Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: cooking

Sundays Are For (Week 31)

 

Yesterday, I told H that, even if he hasn’t meant to do it on purpose, I see that he’s making our home life (and his personal time) as much of a priority as he can. Work is crazy this year for him – he’s teaching multiple classes, one of which he’s never taught before. He’s planning on the fly, during prep periods and before school starts, and also still attending grad school classes one night a week. While he’s super Type-B, you could not find a more diligent and organized teacher, so this whole schedule is a major upheaval for him.

I see his exhaustion and his determination to just grade one.more.class… and I’m doing what I can to help. So far, I think this is the best back-to-school transition we’ve had, but that may have more to do with my own self-care and less to do with how it’s really going for H.

But I also think it’s his intention to, as he put it, “have a real life” that is creating a bit of relationship reserve for us to draw on as the busy weekdays go by. Last week he brought the vacuum in to be fixed, helped me clean the apartment and continues to cook a few meals (omelets on the weekends and that delish chicken dinner this evening – above) I appreciate the attention and support, and I make sure to tell him so.

This morning we took the dog down to the beach path, grabbed hot drinks and sat on the sand for a bit. H graded and I journaled. It was H’s idea, and I know it’s because he’s trying to include me in his time, and make sure we’re relaxing some, even though he’s so busy.

H is grading yet another stack of papers with Carter Cash laying in his lap, and I’m here writing to you. I think we plan on splitting a small apple pie and watching some Breaking Bad before an early bedtime. (No BB spoilers, we just started Season 1!)

Hope you had a good weekend and will get some sleep too xo

Steak

 

This is not a great photo, but it captures our oh-so-close success of grilling a good steak. H is getting better and better, though he’ll tell you since we change our approach every single time, there’s no comparing each steak to the next. And I mean, we’ve probably grilled less than 10 in 3 summers. Still – we hardly eat red meat, but being able to grill some makes it so much easier.

These were NY-style strip steaks from Trader Joe’s. I saved half of mine for a salad the next day. Awesomeness.

Checking another item off the Summer Manifesto.

This Grateful Season – Housemates

Life is so very up and down. Whatever mood I couldn’t shake a month ago seem to have morphed into another type of blues. I crave sleep, my diet has gone to hell and I am generally feeling too tired or worn out to accomplish much.

I recognize that there’s an intensity to things lately. That I am meant to lay low and swim against the currents, keeping just enough energy to stay put but not exerting so much I tire and drown.

My sister‘s moved in with H and I temporarily. We have an office, not a second bedroom, and in that room she sleeps on an air mattress and keeps her stuff in a suitcase and the closet. The mattress takes up the whole floor. There is hardly any room to walk around. And while I already blogged about my siblings, I’d like to take a post to acknowledge this unique situation we’re in.

After 24+ years of knowing each other, through emotional pains and ridiculous laughter, through inside jokes, boyfriends and our crazy moves around the US, my sister and I are not only in the same city for the first time in 10 years, but the same apartment.

(Is this not mind blowing yet?)

We’ve walked the dog at the beach, tried different coffee places, folded laundry, bought groceries, cooked and cleaned. We’ve slept in and driven around and completed a 1000 piece puzzle. She’s gone out with my friends without me and held her own. She’s interviewed for a job and I’ve left her at home all day for the alone time in my office.

And while I am feeling antsy – that she may not find a job, that we’ll need a different plan, that I can’t get enough alone time – I know this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to spend this much time with her. So the control freak in me is working to let go of the need for a routine. The introvert in me is seeking what small alone time we can find. The wise one in me asks for time to read or do yoga.

Overall she’s a perfect housemate. She cleans up after herself, cooks for us, and keeps the dog company. Yes, she temps me to have a cocktail or makes food that I wouldn’t normally eat, but I figure, right now, with Mercury Retrograde and our new situation, to say ‘fuck it’. You only live once right?

I am struggling with my own crap right now and it’s extra comforting to have someone so familiar and loving near. And how do you even begin to say no to oatmeal raisin cookies? I mean, really.

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For the month of November, I write each day about something I’m grateful for and call it Grateful Season. It’s my way of reviewing the amazing year I’ve had and helps me focus on blogging during the crazy holiday season uptick. Feel free to join me – just make sure you let me know!

When in Doubt, Cook

I’ve come to realize that the wedding is like some program running constantly in my head in the background. It’s amazing to know we’re almost there (T-9 weeks) and that Hawaii is the absolutely reward, but I’m tired and the big push has yet to happen. That “program” is sucking mental energy that I’m unaware I’m even losing.

It’s a perfect explanation for why I feel like I can’t execute anything bigger than “clean the bathroom” lately.

Wedding planning is a daily strategic plan of shit you need to execute that you really could give a crap about in the moment. Each time I check a major item off our To Do list (invitations mailed!), I find myself lagging on doing anything for the week aftewards. This gives the whole planning process a start-stop edge to it that means I’m never really satisfied with what I’m doing / have done.

And because I want desperately to have my resources of time and money back in savings so I can do what I want to do, I find myself ignoring the wedding check-list the way college kids ignore laundry. If I just shove the pile under my bed, maybe someone will realize I need clean underwear and take that load off of me…

But life isn’t like that. And so, to feel semi-productive in the life I’m living right now (the one sans money and time to do the other domestic things I’d like) I cook.

Tonight was lentils, chicken and veggies. I’m also on a diet / exercise kick for said wedding.

It’s really taking over my life. ::sigh::

At least I get to eat some really great food. Lentil recipe from Casa Yellow.

This Grateful Season – Massaging the Turkey

My parents and sister arrived safely by plane over the past 24 hrs. My sister, whom I call “Rick”, just got in a few hours ago. We’ve spent the past hour eating Yogurtland, laughing and massaging the turkey. Yes. Massaging herbed butter under the turkey skin. Blech.

“This looked so much easier on the Food Network”

What millions of women are saying tonight…

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**For the month of November, I’m posting something each day that I’m grateful for. It may be as long as an intricate post, as short as a quote, as simple as a link or as wordless as a photograph. A

Sparkles Align

A friend invited me to Yogaworks South Bay. It was the first time since Thanksgiving that I attended a yoga class.

With overcast skies and light drizzle we drove on quiet LA streets. We told stories of huge snowstorms. My friend spoke about her little third grade shoes being stuck in the mud during a fire drill. Her fiance immediately recalled a scene when he has accidentally blew the fire alarm. I felt immersed in life, as cheesy as it sounds. I was present.

Sparkles

As a friend says, the good thing about having a bad day is that you know the next day will be better. Today was – yoga, coffee with a friend, and cooking not one, but two soups. These are all things that comfort me, specifically the types of things I avoid when I need comforting.

Yesterday, I dreaded yoga. I thought I had made a mistake committing to the outing. My thoughts ping-ponged between “You don’t really want to go” and “Did you just say ‘yes’ out of obligation?”

I honestly had no idea. It seems the reason I have trouble deciding what I want is that I’ve lost parts of myself to enmeshed relationships and people-pleasing. Why listen to myself when I receive so much validation from caring for others?

Well, to start – I’m the only one who really matters (to me). And I don’t think it’s something we’re taught when we’re young, but being able to soothe ourselves and be self-compassionate is paramount to our well-being.

As I was chopping onions for my soups, I thought about their aggressive defense mechanism of producing a toxin that makes our eyes tear and burn. It made me think about people and their actions / reactions. “I can say ‘she’s controlling’, but don’t I also play a part? Aren’t I the one being controlled?”

It made me pause. What has been my role, what have I gained, from believing I’m being controlled?

Honestly, it displaced my responsibility of caring for myself. I’ve been so focused on others that all I see is myself in relation to them. The outside, the external. As soon as a tense situation resolved itself last night, I felt free – free to do yoga, to smile, to get less sleep and have more energy. But that power is already in me, somehow, I just don’t know how to access it yet.

It’s a tiny shift, but it matters. Like the sparkly water running through the Santa Monica Library cafe in the picture. A moment caught in the sun. An adjustment I’m making to align myself, feeling where the tension is and breathing through it.