The TD Five Boro Bike Tour is a cycling race with a course that passes through each of New York City’s boroughs: Staten Island to Brooklyn to Queens to the Bronx to Manhattan. On May 1, 2016, the streets will be free of cars, volunteers will man four rest areas and three water stations, and musical performances will take place along the 40-mile route. Approximately 32,000 cyclists participate in the bike tour annually—and this year, Todd and I will be two of them.
As much as I enjoy being in the kitchen, I only make easy dinners during the week—crockpot stews, grilled cheese, pasta with a simple sauce. The other night one of my best friends came over and we decided to cook instead of eating out. After a little thought, we settled on chicken breasts stuffed with spinach, garlic, and mozzarella, with a side of curry-infused, veggie-loaded couscous. (Although the steps below might seem complicated, the recipe is really easy once you get started.) The chicken took about 45 minutes to cook, which gave us plenty of time to prep the rest of our ingredients, set the table, and indulge in some girl talk.
I love food, so it’s probably no surprise that my Valentine’s Day weekend revolved around it. The celebration kicked off Friday night, when my mom and I fried up some potatoes and eggs. It’s my favorite no-meat meal during Lent; there’s just something deliciously comforting about it, especially when it’s piled atop a thick, buttered slice of bread. Saturday brought more tasty treats: Valentine’s-themed doughnuts for dessert and a bag filled with gifts and chocolate and candy. (Thanks, mom! Love you!)
Yesterday morning I took a little detour on my mile-long walk to work and stopped at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Despite being dwarfed by the skyscrapers that surround it, the cathedral cuts a majestic figure, all towering Neo-Gothic spires and stained glass. It takes up an entire city block on its own; more than 3,000 people can find solace in its pews. Once inside, I joined a quick-moving line of city dwellers and tourists, all marveling at the intricate statues and prayer stations along the walls. Then it was my turn—a smiling priest dipped his thumb in dark ash, from palm fronds blessed last Palm Sunday, and rubbed it on my forehead in the shape of a cross. Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return. It was Ash Wednesday, and Lent had officially begun.
I admit that I find solace in my habits and routines. They help me feel safe, secure, protected, comfy. But one of my goals for 2016 was to get out into the world and create new experiences, no matter how tremulous I might feel about them. And I’m proud to say that, with the help of my family and friends, I’m making progress!