Thursday, November 27, 2014

~ thankful ~

There are many things I'm thankful for....chocolate, fleece-lined leggings, teachers who post their powerpoints online, etc., etc.  But this year, I'm thankful for some of the most basic things a human being can be thankful for, but that many people must go without on a daily basis.

  • Food.  In a world where an apple can cost as much as a burger from McDonald's, I feel very lucky to have access to and be able to afford good, healthy, (often organic) food.  I feel very lucky to have the luxury of being able to customize my diet.  No meat, no dairy, lots of fruits and vegetables, very little sugar, whole wheat instead of white.  I fully understand how privileged I am and try to remind myself of this on a daily basis.
  • My health.  Even though this time of year I have the immune system of a Jane Austen side character (I'm looking at you, Jane Bennet), for the most part, I'm a relatively healthy person.  I don't have any chronic illnesses, I haven't been bedridden for longer than a few days (except for when I had mono, but mono is the exception to everything), I'm not allergic to grass, or water, or wheat.  Sure, sometimes I'll go to the doctor with a complaint and she'll say "Yeah...never heard of anything like that in my entire career," or a WebMD search yields no results, but I'm lucky.  And I'm thankful.
  • Education.  As much as I complain about the technical glitches, costs, and sexist idiots I run across on campus, I feel so fortunate to be on a campus.  With the ridiculous rises in tuition, among many, many other things, an unbelievable number of people simply cannot afford to receive an education.  That I am one of the lucky few is something that I am very thankful for.
  • A home.  My house is something to behold.  Down a road lined with watermelon fields and cow pastures, canopied by enormous oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, and older than most of the lucky people living underneath their beautiful shade.  Then, turning onto our dirt road, it's like going back in time and all the while entering a new world.  White and wooden, like a farm house, big windows and lots of light, wooden floors and welcoming doorways.  I love my house and cherish the days and nights I've spent here.
  • A family.  Though we may be spread out, stubborn, and often spend our time arguing about things that will mean nothing in a year - "Stop looking out MY WINDOW" (circa 2000) - we love each other.

We could all use a day to celebrate each other and give thanks for what we have.  So happy Thanksgiving, one and all.  


Sunday, November 23, 2014

~ introvert's hangover ~

Every time I have a few busy days in a row and my social calendar looks like an illuminated manuscript threw up on it, I get a hangover.  Not a hangover, hangover, but the same symptoms just with a different cause.  Headache, exhaustion, a little dizziness, etc., etc.  Now obviously black tea is not strong enough to cause these sensations, so I chalk it up to a major case of Introvert's Over-stimulation Syndrome.

As an introvert, I pride myself in being able to keep up with the extroverts - so much so that many people don't believe that I'm NOT an extrovert.  I say yes to almost everything, I'm surrounded by college students three times a week without being the person who sits in the corner of the room and doesn't talk to anybody.  I go to a lot of movies, have lots of conversations, and occasionally have multiple events to attend in one day.  And I handle it all pretty damn well (if I do say so myself), but not without some side affects.  

After a ridiculously busy week of classes, photoshoots, a gallery opening, and a release party (more on those later), I woke up this morning feeling like I'd been hit by a double decker bus.  WHAM...exhausted (even after ten hours of sleep), horrible headache that tylenol wouldn't even touch, and a general feeling that I'd run a marathon instead of sleeping.  

 Now, you may be thinking "Psh...that's totally a hangover, hangover," but then you would be very wrong.  This, my friends, is a classic introvert's hangover - something that can only be cured with patience and solitude (and a whole bunch of hot tea), and something that I'm all too familiar with.

Though there's no way to avoid this hangover other than forcing myself to say no more often, limiting myself to one event a day, and spending lots of time recharging after a particularly busy day, it's not always that easy.  Until society stops labeling introverts as antisocial weirdos and creates a more accepting environment, I will deal with the side of affects of pretending to be an extrovert proudly.

So if you too are suffering from an introvert's hangover, fix yourself a large bowl of soup (see my recipe for Everything Soup), curl up on the couch with a blanket, watch some netflix, and write yourself a prescription for a day without social responsibilities.  Feeling better yet?


Thursday, November 20, 2014

~ remembrance ~

I remember 9/11.  I remember watching live coverage of the shootings at Sandy Hook.  And today I have added another day to my memory.

But this one is different.

This morning I woke up an hour before my alarm went off and felt strange - I'm a light sleeper and have two wild kittens, so this is not out of the ordinary, but this morning just felt different.  When I turned on my phone and opened facebook, I felt like someone pulled the floor out from under me.  A shooting.  A school shooting.  But this time not at a school I've never heard of or have to google to find out where it is.  This one is different.

This one is home.  This one is the town I've spent my whole life in.  This one is the school I've rooted for and worn the logo of since before I could speak.  This day, what happens in other towns, other schools, happened here, and now I fully understand the shock and terror that strangers on the news talk about.

No one I know was hurt or one of the hundreds who found themselves stuck in the same building with a shooter, but everyone I know is feeling something today.  We, as a nation, are not strangers to school shootings.  They happen, they leave the nation shocked and confused, they are remembered, but ultimately they fade from our immediate memories and our lives go back to normal.  But until we change our ways, we are doomed to repeat our past.

Here's what needs to change:

  • mental health care.  It makes me so angry when I think about the mental health care in this country.  THINGS NEED TO CHANGE.  There are so many people out there who need help - not to be ignored.  These people are so often cast aside and isolated.  Simply throwing medication and stigmas at them will not help the problems.
  • our attitudes towards the aggressors .  I know it's a hard thing to talk about, but in most shootings in this country, the aggressor is killed.  That person has family and friends, and in so many cases, those friends and family members are just as shocked as everyone else.  Tonight I not only think of those injured, but I think of the shooter and what he must have been going through to think of killing as an option.
  • gun regulation.  I don't care what political party you belong to.  I DO NOT CARE.  I don't care whether you think "guns don't kill people, people kill people," guns certainly make that killing a hell of a lot easier.  Think of all the shootings this country has seen in the last ten years.  Are you honestly telling me that guns had NOTHING to do with that?  Anyone can walk into Walmart and purchase a gun, anyone can buy a gun off the streets, anyone can borrow a gun, steal a gun, and use that gun to kill.  Take away that gun and I'm pretty sure that situation would have a very different ending.  
These, among many other things, need to change in order for us to move forward and get out of this cycle.

Though I would rather forget this day, forget the fear and the anger and the panic, forgetting is what keeps us on the same road we're on.  I hope we continue to stand together and remember this day for what it was.  And I hope one day this type of event brings a reaction of "We must be the ones to stop this from happening in the future," instead of simply "Again?"

My thoughts go out to all those affected.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

~ cold weather cravings ~

In the summer I crave cucumbers, pasta salad, and mint ice cream.  In the fall I crave pumpkin-y things, halloween candy, and hot tea.  And when it barely hits 50 degrees all day, I crave hot, HOT soup and fruit.  A lot of fruit.

I've just discovered how awesome fresh pomegranate is and now nothing else will do!

And in this case, the soup in question is called Everything Soup (because I made it when I was in a bad mood and just grabbed everything from the vegetable drawer and dumped it in).  Green peas, onions, broccoli, carrots, tofu, pasta, some salt, lots of black pepper, cumin, and soy sauce.  First saute all the vegetables, then add the rest of the ingredients, about 4 cups of water, and let it simmer until the vegetables are soft enough.

Tonight for dinner it's butter beans, roasted vegetables, and a salad.  If the only physical activity I get this winter is going for a run every two weeks and speed walking around campus to avoid the cold, at least I know I'll be eating healthy.  (never mind the fact that I have a box of donuts on my counter right now)


Monday, November 17, 2014

~ one hundred colors ~

I'll be honest.  I've never liked fall.  Like REALLY never liked fall.

When I was younger I legitimately thought fall was killing me because of the dry, cold-induced headaches (and because I felt like someone had stuck a candle up both of my nostrils).  But of course that was probably due to a lack of water and lack of education on allergy remedies.  Now that I know the benefits of Claritin and carry a water bottle with me every waking moment, fall is slightly less miserable.  Slightly.

Cold weather, then hot weather, then arctic weather.  Complete darkness by 5:30.  Wanting to exercise but being too cold to exercise.  The misery that is layering.

The only thing that fall has going for it are the colors.  Look at any pile of leaves and you'll see a beautiful medley of warm colors that look like they have been spawned directly from the belly of hell.  (but in a good way).

Vintage Rose Girl

Oh make me itchy and miserable, but you are pretty.  I'll give you that.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

~ veteran's day ~

Veteran's Day is a special day to so many people.  I feel lucky to have spent it with my family, celebrating all those who have served and are serving - especially Pop, who never thought of himself as a hero.

Pop.  22 years old.

I miss him every day.  

Yesterday we went to the parade downtown, saw good friends, and watched my sister's boyfriend perform with the Marching Chiefs.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of being Rosie the Riveter and riding in an amazing WWII jeep - I even carried a small photo of Pop with me!

I'm not sure about a lot of things, but if there's an "up there" for him to be, he's definitely there.  Probably wondering why I don't polish my pots and pans more than I do and scolding me for wearing yoga pants on a Wednesday afternoon.

Thank you to everyone for your service.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

~ 19 ~

Since I spent my birthday weekend sick, I figured I deserved to spread out the celebrations over the whole week.  And that's just what I've done!

Multiple cups of tea, good food, lots of painting, watching Netflix, reading, hot baths, wearing pajamas until noon, and eating lots of chocolate.  Unfortunately life doesn't recognize my birthday week as a national holiday so I still have my classes, but as soon as I have time off for the holidays I'm going to finish my celebrations with some hiking and a beach trip!

Until then, it's been pancakes for breakfast...

wearing my new birthday shoes...

Wearing my new blazer (that's already become a staple in my closet)...

And watching lots of Doctor Who (like, an embarrassing amount of Doctor Who).

Until healthier times!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

~ blood and gorey ~

Despite the cold temps, my rapidly declining lung capacity, and the dismally poor number of trick-or-treaters, it was a fantastic Halloween!

My mom did her usual "blood" punch (cranberry juice + grape juice + pomegranate juice), I handed out candy and creeped the kids out before I stopped by a neighbor's house for a bonfire.  Then we finished the night with heaps of popcorn and watching David Letterman.  A great night!

Next year I'll keep in mind that a 2-foot tall headpiece + spider webs + doorways = lots of awkward back bends accompanied by some freaky sound effects.

I hope you all had a fantastic night!  Tomorrow I'll post photos from today's birthday celebration - so far, 19 has been pretty great!