Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chicago trip!

Logan theatre, originally uploaded by missmartha.

I'm a bit behind on posting.... oops! I have a much overdue post to write about my awesome visit to Chicago. I put it on my Mondo Beyondo list that I wanted to spend 10 days in Chicago this summer UND I did it! What a blessing to work from home! My boss allowed me to work part time during my visit to stay in touch with my work/clients and to enjoy a nice long visit home. Usually when I go to chicago, I have to race home to C-U or pack everything into a weekend, so this was great.
I arrived late on Thursday and went directly to Desi's house. It was so great to see her :) She cooked for me and taught me how to make Mojitos. It was great chatting with her and having some girlfriend time right off. Friday I worked a half day and then checked out Desi's neighborhood (Edgewater)... I hadn't really spent any time there before, it is great! I went to the beach and relaxed and read. That night Vladimir drove in and we went to dinner and out dancing. I had a GREAT time and thank god Vladimir was there to get me home safely :) It is too rarely that I go out dancing anymore.
Saturday Liza came into town and we went out to brunch and then to Wicker Park for some window shopping. WOW, the neighborhood has changed a lot in 3 years... I was very nostalgic being back but also surprised by new chain store sightings. That night Desi made homemade pizza the was Michaela taught her dough and all. I said my favorite is olives, green peppers and mushrooms, so that is what I got :)
Saturday morning Dory arrived to ORD from her semester in India, awesome coincidence!!!! I went to pick her up at an ungodly hour and we drove to Logan Square. Nostalgia attack!!! After walking around my hood, we took a short nap and waited for Lula Cafe to open at 9AM hahaha. After brunch we took another nap and then went back to ORD to get my mom who was flying in from her anniversary trip to Hawaii. We drove to Grandma's and spent a nice afternoon with her. We all tested Grandma's new mattress during a viewing of Crazy Heart.
Monday I met up with Ake and Dimi who just HAPPENED to be in town from Belgium that week. whoo hoo! We went to the apple store to get them a second iPad and then out to Oak Park for some FLW geekery. It was great to see Ake and meet Dimi, what a great couple. I'm only sad that I misunderstood and Lorraine and I didn't meet up for another Belgium reunion.
Monday night I headed out to Tinley Park to spend some time with my cousin Maria and her family. It was great to see my Aunt Mary and my godkids :) So many cute Reagan and Ricky stories!! We had TWO sleepover parties and spent the day together on Tuesday. I'm really sad to live so far from them and am happy we could have some play time. They are both really creative and happy kids and I love them so much.
Wednesday I met up with Megan. We realized that it had been a few years since we saw each other which is CRAZY because it really felt like no time had passed. I guess that is how it is when your girlfriend is so good at keeping in touch :) I wanted her to meet Desi, so we got together and went out to eat in Wrigleyville. Nice girls night.
Thursday I went to work with Desi (awesome organization, I am so happy for her!) and then we went back to her place where she cooked BANGIN' risotto for me, her co-worker and Liza. OMG that was a good meal. Afterwards, we went out to Green Mill for the infamous swing night. Desi said that she was pleasantly surprised by how awesome it was and I was happy that she enjoyed being introduced to this treasure just a few train stops away from her house.
Friday I met up with my aunt Ellen for dinner and a jazz concert. That was SUCH a treat because I have never been to Symphony Center and the show was fabulous ( -- she didn't know that Dizzy Gillespie is the reason I took up trumpet!!). Very hot jazz and I got turned on to some new artists to look out for.
Saturday Desi, Vladimir and I met up with Rebecca for brunch (yay for seeing her twice in 2 months!) and then walked up Michigan for epic window shopping...and I got to taste my beloved juice from Brian's. That evening I hung out with Chris and Megan. We walked to sushi in their neighborhood and DQ. I love them tons!
Sunday Megan and Chris were nice enough to drive me up to Evanston where I hung out with Liza and bebe Liam. It was a BEAUTIFUL HOT DAY and I was very sad that it was my last day. Liam is at a very cute age and is still the super social guy from other visits. I liked playing with his camera with him and tasting cooking club creations a la Liza. My last visit was to Aunt Ellen's for a BBQ with the Lindsey crew. The whole crew! I got to meet baby Quinn for the first time and died with everyone else over Aunt Ellen's killer Rhubarb Pie....
Well, I know this is a lot, but it really was all of this and more in 10 days! I love Chicago and all of my Chicago people and I can't wait for my next visit. I'm really sad to be missing summertime Chi, especially as I freeze in the foggy chill that is San Francisco in June. bleah.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

one year

This is the weekend in between the one year anniversary of our missed connection first date and our first date. It seems bizzaro to say that this is our one year anniversary because Chris and I have been through SO MUCH in such a little time. I love you, Chris, and I'm so glad that I gave you a second chance after you stood me up on our first date ;) {this is where Chris groans "I didn't stand you up!!"} Thanks for being a great partner to me and especially joining me in this adventure to start a new life in San Francisco. This last year has been grand.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

greetings from SF

martha mosaic stairs, originally uploaded by missmartha.

I've been here for two months now. Oh, that reminds me that rent is due tomorrow. Here are some reflections about my new life.

I'm living in Inner Sunset. It is a nice neighborhood, more residential than the east side but not completely removed from hipness. It suits me! In my hood there is every type of ethnic food you could ever dream of and it is all really affordable and gooood. Highlights have been the Persian restaurant, Lavash, and the best Thai I have had in a minute at Marnee Thai. Chris and I love the corner market, Parks. A bag of avocados for a dollar? Yes, please! I also get really excited that I can walk to golden gate park (four blocks away). It is a good spot for jogging and also a great place to picnic in the sun and people watch. The other crowned jewel of the neighborhood is the sweet community garden at the foot of our street. I mean FOOT because we live on steep Mt. Sutro.

The apartment is a good fit for now, just enough room (read: packed to the gills but everything fits) and awesome afternoon sun as the sun sets. On a clear day, we see the Pacific in all of its tranquil glory from the balcony :) Living with Benny, Chris' cat, is going very well. It's odd how in check my allergies have been -- I'm so amazed and thankful.

I am working from home and this is going well. I like the flexibility and I love the commute :) I feel productive and focused during the day and never feel bored or at a loss for what to do next (that was a great fear). Little distractions do creep in, but I consider this part of any work day. I feel lucky and work is going well as I slowly build up my client base and get in the groove.

The biggest challenges have been health and making friends. I somehow let myself bulk up over the winter and need to be very diligent about exercise and diet to get back to my healthier weight. No fun! I miss Zumba. As for making friends, I need to be diligent in this, too! On an average day, I meet zero people! Oh, the investment!

This picture is of me at the foot of the mosaic stairwell up to Grandview park in my neighborhood. Chris took it after treating me to a lovely valentine's day celebration in the park (Japanese tea garden tour and paddle boats!!). We climbed to the top and arrived just as the fog rolled in. Photos of that day, the apartment and other various are on flickr. I'll be putting up shots from my parent's visit and our drive down EPIC Pacific route 1 soon.

Come visit!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Creating a clearing/letting intuition in (out?)

, originally uploaded by missmartha.

I am enrolled in a Mondo Beyondo class (thank you, Megan) which is a great exercise in dreaming big. We had two exercises recently that really spoke to me and the way I live my life. The first was on creating a clearing and the second on intuition.

Creating a clearing is multi-dimensional. It could be as physical as clearing off a desk, as intangible as clearing out space to do something you love {like blogging!!} or as spiritual as making time to meditate or clearing out self-hate from your soul. It's making room for your dreams to breathe and unfold.

Intuition should be the most natural phenomenon in the world, but somehow we've gotten so far away from listening to ourselves that this act needs practice.

I wanted to share a bit more about my choice to move to SF. I think it speaks to clearing and intuition. VERY reminiscent of the events that led me to move to Maryland in the first place.

Things had been challenging at work. I was passionate about the work but felt deflated and uninspired. I had some *unresolvable* issues with my direct supervisor and felt like I needed out of that arrangement. My brother-in-law, Dan, had recently snagged his dream job in Silicone Valley. Before he got it, I joked to B and M that if they moved to CA, I was coming too! I didn't want to be the Q sister all the way on the east coast and I just needed something silly to say or dream about. When it happened, they asked "are you coming?". I said NO. There are no jobs in CA and I am not going.
KJS came to visit at the end of the summer with her new partner. He'd lived in SF and the topic came up. I turned to Chris and said "let's move to San Francisco" jokingly. He said "OK" jokingly. It was veiled as a joke but in my heart I wanted it.
The next day problem-boss called me into his office. He started dancing around a discussion of my role in the organization. It came out that he wanted to move me to a different division. He asked out of nowhere: If I was going to do this new job, what geographic location in the U.S. would be most interesting?? We only have one office, in Maryland. I said truthfully that SF would be the most dynamic place to be. In the time span of 24hrs, I went from not even letting myself take the dream of moving to SF seriously to being offered a position that did not even exist.
I started reporting directly to a new department head the next week, a really inspirational and supportive person. But helas, problem-boss sat me down a few days later and told me that he was rescinding the SF part of the job offer. That I might think that I was the best person for the job, but that it's not necessarily true. blah blah blah other stuff that would have made me feel bad about myself if I held his regard as valuable. I left the room and left the dream behind. I would focus on my new role in new department and my general happiness.

Two months later, new- good-boss called me in and let me know that she had convinced management to move me cross country to SF. IF I still wanted it. That was one of the scariest moments of my life. I was physically shaking when she told me because I had spent a lot of energy convincing myself that CA was not right for me right now and had to make a very big choice. Finally my intuition (and lots of consultation with my partner, Chris) let me choose to go. It was a huge leap of faith!! I wasn't sure if I would be successful (was I listening to bad boss in a tiny part of my mind??), that I could afford life in CA, that I wouldn't regret leaving, that Chris would not be resentful.....

Once I decided to follow my dream (scary), everything started to fall into place. I rented my Baltimore apartment even though my landlord thought it would be impossible over the holidays. I started to plan my cross-country trek and accepted with grace when bad boss forced the date up by three weeks. I packed and moved while ill with a winter thing but DID IT.

The cross country drive was a clearing and an opening. Visit my flickr for more visuals of how the landscape cleared in front of me. Chris and I had a great trip out, not arguing once and enjoying our opportunity to see the southwest. We arrived to SF and found an apartment (with a pacific view!!) in one day. We felt HOME.

Not a day goes by that one or both of us does not acknowledge that we are so happy that we moved and that we feel so blessed in our new surroundings. Oh and problem-boss? In a turn of events that I could have NEVER anticipated, he is no longer the number 2 in our organization. I will never have to speak to him again.

More about life in SF in my next post!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Things I will miss very much in Baltimore

P1000440, originally uploaded by missmartha.

I want to blog a bit about my cross country road trip and winter in San Francisco, but before I move on, I have to make a little list of the things that I will (and Do) miss from the 3 years that I lived in Maryland. I love Baltimore and people that don't have never see it through my eyes!

~ American Visionary Art Museum=best museum ever
~ Bolton Hill, my hood
~ My spacious, gorgeous apartment on Eutaw
~ Runs in the hood and to Druid Hill Park
~ The Helmand
~ Woodberry Kitchen
~ Miss Shirley's!!! ---> lots of good food, I'm forgetting some places...
~ The Charles
~ Mount Vernon
~ Ma Petite Shoe in Hamden
~ Being close to DC, Philly, NYC
~ Spending time with Emily
~ Weekend trips to Staunton
~ Weekend trips to North Carolina
~ The Book Thing
~ Sunday morning farmer's market (church!!)
~ ZUMBA and the best ZUMBA familia at Columbia Association
~ Camden Yards
~ My beloved Ravens
~ Brewer's Art
~ Chuck and Erin
~ Babysitting the Ruiz boys
~ The Columbia Mall j/k

These were some great years...but I can say with joy that I don't regret moving. I promise to blog more about life in Cali asap.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

BIG news

Mona's favorite, originally uploaded by missmartha.

October 2006 I started a blog post with the words "I am sorry if you are learning about this via blog". Here I am again with big news for the blog-o-sphere! I am moving to San Francisco in a bit over a month, leaving my sweet Charm City. As most readers know, I will be able to end the bi-coastal Quinlan family experience with this move and be close to Bahia, Dan and Munirih. I will also have the opportunity to (I imagine) live out a lot of my 30x30 goals such as: not commuting to work via car, being able to get fresh produce on foot, knowing my sisters as they are...
Deciding to move was to date the hardest decision of my life. Chris has never lived outside of MD and his family is 3.5 hours away. We love them. I've built amazing community here and am sad to leave Melanie, Jay, Chuck, Erin, Megan, Carol, Debbie, Ruth, the Ruiz family, Emily... I'll miss all the good memories with all of the interns at work. My life has been enriched.
I'm excited about a new challenge at work and fire in my belly to reach specific goals. I'm also excited to start my new life with Chris. What a monumental start to our life together, starting with a cross-country road trip! The preparations are stressful now but all seems achievable with my calm, collected partner by my side.
Prayer requests: find someone to rent my apartment, find a beautiful and peaceful new home in SF, a job in SF for Chris, financial stability, peace and no regrets, new community in SF and success in my new position. THANKS!!!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Thankgiving yummies

Vegas Thanksgiving meal was the best I can remember! We had 13 guests at the condo and cooked up a storm. Both of my contributions were from everyday food and were first-time attempts for me. I must say I was very pleased with both and got lots of praise. Enjoy ~

roasted beet salad with blue cheese and nuts

Serves 4 (I doubled the recipe for TG)

  • 4 medium beets (1 1/2 pounds total), trimmed and unpeeled
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Individually wrap 4 medium beets (1 1/2 pounds total), trimmed and unpeeled, in foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast until tender when pierced with a paring knife, 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool. Rub beets with paper towels to remove skins and cut into small wedges.
  2. Whisk together 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard; season with coarse salt and ground pepper and stir in 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley. Toss beets with dressing. Serve topped with 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese and 1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces.

sweet potato and chipotle soup

Someone already blogged all about this, so I am gonna be lazy and send you here. I even stole a picture from the site (cute site, by the way).

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studies have been conducted recently about my generation as a generation of narcissists...this blog is part of that phenomenon :)