January 27, 2013

The Art of Perfecting a Sunday

There used to be a time when I dreaded Sundays, when the somber cloud loomed over my head telling me that Monday was fast approaching, when all the day, or could be, was a preparation for the workweek ahead.  Luckily, that has since changed.  Perhaps because I now have a different perspective, or because I genuinely like my job, or because my life is so full in other ways, Sunday in all its quiet simplicity is not a day of anticipation for the next day, but instead a day to just be, and I love that.

Regardless of how my weekend preceding Sunday went – whether I embarked on some kind of adventure or just did chores – I like to ease into my Sunday without any kind of schedule or predetermined expectation.  Oftentimes that means sleeping in (which for this nerd means waking up around 6:30-7) and lounging in bed for a while.  Whatever the case, I usually wake up on Sundays in a good mood, because it means that my favorite day of the week is here.  I love lifting the blinds and taking the time to look at the sun rising against the treeline in the distance, something I seldom do during the week.

This particular Sunday morning after getting a brisk power walk in, I made my way up from my "home gym" in the basement to the sunroom where I found my husband lounging back, reading the newspaper, setting the tone for my favorite day.  Sundays are especially sacred because it’s the one day of the week that we both have the luxury to spend the entire morning together, free from distractions and other commitments.

Though I'm sweaty after my workout, there’s something rebellious about not rushing to jump into the shower as I do every other day of the week.  While I usually peel off my sports bra, I relish in hanging out and cooling down in my  workout attire for a while.  I enjoy making breakfast for my man and me, taking the time to sip tea and talk, and be in the moment.  When I do finally get into the shower, I take my time with it, and then afterward, depending on what's in store for the day, I might even slip into my PJs. 

On some Sundays, though, such as today, one of my favorite activities is going out for 'breakfast fer lunch'.  You’re thinking I should be saying brunch, I know you are.  But remember: this lass has been up since since 7 and has already eaten breakfast, so brunch simply would not qualify in this case.  Besides, the concept of brunch is so effing trendy, don't you agree?  So, breakfast fer lunch it is, around noon, at my favorite hole-in-the-wall breakfast joint.  Homemade donuts optional.

What I’ve learned is that the art of perfecting a Sunday is doing whatever it is that you want to do with NO SET SCHEDULE.  For example, today I happened to be in the mood to check out the P-Touch Labelmakers at Staples, so I did, even if I wound up not buying one because I was so overwhelmed by all the freaking options there were.  Other Sundays, I enjoy an entire day devoted to a slumber party, which I affectionately dub Slumber Party Sunday.

Generally, I enjoy making a big meal on Sundays.  Last week it was this delicious Morroccan Lentil Soup; this week it’s this Buffalo Chicken Chili.  There’s something so cozy about making a big meal that will last a few days and making the whole house smell all delicious and such.  It also makes me feel extra domesticated and wifey.  Plus, chopping vegetables and preparing food at a Sunday snail's pace is particularly peaceful and meditative.

In addition to spending the morning chillaxing and reading the Sunday paper, puttering around the house, or going into town for something spontaneous and unnecessary (like labelmakers), I generally like to carve out a little time for being creative, hence why I typically write a blog post on this day, after I’ve had a chance to unwind from the workweek and then from a typically action-packed Saturday. 

What makes Sundays so special is that they’re like the chocolate Kiss you  might find at the bottom of your purse – unexpected, sweet, and like nothing else you’d find in there.  What I mean is that Sundays are like no other day of the week.  Monday through Fridays are wrought with routine – things like working out, showering, working, post-work commitments whether they are social or of some other variety, sifting through the mail or feeding your cat all while being exhausted; Saturdays are, at least for me, typically spent either running errands and doing chores or better yet, adventuring off into the world and doing something festive and fun; and then there are Sundays: the one day that marks the end of the week, creating the only true opportunity for pause and reflection, taking it all in, and just being.

And so there you have it: the Art of Perfecting a Sunday. 

January 20, 2013

A Week in Review - A few things I've learned.

1.      My cat has “cattitude,” according to my vet.  “But he also happens to be very sweet," she qualified.  Heck, I never knew my cat had cattitude. In any case, the perspectives of other people are forever enlightening to me, even when it comes to little things like "cattitude." 

2.      You never know what you’ll find under your couch.   I found the following relics when I vacuumed under it this weekend:  a graveyard of scrunchies, a Buffalo Tom CD jacket, a single cough drop, a lens wipe, and one purple stain.

3.      The food cravings one get during a cold are just par for the course.  Also, I’ve learned that it is never a good idea to attempt to soothe said cravings by waking up at 4 a.m. and snacking on six pieces of chocolate.  You’ll still be hungry and wind up with indigestion. 

4.      Chinese food is delicious any day of the week, but it’s even better when you’re sick, especially Peking dumplings. 

5.      The '90s-era series Beverly Hills 90210 will never get old, even if I may be in the minority that Clare Arnold is superior to drippy Kelly Taylor any day of the week. 

6.      The notion of finding greater meaning by “doing less” has got me thinking, even as I found myself vacuuming, steaming vegetables, and doing laundry somehow simultaneously while battling a cold this weekend. 

7.      Men and women are not all that different from each other, at least not emotionally.  This is particularly apparent to me as I read love letters my father wrote to my mother from sea during their courtship, engagement, and beyond.  (More to come on this at a later date.)

January 14, 2013

A "Part of Me."

If you really want to know, my Sunday night was spent curled up on the couch watching Katy Perry: Part of Me.  It was everything I hoped it would be: a girly pop-fest featuring Katy in candy-coated confections on the stage and then makeup-less behind it.  (For the record, she’s freaking gorgeous no matter what state she's in, but I digress.)  Basically, it was everything a KatyCat would want and more, even if it geared to the tween in any of us.

I found myself dancing along to the film in the first half (Um, hello!  She covers Whitney Houston’s "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" – you would be dancing too) and then shedding tears during the second half as Katy’s marriage with Russell Brand began to unravel. 
"Thanks for believing in my weirdness." - Katy Perry
But what can I say?  It came as a welcome sweet cap to the end of an otherwise gloomy day.  Though I consider myself somewhat of a “KatyCat” (I celebrate her entire catalogue, including the remixes, as an FYI), I was admittedly a little meh when I saw the trailer for the movie this past summer.  But all it took was hearing Opie praising it on Opie & Anthony a couple months ago and then I was all, “Now I gotta see this movie.”  I swear: they could tell me newspaper tasted good and I’d probably believe them, but what are you gonna do? 

Unsurprisingly, Part of Me didn’t have nearly the depth that some of my other favorite documentaries of late had (Queen of Versailles is really, really something if you want to know), but it struck the girly chord in me, and well, a good cathartic cry is really just plain necessary sometimes, right?

January 13, 2013

To Goal or Not to Goal

For me, 2012 marked a year of cutting back on the list-making, particularly after realizing that my to-do lists led to more stress than feelings of accomplishment.  What I learned during this time of being to-do list-less was that I was still productive without writing every single thing down that needed to be done, or that didn't really need to be done, hence defeating the purpose of a to-do list anyway.  I mean, really: who wants to shine shoes on a Monday night?  Better yet, who needs to shine shoes on a Monday night?  Not this girl.  Thus, scaling back on the list-making and checking it twice for the past year allowed me to reprioritize what really needs to be accomplished in order to achieve my goals.

Having not written a single to-do personal list in 2012, starting in 2013 I returned to my list-making of years past (inspired by the book, The Power of Habit - Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, I recently read), but with a different, more focused and pared-down approach.  Instead of writing every possible chore/errand/goal on my list that I could or should do in a week, I've since taken to adding to my to-do list only the things that I need and want to be doing.  Taking this approach has allowed me to focus on what’s important in my life and what I need to be doing in order to achieve my personal goals.  This includes  fun, non-chore-y things too, like going to the movies by myself, something I've always wanted to do but have been too chicken to try (stay tuned for the accomplishment of this goal).

There are two schools of thought on goal-making: one school says that the best goal is to have no goals at all; the second says that goal-setting is the key to success. Having tried out both schools, I’ve learned that the best school for me is a happy medium of both. 

Because I find that I am happiest when my life is in balance (which for me is achieved by working out regularly, eating healthy, seeing the people I care about on a regular basis, having a clean and comfortable environment,  getting enough R&R, and tossing a little adventure and there), the things I need to do to maintain this lifestyle wind up top priority on the list.  Anything beyond that does not likely meet my ultimate goal of being in balance, so now gets added to the very bottom of the list, with an “Optional” subheading.  That way, I feel an extra sense of accomplishment if I hit one or two of them, and if not, there’s no skin off my back.  Why sweat the small stuff, as they say? 

I've found my revised approach to the good old-fashioned to-do list to be effective so far.  What can I say?  Setting goals makes me happy, and achieving them?  Even more so. 

January 12, 2013

Gwen McCrae, where have you been all my life?

I caught Gwen McCrae's "Rockin' Chair" the other day on the radio and scurried home to download it so I could listen to it again, and again, and again.  I figured it wasn't fair to keep it to myself since this is some serious sexy soul no one should be missing out on, that is, if you're into that sort of thing.