Friday, January 6, 2012

Pleasure, routine or work?

8 am:  Lie in bed.... I don't get up early in winter if I don't have to.   Read a few entries from Sarah Ban Breathnach's  Simple Abundance a way to kick start the new year.  This is a lovely inspirational diary that has been around since 1995.  I have picked it up again this year and it is still relevant and fresh .   (creative pleasure)

8:15 :    Turn on the heat,  open the door to the neighbor's champagne colored puss who thinks he owns us now.  ( pleasure)   Eat breakfast of a fresh farm egg , good toast , creamy butter, mandarine sweet.   Coffee.  yes.  ( pleasure),

 Start cooking large, white Italian beans that I have soaked overnight.   Throw in some rosemary and thyme collected from the garden.  ( creative pleasure)

9:00:   Check E-mails and turn on jazz station KCSM. ( pleasure)   Confirm first reservation of the year for my studio...2 weeks in August are now booked.  Hooray.  ( pleasure)

9:30 :     Clean out reservation book of last year's tenants. (work)   Log on to the bank because they want me to look at "important information" ( blow a raspberry).   Check all my other e-mails and answer a few.  ( work/pleasure)

10:00:   Bathe. ( routine)  Get dressed for "work".   Its a good idea to continue the yucky job of cleaning up after the leak in the rental apartment .  ( work)

10:30-12:00-   Indoor clean- up, ( work)  clip the rest of the grape vines, lemon tree and roses.  ( work and pleasure) Trim back garden, (creative pleasure) Put out trash bags and water plants. ( work)  It's a gorgeous sunny day and it is lovely to be outside. (pleasure)

12:00:  Ask my husband to help me turn the mattress of the bed.   (I forgot to do this last year so it's hardly a routine but you can't do it by yourself. ) Strip bed and remake it. ( work) Do a load of wash.
 ( work)

12:30:   Clean and start steaming the escarole. (routine).   Wipe off outdoor table and set it. (routine)  Hang up the wash. (work)

1:00    Prepare, serve and eat lunch.   Its just a simple dish of Italian white beans and escarole sautéed in garlic but we love peasant food.  After all the rich fare over holidays, it suits us perfectly.

  Sit on the terrace and enjoy the conversation, the birds bathing in the birdbath, the stillness of the neighborhood.  The warmth of the sun on our backs.   Eat three squares of dark, rich chocolate for dessert.  (What a pleasure.)

2:30:    Bring in the dishes and start another load of laundry.  K will do the dishes (wheee.).  Start a blog post and photo of the lunch. (creative pleasure)   Correct and edit the last photos I have taken. ( creative pleasure)  Play a few rounds of cryptograms.  ( pleasure)

3:00:  Play two games of cards online.  Eat three more squares of chocolate .  ( guilty pleasure)

3:15:  Strip downstairs bed and start third load of wash, (its all those sheets!).   Take art supplies out of the guest room and tidy it to get ready for house guest tomorrow night.  ( work)  Fold clothes brought in from the clothes line.  (work)
 Bring in some narcissus and put them in the vase Sarah and Joel gave me at their wedding.  "Quel parfum"!  (real pleasure)

4:00  Read a few articles online from the New York Times .  (pleasure) .   Apply, download, print and read 9 pages for an absentee ballot. We have to do it in January to vote next year.   It is more than confusing....whaaa?   ( work).

5:00    Bring in the laundry that is dry and fold it. ( work)
 Shared kitty inside the house, the sun has gone down and I am "home" .  I think I'll finish this post, eat something for an evening snack, read a book, write a letter or take it easy.  I may even watch a dvd.  ( pleasure)

My wall between definitions of work and routine is very thin.  Routine has a tendency to be mindless but not difficult at all.  Work is sort of " I would probably rather be doing something else but this needs to get done..."

Mmmmm.  This was an interesting experiment...    to see what happens to a day and observe, record and publish one's reactions to it.  

I  do understand that work is a privilege.  I wouldn't not do the things I labeled work.  Humans want to have structure and meaningful work . ... so work isn't the problem.  It's the proportions really. I am pretty relaxed at this time of year without the apartments being rented so I have no urgency today, no real work.

For me , a lot of little freedoms and choices along the day really add up to a pleasurable day.

To tell the truth.... publishing this made me a little less lazy.  I might have played a few more card games or spent more time online if I hadn't been aware.  Good reminder to stay present.

But on paper, I look pretty happy and pretty blessed don't I?   Well I is.  


  1. What a wonderful way to spend a day!


  2. This post made me smile inside and out, what a wonderful in the moment day. You rock Aunt Mo. Best Linda F.

  3. I love this exercise and learned from it myself. I definitely would've put the laundry chores under "pleasure" myself. I love days like the one you describe.


  4. remember you helped me pick out different colored flower buttons to put on my old cashmere cardigan!


  5. Yeah, that was great, it really made that sweater an "item".

    1. I never saw this post! Wonderful, Mary. I can so relate. I intersperse pleasure and work on purpose so that I never feel deprived. It seems as though you do it naturally. I agree with you about work. It is a privilege in a way...

  6. Yes, to do something you like and maybe even get paid is pretty huge....especially these days.