Posted by: darcieczajkowski | July 23, 2015

The Cycle of Relationships

Family is complicated. We all know that. At times, all of us have experienced disagreements with our parents, siblings, extended family, or any and all of the above. And simply put, it’s not fun. In fact, it’s often very painful to be at odds, at war, or even estranged from family members. I don’t claim to be an expert on this topic (or any others on which I write), but what I’m about to share has been my experience and maybe you can relate to some or all of it.

My sister and I are opposite in a lot of ways, but I don’t remember much conflict from our childhood. Given our four-year age difference, we were often at different phases of our lives, so we didn’t always play together, but we were rarely acrimonious. When she went to college, the age gape seemed to lessen and we grew closer. I visited her relatively often and we were partners in crime. But shortly after her college graduation, she met her now-husband and there was family disagreement about their relationship. Things were said on both ends about the situation, and it affected her relationship with many family members in the subsequent years.

Since then, in the past ten-plus years, she and I have worked on mending our relationship, but mostly the efforts haven’t been truly and fully successful. But now, after all this time, I’m writing this in her kitchen, where I’m staying with her and her husband for three weeks. This time with her is allowing us to build upon a fresh start to our relationship that started last year with a trip we took to Brazil with our mom. I’m remembering all of the reasons why we used to be so close still exist. And that feels glorious.

I can stay pretty definitively that the primary reason why we are able to connect now when we hadn’t been in years past is that we are both ready. We both chose professions that required a lot of education and thus didn’t spend much time during those periods cultivating or maintaining relationships with anyone. Her path was considerably longer than mine, though, and one of the reasons why she is such a fantastic doctor is that she gives one hundred percent to her career. She didn’t have the capacity to work on our relationship while she was trying to stay afloat with medical school, residency, and fellowship. But what went along with that was an inability to explain to me why she was distant from me. And I was too hurt by her actions to try to pull it out of her. Now we are both in a place where we have the time and the interest in making our relationship a good one. I have every confidence that we will continue to build upon the progress we’ve made in our relationship.

Will our relationship ever be exactly the same as it once was? No, of course not. For starters, relationships as adults are inherently different than those as teenagers. We also now live on opposite sides of the country and don’t get to see each other very often. But I believe that these potential roadblocks won’t stop us any longer from making an effort to stay connected in each other’s lives.

While the reasons that estrangements exist are undoubtedly varied in type and complexity, it is never too late to try to mend broken relationships. It takes time, effort, and understanding to rebuild trust and to get to a place where you feel connected again. And, even then, the relationship most likely will never be the same as it once was. But maybe that’s okay. In fact maybe that’s better because you will be able to appreciate more fully what you have now after knowing what was lost. Sometimes you need to take a step back from someone to grow up, to get some perspective, to miss that person, to realize what you were missing, to recognize that they held a special place in your life and that you want to have that back, and to realize how important relationships are in giving your life purpose and meaning and making it feel worth living to the fullest. Time and distance have a great way of showing us what we really want in life.

So set your pride aside, go to that person you love, and apologize (there’s always something to apologize for – on both ends!). Maybe he or she won’t be ready now or maybe they will, but either way, you know you have tried. In life, you miss out on one hundred percent of the chances you don’t take. So when it comes to the ones you love, don’t miss out on the chance. Because we only get one life, so why would we want to waste it, letting our past mistakes dictate our future happiness?

Posted by: darcieczajkowski | December 12, 2012

New location!

This blog has moved!  Check out the new site at!

Posted by: darcieczajkowski | December 3, 2012

Monday Blues


It’s finally starting to feel like fall in San Diego.  The leaves are (sort of) falling.  The weather is cooling down (upper 60s instead of 80s).  These things make me feel less blue on a Monday.


So does the fact that we went to buy a Christmas tree last weekend.  Is this only for the kids?


But eventually we found our (mini) tree.  While I’ve managed to keep basil plants alive for several months now (no small feat), I didn’t want to risk a larger tree on my first go-around.  Next year though – all bets are off!


It was also a great foodie weekend.  We made a BBQ chicken pizza…with bacon, and mushrooms, and onions.  If I really wanted to fight the Monday blues, I would make this again tonight.  And every other night this week.


Or maybe this French Toast with blackberry compote…and bacon.


I also attended a going away party for a friend who left the next day to move to Seattle.  No, I did not make this cake, but it sure was delicious.

See ya, Monday Blues!

Posted by: darcieczajkowski | November 30, 2012

Me Time.

Sometimes, you just need a night to yourself.  For me, that urge comes frequency.  It seems that the older I get, the busier I get.  So these nights of alone time are greatly valued in my book.  I had one of those nights last night, and let me tell you, they are good for your heart and soul and mental well-being.  But sadly, they are not good for your relationships because when those people closest to you call you up to chat, you want to press RejectI love you, but I can’t talk with you right now.  It’s my alone time.  Now I never say this to anyone because, after all, I care about the caller, but man, am I thinking it.  And wouldn’t you be if this is how your evening looked last night?


Everyone deserves a little me time, right?

Posted by: darcieczajkowski | November 29, 2012

Wednesday Wishes.

Dear Producers of The Mentalist,

1. I wish that I could have Simon Baker all to myself.  I know that he is married with three children, but he is utterly, achingly, devastatingly enticing.  From his Devil Wears Prada days to now staring on The Mentalist, he has that illusive “something about him” quality that is quite honestly the singular reason why I watch the show.

2. I wish there would be a significant break in the Red John case.  While I understand that Patrick Jane’s sole mission in life is to avenge the deaths of his wife and daughter, at this point, the storyline is stagnant.  The only mini-break that occurred recently that is of any interest is that Jane – at some point – met Red John.  BIG NEWS!  Not.  Something needs to give…and if it’s not a more interesting plot line, it’s going to be me – no longer a viewer.

3. I wish that Rigsby and VanPelt would get back together already.  We all know it’s going to happen, so the least you could do to spice up the show is to add a little romance.  The crooked FBI agent has been six-feet under long enough, and Rigby’s ex is a non-issue, as it was clear that he was never really that interested in her.  (Their son is hardly evidence of his affection for her.)

4. I wish that Lisbon would go out on a date with someone, anyone.  While Jane has an excuse for not dating, Lisbon does not.  Let’s be honest, she’s not getting any younger, and while it’s obvious that she and Jane are have chemistry and will end up together at the end of the series, she needs to date in the meantime.  Perhaps a spark in her personal life could assist her in recognizing that she has feelings for Jane, or if I am allowed to dream big with my wish list, that an uptick in her romantic side (does she even have one?) could stir up feelings on Jane’s end, as well.

5. I wish that the hooker-turned-informant Cho was dating would return.  Their “relationship,” if you can call it that, was a surprisingly interest aspect of the show.  Cho is so reserved in his professional life that it was intriguing to see a wholly different side of him.  He needs someone like her to add some flavor to his otherwise boring life.  Please bring her back.

Thank you for considering my wishlist.  I’d be happy to provide you with my address in regards to wish number one.



Posted by: darcieczajkowski | November 28, 2012

Antigua, Guatemala

My September trip to Guatemala was much-needed.  I try to travel somewhere internationally every year, but last year I just couldn’t get away from work.  So it had been two years since my journey Down Under post-bar exam, and I was itching to get out of the country. 

This trip was unlike any other before for several reasons.  It was the first time I traveled internationally with the boyfriend (other than to visit his family in Mexico in May) and we were together for nine days straight.  Would I survive?  I thought we would be fine, but I do believe that you learn a lot about someone when you travel with them. 

One thing I learned about him: His Spanish-speaking abilities are a God-send.  After traveling extensively in Central and South America with only my paltry skills, it was such a relief to have some all of the pressure off of me.

One thing he learned about me: I need a hot shower preferably every day, but at least every other day.  Or I get cranky.

Other than that, we glided through the nine days together in almost-perfect harmony, and at the end of the nine days, I wasn’t ready to part ways…even after an old man died on our flight home (NO JOKE) and we were forced to make an emergency landing in Guadalajara, Mexico.  After all that, we still like each other.  I hope that is a good omen for our future together.

The other way this trip was different than anything I’d experienced before is that we spent a lot of time visiting the boyfriend’s friends.  It was so relaxing to spend time with (new-to-me) friends while simultaneously exploring a new country and experiencing a new culture. 

The boyfriend’s friend picked us up from the airport in Guatemala City, where we then celebrated her birthday. 


The next day, we traveled with some of her friends to Antigua.  Here are a few photos from the picturesque town.  The food was delicious, the mountains in the background were breath-taking, and the cobblestone streets and Central Park were charming. 


Check back soon for photos from the next city we visited: Monterrico, Guatemala


Posted by: darcieczajkowski | November 27, 2012

Monday Blues.

It’s impossible not to have the blues after a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend.  Don’t you agree?

So many things to be thankful for this year.  Most of all, I am thankful for the time I spent with the people who mean the most to me, the people for whom I am thankful every single day of the year for their presence in my life.  Here are a few photos from my weekend.



Thanksgiving dinner at my mom’s beautifully decorated table



Cozy date night at home


Surprise flowers

Hope you were surrounded by lots of love (and food!) during the Thanksgiving holiday!

Posted by: darcieczajkowski | November 20, 2012

Monday Blues.

Do you have the blues today?  I do, thanks to the much-needed mommy and me weekend I just had.  Two full days with my mom, shopping, eating, drinking wine, and soaking up every morsel of love and attention she threw my way. I’ve always been very close to my mom (think Lorelai and Rory on Gilmore Girls), but even though she lives in the same city as I do, I don’t see her as often as I’d like.  But last weekend, with my dad and the boyfriend out of town, the stars were aligned for the perfect mommy and me weekend.

My mom is where my love of cooking comes from so naturally we made banana bread for breakfast on Sunday.



Then we dunked the bread in an egg mixture and made french toast.  Duh.


Result: the most delicious banana bread french toast.  Ever.

Then in between courses meals, we drank this.  My mom’s favorite wine.  Ever.  Tastes like juice which is horrible (because it slides right down) and delightful (because it slides right down) all at the same time.

Once the bottle was gone, we ate this.


Butternut squash mac and cheese.  With bacon.

Then we were belly up on the couch.  And I declared it one of the best mommy and me weekends of all time.

So now you can see why my Monday was infinitely worse than usual because nothing compares to time with Mom.  Boo hoo hoo.

P.S.: What are your favorite mommy and me activities?

Posted by: darcieczajkowski | November 17, 2012

Friday Comfort.

If you’re like me and you had a long, hard week, you should make this meal.  It’s so good, tonight is the second night in a row that I’m eating it for dinner.  Ultimate. Comfort. Food.

Once or twice a week, I like to have friends over for dinner and cook for them.  Last night, my friend, Andrea, came over for a workout, dinner, and obviously, wine.  The workout didn’t happen because Andrea fell ill at work and didn’t have the energy.  No problem, that meant I could start drinking earlier.  Don’t feel too bad for Andrea that she couldn’t partake in the wine.  I drank enough for the two of us.  (And she’s not much of a wino anyway – how are we friends?)

After about two hours of non-stop girl talk (mostly me, given that I was the one drinking the wine), we made dinner.  She’s on a mostly gluten-free diet so she brought multi-grain gluten-free bread for fruit-filled grilled cheese sandwiches.  If you know me at all, you know that I love cheese.  And while I don’t eat bread that often anymore, I love it.  Wine, bread, cheese, and a good friend.  That is a recipe that will heal any sickness.  Oh, yeah, we also ate roasted red pepper and tomato soup that I had made earlier in the week.  (Delicious, but nothing tops grilled cheese in my book no matter what.)







Lightly buttered gluten-free bread, blackberries, basil, Monterrey Jack cheese.  Grilled to perfection.


Last, but certainly not least.

I’m enjoying my Friday night, and I hope you are, as well.

Posted by: darcieczajkowski | November 15, 2012

Wednesday Wishes.

Dear Producers of Grey’s Anatomy,

Here is my wish list for how you could improve your show.

1. I wish that Cristina and Owen would get back together.  You know it; I know it; America knows it.  They belong together.  They are both screwed up in their own ways, but together, they are almost normal.  They understand each other’s neuroses, and if they could get past the hurt they have caused one another, I believe they could actually have a good marriage.

2. I wish I could hug and squeeze Zola all day long.  It could possibly be because she has the cutest name ever.  Regardless, I’ll bet she’s the best snuggle bunny.

3. I wish Mr. Feeny could have stuck around a little longer.  He is the kind of man that makes me want to visit nursing homes and have longs chats with someone’s grandfather about “the good ol’ days” and hear him tell me how things were “when he was young.”  He makes me miss my own grandfathers, both of whom have passed away.  It makes me a bit regretful that I didn’t spend more time when them while they were alive, or rather, when I did, I wish that I had extracted more knowledge from them about what their lives were like before I was born.  Mr. Feeny made me feel closer to them, and for that, I am grateful.

4. I wish that someone would break down Alex’s hard, cold, distant exterior.  Ever since Izzie left, he has returned to the old Alex, the one who sleeps around and regards people in an abusive tone.  It’s obvious that he acts this way as a defense mechanism, hoping to stave off further disappointment he could experience if he were to let some in again.  First his mom, then that patient of his who had the facial reconstructive surgery and eventually went crazy, and then Izzie.  I’m not sure if he has the strength to open his heart again.  But I sure I wish that he would.

5. I wish that Arizona hadn’t lost her leg.  After so many tragedies on this show, the plane crash struck me as entirely unrealistic.  I understand that sometimes actors want to leave shows (whimper, whimper, McSteamy is gone), but please kill them off some other way next time.  I’m tired of horrific, mind-blowing, catastrophic disasters.  I recognize that the world can be an evil place, and bad things like this really do happen, but not all to the same 10 or so people.  I get that the show is fiction, but it’s not fantasy.  And while I find the situation with Arizona to be heartbreaking and I emphasize with others who have to deal with it, the storyline with Arizona’s leg is just plain dull.  Perhaps there is a reason for it that will be revealed further down the line, but Arizona was already moody enough before this happened to her.  She didn’t need her leg to be cut off to add bitterness and resentment to her long list of undesirable qualities.

Thank you for considering my wishlist.  I’d be happy to provide you with my address in regards to wish number two.



Posted by: darcieczajkowski | November 13, 2012

Monday Blues.

Today sucked.

I know that to be expected because, after all, it’s Monday, the worst day of the week.  But today was worse than usual.  Here is why:

1. I chose a thin long-sleeved shirt, a black pencil skirt, and black tights to wear to work today.  And…these shoes.


Never mind that I’m 5’9″ and these shoes added about 5 inches.  No big deal.

Then I was on my way to my car.  And it was freeeeezing.  It was fine though, I would be at work soon.  I got into the car  and saw that it was 47 degrees.  That is cold.  But because it’s San Diego (which is apparently code for it never gets cold here), I would have been shamelessly mocked at work for showing up in a coat (trench, or otherwise).  It just plain silly, but nevertheless, reality.

Anyway, I arrived at work and it was still freeezing.  Inside.  I received an e-mail from the office secretary – something was wrong with the heating system.  I spread out the blanket that I keep at the office over my legs.  That did little to ease my shaking body.  I couldn’t concentrate on anything.

Ten minutes later, I gave up.  I went home.  And changed into these bad boys.


Office lawyer job, what?  I also added a black boyfriend sweater and a lacy blue scarf that my mom bought for me in Paris.

Back at the office, things started to look up.  The heating system was (eventually) fixed, and with my added layers, I was ready to work.

Then, I got this e-mail.

Dear Darcie,

Thank you for your submission to XYZ Literary Agency. Please be assured that I have carefully considered your project. Unfortunately, I don’t feel the manuscript is right for me at this time.

Because we receive more than two hundred submissions per week, it is necessary to be extremely selective on a very subjective basis. I wish you the best of luck. There are numerous excellent agents that might be the right fit for your manuscript. Don’t give up!

Don’t give up.  Easy for you to say, lady.  I know, rejection is part of the literary world.  I know, it only takes one agent to see your talent and say yes.  I know that this novel might be successful, but it’s still a great learning experience.  And the best “comfort,” it’s such an accomplishment that I wrote a novel.

Still, the rejection stings.

3. Somehow, I made it through the day.  I went home to work out.  I wasn’t feeling well last week, so this was my first day returning to an intense workout.  I could barely make it through before I was hyperventilating, barely able to remain standing, and virtually a puddle of sweat on the floor.  No, there is no photo to illustrate this point.  Let me tell you that you should be grateful that I spared you the sight.

So at this point, there was only one solution for today’s extreme cause of the Monday blues.

Comfort food.  To me, that means cheese.  And lots of it.

I had some spaghetti squash in the fridge that I needed to use up so I combined Kate’s and Jessica’s pumpkin fettuccine recipes and added some touches of my own.  It was fast, easy, and deliciously comforting.


I scraped the squash into a bowl.


I cooked turkey bacon.


I made a roux with butter and flour (about 1 tablespoon each).  I also added garlic.  Then came about 2/3 cup milk.  Once that was nice and saucy, I tossed in handfuls (no, I did not measure) of Monterrey Jack cheese, chopped sage,  and some pumpkin (again, I didn’t measure but maybe 2/3 cup).  Stir, stir, stir.


I added some spices: cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and rosemary.


And then my alfredo sauce was ready.


I poured the sauce over the heated squash and topped with more cheese (parmesan, this time) and the chopped bacon.

Then I ate.  And I was happy happier.  Thank you, cheese, you did it again.

Posted by: darcieczajkowski | November 8, 2012

Wednesday Wishes.

Dear Producers of The Good Wife,

Here is my wishlist for how you could improve your show.

1. I wish that Eli would cut that annoyingly long piece of hair that not only makes him look like he’s older than he actually is, but also makes him look like he’s balding.  And well, slightly creepy.  Get a haircut, Eli!

2. I wish Alicia wasn’t so good.  Ugh, I don’t want to encourage her to cheat on her husband, but Will is better, in like every way, than Peter.  He doesn’t sleep with hookers, for starters.  That is worth its weight in gold.

3. Never mind.  I wish I could have Will (not Josh Charles) for myself.  He’s just so darn sexy.  From the way he dresses, to the way he walks, to his confidence in the courtroom.  He makes the law seem sexy (seem is the keep word, as I can speak from personal experience that the law is decidedly not sexy.)  

4. I wish Cary was more like Logan from Gilmore Girls.  He was much more charming in those days, although his clothes have definitely improved.  There was something about the bad boy antics that were tamed by the oh-so-boring Rory that made him so irresistible.  Cary, on the other hand, – eh?  He gets the runner-up spot to Will.  Any day.  Every day.  Indisputably.

5. I wish Kalinda’s husband or ex-husband (whatever he is) would go away.  The story line is just plain dull.  They both claim they love each other, but honestly, if that’s love, then I don’t want to be in love.  Sick and twisted is what it is.  Please bring back tequila shots with Alicia instead.  Now that was a story line I could – and did – get behind.

Thank you for your considering my wishlist.  I’d be happy to provide you with my address in regards to wish number two.



Posted by: darcieczajkowski | November 7, 2012

Monday Blues.

Here’s how you fight those blues.  You make this.

Socca.  It’s delicious, versatile, and I love that I can throw any random toppings on it along with tons of cheese, and call it dinner.  I used Sarah’s recipe and even made my own chickpea flour as she suggested.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with socca, Sarah’s post also gives a detailed history of its origination and also its health benefits.  Check it out.

After seeing Jessica’s post about her butternut squash obsession, I decided to try a fall version of socca.


Step One: I chopped and peeled some butternut squash.  No finger casualties this time.  I tossed it with olive oil, sea salt, and nutmeg (pretty standard seasoning when it comes to squash).  I roasted it in my toaster oven on 450 because I was really hungry and wanted the squash done ASAP.


While the squash was roasting, I caramelized onions.


When the squash was mostly soft, I added some freshly chopped sage.


Here is the socca batter.  I let it rest covered for about two hours, per Sarah’s instructions.


I added pesto chicken apple sausage to the onions.Image

Here is what the socca looks like after it’s cooked.  So tasty.


Assemble: I mushed up the squash and spread that across the socca, then I added the onions and sausage, then topped with tons of Monterrey Jack cheese.  I let it cook just long enough for the cheese to melt.


Then I let it cool just long enough to take this photo before shoving it into my mouth and consuming the entire socca pizza in record.  All that was left was a burned mouth.


Final cure for the Monday Blues: sweet potato brownies.  These babies stay fresh for quite a long time, particularly when your boyfriend won’t touch them because of the vegetables in dessert.  Whatever, more for me.  

What more could I ask for on a Monday except maaaybe some fall weather to go with my fall food.  85 degrees today, no joke.

Posted by: darcieczajkowski | November 6, 2012

Weekend Goodies.

Happy Monday!  That, right there, is an oxymoron.  There is nothing good about Monday, except perhaps what I’m having for dinner tonight and the fact that because of all of my weekend excitement or the suddenly extremely hot NOVEMBER weather, I have sore throat which means I have a perfectly acceptable excuse not to work out.

You’ll have to wait until tomorrow for tonight’s dinner details, but here is my weekend in a nutshell.

Friday night was my boyfriend’s birthday.  Actually, his birthday was Sunday, but we started the celebration Friday night.  He called it a date night, but in reality, it was his birthday dinner because I paid.  I had heard amazing reviews from friends about Le Papagayo.  It lived up to its expectations both in terms of food and the live music.


(Yes, my hair is again in a top knot.  In one word: obsessed.)


Here is the birthday boy, forced smile and all.


He was happier once I stopped taking pictures and finally let him eat his food which was Kobe beef sliders, spicy macadamia calamari, shrimp, scallops, crab, and mushrooms in some special sauce.  Food.  Heaven.  To drink ,we had sangria, which was probably most definitely the best I’ve ever had.  Oh, and that green stuff at the bottom of the picture?  Pesto dipping sauce for the loaf of bread we ingested between the two of us.  Ugh.

If you live in San Diego or when you come to visit (you should come right now – remember the weather?), your first stop should be this restaurant.  Boyfriend went home happy.

Unfortunately, his happiness was short-lived because I forced him awake at 6:30 am on Saturday morning for THE COLOR RUN.  If you live in one of these cities, you should do it!  Help a charity (various between cities – San Diego was Big Brothers-Big Sisters), get sprayed with paint, get in some early Saturday morning cardio.  It’s a win-win-win.

Disclaimer: You could easily dodge the paint-spraying.  Or more accurately, you had to seek out the paint sprayers. Sorry, but I think if you register for this race, you should NOT be able to avoid getting sprayed.  Second, more music was needed.  I don’t enjoy running and I’m pretty sure 99.9% of the people doing this “race” (the rest of my team told me that this can’t be considered a real race since it’s not timed) aren’t runners either.  We need motivational music, people!

My team consisted of my boyfriend, my cousin, and a friend.  Here we are – pumped up before the race.




And here is the damage.



Doesn’t get much sexier than this, people.


Disappointed with the lack of paint covering every crevice of our bodies, we had to take matters into our own hands.


What do to post-run?  Bottomless mimosas, duh.



Yes, this happened.

Then I took a five-hour nap.

When I woke up, I had to pull myself together for the main event: Boyfriend’s birthday party at my casa.


He got a cake courtesy of my friend, Megan.  The candles were also courtesy of her thanks to this conversation.

Me: Hey, Boyfriend wanted me to invite you to his birthday party Saturday night.  You interested?

Megan: Yeah, I’ll be there.  Is he turning 22 this year?

Me: Haha, good one.

These are the jokes you deal with when you are dating an older woman.

He was a good sport, though.


Then this happened.  Hehe.


On the third day (his actual birthday), we rested.  Waffles and turkey bacon for dinner were necessary.  Then I passed out on the couch around 8 p.m.  Oldlady, who?

Posted by: darcieczajkowski | November 1, 2012

Wine Thursday.

Today I wrote ten pages on my second novel.  Obviously, that deserved a reward.  I resisted initially, but in the end, I was powerless to resist its relentless calls.

This is my love and my nemesis all wrapped up into one.


I called for back-up.  My friend told me she is “sick.”  I use quotes because one can never be too sick for wine.  I hung up on her (not really, but I wanted to).  In reality, she gave me permission to drink alone and told me she wouldn’t judge me.  I told her that I’m judging myself.  Then this happened.


I’m wining right now, and you should be, too.

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