Splendid Part Deux

Good late evening or Good morning Travellers,

It’s late Sunday evening here and I’ve been mentally curating this post all day…

Remember last Sunday I asked you to do me a favor this week and be aware of the ordinary splendiferous events of your mere mortal life…make a list, via photo or memory or notes…did you do it?

Be honest.

I can spot a fibber from 5 miles away1

I have to admit I needed to take a pause after my last post. But we’ll talk about that tomorrow…Right now, let’s discuss the things that made me smile or giggle this week, and if you didn’t make your own list, I’ll give you this one hall pass, but next week, don’t let us down. By us, I mean you, me and life.

As a person who loves the photographic image and as a film school grad, I take ALOT of pictures. I bet I have near 3,500 on my phone alone. And no matter how long you study composition or lighting or editing, there are these random shots that just could not be planned, and here is one…

This is Ramona and Lou simultaneously doing Down Dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)! Facing each other. I’ve never been so excited to have been holding my phone trying to photograph something else entirely and capturing this instead. Probably because of my own movement practice, but also it’s the fact that they are facing each other! As if almost bowing to each other, which of course made me think of Namaste! Because in it’s simplest terms it means “I bow to you.”

THIS IS SO GETTING FRAMED!!!

After many years, and I do mean MANY YEARS, I finally repotted my indoor cactuses this weekend, which was a chore like no other. Because my largest one is over 15 years old. Bought it at Walmart for like $3…it weighs something around a baby whale at this point.

And I started thinking about what it means to be root bound as a plant or maybe as a human. Plants are survivors, but you cannot go too big when you change their pots. Sort of like if you give a human too much time or room, they tend to not know what to do and rarely flourish. Ever notice that? And relocating to a new container is somewhat stressful to plants, like moving a human to a new home or city or country. We all seem to have a threshold for how much change is tolerable and when it’s too much bad things happen. We like to be snug but not too snug and just a little room to grow. Because don’t we all grow a little at a time?

Here’s a yummy one..

These are THE BEST cream puffs in the world. Or at least in my experience of this world. The chocolate is delish, the pastry is delicate and the creamy custardy center is DIVINE. I think this is one of the most difficult confections to master because when one element is off, the whole thing becomes disproportionately disappointing. The fact that I find them so rarely at the Co-op I shop at makes them all the more delicious.

Have you ever noticed how the rare things in life are always sweeter? Not just to the tongue, but the ears, the eyes, the mind, the touch and the heart.

One more photo…

A pineapple. Allow me to explain. Whenever I see a pineapple I will always think of Dave. He watched this show called Psych and there was something about a pineapple and that show. Dave always said that it meant “Welcome”. He was also absurdly delighted whenever he bought one.

This is my third pineapple this year. I recently saw a cute door mat with pineapples and almost bought it. It’s hard to explain, but sometimes these little things call to me. We got divorced and it wasn’t good. Things changed and when we seemed to be becoming friends, I softened. Then he committed suicide. Now these random things feel like he’s with me in a way I can’t describe. It’s almost like he’s smiling at me.

What else?

Some good things that lack supporting photographic evidence…

I ate the last of my Apocalypse Soup. I call it that because I concocted this recipe at the start of the pandemic and I just made another pot two weeks ago. I had frozen part of it and finished it off over a few nights this week. It makes me so happy to make soup without noodles. It’s an act of culinary rebellion. Or at least it feels that way. Also, I put fresh cilantro in the soup. Someone call the police!

I had dinner with a good friend this week and we tried fried pickles. They were AWESOME!! Also, here’s an interesting fact, her family has a Gypsy bloodline in it and I always can’t help but wonder if there isn’t some kind of magic in her. Because the only day this week my arm has felt completely fine was after that night out with her. TRUE STORY.

I cut my hair shorter this week. I love growing out my hair so I can cut it off again. Dunno why, but I find it thrilling. And I love the fact that my hair that had been straight as an arrow my entire life started getting wavy about 10 years ago. It actually began during hot yoga. I think I sweated the straight hair out of me!

Lastly, have you watched the movie, “Arrival”? If not, stop reading, go watch it. It’s easily one of the best films made in the last 10 years. Probably in my Top 25.

I watched it again this weekend, and on second viewing it felt richer or maybe it just has a more profound feeling now. Without giving anything away, I think it’s important to embrace the choices we make in our lives. We all struggle to do so in youth, because youth tends to be abit foolish. And I use the term youth loosely here.

What I know is that if I had known at the beginning how this would end with Dave, if I could have had an emotional enema that gave me a hint of how painful the grief would be, how alone I would feel in it all, and how wide open it feels now, I would do it again. I would choose the pain in order to have all the other moments and revelations that I gained. And I think there is a sort of power in embracing what you chose. It’s taken me 7 months to arrive here, but here I am.

On this Mother’s Day I have been thinking most of his mom. I cannot imagine what this day was like for her, this is her first since he’s been gone. But I am certain she would have had him again, knowing it would all end this way.

This is why you have to pay attention to all the little lights of goodness that are shining just for you. Sometimes it will be all you have to light your way through the darkness. And I believe it’s enough.

Splendid

Good Sunday to you Travellers,

I thought before I hit some heavy topics this week, I’d come back for something I think is always important. The thing that balances us, saves us, floats us along and creates buoyancy in our souls.

The tiny little life boats that we need in our life.

IN FACT, I want to challenge you in the next week to take a mental tally of all the little things that made you smile or warmed your heart or made you laugh out loud. These things that are the bread and butter of life. Everyone has them and in times like these, they become all the sweeter.

Let’s begin with a small victory of mine, THIS SONG. If you open it as a second link, you can listen while you read this, which would be lovely. Or if you would rather, just promise promise promise to listen to it after you are done reading my words.

This song was the closest thing to “our song” that Dave and I ever had. After the divorce, I had to put it away, which is fucking criminal, because Sade is easily one of the greatest singers of the past 30 years. It just made my heart hurt so much to hear it then.

But now, now that he’s gone. Gone gone, it’s like a link to something good that once was and will forever be. I remember telling him when this song was playing when we were first dating, that he was a gift to me. And no matter how the story has ended, it still remains true.

No matter how much pain his suicide has caused, the memory is still as it was.

The best part though is the end, when she introduces her band. There is just so much love and warmth and comradery in her words. It’s just the best. Listen. You’ll see what I mean…

Ok, and the fact that virtually no one is holding a cell phone is this video. I have secretly hoped that this viral pandemic would bring us all back to the value of being present in reality. Nothing is better than the real, even in pain. It’s real. Reality is still the sexiest filter.

Three things this week that I can’t show you, but want to mention in terms of just being sweetness.

First. A good friend came over and hung out in my hammock Monday night. We talked for about four hours, and he’s one of those people who is on a path to change his life and I feel lucky when he gives me glimpses into who he is. And he also enjoys things like hanging out in hammocks under big trees, so it was awesome.

Second. Last year we met a stranger when we were walking in the early morning hours. The best kind of stranger. The ones you say hello to and exchange a few kind words and then reencounter occasionally. The kind that feel reassuring in a way I can’t put into words.

This one is a man who I’m guessing is probably in his 80s, possibly over 85, he’s pretty spritely. He has a walking stick. He jokingly asked if I was walking the dogs, or were they walking me. We may have encountered him half a dozen times last year. Tuesday morning, I saw him walking our way, and he said the same thing. And there is a sort of happiness in seeing older people thriving and surviving that is different than seeing my peers or younger people. It always make me smile. It makes me less afraid of aging.

Third. Lou has a hot spot, which if you’ve had a dog you probably know what that it. The part that really made me giggle was when I gently wiped the spot, and then dried it before we put the ointment on it. I said to her, “Now bend your elbow and hold that there so it dries.” AND SHE DID. I don’t know if Lou is just extra smart or extra perceptive. I don’t know if it’s the dog in me or the human in her, but she just does these things. And it’s the best in a very distinct way.

Now, lemme show you some things:

It’s called Tatsoi. It’s a veggie for salads. I’ve never had it before or even heard of it till this year. I bought it on a whim and a recommendation from a new nursery I went to. It reminds me of Bok Choy in it’s texture and taste. And it’s just lovely. Trying new things is the best.
So this is Charlie’s new thing, the lazy leg hang in the air, just don’t care. It’s whatever lies beyond fully relaxed and it makes me smile so big. I can’t help but feel at times that he may be more comfortable with only one front leg instead of two. Because he can move in so many ways that four legged cats can’t…
The last chocolate chip cookie. I’ve written a few posts on here, but THIS ONE has always stayed with me. Read it. My words about how I was lucky to have me for my cookie baking abilities after my divorce. It was the first time I ever thought such a thing about myself. In my whole life. But this photo is actually about the smell. I’ve been smelling my food alot lately before I take a bite, especially sweet things. Homemade things. People seem to just inhale food in this day and age, I say take it slow. Stop and smell the cookies. This bag smelled like heaven.
LILACS. Do I need to say more? Speaking of using your nose wisely. Lilacs are the quintessential smell of warmer days to come. The floral gatekeepers of summer. They look like teeny little purple parasols, just barely opened. And the scent is BIG, WAFTING and just says WELCOME.
I have a terrorist squirrel in my midst. He has twice destroyed and consumed my baby chard. I guess it could be a girl, like a mean girl squirrel. But this squirrel has met it’s match! I got this flower yesterday to plant in the hole that little demon made, and I made myself laugh when I saw it in the sink like this…I thought wouldn’t that be wonderous to have flowers growing up from your drain. Just randomly. I know it’s not practical, but it would be grand.

I’m sure you have these little strange moments too. I can’t imagine we are not all equally gifted each day, but you have to be present and pay attention.

Go pay attention to your life. Look. Feel. Roll these things around in your mind, or put them in your mental pocket.

This is how we survive.

And lastly, I just want to send some kind of hope to those of you who are in India. I’m not sure if the news is accurate, but it’s heartbreaking watching from afar to what’s happening. We feel your fear as we have felt it too. God speed to your safety, recovery and whatever world lies beyond this for all of us.

CAKE

Hello again Travellers,

I didn’t really plan out this whole writing everyday for 30 day event very well, did I? This week is stuffed so full that I have not been able to fit in my time here with you beautiful people. My apologies to you and to myself as well. I disappoint myself when I fail to arrive here because it matters to me. It’s hard to select what has to fall away sometimes in order for other things to be accomplished. And I’m yet to figure out how to do it all. I’m still working out this whole how to do life thing. Trying to align my values with my behaviors.

Because you should know if I’m writing about, I’m struggling with it to. I do not have anything more figured out than anyone else. In fact, I think we each have pieces of life figured out, but no one gets the whole cake. We can share the same recipe, but it never tastes the same from human to human.

One of my closest friends had surgery Tuesday morning, so I’ve been doing whatever I can to help her, this is a very hectic work week, there’s working out everyday, walking dogs, cleaning up EVERYTHING and all the general nonsense that keeps a human life in motion and just exhaustion. It’s exhausting. I have felt tangibly exhausted.

I made a cake last night and iced it this morning for one of my meetings today. THE meeting of my day, which is where I present my proposed annual budget to the Board of Directors I work for… I tend to pry them with desserts. Not that they won’t show up, but my baking capabilities are bordering on legend at this point.

Ok, maybe not legend, but I do make really good sweet stuff…anyhow, I was thinking about a few things this morning and so, here we go:

That phrase, “Have your cake and eat it too.” What kind of ridiculousness is that? If you have cake, you are going to eat it. What else is cake for? And why would you want to both keep it and eat it..it’s gonna spoil, especially if it has cream cheese frosting. Everything good has an expiration, doesn’t it? Think about it…

Obviously I had to google it and Google says:

It means you can’t eat a cake and continue to possess that cake once you’ve consumed it. The use of the phrase, therefore, is to tell someone that they can’t have two good things that don’t normally go together at the same time, like eating a cake and then continuing to possess that same cake so you can eat later.

I think there is something fundamentally wrong with humans. It’s like every other lifeform on Earth just goes with the flow of life, BUT NOT US, why is that??

Why do we insist on making things so damn difficult?

Why do we so often sour our appreciation with wanting more?

Why do we want what we know we cannot have? Why do we seek that kind of frustration?

Because I have to tell you, I’d rather eat my cake and savor it. AND in a way, I do get to keep it. You keep the memory of it’s taste, texture, flavor subtleties and that moment. I think there is alot to be said for appreciating rarity versus wanting a never ending supply of something.

One of the photos I included in a this post, was a piece of red velvet cake. Or what was left of it. It was my birthday, I had just cut off all my hair, Dave was with me in one of favorite dining establishments and they brought it out as a surprise. Because they overheard us talking about my birthday and there are kind people in this world still. It was a surprise and not on their menu. Only for birthdays. And I never had another piece again. It was the best red velvet ever in the history of my life. And there’s something about the fact that I couldn’t have it again that for me really sweetens that whole memory. Which is why I took that photo.

The experience of having it and savoring it so fully that one time was enough.

Speaking of enough, yesterday I had a rather heartbreaking conversation with one of my favorite people. He reads this actually and he is 85 currently. He is on my Board and over the years we have become something near family. Yesterday he brought information about Excel, which is a program I despise but he runs quite easily, in case he wasn’t here sometime soon. And it hit me all at once just how close he might be to the out door of this life. After he left, I sat and cried because I don’t want him to go wherever we go next. I am not ready.

And it has been my sincerest privilege to know you and your wife.

This morning I realized, people are the best cake that we don’t just want to consume, but keep forever. But we can’t. That’s not the design, is it? It’s just the worst thing isn’t it? And we are all single pieces never to be consumed twice. No two will ever taste the same.

So my thought for your day is to savor everyone in your life. And don’t want what you cannot have, which is forever. Because it robs the moment of what you do have, which is now.

Limited Magic

Happy Friday Travellers,

I’m still struggling to figure out where to begin talking about Dave’s suicide and my feelings about it in a way that will hopefully be helpful and insightful versus just a lot of loud words scrambled around on the page.

I do not under any circumstances wish for my words to resemble Shakespeare’s line from MacBeth “Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.” Because right now, that’s where I’m at. And in the moments, where my thoughts and feelings have felt organized in a more eloquent way I’ve been nowhere near pen and paper or keyboard. But I know it’s coming..

Until then, perhaps a more intriguing and lighter dish befitting a Friday morning…

I was thinking this morning about how the conditions were not quite right for a walk. Abit too cold, it was 39 degrees and abit soppy wet from all the rain, which would prevent us from walking our usual route. In case you didn’t know, dogs are creatures of habit, just like us. And when I deviate from the regular path, it seems to cause abit of a dust up.

This got me to thinking though about how many elements have to come together or into fruition to create really great moments in life. You know what I mean, those moments where you stop and take notice of something particularly exquisite. And think, remember this...The times when life is fully realized for the gift it is.

Maybe it’s A particularly delicious fruit. A really transcendent emotion. A kiss. A first embrace. THE first cry of your baby. THE first time you meet someone. A conversation on a phone late at night. THE way the sunlight sneaks through and shines. THE stars in the sky. THE weather on a particular day/night. THAT sunrise. THAT sunset. A look in the eyes of someone you love. ONE act of kindness or compassion or curiosity satisfied. A moment of realization.

Just ONE moment where it’s magic. And it is magic, don’t sell it short, because most of life is mundane and practical and required living. For these moments to occur, everything aligns, all the senses and your soul. And like magic, it’s gone almost as quickly as you realize it’s here.

And we cannot control it or force it or replicate it, that’s why it’s magic.

These things don’t happen often, not the REALLY REALLY good ones.

I’m not even sure if other people can see these things or it’s just me. But I hope you do.

Dave always said he couldn’t.

And I’m not saying they are always joy-filled, but rather life-filled. They feel full in every sense. Full of the gravity of being human. Full of my life. They make life really real.

And I feel somewhat certain that these things belong to this place, Earth and wherever we go next, I don’t think these exist, not like we sense them here.

And I just so happen to have few in photos, so I’m just gonna roll them out now.

Since you aren’t me, you really can’t feel what they meant to me, but just know that what I am showing you is magic.

REAL MAGIC.

You do believe in magic still, right??

Life as a fortune cookie

Good morning Travellers,

Let’s see what I come up with here in my 60 minute window today…

When I was married, we ate a lot of Chinese Food. Or it seemed like a lot looking back from here. Every Sunday evening, we ate it while watching “The Walking Dead”. Then that show lost it’s way and our Sunday night regularly scheduled dinner went with it.

I think we can all agree that good Chinese food is hard to find…but when you do it’s almost like crack cocaine, you crave it and it’s addictive and SO GOOD. To be clear, not endorsing drug use, obviously, but when something is disturbingly good, crack seems to be the comparative, doesn’t it? We had a pretty good little joint near our home and they had rather good fortune cookies.

Continue reading “Life as a fortune cookie”

It’s all in your mind…

Buenas tardes Travellers,

I hope this day finds you well in this world wherever that may be. Whenever it may be…I saw this random flower when I was mowing earlier this morning. No idea what it is or where it came from. Just seemed to be popping thru the fence to say, “Hello there”…

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Let’s talk about the brain and movement. I think the number one benefit of exercise is brain health. AND learning how to control the body with the mind, which helps you be present in the moments of your life. Which in case you didn’t know, those things are super important for everyone. There isn’t a human alive who shouldn’t be present or aware of their own body.

Continue reading “It’s all in your mind…”

Having the day you’re going to have…

Good evening Travellers,

Obviously, this is not my  regularly scheduled program time, but here we are…let me start by saying this day did not start with any kind of awesomeness…No awesome 5am rise, no awesome morning walk with the ladies, no awesome work out and no awesome writing here with you lovely people…morning totally devoid of awesome sauce…

Here’s what happened, I was up late talking to my dearest friend about potty training, which may sound dull, but we never have dull conversations. Seriously, we covered everything from Lee Harvey Oswald to debating if in fact, you place a person’s hand in warm water do you spontaneously pee? AND would that help out the potty training method if combined with running water and there’s was one other element I can’t remember now…it’ll come to me later…but it was the perfect trifecta of potty training techniques…needless to say, not enough sleep was had and well, no 5am.

Continue reading “Having the day you’re going to have…”