Sunday, February 27, 2011

Will I?

I finally made it to one of my all time favorite yoga classes again yesterday. Devin and I have been pretty good about going to yoga once a week for the past 6 months, but it's usually at night after our days are done. This particular class meets at noon or at 7pm in a location far across town, both of which are obstacles to attending. Regardless, we made it to class yesterday at noon, and thank goodness we did cause I've been in a foul mood lately and this class can really "blow the stink off", as my grandmother used to say. 

Kimber Simpkins is the instructor of this fantastic Anusara practice, and I find that her classes always challenge and reward me in a different way, each time. Kimber pairs each class with a theme, or as I like to think of it, a teaching. Yesterday she gently led us through asanas as she spoke about the idea of "Will I?", a question which elicits intrinsic motivation, as opposed to our usual approach of "I will.", extrinsic motivation with means to produce an outcome.  

She spoke of this article, a study by Ibrahim Senay and Dolores Albarracin. If you don't feel like downloading the full PDF, I found this article by Jonah Lehrer which gives a summary about the research study. (Sidenote: Jonah Lehrer is a contributor to Radiolab. If you haven't listened to Radiolab you should. Podcasts available for free at their website.) I find the idea of 'Will I' to be an invitation toward doing something, a question that creates space around something you might want to accomplish, rather than the usual 'To Do' list of things I "should" do. For someone like me, (super organized, overwhelmed with a sense of obligation of things that need to be done) my 'To Do' list hangs over me like a heavy blanket of dark clouds. Reframing the list with the opening of "Will I?" is like watching the dark clouds begin to break apart and catching a glimpse of sunshine on the other side. 

Thanks Kimber for offering a great teaching for my mind and body. I sure needed it.

And for those of you reading this, please hop on over to Kimber's blog, Finding Fullness: How one woman found yoga, eased her inner hunger, and started loving herself.
She's working on getting her first book published, and if you like what you read, go ahead and "Follow" her to support her toward this end.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Book Club - February

The second Book Club of 2011. 
A good time was had by all! (Though we missed Anna!)
This month we read: On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. 

I think overall we gave it 3.5 to 4.5 stars. Food theme was of course, Japanese and Chinese foods. Sushi, Chow Mein, Spicy Green Beans (?), Schezuan Broccoli Tofu and Molasses Cookies.

Next month we're set to read: The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. With any luck, we'll have the newest, and youngest member of Book Club present, Miss Trixie Stuppi!

Wearing Different Hats

I make art every day, but I never make art that I consider "mine". 

You might think that someone with a B.A. in Studio Art, an M.A. in Transformative Arts (before you ask, click on the link) finishing another M.A. in Art Therapy, and working as an Artist-in-Residence at a children's hospital that I live and breathe art. In some ways I guess I do . . . However, the days where I made a big mess all of my own, where I got lost in the process and didn't know who or what might emerge out on the other side of an afternoon in a studio were a long time ago. 

It's rare that I take the time to make something for the simple sake of making something, and I miss it. This past month I managed to squeeze in a few moments of art-making that were mine, all mine. While I gave some away as gifts, mailed some as postcards, and donated some to a craft sale for the hospital's Family Resource Center, I still made something because I wanted to. Not to teach, not to learn, not because it was homework, but because I wanted to. Here are some photos to prove it.

Valentine's Day Craft Sale Donation

Wedding gift for a friend

Potential future painting . . .

. . . and another potential painting . . .

Best. Tree. Ever.

For two weeks of February Berkeley experienced a sweet spell of summertime (we're talking 80 degrees people). During this summertastic-bliss, the rest of the country suffered the worst winter weather of the year (Berkeley wins!). Though, as I type this, it is raining cats and dogs outside and is a balmy 47 degrees, windy, and just plain gross. It's been this way for the last two weeks (D'oh!). Here are a handful of shots from that summer-spell where I blissed out on the cherry tree blossoms, which now lay scattered on the sidewalk in dirty rain puddles (Enter sad face here). 

Cherry Blossoms AND Oranges!

I heart the Hipstamatic App + Cherry Blossoms

This one reminds me of Van Gogh's painting, though his was of an Almond Tree

Fuschia plant by our front steps

Good Eats

There's one television show I watch more consistently than any other, Good Eats with Alton Brown. It's a cooking show, but better. In one episode you may:
- Learn where a food comes from
- A history of how it's been prepared throughout time and across cultures
- How to pick the best one
- How to store it and avoid spoilage
- What's going on with it at a molecular level
- Tasty ways to prepare it
- And the best of all, sock puppets! to put it all into one entertaining context.

While I often don't follow the recipes he makes on the show, he inspires me to get into the kitchen and play around. This past month we've cooked a bit, but I've been bad about documenting the tasty treats we've made. Here are a few things we've made though. And mmmmm hmmmm they were, as Alton says, "Good Eats".

- Meyer Lemon Pasta from Phoenix Pastificio
- Pizza Dough: Devin's recipe

Grandma Holmes' Molasses Cookies:

2/3 c. oil
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg (or vegan egg replacer)

Mix and Add to Above:
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cloves
pinch of salt

Form 1" balls and roll in sugar. Cook on nonstick sheet for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.
(For V-day I rolled them in red sugar sprinkels and pinched them into heart shapes)

Meyer Lemon Pasta

Meyer Lemon Pasta with Squash, Parsley and Asiago
Pizza! Garlic, Basil, Bell Pepper, Mini-Shitake, Mozzarella
Devin has turned into quite the dough-pro

Buttermilk Biscuits (no idea what recipe I followed . . .)
Grandma Holmes' Molasses Cookies (Devo' Favorite)

Blog? What Blog? School Strikes Again.

School started on January 20th. Hence the last post being on the 17th and then . . . Static.

As you might expect, much can happen in a month and so was the case for me. Writing about it all on the blog would bore me, and maybe you as well. I created this as a space for me to spill creatively, messily and with as much abandon as I can muster. And with that said, the following posts might offer you, and the future me, a glimpse into what the last month was like. 

February 5th. Our front yard.