Hello Lovelies!!  I hope y'all had a great weekend!  I have a little treat for you to kick off summer.  Way back when, I promised you a limoncello recipe direct from The Boyfriend's Italian great-uncle.  Well, here it is!  This particular recipe is a bit on the sweet side so if your sweet tooth isn't quite as intense as mine, feel free to cut the sugar proportion in half.

Homemade Limoncello

What You Need:
1 bottle of Everclear (Yes, Everclear, I know.  This is one of those "sip it, don't shoot it" drinks.  If you can't find Everclear, use a good vodka instead.)
8 lemons
2 c. sugar
2 c. water
1 glass bottle (like an empty alcohol bottle for example)

What To Do:
1. Peel the zest of the lemons.  Be sure not to remove the pithy white part.  It's really bitter - like, squeeze-your-eyes-shut-and-suck-in-your-cheeks-because-its-bitter-than-a-Lemonhead bitter.
2. Empty the bottle of Everclear into a large pitcher or other plastic/Tupperware container.  Add the lemon zest.  Set the bottle aside and save for later (you'll need two bottles total - this one and an extra).
3. Leave the Everclear/lemon zest mixture in the refrigerator for at least two weeks.
4. After two weeks, boil the sugar and water together.  Once the sugar dissolves, remove from heat and let cool.  In the mean time, strain the zest from the Everclear.
5. Add the sugar syrup to the Everclear.  This will pretty much double liquid you have.  Pour into glass bottles and freeze for quick cooling.  Soak up the sun and enjoy!

Tip - If you want to try arancello, substitute oranges for lemons.



Fab Friday & Some Fancies

T.G.I.Three-day-weekend!!!  Ohmygosh.... it could not come at a better time.  This week was not exactly one of the "Top 5 Best" so I'm really glad to have a nice little break from the office.  The Boyfriend and I are planning on heading to Sonoma to do a little wine tasting but other than that, we just want to relax.  In preparation, I thought I'd put together a little virtual outfit for Memorial Day and link up with Long Distance Loving's Friday's Fancies.  (Um, btw, as simple as this outfit is, it took me forever.  This e-styling thing is hard!) 

1. Gap smocked dress
2. Butterfly scarf
3. Pressed Rose bracelet
4. Nine West Sizrhand sandals

What about you?  Any Fab plans for Memorial Day weekend?

PS - Wondering who the won the 8x10 from my etsy shop?  It's entry #8 Maygan!  Congrats!!!  I'll be in touch to get all that shipping info from you. :)

PPS - What do you think of the new layout?  I couldn't sleep last night so Pomme and I played for a while.

Happy Weekend!!!


Kale Chips

Kale is one of the healthiest foods you could possibly eat.  It's loaded with vitamin C, calcium, and all kinds of other things your body needs but (unfortunately) can't get from chocolate.  (So I've heard.  I'm not actually a nutritionist so I'm holding out hope this statement proves false.  I'd love to get my vitamins solely from chocolate!!)  I don't particularly care for it raw so when I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I had to give it a try.  It's pretty darn tasty and super easy to make!  Just be careful - it's also "super easy" to over-salt this little leafy green.

Kale Chips

What You Need:
One large bunch of kale
1 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

What to Do:
1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.  Rinse and dry the kale.
2. Remove the thick stalk from the center of the kale and cut or tear the leaves into large pieces.  Like spinach, kale wilts when you cook it so don't be afraid to make 'em big.
3. Place kale pieces in a large bowl and add olive oil and salt.  Toss until the kale is fully coated.  Go head, get your hands dirty!
4. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
5. Cool for a few minutes on a cooling rack then enjoy!

PS - The Smitten Kitchen recipe (found here) mentions crushing the baked kale and sprinkling it over popcorn.  I haven't tried this yet, but only because I didn't have any popcorn!

PPS - It's your last day to enter to win an 8x10 print from Stephanie Court Photography!

Raw kale:

Crunchy kale:


30 Before 30 Update

I was looking back on my 30 Before 30 list and realized I still have a lot to do in the next 7 and a half months!  I also realized my 30th birthday will fall on Friday the 13th.  Um .... I'm gonna choose to see that as good luck!!

Here's an update so far.  It's gonna be a busy summer/fall!

1. Pass the bar.  Thank god.
2. Visit a foreign country I've never been to before.
3. Go skydiving.
4. Learn how to make my favorite Mexican candy, Leche Quemada
5. Start Pilates class again.  I actually looked into this and it's really expensive in my area!  I think I might change this to "Pilates or yoga."
6. Ride a bike.  Still haven't gotten over the fear...
7. Relax on a beach.  YES!!!  And I'm gonna do it again as soon as I can!
8. Treat myself to a professional massage.  The Boyfriend actually treated but I'm counting it anyway.
9. Get cool glasses and actually wear them in public.  Does a walk around the block count as "in public"?
10. Run a 10KI've upgraded this to a half-marathon.  Yowza.
11. Touch up my tat.
12. Start a little garden and grow something.
13. Explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
14. And maybe Disney World, too.
15. See an art show.
16. Go to the symphony.
17. Make bread. Crusty-on-the-outside-warm-and-soft-on-the-inside French bread.
18. Experiment with a new lens.  I got a new lens for graduation last year from The Boyfriend and his dad.  I love it oh so much. :)
19. Make a homemade heart bokeh lens.  Done here and here's the how-to if you'd like to make one of your own!
20. Ride the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier in Chicago.  I'm saving this one for when The Boyfriend and I go back to Chicago for my friend Nikki's wedding.  Can't wait to show him a bird's eye view of the Windy City!
21. Learn how to ski.
22. Sit in a photo booth or two.  See below, though I'm not stopping with just one or two.  I love love LOVE photo booths.
23. Start a camera collection.
24. Road trip!!!
25. Ride a roller coaster.  At Disneyland!!!
26. Go to a local food festival.
27. Make My Love feel truly loved and appreciated.  Now that I think about it, this one should never be crossed off.  It should be more of an ongoing goal.
28. Do more volunteer work.  I've started doing pro bono work through a program with my firm.  It's intimidating but pretty awesome at the same time.
29. Host a fabulous party.
30. Say Yes to something I would normally say No to.

What about you?  Have any "Before" lists or Bucket Lists you're working on? 

(And don't forget to leave a comment here for your chance to win an 8x10 photo from Stephanie Court Photography.  Tomorrow is the last day to enter!!!)

A little photo booth fun with my beautiful friend K.  Our instructions for poses (which we gave to ourselves, of course) were, "Normal, Scary, Silly, Tyra Banks."   I love how we have identical interpretations of "Tyra Banks." 


Balsamic Chicken with Spinach and 'Shrooms over Pearl Cous Cous

After last Thursday's post, a few of you wrote in asking about the recipe for the delicious chicken dish that was featured.  I'm all about sharing so I asked my dear friend Ali if she would write a guest post with the recipe.  Since she's working on a cookbook right now (while also working as a full time awesome lawyer!), I thought it'd be interesting to hear about her food philosophy and approach to cooking, too.  Hope you enjoy!!
(PS - Don't forget to click here to enter my very first giveaway!)
* * * * *

Hello fellow Big Marioans! (How does that sound? I just made it up but I kinda like it...)  I'm so stoked to be a guest poster on the fabulous Stephanie's blog, especially since she asked me to write about one of my favorite subjects - food!  While I am a self-admitted "foodie" and a lover of many things gourmet, I really believe that food does not need to be complicated in order to be delicious.  In fact, I sometimes worry that the trends in popular cooking toward crazy techniques and exotic ingredients are turning many would-be chefs away from the kitchen, rather than drawing them into it.  To me, food and cooking should be inviting and exciting - after all, they provide amazing outlets for creativity!  All of those possibilities mean that cooking is an incredibly versatile activity - the opportunities for variety and to try new things are quite honestly endless.  That is one of the things I truly love about cooking; no matter what I am craving, I can make it happen (or at least attempt it!).  The recipe below is a good example of that idea - Stephanie was coming over for dinner and I was craving something light, colorful and full of flavors.  So, I took an inventory of what was in the fridge and pantry, and came up with the Chicken, Spinach and 'Shroom recipe below that appeared here in photo form as part of last Thursday's post.

This recipe is also a great example of the versatility I talked about earlier - I used zucchini, bell peppers, spinach and mushrooms.  Why?  Simply because that's what I had in my fridge and that's what sounded good together!  I picked pearl cous cous over traditional cous cous because I like the aesthetics of the bigger pieces mixed with the diced veggies. (Random Side Note: Pearl cous cous is also called Israeli cous cous - there's your fun fact for the day!  My favorite is the one Trader Joe's carries, but if you don't have a TJ's close you can find it in most grocery stores in the pasta & rice aisle or in an ethnic food section.)  If you can't stand one, or all, of the ingredients I used, throw that list out and replace it with whatever you are craving.  That's a big part of my cooking philosophy - recipes are like guidelines. If you don't have something or don't like something, leave it out.  If you love, love, love an ingredient then toss it in!  Regardless of your tastes, I hope you enjoy this dish and I hope you approach your kitchen with a sense of adventure, because you know what?  Even if it all goes up in smoke (figuratively or literally) you can always just order pizza and start over tomorrow. :)

Balsamic Chicken with Spinach and 'Shrooms over Pearl Cous Cous:

What You Need
1/2 package pearl cous cous, cooked
1 small zucchini, diced
1/3 of a yellow bell pepper, diced
1/3 of an orange bell pepper, diced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp. butter
8-10 crimini mushrooms, sliced
3-4 generous handfuls baby spinach leaves
Salt & Pepper

What You Do
For Cous Cous:
1. Prepare cous cous according to package directions.
2. In a large skillet heat about two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat; add zucchini and bell peppers and saute for 3-5 minutes until tender but not soft.
3. Toss veggies in with cous cous; salt and pepper to taste.

For Chicken:
1. Preheat oven to 375F, spray an 8"x8" glass baking dish with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray.
2. Place chicken breasts in baking dish, drizzle with a few tablespoons olive oil and balsamic vinegar; turn chicken over once or twice to coat evenly; place dish on center rack in oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until juices run clear and meat is no longer pink in the center.
3. Remove from oven and allow chicken to cool for about 5 minutes; slice into 1/2-inch slices
4. In a large skillet, heat a few more tablespoons of olive oil and about a tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat; add mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes until mushrooms are tender; toss in spinach and saute 1-2 minutes more or until spinach is wilted.

To Serve:
Arrange chicken slices on top of a bed of cous cous, top with spinach and mushrooms, sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese

The photos were taken pre-cheese.  I got a little excited! -Stephanie



Weekend in Tahoe and Week 18 Photo

Happy Monday!!  I hope you all had a great weekend.  Despite being at a work conference, The Boyfriend and I actually had a lot of fun.  The conference couldn't have been in a more beautiful location - North Lake Tahoe.  All week the weather forecast called for thunderstorms but it ended up being around 60 and sunny.  We totally lucked out.  In between sessions, we went for a walk along the resort's bike path and captured a few shots.  We also saw the cutest little baby squirrel.  He was such a skiddish little thing!!  The *click* of my shutter freaked him out and it took about 10 shots just to get the one below.  And it's not even that good!!!  That squirrel definitely needs to work on his modeling skills.

The view from our hotel room.  (Can you see the reflection of the blinds in the glass?)

There were giant acorns everywhere!  I kept thinking of all the little art projects I used to do with the kids when I was a nanny.  What a nerd.

Photo of the week for week 18 - Piece of Flare

Hold still Little Guy!


Fab Friday and My First Giveaway!

Oh my gosh are you as excited as I am that it's finally Friday!?!?!  I have literally been waiting all week for this (*har har har*).  My plans for the weekend aren't all that Fab, though.  I'm going to a work conference and will be attending quite a few legal seminars.  On the bright side, we're staying in a pretty swanky place and I don't have to pay for it.  Woot woot!!!

Remember that surprise I mentioned yesterday?  Well, here it is...I'm hosting my first giveaway!  I'd like to give one lucky winner a free 8x10 print from my Etsy shop Stephanie Court Photography.  I know it's not much, but it's my little way of saying thank you.  I get so excited to read your comments and check out your blogs everyday and I'm so thrilled and grateful you guys actually like reading this little bloggy-thingy of mine.  No joke, you guys make my day!  :)

So here's the deets:
1. First, become a public Follower of Big Mario if you're not already (note, only public followers of the blog will be eligible to win).
Then, visit my Etsy shop and leave a comment below telling me which print you'd like!!

2. How else can you enter to win?  Follow Big Mario on Twitter, Facebook, or Bloglovin' and leave another comment below to let me know.  (Please leave a separate comment for each one you do.  It makes that whole random drawing business a lot easier!!)

3. Want another way to enter?  Blog about this giveaway and leave me a link to your post in the comments below!

That's it!  Three simple ways to enter to win.  I'll leave the drawing open until next Thursday at midnight and the winner will be announced in next week's Fab Friday post.  :)

Happy Weekend!!!


Awkward & Awesome

Happy Thursday!!

--Burned my neck with the curling iron yesterday morning.  I can understand burning an ear, maybe even my forehead, but my neck?  Yep.  That happened.
--I have to spend the weekend at a work-related conference.  My boss will be there.  And a few other partners in our group.  Totes awkward.
--Molly, Guinea Pig Extraordinaire, is way more stubborn than I realized.  I tried teaching her a new trick but she refused.  She got frustrated with me for not giving her the treat so she bit my finger (hard!) and then stood on her hind legs just staring me down.  As if she was saying, "I don't want to twirl, Lady, I just want my dang treat.  How about I do that 'up' thing you like and you give me the treat for that?  Give it to me.  Now."
--I have my first court appearance today.  I've been assured there's no way I could mess it up.  Obviously after 8 months of working there, they still don't know me very well.

--You know that work conference I mentioned?  It's in Tahoe and The Boyfriend is coming along.  I guess it's a little awesome. ;)
--I'm going to Chicago in just 2 weeks for my friend Nikki's bridal shower/bachelorette party.  I'm SO excited because a) I haven't seen Nikki in 2 years, b) I get to hang out with Nikki, c) I get to party with Nikki.  Can you tell I'm excited to see Nikki?  You would be, too, if you knew her.  She's pretty awesome.
--Impromptu dinner parties!  My friend Ali invited me over for dinner last night.  She made roasted chicken, couscous with zucchini and peppers, and sauteed spinach and mushrooms.  It was delicious and I remembered to take a picture for you (below).  Ali is working on a cookbook right now (I'm doing the photos for it) so pretty soon you can all enjoy her healthy and delish recipes!
--Surprises!  Don't you just love surprises?  I sure hope you said yes because I have one for you tomorrow.  Just a little way to say thank you.  So stay tuned!

Ali's yummy dinner



Wee Bit Wednesday

I'm linking up with Leigh Ashely today for Wee Bit Wednesday.  It's a fun little "something about me" set of questions.  Wanna join us?

1. Do you watch the history channel? if so, what’s your favorite program?
Occasionally.  I don't have a particular program but every now and then something random catches my attention.  Random shows are the best.

2. What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
Cuddle up on the couch with a cozy blanket and watch movies.  It's even better when The Boyfriend is there to cuddle with me. :)

3. What does your dream house look like?
I really don't know.  I like all kinds of homes but my favorites are older ones, with details and character.  I think my dream house would have a little personality, not just be a cookie-cutter box.
4. What state were you born in?
Texas.  And I lived there until I was 18.  I think barbeque sauce is in my veins.  Yee-haw, y'all!!!

5. Do you have a change jar? if so, what do you use it for when it gets full?
I have a change container, but it's not a jar.  It's a little box made for me by the kids I used to nanny.  They're the sweetest.  They decorated it with all kinds of bright colors and put a bright pink "S" on the lid.  I use it to keep quarters for laundry.  (Come to think of it, I think my dream house would also have a washer and dryer... for free.)

6. What’s the first website you look at when you get on the computer?
Gmail and Google Reader, simultaneously.  I love reading all your lovely blogs first thing in the morning!

7. What is your favorite breakfast?
French toast with berries, but I don't eat it very often.  I also love a little latte and fresh pastry (croissant with Nutella in the middle ... mmm.... Nutella ....)

8. What’s the most memorable trip you’ve ever taken?
My trip to Europe in the fall of 2009.  Two weeks traveling around Italy and Spain with The Boyfriend.  Heaven. 

9. Do you prefer your coffee black or with cream/milk/sugar?
Milk and sugar please!!  Though I occasionally splurge on a seasonal latte (eggnog at Christmas, pumpkin spice in the fall)

10. Have you ever done a professional photo shoot?
Yeah, a few actually.  Back in my acting days.  I did a couple of the requisite headshot photo shoots and some professional shoots for plays I was in.  I'm so awkward in front of the camera, though, I never think the end product actually looks like me! 


Weekend Recap

The Boyfriend made a delicious pasta dish for dinner Friday night.  I wouldn't have thought tomatoes, red pepper flakes, basil, garlic, and bacon would be a good combo but man, oh man, that sauce tickled my taste buds in just the right way!  Apparently this is not an unusual combo in Italy.  The Boyfriend called it amatriciana and said he had it a few times while living in Italy.  I guess I have to take his word for it. :)

So I bet you're wondering where the pictures are of this amazing pasta dish.  Well, I was so excited to get it in my belly that I forgot to take photos.  Next time, I promise.  And trust me, there will definitely be a "next time" for that dish!

Saturday was busy busy busy but fun fun fun.  The Boyfriend's sister needed new headshots for her show, Beach Blanket Babylon.  Y'all, if you're ever in San Francisco, and I mean ever, you need to check out this show.  You will thank me.  It's the world's longest running musical revue and it's a San Francisco icon.  According to the website, it's a musical parody of current events and pop stars.  Think SNL but as a musical, with bar service.  Booze + funny live show = awesomeness.

Anyway, she needed new photos and I needed an excuse to take some photos so we got together and had a good time.  She was a great model and I think they turned out pretty nicely.

We were the definition of lazy.  Slept in late, ate a lot, you know - very productive stuff.  We also enjoyed some yummy fresh-from-the-farmer fruits and veggies.  I have no idea what most of these greens were but they tasted great with a little olive oil and garlic!

What about you guys?  Did you have a fab weekend?  Are you counting down the days till the next one yet? ;)


52 Weeks: Week 17

This week's challenge on Mortal Muses was Geometric Shapes.  A lot of my photography tends to drift into this area anyway, but I've been especially watchful for various shapes and shadows that I could snap up and submit to the Flickr group.  While I was waiting for the elevator at work the other morning, I looked down into the lobby and spotted the most beautiful light.  So glad I had my phone on hand!

Week 17: Geometry in the Lobby


I'm Back Baby!

And just in time for some Awkwardness & Awesomeness!!

--I totally checked blogs while at work over the last week.  I just couldn't help myself!!  Unfortunately, that means my productivity dropped waaaaaay low.  Oops.
--Just out of curiosity, I ate one of Molly's treats.  It was just dried papaya.  I bought a fancy bag of dried papaya from the pet store. 
--As I was on my way to get some water at work today, I tripped right in front of one of our secretaries' desk.  There was nothing in my way.  I just tripped.  On nothing.  My clumsiness amazes me sometimes.

--Pomme is fixed!!!  I picked her up after work today and we've been spending the better part of the evening hanging out together and catching up on all we missed in the blog-iverse.  We missed you guys.
--We had a very successful surprise birthday party for The Boyfriend's mom.  She was totally surprised, which was a relief because we lied our butts off to throw her off the scent!
--Farmer's Market at work today!  Every Thursday from 10am to 1pm, the street in front of my office building is blocked off and we have a lovely little farmers' market.  Can't wait to get some fresh strawberries!
--I've used a lot of exclamation points in this post.  Can you tell I'm excited to be blogging again!?!?!!

She was totes surprised!

And one gratuitous Molly photo:



Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day everyone!!!  Since I don't have Pomme back yet, I'll have to re-post a photo of Baby Me with My Mama.  I'd also like to point out the awesome Budweiser cooler.  Thanks to my Uncle (who was 19 when I was born), my first word was "beer."  I think I was trying to eat that bottle of sunscreen, which would explain the look on my face!

My Mama might kill me for posting this but I think it's a pretty funny photo.  Love you, Mom!!! :)


Coffee Served Daily

Hello Lovely Readers!  I snuck onto the ol' work computer to tell you about a lovely website called Coffee Served Daily.  The fabulous Kim has a vision to display 1,000 photographs of coffee in one year.  That's right, 1,000!!!  Since one person can't really drink that much coffee all on their own (well, they could, but they'd probably never sleep!), Kim is also taking contributions from readers across the country.  Now here's the funny part of this story - Kim lives in Davis, where I lived up until about 9 months ago, and is literally right down the street from me (if you consider I-80 a street...) but I discovered her blog through Urban Muser who's in NYC!  Crazy, right? 

If you pop on over to Coffee Served Daily you may recognize one of my little photos.  Once Pomme comes home, I plan on sending Kim quite a few more.  If you're interested, I highly encourage you to send her some too!


Unwanted Blog Break

I have some bad news.  Pomme is sick. 

But you should know one important fact.  Pomme is not a person or an animal.  In fact, she's not even a plant.  She is ... my beloved computer.  (Sometimes I like naming inanimate objects.)  Last night, as I was carrying out my most important task of the day--checking Facebook--my computer just suddenly shut off.  Bam.  That's it.  No warnings, no noises, no nothing.  I tried for over two hours to turn that little beezy back on but she just wasn't having it.  I thought maybe if I took her out to a bar she'd give me what I want so this afternoon I skipped out on work and headed over to the Genius Bar.  Guess what.  The Apple techs had no idea what was going on.  She wouldn't start up for them either!  Pomme is nothing if not stubborn!  They insisted on an overnight stay to "further assess the issue."  The tech guy also gave me the most vague answers imaginable to my questions.  Here's how that convo went down:

Me: "So how long do you think it'll be before I get her back?"
Steve the Apple Tech: "Um ... probably, like, 1 to 3 days.  But, you know, if it's complicated or something maybe, like, 5 to 7 days?"
Me: "Was that a question?"
Steve the Apple Tech: "Yeah, I mean, it could be tomorrow, it could be a week from tomorrow."
Me: "Okay.  Do you have an estimate on cost?"
Steve the Apple Tech: "Well, if it's something simple, like something just came loose, then it'd be free since we're not actually replacing a part."
Me: "I like free."
Steve the Apple Tech: "But .. "
Me: "Uh-oh."
Steve the Apple Tech: " ... if it's something like, the logic board needs replacing, which is what I think it is, then it'd be about $450."
Me: "Oh...."

Turns out, Steve the Apple Tech was right.  It's the logic board.  But one question ... what is a logic board anyway?  Doesn't it sound like some sort of weird trivia game or something?  Like, "Hey, it's your turn.  Answer correctly and you get to move your piece four squares ahead on the logic board!"  Anyway, the moral of this longer-than-I-intended story is that there may not be very many blog posts over the next week.  I'm so totally bummed about that, y'all just don't even know!!

Right now, I'm using a work computer to post.  Which means two things: 1) I hope you can keep a secret and not tell my boss! and 2) no pictures.  Pomme has all my pictures.  That beezy.  (Can you tell I'm a little mad at her for abandoning me like this?  I feel naked and alone.  Not really, but almost.) 

So, lovely readers, I am not deserting you and I'm not going on a margarita bender for Cinco de Mayo (at least, I'm not planning on it...).  I'm just waiting for Pomme to get well and come back home where she belongs.


It's Okay to Celebrate

(Warning: This is a much more serious post than what you may be used to but I promise, after I get this off my chest, we'll return to our regularly scheduled lighthearted programming!)

After re-reading my previous post on last night's announcement, I decided to delete it.  I felt it didn't properly convey my thoughts on the news of bin Laden's death.  I've thought about the past 24 hours, read other commentary, and struggled with my own confusion.  Someone was killed and I want to celebrate?  That can't be right.  But after much reflection, I've come to this conclusion: It's okay to celebrate.

Now before you get the wrong idea about me, let me explain.  Like most of you, I remember exactly where I was when I heard about the Twin Towers.  The memory of that Tuesday is one of the few where I can recall the full day in detail.  I was a sophomore in college living in Chicago.  The normally bustling metropolis went silent on 9/11.  Stores closed, leaving streets and sidewalks deserted.  The vibrant urban jungle felt like a ghost town.  For a few weeks following 9/11, I was sent home from work early a number of times because of rumors and "intelligence" that the Sears Tower was the next target.  I worked just a few blocks away from that building.  Some days the knot in my stomach remained from the time I left my apartment to head downtown until I returned safely that evening.  Looking back, I know that fear was irrational but 9/11 had proven anything could happen - especially when you least expected it.  As the fear and anxiety dissipated and daily life regained some semblance of normalcy, we still faced constant reminders of global insecurity.  Color-coded threat levels and talk of biological weapons abound.  Ten years later you need only walk into an airport to be reminded of the daily uncertainties our nation still faces.

None of this justifies killing another human being but, to be fair, most Americans have difficulty viewing Osama bin Laden as a fellow man.  The atrocities he has masterminded are beyond the comprehension of most people.  Over the last decade, he has been demonized by the media and characterized as a Wild West criminal worthy of a "Wanted: Dead or Alive" poster by our nation's leaders.  After all the rhetoric, he was no longer seen as a man but, rather, a symbol of worldwide terror and destruction.  As of May 1, that symbol no longer exists.  And for that reason, it's okay to celebrate.

But let me be clear - we must not confuse our celebration.  We must not celebrate death or violence.  We must not celebrate murder.  We must not celebrate vengeance or blood thirst.  We must not celebrate unrealistic fairy tale lessons of good triumphing over evil.  And we must be certain we do not celebrate of the loss of human life.

Instead, we celebrate relief.  We celebrate our brave service men and women so they know they have not risked their lives in vain.  We celebrate their families who anxiously await their safe return home.  We celebrate our strong intelligence community that works night and day to keep our country safe and eliminate threats to our nation.  We celebrate our leader who has the courage to make difficult decisions, even those that are heartbreaking and gut wrenching.  We celebrate closure for those who lost loved ones that tragic day.  We celebrate whatever sense of security this brings back to our nation, however small it may be.  And most importantly, in a time of economic woes and political mudslinging, where everyday all you read is news of war and vehement discord, we celebrate the unity our country is currently experiencing.  We celebrate coming together for a cause greater than ourselves.  And we celebrate the hope that maybe someday we will once again feel safe and secure. 

Of course, these are just my own thoughts and opinions.  Many of you may not agree with me.  I'd love to hear what you're thinking.

52 Weeks: Week 16

Homemade apple pie!  After an allergy/sinus headache-filled weekend for me and a work-filled weekend for The Boyfriend, a nice big pie was in order.  Sometimes, when I make a pie for just the two of us, we don't even bother with plates.  They just slow the nom-noms down.  If you're interested, I used this recipe.  It's so easy you could make it tonight!  You know you want to ...

Week 16: Homemade Apple Pie  (It's not burned, it's just vignetting!!)

© Twentieth Street | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig