Saturday, December 6, 2014

Another List: Holidays, a Festive Recipe, and [Not] Moving

I'm full of lists these days because lists make me feel organized, efficient and productive. It's an illusion that gets me all warm and fuzzy inside, so I embrace it.

And so, in honor of the weekend, I have another list of rather disparate items:

1. I met my sister, who lives in Portland, at my grandma's house in Arizona for Thanksgiving last week. It was so lovely to see them both.

Sister and I enjoyed long walks in the desert warmth....

...a trip to the zoo...

...and, of course, junk food.

There is little in this world that soothes the soul like eating an entire bag of cheese puffs with your sister whilst watching the movie Holes.

2. Third graders are some of the most [delightful, hilarious and fun] germy human beings on earth. Or so I thought. But then I started teaching college, I discovered it is possible to be sick more severely and often than 9-year olds.

These crazy kids. I love 'em. Third Grade, you were good to me

When I taught third grade, my students started dropping like flies at Halloween and stayed sick until Easter. But college students start getting sick the first day of class, in August, and they stay sick every week until the last day of class in May.

When I taught third grade, I got sick every two weeks or so. But this semester? I've been healthy as healthy can be, with the exception of a VIOLENT bug back in August that had me wondering if I was tasting death.

I have a number of tricks to staying healthy when everyone around me is getting the flu, mono and strep, but my secret weapon is this: I eat raw garlic every night before bed. It chases away bugs, bacteria, and vampires.

 Because: Team Jacob. 

Avoiding refined sugar, exercising regularly, having flowers around the house, spending time with funny friends, and getting lots of sleep will help with fighting off bugs and bacteria, too. Although they won't be much help when it comes to fighting off vampires. Consider yourself warned.

3. I lifted weights yesterday for the first time in 4.5 years. Just four months ago I thought I'd never be able to lift weights again. But here I am, 24 hours after lifting, and although my body is flooded with lactic acid, and although my triceps feel like they've been pumped full of water, and although my hamstrings feel like very tight violin strings, I FEEL GOOD, like a fish thrown back in the water. Praise God.

4. This week I've been full of ambition. I'm going to do an Iron Man! I'm going to write a book! I'm going to make four batches of Christmas fudge! I can tell you one thing with certainty: my response to that last proposal is Y-E-S.

Here is the source of all this dreamin':

Peppermint hot chocolate with whipped cream. You've gots tah make some. It'll put a lift in your step. 

Here are the directions for one serving of this dairy and refined sugar-free nectar of delight:

Measure a mug full — about 1 1/2 cups — of SO Delicious unsweetened, vanilla coconut milk and pour it in a saucepan.

 If you get the plain coconut milk then be sure to add a splash of vanilla to your hot chocolate.

  • About 2 T of cocoa powder
  • About 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (I usually just add the syrup to taste)
  • 2 of these honey mints from Trader Joe's:
Whisk the ingredients together until the chocolate mints are melted and the mixture is frothy and steaming.

Pour the hot chocolate into your favorite mug and top with coconut whipped cream.

To make coconut whipped cream, put a can of full fat coconut cream in the fridge overnight — Trader Joe's brand is by far the best for whipping cream. Take it out and whip its contents and maple syrup (add the syrup to taste — I usually put in about 2 tablespoons) in your food processor until ingredients are thoroughly blended.

And voila! You're ready to rumble.

5. Earlier this fall, when I started thinking seriously about PhD programs, I decided I wanted to move to Scotland for school. My dream school is in Scotland and I figured I'd shoot for the stars.

My great grandparents came over from Scotland on a boat, so this beautiful place is my homeland.

With time, however, I realized it wasn't wise for me to go traipsing off to Scotland to complete a stressful PhD program so soon after a full return to health. I figured I should give my body some time to get strong before throwing myself in the deep end like that.

And then, this week, it rained for three days straight, and I knew I'd made the right choice, as Scotland is one very green and very rainy place.

When the sun shines here I often feel like Life is reaching her arms inside my soul and tickling me. But when it rains for three days straight? I tend to feel like Life is reaching her arms inside my soul and playing a mournful tune on the cello strings she's found there. That, and I feel like a fat, oozing slug that has just been doused in salt.

So the sun: it's a good thing. And Scotland: it's a dream I may revisit next year. In the meantime, I'm looking at a program here in the sunny south, and I'm applying sunscreen while I hit the beach.

I hope your weekend is off to a merry and restful start, my friends!


© by scj