Friday, December 07, 2018

layers of history

while in istanbul a few weeks ago, i visited the ayasofya. it must be one of the most magnificent human made structures in the world. built by justinian starting in 532, it has stood stoically through regimes and wars and earthquakes and fires, shifting religions and rises and falls of empires. it remains, implacable, its scars visible, but none able to mar its beauty.

the layers of its history are there to be seen - mosaics of kings and saints side by side with enormous quotes from the quran in arabic. tiles on the floor that saw the coronation of emperors and sultans. stone staircases worn smooth by the feet that trod on them for millennia.

we got in at the very end of the day, so there weren't many people. it was quiet and monumental. and in the quiet it felt like if you listened hard enough, you could hear the whispers of the stories that vast, ancient place had seen - the multitude of voices which had passed through, the games played, palace intrigues conducted, prayers said, speeches and sermons proclaimed. all of those stories whispering from the walls. i wanted to hide in some corner and stay after closing, to hear them all...

* * *

i'm so sad - andrei bitov is dead. 
i wrote my master's thesis on pushkin house and
had i finished my Ph.D., i would have written on his work.
but 81 is no bad age. my dad nearly made it there as well.
and today he would have been 85.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

the body knows

i've been sick all week. fever. headache. ringing ears. persistent cough. it's that time of year, but also surely my body saying "enough!" i haven't been that happy at work of late. my wonderful boss left. what's left of our department has been tossed to and fro across the organization, used as pawns in political game-playing, for more than a year now. we've landed with a manager we were told was interim, but who is looking more and more permanent and who hasn't, shall we say...settled into the role as of yet. even tho' it's been six months. good colleagues are fleeing. there's too much work and too little appreciation. and come january, there is micromanagement on the horizon. and i think that my body took a look at all of this and said, "you need some rest honey. you need to snuggle under the covers with netflix and a kitten and get some rest. you need to stop worrying about things you can't change or control and get right in yourself. and if it takes giving you a temperature of 39.6 for two days, followed by slowly ramping down to almost normal as of today, then so be it young lady." my body still thinks i'm a young lady, you see. and my body knows me and what i need. but it also knows that i don't listen to it very well, so this time, it took extreme measures, and i listened. and i'm starting to feel better.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

making my way through the fog

we have the most beautiful, long, strangely warmish autumn this year. since my dear bloggy and real life friend, cyndy, died, i've found myself consciously paying more attention to the beauty of the world around me and stopping to appreciate it. i've been pulling the car over and carrying a real camera with me again, rather than only relying on my iPhone (tho' that camera is pretty good these days).  the other day, the camera actually had a hard time finding focus in the fog, but i liked the shot anyway. it kind of conveys my life of late - the path ahead is a bit foggy and uncertain. things are a bit in turmoil at work, with multiple reorgs over the past year that have bounced our department all over the organisation, landing it finally in a strange place where it doesn't really fit. it's draining. i'm a person who can tolerate a high level of uncertainty, but being tossed all over the organization and not really feeling as if all the work you do is particularly appreciated takes its toll after more than a year. so, i've been feeling a bit like i'm not sure what's next. do you wait for things to get better or do you seize other opportunities? i'm doing a little bit of both at the moment. the actual work i do is wonderful and engaging and i get to work with some amazing photographers and filmmakers and tell great stories and that's been keeping me going. i've also been seizing every opportunity i can of late to travel and it helps to be away from the cramped, dark space we've been been banished to in another building since just after the summer holiday. i've really come to realize how important your workspace is to your satisfaction at work. and how important it is to have enough space around you and not feel like the desks are all crammed together. we've very crowded now and when people are on the phone, it's completely impossible to get any work done. i find myself dreading going to the office these days and i never felt that way before. your surroundings just matter so much. and so, i travel all i can. this week, it's berlin and istanbul. and i can't wait!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

venice for the first time

sparkles in the water. sunshine. a winding maze of streets. earthy tones, laundry on lines hanging overhead. gondolas. glass. coffee. pasta. buffalo mozzarella. bacalao. art, architecture. canals. dead ends. did i mention the sunshine?

venice is spellbinding in its beauty. it's been there so long, you feel it resting in itself, rather oblivious to the hordes of tourists. and yet still overrun by them. there's no escape really. i myself was acutely aware of the excess noise my suitcase made as i wheeled through the ancient pavement towards my hotel. i wanted to be quieter, more gentle than that. to step lightly, and i did, after stowing my bag at the hotel.

once again, i had that sense of awe in the face of the first time. this was it - my one and only first time visiting venice. i may go back, but that will be with this experience under my belt. i'll never see it again as a venice virgin. i'll never feel the duality of the weight and the lightness of that experience again in exactly the same way. and i did my best to be conscious of it. to look around, observe, enjoy, savor, bask. there is so much beauty, so much history, so much awesome coffee. i tried to just take it all in and just BE in it, no filtering, and no processing, just enjoying. i think that for a change, i was able to do that.

and on that cloudless autumn day, venice must have been at her very best and it made me feel that i was too.  what an amazing experience it was.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

5-4-3-2-1 method

still reading and rereading that nytimes piece on being kind to yourself.  i haven't been particularly kind to myself of late, so i'm eager to figure out how to do so. according to the article, there's a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 method, which involves naming five things you can see in a room, four things you can hear in the room, three things you can touch or feel, two things you can smell and one good quality about yourself. so here goes...

5 - starbucks cups full of colorful sharpies, my cameras, a flock of unikitties, original art by people whose work i love, a photo of my father-in-law beside a drawing of him that husband did at age 9
4 - it's nearly 2 a.m., so i can hear husband snoring, my own fingers on the keyboard, my ears ringing and silence
3 - i can feel the touch of my fingers on the keyboard, the scratchiness of the wool fabric on the chair and the softness of the lambs wool pelt that's also on my chair
2 - i can smell the fragrance of the shampoo i just used in my shower and if i'm honest, the nagging odor of a litterbox that needs to be changed
1 - i am self-reflective, even if i don't always give myself the right message.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

goodbye dear friend

i've been home sick. after all the travel in recent weeks, i have ended up with a head cold, slight fever and general aches. i think it was my body's way of telling me i needed to take a moment to slow down. the weather was blustery and there were squalls of rain off and on all day. but just before 6:30 p.m., i was sitting at my desk and the sun came out in a full blaze of glory. it exposed all those spider webs that have accumulated on the window, but even so, it was warm, golden and welcome. i turned my face towards it and basked for a few minutes. a few hours later i learned that our dear old friend cyndy was finally released from the bonds of her cancer, at right about that time. and i can't help but think that the beautiful, welcome, golden light was her, finally coming over to see me here in the falling down farmhouse. and it didn't feel so much like goodbye as hello. thank you for the light cyndy, i am sure you have found it. it was a privilege to know you and be touched by your enthusiasm, your words, your thoughtfulness and your kindness. godspeed.

Friday, September 28, 2018

be kind to yourself

the new york times told me to be kind myself today. i'm not sure i've done that or that i even know how. instead, i bucked up my chin, packed up my laptop and headed for the library and a decent internet connection and i worked. i pushed aside everything that yesterday brought up in me, including those things which i had suppressed and made myself forget. i've not articulated them to a soul since 1991, so it's a bit hard to know where to begin now. i need to find a space to whisper them out loud to myself. and that's a bigger step than we might imagine. the courage of ms. blasey ford yesterday was incomprehensible. i have no idea how she summoned it. and no idea how to feel if it was all for nought.

an accidental bug for lunch

my lunch today consisted of a bug that i accidentally swallowed on my way to the car. it kind of went downhill from there. the afternoon was filled with diagrams of squares and circles and funnels and data and ways of boxing in creativity and others taking credit for ideas not their own. it was disheartening to say the least. it didn't help to get home and watch a bit of the horror show before the senate judiciary committee as a petulant, entitled manchild freaked out that his frat boy ways were found out and half of the country remained on his side. memories of a sexual assault i had buried away from even myself resurfaced. my wonderful friend cyndy is dying. and the full moon is waning. these are troubled times we are living in and it can feel pretty hopeless. especially when you have a bug for lunch.

Monday, September 24, 2018

kittens = happiness

it may be slightly irresponsible of me not to have fixed our two mama kitties. what stops me is that they are molly's daughters, so if i fix them, there is no more of molly's line on this side of the atlantic. plus, we live on 7 hectares and we need cats around here. i also thoroughly enjoy them - taming them, making them into good pets for their eventual forever homes, photographing the hell out of them. after a long, stressful week, coming home to them brings me back to center and makes me happy. i'm a cat person, what can i say? this time, i am thinking it's time to fix freya, six kittens is a lot for one batch, even tho' it's a bit of shame since she has finally become a good mama. but, i think i will keep one of the creamy ones, just to have a little piece of molly to carry on the line.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

road trip :: brobergs take the south 2018 :: part 3 :: the road

on our summer holiday, we drove 2,875 miles in our rented toyota sienna. that's 4,627 kilometers if those are what you relate to. no matter how you think of it, that's a lot of asphalt. luckily, the sienna was roomy, so it accommodated our suitcases and our snacks and a cooler of drinks and everyone was comfortable, so there wasn't any fighting or complaining about who was sitting where. we took turns driving, but husband did do the bulk of it.

i have found myself reflecting on the many roads we traveled and how that's true of life as well. and despite us all being in the same vehicle, traveling down the same roads, we undoubtedly each had our own experience of them. for my part, i told myself stories of the places we drove through and past.

in northeast alabama, i looked out the window at the countryside flying by. it was dotted with shabby, flimsy trailer houses with broken down vehicles and too many dogs in the yard. houses where it looked like people didn't have the energy to care about the junk on the falling-down, tacked-on porch. you could feel that life wasn't easy there, just driving past it. then there was a road in mississippi where the houses along the way were small, but built with care. they looked much more charming and kept up - with inviting porches that had chairs and plants, you could feel a sense of community and that people lived there, rooted in the place. then there was the gulf coast near mobile, alabama and on towards pensacola. the sandy beaches were beautiful, but ugly high rise buildings gave it an uninviting soulless quality.

the roads in the bywater neighborhood where we stayed in new orleans were in a very bad state of repair. but yet, i'm not sure i've ever seen a more charming place. colorful houses, long and narrow, but adorable - with shutters in contrasting colors and loads of gingerbread. each one unique, but somehow also harmonious - sort of like you would like to be as a person - your own individual style, but also playing a melodic chord - signifying belonging, yet room for individuality. what more could you ask in your road.

in savannah, we arrived in the evening at our airbnb and got turned around and started following the roads into a less prosperous neighborhood, where the main businesses seemed to be the liquor stores and greasy takeout joints on every corner. just a few blocks in the other direction was savannah's utterly charming downtown - filled with shops and cafés and restaurants. we managed to find our way to a most amazing chocolate café, where we ended our long day on the road with chocolate fondue, cheesecake and chocolate cocktails. such contrasts just a few blocks apart. the same road able to take you two very opposite directions, both literally (obviously) and metaphorically, all in the space of a just a few blocks.

all these roads represent so many stories, it was a veritable cacophony, i want to go back and listen to each one. and make more of my own.

Monday, August 27, 2018

the end of the innocence

i had a discussion with my sister some weeks ago about don henley's 1989 classic the end of the innocence. go watch it, i'll wait here...

Remember when the days were long
And rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didn't have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standing by

When "happily ever after" fails
And we've been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers dwell on small details
Since daddy had to fly

But i know a place where we can go
That's still untouched by man
We'll sit and watch the clouds roll by
And the tall grass wave in the wind

You can lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence

O' beautiful, for spacious skies
But now those skies are threatening
They're beating plowshares into swords
For this tired old man that we elected king

Armchair warriors often fail
And we've been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers clean up all details
Since daddy had to lie

But i know a place where we can go
And wash away this sin
We'll sit and watch the clouds roll by
And the tall grass wave in the wind
Just lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair spill all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence

Who knows how long this will last
Now we've come so far, so fast
But, somewhere back there in the dust
That same small town in each of us

I need to remember this
So baby give me just one kiss
And let me take a long last look
Before we say good-bye

Just lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence

what was interesting is how different our memories of the song were. she finds it very political, whereas the only politics i can find is the stanza about the tired old man that we elected king (has anyone ever described reagan more aptly?). for me, that summer was the one where i had a very painful broken engagement. i was devastated and lost 17 pounds in a week, mostly in tears shed. that felt like the end of my own innocence and a real transition into adulthood. it caused my life to change course...shifting from plans to attend u.c. irvine to iowa city and the university of iowa. looking back, i think it made me less trusting of potential boyfriends for years afterwards, really ending my own romantic innocence...poisoning my own fairy tale. in other words, i found the song very much about my own situation, even though reading the lyrics now, i can clearly see that it was about one's parents splitting up. my own happily ever after had failed (thank odin now, looking back), so i sang along at the top of my lungs as i drove my little gold pontiac fiero and felt like the song was written specifically for me. especially after i met a handsome summer fling who gave me back some confidence and made those lines about the tall grass in the wind and the small town in each of us ring true. it was really more or less the anthem of the summer of 1989 for me.

for my sister, her departure for college was on the horizon and she felt the pressure of that. i think we both thought that our parents wouldn't be able to survive the empty nest, having such separate interests. so the words about daddy having to fly spoke to my sister and she felt a heavy weight of responsibility for keeping them together. and watching the video, with its odd 50s feel (aside from the shots of tattered reagan posters and ollie north), it does seem much more political that it ever seemed to me at the time. and though i was home that summer, i definitely didn't feel the same pressure my sister did to be the glue holding our parents together. in the end, their marriage held, though some part of me still wonders why when they shared so little. i suppose staying together was just what you did in their generation (speaking of the 50s).

in these times, where our entire existence is smeared in the nasty politics of our post-truth era, it does seem that our innocence has ended once and for all.

* * *

today's lack of truth has its roots in postmodernism.
i heard about this piece here on T.O.E.
and i'll admit to feeling a little guilty for all that derrida, foucault and baudrilliard i read in college.

* * *

the problem is way deeper than trump. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

a new manifesto

when did my world and my thoughts become smaller? when did i replace deep conversations with gossip and snark? did the internet do this to me? was it all the cynical (but oh-so-amusing) gifs? is it my true nature? i don't think so. most decidedly it is not me. i love to think and discuss and share things that make me think and discuss. how did that stop? when did it stop? when was it taken over by pettiness and yes, small-minded nastiness? that's not who i am and more importantly, not what i want. i want to be open and share ideas and not have hidden agendas or look for them or assume they're there and drive myself crazy looking for them. i want to go through life expecting the best of others, not being bogged down by suspicions and doubt. i want to share ideas and have my ideas made better by those with whom i share. i want to laugh and joke lightheartedly. i want to make awesome things together with awesome people. i want to be inspired by those around me. i want them to push me to be better, more creative and funnier. i want to tread paths i haven't tread before. see new things, experience new things, look with openness and curiosity upon the world. to meet everyone i encounter with a light heart and curiosity. i want to skip through my days again, loving what i do and spending time with people who matter to me and give me energy. i want to be in touch with myself, bodily and spiritually. i want to open my heart and my mind. i want to be grateful and express it. i want to appreciate those around me who make me laugh and think and sing and who lighten my heart. and my heart will be lightened if i'm open and curious. i want to live and laugh and love. and feel light and buoyant and prosperous and generous of spirit. and i want to radiate all of that. i feel the glow from within already now...

Thursday, August 09, 2018

what if the water is fine?

my most recurring dream scenario over many, many years is of falling into dirty, brackish water that i fear greatly until i'm in it and discover it's not as bad as it looks. every time, i can swim, or touch bottom, or it's much more shallow than it appears and not nearly as muddy as it seems it will be and i don't get stuck and tangled up in those plants. it hit me today from something a colleague said, that we choose our path, balancing precariously on the edge of that nasty-looking water, worrying about falling in or we give ourselves over and jump in and see what it's really like. and there's a very good chance that it's not as bad as it appears. and maybe we make it worse ourselves, for ourselves, by imagining how bad it will be. and trying to make cynical, sarcastic jokes about it. and maybe we should stop that and look for the good. because there is a lot of good. and maybe, just maybe, it will all be ok if we just relax and be grateful and positive and give ourselves over instead of resisting with cynical sarcasm. and by we, i mean me. and it may not be easy, but i'm going to try. just maybe that water is fine.

* * *

linguistic delight - book reviews from prison.

* * *

why mall of america doesn't die.

* * *

please, dear odin, let him run.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

road trip :: brobergs take the south 2018 :: part 2 :: school bus graveyard

alongside a georgia highway, we were looking for a stand to buy peaches when we came across an amazing sight - a line of graffiti-clad old school buses.

it was part of an auto mechanic shop and we went up and asked if we could have a look. a rather crotchety man with a heavy southern drawl directed us back out to the highway and a path you could take to walk up along the row. he very sternly warned that we shouldn't try to go beyond the row of buses or climb on them in any way. we assured him we wouldn't.

it would have been impossible to do so anyway, as they're very well blocked-off in between. there are multiple warnings to stay off, so it's not the most welcoming place.

there are some cool old cars up on top as well - i suppose to add discouragement for climbing them.

i don't know the story of it, as i think it's primarily a working mechanic & junk yard and only incidentally a bus graveyard, but it seems like proper graffiti artists were involved in painting the buses. at least some of them.

the starkest warning was one about snakes. i'll admit that worked on me and i didn't want to get too close to the buses.

it's quite a large area and it would have been cool if they'd had an observation tower you could climb up to get a better view.

i couldn't help but include this shot of this really cute guy i saw there. gotta love that scruffy beard.

Friday, August 03, 2018

road trip :: brobergs take the south 2018 :: part 1

we had a family road trip in the southern united states this summer. we visited 6 states none of us had ever been in before - tennessee, alabama, mississippi, louisiana, florida and south carolina.  the others hadn't been in georgia before, but i had. and technically, i flew through miami in 1988, but that doesn't really count as being in the state. this time, we visited beaches and the state capital, so it must count. i expected to have heavy exposure to trumpanzees, but we didn't actually speak to a single one. that surprised me quite a bit, but then i saw this piece in the nytimes - it seems we followed that blue route through the south, perhaps guided by some subliminal survival instinct. or maybe we just didn't really talk to enough people along the gulf coast. but we also ran into a surprising amount who vocally volunteered their embarrassment at the mangled apricot hellbeast.

a quick list of impressions/lessons/thoughts:

~ two weeks was just the right amount of time, even tho' we did have our occasional flagging moments. at the end, i was both longing to go home and wishing we still had a few more days and that's exactly how it should be.

~ cheesecake for lunch is awesome in the moment, but come late afternoon, proves not to be such a good idea.

~ way-finding and map-reading were the biggest challenges, even in this day and age of ubiquitous gps. we didn't have a phone plan where we could roam, so we were constantly looking for wifi to help us do our route planning. in the morning, we would plan our route in google maps while on wifi and then the gps does actually follow where you are, but if you deviate from the route you planned while on wifi, the google maps app doesn't handle it well. also, husband was horrible at being the navigator if i was driving, which is weird, because he spent 18 years in the military and is otherwise good at maps. everyone stayed happier if i did the map-reading and husband did the driving. tho' even then there were a couple of kerfluffles. lesson was that maybe we should just know where we are in a general sorta way. and we did buy a big atlas of the united states. it helped out on the highways and byways, but not as much within cities.

~ several of the best things we found were quite random -  a cooling creek/waterfall (mardis mill falls) on a hot alabama day, windsor ruins off the natchez trace, which we found by talking to an older couple at another point of interest along the way, and the space museum just over the louisiana-mississippi border on the way towards biloxi.

~ we actually stuck to our budget and we didn't really deny ourselves much to do so.

~ since we were five more or less adults, we needed two hotel rooms, so we were looking for rooms on the budget end, since we were mostly looking for a good night's sleep and not a place to hang out. plus, we wanted to save our money for great coffee, fun experiences and shopping in goodwill! after a few days of disappointment in the mid-range ($65-$80/night) hotels, we looked to airbnb, and we felt much, much happier. there, we found quirky places with personality, a bit more luxury and charming hardwood floors, still in our price range. if you haven't tried it, i'd be very grateful if you used this link when you do.

~ you should stay off the interstates and get onto smaller highways and byways. we did some of this, but undoubtedly not enough. when you do hit the small highways and byways, make sure you have a full tank of gas, as gas stations can be surprisingly few and far between. we stopped at one in a small town in mississippi where it was clear we were the only white people who had passed through in a long time. that made for some amusing conversations while we waited to use the bathroom.

~ shopping at goodwill is awesome and our child is a wizard at finding the best stuff there, no matter the location. probably the best one we visited (and we tried to visit as many as we could) was the first one, south of atlanta. maybe our eyes were freshest, but i think it also had the best selection. i got an awesome t-shirt that says, "sorry i'm late, i didn't want to come." that makes me laugh.

~ there seems to be a disturbing trend in the states - one of which i was previously only peripherally aware - from barbara ehrenreichs' amazing nickle and dimed book, but never imagined i would actually encounter (which sounds more arrogant than i mean it to). when we were staying at the lower-priced hotels, it seemed like many of the other patrons were folks who seemed to be living with what they euphemistically call housing insecurity. it appeared that the hotels were full of people who probably had work, but not enough money for the deposit on an apartment, so they were forced to live on a weekly or even day-to-day basis in these hotels. i was waiting to ask for a wifi sign-in and i witnessed two young women paying their rent, peeling the fee off a roll of one dollar bills (perhaps from waitressing tips). initially, they gave the clerk, who was behind thick bullet-proof glass, since it was nearly dark, less and he said, "no, it's $63." the second girl reached down her cleavage and got a roll of her own bills out and peeled off the remainder, saying, "there goes my fun money," and rolling her eyes. i felt a little bit shocked. others stood in their doorways, smoking or chatting on the phone, obviously very at home in the hotel. it made me aware of a stark reality in my home country. and also acutely aware of my own privilege.

and on that note, i'll sign off for now. more about the trip, with actual photos, tomorrow. i'm still sorting through all of them.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

entering holiday mode

the bags aren't packed, i have a few edits to do, a brief or two, a couple of emails and a few posts to schedule, but my mind is already sliding into holiday mode. i got home around 7:30, went straight to the garden, picked zucchini, onions and one of those weird cauliflower-broccoli hybrids that seems to have happened in one of the brassica beds. i turned the zucchini in egg and bread crumbs, adding sesame seeds for a bit more healthiness and taste. i stir-fried the onions and caulicoli (i just made that name up) and flash fried a couple of pork chops. it was delicious. husband and i chatted and watched a few episodes of wyatt cenac's problem areas (comedy has turned to smart in these days of the otherwise dumbing down of the world, and it gives me a glimmer of hope). we had a g&t and we got ambitious about harvesting mirabellas, black currants and red currants before we leave.  there's also a mountain of laundry to do and the child to pick up from her week at roskilde festival (there were moments when she almost gave up, but she hung in there). but here, right now, this evening, i'm shifting...gearing down, packing in my mind, thinking about which minifigures to take and what sort of photo or audio project to give myself for the trip. i'm pondering what clothes to pack, which bags to take, what book for the plane (clearly my friend richard's halleluja canyon). do i need art supplies? a new notebook? plenty of batteries for the zoom? and how will i get along without the kittens? they'll be cared for by friends, who will stop by to feed and water them. they'll be fine. but i'll miss them. but i'm looking forward to places i've never been...birmingham, mississippi, new orleans, the gulf coast. orlando. it's going to be an awesome trip. but first, some time in the garden and a bit of hanging out with the kittens.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

out of focus colors

as we close in on the summer holiday, i'm feeling a bit fuzzy to say the least. it's been a long haul, these past months. it's really hard when a job you dearly love turns sour, but it so often happens in a time of growth and disruption. i love both growth, disruption and also change, but it's been a bit ridiculous of late. when the wrong people are brought in and the good people leave and the company culture changes radically, it creates change that's not good or productive. i'm ready for a holiday. and happily, we are getting on a plane next week. it also helped that i went to an intimate and utterly blissful yin yoga class today. my mind quieted down and i saw a veritable rainbow of colors during some of the long poses. it centered me and put me, at least momentarily, in touch with my body. this color thing is really interesting. i've had flashes of synesthesia over the years, but it's really started to show itself in new ways during my recent bodywork sessions. i need to learn what the colors mean, even if it's only what they mean for me...i saw everything from rich, bright, vibrant red - it's never just one uniform color, there are nuances - to salmon to yellow and orange to green and teal to the most velvety indigo. my sense of it is that it's when i'm in touch with emotions, or more like touching them, as i wouldn't say i could articulate them. i've read some pieces about colors associated with the chakras and perhaps there's also something of that in it, when one or another is activated, but it feels more connected to some kind of emotional bedrock inside me. one which i've been probably out of touch with for far too long. if i ever was in touch with it. but i have hope, with the appearance of all these colors when i'm doing bodywork or yoga, that i can get in touch, maybe also at other times. maybe it's just a reminder that i need to live a more colorful life. but first...vacation.

Monday, June 11, 2018

midlife tuneup?

i read this long piece on doing a midlife tuneup in the nytimes today. some of it seemed a bit meh and perhaps even patronizing- exercise, eat right, get enough sleep (blah, blah, blah). although i'm skeptical of the mindfulness/life coach madness that's about in the world today, the section on mindfulness and what it does for the ageing brain seemed a bit intriguing, so i kept reading. the following section on a midlife mission statement also spoke to me (being inclined to the odd personal manifesto (hmm, that one still rings pretty true...)). i've already been actively trying to have better bedtime habits (no phone nearby being the main one, tho' i fell off that wagon after a late coffee one day last week and did NOT sleep well for a couple of nights). also, i appreciate the irony of the fact that it's currently 12:44 a.m. 1:13 a.m. and i'm still at the computer. but the last section - about building up your resilience really spoke to me. all year, i've been writing intentions in a journal and they have been optimistic and positive. it hasn't always worked and there have been some dark times of late with reorg turmoil at work and the departure of my wonderful boss, but i faithfully continue, confident it will eventually seep in. i like the advice in that section - there are several things i feel i can actually use - rewriting the story i tell myself in my head, helping others and i've already taken a stress break when i could see that a situation was going to be more negative and unproductive than i needed it to be. the stress break really helped, even if the effects don't last long enough. i also like the idea of finding my discomfort zone - as long as it doesn't involve heights, that sounds rather intriguing. and i would do well to remember the times when i came back from adversity. perhaps the best start to it all would be that good night's sleep they talked about...

Sunday, June 10, 2018

a rainy sunday afternoon

it's raining at last, after an entire month of sunshine. we've never had an entire month of sunshine in a row, so it was very welcome, but so is the rain. the rain has made me slow down - i can't be in the garden, picking strawberries or weeding or mowing or hoeing, so i'm in the plant-filled front entry with a cup of creamy coffee, a book, my journal, my camera and the kittens. i must admit it's bliss and precisely what i needed. i've been reading some more of knausgaard's small autumn essays. it's a book i've had on the nightstand for some time - you can just pick it up, read one or two as you wish, and then put it down again for some weeks. it lends itself to this slow way of reading it; each essay is shining, deep and luminous and i must get the rest of the seasons to savour as well (as you might guess, there are four volumes in all). they are small musing on single words - words like badger, war, labia - very diverse - written by knausgaard to his unborn daughter, as they awaited her. they're not exactly micro-memoirs, which i've also been pondering since hearing about them on the bittersweet life podcast, more like little perfect essayistic musings on being human. in looking for more small, perfect essays, i came across brevity, an online magazine filled with them. check it out if you're looking for something to read on a rainy sunday afternoon.

Friday, May 25, 2018

four kittens = much delight

i've been listening to the kind of podcasts that i wouldn't normally listen to - mostly because the ones i normally listen to do a lot of talking about trump and his posse of trumpanzees, and frankly, i'm over that. so i listened to some back catalog stuff from oprah's super soul podcast (the alanis morissette episode) and also the bittersweet life (start with micro and quite possibly also stop there). my mind is buzzing with ideas of things to write about, but it's quite late and while that doesn't matter so much since i'm taking the day off tomorrow, i need to let them gel until morning. but suffice it to say, i'm looking forward to writing some micro memoir pieces (as if this blog isn't already full of those), and to spending tomorrow with the kittens you see above. they were born on may 2 and they're just about to hit peak cute.