Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday Five @ 5

1. I was late to the party in terms of loving butternut squash. Nowadays I can't get enough. Doesn't this recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus sound delicious? I love that there's no tahini in it. Can't stand tahini. Might whip up a batch of this over the weekend. 

2. I read this article on self-care this week and it really resonated. The whole concept of self-care sort of bothered me for years. Oh great, on top of everything else I'm dealing with, now there's pressure to find the money for a fucking facial and some free time to take a bath. Ugh. What the article was saying is that self-care isn't necessarily about making your life look like some happier woman's Pinterest board, it's literally about taking care of yourself. It's having a dentist. Making a spreadsheet so you can figure out your debt and your budget. It's staying home and letting yourself not wash the dishes and not care that you're not washing the dishes. I loved this article. You should read it if you haven't already. 

3. Tonight is my 20-year high school reunion in Quincy. I can't believe it's been 20 years. I kind of doubt anyone prepares for something like this and says, "Yeah. I can believe it's been 20 years," but I still have to say it. I didn't like high school. I was shy and awkward. I had a crush on a boy who didn't like me back. My favorite teacher from all four years was actually a student teacher from Boston College who taught my history class for just a few months one year. I didn't drink any water during the day because I was scared to go into the bathroom because people smoked in there. I was voted "Quietest" in our yearbook and the day they took the photos I refused to show up for them so they had to come upstairs and get me and make me come downstairs and in the picture I look like I've been crying and that's because I had been crying. My business teacher sent me to the school psychologist because he thought I seemed sad. I had a few very close friends, but I never really felt like I was part of a group. I didn't really go to parties or drink (I made up for that though, right? Haha, right.) My grades weren't amazing. I wasn't super nice, people weren't super nice to me, and I was pretty happy when it was all over. I never felt comfortable in that building. I went back there about eight months ago. I found myself in Quincy on a Saturday morning and was passing North Quincy High School on my way to the T and saw that there was a fair amount of activity out front, so I just followed a group of people in and kept walking so that I looked like I had a reason to be there. I noticed a few changes, but it was pretty much the same. It smelled the same, it echoed the same. I walked all over the building and tried to feel nostalgic or have a sense of, "Awww I remember that!" Never happened. I went to my five-year, my 10-year, and my 15-year high school reunions and I left all of them feeling funny. I've never gone to any of my college reunions. I think I popped into an after party for one of them in a bar one time, but that was about it. I loved college. I feel great about the experience I had there, I loved so many of my professors, and have so many fond memories. I'm at peace with college. I rarely think about it. So it seems for me reunions are not about reuniting with old friends and catching up and celebrating, they are about making sense of an experience, making peace with it. Maybe this will be the year high school will make sense.

4. Did you all have a nice Thanksgiving yesterday? Mine was pretty good. I was having an off day. Don't you hate it when your off day falls on a day where you're supposed to be cheerful and rosy cheeked and laughing and skipping everywhere? Yeah I was off. But teaching Thanksgiving morning classes perked me up and time with my family is always lovely and seeing my pug nephew never fails to make me smile. I think there's a LOT of pressure to be happy during the holiday season and I just want to put it out there that it's okay if you're feeling off or a little meh or downright sad here and there over the next few weeks. Everyone else is, too from time to time. Ease up on yourself. 

5. I chose new glasses frames and I'm so excited I could burst. I never thought I could be a cool Warby Parker person and I never in a billion years would have picked these out. I grabbed them by accident and put them on and LOVED them. I think I'm going to be a glasses person, I'm going to wear them all the time. I can't see a damn thing, if I'm honest. I've always been insecure and not wanted to wear my glasses regularly because I wasn't sure if people would think I looked funny. But, I'm 20 years removed from high school and shouldn't care about stuff like that anymore AND I'm into true self-care nowadays, so a glasses person I shall be.

Happy Weekend, everyone.    

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Five @ 5

One of my favorite pockets of the North End.
1. I love Frances McDormand. I love her. I'm going to see her new movie Three Bilboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri with my two best friends (Mom and Dad) this Sunday at the wonderful Coolidge Corner Theatre. It looks great, but honestly I'd see anything Ms. McDormand did. (Also the Coolidge has the best popcorn I've ever tasted.) If you're a fan of Frances and you haven't already, you should read this recent New York Times article about her. 

2. I think had what Oprah would call an "aha moment" the other night. I was sitting on a bench trying to get in the zone to teach a dance class. I started thinking about a class I'd taught recently that I was particularly pleased with. I approached that class almost as if I was trying to earn the right to continue teaching. I did this because my new manager was in the studio taking the class. I wanted to do my very best work, and convey how much I care about my participants and how grateful I am for the opportunity to teach. Teaching that way felt TERRIFIC. I realized sitting there that I could and should be approaching every single class that way; from a place of genuine caring and gratitude. Then I dug a bit deeper and decided that maybe I should approach other situations in my life that way, too. Maybe I should care a bit more and give my very best effort to everything that I'm grateful for. Maybe I can apply this approach to the way I do my job, the way I treat my people, and the way I treat myself. I'm going to think more about this. Operating from a place of gratitude. I've never really had a life motto or philosophy. I'm kind of loosey goose with how I live. Do you have a life philosophy? Is that what you even call this? A life philosophy? A human being mission statement?

3. While you're thinking about your life philosophy/human being mission statement, here is a quick and delicious snack you should make: sliced baguette brushed with olive oil and toasted in the oven, smear of good ricotta, sprinkle of black pepper, thin slice of Prosciutto di Parma piled loosely on top, drizzle of honey. I made this last weekend for me and Prom Date and it was quite good. I'd do it again with a bit more honey. Be indulgent with that drizzle. Make it rain.

4. 100 days ago today I officially quit drinking. 100 full and complete days. I keep waiting for the moment to arrive where I regret this decision or genuinely miss alcohol, but that moment hasn't arrived yet. Sometimes I crave the escape the bottles of wine once gave me. When you're sober you feel every feeling and hear every thought. On occasion that can be really hard, especially if you're like me and struggle with anxiety. I've tried to seek out other ways of coping with the noisier, harsher moments and I've done an okay job. I give myself a B. Maybe a B+. Overall, life is good. I don't miss the shame, exhaustion, and despair of my drinking. It sounds dramatic, but that's what it was for me. Shame, exhaustion, and despair. I was watching This is Us on Wednesday night and there was a scene where one of the characters who is battling an addiction to painkillers and alcohol crumples to the ground and tearfully keeps repeating, "I just need somebody to help me." Once again, This Is Us just nailed it. Nailed. It. I had a moment exactly like that. It was a year ago. A Saturday. Very, very late at night/early in the morning and I was sitting on the steps of a church in the North End bawling my eyes out. Several hours earlier I'd texted whichever friend I'd been out with and told them I was "Home safe!" Nope. Not home. Not safe. Sitting there outside the church after several hours of supplementary drinking by myself in an effort to not feel my feelings and hear my thoughts, I just wanted someone to find me. I was ready. I wanted someone to come out of the church and find me and take me inside where it was quiet and safe and let me tell them how I ended up there. I knew if I could start talking to someone right then, I'd start the process of fixing what was broken. No one ever came out of the church and eventually I walked home and went to sleep. I'm thankful for the combination of factors, people, and experiences that came together a little over 100 days ago and made me brave enough to start fixing what's broken.

5. I applied to a real, legit yoga teacher training program and got accepted. Isn't that weird? I start in January. If you told me two years ago that I'd be doing this I'd have laughed REALLY hard in your face. Sure, I teach in a gym. But I yell and crank music as loud as it will go and flail and say strange things and throw myself on the floor and at the mirror. I'm not a yoga instructor. For some reason I feel in my bones that this program is the right next step for me though, so maybe I'll become one. We'll see.

Happy Friday, you guys.