Ariel Wouldn't Have the Guts to Do What I Did

A little while after I posted this I received an email from a long-time chum, Bradley, saying that he'd like to help me out with the dreaded sea food and that he'd be in Utah in October.(You can encourage Bradley to blog more often here on his blog about food.) I was only too thrilled to have to report to some real person about this goal and last night I accomplished the goal - I purposely ate a water creature. We ate at Communal in the Provo and had dessert down the way at Gloria's Little Italy.
This is Bradley and he is eating salad.
I really ate the fish. And it was good and I ate my portion and I would do it again.

This is the salmon that I ate.

This is beet salad and delicious it was.

These are carrots, even the yellow things.

And we topped it off with gelato, which off with everything should be topped. 

Bradley was so kind to help me out with this challenge and I did indeed feel brave. Additionally, he is great company and it is always so enjoyable to spend time with him. Thanks so much, Bradley!

K and B's Wedding!

Last weekend my lovely niece Kyrst married Brog in the SLC temple.

Family occasions are sacred and serious but we find plenty of time to goof off and be odd as we are. Here is a nice selection to make everyone jealous that their families are as fun as mine. :)

With my niece Liza

Heading to do some have some Sephora time between events. We're ready for the paparazzi. 

Ryan cannot not photo bomb.

Selfie with my sister

Ty with his fiancee Janie. She's fitting in very well.

Brother-of-the-bride Matt, just being Matt



This is Salzburg, Austria at the Do-Re-Mi bridge.
This is the CN tower in Toronto. 
This is a bridge in Nashville and I'm doing yoga without getting dirty.
This is Pacifica Beach, near San Francisco, and it's out to get me.

Salzburg is my favorite city. I've been there on two separate trips and it's beautiful and happy and lets me live my Sound of Music fantasty. Toronto is a diverse and gorgeous city, especially in the fall. Nashville is music and history and Dolly Parton. And San Fran is love of great friends and the worship of great food. 

But I have to say that while I was visiting any of those places it was only just fine. I mean, I totally enjoyed myself but it wasn't as magical in the moment as it is in reflection. And I didn't realize how meaningful it was until it was over. 

So I spend a good amount of time loving the past and wishing to return to "the good times." I'm nostalgic. 

Nostalgia makes sense. If something was great the dopamine in our brains seeks to replicate that experience - see addiction, as a rather negative example. And often, we can (healthfully) replicate it. I listen to the same music over and over. And today I watched a favorite episode of Doctor Who again (Angel Bob, anyone?).  Replicating joy is the premise of the "inside joke."

But sometimes it's not so great. During some of those pleasant times I was likely thinking of other pleasant times and being inattentive of my current opportunity. Inattention via nostalgia is a great robber of happiness. For example, being upset when the meatloaf isn't like the one you had in Maine. Or setting up some vacation to be as wonderful as the last one by expecting it to be like the last one. Or by refusing to see the Great Gatsby because BL might ruin the sacredness of the book (still haven't dared). Or maybe it's just me that did all of those things.

I have to say, though, that the times when I've been open to new experiences and been "in the moment" I've been surprised and really enjoyed myself. When I was younger Les Miserables was basically the pinnacle of my cultural experience. I was able to see the play several times and each time I remember thinking, "You are here RIGHT NOW seeing the thing" and basked in the knowledge that it was a wonderful thing right now.

I like what Thoreau said in Walden. "I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately... I wanted to live deep and suck the marrow of life." Or what Aerosmith said. "I don't wanna close my eyes/ I don't wanna fall asleep/ 'Cause I'd miss you babe/ And I don't wanna miss a thing."

There is a place for nostalgia - like all those photos on Facebook. And what good is a thing if you don't remember it and thereby remember the pleasure? I have used the memories of better times to get me through worse times. However, there is also a place for mindfulness and really being aware of the happiness now. Don't be all Miss Havisham and pine for what was or what was supposed to be. Go, my people, and live deliberately and with awareness!