Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Catching up.


The calm has made its way into another week. We've found an easy groove, whereby Mario tucks himself away in his office for the day, while I venture into the city to find a new coffee shop where I can brainstorm and write and ponder my heart's desires. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to explore my surroundings while I decide what the next step will be. It's a luxury I will never, ever take for granted. Never ever.

Also, if you know a good recipe for homemade circus cookies, like the one above from a local coffee shop, I'll pay you fifty hundred dollars for it.


We are looking forward to the end of the school year; a year that has proved to be a difficult transition for all of us. After attending a small elementary school where we knew every teacher on a first name basis, then an intimate charter school that felt more like a community than a school, adjusting to the anonymity of a large high school with six teachers a day has been no easy feat. There have been missed assignments, parent-teacher pow-wows, and dozens of email exchanges.  Under all that work lays the hope that he will find his groove from here on out. Though I've long since learned that parenthood is never absent of hurdles. The exception to our calm has been the last minute push to get term papers written and scientific posters printed. This last weekend we microwaved 9 frozen burritos, 9 pork buns, and 9 Hot Pockets, all in the name of science. The things we do as parents, no? (Also, if you're in the mood for something cheesy, meaty, and deliciously full of nitrates, give me a call.)


This morning, after two interviews and over six weeks of waiting, I received that all too familiar Thank you for your interest, but... email. If I'm honest, I'm not crushed. Though it seemed like The Perfect Job when I applied, it has seemed less so with time. There were budget issues within the department, and the hours were significantly reduced from one interview to the next; it went from full time to a We'll try to give you 20 hours a week...maybe...hopefully... kind of thing. The right job (for me, right now) is out there, and I'm confident I'll find it. A job with some semblance of work-life balance. There is certainly a way to accumulate the experience I need for grad school without sacrificing my soul. So I'm back on the job hunt.


In the meantime, I've started another blog. The domain name has been purchased, the header laid out. My love of writing has branched into an interest for all things Portland. After amassing dozens and dozens of photos of my explorations, and even more thoughts on the matter, I found myself wanting a dedicated space to talk about them. It really is a fascinating city, and having a digital journal devoted to our many adventures carries a certain appeal. A blog seems as good a place as any to write about the places, people and things that make Portland so darn cool. It is purely for my enjoyment, another way to express myself, and for those who are seeking out the same sort of information I was (and still am) when I moved here and knew little about the area. I hope to begin adding content in the next week or so, at which point I'll spread the good news and share the web address.

I decided to use WordPress to host this new space, a platform I have zero experience navigating. There has been a learning curve, for sure, but I've also fallen in love with it's clean, modern templates and (mostly) intuitive format. WordPress seems to naturally possess the aesthetic I've been looking for all along. It definitely has me thinking about moving this space over... at some point. Advice? Opinions?


Along with feeling a greater sense of peace has come the innate desire to move my body. One of my goals for this year was a simple one: walk at least 10,000 steps a day, most days. Up until now, I've been wildly inconsistent. But the last couple weeks, after dropping Kiddo off at school, I plug in my headphones and hit the local trail. The wildlife, the smell of grass in the morning, listening to my favorite radio show. It's all good. And I have 10k steps under my belt by 9a.

After reading the book Born to Run, I switched back to the minimal sneakers I wore for CrossFit, and my Achilles and shin splints have stopped bothering me as a result. My feet are mildly sore while the muscles adjust to moving the way nature intended, but I'm glad I followed my instinct. I do all six round trip miles of the trail, and yet it feels quite natural. If you haven't read the book, it's interesting + entertaining. I recommend it. 


Speaking of books, I'm tackling my second classic novel of the year, The Scarlet Letter. It's a wonderful, engrossing book, but also challenging to read at times. I'm 150 or so pages in, and I already have a long list of words to look up. (One of my other goals for this year was to learn one new word a week, so this is perfect.) Occasionally I feel totally lost in the language, yet the story line always becomes clear soon enough. I tackle a couple chapters each night before bed, and have another novel I read during the day and when I want something a little less intellectual. Novels written in Old English are difficult for me to read in office waiting rooms and in the carpool lane; a paragraph here, a sentence there can feel incongruous. I'm so glad I set a reading goal for myself. It has led to everything I hoped it would: intellectual challenge, less electronic consumption, wholesome entertainment, and sounder sleep thanks to a more organic bedtime ritual.


Early summer is upon us here in the Pacific Northwest. The days are steadily growing longer, the temps warmer, and color is all around us. The farmers markets are in full swing, and Mario and I garner great delight in walking through the market on Saturday mornings, coffee and mini doughnuts in hand, taking in all the flowers, produce and handmade wares. There is an undeniable sense of camaraderie to farmers markets; the distinct feeling that we are members of a community. I love that.


Bee pollen. Does it work for allergies? My eyes and nose have a fit this time of year, and after trying just about every remedy from West to East, I'm hoping this will be the thing that gets me over the hump once and for all. The apiarist implied it is also an excellent energy booster. True?


After years of aspiring to do so, I think I finally have the knack of meal planning. I flip through cookbooks, making a grocery list as I go, decide which days we will have what, and stock the fridge + pantry accordingly. It sounds easy enough, but too often I would miss ingredients (or buy too much of one thing), underestimate the time a recipe would take to make, or end up with a meal Kiddo wouldn't eat. For the first time ever, we are all consistently eating the same dish at dinnertime. We are also eating out less than ever before, and enjoy having leftovers around for lunches. I'll admit that many nights I drag my feet when it comes to making dinner, but once in the thick of it I really enjoy the ritual of preparing our evening meal with my own two hands. I find comfort in food prep and planning ahead. Go figure. Food is love, it seems.

My current go-to cookbooks are The Family Flavor and Top with Cinnamon. I've had The Family Flavor for some time now, and it is hands-down the most used cookbook I've ever owned. Love. It. Top with Cinnamon (the cookbook and the blog) is a recent discovery, Husband picked it up in a local store last month (thank you, Mario!), and everything I've made from it has gone over like gangbusters. The pie crust shown above is bonkers and beyond easy to make and roll out. I've made two pies with it in the last week and can't believe how good it makes me look in the kitchen. Like I legit know what I'm doing. (I don't.) Just call me Betty.

And now we are properly caught up.

Here's to sunshine and rainbows where you are.

4 comments:

  1. Love the food porn! Artichoke has me drooling!

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  2. Oh those cookies look so good!!! Yum!

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    Replies
    1. Oh, Jen. I could have eaten the whole jar. :)

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