Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How I Make Pierogies

Hey All,

I decided to do this for Annie, but whomever gets benefit out of it... I'm happy to share my wisdom.

So growing up my mom encouraged us to try a huge variety of foods, as far back as I can remember I was eating, Japanese food, Chinese food, Italian food and the list goes on and on... one of my very favorite foods is I guess Polish although various other cultures do very similar things so we can't give them all the credit and that is the Pierogie. What a pierogie is, is a dumping that is filled with various ingredients, most commonly potato... and usually onion and or cheese. More info can be found in Wikipedia.

I grew up on "Mrs. T's" brand pictured below, but I'm sure others are good, I have just haven't tried any yet.
The instructions tell you to EITHER boil them or fry them... my mom taught me how she did it, and after a few other attempts, I did find this to be the best way... and that is to do BOTH. First boil water, salt and oil just before dropping them in.

Then when they are al-dente put them into a med-hot pan with lots of butter (onion, pepper and whatever else sounds good can be added at this point... serving them with sausage is very popular as well.)
I like to put a tiny bit of butter (and pepper) on the top before I flip them just to really make sure you get a nice crispiness on the top too. Once they crispy up on the bottom... takes longer then you'd think but its well worth the wait, flip them over.

Once they are all crispy and happy, then plate.

Top with sour cream! You'll think you died and went to heaven. :)

They can be served with just about anything as I mentioned before, I decided to do Peas and Corn this time since its similar to mashed potatoes (and its something I had just laying around the house), I thought it would go good together, as it turned out, it totally did! :)

I hope you enjoyed my little picture/instruction on the ever elusive pierogie... maybe I inspired you to try something new and maybe just a bit sinful. ;)


P.s There is a "fat free" sour cream made by "Naturally Yours" that is amazing... I'd say its the best tasting sour cream on the market I've had and FAT FREE... so you don't feel too bad giving a nice big dollop on each pierogie. :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Unfinished Projects

I had this thought today that there are tons of unfinished projects around my house... I knew there were some, but it wasn't until I started to make a list I realized how much stuff I start but never finish... so I thought that if I owned up to them... actually wrote them down... perhaps I would be more motivated to finish them.

Started but Not Finished:
  1. Desk For My Sister
  2. Ryan's New Space Painting
  3. Latch-hook Quilt
  4. Winding Road Puzzle
  5. Dragonfly Painting
  6. Knitted Quilt
  7. Bench/Sunset Painting
  8. Milksted the Novel
  9. New Horror Novel (not named yet)
  10. Bills
Projects Not Yet Started:
  1. Rocking Chair Refinish
  2. Jeannette & Bob's Table Refinish (actually getting $ for this)
  3. Birthday Gift/Wrap
  4. Organize Photographs
  5. Fish Tank Clean
  6. File Papers
  7. Fix Ryan's Pants (Button fell off)
Ok - it's been written, so now I can't deny its existence any longer!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back...

Hey All,

So I get to my apprenticing job today and I'm a few minutes late - something I hate to do, but I stroll in 5 minutes late hoping for the best, with a big smile on my face... and I'm immediately met by my boss lady there at the shop and her face is like the exact opposite of mine. She quickly escorts me into her office, saying "we need to talk." Expecting the worse, I sit down nervously and she promptly tells me that one of her guys will be leaving soon and she would like to offer me the position, but I need to take the time before he leaves to really prove that I can do it. She says my skills are there, but my need for perfection is definitely slowing me down too much for how busy she is. She asked me to step it up by about 3 times!

Seemed a little daunting but I'm pretty tough, and I really like a challenge, so I just go for it. First she throws me right into yet another thing I've never done before... using some pretty intense chemicals to strip the big pieces of wood from a piano. This stripper is incredibly mean to the skin, just burns like crazy. So basically it's hard work physically, plus the added fun of the burning flesh where it's splashed back. Boy does it get the job done though, very impressive. I find out after a few hours of that, at what I'm feeling like is a pretty good speed, for a newbie... that I'm actually doing a fair job and at a good speed! SCORE!

So I'm feeling pretty awesome by now... like things are really moving forward in this plan of mine. The guys go to lunch and the boss and I are left alone again. So I take this time to inquire about the pay and hours... if everything should work out as we're hoping. Turns out it's only 16 hours a week and the pay would have to be pretty incredible for that to work... the money is ok... but it's far from incredible. So of course I ask about room for advancement $ wise and about the possibilities for more hours... their business has been really picking up and they have a ton of work. As it turns out they are indeed hoping to expand in the near future... however there is still a limit on how much she can afford to pay us and still make a profit... so that's why the hours are cut back. So while it could definitely improve... maybe not enough.

So I go back to work and continue to learn and enjoy every second of this creative freedom. I worked almost an extra hour just trying to help the guys when I could and other times just watch their techniques; just trying to absorb everything I can. I can't tell you how much this experience (so far) has helped me... it's given me the confidence to try all these new and tricky things, ask questions, be heard, and even just the idea of working in a predominately male career, and be fairly successful at it.

Plus the people I work with are great. OMG - I can't tell you how much I just adore them, they are real people who laugh and joke and have fun, but have a serious side and are professionals too.. they are just so refreshing to work side by side with! Even their jokes are hardly at the expense of others and are tasteful and fun. They all sing to the radio and it doesn't even matter what's on. They don't hesitate to help me if I don't know how to do something, or if they think they are doing something I might find interesting they make sure to call me over. Also they are great about encouraging me to try things hands on, and I just love that!

Plus working with all these diverse pieces of furniture, some really amazing antiques as well as some regular Joe Schmo furniture, which I've learned even that can be cleaned up remarkably well. I can't tell you how often my preconceived thoughts on anything in that shop can be changed in just a split second. Love the active learning, just love it.... I think especially since it's about something I'm really passionate about.

Anyway... so basically I realize that while it's likely that this particular experience may not end in the career of my life... I have gotten soooo much out of it, and to me that's really key. I'm hopeful that everything happens for a reason and maybe if I keep plugging forward wisely - I'll find myself in some good job in the next few months, that works for me and that I can thrive at. I'm not cutting anything out yet!

Keep in mind that I have really POSITIVE DAYS and then some days when I forget about all these things I know to be true. Luckily the positive days are still out weighing the negative ones. :) So if I come back next time feeling a little bummed... remember... the positive Kela is just a day away. HA HA HA!

Thanks for listening,

P.s Send happy job thoughts my way! :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Obsession 50's Style

I'm on this kick right now to try and find the perfect dress for me... I'm not sure what really started it.... but I'm leaning towards a classic 50's dress with a low waistline... so much of today's clothing has the empire waist, which accents just under your breasts... however, this is definitely not my my slenderest area... so why accent that? I'm 38"b, 30" w and 36"h. So here are a few examples of ones I think would work, and are still very sleek in today's fashion world...fabrics I might change...its more the cut I'm looking for...although these examples aren't bad.
Then today I started to sketch some of my own... thought you might like to see: The first one is probably my favorite... especially since that's sorta what I want to do with my hair:

And then just for fun I drew this.... I don't actually hope to wear it, I just thought it looked cool:
Not really much today, just thought I'd share a little in my obsession this week. ;)

Thanks for listening,

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Update: Light On The Horizen!

Hey All,

So just a quick little update for you: I am currently working as a part time apprentice for a local furniture restoration company, getting to work side by side with professionals, learning the trade I love so passionately. I've gone the last 2 Thursday's and again last Friday... 4th day tomorrow and I can't wait! Nothing concrete yet, but I definitely feel like I'm heading in the right direction! Wish me luck! I'll try and keep you posted!

Thanks for listening,

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Whole Life Is Crossroads...

Hey All,

That title may sound bleak but in truth, I think its sort of an uplifting idea. So many times in my short 25.5 years on this world I've found myself at a crossroads, or at a point where I just don't know what I'm doing or where I'm going, and most of the time it weighs so heavy on me that I can't seem to move forward, until I get smacked back to reality and just do what is needed. Since I am an over analytical person I tend to obsess over every detail until its so fogged with confusion that I find myself worse off then I was before. I've been thinking about this trend a lot in particular, and I think I've found a solution, for now... :)

Just go with it! Take for example, my weight - I've been struggling with a negative body image for some time now (I'd say... my whole and have gone up and down the scale several times, but without consistency, its sort of a moot point. I'm back on my calorie counting diet, and seem to be loosing weight, today however when I weighed in, I had GAINED 1.5 lbs, after loosing about 8-9 in the last 2 weeks... now the OLD ME would have been just beyond discouraged with this moment, but not the me today. I wrote down the weight in my food journal and went in and made my normal breakfast, so what I gained 1.5 - I still lost 7-8, and today is a brand new day, who's to say I wont have lost some tomorrow. Stressing and obsessing over the set backs only further delays your progress. I think the best thing to do is accept the set backs, without judgment, and try to do better next time. Its a stupidly simple concept that for some reason I have a hard time putting into action, but hopefully I'll keep going with the great progress I've made the last two weeks, and quit trying to ruin my chances of succeeding.

Now this concept can work with my career too. As you all know I'm not working right now, as I try and build my portfolio of refinishing furniture, so maybe someday I can do something I really love, for a living, instead of working for some company that will just lay me off in the end anyway. I've spent many of days thinking that I'm just wasting my time, and that I should just go and work where-ever and be a responsible adult, but with this new concept, I realize that while that is still a distinct possibility, its also very possible that I could be really good at this, and if I stay focused and quit sweating the small stuff or over analyzing my options to death, then maybe - JUST MAYBE I could actually reach my dreams. If not, then at least I tried, and I can always try again later in life, hell I'M ONLY 25!

So here is my words of wisdom today: Let everyday bring new possibilities and may you never feel you cannot reach your dreams!

Just a little ramblings from your friend Kela - hope you enjoyed!
Thanks for Listening,


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

To Ryan, To Life, To Wood! Cheers!

As you probably know - November 19th, 2008 I was let go from my most resent job. Also as you may or may not know - I hated said job, but I did work very hard, and learned a lot of valuable information, as well as met some really amazing people. So I appreciate it for that, but as for how the work and day-to-day life of working there made me feel, it was miserable.

I've always been able to find joy in whatever I was doing, but a lot of the time it was very shallow. When I was let go, of course I was upset, it was right before the holidays and and I had just moved into a new place, which was a huge cost increase for Ryan and I. I decided to set my concerns aside and just enjoy the holidays and figure out this mess when that was over. The holidays FLEW by and then I was faced with a scary realization. I was happier not working, I'd always known this would likely be true, I've always wanted to have time to work on my own stuff, to focus on my goals and dreams. I think most people would appreciate some time to reflect of their goals and past and futures, but for me it was always more then that.

I've had this dream of being a stay at home wife/mother/artist for my whole life. To be able to just be content in life, doing things I love and becoming a better person a long the way for my struggles. So the holidays are over and then I'm faced with an even scarier situation. Ryan gives me his ok to focus on myself for a while, and not look for a job. To be able to work on refinishing furniture and honing my crafts. I was ecstatic at first of course - "what a prospect, how is this possible... omg... its really time to do this... omg ... I'm getting to do what I've always wanted!" I would think to myself. It was all very exciting, yet I soon found myself sitting on the couch watching bad daytime tv and getting just the bare minimum done around the house to try and keep Ryan from yelling at me. See the problem I was having was working on these projects before was - I was scared. I didn't know if anything would come of it, or if I was just wasting time, so I pushed it all away - even though its what I wanted, I pushed it away out of fear. After I exhausted known contacts in the field to see about a job, I felt deflated, so I just did the bare essentials.

Finally he said something, and gave me "tasks of the day" to get done, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the house - normal house wife stuff. So I start day-by-day doing what is my new job. I don't get paid of course, but I do get the satisfaction of knowing that when I come home, or when Ryan comes home, our house will be clean and our laundry will be done... plus we wont starve. :P

That went on for a while, I began to go hiking with my girlfriend Jeannette and her dogs TT and Herk, our new puppy Tawny-Roo is full of energy and I needed the excersize as well. That was going really well for a long time too, Tawny and I really looked forward to seeing The Jeannette Clan and they always shared their excitement as well. Last week Jeannette was busy with out of town guests and I took some time off. Worked on some furniture for the first time in a while, spending close attention to the wood what it needed to be refinished. Focusing a bit more on individual tasks I lay out for myself, rather then depending on Ryan to provide them.

Then something amazing happend this week... on Monday - I woke up with a new sense of understanding of what I needed as a person. I litterally jumped out of bed and was just raring to go. I know what your thinking - "So how long did that last - 2 hours, a day?" - strangely enough - I'm still there. I've been kicking serious ass accomplishing things that I really want to do. I know Ryan is taking a great sacrafice to let me explore this side of myself, and if I don't do anything then it will be all for nothing... but if I try and if I really push myself - it could be the greatest sacrafice we've ever made.

Ryan - I want to thank you so much for letting me take time for me, and for understanding the importance, even when I forgot. I love you so much, and you are truely a great man.

In the past 3 days I've come to a place of comfort, of true self and I hope I never forget it.

Thanks for listening,

Love Always,

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ode To Friends That Have Passed

I wrote this small Ode to Sparky after we lost her a few months ago but was unsure if I'd post it for the world, with the passing of my mom's dog Winston, it seemed like a good time to share the thoughts...

Sparky "Sparkplug" - The Plugg Dogger:

Sparky was a dog who could explain life to you in one glance. Who could make you laugh with one silly act of mischief or ungracefulness. She was the kind of dog who you forgot was a dog, instead you felt she was an old friend. When I first met Sparky, I was sitting next to her master, my future husband - and she let me know just who was there first. Over time she let me in and we grew to not only love - but understand each other. To depend on each other for comfort when we were sad or just having a lazy day. Her heart and soul will be with mine forever. Sparky, I will miss you, I hope you are finally pain-free and able to do all you wanted.

Love you...


Last night my mom's dog Winston passed away. He was the kind of dog that made you want to be a better person. I have a few stories to share that I think will let you know what I mean. See Winston was born with some genetic abnormalities - I don't know the technical terms, but he was born with little lesions on his brain and either missing kneecaps, or having severely malformed knees on his back two legs - these two things combined meant that he had a had time walking at all, or even standing for that matter. The joke was that he was drunk all the time, cause that's how it looked. My mom found him on a website, he was all the way in Russia and because of his physical problems he was going to be euthanized at the young age of ... well I don't know the details, but he was definitely still a puppy. My mom argued and faught for him to have a chance, and eventually had to pay perhaps too much in some peoples eyes to have him shipped to the states so she could give him the life he deserved. The day he arrived I remember sitting in the front yard with him, my mom was unloading things from the car. He was a little parana! I was wearing a skirt that day and he was in my lap nibbling all over the place wiggling like a little worm. At this point, he seemed extra wiggly, but not really any different then a regular puppy... but as he started to grow up and need to move more on his own, his difficulties really began to show. Playing with him in the backyard when I'd go over to their house was always such a happy occation, and one time when he was about a year old I remember playing with him and he was having an especially hard time getting up, and moving around, he just kept falling down. This is the moment that signified who Winston was as a personality for me... so he's falling down over and over for like a good minute straight, so he takes a second, as he's laying on the ground, takes a deep sigh as if he's saying "OK... next time I'm gonna stay up!" and he looked proud and determind as he stood up and with a big ol' silly pup-grin comes barreling down the way towards me. He was a strong, happy, life-lovin dog who never let his disabilities weigh him down, something I think we could all learn from. As time went by my mom payed for various surgeries and options for him to have an easier time, and that along with lots of practice and hard work, and happiness on his end, towards his end he rarely fell over at all, he was just a happy go-lucky little guy, and his gorgeous spirit will surely be missed.

Thanks for listening,

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cross Roads... again...

Hey All,

I know its been a while, but I've been soul searching. The whole economic system is crashing down, and more then a few people I know are currently unemployed and hunting for anything and everything that they can. I have friends going to school to do something important and others who've found what they were looking for and are in a safe and encouraging jobs. Yet I sit at home, cleaning, pondering, watching Roseanne reruns and wishing that my future career would just happen already. Yes I realize that careers don't JUST happen... you have to make them happen... but how? How is it when it feels right to your head, its not right for the economy? Or the other way around.

I've always known I wanted to do something creative and freeing from a regular office job, to be able to create and dream a career and watch it take shape, to work hard and get myself dirty making my dreams happen. Now I feel like I'm ready for this, but there are no jobs, especially fun creative ones, everyone is scared and holding out for a better future... how can I wait and hold out for something better - when I'm ready now? The idea of settling terrifies me... I think "Well I'm young, I've got plenty of time, why not just go and get whatever nice office job you can find for now... and down the road you can tackle this dream of yours?" but then I flash forward in my head and I'm suddenly 45 and working at some stupid office job as a temp and wanting to jump of the golden gate bridge! That kind of job has been slowing breaking me down for years and I know that its in my soul and my hearts best interest to reach for the stars and try and get what I've always wanted.

I feel like I'd be settling, giving up on my dreams and it scares me to think what that might do to me over time, down the road. I guess I'm a wanna-be optimist, thinking that if you want something enough, or believe something better can happen - then it will. Yet everyone I talk to says that I'm being silly and should just get what I can job wise - everyone's unemployed - its not a time to be picky. I've been out of work without looking for just over 2 months now, haven't looked for a job at all and I know I'm losing what motivation I have left on the idea of going back to an office job. I guess there was a part of me that believed that everything would fall into place if I was sure it was what I wanted... but life is never that easy... why would I think it would be this time? Would I want it to be? Isn't the struggle what makes it all worth while?

I have always struggled with "what would I want to do if I could do anything?" I am afraid that I'll commit to something, and find that I hate it once I get there. Or I just think that those types of dreams are silly and I should just have a stable job and start my family and call it my life. Then I remember or rather shout at myself in my head that I wont ever be successful (in my mind) doing that kind of work, it isn't me. I am a super crazy passionate person who loves to do anything creative, but in the world of taxes, and supreme courts and war, is there room for a free spirited art freak?

So after contemplating on it for a while, I came up with furniture refinishing. It seemed like the ideal job for me, its something I have a nature talent for - having refinished a few pieces already with no instruction or guidance, I'm a trial by error kind of girl and so far so good. I know a few people interested in me doing pieces for them, and it seemed like the ideal thing. I have a friend who is a contractor and recently unemployed - I was going to ask him if he wanted to try and start this business with me, start small out of our garages and make peoples dreams come true on wood, just a little elbow grease and polyurethane! lol! I haven't been able to talk to that friend yet, but I have talked to a few other people I know in the business and the results were less then encouraging. Its a hard time to get into something as luxurious as that. People cant pay rent or buy their groceries and I want to ask them to pay me to fix up their grandmas antique dresser? It was a great idea... but again this damn economy screws everything up.

I still want to believe that anything is possible and if I reach for my dreams that things will happen eventually... but then my fear takes over and I start to doubt myself, what if I'm not good enough at anything to ever have a sucessful job? What if I'm never safe enough in my career to have my family? I had always wanted to have my first baby by 25... and my 25th birthday was in December... and as you may have guessed - I'm not pregnant. LOL. I've actually made my peace with that... later is fine... not MUCH later... but a bit later... what scares me is that I don't have a plan. There isn't anything set in stone yet, except I'm married to Ryan the love of my life and we have a nice home. I spend my days cleaning the house, planning dinners and over obsessing about my future and my options, or lack there of.

I'm not really sure the point of this blog except that I had a lot on my mind, and it had been a long time since I wrote - so I thought I'd fill y'all in. I just have to try and stay positive and remember that every step in life has its purpose, every moment leads to the next and everything happens for a reason...

One last thing, when I've spoken to my family about these problems of mine, they have all said the same thing - and its something I've thought of all the while myself. Just wanted that to be clear so I don't get 6 comments telling me the same thing. Ha ha ha! I know I can always get a regular office job, and continue to build my portfolio on furniture redesign on the side... but I just fear that I'll loose my sight on what I want to do, and end up settling - because its easier or because I get pregant or whatever, then I'll never do it. That freaks me out. I know that the fact that that freaks me out says that I'll probably stay focused on it and come back later, but what if I dont? Or worse yet, what if I can't find a regular office job??? Scariness.

Well lets end on a happy note, shall we? I know that aren't a lot of people out there who read my blog, but if you know of anyone in the furniture business here in Sonoma County, CA who might be interested in a hard working, insanely passionate, eager to learn furniture refinisher, you just give them my address or let me know! I'm even willing to work on something else, either office or whatever if the people are genuine, I feel like so many office people are fake and manipulating. I just want to be confortable and be myself, somewhere where I can work hard and continue to grow as a person... and as an artist... whatever form of art that takes.

Let me know and WISH ME LUCK!

Lots of Love,