Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dunnshine's Favorite Things

In an effort to take my writing down a road not populated by thoughts of cancer, recovery, and medication, I am shamelessly stealing this idea from . . . a number of blogs that I read.  It's no schnitzel with noodles, but here are a few of my favorite things:

1.  My Bookmark
I visited the Art Institute of Chicago once during the two years I lived there.  I love wandering the galleries of an art museum just as much as the next person, but I don't find my soul awakened by gazing upon a canvas painted entirely one color by a one-bristled brush made from the hairs of a rare amphibious creature that only comes on land at 11:33am on Thursdays.  An art aficionado I am not.  That said, I completely fell in love that day.

She was on a wall near the exit, kind of bunched in with some others.  Maybe it was the tilt of her head; maybe it was the look on her face; maybe it was her heavy-handed rouge application.  Regardless, I had to know her name.  According to the placard nearby, it is Woman with a Necklace, 1917, by Modigliani.  At the time, I couldn't tell you anything about Modigliani other than I thought he needed to jazz up his painting titles.  My goal was to snag a print from the gift shop and feel very smug that I had a real piece of art on my wall.  My checkbook, however--all $12.56 of it--had other ideas.  I bought the largest print I could.  A postcard.

I like to call her Beatrice Firecheeks.

Since I left Chicago (almost five years ago) I have searched for a print online.  Nothing.  I told D.R. it was my favorite painting, and in a sweeping gesture of romance, he said, "I will find you a print."  He's still sweeping.  I've called the Art Institute for suggestions.  The "art authority" I spoke with didn't even remember the painting being a part of the collection.  Nice.  All the while, I've carried her around as my bookmark.  The white stress lines at the top are from poking out the top of books that are thrown into my purse or luggage.  A couple years ago, she lost her red bouffant hair and I lovingly swaddled her in packaging tape.  She's taken a couple swims because I like to read in the bathtub.  She's still lovely, but I would like to get a larger print before she is lost or disintegrates.   

2.  The Green Monster Smoothie
I discovered this concoction last year while training for my half-marathon.  It makes a great post-run recovery meal (protein), and--well, it's just damn tasty, so have it whenever.  All that cancer-fighting spinach isn't bad either.  Just sayin'.

There are numerous recipes to finagle, but my favorite is:
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk, but any milk will do.)
  • half of a frozen banana (frozen fruit eliminates the need for ice.)
  • 1/3-ish cup of some other frozen fruit (I've used blueberries, strawberries, mango, pineapple, nectarines, really anything works here.  Although, I did not have good luck with avocados.)
  • 1 scoop of protein powder (optional)
  • 1 scoop of greens powder (I buy mine at Trader Joe's, but it's available online or at health food stores.  Again, optional.)
  • 2-3 cups of washed baby spinach (must be fresh, frozen spinach does not blend properly.)

Add all ingredients to the blender in order listed.  The amount of spinach will depend on the size of your blender.  I pack mine down a bit to get more in.  If you are so inclined, add a glug of honey or agave syrup for sweetness.  Turn on the blender and wait for the smooth bright green gorgeousness to appear.

I would post a picture, but it is in my belly.   

3. Bootcamp H2O 
Sometimes I get burned out on running and have to spice up my fitness routine.  For the month of June, I joined these crazies.  This endeavor is accomplishing a few things:
Photo by, Igor Porciuncula
  • Renewing my love of swimming.
  • Renewing my fear of drowning.
  • Knowledge that my classmates are jealous of my bright blue floral swim cap.
  • And bright yellow swim fins.
  • Thanks to Bossypants by Tina Fey, a new appreciation for my crotch biscuits--"the wobbly triangles on one's inner thigh".
  • Thanks to my long torso, high-cut leg holes, and the placement of my tattoo, a new appreciation for my hip biscuits. 
  • A sense of wellness and freedom as I move through the water, building strength and stamina each time I attend class.  Of course. 
4. Peonies

    These are in my living room right now.
    This time every year, Trader Joe's is stocked with these gorgeous flowers.  They start out in tight little balls that do not resemble anything even remotely floral.  But, get them home into a loving container and they just open and bloom for days.  I am compelled to smell them almost every time I walk by.  De-lic-ious. 

    5.  "Unctuous" 
    I often fantasize I am a guest on "Inside the Actors Studio".  James Lipton is somewhat creepy, but I do love the end-of-show questionnaire.  Currently, my answer to "What is your favorite word?" is "unctuous".  Defined as an oily or soapy quality, it describes any number of things from people ("She was unctuous in her pursuits of his fortune.") to cuisine ("The clams gave off their unctuous aroma.").  I love it because it sounds somewhat sexual, but it also could be a new band (The Unctuous Monkeys!) Also, I challenge anyone to use the word in a sentence and not lay down some shoulder action or make a strange face.  "Unctuous" is not for the faint of vocab.

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