Friday, November 28, 2014

Four Things

Happy Thanksgiving weekend, American friends! I pray that most of you are spending a weekend among family. Mine is not so much that way. It's spent working kind of long days - but I'm not asking for a pity party. I entered a field that never shuts down. So my mantra this weekend is, "Suck it up buttercup". Although, it pained me to drive into work this morning when I really wanted to be shopping at the Express jeans sale.....and putting up my Christmas tree.

I will have Cyber Monday, however.

Oh, America and our shopping. Talk about a 1st world problem. Did I just try and complain that I couldn't spend a stupid amount of cash on clothes on the day I wanted to?...

Er.... Let's move on.

I found this little meme, and thought it was fun. You are welcome to join. Or maybe answer a few questions. Here it goes!

Four names that people call me other than my real name: 1. A variety of names around "Abs". Some family calls me "Abster". My brother Kevin calls me "Aborigine". One of the docs I work with calls me "6-Pack-Abs".  2. Nasty - that came when I married. My last name is Nastase. Which kind of looks like "nasty"  3. "Lil Ninja". My group of girlfriends refer to me as the ninja. I kind of have ninja like kicks and run like a gazelle.... 4. Ryan mostly refers to me as "Babe". Unless I've done something wrong like started a fire on the BBQ or taken the keys to both vehicles to work.   Four jobs I’ve had: 1. Traveling ER Nurse 2.  Waitress 3.  Hotel house-keeper (that lasted a whole week) 4. Bank Teller (That was my favorite job.....)   Four movies I’ve watched more than once: 1.  When Harry Met Sally - that movie never gets old. 2.  Four Christmases. Ryan and I watch that yearly. 3.  Cool Hand Luke. Classic and fantastic. 4.  Mr.  Holland's Opus. Probably my favorite movie ever. Four books I’d recommend: 1.  Still Alice 2.  Gone Girl 3.  Orphan Train 4.  The Sunflower  Four places I’ve lived: 1. Tucson, AZ2. San Antonio, TX 3. Maple Grove, MN (for 1 summer) 4. Wyndmere, ND  Four places I’ve visited: 1. Cancun, MX 2. Vail, CO 3. San Francisco, CA 4. Washington DC(I need to get out of the US more....) Four things I prefer not to eat: 1. Bacon  (I have texture issues) 2. Donuts (I don't like the taste...but love the smell. Espeically when I run past the bakery in the mornings)3. Hot Dogs (they are just wrong) 4. Twinkie. Never had one. Never will.  Four of my favorite foods: 1.  Sushi (especially Spicy Tuna) 2.  My Mom's apple crisp 3.  Neapolitan Pizza (Margherita) 4. Beets  Four TV shows I watch 1.  New Girl  2.  Mindy Project 3.  Fargo (I pray there will be a 2nd season....) 4.  SNL Four things I’m looking forward to this year: 1.  Christmas with my family  2.  Our backpacking trip in Kawaii 3.  Ragnar AZ in Februrary 4.  Ryan being officially done with all his pilot training and back to "normal life" (kind of) Four things I’m always saying: 1. "Unbelievable" (I find myself saying this a lot awe and in sarcasm) 2.  "I'm all in!" (I seem to sign up for crazy things a lot....)  3.  "It's mind over matter" (that seems to be my advice for everything) 4.   I love you (I tell this to the people I love and frequently!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I simply cannot be a "blogger", and not write some form a "thankfulness post". But I fear that this may turn into a novel. Or an Odyssey-like poem. I will try to keep it simple. Bare with me, my friends.

Every single day I am reminded with how blessed and lucky I am. Maybe it's because I work in a career where every day I'm talking to people who are dealing with bad news, and it  gives me an overwhelming sense of grace. But lately I have really honed in on listening to my patients, and trying to be a shoulder to lean on.

Being that shoulder to lean on, and focusing more on really listening instead stressing about all the work that needs to be done has really made me take a step back and count my blessings.

So here are a few of the things in which I am grateful for:

  1. Every single day, I have a home to return to. Let's start with the obvious. It has a roof. During the 100+ dog days of summer, I have the ability to crank that AC to as cold as I want it. When winter comes, I have heat. Our home has unlimited resources. I can shower and wash clothes whenever I please. I can trust the water that comes out of our faucets. These are blessings that are easy to take for granted.
  2. Every single day, I return to a home of peace. My home is a sanctuary for me. I have safety around me. I have a husband who loves and respects me. If I need to vent, he listens. If I need advice, he offers. If I need to cry, he consoles. There is no drama. There is no unrest.
  3. If I ever am in need of a simple hug, I have numerous people that will give that to me. I remember once listening to a priest from the middle-east speak of a mission in India which houses those with AIDS and mental illness. He told me a story about how when you would hug these people, it was hard to get them to let go. For it was probably the 1st human contact they've experienced in years. Can you imagine a world of such loneliness? In my life, I have so many friends and family who are always willing to extend their loving arms out to me. What a luxury.
  4. I have a job that is steady, and that I never have to worry about going away. I have never had to worry about being laid off or losing my job. I work for a company that makes me proud. My colleagues and I support each other. I learn something new every day.
  5. A freedom that I often overlook. I can walk out my door, dress how I please, drive where I want, buy what I choose, and have the freedom to speak my opinion. There are countries in our world, where a lot of those freedoms would never exist. Especially as a women.
  6. No matter where I go, and what happens in life - there is a constant that is always present. And that is my family. My Mom, Dad, husband, and siblings have always been there to love me and support me no matter what phase I went through in life. And also, my nieces and nephews provide me with so much joy.
Sometimes I get a little blue on holidays that aren't spent buttering lefse in my Mom's kitchen or helping her brine the turkey. It is easy to focus on what I'm missing. So over the years, I really try to focus on how truly lucky I am.

What's on your mind this holiday season?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekend Recap

We had the perfect balance going this weekend between fun, productive, and relaxing. Sometime that is rather challenging. But I think we had it down!

Here's our weekend in bullet-point style:

  • Went for a nice solo run Friday morning. Almost all of my runs these days are with friends. This is awesome, but for most of my life I've always ran alone. So I value my solo runs done at my own pace with my own thoughts.
  • That night we went to a Ragnar "wrap up party" with 3 other couples. It was such a fun evening. Definitely came home that night with "sore cheeks" from all the laughter!!
  • Saturday morning I shared a pot of coffee with Ryan, and went to the gym to lift weights. Mornings like that make me really appreciate being done training for my 70.3. From June-October, my Saturday mornings would be spent waking up at 4:15 am and doing a 3+ hour brick workout!
  • After the gym, we got coffee and met a few friends to watch the "El Tour de Tucson" - which is one of the biggest cycling races in America. We are very lucky that it goes right by our house. Fun to watch the thousands of athletes! It was fun to see several of our friends/coworkers! Weather was perfect! (we are SO doing it next year!!!)
  • Saturday night we had a date night. We went to the I-max theater and saw "Interstellar" and went out for Neapolitan pizza.
  • Sunday morning I met a girlfriend for a hilly 8 mile run.
  • I made quite the spread of breakfast burritos and Ryan and I went to church together.
  • The rest of the day was spent cleaning and relaxing, since Ryan had to go back on night shift Sunday.
  • Sunday night I made a new recipe, which I will share! Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli.
I saw a casserole recipe for this, but wasn't feeling like firing up my oven. So came up with my own recipe! It was all organic, too! (which I always shied away from recipes like this, because they always seemed "unhealthy")

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup organic brown rice
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage)
  • 1/4 white onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. In a skillet, cook the brown rice per package directions.
  2. In a separate skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and garlic in pan. Add in the chicken breasts. Season with salt & pepper. Cook on medium low. When the chicken is almost done, add in the onions and mushrooms.
  3.  When rice is done, add in the broccoli. Allow this to steam.
  4. In measuring cup, whisk together almond milk, yogurt, and cheese. Pour into the rice mixture. Stir until combined and cheese is melted.
  5. Cut chicken into chunks, and add into the rice.
  6. Cook for about 2 minutes until blended.
  7. If desired, sprinkle extra cheese on top and allow to melt.
This was ultimate comfort food! Makes excellent left-overs!

Check out these cute "Mexican Tarts" I made for Friday's party! I cut circles from tortilla shells, filled them with pureed beans and salsa, and topped with cheese, olives, and sour cream. Baked in muffin tins @ 425 for 10 minutes. They were adorably delicious!!


What were your weekend highlights? What have you been cooking lately?