Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Major

Diffused eucalyptus and lemon essential oils last night and slept decently but woke up with cotton mouth as the post-swimming congestion settled in at some point.

When I talked to one of the guys at the pool last night, he says that anytime he wears his silver ring in the pool, it turns a dark color and he's also noticed that the coins in the vending machine are kind of weird.

At any rate, I battled the congestion with a variety of essential oils and, now, the congestion is gone but I need to cut back on my indoor swimming...

When I went over to my aunt G.'s on Sunday, she gave me her paper. She gets the Illinois paper except for on Sunday when she, erroneously, gets the St. Louis Post Dispatch which she doesn't care for. So,what did I do this morning? I caught up on comic strips and I was drawn to the two below:



A major fire happened today and there's still a plume of smoke. I've been concerned about air quality which made me think about people in war-torn countries and bombs and rubble.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Early

Accidental Picture
Went to the pool after a two week hiatus. I was horribly congested after I went last time. Plus, the water is usually chilly and I just wasn't feeling it last week with the cooler temperatures.

Got to the pool around 6:50 p.m. and the lifeguard approached me. The hours had changed and I was about 30 minutes early, ugh.

This guy who often comes to the pool told me that he did the same thing last week and he went on to tell me that he had to swim in a hurry as he usually drops his wife off at the thrift store then picks her up when he's finished swimming. He went on to tell me that they both lost a lot of weight years ago and couldn't afford to keep buying clothes and that's when they first started shopping at thrift stores. I told him that I have a friend ( the 'Fugee) who has the patience to shop at such stores.

Another guy who I last saw in May is back at the pool and he told me that he had lost 28 pounds over the summer. He wasn't a heavy guy to begin with but I guess he was heavier than he wanted to be.

His secret? He cut his lunch in half and now he cuts a subway sandwich into five parts and eats it for dinner. Yes, he's on the "Jared Diet." When I asked him about breakfast, he said that he sleeps in late and has never been much of a breakfast person.

It's kind of funny that neither one of these guys has talked to me about weight before and that was tonight's topic.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Outside the Box

Banner in the Therapy Room
A massage therapist that I used to go to on a regular basis but hadn't been to in six months reached out to me to let me know that she is moving. When I first saw the email subject, I thought she was moving to another location and not out of state.

She is one of the first therapists that I found when I first got into massage therapy. After communicating with her about the move, I immediately booked an appointment and thought about all the times that I didn't go because I couldn't find a slot or day to my liking. Ugh, sometimes you just have to think outside the box and be flexible.

At any rate, I was so touched that she reached out because I would have been crushed had she left town without me getting the chance to say goodbye.

I really enjoyed and benefited from my massage and energy therapy sessions with her. She is warm, professional and serious about her craft. Part of me wants to regret the infrequency of my visits but the other part of me wants to lean into the grateful part -- that I got a chance to see her once more.

This morning I was reading a local publication called The Healthy Planet and I really like this issue's Holy Mole cartoon. Massage definitely makes me feel more appreciative and alive. 


Also, the fall foliage has been a welcome and beautiful distraction. I've had my camera out for the last two days...




Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Human Nature

Got a nastygram a.k.a an email from the resident bully at work. Well, I wasn't the only one who got it. It was addressed to me, two of my other colleagues and two people who are above us.

This nasty person sat next to me at the holiday party last year and said If they had a heart attack, most of the people in the room would walk over them. If you know that you are perceived this way, why not try to change your behavior?

There is a part of my brain that thinks that if this person were on fire, I wouldn't spit on them and the other part of me knows that I would help this nasty person out -- if they were on fire.  On some level, I feel that this person is unhappy and miserable but that doesn't excuse the behavior.

Many of the grams that I share with people who are not on Instagram, look like the this one:


But there is this part of me that is done with this person and I'm tired of being civil and there is a gram for this part of me to -- How human of me.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

An Inconvenient Weekend

I have been waiting for cold weather to appear so that it would, at the very least, kill the grass but, no, it didn't happen and I had to pull the lawnmower out as well as collect more bur acorns.


Saturday was a blur and I found myself grocery shopping around 8:00 p.m. I also find myself dreading grocery shopping nowadays.

The extra hour was nice and since I knew that I'd be meeting my cousin for a walk, I charged my camera and took that opportunity to move pictures to external storage so that I could delete pictures. The memory card holds a little over a 1,000 thousand pictures and I kept getting a message that it was full.

With my iPod backing up to Google Photos and uploading stuff to Shutterfly, it's hard to remember what I've uploaded sometimes but I will say that it was nice going through a lot of the pictures, including the ones from my trip to Bosnia and Croatia. I would like to make a photo book of that trip but I have mixed emotions about adding to existing clutter. 

My cousin and I went walking over in East St. Louis, IL. It's a cool little park that falls off my radar. This very funny and nice man was at the top of the overlook with his daughter and he pointed out the webcam that I hadn't noticed before.

It was fun to go back and take snapshots of webcam footage.

Snapshots of Webcam


Because the weather was so nice, I took another walk then came back home to start cooking. Needed to go back to the store for two items because I forgot to get peas and carrots and squash last night.

Thought that I might get to take a short walk with the 'Fugee but after raking leaves and picking up more acorns, I ran out of steam and time.

Walk II




Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Needs

Went back to the yoga studio that I used to go to on s regular basis -- hadn't been in almost three months and, of course, I chose Halloween to go so there ended up being two of us in class but it ended up being quite lovely.

The teacher dressed up as a cat and had a playlist that included Jackson's Thriller, Nina Simone's I Put A Spell on You and Nancy Sinatra's Bang Bang which kept me thinking of Kill Bill which was, I guess, appropriate for Halloween.

Yoga was brought to my workplace today -- a restorative class. A few of us having been talking about a relaxation group and we've been talking about possibly chipping in to have a yoga teacher come on-site.

Walked into the conference room and heard the soft music and it was instantly relaxing and the class was super sweet.

Went to Zumba tonight and, at one point, left out of the room because the music was way too loud. The teacher doesn't normally play the music at that level. Apparently, my exit was dramatic because my former coworker, Katie, asked me if I was okay as did another woman that I'm familiar with.

As we exited the locker room, I told Katie that I was probably overly sensitive right now. Seriously, I just need to hibernate.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Hit Or Miss

The Bowls
Went to another sound mediation on Monday but this time it was with Himalayan bowls and gongs as opposed to crystal bowls.

Although it still felt a little trippy, I really enjoyed it and was amazed at how fast the hour went by. Again, I slept well after the sound meditation experience.

On Tuesday, I had a dilemma. Because I'd gone to the meditation, I missed Zumba but I had another opportunity to go on Tuesday but figured that I wouldn't have another opportunity to go swimming for another week so I chose swimming but sleeping did not choose me as I had chemical congestion and couldn't sleep.

Suffered through really tight hamstrings a couple of days. I'm going to totally attribute that to my hit or miss yoga routine these days.

On Friday, I noticed that my mucus production was in overdrive and then congestion reared it's ugly head again. There's nothing like congestion to make you appreciate uncomplicated breathing, wow. I've thrown everything that I can think of at the congestion -- tea with lemon, lemon water, juice with ginger etc. and I've been diffusing even though some think that essentials oils are placebos. All I know is that lemon essential oil (mixed with a carrier oil) helps to alleviate congestion...

Checked items off my to-do list despite feeling under the weather but it never seems like enough stuff gets done.

I cooked a recipe out of Thug Kitchen 101. So far, fingers crossed, I've liked most of the Thug recipes.


Part of my workout out today consisted of picking up these nuts that find their way under shoes so easily.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Purposely

Went to visit my cousin and was taken aback to see Halloween lights. My aunt used to decorate for all occasions -- Valentine's Day, the Fourth of July etc.

When I walked into the house, told my cousin that I wasn't expecting the decorations and she said that she wasn't either. Another cousin had put them up.

I took a deep breath.

It was kind of nice to see the lights and to carry on with one of my aunt's traditions...

Went swimming tonight and was surprised to see Chatty Kathleen who I hadn't see in over four months. She asked me if I knew who was at the pool and she pointed to her granddaughter. I was shocked because I remember her grandchild when she was three or four and now she's ten; time flies, for real.

I purposely stayed in the pool about 15 minutes after I saw CK get out because I know that she takes a while to get ready. Nice try because she was still in the shower when I got there and we ended up walking out of the locker room at the same time. Her granddaughter was staying by her side and also rolling and carrying a bag. At one point, CK stopped to rest since her back was bothering her and, somehow, I had forgotten about the intensity of her back issues. I felt ashamed that I had been slightly annoyed about shower issues.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

S Is For...

Trying to squash this subtle panicky feeling that I have on Saturday night that I didn't get enough done and that I will never be able to make a dent in my to-do list. There's also the dread of getting a step closer to Monday but it's hard to complain when I spent almost two hours on the Riverfront Trail. It's a wonder that I even made it to the trail because I didn't get out of bed until after nine and I pushed myself to get out of said bed then.

Tried to connect with one my uncles about biking but he was slow to respond. Thought about going to an 11:00 a.m. Zumba class but that "deadline" came and went so I decided that I had to take advantage of this 88 degree day so I managed to get stuff out of my car, take the wheel off my bike and head downtown even though I wasn't totally feeling it. Set a goal of 10 miles plus decided to explore the new part of the trail that goes by the Arch. It's really nice but I miss the steps that used to be under the Arch but I will say that the new ramp-like construction makes it more accessible for people who wouldn't be able to deal with steps.



I saw a little snake and a big snake and I saw a beaver! Tried to get a picture of the beaver but he wasn't having it...


Closer look with zoom...
Went and got a lot of books from the library and, this evening, I've been looking through Hungry Girl's cookbook. Wow, she likes Laughing Cow cheese and tofu noodles a lot.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Trippy

The Bowls
One of my colleagues told me about this sound meditation event and I decided to go even though it was the same night as open swim night.

I also had my doubts about sound meditation even though that episode of My Cat From Hell  -- the one with the tuning forks practitioner -- sticks with me. I also know that alternative therapies, like Reiki and Healing Touch, have helped me so I try to keep my mind open.

There were about 20 adults present and we all got cozy.  The sound of the crystal singing bowls sounded a bit trippy but I can't believe how fast the hour went by.

My Space
I slept very well last night and then...today I said something to my colleague that I should not have said. I made the comment after she kept chomping on some very crispy potato chips or something. I guess that I was already in sensory overload mode.

Even thought I had a chance to walk back the comment, I didn't and I'm not proud of myself. Also, if it hadn't been someone that I've worked with for a long time, I could have gotten in trouble for the comment that I made.

One thing's for sure. I have to get back on a regular schedule with yoga and I should probably start meditating again.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

I Settle

View From the Farm
Went to another goat yoga event and, as usual, I didn't do much yoga since I was too distracted by the goats and pig. It was very windy so that was also a distraction but the event still made for a nice animal therapy session and it's looks mountainous in the farm area so it's beautiful.


Gertrude

Want to Frame This One of the Runner Ducks
Alison volunteered to drive. She said that her car is like her purse and she would probably forget something so I got a chance to look around and take pictures during the drive.

Rain Clouds
We also ended up going to the Crystal Festival which got rained on a lot. I joked that there were enough energy workers and crystals so we should have been able to make it stop raining. Alas, that didn't happen but several of the crystal folks said that they saw a hint of the sun. Is that a case of looking at the sky as half full?

From Alison's I went to pick up essential oils that were on sale. Later on I told Alison how I really wanted these expensive fragrances, like rose and jasmine, and she suggested that I could use my gift certificate for an herb shop toward the purchase of one. I had already used part of of my gift certificate for a "lesser" essential oil and hand cream. As I told Alison, I have a history of not getting exactly what I want. When I feel like I'm being decadent, I settle but, in this case, I had a gift certificate and enough money from my birthday to splurge.

Not going full throttle is something that I'm going to have to work on so that I can become the proper queen that the 'Fugee thinks I am.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Bluesy

I'm not in the mood to listen to a lot of upbeat music so I made a bluesy playlist. When my father died, I listened to Anthony Hamilton's I'm A Mess a lot and while it's not a song about physical death, it allowed me to grieve. The lines that moved me the most:
I'm a mess right now I can't eat can't sleepBills are piling high ain't worked in three weeksAin't bathed can't shave cause my heart is so tender like living in a blenderI'm shaken and I'm stirred
Here's part of the playlist:


I also have Hamilton's  Comin' From Where I'm From and Can't Let Go plus Moby's Why Does My Heart Feel So Sad? and Bill Wither's Ain't No Sunshine. I will also add Al Green's How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? Might add Diana Ross' Missing You but maybe not.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Daydreaming

Came home from work and managed to change my sheets. I don't really want to even think about how long they had been on my bed.

Kind of wanted to be a couch potato today but knew that I should hit the pool to calm my mind. I swam a modest 15 laps and I did feel less tense afterward.

Had a nice outing with some of my family the day after my birthday and, this weekend, I hung out with Patti who took me to brunch for my birthday. The food was amazing and the dessert was too. I had not planned to get dessert but Patti mentioned that we were celebrating my birthday and they brought out an amazing beignet. I want one for every birthday from now on.

Delightful Little Beignet
We also stumbled upon the Edwardsville Art Fair where there was a lot of interesting art but Jenna McNair's paintings really spoke to me.

Afternoon Cheeseburger, McNair
I'm reading Roxane Gay's Hunger which took me a while to get into. It's kind of sad -- the things that happened to Gay and, also, how we beat ourselves up about weight etc.
People don't expect the writer who will be speaking at their event to look like me. They don't know how to hide their shock when they realize that a reasonably successful writer is this overweight... (264)
When I told Patti about my wish to take two months off from work (under good circumstances, duh), she said that I'd already had three weeks (overseas trip) of my two months off. Leave it to Patti to throw some reality into one's daydreaming.

Monday, September 18, 2017

And The Days

B-Day Card From  My Aunt's Daughter
I took the day off from work because, honestly, I don't want to be aggravated on my birthday. Didn't really feel like a big celebration either and I'm usually on the low-key side to begin with soooo...

Of course, my aunt is on my mind and the days will get to you  -- birthdays, holidays etc. The first "xyz" you are without that person.

Regarding my aunt, I find myself going back and forth between I can't believe this, anger and partial acceptance. I think that my aunt was such an amazing person that she is still vividly alive for me, a notion that was confirmed when I saw the Instagram post below. I'm sad but know that I have to honor life and her life too.

Flower Near Car Dealership
Flowers on the Desk at the Car Dealership
From the 'Fugee
"I came to see what he'd become, or always was—the father who will never cease to be alive in me." —from "I Wanted to Share My Father's World" by Jimmy Carter  #mondaymotivation  Thirty-nine years ago, when the 39th president of the United States was in office, my dad wrote on his list of life goals, "Talk with the President." I wonder how he'd feel knowing his newborn baby that year did that yesterday. President Jimmy Carter was 54 years old when my dad made that goal, the same age my dad was when he was killed. Yesterday, when I told him why I was meeting him, he said, "Very good." Then he shook my hand and said, "Come back down and see us again." Just before I met him, he said, "Sorry to keep you waiting." Thirty-nine years is a long time to wait, and I wish my dad could have checked off this one himself. Luckily he's still alive in me.
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Thursday, September 7, 2017

To Wrap Around

Buddha at a Local Store
My cousin was supposed to go to a family birthday party last Saturday with my aunt Al so I accompanied her and I joked that while I wouldn’t be glad to go, I would go. I knew that it would be an awkward experience since, outside of my father’s siblings, I don’t really know a lot of my paternal relatives.


At the birthday party, a second cousin came over and asked if I knew who he was. I did know his name but I didn’t know him. He immediately said that one of his regrets was not getting to know parts of his family and I said that I felt similarly. I mean, I had to be introduced to many relatives at that party that, in theory, I should be familiar with.


On tap for the next day was a reunion with many of the same family members. One of my second cousins, D, kept saying that she looked like my aunt Al in response to people saying that she looks like her grandmother. D didn’t get along with her grandmother and I feel bad about that too because I think that if they had put their differences aside, they would have really enjoyed each other’s company. D has a great sense of humor and a big personality -- just like my aunt L. Anyway, I have enough to feel bad about without adding more regret for something that I had no control over...


Scene of the Reunion
Tug of War: Females vs. Males
Photo Booth: D's Family
At any rate, the birthday party was nice and so was the family reunion. Both were well organized and the credit goes to my second cousin, S., who is a superb event planner. The party MC even joked that the birthday woman is very laid back but that her daughter, S, is another story. When S asks you for something by a certain time on a certain date, you get it to her without questions...


Once a friend suggested that I go to Al-Anon and I scoffed out loud and had a For what? tone to my voice. I considered my father a soft and functional alcoholic but I can see how my father’s pursuit of alcohol et al. affected me by, say, his lack of interest in family gatherings.


As I listened to my cousin, C, talk about his 40 plus year marriage to the birthday woman, I wished that my father had been more invested in marriage. You get to play the “wish game” but you don’t get to alter reality and, while my father was not more “invested” in marriage, he was super invested in me, so I won’t cry over spilled milk. Okay, I’m whimpering a bit but whatever...


Birthday Prizes, Decorative Boxes that S Made
Additional Giveaway Boxes (with scripture chosen by birthday woman)




As an introvert, I felt the strain of being around a lot people for the Labor Day weekend but I did enjoy the family reunion. There were games, plenty of food, a photo booth and, of course, lots of interesting people.


I found it frustrating that I got almost nothing done, outside of cutting the grass and cleaning the fish tank, during the holiday weekend but I guess I’ll put that in the That’s life column. Plus, when family is gathered, you have to set other things aside.

The Friday before the holiday was busy at work and so was this Tuesday. I kept feeling the need to scream and I did but not loudly because screaming at work is frowned upon. My urge to scream made me think of this Primal Therapy scene in some goofy movie. And other than wanting to scream, I'm still wrapping my mind around the fact that my aunt is gone.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Disbelief

Two weeks ago, I woke up to the news that my aunt Al had transitioned. I am still having a hard time believing it.

My aunt had not been feeling like herself but when I went to see her on Sunday, August 13th, she got up to spend time with me and when I said that she didn't have to entertain me, she shrugged it off until my cousin arrived then went back to bed.

Had I known that August 13th would have been my last time seeing my aunt, wow, I would have done things differently. I remember listening to this episode of The Moth and this man said something like he leaves everything on the table because you never know if you'll see someone again. 

Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect ending but I have regrets. I am very glad, though, that my aunt did not die while I was overseas. Being away would have been a hard pill to swallow. As it is, I missed my cousin's text and multiple calls alerting me that several family members were at the hospital. I regret not being there for my cousin but I know that I can be present for her now. 

When I first heard the news, I was like I'm done but of course you cannot be done with life unless you take matters into your own hands or it is, in fact, your time to go. I kept thinking of a tape that I listened to by Charles Swindoll -- long time ago. He said a lot of things about attitude and he also said You cannot change that march toward death.

My aunt was 80 and that was her goal age. She had said that she didn't want to live to 100 because she was having a hard enough time doing 80. She didn't suffer and, for that, we are grateful. I am also grateful that her daughter and nephew, who was like a son to my aunt, were able to be with her and attend to her during the final moments of her life. 

I am doing my best to remain in a space of gratitude and I am also doing my best to be as supportive as possible for my cousin right now... 

My aunt was the last of my father's siblings, a sobering fact.

I find myself getting emotional in my aunt's house since there is no silence like the silence of a house after someone has died but I also find myself getting emotional on the way to work, I think, because I'm not ready for life to be business as usual.

At least, as a refugee pointed out to me, I got to see my aunt on a regular basis.

Stuff that does console me? My cousin told me that my aunt looked forward to my visits and that they meant a lot to her.

While we were planning the service, my mind wandered and thought about who invented funerals etc. There are obvious reasons -- to honor that person's life and to be surrounded by support and, oh yeah, closure because I'm still in disbelief even though:

1). I saw my cousin sign the authorization for embalming.

2). I've seen the body.

3). We've had the funeral.

4).   Been to the graveyard...

But I still want to do the "Florida Evans" in Good Times -- DamnDamnDamn. There are no do-overs and I don't get to see my aunt again.

"I came to see what he'd become, or always was—the father who will never cease to be alive in me." —from "I Wanted to Share My Father's World" by Jimmy Carter  #mondaymotivation  Thirty-nine years ago, when the 39th president of the United States was in office, my dad wrote on his list of life goals, "Talk with the President." I wonder how he'd feel knowing his newborn baby that year did that yesterday. President Jimmy Carter was 54 years old when my dad made that goal, the same age my dad was when he was killed. Yesterday, when I told him why I was meeting him, he said, "Very good." Then he shook my hand and said, "Come back down and see us again." Just before I met him, he said, "Sorry to keep you waiting." Thirty-nine years is a long time to wait, and I wish my dad could have checked off this one himself. Luckily he's still alive in me.
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Monday, August 14, 2017

Out in the Open

Someone sent me an email at work and I only read the first part of their sentence. The person ended up calling me because they needed a quick response. I love to read so I don't know why I'm quickly scanning stuff. I will concede that there is work-related stuff that I, obviously, don't want to read but... At any rate, I ended up having a conversation with the person about meditation and she said that we all need uncluttering for our minds. I like that concept and want to put meditation back on my agenda. She also sent me the "mantra" that she keeps above her desk.


Last week was a busy one. Went to Zumba -- twice, climbing and swimming (twice). Had dinner with Gloria on Thursday then we went to see Garden of Glass at the Botanical Garden. On Friday, went over to the 'Fugee's and, on Saturday, mowed the lawn and went to say my goodbyes to the city pool even though it was only 82 degrees. At the pool, talked for 30 minutes to a yogi whose path I seldom cross at the studio. At some point, also went to JC Penney because I'd gotten a spend $10 dollars, get $10 dollars off coupon and I've been looking for another short sleeve shirt to wear to work. Mission accomplished.

New Shirt
While running errands, debated about whether to go to this silent yoga event. Wasn't sure when an event of this kind would happen again so I went.

I am having time management issues. My problem? There are a lot of things that I like to do but, obviously, something suffers. I wanted to go to the city pool again on Sunday for the final day but ended up running out of time. While I got around to cooking, never did get around to washing clothes or the other chores that needed to be done.

Really enjoyed the silent, sunset yoga that took place at the gorgeous Grand Basin in Forest Park but, like a fugitive, I was very aware of how out in the open I was and even more so because the people who sponsored the yoga event are really into photography. One of them was taking very up close and personal pictures. At one point, I doubled the blanket that I had for my knees and thought she would move on as I adjusted it but, no, she stayed right where she was and got her picture. My God, I thought, she is going to capture all the flaws. I can take a gazillion selfies and post the one that I think is most flattering but I cannot control what other people post.

A Woman Chilling Out Before Yoga

Still in fugitive mode, I looked for pictures from the event and held my breath as I spotted my likeness in people's social media pictures. Also wondered how intrusive I was capturing the photo above of the woman resting before yoga.

While at the Botanical Garden, Gloria kept asking which installation was my favorite. She also asked me if I could do anything, work-wise, what it would be. As we walked about, I couldn't pinpoint a favorite glass sculpture until we'd left the Climatron and headed to the exit. I'm glad that I didn't read the map or descriptions of the artwork because I got to be blown away by Make A Wish when I figured out what was happening. It was such a moment of delight and maybe I'll get to have a similar moment when I figure out what work really rocks my boat.

Love this Chihuly in the foyer at the MO Botanical Garden.


Gloria and moi at the exhibit...

Make A Wish
This Words of Women Instagram post resonated with  me today.

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