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Yesterday I put together my first shopping cart. It’s one of those undersized wire carts that the little old asian ladies pull laundry and recyclables around in, and I was super glad to have it because I have to go grocery shopping for the entire office each week and there are really only so many twenty pound bag half mile hikes I was born with the potential for successfully completing. Eventually I was going to have to start jettisoning flats of Clif bars and cartons of soy creamer along my trek like an overloaded lorry named Gretel.

So I ordered myself an office shopping cart, and it came in the mail, and there was much rejoicing at the impending easiness of life. Too soon, my hamsters.

For when the shopping cart was with joy and expectation removed from its box, lo it became apparent that there was still work to do. It came resplendent with two wheels attached, and two wheels stuck shoddy in a plastic bag with sundry pins and washers. There was mourning.

There was also a distinct lack of assembly instructions, and so for a moment there was panic as well.

Then I remembered that I am about to be twenty eight years old, and it does not really get more responsible for one’s own cart wheels than that, and I bravely sharpened up my mind and began to muck around the springs and washers.

Rapidly it became apparent to me that something was not adding up. I am fairly well acquainted with wheels and the process by which they go round, and it seemed to me that there ought to be something else in that little plastic bag of parts, something very like an axel?

I had myself a coffee break, by which I mean I sat on the floor surrounded by my cart flotsam and drank black coffee viciously and deliberately in its general direction.

I decided that there absolutely HAD to be an axel. This situation was just not going to work without an axel. And I made up my mind that I would either find that axel, or I would make a very persuasive complaint letter to the manufacturer, the burden of which would be their obligation to present me with a new, axeled, and fully assembled shopping cart.

I picked up that cart, and I shook it a little bit for spite, and something rattled. Hm, I thought, a looseness. A something somewhere that is not screwed down…and I looked at it verrry closely, and suddenly I realized that neatly camouflaged within the bars of the cart there was an identical yet extra bar, twist tied onto its brethren. AHA! I thought, and I twisted it free and sure enough, it was An Axel.

The moral of the story is that when one is faced with obstacles, one must drink coffee; the beauty of the story is that when I have all the necessary pieces I can assemble the shit out of some shopping cart wheels in under four minutes; and the end of the story is that everybody got their favorite foods and a case of Sierra Nevada, because the greatest invention in the entire history of mankind may be roasted coffee beans, but the wheel is right the hell up there.

I am

whatever happens next?

November 29, 2011

Further Health Class Musings

or

Things I Already Have for my Birthday

Natural sleep and relaxation
Everyone who knows me knows that I crave sleep the way a pregnant woman craves pickles and ice cream. I am absolutely addicted to sleep. The people who say that they would rather go without it and do things constantly throughout their lives if that option suddenly magically existed just boggle my mind. I have a deep and abiding love affair with my bed, and my quilt has been dragged around from one home to another during my many ramblings and is now covered with innumerable hand sewn patches. I love my sleep.
If I’m not doing something that distracts me, I tend to get sleepy a few hours after it gets dark; if my life schedule allowed for it I’m pretty sure I would go to sleep shortly after the sun and awaken the next morning shortly after it rose. I’m not exactly a dusk to dawn girl, but I’ve noticed my body clock definitely wants to follow closely in the footsteps of the sun.
Perhaps you will not be surprised to hear that I require a lot of sleep. A lot. I have had numerous opportunities in my ever varying life to mix up the old sleeping schedule, and adjusting to a new schedule always goes just fine for me as long as I get enough sleep. If I don’t…I hate you. I need between eight and nine hours of sleep a night to be energetic, sharp and in a good humor; I need between seven and eight hours to be motivated and sharp, but the edges get ragged a little faster; and anytime I am given the opportunity I will happily sleep for ten to eleven hours straight, although anything over that amount of time never happens for me unless I am sick.

Outdoor exercise
I get at least half an hour of outdoor exercise every work day, because I walk between fifteen minutes to half an hour to work every day, depending on which transportation option I use. I love this time because although it can be cold and the sidewalks are always unbelievably crowded, which irks me, I am out in the fresh air breathing hard and moving quickly. I can never walk slowly when I’m by myself. Something about my body just downshifts into this hip rolling arm swinging rapid gait, and I go rolling down the sidewalk fast and strong and happy as a clam.
My job also entails running out on errands on a daily basis, and while I do not usually actually run I do go walking all over the city. I wish that I could have this amount of outdoor walking in my life every day without it having to be on concrete. Every so often if I step wrong I can just feel how harsh the concrete is on my feet, the impact traveling up to my ankle and knee joints, jarring my hipbones, tweaking my spine. I hereby resolve to have better shoes.

Inspiring Music
I love music that makes my soul soar. One of my favorite things about my current job is Pandora radio and my little headset headphones. Sometimes I’m on that headset taking business calls, and sometimes I’m on that headset rocking out to Pink Floyd. Mostly I am rocking out to Pink Floyd.
My favorite kind of music for the most part has a lot of sweet wailing soul stirring electric guitar. I love songs that make me want to get up and run through the halls of my high school and scream at the top of my lungs. I also love music that stirs my deeper emotions and pushes my mind into more spiritual realms. Sometimes I think that half of the deep meditations I have experienced in my life have been sparked by a stray lyric from a great song.

Like,

Ponderings Born of Health Class

or,

Some Things I Want for my Birthday

Laughter
Within the many papered walls of my life I would like to laugh more. There are all these things that I know, such as Laughter is the Best Medicine and ‘worry gives you wrinkles,’ but in the constant whirl of chaos that is a life split between many passions, it can be hard to slow down long enough to appreciate the humor in an actually amusing situation, let alone the traumatic situations that really require a sense of humor to be successfully navigated.
I want laugh lines.

Sunshine and natural light
It can be difficult to get enough sunlight into your system during winter in the west. I have noticed that my skin gets very pale and papery dry all winter long, no matter what I eat or how I sleep. I also feel more lethargy in general, as the long winter hibernation mindset begins to set in. This can be frustrating, because it makes me want to sleep even more than I usually do and as a chronic sleep addict my life does not have room for any more bedtime. This craving for more sleep leaves me feeling shot through with shock and weak and vague every morning, and if food and coffee don’t manage to do the trick it can make me very cranky. I also feel that it makes me think more slowly and want to move about less. I yearn for warm, comfortable clothes and a cocoon in which to sleep eighteen hours of every day.
I want sun.

Nutritious food
I am bad at eating nutritious food on a regular basis. I don’t really eat very terrible food very often either, but while my diet generally consists of fairly healthy fare like Campbell’s soups and buttered toast, there is not much in the way of nutritional value there. I know that I need to eat more fruits and vegetables, which is a surprise to me every day because I used to be so good about getting proper nutrients. One thing that has been difficult is having the time and energy to go buy produce each week or take fifteen minutes to stir up something green for dinner instead of just eating crackers and cheese again. It is not enough just to not eat junk; I need to also eat well, so that my mind and body can do their best. I want spinach. (that is a lie. I want cake).

Rhythmic Dance
I have realized recently that it is not necessarily within my nature to slow down and take things gently. I am always rush, rush, rush, full steam ahead, unless I am sitting like a heap of rocks with nothing left to give and absolutely no intention of ever getting up again. Within this rushing lifestyle I would like to discover a more intentional, deliberate way of movement. I would like to take the time to let my body be moved by rhythm instead of the need to get something done. I want to go snake my body languorously around a dance floor. (that is a lie. I want to go jump and shout and dance like a seizure machine just the way I always do).

Uplifting Relationships
I guess no one really needs this one explained out in detail, but I feel that uplifting relationships are some of the most important things to a person’s health. Having a support system that can help you through sad or hard times, having friends to share activities and experience with, laughing at ridiculous things with someone who’s just tickled by the same things you are…these are the things that really carry us through the hardships of our lives and make the brightest spots in our memory. There is nothing quite as amazing as the transformation within me when I have had a dreadful terrible no good very bad day, and spend two minutes bitching about it over a wineglass with my best friend. In several sentences and a few sips perspective begins to set in and ruffled feathers get smoothed. Eventually she’ll say something that makes me laugh, and that will be that: I will no longer be having a dreadful terrible no good very bad day. I want more face time. (I want more wine).

Remember, my hamsters; le birthday, it approacheth. For it I desire uplift. I am one hundred percent confident in my

my work here is done

November 29, 2011

?! Exclamation! Excitation! Feeling running high: someone has found my blog by googling ‘how pee in a hoop skirt.’

I can now die happy in the assurance that

How We Are Ageless

November 29, 2011

Discovering the similarities and differences between the perspectives of two unique people on age and aging is interesting, especially when you can trace these contrasts through family lines as well.

My grandpa and I had very different upbringings and we have fairly dissimilar methods so far in our approaches to life, but we are surprisingly similar in certain values and lifestyle habits. This is particularly interesting to me because we are not only related by blood, we are related by exposure because he and my grandma were very involved in raising me during the first four years of my life.

Our first encounters with the concept of hierarchies related to age are quite different but share a common thread of disbelief and hope. For me, the most vivid moment of smashing realization that adults get to do what they want is when I was five years old and eating dinner with my parents at the home of one of their friends. They served peas as a side dish, and I hated peas. Hated them. I sat for the longest time, resenting my peas, resenting them even more than usual because I knew that as company I had to eat them without complaining or risk hurting the hostess’s feelings and incurring my parents’ wrath. I ate the peas dead last, dreading their arrival during the entire meal, and then wolfed most of them down and chased them with milk.
Suddenly I noticed that our host hadn’t eaten his peas. Any of his peas. They still sat untouched on his plate in a neat little pile. His wife noticed me looking at them and began to scold him for not eating his peas, as he was setting a bad example. He just laughed, said he guessed he was a terrible person, and did not eat his peas. I was shocked and awed and marvelously impressed. This moment has stuck with me in perfect ringing clarity ever since; it is the moment that I realized what it might mean to make decisions for oneself.
For my grandpa, his moment of age related realization came at about five or six years old, when he fought a school bully named Abie Rose. Abie was bigger and tough, and for those reasons he had a lot of privileges and clout around the school. My grandpa had no concept of age related to size related to power before he accepted that fight, but it sunk into him quickly that day when he got beat up for the first time. He thinks it must not have sunk in very far, because immediately afterward he decided he could certainly beat up Abie if they fought again, and unfortunately this turned out not to be true. In my mind, however, this rejection of class assignation based on age and size marked the beginning of a lifelong trend for my grandpa, as he clearly went on to buck all sorts of norms and face down many challenges.

In the face of social norms regarding aging, we exhibited an extraordinary likeness of mind. The phrase ‘when you grow up you’ll be able to’ was naturally abhorrent to us. As two children well assured of their own ability to do absolutely anything at any time, the concept of not being able to do something until we grew some more was insulting in the very fabric of its existence. The phrase my grandpa ran up against most frequently was ‘you can try that when you’re older.’ This edict was issued in response to many situations throughout his young life, from wanting to get married at the age of six to the neighbor girl to trying to help his father work on the family car.
The ‘when you’re older’ brick wall I ran against most often was, ‘when you’re older you’ll be able to understand.’ I realize now that this was frequently the product of my parents’ desire to shelter me from the darkness in the world for as long as possible, but as I personally know that it did not work, I’m not certain that I would recommend it as an approach. There were many things I understood from the beginning of my memory that my parents assumed I had no capacity to even consider. I wish that more of my questions had been met with cold hard fact or the honest admission that they and possibly the world at large had no idea. Regardless, it is obvious that neither my grandfather or I ever thought much of the idea of having it all once we attained a certain acceptable age; both of us have continued to push this particular envelope through our lives, as we reach for our dreams unshackled by the circumstances of age and aging.

As we looked forward to our lives as they were unfolding, it is almost humorously obvious that we share certain elements of spirit as well as blood. I wrote my portion of this paper before getting his answers to avoid being influenced by them, and both of us gave the exact same one word answer to describe our eternal hope for our lives: growth.
In my life for as long as I can remember what I have craved beyond anything else is the expansion of horizon. I am constantly throwing about my elbows, creating space for myself to feel free in, blazing trails through bracken for more freedom of movement.
My grandpa has felt his entire life a desire and impetus toward forward movement. He wants to move forward all the time, and he also feels compelled to do so by a life force that is out of his control. He has been moving forward in a constant quest to prove his own life to this world.
Both of us also attach extreme value to the ability to care for our own needs. For me this amounts to security in my own self, the means with which to stroll off into the sunset at the drop of a necessary hat, the means with which to sink roots if the soil presents itself as agreeable. My grandpa has the same need to provide for himself, but he also has had others to care for since he was seventeen years old. He married at that young age, and had his first child soon after. He can say with absolute certainty that although he would have heeded the urgent call toward forward movement and growth no matter what, having a family to provide for has helped him to find the motivation and passion to turn his ideals into successful business ventures.

When I was beginning this paper I had no idea that I would find such renegade similarity between my grandfather and I. He has been such a stable and good humored provider for the entirety of my life, that I had never suspected such a rebel with causes existed within him. He is firmly convinced that as he has not grown up yet, there is no need to think about doing so now. I intend to take this mindset as another brilliant shared value to model my own concept of aging after. May we die as young as we always were.