“This whole world is wild at heart and weird on top.”

David Lynch.

ImageValentine’s Day. I’m for it. Everybody should do their best to love somebody. A friend, family, lover(s), animals, inanimate objects, art, earthly and unearthly things, ourselves…

I also like finding excuses to make things, and as we all know V-day has its historical roots in scissors, paper, and Elmer’s glue. That said, I never seem to find the time or patience for anything terribly elaborate. This year, I cut out some freehand hearts, repurposed a tracing of David Lynch from A Beautiful Mess, and put together a simple valentine card for my bf, who is fond of DL’s talks on transcendental meditation (he’ll also be bustin’ a move in these neato boxer shorts from J. Crew).

Oh and that nice red ribbon came wrapped around the flowers he gave me when we met for lunch. Upcycling meets regifting?

HVD!

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“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”

Charles Darwin.

Happy Darwin Day! I love this quote and am glad to celebrate the life and work of this brilliant and iconic scientist today.

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“…to me Charles Darwin represents much more than a discovery or a theory—he represents a way of thinking, a philosophy. His approach to life and to the world around him should be celebrated as much as his discoveries.”

~ U.S. Representative Rush Holt (NJ)

While officially unsanctioned, the American Humanist Association and Rep. Holt have put forth a resolution that would mark Feb. 12 as Darwin Day. If you’re in Massachusetts, you can learn all about evolutionary biology at this week’s Darwin Festival at Salem State University.  L.A. folks, did you complete the Darwin Scavenger Hunt? How about a screening of HBO’s “Questioning Darwin?” And of course, don’t forget to boil up a primordial soup with some help from Julia Child.

Of course, as the namesake of the best dog in the world, in our house every day is Darwin Day!

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naturally selected to be gorgeous.

Learn more about Darwin Day at darwinday.org.

“I like it when it rains hard. It sounds like white noise everywhere, which is like silence but not empty.”

Mark Haddon. (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)

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Finally, we have a little weather. The drought is trouble enough that the people of Willits are literally doing rain dances. Many communities could run out of water in as little as 60 days. Ashamed of enjoying our June in January, now we welcome these Northern California showers, which actually don’t fall very hard at all but as light streaks steady and with purpose.

As if I needed an excuse to skip another weekend of marathon training (if you can call it that), which I’ve been successfully ignoring for yoga and concentrated spurts of healthy eating and who knows why else. I don’t let it worry me, because at the end of the day what’s all of this for? To be happier and feel better about myself and the world around me, and I don’t let the guilt of a wasted $100 registration fee act as some kind of inspiration. What’s productive about that?

But rain makes Golden Gate Park an enchanted fairy tale magic misty mysterious forest of fragrant trees and soft mossy earth. Not even shoddy wet-weather gear could dampen the buzz of a quiet Sunday run in the gentle San Francisco rain. In the morning the conditions called to me without a second thought to eating a banana and milky tea, slipping on that useless windbreaker, stepping into my shoes and floating out the door. Nothing about the negotiations I’ve been having with myself the past few weeks before every run. Just out and go and stop when it’s done.

It was my first 10-miler in ages, and an extremely encouraging one. Feeling strong and inspired to take on the most beautiful marathon course in the West. With a little bit of careful discipline and courage, I hope it lasts. 

“I only have ‘yes’ men around me. Who needs ‘no’ men?”

Mae West.

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It’s climate-change spooky warm here in California, but I can feel the season on me too. Some have the special super power to flip the mental switch from holiday celebration to just another winter, and up and reset their lifestyle and eating habits on January 2.

Are these the Optimists, New Year Resolutionists, Health Evangelists, the Consistenly Inspired? Are they simply very, very strong?

I suppose I need a grace period in the form of 29 days or so. I’m fairly at peace with my fitness regimen for now, but struggle to maintain the concentration necessary for a consistently healthful diet. Because in the darkness of winter, “Nos” and “Shalt nots” feel especially dreary, so it began last Saturday, with a flurry of “Yes.”

Yes! Make healthy eating a priority in February!

Yes! Eat vegetables and berries and apples and fish, and kefir and tempeh and tea.

 Yes! Do my best keep record of my food intake in the form of calories, unprocessed foods, and macronutrient ratios (I endeavor for 50-30-20 Carbs-Fats-Protein.  But historically, when concentrating on healthy eating I usually end up with less carbs and more fat, and don’t really worry about it as long as I’m eating a lot of vegetables and the fats are natural).

Yes! Pay special attention to areas where I tend to fall behind: Iron intake, sugar, and drinking plenty of water.

Yes! Enjoy 3 satisfying meals a day. Intuition and listening to hunger cues informs healthy snacking, rather than boredom/routine/immediate availability of food.

Yes! Feel my body move. For sport and mental well-being. Walk, bike, run, yoga, lift weights.

Yes! Drink wine sometimes, usually with food. Have a cocktail or two on the weekend, sipped luxuriously.

Yes! Calmly and responsibly break a rule when the occasion arises (SF Beer Week, wine tasting with out-of-town family late this month).

I wonder if the secret to good health is openness and brightness and happiness and positivity and yes, and if the secret to all of this is good health in return. Who should care one way or another about well-being if we’re not inspired to love ourselves and feel empathy for others? What masks as narcissism, how do we find truth? Is this hard for everybody, and why is it hard for me? It must be painful to reflect the light of the universe all the time, and everyday people do ghastly unthinkable things.

Is there always yes, really? Does it hover above a dangling piece of curved glass, like a secret orchid, waiting for us to find it?