Daily Archives: December 2, 2015

Winter Joy Retreat: Food and Love


Prompt: Tell us about the food of love. (Or your love of food, as the case may be.)

When Eric and I first lived together, in the basement of the house on Locust Street, we didn’t have much money, or much of anything except love. We would order two large pies from Big Time Pizza, one pineapple and canadian bacon, and the other pepperoni. They were two for $8 and would feed us for the next three days. We ordered at least once a week. When I called, as I explained what I wanted, they’d say, “is this Jill?” and they knew to come around to the back door (since we lived in the basement, that was our “front” door).

23 years later, married and living above ground, Eric makes us pizza for dinner every Sunday night. He even makes the crust from scratch. The toppings aren’t exactly the same, (although I still love pineapple and ham). We add basil from our garden when we have it, and sometimes I make a salad. So much has changed — Big Time Pizza closed a long time ago, we can afford to feed ourselves better, and Eric is a real cook. And yet, so much is the same — we still have more love than anything.

Winter Joy Retreat: Comfort Food


recipesPrompt: Tell us about your comfort foods. Where do they take you? What houses, seasons, cities, and life changes circle around those foods that made you feel everything would be OK?

Homemade bread still warm from the oven. My grandma was magic when it came to making bread. She had 12 kids to feed, so got lots of practice. I especially loved her cinnamon swirl. When I was older, sometimes she’d bake a loaf for me for Christmas.

Chicken noodle soup, homemade baking powder biscuits with butter and jam. That year when I had pneumonia and missed so much school I was worried I’d have to repeat the fifth grade.

Annie’s macaroni and cheese, white cheddar shells, supplemented with grilled ham and peas, with a biscuit or toast on the side.

Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Always, at every moment of my life these two have been absolute perfection — store brand canned and fake orange slices on white bread, or made from tomatoes grown in my garden and sharp fancy cheese on thick organic bread. Either way, it just works.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas, my current favorite. They make everything better.

Honestly, anything bread or potatoes, any time. This is and always has been my go to, bread or biscuits, soft and warm straight from the oven, or toasted with butter and maybe some jam. I also love donuts and cake and pie crust, which are breadlike enough to count. And potato chips, yes please. And my mom’s crescent rolls? I can’t even talk about them. I might cry.


#reverb15: Surprises


Prompt: What surprised you this year?

I didn’t have to think too hard about this one. It came to me pretty quickly. I am surprised how comfortable I’ve become with teaching, specifically yoga.

There’s a history here. As an introvert and a highly sensitive person, teaching is an extreme sport. I quit one of my first teaching jobs 15 years ago because I made myself so anxious I couldn’t sleep, so nervous I could barely eat, so upset I was making myself physically ill. I was a graduate teaching assistant at CSU, my first year of graduate school, teaching my own section of our “first year” composition course. Every student who graduates from CSU has to take this course, so it’s not limited to English majors or even people who particularly like reading or writing. It was a tough crowd. I was adjusting to the rigor of my life as a student while at the same time trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing as a teacher. By the end of the semester, I convinced myself I just couldn’t do it and I quit.

That’s a long story short version of what happened. More long story short, I eventually went back to teaching at CSU and was able to find my way, find my teaching voice. Interestingly enough, the most important thing I had to do was BE MYSELF. In particular: smart, compassionate, and funny. I also learned to have good boundaries and set clear but reasonable expectations.

Ultimately a university classroom isn’t the best fit for what I have to offer, which brings us to now — teaching yoga, as well as workshops that are a combination of yoga, meditation, and wild writing. Teaching yoga is something I never really thought I’d do much, even as I was doing teacher training. I thought I’d be too nervous, too self-conscious about the limitations of my body, too uncomfortable about my weight. Thankfully, that’s turned out not to be true. My weight and limitations have actually been an asset — I’ve become more accepting of myself, and better able to cue modifications for my students, empowering them to become their own teacher. I still have a lot to learn, but what I am doing feels natural, like an embodiment of who I am and what I know.

#reverb15: Lists & Prayers


The prompt for the first day of Reverb:

In her seventh ever blog post, all the way back in March 2003(!), the inimitable Andrea Scher wrote: “Maybe lists are like prayers.”

What sorts of lists do you have on the go at the moment? What do they suggest you are praying for?

I have a serious problem, kind and gentle reader. I take on too much, try too hard, do too much, push myself too hard, smash myself to bits. It used to be a very destructive and ugly and secret and dark thing. Now it’s filled with light and smells good and there’s kirtan music in the background and I beat myself up with the prettiest stick. #same

Here’s the list of things I committed to or have going on in the month of December:

I didn’t realize just how much there was until I flipped the calendar over to December and the emails started arriving in my inbox. When I saw the prompt for Reverb, I half jokingly made the above list. Then I sat back in my chair and stared at it, allowing the insanity of it to wash over me. Add to that the regular stuff: teaching my Tuesday morning yoga class, putting together my weekly Something Good list for my site and for Wanderlust, laundry, my CSU work, etc. It’s just not workable, and even if it were it wouldn’t be sustainable. If I were to answer Kat’s prompt (What sorts of lists do you have on the go at the moment? What do they suggest you are praying for?) based on this list, I’m clearly praying for overwhelm, breakdown, exhaustion, complete and utter annihilation.

I’ve been asking myself for a while now: what are you running from? The way I’m filling my time, spreading myself thin and running myself ragged, I’m clearly avoiding something. Whatever it is, it can’t be as bad as this.