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Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year of Bread and Books

The past few weeks has found Teri and I in a natural state of wrap-up and what's next? You've likely been in that place too--finishing up the loose ends of 2012 and making little declarations and intention statements about what you want 2013 to be about.  I don't do resolutions and Teri has been somewhat sucked into that mindset as well.  Instead, we do what I like to call themes--what's the focus? What might be an overarching direction, idea or topic for the coming year?  Sometimes, it is as simple as "drink more water" and other years, it has been a bit more structured.  So, we've been working out what our 2013 themes will be...

At the onset of this past year, my intention was to experience more pleasure and less stress.  I hoped this would come in the form of more massages and evening walks, less long work weeks and late nights.  Alas, I didn't really do so well on this intention, as the world seemed to have other plans for me.  Fortunately, there is no failing at this intention stuff, as far as I am concerned, and I just might have to take some other measures for 2013.

Teri has decided that in the next 12 months, she will augment her typical voracious reading appetite with 12 recommended classics.  A couple weeks ago, she asked me, as the resident English Major, what "classics" I would suggest?  "Well," I mused, "What sort of parameters do you have for Classics? It would be more helpful if you picked a genre, time frame or even a continent as the cannon is always changing--we need to reign in the quantifiers a bit."  So, she decided to ask all the kids at weekly drop-in what books they would put at the top of a must-read reading list for the coming year.  It definitely helped her create a unique and varied list from which to pull her books. She now has twelve personally suggested books in her bull pen:
  • Sometimes a Great Notion, Ken Kesey
  • Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
  • All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
  • Night, Elie Wiesel
  • The Once and Future King, T.H. White
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
  • The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
  • Catch 22, Joseph Heller
  • The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck
  • My Antonia, Willa Cather
  • Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller
In case you are wondering at the parameters for this little dozen--all recommended by 20-something young adults educated in U.S. public schools--except Tropic of Cancer; that one was mine.

So, that is a little piece of what Teri will be up to for the next 12 months, I have decided to go in a different direction.  My overarching theme is to create more and do more with my hands.  The tangible, initial focus of this is to make all our bread.  I don't know if I'll be able to sustain it or not--it is terribly easy to buy a loaf as needed--but I thought if I could make every loaf and every roll we ate for the next twelve months, it would slow me down just a little and be a good, solid basis for creativity and less cerebral activities. 

I suppose if one were to attempt to capture our separate efforts into a simple theme, you might say we are attempting to get back to basics in some way.  It seems we are both striving for perspective, a deeper connection with the human condition.  As two people who already live rather public, involved lives through our work and volunteer efforts, it seems we might be needing something a little more introspective and personal.  Like all of you, we have no idea what the next twelve months will bring, but it somehow helps to have a little intended structure to send us out into the great unknown!

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