only the third time, and I was dying for my 2.5 hours of solitude. I mean, I was getting a gingerbread latte AND a pedicure, people. A big event for this mom. 

So, Jack's sobbing into the phone about how Oliver was chasing him with a plunger suctioned to his tummy, and Jack had sustained an injury of sorts AND spilled his apple cider. I insisted on speaking to Oliver. Keep in mind that I'm standing on the sidewalk in between one of the busiest streets in DC and a Starbucks. North Georgetown, rush hour. People everywhere.


"Why, Mama?" Cue his tears.


It occurred to me, then, that I must sound like a complete lunatic. Who else yells into a phone that another person simply must stop chasing and hitting others with toilet utensils?

It is always something. Happy Sunday, friends.