Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rolling in dough

I'm trying to improve my chapati technique for an upcoming Foodie dinner I'm hosting in February, so I made up a batch of dough with intentions to practice rolling on Sunday. That night we ended up eating the leftover home-made pasta chef Roberto made on Friday.

I totally forgot about the little ball of dough I'd set aside on the counter. So the chapati dough ended up wrapped in the fridge Sunday night. Monday night came and went, and I forgot to include them on the menu again. Tuesday night we wouldn't even be eating home. Not wanting my kneading going to waste, Tuesday morning I was rolling the dough for a savory breakfast. What a great start to the day.

Warm flatbread with pear/ginger chutney. Delicious!

amoeba and other protozoa
I used the slender belan and it took no time at all to roll it and toss it in the cast iron pan, then puff it open a bit in the flame of the gas burner. I still need to work on making nice, perfect circles. Most of my flat breads look more like amoeba-breathing shapes at this point.

A happy discovery, to know I can prep ahead and roll as desired, storing 2-3 days in the fridge. Now I can make the dough ahead and have a tasty breakfast or lunch in no time flat!

For the foodie dinner, I'm thinking of having guests 'roll their own'. Being sailors like us, they may agree it is perfect for cruising, too.

  • About 2 cups atta flour (or mix all-purpose with whole wheat), plus extra for rolling (sift if you are a purist)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ~ 1 cup of warm water
In a medium bowl, mix together the two cups of flour. Make a well in the middle. Add 1 cup warm water (slowly). Mix with your hand or a spoon until you can gather the mixture into a ball. Knead for 8-10 minutes o a floured surface. Let stand 3-12 hours or put in the fridge 2-3 days until ready to use (cover tightly with plastic wrap to help it last longer in the fridge).

To use, tear off enough dough to make a golf-ball size and roll out into circles. If taking from the fridge warm it up a bit in the palm of your hands first.

Roll out from the centre. Flip the dough over from one side to the next to help make circles. You decide how big... 5"? 7"?

Heat a bit of oil in a cast iron pan. Cook 15 seconds or so, then flip over until you see little brown bubbles starting to form (about 1 minute). At this point I took it and toasted it over the gas burner flame, watching it puff up, like magic.

I like this guy's technique. Perfect circles!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

30 Lessons for Living

The Legacy Project is a great website featuring collected advice about heath, money, avoiding regrets and how to be happy. Very uplifting! What a great idea, to seek out the wisdom of our elders to help us live fuller lives in the present.

I heard about the website, and the book, 30 Lessons for Living, on Tapestry this Sunday afternoon. You can listen to the episode here.

When I tuned in to the program, author Karl Pillimer was telling host Mary Hynes that since researching the book, he's more at peace with growing older. He pointed out that, statistically, older people are generally happier than younger people.

A passing remark really stuck with me. When you ask younger people about what makes them happy, it is often because. Of a job, of a new house, of a promotion. In contrast, many of the older people Pillimer interviewed for the book were happy because they had made a conscious choice to focus on the positive. Happiness was not brought about by circumstance but a cultivated attitude. "The golden years are tarnished," was a memorable observation.

Here's his Top 10 as recorded at the Huffington Post.

  1. Choose a career for the intrinsic rewards, not the financial ones. Although many grew up in poverty, the elders believe that the biggest career mistake people make is selecting a profession based only on potential earnings. A sense of purpose and passion for one's work beats a bigger paycheck any day.
  2. Act now like you will need your body for a hundred years: Stop using "I don't care how long I live" as an excuse for bad health habits. Behaviors like smoking, poor eating habits and inactivity are less likely to kill you than to sentence you to years or decades of chronic disease. The elders have seen the devastation that a bad lifestyle causes in the last decades of life -- act now to prevent it.
  3. Say "Yes" to opportunities: When offered a new opportunity or challenge, you are much less likely to regret saying yes and more likely to regret turning it down. They suggest you take a risk and a leap of faith when opportunity knocks.
  4. Choose a mate with extreme care: The key is not to rush the decision, taking all the time needed to get to know the prospective partner and to determine your compatibility with them. Said one respondent: "Don't rush in without knowing each other deeply. That's very dangerous, but people do it all the time."
  5. Travel more: Travel while you can, sacrificing other things if necessary to do so. Most people look back on their travel adventures (big and small) as highlights of their lives and regret not having traveled more. As one elder told me, "If you have to make a decision whether you want to remodel your kitchen or take a trip -- well, I say, choose the trip!"
  6. Say it now: People wind up saying the sad words "it might have been" by failing to express themselves before it's too late. The only time you can share your deepest feelings is while people are still alive. According to an elder we spoke with: "If you have a grudge against someone, why not make it right, now? Make it right because there may not be another opportunity, who knows? So do what you can do now."
  7. Time is of the essence: Live as though life is short -- because it is. The point is not to be depressed by this knowledge but to act on it, making sure to do important things now. The older the respondent, the more likely they were to say that life goes by astonishingly quickly. Said one elder: "I wish I'd learned that in my thirties instead of in my sixties!"
  8. Happiness is a choice, not a condition: Happiness isn't a condition that occurs when circumstances are perfect or nearly so. Sooner or later you need to make a deliberate choice to be happy in spite of challenges and difficulties. One elder echoed almost all the others when she said: "My single best piece of advice is to take responsibility for your own happiness throughout your life."
  9. Time spent worrying is time wasted: Stop worrying. Or at least cut down. It's a colossal waste of your precious lifetime. Indeed, one of the major regrets expressed by the elders was time wasted worrying about things that never happened.
  10. Think small: When it comes to making the most of your life, think small. Attune yourself to simple daily pleasures and learn to savor them now.
Great advice!

Full Wolf Moon - January

January 26, 11:38 p.m. the moon looks full again.

On Jan 9, Rob and I made it to the McMichael and the special Exhibition of the Group of Seven. This Tom Thomson made me stop and stare..  Moonlight, it's called. It was showing with Jack Pine and West Wind - both such iconic works, and not seen together since the 1920s.

The call of wolves in scenes like these would not be unexpected.

Stay warm.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Unaccustomed Earth

This month's Book Babes pick is Virginia's, and it is Unaccustomed Earth, a collection of short stories by the Pulitzer Prize winning author,  Jhumpa Lahiri.

"Human nature will not flourish, any more than a potato, if it be planted and replanted, for too long a series of generations, in the same worn-out soil. My children have had other birthplaces, and, so far as their fortunes may be within my control, shall strike their roots into unaccustomed earth."
~Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Custom-House"

Most of the characters straddle two, if not three continents or more, with settings that include Massachusetts, Seattle, London, Rome, Volterra, and Khao Lak.

Calcutta and Bombay are continually referenced but not treated as present settings. The cities are mentioned in passing, as places of shared history, or places that characters remember or plan to revisit. One exception is the last story, with a scene that describes a bride choosing a wedding sari while mourning the death of her true love.

Although most of the characters are Bengali the themes are universal. Loneliness, isolation, addiction, loves lost, and opportunities that remain un-blossomed. 

These are not uplifting, light-hearted stories but tragedies of the human condition explored with compassion and insight.  Most of us enjoyed the book, although there was some criticism about the final story being somewhat manipulative and a bit exploitative. One of our book club members disliked the entire collection because she felt the fiction was contrived. Personally, I felt Lahiiri to be an amazing storyteller, but not of the same calibre as Alice Munro.

One of the characters is observed,  "That was Rahul, always aware of the family's weaknesses, never sparing Sudha from the things she least wanted to face." (p.138)

Lahiri is unsparing in the sense that she points our gaze toward things we would rather not see. A hole in a dress, an unhappy marriage, alcoholic brothers, mothers dying from cancer, emotional dishonesty, tidal waves that sweep away the life of possibilities.

Her observations are so keenly drawn you become an observer yourself, drawn into the lives and pains of others. 

Although the prose is beautiful the stories are achingly sad. I had to ask myself, why read such unhappy tales?

Because... life does not always deliver happy endings, Hollywood style. Because.... no life goes untouched from sorrow or difficulty.

Sometimes the stories I read spill over the printed page. In a crowded subway or a restaurant I might look around and wonder what is going on in the strangers' lives around me, what they've experienced, if they are unlucky or lucky in love. Stories like these enrich those musings. They help me appreciate my blessings but also remind me others have sorrows and uncertainties.

We may sometimes feel alone, but we really are not so alone, after all.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Light lunch"

Popped in on an old friend who treated us to a wonderful "light lunch."

We talked about our kids and travels, and the passing of time. We've known each other since high school, when we got together to share our poetry-in-progress, and have stayed in touch throughout the years.

Janine is as beautiful and engaging as ever. It was nice to catch up with her and her husband, David.

I hope to return the hospitality soon!

Warm baguette, fresh from the oven, served with pates and smoked salmon.

Selection of tasty cheeses, including cheese with an espresso rind (I'm fairly certain it was Sartori Espresso BellaVitano).

Sliced dragonfruit - an understated texture you wouldn't expect from such a dramatic exterior. Complemented by blueberries and sliced apple.

.... And a glass or two of zinfandel.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

On Tap

Just home from my first night bar tending! Since I am not on the Board this year, I have to earn my keep at the club and contribute hours.  I packed my Vin-Aire for the red wine drinkers and only used it five times the whole evening. White wine outsold the red by at least 5 times.  I poured one solitary Irish whisky the whole night. Beer was definitely the top seller by far. People were very particular about filling up the glass to the maximum, which I found a bit funny, considering the price ($2.50 a glass)... I'm talking millilitres.

The tilt, on just the right angle. The tap open on full. I was painstakingly slow at the beginning of the night, and just slow by the end. Next time I might be even a little bit more up to speed.

There was an electronic photo frame going, and I found myself distracted by all the pics of past parties. There was my 50th birthday, Robbie Burns, Sail Past, Charity Fundraisers, Dock Parties, Commodore's Ball. I've had so much fun at that Clubhouse! Feeling very blessed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Diary of Frida Kahlo

Our BPYC Book Club thought we would combine a visit to the Art Gallery with a book.  The Kahlo-Diego Exhibition seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Of course, Frida Kahlo, being Mexican, wrote her diary in Spanish, a small detail we overlooked when we chose her Diary as the accompanying book. It actually didn't matter all that much, though, because there is an English introduction, as well as a translation of Spanish text next to curated thumbnails of images at the back of the book. The diary is also very visual, filled with sketches and automatic drawings. A picture speaks a thousand words, and this diary is full of images.

Frida Kahlo was more like a broken Cleopatra, hiding her tortured body, her shriveled leg, her broken foot, her orthopedic corsets, under the spectacular finery of the peasant women of Mexico... The laces, the ribbons, the skirts, the rustling petticoats, the braids, the moonlike headdresses opening up her face like the wings of a dark butterfly: Frida Kahlo, showing us all that suffering could not wither, nor sickness stale, her infinite variety. 
... How much more than this was in Kahlo... her Diary now shows us: her joy, her fun, her fantastic imagination.
~Introduction of The Diary, by Carlos Fuentes

Many of us chose to treat this month's selection as a multi-media project in the truest sense.

Annika wasn't able to make the book club meeting, but had done her homework and recommended a series of Kahlo documentaries on You Tube that explained her life and work. Others watched  the Selma Hayak film again. And several of us checked out the gallery exhibit together at a Members-Only gallery event.

The night of our discussion, Kaarina found some Frida Tequila and concocted a lovely libation garnished with sliced lemon, lime and orange.  Delicious!  Anne S. did Spanish coffee. We talked about our impressions of the diary, the art, Frida's life and celebrity as we snacked on potluck guacamole, dips, cheeses and chile.

Frida is not everyone's favourite, to be sure. Some in our group used words like narcissist, self-centred, and self indulgent. Others admitted the art itself was not very appealing to them personally and the Diary itself an odd collection.

Are you leaving? No. Broken Wings.

"I never painted dreams.  I painted my own reality."

Andre Breton, father of the surrealist movement, labeled her as such, although Kahlo herself resisted the definition. In fact, she developed a violent dislike for what she called "this bunch of cuckoo lunatic sons of bitches and surrealists" (Art History Archive).

In her diary pages, she takes a coloured pen and writes in the colour what it represents. Who knows if this page unlocks the code to her art or whether it was simply the passing feeling of the day.  She writes, yellow is "madness", green, a "good warm light", and magenta - "Aztec. old TLAPALI blood of prickly pear, the brightest and oldest colour of mole, of leaves becoming earth madness sickness fear."

Diego is everywhere in the pages of the diary and also in her art: at her side, in her lap, on her forehead, and even as a baby entering the world between her legs. Even when he is not there, he is there, like the painting that shows Frida shorn of her long hair, self-cut in desperation after Diego leaves her. That chair is yellow.

These two souls needed one another. They would fight and then forgive... Diego would return after he left... They would remarry after their divorce. There is a photograph taken of Diego next to Frida's death bed, the personification of grief. He would only live three more years without her at his side.

Diego... mirror of the night.. you were the one who captures colour.. I the one who gives colour... You are all the combinations of numbers. life.

Her paintings were full of so much pain. The self-portraits are unflattering. Many of the 70 self-portraits she painted were on display.

I have always admired the brave and unflinching gaze.

When Rob and I went to the Albright-Knox Gallery last year, he picked up a copy of this self-portrait for me because he knew I was a fan of Frida's work. The canvas is now part of the touring exhibit, and I got to see the original once again. I have a confession to make. As much as I admire Frida and her art, I find that piercing look hard to live with, so the copy that originally hung in the kitchen has found a less prominent home downstairs.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Diego Rivera

I've been an admirer of Frida since reading about Carr, O'Keefe, Kahlo: Places of their Own.  I wish I'd been able to take in the show at the McMichael when it came to town, but I never got around to it, and swore I wouldn't let the opportunity to see Frida pass by again this time around. So, back in the autumn when the BPYC book club kicked around the idea of pairing a book with a gallery visit, I quickly suggested this coming exhibit.

Five of us went together on Friday night, in advance of our coming book club meeting to discuss The Diary of Frida Kahlo.

Ironic to me that, decades later, I am being introduced to the art of her husband via her reputation. In their lifetime, Diego was by far the preeminent Mexican artist, and Frida far less appreciated.  Her reputation has grown since her death, to the point where she has become both a Mexican and feminist icon.

I didn't really know much about Diego Rivera before this visit, other than having a passing familiarity with his political murals. He had quite an artistic range, from his early days in Europe, where he hung out with the likes of Picasso and Modigliani and tested his restless talent on emerging European styles like cubism.

Upon his return to Mexico Rivera established and evolved a unique nativistic style. There were a few pieces of his I fell in love with, the Calla Lily Vendor and the Flower Carrier being among them.

The Flower Carrier
The Calla Lily Vendor
The Hammock really stood out for me, the way it depicted such light-hearted ease. Bliss in the sun, sailboats in the background. Such a contrast to the dark colours and theme of pain and oppression that ran through most of the show. He painted it in 1956, two years after Kahlo's death and one year before his own. Given the timing I can only think he painted the scene to escape a time of intense suffering and loneliness in his own life.

The Hammock, 1956
Diego Rivera’s extensive artistic production made him paint a wide variety of themes, including portraits of models, friends, and indigenous Mexicans, as well as historical subjects and landscapes, such as the Sunsets series. After receiving medical treatment in Moscow, Rivera accepted Dolores Olmedo’s invitation to rest and convalesce in her house in Acapulco. Located near La Quebrada, the house offers a spectacular view of the beach and the bay, which was captured by the painter at different times of the day, in different atmospheres. In this painting, Rivera portraited the daughter of Dolores Olmedo, who was with a friend, and they were supposed to study, but they rather took a rest with the beautiful background of Acapulco bay behind. (from the Google Art Project)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Early Thaw

Is it winter or spring?

Only January 12 and there is an early thaw that has an iris by the pond poking its head through the earth. I'm not so concerned about the evergreens, like the ivy and hellebore, but I wonder about the impact of this false start on the primrose and the iris, when it gets cold again.

On the plus side, the thaw melted the ice in our little pond and Rob scooped the two remaining gold fish out to overwinter in the makeshift tank in the basement downstairs.

Today is also a day for Sail/Sale-ing. Rob, brave man, is out at the Boat Show on the first day! Me, I'm off to find a sale on winter coats...

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Lorenzo Da Ponte
At the After Work concert this week we heard two arias by Mozart, sung beautifully by Canadian soprano Layla ClaireAlleluja and a piece from The Marriage of Figaro. 

I go to the After Work concert series at TSO to listen to Tom Allan's stories as much as I do to hear the symphony.

This time he gave some back story about two Mozart contemporaries, celebrities who were the rock star equivalents of their time.  I can imagine them all partying together.

The soprano-castrato Venanzio Rauzzini, who, despite his physical impediments, also gained a reputation as a serial seducer of married women.  Mozart wrote his "Alleluja" aria specifically for him.

Then there was Lorenzo Da Ponte, a study of opposites.  Born a Jew in Venice, someone in the Church recognized his keen intelligence and took the uneducated fourteen-year-old boy under their wing. During his studies, Lorenzo's true brilliance emerged.  He became a priest, as well as a close friend of Cassanova's.  While in the clergy, Lorenzo took a common-law-wife, fathered two children and pursued romantic adventures that culminated in his standing trial for running a brothel and 'abducting a respectable woman'. Then banished from Venice he went on to Vienna where he became a librettist and collaborated with Mozart on Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, and Cosi fan tutte.  From Vienna to London, from London to New York City. His American career was diverse... a professor of Italian at Columbia University, the proprietor of a grocery and then a book store, and then at the age of 84, founder of an opera house!  Now there's someone's biography I have to look up!

This clip features Canadian soprano Layla Claire working on her craft and her Italian pronunciation:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dear Life

I've been reading Alice Munro for more than four decades, and she's been publishing for more than six.

A true master of the form and still going strong, her fan base includes several Pulitzer Prize winners.  Jeffrey Eugenides says of her collection  'The Love of a Good Woman' that there is not one story in there that is not perfect. Cynthia Ozick has dubbed her the Chekov of our times.  Margaret Atwood says, "Alice Munro is among the major writers of English fiction of our time... Among writers themselves, her name is spoken in hushed tones." (Incidentally, both Munro and Atwood were nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2012 and although richly deserved, unfortunately, neither won.)

A Munro short story feels intimate and authentic. I love her insights into small town life, coming-of-age, twists of fate. I listened to an interview with her once, where she admitted drawing her ideas and details from first-hand experience.  Portraits and characters were based on the lives around her, and she said most people didn't have an inkling when she borrowed bits of their personalities or fates because she changed them just enough to be unattributable. A fine art, indeed.

Atwood has shrewdly noted that 'pushing the sexual boundaries is distinctly thrilling for many a Munro woman', and this collection is no exception.  Two stories in particular stand out in this vein, "To Reach Japan," and "Corrie," either of which would make an outstanding film about the nature of love and fidelity.  It's happened before, with Sarah Polley's movie 'Away from Her' based on the short story 'The Bear Came Over the Mountain'.

In Dear Life, there are four stories at the end that "... are the first and last - and the closest - things I have to say about my own life." This unit of stories will likely keep Canadian Literature grad students busy for years to come as they draw parallels between fact and fiction.

The closing line in Dear Life..... We say of some things that they can't be forgiven, or that we will never forgive ourselves. But we do - we do it all the time.

I wonder if that is part of Munro's creative process, to look back at life's moments and use them as a springboard, and to wonder 'what if?' 'What if' a different choice was made? 'What if' things happened in a different time or place, to different people, under different circumstances?  To work that magic, and simultaneously love the people enough, and change the people enough, to be so True to Life.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Perfect pear-ing

Nicolette and Desmond had an evening of dessert wines and cheeses just after Christmas. Little sips and nibbles of these intense flavourings are really all that's needed.

There were some tasty cheeses, including a Guinness Irish Cheddar, a strong Australian 40's Blue.  Noteworthy was the 'Our Compliments' camembert, produced somewhere in Ontario and available at Metro supermarkets.

The late harvest vidal and ice wines were delicious, but my favourite discovery of the evening was Mathilde Pear Liqueur. It went amazingly well with smoked fish and the Thornloe Devil's Rock Creamy Blue cheese. Mathilde is a fortified wine from France, Cognac, and is the product of 100% natural fruit infusion.

When I checked it out online, availability at the LCBO was 'while supplies last', so I hopped in the car and picked up the last three bottles on Toronto's east side. The Wine Enthusiast gave this 90-95 points, and it also won a Gold Medal at the 2009 World Spirits Competition in San Francisco.

In the middle of winter, the taste reminds me of a late summer day.


LCBO 271882 | 375 mL bottle 

Price $ 19.25 

Made in: Cognac, France 
By: Cognac Ferrand 

Friday, January 4, 2013

'Til next year.....

On the bus on the way home tonight, I was putting together my weekend 'to do' list:  take ornaments off Christmas tree. When I got home,  I saw the evergreen at the curb, branches stripped bare. I have to admit I was a bit surprised and just a little forlorn to find Rob had already boxed everything away...  We both reach a point where neither of us can stand the clutter anymore and need to put the holiday trimmings aside. Packing things away is part of the yearly ritual and marks the transition from holiday to New Year.

And what a wonderful holiday season it's been!  

A great mix of time spent as a family and time spent with friends. 

Lunches with colleagues; catching up with old friends; an unscheduled BPYC Book Club Christmas meal; celebrating the season at Kaarina's with great nibbles;  my Solstice Wine tasting;  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Rob and Alex; Boxing Day at Brenda's; Nicolette and Desmond's dessert wine tasting; Christmas in Kitchener with my mom and sister and brothers; New Year's Eve at Caroline's with an 'over the top' foodie night; and New Year's Levee at the club. 


The older I get the more the holidays seem to be about spending time with people you like and love, versus the gift-giving.  Food and feasting seem to be so central, too, along with embellishments at the table, sparkly clothes and twinkling lights.

Lighting a candle in the darkness, lengthening days.

The future now is present, and here is where we find ourselves in 2013!

View of the gap Jan 1, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Your Elusive Creative Genius

A great Ted Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, and a wonderful story about a poet catching her poems, with mentions of Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. 

~ Elizabeth Gilbert

I had this encounter recently where I met the extraordinary American poet Ruth Stone,who's now in her 90s, but she's been a poet her entire life and she told me that when she was growing up in rural Virginia, she would be out working in the fields, and she said she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape. And she said it was like a thunderous train of air. And it would come barreling down at her over the landscape.And she felt it coming, because it would shake the earth under her feet. She knew that she had only one thing to do at that point, and that was to, in her words, "run like hell." And she would run like hell to the house and she would be getting chased by this poem, and the whole deal was that she had to get to a piece of paper and a pencil fast enough so that when it thundered through her, she could collect it and grab it on the page. And other times she wouldn't be fast enough, so she'd be running and running and running, and she wouldn't get to the house and the poem would barrel through her and she would miss it and she said it would continue on across the landscape, looking, as she put it "for another poet." And then there were these times -- this is the piece I never forgot -- she said that there were moments where she would almost miss it, right? So, she's running to the house and she's looking for the paper and the poem passes through her, and she grabs a pencil just as it's going through her, and then she said, it was like she would reach out with her other handand she would catch it. She would catch the poem by its tail, and she would pull it backwards into her body as she was transcribing on the page. And in these instances, the poem would come up on the page perfect and intact but backwards, from the last word to the first.
~ Elizabeth Gilbert 

Eden, Then and Now

In ’29 before the dust storms
sandblasted Indianapolis,
we believed in the milk company.
Milk came in glass bottles.
We spread dye-colored butter,
now connected to cancer.
We worked seven to seven
with no overtime pay;
pledged allegiance every day,
pitied the starving Armenians.
One morning in the midst of plenty,
there were folks out of context,
who were living on nothing.
Some slept in shacks
on the banks of the river.
This phenomenon investors said
would pass away.
My father worked for the daily paper.
He was a union printer;
lead slugs and blue smoke.
He worked with hot lead
at a two-ton machine,
in a low-slung seat;
a green-billed cap
pulled low on his forehead.
He gave my mother a dollar a day.
You could say we were rich.
This was the Jazz Age.
All over the country
the dispossessed wandered
with their hungry children,
harassed by the law.
When the market broke, bad losers
jumped out of windows.
It was time to lay an elegant table,
as it is now; corporate paradise;
the apple before the rot caved in.
It was the same worm
eating the same fruit.
In fact, the same Eden. 

Ruth Stone

"This is the year I will..."

January 1st has come and gone and I still don't have my New Year's Resolution.

I like goals and 'to do' lists because they give me a sense of accomplishment.

I could pick any of these Top Ten Resolutions.

What to pick, what to pick? This is the year I will...... lose 10 pounds, get out of debt, write a novel, learn some Spanish, keep a weed-free garden, stop thinking negative thoughts, set realistic goals, get clutter-free, become spiritually enlightened, find a new job, look ten years younger, change my relationship with money...

I am so tempted to draw up a task list but maybe this year I will skip it and take a more holistic approach. Use tools like the Wheel of Life or Tips for Building Resilience to take a broader view.

Or maybe I will just focus on keep on keeping on with the healthy habits I've already established, like yoga, meditation, book clubs... previous resolutions I made and kept.

I've started viewing these 12 Ted Talks to Inspire New Year's Resolutions for some fresh ideas...