10 Things I Am Loving Right Now

NOW I’m happy again.

The weather has turned beautiful and all my worries about “Will the flowers ever bloom again?” have been assuaged. People, the flowers are blooming! Got $100 worth of annuals to plant (after Memorial Day).

I am sleeping with the window open at night.

The dog went wading in the creek.

I haven’t been on my bike yet, or out in the kayak, but it’s coming, it’s on the list (not that I keep that kind of list.)

The Yoga Challenge was so wonderful and so sweet and all 10 people who started, finished.

I am getting my personal practice back, too, and my wrist is pretty good. I still can’t do Crow, but I’m getting close. Headstand is back. Downdog is awesome. I can vinyasa with the best of them.

A friend of mine got a new car the other day. A nice car. An expensive car. And while we were talking, he said, “You know, even though I am tickled with this car, it’s just a thing.”

And I got that. “The best things in life, aren’t things.”

Yeah. Amen to that.

But I do appreciate certain things: helpful things, well designed things, inspiring things, delicious things.

So I thought I would list what I am appreciating right now, thing-wise.

Travis Eliot Short and Sweet

I have Travis Eliot’s “The Ultimate Yogi” and it is great, no question, but it takes close to 2 hours to do, and I just don’t have that. I really love this Short and Sweet DVD. 30 minutes. Bam. Done. Excellent.

http://www.totalfitnessdvds.com/Yoga-Short-and-Sweet-with-Travis-Eliot-p/2093.htm

Habit Master App

Here are the “things” I try to do every day: Meditate, Write, Yoga, Drink a green drink, Get in 10K steps on my Fitbit, Hold Plank, Do Wall sits, and take my Supplements. I use HabitMaster on my phone to track my streaks on all these things. I can set daily, weekly or monthly goals on this, but so far I only have daily ones. It’s cool. I like it.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/habitmaster/id430553435?mt=8

Chess

I am teaching myself to play Chess. I need to keep the gray matter active. To that end I bought myself this chess set and it is now permanently installed on my coffee table. I am also reading chess books. I am finding it very difficult. And this is a good thing.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0040ZWV4E/ref=oh_details_o01_s02_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It Starts With Food

My friend Sandy is dealing with a goiter on her thyroid gland. She recently went to a holistic naturopath who is also an MD who recommended she follow the diet in this book. Since I am a Health Coach, I am naturally curious about all diets, so I bought this book and have been trying to follow it. It is a lot like Paleo, only much stricter. The authors recommend you go on a Whole Foods only diet for 30 days. They call it Whole30. I think it is solid.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1936608898/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Bali Coffee

When we were in Bali last summer we went to the plantation where they grow the Kopi Luwak. A luwak is a civet cat that eats coffee cherries, and then poops them out. They gather the poop and make coffee out of it. Best coffee I have ever tasted. We brought some back and drank it right up. But we also brought back just plain old Balinese coffee, which is A LOT less expensive. It’s been sitting here. The other day I broke into it. Oh my goodness. Heaven. This link  is not the place I got mine, but I’ll bet it’s great.

http://www.coffeebean.com/bali-blue-moon-coffee/d/1064

Soma Water Filter

I saw Tim Ferris endorse this and got it. It’s really beautifully designed in terms of form and function and I hope to someday get rid of my Culligan dispenser. (I suspect my Culligan water is from the Delaware municipal water supply anyway.)

https://www.drinksoma.com/carafe

Zentangle

I got this for Christmas and although I am not a really expert Zentangler, I love it. I have to sit and listen to lots of lectures as part of my Integrative Health coaching education as as I listen, I do this:

IMG_0711

 

I find it fun, meditative and relaxing.

http://www.zentangle.com/

Simple Human Dish Rack

Slimy dish drainers are gross. Dish drainers that don’t drain properly are a daily annoyance. It’s the little, everyday things that are crappily designed that bug me. I find myself complaining, “We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t make a dish rack that works!” I sound like my grandmaw. So a few months ago I saw this dish rack at Bed Bath and Beyond and went, “Wo.” It has a freaking wine glass rack! And a knife block! This thing is so well designed I couldn’t resist. It’s $80, though. Which is cah-RAZY!! Are you NUTS?? 80 bucks for a dish drainer??? Yup. Bought it. I love it every single day. So much pleasure.

http://www.simplehuman.com/steel-frame-dishrack-with-wine-glass-holder-fingerprint-proof-stainless-steel-grey

Insight Timer App

This app not only times my meditation, but keeps track of my “stats.” I like the feature where you can see who is meditating with you around the world, as well as nearby.  I like the gongs that get me started and end it.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/insight-timer-meditation-timer/id337472899?mt=8

Jicama

This is my latest “food find.” Who knew? Love this stuff. Pronounced “hick-a-ma” is has the consistency of a water chestnut, but it’s sweet. So far I have only used it as a crudite, but you can stir fry it or steam it. I cut it into sticks and ate it with my tuna salad the other day. It was delicious!

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://img4.cookinglight.com/i/2009/03/0903p22-jicama-m.jpg%3F300:300&imgrefurl=http://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/essential-ingredients/jicama-00400000040558/&h=225&w=225&tbnid=VwVrxlpcyPmvZM:&zoom=1&tbnh=186&tbnw=186&usg=__6mAz0BcWpRYK5-2yfzeDSS_HfOE=&docid=NSN7Tk1DoSKjDM&itg=1&sa=X&ei=4uF0U46qCsy-sQT0t4KYCA&ved=0CKcBEPwdMAo

So this is what is amping my vibe in “thingdom” these days. What am I missing out on? What are you loving these days?

 

 

I Never Know What to Write About

The question of the moment is: Should I sit here and continue to eat refined carbohydrates and drink coffee, or go to Wegmans for green juice supplies?

OR: Should I stop eating refined carbohydrates and go up and meditate first, and then go to Wegmans for green juice supplies?

OR: Should I put on a James Altucher podcast and clean the house, then go for my Power Walk, and then go to Wegmans for green juice supplies?

OR: Should I write about how there were 22 people for Happy Hour Yoga last night and I had a freakin’ blast?

OR: Should I write about the Yoga Challenge which is in Day 5, and how I heard someone ask another person: “Are you yoga challenged?”

(“Why, yes. Yes I am.”)

This is what the wall looks like in the lounge:

Yoga Challenged

OR: Maybe I should complain write about the weather. Now that would be novel and interesting.

Winter face in spring

OR: Maybe I should write about how Spring lifted up her skirt and let us catch a glimpse of her panties the other day, and I saw it and captured it:

Snowdrops

But then she put her long johns back on and pretended like it never happened.

OR: Maybe I should write about how we found a new place to eat in Corning that serves green food and we were so happy!

(This is G pounding wheatgrass shots and my salad.)

Pretty salad

G drinks wheat grass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what would a post be without a picture of the miraculous Obie? Em took him to “Mommy and Baby” class and clearly he had too much to drink.

 

Obie: Done.

OR: Maybe, now that I’ve procrastinated long enough by writing this post and my  blood glucose levels are dropping precariously, I should go to Wegmans for green juice supplies.

Gadgets and Gizmos and Chicken Soup

I’ve been reading Bringing Home the Dharma in the mornings. It’s my new ritual, this reading in the morning. I have broken my Ultimate Yogi streak and am now contemplating  starting all over again and trying to make it to 108 Days.

I have a hard time when my streaks end. There’s a lot of mourning and self-recrimination. I have my rules and all, but it’s still hard. With the Ultimate Yogi it was a matter of not being able to fit in the hour-plus every day. All of my problems are with time: the desire to do so many things, but then running out of day.

Why is it that some people seem to have, or are able to fit in, so much more into a day than I can?

Time Management. Energy Management. Putting the Big Rocks in first. Battling the Resistance Monster. These are my ever-recurring themes.

Part of the problem is that I tell myself that there are certain conditions that need to be met before I can do other things. Like I need to start cooking in a clean kitchen, so dishes need to be done first. Or I can’t work on writing or computer projects unless my surroundings are neat and orderly. But taking time to pick up and put things where they belong takes time away from the activity that I want to do once the space is free of clutter and chaos. And there is never a lack of clutter and chaos.

And how come it is that once I’ve created order, I have now run out of the time to do the activity that required the order? And on top of that, I have now expended so much energy cleaning, that now my tank is totally empty for creating?

Errrr.

Okay. Switching topics.

G comes home today. Here is what I have been doing in her absence: I have eaten cookies. And the pie she baked (and left). I also ate a bagel with cream cheese. I have had 2 glasses of wine every night. I have been drinking caffeinated coffee. I have also been enjoying my Verismo and my frother.

In the past month or so I have acquired a number of new gadgets: a Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer, a Cuisinart (which is not actually “new” it’s just been sitting in a box in the basement because I wasn’t psychologically ready, until now, to deal with learning “blades.”) I have also recently gotten a Verismo and a milk frother. Add this to the VitaMix and the Juicer and I now have no counter space. But, I have a shitload of gadgets.

Just to clarify. I love gadgets, maybe even more than I love the word “gadget” itself. I also love the word “gizmo” and I often have “gadgets” hang out with “gizmo” so that they form a little two-thing gang called “Gadgets and Gizmos” kinda like Bloods and Crips, but friendlier.

The other day I made a homemade chicken noodle soup with a leftover rotisserie chicken. While the chicken was cooking down in a pot of water, I sent 4 huge carrots through the slicer on the Cuisinart, followed by 3 stalks of celery. I then changed out the slicer for the chopper blade and chopped an onion. I minced 4 cloves of garlic in my hand mincer and in the blink of an eye I had saved myself a good half hour’s worth of chopping.

I used the “Heady Garlic” olive oil I got at F. Oliver’s to saute all that veggie wonderfulness, and the resulting soup was so so rich with flavor I wanted to invite the whole neighborhood for lunch. I boiled up a big batch of fillini (which is my fave “soup pasta–egg noodles are gross, I think) and kept them in a separate container and just add them to the individual bowls of soup so they don’t flab out, or muddy the broth with starch.

That’s going to be the “Welcome Home” dinner for G tonight. Maybe I will even stop at Wegman’s  on the way to the airport and get a nice loaf of crusty bread and a little “sumpin'” for dessert.

(Do you know that “desserts” spelled backwards is “stressed?”) Turns out the antidote is contained right inside the poison.)

Excellent.

Homecoming

I put the velvet comforter on the bed the other day and and I’ve been craving gingerbread, and ginger snaps, pumpkin spice lattes, and pot roast.

This weekend we had a fire in the fireplace for the first time. The cat, who has not slept on my bed since I put the cotton comforter on it back in June, has now made my bed hers again.

Lulu loves comfort

In the weeks and months I have not been writing here I have:

  • Done a 2 month cleanse
  • Attended a 5 day program with Yoganand at Kripalu
  • Started doing The Ultimate Yogi cds

Then, the other day, in response to my last post, one of my yoga students gave me a fountain pen. I uncapped it right then and there at my desk in the lounge and scribbled a few “test” words on a Post-It just to try it out, and I fell madly, deeply, hopelessly in love with it. I swear, I could hardly teach my class that night so anxious was I to get my hands on that pen!

It’s a Varsity disposable fountain pen made by Pilot (my fave pen company to begin with) and it writes like a dream. I feel like I have come home again.

I really want to love writing on the keyboard, I do.  I really want to love Scrivener and all the linking and research filing it lets me do, but I can’t seem to get my ideas out of the box there the way I can with fountain pen and paper.

It’s so weird because I am such a geek for electronics and I love all my gizmos. I am lusting for an Iphone 5 (even thought I hate phones and do not need one.) I love my Kindle. I adore my Ipad. My MacBook Pro is showing some signs of age (which makes me a little crazy because it’s not that old) but when it comes to writing, I’m completely old-fashioned: just a fountain pen, and a plain, unlined Moleskine notebook (the 5 x 81/4 size) turned landscape, and a quiet morning in my space chair.

Last week I was so excited because I thought I could have the best of both worlds: Evernote came out with a Moleskine specially designed to be able to store and search your scribblings!

Here’s how it works: You open the Evernote app and click on the camera within the app (it works with Ipad, Iphone, and Itouch w/camera) and take a picture of whatever you’ve written (or sketched) in the special Evernote Moleskine and then it saves your scribbles in the cloud where you can even tag them and search them.

But oh god, it is so clumsy. I found I did not like it at all for what I do and the way I write, but I think it might work for little things, like my daily log, but not for my long morning write.

I am thinking about doing NaNoWriMo again this year. (Do you remember I made a go of that last year? Got it all set up in Scrivener and everything, but then got hopelessly behind in my daily word count and abandoned it at the 10K mark?)

Okay, so this year I am going to take another stab at it and try for 50K words in a month doing it longhand, with fountain pen, in my (regular) Moleskine. I’m nuts, I know, but I am going to attempt a memoir. A spiritual memoir. I know…I know…such a cliched meme of the times, but I am curious about what I might learn about the trajectory of my life by writing down all the “dots” and then attempting to connect them.

This weekend is Homecoming and we are going to have a houseful of softball players doing their ritual, “Telling of the Stories of the Good Ole Days.” They are so sweet, so ridiculous, and they have such a good time, I can’t help but love them, but I will spend most of the weekend hiding from them up here in my room, finishing Stephen Cope’s latest, The Great Work of Your Life.

Today is a beautiful, blue October day. I plan to spend most of the afternoon cleaning up the yard, throwing out frost-bitten plants. Then I think I will make a big batch of my famous macaroni and cheese and eat it in front of the fire tonight.  In honor of homecoming.

 

 

 

 

The Difference between Fun and Pleasure

Today’s Photo-A-Day theme is: FUN. And so far this has been the hardest theme, philosophically, for me to wrap my brain around.  I have been trying to figure out the difference between things that are “fun” and things that are just “enjoyable” or “pleasurable.”

Laying around all afternoon reading and making notes in the margins of books is one of my most delicious of pleasures, but I wouldn’t call it “fun.”

When I think of all the things I like to do, (writing and yoga come to mind), I don’t think of these things as “fun” particularly.

They are richly satisfying, enjoyable and engrossing, but there is often a lot of resistance going in. They require discipline. I find the process of trying to articulate an idea really pleasurable, even though it is hard. (And I love having written most of all.) And when I go into my yoga room, I get totally and completely absorbed. But it’s often physically painful and mentally frustrating. (I have been known to cry and howl like an animal on my mat.)  But I never fail to exit my yoga room in total bliss. Practicing yoga daily is  pleasurable, but I would never call it “Fun.”  But last summer I tried Aerial yoga for the first time,–now that was fun! 

Doing unusual yoga is fun

So I think the way I would distinguish fun from pleasure is that fun is novel. Fun takes you out of your routine.

Today I went for a bike ride. It was really fun. But if I was training for a Triathalon and had to get in shape and ride a certain amount of miles per day on my bike to do so, my training might be pleasureable, but it probably wouldn’t be “fun.”

Last summer we went to Colorado and climbed some high mountains. The hikes were rigorous at times, but it was really, really fun.

Climbing high mountains is fun

But If I had to climb high mountains every day in order to get water, for example, mountain climbing would lose its allure.

This summer we did some wine tasting in the Wilamette Valley. I left the winery thinking: “I love wine tasting! Why don’t I do this more often? This is fun!”

Wine tasting is fun

But if I were a vintner and my business involved tasting wine all the time, not so much fun, methinks.

So it’s novelty and the breaking of routine that makes an activity “fun” for me. That’s why it’s so important for me to remind myself to, “Shake it up, Kath! Get out of your rut. Lose the routine. Be spontaneous!”

It’s hard to have fun sometimes.

Poor Me…More Wine

sign

This sign hangs in my dining room (right under the one that says: “Live well, Love much, Laugh often”)

I bought it for more for the word play on the homonym than because I resonated with the sentiment.

I love wine, and have grown to love it more and more over the years as I’ve trained my palate to taste more dimensions of it.

Mostly though, I love the language of wine. I love how some wines are “soft” and other are “metallic.”  I have tasted flabby wines and flinty ones, musty ones and mellow ones. I don’t like “green” wine (young, unaged, high in acidity), but prefer the “chewy”ones with great body and a strong aftertaste.

I love smelling them and figuring out if it’s licorice, tobacco, chocolate, or cherries I’m smelling.

I love the word “terroir” and thinking about how different soils within the very same vineyard can produce such different tasting grapes.

I have very rarely drowned my sorrows in a bottle of wine. (Mostly because I very rarely have “sorrows.”) A glass of wine, for me, is a treat and a delight, not a way to numb out or medicate.

That’s why I can hang this sign in my house. It’s just a funny play on words.

This is my favorite scene in the movie Sideways. It makes me swoon.

Ironing

When I was a kid there was no permanent press. You had to iron every thing. I used to cheat though, and just iron the sleeves and the collar of the blouse that went under  the jumper I wore to Catholic school. Since only the sleeves and the collar showed, what was the point of ironing the whole blouse?

On Saturdays my mother ironed. It was a whole freakin’ production. She’d sprinkle each garment to be ironed with water from a special sprinkler bottle, then roll each one up like a jelly roll and put it in the fridge in a plastic bag. Then she’d rig up the iron, attaching its cord to this thing like an antenna on a spring that kept the cord out of her way as she ironed.

She was big into spray starch too, so there was always a can of that at the ready. Then she’d turn on the TV and iron all afternoon until the fridge was empty of the clothes jelly rolls.

I liked heavy pound of the iron on the board, the smell of the steam, the chemically smell of the starch. The afternoon would drag on, as all the door knobs filled up with freshly pressed clothes.

Maybe that’s why I like to iron. It relaxes me. I smooth out my life along with the wrinkles, and as I work the nose of my Rowenta into the puckers and the creases at placket and cuff, it feels like deep therapy, the kind that requires a lot of tissues and even, sometimes, a pillow to cry into.