Tangy, zesty green beans with a kick
This past week went by in a blur. I feel like I wasn't even there to see it pass. Part of the week was busy, part of it a little miserable, and part of it enjoyable- but all of it was shrouded in a haze. I had this vacant, almost robotic feeling that I could neither justify nor shake. Just a strange, almost out-of-body experience, watching myself go through the motions. I've been struggling to stay engaged in work lately. I keep having to shift my focus between one project and another and it's made it challenging for me to really get into what I'm working on. I'm much better when I have something to focus on- clear objectives, consistent demands. I don't like too much ambiguity and I don't like having to hop between things unless they're quick and easy to complete. I'm an excellent focuser when I'm allowed to focus. But every time I have to change gears and attend to something new, I have to get over the hump of re-engaging myself, which ends up requiring a lot of mental effort without the equivalent reward. I have also felt strangely paralyzed by publishing this blog. I don't have any delusions about it being an overnight sensation and imposing great expectations upon me, but in publishing it, I all of the sudden felt a sense of obligation and, subsequently, that I was failing it by not having anything good to post this week. It's incredibly silly in retrospect, but it felt a little like when you make a job of your hobby and then it isn't fun anymore. At any rate, the combination of feeling disengaged and unfocused at work and frustrated at my lack of amazing culinary triumphs in the kitchen this week, just made me feel like crawling under a rock and hiding away from the world.
A fresh, raw salad that delivers in texture, flavor, and nutrition
I've struggled with balance so very many times in so very many forms throughout my life. Sometimes I find it, sometimes I don't. Lately I've been trying to find the balance between going with the flow and taking decisive action. I like having a plan. I like routine. But I also like spontaneous adventures and getting so wrapped up in something that I forget who and where I am. That's how I tend to feel when I get out into the garden. I go to water something and 4 hours later I've weeded the whole yard, planted a few trees, set up a trellis, and harvested a basket of peppers. Any "plans" I may have fly right out the window. I value that and I need that. But I also need some degree of structure and regularity. It's important to me to maintain certain habits and maintaining these habits requires having some semblance of a plan for the day. So I'm trying out a new approach to balancing these aspects of my life. Set out with objectives and a plan in my head for the day, but allow myself to get lost in each thing that I do and prioritize what I'm feeling passionate about in that moment. If I feel terribly distracted and can't get any work done, then I should go do what I want to be doing instead and not feel bad for taking a break from work. But when I do get into working on a project, I shouldn't just stop at 5 o'clock. I should power through until I get to a satisfying finishing point and not feel bad for skipping yoga and getting dinner started late. Have a plan, but remain willing and ready to re-adjust. Fighting against myself takes too much energy and is much less fulfilling.
A cool refreshing summer salad
I'm a morning person. I like to wake up with the sun, when the neighborhood quiet and the birds are calling out to one another. I like to sit at the table by the kitchen window drinking a hot americano and eating a nice little breakfast while Chaco makes excited howls at me from the other side of the glass, waiting to be taken out for his morning walk. When I've finished eating, we head to the park and run around in a big open valley there, breaking every so often for a snuggle session. And when we get home, I like to spend a half hour or so watering whatever needs watering and checking up on each individual plant- ensuring their happiness and taking notes of anything that looks off. Then it's straight to the shower and the start of getting ready for the day ahead.
I like mornings.
But I do not like rushed mornings.
Hi there! I'm Cara- plant ecologist, gardening addict, and whole foods enthusiast. My whole life revolves around plants, including my kitchen. Join me here at LWM each week as I post local, seasonal, plant-based recipes and write about my never ending quest to find balance and tranquility in this crazy little world.