Another Workout, In Which Our Heroine Learns Perserverance

now the real work is beginning. the first time was enchanting. i was so excited to be there, so intrigued by the newness of it. the charm held, even after the First Fall. the exhaustion was alluring and I didn’t really feel it.

this past saturday was a different story–training really kicked my tail. we did squat pyramids, which involve increasing timed squats. We did fall drills, where we practiced a baseball slide (fall) and I ended up bruising my right hip (it was awesome). We had a serious warm up, stroke challenges, stepping & cross-over challenges. and by the end, were skating backwards in anticipation of next week’s lesson/practice.

it was hard. i sweated a lot, had to take a few breaks. my thighs burned, i have a few bruises and scrapes (before I’ve even hit anyone!) and my head ached. and it was great. i love a good workout that pushes me that hard. my feet went numb at one point, and I have a hard time with crossing-over/up the track, but the whole time I was just so glad to be there. my favorite part about it is how I think “I can’t actually do that, she-makes-it looks-easy-but-I-know-that’s-hard”, and then we practice it for ten minutes and suddenly I too, can slide down into a perfect baseball slide fall. like. a. BOSS.

but.

there comes a point each week, when Lacy is demonstrating those incredible skating maneuvers (skating backwards, skating sideways, stopping on a dime, doing a box turn), or describing how useful a plow stop can be (the basis for several advanced derby techniques) when I start feeling overwhelmed. There is so much to learn. There is so much I don’t know. I don’t even know how much I don’t know!

My friend Theresa (wisely) pointed out that even though we have so much to learn, we should be excited, because that means we have years to master it. She has such a great perspective on it–learning how to do it is just as fun as doing it, and the more we have to learn, the longer we get to be involved with this. Which is true, and I”m so glad to have a friend who is just as derby-headed about the thing as I am. We’re keeping each other engaged and involved.

I just happen to be a little impatient. I don’t want to spend years in preparation to do it–I want to be in there doing it! I am not excited about the idea of empty months in between “official” derby training boot camps or tryouts. I want to be around other girls who are just as excited about it, other girls who want it and are willing to work for it. I know myself, I know I work best on momentum and a slight degree of vanity–it’s why exercise classes are so much better for me than a treadmill. I need someone to keep pushing me. I’m not afraid to admit I can be a little lazy, and having a coach helps me.

So now my goal is to be completely ready to for tryouts for the New Girl Training League, whenever that may be. I don’t want to feel unprepared if they’re in a month, and I still can’t manage a proper T-Stop. I need to live in my skates so I can be so comfortable with them that I can focus on learning plays and skills instead of the basics. My plan is to spend at least three nights a week skating at the nearby elementary school, practicing basics and getting as comfortable on my skates as possible. I can’t just strap them on on Saturday mornings only. It means I have to commit. If I’m going to do this, I need to do it all the way. I want to do it right. It means eating like an athlete–protein after a workout, cut down the chocolate, more nutrients in every meal. Keeping my salts in balance, drinking plenty of water, plenty of sleep, making sure I have time to recover properly. Skating, stretching, and practicing whenever I can. 

This is what I want. I watched a documentary this weekend about the Seattle revival of flat-track derby, and it was, again, so inspiring. There was a part of me that was like, “ok, I’m not where they are yet, but I want to be, and I’m already started down this path, so one day, that’ll be me too!” And it still isn’t the costumes, the booty shorts, or the dramatic make-up. It’s the courage, the brass-balls, the absolute nerve of these women to be awesome and look awesome doing it. it’s the same thing that led me to pledge ZZZ in college–girls who were unequivocally unafraid to be themselves and own who they are.

bring it on.

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Books

“the time has come,”
the walrus said,
“to talk of many things–
of shoes, of ships, of sealing wax,
of cabbages, and kings.
And why the sea is boiling hot,
and whether pigs have wings!”

-Lewis Carroll, but I remember it from ‘Harriet the Spy’

Did you ever read this book? I loved it as a kid. I’ve been thinking of re-reading it, to reacquaint myself with the girl who writes EVERYTHING down in her notebook (and this was BEFORE the internet/blogging/Facebook era and it was still considered creepy and rude). That, and the Wayside School series (like this and this), the Ramona books, and several others. Of course, there’s the fear that maybe they won’t be as good as when I loved them as a child, the way that some movies have disappointed me as an adult.

But reading as an adult has been it’s own rewarding experience as well. I more easily comprehend inclinations and thought processes, empathize with emotions, and follow the plot than when I was a child. Some things haven’t changed, however–I still enjoy it as much as ever. I’ve been on a reading binge lately. Since I sit in front of the computer 40 hours a week, when I go home I try hard not to turn on my desktop unless jon and I will be watching something off netflix. I’ve found more time in the evenings to do what I truly enjoy–immerse myself in another world.

Here’s what I’ve been enjoying lately:

(Rereading) the Lorien Legacies series
His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik
Bonk by Mary Roach (WOW.)
Blink, and The Tipping Point, both by Malcolm Gladwell
The Town That Food Saved by Ben Hewitt
The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS TO EVERYONE)

That’s the last few months or so. But if I’m being honest here, I start a lot of books, but finishing them is another story (ha! pun!). My mother once told me that if she can’t get into a book by the first few chapters, she doesn’t bother, because she wasted a lot of time when she was younger reading boring books and she’s not into that anymore. I agree with her whole-heartedly–there are billions of books in the world, and probably millions of those that I would enjoy reading. So I don’t feel guilty. I’ve discarded several books this last month that just didn’t sit well with me. They were boring, or I didn’t like the overall environment, or I didn’t like the point-of-view.  It’s like my friend Deidre says, there’s plenty of sad in this world. why would you want to borrow someone else’s?

not that there aren’t plenty of good lessons to be learned from sorrow, it’s just that i’m not interested in bringing negativity into my evening source of comfort. When I read, I am totally in that world. I carry those characters around with me for days (literally and figuratively). The mood of my dreams is set by the imagery I’m feeding it–and a presidential vampire-killer was not giving me happy dreams, I assure you. I’m not looking for easy bubblegum–I’m looking for lovely magic, really. I like to enter the world of dragons fighting Napoleon, two dueling magicians that can’t help but fall in love, or of teenage alien superheroes (MUCH cooler than it sounds). I enjoy the idea of gods living among humans and fighting amongst themselves for belief, or a retelling of the classic Jane Eyre. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

Have you had much time for reading lately? What book are you into right now? Any recommendations?

First Blood

first practice.

walking into the thunderdome was awe-inspiring. you know that quiet, whispery feeling when you walk onto hallowed ground? yeah, same thing. it was a big open space with hangings detailing each team and her skaters. the whole place inspired respect in me–respect that what i was about to begin was not for the faint of heart, nor was it to be lightly mocked. people work, HARD, for this sport, to be their very best and they give it their all here. there is no room for sarcasm, even as big as it is.

inside are two banked tracks. One is the game track, the same one I saw at the championships, which made me giddy enough. the other is the brand-new practice track, and is it beautiful! Freshly painted black with yellow stars, it calls you to be as bad-ass as possible. after i was fitted for my skates and put on safety gear (knees, elbows, wrists, head), i hesitantly explored the place. i haven’t been on four wheels in a while, and last time they were all in-line. So I was a little shaky, little nervous.

everything was so new–how to get on the track, to tuck in your pelvis, how to do a T-stop, the mechanics of a crossover, stretching with skates on. everything felt so new and exciting–and slightly impossible. but surprise surprise–a T-stop can be managed within 10 minutes if you’re not afraid to keep pushing it (life lesson #1!) after a few laps, however, my body remembered how to skate, the initial excitement was tempered, and i was super eager to be learn what I could about derby. poor lacy–i kept asking “why?” “what’s the purpose here?” but i wanted to know! i’d like to know why I’m doing it, because then I can better understand how to do it. if i know we’re doing these track steps to learn control, then i’m going to focus on controlling my body to better do the steps. stops are obvious, but why a plow stop vs a T-Stop? (plow stops are used as the basis for a number of more advanced moves). i feel like there’s this whole world opening up before me. but with the good, comes the painful.

near the beginning of practice, i fell. HARD. my only fall of the day, but i was really bookin’ it down the track, and lost my balance and fell backwards, which is not how you want to fall, really. I landed on my right cheek, and felt my brain bob around inside my skull. I was so nervous and shaken up by it, i started to ugly-cry. oh yeah. red face, squinty eyes, sweaty, heavy breathing. i was shaking so bad i could barely crawl off the track, and it didn’t help that everyone stopped, took a knee, and watched my humiliation without distraction. polly and lacy were super nice about it too–just wanted to make sure i was ok. i kept apologizing for being such a baby, but y’all–that HURT. and they just kept shushing my “sorry! sorry!” with “are you ok? it’s ok–falls suck” and “don’t worry about it. Are you sure you’re alright?”. Honestly I just wanted everyone to go back to skating and let me be miserable for a minute. My head hurt and when I fell backwards, i pulled a muscle in my shoulder. but never have i been so glad for a helmet!

and, i’ll never have another first fall. that was it, i got it out of the way. there’s nothing to be nervous about anymore. yeah, it hurt, but i got up and moved on. i hope i can take other falls the same way.

i’m so excited about this upcoming saturday. my safety gear should be here this week, and if i’m lucky, my helmet too! all I can think about in the evenings is how if i had my safety gear, i could go skating at the elementary school five blocks up. my friend theresa and i are working on derby names (any awesome suggestions?). i’ve got derby on the brain, my friends.

the best part is how i fit into all of this. my boyfriend, my boss, my friends–all say the same basic thing, “of course you can do this! this is so your thang!”. it’s so encouraging to feel like i can really excel at something, if i just work hard enough for it. the instructor said something  at the end of practice that made me giddy, and it’s got me so fired up. the thing about derby is this: it’s so glamorous and hardcore (as well as trashy, violent, inspiring, and larger-than-life), and those are two words i would never associate with myself.  but you know what? that doesn’t really matter. i can be glamorous and hardcore if i choose. i just have to know that there’s some sacrifice involved–hard workouts at the gym, less chocolate, even more water. big bruises maybe, stiff muscles. but it all seems so worth it.

what’s new and exciting in your world? are you trying something you thought you’d never do in a million years?

Character Study: Katherina Minola

since seeing the ballet last week of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew”, i’ve been thinking about Katherina Minola, the titular character. As i watched the simplified story unfold, I started thinking more and more WHY Kate would be so cruel, so heartless, even to her own sister. Why was she such a bitch?

So I tried to put myself in her shoes. I had to remind myself that the social attitude was much different towards women than it is now. They were property, chattell, bargaining chips. From a woman’s perspective, Kate’s behavior begins to make more sense. The common understanding is that she’s a shrew, therefore no one wants to marry her. But I think it’s the other way around, or at worst, a vicious cycle. I think she’s bitter because no one wants to marry her. She becomes less and less appealing as that continued rejection feeds her bitterness.

Since her father has dictated no one can marry her younger sister until Kate is hitched, she is stuck in this place of being pressured to get married by her father and sister, but the reality of no one wanting her. That pressure builds as her sister is constantly pursued by suitors but she isn’t. What woman The question here is her father’s edict.  Did he forbid Bianca’s marriage before Kate was mean? Or after?

I suspect it was before. To a man in his position, (and I believe it’s enforced in the actual text, but I can’t remember) if he dies and leaves Kate an old maid, she won’t be cared for. In a way, he is protecting her future, as well as the future of his estate. I don’t think he’s a bad guy, really. And he knows that Bianca will be snapped up quickly, so he doesn’t need to worry about her. Kate, however–as an aging woman in a time when people died young, does not have the luxury of time. At the risk of having BOTH daughters die spinsters, her father is avoiding the certainty of being stuck with at least one. 

But this edict probably came after a few years of no suitors, of hope slowly fading for both Kate and her father. As soon as boys started showing interest in Bianca, the wheels in his head probably started turning. That’s gotta hurt. Knowing your father sees you as unable to get a husband on your own. Thinking that he sees you as un-marry-able. Feeling an acknowledgement of something she’d long feared–men just don’t like her. This means Katherine’s been dealing with rejection from the world, and then her own family, for a long time. I can see that hardening anyone’s heart.

She’s learned to believe that no man will want her. In an effort to prove she’s not afraid or to show it doesn’t bother her, she clothes herself in spite and meanness. So she grows ever meaner, and in doing so builds an even thicker wall between herself and the world. She doesn’t want people to saw it’s because she doesn’t have much to offer a man–it’s easier to hear it’s because she’s a bitch. She’d rather be too much than not enough. She doesn’t want their pity, she wants their respect. And they’re not going to give it to a pathetic spinster.

But then I wondered why she’s so mean to her little sister. It isn’t Bianca’s fault no one wants to marry her. But if you think about it, it’s a little clearer. If both girls are still of marriageable age, they can’t be but a few years apart, both still in their teens. I don’t think it’s because she’s ugly or mean-spirited (at the start). It’s probable that every time a man sees Kate, he sees her prettier, younger sister standing behind her, waiting in the wings. And sure, Kate comes with a dowry, but so does Bianca, AND she’s hot to boot. Kate’s not stupid–she knows Bianca is the one men really want. Of course she’s jealous.  And hurt. The chasm between the sisters is only widened by their father’s creed of not-one-until-the-other. “That would hardly encourage sisterly affection”. (name that movie!)

Honestly, I can’t believe anyone is surprised by her behavior at this point. Everyone else in the play acts like they’re the victim of her rage, when she’s actually the victim of their shallowness. She’s hurting and lashing out and no one can see it. They only feed her frustration and fears with their continued rejection.

Once I sifted through the psychology behind it, my heart started to break for poor Kate (I know she’s fictitious, but she’s still a hurting woman). To feel so helpless in your own destiny, to know you’re forever condemned as the ugly older sister, to have no power and no say in a man’s world–well, those are themes any woman can relate to in today’s world. And I am not usually one to quibble over gender issues or slights to either sex, but honestly, this could only have been written by a man.

While Shakespeare may have developed and understood the sentiments behind the character of Katherina, he hardly allows his audience to feel empathy for her. Instead, a man is shown to “break her”. Not by gently wooing her. Not by attempting to understand her point-of-view. No, by domination. Refusing her food, drink, clothing, or contact with her family. Denied sleep or humanity, she finally admits that he’s got her and she was in the way of her own happiness. That true joy was only found in servitude to her husband.

I don’t buy it.

This play is absolutely the epitome of men not understanding women. Not knowing what’s going on in her head, swaggering about playing God with her sanity, denying her the basics in life.

Or maybe I’m looking at it the wrong way?

Did Petruchio remove all distractions, such as refreshment or sleep, so she could focus on other things? Did he need to show her that she truly had to let down her guard to survive? (In a literal sense–no food or drink equals death). I would like to believe so. I would like to see that he was showing her he was a man who could provide for her, who would out-stubborn her. That he was a man just as different as others as she. Was he truly intrigued by her? Did he wonder what went on underneath? Was he as barbarous to her as she was to others in order to show her what her cruelty looked truly like?

But this is a man robbed by whores. This is a man who humiliates her in front of her family and her new servants. I find myself confused by Petruchio. In the ballet, he is mostly shown as a laughing fool, making Kate look ridiculous whenever possible. How can their love be genuine when he makes no attempt to understand and empathize with her?

This weekend, I’m going to rewatch some of the older movies and recorded plays. I’d like to see how it plays out on the big screen, with Shakespeare’s wit come to life the way it was meant to. I’d like to understand Petruchio a little more. I’d like to find the human side of him. Perhaps he deserves his own character study.

roller derby is awesome.

you guys.

i had the most amazing experience on saturday night that, roughly put, has changed my life. (have i been saying that a lot lately? feels like it.)

we went to roller derby. the Texas Roller Derby Championships. to say I was inspired is to understate it. I was ENTHRALLED, it was so badass. And it had nothing to do with tattoos, piercings, fishnets, or makeup. In fact, a lot of the girls didn’t have many of the first two (however, there was plenty of the second). It was adrenaline-pumping. i screamed and clapped and hooted with the rest of them. i stood up in my seat, i rooted for my favorite jammers (Dusty Doublewide and Kategory 5, what what!), I felt the power of those thunder-thighed ladies.

most of the derby girls aren’t skinny little things. Sure, there are a few tiny jammers, but for the most part, they are girls with meat on their bones. Their curvy hips are out there doing their jobs. because in roller derby, your big booty is an ASSET. it’s hard to get past that brick wall of a woman when she’s got her 40″ hips checkin’ you into the rail. i was jazzed to be there because even though I saw the movie, I really had no clue what to expect. i knew it would be inspiring and i had a feeling i would like it. i didn’t. i LOVED it. there was so much energy and (a lot of) alcohol, but all the noise was about how amazing these women are. everyone there was celebrating how marvelous these women are for using their non-skinny, non-model-sized, totally-physical bodies.

AND THEY WERE OWNING IT.  there wasn’t one girl covered up. They were wearing spanx and booty shorts and absolutely FLAUNTING their curves. it was like they were daring ANYONE to say something about how bigger girls couldn’t pull off sexy. (but it’s like my friend Tony says–who were corsets invented for?) i couldn’t keep my eyes off of one of the jammers/pivots/blockers, because not only was her booty covered with a pair of Texas-flag shorts, she had a shirt that didn’t cover her belly. Which wasn’t flat. Girl had some little bit extra, and she was so sexy, so confident and so GOOD at her game. Her little belly didn’t slow her down or keep her from kickin’ ass. These athletes were so impressive.

i wanted that as soon as i recognized it–that confidence. how amazing that must be, to always feel that no matter what happens in the dressing room (or as I call it, the Den of Shame), it doesn’t dictate how awesome you are. these girls are sayin’ yeah, i’m amazing. yeah, i got a little more to love–so what? it doesn’t change the fact that i can lay you out in two seconds. they’re using their bodies for more than a hanger. now, i’m aware that i don’t know these girls in real life and maybe they still struggle with body issues. i just didn’t see any shame out on that track Saturday night–and that comes from daily embracing yourself, not hating.

i know most people go to those events and come away thinking, i want to do that. i can do that. i can’t imagine seeing that and NOT thinking that. there’s so many people cheering, you look amazing, and no one can say anything bad about you for wearing fishnets. you’re grouped with the hardcore because you’re getting thrown into the rail, knocked down, pushed around and generally people are out to get you. you’re rocking life.

but you guys.

want that. I can do that. I’m not interested in the costuming, I’m not there for the attention. i want it so i can be around other women who are all about putting themselves out there and embracing what their body can do, regardless of what convention says is beautiful or worthwhile. It’s why I love zumba so much, why i am drawn back again and again–i am using my hips to create beauty. no one can judge me for my dancing, and i wouldn’t care even if they did. in a much more physical way, that’s what those roller derby girls do.

that’s why, first thing this morning, i emailed the new recruits coordinator. and found out they just started a training boot camp course. For the next six Saturdays, i’ll be spending a few hours on the track, learning not only how to skate (which I’ve always been good at), but also how to stop, pivot, skate backwards, and block. i don’t know what’s next from there–there’s bound to be tryouts for the New Girl League, (which is like the training league). i’m not saying i’m going into this with a plan to be a superstar. i may not like it. i may not be able to take the hits like i want to. maybe i can’t hit back. but that’s why i’m not looking too far forward yet. I just want that AMAZING workout–that’s something i kept thinking over and over again on Saturday: What a great workout that must be! And I want to feel nothing but pride at my muscular thighs.

I want the chance to be involved with something, especially with something that I’m already good at. (seriously, in college i played roller hockey with some frat boys. i remember thinking “what’s the point of being good at skating? How could you possibly use that in real life?”). so I’m not going to sit around and wonder what if. I’m going to put myself out there, because that’s what life is about. I’m going to wake up early on Saturday mornings and skate when I’d rather snuggle under the covers. it means paying the money, buying the skates, and pursuing a training schedule. I’ve never been involved in a sport, so i’m eager to see what being on a team feels like. i can’t wait to be exhausted and sore.

there are so many layers to this. so many feelings to sift through, doubts to banish, excitement to temper. i know it’s going to be a change; i’m hoping it’s for the best. i know i’m going to learn a lot. i’m so excited for this ride.

Hello. My name is Ashley, and I’m a list-maker.

The past few weeks I’ve been thinking about the direction of my life. Am I headed in a direction I want to be? Am I learning the things I want to know? Am I developing and putting forward my best self? Or am I wasting my time in front of the television? Am I not making time for the important things in life? So I thought about sitting down to make a few lists–lists that detail what I want to accomplish in the next week, month, year, and general movement of my life. And then I thought a little about my compulsion for list-making.

I thought about how we as humans feel this need to boil our lives down to checklists. How we simplify this complexity into a list of chores waiting to be checked off. Sometimes these lists are motivational, but there is also a dark and dangerous side to them. We set these expectations for ourselves, set down parameters for what our perfect self will look like, and are then ashamed when every box isn’t checked, every to-do isn’t ta-done. 

We make a list for everything–life lists that are all-encompassing and huge, with accomplishments like marriage, children, self-employment, CEO, or wealth. “Bucket lists” that also include skydiving, Machu Picchu, and the Eiffel Tower. New Years Resolutions. Grocery lists. Renovation lists. Wish lists for Christmas. Dietary restrictions, workout regimens. We base how fulfilling our life has been on how many boxes are checked off, how many projects we finished, how many famous sights we’ve seen, how many gifts we bought or how our weekend turned out.

I am not saying there isn’t a time and a place for planning. I am a hardcore list-maker. It helps my chores get done, groceries bought, and keeps my finances in check. I even have an entire app, Evernote, that has revolutionized how I keep track of my lists and recipes. No more pieces of paper floating around my desk or couch or laundry hamper–it’s all digital, and it follows me from work to home to the doctor’s office. My complaint is that sometimes my compulsion moves from organization to OCD when I add completed things to my to-do list, just for the satisfaction of checking it off.  I want to make sure that I’m not basing my self-worth on how many lines I can cross out.

But even with all that, I still think there is value to a list. Little reminders that save me from my laziness. Nudges that say, “Remember you wanted to pickle that okra before it goes bad. Don’t forget to take the recycling out. You need garlic when you’re at the store. Your sister’s birthday is coming up, make her a card. Don’t be so angry on the road. Treat yourself nicer. Make your bed in the morning.” For me at least, it is better to maintain discipline with a list than risk than chaos without one. The trick is in learning that you’re still a good person, still a complete individual, even if you don’t finish Britain’s 100 Books, or reach the top of Mt Everest. It’s in accepting that we can have goals but that who we are, fundamentally, isn’t going to be altered by one missed Zumba class or an un-vacuumed rug. Lists should help us, not define us.

So that said, I decided to go ahead and give myself some reminders.

General Directions:

1.) Be a kinder person. Use my words to uplift and edify. This includes in traffic, when my cats break something, or when I can’t handle the tenth sales-call of the day. Do not let anger rule my head or heart. Be as free with my love and admiration as needed. Gentleness is becoming in a woman.
2.) Drink more water. Wake up early and stretch. Eat more vegetables, less cake. Zumba like nobody’s watching.
3.) Learn to love myself regardless of others’ standards of beauty. Embrace the styles I like, accept the body I have been given and use it wisely and lovingly.
4.) Explore my creative side more fully. Don’t be afraid to cut into the fabric–that’s why I bought it. Put the pen to paper. Try a new recipe and don’t worry about the calories.
5.) Live as fully in the moment as possible. Experience all emotions without reservation–love, sadness, elation, tension, discomfort.  Don’t let potential embarrassment stop me from being present in the moment.

Are you a compulsive list maker, or do you have it under control? Do you make daily lists, or life lists? What’s your list look like today?

the (real?) problem of boredom.

i have had a rough couple of days here. days where i can’t imagine why i’m so happy sometimes. days that are so boring, so lifeless. days where i just want to run away to another life. literally leave behind my family, my job, my boyfriend, my hobbies,passions, and interests. completely reinvent myself.

i hate feeling like this. i hate knowing that there are people out there with real problems, like being hungry, thirsty, cold, sick, alone, or abused. compared to them, what’s a little boredom?

but it was mind-numbing. it felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. i couldn’t see how things would change in just a few days. i didn’t want to engage with anyone–even when i was with the ones i loved, doing my normal routines. all i could feel was restlessness and an urge to do something, anything. it extended throughout my weekend and into my work day. i didn’t want to be at work, but i didn’t want to go home either, where i would face the same lack of activity.

is this a product of our society? the need to be constantly entertained, on-the-go? am i overstimulated at work? can i blame my monthly hormonal spike? (i am heavily voting yes for this one) or am i simply being lazy?  there are projects around my house that has moved past the easy stage and now require actual involvement/skill/tools/time/motivation to reach completion.

i was told by my doctor to not lift weights this week, so i couldn’t do my normal body-pump class. part of me argued to just go get on the treadmill anyway, but i had a feeling once i was at the gym i would half-ass it and not give it the umph! it needed. i made a deal with myself–if i went home, i had to pickle the okra that was going to go bad at any minute. so i ran by the grocery store, and actually ended up with everything i needed to complete a few other projects.

i headed home and deposited five bags, a bag of kitty litter, an ironing board, and my purse on the couch. that alone was overwhelming, but i soldiered on–changing into comfortable canning clothes. I made myself pull out all the food in my fridge that was on the edge–okra, peppers, squash, zucchini, carrots, and beets. i canned. i sliced and froze. i roasted, i dehydrated, i got that fridge emptied out! it felt SO. GOOD. to be in my element, to be doing something i actually enjoy, for no other reason than to do it. i have so many adorable pieces to my kitchen, acquired from the past few years of thrifting hardcore, but without use they’re just clutter. now i know that because of a few hours spent actively pursuing complete, jon will be able to enjoy spicy pickled okra, and i won’t have to throw away another slimy bag of okra.

the idea here was that i have been slacking off severely in the “feed your soul” department. I realized, during my boredom, that i’ve been neglecting to do the things that i want to do. surprise surprise, dishes and vacuuming and laundry don’t always do it for me. i enjoy shopping at the farmer’s market, but i enjoy a good meal with friends more. i haven’t canned food, sewed a new doll, or finished a painting in a long time. i think that’s where all the ennui was coming from–without attending to my soul, it was withering up and crying out for some nourishment.

i think the important thing to remember, which yes, i did forget this time, was that sometimes, i lie. it wasn’t until yesterday afternoon (about the time i thought about my parched spirit) that i had to remind myself that i don’t have to believe everything i think. this weekend was an anomaly, NOT the norm. and that sometimes, you have to put a little work in to get what you’re after. because that’s what i was really after–a little activity. 

last night was all about that. i listened to some janis ian. all that food turned out right. i found the perfect place for my now-finished piece. i took a luxurious bubble bath (after scrubbing the shower). there were fresh sheets on the bed. the evening was cool so i slept with a delicious breeze blowing in.

i woke up this morning with a sense of well-being. i didn’t even mind it was a tuesday. i spoke gently to the cats kneading my belly with their claws. i ate delicious apricot preserves on toast. and even though i got some disappointing news (no community garden plot for me, boo!), it didn’t ruin the day. it didn’t make it a total bust. i’m even considering seeing my boyfriend again.

hurrah for departing hormones!