Life & Stuff & Things Like That

Bon Iver’s got a new album out!! To celebrate I’m peppering this post with a few of his tunes for you to enjoy whilst you read. Lord knows how long they’ll last, so get ’em while they’re hot! 🙂

Y’know, I considered deleting my post of yesterday, it being full of talk and no action; and what’s the point of that? But then I thought sod it, you can’t delete the past. You’ve just got to learn from your mistakes and move on. So, no more wishy-washy wishful thinking. From now on it’s do, or do not; there is no try. 😉

So, with that in mind, check out my doings yesterday. Spent the day performing some karma yoga at the Sivananda Centre. I was involved in setting up the rooms ready for each day, helping people find where they had to be, cleaning, cooking, carrying, stuff like that.

tranquil bench

It was a very full day, with a yoga session at the end and a trip to the osteopath in the middle, and I was pretty pooped by the end of it. But I didn’t mind, as spending the day with lovely people doing something worthwhile together is well worth the effort. We need more of that in life.

Speaking of yoga, check me out: I managed to do the scorpion for the first time last night. Wasn’t easy mind! What with my achey shoulders and the day of work I did I was well shaky. But still I gave it a go and I didn’t land on my face, which works for me, lol. 🙂

Obviously that’s not me, though if I’d known that’s what I’d be doing last night I’d have definitely got the camera out, lol. It’s amazing to think how far I’ve come in the past 8 months. From not being able to touch my toes to doing, well, that! Heck of a change, let me tell you.

Apart from all that I haven’t been doing a lot recently. I have a habit of writing big ‘to do’ lists, and then moving things from one list to another, never actually doing any of them. So I put all that aside for a while and just did whatever came naturally, which seemed to be ‘snooze’ apparently.

But I also got quite a bit of writing done. I’m about one third through the book I’ve been working on, and if I just keep plugging away I’ll have it done by the end of the summer.

And I’ve taken a few more recipe card pictures. Check out one of the out-takes.

recipe card out-take

Just got two more to do then I’ll have a set of six. Right now it’s just a question of weather. Need strong sunlight to make them come out nice, and we keep getting lots of rain in the UK at the moment. But everything comes with time, and if I don’t have them done in the next few weeks I’ll be surprised.

Right, think that’s everything. Got a few hours to do some writing before I have to go to work. Hope you enjoyed the tunes. Buy/download/rip any one of his albums (or his other project The Volcano Choir) you won’t be disappointed. 🙂

Internet Treasures

One of the best things about t’internet is the trove of treasures it can offer up to you. No longer are we limited to what we find geographically, or even what someone else has deemed worthy of distribution, anyone can take anything they create and make it available to the world in a host of different ways.

And I love it! Rather than buying some generic piece of tat that will languish on a shelf for years to come, you can buy some lovingly crafted work of art that just happens to be a CD, a cookbook, or a simple set of postcards.

In my ever growing collection I have a lovely little hand-made ‘Snickety-Snack’ Cookbook from Kamutflake Girl, an album of retro inspired dance tunes called 3 Flavours of 8 Bit by Dainumo, Jeesh & P SUS, some prints I won from the very talented Rakkadeer, and now the latest addition to my collection, a beautiful book of poetry, a CD of music, and a collection of postcards on the theme of The Perpetual Picnic by the gorgeous Samantha Lamb.

internet treasures

I was so excited to get this in the post. Been a fan of Sam Lamb’s work for ages. Her simple style of work belies a cunning eye for the beautiful and serene. And her attention to the details of a happy life give her pictures and poetry an optimistic nostalgia.

Sorry, I know that’s a bizarre mish-mash of adjectives, but like I say I’m quite charmed by the stuff she does. And Sam really walks the walk when it comes to living a lifestyle too. On her farm in Oklahoma she starts every day with a picnic, taking the time each morning to really appreciate the day. And she always has a camera to hand to document her adventures, so that she can post them on her blog and share them with the world. It’s the kind of thing that inspires me to pursue the life I want for myself, and to do it the way I think it should be done, as that certainly seems the path to true happiness.

It’s not about being ‘professional’, or doing ‘the right thing’, but rather about doing what you enjoy, and making something you love. And if that means life (and what you make) ends up a little rough around the edges, well all the better! Sometimes the crusty bits are the ones with the most flavour. 😉

A Week Without You Guys

I missed you guys. No really, I did. In fact, c’mon, group hug!! Everyone, just bring it in…


…ahh… there you go. That’s better. 🙂 Now, back to business…

It’s strange having a week off from the internet. To begin with you don’t know what to do with yourself. Normally I’d get up, check my e-mails, make some moves on itsyourturn, check flickr for new comments, see what activity there’s been on my blog, and then round it all off by catching up on any new posts on the many blogs I follow around the world.

But with no internet, no TV, and no music (I relaxed this rule on and off as the week went by), everything suddenly becomes very quiet and expansive. You end up with a lot of time on your hands. Admittedly, a lot of that I filled with reading, but there’s only so much book you can handle.

My first morning (relax, I’m not going to do a full blow by blow of the week) I managed to shower, do a good yoga session, make food for the day (which involved cooking pasta and the sauce to go with it), cook a full English breakfast, AND wash the dishes, and I still left early for work. With all of the above internet activity I barely had time to shower and knock out a few sun salutations before I was scrambling for the door. I even had time to bake cookies on the last two mornings, ready for my Brighton photo shoot the next day (more about that in the next post).

early morning cooking session

And work was different too. Avoiding watching movies and not going on the internet freed up my brain to connect with the people around me. I was a lot less uncommunicative and monosyllabic, as I tend to be when I’m half watching something and someone asks me a question (I can only do one thing at a time well, and TV tends to really suck me in if it’s on – that’s why I avoid it).

And it made me go out more. On the two days I did have off work I went out one day to help at the Sivananda Centre building bunk beds for their upcoming teacher training course, and the other I spent out meeting friends and enjoying the glorious sunshine.

All in all we’re talking about Mindfulness. The act of being where you are, being aware of where you are, of what you’re doing, and being conscious of yourself as you go through life. (NB: If anyone’s interested, I thoroughly recommend reading Mindfulness In Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana for some simple yet fascinating insights into how the mind works.) I was more concentrated, more focussed on what I was doing at any one time, and a heck of a lot calmer (in my mind) as I went about my day. It really was a most peaceful and positive experience which I’d recommend everyone try at least once.

Upon my return I found I had over 100 e-mails. 75 were porn spam, 20 were unsolicited marketing messages, 8 were solicited but general communications, and 3 were for me personally. Kind of says it all really. I don’t think I’ll be putting my computer on as much anymore. It certainly won’t be my default position from crawling out of bed first thing in the morning. I’ll be using it at my convenience, and not just to fill time. And when it’s not in use it’ll be off, and I’ll be doing something else. Life’s too short to spend it all in front of a computer screen.

A Week Off

I can fill an entire evening looking at stuff online, downloading pictures, blogging, creating playlists, watching movies, etc., etc.

It’s fun, but it is a bit of a waste of time. I’m not getting any writing done. I’ve been on a major baking tip these past weeks, trying to get recipes done for the recipe cards I want to do. And when I’ve not been baking I’ve been sleeping, thanks to two weeks of lovely night shifts, so there’s not been much else going on. Hence I’ve decided to take a week off.

That means no internet, no DVDs, no music – just me, my thoughts, a word processor, and a good book now and then (it’s an anti-electronic entertainment thing).

I did it last year and it was a revelation. Remove the distractions and you suddenly have a hell of a lot of time on your hands. Plus it’s when I discovered reading again. I’d forgotten how good it was to read, can you believe that. My week off reawakened my joy of words, and I’m hoping this one will have a similar effect.

Of course it’s a little bit of a misnomer, in that I will be working for 5 of those 7 days – with computers and TV screens everywhere – but as long as I don’t watch anything outside of the parameters of my job, and I stay away from the internet, I’ll still be staying within the spirit of the idea.

So, starting tomorrow expect 7 days of quiet.

See you all on the other side.

30 Days of Kiki : day 15

day 15- put you ipod on shuffle: first 10 songs that play

Been looking forward to doing this one. Interested to see what kind of a person my iPod thinks I am.

Just Can’t Get Enough – Nouvelle Vague
Sign O’ The Times – Prince
Be Thankful For What You’ve Got – Massive Attack
Today Was A Good Day – Ice Cube
Coming Into Los Angeles – Arlo Guthrie
Down To The River To Pray – Alison Krauss
Tenderoni – Kele
Mad World – Michael Andrews feat. Gary Jules
DJ Kicks – Kruder & Dorfmeister
Bust A Move – Young MC

Well, that’s a fairly representative mix of what goes into my head on a daily basis, hahaha. Is it any wonder I’m going a bit schizo? 😛