Catching Up.

Shoot, I am SO far behind on life! I didn’t even post my CSA share last week. I was inexplicably depressed all week long- despairing, laying-in-bed, up-all-night, not-eating depressed. At first I figured I was just a little low, but after a third day of picking my food over and being very much inside my head, I knew something was up. The surest way to gauge my mental state is to watch what I’m eating, and how much. It’s a great way for me to keep track of how I’m feeling psychologically, as well as an entryway into the exploration of my relationship with food. I popped in to see a naturopath, who hooked me up with some camu powder and maca, and talked to me a little bit about what behaviors might help to get out of my funk. Easy: friends, more yoga, meditation, running, writing, something school-associated, and lots of time spent outside. I took the kids to parks, rolled out my yoga mat at sunrise and sunset, meditated for thirty minutes a day, and contacted my closest friends for quality time. I have a tendency toward depression- I think most people do- but if I don’t find a way to come out of it, it can screw me up for months. However, as the years have gone on and I delve deeper and deeper into those things I love the most- the interests I cultivate so passionately- I have found my depressive states to be less frequent. I try to maintain a positive focus, and find enjoyment in everything that I do.

So here I am, catching up after two strange weeks. Last I checked in, I believe I was still washing color out of my hair…

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After so much time away, I figured I’d share some pictures of what we’ve been doing these past two weeks πŸ™‚ First: last week’s CSA share:

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Clockwise from top left: cherry tomatoes, 2 heads of lettuce, new potatoes, cucumbers, 2 fennel bulbs, 2 eggplant, a bunch of scallions, spring garlic, green peppers, green cabbage, an heirloom tomato, and lots of summer squash. Also:

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The U-pick for that week: basil, lemon balm, nettle, chives, sage, dill, tomatillos, more cherry tomatoes, and yellow wax beans!

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And flowers, of course πŸ™‚

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I honestly don’t even remember how I used most of my share. My guess is either raw in salads or roasted. I wasn’t really eating, but I do remember roasting the potatoes with some sunflower seed oil and salt, which tasted pretty good to me. We also made baba ganoush from the eggplant, which the kids loved. Jack and Carolyn are such rock stars, and will eat just about any veggie. Jack even eats salad, and Carolyn has just discovered that she loves tomatoes!

I made a discovery of my own over the past few weeks: I can’t take the kids with me to u-pick anymore. Womp womp. They’re just…too active, and too busy for me to try to get my share picked.

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It’s a shame, because I really enjoy bringing them, and they enjoy going and learning about the different veggies. However, when I’m alone with the two of them, I end up spending all of my time either chasing them through the fields so they don’t pull up any plants, or trying to keep them within sight so they don’t pick from plants that aren’t ripe. On Wednesday I may try to go with just Jack, although last Saturday I went alone and loved the peace.

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For now, we’re going to stick to picking from our own little garden, which is really beginning to flourish!

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I had intended to take pictures of our garden harvest each week, but we’ve been using all of it so quickly that it’s difficult to separate ours from what we receive from the CSA. Right now it’s all tomatoes- both cherry and roma- but the eggplant are looking great, and should be ready in a few short weeks!

Like I said, we’ve been spending a lot of time outside. I love to be outdoors, and it gives the kids space to run around and let off some of that wonderful toddler energy.

Tyler Park:

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Solebury Orchards (to pick blueberries):

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The farmer’s market:

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Peaceable Kingdom Playground/Park:

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Every Friday night they have movies in the park, so that’s what the screen in for πŸ™‚

The Playground at Tyler Park:

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Jack’s new trick: climbing. EVERYTHING.

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I have been trying to get them out as much as I possibly can. They’ve both been presenting some challenges lately- defiant, picking at one another, misbehaving…I know it’s just another phase, but it’s leaving me pretty worn out. Getting them out of the house gives them something to focus on besides each other (or me).

A friend of mine invited us to meet her at the Children’s Museum in New Hope, which was a huge success:

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It’s difficult to put into words how ingenious this place is. There is everything and anything a child could want- a kitchen set, a mail room, a “grocery store,” a jungle gym, an “archaeological dig site,” a racetrack, a car parts station where you build your own race cars, lighted floor games, I could go on and on. The best part? The entire place is designed for kids, so I felt pretty comfortable letting Jack and Carolyn roam around and explore without chasing them down to make sure they weren’t breaking or destroying anything. It was brilliant, and I can’t wait to go back.

My Mum and I also took them to the Fallsington Library for story hour, crafts, and some playground time on Friday:

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Neither one of them sat through the story, and we spent most of the hour following them around the library and keeping them off of the bookshelves. I did manage to find this guy for a quarter on the used book shelf, though!

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Finally, we’ve been spending a good deal of time at the Garden of Reflection:

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I’ve actually been coming here a lot on evenings I don’t have yoga, and practicing next to the fountain as the sun sets. It is unimaginably peaceful.

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I was a little wary of setting up right next to the fountain, since the park stays pretty busy even at night, and practicing yoga alone in front of a bunch of unsuspecting strangers makes me a little nervous, but I ended up getting tons of comments about what a GREAT idea it was, and last time I went I had two other people show up and join me. Awesome πŸ™‚

I practice twice a day, every day, but most of the time it’s with the kids crawling over and around me, and toy cars rolling under my hands and feet. I’ve been making a point of leaving each evening when Luis gets home and practicing outside, either in the backyard or at a local park.

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Getting down with some Krishna Das πŸ™‚

It’s made a huge difference in my ability to manage my stress. Of course, Thursdays and Sundays, I’m all about the studio πŸ™‚

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Every time I go, I feel so fortunate to be able to practice in such a lovely space πŸ™‚ We have a great regular group, and it’s such wonderful energy from start to finish and beyond.

I’m trying to stay on top of the stress-management stuff. I know it’s normal to be under stress, that it helps keep us moving and motivated, but too much can be paralyzing and overwhelming. As I bring to the front of my mind all of the challenges and tasks that I am currently juggling, it doesn’t seem so bad- it’s all just a part of my life, a part of me. However, actually staying on top of everything can be really tough. Oftentimes, I feel like there just isn’t enough of me to cover all the bases. Enter: yoga. Running. Meditation. Time spent with my friends. Tea!

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Tea has been huge for me. I ditched coffee- it just wasn’t doing anything for me, other than giving me headaches and a mid-day crash. I switched to green tea, with an occasional cup of Yerba Mate, and I feel so much better. The RoT Double Green is my absolute favorite πŸ™‚

I’ve also been keeping my mala close at hand. It helps to have something to focus my mind on when I feel it’s getting away from me.

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I suppose I should mention that I registered for my GRE tests- both the regular and the English Subject Test. My applications for MFA/PhD programs are due by December 15th, and I’ll know in the spring where I’m headed for the last leg of my education. It’s been very surreal- I can’t believe that it’s finally happening. I passed Bucks the other day, and the realization crashed over my head that not only am I not a student there anymore, but I’m finished at Bucks, with all of my credits transferred out and my record sent off to Temple. It seems strange, after all this time, that I would have even gotten here. I think my mind needs some time to catch up to what’s really going on in my life, because lately I’ve just been sitting in disbelief while this whole other part of me soldiers forward, ordering study guides and writing my Statement of Purpose. It’s unreal.

In other news, I read at the New Hope Poetry Festival over the weekend!

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It took lots of encouragement from Greg and Eileen and several glasses of wine, but I did it, with two poems! Terrifying.

I managedto snap a few photos of the latest CSA share, from last week:

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L to R: celery, cucumbers, sweet peppers, long hots, scallions, 2 heads of lettuce, green beans, husk cherries (!!!!!!), summer squash, new potatoes, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, new garlic, new onions.

I am loving all of these uncured veggies- potatoes, garlic, and onions. They’re so delicate and fresh tasting!

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I’m back to eating, so I’ve been enjoying this week’s share to the fullest, trying to get a nice variety of foods in to make up for the past two weeks. We got a huge load of different tomato varieties this week, and with some supplementing from my plants I was able to produce a huge batch of gazpacho and a jar of fresh sauce:

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Both of these were made entirely from my CSA share and garden- no extra trips to the grocery store, just pure, local food πŸ™‚ I’ve also been rocking out the buffalo tempeh:

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I’m so into it, and it needs to stop. I served it over salad with the PPK’s ranch dressing, but I’m not even going to try like it was healthy. The sauce/dressings are such a killer. I suppose it could be worse, though!

That….is a very sparse and glossed-over summary of our time, but any more pictures and I’m afraid this post will explode. Photo. Overload. This week is looking pretty busy, with a possible beach trip and LOTS of studying (8 hours on Wednesday- ACK). At least it gives me an excuse to catch some sunsets at the park πŸ™‚

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Barbecue at Tyler and Week 1 of Anchor Run CSA!

This week has been a real roller coaster- the weather has been all over the place, with some really hot and humid days, followed by high temperatures and rain the next, followed still by lower temperatures and more rain… it’s hard to know what to do with ourselves. Wednesday I actually had a tooth extracted, which ended up going as wrong as possible. I requested IV anesthesia because I knew it would be tough to get the tooth out, and I had no interest in being conscious during the whole ordeal. I ended up waking up in the middle of the procedure. It was AWFUL, awful, awful, and I don’t think I can accurately communicate how horrified and upset I was/am. Poor Ally did me the favor of going with me, because I wasn’t going to be able to drive myself home, and she had to sit with me while I totally lost my cool and sobbed myself right out of the office. Whoops.

We did take advantage of the gorgeous weather on Tuesday, and joined James and his friends for a picnic in Tyler Park.

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We grilled veggie burgers and watched the kids run around and play, and Emily and I even braved the minnows and took the kids for a walk into the water.

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IMG_2173I ended up getting a text from a friend asking if we were up to a trip to the park- lucky us, we were already there!

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Her daughter is the same age as Carolyn, so they’ve become little friends too- it’s awesome!

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It was such a wonderful day, and the kids were totally wiped when we got home, which meant we could all just relax and recover from the excitement.

Wednesday was pretty much a blur of sleep, pain, and percocet. I have a terrible time with prescription medication, particularly pain medication- it knocks me out, makes me loopy, and gives me monster headaches, but I really needed the pain relief for the first day or so. Luis had the day off, so I pretty much just crashed when I got home and stayed in bed. Eric picked me up for our writer’s workshop at 6:45, and around midnight I came back home to crash until Thursday morning. Because I couldn’t drive until six hours after my last pain pill, my Mum had to drive me over to pick up our CSA yesterday, but it ended up being really nice because we got to do the first pickup together! I’m aiming to go with her every week, I think it’ll be a fun mother/daughter weekly activity.

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I have been absolutely itching for the CSA to begin. I really needed a few things to depend on during the week, and now with the CSA and my writer’s group, it looks like I’ve got a good schedule going.

The kids hung out in the giant sandbox while Mum and I popped in and out of the barn and picked out giant leafy bundles of all shapes and sizes.

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Carolyn was so excited to see all of the animals- first walking down to visit the chickens, and then heading into the barn to track down the barn cats.

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Meanwhile, Jack just wanted to look at the farm equipment…

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…and Mommy was all about the fresh herbs! Ommmmm….

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We managed to wrap it up minutes before the rain hit! Though that farm is gorgeous, rain or shine πŸ™‚

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The whole haul:

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Left to right: swiss chard, french chard, bok choy, sage, lemon balm, oregano, frisee, spring mix (gorgeously bundled, too!), green lettuce, spinach, and a giant head of romaine.

So much green! I can feel my skin glowing every time I open the fridge. I eat my fair share of salads, but I still feel like I could be incorporating more in place of heavier meals like BBQ tempeh or bean bowls. I am on my second salad of the day, and aside from a pounding headache from the percocet (still!), I feel amazing. Getting such a huge amount of lettuce forces me to eat it (and get creative with how), because I’m certainly not going to let any of it go to waste. Over the course of the next week, I will consume every leaf on that bench, and feel like a superstar afterward πŸ™‚

Also, it means I can dive into a big bowl of cinnamon bourbon coconut ice cream with no shame or regret- and top it off with homemade strawberry-vanilla compote for extra oomph!

Tomorrow we’re headed into New York, and despite the rotten weather, I’m still excited to see Patty. She has promised me fresh pressed apple-lemon-kale-ginger juice the moment I pull up to her building. What a goddess. After this week of botched anesthesia and heavy medication, I need a light to guide me out of the fog. I say this a hundred times a week, but I truly don’t know what I would do without my incredible friends. This week was a testament to their greatness. I am very, very blessed πŸ™‚