Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
This year is different from the last and next year will be another ball of wax. John and I didn't travel for the holidays, opting to hunker down in our house and stir up my family. This we did. Over the years as my brother and I have aged, my grandparents aged and passed, we have lost a cohesive family gathering over the holidays. As I have said it is time for John and I to create our own traditions. Thanks to everyone who made this a wonderful holiday and for those who we could not be with, we shall soon.
My blessing for you....
May you find balance.
May you find balance in your life, the physical, mental, and spiritual.
I wish everyone greater balance, thus creating peace as an individual. The only way in which we can live in peace with one another is to find the peace within. Each person must come to terms with themselves, discovering their true identity and embracing it.
Abandon all preconceptions.
Go forth and conquer.
Hold onto stair railings just in case your ascent or descent gets a little bouncy, and grab onto the nearest lamppost if your feet refuse to stay on the ground.
In truth, though, you must depend only upon yourself. Impose your own self discipline and bask in the glow.
Happy birthday Grandma! I will try and eat more dessert than the main course just for you! Never would I imagine how wonderful of a woman you were. You will forever be in my heart.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
John and I have made tamales over the holidays a couple of times. Jess has been really excited about making them with me. Saturday night we got together and made a batch of yummy pork tamales from scratch. Kudos to Jess for wanting to take on such a grand task. They really are worth every penny the little Mexican ladies sell them for. AND they taste way better made by these wonderful women.... because they are not scared to use lard (the key ingredient!).
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
At work, people, firms, companies and the sort are send us cards with notes in them explaining that they have sent a donation to the food band in lieu of a holiday basket for the office. What a wonderful idea. It saves us the office from complete over consumption and recognizes that people really are in need this time of year. I just hope that they are as generous to these charities as they are to us. Pete Kremen, the executive for Whatcom County, sent us a memo saying that he was sending $1000 to the Bellingham food bank instead to the treats he usually sends to the offices. Don't get me started on this little soap box.
As I scrolled through the paper this morning I found an article that warmed my heart and gave me goose bumps. I read about this boy here in Bellingham who is battling a brain tumor. We have had fundraisers here at work for him because he is friends with a co-workers child. His request is simple this holiday. He loves to get mail, what is more comforting than knowing that people care. So I know there are people out there who have extra cards from their regular mailing list, please take the time to send one to this family. It takes a village.....
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
It is not a "honey do list" either. Well, not entirely. There is something not quite appealing about our bedroom. It has gone through several color changes, and I am still not satisfied. There is nothing warm and cozy about the room. The walls are cement, which makes them cold. We installed mirrored closet doors, which gives it potential. The walls are painted a bright dark yellow. I have made one improvement in the past week, I moved the bed out from the wall, creating a walkway on both sides of the bed and putting together a night stand on my side of the bed. I need to make curtains for the two windows and get a matching bed set. All these things no problem.
What I need help with is a headboard. I would really like to design a functional headboard. It needs to be sturdy so we can lean up against it while we watch movies.
It is a wonderful winter wonderland here in Whatcom County. As I look out my office window, I think that we have accumulated about four inches. I am surprised that we haven't shut our doors and gone home. I guess that is just wishful thinking. It has been cold for days now, and it is supposed to hold on through next week. It would be great to have a white Christmas!
I think that the fact that Christmas is next week has finally set in with this weather. Yesterday I spent the day Christmas shopping. I then went home and wrapped up all the goodies I found and did a little decorating. I am getting increasingly excited for this time of year. Hopefully this weekend will be filled with a house of friends, laughter, food, and drink. John and are also planning a little Christmas celebration at our house. We plan on wrangling up some folks for a bike ride Christmas morning and then spend the day with some friends and family at our house.
So these are not the best snow boots.... but this is what I have my eyes on......
Friday, December 12, 2008
Good news, I lived through my first Planning Commission. One of the first steps in my effort to be a "planner."
Here are a few articles from the Bellingham Herald dramatizing, creating fear and and pandemonium in rural Whatcom County:
Poll: Residents think Whatcom County is growing too much
JARED PABEN - THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
Whatcom County landowners could lose development potential
JARED PABEN - THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
As I scrolled though numerous blogs, I tried to put my finger on what it was that attracted me to the idea of blogging. I have never been much of a writer, never journal (that was just a venue for my mom to snoop into my personal life), never wrote stories, just notes to girlfriends in the school years, I am not even a big reader. Then it hit me. I am a crafter/pack rat/dreamer/collector/adventurer. I love to read what people are up to, what they are cooking in their kitchens/what they are sewing/what they are stringing together, what they are listening to/watching/reading, what trails people have found/races/runs/climbs, what people feel/love/miss, what people value/cherish/love, what inspires/resonates/motivates, and according to John: what people want to spray about (this is not true!). I love blogs. I love to scroll through friends blogs, finding little treasures lost in cyberspace.
As I sit and wonder what makes a blog so interesting and worth any one's time I find one theme: a theme... I want to make my blog worthy of peoples' time. One day I could maybe even quit my day job and blog about my adventures with my sweetie. So any ideas on what I should focus on? Until then... it is just a whole lot of Michelle Stiles. Hey what is better than that? Hmmmm....
Saturday, November 29, 2008
I am not sure what inspired me but I was really excited to cook for Thanksgiving this year. As I have noted in my previous entry, I think it is in my blood. It is a piece of my Grandma that lives on. I got busy and searched for some new recipes to share with the family.
I started with the munchies, ones that reminded me of our few winters in El Potero Chico. We would go into the market once a week. It was a treat. We would load up our packs with all the fresh fruit, veggies and treats that we needed for the following week. We would always load up on the avocados. That was the best part of the day, climb all day and call it early to go eat guac and drink Mexican beer. Oh those were the days! Besides the beer and avocados, I picked up something to satisfy my sweet tooth. There were always these bars of a sugar reduction and nuts. I found the best munchie to pull out of the pack at the crag were these misterious mexican sweetes, I later found to be a variation of pralines.
As I looked though our cupboards I came across a couple of bags of pecans from Bill and Betsy. So, what better way to use the but make the best part of pecan pie, the top. I whipped up a yummy batch of pralines. I plan on freezing the leftovers to have as a topping for muffins and such.
cranberry, cilantro, orange salsa. I have to say this was my favorite part of the meal. I would recommend this recipe to anyone. It is amazing!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
My how times have changed. I have very fond memories of holidays spent at my Grandma Cronk's house. What a feast! I remember the spreads like it was yesterday. She must have cooked for days. She would always be cooking all kinds of meats: roasts, turkey and hams were always on the list, homemade rolls (my favorite part of the meal), yams, brussel sprouts and huge piles of mashed potatoes and gravy. Her favorite part was dessert so there were always at least five pies and a cheese cake. Oh the fond memories. There is no doubt that she has left a substantial mark on my life. I hope when I get to the point of having holidays at my house, they would somehow be as wonderful as I remember hers.
As we are on our way to creating our own traditions, such as tamales on Christmas, I feel that our family holidays can take on their own meaning. Now that I have a bit of southern culture in my family, our traditions are going to be our very own. In our simple little Thanksgiving, Dad is going to BBQ a turkey (by the way it is the best turkey I have ever ate!), I am going to make a cranberry salsa, cornbread stuffing, biscuits, and pralines. None of this is traditional fare for the Cronk's but what the heck! I am so excited!
As I now am so lucky to have such an absolutely wonderful extended family, new traditions I am eager to reach out to my family, all of them.
So now that I have experienced holidays in Texas I would say that my favorite thing I have had was a smoked turkey from Greenberg’s of Tyler, Texas—hailed by many the aristocrat of turkeys. This is a tender, smoky and succulent bird, so exquisite and renowned that even Oprah lists it as one of her favorite things. I highly recommend it.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Keeping things real and using my free time doing things besides sitting at my computer chatting through a laptop, I have been practicing Bikram Yoga several times a week. I started a couple of weeks ago with a girlfriend in hopes of recovering from my knee injury. Wow, it has only bee two or three weeks and I have seen dramatic results. Not only has my yoga practice improved vastly, I went in there with about 35% flexibility in m,y knee and very minimal strength. With yoga I was able to slowly build strength and mobility. I feel that I am back to a solid 75%, I really don't think that I could be at this level without yoga. Yeah, here I am singing the praises of yoga!
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I just finished putting a survey on-line. If you live in Whatcom County it is worth filling out (it will only take 2 minutes..... what a breeze!), every one's input is valuable!
Take a survey! Click here!
Monday, November 10, 2008
Big pot of black-eyed peas
1 pound dried black-eyed peas
4 cups water1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1/4 cup bacon drippings
1 large onion, chopped
14-ounce can of diced tomatoes, such as Rotel, drained
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 jalapenos (pickled or fresh), chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and pick over peas. In a large pot, mix peas with water and bring to a boil.Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.Add all other ingredients and simmer, covered, 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until peas are tender.
Last night I made the following recipe. My new favorite way to eat black-eyed peas (or any bean for that matter). Please try, I guarantee you will enjoy it!
4 cups of cooked black-eyed peas (or 2 16-oz cans), drained and rinsed of all juice
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, green part only
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 canned or fresh jalapeño chiles, chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes or 1 ripe, chopped tomato
3/4 cup olive oil
Juice from one lime
1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or minced
Mix everything together, chill for four hours. Serve with tortilla or corn chips.
"Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood."
—Susan B. Anthony, Women's Suffragist
I got back on my mountain bike yesterday. MUD! Mud in the ears! MUD! (I will share some pictures tonight) Bryan Dorr got a new (to him) bike this weekend so we went out far a ride on Galbraith with him. Another person converted. I wonder how much climbing we will get done next season? I confirmed my love for the trails yesterday. Which leads too....
My big news.....
I am not going to run the Chuckanut 50 km this year.......
I haven't ran in ages and don't see it happening at that level any time soon. I would rather ride my bike! If all goes well, hopefully I will have another bike to ride in the near future, I won't let the cat out of the bag quit yet or get my hopes up too much......
No puppies, ponies, bunnies, babies, just bikes.....for now
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
And just to bring a smile!
Friday, October 31, 2008
As Gas Prices Go Down, Driving Goes Up
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The clock is ticking.... My how time flies, it is almost election day!
There is just change in the air.
Big news for Bill who just turned 60 years young on Sunday! Happy late birthday!
The weather in the Northwest has been incredible the past week. The days have been crisp and clear. The days have been blue bird, the leaves are as golden as possible. It hasn't rained in days so the leaves are still light and fluffy, blowing around in the breeze. I feel like I am in a great big oil painting, swooshing around in the tree litter. I was rolling around on my bike yesterday, I would travel under trees, a gust of wind would come up and leaves would be swirling all around me. Incredible! The perfect time of year! The clouds have rolled in today and I feel the we are in for a change.
Change is good.
I have been really trying to become more rounded and reach out. I often spend too much time on my own, leaving my love ones out of my life. I am changing. I had Grandma and Audra over for dinner on Tuesday. Audra is just a peach. She is taking water color lessons from Jody Bergsma, what an experience at such a young age! She has been working on a Christmas card for some time now. Well, she finally finished it and has them printed. I bought some from her, now I have our Christmas cads, how special is that!
CHECK OUT THE BLOG!!!! Art With Heart
A step towards changing myself...
With the change of seassons, I need new hobbies. THere just is not enough day light. After having Audra over, I was inspired to get my art back out. I figure if I have to look at it everyday, soon I will just pick it up and the next thing I will know, I am back to drawing.
Changing my hobbies...
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Whistler was beautiful! I wish we could live up there! All the leaves were in fall effect, the air was crisp and the mountains had a fresh dusting of snow.
Friday, October 24, 2008
It seems as if our eyes are the key hole to our soul. Eyes can express how we truly feel without say a single word.
I am trying to allow my eyes to release the tension and other silly arbitrary feelings and beam with compassion and love. I feel that those rose colored glasses have been replaced by something very different, I want to look through heart shape rose colored glasses.
Here is a great little blog that got me thinking:
Cheri Block Sabraw - Notes from Around the Block: The Importance of Eye Contact or Brown- Eyed Girl
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Sometimes it hits me, for no good or explainable reason. Trying to explain what “it” is could warrant a Noble Prize. If I knew what “it” was it would be the one thing I would share with the world.
What I am getting to is that I am so happy with the life I have chosen. I love the people around me, my location, my career path, my potential, and my hobbies. I am grateful for my health and my abilities.
I had the conversation this morning about finding and following your bliss. There is no need to settle on something, find what you love and do it. Find a job that will fit your needs and allow for a healthy lifestyle. Find a job that is your passion or find a job that allows you to enjoy your passion in your free time.
**I completely understand that this is idealistic, but one must dream and set standards high.
The bottom line: beauty surrounds us all, just put your rose colored glasses on and look for it!
Have a great day!