Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The universe gave a little nudge.

I was trying to decide if any of the past few days worth of "Change" were worth the mention when I received today's
The Next 45 years in my mailbox.

Several things in the list were well spoken but #13:
"Happiness is the ultimate risk."
seemed to put its finger exactly on the pulse of my thoughts. Related in part to #15.

Most of these changes are tiny, really small, and it seems self absorbed to even consider blogging about them. But while the actions are small, the purpose is large...To step away from what I currently do very well, and do something else entirely.

None of these changes have actually had to do with skills needed in the new field. Underwear and eyeshadow don't impact the client. Except, that they do. We all like to do business with someone enjoying their work, someone competent, and, in a creative field...someone who shines.

In one of the stuffed pockets of my labcoat, I lost my inner zip. It wasn't something that got a lot of sunshine in my younger years, and it's a fragile nebulous thing. Now is not the time to whisk it out and expose it to UV light, but I can nurture it with little changes and build a good root system.

The type of roots that say "Yes, the black is nice, but do you have it in a Print or Celery or Bourbon? I know just where I'm wearing it to."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

NOT apple bottom jeans

But not hideously matronly either. Actually the photo is unflattering in angle and lighting but this whole photo-graph-yourself-thingy is tricky.

The pattern is Wicked. The yarn is Swish in asparagus. I'm probably one of the last people in North America to knit it. According to Ravelry I started it March 20, 2008 and finished it May 27, 2008. By no means monogamously.

There were small modifications - all made to increase shaping and play up my assets. I had yardage concerns so I knit the 3/4 length sleeves after finishing the "yoke" portion. Then to make the pattern more portable I tucked the sleeves inside the body and tied it up Shetland style. Made it very easy to pull in and out of bags. However, this technique does make it impossible to show the project to people or to lay it out and look at the whole thing without some manevuering.

I enjoyed it immensely and can foresee making it again. But I guess I should finish some other things first, eh?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Emotional Economics

So often we all suffer from this. That disease where we buy something and “Save” it for “Good”. My Grandmother did this. She grew up dirt poor – compounded by the Depression, and a marriage to a drunk. Later in life when she “had a little pin money” she would buy beautiful clothes. When she died, we found so many truly lovely things in the closet – tags still attached. “Saved”. For What? None of us could wear them, they went to charity. I remember her primarily in housecoats that didn’t hold stains.

I find myself doing this. Only with queer things. I mean – napkins?!?! Use the little buggers. Conditioner? A bottle lasts a long time – even longer if you don’t use it; of course my hair reflects that. Or how about the great new shampoo that makes your hair shine and bounce? Can’t use it until I use up the rest of the bottle that makes it hang lank and lifeless. And energy is spent schlepping this stuff, dusting this stuff, preserving this stuff.

I’m also guilty of “stepping over a pound to pick up a pence”. Yet how many times has those small economies actually saved money? –OR- worked even half as well as the slightly more costly item? Strangely I don’t do this in my home. I want TAO to have the best, most reliable, easiest. Appliances, conveniences, pantry items…buy (if the not the best) the Goodest.

TAOs hobby is amateur body-building. So of course, he has to have Stuff. $75 in protein powder…no problem. Special weight lifting gloves…okay, whatever honey. Tanning? I wish you wouldn’t but it’s in the budget. (When your ears rot off from melanoma don’t expect sympathy from me!) I love TAO and want him to be happy. He works very hard and deserves to indulge.

So what message am I sending to myself when I cut/scrimp on myself? It’s a Janus faced coin…”you’re not worth the money” to “You’re not valuable.” I’m not even that concerned with where the thought came from, right now I’m looking at the little ways that I reinforce it daily. Listen to some of these and see if you hear your own voice.
• This one is $2 more than that one. Buy the cheap one. But the other one is so much softer/nicer/better fitting. Buy the Cheap One. And it’s not about the amount of price difference. Have you ever bought the crackers that are 10cents cheaper, even though the Nips taste SO Much Better?
• You don’t need a new (item) The stain/tear/size of the old one doesn’t really show. Besides it’s just for work/play/a little while. It doesn’t really matter.
• Don’t buy that skein of handpaint (okay, so this conversation doesn’t happen that often). What will you do with $60 handknit shawl? Where do you ever go that you could wear that? You won’t finish it anyway.

I caught myself playing this game this week. I have decided to Zumba for the rest of the 100 days. I have 3 class options. Tuesday night is within walking distance and will have the advantage of camaraderie with co-workers. Least favourite of all the routines/most expensive cost. Thursday/Saturday offer two other choices. One is 3 miles away and costs less to attend. My favourite is 12 miles away and costs more. With gas prices….Do you see where this conversation heads?

I have a great workout bra. It’s hard to buy one for High Impact if you are a C cup. Especially in a smaller band size. Off I went to shop. No success. I ended up ordering the one I have off the internet. While I was already having to take everything off in the dressing room…perhaps some workout clothes in fabric that breathes? Did I even look at the full price stuff? NO. Sales rack. I did buy a great top. Then I didn’t want to cut the tag off and wear it, it was too much- I should take it back. If a friend said that to me, I’d whip out the scissors, tear up the receipt and hand it to her.

I’m not advocating wild spending. I’m not justifying extravagance and debt. There is a balance to be found. A state of Shaker philosophy, where things are simple, useful and lovely. I’m talking about wiser utilization of my greatest resource – Me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


"That latitude in middle life of alternate doldrums and uncertain winds. When one realises that hopes deferred are no longer realizable. That ports not visited will now never be seen. That this journey and others before it may have been a mistake, that one no longer even has confidence in charts and compass." P.D. James

There have been times recently when I've felt that way. Sort of tossed about, not by events and situations but by winds inside myself.

And yet, there are also times when I can clearly see the progress that divides me from my prior self.

I finally went to the originally planned Zumba class with 2 20 year old co-workers.
Glad I didn't go to this instructor first...I wouldn't have returned. It was a very vigorous/high impact class. Much more hopping/boxing-less dancing.

I was very self-conscious. My bladder does not like the 25lbs of pressure forced down by my internal organs that occurs during Hopping/jumping rope/jane fonda. Even empty it always manages to save some for later.

On the other hand, I was perfectly comfortable assessing the situation...seeing the pitfall...and opting for my own low impact version. This worked well in two ways. A) I was able to concentrate on the footwork and not going the wrong direction because I wasn't trying to leap as a gazelle. B) I felt good about myself and the fact that I would do the "odd" thing, taking care of myself in the process. When I was 20, I would have killed myself to fit in. Now I look at that situation and do the best for Me...and the best chip in the cookie? My knees don't hurt today, unlike my co-workers.

Post Script:
Yummy pudding calories:

Little things

(That used to be in smaller sizes).

When I was much younger I wore what a lover called "Minimalist Underwear". I definitely know they were a smaller size.
Then, when I started wearing white scrub pants I had to switch to a full bottom white brief. In part because I have a tattoo that showed through and in part because I think red undies shining through white pants looks tacky. (For the record...I have nothing against public tattoos, I put mine in a private place and like to keep it that way).
Yup, Granny Butts for the past decade. Sigh.

When I came across 3 packs of Hanes on the clearance endcap in my size for $1.25 a pack I decided -for that price- I could try string bikinis.

Low rise is certainly a change. Sadly they make me very aware of my little pooch that is now more exposed to the world. And the seam in one pair of scrubs rubs the backside. Ouch! I spent the day muttering "100 days of change? I'll show you change, just let me get home and change my pants!"

Monday, May 19, 2008

On the 8th day

There was a recap:

Why was I doing 100 days?
Something about being able to break habits and mess up now, when it doesn't matter
When the Production goes live...just think

I need to get out more.

Actually I've learned some interesting things in only a week. For instance, this hair colour doesn't look good on me, it makes me look pale in a "Victorian Vapors" sort of way. This is one advantage to grey hair, it fades quickly.

Breaking out of the mold can be done in so many ways. I am a food cook. Some people are bakers. Some are foodies. I do not bake well (lots of ingredients, tiny amounts, precision measuring - Nope). I do however make enchiladas that tickle the taste buds, a secret onion dip that brings TAO to his knees, a sour cream lime pie that sends me home with a clean pan, and can always feed an extra person no problem. While it wasn't exactly baking I opted to make
Sheri's Banana Pudding for the work crew. I did substitute one pack of vanilla pudding for cheesecake flavoured pudding instead. It's always iffy taking a new recipe into the world. What if it flops? It can feel so personal. But I am doing it anyway.

I have decided that part of my future image will include someone who likes to be active and trim. So I have loaded my library request list with a wide variety of exercise videos. I vaguely enjoyed The Bollywood Dance Workout. Failed miserably at "Hip Hop for Kids" How embarrassing is that? It's geared for ages 8 to 12 and was too complex for my rigid self. How many lefts can one person have? The more I think about it the more I want to see video that shows the feet, if you're trying to dance, why should I care what your cleavage is doing? That was something I always enjoyed about the
Marilu Henner Dancerobics. She always showed the steps so well.

I checked out a knitting book from the library recently. All I have nice to say is "They used real people for the models." When I took the book back, the librarian - who crochets- asked what I thought of it...
"Should be PG 13 rated"
So I pointed out the micromini which is being worn by the designers Niece. There is definite "cheekiness" in the rear view. Then she says something about the red fun fur leggings, so we had to go through the book together. It was a change- usually I find at least ONE thing I would make, if not for me, for someone else.

Oh, and I found a new way Not to do my eyeshadow.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

97, 96, 95, 94, 93

Day 93 involved my calling TAO and getting a promise from him that "We are never moving, they can just have an estate sale when we die in Assisted Living."

Which tells you what happened for day 96, 95, 94 - moving, in the rain. This actually involved several changes.


Someone wisely pointed out recently that the biggest change of all is: Mindset.

On the surface I initiated this move so that I can walk to work and not pay $4.50 a day to park. I lost a balcony and "yuppie" apartment complex. I gained 45 minutes each morning and evening. I lost square footage and water pressure. I gained a really nice grocery store.

As I set up furniture and belongings, I tried to think like an active person. If I put the table in a vaguely inconvenient spot I could carve out a chunk of floor space for working out. When I set up my cupboards I sought to make healthy choices easier.

I took a break from Saturday moving to attend a Zumba class taught by a different instructor. Great fun. Scored the "foot vision" spot. (I need a foot vision workout video). This instructor was not as advanced in the course, and she called out the moves- something the other didn't. Even the killer calf cramp didn't take the shine off the situation. I am going to add this to my Saturday mornings that I don't work.

Other changed included trying out a new sleeping arrangement. I am a hedgehog. But the future hold shoulder problems if I don't learn to sleep on my back. I am trying a different combination of pillows, blankets, and such to retrain myself. I also grew up in one of those environments where awareness of your surrounding was critical to survival. Any change in light or sound awakens me. However, there is no longer a drunk in the dining room, so I am working on letting go of that control. Working to be more flexible, more trusting, more relaxed.

I even looked very hard at Himz. Himz was my daughter's bear. (Himz a bear) That Sunday morning she came and got in bed with me, bringing Himz. We got up and went about our day. Later, when I came home from the hospital-knowing she was dead- I went in to the bedroom, and there he was. I've slept with him ever since. He's been schlepped as far south as Florida, as far north as Alaska. Out to Oregon and east to New York. Seems silly for a woman my age to sleep with a bear. TAO even double checks the bed when I start out on a road trip. After a few days of turning it over in my mind, I decided that right now, there isn't a reason to change Himz. Perhaps in the future.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Day 98...erh, uh, ye-ah

Day 98's change came about purely because of "100 days of change". If I had not been thinking that, I would have automatically said No. Actually, I wouldn't have just said No, it would have been "No" followed by laughter.

Three of my co-workers are slim 22 year olds. So yesterday when the more athletically inclined one saw that her gym was going to offer Zumba classes, she says "Lets all go! It looks like so much fun." Ri-ight.

For a change...I said "yes". Adding the caveat that I am at least 2 decades older than they.

In true fashion, I raced home and jumped in the shower to shave (needed because I was growing it out to wax). My phone rings while I'm in the shower. I get out to a voicemail...They all backed out. Well, 2 of them backed out and the instigator wanted to see what I wanted to do. I told her that "today, the weather is nice, go to your boyfriend's game. Next week, the weather is supposed to suck, we'll go then."

But by then I was shaved, dressed, and concerned that if I had a week to think, I would chicken out. So I went.

I am not a back up dancer for music videos. I loathe aerobic classes because my left doesn't seem to coincide with the rest of humanities. And I go to those classes and have No Idea what they are doing. That said...

I had a great time. Very glad no one I knew in a professional aspect was there, but a good time was had. There were several others that "Had No Clue". (raises my comfort level) The instructor really enjoyed herself. Everyone was friendly. I learned something that would make me try group classes again...get the floor position directly behind the instructor. From there I could see her FEET which helped immensely. Previously I had always been somewhere that I could only see flailing arms. Watching her feet also kept me from looking at myself in the mirror, not watching myself eased some of the self consciousness. The times I got really lost-I was able to laugh it off. (I think that's called growth).

The downsides were - a) Hop squats at my age require leakage protection, b) if I exercise after work I can't sleep until 11pm which sucks when I have to get up at 4am, c) I felt sorta weird doing vigorous pelvic thrusts in public.

I'm off to take anti-inflammatories with my breakfast. I hope the day doesn't require too much deep knee bending.

Monday, May 12, 2008

100, 99...

The kickoff of "100 days of Change" was neither awe inspiring nor world changing. It was-as planned-about little piddly things. Before I induce stupor by listing these radical ideas, I want to share my horoscope for today....
"Keep in mind that whatever you do now will have powerful consequences. This is an opportune time to undertake a big project or to alter your course of action. Whatever you decide, make a commitment to focus your attention on what's most important" Rick Levine

Rather amusing as my mental mantra was "100 days of change"

Day 100 actually had two big changes of behaviour - First I did not work myself into an emotional coma. Secondly, having intentionally taken a day off, I did not use it as a day to pack for my move on Thursday. Small behaviours, but big changes for me. I even laquered my nails in a reverse french using "Miso happy" and "Expresso yourself".

Day 99 was all little stuff. New eyeshadow shade - something more Tufted Titmouse thank you. A fragrance sample "L'Eau Iris" when I normally wear a Chypre instead of a floral. (That was actually a little odd, I kept getting little whiffs and looking around for the source). My biggest departure was a minor rebellion. The current work involves no breakroom, no lunchroom, and you ride a shuttle in from the parking garage. We work in the bowels of the building with no windows and no outside walls. Traditionally, the workers eat at their computers while filling out patient paperwork or-if they're really frisky-surfing the net. Today...none of this for me. For some odd reason a little ottoman has been abandoned in the back hallway of a thruway to another hospital. So today, I took my book and my sandwich and disappeared Unfortunately, gravity seized half my sandwich and it went to the trash, but I enjoyed the other half while reading a few pages. Mentally...very refreshing. Some negative feedback was expressed about leaving the department, but the time away was a positive change.

As I said, none of this is earth shattering or Oprah-worthy, but each took awareness. And I feel That is where Change will come from.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's day Goodies

AKA - Gluttony

If you are thinking this
looks a lot like a bag I own, you would be correct. TAO picked up the Saddle Brown hue for me via The Loopy Ewe I am quite pleased. It's not your standard brown bag hue. It has lighter tones of orange/rust to it. On Saturday I saw a Lime Laguna in the wild and enjoyed that colour as well.

When the Ewe sent a confirmation email I may have called and added a skein of yarn.

(TAO said I could.) It's
Duet Sock Yarn Middy in Cinnamon Dulce colour. And slated to be a beadless
Crocus Pocus with the heel yarn planned for the outside edging.


There is a portion of the Bedtime Shema that states "I hereby forgive anyone who angered or antagonized me, or who sinned against me,
whether against my body, my property, my honor or against anything of mine;
whether he did so accidentally, willfully, carelessly, or purposely;
whether through speech, deed, thought, or notion."

Rather a tall order. At times I find myself letting go of some incident from the day, other times my mind is so churned up that the message skips across the surface. What I find most interesting is that while it is implied, the recitation does not specifically include myself.

Is that because "I" can be the hardest of all to forgive?

On Mother's Day especially, I find that I question my past decisions. What if...What if...I had made different decisions...Would my daughter be here now instead of gone?

I don't harbour anger toward the parent of the child who carried the virus-they've got their own problems. It doesn't work to cut away at G-d. My daughter didn't leave purposefully. That leaves only my own decisions to question. My own choices to rail at. And, just as dominoes fall, that path can be rolled back through years of decisions. It's not even a question of the quality of the choice. The direction didn't have to be better-just different and the outcome could have been radically changed.

All of which is a loop that would drive anyone crazy if we let it. And what breaks us free from this is the flow of Forgiveness. It's a choice not to flay someone/ourself daily for an act that has already gone by. Part of the fluidity of forgiveness is sometimes releasing the same moment of time over and over...Nightly, in the Shema.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

100 Days of Change

I decided to implement “100 Days of Change”. Actually I’m calling it that because 100 days of stuff just doesn’t have the same ring.

And, while most of this will be piddly, I plan to actually blog about a great deal of it, as a way of organizing my thoughts.

This has come about in part because this year Mother’s Day is also the anniversary of my daughter’s death. It was also Mother’s Day that year. However, this year I did something different…I traded schedules intentionally to have the day off. In the past I worked the day as a coping skill. This year I’m farther along the journey.

As part of pondering big events in life, I started looking down the road. Not in the financial sense, which is my usual milieu but in the sense of Me. I know that in a couple of years a big career shift is coming. I Do Not want to be the person I am today in that job.

Today’s work requires that I be a tireless sparrow pecking along the ground. In fact, on Wednesday a young co-worker and I were discussing the fact that if you were walking down the street and someone did what patients frequently do, you could call them in on a criminal charge. But when you are in a hospital wearing a name badge you have to just take it, without recourse.

In my next career I want to be, if not a Blue Bellied Roller, then at least a Grey Tufted Titmouse. Elegant, tidy, and pulled together.

Unfortunately, being a sparrow has become a habit. The midst of turmoil is not the time to implement little changes. Hence, when I am attempting to make a big career switch and going through short term pay cut, is the time I will most want to fall back on habit for daily life. Right now? Now is a good time to tweak little habits. Try new things, explore avenues, investigate new foliage. Then…when it’s time to shake the snowglobe, I’ll be ready with the little things.