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February 2021

January 2021

Have You Seen Me?

Right before we went to bed last night, Tom got agitated. He was clearly searching for something.

Tom: Have you seen my Air Pods?
Me: No.

Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the maddeningly wonderful Apple device known as Air Pods, here they are . . . 

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(Let it be known: these are MY Air Pods. We have ascertained this fact. Mine are not missing.) (At the moment.)

Air Pods are wonderful because they work brilliantly.
Air Pods are maddening because they are so freaking easy to lose track of.

And Tom has lost track of his.

We searched everywhere last night.
We ascertained the events surrounding his last Air Pod "use."
We know they're in the house. 
(Because we didn't leave the house.)
(Also because we tracked them using Tom's "Find My" app.)
(But you can't "ping" them unless they are currently bluetooth connected to a device.)
(Sadly, Tom's are not.)

We have looked in all the likely places.
Multiple times.
Each of us.

We have looked in all the unlikely places.
Multiple times.
Each of us.

We have looked in ridiculously impossible places.
Multiple times.
Each of us.

We slept on it.

We repeated our looking again this morning.

Sigh.
Tom's Air Pods remain AWOL.

The Hunt continues.

So send the good searching juju our way, please.
Because we'll be obsessed with finding these damn Air Pods . . . until we find them.

==

I wish you all a great weekend. With no lost items. And good searching juju should something go missing.

 

 

 

 

 


Mess O' Hats, Part 2: Auld Lang Syne Edition

Remember last week when I told you I went on a hat-knitting binge that continued on . . . even after I completed my Christmas gift knitting? Well, today you get the rest of them! Welcome to . . . 

A Whole Mess O' Hats, Part 2: Auld Lang Syne Edition.

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I made one for Tom. (Ravelry link.)

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And one for me. (Ravelry link.)

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One for my sister. (Ravelry link.)

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And another of these quick-and-easy headbands for myself. (Ravelry link.) (And, yeah. It's made from the leftovers of Erin's hat from last week.)

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And even though I've moved on from hats . . . and I'm currently busy knitting away at a sweater (this one) . . . I'm still dreaming of hats.
(Like . . . this one.) 
(And this one.)
(And another headband.)
(Or two.)

(Oh, help.)


Under the Surface

My one little word for 2021 is . . . 

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Root . . . 

started bubbling up, rising to the surface in my subconscious mind sometime in the fall. Or, at least, that's when I noticed it kind of hovering there. On the edge of my thoughts. I think it popped up as a response to one of my favorite flow-quotes from last year . . . 

"I am rooted, but I flow."
        --- Virginia Woolf

I started thinking about that quote. A lot. What does it mean . . . to be rooted? And what roots ME?

There is a lot of appeal for me right now . . . after a year of such rapid upheaval, of uncertainty, of constantly adapting, of flowing . . . to think about stability. About feeling settled. Grounded. Healthy. Rooted.

So my one little word journey this year . . . is going underground!

It's time to dig deep.
Get my hands dirty.

C'mon along.


Speed Trap

Well.

I ended up taking an unanticipated blog-break last week. Because . . . last week? It was A LOT.
Just . . . A LOT.
(Any way you slice it.)

I feel like I've been holding my breath for a really, really long time now. I keep thinking that I'll be able to (finally) let it out again. But, no. Still holding it.

I had a blog post nearly ready for last Thursday, but my heart just wasn't in it. So here it is today. . . a Three-on-Thursday on a Monday.

==

Hiwayspeed65

Many, many years ago, Tom and I took the kids on an Epic Family Vacacation Through the American West, with an ultimate destination of Bozeman, Montana (where Tom had a conference to attend). We hit as many National Parks and Memorials as we could along the way, enjoying the Badlands and Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone and the Tetons, Devil's Tower and Bighorn Canyon. (We won't talk about one kid pushing the other kid into the Lamar River in Yellowstone. Or how tempted we were to drive away from a raging kid in the parking lot at Devil's Tower.) (Long family car trips. What can I say? ) We have a lot of fun(ny) family memories. And that's what it's all about, right? Anyway. When we finally drove into Montana, we were greeted by a speed limit sign that looked a lot like the one in the photo above.

Reasonable and prudent.

I thought this would be a good way to continue . . . my yoga post from last Monday. Because after I wrote that post - and inspired a lot of you to give yoga a try - I had conversations with several of you that made me realize I maybe should take that yoga post . . . a little bit further. So, in the spirit of Three on Thursday, here are three more thoughts about . . . yoga. . . and watching for speed traps . . . on a Monday. (Please bear with me here.)

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  1. Be Reasonable and Prudent about developing your yoga practice! There are many benefits to doing yoga. So many. And you can reap these benefits . . . by establishing a regular and consistent yoga practice. Now, what "regular and consistent" means is totally up to each of us individually. Kind of like that "reasonable and prudent" speed limit sign we encountered in Montana. Sure, Adriene touts doing yoga-every-day, and she comes up with a nicely packaged 30-day program each month so it's possible. BUT . . . that doesn't mean we need to DO yoga every day. Last Monday, I explained that yoga has made a huge difference for me as I deal with rheumatoid arthritis. And - until quite recently - I only did yoga once a week! My regular and consistent yoga practice . . . had me going to a studio yoga class once a week, every week -- for years. 

    So if doing yoga every day doesn't work for you -- because you already have a fitness program and you're just looking to add a bit of yoga to it, for example, or because you're working or have kids at home (or both!) and can't fit an every-day ANYTHING into your life, or because your body needs time to recover after a yoga practice - then be . . . "reasonable and prudent" about what's "regular and consistent." Maybe your 30-day program takes 30 weeks of once-a-week yoga. That's just fine. You'll still get the benefits -- if you keep practicing, regularly and consistently. It is absolutely not necessary to do yoga every day to get the benefits of yoga! (And it's absolutely okay to ignore the words "30 day" before any "challenge.") (What is that about, anyway?) (But I digress.)

  2. Start at the beginning! Although Adriene claims that this particular new 30-day program is designed for anyone, I have a feeling that if you've never tried yoga before, well . . . it might seem to be too much. Maybe a little intimidating. Perhaps trying yoga at a slower pace might give you the confidence you need to stick with a regular and consistent practice. Here are some links to Adriene's beginner level classes that might be worth checking out:

    Yoga for Beginners - Here are six classes from Adriene that move at a slower pace, provide beginner-level instruction, and demonstrate more modifications for poses (and ways to ease into them) than the current 30-day program does.

    Foundations of Yoga - Adriene has also done a series of shorter videos, each featuring the "foundations" of various yoga postures. This is a great series if you want more specific instruction in some of the basic yoga poses (or even some of the more advanced poses). It's ideal for when you're trying to figure out just what you're "supposed to be" doing to get yourself into all these poses.

  3. Modify! Although Adriene does talk about modifications in this new 30-day yoga series, she doesn't demonstrate them quite as much as I hoped she might. Here is my modification advice for you:

    First, don't force anything! Only bend or reach or twist as far as it's comfortable for you to do. (If you keep up with a regular and consistent practice, you'll be amazed at how quickly you'll be bending or reaching or twisting further.)

    Second, keep a small pillow or rolled up towel nearby and use it to . . . prop whatever seems to need propping. And keep a dining room chair nearby to hold onto whenever you feel wobbly or out of balance. There is no "cheating" in yoga -- only supporting. Meet yourself where you are - and make good use of your props. (Again, as you do yoga regularly and consistently, you'll notice yourself reaching for props less often.)

    Third, try everything -- but rest when you need to. You can pause the video, or you can just let it continue on while you rest until you're ready to jump back in. It's not "cheating." It's meeting yourself where you are. And that's what yoga is all about.

So, if you tried the yoga thing last week and you were finding it a little bit too much for right now - either schedule-wise or body-wise, maybe you'll consider trying it again. Just a little slower.

Like . . . at whatever speed seems reasonable and prudent to you!

==

And here's to a good, safe, and non-eventful week for all of us.
(I'd really like to exhale, y'know?)


Mess O' Hats, Part 1: Christmas Edition

My last knitting-related post . . . was about a month ago.
When I explained that I was on a hat-knitting binge.
(Christmas gifts for my kids, if you recall.)

Since the holiday is over now - and the hats all received -  I can finally share which hat I knit for which kid.  

But. I also need to confess that . . . my hat-knitting binge didn't stop there.
Nope. I just kept on knitting hats after the gift-knitting was complete.
(I get that way now and then.)

So.
Welcome to A Whole Mess O' Hats, Part 1: Christmas Edition!

For Erin . . . 

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For Keith . . . 

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For Brian . . . 

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For Lauren . . . 

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Fun knitting, for sure! And it makes me happy to know that even though I can't be with them, they can always count on me to keep them warm!

You can find all the details on Ravelry here (click the first link for my project details/notes, or the second link for the pattern):

Which is your favorite???

==

And . . . stay tuned for Mess O' Hats, Part 2!
(Because there are . . . 4 more to come.)


Measuring A Year: That One Little Word

Bet you thought I'd finished "measuring my year" last week, huh?

Nope.

I still have one thing to wrap up: that one little word . . . 

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Flow. (n.) a steady, continuous stream of something

(Were truer words ever spoken? Because oh my yes, 2020 certainly was just that: a continuous stream of . . . something!)

Anyway.

Last January, I explained that I had chosen the word flow as my one little word for 2020 because I wanted a word that would "get me moving;" a word with some "energy." I wanted to "find my flow" and "be the flow" . . . so I could "live my best life for the rest of my life." I set up some intentions and goals for myself, and I eagerly set off . . . flowing.

Until I wasn't.
(To be fair, nothing was flowing for a while.)

It took me a while to find my footing after our "normal lives" became the Before Times. When I look back at my journal and my blog posts from March and April last year, it's really clear that I was struggling. In shock, I suppose. Trying to come to terms with what was happening. Certainly more scrambling than flowing.

Gradually, slowly, though . . . I started to adapt.

My lifelong mantra -- Don't push the river, it flows by itself (Frederick S. Perls) -- showed up often to remind me that I needed to stop trying to control what I couldn't control; that I needed to stop worrying stressing, struggling. It was time for me to stop "pushing the river." It was time to flow. (Of course, that's easier said than done. But a helpful reminder nonetheless.)

And a new mantra - Be like water, my friend (Bruce Lee) - showed up to teach me that the properties of water offer us great examples of how to "be," how to adapt, how to live. (Bruce Lee's words became my personal mantra for the rest of the year. I wear them on a tiny charm around my neck every day.) I became determined to keep moving, to tumble and rush over rocks, to move smoothly around the obstacles in the way, to rest quietly behind the log jams, to flow. (Did it work? Some days.)

2020 - my year of flow - taught me that our lives . . . are really kind of like a river. And as my fisherman husband would explain . . . you may think you know a river, but it's always changing.
Sometimes a river flows gently.
Sometimes it rushes over rapids.
Sometimes it dries to a trickle.
Sometimes it overflows its banks.

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I was flowing along at the beginning of the year, thinking I knew exactly how my river would move.
Surprise!
I went over a waterfall I didn't even see coming!

But I survived.
I figured out how to keep moving.
I'm catching the flow again.
(Until it changes.)

Flow.

==

"Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water. If you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be like water, my friend."
                             --- Bruce Lee

 

 

 

 


Revving Up For a New Year

Happy New Year!
Happy Monday!

In an attempt to keep things  fresh, relevant, and fun (for me . . . and maybe for you, too), I'm going to be making a few changes here on the blog over the next few months. Nothing drastic (although you never know . . . ). Just different. Change is good, y'know? 

On Mondays I'll still . . . 

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but not every Monday.
Just some Mondays. 
And it'll be just a little bit different.

"Change only happens in the present moment. The past is already done. The future is just energy and intention."
               --- Kino McGregor

So here we are, at the beginning of a new year. A time when many of us make resolutions or goals or intentions for how we want to move forward in the new year. And I know a lot of those resolutions or goals or intentions have something to do with . . . moving more. Getting stronger. Improving our balance and flexibility. Working on our fitness.

Maybe even . . . trying yoga.

So today, I'm going to Start Your Engines with some yoga talk. Because if there's one thing that revs me up and gets me moving, it's yoga!

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I've been doing yoga for a long, long time. I actually credit yoga with . . . saving my life. WHUT? Yeah. I do. If not for yoga, I doubt I'd be doing most of the things I do today.

I don't talk about it much, generally, and I think I've only mentioned it once or twice here on the blog, but I have rheumatoid arthritis. I was diagnosed with it shortly after Erin was born, and it took a while before we got it under control and I could move again without pain. Of course, some of my joints are completely trashed now (both wrists - and especially the right one, and one of my knees), but thanks to a combination of good medical care, new drugs, a decent attitude, and commitment to moving every day . . . here I am . . . 30 years later and still able to do (pretty much) anything I want to do!

At a time when I could barely lift my arms over my head (let along think about sitting on the floor), my rheumatologist suggested I try . . . yoga. I thought he was nuts. I had done yoga before my RA diagnosis, so I really couldn't imagine it would be possible again. But I gave it a try. It was really hard at first. I took it slowly, though, and kept at it. Before long . . . I was moving easier and feeling better. My flexibility increased; my pain decreased. I got more confident about moving again, and I saw how important a regular and consistent commitment to moving (even when it didn't feel so great) was for my body. It changed me; it saved my life!

So . . . I am totally committed to practicing yoga.

Yoga offers so many benefits. Gentle movement is good for your joints. It builds strength - and especially core strength. It improves balance and flexibility. It makes a mind-body connection, which is helpful for reducing stress. It can offer spiritual growth/self-actualization if that's your jam. It is a great thing to do at any age -- but it is particularly beneficial for aging bodies. And more recent studies are showing it can even help reduce brain shrinkage, which is a huge benefit. (I've included a link to a Psychology Today article in the "curated resources" section below.

Before the pandemic, I went to studio yoga classes once or twice a week. I did stretches and sun salutations at home every day, but mostly my yoga was studio-based. The pandemic changed all that, of course, and I had to scramble to figure out an at-home way to do yoga. I tried a few for-pay online based yoga programs (they often offer "free trial" periods), finally making my way to Yoga With Adriene. And there it was: My new at-home yoga "studio." Now, I do yoga every day, and I love it. (This is one of my pandemic silver linings.)

I know a lot of you are already familiar with Adriene, but for those of you who aren't . . . here are a few things to know: First, Adriene offers a huge and ever-expanding catalog of classes for free through her YouTube channel. Next, each month Adriene pulls together a collection of her classes organized around a "theme" and publishes a calendar with links to the daily classes. Again, free. And then, each January Adriene offers a brand new 30-day yoga series featuring all-new classes suitable for every level of yogi. And, again . . . free. (There is a for-pay subscription option, where subscribers get access to Adriene's Find What Feels Good app and a few other subscriber-only goodies. I have chosen this option after enjoying her classes for a couple of months. I feel like what she's offering is worth my financial support. But the fact that her classes are offered free - and ad-free - is just . . . amazing.)

I know several of you are thinking about giving Adriene's online yoga a try. Or maybe you haven't really given it a thought before. But today, I'd like to give you that little friendly nudge - to Start Your Engines and . . . Try it!

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Right now, Adriene is offering a brand new 30-day yoga series called Breath. It's free. It's YouTube based. It's for every body. It's for YOU. (Click here for more information or to sign up for daily email reminders.) It's a great way to stick your toe into this whole yoga thing . . . or, if you're already a yoga-person, it's a great immersion into yoga breath technique. 

"Yoga is not for the flexible. It's for the willing."
            --- Anonymous

If you're thinking it's too late now because  you missed the first days . . .
I say . . . Nope. Your "day 1" can be any day you choose! Who says you have to start on January 1?

If you're thinking 30 days is just too much. . .  
I say . . . No worries! No one says you have to do 30 days in a row. You can set your own yoga schedule and spread the days out however you want.

If you're thinking your body isn't a "yoga body". . .
I say . . . Every body is a "yoga body." (Even if arthritis has trashed your joints.)

If you're thinking you aren't "flexible enough" for yoga . . .
I say . . . We do yoga to become more flexible, not because we're already flexible.

If you're thinking you don't have the right clothes or equipment to do yoga . . .
I say . . . Got sweat pants? Got a t-shirt? A yoga mat is helpful, but you can just do yoga on your floor if you want.

If you're thinking you can't do those moves . . .
I say . . . Yeah, at first very few people can. But if you keep at it for 30 days, you'll be amazed at what you'll be able to do! And Adriene suggests modifications, so yoga can work for everyone.

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So, what do you think? Have I convinced you?
Are you ready to roll out your mat and give yoga a try?
Start YOUR Engines . . . and c'mon along.

"The body benefits from the movement, and the mind benefits from stillness."
            --- Sakyong Mipham

==

For further exploration, check out my Curated Resource List:

 


Beginning With Poetry

Happy New Year!

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I'm choosing to begin this new year . . . with poetry.

==

To the New Year
by W.S. Merwin

With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible

==

May this new year be full of possibility and hope for us all!

Today's poem is one I read every New Year's Day. You may see it around quite a lot today, because really . . . could there be a more perfect poem to welcome the new year? It's worth reading (and sharing) over and over again.

W. S. Merwin, “To the New Year” from Present Company (Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by W. S. Merwin.

You can learn more about the poet and find links so some of his other poems here.