Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Saturday Success.

Saturday was a really, perfect day in so many ways. One of those days where, at the end of it when you're lying in bed next to your best friend in the whole world & a pup at your feet, you just smile thinking of all the wonderful things that fit in such a small number of hours. Saturday was one of those days.

We slept in, so you know it was bound to be a good day. I woke up with a pup stretched out next to me, got up, and hobbled sleepily down the stairs to see my husband in the kitchen busy at work making fresh ketchup. Have you ever made/eaten fresh ketchup? It's not even the same category of foods as the regular stuff. Such complex flavors all binding together to make the most perfect condiment/topping/sauce ever.

Homemade snack: ketchup & fries.

After we finished making ketchup & cleaning up the mess (it was a big mess), we did yard work & planted our fall garden. I love sweating in the sunshine and getting my hands literally dirty. And I am so excited about our garden for the fall. It was kind of a bust this summer; we started too late in the season once we moved in, and then it was just too hot for much of anything to live. Not to mention the mess of bermuda grass. But after a summer of sitting under cardboard and straw, our beds are full of rich, moist, dark soil, perfect for growing a fall bounty. We planted radishes, dragon carrots, arugula, & onions in the first bed. Hopefully this week we'll finish forking the second bed & get our kale & more radishes planted. I'm really optimistic that we'll get something out of this season's crop.



Our rose bush bloomed! 

Be still my heart. Basil basil basil.

Looks like we've got some tomaters!

After our wonderfully productive morning of gardening & yard work, we cleaned up, napped, ate an amazing lunch with our ketchup, and headed to the DOG PARK! Happiest place on earth. Plus, Cohen got to play with one of his two girlfriends, Nova. We met up with Nova's mom, Heather, and our other human friend Cayla at the park and giggled as the dogs frolicked & played. After Nova & Cohen tired themselves out a bit, we all went to Hillsboro Village to meet up with Cohen's other girlfriend, Bella, and her mom Marie for the Pup Crawl I had been excited about all week. Well, I think the rain earlier in the day may have ruined the pup crawl, cause there was not much of a crawl going on. Nevertheless, we had a great time chatting and spending time together at Fido with our pups. 

Bein' a pup.

Once we returned home with our tired pooch, we made our snack of fries & ketchup to enjoy while watching the movie Stardust. Ummm, how have I never seen that movie? It was seriously one of the best movies I've ever seen. I want to watch it again ASAP. It was so magical and wonderful! Plus, they all have British accents so you know I loved it. 

Beautiful story, beautiful people, beautiful costumes.

And then of course, after my wonderful, perfect Saturday, I got to lie down next to the love of my life & wake up to a whole new day with him. 


Friday, August 24, 2012

Why I'm Voting in this Election...

Okay, this is not an attempt to be political or obnoxiously opinionated. Most people who know me know my stance anyways.

Yesterday, one of my clients with whom I have been building a relationship over the past year and who I care for deeply, came into my office and asked if I was going to vote in the election. He correctly guessed which candidate I'd be voting for. When I asked him if he was going to vote, he stated emphatically that yes, he would be voting, because this election could mean the difference between receiving disability and living a productive life, and being on the streets. He has overcome a lot in his life and has worked so hard to be where he is. I took him grocery shopping for the very first time about 9 months ago (he was 52), shortly after he moved into independent housing for the first time in his life. He has met and bravely faced a lot of life battles that most of us never come near. And, to top it all off, he is perhaps the sweetest person I have ever had the joy to be in communion with.

So, the main reason I am voting in the election in November is for people like him. People who never received a "fair shot" at the American dream and who truly need the support of their fellow Americans. I know there are obviously flaws in the Medicaid system, but there are also powerful, meaningful, life-giving stories of success. Not to mention, many of my coworkers & I would be at risk of losing our jobs. And clients like this would be at risk of losing services that help keep them well and, seriously, alive.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Quickie...

Well, I haven't really cared to blog lately. Life's been busy/crazy/what?

Here are a few quick updates:
  • I LOVE my new position at Park Center. I feel like I actually have a career pplan figured out. 
  • I signed up for the GRE, finally....
  • We are officially going to Miami, FL for Thanksgiving with my amazing sister.
  • I am back on the Facebook. Think what you will.
  • Current favorite new albums: Brandi Carlile, John Mayer, & The Shins. Listen to them all, for your own sake. Amazing.
  • Recently watched movies: Friends With Kids, Our Idiot Brother, & Salmon Fishing In The Yemen... All feel-good movies highly recommended by me. :-)
  •  Momma came in town this weekend to keep me company while Nathan is at Gethsemane monastery... We did some shopping, walking at Radnor, talking, wine-drinking, more talking, nail-painting, and more talking. My mom is the strongest, most powerful, kind, giving woman I know.... And I hope I "grow up" to be just like her, wonderful quirks & all. She makes me think of this (cause my mom is badass):  

Glee - Run The World (Girls) - FULL Scene by news-de-stars

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Memories.

Sometimes, when things aren't at their best, it's nice to remember all the great memories I've made over the past several years.

Little girls in Guatemala.
Mayan Ruins.
TVC Childcare. He was our favorite little dude.
Girls' nights- "She's the Man" & Smirnoff Ice.
 Dancing pointe & wearing tutus.
Orientation Leaders.
Occasional underage drinking (responsibly).
Honors Medieval World. 
Girlfriends.
Legal drinks in London.
"I love you, always forever..." 
Valentine's Day.
Best friend. 
Dance parties.
The beach.
Marrying my best friend.

Remembering all of the wonderful experiences I've had and incredible people who have been along for the ride helps me keep perspective. And I know there are so many great experiences & opportunities to come in the future...

Grandma.

Though she may not know where she is or whether she just put toothpaste in her hair, my grandma still knows & loves me. It's always nice to see her and receive a warm grandma hug & kiss on the cheek. And she still tells me what a lovely young woman I'm growing up to be. She is a wonderful woman, and I adore her.



And, just for fun, here she is at my age: 



Saturday, August 4, 2012

Aqua Fresca.

If you've never had aqua fresca, it is definitely something worth trying. On our wonderful Sewanee day trip, we drank mango aqua fresca with our dinner. And when we got a huge watermelon in our CSA, I knew what I would be doing with it.


For this cucumber-watermelon aqua fresca, I scooped out the fruit & juice of half of a watermelon & placed it in the blender (seeds included... it would be too time consuming to pick out all the seeds). I blended it on high until it was a smooth texture. Then I strained it through a wire strainer to get the liquid separated from the pulp & seeds. Added a bit of water & about 1/2 a cucumber, thinly sliced. Give it about an hour or so for the cucumber to give its flavor to the aqua fresca. Then, enjoy! I don't add extra sugar because the fruit is naturally sweet enough for me, but you could add sugar or, preferably, simple syrup. 

There you have it- the perfect summer drink! (and it's good with some vodka in it, too...)


Friday, August 3, 2012

My Nutella Discovery.

How have I not been obsessed with Nutella all of my life?? Do you realize how much I love hazelnut? And how much I love Chocolate? And how much I love the combination of hazelnut & chocolate??? When I'm feeling naughty at work, I walk over to the Turnip Truck & buy a hazelnut milk chocolate bar. When I worked at a coffee shop, I drank hazelnut lattes & mochas all day long. Basically whenever I get the chance, I will eat hazelnuts & chocolate. WHY HAS NUTELLA BEEN OUT OF MY LIFE?! Someone tell me, please.

 Now, I've obviously heard of it & seen it before, and I'm pretty sure my college roommates usually had the stuff. But somehow I never got on board the Nutella train. And I am very regretful.

Well, thank the shiny heavens above, Sarah & Lauren made Nutella & strawberry crepes for last weekend, and suddenly life became much clearer. Now all I want is Nutella, all day every day.

And with this powerful new knowledge I have comes great responsibility. Such as making really good cookies. I just happened to be in a baking mood last night, and I found this recipe for Nutella cookies. Holy hell. They're the most perfect cookies I've ever eaten.



My next Nutella adventure will be these Nutella fudge pops.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I ate an animal.

For the first time in over 4 years, I ate an animal. It was a decision I made after a lot of thought and consideration. Nathan & I decided to take a month or two, a trial period, to incorporate fish into our diet. Why?- you might be wondering. Well, here are a few reasons:

I've been feeling very lethargic and exhausted over the past few months, and I'm guessing it's due to a lack of iron. I would be willing to bet that I'm slightly anemic due to iron deficiency, which is often a problem in women my age, particularly vegetarian women. And despite my attempts to naturally increase my iron intake through a vegetarian diet, my body seems to be wanting more.

Also, I recently heard a presentation on The Chemistry of Joy by Henry Emmons. Dr. Emmons uses Eastern wisdom & Western science to treat depression & anxiety through holistic health. This means focusing on diet, sleep, and mindfulness. Dr. Emmons made me realize that I need to focus more on what nutrients my body isn't getting, or isn't getting enough of. Nathan & I do eat pretty healthy, and we consume a variety of vegetables, grains, fruits, dairy, etc. But I think my diet is just unable to keep up with my body's iron needs. Another extremely beneficial reason for eating fish is the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. Even vegetarian sources of Omega-3-type acids don't quite measure up to the real thing.

So, we decided to try eating fish. I thought about it a lot, and a lot. Something about eating a cold-blooded animal was more bearable to me. I actually always really enjoyed eating fish, too. But you won't see me eating anything warm-blooded, probably ever again. I just can't imagine it & can't really bear the thought, which is perfect reason for me personally to stay away.

Well, after day one (we used my bonus check to have a nice night out at J Alexander's & ate their delicious salmon dish) my tummy was not too pleased with the situation, but it seems to be more tolerant of fish now.

One interesting part of eating fish is learning how to cook it. We've never really had to think about "contaminants" in our kitchen because we've never had any raw meat in it. And I've been vegetarian since college, so I've basically never cooked my own meat of any kind. Well, we had a very successful first attempt. Nathan got as-fresh-as-you-can-get-in-TN swordfish steaks from Whole Foods and made an awesome marinade for them. Then he proceeded to grill them perfectly. They were tender, flaky, flavorful, and not too fishy or meaty.

And who better to share our first fish-cooking experience with than our favorite power-couple, Sarah & Lauren. They're such great friends, and we haven't seen them enough lately. But last night's dinner was hopefully the beginning of a weekly tradition of sorts.

Nathan made flower arrangements from pretties in our yard.

sauteed onions are the sign of a good evening ahead.

Watermelon-Cucumber Aqua Fresca. YUM.

Gorgeous green beans from our farmers, Bountiful Blessings.

Delicious salad provided by Sarah & Lauren. Swordfish, green beans, & rice.

Delicious. Fish was perfectly cooked.

Sarah: "you know she's gonna put this on her blog, right?" 

It was an excellent night. They are great friends, and graciously put up with my tipsy-rambles. I just love them.

And, apparently I like eating fish!