Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Honing Habits

And this isn't about the WRITING Habit, which I think I've managed to hone. This is about a writing ENABLING Habit I've decided I need.

So yesterday I was looking at Carol's blog and she had some writer's helpers--including some very cute waterproof stuff for documenting ideas you get in the shower... but it occurred to me... USUALLY, I can make it from the shower to my notebook 2 feet away if I really need to get it on paper... (one of the perks to always writing in the tub--that is where my stuff is--HWMNBMOTI refers to the bathroom as my office). When I risk losing an IDEA... is when I'm out WALKING...

Now I walk A LOT. I walk to and from work (a little over two miles each way), and I walk to exercise... and now that HWMNBMOTI is gainfully employed and has the car off in other places, I additionally have errands to walk on...

And when I am WALKING, it is generally for 45-90 minutes at a time... TALK ABOUT A BIG VOID FOR PRECIOUS IDEAS TO FALL INTO.

PLUS... I have a theory about busy body/relaxed mind for bringing those ideas about ANYWAY... That is always when I do my best problem solving, and more than a few major plot twists have sprung up on walks.

Isn't this clever? Could totally make one!
So I decided the habit I need to hone, is always having a little notebook with me (and pen... the pen is critical).

So for the time being, I put a small notebook and pen in my backpack (and wrote a few ideas down on my way home... mostly for blog topics). But I am going to keep my eyes open for some little spiral notebooks so I really CAN take them on walks around my neck if I feel so inclined. It's not like I don't already have a reputation as a freak around here... I am the edit or read (sometimes out loud) while walking lady. Strangers recognize me regularly and say that is why. So why NOT exercise with a little notebook around my neck? But the notebook and pen in the backpack is just common sense. I can't believe it never occurred to me before.

The OTHER Habit?

I am going into this other one seriously more grudgingly... I HATE to cook. I've always hated it (with the exception of soups and such... a big pot of soup I can eat for a week is okay—I am the only person in my house though, willing to eat the same thing every day)... But HWMNBMOTI is working full time now—40 hours in 4 days... which means on those 4 days he is not here to make dinner.

He has ALWAYS made dinner... and I have worshipped him for it. He is a great cook. (and he likes it).

But the system had to change, so I have to get back in the habit of cooking 4 days a week. (ick)

I decided though, if I really have to cook every day, I am going to learn to cook Indian food. It is my favorite kind, and it seems the real stuff (as opposed to restaurant stuff) is really pretty healthy. Hopefully by focusing on something I sort of WANT to learn to do, it will help the fact that I HAVE to do this thing not be so painful.  Kids have both grumbled, but they can live with one day a week.  Last night we had Apoo Kapir over rice and Cucumber salad with yoghurt dressing (see how I spelled yoghurt like I live within the British Commonwealth?)

What about you? Any habits you are trying to hone? Any tricks you are doing to master them?


Caledonia Lass said...

I need to get into the walking habit. I also have several other habits I need to work on. One being taking my daily vitamins with my meds. (Don't ask.)
Couple things you should think about. Since you already speak out loud, go get yourself a little hand held tape recorder for your ideas. Then you don't have to stop and write, just keep talking.
If you stop cooking Indian food for any reason, I've got some awesome crockpot recipes. Little ingredients, even less effort. ;)
Work your habit magic, you moistened bimp. ;)

DCAllen said...

Tart! Indian food is also my favorite. The hotter the better.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Indian food is fun to make and really yummy! I think you'll like this habit. Loved the little notebook, too. :)

Cruella Collett said...

I am now really confused as to how one would spell yoghurt if not "yoghurt" (ah - my spell check just gave me a tip... yogurt. And here I keep wanting to add even MORE letters - youghurt. That's how I spell it in Norwegian. But it's probably not how any other Norwegians spell it, in Norwegian or otherwise...)

I'm all for the Indian food, though. Especially Indian food in Japan. Mmmmm - oichi!

Hart Johnson said...

Mel-the problem with a recorder is my brain doesn't go through my mouth. At all. I speak gibberish. It goes through my pen. Wacky that, but it's always been so. Totally open to crockpot ideas though--we have one and I like easy!

Chris-I love the hot, too, but am concentrating on middle ground so my kids will eat it.

Raquel-I think I will, once I get the basics down! (and isn't it cute?)

Mari *giggles* Yeah, Americans are lousy for dropping letters. And Yay, Indian food in Japan!

Jan Morrison said...

Any habits I'm trying to hone? Gawwwd yes. To eat well - and not so much - I love to cook and so does SP - he mastered Indian cooking years before I met him and eating is our hobby - trouble is he is a carpenter and works it all off. So - eating. The most burning desire I have is to get a grip on both my finances and paperwork. I won't go into it all but GAAAAH.

Old Kitty said...

I am trying to hone being more NAKED.


Take care

Tonja said...

I was going to suggest that your cell phone might have a voice recorder built in but it doesn't sound like that would work for you. I get my best ideas in the shower too.

If you figure out how to get the sauce just right, would you post the recipe? Like a chicken curry sauce or the sauce for the chick pea and potato thing I love. I always mess up the sauce.

Tina said...

First of all, I'm dying to know what HWMNBMOTI means. I hate feeling left out...Secondly, I didn't think there was anyone else around whose husband did ALL the cooking for many years. But then we had kids, and his schedule became chaotic, so I decided I'd better learn. Let me tell you, it's changed my life. Now it's one of my favorite ways to play. I watch Food Network above anything else, have an impossible to ever organize recipe collection, and am always trying new things. Awesome that you picked Indian food. I love ethnic, too with Thai being my favorite. I've gotten quite good at some basic Thai elements, and shopping for some of the weird ingredients is really a fun challenge. Would you like to exchange recipes?
Tina @ Life is Good

Deb and Barbara said...

I also get lots of great ideas when I walk. In fact, I often walk not to get somewhere but to free my mind and find solutions to writing problems. But I never thought to take a notepad with me! Awesome. I have started to use the recorder app in my phone, though, when I get ideas in the car. That has proven very useful -- don't even need to hold the thing: just press on and it records everything (yes, including traffic noise :) )

Misha said...

Ooh good luck with the cooking!

I'm still trying to learn how to put everything into a day.


Johanna Garth said...

I love the image of you walking around with your notebook! That's a great habit to acquire. The main habit I'm trying to break is eating junk food while I work. Really, really bad habit but somedays at 5:00 its ridiculous.

VR Barkowski said...

I'd like to write in the mornings rather than between midnight and 5 am, but so far it hasn't happened. That I'm out visiting blogs right now instead of writing might be a partial answer. :)

Baking is a chore, but I love to cook. Unfortunately Mr. VR was brought up on prepackaged boxed foods. He'd rather eat Kraft Mac & Cheese then my tenderloin with peppercorn crust and whiskey sauce. Weird, huh?

VR Barkowski said...

Whoops! I suppose between midnight and 5 am is morning of a sort, but I meant the part of the morning where other people are awake and moving about.

Hart Johnson said...

Jan-I really would like to get all THOSE habits in line too. I meant REALISTIC habits *shifty*

Jenny- that one is EASY!

Tonja-erm... I don't have a cell phone *hides* If I manage any really great recipes, I will shout!

Tina-HWMNBMOTI=He who must not be mentioned on the internet (aka: the hubby--I'm not to talk about him *cough*) And I'd love to share recipes when I figure any out--and I love Thai food too--in fact my kids would probably be happier with that. I'm not much of a cooking show person though (or any self-help or discussion... my life has enough reality so I try to keep it out of my entertainmnent)

Barbara-In a car, I agree that's the way to go! Writing and driving doesn't work!

Misha-yeah that falls into that impossible category, too, eh?

Johanna-I could use that one, too. Eating and drinking... seems I am usually doing one or the other.

VR-man, I'd be a mess if my muse kept showing up between midnight and 5am! I wish I had mornings, though weekends, when i could, I still seem to write in that 9-11 spot. Your tenderloin sounds amazing! Hubby makes a great one--no clue how...

erica and christy said...

We both like to cook and have our specialties - mine are usually on the stove or oven and his are usually on the grill. We live about 20 miles from the nearest restaurant (well, 12 or so from fast-food and 2 miles from convenience-store pizza, but yuck), so that helps. But I'm terrible when hubby is at work, for some reason I rarely feel compelled to cook for my kids and we fall into a bad chicken nugget/ramen noodle routine.

Since I work at the same school my kids go to (and one of them is only 5), I really can't walk to work, but it would be good for me to do better with exercise. I'm thin(ish), but DEFINITELY not in shape!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I can eat the same thing for lunch every day, but dinner must be different every night. Or every other night. (Allowing for pizza of course.) You like soups? Do several big batches and freeze them in family sized meals.

GigglesandGuns said...

I subscribe to Pillsbury Cooking for Two newsletter. Recipes give me dinner and lunch or dinner and freeze.
I carry a small digital recorder with me on my walks. It resembles a phone so I don't look too strange.

RaShelle said...

Hey Hart. Wow, you walk A LOT!!! Impressive. And I think it's fab you are learning to cook Indian food. I don't mind cooking, but I'm not great at it. Prefer baking. LOL.

Michael Offutt said...

Oh I love Indian Food. If you're ever in Salt Lake City we should go to the Bombay House (my treat just to be able to meet with you). We'll eat the bagun barta (sp?) and some other curry dish. It'd be fun.

Hart Johnson said...

Erica-we are eating a lot of pasta--the kids and I like it and hubby doesn't, so it is perfect when he's not there, but not ideal nutrition. And it is hard to live in the boondocs... makes exercise a challenge.

Alex-I REALLY want a big freezer--then i'd be all over that. As it is, I can't do that too often. We have a side by side that's pretty full.

Mary-Pillsbury, huh? I could check that out. There are brands I won't buy (specifically those owned by big tobacco--Kraft/Nabisco) but Pillsbury is okay! (and i suspect my kids would like anything that used their stuff)

RaShelle-I like to bake if I have the TIME and an empty house... hubby stands and gives directions if he's there. Kids make demands... really takes away from any enjoyment!

Michael-You're on! Sounds fabulous!

Catherine Stine said...

The walking habit is a good one! I walked up a huge hill last weekend in the Catskills, which was great cardio. Kept it going today in the city.
I'm not so fond of cooking either. Luckily, my hubby likes to cook!

Cold As Heaven said...

I guess the pen is pretty critical, unless you stop by a gas station or a shop to buy one, or steal one (steel or steal?). Alternatively, you could use your cell phone to read in a dictate, and write it down when you're back home.

My habits? Don't think I have any ... except I'm addicted to (moist) snuff (snus as we call it). Can't get anything done without it >:)

Cold As Heaven

Cheeseboy said...

I do the notebook and pen thing, but next to my bed. I was finding that I would always have my best ideas as I am falling asleep.

Missed Periods said...

I like to cook, but, like you, I could eat the same thing every night for a week--just so I didn't have to think about it.

Catherine Johnson said...

I have to have paper in the car on weekends when I get to be passenger, can get a lot done just going to next town. I will now be imagining you walking around with that notebook lol.

Simon C. Larter said...

Ooh! I hearty-heart-heart Indian food! Dal is a staple in our household, don'tcha know?

So when you make lamb korma or chicken tikka masala, let me know a couple days in advance and I'll plan to bring the fam over. ;)