"A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that “great wits have short memories:” and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation." - Jonathan Swift, "A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It's been a while...

Wow, this month has gone by fast. I launched pretty much straight from my last semester of school into a summer of dissertation. Well, it hasn't really felt much like summer yet, or even spring. With the exception of a few days of lovely sun, we've had nothing but grey and cold. Still, I've been getting out of the house a lot more than I was over the winter - maybe I'm sort of willing myself into a summery mood despite the weather and the workload.

One thing that's drawn me out of my pile of library books has been an arts festival that's come to town for about two weeks. Although it's a bit overwhelming trying to focus exclusively on work during the day and then go to shows at night, it's also energizing to be seeing great performances and inventive ideas brought to life onstage. In particular, I've seen a lot of circus/dance/theater-type things that inspire me to make more time for both creativity and taking care of my body.

For the latter, I've been striving to get on a great health kick, eating more fresh and raw veggies, making smoothies, going to classes at the gym and doing push-ups at home, etc. It's hard to keep up those habits when the weather makes it feel like its February (California February, that is), but I'm trying. I'm still getting my veg-and-fruit box every week, which forces me to be both creative and healthy with cooking and eating.

It's nice eating salads, because you can throw them together at the last minute, when you're in the middle of studying but need food fast to feed your brain. You don't have to plan ahead for several days, imagining what kind of left-overs you'll feel like eating tomorrow or the next day, because you can just make one portion at a time.

I particularly love couscous because it's so easy and tastes lighter than pasta. And recently I've gotten a little obsessed with tortilla wraps. I eat them with chicken, hummus, feta, and veggies for lunch, and with scrambled eggs for breakfast. Yum.

There's only so much time I can spend cooking and eating, though, because the dissertation really is upon me, even if summer isn't. I'm enjoying the work so far. Somewhere at the back of my mind (or maybe lodged at the back of my stomach, against my backbone) is some nervousness about the eventual deadline and the scope of the project. Just enough to keep me working and moving forward.

Right now my life is about enoughs: reading enough, writing enough, eating enough, sleeping enough, getting out enough, finding enough inspiration, exercising enough, having enough fun, doing enough work. Balancing things out and moving forward. And not forgetting desert, like this delicious apple/pear tart I made the other day :)

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