Friday, February 24, 2012

Asking for a Present

So, last Sunday was my birthday.  I turned 47 --happily.  I went to power yoga, spent some time with my family, wound some new yarn...it was a great day.

On MONDAY, my family left for five days of skiing/snowboarding, leaving me to my annual "momcation," a time of solitude, reflection, yoga, meditation and catching up on back episodes of Downton Abbey. (Just hush up right now.) (I actually watched the last one TWICE, while turning the heel on my latest Sock-In-Progress (SIP), listening to Edward purring beside me, and weeping, weeping, weeping.)

I have a lot to say about this time--the lessons are coming fast and furious (not from Downton Abbey, per se) and I'll write about it in the future.  (Soon!  I promise!) (No, really!)

But today, I want to ask you all for a present. I know I'm not supposed to ask you to give me anything for my birthday.  It's bad form and who am I, eleven-and-Jane-Cooper? It's important, though, or I wouldn't ask.

See, I have this new friend.

Her name is Jenna.



She's a young friend, in her twenties, whose acquaintance I made through the martial arts/yoga place where I first began my journey back to health. I don't actually remember how we officially met, but we showed up at some of the same parties and then one day back in October, I heard her talking to another mutual friend about her chronic pain journey.

And, well, it made me sit down and put my head between my knees.

It's been seven years since Jenna first began having debilitating back spasms --spasms so bad that they lock up her entire body and leave her in excruciating pain and sometimes hospitalized. She has tried Eastern and Western medicine, massage, Reiki, becoming a Vegan, and a thousand other things in those seven years.

She also managed to go to college and on to get a Master's degree and earn her black belt in Tae Kwon Do. (I know. I KNOW!  But I understand that, too. I understand the need to prove that the pain isn't going to stop you.  Until, you know, it does.) She also survived being hit by a car and the PTSD associated with that, endured a wicked Lyme infection and a volatile thyroid that may or may not be responsible for her current GI issues.  She's been through the wringer, and she's just...kept on going.  She created this wonderful life of service by volunteering at an equestrian therapy program called Horseability and she hopes to start school soon to become a physical therapist.

Most recently, she's broken two ribs and the doctors don't fully understand why. But when that happened, the organization she volunteers with told her that they really needed her to be physically stronger in order to continue working there. Which, you know, is understandable, but absolutely, completely heartbreaking.

Last Friday, a group of friends got together for dinner to celebrate the February birthdays of our group.  (It's a popular month.)  And Jenna came, although she was too ill to eat.

And, I don't know, there was something about the look on her face that has stayed with me all week.

I think it's that I recognize that look, you know? I was so there.  I am a strong and stubborn woman, but there were times in my chronic pain journey when I was just barely hanging on. When I had that same set to my teeth.

When I had that despair in my eyes.

So, anyway, this week, I've been dedicating my yoga practices to Jenna.  Just offering up the wish that my practice might create some positive healing in my friend.  Yesterday, she dropped by for a visit, and said her pain wasn't so bad this week, which NATURALLY, I immediately associated with me, me, me. Well, okay, I didn't.  But I DID get an idea of what I'd like for my birthday from you all.

Over the course of the next few days, whenever you think about it, could you send a prayer, or positive thought, or a deep healing vibe to my friend Jenna?  Just some sort of conscious thought of healing for her. Breathe it in and breathe it out.

I don't know that it will help, but it certainly can't HURT, and what if that's really how we change the world? I know that the power of your collective positive wishes for MY health had a direct impact on MY healing.  My deepest hope is that we can do this for Jenna.

I thank you.  Namaste, y'all.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The End of the Mini-Van Decade

My dear, darling, wonderful, marvelous, generous husband gave me an early birthday present.

I KNOW!!!

After a decade as a mini-van driving mama, I'm now driving an Acura MDX.  Which makes me something else entirely, even if I don't exactly know what that would be. Nervous, a little, I guess.
I was trying to blur the numbers on my license plate and inadvertently erased the whole dang thing.  I am a GENIUS.
It's funny the things we think we deserve and the things we don't.

Anyway, I LUUURRRRVVVVVEEEEEE it. I'm not really a car person, but this car?  Y'all...it's like driving a hovercraft or something.  I keep manufacturing errands I need to run in it.  (Want me to bring you some coffee? Really, it's no trouble.  I can be to Texas in three or four days, tops.)

And one of the best things?  BACK-UP CAMERA. Imagine how much trouble this would have saved me over the years!  Sheer brilliance.
Have knitting and a fabulous fancy-pants car; will travel.
They've made a lot of improvements to cars in the last decade--there's all this bluetooth stuff and hands-free this and that. My trunk closes itself.  The rear seats are heated.  (Not the ones in the very far back, but since those are only big enough for pygmies anyway, I'm not sure the heaters would ever have been used.) There's this really terrific thing where the car memorizes all of my settings for the seat and mirrors and steering wheel and as long as I use MY keys, as soon as I put the key in the ignition, it goes right to those settings. (This is in the event that I ever let anyone else actually drive it who might change the settings.  I've had it for nine days and it hasn't happened yet.)

There IS something I don't understand.  I made a little video about it, in order to showcase my technological prowess.  (Oh, hush.  Just...hush.)



(Note that I'm not complaining about the key thing--I just don't understand it.  I feel certain there is a reason for it; I'm just not aware of what the reason is.  Yet.)

Anyway, if y'all are looking for me over the next decade, that's where I'll be.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Another Missed Pun Opportunity

Really, people, I seem to be slipping. First, I missed the chance to entitle my last blog post "Socks and Violins," for which I am still mourning.

And then, last night, I threw a little party. On the eve of the Super Bowl, I threw a Soup Night, and I never even made the connection until people were standing in my kitchen, eating soup and talking about the game and I thought, "Souper Bowl! ARGHHHH!"  And my brain froze and I contemplated doing something wild and radical, like never buying yarn again, until I get my Pun Mojo back.

I did realize that only *I* can throw a dinner party and make people READ their way through it. (As always, you can click to embiggen.) (In case you're low on reading material.)






Actually, it was SHRIMP Etouffee because I couldn't find crawfish here.  I had to go back and edit the sign later.  (Of COURSE, I did.)

Ana said, "Why are you making so MANY cookies?"  And I said, "Because my philosophy about parties is that you can never have too much.  Well, actually, it's less of a PHILOSOPHY and more of a PSYCHOSIS."
 A SOUPER time was had by all.  (Yeah, I know: too little, too late.)