Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Plan B

Yesterday I opened a document on my desktop, unsure what it contained. It was written a year and a half ago to the man I had recently started dating. Here is an excerpt,

“…Anyway, I expect a relationship to take work. And though (like my friend) I was hesitant to ask you to do the exercises in the Hendrix book with me (if I think they are worth doing – haven’t got that far yet), I don’t see a long term future with someone who wasn’t willing to do that (or something like it – doesn’t have to be a specific methodology) with me. So maybe that’s part of what I mean when I can see 6 months with you. Relationships have different stages. Harville Hendrix has three which he calls something like:

#1 – Attraction – (I forget what he called it but you know the happy/easy stage)

#2 – Power Struggles – which can end in
A. periodic/continuous fighting,
B. disconnected coexistence,
C. divorce
D. or progress on to

#3 – Conscious Connection

So what happens when we get to the power struggles? I don’t know. I know my parents (who were great teachers in many things), did not offer me a healthy model in this respect) and that is an unstable foundation…”

I’m reminded of this today because yesterday I went to the library and looked to see if they had any Harville Hendrix books on the shelf. I wanted something to read this weekend. They had one, it’s called Making Marriage Simple: 10 Truths for Changing the Relationship you Have into the One You Want. I’m not married, but the people on the back cover say it can benefit every relationship in your life.

I’ve only barely looked at the book, but everything I’ve seen so far is already immensely reassuring. Two of the chapters that most interest me right now are - Truth #6 Negativity is Invisible Abuse, and #7 Negativity is a Wish in Disguise. Facing the truth of #6 but adding that beneath that lays something deeper, possibly a gift if searched for.

I’m also happy to see #9 - Your Marriage is a Laughing Matter. Amen to that. So so important to find lightheartedness.

My heart was lightened early last week when an immensely appealing Plan B appeared for my Christmas. I needed a Plan B and my uncle invited me to go downhill skiing with him and my cousins. YES!

It ended up raining much of Christmas day so that plan never happened, but it wasn't cancelled, just postponed. Today is now the plan and I need it just as much.

When author Cheryl Strayed asked her mother how she could be so happy when so much was wrong in her life, her mother said, “There’s a sunrise and sunset every day and you can choose to be there for it, you can put yourself in the way of beauty.”

Or like I can find the beauty in my menstrual cramps today because it means that after my surgery I kept my uterus.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

CoDA

Today I was told that I seemed to be a determined person and was asked if I saw myself that way. I think most of us are determined - just in different areas. I don't have my brother's determination to bike a 1000 miles or figure things out on the computer.  But I do always want to know, "What can I learn from this?" 

The difference between stagnation and growth is reaching.

I walked into a cafe recently and saw this on the chalkboard -

"Things are not getting worse, they are getting uncovered, we must hold each other tight and continue to lift the veil.

- Adrienne Marie Brown 

I'm pretty sure they put it there in the aftermath of the presidential election but it spoke directly to my personal life.

The determination observed in me today was my affirmed intention to keep my heart open, my conviction that I will grow, treating all emotions as guests at this table (per Rumi's advice) - some are more welcome than others, but they are all welcome.  If you exclude pain, pretty soon joy isn't welcome either.

"Make a commitment today
and say these words loud after me - 

I am ready to be a true 
friend of my heart..."

-Guthema Roba

I am on a mission right now to be that true friend.  Luckily I have support for this endeavor.  Last week it began with a few assignments from my couple's counselor




 Assignment #1 - This workbook.  I'm already 2/3 of the way thru.  Some of it I clearly need to go back and spend some more time with to better integrate, but I can't read anything else right now.  If I try I just want to get back to work.

Assignment #2 - Read The Intimacy Factor by Pia Mellody (I have requested it from the library.)

Assignment #3 - Go check out a Co-Dependents Anonymous meeting.  Apparently (in line with boundary workbook), I've been trying to "rescue" and take on things that are not my responsibility.  Trying to change or regulate someone's emotion by changing my own or getting small.

So I'm headed off to my first such meeting tonight.  It is scary in an exciting way, something completely new.  My couple's counselor wasn't sure if there were any in my area and I was happy to find that one is.  The website says, "The only requirement for membership is a desire for healthy and loving relationships.It's pretty easy to get behind that.

It's interesting because when I tried to understand why someone would be resistent to working on this - the counselor said, "Everyone likes the results, that doesn't mean they want to work to change.Kind of like everyone likes the results of an exercise program, doesn't mean they want to work on one.

So I'm typing this up right before I head off to the meeting.  Maybe I'll feel like posting more gratitudes about it when I get back, but if not, I can at least say I'm grateful to be trying, trying enough to see the brilliant blue behind glistening white on a roofline and treetops, trying enough to laugh when I kept typing "maraconi" instead of "macaroni" today, trying enough to know you and I and everyone are so deserving of light.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Long Gone

#1 – Being able to stay awake until now, after not sleeping at all last night, in the hopes, the desperate hope, that I will sleep later. And getting some chamomile tea, which I looked up, to hopefully help.

#2 – My brother’s voice on the phone bringing the tears out that had been locked inside.

#3 – The food put in front of me by others that I forced myself to eat.

#4 – Going thus far today without taking any ibuprofen for the first time since my surgery last month.

#5 – The one thread of hope that I reached for last night, that I'd be able to get in and see the counselor who so helped the sweet man and I, has an opening for me. I’ve felt in the last 24 hours the doubt of what there is to live for, if you’ve lost what is the most precious gift in your life. I’m not sure right now, but I'm grateful there were moments today when I wasn't mired in that question. I'm still deeply in denial, so I know there is a freight train of pain, headed in my direction.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

ASI

#1 - Taking my hour or so walk (which has been my exercise post-surgery) around the southern perimeter at Theodore Wirth Park, including a small section I hadn't walked before. The sun was warm on my face, the ground mostly frozen enough not to be muddy and a couple hills got my heart rate up a bit.


#2 - Following that we went the American Swedish Institute which is a place I've wanted to visit for a few years and which I thought my aunt might enjoy. I had a delicious lunch there which included an artichoke, arugula and goat cheese salad.


#3 - One of the windows in the mansion (built a little over 100 years ago) was a stained glass depiction of the king of Denmark invading a town in Sweden and demanding the populace hand over all their valuables or the army (in the background) would come in and ransack and burn the whole place. Familiar theme - different part of the world.

#4 - I always find it fascinating to think about how many kids and at what ages women had them in the past. There was a family portrait in the museum from about 100 years ago and I figured out the mother had her first child at age 26. She then birthed another one every 2 years for the next 8 years. Then there was a break of a number of years and then she had two more at either ages 40 and 42 or 42 and 44. (I think it was the latter.) That is a lot of childbearing years.

#5 - I think today is the most I've been on my feet since my surgery and from 7-8:30 pm I drifted in out and of sleep. When I'd come out I'd think of the list of things I needed to do before I could actually go to bed. The list was pretty short.

#1 - Clear off my bed
#2 - Brush my teeth
#3 - Take an Ibuprophen (Cutting my usual post-surgery dose in half to see if it is enough.)
#4 - Type my gratitudes
#5 - Put on my pajamas

I only have #5 left.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Because I am Quiet and Healing




Because I am Quiet and Healing
I sat and watched the storm – the lightning, the
flash of red, the loss of power

Because I am Quiet and Healing
I left during a break in the rain, walked
my walk, slipped in a refrain

Because I am Quiet and Healing
I saw the rain turn white, hurried outside
to welcome the snow
that was actually sleet

Because I am Quiet and Healing
I felt the sleet soften
begin to flake

Because I am Quiet and Healing
I felt no hurry to return indoors, I did to
write this poem, and then I left round the block
once more








Magical Day

I am having a magical day
it began with a walk outside
not the day
but the magic

I am having an awakened day
the snowfall scurries left
then suspends
and shifts right

I am having a reflective day
quiet enough to read Rilke
alone enough for peace

I am having a nourishing day
licorice tea in my cup
now spilled upon my lap

I am having a simple day
nothing to do
no one to be








The Quiet
within the quiet
within the quiet
within




Thursday, November 10, 2016

Letter to My Body

Dear Body,

Remember when we started paying attention to each other? When we noticed we are not me, even though we are one for now? Me an embodiment of you, you an embodiment of me. Remember when we looked in the mirror and took photos of ourselves? Trying to figure out how we fit in, trying to compare?

Remember when we decided that we looked better at 40 than at 23? But it wasn’t really about looks at all; it was about being able and comfortable to inhabit a space together.

Dear Body – I see how closely you are paying attention now, to the thoughts in my head, to the way I move this pen. M says his daughter grips her pencil too tight – a death grip and that as a child he did the same. What are they trying to hold on to? I, when trying to write quickly – when the thoughts come so much quicker than the pen - also must remember to ease up, to loosen, to breathe.

"I can’t feel the anxiety or panic when my breath is this deep," I told her.

I’ve waited a few weeks to understand, exactly, why I signed up again for this (writing) class. I think I see it here in this letter to my body.

Dear Body - in a few weeks we are going to do something unfamiliar and scary. You are going to be given some drugs – and I will go away for a bit, for a while, like when we had our wisdom teeth pulled. I went away for a while but then I came back to embody you. Things will happen during that time that I won’t know about, but you will, you will know about the incision, you will know about the bleeding, how profuse it was, if you and Dr. H as a team could make it stop, not completely – blood will keep flowing, but enough to keep the surgery safe. You will know what is said in the operating room – surgical room, are they the same? Regardless, you will remember in your tissues what is being said and I intend to ask Dr. H to tell you encouraging things – when I can’t hear, when I can’t remember. I am comfortable with her and I know that you are too. We trust her to take care of us. She is going to try to retain the uterus – you will know if that happened before I. I will try to help with some deep relaxation, affirmations, homeopathy to prevent excess bleeding. You can help too, but here is the scary part for me, the part you probably needed to hear. I trust you and if you think the uterus needs to go, I don’t want that, but ultimately it will be ok. You are ok to make that executive decision just as my mind doesn’t want to release, I trust you more as my body. I trust you to know and I trust the fibroid as well, the 14 week pregnancy sized mass inside of me – the birthing that didn’t happen, the space that was claimed. I trust it too to have a voice, it too to have a name.

Dear Body, you have done so well for me in this life – why you created this seemingly purposeless – yet not dangerous mass – that simply takes up space – space that other organs could have – that consumes and releases blood – that has depleted my ferritin - you too are growth in some fashion.

Dear Body, what have we grown together? A way to discuss a private thing? A way to dive deep into the well of wisdom?

Dear Body, you will know when the stitches come in and the mass comes out and the awareness returns. I will have to inquire as to what happened, but you will know, as you know now, as you know every day – what is going on inside me, what is going on in our world. You take it all in and I forget that. I forget that sometimes. You store things. What is stored in this fibroid?

How about all the blocks to our creativity, to our creative expression, to fully valuing that time? How about we say that is what we are going to remove?

Not in anger, but in willingness, in release, in open-handedness, in letting go.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

To the Rescue

Because I've seen on both a societal level and personal level the challenges most people face in relationships, I've long known it was important to me to have a partner who was willing to see a counselor. My thought was that we would go at least once a year, just like someone goes to the dentist or the doctor, and then if more was needed, we'd have a resource to consult. So we began last year on my birthday with our first visit of preventative medicine.

Last night and today I was about as angry as I've yet been in my relationship, largely probably spurred because I am having surgery next week and I don't want or need additional stress in my life. So I am SUPER grateful today, that the counselor we've seen has a last minute opening and that both my partner and I are available to take advantage of it tonight. I really didn't want to go into surgery next week feeling hurt or angry and I felt at a loss to figure this out ourselves. Just knowing we have a support system in place to help us through this tonight has helped to calm me down immensely.

Also I went to a mid-day yoga class during lunch. Before class I was furiously scribbling down notes for our session tonight - about 3/4 of the way through class it had completely slipped my mind. Near the end of class some wild turkey came pecking at the door length window and I learned that one of my favorite yoga teachers is scared of them. I suppose that shouldn't be funny, but it was, she really doesn't like them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Do What You Can, Then Let Go

In preparation for my upcoming surgery I visited a Naturopathic doctor and read from a favorite reference book, Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom - Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing by Christiane Northrup, M.D.. Between the two I have a surgical protocol. The one given by the Naturopath states - "Individuals who follow this program typically heal much faster than normal, with less pain and swelling and fewer complications." Today I began to lay out that protocol for myself.

But I realized I'm probably going to need a calendar or something, because this is still too confusing. I'm not sure the best way to lay this out, some things need to be taken more than once a day, some on an empty stomach. I'm sure that I will figure it out (#1), and I'm sure I have the time (#2). I just realized I need to add stool softener to this chart, which my friends have assured me I will need, one of which, sent some information to me on that today (#3). Do what I can. Then let go.

On a similar note - there has been this men's conference in my mind for over a year that I think the guy I'm dating would really enjoy. However it is a substantial investment of time and money. A few months ago I saw that they also have a winter's weekend which is shorter and more affordable. Recently, said man has gotten into the book it is based on by Robert Bly (Iron John) as well as enjoyed many recordings from previous conferences.

Yesterday I emailed two men I greatly admire (who've attended this conference) telling them the situation and asking if they anything to nudge him toward checking it out. One of them replied with his phone # and told me "Have him call me."(#4)

This is how I feel about #4

"When a great moment knocks on your life, its sound is often no louder than the beating of your heart and it is very easy to miss it."

Letters between Boris Pasternak and Olga Ivinskaya

#5 - So I get to pass on the knock, and then practice

letting go...





Sunday, October 16, 2016

Confirmation

Last month a friend came with me to a doctor visit that would involve some decision making. I appreciated the moral support, but more importantly, I appreciated the second set of ears. When it is your own health it is hard to both take in and retain information. This came in handy again tonight when talking about my upcoming surgery, the guy I’m dating and I had different impressions. I called my friend and said, “I don’t want to influence your response, based on your recollection how do you recall…”

And she confirmed what I’d thought.

I’m glad I brought up the topic because of the misperception between my boyfriend and I. He didn’t do anything wrong so at first I didn’t want to be upset. But later I realized it was fine to be upset, I was upset. I just didn’t want to be upset with him, because it is not ultimately about him, but me.

I picked up some probiotics to start taking soon since I will be on antibiotics. The woman at the store was super friendly and when I told her about my surgery she said something like, “People feel great after that!” Ok, haven’t heard that before but sounds good to me.

On a topic change, I spent much of the day outside with my brother’s family, the guy I’m dating and his kids (the latter three all dressed in plaid flannel shirts which I guess is back in fashion). It was a beautiful warm fall day and it is remarkable how easily and well we all get along together. My brother and my boyfriend went off to explore a gazebo a bit down the Minnesota river from our picnic. I got a bit impatient because we were going somewhere after that and my sister-in-law had a dance performance to go to so I wanted to get going. However, I knew then, and I am reinstating now, what a great “problem” it is to have that your brother and the guy you are dating relaxing together.



Saturday, October 8, 2016

FB4K

#1 - Since it was the last day of the farmer's market today we were all scheduled to be there. Last week the head of the board said that probably wasn't necessary. I emailed her early in the week saying I was happy to be there the whole time but there was also a volunteer event I wanted to do that afternoon so if it worked to leave early that would be great. She said that was fine. I asked to leave at 11:45AM but they ended up asking me about 11, "Weren't you going to leave?" So I did leave at 11:15 and I'm grateful for that because 11:45 would not have been enough time.

#2 - Because of the time crunch, I'm grateful the guy I'm dating was driving to the volunteer event so I had time to eat my lunch in the car.

#3 - "Free Bikes 4 Kidz is a nonprofit organization geared toward helping all kids ride into a happier, healthier childhood by providing bikes to those most in need." Today was the day when they moved all the donated bikes to the warehouse where they get cleaned and repaired. It sounded like an ideal volunteer event to me - something active and tangible. So that is where the sweet man and I spent the afternoon. He said he got a work out too.

#4 - I've been meaning to buy new running shoes for over 6 months. Literally one day I was headed to the store and then I thought, "It's a beautiful day, I'd rather go for a walk around the lake." I can almost always find something I'd rather do than go shopping. Today, because the bikes were being moved into some extra space at the Mall of America, it was convenient to go to a shoe store afterwards and I finally got new shoes. My brother should be happy as he was clearly annoyed by the holes in my old ones yesterday.

#5 - The guy I'm dating listened to the Eckhart Tolle pain body explanation (CD) that I left in his car and said he might listen to it again - in case he missed anything.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Allowance - Book Fair

#1 –My teeth felt especially gross last night and I was really looking forward to brushing them. However when I looked in my bag, I’d packed two tubes of toothpaste but zero toothbrushes. How did that happen? I did at least have dental floss, but it was especially satisfying tonight to have a toothbrush again.

#2 – The forecast the past few days has been nearly ideal and I’ve so blessed to have lots of time outdoors during it. Today that included a leisurely walk along a creek with leaves just beginning to turn after dropping my friend’s child off at pre-school.

#3 – This is the third time I’ve watched my friend’s children while they were away. I love it and at the same time it is exhausting (and this time was only 28 hours). Besides dishes, I do little house work and the food is prepped for us beforehand. I seriously both respect and have zero desire to be a single parent. Yet it’s also fun to slip into someone else’s life briefly – to get a rare snapshot – and to have the children accept you without a blink.

#4 – “My friend is going to vote for Donald Trump.” The 7 year old told me at dinner with alarm in his voice about his neighbor/friend. He then explained his friend wasn’t old enough to actually vote.

“Do you know why he likes Trump?” I asked neutrally.

“I don’t think he wants a girl to be president,” he said, “isn’t that _____?” (I’m not sure the adjective he used here – something like – silly, crazy or dumb.)

#5 – Taking the 7 year old with the money he saved from his allowance to his school book fair. He bought one Captain Underpants book and one journal that could lock. I thought he might be mistaking the journal for a book with a story so I clarified with him a couple times that it was just blank pages inside (the cover looked exciting). He said he understood and that was what he wanted.

Sure enough, we came home and he started writing his “secret” things immediately. This is from a child whom I recall his pre-school teacher telling his mother to MAKE him write his name daily because he wasn’t good at it (and hated writing). She didn’t want to force him to write and I agreed it was ridiculous – and look at him now.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Backtrack - Franz Jevne















In my quest to slowly visit all the state parks in Minnesota, last week I went to the smallest - Franz Jevne. I missed my post, but here is a little bit of the simple beauty. The trees on the other side of the Rainy River are in Canada.











Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Brenda McMorrow

#1 -




#2 - Listening to another musician I like led me to this one which then to Tina Turner singing a Peace Mantra. Tina Turner singing a Peace Mantra? Wow - that has got to be a good sign.




#3 - It used to be that if I stayed up late a night or two, and then tried to go to bed "on time" I wouldn't be able to fall asleep. It was so frustrating because I would be overtired. In college it would happen every Sunday night. It seems my sleeping habits might be getting a little more flexible as I age. In general I fall asleep faster and last night I went to bed a good hour and a half "early" despite staying up an hour and a half "late" the night before, and I woke up before my alarm well rested.



#4 - I started my community ed exercise class again. I saw one of the participants at the farmer's market last week so I was forewarned we would have a new instructor. I just hoped it would be someone that wouldn't make things too easy. Today's class was a bit hectic. People are used to the old teacher's style so there was some confusion, but the new instructor was punctual and well organized.



#5 - I decided that I may introduce a new feature into my weekly soccer email. Along with our game time I may include a quote of the week. Today's quote was already favorably received by one of my team members.

"Pain is a traveling professor, and it just goes and knocks on everyone's door and the smartest people I know are the people who say, 'Come in and just don't leave until you've taught me what I need to know.'"

Glennon Doyle Melton








Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Oxygen

The universe is so big
but it comes down to
one breath
the tiny amount of air
the tiny amount of oxygen
required for your life to continue
to expand and contract

7-8 liters of air per minute
20% oxygen

the vastness of space
inconsequential
the vastness of breath
needed here
again
and again
and again






#2 - As "captain" of my soccer team, I sign up the team and pay for everybody and then they each pay me. Last session - as best I can ascertain - the last check ended up in the wash with my soccer bag. I emailed the guy today and asked if he'd add that money on to his check for next session.

He replied that he would be happy to.

#3 - An email that began

"Good morning love"

It's been a while since I've had one with such a salutation

#4 - A note from my friend's mom

"The flower that Laura brought home, I had been pulling it up thinking it was a weed. And believe me, it does have roots that go way down. I will be leaving that wild flower alone now."

#5 - I fell asleep by 8:45pm last night because I was tired and I did not turn on any lights or pull myself through to a second wind.

I just went to bed.

Why is such a simple thing

such an immense luxury?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Nature




"Elegance is to get ride of all the superfluous things and focus in on the most beautiful one."

Paulo Coelho




















I went to listen to Krita Tippet's On Being today because I needed that kind of energy. There were a few recent episodes I was excited to listen to - Joanna Macy, Elizabeth Gilbert and Paolo Coelho.

Paolo Coelho - an all time favorite author of mine.

People are attracted to camping and vacations in general because it often allows one to focus on beauty. But more interesting to me is how do we get rid of the superfluous things (physical, mental and activity wise) in our everyday life, so that we can better see the beauty there?




















The first and last photo from our campsite in the BWCA brought me peace when I looked at them yesterday, and anxiety when I looked at them today. I experienced both there.

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote was true more than ever for me. I had to search to find the author and am happy to say it is Emerson because this reminds me that my second favorite play of all time is coming back to town soon, about the friendship between Thoreau and Emerson.

http://www.tigerlion.org/nature/











Two small things that are big appreciations for me today are:

A. The kind/understanding woman on the phone whom I called about having some tests done next week.
B. My friend being available for me to come over and talk to her tonight.













"Elegance is to go to the core of beauty, and the core of beauty is simplicity." Paulo Coelho

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Super Soul - Shawn Achor

#1 - When I went camping last month I thought a small town we passed through sounded familiar, but I couldn't figure out why.  Then I saw a sign that said "Pine Grove Lodge."  Oh!  This was where a friend of mine in middle school moved up to.  At first they only lived there in the summer, then in 9th grade she moved up there year round.  I stayed there with my parents a couple times.  It is/was a small place.  Six cabins plus the main lodge.  When we drove by I thought, "I should write to her."   I looked up Pine Grove Lodge and saw that her brother and family now run the place.  This morning I awoke at 6:30 and had the time and space to relax in bed and write that letter.

#2 - Then I wrote another letter.  As is often the case, I was surprised by what came out through my hand.  This is my definition of good writing, when I am just as surprised as the reader would be at the content.  That is letter #42 for me.  I'm 10 letters away from reaching my goal of 52 letters this year.  At this point that goal feels within reach.

#3 - Making it to the neighboring farmer's market just before they closed, since I wasn't at mine yesterday, to grab a cantaloupe.  Last week's was delicious.

#4 - Feeling my energetic/enthusiastic self again when I arrived at the sweet man's house today and had a bunch of things to tell him. His smile demonstrated his appreciation.  We (his girls and I) took a break during our tasks to teach him how to play spoons.  The youngest hasn't quite mastered watching the spoons and the cards at the same time.

#5 - Being able to openly talk about the sweet man's "pain body" (Eckhart Tolle term) after it has passed with his daughters.  The fact that he is open and receptive to this is a great teaching tool for them.  We talked about how the pain body is never rational, and the oldest said her dad wasn't patient with hers.

"What would be helpful to your pain body?"  I asked her.

"For people to pay attention to me."  She responded.

*********************************************************************************

P.S.  I've been enjoying the Super Soul Sessions put together by Oprah this week.  This man is new to me, I can't help but share it even though I can't figure out how to embed this link.


http://www.supersoul.tv/supersoul-sessions/the-life-altering-power-of-a-positive-mind

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Flowers and Fear



#1 - My father unexpectedly showed up at the end of the farmer's market so I didn't have to figure out how to bike home with this gift from a vendor.

#2 - Because he was there, the only time all year, I asked him about one of our tents that has a screw missing. One of our board members said he'd bring it home after the market last week to fix, then said wouldn't bring it home but would come back to get it during the week. That never happened so a different board member said he'd come back to get it this week. I wasn't sure how long this would continue. My Dad looked at it, brought it home, and had it fixed within an hour.

#3 - I had a doctor appointment last week. There is something I'm not concerned about but I'm going back soon to have checked out. Today I found further reason for inquiry and suddenly I felt scared. As I walked to the bus I alternated between alarm and seeing the beauty around me. In fact about halfway through the bus ride, a woman remarked to her cell phone, "Look at those beautiful clouds."

So I did.

#4 - The bus dropped me off a little over a half mile from the sweet man's house. I had emailed him earlier that if he felt like a short walk he could come to meet me, and at that point I was really hoping he did.

He did.

#5 - On our walk back to his house he asked, "Is everything alright?"

"No."

Then we came upon this



Friday, July 29, 2016

Annoyed/Grateful

I spent the day alternating between being annoyed and grateful. My younger cousins have wanted to come visit this summer, and were bummed to wait until the end of July. I got my work done so I was free all day and they planned to arrive "early" which was 10 or 11AM. This morning I spoke to the youngest at 10AM and she asked, "What are we going to do?"

"Play tennis."

"If we are just going to play tennis, why do we have to come early?"

First of all, they wanted to come. Second of all I knew it was pointless to plan anything else today, because who knew when they'd arrive?

On the other hand - these are all the things I got done while waiting for them. Two loads of laundry on the line, made homemade broccoli/cheese soup (which I hope they'll like), made a pasta dish, baked a tofu-fruit dessert (I've been meaning to do that for a while), did a little farmer's market prep, packed my lunch for the market tomorrow, took a 30 minute nap, made a grocery list and had some quiet time to myself which I thought would be lacking this weekend.

#2 - I started the morning with a 15 mile bike ride. I took a slightly different neighborhood street where it is boring because it is so familiar. I also left a little later than I planned, but I was almost positive that if I was back by 10AM that would still be ok for my cousins. Clearly it was.

#3 - Have gained perspective and can really see the alternate point of view. The sweet man and I had a serious conversation last night. "Do you think this should be so hard?" he asked me. Today I reflected that it is not often that I truly can understand someone else's point of view (that was different than mine and led to conflict), and now I can see how we both made incorrect assumptions and were less than helpful the past couple weeks.

#4 - I did at least get to play tennis with my 17 cousin which is what I most wanted to do this weekend. She said I'm good which is nice to hear since I haven't play for two years, last year my shoulder was bothering me. She beat me, but I kept up. She also instantly moved to another court when a woman came to hit against the side board. I appreciated the courtesy she demonstrated.

#5 - My brother got upset at me that my cousins were arriving there late since he has little kids and they are sleeping there. I really tried to stress to my cousins to come as early as possible today, I don't know what more I can do. Yes, I could have skipped the tennis match, but I'm working tomorrow and I wanted to spend some time with them. At least I tried to be empathetic on the phone, and he didn't escalate. Sometimes though I think life would be easier if I didn't try to plan things, or just included less people. I don't know.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pain Body and Roses



The pain body found you
the pain body's here
you recognize its presence
you recognize the fear

The pain body comes
the pain body goes
you watch it rise up
you watch how it flows

You greet it, you meet it, you know it your friend
one that haunts you, taunts you
reasserts
it will not bend

The time is twirling
the space is now
and you are listening
listening somehow

You feel it swirling, dive in for a bend
you ask it a question, it tries to pretend
but whatever it tries
you do not end

You
you are shining
you
you are whole
you
you are complete
you
you are soul

A soul with a presence
a soul beyond name
a soul holding space
a space that remains










"All I know is my flesh and bones
Don't feel like home. Don't feel like home."

The Fergies












Watch the heart contract

watch the heart open

watch the heart beat

thump, thump, thump


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Panic






Well, my day started with a bit of what I'd describe as a panic attack, that is a self-defined label. It is, unfortunately, familiar to me as it happened three times before, at least five years ago. Long enough that I don't really remember when, but I do recall the feeling and just the inkling that it may happen again is enough to start a wave of fear in me. I feel closed in and trapped and need to get to an open space, though even outside is not enough. Today I went to Eckhart Tolle for help and landed on this clip (#1). I tried to follow his advice, though it didn't seem to help. I still don't know that it did, the fear would come in waves, I'd be fine, then I wasn't, then maybe it's nothing, then it isn't. Eventually a slight smile came on my lips I knew it was over (#2).

The only way that I know Tolle may have helped (#3) is that I felt less fear of this happening again afterwards instead of more (like I usually would). I also felt an unexplicable surge of strength.

I also received an email today from a friend who went to a memorial service for a co-workers's son's suicide. Today I was in a greater space of empathy for what could lead someone to do that (#4), not just intellectually, but feeling a need to escape.

A new/recent Mraz (#5) song - My Own Shit



Everybody got a little bit of their own
I've got voices inside
and I've got fears I still hide
I'm gonna break down sometimes
cause I got tears I must cry
I've got wrongs I get to right
Truth be told I've told some lies
I've got friends I've got to find
and I still need to apologize

We've only got this one life
Me, I want to see it through your eyes
Please try to see it through my eyes
Everybody's got, everybody's got, everybody got, their demons
Everybody got their reasons
Everybody goes through seasons
Trying to hold on
Everybody got their own shit
Everybody's got to own it
Everybody's got those hardships
no you're not alone
I've got my own

See I've had to fall apart
To see what I had inside
Pull myself together and give it one more try
Parents getting older
I gotta pull them closer,
cause I've got to get some closure
And let them know that everybody's got

Everybody gotTheir demons
Everybody got their reasons
Everybody goes through seasons
Trying to hold on
Everybody got their own shit
Everybody's got to own it
Everybody's got those hardships
You're trying to let go of
I've got my own

You name it, I've done it
I stole a heart and broke it
Can't change it
Can't help it
I've got to let it go

Everybody got their own shit
Everybody's got to own it
Everybody's got their hardships
no you're not along
I've got my own
I've got my own


Cause I can't stop now

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Glimpses of Quetico



























































#1 - Once a week they offer free across the lake swims (with lifeguards) in Minneapolis. I planned to go today but there were thunderstorms forecast this evening. My disappointment turned to a fun jog in the rain with the sweet man.


#2 - It was extremely humid when we began the jog, then the wind picked up and we felt a cool gust of wind.  I love storms when I have a safe home to return to and it was fun to be out in it, to splash in the puddles, to feel the rain change, with some googles I would have been completely fine as the water did start to sting my eyes a little.

#3 - We came back and the storm picked up and instead of driving home in it, I looked at the photos from Michael (the sweet man's) solo Quetico canoe trip this spring.  These are a few of my favorite.

#4 - Come to think of it I remember driving through Quetico when I was in college and thinking, "I need to come back here some day."  I haven't told the sweet man that  yet, but I know he'd be excited to hear it and take me.


#5 - Michael mentioned yesterday that he planned to go to a music festival we had talked about before. He hadn't asked me because I didn't sound excited. I said I was working at the farmer's market that day, but maybe could switch. I thought about it more today though and decided I really don't want to go. When I told him he said, "I was kind of looking forward to going by myself."

Perfect.
















































Monday, June 27, 2016

Theater Camp and Momo

#1 - The quick look back for reassurance from the sweet man's oldest daughter when I dropped her off at theater camp.

#2 - Both of the girls' excitement in meeting two new friends each and sharing what they learned their first day when I picked them up.

#3 - They have an end of the week theater showcase Friday afternoon. I looked into the details of it and started thinking about fitting it in my week in case they wanted me to see it. I figured maybe I'd ask the sweet man to ask them, so they could answer him honestly. If I ask them it would be hard to say, "No I don't want you there." However, I didn't get the chance because one of the first things the oldest said to me when I picked them up was, "Are you going to come to the showcase Friday?"

#4 - The theater day camp, just happens, to be located a couple miles from where I live, making it convenient to help out with drop-offs, pick-ups and a possible attendance a the showcase on Friday.

#5 - Reading Momo (By Michael Ende) to the girls and the sweet man as they prepped their lunches and snacks for tomorrow. It was late, and a time that often includes bickering, but Momo took care of that. I've been waiting months to have the opportunity to share this book with them.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Grapes of Wrath

#1 – I woke up and finished reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I haven’t read a “classic” in a long time and this is one that came to mind when I was at the library. Certainly different than what I usually read, I was impressed again and again by the stories on its pages. Powerful, poetic, tough and inspiring.

#2 – I was curious what type of ending Mr. Steinbeck would put on the story as the ending to many stories in the depression wasn’t a happy one. I expected him to pull a surprising punch of some sort, and he most definitely did.

#3 – I was going to ask my sister-in-law to send me a photo she took of my nephew and I on a day when our wardrobe just happened to match. Today she gave me a print of the picture without my asking.

#4 – Dancing to the music with my nephew on my lap in the kitchen, every once in a while he’d lean his head back and look up at me with a big smile.

#5 – Making my 5th recipe I’ve enjoyed from Weeknight Vegetarian, a book I have from the library. I had dinner ready for me before soccer tonight and leftovers for tomorrow.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Beach Ball

#1 - The beach ball floating away from the swimming area. Though nobody seemed to be concerned or care, it gave me something to rescue. Could I get there before it blew too far away? Would the weeds become too much? Would the wind pick up?

#2 - The sweet man and I had a few writing prompts we'd written in the winter that I asked him to bring to the beach. We pulled a couple to write on and he said, "We should do this more often. Make a jar where we put prompts."

#3 - I almost gave in and decided to work the farmer's market on a weekend we had a tentative camping trip planned, but luckily I'd sent an email earlier to the board director and she already had me as unavailable on her calendar.

#4 - All the sweet little touches I got at the beach - a kiss on the shoulder, a finger on my thigh, a hand on my belly.

#5 - Seeing a turtle laying eggs, from a distance, burrowing in the sand, burying. And the young woman who almost ran over her on her bike, but didn't.

Bonus discovery - I looked up a video for treading water techniques after discussing it at the beach and discovered that at least part of the reason I can swim longer than the man I'm dating is NOT because I'm in better shape, but rather, because he uses the most exhausting method for treading water.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Art Gallery

#1 - Was it the beautiful morning, being outside my usual neighborhood, or the fact that for the first morning in a week I wasn't responsible for a 4 & 6 year old? I'm not sure, but I was thrilled to have the impulse to go for a jog first thing this AM.

#2 - Going to an "art gallery" in the sweet man's living room discussed and presented by the artists themselves (his children).

#3 - Hearing about the oldest's end of the year school camping trip.

#4 - After the exhibit, putting the artwork on permanent display in the "Peace Corner" room.

#5 - Reading The Wretched Stone (highly recommended picture book) by Chris Van Allsburg and Nothing to Do by Douglas Wood to the sweet man and the girls before bed in the newly space.



Thursday, May 26, 2016

Be a Good Steward

Eating a dinner of egg salad on homemade bread, carrots, berries and a homemade strawberry rhubarb bar (all made by my friend) on a bench next to the rose gardens, while people played lawn games nearby, and I ruminated over the piece I'd just heard on the radio. A woman described being 13 years old when the nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and her recollections of that day kept me spellbound in my seat long after I turned off the car.

The woman admired Obama for being the first U.S. president to visit Hiroshima since that day, but also condemned his commitment to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal which she said would lead to another arms race with Russia and China.

The radio commentator said that Obama had made clear he would not be issuing an apology. I on the other hand think we should apologize for everything - the basic normal insanity of the human race.

***********************************************************************************

Earlier in the day, at a playground with my niece, nephew and friend's child, my nephew and I happened to be dressing in matching color schemes, we made a handsome pair.

My niece jumped right into a game I was playing with my friend's child. I was a troll under the slide that bangs on it when you go down and demands payment. She also made the sweetest funny face when we played the "fun police" where smiles are not allowed, trying to suppress her happiness into a scowl.

*************************************************************************************

Getting up from this, cause something told me to, to catch the brilliant orange of the setting sun.

****************************************************************************************

Jane Kenyon said: “Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Photos from Buffalo River State Park


#1 - Laughing during Ira Glass's opening song on last week's This American Life

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/259/promised-land




#2 - Having leftovers for quick, easy meals today. I made broccoli cheese soup yesterday for the first time and it was quite yummi.




#3 - The amazing things I get to listen to because I do simple work. Today this included a Soul Series conversation between Oprah and Iyanla Vanzant, This American Life and "The Joy of Being" CD's from the library with Eckhart Tolle.



#4 - I steeped myself in the To Bless the Space Between Us : a Book of Blessings by John O'Donohue last weekend. It must have filled me up because today I wrote my own.






#5 - Trying to get this done so I could turn off the computer, kind of wrestling with it. Then letting go and deciding to eat dinner first. Everything in life can become another task to complete it seems, even being grateful. I actually fell asleep briefly outside in a camping chair after eating dinner. It was the reset I needed to come back to this with anew, to practice being grateful again.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Murphy Lake at Murphy Hanrehan Park
Courtesy of Michael

#1 - The owner where I take yoga thanked me for coming to laughter yoga last week and said Michael and I make a "beautiful couple".

#2 - My friend sent me this diverse books for middle school readers list a little over a year ago.

http://www.massliteracy.org/diverse-books-middle-school-readers/

I finally got around to adding these books to my library request list.

#3 - Which made me read the rest of that email chain which was about the first time Michael and his kids got together with my brother's family, a friend's child and I, and how well it went. I wrote, "I had wondered about bringing all these kids camping - whether they would play together ages 3, 5, 6 and 10 but they got along great. It felt so natural and easy."

That camping trip didn't happen last year, but it is planned for this summer.

#4 - I led an informal yoga session at one of the cross-country ski weekends last winter in the outdoor group where I met Michael. This group also has a weekly meeting and the guy who schedules them emailed me to ask if I knew someone, or would be the someone, to lead yoga at one because the person he had lined up to do it cancelled. I replied asking about payment saying I could probably find a teacher where I do yoga, or I could do something informal for free, but I'm not a yoga teacher.

He said they don't pay for presentations and that if I wanted to do it that would work. The original write up said, "Ever wondered how you can be less sore after a hard day of climbing, hiking, biking or paddling? Sheila ____, founder and owner of ____ Yoga Studio, will show us the best yoga poses and stretches to do before and after vigorous exercise. Bring a mat or blanket."

Well this description stressed me out a little because I don't know the "best poses or stretches". I offered a couple alternative descriptions and this is what came out.

"Yoga is a great way to take a break and get energized for the next leg of a long hike, bike ride or paddle. It can be done in the outdoors without any equipment - a mat is truly optional. You probably know that yoga increases balance, flexibility, and strength, but did you also know it protects the spine, cartilage and joints so we can continue to pursue an active lifestyle?

Tammy will lead us in some yoga poses and stretches."


#5 - And going back to #1. The reason we were at laughter yoga in the first place was because we were having a rough time, so the fact that we had a good hike together on Friday will not be taken for granted.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Breaking Free

#1 – I answered the phone during work and couldn't place who it was at first because it didn't fit that time of day. The man I'm dating said he wanted to hear my voice, though there ended up being mostly silence on the line. He and I had a tough past few days.

#2 – Taking time during work to receive that 15 minute phone call, and also to stop and write two long poems – because I can.

#3 – We might all go to laughter yoga tomorrow. I’ve wanted to go with him and his kids for a year or so but haven’t gotten around to it. It is once a month, but I wasn’t going to mention it this time because I thought there was enough going on already. But considering the past few days I thought some intentional laughter would be good for us, and he agreed.

#4 - "I would like to see you this weekend and hope that we can spend some time together before our May schedules get busy. No pressure, I'll understand if you are not up for it yet."

#5 - Walking over to my community education exercise class an hour early so I could lay in the grass and sun and write.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Pieces of Myself



I’m paying attention to buds on the trees
each day
I see how they’ve grown
I’m paying attention to when my breath is held
my pain body active
I’m paying attention to how the quiet outside is reflected
by the quiet
inside and how the birds
dance and call
I’m paying attention to the fear that holds me back
and the fear that propels me forward
and the fear that remains
I’m paying attention today
to the army of voices that has abandoned their weapons and now bask
in the sun
I’m paying attention to the sun,
when it creeps out, when it hides, how it comes into
a room
I’m paying attention to this room and how it holds me
I’m paying attention
to being held



*****************************************************************************************



Earlier in the week I came upon this

which led to me writing a poem, actually two, which I haven't done in a while. Yesterday I spent a couple hours playing guitar, which I haven't done in a while. Today I took a photo for this blog, which I haven't done in a while.

Pieces of myself that I'm glad to see again. Hopefully my soccer playing self will reappear this evening, despite the rain. I haven't seen her in a while either.

It's also been a long time since I've woken up on a Sunday with both some cleaning and grocery shopping done, which means I could get up and prepare food - split pea soup, pumpkin scones, lentil croquettes.

I also saw (while eating a delicious breakfast of steel cut oats, nuts, blackberries, dried cranberries and kiwi) in my Dad's Compassion and Choices magazine that a local legislator is sponsoring a bill to authorize the medical practice of aid in dying for terminally ill adults in Minnesota.

Quiet morning filled with the first thunderstorm of the year which pleasantly began right around the time I usually wake up. I laid in bed listening to the approaching rain and thunder.



Saturday, April 16, 2016

Spring Day

#1 - Went on my first bike ride of the year on a beautiful spring morning to the sweet man's house. I've never biked over there before, it was a long ride for my first bike ride this year, but almost all flat. A good chunk of it was on bike trails too, which is awesome.

#2 - When I arrived the sweet man was just leaving, I got a quick kiss and then I played cards with his girls on the lawn. He was headed to his senate district convention for the day.

#3 - My brother, niece and nephew soon arrived on bikes after Japanese school and we all rode to the park. My niece was on one of those bikes with one wheel that attaches on the back and my nephew was in a bike seat on the front. They looked pretty cute.

#4 - We all ate the quinoa patties at the picnic table for dinner that the girls and I prepared earlier in the day. Then my niece had a great time searching for shells in the landscaping and then filling up water balloons.

#5 - The sweet man came home and started on the hitch project, he is still working on it right now in the dark. I'm glad he got started, it is so we can put a bike carrier on the back. His oldest let me watch while she did her math - order of operations. She got to one I disagreed on, then her Dad agreed with her, then he took it back. Suffice it to say, we are uncertain.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Feels Important

When my cousin was visiting a little over a year ago, she found Moon River, from the classic movie Breakfast at Tiffany's, out of a piano songbook and tried to learn it. I liked that song too, so at the beginning of last year I made it a goal to learn a song on the piano, which I hadn't done since I was a child. My structure was that I had to play the song once a day, sometimes it turned into more, but at least once. And after a few months I did learn the song.

My cousin didn't have a piano, but she got a keyboard for Christmas and it came with a music book. There were a couple songs in there that I really enjoyed (the keyboard could play the songs by itself). One of the songs I liked was Canon in D by Pachelbel. I checked out the score from the library, and started to learn it, but it was much longer than Moon River and soon I needed to return the music.

I recently checked the score out again and I haven't been playing often, but occasionally I try. Today while I was waiting for my food to bake I sat down at the piano and worked on it.

Last Sunday, I saw a writing instructor at the co-op. She recently got a piano and said she was spending too much time playing it. Such is life - when we don't have the enthusiasm to play piano or (insert your activity here), we lament that we can't get ourselves to do it, and then when we are instinctively drawn to something, we think we should be doing something else.

I was reminded of visiting my brother when he lived in Japan. I had nothing to write in my journal. Here I was in this foreign country with new experiences, and I had nothing to say. Instead I just kept doing these random doodles that I would color. Sometimes I tried to force myself to write something, but I just kept returning to the doodles.

Now I look back on that journal and love those doodles. I didn't have words then. It was fine.

I could say the same thing for many aspects of my life - playing guitar, exercising, camping...the beauty is to be grateful for the inspiration when we have it and to let go of it when it's gone. To allow space for such things, but not to force them.

I think carving the space is the hardest part, sometimes that space sits empty and you don't know why it is there.

We don't have much understanding of the importance of space. It doesn't matter if someone has a one, two or three car garage - it will get filled. It doesn't matter how big someone's closet is - it will get filled. The field will get planted or paved. The valley will get houses or industry. The soul will get words, and judgements and values.

And then sometimes you hide the little spaces that you carve out in your life,
because you know if they are hidden
no one can fill them.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Joia

#1 - I've been involved in a monthly volunteer gig for years now - not sure how many, at least five. It started out as a food shelf, then evolved, then evolved again. Now it is run like an old school co-op grocery. It happens to be only a couple miles away from where the sweet man lives, so today I walked to my volunteer shift for the first time.

#2 - Pretty yummi soda - Joia
Orange- Jasmine- Nutmeg which was a new product on the shelves of the grocery

http://www.joialife.com/products/orange-jasmine-nutmeg/

#3 - Sweet man met me at the grocery store at the end of my shift. I often go over to his place afterwards since it is so close by, but this is the first time he has come to check it out, and buy some groceries. I sold him on the Joia soda.

#4 - I saw the list of chores that he printed on a spreadsheet for his kids. I asked him if he was open to comments on it and thankfully he said yes. I thought some of it was a bit complex. I asked him to start with what they already are responsible for that - enforce that consistently and then add a couple things. Keep it simple and achievable! He was receptive and agreed which means a lot to me.

#5 - A story in the Sun magazine about a guy who put garlic in his ear for an earache and then it got stuck which I read during lunch and they reread to the sweet man while he made dinner.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Reaching Again and Again

#1 - I learned today that Stephen Levine died a couple months ago. I was reminded of a moment in my car, maybe 15 years ago, when I was listening to an audio tape of his. A woman asked him a question and it was through his response that I experienced both the depth of my judgements and a well of compassion.

I had never heard anyone respond to another human being in such a caring manner.

I didn't even know such things were possible.



#2 -"Are you ready to do the puzzle Gampa?"



#3-  I asked my niece how she knew how to do a rather complicated origami.  She said she learned from the instructions.

 "But the instructions aren't here," I replied.

"I remember," she said pointing to her head, "like you when you are driving." 



#4 - Not only the letter but getting clearance to share these lines-







As I contemplated what I'm displaying here it doesn't quite match how I'm feeling. Today I feel pretty ho hum.

So there is how it feels and what I'm reaching towards, again and again, with practice.


#5 - A Rilke quote I came across on Krishna Das's website -



EMBRACE THE SHADOW
“Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.
So don’t be frightened, dear friend, if sadness or anxiety casts a shadow over your life. Something is happening within you. Remember that life has not forgotten you. It holds you in its hand and will not let you go. And after all, why would you want to live without pain and unease? You don’t yet know what mysterious work these feelings are accomplishing inside you.”
– Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Momo

#1 - p.133 - I will not provide the details as to why I've listed p.133 as my #1 gratitude today because I do not want to give away anything that will lessen the impact of a genius piece of literature called Momo by Michael Ende. Maybe you are already familiar with this stunning piece of fiction as it was written over 40 years ago by the author of The Neverending Story. If you, like me, are a little late to this ball game let me assure you that this really is a book for "all ages". That does not merely mean ages 4 to 104, but rather 1973 to 2016. It again and again imbues me with a zeal of passion and recognition.

Is Michael Ende still alive? I just checked. No he is not. But on Wikipedia it says this, "He often expressed frustration over being perceived as a children's writer exclusively, considering that his purpose was to speak of cultural problems and spiritual wisdom to people of all ages." Amen Mr. Ende.

In fact I had this book with me on the last car ride I took with the man I am dating and his girls, but they had another audio book going and the mood in the vehicle didn't feel conducive to listening to me read, and...well, I wasn't sure this was a good book.

#2 - HOWEVER, all that has changed and I can assure you at the next opportunity - the four of us will all be listening to this story - myself for the second time - with eager enthusiasm.

I just checked if the library had any more books by Mr. Ende and there are two others, but one is in German and the other in Chinese. Momo will have to suffice for now. Momo!

I have not felt this passionate for a while. God bless the soul of this man.

#3 - I will be picking up the sweet man's children at school today. I did this once before, but it was during winter break, so this will be the first time during more "normal" life. If I haven't settled down by that point they are going to hear an earful of Momo enthusiasm. The oldest has some sort of jump roping performance tonight and when I talked to the sweet man last night about his plan for pick-up, dinner, and the performance it didn't sound like it was going to work very well. So I am happy to be able to step in and assist.

#4 - Usually I wait to post my gratitudes until later in the day, but I was so excited about Momo, which I was reading during lunch, that I couldn't wait to express my enthusiasm.

May we all find such fires for our souls.

May the warmth of people such as Mr. Ende and Mr. Rogers (below) keep us toasty.

May such presences never be short in our lives.

May we continue to drink from such cups that we may all be filled.

May the words of blessing pour through us.

Amen.

HA!

#5 - Sweet, sweet, sweet

http://www.npr.org/2016/03/11/469846519/walking-the-beat-in-mr-rogers-neighborhood-where-a-new-day-began-together

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Abortion Diary Podcast

#1 - I went to listen to Wait Wait Don't Tell Me on National Public Radio and saw that one of my favorite people, Senator Cory Booker, is the guest this week. I was thrilled and wanted to save it, not listen yet, so I ended up clicking on another link which led to

#2 - The one part of the abortion debate that is blatantly missing - the personal experience of it - http://theabortiondiarypodcast.com/

#3 - I'm impressed with the women who are breaking the silence on this issue.

#4 - It was a warm day and quite convenient that my niece was over so that we could go for a walk to the park after work. She had a great time standing/walking on a twirling thing so that the equipment was moving but she stayed in place. Also quite conveniently she initiated going home right about the time that I wanted to - in full imagination mode with a stick as a baton.

#5 - I am quite tired and may be getting sick, so far this winter when I've felt this way I've done

A. Gone to bed early
B. Taken oil of oregano, prescribed by the sweet man

and then been fine. I'm grateful that I'll be home around 7:30pm and can plan to start preparing for a quiet night in bed right then, that is a tremendous luxury and I do not take it lightly.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Poem Request

#1-3 The owner of my yoga studio asked me to bring a poem about trust for a staff meeting. I just did a quick "control F" and found one that had the word trust in it. I read it and people were really affected by it. A woman quite a bit older than me came up afterwards and said I must have gone through a lot in my life to have written that. I shrugged taken aback. Later it made me want to take a poetry class again, not for the instruction so much, but rather, to create a space in my life for more poems to come out.

#4 - A couple yoga teachers recommended doing Brene Brown's Inventory of Trust exercise. I spontaneously went to the sweet man's afterwards to see if he would go through it with me. I didn't find it as illuminating as the other teachers, maybe because I already tend to be mired in introspection, however I appreciate a spontaneous impulse to follow through on with someone else.

#5 - Playing a song on guitar for a friend who was visiting this weekend whom I haven't seen for 4 years, and who may have never heard me play a song before.

(Short post but it's past my bedtime.)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Art Shanties



#1 - Walking by one of those little free libraries my 4 year old niece said she wanted a book.

"Which one?"

"The pink one."

"This one?"

"No."

"This one?"

"No the pink one."

"Why don't I pick you up so you can show me."

"This pink one."

"Global Capitalism - The New Leviathan?"

"YES!"

"I don't think you want that one, it doesn't have any pictures." I hand it to her showing the pages of text.

"No I want it."

Not only did she want it but she carried it around the house all evening. "Where is my book?" she asked at one point and then had to go find it. As I read her a Dr. Seuss story in bed she had Global Capitalism open on her knees and is "reading" it by night light as I type this.

#2 - She, the sweet man, his daughters and I went to the art ice shanties. An ice house art project. The weather has taken an unseasonal warm turn recently so when we got there the ice shanties had been pulled off the lake and were closed. I checked the website yesterday and saw no note of it, and there were still cars etc. on the ice, but I guess they cancelled because of the melting. Anyway, I'm glad we didn't know this as we still all had a wonderful time. Beginning just as we walked along the edge of the lake in the puddles on the ice on the way to the shanties. We hadn't even arrived yet and were already having fun.

#3 - There was a see-saw/teeter/totter made for the event that that the kids (and us) played on a long time and was my niece's favorite part.

#4 - Also a bike powered polar bear that was chained up but still provided for lots of fun and imagination.

#5 - We finished reading The Neverending Story on the car ride to and from the shanties. We started that book way back during Thanksgiving and finally read the closing pages for Bastian Balthazar Bux on the drive today.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Friday, February 5, 2016

Spinster

#1 - That was strange. I logged in to write this from a library and so I just used google to find my website and somehow one of the links just pulled up the images from my website - which looked quite gorgeous all there together, but then there would be an especially majestic image that clearly was not "mine". Anyway, I was struck by the overall beauty.

#2 - I did a 9K today on NATURAL snow because we got a welcome snow storm earlier in the week. This was a longer ski than I've ever done at this particular park. Since I joined an outdoors group, almost exactly two years ago now, I've done longer skis than I used to, so I was up for trying it. I did completely fine, so my confidence continues to increase.

#3 - I'm looking forward to a quiet evening, possibly reading Spinster : making a life of one's own by Kate Bolick. I heard a conversation with her on the Dear Sugar Podcast (by the way I highly recommend that podcast) and I liked what Bolick had to say.

"A single woman considers her life, the life of the bold single ladies who have gone before her, and the long arc of slowly changing attitudes towards women"--Provided by publisher.

#4 - I'm doing some cleaning at a historic old church where the yoga studio is temporarily holding classes while their space is remodeled. When I was there this week I kind of broke the vacuum. I was attempting to fix the vacuum as when you turned it on dust would spurt out the top. It clearly needed a new bag or something. This week I brought a vacuum from home so I could investigate the situation and clean up any mess from said investigation.

As I suspected the bag wasn't attached at all. After removing a few handful of disgustingness I tried to reattach the bag but it's an old vacuum and I really think the current bag is hopeless.

So that would be that, but when I tried to zip up the outer bag again, the zipper appeared to be broken/stuck. So now the vacuum can't be used at all as it would just shoot dust at the person vacuuming.

Anyway, I emailed the owner of the studio about my failed intervention, and as usual, she responded with grace and kindness.

#5 - My friend's knee surgery, though disheartening for her (the rehabilitation), seemed to go alright.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Guest Photographer



Photo credits: Sweet Man

#1 - Doing a walking meditation outside a public library. It took me 25 minutes to circle the building, which can be excruciating at times and beautiful at others. The library was in a suburban city center with an amphitheater with multicolored lights that I had plenty of time to enjoy at my slow pace.

#2 - Because of an exercise goal that I am pursueing (in relation to a monumetal birthday) I had a beautiful ski tonight. I would not have gone otherwise. The park near me has "poor" ski conditions and I knew it would probably be icy anywhere. But I went to one where they make snow and it was quiet and still and lovely and I was so glad to be outside.

#3 -I have also been working on writing more letters this year and recently I sent one to a friend who didn't know I was dating anyone. She emailed me today to say -

"Dear Tammy,
What I want to say after reading your letter, there is only one thing:

The tortoise beat the hare. You are the tortoise. You are going to win."

It's not the first time I've been compared to a tortoise (or turtle) in a complimentary way :).

Interesting fact I just looked up - Tortoises are land dwelling and turtles live in the water at least some time.

#4 - I recently finished Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution. If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fail. This is a book about what it takes to get back up. By Brene Brown. It was so helpful, hearing her vulnerabilities and struggles. I read one about her and her husband to the sweet man a week ago when we were having some challenges and it was reassuring to hear she was going through similar things with a man she's spent 25 years with, made me (us?) feel less alone.

"...in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance. Choosing to live and love with our whole hearts is an act of defiance. You're going to confuse, piss off, and terrify lots of people - including yourself (254)."

#5 - I love both these photos and since I've been remiss at taking nature ones recently, hopefully the sweet man won't mind. And the best part is that they were taken in the city, the sunrise on his drive to work. The snow on a walk on a cold winter day. It's nice to hang around with a guy that turns toward all seasons, turns toward everyday life.