seek and find

Sunday, January 30, 2011

even 70s hairband rockstars have to get their beautysleep...

while cozied up to my tea... atop my table... in my kitchen... hmm.



Syd'SweetPotatoSunday Bread
1 cup honey
.3 cup sweet potato water (from the boiled sweet potatoes)
1 cup boiled/mashed sweet potatoes
.5 cup chopped pineapple
.5 cup apple sauce (or veg. oil)
2 eggs
banana chips
.5 cup sugar
1.75 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
.25 tsp salt
.5  tsp cinnamon
1 cup golden raisins

combine honey and apple sauce, beat well. add eggs, beat well. separately, combine all dry ingredients, mix well. mix wet and dry ingredients, mix well; add boiled/mashed sweet potatoes. 

pour into muffin tins, mini bread tins or a loaf pan - oiled and floured - bake at 350F for about an hour. 


these turned out so well, i would even recommend them for next Sunday, February 6th, SuperBowlSweetPotatoSunday! 
they'd make a great addition to any menu, especially if baked in a mini muffin tin or sliced and served with orange marmalade or something equally fantastic. 


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

thank heaven for twenty eleven

Last year I think I made every possible mistake that came along my path. It’s ok, now. I survived it all, and with some perspective, feel that I’ve learned quite a bit; a lot, in fact. And, I only lost my way a few times. I stuck to my guns, stayed true to what I felt was right, for me, for everyone, and even though I got slapped around, what with all the health issues, a tyrannical and somewhat comical reign, a confidence killing habitat blindside, some family crisis’ (mostly averted) and the breakup(s), I still survived... 

I have stitches: inner ear and theoretical, too. I got my jaw fixed (thanks, brother) only to find I had put myself in a situation where not only did I lose my appetite but also any desire to smile. I tried red lipstick only to learn that I’m better off with eye drops and rosy cheeks. I tried to justify the insanity and insatiable rants of a self-inflicted broken-hearted horse-woman (you know how horsey folk can get), I tried to prove my worth to someone who sees only the worst, through a veil of self righteous delusion. I tried, I tried, I tried, until I found myself fading into it.

I moved, I cried, I jumped too many guns and held back in the times of forthrightness.

I don’t know. I guess nothing lasts forever, although, I will always love the one I loved last year, I will always love the son of the one I loved last year. I will always stand by my parents, be proud of my family and be strong willed and selfish (hopefully not to a fault).  I will keep moving forward and even when I’m static, I know I’ll at least jump up and down. I plan to take this world by the horns - but not by the balls. I plan on telling the ones I love them, whether or not they are willing to hear it, because, as those Fruit Bats say: when you love somebody and you bite your tongue, all you get is 


To the One I said “yes” to - I’m always going to love you. Seatbelts.
To the One’s little one - you’ve always got me to come to.
To my Parents, who stood by me, through highs, lows, tides and snows - you’ll never have to fear for me the way you’ve done these past years, I’m getting stronger, better, every day. Because of you, because of me.
To the Friends, You know who You are - you’ve been distant, you’ve been near, and no matter where we are, geographically, you’ve got a hand to hold, a shoulder to sniffle upon, an ear to whisper to and, always, a friend in me because you kept me Me.
To the Dogs, the Cats and those in between - kisses to your filth faces.

Lucky for us all, I don’t have that trigger-happy finger that some do; the one that spouts off the “I love yous” and the “I hate yous” and the “I ate x, y and z emails.” The obvious and frank statement email-writer who guess-ti-mates that if they are having that good/bad of a day, everyone must know or empathize or even want to hear about it…

But, since this is MY blog and you are still reading it…

I get to say this: I guess I’m just feeling free, free from the crazy lady that I was becoming, free from the sicknesses that plagued me for three years, free from the oppression of joblessness and the equal discontent of an oppressive boss, free from my feelings of guilt from the attack (although not free from the flashbacks… not yet, at least), free from my self. It’s a sweet and liberating thing, and it doesn’t come daily. But today - today I felt free. And since I was free and loving and thankful, I thought to myself: if I bite my tongue, all I end up with is a mouthful of blood.

Touché indeed.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

hindsight is always 20/20

i cannot bring myself to watch this episode, however, i encourage you all to expose yourself to this; not for me, not for them, but for yourself. for when you see the tragedy, not of the attack, not of the rape, but of the   lack of concern and lack of humanity that the Peace Corps shows its bravest volunteers (believe me, i'm not patting myself on the back), it will encourage you to listen closer, to feel deeper and to understand more, the plight of abused women worldwide... and next door.

please also note that, even though i had little help from the Security Officer serving in Mali, once the Peace Corps Medical Officers (both African, both female) and the Director of Peace Corps Mali (a delightful American man) caught wind of what had happened to me (albeit it 4 months later), they acted and they acted quickly. not to seek justice but to assist me in seeking refuge. in the arms of my beloved parents and family, my (then) fiance and to begin the uphill battle that is American medical insurance.

one more thing: if i could go back tomorrow - i would. maybe not with the Peace Corps but to Mourgoula. to Mali.

thank you all for your support, knowing that people read this blog, that the earlier parts of it actually helped others through similar situations and that reading it now brings some sort of solace to the situation, warms me in this cold, wet climate.

thank you. sincerely.

the best saturdays

start with a reminder of loved ones, of being loved once, with a kitten's purr and a cool breeze, with a hot and strong coffee, a glass of bubbling carrot juice and with a sweet potato and broccoli omelet.

hope your saturday started off as sweetly as mine...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

wee v. gorgeous, the pony battle

my attempt at a pony tail... progress isn't always pretty
Pilli, showing off her locks... from Europe

Monday, January 10, 2011

whenimsixtyfive (@#arrows etc)

i'm considering a twitter account... to go with a new phone... to go with my new attempt at living a modern life with succinct and timely thoughts broadcast into the universe.

alas, i'm worried i'll get lost:

i found this on the worldwideweb but cannot remember where! if you know, let me know (please) so that i can properly attribute its ingenious to the proper owner/creator. thanks!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

fried tomatoes & a familiar face

me and my new bangs hit the town early today, 
taking (yet another) new route and 
finding some sense of self along the way. 

seems trite and easy (to remedy), the ways of my world, to me and possibly to you as well, but mornings like this morning help me to realize that not only am i important to myself (an oddly constructed phrase) but also to others. as many times as people tell you that you're important, that you are deserving, that you are someone to love, it can often take only one or two remarks of the opposing side of that argument to knock someones self off the shelf. my self has been off its shelf for months, sadly, maybe even years. but glimmers of hope come from moments like the ones that filled this morning.

as i watched Nugent sleep atop my laptop computer, case closed but still emitting warmth, i focused on his sweetly smiling face, his tightly shut eyes, the slight rise and drastic fall of his belly and breath, his comfort and confidence in his surrounds and consequentially in me. this threw me into a frenzy of thoughts of my future, my future family, not what they'll look like or who they will be but what it'll be like to see a belly rise and fall, to see a sweetly smiling face with tightly shut eyes, comfortable and confident in me, all these things familiar and familial.
love at sight, first and last. 

then i thought: my folks, they've got it together. they might drive one another nutty, sometimes batty other times, down right crazy at best, but they've got kids, grandkids, friends and family who adore and cherish their every move. lucky for me, i get to hold that adoration daily in my hands and my heart. someday, i want my little ones to feel that for me; but first and foremost, i've got to get it together, too.

life. my life. my health. my happiness. my mind. my self. these things need to be aligned in some forethought, with respect to my past and present. someday i'll have a lovely family, children for sure, whether i bore them or not, i'll have a house full of precious little people whose bellies i can watch rise and fall in comfort of slumber and confidence in me. someday i'll have someone who drives me nutty, batty and crazy; who i'll love and who'll love me, exactly how we need it although not necessarily how we want it.

i left the house in a bit of a frenzy, running out the door in purple and black, bangs and curls, blond and black, hitting this town that, for a few wonderful hours today, gets to sit in the sun today. as i walked on my new path into town, i had a destination in mind but once i got to a street corner full of awkward fools, i took a turn down a hill and into a mindset of fight or flight. lucky for me, and the fools on the corner, they were off to the bar and i was off to breakfast with my book.

it amazes me that a Steinbeck novel can inspire introspection beyond anything biblical; as i walked, now far from my intended destination, i ended up at a little cafe with really awesome heaters, stellar coffee and insanely good hollandaise sauce (which, to those who know me, is KEY to a happy breakfast). outside was a beautiful bicycle, making me miss mine (which has been in injured retirement since june, although, with this many random days of sunshine that could be used to cruise, it may have a triumphant return from retirement sooner than later) and inside was a familiar face.

i'm going to let that sink in - familiar face. in olympia? crazy but true!

once, when sick like a dog and lost in a part of town i'd never seen before, i met a girl (clean, nice, friendly), Amy, who too was lost and who too was lost due to an unjustifiably altered bus route. questioning our own judgement lasted for a very short time and we both ended up on the phone with customer service, complaining that we had gotten on a bus that took an alternate route and had dropped us off 6 miles from our destinations (which happened to be very near one another) and as we both overheard the other's conversation, a kind bald man pulled up in a city truck and told us that all the routes were running 1.5 hours behind, that no, he was not joking and that if we wanted, he could take three of us to town. we both offered for the elderly people to board with this bald man but as every one of them turned him down, we smiled at one another and hopped into his extremely warm truck. after a little way, we discovered that we commute to Shelton on the same bus, i, however, take the early bus and she takes the 9am; the return trip was just the opposite.

the relief of knowing that someone who isn't a Vietnam Vet also rides the #6 brought us both to laughter. she was let off not 4 blocks from my stop and until this morning, we haven't seen one another since.

she immediately recognized me, and i her, and we began that funny chatter that happens with coincidences. it felt really good to be recognized. and happily so. i ordered a killer omelet with blue cheese, bacon and granny smiths with a side of fried tomatoes, sat and read some more of my Steinbeck and felt genuinely happy, content and warm, inside and out; for the first time, i felt like this city and i, we might work out. me, my self on the right shelf, and Nugent

Friday, January 7, 2011

my new motto 

there is a Cookie List

you'd better hope you're on it.

a marathon of sorts

today, with the rain falling, consistently and at an angle, i stayed inside, cooked myself some very delicious and healthy snacks and i watched every episode of Party Down (seasons 1&2). 

a twinge of nostalgia, a tear of sweet memories, a twinkle of fun and tremendous laughter - at one point, i even woke my cat up from a nap. this show comes highly recommended. 

oh, and, it's best back to back.

a published, although not paid, photographer

franz lake fauna, taken en route, just outside of Salida.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

to the point of feline frustration

sleep is normally a place i do not wish to visit too often; generally, sleep is not a source of rest for me, but is, instead, a horrifying look into a future i do not wish to see or a ghastly look at my past, through cold loveless lenses, obscured to relive only the painful moments of my life; artfully avoiding the beautiful, love and laughter filled days, countless if ever numbered. 

sleep is normally something i must do rather than something i choose to do. alas, with mono, the last 4 weeks have been very different. most days, i've slept at least 15 if not 18 hours. no matter the weather, my condition, my company or the state in which i lay, sleep has overcome me in ways and places i didn't know were possible. 

for those of you who've suffered through the long and arduous plight of mono, your empathy is welcomed, although in many ways, undeserved. from the stories i have heard, my bout with mono has been an easy one: exhaustion, lack of appetite, poorly timed fevers and a weakness beyond weaknesses. aside from the Cat Scratch Fever, i fell to no other illnesses common to mono-sufferers, and, as one pointed out, its probably due to my inability to dehydrate: for i am an avid if not addicted water consumer. keeping my body well hydrated and consistently flushed probably helped me ward off other common co-conspirators, such as the flu, canker sores, and congestion.  all that being said, the sleep and constant exhaustion kept me down and out but only a few times busted. 

i can't help but wonder about the state of my dreams when i'm in a state of despair. often times, when my heart aches for my friends and loved ones, i dream of them; when my body aches from a day of (actual) labor, i dream of africa, the village, the huts, the family, the hills, the walks, the eyes. 

naps these days come often and with purpose. with little warning, i'm out. and with even less, i'm up, usually around 3 hours later. its amazing - my days have flown by, in fits and feverish flurries, with sad tears flooding my face and happy smiles overwhelming my body, the last month has gone and with it, seemingly, so have some of my night-terrors. i do hope that they stay gone, at least until i'm well again. 

when i am sick, however, i seem to dream of nothing. 
i just sleep. quiet. still (unless feverish). and very hard. 

it doesn't matter that my odd, older and eery upstairs neighbor, julien, the small and pudgy indiscernible odorous asian man in the apartment directly above mine, plays his movies (one of two genres: copper flicks and carey grant pictures) loudly and with his own voice-overs soaking through his floors. it doesn't matter that my kitten, Nugent, is pawing my nose or purring my belly or biting my toes, i'll flinch and reposition, but i almost never wake up... except to go to the restroom (from my lack of dehydration comes a nightly trip to the restroom). other than that one, now robotic movement to the room across the hall and back, i sleep long hard hours, to the point of frustration to Nuge. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

i'm not afriad and neither should you be... for now

it is a new year, or so says my cell phone, and although the events surrounding the bringing in of this year were fun and spirited, i still find myself incapacitated by depression. flipping through pages of magazines, reading books and even walking about town, i see that, even on my good days, i'm sad and i'm lonely.
no need for pity, here. its just what "is" right now.

there are options in the future, there are changes that i can make to my life, both professional and personal, to fix these issues, there are actions i can take and others i can refuse, in order to align myself, my self, with happier days, brighter people, more conversation and many more smiles.

taking those steps is a bit frightening; fore, regardless of how hard one tries to ensure that no one is left in the wake of their, seemingly small, life decisions, life - in it's infinite wisdom, doesn't seem to care. its terrifying - the connection of things, the convenience and corruption and the overwhelming (and often time upstaging) sense that you actually matter in the grand scheme of it all. worse yet, the overwhelming and very much center-stage notion that you, in fact, as once suspected, do not matter in the grand (or less grand) scheme of anything.

however, since those dueling drama queens are battling for center stage, i'm going to follow advice that i've been given my whole life: do your best, after all, that's all you can do. for whatever occurs outside your head, outside your intentions and outside your conscious, you have no control over - so why fret?

i'm going to force myself to smile today. that's "step one to a sprightlier sydney" in this new year.
that and playing with my new (self cut) bangs.

although i dream of great moves, big decisions and long strides towards my full grown, big girl self, i know that every teeter on this balance beam and, just like that, i have a conniption fit (or something similar, depending on the scene and the players). you can't make big moves if you're not willing to lose some luggage. you can't take long strides if you're not willing to hit a puddle or sticker burr bush along the way. and, really, its not that i can't hand a rocked boat, a gruff neighbor or a bit of debt. its that i can't handle it the way i used to, with grace and strength and ease, the way i handled everything before peace corps and the attacks and my broken heart.

i guess, really, what i'm saying is that i'm not afraid and neither should you be - we've got smiles, cupcakes, sunrises and raincoats to help strike that balance, help find that idealistic notion that when you are sad and lonely, read books.

my take on Morning Glory muffins...


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups spaghetti squash
  • 1 apple - peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup of mango puree
  • 1 egg 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup cranberry-apple butter (or plain apple butter)
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds


  • Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly oil muffin cups, sprinkle with sugar.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, (cranberry)apple butter, apple sauce, mango puree and honey.
  • In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. Stir in spaghetti squash, apples and golden raisins. Stir in apple butter mixture until just moistened. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full.
  • Bake at 375F for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly pressed.

Once cooled, top these sweeties with leftover cranberry sauce or 
cream cheese with jelly, serve with coffee or mulled wine, 
depending on what time of day... or what type of mood you find yourself in, 
add cocoa powder to the dry mixture to enhance the seasonal flavors (like the bite on the right)
and enjoy.