‘up’ moments

Good afternoon, I hope you’re having a beautiful, wonderful Sunday. It’s gorgeous here. Sunny, breezy, warm, clear skies. I love these kinds of days. I just finished up some school work that needed to get done before tomorrow and after I finish typing this up I may go do some yoga outside. I wanted to make an effort to post more often on here, not because I felt like I had an audience to appease (lol), but because it’s a self-care/coping skill for me.

I know many people love to journal privately, but I don’t mind journaling publicly. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve seen the ups and downs of my life and that’s something I don’t want to cover up. COVID-19 times are full of so many ups and downs, too. Just yesterday while walking with Patrick I explained to him that the fear of not getting a job and moving to DC and being in financial distress made me feel like I was going to have a panic attack.

Some moments I feel confident and positive and ready to charge straight ahead. Others? Not so much. That being said, I prefer the ‘up’ moments. I try to let the emotions and sensations that accompany the better moments stick around in my memory and experience longer than those that accompany the scarier moments.

I’ve also made an attempt to document my life more in photos. Sometimes I go weeks without taking a single photo, which stinks! I like being able to look back and see what I was up to and what I was interested in. I made the effort this week to snap photos of the stuff that held me in ‘up’ moments, pulled me out of lower moments, and the things I just love. Here they are! 🙂

Sitting outside with Patrick in the AM drinking coffee and water and talking about life and politics and whatever comes to mind. He became Dr. Patrick this week, so there were celebrations! Without school to focus on 98% of the time, we’ve been able to hang out and talk more which I love. We also started doing daily PSAs on our Instagrams. We alternate who chooses the topics each day. It’s fun and it gets us outside in the morning and thinking about something silly or serious.

I stumbled across this quote on a blog and loved it. I want to appreciate normal days more, even while they feel so not normal. I’ll try right now: outside the window at this desk I see my tomato plant swaying in the breeze and the dryness of the dirt. I can imagine how it feels to put my hands on the warm soil and can imagine the smell of the rosemary on my fingers when I harvest some to make bread.

I love the flowers that grow on weeds – haha! I love how I can find them no matter where I look. I snapped this photo while on a walk the other day listening to podcasts. They’re growing on a pretty steep hill not far from my house in a field that I want to lay down in. I enjoy flowers that grow in strange places. They’re not always the prettiest, but I feel lucky to stumble upon their pops of color.

The other morning Patrick and I were hanging around in the bedroom when I remembered this book of quotes on the bookshelf. I flipped through it and read each one. This one popped out at me. I had dog-earred the quotes I liked years ago when I read through the book for the first time and it was so interesting to see how my preferences changed.

I really love this one, though, because it is how I hope to live my life.

Okay, this one I stumbled across on Instagram. I love these little jams. They’re so cute and so tasty! When I saw that they were selling these advent calendar Mother’s Day gifts, I was so… tickled! That’s the best word I can find to describe what I felt! They’re so mini and adorable and quaint.

For an early birthday present, Patrick bought me a digital subscription to The Economist. I’ve enjoyed their Morning Espresso Briefings a lot. Plus, there’s normally a great quote at the end of the slides that gets me thinking.

I came across this post and the caption blew me away. Maybe we all ought to make a list of the wonderful experiences we’ve had. When I think back to some of my favorite moments in life, they’ve usually been the most unexpected, otherwise unspecial. There’s something sweet about the surprise enjoyment of an ordinary moment or experience.

I hope to look back to this time and somehow, someway categorize it as one of my favorite times in my life.

I made a whole post about this, but there’s something so marvelous about eating outside on a sunny, warm day. I feel like I’m sitting at the picnic table next to the pool at my childhood home. Eating to have the energy to continue swimming and playing and enjoying life.

And that’s all I have for you today. See you next week?

Best,

Juliana

you should eat outside

Let me spend a few moments making the case for you, okay? I realize not everyone has a patio or porch or yard or what have you. I’ve never been so glad to have our own little outdoor space! Maybe you take a seat on the curb while on a walk to drink some water. Or you bring some nuts with you while you’re strolling around the neighborhood. Whatever it may be, let’s wax poetic about my favorite past time these days: dining al fresco.

iced espresso with a splash of whole milk

Cold drinks taste better in the sun. Period. Afternoon espressos create a wonderful dichotomy between waking you up and the sunlight lulling you to sleep.

A camping favorite: sausage in a tortilla with mashed potatoes and onions and peppers. Salad with olive oil and vinegar, too.

Eating? Not just necessary to literally sustain your life. More like a beautiful, celebratory event, even in quarantine. Bonus points if you’re enjoying a drank, too.

Quinoa with bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, olives, sundried tomatoes, feta, olive oil, and vinegar.

COVID-19 is out here trying to steal our spring and summer! But it can’t take dining on fresh, summery foods in the sunshine from us. Not today, satan. I’m going to watch the March/April showers transform my yard into a jungle of flowery-weeds, thank you very much.

Open face patty melts (??) and cucumbers with the spiciest salsa ever.

Vitamin-D is good for you. And so is fresh air! I could do without the flies being a bother, but I’ll survive. Have you sat outside, tilted your face towards the sun, and taken a really deep breath lately? No? Let’s make it a breakfast date tomorrow.

Banana bread and coffee.

Also, is there anything more peaceful than hearing birds chirp in the AM? It transports me back to the house I grew up in during the summer. Can’t wait for a full day of playing in the pool (I wish)! But seriously. The birds chirping is one of my favorite sounds. Soon enough the cicadas will be out in full force in the evening and I’m stoked for their music.

Fried rice and herbal tea.

Alone time. Sometimes moving into a different room isn’t enough, so you just need to go outside. Take a breather for yourself. Patrick tends to gravitate to wherever I go (he would deny that, but I love him very much for it, so it’s not a roast I promise), but he’s allowed to sit peacefully with me outside. Plus he’s always ready for a snack or coffee.

Watered down (oops!) iced americano

And you get to watch your ridiculous old dogs try to chase lizards on the fence. They’re never going to catch them, but it’s so cute to watch them try. Alaska likes to stomp all over my garden, which is annoying, but also awesome. Alaska SMASH!

So tomorrow… what are you eating outside?

Update: quarantine still sucks, no surprise there! BUT, not going to work/internship has allowed me to eat more of my meals outdoors. Not to mention, we’ve been having some pretty spectacular weather here in Austin! I think I’d like to eat at least one meal/snack/drink outside a day (weather permitting). What about you?

let’s rejoice, shall we?

You don’t need me to tell you these are strange times we are living in. I find that I fluctuate greatly day to day, even hour to hour, how I feel. Sometimes I feel okay, settled in, and able to do the things I need and want to do. Other times I feel antsy or frustrated and I feel overwhelmed by all the things and experiences I am missing out on. Spring is my favorite season and it’s usually when all my favorite events happen.

Birthdays. Adventures. The end of the school year. So much sun! Spring feels like a celebration every year to me. And while I am still excited for birthdays and Patrick finishing his PhD, it doesn’t feel the same. I want to kayak and have a party and grocery shop like a normal person! I’m sure you feel the same.

Of course, you feel the same. I’m also having a hard time finding gratitude right now. And I’ve sat with that realization for a while. It isn’t that there aren’t things to be grateful for or that I have no good things to say at the moment, but rather it feels forced. Yes, there is plenty to have gratitude about, but also, this sucks! And it’s okay that it sucks, I don’t have to try to erase that with positivity.

You feel?

That being said: it’s old news that this whole situation sucks. I’m sure we nearly all agree that a global pandemic is not exactly an ideal situation. So, while we are allowed to feel negatively about this whole shindig, we are also not going to dwell on it. And even though we aren’t dwelling on the negative, we’re not going to force positives either. Instead, we’re going to notice them as they naturally arrive and rejoice in them. Sound good? Good!

I’ll start, so you can see some examples of what I’m talking about!

Pre-Pandemic I was drinking an unnecessary amount of coffee a day. Like 3 cups in the AM when I woke up and then probably more in the afternoon. I knew I definitely didn’t need that much coffee, but I liked it. Well, I liked it until after the second cup, but I didn’t want to waste it so I forced myself to drink the third. It was sort of a waste of coffee and just tooooo much caffeine. Nowadays, I drink one cup of coffee in the AM and enjoy it far more. Then, I have an afternoon espresso (doppio). It normally takes the form on a very short iced latte, but recently I’ve been making affogatos (as pictured above) and it’s been awesome. Less caffeine and way more fun!

Need another example? I got you.

The muscles in my legs get uncomfortably tight if I sit for too long during the day, so I try to walk quite a bit every day. (I realize this is a massive privilege). Last night, Patrick and I were fitting our walk into the day in the evening and ended up still walking when the sun went down. I saw freakin’ fireflies!!! They’re here!!! I love those things. I want to just sit outside on someone’s patio and watch them flash around in the yard. They are a little joy.

This past winter I got weirdly into tea. I’ll never be a tea > coffee person, but I’ve learned to really enjoy it. I’ve been drinking it hot, but we’ve reached the point that it’s uncomfortable to do so. I also enjoy iced tea and I remembered someone on Instagram making sun tea many moons ago, so I Googled how to do it. Turns out it’s insanely easy. And now I’ve been enjoying iced decaf green tea! Plus it looks so pretty sitting out in the sun.

See what I mean? Nothing crazy. Nothing forced. Some of these things I’ve noticed in passing, some I didn’t realize until I was glancing at my camera roll. Y’all, this sucks. I know we’re all going to be good eventually, just probably not right now.

If you’re in that boat, I hope you find something to rejoice about. I hope you don’t sit down and force it. I hope you just pry open that part of your mind that notices the good things and see what comes wandering in again.

Anyway, I’ll have my mental crowbar at the ready since I know it’ll be a struggle to not let it close shut. If you find that you’re really struggling with your mental health, I would encourage you to seek out your local mental health authority. Many are offering hotline services for those in need of someone to talk to or who are in crisis.

I guess let my parting phrase be this: you’re not alone in this. Your feelings, wherever they may fluctuate in this experience, are valid. There are so many stressors in this time, many of which are out of our control and can feel insurmountable. Like we’re being asked to climb Everest without a map or an oxygen tank.

But you’ve been climbing mountains your whole life! I’ll see you at the top of this one.

Love,

Juliana