Jan 13 2011

Baggage.

January 10, 2011

“Is there something in the side pocket you can take out to lighten the bag?”

I avoided eye contact with the fellow asking the question.   He had watched me stuff my lined, hooded raincoat in the zippered compartment. I didn’t want to carry it on the plane, across half the country – the long way.  Nor I was in the mood for someone who lived excruciating by the rules.  Twice a month I weigh in for flights with two bags, often each just under 50 pounds.  Last Monday I arrived with one 52-pound suitcase.

Charming the agent was out of the question.  A fowl mood was lurking just below my uncharacteristic, neutral, quiet, matter-of-fact demeanor.  I was worn down by two days with energy-draining people, the type whose complaining isn’t an occasional venting but a character trait.  I had wasted energy, time and breath with both, arguing the half full glass wasn’t leaking.

Many hours earlier a telephone call had woken me at 5:30 am from a dream of being tossed around in a vast, dark, bottomless ocean.   Two men were near me (in the dream, not in the bed). We were all swimming forward which seemed to me to be further out to sea; no land was visible.  I had paused to tread water, to question our direction (the dream mirroring my waking life isn’t lost on me).

The men had more reason for concern.  We were in shark-infested waters, they explained. We maybe had minutes until all was lost. I challenged this conclusion just as I’d foolishly argued with my weekend naysayers.  Once awake I wondered if the swimmers or the sharks were my two grumpy companions of late.

In the movie Eat Pray Love, Liz Gilbert is nicknamed “Groceries” by someone she meets on her quest.

My nickname might be “baggage.” I am not a pack rat. I regularly edit, delete and prune.  But I have always been a homemaker, even during my heaviest travel years.  An itch to travel, to economize is now rarely more than a thought away.  I have two dogs, heavy furniture and treasured possessions.  Each unique and irreplaceable, like the many people in my life.  I have been trying to travel with all of it, everyday.  It is time to maybe store possessions and distance myself from people that weigh me down and don’t make me happy.

Lugging baggage stops now.   Moving forward is about refueling, less about being grounded.

Suddenly it makes sense. Fifty pounds of baggage is the limit if I want to fly.

Lighten your load!

Always, Trix


Dec 27 2010

The company of strangers.

December 27th, 2010

“We are going to ride the streetcar! We are parking the car so we can catch up with it.”

On Lovejoy Avenue, just outside Sammy’s Flowers, I was stopped by a little boy colorfully dressed in waterproof clothes.    His sandy-colored dreadlocks swept  his shoulders with each wisp of breeze .  He was either an articulate three-year-old or a petite four-year-old.   He told me more about his plan.  I shared with him my idea of sometime just riding the streetcar until it stopped and seeing where I ended up.  As I watched him walk off with his family for their Sunday adventure,  I thought of my son at that age.  He is 23 now and lives in Tulsa, the city where he was born, the city where I spent all of my adult life until late 2008.

It was Sunday.  For two hours I had been walking a corner of Portland’s Nob Hill Neighborhood and the northern part of the Pearl District. Oddly enough I was thinking about all the ways to get around as I wore through a bit more shoe rubber.  I’d passed boats, cars, buses, streetcars, trains and lots of walkers and cyclists. The public transportation in my neighborhood is a chief reason the Pearl often places in the top five places to retire.  What other things go into deciding where to live?

A bit of goggling and I found sites with questionnaires to help a reader decide where to live.  Factors to consider included work location, cost of living, climate preference, cultural amenities, outdoor scenery, health care access…  I have tallied up pluses and minuses for both Portland and Tulsa.   There isn’t a clear winner.  My marriage brought me to Oregon.  My business client base is still in Tulsa.  I visit Tulsa monthly and still put full-time effort into staying connected to the community.  On Thanksgiving I passed the morning with an iPhone in one hand, a coffee cup in the other – texting and calling over 70 people – many of whom hail from Tulsa.  That Thursday night I dined with Portland friends.

I grew up living on four different continents and an island in Indonesia.  I don’t know that I need to be with someone to feel connected, especially not in this technical age.  Because I work from home, one thing I know I need throughout the day -as much as oxygen and food – is regular brushes with people, opportunities to smile, chances to exercise.  I meet the eyes of each fellow walker, chat with neighbors on the elevator, at the dog park, in the market…I wave as I pass businesses and store fronts to acknowledge the owner of Green Grocery, the designer at Smash Cut, the associate at Umpqua Bank, the concierge at Park Place… I wave back at people on passing trains.  Each walk is energizing.  Each  lifts my spirits in any kind of weather and collectively they’ve helped me shield some (many) pounds!

As I sat waiting for my Mac to boot up to begin writing this entry, I glanced over my left shoulder through my south window.  A neighbor standing in her living room folding linens,  stopped to wave.  Turning back to my screen I looked up and a 12th floor neighbor on his balcony smiled and nodded.

Making your way on your own can be daunting, exciting, scary, overwhelming and confusing – every day!  When you are ready to choose where and how to live, try to embrace it as an opportunity to find a good fit for you.  Listen to one voice – yours.  Make this your time.

And for fun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FE_9CzLCbkY&feature=player_embedded#!

Always, Trix

Trix

http://web02.bestplaces.net/aarp/ls/


Dec 27 2010

Exhale.

December 26, 2010

Most probably wouldn’t listen to a yoga class CD sitting bound in sardine pose on a packed Southwest Airlines flight between Phoenix and Portland during the holiday season.  Big mistake on their part.  Lifesaver for me.

We had pushed back from the gate only to return; mechanical problems – more delays.  I thought of work- tasks piling up while I flew between Tulsa and Portland on my monthly compute.  I thought of the house sitter who would have walked my two Whippets for the last time as I boarded and then gone off to work for eight hours, unaware of my dilemma.  A new version of Home Alone was surely in the making before I would land in PDX.  Bliss eats books when rattled.  And Leo?  Well, he does three-legged dog to make his statement.  As I imagined what was ahead, the two little boys under three years old seated next to me were warming their vocal chords for a grand aria.

Acquiring a yoga CD was my answer to maintaining my new habit of regular exercise while traveling for over a week each month.  Postal delays got the CD to me just in time for my return flight so there I was, plugged in and listening to a yoga class with my seat in its upright position.

The audio instruction began with breathing – deep, calming, audible breaths.  Even with the instructor announcing his name and the class first, a  giggle welled up in me.  I closed my eyes and concentrated on my breathing, which is too often shallow.  As I continued to listen to the CD  I was led at just the right pace by a confident voice walking me through the process of inhaling to “fill the belly” and “exhaling to empty.” Instruction and encouragement were delivered with a minimum of words. Just listening suggested the  pace gave time to work in each pose, gave time to breathe. Standing poses came next.  Still the focus was on breathing. Nothing was rushed.  I knew, for the first time, I had a chance at a home practice – a practice guided by a voice that seemed to be in the room, reminding me to breath first and foremost and giving enough pointers about the poses that I didn’t need a classmate nearby to follow (or mistakenly compete with).

As the teacher spoke of mind traveling, fantastic voyages and returning focus to the practice my three seatmates demanded attention.   The mom allowed me to hold the 1-year old.  I walked the aisle of the airline.  Together  he and I interacted with other passengers unable to resist the wonder in a 18-month’s eyes.  He was a doll! I enjoy traveling.  The last leg of my recent journey was especially nice.

A few minutes of yoga turned a delay around – letting me be in the moment completely, thoughtfully contributing.

Breath! Take it all in. And get yourself a CD!

Trix

www.bradkeimach.com and on facebook at Beach Yoga with Brad.


Nov 28 2010

Take a bite out of life.

November 28, 2010

Yesterday I was jamming and juicing on a foggy Saturday in Portland.  Breakfast and music and dancing!

As I tilted my head back for a big sip of plum-colored smoothie (banana, mango, cherry, blueberry, orange, pear and pomegranate seeds) I spied a patch of blue sky outside my window, just past the 13th floor balcony. Had my attitude made it materialize? Does just a gaze in a different direction change the landscape?

The benefactor of my weekend Reggae soundtrack was a man from Africa I met on an American Airlines flight.  He traveled with a heavy, bulging piece of luggage filled with music CDs.   He had to have his music with him at all times, just as I have to have dancing room.  Late one night earlier in the week I had swayed to the music of Omara Portuondo, a popular Cuban vocalist.  When I started I was just shy of the 10,000 steps a day the Japanese (and American Heart Association) suggest for good health.  A rumba here, a bolero there and I was at 10,452 before midnight.

When was the last time you danced?    Why not try it today?  Hope someone IS watching, that you start something delightful.  If you like Buddy Holly (“Maybe Baby”) slip into a hula hoop and call it exercise.   If the weather or your day has zapped you, be still and simply listen to the music.  Try Cleo Laine singing love ballads while you unwind late at night in a softly lit living room, put your laptop near your nightstand and drift off to sleep listening to a new artist on Pandora radio or get dressed up and go downtown for the symphony. No one will notice if you close your eyes in the concert hall to really hear every note of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 in F-sharp minor.  I promise you will be energized for a later dance.

Life can be challenging.  Don’t short yourself on fuel. Take it one song at a time.  Try a little finger food before noon or perhaps  a “Grand Slam”… eggs, bacon, baguette (fig jam), coffee, juice … The choices are yours.

Take a BIG bite out of life and chew slowly, thoughtfully until full – then dance!

Always, Trix


Nov 23 2010

Change is good.

November 23, 2010

The experts say habits take as little as 21 days – to break, to form, to change.   There are 37 days until New Year’s Day. Why wait?  Balance the books  this Thanksgiving.  Count your blessings then take a stab at a personal inventory.

Pick 1, 2 or 3…

“I <eat, sleep, shop, drink, work, swear, cry, fight, smoke, worry, procastinate, complain, watch TV, ..> too much.

I don’t <exercise, praise, express love, volunteer, daydream, spend time with family, floss, eat healthy, call friends, laugh, save, practice random acts of kindness, clean house, accentuate the positive, trust, smile, sing, read, cook..> enough.

21 days. Just 21 days.

About 30 days ago I personally and quietly picked two of the most time and lifestyle entrenched habits to tackle.  I instinctively  thought about what not changing could or had cost me and how good positive change has and could make me feel about myself.

I think you will be surprised at what you can do in 21 days.  Living is indeed a journey, not a destination, but it feels good to be in the driver’s seat, it is wonderful to see how change for the good has a fabulous ripple effect throughout the rest your life.

From a friend up north:  It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. Charles Darwin

Some resources I found today:

http://zenhabits.net/two-simple-ways-to-form-new-habits-without-really-trying/

http://www.iamthankful.com/science/21-days-to-form-a-habit-you-can-do-it

http://www.thinkbigmagazine.com/mindset/167-empowering-your-life-habits-form-patterns-in-our-energy-beliefs-thoughts-and-emotions


Nov 14 2010

Yoga guy.

November 14th

The Yoga Guy wasn’t married to the Yoga Gal.  For the 25 years Joel and I were together, he alone was devoted to practicing but I now wish he’d left behind a mat and blanket.  I have a yen to move a painting and do a headstand against a wall, in a carpeted room.  My bed quilt might double as a prop but there is living alone to consider.  At just 52 I don’t want to be saying, “Help me. I’ve fallen and can’t get up.”  At age 2 our son Clay succeeded in dialing 911 (when there was no emergency); the Whippets at 6 probably would only lie on top of me if I fell out of an inversion into a injured state.

It’s been 10 years since I stood on my head.  The perspective and experience I once enjoyed.  Lately I ponder, “If I turn myself on my head, will everything else in this wackadoodle life right itself?!

About 17 years ago Joel began phasing out teaching ballet at night and on weekends to teach yoga.  I appeared at the first venue wearing my publicist hat; the article published in GTR Newspapers was a very readable, humorous, good-natured account of my first yoga class.

In subsequent years I contributed by buying, washing and folding dozens of blankets and mats Joel hauled around from one class venue to another.  I also was the photog for every image that appeared in his monthly newspaper column, Yoga Forms.  And I gave up traveling that wasn’t to a yoga workshop or certification destination – for Joel.  I had periods of showing up for class.

I was on a roll in 2000 (and last on my head) until faced with taking several weeks off from work for surgery and recovery…The good habit broke, the work ethic hit overdrive (I am Bob Medaris’ daughter).  I missed classes to get ahead at work.  In the end I bounced back to work 9 days out from hospital (Joel’s as good a nurse as yoga teacher) but only to sit in Swastikasana on my desk chair.

Human Nature LAX Exhibit by Annie Buckley

I’ve taken 5 yoga classes in the past 10 years- all have been this year.  My sixth will be at 9:45 today at LA Fitness.  Less travel would boost my monthly tally to 4 or 8, depending on whether the Sunday Yoga Guy at LA gets the rumored Friday class.  Then again, a lot of crazy stuff happens in my office on Fridays…

I won’t fib. I’ve no more gotten discipline than I’ve gotten religion (decades ago I gave up mass for lent). Inversions remind me of happy days.  As a child I spent a ton of time hanging upside down on monkey bars and jungle gyms.  Last month on a Sunday I rushed to a beach yoga class with a college friend hooked on the experience, describing it “like church.”  It was heavenly. I bent over and saw the Pacific Ocean, as the surf encircled me.  Some sort of toxic bundle of stuff inside me dissipated, replaced with a joy, a calmness, a confidence.

The practice of asanas purges the body of its impurities, bringing strength, firmness, calm, and clarity of mind. BKS Iyengar.

Joel and I separated immediately after the 2009 holidays.  This first round of holidays alone in a city that is still pretty new to me won’t be a picnic but I’ve got Sunday yoga and the welcome anticipation of standing on my head.

Gotta run.  Find something that makes you glow and stick with it!

Trix

Until I can publish links to  Joel classes in Tulsa, as well as Maridel’s classes in Springfield, may I suggest:

http://www.theyogaroomtulsa.com/The_Yoga_Room/Welcome.html

http://iyengarnyc.org/

http://www.yogapearl.com/schedule.asp

http://www.lafitness.com/Pages/ClassSchedulePrintVersion.aspx?clubid=438

http://bradkeimach.com/yoga.html

http://anniebuckley.com/html_03/art_bio_09.html


Nov 12 2010

Surviving a poke.

November 12, 2010

9 things out of 10 I usually can do really well.  Those successes put me over the moon (probably not a glam scene but I do a jig around the kitchen that leaves no doubt I am happy with an outcome).  I am as good at fixating on the one thing not exactly stellar.  I’ve had 52 (just) years to hone my single-mindedness.  Trust me – it is powerful stuff.

When one is spinning around from major life changes (and I no longer believe they come in series of 3 but rather groups of 3 weekly), there are many opportunities to convince yourself you are a total screw up.

It can be just as easy, or should be, to celebrate staying in the game, unafraid and open to what chance brings.  When my tender heart takes a poke I remind myself, “good to be feeling something!”

Don’t miss out on life!   It is meant to be shared.

Trix


Oct 16 2010

Add it up.

October 16, 2010

(Reading this is greatly enhanced listening to music links @ bottom of page – if you can multi-task!)

On days when it seems the good outnumbers the bad – DON’T STOP TO COUNT!

I was diagnosed this week with skin cancer (1), then arthritis (2) and wore my heart on my sleeve, when it might have been better closer to the vest (3). If less-than-wonderful things happen in three’s, would it be okay to ask for wonderful things in groups of 7 or 9, one of my other favorite numbers??  Three is becoming a wee bit of a crowd.

Speaking of numbers.  I took myself out for Chinese in Tulsa.  My fortune cookie read, “Your ability to find the silly in the serious will take you far. Lucky numbers 9, 13, 18, 24, 33, 46.  I went back to snag another cookie.  “Do not mistake temptation for opportunity.  Lucky numbers 18, 23, 32, 34, 39, 41.”  Woo Hoo!  Goal was to find one listing 52 (got a birthday ahead) but the 18th is right around the corner.  I am getting up early 10.18th to enjoy my double dose of luck!

The bad stuff, I figure, is the dues I gotta pay for the good.  Does that add up? My sister years ago, during one of the many times she tried to soothe my heartache or disappointment, insisted being happy all the time would be boring.  No it wouldn’t.  Bored is just not in my vocabulary and a charmed life would not invite it into my emotional 36 expressions. I think it’s a bit like the idea of heaven.  Great spin to put on dying.  Little wonder I gave up mass for Lent decades ago.

On a perfect 10.10.10 day (last Sunday) in a so-so warrior pose (and crescent pose) I was reaching for the stars to bring a bit more heaven to the beach. Stars, the way we envision them, are bright, pointy like things. One I snagged poked a bit of a hole in my tender heart but years earlier in another fun, unexpected, moment – dressed in flats and pants,  stacked up next to some hot babes (dressed differently) and facing an all-male judge panel (cruise ship experience – if you must know) I won the lip syncing contest prancing around to I Will Survive (my son Clay has since recovered from that experience of mom on the dance floor.)

The Trix is still here, dancing and singing and come the 18th, it won’t be just any Monday.  I got a loverly slice of heaven at a great price the last time I stretched.  I am reaching for the moon next time (and warming up at Sunday 9:45 yoga class in the Pearl)!

Look up to the sky tonight.  If you don’t see enough starlight, go where it is darker.  You will find there are more stars up there than you can stay awake to count. That is some kinda wonderful.

Postscript:  Two super people recently sent this info to me – This October has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays, all in one month.  It happens once in 823 years. Add it up!  And then November 1st is my birthday.

xo, Trix

Follow these 5 (!) leads to good things:

Loverly ~My Fair Lady: http://youtu.be/T-2CnRuk6Nk

36 Expressions ~ Funny Girl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRbIjcKB_CY

Yoga ~ http://www.yelp.com/biz/beach-yoga-with-brad-santa-monica

Some kinda wonderful  ~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RijxCw2NZH0

Add it up ~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=am8qrrZAtP4


Aug 17 2010

Trying therapy.

August 17, 2010

There is a point of over thinking, over analyzing.  A point at which you trip yourself up too many times because you are walking forward with your eyes cast backwards.  Or you stay glued to a spot weighing the options instead of just picking one and then another and another until something works right.  Nonetheless, I’ve decided to invest in weekly therapy.  To afford it I have given up two things that keep me relatively sane: a housekeeper and fresh flowers from Sammy’s.

Early in my college career I was an urban studies major.  I would later take a fiscally responsible direction and switch to accounting the middle of my junior year so I could pay the rent when I graduated.  While studying city development, though, I was immersed in sociology and physiology classes.  Putting together the puzzle pieces fascinated me but I started college at age 16.  The concepts were fairly abstract to me.  What life experience did I have under my belt to make real sense of complex causes and reactions? It was much later that first-hand experience with autism and menopause would better explain human biochemical functions than any textbook. And there is nothing like real world experience with a sociopath or unscrupulous businessman to open your eyes to differences in human beings.

Throughout the following decades as people spoke of therapy I would wonder what it would be like to learn more about myself from an objective resource, someone to keep me honest, to lend perspective and knowledge.   All the while I wondered, “Would therapy be like so many quizzes you take, you know, the ones that are fairly worthless because you can guess what the “right” answer is and therefore easily manipulate the conclusion?”  Dissecting my psyche remained an idle curiosity as long as I led a charmed life, which I did.

Why do therapy now?  When a family member recently became somewhat unspooled and hurled hurtful things in my direction I saw the writing on the wall: my uncharmed life was establishing itself with more than a single sequence of “three bad things.” I was in for many multiples of three bad things.   I dialed in for a life raft!

Also I hate being depressed. It is absolutely draining.  There are so many things I’d rather do with my time.  Blue has never been one of my favorite colors. Never.  As muddled as I might be, I know sustaining a steady diet of anxiety, sadness and grief will not make me a more compassionate person nor make me more accepting of my mistakes. I have hit the point of diminishing returns with this venture. I cannot think of anything positive that will come of continuing to spiral downward.  It is past time to slip back into the girl that would sustain a giddy feeling for days and spread the cheer around to others.  She didn’t have a crystal ball but she thought the future held wonder, opportunity and hope and her spirit was infectious.  She’s been gone for so long I don’t know if I’ll get her back but every once in awhile I see a glimpse of her or hear the lilt of her singsong voice. Logic keeps chasing her away. Logic tells me I may not have another good shot at someone special to share life with and financial means to always keep a roof over my head – the things that sustained her through trials big and small in the past.

I may be approaching a few months of therapy with a pretty tall order but I’ve got one of my dad’s cloth handkerchiefs tucked up my sleeve and I won’t know until I give it a go. It’s a kind of balancing act.  While I’m learning some new skill sets during my workday, I am equally determined to pick up some life coping techniques on my Tuesday lunch hours.


Aug 15 2010

Dog Days of Summer.

August 14, 2010

It’s hot.  The dog days of summer when Sirius joins the sun in the sky have arrived, creating sultry temps and casting an eerie quiet over the neighborhood during the time of day you can almost hear the sidewalk sizzle.   The dogs uncharacteristically pant and on each shortened walk, pull me toward every neighborhood water bowl to be found.  In a dog friendly town, there are many; Leo insisted we stop outside the Pilates’ studio, then the bank, the bakery, the clothing boutique.

The heat has me thinking again of garden hoses, or more accurately the absence of one.  For only the second summer in my adult life I don’t own a hose.   This time last summer I had a 10-foot Ace Hardware hose hooked up on the balcony.  On sunny, hot days I’d dress in a swimsuit and happily set about watering the trees, bushes, flowers, pavement and myself before happily collapsing, refreshed and relaxed for a cocktail or meal prepared by Joel.  I gave that hose to the couple who now occupies the flat because my newer flat doesn’t have an outdoor spicket. My current patio plants must be maintained with a watering can.   It’s green and made of rubber, a gift from The Plant Lady, Gay Hendricks.

Watering plants each day now seems more a chore than a summer ritual.  I know, it’s all about attitude. I’ve debated filling the watering can and dousing myself with its contents, saving just a bit to sip from the spout but it seems a wanting substitute for a real garden hose on a hot summer day.

I don’t have to think hard to remember dragging a hose across the lawn or the courtyard, using my thumb to shape and direct a rainbow-producing cascade of water over thirsty plants in a sun-baked yard or spraying an unsuspecting poolside sun worshiper. And no Alpine spring water in a plastic bottle I have ever had compares with the cool, refreshing nectar of water from a garden hose on a dog day summer afternoon.

As long as there are summer days there will always be such simple pleasures.  I try to make  the most of them during this time of transition when losses can still overshadow days.  Each moment of pure joy cancels out a moment of sadness and at least an hour or two of indifference.

Hoses may be gone from my life but there is still Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Money Ice Cream in a waffle cone.  Catch ya later, grator!

Stay cool. Trix