Healthy Imagination

Since I sprained my ankle, I’ve been looking for workout possibilities that wouldn’t aggravate the injury.  (I made the mistake of jogging on it three days after I sprained it.  Did not enjoy the aftermath.)  I’ve found a surprising array of options.   Well+Good has a several nice workouts on their site; I’m particularly fond of the Arms for Abs workout. This morning, I tried the “Hurt Foot Workout” on YouTube, and I’ll do it again tomorrow in spite of laughing myself silly trying to lift my butt while lying on my stomach. (Laughter is a good ab workout, right?) The number and variety of ambitious and generous trainers sharing exercises on the internet is staggering.

Quelle coincidence that my TV boyfriend, Charlie Rose, was speaking today  with Sebastian Thrun, the CEO of Udacity.  They talked about education, of course, but Thrun also talked about astounding possibilities for technology in medicine.  His remarks about diagnostics are what I remember.  He spoke of using a cell phone camera equipped with a particular app to diagnose skin cancer, or using a voice recorder that could notice subtle differences in cadence or vocabulary that might indicate the onset of dementia.  Thrun is an enthusiastic speaker, and I was captivated.  I suspect that he might have glossed over some of the deeper questions, but he stressed the importance of imagination and breaking the rules (after you learn them) when solving a problem.   The interview can be found on charlierose.com.  See what you think.  Me, I think I’ll try to be healthy and imaginative in 2016.

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Motivation, or lack thereof

Before the two week holiday break began, I was filled with ideas and plans for how I would spend my unstructured time: exercise, read, see some friends, cook something new, bring about world peace,–even tailor some too-large pants.  Have I done so?  Not even close.  Spraining my ankle at 8am on my first free day limited my exercise potential.  All my other limitations are of my own making.  I’ve been doing lots of reading–on the internet.  Cooking I do by necessity, and I might be slowly growing into those pants since all I want to do is sleep late and shop online for sweaters because it’s so freaking cold. Is that so terribly bad?  Or just lazy?

Meanwhile, my über disciplined husband is physically cleaning out old files and drawings in preparation for the new year.  I need to snap out of this, but how?   Is there such a thing as the post-holiday mehs?

Drive Time: Holiday Edition or My Travels with Charlie

We don’t have children. One ramification of that fact is that we usually travel at holiday time because our lives are so much “easier” (I’ll save that topic for later).  To share one holiday dinner and spend a little time with various family members, our four days went something like this:

Thursday: 3.5 hours in car ( two large adults listening to Christmas in Hicksville, Amy Winehouse, and the Oxford American Georgia CD)

Friday: 3 hours in car ( now three large people and one large dog) followed by another 35 minutes after dinner.

Saturday: 3 hours in car (with dog who has separation anxiety) due to the Solimar fire changing what is usually a 40 minute jaunt into an ordeal.

Sunday: Close to 7 hours in the car–3 with dog. (I must get my coat dry-cleaned now in spite of the cold!)  Bay Area style driving (i.e. tail-gating, swerving lane-changes, and inexplicable slowdowns)  started before Salinas, and things just got increasingly exciting for the last 90 minutes of the trip.  Those adrenaline surges keep one focused.

Of course wonderful meals, pleasant conversations, interesting outings, and competitive, high-stakes Yahtzee games filled up the time outside the car. Christmas dinner was very tasty, the table was gorgeous (I love a good table setting!), and my sister-in-law has an adorable new puppy who likes to play and cuddle. The little dog and the big dog were pretty sweet together, and so were the young adults who used to be our cute little niece and nephew. Still cute. Not little. The Saturday excursion was fun and followed by a great lunch, and nothing beats the trash-talk dispensed by my 85 year old mother-in-law while playing Yahtzee!  But that traffic! Every year! By the time we get home from the holidays, we are exhausted, bloated, and beyond bah-humbug (in spite of all the giggles provided by Dan Hicks and the Jug Band).This year, the cats turned their backs on us for an extra thirty minutes because of all that dog smell.

Next Christmas, we’re proposing Holidays in Hawaii. What do you think?

And by the way, Happy New Year!

Joyful, Happy, Merry

So far this December, we’ve been lucky enough to be invited to a “Night before Hanukkah” celebration, an early Christmas dinner party, and a Solstice party to “gather together and huddle against the dark”.  These three gatherings  were quite different from one another in terms of things like decor, presence of young children, or formality of the table.  Yet they all shared the necessary components of a successful fête:  good food, good wine, and good conversation.  Warm, crispy latkes pair quite well with a dry Sauvignon Blanc, spiced by a lively discussion of the play “Disgraced”.  Wild mushroom risotto dusted with truffle cheese served in a lustrous white china bowl next to gleaming silver vases filled with white, green and scarlet flowers was made even more delicious by the Pinot Noir and the unexpected topic of Collegiate Softball.   The Solstice Buffet was ever changing as new guests brought in new offerings, while the wine, Negroni cocktails, and conversations swirled and flowed from gardening to pets to last year’s Hockney exhibit at the deYoung.  As we said our goodbyes, the Solstice hostess and I vowed to get together to “try new things in 2016”.  Here’s to trying new things and to all the reasons for celebration and to having something to talk about.  Cheers!

Crushing…

Most of my friends know that I have a big, fat crush on Charlie Rose.  I find his gentlemanly interview style thoughtful and interesting.  Plus, he’s tall, and I think he has the most fascinating job in the world.  Whenever I have a break from work, I like to watch the Charlie Rose Show at lunch.   Charlie’s first guest today was Mandy Patinkin who spoke passionately, intelligently,  and fearlessly about going to Greece to help Syrian Refugees, about Homeland and The Princess Bride, and about the need for hope and intellect and imagination.  Now I have a big, fat crush on Mandy Patinkin!  He stressed the value and the need to show people a better way to live in order to save them and us from lives of fear and violence.  I can’t begin to do justice to his message; you’ll just have to watch it (click on the link above to find it).  I will just leave you with a line that struck me:  “Be grateful for the risk of life.”

Where the wild things are…

Today I came home from some last minute Christmas shopping (I still have more to do!) to find a dead pigeon in the driveway.  Harnessing my feelings of disgust and sadness, I managed to walk past the poor mangled creature into the house where I was happy to find my two cats inside.  My sweet husband confirmed that our babies had been in the house the whole time, and then he went out to dispose of the carcass.  (He is my hero.) Two days ago,  a decapitated humming bird appeared on our back patio.  We suspected Marcus at the time, but since we now knew that he could not have taken down the pigeon and that ZipperMarie would not deign to do such a thing, we began to suspect other neighborhood kitties.  Could it be the beautiful and mysterious Esmerelda?  The orange tabby who likes to hang out?  Is there a Feline Godfather in the neighborhood leaving messages for our cats?

The answer appeared about fifteen minutes after my return when Tom spotted a big red-tailed hawk sitting in the sidewalk pepper tree, probably wondering where his pigeon went.  The hawk saw us and flew across the street, and I decided to keep Marcus inside for the rest of the day.

hawk

So, where are the wild things?  They’re everywhere.  We just get to share their world.