Update, February 2011:
I read the words below with some sense of amazement. It’s crazy how things can change in just a few months.
When I wrote my introduction, in early November of last year, I felt like I was trying to wake up from a dream. A recent move, unemployment, general confusion about my purpose in life and what was important to me.
While I’m still confused, I’m also incredibly grateful for the events of the last few months. I’m thriving in Cleveland, despite the crazy Snowbelt winter (thanks to proximity to family, and venues where I can see fabulous bands on a regular basis). I have a fabulous new job, which is now allowing us to set financial goals for the future. My 30 to 45-minute commute actually gives me time to decompress, so by the time I get home, I’ve been able to leave any work stresses behind.
But my goals with this project generally remain the same. I’m leaving my original post intact, so I can document where I was in the beginning. There may be a few more dollars available in the food budget now, and a little less time available for cooking, but we still eat dinner as a family and are trying to save money to achieve some long-term dreams. So I hope you’ll continue on for the ride…the posts might be a little less frequent, but I’m still cooking it up!
Initial Post, November 2010:
I am….well, hmmm. This is actually more difficult than I thought it would be.
A little more than ten years ago, I could have easily told you who/what I was. I was a college graduate, co-owner of a restaurant and nightclub, girlfriend of a fabulous artist who also played in a local band. Daughter of two incredible parents, sister to one of the finest women I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. I had strong political and social convictions. I had an often-too-raging social life, revolving largely around rock shows and bars, yet was surrounded by individuals who consistently challenged me on an intellectual, professional and personal level.
And then I went off in search of the American dream, and lost myself somewhere along the way. I guess life beat me down a little bit, like it has a tendency to do as we grow older and hopefully wiser.
Don’t get me wrong…I’ve met amazing people throughout my journey, and made friendships that will last a lifetime. But, climbing the corporate ladder takes its toll. And somewhere between Chicago, North Carolina and Virginia, pieces of “me” started to slip away.
Now, back in my home state of Ohio, I have been presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. Yes, I’m looking for a job. And yes, it needs to be at a certain level or I won’t be able to make the mortgage and car payments. But meanwhile I’ve been given the gift of time. Perhaps more time than I’ve had since I was a child. And as I relax a little bit, I’m starting to see myself clearly again, through my own eyes. I’m remembering what’s important, what makes me whole. And guess what?
I’m still the girlfriend of a fabulous artist, though he hasn’t had much of an opportunity to play in bands over the last few years. Still the daughter of two incredible parents, sister to one of the finest women I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Co-parent to five amazing and very spoiled cats (Nikoli, Tommy, Emily, Buster and Bella) who suffer the expression of my sometimes-overbearing maternal instinct with varying degrees of patience. And I now have a network of wonderful friends all over the country.
So as I start down this path of rediscovery, I gratefully realize that I have a strong foundation of support…people who know who I am even when I don’t, and will always be there to remind me.
“Yeah, great, but what does this have to do with cookbooks?”, you might wonder. A valid question.
I’ve never been very good with cards, or always remembering to call. However, if you’re family or friend – or sometimes even a complete stranger – I would love to feed you. It’s how I express myself, and how I care for others. The breaking of bread, the sharing of a meal, the communal aspect of eating together – these things resonate within me, as if they’re pulled from some deep collective unconscious. So it only made sense that my personal rediscovery would be irretrievably linked to cooking and food.
Also, cookbooks contain memories. Whether it’s a dog-eared page, notes in my handwriting or an unknown person’s, or simply recalling the used bookstore where I found a particular treasure, the acquisition of these books are little points of light in history, and they beg to be revisited.
So I hope you’ll join me on this journey of food, frugality, good health and contemplation. And I hope you’ll be prompted to undertake a journey of your own.
Happy eating, happy life…
Kathryn (aka clevelandkat)