It's craptastic

This has been one of those weeks where I really need to chicken, else I'll end up climbing into a black hole of a hormonal well that may take me the rest of the summer from which to escape. [how many people just winced reading that...or maybe ducked and ran for cover..?]

what was hard:
-having to work part of my normal day off.
It was unpleasant but manageable until the week kept getting worse.
-at work, layoffs coming, people in 'my' position by 25%
This had everyone in pain, frustration, anger. It was almost impossible to shield it out. Thanks to my metaphor I can deal with the effect on me personally fairly well. When dealing with work=active addict my expectations are low. But the huge waves of anger and depression from everyone were everywhere. I felt like I was trying to swim in it and almost drowning. And what would be better; being one of those left with a huger amount of work or being one of those trying to find a new job? I can't even tell anymore.
-someone guessed my age at 15 years higher than it is
This just left me flabbergasted. It was the day of the above work announcement which must have also resulted in me looking like death.
-things all felt off
I couldn't get into a flow for anything. I dropped things, forgot things, was tired no matter how much sleep I did or didn't get. Combination of stress universe at work and mercury retrograde?
-Poison ivy
probably from my dog, since I did not tramp around in the woods last weekend like others did. so itchy.
-pms hormones made all of the above feel worse and personal

Wow, I hated typing all that out, it's been a such a week. But this helps me remember there were good nay great parts to the week as well.

What was good:

-3 days of perfect summer weather.
highs in the mid 70's with sun and a breeze. 3 days of weather happy.
-I love virgos!
and the virgo birthday season has started which includes some of my bestest friends. There have been presents and phone calls and chocolate soufflé and dinners out. Celebrations!
-my wife and family and friends
I am so fortunate to have a large network of people who have the time to talk with me, reassure me, and love me even when part of me feels like I'm choking on stress [and apparently look about 87 years old] and really exaggerating.
-in the midst of it all I was able to find space and be nice to me, sometimes.
sure I would love it if I could do it all the time and with ease, but still I could feel compassion and I could laugh and I could read silly adventure stories to distract myself.
-the tomatoes
my garden isn't producing many but they are glorious, and lucky me, others more blessed have been sending some my way, both fresh and salsa.

I hope this ritual wrapper helps me start the next week fresh. New starts to all who need them...share if you want about your week. I'd love to hear it.

musings on community

Thought rambling warning!

This year festival sparked a lot of musing about community for me. Then, as I mentioned earlier, I am reading the Lonely American, which is about feeling disconnected, why and what to do about it. My vacation and my reading are mixing in my brain and generating lots of hmmms.

Festival is a very large, [for us in this country used to small groups], short term, incredibly diverse community. It is self policing. It has community goals. It's diverseness makes it very broad in scope I think, it can be many different things to many people.

The book is a fascinating read about how our biological [almost cellular] bent toward community is in constant conflict with our almost subconscious ideals of independence and self reliance. It also details how just the perception of being 'left out' make stunning changes to both our thoughts and our behaviors.

I think of myself as being fairly relationally oriented. I do give attention to and work on my relationships. However I am lousy at staying in contact with my family, who I moved away from when I was only 20. I have several solitary activities that I enjoy very much. Once again I am surprising myself. How well do I actually know this person that I have lived with all my life? How good am I at compromising with those I dislike? Do I feel disconnected sometimes and do I then withdraw to avoid feeling the discomfort? Do I act without thinking sometimes if I feel left out? And then the kicker for me...what stories do I tell myself about my connection or lack thereof.

I don't really have a lot of conclusions yet... but I see in me the person who shrinks or lashes out from simply perceived feelings of being ignored, even though I remind myself everyday to not take things personally. We are all the centers of our own universes. And I know rationally just how busy everyone else is...we are all juggling too much. [and not getting enough vacations]

It so pervasive in our culture, it's a bit freakish to me. I need to absorb this new information and see what pops out. Go hug someone eh? Even if it's just a beautiful tree.

vacation downside

and I don't mean the bugs!

great vacation = time away from work = very full inbox at work on return = so much time trying to get caught up + special work projects ==> no time to blog for days!

There have to be jobs out there when you don't come back to a bigger pile and end up having to pay for your vacation, right?

There is just guilt all around this situation for me. Guilt that I am complaining about the effects of a paid vacation [oh poor me], guilt about having a job when so many do not [how dare I not appreciate it], and overwhelming guilt that really why do I take vacations at all...

I read a startling statistic in the Lonely American last week ...'Americans workers gave back, or didn't take advantage of, 574 million vacation days in 2005'.

This just stuns me. And this wasn't me, the only days I 'don't take' are the ones I can carry over for the next year, and that is just 40 hours at my company. Why does vacation have to have negative consequences for me and what can I do to change that?

Do other people struggle with this? Do other people have success just walking away for a week or two saying to themselves 'no one is indispensable' and can just let it go? Currently I am an odd mix of the two. A work in progress.

knitting completion and recharge

Although they had some periods of agonizing slowness I did get my 2 knitting projects done. Though not by the end of May or even the end of June, although not for lack of trying on my part.

Let's concentrate on the part where the knitting got done and how I am pretty happy with it. I think I showed true creative tenacity in sticking with those projects when all kinds of roadblocks popped up. I even succeeded in keeping comparisons to a minimum [like RWC encouraged] And now I seem to have flowed into one of those periods where the yarn feels right and there is all kinds of creativity flowing out of my fingers naturally and thought not getting in the way.

Lots of credit has to go to my fiber partner who devised a brilliant series of creative workshops full of fiber that could be successful under less than ideal conditions. [think outside, no shelter/roof, with only 2 tables, heat, humidity, large numbers of participants and running water 50 yards away]. The effect it had on me was like a huge creative battery getting recharged.

'see this is what is possible...' It pushed the limits of my creative process in the best ways. Then towards the end of the week the 'learn to knit' where I watched again people getting it as I varied the ways to show them, connect them. I was reconnected with my knitting on a visceral level, funny how teaching can do that for you. It was like they were sharing the new neural pathways they were creating with me.

The Festival can have a profound effect on one if you are in a place to receive that. This year I was given so many gifts of focus and connection, it was delightful and unexpected. My self care was spot on, truly came from a place of listening clarity. I was also so honoured to have a framework where I could give from my heart, truly it can be a delight to give from a place of ease, it only increases joy. Even the resultant tiredness in the extreme humidity was just what it was. No issue.

Well I'm babbling and full of woo, as you can tell. Words can't really describe how glorious it was. Probably silly of me to try. Ease to all.

running nowhere week 8

My running at the festival did not go as I had hoped. In fact my whole 'week 8' got derailed.

First every time I tried to run my 28 minutes it just didn't work out, my podcasts kept on cutting out on me, which would throw me off. I was left not really knowing how long or far I ran. Just small challenges but enough to confuse me.

Then there was the muggy blanket of humidity that wrapped all of us in MI. In order to run in some comfort and have time to shower I would need to get up very early before it got totally oppressive. But most nights were quite noisy until late. Even with earplugs it was hard falling asleep. Getting up at dawn just did not seem like good self care. I couldn't prepare.

So I just let it go. I was getting tons of other exercise just walking everywhere all the time. I think I only took the shuttles once the whole week. When I woke up on Saturday/race morning it was cooler but that was the only time all week. I wasn't prepared to run though. And the 8 am starting time just seemed too late, it heated up so fast.

I realize now that it wasn't meant to be this year. A race during August heat was too much of challenge for my new self. I think I'll shoot for late September or October if I can find one not on asphalt. Meanwhile life is returning back to usual, the heat looks like it may be breaking for at least the next few days and I am hopeful I'll get a few runs in. Send me good luck and happy exercising all!

it is a bit embarassing

But rock on Mexico.

One of my best moments of my vacation was last Wednesday night. Phone service is spotty in central Michigan, there aren't any computers so I fall out of touch with the rest of the world but during one of the intermissions they announced from the stage that Prop 8 had been ruled unconstitutional. The cheers rang out and I burst into tears feeling like my heart was soaring? singing? Just feeling I guess. It was intense in the best way.

There I was with a celebrating group thousands strong. And I was reminded that life is very good and there is so much to find joy in and to have all those women to celebrate it with was just icing on the cake.

The sangha of woman at the MWMF is a beautiful and uplifting experience though full of very imperfect beings, myself included. But the transcending of all our individual pains and imperfections is a glorious thing. This is one of the reasons I go; to remember how to be a part of a community and to feel safety.

Someone should have told me

Seriously, there I was driving through the UP in Michigan for the first time ever. It is beautiful, warm, charming. People are speeding like maniacs and I feel perfectly at home.

Then I start seeing the signs. PASTIES. The first few times as I cruised by at 70+ mph [and being passed constantly] I thought I was seeing things. But no.

UP Michigan is full of shops that make Cornish Pasties. Unbelievable and yummy. No one told me. How many years did I lose? I cursed the ham and cheese sandwiches I had prudently stored in my cooler thinking I wouldn't be able to find anything to eat.

So I am telling you all. Are you thinking you need to make a long awaited trek to Britain for your pasty fix? Not so. They are closer than you think.

More about vacation coming up.

green and purple

It is a colourful time right now.

On spa day I fell in love with a pine green nail polish. I don't usually paint my fingernails but I figured why not. It was gorgeous then it drove me crazy for a week.

My toenails I can paint in any wild color and I never think anything more about it. I just enjoy them. I even paint them blue sometimes even though I hardly ever wear blue and just enjoy mermaid toes. [you know if a mermaid had toes] But those pine green fingernails! I had nothing that 'went' with them. I kept trying but hardly anything I owned looked good. Very frustrating. Finally I removed it all. I have to wonder if it had something to do with my skin tone.

Still this didn't keep me from another foray into new colour. I wanted to deliberately create a ritual spaciousness for my time in Michigan this year. So inspired by a fabulous server last April [dining out for life] I decided to dye purple streaks in my hair.

My hairdresser bleached streaks in my hair, I let them rest for 36 hours, then I applied the purple. It is wild, much bluer than I thought it would be. And I keep forgetting that I did it, catch sight of myself and give a start of surprise. But it is a very 'taking a break from the regular life' kind of change. And it's only been a few days but I think people react to you differently when you have purple hair...

I'll report back in after I put more time in as a 'purple head'.

bug zone

So the early spring was great stuff this year. This summer has been pretty good with plenty of rain at regular intervals. I haven't had to drag the sprinkler around once. I am very grateful for that. But oy, the bugs!

They have just been ferocious and even the simple mosquito raises a huge welt on me. It is rather disheartening. It's been 8 years since I gave up sugar, surely by now they should have found someone sweeter?

I hope everyone is having a sweet summer in their world.

Oh, and just to let you know due to travel, the start of August will probably be kind of sparse here on the blog. Hopefully I'll have lots of fun tales when I have better computer access.

lughnasadh 2010

Here it is first harvest already. Lughnasadh. I love this holiday. Partially because in the world of flexible holidays you can really celebrate it however you want. Partially because I am not that crazy about the heat of summer and the first harvest reminds me that my favorite time of year is just around the corner. I don't really like it's other name lammas, too churchy sounding for me. I know that the holidays were co-opted but I just don't want to remember that fact all the time *smile*
It certainly has a sadness as well for me, my dog would have been 16 today.

Although bonfires are common as part of the celebrations and the smoke would certainly help to keep the bugs off of one, usually it's a bit too hot for me to enjoy fire the first of August. So this year it will be about the water. Being by a big body of water always makes any day better for me.

So what ever you do. Have that bonfire, dig some new potatoes; Lughnasadh mhaith!
and here's to a really great dog that I still miss.