Monday, September 28, 2009

Book Bliss

For my birthday, some friends got me a gift certificate to Barnes and Nobles (a bookstore). I carved out a leisurely two hours to spend it last week. The only thing on my agenda was perhaps some poetry, and a tai chi CD. For a bibliofile like myself, this was pure bliss. My husband and I go to bookstores for our datenights. Having two hours alone in a bookstore is like lovemaking for my mind. Every time I'm in a bookstore, that phrase reverberates in my head, 'write the books you want to read.' I compose many a book in my head, when I'm in a bookstore it's a reminder that many people write books- even ordinary people like me- it can be done. I'm reminded of this especially when I peruse the romance section and don't find the genre of romance that I like. I have better luck in the poetry section and pick up a slim volume of Charles Bukowski. I find several vegetarian cookbooks, but choose instead a couple of cooking magazines. One is full of Italian recipes, and I feel another cultural cooking binge coming on. With my French and Mexican binges behind me, it may be time to go Italian. I stop to look at the language books. Learning Spanish has been on my to do list for years. I pass them by to look at the self help books- another favorite of mine. I also peruse the classics (novels) and healthy lifestyle shelves. I dabble in the music section- I'm not really buying music, just books, that I can see and hold and smell. Finally with my mind made up, I take the escalators back upstairs to pick up four blank books. I tell myself I'll get started on the books I'm supposed to write. I have so little time at the computer for writing, the blank books I can slip into my purse and write anytime I feel the urge. There's a writer in me trying to emerge, one of my many voices trying to be heard.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Japanofile Family Adventure

Yesterday, my family and I participated in an annual ritual. We attended the Japan Festival at a local college. We are long time Japanofiles and love it. Our three daughters penpal (or now facebook) with two Japanese/American sisters whose parents are missionaries to Japan. Our sons have been involved in martial arts and enjoy the demonstrations, one is really into Manga and Anime. And I am an absolute freak for the Taiko drums. What you've never heard of Taiko drums? This Japanese style of drum music is amazing. The drummers in bright colorful costumes use their entire bodies in intricate, but deliberate and physical style to beat these massive drums that are elevated on stands and beat with sticks. I love Taiko drumming and would love to take lessons some day. I don't know of a group in my city except at the high school level. For now, I'm content with learning the jimbe (hand drum). Anyway, I enjoy the drum performances and dance performances, along with tea ceremonies and kimono demonstrations. And of course there is the food. Most of my kids enjoy sushi. I'm still getting used to the fishy taste of seaweed, but I enjoy a little sushi every now and then too. What I most like is the rice. It's slightly sweet and sticky and with a little teryaki sauce dribbled over it, I could eat it by the bowlfuls. As usual, I didn't get to do, see, or hear nearly as much as I wanted too, but I had a great time. It's so good for the soul, to get to do the things we enjoy.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Gonna Party Like it's my Birthday

I had the lovliest day yesterday. I started at 5am. Up to complete a homework assignment for my online class. It felt liberating to get it done. Then to the office for an hour or so, then on the road to check on students at a clinical site. A quick stop at the Wyandotte County health department. The students were eager to share their experiences. Next stop: Truman Hospital. My niece was having surgery. She was already in surgery when I arrived but I visited with my sister, aunt and another niece in the waiting room. A second aunt works at the hospital, so I stopped by her office to visit her as well. It was a treat to see two aunts in one day! After leaving the hospital, I joined my son for lunch at Mildred's, downtown coffeeshop. We shared a fabulous baked brie with brown sugar and almonds served with grapes and toast points, along with our spinach and feta salads. He caught me up on his work on the school board and I told him about my work with my nursing students. Speaking of nursing students- it was time to head to Olathe Head Start to check on the second group. From downtown to Olathe is 30 minutes of straight highway driving, blaring my radio the whole way! After checking on students and doing some pre-planning with the Head Start nurses for next month, I headed back to the office to finish up some work. My male torso anatomical model had arrived (new toy!). I'll use it during my male anatomy lecture- already have the female one. I sat them side by side to admire them. Left quickly for the day to do some shopping at the Oak Park Mall a couple of blocks away. I stocked up on make up and found the perfect dress for my birthday celebration. Also brought fish net stockings to go with the dress. Spent more than I planned but was pleased with my findings. Headed home to get ready. I looked fabulous (I forgot to take pictures so you'll have to take my word for it). Hubby and I headed off to the museum to meet our friends. We had a lovely knowledgeable docent give us a wonderful tour of the American Gallery. Afterwards we had a fantastic dinner in Rozelle Court, the museum restaurant (one of my absolute favorites). I had roasted garlic shrimp salad, and trout stuffed with crab meat. For dessert, the restaurant prepared a delicious chocolate cake for us. We had a fantastic time. It was lovely to reconnect with friends and family (my mom was with us). After the museum closed, my husband and I drove over to see friends who had been invited, but couldn't come. We took our leftover cake to their house, where we found them playing scrabble with some of their adult kids. We fed them all cake and visited, and their lovely youngest daughter played songs for me on her harp. Then we headed home and shared the last of the cake with our kids, who of course were still up. It was a wonderful birthday. I look forward to what another year will hold...

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's My Birthday!

In the true spirit of birthdays- I believe in acknowledgment and celebration. Today, after work, I will celebrate my birthday with a small gathering of friends at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. I have arranged for a small private tour in the American Painting Gallery. After our private tour, we'll have a lovely dinner in the splendor of Rozelle Court- also at the Nelson. I'm so looking forward to this year's celebration with a few other 'long married' couples. It's been a fabulous life, and the best is yet to come.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


So glad I got back in the habit of my DQT (daily quiet time). Right now my ritual is to listen to my hypnosis tape, then light a candle and do some meditation, read a snippet from Victoria Moran's "Living a Charmed Life" while having a cup of hot tea (right now I'm really into chocolate chai). I usually play some background music also. Right now I'm totally into Taylor Mesple's instrumental CD called "Autumn." Followed by my Rodney Yee morning yoga sequence. That's it. I'm loving my mornings. I love the way my quiet times evolve with the seasons. During summer I had my DQT outside and included watering all my gardens. Now its a little cool in the mornings and the plants don't need watering nearly as much (lots of rain also- for a midwest Aug/Sept) so I've moved more indoors. The activities always center around wellness, enrichment, and what I find pleasing. I love my DQT. It makes me more prepared to face the busyness of my days.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Something New

Okay, I can't claim to have tried every diet on the planet in my pursuit of weight loss, because I flat out just don't believe in diets. However I have tried a multitude of workouts, and no small assortment of diet pills (despite my aversion to medications). Last night I tried something completely different and a little out of my comfort zone: hypnosis. I gathered with about 100 others in a hotel room to get two hours of instruction in weight loss hypnosis. I am familiar with hypnosis from my birth work- it's used as a tool for pain relief in labor, so I am open to the idea. As I lay on the hotel floor surrounded by strangers also lying on the floor, I thought this would be worth a shot. No I did not re-live my 37 past lives or get possessed by bored and mischievous demons. It was actually pretty similar to something I do in my morning quiet times. I have a stack of affirmations that I read out loud to myself every morning. I took a workshop once on writing affirmations and found I had a real talent for creating them. So each morning when I read them to myself, I am affirming a positive suggestion to myself. Just yesterday I was marveling at how my life was slowly transforming to conform to the affirmations. The hypnosis was like that. The hypnotist was making suggestions to my subconscious to get fuller eating less and that sort of thing. I have to keep playing the tape I was given at the seminar for the next 21 days as my follow-up work. I'll update how it's going. Here are a few of my affirmations I state daily:

"I can accomplish what the day demands through organized effort and persistence."

"I choose to live in an orderly, chaos-free, clean, loving, creative and supportive environment."

"I treat my body with respect by tending to it's daily needs, which includes healthy food choices, and planned daily workouts. I am clean, well-groomed, ready to meet the demands of each day, and to embrace whatever opportunities come my way."

"I have taken away from myself every excuse for not being the kind of person or living the kind of life I know I have the potential to live."

"I am comfortable in the company of all kinds of people and can initiate interesting conversations that draw people out, my ease puts them at ease."

Try creating your own affirmations (you can use these if they apply, but it's better to handcraft your own). Just be sure to phrase them in the positive as if you are already doing it. Don't say "I'll try to do such and such" just do it. Of course they should reflect your desires for your life.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Silence is Golden

Lot's of body focus lately, but not much on the spirit or the mind. I feel the lack of quietness and stillness in my life. I need to return to my daily quiet time. I've spent my mornings exercising, cleaning and writing. I need to make time for meditation, silence, and prayer. I would love some alone time, but my life is filled with other beings, animal and human. I'll make a deal with myself to light a candle in the morning, watch it flicker and slow my breathing for just a little while...