Hands in the air, screaming all the way!

What is  “How to ride a roller coaster,” Alex.

September was one of those amazing, scary and fun roller coasters rides I loved when I was young; October has been more like the flume ride where the bumps are milder and the thrill comes from cold water suddenly splashed in your face. Anyway, very little blogging has occurred.

So the important questions on everyone’s mind (although my friend  informed me when we were hanging out last month that she never reads my blog, nor do the other members of our little group, so actually I guess every one’s minds but the group of my closest friends; and before you judge us not friends anymore, realize every Ya Ya Sisterhood grows in different directions eventually, and this in no way precludes continued friendship) is what am I reading, watching and eating.

‘What I Am Reading” is easiest to answer. I will sheepishly admit (“sheep”ishly because my purchase was completely related to marketing hype) I am half way through JK Rowling’s newest adult novel ” Casual Vacancy”.  Rowling’s ability to deliver well rounded and surprising characters in a much less magical setting (Novel is set in modern England,  but for a few vocabulary changes it could just as easily be set in Connecticut or Arizona)  is the highlight so far, and it is still rating a 4 to 5 but I am holding out for a happy ending. I will keep you posted.

I am also rereading Charles Dicken’s “Nicholas Nickelby”, the entire plot just seemed appropriate in the current economic and political climate and Dicken’s delectable word casseroles never disappoint! With his humorous mix of understatement, grandiosity and verbal seasoning, I  easily laugh at the moral-less and manipulative shenanigans in his books while their character twins infuriate me in the current news.

My spiritual book of the day is the Dalai Lama’s “How to See Yourself as you Truly Are”, it is the right book at the right time. In simple concrete meditations his holiness illustrates the emptiness of enlightenment while proving “nothing” is anything but nihilism.

My cookbook of the day is “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Baking” as I practice even more and new techniques to make my holiday favorites like pumpkin pie deliciously vegan friendly. Nothing to post yet yet in the way of adapted recipes, but soon…

So that is what I am reading…

What am I watching? Well currently I am watching bugs and roadrunners eat my few squash that appeared….*sad sigh* My plants this fall are big and green and healthy with multiple blossoms but few fruit, and those flora that fruited are being eaten by local fauna.This homesteading experiment thingy makes me truly appreciate the work and luck involved in feeding oneself just a century ago.

But, usually here I have a new favorite TV show or lesser known movie that made me incredibly happy and I want to share. However, there just isn’t a single new one that I can justifiably say you “must see!” However an old favorite from the early 1990’s finally made it onto DVD, so my “watch it” suggestion for this blog is “Leaving Normal” which will forever be my favorite “women’s” movie. I also love “Boys on the Side” and “Fried Green Tomatoes” but they are not my favorites because, although in a less dramatic way, both of these movies still echo the Medea Myth glaringly retold in that decade’s critically lauded ‘women’s” film “Thelma and Louise.” The acting is lovely, the story a bit magical and what I love best about “Leaving Normal” is that no woman has to die just because she is strong and just because she doesn’t make pleasing men or satisfying society her first priority. Go watch it, you will love it too, I promise.

And finally, What am I eating? Well that has to be a whole other blog since my writing time is up for the day….but definitely a recipe and appropriate rambling will appear this week.

Namaste my friends…

Monday is what are you reading day; so lets get going with GMECFF

Gratitude. Meditation. Exercise. Compassion. Fun.Frugality.

My six words for 2012. These will be my focus

And here are five books, one for each word, the fact they were all already mine is my focus on frugality.

Gratitude

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…..okay I think it was Salt Lake City or maybe Albuquerque and the year was 1995, I started my first gratitude journal. I have always kept a journal, I am a lifetime writer after all, but this was different and in addition to the daily ramblings of life and observations. I kept it because of a book recommended by Oprah that has periodically mightily influenced my life. The book, “Simple Abundance” has coffee marks on it now and some of the passages reflect that decades have passed, but the basic principles are still pertinent, if not more pertinent today than it was 18 years ago. Like any great book or koan, each reading of Breathnach’s daily wisdom offers me something new.

Meditation

“Beyond Religion, Ethics for a Whole World” Written by the Dalai Lama, this non-theistic book talks about how to live, how to meditate and why to move beyond religion. Mind you he does not, in any way, recommend abandoning religious practice, in fact his teachings will enhance any religious practice so for those inclined substitute “prayer” here instead of meditation. For those who are atheistic, this book will also speak to you as he teaches about secular ethics and why humanities survival will be enhanced with the practice of basic ethics. I have read this, downloaded it from audible and listened to it and am about to listen to it again. I am actually reading “The Teachings of the Buddha” in my print/paper time.

Exercise

I know I have already completed my first sprint triathlon, but I am still so much a beginner that my exercise/diet book of the day is “Your First Triathlon” by Joe Friel. I have just taken it off the shelf. No comments yet…..willing to entertain any recommendations.

Compassion

I just finished re-reading “Crow Planet” by Lyanda Lynn Haupt and am about to re-read “Chop Wood, Carry Water”. Crow Planet is only nominally about crows, Ms. Haupt is a reluctant fan of corvids, unlike me who adores them, but her struggle with naturalist nihilism and incipient depression is a perfect backdrop to teaching lessons in being an urban naturalist and raises the most important question of compassion repeatedly. “Is this helping or is it just about me feeling good about myself?” The book is very well written as are all her books. This book is a must read for any avian lover or fellow wordsmith, or potential urban naturalist.

Fun

A young adult book that immediately engaged me in its characters as easily as “Little Women” or “Wrinkle in Time”,  I purchased “The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate” by Jacqueline Kelly on the recommendation of my friends at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe. This book and a blank book and amazing pencils will be my new “go to” book for any young mind and heart. “Fun” doesn’t do it justice. So I will admit that all my books right now are re-reads and all of them re-inforce in text as well as my already owning them, my value of frugality.

My mental tribute to reduce, re-use, recycle or perhaps just a statement that I have reached that age where the familiar is reassuring. I prefer to think of it as my answer to our nano bite culture and proof that to really see or understand or appreciate anything amazing, it takes time and truly more than one read.

So now, what are your focii this year, and what are you reading?