I love my quiet house. I love staying up late reading and then sleeping in. I love having time to cook from scratch, to garden, to meditate, to practice yoga.
I also love the energy and directness of small children. I love the way they laugh. I love listening to their stories, playing games, sharing hugs, seeing the world through their eyes.
There is something wonderful about opening our house to friends and their children, inviting the adults to spend an evening eating and talking and relaxing while we take turns engaging with the little ones. They fill the house with imagination as the pillows become swords and shields and the floor becomes lava.
And at the end of the evening, they bundle up and go home to their beds, and I curl up in my warm, glowing, but still (thankfully, happily, once again) quiet house.
I have been rebuilding my meditation habit with the Headspace app. When I meditate I feel more centered and able to step back from the flurry of thoughts that are part of my everyday life. I also know that the more I make meditation part of that daily life, the less I’m sucked into those frantic, volatile patterns of thinking. This used to be a part of my routine but got knocked out by a lot of travel, visitors, and other disruptions; returning to meditation is like getting a gust of fresh air or a spot of sunshine back into my day.
I remember rifling through my mom’s basket of essential oils as a kid. I couldn’t tell you all the things we used them for, but the tactile memory of handling the tiny bottles and twisting of the caps to get a sniff is very much still with me.
I’m not sure why it took me so long to get oils of my own. Maybe because I know how much each milliliter is worth. Maybe because I couldn’t decide what scents to start with. Maybe because I didn’t think I could replace that basket from my childhood.
But I finally did get a handful of bottles, and tonight I mixed eucalyptus and lavender with a bowlful of rice to refill my homemade heating pad. It needs to sit a while and absorb the oils, but I can’t wait to sew it back up and try it out.
One of the most stressful things about cooking is knowing that someone hungry is waiting for the food to hit the plate. If the prep takes longer than expected, or you can’t actually juggle all the dishes at the same time, or (heaven forbid!) you ruin something, all of a sudden you are thrown into chaos.
That’s why I love cooking in the middle of the day. Baking bread, putting together a snack, cooking for a future meal, making desserts … I love not having a set deadline. It takes all the stress away so it’s just you and your tools and the ingredients.
Today I decided to make homemade hummus for the first time. Since I was already in the kitchen, I also decided to make soup — some for tonight’s dinner and the rest to have for lunch during the week. It felt indulgent to spend that quiet time chopping and simmering and blending. And now I get to enjoy the results, too!
Earlier this week my home internet wasn’t working, and I had to decide where to work instead. I considered a coworking space in the area, but their hours are limited to standard business hours and I didn’t want to organize myself (and my commute!) to that schedule. I also thought about walking to one of several comfortable coffee shops nearby.
But right before settling down to work, I had to run a book back to the library — and I realized that my library has wifi and numerous tables to sit at. As it turns out, they also have a very nice view of the river: