Monday, October 5, 2015

Annual creative slump

It feels hard coming back to this blog right now. I am sure I could come up with lots of excuses. Including, but not limited to the following:

  • It's suddenly fall outside. (I am even busted my space heater out today)
  • I had to travel for work last week. (I have another one coming up next week).
  • I attended an anti-racism training this past weekend and now fully aware that everything sucks. A lot. (And if I let that slip from my mind, I realize that I can do that because of my white privilege. So I am not exactly sure how to be right now). 
  • It's been an emotionally stressful past 6 weeks because of the accident and that stress manifests itself in my relationship with my boyfriend, for obvious reasons. 
  •  It's the end of the month/beginning of the month. So I am stressed about money. 
  • There's a lot of good things on Netflix and HuluPlus 

However, all of them boil down to me feeling zero percent creative. That plus fall traveling for work makes a zero blog post atmosphere in my life.

Ultimately, I keep this blog for me. So I should not care if I suddenly stop posting. Right?

The thing is that I want to be a writer. So why does it feel impossible to actually sit down and write, even something as rambling as a blog post. If I cannot even do this, than how will I ever have the energy or motivation to try and write for real?

I think in previous years, at this time of year, I have blamed the lack of creativity on the dying world outside. That might be true. (Or what little creative energy remains in me is all directly towards pumpkin baked goods. For example, I just pulled pumpkin cookies out of the oven. (I took the day off today)).

I know I am not the best at pushing myself and I know that I have never really been able to real multitask. I have never been the person who thrives or enjoys being involved in one major thing at a time. For example, even though I dabbled in clubs and extracurricular activities in college, by the time my senior year came around, I had eventually pulled out of everything because all I felt like I had energy for was my classes. I didn't want to be distracted. Now, that feels true when it comes to making space for creative writing and photography. With photography specifically, I feel as if I am at a point where I cannot justify investing in it unless I dive all in and try and make real money off of it. Since I currently have a full time job, that feels really impossible to me right now. (Only this time, I would be happy to be distracted from work, it's just I am really tired during my down time).

I don't know how to end this blog post about not writing blog posts. I guess just with the hope that since I have been anticipating fall for awhile, (I think it's finally time to rip up the tomatoes in the garden), the changing of the seasons will actually inspire me, not add to the deep summer hibernation I was already in last month.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Tapas night

It finally happened.

I finally had a dinner party of my deck this weekend. The weather was cool and almost fall like. My twinkle lights finally worked when they needed to work. There was hummus veggies and grilled flatbread, bruschetta with pesto, tomatoes and a feta yogurt drizzle, bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers (brought by our friends), "Moroccan" meatballs, wine and gin and tonics. All of my vintage plates from MCC Thrift Shops were out in their full glory. We even busted out the corn hole game my dad made us.

Everything was lovely.

If only we could do this more often during the summer months.

My boyfriend makes incredible hummus 

Summer 2015 recap

This may happen every year. In the early part of the summer I create a summer bucket list of all the things I want to do. Then by August, I completely get derailed or just forget completely.

Since it is already the middle of September and since we can now go outside without immediately sweating through out clothes, I thought it might be a good time to do a little summer reminiscing

Here are the things on my list that I actually did.
1. Go swim laps with Diana (and Denise) at the Newton pool during our lunch break
2. Make popsicles and homemade ice cream.
3. Go out for brunch in Wichita with Levent
4. Make homemade vanilla extract
5. Have a dinner party on my new (to me) deck
6. Take Scout to the vet to get her rabies shot. (This sounds lame, but I have been putting it off and if she escapes one day (which she has before), I want her to be safe).
7. Read Harper Lee's new book.
8.  Figure out how to go to Raleigh (and thus the beach) with my sister
9. Go swimming just for fun
10. Hang out with my favorite travel friends, Jilly and Lucas, in Chicago
11. Be completely chill about my garden. (Hey, if I get to eat stuff out of it, that's a win. No need to be a nut job over it).

I feel pretty good about this. After all, it was way over half of the things I wanted to do. I found that I really love going lap swimming at the Newton community pool over my lunch break and was sad when it closed for the season. I did, in fact, make homemade vanilla extra. See.

But I actually have not needed to use it yet. So hopefully it is fine.

All the extra, fun swimming I did this summer was with my sister and nephew, including a semi-hectic trip to the beach. (My Raleigh trip was possible, in part by me realizing I had enough air miles for a one-way ticket with American Airlines. Amazing).

Overall, it was a pretty good summer. And I finally did manage to have a deck party, even though it was just last night.

Here are the things that I did not do...
1. Start making yogurt again
2. Learn how to make ricotta cheese
3. Go on a picnic with Levent to the Arb

I had every intention of making yogurt again this summer, especially when I realize my oven had a light. Shortly after this realization, it burned out. And so did my yogurt making dreams.

Levent and I did not go on a picnic, which is not surprising because it is miserable in Kansas in the summertime. Maybe now that fall will be here soon, we can make that happen.

And finally, here are the things that kind of happened..
1. Work harder on eating more vegetables at every meal

Okay. I did try hard at increasing my fruit and veggie intake for several weeks. And then I let it slide. Ah. why is it so hard?

2. Settle into my new house by decorating it and maybe creating some wall art myself

Thanks to my family, I did settle into my new space. I love it. However, I did not create wall art for myself. But I am kind of in the process because I did decide to play around with watercolors. I am hoping to do something for my wall with that medium. I am just not sure when yet.

3. Once a month, take my camera someplace locally to take picture (hopefully with my friend, Amy).

In May, I did go out of town during sunset and take some pictures of wheat. But that's pretty much all I did. It's really hard to be creatively inspired when it's really hot outside. I did not take photos with Amy, but I am still determined to make this happen sometime.

I guess I might still have time. As long as there are 80-90 degree days left in the week forecast, it is still summer in my mind. I don't care how long kids have been back in school. I will definitely look forward to consistent cooler temperatures come October, but in the meanwhile, maybe I will dig deep and find motivation to make ricotta.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Garden solstice

Garden solstice isn't a thing. And this year that was particularly true. There was never a high point or a low point. It just never really was. I am not exactly sure if I am even capable of gardening. That's a little bit how this feels since my 3rd year of gardening did not prove to be a charm but rather the worst season yet.

So it goes.

And I know that really sometimes it is just really how it goes. On some level, I was not alone in my garden failure. It was a horrible year for peppers and I know a couple of people whose tomatoes never really took off either. Misery loves company.

Because of being in St Louis two weekends in a row and because it is that time of year when I've had enough, I have officially stopped watering my gardening. (It actually has been raining fairly consistently; so this isn't actually a big deal at all). On Saturday, I went around and pulled up almost everything in my garden. What I left was my tomato plants. Ironically, despite their lack of fruit, the plants themselves look better than any tomatoes I have ever grown, especially for this part of the season. I actually had enough to can 4 pints yesterday. Until the weather dips too low, I expect I might get a couple of stragglers. I might even get enough to make sauce or can another pint. Who knows.
I really hope next season is better and I believe that it should be. After all, I am saying farewell to the community grass garden (good riddance) and will be gardening in the space in my backyard. I actually got the soil tested recently and am hopefully that will help me make smarter decisions. We'll see.
That grassy mess,? Yeah, that's my garden. 
Maybe Kansas has beat me at this game and I am just the fool who keeps trying.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Carrying some of the heaviness

It's been over 3 weeks now since the Miller's accident. Writing those words feels so crazy. It feels like so long ago and yet, we are still very much in the thick of it.

After posting my last blog post, Levent and I returned home for 4 grueling days of being in Kansas. Once we concluded our short work week, we headed back to St Louis to be with the Millers for an extra long, Labor Day weekend.
And things are going okay. I have found that in moment of crises, I am the type of person who is ultimately optimistic. As I told a co-worker recently, I don't think I would be able to get out of bed in the mornings if I wasn't.
During our time in St. Louis, lots of good things happened. Shirley was able to open her eyes. (They had been swollen shut because of the intense surgery she had on her face). She also communicated with us via pen and paper. Wilbur made it to a new level of cognitive awareness. (Let me tell you, waking up from a coma is nothing like the movies). There was even one moment when Wilbur called Levent a nickname that only he calls him and I almost fell to pieces. I count each of these small victories and hope even harder.

Even bigger news came at the end of our visit on Tuesday when the hospital told us that the Millers were ready to be discharged to the rehab facilities at the Ohio State University Hospital in Columbus (which is where they live). Not only that, but their insurance was going to cover 100% of their transportation via ambulances to Ohio, (which, according to the SLU hospital social worker is practically unheard of in the insurance world).

These are all really good things. The sooner they are in rehab the better. But part of our new sucky reality though is that they are now 12 hours away instead of only 6 and half. I have no idea when we will be able to see them next. That's really hard.
While practically living life on the 6th floor of the SLU Hospital was hard, what is even harder is being far away. Maybe this sounds weird for me to say. After all, I am just Levent's girlfriend. But I hope that this group of people will be my in-laws some day and I care about them like they already are.

When we were out there, it was easier to know how to support them. Even if I was just sitting there, at least I could carry some of the heaviness with them. But now, back in Kansas. I once again feel at a loss. How do I support and and share in my boyfriend's struggle when ultimately, his pain is way deeper than mine? I am not sure.

But I keep trying. I guess that's the only thing to do for now.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Breakable things

I realized I haven't blogged the entire month of August. Time has a way of sneaking away like that. Honestly, I am not sure why I didn't. It was hot. The garden did nothing except grow weeds (and the occasional cantaloupe). I went to work. I took a lot of instagrams of my cat. Levent and I spent our evenings eating supper and watching Netflix together.

I am not complaining (especially now). I actually love the daily structure of our lives and the beauty that comes with monotony. It is predictable and in many ways, it gives us meaning. But there just was not a whole lot that I felt inspired to commit to (virtual) paper.

So it goes.

There are several moments in life that we always carry with us. For example, I know exactly where I was when I heard about 9-11. (Despite hearing pieces of nonsensical information all morning, I was standing in the marching band practice field, holding my clarinet, my freshman year of high school when I first heard the news). I know exactly where I was standing when I heard about the passing of my grandparents. It is as if these moments startle us so greatly that they become ingrained in our memories.They forever shape out a new reality (and new TSA regulations). Other times they reamin as emotional scares that never fully heal. It only takes a couple of words the fall, like a hammer, and shatter every single structure we try to make for ourselves.

A week ago Thursday, I added another one. I had just pulled off the pork chops from the grill when I noticed Levent's car pull up.When he rounded the corner, the world stopped.

His parents and his younger brother, Blake, where on their way home to Ohio after their visit to Kansas when they got into an accident outside of St Louis. While there have been a lot of small victories, both of his parents are currently still in the ICU, Shirley is recovering from facial reconstruction surgery and Wilbur is still in a medical induced coma, giving him the time and space he needs to make sure his brain injury heals. (Blake walked away from the accident with only a couple of scratches on his arm).

This is a scary, harsh reality of how brutal and breakable life (and we as humans) can be. It's hard to make a lot of sense out of anything right now.

Levent and his brothers have been out here for over a week now. Due to a work trip to Denver (which was awful btw), I was delayed in coming until just yesterday.  It is hard to see loved ones in so much pain (of all kinds). It's hard to know how to hold up and support Levent. I do the best I can (and marvel at his own personal strengthen). It's hard to wait. It's hard to pray.
This sums up my work trip to Denver
It is in these dark, messy moments where it feels as if the only thing that truly binds the human race together is of our pieces of collective tragedies. Yet, as a breakable human myself, I am trying to focus on the small moments, count the tiny victories, find hope in the moments of strength and bravery and to believe that love is ultimately greater than tragedy, no matter what happens in the end.

Abstract words and concepts aside, it's going to be a long couple of weeks for the Miller clan. We appreciate all the prayers, thoughts, and good vibes you can send Wilbur and Shirley's way.
Lunch break today on the St. Louis University's  School of Medicine campus

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Raleigh Vacation

Last weekend, I hoped on a painfully early flight out of ICT and headed to RDU (that's Wichita to Raleigh for those unfamiliar with those airport codes) for a mini vacation with my sister. It was beyond lovely. We enjoyed lots of coffee from various coffee shops in Leah's neighborhood, lots of good food, play time with Malakai, a movie on the lawn at the Art Museum, a day trip to the beach (and even though it was quite stressful, it was quite beautiful too), Sunday morning brunch on top of a Greek restaurant, and riding the free bus line down to the Science Museum. 
It was a lovely weekend. The weather even gave us a little bit of a break (most of the days). It was so great to be in an urban setting again and live (even if temporarily) in a world where it was not miserable to be outside. That's the dream.