Saturday, December 31, 2011

Routine poutine

How's THAT* for motivation? Get your routine on, ladies! 

But, yes, it being that time of year, I've been thinking what I would like my routine to be. I have found it helpful to have a schedule, and a basic framework. Yes, I am the Mistress of the Obvious. Anyway, as much as I would like to be a cat (routine: sleep, watch birds out the window, kibbles, kitten freak-out, sleep), I am not. 

So, if the goals are to go on a trip, keep running, be my painfully-literal-but-diplomatic-self-with-a-fabulous home, garden, and ass, I'm going to need to build in the little things that support such goals. 

The thing I've been obsessed with for the last 24 hours is some yoga / stretching / dancing every day. And when I look at what my professed goals are, I no longer see where that fits in. This structure also makes knitting a waste of time - which is true, to a certain extent. I took up knitting / crochet to make TV-watching productive. As you could probably deduct, TV-watching does not support any of my goals. OH, MISTRESS OF THE OBVIOUS. YOU ARE SO CRUEL! 

So yeah, what's the routine again? I should be fixing, cleaning, running, or gardening right now? (Luckily, I did have writing on the original list, so I'm not REALLY wasting time right now.) Who made this list?

Okay, the routine has built-in slacker time in it. Fine. And really, as the kitties have taught us, time to watch the birdies is valuable as well. And naps. Lots of kitten naps. 

And yoga / stretching / dancing every day. Blog is twice a week. (Preferably Sunday and Wednesday.) Running is whatever. The trip is based on working and saving money. I can clean or fix something every day.  Read before bed. Garden on Saturdays. I will make a google calendar to keep track. 

New Year's, baby!!

*I have never eaten poutine. But I would like to visit Toronto or Quebec again. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Annual Review: 2011 Was Kind of a Struggle

OMG I love the end of the year. Have I mentioned the "fresh sheet of paper" theory? Probably last year. Top ten lists, mind-maps, LISTS! (you know I love lists, right?), planning, listing, sparkles! But I'm really excited this year, because I found things on the internet that support my love of such things!

This year, I am using the annual review process I found on I am also reading (from the Kindle lending library) a book about running life lessons. (Side note: it amuses and intrigues me that so many self-improvement ideas involve running. I suppose that's one of the reasons I keep trying, because there's some sort of connection that I can't fully name.) And really, that's what this blog is all about, between the whining and the dancing and thankfulness lists - what IS the meaning of life?

So, with no further ado: 2011: What went well this year?

My job: I know it's just a job. But I like to do things that I'm good at and that make a difference for others. I really do think that healthcare quality standards make things better for patients. And really simple ones, especially. It amazes me sometimes that United States National Patient Safety Goals have to include "Wash your hands" and "Make sure you have the right patient before you begin treatment", but they really do! And, colleagues that I know in my heart really care and want to do the right thing still struggle with these goals. I do feel that I'm in the right place at the right time, for once.

My health: no new cancer. This is more of a happy coincidence than the result of anything I've done. Next year, I will try harder.

Travel: I went to New Orleans (and I still haven't uploaded the pictures). It was amazing, and not what I assumed at all. I forgive you, South.

Voice: Not singing. But in the heat of some discussions (at work and at home), some voice of truth came out of me. I did not know the words. I should have listened closer, honestly. But I was happy it was there, and I look forward to hearing it more.

Dance: I love dancing. There, I said it out loud. And it means something, in the world. Have you seen this?
So inspiring.

What did not go well?
My garden: too much time online, not enough outside. I will correct that next year.

Running: I kind of dropped out. But like I said above, it appears to be important. I do like it. I just don't love it enough to be obsessed. I think if I sneak up on it, and very casually regard it and hold hands, we can do it again.

Relationship: Being married is hard. I think every mature human in a relationship knows this, but goes for the dumb fairy tale of yore every time. "Marriage" is a gatekeeper, Chris Gillebeau! I'm not sure what to do about it, except realize that I've paid the toll and we're on the road and we'll see where it goes.

Friendships: I'm good at hanging out. I'm not so good at being there. I will try harder for anyone who deserves it this year. I would love to be able to drop the "deserves it" clause, but the scar tissue makes me kind of thick sometimes.

My job: I have briefly succumbed to showing up. I want to be there, too. If I want to be there. You know.

Almost there: GOAL!!!!(s) for 2012. The theme? Small Change, Big Pay-Off.

My job: I will put the passion back by doing what I'm good at - literal, focused analysis with the big picture in mind.

My health: I will sneak the running back. I will remember that I never overeat anymore.

Travel: I want to go to Belgium / Netherlands / Luxembourg in the fall of 2012. There. I said it. 7 -10 days. Investigation begins now.

Voice: I will listen to the voice. Unless it's a voice about cookies or something.

House: I will fix things that are broken. This will make a pleasant environment.

Write: I will keep this blog up! Add pictures! Once a week!!! Exclamation makes it happen.

Dance: I will do a tribal solo at the August show. I will gain confidence by just dancing to my own music at home once a week.

Garden: I have seen the internet. I will then go outside, even if it's only 15 minutes of weeding or pruning.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Well, the costuming frenzy is over for now. Here is one of the performances from our hafla last week. I made the tassel belt and harem pants that I wear. The sewing machine has been out since early October in almost constant use.

I learned a lot from this performance. In this video, I can spot plenty of screw-ups on my performance of the choreography. But good part is, I did not grimace. I did not stop. I looked the audience in the eye and said "Oh yeah?" I'm not really grimacing now that I see it after the fact, either. This is progress! I have "found whiz"!

For a minute, anyway. Always moving forward. I'd be interested in getting a serger, or just knitting for a while. What about making my own costume with beading? I would like to do a solo performance this year. Moving forward and BUILDING, not just another blank page.

I wish I had a video of the other group performance, with the other costume.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Experiments in Walking

(picture from last year - I just realized this blog is getting a little text-heavy).

If you want to really bother people for reasons they can't pin down, try walking differently. It's been quite interesting to observe the reactions to a change that should only affect me, yet drives others crazy.

I went to a belly dance workshop Halloween weekend with Tempest. She was giving a lot of performance tips and really just daily practice ideas (which is what I was lacking) and one of them was to walk toe-heel EVERYWHERE (to improve posture, dancer's poise, stop yourself from stepping on something regrettable before your full body weight is on it, etc.). Perhaps the same weekend, I read an article in the New York Times Magazine about running form, which was also about the negatives of a heavy heel strike.

So I started stomping around my office differently. I think it's most annoying there because of the tile floors and my heels. People accused me of trying to sneak up on them, as it's a much different heel noise. It's also kind of hard with heels, but I think I've got it worked out now.

I also use it when shopping, and I notice that it draws a lot more attention. Or maybe it's that I'm looking for reaction, and therefore find it, I don't know. It makes me much more conscious of walking, so that's part of it.

I've also tried it walking downtown with sneakers, and it's much harder then! It's like I can't go fast enough. A lot of the effort seems to come from the lower abdomen instead of the calf pushing off, which is at least different. I also use it for a break while running.

I do think it's changed my leg quite a bit. I see more muscle in the back of my leg than before (but that could have been the tights I was wearing - I have no measurements or anything).  I do feel the jarring now with the traditional heel-toe walk. It just feels more graceful. I think I'm going to stick with it.

The funniest part to me is that Richard hasn't really noticed. But then, how often do you see your wife walking? Especially if your wife is me - I'm more likely to be loafing. But yeah, the co-workers think I'm crazy (my mistake for explaining my theories and experiments). Random passers-by probably just can't figure out what's different, or are wondering when the dancing begins. Which I like, actually.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mean Girls

Newsflash: High school is over. They can't send you back. It's time to act like a grown-up.

Sorry about the lecture. It is mostly directed at myself. I know that I'm being immature when I use the word "grown-up". But I've been through a few things recently that reminded me to act my age, not my shoe size, maybe we should do the whirl...

Oops. Song from high school. Those probably aren't quite the lyrics, either. I was LITERALLY brought back to high school from hauling out an old yearbook. One of my co-workers graduated in my class, and she hadn't seen it years. She had kind of a rough time, got pregnant as a junior and felt shunned the rest of the time. So I brought it in for her to look at.

Of course, I previewed it first. Because apparently I was a mean girl! Most shocking to myself, I drew an "A" on the collar of a younger girl. You know, for "Adulteress". (I'm surprised Literal Teenage Liz didn't find a red pen to draw it....) It wasn't even anyone I remember, let alone remember being mean to me, which might have been forgivable.

But it's really not forgivable. I can respect that not everyone has to like each other. But I want to stop judging. Put down the red pen. I want to be able to say, Huh, that's interesting.

So, the preview showed that I was a jerk, but at least I hadn't marked up my co-worker's photo (unlike the Junior yearbook, where I had helpfully pointed out in blue Bic that the way the top of her hair poufed it made it her look like a Conehead. I actually remember feeling ashamed of that at the time, since I have known her since 5th grade). We pointed out some people that were mean to us (forgive!), we remembered some bad hair, we laughed, we cried, we rubbed bitter salt on ourselves, we got kind of evasive, and then I took the book back home where it should (must!) stay.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


This post has almost nothing to do with Maxim, the magazine. Except for this - as I was muddling around on Cande's phone last night, trying to find a picture of the belly dance costume I may want to purchase, Carol says glancing at the pictures, "Those look like something you shouldn't wear in public."

But my theory is, it's like being at the beach - everyone else is dressed inappropriately for any other situation, so we all just deal and drop the judgement, right? Except that since it's dance, there's an audience and performers, and since it's middle eastern dance, only the performers are dressed inappropriately and subject to judgement? I need to purchase my very first oriental belly dance costume for the Christmas hafla (wanna come? I can get you tickets! Let me know.). It's important that I feel and look happy. In public.

So, here's what I'm thinking of wearing in public:

I like the fringe, I like silver coins, I like that I can get different skirts for different looks. It also comes in comically over-sized boob sizes, which is VERY VERY important to me. 

For some reason, choice #2 does not want me to post a picture. I will try anyway. Let's just say, more expensive, more fringe, more color? I like color. It's not so stereotypically belly dancer-y. 

Maximizing is the corner of perfectionism that I live in. I tend to spend a lot of time picking things out, obsessing about exploring ALL of the options, and then repeatedly whacking myself upside the head if I feel even slightly dissatisfied with my final choice. I do realize that the modern marketplace is designed to make me dissatisfied with my choice, so I can get another one, or keep shopping anyway. I had read an article in Psychology Today on vacation about some strategies to STOP doing these things (pick the first acceptable choice and stop looking, just stick to reliable past choices for routine items, etc.) and I was so looking forward to being happy. 

But some choices are just too important to just pick the first option. Like this house, for example. It's been one of my greatest regrets that we didn't look harder. I shouldn't even second guess it. I own a house. It's perfectly serviceable and inexpensive. Roof. Floors. Yard. Nothing wrong with it at all. Except I always think I could have done better. But nope, we looked at only one house. And then we put in an offer in and everything just kind of came together after that. 

So, I'm going to sleep on this costume idea. One more night. One more dream. (I dreamed that I bought two costumes while staying in a strange hotel with community bathrooms. When I got back to my room, the 2nd costume was gone. And it was my favorite, I discovered when it was gone.) Your input is helpful too. (I realize I will look NOTHING like either one of these models.) I am going to maximize this shopping experience one more time, and not just because it's no small amount of money. Because it is pleasurable. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Do you know what happened after September 11?

September 12.

It's a story that I heard once about some friends that tried to drive to Canada from Michigan (which it's true, used to be no big deal) and then realized pretty much immediately that it wasn't as easy as it used to be. U-turn. The U.S. Customs gave them a really hard time about it when they tried to claim they didn't know they needed a passport to go to freakin' Canada. "DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED AFTER SEPTEMBER 11???"  one of the customs officials demanded. They didn't have answer. My smart-alecky answer is above. Good thing I wasn't there, or I may have never returned to the U.S.

So, I last posted September 11. It's now November. Of course, a lot has happened. I went on a fabulous trip. Passed the annual aging mark. Did a lot of tough talking to Mr. Middle-Age Crisis. My dad got married. And I realized that I was getting all dull and dented in the process. So, I started the grateful list again. I can't remember what number we're on. I'll just start with 1, for November 1, to keep myself on track again.

11/1/11 - Belly dance class. Tribal. Love it. I'm still getting better. Twice a week, and I still would do more.
11/2/11 - I went for a run in the beautiful fall weather. I still got it.
11/3/11 - I had an excellent talk with Richard. He's melting down. But it's all good.
11/4/11 - Richard had a show hanging at the art hop, and an excellent turn out for the reception. It was like a wedding, in that everyone you loved that had always supported you was there. Very lovely.
11/5/11 -The fabulous fall weather continued, so we went for a bike ride. We use the same route frequently. I usually get kind of excited about the cows, but the llamas were out! Oh, how I want to hug their long necks.
11/6/11 - Yard work was done. Felt good to be outside and productive.
11/7/11 - I started a craft project. Although it is turning out quite awful, it will be good practice for the real one. (It's a belly dance belt.)
11/8/11 - Cried my eyes out last night, talking with Richard again. Yes, the breaking / melting requires lots of talking. I was just glad to note that I still have emotions, and I can access them. I'm alive!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Consider forgiveness?

I was pleasantly surprised that the facebook friends on my list weren't too 9/11 today. I wasn't sure if I could handle 100 posts of remembrance. That sounds so petty. Yes, I am aware it's not about me. But it really just feels like it's time to move on.

And that doesn't mean "forget". Oh, the NEVER FORGET! Who is really going to forget? It seems like the sentence is incomplete, and the complete sentence they want is, "Never forget to hate the other!" I think it's unfinished because many aren't going to agree with that statement.

Who is the Other, anyway? Just as it would be stupid to blame an entire religion (not even by sect, because then we'd have to study it and try to understand), we cannot name the other because then the whole thing falls apart.

So, I quit agreeing. It's time to forgive. And possibly even forget. Not because any one's life is worth nothing, or worth more than a certain other person's life, but because in this instance, the forget implies not holding the grudge.

Yes, I was hurt and shocked and scared and amazed that day. But from my own life, and observation, I have seen how holding the grudge hurts more. So I am dropping it. Won't you join me? Do you really agree to Never Stop Hating the Other for What They Did To Us?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pet me.

I was just thinking how the need to be liked is behind every action for me. It's quite ridiculous. But I don't know any other way to be. I suppose this latest blog theme (the gratefulness) is an attempt to make known that I like you, too. All of you,  even if you're:

  • This weather. Dryer, cooler, temperate. I love you. Please stay.
  • The smell of Westnedge Creek, noted while running past all kinds of somewhat icky smells (dead animals? asphalt?)
  • My new husband. The same man I've been married to for almost 18 years, who turned back into the man I married.
  • Any time I can spend in the garden. Even if it's just pulling out clover.
  • Hmmm. This is interesting. My notebook says, "Work success and foreigners". I have no idea what that means any more.
  • More work success. THE big-ass project I've been working finally came to fruition, and it was good.
  • And therefore, they sent me flowers the following day.
  • Talented ladies. You know who you are. Well, somehow I've surrounded myself with them, so maybe you don't. But if you can sing, play guitar, paint, crochet, knit, run an agency, get out of bed in the morning, etc., I have the utmost respect for you.
  • Graduation from the surgeon. I saw the surgeon who removed my thyroid last week. He answered my questions, and graduated me. Goodbye, Dr. Surgery Robot! I will actually kind of miss him. But not enough to grow my thyroid back, if you follow me.
  • I am an artsy-fartsy weirdo who at least doesn't walk a pot-bellied pig down the street. Thank you, kind co-workers, for sharing those impressions.
  • And finally, mowing the lawn while thunder booms in the distance. Summer. Green clippings. Lovely.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

And yet, it was the best week in recent memory.

Slapping Hostess texted to apologize. As I suspected, she was just worked up and I was in the wrong place. I'm sure there's something deeper going on there (I am really bad about staying in contact....), but I encourage her to use her words, and not her hands.

So, now grateful for two awesome days at work, an evening at the beach (finally!), seeing old friends Tim and Tracy, and stone fruits. I just got back from the farmer's market with extra nectarines for our annual back-to-school clothes shopping extravaganza. And a thunderstorm, to make it all cozy.

My plan for the afternoon is to can some peaches to gift on our upcoming trip to New Orleans. For some reason, I am afraid to buy the bourbon. I've never bought it before. It seems kind of against the rules or something. I also need vanilla beans, which are not easy to find.

Why the Buddha, bear and rock? Why not? Who knows what other treasures are buried in your yard?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Grateful this doesn't happen every day?

Unfortunate weekend. Kelly's bike seat was mangled while she left it chained up outside, mean things were said at a party, and then the party ended with me getting slapped by the drunk hostess. I don't really think these things were related, but the moon was waxing the whole time. The Slapping Hostess has taught me many lessons in my recent life, although this is the first time she's slapped me. I'm just trying to figure out what is the lesson this time.

Option 1: Whisky makes people mean. Move away when you aren't having fun anymore.
Option 2: There is very little fun available after midnight. It's best to just go home.
Option 3: Or, a social life that involves hanging out with very very drunk people after midnight will get you in trouble eventually. Move away.

I note that "moving away" is the theme here. It is one of my favorite things to do. Effective. I don't really think that "confronting" Slapping Hostess would be useful at all, as she's just a messenger, in the larger picture. I am old enough to go to choose the parties that don't involve standing around holding a can of beer. I have been trying to avoid some of these people since high school. It's time to make it stick, I suppose.

I think Kelly will get her bike seat fixed. Mean things - well, it happens. Time to broadcast nice things for a while. And I'm okay. I know what to do. Thanks for listening.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Good news!

I can't even keep up with the gratefulness. The bad news is that I'm wasting a lot of time on the computer nonetheless. not writing about any of these topics. But here's a catch up list of what I've noted.

30. Cars
31. Co-workers
32. Cell phones
33. Air conditioning
34. Espresso shake
35. Dance party
36. Pool party
37. Vacation is booked. NOLA!
38. Bras.
39. Sunrise on the dry cleaner
40. Forgiveness for stupidity
41. Passive aggression
42. Over the Edge nail color by Essie
43. Art

44. Photo peace. I say this because I was wearing my new-ish red skirt today, and got a compliment from a co-worker about how I always "look nice" and have a "retro" style. As is the female way, I tried to accept and deflect this compliment by making lots of excuses about trying to rotate all my clothes, or that my grandma used to sew so I became obsessed at that point, or something. But when I really analyze it, I think it's because of the Wardrobe Remix group on flickr.

I just watched for a while. Also, keep in mind the group was not 17,000 strong yet! But I started taking self-portraits with the timer on my camera. Then I posted a few. I really wasn't one of the favorites, but I learned to use the camera as a mirror and it served me well in the long run. Especially because prior to digital or self portraiture, all photos of me were awkward and uncomfortable. Now, I am much more relaxed. It's not just because you can delete them, but it really doesn't bother me like it did as a teenager, or a young woman.

So shoot me! I don't care. I like to wear red, black, and striped things. My hair looks better up. I don't have to smile.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Grateful 26-33

26. My ass. For sitting.
27. My new bike skirt, for protecting my ass. Padded shorts underneath, you see. And cute as a BUTTon.
28. I went to South Haven, and saw the tall ships. It wasn't part of the plan, I was just killing time while Richard worked. And there she was, floating down the channel, while I crossed the street. Tourist pirates.
29. Hot. See previous post.
30. Honest car repairs. I love Woodward's garage. Fluids needed changing, and things needed checking. The old place seemed to have a flat $500 fee no matter what, so that's what we were prepared to pay. However, the actual cost at Woodward's was 1/5 of that. Richard actually asked, did you do what I mentioned? and they were quite amused.
31. Co-workers.
32. Cell phones
33. Air conditioning.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I lost my notebook, but I am still grateful.

It's probably on my desk at work. I am sure the cleaning crew is either ignoring it, has shredded it, or wonders what kind of maniac draws pictures of calendars in a notebook and has lists that say things like, "cucumber, cat filters, Calvin Klein shoes."

I think I might be beating the grateful thing into the ground. It does bring up topics for musing, though. For example, if I were to continue in this way, I would need to write about how I am grateful for Michigan summers, for which I am sincerely not. But couldn't I make it so if I were to write a pretty circle around it? Someone likes these summers. Why not me?

And what's not to like? It's warm, lush, green, humid. There are places that are actually hotter. We have lovely lakes all around to jump into. In fact, I am ignoring an invitation to the pool as we speak, (idiotically). The nights cool down, a little. If don't move at all, you can sort of sleep through them.

Or better yet, you can stay up all night, preferably with some cold drinks and good friends. It's hard when you've got a straight day job, but everyone's a little worked up and sweaty, so they might not notice.

And best of all, the unbearable days don't last all summer. Usually it's just a week or so at a time.


Air conditioned offices and shopping. Movies. Library.

I can totally do this.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I can't remember what number I'm on.

Perhaps 25?  I mean for the gratefulness countdown. That's what my old-timey notebook says, anyway, the one where I scrawl my little notes. It says the 25 is compliments.

I used to say I was a compliment whore, but that seems a little harsh. I do enjoy feedback. Perhaps especially praise.  I vaguely remember taking some job compatibility testing before or early in college and learning that I could not predict which way gears should turn, but that I did enjoy working with people and lots and lots of feedback. I have found that to be true still. However, let me state that Richard has gone overboard in the last month or so. Too much praise is embarrassing.

24. Curly hair. I really had to struggle to come around on this one. I was totally hating my horrible unpredictable curling-like-a-90s-spiral-perm hair. But then I got a little trim and it's all nice again. Or maybe, the humidity is down. Whatever.

23. Pretty pink clouds. Sunset. Obvious. If only pictures could capture it.

22. Polite society. Because I went to an actually enjoyable wedding shower.

I'm not sure if this will buzz or not. Google is changing things all around, and you know I have to jump into that pool before I read the danger signs. Oh shoot, is this the deep end?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Grateful 21: Talent vs. work

In this dichotomy, I suppose I am thankful for the middle ground between them, because I'm not sure that I have one driving talent. I always thought it was encouraging (interesting, relieving, etc.) that you could make up for a lack of talent with work. Or practice, at least.

Or maybe talent is not what I think it is. It should be easy, right? Or something you can do naturally? Or maybe it's more subtle than that, and it's just something that you can work on and improve.

It always amuses me that my father thinks my greatest talent is singing. This is most likely because he hasn't really heard me sing. I am not claiming to be horrible. But he's got a slightly inflated idea of what it would be like. This puts me in a difficult position because if I actually do as he'd like and take voice lessons, I could make him very happy, or disappoint us both. What if I really CAN'T sing well? Then what talent would I have?

It's a silly point because I'm too busy. Unless the vocal coach has shower appointments....

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I told you there'd be pictures someday!

Grateful 20: My neighborhood. This house was for sale around the corner, but apparently has sold. There's a big dumpster in the driveway, which is actually one of the things I like about the historic homes. There's room for improvement, decline, amazing paint colors, homemade duck cut-outs, and bands. I went for a run this morning and noticed that the apartment buildling on Lovell that I used to visit quite regularly to see a friend around 1999-2000 has had a garden explosion since then - lilies lining the sidewalk have turned into almost all lawn areas being perennial beds. There's young families all around us, and they socialize and play together. When my terracotta planter got used as a shot-put one night, I got an apology from the head of the neighborhood association.  Have I talked you into buying the vacant house on the end of our lot?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Grateful 19: new beginnings

See, I can just jump in where I left off. No one will be injured. I was still grateful most of those days. It will be fine.

And it's the perfect time and place to have a new beginning! Six months left in the year. I really would like to get a few things experienced. Note that I didn't say "done". I'm done doing. Do do. I remember getting really stressed out about my busy busy social calendar once and having the breakthrough that those were supposed to be enjoyable events! It was okay to enjoy them. And if you have 3 events in one day, you were going to have a wonderful day.

So, my July resolutions include running fast and long, getting rid of some clutter, and speaking up. This week I want to try and choreograph a whole belly dance song and start cornering the boss with daily reports. I'm going to go

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

16 & 17: rain

Grateful 16: It was shockingly hot yesterday. Not because it was so hot, but because it was so unexpected. Maybe it was only me, as I tend to ignore weather forecasts (despite the new thing on my phone that makes them easy to read....) but I just didn't know it would feel so icky. I had plans! I was going to bellydance class, and there's no air in the dance studio for some reason, and it was going to be miserable. But then the big black clouds rolled in.

And after class it was lovely and cool. This only happens in the summer.

17: It rained again (well, a couple times actually) today, right at the end of our walk. I've been enjoying walks with Richard lately. We didn't get too wet, though. There are a lot of good trees for hiding beneath in our neighborhood.

Monday, June 20, 2011

15: The obvious


Aw, he was just a young kitten in a box back in the day. And for those of you who thought I would have had 15 posts by now about being grateful for a kitty, well, it is entirely possible that the remaining 350 posts will be about this kitty. He is currently draped across my lap, preventing my jogging plans from fruition (but if you think about it, he is assisting my blogging plans). I had recently resolved to win him back over, because he was all about the windows all of a sudden, and doesn't sleep with me anymore. So the lap time was a pleasant surprise! It's like we have a mind connection! Woooo kitty!

P.S. I picked this picture from a tiny thumbnail. This would be BLUEBERRY. Who was also a fine, fine kitty. Oops.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Grateful 11-14: The future?

11: Apparently the next belly dance performance could include dancing with lit candles in our hands. No, balanced on our hands. LIT CANDLES. I'm sorry, but I might have to skip the wedding of the summer for that opportunity.

12: I overheated my marshmallow Friday night, and in the rush to blow out the fire, whipped hot sugar onto my cheek. Although there is still a mark today, I am grateful I didn't stab myself in the eye with the roasting stick.

13: I went out for birthday dinner and dancing with some of the belly dancers and had this lovely moment at dinner thinking that all the women I know are smart, awesome, funny ladies. Seriously, they are hilarious. AND they love sparkles. I was wearing this very, very shiny showy necklace, which I had tucked into my shirt because it was "too early" for sparkles, and Sarah was just like, what? You're with us. Put it out there.

14: If I don't say "fathers" on Father's Day, I am a horrible person. But I really mean it! I am so thrilled that my dad has turned his life into a pleasurable experience. It gives me hope, because I really think that we are alike in a lot of ways - late bloomers, Attention Deficit Hobby Disorder, optimist/perfectionist/literalists. And you can just keep making it better, even when it gets very, very dark.

I hope to share pictures with you soon. Pretty, pretty pictures.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Grateful 5-10: Mishmash

Grateful 5: Friends. Duh. And probably more later, because it's a really important duh.
Grateful 6: Pride Festival. Danced at the Kalamazoo Pride, and got more appreciation from a smaller crowd than 4 shows of the Greek Fest.
Grateful 7: Pork loin stuffed with three kinds of bacon. Because there are three kinds of bacon.
Grateful 8: Reflective surfaces remind one to be humble. Because I'm not all that and I'm old to boot. .
Grateful 9: Hippie food. Bulgur. Chicken. Yogurt sauce with dill and garlic chives.

Grateful 10: The coffee mugs at work. Seriously, each of them deserves it own day. But today I chose the calico cat pottery mug. It had that lovely wider base and a rolled lip. It kept my filtered water nice and cool. It had a chip by the handle which didn't detract from the feel on your mouth, because it would be quite a feat to drink from that angle. There was a circular  medallion which contained the cat artwork. It was a nice line drawing of a cat with a yellow bow and, for some reason, a French Provincial Fleur pattern on the body. It was possible it was not microwave safe.... too bad because I discovered that I had a little bit of coffee left in my thermos and heated it up in the afternoon for a kick. It tasted too hot and possibly of glaze, but that could have been my psychosomatic impulses.

I will try not to get 6 days behind again. That was a lot of gratefulness. I am still a little sullen thinking about how long I had to wait for Richard to surrender the laptop. But it certainly wasn't 6 days. That was all my fault.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Grateful 4: Bellydancers

I have frequently found that something that challenges me will end up taking over my imagination. I remember being at the Kalamazoo Greek Festival probably 4 years ago now and being really freaked out by seeing bellies in public. Then, I became obsessed.

I just went through a weird shame cycle with my last performance experience at the Greek Festival. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't believe I had done that in public and ruined my life that way. I wanted to quit taking classes. But I also had to remember what Ron said, which was approximately, "I know what's out there in the media. But I don't think you're giving men enough credit to enjoy a lot of different types of bodies." Or as Brian the one-armed professor said, "I have one arm and a lot of scars." Eventually I got to the place where if my belly made one woman in the audience feel okay for a minute, then it was all worth it.

Plus, this:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Grateful 3: Pantyhose

Well, more like the opportunity to wear pantyhose. Even though I prefer to think of them as tights. Because, if I didn't have a job in the healthcare industry (that I happen to love), I wouldn't need them at all. And that would be kind of sad and flabby.

I didn't really think of this until tonight, but it's a good way to look at nearly anything. I spent the evening drifting around the mall, for the air conditioning. It's 95 already. I did need a few things - mostly for belly dance (new flowers for hair, glittery eyeliner, necklaces to attach to bra, etc.) I've also been meaning to stock up on the nude fishnets they have at Macy's. But they were out of the color I wanted in my size. So I checked out the clearance rack and found a few other kinds of patterned not-too-wintry looking ones.

I took them up to the saleslady in the Plus department (it was the first counter I came to that was staffed). The lady seemed a little unusual, like someone I could have a good banter with. So I said, "I apparently work for the only employer in town who requires pantyhose!' and she kind of laughed, inquired where I work, etc. etc. Eventually she said, "Well, on the positive side, at least you have a job, even with a dress code!" and I realized she was right. I had actually been offered a job at Macy's at one point in my search, and had to consider if it was worth it to work every holiday and wear all black all the time, stay on my feet, as a seasonal staff. I was offered employment from the company that I work for now on the same day, and took that path.

It's also funny because it's been on my mind due to facebook. I had posted a status update about having to wear them and got 23 comments in response! I was slightly shocked by the vitriol towards them. I wonder if everyone was wearing really small ones or something, because I don't really find them any more uncomfortable than underwear or pants. My only concern is that everyone seems to hate them, and it's hard to find a good color anymore because no one wears them.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Item 1: Orchids

Probably a month ago I read about the 365 Grateful idea. It seemed like a way to get out of my photography rut (it's more of a sand dune, in that I haven't taken a decent picture in a good six months, but anyway...) but I really think it might have to be a multi-media project. I need to write. There can be pictures too. It's all good, really. This seems like a much more positive thing to focus on than cancer, or self-portraits, or even literally navel-gazing.

Item 1 of 365: I am grateful for orchids. I am reminded of this today because as I was shopping for the plants for the last planter on the deck, when I found a sale bench of $5 orchids at the greenhouse. At first I only took one. Then, the saleswoman, who seemed a little earnest and lovely, came over and told me her story of how she grew one and it didn't seem that hard after all, so she bought a couple herself. And I thought of my phaelenopsis orchid at home and how it is blooming right now, and it's true, it's not that hard. You just water them and feed them and once a year a stalk shoots out and amazing tropical flowers appear. So I bought two. I have no idea what the flowers, or even the types are. Somewhere I have a book. I bought some matching pots. I will repot them. I will water them and feed them. And maybe next fall or next spring, they will shoot out a stalk and surprise me.

Monday, May 16, 2011

365 projects

No, really, I think I might have 365 projects going at once. Which is how I ADD roll, I supposed.
1. Job contains 365 projects within itself.
2. Running
3. Belly dancing
4. Gardening. Another 365 different projects
5. Knitting a sweater.
6. But would like to crochet something quick and fun in between...
7. Watching Treme, behind 2 episodes
8. Eating food, but less of it
9. Need to make belly dance costume decisions. Belly out? Or covered?
10. Movies must be seen.
11. Bikes need riding too.
12. Oh, speaking of belly dance costumes, I need new sandals. Flat, black sandals that won't slide around when dancing. Where are those kept?
13. I have to unpack my sandals and put away boots.
14. Fridge needs cleaning.
15. Devising an archival storage system for flyers and posters we have saved over time.
16. Also, would like to get back into photography. Scavenger hunt on flickr.
17. And photo journal of 365 grateful. Yep.
18. Must seed lawn. But should mow it first.
19. I would like to read a book. Any book. That one right there looks good.
20. Also, new magazines came in the mail.
21. Put away laundry.
22. Drop off bag at Goodwill. Do not bring home new things from Goodwill.
23. I need to stretch my IT band a little.
24. I would really like to make some cookies for co-workers soon.
25. Mmm pasta. Need to go to grocery store.
26. And buy laundry soap. Laundry is never done.
27. Dammit, I should have had children 5 years ago.
28. I should be writing a novel.
29. Or a poem.
30. I never wished my brother a happy birthday last week. I can only make up for it by baking now.
31. Oh, and I need to email the CSA guy.
32. I did sort of get my brother a present. I need to email that guy too.
33. I need to back-up my blackberry, now that I think about it.
34. Pay bills.
35. Face is dry. Moisturize.
36. I wanted to paint my nails, but that makes 33 of the above impossible to do at the same time.
37. Gah! Birthday presents, how could I forget? I need to map out Lindsey's plan-your-own-adventure girl's night.
38. Moisturize hands, too.
39. And file that square middle finger nail.
40. Why are my nails suddenly peeling? I need to make a dentist appointment.
41. And an endocrinologist appointment. They sent a reminder.
42. At least I have a hair appointment tomorrow. It's driving me crazy.
43. I should take some before and after photos. Is it on the scavenger hunt? No.
44. Orchid needs droopy flower removed.
45. I should probably water and feed and re pot all houseplants now.
46. Cat needs feeding.
47. And cat box cleaning.
48. And snuggling.
49. And a new filter for his fountain.
50. Moisturize hands.
51. Take out contacts and go to bed.
52. I need to buy new glasses though, so that makes it hard to read.
53. I quit.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I hate running. I love running.

Ah, the power of attitude and expectation. It's so exciting for an optimist like me, but it also makes a lot of things your responsibility. It is a little terrifying that there's a voice inside of your conscious that says all these horrible things. (You're not going to make it. You're never going to be good at this. You look like an idiot. The weather is against you. That dog want to eat your shoes. Your belly is hanging out. They didn't wave back because they think you're stupid. You're going to injure yourself permanently and end up fatter than ever.) I could go on, but it's probably not a good idea.

I think that if I could get a happy thought generator opposite the other one, I could run a lot happier. I'm assuming happier is faster and longer, but maybe I shouldn't make that assumption. That is a nice thing about the Run Camp concept. It's kind of awkward, but I do think telling the person you're passing "Nice job!" really helps everyone. I forget that not every runner in town is familiar with this concept, and get some blank looks from, say, the WMU cross-country team every now and then, but every Saturday when I run with the group, it's a nice time. (Wait, not that I ever pass a cross-country team going the same direction. It's much more likely to meet them head-on because I didn't have time to turn down a side street to avoid them.)

The goal really is to do better than last year. The goal is to keep running when camp is over, hopefully about 10 miles per week. The goal is to be happy and not struggle against it. I think these are do-able goals. I will be good at trying to set some goals. I will look like an idiot sometimes, but that's even when I'm not running. The weather is just there. That dog would like to eat my shoes, but he has to catch me first. They didn't wave back because they were texting. You won't let yourself get injured.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Slacking, looking backwards

What could be more fascinating than a blog about how I forgot to blog? Oh, nevermind. I know better.

I would now like to point out the anniversaries of some crappy things, and optimistically note how much has changed.

Two years ago, I lost my fancy high-paying corporate healthcare job. I would have never pictured, or known how or where to apply for, my current job. Sure, it's not fancy, I don't have a health club membership, and it's pretty hard to describe what I do. But it's also perfect for me in that I pretty much do whatever they need to get done. It's a small company, they're not evil and I like truly everyone that works there. Happy ending? Works for me.

One year ago, I was going through the diagnosis part of the thyroid cancer experience. I still don't see a lesson learned or a horrible up or down side. It was just an experience. Perhaps this will reassure the people of Japan that their children will be fine after the radiation exposures. We can watch each other and smile and say, see, it was okay?

Maybe there was something learned - my hair is crazy curly now, instead of the nice wavy it used to be.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

One sentence was harder than the others.

But was it the first one, or the last one? I think it's actually the middle one. This is true in haiku as well.

Monday, January 10, 2011

List of things I could do this weekend while Richard is out of town:

Feel free to vote.
1. Eat the remainder of the chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels that I wish I had never discovered.
2. Knit. And buy more yarn to knit.
3. Make a nice lunch on Saturday, then eat it.
4. Abstain or binge. May involve pretzels, beer, or other substances.
5. Wear pajamas everywhere to every event. Or, formalwear to casual events, pajamas for formal events.
6. Mom and kitty beauty day with brushing and manicures!!! Yay!
7. Brooding.
8. Blast stupid girly music, finish choreography for S1W audition.
9. Mohawk. Oh, who am I kidding? Fauxhawk of pony tails.
10. A nap on both Saturday and Sunday, which will effectively create a sort of 4-day weekend.
11. Sleep in the guest room, just for fun.
12. Buy a new house and move into it while he's gone as a practical joke.
13. The usual things with an unusual amount of giggling.
14. Milk bath.
15. Then, Cleopatra eyeliner goes to the bar.
16. Take a picture of myself once every 8 minutes to create a 365 portrait project in approximately 48 hours. Post to flickr, bask in praise.

Not that I'm looking forward to it....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Also, READ a sentence-a-day

I've been trying to read something real before sleeping. I think that this will help my sentence recall. It seems like I think and maybe talk in fragments, but writing puts it together into a nice shiny package. That previously said, "you think...." but I realize that just as I have no idea what the cat is feeling, I have no idea how anyone else thinks.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cool things I saw on the first run of 2011

I ran my lame "medium" loop today, thought of all the reasons it's funny to run in a circle. In the long run (HA!), I guess it's all good as long as you get home.

1. Big hole on Park Street, sadly right next to a mature tree. I'm pretty sure the tree will die. It was probably 5 or 6 feet deep, nice and square, with a wooden ladder inside and broken PVC pipe visible. Surrounded by snow fence. I stopped running to look in, because how often do you find an abandoned fresh hole on a snowy Sunday?

2. Dancing plastic flower in a pot in the bay window of the house in the corner. I wonder if it was one of those sound-activated ones, and what sounds it was dancing to?

3. My ipod died 2/3 of the way into the run, right at the beginning of an epic Radiohead song that would have been fun to run to. Since I wasn't listening to music, I just ran with my ear buds in because it was too much hassle to put them away. I think this made the young dude in a driving cap feel free to yell "Fuck you!" at his car as he ran out the front door of a rental house and climbed in. The car started, so he was must have been a lucky man.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I love New Years.

No, really, I do. It's like the biggest sheet of paper. I can scribble in the corner. I can practice the alphabet. I could draw a kitty cat or a tree.

I'm thinking this year I'm going to write a sentence every day. It might be here. It might be in a notebook. Text messages don't count, though. I'm thinking the dreaded social network sentences don't count either, although I'm not sure why. It just seems like it would be very limiting there.

I like to have three resolutions, so there will probably be a health related one and a career-y one. I have at least learned that resolutions work best when they are tiny and ridiculously achievable. Even the bigger ones turn out not to be that tricky when you look back at them. 2010 I wanted to perform with the belly dance class. I did so four times. It seemed undo-able on 1/1/10.