Little Dose of Happiness 10.27.21: Curate Your Life

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Little Dose of Happiness and Conversation

I recently ‘curated’ my inventory of Halloween decorations. I let go of much of what I had accumulated over the years…things that no longer suited my tastes, were too messy, or were too difficult or too large to store. You can watch my decision making process in this YouTube video here as I sort through jack-o-lanterns, skeletons and other spooky accessories. This scary candelabra was a keeper.


C U R A T E

‘Curate’ is a very popular word right now, and justifiably so in my humble opinion. I love the notion of ‘curating’ all manner of things. Separating the wheat from the chaff of objects and ideas, responsibilities and habits… and deciding what constitutes each. Defining and determining at this point in time what is valuable or invaluable to us …what to keep vs. what to discard. It's a tool for reinvention, I think. Making judgments as to which items or ideas are still consonant with our aesthetic, our lifestyle, our value set, even our finances…and which are not is a noble exercise I think. Things no inherently good or bad, per se, just pertinent or not to how we see ourselves and how we want to live and express ourselves.

cu-rate verb

ESSENTIAL MEANING

: to take charge of (a museum) or organize (an art exhibit)

: to pull together, sift through, and select for presentation, as music or website content

(The book below is an example of such curation and the popularity of the concept right now. You can find it here.)



In my last newsletter, I talked about the importance and value of ritual in our daily rounds. I have found curation to have similar merit as we tackle our weekly to-do lists and make judgment calls as to how to spend our time and our resources. For example, I am about to tackle the stacks of storage bins in my basement that corral and protect my Christmas and winter decor…just as I did with my Halloween decorations here recently. This process could be difficult. Too much nostalgia and poignant flashbacks to my sons' childhood, bittersweet memories of loved ones now past, and a serious dose of ‘WHAT were you THINKING?!’ when I invariably question my decorating sensibilities and decisions of the past. Not to mention the unpleasantries of spider webs and spiders, cramped spaces and multiple trips up and down narrow 1932 basement stairs. All in an effort to curate what I have…and determine what things remain worthful and important to me vs what things no longer do, or that I have an enduring need for, or whose absence I would find more valuable than their presence.

One garden design concept I find myself embracing more and more in the garden and elsewhere is the importance of negative space. That beautiful halo of void surrounding an object that makes it stand out, be singular and isolated in its importance, and in the spotlight of one's attention. So I am curating what I own to have more room and focus for that which I truly hold dear. So my darlings, I am not reorganizing, or purging, or cleaning out……I am CURATING my possessions, and my life in the process. A much sweeter proposition, don't you agree?

Since I am getting rid of so many things, I decided to reward myself with this elegant pumpkin and wheat loaf pan. Pumpkin bread is in my future.


WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO? I made an Edith Piaf and Josephine Baker channel on Pandora for a dose of romantic French listening. I also love Emily Claire Barlow! I am listening to the podcast Something You Should Know for great tidbits of information. WHAT ARE YOU READING? I just bought UPROOTED by Page Dickey yesterday, and the few pages I read last night promises a treasure of words and insights. Order it here. WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING? I am completely charmed and smitten with Netflix's most recent take on Anne of Greene Gables. Brilliantly cast, modern, and cinematically beautiful. Even my husband is completely captivated by this fresh version of a wonderful story. WHAT ARE YOU SERVING?

When. my kids were small, we would often make our first big batch of chicken and dumplings on Halloween….though sometimes it was chicken-chili-rice soup or red beans and rice. So….here's the second of these crowd favorites at my house! Use the ingredients as a guide. You can be completely arbitrary in how much of almost any ingredient you use. I always add more stock, more chicken, and garden fresh roasted jalapeno (according to your tolerance for heat). I serve with lots of garnishes: chopped cilantro, wedges of lime, avocado slices, and either tortilla chips or cornbread. Double or triple the batch for a crowd. Sometimes I buy an already roasted chicken to speed thing up.

GREEN CHILES, Jalapeno AND RICE SOUP 2 T Butter ½ c. chopped onion 1 clove garlic 2 cups chicken stock 1 c. chopped chicken 1 c. milk ½ c. raw rice 1 4oz cans chopped green chiles 2 c. whipping cream ½ c. shredded Monterrey Jack ½ c. shredded Cheddar salt, cayenne, cumin, roasted garden jalapenos to taste. Saute onion and garlic in butter over low heat for about 10 minutes. Add stock and chicken, milk and rice. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, heat thoroughly.



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Till next time,




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