Friday, February 26, 2010

Yellow, the theme is clearly yellow ... wait, blue!

There's something unique outside. Not sure why it should feel unique, has only been a few days of rain and grey, but there it is -- sun. Had a quickly passing moment when I looked out the window at the early morning light, and the sky was a very pale yellow, crazycool -- no sun up yet, but it's lurking somewhere nearby. Now there are patches of blue. And brightness.

My beloved is saying rain/snow, and there's a bright-red warning! warning! about flooding. huh. Let's take a closer look. Hm. They think afternoon will bring snow(lies!)/rain. Maybe.


Lunched at the world-famous (hey, if they were written up in ... Bon Appetit? or was it Gourmet? I'm allowed to use that descriptor, right?) All Star Sandwich Bar today with friends. Got introduced to the fine flavor of mixed ketchup and gourmet chunky mustard for fry dipping, tasty. While eating ice cream at Cristina's next door, we discussed the unique ice-cream culture of New England -- I'm not an ice-cream fanatic, cookies are much more my downfall, but I've never eaten so much ice cream as since moving here. You can't help it. People are so excited about it. And there's so much of it, locally made, delicious flavors. Like today -- I got Tazo (a local chocolatier) dark chocolate -- it was exactly like eating a dark chocolate bar, yet cold and creamy. Amazing.

And now, now I can no longer put off the date I've been waiting for all day -- diving into Mr King's The Stand -- it's just getting good! Got some exciting weekend adventures planned, you'll get it all in the Weekender Report. Off I go....

Wait -- blue! A cool blue thing, I'll forget to tell you if I don't now. Today I entered a local contest put on by Grub Street (cool local writing org) -- write 600 words, any form (fiction/nonfiction/poetry) about "blue" -- whatever that may be. Was very fun to write, I appreciated the experience -- having a specific writing prompt and a deadline, the spark to do it, the opportunity to submit it somewhere easily. Go, blue.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

a lower-case kind'a night

dried banana with peanut butter, scraping last of the jar.
have my pandora "moby" channel playing, which is mellow but with a beat, a little trancey. right for the mood.
and yes, it's a lower-case kind of night.

it's raining out, day 2 going on ... 5 more? 10? the weather report keeps shifting, but we all know by now that when it says rain/snow ... it means RAIN. such a bummer, just gradually accepting that really, we had barely any snow this winter, and it's almost over (sniff). guess it's a case of be grateful for the traces we got. the wind is blowing mightily, so that makes it a little more exciting and storm-like. little saving grace. i looked at snow conditions for western mass., a few places got 15 or 20 inches! so, the skiing's good somewhere, just not here....

just loose-limbed thoughts bouncing around in the skull here.

really starting to get focused on productivity and specific efforts and what do i need to be doing to get to some income. feels like the time is now to do this, and even though scary, amping up the real factor of what i'm doing, it's also more exciting ... yeah, feels like time. like all the pieces i've been mulling and playing with and the reachouts i've started ... time to weave it all together into a big ole ... afghan? hm. how about stitch them together into a big ole glorious quilt? like that imagery a little better.

did this exercise today where you brainstorm for a few minutes each on what your beliefs are around 5 areas: money, success, relationships, business, and time and ability with time. you're supposed to write down anything at all that comes up, but the focus is on finding what your beliefs are that limit you. it was interesting to do. some beliefs worth poking around a bit more, think about shifting. the time one in particular i seem to have some gremlins around.

the wind howls
the candle flickers its triple flame
the cat crunches food
i skip the too-ampy pandora song

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

An unconventional bedtime story

It's past my bedtime. Again. Have you noticed that? It's always past my bedtime. A typical rower problem; early bedtimes solve many of our problems, and only slightly preclude having a social life. Still working on that one.

Anyway, because it's bedtime and I'm ready, I'll sign off with a short random story.

In my (kickass) boxing class tonight, we were all standing around during a brief break between rounds and somehow, and I really wish I could remember how this came up because it's really quite random, our instructor, a young, very fit, former Marine, a good guy, tells us he's missing toes on one of his feet. (Like I said, I *really* wish I could remember how this came up.)

We're all staring at him, kinda in disbelief, half laughing, saying "Really?" And he assures us, yes, it's true, his foot got run over by a lawnmower and he lost two toes. Apparently his grandfather was driving it.

So now it's a mix of "Oh my god! Really? Damn!" And I'm thinking and saying, "Missing toes totally affects your balance, right?" And another guy says, "How old were you?"

And our instructor says, "Yeah, but I've adapted," to which I say, "Well, clearly," and he also says "I was five."

So then to prove it, I guess, he pulls off his sock (no shoes on the mat) and, sure enough, there's his foot with the big toe, and I think the third toe missing. And what looked like a little chunk out of the side of the ball of his foot, below his big toe (or maybe it was a little closer to the arch of the foot).

It was crazy. Ain't life random?

That's your bedtime story, off to bed with all y'all!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A catchup post

A begrudging (because THE FIRST BRILLIANT VERSION WAS LOST) bullety kind of wrapup of those weekendy days....
  • There was an attempt at cross country skiing, which resulted in a whole new sport of ... cross country hiking. Oh yes! Wherein one sets out optimistically with one's skis on one's shoulders, because there is no white stuff on the ground, and then walks along ski paths until -- aha! White stuff is spied, skis are donned, skiing begins. Yay! And then, a brief bit later, muddy ground emerges, not so much with snow. So, one takes skis off, places upon shoulders ... [repeat repeat]. It'll probably be in the Olympics in a few years, just wait.
  • The good way to wrap up a tough week: pizza + beer + conversation covering Tiger Woods, inner gods, lace underwear, dangerous crushes on bosses, the color purple, other crushes, ended possibilities, graveyards ... you know, the usual stuff.
  • Some mildly entertaining, mildly alarming observing of my inner five-year-old who pitched a few fits because she doesn't WANT to let go of what she isn't YET DONE with, and because she doesn't WANT to do things she doesn't WANT to, and, well, you get the drift. Glad to see the inner child is alive and well. I suggest a check-in of your own (just be a little careful, unexpected tantrums can ensure).
  • The gatos, they've been, well, a leetle bit hanging out together (as in, in the same room) through this past week or so. It's really a little bit freaking adorable. Melts my heart completely. Makes me tell them ad nauseam how adorable they are (they roll their eyes and ignore me). There was me, forcing Willa to share the afternoon living-room sunlight. And Suce taking the couch, sleeping contentedly on paperwork he decided against eating -- decision subject to revision.
  • Oh, speaking of gatos, then there was Willa barfing probably 10 times in every room of the house, save two. Now, THAT's weekend fun!
Let's see, other recent activities of note included my recording-for-blind-and-dyslexic volunteering last night. Last night was, hands down, the HARDEST thing I've had to read! To make matters worse, it was a textbook for teachers on teaching reading and reading aloud. So I was hyper-aware of every stumble ... and had to work on not dropping into a gigglefest.

So, when I say hard? I read 7 pages in an hour and a half. Note: textbooks pages, so bigger than regular ones, but SEVEN. The addendum is that there was a table, a complicated-ass bar-graph figure thing and THREE textboxes, one with lotsa web sites I kept debating whether to spell or just say. Challenges, I tell you. Everything has to be read in a particular order and way and of course I'm new to it, so there was MUCH read one line, hit STOP, sigh, moan, swear, go back to instructions, figure out, read another piece and repeat. It was brain taxing, for real! Anyway.

Today's novel activity was going to this free lunchtime writing-prompt thing put on by Grub Street, a cool local writing org. You know, I forgot that we writers can be really annoying people. Entertaining, but equal parts (or more) annoying. There were 18 of us there, all female, and the leader, male. So, you have that dynamic of the more outspoken (or needy) ones dominating, with that undercurrent of "make the 'real writer' teacher notice me" and under that, under that, some female/male-dynamics stuff. But, it was good for a change of scenery, good to sit and purely write in a different way. Mostly, I really wanted to talk to the cool-seeming woman next to me who was a grantwriter, but there really wasn't an opportunity. I suppose I could reproduce what I wrote, but that presumes you want to read it and that I want to type it. Two big presumptions.

OK, it's bedtime. Sweet dreams!

Monday, February 22, 2010

When words are lost, complaints are left

I'm swearing right now in serious, for-real (&%@%& annoyance.

And I'm HATING the (NON)functionality of this ... this blogspot entity!

You'd think it nearly unimaginable that it would have such failings with autosaving and with not saving and/or returning you back to a page when it required you to log in, AGAIN, wouldn't you? I sure would.

And yet, we'd both be wrong.

So, you're getting a venting post about the failings of blogspot because what I wrote earlier is gone, gone, gone, baby.

Losing my words would be one of my most massive pet peeves of all time. It's right up there -- SYNONYMOUS in fact -- with inefficiency and wasted effort.

God. Annoying. I'll attempt to recreate, but it's nigh timing to be heading out for the fun reading-out-loud volunteering.

Apparently the very low-tech backup of copying and pasting frequently into text documents is warranted. Oh, the complaining in my head.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday, morning dawning

[A pre-postscript here, attempting to write while Willa shares my lap with laptop and leans against arm -- uh, paw to nose, nearly claw to lip ... this no-petting business isn't working for her ... as she backbends, trying to spot the dastardly non-petting hands ... what was I going to say here?? Oh, that I'd completely forgotten I'd written this -- wound up pursuing a few adventures after a productivity bout yesterday and then straight-to-bed-late once I got home. Then today, I find this. Surprise!]

Just after 6 a.m.
Watching the sky get light.

About 20 minutes ago, it was still dark out, but I was surprised to just barely discern a strip of blue, there amongst the darkness. A strip of somehow light bright blue, surrounded by barely visible -- half imagined -- clouds, tinged pink. All in the dark.

A few minutes later, the blue a little more pronounced, along with smudgy cotton-candy clouds. Then, higher up, a little stronger patch of blue.

I open my laptop and am blinded by screen glare.

Now, the sky lightens, and the blue is of the palest, the clouds deepened to purple.

Hi Purple -- not always such a fan, but in cloud form, you are lovely indeed.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A winter walk ... plus

Following one of my early-on rules that has well proven its worth, to get out of the house daily, in daylight, I headed out for a walk this afternoon, with a feather and purple Mardi Gras-style beads ... which sounds like the start of a very good or very bad joke, but it's not. You know, they just seemed to want a walk, too -- a little fresh winter air. Note: Fortunately for all concerned, I was wearing more than that, but those would be the perhaps-not-expected items. Well, those and the magenta ostrich-feather headdress. No, no, that one's a joke ... I don't seem to own one of those.

But, I saw far odder sights than anything I had with me, notably, people in shorts -- three of them! True, it was toasty-warm in the 40s today and the sun was out, but it wasn't that warm; I had layers: dark-gray turtleneck sweater, brown barn jacket, light-gray fleece gloves, and quickly added my cream fleece hat (secretly, I was dressing up as Switzerland). True, all of the shorts-wearers were either running or in workout wear, and one runner looked distinctly cold, with a hooded sweatshirt, hood up, clutched around her face. The wind had picked up, and warm, it wasn't. Crazy people.

I walked down Beacon, the main thoroughfare near me with a T line running down it. At the end, where the line originates, is, well, a Dunkin' Donuts, true, and a bunch of other shops and restaurants catering to the undergrad college kids in the adjacent areas of Allston/Brighton. There's also a defunct movie theater. And a park with a softball field. And a small parking lot -- a novelty in these parts. But, also -- really, the point I'm getting to -- the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, a big expanse of water with a path circling it, favored by runners and shivering dog walkers. The ground was complete slush from yesterday's bit of snow, melted in today's sun, and my aging UGGs were having none of it. I spotted a bench on the hillside, overlooking the snow-covered ice and scrambled on up. (True, nearly eating it in slippery slush a few times, but we're denied that comic relief.)

Once perched on the back of the bench, I could survey the scene: the frozen reservoir coated in snow, patterned from the wind. The ice had a few crevasses, little gaping splits showing water underneath. A few dark rock formations jutted out of the snow and ice. In a few places, snow was swept away, only ice showing; one patch a very light blue, oddly pretty, a frozen piece of tropics. The sun sat at the horizon; as soon as it began dropping below the trees in the distance, it was distinctly time to go.

Walking up the hillside, I spotted a few more benches; one had a wine glass with a few inches of water, sitting in the snow.

The way back took a stop at the Dunkin for a small cup of tea to warm the hands and insides. Chocolate-glazed doughnut temptation averted.

And now for the random portion of the program
  • OK, I think income awareness is steadily? hm, yes, perhaps steadily ratcheting up. In many senses, that's probably appropriate, maybe even helpful, but it's not entirely pleasant. More to come on that, surely.
  • Also, I have a heightened notice of/attention to the war, some uncomfortable awareness, a closer reading of news accounts. This is not particularly pleasant, but it's also somewhat welcome. It's bothered me for a while that my life is so untouched by the war. Part of the shift stems from meeting an interesting Marine recently, hearing a few stories. And part of it is from the article I'm writing for the veterans' organization. It has me beginning to think concretely about the returning veterans from these news accounts, how the organization is a good place they could come to be put back together, but knowing how few can be served there, and thinking about all the others. And not able to even remotely wrap my mind around where they've been or what they've been through, and what they have to go through on their return. So yeah, I'll take a little uncomfortable awareness.

  • And then this: sitting in my living room, looking around, thinking about furniture, about the pieces of my life these pieces have witnessed and taken part in. The silent observers.

  • Caught the gatos hanging out on the bed together -- three times, one day! History being made....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pictures! With the pictures!

The only entertaining thing I really have to share is that courtesy of my boxing classes I'm crazycrazy loving, I'm as banged up as a 5-year-old on summer vacation. Scraped knuckles, knees, elbows -- even got a cool new mark on my upper arm. Awesome. To me, it's a mark of a life well lived, fully lived, banged up and happy and doing everything to the utmost. But it makes me laugh -- what grownup goes around all scraped up and bruised?? Apparently, Grownup Me.

OK, on to the promised pictures (think they'll display in a jumble, so I'm giving up on any clever captioning or ordering ... blogspot REALLY leaves a lot to be desired with its photo deal!). Apropos of nothing, except I haven't uploaded photos in a long while, I'm including some classic gato shots. Willa in particular has been in fine form. Suce is just awkward and adorable. And there are a few tree branches! with snow! shots.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Winter wonder

It's snowing!

Now this is what winter's supposed to be! Had a friend from yoga say "you are hard to please, friend" on the weather front -- to which I protested -- but I'm not. It's winter, in Boston, all I want is snow....

Best snow sight seen from my office window:
  • A guy walking by in short sleeves. Huh. Jacket at his side. Lots of snow gathering at the front of his hair.
And now, it's bedtime, for real, been doing a lame super-early bedtime to go with an awesome super-early wakeup -- yay (I think?). But oh yes, there was some real snow today. And yes, it's winterlandy out there -- bee-yew-ti-ful. The branches, all well-coated in snow, like a thick layer. Amazing. Astonishing, even. Wish I could capture the images right out my window. Will try tomorrow.

OK, I was trying to upload photos, and after forever long, it said it did (lies!), but hell if I know where they are. So, that will be a tomorrow attempt. Cute gato photos, coming your way on the morrow. Now, go to sleep and dream of snow. Yes, right now.

Monday, February 15, 2010

This living business

The little children overhead are RAMPAGING. Like, it's possible they killed their parents and are running mad and will soon take over the world with their little hands and small teeth and pounding feet. Just wanted to sound a warning.

OK, and Sucio is wildly attacking the corner of the clean duvet cover tossed on the bed. I'm pretty sure he's gonna vanquish it, but I'll keep you posted. Those duvet covers can be crafty.

So. Today is a day I categorized in the following ways to friends:
  • the soup du jour was rejection (personal AND professional - TWO flavors! just checked emails and they came 3 minutes apart -- note, while I was ultimately unsuccessfully looking for parking for my boxing class)
  • a day in which I would not:
    -buy a lottery ticket
    -walk on a tightrope
    -stand outside in a lightning storm
I guess not a great day is what I'm trying to say. Subtle, wasn't I?

So, here come the whole parade of emotions that come with non-great days, always fun (and from a non-emotional perspective, the array is kind of interesting, like all the colors in a bruise - ooh, look at that one! oh wow, look, there's a new one! oh, haven't seen THAT before!).

But ... perspective, perspective counts here. The emotions are validly hard, and it's true, I'd rather not get to experience them (thanks all the same). But, they're also not so very bad, really. I mean, I look around at my life and all the good and all the potential -- and think about others' bigger struggles -- and I can't ignore that. I mean, I don't have to get up and go to a job I hate tomorrow, for starters. And I have so many people in my life who love me so ridiculously much, who are there for me in a second. So in many senses -- lucky, lucky me.

Of course, when the hard and the sad and the sting descend, all that positive makes the ouch no less real, and I wouldn't want it to be. Well, intellectually I wouldn't want it to be. When it descends emotionally, it feels like crap and most of us aren't raising our hands and asking for more.

But you know what -- they were both cool opportunities. They could've been awesome. Would I forgo this hard to not have the opportunity? Not in a second.

I can gather some shreds of philosophical comfort around me, even in the midst of the hard -- these aren't tear-your-heart-and-soul-apart hard, these are simply life happening. This is me, walking on life's path. I'll take it. I sure don't always manage it, but I want to make my choices clear-eyed, nodding at the risks, listening to myself, head high, hopefully with a laugh nearby, making the jump. It's how I want to live. Let's see if I can remember that over the next few weeks while hard fades.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A swirly blue valentine

Today was the crazy wonder that is CRASH-Bs.

As in, 2,000+ rowers of all ages (teens to, I dunno, 60s? 70s? maybe older) and nationalities (24 countries, I heard), crammed into Boston University's ice hockey stadium, sitting their butts down on rowing machines to row 2,000 meters as fast as they can.

It's insanity of the best kind. All-out effort, the air buzzing with nervous sweat, adrenaline highs, expended energy, some collapsed athletes, vomit puddles (reportedly, even projectile vomiting -- now that's exciting), despair and joy and pride and tears, coaches' and cox'ns' and teammates' screams, booming announcers, the sound of 80 ergs going at once.

It's something. The energy is contagious, at least for me, as was the crash after.

In honor of the holiday, they designed hot-pink t-shirts for volunteers, with the front images and words curved into a heart. Awesome. I know there are plenty of people in the world who would love to see me in a hot pink t-shirt ... so sorry, forgot to get a picture. But, I discoverd the genius of getting a kids' large, so I didn't have to do the (highly stylish) t-shirt-dress-over-jeans look.

I volunteered as a cox'n in the morning, and was psyched for the opportunity to cheer (or scream) strangers on, throw my energy behind their efforts, as cox'ns have done for me. But, since I knew a few people running the show and can be as pushy as (OK, maybe a little pushier than) your average volunteer, I suddenly got promoted to cox'n captain, running my own little bank of 32 ergs and volunteers, which is fine, surely, except I hadn't actually done this before. Hm. Didn't seem to faze anyone. Wasn't rocket science, it's true, but I sure know more now than this morning. Only got to cox one person, which was fun, but I got pulled away immediately after for a collapsed participant, so I didn't get to do a proper "nice job!" after, felt bad about that.

Then it was into the bowels of the building for lightweight weigh-ins for 2 hours. That I've done several years previously, much calmer. Snuck a French competitor into the men's weigh-in where the scale was .2 of a pound lighter, and that's all she needed (this after repeated efforts interspersed by sweat intervals). Saw competitors from Germany, Denmark, Greece, Mexico, Italy, France, Hungary, probably others. Saw a person weigh in 23 pounds heavy ... um...? (Frantic self reminder: Don't look shocked!)

Pretty intense day; good fun. It's that same theme I do love so -- seeing people pushing themselves to their brinks, and sometimes beyond. Amazing to witness. And speaking of inspiring, they also had adaptive rower categories, but I missed those, wish I'd been able to see those feats of awe and strength.

What does one do after that? I didn't know either, I was wiped -- crashed. I opted for refueling with multiple cups of tea, meatless meatballs, cheese toast and the Sunday paper.

Then, a quest to find the delicious mint dark chocolate I experienced last night. In the process, I did some wandering.

On the way out, got my own valentine of a sky of deep swirled blues. Wound up in a spot I haven't been in a while, atop a small park at the summit of a nearby hill where you can see the lights of Boston wrapping the skyline view.

It was cold. And beautiful.

The park is essentially the side of a hill, good for rolling down in the summer. It was windy up there, and I sat on the back of a bench. My legs went numb, so felt warm, that was nice.

The park is circled by trees, those bare, reaching branches that get me so hard. I keep trying to put words on why they do, and can't. Maybe that they're a perfect symbol of winter beauty -- stripped to a clean, clear essence. Perfection against the sky. It's like they have a knowing but don't care if you know or notice. They're striking, yet constantly overlooked. Their silhouette offers a beauty perhaps too bleak for most, but it's like all winter beauty -- cutting, crisp, precise, only softened by snowfall. And then still cold. But perfect.

Think my legs are still tingley-numb.

An so a weekend concludes. With Willie Nelson singing, Good-Hearted Woman. Awesome. You can't blame me; it's my upbringing. ("She's a good-hearted woman, in love with a good-timing man ... lord knows she don't understand him, but she does the best she can ... through teardrops and laughter that pass through this world hand-in-hand ..." C'mon, give it a listen.) (Now it's Waylon Jennings doing Me and Bobby McGee. Some good shit. My parents would be proud, I think. I mean, geez: "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose ... nothin' ain't worth nothin', but it's free ..." Try to top that.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Just not much here

Friday, Friday.

It's a night in. Willa's pleased because I think she glared hard enough at Sucio that he gave up his spot curled up next to me, so she could claim it.

What do I have to offer? Not a whole ton. No exciting updates or new stories, not much snow, no deep insights, just the week closing. Sometimes, I guess it just does that.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Possibilities again, or revisited ... or something like that

Or maybe it's the fine lines of possibility? Ha.

Oh, possibilities. As I pondered my post earlier in the week, and as a few wise friends have gently, lovingly pointed out ... you know, I just don't really know about this particular possibility. I can certainly choose to close a possibility, that's a valid choice. And others may choose to close a possibility. And maybe there comes a point when, dude, look at the writing scribbled all over the wall in giant red Sharpie letters.... And, and I guess sometimes (sometimes) perhaps it's a judgment call about whether writing is on the wall and how big and how red it may be.

I'm working on my point, I am. Maybe it's this -- sometimes, it just feels safer or easier to call a possibility closed rather than risk someone else closing it for us. A preemptive strike, if you will. And, OK, if that's what we need to do, it's what we need to do, right?

But. But -- what if the possibility wasn't gonna be closed and you closed it? Well, then it's closed.

Or, as I said to a friend, what if you slam the door shut on your own toe to preempt someone else slamming it on your toe first. But if it wasn't going to be slammed ... then you just slammed your own toe in the door. Clever. And, chose to end a possibility out of fear. Not a good reason to make any decisions or close any possibilities, in my book. And, and even if someone were to slam a door on your toe ... how in the heck is you slamming it first gonna help? A doubly slammed toe? Dang.

sigh. But it's tricky. Because sometimes it feels like instinct or gut knowledge is leading us to a piece of knowledge, and you gotta respect that.

Except if it's misleading you out of self-protection. Sneaky. How dare it? How could we wind up being way too sneaky for our own good?

The good-living space, it seems to me, seems to be in that whole (damn) living in the moment, aware of possibilities and feelings, but trying not to let our own busy little brains push us around to somewhere we might not even need to be.

Me, I'm driven by understanding. Driven by it -- it's what makes my world make sense. I feel like I can handle any damn thing if I can understand it. And if I can't? It's terribleness.

The little hamster in my brain generally does a good job with the understanding business, as do my instincts, I give them credit. But the little brain hamster on his wheel is oh-so busy, always, always. And it gets tiring. And it's not always useful. And I think in emotional, unknown, scary scenarios, that little hamster is not the one who should be running the show. That's where we get possibilities closed for fear.

But in the moment of it, knowing this, stopping the hamster ... I dunno, guys, still learning that one. That's where I'll be grateful for quiet instincts that might gently poke, whisper questions; the trick is to first hear, then listen to them.

And grateful to friends who channel some wise and who gently, quietly ask the questions as well.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Words! WordsWords (some words)

Well, OK.

I seem to have a large font going onscreen that I can't quite fix. SO, IT KIND OF MAKES ME FEEL LIKE I'M SHOUTING TO MYSELF. HI, EVERYONE! HOW ARE YOU? HAVE A GOOD DAY?

OK, I'll stop. That's just what it feels like.

I'm eating popcorn dregs, which brings me to an important question: how does one eat popcorn dregs? They're still crunchy and tasty, but very little-piece-y, challenging to eat. Busting out a spoon seems ... a little silly. A funnel! This is when one needs a funnel! Alas, I have no funnel. If only I had that green plastic one from my childhood ... the one that a friend who shall remain unnamed (hi, Christa) briefly took leave of her senses with and let me shove Top Ramen noodles through into her mouth. I dunno, we lived in the country, there wasn't much to do. It was my idea, it's true.

So, popcorn dregs.

Been a busy few days, kind of exciting. Went to Fitchburg, Mass. for the first time ever yesterday. About an hourish drive, northwest of Boston. Kind of fun to take a roadtrip, even a mini one. Met the CEO of the veterans' nonprofit I'd reached out to about doing pro bono work. Very, very cool organization. I interviewed her today (via Skype! first-ever Skype interview! craziness!) and will write an article about the new center they've opened on the grounds of and in partnership with a local community college. Goal is to see if we can't get it to a national pub. They need a million dollars to finish the center. Anyone got a million dollars lying around? Lemme know.

Stopped by Walden Pond on the way back. Think it was my first-ever wintertime visit. The whole thing is frozen solid -- people were ice skating, walking, playing hockey, and one guy was riding his bike on it. Me? I obeyed the "hazardous ice signs" -- that shit is scary! There were a bunch of deaths last year of people falling through the ice (not there), so I'm like ... I'll watch from shore, it's cool....

Then last night an interesting presentation on strength training for rowers. Can't believe how long it's been since I lifted. Feeling the motivation growing to get back to it.

Today, another meeting with another great freelancer; she was awesome. So cool to meet others "actually" doing (getting paid for) what I'm, um, trying to do, working on doing.... Lots of great info and inspiration and ideas there.

And NOW, now it's time for a weather vent. OK! We had this BIG ole storm predicted (scoff). Big ole. Like, everyone's watching too much news of D.C. and New York as of late. So, everyone gets all excited -- and what? Hardly anything! We're talking, schools closed (I show up for my weekly Mauricio date, and I'm like, um, where are the people who should inhabit this school...?), hardly any traffic out, people in buying frenzy at Trader Joe's (W Coasters, remind me to tell you about French Toast Alert at some point), and there's like some snow falling ... some ... but none sticking! And there was a big afternoon storm warning (that they finally cancelled), and it was all silly. And disappointing. And here's the thing -- those people in D.C. and elsewhere?? They are taking our snow! I'm convinced! They're hogging it! Why won't they share?? Geez.

But I will say, it's supposed to fall through the night, and walking out of boxing (awesome workout! the wanting-to-throw-up kind! awesome! love it! more!), I was a leetle more impressed -- the wind has picked up, so you kind of get that stinging-snow-into-face effect. And it's starting to stick. Starting. Just now. See what I mean? So, perhaps I will wake up to a snowy-white world tomorrow, but I dunno. No breath holding (which would be sort of a bad thing overnight anyway).

So. There ya go. Little word blast here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Possibility: A two-lane road, or when goodbye is said, just not spoken

Guess I'm not quite done with the universe musings and all.

I think one of my core beliefs, as goassamer soap-bubble-thin-fragile as it may be, is that most anything is possible in this world.

There, I said it. I've known/believed it for a long time, and have likely said it to friends, but perhaps not quite to the universe (here, I'm allowing the world wide Internet to stand in for the universe).

A horrific relationship experience a few years ago oddly enforced this belief while showing me its dark underbelly. If anything is possible, then anything is possible, even dark, underhanded, painful, twisted, lying. I'm fortunate that's an anomaly in my life and I choose not to focus on that side, even as it's all around us. But so's the good stuff.

Now, another encounter with possibility (of a far nicer kind, don't worry) seems to be pointing out that if anything is possible ... so is the ending of a possibility. Damn. What kind of fucked-up, consistent logic is that?

My inner optimist points out that to keep carrying this logic means that even an ended possibility may reopen. Sure. It may. But part of living and believing in the realm of possible is knowing when one has ended. And that that kind of possibility isn't nearly as fun as when it opened before me. But, ultimately, just a different possibility. It just makes my heart want to kick rocks.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Oh, you know, my brain

Surprising news here: the soundtrack to Elegy? Really not uplifting. Surprising, like I said. But pretty. I'm tired, so I can be one with it.

Did my recording tonight for my favorite nonprofit recording people. Got to read a novel, which I was psyched about, jumped in to a few chapters in the middle (kept wondering what the listener thinks as readers switch -- if they develop favorites and then have to adjust to a whole new voice/feel), so had no clue what was going on, but was a little pleased it wasn't a marketing textbook (that will come, I'm sure). But the book had all kinds of Jewish names, and guess what I seem to have a large gap in knowledge about? Poor people. I'd stop recording, sigh or swear, muddle through how to pronounce, then start recording again. But I DID get to read a solid 2-page 1-sentence rant from one of the characters. Thought that was good stuff. I highly approve.

Edging closer to potential work (still unpaid) with both the interesting nonprofits, the next few days should yield more info. A person from one of them asked me the reasonable question, so how much time are you able to give us, and I was like: that's a good question! Tricky, feeling my way along things I don't know. I mean, it could totally depend on the project for how time breaks down, but I guess I pick a starting something.

Haven't been progressing much at all with the website, professional blog, and my online marketing community/courses, but what I'm doing feels important and more direct, though all the pieces are ultimately needed. Talking to a freelancer Friday who confessed her website still wasn't launched, 10 years in (although close), made me realize it really isn't a prerequisite to gainful freelancing (although I think a highly helpful component).

Boxing class, we're getting a little more direct, as in, contact with people (with body shields and padding) on some of our moves, so that's interesting. Got to make all kinds of friends with a guy as I wrapped my hands around his neck and worked on kneeing him. Yeah. Then there was the right cross/neck grab/left knee combo. Kinda funny. Interesting/strange. But good workout today, intense, like I like.

Other life bits ... nothing I want to directly wade into ... but stuff to make me muse about life's funny twists and turns, about the universe's sense of humor, about possibilities that yield further possibilities that might null earlier possibilities. Yes, that's vague. But also perhaps more universal that way.

Elegy music, candlelight and universe musings = bedtime here.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Blinks, balls, icyness

You blink, a weekend passes.

God, if you close your eyes, maybe half a lifetime slides by!

Sort of feels like a bit of settling here from an aftermath of lots of good stuff, exciting possibilities and even some fun. Plenty to do this week. More with the progresses, please! And I just don't think more coherence is gonna come on that front tonight.

Because I know y'all miss weather talk when I withhold ... it's dang cold and there's NO SNOW! This makes me grumpy. Winter, he's totally not doing his part here. I'm all set to worship and gush and I'm gettin' NOTHIN'. Running from the street to the Harvard stade this morning for the Sunday ritual gave me an ice-cream headache (seriously) with no ice cream in sight, only cold cold wind.

Random note
Icing your side (weird twist in boxing, little tweak, nothing dire) while lying on a couch and typing is difficult. And wintertime doesn't make it more fun.

Something I never thought I'd mention in a blog
So, um. You know that big football game thing going on? Well, maybe you don't, but there is one, it's kind of a big deal in many circles. And, true, it's not so much the kind of thing I generally talk/care about. But I read an article about the coach of one of the teams (the underdog guys), and it was pretty darn cool how far they've come in four years. So in my clueless-about-football way, I was hoping for the underdogs. And they were behind, and then they were just one point behind, and I just checked, and they were way (like way) ahead. Football totally mystifies me, but pretty cool for the underdogs from a place that could use some victory.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Much with the good

Boy. Big excitements in the day. And, and yes with the progresses. Even starstrucknesses, in a career way. I'm only not all exclaimy and shouty (SHOUTY) about it because, really, I could sleep at this point and the acupuncture, it makes me mellow.

But --

-- Potential work, of the exact kind I'm aiming to do (tho still nonpaying, as of yet), with TWO cool nonprofits, one of whom ... I'm enthralled by! Starstruck! Like, one of my dream organizations to work with (at least from an outside perspective) ... Partners In Health! ! ! Them of the Mountains Beyond Mountains? Them of the much recent news coverage because of all their work and presence in Haiti? Them who went into one of the poorest of the poor countries and set up an impressive, effective healthcare setup ... and ... and. Wow. So I'm supposed to talk to someone there tomorrow to see in what capacity my writing skills could help them (hell, I'd address envelopes).

-- Also, Veterans Homestead, talked to their exec director today and meeting with her next week, so I gots to put together some ideas and a proposal, exciting and new territory. But exactly what I need to be doing.

-- AND, and, spent a chunk of the day dealing with most every kind of insurance in my life in one way or another (uggghhhhhhh .... guess which was the worst? yep, health), which was so not fun, phone mazes of the soulsucking variety, but I finally DID shit I've been putting off for months, in some cases, I'm sorry to say. Now, done.

-- And, AND, found the library books. Um, yeah, left them at the school. Oops.

-- Last one, a run today along the frozen Charles. Cold (^$@&*% cold), but beautiful and glorious. Made it for 30 minutes before my knee was like, um, HI, whatcha doin' there? Of course, I'd gone out for longer than that, so a little walking on the way back. S'OK. Headed to the upper upstream, fun to run along where I row, see it from shore, check out the ice (still some open water in the middle, bet that won't last long with these temps) and the bridges. Just so beautiful. At my turnback point, I stood on a little rock and looked at the gray-black ice and felt the cold cold wind, looked up and saw the sun shining but distant, beginning to recede, those beautiful bare branches against the sky and just ... saw all the greatness. Headed back smiling.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Actionpacked -- and the boy again

Awoke to a snow ground covering, so we know that makes me giddy. Unfortunately, a very light covering, but still, white stuff.

A little more came down through the morning. I have a window in my shower, so I can look up and see snowflakes coming down. Makes me grin like a kid.

And now, mid-morning, the sun's come out. (sigh) But what's cool is that there's either still a little little bit of snow coming down, or it's getting blown off branches and roofs, because sparkly, glittery particles of white are coming down. And they really are sparkly and glittery. Guess the sun's good for something after all.


Darktime! Y'all know the drill -- couch, Sucio working on bravery nearby, candlelight, tonight, Ray LaMontagne accompanying.

Good boxing class tonight, some fun new drills. Oh, and guess what? No, no bleeding, but he had us doing a combination with the right elbow (remember, bleeding down arm onto floor a week and a half ago?), and I did get to see the scab fly off in pieces. Pretty gross, even for me, right? But see, I'm really a 5-year-old inside, and sometimes she grabs the keyboard....

Have some little baby connections going to cool public health nonprofits, and a few freelancers I'm finding (think I mentioned this -- am I getting repetitive in my old age?), so that feels good, like right steps. Another cool thing -- tomorrow I'm talking to a woman I reached out to a few weeks ago about potentially doing some pro bono work (yes, I know, someday, sooner than later, it's got to get to paid, but this felt worth it and right to do) -- she founded a private organization with services for veterans and their families, so it feels like a very good thing to support. So, we shall see. Progresses, little progresses. And with the planning, progresses there, too. Think I'm thinking about and having the right instincts for the right kinds of things, it's just giving myself a structure and a plan so I can prioritize. So every day isn't digging through the list of possibles and debating/deciding. Well, that'll probably still happen, but I'll have a guide through it.

Oh -- Mauricio! I almost forgot, promised an update. So, with The Mission yesterday for worm books (partially filled, there WAS a "worm lizard" [I kid you not] on one of the pages), I took those two (um, and where did I PUT them? damn. damn.) along with a few other of the insect-y, creepy crawl-y genre. When I showed him, he didn't seem entirely convinced, so he grabbed a shark book from the book cart, and off we set for the classroom (when the weekly lunchdate goes down).

There was a lengthy debate (internal, his) about which book to read, and the sharks almost won, but I think the worm lizard was ultimately persuasive, so that's the one we read. He seemed into it. It's hard to tell. Kid really doesn't talk much. I'll get a few lines each session, and I'm taking those gladly! I also got to witness the fluorescent Trix yogurt he was eating, it was a little crazy; my mom would be appalled.

So, yeah. We have me reading a book filled with facts about snakes and chameleons (he did inform me he'd never seen one of those) and oh yeah, the worm lizards ... and prompting him to eat every page (he gets a little engrossed and apparently his mother sent a plea for more lunch eating) ... but I think it's working. We've established he has 2 brothers, and he's the middle kid. And he doesn't have pets. And, seemingly, he likes the nonfiction worm-type books. We'll see. I'm thinking -- some crucial foundation-laying for a solid relationship, right??

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Socks for dinner?

There is a very upset, crying child in the house above. Certainly some kind of little-child gathering going on up there. Long as it's not after bedtime, I leave it be.... I mean, hey, at least they're not in my living room, right?

Darktime out, nearly 6. But it is getting darker later. A bit. It is. Sucio just decided Natalie Merchant is Scary. Oh, I'm sorry, she was OK, it's Dido who's Scary.

The days, they go quickly. In blinks of eyes. I think I've been saying that since the beginning, haven't I? No announcements about the (whispering) (office) because I'm afraid it will summon a tsunami that will reach Brookline, or one room in Brookline, and destroy the now-cleared floorspace. So perhaps a little superstitious room (ha) is called for here....

So, what can I tell you of my now? Willa is staring intently into the radiator. There are candles going. Good conversation with a friend, many of life's depths and challenges and mysteries visited. And -- and -- hm. is still being a tease, keeps nudging snowfall start time back by a few hours at a time, now showing 2 a.m. But at least still showing! My hope is that'll mean a day of snowing tomorrow. So far, so good. And maybe XC skiing Thursday?? Maybe??

OK, on to the day's Mission. Made it to the library, made it back with 2 books, but neither quite, quite about worms. sigh. I know. But, I saw SOME kind of worm on one of the pages, so all isn't lost. And, they're about creepy crawly lizardy slithery things, so my hope is, they'll work. Full Mauricio-reaction report tomorrow.

2 funny library notes: 1) I saw a book titled: Lobsters, Gangsters of the Seas, which is funny, but somehow in my head, I read it as "Gang Members of the Seas," which was way funnier. Like lobsters wearing colors and flashing signs? With claws? C'mon, a little funny! And 2) for anyone not well-versed in checking out kids' books (me), you apparently are supposed to check them out in the kids' section (and wait, if no one's there) because, and this is a direct quote, the adult checkout sections is, like, "10 million times busier." 10 million! Isn't that amazing? I wonder how they came up with that precise number? Librarians are precise, so perhaps she stood there and counted all day? Huh. Amazing. 10 million times busier....

Last note of the night, for those of you inclined to worry about me a bit, let me reassure, there is plenty going on in the days for my new endeavor that doesn't involve loafing, lounging, boxing or outside activities, children's libraries, or any of the other things I ramble about; there is daily action and planning and writing and sometimes editing and little a-has, and sometimes big a-has, and space ordering and conversations and emails and meetings and thinking, lots with the thinking, and little bings and researching and oh, whatever else happens in my days. It's just that this stuff isn't always so fascinating to write about, or it's all so new-still-rising-dough-y-not-yet-ready-for-baking that sometimes I'm not ready to fling dough bits around (gets messy you know ... dough in the eye, never pretty). And then I'll realize I haven't said much about productivity progress income etc. etc., and everyone will think I'm boiling socks for dinner. Or perfecting handstands all day. So, the official word: Nope, no socks for dinner. I have time and breathing room, which I'm using, but also progressing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Just flickers

All right, first with the accomplishment -- I am now officially qualified as a reader for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. Cool. And, I apparently "did beautifully" in my demo recording. Ha! Perhaps I should be a professional reader for a living??

It's nighttime, couch, candles, jammies, Neko Case, and now Sucio.

Some progress with the progressing today, yay. Finding some freelancers to meet with, that's a good thing.

Just realized I talked to both parents today. Huh, that doesn't happen often -- I mean, on the same day. Guess I should've called my brother and gone for the trifecta.

My San Diego spies tell me there was earthquaking there this morning. Aw, earthquakes, I remember those.

Good boxing class today -- headed for the "new" location and got lost in a new way this time (would've been disappointed if I hadn't), but still made it. Starting to learn a few kicks; my longstanding class has been only punches, until very recently. So, elbows and knees and kicks, oh boy. I managed to not bleed at all today, so there's something. True, I avoided throwing any right elbows until the scab is gone. But, kicks, kicks are fun. Kicky.

Look, Sucio's back.

I'm really rattling about, really, nothing, aren't I? I think that means bedtime. Tomorrow, an important mission: find a kids' library book on worms. Told you it was important. Yes, I'll do more than that tomorrow, but that's The Mission.

And, is being a total tease. It does keep offering Wednesday snow showers, so it better not retract those. At one point, it was showing snow showers for 3 or 4 days, but now only Monday. Damn. There's hardly any snow! If it's this cold, there should be piles of the stuff. Dammit.

And with that peevish thought, the gatos and I are goin' to bed....

Monday breaks well

So the plan was to do one joint, combined, mashup weekend post, something I've done a few times already, and now just seems to make sense. I mean, if something earthshattering occurs, fear not, I'll do a special edition, but in general, one per weekend is probably fine -- y'all have busy lives, too!

So then what happened? Suddenly, it got late, and I'm getting ever-stronger urges to be getting up earlier than I've been managing, so going to bed seemed to be the thing I needed to do. So I did. And was up in 5:30ish range, I'm pleased to report. Love the early morning. It's like you get some kind of jumpstart on the day -- maybe all the better when you don't have to get up early, makes it all the more valuable-feeling.

So, let's see. Some very nice mellowness this weekend. Downtime, it is good. Some progress with the lovely Oficina. Goal: for her middle to become Sanctuaria. On her way.

See, being up this early, I get to watch light dawn -- something best done from within a boat on the river, but barring that, at least simply getting to witness it is key.

So, there's the start of the Monday, the official workweek. Hope yours is lovely, or that you find lovely bits within it. Me, I'm looking for some movement and flow this week. Have felt some nice little shifts on things I've long wondered "why can't I just manage to do this or that dumb thing? it's not seemingly a hard thing...." And I'm now doing some of them. Liking it.