Friday, June 29, 2012

Green Smoothies

We got a new blender that actually blends ice (yay!) and I couldn't wait to try some green smoothies.  

This is the one I've been making: Skinny Green Tropical SmoothieI've made it with pineapple/mango and pineapple/strawberry.  Both were delicious; even Mr. Higgins likes them!  I wanted to stick to non-dairy so I used all light coconut milk - no Greek yogurt.  

Speaking of, we got our first Trader Joe's here....and they have the cheapest coconut milk I've seen!  I can't wait to go back and stock up on some essentials.  

My next fruit combination for the smoothie?  I think I'll follow the directions and use pineapple/banana!  Yum!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cutting for Stone

Every once in a while a book comes along that you know will stick with you forever.  Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese, is one of those books.

I'd read only good things about this book but when I sat down to start it, I was immediately skeptical.  It was not a true story, as I thought; it was fiction.  Despite my disappointment, I started reading....and couldn't stop.  This book captivated me.

You are immediately transported to Ethiopia, circa 1960.  The first half of the book takes place almost exclusively at a mission in the capital where doctors and nurses struggle to help those who come to their gate in agony.  There is a lot of medical terminology and descriptions.  Considering that it took some people days to reach the mission after an illness of injury, you can imagine, I'm sure, some of the descriptions of medical conditions in this book.  But, at the same time, Verghese has written something that is not fantastic.  It is human - real and brutal.  

The story begins with the birth of twin boys on the same day that their mother, a nun, dies.  They are raised by two doctors at the mission, both from India, amidst the political turmoil of Ethiopia's capital.  Both brothers go into medicine, naturally.  One must flee to America (where he gains formal training) while the other stays at the mission (trained by real-life).  Their lives are constantly intertwined, even when they are separated by thousands of miles.    

This is a book that explores the souls of brave men and women.  I loved it.  Read it and I'm sure you'll love it as well.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cedar Falls Trail

On Saturday, we hiked the Cedar Falls Trail at Petit Jean National Park in Arkansas.  We knew there was a bit of water in this, supposed, continuously flowing waterfall, so we set off around 9am. 

It had been really warm the day before (92 degrees and humid) but it was blessedly cooler as we descended into the river valley.  There was a little water in the river.....but most of it was barely moving.

After about forty-five minutes of hiking (where we had to navigate around two freshly fallen trees) we came to the falls.  The pool was not at all appealing - the water was stagnant and unmoving.....

But being at the bottom of a 600 foot rock formation was pretty cool.  We sat on some rocks that are usually underwater and enjoyed the cool air.  We then hiked back.  

It was a good day, a good hike, and a pleasant surprise in Arkansas, of all places.  Ha!  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Petit Jean

We stopped at the Arkansas Visitor Center.
We took Friday off to have a long weekend in Arkansas with my parents.  I never would have thought of Arkansas as a destination for....well, anything, but there's a story to this trip.  My father is in to old, classic cars.  Every year there's a big car event at a state park in northwest Arkansas - Petit Jean.  My parents attend every few years and I went a couple times in my youth.  But never to enjoy the park.  And that's what Mr. Higgins and I did this past weekend. 

Palisades Overlook.
Petit Jean is on top of a mountain - well, a mountain according to Arkansas standards.  There are some stunning views here.  Even though Arkansas is in the midst of a moderate drought, everything was brilliantly green.  Seeing the view above, I can understand why one of the Rockefellers built a home and museum here. 

Bear Cave hike.
On our first day, we did a very short hike around Bear Cave.  The huge rocks were incredible! 

There's a waterfall down there!
We then hiked to an overlook of Cedar Falls, which is supposed to be a 95-foot continuously flowing waterfall.  It was flowing, though there wasn't much water in it.  We were then able to decide to hike down to the falls the next day.......and I'll show you pics in my next post!

Let's just say that both Mr. Higgins and I were surprised by what Petit Jean had to offer.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thunder v. Heat

I was disappointed in the Mavs' season this year.  What Mavs fan wasn't?!  Mark Cuban managed to completely waste one of Dirk's few remaining seasons.  The 7'0" German isn't getting any younger, nor is Jason Kidd. 

It's bad enough seeing the Mavs stumble....but having to watch the loathsome Heat make it to the finals, again, is highly annoying.  The Mavs put LeBron, Wade, and Bosh in their place last year and I'm hoping our young neighbors to the north can do so this year.  I'm not a Thunder fan in any way shape or form, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend....for a few short weeks.

The Heat cannot win a championship.  The fates cannot condone what they are.  They must not succeed!  Take a lesson from the Mavs' playbook, Thunder, and win this thing! 

Let's go Thunder!  (For now.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Last Week

Sorry for my absence last week. My in-laws were in town for the week and it was also Mr. Higgins' birthday.  So, a busy week!

It's always nice having family in town.  We like to take Mr. Higgins' parents out to the restaurants they rarely get to go to.  We also play a lot of games, which is a nice change.  I didn't grow up in a game-playing family so I've had to learn, but it's all been a lot of fun.

Both Mr. Higgins and I took some time off for his parents' visit and his birthday.  It was so nice to have a break from work for some relaxation.   We ate cake, ice cream, and pretzel rolls on top of all the meals out.  I think I gained five pounds.  Ha!

Even the cats seemed to enjoy the company.  They were extra, super cute and more pictures were taken of them in a week than had been taken all last year.  

All in all it was a very good week.  Now it's back to the routine.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Chocolate Yogurt Cake

I tried a new recipe on Saturday, something that's been making my mouth water for weeks: Chocolate Yogurt Cake.

Wow!  It is delicious!  I didn't make the chocolate sauce topping as I was trying to save a few calories....and it's still super yummy.  Very moist and rich, but not too rich.

I highly recommend this recipe!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Outside Looking In

Mr. Higgins loves big budget summer movies....i.e. movies with a lot of explosions.  Thankfully, I don't mind the occasional mindless action movie.  Sure, there are movies that he wants to see that I have no interest in.  Sometimes, I'll go with him and sometimes I won't.  He doesn't want to see all of my movies, either, but he watches some of them, passes on others.  But we share things.  We both love LORD OF THE RINGS, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN etc.  He loves STAR WARS and though I'm not a fanatic in any way, shape, or form, I watch the movies and enjoy them.  

The point is that we share things and respect one another's likes and dislikes.

So what happens when a friend is dating someone who has no respect for his likes....and actually thinks he's crazy for liking such things (the same things we like, for that matter)?  What happens when he starts wanting to see movies he would have laughed at before meeting her?  What happens when she still shows no interest in the things he likes?  

Sharing is good; learning to like new things is good.  But in a relationship, when these things are one-sided, it's a very bad sign.  You can't change who are so that someone will like you.  Trust me, this never works.  Soon, you find out that you've give up everything you like and you resent the person who caused this to happen.  

And, more importantly, how do you, as a friend, react to this?  Do you sit by and let it happen - let him figure it out himself?  Let him make a mistake?  Or do you acknowledge that, at times, she makes him happy and he deserves some measure of happiness.   Why ruin that?  It's a fine line but I guess it's best to let him figure it out.  

Everyone just wants someone.