A Very Berry Haiku. Or Two.

Standard

Ah, sweet blackberries.
Sneaking. Picking. Eating. Yum.
Fun times long gone by.

Blackberries remind me of my childhood so vividly, in a multi-dimensional way—when I think of blackberries, I think of my whole family, our family dynamics…I think of fun times and laughing…everyone’s personality captured in a seemingly simple act.

And now blackberries are more than a berry. They’re a symbol of times gone by. But they’re also a sign of things to come. A reminder of the cyclical nature of things that both surrounds us and that we are a part of at the same time.

As kids, my dad would load the three of us into the station wagon and shuttle us of to his top-secret blackberry patch. Somewhere by the side of a road in Braintree, a spot he knew from when he was a kid. Before we’d leave he’d needle my mom about getting the pie crust ready, and once we arrived we set out picking berries for a pie, eating at least as much as we picked, laughing and smiling, and feeling a little like outlaws, huddled in our own secret blackberry palace.  We’d pick and pick and eat and eat and pick some more and eat even more, and would go home dirty and scratched and having to pee and stuffed with berries but still hungry for the pie we’d urge my mom to bake.

My dad started suggesting to me, a few years back, that I get some thornless blackberry bushes recommended by his friend, Bill. Bill always delivered fresh produce from his garden to my parents’, garnering him the nickname “VegetaBill.” (Ba dum bum.) But anyway…VegetaBill knew his stuff so this year I bit the bullet and got six such plants, keeping four for myself and giving two to my dad. We’re optimistic about our crops, although there won’t be anything to pick this year. And it’s hard to believe next year might bear fruit but we’ll see on that.

In any case, we love our blackberries. My mom doesn’t bake pies anymore (she is an awesome baker but never liked making pies), but my sister bakes them for him on special occasions. I’ve never made a pie, so this recipe interested me, because it looked so easy and sounded so delicious. While the word “slump” may have negative connotations, when it comes to this dessert, it’s a surefire winner. I still haven’t decided whether it was better hot or cold, and I still can’t believe that I was able to let it simmer without peeking. I think going outside and stepping away from the pan was a good idea.

20140716-111103-40263385.jpg

Ah, sweet blackberries.
Tending new bushes with love.
Happiness soon to be picked.

And, on a note unrelated to this post but related to my life, and something worth considering, I give you the July calendar page that hangs at my parents’ house:

20140716-111327-40407824.jpg

Advertisements

Even If You’re Afraid, Do New Things

Standard

In the words of Yoda, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Sometimes the success is in the doing, not in the outcome. It’s easy to forget that.

But I’ve often said “just start.” And before you know it, you have momentum, you have change…and then positive momentum and change will drive more positive momentum and change…the more positive momentum you have, the more muscle you have to deflect challenges, stay upright over the speed bumps, and scale other obstacles in your path.

Think big, start small and the next thing you know, you will be on your way.

For me, it was a disappointing performance in my most recent (third ever) half marathon that had me facing one of my “fears.” My fear of speed work. Maybe it’s because when I started running, people would report that they saw me out walking. Maybe I was intimidated and/or insecure. Maybe it was something else, or maybe it’s a combination of many something elses. But that’s no matter, and thinking about it is a waste of time. I had read an article about doing speed work on the road (v on a track) and I had to try. My running seems to be at a plateau, and I want and need to break through it.

So I programmed my Garmin and set out on the first speed workout—warm up, then alternate a half mile at target 5K pace and a quarter mile of recovery…repeat that three times, and cool down…for slightly over a 5K distance, and a little bit shy of my normal 3.4 mile loop. I figured I’d stop sooner than usual, anticipating that I would want to walk a bit at the end (I was right).

How was it? TERRIBLE. I couldn’t sustain the target pace in the third repeat. I needed the walk at the end of the cool down. And overall, my pace wasn’t much faster than my regular pace. So what was the point?

Before I knew it, I realized that the point was that it was so terrible. I committed then and there to do speed work of some sort one day a week. Because it was hard, I knew I needed to practice. If I had done the speed work and it was easy, what would the point have been? And today, a day later, I realize that I should be happy that it was so hard. It gives me a challenge, it gives me a goal, and it gives me the possibility of the satisfaction that comes with achieving results. Do I have to make a big deal about it? No. But do I have to make a deal with myself to commit to this improvement, and to commit 100%? Yes.

And that’s how the ongoing improvement works. Dealing with my own unique circumstances, finding a system and an approach that works for me, sticking to it, being kind to myself, and getting it done.

What was I so afraid of? What was the worst that could happen? And why wouldn’t I be willing to accept that “worst” consequence? In this case, not finishing?

I need to do more and worry less in all aspects of my life. Worry accomplishes nothing and doing changes the world.

So today, when I was hungry, I made and ate tofu yogurt.. It was easy and delicious and fast and cheap and healthy. And if it was terrible? I would have thrown it away, wasted about $2, and I would have known.

Which reminds me of the importance of knowing, even something bad, v wondering and/or dreaming and/or worrying endlessly.

So stand up and do. What are you waiting for?

I leave you with two very relevant quotes that crossed my path today (from Laird Hamilton and Anna Deavere Smith respectively):

“Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.”

“What you are will show, ultimately. Start now, every day, becoming, in your actions, your regular actions, what you would like to become in the bigger scheme of things.”

Like Ferris Bueller asks: “You’re still here?” Go. Do. Be. Be happy.

St. Patrick’s Day: March Musings

Standard

Another great quote by Jim Rohn:

20140317-131734.jpg

  • Made my first corned beef and cabbage dinner yesterday. Slow cooker. It was awesome. It was a flat cut and not too fatty. With tons of carrots and cabbage and a few potatoes, it wasn’t even unhealthy. (Of course going out after dinner and drinking too much beer while bowling is another story…)
  • I’m officially training for my third half marathon. It’s on June 8. The weather here is still so cold, it’s killing me. But I’m doing it. One of these days I’ll give you details on how I got to this point with my running. Until then, keep moving. Or google “couch to 5k.” If I can do it, anyone can.
  • I made a bread last night to go with dinner. I added 1T of sugar and used almond milk with 2.5T of white vinegar (which sat for 5 minutes first) in place of the buttermilk. It was so good. I can’t wait for leftovers tonight!
  • Cottage cheese is a great snack.
  • And so are graham crackers with almond butter.
  • The whole Jenna Wolfe 30 day thing isn’t doing it for me.
  • I’m glad I went to the gym this morning even though I was tired.
  • You can do it!