Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Supper: Baked Pasta with Roasted Peach Salad

Monday's supper was one of my first experimentations with going gluten-free. After doing some research, we've decided that going gluten-free could provide some worthwhile benefits for Nate's health. And supper turned out delicious (and healthy)!

I used this recipe for Baked Rigatoni with Brussel Sprouts, Figs, and Bleu Cheese, while making my own modifications.

Baked Fusili with Brussel Sprouts, Dates, and Gorgonzola
2 Tbs. olive oil or butter
8 ounces brown rice fusili (found at Trader Joe's)
1 pound Brussels sprouts, roughly chopped
4 ounces Gorgonzola or other bleu cheese, crumbled
1 cup medjool dates, chopped (I had some trouble finding figs, but dates are tasty!)
Black pepper
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts, for garnish

  1. Heat the oven to 400°.  Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.
  2. Add the pasta and cook it according to the directions (about 6-7 minutes)- be careful! Rice pasta is very easy to overcook. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, saute Brussel sprouts in medium skillet with a little bit of oil or butter. Add some garlic or onion powder if desired.   
  4. Return pasta to pot and add the Brussel sprouts. Stir in the bleu cheese, figs, the 2 Tbs. oil, and a splash of the cooking water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss, and taste and adjust the seasoning. Turn the pasta mixture into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake, checking once or twice and adding a bit more of the cooking water if the pasta looks too dry, until the mixture is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped walnuts and serve.
Recipe originally adapted from Mark Bittman's Food Matters Cookbook.

Roasted Peach Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing
(entirely my own creation)

1 Peach
1 Tbs brown sugar
Several handfuls of Spinach
1 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2 Tbs chopped toasted walnuts

Slice peach into about 12 slices and toss with brown sugar. Roast in oven safe pan at 400 for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Arrange spinach on each plate. Top with peach slices and crumbled Gorgonzola. Drizzles with dressing and serve.


2 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp Agave syrup or honey
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine in small dish and mix well.

Hope you enjoy!

All photos by Kara Haberstock, all rights reserved

Monday, July 30, 2012

Finally Home

Thirteen hours of driving across the southwest corner of the country gives one a distinct appreciation for home. A bed, a pillow, the ability to stretch one's legs-- these are the simple comforts. The flurry of family and friends is always nice, the necessary grocery runs and dropping-by at the nearest Walgreen's a bit of a hassle, but a warmly familiar one at that. One never gets accustomed to the summer heat, true, but the always-stunning sunsets and thundering monsoons are well-worth the discomfort. The well-worn road from Tucson to Phoenix and back seems much simpler after one's cross-country treks. Home-cooked food is never to be complained about.

But the most telling signs of home are the simple looks, the smiling faces, the arms outstretched at the door. The familiar embrace, the shared laughs, the first night spent up a bit too late-- now I am home. Waking up to the sunlight in the bed from the southern window, breakfast on the burner that always smells a little hot, fresh-roasted coffee at the table in the corner-- now I am home. The scuffed floor, tangled sheets, water just-a-bit-too-hot--now I am home. 

I missed you Tucson.

Photo by Kara Haberstock (my room- yay!), all rights reserved

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Song for Sunday: Greg Laswell

I might just be a little bit obsessed with this song. Piano + Sara Bareilles + Fantastic Video + Some Wonderful Artist Who's Been Around For A While But I Somehow Missed (a.k.a. Greg Laswell) = a very very happy discovery. You're welcome in advance. (Or maybe you are ahead of me and already found this amazing-ness...)

Greg's new album, 'Landline' is out now!
Get it here: http://goo.gl/YksMr
Directed by Sylvia Sether

Also...this promo video is highly amusing:

Ingrid Michaelson is my favorite...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Film: Baseball in the Time of Cholera

I post this film with mixed feelings. It's a well-crafted documentary about an important topic. I don't think Haiti should fade from memory just because two years have passed since the earthquake. 

At the same time, I don't completely agree with the filmmakers' message. I'm not sure that signing a petition to the UN is the proper response here. Something about their choice of subjects rubs me a bit the wrong way-- I'm not always sure how I feel about the use of children in these sorts of projects. But do watch the film. If you want to get involved, from my own knowledge of the Haitian situation I can recommend Partners in Health, Compassion International, Samaritan's Purse, the International Commission of the Red Cross, and the Haitian Red Cross as reputable organizations with a history of work in Haiti. 

Baseball in The Time of Cholera is a powerful insight into the tragedy and scandal of Haiti's Cholera epidemic through the eyes of a young baseball player. Watch the film, share it with your network and visit http://undeny.org to sign the petition. Together we can end this crisis!

*Note: Sharing this on Twitter or Facebook is nice, but it doesn't really change much. Awareness is only half the story. Again, I encourage you to check out the organizations above that I know are actively working in Haiti.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Nature of Trees

What is it of the natures of trees that we find them so wondrous?

For what reason do we fashion them into metaphors and myths?

The tree of life. The tree of knowledge. Wood nymphs and dryads. Ents and sylvans. 

Why do we find them so majestic? For what purpose do we imagine they speak? From where do we assume their strength and wisdom?

Is it their sheer breadth? The awe-inspiring grandeur of the massive oak or towering sequoia, and the thought that even the smallest of these we find could one day become so tremendous?

Is it the bark which clothes them, finely spun, in ever undulating patterns that rub roughly against well-worn fingertips?

Or is it their lines and curves-- the stark perpendicularity of a proud pine against the gentle arc of a spreading willow?

Perhaps it is the voice of the wind as it plays through the gentle leaves overhead and the glimmers of gold amidst the quaking leaves.

Do we envy the stability of their roots, that strong anchor against whatever storm may come? Is this why an uprooted giant is mourned as such a tragedy?

Is it the cool shade they provide, their abode for birds and other small creatures, their gift of aesthetic beauty? Do we see in them humble generosity?

Perhaps we sense in them a timelessness, their slowly unfolding growth a contrast to our fleeting journeys across these spaces, and we take comfort in knowing their steadfast presence at this very moment in their place no matter where our feet may take us.

Or, perchance, they simply remind us to stop, stand still and be.

All photos by Kara Haberstock, all rights reserved

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Inspired: Zen Pencils

I've been greatly enjoying the illustrated quotes on Zen Pencils. Illustrator Gavin Aung Than brings quotes to life in a really amazing way. Check out more on Zen Pencils!
Neil Gaiman: Make Good Art; Illustrated by Gavin Aung Than

All artwork belongs to Gavin Aung Than

Monday, July 23, 2012

Why the 28th of June was a good day

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images via Slate

I'm always a bit hesitant to bring up my own political views on this blog, but they are an important part of my personal experience. Thus I will write about them from time to time. I acknowledge that these are merely my opinions, and I respect your right to disagree with me. All I request is that any discussion this sparks be thoughtful and respectful.

On the 28th of June, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly known as "Obamacare," sparking a flurry of responses from commentators, politicians, and other citizens of social media and Internet spheres ranging from despair and anger to joy and elation. I was quietly pleased, but I know many others weren't. Perhaps your views on politics and the role of government diverge from me. Perhaps you already have a job that provides wonderful health insurance. Perhaps you have a major that will guarantee one of those jobs.  Perhaps you are older than twenty-six and health insurance falls at the very bottom of your financial priorities. Perhaps you have no pre-existing health conditions. Perhaps you just honestly despise every piece of legislation proposed by or endorsed by Obama. Really, the reasons for not sharing my reaction are nearly endless, and most of them are fully justifiable.

However, as the events of the last few weeks have unfolded in my life, I have gone from pleased to extraordinarily grateful for the ruling to uphold PPACA. Honestly, this legislation has changed my life for the better in many ways, and without it the events of the last week would have been potentially crippling for the future Nate and I are planning to share. And this is why I felt the need to write this piece. 

But before I delve into my personal experience, I'd like to take a moment to look at what PPACA does. This series of articles by the Christian Science Monitor does an excellent job of explaining what PPACA means for the ordinary citizen in plain English. I'll try my best to hit some of the major points here. Basically, PPACA requires that all citizens must hold some form of health insurance. If someone does not have employer-provided health insurance, they must purchase health insurance from a newly-created health exchange that sells policies to individuals. Those who choose not purchase health insurance must pay a penalty (deemed a tax by the SC). However, in order to prevent undue hardship on those with low incomes (a large portion of the uninsured), federal subsidies will be available to those with incomes that are less than four times the federal poverty level. These subsidies will cap the cost of health insurance for these individuals at a certain percentage of their income (for example, individuals making less than $44,000 per year will not pay more than ten percent of their income towards health insurance).

Simultaneously, PPACA is reshaping the healthcare industry in several other key ways. Young adults may remain on their parents insurance until the age of 26. Insurers may no longer charge women more for health insurance than men. Insurers may not refuse to provide insurance to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions. This last provision is part of the reason why the insurance mandate is necessary- the influx of new healthy customers buying health insurance will offset the risk brought by the influx of new customers with pre-existing conditions.

Back to my life. As most of you know, Nate had a nasty Crohn's flare-up last week, a flare-up severe enough to cause some complications and land him the ER three times and finally in the hospital for a couple days. And suddenly, the benefits of PPACA became extremely clear in my personal life. Nate, being younger than 26, is still on his parents' health insurance plan as allowed by PPACA. The hospital bills, while still expensive, are much more manageable, and we should be able to pay them without falling deeply into debt. His medications are covered by the insurance plans he is currently on, which also means that we can afford them.

Without PPACA, Nate would not currently be allowed to be on his parent's healthcare plan. Fortunately, he does have a job with medical benefits. However, Crohn's disease is considered a pre-existing condition. As such, without PPACA, Nate could easily be denied affordable health insurance or health insurance coverage at all. And without health insurance, the hospital bills from this last week would be astronomically expensive and extremely difficult for us to repay. Compounding this, without health insurance, Nate's current treatment regimen for Crohn's would also be out of our financial reach (with insurance it still costs nearly as much as current rent expenses). And without this treatment, his medical situation would be much worse-- likely leading to more hospital bills-- leading to more debt....I think you can see where this cycle goes.

PPACA also provides benefits for my the rest of my family and I. As a female, before PPACA, I would be charged more for my health insurance than a male in my same situation would be because the state of Arizona is one of 37 states that has not banned gender rating by health insurance plan. (This does not include maternity benefits or costs associated with pregnancy-- this is only for the same basic coverage.) My sister, who is moving to California, would escape this if she stayed in that state (California has banned gender rating). My mother has a rare genetic disorder that, like Crohn's disease, could be considered a pre-existing medical condition. Without PPACA, if my father ever lost his job, she might not be able to find new health insurance.

At this point I must apologize to all healthy males over the age of 26 who now must buy health insurance or pay a penalty-- I am benefitting from the mandate which has imposed this cost on you. So are all the women in this country. And everyone who had a pre-existing medical condition. And everyone under the age of 26. For young people like Nate and I, this legislation makes the difference between lives that are sometimes marked by significant medical expenses to lives beneath a crushing amount of continually accruing debt. It means we can afford the treatment and medications he needs. It means that we don't have to think twice when he needs to receive medical attention. It means that we don't become a drain on the medical system when we can't pay the hospital bills like so many other uninsured people with serious medical conditions.

I suppose this might be selfish of me, but I like living in a country that has passed this sort of legislation. I like living in a country that is moving just a little bit closer to following the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. I like living in a country that is beginning to end discrimination based on health and gender. Given my experience with loved ones with serious medical conditions and with medical problems in my own life and in the lives of those around me, I see the very real need for health insurance. You never really know what's going to happen (as someone who's been hit by a car more times that she would like to recount, I can fully attest to this). Good health is a blessing that is not guaranteed. I am immensely glad that in this country there is now a way for health insurance to be affordable for everyone and that the Supreme Court has upheld this legislation. So at least from my view, the 28th of June was a good day. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Song for Sunday: The Barr Brothers

Another recent find, The Barr Brothers' debut album is a lovely soundtrack for a lazy Sunday. I think this song ("Old Mythologies") is one of my favorites:


Official music video for "Old Mythologies" by The Barr Brothers, from the self-titled debut album (2011, Secret City Records).
Buy the album on Amazon: ‪http://www.amazon.com/The-Barr-Brothers/dp/B005H1SFKO/‬
Buy the album on iTunes: ‪http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-barr-brothers/id461570567‬
Director: Kaveh Nabatian
Producer: Josh Usheroff
Production company: Black Box Productions Ltd.
Cinematographer: Christophe Collette
Art director: Anette Belley
Stylist: Sydney Krause
Hair & make up: Sara Mulder 
Editor: Ben Goloff
Colorist: Jonathan Tremblay

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Final Stretch

I apologize if I am a bit absent in the next few days. My program is drawing to a close on Wednesday, and I have a paper to finish before then! So that's what I will be up to this weekend, though I will hopefully be back a bit next week. In the meantime, enjoy reading the beautiful summer issue of Wayfare Magazine, and check out their blog for more lovely things.

            All creative content belongs to Wayfare Magazine (go check out their website!)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Film: The First 70

State parks are closing around the U.S., especially out West. I know of a few great spots in Arizona that have shut their gates over the past few months due to budget cuts. The First 70 visits 70 closing California state parks to document the beauty of what may soon be lost. The trailer itself is absolutely stunning- I can't wait to see the final product.

The First 70 Trailer from Heath Hen Films on Vimeo.
A journey through California to document the closure of 70 state parks. www.thefirst70.com
Read more about the film at http://kck.st/sMWsKY
Follow us at facebook.com/caparktrip
Shot on a Canon 7d, 5d, and t2i.

To learn more or to get involved, check out their website

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Campus Walk

I took my camera out with me on a walk through campus one evening around sunset. I like how it helps me to stop and see the beauty in small things.

All photos by Kara Haberstock, Summer 2012, all rights reserved

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Inspired: Louis de Bernieres

Have you ever read a book by Louis de Bernieres? After reading this quote, I might just have to add Captain Corelli's Mandolin to my reading list.
“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don't blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being "in love", which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.” - Louis de Bernieres Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Love is a choice, a commitment, a decision; it is that which remains.

Monkeypod Trees, Moanalua Gardens, Oahu
Photos by Kara Haberstock, all rights reserved

Monday, July 16, 2012

Happy Birthday Hannah!


It is my amazingly beautiful, talented, vivacious best friend's birthday today. And I can't begin to enumerate all the ways that she makes my life better and blesses me. We have been "married" for two years now (an she frequently reminds Nate that she claimed me first). We have shared many crazy and wonderful moments-- I'll always remember the night we ran through the sprinklers at midnight and walked home in soaked clothes to the sound of a solo violinist practicing on the balcony of Old Main. She is a voice of reason, a constant encouragement, an instant friend-maker, a great hostess, and an amazing friend. And she loves huskies (hence the picture). So, Happy Birthday, Hannah! 

Mumford and Sons' New Album is coming soon!

It's official! Mumford and Sons new album, Babel, will be released on September 24th. More details are on their website.

So excited!!!

Musing: All In

Just over a week ago, my favorite blog, A Practical Wedding (note: way more than just a wedding blog)  had a post about the dreaded question: how do you know? As in, how do you really really know if you're ready to get married? And it was open for discussion. As you know from the frequency of my writing on the topic, answering that question has been a bit of a struggle for me. I worry that I'm too young to be making this sort of a decision. I worry that getting married isn't compatible with my career goals. I worry that getting married is letting down my little feminist self that knows her strengths and wants to do big things and who shudders at the thought of being stuck in a house all day (that never turns out well, even with my introverted-ness). And the morning that I read that post, I was incredibly stressed on my second day of a three-day twenty-seven hour work binge to get a crucial but tedious part of my project done, and I was rather upset with Nate due to something he'd said during a phone call that morning. So as I was brooding and trying drum up the willpower to get back to work, I wasn't feeling all that confident in my "knowing-ness." 

The impatient moments of waiting for the plane to finally get moving and get off the ground at the beginning of every commercial flight are always marked by the safety presentation, in which a flight attendant smashes words together in order to speak as quickly as possible while her fellow crew members pantomime uses of seatbelts and oxygen masks with tired gravity. When they reach the part about emergency evacuations, three thoughts generally cross my mind. First, what are the odds that this plane is sufficiently intact following a crash to actually use the fancy doors and slides and such? Second, even if all the doors and slides work, what are the chances that we passengers will be calm and coherent enough to follow all these instructions? Will I actually remember to wait to inflate my life vest until I'm outside the plane? Where are these red pouches you speak of? Third, I know you say to leave everything, but is there anyway that I can grap my laptop? It's kinda my life...
But sitting on a plane bound for Texas on Friday night, when the hyper-speed safety briefing reached the evacuation portion, that third thought suddenly changed. Can I grab my laptop? Who cares-- I've gotta get home.

I'm not saying that being in a relationship or deciding to get married has made my life worth living-- far from it. I was a very happy, fulfilled, adventurous single person, and I'm pretty sure I could have stayed that way for a while had circumstances been a bit different. But this process of moving toward marriage has changed my priorities quite a bit, as it should. After all, in marriage two become one, which means I have more to consider than just my opinion when making even hypothetical decisions such as this.

But let me back up-- there's a very long, difficult week between the moody-wedding-post-reading episode and the laptop-dilemma realization mentioned above. At the end of my too-long, TMJ-inducing, stress-filled weekend, I found out that Nate was in the ER in Tucson due to a Crohn's flare-up. And for the first-time since I've known him, I couldn't be there. It was hard, but I knew that our wonderful friends were taking good care of him, and he seemed better the next morning. Then he ended up back in the ER for a second night in a row, and I started looking up flights and waking up in the middle of the night with somewhat-irrational fears that he could die. I felt guilty for not being there with him and for putting such a burden on our friends who have full-time jobs. But in the morning he said he was feeling better and I felt that finally, things were looking up. At three p.m. on Tuesday a friend called to let me know that Nate had been admitted to UMC because an obstruction had shown up on the CT scan. I sent off a flurry of emails and phone calls and booked the first one-way flight to Tucson the next morning. I worked most of the night before, unable to sleep and trying to get as much done as possible before I left. Deadlines were approaching in a week, but most of my work could be done remotely. But, honestly at that point, it didn't really matter to me that much what my work situation was like. I needed to get home and to that hospital.

The first time I think I ever really came close to "knowing" with Nate was actually on a trip to the ER. It was so frustrating to sit there helplessly holding his hand when he was in such incredible pain, waiting and hoping that a room opened up quickly, but I knew that I never wanted to be anywhere else but right there when something like that happened.I wanted to be there to fight through the incredibly hard, painful parts of life with him. (And he's been there through the difficult, painful parts of life for me thus far.)

And this time, again, being there in the hospital, some questions were cleared up for me. That nagging career v. marriage question? I would choose Nate over my career in a heartbeat. Fortunately, I don't have to: he's very supportive of my career aspirations, and he knows my strengths and wants me to use them. Am I young to be getting married? Yes, according to national averages. But I'm also graduating college at younger age than average, and no one fusses about that. And it makes sense to get married at this age, especially for practical reasons such as health decisions. "Fiancee" is an improvement over "girlfriend" in the hospital, but "wife" will carry much more weight. And regarding my feminist self...APW has some wonderful posts about that. Maybe in time my feelings towards "housewife" will change a bit; maybe that won't. (For the record, I do enjoy cooking and keeping a relatively tidy house because I enjoy having a well-working house and hosting people in my home. I just don't really want to be a full-time housewife.) Either way, feminism is struggle to achieve equal rights for women, part of which includes the right to choose how we will live our lives. So no, getting married does not equal failing or selling out as a feminist. And if getting married isn't selling out or career suicide or a young-stupid-kid mistake, then what arguments do I have left?

A little after twenty-four hours after I arrived at the hospital, we were homebound. The obstruction had kindly resolved itself with the help of some drugs to reduce inflammation and an Ng tube. We spent the last twenty-four hours together quietly while trying to get a few practical things done (wedding planning and apartment hunting). That persistent small fear that this all could happen again the moment I left made it a bit difficult to let him out of my sight (a technological mishap precipitated a walk to his house because I was terrified that something had happened and I couldn't get ahold of him because his phone was dead). As expected, this week's events did not do wonders for my anxiety disorder. And as much as he's promised to not get sick when I'm two states away, life, and especially life with Crohn's, is very uncertain.

In the end, I think I can say that I "know." I know not in the way that says things are going to work out the way I want them too or this is the 100% best possible choice I could be making right now. Love and marriage are inherently risky. There's no guarantees concerning what will happen in our lives. And there's always the possibility of loss. There's no knowing that our lives will turn out just the way we want them too. That's where trust and faith come in. And we are both inherently selfish people who will try our best to get beyond our own self-interest, but many times we will fail. That's where grace and mercy come in. But I do know that, from this point on, I'm all in. The laptop has been demoted. I am choosing to commit the rest of my life to learning to love Nate well, and together we're going to be a pretty awesome team. And I know that I am ready as I'll ever be to make that choice. 

And just to clarify, Crohn's by no means defines our relationship. It's been an unfortunate (but thankfully infrequent) interruption that has sparked some moments of introspection and realization. But most of our time together is happily healthy and mundane- evenings spent working together or lazy weekend afternoons, ventures out to explore a new part of the city or a nights spent in cooking and cleaning afterwards (a regular part of life sans dishwasher). I hope that most of our married life will just be the mundane stuff and the fun adventures. But it's good to know that we can get through the hard times too.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Song for Sunday: Patrick Watson

I stumbled across Patrick Watson on Friday listening to a playlist a friend had recommended. Thanks to YouTube and Spotify, I was quickly able to track down all sorts of wonderful music by him. His song "Into Giants" was what first caught my attention. It's absolutely lovely. And by all means, please track down the rest of his music. It's well worth it!

Director: Brigitte Henry
Cinematographer: Andre Turpin
Location: The Ukranian Federation [Montreal, Quebec]

Friday, July 13, 2012

Back to Normal

Print by MadmanIncognito on Etsy

I apologize for my absence this week. It was a bit of a frightening week. I posted on Monday about a flare-up that Nate had on Sunday. Unfortunately, Sunday night wasn't the end of the story-- three trips to the emergency room turned into an admittance into the hospital on Tuesday because of some complications. I flew back to Tucson from Texas to be there (my program was fortunately very understanding of the situation).

Thankfully, the first treatment option worked and we were out of the hospital on Thursday. We had one good day (out of the hospital) to spend together before I boarded a plane back to Texas this evening to finish out my program. He is almost back to 100% healthy-- it'll just take a few days to keep healing up. But my heart is much lighter, and we are both very thankful for all your prayers. Life should be just about back to normal, and you can expect to see the regular posts back up starting on Sunday. Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Not There

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might remember that a few months ago I wrote this:

The only thing worse than being in pain is watching someone you love in pain. Or at least that’s how it is for me. And now I’m dating someone with a chronic illness that sometimes flares up, causing incredible pain and agony. It’s excruciating to watch, to sit there and not be able to do anything except hold a hand and pray. Another flare means another trip to the unfortunately-familiar local emergency room. And as I sit there, I know I would do just about anything so that I could take the pain away. I wish I could take it myself. But I can’t.
One thing I’ve found is that sometimes it’s not your own pain but the pain of others’ that is hardest to bear. From the midst of pain, I may cry out in frustration, I may question God’s goodness, but I can endure. I know that good will come from it. I trust that this too shall pass. But when it’s another, someone else, not me, and I sit there, wishing I could take the pain and crying out to God for relief on their behalf, trust is harder.”

Well, this sort of situation happened again last night, except that this time, I wasn't even in the state. And the feeling of helplessness, frustration, and anxiety was overwhelming. To not even be able to sit there in the ER was an awful feeling.
It helped to have amazing friends who were there with him all through the ordeal and kept me updated.
It helped that Tucson has a good healthcare system and I knew he was in good hands.
It helped to pray like crazy.
But still, it's hard to trust.
I came back again to what CS Lewis wrote about watching his wife's battle with cancer:
“Yet this is unendurable. And then one babbles- ‘If only I could bear it, or the worst of it, or any of it instead of her.’ But one can’t tell how serious that bid is, for nothing is staked on it. If it suddenly became a real possibility, then, for the first time, we should discover how seriously we had meant it. But is it ever allowed?
It was allowed to the One, we are told, and I find I can now believe again, that He has done vicariously whatever can be so done. He replies to our babble, ‘You cannot and you dare not. I could and dared.” -Lewis, A Grief Observed
He could and he dared. This I must trust. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Songs for Sunday: Fall River Footmen

My other happy discovery last weekend was Sean Giddings of Fall River Footmen. Giddings is another local Denton singer/songwriter with a sound along the lines of William Fitzsimmons and Ben Howard. I have so enjoyed listening to his music this week. Enjoy!

And if you like the album, it's free to download! (More free music!)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Weekend Reading

Have you read the June issue of Rue?


Read the magazine here

All images from Rue Magazine, June 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

Happy Weekend!

Coffee by workisnotajob on Deviant Art
It's finally Friday....but unfortunately there will be no breaks for me. I'm classifying 76 regimes over a twenty year period and coding them for my dataset, and with 700 observations done, but 700 more to go, it looks like I will be working straight through the weekend. (I will be drinking copious amounts of coffee.) But I did manage to find a few links for you in my (very brief) free time this week:

This dress is absolutely stunning

Vintage magazines make beautiful envelopes

Have you ever infused sugar? (I want to try it)

This illustrated story made me laugh

Quick, simple, and lovely DIY gilded clothespins

How gorgeous is this Italian villa?

This post about a lemonade stand on Not Without Salt was absolutely striking

Have a wonderful weekend (and wish me luck)!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Short Film: No Noodles

This stop-motion film about some seemingly-magic noodles made me smile. I would not recommend eating those noodles though; they seem to have some strange properties. I'm impressed by the time this must have taken to craft, and the sound editing was pretty good. Enjoy!

No Noodles from Tyler Nicolson on Vimeo.
Small creatures explore and inhabit an even smaller world.
A short stop motion film by Tyler Nicolson, music by Chris Adriaanse.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

This is my first Fourth of July in the States in four years, and I'm off to a BBQ! (Yay for grilled mushrooms!) And hopefully later there will be lots of fireworks. What are you up to on this Independence Day? 

1. Arizona   2. Oregon   3. Hawaii   4. Texas   5. Arizona
First photo taken by Hannah Morris, all other photos taken by Kara Haberstock, all rights reserved

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Inspired: Sketch Away by Suhita

This week I came across these gorgeous watercolor sketches by Suhita of Sketch Away on Etsy. She creates the most beautiful glimpses of cities around the world. And she has a blog with even more lovely sketches! I'm in awe of her talent. (Go check out her Etsy shop and you'll see what I mean!)

Monday, July 2, 2012

My Mind and I

There are a lot of days when I feel like a crazy person.

Not crazy in a good or fun way. Crazy as in off-my-rocker-mind-long-gone-down-the-rabbit-hole crazy. Definitely not the good kind of crazy.

See, I have an anxiety disorder. I've had it for a while. And I've (mostly) learned to cope with it. My mind works a little differently than other people's does. My mind excels at finding the worst case scenario. It likes to run in circles around some terrible thing like an over-excited terrier chasing its tail. It can write a novel out of single glance or pause in conversation. It conspires with my sympathetic nervous system to create physical effects akin to that one might experience if one were being pursued by a bear. And of course, this happens late in the evening when I'm curled up on my living room sofa and all of a sudden I feel like I should be running a marathon, except that all I really wanted to do was sleep and really I can't go out running at this hour because (A) I'm not that fond of running and (B) running in Tucson at this hour might just make some of those worst case scenarios my mind so lovingly drew up earlier come true.

I officially discovered the name for my mind's quirks in my second year of high school after going to the doctor for some of the physical symptoms (dizziness, tightness in my chest, racing heartbeat, etc). Looking back though I can see its traces long before then. I've always been a perfectionist, but the perfectionism-anxiety link seems like a chicken-egg conundrum: I'm not sure which came first. But the minor crises and near-breakdowns about little things- classic mind trick. In all likelihood, the anxiety played a bit of a role in my struggle with depression, and probably a few other things I struggled through, but there's no way to know for sure.

The strangest part of this anxiety must be its simultaneous normality and abnormality. Taking note of all the emergency exits seems so routine, the clammy palms and trembling fingers an everyday occurrence, the terror of a room of people I kinda-sorta know a common practice. It can be tricky to remember to tell my mind to shut up and take a chill pill because going to hang out at someone's house for the night in no way equates or matches an encounter with an angry grizzly. But at the same time, the abnormality remains so isolating. Normal people don't break down when invited to two different events, unable to choose which to attend for fear of offending someone whom they care about and have no desire to offend. Normal people can watch movies in the theater without shaking involuntarily or go to a concert with pounding bass without having to take frequent breaks to go outside and let their heart rate return to its normal level. Normal people make me feel absolutely nutty. 

Over time, I've learned quite a few coping strategies to outsmart my quirky mind. Don't go see anything more intense than a kids movie in theaters unless you really know the people you're going with. Avoid concerts with cranked up bass. Stop and breathe. Remember that it doesn't really matter what this person thinks of you. Do yoga in the mornings. Get plenty of sleep. Go easy on the caffeine.

It's not all bad. My quirky mind does have a few benefits. I'm very perceptive-- I catch the little things that others don't, and I read relationships and people well. My overactive imagination excels in creative projects. And nervous energy directed into an intellectual project generally yields great results. My anxious mind has shaped my struggles as well as my areas of excellence. How else could I sit in a coffeeshop for hours on end obsessing over syntax? (I always took some comfort in the fact that, according to my high school English teacher, all great writers were either depressed or crazy-- there is hope for me yet!)

Relationships remain my mind's favorite affair. Other's expectations (real or imaginary) might just be scarier than spiders and rattlesnakes put together, and disappointing someone I care about is probably my worst fear. My coping strategy for a long while was thus to avoid close relationships- it's harder to disappoint someone if they don't really know you and, besides, who cares if you do as long as you don't care about them to much. Slowly, however, I learned that this coping strategy was far less than desirable. So I made friends and endured the anxiety that came with them. And over time I found that it got easier. See, once you have friends you know you can trust, you suddenly have much less to be anxious about. 

But then a friend and I decided to embark on this adventure called dating, and my mind has since had a field day. So many expectations to imagine and conversations to read too much into. So many decisions to agonize over and opportunity costs to worry over. Then we decided to get really daring and try talking about marriage. The anxiety kicked up into high gear- so many expectations, gender roles, cultural expectations, career ambitions, and other major issues to run all over. The what-ifs piled up. We made it official and all those expectations became public. And they weren't even all in my head anymore (People have some interesting assumptions about engaged girls). If even normal people go a little crazy when it comes to wedding and engagements, I don't even really know what happens to people like me. Marriage books terrify my little feminist heart, and wedding planning is a perfect storm of expectations and relationships and people I care about-- my quirky anxious mind has never been quite so zealous. (Note: this is not due to my family or anything like that. They have been absolutely lovely about all this, which I greatly appreciate.)

These next months are going to be quite the adventure for my mind and I. There have already been days when it feels like an elephant has taken a seat on my chest and an Alfred Hitchcock movies soundtrack might as well be playing in the background because I can't shake a feeling of overwhelming dread and I can't think of any logical reason why I'm experiencing either of those feelings and I want to do is cry. Those are the days when I feel like a crazy person, and there are probably going to be a lot of those days. But I do know a few things for sure. First, I have friends and family and a fiance who know my quirks and love me in spite of my tendencies to get over-excited. Second, my struggles with my own quirks has given me a much greater capacity for understanding of others' struggles. And third, these quirks of mine are a part of me that I wouldn't really know what to do without.

Besides, do normal people really even exist anyway?

Photo by Kara Haberstock, Prague 2009, all rights reserved

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Songs for Sunday: Mikaela Kahn

I have recently learned that Denton has a thriving local music scene, and this last Friday night, I attended my first live show in Denton at a charming little venue called ArtSix. It was just a tiny little album release show on the backyard stage of this local house-turned-coffeeshop, but the atmosphere was quite lovely and perfect for a summer night. Mikaela Kahn, an undergraduate at the music school here at UNT, was one of two artists playing in the backyard, and her performance was wonderful. Her voice is absolutely gorgeous, and her songwriting is pretty solid. Her overall sound is very evocative of Sara Bareilles (a personal favorite). Check her out her brand-new EP:

Is she great? You can download her EP on her website for free! (Just click on the "Music" tab)