The Cold and Ruthless

Do you have a friend that is just prone to dramatic interludes and drama-packed day to day? 

I have two. Every single day is another drama and action packed life… and they way they narrate their lives is as if the world is ending and there is an ebola outbreak that they are singlehandedly trying to stop. Don’t get me wrong… there are somedays that I feel overly dramatic and I narrate my harrowing day in overblown terms… but mostly for comic amusement and mostly so I can just blow off steam. But M? She actually believes that she faces these true life or death scenarios and that she was in grave danger. Her dog recently was hospitalized, and you would have thought the leader of the free world was hurt and she was his only lifeline. I sympathize as a dog owner, but I also believe that if you are capable of spending two thousand dollars fixing your three thousand dollar pet, then this isn’t a real problem.

The cold and ruthless little voice in my head just says “those aren’t real problems.” I don’t think I’ve ever had a “real” problem. There are some little nuisances, annoyances, and dramatic stories, but I’ve never had a problem. I’ve never been deathly ill, or broken, or stranded in a place where no civilized hand could reach out and help me. I’ve never wanted for food, shelter, or any comfort.

For the most part, my friends are like me, we enjoy a good life. We have the ability to gripe on about stupid things like how the $20 martini was just not all that great, and how our fancy leather shoes got damages when we accidentally spilled that overpriced martini on them. So when one of my friends complains about their hardships, I just hope that I do not do the same where such trivial matters becomes mountains in my minds eye when there are people who suffer from true hardship and battle harrowing days.


Oh Puppy

I just removed a tick from my dog’s ear. I’ve had Boo for over 4 years now, but I’m still horrified whenever I see one of those slimy little bugs. This time, I used tweezers, but I think I nicked a little bit of my dog’s ear in the process of yanking the bugger out. Ugh. It’s so gross.

So gross. 


I flushed the bug down the sink, but now I think I should have burned it alive as punishment for biting my doggie’s ear. Gross. So Gross.

Today has been an epic day of bugs. I woke up with a giant something weird thing crawling on the floor. Then there was this disgusting hairy spider on my car, so I had to get out of the passenger door and swat at it in the middle of a parking lot like a deranged person. Then there was so hideous looking bug on the back deck… and then the tick.

So. SO. Gross. 


Coconut Spiced Macadamia Nuts

Oh hello… I bet you almost forgot that I actually post recipes and fun stuff! But I do have this lovely LOVELY recipe for you… finally!

If you are like me and are barreling through summer studying for an exam (ahem bar and board takers) you understand how stir crazy you get sometimes. After reading through evidence (of all horrible things) for a few hours, I was falling asleep in my chair. In attempt to perk up and distract myself from the fluffy pillows on my bed, I whipped up these roasted nuts, lightly spiced and crunchy sweet. I made them first with almonds, and then with macadamia nuts. I far prefer the macadamia nuts because of the contrast between the creaminess of the nut and the crunch of the coating. However, feel free to make these with any type of nut! The nuts end up just a bit coated in sugar and a bit crusted in coconut. Some of the coconut just caramelizes with the sugar and you get these delicious bites of spiced coconut. So… ON TO THE RECIPE!

The measurements are not exact, but this is what you need:

  • 1/2 cup of flaked, unsweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups of macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin*
  • A sprinkle of paprika and red peper powder*
  1. Lightly toast the coconut flakes. Stir in the spices and pour into a separate plate.
  2. In the same pan, sprinkle the sugar evenly over the surface and allow it to melt. Once the sugar has melted, you must work quickly so that it does not burn!
  3. Remove the pan from the flame and toss the macadamia nuts to coat in the sugar.
  4. Then quickly sprinkle the coconut mixture evenly over the tops of the glazed nuts and stir rapidly
  5. Quickly remove the mixture to a large, flat plate and cool.
  6. Store after completely cooled

* If you like a spicier nut, feel free to up the quantities of these spices. You could even crumble a little rosemary in here!


I love Sundays!

Today I ran the Iron Girl Half Marathon in Columbia, MD and set my new fastest half marathon time, trotting in just under two hours. 

My friend Courtney and I ran the race together, and I am so so glad that I did!!! I had debated just sleeping in the car while she ran because I wasn’t feeling the race. 

I ran two ten mile races earlier in the month and I felt terrible during both. The first was the Cherry Blossom on April 1. It was chillier than I expected, so I didn’t wear enough clothing to the race and was chilled during most of the race. I spent most of the race thinking about how unhappy my stomach felt and a good portion fighting with my shoes. And I wore my Tomtom so I was distracted by the little blipping numbers telling me I was running slowly. The second 10 mile was on April 14, and I started the race hungry and uncomfortable. I wasn’t happy with the shirt I wore and my music wasn’t getting me in the zone. I ran this race with a close friend, and after holding him back for the first 5 miles I convinced him to race up ahead and kick ass. I finished that race tired and sore.

So today, I wasn’t feeling very optimistic. I had only run a couple times since the last race, but I got got plenty of sleep yesterday and the day before. I laid out my favorite Nike Victory V-neck (which has been very sadly discontinued), Nike spandex, Nike sports bra, and Calvin Klein underwear (overshare?). I pulled on my very favorite adidas hoodie. Just before we ran across the start, I threw the hoodie in a bag and checked it. 

I do things differently for every single race, so I’m not sure if it was just ONE thing that made the difference or the combination of everything that made this race so enjoyable, but the first 7 miles flew by and before I knew it I was bopping up those hills and counting down to the 13 mile mark. I felt GOOD the whole race, which isn’t always the case. Sometimes the loser in me whines and I have to slap some sense into myself before I get back into my stride. But my legs felt good and I felt good.

I think a lot of being able to push myself this race was having absolutely no expectations for time. I didn’t bring my Tomtom with me so I wasn’t being constantly reminded by those little numbers what I was doing. The water breas were well timed and the race was filled with mild, rolling hills. I’m freakishly attached to running hills…. I love it! I told my friends I was planning on walking the majority of the race because I wasn’t feeling it. With such little to prove, I could just enjoy the run. 

I also think that the change in shoes/socks helped. I have run 13 races wearing those cotton Champion socks that are unisex and you buy from Costco for 24 for like $15 or something reasonable. I mean really… they’re just socks!! But my younger sister bought me a pair of Smartwool socks a year or so ago. I didn’t wear them until a month ago when I was having trouble with my shoes and I figured I’d give them a try. I ran my 5 mile run in less than 45 minutes (including the traffic lights!!) and my feet felt great. I immediately got home and ordered myself 5 more pairs. At over $10 a pair of socks (with the ones I wore today ringing in at $15) it’s an expensive habit… but I should have known my younger sister’s running wisdom is far more vast than mine. There is a reason she buys those socks… they make a difference!!! 

The run itself was beautiful, and the people that were cheering on the sidelines were all just wonderful people. I really enjoyed running the race and soaking in the beautiful greenery of the suburbs and the nice people there! 

Anyway, I just wanted to share this little piece of happiness with everyone today. I was thrilled to find out that I beat my best time by 3 minutes and that I had felt so strong and happy during this race. Last year, I ran 7 race (1 full marathon, 5 half  marathons, and a ten miler) and so this year I was just so jaded. I’ve been running decked out my GPS and feeling really jaded about running… so today I finally felt FREE running. I had almost forgotten that amazing feeling where you are so happy that nothing is keeping that smile off your face… and that amazing rush when you cross the finish. I ran almost this entire race smiling.

Last year, the day I cross the finish line for the marathon was the best day of my life. Today is another one of those BEST DAYS EVER. 

I think I will try to write a little bit more about my running here, just to keep track and share with you what works for me and doesn’t. I haven’t really read many running blogs that I find helpful… but I wonder if that’s because running is so personal and individualized to each runner.

Here is to happy runs that just set you free. Here is to smiling like goofy through each race. 




The Mistaken Belief

I live in Baltimore, and more than anywhere else I have ever been I get some very weird comments. I get called “china doll” a lot. Last weekend someone told me I looked like the perfect little “geisha girl.” A week ago someone tried to trip me while I was outside running… and I almost let it go except she yelled after me “fucking chinky bitch.” Well…. and then the gloves were truly off. I had a professor tell me that my English was pretty good for a Chinese kid. My cab driver asked me why I was so tall for one of those “oriental kids.” The list keeps going…

I know there is this belief that most Asian people are passive and will not fight back. They will simply stare at you as you insult them up and down. I know plenty of people who believe that this passivity is their permission to abuse and speak poorly of Asian people. Passivity, no matter what ethnicity, is not permission for someone else to take advantage or abuse the passive person. Passivity is not weakness… instead it is the greatest strength that anyone can have. The act of doing nothing at all is not an act of giving up. It is a distinct choice to not act and demonstrates the kind of inner strength and power that is invaluable. When I was a child, my mother taught me the virtues of being able to sit still and not fight back even when I wanted to. She taught me that the physical, verbal and showy aspect of fighting guarantee losing. My mother instilled in me the value of standing strong and still against the waves of wrongful behavior. She taught me that when everyone else thinks you are being passive, the act of being immoveable is the greatest strength to win the battle because my opponent would tire themselves with their frantic and miscalculated actions.

I’m at the tail end of a dispute with a professor and he has this mistaken idea that because I have been a docile student that I will not fight back when he has unfairly assigned a low grade to me. He has the mistaken belief that my passive and calm demeanor means I won’t fight back. He thinks that he can make up lies and excuses and barriers so I cannot prevail… but what he doesn’t understand that my calmness and ability to be passive gives me more strength and power because his frantic and futile gestures carry no power over the calm and crushing calculating actions that I will bring down on him.  My mere ability to be immoveable in the face of his inflammatory actions and juvenile behavior gives me strength that he does not have. I do not have to dispute this grade or have the grade changed to win. I win because despite his pettiness, I have not resorted to the mudslinging that he has. My honor and dignity remain untarnished because I did nothing wrong and in attempt to cover his wrongs he simply digs himself more futilely into the filth that he is. 

The mistaken belief that passivity is losing is wrong. The mere act of being immoveable in the face of the onslaught of cruelty is the greatest strength and the most dignified way to win. 

So, my dear Professor. Whether you believe you have won or not… I know that in 20 years when I look back on this incident that I did nothing wrong. I acted graciously and with dignity. I did not resort to any derogatory behavior. I learned from this incident and I grew into a more beautiful person. But you? In 20 years, I know that you will not be able to look back on this incident and be able to justify your silly behavior. I know that if there is any shred of decency in your body you will be embarrassed at your inability to shut your mouth and your inability to control your wild emotions. 

On Being Alone

Being alone doesn’t bother me. I don’t often feel lonely since I keep myself pretty well occupied. Plus, I have a little fuzzy monster of a doggie to keep me company. 

But sometimes, it gets to me. Like today. Reading week for finals starts in the next couple of days, and this is the time of year when everyone starts to hibernate in the library and study their asses off. I recently got into a bit of an argument with a friend, so my one friend outside of law school and I aren’t talking… you know what happens to people that only talk to law school people?!?! We get all crazy and weird. 

I’ve been feeling less and less happy because it’s the end of the school year and I’m not prepared and to add insult to injury…. I’ve hit a wall with running. I’m just not feeling it. My joints hurt, my feet are bothering me, my new shoes are weird…. my music sounds funny, my watch is beeping too loudly. I don’t know. I’m just not HERE. 

So yesterday, in attempt to smooth all these frizzies in my life and my mind away I went grocery store shopping. I wanted to buy little oranges (I bought them a couple weeks ago) but they were out! Anyway, I came back with a huge haul of fruit and vegetables and spent most of the evening roasting mushrooms and slicing fruits and vegetables. I felt better.

My new thing, as the weather gets warmer and warmer, is salad. And you want to know something funny? Until recently I have always eschewed salad for a burger or pizza or something equally frat-boyish. I just don’t find salad particularly entertaining. However, I recently discovered that I like goat cheese. In fact, I more than like it. My new feelings toward goat cheese are similar to my feelings about butter. I LOVE IT and eat it with a spoon. Did anyone else do this as a child? Eat butter by the stick? Because I definitely did. I used to slice little pieces off the sticks in the fridge and let them melt in my mouth. Sometimes I’d sprinkle sugar on the butter before eating it. Once I figured out how to make toast, I used to melt butter and dip my toasted bread in it before re-toasting the bread. 

Anyway – we’re in a bit of limbo so my salad is just a little too cold for this weather. I’ve been generously dousing my salad with goat cheese and creamy dressing and adding piping hot circles of roasted sweet potato on the side. It’s the perfect meal for half warm half cold weather as spring/summer swirls in. 



Turning the Other Cheek…

A year or so ago, I made the promise to let go of all the people and things that hurt me. Life is so short and so precious that you can’t let these things get to you. So I wonder… is it worth it to turn the cheek with a close friend? Or is it better to just let them go and move on? If it were anyone else, I’d just let them go. I have a great friend, Kara, and she is my voice of reason in this matter. She told me to give this friend the benefit of the doubt and let bygones be bygones. So… I’ve decided to let it go.

Anyway… at the same time I was preoccupied with thoughts of tangles of pasta and meat sauce… I followed Whipped’s recipe for Pasticcio to a T. I found that my noodles absorbed quite a bit of liquid. So the only changes I would make are to use 28 oz of tomato sauce to help keep the dish a bit more moist.


Toasty Coconut Jam Cookies

My sister started eating a paleo diet about a year ago, and since has come up with these amazing new things to try. And while I have not switched my daily consumption of things much, I had included some of the new and interesting things my sister introduces me to. A few months back she came up to me and stuffed a spoonful of coconut oil into my mouth… And it tasted like sunshine. It was coconut!!! Well… since then I have been a bit obsessed with coconut. I drink coconut water after my runs, run coconut oil on my feet, and generally just like coconut anything.

I made shredded coconut cookies a few weeks ago, and then became obsessed with the idea of peach jam on the tops of the cookies. I’ve read a few dozen recipes on shredded coconut cookies, so I can’t honestly say where I got this recipe from. It’s an amalgamation of everything I’ve read… and most importantly I included the whole egg in the batter as opposed to just egg whites as many recipes call for. I find that using only the white or yolk of the egg is wasteful so I try to avoid recipes like that.

Toasty Coconut Jam Cookies (inspired from a bit of this and that all over the web)

  • 2 1/2 cups of unsweetened coconut flakes*
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of jam (I used a thick apricot jam)
  1. If your coconut are large flakes like mine, run it through your food processor until it is a bit finer. I usually work in two batches. One I leave a little larger, and the other I zip in the food processor a little bit more for a finer grain. I measure my coconut after I’ve processed it.
  2. In a bowl, stir together egg and sugar
  3. Add coconut and stir until the egg/sugar mixture coats the coconut and forms a loose ball.
  4. On a parchment sheet, arrange scoops of coconut. I use a tablespoon and pack the coconut into the spoon tightly before gently tapping the mound out on the cookie sheet.
  5. Using a 1/4 teaspoon scoop, dollop jam onto the center of the coconut mounds
  6. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. My oven runs a bit hot, so I baked for 18 minutes.

These cookies keep well in the refrigerator for a week. I packaged mine in little cellophane bags and presented them to my grandmother a week ago. They are just soft and just sweet enough to be perfect for grandmothers that are health conscious like mine.

It also occurs to me, that a little chocolate covered almond tapped onto the top of the coconut mounds might be an excellent alternative to jam. However, I would bake the coconut mounds just a minute or two less to let the coconut whiteness contrast more beautifully with the almonds.

* Alternatively, you may use sweetened coconut but I find this often sickeningly sweet. Plus… who knows what sugar is added?! I’ve also seen unsweetened coconut in smaller flakes called “desiccated coconut” – for whatever reason I find that label so unpalatable. The coconut I purchase is from Fresh Market, and comes in larger flakes. It’s quite a bit too big, so I spin it in my food processor for a finer grit.



For the Love of Running

About two years and a week ago, I ran my first half marathon in D.C. Since then I have run several more races, and last July I ran my first marathon. 

My friends always ask me what motivates me to run, because in their minds there is literally nothing worse than running… let alone running for what they consider obscene distances. And to top it off, I’m often up very early or very late getting my miles in. Since I only run outdoors, my friends find this completely crazy (I think I’ve mentioned several times that I live in Baltimore, so the hours of the day where it is safe to run alone are limited to daylight).

The first race I ran, I ran because a bunch of people in my law school were running it. And I though… “if they can run it, so can I.” When I first started training, I was concerned. In high school, my fleet footed running days were cut short when I had a catastrophic fall in 10th grade. I tumbled down a flight of stairs during a face paced run, and before I even hit the ground I knew that it was going to be ugly. It took years before my ankle lost it’s puffiness, and my knees were never the same. So when I set my sights on this half marathon a little over two years ago, I was aiming high. And I thought I wouldn’t ever run a marathon. I watched those marathon runners struggle at the half I ran. In fact, most of them look flat out miserable and pissed off. And I believed that my knees wouldn’t be able to make it.

Then exactly 1 year after my first half marathon, I ran a half marathon and a 10 mile in two consecutive weekends. My cousin, my friend, and I all ran the two races. We all finished, but my cousin and friend were hurting after the second race. And me? I felt amazing… and that was the moment I knew that I could run a marathon. If I could do that… I could run a marathon. It wasn’t until late April last year that I decided to run the San Francisco Marathon. I made a training schedule for 18 weeks… it was going to be a tight training schedule to get ready for the race but I was ready. In May I ran a half marathon for training purposes, but wore relatively new shoes. During the race, my feet felt terrible and after the race I had to sit out for 2 weeks waiting for my feet to feel normal again. Then, the minute my foot felt better I shot out of my apartment for a run (even though it was 100 degrees outside) and I fell. I hadn’t fallen during a run since high school (I’m super super careful when I run) but my foot slid on some sand or missed the curb or something, but I fell!! And I had to sit out another week while the bruises and scrapes healed. And somehow despite all those little things, I ran my marathon with a smile on my face the entire time. It was the best day of my life. 

I’ve run a couple races since, but I’ve been feeling burnt out. I got (REALLY) out of shape after November when I forced myself to take a break from running and now I’m trying to get back in the groove. I really don’t mind running alone, but sometimes I really just need someone to go with. There are only so many 10 mile runs you can do on your own in complete utter running silence before you feel like you need a buddy. And I recently cut all my hair off, so the short hair stuffed under a cap has become more and more irritated. My scalp is unhappy with the little points of hair poking it ruthlessly during our runs. And to add insult to injury? This year my seasonal allergies are the worst yet. I feel short of breath because of all the pollen I seem to be sucking in. 

Anyway, last night I went out and bought myself tons of salad greens, some steak and chicken, and a small chunk of blue cheese to make myself plenty and plenty of salad. This officially starts my campaign to get back into insane running shape. I was in good shape when I ran the marathon, but I plan on getting back into that kind of endurance and stamina PLUS some!

So… my next two years of running will be better than the last!! I’m going to focus on quality time and quality races as opposed to the intense racing I’ve done over the last two years. (Did I mention I’ve run 10 races, all over 10 miles, in the last two years?!)


Blahbity Blah

You know when you get into a fight with a friend… and they are just flat out wrong but they refuse to apologize. Instead they do one of those faux-pologies where they say something like, “I’m sorry that you thought I was behaving that way” or “I’m sorry that you thought that.” You know? In my opinion, those faux-pologies are even worse than just not apologizing at all. It’s fucking (sorry ma, but this needs an F-word to describe my feelings) irritating and it’s annoying and it’s F-ing rude. Normally, after I cool off, I can see the other person’s perspective, but it’s been a week and I’m still ticked off. I’m not one to hold grudges either, so I know for a fact that I’m not being crazy or weird. He tried again to make up with me and then promptly got drunk at brunch and blew me off for dinner. Talk about adding insult to injury. So all I hear when he talks right now is… blah blah blah. rwor blah blah rwor snore. blah. 

Anyway, while I was stewing last week about how pissed off this friend makes me, I made these meatballs. And my soul immediately felt a bit better. There is nothing like a patient and methodical couple hours of patting meatballs together, baking a couple pans of cookies, and letting the pieces fall back into place. Peacefully!! 

I’ve interpreted this recipe from Health-Bent, and excellent website for healthful and fun recipes. 

Thai Basil Meatballs (adapted from Health-Bent) ~ I left out the almond flour (because I didn’t have any) and roasted red peppers (because I find them just really slimey and gross)

  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced finely
  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce (I only had a deeply flavored Korean kind, which I know to be very salty, so I scaled this back and only used 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 bunch of basil, chopped
  • 1 lime zested
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Mix together all of the ingredients and pat the meat into golfball sized meatballs
  3. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil
  4. Arrange the meatballs on the cookie sheet
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.