Weekends.

This weekend was pretty epic.

To recap:

  • Friday night outings for a birthday. Faced my demons after avoiding/ignoring them for 8 months. Went off swimmingly.
  • Spent Saturday morning perusing the Seattle Art Museum. Got emotional over Gauguin. Basked in all the colors and was mesmerized. I was reminded, once again, how powerful art can be.
  • GIRLS DATE: Trace and I most likely contracted hep. B from the sketchiest nail salon in the world. We were craving pedicures. Never going back to that place again. We had a few good laughs over it though… now we wait to see if the foot fungus presents itself.
  • Drank too much beer, let out too many emotions, stumbled over my worlds like a fool. AGAIN. It was still refreshing to be there, doing that.
  • Fulfilled my twirly desire. It was a delightful way to spend a Saturday evening. That is all I will say about that.
  • 7.5 mile run with the bestie that ended at the Fremont Brewing Company for a cold pint and a growler for the road. Oh yeah, it was sunny for our run. And oh yeah, we ran over the Ballard Locks and got splashed in the face with cool breezes and ocean spray. INCREDIBLE.
  • Ended the night with crispy tofu and spinach over a bed of black rice, slathered in peanut sauce. SO GOOD. SEE RECIPE BELOW.
    • Start with the black rice. Cook it like brown rice. 1 cup rice: 2 cups water. Boil water, add rice and simmer for 45 minutes-1 hour.
    • For peanut sauce mix together: 2 tbsp peanut butter, 2 tbsp hot water, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1.5 tsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp brown sugar, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, sprinkle of red chili flakes—heat and whisk like a mother fucker.
    • Flatten and bread tofu in corn starch (makes it crispy)— add 1 tbsp of sesame oil to hot pan, fry tofu until lightly brown on both sides. I added a dash of soy sauce as well to mix with the corn starch and get awesome on the outside.
    • Lightly steam spinach until it is bright green.
    • Pop black rice on the plate, add the spinach, flip on the tofu and drench in peanut sauce. AMAZING MEAL. Done and done.

To top it all off I get up to my bed at 8:45 and was greeted by this goober.

 

 This weekend was all about winning.

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Mistakes

Ah, spontaneity and going with your gut. Sometimes these grand plans, these epic schemes become huge failures. Or so I was prepared to tell myself today.

As I was beginning to feel doubtful and a little self loathing for the decisions I made today, I thought of my brother-in-law’s motto for 2012.

Every New Year, he and his buddies come up with a slogan for the year. Sometimes it is ridiculous—I think one had to do with pancakes? This year the motto is “2012: the year of no mistakes.”

That does sound a little pompous—or perhaps too self-assured. Au contraire my friends. What I take this statement to mean is simply that every action you take, every decision made is meant to be made. Every choice, whether it leads to the end you imagined, is not a mistake.

To look at life through a lens where mistakes don’t exist allows for so much relief from guilt and self judgment.

I was so giddy with this motto today, that I sent my brother-in-law an over excited text message. These choices we make everyday—silly, solid, spontaneous (I guess my choices are based around the letter S)—they are all things that we learn from.

And that my friend, is no mistake.

Growing Up

I am a believer of second chances. At least, that is what I’m trying to tell myself these days. I have this idea of the kind of person I am. Turns out, as you get older you realize that you aren’t as awesome and “well rounded” as you seem. It is a mighty scary thing owning up to your faults and acknowledging that you are deeply flawed.

One of these personality traits I have come to accept is my stubbornness, my bossiness and my idea that certain things are black and white. I like to claim I am level-headed and see all shades of grey. I recently chastised one of my closest friends for not seeing the bigger picture—it is so much easier to condemn another persons actions.

Needless to say, facing my demons is an enlightening and humbling experience.

When I was growing up, my siblings and I weren’t really allowed to fight. As the anger  started to escalate, my mom would step in and put the kai bash on any sort of confrontation. This led to us doing really weird, manipulative things to release these feelings.

Example number one: My sister chasing me around with a knife because she wanted to practice clarinet and I started playing the piano. Number two: My brother threatening to vomit on us when he wanted us out of his room, out of the house. As for me, I deleted all the text messages sent by my mom’s boyfriend so she would think he didn’t respond… it was a low point.

We are (were?) the epitome of passive aggressive.

On my recent vacation with my mom, it came to light that her being an only child resulted in her inability to argue. From this stemmed her nervousness around confrontation, which she passed along to us kids. Now don’t get me wrong, my mom is the best parent a girl could ask for, and I am in no means trying to blame our fucked up antics on her.

However, when it comes down to it, my family can’t deal with issues. We don’t know how to communicate effectively. My dad—he grew up with four brothers, which results in loud, opinionated, stubborn men who yell a lot. Family holidays require ear plugs. This isn’t an effective form of communication either, but I would hesitate to call anything my dad does “passive”.

Acknowledging my inability to deal with confrontation has just peeled back 17 layers of my personal onion. I am a little raw.

When I am backed into a corner and feel the sense of dread from an impending argument I do the following things: 1) I put on my serious face. 2) I take the age-old tactic of the silent treatment (works every time?!) 3) I turn into a horrific, judgmental bitch.

Take for example a friend who is looking for advice and support—if I don’t agree with her choices? KABOOM—I hold nothing back and make snide remarks about how stupid her/his decision is…

Yuck. This is the one time I am ashamed of my sarcasm.

After a recent episode of me turning my back on a bestie (sorry, forever) I realized that nothing I was doing was helpful. Sure, I had my opinions on the matter.  I do think that things could go differently for her. HOWEVER, none of this matters—she is my best friend and I let her down by pretending that my life and my choices should be her life, her choices. To tell a friend what she should and shouldn’t do in her life because it is what you would or wouldn’t do is condescending and naïve. It was what I was doing—in my eyes, it was me just being a good friend. Honesty is the best policy right?

What I was doing wasn’t honest. I had this notion that my opinion had  more value than her life choices.

I am facing this demon. I have humbled myself and have given myself a personal time out. I have sought out my friend and we talked. We actually addressed these issues. We had a long conversation about our view points, our opinions—accepting each others differences. I lowered the sarcasm, I lifted up her voice—we expanded our friendship.

Yes, this 25th year has resulted in a lot of personal self discovery thus far (and it has only been a few months… yikes). Yes, I am feeling a little vulnerable and A LOT raw. But guess what?

I am finally an adult.

Art.

We all know that to live well and nurture the body means we must eat healthy, exercise and drink lots and lots of water.

I have this down. Kale and I are best friends, bordering on becoming lovers—I feel like this means I am healthy.

To nurture the body also requires feeding it something much different. To ignore that deep desire for art, music and words means that you are nothing but a vessel for your blood, your organs, the flesh and tissue.

I sometimes lose sight of this. I focus on how my skin is glowing. Or the way I have tricep muscles now. Not all that important, but it is visual reassurance that all of my running, yoga-ing and veganism has paid off.

I needed to feed my soul.

This weekend I made a trip up to Bellingham to see my family and one of my oldest friends. We have faded a little bit, letting petty opinions and emotions put up a wall between us. Here is the thing; she is a part of me. She isn’t something that I can lose. That isn’t how we work. Finally, I have learned how to deal with the sticky stuff, talk about my issues and admit to my faults. It is a rough road, but so much weight is lifted off my shoulders.

After heartfelt talks over peppermint tea I headed north to the border. Vancouver, I love you. My brother-in-law, the one and only Anis Mojgani, invited us to a poetry/dance performance by his buddy Derrick Brown.

If you don’t know who these men are, stop everything you are doing and watch Anis and Derrick perform magic before your eyes.

See? Their talent is limitless. Unbound. Incredible.

The performance was a collaboration of Derrick’s poetry, a modern dance troupe from Holland called the Noord Nederlandse Dans with music by Timmy Straw. Basically, it was mind-blowing. Check it out.

We all felt the full spectrum of emotions—laughter, tears, the full kit and caboodle. This was the kind of performance that left us feeling emotionally drained, in an inspiring way.

It also lit this fire in me. Just like how when I went to visit the otters and was reminded of my love of spending long days outside.

This was a different kind of push. A push to immerse myself in art again—to wander through the SAM and revel in the beauty that is paint on canvas. To find a corner of a coffee shop and read until the story line and reality blend together. To go to the orchestra, the theater, the opera or find myself drinking one too many PBR’s at a show. Lastly, to move my body in that way that reminds me of two things: a) I cannot dance b) it feels so so good to shake and shimmy, to rock and roll.

To live fully is to discover myself through movement, through food, through art.

February in Seattle=Rain

Today was a quintessential Seattle day. The kind of day that people must assume is our everyday reality.

“Oh you live in Seattle? Doesn’t it rain all the time?”

No, it doesn’t. We just tell you that so you don’t move here.

Ha HA. Jokes on you. Suckers.

Needless to say, it was a Friday where I felt like doing nothing. I am feeling yet another tickle in my throat (honestly children, I love and adore working around you 24/7, but if you get me sick ONE MORE TIME… I will have the immune system of a god by the end of this year). In order to fight off this impending sickness I cancelled all plans and had a day to myself.

It was lovely. I spent the morning walking my hound dog, took a sauna to fight the illness, cleaned my room while catching up on This American Life and made granola.

The thing about this granola is it tastes like candy. If candy took the form of healthy breakfast cereal, that is. It is the kind of granola where you find yourself sneaking to the kitchen at midnight, standing at the counter pondering your decision to eat just ONE more bowl.

Yeah, it is addicting and delicious. The mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and coconut oil make it spicy and sweet and like an explosion of goodness in your mouth.

This recipe is from the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook (aka my bible). I try to make a batch or two of this every week so as I never have to go a day without. It really is that good.

Having my pup curl up behind my knees while munching on a bowl of ‘nola and watching Bridesmaids? That is the perfect remedy for a throat tickle.

Cinnamon Granola (adapted from Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook)

4 cups rolled oats

1 cup coarsely chopped almonds (or hazelnuts, whatever tickles your fancy)

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ cup melted coconut oil

1 tbsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp cloves

¼ tsp sea salt

Dried cranberries

Dried apricots

Coconut

Chocolate (if you are feeling extra crazy)

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 300 degrees

-Combine rolled oats, spices, syrup and oil together in a bowl. Mix together with hands if you don’t mind getting messy, or use two spoons if you are a wuss. (sorry, I’m just sayin.)

-Add in nuts and coconut. (You can also add in the dried fruit, but I usually add it after baking so it doesn’t get weird and dry).

– Bake for 35-40 minutes.

-Cool and toss in dried fruit.

-Enjoy with almond milk and a sliced banana. PERFECTION.

This is the kind of recipe that loves to be tweaked. Wanna add dried mangos? Shoot yeah you do, go right ahead. Feeling like it should be cashews and dark chocolate? GO BIG OR GO HOME. I do love a recipe that allows creative wiggle room.

Wiggle away my dears, wiggle away.

My Musings on Hawaii and Love

So I guess today is Valentines Day or some shit. I just got back from Hawaii last night. When my roommate asked me what I was doing on Valentine’s Day I raised my eyebrows at her and said, “Valentine’s Day?”

You see, I had forgotten that it was today. I suppose you can blame it on the single-dom, or the fact that I wasn’t really ever into Valentine’s Day, or most importantly, I was distracted by my blissful week in Hawaii.

So, yeah… Happy Valentine’s Day? I hope you are sharing things with cool people and what not. That you are with the one you love. Eating chocolate and shit. Or whatever you think is romantic.

I happen to sponsor the idea that today is National Quirkyalone day. I will celebrate that by going home after work, probably drinking a beer and watching a few episodes of The New Girl. HOLLER SINGLE LADIES.

I digress.

More important than Valentine’s Day is the list of things I learned and observed in Hawaii.

They are as follows:

1)      Kauai is the most beautiful place in the United States. Yes, I have been to many a national park… Yes, they are all beautiful. HOWEVER, Kauai= Jurassic Park, literally. You can’t get more beautiful than a fictional dinosaur zoo. (I quoted the movie for the entire week, mainly in my head so as not to annoy my mother… CLEVER GIRL)

2)      Arrogant men who tend bar and play the ukulele whilst singing make the Davis girls swoon. This requires more in-depth story telling, but I will just leave you with that. Titillate the senses.

3)      A combination of SPF 75, intermittent clouds and allowing myself 20 minute sun bathing sessions resulted in me not getting burnt in a tropical locale for the first time. High five for THIS girl.

4)      Being vegan in Hawaii is a surprisingly easy thing to do. I consumed a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables and paid an absurd amount of money for said food. INSANELY EXPENSIVE. Hot damn, now I see why most people just vacation there—to live there would cost so much damn money.

5)      I don’t like people. When we left Kauai for Waikiki and I was faced with crowds and noises and people who were orange and wearing yarn/string disguised as bathing suits, it was hard to hide the look for horror on my face. Honestly, people are the WORST.

6)      I consume young adult fiction like a kid in a candy store. What can I say? The meaningless contrived plot lines and cliché romance gets my heart racing. Yes, I read the entire hunger games series in four days and loved every second of it. On that note, I also became aware that when I am engrossed in a book I take on what appears to be my “serious/thinking face”. I promise, I am happier then I appear. I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO PEETA.

7)      I have also decided to return to my attempt at writing a young adult fiction novel. I feel that my writing is better than Stephanie Meyer, and that bitch is a gazillionaire. Plot ideas are welcome. I may already have a title for my trilogy—once again; I will leave you guessing (titillation part II).

8)      I love my family. I love drinking too much wine with my mom and aunt. I love being giddy and ridiculous with my cousin. I love realizing that my mom is a human being, not just the mother figure that I have always counted on. It was a great bonding trip for the two of us. Lots of good talks, lots of alcohol, and a few hysterical moments when we just couldn’t figure out how to get the damn beach chairs to fold down.

Needless to say, the trip was a delight. I have been a grump this entire valentine’s day—not because I’m single, but because I would like nothing more than to be on a beach where it is 80 degrees completely engrossed in a young adult novel.

What can I say? I am not a romantic.

Sunshine, Granola and Kauai

I couldn’t be happier.

It feels like spring in Seattle (which NEVER happens in February). I already see a few new freckles popping up on my nose, and I could walk the pup without wearing gloves. Very exciting news. Not only that, but the sun is sticking around. It is like a warm up for my trip to Kauai.

SHIT YEAH I’M LEAVING FOR KAUAI ON MONDAY!!!

My mom and I are taking a much-needed mother/daughter trip to the Islands. Once there we are going to hike, visit family, take a 5 hour boat tour of the Na’Pali coast, probably drink copious amounts of alcohol and swim until we turn into prunes.

Yes, it is 80 degrees there. Yes, you can be jealous.

There is nothing quite like a tropical vacation. I haven’t been on one in a few years, and I think I may burn in approximately .2 seconds, but the burn will feel so good. Don’t worry; I have packed my SPF 75 (I am not even close to kidding.)

However, the only thing that concerns me is my diet. I have been gluten/dairy/meat/processed food free for two weeks now and I feel awesome. I have fallen back a bit with alcohol (oops), coffee, and the occasional dash of honey here and there. Overall, I have stuck to it, and I’m proud. I usually give up on things, but because I actually feel my body responding positively, I have kept up with it.

Turns out all that hype about having more energy and having skin that GLOWS is true. Who knew?

SO, all this means for my trip is some extra planning. I found a good recipe for granola bars and plan on packing an insane amount of dried fruit.

My favorite interpreter at the hospital also gave me a mix cd of his favorite Latin beats… um yes, that will be my soundtrack for the trip.

Hello mai tais and little tiny umbrellas… I shall make you my lovers.

I of course haven’t packed a single thing, my room is a shit show and I have made approximately 9000 plans before I leave early Monday morning. Hrm… we will see if I can get it all done.

If nothing else, I know I will be making these bad boys. Yum.

Frosty No Bake Granola Bars

Adapted from Oh She Glows

Makes 12

  • 2 large overripe bananas
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup crunchy cereal
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup(or any other sweetener you use)
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter or other nut or seed butter
  • 2 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries or other fruit
  • 2 – 4 tsp cocoa powder

Line a muffin pan with paper liners, or use a silicone muffin pan for easy removal.  Mash the bananas.  Add wet ingredients and cocoa powder and mix well.  Add all other ingredients, mix well then press into prepared muffin tin.  Freeze at least 60 minutes before serving.

Angela from Oh She Glows recommends eating them while they’re still soft, but I  like keeping them in the freezer for easy snacks.  I  also use a homemade cereal that stays crunchy but use whatever you have.  I’ve even used toasted buckwheat before and it works really well and stays crunchy.

Boobs and why the Susan G. Komen Foundation Fails.

Today I am riled up. As a woman who has (and loves) her tata’s, I was appalled at the news that the Susan G. Komen Foundation did not renew their grant with Planned Parenthood.

These funds were being used to provide 170,000 clinical breast exams and referrals for more than 6,400 mammograms over the past five years. Those are a lot of boobs being checked out. A lot of boobs that might have gone unexamined if not for the partnership of Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen.

Sigh.

So here is the thing. I have a history with both of these organizations. As a teen I went to PP for my birth control. As an uninsured adult I went to PP for my annual exam. I have always been so thankful that such a place exists for women. If we are to live in a nation where healthcare isn’t accessible to everyone (BIGGEST SIGH), we are truly blessed to have such organizations as Planned Parenthood.

A few years ago my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was one of those moments where the air was taken from my lungs and I felt hope seep from my pores. I had been sheltered from the horrible arms of cancer reaching my family, and there it was. Staring us in the face and attacking my beautiful, young aunt.

So I walked. 60 miles through Seattle, Kirkland and beyond. It was fucking hard work. I didn’t train, and as my knee begin to give out and my feet felt like they were on fire I thought, “hmmm. So this is why you train for things…” I finished the walk with my team, Areola Borealis, and was so proud that we had come together to give the middle finger to breast cancer. I walked under the banner of Susan G. Komen because I believed that we, as women, were all in this together.

This whole thing has just left the worst taste in my mouth.

Reading article after article, I am trying to find a legitimate reason why the Susan G. Komen Foundation would do such a thing. I am hoping to find something that will lead me to believe they aren’t swayed by some horrible political agenda created by right-wing tea partiers who seem to be against human rights (SERIOUSLY?!) So far, this search has been less than fruitful. My oh my, Komen… are you really giving in to these bigots? I thought women’s health was more important to you. I am ashamed.

I believe that Patrick Hurd, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia, whose wife is currently battling breast cancer, sums it up nicely:

“It sounds almost trite, going through this with Betsi, but cancer doesn’t care if you’re pro-choice, anti-choice, progressive, conservative,” Hurd said. “Victims of cancer could care less about people’s politics.”

Read more here.

So yes, today I am riled up. Today I am not going to ramble on about running or the soup I made, as all of that seems miniscule. Those of you interested in doing something about this, I recommend clicking on the links listed below that will allow you to voice your opinion and let the Susan G. Komen Foundation know that what they are doing is completely, utterly and totally 100% fucked up.

Save the Ta Ta’s… for real.

 

Links:

UPDATE: On a much, much, MUCH happier note—the Washington State senate just passed the marriage equality bill. TAKE THAT YOU HORRIBLE PEOPLE WHO DON’T WANT OTHER PEOPLE TO HAVE HEALTHCARE AND EQUAL RIGHTS. Sensibility always rules over crazy pants. I went from so pissed off to SO joyful in the last 30 minutes.

There is hope for humanity after all!!