Thursday, January 15, 2009

Satiety List

I think we should start a new tradition. It's always fun to read everyone's wish lists for Christmas, and it's always fun to watch other people open their presents, so I think we all should write a "receipt list" to share the joy of presents with those who weren't fortunate enough to be there (or be paying attention) when we opened them.

Several of my offspring were kind enough to feed my current obsession with monetary policy. Virgie and Brandon gave me The Case Against the Fed, and Ben gave me Secrets of the Temple, which is a lot thicker than I expected. Peter and Nancy gave me The Real World Guide to Banking and Finance. I've started reading that one first, probably because it's the shortest. It's hard going for me, because it consists of articles and essays from Dollars and Sense, the Democratic Socialist magazine. I'm sure it's good for me to read articles from a point of view towards which I am antipathetic, but I'm finding it difficult to finish the articles once they go into a socialist rant. It is working, in the sense that I wanted it to, because I am already finding that I know much more about money than I did a month ago. After I finish all three of these books, I should be able to take on barstool economists without fear!

Virgie and Brandon also gave me Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Night on Bald Mountain -- not for listening to at night when one is alone, I assure you!

Mariam contributed to my Middle East collection (already about 30 books strong) with Oil, Profits, and Peace -- another book that is most likely way more lefty than I am naturally inclined to be, but therefore a perspective widener.

Dad and Pablita gave me a cool photo keychain that supposedly holds 60 photos. Feel sorry for anyone who has to sit next to me on a plane after I figure out how to put pictures on it.

On the games front, we are now well-supplied with entertainment to while away the winter evenings: Beatnick gave me Boggle and waterproof Uno -- I mean, how many times have you had your friends over and wanted to play Uno in the jacuzzi but were afraid to get the cards wet? No more worries about that for me! The Lewises supplied me with the non-waterproof version of Uno, for everyday use. I will have to practice up so that I can stay ahead of Daryl when she comes to visit. And Mom gave me the NYTimes crossword puzzle calendar, which may already be the most-used present of the year.

Oh, and Jenny also gave me a darling knitted basket with sleep aides, including a sheep! We decided that it might help induce sleep if one had only one sheep to count: "One. One. One." Exactly like the meditation that I learned at the hospital.

There were a few other things to round out the take, making it clear that my morning mantra is really true: "I have everything I need right now. I am surrounded by love."

Thanks to my wonderful family, who spoil me rotten!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Better than SEX!?

Yesterday I finally had the opportunity to ride my Christmas present for the first time. Simon gave me a "basic" mountain bike, although the plan was that I was just going to ride it on the roads around town. No going off-road for me, thanks very much; I'm a mostly-sedentary risk-averse woman who hasn't ridden a bicycle in 26 years, give or take a few hours. But since we live on a mountain, Simon thought that perhaps a mountain bike might be the right choice.
So yesterday we went to Hurkey Creek so that I could practice riding on the paved roads around the campground. I quickly realized that although you never forget how to ride a bicycle, your leg muscles sure do! After we rode up and down just a few little hills (for a grand total of about 15 minutes), my legs were aching like billy-oh. So Simon talked me into walking the bikes up a little trail called Coyote Run. He says he honestly just meant to walk, which was very patient of him.

However, after we walked up a little way, there was a short downhill bit that seemed pretty safe, so I hopped on my bike and followed Simon down (see photo). Sheer ecstasy! I couldn't get enough after that. Although the sun was about to go down and my legs were feeling like jelly, I felt like a kid again: "Please let me ride around the block two more times, Mom, and then I'll come in!"

Suddenly I understand my husband's obsession. What a high! And how sad that I have to be away from my beautiful bike for 4 days!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dinner for Two

It seemed a little sad that it was just Simon and me for dinner on Christmas Eve, but look what a lovely dinner we had! The lamb had only stopped bleating a few minutes before it was carved, as you can see. Those are roasted potatoes, carrots, and beets (sorry Patrick, but at least you can take comfort in the fact that there are now a few less beets in the world). And there are Simon's special roasted tomatoes, possibly the yummiest vegetable in the world.

Hopefully next year we'll have some guests to share with (hint, hint).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What is that cold white stuff falling from the sky?

Anyone who chose December 13 as the day of the first snow of the season in Idyllwild wins! We got about an inch and a half last night. They are predicting more tonight, but we can still see the stars, so we'll see about that. We took a long walk to town today after the snow had melted a bit and then frozen, so everything was covered in ice. I only fell down once. I had forgotten how much it stings when you fall down on ice. It made me feel young again.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Action without Karma

Would you believe I bought yet another yoga book? Since Simon took the yoga book we were using to Denmark, I tried to use Moving into Stillness to get started again, but it was just too overwhelming to read three full pages of text for each asana. So I got another book by the same author as the book we were using before, Richard Hittleman. I haven't actually started practicing yoga yet, but I've been dipping into the philosophy section, and today I read this:

Approval and improvement frequently are the incentives for one to sally forth
into the world to improve it. That is, the ego, seeing the world as
imperfect, appoints itself as the agent to help perfect it. (There are
certain egos who don't just want to help but have decided to take on the entire
job themselves.) The reality of imperfection is reinforced on a
second-to-second basis by the media and almost all with whom you come in
contact. You are informed, loud and clear, that the world is in terrible
condition, disaster is imminent, and madmen are running amok everywhere.
But all is not necessarily lost. You are also made to know that although
man has wreaked havoc, he can extricate himself from the chaos. This
dictum effectively keeps you in a state of acute anxiety which allows the ego to
remind you that man's ingenuity (itself) must take charge of the situation if
the world is to be saved. So, the ego fabricates chaos and then convinces
you that that it will cope with the chaos.
Richard Hittleman, Yoga for Health

No wonder I feel so anxious, with the constant reminders that the polar cap is melting, the hole in the ozone is growing, madmen are running our country (not to mention Turkmenistan and Zimbabwe), the infrastructure is crumbling, famine is just around the corner, and x number of species are becoming extinct every day. With the responsibility for all this, who wouldn't drink?

Hittleman goes on to say, "Is the world imperfect, or is your vision imperfect? You will discover, possibly to your astonishment, that as your inner vision is clarified, the world magically improves."

I'm not sure how that happens, but I'm willing to give it a serious try.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

So Jenny gave me a little tag project to think about in my spare time.

Here are the rules:
1. Write the title to your own memoir using 6 words.
2. Post it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who tagged you.
4. Tag 5 more blogs.

Since I can't use "And Now, For Something Completely Different," I'll go with another movie quote.

"Why Is All the Rum Gone?"

I can't wait to find out what Jill's memoir will be titled.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

No Wisdom Here, Only Pain

Lately I have had the strongest urge to go out to a bar and drink. I desperately miss the camaraderie, the joy of meeting strangers and old acquaintances, the easy-flowing conversations, the lack of inhibition, and, most of all, the feeling of belonging, of being home. Without that refuge, I feel lonely and bored. I feel like I am a boring person when the most interesting thing that happens in my day is getting access to Excel 2007 at work, or making progress on Daryl's afghan.

I shared this feeling with my therapist, and he reminded me that it is natural for me to grieve for the loss of my relationship with alcohol -- that it is no less intense than losing a loved one.

I think it's like a woman who has been in an abusive relationship and finally breaks it off because she realizes that the violence is escalating and is afraid for her life. But after she leaves, she misses the good times she used to have with her lover when he wasn't hitting her, and all the reasons that she loved him in the first place flood her memory. When he calls and asks her to go out, promising that it will be better this time, that he's learned to control his anger, she yearns to see him. She feels lost without him. Being with him was her main identity, and she doesn't know what to do with herself now. She knows with her head that he is poison to her and that it won't be better, it will only get worse until he actually kills her. But there is a gaping hole in her life that only he can fill, and it makes her feel like risking her life is worth it, since she is so miserable without him.