Today’s Challenge: Laugh!

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.

-E.E. Cummings

May 19th marked Day of Joy, the first of three events for the In One Day project.  My two friends and I traveled through three parks in DC with volunteers leading the public in laughter exercises.  I think everyone who participated (including myself) was initially self-conscious at first at this organized, raucous, public display.  However, after the first minute, people began to let go and genuinely laugh! It was a great way to spend a Saturday!

I meant to post this before this event, but it doesn’t really matter because you should laugh everyday!

Plus, science has proven the benefits of laughter with chemical responses in your brain through release of endorphin and yadda yadda yadda.

The point is, unless you decide to do it at a funeral or some other socially inappropriate moment, laughing only has benefits.

So, go on! Laugh!

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CSA Week 4

Aside

Apologies for the lack of posting recently!  I haven’t had the time since I am busy working on planning Day of Nurture in DC!  (If you’re in the area and want to help, please e-mail us at inonedaydc@gmail.com!)

I can’t wait until I can prepare a grand meal with the CSA items again this weekend.  Any suggestions?? I would like to do something with the beets.

  • 1 Bunch Chioggia Candystripe Beets – Certified Organic – Green Valley Organics
  • 1 Bulb Fennel – Certified Organic – Autumn Blend Organics
  • 1 Bunch Garlic Scapes – Certified Organic – Lancaster Farmacy
  • 1 Head Broccoli – Certified Organic – Farmdale Organics
  • 1 Bunch Rainbow Chard – Certified Organic – Friends Road Organics
  • 1 Bunch Turnips – Certified Organic – Outback Farm
  • 1 Bag Young Rainbow Chard – Certified Organic – Elm Tree Organics

CSA week 3

Aside

  • 1 Head Bok Choy – Certified Organic – Millwood Springs Organics
  • 1 Pint Strawberries – Certified Organic – De Glae Farm OR Liberty Acres
  • 1 Bunch Garlic Scapes – Certified Organic – Friend’s Road Organics
  • 1 Bunch Tatsoi – Certified Organic – Hillside Organics
  • 1 Bunch Dill – Certified Organic – Noble Herbs
  • 1 Bunch Collards – Certified Organic – Sunrise Ridge Organics
  • 1 Bunch Green Kale – Certified Organic – Maple Lawn Organics

Strawberries! Yay! Tatsoi??? Hmmm

A City of Disconnect

On Saturday, my friends and I had the first of three events for the In One Day Project -Day of Joy.  From 10am to 5 pm, we spent the day in several parks in DC.  The purpose of the event was to devote our day to spreading smiles and a bit of happiness to the DC community through free hugs and laughter yoga.

A majority of people were open to receiving a hug -some more enthusiastically than others.  At Eastern Market, one man joined us in our efforts after he shared how we have turned his day around during a time of many family emergencies.  Several people at Franklin Square expressed gratitude for us in the project and how the city needs love more than ever.

However, there was the other half that were not appealed by the thought of two strangers briefly sharing a moment of connection and appreciation. Some politely refused and  ackowledged our efforts with a smile while making a joke about how they get plenty of hugs from their accompanying girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband/etc.

Then, there were those very few who were not entertained by the idea at all.  Now, we did not want to make people uncomfortable so we intentionally did not make advances.  We let people come to us.  Nonetheless, one woman put her arm out in defense as she walked by us.  Another woman cowered to the other side of her friend walking alongside her.  Most of those uninterested did not acknowledge our presence at all.  Even though we had prepared ourselves with the inevitable rejections, it did not go without feeling a bit hurt after having put yourself out there and not even being granted a glance.

What I thought was going to be a silly way to spend a Saturday was actually a very insightful experience.  The positive reactions were overwhelming – more than what we ever intended.  More importantly, though, we were exposed to the disconnect between people.  Perhaps those people who did not react to us or were frightened/repulsed by us are not generally in an isolated mindset.  Regardless, one thing is clear: the city, and the world, needs to smile more. Laugh more. Look at people in the eye more. Love more. Live more.  Open ourselves more to spontaneity and shared experience with the people who surround us.

It took an entire Saturday and over 400 hugs, but it was worth it for that lesson to have become clear, personal, and ingrained in my mind to continue to approach life with open arms ready to embrace.

Bike to Work Day!!!

Today is Bike to Work Day!

Today is an especially great day because I had been without a bike for almost  the past 2 weeks ( a flat and a need for a new brake cable).  With rainy weather that would have prevented me from biking anyway, I actually kind of got comfortable walking everywhere.  Earlier this week, though, I just assembled my new bike, and I am so happy!  I still find myself leaving much too early since I am still on walking pace time though!

DC, check in at any of these pit stops today! Enjoy fruit and get a free key chain while socializing with other neighborhood bikers!  Celebrate a day of gas-free commuting….and maybe make a habit of it!

CSA Week 2

Aside

Contents of week 2:

  • 1 Head Red Leaf Lettuce – Certified Organic – Green Valley Organics
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro – Certified Organic – Noble Herbs
  • 1 Bunch White Scallions – Certified Organic – Outback Farm
  • 1 Bunch Collards – Certified Organic – Sunrise Ridge Organics
  • 1 Bunch Green Kale – Certified Organic – Maple Lawn Organic
  • 1 Bag Watercress – Certified Organic – Elm Tree Organics
  • 1 Package White Mushrooms – Certified Organic – Mother Earth Organics
  • 1 Head Green Romaine Lettuce – Certified Organic – Riverview Organics

Any suggestions on what to make with these items?

With Age Comes Wisdom… and Greed?

Once a week, I work the evening shift as a medical assistant at a primary care clinic.  Last week, we had to stay in the office later than normal and a doctor offered me a ride home.  Considering the distance between the clinic and my house, I knew that the car ride was brief enough to not have to prepare conversation topics but long enough to have to engage in a real conversation.  He and I had proceeded to fill the time with general small talk before he asked me the reason for why I was working in the clinic.  I explained to him that my current plan is to become a physician’s assistant in primary care to serve in unconventional clinical settings – clinics for the medically uninsured and/or low-income populations in the US and abroad.

I know, I know.  Some of you are shaking you head at the overwhelming idealism in my goal.  I get bashful answering any questions of my career goals partly because I am not 100% sure of this path in health care and also because of the way people perceive it.  But I truly mean it.  Let me explain…

During my first visit to the doctor in the United States for a stomachache, I was captivated by how he did not perform any invasive tests and was able to prescribe a medication that instantly made me feel better.  He knew what was wrong, and he knew what to do to solve the problem.  Since then, I have been fascinated by the human body and the puzzles of deducing cause and treatment for medical ailments.

Unlike a majority of the medical and nursing students, my motive to enter the health care field is does not involve money at all.  My family emigrated to the United States when I was nearly 5 years old.  Compared to my friends’ families, I knew even then that my family was less financially well off simply by the contrasts in which we indulged on vacations and gifts.  I have always lived with little money.  Even today, I earn enough to pay the bills and monthly loan installments while I save a little bit, and that is fine with me.   Budgeting and economizing- I don’t know how else to live. I wouldn’t really know what to do with the excess money if I earned much more beyond paying off my loans.  Despite the absence of financial wealth, my life has been incredibly rich with happiness.   

In addition to delving in my interest of the human body, I am pursuing the healthcare field to fulfill my passion for travel.  I absolutely love traveling, but I do not enjoy being a tourist.  I prefer to explore destinations in unconventional ways and interact with locals.  I know that there is an immense need for medical care in global rural and urban poor communities.  The opportunities to help are endless that I would be able to combine my two passions.

So that explains my intentions.  Now back to the car ride…..

While I did not go into the depth of my path to planning this career path,  the doctor commended my idealism but the rest of his response surprised me. He said with adamant confidence that this would change. That I won’t stay there. That I will want to work in a typical clinic to earn a higher salary.  That he started out the same way.

I have only worked with this doctor for a couple of months, but I do know that he has a great heart.  He often deducts charges for patients who do come in this clinic with no health insurance.  Therefore, I highly respect him.

Now, I am terrified that he will be right. That I will change.  That I won’t stay in those clinics  for the medically uninsured and/or low-income populations.   That I will want to work for more money.  That I will follow this doctor’s route.  If this is the case, I am worried that I will look back on my life and not recognize my 25-year-old self writing this.  Will I begin to put more value on to things than experiences, knowledge, and relationships?  Will a stronger sense of materialism….materialize with time?

I realize that maybe when/if I have kids, I would be more focused on being able to provide for them and their future.  However, would I need to change operations to do this?  I suppose only time will tell, but I really hope that I do not lose touch with my current perspective on life.  Reflecting on this conversation with the doctor long after he pulled up to my door, I want to urge myself to do the same thing a former resident of the transitional housing facility at which I had worked for a year told me when I last saw her: “Don’t ever change.”

CSA produce dinner

Aside

As I mentioned in the previous post, three of my housemates and I had signed up for the CSA half share of Lancaster Farm Fresh Collective this summer/fall season.  Tonight, we had a dinner with the delicious produce from the first week’s bundle.  Feast your eyes on pure deliciousness!

our spread

mushroom risotto with collard greens, raisins, and toasted sunflower seeds

rhubarb crumble

The Joys of CSA and Urban Farming

Three of my roommates and I have signed up for a CSA  with the Lancaster Farm Fresh Collective.  Now I know what you’re thinking.  We’re a whole bunch of hippies.  Hear me out though.  Until this spring, I was pretty foreign to the idea, but having learned what it is, the concept of CSA is pretty awesome.

CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a system that allows consumers to directly support local farmers.  For an initial investment, customers receive a variety of seasonal products that are most often organic and grown by sustainable methods.

Have you ever thought where the fruits and vegetables in the produce section of grocery stores come from??  Avocados from California.  Bananas from the Caribbean.  Grains and corn from the Midwest.  Tons and tons of these products have to be packaged and shipped by air, sea, and land to get to your grocery store.  Purchasing groceries from Farmers Markets and CSAs is environmentally beneficial in reducing the energy that is necessary to transport food to the consumer. 

You’re probably thinking that transporting food is a necessity. Farms are concentrated in certain areas, and climate requirements must be met for proper growth of certain products.  Trade is a fundamental part of the global economy.  True. I’m not saying everyone should just gnaw on grass clippings from your front lawn as a source of vegetation.  In light of climate change, I just wanted to say that we could improve on cutting down the necessity to transport food.

from wjfarm.wordpress.com

I think it is a common misunderstanding that farms require acres and acres of open space.  Not true!  Take The Farm at Walker Jones, for example, in Washington, D.C.   On a one acre lot, this plot of land produces flowers and vegetables yearround with the help of community members and volunteers.  They even began maintaining bee hives for honey! It is a prime example of urban farming.

Today, too much energy is wasted in the production of food that the amount going into production outweighs the amount of caloric energy that they provide.  Plus, with the idea of mass production we need to be more concerned with the quality of food that we eat.  No more pink slime or polluting chemicals!

I hope you consider joining a local CSA or supporting the local farmers.  If you’re in the city, find or begin an urban farm!!!  To help convince you in joining the movement for sustainable food production, I will give you a preview of what great food items you could end up receiving!

With the Lancaster Farm Fresh Collective, we get a box of vegetables to share every week for 25 weeks.  This week, the contents include…..   

1 Bunch Asparagus – Certified Organic – Lancaster Farmacy

1 Bunch Baby Hakurei Turnips – Certified Organic – Echo Valley Organics

1 Bunch Green Kale – Certified Organic – Eagle View Acres

1 Bunch French Breakfast Radishes – Certified Organic – Meadow Brook Organics

1 Bunch Red Scallions – Certified Organic – Sweetaire Farm

1 Bunch Curly Parsley – Certified Organic – Noble Herbs

1 Bag Lettuce Mix – Certified Organic – Plum Hill Farm

1 Head Green Leaf Lettuce – Certified Organic – Plum Hill Farm

Pretty awesome stuff.  We’re making dinner with all of the ingredients tomorrow! I’ll let you know what we cook!