Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Weekend

Happy solstice! This has been a great weekend. I've spent relatively little of it sitting around at home, which is usually a good thing (definitely in this case). I have a lot of blog posts running around in my head, but for now, I really just want to revel in this lovely weekend, the first of summer.

(You may have heard: I love summer)

Yes, everyone knows this. Ha.


The weekend really began on Friday evening (thank goodness for Friday, I needed it so badly this week, my work life continues to be a real drag). I was suffering from some back pain I'd gotten Thursday night while working on my puzzle (seriously) so I went to yoga, last minute:

It was really great. After a shoot (with my new camera, an amazing birthday gift I received from G -- more on that later if/when I ever get a birthday post up) later in the evening, I returned home around 10pm, completely exhausted and in desperate need of El Farolito's giant burritos:

Yes. I ate basically the entire thing. It was amazing. I love you, vegetarian burrito.

On Saturday, I got up and decided to take a different running route than usual. I really need to mix it up sometimes, and I've been feeling burnt out on cooking this week, so I didn't feel like going to the farmers market, either. Instead, I went on a meandering 7 mile run through Hayes Valley, Duboce Triangle, the Panhandle and Golden Gate Park. It was great. Here's Duboce Park:

After I returned home from my run, G and I took Caltrain down to Stanford Stadium for one of my very favorite things: DRUM CORPS. Last night was our second year attending DCI West, and it was really fantastic. Honestly, this is one of my favorite things ever that I attend all year. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to get to know this great artistic sport, and to share it with G, to whom it is extremely special. As usual, we got back to SF after midnight, and enjoyed a 1am dinner at our favorite hole-in-the-wall diner, finally tucking into bed at 2am.

Today, we both woke up feeling quite worse for wear. What the heck? Are we really getting old!? Anyway, today has been a low key day as a result. We ordered a late breakfast, I went on a beautiful run up to Alamo Square and back, did some shopping, cooked my breakfast for the week, and went to a really great, restorative calm yoga class to cap off the weekend -- and this solstice -- on a positive note. I feel good right now. I know work is looming, but I want to hang on to this for just a little bit longer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Edge of thirty-three

This morning, with my snazzy new rainbow hoodie of radness

Today I read last year's birthday post, and I am really happy to tell you that I am in a completely different place than last year's emo fest about turning 32. I feel that lightness that I strove to feel last year, and I am looking forward to my birthday. Whew. That's a relief! Emo birthdays are no fun at all.

Naturally there are things that reading last year's post made me re-visit, though, that eesh, are a bit emotional and unfortunate, and kind of make me wish I hadn't read it -- at least not today. What has happened in the last year?

The bad: Well, I had to cancel my trip to Germany at the last minute after Scott got into a horrible motorcycle accident; I ended up taking the time off anyway, to help him through his surgery and recovery. Things between us have been an emotional roller coaster ever since. I've struggled with intense anxiety and depression as a result, since last summer -- something I'm still spending a lot of time trying to get a handle on. In October, I injured my hip while running, which led to five months of chronic pain and rehabilitation. In March, my entire world was turned upside down when my beloved uncle committed suicide. In early June, I found out I have blood pressure problems.

Those are some pretty big bad guys. I think we can agree.

And yet.

I really strongly prefer to focus on those good things, because I will not allow bad things that happen to define me.

The good: Every day with G, the sweetest partner, who always calms me down when I need calming, makes me laugh, encourages me to be myself, and makes me a better person. So many wonderful shows and music festivals. Rediscovering my love for puzzles. Remembering what it's like to have great hair (my hair is definitely better than last year!). In February I went on the most amazing vacation, my first solo international vacation, to Isla Mujeres, and it meant so much to me, those five days in paradise by myself, that it's really hard to describe just how important it was. Those days in Isla Mujeres were also the last days I ever spoke to my uncle, and that trip holds great emotional significance for that reason (and so many more reasons). I started running again. I've started doing a lot of yoga again. I'm trying really hard to get through my anxiety and any depression that lingers. I'm planning a trip home at the end of the summer. Every day, shooting photos, cooking delicious local food, going to the farmers market, loving San Francisco ... and ultimately. every day, working toward being a more authentic me. It feels good.

There's a lot more good than bad.

I think this is how it's going to be from now on. That's how life is -- good and bad, always mixed together. That's how we have to live our lives. That's not bad, that's just life!


I have a lot of really good stuff planned for this birthday. I'm taking tomorrow off, first and foremost, which I usually do on my birthday. Here's what I'm planning on doing:

  • Starting off the day at Morning Gloryville SF, a morning rave, with Meghan.
  • Then, I am finally getting my hair cut (so so overdue) 
  • Lets keep it real: I am almost certainly having Thai food for lunch.
  • In the afternoon, I'm going to two yoga classes in a row, and that is so exciting!! 
  • In the evening, G and I are going to a screening of a documentary about industrial music. 
  • Then, we're having dinner at one of my favorite Mexican places, Don Ramone's. 
  • Somewhere in there I will need to fit in a run. 
Ta-da! This is the plan. Who knows how it will vary, but I hope it doesn't, because this is shaping up to be one of my favorite birthdays ever. Life, you're good. You're really good.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Farmers Market Saturday

This morning is the official start of my birthday weekend. It was a beautiful day at the farmers market, summer in full swing. I ran 6.5 miles before I arrived today, and the weather was perfect.

I bought my first tomatoes of the season this morning -- I couldn't help it. I didn't actually buy very much this week because I have so many veggies from my CSA, Eatwell Farm, already sitting in my fridge. I purchased a basket of cherry tomatoes, some whole wheat bucatini, and a huge head of red butter lettuce, which I can't wait to make into a giant salad. I really love giant, simple salads (ie, just lettuce and a homemade vinaigrette, with tons of pepper).

Here are some shots from today's market:


The rest of the day has been pretty darn great. We went to our neighborhood favorite, Dragoneats, for lunch (mmm, spring rolls) and then to see The Book of Mormon, which I LOVED. It was everything I'd hoped it would be, and then some. Now we're inside, at home, and I just want to relaaaaaaaax.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

#30daysofblogging Day 30: GEESE + DUCKS

(My bike, yesterday, parked under a lychee tree)


Well, this project is at an end. I know I am a day late posting this, again. I don't have any excuse, and I don't need one, but I had a really busy day yesterday, and I'm exhausted, and I've really been struggling in certain ways with my anxiety. Like right now.

OK. It's a little later now, and I'm feeling calmer. It's still a rough day for whatever reason at work, though. I'm not sure if I'm feeling more sensitive and less able to deal with things than usual today, or if people are really getting up in my grill more than usual today. Ultimately, my feelings are the same, though, so I'm trying to just get through the day so I can move on to better things. I really need this work week to be over. Someday I hope I'm able to carve out a life for myself where going to work doesn't make me feel bad. I know I sound like a broken record about this.

My life feels like a complete mess today, but I refuse to let it get the better of me. I scheduled yoga and sushi for after work so that I have something to look forward to. Things are rarely as bad as we think they are, particularly when we look at the big picture. And see, just like that, I got a compliment at work, and I'm out of here in less than 30 minutes, and see? LIFE. IT IMPROVES. Sorry I'm so up and down these days, internet.


Now that I'm done with that, I want this post to have more in it than just me bumming out or complaining. Today at lunch, I went on a run as per usual (I'm now on day 18 of the running streak and going strong!) and stopped at my favorite place to commune with geese and ducks. And I think we can all agree, this blog post is suffering from a lack of geese and ducks, so here you go: GEESE AND DUCKS:

And with that, 30 days of blogging draws to a close. It was a great experiment. I hope I can keep going, but without the pressuring myself to blog on days where all I have is negativity. Though hey, you got a lot of ducks and geese out of it, so things could be worse --!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

#30daysofblogging Day 29: Almost

Why don't people eat the artichokes they grow? Why do I keep finding artichoke plants in front yard gardens in Berkeley featuring artichokes past their edible prime? Why grow artichokes if you're not going to eat them? The plants are enormous. This one was taller than me! Do people just really like how the flowers look once the artichokes blossom? Personally -- I'd eat my 'chokes. Just saying.

Just some thoughts on this Tuesday.

I'm ready to be done with this project, ready to go back to being secretive with my life's details. That's the sad thing that I keep thinking on days like today, where I have regrets about being honest, where I feel completely overwhelmed, wishing I was a turtle so I could retreat into my shell.


My day improved after I got home from work (big surprise there, right, ha ha ha). I went to a yoga class, and I realized I'm getting into that mindset where I really want to do yoga every single day, oh yoga, I love you so very much. I'm forcing myself to rest, though, because I am supposed to go to an SF Design Week event at Adobe tomorrow, and my schedule at work is all messed up, and I have photos to edit that I've been putting off because I've been out doing yoga every night.

It's kind of fitting, I guess, that I forgot to post this last night, and it's the second-to-last day of the challenge. Good job, Amber. I'm actually surprised I hadn't forgotten before. I'd say that maybe people are just forgetting to eat their artichokes, but when your garden is in your front yard, how do you really do that?! I digress ...

Monday, June 8, 2015

#30daysofblogging Day 28: Eating Well: Meal Planning #3

I really had to work to get myself excited to cook this week again. I think maybe I'm feeling a little burnt out. But it's never been more important for me to be eating right than it is right now. For the first time in my life I may have a chronic health condition (high blood pressure), and I never thought I would have a chronic health condition at age 32, but here we are. Even if I'm blowing it out of proportion (and I really hope I am), this been a huge wake up call for me during the last week, and I'm determined to get myself healthy again, no matter what that means. I want to put in the effort to prevent becoming a 32-year-old who has to take medication every day. That's really not acceptable to me, so wish me luck on this new journey toward better physical and mental and emotional health. And don't worry, I'll be fine.

That said, this week's meals are darn healthy.
I bought everything in these meals from the farmers market on Saturday.
And, after two weeks, I finally got to use my new spiral vegetable slicer!

I must say, I'm impressed at how easy it is to make zucchini noodles. More than that, though, I'm really surprised at how good they are when combined with pasta sauce. I was a bit skeptical of (mostly) giving up pasta, but it's not only going to be great for my health to eat zucchini noodles instead -- it's going to be good for my pocketbook. I only like to eat local, artisan pastas, and those things were setting me back a fair amount! I like saving money, so this is exciting. Plus, as I think I told you before, if you belong to a CSA in the bay area, you will be drowning in zucchini for most of the summer, and this gives me a great way to actually use it all.

BREAKFASTS: Roasted fingerling potatoes w/ garlic, spring onions, shiitake mushrooms & cabbage

LUNCHES: Zucchini noodles (SPIRALIZED!) w/ arriabata sauce, sauteed w/ garlic, spring onion & broccoli shoots

And today, I ate the wonderful noodles with sauce for the first time:

So good!

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