Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Eve Eve, Eve

Sometimes I think people get bummed out by "resolutions" because they think too big. I struggle with it myself. It doesn't sound very exciting to resolve to be a more reasonable drinker who saves her change and tries to plan one fun (for her! not just the existing social obligations) weekend each month. But, because I'm a simpleton, I really think this will make a better life for me!

Resolutions are by necessity boring. They are the framework. We might as well call them habits, and maybe that would remove the bitterness. Semantics. You don't have to make new habits at the new year, but it's such a nice division point. You'll have lots of support from other positive thinkers who are trying to make their lives better. There doesn't have to be a million resolutions. I like three.

See, in my little fantasy land, I've set up resolutions as the tiny, constant attempts to change. Each month I will set up a new mind, body, and / or soul experiment, just for fun. Whatever sticks, sticks. The hope is that these little changes will allow the big goals to happen, kind of like a rain barrel.

And the big goals are the garden. Things like travel and  love and dance performances grow there, nourished by the rain barrel.

This is a pretty flaky analogy, I know. Magical hippy talk. But I've tried the outlined, measurable goal with multiple steps and intense straining and that hasn't really worked for me. Sometimes you just have to let it come to you, in my experience. And then recognize it. For example, last year I participated in a belly dance trio that choreographed and performed (beautifully, I might proudly add) at the Greek Festival. I poo poo it because, well, it rained that night and the only people there were the other dancers and their families. But we still did it. It really happened. It was on my list of goals.

It's a lot like the Lissa Rankin Eggy / Spermy thing. I'm using this elaborate garden explanation, because I like that a lot of the "magic" of gardening is science but there's definitely some woo woo in there, too. I'm still struggling to explain it, but it's also like the garden of Eden. We are already in the "paradise" and then we exile ourselves. It's easy to get all blame-y (the snake did it! It's Eve's fault!) but it's also UNAVOIDABLE. You must leave the garden. And then try to get back in.

So here's to a 2013 with more dancing, and some good trips and all the love we can find. I'm going to try going to bed on time and eating fiber. It will all work together. And/Or you'll hear about it again next December.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

More images from a sunny day...

There's a deep MEANING behind EVERY one!

I call this one Hydrangea Down the Drain-gea. If you've ever grown hydrangeas, you know that it takes a weird balance of sun and shade and you still might not get blooms, and then you can never remember if you're supposed to add lime or that other stuff to turn the blooms different colors, or even if yours is the type that would do that in the first place, and then you're haunted by what you've just done to your soil, and you don't really have that kind of landscape in the first place.... But yeah, all that, and 3 months later one of your precious blooms is about to be swept into the storm sewer. It's true, there's nothing quite like a hydrangea flower. I hope to remember to feel lucky when my attempts work, and not make my silk purse into a sow's ear.

Something is always growing. I took like 4 pictures of mossy tree trunks. 2013 goal: plant a terrarium.

You can not swallow sunlight. You'll just have to let the sunlight swallow you.

Kids are still mean. This means the kids that were mean to you (stole your gym shirt, threw it in a tree) were more a part of a movement or some sort of horrible hormone swarm than possessing of an actual personal vendetta, and you should get over it.
It's all bigger than us, anyway. You can look up or down and find something bigger or smaller than you and your little problems. The secret is to know which way to look?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The world is dead. Long live the world.

The solstice has passed, I am on break from work for Christmas and it was sunny today. What does it all mean? It means that my mind has been unchained and I can assign significance to whatever I want to move forward.

The pre-solstice days were some of the most depressing I care to remember. It was so dark to me - I was worried about my health, my relationships, current events, hateful words, fear was everywhere. I had read an blog by Dr. Weil about how in-congruent it can feel to be pressured to celebrate! holiday! party! when traditionally, and naturally based on the light, the instinct is to draw inside, stay safe, it's the most dangerous time of the year. (I like to sing that in Bing Crosby voice, by the way. "It's the MOST. DANGER-OUS. TIME of the YEAR!") Plus all the silly Mayan calendar superstitions, schools cancelled for a "threat day", etc., seemed to indicate to me I was not the only having this dilemma.

So I wake up today, and there's shadows on the wall. Sun. The world did not end. The threats are all in our head. I "knew" this before, but it wasn't real until the sun shone. Maybe the world did end - if the world is all of our old fears and superstitions. I sure hope so.

It's hard to remember what I already knew, sometimes. So I wrote it down. This is just from August to present, based on my notebook ramblings!

1. I get to be happy, too.
2. I live here because of the community.
3. When I feel scared, I am scary. When I feel calm, I am calming.
4. They don't know any other way. Show them.
5. What kind of peacemaker is afraid of conflict?
6. My true love is poetry.
7. The economic story is not the whole story, nor necessarily a true story.
8. Fix it, if you can.
9. Trust the body, especially the gut.
10. Vote for yourself.

Ah yes, deep as a drinking glass am I. More reflections to come.... I still need to set my 2013 goals. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I have been feeling a little antagonistic lately. Maybe it's the season / weather mismatch, or maybe it's my own crappy health of late, or maybe you can just call me Grinchliz. Whatever it it is, the abrasions are only making me stronger.

For your consideration: Sometimes, I make jewelry. I should say, I am capable of stringing beads together. I do have the frequent problem where my skills and supplies do not meet my vision, but that's why it's craft and not art. I keep most of my favorite pieces for myself, and recently even experimented with the craft show experience. 

I made this necklace a few years ago. I had this hankering for coral, bought the beads online and realized shortly thereafter that bead sellers are no more moral than diamond sellers. I felt terrible about denuding a coral reef. But the damage had already been done, so I knew I needed to use the beads. 

I tried a couple of dangly necklace type designs. The problem was partially that the teeth ripped out of any being look kind of horrible. Just one tooth looked pathetic, and more than that, tribal. Which was not necessarily a bad thing, but....

So I wore the necklace in question to work the other day and observed reactions worthy of what I imagine the Man Repeller blogger receives on a daily basis. The insults just kept coming, even (or maybe especially?) when I pointed out that I had made it with my two little hands. Okay! I get it. Everyone likes pretty. Nobody likes to be challenged by a toothy necklace. But isn't that what fashion is, a little challenge? It was oddly empowering. Oh, you uptight, stale people who don't "get" my super awesome necklace. Your derision only makes me stronger. Pointless scarves, horrible pants - you can't stop me now.

I don't dress to please you, but to please me.

Or, vote for yourself.

Oh. I get it now. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Happiness Projectile

I just finished reading Gretchen Rubin's "The Happiness Project" because I love to read books that I could have written but didn't. Since I am not particularly original, at least I can steal some ideas, right?

The saddest part is that I actually kind of do that stuff anyway - pick a theme of improvement for the month, list three focuses, blog about it occasionally, worry that I sound self-absorbed. I did not, however, have an actual checklist. Checklists used to be my favorite thing at the library when I was 15. Shelf reading was the most boring task in the entire reference room (examining a shelf to confirm that it remained in Dewey Decimal order, and if not, re-arranging the books to match). However, some genius page had designed a checklist with nice big boxes for your initials. You could draw an entire picture in that box - and we did. We felt possessive of entire shelves of books because you could create a multi-box picture that way. Even though shelf reading made your average high school student want to stab themselves with a golf pencil, the checklist made it all worth it.

So, I'm modifying my own approach. I'm making my monthly foci actionable. I'm going to actually print and carry around the checklist. I'm going to take great joy in coloring it in. It's the perfect time - the first of December, before all the January flagellants appear and state pessimistically that resolutions never work and why make them?

For December, I picked Exercise, Loving gestures, and Meditation. I have recently been slacking on the exercise, and just calling my two dance classes sufficient. Which they are probably not. So, I'd like to add some walks, some dance practice, some stretches, and on a daily basis, so that it becomes a habit.

Loving gestures means, well, being nice to Richard. It's easy to take a spouse for granted. So far I bought him a burrito after a hard, long work day, and I didn't get all snappy when he called me repeatedly at work today about passwords for things that I don't have memorized. This is the hard one.

And this is the boring one, again. Meditation. But on a chart!