Friday, December 31, 2010

Gift and Core Story: Reverb 10 Finale

Below are my answers to the last two prompts from Reverb 10, an annual event and online initiative to reflect on the past year, and the year ahead.  Thanks for reading along during my reflections.  I don't know about you, but I'm ready to move forward into 2011. You can see the rest of my Reverb 10 posts here.

Page from my visual journal

December 30 - Gift
This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year? (Prompt by Holly Root).

I have received many wonderful gifts this year, but the one that I will probably use for the rest of my life was learning how to visual journal during a workshop this spring with Lisa Sonora Beam

I *love* it and have found visual journaling to be, dare I say it, an even more effective reflective tool than written journaling.

another page . . .

December 31 - Core Story
What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.) (Prompt by Molly O’Neill).

Gosh, that's a big question that I don't even know how to answer. . . . I think the main theme I see when I look back over my Reverb 10 answers, and over my experiences of the past year, is that the daily practice I did for the 40 days leading up to my birthday in 2009, (move, play, reflect, connect) really is the key to my happiness.

What is the key to your happiness in 2011?

last one . . .

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Favorite Have Fun Do Good Books of 2010

Below is my 6th annual list of favorite have fun, do good books that I read this year.  You can also check out my lists from 2005-2009:
Favorite Have Fun Do Good Books of 2010(in alphabetical order)

Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do about It
I always enjoy Anna Lappe's books.  She does a great job of being positive and practical.  You can listen to my interview with her about Diet for a Hot Planet on the Big Vision Podcast via iTunes, or read it on Have Fun, Do Good.

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer

We read Farm City as part of my virtual social change book club.  It inspired most of us (including me) to grow something, even if it was just one little tomato plant.

Farmer Jane: Women Changing The Way We Eat
I loved the range of women profiled in Farmer Jane and had many laughs interviewing the author, Temra Costa, for the Big Vision Podcast.  You can listen to our chat via iTunes, or read the interview on Have Fun, Do Good.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Vintage)
I can't say that I enjoyed reading Half the Sky.  It's the book that inspired me to start our virtual book club because I knew that I didn't want read about slavery, prostitution, rape, maternal mortality and female genital mutilation alone.  That said, it's an extremely important book that everyone should read.

Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (Shambhala Library)
I mentioned Lovingkindness in a lot of my Reverb 10 posts this month.  I'd never had much luck with meditation until I read this book.  It has truly been life-changing. 

Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul
Play is actually a repeat from my  2009 list.  I re-read it this year and underlined all over the place.  It has confirmed for me that having fun really is a key to doing good.  As Brown writes:
"The great benefits of play, as I've said, are the ability to become smarter, to learn more about the world than genes alone could ever teach, to adapt to a changing world."

"When we stop playing, we stop developing, and when that happens, the law of entropy take over--things fall a part. . . . When we stop playing, we start dying."

Promise Me: How a Sister's Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer
Although I'm not crazy about some of things Susan G. Komen for the Cure does (see this HuffPo piece), I was engrossed by Promise Me's story of how Nancy Brinker, Susan G. Komen's sister, built an international movement, as well as by the history of breast cancer treatment and research.

The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations
Fascinating book about how leaderless circles of circles (the starfish), rather than hierarchical pyramids (the spider) can grow powerful companies and social movements.

Honorable Mention

Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture

Radical Homemakers gets an honorable mention because I thought a lot about the ideas in the book after reading it (basically that we need to value homemaking over consumerism), but the tone was a bit too judgemental for me to add it to my list of favs.

What were some of your favorite have fun do good reads this year?

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Name, Everything's OK, Photo, Soul Food, Ordinary Joy, Achieve, Defining Moment: More Reverb 10

The year is winding down, and so is Reverb 10, an annual event and online initiative to reflect on the past year and the year ahead.

Below are my quick answers to the prompts for December 23-29.  Feel free to share your answers in the comments.  You can see my past Reverb 10 posts here.

My beautiful friend, Elizabeth
December 23 - New Name
Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? (Prompt by Becca Wilcott).

Probably Elizabeth, which is actually my middle name.  Although it's fun to have an unusual name like Britt, I always wanted to have a name that could be turned into a nickname. Elizabeth has so many possible nicknames (95 according to Wikipedia).  I'd love to be able to go by Babette, Liz, or Zabs once in awhile (:

December 24 – Everything’s OK 
What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be all right? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead? (Prompt by Kate Inglis).

As I mentioned in a Reverb 10 post earlier this month, in November, I started meditating in the mornings using the method described in Sharon Salzberg's book, Lovingkindness.  Some mornings feel better than others, but overall I would say I have at least one moment, if not longer, each morning when, "everything's ok."  I plan to finish the book, and continuing my meditation practice in 2011.

December 25 - Photo 
Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you. (Prompt by Tracey Clark).

I don't have many photos of myself from this year so I'll have to choose this one of me with our cat, Dora, lounging on the couch and doing nothing, just hanging out and being.  Definitely need to do more relaxing and appreciating of the simple pleasures of life in 2011.

December 26- Soul Food
What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth and touched your soul? (Prompt by Elise Marie Collins).

This is my kind of question 'cause I *love* eating! My favorite meal this year was our second annual Christmas Eve dinner at Gather restaurant in Berkeley.  The co-owners, Ari Derfel and Eric Fenster, catered our wedding (before the restaurant existed), with their company, Back to Earth Organic Catering.  Years later, people still tell us how much they liked the food.

Here's my Gather Christmas Eve dinner of bliss:
  • Kale salad with roasted fall roots, fried capers, pine nuts, and Fiscalini cheese.
  • Some of my husband's seared squid with anchovy, Romanesco broccoli, grilled baby escarole, chilis, capers, and mint.  (I'm not a big squid fan, but the broccoli and escarole were out of this world).
  • "Chicken fried” Red Kabocha squash with braised baby collards, root vegetable mash, and Hen of the Woods gravy. (Soooo good!  Who would think to fry Kabocha squash like a piece of chicken).
  • Glass of Pinot Noir from Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard
  • For dessert, we both got decaf Thanksgiving Coffees and split a Pinot Noir chocolate mousse with “Nutter Butters” and nutmeg meringue for dessert.
I'm counting the days till Christmas Eve 2011!

December 27- Ordinary Joy
Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? (Prompt: Brené Brown).

The hubs traveled a lot in 2010, so I appreciated the nights when we were able to have our favorite evening routine: laughing at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart while eating dinner.

Photo of trees from a walk
December 28 - Achieve
What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. (Prompt by Tara Sophia Mohr).

In 2011, I'd actually like to spend less time trying to achieve something, and more time relaxing, being and appreciating what I already have.  10 things I can do to experience those feelings are:
  1. Walk in nature
  2. Journal
  3. Meditate
  4. Stretch/do yoga
  5. Play 
  6. Cut my to-do list in half
  7. Spend time with friends and family
  8. Hang out with our cat
  9. Create
  10. Celebrate
December 29 - Defining Moment
Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. (Prompt by Kathryn Fitzmaurice).

As I've mentioned in most of my Reverb 10 posts, this year I've been dealing with a bone spur and arthritis in my big toe.  Although it's no big deal in the scope of illnesses, it has been a big deal to me. It has affected how I exercise (or not), my weight, the shoes I wear, (and consequently, the clothes I wear), and in some ways, my sense of self.  It's the first physical "problem" I'll till the day I die.  As someone who has had very few physical problems in her life, it has made me feel very mortal, and think a lot about how to balance going beyond and accepting limits as I age.

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    Sunday, December 26, 2010

    Vegan Christmas Cookies and Cookbook Review

    Happy Holidays Have Fun, Do Gooders!

    I found a super-easy, super-yummy recipe for Swedish Jam-filled cookies on this blog that I highly recommend.  Not only were they dee-lish-us, the recipe only has 5 ingredients (flour, sugar, margarine, vanilla extract and jam) so I was able to make them without going to the store, always a plus.  Yum-eeee.

    I've also been cooking up some healthier items from my review copy of Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  The favorites of my testers (none who are vegans, including myself), were the Goddess Niçoise with dressing,

     and the Garlicky Mushrooms and Kale.
    Both were both freak-a-licious. The 40 Clove Chickpea and Garlic,
     Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes/Caulipots (with garlic and herbs),
    and Chickpea Piccata (with Caulipots) were also good.
     The Ginger Soba with Bok Choy was the least favorite.  Needed a bit more flavor.

    I'll definitely be trying more recipes from Appetite for Reduction.  The Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apples sound fantastic as do the Red Thai Tofu, Bhutanese Pineapple Rice and the Green Beans with Thai Basil.  

    If you have the cookbook already, what recipes do you recommend?

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    Lessons Learned, Try, Healing, Beyond Avoidance, Future Self and Travel: More Reverb 10

    First off, I just wanted to say thanks for reading my Reverb 10 posts this month as I reflect on the past year, and the year ahead.  I know these posts are more about me than about providing you with have fun, do good ideas, interviews and inspiration (:

    Even if you don't have a blog, I recommend taking a little time to write/walk/paint with some, or all of the questions. I've really enjoyed the process.

    Below are my quick answers to the prompts for December 17-22.  Feel free to share your answers in the comments.  You can see my past Reverb 10 posts here.

    December 17 - Lesson Learned
    What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (Prompt by Tara Weaver).

    I require a lot of Play in my life.  I'd like to make, "Play is my Pilot" my motto for 2011.

    Arizona Sunset by Elena Gaillard
    December 18 - Try
    What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? (Prompt by Kaileen Elise).

    I'd like to re-try knitting.  Blogger Deb Roby taught me how to knit a few years ago, but then I put it down.  A knitting store near my house offers all kinds of classes, as well as free, drop-in knitting circles.  I think I might enjoy knitting with others more than I did knitting by myself.

    December 19 - Healing
    What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (Prompt by Leonie Allan).

    Participating in Art Every Day Month, created by Leah Piken Kolidas, was very healing for me this year.  Making time every day to create something gave me many "aha" moments where I felt like I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing.  In 2011, I want to heal my foot and knee so I can start dancing again.

    December 20 - Beyond Avoidance
    What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Prompt by Jake Nickell).

    I didn't write the Have Fun, Do Good Guide book proposal or e-book, like I told y'all I would back in January 2010.  I'm not sure if I'll do it in 2011 . . . I think I'll probably focus on this blog instead.

    December 21 - Future Self
    Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?). (Prompt by Jenny Blake).

    My advice from my 46-year-old self to my 41-year-old-self:  
    • Someday is now
    • Take more risks
    • Having fun is doing good
    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. May 1954 eruption of Kilauea Volcano 
    December 22 - Travel
    How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (Prompt by Tara Hunt).

    This year I traveled to NYC, LA, Phoenix, AZ, and Santa Fe, NM.  All fun trips, but all places I've been before.  In 2011, I'd like to travel to at least one place I've never been before, like one of the U.S. National Parks on my bucket list: Acadia, Congaree, Death Valley Denali, Hawaii Volcanoes, Kenai Fjord, Kings Canyon, Petrified Forest, Redwood, Saguaro, Sequoia, or the Virgin Islands.

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