Long Flight? Here’s How to Cope

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Don’t let anxiety stop you from chasing your dreams–all around the world, if necessary. Here is my method for making it through a long flight, even with my extra baggage (metaphorically and literally).

Cabin Pressures

For some folks, the idea of being in a long flight can totally break their dreams for seeing the world or traveling far away. I get it. It’s a scary prospect, if you feel you might be overcome with nerves, feel trapped inside the plane, feel restless and insecure about sitting that long.

I’m a big believer in that old Biblical advice of “overcoming evil by doing good.” I see my anxieties as things that detract from the quality of my life, inside or out of an airplane. For travel, I apply the same mentality. I can overcome my travel fears by replacing them with good things instead, which gives me a ton of ideas to share with you.

My Hope For You

If you are an anxious person like me, the world can sometimes seem to be an impossibly scary place. I hope you read this and know that you aren’t alone. I hope you feel validated in regards to any fears or nervousness you may have had regarding travel to faraway places, or even travel to the grocery store.

My hope for you is that you’ll read this post and think “hey, I can do this!” I hope the world becomes more accessible for you after reading this. I hope you feel that it really truly is possible for you to get out there and grant a few secret wishes for yourself. Trust me, if I can do this, so can you.

Here are all my tricks for making it through daunting long flights.

Commandments for Spending Flight Time

If you’re on a long flight, here are some rules to keep for yourself to spend the time:

  • Thou shalt get as much sleep as possible. Seriously. Besides, the more you sleep, the shorter your flight will seem, plus your brain will be nice and rested and your mood will be lifted. Wins all around, unless of course, you sleep through meals, which leads me to:
  • Thou shalt not sleep through in-flight services. My most recent flight to Buenos Aires served a light breakfast before attempting to land. We were unable to land in Buenos Aires due to heavy fog, and we got diverted to Montevideo, Uruguay. There we had to wait for the fog to lift, to be able to refuel, and then to head back to Buenos Aires. The whole process from landing took around five hours, and by the time I was able to get off the plane, I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink in over 8 hours. That’s a long time in-between energy boosts. Just think how much longer it would have been if I had slept through breakfast! My point is, if you get an opportunity for fresh food while traveling, take it. You never know if it’ll take a little longer to get to your next meal, which again leads me to:
  • Thou shalt never miss an opportunity for fresh food, fresh water, or fresh bathrooms. Don’t ever wait until “later” to eat, drink clean water, or use a clean restroom. Even if you aren’t famished or doing a potty dance. Keep all your systems as fresh and updated as possible because while you’re traveling, you just never know what can happen.
  • Thou shalt use the airplane restroom every few hours. If it has gotten dirty, tell the flight attendants about it. They’ll clean it right up and restock everything, don’t worry. And don’t feel guilty, either–they’re the ones with the disposable gloves to keep everything nice. They have what they need to clean up and be protected, and you don’t, so it’s better to ask. Use the restroom every few hours, regardless of if you feel like it. Even if your bladder isn’t full, remember the plane has put your body through thousands of micromovements every hour. No doubt your bladder will have something to say about a-movin’ and a-shakin’ during flight. Plus, this is another opportunity to move and stretch, and while traveling you’ve got to take every one of those that you can.
  • Thou shalt stretch often. This comes in several ways. First, you can do breathing exercises softly, which won’t disturb your neighbors. This exercises your diaphragm, which counts as stretching! Plus getting plenty of air will prevent your brain from developing any sort of claustrophobic messages (aka the last thing you need in an airplane). Contract and release the muscles in your thighs. Do a sitting version of calf raises. Lift one foot at a time and make circles underneath the seat in front of you. Stretch your wrists and forearms by making circles with your hands. Do anything and everything to keep your circulation flowing while you are seated. Every so often, stretch and walk around the cabin.
  • Thou shalt tell your brain “everything is all good.” Do this by doing things that will tell your brain your day is normal, as much as possible. This means having a bedtime routine that you can do on the plane, such as washing your face (even if it is just with a face wipe) and brushing your teeth. Put on lotion, if you usually do before bed. When you wake up, wash face and brush your teeth again, just as you normally would. I bring a rosary with me on flights and say it while I am preparing my brain to go to sleep. I simply keep the beads under my blanket and say prayers mentally for an added sense of privacy, which I find calming. Say other prayers if/when you normally do.
  • Thou shalt be a good neighbor. Notice the ways in which your neighbor might be vulnerable. Got an aisle seat? That means you are on deck for making sure your neighbor is able to stand up and stretch/use the bathroom whenever they may want to. I have actually seen people get annoyed about this, and I thought they were acting like spoiled brats. We are all sharing the flight together and some of us get different “jobs” than others. That’s life. Deal with it. It’s also your job to be patient with parents of young children who are traveling. My last flight was the temporary home for a very wonderful toddler who only had one meltdown during the flight. Parents often take toddlers for a walk during the flight, stretching their legs down the aisles, and providing them some entertainment and stimulation looking at the plane. Smile, wave, coo at them. Flying can be scary–little ones need as many friendly faces and happy times as possible. Besides, smiling, giggling, happy toddlers are funny and adorable, and can even give you a mood boost during your flight. So if it helps them be calm and happy, it’s gonna help you have more peace to rest. Yeah, that means if they’re having a bad flight, it’s kinda partially your fault as a co-passenger. Again, life. Deal with it.
    SIDE NOTE: Usually individuals who are nervous on flights are actually the best people to share cabins with. Being sensitive, they are often more in tune with their senses of empathy and consideration. If you have a neighbor in flight that seems scared, comfort them and tell them your name! Say you’re around if they need anything, and let them know that you know how it feels to be nervous.

Use Media to Soothe and Distract

Many airlines offer streaming of newly released movies. This is great news for people like me who don’t often go to the cinema. I usually am able to catch up on movies that my friends have been talking about, which is a bonus for sure.

If you are prone to motion sickness, make sure you keep a steady stream of dramamine in your system, starting right before your flight. Trust me. Watching movies is a great idea during flight, but a bad idea if watching the screen makes you motion-sick.

Remember movies aren’t your only source of entertainment. Download podcasts or your favorite shows from your preferred streaming platform before your flight. I like dozing-off to the sounds of “Little House on the Prairie,” for example. Make sure your favorite music is already downloaded to your phone so you can listen to it without a wifi connection.

Set a Schedule

Ok! That was a ton of information. Here’s how your flight might look if you use every one of my tips.

Pre-Flight: Pop a dose of dramamine, drink a bottle of water.
Boarding: Settle in, get comfy, smile at neighbors, enjoy takeoff.
Media: Listen to music or start a movie.
In-flight service: Ask for a bottle of water to sip as well as your favorite beverage. (I never drink alcohol on flights, too dehydrating. I always get a ginger ale with ice.) Take time to enjoy every ice cube. Remember sucking on ice chips also keeps you hydrated.
Movie Time: It’s officially your job to watch and mentally critique a new release.
In-flight service: Even airline food is something to be grateful for if you decide to savor and slowly enjoy every bite. Remember to chew extra since you are stuck sitting down, and this will help your digestion. Finish your movie while eating, and look–you have dinner and a show! Look at you, living the good life. Way to go, jet-setter!
Post-meal Workout: Calf raises, circles of hands and feet, contracting muscles. Get up and use the restroom. Breathing exercises. Do this slowly–I’m talking at least 100 reps of each exercise. Don’t worry, you do have the time, after all. Plus, counting is a good meditative distraction for your brain.
“Nighttime” Routine: Get up and use the restroom again. Wash your face, and brush your teeth. Drink from your water bottle. Stretch. Breathing exercises. Say prayers. If your airline offers you a sleep mask, use it. Let your eyes get a break from lights and screens. If you can’t sleep, tell yourself you’re going to give yourself what feels like 15 minutes of dark time, just to let your brain get un-stimulated and your eyes get some good rest from light. You don’t absolutely have to sleep, just let yourself rest.
Wakefulness: If you do happen to be wakeful/unable to sleep, repeat everything on your schedule as many times as needed. Yes, you can brush your teeth 3 times over your flight, who would complain? No one is even going to know. A little activity, a little dark-time rest, it’s a good cadence to have, no matter how many times you repeat it.
Rest time over: It’s time for a “morning” routine. Wake up, stretch, wash face, brush teeth.
Movie Time Again: Enjoy another show! I love comedies on flights.
In-flight service: If your flight is long enough, you’ll have another service before landing. If food is offered, follow the same rule of slowly savoring everything, with extra chewing to get those digestive juices flowing more than usual.
Post-meal Workout again: Same as before. Do your mini flight “workout,” use the bathroom and prepare for landing.

Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Bird Now?

If you really imagine yourself completing each step, does it really feel so daunting to schedule a long flight anymore? It shouldn’t. You should feel like “hey, I have so much to do on this airplane, there’s no way I’m going to feel restless.”

When I finally got to arrive in Buenos Aires, Eugene even said to me “Hey: for being on a plane for 20 hours, you sure do look good!” He was amazed. He thought I was magic. I felt magical!

If you do these things, just think about it: You’ll be rested, hydrated, fueled, relaxed, hygienic, and refreshed. What better condition could you possibly be upon arrival? What more could you ask to help yourself face those times when things don’t go according to plan–which so often happens during travel? It’s a lot of work in a schedule. But it’s worth it–especially if you have a nervous disposition. You can overcome travel anxiety by doing good things.

That’s a good rule for life, too.

Resources

Some things to consider:

If you are traveling internationally, you’ll be at a really high altitude, which can make the cabin super chilly. Dress warm for your flight, and use the blanket they give you. You can also look for products like this:

Also, circulation is key. Lots of times people need a little extra support for their legs, but this can be a challenge with limited leg room. Products like this offer a way to convert your tray table into a footrest:

Finally, for travelers with children, an inflatable pillow can turn into a footrest, or a seat extender when it’s time to convert your little one’s seat into a bed for sleeping:

Fear of Flying? You Aren’t Alone

Here’s a great story about a retired Air Force pilot who became a therapist to help others address their fear of flying. Maybe you can relate to some of the things these folks are going through. You’ll be comforted to know that you aren’t stuck with this fear, and there are real actions you can take whenever you’re ready, at your own pace.
Mel Robbins is such a good voice of reason. Here she talks you through the whole flight process–while actually going through it herself. You’ll see exactly what she sees, and she’ll talk you through all the little steps along the way. Well…almost exactly what she sees. She clearly sits in first class, which isn’t anything I’ve ever seen, but whatever, it still counts as good advice.
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Wisdom from the Ancients: Ben Sira

I’ve been curious about wisdom lately–what it is, how we acquire it, and from where we draw it.

I have some initial ideas about wisdom, but after thinking about it, I decided to explore further. I came across a pretty cool guy, as a matter of fact, one whom I had never heard of until adulthood.

This guy was an ancient Hebrew sage, who lived before Jesus was ever born. He wrote an entire book about wisdom, and his son found it to be so valuable and true that he translated it from Hebrew into Greek–which would have been the equivalent of taking Latin church prayers and translating them into English. The result would be wider accessibility to the knowledge, something I am always in favor of.

The name of this man (shortened, since it’s long) is Ben Sira.

Ben Sira had some great ideas about wisdom which I thought were fascinating. His book challenges me often, and ignites my imagination. Not to mention, there are also several rules for good living, which Ben Sira calls wise.

Interesting Points About This Book

  • This book is technically Pre-Christian, since it was written hundreds of years before the birth of Christ.
  • Ben Sira was a Hebrew sage who valued wisdom, the law, tradition, priesthood, Temple, and saw science and creation as a way of worshipping a Creator. Neat, right? This guy was the academe of academes.
  • He refers to wisdom as feminine. How’s that for forward-thinking?
  • He would have been part of a tradition that worshipped God and awaited a coming Messiah. This is an interesting perspective to think about!

Diving Right In

Now that you know a little about Ben Sira, here are two of the things he says that I found interesting.

  1. Wisdom is a gift of God.

The root of wisdom–to whom has it been revealed?
Her subleties–who knows them?
There is but one, wise and truly awesome,
seated upon his throne–the Lord.
It is he who created her,
saw her, and measured her,
Poured her forth upon all his works,
upon every living thing according to his bounty,
lavished her upon those who love him.

Ben Sira 1:1-10, NAB, revised edition

So, who knows wisdom? Only the Lord. And the Lord gives her (“her!” I love it) to those who love the Lord, upon every living thing according to its divine placement.
Doesn’t that make you feel protected and thought about? Doesn’t it make you feel loved to think that a Creator lovingly “lavishes” you with wisdom–a gift understood and preserved only for the divine–on you? What a bountiful, abundant existence it is to be full of love, then!

2. Wisdom brings rewards

Those who love her love life;
those who seek her out win the Lord’s favor.
Those who hold her fast will attain glory,
and they shall abide in the blessing of the Lord.
Those who serve her serve the Holy One;
those who love her the Lord loves.”

Ben Sira 4: 12-14

I love this, because you know, not everyone is Catholic. To me, this is an argument in favor of God loving everyone. If you’re not Catholic, you won’t find any condemnation here. Rather, I would invite you to think about what Ben Sira is saying. Don’t worry right now about “signing up” for the right group to visit on Sundays. Go where wisdom is. Go where truth is. Ben Sira is saying there is no such thing as finding real wisdom without also finding God–anyone who serves wisdom is serving God, because they are loving what God loves.

I’m just saying, next time some Anti-Christian tells you they’re “atheist” because of some cockamamie somethingorother about a vengeful Old Testament God, you go ahead and think about Ben Sira–whom even the “Old Testament Hebrews” thought of as a wisest-of-the-wise-guys–saying God loves you, and that you’ll find God as you seek the things that are true, good, and holy in your life. Why? Because God–even the one in the Old Testament–loves you and wants to lavish you with a love of life.

This is also super progressive of Ben Sira, since the traditional understanding was for a Messiah to come and deliver God’s chosen people, which the Hebrews thought referred to just them. But by these descriptions, God loves and waits to lavish that love on everyone–Jews and Gentiles alike. Go figure, that’s exactly what Jesus fulfilled a couple centuries later.

Neat? You bet it’s neat.

So, on goes my exploration into wisdom. Would I ever really be done? No, of course not. But I invite you to start your own quest.
I invite you to take up your own journey into understanding what wisdom is. Maybe you could teach me a thing or two.!

Resources

Here are some affiliate links to books that could help you explore more about the wisdom of Ben Sira.

Here’s a book I’d actually like to buy myself. I’m currently working through another Bible study about mercy–my first Bible study, in fact. I am hooked on studying Scripture, and if you are Catholic, you’ll know how novel this is 😉

Thomas Aquinas was another wise man who was devoted to the intellectual study of all the theology surrounding the life of Christ. Fun fact: he was also such a fan of culinary pursuits, he had a special table with a moon shape cut out so he could write letters and still have room for his tummy. Smart guy, loves good food and brew, reads lots of books….sounds like the kind of guy I’d like to hang out with, if you ask me.

Finally, it’s hard to go wrong with anything by Bishop Robert Barron. He has been seeking holy wisdom for years, and I would argue it is the main drive behind his entire vocation as a priest. He shares his insights from all his studies with us. This is another book on my wish list.

Closing

If you want to read Ben Sira in its entirety, you can find it in the Old Testament of the New American Bible, or any bible within your local Catholic church.

Really, you have every right in the world to read this yourself, and I hope you do. Remember: wisdom is thinking your own thoughts, finding things out for yourself as best as you can. So you don’t have to take my word for it!

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Wisdom

I’ve been curious about wisdom lately.

What is Wisdom?

We all want it. We all admire and respect it. We also know it when we see it. If someone gives you advice, you know right away whether or not it’s something that would allow you to advance to a new level of wisdom.

But what is wisdom, and how do we get it?

Contemporary Understanding of Wisdom

Nowadays, Webster defines wisdom as (2016):

  • The ability to discern inner qualities and relationships: INSIGHT
  • Generally accepted belief (Like saying “The wisdom of the ancients says that…”
  • Accumulated philosophical or scientific learning: KNOWLEDGE
  • A wise attitude, belief, or course of action
  • The teachings of the ancient wise men

What is Wisdom?

If we are going to go by the definition, that means we can talk about wisdom in terms of insight, forming ideas about things, knowledge, wise actions, and a study of people who are smarter than we are.

Oh Boy Do We Ever Need Wisdom Today

Why do we need to study wisdom, now more than ever?
Well:

-If you are studying wisdom, by definition you are forming your own ideas. Quick, take stock for a second: Are you forming your own ideas about politics, or are you getting your information from Instagram or Facebook or other social media? I’m not saying they’re wrong, only that if we want to be wise, we’ve got to be responsible for our own ideas.

-If you are studying wisdom, by definition you are also accumulating knowledge. Maybe this means getting a formal education. Maybe this means studying a trade–a very honorable path (that we need more folks to get skills in, desperately!). Maybe this means visiting an elderly home and being open to what they have to share (wisdom of the elders, right?). If we want to be wise, we must be constantly in search of new ideas.

-If you are studying wisdom, by definition you are also making discerning moves to take wise actions. Think about it: what patterns of thought are you keeping in your life that do not serve you? Are you promiscuous? Are you remaining friends with people who get you into bad situations? Are you holding on to excuses or self-sabotaging behavior? Now, you are still loved–if you’re doing any of these things, they don’t make you evil, and they don’t make YOU “bad.” But they also are never going to make you wise.

I’m gonna really drive that:

These actions are never going to be the actions that lead you to wisdom.

The Worst You Could Do

Based on this, the absolute worst thing you could do would be to assume that you are one of the ancients, one of the respected elderly who have done and seen and learned. The worst thing you could do would be to think that there’s nothing more you need to explore, or to tell yourself that you “don’t like reading.” SIDE NOTE: No one hates reading, really. There are people who may not be very good at it, but no one actually hates language–our modern brains evolved to LOVE and develop language, including written. It’s a part of how we’re made).

What would it look like if you were unwise?

Well, I think you’d look/act/smell/sound like a downright SNOB.

Yeah. Being a snob is probably the WORST thing you could do, if you were to acquire any wisdom.

So How Did You Do?

How’d you measure up in regards to your own wisdom seeking in your life? I know how I did, and let me tell you….I’ve got some good things to get to work on, pronto. And you know what? I’m looking forward to it. Mostly.

Resources

Here are some links to stuff that can help you get started on your path to wisdom. These are things I have perused or read myself, and I am including them as affiliate links. You should know that if you do happen to purchase any of these things, Amazon will send me a few cents from that sale, so I can keep writing blog posts. Thanks for your support!

THE RELIGIONS BOOK: Here are some ideas about where people around the world are going to encounter wisdom and draw their own wisdom experience from it.

THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: Here’s where I go to a lot to draw wisdom from, especially nowadays when there are more people claiming to know what I believe better than I would (I mean, honestly.).

GREAT BOOKS OF THE WESTERN WORLD: Don’t let the sticker shock get you on these. Let me tell you something: if you were to read these books well, each and every one, there would be no forum you couldn’t enter, no academic gate you couldn’t open, no person you couldn’t strike up an interesting debate with. There would be no door that could hold you back, no culture you couldn’t truly appreciate for what it is. That’s what education is SUPPOSED to give you. So, you could spend $40k on a 4-year degree, or you could spend a fraction of that on actually getting an education. A real one. And yes, I have gotten a chance to look at these books, and I swear they saved my life in a time when I was destined for nothing but changing garbage cans on nightshifts and going home to an abusive relationship. I can’t stress how wonderful and necessary books like this are.

Sources:

Mirriam-Webster, Incorporated. (2019). “Wisdom.” Retrieved from: mirriam-webster.com

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Tagliatelle Pasta Recipe

This post contains original copyrighted photos. Do not use without permission.

Have you ever been curious about making pasta?

I was curious lately so I thought I’d do some research and give it a try!

It turns out, pasta making ranges from complicated pastas that require lots of skill to super easy recipes (like this one) which are perfect for any beginner.

Tagliatelle is a long flat noodle that is made by rolling out pasta dough. The dough is then folded on itself and cut into thin strips. When the strips are separated and dried, you have fresh, delicious homemade tagliatelle noodles you can swirl on your fork for a mouthful of simple, rustic Italian decadence.

Homemade pasta has the advantage of rough sides which grip more sauce in each bite!

Since Mother’s Day is right around the corner, I opted to use my great grandmother’s scalloped pasta roller to cut my tagliatelle noodles. Even though my great grandmother died when Mom was 5, Mom has tons of memories going to her grandparents’ house. Italian ladies usually do all their cooking in the basement, and my great grandmother was no exception.

Mom, as a tiny girl, used to sit on the steps that went down to the basement and keep her grandmother company while she used this little roller to cut ravioli. She would give my mom a bottle of 7-Up and a straw, and Mom would watch her move like lightning across a huge sheet of rolled homemade pasta. This was a tradition every Saturday.

Nowadays, we keep this tradition on Christmas Eve by eating ravioli. I’m sure Mom still thinks about her Nonna.

I have been reading and studying all about pasta for weeks. Pasta is basically anything you can imagine. Pasta making is sentimental, creative, physical, engages all your senses, and on top of that, is an activity that is both relaxing and rewarding. No wonder so many people do it.

I’m still learning about pasta. What I know for sure, though, is that the BEST kind of pasta is:

shared.

Here is my recipe for pasta dough and the steps required to make this scalloped tagliatelle. I hope you’ll try it for lunch or dinner sometime!

Buon Appetito!

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Scalloped Tagliatelle Pasta

Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time5 mins
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Pasta

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups einkorn wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, mix flour and salt. Stir with a fork to evenly disperse salt.
  • Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture. To this, add eggs, egg yolk, water, and oil.
  • Use a fork to puncture egg yolks and beat eggs. Slowly incorporate flour until shaggy dough forms.
  • Turn bowl out onto a lightly floured surface. Mix dough together to combine everything. Knead dough thoroughly for at least 10 minutes, stretching it as much as possible and using the heel of your hand to push it around.
  • After 10 minutes, dough should be silky and elastic. Form a dough ball. Place ball on wax paper or lightly floured parchment paper. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for 10-30 minutes.
  • After dough has rested, cut dough ball in half. Use a rolling pin to roll out a pasta sheet of desired thickness. Allow sheet to dry for 2-3 minutes. Flour the dough sheet before cutting.
  • Use a knife or a rolling cutter to cut noodles. I like to use a ruler as a guide. I used a scalloped rolling cutter, hence the name "scalloped" tagliatelle!
  • Separate noodles with your fingers and place on a floured surface, a flat drying basket, or a floured teacloth.
  • Drying options: Hang noodles to dry on a hanger or pasta drying rack, gather approx 100 grams of noodles (what you would serve as one portion) and shape into nests–let these dry on a floured or wax-papered sheet and freeze, or cook them and enjoy them right away.
  • To cook: drop pasta in plenty of salted boiling water. Keep watch! These should only take a few minutes to cook. The best way to know if pasta is done is to take out a noodle and taste it!

Notes

A pasta sheet, rolled out and placed on a cutting board (since my countertop isn’t scratchproof)
My great-grandmother’s scalloped dough cutter! This little tool helped her make ravioli every Saturday, and my mother has fond memories of this as a small girl.
Freshly cut tagliatelle noodles!
The antique wheel is pretty wobbly; a ruler helps me have a guide to make fairly straight lines of noodles .
Drying tagliatelle
Finished tagliatelle wait on a clean teacloth until it’s time to cook them for dinner!

Want More?

Here’s a playlist to help you get in the mood while you’re kneading that pasta and cutting those noodles!

Ready to Make Your Own?

Here are some links to products that can bring pasta making into your home. These are affiliate links, which means if you do happen to purchase by clicking them, Amazon will send me a penny or two so that I can continue making posts. Thank you so much for your support, and for letting me share my new pasta passion with you!

The next generation of Nonna’s pasta cutter.

This cutting board is special because it has a lip that hangs over the edge of your countertop. Perfect for kneading pasta dough, since the lip prevents the board from slipping around at all!

Ok, so maybe we can’t be like Nonna every night of the week. A pasta maker machine helps things go along with speed–plus gives jobs for kitchen helpers like spouses or children.

This doubles as a shaper for gnocchi as well!

Books

Even the covers look delicious!

Pasta Inspiration

Salty Seattle has plenty of vibrant and delicious looking how-to’s on her channel
I absolutely LOVE the Pasta Grannies channel. A lady hosts an independent documentary show where they TRAVEL AROUND ITALY AND VISIT GRANNIES WHO MAKE PASTA THE REAL WAY. Holy ravioli. Not only does that sound like a dream job, each video is so sweet and wonderful–even if you aren’t going to make pasta, these grannies are going to cheer you up on any given day.
Chef Pasquale is the whole shebang. In this video, he shows you how to make his ravioli dough, but he’s got all kinds of recipes for sauces and accompaniments for all your future pasta masterpieces.

I could go on and on in this post, but I won’t….all this talk about pasta has made me HUNGRY! I gotta go cook something.
Buon Appetito, and happy cooking!

Love,

Maggie

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Biphasic Sleep: I tried it for a week!

Here’s a breakdown of my progress during my exploration of biphasic sleep.

Thursday
Daytime: wakeful the entire day.
Bedtime: 8PM
Nighttime Wakefulness: Nope. Slept through the whole dang thing.
Takeaway lesson about my sleep: I seem to need more of it than I’m getting.

Friday
Rise Time: 4:30AM. Felt rested, felt great!
I loved being up before the sun, before the day began. I did chores, wrote, did schoolwork, had a huge workout, shower, and completed an entire beauty routine all in the morning.
Midday Rest: Slept 1.5 hours.
I woke up feeling as though I had slept a whole entire night all over again. I woke up feeling as though it surely must be sometime in the evening, and it blew my mind when I checked the phone and saw it was only noon!
I had a hugely productive afternoon doing grad work, author work, and entrepreneur work. I gassed up the car and felt rested and almost optimistic about things. Also, my appetite was really normal! I didn’t need an afternoon snack, or even a pick-me-up in the form of a soda or a cookie.
Bedtime: 11PM, after staying up to have a late dinner and watch some television.
Nighttime Wakefulness: Nope, I slept through the whole dang thing tonight as well.
Takeaway: Quality rest produces a quality work/home/life/mood day.

Saturday
Rise Time: 7 AM. Felt groggy. Really needed some coffee.
This morning I felt a little directionless and very cranky. I wondered if it was due to insufficient planning for the day or if it was because I was yet again on my older schedule. I lamented a little bit–now that I had gotten a reminder of what it felt like to be rested, it was a little frustrating not to get to enjoy that today. I decided to go to the gym to let off some steam.
My appetite was off the charts. I ate sugary foods and pre-packaged ramen–anything that could be ready quickly.
Midday Rest: I tried to see if I could repeat yesterday’s success with a nap, but I was restless and couldn’t settle my mind down.
Bedtime: 8:30PM. Tossed and turned from being too sore and from starting (unwisely) to think about wedding planning instead of writing down ideas to think of later.
Nighttime Wakefulness: Wasn’t able to fall asleep yet, so I put on some old YouTube Videos of Mother Angelica to help me drift off to sleep with happy thoughts.
Takeaway: I need to train myself to have a sense of completion about my day, and to give my mind permission to let things go when it’s time to settle down and rest.

Sunday
I did not log my sleep today.

Monday
Rise Time: 7 AM. Hit “snooze” a few times. Got up and had to hurry. Today was a good day, as I got to visit with friends, and house-cleaning efforts left the house still in pretty good shape today.
Midday Rest: Had a short snooze in the very late afternoon. Woke up groggy, but otherwise in a good mood.
Appetite was huge today! I had three-bean salad with olive oil and tuna, and it really hit the spot. Also, I was pretty thirsty today.
Bedtime: 9PM-ish. Eugene and I like to look at funny articles together and comment about them until we get sleepy.
Nighttime Wakefulness: Nothing yet!
Takeaway: Maybe I have recovered after several days of good sleep, and I no longer really need bed by 8:30 PM. I feel my clock changing and natural waves of sleep beginning to emerge.

Tuesday
Rise Time: 5:30 AM. Naturally woke up at this time, but still wanted to rest a little more.
Midday Rest: I did take a nap for about an hour.
Appetite: Was good, not great. I think considering symptoms of Long-Distance, I was doing pretty darn well today.
Bedtime: Around 10. Felt a natural wave of sleepiness, which allowed me to drift off pretty quickly.
Nighttime Wakefulness: STILL nothin’! It’s like I am needing and using every moment of sleep that I’m getting.
Takeaway: When I am going through waves of coping, more rest, and more meaningful rest, seems to be beneficial in helping me get through it.

Wednesday
Rise time: 6 AM. Hit the snooze button a bunch.
Midday Rest: Didn’t want one. I was plenty satisfied following right along with the work day, going right into grad schoolwork and author work, even working through lunch.
Appetite is normal, maybe a little on the low side. I had a slice of bread and butter for breakfast, and several cups of green tea. My body seems more interested in the warm tea than in anything else.

Takeaway for the Week

I’m more convinced than ever about the benefits of adequate sleep. It’s also fascinating to note my body going from needing an extreme phase of recovery, to now starting to fit into a natural sleep rhythm from about 9:30 to around 5 or so in the morning. Anything outside of those hours seems to make it inevitable that I’ll either need a nap, or will likely hit “snooze” more often than I should.

Perhaps when I’m not feeling so mentally taxed, I won’t need such extreme amounts of sleep. It’s a theory. In the meantime, my plan is to continue to nourish good, healthy sleep habits.

Summary: Did it help me at all?

I initially wanted to know if following a biphasic sleep pattern would improve the quality of my life and my mental health. Here are what I’m measuring and how I’m doing, now that I’ve been practicing this sleep pattern for a week.

  • Sleeping through the night: IMPROVED. Not only am I sleeping through the night, I feel as though I have been getting extra sleep that I’ve sorely needed, probably due to the current mental load my brain is dealing with.
  • Enough energy for daily demands: IMPROVED. Not perfect, but at the very least, I’ve had time every day for health, hygiene, paperwork, author work, schoolwork, social time, and extra things like putting on makeup and keeping up with chores.
  • Extra energy for working out and/or tackling projects: IMPROVED. I have started having enough energy for longer, more intense workouts every day.
  • Relief from depression-like symptoms: MILD IMPROVEMENT. Im still experiencing some blah’s, but having enough sleep has helped me with finding words to communicate with loved ones, and for prayer as well.
  • Appetite (not over- or under-eating): IMPROVED. I’m the type who will either eat too much, or forget to eat at all. Having enough sleep has helped me naturally enjoy healthy food, plus feel satisfied with small, consistent meals.
  • Naturally-occurring pattern of two phases of sleep per day: NO IMPROVEMENT. Not only was I sleeping through the night each night, I often found a ton of rest in midday naps this past week. Whatever it is that I’m recovering through psychologically, I clearly have needed the recuperation.
  • Peaceful time of wakefulness during the night where I could spend time in prayer and meditation without distraction: NO IMPROVEMENT. I’ve been sleeping, seemingly round the clock! BUT, lll
  • Productivity; in other words, the amount of work I am able to accomplish every day: HUGE IMPROVEMENT. As much as I’ve been sleeping, I feel as though I’ve accomplished 10 times as much as I usually do, and without being over-stressed or strapped for emotional energy afterwards.
  • Memory; the amount of information I am able to retain: IMPROVED. I’m currently studying for exams, and actually starting to feel more confident about them. A little.
  • Synthesis; the quality of my ability to think about what I am learning in school, and to synthesize ideas and discussions from it: IMPROVED. This has been a huge week for developing more creative ideas in my studies, in business, in writing, and I’ve even been able to help encourage others who are developing their ideas as well.

Well I’m convinced.

So typing up my experience and the improvements I’ve seen, it’s pretty clear that this has been a beneficial exercise for me.

I can feel my body naturally craving sleep at different times–and hey, that’s a huge step too, right? It’s a big accomplishment to know what being sleepy actually feels like, much like someone who overeats has to learn the difference between physical and emotional hunger. Now I know when I’m sleepy. So I just go to sleep.

In the coming week, I hope to have more regular times for sleep. I have a feeling that the exercise aspect of my routine is directly related to the quality and quantity of my rest. Perhaps as my body gets accustomed to physical recovery, the mental aspect of rest will be something that will be more routine as well? Plus, I’d really like to get to a point where I am so “caught-up” with rest and recovery that I actually naturally do get to enjoy some quiet nighttime hours of repose, prayer, and thoughtfulness. I’m looking forward to that a lot.

Margaret Nelson is the founder and contributor to Maggie O’the Valley, and author of THE TEN MINUTE QUIT, available on Amazon

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