In the past six weeks I’ve learned that one of my favorite activities is sitting around and breathing. My grandmother used to (lovingly?) refer to me as her “little lazy shit.” What she didn’t realize was that I was spending my entire childhood preparing for a jump into yoga at age 45.
And because I felt a weird burst of confidence and strength, yesterday I did this and I held it for ten seconds or so before a vein burst out of my head.
Dude. I’m not even joking (except about the vein thing).
It definitely needs some work and I’m definitely up for the challenge which means I think I just made a left turn onto Headstand Boulevard (Sirsasana!) and someday soon I will celebrate my accomplishment with a nod to my past.
Yesterday. 12:08 in the afternoon.
Quick conversation with Jeff:
I grew up in a Baptist church and the only time I heard the word Lent was when we were talking about Catholics. I may have halfheartedly “given up” Chocodiles at school as a limp-wristed high five to my Catholic friends, but I was also very much okay with eating Chocodiles in my house where no Catholic friends could see me (not because they weren’t welcome, but because I have always been the way I am now, which is unsocial and prone to sudden naps).
Anyway, seven years ago (shortly after we joined our church), our pastor talked about different ways to observe Lent. You can give something up if that’s your jam (He didn’t use the word jam. Neither do I. UNTIL NOW.), or you can choose to take something. Specifically, time. Time to reflect and time to enjoy the moment and time for silence and preparation and renewal. I don’t know if you know this, but time is my jam. (Do you think the jam thing is working for me?)
Last night we attended an event called Lights, Camera, Action! at Harper’s school. It was a celebration of art and music and movement, and it was really crowded (you know how I get when it’s really crowded) but also a crazy amount of fun. Hundreds of kids were jumping rope and making kazoos out of popsicle sticks and taping the principal to the wall and participating in a drum circle.
(At one point during the drum circle, the music teacher started playing Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads, and a little boy who had probably never heard the song before was totally feeling it.)
The main reason we attended the event was because Harper performed in a jump rope group and a ukulele ensemble and she also volunteered to help with the popsicle kazoo thing. (She gets her confidence from Jeff. 100%.) I’m so glad Harper is Harper because: What a great way to spend a Tuesday night.
(I flirted with a skeleton.)
(He was into it.)
On the way home from Lights, Camera, Action! I made Jeff drive by the frozen yogurt place so we could indulge in some Shrove Tuesday Madness, where madness is pistachio yogurt with pineapple and blackberries.
Me: This Lent thing! The year is going too quickly! I haven’t had time to think about how to approach it!
Jeff: How about writing at Fluid Pudding every day until Easter? You could call it NaBloPoLenta!
When you look at my days, today is really no different than any other Tuesday except that it sort of is. I finished my 30 day Yoga Camp this morning, and I became unexpectedly emotional at the final Namaste, and let’s just back up a stinking minute here, people. Please don’t send me articles about how yoga will steal my Jesus and turn me into a Hindu Muslim Buddhist Terrorist.
Okay. Inhale. Release.
I’ve done 30 day clean eating challenges and crunch challenges and squat challenges and butt challenges (I’m not making any of this up) and every one of those long and grueling challenges made me throw my fist to the sky when the 30 days were up. When Yoga Camp was over, I didn’t feel the relief of completion. Instead, I felt like my vacation was over before I was ready to come home. SO, tomorrow I’ll be starting my second 30 day challenge. (I highly recommend Yoga With Adriene, and I’m cringing at my use of the word Highly because I’m trying to be more careful with unnecessary adverbs and adjectives. It’s a very long story. It’s a long story. It’s a story.)
After getting off of the mat this morning I threw on jeans and eyeshadow and drove 20 miles in the rain for a B12 shot. As I drove, I drank a caramel macchiato and listened to The Nightingale which is WWII historical fiction and I’m not yet loving it, but I’m finding that listening to it sometimes makes me think with a German accent which is both confusing and great fun. Ich bin müde!
After returning home from my shot, I ate a salted avocado and read Harper’s classroom’s greatest wish journal.
Ah, the greatest wish journal. It’s a whole class journal in which the students write paragraphs describing their greatest wish. This is Harper’s week to write. (Fourteen kids have already written.) The journal starts off with a boy who wants to buy all of the cars and then make a fortune by reselling them (except for the nasty ones that will find their way to a junk yard). One boy’s greatest wish is to “…have a happy family, have a good life, and live until I’m 100 and still be active just with a cane.” A few of the girls want to run bakeries or be veterinarians or famous volleyball players. One girl wants to be rich but not let it go to her head. More than one boy mentioned wanting to be a good father.
The thing that warmed my typically tepid cockles? The following paragraph, written by a boy whose first dream is to become a neurosurgeon because he would love to be able to save a life.
“Finally, I would like to win the Powerball when it’s up to a billion dollars. I have always dreamed of being a billionaire. I could help people that are struggling to survive in other countries if I had that amount of money.”
Today I’m a soft rainy puddle of hopefulness. Also, my heels now touch the floor during downward dog. I can handle whatever happens knowing that things just keep happening and happening. How I respond is up to me.
A few days back I noticed that my final pair of shortie white socks had a hole in them, so I jumped over to Amazon and ordered 12 socks which is also 6 pairs of socks. Imagine my surprise when the UPS man delivered 12 PAIRS of socks which is also 24 socks! I got all excited but then I wondered if someone was going to be in trouble for sending a double order of socks my way. Come to find out, I was never given the option of ordering 12 socks. I misread the product description because I’m old and my brain is no longer as sharp as it used to be! Such a great story, right? Not so much?
My week has been full of not so great stories. Jeff was in Tucson and the cats were very worked up about his absence so they took the opportunity to wake me hourly by attacking my feet. (Claws through two quilts can still draw blood!) Because my face is a disaster right now due to overconsumption of coffee (because it’s difficult to sleep when you are afraid you might wake up without feet), last night I drizzled olive oil over my head (thereby consecrating myself for religious service) before bed. Instead of waking up to mangled feet, I woke up to two cats licking my chin and ears. (Fun Fact: Olive oil in moderation can help with feline constipation!) My vet-grade claw trimmers will be arriving tomorrow. (I think I ordered one trimmer, and I think I’m safe because even a pair of scissors is one item and not two!) Face Update: Today I’m looking all dewy, which has everything to do with luster and nothing to do with a decimal system although I *did* go to the library today to pick up the CDs for The Nightingale so I can listen while in the car and read while at home.
Tempe posted this last week and it continues to haunt me.
(I purchased the song and I listen to it at least three times each day, mostly while looking up and to the right as if I’m contemplating something mysterious which is something I’m nearly always doing regardless of the background music.)
((I haven’t seen many people face-to-face this year. I need to fix that. In the meantime, I’m still doing yoga and practicing my lettering skills and bandaging my feet.))
(((I hope you’re the same, minus the bloody stems.)))
In 2015, Harper participated in her school’s spelling bee and although she did a great job, she didn’t want me to talk about it at Fluid Pudding.
Yesterday morning, Harper once again participated in her school’s spelling bee. Because she is now in the fifth grade, this was her final year to participate.
Harper and Meredith are two very different birds. When Meredith made it into her school spelling bees, she studied her ASS off because she wanted to win. She sat with that list of words every single night and constantly asked us to quiz her on words that were especially tricky. Harper? She was proud that she made it into the bee both years at the new school, but when it was time to study the list she wasn’t into it.
Harper: I just don’t want to be the first person out.
Me: But what if every single other person in the bee is studying like crazy?
Harper: It’s fine.
Things tend to come easily for Harper. She tested into the gifted program in kindergarten, which is the year she wrote a poem that was published in the school’s literary magazine. (She was able to read it at a reception honoring the contributors, and if you follow this link you can watch the reading. (Please know that I’m unable to watch that video without clutching my chest. (My mammogram was normal, by the way.))) Harp is currently the student council president at the new school. She tutors. She sings in the choir. She’s funny and she’s an extremely loyal friend. She doesn’t stress herself out for things like piano recitals and spelling bees, because honestly? I think she knows that in the scheme of things, it’s just sort of cool to be there. (Harper has taught me a lot. Harper continues to teach me.)
Anyway, Harper made it through 15 rounds in yesterday’s spelling bee before she was taken out by Mazel Tov. At that point, 5 of the 21 spellers remained. (I think the bee went 20 rounds before the boy who won last year won again.)
Woman Next To Me: Mazel tov? That’s a really tricky one!
Me: Not if you’re Jewish!
Me: We’re not Jewish.
Me: We go to a UCC church, but I’m a Baptist/UCC blend.
Me: Oh. I guess the bee is still happening. Thank you!
Me (to myself): Thank you? Why am I like this?
When I picked Meredith up from school, I told her that Harper made it through Round 15 before Mazel Tov did her in.
Meredith: When she gets home, I’m going to say “15 rounds is an awesome accomplishment! Mazel tov!”
If you’ve been with me for a bit, you know that I’ve been a little floopy lately with nose hoops and yoga and meditation and breathing and cat adoptions and power greens. (A side effect of my migraine preventative is impulsivity. So far, my impulses have led me toward more good than evil (also more olive oil than canola), which I believe is a natural inclination for me. I haven’t had a dead guy in my trunk for nearly two decades. (At this moment in time, my trunk is filled with old magazines and hot sauce, so I don’t really have room for People Who Need To Hide/Be Hidden.))
Bob Dylan once said, “Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you’d like to act.” Several other people have said similar things. Hell, before I even read the Dylan quote I used to try to dress like Amélie with the hope that I would eventually BECOME Amélie. Just forget the Dylan quote. (Don’t really forget it. Unless you want to. I’m not your boss.)
In November of last year, a good friend of mine sent this to me and it resonated:
I’ve probably read that quote at least 50 times in the past two months and I love it because it seems to expand on something I read several months back that asked: How different would life be if we focused on all of our senses the same way we focus on the sense of taste? Also, if I protect my time and keep good sentences in my ears will I eventually become the natural fiber wearing drama free relaxed motivator that I want to be? (What I want to be is begging for some hyphens, but I’m okay without for now.) I WANT to be a good steward of my gifts after I determine what my gifts are. I NEED to avoid too much noise.
I feel like I’m all over the place right now. Let’s just slow down a little and hang out in Tuesday for a bit.
On Tuesday morning I met up with a friend for a yoga session at a church and it looked a little something like this:
It was peaceful and perfect and it was exactly where I needed to be on Tuesday morning. Afterwards, despite the below freezing temperatures, we walked a nearby labyrinth.
(My friend is a photographer. The friend who shared the Kenyon quote is also a photographer. Both are talented and authentic and I really love knowing the people I know. You’re one of those people, you know.)
While walking the labyrinth I thought about David Bowie (obviously) and I thought about a friend whose husband recently died and I thought about how I could see my breath and how much things have changed (for everyone) in the past three years.
After the labyrinth, we enjoyed lunch at The Hot Pot where my friend told me about her chosen word for 2016. Every year she (and every member of her family) chooses a word for guidance through the next 365 days. The word she chose for 2015 was what led to us hanging out and becoming friends nearly a year ago. I won’t share her words because they’re her words, but I will say that I went home that afternoon completely jazzed about choosing a word for myself (or two words, and the reason I say “or two words” is because I chose two words. There are no rules!).
My primary word for 2016?
My secondary word for 2016?
This year I’m going to focus on letting things go. Grudges. Toxic relationships. Guilt. Stress about things that aren’t under my control. Anything I might do that could harm someone or something. Anything I might do to harm myself.
I’m also going to focus on lifting others up and to control my tendency to sit back and watch.
The combination of releasing and inspiring also connotes exhalation and inhalation.
I own seven pairs of Birkenstocks and I’m trying really hard to not use the word Journey.
What will your 2016 word be? (My tertiary word is Burrito.)
I had my annual mammogram appointment on Monday. (If you’ve never had one, I explain the entire process over here.) Anyway, my past two mammograms were abnormal which led to more scrutiny before I could receive my final Nice Chest! certificate to hang in the foyer. In other words, the dénouements of Cancer Scare 2014 and Cancer Scare 2015 were as anti-climactic as Y2K. (Thank God.) BUT, that isn’t stopping me from feeling a bit restless in 2016. I should have a letter in ten days.
As I sat in the mammogram waiting room, a woman entered the office and said the following to the receptionist:
“Hi. My mammogram appointment is scheduled for next week, but I was in the area, so I thought I would go ahead and have it done today.”
Receptionist: So, you don’t have an appointment scheduled for today?
Woman: No. My appointment is next week. BUT, I want it rescheduled for today.
Receptionist: Are you having any problems?
Woman: No. But like I said, I was in the area, so today would be better for me.
Believe it or not, they worked her in. They were booked solid, yet they worked her in and I still don’t know if I should hiss or cheer. (My grandma used to show up for appointments a few hours early with the hope that she could be worked in. This woman took Grandma to a whole new level.)
2. All About My Hair
This morning I had a haircut appointment at 9:30. For the first time in ages I took in a Dreamy Hair photo, which was sent to me by a woman who once shaved some triangles into the side of my head and then allowed me to amble around in a tiger suit. I trust her completely, even though I wasn’t allowed to attend my Uncle Ray’s funeral because of the triangles.
When I asked my tress artist (I just made that up) how long it would take to achieve the hair in the photo, she told me that I could have it in March if I was able to chill out and let it grow. This afternoon I will cast on a bright green beret to take me through the awkward stages. My next haircut is scheduled for March 5, which is 58 days away. To give myself something else on which to focus, I’ve reinserted my nose hoop and am attending yoga camp.
3. All About Yoga Camp
My headache doctor will not shoot botox into my shoulders, and although she’s cool with occasional massages she thinks I’m goofy for choosing passivity for headache relief. (Yep. I’m still getting headaches. They aren’t horrible or frequent, but they’re still there.) Anyway, she remembered that we had talked about yoga severaltimesin the past and she mentioned how she wishes I would take her advice. Then (THEN) she said, “Instead of a six month follow-up, I want you to come back in THREE months, and all we’re going to talk about is how much you are enjoying YOGA, damnit!” (I added the damnit, but I do believe it was implied.)
Anyway, because just enough people have mentioned Yoga With Adriene, I went over to her site and noticed that she was starting up a 30 day yoga camp on January 1. I’m in. Not only am I in, but I’m loving it, mainly because I really dig Adriene’s style which is very much “do what feels right” and absolutely no “your heels MUST touch the floor.” I now know enough about yoga (and myself) to know that I really hate downward dog, I really love child’s pose, and I really kick ass at lion’s breath.
I once spent New Year’s Eve watching Rattle and Hum with my sister during a snowstorm.
I once spent it eating turkey with my hands on the roof of a rented house. (My whole body was on the roof. Sometimes sentences are tricky!)
I once spent it getting dumped. That sucked.
This year I spent it hanging out with a cheap pair of fake fingernails.
Purchased at Target because I knew I had nothing going on for the next twelve hours as Harper was going to a friend’s house and Meredith was sick, it didn’t take long to figure out that these nails were going to transform me into the pretend host of a pretend television show titled Nailing It!
(Confession: Sometimes when I’m cooking and no one is around, I narrate my actions as if I’m Bobby Flay or Ree Drummond. By doing this, I’ve come to realize that these guys don’t just cook. They spin yarns. And so do I, but more literally than figuratively. Being a TV host is tricky, and that’s why I prefer a keyboard to eyeliner.)
Here are my big fake nails (BFNs) Nailing It! on the tablecloth that my sister made.
Here are my BFNs Nailing It! at pretending to receive a box that was given to us by Jeff’s mom. (It held tickets to Newsies!)
BFNs can pet a dog! Nailing It!
BFNs can hang out on my fleece snowflake pajama pants! Nailing It!
BFNs don’t care that yet another person from my high school unfriended me on Facebook, because BFNs are Nailing It! while watching Going Deep with David Rees!
(BFNs know that when someone unfriends you, it just means that you are making your views known and it’s making someone uncomfortable and they don’t value individual differences the same way you do. In other words, you’re supporting Bernie Sanders and you’re Nailing It! Mostly! Also, you’re drinking Nighty Night tea in a Vegas mug! Nailing It!)
The BFNs were trimmed and destroyed on the morning of January 1, 2016. However, I am still Nailing It!
Christmas 2015 goes down as one of my favorites. Sure, we ended up having to miss one of the family parties and my migraine meds are still lost in the mail and Harper’s “big gift” didn’t arrive so I had to brave the crowds on Christmas Eve morning to actually enter a store and it has been raining for the past three days and Henry was sick on the night of Christmas Eve so I had to skip the candlelight singing of Silent Night at church, BUT: everyone was in a great mood and I think my anti-anxiety pills are making me a better person and this stuff:
It’s Brussels sprouts and butternut squash and pecans and cranberries and maple syrup and I’ve been eating it for three days and although my digestive system is starting to wave a white flag, I’m not quite ready to say goodbye.
Harper gave me a great set of colored pencils this year and Meredith gave me the chicken cookie jar that I love. (We’ve decided to not stuff the chicken with cookies. Instead, we’re stuffing it with notecards that have recipes or restaurant names written on them. When we’re feeling hopeless about dinner, we’ll “Go to the chicken.” When a random card is drawn, no one gets to complain. Go To The Chicken!)
2015 was one of my better years. Sure, if you sit it next to Kanye West’s 2015, my 2015 was crap. BUT, if you sit it next to my 2014? 2015 sparkled!
Why did 2015 sparkle?
4. I rode a horse. I thought I wouldn’t make it from the trail back to the car and I had trouble walking for a few days, but: I climbed onto Luke and let him carry me through the mud and at one point we actually galloped.
3. Cats! We adopted some! Chip and Graham still haven’t met the dogs, but they’re cool with that. For now, they’re just hanging out upstairs knocking lotion off of tables and attacking our feet as we attempt to saw logs.
2. I worked with a health coach to change my relationship with food, and change it I did. I’m still down 20 pounds from May, and a few days back I purchased jeans in a size that makes me wonder if the jeans were mislabeled. Although using the phrase “my body” makes me cringe (it’s in a list with the following words: bottom, cream, bubblegum): my body finally looks and feels healthy. (Healthy for me. If a Victoria’s Secret Angel (???) (!!!) had my body, they would not be allowed to walk around in their underpants for pay. Lucky for me, I’m not in a position where I HAVE to walk around in my underpants for pay. Poor angels.)
((A friend of mine made this for me, and she believes that the words on the bracelet describe me, and I’m still completely floored by this. We should all have nice adjective bracelets, don’t you think?))
1. On October 29th, I had a conversation with a friend that changed everything. It’s a personal matter, and it falls within the 17% of my life that I don’t share over here, but: I’m no longer struggling to get something back that I had in 1983. (This has nothing to do with Jordache jeans and everything to do with the happiness that comes from making other people happy. This has nothing to do with walking around in my underpants with feathered wings and everything to do with, well, Jesus.) ((15 of you just rolled your eyes. That’s okay.))
This is what I would look like if the world suddenly cookiefied.
As far as 2016 goes, I’m planning on continuing to do what I do, which is everything that’s listed on the back of this shirt. (I really need to get the shirt. If I’m going to continue with pre-shrunk cotton advertising of what I believe in (Mizzou, Bernie, Black Lives Matter, etc.), this shirt mentions just about everything that’s important to me.) Now. Let’s get out there and sign up for Yoga Camp and be sane and realistic about who we want to be our next president. Eat more vegetables. Read good books. Take care of yourself and others during The Week Between (and beyond).
Although I intended to have all of my Christmas stuff taken care of well before the holiday arrived, I’ve once again failed. It’s not a big deal, because Christmas will happen regardless of my (in)ability to hit everything on the list. (I just had a long talk with my mail lady, and she told me that she often asks herself if she’s doing something because it has to be done or if she’s doing it just to get a pat on the back. If it’s a back-patter it can be skipped to give more time to the necessary things. In other words, sometime between now and Thursday, I need to go to the grocery store. Also, sometime between now and tomorrow the mail lady needs to deliver my migraine pills because right now I have only one to get me through the holidays. The End.)
These guys. Dear Lord. They run around and play all night and it’s ridiculous and adorable. Keepers, for sure.
I’ve missed hearing the sound of a cat jumping from the bed to the floor. I haven’t really missed the whole litter box thing, but sometimes I have to do things I’m not really into like chopping a bunch of apples for a weird salad or shaving my knees.
Just in case I’m not back before Christmas, I hope you have a good one and that you’re able to sing or hear Silent Night in German.