I made a galette this afternoon, which is just a fancy name for a rustic fruit tart—and “rustic” is just a fancy way of saying “let’s not worry about how it looks – just how good it tastes.” 😀
Today is supposed to be a major holiday where I live. But there is no excitement for me today. It is going to be just like any other Saturday. I will work in my garden, do my laundry and get rid of some recyclables. I may even vacuum. It will be more of a day of quiet circumspection than a day for watching fireworks and eating barbecue.
Last week my dryer broke down. Right now I am not inclined to get it fixed. There are several reasons for this, but basically I just don’t want to deal with it. It just seems so irrelevant in the middle of all the global chaos. Instead, I bought a clothesline and some old-fashioned wooden clothespins and this morning I hung my wet laundry out to dry in a discreet place in my yard.
I noticed right away that this is a slow process. It is not just throwing the clothes in a metal box and pressing a button. I had to take my time and hang things properly. It was pleasant standing out in the warm summer sun. I was transported me back to my childhood before we had a dryer in the house and watched my mother tend to this task. (I am sure my mother would not have seen this chore in the same way as I do now which is why I suspect we eventually got a dryer. And ask me my feelings about this again in January when I can’t hang my clothes out because of the freezing rain.).
But today in my yard near my sunflowers and ripening tomatoes, in the midst of a global pandemic, financial crisis, and social unrest, I am reflecting on the state of the world and finding a few minutes of serenity. Or at least I will try.
It is Day 54 of the quarantine and you would think that with all this time on my hands that I would be a little more productive in my creative output. That has not been the case. I was discussing this creative block with someone yesterday who challenged me to do just one tiny little creative thing each day and see where that leads. So I decided to get back into doing morning pages in order to wake up, regain my composure as a Creative and to take advantage of the opportunity this quarantine offers. I certainly don’t plan to post my pages here every day— just this first one to kickstart my process and maybe yours too.
So, it is May 6, 2020, Day 54 of the Quarantine, about 4:45 in the morning. This is my attempt to get back into doing “morning pages,” three pages of journaling done immediately upon waking.
The traditional way of doing morning pages is to handwrite them. I’m dictating this into my cell phone because It is too much effort to find a pen and paper and to sit up to write. I want to tell myself that THAT is the reason I am not writing or doing any sort of creating— that i am just too lazy. But that’s not it. That’s too easy.
Last night I was going over some resources I have about journaling and I came across this passage in Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down Them Bones: “You must be a great warrior when you contact first thoughts and write from them.” That is, there is a certain amount of bravery necessary to journal, and I suppose by extension to do anything creative, because you must reach deep down inside yourself and pull things up that haven’t seen the light of day. Those things are unpleasant and they fight and scratch and kick and do everything possible not to be drug out of their dark holes. This is scary.
I can’t think of anything more to say right now except that I notice I’m pretty judgemental. My first thought is that I’m lazy, NowI think it’s because I’m a coward.
This is too much to deal with so early in the morning without coffee, so I think I’ll just get up and go pee now.
My church is collecting stories from parishioners on how we are coping with The Quarantine. Here is my contribution:
Last year I bought myself a decent camera because I had this idea that I would be able to get back into photography. That did not come to pass because one thing after another came up to get in the way.
The shelter-in-place mandate by my county has been extended to the middle of May and my workplace will not allow us back until the end of May. So I have plenty of time on my hands. Instead of just standing by and waiting for the all-clear, I thought I would put my camera to use.
Since I cannot go anywhere, I will need to be satisfied with what I can shoot around my home and in my neighborhood. This morning I figured out how do use my long range lens. I sat on my patio for a while waiting for the hummingbirds to feed on my nasturtiums as well as house finches and Black Phoebes to splash in the birdbath. However, a murder of crows roosting in a Jacaranda tree on the property next door was creating havoc by terrorizing the mourning doves, cavorting mid-air with each other and hollering back-and-forth at full-volume. They managed to scare off all small birds in neighborhood, so all I managed were some shots of my flowers and bees. It’s gonna take a while to get that proverbial money shot.
That’s OK. It seems like I’m in this for the long-haul.
Like hundreds of millions of people all over the world, I am trying to practice some social distancing during the pandemic. In order to “isolate” for several weeks, I ventured out to do some shopping for essentials to have on hand. At 6 o-my-sweet-Moses-in-the-morning in the darkness and in a pouring rainstorm, I went to one of the local warehouse stores hoping to avoid a crowd and possible exposure to the virus. That idea didn’t work too well. When I arrived there were already about 50 or 60 people waiting to get into the store along with me. I knew the crowds would only get worse so I took the plunge and got in line.
Seriously, I wasn’t there to hoard. I simply wanted to get some pantry staples. For example, I thought I would get a few rolls of paper towels. However, all the store had were huge packs of 24 rolls. I don’t need that many rolls of paper towels and to have purchased them would have been hoarding. So I left them for somebody else. I’ll use old fashioned fabric towels and wash them. It’s better for the environment anyway.
A lot of shelves were empty, but in spite of what I have seen on the news — people fighting over toilet paper and other insane behaviors– everyone I engaged was polite and in some cases even jovial in the attempt to take the edge off the tension. I quickly worked through my list: a few canned items, hand sanitizer, cartons of shelf-safe nut milk, oatmeal, and chocolate. (I can’t face a global crisis without chocolate). Then I checked out and high-tailed it home.
I had originally planned to fill my day with garden work, but since the rain has made that impossible, I had to find something else to occupy the day. I’ve made an inventory of my pantry (I’m good on food and toiletries for several weeks), I fooled around on social media, and now I am writing. This evening I plan to read. I cannot– CANNOT– watch one more minute of the news. It is not that the news about the pandemic frightens me. More to the point, it unsettles me. I am anxious. Not so much about my getting sick, but about things like what this is doing to the stock market, and the global economy, how does this affect my doing my job next week, and how do I keep myself sane when I am spending so much time alone. By the way, Alexa is not very good at holding sustained conversations.
Yesterday, a friend of mine had a digital copy sent to me of a well-known book on Zen meditation. So tomorrow, Sunday, since my diocese has cancelled worship services, I may sit and try to meditate instead. I have the next few weeks to worry about the state of things. Tomorrow, though, I will take a few minutes and try to find some calm in this storm.
Stay well everyone.
ljg (c) 2020
As much as I am gardening to do my small bit to repair the planet, the other reason is that I like to eat: and I like to eat healthfully as much as I can. Furthermore, I have found over the years that it is the Mediterranean diet that I enjoy the most: Italian, Greek, Provençal, Spanish, North African, Levantine, greens, beans, grains, olive oil, fish and wine. Admittedly, I can’t produce it all, but I can do a little.
Here’s a little scholarship on the subject:
I usually don’t do much on New Year’s Day. It’s the day when I put away my Christmas decorations and think about how I must go back to the day-job in a few days. This New Years, though, is a little different. The “Teens” were a little rough for me, and I am easing — maybe even limping— into the “Twenties” with the hope that this will be the decade when things will change for the better and where I really might finally come into my own.
Today I am sitting in my garden eating lunch, enjoying the sun as it chases away the frigid cold that has burrowed deep into my bones these last few weeks, I am praying, meditating, affirming —whatever you want to call it— that I will enjoy an abundance, —physically, spiritually, creatively, and relationally,— in this new decade.
Let the Roaring Twenties commence.
Life just blindsided me. The details are not important, but I want to share what I know about my thinking process that is helping me cope with the confusion and insanity that are impinging on my life.
First, I have learned that:
- A situation leads to a negative thought.
- That thought leads to a feeling.
- That feeling leads to a behavior.
- That behavior can lead to detrimental physical symptoms or ailments.
The remedy for me is if I can change my thoughts, then everything else beyond it will change for the better.
So when encountering a situation, here’s what I do:
- I stop.
- I breathe.
- I reflect.
- I choose a positive thought. (“SBRC”)
I choose positive thoughts by practicing positive affirmations. There are lists all over the internet and I google them whenever I cannot come up with any on my own.
Second, for me, negative thoughts are often based on my anger at other people. Anger is my false attempt to control other people. Since I cannot control other people, then the only solution is for me to forgive them. Forgiving is not letting them off the hook; it is me letting go of the anger within myself. I feel empowered when I forgive since that puts me back in control, not them.
One more thing, regarding breathing, I just read Yogi Seane Corn’s new book, Revolution of the Soul. In it she writes there: “Breathe and everything changes.” I have found this to be true.
ljg (c) 2019
I woke up this morning with a splitting headache. I don’t usually have them, so I suspect that it might be stress-related. As I parked in bed trying to decide whether to get up or take a sick day, I turned on the Saturday morning cooking shows. Giada was on, talking about the sweetness of life (especially if you have the means to float around the Mediterranean slurping pasta). She shared the image above, three women doing that very thing.
Now I don’t usually go around taking self-help advice from Food Network stars, but she had a point. So I hauled myself out of bed, enjoyed a cup of coffee, made up a bubbling potpourri of soothing scents, spent some time at my art-making space, and in a few minutes I will be leaving for the drum circle
Life can be sweet, if you let it.