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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Me: Under the Knife

This post isn’t about food. So if you’re looking for an early fall recipe or cheery write-up of last night’s dinner, feel free to search elsewhere.

You see, I’m getting my back fixed tomorrow. Disk surgery. A seemingly innocent injury has, over time, flared up into an angry mass of pain that can no longer withstand the rigors of everyday life.

Apparently, this disk wants out. So I will let it go.

I’ve done my homework. Sought multiple opinions. Bought cute pajamas and amassed a stack of reading material.

The logical part of me knows that this is one of those times in life when you simply need to dig up your courage and deal. So that’s what I’m doing.

The other part of me, though, cringes at the thought of a surgeon that I met for all of 30 minutes slicing into my lower back, digging into my spine and grinding off bone. Even if he is the best at what he does, a perfectionist by all accounts.

But, the day has now arrived, and at this point, I’m as prepared as I can be.

I’m ready to be better. Ready to again be the person I used to be: the one who ran half marathons, who lifted weights and joyfully practiced yoga. The one who reveled in the flowers and vegetables in my garden and could tend to them without paying for it later. The one who could pick up my three-year old nephew and carry him around, even as he wriggles away.

And, yes, the one who cooked. Because my cooking has suffered as well.

Which brings me to this blog. I’m not sure where I will take Fresh Eats for the next couple of months. It could become a blog about healing, about cooking while recovering, or it could go silent for a bit. But this much I know, I will be back, and I hope you’ll be there with me.

See you on the flip side.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

IFBC: What More is There to Say?

A pretty little burger at the IFBC food truck event

I recently returned from the International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle.

If you attended the event or followed the
#IFBC Twitter stream, you already know that for many this was more than a conference. It was, at times, inspiring, exhilarating, overwhelming and exhausting. Meaningful and memorable. Humbling and hilarious.

I went to IFBC in part to meet several lovely women I “knew” online, like
Merry-Jennifer and Mardi, and along the way met so many more fabulous people.

Me, Mardi, Jen, Marie and Kelly

I went because of their inspiring speaker lineup, and found them gracious, warm and friendly. People like Dianne Jacob and Kristine Kidd, who reinforced yet again that good writing and recipe developing is at the soul of all good food blogs.

Kat Flinn (a former Michigan gal), who reminded me to use all five of my senses when I write. Shauna James Ahern, who "writes from joy" and inspires me to do the same.

Merry-Jennifer and Shauna

James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur, who after his sensational keynote, told ME that my job sounds fascinating. Can you imagine?

And, the mesmerizing
Penny De Los Santos, who, when viewing the world through her camera, follows her instincts, waits
for the moment, then snaps it with eloquence and generous spirit. Her mantra of making photos remains etched in my mind.

They reminded me yet again that writing a blog is about capturing moments. It’s not just about the food. It’s about telling stories, sharing your self and allowing your voice to emerge.

Because, you know, I also went to Seattle to try to reconcile myself with my blog: why I do it, where to go with it, and how much of my time and heart to invest in it.

This summer, I pulled back. The chaos of life interfered. This blogging thing; it’s complicated and competitive. It’s a commitment. There’s so much I still don’t know. But what I do know, and what was reinforced to me this weekend at IFBC, is right now for me the most rewarding part of blogging is the sharing, the friendships and the community.

I also know that we all need to set our terms – our personal terms, not just SEO or CPMs or price per recipe, as important as they might be – and respect them.

So, I ask myself, where do I fit into the blogosphere? And, should I care? These are questions I’d hoped to answer at IFBC, and while I’m still in the process of setting my terms, I’m gaining clarity.

I started this blog as an outlet for my creativity and anxiety when my city and world seemed to be collapsing around me. The blog became a resting point, a haven of peace.

I went in with no expectations, and gained so much. I’ve met some beautiful, talented people that I hope will be in my life for years to come. Fresh Eats has been a window of friendship and opportunity in so many ways. Where it will take me remains to be seen. And that's ok.

My goal was, and is, to share my love of fresh home cooking, and hopefully inspire others to love it too. Creating stories, making photos, building a collection of memories. Works for me.

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