Pictures from the Fourth

Okay, doesn’t this woman in the foreground look photoshopped? Not photoshopped. Just an enlightened person. 😄

This Fourth of July, I hung out with my new boyfriend, saw the hot air balloons, ate a bbq and dinner and watched the Stadium of Fireworks from outside. It was laidback. The Fourth is easily my favorite holiday- no consumerism, no expectations, easy invites, and good food.

I am getting ready to move (!) to Ann Arbor, working at Sundance, focusing on staying pale, trying to finish too many books, and running through a few Utah bucket list items. What’s on your bucket list for the summer?

A few thoughts as of late:

  1. I just took an online health inventory and it said that my body type is protein and fat efficient (both true, I have a fast metabolism) and that exercise doesn’t help me lose weight. This is a fact. I actually gained weight when I ran a marathon, a good 10 pounds. I’m not complaining! I’m just saying I think my body type is weird.
  2. I don’t like it when people sign off their emails with the word, “best.” I know it sounds professional and everyone does it, especially in college, I just think you could take the time to find one more syllable to include as you sign off. I’ll let you know when I come up with it.

Hope you’re having a good one.

Best,

Shannon

That American Dream.

At this year’s Fourth of July dinner, the movie Gettysburg was on and I watched the Pickett’s charge scene. For me, it was a little emotional (I’m a crybaby) and it made me think about the unlikely series of events that has created the United States we live in; the almost two and a half centuries of disagreement that we have somehow managed to make it through. It is crazy to think that those soldiers are some of our ancestors. Life was so different then.

It also made me think about the differences between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives tend to dwell on the past heroes, the sacrifices that have been made for us and the honest deliberation that has come before us. Liberals tend to dwell on the future, creating an equal playing field for all of us, injustices, humanity, and ensuring a bright future for everyone. My question is – why do we think the way we do? Why do we have such different values?

One reason is perhaps because we have so many different experiences. Out of college, I taught English to language learning immigrants, mostly from El Salvador and Honduras- the two countries with the highest murder per capita in the world. In getting to know the stories of these teenagers, I came to understand the privilege I have always had living in America. I have had a handful of valuable things stolen in the past couple of years, but it’s the exception and not the norm. I have never worried about being killed. In contrast, my students from Central America had encountered theft, crime, and murder throughout their lives; they were surprised at and grateful for the safe and law abiding culture in America. These teenagers were simply fleeing violence, and I certainly admire anyone who works to escape crime.

In my classroom, I had a lot of different personalities and a broad spectrum of motives. On occasion we would sit in a circle and talk about ways we could contribute to our communities, in the present and after high school. I was moved when I found out that a few of my poorest students occasionally spent their Friday nights giving food to the homeless with their youth group. Some of my students planned and studied to be electricians, police officers, nurses, professional soccer players, or join the army. Many of my students supported their families by working night jobs until two or three in the morning, and then came to school exhausted. They were doing their absolute best 20 hours of the day. These are good people.

On the other hand, I had students who said that they came to America to live off the government. I had a student who was accused of rape and there were murders in the area by individuals in MS13. I am very in favor of immigration, but I can’t throw a blanket statement and say that everyone who wants to come to America should have that opportunity. This is a complex matter, and investing in a stronger immigration process would pay us great dividends.

I wish we had a diplomat for a president. If that person is ever elected, he or she could have a discussion with these countries– How can America help you curb corruption, crime, and murder in Central America? How could we help you create better education, infrastructure, and a more fluid economy? How can we support you in those efforts? Perhaps it’s quixotic thinking, but if these countries were safer, we would absolutely see a drop off in the number of refugees fleeing to America. In the meantime, at the border, we can certainly treat refugees as humans.

I have no idea how to wrap up this string of thoughts, so I’m not going to! 😂

Thanks for reading and indulging me. Have a great Friday, and watch Gettysburg if you’re feeling resolute.

Mood Foods

The absolute best deviled eggs from the Fourth.

I recently met someone who looked like she weighed about 95 pounds and introduced herself to me as a ‘food addict’. I don’t think she was joking and she was very distressed about her ‘addiction’. This prompted me to do a confused facepalm.  Are we not all food addicts?

This post is about food, so I’m crossing my fingers that some of you readers out there are ‘food addicts’ (and/or have a pulse), and that this can be of use to you. 

I like to eat foods with very specific results in mind.  When life is stressful, and I’ve got lots of work and cortisol to slice through, I’m prone to resort to eating unhealthy foods.  To avoid this, I like to head into a tough week armed with a full pantry and fridge of healthy ingredients that I know will keep me happy and churning out work.

Below I’ve gathered some mood boosting foods and recipes I love. I hope they’re helpful to you, as you continue on your ‘food addiction journey’ 😉.   

  1. Honey garlic salmon, full of omega 3 fatty acids which improves brain function and cognition. When you’ve got a lot of work to do, stock up on salmon!
  2. Breakfast frittata, eggs and leafy greens. Eggs have Vitamin B12, protein, and healthy fat in them. Vitamin B12 helps your body metabolize serotonin, which boosts your mood. Leafy greens have magnesium in them; magnesium increases serotonin levels to boost your mood. Unfortunately, about half of Americans have a magnesium deficiency. In the recipe listed, try replacing the heavy whipping cream with greek yogurt.
  3. Turmeric Ginger Coconut Drink. I really don’t like cooking with turmeric, doing turmeric face masks, or doing anything turmeric related, because it stains absolutely everything.
    But it is essential to a good diet- it contains BDNF, which helps produce new brain cells and strengthens existing ones. It is also a powerful mood booster. I haven’t tried this TJ’s drink yet, but I have read it is delicious. Here are more ways to get some more BDNF into your brain.
  4. Kale chips. I don’t really like the taste of kale, but thankfully, this recipe makes it taste like potato chips. 😊 Kale is a great source of magnesium, which keeps us humans happy. You can also add kale to smoothies.
  5. Chia seed pudding. This is one of my favorite treats and it makes me feel so good. Chia seeds make you feel good because they are full of fat, antioxidants, and they provide fiber, iron, and calcium.
  6. Nuts. Nuts make you feel good because they contain magnesium and vitamin E, which are both powerful mood boosters. They also give you natural energy, because they are full of healthy fat.

I am certainly not the first person to opine on this topic. What healthy diet hacks do you have? And how do you strategize your meals? I would love to know.

Hope you’re having a productive week.


The San Francisco Bae Part 4

Here are a handful more pictures of San Francisco! I’ve got a video and one more batch of pictures after this one.

This is the Fort Mason Marina. East of this there is Fort Mason Center, which holds lots of conferences inside and food truck gatherings outside. There’s also great overlook of the bay, east and above the asphalt.

This is third street in Dogpatch, (Moshi Moshi is on the bottom left,for sushi lovers). and this is what a lot of Dogpatch looks like. Historically, the neighborhood has been a hub for industry, ship repair, manufacturing, and fringe artists. Now it is becoming classier by the minute, but still feels gritty, vintage, and underdeveloped. Dogpatch is where Pier 70 is and I am so excited for what the future holds for this neighborhood.

The SF YSA ward is transient, to say the least.

AT&T Ballpark is on the left. During games, people sit in their kayaks on the bay waiting to catch fly balls. Go to a game!

On the right is the Bay Bridge, which lights up and sparkles at night. Fun fact: The Song Lights by Journey is about San Francisco.

This is up by Golden Gate park, which is massive! It is actually 20% larger than Central Park, and I’m sorry I don’t have more cool pictures of it to share.

/\/\ Mission Rock Resort, in Mission Bay.

Hope you are lovin’ on your Sunday and lovin’ on wherever you’re living.

Happy Fourth!, and #closethecamps

Happy Fourth of July! Or Summer Thanksgiving (as Alison Roman calls it😂). This morning I headed to the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Provo. I was slightly disappointed, because it is apparently a ‘no fly’ day here in Utah. I still want to go for a ride at some point.

Don’t forget to contact your representatives to close immigrant detention camps when you get the chance.

Hope you are having a good one!