Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Links: School's Back IN Edition

My heart horse, Sadie.

I am always annoyed this time of year with all of the commercials and posts about how happy adults are that kids are going back to school. I don't actually want The Teenager to go back; I enjoy her company and want to drag her to all sorts of more interesting places than school. Plus, school gets in the way of pretty much everything. I can think of a million better ways to spend 36 hours a week.

Alas, she has chosen public high school and is enjoying it. So back to school it is.

That being said, here are a few links I have found solace in this week.

An explanation of barrel-strength whiskey: I periodically get junk mail from a place called Caskers that features a variety of cask-strength bourbon. For some reasons, the onslaught of these bourbons increased this week. Maybe school has something to do with it. #AllOfTheBourbon

A lunch-packing tutorial: The Teenager takes her lunch to school, and yes, I pack it every morning. She is a very picky eater in that she doesn't like soup, cold pasta salad, most sandwiches, and hummus. This makes packing lunch tricky, as I also refuse to load it down with prepackaged bullshit like Goldfish and "fruit" snacks. The best thing I have been able to come up with is lots of little snacks like snap peas, nuts, and berries, and bento boxes are perfect for that sort of thing. She still comes home starving (because she eats lunch at 10:20 and doesn't get home until four), but this gives me tons of little compartments to tuck stuff into.

A little eye candy: Let's objectify some dudes here, shall we? I don't know which rock I have been under, but apparently, #DILF is a thing, as is manbuns. This Instagram account focuses on the latter and has tons of the former. Yowza.

A little story about a picky show horse: Finally this week, the end of the summer, as with most transitions for these past two years, has been bittersweet. This story is about a high-level show horse who goes into the ring without a bridle (she is ridden in a halter), and it reminded me of my beloved former pony, Sadie, who I found out this past week is really not doing well. She has a "neurological condition" and had to have an eye removed. Now she spends most of her days stuck in a stall and gumming soaked alfalfa cubes to keep her weight up. I realize that she is old, but for a horse who loved to run and felt best and healthiest when she was out roaming the pasture with a good buddy, this ain't living. I wish I had not found this out, and I regret leaving her behind. She would not have gone out like that with me; better to have a shorter, fuller life than to decay slowly in a stall. And shorter is relative; she turns 31 this January.

And come to think of it, that's a damn fine first lesson of the school year. Get out there and live some life, people. Don't sit around and decay in a stall.

This weekend is the first annual (and probably last overall) Dane Kolbeck Memorial Wiffle Ball tournament at Redwing Farm in Sinks Grove, WV. Planning on sharing some drinks with old friends and making lots of noise late into the evening in honor of Dane.

How was your last week of summer?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Lessons In Anxiety

(I'm the one in the back in the pink top on the right. Trying not to fall off. Seriously.)

About 90 minutes before this photo was taken, I wasn't quite sure I would make it to this lesson.

Saturday was my first SUP yoga class, and I had been looking forward to it for six months. Halfway through my 200-hour yoga teacher training, I decided that I wanted to become certified in teaching stand-up paddleboard yoga, even though I had never done it before. Without getting all astrological (it's a science, y'all), as a Pisces I am at my most peaceful and relaxed on, near, or in water. Yoga challenges me mentally, and the two seem like a slam-dunk of yoga teaching and learning for me. Plus, it looked hella fun, let's be honest.

So why would I consider cancelling just an hour before class was scheduled to start?


Stupid, relentless, ridiculous, inconvenient anxiety.

Anxiety that, at times, requires medication (and I am looking into medical marijuana because why the hell not?).

Anxiety that has left me passed out on the side of the road in the dark, with a six-year-old daughter waiting patiently in the car while I woke up, finished puking, then got back into the car.

Anxiety that laid me out on the floor of the bathroom in the Georgia Aquarium on that same kid's birthday for three hours, unable to stand up, feet sticking out of the stall, her little teeny voice saying as I woke up from fainting, "Mommy? Did you know your hand is in the toilet?" (side note: not one single person asked if they could help or if we were okay in THREE HOURS that I was on the floor. NOT ONE.)

Anxiety on an otherwise amazing day that involved canning, farmer's market shopping, and dog walking. A beautiful, 84-degree miracle of a fall day in the summer.

Then WHAM. Hit in the face.

The more I talk about my anxiety (which is infrequently and not even remotely this publicly because it's no one else's business really and who the hell really wants to hear it anyway?), the more people I meet who experience the same thing. I have resigned myself to taking a pill when I need it (which makes me giggle even as I am taking it because it's like taking a "chill pill," which brings me back to the 80s), but I am still hopeful that some day it will disappear on its own or I will have amassed enough tools to get through it without drugs.

Saturday I popped a pill and breathed while I waited for the anxiety to pass, then drove down to a flat calm inlet and SUPed like a crazy person. At the end of the lesson, lying on my back on the board in savasana, arms trailing in the water, sun shining down on my face, I realized how lucky I am and felt an immense wave of gratitude wash over me. Anxiety is not so welcome  that I wouldn't immediately hand it over if given the chance, but it offers me the opportunity to be so much more grateful for the experiences I have because of what I have to go through to have them. At the end of the class my heart was full, and I felt lit up by the revelation of yoga on the water. Had I not nearly been incapable of that experience, it may not have felt so sweet.

Do you have any gifts disguised as a curse?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Links: ADHD Edition

A map of Chicago on a building in Chicago. Very Inception-y.

It's Friday!

Funny how even though I work at home and every day is basically the same (so much so that I often lose track in the summer of the day and date) that "Friday" still has a magical ring. Mostly it means we stay away from the grocery store for two days until everyone else goes back to work.

But I digress.

This week was gone in a flash, with one new writing client firing up and the HVAC in our new house winding down. Balance in all things, right?

I have felt pulled in many different directions, scattered, this week. I feel like there are things I need to get completely finished with (like processing the end of my yoga teacher training and organizing a scrapbook of sorts of our three-week roadtrip), but I cannot gather myself together enough to focus on those things. This results in some epic time-wasting on the computer.

Here are just a few of the things I found interesting in my travels around the interwebs this week. I figure if I put them here maybe A) I will remember they exist, and B) someone else might get something out of it. 

A handstand tutorial: Okay, it's not very yogic to strive for a particular asana, but I cannot help myself. In Georgia I had a bit of a handstand practice and have lost it since moving to Maryland. It is perspective-shifting to be upside down, and it makes me feel strong and centered. I have been revisiting this practice periodically and found this tutorial to work with. Good stuff.

A video on writing: Ta-Nehisi Coates is a Baltimore native who wrote and spoke so eloquently during the Baltimore riots/unrest/whatever last spring. Here he talks about his process of becoming a writer. As a writer, I find these sorts of interviews/chats tremendously helpful, especially from people I admire. I appreciate hearing about the struggle.

A better way to watch the Republican debate: Bad Lip Reading strikes again with this video of the Republican debate. I am looking forward to many of these as we slog through the next 15 months of political idiocy.

A tomato sauce recipe with no peeling of tomatoes: Grating with a box grater is the shortcut. I am not sure about this recipe for canning (and don't really love this cook), but I need to find something soon, as it is TIME TO CAN.

UPDATE: Used the box grater Saturday morning to remove tomato skins without blanching and fuss, and it worked amazingly well. Put up nine jars of tomatoes for some sunshine in the winter.

This weekend for us features standup paddleboard yoga, an Orioles game, and some housecleaning before guests arrive. What's on tap for you?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tempus Fugit: On Taking A Break

So it's August 18th, and the last post here was July 11th.

A three-week cross-country road trip with The Teenager is my excuse.

I have found it difficult to start up again, not because I have nothing to say or note or write down.

This happened:

The Corn Palace, home of the best corn-shaped caramel corn EVAR.

And this:

Feeding prairie dogs outside the entrance to the Badlands. Yes, we touched them. Yes, it was AWESOME.

And this:

Me and ALL OF THE BOURBON at Buffalo Trace in Frankfort, KY.

And in between, many numbers of things, some of which are documented in photography, and some of which floated past with car windows the only frame.

In the week since we have been back, I have earned my RYT-200 (yoga teacher) designation, and we have done school shopping. I got another lovely writing assignment and have coerced two people into testing my gluten-free pizza crust recipe.

In other words, life has intervened. I suppose I should be writing things down, but sometimes a break from recording every moment in words (and pictures) is necessary and good.

My brain is making space to process all of the things that are happening right now (or have happened in the past few weeks), and that is occurring as we settle back into a routine and focus on practical things, like guests coming to town, back to school, and finding patio furniture.

The cup is full, the time is flying. A break from the electronic tether was necessary and good, but I think I am back. I think. There never seems to be enough time, yet we all have exactly the same 24 hours as Einstein and da Vinci. #NotAGoodExcuse

How was your summer? Did you take a break?