Quinoa And Self Care

What an unusually productive weekend. Thanks to some new bottles of iron and Vitamin C, I actually got out of bed before noon and did stuff. As an ode to adulthood and taking care of myself/ourselves, here is the lovechild of my affinity for lists, need for control, and energy to entertain both this weekend.

Meals 9/16 – 9/20

Monday: Crock Pot Tortilla Soup // The recipe calls for pulled chicken but I’ll be using roasted pork.


Notes: I have adapted most of the recipe to my own liking. About two pound of pork loin worked perfectly. Cilantro really brings it all together. We’ll freeze most of the extra for a lazy night.





Tuesday: Crock Pot Galumpkis And Kielbasa // I will replace the rice with quinoa, my first experiment with the smarter grain.

20130917_185041Notes: Quinoa was a win flavor/texture wise, and its volume increased more than I thought. It’s important to have a ripe cabbage, or the pieces rip off and you end up with weirdly shaped glumpkis (see photo).





Wednesday: Pulled Pork Tacos // Using the pork leftover from the soup recipe, and served with homemade pico de gallo. Cilantro lime brown rice or quinoa on the side, depending on the outcome of Monday’s quinoa experiment.

Thursday: Food blogger event with Elliot, so no cooking.

Friday: Gorgonzola And Bacon Stuffed Chicken // Because I ran out of ideas and I know how to stuff chicken. We have a few greens and mushrooms on hand that I can whip up as sides.

Meal planning is a true accomplishment at our house because the recipes need to be low carb and (mostly) gluten-free for yours truly. This is where I draw inspiration.

Also in the realm of roundhouse kicking the world in the face, I recently mastered a workday eating schedule that is healthy, low carb, and gluten-free. The best part is that I’m not hangry and falling asleep at my desk at 3 p.m.

10 a.m. – Atkins bar

12 p.m. – Turkey/chicken and cheese roll-ups

2 p.m. – Yogurt and fruit

4 p.m. – Fruit or veggies – My Nalgene should be empty by this point.

I might have a snack before supper depending on what time it will be ready. I can’t eat one huge supper meal, but instead will eat a smaller portion to start with and maybe a little more later.

Taking care of my body is complicated but it’s worth it.


Love Wins can’t keep a working vacuum. Our printers malfunction on a regular basis and sometimes the basement floods. Oh, and someone recently stole the communion plate.

We have five paid staff members, not all of whom are full-time. At least 50 people spend time in our building every day, all of whom want to spend time with someone who cares about them.

The front door lock is installed backwards.

So what does an organization like ours do with international publicity stemming from a blog post that went viral overnight?

You put your emergency flashers on and coast on coffee and Quaker rice cakes until the dust settles.

When the blog post went out, we figured a few folks would mail concerned letters to the Mayor. Then WRAL called… and then Al Jazeera called. And then our website crashed.

So far 365,000 people have read the blog post. While that’s all well and good for Love Wins, namely our mission and brand, our new and improved platform does so much more for our friends who live outside and in shelters.

We feel like we have spent four days trying to herd cats while simultaneously nailing pudding to a tree. And that’s just to host the 50+ people currently in crisis mode in most if not all areas of their lives, nevermind answering thousands (and I mean thousands) of comments and emails.

For the time being I like to think of Love Wins as the new nonprofit fairy tale. Except we’re not waving a magical wand– you are.

At some point our carriage will turn back into a pumpkin, and that’s okay. We like being a pumpkin.

On behalf of Love Wins:



What Bugs Me About You

It really bugs me that you talk to me for the sole purpose of seeing if there’s anything in my office you can take.

It really bugs me that you constantly interrupt my conversations with others, and that you also interrupt me when we’re talking.

It really bugs me that you think that everything is an emergency.

It really bugs me that you and so many others have to tell me a five minute story just to ask for a bus pass.

It really bugs me that you can’t wash the two dishes that you dirtied with food that someone else provided to you.

It really bugs me that the people at Love Wins might be the only ones who are nice to you today.

It really bugs me that your parents were terrible and in your forty years of life no one has taught you how to properly have a conversation.

It really bugs me that everything in your life actually is an emergency, because you are in a constant state of crisis and chaos.

It really bugs me that you are conditioned to justify and/or lie about why you need help from someone.

It really bugs me that the world has disempowered you from taking care of yourself and those around you.

And it really bugs me that I can’t fix all of your problems while you eat a peanut butter sandwich in my office.

But it would bug me more if I never saw you again.


Gardening Newbie

My biggest dream as a new, young homeowner is to become a successful gardener. In spite of my nail polish habit I love spending time in the dirt. I appreciate the contrast between the peace of gardening and the noise of the city around us.

Our latest moments of peace and pride:



The roses came with the house. I can’t claim their growth but I’m proud of them regardless. They’re my adopted flowers I suppose. The tomato plant struggled initially but is now flourishing.

Next on my list to plant are swiss chard and onions. We’ll see if my thumbs are green enough to grow food.

On Saying No: Transaction Vs. Trust

Today I said no to approximately 30 people.

Do you have a bus pass? No.

Can I leave my backpack here overnight? No.

Can you give me a ride to the pharmacy? No.

Can I use the staff bathroom upstairs? No.

Can I use your computer? No.

Saying no is hard for me because I’m a gullible people pleaser with terrible boundaries and even worse self-advocacy. If there ever was a boot camp for all the above, however, it’s my office at 707 West Jones Street.

We serve dozens of people every day, each of whom carries many a burden and even more daily needs.

I could drop everything I’m doing to drive someone to the pharmacy. I could break the rules and cause confusion by granting one-time staff bathroom privileges. I could do a lot of things that a person wants me to do, but I’m not a fairy godmother. I don’t park my WalMart jeans in my swivel chair for eight hours a day to grant wishes that bruise boundaries and test authority.

I have to be okay with saying no, which means that in a particular situation I am not willing to help someone who is homeless. That feeling will never cease to be one of failure. So some days I go home feeling like a tail-less Eeyore.

But you know what? Granting wishes of immediate gratification and poor forethought and planning won’t solve anyone’s problems. If anything, doing so creates more problems for me.

Sara, when I start going to recovery meetings, will you come with me? Yes.

Sara, I’m feeling depressed… can I talk to you? Yes.

Sara, I don’t understand this letter. Can you help me read it? Yes.

Sara, will you go with me to a scary doctor’s appointment? Yes.

Sara, can you help me with my G.E.D. writing homework? Yes.

Pending my fear of heights, I would like to shout from the roof tops, YES, you can sit on the sparkly spray painted chair in my office and tell me how your mom hates you and that you haven’t seen your daughter in 10 years. YES, I will show up with bells on at your recovery meeting because I am infinitely proud of you.

YES, let’s sit down and look over your letter. I know the words can be confusing and it’s okay that you need help. YES, let’s go to the doctor’s appointment together. We will definitely have ice cream after.

So, no, you can’t use the staff bathroom and you can’t stash your backpack in my office over night. And I’m sorry. But I will listen to you until your butt goes numb on the sparkly chair, and we will work on your G.E.D. essay until you can write an essay better than I can.

We will go to all your medical appointments together, blasting Pink in the car because we both love her, and then we’ll take some extra quiet time at the froyo place to decompress.

I’m not trying to like anyone. I’m trying to love everyone, and sometimes that means saying no.

Today At Work

Today At Work is a series of interesting, entertaining, and endearing statements I hear outside my office at a small non-profit that on a daily basis befriends people without homes.


European: “No sugar added. This is definitely not an American product.”
Guy 1: “Bathing suits aren’t lingerie.”
Guy 2: “They are to me.”
“If I had a million dollars, all these people would have housing.”
“What’s the correct answer to the question ‘boxers of briefs?”

On Hugh’s new office on the second floor: “You’ll have to ask the man upstairs.”




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