Monday, December 14, 2009

Posture Lesson From Miss Chicken Goode

I'm not sure where she picked up the name, but she's been one of our regular models for about the last 15 years or so. She's made of plastic and lives in our basement, and because I'm working on a painting of her at the moment, she was in my mind today when I was warming up on the treadmill at the gym. I realized that her great posture is the result of the hook attached to the top of her head. While I was walking, I started imagining being suspended the way she is with her bones all loose and dangly like a set of windchimes and immediately I felt my posture improve. My shoulders became more relaxed (I hadn't realized they were tight!) and I just moved with more ease. I found that it worked best if the hook I was imagining was located a little towards the back of the crown of my head rather than the front (notice where the hook is located in the photo above), with my chin in a neutral position--not lifted or pushed down too far. This had the effect of elongating and relaxing the back of my neck. So give it a try and see if it doesn't make you feel lighter on your feet with less back and neck strain at the end of the day!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I've Got A Cold

I have now officially joined the zillions of people out there who have a cold and it suuuucks! So what to do now? A few things that come to mind are:

Stay warm! Wear a warm hat when you go outside, wear warm socks, etc.
Drink tons of tea. I make a spicy tea (recipe below) with cinnamon and ginger.
Rest and sleep as much as you can, but, unless you have a fever, it's good to get a little exercise like walking to stimulate your immune system.
Eat more cooked vegetables and whole grains, less heavy protein and fat.
Avoid dairy products and sugar.

That said, I also favor the idea of calling it an official vacation and babying the heck out of yourself. I know it goes against the "no dairy" rule stated above, but when I was a kid, my Mom would give me soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and I would curl up in bed with a pile of comic books. Wow, that really sounds pretty nice about now. Boris said his mother would give him angel hair pasta with mashed potatoes on it. That sounds freakin' amazing. If any of you have any great comfort food ideas for a cold, I'd love to hear about it!

Spicy Tea

1 quart water
1 inch peeled and sliced ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
sprinkle black pepper
2 tea bags (I like Tulsi tea for this, but you can use any kind of tea you like--green, black, white, oolong, rooibos, anything).

Bring the water to a boil in a pot and add the ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper. Cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the tea bags. Let steep for about 5 minutes. Pour and drink it up!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Architect Warrior

Here's a little kick-ass baditude to inspire you with today. I just came back from Texas where I was hanging out with my father, Milton Bell, who has been a huge source of strength and inspiration for me. He just turned 80 this year and he still kicks butt wherever he goes.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

This drawing that I did when I was in school back in 1977 (yes! The Year Of Star Wars!) is not a drawing of Robert Sapolsky, but of a friend of mind named James Kenney. But I thought that James looks kind of like Sapolsky, so here it is!

Lately while painting in our studio, Boris and I have been listening to lectures on youtube by Robert Sapolsky. Not only does he present information that is 500% fascinating, but he's just such a great speaker. So entertaining and fun to listen to! Anyway, one of the things he talked about was that the act of anticipating getting something you want is going to give you a higher endorphin blast than actually getting the thing. The reason I'm bringing this up is that it explains so many things--he used the example of gambling addiction or compulsive shopping, for instance. I could never understand how these things work as an actual addiction (although the fact that they do is obviously true!), but Sapolsky explains that the feeling of knowing you might get the reward you seek is like a powerful shot of an addictive drug.

Boris and I have always had a related experience with our painting. When working on a painting, we actually often enjoy the act of climbing towards the goal of doing the painting even more than when we finally finish it. The moment the goal has been realized, the feeling changes into a good kind of satisfaction, but it doesn't have that intense excitement that climbing does. I had always thought that this was because when the painting is still being formed, it contains all kinds of unknown possibilities and then, when it's finished, it's kind of nailed down into one spot. I do think that's part of the difference in feelings, but also knowing a change of chemistry is taking place, and not a letdown, makes you accept that it's just the way the system works. So then you can start getting excited about the next goal and the next one after that! I love it! Keep painting!