Tag Archives: resolutuons

Odds and Ends and Pots and Pans

Odds and ends
And pots and pans,
Champagne pops
And starts and stops,
Plants and things
And in between,
Tabletops with
Art and feeling.


And art on my brother’s driveway.

Oh, assonance… And consonance…  And rhyme…  And half-rhyme… Happy new year, and new post, to you too.

Yes, a new year has begun (plus a few weeks now), and I’m happy to be starting it here with words and art, and to be sharing them with you. Words and art, yes, sounds like a good start. That’s one of several thoughts, or odds and ends, that I’ve been collecting. And here are a few more. They follow below, shared as always as a gift for me and you, to peruse and read and at your own pace go through.

1) Pots and Pans: I usually make a few resolutions at the start of each year (any time is good though), and this year was no different. On the afternoon of January 1st, I found myself creating a new note on my phone, a five-minute exercise that left me with some old favorites and general reminders.

Among the highlights was the perennial, “Learn how to juggle five” :), written more actionably and meditatively this time though as, “Juggle five – practice every day for five minutes, relax, and have fun.” (I’ve practiced a few days so far, but not quite yet…every day.) A few general feel-good reminders included, “Be kind every day” and “Be grateful every day.” And then there were some healthy environment ones like, “Do the dishes at least every other day.”



They can really stack up after a while, right??? This was a week’s worth, and actually the first week of the year’s worth. To be fair though, I was sick and wasn’t doing much of anything that week. How about that After picture though?? Yes, thank you very much. (Two weeks later, I’m still kind of working on the ‘at least every other day’ part of this one…but details.)

2) Planting Plant Plans: I have a lot of starter houseplants and a lot of pots waiting for them, so one of my goals over the next few weeks is to bring them together. I have a vision for a garden apartment, with the garden on the inside.

Meanwhile on the outside, I planted some garlic.


Planting garlic and growing and harvesting it is one of the easiest, and most satisfying, garden things you can do. It practically grows itself. It’s like magic – each clove that you plant turns into a full head of garlic.


If you’re interested, and I hope you are :), here’s what to do. First get some garlic bulbs at the farmer’s market (the bulbs at the supermarket might have been treated to prevent sprouting). Then pull the cloves apart, leaving the papery husks on, and plant the cloves right side up about 2″ deep and 8″ apart. Usually, you plant them in late fall, but I’ve planted them as late as December…or also now, well, January 8th according to my notes. We’ll see how it goes! I also planted them in pots for the first time.


The outer five, they got the garlic

It’s okay if the ground freezes after you plant the cloves too. The new plants should come up in the spring if not sooner. Then in April/May/June you snap off the garlic scapes (the green stems that start curling around themselves) to force more energy into the new bulb, and in June/July you harvest (dig up) the new bulbs when the leaves start to brown.


Future houseplants, modeling

3) Freezer Files 

The fridge in my apartment came with a freezer (I know, pretty cool, right?), and over the past three years I’ve been doing my best to fill it.


This was the actual view as of two weeks ago. The thing is, this was also essentially the actual view as of five months ago.

I’d filled it over time, and then I got leftover and other-frozen-food usage paralysis. I knew what I wanted to do, which was to go through everything, use it all, and write about it at the same time. It seemed so daunting though, so I never got started. What would the rules be? Would I have to eat only from the freezer until it was all gone? (Meaning no cooking, i.e., not doing something I like?) How long would it take? Would I write a single post at the end about the process, or also one at the beginning? Or should I write several along the way? What if I started and it didn’t go like I thought it would? What if it didn’t work out? What if I messed it up??

Okay, brain, let’s hold the phone for a second there.

What if I just started and saw how it went?

So that’s what I did (and recalled that, yes, that has worked many times in the past (ex. 1, ex. 2)). The beauty and the truth is that of course it’ll work, and that’s what it’s doing now, working out. Now a few weeks in, I’ve eaten or combined into new dishes several freezer items. I’ve also tossed a few items, a temporary affront to my ‘never waste anything’ ideal, but otherwise it’s going great. And it feels great. Item by frozen item, I’m cleaning up the freezer. I’m putting things to use, and I’m simplifying and letting go. Less is more.

Mmmmmmm, no longer frozen and so tasty again eggplant rollatini

Food is meant to be eaten. And you have to start somewhere, so start where you’re at. Get going.

The rules are There are no rules. I’ll use as many things as I can, cook and combine them whenever possible, and take notes along the way, leading to probably a final post but perhaps some interim ones too. I’ll figure it out as I go.

4) Marathon Miles

I signed up for the New Jersey Marathon! Yay!

That decision, made two months ago, was followed by me starting to increase my miles and do some speed workouts. Also yay, except that my doctor had advised against doing the latter workouts so as not to aggravate a minor hip injury. After about three weeks, I realized I should have followed his advice. Boo.


So I bought myself a foam roller (thank you, Princeton Running Company) and have been doing some eggplant side-rollatini-ing. And doing way fewer miles. And going slower. I also starting some physical therapy (diagnosis: gluteus medius strain (yup…weak cheeks)).

The calendar reality is that I don’t think I’ll be doing the marathon now. Maybe I could still do the half, but we’ll see. My freezer file mind is reminding that it’ll all work out, and that once again, as always, I should start where I’m at.

If you can’t run 10 miles, run 3.
If you’re injured, do PT.
If you have an itch in the middle of your leg, scratch your knee.

Okay, that last one was just for the rhymes 🙂

5) March Saneness

This one deserves to go in the opposite direction of alliteration.


There was nothing mad about the Women’s March on Washington this past Saturday. It was solidarity, love, inspiration, and the opposite of hate and madness. I can’t think of a more right place to have been that day than right there with a number of friends, and with everyone else who marched there in Washington and also around the county and the world. We all have our own steps, and for me there was no decision to make but to step out of my own quiet kitchen and start going. The following is what I shared on Facebook that evening:

“We will not go from being a nation of immigrants to a nation of ignorance” – America Ferrera
“Courage will not skip this generation” – Roslyn Brock
“Sometimes we must put our bodies where our beliefs are.” – Gloria Steinem

– Words heard and felt today in Washington, D.C.


6) The Art of Food and Life

How lucky are we, how lucky am I, really.

I have friends I can march with. I can take care of my body, and my mind. I have a freezer full of food. I have plants. I have a kitchen. I have words, and I have art.


There is art on driveways (thank you, artist sister-in-law). And there is art on my kitchen table, a rotating temporary art installation. The current view includes tomatoes from the community garden at work, grapefruit from my mom, and odds and ends from myself and friends.

The view, the backdrop, also includes one of my grandfather’s watercolors, a gift a few years ago from my great aunt. There was a time I thought I would hang it up one day, but I’ve realized I like where it’s at. Along with everything else, it helps make for a full table. And it feels good.

Three to get ready

Happy New Year!


It’s going to be the best year yet!

I honestly believe each of those statements. I also believe in pausing from time to time to reflect on where you’re at and what you might do differently to keep moving forward along the path of progress. What better time to do that than at the turning of the year?

Yes, there are naysayers who may naysay that it’s an arbitrary point in time, or that few people keep the resolutions they make, or that the resolutions made are not specific enough, or something else. I think that any resolution you make is a good resolution, and if it is not completed or is partially completed come the end of the year, that’s okay. We do what we can and are ready for, and then we can reflect and make goals anew.

I’ll probably write some resolutions or goals for myself in the coming weeks, around the general categories of work, blog, personal, and fitness, and I know many of them will sound similar to ones I’ve written in the past. That’s okay. In the meantime, and in the longtime, I actually already have three that I made on New Year’s Eve to keep in mind.

I was hanging out with my brother and his family, and we went across the street to his neighbors’, where they were having some neighborhood families over. The scene was this: a gang of kids, mostly 3-6 years-old but some younger; a group of adults, mostly parents but some who were not; an impressive array of food and alcohol; and toys and confetti everywhere. The kids ran around taking part in mostly self-directed and periodically structured-fun (self-directed: collecting confetti into hats, counting down from ten, and screaming Happy New Year! and tossing the confetti in the air, and then repeating many times; structured: gathering as a group every so often so a few kids could stand under a balloon (and so the other kids could watch) as the host mom did a countdown and then popped the balloon, unleashing a shower of confetti and commensurate kid-delight). The adults, meanwhile, mostly took part in self-directed fun, also known as eating, drinking, talking, and making comments on things like the presence of Pitbull, the absence of Dick Clark, and what Taylor Swift was thinking or not thinking when she decided to wear or not wear what she did and didn’t.

It wasn’t structured-fun in the same manner as the kiddie-confetti-balloons, but the adults also had the opportunity and periodic peer-encouragement to write answers to the following four statements and to then clothespin the separate cards to the line:

  • The skill I want to learn this year is _________.
  • The good deed I want to do this year is ________.
  • The person I want to be more like this year is _______.
  • The bad habit I want to kick this year is _______.

A sample of some the early responses

By the time the encouragement made it to me, there were about 30 minutes left in the year. It seemed like the options for answering the cards were to think of something funny or honest. Not yet in the mindset of wanting to go real, I tried thinking of funny. The led to my first response:

  • The skill I want to learn this year is resolution-keeping.

Okay, so not really that funny, but more like a meta-jab at myself and the game. I wasn’t going to give up and not fill the cards out, though. I was going to do all three (I didn’t realize until yesterday that there was a fourth), and I was going to do them before 2014 was over. Five minutes later, after continuing to make little progress on funny, I filled in the second one:

  • The good deed I want to do this year is donating blood.

I’ve given blood three, maybe four times in my life. The first one or two times were fine, as was the most recent time. But the second to last time, a few years ago… It took me 15-20 minutes to give the pint (twice as long as usual), and it involved, part of the way through, me starting to feel really hot and then light-headed. This was remedied in the moment by being laid back and something cool being placed on my head, and then me finishing the giving that way. But the memory stuck with me and planted a seed of fear that it could happen again. Yes, it probably didn’t help that I had ridden my bike to work that morning and that it was 30 degrees outside, and that I was still feeling somewhat cold when I walked downstairs two hours later to give 🙂  Such are the learning experiences of life. In any case. Donating blood. 2015. I could do that. Actionable and accomplishable. Card number two: done. And then the last card – what should I put? “The person I want to be more like this year is _______.” Pitbull was already taken. So were some other celebrities, including some with additions, like, “A less slutty version of Taylor Swift.” I had the card in my hand for ten minutes, at first still trying to think funny, and then trying to think anyone, when I found the most honest answer:

  • The person I want to be more like this year is myself.

My brother looked at it and said, “Philosophical.” I said something like, “It’s the answer that makes the most sense.” This one also doesn’t come with lots of ready benchmarks, but it captures a lot. I’ve gotten better at being myself, but I also know I can do more. It all boils down to fear and courage, and listening, knowing, and sticking with it. Being afraid, not being confident, being worried about what other people think, not listening to myself and what I really want to do and what makes me happy in terms of work, play, relationships, goals – all of that is not being myself. The person I want to be more like this year is myself. And that’s to say: not being afraid, being confident, not worrying about what others think, listening to myself and what I want and what makes me happy – in work, play, relationships, goals, and everything. 2015 is going to be the best year yet, and part of the reason is because I’m going to be like myself even more.

On Saturday morning I was walking around town and saw a flier that said, “Blood Drive: Sunday January 4, 2015 – 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.” By the time I saw the flier again later in the day, at another spot, I already knew I was going to do it. I felt a small current of memory fear, both then and the next day, but that was to be expected. When the appointed time came around on Sunday, mostly the good history repeated itself. It took me 10 minutes to give, and I felt good (I only got just a little warm right at end when the machine beeped, saying I was done). So, I may have gone running three hours earlier in the day before giving. But – I did have a lot to eat and drink right after running, and I also got more ready this time. And it worked out.


The forearm selfie: harder than you’d think

Happy New Year!  Thumbs up to 2015.