Monday, October 6, 2014

Things I Did Today to Put Off Writing

Last week I started a new class at Sarah Lawrence.  I got into the Advanced Novel Writing Workshop at the Writing Institute at Sadie Lou (yay! go me!) and as such I once again have homework.  

Here is the list of things I did today to avoid doing it:

  1.  Three loads of laundry (not exactly fair because the laundry needed to be done)
  2.  One trip to the grocery store (didn't have to be done today, but had to be done)
  3.  Applied for a new A & P card at the grocery store (in my defense, I've been putting this off for months)
  4.  Cleaned out the crafts cabinet (needed index cards for my homework)
  5.  Tested all my pens to see which ones worked (needed to be done sometime)
  6.  Organized the apps on my phone (yeah, I've got nothing)
  7.  Checked facebook a zillion times to see what everyone else was doing (go Pats!)
  8.  Blogged a list

One of my assignments is to sit down and write about my main character's greatest childhood fear.  Piece of cake.  That one I could do with my eyes closed.  But, the other assignment is to begin a "reverse outline."  Writing down a synopsis of the action in each chapter and which characters appear.  Did I mention I'd rather gnaw off my own arm?  Class isn't until Thursday at 6:30.  I might have to go back to the crafts cabinet to make a chart so I know how many of the eight ounce glasses of water I'm supposed to be drinking a day I actually manage to drink before I can sit down to it. (9 is my lucky number)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Yoga teacher, teach yourself

August and September have been pretty difficult for me.  It all started (as my problems often do) with just a little bit of hubris on a hot day.  I have been practicing yoga for more than fifteen years and I have a few tricks. Sometimes I'm pretty proud of them, even though I know that isn't what yoga is.  What I love most thought, is the the full Dancing Warrior series.  It makes me feel strong and centered and just a little bit cool.  I use it as a flow.  I use it as long holds.  I push myself to get as deep into each pose as I can go.  Sometimes further than I should.

"Look how deep I am in this pose.  This is awesome.  This is great.  I rock. I am so good at this. Hmmmmm, that doesn't feel quite right.  Ow!  Was that a popping noise, or did it just feel like one? Damn."

I have since been assured that pushing myself more than I should have didn't cause my plantar fasciitis, but it sure didn't help.  Three days on the couch thinking it was bursitis, elevation and rest, was the exact wrong thing to do.  Gentle stretching is what plantar fasciitis demands.  Trying to wear sandal that were "good" for my feet, like my Birkenstocks, also exactly the wrong thing to do.  Who knew cushy flip flops would be the only shoes I could wear for about six weeks?  Foot supports, shoe inserts and exercise all helped, but the most relief I got was from Magnesium Oil. (thanks Sarah!)  The plantar fasciitis became a manageable part of my life.  But it still hurts.

I guess it was a good thing that most of my usual private lessons cancelled on me (only yoga teachers on Nantucket seem to get much work in August), because I'm not sure hobbling in with a lame foot would have inspired much confidence.  The stiffness from sitting around unable to practice wouldn't have either.  The general mien of being in pain, probably not so great as well.

So the physical stuff wasn't working so well.  Then my beautiful little girl got home from her summer adventure in Alaska and spent just under thirty-six hours with us before heading back to Penn.  (Yes, I bought her everything I could think to in that tiny amount of time.)  less than a day later it was time to get my gorgeous boy (who I'd never been away from for more than 2 weeks before) ready for four months in Spain. (So what if I shop wildly when nervous, he needed all that stuff.)  OK, so the family stuff wasn't so easy and under my control either.

Then, in the middle of my empty nest freak out, my dream job appeared.  It was perfect.  Full time.  Local.  Great pay.  And doing exactly what I loved doing.  I quickly pulled together my resume, and I was beyond thrilled when they called me to come in.  So I shoved my mangled feet into proper shoes, bought a blue linen blazer, and went on my first job interview in 20 years.  I don't think it went as well as I thought it did.  I heard nothing for 2 weeks and then a got a very polite "No, thanks."  So yeah, also out of my control.

The boy was homesick and miserable and far away and there was nothing I could do for him, but worry.  Then one sunny late summer day my lower back just went out.  Completely out of the blue.  I didn't do anything.  Literally I was just sitting there and when I got up, "wham" massive low back pain.  I spent four days in denial, and in horrible pain. Unable to sit at all.  Doing tiny bits of yoga (I did say this post was about yoga) at home, barely being able to do cat/cows.  Child's pose was impossibly painful.  When I finally gave in to the reality that I was really hurt and it was beyond my ability to heal, and called my good friend and massage therapist extraordinaire ,the aforementioned Sarah  she looked at me and said,  "I can help a little, but you really need to go to a physical therapist."

So I completely relinquished control.  I was not going to be able to fix this myself.  And off  I went yesterday, to the world's most amazing physical therapist. (Bless you Doug! You are more miracle worker than PT) He pushed and pulled and prodded and patched me back together and I began feeling almost human immediately.  I ran for for the train!  And I stopped making yelpey noises when I sat down.  Huzzah!  I'm back.  Sorta.  I'm not one hundred percent, but I'm more than eighty. And I get to go off to the Eagles concert without feeling completely like a totally decrepit old bag.

Then this morning rolls along. (And I have finally, after a long and circuitous route, gotten to my point.)  Still this morning, I feel pretty good.  I danced at the Eagles concert last night.  I clapped and yelled and even jumped up and down a bit.  It was more exercise than I've gotten in a month.  And I'm OK.  A little sore, but not terrible.  I begin my modified, gentle stretch it out yoga, slowly.  Everything feels pretty good.  I spend about a half hour stretching out my back as best as I can.  A few twinges here and there, but overall, I feel good.  I can move.   I can even do a Sun Salutation A (no jumping) with no pain.  So of course I decide to try out a bit of Dancing Warrior, not the whole thing, just the starting pose or two.  Just to feel like I'm back to normal.  And no I'm not.  I didn't get past the first Warrior I without my body telling me quite firmly that this was the time for humble, not hubris.  I can move again, but it is going to be a bit longer before I am able to move the way I want to.  And that's OK.  I think that is part of what I needed to learn.  It's OK.  It's gentle movements and holds for as long as it takes.  I'm not in control, and that's OK.  I can listen instead of telling.  I can yin.  I don't have to always yang.  And that is what I needed to be taught.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Glass Houses/Stone Houses/Rocks/Glass

Recently a friend and I were talking (OK, gossiping) about another friend who had just moved from a beautifully done two million dollar house on a great street, to a spectacular four million dollar house on a coveted street. We were talking about her, because she is telling everyone in town that, yeah her house is great and all,  but she absolutely loves the house across from hers, because it's on the water.  We were talking about how ridiculous it is to so blatantly always want the next step up.

It's very easy to look at someone who has so much and yet still wants more and make fun of her a little bit.  It's easy to feel a little superior.  It's easy to say, when is enough enough, when faced with such obvious excess.

But.....aren't I doing the same thing?  My house is small, but it's warm or cool depending on the season, and there is always plenty to eat and drink in it.  It should be enough.  So why should I look at someone else's house, or car, or hips and want what they have instead of what I do.  And if I do that, shouldn't I be made fun of too? (The answer is yes, and please feel free to call me on it when you hear it.)

In yoga the phrase is "stay on your own mat" meaning, think about where you are in your practice, not about what your neighbor is doing.  Live in your body.  Be in your moment.

When the girl-thing was very little, something she did made me say to her, "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."  She looked at me, very pensively for a moment and replied, "but Mommy, people who live in stone houses shouldn't throw glass either."

So my thought for the day is, live in your own house and everyone please stop throwing things.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Don't Let the Door Hit You....2013

In a final act of petty vindictiveness, the last thing that happened to me in 2013 was to lose a pearl and diamond ring that once belonged to my mom.  It wasn't hugely valuable, but it was very sentimental, and a nice bit of family lore.  My mom found the ring at a tag sale, misidentified as costume jewelry, and bought it for $1.00.  She cleaned it up, brought it to her jeweler who told her it was real pearl with tiny diamonds set in white gold.  It was proof of how smart she was.

I on the other hand, was using it as a scarf ring and failed to secure it properly after putting my scarf back on, after having to take it off to jump around Sheila's kitchen to Meatloaf's "Paradise By the Dashboard Light."  Proof of how dumb I still am.

2013 wasn't all bad - nothing ever is. Both kids got into the colleges of their dreams.  P and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.  The four of us are healthy and doing things that interest us and make us happy.  No one is hungry, or cold, without access to food and heat.  But the big impacts of the year were losing people we love.

2013 was about loss. So I suppose losing my mom's ring was the appropriate last act for it.  The first thing that happened to me in 2014 was a long, lovely kiss with P.  I'm holding on to that as the story of this year.