Friday Night Dinner 14

What We’re Eating and Drinking –   Grilled Steak / Steamed Artichokes / Cous Cous/ Tomato Salad

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One kid is neck deep in an end of year project, and the other is deep in other stuff that you don’t want to hear about at dinner time. Suffice to say she is sick with a crazy cough and nausea. She may just be having a plate of crackers. For the rest of us though, dinner has to be simple and fast tonight. As you probably remember, we dip the artichoke leaves and hearts in a balsamic vinaigrette. Stefan came into this partnership with this delicious idea, and we’ve been enjoying it ever since!

Christine:  Oh, the poor kids. And poor you adults. Everyone to bed early tonight!


Flow like the wind? Turn with the wind like a mill? I’m not sure what I’m trying to say with this pic of windmills we saw driving through France, but I find a field of these giant things very peaceful.

What We’re Talking About – Relaxing 

So, mugworts, huh? I’m confused, did you end up liking or hating the weeding? From afar, it seemed therapeutic and productive, as well as very “living in the now.” The now of weeding and not the now of all those crazy thoughts that populate our heads for way too many hours per day. I’m getting a little taste of this respite at a painting class I’ve started going to once a week. It’s three hours long, but goes by in the blink of an eye. Trying to get something right on the canvas can be tedious, or seem downright impossible, leaving me feeling totally inadequate, yet, I get home, and for the rest of the day, I’m a bit more relaxed, probably more pleasant than usual, less stressed. And by the way, stress is bad, if you hadn’t heard. I wandered on to some reading this week about the havoc that stress unleashes on our body systems, and the resulting damage we self-induce by not figuring out ways to live more calmly. It was eye-opening and motivating. Relaxation, it seems, is good and necessary, any way you can get it – TV, shopping, weeding, painting, yoga-ing, etc, etc… Who knew? Today, I found myself sitting in a sunny spot on the Piazza Maggiore with a bunch of college students waiting for the library to open. They were singing, laughing, talking, sunning themselves, and it made me think back to how much time I spent doing the same during university. Amidst challenging classes, work, social stuff, errands, chores, etc, there was always time to sit on the grass in the sun for a little while. More often than not, I ended up sitting there for too long… but the important thing was that when I was there, I wasn’t mentally anywhere else. The paper, the midterm, the boyfriend, (ok, maybe not the job but many other things) could wait. When did everything in life become so incredibly mission-critical that none of it can ever leave my head? Why is there not an on/off switch somewhere? Or maybe something like an equalizer where you could turn up the levels on just the parts you want to hear!

Christine: Well, obviously I wasn’t very good at describing my weeding experience to you all. To clarify, in the end I didn’t end up liking or hating the activity of it…it just was this thing that I did that I don’t ordinarily do but the important part was that doing it ended up engaging me in a particular moment of my life in a way that I’m ordinarily not. Engaged in it. You know what I mean. Kind of like the moments that you are describing from the days of yore…time on the quad when you were lost in the moment. Or, come to think of it, not lost, but FOUND…aware…taking heed of what was pulsing and alive in front of you….paying attention to the breezes and the voices around you in a way that is difficult to curate in our adult lives. I remember these moments well, too, but from bygone days–not the days that are here and now. Maybe, back then, it was the naiveté of being twenty years old or the ignorance of not quite understanding the consequences of actions (or inactions) or maybe it was just that our young minds were more brawny and determined to be free than our feeble 40+ ones are. Probably a big part of the problem is that we feel the need to read articles about the importance of relaxation (and take classes and write blog posts trying to figure out how to find it) because we’ve lost the adeptness of how to do it. My guess is if we listen close to what we know and what we need (a different algorithm for each of us) things will become clear.














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