Monday, March 31, 2008

I run this city

Deep breathe, whew. It has been a whirlwind week.

A week ago this time I was sitting at my desk trying to figure out whether or not I was going to be moving or not. My landlords hadn't found anyone yet and I was stuck in a nether realm, limbo, waiting at any moment to have to go into overdrive and move house. Or not. The possibility existed I would have to stay put if no one was found to take over my lease. I wanted to move though, I wanted to be closer to my new job, move out of an apartment that has started to haunt me. I didn't start packing, but gathered up things that would make it possible to do so if the time came. I stock piled boxes, tape and recycled bubble wrap. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday passed and I ran errands, fretted and did many worried laps around my apartment. I got home on Wednesday night and finally got the good news, my landlords had found a suitable replacement for me. Suddenly, I was in go mode. I hadn't found a new apartment, hadn't packed, wasn't ready, but I had to be out. They gave me until April 5, but I knew that this weekend was my only real window of opportunity. I spent the majority of Wednesday night packing up my clothing and bedroom. I had to sort my clothes carefully. One pile for storage, one pile for carrying with me. I had to pack like that in case I didn't find an apartment and needed to stay at my mom's for a bit. I didn't get much sleep, but woke up on Thursday morning with strong purpose. I left my house and headed for West Seattle with a list of apartments listed on Craigslist. I stopped off at Flying Apron and got a muffin and an almond milk latte. I could tell this day would insist on caffeine.

My long list of apartments became shorter and shorter, crossing off the buildings that we rented, not answering or otherwise unsuitable. I kept skipping over one that wasn't in the exact neighborhood the others were located but after seeing yet another 500 sq ft apartment for over $900, I decided to give a call. The building manager was there and said I could come immediately. I sped over to the apartment complex and checked out the building. Location, not bad. Building, secure. 4th floor apartment. As I sat in the building managers office, discussing the amenities offered in the place, I was liking what I was hearing but knew from experience that often times you open up that door and the reality doesn't meet the expectation. We went upstairs and checked it out. I had a firm grip on my mind not to take an apartment that I didn't love because I felt like I had to find something, anything. My mother had graciously said I could stay for a short while if need be and so my back wasn't really against the wall. I didn't want to make a rash decision. The door opened...

I liked it. I really did. It had everything that was on my list of "must haves" and some things on the "wouldn't it be nice ifs". I was sold. The price was right. The location perfect. I was moving. I signed the papers and settled up. As I walked out my new front door, I felt refreshed even though I knew I needed to coordinate a move within 24 hours. Yes, I was moving on Friday morning. I hurried back to my old apartment and called up the moving company that had moved me into my apartment back in September. 2 men and a truck would be at my front door at 8am. And pretty much nothing in my apartment was packed. Thankfully, I am very good at packing. I pack like I am running from the law. For 6 hours, I boxed, wrapped, taped and danced (to my music in my headphones) chipping away at things. By 5 I was ravenous and nearly done and was able to go meet my uncle for thai food at Bai Phai near my house. It was delicious. I finished packing everything, went for a super fast 8 mile run and then settled in on my couch to sleep. I wanted to get up at 5am to run, but my mind had other plans.

I had fallen down a rabbit hole at some point over the last few months, where my mind has started to play tricks on me and zig left, when it should be zagging right. It has been a deep melancholy which permeated everything. It manifested in strange ways: the desire to control things in my world, the constant nagging questioning, the bizarre equation that if something feels good, it must be bad. Its like I was talking about with PB. If I like it, if it made me happy, then it was to be feared, avoided and felt guilty about. I started to feel like I didn't deserve to be happy. As I lay on the couch, exhausted from the day, the conviction I had about making a good decision started to shake, waver and tumble down. It came crashing down around me. Had I made a rash decision, was I not thinking this through, this feels right, therefore it must be wrong. I grabbed my computer and decided that I would yelp my new apartment building and get reassurance on what a great place it was. There were not many reviews, and most were incredibly old and therefore not likely to be the case any more. But there was one and it was nasty. Suddenly instead of reassurance, I was in full panic mode. My entire thinking reversed in a 5 sentence review written by someone who obviously was quite angry. It was midnight and bursting into tears, I attempted to self-soothe and regain my rationality. It was one review. It was nothing so horrible, it was all things that happen in most apartment buildings (like someones car getting broken into in the garage). But it was too late, the ball was rolling and I was having a full on nervous breakdown. I got up from the couch and grabbed my cell phone. I hated to do it, but I called my mom. Not even for a second did she sound annoyed or vexed that I woke her up at 12:30 at night and she patiently and kindly tried to talk me down. I knew that she had to get up at 4:45 the next (same) morning and so I did my best to take deep breathes and calm down. Once the conversation started to get cyclical, I was able to let her go back to sleep and just kept repeating to myself what we had discussed. I felt a little better, but also just held on to what she said, "don't borrow trouble".

As I lay there after hanging up the phone, I decided to see if another thing that mother had said was true. That you could find negative reviews about pretty much anything on the internet and for the most part that is because people who have bad experiences tend to take the time to voice it more than people who like it. I yelped a few things, then I decided to take a look at the reviews of Flying Apron. I love Flying Apron. There is no doubt in my mind. There were plenty of reviews, a few positive, but a lot negative. As I read, I witnessed an interesting phenomena in my mind. My own conviction about how much I love Flying Apron started to waver. Was it really overpriced crap that I had been deluding myself into liking? I slid into doubt and just before falling off the edge, I caught myself. This was an experiment and it demonstrated what I had hoped. That the words of others held sway over me while in the state I was in, but that doesn't make them true. If anything, it showed that I had made the right decision for me and others opinions and experiences, while valid, were not my own. Though my worry was not completely gone, I could hold on the experiment to give me faith in my decision. I didn't sleep much but I managed to get some.

Friday was a blur. I woke without any energy and opted out of my run. I ate and waited for the movers. 8am it was go time. For 4 hours in the rain and snow, we moved my stuff. Once we arrived at the new place, I helped and we did a fireman fashion line. They brought things in through the garage and sent it up the elevator where I unloaded it and moved it in. By noon we were done and I went into true Devon mode and started hammering away at unpacking. By 7pm, everything was unpacked, arranged and in its place. The only thing left was to hang pictures, which I would leave for Saturday. But I was in, settled and for the first time in months, I felt true levity in my spirit. That feeling had buoyed to the surface when I got the job, but had been quickly squashed by my mind. As I sat down on my couch, I started to believe that perhaps I left the ghosts behind in the move and that I had reclaimed my mind and my sanity.

I run this city

Saturday passed nearly as quickly as Friday had, cleaning my old place and running errands. I was so sore from moving, I felt worse than I do after running 50 miles. Thankfully, by Sunday I was feeling much much better. I decided it was time to do something I hadn't done since I moved to Seattle in September. A long city run. All of my 20+ milers have been elsewhere since I moved here and that is quite bizarre to me. I have been getting in good consistent high mileage, so that fact is quite an oddity to me. I got up, ate my pre-run meal, strapped on my Nathan pack and headed out. Armed with my Garmin, a vague notion of direction and a mental map of the way "off the island"(i.e. West Seattle), I headed out. I immediately enjoyed the feel of my new pair of Adidas. Somehow I had let my old pair go an extra 300+ miles and I might have well have been wearing nothing. I ran over the Spokane St Bridge and down along the piers where the massive ships bring all sorts of imports. I was tooling along quickly, feeling great even at 7:15 min/miles. I passed along the more touristy piers, through downtown and decided to head up and over Queen Anne. I ran up the counter-balance, and yes, ran the whole thing. I crested the hill, stopped for a sip of water and continued north. I finally located How to Cook a Wolf and laughed as I headed down the other side of the hill into Fremont. I was on familiar ground now, having hooked on to my old normal route. I powered up Fremont Ave, running all the way to the top, jamming along to the tunes in my headphones. By now I had decided my turn around point, it would be my mom's house at Northgate. I was curious to see how far it was, especially in order to disable anyone's argument that West Seattle is too far away. I ran around Greenlake and headed up towards the mall. Door to Door it was about 13.5 miles. I popped up stairs to see if my mom was in, but she was at church. I checked my email to see if my former landlord had written (he hadn't), filled my waterbottle and headed back out before I got too cold.

I chose a different way back. I headed towards my old apartment, down through Cowen Park, along Burke Gilman, through Montlake and up the hill to Interlaken. I ran every big hill in Seattle, at least it felt that way. When running down through Cowen Park, I started to feel a little bit like I was moving backwards into my own head and quickly compensated the obvious sugar low by eating a pack of Pomegranate Luna Moons. I popped a caffeine and asprin in for good measure and instantly felt refreshed. I ran the SRC route across Capitol Hill and connected to Madison and zoomed down the hill to the water. I retraced my steps along the piers and through the very industrial area. It was very desolate, but pleasant. I wouldn't run this at night, but during the day, it worked. I got my 3rd or 4th wind as I headed over the bridge back into West Seattle, and pushed up the hill and around the corner to my house. I live on a very steep, but short hill and I sprinted all the way up to my front door. Watch stop, mileage counted. One very satisfied me. 3:28, 28 miles. Not bad. I ate some delicious leftovers from Saturday night, which I had been daydreaming about for at least an hour on my run (see recipe following) and then headed up north to work in the garden with my uncle. My lettuce and spinach are starting to come up and that makes me very excited. As soon as we started transplanting some things it started to hail and we headed inside for some tea. I finished off the day with a great meal at Hi Life with my mom. As I lay down to sleep, I could only sigh a satisfied sigh and hold on as tightly as I could to the deep abiding happiness that had settled in on my spirit.

Hungry girl casserole with Guacamole

There is this great movie called Waitress in which (among other more important plot lines) the main character makes these fantastic pies and gives them really great names, like, "I hate my husband pie, hold the banana", etc. I decided that I need to start making more creative names for my dishes too. Bubba cakes was a good start, but I am going to try and go even further.

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 can organic chili beans (NOT can of chili! Chili beans i.e. a combination of pintos, kidneys, etc)
1 TBSP evoo
1 small onion
2 small carrots
1 zucchini
1 bell pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 cup mushrooms
1 bunch kale
cumin, chili powder, oregano, italian seasonings, salt, pepper
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis
handful cilantro
1 package Almond Milk Pepper Jack "Cheese"

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. In an oven proof skillet (I used my cast iron), heat the oil over med-high heat. Sautee the onions for 2-3 minutes and then start adding your other veggies at about one minute intervals, in the following order. Carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, garlic, mushrooms, kale. Basically you want them to start cooking, but not be too done since they will continue to bake in the oven. Spice with cumin, chili powder, oregano, italian seasonings, salt, pepper. Toss in the rice, bean and tomatoes and stir. Heat for 2-3 minutes and then add a handful or so of cilantro (small bits). Tap down the top of the mixture until flat and sprinkle the cheese over the top, covering it. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is browning and bubbly. Top with homemade guacamole and enjoy (preferable while relaxing on the couch). Makes 4 servings.



Why have one when you can have two oatmeal carrot muffins

Now that I am further away from Fremont and thus from Flying Apron, I am going to have to be more self-sufficient in the baking department and brave the world of morning pastries head on if I want to continue to have a nice health grain (muffin, scone, etc) as part of my breakfast. I was in the mood for an Oatmeal Carrot muffin and so I threw these together and success! They are fabulous, not very sweet (which seems to be a trend with me) but perfect. I wanted to add raisins but didn't have any on hand.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk

  • 1 cup gluten free oats

  • 1/2 cup carrot, coarsely grated

  • 1/4 cup sucanata

  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance margarine

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 cup Buckwheat flour

  • 1/2 cup sweet sorgum flour

  • 1/4 cup(s) sugar

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped


Directions:



1. In large bowl, pour almond milk over oats; stir to mix.

2. Cream together brown sugar, margarine or oil, and egg; stir into oat mixture and add carrots.

3. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Stir into batter just until moistened, then add pecans.

4. Spoon into muffin cups which have been greased, filling almost to the top. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes.

5. Let stand 2 minutes before removing from cups. Enjoy with a small pat of Earth Balance....yum!





Ode to my mother

My mom is great. Over the past few months, she has witnessed and supported me through a lot of craziness that really only existed on my own inner battlefield. She has been patient and kind, loving and supportive. She does not judge, or if she does, she does not let on. I know it has to be hard to watch your child struggle and I know that it hasn't been easy that I have laid my burden down at her feet. She is there for me in the wee hours of the morning and over monday night suppers. She is always willing to help, if at her own expense. The things she does do not go unnoticed by me. In this move, I feel refreshed, renewed and like I might finally have a fresh clean slate to work from. It is my hope, at least. My mom has been my greatest cheerleader and I hope that in this new opportunity I have, I can embody the things that she already knows to be true, and let go of the things she already knows are not. I often wish there was more I could do for her than just be grateful. She has sacrificed a lot in supporting both my sister and I become the people that we have. I know that there is not really anything I can do but extend the same love, support, acceptance and patience to her. I also see now that the most important thing I can do is be true to the me that she raised me to be and to be the best, happiest, at peace person I can be. For my mother, I honor her efforts through the way I live my life and the person that I am.

2 comments:

  1. Wow! That was a quick move but it sounds very positive. Change is always scary and has a way of throwing one off kilter. Sounds like you have an awesome mom who knows you in and out - very lucky to have her. Makes me miss mine and she's been gone almost 23 yrs. Good luck in the new digs and new job and new adventures!

    I've copied the last two dinner recipes - my turn to cook tomorrow night and it's not gonna be the usual pasta!! :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Devon, I love to read your blog. We've both been through a lot of changes in the last few months and I think I've had some similar feelings.

    I've often wondered why I can be so negative sometimes, and then I realized - it's so much easier to think negatively than positively; that's why negativity is all around us and why it's so easy to fall into the question trap.

    People are all too quick to say something negative before they say something positive. They'd rather complain than offer their thanks. It's just the way our society is, and it's up to us to break out of that mold and take control over our thoughts and emotions without allowing the sway of our environments to do that for us.

    I can't tell you how many times I've thought I acted too soon, too impulsively.

    Learning to tell the difference between impulse and intuition is still something I struggle with all the time.

    In any case, I'm sure your mom knows how very much you appreciate her. I think her being there for you demonstrates how much she enjoys being a mom...I think that's part of the reward of motherhood...as your children mature into adults, you're still able to be there for them as a parent. You're just really lucky to have a mom that knows that and embraces it. :)

    Onward, woman! You're on to bigger and better things!

    ReplyDelete

You may also enjoy:

Related Posts with Thumbnails