Weeknight Mediterranean

Baked falafel, greek yogurt, and veggies for a very quick meatless meal.

Phone quality pictures today, but I needed to record the day when I had come home from work, picked up groceries, made food, and cleaned up from supper within the first 30 minutes of being home.

This recipe is completely mine, the evolution (or rather de-evolution, as it became simpler with each preparation) of the first time I made true falafel.

Recipe: 1/2 onion, 2 cups chickpeas, water to blending consistency. Spiced with cumin, coriander, allspice, garlic, and salt. 1/2 cup flour and 1 egg added mixed in. I scooped out the batter and baked like cookies for 10-15 minutes at 350˚. A coating of spray oil on top is desired makes them closer to true fried falafel.

The toppings: cucumber, tomato, parsley, and greek yogurt on pita. other options: eggplant, olives, onions, whatever is on hand. This is the real reason I eat this sandwich…yum.

Two Months into Quarantine

The changes aren’t a novelty anymore. Settling in to the new normal is comforting. Shock of the first weeks has worn out, though I’m still uneasy with how deep fear and suspicion of others is growing. Wearing masks even when not required is now more than just a precaution to self and others, it’s a common courtesy to let others know you are taking precautions and are about their loved ones lives.

The atmosphere is divisive and shaming culture is real. Local restrictions are lifting, and people will have to choose between staying in and patronizing businesses that are trying to remain open. Others are quick to criticize their decisions as either out of control fear or blatant disregard for life.

Businesses wait to see what the next weeks hold. Will there be a gradual increase in customers, or will most people bunker down for a while longer? On an outing last weekend, my fiancé and I discovered a cafe that was still open. The owner is hoping business picks up, since it’s been just eight months since they first opened and they haven’t had time to gain a loyal clientele. As the spacious dining area was empty, there was no one to disturb if we sat on some of the soft colorful chairs to sip fresh hot coffee. It was a pleasant moment, an almost forbidden indulgence.

As a home health nurse I believed I’d be sheltered from most of the contact with COVID that my colleagues in the hospitals are facing. However, the family I serve was among the first group of residents to be affected at a local hotspot in the city. When the first family member tested positive, I also had to get tested and wait out a quarantine until I heard that my test had come back negative.

Finals finished last Friday. Grades are in and I can breath a sigh of relief. Even with a two week break I’m still working on school, focusing on clinical arrangements and inter-state networking with pro-life physicians and pregnancy care centers. This is more enjoyable than studying though, since everyone I speak with is passionate and dedicated to sharing their knowledge. I’m looking forward to meeting them when I transition from classwork only to on the job training.

Little Spring Corner of the Kitchen

The best things in life seem to be the ones that aren’t planned.

This little corner is one of my favorite areas currently, and it came alive only two weeks ago.

Every item looks designed and color coordinated, but each item was surprised to find the others matching and getting along so well.

Little Bathroom Corner

This framed painting from the local thrift shop happened to coordinate effortlessly with some dried flowers I’d been gifted.

Simple perfection.

Our Lady’s Magnificat, the canticle frequently found in the evening prayer in the Divine Office, hangs on the mirror for easy recitation. A drop of lavender essential oil in the warm sink graces the air for a calming evening mood.

“In My Own Little Corner”

This song from Rogers and Hammerstein Cinderella was one of my favorites growing up. In it the heroine declares she is content with only owning a tiny portion in the world as long as it is her space to imagine and dream.

I don’t need to fantasize about an extravagant or adventurous alter-life to be happy. However, focusing on turning each square foot into a special retreat has led me to be much more content living in a small space.

The last two weeks, more time in doors means time to develop the intricate nooks of my studio apartment. The I moved here almost two years ago, the space felt like an in between. My brothers spent time putting up mirrors and shelves that had to be stripped from the walls only a year later. I did not want to decorate or settle into a new space not knowing what the future held.

As I’ve grown over the last few years begun to acquire the ability to risk work, effort and love. It feels perilous to settle in to one place, group of friends, or period of life. Only to leave it and be ready to welcome an entirely new thing. Hard as it is, I’m finding that this may be the only way to truly live without reservation.

~ ~ ~

Living this Week

Within the space of one short week, life has changed .

This is what living history feels like. How will the world be changed when this is past?

Interiorly, there is room for deep introspection. How will I use this time? How will I keep Sunday holy in the desert-like weeks?

Normal life is crowded with activities and rushing. In the absence of this schedule, what will my heart yearn for in the empty moments?

Grad school week one. Rambles

Afraid if I talk about my schedule people will understand just how crazy I am.

Day one Monday spent six hours just on syllabi. Thankful I was canceled at work and at home for today or I’d be panicking with overwhelm at the moment. But know what my work looks like now

Day two Tuesday, I thought I’d accomplish major amounts of coursework today. But didn’t happen. Took care of appointments, however, and got an hour fitness barre class in. realized I had completely insufficient amounts of food for the amount of energy I took up. Thankfully I was invited to get supper with close friends passing through town. Quick nap, making a pot of decaf coffee and going at another round to knock out some more lecture.

Wednesday: Found a groove after meeting with a student

Thursday: planned to wake up early and study before work, but totally snoozed my alarm way too many times. found a sweet spot again at the library before a reading lesson

At the college library. This seems like its going to be my favorite spot, early evening in a quiet spot. Keeping me going:  the flowers on the table, which  I just spray paitned to be a two tones table with white top. Opens up the room with the lighter tone. Matt Maher, late to the party to discover how great these songs are.

Fruitful

Midsummer boasts many delicious fruits: ripe peaches and plums. Promises of apple pie liger around the after school starts section. My summer is also growing full and fruitful, showing the rewards of seeds planted months ago. Some I carefully planted and tended. Others are volunteers, springing up in my life garden without asking. (Planted, others have suggested, by the Master Gardener, Whose plans are so different than my own).

Many things I’d been working on to get up and running are just beginning to show some reward for the effort. Seeds that were planted when I left for a three month travel contract in Kansas.

I spent my first shift as a volunteer on a labor and delivery unit. I did not actually get to assist with any births, but I spent several hours deep in nerd-nurse conversations with the other staff. I started working for this position way back in April, even driving 6 hours to attend an amazing seminar for training.

I take off for a trip to Florida in only two hours, to see a college friend and spend time with her near the beach. Making this the second year in a row I’ve seen both Atlantic and Pacific oceans within a months time. Two and a half weeks earlier in the year in California with family proved restful and joyful.

Weekdays find me preparing for a weekly bible study I started with a friend, inspired by the amazing community I was a part of during my time travel nursing. I met a new friend on my arrival home, and she provided the encouragement and motivation to kickstart what would have otherwise remained an unfulfilled dream. I never would have chosen to lead or start a group by myself. Thank goodness she has led most of the discussions so far, but as the last week of her summer here I’ll be on my own.

 

How is your summer bearing fruit?

This Silence

These periods of silence here, they are not an absence.

Every day I think of this space.  Pages are filled with scribbles, stop-start ramblings as I begin to write. I always carry a notebook with me, to capture these fleeting thoughts. It’s hard to organize these random bursts of understanding and newfound rhythm in my days.

when I was young “grownup” was a destination.

I’ve had a lot of reordering in my life the last year, friends. I’ve been shaken, jolted, stirred, and had to set about picking up the pieces. And not always happy about it. Answering questions: what is life after college, life after my family moved away?  The beginning of true adulthood. Funny, when I was young  it seemed “grownup” was a destination. Now I see it’s much more than that, a path perhaps but not a place.

 

 

Comfort Zone Launch

We set personal resolutions as a end of the year assignment in Psychology my junior year of college. Mine was to seek experiences that would push me beyond my comfort zone. Though I didn’t think much of this resolution at the time. My life to that point had been filled with consistency and routine. and without prodding, I usually stay well within in my comfort zone.

I didn’t realize at the time that goal would be the theme for my next two years. 

I have heard that whatever you avoid will find you at some point.  “Try to get out of my comfort zone” has been the recurring pattern over the last several years. Most of the time I would have preferred to stay well within my safe space.

Life, it seems, has other plans.

rebalance.

Hello again, world.

 

I wasn’t planning on taking an extended blogging break, but days IRL became over-stretched. The virtual world had to be set aside. The biggest thing throwing my life into chaos was trying to hold down the schedule of a day/night rotating nurse.

So, last month, I decided it was time to move on to a schedule that allowed some control and consistency. Since then, life has begun to sort itself out, one piece at a time.

Waking hours are reset to match the daylight, sleep back into night. Permanently.