Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Best Christmas Present

A few weeks back, I applauded Jack for still having all ("most," accuracy is crucial for Jack) of his teeth. I confessed that I do not regularly floss. That description is far from accurate, and perhaps it would be better to say that I floss a few times a year. There is no planetary alignment that creates a pattern of when I engage in this health behavior. And I don't feel as if I am conducting some crucial hygenie act. Perhaps that is why I am not really motivated to do it. Plus, fickle!, I have sensitive gums and despite careful application, I always end up with reddened tissue and the taste of iron in my mouth.

But I had been a good girl all year long, and flossing my teeth for a week was on my list. So, imagine my elation when Jack presented me with my very first electric flosser. The little bugger signified that there was a person out there concerned about my gums...that means something, right?

Stay Tuned...I am on Day Three and still figuring this thing out. But this may be THE best christmas present for single women every where (unless you'd like to pick up my car and deliver it back to me with the oil changes, the tires rotated, a new air filter, and cleaned inside!)

What was your Best Christmas Present?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Eating Special

I’ve been traveling a lot lately to cities I’ve never been before, and I always like to get a little sampling of local culture by requesting locals for their recommendation on where they like to hang out to relax, sip a cup of good coffee and nosh a scone with free wi-fi, and where to eat food freshly prepared. I like to think that their ideas, spontaneously erupting from sometimes perplexed or flattered faces, links us something together in a tenuous but intimate connection. Most take the suggestion rather seriously, saying something akin to “well, let me think about that for a bit,” as if they are a) revealing something to me about their identity, their values, their story b) worried that my approval, and perhaps that I won’t like what they like. Very frequently, I get, “Well, what sort of foods do you like?” and no matter my response, I think this question is merely to bide them time to integrate a and b above and come up with something that satisfies the question.

This weekend, I was pleasantly surprised to be sent to One World Everybody Eats. The concept of this place centers on a few cooks spontaneously creating a selection of fresh menu items daily from whatever fresh organic ingredients they happen to have in the kitchen that day. A person goes in and gets any amount of food from a selection, which they serve up on homemade plates and bowl, amidst an atmosphere like an independent coffee house run from an old home. It feels warm when you are in there, and the cooks actually serve up the food and again, there is a sense of pride and connection in the exchange.

When I visited the menu involved two types of soup, a cauliflower leek and a lentil dal, a trio of salads, chicken simmered in a red sauce, pancakes, homemade bread and phenomenal desserts: apple brown betty, rice pudding, a delectable vegan pumpkin pie and their famous everything cookie, plus a little lemon bundt cake. I am the queen of samples, and I loved the fact that I could have small portions and taste everything. I felt home and quite comfortable there as a single eater…especially when two other customers started chatting with me about misconceptions about certain cultures and being lost after graduate school.

The most resonating aspect of the meal involves that there is no set price to the meal. It is a pay what you can sort of place. This concept inspires me, not just because it is a genuine way to feed people whom may otherwise not eat fresh food (and organic food can be so overblown in the wallet department) but because it perhaps engenders reflection “how much is this meal worth to me? What does my patronage of this place of business say about my values, my beliefs.”

One thing about the holiday season is that what we eat is more overtly full of meaning. This was one place where the spirit of Christmas is captured as its very foundation.

Where do you eat? What does it say about you? If I asked you where I should go, what would you be telling me about yourself?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Faith while stuck in the airport

"When you have faith, you move"

The words flowed not like a soothing line from a homily, but hissed from mocha colored puckered lips. This irritated woman had been standing in a line of approximately forty people impatiently waiting for the gate agent to increase her productivity. The woman, sporting huge Gucchi glasses on the top of her head, an affront to the winter blizzard howling outside, obviously had reached the end of her rope. It was clear that style was very important to her in her aging years (she was perhaps over 65) as she was sporting a tailored jacket and matched her glasses to her handbag.

But her attitude was monstrous. And she was taking it out on the man beside her.

Those words clutched to me. "When you have faith, you move." I only caught these words, and they hung there. Singular, and naked. It was clear that no one was going anywhere, either fast or slow, and this lack of movement festered a sense of hoplessness, anxiety, and cruelty in the mass awaiting to be set free to take off on whatever destination they had planned on earlier in the day.

Was the woman criticizing her partner for not picking up her carry on? Was she commenting on his lack of insight for taking the last seat by the podium and robbing her of some brief rest? Was she raising her fists into the air to curse the airline authorities or the God that manifested such a powerful storm?

I don't know. I just caught the words, and they made a home in me.

When you are stuck in the airport, you have a few options: complain in protest or step back in anticipation. I chose the later, although I wasn't really good at relaxing while the buzz around me continued to fluster in discontent.

I began to notice all the families and couples but also single people, perhaps waiting to be coupled or joined into the folds of family and friends. They were uncomfortable in their singularity, and thus, a complete lack of faith ensued. This was my predicament.

Being single this Christmas, a bit of my faith loosened from my core. Faith in my life choices, faith in my present place, faith in others to support me, faith in my physical, mental and spiritual health to sustain me. And this absence exacerbated a type of immobility. I stopped circulating.

What I know is that sometimes, when in situations where you have nothing else to do but to sit and wait, noticing things may be a little easier.

I do not want to be like this woman, I thought.

I want to be kind in situations where I feel stuck. And even if I don't feel as if I am going anywhere, I want to still move with faith.

Are you stuck? What does that do to your faith?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Host a themed potluck

This past weekend, a group of women honored me by participating in a Christmas Cookie potluck. The idea involves bringing dough and spending an afternoon shaping and baking it together. At the end of the event, the women get to take a variety of cookies home with them, as well as an infusion of Holiday Spirit.

Being single during the holidays can often foster a sense of being on the outskirts of "real" families. Occassions like these, however, provide confirmation that we are all connected...

The event was far from perfectly prepared

(I forgot to double bake my biscotti before every one left, and I couldn't find my teapot) but in the end, it was perfectly what I needed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I am NO slacker!

On the surface it may appear that I have slacked off on writing in the pastmonth or so. Although, it's true, I traveled a ton in the month of November;I faithfully punched away on the keyboard as well. In fact, the keyboard gotso much mileage that my five year old Thinkpad's F now explodes in rebellionfrom time to time, popping up after being utilized. And who can write without an F button?
Task #92. Do NaNoWriMo (
I participated in an online write a novel in the month of November projectcalled, WriNamo. The concept is pretty easy: write a novel in a month, atleast 50,000 words ALL created only in November 2008. And this is a HUGEtask, which I didn't really understand fully until the end of the firstweek, when my word count was a little over 8K, and that's after writingevery day. They send an author-wanna be emails encouraging that the secondand fourth week are likely the most depressing and despairingly, and theywere right. Slain by a cold the last week of the month, my head fuzzy eitherfrom snot or from decongestant, I couldn't produce anything of value, muchless capture something on paper..
But! Alas! I prevailed! I wrote furiously and without editing (to theorganization's cheerleading: PRODUCE! Don't EDIT!) And last week, I had 51Kby 8pm on Sunday. I am now in the process of editing..
I'll send you a chapter if you like. The novel is about the life of a smallfamily in snapshots of key moments of their here for a gist ofwhat the book is about..
MY list didn't end there! Also in the month of November, I completed thefollowing:

#41 Set up Google Reader: Yep! It's official! I check my Google Reader about 4times a week! What did I do before Google Reader? Please people, if you'vegot a website you LOVE to check regularly, like this one!, email me and I'llvouch for reader! Also.what are you reading? Let me know!)

#77 (now 2 out of 3, the other was Cheuking Express) Watch a Foreign Film: Priceless, French, which was absolutely charming.Audrey Tatu, shone in a way that made you disgusted with her and yetcheering her on to change her shallow ways

#69 Go to a Comedy Routine (I accompanied my good friend Lisa to a comedyroutine in Columbia,MO while checking out the community there. What I remember from the act wasthat he did a musical number dressing up like 80 pop music stars. Andlaughing)

#31 Go to a book reading (I did even better than that. One of the most inspiringbooks I've read this year is Tales of a Female Nomad. A little similar toEat, Pray, Love, the book is about a woman transformed by her journeysacross the world. Much different, however, is that the woman's alteration isvery much externally and community oriented. She sells all her possessions,adopting the name nomad and truly living as part of these places. I attendeda book club where the author Rita Goldman, was the guest of honor.)

#17 Go to a live music event (1 of 3) Last week, Jack and I went to a barbershop quartetconcert of men singing old Christmas songs. These were just men in thecommunity with a love of music, and what it did for me was cradle me intothe spirit of Christmas.

About Me

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PhD in clinical psychology. Single. Pushing 30. Suffering Whiplash from the Roaming 20s...Who am I? What do I want? Where do I belong? Welcome to my self-induced treatment, a testament that we can all be a little crazy in our search for significance.