Dynamo: Kalina

Dynamo: Kalina

The Back Story

Kalina and I use to stay up late making armpit farts with straws. Although technically she’s my aunt, there’s only 2 years between us and I love the memory of her teaching me to dance to “Walk like an Egyptian.” She’s one of those people that builds up others. We all want friends that we feel safe with, that have our backs, that love us without feeling like they have to make excuses for us, and that look for the good, even when they might see the bad. Kalina is one of those people.

Maybe it’s Kalina’s story that has made her this way. Maybe it’s her world traveling. Maybe it’s her running. Maybe it’s just her gift to all of us and we’re being left better because of it. I’m so inspired by her and this Dynamo spotlight is revealing, raw, and witty all at the same time. She’s passionate about people.

Kalina’s story is part of Dynamo, a series of posts dedicated to showing real people, real power-houses, who inspire me and the people around them in their healthy living. They might not always think they do, but I believe that we each influence others more than we realize or recognize. That inspiration is empowering for others and themselves. I believe in the good of every person and I believe that this, other Dynamo stories, and stories to follow can change our outlook, our dedication, and our perception of the people around us. Up next in the Dynamo community, I introduce Dynamo: Kalina.

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Dynamo: Kalina

What is something you love about yourself?

I am so glad I was born with a sense of independence and adventure. Even from a young age, I printed out pictures of far-away cities where I wanted to live someday. At age 10 I read the now famed Hot Zone by Richard Preston and decided I wanted to work in a high-risk lab or studying Ebola in the tropics. Before then, I was convinced I would be an astronaut (and heartbroken when I learned astronauts had to have 20/20 vision – an innate quality I have never possessed). When I see trails, I want to run down them at full speed. When I hear about dangerous or challenging cities and countries, I want to explore them or work there. I am not afraid of being alone in the world, and I’m not afraid of being surrounded by total strangers. I always wonder what’s around the next curve and will usually put forth the effort to find out. As you can imagine, this has made some runs a bit longer than intended. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had more and more moments when I feel absolute satisfaction with who I am and where I am in the world – and I’m always grateful for the qualities in me that have brought me here. I’m no dare devil, but there’s such value in being unafraid. My mother might disagree.

I have never been satisfied with the status quo – which is why I think running is such a great sport for me. You can always improve. Run another race, run faster, have more fun, run in a new city. There’s always another bend in the road, and for me, that’s the most exciting part…. 

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How to Make Almond Butter

How to Make Almond Butter

It’s the end of the week, so I guess it’s an appropriate time to make a food confession. I’ve already eaten way to many blueberry scones (that I was experimenting with yesterday, you’re going to love them) as well as some eggplant salsa dip. Top that off with putting pomegranate seeds on everything this week and I guess food confessions is really what a food blog is all about. Welcome to my world. I feel really blessed that I get to live somewhere that allows me to experiment with fruits and veggies like this.

For the real food confession…almond butter…. 

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5 Steps to Build a Home Gym You Love

How to Build a Home Gym You Love

1. Evaluate if a home gym is right for you.

::: It might be your thing to go to a public gym. There can be a lot of positive energy there and I get that. It’s fun working out with a group of people in classes and seeing others work hard can be inspiring. It might be the thing that gets you going and out of the house. If you say yes to all of these, a public gym might be a good fit for you.

:::But if you’re looking for something conveniently closer to home, you’re self motivated, and you are looking at long term price/hours spent, then a home gym could work for you too. Know that you aren’t going to have group classes, pool perks, or potential childcare. You will have flexibility, a constant visual reminder, and a literal incorporation of fitness in your daily lives…. 

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Healthy Chowder

Healthy Chowder - Dairy Free, Clams Optional

I feel so inspired.

I feel like we have a great opportunity to choose who supports us and who we reach out to. We have a choice to be lifted by the words, actions, art, service, and lives of so many around us. There are always surprise people that say kind things and reach out unexpectedly. For me, this happens in and out of social media. Granted some of our families might not be our #1 cheerleaders at all times (or ever for some) and we’ll have moments of really hard truth with close friends, I think we can find peace. I have a fighting heart that likes to feel and love and be loved. I think you do too.

I’ve had my share of hard truth sharing with friends. I mess up.

Several years ago, I was not as patient as I should have been, didn’t say things as gently as I could, and didn’t keep unhelpful thoughts to myself. I was a new mom, figuring out my place, my new life, and my new way of interacting with friends. I was called out on it. It was tough, and whether I thought I was totally wrong or right, I took the opportunity to change. It was hard because two friends came to me, they took me out for hot chocolate, then told me what a bad friend I was. They coated the message with desires to work through it…maybe. It was hard to take…. 

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Dynamo: Shengzhen

Dynamo: Shengzhen - Talking about Tai Chi

THE BACK STORY:

Chinese Grandmas practicing Tai Chi has been an intriguing thing for me for quite some time. Since a neighbor had her baby, her mother has been here helping out and gracing our street with her Tai Chi. I love to know my neighbors, we have a great neighborhood and I feel comfortable with my family living around such kind and caring people. This interview was a perfect opportunity to strengthen that bond.

When we were in grad school at UC Davis we lived in the on-campus family housing. Over half the population of the complex had a Chinese origin. I loved seeing the Grandmas with the babies visiting at the park. I loved how they picked up my super chubby little girl who had one thigh bigger than their little baby’s legs put together, saying “oohhh!” and pointing at her amazing rolls. One of these sweet ladies even brought us homemade dumplings. I think it’s amazing how we have different languages and cultures that bind us together. At the same time, I sometimes wish those barriers were more easily crossed so I could understand these amazing women. One thing is sure, we all think family is important, we all know that hard work is absolutely necessary, and we do what we can to build up those around us.

Since this interview with Shengzhen she has brought me some rice and meat packages tied in green banana leaves. I don’t know their name, how long it took to make them, or the tradition behind them. I know that she made them with sincerity and individual care. I might not speak her language and I might not ever practice Tai Chi, but Shengzhen is a woman of grace and as women we are connected across all boundaries. Shengzhen loves her family, she believes in hard work, and her Tai Chi is both beautiful and inspiring.

Shengzhen’s story is part of Dynamo, a series of posts dedicated to showing real people, real power-houses, who inspire me and people around them in their healthy living. They might not always think they do, but I believe that we each influence others more than we realize or recognize. That inspiration is empowering for others and themselves. I believe in the good of every person and I believe that this and stories to follow can change our outlook, our dedication, and our perception of the people around us. Up next in the Dynamo community, I introduce Dynamo: Shengzhen.

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Dynamo: Shengzhen - Talking about Tai Chi

Where are you from?

I’m from the capital of AnHui, the city is HeFei, in the middle of China. You know the Avatar movie, the capital of our providence inspired that movie. It’s 7 hours West of Shanghai or 2 hours by train.

What is one of your favorite things about home?

Nothing special! It’s home. Family is everything. GaoWan (is what she said family is to her) Gao is tall/high/upmost, Wan is “everything”. Nothing else in the world is better than home. It could be nothing special but everything. 

Why do you do tai chi?

Chinese martial art, I do it for exercise…. 

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Build Your Own Wild Rice Salad

Wild Rice Salad

Things are changing around here, I can feel it.

I’m paying more attention to the things I say yes to, knowing that when I say yes, I say no to something else. (Thanks to my friend Kristin for teaching me that.)

I’m listening to my heart and filling my day with the things that fill me up. I’m running, lifting, and doing yoga. I’m also helping in the school, organizing, and cooking. I’m trying to watch out for my literal & figurative neighbors and I’m connecting with new people. I’m taking time to think and feel and discover my center – that part of you can’t really touch. And I’m constantly trying to spend good amounts of time with my children, making sure every day they know how much I love them and want to listen to them.

Our home gym is getting a makeover - which I’ll be revealing here on Carrot Bowl this week.

Soups are starting to take over the weekly menu, thanks to the changing seasons.

Wild Rice Salad

Tyler and I are gearing up to have the “no Santa” talk with our oldest. He has brought it up several times now, but with the other kids around, and he says that no one else believes it (to which I’m assuming his friends) and “how can their really be magic reindeer, anyway.” A part of my heart feels like it has a hole ripped out even considering this. It seems like we just got to this magical time with all the kids and then it was over so fast! This isn’t fair! But at the same time, I’m trying to think of the positive, how he can help with the magic for his siblings. He’s a good boy and he will be excited about “helping,” but even so, I’m trying not to feel sad…. 

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