Monday, November 30, 2009

Welllness Activities: Making Changes

For those of you who commented about Thanksgiving, it was a huge success. My husband, son, and I loved the freedom of spending the day pursuing our interests and hobbies without having to cook, clean, and gird ourselves up for what can only be described as a high tension day with disappointing results.

The restaurant we'd picked for our celebration exceeded our expectations. It was festive and fun, but low key. While my husband is a turkey cooker extraordinaire, even he agreed it was the best turkey we ever ate. And, the rest of the courses were unbelievable. My son thought the candied yams were the best ever (He loves vegetables). My husband loved the sauteed Maine scallops (his choice of a first course) with mangoes, mango coulis, toasted almonds, organic mixed greens, and vanilla-satsuma tangerine vinaigrette. I thought the pumpkin pie was extraordinary. What more is there to say other than the fact that I didn't have to wash a ton of dishes and pots and pans?

And, the day itself was lovely. I spent most of it (and the rest of the weekend) gardening in my front yard. And, what I found most interesting (again) is how many people walk by and chat. Perhaps, it's because we live a half block away from a major street, and in our neighborhood people walk to do their errands and to a park and mall, which are a few blocks away.

On holidays, they also tend to walk around the block--either with their children, parents, and/or dogs. And, since I've been relandscaping a small portion of our hillside, I can't tell you how many people I don't know very well, said hi, and asked me what I was doing.

And I had lively discussions with people I do know (or who are related to people I know) despite the fact that my hands were caked with mud (so were my clothes for that matter), and I looked like a day laborer. One neighbor needed advice on a book she's writing. Another neighbor's parents were here from Northern California, and we had a lovely meet and greet conversation. Since I'd volunteered to help their daughter mulch (and slightly amend) the soil so that her newly planted Agapanthus don't die, they expressed their appreciation for my gardening expertise (which, as we all know is in a nascent stage).

What I realized is that front yard gardening is a true tonic. It allows me to combine my love for gardening with socialization. So...once I've finished planting a portion of my hillside (a truly difficult task given 30 years of ivy roots embedded in the soil), I'm going to redo our parkway (replacing the grass with drought tolerant plants), and perhaps even get rid of our patch of front lawn and plant vegetable boxes for Square Foot Gardening! How's that for a Thanksgiving weekend resolution?

P.S. The photo on the upper right is Mel Bartholomew, the Square Foot Gardening Guru.

14 comments:

sallyo said...

I'm glad to hear your new Thanksgiving was just a great success! And the food sounds heavenly, especially without having to do all the work that goes with it. Good luck with your gardening; it sounds wonderful.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear sallyo,
Thanks ever so much! It was wonderful! And, the gardening is like a gift that keeps on giving!

Susan

GirlBlue said...

Memory failing know I was trying to put a comment up last night but can't remember if I actually did.

Thanksgiving sounds as if it was a resounding success, so glad that you are making new healthy traditions that would make you enjoy this holiday once more.

*smile*

Wellness Writer said...

Dear GirlBlue,
I sure know about a failing memory. FYI...you didn't post an earlier comment, but thanks for this one. Yes, it felt great to change traditions so we could begin enjoying this holiday again!

Susan

Tamara (TC) Staples said...

Susan,

What a beautiful way to spend the day. How wonderful to be able to connect with so many people while you were doing something that you love. It makes me a bit jealous because we are in the country and can't even see our neighbors.

You are making so many wonderful changes in your life. I predict you will come to embrace this time of year!

Love,
Tamara

Wendy Love said...

Susan,
Congratulations on a successful holilday change, and from the sounds of it, guilt free too!
Your gardening sounds absolutely wonderful and the therapy is free. Who knew it would open doors with your neighbours as well?! That is good news. I went through a gardening phase several years ago and they were some of my happiest years! I have had to give up gardening due to physical restraints but your descriptions brought back happy memories for me. I am so happy for you! Writing has been like that for me. Since I have had to put aside painting and garden, two activities that used to be therapeutic, I am thankful for the writing where I can completely lose myself without physcial exhaustion. Finding out what works for each of us is so important.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Tamara,
It is a wonderful way to connect with people, isn't it? And, there are more affluent areas in Los Angeles where people's front lawns are so large, they never see people either.

Conceptually, I feel like I'm already embracing this time of year. Hopefully, little by little, my heart and body will get the message too!

Love,
Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Wendy,
Yes, it is working. I'm always thrilled when I come up with new ideas that work. Sorry to hear that you had to give up painting and gardening. And, glad to hear that writing makes you feel so good!

Susan

More Than Conquerors said...

Dear Susan,

I am so glad you have had a wonderful time with your family. Such time are so precious! Glad too that you are enjoying gardening and have been able to fruitful time with your neighbors. Take care and have a wonderful week!

Warmly,
Nancie

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Nancie,
Thanks so much. I did have a wonderful time. And, it is so nice at this time of year to be able to enjoy time with my family and neighbors. Hope you have a wonderful week as well!

Love,
Susan

Danielle said...

I have tried to convince my extended family to have a stress free Christmas day...much like your Thanksgiving...but they are ignoring my suggestion :(

Wellness Writer said...

Danielle,
For years, we tried the same thing with our extended family. Clearly, nothing changed, which is why we're celebrating it alone. But, I can't tell you how wonderful it was!

Susan

KJ said...

What a fun post! I decided this was our last "obligatory Thanksgiving" I am so excited to start new traditions with my kiddos! Glad you had a wonderful day! I love the gardening and socializing combined! Very cool!

Wellness Writer said...

Dear KJ,
It sure took me a long time to realize that "obligatory holidays" (I love that term) are a drag. Glad to hear that you and your children will develop new traditions filled with joy and love!

Yes, it is fun to plant and chat!

Susan