A Bunch of Nothing

My co-worker and friend Yolanda likes to ask me on a typical Friday what my plans are for the weekend. I love to tell her that I have absolutely no plans other than to do a bunch of nothing.

Nothing to say, nothing to do
I have no guilt knowing that my weekends will be spent truly doing small and seemingly unimportant things that don’t require too much effort. I will walk for an hour on both Saturday and Sunday- preferably early in the morning when the air is cooler and the street is quiet.  After the walk, I’ll slowly enjoy a dark roast coffee and savor the deep rich flavor. There are often the occasional errands to run or household chores to take care of but I use them as opportunities to think, to dream and to let my mind wander. I know I am successful at doing a bunch of nothing when I find myself re vacuuming the same space twice as I think about nothing. 

At some point the week’s groceries need to be purchased and I will volunteer to go to the store. Ra El will provide a detailed list with UPC codes, short messages to check sell by dates and lots of specifics about how to pick ripe avocados. I do know how to find the ripe ones but I love to read her shopping notes instructing me as if I am a rookie. Sometimes she writes so small that I can barely read the words. Is that soup or soap or Sauvignon Blanc? I get all three just to be safe. 

I love to wander around the food shops like Whole Foods or The Teeter Totter (Harris Teeter) or local specialty shops. I’ll find myself lost in the hummus aisle or amazed that morels can really cost $50/lb. I’ll sample spicy cheese chunks or crunchy chips made from vegetables or sample a little chardonnay early in the day. This past weekend, I spent a half hour talking to a fellow shopper about tarragon leaves and my new found passion- French radishes. 

Attention: I'm doing nothing here
I pride myself on being driven, hardworking and organized. I'm often the person whose list has a list. Since childhood, I take great pleasure in completing a task early with time to spare. So my work week is filled with plenty of Type A behavior, crammed with work and endless meetings.  

Yet, I can only work at that level each week when I can vacate my mind and well- take a little vacation from life. I’m fortunate that I get to travel to interesting places for work so a real vacation to somewhere exotic isn't necessary if I can recharge my batteries by spending most of Saturday thinking, planning and creating a wonderful dinner. See the Food & Wine Moments tab on this blog for some examples of my favorite recipes.  

"We are 
all so damn busy. 
I'm at a loss as to why."

Doing nothing is a joy. I don't want to busy all the time. My work week is overfilled with busy. I crave creative loafing and puttering about the house. 

Few things give me more please than to sit on my screen porch with iced coffee and a book that I don't read. When Shambhala, our 17 year old Persian wanders onto the porch to keep me company, I’ll pick him up and we will talk briefly about cat news and how things are going. He just wants to do nothing too so he is a wonderful teacher and a reminder of the pleasure of being still. When the phone rings and I don't answer it. The doorbell dings and I laugh. I don't make a to do list today. Weekends are like ice cubes; I love to watch them melt away slowly. 

I will make a few calls to connect me with my daughters and mother for our daily chats. Often wine is involved as I mostly listen. I'll hear stories about Nani and Olive, Sara and Florence or how nice the beach is today on the North Shore of Hawaii or Wilmington, North Carolina. Every call involves a discussion of food and I love to find out what everyone is planning for dinner. Mom shares that she finally found the corn dogs or will tell me about a mid-day trip to get a donut. Sarah will share with me that she will be hitting downtown Honolulu for some appetizers during aloha hour and Fanny will be tease me about something incredible involving Tzatziki sauce, again. Shambhala meows that he expects to be eating Science Diet for dinner unless some tuna juice shows up on those little white plates. 

Can I get a can of nothing at the store?

As a child, I enjoyed endless free play and time to be a child who could do crazy things with Jamie, Larry and Howie or to celebrate summer at Camp Winadu in the Berkshires. Joyfulness and an appreciation of stillness are two things I strive for and are part of my regular routine. When I’m quiet and not thinking of anything in particular, I find my creative energy flows and my compassionate heart opens up to love. Doing nothing is some of the most important work I do each week as it fills me with the calm and courage to face the challenges of each day. 

Someday when my friend Yolanda is retired and remembers back to our work together, I know she will have fond memories of the great work we did together on various marketing projects. But more importantly, I hope she will recall that I packed my weekends with nothing to do. 

A sign of nothingness

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