Right Here, Right Now

Happy New Year 2020! We need NEW, we need HAPPY. 
Let's create it; it's up to each one of us. 

I am in love with cooking for several reasons. In a year of chaos, personally and universally, cooking was a choice. What I made with my hands and put in my mouth was thoughtfully considered and chosen by just me. I knew every ingredient. I bought those ingredients from companies and farmers I wanted to support, whenever possible. I prepared them carefully and cleanly, taking good care of my kitchen and equipment. I tried with every part of my weak will to eat in moderation; good for my body and mind, good for my finances. I tried to use as much as possible in my refrigerator and pantry, cutting down on waste. I shopped for myself and clients with tote bags that I use until they fall apart. I recycled, taking items to the recycling center every month. These deliberate choices are empowering during a time when I could be drowning emotionally in response to our ridiculous and terrifying cultural and political climate. 

I'm changing up some things. They are not resolutions. They are experiments, hinging the on the hope that they may become part of my routine. (I'm finally learning that you can attempt any diet, exercise, mindset, practice, etc, but if it doesn't become embedded in your schedule it will not last. And worse, you'll feel the guilt and failure, and end up even more unwell than your initial, perfectly innocent and honest attempt at wellness).

No more gin for me. Martinis will be an occasional special treat, not a daily way to unwind. It was a crutch. Will switch to red wine if I have the urge to drink. More great novels (loving Rebecca Makkai), intriguing movies (run to see Parasite) and smart television dramas. Good stories help us find our place in the world, and respect the place of others. More time spent with true friends, less with vampires. Telling those friends how much they mean to me, and not giving the blood suckers a second thought of my head space. 

No more gym memberships. I have joined, then quit, then joined, then quit the YMCA for years. I do like to swim. But I can't get it to routinely jive with my schedule, so I start the spiral of guilt that I'm paying for something but not using it. Then when I do go swim, I feel bad that I hadn't gone more that week. It's ridiculous. So back to walking. 30 minutes. As many times as I am able in a week. Getting better shoes tomorrow. Unless it's pouring rain or sleet, I'm going.

I will continue to get my 8 hours of sleep. Lance and I hit the sack by 9, so we are up early, definitely before dawn. This is how I'm wired now. If my sleep is off, everything is off for the day, and sometimes for days. We purchased a great, new mattress. I'm finding that drinking a mug of hot water with lemon juice and some maple syrup helps me sleep. It hydrates me, and is a comfort. Nothing like a warm mug in your hands. 

I will be mindful of my medical conditions. Regular visits to my doctors, listening to my body, organizing medications, asking questions, gauging my energy on a daily basis. I recently switched to a new medication for my lupus, and it's increased my energy and pretty much ended my fatigue flares. Miraculous (thank you Brooke at Freeman Pharmacy). Dr. Harrell, Dr. Allison, Dr. Durling, and Dr. Jarek are my team. I am grateful.

I will attempt to keep a check on my anxiety around my career. My work is my life blood. My work is my heart and soul, not just a paycheck. I am a creative, and a maker. It can't just be a hobby. As an artist, it is our dream and goal to be in business for ourselves, supporting our lives with the work of our hands. Not only teaching about it, or administering it for others. I need to not get stressed feeling like I need to figure it all out TODAY. I have to practice patience as I plan, scheme and dream...

But there is a place for patience AND a place for anger. I'm pissed at the state of our union. Rich, old white men need to just step aside. My poor friends, my friends of color, my ingenious women friends, my gay and transgendered friends, my non-protestant friends, my atheist and agnostic friends, are all sick of the bullshit, sick and exhausted but still angry. It literally make us ill and unstable, and it has to stop. 

So I will protest. And vote. And try to have the conversations. And I will COOK.

Breakfast with family on December 26. Fun food adventure at Brown Sugar Chicken and Donuts in KC, KS. Fried chicken sandwich. ON A DONUT. With TATER TOTS. I very rarely eat like this. It greases my insides, the opposite of clean eating. And truly so saturated, it doesn't taste great. It's scary that folks eat like this every day. Notice it's mostly all the same color. Clue for me that it's not good for my body and soul. Eating like this happens for me when I don't plan the good stuff, when I'm driving between jobs, get hungry, and go to Sonic. Also, this meal was served in styrofoam and plastic even though we ate in.
The pile of trash was stunning between five of us.

Breakfast today, January 1. Cup of coffee. Fresh made juice with apple, cucumber, carrot, and ginger. Toast from the bread machine. Smashed avocado, seasoned beans. Topped with sliced jammy eggs. Blueberries. CLEAN. I feel full and well as I write this. I am happy with myself that I chose these ingredients. I am proud that I made it all myself. This is how I want to eat most meals this year. Homemade, delicious, mostly plants, not too much.

My mother gave me most of what is in this photo. A beautiful wooden book stand to hold books open as I cook. Her old bread machine. She gave me an Instant Pot for my birthday last month, and now this cook book. Waste Not, published by the James Beard Foundation, was a gift from Lance. These are a few things I'm into right now, this moment: experimenting to see if the IP is really a game changer, making my own bread without days of kneading and rising, and cutting down on food waste in my own kitchen.
These will surely keep me occupied in 2020!