Quarantine Recipes

Throughout this giant lull in my life, in which I can’t really leave my house. I have been wasting time by watching Netflix, working out, deep cleaning, painting, and baking/cooking.

And I have baked/cooked quite a lot, with it becoming an almost daily occurrence. Below I listed some of my favorite recipes that I have tried out during this time.

Slow Cooker Potato and Chickpea Tikka Masala (recipe from therecipewell.com)

Ingredients

For the spice blend

  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
For the tikka masala

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional, if sautéing )
  • 1 yellow onion
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated (I use store-bought paste to save time)
  • 3 cups white or yellow potato, diced
  • 2 cups tomato purée (Also called strained crushed tomatoes. Plain old crushed tomatoes work, too.)
  • 1 19oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup cashews, soaked and rinsed
  • tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

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Instructions

  1. Make the spice blend: Add all ingredients to a small bowl and stir until well combined. Set aside.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for another 30 seconds, until fragrant. Transfer mixture to the slow cooker.
  3. Add the potato, chickpeas, green peas, bell pepper, jalapeño, tomato purée, fire-roasted tomatoes and spice blend to the slow cooker. Mix until ingredients are evenly distributed, then set the slow cooker to cook on High for 4 hours.
  4. While the tikka masala is slow cooking, place cashews in a bowl of water and set aside. A few minutes before the slow cooker is done, drain and rinse the cashews. Place the cashews in a high speed blender with 3/4 cup fresh water and blend until smooth and creamy.
  5. Once the slow cooker is done, add the cashew cream and lemon juice and stir until well combined. If needed, add salt to taste. Serve immediately with basmati rice or naan.

Gnocchi with Pomodoro Sauce (recipe foodiecrush.com)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup DeLallo extra virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoons
  • 4 stems fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 4 stems fresh oregano
  • 2 stems fresh rosemary
  • 2 stems fresh basil plus 2 more stems for garnish
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic pressed or minced
  • 1 28 ounce can DeLallo San Marzano tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream optional
  • 1 16- ounce package DeLallo potato gnocchi
  • 8 ounces cherry size mozzarella balls cut in half
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Add 1/4 cup olive oil to a 10-inch high sided sauté pan or a saucepan over medium heat. Add the parsley, oregano, rosemary and 2 stems of basil and cook for about 5 minutes or until the herbs become crisp.
  2. Remove the herbs and discard then add the onion and garlic to the oil, lowering the heat if needed so the onions cook gently and don’t brown. Cook until the onions are transparent, about 5-7 minutes, then crush the tomatoes with your hand and add to the pan with juice.
  3. Season with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the sauce reduces and thicken, stirring occasionally. Stir in the heavy cream and remove from the heat.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil and add the gnocchi. Season generously with kosher salt and cook until the gnocchi float to the top of the boiling water.
  5. Drain and then place the gnocchi into the cooked sauce. Top with the halved mozzarella balls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese then drizzle the tops of the gnocchi with the remaining olive oil.
  6. Broil for 5-8 minutes or until the cheese melts and the tops become crispy. Garnish with additional basil leaves and serve immediately.

 

New York Style Cheesecake (recipe from quickbestrecipes.com):

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 2 cups grαhαm crαckers, pulsed into crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugαr
  • 1/4 teαspoon sαlt
  • 7 tαblespoons butter, melted

For the New York-Style Cheesecαke:

  • 3 (8 ounce) pαckαges creαm cheese, very soft
  • 1 cup Full-Fαt Sour Creαm
  • 1 1/4 cups Grαnulαted sugαr
  • 2 teαspoons pure vαnillα extrαct
  • 3 lαrge eggs + 2 egg yolks, αt room temperαture
  • 3 tαblespoons αll-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup heαvy creαm

For the Fresh Strαwberry Sαuce:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strαwberries, hulled αnd sliced
  • 1/4 cup sugαr
  • 1 smαll lemon, zested
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My cheesecake (PHOTO BY DEXTER SIMPSON)

Instructions:

Preheαt oven to 325 degrees (F).

For the Crust:

  1. Lightly sprαy α 9″ springform pαn with non-stick sprαy; set αside.
  2. In the body of α blender or food processor combine grαhαm crαckers, sugαr, αnd sαlt; blend until the crαckers hαve been completely pulsed to crumbs. Αdd melted butter; stir well to combine. Press down firmly into the prepαred 9-inch springform pαn; set αside.

For the New York-Style Cheesecαke Filling:

  1. In the body of α high power blender, food processor, stαnd mixer fitted with the whisk αttαchment, or in α lαrge bowl using α hαnd held mixer, beαt the softened creαm cheese αnd sour creαm until completely smooth.
  2. Αdd sugαr αnd vαnillα; beαt until smooth, scrαping down the sides αnd bottom of bowl αs needed. Αdd in the eggs αnd yolks; beαt until smooth. Stir in the flour, mixing just until combined.
  3. Quickly stir in the creαm, mixing just until it’s incorporαted in the bαtter.
  4. Pour filling into prepαred crust, αnd spreαd evenly.
  5. Wrαp the bottom of the pαn in tin foil (I recommend doing α few diligent lαyers here; no one wαnts α wet crust).
  6. Plαce the cheesecαke pαn into α lαrge, deep pαn. Fill the pαn up with hot wαter hαlf wαy. This is your wαter bαth αnd will help ensure your cheesecαke comes out crαck free.
  7. Plαce pαn in the oven αnd cook cheesecαke for 1 hour αnd 25 minutes. Turn oven off αnd let the cheesecαke sit, undisturbed, for 55 minutes inside the oven with the door shut. The cheesecαke should be still slightly wiggly.
  8. Remove cαke from oven, run α knife very gently αround the edge of the cαke, αnd let it sit in the pαn for 15 more minutes before covering loosely with plαstic wrαp αnd refrigerαting for αt leαst 6 hours. When reαdy to serve, top with α dollop of whipped creαm or fresh strαwberry sαuce αnd enjoy!

For the Fresh Strαwberry Sαuce:

  1. Process 1 1/4 cups of strαwberries, sugαr αnd lemon zest in α food processor or blender until smooth. Trαnsfer mixture to α medium-sized bowl, stir in remαining sliced strαwberries, αnd chill for αt leαst 1 hour before serving.

 

Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Peppermint Ganache Recipe (recipe from cookinglsl.com)

Ingredients:

 

For the macaron batter:

  • Powdered sugar
  • Almond flour
  • Cocoa powder
  • Cream of tartar
  • Egg whites
  • Granulated sugar

For the chocolate peppermint ganache:

  • Semi-sweet chocolate
  • Heavy cream
  • Peppermint extract

Instructions: 

For the chocolate macarons:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (190 C).
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (alternatively use silpat for macarons).
  3. Sift together powdered sugar, cocoa powder and almond flour. Discard any large pieces.
  4. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until they begin to foam, for 1 minute.
  5. Slowly add sugar, beating on medium-high speed. Beat until stiff, for 3 minutes.
  6. Fold in the dry ingredients in two additions, using a rubber spatula. Fold so the mixture is smooth, not runny.
  7. Fill a pastry bag, fitted with 1/2 inch tip (or just cut the tip of the bag and do not use a piping tip) with the batter.
  8. Pipe batter into 1-inch circles, spaced at least 1 inch apart. Tap baking sheets on the counter a few times, to release any air bubbles.
  9. Let macarons sit at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour, so the tops are no longer glossy.
  10. Reduce oven temperature to 325 F (160 C). Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheets for at least 15 minutes, then remove and transfer to a cooling rack.
  11. Try to match shells with the same size, so you can glue them together with the ganache later.

For the Ganache: 

  1. In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream until it just begins to boil and remove immediately.
  2. Place chocolate in a bowl and pour hot cream on top. Add peppermint extract.
  3. Let it sit for 1 minute, then stir with a rubber spatula. Stir continuously, until mixture gets smooth. Let it cool completely in the fridge or at room temperature, before you use it.
  4. Pipe ganache onto one shell, then sandwich with another.
    Macarons taste best if refrigerated for at least 1 day, before serving.

 

Roasted Chickpeas (recipe from veganheaven.org) 

Ingredients:

  • 2 can of chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Instructions:

  1. Drain the canned chickpeas. Then dry them really well using a clean dishtowel. Just gently roll them between the dishtowel. You could also use paper towel.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas with olive oil. We’ll add the spices after baking because they have a tendency to burn. So don’t worry about them for now.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the chickpeas on the baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
  4. Then take the chickpeas out of the oven and place them in the bowl you used before. Add the spices and toss well until the chickpeas are coated evenly.
  5. Return them to the baking sheet and bake for another 10 minutes until they’re browned and crunchy.

 

So I’ve been baking/cooking for a while (particularly baking). I can’t really remember a time in my life when I wasn’t. And we recently digitized all our photos so I wanted to include some my younger experiences in the kitchen. Fall 2009 011.jpg

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RYL

I’m sitting in a chair which is placed in a circle. I’m in a conference room which smells like starchy paper and our lunch, Qdoba. A group of teenagers from the Cincinnati area, who are leaders inside and outside of their communities, are around me. In front of me is a guy named Vinny.

We are joking about the lack of diversity at our schools. About how this experience (Regional Youth Leadership) has been so impactful because everyone around us is passionate, determined, and wants to be successful. Also, how nice it feels when you are around people who want you to accomplish all your dreams.

Moments before this I was talking to this girl, Alaina. We were sitting on a bus, traveling from a police training center to where the conference room was located, and we were discussing the criminal justice system, racism, and careers in law. Never before had I had such a deep conversation, with someone who wasn’t related to me, about topics I care so deeply about.

I told her about my plans to be a public defender in South Side, Chicago. About the lack of rights some of the African Americans have there. As I told her these things — my dreams, passions, and goals — she smiled, telling me she wanted to help in any way she could.

 

Since September, I have been spending about 8 hours a month with a diverse group of Juniors who go to schools around the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area. We came together through the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s program, Regional Youth Leadership (RYL). Each month we would explore a different topic, including: diversity, arts and culture, health, law, local government and economic development, life skills, and criminal justice.

Through this experience I learned a lot. From my peers to speakers to discussions and to simulations, my breadth of knowledge about my city and my world has grown immensely. For example, I now know how to budget properly, network, live in poverty (or at least what it is like), help a woman give birth, question a witness, etc..

 

But in the end, my whole experience was the people I met, the conversations we had, and the hope it gave me.

And don’t get me wrong some people were terribly intimidating; a girl from Sycamore got a 36 on ACT on her first try and she mentioned that The University of Chicago was her safety school, so, no big deal.

However, everyone was different. At times our group of 40 people felt like a high school movie in a nutshell, there was jocks, cheerleaders, theatre kids, nerds, and more. But in this movie, someone’s title wasn’t defining. The jock also volunteered at the zoo, the cheerleader was brilliant, the theatre kid was also an amazing writer, and the nerd had the best fashion style.

We were all different and all, somehow, the same. As Vinny and I had discussed, we all wanted to be something.

 

As I said goodbye to my RYL friends on Tuesday, March 3rd, I was appreciative of the experience and the relationships I formed. And overall excited to see where we all end up.

Enneagram 3

“3s are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their Best: self-accepting, authentic, everything they seem to be—role models who inspire others.” – The Enneagram Institute

 

The Enneagram test is one of many personality test available. It diagnoses people into 9 different types: 1. The Reformer 2. The Helper 3. The Achiever 4. The Individualist 5. The Investigator 6. The Loyalist 7. The Enthusiast 8. The Challenger 9. The Peacemaker. The types are based around key motivators in one’s life.

 

Basic Fear (of a 3): Of being worthless

 

About 5 or so years ago my parents discovered the Enneagram test, and between the discovery and now, they have learned a lot about the test and their types.

My mom is a 1 and my dad is a 9. According to the test, they were meant to be. My mom’s type is a sell-controlled, principled perfectionist (Monica Geller from friends is a good example) and my dad’s type is an easygoing, agreeable pacifist (for an example, Jerry Gergich from Parks and Recreation). They are supposed to even each other out, where my mom pushes my dad and my dad calms down my mom.

So through the Enneagram test they have been able to learn more things about each other (limits, fears, desires).

 

Basic Desire (of a 3): To feel valuable and worthwhile

 

Maybe about 2 years ago, I took the test (partially because of my parent’s desire to type me). I got type 1, the reformer and my mom’s type. When taking the test I knew I wanted to be a 1 and I knew enough about the types to get typed as a 1.

Looking back, I liked the idea of being similar to my mom in some way and I also felt that the 1 was the best type (a good reason why I wasn’t a 1).

In some regards I fit the type. I was a perfectionist in some aspects of my life and I had a greater sense of good (a key characteristic for a 1). But I didn’t truly embody the 1.

 

Key Motivations (of a 3): Want to be affirmed, to distinguish themselves from others, to have attention, to be admired, and to impress others.

 

I took the test again, about a year ago, with an open mind and a limited bias. I chose the answers that felt right and not the ones I thought I could be. I got type 3, a type I hadn’t previously been exposed to.

 

The gifts of the Enneagram Three include (according to the Integrative 9):

Ambition: Threes are ambitious and have the will and energy to strive to be the best at whatever they take on. They believe in their ability to succeed.

Efficient: The resourceful Three knows how to do things in a way that is efficient and productive.

Adaptable: Along with being willing to adapt to achieve their goals, Threes are able to adjust to different situations, people or environments skillfully.

Driven: The Three’s high energy and enthusiasm for projects gets things done and pushes others to perform as well.

Results-Oriented: Setting goals and applying themselves to achieve these are as natural to Threes as breathing. They are focused on the end-result.

 

After finding out the results of my test, I did research on what a 3 is. And one of my good family friends said it best, “3s like gold-stars.” A 3 is success orientated.

At first I didn’t really like being a 3. The test made it seem like I was shallow and selfish. And being a 3 I wanted the type that felt like the “best”.

 

Typical Action Patterns (according to the Integrative 9):

As a “doer” and goal-directed type, Threes focus on the task at hand and are energetic in working towards their goals. The adaptive Three is often referred to as the “chameleon” as they change their persona and adapt their role, behaviour, communication and presentation to suit the audience they are trying to impress. The competitiveness of the Three will come to the fore at work and in recreational activities. Some Threes are very drawn to activities that allow for individual competition and achievement, while more social Threes are drawn to winning teams. In a team environment, the Threes may find themselves drawn to leadership roles and others are likely to experience them as very energetic and confident. They dress for success and will make sure that the way they look serves their purpose, ambitions and audience.

 

I did slowly realized that what type I was was never really a choice. I was a competitive, driven, and ambitious 3, at least for this time in my life.

So I started to embrace it, in some regards. I followed instagram pages about Enneagram types and I started to find the strength and humor in my type. I read about other’s experiences and how to become a “healthy” 3.

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IMG_7572 Here are some memes about being a 3 that helped me see humor in my type

 

Examples (of 3s): Augustus Caesar, Emperor Constantine, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Prince William, Condoleeza Rice, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Lewis, Muhammed Ali, John Edwards, Mitt Romney, Bill Wilson (AA Founder), Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Werner Erhard, Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Bernie Madoff, Bryant Gumbel, Michael Jordan, O.J. Simpson, Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Madonna, Sting, Whitney Houston, Jon Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Brooke Shields, Cindy Crawford, Tom Cruise, Barbra Streisand, Ben Kingsley, Jamie Foxx, Richard Gere, Ken Watanabe, Will Smith, Courteney Cox, Demi Moore, Kevin Spacey, Reese Witherspoon, Anne Hathaway, Chef Daniel Boulud, Dick Clark, Ryan Seacrest, Cat Deeley, Mad Men’s “Don Draper,” Glee’s “Rachel Berry”

 

About a month ago I came across a post about different wings a 3 can be (wings are like your 2nd type or deeper description for someone).

So I think I could possibly be a 3 wing 4, but instead of explaining why I was just going to include the description of it:

3w4: The Professional

  • Self esteem comes from worth and career rather than personal qualities
  • Want their work to be the best, outstanding, and excellent
  • Make sacrifices for their work, find a lot of joy and purpose in it
  • Charming but more serious and task oriented (mistype as 1s)
  • Ambitious, but self doubting due to the enormous pressure they put on themselves
  • Social status and titles are important
  • Strive for perfection to avoid mediocrity
  • Can come across pretentious and arrogant
  • Avoids rejection through being exceptional

 

My journey with the Enneagram test seems to just be beginning, and it has helped me learned things about myself and gain perspectives that have been really helpful.

 

Heres the link to take it https://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/test

Be warned, it is quite long

The Bros

I have been growing up with 3 younger brothers. And that characteristic has defined, in some aspects, who I am as a person.

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For example I have heard the questions: Do you wish you had a sister? Is it always crazy at your house? What is it like? Do they drive you crazy?, more times than I can count. Also the comments: I bet you keep them in line, I bet they drive you crazy, I bet you have bruises, I bet you wished you had a sister.

Most of the time I respond in a laughing head nod which usually ends the conversation. Because in reality, the real conversation about a life full of brothers, is long, complicated, full of embarrassing and heart-touching stories, physical fights, tears, and hugs. And our story is different from every other family with the same girl-boy order.

So to even begin to describe the family dynamic I thought I would describe the boys, partially because they are very different from each other.

 

Jack (12):

Jack is currently in 6th grade and he is the oldest of the 3. We like to describe Jack as the athletic one, for he can pick up any sport and be pretty amazing at it.

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IMG_0034.jpgBut he is also very artistic, kind hearted, and, recently, he has been a pretty good video gamer (he has a won a couple Fortnite tournament and now he wants to become a professional esport player). 

Jack, being the oldest, is also the one with whom I have the biggest connection/friendship with. We come to each other with problems we can’t tell to our parents and we have saved each other from awkward conversations with grandparents. Jack is also the only one without any embarrassing stories, a quality he is quite proud of.  

 

Henry (10): IMG_0059.jpg

IMG_7409.jpgHenry is in 4th grade, and being the middle brother, he is the most tinder hearted of the group. He is the easiest to upset, but he is also the most loyal to family and friends. He still stays in contact with a friend who moved away 2 years and he keeps a picture of his friend in his cubby just because it makes him happy.

IMG_0050.jpgHenry also marches to the beat of his own drum and he doesn’t really care what others think of him. Because of that we have more embarrassing stories of the man than could fit into a blog post, from peeing in front of friends, to flicking off a Chipotle employee, to 20-minute bathroom breaks, and to declaring himself pregnant for a little over a year.

But we all know that Henry will always be there and for a good time and good laugh.

 

Elliot (7): IMG_0031.jpg

IMG_0051.jpgElliot is a first grader, and although he is the baby of the family, he really tries to prove that he can do anything his siblings can do. With an eloquent vocabulary since he could talk, a creative and tinkering brain, and a mentality to always be as fast as his siblings (even if that means he runs like Phoebe Buffay).

IMG_0003.jpgElliot can be very bossy and controlling (we anticipate that he will have a career where he can use those gifts), but he is also very loving and intelligent, so most of the time his way is the right way. With a love for reading he knows more than his siblings about some topics.

He will, no doubt, lead his graduating class and will grow up to do big and great things, just like his other brothers.

 

So that answer is: yes the boys drive me crazy but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

TV Show Recommendations

Being a part of Generation Z, with technology being apart of my whole life, I have seen my fair share of television shows. From Disney channel when I was younger, to baking shows I found on HGTV, to randoms on Netflix and Hulu, I have watched an array of different shows. Below our some of my favorites from different times in my life, varying in type, and in no particular order:

  • The Office: The US adaption of a British show with the same title, The Office follows a paper company through the period of 8 or so years. Although the show might not be for everyone, it is beloved among many and showcases workplace scenarios that some have gone through.

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  • Grey’s Anatomy: An ABC show that follows surgeons at Seattle Grace (later Grey Sloan Memorial) Hospital through their ups and downs, loves and losses, and successes and downfalls. Warning this show might make you cry.

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  • Cake Boss: A TLC show highlighting the life of Buddy Valastro, his family, and amazing cakes he makes. The show stopped around 2017 when Buddy went to jail. But the show can be hit for those who enjoy watching cake being made.

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  • Suite Life on Deck: A Disney channel show of two twins who go to “sea school” and the adventures they have while at sea. This shows follows the original idea and same characters as seen on the Suite Life of Zach and Cody.

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  • Full House: A 1980s-1990s ABC show following a Dad, his friend, and his brother-in-law as they raise their three daughters. The show is sweet, funny, and mostly family friendly, and its a good showcase of life back in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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  • Four Weddings: This TLC show has four women compete against each other to have the best wedding, with the winner receiving their dream honeymoon. Sometimes the women can be quit petty, but at times it is sweet and romantic, and when its not there is a lot of drama.

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Beliefs

In my 1st bell, AP Lang class, on Monday, Nov. 25, Mr. Becksfort asked a simple question: “what do you believe”.  This relatively uncomplicated question felt daunting and confusing. My first instinct was to wonder the question: “what is a belief”. For I believe Popeye’s chicken sandwich is better than Chick-Fil-A’s and that smaller dogs are cuter than bigger ones. But I was pretty sure he didn’t want me to talk about my food and animal choices.

He went on and showed us an audio recording of a 6 year olds top 100 beliefs, all of which didn’t involve food or animals, but ideas. The child had listed big ideas, for example: we can create world peace, everyone is equal, the importance of nature, and we should help others.

This gave me a better understanding of these “beliefs” he was referring to. Below our some of mine.

I believe in…

  • Humanity: With a couple exceptions, I believe that everyone, at their core, is good. I know this idea isn’t adamant all the time, and actions are made quit regularly that would prove otherwise. But I believe that through all the evil in this world, people are just confused and their actions are based on their confused nature. So in the end, we are all just people, who are trying to do their best’s to survive.
  • Karma: I let people in when I drive and I allow way too many people to cut in front of me when I exit paring lots. And although most of the time I do it to be kind (and because some people are more aggressive drivers than me), I do it in hopes karma will work out in my favor and someone will let me in later. And with this belief, I am aware that karma isn’t always working, and that bad things happen to good people. But I believe that there is good behind the idea, and that amazing things will happen if we all put good into the world.
  • Power of music: I’m almost always listening to music, and although that might sound like a stretch, I am. I listen to music when I’m asleep, when I’m at work, when I workout, when I do homework. And I have a couple different playlists that each serve a different purpose. I like my music. It can motivate me to finish my run or my homework. I can foster my deep thoughts when I’m in the car. And it creates dance parties, rap battles, and awful lip synching with friends. So I believe that music, or at least my music, is powerful.
  • Equality: I’ve grown up with 3 younger brothers, and with that I’ve done everything that they have done. If it was playing in the woods with mud or playing football or wrestling, I did it with them. I never wondered if I shouldn’t do it because I was girl and no one said otherwise. Also I grew up with 3 younger brothers, so the fight over the tv was strong, and whose turn and how fair everything was, was always a discussion. The idea of fairness was prominent. So although growing up with brothers was a struggle, it did teach me the importance of fairness.
  • Anything is possible: I know this phrase is very cheesy and overused, but I find it to be true. Ignoring the few things that are truly and humanly impossible, I find everything is within reach, for others have done them. Swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running a marathon, at the same time, seems impossible, but someone has done it all under 8 hours (7:44:29). So whatever it is that seems “impossible” to do, usually isn’t. And through my own experience, the things that I used to find impossible were the things that felt the best when I finally did them.

My Relationship with Running

I love to run. But I also hate it. I love the runners high during or after. I hate the first mile. I love the finish line. I hate the chafing, blisters, and soreness after. I love the feeling that I accomplished something. I hate having to get out of my house. I love getting to clear my head. I hate being by self for too long. I love the morning before the race jitters. I hate waking up early. I love the training process. I hate the training process. I love running and I hate it.

I used to only hate running. I would try to make myself go on runs and I would end up walking most of it.

For my freshmen year of lacrosse, I remember being told that I needed to be able to run 2 miles no problem. So I tried to train, and one time I stopped half way through and called my mom crying telling her I couldn’t do it.

When the season began, I would run with the slow group and we would walk when our coaches weren’t looking. But weirdly, I got better at running. I had to run everyday so I built up my endurance. And then I started to actually enjoy it, I wasn’t running at a crazy pace for a long time, but I was running 2 miles no problem.

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My friend, Claire Soller, my mom, and I post-triatholon

The summer after the season ended I did a triathlon, partially because my mom didn’t think I could do it and also because I felt I could do it. So I swam a 1/2 a mile, biked 12, and ran 3, and I didn’t die.

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My mom and I before the Turkey Trot

My next race became the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, it was only 6 miles so I just had to double my previous milage. I did it, I felt accomplished, but I wanted more.

I then began to set my eyes on my next race, the Flying Pig’s half marathon (13.1 miles). That winter I ran on and off, mostly due to my hate of treadmill running. At most I was running 5 which wasn’t really where I wanted to be.

Then one Sunday in March, I decided that I needed to get it done, so I went out and ran 7. It hurt a little but boy did it feel good to be on track and running distances I previously didn’t think I could do.

The next week I ran 8, then 9, then 10, and so on. And I was doing the thing that a year ago had made me cry.

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Me at packet pick-up (photo by my overly-excited mom) 

Then it was the day before the race, and I was able to comfortably run 11 miles. My mom and I went to the packet pick up and I remember feeling the reality of it all sink it, that I had made it. My mom paraded me around, informing everyone that had a heartbeat that I was only 15 and making me take all the free stuff.

After the parading was over, we went home, carbo-loaded, set out our clothes for tomorrow, and went to bed nervous and excited.

The morning of the race I had peanut-butter toast with a banana. My mom had a freakout trying to find parking. It was kind of cold. I remember shaking while I was waiting for it to start, or I could have just been nervous. There was too many people, all of which looked out of my league.

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Me, tired and nervous, pre-race around really good runners  

The race began and I waited for my turn to approach the starting line. Groups of people would go at a time but I was towards the back so it took a little while. But then there I was staring at the starting line, not quite sure how I got there, watching as the group before me ran off into the distance.

Before I began, I was worried. I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to get my body to do it. That I was going to need to stop. That I was going to slip up. And then everyone around me began to run and suddenly I did to.

I ran the whole race, I got a runner’s high around mile 7, I got ankle pains around 10, and I sprinted the last block. But all of it felt amazing.

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Me approaching the finish line

 

I ran on and off throughout the summer. Somehow I got myself to run another half earlier this month (that one included some walking). But the half didn’t completely satisfy my thirst for running. And I’ve set my eyes on another race, the full marathon (with the flying pig). Who knows if I will be able to get myself to do it but I would like to try.

 

 

Warrior Spirit

Today, October 7th, 2019, marks the first day of Mariemont’s homecoming week. A week in which everyday students and staff strut the halls dressed in a particular theme, where everyday after the bell rings students scurry to meet in a secret location to work on their float, and where at the end of the week everyone who has ever considered themselves a warrior will meet at the football game. It’s a week where it’s easy for people to find pride in being a Mariemont warrior. The ironic thing is starting this prideful week, my warrior pride was pretty low.

During dinner on Sunday night, my brother mentioned how one of his classmates was switching to Walnut Hills for his 7th grade year for math purposes. So I did the Gen Z thing, and looked up Walnut Hills High School. To my surprise, Walnut is 45% more diverse than Mariemont, ranked nationally, with the most A.P. classes in the country, and with every club one could ask for. After sharing this information with my family, my parents proceeded to be a little “I told you so”, mentioning how they had tried to make me go there (something I don’t particularly recall). But all of this made me wonder what me life could have looked like if I had gone to Walnut Hills High School.

To be honest, my first thought was “better”. I felt like a pretty normal reaction to assume that being at a more competitive and diverse school would be beneficial. My mind began to wonder about all the clubs I could have been apart of and all the things I could have done, only if I had gone to Walnut.

But now, as I begin to grapple with my Junior year, the idea of “only if I had gone to Walnut”, seems unproductive. Because the idea – “only if I had…” and “what if …” could be used for almost everything. What if my parents had decided to stay in North Carolina, what if they had stopped having children after my first brother was born, what if I wasn’t in Mrs.Short’s class in kindergarten, what if my mom hadn’t made me move up in math, what if I hadn’t decided to take journalism. Because in the end wondering what would have happened does nothing for the present.

So I guess I’m a Mariemont Warrior, and maybe my school isn’t nationally ranked, but its mine and I get decide what I make of it.

An Ode to this Year

My name is Olivia Lane Simpson. I am 5’4″, 15 years old, and I have red hair and blue eyes. I have 3 bothers and a dog named Minnie. I enjoy running and math, hitting tennis balls and saving lacrosse balls, traveling and meandering, and laughing and dancing. And according to a personality test, I’m an inquisitive person and I will be best served in a job that allows me to ask questions. Although according to another one, I would have lived through Thanos’s snap. I am vegetarian, who loves adventure, and whose life, for the moment, is filled with endless possibility. And what will fill that possibility remains unknown.

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Me after running the flying pig; it was one of my goals this year to run it (PHOTO BY SIMPSON).

At the beginning of this year, I believed my possibility would be filled through a career in journalism. I wanted to be international correspondent to some big-wig newspaper. But slowly, due to no one’s fault besides my own, my interest in journalism started to wane. I felt I didn’t enjoy writing as much as I needed to.

I continued participating in class, but my main motivator of why I was there was gone. So I tried to occupy myself with stories and ideas that interested me, the first being the dress code. I chose the story because I was aware of a few people that had been dress coded under some what confusing circumstances, and I, myself, wanted to understand why. I slowly learned, that it was the dress code, itself, that was confusing, in that the teachers/staff had had a different version than the students. Through this story, I was able to discover something that had been previously unaware to basically everyone, and it made me feel like a real journalist, which felt good.

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Dr. Renner’s handbook; after reading through it I discovered that his was different than the one the students had been provided (PHOTO BY SIMPSON)

From then on, I chose stories that I was genuinely passionate about which enabled me to enjoy it more. I wrote about the diversity of the staff and recycling at Mariemont. Even in my blog posts, I was writing about things that I wanted to talk about, like my family and my childhood. During this time, I still didn’t want the rest of my life to be journalism but I enjoyed that it was now. I enjoyed getting to open the school’s eyes to problems that were occurring and to thinking and writing through my feelings in my blog posts.

I guess my timeline of this year’s journalism class leaves me with now, the end. What the future holds for me and my relationship with journalism and writing remains unknown. But I enjoyed this year and all that it has brought me and I am excited for what will come next.