Monthly Archives: September 2012

Paleo update

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It hasn’t been a perfect week. That’s the summary. But eating Paleo has been a surprisingly easy change, especially with the amount of great information out there. One of the best resources I’ve found is Nom Nom Paleo. She has an incredible recipe index with big pictures and the iPad app has step by step, picture by picture instructions. Last night we made this:

This recipe calls for fish sauce, coconut aminos, coconut vinegar, basil, mint, cilantro and green onions in addition to the cauliflower, onions, mushrooms,bacon, egg and coconut oil that makes up the “rice” itself. We just made the “rice” because we were topping it with a mango chicken stir fry that we’d made. But the point in, this is rice made out of CAULIFLOWER. That’s awesome. It’s way less filling (in a carby kind of way) that actual rice, but still satisfying and sauce absorbing. A great compromise.

On another note, does anyone else BodyRock? I’ve been following them on and off for the past 9 months and I have to say, when I don’t have time to go for a run, the 12 minute circuit is a great option! Plus, it works different muscles and is helping me get into shape for my upcoming city league volleyball season (3 teams this fall!). If you want something quick, simple (but definitely not easy!) and that you can do at home, BodyRock is a great option!

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Busy Busy

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So I just worked a 12 hour day. Now I’m at home studying for the exam I have to take tomorrow after I finish working (which I go to less than 12 hours after I got off today) and all I wanted to do was take a picture of my adorable dog helping me study. But, she’s afraid of weird sounds and flashing lights, so as soon as I turned the camera onto her she was¬†petrified. I got two pictures of her turning her face away from me and cowering and now I feel bad because she was all cuddly before ūüė¶ So you’ll just have to take my word for it. She’s curled up right behind my chair providing all the moral support she’s capable of (which is quite a lot, she’s very compassionate). Hopefully I can work on her fear of cameras so I can get some great photos of her up! For now, here’s this:

How can you not be completely in love with dogs?

Click on the picture if you want to see more adorable pictures of Orvis!

Radio silence

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That’s been my motto for the last…um, when was my last post again?

September is one of my (several) REALLY busy months for work which has meant that in the last week two weeks I was in the office two days. Not that I’m complaining. My time not in the office consisted of participating in an environmental education event for 6th graders at one of the most beautiful campgrounds in Colorado for a week, then hanging out at the farmers market repping my organization for a day, then heading out on an overnight trip down the Colorado River with a local AP Environmental Studies class.

This isn’t us, but (with a little more driving rain) this is pretty much what we looked like.

I don’t have any photos I can share on the blog – they’re all of me with kids under 18 who didn’t sign photo release waivers (and even if they did, my blog probably isn’t the most appropriate use for them…) but let’s just say my last two weeks outside with kids was a lot of fun! Also, a great reminder that when I submit my application to MSU in 5(!!!) days, I’m taking the first step on a life-changing path. Over the last two weeks I’ve had some time to think about it: is this the right step for me? Am I kidding myself because I got a little bored this summer? Am I a fool to walk away from an incredible job like this?

These questions haunt me a lot. I love the work I do right now, but the more I think about it, the more I think about my life 5, 10, even 20 years from now (what will I be like when I’m 45?) I just know that I can’t keep this up. These weekends, evenings, giving all my love and energy to something that’s not myself or my family. It works for now, it works while we build this organization from the ground up. But for the rest of my life I’m going to need a little more control over things. I’m going to need a regular schedule so I can pick the kids up from school and go to their games/recitals/concerts. I’m going to need time to cook dinner and make breakfast and not be completely exhausted for months on end. I love the work I do right now, but this path I’m choosing is the right choice for me.

So this is happening in our house…

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We’ve all heard about the hype of the Paleo diet. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to jump on board when (after several years as a vegetarian) I found out the Paleo diet doesn’t include beans. Beans were one of my go-to foods for a quick protein boost during my veggie days, so naturally I was a little concerned. But the Paleo diet is all about eating real, natural foods that have not been processed which we do so much of anyway that we decided to make the jump. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. Sadly, it means my favorite morning smoothie is no longer in the rotation ūüė¶ but I’m hoping to find a replacement soon! If any of you have good paleo smoothie ideas (does that even exist?), let me know! Last night we feasted on sauteed shrimp with onions and cherry tomatoes. It was delicious and very filling. This morning Kyle got up early to throw a delicious looking beef stew into the crock pot. The shallots and broth are already filling the house with delicious odors!

The rough plan

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I’ve mentioned before that I’m about to start on a pretty drastic career change path. I’ve worked almost exclusively in the environmental non-profit world and, as a result of several life changes in the last two years, I’ve decided to make the switch to health care. While I truly believe my work in environmental education is valuable and important, I also know it’s not work I want to do forever. And I’m excited about my future in the medical field. Depending on where I end up, there will be an opportunity to provide quality healthcare and a little bit of education mixed in there too.

 

 

 

 

I know there are tons of different perspectives on Obamacare and the fact that it was upheld by the Supreme Court. This is one of those issues that people will probably never agree on. But the undeniable truth is that in the next 15-20 years, the need for healthcare providers is going to skyrocket. You can probably say the reasons with me: the baby boomers are aging, ¬†technology allows higher quality medical care in smaller clinics and smaller towns, more and more people are suffering from diseases, the list goes on. It’s exciting to think about being a part of a field with so much at stake in the pretty near future. Obamacare or no Obamacare, privatized Medicare or public Medicare, PAs will still be needed, and here I come!

So, what does that mean right now? It means that my application for my post-bacc program will be turned in by this time next month. It means that in addition to a full-time job, I’m also taking an online class and volunteering at the hospital here. It means that next spring I will be taking a night class from 6-10 four nights/week to get my EMT so that after I finish my post-bacc program I can get a job in health care. It means that the career path that I’ve been on for the last five years is about to be replaced by five more years of training, school and work experience before I can re-enter the job market. It’s scary to think about leaving a career with an economy like this. But I also know it’s the right decision for my future, and I can’t wait to get started!

Pick Up America

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These people are staying with us for a few days:

Jeff, one of the founders of PUA.

Laura and Jane, two PUA volunteers that travel the country picking up litter.

Pick Up America is “the nation’s first coast-to-coast roadside litter pick-up across America. The youth initiative encourages zero-waste and environmental stewardship through education, art and outreach.¬†We are not only picking up trash, but also bringing long lasting solutions to litter besides removal. We aim to bring cultural consensus and empower citizens to make zero-waste principles a reality for businesses, schools, community centers, municipalities, and homes all across America.” They are made up of volunteers that travel across the country is a school bus, and volunteers the pick up along the way to help where they can. So far, they’ve traveled over 3,000 miles from Maryland’s Atlantic coast to Tonopah, NV picking up over 176,000 lbs of litter along the way. This fall, they will cross over the Sierra Nevada mountains and reach their final destination of San Francisco, CA. ¬†Learn more about them on their website or check out their Facebook¬†page for some photos of the crap¬†treasures they’ve found along the way.

The backstory is this: Jeff and I met a few summers back in Lee Vining, CA when I was interning for a great non-profit and he was working on a video for the Forest Service. He just happened to be passing through my part of Colorado this week, and found out from a mutual friend that I was here. He and his crew needed a place to stay for a few nights, and we have a guest room, so we invited them in! It’s been wonderful to catch up with Jeff, hear the crazy stories of walking across the country picking up trash, and make some new friends. And the timing couldn’t have been better. I’m house-sitting for a friend with a pretty impressive garden and Kyle and I are having a hard time keeping up with the veggie production. So I sent them over yesterday to harvest any and all that they were interested in. They did some damage!

PUA volunteers helping me harvest from this impressive front yard garden.

Then they went back to our house and made us a delicious dinner of eggplant parmesan with homemade tomato sauce and breaded/fried eggplant. So tasty! Check out the awesome harvest:

My dog Jewell, a lovely labrador retriever

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I grew up with dogs. When I was 18 months old we got Shiner, a huge black lab that my then 4-year-old sister named because he “shined in the sun.” He was a powerful dog, and my parents used to tie the sled rope to his collar, put my sister and I on the sled and throw the stick for him while he towed us, shrieking, around the yard. It took that and more to tire him out everyday. When I was 14 we got Lucy, a petite border collie who was so completely focused on her “job” of fetching the tennis ball, that she only made eye contact with you to make sure you knew the ball was waiting to be thrown at your feet. When I went to college, I always looked forward to coming home, both to see my family and to see Lucy. There’s something so genuine and pure about a dog’s love and companionship.

After graduating from college, I worked several years of seasonal jobs that had me moving from state to state every six months, living in temporary housing or out of my car. During that time in my life, I would have loved a canine companion but many of the jobs I worked were not compatible with dogs.

Finally, after moving to Colorado and securing a job that had a more consistent M-F 9-5 schedule and a living situation that could support it, I was able to start looking for a dog. I didn’t look for long. A friend mentioned that he knew a woman who was trying to get rid of her old breeding dog – well trained, but too old to produce any more puppies. I was interested. I went to go meet Jewell on a Saturday morning. When I arrived, her owner handed me a leash and a bag of food and that was that. Jewell was mine.

The first few months were rough. After seven years of breeding, Jewell didn’t have any interest in other dogs. In fact, she was fairly hostile towards any dog that approached her, baring her teeth and giving a warning snap here and there if they got too close. But as we spent more time out on trails, and as she became accustomed to my boyfriends dog Bailey, also a female lab, she got more comfortable interacting socially with other dogs. Jewell has many funny little quirks and in many ways is a bit of a basket case (that’s what happens when you have 7 litters of puppies in 7 years, I imagine) but our life together is pretty great. She comes to work with me several days a week, we go trail running and hiking, I take her to the river and she has a great backyard play buddy in Bailey.

I highly recommend dog rescue. While it’s hard to argue with the downright sweetness of an 8 week old puppy, there are many older dogs out there that just want to be loved. If you have the time and energy to invest in making them feel comfortable around humans and other dogs, you can give them a better life, one that they absolutely deserve. I love Jewell with all my heart.