1. Library — For about six years, I forgot the library existed. Then one day, several years ago, I drove by the library and thought, “Whoa! I can get books there for free.” I’ve been doing that ever since. It’s awesome.
2. Books on tape — For about 20 years, I forgot that you could listen to a book as well as read it on the page. Then about nine months ago I was taking a car trip and thought, “How am I going to pass the time?” Then I thought, “A book on CD!” I checked out a couple murder mysteries (from the library, of course) and it transformed a drive that’s usually a long slog into a suspense-filled pleasure. Now I download books onto my phone and listen all the time: when I walk the dogs, when I do the dishes, when I lay on the sofa staring at the ceiling. It’s awesome.
3. Homemade chai — For about ever, I’ve been a tea drinker, and while I liked the chai I could order in coffeeshops or buy in tetra packs in the grocery store, they were always too sweet for my taste. (I also dislike store-bought boxed chais, which always taste too flat and uninteresting.) Then one day I thought, “Gosh, I bet I can make this at home from scratch.” And I did. And it was awesome. Here’s the loose (adjust any/all ingredients for taste/strength of tea, etc.) recipe I follow:
- 10-cups water
- ½ cup black tea
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 15 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- 15 whole cloves
- about ½- inch grated ginger root
- about ¼ teaspoon crushed coriander
- about ¼ teaspoon crushed cumin
- about ¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- a smidge of ground nutmeg
(For the “crushed” ingredients, I use a mortar and pestle to coarsely crush the whole pod or seed, but you could just buy them already ground, if you wish)
Then I toss it all in a big pot, boil for 20 minutes, strain out the spices, and drink. Sometimes I add a little honey, but most of the time I just drink it straight with a dash of turmeric and extra black pepper.
4. Old-fashioned reading — Yep, I could read all my news on the computer, or on the iPad, or on my phone. But when the weekend rolls around, I like my news and articles the old-fashioned way: on paper. It feels slower, easier, more absorbable. Plus, my eyes get a break from all the pixels.
5. Piano lessons — I’m never going to be Chopin, but its fun. And it makes me feel smarter.
6. Dogs — Because they like to cuddle and take long walks. Also, they can double as your piano teacher.