So healthy I could cry quinoa and mung bean salad recipe

quinoa and mung bean saladChop, simmer, and story your way to an incredibly healthy, surprisingly delicious, quinoa and mung bean salad. Plus, no sense doing all this recipe prep for a one night stand supper. The first 5 ingredients make extra salad base, which can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days and repurposed by adding broth to make an amazing vegetable soup.

eating healthyThe Ingredients…

Salad base:
2 medium organic… (basically just
insert ‘organic’ in front of everything
on this list) sweet potatoes
3 medium beets
1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
1 cup dry mung beans
2 cups frozen peas

Salad garnish:
1 free range egg
1 green onion
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
Himalayan rock salt

Smokin’ hemp heart dressing:
2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
3-4 tbsp light olive oil
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tbsp hemp hearts
1 tbsp buckwheat honey
Himalayan rock salt

The Directions…

Don’t bother soaking the mung beans, just rinse and get them simmering in a pot until tender (approx. 45-60 min.). Scrub and cube sweet potatoes and beets. Roast in 400 degree oven on lightly oiled baking tray until tender – 20-30 min (beets take a few minutes longer). Prepare quinoa – don’t forget to rinse! Defrost peas in warm water. Cool all base components, then combine equal quantities of each and coat with (shaken) smokin’ hemp heart dressing. Garnish with chopped onion, parsley, pumpkin seeds and a 3 minute soft poached egg.

The Story…

Claire manages to hold herself together all the way through Calgary’s Community Natural Foods, each aisle more intimidating than the last. Bee pollen? She reads the package again to make sure. Seriously? WTF? Like swallowing the taste of a BJ while walking up the aisle to take communion, Claire’s breath and body are still ripe from last night’s fatty fish and chips debauchery. Even though the Natural Foods staff is cheerfully inclusive – not to mention frighteningly encyclopedic where gluten in concerned – Claire can’t help feeling like this whole health food thing is a cliquey club and she doesn’t know the secret handshake. Sure, the vegetables are brighter, the bran somehow brannier, and the dense loaves perverse concentrations of nutrition… But the overt, narrow eyed, judgement from the checkout line tells her she’s screwed up the official password when she makes the rookie mistake of keeping, rather than donating, her $0.05 bag credit.

Claire keeps her composure even as her stomach rumbles in despair at the rainbow spread on her kitchen counter. Rich oranges, greens, and purples, but still so darn far from being edible. How do people do this everyday? Don’t these people have lives?! Claire can’t quite put herself in a category with anyone who would ever, under any circumstance, choose carob over chocolate, or worse, use hemp for its health, rather than hallucinogenic properties – such a waste. Change is bullshit! The veggies don’t argue back. Why would they? Change is bullshit. It’s hard and long and hurts until you warm up to… er… it. But we only do what we want to do and somewhere deep inside Claire’s brain, her most primitive self is craving a new form of satisfaction – system state satisfaction.

Why does healthy have to take so much freakin’ work!! Already her boss, her kids, her hair, take so much of her before she gets anything back. Why can’t somebody just make me a sandwich! Claire finally loses her cool when the mung beans explode in protest after being ignored for three seconds too long. Lid in hand, faced with the tragic pot of grey-green Oliver Twist – “please sir no more!” – mush, she stands there hating the bastard beans, and hating this whole ungodly, unmanageable process. She sniffles, then sobs, then wails with the kind of abandon only a woman alone in a kitchen where everything’s gone wrong can truly experience. Why does life have to TAKE so much!!

But one bite of this magnificent quinoa and mung bean salad turns the entire thing around. The truth flows free with the soft, delicate release of the yellow yolk. This is life. Offer it a little time and attention, a little love, and it gives back more than we’ve ever dared to ask.

Enjoyed this storied recipe? Why not try a taste of Blank Canvas Living’s I want sex tonight steak sandwich…

Rebranding a Marriage: Writing a vision statement

golden circle marriageAfter doing all that wedding paperwork, you may as well get on the same page. Writing a marriage vision statement will help keep your shared ideals front and center as the living room is slowly overrun by golf equipment – last count 53 clubs plus bags and accessories – and/or when your wife gets laid off and commits to writing – a vocation as lucrative as golf is cheap.

patrick hullWriting for Forbes, serial entrepreneur Patrick Hull offers a succinct definition of a vision statement: “What’s your vision for your company? In an ideal world, what does your company want to do and how is it perceived by others? What’s the best you can be?”

How can we apply this formula to our most important legal partnership? When sitting down to negotiate the language, whether before the wedding or deep into a rebranding mission years later, it’s vital to keep author (and true Blank Canvas thinker!) Simon Sinek’s “the golden circle” in mind. His brilliant Tedx Talk explains how the most inspirational visions for success (business/leadership/etc.) are rooted solidly in the ‘why’ – with ‘how’ and ‘what’ being respective peripherals. “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

Interestingly, Christian marriage statements come closest to this root ‘why’ (and are worth checking out), while most companies still tie vision, at least officially, to the outer rings of the circle. Let’s try writing some practice marriage vision statements using the template of preexisting statements.

Heinz (c. 2005): “To be the world’s premier food company, offering nutritious, superior tasting foods to people everywhere.”
Becomes… To be the world’s premier marriage (nothing like setting the bar high), offering nutritious food, love, and superior sex to people within a very exclusive demographic.

Avon: “To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service, and self-fulfilment needs of women – globally.”
Avon’s vision statement doesn’t really need any tweaking, just change the last word to “in-house” and we’ve got a deal! Although my husband might disagree.

Honda (c. 1970): “We will destroy Yamaha.”
Becomes… We will destroy any interloper who tries to flirt with our 100% marital market share, even if they have bigger headlights or longer drive shafts (can’t imagine!).

I asked my Viking man to brainstorm some ideas, a risky business since, as I’ve mentioned before, this is not a Cosmo quiz or ‘cuddle jar’ type of guy. Splayed on the couch in the flickering glow of some widescreen ball/puck/net situation, he looked up mischievously at his dear wife of almost 12 years and said, “Bitches should be seen and not heard – that witty enough for you?”

Seeing the devilish grin on my face, he panicked, “Wait! You can’t put that in there!”

Because, dear readers, as I gently reminded him, “I’m a writer and anything you say can – and will – be used against you.”

But being the man I married, he still managed to get the last word. “People just don’t appreciate that sort of thing in this day and age – too sensitive.” Sigh… men, especially ruthlessly sarcastic men, however cute.

simon sinekSo back to the drawing board and Simon Sinek’s ‘why’.

Cymbria & George’s marriage vision statement: To explore and expand our (including but certainly not limited to sexual) potential through mutual support, respect, and freedom, as an expression of our faith in the abundance of love.

But really, maybe it’s so much simpler than that. Maybe we all just need to go back to the vision statement that inspired Disney for years, and keep it short and sweet.

Disney: “To make people happy.”
Revised mission statement: “To make each other happy – Amen!”

I would love to read about your own marriage vision statements. Care to share in the comments below?

Catch up on this 2015 Blank Canvas Living blog serial…
Rebranding a Marriage: Change the game this Valentine’s Day

And stay tuned for the next post…
Rebranding a Marriage: Writing a mission statement

Why a craving is our most intimate human experience

screaming faceI can barely form this sentence – I want! – my mind has no patience for language – I need! All words have been conscripted in service of a craving and my executive functions are shutting down. Just as frostbitten fingers are first to have their blood siphoned away, this cold Calgary morning has redirected all my neurotransmitters to the same goal – survival. There is a fine chemical line between want and need, but once crossed, once the neural trench has been dug too deep, any stimulus will drive our energies raging down the gorge.

Because life is wild terror. Any handhold can quickly become our only handhold. But the universe, beyond us, within us, is bliss. Abandon our bodies to the flow and we join heaven. Why the hell do you think all those bald giggling monks dress alike in orange robes? Because clothes don’t matter. Hair doesn’t matter. Nothing matters, because everything matters.

But right now, caught in this blind flurry, only I matter. A craving is our most intimate human experience because suddenly all our frictions and asymmetries align and recalibrate towards one solid, if impossible, goal: survival through satisfaction. And I’m sitting here bargaining. Even this post is an act of selfish desperation. Despite the risks to ‘living the dream’ and ‘rebranding a marriage’, I made a deal to get my want (or has it already become a need?) in exchange for writing the experience of its craving. An experiment? A literary test? Rationalizations are rarely rational.

I know the biological mechanism, the science, and it’s appallingly simple. All the chemical jargon can be summarized into one clear pragmatic truth of our perception: denial of a craving is to live a life of ‘less than’.

This is, of course, bullshit of the highest order. But big-picture logic is clearly not part of the thought process. Once you’ve had sex everything else becomes foreplay. Once you’ve pushed into peak pleasures, be it anal (debatable), base jumping, or a Little-Caesars-cheesy-sauce-pretzel-crust-pizza while royally stoned – what then?buddhism desire cartoonI’m drowning in my most basic biology – sweaty palms, heart racing. But if I am a fool, I am one of the grand old fools. Because I have tasted heaven, and it wasn’t enough. I put in the years, escaped my ego, lifted my arms and have been swept up into the swirl. I am bliss. And so are you. But is isn’t enough; nothing is ever enough. Because we cannot exist without the raw ache of this moment, it is our genetic hold on time.

I cling to its narrow icy ledge, my fingernails tearing, bleeding, as it melts away. Today, there is no temperate observer, no cognitive separation from (and thereby negotiation with) ego. There is only Cymbria, weak, wanting, and determined. I love her. And of all of the stupid things I’ve done for love, today will hardly even register on the scale (more bargaining?).

And now I’ve glamourized this temporal lust beyond all chemical proportion. So much so that its absurdity is shocking, not to mention embarrassing – especially if you knew what I was craving. But still, I thrill to the submission. It will not satisfy. I will pay, as I’ve paid so many times before, along with all my other loves. But I don’t care. Because in this moment only I matter. And because orange is so not my colour… and, damn it, I have great hair!

Rebranding a Marriage: Change the game this Valentine’s Day

valentines symbols loveMarried to a man? Congratulations. They’re really quite durable and can put up with a heck of a lot. And it’s always nice to have something warm and solid to lean against whilst one ties one’s shoes. Married to a woman? Double congratulations. Through the grace of our exotic majesty you are invited to bear witness to the sublime… and that’s just before breakfast.

But no matter how auspicious its beginnings, any marriage can benefit from an in-house corporate review this Valentine’s Day. It’s been a dozen years since my man and I eloped to Niagara Falls (5 months after meeting – crazy kids) on the day of the great August 2003 blackout. Because nothing says auspicious like the entire eastern seaboard going dark to toast your wedding! Under the soft glow of candlelight, as I dressed in my handsewn stretch eyelet sheath, I held my breath for happily ever after…

…gasp… wheeze… are we there yet?…

Every freakin’ day!! But tragically, turns out the definition of “happy” is a bastard to change. Twelve years of “happily” gorging our bodies, seeding and feeding our temptations (those Reese cupcakes were criminally delish!) – with only timid, noncommittal scratchings at future responsibilities – have left us battered. Not since the vomitoriums of Rome and riotous Viking longhouses has a love nest produced two such perfectly reflective Dorian Grays. But how do you drag a couple of unapologetically stubborn, violently hedonistic individualists into the future? How do you change the menu and bring something new to the table without compromising the flavour of our extremes? How do you evolve happiness? Kicking and screaming, that’s how, while trying to keep the raping and pillaging to a manageable minimum.
rebranding a marriageIf your relationship is stalling, stagnating, or just ripe for a revamp, join me this Valentine’s Day and make a pledge to change the game. After being ‘temporarily’ laid off in Calgary’s oil and gas crunch, I’ve been living the dream as a less-than-tortured novelist. But woman cannot live or love on story alone. To keep my professional edge, I’ll be applying some basic business principles and personal branding strategies to my most important real-time partnership – my marriage.

But I have to warn you. This is not a ‘cuddle jar’, namby pamby, inspirational bit of nonsense. Because – let me state this plainly – my Viking does not do cuddle jars. He does not do 5-steps-to-take-tonight, or notes in sock drawers. This is a pragmatic renegotiation of our contractual/cultural expectations. This is going to get ugly. Come on, it’s time to get down to business!

Read the next post in this 2015 Blank Canvas Living blog serial…
Rebranding a Marriage: Writing a vision statement

How to write without spilling blood

understanding writersIf you have to write, if your coding demands it, you may as well swallow your pride and learn how to WANT to write. Otherwise, in this age of infinite, cheapened words, what’s the bloody point?

As a ‘temporary’ Calgary casualty of the oil & gas crunch, I’ve been given – by the grace of God and OPEC (not necessary in that order) – two months to live truly, purely, as a novelist.

“I’m livin’ the dream, baby. Livin’ the dream!”

Even with his summer on the links bleaching out before his eyes, my man – just as much of a gambling dreamer as his wife – has been unflinchingly supportive. But while he’s stuck holding down our fort with his grueling 9-5 (and one heck of a commute), the cruelty of my complaining would be audacity itself. Write without complaint? Surely an impossibility! I grew up the child of an artist and a poet; to create is to bleed…

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

“…sit staring at a blank piece of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” – Gene Fowler

I know I’m going to blow some minds here, but astonishingly, turns out 90% of this world sees writing fiction as some fantastically indulgent wank-fest through fairyland. Scarier still, it turns out they’re right! What? No sacred nobility to our art? No cosmic prophecy of our crucifixion for the cause? But then why does all our own biofeedback reinforce the story of the writer’s suffering?

Writing is hard because, quite simply, it is cognitively costly. And if our brains can be counted on for anything, it’s efficiency. It conserves its resources by taking the path of least resistance. Your brain will always (except for when… but we’ll get to that) take the elevator, even if it’s just to the second floor. But planning, working memory, and advanced problem solving are high cost executive functions, located in the prefrontal cortex – Gene Fowler’s quote is no mere metaphor! Keeping the continuity of an entire novel open for constant reference is wildly taxing, even without adding in the layered themes, emotions, and symbolism. The more linkages you can keep ‘lit’ while writing, the more associations your words will activate in your reader’s brain, thereby deepening their engagement and enriching the emotional impact of your words.

Writing loads our working memories to peak capacity. It’s no surprise that a recent study has linked high verbal intelligence to excessive worry and rumination. What shuts down the mechanism? Drugs, alcohol, drama, stress, depression – see the pattern here? And words aren’t like phone numbers or sudoku patterns, words tie back into emotion. A working memory loaded with story is a limbic nightmare! Notes and outlines can help relieve this pressure and also minimize the cognitive uncertainty of loose ends and false starts. But for those of us brave/foolish souls whose stories (and selves!) are sustained by surprise, we have no choice but to throw everything into the mix and hope for the best. Best being relative, of course, because perfectionism is the most grandiose of booby traps.

I discovered a trick by accident back (way way waaaay back if you’re talking to my mother) when I smoked copious amounts of green.. um… er… Hey Newton shoved probes behind his eyeballs, so riding the ganga bus is but a small sacrifice for science. I noticed that whenever I quit, my working memory would be significantly compromised for about a week. During that time ruminations would collect and intensify, but then the root thought would be lost and all subsequent loading would float free, having chemical permission to dissolve back into the brain.

Our stories and sentences collect and overwhelm, but experiencing the automatic permission to release a glutted system has allowed me to manually grant my brain the same permission. I approach the word clusters (sets) as objects unto themselves (shapes can be a helpful visualization), thereby untethering any root limbic (emotional) linkages. Think of a drowning swimmer being cut free of a tangle of seaweed. Then, we can reset our working memory by refocusing our attentions. I find a quick sense scroll to be the most effective, fast-acting, strategy. This is why surroundings are key to comfortable writing – environmental cues can be invaluable supports.

But how can we tackle ‘the fear’, the cause of so much of our pain and procrastination? Our stomachs twist, our palms sweat… Oh Gawd Sam can’t suspect Kathy until chapter 6! I’m holding an entire world in my head! Help!! Know that what you’re feeling is simply an uncomfortable accumulation of active linkages, an overloaded working memory, and bunches of tiny (yet urgent) warning alerts from loose ends and/or unresolved conflicts being processed below your attention. Your brain/body quickly goes into panic mode when it discovers it might be wasting its precious resources on an unsolvable problem.

It’s time for unrelenting compassion.

Writing is hard. So is everything we do, if we want to do it well – not perfect, let’s just be clear here. Time to switch gears and reengage with the act of writing, not as proof of logic, but as an act of love. Because love is the only tool we have that can convince our brains to take the stairs. To our most primitive limbic selves, connection is worth any amount of calorie expenditure. It recalibrates and re-prioritizes our efficiency calculator.

When you hit ‘the fear’, stop, reset your working memory, and come back with an attitude of unrelenting compassion. You’re writing for love, not of the characters or the fleeting glory of publication, but for your own passage through time. Don’t let your mind’s complaints fool you, writing fiction is a delightfully selfish act. Embrace this truth! For a couple of hours, you are the only person in the world who matters. You are living your viable world in its purest, most honest form. The words you’re stressing about are only marks on a page. Time will move them forward. Maybe they’ll connect with readers, maybe they won’t. The only thing that matters is that sweet neurotransmitter rush when concepts align and conflicts resolve. This is a creative brain’s naturally coded high. Stop bitching and own it! Breathe each breath and trust your subconscious to do the dirty work – Sam and Kathy will sort themselves out. All you have to do is keep your bum on the chair.

In our age of value through production, give yourself permission to savour the simple act of existing for and about your story. In terms of the brain, compassion quiets the prefrontal verbal rush long enough to allow the flow up of subconscious linkages that will actually strengthen your writing. And speaking of the subconscious…

Since most of your novel/story will be processed below the level of conscious awareness, (think of Virginia Woolf walking the moors) the biggest favour you can do for yourself is to make the transition from subconscious to conscious to page as efficient as possible. And here’s where we get unorthodox. I’ll have to leave the extensive brain structure/chemistry evidence for another post, but in summary: our most efficient writing mimics the architecture of our dreams. When using our brains’ organic framework, all we have to do is then clean up the continuity and refine the language of communication. This is how your brain stories the world. Try exploring your novel/story when you’re in theta state just dozing off or drifting in and out between snooze alarms.

For example: if you dream vivid life and death adventures with exaggerated geography and humanity, give your plots/settings/characters those same freedoms and extremes. If you usually dream on a more intimate, local scale that’s rich in references and symbols from the past, don’t be afraid to use flashbacks, more local settings, and strong symbolism in your writing.

Accept that you have to write. This is not a choice, but the most deeply encoded expression of your humanity. With practice, releasing and refocusing your working memory, reengaging with unrelenting compassion, and writing around your organic dream framework will help to lessen the cognitive cost of writing and thereby reduce the associated ‘AGONIEEES’.

To summarize… “clear your mind and come back with love to write what comes naturally.” I sit before you, screen to screen, and say, with no shame or doubt, “It’s possible.”

“I’m livin’ the dream, baby. Livin’ the dream!!!”

Welcome to the dream?

kitchen writing cornerIf the world gave you exactly what you’ve always wanted, a chance, would you have the balls to follow through? Last Wednesday, after seven magical years rolling paper (don’t ask) in Calgary’s oil & gas downtown mecca, I was ‘temporarily’ laid off. Stress, panic, pain… the energy in this city is darkening. One minute I was bragging to my mother cross-country about my cozy office morning spent plucking my eyebrows and youtubing The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills – did I mention it’s been slow? Verbatim quote: “I can’t believe I’m getting paid for this!” Sometimes irony is visceral. Fast forward three hours and I’m a tear-stained tragedy wandering downtown, albeit with perfectly shaped brows – small comfort when facing one’s last paycheck.

But even then, in the depths of my denial, a bright edged Chinook arched above the agony. Because, dear readers, I have been given a gift of unimaginable grace. I have two months before my company decides my fate, 8 weeks, 60 days to live the life I’ve always lusted for, the life of a novelist.

Twelve years ago, just married and oozing happily ever after from every pore, there were no impossibilities. I was working at Subway, which sucked, but I was writing a novel to get me out. Every page was one day closer to ‘Escaping the Lunch Rush’, and so that’s what I called it. I lived alongside my characters, a group of abducted humans slaves in an alien food court, struggling to get back to Earth. And on my knees in the back room, sweeping the floor between the ankles and inhuman chatter of my Subway bosses, I knew in every cell of my being that I was only chapters away from freedom.

The day I finished that novel was the day I knew my future, but more importantly, it was the day I knew myself. But it didn’t save me from Subway, and it sure as heck didn’t save me from myself! A dozen years later and the world has given me another chance at the impossible. But this time I’m ready. Like an Olympian, I’ve trained my entire body and brain for this one brief, fleeting moment. My current novel is 1/3 done and begging for my undivided attention. Screw statistics and f#ck the naysayers. I want to write. Finally, truly, purely, I want to write! Fairmont Palliser CalgaryBecause that’s all it takes. The want. If every breath is an entire lifetime lived in full, I want as many breaths as possible to flow through my fingers and onto the page. It is my most generous, compassionate gift to self. In this day and age, publication doesn’t matter, doesn’t pay. Two months to write my way out of working is… realistically… ludicrous. But I will still believe. It is the only way to make the story I’m writing real, and because happily ever after is so much more than a childhood fantasy. It is the only dream worth living. And don’t let anyone take it away from you – no matter what.

Join me, dear readers, in the impossible. And today, don’t settle. Don’t pussy out. Steal as many breaths as you can to invest in your own fantasy. Bring every sense on board. Rather than finding a corner in the kitchen, make writing a full body experience by setting the cues of your environment to match your own happily ever after. I sit here typing this in the luxurious breakfast area of downtown Calgary’s Fairmont Palliser Hotel, wearing the full costume of a sophisticated professional. I may have stolen a mini honey jar (and possibly a jam), and paid only 5 bucks for 2 poached eggs, but every breath I take (including smelling the delightfully literal roses!) is an entire system state experience of my most honest, congruent reality. The future doesn’t matter, because for this Monday moment, I am truly, purely, a novelist.

There’s only one problem. I married a golfer…

How to change your time perspective using a shower curtain

striped shower curtain What is your time perspective? For some of us, every breath is a lifetime lived in full. After all, at our end, it is the last observable measure of our humanity that cannot be quantized any further. But when every graduation, from micro to macro, is as equal an entirety, how do we balance the poignancy of the present with investment in the future?

Psychologist Philip Zimbardo gives a remarkable TED talk on time perspectives, where he states that “lots of conflict we have with people is really a conflict in different time perspectives,” and notes that “there’s no future tense verb in Sicilian dialect.” I am a ‘present hedonist’ – even my novel is being written in present tense! With my biology, the current trend of mindfulness and engagement with the present is intuitive simplicity itself. My attentions are unfiltered. Value and truth are dynamic, adaptive, and (oftentimes to my obvious detriment) situational. As thankful as I am for this cognitive freedom, I’m also intensely jealous of those who can lay back – future focus – and relax into the scope of an entire lifetime, permitting (if not necessitating) notions of RRSPs, Plato ideals, and justice (whatever the heck that is).

striped shower curtain bathroomFor present hedonists like myself, every emotion is amplified by its immediacy, every pain or lump is a finality, every impulse is… well, you get the idea. Every morning we land on an aircraft carrier but are never quite able to hook the cable for that slowing, soothing pull into the group story. Now that I’m getting older, my answering extremes have begun to sabotage rather than compensate. But when I fake comfort in routine, by the end of the day – one life – my subconscious is seething and I wake from dreams that are terrifying in their urgency.

On days like today, I take a hot shower in the airlock behind the vinyl curtain and try with every effort to transport my brain from one world into another. Because I am writing a novel, working a job, celebrating a marriage… basically living a life that requires a more future oriented time perspective. But maybe my shower curtain is more than a decorative feature. Maybe it holds the truth of a personal evolution I’ve been too stubborn to see.

Three years ago I found the perfect shower curtain at Walmart – I’m talking PERFECT. Its stripes matched my baskets and towels and cabinetry. I was so excited that I had to take pictures – bathroom decor nerd moment, I know. When, as all things do, it expired, I went back and bought the exact same one. My third trip to Walmart’s bathroom supply department found me panicking in the aisle. tree shower curtainMy perfect shower curtain had been discontinued!! Now what!? Nothing else was even close! Finally, after all manner of aesthetic calculations, weighing of variables, and flat out desperation, I picked one (pictured). When I put it up and took off the striped basket covers, I surprised to find that I liked the overall look even more. And you know what, dear readers, I went back to Walmart that same afternoon and bought a second one, now waiting patiently under the sink.

Apparently, somewhere deep in my brain, there is the possibility that the universe and my God may (touch wood – oops, probably should be praying) grace me with enough breaths to match the material lifetimes of two shower curtains. No guarantees, no expectations, just a quiet, hesitant trust in the future. And maybe this small new hope, this shy faith, is enough to allow me to be better committed to my novel, my man, and the well-being of my own body. Maybe this shower curtain has enough weight to shift the equation and show that I’ve tilted my time perspective, ever so slightly, into the future. And for $12.97, that’s one serious deal!