Category Archives: Zen

End of the Weekend.

This weekend is the first where we have been at home for the entire weekend and we have only had a moderate number of commitments (and one full day of No Things At All) since…mid-July?  I want you to know that I didn’t pull that date out of thin air, I actually had to look in my planner to remember a different time when we had no things to do.

Things I accomplished that were not scheduled activities:

  • Napping.
  • Cleaning the house (because that somehow fell by the wayside last weekend and it was terrible).
  • Reading an entire book.
  • Eating a Salted Caramel Ice Cream Cone from Honey & Mackie’s.
  • Watching Wild via HBO On Demand from Marcus’ side of the bed.
  • Volunteering (the volunteer work I do for IOCP is actually stuff I can do from home which is amazing).
  • Waking up without alarms.  This was extremely successful one morning when I woke up for the last time at 7:30 AM and extremely unsuccessful on the morning that I woke up for the last time at 5:30 AM.
  • Running.

Like, is this how the other half lives?  Because it was so amazingly refreshing.  We get to do it all over again next weekend, which is totally crazy to me and then it’s full speed ahead until late October.  I realize that when I re-read what I have written, about free time and whatnot, it sounds like I may be an acolyte at the cult of busy-ness.  But hand to God, I am really not someone who has any interest in glorifying “busy.”  I think it’s fairly well documented that my idea of a good night in is watching TV by myself on Marcus’ side of the bed and eating takeout.  Unfortunately, there is just not a lot of time for that at the current moment.  If it were a different year, I might be more frustrated by the lack of time for “me” or for “us”  but once again, we are going to have So Much Time To Stay Home once Critter is here.  That makes it easier to keep moving in some ways.

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A Little Bit of Rest

Can we just talk about tonight, kittens?

Because it has been wonderful.

I did some intensive workshopping with Galina at the Whole Foods Salad Bar.  I have not been in forever, so it was necessary.

Plus, Galina is The Friend who understands my deep and unabiding love of roasted garlic.  That they sell it already roasted there, ready and for the picking is just…beyond.

And then I came home, cracked open a beer in honor of American Craft Beer Week and watched Weight of the Nation (Part I: Consequences and Part II: Choices).

Why, yes.  I do have a yen for documentaries about public health, obesity, nutrition and food production.  Funny you should ask.

As I sat curled up on the couch, I started trying to figure out when the last time I had the time to sit and watch a few hours of TV by myself was.

Looking back on The Blog, it looks like it was April.  At least.

We can all ask the obvious question of spring, Where did the time go? but we all know that question doesn’t have an answer.

Don’t get me wrong, the last month has been absolutely wonderful and beyond full of friends, family and adventuring.

But tonight, it was really nice to have a little bit of rest.

How much “me time” do you get every week?

Zen Day

When I rolled out of bed this morning, the only thing I had on my agenda was a 6 mile run with the Run Club at The Running Room.

How out of the ordinary, I know.

But that’s all I really wanted on my schedule, and that’s all I really thought I was in the mood to handle.

If the answer to a week of vacation is a manic, seven-day race to the bottom, then I thought that I owed it to myself to enjoy a day where I had literally no expectations for myself or the world.

So I ran.  With lots of people, actually.  Which was different since if I’ve run with others before it has been one other.  Not many others.  But that was good.  Because running with lots of people is an effective way to kill off whatever expectations you attempted to set for yourself.

As it turns out, expectations were exactly what I was trying to kill off.

After returning home to enjoy my favorite weekend ritual of a long, post-run shower with a deep conditioning treatment, homegirl needed to eat.

Where eating at home is concerned, Sunday lunch is ALWAYS a challenge in our house.

Usually we’ve managed to eat all of our leftovers, and I haven’t started cooking anything for the new week.  Like, say, dinner.  Some days we’re in the mood to forage (he usually ends up eating soup, I usually end up eating a second breakfast) and other days, it’s just easier/more relaxing to grab something.

Because some days you just don’t want to be The Decider.

Today, the fridge was empty and I had a non-specific craving for…food.  So after I downed a grapefruit (this has replaced Blood Oranges as my latest love), I suggested that we head out to the Midtown Global Market.

It’s a favorite weekend lunch spot because we can eat in the same place without having to commit to eating the same thing.  Today was no different.

We found a Camel Burger for him.

Do you love the plating?  Because I almost died of laughter when he lifted up the top of the bun like so.  For the record, it was meant to showcase the surprise slice of pineapple within.

And a plate of tacos for her.

They were disappointing shadows of the glory we tasted out in California.  Not that I was really surprised by that.

What is love?  Ordering the combination platter so that your husband can eat your rice and beans instead of the crappy fries that came with his sandwich.

Once we got back home, the rest of the day was dedicated to drinking tea, reading The China Study and watching Valentine’s Day.  And Marcus headed off to a Superbowl Party on the other side of the city.

Yes, I realize that of all of the things in the world I could have picked to entertain myself with, I chose two things that rest at polar-opposite ends of the scale.

Who says you have to choose between Hollywood and legitimate research?

To that end, I’m comfortable saying that even though Valentine’s Day is ridiculously cheesy, it might be one of my favorite chick flicks.  No, I don’t have a favorite part.  But I think they did an 11/10 job of creating loveable characters.

On the other hand, The China Study is mind-blowing (in a preach it to the choir-sort of way) and will probably get a post all its own when I’m done with it.  I’m so glad I finally got it from the Library.  I can’t even remember when I put my name on the Holds List for it, to be totally honest.

Football was just not part of the Superbowl Sunday equation for me this year.

What’s one cheesy movie you’re embarrassed to admit you love?

How often do you look at your refrigerator and find that there’s tons of food in there but nothing “to eat?”

Have you ever eaten Camel?  What’s the most exotic meat you’ve tried?

Shutting Off

The only way I can describe this day is as running on empty.  There is a point where exhaustion takes over and every part of your body hurts, though you have done nothing to warrant that pain.

I’m praying desperately that when I wake up tomorrow morning, that choking haze will have lifted. 

That I will feel renewed.  Life will have a semblance of order. That I will once again have a sliver of control.

What do you do to be gentle to yourself?

For Good Reason

This morning I woke up to a raging sore throat that felt not entirely unlike what I hypothesize swallowing sandpaper might be like.  No, not the stuff with the really fine grit.  The stuff with the really coarse grit.

Apparently sometimes you don’t know how much you were using your Outdoor Voice until you’re not anymore.

Croaking = Not My Cutest Moment.  Though Marcus seemed to get a bit of a kick out of it.

As we all know, The Show Must Go On.  Even though, in this case that meant leaving the house with a wet head to drive in freezing rain.

Y’all know I don’t ever want you to forget that I was a blonde in a past life.

But it was for good reason – Emily, Ann and I made plans weeks ago to gather at Falafel King so we could workshop a summer plan of ours that is (finally) starting to come together in a coherent way.

I mean, come on kittens, I wouldn’t leave the house on a day like today for just anyone.

So we workshopped away over plates of wonderful Middle Eastern food.  Hummus, Spinach Pie, Falafel and Salad were just what the doctor ordered.

Once we adjourned and I made it (safely) back to The Nest, I curled up in bed with a marathon of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills that I promptly fell asleep to.

It’s extremely rare that I actually have a three-hour chunk of time on the weekend where I can enjoy that sort of thing without the fear of Getting Everything Else Done hanging over my head.

And to be totally honest, I usually can’t justify spending that much time in front of the television set.  I mean, come on.  There’s always life that needs living.

So just call it coincidence.  Or The Universe at work.  Because there was definitely a point where I thought that the best I was going to be able to do was Guy Fieri.  No one is strong enough to take that for 30 minutes, much less three hours.

Once I emerged from my fleece-cocoon, I took it upon myself to research The Official Date of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  Because really, it’s never too soon to start making plans to watch The River Pageant and throw a “street party” of our own.

For the record, The Big Day is June 3rd.

How this actually fits in with anything else I’ve just told you, I’m not entirely sure.   It likely has to do with the fact that beyond doing three loads of laundry and windex-ing every flat surface in our house, I’m counting it as My Major Accomplishment of the day.

What’s your definition of a perfect lazy afternoon?

p.s. Mads is hosting a giveaway on her blog that includes everything from slippers to dark chocolate with sea salt.  You know you want it!

This is the life.

Today was the zen Sunday that I’ve been waiting for since the middle of December.

Translation: When I got home from run club, my only “projects” for the day were deep conditioning my hair, removing my nail polish and doing a load of laundry.  Which still needs to be folded.

This is the life.

Or so they say.

I needed this chance to just sit and take a moment, undisturbed.

So I celebrated by planting myself in a sunny spot on the couch and finishing my book.

Three hours later I turned the last page, removed myself from the situation and decided that I would like for that sort of thing to happen more often.

Once upon a time When Marcus and I first moved in together it did, but I’m not sure what activity replaced it.  More running?  More blogging?  More cooking?

It’s a mystery to me.

As the sun started to set, Marcus and I debated dinner options.  Yes, I meal planned for this week.  No, I wasn’t in the mood for anything that I had initially picked.

Meal planning can be tricky like that sometimes.

It did, however, manage to inspire us to bring back Cheese Happy Hour.  In which we arrange a little tray of cheese and snacks and pour ourselves a drink.

Another stalwart from the We Just Moved In Together days.  Look.

It’s a lovely way to enjoy something “nice” without having to leave the house/spend money.  It’s an even better way for us to spend time with one another sans-technology.

Which brings me to now, sitting in front of my netbook, swathed in a Ralph Lauren crewneck sweatshirt with a mug of Vanilla Caramel tea.  In one of my Missoni coffee mugs, of course.  It brings me to a happy place.  And because I was feeling particularly snacky, a bowl of popcorn tossed with Old Bay Seasoning.

Yes, Do to all of the above.

Do you ever action a Cheese Happy Hour-style arrangement?

What’s your vision of a zen Sunday?

Lovely, Relaxing Things

For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we operate on a really broad schedule.  There’s always a gathering with all of the aunts, uncles and cousins, but it’s dependent on which day my uncle (who works as an anesthetist) has off.  We do a fondue with my immediate family (including the in-laws) on the other night.  On Christmas Day there is a family breakfast.

This year, our immediate-family gathering is on Christmas Eve.  Which leaves me with a broad swath of time to fill before we gather for drinks and dinner.

All of our weekends since Thanksgiving have been Go-Go-Go, so it would be really nice to be able to just enjoy a day surrounded by lovely, relaxing things.

I actioned some baking for tonight’s dinner.

Yes, I’m working out of the Best Bake Sale Cookbook again.  You should be working out of it too.

A few days ago, I thought I would have the energy to tackle the giant pile of magazines hiding beneath the coffee table.

And then I decided to narrow my focus to the December Issues.

Now, as the morning slips away, I’m thinking that it might be more realistic to narrow my focus to one December Issue.

In other circles, that’s known as Managing Expectations.

Last but not least, I need to find some time to address my mitts and paws.

They haven’t been a mess, but I feel like it’s hard to get into the celebratory spirit when you look down at your nails and you’re greeted with the sight of…nothing.

It’s unacceptable, really.

Tomorrow, a gift exchange in the most tried and true tradition of Edward & Bella.  Prepare Yourselves Emotionally.

Do you celebrate more on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

Do you have any plans to relax during the holiday weekend?  Or will it be go-go-go for you?