Top Ten Zen

Pam? Were you reading my mind or something when you tagged me for this? This morning my head was spinning with all the stuff I had to get done, everything from cleaning up my messy house to making a dent in the laundry that's been accumulating for quite a while now to scheduling my oral exams for prelims and making posters so that someone will show up to my recital this Sunday (ack). So this here is a good exercise.

Ten things that make me feel more calm, focused and secure:

1. Making lists. Sometimes if I have a lot to do, it helps me just to write it all down, even menial tasks like washing diapers (it feels like I'm always washing diapers). Then I try to accomplish just one thing at a time.

2. Biking. I have precious few opportunities to ride my bike these days. When Daniel's a year old he'll be big enough for the Burley trailer, and I plan to take him on lots of rides around Madtown. As it is, I leave him at home with a babysitter twice a week so that I can go to campus for lessons and rehearsals, and like I've always done - even through the 7th month of pregnancy - I bike there. As long as the temperature is above zero and the streets aren't covered with ice or snow, I ride the bike eight miles round trip. I used to bike for practical reasons: parking on campus is expensive and scarce, the buses are slow and inconvenient where I live, it's good exercise. But now, on top of all those things, my twice-weekly bike rides are precious times of the week I have all to myself. Sometimes I think about the music I'm working on or contemplate life. Sometimes I plan dinner or future knitting projects. Sometimes I just zone out and let everything pass me by...even though I'm the one moving...but it sounded a little poetic, didn't it?

3. Making bread. It's simply satisfying to mix a few ingredients in a dough and then pummel the crap out of it.

4. Drinking hot beverages. This is especially good in times of craptastic weather. (Like today. Ice pellets! Yuck!) I like tea, hot cider with mulling spices, cocoa, and lately Stu makes a mean latte in the mornings. Aaaah.

5. Knitting. With a recital coming up, I have to be careful not to overdo this one, as it can occasionally be a little hard on the wrists.

6. Practicing gratefulness. I don't do this nearly enough, but when I do, it honestly puts me in a better mood.

7. Blogging. Occasionally (all right, often), blogging is more a means of procrastination than true relaxation, but writing about things helps me to put them in perspective and get them off my chest.

8. Gardening. Alas, the season for this is past, but oh! how I love to play in the dirt. My garden is like my house: small and a little messy, yet cozy. I get a kick out of fixing a yummy meal and saying casually to Stu "What you're eating now was growing outside in our yard less than an hour ago."

9. Walking/hiking. It's been a while since I've been on a serious hike. A few summers ago we climbed a 14K mountain in Colorado and it was incredibly exhilarating. Now we are fortunate to live very near a large conservation park, where we walk in the evenings in the spring and summer. Daniel loves being outside, riding along in the baby backpack, or, when he was very tiny, the sling. I'm a person who needs to experience Nature; it makes me think about life cycles and balance and it helps me keep a healthy perspective on what is truly important, and what isn't.

10. Talking to Stu. I'm not gonna get all mushy here, but my husband is just so good at listening and helping me work through stressful situations. Plus, we have the same odd sense of humor, and that's just fun.

D'oh! Ten already! I'm going to keep going...

11. Playing piano. Yes, I do this more or less professionally, so it's often a source of stress in my life. At the same time, I'm probably more focused when I'm practicing or performing than any other times.

12. Nursing. Parenting is not easy - understatement of the year - but breastfeeding my child to sleep is one of the sweetest parts of my day.

Anyone else care to do this? Consider yourself tagged!

*Edited to add: if you do such a list on your own blog, be a peach and leave a comment here letting me know so I can go read it, 'k?


pamigelsrud said…
Yay! I'm so glad you liked doing this!! : )
Jenn Hacker said…
Thanks for the birthday card! How did you know I sit around scratching my armpits? LOL!
Suze said…
just a lucky guess, jenn!
Anonymous said…
I like your list. It makes me feel cozy inside.
Animal said…
Hi Suze,

I linked over from Stephanie's site...nice blog, good writing. Keep up the practice...I admire your musical determination in the face of recent time-consuming motherhood!
annalu alulu said…
Maybe this weekend I'll make one of these lists. I've read yours and Pam's. It's a good idea. I've been thinking of some to put on mine...

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