Sunday, May 22, 2016

Lonely bones

I have attachment issues with my cat.
I recently decided that I should let her live life to the fullest and allow her to go outside sometimes. This means that I am going to learn to let her go and roam free, banking on the hope that she knows where she lives (aka where she gets food). She is getting quite fat and always looks at me longingly out of the window whenever I am outside. I keep thinking that if she could be outside, than maybe she would get more exercise and be less fat. 

The problem is that I am horrified that she will run away and never come back. Or that she will get attacked by the 50 dogs, chickens, roosters and, surprisingly enough, a family of ducks that live in my neighborhood I know I project too many human emotions and feelings on to her but she is my roommate and my very favorite cat. I might be an emotional disaster if something happens to her. (Okay, who am I kidding? I definitely will be one). 

This is why people associate crazy people with cats. It's unavoidable. 

I don't think it's odd to say that pets become very much a part of one's family. Thus, part of my attachment to my cat could be because I am so far away from my own family. Living in Kansas can some times make me feel extremely isolated. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for my boyfriend and my Kansan friends. Still, I tend to go through these phases of loneliness where the only real cure is having coffee with my sister or sitting on my parent's front porch, etc. 

I think my desire to be around my family and/or have a family of my own comes out especially strong whenever I have to figure out transportation due to car and/or medical situations. (This week it was both. Goodbye money!) 

I had another steroid epidural one Thursday. It went fine, but it was more intense than the first one I got a couple weeks ago. It was a weird day for many reasons, but my bones (well nerves mostly) made me very aware that I wish I had a family unit around me so that these types of medical procedures wouldn't make me suddenly aware of how much of a hermit crab I am. Again, don't get me wrong, I do have good community around me. I guess, for the first time in maybe 2 years, I found myself wishing I didn't live alone with my cat.  Being an adult sucks. 

I know, it looks like someone shot me with a poisonous dart
That was on Thursday. 

Today is Sunday and we are quickly approaching the part of May where I typically tend to move living spaces. I cannot tell you have grateful I am that I am not moving right now (knock on wood) and how happy I am to be in this space, even by myself (plus one very fat Scout). And I should've leave this post without letting you know that Thursday, ended up actually being kind of fun. 

As I said before, this injection was more intense. I actually couldn't really put regular weight on my left leg for a couple of hours. (They even had to wheel me out to the car in a wheel chair. So strange). Since this can happen, I was not suppose to drive myself. This time, my co-worker/friend, Tina graciously took me. Afterwards, we zipped over to Costco, which is not usually my favorite activity, but since I couldn't walk normally, I got to use one of those electric carts. IT WAS AMAZING. I zipped around and ate the free samples while Tina grabbed what she needed, blowing off looks from fellow shoppers who probably thought I had no business being in that cart. Whatever, haters! I had a picture of my bones to prove that I was legit in that cart. 

And don't worry. I am not always a hermit crab. I got lots of good Levent time this weekend and also had coffee with my cousin to catch up but also talk about her upcoming wedding in a couple weeks, (which is also in IL so I will get to see my family in a couple of weeks).
It will be great.

In the meanwhile, I will continue to be grateful for the little community I have here and enjoy Kansas in the spring, which, according to my personal opinion, is the loveliest time of year here.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Weekend Update

My coworker brought in this cute little bunny to work earlier this week. Turns out, I love baby bunnies. This is ironic especially since any time I see rabbits out anywhere near my garden, I literally run after them. (Begone! little devils!)

Truthfully, they have not been too bad. They've been nibbling on my tiny green bean plants, but so far they haven't done a lot of damage. (Plus, now I've sprinkled cayenne pepper around the plants. Hopefully that keeps their little noses away).

May in general brings very little to report, which is maybe why I love gardening the most in the spring. So many possibilities, and after planting, very little to do. I did, however, start harvesting spinach this week, just a little at a time. It's glorious. I wish I would've planted more. Right now, it's just enough for a small salad for an occasional lunch though out the week.
 That's pretty much the only garden update there is right now. Everything is nicely tucked under a good thick layer of straw and the soaker hose is all set up. I am hoping this garden is super low maintenance, but that might be wishful thinking. It is only May.

It was quite cooler this weekend but my herbs continue to grow like crazy and soak up what sunshine we did have. I've especially enjoyed watching my cilantro plant shoot up like rocket.
There is also some kind of rose bush next to the steps leading off my deck. They are in their full glory right now.  This is probably the best my green living space will ever look in my whole life. That's because my landlord takes care of all the yard work and he is very particular. It's amazing. All I have to do is enjoy coming home to my green little home.
I didn't do very much gardening this weekend (minus picking some spinach and checking to see if squash bugs have realized I've planted a zucchini plant in my yard. So far so good). I also generally did not do very much at all, just chilled with my cat. 
It was nice, but for my active mind, I think I should've tried to do something more stimulating besides listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire audio book. The frustrating thing during the week is that I sit at my desk, wishing I was home doing gardening things or artsy things. When the weekend finally comes, I just lie around like a bum and eat Cheetos.

Okay maybe I should backtrack a little since I think I can almost hear my boyfriend's disbelieve to that last statement. Minus couch time and Cheetos time, I also had bread baking time. I tried making banquettes for the first time in my life. And let me tell you, this is a 3 day process, well, at least if you use this recipe I used.  Hopefully they taste okay.
*thumbs up emoji*

happy weekend everyone!

12 best foods for arthritis (spoiler alert: Cheetos didn't make the list)

I have a list of food items I gleaned from the internet. It is a list of "12 best foods for arthritis."  It's also the worst. Here it is

1. Fish (Mostly Salmon and Tuna at least 2 times a week)
2. Soy
3. Oils (olive, but walnut oil has 10 times as many omega 3 as olive oil)
4. Cherries (or other red fruit)
5. Dairy with Vitamin D
6. Broccoli
7. Green Tea
8. Citrus
9. Whole grains
10. Beans
11. Garlic
12. nuts (walnuts, pistachios & almonds)

Okay, it's not really the worst but after a couple weeks of trying to increase my omega 3 intake for my dry eyes as well as for my weird back issue, I feel ready to throw out my list. Turns out, I can put up with salmon and tuna if I have it every once in awhile. But several times a week? Forget it. Also sometimes I am convinced that flaxseed also tastes like fish. All this leads to me having a weak moment at the grocery store when I bought a giant bag of puffy Cheetos that I have been dreaming about for weeks. Apparently I like to keep one foot on the bandwagon of healthy eating and one foot completely off the wagon while the rest of my body is like "why are you doing this to us?"

Poking around on the arthritis foundation website about what foods to eat is actually fairly confusing. For example, the list above mentions dairy with Vitamin D, but on a different page it mentions to stick with low fat dairy. Well the vitamin D milk I have in the fridge is whole milk. It's like a catch 22 of milk. But what do I know. I am not a doctor or a dietitian. I am just a browser of the internet.

Regardless, I am still trying to push myself to include at least one of these food items into my daily diet (as well as turmeric, ginger and flaxseed, which aren't on the top 12 but are also suppose to be good anti-inflammatory spices/food too).  Minus feeling like I need to take a break from fish, flaxseed and broccoli, I think I am still doing okay.

For the most part, my leg (well, my back) has been doing a lot better. I don't think it's been long enough for a shift in my diet to be the reason for this. (And let's be real, it's not that big of a shift) Rather, it was the steroid epidural I got several weeks ago (and what I will be getting again on Thursday). Still, it doesn't hurt to try and eat healthier. So I stick with this list.

Yet, the fact that Cheetos taste way better than broccoli has not been my only struggle. It's expensive to eat healthy in this country. Really, it's a privilege, which is a whole other side tangent. I just spent like 8 bucks on a bag of cherries because I want to make smart food choices. Then I finally got my MRI bill in the mail and now I am like "crap, I should've have bought those million dollar cherries. Who do I think I am, a baller?"

I am sure I will be eating grilled cheese this week in order to try and keep my expenses low. But at least I have cherries to eat with it. Hopefully that counts for something.  

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Practice

The internet makes it super easy to catch a bad case of FOMO. (aka Fear of missing out). Earlier this week, you would think I was toiling over a major life decision. Nope. I was just debating whether or not I wanted to drag myself to Bethel College's Jazz on the Green, (which, fun fact, was the location of the first time Levent and I ever hung out by ourselves back in 2012), or just stay home and cozy up with Levent and watch this old BBC show Inspector Lewis on Amazon prime. The BBC crime drama won out in the end, (which, if you know me, is not a surprise. I love old British people solving murders).

Oh the struggle of being an introvert (and dating an introvert).

FOMO also applies to photography. Whenever I see my friends' photography work or other wonderful people I follow on Facebook, instead of just simply enjoying their artistic eye, I often become a harsh self critic and ask myself why I am not pushing myself to be a better photographer. (Oh right, full time job, plus travel, plus travel, plus introvert with no creative energy at the end of the day/work week). But whatever. I need to stop letting Facebook get me down and just learn at my own pace. I am not trying to become a professional photographer at this point in my life. Right now, it is simply my side hustle/hobby/creative outlet. And that's fine. I need to stop comparing myself to strangers (and friends) on the internet.

Yesterday, I hung out with my beautiful friend Amy who is helping me learn more of the technical sides of photography. It was great! We've done this a couple of times and every time I learn at least one or two things that makes me feel like my photography improves by leaps and bounds.
This is Amy's new dog. He is an old, wonderful, sweet mess. He also came pre-named as Samson John
Thanks Buddy. Hopefully I will feel more confident with my skills by the time for my next side hustle job,

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A week in (some) photos

Is it weird that I look at my old instagram photos when I am feeling sad? Well I do.

I don't actually believe it's that strange or that narcissistic of me. After all, I take photos of what I love the most, (not in any particular order), my boyfriend, my family, my cat, food, coffee, coffee, my cat. You get it. I some times have days when I feel completely down in the dumps for no good reason. During my low points, sometimes it is helpful for me to peruse old photos. It cheers me up. (I especially like watching the video of my (then) 2 year old nephew telling us that if we see a shark at the beach, we should punch it in the nose. It's amazing). I have a really good life. I think sometimes though, my hermit crab like tendencies can make me feel too isolated. I live too far away from my family. Most of my close Kansan friends have babies/families, (which makes it harder to call them up spontaneous and say "hey, I'm feeling sad. Want to come sit with me?" Also, I think I really need my sister for that).

Anyway, this post is heading down in the dumps quickly and that's not the direction I mean to take this. Let's go back to instagram. Even with my emotional low points, looking back at my week in photos, gives me a lot of perspective. It was good week. I am loving this spring weather. I got a lot of garden things happening. I finally got a water dish my cat cannot purposefully tip over. It's rainy and cozy today (but not cold). It's fantastic.

Here are my good things from this past week, brought to you by instagram

1. Last Friday, my friends, Tina, Denise, and I had another "girls night" in Wichita.

Side bar: Okay for real Wichita, pull yourself together and get on the internet.Okay so maybe this isn't fair, but whenever I am searching for a new, local restaurants to try in Wichita, I CAN NEVER FIND THEM. Even if places have websites, their presence isn't strong enough that I find them right away. I often feel as if I have to dive into the bowels of the internet to find them. And when I do find them, turns out, they've been in Wichita forever. What in the world?

To prove my point, if you google "best places to eat in Wichita" the second (THE SECOND) website option that comes up is someone's personal blog. Not a blog from someone who makes a living from blogging, but someone's personal blog. WHY?

Side bar over: After some internet digging, I came across this lovely local joint called Fork and Fennel, which I believe to be another hidden gem of Wichita. I was not very interesting that evening because I had a burger, (which was amazing. I regret nothing). However, the real prize of the night, minus hanging out with my friends, was the gin and tonics. Apparently this place is known for this particular cocktail, or so our waiter told us. But I believe him. It was the best gin and tonic I've ever had (not that I've had very many, but I definitely was impressed). They also make homemade chips. So good. I cannot wait to go there again and try their bunch menu.


2. I think I did pretty good on the eating healthy/eating foods to help with inflammation this week. I ate a lot of tuna and some salmon. (Although, I think I am going to take a week or two off from salmon eating). Every day, I tried to really pay attention to my food options and really tried to make sure I made a good choice every day.
Roasted broccoli is the only way I actually enjoy their weird looking veggie
I also made curry chicken this week too. Apparently, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory. Want me to eat more curry? Not a problem
3. We've been without an office manager for awhile at work. This past week, someone new stated in that role. While I still really miss my friend Denise who used to do that job, I am glad we finally have someone there, even if our internet decided to be the worst as a way to initiate her to the office.  Tina and I picked up most of the slack between office managers, so it's not a surprise that I am ready for the new sense of normal to finally arrive back at the office. 

4. Weekend things! Well, especially eating breakfast outside Saturday morning, but also garden things! I planted everything on Thursday and mulched everything with straw this weekend. It still feels so live changing to have the garden in the same place where I live. I feel so hopeful about my future vegetables. Talk to me again in July and I am sure it will be a different story. But I feel that with my new soaker hose system, I can handle it. 

Other weekend things included baking. I successfully made paneer for the first time in a while. I also made shortcake, which looks horrible but add milk and strawberries and it is the best thing. (The recipe has a lot of yogurt in it, which makes it super moist). 

5. The internet might kick me off if I don't mention that today is mother's day. Even though I am far away from my Mama (who is sadly feeling sick today), I really appreciate her and all she has done for me, in the past, present and future. I look forward to the hopeful day when I don't live as far away from her as I do right now. Then maybe we can have a mother's day brunch. The internet makes me believe that having a nice brunch with your mother is really the best way to celebrate.  But until that time, cheers Mama! 
And Happy Weekend to the rest of us. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Things I've learned from becoming a Kansan


Since becoming a Kansan, I've learned a couple of things

1. People will give you directions using cardinal directions. (It's taken me years to get used to this).

2. I am absolutely horrified of tornadoes.

3. Never ever complain about any type of moisture that falls from the sky

Okay, I am going to stop you right there before you make tornado jokes in the lines of "how can you claim to be an Kansan if you are afraid of tornadoes?" Or send me pictures like this horrifying one from Hutchinson taken last year. Tornadoes are no joke. Even though the only tornado I've ever seen in real life was in Illinois, that does not stop me from being convinced that the "end is near" any time we have a large system coming through the area.

What makes it worse I think is that we know these big storms are coming hours, sometimes days in advance. Such was the case on Tuesday of this week. I spent most of the day in pure anxious agony because the internet (and some of my co-workers) would not stop shouting about it. That is really not helpful. It makes me feel as if all of us living on the prairie are living in death trap or that tornadoes are really like a giant game of Russian roulette that I did not agree to play.

Thankfully, it was not as near bad as the internet was predicting. (And thankfully I live in a house with a basement now). Still, when it was storming bad outside, I couldn't help but wish that it was all going to be over soon.

Which brings me to my third point; never complain about rain.

I honestly don't know if it is always like this here, but during my 5 years of living in Kansas we have always needed rain. Some years it's been worse than others. So I know when it's storming hardcore outside that I really should be grateful. But that is super hard when I also feel terrified for my life, even if it turns out in the end to be irrational fear. Just another Tuesday, whatever.

Another good thing about this crazy storm that blew through here is that it cooled everything down again. This weekend has been rather chilly (or rather how the end of April probably should be). While this means I did not get the rest of my garden planted (it's fine, there is always next weekend), it does feel as if there is an extra buffer from it suddenly getting unbearably hot too soon. And for sure I can be grateful about that.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Great weekend things

Can it always be the weekend? 

It might have been the joy of not traveling for work or it could've been the lovely weather. Either way, it was a fantastic time. Lots of great things happened. 

1. Sunshine and warm temps! Oh my goodness. This weekend was sunny and in the mid-70s. Even though it was still crazy windy, it did not take away from being outside and soaking up all things spring. 
I also decided to walk the Emma Creek 5k with my friend, Denise, and her 5 year old daughter. (I will admit that I wished a couple of times that I was running it. Although, let's be real, I would've hated it if I had done that). This is the 3rd time I've done the Emma Creek but the first time I did it with a friend and the first time the weather was sunny and warm. It was a great way to start a Saturday morning, (even if I had to pay just to walk around my town).

2. Food! I had lunch with Denise on Friday. (At Prairie Harvest, which has yummy mac and cheese on Fridays. We also got to sample their new Kombucha, which I am now totally into. Really, it was probably just a matter of time before I jumped on that hippy bandwagon).
Secondly, Levent's Dad is in the area for a funeral and so we had an semi-spontaneous lunch with him and a friend. Grilling in the middle of the day always makes my brain think it's a holiday.

Finally, I also fed my desire to make cake all the time. This time in the form of a blueberry coffee cake from Smitten Kitchen. So yummy.

4. Wichita adventures! On Sunday, I had to go into work to skype into a church service. Afterwards, as a treat to myself, I went to Wichita to basically do things I love to do. So, you know, go to Target and spent all my money. 
I also got coffee at the Reverie. (You know how crazy I am about that place). And I checked out Songbird Juice Company, which is this darling hippy place that I now love completely. I got a punch card now. So it's official. 
I am starting to really love ICT, but the trick with this city is that these little nuggets (like the Reverie and Songbird) have been challenging to find. I have found that a lot of locally own places in Wichita do not have a web presence, or if they do, just social media. It's been quite the adventure discovering them, although quite fun as well. I just want these local gems to thrive and wish they would shout a little louder (and broader) about themselves. 

3. Gardening! It amazing how I always get sucked into buying more plants than I originally plan. Usually, it's the clever names that get me (i.e. Juliet tomatoes). This time, it was the begonias. I haven't been a big annual flower person but for whatever reason, this year I am all about it. It might have something to do with the planting pots that were left behind at my rental place. I think begonias are my favorite flowers. LOOK AT THEM. 
 Okay, I am a little over zealous about them but they are beautiful and I cannot help myself.

This weekend, I also planted some herbs. Yep, I am trying them in pots this year. Since there isn't enough sunlight in my kitchen, right next to the back door will have to suffice.
 I planted another row of green beans too and am impatiently waiting to plant the rest of my veggies. I think I probably could've done it this weekend and been fine, but you never quite know with the weather. I figured my tomatoes would be happier if I just chilled out for a minute and waited until May 1.

Seriously, spring is my favorite time of year. When else do I get this excited about vegetables? I just hope we get a couple more weekends like this one before the heat wave begins.