Vacations Get Me Thinking

Day Two of My Three Day Vacation:

I really needed these three days off to destress and prepare for finals and graduation. I haven’t had many days off the past four months with working five days a week and a sixth day at my internship. I can’t believe I’ve made it this far working full time as a coffee shop store manager with early hours, going to school full time, and at one point working a second part time job (I left the aquarium because it became too much 😟  I miss it so).

I’m really proud of myself, not to toot my own horn. I’ve really learned how much weight, mentally and even physically, I can put on my body before I have to be strong and admit to myself when too much is TOO much. I’m so stubborn. It’s my biggest flaw. I take on way too much at once to stay busy, to feel like I’m working towards something, to feel like I’ll have something to be accomplished of, and to feel like people will be proud of me. I’ve always been thinking about how other people will think of me and obviously I want those to be good things. I’ve thought about this so much that I’ve in turn made myself so unhappy, far too often and I think it’s reflective in my attitude at times. On top of that, I’ve struggled so much the past two years with understanding my mental health that I neglected since I was a teenager, being on a medication, and finally opening up to doctors about the thoughts in my head that make me feel, well, crazy to say the least.

Well, with graduate school coming in August, I realized I’m not superwoman and I don’t have to load up my schedule to feel important. I stepped down from store managing for my own sanity. I’m sad to go but happy and relieved at the same time because I know I’m working towards what I truly want, to be working in a library. I’m hoping the next few months of my life provide me (well I’m going to make time dammit) downtime to continue to understand how I only have one life and I just need to do what makes me happy. 🌹 ✌🏼

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Spinach, Chickpea, and Curry Crock Pot Stew

Spinach, Chickpea, and Curry Crock Pot Stew

I’ve had a few requests to share the recipe of my recent stew obsession. I’m seriously OBSESSED. It’s so good. It’s also a healthier meal and even vegan (you’d never notice, though so don’t be afraid 😉 ). I found it at Lassen’s Natural Foods and Vitamins on their deli bar. I thought theirs was so great I wanted to make my own. Best part is it’s super easy to prepare and all you need to do is wait an hour to an hour and a half for it to be ready. It lasts a couple days afterwards so it makes a great meal for leftovers.

Instructions:

Toss all these ingredients in a crockpot (you can customize amounts to taste preference, I’ve made it a little different each time!):

-1 T grapeseed oil (or olive oil or whatever floats your boat)

-1 T salt

-pepper to taste

-1 small/medium size onion (white or purple)

-2 cans garbanzo beans

-spinach to preference (remember it cooks down)

-1 can coconut milk

-2 cups vegetable stock (I have also used two cups of water instead and it tastes great too)

-1/2 cup chopped carrots

-1/2 cup chopped celery

-3 small chopped red potatoes

-2 spoonfuls red or green curry paste

-1 T brown sugar

-1 T curry powder

-1 piece of grated ginger or 1 T powdered ginger

-1 T garlic or 3 minced garlic cloves

-Pinch of cayenne (or to taste)

-Cilantro garnish

And that’s it! Cook it on low for ~two hours or on high for an hour (I recommend stirring and checking consistently). Remember to have fun with this! It’s the beauty of soups (and cooking in general), you can add or remove whatever you’d like, so, experiment with different amounts of spices and different types of vegetables. I think my next try I will add jasmine rice. 🙂

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Cheers,

Mercedes

Yawn 

I get so frustrated with myself. I can never seem to just relax. I need a button to shut off extra thinking. 💭

Mindfulness, although a seemingly easy concept, is a lot harder than one would think. 🤔

On another note: I think I want to get into adventuring more. By this I mean perhaps rock climbing? I need to get outdoors but for now I will color with gel pens.

Family,  Food, & Fun, 

Holiday season is here, although, it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. Mathew and I spent Thanksgiving with his family in Yucca Valley/Palm Springs area. It was nice to catch up with his cousins that I have not seen since last Christmas. His cousin and cousin’s wife just bought their first home so that was exciting to hear about. We can’t wait to celebrate Christmas at their place this year.

Before we left, Mathew and I enjoyed a couple of lattes and a drive through Joshua Tree National Park. It’s crazy that we have been together almost six years and I’ve been to Yucca Valley (right next to Joshua Tree) over ten times now and had yet to visit the park, well, minus one time we went with some of his high school buddies at night to Keys View which overlooks Palm Springs area.

It was a nice, chilly morning for the drive. We parked the car and walked around/climbed a bit but since we didn’t have much time we didn’t do any hikes. Hopefully when we have more time on our next visit we will hike and camp. I enjoyed going to Keys view again. We saw the Salton Sea which, according to Mathew, is rarely visible from Keys View because of the fog or pollution haze. What a treat.

It was beautiful when we went that one time at night. We watched the twinkling of Palm Springs below and fading red flashing lights of the numerous windmills spotting the desert. Sadly, the light pollution prevented us from seeing the beautiful night sky.

Joshua trees are the funniest little trees. The trunk appears as any other ~common~, or at least to me, tree but then the branches produce these crazy long spiked balls, essentially. Some have one arm, some four, some ten or more, and some, none at all. I also caught a view of the Cholla Cactus, apparently a cactus notorious for causing grief to innocent bystanders.

All in all I would say this Thanksgiving was a success. Two more weeks of school and I will have a month of bliss (hopefully).

Word of the day

Came across a term in the book I’m reading that I have fallen in love with:
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary criticism, history, and linguistics. It is more commonly defined as the study of literary texts and written records, the establishment of their authenticity and their original form, and the determination of their meaning.

“…he called himself a philologist–a lover of words, someone who studies ancient languages and manuscripts.”

  • “A Universal History of the Destruction of Books” – Fernando Báez

I wish I could sit around and read all day 

I spent two hours on a cataloging assignment tonight.

The assignment consisted of filling in four (only four of probably 20) blank lines of a MARC Bibliographic based on information from a book’s front cover, back cover, and title page.

I need to express that Librarianship is far from sitting around and reading all day as many people believe.

My dreams will be haunted by lingering questions about the difference between ACCR2 and RDA.

Every subject speaks another language as I have found between all of my studies (biology, chemistry, anthropology, sociology,  & now library science).

I need to just keep up with my blog.  The library school blog posts would run rampant.  😂😂

#librariesrule #librarylover #librarylife

Studious, oh she’s so studious

My head shakes side to side,   pinballing between two invisible forces 

Is it really moving,  I don’t think so

My eyes follow along,  blindness insues

I can’t make it stop,  it won’t stop

My eyes distract my mind,  I can’t form a thought

I can’t make it stop,  it won’t stop

Please make it stop

How is concentration so hard at times

Pause,  all the time

I just want to see,  I just want my mind to stop

Please make it stop

Let me see,  let me focus

Let me know this,  this is not in my control 

Or is it,  can it stop,  can it listen 

I try to listen,  try to see,  try to stop

I try to breath

Pause 

 

Do You Take A Little Relaxation With Your Tea?

Lemon balm has been called a “cure-all” herb for centuries and for good reasons. Its properties remedy a multitude of ailments such as coughs, insect bites, fevers, menstrual pain, skin troubles, and more. It’s even used to treat mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. The calm and soothing effects of the herb provide its consumer with a sense of relaxation or a sedative effect.

I have had lemon balm in my garden for a year now and I’ll be honest, I haven’t touched it. At first I thought I would use it for homemade chapsticks but I quickly lost interest. Only recently have I actually invested my time and effort into my garden which includes a variety of herbs in addition to the lemon balm.

Now that I am serious about my health and well-being, I am growing organic vegetables, herbs and fruits at home where I know how they are cultivated and harvested from seed to end product. It makes me feel better, and safer, when I know exactly where my food is coming from. If something happens, at least I would only be able to blame myself.

Today I harvested some lemon balm leaves for the first time. I decided I would start out with a simple use, a get well tea of sorts. I have been feeling on edge lately from routine disruption; however, I would do it all over again to see my family again. I think a calming drink will ease off some of the anxiety I have felt upon my return to work. Surprisingly or maybe not so much, a coffee shop can really take its toll at times.

I boiled only a cup of water and added a handful of lemon balm leaves mixed with a few sweet mint leaves to my tea leaf immersion scoop. After pouring the water into the mug, I let my concoction sit for a couple of minutes. My first sip proved the experiment to be a success. The lemon balm was subtle, with hints of mint at the tip of my tongue. I added some honey to sweeten it up a bit. Pure bliss. I can feel the relaxation resting upon my shoulders already. 😉

-M

 

 

Holding A Book On My Lap

the sixth extinction.jpgA few of my favorite lines pulled from Elizabeth Kolbert’s “The Sixth Extinction”.

“If you want to think about why humans are so dangerous to other species,  you can picture a poacher in Africa carrying an AK-47 or a logger in the Amazon gripping an ax,  or,  better still,  you can picture yourself,  holding a book on your lap.”

“A sign in the Hall of Biodiversity offers a quote from the Stanford ecologist Paul Ehrlich: In pushing other species to extinction, humanity is busy sawing off the limb on which it perches.”

“As we keep exploring, humanity is going to survive.”

  • The truth of these words is phenomenal.

The Sixth Extinction gave me mixed emotions and more times than not left me at the end of a chapter feeling irritated. The wave of Kolbert’s words hit you from behind, flip you around, and slam you in the face.  Regardless of that, her points are clear, concise, and spot on about human’s damaging acts. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more books by Kolbert.

-M