Where I wanted to go.

Home. Home is where I wanted to go.  I may be well on my way into growing up and starting a new life on my own, but I sometimes feel like I am still in the  mindset of my undergraduate college years. Without fail, when something particularly bad happens, I want to go home. Home is an interesting word. Can a person truly have more than one home? In the “house” sense I suppose, but home naturally has such a rooted meaning; it is where one grows up and starts embedding their roots into the world around them.

Home [hohm] :noun
1. a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household.
2.the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered.
3.the dwelling place or retreat of an animal.
4. the place or region where something is native or most common.

Boca Grande, FL

The third definition caught my eye. Retreat of an animal.  If I want to “get away from it all,” I retreat, and go home. “LUNA! We’re headin’ home!!” …Maybe we’re not as grown-up and off on our own as we may have thought! It seems whenever a three day weekend presents itself, or a weekend that is not completely homework laden, we go home. I think that as of my past year, the one love (besides Eric of course) that has kept me from returning home, is Luna. Every day that I left for a week to visit my mom in celebration of her Birthday this summer,r Luna was sick. She has unpronounced diarrhea, her eating habits changed, and (according to Eric) she was always looking out of the one large window my 500 sq ft apartment had to offer. Who would want to leave such a bundle of fluff?

It’s all about that darn nesting effect! You can only fly so far away from the nest before you must fly back again sooner than later…just to make sure the nest is still there and to snag some home-cooked meals while back of course.Nothing can compare to my mama’s cooking. There’s just something about going home and eating one of your favorite meals that has been cooked with love and cherished throughout your childhood. For me, it’s my mama’s Cold-Clearing Chicken Noodle Soup.

When I’m sick, the first thing I want is my mama’s famous Chicken Noodle Soup. I can attest from the multitude of times it has helped me get up and running from a cold that it simply must have magical properties. No need for Campbell’s with this recipe in your kitchen!

Here is the recipe, from my mama’s home to yours:

1 large container of Swanson or College Inn chicken broth (low sodium of course).

Boneless chicken breasts pack of 4-8 depending on how much chicken you want, I usually use 8.  Remove grissle and fat. (Keeps you from picking out bones.)

1 package parsnips (scraped and cleaned then sliced/cubed.) (these have all the good vitamins in them, yum!)

1 package carrots (prepare same as parsnips)

1 package leaks (rinse well (they grow in sand)  and cut one of them as they usually come 2 tied together, cut some of the green and then down to the base).

1 pack celery, cleaned and cubed.

Add a little garlic bottled fresh, pepper corns, and a few bay leaves.

Put chicken in broth with 2 cups of water  in a large pot and “simmer” never boil, for about 1 hour to start cooking chicken breasts.  Then put in the rest of the ingredients and simmer again for bout 2-3 hours until chicken falls apart.  Remove chicken, cut in pieces, and return to soup and you will have yummy chicken soup for a week!!  Make noodles on the side if you want….good with brown rice too!!

Manasota Beach, FL

One of the things I miss the most is the added comfort and convenience of being back home. Home entails nothing surprising, and that’s a nice feeling. When everything in your life starts to get in disarray, home is how it has and always will be, a place of refuge and guidance. What I miss most about Florida in particularly (since now home is indeed too far for a quick drive to!) next to my mother and the two fluffs of her own, are the beaches. Columbia is without a doubt the Gainesville of South Carolina. One our away from the beaches on the Atlantic, and two hours away from the mountains (hey, it’s the closest adventure-filled trip to Disney World we’ve got!) Not to mention that Columbia is technically a college town to boot.

Summer may be the hardest time when adjusting to the “real world.” Oh Undergrad summers, when working was done part-time, if at all, and tanning happened 4-5 times a week. When the beach was a short run (yes, running to the beach I surely miss.) Did you know that the last beach to allow alcohol in South Carolina just recently made it prohibited? Indian givers! A friend of a coworker of mine received a $140 fine from having a six-pack (and not the Brad Pitt Kind) on the beach. Now that is an expensive case of beer!

Growing up in Florida, summer is directly equated with the beach. I wonder what summer equates with for anyone that’s not from the Sunshine State? Summer is idealized as freedom to many. Time to rest up and enjoy some play time before the upcoming semester! About that party in Miami…

But I? Full-time job, what seems like a million miles away from the beach, and medical issues rounding the bend. It’s hard being a grown up sometimes, when home is no longer a short couple hours, but rather state’s away.

Summer comes in many forms. What does it mean for you?

“Au milieu de l’hiver, j’apprenais enfin qu’il y avait en moi un été invincible.”


Veels Geluk met jou verjaarsdaq!

What the f*ck, right? It’s a greeting in Ghana said to a birthday celebrant. Say it to the celebrant at the next birthday party you attend, you’ll be just oh-so-worldly!

More people have their birthdays in August than any other month (Holllaaaa to my peridot peeps!) A total of 6% of the population has their birth date in the month of August.  Over 18 million people share my actual birth day. And we are told that we’re supposed to be “unique?!”

Have you ever looked up celebrities or famous individuals in history that share your same birth date? There’s an interesting site called Celebrity Cafe if you ever care to check it out. I found four individuals of interest.
1. Anna of Bradenburg, Queen of Denmark (1487)
2. Tom Ford, Fashion Designer
3. Anne Marie of Orleans, Queen of Italy (1669)
4. Lyndon B. Johnson, 6th US President.

I know. Two queens, both with my name within theirs?! Coincidence? I think not. No wonder why Eric treats me like such 😉

My birthday is exactly one month away. I will be turning 22 years old. Not as momentous as the raging 21! …Does this mean I should drink even more since I’ll have aged more? “Bartender, pour me another, I’m 22 after all, goddammit!” This upcoming birthday feels like my 20th birthday…not that significant. A 21st birthday is full of fun, surprises, and legality. It’s all about the alcohol, babay! This birthday?? All I want is some peace of mind and homework to not be assigned for the first week of class. Not too much to ask! Not only does my birthday fall within the first week of class, but a Monday none the less! I can already foresee Tuesday being blurry…

31,536,000. The number of seconds that pass between ones birthday to the next. In the past year, my hair will have grown ~12 cm, my heart will have beaten a powerful and healthy 42,075,900 times, I will have taken approximately 41,075,900  life sustaining breaths, and will have had 1,460 drastically various dreams…approximately.

But what’s in a year?
A person can accomplish so much with a year. I certainly have. I’ve graduated from the University of Florida after 3 1/2 years of dedicated work, gotten into an MSW program within a prestigious graduate school, have kept myself healthy through all of my medical issues, have progressed my relationship with the man I love, have added yet another entirely loved and cherished new fluffy addition to our family, and have acclimated to an untrodden and improved way of living in Columbia, SC. I’ve grown to know more about myself than ever before. I don’t think many people realize how much one accomplishes in a year. So, I ask you, how much have you accomplished? When you think about it, you’ll find that you’ve accomplished more than you may have thought, quite a self-esteem booster!

In China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, noodles are eaten in honor of a person’s birthday. “But you’re gluten-free, you can’t eat no noodles!” Oh but can I? For this upcoming birthday, I want some quality brown rice noodles for dinner, just to test the theory out. They say that the longer the noodle, the longer the life. I assume every male wishes for a long noodle ay?.. 😉

Everyone wants to live a long, healthy life. But so many of us have the fear of getting older. Wrinkles, sagging skin, and hair loss, oh my! I feel like one should relish in their age. Yes, I will be turning 22, and proud of it! Do I wish I was 16 again? No. do I wish I was 40? Obvious answer, but no. I’m exactly where I am supposed to be, and that’s how I always want to feel.

Have you ever seen those ‘elderly’ ladies in Victoria Secret wearing the PINK! sweatsuits? Every time I witness this, I only think to myself that when I’m their age, at 50 to 70 years old, I want to embrace my age, not make it even more known by trying to act an age that I’m not. Granted that I will hopefully be well happily married at that age, I understand the necessity for Victoria Secret, at any age. But wearing what is the new fad for 16 year old’s at the time? No, thank you. I think the term I’m thinking of here is elegance and age appropriate. When I get to that point in my life, I’m going to go out with class, pearls and all. I personally think I’d look exquisite in a red hat and purple dress,purple has always been my color, but that’s just my opinion.

In England, when you reach the age of 80, 90, or 100 years old, you receive a telegram from the Queen herself! ..or her secretary who prints out all those letters…But just think! They are making the point that aging gracefully is something to be proud of! I’m grateful for each and every day I am alive. But I  do have to say that f you reach the age of 100 you should  be able to parade around in pride, if not at the least be able to access your social security.

Did you know that the Birthday Cake tradition goes all the way back to Medieval Times…and not just the amusement park!  Bakers would put coins, rings, and thimbles right into the cake, choking hazard I say! I could see myself partaking in my last birthday celebration while choking on a thimble. People were well aware of this tradition however, and looked forward to it. With each slice, a person gained a prophecy of some sort. If you received a slice with a ring hidden within, it was told that wedding bells would be ringing for you sometime soon. If a thimble was found in the slice, it meant that you would be unmarried for the rest of your life. And if you found coins in your slice, it symbolized you being wealthy within your life. I’ll have to tell the baker to put in some coins… many, many coins…

Maybe the reason for discontinuing the medieval tradition, if not for choking on your own birthday cake on a thimble no less, was to give way to an array of birthday wishes. Why limit the outcome of a wish to three determined intentions? It only seems right to let the birthday celebrant decide his or her fate and the one wish we chose to make each year.

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

What’s in your bucket?

Bucket List.

I find it either a glass half-full or half-empty kind of activity. It’s kind of like buying a cemetery plot in many instances, you aren’t going to do so unless the moment presents itself upon you all at once. I’d like to look at it as a kind of insurance, the glass being half full. I didn’t decide to create a bucket list in looking at it as tasks to do before I die, but as activities to accomplish along my entirely long and fulfilling life. I don’t want to find myself at age 70 and suddenly have the urge to create one, with minimal time left to accomplish it. No, I want ALL the things to be able to get crossed off of my list. I think no matter what stage, what age, and where you are in this journey called life, it’s a great way to catalog your goals and ambitions in a clear and focused manner. What have you got to lose? All it costs is some paper, a pen, and a little time.

You’re probably thinking that there are just too many things you would like to put on your list, it’d would simply take forever! The idea to create a bucket list of my own was sprung from a site that listed “101 Things To Do Before You Die.” Sure, there are thousands of things I would like to do before I die, but I don’t have all day Sir! I have a life you know.. 😉

Ten. Ten unique and utterly on-the-dot pinned goals should suffice. I personally know that narrowing down your goals can seem quite painstaking, especially for those who certainly would list 101 things! But in the end, I want to be able to accomplish, as I’ve said, ALL of my goals…so I will make the number more manageable and simply give each goal a tidge more tenor, without being the least bit ambiguous.

I’ll start of with the easiest.

1. Feel Healthy. To be clear, 100%, walking on sunshine, singing with the birds, dancing in the rain happy and healthy. It’s been a bit since I’ve felt completely healthy. Now, I do believe that there will always be little ailments and medical issues here and there, and even ones that make a profound impact in your life. But at some point, I want to feel completely energized and medically sound like I have before, and stay that way. One month without a medical appointment? Yes, please!

2. Grow a Garden. One that will house both the flowering and fruit/vegetable producing sorts. Have you ever seen Jamie Oliver’s show on the Food Network? Every episode, he goes out his back door into his garden, and picks something fresh and organic right off the stem to use in his recipes. Want. I would like to someday not to have to pay so much for vegetables and fruit and rather eat what it in season by what is seasonally and readily available to pluck right out of my own soil. The Farmer’s Market in Gainesville may have gotten me into it more than ever, but back in High School my mother and I had a garden of our own. With wildflowers we picked, tomatoes, beans, and CORN. Sadly, Florida soil is too sandy for the deep roots, but they grew around 4 feet tall!

3. Dye My Hair Dark Brown. Easiest to hardest and it’s put at third? Oh yeah, I’ve been saying I was going to do this “next semester” for over 4 years now! Everyone has their fears haha. My mother and father both have a rich, dark brown hair color. My mother had blonde hair and it slowly turned darker as she aged, and mine is too. Although blondes dooo have more fun, I believe my hair color should match my intelligence 😉 In all seriousness though, my hair will be dark brown by the time I’m 30; it is already a light brown, naturally. I think it will make my green eyes pop, don’t you think?

4. Own a Home With a Fireplace. I’ve always found it a luxury to have a cozy space to warm up in and cuddle with the one you love most. And lets not forget the S’mores. There’s something just so memorable about sipping steamy hot chocolate topped with marshmallows by a warm fire in Winter, while being in the convenience of the inside of your own home. Or drinking wine by the flickering light, it’s light keeping you warm and toasty. Santa will appreciate it too! 😉 You don’t really see those in Florida…

5. Marry My Own “Mr. Darcy.” And live Happily Ever After. Simply said. Word of the day ladies, Romance. Which leads me to my next item..
6. Read all of Jane Austin’s Novels. More importantly, read MORE. And no, weekends full of peer-reviewed journals and educational textbooks do not count. regretfully. I have so many books still awaiting for me to curl up, open them up, and enjoy. Because we all know that the movies just don’t turn out the same.

7. See Yellowstone Park. As you may know, I’m fond of wolves. I would love to see wild wolves up close as well as the numerous other animals that live and thrive in the park. As of 2011, at least 98 wolves resided in yellowstone, in 10 different packs. The wolf pack has declined 60% in the Northern Range since 2007. Part of the declination of the population is due to Distemper. If you’ve ever had a puppy you know that they usually receive 4 rounds of distemper. But what IS distemper? It’s a mental illness, which can effect how a wolf hunts, and what it is susceptible to. Symptoms parallel a combination of the flu and rabies, and is highly contagious.  On a brighter note, Yellowstone has the world’s largest collection of Geysers! I’m amazed every day by nature’s beauty.

8. Climb a Mountain. No, not the usually stated Mt. Everest. I would like to hike a mountain closer to where I live now. Possibly somewhere in South Carolina? Sassafras I say! There is a gorgeous waterfall that can be seen while on the Foothills Trail, an 80-mile hiking/backpacking trail that runs from Oconee State Park to Table Rock State Park. I would also love to see the Appalachian Mountains, which is pretty close at less than two hours away!

9. Drink Champage in Champage, France. Only sparkling white wine that comes from the Champagne region of France, in the northeastern part of the country, can actually be called champagne. That’s why here in the US you see so many bubbly white wines called “Sparkling Wine.” In Europe, it’s  actually the law! It has been illegal for non-Champaignois vineyards to call their lot of wine champagne ever since 1891. It is so important that such a claim be made that it was reaffirmed in the 1919’s Treaty of Versailles—the one that ended World War I. Traveling is without question on most people’s bucket lists.  I’ve always adored the Parisian lifestyle, and since I love wine, well, this simply makes sense.

10. Last, and certainly not least, Visit Croatia. My dad’s side of the family is from there, and they also have absolutely gorgeous beaches. (The beaches are always on travel.com’s Top Ten Beach Vacation Spots for the wealthy. What is less known is that there has been quite a long-stand of genocide in the former Yogoslavian nations, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s tragic. And even more so that we as Americans are rarely informed on crisis that our US army isn’t in direct conflict with. A good movie that showcases some of the reality taking place is The Whistle Blower, a movie that is set in post-war Bosnia. If you like suspenseful, yet informational movies, I suggest it.

What’s On YOUR Bucket List???


Thanks for visiting!

If you are a weightlifter, strongman, exercise enthusiast, or just looking for a good read, do head over to Eric's blog RIGHT HERE..
He is my inspiration in more ways than one, especailly when it comes to pursuing my writing.

Oh, you know you want to be stronger, doesn't everyone? ;)

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