What Do Playing Records, Cooking From Scratch, Gardening, and Writing Have in Common?

_XE21226One of my favorite games has always been Tribond.  If you don’t know it, someone would read a card with three things on them, and you’d have to guess what they have in common.  The example on the box is a baby, an eagle, and a tire.  I’ll put the answer at the bottom in case you don’t know the answer.  It’s okay; you can think about it.

So back to the original question in the title… What do these things have in common?  For one thing, they’re all things I like to do (except cooking, but since I like eating the result, it sort of qualifies).  Actually, what they have in common is that they require more attention and take longer than their alternatives and are kind of inconvenient, but the results are worth it.

I was skeptical when the husband started wanting to buy records.  This was early on in time when records were getting popular again.  We went to FYE one day, looking for a CD and found stack and stacks of records.  We flipped through them just to look, and ended up buying a bunch.  Mind you, at this point, we didn’t have a record player.  Luckily, Amazon is there for us day or night, and we bought one.

As a kid, I had a record player and one of those cool stereos that played tapes, records, and had a radio.  I got it for a birthday or Christmas, and I thought I was the coolest thing ever.  I had a few records of my own, but I liked listening to my mom’s old records.  I specifically remember liking Maxwell’s Silver Hammer and Get Off My Cloud.  (I always had great taste.  Obviously.)

In any case, beyond the nostalgia factor, listening to records is slower.  It’s something I do to relax.  I have to get up every 15 minutes to turn it over, so I actually have to pay attention to it.  So often when listening to music, I sort of tune it out and do what I’m doing.  Records have made me more present, and I get a little exercise.

Cooking from scratch takes more time, but it tastes better.  I know exactly what’s in my food.  I recently read something that said that the average housewife in 1950 burned 1000 more calories per day than women today.  Holy guacamole!  That wasn’t just from cooking, but from other chores as well.  But it made me think how many more calories I burn by having to prepare food, chopping and mixing for a half hour to an hour a day vs. opening a package and putting something in the microwave.  Or worse, pulling up to a drive-through.  Yes, I was that girl 7 years ago (hangs head in shame).

Gardening… where do I start?  First off, it’s my meditation.  Second of all, there is nothing quite as satisfying as eating food I’ve grown.  It takes so long, but the pay-off is enormous.  Gardening teaches patience and nurturing.

Writing is like all of the above.  In order to do it well, I have to pay attention to it, turn the page sometimes.  I have to use the right ingredients.  Too many adverbs and junk words will spoil the mix.  And I have to pamper it, feed and nurture it to get a good story.

What do we give up in the name of convenience?  Is it worth it?  I don’t think so.  I enjoyed all the conveniences for a little while, but now I’m back to simplifying.  I’ve tried to slow down my pace a little.  Now, I’m not saying that I don’t listen to my iPod anymore (of course I do!) or that I never prefer convenience food.  But… often things that take more time are worth it.

I’m reminding myself of that now that I have more time to write.  Sometimes the editing and revisions seem endless, but much like tweaking a recipe in cooking, the end results are worth it.

What do you do that takes more time but is worth the effort?

*Answer: They can all be bald!

Be Careful What You Wish For

My former garden had some incredible veggies!  That's a 55 pound dog for reference!

My former garden had some incredible veggies! That’s a 55 pound dog for reference!

I’m not fond of cooking.  The problem is that I like eating, I like knowing what is in my food, and I like high quality food.  When you add all that up, it means that I get to cook.  I really didn’t want to have to cook all the time, and fervently wished to eat other people’s cooking.

In the weeks leading up to my move, cooking got less and less feasible, as I was trying to make sure everything got done.  Then we drove to Texas over the course of two days.  By the time we pulled into Texas on Monday, I was ready to get set up and start cooking again.  The only problem was that my new refrigerator wasn’t set to be delivered until Thursday.  But I could live with a couple more days, right?

Then we found out that our fridge is apparently special order, and won’t be here until Tuesday!  So I have all of Labor Day weekend without a fridge!  We’ve been using a small cooler to keep a few things on hand, like coffee creamer and yogurt so that I have some breakfast, but I want salad.  And maybe some fajitas.  Lentil loaf with baked potatoes and asparagus sounds awfully good too!

I’m sorry I said I didn’t want to cook anymore, really.  I’m sorry I wished to eat food others made, really.  I promise, I’ll keep my mouth shut in the future!

(Okay, no, I probably won’t.)

Feel Good Friday

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver, Canada

I’m only sharing one thing today because it’s a 15 minute TED talk, but it’s amazing.  I laughed out loud at times and got teary eyed at others.  This is what happens when you treat people with respect.  Please take the time to watch it.

Teacher increases school attendance from 40% to 93% using the power of vegetables.


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

         -Martin Luther King, Jr.



J is for Joy

100_0001I’m a fan of doing things that bring me joy, but also finding joy in little things.  I think that joy is a choice every day.  Sometimes it’s an easier choice than others, but I like challenges.  Sometimes.  I mindfully look for things that bring me joy.  So what brings me joy?

1.  My dogs.  No matter how my day has been, they’re happy to see me.  They’ll give me kisses if I’m cranky or happy.  All they ask is to have their ears rubbed and to be allowed to sit at my feet.  They wouldn’t object to a milk bone or a walk though.

2.  A good story.  There’s nothing I love more than a good story.  On paper, told orally, or if it’s good enough, on TV, a good story will keep me entertained and happy.

3.  My garden.  I love playing in the dirt and making things grow.  I especially love eating garden fresh tomatoes and having too many zucchini.

4.  Hiking.  There’s something about putting one foot forward while moving through the desert that makes me happy but also makes me feel humble and connected.  Plus, it’s pretty out there, and sometimes I get to see cool animals.

5.  Helping.  I do love my day job as a counselor, and I love being able to offer people help.  They don’t always take it, but being able to offer it is enough for me.  The choices they make from there are on them.

“One joy shatters a hundred griefs”
-Chinese Proverbs

Joy is a choice.  I choose joy today.

Goodbye 2012! A Year in Pictures…

2012 wasn’t a bad year, but it certainly wasn’t the best year I’ve even had.  Even numbered years seem to be less successful for me, and odd numbered years seem to be a little better.  I’m excited for 2013.


In 2012, I finally got my yard done and started a garden…


I went to the Renaissance Fair, and saw a really great rainbow.


I went to a counseling conference in San Francisco, walked around, and got some great pictures.


I did quite a bit of hiking. I love the desert!


We drove to Payson to watch the solar eclipse. It was a lot of fun.


More hiking. I impressed myself with this picture.


I grew some really big cucumbers.


I learned to shoot.


We had some phenomenal lightning storms.


I went home to PA and visited family.


We got rained out of camping, and went to Jerome for the weekend instead.


… and I got a couple of great kaleidoscopes.


We painted our bathroom and hallway.


We painted our loft…


And I started a major project, repainting and updating some cabinets.


All in all, it’s been a good year. I’m looking forward to an even better 2013. Happy New Year, everyone… Stay safe!