Journey to Texas…or Ponderings of Moving

It’s been a few days since I returned from Spring, Texas where I visited with my sister, and I miss both my sister and the place already (though it is wonderful being back in my own bed).  There’s something about traveling to different places that makes me wonder why I’m still in the small town in which I grew up. It makes me wonder where I “should” be…or rather where I belong, where I fit.

Spring is a fairly large suburb of Houston with countless nail salons, tanning salons and fast food restaurants; it also has the novelty of summer-like weather for extended months in comparison with Virginia.  It also has the novelty of housing my sister, the one with whom I am closest in age and heart.  Maybe that’s why I have a soft spot for that bustling outlying area of East Texas.  Indeed, in 2011 (when last I visited my sister, or as I refer to her “thithta”…just say the word sister with a minor speech impediment) I was gung-ho to move there; and my sister being my sister said she’d support it if I did, but that starting a new life in a place where you don’t know anyone is hard. Very hard. She uttered the same sentiments during my visit this time around.  The difference is, I would know her and a couple of her friends who she has had the pleasure of knowing for the past three years.

I think the time has come in life to figure out what I want to do.  And, evidently, so do a few of my co-workers who honestly love me dearly; just yesterday, I was invited to lunch but politely declined as I’ve decided to start my Weight Watchers venture again (God, help me)  and upon their return, one of them mentioned that she believes it is time for me to do what I want to do and be where I want to be, because as she put it to me, “you have the whole world in front of you and no strings holding you here.” That lady has a point.

But, therein lies the question: Where do I want to be? Truth be told, I have no idea. I know that I’d like to be somewhere out west. I don’t know why that is other than for years, I’ve had an affinity with the west. Maybe it has something to do with a past-life reading I once had (evidently, I used to live out west).  But see, there is a problem: I know that the prospect of being far away from my family scares the living shit out of me. I’m a worrier; it’s what I do.  I’m afraid that the second I move, something will happen: one of my parents will get sick or hurt. I don’t know why I think that, but I do.  Who then will be there to help when help is needed? Maybe that’s a strange worry to have…maybe I should just realize that wherever I may go, I’m only a drive or a flight away. Maybe the problem is that I am so reliant upon my folks because they’ve been there for me when things got really, really shitty that the thought of not being able to be right there for them if they need me is truly the basis of the problem.

Here is a list of places I’ve thought of moving to throughout the past couple of years:

  • Spring, Texas
  • Colorado Springs
  • Denver
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • Austin, Texas (just because “Keep Austin Weird” is their motto)
  • Arizona (nowhere specifically, I just think the dry climate would be good for me)
  • Spring, Texas

I think my other problem is my fear of leaping, of making a big change, because in the event that I do make a big change, I have the very real probability of failing. So many things dictate the thing that we do in everyday life and I’ll admit that fear has been a big dictator throughout my existence.

What am I fearful of failing at, specifically? Well, I shall make you another handy list:

  • Not being able to get work
  • Hating said new job
  • Being lonely
  • Deciding that I actually hate the place where I choose to move
  • Something major happening with one or both of my parents

Obviously, the above fears will need to be a hurdle that I jump in order to move forward with my life.  Who knows, maybe admitting to my hang-ups and writing all of this out has been therapeutic and will actually aid in my quest to move forward.  With that said, anyone have ideas for the place I should move?

these are my options

these are my options

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Pondering the Intricacies of Gardening…or Bitching About Weeds

As I sit here enjoying my glass of Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc and looking at my dirt stained fingers I’m pondering something.  I’m wondering why I did that. By “that” I mean why did I plant a garden.  Aside from the fact that I like fresh vegetables and I enjoy the time I get to spend with my dad as we do our collective garden I realize that I hate hoeing… and I hate weeding. I hate the back muscle wrenching motion of hoeing and I hate that even after you’ve hoed, you still have to bend down to rip the offensive vegetation from the earth to ensure it won’t return for at least week. And then? Well, it’s the same battle again and again. Damn weeds. I know, I know, there are products that you can put down to prevent the growth of these nasty intruders, but I’d prefer to keep my garden organic.

 

Regrettably, I haven’t spent much time in the garden the past couple of weeks which means I have unwelcome visitors that have to be exterminated.  I simply hate the process of eliminating said visitors. This poses the question again: why did I do that? I especially hate getting rid of weeds in the heat. Today, it was a whopping 86 degrees when I left my office; by the time I got home, I’d decided I would throw on my dirt playin’ clothes and tackle the mess.  I got a measly two rows hoed before my back just couldn’t handle it anymore and my shirt was stuck to my back with sweat. Sadly, my garden is riddled with weeds, weeds and more weeds.

But wait, it gets worse… I have yet to plant more beans (a family favorite), cucumbers and tomatoes. Oy vey.

Looks like this weekend will be filled with garden time! It’s worth it though. Think about it: fresh veggies and time with my dad vs. less time with dad and no fresh veggies. Which would win in your book?

My New Torture..or I Think I’ll Keep Doing This

Spring has sprung here in northern Virginia and I’ve chosen a new means of torture…I mean exercise …to try now that the weather is just puuuurfect.  I’ve decided to start running. Ok, maybe not “running”; It goes more like this: start off jogging at the end of the driveway up the small hill and slow down to a walk when I can no longer take a breath and I’m gasping and drawing in breaths through my mouth because I’ve lost all control over the most involuntary bodily function. And then I walk until I can easily breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. And then I run again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. You get the idea.

Generally, I’m fairly repulsed by the idea of running. It makes you sweat, it makes you feel like your heart is going to explode and limits your breathing ability.  In fact, when urged to run because of its health benefits by a co-worker, my response was, “I only run if I’m being chased by something with a dangerous weapon.” However, I caught up with someone who I used to date last week (a very bad decision) and noticed a big difference in his physique.  He’d started running. I figured if someone like him (trying-to-quit smoker, heavy drinker, non-exerciser) could do it, so could I. I also have felt like a slug as of late. I don’t remember the last time I went to the gym (and I hate the fact that I’m paying for a gym membership that I don’t use) because I hate being on a machine in a humid (yes, for some reason it’s somewhat humid there) gym.  Being on a treadmill or a stair climber or an elliptical machine makes me miserable. My reasoning is that I have to do enough things in life that I dislike…why should I force myself to go to a gym if it’s optional and it makes me miserable?

Anyway, once I decided I’d give this a try, I decided to follow through. After all, if I hated it, I didn’t have to do it again. The funny thing is, the first day that I did this (last Wednesday), I was shocked at how very little I could jog before I needed to come to a screeching halt; before my heart felt like it was going to leap up from my chest cavity into my throat.  The second day (embarrassingly enough, this was just yesterday. I didn’t feel like moving at all on Thursday and Friday night I needed a girls night with pizza and a movie) seemed a lot easier. I don’t know how, but somehow it felt easier to move my body at a faster pace than walking. I also chose to extend the area of my walk/jog to about 2 miles; amazingly enough, I was able to run longer and further distances before I felt like I was going to collapse.  By the time I made it home, I was sweaty and short of breath, but I’d done it! Today (day 3) I did it again…and I even bested my distance again!

I look nothing like this when I run

I look nothing like this when I run

There’s something very strange about this new “hobby” (yes, we’ll call it a hobby). The pounding of my feet on concrete is strangely hypnotic. I get a sense of pride every time I look back at a section of road that I’ve just run down (this is of course once the urge to vomit has passed and I can breathe again). And, the best of all outcomes is that I feel good after I’ve completed my walk/jog. I have a huge sense of accomplishment and pride every time I finish my loop around the neighborhood (or two neighborhoods, as the case has been the last two days). Those are reasons enough for me to continue this new hobby and pushing myself to new levels.

I can because I think I can

 

Big Ass (Meatless) Burritos…or It’s Been a Rough Week, Let’s Cook

This week has been rough. Not just rough…ROUGH. My ability to make exceedingly bad decisions never fails to amaze me. Anyway, after a couple of rough days, a peek at a friend’s cooking blog (Vegan Mostly) and a stroll through my garden (that is in the early stages of busting open), I decided to do something that always makes me happy: take over the kitchen and create something AH-mazingly tasty.

the fixin's

the fixin’s

A couple of days ago after being inspired by Vegan Mostly, I bought a bag of meatless crumbles. Believe me, I’m as skeptical of meatless alternatives as many are…I mean, how do you imitate meat? Or rather, how to do you make a palatable fake meat product? In an effort to be creative and healthy, I broke out the bag of frozen meatless crumbles along with a few mini sweet peppers, a can of red kidney beans and a medium white onion. Big ass burritos were just the ticket for tonight.
Not really knowing how to cook with fake meat, I went about it in the same way that you’d start a taco/burrito mixture: throw it in a hot skillet (I sprayed it first since I wasn’t sure if the soy product would stick if I “browned” it). While this “browned”, I drizzled chopped sweet peppers and onions with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and popped them into the oven under the broiler to soften slightly.

IMG_1585

Next, I rinsed and added the red kidney beans to the crumbles and after several minutes, remove the peppers and onions from the under the broiler and add to your beans and crumbles mixture. Then, I added a packet of taco seasoning (…if you’re feeling decidedly less lazy than I was, you can take the time to combine all of the seasonings that make up taco seasoning). I stirred the mixture together and the kitchen started smelling delish!  While all of the flavors melded, I wrapped flour tortillas in tin foil and tossed them in the oven on low heat.
Once they were warm and I couldn’t stand the aromas coming from the stove, I created my Big Ass Meatless Burrito.
Simple, easy, quick, nutritious and delicious. To be honest, I think I like this recipe even better than I like it made with ground beef! Nothing is better than a tasty new favorite, and a full belly at the end of Hump Day! Things are lookin’ up.  Here’s to a good finish to a ROUGH week!

big ass (meatless) burrito

big ass (meatless) burrito