Home > Literature, Mangia! Mangia!, Style > On my nightstand/Monday, Oct. 19th

On my nightstand/Monday, Oct. 19th

October 19th, 2009




On my nightstand

 One less thing to worry about by Jerilyn Ross. My mother, a wise, wonderful, intimidatingly intelligent woman mailed this book to me on Saturday as a gift. I’m almost done. I’ve always been a bit of a worrier, but now have actually —  for the first time in my life — been having panic attacks. (a whole ‘nother issue I should probably write about someday)*. Anyway, I’m marking up this book like mad and almost finished reading it. It deals a lot with anxiety connected to fluctuating hormone levels and then treatment with cognitive therapy and other methods (just getting into the treatment part of the book).

When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson. I can’t believe I actually got back to this book. Finally. I finished all my library books and now am waiting for more on my request list to become available.

My next bookclub book is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, but as I am something like no. 700 on the waiting list, so I know it is not going to become available before bookclub. Has anyone read it? Is it really worth seeking out or should I just skip it?

* One thing that has changed that has probably affected my anxiety level is ever since the weather became cold, I have stopped doing something I love — walking. I think just by starting to walk again every day, it can make a big difference for me. So this morning, during the short “kid-free” time I have three days a week (I have two hours to myself) I walked to the library to return some books that were due. It is about a mile round trip. In my big walking days I used to think it was the wimpy walk — the big one was down to the shopping area south of here. But it really feels good to just move my body again. I have been trying to spend this time working online or running errands, but I think it is crucial to use it to walk if it will help this anxiety I’ve been feeling.

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  1. October 20th, 2009 at 04:49 | #1

    You are so right Kristi. I do that too, skip my hour long walk to do more at work (my husband and I work together in our own business) when really I would be better served to be more efficient (because tasks always expand to the time you allot them) and stride it out. Walking makes the world of difference. I even quit the gym a couple of years ago because I enjoyed walking in the fresh air (even if inclement weather, just take an umbrella) rather than working out in the same tiny carpeted area inside. As one who feels anxious when out of balance too, I hear you! PS. LOVED your navy velvet jacket and the whole outfit really in your last post. Tres chic and all round fabulous. Also thanks for listing me in your Friends column. I don’t have one of those yet, just sort of kept to myself. Will have to look into it.

  2. Marsi
    October 20th, 2009 at 08:20 | #2

    This is the third time “Outliers” has entered my consciousness in about five days. Is it a sign that I should read this book? Methinks yes.

    Walks are so important. Thanks for the reminder. I’ve been an absolute slug for the past two weeks, and I am feeling it all over my body.

    Maybe you should add your daily walk to the things you report on your blog?

    With cardigans, do you favor a v-neck? The one you’re wearing looks like a v-neck. Stylish outfit today (well, yesterday).

    You are under so much pressure right now. I think you’re holding it together remarkably. The book from your mother sounds like a good one; I am going to see if I can get it through my library.

    • October 20th, 2009 at 08:50 | #3

      I think I will mention when I walk. I’m heading out to get some milk and eggs at the corner market. Not a long walk, but my youngest doesn’t have school today so I am limited in how far I can walk — too big for a stroller but too little to walk very far or fast!
      The cardigan is a v-neck. I’m wearing it again today. I think I do favor v-necks for cardigans a little more than crew necks.
      I just finished the worry book. My conclusion is that I need to: Walk, learn deep breathing exercises and possibly take up yoga! I have also ordered (from the library) two great books on cognitive therapy both by David Burns: The Feeling Good Handbook and Panic Attacks (or something like that)

  3. Miranda
    October 20th, 2009 at 12:27 | #4

    Hi Kristi

    I love your blog, it’s such a chic, warm space, and I love your style of writing. I’ve never commented before, but I saw you mentioned you have anxiety and panic attacks. I just wanted to say that I have these too, and have found yoga and meditation to be really helpful. I also sometimes put a meditation CD on when I’m working on the computer instead of music or the radio, and even though I’m not meditating it makes me much calmer. Sorry to have left such a long comment – once again, I really like your blog!

    • October 20th, 2009 at 14:30 | #5

      Thanks so much for the nice comment. Is there any meditation cd’s you would recommend? I think that is a great idea. Thanks

  4. October 20th, 2009 at 17:19 | #6

    I think walking is a great way to rid yourself of any mental anxiety, and just being outside in general does wonders for you. I also wanted to say that I bought The Elegance of the Hedgehog because I noticed you were reading it, I haven’t started it yet but I’m looking forward to it!

  5. October 20th, 2009 at 17:32 | #7

    I just got The Elegance of the Hedgehog book in – borrowed from another library. With regard to the book you are #700 on the waiting list, can you request that your library ILL (Inter Library Loan) the book from another library? We offer this to patrons all the time especially on popular books. Worth a try. 😉

  6. October 21st, 2009 at 07:03 | #8

    I go in phases with anxiety, often for reasons not so valid. I’m not sure why. The only thing that centers me is my faith. I’ve had anxiety ridden moments where the only thing I can think to do is walk into the nearest Catholic church and get on my knees and just be still. Surprisingly, it always works.

    • October 21st, 2009 at 07:34 | #9

      That is a good idea. Although praying always helps me, I’ve never thought of heading over to church to do it. My anxiety is often tied to hormonal fluctuations. Not surprising according to the book I was reading.

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What is it about those Italian women? You know the ones I’m talking about: beautiful, sexy, dressed to the nines just to take the kids to the park. They have a certain something that is indefinable. It is in the way they dress, the way they prepare their meals, the way they spend their leisure time.

It is because they know the importance of la bella figura. Roughly translated from Italian, it means putting you best foot forward in everything you do. It means cutting a beautiful figura. The opposite of la bella figura is la brutta figura, which is what someone might say about the falling down drunken guy at the party or the super tackily dressed woman at church. It means ugly figure.

La bella figura is much more than your appearance. It goes much deeper than that. It is about how you act. It is about how you treat others. It is about how you care for yourself, your home and your family. Living a life in line with la bella figura doesn’t take money. In fact, it is more about how to have class without a lot of money.

Someone who exudes la bella figura will have clean, pressed clothes and be well groomed. They will not be rude or sloppy. Their fingernails will be impeccably groomed. Their hair shiny and clean and their shoes will be polished. They will not have stray threads hanging from their suit hems. They will not be driving a car in need of the car wash.

La bella figura means driving that 15 year old car and meticulously cleaning it and caring for it. It means keeping your belongings in good repair. It means taking time to clean your house and not cluttering it up with meaningless objects.

When you focus all your spare energy, time and money on the things that bring you the most amount of pleasure, then you are truly living a life in line with la bella figura. The best part about it is that you don’t have to be Italian to do so. You just have to think like an Italian.

Italian children are raised to present la bella figura in whatever they do. From the time they are small and are groomed perfectly to attend church or school, they know that appearances count. They count because it is the first thing people judge about you. That first impression does matter. Appearances are also important because when you take the time to look nice, you are showing that you care about yourself. When you care enough to look good, it shows you have good healthy self esteem. Nothing is more attractive than self confidence.

In addition, dressing nice also shows respect for others. If you invite people over for dinner and greet them in flip flops, baggy sweats and a stained shirt, it is really disrespectful to them. The same if you dress sloppy to go to church or even to the market. By dressing nicely and being well groomed, you show respect for everyone in your world.

Having la bella figura means presenting yourself in the best light possible in all your interactions.