With one day blending into the next and nowhere to go, nothing to do; little things are all we have. So while I can't plan an amazing trip, outing etc. what I can do is get excited about the tangible things that enrich my daily life, and by actively appreciating them I find it helps regulate my mood and is itself a form of mindfulness.
All recommendations are budget friendly because finding joy in something small shouldn't always have to cost a lot, in fact some are free! Hope you will enjoy and please feel free to share any of your finds in the comments below, I'm always looking for something new to try!
Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic & Pesto Pizza with Deep Fried Crust
I'm not a big consumer of fried foods but I am a pizza lover (a childhood nickname was Pizza Queen 😂) so let's just say that my curiosity was piqued when I saw this land in my local TJ's. It's really tasty, and with ingredients like pesto, burrata and fried dough it is a calorie bomb but it's worth it. Balance its excess with a little more physical movement or save for a day when you need a treat. It's an authentic Pizza Fritti (Fried pizza in Italian) straight from Naples, and I like that it has cashew and pine nut pesto and roasted garlic for something a little more unusual than your basic frozen pizza fare. The crust is pillowy and chewy, I'm not a crust person but this I ate every last bite!
My Octopus Teacher on Netflix
So you have your pizza and now you need a movie to go with it. On Fridays we do family movie night, which we have seen so many movies during this pandemic I had to start keeping a journal to record all of the books, movies etc. that I was consuming and then subsequently forgetting. It's been a fun record of our time during this past year and brings back memories of what was going on when we watched or read what. If you are having trouble keeping track of things lately, I highly recommend jotting them down in a book. Nothing fancy or complicated, just a list of what you've done. You'd be surprised how hard it is to remember and it kind of becomes a fun treasure hunt of memories.
So when my husband selected this movie I was like... My Octopus What? Not something I would have normally gravitated towards but it's a truly unique and engaging documentary. It's about a South African filmmaker who returns to his childhood home in the Western Cape in hopes of combating the work/life burnout he was suffering from. He starts free diving in the kelp forests by his home and encounters an octopus that he sees every time he dives. Gradually he builds a relationship with her and tracks her movements from day to day. I had limited knowledge of octopi before this film, through the stunning cinematography it is fascinating to learn more about these intricate creatures. I was stunned by what elaborate camouflage an octopus is capable of creating and the touching friendship that the filmmaker and her establish. A beautiful film that will be enjoyed by all!
The Apology Line Podcast available on Wondery
One thing I have managed to keep up during Covid is walking 10,000 steps, sometimes more a day. It helps with managing stress and anxiety. A friend gifted me a subscription to Wondery for Christmas and I've been enjoying listening to their podcasts as I walk all over town. I tend to gravitate towards true crime, biographies or just a really engaging story. This podcast has all of those elements.
Allan Bridge, a conceptual artist started The Apology Line in 1980, a phone line where one could leave a message apologizing for past misdeeds to society, their loved ones or themselves. The apologies ranged from the mundane
(not helping a stranger) to the disturbing (domestic violence and murder). Bridges viewed the line between good and evil as more of a gray area rather than clearly defined. With the line, callers could confess their sins without fear of reprisal or judgement. Allan had hoped that it would provide a type of catharsis and might ultimately prevent people from further committing crimes or living a life confused with regret and shame. Allan's wife Marissa, also an artist, narrates the podcast and sets the scene of NYC in the 80's and early 90's, gritty, dirty and full of possibility.
The Apology Line ran for 15 years, there were articles written about it at the time and Allan made an interactive art exhibit out of it, where participants could walk into a phone booth in an art gallery and listen to these confessions. There was even an HBO movie with Chris Noth and Lesley Ann Warren but while the phone line took over Allan's life and most of his time, he was never fully able to monetize it enough to really earn a living. He would spend endless hours listening to calls and responding to them and in the process becoming attached to some of the callers. Most notable was Ritchie, a banker by day/serial killer by night. Allan became so obsessed with Ritchie and corresponding with him that it overshadowed his personal relationships, causing strain in his marriage and friendships.
I don't want to give too much away but what I really loved about this podcast was the questions it conjured up in my head. What makes an artist successful? If they are rich or famous or is it the content of their work? Allan was a thoughtful and eloquent artist but a carpenter to pay the bills. When some of the apologies on the line turn out to be made up fantasies, I felt conflicted between being disappointed that they were fake and feeling duped but then realized shouldn't I ultimately rejoice that the terrible things described never happened in real life? If some of the apologies were not real but a figment of the callers imagination, did that make the Apology Line less real? Conversely, maybe by admitting to their basest selves on tape, it provided an outlet for these people so that they didn't actually act out these impulses in real life. Ultimately we can never know, which I guess makes it all the more interesting.
Doubtfire by Pogo
While working from home and on my walks I listen to a lot of music as well. Doubtfire by Pogo has become a new family favorite, with us breaking out into impromptu dance offs. It takes the lyrics from the classic family film Mrs. Doubtfire and puts them to original music. Hearing Robin Williams as Euphegenia Doubtfire invokes 90's nostalgia for me and introduces a whole new generation of fan who wouldn't otherwise be familiar.
To watch the video on Youtube: https://youtu.be/dqSEox9t4Bw
I was saddened by the tragic circumstances of Robin William's death, I still remember exactly where I was when I learned the news. He was such a gifted comedian and actor and will be forever missed but can be enjoyed once again through this infectious pop song. His time on this earth was not long enough, I hope you will enjoy and think of him fondly!