dinner club with a reading problem turns four!

Hello, and happy Literary Saturday! This week I want to send a big, loving, grateful anniversary wish to all of my book club girls. This month Dinner Club With a Reading Problem is celebrating four years together. Four years! And I am so happy.

What started as just a fun way to socialize and indulge in a favorite past-time has blossomed into a truly nourishing wellspring. Something that feeds us and challenges us in unexpected ways. What a wonderful surprise to discover such a sisterhood at this stage in life.

 

Our "Red Dress" photo shoot at the Oklahoma State Capitol in 2013. This was an event aimed at awareness of heart disease for women, a gesture of love for our own Stephanie.

Our “Red Dress” photo shoot at the Oklahoma State Capitol in 2013. This was an event aimed at awareness of heart disease for women, a gesture of love for our own Stephanie.

 

Over the past four years our membership and attendance has fluctuated a bit, ranging from the four original women to about 26 at one point, now hovering at close to a dozen. Most of our gatherings enjoy the energy and glow of nine or ten amazing friends who feel a lot like sisters now. Sometimes our husbands or children make happy appearances. And a few times we’ve welcomed out-of-town guests, which is the best. We’ve also been incredibly fortunate to interview our chosen authors three times.

austin

beauties

We schedule dinners about every six to eight weeks, depending on the time of the year. The hostess sets a food theme, sometimes related to the book and sometimes to the season, and we all run with it to build a ridiculous pot-luck style feast. The DCWRP ladies are all excellent cooks and luxurious shoppers, so no one goes home hungry! Our name, after all, points clearly to our food obsession. By this time next week we will have gathered at Kerri’s house to discuss Goldfinch, and the dinner theme is salads. I am so excited! Because, KALE.

food and flag book club

food summer

table spread

shark

We take our carbs seriously.

Though the aim of each gathering is to review and discuss the book we’ve just read, then plan the next event, book club now is all about the friendship we share. We have become closely knitted together, and no matter what is happening is each other’s life we always feel safe and supported. We share marriage and dating stuff, changing family dynamics, career stress, grief, joy. All of it. We are a group of excellent listeners, and if that isn’t the breeding ground for friendship then I don’t know what is.

quote women separated

An excerpt from The Help.

We’ve experienced ups and downs ourselves, too. Like any group of friends (especially women?) we have had conflict and separation, then gentle and happy reunions, and we’ve learned a lot about each other along the way. This book club has a wonderful momentum that just carries us not only from one title to the next but from one life event to the next. And I am so grateful.

gunfight

Speaking of titles, I should be ale to tell you easily how many books we’ve read together, but I can’t. It’s a lot, that’s for sure. We probably read six or eight per year, at different paces depending on the volume and the busy-ness of the months. (Ahem, Bonhoeffer anyone?) Sometimes we choose two books at once if we are craving two types of literary nourishment.

2 books

Our book selection process is a bit random, but it does allow everyone a chance to have input. We simply draw names at the end of each meeting, and that person comes to the next discussion dinner with the title we’ll read that next go-round. This way she has time to look around and make a great choice. With such a variety of personalities and lifestyles in our little tribe, we have enjoyed a wide array of reading material. I love it so much!! Most books we read I might never have considered on my own, and everyone would probably say the same.

When I wished my friends a Happy Fourth Book Club Anniversary, a few of them offered these sweet words…

book club quotes

 

This warms my heart!

And just for fun, here is a list of wacky traditions we’ve accidentally formed at Dinner Club With a Reading Problem:

  • Whenever possible, we get Amber to narrate aloud a racy passage from whatever book we’re discussing. She has the perfect voice and sultry countenance for it. It’s awesome.
  • We always eventually descend into uproarious laughter. We’re neither quiet nor terribly ladylike. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  • Somehow we always work into the conversation something about whether or not we wash our new bed sheets before using them. It’s a more divisive topic than you’d expect.
  • Melissa brings us the most amazing coconut-lime cake you have ever even dreamed of. It’s the perfect balance of delicate and decadent, and when she brings it we know it’s a special occasion.

coconut cake and blooms book club

  • Stephanie is our group’s token non-reader, but she does make a valiant effort. We love to check in with her to see if she has read more this time, and she loves to tease us about whether a book is being made into a movie.
  • Everyone loves to tease me about two books I have chosen over time: Don Quixote and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Just, whatever you guys.
  • We have an official logo hand drawn by Joanna, and we’ve made it into t-shirts! In fact I am wearing mine as I type this.

t logo

 

The world is filled with all sorts of book clubs. Big and small, corporate and private. They’re all special. But none of them compares to this group. Dinner Club With a Reading Problem possesses a magic which none of us has alone. As a group we enjoy something that makes each of us better, and this coming year I look forward to seeing how we push that energy out into the world. Ideas abound!

Thank you for your friendship, ladies. Thank you for every page we’ve read together, for every bite of sweet and savory food we’ve shared. Thank you for the tears and laughter. You are the shiz-nay. Happy Anniversary!!

roses

 

“That’s What She Said.”
~All of us at some point
XOXOXOXO

farm update: january’s breath of summer

It’s Wednesday afternoon, and my biggest work is done, miles ran, house clean and quiet except for normal Lazy W sounds. Schedule clear until dinner with friends tonight. I am forcing myself to sit down with a salty snack and cold drink, just to offer a quick farm update and return some emails. Because really, I’d much rather chat with you outside. So would you if you were here.

The weather here in Oklahoma, in case you haven’t heard, is temporarily glorious. So glorious it makes being indoors a little difficult. I get antsy. Warm afternoons, cool evenings, starry nights, and abundant sunshine day after day. The fresh air is intoxicating, so our windows are all open. Curtains billowing inward like a dream then sucking back against the screens with no warning. Rooster crows and buffalo chuffs making the silence fuller, warmer. Sunlight streaming in and colliding with the disco ball, scattering silver blurs all over the living room. I love all of this. It’s like magic, this symphony of beauty for every sense. Every spring I remember just in the nick of time why we live here, just when I was about to start packing boxes and move either to the Equator or the city.

The animals are blissing out, too. Egg production is up from six or seven per day to nine and sometimes even eleven. And we’re getting minty green ones still, which are my favorite. There’s a lot of, um… chicken romance happening all over the farm, so if things go well our little flock could make it possible for us to hatch out some gorgeous feathery babies again this year. We have a greater variety of breeds now, too, so this could be fun.

The llamas have rearranged their pecking order since Dulcinea has recovered from her pregnancy. Interestingly, while she was El Preggo, she was very clearly at the top of that adorable little totem pole. Then came Romulus, then Meh, oblivious to being in last place. (Llamas seem to be matriarchal, which could be why an expectant mother rose to the top despite her youth. This is my unprofessional observation-based opinion.) Now recently, Dulcie has fallen to the bottom, with her baby brother above her and Big Daddy Rom up top. “Where obviously I belong,” he seems to say with his stately gaze. Anyway, she’s doing great. The fall from grace has actually made her more cuddly to us, so we like it. Handsome really seems to be enjoying his extra cookie time with the llama he has always called Little Bit. xoxoxo

Yesterday we were pulling up the driveway at a particularly warm, still moment and saw Chanta napping in the sun. He was all folded up against himself, basking, no halter on his face, breathing with his entire body. The sight was beyond precious. I snapped these photos showing his startled wake-up. The fourth photo, had I managed to take it, would have been him stretching his legs and neck as far as they would go. And yawning. He is the yawniest horse I have ever seen.

chanta 1

chanta 2

chanta 3

Tulips are breaking ground. This is said with a great measure of self control, because as soon as anything breaks ground, I can think of little else besides gardening. This, together with the insanely gorgeous temperatures, makes it difficult to remember we are still finishing up January. About 50 days still to live fully until the official start of the loveliest of all seasons.

Live fully, Marie, live fully, Carpe every single diem.
Don’t waste too much time reflecting on the past or anticipating the future.
Today is beautiful and important.

On that note, I’ll wrap this up and go scoop some manure for composting. I hope wherever you are that the weather is kind to you. I hope if you are still in winter’s bitter grip that you have lots of soup and fuzzy blankets nearby to warm your bones.

Count your blessings. Make the most of today. The days add up.

“A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.”
~May Sarton
XOXOXO

 

marathon monday: post-run yoga

Hello and welcome to another Marathon Monday! If you’re following along, this is the start of week 6 of training for the April race.

I am happy to report that my mileage for the past few weeks has been right on target. A bit over the Hal Higdon prescription, actually, and I’m feeling great. With increased mileage (which will increase even more in the coming weeks) I am reminded of how important it is to stretch afterwards.

Most people probably neglect stretching more than they should, myself included. Isn’t it like flossing? Like, we all know we should do it, and we all say we do it, but really, only when we eat spinach? Or popcorn?

Well, I had fallen into the habit of not stretching unless I was running in the double digits and then only rarely. No longer! Last week I paid a hefty price for this negligence. The evening after a long run I was walking around the house in ill-fitting sweat pants, not able to bend my knees. So I sort of waddled from left to right, stiff-legged and VERY stiff-hipped. I also couldn’t bend my back, so I looked perfectly British in a ridiculous way. I caught Handsome looking at me sideways a few times, and it was not flirting.

Anyway a couple of days later I was so thrilled to remember this little yoga video on You Tube. I have been doing it ever since, even after short runs, and it makes everything better. My legs feel more supple. My back is bendy again. My hips are loose. Even my feet and arms feel good.

(Side note: I never expected to have sore arms from running. Crazy.)

 

And as much as this yoga video helps my body (from head to toe!) it also helps my mind. Twenty minutes of these exercises and affirmations will make it nearly impossible for you to be overly critical or irrationally dissatisfied with yourself. Probably anyone who practices yoga will agree that the phrases which strike you the most during your poses will actually apply to your life across the board. So go ahead and be mindful. It’s lovely.

 

photo with ypga quote

Isn’t that beautiful? It made me think a lot about what my foundations are, about what it means to be graceful and live with integrity. I was reminded to slow down and breathe…

Okay I hope if you are running that you are also stretching! Consider this a big warm hug from me, encouraging you to try yoga for its physical and personal benefits.

I also hope that you are flossing, at least when you eat spinach and popcorn. Because, we can totally see that.

‘Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus.
Our bodies are our gardens to which our wills are gardeners.
~William Shakespeare, Othello
XOXOXO

 

 

 

confessing some unpopular opinions

These past couple of weeks I have spent more time than usual expressing strong personal opinions that did not necessarily mesh with those of some people close to me. The topics were various, and certainly lots of loved ones offered me agreement and support; but still I have felt an undercurrent of opposition that I don’t normally feel. It’s uncomfortable, and a few tears were shed on both sides of these arguments, but it hasn’t changed my opinions one bit.

Anyway. I will be forty-one in less than two months and am experiencing yet another cliché: I just do not really care what people think of me. Not in an angsty I hate the world kind of way. No, not at all. I love more people and I love them more deeply than ever before and am more comfortable in this world than I have ever been, since maybe the age of eight. I just need less and less approval from others and rarely feel the need to justify or explain myself to anyone. At all.

So in the spirit of being honest, but also trying to have a sense of humor about it, let’s do some confessions. Let’s confess some opinions. And why don’t we make them all unpopular, ok?

 

Confessing Some Unpopular Opinions

  1. New Kids on the Block? Who’s that? Talk to me about Menudo. Or the hey hey we’re the Monkeys!
  2. Pixar makes me nauseous. Not, like, oh I hate it so much I’m gonna hurl, but like, when I watch Pixar-animated films I literally get motion sickness or something. I have to make sure to have a book or a hand-held craft or something available to stay the sway. Which is too bad, because they turn out some great stories. Or so I hear.
  3. Daniel Craig is the best James Bond, ever. Sorry, Mr. Connery and Remington Steele.
  4. I happily support gay marriage and am not at all surprised that it is being legalized rapidly across the country.
  5. But I cannot fathom any excuse to make abortion legal.
  6. And I think the feminist movement has taken so many ugly turns I want nothing to do with it. It has become a tricky, hurtful game of semantics that is counterproductive to people, not just women.
  7. Fennel, though beautiful to look at as a raw vegetable and highly attractant to valuable pollinators in your garden while blooming, tastes awful. Because it tastes like licorice. Which tastes awful.
  8. I believe strongly in the Bible as being the word of God.
  9. But I am reluctant to identify with any man-made “religion” or denomination. No one single group has it all right.
  10. That said, I think religion can be a beautiful and vital part of life and the fabric of our community if it is used and practiced lovingly. (This opinion is probably very popular, though, right? I mean it seems like a no-brainer. Not that you can tell by looking at most church communities.)
  11. Along a similar vein, though I am largely conservative in nature, but still a bit of a hippie according to my friends, I resist identifying with any political party. Because, again, none of them get it all right. And they sure don’t speak for me.
  12. Frogs are terrifying and mostly quite gross.
  13. But horned toads are awesome.
  14. I don’t care how plain or old-fashioned they are, morning-glory vines are possibly my favorite flower in the whole universe.
  15. Animals as family members are so wonderful! But I really don’t groove them inside the house. I know, cue ironic music and eye rolling.
  16. Gallagher, remember him? The watermelon-smashing “comedian?” Can. Not. Stand. Him. Slapstick comedy in general is annoying to me, and this particular unpopular opinion makes my sweet husband sad. He loves the Three Stooges.
  17. Though I am guilty of more than my fair share of accidental typing errors, it drives me crazy to see deliberate spelling manipulations in advertising. For example, “E-Z” in lieu of “Easy.” Or anytime the plural “s” is swapped out for a “z.” WHY?? Catching my attention visually is pointless for sales, because now your giant Z means I will refuse to step foot in your shop. Also? You probably call it a “shoppe.” My god.
  18. Regardless of the administration, I think the office of the President both garners too much credit and also suffers too much criticism for everything that happens in this country or under her scope. We are a vast social and political organism with complex moving parts operated and affected by far more than one elected official.
  19. Condoning underage drinking or use of illegal drugs, especially with minors, is deplorable.
  20. How on earth do we still have these bachelor-rose-giving shows? I mean really.
  21. I think Diet Coke is probably fine.
  22. I think Katy Perry is beautiful but will only listen to one of her songs, Dark Horse, and only when I’m running.
  23. I love Eminem, explicit.
  24. The show Fantasy Island needs to make a comeback.
  25. When toddlers get gently attacked by cats is the best. I can watch those videos for hours.

rp_daniel-craig-6.jpg

Please join me. Get it all off your chest. Throw caution to the wind.

Know Thyself
~Socrates
XOXOXO

p.s. I am sure you already know this, but if you need a good laugh, look up the hashtag #confessyourunpopularopinion sometime. People are funny. And you just might walk away with a slightly different view of what mainstream is. LOL

 

friday 5 at the farm: 4 current faves & a redirect

It’s Friday again, we made it!! Cue all the cheering and cartwheel-turning and Pee-Wee Hermann dancing because, friends, as been. a. week. Handsome and I now have a great weekend on tap to celebrate some hard work and recharge each other’s batteries.

For this installment of Friday 5, I just want to mention four things that have been indispensable to me lately, things that make life easier or prettier or more meaningful. And then I would love to invite you to click over and see another Oklahoma-based blog where I am absolutely giddy to be guest posting today! Okay let’s get started.

#1. Mascara
As much as I love talking about books, philosophy and the importance of slow food and positive thinking, I am so not above asserting to you that a great mascara can greatly improve the quality of your life. So, here it my personal recommendation: Voluminous by L’Oreal. I recently made the switch from a plain-Jane pink and green tube back to this brand I used once upon a time in my twenties, and I am so glad. I had forgotten how lush and thick and I Can See Your Lashes from Kansas this mascara looks. And it’s only like $7 so give it a try!

#2. Parsley
Lately my mouth and my belly cannot get enough parsley. I’ve been keeping bunches of it in the fridge at all times, rinsed and ready to chop cold and raw onto a salad, a bowl of roasted veggies, an omelette, soup, you name it. I even put fresh parsley in my coffee these days. Not really, that’s a lie. But it might be delicious. Is parsley the new sage, which was once the new basil? I’m not saying it’s not. Since seed-starting is right around the corner, I may have to learn a few things about growing parsley. Yum.

#3. Feedly
Do you use this app? I have Feedly installed on my iPad and am in love. It cues up a ton of blogs I enjoy reading and keeps them categorized (fitness, cooking, lifestyle, decorating, spirituality, gardening, etc., these are categories I specified) so I can always plop down with a few spare minutes and read exactly what I’m in the mood to read. I love it! And you can save links for later, too, plus click through to the actual website to comment if you wish.

#4. Mantra
Okay I couldn’t write a list like this without including a mantra. And I am returning to an oldie but goodie, because my perspective has required some adjusting of late and this did the trick: Use Your Imagination for Good. Seriously. Resist the vicious cycle of “what if?” or those horrible rehearsed arguments in your head and just live in this moment. Fully. Slow down. Appreciate where you are, seek out the good, bright spots and the Love that surrounds you, the opportunities, blessings, and potential that your beautiful life has right now and max that stuff out! Okay, also I found this article last night (on Feedly, BAM) and thought you’d like to read it: 6 Things Bold People do to Live a Courageous Life

#5. Redirect
Last but not least, please allow me to introduce you to Cassie! She is a fellow blogger right here in our Great State of Oklahoma. She curates True Agape, where she and her husband Ryan pursue love and romance, fitness, family building, faith, all kinds of great stuff. They are a breath of fresh air!

Well, Cassie recently invited me to write for her audience about how fitness works into my marriage, or about how my marriage supports fitness, or maybe both. As you all know, Handsome does not share my love for running, but that does not mean he doesn’t love me. So he does all sorts of things to encourage me. Click over to Cassie’s website True Agape for a short piece on this topic: 5 Ways My Non Running Husband Supports Me as a Runner.

bamboo zoo

Okay, that’s it! Happy Friday to you, friends. I hope you work hard and play hard. I hope you soak up so much Love that you cannot help but exude it. Pray for miracles, dwell on the possibilities in your heart, expect them.

They’re coming.
XOXOXO

 

 

new moon farm update: closing the ranks

I have been feeling extremely protective lately. More so than normal. Protective over my children, my husband, our home, our animals, my gardens (though they are dormant, they are beautiful and precious to me), my time, body, emotions, thoughts and opinions, you name it… I have for a week or so had this deep and powerful need to keep threats at bay and create space for everyone. It’s a thrumming momentum I feel. Not an absence of energy but a tide of it. And a strong tide at that. And it is kind of wearing me out.

Yesterday more than other days recently, I woke up feeling a bit prickly. You know, less open-armed and more closed off to the world. And that’s not really my personality. I feel this periodically, and over time I’ve learned to take this feeling seriously, to not brush it off and waste the brief season. I’ve learned that there is a beautiful purpose to this shift in my heart and body.

Well, in addition to actual life challenges, it turns out that Tuesday was also a New Moon. Funny, right? That means that for the previous two weeks our energies had been slowly draining and gradually approaching, basically, empty. It could have a lot to do with the worn out feeling.

It makes so much sense now. It’s like my soul knew before my mind realized it when to shed extra weight in my schedule and consciousness and sort of lower our family’s center of gravity. Focus. Breathe deeply. Create all that much-needed space.

So I am closing the ranks. This is not depression; it’s just a refocusing. I’m not going anywhere extraneous for a while. I am still running my miles and eating healthfully and showering every day and doing lots of housework and wearing bright colors to combat the late winter doldrums, but I am also saying no over and over again, to anything that is not serving us essentially. No volunteering, no driving across town for unpaid projects, no visiting with people who make me cry and confuse my heart. Right now I need to build up some strength and just breathe. Catch up on work around the farm, reset some projects and priorities. And really, this season of closed ranks won’t last long; I am pretty sensitive to the moon and will surely feel the swell of the waxing weeks just as strongly as I felt the waning.

********************

This wouldn’t be a Wednesday farm update without sharing some news.

First, Jocelyn has been visiting us still and spending lots of time training the horses. And training me with the horses, truth be told. Chanta and I daydream of so many magical horse-and-rider moments. He told me things are promising. I’ve only had one fall (off of Dusty, so it was a short trip), and it did not involve a visit to the dentist. Bonus! Joc and I are having so much fun and making a thousand happy memories together. I am in awe of the young woman she is becoming.

 

joc dusty

 

The hens are laying eggs consistently, including a minty green (maybe it’s actually blue) egg yesterday, the first one like this in over a year! So gorgeous. I love the colored shells so much.

 

Fancy Louise. World's most affectionate hen. xoxo

Fancy Louise. World’s most affectionate hen. xoxo

 

Chunk is still a tire flipper.

Pacino is still a wooden floor wanderer.

And little Meh has decided that sweet grain is totally delicious if he can no longer have his mama’s milk. So that is all really great.

On a sad note, the bees I found a few days ago appear to have been robber bees, not my beloved Lazy W Honeymakers as I had announced on Facebook. The hives are in fact depressingly empty except for a small cluster of dead bees, so I am frustrated beyond words. I’ve spent so much time, energy, and money on this beekeeping project that a second total loss is almost enough to make me throw in the towel. Many thanks to those of you who have already said sweet things about this bummer news, and thanks in advance to those of you who now will. I don’t yet know exactly what happened. But I will do as much reading and observing and asking around as necessary to figure it out.

 

lights

 

It’s fine, you know, to close the ranks when you need to. Tend your temple, feather your nest, look well to the ways of your own household first, especially when your emotional resources are limited. The energies will shift again and strength will build back up, then other kinds of work and pleasure will be on my mind.

How are you? Do you notice a shift in energies when the moon is waning?

“If you surrender to the wind, 
you can ride it.”
~Toni Morrison
XOXOXOXO

 

 

 

 

what I’m reading: blogs & a new book

Happy Saturday! We all made it to the weekend, friends. And I hope you made it in one piece and covered with smiles. It’s Saturday, so I’m touching base with what kind of reading is worth our time lately. In a nutshell for me? Lots of fitness blogs plus a new book, The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. This week I also finished Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, but it absolutely deserves its own review soon. Plus, Goldfinch was a DCWRP selection, so I don’t want to spoil it too much for my fellow book clubbers still nibbling at it. Melissa and I have already discussed it openly on Facebook enough to risk a few spoilers. : )

Okay, The  Signature of All Things. I’m just about fifty pages in right now.

signature1

I first fell in love with Elizabeth Gilbert several years ago when my baby sister sent me a used paperback version of Eat Pray Love. She sent the slim novel to several of her closest women folk (that was fun to say) and honestly it was the coolest, most wonderful experience. Wonderful because Genny shared something she loved. Wonderful because the book arrived in my life at a time I really needed to read about plumbing depth and exploring and discovering and healing. Wonderful because that book reignited my love of reading. Since Eat Pray Love I’ve followed Gilbert’s online offerings but have only just now started her fiction. So far? It’s… different. But I’m enjoying it. DCWRP friends Melissa and Tracy both read it months ago and have said they can’t wait to hear what I think. So that’s a conversation I’m excited to have. These ladies have great taste in books! Tracy’s husband actually suggested we read Goldfinch.

And fitness blogs. I can’t seem to get enough of running blogs right now. It must be the sight shift in weather. Having recently discovered a few new writers and also subscribed to Women’s Running, I’ve been drowning myself in words enough to fuel more miles, which is awesome. I just wrapped up week four of the marathon training program and am feeling really great.

Run Eat Repeat, running, Pile on the Miles

The Monican! She is totally bringing braids back.

One of my favorites lately is still Run Eat Repeat written by the Monican. She is so funny and self deprecating, also happy to answer questions, which I appreciate. Through her I found Janae over at Hungry Runner Girl, and as it turns out she is a regular contributor to Women’s Running. Very cool. She produces tons of useful content. And of course The Oatmeal. You follow this guy, right? So silly and smart. Really funny. Come to think of it, I owe this reading pleasure to a sibling, too. My little brother Joey sent it to me months ago and I was immediately hooked.

What are you reading this week? Are you in A book club? Are you diverted by a guilty pleasure? Do you read anything to keep yourself motivated? Are you a blog reader during the week? Spill your literary beans here.

And happy weekend to you! Handsome and I are are home together, hoping to see our girl pull in the driveway soon for some sunshine and horses and home cooked food. Maybe a visit from our sister-in-law Halee and red headed nephew Greg. Plus some fun with friends, you name it. A glorious, loving weekend is all spread out before us, and I hope the same for you. Maybe we all can go read in the sunshine, because at least in Oklahoma the weather is downright springtime-like.

Happy reading, friends!
XOXOXOXO

 

 

 

 

 

 

farm update: pacino wanders

Do you know about Bobby Pacino, our parrot? I’ve written about him before, surely. He is a blue and gold macaw, almost ten years old. And he is craaaaaaazyyyyyyy. Not that crazy, we do love him to a million feathery little pieces. He knows upwards of about 130 words and phrases. He is interactive and affectionate. He is really smart. He is extremely noisy and messy and demanding, and for all the animals we keep at the farm, he is the only one allowed indoors. But as self-centered as he can be, Pacino does loves us more than we give him credit for.

Well, friends, my Lazy W update this week is that we have a new development in our life as a parrot-centered family. Pacino has figured out how to depart from his open perch in the living room and just wander the house.

Here’s an example.

I was in the kitchen tonight cooking dinner, just minding my own business, with my laptop open in the adjacent dining room so I could write here and there. I heard a click-click-click… Then a little whispered “Hi mama,” and then… He peeked his smooth green and striped head around the corner. Way down on the floor. He climbed that chair you see and started working on stuff. He had parrot business, apparently.

Fine by me.

Bobby Pacino, sous chef and writing supervisor.

Bobby Pacino, sous chef and writing supervisor.

 

He’s been doing this for a little while now, maybe a week or so. Sometimes he waits until Handsome and I are settled in the green room watching a movie or something and he just eases his way down his metal perch (we can hear this activity) and click-click-clicks across the wood floor to our carpeted floor. He definitely thinks he’s sneaking up on us, so we allow the charade. Once he hits the carpet, he announces himself and we’re all one big parrot-centered family again. Then he climbs up the couch where I’m sitting and perches directly above me with his longest tail feathers either over my shoulder or in my face. It’s how he rolls.

 

My new accessory goes with every outfit. I just can't wear earrings.

My new accessory goes with every outfit. I just can’t wear earrings.

 

So this is how I’ve been spending the cozy evening hours lately. With a super fancy parrot stole. Honestly, it’s like having a toddler. After a long day in the house just Pacino and me, his high volume and general antics can be a little much. So thankfully Handsome helps keep him busy and does stuff like hold him upside down (this sort of hypnotizes him) and mostly makes me laugh about it all.

But I digress. That’s for another post.

The big headline here is that Pacino no longer calls from his perch and waits for us to come get him. He just goes where he wants to go. We’ve even heard him click-click-clicking around the kitchen while we’re upstairs. A few days ago Handsome walked downstairs early in the morning and surprised Pacino, who was walking around freely. Just walking. Pacino said “Uh oh,” and scuttled back to his perch.

Not even kidding you.

We’re not upset about this at all, because it means slightly less parrot screaming. We do have to baby proof things a little better, knowing that at any unsupervised moment Pacino could eat and/or destroy anything in sight. This has definitely added a new dimension of surprise to daily life.

And a much more feathery way to watch movies.

Do you have indoor pets? What have they done to surprise you lately?

He owns us.
Send help.
XOXOXOXO

 

 

 

natural grocers luncheon

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to join about a dozen other bloggers as well as that many health professionals and wellness enthusiasts for a luncheon at Natural Grocers in Oklahoma City. We had the best time visiting with each other and discussing all things food and health and positive mindset. Kind of right up my alley, you know? The day was more than I had bargained for, in the best ways.

We enjoyed a sunlit meeting room and demonstration kitchen that is normally available for all kinds of FREE community education. FREE.

We enjoyed a sunlit meeting room and demonstration kitchen that is normally available for all kinds of FREE community education. FREE.

Besides enjoying the company of lovelies like Rose Marie, Dee, Jen, and Katie, long time blogging friends, I got to see Mari again! And I met tech-whiz Stephanie (who is working on her first e-book, yay!) and several other brand-new-to-me faces like Mae and Ashley. It’s so fun to connect in 3-D with people whose lives you follow digitally. And once again I experienced humilspiration, that feeling of buoyancy to be surrounded by such accomplished people who actually make you feel motivated instead of defeated. It’s awesome.

From left to right, we have Katie, Dee, me, Rose, Mari, Jen, Mae, Stephanie, & Ashley.

From left to right, we have Katie, Dee, me, Rose, Mari, Jen, Mae, Stephanie, & Ashley.

 

I stole a moment with Dee. Always nice to see her!! xoxo

I stole a moment with Dee. Always nice to see her!! xoxo

In addition to local bloggers, who kind of brought their own party atmosphere, the luncheon welcomed personal chefs, students from the school of metaphysics (possibly my new BFFs), acupuncturists, chiropractors, dietitians, wellness counselors, business developers, a popular local TV reporter, sustainability experts, career specialists for the food industry (Platt college), and more. It was quite an array of disciplines in that small room on Saturday! Plus one wanna-be hobby farmer. : )

I enjoyed the audience introduction time probably as much as the rest of the presentation. Several times my eyes sprouted tears just listening to people describe why they care so deeply about wellness and what they are doing about it. Life stories, man. That’s where it’s at.

These reusable shopping bags were brimming with treasure. We had coupons, a $10 gift card, class schedules, literature, and actual FOOD. Pistachios, sea salt, raw coconut, and more. So generous!

These reusable shopping bags were brimming with treasure. We had coupons, a $10 gift card, class schedules, literature, and actual FOOD. Pistachios, sea salt, raw coconut, and more. So generous!

NGL snack

 

Patty Moore, regional health coach fro Natural Grocers.

Patty Moore, regional health coach for Natural Grocers.

 

After a warm welcome with goodie bags and a really delicious yogurt cup, we sat down to hear Patty Moore describe the company’s unique history. Patty is their traveling regional health coach and clearly has a passion not just for wellness but for the philosophy and tradition of Natural Grocers. She spoke with affection about the company’s family roots, the founders, and their children who run things now. If anyone in the audience heard nothing else that day, they certainly heard that Natural Grocers cares strongly about process and method, about the overall well being of their employees as well as their customers and profits. Education is hugely important in their culture, as is the general concept of ancestral eating. Their aim really is to change people’s lives for the better.

I sat there thinking about all the ways my mom might benefit from shopping and lingering here, as she deals with the learning curves of diabetes. And I thought about my college-aged daughter who might benefit from working here, with so many programs and incentives available to the employees.

This is Jessica, a recent college grad who is working for Natural Grocers locally as a health coach. Her life passion has evolved into natural health care, and she is absolutely radiant in person.

This is Jessica, a recent college grad who is working for Natural Grocers locally as a health coach. Her life passion has evolved into natural health care, and she is absolutely radiant in person.

 

Then suddenly I was very hungry, and thank goodness they fed us this beautiful little brunch…

 

I need to be eating more veggies like this, at every meal.

I need to be eating more veggies like this, at every meal.

It was turkey bacon (thanks to Katie and Mr. Wonderful, who were fasting that day, I enjoyed three slices instead of one), vegetable latkes cooked in coconut oil, and a small frittata topped with tomato and kalmata olive tapenade. So good and simple!

We ate and ate and drank green tea and chatted about all the ways wellness is impacted by various life factors (not just the pills we take but the food we eat and the thoughts we think), and conversely all the ways your quality of life is determined by wellness. If you’ve been reading here at the Lazy W very long then you know why my eyes sprouted tears so often. This stuff is important! And I was deeply moved by the myriad ways people in our own beautiful state are working to help each other. I had the opportunity to mention the Junior Master Gardener Program, which is networking with the Oklahoma City Public School system to improve diet and education for our children. (I get to be part of that too! You’ll be hearing so much about this in 2015.) Natural Grocers is already partnering with several community gardens around the country, to encourage growing your own produce and sourcing products locally. I MEAN REALLY. This is so great.

Then at some point during the talks, a wild rabbit literally scampered past the big picture window to our left. The poetry was not lost on our group.

We also talked a lot about soul food, the emotional quality of the things we prepare and share an ingest. It was one hundred percent thrilling, not the average deprivation vernacular we are so used to enduring. Food, after all, is life. It’s literally energy. And it’s the quality of life we’re after, so it’s the quality of food and energy we need to seek. Natural Grocers has a focus on what they call a “wellness model” rather than a disease model. Does this sound familiar to you, along the lines of seeking joy and practicing gratitude, rather than fighting darkness constantly? My gosh. You see why I was rapt.

 

It was room full of passion and expertise. I felt really incredible to be there soaking it up.

It was room full of passion and expertise. I felt really incredible to be there soaking it up.

The long, gentle conversation yielded a reading list of about nine great-sounding books, too:

  • Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide
  • Cows Save the Planet by Judith Schwartz and Gretel Ehrlich
  • The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease by Daniel Lieberman
  • Wheat Belly by William Davis
  • plus several books by Adelle Davis, which were the inspiration for the company’s foundation
This pretty little painted ceramic finger bowl was a Christmas gift from Rose. Now it is filled with the sea salt from our fun event. Salt of the Earth, that's what my friends are. xoxo

This pretty little painted ceramic finger bowl was a Christmas gift from Rose. Now it is filled with the sea salt from our fun event. Salt of the Earth, that’s what my friends are. xoxo

Clearly the few hours I spent with these folks on Saturday were fruitful. I learned plenty, my passion for full-spectrum wellness was recognized in others, and I walked away feeling really excited and ready for the new gardening, running, and writing season. The world is so full of good people and good knowledge. How blessed we are to live the way we do!

I’ll write more soon, in little pieces, about what I gleaned that day. For now, thanks for joining me here again!! Have yourself a beautiful, healthy, loving day.

Everything is energy and all energy interacts.
XOXOXOXO

marathon monday: time travel

Hello and happy Monday! Happy brand new everything. I admit to totally loving the beginning of the week. The fresh slate, the abundance of pent up energy from a weekend of cuddling and eating spaghetti. The running schedule which is so far unaltered. : )

Everything feels fresh and possible on Monday.

sun returns c

This week for Marathon Monday I’m indulging in an idea sparked by a Twitter conversation with Joe Jacobi. Joe is a new running acquaintance I’ve made thanks to the OKC Memorial Marathon connection. I’d been asking friends to time travel a bit, to think back to what recipes rocked their young adult worlds in terms of convenience, cost effectiveness, etc. What we wish we’d known then kinda stuff. (I’m working on a fun kitchen surprise for our oldest girl who is cooking for herself now.)

Well, Joe suggested that the same question is a totally valid line of thought for sports, too. What do we wish we’d known in our twenties?

Friends, before we start, can we just pause for a moment
to appreciate and wonder at the fact

that I am discussing sports metaphors and philosophies
with an Olympic gold medalist and professional motivational speaker?

Because, miracles are real and life is full of wonderful surprises!
Amen. 

This is such a great idea. Hindsight may seem to be of little value for the present moment, until we consider that what we notice when we look back crystallizes for us our values. We can see clearly what we would change if we could, what we are still celebrating so many years later, and what is worth either repeating or forgetting entirely. Also, who knows? Offering what wisdom we discover in hindsight could help someone else.

Since I didn’t start running until my late thirties, I probably missed my prime. More than likely I am already well past my quickest, leanest years. I’ll probably never win a race, but I don’t care because I still plan to finish gobs and gobs of them. Running has changed my mindset and my overall well being in so many ways, I really wish time travel could be real long enough to go have coffee with myself twenty years ago. I’d say these things:

Me (definitely a non runner here) with my little brother Phil and my firstborn beauty, who is now almost the age I was then. Let's have coffee and talk, Young Me! You're doing everything wrong. xoxo

Me (definitely a non runner here) with my little brother Phil and my firstborn beauty, who is now almost the age I was then. Let’s have coffee and talk, Young Me! You’re doing everything wrong. xoxo

 

Just run. Yes, it takes a little time, but you’ll just spend that time doing stupid stuff anyway, like watching Real World or listening to the Cranberries on loop. Plus, and pay close attention here, you need time alone more than you realize. It will do wonders for you emotionally and socially.

Please cancel that dumb Mademoiselle “gym” membership and buy some running shoes. Don’t worry about how you think you look in sweat pants. You’re about to look pretty great.

Your writing will improve, too. Run that tangled mess of words into a streamlined sentence. Keep doing it.

Run! If you want to lose that little bit of weight after carrying two beautiful babies, running and eating better is the answer. Don’t you dare get a prescription for Fen-Phen. Just don’t, even if your doctor says it’s awesome.

Yes, seriously, I know that the new Pearl Jam album is really great. Agreed! But how about you go listen to it while running instead of just laying there with your ancient Walkman getting a sunburn?

You’re going to lose your Grandma not long after your first baby is born. Please start running now so she can see you finish your first marathon. She could be your biggest fan and you know it. She is worried about the path you’re on.

Run with your little sister. She needs it too. You need to be friends right now, before it’s too late. Trust me.

with angela

 

I bet, and I really mean this, that if you take up running and yoga and just slightly better eating, you won’t feel such a need to spend a gazillion dollars at the tanning beds. And by the way? That’s about to be really out of style anyway. Stop now, okay? Be the first to say enough.

If you start running you will feel better about yourself almost immediately. And I know you don’t want to talk about this with anyone who loves you, so listen to me: You need to get out of that toxic relationship earlier, in an adult way, with less destruction to everyone. Running will help. You will walk away peacefully and everyone will be happy for many extra years.

Run out all that stress instead of spinning your wheels in depression. Run so you can get quiet and listen to that voice inside your 20 year old heart saying this is not right, I’m not happy. Get outside and run instead of over thinking everything and talking and talking and talking about it every day. Talking is overrated. Running is a goldmine of mental health that you need to unearth now.

I know it hurts your lungs a little at first, and you wheeze and feel huge and clumsy and weird. But that’s normal! Do it in little increments. Make a plan. Get some encouragement. Have fun! Do not judge the whole experience by this first awkward beginning. Please give yourself a chance, okay?

Life is about to be so great. It’s about to be so amazing, you’ll soon look around and not hardly believe your eyes. Running will only amplify it all.

 

Okay, friends. Coffee with my younger self was nice, although she actually ordered a Dr. Pepper and chili cheese french fries and didn’t think twice about it, which was weird for me. I hope she heeds some of this hindsight advice. Now tell me what you would tell your younger self about health and wellness. I’d really truly love to hear it. And if you are a twenty-something reader today? Take this advice from someone who would love to have made this happy discovery at your age: RUN.

XOXOXOXO