Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rock among Clouds

As Chaucer was the lily among thorns, it is my place to be the rock among clouds. My life is gloriously full of expansive minds, driven souls and big ideas on two feet. To be surrounded by so many empassioned thinkers, those who seek greater impact in the world through their own unique venues is a wonderful place to be. The continual whirlwind of creativity and exploration of the inner workings of human expression is a beautiful thing to behold. Though, I wonder, how did I get here? Among these people? These minds? These hands that are shaping lives and the world around them? How lucky am I to get to be a part, however small and steady.
Please do not misunderstand, this is not a lament, it is a wonderment. I am gratful to be a part of this ...these multifaceted communities. Full of juxtapositions of callused hands and big ideas, young bodies with old souls, old bodies that will never cease to have a child's wonder. You see, I am a simple creature, with simple dreams and desires. Happy with my life, and content with the progress I am making towards my goals. A slow grower, if you will, in a garden full of Jack's bean stalks. You know there is gold at the top, giants to slay, harps to be rescued, and I am an avid listener of the tales that are told. Pleased to be the audience for the bards. In their world, but not of it.
Or so I thought...
Until one of my whirlwinds reminded me that wind doesn't make a sound without a rock to blow over.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Suffer to Succeed

There is an age old adage, "You must suffer to succeed" which was taken to the next level with the phrase "The more you suffer, the more you succeed." While this particular reference was in regard to sports, it is easily applicable to so many areas of our lives. Well, perhaps just my life, where I tend to over indulge in the things I find pleasurable and forget to manage the things that keep the wheels on this crazy bus. 

How do you choose to suffer? 

How do you set aside those easy things and choose the harder path, strewn with the rubble of those who didn't reach their mountain top? Knowing that there is hard going ahead do you grant your every whim until the starting gun? Do you start small and conquer mole hills before mountains? Do you do the odious tasks first, then get to the ones that seem less awful? In my ever so limited experience, I don't believe it matters HOW, just that you do choose. 

We suffer to succeed, because we want more than we are. As parents have said since the first protozoa left for Single Celled Organism University- "we want more for you."  It is the nature of the evolving human to desire the best of and for themselves. The truly enlightened seek it spiritually. Perhaps someday I will travel to the Zen Mountain Range and make that particular journey, at present I am seeking more temporal rewards - greater strength, longer throws, better household management, more well trained animals etc. 

Am I prepared to suffer to get what I want? Willing to set aside my desire for the perfect pair of heels that looks just like five other pairs in my closet so I can pay off more of my never ending student loan debt? Willing to get up before the sun to sweat it out in the gym? Willing to forgo whatever television show I am currently obsessed with to do tedious chores that never seem to stay done? Willing to suffer to succeed? Most days the answer is yes. 

On the days when I run far enough to catch a runner's high, or we all fall exhausted on the mats in the Junkyard, or when Tukko and Remi (my beloved beast hounds) actually sit and shake before coming in the door, or when debts disappear off the monthly roster, the suffering is worth it. 

How do you choose to suffer? How can you not, when you want to succeed? 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Do More To Be More

Loving both sports and travel, it was only a matter of time before I tripped over the TV show Dhani Jones Tackles the Globe. Veteran NFL player spends a week learning a new sport in a new country, then competes to see how he fairs, all while exploring the country and culture is the basic premise of the show. Sounds like a blast, right? Through the infinite powers of the Internet I discovered a book by Dhani on the show, Dhani Jones: The Sportsman. To say I enjoyed this book would be a wild understatement. This book made me laugh, think and reevaluate some of my choices and options for future paths, in my sports and else where. Give it a read if you are so inclined. However, that fabulous little piece of nonfiction isn't the topic of today's post, just the source, as it will be for several additional posts.

"The more you do, the more your become."

Think about that for a moment.

The more you do, the more you become. Simple, true and mildly profound. The more you choose to experience, the more you are. The more you explore the greater opportunity to discover your strengths and weaknesses. By allowing yourself to adventure, the greater chance of finding your passion or purpose.

Eight plain words that advise us to go forth and experience more of the world than our small sphere of existence. A consequence laid out in barest terms for how to get beyond your garden gate.

While not all of us are millionaire TV personalities with the backing of a private television network, we can explore. Adventure can be had if only you know where to look. The sheer number of local festivals, historical sites and museums could fill the roster of even an experienced traveler.  The chances to test your physical boundaries are too numerous to catalogue.  Being so spoiled for choices the real trick is figuring out where to start!

Of late I have taken a slew of different style dance classes, and toyed with exploring the circus arts. Learning how to do some of my own home repair has been a real kick in the pants. I now know for sure a few things I am not cut out for, and it was fun to try! In some cases it is as simple as reading books outside my normal realm of fluff and fantasy (see above). Next on the list is fully exploring the city I live in, there is bound to be culture here somewhere, right?

What will you do to discover what you will become?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Comfortable Silence

The space between words can be a cavernous expanse, the width of which can drown you in your own fears. Halting steps from one vocalization to the next can as you to trip over your mental shoelaces. A driving need to fill this void can be seen in our daily lives, the amount of media we consume and allow to consume us. The meaningless mouth noise made to avoid the dreaded gap. Inability to pause, and enjoy the silence.

On a rare occasion, silence can also be as easy as breathing. As suited to you as your favorite jeans, smooth over the knees and fitted to the curves. When paired with the right partner the need for words vanishes and you settle into a calm understanding of enjoying one another without the need for verbalization. The clamor of the exterior world slides out of your skin, leaving only you within. A sense of peace, not easily achieved alone, and to be savored when shared with someone you trust enough to allow yourselves that uncommon familiarity.

We constantly crave peace, but actively seek it jumping from one thing to the next, rather than permitting ourselves to enjoy it once found. Learn to recognize that gift of trust. Embrace the silence, the peace that comes with shared existence without the continual flow of information. The quietude will grant you better insight than all the research and jacked-in technology you could hope for.

"Words like violence, Break the silence, Come crashing in, Into my little world, Painful to me
Pierce right through me" - Enjoy the Silence - Depeche Mode

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Never Again

As we trip along in life we collect and create so many bad habits and self damaging mental traps. Below you will find a short list of things I have picked up and it is time to shed, like funky gym socks after a Texas Summer run. There are also concepts that I have already ditched that I am vowing to never pick back up, no second helpings on these little pity pies. 

  • Sit down and eat a whole pizza again/pint of icecream/double bacon Whataburger
  • Wear a 2XL shirt again
  • Have a pants size that starts with a digit higher than 1
  • Be 'smoking drunk'
  • Dispair that my strong legs won't fit in skinny jeans
  • Grumble that my powerfully built ass won't allow me to wear a pencil skirt
  • Attempt to fulfill other people's ideals for my body image
  • Have a body weight that starts with a digit higher than a 1
  • Allow other people's negative lifestyle to change mine
  • Disparage someone's efforts to improve themselves just because it isn't the path I would take

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mental Mirror

In the latest incarnation of our ever evolving B I discovered something that has to go - the negative. The continue whine and bitch fest of my internal monologue is now done. We will get glad in the same damn pants we got mad in. (Thank you, Tommy, for that little gem of a colloquialism)

This means rather than fussing about the dishes, I will remember the wholesome meals I shared with the folks that helped me create that pile of mess.  Instead of moaning about the unceasing routine laundry, I will endeavor to recall the hot Texas Summer moments that created the need for so many dirty socks. As opposed to lamenting the arduous parts of animal care and maintenance (cat box cleaning and pooper scoopering the back yard etc), grinning at the antics of my pets and celebrating puppy nose art on the back door.

In addition to flipping those items around in my mental mirror, I will also use those fun house mirrors to show folks what I see in them. Translation, more positive outward displays. From more verbalization to people that make the daily difference in my world, to reaching out to those that may think I have forgotten how important they are.

Simple stuff, right? It should be, so I choose that it will be. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The little things

The little things...
As children we collect little things, in our pockets, in jars, in shoe boxes under the bed. These treasures are the ones that caught our eye, that our roaving fingers couldn't leave out there, that we wanted to see again, so we stock piled them. Buttons, rocks, leaves, bits of string, pressed flowers, the occassional fallen birds nest, the tiny animal bones that nature sometimes leaves behind. Avid explorers of the three feet closest to the earth we tucked them away in our secret places. Innumerable such items met unfortunate ends in our washing machines, only to be washed away with soap bubbles.

Our love of the little things never really goes away. It may morph into other particulars: dishes, linens, thank you notes, good pens, wind chimes, charms, scrapbooking stickers. The concept remains the same, small things that make us smile. The items that fit in your hands and make you smile each time you see them. They draw a fascination or memory to the fore front of your mind that gives you back your sense of wonderment for just a moment.

Take a moment to explore the world closer to your feet than your head, remember where you left your shoe box full of pretty acorns, and never let go of the little thngs.

Ways Remi is Like His Mama

In March of this year we decided to adopt a second dog to round out our fur baby family. Tukko, our alpha pup, helped us with the selection process by coming along and playing with new possible pack mates. It didn't take long to find our new family member, he was of a size, age, weight and temperament with Tukko, and was pretty much an instant cuddle-bug with the humans of our house.

Once we had him home we discovered that our good looking new boy was a bit shy and skittish. He would require a softer hand and much coaxing to be comfortable with us. Time has passed and he has found his niche with us. While he was finding his place with us, the number of ways in which this pup reminds me of traits I see in myself grew and grew. Now we have a silly series of self comparisons that I call "Ways Remi is Like his Mama!" It is an on going list, but here is what I have thus far, ENJOY. 

  • When it is time to nap the best space to do so is right in the middle of the bed, making it impossible to share the bed unless someone can move your dead weight butt to wiggle in with ya.
  • Once he has an idea in his head of what he wants to do, very little will dislodge it. (I would try starting with bacon, were I you)
  • There is a morning routine, and when things are done out of order he gets bumfuzzled.
  • His attitude is greatly improved by increased exercise.
  • He is always very interested in what you are hiding behind your back.
  • He may be smaller, but he will claim more than his fair share of the bed!
  • He is a tongue thinker!
  • Once wounded, if you aren't taking him to the vet, then just let him tend it himself. Your help is not viewed as helpful. (Remi is fine, he busted his toe nail off, and doesn't care for our help much)
  • Ways Remi is like his Mama: While capable of napping just about anywhere, the best place is his spot on the bed. Once asleep in said spot, moving him takes a forklift.

Monday, August 6, 2012


Like an infant I am occasionally fascinated by my hands enough to sit and stare at them a while. The most clear outward display of the things I want to be, for myself and for others. Allow me trippingly try to tell you what I see when I get lost in the lines and creases I carry with me daily.

One of the many juxtapositions of me: my hands. While small they carry heavy weight, callused palms matched with brightly polished nails, scarred and yet well maintained. They tell many stories about my life, and display for all the world the basic tenants of my personality.

My Mimi was one well dressed woman, she never left the house without being put together from shoes to hair. This was a process of many steps, and much routine. She taught me the value of skin care and accessorizing. She passed from my life long before I would need either lesson at the age of twelve, however they have stayed a part of my daily life. An over flowing jewelry armoire and bathroom counters can attest to my  dedication to both traits.

Memories of my maternal grandmother lead me to believe she would have supported me in anything I chose for myself, but I know she would have preferred something less violent?masculine? rough? Yes, rough is the word I want. It is her influence in my youth that draws me to design my games day outfits with a softer touch, in more feminine colors. Pink was my predominate pallet for years, now I wear purple. Just because I play a rowdy game of explosive strength doesn't mean I can't look like a girl while doing it. (see ex:  frilly bloomers, matching hair accessories, socks and lip gloss)

"I don't mind living in a man's world, as long as I can be a woman in it." ~ Marilyn Monroe

This picture hangs in my sitting room, mixed with antique milk glass and a black crystal chandelier, because to me this is class.  

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Putting silk on a goat...

"Put silk on a goat, and it is still a goat." ~ Irish Proverb

Wrapped in a cocoon of indigo silk with gentle music playing and a bit of sunlight peeping through the ends I allowed my mind to wander over the last hour...

Vertical Fitness was once again the host of today's adventure, but today I had a comrade in the ever intrepid Dana! We arrived in time to watch our instructor affix the apparatuses to the ceiling in a colorful array of hammocks.  We were guided to two of the slings lower to the ground, being that neither of us is much more than 5 foot tall. Not being the most coordinated creature on two feet this meant I had less distance to fall, as I was certain I would at some point due to the nature of the exercise.

Much like traditional yoga classes our mentor of the day, Stephanie, began class with an brief introduction and a comforting promise to adjust all poses to fit our level of proficiency. After a brief warm up it was time to begin using the bright fabrics dangling before us. With a gentle tone, soft smile and repeated guidance, Stephanie led us through a series of poses with one foot through the loop of cloth, and one on the floor. Following this was a series of floor abdominal actions with both feet elevated in the material and torso on the ground. Then it was time to hoist ourselves up into the silks. Simply standing in the crook of the silks set them swinging, which we were soothingly assured was normal and would abate in short order.

While the class settled in to our new heights Stephanie informed us that we would experience pressure where the silks supported our weight. For the heavy of body and those bearing busted feet, be aware, she wasn't whistling Dixie here, she means - your weight is being supported by the fabric, and it will let you know by pushing back. This can also be a bonus, in that it is much like using a lacrosse ball/foam roller to do a bit of myofascial release, again, not comfortable, but useful. The swaying motion was strangely soothing, and suited the general genial mood of the class and teacher. Lots of smiles and encouragements as the new comers jounced and wobbled through the poses. The one inversion we did was spectacularly fun, head down, hands free, I felt like a tree frog for a few minutes. Full of giggles for me, and it looked ever so lovely on some of the long and lean students with their hair trailing the floor.

As in so many yoga or pilates classes the hour rounds out with some gentle relaxation techniques. We sat in them like a swing, and then slowly expanded the silks to their full widths, and lay in them like hammocks. Though that isn't really the word I want to use here, it is considerably more comfortable and comforting than any backyard hammock. You are cradled in a swath of silk from your head to your feet, and for us Shire-kin shorties we have fabric to spare and are totally encapsulated but for the errant sunbeam. Guided through a series of structured relaxation exercises while weightlessly floating in a monochrome world, I did indeed feel the peace that yoga classes are meant to impart to participants. When we once more exposed ourselves to the world, it was a heartfelt and thankful "Namaste" that I delivered to our aerial instructor.

The poses I enjoyed most were the suspended bridges, both those fully and partially supported by the silks. The inversion was easily the most fun, and the cocoon at the end the most relaxing.  It was a well done class, that even a beginner like myself could enjoy.

Putting silk on a goat, may mean it is still a goat, but it is now a FABULOUS goat wrapped in purple silk, so hush up and let it prance about a bit. <--- My take on aerial yoga, from your earth bound B!

Not having a vast knowledge of yoga I cheated and looked these up online after class, the poses we covered were as follows: warrior, tree, half moon, bridge, triangle, planks, forward fold, cobra.

Friday, August 3, 2012


As instructed by my loving Trash Heap, I sought out to explore new expressive pursuits. The first of which, a Booty Popping dance class, I expected to be well within my wheelhouse, having a considerable amount of booty to pop. Adventures never go as we first imagine, now do they? 

Vertical Fitness Dallas (http://www.verticalfitnessdallas.com/) offers a number of classes full of unusual names and risque concepts. Sounds like my kinda place. I strolled in on a Thursday night, with no real idea what to expect other than a sore backside the next day. The studio is mirror lined and wood floored, there are fixtures in the ceiling to attach various apparatuses for vertical work(poles, silks, TXR handles). Shoes, no shoes? Your call. 

Our instructor was a petite purple haired skater pixie who ran the hour long class with adorable enthusiasm. Worth attending just for Cassie's personality alone, to say nothing of her ability to help a room full of folks explore multiple ways to "shake that jelly" (her words, not mine, hand on the Bible). For the uninitiated,  there are numerous methods of Booty movement - popping, shaking, vibrating, clapping, the list goes on.  Through demonstration and extensive breakdown of basic movement styles an hour passed as we learned, or in my case ATTEMPTED to learn, the fine art of shaking dat' ass (you got that this was at a pole dance studio, right?).  The funniest line of the night, which also happened to be some of the best instruction,  was delivered by the ever effervescent Cassie while showing us how to clap. "Go home, like Dorothy out of Oz. Click your heels, women."

Let me list for you the places that hurt after this hilarious hour of humility on hard wood flooring: glutes (max and min, for those wondering), hamstrings, quads, and the lower head of the spinal erectors. Booty Popping is not for the weak! 

The music was kicking, the class was informative, the moves were tough, the folks were friendly.All in all - fun was had! Three more classes at Vertical fitness. Aerial Yoga is on tomorrow's menu. Wee!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


What does it mean to be creative?

Today in my living room, while still red faces and short of breath from our evening workout, this was the topic of discussion had by three folks who each considered the others to be creative. At points became circular. There was no agreed answer. For the dancer/singer performance of her chosen arts made her creative. For the singer/actor/painter/writer he felt his spark was missing, that feeling of creation. It had been, by his definition, some time since he had been creative. For me, it means creating something wholly my own - not following instructions to reach an end.

I wonder just how all those beautiful creative creatures, talented artists and wondering wanderers in my life to define it for themselves...


What follows is an analogy that for me describes what it is to enjoy a thing, without being of that thing. 

I love the feel of a good cigar shop, the texture of the wooden boxes, the ceremony of the cutting and soaking of cigars, the glass cases glittering in soft light, the smoke filled air curling around in visible eddies. Oddly akin to a library in that it is full of mysteries I know nothing of and have only ever so tentatively explored, to discover while I enjoy the place and the feel, I am not one of those folks that smokes cigars.