a lesson in brevity – writing 101, day five

i wish i’d never

picked it up, read it. now how

to return it home

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-day-five/

love always, sarah.

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loss part one – writing 101, day four

i’ve never, ever been fond of old people. memories swim back to elementary school days performing simple songs in nursing homes to shriveled bodies propped forgotten in plastic chairs and air scented thick and moist with soft food and stale urine. nothing of those forced performances was pleasant. leaving hollow spaces between my ribs where sadness and pity pooled. knowing they’ll eventually be forgotten and already overlooked.

this culture treats the old like worn wash rags or widowed socks. no longer good for it’s purpose but not dead enough to throw out, we tuck them away on a shelf or in a bin (an old coffee container, perhaps?) for later use, to be forgotten or thrown out in next spring’s purge. lack of independence. vitality. speech and motor skills. these things haunt me. because i know i’ll one day turn to dust, yes. but also because i know i’ll never be able to restore those old bones. i can’t fix them or help them or stop the plodding on of time. it’s the hopelessness and inevitability, the idea that the end is blatantly near, that each breath must be taken with fragile care lest the lungs tear to pieces. like old silk. what do you say to someone who very clearly is going to die?

it happened just last night at dinner. one of those hibachi steakhouses with sticky air and loud noises where you sit with strangers around a steaming flat grill to consume mass amounts of rice with soy sauce and seared meats. beside me sat an old man, the kind of old where skin turns to paper and each vein seems to sit atop the flesh like fat noodles and any movement could cause those spreading purple-black bruises. the kind of old that scares me. with his son, not far from old, and his son’s adult children buried deep in smartphones, he sat staring blindly at the menu. when asked his order, he mumbled until his son barked over him – you like chicken don’t you? yes. he’ll have the chicken.  no input. no say. less of a voice than child in the party across the way. what stories flowed within those paper veins? what words could he not say? soon to be forgotten. already overlooked.

love always, sarah.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-day-four/

 

three songs and one habit – writing 101, day three

i will remember you – skid row as performed by the ataris

i can’t actually listen to this song anymore. i don’t even listen to radio stations where there is a chance this song might come on. sure, it’s been over four years but music has a way of cutting deep. not as deep as smell. no, grilled cheese with bacon and honey burt’s bees cause a knee jerk gag reflex tied to a life altering voice mail and chapped ventilator lips. go ahead, be mad at me. the first words every girl wants to hear from the boy waking up from a coma. a coma induced by a perfectly executed suicide attempt. perfectly executed, not completed. thank goodness for voicemail. thank goodness for voicemails with song lyrics (were there song lyrics – i can’t remember? though there must’ve been. there were always song lyrics). thank goodness for voicemails as suicide notes, labored breathing, final goodbyes, final blame. final. final. twenty two calls and i turned my phone off. twenty two phone calls and two hours since the power button was pressed that the voicemail came through. two hours of silence. two hours of a heart barely beating, sluggishly pushing the last bits of oxygenated blood through veins and vessels. thank god for voicemails. four years later and the song still haunts me. sometimes i wake up to the sound of pouring rain, washed away a dream of you. and by dream, i mean nightmare. of grilled cheese with bacon and honey burt’s bees.

you are my sunshine – as performed by my father

my dad almost died when i was eleven. he had a twenty five percent chance of beating the cancer surrounding his lymph nodes and crawling up the sides of his neck. found like an egg in a nest on my mom’s patio one evening after dropping me off. i was sitting on the concrete. they were touching. divorced, they never touched. it was nice to see. twenty five percent. a fighting chance, but not much of one. i’m not really sure how he did it. there was one night deep into his sickness when they called in the family. he was too sick, too think, couldn’t make it home from chemo. or something. the majority of that year is darkness and fuzz. but i remember my mom being on the phone with the doctors and refusing to go to the hospital. she wouldn’t bring me. i think i begged. she wouldn’t let me go. i remember my dad telling me years later that not being able to say goodbye to me was the thing that kept him going. i’m tired of saving men’s lives.

traveling soldier – the dixie chicks

i told my friend katie in high school that this was my favorite song. shocking from the girl who attempted to stage a walkout in sixth grade to protest the war in iraq. from the girl who graffitied pieces of mother theresa and quotes from ghandi on street signs. from the girl who generally cared little for the government and it’s military. but it made me cry and i loved it for that. for a teenage girl, crying didn’t come easy to me and i desperately needed that release. something about the hope, the loneliness hit me. fast forward seven years to the girl dropping off a soldier and kissing him a kiss to last a year as he patrolled the deserts of a far away land. to the girl driving away as songs of traveling soldiers play over the radio. shocking from the girl who attempted to stage a walkout in sixth grade.

thank you for reading and apologies for missing days one and two. good thing my habit is starting today (:

love always, sarah.

finding the balance – practicing yoga on the cheap

the problem i have with exercising – besides the actual act of exercising – is that it can be so darn expensive. fifteen dollars for a drop-in group exercise class literally causes me heart palpitations. that’s not the good type of cardio, y’all. to put it simply, i’m cheap. i’ve come to accept it. hi, my name is sarah and i’m a cheapskate.

“hi, sarah.”

now that’ we’ve gotten introductions out of the way, i’m happy to share that i’ve found some amazing ways to perform my exercise of choice for zero dollars or less. how do you spend less than zero dollars? i’m not sure. but the point is, you can. specifically, if the exercise you’re looking to do is yoga.

so i love yoga. i’ve been practicing yoga on and off for the past few years and have recently been really committed in my practice. i make it a point to meet myself on the mat at least five times a week but really even one day a week is beneficial. and when i say five times a week, let’s be honest that a handful of those days are bedtime yoga which is anything but strenuous but hey, it counts!

not me, doing bedtime yoga

not me, doing bedtime yoga

the type of yoga that i practice at home is ashtanga yoga. it’s the type of yoga you’re thinking of when you talk about “power yoga” or “flow yoga” or “vinyasa yoga.” it involves a lot of sun salutations and breathing and stretching while building strength and focus. it’s a great practice to work on alone because it’s so introspective. in fact, the most ideal form of ashtanga yoga is done in complete silence without vocal guidance. that is like, the definition of free. yep, just checked the dictionary. silence definitely equals free.

the cool thing about yoga is that it’s become amazingly “in” in western culture and there are a ton of great videos online. for free. which is my trick for practicing yoga on the cheap. below are some of my favorite videos and daily go-to’s:

leslie fightmaster – 30 min intro to ashtanga

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBaQlOq1KoU

this is in the main rotation of my daily practice. i’m still building my upper body strength so this a great video for introducing yourself to ashtanga and building strength. leslie has a personable voice and a clear way of explaining poses and giving directions. i also love that she begins the video with the traditional opening ashtanga chant/song. makes me feel like i’m doing the real thing even though it’s the beginner version.

adriene yoga – bedtime routine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOTGz-1vizY

i legit do this routine at least three times a week. i love it and i love adriene. she’s balances her humor and free spirit with delivery of clear vocal directions. while describing the form of the poses, she constantly reminds us to be kind to ourselves and approach our practice with compassion. for a perfectionist like me, that type of emotional guidance is much needed. and i swear, i sleep like a baby after this.

tara stiles – headstand how-to

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6wtHly7ZNQ

being able to do a headstand was really important to me when i first started because being upside down terrified me. i’m almost six feet tall. that’s a lot of person to balance on your arms. i spent a lot of time looking for videos to help me learn headstand and love this one. tara’s video really breaks down the steps to headstand in a way that i find helpful, clear and confidence building. when i think of headstand and other inversions, it’s so important to remember that yoga is a practice – it doesn’t always happen immediately. 

these three videos have really meant a lot to me and are great places to start – if you’re new to yoga or new to at-home practice or just looking for a way to spend 30-40 minutes usefully, give them a try. other honorable mentions include any video on leslie fightmaster’s channel (i specifically love her beginners headstand and backbend classes though they are long ones and require a bit of stamina) and doyogawithme.com for their free classes. if you have any other go-to videos, please let me know in the comments!

namaste y’all.

love always, sarah.

the most divine zoodles

lead me not unto temptation, for you will likely find me elbows deep in a vat of pasta. legit. i have a serious carb addiction. i should probably go to rehab. but rehab is for quitters and i can’t quit carbs. but when i realized you could make noodles out of zucchini and dress them as you would typical pasta, it’s safe to say i kinda freaked out a little. okay, a lot? ish is divine.

have you heard of zoodles (what those of us in the know call zuchinni noodles)? to make them, you take peeled zucchini and run it through a spiralizer or vegetable peeler to turn it into strips of zucchini that ultimately end up resembling something like pasta (see below)

Zoodles

making zoodles is a little tedious. i recommend undertaking the process with a glass of wine. but just one. because the equipment to zoodle is sharp. and i don’t want you hurting yourself. you’ve been warned. now you can’t sue me should you accidentally make youdles instead of zoodles.

to make zoodles, i use a julienne peeler. a lot of people use a spiralizer but i can’t stomach paying fifty bucks to shave some veggies. here’s my advice: go to bed bath & beyond, locate the $9.99 julienne peeler, google a 25% off coupon, take that mess home for $7.49 and make yourself some zoodles on the cheap. that’s what i did and i’m pretty happy about it. really happy about it, actually.

to make the actual zoodles, it’s pretty simple:

1.) buy zucchini

2.) peel off the skin of the zucchini with a regular veggie peeler

3) hold the slippery, skinless zucchini (i use a paper towel for grip action) and begin to run the julienne peeler down the vegetable lengthwise. stop peeling (or is it julienning?) once you get to the seedy center. if you zoodle the seeds your zoodles will fall apart when cooking and will no longer be very noodle-like. which is against the mission of making zoodles. so keep rotating and peeling until all you have left is a seedy zucchini core and a pile of zoodly zoodles.

4) repeat on new zucchini

you can eat the zoodles raw if you’re feeling that way but you can also saute them in a pan with a cooking oil or butter for four to five minutes. either way, zoodles can be topped with delicious sauces and chomped up like your favorite pasta dish. there are recipes everywhere. if you don’t believe me, just google.

but i’m not much of a recipe girl. mostly because measuring is tedious and i drink when i cook and it just never actually goes as planned. so last night when i set out to zoodle, i had an idea of where i was going with my sauce but i didn’t know that i would end up in culinary heaven. and here i am to share it with you. while the recipe may look long, is totally easy and simple. some of the steps even include drinking wine. so really, read on:

sarah’s divine lemon and asparagus zoodles with roasted tomatoes 

serves 2; cook time – 1.5 glasses of wine (35 minutes?); calories – shut up, it’s a noodle made out of zucchini

ingredients:

3/4 pint of grape tomatoes

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed into 1″ pieces

5 medium-large zucchini

2 cloves garlic, minced (sub garlic powder if you boyfriend isn’t around to mince for you)

1/4 c water

1-2 tbsp olive oil (i totally made that measurement up, just use enough to moisten the pan)

1 pat butter (once again, just use enough to moisten the pan)

2 heaping tablespoons of fat free ricotta (or full fat but it’s bikini season so…)

2 lemons, zested and juiced

2 glugs olive oil (enough to loosen your sauce)

white wine, for drinking

directions:

1.) preheat the oven to 400 and pour yourself a glass of wine for sipping

2.) place cherry tomatoes in a glass casserole dish and pop them into the oven. these guys are just going to cook until they literally pop, concentrating their flavors and making them worth fighting over when you plate the dish. trust me. yum.

3.) here’s where it’d be nice to have a co-chef, so if you have a helper, pour them a glass of wine too and commence chopping the asparagus into 1″ lengths, mincing garlic and zoodling per the instructions above.

4.) add olive oil to a pan over medium heat. as the oil is warming, add the minced garlic and toss until fragrant (1 minute or 2 sips of wine). next add the asparagus, a pinch of salt and pepper, and toss to combine. saute for a few minutes – maybe 4.

5.) i got impatient with my asparagus so i added 1/4 c water to the pan and covered it to steam the veg so it’d cook faster. i’m anything but a patient cook. continuously check the pan to make sure the garlic isn’t burning. burnt garlic is the worst. after 3 – 4 minutes, your asparagus should be good to go. set it aside.

6.) in the meantime or just after the asparagus is done, add a pat of butter to a saute pan. once the butter is melted, toss in your zoodles. make sure everyone is covered in buttery goodness and let cook for 2-3 minutes. then toss the little guys around again (i use tongs for this part because i like to be gentle with them). cook for 5-6 minutes total until they are the texture you prefer. remove from heat and dumb on top of the cooked asparagus.

7.) in the same pan you zoodled in, add the ricotta, lemon juice and zest along with the olive oil. continuously stir until a smooth sauce is formed. add additional evoo if you need to loosen the sauce up. dip your finger in and taste. too lemony/sweet? add some salt. i added some pepper and onion powder too because why not?

8.) while the sauce is warming, remove you tomatoes from the oven. they should be popped open and juicy looking.

9.) add the zoodles and asparagus to the sauce and toss/fold to combine.

10.) whip out two bowls, load them up with creamy goodness, top with bubbly tomatoes and some parm if you have any laying around. top off your wine glasses and enjoy this mess.

IMG_20140528_190635

 

this is what last night’s dinner looked like – i told you the tomatoes were worth fighting over. so good. unlike my photo skills but i’m trying!

okay, now i’m hungry and debating if i can make this again for dinner tonight. it was that good, y’all. if you give it a try, definitely let me know. #stopdropandzoodle …not really. that was a bad social media joke.

thanks for reading!

love always, sarah.