After a whirlwind of a week, this first deadline snuck up on me like Prius in a parking lot. There is something to be said for self-imposed, public deadlines. They work. Welcome to my first three things.
SOMETHING I’M LISTENING TO: !!!
It was a brutal hit to my pride when I realized this band has been around for twenty years without my knowledge. It hurt. I was humbled. Granted, I was deep in the throes of childbirth and child rearing about the time they came on to the scene, but still. How could I have not known? I guess the most important thing is that I know now, before they died or broke up and it was too late. Anyhow, the band is called !!!. That’s right, three exclamation points. Also known as Chk Chk Chk, which is pretty much how you pronounce their name. Who needs vowels when you have three monosyllabic sounds anyhow? So, this band blew my mind. I first heard a few of their songs on KEXP and it was just enough to convince me to buy a ticket to see them at the Crocodile last month. They’ve been described as “dance punk” but there’s a huge funk element that supersedes any hardcore punk leanings. I’ve been to many shows at the Croc and can’t recall a band that came out of the gate with such ferocity and kept the capacity crowd dancing out of their minds from beginning to end. It was sweaty. It was funky. It was a blast. Much of this was courtesy of !!!’s lead singer, Nic Offer, who is like the delightfully awkward lovechild of Prince and Elaine Benes from Seinfeld. Quirky, jerky, hip-thrust, shorts-clad, curly-haired-mop-head of a singer who was once referred to as “sex on a stick” by another blogger after seeing !!! perform at SXSW. Suffice it to say, I was smitten and have been fantasizing ever since about having his baby. (Oh, calm down.) The band was tighter than tight, my feet hurt, my face hurt and I can’t wait to see them again and again and again. I went home and immediately downloaded their most recent release, “Shake The Shudder” and subsequently tumbled down the rabbit hole of their impressive music catalog. You should, too. !!! will make you dance and be happy.
SOMETHING I’M COOKING: POPOVERS
That’s right. Popovers. When was the last time you thought about popovers? Have you ever thought about popovers? My memory of popovers was jogged by a recent episode of The Great British Baking Show, which, if you haven’t ever watched, you need to go do that right now. Anyhow, the challenge was Yorkshire Pudding. What the hell is Yorkshire Pudding anyway? It’s definitely not a pudding as we know it, but it may have come from Yorkshire as it is decidedly British in origin. Basically, it’s a popover. As the contestants were taking their “puddings” out of the oven, I was transported back to my childhood’s fond memories of the popovers my sister, Juli, would occasionally make for dinner. They were special–eggy and craggy, nearly hollow but with a most delicious crisp on the outside. Not a muffin, not a dinner roll, but a popover. Traditionally Yorkshire Pudding is served alongside roast beef, but I can’t remember what my family ate them with. I just remember I loved those popovers. So yeah, naturally I had to make them myself. I found a recipe from Ina Garten, who insisted popovers were insanely easy to make, and you know what? She was right. Eggs, milk, butter, flour, muffin tin, thirty minutes and you’ve got popovers that rival your sister’s from days gone by. Now I’ve got a ziplock bag of popovers I’m not sure what to do with, but I’m imagining a quick zap in the microwave to warm them slightly, then filled with a spot of homemade raspberry jam and you’ve got breakfast. I know they are best eaten right away out of the oven, but I can only do so much.
SOMETHING I’M DOING: FELDENKRAIS
I love bodies. I love all bodies. Not just chiseled, muscled bodies, but seriously, ALL BODIES. Soft bodies, broken bodies, crooked bodies, round bodies, gangly-coltish bodies, disciplined bodies, stiff bodies–all of them. I’ve been teaching yoga for over a dozen years and I see every one of these on a regular basis. The variations of the human body never cease to amaze me. And you know, none of us are a perfect specimen. (Sorry.) I was reminded of this recently when I was forced to address a stiff, puffy knee of mine. Remember that “Dem Bones” song? About the knee bone being connected to the thigh bone, etc.? Through my years as a yoga teacher, I’ve come to learn that when a part of our body is unhappy and achy, it’s very often because we’re moving another corresponding part of our body in a funky way that reverberates that funk all the way up or down and creates havoc. Or at least a bit of pain. My crackerjack physical therapist incorporates much of the Feldenkrais method of movement therapy. In a nutshell, she is teaching me how to to move and walk in a brand new way. Guys, it is so hard! Connecting my brain and my muscles to make teeny, tiny but ridiculously important changes in my daily movement has been one of the most challenging things I’ve had to do lately. A few dozen Sun Salutations right now would be far less physically taxing than rotating my right hip externally while rotating my right ankle internally as I sit here typing. I’m not even kidding. But like I’m fond of saying in my yoga classes–it’s hard. Do it anyway. So I’m doing the hard things. Because even though I’m not opposed to a cortisone shot here and there to alleviate a bit of discomfort now and then, these bones of mine need to carry me through at least a few more decades. If I can facilitate that by learning how to better move my wackadoodle skeleton and muscles, so be it. The good news is my knee is responding favorably, even after just a couple of weeks of therapy. It takes time, effort and consistency, though, and that sorta sucks.
So there you go, kids. My first three things. Now go download some !!!, dance around the house like nobody’s watching, cook something delightful that reminds you (in a good way) of your childhood and move that miraculous bag of bones of yours in a mindful way. See you next week.