Saturday, March 25, 2017

Of Cobras, Planks and Downward Dog

Life is busy, and truthfully I would not have it any other way.   Days are filled with work, train schedules for Rob, commencement details for Rob, work for Rob.  There are dance classes for the youngers, Scouts and sewing classes for Lissa and book club nights for KC.  I love that everyone has a lot of interests. These experiences are their choices. None of it is me deciding to fill up the hours of our days and nights.

My work is fast paced and stressful.  I typically (shhhhh!) work through my lunch. I always have plans of walking the site at lunch.  It almost never happens.

At home at night, there is a little Facebook noodling, but it is mostly house chores and then doing piece work as we work toward our dream of traveling in July of 2018.  Bottom line, is that when I get to bed I have maybe 20 minutes to read and call that "my time."  Don't get me wrong. I love to read.  I love that our life is full and rich.  But greedy little soul that I am, I craved a bit more time for myself.  Maybe--gasp--60 whole minutes for myself!

I found myself longing for last summer when I could take Zumba classes.  I love working out in a group setting, but flat out can not get up at the crack of dawn to go to a gym.  When train runs are over, I can walk in the mornings. As much as I want time for myself, I know I need 6 hours of sleep a night to be a healthy happy woman!

Enter, Hot Yoga.  I have not ever really been a yoga person.   I have dabbled in it long ago in my teen years.  Then I tried it a little at our church camping weekend.  It was fun but I think mostly because I was on the beach.  I was really super focussed on the sand under my feet and the feel of the breeze.  It made it less annoying to me that we seemed to flow soooooooooooo slowly from one pose to another.

See, I am a bit of a hyper person.  Not distractedly hyper (usually.)  But someone who doesn't do meditation well.  Someone who likes to beat book times on hikes.  Someone who loves to move.  So the slow peaceful yoga?  My wife loves it but it just isn't my thing.

One of my friends from the kids dance school told me about this new yoga class.  Ironically the studio is so near the train station that it is crazy easy for me to get to. The hot yoga class is Saturday mornings at 9 a.m.  The time is perfect for me. I have all ready been up for 2 hours and gotten the grocery shopping done by then.  The kids are old enough now to stay home for an hour when I go.

And I have discovered that hot yoga (at least at this studio) is a lot different from my other yoga experiences.  There is a lot more movement, a lot less of the tedious holding of poses until you die of boredom  until you are one with the universe or something.  The hot part is a super bonus for me.  I am almost always cold.  For about 90 minutes on Saturdays now, I am warm.  Not hot and sweaty mind you, but warm.  The heat in itself is such a joy.  OK I know that sounds weird but 95 is my temperature of choice on a summers day.

It is challenging my body, keeping me fit and limber, which is good for me physically. I have always been pretty limber and it is coming back quickly. But more importantly is the benefit of that hour to myself, with friends.  Just time for me.  Namaste!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Happy Birthday Kirsty!


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A few weeks ago, I took one of those silly Facebook quizzes about "which season are you?"  Anyone who knows me well, knows that winter is my least favorite season of the year.  I find enjoyable things about winter--mostly because I have kids, and I think that me moaning about being constantly cold could get really old quickly.

But spring and summer are my favorites.  I love fall too but it presages the dreaded winter so I am always enjoying cider and foliage and hearing in my head "yeah, just WAIT!"    However, Facebook, the "accurate" news source of our time decreed that I love winter best.  When I was speaking of this with my wife, she said "but you celebrate everything.  All.the.time."  When viewed that way, I can see why FB got it wrong.  There are a lot of festive things in the cold months and I do celebrate with an excess of abandon.

Take yesterday for instance.  My wife's birthday is actually today.  But had the weather not gifted us with a blizzard, none of us would be home today. She had several client jobs scheduled, I would have work, Rob would have school and KC had 3 dance classes tonight.  So planning ahead we decided that we would celebrate the last day of her 57th year and hold the party on Wednesday.  Wednesday is our least busy night of the week and we could safely guarantee that all would be home.  I was even able to put in for a vacation day so that I could help the littler kids get the party ready.

And party we did.  We decided on an emoji theme.  A visit to the dollar store got the supplies we needed to make the emoji face party favors and the cardboard for the placemats.  We took emoji faces that were sort of tailored to each of our personalities and mounted them on small yellow plates. I taped those to the rulers.  There are 2 faces to each favor, so you can spin it according to your feeling at the moment.  The rulers came in 3 packs for a $1.00 so this was literally a very low cost, fun to make party favor. If I was doing this as a party for kids, I would have the components to create an emoji face but they'd have to choose the sections and glue them on.  But I was doing this, "adult style!" We made the placemats with graphics I got on the computer and printed off.  After trimming the cardboard for the placemats we had nice sections left and we used those to make signs for the dining room walls.  For instance giant LOL, I heart Mom, etc.

We had my wife's favorite meal--Chinese take out from her favorite restaurant.  Then we gifted and ate cake.  There was much laughter and fun.  It was a wonderful party and a wonderful night. (insert happy emoji face here!)

Super Bowl Monday

Our company unexpectedly gave us Monday off if the Patriots won!  This of course added to the all ready high level of SuperBowl frenzy in our home.  We are a big football family and New England Patriots fans all the way.  While much of last night looked like I would be reporting to work as usual, a series of mistakes by the Falcons, some good playing and some good fortune on the part of the Patriots, and we had our 5th Superbowl win and a day off!    It was a wonderful moment to remind my kids that you keep trying always.  The Patriots could have given up and just phoned in the balance of the game at almost any point.  But they kept their focus, they kept perservering and luckily, it resulted in a win.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Womans March Weekend

The changing of the guard has happened and our country has a new president.  It has been a strange week for me emotionally.  I have felt (and still feel) that the results of this election showed me that I needed to be in meaningful dialogue with those who don't see the world through the same lens that I do.  The majority of my friends IRL and on social media do, but there are some Trump folks that I am friends with.

What shocks me is that they aren't really interested in meaningful dialogue.  In a long thread with a friend on FB the gist of his responses was that "the election is over. Get over it."  Obviously this is not what I and a number of other respondents were saying.  We voiced our fears.  I reached out and said that I wanted to know why he felt good about the result.  What great changes did he expect and look forward to.  Crickets.  Seriously.  Just more rhetoric of getting over the election and no response to the concerns that I and others shared about health care, LGBT rights, the environment, the black community etc.

Obviously this left me disheartened.  I have pretty much always avoided talking politics and religion with my friends. I feel that people share many different interests and we don't need to agree all the time but we also don't need to make each other uncomfortable.  I have since come to feel that this is not a good stance to take.  I need to share why I am concerned for my family in a Trump presidency.  I need to respectfully share why I am opposed to a number  his ideology.  But I also believe firmly that if you do  believe that things will be better I want to know why.  And how.  Because clearly I have lived for too long in my blue state bubble and now I am faced with what seems like an incomprehensible reality.

So on the heels of that rather depressive situation came a weekend where our country protested.  So many marches in so many cities.  I had friends marching in Boston, NY, Washington, KY and OH and TX.  It was a strong and powerful message sent across our country and around the world as marches of solidarity took place in other countries as well.

It is only the beginning.  There is much work to be done.  I will find a way to be part of that work.  (My daughter had commitments on Saturday that I could not back out of and no way for her to attend them if I was not there.) But this is not, and can not be, a one off event.  Our church is all ready looking at ways to organize not just our church but with other churches in our county.  The work will not be easy.  But we will be heard and we will not stay silent.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Food packing day

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It has been a busy weekend in many ways.  Yesterday KC and a lot of the members of the dance school that they participates in performed shows at the area assisted living facilities.  They were very warmly received in all venues.  He was in 3 of the numbers this year and the shows were about 45 minutes in length.  They did 4 shows in all and devoted the larger part of yesterday to giving joy in this way to the seniors of our city.  He was proud and excited to be doing this.  Last year he was only in 2 numbers, this year he was in 3.  He stressed a lot about whether or not he would slip when he did his solo in the tap number, whether he would get tired doing the lift etc etc.  He did great though.

Lissa spent from 2 to 6 yesterday outside a local big box store with her Girl Scout troop. She was helping with the cookie booth and despite the very chilly temperatures the girls did well on their sales. Lissa and I worked together on finding recipes on the net that use Girl Scout cookies and folks who bought more than 4 boxes got a free recipe book.  It was a cute little sales aid and Lissa enjoyed doing it.  I helped at the booth the last 2 hours of the day, having completed taxi duties associated with the winter show performances.  Holy handwarmers it was cold!  Lissa was fine as I had her wear her really warm winter gear--snow boots, snow pants, parka etc.  Dressed like we were doing a winter hike.  However our troop is not wealthy and many of the kids working were very lightly dressed for being outside so long.  When I came I brought extra gloves and chemical handwarmers and just left them on the end of the table so people could borrow gloves, and use the handwarmers.  They were gone in a flash.  It is one of those things you don't realize at first. In a lot of social situations it is easy to disguise the fact that there is a real fine line between having enough and just barely getting by nowadays.  But sometimes it shows.  Kids who say they only wear hoodies because of "fashion" sometimes really only wear hoodies for other reasons.

Today Lissa has a "hang out" (we have apparently reached the age where we are too cool to have a play date) with her friend L.  I'll pick her up at 3:30 and she and KC and i will head to the food packing center.  Both kids were initially thrilled to do this.  Today not so much; primarily because KC is a bit tired from yesterday and because it made for a shorter time for Lissa and her friend to be together today.  However I have been impervious to their half hearted suggestions that we not go.

First of all, I believe in showing up when you say you will and I did check with them before I signed up our team. Secondly, I think the energy of the event will come through to them.  I have done the United Day of Caring with my work team and you can't help but get energized because to be in community with so many people excited to help others---well, it is pretty cool.  But most importantly, I think it is important to find a variety of ways to help others.  This is a way to give of service and I am convinced that service needs to be a component in creating a more fair and just world.  It isn't just about writing a check or dropping off a donation.  Those are fine. They are needed and there are times when I have contributed in that way as well. But we also need to be willing to work for a better world, and a fairer distribution of that which we all need in order to live.  So I hope today will help my two youngest see that and I'm more than willing to plan another "hang out" time for Lissa and her friend!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Farewell Pres. Obama and my take away

I watched President Obama's final address last night.  I was very emotionally moved by it.  I remember the joy I felt 8 years ago when he won his first term.  He was so classy, he had such vision, he was articulate.  He was BLACK.  He was from Chicago.  He was proof to my children that anyone of any color can reach for the stars and grab hold of them.

Throughout his administration I was never ashamed of the actions of his administration.  He spoke and acted with thought.  His kids weren't in the news for doing things they shouldn't.  His wife, was the most amazing First Lady of my remembered life time.  His presidency was for me, how my parents felt about JFK.

His closing address never wavered from that bar of civility and class that he set so very high from day one.  He didn't encourage negative sounds from the crowd when talk turned to the new administration. No "going low" he "went high" all the way.

I have great fears surrounding the Trump presidency. I worry that he will surround himself with people whose sole purpose is to dismantle the freedoms that have been so hard won for so many.  I worry that those all ready marginalized will be even more so.   I worry for those whose health care while imperfect, has been far better with the Affordable Care Act.  I worry for the rights of women to choose freely what happens to their own bodies.  I worry that as a country we will no longer be seen as wise and--well--important to the rest of the world. I worry that wrong choices by those in power will ultimately be a financial and environmental price that are paid for by my children.

Yet worrying can do little. So I try to spend a small amount of time acknowledging these concerns, validating their realness.  I spend a lot more time, figuring out what I can do.  How i can live my life in a positive meaningful way that lives out my personal values, and that does what i can to ensure the rights of others.

Part of that will happen Monday afternoon and evening as the kids and I volunteer with the United Way to package food for those who would not eat other wise.  A staggering number of children are "food insecure" in our country.  I personally know what it is like to wonder when you will eat next.  I remember hiding the fact that I didn't really have food in my house when I first went out on my own.  I didn't want others to know that all I had was one bag of potatos and food for my cat. To this day, a full pantry makes me smile and feel safe.  There are too many people without that feeling of safety.  I can help.  I can teach my kids that they can help, that when we have enough to get by we can and should reach out and give a little more to those who don't.

My other take away was that I need to have more conversations with the people who don't believe as I do.  This is harder for me than volunteering and giving of myself.  I don't like arguments.  I don't like listening to words that sound hateful, or bigoted or flat out illogical.  Additionally I live in one of the bluest of the blue states.  I think that the only Trump supporters I have actually met can be counted on one hand. But I may be wrong.  Maybe they are as afraid of dialogue as i have been and we have been politely ignoring each other, to our detriment.

I know I can not support the ideology of this adminstration, but I need to understand those who did. We all need to.  Because if it really was out of work white workers who were Trump supporters, or gray haired ladies who remembered the 50s fondly or whatever, we need to talk.  I need to know how they think this will be better.  I need to know what CAN be better,with or without a Trump.  I think that is the only way we can move forward, toward that illusive "greatness" that became a slogan in a campaign that will be remembered for years to come.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Little Aggravations. . . large blessings

It has been a tough, albeit short, work week.  A dear coworker and his wife tragically lost their son two nights ago to an asthma attack. Their son was young and healthy (mid 20's) and had successfully managed asthma his whole life.  Yet in a blink, he was gone.


I can't wrap my mind around this.  I don't know what to say to them.  My coworker and his wife stopped in to the office today and all we could do was cry together.  Which seems counter productive to my "fix-it" nature, but I suspect it is all anyone can do. They are handling the routine affairs, sleepwalking through the things that are required when someone passes.  Grieving with someone is also necessary.  So I sat at my desk, all blotchy and red nosed (I am the ugliest crier EVER!).


Last night Rob asked if he could stay out late after work.  His girlfriend had invited him over and he would, he said, be home a bit after midnight.  My wife sighed.  Rob coming in, even when he tries to be really quiet, results in the puppy barking like a maniac for a few seconds.  Not long, but just long  enough to waken my wife who has trouble returning to sleep.


I am normally pretty sympathetic to her.  She and I both have crazy levels of work demands and I get her need for sleep.  Last night though, all I could say to her was how lucky we are that he was going to walk in the door at midnight.  We have friends who would give anything right now to get awakened at midnight with their son coming home.  We are blessed.