Thursday, June 26, 2014

Today's Assigment

Walk out the door
and find five things to be grateful for.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


I’m familiar with the idea that if you don’t get something you want, it is because there is something better coming. However, it can be hard to put that mindset into practice. Maybe if we notice it in little ways, the bigger ones will eventually feel more natural.

My friend Lisa and I jog together once a week. We alternate between the neighborhood around where she lives and where I do. A month or so ago, I was looking at the free outdoor concerts offered in the city over the summer, and I saw that the location closest to us has concerts on Monday nights, when we often run, and it would be a great place to jog. I hadn’t heard of any of the scheduled musicians with the exception of one, Sarah Morris, who I knew I liked. So I suggested a concert/jogging field trip on Sarah Morris’s day to my friend and she agreed.

Monday night was that day and it was rainy, with the possibility of severe storms. We cancelled our plan and discussed jogging on Wed., but Wed. looked stormy too. So we ended up doing squats etc. in the living room together. It wasn’t what we were looking forward to, but we both let it go pretty easily.

Tonight I decided to take a look at that concert calendar again. Even though none of the other artists appealed to me before, maybe we could just take a chance on one and try again. I clicked on an artist with a genre that sounded appealing and they had a link to some of their music. It was great!

#1 –I emailed my friend to see if she wanted to try the concert/jog field trip that day instead. If she agrees, it will be better than the original plan. It’s someone new who it sounds like I will enjoy, and I’m already going to hear Sarah Morris in a couple weeks, she agreed to play at the farmer’s market where I’ll be working.

#2 – Also I’m grateful we didn’t reschedule our jog for today, not because there ended up being storms, but rather, because it is quiet and calm so I biked to the lake and went swimming instead. That's right I'm on a roll. That was swim #9, and I didn't think I was going to get one in this week.

#3 – I briefly watched four skillful women play sand volleyball as I sat on the beach after my swim.

#4 – A man in a brown jeep waved me across at an intersection so I didn’t have to stop my bike.

#5 – Someone mowed around a cluster of daisies in their yard. And another yard I hadn't noticed before, has turned half of their front lawn into a diverse habitat.

I listened to this yesterday and I found minutes 13-15 to be pretty interesting commentary on love.

Minutes - 13-15

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Kind of Marathon

As a freshman in college I was blessed by my living situation. Looking back, I remember the letters my freshman roommate and I exchanged before meeting. I still admire how open and honest she was, as well as her lack of judgment. I think this is part of why we connected and easily felt comfortable with one another. For example, she never complained about the fact that I was the only person on the floor with a bed time. Or that I put a big Reba McEntire head on the wall above my bed (given to me by a friend from a thrift store), even though I know she didn’t like it.

And for much of the rest of my floor I felt the same – a sense of belonging and enjoyment that came easily and naturally in a way I didn’t have in high school.

At some point in the year it came time for people to start making plans for where they would live the following year. Four of my friends on my floor had joined to live in an on campus apartment, another friend was moving off campus with other people, so I didn’t ask any of them. I asked another friend on my floor if she wanted to room with me next year and she said, “I thought you and Brooke (my freshman roommate) were going to live together again, so I already agreed to room with someone else.” Brooke and I, however, had not even discussed rooming together. I wanted to live in a dorm and she was moving off campus to a “party house” (though she didn’t end up staying there – too much party for her too)!

As far as I could tell, I had run out of options. However, and I can still remember being surprised a bit myself, I did not feel afraid or lonely or concerned, I had this strange but deep sense of peace.

One day I was late (I’m usually early) to some speaker or performance on campus. As I rushed to the building I saw a woman who had been in one of my classes doing the same. I knew her name, but not much more about her. However, since we walked in at the same time we ended up sitting together. Afterwards one of us asked the other where she was going to live next year and we both:
A. Wanted to live in Spooner (a certain dorm)
B. As of yet did not have a roommate.

After we walked out, we checked out the dorm together and it was settled.

Jump forward close to 20 years. Last November I took a short writing and meditation class where we read Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones”. One of the things Goldberg mentioned in the book was doing a writing marathon – where you do timed writings (and readings) for four hours straight. “I want to try that.” I thought. “But not by myself. Who could I get to do this with me?”

Over the New Year I was doing some writing with a couple friends and I mentioned this idea, one of them rolled her eyes and uttered a sound of disgust. Clearly she was not interested. I did not want this to be a marathon where I had to motivate or encourage someone to keep going. I wasn’t sure I would even want to keep writing after 4 hours. I needed someone who was in it with me. The only possibility I could think of was

that sophomore roommate.

I emailed her and not only was she interested, she was enthusiastic!

Yesterday, I felt like I may be getting sick. My sister-in-law was sick last week and I had been around her. I was slightly concerned as this is the week our writing marathon that I’ve waited for 6 months to do is planned. My friend lives in a small town in Southern MN and I usually only see her once a year. Last night I took really good care of myself. I was relaxed and in bed by 9, lights off by 9:30, and I slept really well. I feel better, rather than worse today, and I hope to take the same care tonight.

So I may not have a love story that ends in a ring, but I do have a love story that ends in a friendship of 20 years and a partner with whom to write.

I also have another friend that told me Saturday that she thinks I tell good stories (which helped inspire me to take the time to write this).

I also have the warm sun on my back under the edge of the shade, a slight breeze, a robin propped above in the birch tree, other birds singing as I sit in a camping chair with the computer propped on the back step.

I also

had to look up how to spell "McEntire", because I haven't paid attention to her since college and you know what the first thing on her website is -

"Reba has written a new song called “Pray for Peace” and she wants your help in creating the music video for it!"

And I can say Amen to that.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Go for the Brussels Sprouts

#1 – A yummi dinner eaten on the back step of: chickpea melts, carrots, Newman’s pretzels and strawberry rhubarb bar with plain yogurt on top (made from the rhubarb in the garden).

#2 – As I biked over to my friend’s for our weekly jog I had to compensate for the evening breeze which was pushing hard from a sideways direction. It caught me off guard and then made me smile.

#3 – Listening to an Eckhart Tolle meditation video which he hardly said anything, but I could still feel the power of it. It reminded me of “the force” in Star Wars. There was an old clock in the back ground that chimed many times at 10:30, Eckhart didn’t know why

#4 – The cantaloupe plants in the garden are still living. I bought 2 (or 4 I forget) last year, none of which survived being transplanted. This year it looked like they met the same fate. “I guess I can’t grow cantaloupe,” but today three of the four seem to pulled through what looked like their death. The 4th seemed to have succumbed to a rabbit, so I’m covering them now with a pot at night. The rabbit (well I can’t say for SURE it was a rabbit, but it was something), ate all my Brussels sprouts and all my kale, oh and the one sunflower I planted. Surprisingly, it is NOT eating my lettuce. Who knew Brussels sprouts and kale are preferable to lettuce? It actually is working well that the bunny and I have opposite preferences. The bunny is leaving alone the things I care most about - tomatoes, strawberries and raspberries - but also peppers, onions, cilantro, lettuce, parsley and basil. If I were to tell the rabbit what to eat I would say, “Go for the Brussels sprouts,” so it’s a good deal thus far.

#5 - I saw this headline on the National Public Radio website today - Pregnancy Hormone May Reduce Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms.

Sounds cool to me.

The following line from the story didn't surprise me, but is unfortunate all the same.

"Drug companies weren't interested in estriol because it isn't a patented chemical, Voskuhl says."