Limestone Castles, Anti-Sex Hats, Chocolate Milk, Bows + Arrows

It List #1

Let’s talk about some stuff I love:

1. Gratitude Journaling

To be honest, I’ve always pushed the practice of gratitude to the side as something soft. I understand that it’s important to be grateful, but I’ve never classified the practice as something concrete. I’ve always grouped it with things like positive thinking and The Secret. “Sure it’s a good idea but it doesn’t actually do much.” But after listening to Tim Ferriss’s recent episode with Greg McKeown I’m trying to see how it can be a practical exercise with tangible results.

If you focus on what you have, you gain what you lack. If you focus on what you lack, you lose what you have.

So, I’ve taken a notebook and put it next to my bed where I plan to list at least ten things every night that I’m grateful for. It’s important for me to write them down rather than just thinking them. It feels more decisive and committed.

In addition, this practice (which is only a few days old) has inspired me to share at least ten things that I love with you in every newsletter. It feels like a perfect way to extend the practice and it give a more central place in my life.

2. Turmeric with Meadowsweet & Ginger Tea

I love tea. I drink at least 3 cups of tea every day. And one of my favorite tea companies is Traditional Medicinals. Their combinations really seem to take into account what’s going on in people’s bodies. In addition, I can find them in almost every grocery store, so I don’t have to rely on Amazon if I run out and want to go grab a box.

This particular tea is a new one for me—in fact, I’d never even heard of Meadowsweet before. My recent issues with sleep and anxiety have wreaked havoc on my muscles and my guts, so the combination of turmeric (anti-inflammatory) and ginger (digestive aid) has been really helpful. It’s also damn good with a little stevia.

3. Bows + Arrows

I haven’t listened to this album in a while, and I forgot how much I enjoy it. This was the second album I had heard from The Walkmen and it’s probably my favorite. It encapsulates everything I love about them, like their ability to somehow feel wild and fragile at the same time.

4. How buildings create music

The thing that I most enjoy about The Blindboy Podcast is how he’s able to pull out insights that make you see connections you hadn’t even considered. In this episode, he explains how changes in the size and shapes of cathedrals altered the acoustics and in turn inspired changes in the type of music that could be made inside of them. He then shows how the landscape of the dessert forced Kyuss to slow their tempos to compete with the ricocheted echos coming off of the mountains.

5. DHA Chocolate Milk

I’m learning that I’m lactose intolerant. Not sure if I’ve always been (maybe in a minor way) but as I get older the effects of dairy are more apparent.

I discovered Fairlife while at the grocery store a few days ago. It’s lactose-free ultra-filtered milk enhanced with a ton of DHA Omega-3. It also has 50% less sugar than regular milk and has no artificial growth hormones. Oh, and I love it.

The plain whole milk isn’t watery or sweet like other lactose-free milk. It’s creamy and smooth, and there's no flemmy throat after drinking it.

I especially love their chocolate milk. It tastes like melted ice cream! I haven’t drunk milk in about a year but after I tasted this stuff I pounded a full 1/2 in a sitting. I didn’t feel sick afterward or have any of the normal problems I get from milk.

They also make ice cream, which I can’t wait to try.

6. Chuck

I’ve heard and seen the tv show Chuck floating around for years but the idea of a computer repairman from a chain store becoming a spy never really grabbed me. For some reason, I put on an episode last week and immediately got sucked in. I’ve already watched half of the episodes.

There are shows like Game of Thrones & Breaking Bad that compel us to binge because they are intense and they grab us by the throat. I’m honestly really tired of these kinds of shows. They demand too much of me. Not only do they want my time but they want my soul. They take themselves too seriously and they exhaust me.

I prefer shows that are fun; shows that aren’t trying to be the best and get all the awards for making you confront the shitty things about being alive. I prefer shows that just want you to take the ride. I prefer shows that I can put on, easily watch 4-5 episodes, and then go to bed without feeling like someone has been psychologically abusing my inner child. I like shows that give me fun and ridiculous dreams. I like Chuck.

7. Freemium games 

Aside from the late 80s and my time with the original Nintendo, I’ve never been much of a gamer. There’s a reason for that. I get obsessive. If I buy a game, I go all in until I complete it. I just can’t dedicate that much of my life to gaming on a consistent basis, which is why in the past decade I’ve only played a handful of games: Skyrim, Fallout 4, Witcher 3, & Breath of the Wild.

I’ve experimented with games like Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, & Minecraft. They satisfy the desire to play a game every so often but without a clear finish line, I usually get bored with them and forget to play them.

Recently I’ve gotten into the freemium puzzle games on the iPhone. In some way, they are all an imitation of Candy Crush but they might just be the perfect thing for my gaming fix. They’re addictive—which keeps my attention—but because of their freemium model, I can only play them for a little bit each day before they want me to buy more energy/credits—and I never want to buy more credits. I never want to give them my money, so this works as a perfect stopping block. I pull out my phone and play for about 20 minutes a day until they want money, and then I close the game until the next day. It’s a perfect situation for rationed indulgence. And right now I’m building a dream home for a cartoon person.

8. The Hat

I take the dog for an hour to an hour and a half walk every day. Suburban sidewalks get pretty hot on the stretches without trees. The sun will melt you in about 6 minutes flat. So a few summers ago I decided I was going to get a sun hat and I didn’t care how ridiculous I looked as long as it kept the sun off my head and face, it didn’t soak up sweat, it was cooling, and it had a chin-strap so it would’’t blow off my head into traffic. This is the hat I found. It works perfectly.

Unfortunately, the Columbia Unisex Bora Print Booney is unavailable and so is my favorite review in which the reviewer states that the hat works perfectly in all the ways he had hoped except that his wife vowed that there would absolutely be no chance of sex when he wore the thing.

You won’t look awesome, but if you walk a lot in the sun, get yourself a hat like this:

9. The Coral Castle

I love a great mystery and right now I’m really into the mystery of The Coral Castle. The Coral Castle is a coral limestone structure built in the 1930s and 1940s by Latvian immigrant Edward Leedskalnin. The structure is comprised of many carved stones weighing several tons each. While the whole structure contains over 1000 tons of stone, it is still not understood how Leedskalnin built the structure as he worked alone and had no heavy equipment. Some believe he built the whole thing with a simple tripod, a chain, and an extensive knowledge of leverage.

There is also a mystery as to why he built the structure. Leedskalnin’s story was that he had built it for a lost love, his “sweet sixteen.” But the more researchers look into that story the less it seems to be true.

I’m reading several books about this right now and I’m completely wrapped up in it.

10. Yoga Stretches

I haven’t got fully back into a daily yoga practice, but I have been waking up every morning and doing a round of quick stretches for my neck and shoulders. It has made a world of difference.

While I can recommend all the exercises in this video, the specific ones I do in the morning are demonstrated between 9:00-15:00. Enjoy.

Have good week.

—CAH—

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