Saturday, June 18, 2016

Turning 29

I turned 29 on Tuesday. It's been rough going ever since.
Okay, that's sort of a joke. But, not completely. On Wednesday evening, I was struck down with the worst case of allergies I've ever experienced. (These allergies quickly lead to a massive sinus infection to the point where, sorry this is super gross, it was literally pouring out of my eye sockets. Yep, I told you it was gross). I've never been more convinced that I need to get out of this death trap state. Kansas, it seems, is awful for my health. I've since gone to the doctor and I am now hopped up on steroids and eye drops. This plus sleeping poorly because of irritation in my throat has lead to me feeling quite loopy today. I am a zombie. So far, being 29 isn't awesome.

Let's rewind a bit, even though 2016 has not be an all around great year thus far, turning 29 was not too bad. I've had this "life goal" that I am not going to work on my birthday for awhile. (I've made it 28 years without doing so, which, I think is pretty impressive). However, I quickly chucked that goal out the window this year since Levent had the following day off of work. With the plan to take Wednesday off instead, I went to work on my birthday, which wasn't half bad. Since I have a summer birthday, I typically am not around friends/colleagues on my actual birthday. And let me tell you, it was quite nice. Plus, I treated myself to a swim during lunch, a half priced coffee from Mojo's and a massage in the late afternoon. Not bad for a work day.

In the evening, Levent took me out for cheeseburgers at Brickyard Brewery in Wichita. Recently, I've been trying to eat healthy/save money on groceries, which translates into us not eating red meat very often. With that in mind, I was definitely craving a nice, juicy burger. This place did not disappoint (especially with the delicious pimento cheeseburger I had). We ended our evening at Dairy Queen, which I know doesn't sound glamorous, but when you live far away from most ice cream places, eating a blizzard at the end of the day is awesome.
On Wednesday, Levent came over for brunch. (We made crepes!) And after having introvert time in the afternoon, he came back over in the evening for snacks (after a monsoon like storm that knocked out our power for over an hour). All around, it was a great 2 day birthday celebration.

Even now, as I lay on the couch, my mind in a fog, I think of last Tuesday very fondly. Yeah, it was just a Tuesday and honestly, I was not really expecting to enjoy my birthday that much. And maybe it was because I had no real expectations for the day that made everything seem more joyous. Or probably it's because I have friends, family and a boyfriend who love me and made this random Tuesday in June awesome.

I can't wait to get out of this allergy fog and start enjoying being 29. I really don't have anything profound to say about this upcoming year, or as I reflect back on being 28. Really, I am still trying to work on my 2016 goals of taking care of myself and being a healthier person. Sure, there are some things I would like to happen before I turn 30, but really, I think the best thing for me to do right now is to try very hard to enjoy the present, to "be like Scooter" (my sister's old dog) and live in the moment. That's extremely hard for me to do since I am planner and a perfectionist (and I never thought I would be on the brink of 30 still being a SINK (single income, no kids). But life does it's own thing and we are here for the ride. I might as well enjoy as much of my last year as a "twenty-something" while I still can. That isn't to say I don't still have these hopes and aspirations, but rather these dreams/wishes won't define how I view the quality of my life. I do, after all, have a very good life and I look forward to being the most 29 year old person I can be.

Cheers.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A little bit of everything from the week.

Instead of landing on a topic for this post, I'm pretty much just going to cover a little bit of everything from this week. This is maybe the worst way to use a blog, but I want to crank this post out and get back to the daunting task of photo editing on a dinosaur mac.

The Funeral
I was in Illinois this past weekend and came back to Kansas on Monday. (I took my cousin's wedding photos last Saturday, hence the photo editing). Unfortunately, Levent's grandma Miller passed awhile while I was out of state. However, this did mean that his siblings were traveling to Kansas the same day I was heading home. We met up at a Starbucks near Kansas City and drove the rest of the way together. Really, the only highlight of a funeral is getting to see family on a random Wednesday. Levent went to go surprise his family a couple of weekends ago and I was super bummed I couldn't go with him. Despite the really sad situation, I was happy to be able to see his entire family this week, at least for a little bit. (Wednesday, the day of the funeral, was a cultural experience for me, since most of Levent's extended family is Beachy Amish/conservative Mennonite). And I am not going to lie, I spent a lot of that time trying to figure out all the different types of head coverings present).

The Chiropractor
The leg/back saga continues. 2 weeks ago, when I had an exceptionally awful weekend spent in pain, I decided to try a different chiropractor and see if that didn't help. Even though I cried my eyes out in front of a strange, male doctor on my first visit (it was a rough day), I am glad I am giving chiropractor care another shot. It does seem to be helping to manage my pain somewhat. It's been extremely frustrating hearing 5 different things from 5 different doctors and I am trying not to be too optimistic because I was optimistic with everything else I was trying. Still, this feels promising. He took an x-ray of my back and showed me that my left hip is significantly lower than my right hip and that one of my vertebrae is not where it should be (meaning it's twisting and pinching my nerves, shooting pain down my leg). So do I have arthritis or even a degenerative condition in my back?  I honestly have no clue. Probably somewhat. But I really hope that I can get my bones back in place so I don't wake up every morning and wonder how bad my leg is going to ache that day. Also, I am running out of money.

The worst
Work has been pretty challenging for me right now, not my work load, but mostly the lack thereof. There are some changes coming to our region and in the national office that is going to make my work load less, or at least changing it. It's been pretty discouraging (and was also a reason I cried at the Chiropractor office. I had a really deflating day at work then). I'm also in a weird place right now because of my back and I am trying not to travel very much. This feels impossible and/or makes being efficient at my job impossible. That's not a very good feeling. Bad days at the office often lead to a whole spiral of thought, i.e. "should I still be doing this job since I physically and emotionally cannot handle it?," "since my job is one of the main reasons I have been content staying in Kansas, does that mean that we should start thinking of moving?", "but what else would I do?" 'Do I even have marketable skills?"

See? It's a whole thing.

It got especially worst this week when I found out via the Executive Director of our entire organization that a male consistent (who is also a pastor btw) told him that I am not "robust enough to deal with strong women" who make up a particular constituent Thrift Shop. ARE YOU EVEN KIDDING ME? Oh I was pissed and really upset about it. (I still am) And while my organization, including the Executive Director, told me that they do not agree with this, it still felt like a slap in the face. While this is the first time I've had seen sexism so directly expressed towards me, it is not the first time I've been in a situation where I've had a  hard time doing my job because I am not taken seriously as a young woman. (For real, I've been asked if I am my colleagues' wife (yes plural) in professional settings).

After I read this particular email I cried, and then got mad at myself for "not being strong enough." But that's bull shit (as my sister so correctly reminded me later).  I am not going to let them get to me, even if this whole situation has rattled my confidence. I am a woman. I can be strong and still express emotions even if that means I need to take a cry break every once in awhile. We have a very nice trail that runs behind our office. So why not use it for cry breaks? Done and done, now to shut these hatters up.

Gardening
I love looking outside my back door at my garden. So far, it still looks lovely. Even though the wind completely destroyed half of one of my potted begonia's (it blew it over, crushing half of the flowers), and a baby bunny was living in my onion patch, things continue be growing like crazy. The spinach is over (meaning it was going to seed and I pulled it up) and I have thus replaced that space with some zinnia seeds. Today, I also picked a few green beans. (I'll probably have to wait awhile before I actually have enough for a meal though). I even had enough basil to make pesto this weekend. And! my tomatoes are tall and lush and so healthy looking. I feel so proud of them. I cannot wait to be eating more veggies straight from my backyard.
This is not the crushed begonia plant. This begonia plant is looking marvelous 

It's been a long week. And this coming week I turn 29. For that reason alone (yep, I one of those annoying white girls who loves their birthday), I hope the week is a little bit more upbeat.

Friday, June 10, 2016

A long weekend in IL

We did it. My entire family managed to be in one single spot for long enough for us to take a photo. This is a pretty big deal. We are always going a million ways. But we did it. Unfortunately, though, it was right after I drove 8 hours, the Bakers drove 12 hours and my parents drove 11 hours. So we aren't looking our freshest. Oh well. At least we were together.
Titus' baseball game
Heidi and Hayden's wedding!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Summer bucket list 2016

Is Memorial weekend the "official" start of summer? Or is it summer solstice? Regardless, it was 80+ degrees this week so ready or not, we're here people. Summer time.

This Memorial Day weekend has not been awesome. I am grateful for a day off, but even these zero-hype holidays make me really miss my family and really wish I was grilling something for supper. But nope, just hanging out with my cat and making oven fries. Levent went to Columbus to surprise his parents over his birthday weekend and I am kind of bummed that I didn't go with him. I've also been in a lot of sciatica/arthritis pain this weekend too. Ugh.
Oh well.

Because I knew there was a good chance I would not talk to humans this weekend, I made an intentional effort to be around people at least 1 time/day this weekend. On Saturday, I had breakfast with Amy and then hung out with Denise and took pictures of her kids. On Sunday, I went to church. (I didn't really talk to anyone there but it still counts). Today, I had breakfast with Jill and then zipped to Wichita just so I was not in my house all. day. long.
Looking back, it was a good weekend, but I think my leg pain morphs my view of my time.

But since summer is here to stay (and so, it seems, is my pain), I thought it would be a good time to focus on my annual "summer bucket list." This infamous list is something I do every year. It always involves food, mostly popsicles, and very little else. Still, it's fun for me to make lists and popsicles are delicious so I don't see a problem here.

Here we go:

1. Have a culinary adventure once a month. This could mean a variety of things, either going to a new restaurant I've been wanting to try, going to a food truck rally and/or making something at home, like ricotta cheese.

2. Go on a picnic

3. Be near water. Whether it's going to the sprinkle park with my friend and her kids (which we kind of already done. Yes!), or go lap swimming during my lunch break, I just want to be near water a lot this summer. It's too hot here otherwise.

4. Go on a motorcycle ride with my boyfriend.  And hopefully it will involved ice cream.

5. Find a chiropractor I like. (Oh the things I do to try and find how to manage my pain).

6. Grow healthy tomatoes. I have never accomplished this. Could this be the year?

6. and popsicles, obviously.

Here's to you summer 2016!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Garden report

It's storming again. Right now, as I am typing this, there is constant thundering in the background. I am totally going to sound like the old person I am and say that I wish I had a rain gauge because I really want to know how much we've been getting. There is water standing in fields and yards, including my own, which is an indicator of a ton of rain. I know I am not suppose to complain about rain, but it's getting to the point where I wonder if it's okay to complain. My jalapeno plant doesn't stand a chance again this year if the weather doesn't dry up and warm up.

It's really okay though. I only wanted like a handful of jalapenos anyway.

Side bar: there is literally a family of ducks walking past my house right now. Mother and father mallard with their 14 babies (which was the most I've ever counted at one time. It's possible they might've lost a few since that first count).  And scout missed them again. She is too busy sleeping on her back in the middle of the living room floor. (But don't worry. Last week, I woke her up and put her in the window so she could watch them. I didn't want her to miss the view). 

Overall, my garden seems to be doing pretty good still. For one thing, my flowers are crazy beautiful. (Well, the ones in pots. I am still waiting for my zinnias and marigolds to take off). And my hostas? They are maybe the biggest hostas I've ever seen. I love them, especially since in 2014 they made the long journey from NC to KS and are thriving.
I've had some issues with bunnies eating my flowers, ironically, not my vegetables. I recently bought some kind of fox urine granules to sprinkle around them. I have no idea if it's working, of it's just the rain right now that's keeping the bunnies from nibbling on my black eye Susans and lavender.

My spinach has been in full effect for a couple weeks now. Since I tend to buy spinach all year round, I love the fact that I now have a window of opportunity where I can pick it from my own backyard (and it's 100 times better too because it's not waxy like the kind you find in the grocery store). I know the point of spinach is that it doesn't stay all year, but I really wish it did. I've been trying to eat a lot of (mega) spinach salads since it probably the meal that get me to actually eat a lot of veggies, especially green ones.

Everything else (minus my stunted pepper plant) continues to chug along, despite getting saturated on a daily bases. I am especially pleased that my tomato plants are looking very healthy and that so far (knock on wood 100 times) squash bugs have yet to find my zucchini plant. I even did some weeding yesterday. (Shocked? yes, so am I). So the garden still looks beautiful.

My thumbs feel very green right now and I am very pleased.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday afternoon

It's been storming here like mad for the past couple of days. As I've mentioned before, I hate storms. My anxiety gets all bent out of shape. Thankfully, today was storm free and beyond beautiful. 

Because of the nice weather and the long weekend, I had asked my friend, Denise, if I could take photos of her kids. (I am trying to practice with my new camera every weekend until I feel really comfortable with it). So Denise, Mackenzie and Mason came to Hesston for the afternoon, armed with sonic slushies, ready for a tour of some of the town's "best" parks. 

It was a great afternoon, mostly because I got to hang out with my friend, drink red slush, take pictures of these cuties and fulfill my "lifelong" dream of playing at the sprinkle park at King Park. Amazing.