January Retreat

I guess over-documentation in December proceeded under-documentation in January. But that's okay. These things go in cycles. I've been turning inward this month.

This year kicked off with three glorious, if at times overwhelming, weeks at home in between semesters. Opportunities to just be and let time unfold to its own rhythm are rare, so I took full advantage of the space in my schedule.

My daily grind consisted of slowly trudging away at my monster dissertation proposal, but I also spent a lot of time just living.


First of all, I slept in. I also experimented with green smoothies, thanks to my mom's budding interest in them. So far...
  • Mango + banana + baby spinach + apple juice = YUM.
  • Frozen blueberries + banana + romaine + apple juice = bitter but drinkable.
  • Cucumber + pear + green apple + lime + water = poured down the drain.
  • Strawberry + banana + dinosaur kale + water + a little agave syrup = pretty good
I also drank my fair share of Mountain Dew. Completely gave in to the graphic design.


I wore yoga pants all day even to the grocery store, ran twice on snowy trails through the woods with Kaia, took innumerable dog walks in the cold, and got her reacquainted with husky friends and activities.


I started reorganizing my craft space, and through the mess, managed to make a page I thought out months ago. I've been thinking more about what stories need documenting.


[Text: Eighth grade dinner at the Michigan Union in Ann Arbor. Maybe the biggest event of our lives up to that point. It was the year black was our uniform. I work black to my 8th grade confirmation at church (wait no, I wanted to but my dad took me shopping for a more appropriate outfit!), to the mother-daughter banquet at my grandma's church on Mother's Day, and to this event with you. We were rebellious with our clothes but that's about it! Today at 31 the little black dress is chic but then - watch out! We were partners in crime!]

I thought about starting a blog that just consisted of my gaffs. Like opening the fridge in the morning and finding a pint of Ben & Jerry's in the door.


I've also slowly read the latest Barbara Kingsolver book slowly before bed and then thought a lot about Mexico and Frida's Blue House. I took long baths, made fast and easy shrimp curry for the first time, caught up on laundry then fell behind again, started a giveaway clothes bag, and watched too much TV one Saturday while Matt was out of town.

I also wrote in my new 5-Year Diary almost every night. Writing a few lines every night is the best habit I started in the New Year.It might explain my absence in this space, as I have found a new outlet for my need to document daily details.

In January, some of my mental space was focused on world events, people's suffering, disappointing elections, and bad news about an old friend's marriage (don't worry - no one you know). Not to mention the petty worries of our small but urgent lives. A lot of thinking here about where this year is going to take us regarding work and family.

During this wonderful and complicated month, I spent the beginning of 2010 exploring a few new ways to grab a little enjoyment and peace, while mired in thick of it.

January was like a retreat of my own creation. I'm hoping that starting out the year this way will result in a slower, more meditative approach to this year. I want to keep moving forward in new ways, but not as frenetically as last year.

I will be around here more in February though. I have a backlog of things to share with you. Plus, I'm going to Florida later this week to meet some people who will likely help me with my dissertation, and I guarantee that the ocean will inspire me to take some photos to share with you.

Until then...


Mrs. Church said...

Aww. I love it. I love you. :) Darn you making me cry! haha

I think it's funny that in both photos I've got my arm draped around you. You are MINE! TLA.


Mrs. Church said...

PS did you find any keys inside the melted ice cream in the fridge? hehehe

Elizabeth Downie said...

That picture of the ice cream in the fridge cracked me up! I'm glad you're back to blogging. I missed it while you were gone! I'm looking forward to reading more posts from you in February! :)

GREAT pictures, by the way. You have a great eye for capturing slices of life.