not new at all

I was rooting around in my blog trying to find my posts on self-compassion.
But there weren't any.

I was flabbergasted for a while. This whole thing I have been doing since June which I totally love -- I haven't written about it.
Seems strange. Why did this happen? I came up with two possible answers.

In the same time frame there was the new garden, also loved, and I talked about it instead.
This could be one of those things that sounds stupid when you try to use words. So I didn't.

I'm betting the second is the winner but I have decided to give it a try today.

Last June I took a wonderful "dealing with shame" workshop. I was introduced to a new book on Self-Compassion. I found much of it completely wonderful. Perhaps it was just the right time or perhaps it was the writing style but although many of the concepts were not new I absorbed them differently and they turned me different colors.

I became aware that although I had thought self-compassion a wonderful thing. It was not something I felt very often. It was not present viscerally in my life. Once I started a self-compassion practice I noticed much more ease around working with habits and patterns. In some cases I moved through difficulties more quickly and when I didn't I could give myself compassion for that as well. It has become a dearly loved tool to help me thrive.

I admit I am not satisfied with my words above, but I comfort myself with the idea the writing about experiences is just very hard.

To sum up: You may like this book [and practice] as well.
Why not get it from the library and find out? Also I learned I love oxytocin.

please come back

Dear Peach Colored Zippered bag,

I really miss you. You were made by a dear friend who can make practically anything! You are subtle on the outside and brilliant on the inside. You remind me of her and many happy chats and adventures.

I don't just miss you, I miss all that you hold. Metal crochet hooks, a needle nest, darning needles, stitch markers, stitch holders and other knitting aids. You are so complex. I miss all parts of you.

I don't just miss you, I need you. I want you back in my life. You are important to me. Do I sound desperate? I don't care if I do. I could perhaps replace you but it would never be the same. It wouldn't be you.

Tell me what I can do? Spend more time knitting? Show you more active appreciation? I am willing to make changes if you will only come home.

Most sincerely hoping for the continuation of our creative partnership, EB

p.s. this love letter is not a metaphor

remember this - massage timing

I need to remember this and I am concerned that the foul headache [fowl headache? a goose of a headache?] I have right now will get in the way. So I am going to put it here.

Massages are wonderful, wonderful things. I love them and I adore the woman who does this for me. But there are after-effects from massages. [grogginess, spaciness, toxicity] If I have to go to another appointment after my massage and sit still and listen intently for 1.5 hours then I will stiffen up. My poor body will not process all the good that was the massage.

I need low key spaciousness after my massages. I would love to remember this the next time I book a massage.


xmas 2011

I have been thinking about this year's xmas and decided what I really need to do is Friday chicken about it. [The link will take you to the explanation of this wonderful ritual on the fluent self.] Even though there is no Friday nearby.

The Grinchy Stuff--

Blue Music --I played a xmas album from my childhood and I was propelled into a cranky and weird place. It took me several songs to realize this and turn the damn stuff off. Then I was sad because I didn't want the music to make me sad. Huh.

Rare insomnia--So little sleep the night before made me much less resilient. [and crabby part of the next day]

The haddock-- not skinned

Meaningless communications from afar--left me feeling inauthentic and grumpy. It also awakened a younger past hurt self which may be why the music affected me so much.

Missing friends who are sick -- :(

Bad Guessing -- Must return present, not the right size.

Pain -- hip, foot, neck, shoulder. Ow. Carrying a lot of pain and trying to be gentle about it. Hating how hard it is to sit.

Breaking -- brand new stuff breaking like mini acceptance reminders. Disappointing but I did remember to be curious about it.

The Sparkly Stuff--

Best Music--some xmas music did make me happy and this version of this song is my favorite this year. Does it make you want to dance? There was lots of dancing in our kitchen. I am shocked to find I like it better than the Chuck Berry version. Any other opinions on best music?

Dinner -- the food turned out wonderful. People ate more pasta than in past years, so next year cook at least 2# and make triple batch of Pollo alla Cacciatora.

Gifts -- The care and thought supporting some of gifts I received moved me to tears of awe. I love that people know me. Also my wife loved the gift I bought for her last June. It was totally worth waiting until now to give it to her.

Weather -- I have been grooving on the brown lawns and clear sidewalks. For once I don't miss the snow. I have been walking every day for 7 days in a row and watching the blackbirds with wonder. They are awesome. Today they all had patches of orange light on them as the sun hit their sooty feathers just right.

Halfway through Yule -- Feeling smooth as I swoosh downhill toward more revision time.

Dharma talks and Play time -- I had space and time for myself to do self-care, nurturing stuff. I was pretty good and hushing my gremlins who tried to tell me to do 'shoulds' instead.

winter solstice 2011

What a wonderful solstice this year! We got a bare dusting of snow yesterday afternoon and it was fun to see everyone's eyes lighting up when it started. Most were hoping for several inches but it was not meant to be. I felt upbeat over the sear, brown holiday vista. It was still solstice.
There were presents and my favorite mock duck rolls and a massage and laughter and hard cider. I opened my wonderful new scent. I chortled over a super drive for my air book. I reread The Dark Is Rising, that classic tale.

A lot of the laughter was generated by HOT CORN! at the Bryant Lake Bowl which has at least one more performance next week. I was also told by one whose taste I can depend on that the Klingons in Chicago still have honor. Through my tears I urge you to see the Klingon Xmas Carol if you have the chance that I, alas, do not this year. I also had tears, this time happy ones, from this story. Opinions can and do change.

All these delightful trappings aside the light is coming back, and in the end that is what makes midwinter celebrations so meaningful. As we start in on 12 days of festivities I hope all can find some joy or peace or ease. Perhaps all three.

no weather grumbles

In the spirit of "everything changes" my attitude towards snow and December has transformed this year.

Formerly I was, let's call it bitter, if we did not get snow in December. For years I saw it as my 'right' for living so far north. I certainly had a strong attachment to snowy Decembers and a whole snow fort full of expectations.

I had many brown Decembers as a child and back then I always yearned for snow. Currently I like snow and cold and all the seasonal fun stuff, and I do enjoy winter coming in with a white blanket. It puts me in a festive mood.

This year though we are brown and green and mild and I don't mind at all! It's like my eyes suddenly changed colors. It seems strange and natural at the same time. I think I got so full of snow last year that my snow cup is still full. Or perhaps I am just enjoying the now that is right here. My thyme is still green in my herb garden? I just picked some along with kale yesterday!

There is no snow on the near horizon and I feel fine. Grumble free! Me but different.

I hope everyone is gearing up for a peaceful week whether you celebrate the holidays, the snow or not. It's all good.

some seasonal things

Has my mental landscape resulted in a few dreary posts this week? I believe so. While the gloom is a true thread it is not the entire story so I want to mention the bright spots that were intertwined with the gloom, three leap to mind.

This week contained the anniversary of the day I met one of my oldest and dearest friends. I am so grateful for this amazing woman and I love her dearly. We spent a whole day together shopping, talking, laughing, eating and remembering. I hope I have many more decades with her in my life. A true sister of the heart.

We put our tree up and the lights on it. It smells like a magic forest. We used red and white lights for the first time and it looks like a giant peppermint. The tree shadows on the walls are delicate tracings of shadow lace.

Not all December traditions were canceled, I'm so grateful for that. The annual food shelf concert by Ellis was yesterday. I have been enjoying this performer since 2003, and this concert is a big part of my enjoyment. She tours so check her out the next time she is your backyard.

It's good to remember the shiny stuff that goes on in my life and to sink into the darkness of this month as a friend not as something to push away. After all the light is coming back soon.

no Klingons

Everything changes and sometimes it's great. Like my best friend just bought a new peridot green bike and I foresee many rides together in 2012. Yeah!

But I want this blog to be authentic and some things suck.

Sometimes change is not great at all. Go ahead click on the link, it's a short notice. Did you see the relevant [to me] part?

The 2011 production marks the 6th time the show has been put up, and the 2nd time in the Windy City.
There are no other productions in 2011.

No Klingon Xmas Carol in Minneapolis this year. [you know it's hard to type when you have a fist in your mouth to hold back the sobbing]

Seriously, really I couldn't be happier for you all in Chicago. They are introducing a new score this year and everything. Wonderful. Look at all those showings through the end of the month. You should totally go and tell me about it. I want them to do well, really. I mean it.

Yeah. Enjoy. sniff

why did I order that pizza?

Why do I keep ordering pizza I don't want to eat?

Background facts:

I love the homemade pizza I had as a child.
I love the pizza we had in Rome
I cannot replicate those pizzas here in the Midwest in my home.
No one else can either.

Dissecting what happens:

I start craving pizza. I haven't had it in months.
I start thinking about pizza and how much I enjoyed it in the past.
I start plotting -- I could have pizza soon.
Then I order some pizza .
I feel a glow of happiness-pizza is coming. yea!
Pizza arrives and it's not the like the pizza from my childhood or Rome.
I am disappointed in the pizza and don't enjoy it.

Wait about 4-6 months and it happens again! and again. and again.
I realize that occasionally I am a slow learner.

Grasping at straws I hope that if I write about it perhaps next time I won't order the pizza.
It's worth a shot, we'll see what happens come May.

Feel free to share tips on how you handle this, because it may not be pizza for you, but I bet there is something.

p.s. why yes this pizza may be a metaphor...

I forget, goodbyes are hard

I have a theory.

Sometimes I forget things because a part of me wants to forget them. That's fine but it's never permanent. Eventually the 'thing' will roll back around and then I will remember all, vividly.

This past month I had to say farewell to a friend and it was so painful. As soon as I felt the pain I remembered past farewells like a scent from childhood.

The combination of present pain and remembering is tidal. It brings me to an inescapable present of heavy eyes and heart. There is no leaving it behind since it surrounds me on all sides. I also remember how it softens -- eventually and then fades a bit and then it's gone. Moved through, forgotten.

But right now - I remember.

before turning

I haven't made it to the Y in what feels like forever and wow can I tell. True it's only been a week or so, but I really miss it.

I'm frustrated that I can't seem to get trips to the Y into my schedule before Saturday, but that doesn't quite explain why I am almost craving it.

Then for the past 3 days I have been also been craving veggies. Last night I actually had salad instead of the fabulous fries I usually get with my sandwich at Sun Street.

Suddenly I want to revise my fiction writing. Did I 'sit' on it long enough to hatch it or what?

This is all fine and at the same time a bit strange.

I feel like I should buckle up for the next turn of the wheel.

Only a week Late

Remember that crazy secret goal I had to not just write 50,000 words for nanowrimo but complete my entire first draft in November?

I didn't make it.

But last night, just under a week late, I did!!

I wrote an entire first draft between November 1 and December 6.

I am happy but my head hurts so it's hard to be too happy right now. Still it feels pretty awesome especially since I did it during a very hard and busy month+.

My next goal is not to collapse in a heap for December but to keep my writing momentum going. So I am starting a serious revision of my first novel. The kind of revision that when I am done I have something I could let a friend read.

I have my steps mapped out. I have found my theme. I have written a blurb to help me remember what it should be about. I have printed the entire first draft out.

Using all that paper was guilt inducing but I think it will be worth it. My old revision attempts did not have clear steps, now I have them.

I want to set a 'revision done' goal. I am thinking January 31.
Too soon? Pushed out too much?

hosting a wedding

Yesterday we did a new thing and hosted a wedding in our home. My writing partner and her true love were married in front of our dining room window overlooking the herb garden. Little did I know last spring when I designed the garden that dear friends would want to get married with that as a back drop.

Naturally one thing went wrong, I broke the coffee maker an hour before the guests arrived. Our neighbors, who are dolls, loaned us their coffee maker for the afternoon.

The flowers looked lovely. My one sister-in-law watched our noisy dog, who is very hard to handle at indoor parties. My other sister-in-law helped out in the kitchen during the most crucial two hours. Very few presents were brought, which is great because it can be hard to keep track of such things at a wedding.

I think it went well, everyone seemed happy, the falling snow happened after everyone had arrived. The food was enjoyed. Every scrap of my artichoke dip was eaten, as well as multiple cheeses, pate, smoked salmon, caviar and other yummy stuff.

My writing partner carried the handkerchief carried by my mother [and me and my niece and...] at her wedding over 60 years ago. For good luck.

The mocha wedding cake [not made by me] was truly decadent yet somehow light. It was the right size, most of it was eaten.

The couple getting married were radiant and their jack russell made an adorable ring bearer.

My wife and I were too tired to go to the after party down the street, which was a shame but we took a short stroll through the snow globe that was our neighborhood last night and slept the sleep of the satisfied.

It was truly a delight. I recommend hosting a wedding to anyone. :)