Sunday, March 28, 2010

Aerobics on Steroids

Ok. So how many of you remember old school aerobics? The lycra tights and leotards. The leg warms and high top Reeboks with the Velcro fasteners. So cool. It looked something like this.

Well, today, I had the opportunity to do aerobics on steroids! I went to a Zumba class at my gym and it looked something like this (I'm the woman in the back in black; do you like my weave?). If you watch it, get past the first little warm up part. That was tame compared to what the instructor in class today did!! It was a lot of fun and somewhat embarrassing. I did a little better than I would have expected with my old body and 80's moves. I think one of my butt cheeks flew up and hit the woman dancing next to me in the face at one point but she was very gracious about it. 

I'm thinking about writing that show that films things and then shows them in slow motion to understand the physics of moving objects. I think it's called Time Warp. This exercise class involved a lot of hip shaking -- fast, slow, in between. It would be very interesting (funny? gross?) to see just what my body was doing when it got to the farthest point when I was shaking my hip in one direction and then shook it quickly in the opposite direction. 

Despite the frightening physics of my body for that hour, it was really pretty fun! I'll just have to keep going so I can keep up with the shaking, moving, cha-cha-ing, salsa-ing and hip hopping that was going on. It feels good to really be back in my body again. Hello, body, remember me?    

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I'm an Arteest

I've been having a lot of fun letting my artistic side come out lately. I showed the mandalas I'm planning on painting for my bedroom wall in a previous post. I just finished one of them today! Ta-daaaaaaa. 

One down, 5 to go. I enjoyed putting these together so much that I designed three more for the living room to fill that big bare wall. Here's what those will look like (photoshopped them into a picture of my living room wall). I went online and looked up silk screened wallpaper and found some really great designs. The ones below are based on some of the samples I saw online. The possibilities are endless. And it's really not that hard. Much less expensive than buying artwork and more unique too! These are available for purchase for the small sum of $5000 each. Who can put a price on artistic genius?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I'm a Wus

I'm watching the new series from the Planet Earth people. It's called Life. I love seeing the nature in these shows but I absolutely can't stand the footage where one animal is hunting down another or when animals are fighting and get injured. I just feel so badly for both of them! I want the predator to get the food they haven't had in days or weeks but I don't want the poor prey to die a painful death. Does anyone else have a problem with these kinds of scenes? I know this is the essence of what life on earth is about but I can't stand it! I feel that way sometimes when I watch sports, too. I just don't want anyone to lose.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Third Time Wasn't Charm follow up on the birthday cake saga. I ended up making the cake when I got to the house and while Maddy and Geoff were working on dinner. The good news is that the cake didn't burn and we had a really nice birthday dinner with Maddy. The funny news is that the cake wouldn't bake through! I've never had this much trouble getting a cake baked. We ate it in its state of cake on the outside/pudding on the inside. As far as I know, none of us got sick so I guess the eggs weren't contaminated with salmonella. It tasted good. Maddy blew out all the candles and I managed to get a fuzzy picture of it. 
What's really funny is that the cake was still hot when we ate it and it actually melted the bottom of the candles. Check it out! They look kind of obscene...I'm so glad the weekend's almost here...Phew!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I'm so tired of the elliptical trainer at my gym. I hope to join a gym closer to my apartment that also has classes. They have classes like Caribbean Fusion, Zumba and BodyJam. They're dance-based aerobics classes and I think they sound like fun! May help me step out of the 80's dance style I still have. :-) Anyway...until I'm able to get into that groove, and probably after I'm grooving, I really like taking walks from work.
     This park is on my favorite route and I've always liked the curvy sidewalk. On this particular overcast, dreary day, it made me think of the way my life's been lately. Lots of twists and turns but always moving in the same direction. That's a good thing!
Today -- much sunnier -- I saw my first dwarf Irises of the season. The Siberian Iris is one of my favorite flowers (I don't like the bearded ones) and dwarf Irises are just a cuter version of those. I took these on my walk today. The one with the three flowers made me think of me and my two sisters. That reminded me of how our father used to refer to us as Ruby, Pearl and Sapphire. I can't remember who was which but I think he did cherish us in his way when we were little. The second photo is of some that seemed like a weird green-purple color. Hadn't seen that before. The last ones look like little angels with their wings ready for flight. I loved seeing these on my walk...

Maddy's 19 Today!

Well, our little bud has blossomed into a full grown woman-flower. Hard to believe. I'm pleased that she's chosen to have dinner with me and Geoff. We're making her the dinner of her choice at the house. My task was to make her favorite dessert -- chocolate truffle cake (an orgasm for your mouth) -- and I've failed miserably. 
     It was quite an adventure. The cake is a flourless chocolate cake so it's basically a bunch of chocolate, butter, egg yolks and some whipped egg whites. It only bakes for 15 minutes. The obnoxious electric oven at my apartment clearly bakes very hot and not very evenly. 
   For your amusement, I've written down my thoughts as the disaster unfolded:

"Yummy! This is one of the best cakes ever. I'm glad Maddy was born and even more glad she asked for a Chocolate Truffle Cake on her birthday. Ok. Batter's mixed. Got the cake in the oven. I'll go put away the clean clothes that have been laying on my bed for a week while it bakes." 

Beep. Beep. Beep. I walk back to the kitchen.

"Mmmmm.....smells good...wait a minute...smells burnt!! (enter various swear words here) I hate this oven! What am I going to do? Ok. Breathe. Focus. I have enough chocolate to eke out one more cake. I'll whip up the batter really quickly and will be able to get it done before I have to be at work for my next client. Ok. Second chances are great, right? Got it in the oven now. Twenty five degrees cooler. Setting the timer. Ok. While it's baking, I can go package up the curtains that have been sitting on my bedroom floor for two weeks so I can return them. How do I get this huge curtain in that teeny little plastic package?!" 

Beep. Beep. Beep. I walk back to the kitchen. 

"Mmmmm.....smells good....wait a minute. Why isn't this baking? I'll turn the temperature back up. At least it had a chance to bake on the inside but not burn on the outside. Aren't I clever? I'll let it cook 5 more minutes. That gives me a chance to brush my teeth and put on a little make up to enhance my natural beauty."

Beep. Beep. Beep. I walk back to the kitchen. 

"Mmmmm....smells good...wait a minute! It still isn't baking! OH...MY...GOD. I turned the oven off when I burned the first cake and panicked! I hate this oven! What am I going to do? Ok. Breathe. Focus. I still have about 10 minutes before I have to leave. I'll turn the oven on and will let it bake for 5 minutes. That should finish it up, huh? That gives me a chance to clean up the brown fuzz that's been accumulating on my bathtub and in my belly button from the new towels I bought when I moved in. I think I have some Q-tips in there."

Beep. Beep. Beep. I walk back to the kitchen. 

"Mmmmm.....smells good...wait a minute. Smells burnt!! (enter various swear words here) I hate this oven! What am I going to do? Ok. Breathe. Focus. I don't have any more chocolate and I don't have any more time. I've baked two cakes and I've burnt two cakes. I'll just go to the store, get more ingredients and will make the cake when I get to the house after work this evening. Third time's the charm -- anything worth having is worth waiting for -- no pain no gain, right?" 

We'll see.

Monday, March 15, 2010

How Embarrassing!!

I just watched a portion of Jessica Simpson's new show The Price of Beauty. The premise of the show is that Jessica and two of her pals gallivant across the globe to explore how beauty is defined in cultures other than her own. I was really hoping it would be interesting and that she would explore the deeper issues of how beauty is socially defined and often biased in favor of the privileged. I watched part of it and then had to stop. It was too painful and infuriating. 
    Jessica and her pals manage to be our new "ugly American" ambassadors, embodying everything repellent about white, privileged people from the US. I can't even express how rude and ethnocentric they are in this show. And they don't even realize it!! 
In one fell swoop, these people demonstrate how shallow, silly, dumb, and disrespectful US citizens can be. A woman from Thailand talks about how women in Thailand like their skin to be light. Jessica then talks about how all the women in the US want to be tanned. Um...I think that's a fairly limited portion of the population in the US, Jess. Like only the white people. Who live in California.
    She and her friends publicly recoil and gag at the food sold in a public market (granted the food was fried grasshoppers, worms, and roaches among other things). Not something I would want to eat for sure but they were really disrespectful. I can't even begin to describe all the ways this show was annoying to me. 
    She had such an opportunity to really explore beauty at a deeper level and she basically squandered it. The three act like they're going to a zoo put together for their enjoyment and exploitation. Yuck...I think I need to watch less TV. I don't know why I expected anything better from the likes of Jessica Simpson but a girl can dream, can't she?!


Has My Heart Gone To Sleep?
       by Antonio Machado; translated by Alan S. Trueblood

Have the beehives of my dreams
stopped working, the waterwheel 
of the mind run dry,
scoops turning empty,
only shadow inside?

No, my heart is not asleep.
It is awake, wide awake.
Not asleep, not dreaming --
its eyes are opened wide
watching distant signals, listening
on the rim of vast silence.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I just got back from seeing Alice In Wonderland and really enjoyed it. At one point, the Mad Hatter expressed disappointment to Alice because, he says, "you used to be much more...muchier." I loved it!! I've struggled a lot of my life feeling that I'm "too much." Now, I'm trying to embrace my muchness and let it fly. The mad hatter gave me a kind of permission. Once I'm comfortable with my muchness, I won't need permission any more but for now, I'll take all the mentors I can matter how mad.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Spring has. Just took a walk on a beautiful late afternoon before my last client shows up. Saw these snow drops and crocuses starting to open. The kitty wouldn't come to me so I could pet him. If Geoff had been there the cat would have jumped into his arms because he wouldn't have wanted him to. As with many of the males who have been in my life, he probably sensed my desperation to be loved by him and kept his distance from me. :-) Look at him! He's just like..."I SO don't even notice you."  I also got to play with a 2 month old pit bull mix named Dana (Dana? really?) at the end of the walk. She was all over me. People (and pets) were in such good moods! Feels great to have some warm weather.


A woman I know has recently started a blog that's very moving and well written. For Lent, she is reading a poem a day and commenting on each poem. In one of her early entries, she mentions the poem below. To hear the author read the poem go here. For me, even though the video and poem are very sad, they are also very encouraging.

The Journey

Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

small, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving
you are arriving.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

When times get hard, you know the teacher's in the room. 
-- from Have a Little Faith by Michael Franti

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Truth Be Told

 My friend/colleague John shared this list today. It's from a book called If You See the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him. I haven't read the book but apparently the idea is that we need to stop looking for enlightenment outside ourselves and turn inward to find it. I don't understand everything he has on this list of eternal truths but I like the sense of humor and wisdom in it. Right now, the ones that especially speak to me are numbers 6-9, 14, 28, 40 and 43. How about you?
Eternal Truths
1.   This is it!
2.   There are no hidden meanings.
3.   You can’t get there from here, and besides there’s no place else to go.
4.   We are all already dying, and we will be dead for a long time.
5.   Nothing lasts.
6.   There is no way of getting all you want.
7.   You can’t have anything unless you let go of it.
8.   You only get to keep what you give away.
9.   There is no particular reason you lost out on some things.
10. The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and there is no compensation for misfortune.
11. You have a responsibility to do your best nonetheless.
12. It is a random universe to which we bring meaning.
13. You don’t really control anything.
14. You can’t make anyone love you.
15. No one is any stronger or any weaker than anyone else.
16. Everyone is, in his/her own way, vulnerable.
17. There are no great men(women).
18. If you have a hero, look again: you have diminished yourself in some way.
19. Everyone lies, cheats, pretends (yes, you too, and most certainly I myself).
20. All evil is potential vitality in need of transformation.
21. All of you is worth something, if you will only own it.
22. Progress is an illusion
23. Evil can be displaced but never eradicated, as all solutions breed new problems.
24. Yet it is necessary to keep on struggling toward solution.
25. Childhood is a nightmare.
26. But it is so very hard to be an on-your-own, take-care-of-yourself-cause-there-is-no-one-else-to-do-it-for-you grown-up.
27. Each of us is ultimately alone.
28. The most important things, each person must do for him/herself.
29. Love is not enough, but it sure helps.
30. We have only ourselves, and one another. That may not be much, but that’s all there is.
31. How strange, that so often, it all seems worth it.
32. We must live within the ambiguity of partial freedom, partial power, and partial knowledge.
33. All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data.
34. Yet we are responsible for everything we do.
35. No excuses will be accepted.
36. You can run, but you can’t hide.
37. It is most important to run out of scapegoats.
38. We must learn the power of living with our helplessness.
39. The only victory lies in surrender to oneself.
40. All of the significant battles are waged within the self.
41. You are free to do whatever you like. You need only face the consequences.
42. What do you know…for sure…anyway?
43. Learn to forgive yourself, again and again and again and again…

Monday, March 8, 2010

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
                      Dawna Markova

Rough evening. It's been almost a year since my life began to unravel and become the unrecognizable thing it is today. I have no doubt that there will come a time when I recognize it as mine again but right this minute, I kinda feel like I want to live an unlived life. What a relief that would be! To live in a daze of routine. Work, eat, sleep. Work, eat, sleep. 
     I want to dive into fear and wallow in it. To shake and cry and scream and run away. I want to catch fire while I'm falling. I don't want to inhabit my days, I want to inhabit my bed and never leave its safety. To sleep for hours and hours so those pesky feelings won't bother me. 
     I don't want to be "awake." I want to push things underground again and be numb. I don't want to open and be more accessible. I want to be closed and safe and protected!!  I feel my heart not loosen but tighten and freeze and crack into a million icy shards.
     Despite the pull of the dark side, though, and how much easier it would be not to, I do inhabit my days. As painful and annoying and enraging as these darker emotions are sometimes, I'm awake and I'm staying awake. It's just such a damn lot of work.
     When I wrote about my life unraveling, I had to think that's a good metaphor! My life was all knitted up into this one way of being. I pulled on one little string and it all came apart. The material is still there. I just have to figure out how to knit things back together again. 
     I'm knitting a very pretty scarf right now (the photos don't do the color justice - it's a nice warm, orange-y color) and it seems an appropriate metaphor too. It has a leaf pattern -- yes, the obvious -- turning over a new leaf, etc. It also makes me think of an organic process. Things grow the way they grow. You just have to step back and get out of the way. I just have to trust the process, right? I'll end up where I need to be.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


It's amazing how much a sunny day can lift my spirits! I'm trapped in my office today with back to back to back appointments but it's so nice to see the sun shining...I was thrilled yesterday evening when I got out of class and it was still bright outside. I was a little thrown off for a minute. 
     I also have another trip to look forward to so that cheers me up. Maddy and I have scheduled our trip to Amherst so she can visit UMass Amherst. March 31st to April 4th. I'll have time to visit with Susan in Boston and Maddy will have time to visit her lovely friend Rosie. It'll be a fun trip to take with Maddy. She's really great to spend time with and to travel with. She's very funny and is an easy traveler. I guess I'd better get online to see what the town has to offer. I want to see the bars the kids go to so Maddy and I can hang out with them at night. You know me, party, party, party. JK. I'll be in bed by 10...My partying consists of staying up past 11 and watching the Twilight movie or DVR'd shows like Shear Genius, Say Yes to the Dress and Project Runway. I'm so WILD.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I had no idea...

Thank you to those of you who sent emails reassuring me that you read my blog! I seriously wasn't fishing for that. It did make me feel loved, though. I have a really bad habit of assuming that if I'm out of someone's sight, I'm out of their mind. 
     It's hard for me to trust that I matter and that I'm loved so I project all kinds of rejection onto silence. Not just rejection but indifference, which I find far more painful than rejection (relatively). Causes me lots of unneeded worry. If someone does reject me, it's their loss anyway, right? (now I am fishing - feel free to agree with me on that one). I'm working to figure out how I can believe someone's feelings are still there even when they aren't reassuring me every five minutes. 
     It's kind of embarrassing that I'm already 30 years old and I still can't seem to grasp the concept of fully trusting and receiving consistent unconditional love. What's my deal?! Well, I know what my deal is. I won't bore you with family of origin details. Most of you already know them anyway (or experienced them with me). 
     I don't think it's that people haven't offered it, either. You all know who you are and I appreciate you staying with me while I learn. I think I don't know how to receive it. I suppose I could pull a Sarah Palin and write it on the palm of my hand. If I'm ever in doubt I could just look down and see "you matter to..." and list people. I guess that didn't work out so well for her, though, huh? 
     I mean, how do you know someone still cares if they're out of touch or if you go your separate ways? It's a serious question. You just know, magically? Is it something they've said or done? Is it about how much you believe in yourself and feel lovable? Do you say to yourself, "Of course they love me and are thinking about me. Who wouldn't? Look at me! I'm great!!" Please help my therapist out here if you have any pointers to help me get there. 
          I hope you know that even though I may not tell you every day (that would get old very quickly -- for you, not me!), I hold each of you very close to my heart and value your friendship/ sistership. I really hope I'm better at expressing my unconditional love than I am at receiving it. I'll keep trying...   ;-)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Yay, me!!

I just found out that the book cover and interior I designed for the Story Shop project was chosen to be this year's design! I'm actually really surprised. The Story Shop is a project where 7th and 8th grade students submit stories and a handful (18) are selected to be published in a book. Then they have a well known author come in for the awards ceremony to talk about writing. Here are my designs if you're interested.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Whaddaya think?!

Do you like the new look of my blog? If you haven't checked out this color website and you like playing with colors, you should! I could play around in that site all day. That's where I got the colors for this blog. I like this font too -- the little g is just so cute! I want to pinch its cheeks. I made it big here so you could see it better.
   I took the blog offline because it felt like no one was reading it anyway so I was just writing to myself. I already do that all the time in my private journal so it was really redundant and repetitive. Then, my sister Sarah called and left a message saying she'd gone to my blog but it was down. I felt all warm and fuzzy and decided to put it up again. I'll put it as my website in my Facebook account too in case anyone there wants to read about my thrilling life. If no one but you two read it, Lisa and Sarah, it's still worth it since we live so far away from each other! Thanks for checking it out every once in a while. 
   I'm a sick puppy so I'm crawling into my cozy bed and -- hopefully -- getting a full night's sleep tonight. Busy week ahead! Sleep tight.