July Goals

I have been very disorganised lately and I know the month is 1/3 over, but I have decided to set some goals for myself.

Exercise:

  •  Run at least seven miles a week.
  • Do at least 60 minutes of work out a day weather it be running or aerobics.
  • START STRETCHING!

Reading:

  • Sort through all of my books and organize.
  • Read every single day no matter how long.
  • Make a set “to be read” (TBR) plan.

Food:

  • Cook something new every week.
  • Continue to try and eat low carb.
  • Keep kitchen clean.
  • Try and create less food waste.

Social & Misc.:

  • Talk to my mother every day.
  • Call my parents once a week.
  • Spend more time with my wife without watching TV.
  • Brush the cats once a week.
  • Clean one part of the house thoroughly.

In addition to all of that I want to start blogging more often. I have been watching a lot of book-tube and looking through bookish blogs and I am going to start my attempt on reviews and daily or every other day posts. Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated! That’s it for now.

*Morgan*

 

 

My Storm Brought a Rainbow

It has been a long, emotional roller coaster since I last even thought about writing on here. I could throw excuse after excuse at it but sometimes I have realised that I don’t need to and that I am allowed to do things (to a certain extent) on my own terms.

April has always been a hard month for me due to the death of a friend almost five years ago now. In addition, this year was exceptionally hard as I celebrated the life of my best friend whom I lost last year around the same time. Both of these were sadly due to suicide, which I’m sure I will be able to talk more in depth at a later date. We also were morning the passing of a family friend from old age.

Around the middle of April I checked my phone after a long tiring day at work and saw eight missed phone calls and many unread texts from my lovely wife. She had hurt her knee playing basketball. I drove the hour and a half to go meet her at the Italian hospital where they told us it was only a sprain. After many doctors visits and tests, we found out that she had torn her ACL. It has been a long painful process up until this point. She had surgery earlier today and now comes the recovery.

On to the good news. My brother got married last month! We were able to fly back to Montana for a week and visit all of the family I had not seen for years, many who had never had the chance to meet my wife. The ceremony was beautiful and I am so happy for my brother and his beautiful bride.

Grieving is a hard process to work through time after time and work may get stressful but seeing my brother marry the love of his life and being able to be with the love of my life makes everything sting a little bit less. My friends and family cushion the emotional toll that life can bring.

One more thing before I go, who ever you are reading this, you are loved. I love you, I care about you and others close to you love you and care about you.

Suicide Awareness Websites and Non-Profit Organisations to help someone in need or to donate to:

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

https://afsp.org

https://save.org

*Morgan*

 

Talk Tuesday #2: Long Distance

My wife and I met in college. It started as a fling but quickly grew into more. We never really argued or bickered. Every single thing seemed perfect. After seven months of dating, and an increasingly deep bond, I shipped off to join the military.

She wrote me every single day. It was amazing. She was amazing. It was all I love you’s and I miss you’s and talking about the future. In a situations like that, stressful and emotionally draining, that is all that I needed. Five long months later we got married.

I came to Italy alone. We weren’t sure how long it was going to be until we saw each other again. It ended up being a year, but we didn’t know it was only going to be a year until 9 months after I got there.

Not only was there time difference, but we both worked or were busy a lot. The nightly FaceTimes lessened and the petty arguments increased. I drank with my friends too much, she always read too much into my one word texts, I passed out and forgot to say goodnight, she woke up late and forgot to say good morning. It went on like that for a long time. Of course there were happy moments too but we, as humans, tend to focus on the negative.

There were many points in which we had to evaluate ourselves, our relationship as a whole, if the good times were worth the bad. In all truthfulness, it is just hard being alone. It is hard being alone when there are so many people around and the one person you want is not there. She got stationed near by after being apart for 14 months. The only catch was, she now lives an hour and a half away, but it is better than 3500 miles. We stay with each other on the weekends and sometimes a night or two during the week.

I reflect a lot on what happened when we were apart. I was young and our relationship was still young, even though we moved quickly. We had to fit every aspect of a relationship into five and ten minute conversations. I would let my stress and frustrations of the day effect my ability to communicate. We both would read into everything the other person said or did and we forgot the things that made us so happy. It was the most emotionally draining year of my life and of our relationship but I would not trade it for anything because it forced me to grow as a person and we grew together as a couple. I am more in love with my best friend than ever before and I get more and more excited for our future with every step we take.

Here are some things I wish I knew back then.

  1. Relationships require hard work. Blood, sweat and tears. Even if it had been a long day at work, that didn’t matter because my wife needed me so I would stay up and talk. We needed to work through the tough things and the hard times no matter how long it took or how rough it was.
  2. COMMUNICATE. Sometimes we all forget that people can’t read our minds. Now, if I’m upset I say why, if I don’t like something I try and tell my wife. It is cliché, but it makes for less stress and a lot less unwarranted grudges.
  3. Unconditional Love, and I feel like that is self explanatory.
  4.  Don’t focus on the petty things. This one I am still learning.
  5. Ask questions. How are you? How was your day? How do you feel? I have made more of an effort to be interested in the same things, and a lot of the times we end up sharing the interests together.
  6. Don’t let an argument stew. There doesn’t have to be a complete resolution, but ending quarrels while still upset doesn’t solve anything and just sours the mood.
  7. Avoid shutting each other down.
  8. Don’t fight over text. Tones don’t transfer well, misunderstandings happen, it just isn’t a good time.
  9. Try not to assume things. There is that old saying “It makes an ASS out of U and ME” but it actually does.
  10. In the hard times, remember why you got married. It is important to live in the moment, but also to remember the happiness in the past and not to forget about the future.

I love my wife more than anything and I would never trade her or this relationship for anything. Like I have said, we have only become stronger. I hope someday I could help someone in the same situation out and they could learn from our mistakes.

 

The Great Banana Bread Experiment

I LOVE BANANA BREAD.

This is the easiest and best banana bread recipe. It's super moist and bursting with flavor. The recipe is also easily adaptable and comes out perfect every time.
Photo credit to LittleSweetBaker.com, I have tried her banana bread in the past and really enjoyed it.

Flat out, all around amazing baked good. It can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack, as dessert, with tea or coffee — it can be made in so many variations —  add in options are limitless, such as chocolate, nuts, coconut, matcha, dried fruit… — it can be topped with cinnamon, glaze, frosting, chocolate, sprinkles, ice cream, yoghurt, fresh fruit — it can be made into cheesecake, regular cake, muffins, cupcakes, or it can be the base of other desserts and, at the end of the day, a warm fresh piece of banana bread with a little butter is food for the soul.

When I was a child, banana bread was a staple in our household. My mother didn’t like things to go to waste. So whenever bananas would start to brown they would go in the freezer for repurposing. My dad enjoys experimenting with food as well and he spent a few years perfecting his banana bread recipe. I remember it as a child, fresh out of the oven with walnuts. He prides himself in mainly using the banana as the main sweetener and liquid, excluding the water, and adding just a touch of cinnamon for the perfect combination of flavours.

I felt like it was my duty, as an avid baker and banana bread enthusiast, to perfect my recipe as well. Throughout the next couple weeks, I am going to make six different kinds of banana breads and rank them best to worst (worst in this case still being good because it’s banana bread).

All recipes will include cinnamon, dark chocolate chunks ( because I believe chocolate is a necessity and dark chocolate goes with just about any kind of banana bread I could think up and i prefer dark chocolate because it isn’t too sweet) and it may or may not include a kind of nut depending on my mood (I don’t believe the addition of nuts will alter the taste too much). I also will not serve improperly cooked bread if for some reason it burns or doesn’t cook through.

The rating scale is from 1-5 Bananas (overall rating), I will also rate on texture, convenience in baking and how long it keeps. I will also have two or three others rate the breads for an outside opinion.

So join me in my baking journey and The Great Banana Bread Experiment.

Happy Sunday

 

Happy Caturday!

Let me formally introduce my babies and our story.

I love cats. My first was (and this is only a researched estimation) a siamese and burmese mix. His name was Ben, my brothers’ creative concoction. Ben AGain.jpg

His hobbies were sleeping, licking my face and being read to (as pictured below, modeled by my childhood self).-PAXP-deijE-PAXP-deijE

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Unfortunately, he aged, as all animals do. On Thanksgiving when I was 19, a year after I had moved out, my mom informed me that they had put him down due to medical complications.

Fast-forward three years, I had developed a certain fascination with Norwegian Forest Cats. Not only did their size attract me, but the amazing expression of their faces and the beautiful long fur. I also enjoyed the history behind the breed, which dates back to the vikings using them for catching rats on their ships. They are also the official cat of Norway.

I kept searching for possible breeders in Italy and I found a very nice and welcoming couple in a town nearby. I contacted them, and to my surprise and gratefulness, they spoke english. They had a new litter, but most of the kittens were already claimed. I contacted them in September and the kittens had been born 13 August. I expressed my interest, and they wanted to meet us. By the time we were able to visit, there was one kitten left. Her name was Bisu (short for Big Surprise).

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Soon after she was born.
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The first time we met.

A couple weeks later, and after some preparation, we brought our little nugget of joy home. She was so sweet and loving after she settled in. It took a little bit, but we came up with the name Reyna, Queen in Tagalog, because she was the new ruler of the household.

A week later, the breeders contacted us and told us that they didn’t approve of the family that was due to adopt her sister, a dark grey and white beauty named Blue Angel.

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Her little beauty mark below her lip is my favorite…and look at those little toe beans!

Long story short, one week after that, we made one more trek to the breeders’ house and collected the other new member of our clan. We liked the name Angel but we added an “H” to make it the Tagalog spelling to match her sister.

As soon as they were reunited, they became best friends.

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That is how our family became four.

Happy Caturday

 

 

No More Excuses

Life is a funny thing, and mine never follows the path I expect. I am 22 living in Italy and married to my best friend with two beautiful cats. How crazy is that? I have thought about starting a blog for years, and I was laying on my terrace this afternoon and finally told myself, “No more excuses! Go do it!” So that brings me to this very point in time. Eventually I will figure out structure and a plan, but for now I took my first leap. Cheers to good times ahead!

~Morgan