My hair's blowin' in the wind…

Living my dreams.

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I won’t sit here and lie, say that everything is perfect, fine, blissful.  School is hard, keeping up with relationships is hard, and there are some days where quite literally it is all I can do to shut off the spazzy alarm clock in the morning.  My hand slaps down, SNOOZE! SNOOZE! SNOOZE!  It’s quite annoying really, and it makes me angry at myself.  Angry that I’m not jumping out of bed to greet life and this day, to let the animals outside, to go to school and learn about tracheostomies, tracheotomies, and chest tubes.  I would sleep all day, never clean, the animals would let themselves out, if I could.  I get cranky when I have to study or do any work at all.  You get the picture.  My poor fiancé.  

Today though, I was reading this blog post, from Nici Holt Cline, her blog is called Dig This Chick (www.digthischick.net) and I might have had a moment of clarity.  Breakthrough, god-beams coming through the clouds, whatever the hell you call it.  She mentions trying to live a kindness-only policy through life…and this speaks to me.  It speaks to me because I constantly feel like I am defending myself, to explain why I am saying no to people, and I feel bad for saying no.  This translates, in my world, to a no-kindness policy to myself, which materializes into grumpiness toward the people in my life that I am closest to. (Namely sweet fiancé who is the first to encounter my bullshit.  And always, always comes back with kindness.)  This whole kindness-only thing is nothing new, not any sort of monumental discovery, and yet, I am gripped by the idea of it.  Kindness to myself? Kindness to everyone around me?  The two are intertwined in a fantastic display of chutes and ladders.  There is no one without the other.  When we fulfill our need for space, solitude, time alone, time to accomplish the tasks which literally help us stay sane, we find it easier to greet others (and the world, for that matter) with the kindness that is necessary for the shit to not hit the fan.  Maybe even, in time, we find that the place from which this kindness is coming, is actually genuine.  That we wish kindness for others.  

Maybe if I tried to say the words “no, I can’t, I need this time for me” a little more, I will find that this policy actually will work.  That if I am more kind to myself, I can put the hater in me to rest.  Forever.  It isn’t that hard, really.  Weave it in, every day. I’m hoping it will foster calmness and help me to see those around me in a new light. 

Surfacing.

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The season is upon us, time for family, friends, reflection on the past year, and desires for the upcoming one. As I sit here, totally lazed and still exhausted from the past semester, I can’t help but let my mind drift to fears and annoyances. My mouth is quick to voice what angers or annoys me, and something has to change. Lately, I have felt myself to be in some sort of limbo…bridging some sort of gap between the path of least resistance, and the path of truth and hard work.  If I twist my perspective toward the sun, I remember that there is much to be appreciated. I am so eternally grateful for those who are unafraid to voice their deepest support for what they care most about. I am grateful for those who push me to muster up the courage to be myself, to speak my voice, and to be confident…to be strong and stand up for my convictions, but also to love exactly who I am.  I am insanely grateful for my animals, who teach me every day to be light, and happy for the small things. What I am most grateful for, is this universe, whose joys and sorrows alike keep us reaching for love.

Baltimore

I recently visited my brother up in Baltimore…it’s like a smaller, cleaner version of Brooklyn. We had such a great time. My cousin Evangeline and I drove up together, it rained the whole time, and I got to really enjoy the company of family.

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Quantico, looking rather ominous on our drive up.

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The Gibson, in DC, was an awesome speakeasy-type bar where you have to make a reservation, or wait outside!  There is sitting room only, and those drinks were absolutely fabulous.

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Of course I had to scope out the local yarn store in Hampden.  I ended up with some Ultra Alpaca by Berroco.

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My brother’s girlfriend Emily, on the left, and my cousin Evangeline, on the right, show off the tiny cups at Spro Coffeeshop in Hampden.

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What a bunch of lovebirds!

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My brother Andrew and I atop Federal Hill.  There are a million really tiny steps to climb in order to get to the top, and it looks out over the harbor.  What a great day!

 

Only blue skies.

December brings a new kind of purity…a push to live my life with new intention, and a craving for simplicity. More focus is needed on what really matters. More yoga, more meditation, changing my diet…all of these culminate in thoughtful, mindful change. Living life with the idea of personal growth and wild, uninhibited thought.

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This is church.

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Sitting in my car, waiting for B to get his hair cut, knitting, watching the trains.

Winter.

I feel it’s coming. I generally try to revel in the seasons in between, although I feel sometimes that in North Carolina, we either go straight into summer, or straight into winter, with maybe a sprinkling of fall and spring here and there. The days are changing, my mind is changing, gearing up for the push towards the end of the semester. My body is telling me to store up, or maybe it’s just stress. I can’t believe my first semester of nursing school is almost over. The insane amounts of stress are totally worth it, and I look forward to next semester…pediatrics, psych, and med-surg. Challenge of challenges. Life lately, in pictures:

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Summer means paletas!

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I gifted myself a copy of Fany Gerson’s Paletas…an amazing mexican popsicle cookbook that, if you don’t own, you should.  I do these things (buy myself too many cookbooks) when I’m feeling inspired by others’ cooking and baking journeys, but I find myself mostly abandoning my ideas.  This time, things were different.  As soon as I opened my box from Amazon, took out the book and paletas molds that I ordered, I set out to make a recipe faster than Ryan Lochte won that gold medal in the 400 Meter Individual competition the other day.  You’re welcome for that yummy picture of him…go ahead…click through.  It is virtually impossible for me to resist popsicles.  My entire childhood was composed of popsicles by the pool in the summertime.  My mom used to make some sort of homemade ice pop with yogurt and berries, so naturally I ended up making Gerson’s Yogurt Ice Pops with Berries. 

ImageI basically set out to use up every single piece of wilting fruit sitting in my fridge, so I adapted the recipe a bit to include blackberries, strawberries, and peaches.  I should also note that I didn’t have any regular sugar on hand, so I substituted sucanat for the sugar.  If you’ve never used sucanat before, you can basically use the same amount that the recipe calls for in place of sugar.  It’s more like brown sugar than granulated white sugar, so if you use it, your simple syrup will look more like molasses, like mine does.  There’s a good bit of honey involved in this recipe, which adds a bit of sweetness, but doesn’t make it overwhelming.  This is a super easy recipe:

Paletas de Yogurt con Moras (Yogurt Ice Pops with Berries) from Paletas by Fany Gerson

  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups plain unsweetened Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries, or the berry of your choice

Rinse the lemon, then peel it.  (This recipe uses only the peel, so save the lemon for a different use.)  Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved.  Add the lemon peel, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature.  Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve, then refrigerate until chilled.  

Put the yogurt and honey in a blender, add the chilled syrup, and blend to combine.  Pour a bit of the yogurt mixture into each of the molds, to a height of about 3/4 inch.  Freeze until the mixture begins to set, about 40 minutes.  If the blackberries are big, cut them in half.  Divide the blackberries among the molds, then pour in the remaining yogurt mixture, dividing it evenly among the molds.  

If using conventional molds, snap on the lid and freeze until solid, 3 to 4 hours.  If using glasses or other unconventional molds, freeze until the pops are beginning to set (45 minutes to 1 hour), then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, 3 to 4 hours.  If using an ice pop maker, gently fold the blackberries into the yogurt prior to filling the molds and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  

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I love this recipe because it is super customizable, not to mention really healthy.  The whole paleta craze is really cool to me…we have Locopops here in North Carolina, and while I’ll never make a bangin’ popsicle like they can, at least I can play around with it at home and experiment. 

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Now that you’ve got a basic recipe, I’m excited to hear what exciting flavor combinations you come up with!  I’m already planning a mango with chile powder adventure next, but for now I’m off to eat some paletas and watch some Olympic soccer.  Ciao!