I don't feel like writing much so I'm just going to let the pictures and captions speak for themselves and say that the weekend was a blast, the people were great and I felt very rejuvenated after the trip!!
I'm starting to get really interested in sleep and dreaming. I've always been drawn toward understanding the brain better and sleep has always fascinated me. Why do we sleep? What are the effects of the environment on sleep? What is the impact on our health? Sleeping is one of the things I love doing the most -- and not just because it takes me away from difficult things. As an undergrad, I actually did an "experiment" where I had 2 or 3 people who were willing to be my guinea pigs (I think you were one of them, Lisa, do you remember?). Anyway, I wanted to see if people incorporated environmental stimuli into their dreams. So...I stayed up while the "subject" fell asleep, tried to wait until I saw them entering REM sleep (just by watching their eyes (so scientific) and then introduced a light, a sound, or a little splash of water (no. no one peed). I think one person did integrate a light into her dream. We all know that light is such a rare thing to show up in a dream that it must have been the stimulus I introduced, right? The professor must have gotten such a kick out of it. So funny. I'd love to develop a specialty in the area. I think there's a real need for it. I took a class in grad school about how brain injuries in different parts of the brain affect people's functioning and personality. I remember very little of the details but I remember thinking it was really interesting. I've started reading a book called Healing Night: The Science and Spirit of Sleeping, Dreaming and Awakening. In the early part of the book, the author shares an old saying that I'd never heard before: "The reason most people get up in the morning is that they didn't die in their sleep." Have you ever heard this. At first, I just thought it was hilarious. Then, as I thought more about it, I thought it was sad. I can definitely say that there have been many days where my thought was "Well, I didn't die last night. Guess I might as well get up." Not in those words, of course, but the spirit of them. More recently, I've been getting up actually looking forward to what the day holds - most days anyway. I hope that lasts for a while! I think the workshop I did in Wisconsin has really revitalized me. I'm going to take pictures of what I did and post them before too long. I just haven't had time...
Well, yesterday, we closed on our house. I knew I'd probably be emotional afterward but I'm surprised at how hard it's hitting me. I took pictures of our empty house but it didn't affect me all that much at the time. That's kind of like when people take pictures at a funeral, isn't it?! I never quite understood that but now I guess I get it a little bit. Makes it more real. I had run over after the closing (with the permission of the new owners) to do some last minute cleaning that Geoff couldn't get to.
While I was there, the new owners showed up so I had to get out. I had forgotten to tell them something so I went back up to the house and I actually had to ring the doorbell of my own home. It was sad and hard.
Right after the closing, I left town to come to lovely Two Rivers Wisconsin (almost to Green Bay!). I'll post more about that later. The weather at the beginning of the trip seemed to be mirroring my feelings. Luckily, once I got into the heart of the storm, it only lasted about 20 minutes but it was a hard downpour.
For the several hours of the drive that remained, I just generated my own tears. I felt so lonely, sad, uncertain. Most of you know that I had a phone interview with Boston College. Thinking about the possibility of picking up and moving there in August is hitting me too. That would be pretty soon!!
I've lived in Champaign-Urbana for 17 years and it's hard to think of leaving. That's not much time to process it all. That's how life happens, though, I suppose. Someone once told me that he thought I'm fearless. I think he was wrong. I'm actually not fearless but I do think I'm courageous which is better in my opinion. If you're fearless, then it's never a challenge. If you feel fear and do it anyway, now that's strength.
I have lots of fears but I also respect my courage in moving toward the fear and working through it rather than running away from it or avoiding it or just shoving it under the carpet. If the stars align and it's the right thing for me to go to Boston, then I trust that I'll know it when the time comes. No matter how scary it is, I'll jump in and I won't hem and haw about it. After all, look how the drive ended today. Things always clear up eventually.
I was minding my own business yesterday after my pedicure, letting the polish dry under those ultraviolet lights or whatever they use. I had this creepy feeling that someone was looking at me. I turned to the left and check out what I was confronted with!! He was just sitting there in the aquarium. Staring. And he stayed there long enough for me to reach into my purse, get the camera started and take the picture. Just staring. Creepy. I had him for dinner last night. He's not staring at me any more.
I was relaxing this evening after a great dinner with friends and a very rainy day in C-U and happened to look outside. What I saw was this beautiful rainbow. It was actually a double rainbow but my phone didn't catch the second one! Beautiful...I hope it's a good omen for things to come.
Had breakfast with Maddy before she takes off on the train to go west. She'll meet Rosie at the Grand Canyon, they'll camp for a few days and then will drive back to California. Maddy's friend Claire joined us for breakfast. Aren't these just lovely young women -- inside and out! Stay safe, Mad...
Here's one more pic of my visit to DC. Sarah gave Nathan this hat and he was nice enough to let me take one last picture...Thanks, Nate!
As promised several posts ago, I've started the "Full Catastrophe Living" process. Every day, I do a 45 minute mindfulness meditation. Have you ever tried to sit for 45 minutes and focus on your big toe? That's an exaggeration but the body scan tape they recommend you use goes through each part of your body and has you focus on it so slowly. I kind of like the process because the idea is to just let whatever's there be there. At the end of the cd this evening, I was so pissed at the guy on the tape. I wanted to yell at him "Enough already! I'm ready to get up and do something!! Shut up!!!" I just let that feeling be there, though, and observed it rather than acting on it. Even after doing this for just three or four times, I can see a difference in how I'm able to focus and how centered and clear I feel.
Before I did the meditation, I worked on the art I'm going to put up in the living room. I loved getting back to painting. I'm using a beautiful, beautiful red color -- it was supposed to be Venetian red (left) but I couldn't find it anywhere here so I'm settling for something called red oxide (below).
I think I like the substitute better! I love working with color. On another artistic note, I've decided to go up to the Hamilton Woodtype Museum for a workshop as a birthday celebration for myself. The workshop is on Saturday the 19th but it's a 6 hour drive so I'll leave Friday and come back Sunday. I'm nervous but am really looking forward to it. I'm trying not to feel sorry for myself any more about doing things like this alone. I'm remembering that I used to enjoy my own company so it will be a good opportunity to spend some time alone doing something fun. I'm feeling really grateful right now. I have so many things to look forward to - trip to Hamilton Wood Type Museum, trip to Cape May - and so many great people in my life - getting together with various friends & family for breakfast, lunch, dinner or coffee, having a job that is relatively low stress (even though it is low paying), going to a beautiful office every day and working with someone I love working with, having great sisters (biological and otherwise), maintaining a healthy, loving relationship with Geoff, having Maddy and Toby in my life. Feeling healthy and active. Being able to do art and graphic design and knitting. I could go on and on. It's great to be able to feel good again and see these things again.
I haven't written in a while. Not necessarily because there hasn't been a lot going on but because there has been a lot going on -- mostly internally. I'm hitting another snag or phase of this whole process and I don't know how to read it yet. I'm either getting ready to make a good step forward or I'm getting ready to take a few steps back. That seems to be how things go. So far, the trend has ultimately been in a positive direction but when I'm in the middle of these shifts, it feels like I imagine earthquake survivors would feel. Like you never know when another tremor might hit. The worst might be over. Then again... We had our huge garage sale last weekend. I loved it and hated it. It was so interesting to see the people and interact with them. One guy had a HUGE tattoo all over the back of his shaved head and tattoos in lots of other places with a leather Harley vest on. He was quite nice and pleasant. I told him I really liked his tattoo. And I did! One mother and daughter had the cutest white fluffy baby puppy with them and let me hold her while they shopped. I didn't want to let her go. Some people haggled the price down ridiculously and others obligingly paid the price as marked.
I can't say that I was seriously attached to most of the stuff we sold. It was just stuff. You would be surprised at how popular ice cube trays are at garage sales. Since our fridge didn't have an ice maker, I was always in search of the perfect ice cube tray -- one that didn't spill when I carried it to the freezer and that popped out easily. So I'm a weirdo about some things. I never really found one that I loved.
I sold a bunch of my art supplies and that made me kind of sad. More because I hadn't done more with them than anything. All replaceable. Mostly, it felt good to know that things would be re-used at a price that was affordable for most people. One woman bought all the polymer clay and clay tools I had for her elementary school classroom. I know teachers often have to buy many of their own supplies and she said that since the art programs have been cut so much she tries to provide some art in her classes. I felt really happy that some little kids somewhere would be having fun with clay that they might not otherwise have gotten.
I was surprised about how many books people bought. I liked that especially. We still have a lot left and have to decide whether to donate them to books for prisoners or to the public library. For some reason, I really like donating books. I hope people enjoy them and get something from them. One woman bought a bunch of the spiritual books I've collected over the years and said "You must be a very calm, centered person." I said, "Yes, my child." :-) No, actually, I said, "If I were so calm and centered, I wouldn't have needed the books!" I hope she finds some peace in them. Another man must have spent an hour looking through all our books and picked out a whole huge box of them. He was into history. If anyone wants me to send a surprise set of books I think you might like, just let me know!
Since the sale, I've been sad and in a funk. There's a lot to do to get ready to move all the stuff out of the house to Geoff's new house and then I'm moving again in mid-July. The house closing is on June 18th and Geoff's on a business trip in Canada so I'm helping him arrange for movers. I remember the day we closed on the house. We got Italian food and went to eat it sitting on the floor in our new empty house. I just never would have expected to be moving out of it this way almost 10 years later. Surreal. I wonder if I'll be saying the same thing about whatever's happening 10 years from now. You never know what's gonna happen...