It’s December 31st, so it must be time to recap the year that was. There is no Top 10 list, there is no best of this or best of that. I just wanted to share a few thoughts with you. They are subtle reminders that we need to keep life simple (and what’s more simple in life than skipping a rock), explore what’s out there and enjoy what life has to offer.
I hope you enjoy this, there will be food and recipes, but there will also be some pictures of some wonderful moments this year offered me and a little reflection throughout since I’ve been doing that a lot this year.
From a blogging perspective, let’s just say I’m learning each and every day. I used to take a picture without putting much thought into it, because I figured the story behind the post was the key, but in looking at other incredible blogs, I can see I was mistaken. All of the pieces are as important as one another. The parts really do make the whole in this case.
I’d like to highlight one specific moment of the blog as it will be one of my promises for 2011. Early in 2010, I responded to a simple little tweet from Joy The Baker (p.s. If you don’t know her, you should. Think the most awesome cookie ever and then it turns into human form and that’s her). She had asked if anyone out there had a new blog and if so, send over their URL to her. Without thinking much of it, I did and then boom! I woke up the next morning to see my stats climb and climb and climb because of this post of hers. Thankfully, my post at the time was this really fun 5 Minute Chocolate Cake using the microwave, which was a fun post for people to read, but could my pictures have been any worse!? I was refreshing the page every 30 minutes in shock as it climbed all the way to 1500 in that one magical day! Sadly, I haven’t seen that number again, but it sits there every day as a reminder of the power of the internet and one incredibly generous and talented baking blogger gal! By the way, you’ll be seeing her on the Food Network one day, I am as sure of that as the day is long.
And yes, my promise is that I will do the same as Joy and introduce great blogs throughout the year that could use another friend or two. And well, I can’t promise a spike of 1500 hits in a day, I do have big dreams for this blog, so you never know!
In a weird and ironic twist of fate, I began 2010 with a job that made me the envy of many, yet as of this writing, I don’t have a job. This once-in-a-lifetime job was with the Olympics, specifically a one year contract job in Vancouver being part of the Organizing Committee for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. That job, not surprisingly ended when the Paralympics ended in March and I have been without a job since, part my choice, part well, umm not my choice.
I’d like to say I was out every night on Robson Street partying in the balmy winter conditions, but unfortunately, I was not. I managed the staff and operations of the Men’s Ice Hockey Training Venue, which meant, I was there at 6am until 12am for about 21 straight days. Don’t worry, I’m not looking for pity or an “aww” moment. I ran on pure adrenaline and it was a wonderful experience, one that I’m glad I chose to do, even if that meant quitting a full-time job, leaving amazing friends behind and moving across Canada for the uncertainty of a job with a definitive end date.
I look back and think, had I not taken a leap, I would have missed out on meeting the amazing people that I had the opportunity to meet and work with and I never would have had the chance to…
Paint the red line of an Olympic hockey rink.
Or be the first person to skate on a brand new fresh sheet of ice. Not a single skate had ever touched the surface until I dug in and then posed for the customary photo.
Or umm, I don’t know, witness the Gold Medal Hockey game. While people went nuts after Sidney Crosby scored the Gold medal winning goal, I had only one shot at taking the “in the moment” picture. Possibly the best picture I’ve ever taken, note the puck in the net, yet the score still shows 2-2. The team is flooding the ice, while Crosby and his stick are in mid-air, he’s mid-air!
I love Seinfeld, I quote it ad nauseam since I always find it relevant. You may have heard the reference to “Summer of George”, well since the Olympics ended, it’s been the “Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter of Ethan” or let’s just call it the “Four Seasons of Ethan”. Through some good savings and foresight, I envisioned not working right away and thought I could indulge myself with some travelling.
I know not everyone has the chance to do what I did in a span of six months. I backpacked Europe, lounged in Hawaii and road-tripped west to east to check out places like Mount Rushmore, Custer’s Last Stand, Wrigley Field in Chicago, Miller Park in Milwaukee, all while eating like a champ. And for what it’s worth, it may not have the glamour of the south or the west, but the northern part of the United States is pretty impressive. Wyoming is absolutely right in calling themselves “Big Sky Country”.
It was only recently that I got “bit” with the travel bug and needless to say, I’m making up for lost time. But I wish you all the opportunity to explore a little bit more in 2011. There is magic in places we have never heard or been before and it’s incredible to witness it.
I had the opportunity to see a sunrise on the top of Haleakala in Maui. Standing at the summit of a 10,000 foot mountain, the sun peaks through the clouds to start its day of illumination. When you see the sun face-to-face like this, you have an altogether new appreciation for an occurrence that we take for granted on a daily basis. And yes, that’s the proof we’re above the clouds.
I spent three weeks in Europe and tackled Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany. It would be unfair to try and pick one moment to share here, but one meal did stand out. I stopped in Lyon, France to eat at a “bouchon”, which is a type of restaurant that serves traditional Lyonaise cuisine. And although Lyon is known as the gastronomical capital of France, Lyonaise cuisine is more on the rustic side compared to the fancier, “haut cuisine” of Paris. Think French comfort food and you’ve got yourself a bouchon. Somehow, I managed to find a bouchon that I had read about in the New York Times and the “Poulet au vinaigre” (Chicken in Vinegar) called out to me, as you can see why. I love the checkered tablecloths, how much more French down-home-cooking can you get?
This meal was so memorable that I repeated it when I got back. Poulet en Vinaigre is Winter comfort food at its finest. It will have you saying “oooh-la-la”.
Life is funny with its twists and turns. I write this not knowing where I might be living in a week or a month. I never thought of myself in this position, let alone enjoying the feeling of uncertainty. And while, there are definitely restless nights about how much money I have in my account and how much longer I can make it last, I’ve tried to comfort myself with the mantra of “Embrace the Unknown”.
And since this is my blog, a little self-promotion is acceptable from time to time.
Highly qualified professional with marketing and project/event management experience is currently available. Fluently bilingual in English and French and if you’ve read everything thus far, has no qualms about moving to pretty much anywhere.
AS THE CLOCK STRIKES MIDNIGHT
I’ve had a blast cooking, writing and sharing with you this year. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have and I want to thank you all for reading what I’ve had to say this year. I promise the pictures will continue to get better and I will challenge myself with more recipes that are more challenging, yet easily replicable wherever I happen to find myself in the world.
All the best in 2011 and as my Bubbie used to say, “I wish you wealth, health and happiness”