Friday, March 5, 2010

Anna Sui 71

Anna Sui 71
Originally uploaded by
gorgeous jacket!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Single Gal's Survival Meal #1


DSC_0244 I've converted many an individual to this strangely named soup. At first, the idea of cooking Farina or Cream of Wheat with Chicken Stock instead of water or milk seems absurd and even a mite unappetizing, but in actuality the results are quite tasty.

Growing up, my mother always prepared this soup when she was running low on groceries and needed something real quick to feed her five (usually) on the go children. It was definitely one of my favorite meals and I remember my excitement every time I walked into the house and smelled this cooking on the stove.

My first convert was one of my best gal-pals growing up, Kristin. Anytime my mother made it, she would have me set some aside for her. Apparently her repeated attempts to recreate it (despite its simplicity) had failed and she continued to depend on me for her soup fixes. The next culprit was a guy I used to date who loved all things Peruvian cuisine and begged for me to have him over anytime my mother prepared Sopa de Semola or any other Latin-inspired dish.

My most recent convert is my roommate, Mary-Jo, who likes to call it "cheese cube soup". Just the other day she was craving this soup and she texted me while I was up in Jersey to see if I would be home later that night to make it. Man... people go crazy for this soup and the funny thing is that it is so incredibly simple to make and takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish.

What you'll need:

- 1 16 oz. can of chicken stock (preferably low-sodium)
- A little less than 1/3 c. of 2 1/2 minute Cream of Wheat (or any other non-flavored Farina-type hot cereal).
image - Queso Blanco or Queso Fresco cheese (it can be found in the dairy aisle) 
- A stalk or two of celery (optional)
- Fresh cracked pepper (optional)



1. Chop about a cup of the cheese into small cubes and set aside for later.

2. Heat up your chicken stock in a medium-sized pot until it has reached a slow boil.

3. Pour in your farina cereal, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes until it is cooked thoroughly. I find that a little less than 1/3 cup serves one can of chicken stock well - the soup is usually prepared a little less thick than you would prepare Farina. If you prefer your soup a little thicker, you can always add more Farina (I would recommend a tablespoon at a time) until you've reached the desired consistency.

3. Stir in your cheese cubes until the Farina is cooked through (about 40 seconds to a minute), remove from heat, and let sit for approximately 3-5 minutes to cool slightly and settle, allowing the cheese to melt just a little bit. The nice thing about Queso Fresco is that it will not completely melt and will maintain its original shape!

4. Pour in bowls, crack some fresh pepper on top, and enjoy!

* This soup refrigerates well for a few days (up to 4 or 5) but reheating can be a trick - I would add a little extra chicken stock when reheating or even a little water.

* If you would like, you can also chop some fresh celery and throw it in with the chicken stock before the farina and cheese. It adds a nice little flavor and a bit of crunch to the soup.

When you come home on winter nights late and don't really feel like cooking, this can be a great and tasty save.
Bon Apetit!


Monday, January 18, 2010

dirty thirty


Since the very moment I turned 29 last February, I could not wait for the upcoming year to pass and for me to turn 30. What's at 30, you ask? The answer is that I don't quite know. The same thing as every other year, I suppose. For some reason, however, 30 seemed to hold for me some magical power that could make me smarter, thinner, more successful, and even closer to God. When you're 30, you drive a car that always runs, fall in love every day, and always have enough money in the bank! Right?

If your life's screenplay was written by Nora Ephron.

I won't lie though: I'm pretty damn excited to be making some changes and decisions this year. I want 30 to mean something, even if only to me. I want to see where this photography stuff will go, and I want to travel more - a lot more. I want to meet more people, see more things, do more stuff, and take more chances.
I want to stop drinking so much damn wine. Or maybe start drinking a lot more...

God knows my name, but I want this to be the year that I truly and quite deeply know His. Every single one of them.

I don't really make new years resolutions. Ever.
There are times when I consider it, certainly. The tantalizing turning of the calendar is always a temptation to begin making changes and to start anew.

But friends, if I were prone to making resolutions at the new year then I would have resolved that this is the year I will write more frequently - at the very least about all the things that I hope are yet to come.

To be continued...

Monday, October 26, 2009

power arrangement


I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made; I've been told this my entire life by a mother who so whole-heartedly believes it. The problem is not that I am fearfully and wonderfully made; the problem is that on any given day I feel volumes more fearful than wonderful.

The terror that I often feel does not come from the usual suspects; I can handle spiders and snakes, cops and robbers, and the occasional public speaking gig. My terror comes from a lack of resolution, it comes from things within that even I have a difficult time reconciling. courage

This city, with all of its challenges, joys, and realizations that it has brought over the past year has taught me very little about the person that I was. If anything, it has made me forget. It has swept me away like a moderately pleasant and memory lapsing breeze to a place that is new and fresh (metaphorically), despite its non-metaphorical grit and grime.

I realize now that I have been holding onto a desire that I cannot attain; that I thought I had put away. I secretly had only put it on hiatus, figuring that eventually I could have all my cake, eat it, and not have to suffer any of the calories.

Am I being vague?

I am still here - right where I was (give or take 75 miles or so).
And I still care so damn much that my heart breaks every time I am reminded of the beauty that was and that could have been; every time I am reminded of the life that seeks joy but has yet to find it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

moodle my noodle

With dramatic flair last week, I was escorted from my institution of higher education. Collecting all of my things in my arms and walking slowly and carelessly down the steps followed by a business office employee, I walked as though we were stepping out to lunch rather than stepping out for failure to pay. There was no way I was going to give her the satisfaction of seeing me care; at that moment, I wasn't quite sure that I did.

The experience, as a whole, was either sadly hysterical or hysterically sad - I'm not quite sure which one yet.

It wasn't until after I had exited the building and climbed onto my bicycle that the feeling of arrest came. I might as well have been in handcuffs. The tears filled my eyes and began to wet my cheeks -- they kind of felt like handcuffs a little bit. So there I was, escorted off the premises, on my bike, with the tears that felt like handcuffs; I made it to the corner before having to stop to blink back the watery fog that had begun to blur my line of vision.

I wish they were tears of embarrassment. But they weren't.
They were tears of defeat.

Have you ever experienced a 'death of a vision'? It goes a bit like this: a grand opportunity is presented, life looks good; everything that should be seems to magically fall into place and suddenly a life purpose is more clearly defined. God is good - this is the birth of the vision - the death of said vision occurs when all of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, this vision gets sent through a blender on mince, then subsequently through a washing machine on a repeated spin cycle without the Woolite. It is then hung out to dry, but usually for far past the time at which it has actually finished drying. God is still good.

That's right - God is still good.
So good, in fact, that I'm going to go ahead and say that this vision is not yet dead.

For the first time in a long time, I feel so comfortable in the place where I am. I feel a certain surety in my spirit that Philadelphia, and Moore College of Art & Design, and specifically 707A Brown Street is where God has brought me for a purpose that even I don't quite understand; but it feels good. That is, it has felt good.
While I am determined that it will continue to feel good, I have had a moment in which it feels as though the honeymoon is definitely over and the bill collectors have come calling (quite literally).

My ego has been bruised.
My heart has been smoldered.
My sense of surety has been shaken.

I can have this all restored. I can.
It's a choice, right? It's a choice to restore my ego, and my heart, and my surety.
It's a choice to lean into my hardships and test the things that I thought I always knew to be true.
It's a choice to accept that the things worth getting are not always all that easy to get.

I'm choosing to accept this as a vital party of my growth, I really am. I just need to have a brief moment in which I can close my eyes, cover my ears, and scream.

Monday, July 6, 2009

in a pickle

Today, again, reminded meof being in Indianapolis; but for an entirely different reason. Working at the mission today and talking with the kids, who are just so amazingly honest, reminded me so much of the children that we worked with in ITI. Children that come from homes broken by drugs, abuse, and helplessness. They share their stories with anyone who will listen and they seem wise beyond their years. There is a worldliness that begins to mask the innocense in their eyes, and it's so evident that sometimes it hurts just a bit.

We took the vans today over to the bay with all the children. I sat next to Julia on the way over, a 10 year-old, beautiful girl who was not so quick to smile. Her eyes judged carefully and slowly and I can tell within minutes that she has plenty of reason not to trust.

I understand, just a little.

Her vulnerability was slightly hidden, but her caution toward me was palpable. It took her awhile to speak, but I must have eventually said something that sparked her, because she opened the flood gates all at once.
She told me that she is the oldest of three - soon to be four - children. Her younger sisters and her youngest brother all live separately from one another. She lives with her "Mim" (her grandmother), after her mother lost all three of the children in a custody battle that occurred as a result of her drug habit. Julia told me all of this and more in painstaking indifference. Terms like "junkie", "addict", and "rehab" slipped so casually from her tongue that it was nothing short of heart breaking.

A lovely contrast to this was to see them all at the bay, playing freely and having a blast. We found a toad and two grasshoppers in the grass. A whole group of the older kids played cards and ultimate frisbee. It's amazing to see these kids' level of trust with us given their circumstances. They gravitate toward us instantly though, regardless of the world having given them plenty of reason not to.

The community center has become a safe haven for them; a place where they can trust and leave behind their vulnerability. It's teaching them such an incredibly valuable lesson. It's teaching me such an incredibly valuable lesson.

They've risen above their circumstances in so many ways and God is extending the grace for them to overcome those circumstances altogether.
I'm not going to lie - it's a little humbling. It's a lot humbling.

I know my life situation is not like theirs. I've not really been exposed to addiction and loss in the same way that they have. My life has not been perfect; the pain of abuse and fear has left quite a lot of damage in its wake, and I have reasons all my own not to trust, but God is extending the same exact grace to me that he is to each and every one of these children. I am no different...

Wow. I guess that really is true.
I keep saying that they are no different, that God sees them as His children too; and in the meantime I tend to forget that the reverse is also true. That I too am no different - still in need of a savior. Still in need of that grace. If they are able to receive grace to rise above, then why not me too?

I know the strength we find when we are young. I know how black and white things are and how easy it is to discern right from wrong. I know that it's not necessarily that things get harder as you get older - it's that you just know a hell of a lot more.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

a mixed baker's two dozen

I did it. Yes, that's right. I did it because it was even a little fun. Don't tell anyone I said that though...

To my knowledge, only a half dozen people or so have tagged me in their "25 random things" notes, but there may have been more.

It's amazing the facts you can come up with over the course of a major sporting event when you don't have a television.

enjoy. I know I did.

25 very specific things about Moe:
1. I used to write. A lot. And I used to really really love it. I have hundreds of blog entries posted over the course of nearly five years, ranging in topic from the significant to the mundane. It makes me sad that I don't still write all too often.
I don't even really have an explanation for it - which almost makes me more sad.

2. I have five nieces and one nephew that I am positively in love with. Every time I hear them call my name it makes my heart skip a beat or two. They nearly make me want to have children of my own one day.

3. I'm afraid that fear is the only thing that keeps me from wanting to have children of my own someday.

4. One day, when I was thirteen or fourteen, I decided that I really didn't like eating meat. By default, I kind of became a vegetarian - the only problem with that is that I didn't really eat vegetables. I was more of a pastatarian. Sometime around age 20, my palate changed a bit and I began adding meat back into my diet. It's still a work in progress. I really just consider myself a recovering vegetarian. I don't always realize it, but sometimes I still go several days without eating any meat subconsciously.

5. I danced ballet for thirteen years (seriously - from age 8 to age 21) and somehow managed to almost never have to wear a tutu.

6. Shhhh... don't tell anyone, but I really miss dancing ballet on a weekly basis.

7. I'm a bad facebook friend, but consider myself to be a fairly decent face-to-face friend.

8. I once caught the woods near my house on fire when I was 6 or 7. I tried to start a small, contained fire as I'd seen my older brother do numerous times before. When it got out of control, I ran back to my house, tossed the book of matches into a shrub, and yelled to my family that there was a fire. A neighbor saw it and called the cops, who promptly came to investigate. I lied to the police when questioned about the blaze, and I'm sure they took my testimony with a grain of salt. Officer Campbell soooo knew that I was lying. He is still on the police force in the town I grew up in and every now and again I consider taking myself in to confess.

9. I play the piano and sing better than I would ever confess to anyone in person.

10. I know what an octothorpe is, and am willing to bet that you don't.

11. I have every edition of the Guinness Book of world Records since 1991. I haven't even cracked the cover on any of them since about the 1997 or 1998 edition. My mother (God love her) just keeps buying me one every year and I don't exactly know why.

12. I can ride a unicycle.

13. No, really. I can.

14. Words such as "befuddle", "impeccable", and "disheveled" were in my vernacular by age six (read: I'm very likely the biggest nerd you'll ever meet).

15. I was once nearly decapitated by a falling window in a third-world country -- and I have the scars to prove it.

16. I have an older brother and sister as well as a younger brother and sister -- and while people sometimes tend to feel sorry for me because I am the middle child, I secretly love every second of it.

17. I'm going to be 30 next year (no, not 29 again) and I'm actually really looking forward to it.

18. I talk to myself. A lot. Sometimes in the mirror, other times in empty elevators. I frequently find myself doing it in supermarkets or clothing stores when I'm trying to decide what I'm going to buy. I don't know why I can't just think inside my head like everyone else - why I feel the need to verbalize it is beyond me. When I get caught, it's always moderately embarrassing and I feel the need to explain my behavior.

19. Sometimes I spit - especially after smoking a cigarette. I realize that it's entirely unsightly and mostly unladylike.

20. I don't really smoke, I just sometimes pretend that I do.

21. Until recently, I spent nearly 16 years going almost strictly by the nickname "Moe", a moniker given by one of my sister's old boyfriends when I was 10 or 11.
The nickname always managed, in one manner or another, to pass on and stick wherever I worked or lived. It traveled from where I grew up in Jersey, out to Indianapolis, where I lived for two years, back to Jersey and through all of the political campaigns I worked on for eight years, and even down to DC where I lived and worked for awhile. All this, and I never once introduced myself to anyone as "moe". Somehow, it always managed to work it's way into everyone's conscious.
Over the past three years or so, the nickname I've grown to love has managed to die out, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss it just a little.

22. I keep buying books and I just can't stop. But I kind of don't want to.

23. I miss my best friend something fierce (Rawr)!

24. "Miles Davis Days", as I like to call them, make my heart soar. When steel grey skies open up their tear ducts in a manner so melodic that you can't help but stop for a moment, or an hour and watch. listen. When the raindrops are fat and slow and when they separate tires from pavement like musical velcro, it makes me smile like little else.

25. I've always known but am just now starting to believe and accept the very foundation of my faith; that I am Christ's beloved. To know that my faults and flaws are covered is one thing, but to actually BELIEVE it is another. Unconditional love is the most outrageous and amazing experience ever.

1985, baby!!