Monday, January 29, 2018

Reality Doesn't Much Matter When We Believe Otherwise

I was thrilled when I got up this morning and saw on my phone that it was 35 degrees out. I've not been walking outside much in the mornings. There was that long stretch of single digit morning temps, followed by a long stretch of morning temps in the teens and twenties. Too cold. I bought a gym membership for the month of January (my hopes set on an early spring).

But this morning, it was above freezing by three degrees! I couldn't make excuses. I got dressed, layered myself appropriately, and then grabbed my coat (the one I use as a top layer on the coldest of days) just in case...

The dogs were thrilled, of course. I think they've missed the walks even more than I have. We took off in the pitch black of morning and I was looking forward to seeing the sun rise, thinking it would come quite a bit earlier than the last time I took a morning walk.

I was sure glad I'd grabbed that top layer, though. There was a pretty stiff breeze. It felt colder than I felt like thirty-five degrees should feel. But it had been a while. And the answer to feeling cold is just to move faster. So I did. And the dogs were eager and pulling me, so that helped!

When I turned north on Commercial, that stiff breeze took my breath away. And within a block I was getting that intense headache I usually get when it's freezing out and the nose pieces on my glasses carry the cold directly into my brain. What a cold thirty-five degrees, I told myself and pulled my scarf up (luckily, I had grabbed that too). I had to pull my fingers up inside my coat sleeves, the gloves I'd put on were my above the thirty-two mark gloves. With that morning breeze, it sure was feeling more like ski glove weather. None-the-less, I was happy to be outside and my core was really starting to warm up.

I was steps away when I looked up to see what the sign on the building at the corner of Commercial and 6th had to say about the temperature. 16 degrees!

Clearly, I had not given my phone time to update when I flipped it over this morning to look at how cold it was outside.

I was warmed up and tempted to keep going, but waiting for the light to turn, I saw my little dogs (still eager, still happy to be out) shivering. We turned left and made our way quickly back home.

There have been winters when I have managed to walk every morning, regardless of the weather. This has not been one of those seasons. It's funny, how warm that sixteen degrees felt, when I believed it to be thirty-five.

Rory and Sherlock, happy to be home after a cold morning walk.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Easy-Peasy Blog Post (not that I'm trying to post weekly or anything...)

I woke up this morning with a blog post neatly formed in my head. I had a plan by the time my feet hit the floor. I'd go to the gym, come home to clear the sink of dishes, enjoy a cup of hot tea with my breakfast, and quickly write my blog post before heading into the office. It was 8:45 when I sat down at the computer. I did give myself a small window of time on Facebook, but then I got write right to work . . . writing!

When I looked up, it was a few minutes past 11 o'clock and there was snow falling from the sky. (Surprise!) And my easy-peasy blog post was nowhere near ready. And it's clearly much, much bigger than a blog post. It will likely be days or years before you read it here.

This is how it happens sometimes. You write yourself into the flow, thinking you are just going to float a little ways down the stream and jump out. But it turns out the stream is actually a river, and perhaps that river is about to dump you out into the big, wide ocean. It's time to don the life jacket. It's time to get serious and swim.

Meanwhile, feel free to enjoy this photo that I was planning to post with today's blog entry.

This is Dobby Grace.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Wherein I Finally Determine What My Tattoo Should Be

Not my Tattoo!
In conversation with a new friend yesterday, I admitted that I had spent the last twenty years planning my first tattoo. I’ve come up with several possibilities, but I always end up dwelling on whether each design is something I really want to define me for the rest of my life. As well, getting a tattoo feels like it would be the ultimate act of rebellion, and though my mom has been gone for twenty years now and, let’s be honest, it would be pretty easy to hide one from my dad (especially if I did not blog about it in a public place or, say, post photos of it on Facebook once it actually happened) it seems funny that I would feel that way about a tattoo, when I think of much of the rest of my life as a gradual act of rebelling against what I was taught I should do/be/become.

Here I am, approaching my 50s, many years-clear of any of the traditional institutions of my youth that would have considered a permanent marking of the body unacceptable (though happily, not the people) and a tattoo still feels . . . well . . . Taboo.

I honestly don’t know that I’ll ever commit, but in my head, I am someone with a tattoo. I am also someone who wears long, flowy, colorful skirts and big dangly earrings that catch and reflect the light and chime softly when I move. (And I move like a dancer, by the way, rather than a person who relies on roll-bar technology in her shoes to keep her upright.) In my head, I am a person who can tell you what phase the moon is in, I know the Sanskrit names for all the yoga poses, and when my life comes to a halt at random moments to leave myself post-it notes of inspiration, I do so in the most beautiful calligraphy.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Living Timelessly in 2018

Gratuitous Bookstore Cat Photo:
The Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, Kansas
I have always wanted to start a collection
of bookstore cat photos. Maybe this will be
the year I actually do so.
It's a new year and I have not made a single mistake in writing the number 2018 yet. A good sign, as it seemed as often as not in 2017, I would pause before writing the date to contemplate the year. 2010? 2013? Where exactly in time was I?

I did make resolutions this year, and no, I'm not going to talk about them here. You will see the results of them if I succeed. You won't if I don't. Enough said. Once upon a time I called myself the Queen of New Year's resolutions. Then I spent several years saying that last year's plan worked well enough, I'd simply keep on doing the same ole' same ole'. This year I'm somewhere between the two, and I've committed to checking in with my family on working toward some long term goals.

I am trying something different this year, and seven days in, I'm fairly pleased with the results. For many years now I have been a diligent tracker of time. Perhaps a bit of a side-effect of a freelance lifestyle, or simply a need to document how I spend my time to give myself a record of progress made, I can go back many years and tell you how much time I've spent on "job" related tasks, such as working for/in my husband's law office, and working for the farmers market (a job where, though I was technically an employee, I was the only employee and pretty much the boss of me and how I managed my time). I can tell you how much time I spent on freelance work, most years broken down by the type of work I was doing (writing for pay, writing for fun, ghostwriting, editing, and other). In recent years, I've even tracked time spent on some of my volunteer commitments, not because I felt like I owed the communities I volunteered with any certain amount of time, but because I felt I owed it to myself to make sure that I was spending at least as many hours on me as I was on other people. I have a tendency to put myself last in line of importance, and by tracking these hours, I got better at making sure I was putting in time for myself, as well.

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