This morning I attended my first ever Linking Indy Women event and I am so impressed with the group and the mission. It is similar to Creative Mornings in the format, except this is specifically for women. It is held once a month and there is a half hour to socialize with the other attendees before the speaker.
This month featured Karen Caprino-Burg, a confident, awe-inspiring woman that has lived a very full life and was brave enough to share her story with a captive audience. I am a big believer in ‘owning’ your story. Her life has been a series of never taking no for an answer and telling herself she could accomplish anything through hard work. The challenging jobs are the most rewarding. Eleanor Roosevelt is famous for saying, ‘Do one thing every day that scares you.’ I am often terrified, but you have to put your big girl pants on and go for it. Visualize what you want and be willing to do what it takes to get there.
Karen’s 1985 parallels my 2015-2016. Her mother passed away from cancer, she quit a job that she was not passionate about, and she moved. I can honestly say 2015 was the worst year of my life and then Denver passed away in January 2016. I quit a job that I hated. I moved back to Indy from STL. I kept myself busy with the things that made me happy: spending time with friends, reading as much as I could, freelancing here and there, and baking way too many cookies.
“Don’t have regrets. It is all part of our journey,” says Karen. Amen to that. Regrets will only slow you down and keep you in the past. Everyone impacts you in different ways, but it is how you choose to react that determines the real impact.
“Never stop learning. And sometimes you have to hit the reset button, take a step back, and see what else is out there.” My 29th year has been a HUGE reset. I’ve become more confident about who I want to spend time with and who is in my kitchen cabinet (or foxhole). If you pay close enough attention, people will show their true colors.
Karen’s thirties were all about transitioning and following your heart. While, I have already transitioned more in a year than some people will in decades, I hope to embrace the latter. I followed my heart in patiently waiting for the right opportunity, which is my current gig at a creative, welcoming, and talented marketing agency.
And remember to have fun. We get so caught up in comparing ourselves (I should be married by now, I should have a certain job title, etc.), that sometimes we forget to actually appreciate and enjoy life.
Karen’s final take-away: “Really love those you love.” This statement is so simple, yet so very true. Why are people so afraid to say those three little words? It’s not that hard.
Maybe I love you like I love ice cream (aka a decent amount). Maybe I love you more than Kanye loves Kanye (a WHOLE lot). Or maybe I love you like I love pickles (which is not at all. Negative on pickles).
So, now I will take you on a (hopefully) quick rambling passage of my experience with love. Grab a seat and a snack for this one. I was in love with my best friend from college for 11 years. We dated for more than two years. We said ‘I love you’ everyday throughout the relationship. At the (disastrous) end, he proclaimed to me on the phone that he never loved me. Ever. It was all a lie.
I can choose to believe this or I can accept that the memories are what I have and move on with my life. I chose the second option. It’s a lot cheaper than therapy. While we said the words, he did not always make me feel loved.
It took me more than a year removed from that life to realize I wasn’t happy. He never took my feelings into consideration. I was afraid to plan anything because it was always a ‘No.’ Is this love? Maybe not. Was it an important experience for my growth into who I am? Absolutely.
Denver’s passing was the perspective that finally got these negative thoughts out of my head. She was ridiculously wise and almost always (annoyingly) right. She had seen the red flags for years, yet stubbornness can get in the way. I had to live through heartbreak to appreciate when I am genuinely loved. Remember that not being loved as you should does not diminish your worth or have anything to do with future love.
I understand not everyone is at the same comfort level to utter those words, but if you can’t, show it in your actions. They do speak louder than words. If you are shamelessly direct, like me, then let it be known.
The last thing I said to Denver the day before she passed was ‘I love you.’ I yelled it from her apartment door to her on the couch. I closed the door a few times, only to immediately re-open it and yell ‘I love you’ again and again. She laughed and finally urged me to actually leave. I was going to be late to my first ever Dig IN board meeting. I had no idea that would be my last memory with her, but I am at ease knowing that it was. We were never shy about verbalizing our love for each other.
Did you survive that diversion? If you’re still reading, we’re finally at the recipe part. I hosted dinner for nine party people this week and I made a pumpkin cake for dessert since we were celebrating a belated birthday.
While I had only met the birthday girl once prior to the dinner party, I instantly felt like I knew her. Y’all might think I am crazy, but then again, you just read my ramble about purpose and love. Nothing makes me happier than making others happy and it was the perfect night of new and old friends, laughing until it hurt.
The cake turned out really well – it was moist and the brown butter glaze was just the right amount of sweetness. I did not want a double layer cake after a heavy meal of roast chicken and lemony spaghetti. I have included recipes for the meal below.
MARTHA STEWART’S PUMPKIN CAKE
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup homemade or canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup warm milk (I used 2%)
1 Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan. Line pan with parchment, and butter the parchment. Coat pan with flour, and tap out any excess.
2 In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.
3 In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, and beat until combined. Add pumpkin puree and milk; beat until combined. Add reserved flour mixture; beat on low speed until just combined.
4 Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool. Let cake rest 20 minutes.
5 Un-mold cake. Using an offset spatula, spread icing over top of cake.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until nut-brown in color, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind.
Add sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk; stir until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add the remaining tablespoon milk, a little at a time, until consistency is spreadable. Let cool 5 minutes. Use immediately.
CREAMY LEMON SPAGHETTI
1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Zest of ½ lemon
½ pound spaghetti
½ cup crème fraîche (found in the cheese section of the grocery store)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I used lemon olive oil from Trader Joe’s)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup), plus more for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
parsley leaves, for garnish
- Make the gremolata: In a small bowl, combine the parsley with the garlic and lemon zest. Using a spatula or small spoon, mix until just combined and set aside.
- Make the spaghetti: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the crème fraîche with the olive oil and lemon juice until combined. Add the parm and reserved gremolata; mix until combined.
- When the spaghetti is cooked, use tongs to transfer it directly to the bowl with the sauce. Toss the spaghetti until the sauce coats the noodles evenly.
- Transfer the spaghetti to a large serving bowl or divide among four plates. Garnish the spaghetti with more parm and the whole parsley leaves
Unwrap your chicken(s) and use tongs to remove the stuff inside (the gizzards and such). Then dry the entire thing with paper towels thoroughly. Coat the chicken with lots of salt and pepper inside and out. Rub generously with olive oil, place in a roasting pan, with cut white onions in the bottom.
Roast for about an hour and a half at 425 degrees. Wiggle the chicken’s leg and the juices should run clear when it is done.
This too. I am looking at you, Winston.