The Reformer

November 4, 2017.

In January of this year I set a “get curious” physical intention with my One Little Word: try a ballet, barre , or running/group class. The words then were specific, but the action didn’t necessarily need to be. Today (11 months later) I made good on my promise.

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Meet the Reformer. What looks like a medieval torture device is actually used for a type of pilates instruction. Based upon my first class, this should be fun. I hope it helps me get stronger and works to properly align my chronically misaligned body. Hopefully this was the first of what will be many steps. I’m thinking it would also be a good winter activity. It’s close to home and located in a beautiful new studio.

Balance.

Hip, hip (psoas, sciatic nerve, sacroiliac joint, transverse abdominus, scapula, sternum) hooray!

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Follow Friday

The internet is an amazing thing. I still remember by first email and the reason I was assigned to get an account by Dr. Eleanor Snow, my mineralogy professor.

esims@chuma.cas.usf.edu

We were to report back to her in our first assignment (via email) the symmetry pattern of the brick patio outside the Administration building. Answer: A translocation with a mirror plane. Likely 1/s or something but the mineralologic classes I don’t remember anymore.

We have gone way beyond those times, though. And with the diversity of the internet and the advent of social media the world has gotten even more…messy. I currently have a love hate relationship with Instagram. I love seeing what people post, I hate that it makes me feel inferior sometimes. Not in my abilities, but rather in my productivity. As if there is a quota of whatever we assign ourselves to meet.

But, and there is always a but, I do love that on IG you can be so diverse in who you follow and why you follow, and how you found them in the first place.

I am trying to rid myself and my feed of the feelings of inadequacy. Instead I try to fill it up with things that inspire, things that are beautiful, things that make me want to get out and be adventurous, or get in (side myself) and take care. More and more I am looking to the internet and social media to fill.me.up in a positive and meaningful way and I’m learning this happens best with people that use their words. Writers. Maybe not people that write professionally, maybe some who do, but people whose every word I can hang onto.Today I want to share with you @nic.antoinette This girl is a badass (her words, although I don’t disagree). She is currently solo hiking the full length of the Arizona Trail from Utah to Mexico. She writes lengthy, heart wrenching, daily IG posts that will have you crying or cheering (crying and cheering) for her and her mission. I troll IG waiting in anticipation of when she’ll post, if she’ll post, and what happened…(there is frequently suspense, and sometimes snakes).

This is not her first hike. She also did the Oregon portion of the Pacific Crest Trail last summer and you can read her daily entries on her website City Girl Gone Wild. She does other stuff too like write books, and host a podcast that I haven’t yet explored. But her trail adventures, at a minimum, are worth checking out. I hope you do.

She is a great reminder to all of us that we can do hard things.

Do you know any good online story tellers? Not fiction, or non-fiction per se, but people that do relatively short blogging in a style that makes for great reading.

Zeitgeber

It is so dark in the mornings. It’s hard to get up. I find myself torn between sleeping in and getting to work later, but then getting home later, or getting up and coming home earlier. I am controlled by the light, the zeitgebers, or “time givers”. Soon, likely it won’t make a difference, with the time change. It will likely be dark at both times. Or will it? I can never remember what happens when we switch the clocks. Fall back. All I know it sends me into a tailspin. Where I try to mentally outwit myself by saying “If I can just make it to the solstice, then the light will start to change again.” It is my flip side.

The seasonal change sends me into a different sort of funk. I recognize that this is my pattern. I went to graduate school in northern Idaho. This Florida girl wasn’t used to the sun going down at 4 in the afternoon. It made me so sleepy. Don’t get me started on the cold. I counteracted by getting a membership to the local tanning salon. The warmth felt so good on my skin. I was likely the only college student in Moscow not working on my spring break tan.

As part of establishing my One Little Word intentions in January of this year, I committed to  the following:

“Learn a better way to cope with the things that unbalance you…changes in the daylight associated with the time change (autumn).”

Now is the time to act.

Nablopomo

For years I have read hula seventy’s blog (such excellent writing, and photography. go check, I’ll wait) and every November she participates in nablopomo and I think this year. This is going to be the year I participate. And I don’t.

But this year. I’m turning the “should” into an “am.” I’m in.

Some days may only have photos. Some may have none. I’m going to try to not fixate on the perfection or the grammar and the spelling. (Try being the operative word. It is these things that really slows the posting). I don’t know how far I’ll get, or if it will be every day, or what I will write, or who will read it, but I will give it my best shot.

Day 1. Check.

 

Experiment

I was talking to a friend the other day and mentioned that I was starting to question myself as a quilter. I haven’t quilted with any seriousness in ages. Sure I little around chipping away on an overdue wedding quilt and stitching the occasional appliqué block. I feel disconnected, in more ways than one. She encouraged me to reach out to make connections. Maybe the real solution is to reconnect with those I have already made. You are a part of that. 

I wonder what would happen if I wrote more, even if it was essentially about nothing? An experiment then. Let’s begin.


It was a fine day. A quiet one at work, the Friday at state government kind of quiet. I was actually making some progress that I can also apply to my personal life–teaching myself Adobe InDesign while creating an org. chart for our division. Life skills of the graphic design sort.

I left at close to my regular hour as I was scheduled for a week overdue haircut. This is key as with short hair you have to keep it shaped and the neckline tight. I get it cut every five weeks. I arrived and my stylist was washing someone else. As it turns out I was an hour late. I had rescheduled the previous week because I could’t make my regular appointment due to a public meeting conflict. I must have entered the wrong time in my phone when I updated the appointment. This is wholly my fault, but it immediately turned my mood foul. She is booked until November. Fortunately I book two appointments out and have one scheduled towards the end of October. But damn, if I can’t get in before then things are going to be rough. Fingers crossed a cancellation opens and it matches with my availability.

So. Here I sit. Writing it out.

I made an emergency comfort treat which should be cold enough to eat in a couple of hours. I also bought this pattern which I’ve seen pop up on the interwebs lately and which makes my 1980s heart smile and aligns with my love of mixtapes.

How do you get out of a funk, quilting or otherwise?

Half

Write more, just start. Here goes…

It’s my birthday. Today I turn 45. 45.

Most people get freaked out when they turn 30. For me 45 has been the most contemplative. Not because I feel particularly old, although some days my body tells me otherwise, but it sort of feels like a halfway mark. I’ve heard people say they want to live to be 100 and all I can think of is “Why?” 100 seems fragile and rather lonely. Our bodies seem to absorb ourselves as we get really old. And while my current form with its excess could use less I don’t find this concept of desiccation pleasant.

Friends and family pass around us. Will my husband still be with me when I am that old? Who will find me if I die alone in my own home? How long will it take to make the discovery? Who will care? These are the things people without children worry about.

Maybe I am wrong about this.

Instead, a declaration. 90. That seems like a good year. As good as any. A long life filled and fulfilled.

Birthdays are special. I have seen a new phenomenon, or perhaps a new to me phenomenon, on the Internet lately. Of people celebrating “golden birthdays.” The year in which your age matches your day of birth. This seems like a fine idea.

April 12.

Although we didn’t know it at the time I celebrated mine with a trip to see the Beach Boys. My favorite band back then. My first concert. Or was it the that year I got to take a few of my friends to Bush Gardens? Was that 11 or 12? These are the things we lose. This accuracy of memory. Either way, doesn’t matter. Good times.

Perhaps more important than a golden birthday for someone born in mid April is the thought that your birthday could fall on Easter. This, I thought, would be like hitting the birthday jackpot. Birthday cake (I loooove cake) AND an Easter basket. Life doesn’t get better. This dawned on me when I was 8 at which point I decided to calculate when this synchronicity would occur. I don’t remember now (ahem) when I thought it was—sometime in my teens maybe—but it turns out it was when I was by myself in grad school. Completely bummed. But I went to the grocery and bought myself one of those cakes made to look like a bunny. You know the kind—single round layer cut in half then turned on its diameter, frosted and coated in colored coconut with a plastic bunny face squished on one end. It was delicious. It reminded me of the “coconut cut-up cakes“my grandma would bake for my birthday. One year a rocking horse, the next a butterfly. It is amazing the shapes you can get with a standard baking pan, a box cake mix, and a little creativity and food coloring.

Little did I know back then that Easter was a moveable feast. “It has come to be the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March but calculations vary.” Note this is the Western Easter and not the Orthodox Easter. Damn schisms. Religion is complicated.

It happened again in 2009. We had dinner with family and I made my first “yellow cake with pink frosting.” It has been my go-to birthday cake ever since (except for trying that salted caramel buttercream last year which was not worth a repeat). Although truth be told I substitute a yellow cake recipe from this book which I like better, is moist and easy to make. Either way, this cake reminds me of the cakes my other grandma, my southern grandmamma, used to bake and that cake I had in New York City from Amy’s Bread on Bleeker Street.

I asked for the recipe. Turns out it wasn’t available but they had a cookbook in the works. I said I wanted to the recipe because this would end a quest to define my “perfect” birthday cake. When asked what my birthday was, April 12, they said that was Amy’s birthday too. A match meant to be. But maybe I’m remembering incorrectly (ahem). Either way, doesn’t matter.

45.

Best get to baking. Seems like a fine idea.

Jade

Do you see what I see? If you look closely, you can see. See those two little sprouts? They are a sign. A sign that with time, and gentleness, and nurturing, things will eventually be ok. And a little sunshine never hurts either.

A sign that things, life, will take root, and maybe, just maybe, one day we will begin living with our whole hearts again. That she is living through us, as was so eloquently pointed out to me as I broke down on Thanksgiving after hearing her voice in that of her youngest.

This is a very special plant. A jade that by all family accounts is about 60 years old. Originally owned by her mother in Ft. Lauderdale a piece was carried to Duke University in Durham, NC, I think, by Aunt Jo Ann then up to Washington D.C., where a piece broke off and made its way to Utah, where it grew to fill a huge pot, then lived alone in a ranch in Wyoming while others went to Hawaii, and eventually came back and adopted it once more.

I found this broken piece on the ground of the breezeway on the day that she died. She had meant to give me a piece but it didn’t happen. Or did it?

And so I took it home that day and planted it. And nurtured it. And waited.