April 07 2017
Happiness/Health & Wellbeing/Living in Brooklyn

Little Good Things

It has been a frigid, wet, busy spring.  Just one freezing cold evening baseball practice amidst waning sunlight, and I’m already exhausted and ready give up.  This is my least favorite time of year in New York.  The weather couldn’t be worse.  The cold is bone chilling, without offering any of the burrowing warmth and cozy ambiance of winter.  And for extra credit mindfuckery, February in New York City was warmer than March.

Thankfully, there are just a few weeks more to go.  So I am grasping dearly to the little good things.  I even uncovered a few this week that are new… to me, at least.

Slow Nature Fast City

File this website under “the literal vortex of my wheelhouse.”  Sometimes, someone just speaks to you.  Traci from Slow Nature Fast City speaks to me.  Slow Nature Fast City is her “love letter” to the natural beauty that can be found in New York City.  As a stressed New Yorker living in a typical state of frazzled discombobulation, I’m always thirsty for people who can pull me out of my rushed orbital default and aim me at all of the free beauty that’s just there for the taking.

Slow Nature Fast City is joyful and refreshing, reminding us to notice the gifts that we pay so dearly for with our urban existence. Traci offers practical tips for weaving nature into your city life, as well as great suggestions for destinations and hidden treasures around town.

Perspectives like Traci’s are important. Most people who live in big cities have a love-hate dynamic to contend with.  We know basically why we live here and have a general sense of what is good about it.  But we have lots of deeply detailed and thoroughly particular feelings about what is bad.  We need someone to remind us very specifically about all the little good things that will, ultimately, set us free.

Overnight Oats

I assume that I’m the last person in the world to discover overnight oats.  There’s a little Korean “French” bakery in Koreatown, where I work, and I have had their overnight oats on an IV drip.  I can’t stop.  They are a revelation.  I love making hot oatmeal, especially with a super quick blueberry compote, but overnight oats have this pleasing chewy texture that I cannot get enough of. It’s like a magical intersection of oatmeal, granola and muesli.

At $4.50 a pop, my oatmeal budget has taken a hit.  Finally, it dawned on me that I should be making this at home.  Why didn’t anyone tell me that overnight oats are not only the most delicious thing in the world, but also the most easily prepared thing in the world?

You just put some old fashion rolled oats together with the some milk (or almond milk, etc) in a jar, add a pinch of salt, and a little something to sweeten, like agave or maple syrup and leave in the fridge overnight.  I threw in a dash of cinnamon and some fresh blueberries to recreate my Korean-French-Korean obsession.

overnight oatsThere are a million overnight oats recipes that the internet would be delighted to tell you about.  This healthy, homemade breakfast is made infinitely more delicious with the knowledge that there will be no hard-to-clean pot as your sacrifice to the oatmeal Gods.

And the final bonus: not only is this 20 times less expensive to make at home, I have eliminated the plastic cup that it comes in from my trash stream.  This is a little good thing that has had me doing mental high fives with myself during breakfast.

Finally, my last little ray of springtime sunlight…

Every fall I plant bulbs, only to endure the spectacle of little horticultural abortions each spring.  Most never see the light of day.  A few will start to come up, but they are killed by dog pee and not enough room to grow in my tiny tree bed. Or whatever other sad reason they have for their persistent lack of viability.

Being the deranged Pollyanna I sometimes cannot help but be, I continue to plant bulbs in the little patch of dirt around the tree in front of my apartment, which my husband and I have jokingly dubbed our “love tree.”  To the pained eye rolls of all our friends and neighbors.  (It was planted a year or so after we were married.)

But last year, I finally gave up and admitted that, unlike our marital bed, the love tree bed could neither produce, nor sustain life.  It was sad.  The love tree is often the focus of our small acts of rebellion in the face of newcomer zillionaires on our block.  We carved our initials on it one cocktail-y summer night. We’ve hung all manner of decorations, bird seed and other detritus on it, claiming it for our own, even though owners, we are anything but.

Well, something awesome happened this spring.

The universe, as it so often does, just when I need it, has thrown me a bone.  The bulbs I planted the autumn before last, which never amounted to so much as a green shoot, have sprouted up.  Not in the love filled, yet equally dog pee filled tree bed, but in the planters in front of our apartment, where I also make my overly optimistic attempts at urban gardening.

Not sure why this took an entire year and a half.  Clearly, I know nothing, John Snow, about gardening.  But I am not asking questions.  This beautiful flower, which popped up through moss my son and I collected, is on the very brink of opening. And inside of it is every hope and dream I have for life, beauty, happiness and spring.

tulip about to bloom

Dear Linda, Don’t give up.  -The Universe

 

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  • I hate this time of year, where it feels in limbo. I agree, having a warm February, was definitely mindfuckery! 🙂

    I recently wrote a post about why we need a balance sheet for our soul. One reason is to get through seasons like this. 🙂

  • The weather has been down right weird. Just when you think it’s safe it slaps you right in the face, with it cold stinging rain. I’m ready for this to be over. I’m sure in true NY fashion give us 2-3 months and we’re be complaining how hot and humid is is. 🙂

  • Dear Linda, I love you. Thanks for making me laugh out loud – really loud. Always. That is all. 🙂 xoxo

    Miss your face!

  • I love the hopefulness that springtime brings, and everything else that goes with it…it never fails to lift my spirits. Also, I have to try out this overnight oatmeal you speak of. : ) I have hot oatmeal almost every morning, looks like a great twist on a breakfast staple.

    • Do! And tell me what you think! I tried a new trick last night that I read about. When you are almost done with your almond butter (if you keep that in the house) make it in the almond butter jar and mix it with the remnants. It was very tasty.

  • I need to get back to overnight oats now that the weather’s turning warmer. It’s so easy!

    I was debating yesterday whether I need to make my annual trip to Home Depot for plants to sacrifice to our local deer herd. (They eat everything, even the apple trees we planted last year.) Ultimately I decided not to do so, but I might have to go at least grab some potting soil and herbs for our patio planter now.

  • The weather was so much better in February than March here in Iowa too. It was tough since we were so spoiled in Feb. Thankfully we are seeing a change again – the grass is green and the flowers are emerging! 🙂

    LOVE that the flower appeared! Enjoy that beauty!

  • The weather has been ridiculous so far this year. We had a few warm days in a row and so I walked out of the apartment one day without a jacket and without checking the weather and felt like I was going to freeze to death. Yesterday we had a 32 degree swing from the morning to the afternoon! A little bit of predictability would be nice.

  • I’ve been making overnight oatmeal for months! 1/2 cup each of oatmeal, almond or coconut milk, and yogurt (homemade). Dash of vanilla, tsp. cinnamon, tablespoon chia seeds, packet of stevia. Shake it up in a jar with a lid then stir in half cup frozen blueberries and bananas. Top with a few teaspoons oatmeal. Refrigerate overnight.

    Love the story about your beautiful flower. Hope “springs” eternal.

    1. Mrs. Groovy 07:24pm 11 April - 2017 - Reply

      I’ve been making overnight oatmeal for months! 1/2 cup each of oatmeal, almond or coconut milk, and yogurt (homemade). Dash of vanilla, tsp. cinnamon, tablespoon chia seeds, packet of stevia. Shake it up in a jar with a lid then stir in half cup frozen blueberries and bananas. Top with a few teaspoons oatmeal. Refrigerate overnight.

      Love the story about your beautiful flower. Hope “springs” eternal.

      • Brooklyn Bread 05:52pm 12 April - 2017 - Reply

        Oh thank you, Mrs. Groovy! Meanwhile – homemade yogurt – wow!

    2. Matt @ Optimize Your Life 08:47am 11 April - 2017 - Reply

      The weather has been ridiculous so far this year. We had a few warm days in a row and so I walked out of the apartment one day without a jacket and without checking the weather and felt like I was going to freeze to death. Yesterday we had a 32 degree swing from the morning to the afternoon! A little bit of predictability would be nice.

      • Brooklyn Bread 10:54am 11 April - 2017 - Reply

        That’s the worst part. We have had two warm beautiful days and I am just bracing for a return to the tundra. Hoping the worst is behind us.

    3. Troy @ Market History 01:04am 11 April - 2017 - Reply

      The weather here in Sydney has been crazy. We usually get a lot of sunshine. Instead, it rained throughout all of March, which is usually the best season of the year.

    4. Amanda @ centsiblyrich 11:28am 10 April - 2017 - Reply

      The weather was so much better in February than March here in Iowa too. It was tough since we were so spoiled in Feb. Thankfully we are seeing a change again – the grass is green and the flowers are emerging! 🙂

      LOVE that the flower appeared! Enjoy that beauty!

      • Brooklyn Bread 03:58pm 10 April - 2017 - Reply

        Thank you Amanda. Spring is the worst, until it’s the best. Hope you are taking good care of yourself. The warm sun will be here soon to slow us all down…

    5. Emily @ JohnJaneDoe 10:01am 10 April - 2017 - Reply

      I need to get back to overnight oats now that the weather’s turning warmer. It’s so easy!

      I was debating yesterday whether I need to make my annual trip to Home Depot for plants to sacrifice to our local deer herd. (They eat everything, even the apple trees we planted last year.) Ultimately I decided not to do so, but I might have to go at least grab some potting soil and herbs for our patio planter now.

      • Brooklyn Bread 03:59pm 10 April - 2017 - Reply

        Your plants are eaten by dear, mine by dog pee and pollution! Our problems couldn’t be more different, or more similar. : )

    6. Mystery Money Man 10:17am 09 April - 2017 - Reply

      I love the hopefulness that springtime brings, and everything else that goes with it…it never fails to lift my spirits. Also, I have to try out this overnight oatmeal you speak of. : ) I have hot oatmeal almost every morning, looks like a great twist on a breakfast staple.

      • Brooklyn Bread 10:42am 09 April - 2017 - Reply

        Do! And tell me what you think! I tried a new trick last night that I read about. When you are almost done with your almond butter (if you keep that in the house) make it in the almond butter jar and mix it with the remnants. It was very tasty.

    7. Erin 03:19pm 08 April - 2017 - Reply

      Dear Linda, I love you. Thanks for making me laugh out loud – really loud. Always. That is all. 🙂 xoxo

      Miss your face!

    8. Chris @ Keep Thrifty 08:56pm 07 April - 2017 - Reply

      That overnight oatmeal looks awesome! And I’m all go it the zero waste side of making it at home!

    9. Brian 08:14pm 07 April - 2017 - Reply

      The weather has been down right weird. Just when you think it’s safe it slaps you right in the face, with it cold stinging rain. I’m ready for this to be over. I’m sure in true NY fashion give us 2-3 months and we’re be complaining how hot and humid is is. 🙂

      • Brooklyn Bread 08:32am 08 April - 2017 - Reply

        I admit, I do complain about the heat far more than I complain about the cold.

    10. Primal Prosperity 06:20pm 07 April - 2017 - Reply

      I hate this time of year, where it feels in limbo. I agree, having a warm February, was definitely mindfuckery! 🙂

      I recently wrote a post about why we need a balance sheet for our soul. One reason is to get through seasons like this. 🙂

      • Brooklyn Bread 08:33am 08 April - 2017 - Reply

        You are so right. I love the idea of a balance sheet for the soul! I will have to check that post out…

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