Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day Sixty-five

Let's see, today I...
  • Did yoga
  • Went to my classes
  • Finally went to a local farmer's market - it's not officially opened, but there were still sellers
  • Planted what I bought at market (a strawberry plant and two varieties of tomatoes)
  • Baked a cake (funfetti, pink icing, in the shape of a star)
  • Took a nap
And, I think before bed, I will...
  • Do some homework
  • Watch Devdas

Monday, March 30, 2009

Day Sixty-four

I was once told by someone that they "always felt decadent" when we would hang out, because of the foods I kept around, and the sensual pleasure I took from eating them. I love to share them! Whether it was bread, cheese, an interesting juice or nut butter... The best things I think are twists or refinements on familiar things; almond butter? Of course! But I never thought of that...

There was a New York Times article I was reading that I think sums up my attitude lately: with the economy so unsettled, people want to control what they can. Choosing organic, less processed or so-called natural foods is a relatively inexpensive way to do that. Not to get on a soap box, but I think the way we choose to spend our money is important - what brands, companies, and by extension, policies or ideologies you support is important. Even in small ways, which really aren't so small if they effect you and your quality of life, are they?

(I've gathered most of the ingredients to make chai tea and will hopefully be able to this week!)

Day Sixty-three

One thing I always look forward too when I get home from my long Sundays is looking at Post Secret. Here's a few that I particularly liked:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Day Sixty-two

I just got through doing some scrubbing in the bathroom, sweeping, washing the dishes, and in general tidying up. It's nice to walk into a room and have everything be radiant; sparkling and clean. I'll admit that living in a clean space is sort of a relief, or a pick-me-up when you come home from a bad day. It just looks good.

I also tried using vinegar on my hair and face today - 20% apple cider vinegar to 80% water. I can't yet if it's done much for my face, but my hair already feels so silky and smooth. I'll definitely do it every day, after I shampoo.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Day Sixty-one

We shouldn't give up on our childhood dreams when we leave childhood - when we become adults, we should transform them, beyond what we could have fathomed as children, into something greater, more beautiful, but at heart, the same dream.

When we grow up, maybe that's just what we should do with our childhood selves, too.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day Sixty

Stuff that cheered me up on a cold, rainy day, when I wasn't feeling well to begin with: hot tea, dry clothes, playing with my dogs, going to bed early.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day Fifty-nine

Maybe it's because I'm pretty broke (thank you, economy!) but lately I've been more interested in going green (in the more serious, diy way and not the "replace bad product with green product, continue consuming as usual" way). Besides feeling, well, like you matter in the big picture and can really make a difference through your individual efforts - basically, being actualizing and giving your self-sufficiency - I like how this version of the green movement can put you into contact with all manner of strange things. Like soap nuts.

While I was out running errands today, I finally picked up a pumice stone. I've always worked on my feet, so I think this sort of consistent attention to them will be very good. I can tell you, my feet actually feel better after being soaked and scrubbed... Like, the circulation is better. Good $3 to have spent.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day Fifty-eight

I had some chai tea today, and was reminded of a goal list I made a while ago, a 101 things in 1001 days list. One of them was to "make my own tea blend," inspired by a cute Ghibli movie I saw a while ago.

I've enjoyed chai tea since I first had it; sure, I've always had the Americanized style, probably all hopped up on sugar and artificial flavorings, but nonetheless... Maybe I've fallen for a sort of "neo-Orientalism" that seems popular lately, but it's nice to try and experience something that is strictly foreign. Helps me feel better about not traveling - you can bring the world to you if you can't go out into the world. Except, I realized, duh, the chai I get from the coffee shop is NOT this sort of "foreign" experience I want.

Then I realized, of course! Look up the recipe and make it yourself! So I'm going to experiment and come up with my own chai blend. Most recipes include cardamom, cinnamon, fresh ginger, cloves, with a base of strong black tea, water, and whole milk. Some have mint, some avoid aromatic herbs altogether... I think I might like putting in some vanilla as well. When I figure it out, I'll let you know...

PS: I took my bath yesterday, and it's everything I could have wanted!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day Fifty-seven

I think today I need to break out my salts and take a bath! I'm sore, so I really think it would be therapeutic. Maybe I could borrow some petals from the flowers I just planted... Read and listen to something moving (Art in Fugue? Maybe that's too serious...)

It's good not to be too serious!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day Fifty-six

I decided, very early on, just to accept life unconditionally; I never expected it to do anything special for me, yet I seemed to accomplish far more than I had ever hoped. Most of the time it just happened to me without my ever seeking it. Audrey Hepburn

It will take quite a long time before you find your calm, serene mind in your practice. Many sensations come, many thoughts or images arise, but they are just waves of your own mind. Nothing comes from outside your mind. Usually we think of our mind as receiving impressions and experiences from outside, but that is not a true understand of out mind. The true understanding is that the mind includes everything; when you think something comes from o utside it means only that something appears in your mind. Nothing outside yourself can cause any trouble. You yourself make the waves in your mind. If you leave your mind as it is, it will become calm. This mind is called big mind. Shunryu Suzuki

An Elder said: Cut off from yourself rash confidence, and control your tongue and your belly, and abstain from wine. And if anyone speak to you about any matter do not argue with him. But if he speaks rightly, say: Yes. If he speaks wrongly say to him: You know what you are saying. But do not argue with him about the things he has said. Thus your mind will be at peace. The Wisdom of the Desert

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Day Fifty-five

I revived an old habit of mine this morning: yoga.

In my junior and senior years of high school, I was a work-out fiend. I'd wake up at about 5 am so I could break a good sweat, shower, eat a big breakfast (a habit I never lost), and go off to school. At some point in there, doing to elliptical machine was just too much (easy as I found it, it becomes tiresome to just stare at the wall... plus, you're just moving around in the same way all the time, so my legs started to get cramps), so I turned on the fitness channel that came with the new tv package we were getting. I can't for the life of me remember the name of the program, or even the woman who ran it (I really think it was "Sarah Ivanhoe" but the woman I get when I search that isn't the same...). It was a wonderful program; the lady had a perfect voice, it went at a good pace, and it showed variety in both practitioners (young and old, men and women, etc) and in poses. I greatly appreciated that it didn't feel rushed or over-sexed wrt casting.

Unfortunately, after I moved out I didn't get that channel and couldn't find, say, a DVD or VHS or something of this program. So I gradually fell out of the habit... Since a lot of other yoga instructors I find to be too abrasive, or fast, or they don't focus hardly at all on breathing, or whenever I'd look up to see what my posture should be like, I'd get a close up of the instructor's - well, you get the idea.

I've had, for a while, on DVD I thought was pretty good - Yoga Shakti with Shiva Rea. She moves a bit fast, but the exercises were good and the chapters could be ordered around so you can sort of "customize" the routine. I hadn't been doing it for various reasons - not enough space in my apartment, and my dogs would get in the way, and eventually (after I moved to a new apartment with more space) I had just forgotten about it. Until now!

I have to say, I always found yoga to help me wake up in the morning, and feel more energetic throughout the day, and most importantly, help me focus - it sort of leaves you with a sense of clarity in your mind, and the ability to concentrate (I reckon this comes from the complete awareness in yoga that you have to have of your body, and your breath).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Day Fifty-four

To celebrate the first day of Spring, I planted pansies in my flowerboxes (one has purple and red/yellow, the other has periwinkle and orange), as well as a creeping perennial with the most wonderful small, blue flowers in a pot (seriously, they almost seem... iridescent, they're beautiful). That one I'll put out back, where the sun isn't as harsh, and I can pass by it every day as I go out.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day Fifty-three

I went to go see a lecture today. There's something about the spoken word, and gesturing, inflection, expression, posture, clothing... It really creates an entirely different feeling to learning and interacting, something so much worthwhile, I think, than internet interactions (although this isn't to say that these aren't worthwhile) - it's visceral, and satisfying (even to just watch someone and listen) in a way that I find internet learning to leave me feeling somewhat emptier - perhaps I'm lacking some sort of context to this onslaught of information? Or maybe I just crave feeling a connection?

Voice can be such a powerful and beautiful sound (certainly, a part of beauty has something to do with voice, or speech). Truly wonderful voices are precious and, I think, an absolute pleasure to listen to, especially when giving life to eloquent sentiments. Deliberate without being contrived or forced, powerful, clear, and utterly confident.

I love Charlton Heston's voice, and think he utilizes it to great effect. It was hard just picking one clip... Honestly. Besides this, I also love two Planet of the Apes clips ("get your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty apes!" and "It's a madhouse! A madhouse!") and all of Ben-Hur (probably my all time favorite movie). I've also heard him reading a passage from the Jurassic Park novel, and frankly I think it sounds mesmerizing. You could definitely criticize it as being sort of... theatrical, but I think, that's the point, and that's why I like it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day Fifty-two

Tea, I think, is just such a versatile beverage. Not to mention, some of the best flatware seems to come from tea, and, I think, a pretty fun ritual of "tea time" and a peculiar style of restaurant, the "tea room." I love the trays, and the finger sandwiches, with tea to go with your savory hors d'oeuvres and dessert tea to go with your sweets.

I've always wanted to make my own loose tea blend, but I don't know where I could go to buy various unblended loose teas to experiment. I hope there's somewhere around here like that...

My favorite teas:
PG Tips
Rooibos teas from the Republic of Tea, esp. get gorgeous (though all the "gets" are pretty good)
Tea from my favorite tea room in the area

(Psst! I think my favorite is the black saucer towards the center, with the little bulbs of color in the corners!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Day Fifty-one

I think one of the best simple pleasures, one that I was going without for a long time, is milk. The reason I wouldn't drink it is because I couldn't afford the good stuff. I at the very least only want to drink organic milk - I mean, I can't afford organic in other areas, but for whatever reason, it's just an intolerable thought for me to drink regular milk (for starters, it doesn't taste as good). My most favorite milk in the whoooole world is the creamline (that is, unhomogenized) whole milk from Homestead Creamery. It has the most amazing taste and texture of any milk out there, I think. Barring that, lately I've been budgeting so that I can get a gallon of organic milk.

It's funny, I feel pretty strongly about whole milk. I used to drink it constantly as a child, but when I got older I switched over to the more adult skim milk. Looking back, I'm not sure how I was kidding myself that skim drinkable! Hahaha, I jest.

I love a glass of milk in the morning, with a small bowl of yogurt! Also, with a chocolate cupcake with thick icing... Or a bowl of berries.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Day Fifty

One of my favorite scents, and flavors, is vanilla. I think it unfairly gets a bad rap - "that's so vanilla," like it's dull or boring. Personally, I like its pleasing, mild flavor, and versatility. It can be childish (vanilla sugar cookies, vanilla cake, vanilla ice cream) and a bit more sophisticated (vanilla mousse, vanilla creme brulee) and flat out bizarre (vanilla... milk?). Not to mention, it's a vital part of many dessert recipes generally, and chocolate!

Especially as a scent, it can make your mouth water, or be luxurious without being foodie, subtly sweet and hypnotic. I really do love vanilla, and here are some of my favorite vanilla scents:

Vanille Extreme (Comptoir Sud Pacifique)
Vanilla Extasy (Montale)
Vanille Absolu (Montale)
Amande Sucree (Sinfonia di Note)

And a few scents that are on my wishlist...

Madera (Omnia Profumo)
Note Vanillee (M. Micallef)
Amber Vanilla (Regina Harris)

Day Forty-nine

Sorry for being a bit late today... Sundays are the days I work all day, so getting to this can be tough. Anyway!

I just confirmed today that I'm going to do something that I'm actually scared to do, even though I'm volunteering. It's part of my goal to build self confidence. The event itself isn't until April 10th, but the first meeting is on Friday, and well, I'm pretty nervous. Everyone there seems to know each other pretty well, or be doing this with friends, and I'll be doing this by myself, and I'm not always the best at warming up to people right away or making friends really fast... Plus I've never done it before, and other people there have... But I'm sure it'll be fine if I just keep a clear head.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Day Forty-eight

I was out walking, and couldn't help but notice all the new flowers - violet, blue, yellow, white... So lovely; just bursting with vitality and life, but demure about it. Flowers tend to be mysterious like that, I wouldn't think for a second that a flower is really so shy. Then again, maybe that's why they're so beautiful - they don't realize it themselves! (Personally, I think that's the best kind of beauty - the unassuming, unpretentious kind)

I was inspired - I think I'll have to plant some flowers in my two flower boxes, one of each color, so I have a rainbow.

I was going to put a potted aloe plant in the middle

Day Forty-seven

It's sleeting/raining outside, hahaha the weather lately has been totally crazy and unpredictable.

Here, an important message:

For me, I don't think my face is very expressive - I work in hospitality, so I do a lot of smiling, but they aren't real smiles, they're "it's my job to smile now!" smiles. I don't know, then, because they aren't heartfelt, that they're big enough, or obvious enough, or come through on my inexpressive face. Or, really, any subtle change in my face, I might furrow my brow ever so slightly, but I wonder if anyone notices the little change in expression. Really, I think things like facial expressions and posture and hand gestures are very important, and I immediately notice them in other people. I wonder if people do the same with me, and what they read from that... I wonder if it's the things I want to say; probably not, things like posture and gesture tend to say, maybe along with what you want to say, things you really didn't mean to say.

Hm, maybe I'll start keeping a record in my moleskine of what makes me smile everyday - write it down immediately, "such and such". Or at least, when I'm able to get to it. I guess I have a secret, something that makes me smile every time - but I can't talk about it, it's a little weird! Although I'm sure a lot of people feel that way - but secret pleasures are somehow more fun than pleasures that are out in the open.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day Forty-six

With Spring on its way my appetite for fruit is growing. Bananas suddenly seem too dull. I want peaches, berries, plums, clementines, oranges, cherries...

When you pick them yourself, fresh from the plant, it's hard to decide what's your favorite. I don't think I could say pineapple (being imported and unripe) is my favorite anymore; I think I like peaches (from the orchard about an hour away, picked with my sister) better.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day Forty-five

I love this.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day Forty-four

Today there were a few firsts: the first day of me riding my bike this year, and the first day of me ever riding a bike with heels. It mostly went well - but as I was riding towards campus someone shouted out to me "your tire in the back is almost flat!" There's a bikeshop near campus, and the guy working there was nice enough to let me use the pump (and then, since I didn't really pump it full enough, to pump more air into it... yea, pretty absent-minded). To say thank you I bought him some coffee and a vegan peanut butter cup from a local vegetarian/vegan coffee shop. All in all, not such a bad day.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Day Forty-three

Right now I'm a fan of bold color.

Originally from Google Reader? I don't know where it's from...

Originally from here.

Originally from here.

Originally from here.

Originally from here.

On another note, it's a windy 80 degrees here. Last Monday I was scrambling around town because of icy roads and snow, trying to find an internet connection. It's a bit disorientating, when you realize how quickly things change (that in fact, stillness is so rare it seems more believable to say that there never really was such a thing...)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Day Forty-two

Originally from here.

Yesterday I saw the first bee and the first butterfly of the new year. I think it's safe to say now that Spring really is on the way. I went out for an afternoon walk with my dogs, which I find is always very grounding. Now, I'm anticipating the new leaves to unfurl on the trees - they're prettiest in their first week, when they're still a bright, almost neon or lime green. Especially after it rains - then the bark of the tree gets so dark, the new leaves look like they're glowing.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Day Forty-one

I love this video! I love the song too, and the band, back then..

The Minute Waltz, which is such a fun, mischievous sort of piece, is accelerated in this playing, making it even more fun I think.

I heard about this band, The Bird and the Bee, on NPR not to long ago. I love the dreamy quality to their music and vocals.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Day Forty

Originally from here.

I just woke up, and it's nearly 1 o' clock. I have to say, it feels pretty good. The weather outside is fabulous, a complete 180 from Monday - it's a breezy 60 degrees, and it's going to get warmer. I think I'll eat some yogurt, take a shower, and go out to the library.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day Thirty-nine

Originally from here.

'The folk are the grandest I have ever seen. They are far superior to us, and that is why they are called the gentry. They are not a working class, but a military-aristocratic class, tall and noble-appearing. They are a distinct race between our own and that of spirits, as they have told me. Their qualifications are tremendous. "We could cut off half the human race, but would not," they said, "for we are expecting salvation." And I knew a man three or four years ago whom they struck down with paralysis. Their sight is so penetrating that I think they could see through the earth. They have a silvery voice, quick and sweet. The music they play is most beautiful. They take the whole body and soul of young and intellectual people who are interesting, transmuting the body to a body like their own. I asked them once if they ever died, and they said, "No; we are always kept young." Once they take you and you taste food in their palace you cannot come back. You are changed to one of them, and live with them for ever. They are able to appear in different forms. One once appeared to me, and seemed only four feet high, and stoutly built. He said, "I am bigger than I appear to you now. We can make the old young, the big small, the small big." One of their women told all the secrets of my family...'

Originally from here.

'As children we were always afraid of fairies, and were taught to say "God bless
them! God bless them!" whenever we heard them mentioned.

'In our family we always made it a point to have clean water in the house at night for the fairies.

'If anything like dirty water was thrown out of doors after dark it was necessary to say "Hugga, hugga salach!" as a warning to the fairies not to get their clothes wet.

'Untasted food, like milk, used to be left on the table at night for the fairies. If you were eating and food fell from you, it was not right to take it back, for the fairies wanted it. Many families are very serious about this even now. The luckiest thing to do in such cases is to pick up the food and eat just a speck of it and then throw the rest away to the fairies.

'Ghosts and apparitions are commonly said to live in isolated thorn-bushes, or thorn-trees. Many lonely bushes of this kind have their ghosts. For example, there is Fanny's Bush, Sally's Bush, and another I know of in County Sligo near Boyle.'

Originally from here.

I think my passion for these sorts of fairy tales has been reawakened, in part thanks to finding some wonderful websites.

SurLaLune Fairy Tales
Internet Sacred Text Archive
Folklore, Myth and Legend
Folklore and Mythology
Irish Literature, Mythology, Folklore, and Drama

What I've been gorging on lately is a book: The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries, written in 1911. I think, as far as fairy tales go, this 'style' is one of my favorites - that of the eyewitness account.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Day Thirty-eight

Since I'm growing out my hair, I was poking around online for hair-growing tips, which then turned in to looking at general beauty tips. Here's some of my favorites:

Smile daily. You'll reveal a new you. wikiHow

Originally from here.

We’ve found that one of the greatest ways to have a magnetic and attractive personality is to be passionate about something. Why Passion Is So Attractive

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone. Audrey Hepburn

Originally from here.

Exercise, eat properly, and drink plenty of water. wikiHow

You shall make a full-body massage an integral part of your day. The Ten Commandments for Naturally Beautiful Skin

And most importantly:

Originally from here.

Day Thirty-seven

Originally from here.

I feel like such a kid - my night class got canceled today! I don't have to rush to do research for my presentation! Hurray! Although as far as I can tell none of my other classes were canceled today, oh well, no matter. (Sidenote: I'd say one of the best times of my life was during the "Blizzard of '96" - school was canceled for a week, and the snow was up to my waist.)

Originally from here.

You know, since I have electricity now I think I'll make peanut butter toast, and have both milk and orange juice with it. And I should munch on the rest of those berries, and maybe an apple. There's something about winter days that really brings out my appetite.