07 Sep

Weekend Work

My writing today was prompted by this LifeHacker article.  If this piques your interest, I suggest checking it out for more science behind this topic.

What are you going to do this weekend?  Are you looking forward to it?  How do you think you’ll feel when it’s all over?

Okay, here’s another one for you:

Imagine your ideal vacation.  Where is it?  What are you doing (or not doing) while you’re there?  And how will you feel when you get back?

If you’re anything like me, the answers to these questions inevitably involve some combination of sleeping and drinking.  It’s vacation/the weekend!  I’m tired and stressed from a week at work.  I want to unwind, relax.  And while the goal is to feel rested and refreshed at the end, if I’m honest about sleeping in on Saturday and then following it up with a nice long nap, or spending a few days drinking margaritas on the beach, I’m probably not going to feel that peppy come Monday morning.

Do I learn?  Heck, no!  Next weekend, I’ll still be thinking about happy hour and vegging out in front of a movie.  And why is that?  Well,

… we are drawn—powerfully, magnetically—to those things that are easy, convenient, and habitual, and it is incredibly difficult to overcome this inertia. Active leisure is more enjoyable, but it almost always requires more initial effort-getting the bike out of the garage, driving to the museum, tuning the guitar, and so on. (via The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work)

So, I still have my weaknesses – especially when I’m tired on Friday and haven’t planned for the weekend – but I guess I’m not alone.  I have gotten better with my vacations, though, and that’s actually a big part of what motivates my vision for Retreat Austin.  Several years ago, I began to recognize that my vacations were a lot more fun – and left me feeling truly rejuvenated – if I planned them around some kind of active learning.  All the better if they also included spending time with a group of like-minded people.  Now, I’ve never been an adventure-sports type, so surfing vacations and mountain-biking weekends were out.  But a writing retreat?  Well.  That hits the spot.

Need more encouragement?  Listen to this:

According to the American Psychological Association, the most effective stress-relief strategies are exercising or playing sports, praying or attending a religious service, reading, listening to music, spending time with friends or family, getting a massage, going outside for a walk, meditating or doing yoga, and spending time with a creative hobby. The least effective strategies are gambling, shopping, smoking, drinking, eating, playing video games, surfing the Internet, and watching TV or movies for more than two hours. (via The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It)

Do something that makes you feel good this weekend.  Put down that beer, get off the couch, and get to “work”. :)

04 Jul

Freedom

I’ve been meaning to do a little self-evaluation here halfway through the year, and since my word for the year is freedom – and you know, July 4th, that whole Independence Day thing… – today seemed like a good deadline to put on the calendar.  (Who wants to read about freedom on July 7th?  Right?)

Freedom is Riding a Bicycle

Photo Credit: etsy.com, 3279Press

As a refresher, here’s part of what I wanted when I set my intention for the new year:

Freedom to be whatever my soul desires.  Freedom to find new love and new friendships.  Freedom to travel.  Freedom from self-judgment and criticism.  Freedom from material trappings.  Freedom from “what will people think?”.

So let’s not get carried away with the 4th of July stuff – we’re not exactly talking about freedom from foreign rule or taxation without representation.  Although, I suppose you could say we are talking about the freedom to pursue happiness.

'Merica

Photo Credit: etsy.com, theIrisandtheBee

Here’s the thing about the New Year’s ritual, and the intention within it.  See, I’d been putting off doing this reflection because I’ve been feeling a bit like a failure lately.  Not Failure with a capital F, but, well… I’m stalled in my Retreat business, I fear that I’m wasting a lot of the free time I’ve created for myself, I’m in a bit of a rut with my personal relationships, and my house looks like I moved in over the weekend (for reference, I’ve lived in this house for almost two years now – boxes in the living room are not acceptable).  And see?  That last sentence there – I was supposed to be free of those kinds of judgments!

So I’ve been kind of grouchy lately.  I wasn’t looking forward to putting all of that out there on the screen.

But then I look at that list and think about what my year has looked like so far.  My 25 hours a week of finance work have gotten so comfortable that sometimes I forget I had to create that.  I struggle with it, more than I should of course – I worry about what people think, especially when I describe my work to new acquaintances (I still haven’t figured out how to explain it concisely) or when I’m looking at the LinkedIn profiles of my peers.  But then I remember: I work 25 hours a week.  I’m doing what my soul desires.

Travel?  I spent 3 weeks in Spain this spring.  A year ago, planning a trip like that was unfathomable.  I was surprised by a lot on that trip – it wasn’t all food and art and culture and vacation – but in a way, it was the freedom to do it at all that mattered.

My house is a wreck, sure, but that’s because I’ve spent the past few weeks clearing out too much stuff (material trappings) and figuring out how to make what’s left into an open, organized space that welcomes relaxation and community.  It’s a work in progress, and I’m learning to be patient with myself along the way (letting go of self-judgment and criticism, hm?).  There’s the dog hair, too – but you know, that’s probably a better example than any of my letting go of the rules I’ve set for myself (and so worth it!).

That’s intention for you – and also the value of taking time to take stock.  Things are not as bad as they seem; progress has been made.

But there’s so much more that I want to do with this word of the year!  Is it greedy to want more freedom than I already have?  I want freedom from the fear that’s holding me back in my business.  Freedom from bad habits whose upsides are rapidly diminishing.  Freedom to communicate and connect the old-fashioned way.  Freedom to try (more) new things.  And all of the freedoms I was dreaming of at the start of the year, too.

So there’s my intention for the next 6 months.

I hope this wasn’t too heavy for a day that’s meant for hamburgers and fireworks.  I’m done for now.  I’ve gotta get going.  Angie and I are about to exercise our freedom to watch a movie about male strippers.  (Yay, America!)

Magic Mike

Photo Credit: mtv.com

17 Jan

The trouble with blog writing

I decided to take a break from the 40-day challenge this weekend.  I could have knocked out a post on Saturday night (and Sunday, too), but… why?

Well, because I set a goal, for one thing.  Because I made a commitment.  And I am nothing if not accountable, especially to my own high standards.  But Rachel’s words were still echoing for me – what she’d said about the things we do only because we think we should, and later, her question to me about writing every day (simply, “why?”).  I’d answered her with what I know to be true – a blog needs content, and I want to write content that resonates with people who share my values, people with whom I hope to do business someday.  (Geez, I hope that doesn’t sound too commercial.  The thing is, I find great value in writing for my own reflection and self-examination, but with little exception, I wouldn’t feel the need to post my writings online without a broader purpose.  Let’s be honest: the blog is ultimately here to support my work.)

And that is exactly where I’m feeling the most stuck with my business right now.  I want to connect with people – that’s what Retreat Austin is all about.  I believe that real, personal communication is essential to making those connections.  And for me, social networking – Twitter, Facebook, blogging, etc. – seems more like a threat to building real connections than a tool that fosters them.

You can see my dilemma, right?  Here I am, trying to build a business that brings people together, to be present with each other face to face – and the best way to inform people that this awesome business exists is by way of a website.  Grr.

So what did I do in the face of this struggle?  I decided to face it head-on.  Stop avoiding the enemy.  In fact, spend some quality time with it.  Write to it every day.  Talk to it.

Only, I don’t really have that much to say on an every-single-day basis.  My interaction with this blog seems more like the small talk I make with the barista every morning than the kind of substantive conversation I have with a friend over dinner.  That’s my relationship with the blog (and by extension, you) right now – first date, when I’m shooting for old pal.

I suppose I hope that keeping it up like this – at least for a while – will make things more comfortable.  That the relationship will become more familiar over time.  But then, I’m trying to trust my gut, too, and recognize that every single day is probably not necessary.  It’s okay to take a break.  Sometimes that’s how you know you’re getting closer, right?  When the silence is comfortable.

How do you use social networking to build relationships?  Is the internet bringing you closer together, or does it have you feeling a bit disconnected?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

13 Jan

Kundalini Yoga, Part 1

I sat down this morning to write you something about Kundalini Yoga, and boy, was that a mistake.

I’ve wanted to write about it for a long time – wanted to capture some of my experience over time, wanted to share some insight into what it is, maybe make it a bit less intimidating for people who are on the fence about it – but I put it off and put if off.  Why?  Because I’m still figuring it out for myself.  Because I don’t want to screw it up.  Because it’s kinda kooky.

Here’s what I want you to know at the start: (1) it found me (not the other way around), and (2) it’s had an incredibly positive impact on my life.  I started going to Kundalini almost 4 years ago now, when my new Chicago neighbors invited me to come along with them to class.  I’d never been to a yoga class before, but had spent plenty of time with Rodney Yee and his DVDs – it didn’t take much convincing to try out the class.  But if I had wandered in on my own (and how would that have ever happened, I wonder), I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have come back for a second go of it.  For many months in the beginning, I did it mainly because I was building friendships with Rita and Charlotte, and I was so thankful for the invitation to join their circle.

As for the positive impact, well… that’s where this story gets really big and a bit unwieldy for me.  Where do I start?  Simply put, this practice sustains me.  It’s been the primary tool for my personal growth over the past few years.  I don’t mean it like there was this grand transformation (I started doing yoga and then I found the perfect job/house/partner!) – it’s just… well, life just works better.  There’s more… ease.

That’s my start… page 1.  I hope that helps – that it intrigues you, that it makes Kundalini seem just a teeny bit more accessible, less weird.  More to come…

12 Jan

Morning Ritual

Years ago, Christine Kane wrote an article about creating a morning ritual.  I read it at a time when I was so hungry for advice, feeling rather lonely and lost – there was a LOT of self-help in my inbox back then.  This one really stuck with me, though, and I think if it quite often, actually.

What made me want to share it with you today?  Well, if I’m being honest, it’s that 40-day challenge.  I mean – wait – not that the 40 days of writing is getting too hard and I’m giving up on creating my own content ;)  (Okay, it’s a little bit of that, too.)  No – what I mean is, I’ve been thinking again about how that first little piece of your day can make or break the rest of it.  Woo-woo as it is, I firmly believe that every morning, you start telling the universe about what’s important to you.  And the universe listens.  Do you roll over, put on your glasses, and check your email on the smart phone?  That’s sending a message.  (What kind of response are you getting?)

I would like to set the tone for my day with yoga and meditation first, followed by time spent writing – after all, these are practices I value, and habits I set out to create with the 40-day challenge.  I’ve got the first part down, but let me tell you, for the past several nights, I have sat down in front of this computer screen at 9:30 (or later), tired and grouchy about having to come up with something interesting to say to the whole internet.  I fear that you probably inferred this on your own.

So.  Tomorrow: wake up, do yoga and meditate, write, and then get on with the rest of it.  Take a look at Christine’s advice here.  Can changing (or creating) your morning ritual improve your day?

How to Create a Powerful Morning Ritual
by Christine Kane

It is said that your habits create your destiny. 

I’d add that your habits also create your confidence, courage and even your creativity!

In other words, your daily choices, routines, and seemingly insignificant moments make all the difference in your results.

One of the best ways to generate great results is to create amorning ritual. A powerful morning ritual sets the tone for your entire day – and your entire year!

A ritual is personal. A ritual is creative. (Not reactive!) A ritual is what gets YOU on track to create your best day. (And subsequently, your best life!) It can be as simple as a 15-minute routine, or as intense as long-distance running. The important thing is that it becomes a HABIT.

My morning ritual combines a mixture of physical, mental and heart-centered activities to engage each of these human power centers!

Here are some ideas to help you create your own powerful morning ritual.

Hydrate First 

Many Eastern health practitioners recommend chugging down at least a half-liter of filtered room-temperaturewater first thing. (Yes, before your coffee!)

Upon waking, your body has spent hours without hydration. Drinking pure water at this time triggers a series of physiological functions that keep your body super healthy. Some report that this one practice can actually heal many diseases. (I’m not a scientist – but I can attest to the amazing results!)

Get Moving 

Exercise is called “The Number One Form of Preventive Medicine.”

It is also a prescription for happiness and a cure for depression! Getting exercise first thing sets your day off right. You can do a simple stretching routine, yoga or an all-out heart-pounding hour at the gym. Pick something do-able and do it.

Meditate 

Many people don’t meditate because they find it intimidating. I say, start with just 5 minutes. Meditation connects you to your center, and to the deep silence that surpasses any drama that might be happening in the world of your personality. Don’t worry about doing it right. Just allow yourself the time to BE.

Set Intention

“Intention rules the earth,” says Oprah Winfrey.

It’s true! Your intention is a powerful force to engage.

Remembering your intention puts you back on track. You become focused again.

Reflect for a moment on your Word of the Year. Read a goal you’ve written down for yourself. Remind yourself of a financial dream. (If you’re one of my new students in Uplevel Your Business, read the intention you wrote down on the first day of the program!)

You don’t have to know the HOW. You just need to set the intention so your inner GPS can stay on target!

Be Grateful 

Before I get out of bed, I silently create a morning gratitude list. When I begin my day remembering my “gratitudes,” (instead of my “anxieties”) my heart fills with extreme joy and deep awareness. I then bring that energy into everything I do – and to everyone with whom I connect.

Use a Netty Pot 

(This one’s a little weird!)

For years, my acupuncturist told my husband and I to use a Netty Pot. We laughed at him. Then, in the face of acute sinus problems, my husband tried it and became a convert. He converted me.

A Netty Pot uses warm water and a special salt to cleanse your sinuses and clear your breathing. Google it, and let the idea sit with you for a while. (You might be a convert too!)

Eat Creative 

Your choice of breakfast foods can set up your success with other meals as well. Start your day off in the healthiest way possible for you – and make it a ritual, not a chore.

Be Prepared: Create a Not-to-Do List 

Everyone needs a “Not To Do” morning list.

Suggestions here include anything that brings up a “reactive” state: Turning on the local news. Checking email. Answering texts. Answering the phone.

Let these things wait until AFTER your ritual has been completed!

Your Assignment: 

After reading this article, don’t just think, “Wow. Those are some good ideas. I should try one or two.”

Instead, deliberately create your morning ritual now. Take about 20 minutes to think about and write down what your ritual will be each morning. Start simple at first. Choose one or two items from this menu. Or come up with your own. Write out your Ritual in detail.

Begin first thing tomorrow morning, and let your habits create YOUR destiny starting now!

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

Please do! Just be sure to include this complete blurb with it:

Christine Kane is the Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World. She helps women uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly LiveCreative eZine goes out to over 20,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at http://christinekane.com.

TO SEE HUNDREDS MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE?

See Christine’s blog at ChristineKane.com/blog.

11 Jan

Spring has sprung!

Do you know what’s growing in my front yard right now?  Take a look:

fresh flowers and dead leaves

 

Can you believe this?  I mean, yes, I live in Texas, but it is still January around here (notice the dead leaves in the background – this is still what most of nature looks like in these parts).  My yard is so confused.  102 degrees all summer long and the grass shuts down for good; we finally get some rain in December and all of the flowers come out.  What can you do?

I love this place.  Love. every. bit of it.

04 Jan

New Year’s Meal

Argh.  Do you know how aggravating having your house broken into can be?  I mean, first, there’s the obvious irritation of coming home to find the broken window and the empty space on your desk where your MacBook used to sit (and don’t get me wrong, that part’s really bad).  But then there’s this lingering annoyance when, months later, you go looking for something you haven’t used in a while (like that cord that connects your camera to your computer so you can download the photos you’ve taken), and you know that you always keep this certain thing in the same place, and it’s not there.  So you go looking in the four other places that it just might be, and it’s not in any of those places, either.  And then, even though you’ve been fighting it, you just have to give in and get mad at those robbers (again) because dammit!  It’s like they just keep stealing from me.  And what did they even need with that cord anyway?

So.  Perhaps we have established that we will not be viewing any new photos on cindyscovel.com anytime in the near future.  We’ll see.  I’m still in that state of deciding how much I need to replace and, well, this is probably one of the necessary items (I mean, I’m still taking pictures), but I’m also kind of holding out on the little things (is it possible that I just misplaced it?  Yes, it is).

In any case, I really wanted to start this post with a picture of my New Year’s meal from the other night, because that would be the thing to start out a post with recipes, wouldn’t it?  Instead, you will just have to read the recipes and imagine it.  Or maybe cook them, and then you wouldn’t need the imagining part.  It is probably too late to get in on the good luck and good fortune that comes with these black-eyed peas and cabbage (that’s for January 1, you see – apologies for my delay), but you can still enjoy the deliciousness all year-round.

Here you go…

Spicy Black-Eyed Peas from Paula Deen

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (16-ounce) package dried black-eyed peas, washed
  • 1 (12-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups water

Directions

In a large saucepan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon, crumble, and set aside to use as a topping for the peas. Saute the onion in the bacon drippings until tender. Add the peas, diced tomatoes and green chiles, salt, chili powder, pepper and water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the peas are tender. Add additional water, if necessary. Serve garnished with crumbled bacon.

A NOTE ABOUT THE PEAS: If you follow the link to this recipe, and check out the comments, you’ll see a lot of discussion about whether or not to soak the peas/beans.  I followed the “quick-soak” method on the pea package (peas + water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover, wait an hour, rinse and drain), and then PD’s recipe took about an hour to cook.  I also halved the recipe.

Molly’s Recipe for Braised Brussels Sprouts (I’ll explain) from Orangette

Ingredients

1 ¼ lb. Brussels sprouts
3 Tbs unsalted butter
¼ tsp coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice, or more to taste

Directions

First, prep the Brussels sprouts. Trim the stem end of each sprout and pull off any ragged or nasty outer leaves. Cut the sprouts in half from stem end to tip, and then cut each half in half again. Ultimately, you want little wedges.

In a large (12-inch) skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are nicely browned in spots, about 5 minutes or so. I like mine to get some good color here, so that they have a sweetly caramelized flavor.

Pour in the cream, stir to mix, and then cover the pot. Reduce the heat to low or medium low: you want to keep the pan at a slow simmer. Braise until the sprouts are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife, about 30-35 minutes. The cream will have reduced some and will have taken on a creamy tan color.

Remove the lid, and stir in the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary. Let the pan simmer, uncovered, for a minute or two to thicken the cream to a glaze that loosely coats the sprouts. Serve immediately.

NOTES: First, if you follow the link, you’ll find more headnotes, plus you’ll get a dose of Orangette, which is always good.  Second, this recipe is for brussels sprouts, not cabbage (I know).  I actually follow the recipe for braised cabbage found in Molly’s book, A Homemade Life – a good read, and full of tasty morsels to try.  To prepare cabbage instead of the sprouts, cut a small cabbage into 8 wedges and arrange in the pan.  Turn the wedges after 5-7 minutes in the pan, and add the cream (2/3 c instead of a whole one).  Cover them for 20 min, then flip again and cover for another 20 min.  Follow the instructions for the lemon juice above.  Enjoy some delicious comfort food, and a prosperous New Year!

01 Jan

New Year’s Resolutions

Planner and goal-setter that I am, I’m not really one for making resolutions.  I think there’s plenty of information out there on the downside of overhauling your life on January 1, so I’ll spare you that discussion here.  I do have a new year’s ritual, though – one that works for me, and maybe one that will work for you, too.

Each year, I take stock of what’s happened over the past 12 months, and I meditate (think/write/talk with friends and family) on what it is I’d like to bring into my life in the year to come.  It’s simple, takes only a couple of hours to do really well, and never involves dieting.  Oh, and it works.

This practice has evolved over several years of collecting advice from people I trust on the matters of personal planning, intention, and success (I’ve linked to my favorite resources at the bottom of this page).  And over these years, I have seen magic happen every time: new friendships, home sales, personal growth, good jobs, … the list goes on and on.

This year, I stuck pretty close to the Mondo Beyondo script – it’s what felt right this time around.  I’ve decided not to share all of it here – for one thing, my list of accomplishments and challenges are probably not that interesting for most of you, and for another, I think the pressure of an audience sometimes takes away from my ability to be totally honest with myself.  I will share the second half, though, since it helps me with accountability, and perhaps it helps you to see an example of how this works.

With that, I wish you a very Happy New Year!

3. What else do you need to say about the year to declare it complete?

2011 was a very good year – better than any in a long time.  Part of it was fun, and part of it was relaxing, part of it was really hard – and almost a full half of it was downright shitty.

What made it so good then?  I took risks.  I listened to my soul more closely than I ever have.  I had to practice this – and a lot of 2011 was about that practice.  I got enough sleep.  I expanded my boundaries.  I challenged my definition of myself.

When I look at the list of things I have to grieve about 2011 [Question 2] – the disappointments, the shortcomings – my first reaction is that it is long.  Immediately, my second reaction is a feeling of guilt because, of course, they are all first-world problems, not a one of them resulting in injury or homelessness.  Still, they are real to me, and I know it’s good to acknowledge what has caused me to stumble throughout the year.  After that – and this is what it’s about – I’m grateful (honestly).  This is a good list to work on.  There are things I did not succeed at this year.  And that’s what next year is for.

Thank you, 2011, for all that you have given me.  I declare you complete!

4. What is your primary intention or theme for 2012?

2012 is my year of FREEDOM.

Freedom to be whatever my soul desires.  Freedom to find new love and new friendships.  Freedom to travel.  Freedom from self-judgment and criticism.  Freedom from material trappings.  Freedom from “what will people think?”.

FREEDOM.

 

Resources:

Mondo Beyondo – Completion Worksheet, Class

Andrea Scher’s thoughts on her word of the year

Chris Guillebeau’s instructions for conducting an annual review

Christine Kane’s Word of the Year Discovery Tool

06 Sep

Okay, no more excuses.

It is Tuesday, September 6, the day after Labor Day. And so begins a new season. Everybody knows that the “new year” doesn’t really start on January 1 (right?). It starts that morning when you get up early for the first time in a long time, put on your new jeans (90 degree weather be damned), struggle with your new haircut, and head out to the bus stop.

And so, with that spark of back-to-school excitement in the air, I am getting up early, putting on a clean pair of pants, and getting to work. I’m starting my 40-day yoga challenge, and along with that, my 40-day (no) alcohol challenge and (what the heck) my 40-day (no) caffeine challenge. Feels like New Year’s, doesn’t it?

I’m ready. I’ve had a long, beautiful summer of resting, connecting, dreaming, and figuring things out. And now it’s time to switch gears and turn those dreams into something real. It’s not about the new year’s resolutions – those are commitments that help me mark my January 1st and get things off to a healthy start, but they’re not the real story. What it is about is creating a plan for my business, getting the word out, and making this Retreat right here in your own hometown happen.

 

31 Mar

Do I walk too fast?

Okay, here’s where this is coming from. I am a fast walker. I walk With Purpose. I am On A Mission. I am the woman whose quiet and impatient sigh you hear as you and your jogging partner are do-dicking around and taking up the whole sidewalk in front of me. I could win an Ultimate Fastwalking Championship, if it came down to that. And today, it occurred to me that this might be a serious impediment to my new hobby.

You see, over the weekend, in a burst of tax-refund-fueled impulse, I ordered myself my first real, grownup camera. And I am so excited! So excited, in fact, that I even signed up for an e-course that I’m hoping will (1) give me some instruction in this extremely new-to-me art form, and (2) keep me motivated through that tough stage of a new hobby, where you’re inevitably a bit disappointed that your very first efforts aren’t in any way comparable to those of the professionals in the field (surprise!).

There’s a third part that piqued my interest in this class, though, and here’s where my speed-walking comes in. Here’s what Tracey highlighted as her intention for the course: ‘The goal with Picture Spring however, is to not only prompt you into taking a photo each day, it’s to help elevate that click into a mindful meditation, an act of gratitude, a narrative of your heart.’ Um, not entirely sure what that’s going to entail, but I’m pretty sure I’m gonna have to stop walking so stinkin’ fast. I have the feeling this is going to be kind of an uncomfortable space for me, at least at first. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am mindful when I’m walking around the neighborhood. I’m taking in the houses (the houses, I love the houses in my neighborhood), looking for the first shoots of flowers coming up, trying to greet passers-by (oh, that’s a whole other story, for a different day). But stopping? And really looking?

Hm. I suppose this might be why I was drawn to the camera in the first place.

This post started out on a different site, but in an effort to get more of my writing in one place, I moved it to cindyscovel.com in January 2012.