Monday, July 30, 2012

vegetable stir fry

summertime food. crunchy corn on the cob and sweet carrots from the garden. travis and i rarely eat dinner together these days, due to our wild work schedules, but tonight we were both off and felt like fresh veggies. so we whipped up a delicious stir fry.

cooking in our new kitchen is wonderful. we don't bump into each other anymore and the giant island allows us to watch the olympics while chopping. travis gets pretty into it, yelling and much waving of arms. i just laugh and smile adoringly in a sick way. at him, not the uber muscly USA gymnastics team.

anyway, here's what we came up with.

first, gather your fresh ingredients of choice. we used carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, mushroom, corn on the cob, garlic, and onion. oh and that lemon. we totally forgot about that guy and didn't use him at all. whoops!

next, wash and chop your ingredients.

if you're into eating meat like us, fry up some chicken in olive oil. season with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, and a spoonful of sugar.

after cooking your chicken until no longer pink in the middle, remove from the pan and replace with onion, garlic, and carrots. saute those three in olive oil (or butter!) and then add some vegetable stock. cover and simmer until almost as soft as you desire.

then add the veggies that take less time to cook. add more oil (or butter!) and more of the same seasonings used in your chicken. (this is not an asian stir fry, so you won't see any soy sauce or ginger fyi.)

next, saute mushrooms in butter and add. boil your ears of corn and cut the kernels off the cob. add both of these to the mix. let the veggies simmer together for ten minutes or so.

serve over rice. use the veggie "drippings" as a sauce if you desire.

fresh and healthy meal. especially if you use brown rice, which we did not use.
because we used butter smothered white rice.
easy peasy.

whelp, travis is currently shouting at the men's gymnastic team about how much they are sucking it up. i better go comfort him.

happy summer eating!


where sunflowers grow.

the first time we saw the house that would end up becoming our home, it had just snowed, masking the landscaping with white fluff. everything looks great when it's covered up. then the snow melted and revealed a pit of despair and mud and weeds in front of our house.

so in daybreak, the developers wanted to keep a lot of the land in its natural looking state, long grasses and wildflowers. except that they put in the long grass and took out the weeds. that is one of the things i love about the community, the unique "more than just manicured grass" look of the landscaping. i also love the location of our house. instead of homes in front of us, we have a huge field and an incredible view of the salt lake valley. unfortunately, the developers didn't finish the landscaping in the field right in front of our house. instead, there is a section filled with dirt, loose gravel, and ever growing weeds. when we first moved in, i made a lot of phone calls about this. i called the HOA committee, who directed me to the builder, who then directed me to the HOA committee. no one wants to pay for it. (although our builder did tell us that they probably will end up taking care of it after they build four more homes on the lot next to our neighbors'.)

basically, i was stuck looking out my window at a weed pit. i have cursed that spot of mud and gravel daily since moving in. and then a few weeks ago, one sunflower bloomed. and then another one. and now there is a whole fleet of them. right in front of our house.

(see the tall grass behind the weeds? that is what is supposed to be there.)

they are beautiful! seeing their yellow faces every morning brightens my day so much! i started to think about what i would have missed out on, had the builder finished the landscaping. 

and how the tough things we have to deal with in life sometimes end up leading us to the great things. 
like how i thought moving back from hawaii was the end of my life. but i ended up marrying travis. 
like how i had horrible acne that kept me from doing so many things. but it also kept me from getting close to so many guys i dated who wouldn't have been right for me in the way travis is. 
like how last year when i went back on accutane for my acne, travis and i were driving to a doctor's office i never would have needed otherwise, and we stumbled onto the daybreak community and immediately knew this was where we needed to be. 
like how if i hadn't moved back from hawaii, i never would have taken that gender studies class that helped me to start facing the sexual assault trauma i had buried away. and even though i'm not to the point yet where i can see what good came of the assault, i believe that someday i will understand it better, the way i am starting to understand other trials i have faced in my life. 

we all have struggles. we all deal with things that hurt and that seem impossible. but sunflowers will grow in the patches of weeds that seem so awful. and we will look back and feel thankful for the very things that we struggled with.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

90 percent work and 10 percent play.

you know when you get together with family or friends and you hear yourself talking and talking about one thing and in your head you're like, shut up, these people don't care.

but you're just obsessed and can't seem to focus on anything else. that is what has happened to my life with my new job. travis, bless him, listens to me ramble on and on and on and ON about the kids i work with. i'm just in love. even when they yell at me, swear at me, and lie to my face, like one girl who spilled milk on the carpet and then quickly tossed a magazine on top of it and then played dumb when i told her to clean up her mess, i still love them.

it's unbelievable how exhausted i am after working an 8 hour shift. the first week of work, i found myself acting very snippy and short tempered. i went to a family party and found that the usual patience i have with certain family members who make me crazy was dried up. no patience left in the reserves. i couldn't figure it out and then i realized, oh, i put up with bullshit all day long. i don't have any more room for bullshit putting up with after work. yikes.

what kind of bullshit you ask? it comes in the form of a girl yelling "it's none of your damn business" when you ask her how things are going with her mom after she gets off a pretty intense phone call. it's dealing with a girl who has borderline personality disorder and trying to decide which lies to call her out on and which ones just aren't worth it. it's hearing a boy who has a juggalo background tell racist jokes and trying to explain to him why that's not appropriate when he has a lifetime of indoctrination saying otherwise.

oh and then there's the heartbreaking stuff. like the boy who is filled with grief and shame over stealing an older woman's prescriptions, and then her family assuming the older woman can't remember where she put them and then putting her in a nursing home. the girls in groups therapy agreeing that they will probably never be with a sober guy because the sober ones are too boring. it's the girl who tells you stories about her mom's boyfriends coming into her room late at night. the hopelessness in a girl's eyes when she tells you she is out of options. that her choices are to run from treatment, or go back to her 25 year old boyfriend, or go live with her mom and her pedophile boyfriend, or go to foster care. what on earth am i supposed to say to her to make her okay? last night, one girl was talking about these cute hot pink shorts she used to have. and how she doesn't have them anymore because she was pushed out of a window at a party when she was drunk and high and the paramedics had to cut her out of those shorts. one girl talked about how her mom had stolen her paychecks to pay rent. there are a thousand stories just like these.

and then you start to realize how impossibly hard it is to change the world.

but there are the good moments too. the moments that keep me driving back to work. like when a girl tells you she has decided to stay sober. and not to run anymore. or the moments when you are out back playing catch with the boys and they just seem like regular kids, not kids who assault police officers or steal prescriptions or shoot up. or like yesterday, when i finally got the girls to do a workout with me and seeing their pride in accomplishing something hard, like holding a plank position for two minutes or doing a certain amount of lunges. or having a guitar lesson with a boy who is so shy but so incredibly talented. and then watching him teach his peer what he learned. oh these kids are so full of potential!

working with adolescent boys is tricky. they are all so sweet to me, and i'm not stupid; i know why. it's tricky to put those boundaries in place, like what do you say to the 16 year old boy who keeps calling you "darlin" and what do you say when at dinner, one kid announces that every boy the unit has a crush on you. "sorry, i'm happily married." i replied. but i am always wary of advances or flirting. my parents worry about those adolescent boys assaulting me. but i want to have faith in them, even in spite of what my past has taught me about what boys are capable of. i just love them. i don't know if i completely understand unconditional love, but i think that's what i feel for these kids.

see, i told you all. these kids have taken over my life.
but there really are other things going on. sort of.
 the week before last with all the fires, travis worked 130 hours.
 yeah, i didn't know there were that many hours in a week.
so we kind of just work. a lot. but this week we made it a point to squeeze in some summer fun.

 travis and his crew hard at work. 

 mountain biking with my dad

 my mom and i doing our usual thing
 day at the pool together

 kayaking and swimming in east canyon 

 getting slurpees on 7-11, naturally.

we are all about work around here lately, but i'm thankful we were able to spend a little time together this week. 

please don't have children if you don't plan to even try to teach them right from wrong.

thanks, xo

Saturday, July 7, 2012

things that must go and things that must stay.

it seems, as of late, that everything happening in my life can be categorized one of two ways:

things that must go
things that must stay

welcome to this month's edition of things that must! 
 we  do hope you will enjoy the show.

things that must go

1. being told that approaching a 24th birthday means "you aren't super young anymore and should probably start thinking about having a baby." 

2. sitting in a staff meeting for work, surrounded by therapists and psychiatrists, feeling awfully young and awkward, and blurting "oh how fun!" in response to a co-worker telling you about a kid who has aspergers. oh great, now my boss thinks i don't know what aspergers is. 

3. being accused of censoring the photos you took at a wedding with two brides. seriously, if i were censoring, don't you think i'd cut off the part where their lips touch? 

go read the facebook comments on this bad boy for a good laugh. 
yes, a picture with two girls kissing is being referred to as a "bad boy." 
isn't language fun? 

4. discovering you won't get paid for all the hours your worked until the next pay period, and trying to be an easy going employee, and telling your boss, "it's okay, i have a sugar daddy." and then she doesn't laugh. 

things that must stay

1. following the winco employee "bult" (according to his nametag) around the store and staring at him. to plant suspicion of all shoppers in his mind. ...and yes, this is how i get my kicks these days. 

2. realizing your dreaded student loan will be paid off by the end of the summer. 

3. teaching impromptu piano and vocal lessons to the adolescents you work with and watching their confidence grow. and possibly looking into music and art therapy programs. 

4. your husband coming home safe to you after a week of firefighting. and his hair smelling like smoke even after he's washed it several times. 

so there you have it, ladies and gents. hope you enjoyed this month's things that must. and do remember to tune in next time. 



Sunday, July 1, 2012


a few weeks ago i did something i'd been considering for a few months. i decided to get my hair chopped off. when i walked into the salon and told my stylist, amber, to chop it off, she was concerned. and with good reason.

"is everything going ok with your husband?" she asked, and i laughed and assured her things were great.
there is a good reason for her question. it seems that whenever i experience some kind of emotional trauma, i do drastic things to my hair.
if it pleases the court, i present exhibit A.

when i lived in hawaii, i had long, golden hair. alex, that boyfriend i always say i'll talk about and then never do, who was on his mission at the time, liked my hair long and had told me to grow it out while he was gone. in hawaii, i started realizing how much he wasn't the greatest boy for me and started trying to fall out of love with him. trying.
so, naturally, i chopped it all off and dyed it black.

i wrote alex to tell him about my new hair and these were his exact words.
"that's okay. it will grow out before i get home."
a month later, i had it cut even shorter.
that physical act of changing something he didn't want changed, really did help give me the confidence to get over him. a year or so later.

oh, and we can't forget the time i got married and had my hair bleached. as i have mentioned many a time, marriage freaked me out.


yeah. so when amber asked if things were going ok with travis, she really was concerned. probably for good reason. but after i convinced her that things were fine, i was just worried my hair was getting thin and wanted to help it look healthier, she agreed to do it. 

after washing my hair and settling me into the swivel chair, amber took a close look at my hair. "it looks thinner, doesn't it?" i asked her, worried about how quiet she was being. she lifted a lock of hair and showed me in the mirror. 
"it's strange. "she said. and then kept looking at my roots and then the tips. "if you look here at the bottom, you can see the very last of the bleach from when we took you blonde." she motioned upward a bit more. "and here is where we dyed it back to brown. and then here is where we dyed it most recently, brown again. but the hair looks so thin, and so unhealthy. i've never seen your hair like this." she pondered over it for another few minutes. " if you look at the roots, though, these three inches are growing in thick and normal. it almost looks like you went through something really stressful or traumatic about eight or nine months ago." 

eight or nine months ago, you say? 
like exactly around the time i was seriously depressed and considering ending my life? 
when i finally started to confront the assault and understand my PTSD? 

"funny you should say that." i told her. "nine months ago i started going to counseling for some things that happened a long time ago." she smiled and made a comment about taking up the profession of a psychic or something. and recommended a multi vitamin to help my hair continue to heal. 

and the thinning, sickly hair? she cut it off. literally cut off the damage my hair showed from my trauma. 
like any time you have a lot of hair cut off, it felt light and free. and if you're following my metaphor here, it was more than just hair that felt lighter. 

(i didn't take a proper "before" picture, apologies. 
a lot more hair came off than it appears from this picture.) 

hair doesn't lie.
(like how if you drug test someone's hair, it's way more accurate because the drugs stay in the hair longer. seriously.) 

like i was saying, hair doesn't lie. my hair says that nine months ago i experienced something extremely stressful and traumatic. it also says that my roots are growing in strong and healthy. 

a few days after my haircut, i was triggered by being somewhere that brings up awful, terrible memories. like always, i have a cycle of numbness, denial, anger, panic, and depression. i can always feel myself slipping back into the cycle and feeling powerless to stop it. but this time, as i experienced that panic and tried to breathe through it, think through the terror that overtakes everything, i remembered those three inches of healthy hair. it didn't stop the panic, the anger, or the depression that followed, but it was something to hold on to and consider. 

i'm taking vitamins for the hair. 
and hope for the rest.


Blog Archive