Sunday, January 25, 2015

Winter Rest

My mother asked me yesterday (via the phone) if I was going to blog this week.

"Oh, probably."

Since I had just gotten home from a work trip last weekend, I did not feel thus inspired. But let me tell you, today isn't looking too much better either. Yet, here I am, fingers on keys, trying to see if anything can be forced out from them. It is January after all. And this is what happens in January

I love when Kansas gives us a little taste of spring. That was yesterday. It was sunny and 60.  So, of course, I whipped out the Seed Savers catalog and started thinking about gardening. Thankfully, I did manage to remember it was January and there is a lot more hibernating on the couch that is still left to be done.

Ever since I've started really getting into gardening, I've appreciated winter so much more. I actually found myself thinking, "not yet!" to the warm day outside. (Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy the loveliness of yesterday). I still need more winter rest.

However, nothing kills my creative energy like winter. I am not inspired to take photos and the only thing I can think to blog about is how I can't think of what to blog about.

I know, keeping it fresh.

Plus, my brownies I made yesterday did not turn out. What is a girl to write about?

Now keeping in mind my "mind, body, spirit" self-care for 2015, I did decide as of yesterday, that I should try to take at least a few pictures each month and not just of cool places I go (aka North Carolina) but of Kansas and of home. The every day is hard to shoot since I don't really feel too inspired but the regular of the day-to-day. But maybe that will help me grow creatively. It's worth a shot anyway. I just need to figure out how to not make all these photos I plan to take  be pictures of my cat.
I also busted out my paints last weekend, which, for me, is the biggest part of getting over my creative slump. (For some reason, forcing myself to get set up feels like so much work. Oh the struggle).
So, it's not all sleepy couch sitting this month. (Although there is a lot of that. I mean, Gilmore Girls isn't going to watch itself).

Plus, I did manage to do one of my 2015 goals this week! I tried kale for the very first time.

Eh, it was fine.

Actually, I had baby kale, which is tender and just tastes like greens. It was nice. (I had this tuna kale and egg salad from Joy the Baker. Of course it was good).
Sure the brownies didn't turn out, but I also made blueberry muffins. Life with a muffin pan sure is great. (Thanks mom!)
Plus I blogged today. Go figure.

That's probably enough creative space for today. No I will go back to my winter rest.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

mental health

I'm trying really hard not to murder my cat right now.

Okay, yeah I am being dramatic. (No harm has come to Scout). But holy crap is she driving me out of my mind! She has a ton of energy right now (which translates into her wanting to eat all of the cords I have in my house) and I do not have a ton of energy. She is a force.

I don't even know how people have children (or even just one). I can barely keep one small creature in line, let alone a small human being.

Okay, not the same. I realize this. Don't worry.

I am currently deep into my introvert extravaganza weekend. I just got home from a work trip late Friday night and Levent is away, skiing in Colorado, all of which translates into me morphing into my couch and watching Gilmore Girls forever and always.

It's awesome just to get veg out. I'm completely fine with being alone. (That's the best part about being an introvert).

However, recently, my introvert has felt really deep. Even thinking about being around other humans (besides Levent) exhausts me. I can partly blame it on the weather, I am sure, since winter gets me down like no one's business. But it's actually really nice this weekend. Think sunny and in the 50s/60s. (Way to go, Kansas). This cave-like introvert tendencies makes me question the status of my mental health. Why am I tired all the time? Why is it so hard to make an effort to get out of the house to see people, even people I like, let alone talk to any human ever?

It's really hard to talk about mental health. I am not sure why. Even on my personal blog, where I have about 5 readers, it's hard to say things like, "hey, I am not doing the best and it feels like the source of why that is the case is beyond something I can grasp." Or that "my anxiety has been really high lately."  It's even harder to admit that I finally made myself pick up the phone and schedule a therapy session. (It's not until February).

I want to be a healthier version of myself. I think that's reflected in some of my goals for this new year. And since it's a new year, (and a depressing winter), it is often popping back up into my brain.

Lately, I've been reframing my goals (as silly as they are) into the concept of using this year to learn how to take care of body, mind and spirit. I think I am on a good track. I have kale in the fridge (and a recipe queued up), an appointment for cashing in the massage Levent gifted me for Christmas and one for going to Prairie View, I went to church this morning and I am considering the idea of reading a non-fiction book, (probably something by Barbara Brown Taylor. This is a big deal for me since I stay far far away from everything except for fiction).

I am tired of feeling unbalanced, unhealthy, anxious, sad and crushed.

So we'll see how it goes.

But for today, I dive back into the introvert extravaganza and hope that Scout will not eat my computer cord.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmastime 2014

Kansas to Columbus to Illinois and back again (with a lot of Serial podcast episodes in between).

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Oh hey 2015

Oh hey.

Here you are. I barely noticed you come in. Midnight struck on January and the only thing I could think of was, "yes, finally. Now I can go to bed." (I know, I am going to kill it when I am 70 years old. But I am actually 27 years old).

For this past New Year's Eve, my boyfriend and I spent New Years eve exchanging gifts, eating leftover Christmas cheese dip and watching an average movie. What I want to know is who are those people who wear sparkling things and go to sparkling parties and drink sparkling things? I don't think these people live in Kansas. I also wonder why I wonder about this. I am such an introvert that I would hate being at sparkling parties, especially if I didn't know very many people there. Really, I am content to stay home with Levent and dip things in cheese.  Keeping it classy as we do.

I think every year I will be surprised that it is "so-and-so year" every January. (Yes, Anna, the 90s were actually quite a few years ago. I don't know why you forget this so easily).  Despite the surprise have having to add a 15 to the end of the year now, I am pleased for a new year.

For one thing, this past Christmas we ate and ate and ate. My stomach is not very pleased with me. Now that holiday things are done and most of the leftovers are gone, it's time to dive into healthy eating.

I have never made a New Years resolution but this year might be the closest I come. My 2015 resolution mostly comes down to wanting to try kale.

I gained some weight before Thanksgiving. So after a complete melt down, I decided to hit the gym hard for a couple of weeks and cut out as much sugar as I could without loosing my mind. (I didn't eat chocolate for around 3 weeks!) I tired my best to eat in moderation during the long holiday season that starts on Thanksgiving day and essentially goes until yesterday. But you know how it goes.

Regardless, I know this sounds like the biggest new year cliche, but I really do what to try and eat healthier in January, at the very least. I will hit the gym hard again, but I also need to get my eating habits in check. This will mean that I need to actually eat more vegetables.

I don't consider myself to be a very picky eater, but the little kid in me still thinks a lot of vegetables are beyond strange. (I don't know how people in the blog world can eat the giant Brussels sprouts they just roasted. They look freaking nasty).

Enter kale.

My boyfriend's mom gave me a spatula for Christmas that says #foodie on it. I guess that means now I have to at least try kale before the food fad completely fads away. It pretty much dictates that.

We'll see how it goes. I need to start stalking recipes online.

In the meanwhile, here are some more 2015 goals, that may or may not be specific to this winter season.

1. I got the new Joy the Baker Cookbook for Christmas and have spent almost every night since pouring over the pages and reading all of Joy's commentary on the recipes. (I know. I am such a fan-girl). The trick with eating healthy is that cookies are not healthy. Wanting to order a bundt pan on amazon will not encourage more kale eating. I don't want to be consumed healthy eating that I miss out on the sweet things of life, especially now that I got my baking bug back. I just want to find the balance of sweet treats vs green things. That doesn't seem too unreasonable.

2. Speaking of green things. Eat them. (I'm talking to you, kale). For New Years Eve (to go along with our cheese dip), Levent and I made a citrus salad. (It confirmed that, nope, I do not like citrus in my salads. We ate it though. It was fine). The internet is full of weird sounding salads. I would like to hunker down and try a couple.I need my brave salad recipe face on for this for sure.

3. Keep on running and keep on swimming. I bought some goggles so I can really start re-learning out how to do different swim strokes. I am so tired of running. It is the worst form of exercise and maybe everything else too. Adding swimming into the mix has been a welcome break from the treadmill. (The only bad thing is that I cannot watch Chopped on the Food Network while swimming).

4. Stop spending money on clothes I don't need and actually get more professional clothes that A. are professional and B. fit properly. (Then proceed to keep them out of the drier for all times so they do NOT shrink).

5. If I do not make everything on my pinterest board that I added in 2014 or beforehand, then I will delete it. I don't like clutter, even the cyber, cloud kind.

6. Make more of an effort to go out and do things with Levent. On New Years Eve, when we were feeling pretty lame, we discuss how we are pretty good at relaxing together (okay we are the masters of it), but we aren't very good at "playing together." The trick is that we both do not like games very much. I especially do not really enjoy board games and card games. Maybe once in a blue moon but that's about it. However, I like playing interactive games in a non-sports way. By that, I mean tossing around the frisbee, pretending to know how to play basketball, etc. Unfortunately, it's winter. So I guess that leaves us with bowling for now. Thus my winter goal is to go bowling with Levent. 

(I could mention other on-going goals, such as writing and learning more about photography and self marketing, but those are always there. Those mentioned above seem more interesting to focus on since they are new-ish).

Anyway, I should start looking at kale recipes and figure out how to ease into 2015.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Little Man Conrad

I am bad at remembering to connect my photography blog to this blog.

Oh well. Better late than never.

A couple of weeks ago, I took new born pictures of little man Conrad. Follow the link for more.

Before we dump 2014 in the recycle bin

Geesh. It's 2015, People! Can you even imagine that?

Yeah, probably. But it still felt pretty odd to write 2015 on my utilities check yesterday. 

Whatever. Time marches on.

Before it gets completely away from me, I thought these beginning days of 2015 were a good time to reflect. Or at least it's a good excuse to look back at my blog and remember what 2014 brought forth since sometimes I cannot remember anything, especially on a melodically grey day like today. Today is a good day to reflect on the good parts of 2014, because, let's be real, people really don't put up the crappy things on the internet. That's why "Facebook Syndrome" is a thing).

A lot of good things did happen this past year, and although I already dumped my 2014 calendar in the recycle bin with the greatest satisfaction, I thought I would list out a few good summery points (in no particular order).

1. Going to Costa Rica with Jilly and Lucas

2. Getting my cat, Scout, even if she is kind of a beast. Or as Levent puts it, "sometimes the devil gets inside of her." (ha).
3. Hiking with my Dad and Sister at Max Patch in North Carolina during my fall visit there.

4. The parts of the year when my garden did not cause me grief. (I am still enjoying my canned tomatoes and I am grateful every time I open another one). I feel like I learned a lot about gardening this past season.

5. Going whitewater rafting with the MCC IVEPers (International Volunteer Exchange Program) in CO and then exploring Colorado Springs with Levent.

6. Moving into my new rental house.

7. Going to see Mike Birbiglia with Levent, Lady Antebellum with Amanda and Janell, and Ingrid Michaelson with Connie.

8. Going with Levent to watch the WSU Shocker basketball team play in real life.

9. Any time the weather in Kansas was ideal.

10. Celebrating my sister's 30th birthday with her (and my mom) in Raleigh in the Springtime.

11. Successfully making bagels, paneer, and preztel buns.

12. Starting up "Girls Night" with my fellow co-workers.

13. The days in the spring and summer when Malakai and Leah would skype me at work just to say hello.

14. Regaining my love of baking. (I am itching for time this weekend to make paneer and muffins).

15. Watching the 4th of July fireworks with my parents, sister, nephew and Levent. 

16. Finding out my sister-in-law and brother are having twins! Holy cow. 

17. Every time Levent made me laugh.

Those are the highlights.

See you never 2014! Thanks for the memories.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Twas the week before Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house
only one creature was stirring, and her name was Scout.
The ball of yarn was unraveled on the floor with care
in the hopes that this game would stop my kitten from being an nightmare.
On Tuesday eve, we drove to Wichita
since we were gifted with free tickets to WSU basketball.
But first to Freddy's (a Wichita chain) for some burger and fries,
before watching the Shocker's win, even if they barely survived
This week, we woke to the new-fallen snow
the grey sky surrounded us poor Kansans in our offices below.
And still it lingered as we drove to the Miller Christmas dinner, eaten under twinkle-lights.
I am awkward around extend family, but the food is always a highlight.

Now we prepare for travel to the Midwest,
thus today I made peanut butter pretzel truffles to add to the Christmas fest.
And now, if I could snuggle up with my cat it'd be quite a sight
So Merry week before Christmas! Y'all have a good Sunday night!