Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday Kitten Snack

Two of my favorite things, Kittens and DC.

Look at that little guy's face. He's a therapy kitten at the United Cerebral Palsy center in DC. Good work little buddy!
Read more here.

Wednesday Night Meditations on City Living

I feel an inherent dichotomy in my bones.

I am a girl raised in suburbs who thrives in city, but my city living has always been warmly flanked by opportunities to spread my wings in quiet places.

My growing up is a rolladex of camping trips, making secret promises creekside, plans to bike the vertical length of the Western coast. The semi-suburban 4 years of college life were softened by the green space, by the river, by the ability to escape into nothingness. Even life in DC was punctuated by a close proximity (in each stage, with each house-mate, in each apartment) to the alive and exhilarating Rock Creek park - the perfect escape for city-bound button-ups. Even now, I can admit that my interest in the location of the L, grocery and liquor stores, is really appreciated when compared to my easily accessible Lake Front Path. To the choppy quiet of the lake. The city is a place where I feel my most me, but it is only so because I can escape the noise and combat any time I desire with the solace of the lake.

The city provides me with the feeling of independence - the long desired need to feel unreliant on anyone or anything, but I mostly love the city because it provides room for comparison. I love extremes - I am not a "gray" person. I love the black, and I love the white - the gray is not enough of either. I cannot appreciate the vastness of black and white from the middle of the gray.

I think that I could give up my big lake for a small lake. I could live a life where my day to day was the Lake Front Path, and my escape was the city. Where I could see and feel and breathe the comparison from the other side. Where my Tuesday was a time for wooded trails and quiet, and my weekends were occupied with the cacophony of traffic and crowded bars. I think I could exist with the city as punctuation - as an exclamation mark - I think the black and white could remain just as starkly bright, contrasting, and mesmerizing from the other side of the line.

In the same way that I love the city, I think I could love being away from it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Making Decisions about Memories

I am not known to be neat.

Without making excuses, I will say that my propensity towards the sloppy is not because I don't care. It's because I DO care. I care about everything; I care too much. I have a hard time trashing a newspaper that I didn't read every word of, let alone one that contained articles that interested me, or writing that inspired me. I have a hard time throwing away anything that can possibly be reused, or things I think someone else might want. I always joke that this behavior originates from growing up in the depression (and I do certainly think my mother's thrift has had some impact on my problem) but at the root it is just my overemotional desire to hang on to memories - and usually memories are represented by things. I have a fear of things disappearing, of not being reclaimable, of letting something slip from my fingertips and being unable to remember what it felt like against my skin.

The easy way for people to help me clear up this problem is to just tell me no, to throw some of that stuff away for me, to help me find a way to reuse or recycle - its not a creepy additiction (yet). Its just an annoying habit. I don't really notice when stuff is gone, I just don't like getting rid of it myself. Specifically, I have a problem letting go of certain items like hand written cards, letters and emails.

There is something about a hand written card from my grandmother that just destroys me. Its a thing about words (which are obviously a passion of mine) - its notes, letters, texts and emails. The most touching and important things I own are just a few words shared with me - "Feel Better" cards from my 3rd grade classmates after my dad died, letters from high school friends tucked into my copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, a thankful text from my best friend the day after her wedding. I have kept this collection minimal, but its a challenge to not save every word written to me. I know I don't have space for it. I am realistic.

But in the e-world there are only vague limitations to the records I can keep. And keep I do. I almost never delete an email. I revel in my ability to go back through the last few months of my current relationship and read our sweet exchanges. To follow conversations with my best friends on the East coast about burritos and beer. To prove to myself or to another person that a conversation happened or that an agreement way made --I like to have proof. I like to remember what jobs I applied to each time I was unemployed. Luckily at this point I havent hit any of the absurdly high limits on my gmail account, for that will be a sad day. That will be a day when I have to make some decisions. Decisions about what is really important to me.

As for the physical things I have a hard time trashing, maybe its just time I start scanning documents and taking pictures of objects -- time to create an e-time capsule of all my memories so that I can continue into maturity and adulthood without closets full of useless "things" with which I am afraid to part. Or maybe I just start writing about them and then giving them away. I don't really need a closet full of artifacts to remember that I've had experiences - I just need to get better at documenting. Writing about those moments and what they mean to me. What compelled me to hang on to begin with. A half a page of my chicken scratch might be more significant than a business card or a bottle cap in the long run, anyway.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Diving Into Yoga

Since I hurt my back in an unknown incident in March of 2009 doctors and fellow back injury sufferers have told me that if I want to keep running (like i do!) I need to work in some core building. Specifically, lots of people have told me to consider taking up Yoga. I will admit wholeheartedly, although a big part of me has always thought that yoga was "cool" I was still pretty sure that it wasn't for me. to me, Yoga is something slow, requiring concentration, a serious expression on my face, and 45 minutes of quiet. This seemed like the opposite of my vision of a workout. I like to workout sort of fast and furious. I like it to be measurable, 5 miles, 1 hour, 6.0 on a treadmill. Yoga didn't really seem to fit my image of myself.

However, I've come to terms with the fact that I need to stop relying on the "image I hold of myself" like its tattooed on my flesh. I have tried to stop saying "that's not something I would do" and just try to do it and see if maybe it IS something I do. I have been surprising myself.

So, when one of my besties trained for a million months and became a yoga teacher, I felt like it was a good opportunity to be supportive of her passion and lifestyle and perhaps generate an excuse to sign up for a yoga class.

This Yogi friend, who knows my all or nothingness, convinced me that I would only be able to make a real decision (which she was already certain would be favorable) about yoga if I dove in. head first. Into the deep end. (Safety of course, for in addition to one hell of a Vinyasa she also knows CPR). I liked her aggressiveness. :)

I began my dive into the world of Yoga both at Core Power Yoga in Lincoln Park but also at the Ray Meyer Fitness Center through Depaul University. This week I've taken three classes (2 regular beginner heated, one Yoga Sculpt - which is Yoga with free weights) and it has been rad. I really like it. I like the focus. I like the serious look on my face. I like the soreness in my muscles the next day. And, PS, its hard. Yoga is hard. Don't be fooled.
This week I'm doing Yoga 4 times, maybe five. And I feel like I could really keep doing it that often. I bike to yoga, so I get that in, too, but I haven't been running all week. I need to learn how to integrate it all together, and still have plenty of time to go to the bar.
I do not imagine that this will be my last rambling on yoga.
Tell me about your yoga experiences, or why you havent had them. Go.
Photo above is of my Yogi friend, Nic. She's a good teacher, even upside down.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Relaunch 57.0 (I'm back...Again)

It happened again. My schedule got busy and I dropped my blog. It is so hard to believe a person like me, a person who has committed countless hours and endless amounts of money (or at least the promise of money via the federal government) to the practice of writing can’t seem to find the time or make the effort to post a few times on a blog that was designed to be fun. In elementary form its simple – I’ve spent the last several months going out for drinks, going on dates, going to the beach, going running, than I haven't been writing about those things. THAT, of course, is a preference. (To DO rather than to simply WRITE about doing). But I need to work on a happier medium for myself. And so this is the beginning of a relaunch of the blog again and hopefully this time I’ll stay active for longer than a few months.

Some topical commentary for today? Some personal goings on? Certainly.

One thing I’m thinking about lately is other people’s blogs. Clearly, people blog and write in a public manner to be shared. There is a sense that what you are writing is important enough that other people should want to read it, or that its informational enough that you think people SHOULD read it, or you are just looking for interaction that you aren’t obtaining in your life off-line. Maybe that means advice, or commentary and editing for your creative endeavors, or encouragement. The blogger gets something out of publishing their thoughts or their personal work online. But even though I know that bloggers blog for readers, I still end up feeling like a voyeur when I find myself reading the blog of some facebook acquaintance or a stranger who’s blog comes up on my Google search for “December 2012 Apocalypse.” Is it ok to read strangers blogs even if you think they are nuts, or horrible writers, or completely annoying? Is it wrong to read someone’s blog and secretly make fun of them? It makes me feel like all those trolls who slink around on liberal websites and leave comments about god and religion. I support reading things that may be outside of your normal sites – something that challenges you to think differently, but you should be there with an open mind. Not there to criticize, right? I know the bloggers put their stuff out there willingly (as I do!) but is it fair to sneak around and mock a blogger? Should you stay a silent observer or is it actually more fair to identify yourself and comment ?

Just thoughts on blogging from a recently relaunched blogger.