Don’t Speak

Helen Sinclair:
No, no, don’t speak. Don’t speak. Please don’t speak. Please don’t speak. No. No. No. Go. Go, gentle Scorpio, go. Your Pisces wishes you every happy return.
From Bullets Over Broadway

It’s time to hunker down, to stay inside, to do the opposite of what Americans do best. We do not do idle. And even when we rest, it’s not a quiet thing. We fidget. We plan. We vacation.

Today was the first weekend after Oklahoma Governor Stitt ordered nonessential businesses closed and people to remain home.

KFOR News – As part of the new restrictions, Stitt said that all non-essential businesses located in the counties affected by COVID-19 are being ordered to close at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25 until April 14.

So what happens when you’re home sheltering in place, and the electricity shuts off? No lights or television or computers. Netflix is unavailable. No binge-watching the latest show. Well, earlier, I swept the floor but couldn’t do the laundry. The WiFi was off, so I wasn’t able to edit, not even from my phone.

We took a walk. Thankfully the electricity was turned on by the time we had made the trek around the neighborhood. I had work to do: writing, laundry, and other busy stuff.

This week I will try to rest. Really.

This Is Like Planting Seeds

At the beginning of all things, we tend to feel quite silly. Picture me, chubby girl, jogging through my neighborhood. I’ve got the shoes, the shorts, a water bottle and of course the required music blaring in my ears. At this moment, I can’t brag about my pace. My GPS phone app clocks me at 5 K in 57 minutes. And that’s estimating that my last 30 minutes will be the same as my first, which they won’t. By the time I get a mile and a half (about 2.4 K) of walking and running in, I’m sweating like crazy. My calves burn, and my knees are weak. I am no picture of athletic prowess.

Of course, it won’t always be like that. Eventually, I’ll build up enough muscle to finish in half that time. Hopefully, I won’t be as sore. My stride will look stronger, and my run will be more fluid. I picture myself as a leaner version than now, running like a gazelle through the neighborhood. Onlookers will be in awe of my agility. I wonder, should I take my hair out of the ponytail? The wind could blow it as I run. I would also be in color-coordinated clothing. Shoes, shorts, and a tank top all coordinated. Yeah, I look like I belong.

It’s humorous because when I started with my old tank top and 10-year-old shorts and shoes, I felt awkward. I was pretending to be a runner because it’s cool. And I hate being trendy.

Aside: Running vs. Jogging.

The two are technically the same. Jogging doesn’t become running at a certain pace. Jogging is just an uncool word for some people.

– Me

I’m not sure where this started except possibly in the marathon running group. You don’t jog a marathon. When I looked up the terms in all the online running blogs I could find, no one was sure of the difference between the two. Jogging implies that you are trotting through the neighborhood with no purpose. In the case of running, people mean they are training for a run or a marathon. But that’s speculative.

When I began, with my out of date shoes, I felt awkward. So to legitimize myself I purchased official running gear. Funnily enough, the models displaying running shorts and tanks are 5’10” and 100 pounds. Their BMI is probably 5%. I know, I know, it’s really 14% and I’m exaggerating, but they are skinny girls. Lanky. Anorexic. My BMI is a higher. All those chubs on my body are well-earned. It took a lot of cookies and pints of ice cream to build them.

Now that I have my running gear, at least I know the shoes are not going to injure my knees and shins. With time, I will develop the strange quirks that go with being a runner. I don’t know if I will ever feel authentic because my mental picture is unrealistic; no real person could meet it. I think we do that with a lot of things. Even being an adult, which is something that comes with age, and we don’t genuinely earn, the mere act of not dying brings us to it, we can feel like we are a fake. At the beginning of every attempt, we step one foot in front of the other until we’ve trained our senses to become familiar with our new task.

Adulthood, parenting, hobbies, and vocations are that way. It feels strained. Not quite right. Everyone sees your stumbling and fumbling. That makes me smile. Even though I may not reach gazelle-like grace in my running, eventually even I can become comfortable jogging and running about the neighborhood dressed in trendy shorts and bright-colored shoes.

This is an edited repost.  Taking Up Running from June 9, 2013 

The image above was provided by Wade Harris ”Door, New York City”

My posts might be sparse for a few weeks since I have a cervical spine surgery scheduled, which will make it challenging to write. Wish me luck!

Ugly

I was at a stoplight, and the light had turned red when the pickup truck behind me decided that stopping was not convenient for him. He found space to pass me and ran the red light.

I know I seem like a small-town girl, but this place where I live isn’t a big city. We still claim a few rural, country roots. But we’ve certainly forgotten our manners.

We can’t pretend this is Mayberry and that we live in the scripted world they did. It’s a free choice, do as you please, live free kinda life now. This country dude didn’t know me, and his action wasn’t personal. He had an agenda of his own. If I wasn’t here, it would have been someone else he’d pass.

Keep on truckin’

Fly in the soup

Bullying has been around for ages. Sometimes we call it helpful advice. Or nagging. People who honk when you drive too slow or stay too long at a stoplight think they can push you into doing what they want. Maybe it’s your brother who wants money or your dad giving advice or your wife who hates your music. The stress of this can build until life becomes unbearable. We can learn to live with it, but how? How we handle the push is a personal choice. I do have a suggestion or two.

“Hold your own, know your name, and go your own way.”

Jason Mraz

Learn to take care of yourself. Know where you are going and watch your surroundings. Don’t get embroiled in the road rage drama. I’ve been in dangerous situations that I didn’t cause, but because someone believed I had slighted them, they sought revenge with their automobile. Believe me, early in the morning, while heading to work is not the time to check the status of your brakes. When testosterone-filled young men driving little red cars pass you and then stop, it doesn’t matter if I did something wrong or not.

Idiocy is everywhere. I decide if it ruins my life. I get shaky after these events, but I realize they are like storms. It rains on everyone. Some people become offended and believe they are persecuted, but they’re not. Unless you’re a person who creates trouble, most things are random. You can’t prevent everything. Shake free of the event and go on with your day.

Remember your values. The pebbles in your shoes, rude people, can soon become spikes in your soul. It would be sad if you lost your way and let anger, disappointment, and revenge become more important than love, kindness, and charity. Your standards are essential to this culture’s survival.

What do you there’s a serious a abuser in your life? Find help. Seek counseling. Talk to friends and ask for advice. Most importantly, find a safe place, a safe lifestyle for yourself.

see also Softness Is Your Strength and Pebbles in My Shoe

Contained

Boxes.

There are three cats in my house, and they love it when I receive deliveries. We have boxes to jump into and hide. Dot, the rascally kitten probably has the most fun making himself small at the bottom, then pouncing on his sister.

In and out, and the noise continues. Paper rattles from the packing supply. I often forget they aren’t children. All of this play and fun is what they do. This is their life. And I wonder if humans forgot how to play?

After a few days of chaos and I’ve had enough of the hidden cat game, as well as the thudding sounds in the night. I stack the containers, one inside the other like Matryoshka Russian Nesting Dolls. This is my game. It pleases me.

If you have pictures of your crazy pets, I’d love to see them. You can share on this site or on Facebook/ShowUp

Exercise For Lazy People

You’re not terrible if you forget to exercise. Or even if you remember and don’t get off the couch. Or drive to the gym, change into your shorts, and do all of those foreign movements for only 10 minutes. Unless these activities were already a part of your normal day, your body is going to scream, “unsafe!”

It’s not glamorous, but the way to win the exercise routine is to have a lifestyle which includes activity organically. Carry more packages. Walk a little further. Use the stairs. And yes, we’re familiar with this strategy, but do we live it? Recognize the small things. They add up.

Handicaps and hindrances 

Oh, this is my sputtering out point. Believe me, I know handicaps. I’ve envied runners and great athletes all of my life. It isn’t happening with this body. My goal is health and not to become a lady with flabby arms.

Here’s the key: increase your safety zone. You have a standard comfort level and once you’ve reached that point each day, your body says, “level complete.” Tomorrow, try pushing the edge, but do it early in the day. If you wait until evening your resistance will be too strong. Besides, if you have an early win, you can enjoy the high all day.

How can we change our lifestyle to make them healthier? Is there a small grocery store we can walk to pick up a few items? A park nearby? Let me know if you have any ideas. I’d love to hear them.

I live upstairs. Yes, this was intentional. I also take the stairs at work. But, there’s always more.

In A Dream

It’s Saturday evening, and here I sit on my couch finally writing my post. I’d crashed on the couch earlier in a coma-like sleep. It was one of those marathon naps, and I had been out cold.

I dreamed I woke and got up, but I was still asleep. In the dream I fell asleep on the floor, only it wasn’t my place. I startled at finding myself on a floor, sleeping, and not in my house. And then I remembered that I was dreaming, and in my dream, I hugged my couch pillow tighter. Tired.

I didn’t sleep well this last week. The neighbor’s dog was noisy, there was a storm, my cat woke me howling like a banshee, and my mind started working at midnight as if I needed to accomplish all the tasks that hadn’t been checked off my list.

It’s the end of the year. And we have holidays in full uproar. The pressure is on. My nerves get a bit wrecked. But truthfully the topper, the part for me that’s the most difficult is facing my shortfalls. Am I where I want to be? Is this project what I want to do? Sometimes I have to accept the little progress I’ve made. I did as best I could. Other times I can congratulate myself for where I’m at.

Here are a few thoughts to help

  • Take positive steps
  • Is there something you want?
  • Or to do
  • Make a plan
  • Put it into steps
  • What is realistic for you
  • Forget about the feeling, of it. It will feel awkward and artificial at first, like a new pair of shoes.

When I was younger, I had a good position at a church, but I doubted myself a lot. I felt out of place. There wasn’t anyone else to do the job, so I showed up.

Be a boomerang. Come back to the same spot you want. Feel it. Live it. Be it.

Be there and eventually it will feel right.

Stop! Don’t Make Your Point

It’s alright if you don’t have an agenda sometimes. Relax. It might be healthy.

Too often when we enter a conversation, it’s to make a point. But what if we didn’t. Next time, we could let the unimportant stuff slip away.

Choose your stressors wisely. I pulled this post from psychologist Rick Hanson’s post, Just One Thing. You are free not to do these anymore.

Freedom not to

How?

For one or more of the items just below, imagine what it would feel like for you to have the freedom not to:

• Press your point home

• Struggle to get someone to change his or her mind

• Have a second drink. Or a first one.

• Worry what other people think about you

• React to what is swirling around you

• Act on an impulse

• Get into an argument

• Be swept along by anger

• Identify with a mood or point of view passing through awareness

• Take something personally

• Take responsibility for the experiences of other people

• Criticize yourself for not being able to fit into a pair of jeans

• Resist what’s unpleasant

• Drive toward what’s pleasant

• Cling to what’s heartfelt

For one or more of the items just above, imagine how your greater freedom would help others. Also, let others be freer themselves with you; give them room to breathe, time to think and feel. – Rick Hanson PhD

Have a beautiful day!

Things That Are Lost

  • Socks in the dryer
  • Teddy bears left on vacation
  • Virginity on Prom night (cliche)
  • Money at the casino
  • My hearing after a Thirty Seconds To Mars concert
  • A place in line if you leave
  • Old men sitting in coffee shops
  • Tolerance

It seems we no longer appreciate the obsolete or outdated. While I was pondering lost items, I realized we had forgotten tolerance. This easy to be with attitude is accepting, never strict. Being tidy, as in the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” written by Marie Kondō or the minimalist movement, suggests life is better with less.

Minimalism has been with us through the centuries. It’s been the balancing force used to expose the excesses of Royalty and the Catholic Church hundreds of years ago. Monks lived this way as a lifestyle, but others lived in holy protest.

Collections are not the same as hoarding. There are few items which please me, and I love them enough to collect them, stack them, line them together on shelves long enough to gather dust.

A book that I have read and shelved still brings pleasure. Although this passes the Tidy Up test, usually it fails the minimalist movement’s criteria since I own more books to place than I have shelving

Here’s is my dilemma, I am picking up the vibe from Society that I should pare down more. And more. A clean home is good, but what if I had a sanitary? The holy grail. Paring down might become the current recent alternate religion I rebel against.

Listen to your guidance on this. It’s possible you’re a two pair of jeans person who only needs one good towel which you wash every other day. Or something of the sort. I have two towels, and I can last a week, but only you know your comfort level. I love my books even though they are alone, collecting dust.

Get Well Meme

My mom had surgery. Watching her deal with pain, watching Dad’s emotions, his helplessness, grief, and feelings of failure and remorse have been exhausting.

The decisions leading to the surgery for my family have been tricky. For years, Mom has ignored her neck issues and pain as well as any arthritis. I didn’t realize she’d been using a heating pad every day as her method of treatment. There was a cortisone shot many years ago. Also, a few significant falls. All of this information, would have been useful for doctors to know, but she denied everything. She believed her recent fall caused her problems.

Decisions are difficult. Cutting is not something to jump to as the first solution. But my parents were so scared of surgery they were avoiding it to the cost of Mom’s enjoyment of life. Her hands were gone. Clasping a cup, the sense of holding a hand or feeling a face was gone. She felt nothing. All was numb. And her grip was based on sight.

Dad took over the cooking and cleaning. This is the role change many families go through. He’s helped her walk from bed to the chair and the table. And in all of this time, there has been this hope she’d get better. Until she didn’t. She kept falling. It was emotionally difficult for both of them.

After multiple attempts to see the doctor and pounding on that door to find out what Mom needed, surgery became the only option. She has rheumatoid arthritis in her cervical spine.

They finally operated early Friday morning. Both of my parents are surgery virgins. And after seeing Mom fresh from surgery, Dad broke down in tears feeling he had harmed his wife, the love of his life.

I keep reassuring them that it will get better. The first days after surgery are the worst, but that might not be true. I’m not sure. At home, there are no nurses to move you or bring you Sprite.

One thing I know is what her doctor said, if she hadn’t gone for the surgery she eventually would have become paralyzed losing the rest of her mobility and dying. Maybe this isn’t as real to her as it is to her children and grandchildren. We got it. We were there encouraging her to see the doctor. My kids were cheerleading her forward.

She is loved. If love can speed recovery, she will fly through this.

#family #pain #loveyourpeople

featured image from The Girl God