Tuesday, June 10, 2014

untold story

Thus far, 2014 has been quite a life-changing year.  To start, I made big plans.  Set goals in motion, took on another opportunity and learned a different side of the industry.  I built endurance, speed and knowledge.  I signed up for an exam that I rescheduled once and was committed to studying every freaking minute I had.  On top of this, one goal -- to move out of the state -- forced me to finally get my house into shape in preparation to sell.  That is, until I decided to commit more time to the exam.  Neglected, my house grew chaotic.  I realized the truths behind having a middle school child, my first born.  This was emotionally the hardest - learning to let go, trusting my gut instincts, and being more firm than I've ever been took a toll on me.  I struggled with decisions and as a result of letting my guard down - I had the worse experience yet of 2014.  Even worse than realizing I didn't pass my certified exam.  And that broke my heart bad.

Trust is a funny thing.  You need it to survive, but it messes with you.  I think "to trust" is a sacred act.  I've tried to loosen the trust strings while standing on guard when dealing with an unfamiliar environment, but I strongly believe in giving those the benefit of the doubt until they've done you wrong.  Of course if and when that happens, it sinks deep and you get angry with yourself because you didn't put your guard up more.  You trusted them and they stabbed you in the back.  I don't take being accused of something that is the absolute false, lightly.  You can't destroy me with your words because I stood up for myself.  Of this, I'm proud.  And I'm more than happy now that I am reserving my talents for those that deserve it.

It is also funny how you really learn who your friends are when swimming through troubled times.  It doesn't exist if it's one sided.  Hey that's cool, I can take a hint.  Probably why Twitter is a safe bet cause it's non-committal and I don't have to wonder if you're going to respond to my text cause I don't care anymore.

I also learned that people with power are the most self-centered people I've ever met and that it's unfortunate that success has come at the price of being cold yet never realizing that your happiness will never be fulfilled until you realize how to put yourself in the other person's shoes.

Finally, I learned the only person in the world who truly knows you for who you are and will always be there until the end, is yourself.  Once I accepted this fact, I began to find peace in my journey.

This is why I write.  It's my deepest form of therapy.  In fact, for many years I kept journals that helped me survive all the stages of my life.  I am learning to be content with the little things.  I confess that, prior to my revelation, technology had encouraged me to succumb to the immediate need for everything.  But now, now I really crave a simple, yet deeper life. One that wastes no time on negativity, lost souls, one sided friends, and employers that don't acknowledge your contributions and strengths.  I am urging you, whomever reads this, to reflect on you and who you are inside - there is an untold story in you and those who are worthy - should hear it.  They exist.  You know deep down who they may be and you know who they definitely are not.

In honor of a great writer who recently passed, Maya Angelou, I leave you with this inspiring quote.  I know I am not perfect, but I refuse to surrender to the negative influences that attempt to pull me away from the simple, yet profound life rule I really believe in.  To be polite and respectful.  And if you don't receive it in return, turn your cheek away.  Don't expend your energy on the unworthy.



Monday, April 7, 2014

Introducing Sacy

I prefer to look at genuineness as showing real expression, whether agreeable to those around you or not.  I believe it to be honest in a sense of accountability.  In other words, owning up to whatever you put forth.

Loire Valley is a region within France that both illuminates and surprises me every time I brush up on the diverse appellations it showcases.  The Loire river is responsible for keeping the temperatures as nature intended, a few degrees warmer based on individual macro climates along the stretch that begins on the east side from the land of Massif Central, all the way west to the Atlantic coast.  At this time you may be wondering how the word "genuineness" comes into play here, alas, it has most to do with it.  It is because I believe if there's one word that had to be reserved to forever describe the fondness I have with Loire Valley, it would be genuineness.

What I have come to appreciate most of Loire Valley is the ability to offer every type of wine category.  It has sparkling, and tons of it.  After Champagne, it produces the most sparkling wines in all of France.  It produces aromatic textured whites from Melon de Bourgogne aka Muscadet and the dominate white varietal responsible for the famed Vourvay and botrytis-like wines and finally, the notable wines of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé which highlight Sauvignon Blanc in its finest mineral hour.  That is only to discuss the whites of Loire Valley.  But there's also lesser known varietals...

Sacy, the white varietal indigenous to the appealing wines of Saint-Pourçain AOP is known as Tressallier in the Auvergne region of Central France, located southeast of the Central region within Loire Valley.  Oddly enough, the dominant variety title in the encépagement belongs to the international grape Chardonnay, with an option of ten percent Sauvignon Blanc.  Some have compared Tressallier/Sacy to Viognier, yet I beg to defer.  I see a resemblance in the texture and structure profile of Pinot Blanc.  I bought the Domaine Nebout Saint-Pourçain 2009 last Spring.  I remember trying it back in 2011 and I wanted to revisit its progression.  What I witnessed in its first try was a mineral focused, funky and vague apricot nose that left me stumped.  The palate was developing and it hadn't won me over, yet.  When I took my second taste I decided that it would be more enjoyable five degrees warmer.

I suspect this wine style is enjoyed on a daily basis, but I chose to wait another year before indulging the bottle below for the second time.



100 percent Tressallier 

It matured really nicely, at five years vintage.  The nose subdued on the mineral front, retaining its funky tone with a pale golden hue.  There existed soft white flowers, caramelized lemon rind, dried fruit leather of apricot flesh and subtly wet pebbles.  I was in awe and bummed at the same time because I had opened the bottle I had no more chances of buying in this vintage.

But that's what it's about.  We must live for today.  What better region to sink your teeth into than Loire Valley.  It's real, it doesn't pretend.  And it most definitely lives up to genuineness.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Distraction: friend or foe

When I was in college, I had the keen ability to focus on my studies like it was nobody's business.  I was in school and worked full time.  I had no social life and was too busy to care of its stance lacking in my life.  No regrets ever surfaced and I was completely fulfilled when I graduated.

Since then, my life has multiplied in layers.  Not only do I maintain a full time work schedule, but being a mother of two is a full time and a half gig on its own.  It's the best job I've ever held but it comes with an expense and I am not only referring to the monetary kind.  I confess to being a worrier and I am constantly thinking of their well being 24-7.  I don't have days off and it will be a position I will hold honorably until I pass.  Even still, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Yet in the midst of my crazed life, I often forget to chill out.  I envy those who find time to read a book in its entirety and practice yoga four times a week as I once did not too long ago.  I definitely contest that one is responsible for his/her own actions and in this case I have myself to blame.

So why the blog title?

I recently had a distraction.  Call it what you wish, but an incident that caused me to slow down and take softer breaths.  I am usually not a fan of distractions as I believe in being focused at all times, but having experienced "a time of reflection", I am thankful.  It reminded me that I am not merely defined by my being my mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a service professional, a friend, etc., but by Linda:  the individual I am that came to be through my life experiences.  I don't want to forget her because then I would be neglecting the dire importance of keeping her soul intact.

So I will search within, each day going forward.  I will pick up that book I've been etching to read, follow the recipe of rose water shortbread cookies, study the grand crus of Burgundy, and forget about the laundry so I could have quality time with my children.

My soul will thank me and as a result I'll probably smile more often.  This in turn will spread the cheer as I do believe smiling is contagious.  Thank you distraction, for this awakening. You've proven to be a friend.  A true one at that.  You're invited to come back at anytime.





Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fall back

It is that time of year.  When the leaves begin to change color and we remember why fall is so mesmerizing.  The colors we encounter during the seasons' change are those that are warm and inviting.  Inviting you to sit back and chill.  Daylight savings time is this weekend and we will all gain one more glorious hour and basque in its sweet render.  Just try to avoid thinking about the fact that the days are shorter as the night turns deep blue an hour earlier.

Fall back.  The term itself has caused me to reflect on the year.  The decisions I've made, the cheers and the disappointments, realizations, and the big one:  me.  I changed a lot this year.  And it's for the good cause it's forced me to put everything in perspective.  It's made it possible for me to preserve what is true, conserve things that can be fixed and convert anger into positive energy.  It took me a long time to realize that I can't save the world, but I can make a difference by serving as an advocate for harmony.

It's that simple.  When our competitive nature becomes fierce then we lose sight of harmony.  The need to have more, to be better than others, to succeed big.  It's not to say that we must give up striving for happiness or being successful in the workplace.  The need to survive is dire.  It's become a dog eat dog world.  As a result, sometimes our blinders get in the way of considering the whole picture.  Where did the simple childhood dreams that consisted of being content and being among warmth and comfort go?

It is with great sadness that I admit I exist within the last generation before the internet, cell phones and social media/networking boom arrived full force.  When I witness what children these days are exposed to, I think it's a shame.  We need to work harder to save them.  We need to show them how to be real people and connect how we once did on a regular basis.  How to hear a live voice more often than read texts.  To send letters rather than emails.  The feeling of anticipation and excitement from waiting to hear a loved one's voicemail after returning from a long day's of work.  To be patient.  To truly understand the meaning of this and realize that this world of immediate access to everything is actually more stimulating than we need and not for the greater good.

To fall back to a time when people sat in their backyards and chatted with each other without the interruption or distraction of the internet, cell phones and social media apps. And we actually get to know each other.  And there is harmony.  I want this back.

Make simplicity the norm.  Fall back.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Vitamin D, the next level

I woke up much earlier than I preferred because the sun was shining so strongly through my window this morning.  It enticed me to venture outside, sit on my side steps and take in its rays when most gentle.

In my age, I have been super cautious about wearing sun screen.  I curse myself often for never having done the same when I was younger and tanning was the latest craze.  Skin cancer scares me, as any other cancer would, but if I am unfortunate to be diagnosed with the former then I know I only have myself to blame.  However, since I knew I was only going to sit out for a bit and to be quite honest, the smell of sunscreen makes me nauseous and because my kids had not woken up yet, I wanted to steal my free time as quickly as I could.

As I let the sun sink into my skin I pondered about my last full physical in January.  My doctor had told me I had a Vitamin D deficiency and she recommended I take a very high dose weekly for about six months.  Wow, really, a Vitamin D deficiency?  How does something like that happen?  Not to fret, I knew she could have told me worse, but my journey thereafter taught me a bit about this glorious necessary element we all need in our lives.

FACTS ABOUT VITAMIN D

  • It is a fat soluble vitamin which means it's stored in your body (such as your liver and kidney) and takes much longer to escape than water soluble vitamins (e.g. Vitamins C and B9)
  • It is the most useful substance inside your body and beneficial when consumed on a daily basis
  • It is measured by International Units, also known as IU
  • It ensures strong bone health, preventing bones from becoming brittle, thin and deformed
  • It promotes strong, sturdy teeth which in turn creates good mouth hygiene 
  • It reduces a greater chance of inflammation
  • It promotes calcium in the digestive tract
  • It is found in relatively small doses in food sources such as 1 cup of milk (102 IU), fortified rice (81 IU), fortified orange juice (53 IU) and salmon (435 IU) to name a few
  • Another well known source of Vitamin D is the sun with skin exposure of 10 to 15 minutes
  • The daily recommended Vitamin D dose for people between the ages of 1 - 70 is 600 IU 
When my doctor told me I had a Vitamin D deficiency, she prescribed a weekly dose of 50,000 IU, divided by seven days a week came out to about 7,142 International Units a day. Sounds like a lot, but I was apparently lacking in this department.

These days I soak up the sun when it's around, take a daily dose of 1,000 IU and consume more food sources that contain ample IU of Vitamin D.  I am exercising more, maintaining a healthier diet and drinking an average of 70 ounces of water.  I am feeling much better these days.  I am thankful for my health.  And all it took was learning my Vitamin D levels were dangerously low.  There is good in all things.  I am glad that it made me aware. Hopefully my post sheds some light for you as well.

I always like to part on an inspirational note.  This was born as a result of my learning to listen to what my body needs.  I have even taken it to the next level.  By becoming a better listener overall.





Tuesday, July 30, 2013

forgetting Sam Marshall...

We all have one Sam, or Sarah that plays us to the core.  That we fell helplessly in love with and who probably never loved us back, at least not the same way we loved them.  Who took advantage of our feelings because we gave them so much, too much...

I got weak at the knees when I first saw Sam from afar.  I knew instantly he was going to mean something to me, I just didn't know what it was at first.  I was young and naive, to say the least.  I wasn't even looking for anyone to like, until he came by and took my world by storm, heavy ones.  I waited anxiously until my work colleague left his side and casually worked up a nerve to introduce myself.  I figured, what did I have to lose.  He was my boss (crazy, I know) and new to the team in a small office job I took up while in my junior year of college.  The good news was I only worked part-time so I didn't see him as much.  I figured this was for the best since chances were, nothing would ever happen while we worked together.  He was a few years older than me, but much more mature than most guys I knew.  We hit it off right away.  He always complimented my work ethics which meant a lot to me.  He had a cute way of letting me know he favored me more than the other girls in the office.  One of my favorite first memories of his flirting with me came when I was making copies in the copy room.  There was a glass partition that separated the room from the cubicles, he surprised me by tapping on the glass to get my attention, once I turned around, he merely flashed his adorable smile.  I was swooned forever...

Shortly thereafter I left the job because my senior year of college commanded a lot more of my time and I couldn't juggle both work and school.  I lost touch with him and it saddened me deeply.  The last time I saw him was on my last day at work and he asked if I wanted to grab a beer after work.  I was torn beyond belief.  I had already made plans with some of my co-workers and I just couldn't blow them off.  It was a decision I pondered on for months after I left.  I know I did the right thing, but I had always wondered what would have happened if we had that beer...

It would be almost one year later before I'd run into him again.  Ironically enough it was at a bar while we were both on the way out.  He saw me first and called my name.  When I turned around and saw him there, my heart was beating so fast.  We chatted for a bit while our friends stood around wondering who the other person was we were talking to.  We exchanged numbers and planned on meeting for coffee at the end of the week.  That week took forever to pass.  When Friday came, I changed three times before settling on just being casual in my favorite t-shirt and jean shorts.  It was a beautiful early summer day...

It was as if time stood still for us.  At least that's how I felt.  He was easy to talk to, but I always sensed a private side to him.  As if he had been hurt deeply before and could never let go of that memory.  From that day on, we were inseparable.  It was a very deep relationship, in ways I had never experienced before...

The relationship lasted for eight months before he turned distantly cold and removed from me.  He claimed a urgent job opportunity was moving him away, but I never understood what happened between us.  I still wonder about it sometimes.  He was the love that I never forgot and that took possession of my heart like no one else ever did...

I wonder how he is from time to time.  I wonder if he ever feels bad for leaving me so abruptly.  It tore me apart and left me angry.  It was as if there no longer existed a validation of our time together.  Sometimes I think the intensity of our connection scared him and that's why he left. Whatever it was, he broke my heart like no other, so much that forgetting Sam Marshall was something that never came easy to me...

Still, having loved Sam taught me to let go of my fear and that love isn't hopeless.  That trusting in your own emotions does make you vulnerable, but that's how you feel alive. That taking chances with love comes with a new experience that will never be repeated. That in order to make yourself stronger, you have to learn to let go, so the next time you fall in love, you'll be wiser, and you'll understand a true sense of love, as it should exist between two people.  With admiration, passion and true willingness...




Monday, July 22, 2013

Sans social media

Last Christmas my parents got both of my children the Nook reading tablet.  I suggested it mainly for my daughter as she is an avid reader, but according to their old school ways of parenting, they couldn't get one for her and not my son.  Seven months later that reading tablet has turned into a technology friendlier way for them to communicate with their friends through a free texting app called Text Now (they don't own cell phones, yet all of their friends do - sign of suburbia living).

Prior to their acquiring the Nook, my kids would always complain that I spent too much time on my own apps, specifically Twitter and Instagram and would often question who I loved more:  social media or them.  Of course I always answered the latter, but now that they've busied themselves with the lure of apps that are available on their reading tablet, I felt it most important to take this point further by setting an example.  So on June 13, I made a vow to them that I wouldn't access my social media accounts for a month.  To resist the urge to pop in, I even went as far as to delete them from my phone.  Yes folks, I went cold turkey.

At first it felt strange, especially working in the restaurant industry, it's extremely beneficial when you know what's going on in the hospitality world.  There are constant changes and if you don't keep up it does affect you to a degree.  I stand by this wholeheartedly.  But I have to admit, it felt good not to have to worry about what chef was hired at where, new restaurant openings, recent reviews, which friend has been to the latest hot spot and what specials/attractions were going on in town.  It almost reminded me of the days back when we didn't have the instant access to such news that we have now. When life was actually normal, less hectic.

I am spending a lot more time hanging out with the kids since it's been summer break.  I feel like I am getting to know them in a different light.  They are growing up and changing so fast.  I wish I could pause some moments because before I know it, they won't want to hang out with me anymore.  It's been enlightening.  It's caused me to reflect on what's most important and how I would never trade them for anything else in the world.

I don't know if my giving up social media for a month had any immediate effect on them, but it sure did on me and if that's to count for anything, it will in the long run have a positive influence on them.  It definitely taught me to take breaks.  Reflection is a necessary tool for the soul especially in the fast moving world we live in now.  Realizing that we can live without most material things is a very crucial trait one must carry through hard times.  Those things come and go.  It's the people we love that we can't do without. They are priceless and for that, being reminded of this made the lesson of sans social media so much more worth it.



Hanging out with my fan club at Big Star