Car Talk

I had three car situations happen in the past two weeks. The car struggle is real. I don’t know much about them. I’m bad at maintaining them – renewing registration, tickets, oil change (how do you read that sticker?), random missing license plate, cleaning it, etc. I do know, I need my 2005 Chrysler Pacifica to transport plants in the spring, to buy 12 foot skeletons on a whim, to go thrift store shopping and non-negotiable… to see my mother once a week on Long Island.

The first car chronicle…  I’m not the best driver, yet I managed with success to navigate everywhere on my recent trip to Puerto Rico! As many of you Rincon folks know, the roads in PR have major potholes, phone navigation is spotty and road signs are not always present. On top of that, I was driving with my rental surfboard on the roof. I learned how to use those foam things and ratchet straps to secure the board! This may not sound like a big deal but it is for me. With the variables mentioned above, I’m feeling really great about my Puerto Rico driving record. Maybe I’m not a bad driver after all…

Enormous, muddy pothole on the way to Wildo surf break, no problem
Enormous, muddy pothole on the way to Wildo surf break, no problemo.

The second car story begins at JFK. I was exhausted from the overnight flight out of Aguadilla so I decided to cab it. I get in and tell the guy I’m going to Rockaway Beach. He was very polite. A few minutes go by and he tells me that it was meant to be that I entered his cab. He said we’ve met before… in a past life. He goes on to tell me that he’s from Pakistan and that he’s a life coach. He asked me my name and then said, “Paula, have you found love?” Strangely, I felt very comfortable talking with this man. In a half lucid state, I engaged in his conversation. His name is Jeffery. He tells me that conflict and lies cause anxiety which perpetuates grief and pain.  We need to free ourselves of those traps, he continues. If we find axiom we will find peace. He goes on about how mathematics is directly correlated to our happiness and that I can find the formula. 6 years ago he attended a week long seminar on Dianetics. There he was enlightened and discovered pure truth. He also met the love of his life in a conference room.

As I was leaving the cab, Jeffery gave me his phone number and said he knows of a great Indian restaurant by Laguardia airport. He said to text him and he and his wife would enjoy having lunch with me sometime (I love NY).

Lastly, two days after my 42nd birthday, I learned how to put air in car tires. They say it’s never too late to learn. It goes like this… I left the house heading to my parents for a belated birthday dinner when I noticed the car tires were very, very flat. I got irrationally frustrated. I started cursing wildly. I didn’t want to disappoint my parents.

But then, I thought of Jeffrey, the scientologist, life coach cabbie… how would he handle this roadblock?  I needed to reset and erase the content of my reactive mind. I took a few deep breaths. I texted my father and told him about the tires. He said, sometimes tires go flat in the winter if you don’t use the car. Who knew? Apparently a lot of people, because they responded to my Instagram story, where I shared my struggle at the gas station.

13 dollars in quarters and two unnecessarily long youtube videos later, I successfully filled the tires. And I made it to my parents house for eggplant rollatini and birthday cake!

Learning new things and opening yourself up to different people and ideas (cultish or otherwise) feels right for me this year. I’ve started a list of accomplishments and skills I’ve learned so far in 2023. Let’s see how far I can go.

tagged in cars, surf

Get in Goodform for 2023!

My fit form has lost its shape since surfing days have dramatically slowed …ugh winter. Not only that, when I’m not active, I get, as they say, “Down in the dumps.” Exercising releases endorphins and serotonin that improve our mood. This is why you’ll hear people say, “I’m addicted to the gym.” This is an addiction we can all embrace in 2023. That feeling of feeling good after a workout is everything.

Lately, I’ve noticed some friends sharing stories on IG of their workouts at Goodform Studio. The gym opened back in October 2022 and I’ve only heard great things since.

I checked out the website goodformny.com. I read, “BodyCamp is a total body strength and conditioning session. Improve your energy levels, metabolic rate, strength, and endurance. This class will leave you alert and ready to take on whatever comes your way.” This is exactly what I needed. I signed up and the next day, I headed over for the 8:30 a.m. session.

I was welcomed by owner Monice Small, better known inside and outside the studio as Mo. She was so welcoming. Mo helped me log in and informed me of what to expect from the class. She asked if I had any physical limitations and if I had a fitness focus. I told her I surf and wanted to work on strength training. She thought the BodyCamp class would be perfect for me and she also recommended I try the 60-minute Pilates workout on Saturdays at 8:45 a.m.

goodform studio rockaway beachMonice Small, owner, and coach at Goodform Studio

Class began and Mo explained and demonstrated the exercises. The music started pumpin’ and we got lifting with the kettlebells. The vibe was so fun, upbeat, and not intimidating at all.

Later that day, around 4 p.m., I felt my quads, calves, and biceps were sore – the good, good kind of sore that feels fantastic. Actually, who am I kidding, my whole damn body was sore, what a workout!

Paula DiGioia Rockaway Beach

I’ve signed up to keep in good form over the winter. This will guarantee that come spring, I’ll be strong and conditioned for surfing. There are several affordable membership options allowing for flexibility with your schedule and commitment level – Monthly Unlimited, Weekly Unlimited, 8 classes per month, and 4 classes per month. There’s a range of training options to keep your workouts fresh. They include – BodyCamp (total body strength), GF Greatest Hits  (quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short recovery periods), Pilates, Cardio Kickboxing, and more. Visit goodformny.com for details and get in good form for 2023.

Goodform Studio is located in the old Wave Building – 88-08 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Queens, NY 11693, (516) 632-0859. For workout info, make sure to follow Goodform on Instagram – @goodform_studios See you at the gym!


Pre-workout selfie

tagged in workout

Carrots Of Many Colors At The Beach 92nd St. Community Fridge

“Carrots struck again at the free fridge.,” read a text from my friend Mike B. Every so often a very large, beautiful bag of multi-colored carrots are donated to the community fridge at 166 Beach 92nd St. The carrot drop is a mystery to many and we’d love to know who the generous carrot-donator is? Please come forward!

free carrots rockaway beachjpg

I took some purple carrots. I decided to make a creamy carrot soup with fresh herbs and garlic. Soup calls to us during the cold winter months. Carrots of many colors have many health benefits –  fiber, vitamin K1, potassium and antioxidants. Color in all food is mostly made from the following compounds: carotenoids (orange and yellows), flavonoids (blue, red and creams) and chlorophyll (greens). Colorful food – fruits and vegetables contain the vitamins and antioxidants we need for a healthy diet.

This Creamy Purple Carrot Soup recipe is hearty and rich. The thyme and parsley complement the semi-sweet purple carrot flavor. I like spice! If that’s you, add a healthy amount of red pepper flakes to keep warm. You can puree the soup but I thought the color was so beautiful as is, I let it be.

purple carrots

Creamy Purple Carrot Soup

Ingredients:
8 carrots peeled and chopped
2 shallots diced
1 white onion diced
10 cloves garlic chopped
2 tsp Thai red curry paste
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
6 cups water
1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon (vegetable/vegetarian)
Fresh Thyme
Fresh parsley
Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste

Directions: 

  1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and onions. Saute for 5 minutes. Season with the spices. Add the garlic and Thai red curry paste – saute for 3 minutes.

  1. Add the carrots, water, Better Than Bullion, fresh herbs and bring to a boil.

  2. Reduce heat and simmer until the carrots are soft – 15 minutes. Add the heavy cream, simmer for another 10 minutes. Top with parsley and serve hot.
    Recipe adapted from: thestayathomechef.com

  3. Creamy Purple Carrot Soup

We tend to think about donating food around the holidays but the truth is, people are challenged by food insecurity year round. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Hunger refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort, while food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the household level. According to feedingamerica.org, in NYC, 1 in 10 people face hunger and 1 in 7 children face hunger.

Since the pandemic, there has been a spike in food insecurity. We all need help at times, so don’t hesitate to access this resource. Anyone can take food from the community fridge located at 166 Beach 92nd, between Rockaway Beach Blvd. and Holland Ave. It’s open 24 hours / 7 days a week.

The Community Fridge Project is generously brought to us by the Rockaway Mutual Aid, with support from Campaign Against Hunger. It is kindly cared for and hosted by Rockaway resident Becky Glennon and her family.

Community members and local businesses help fill the fridge. Please consider donating – any time of the year. Drop food directly at the fridge or contact The Rockaway Mutual Aid. In addition to food, The Rockaway Mutual Aid provides services such as food drop off to elderly folks, health care information, family/child care resources and more. To donate or volunteer, visit rockawaymutualaid.com and follow on IG @rockawaymutualaid.

To request resources and support, call (732) 654-2505, visit the website or the Facebook page.

carrot pattern

Gift Food and Drink

 

Gift giving is part of the holiday season – for better or for worse. My intentions are to give meaningful presents but then end up delaying because I haven’t thought of that perfect gift idea. Then I’m scrabbling. If this sounds familiar “the gift of food and drink” is a great last minute solution.

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Let’s get the juices flowing… fancy coffee, tea, seltzer, kombucha, wine, beer or liquor. I say fancy because I’d suggest buying higher-end. Purchase something the recipient would not often splurge on.

For your friends and family who enjoy that cup of cheer (or many cups of cheer), you can’t go wrong with a nice bottle of wine, an IPA, Peroni or that bottle of Johny Walker Blue. Take it up a notch and accessories with a nice bottle opener, wine topper or beer mug. I’d bet Uncle Pat will appreciate the gift of drink more than a matching glove/scarf/hat set.  

For the kitchen…

Olive Oil – High quality olive oil is a staple in all home chef’s kitchens but the good stuff gets pricey. My go-to brand is Colavita and you can find it locally in the supermarkets. If you can get to an Italian specialty store, there are many delicious imported options to choose from. Wrap the bottle with a bow. Tie on a wooden spoon for a lovely presentation. You can get a wooden spoon or other cooking accessories from the dollar store – super cheap but adds the extra element of  “care.”  

Sweets – Fill a large mason jar with holiday candy or chocolate. Don’t bother wrapping it up – the colorful candy is festive enough, just add a cute bow. The mason jar is also part of the gift – we always want and need them.

Homemade gift baskets. Make a personalized gift basket or bag including ingredients to make your loved one’s favorite meal – an Italian basket, vegetarian basket, Indian food, a taco basket. To fill the basket on a budget, consider including staples like garlic, onion and potatoes. They will look beautiful in the presentation and they don’t need to be refrigerated. 

Spicy – buy spices from the supermarket, remove them from their original container. Put each one in a small mason jar. Label them and you’ve created a personalized spice set.

The list goes on and on. Get creative and you can find everything you need for your last minute shopping in the supermarket.  Food and drink as gifts are useful, unlike the foot massager, Ouija Board, beer hat, pizza blanket, change collector… you know, the well intended gifts but you’re like, what the hell am I going to do with this! 

Happy Holidays!

 

tagged in gifts, holiday