instagram and summertime…

It’s summer, July, my birthday… 2016 is HALF over, srsly??!! I have so much to accomplish before the end of December that I am not sure I can squish it all in. But I am having a hell of a time trying! =) =)

We had ferocious thunderstorms last night, Paul was on call so he spent half the night re-wiring Hartford. We had coffee before he went out the first time, Gatorade before he left the second, and by 0600 he was back in the truck again, coffee and lunch on the seat next to him, rain gear piled under hard hat and harness, cigarette dangling from corner of smiling mouth, one hand waving out the window as he hollered “Happy Birthday Baby!”

I’m sitting here in my impossibly cool living room, bathed in sunlight and thankful for the breezes that are blowing my messy hair about my head. I did some VERY light hiking this morning, not enough to hurt overmuch, but hopefully enough to burn off the Swedish Fish  calories eaten with abandon and zero guilt as the sun came up.

I finally got on the instagram wagon, a little late to the game in my particular fashion. I find it intimate, easy, fun, and LOVE to snap a photo and know that in less than 2 seconds, I have posted it, and can even zoom in or change the color! Please find me there, at:

@straitontillmorning

I have saved countless hours by not posting my photos here, and just popping them into my phone account.  A better representation of my days, no matter how truncated. =)

At any rate… Paul and I have been taking the yaks out at every opportunity, and this physical activity has brought a new level of intimacy to our relationship. Due to my knee injury, I cannot get them on and off the car or truck, so while I can “help,” this task is left to him. He is LOVING the maleness of taking physical care of me, lol. =) Not only does he take care of the on and off loading, but he makes an arm bridge for me, allowing me to get in and out without undue stress on my poor knee. Once in the water, he slowly paddles circles around me in his more streamlined boat until I get my bearings and manage to fight the current to head in the agreed-upon direction. He is WAY stronger than I, and after 6 months of no real workouts, I am a little less than I was a year ago. So though he ends up ahead of me regularly, he always comes back close to me, offering words of encouragement and smiles. This is the first time he has had a chance to really take this role of protector and helper, and he is flourishing under what I feared would be a mere responsibility.

Additionally, we went fishing, several times. Watching him throw out the line, play it a bit, then sit in companionable silence in the waning evening sun and just soak in the calm. Valium for the soul… so very much needed. =) The fishing thing is a HUGE deal, because he has not been in 5 years. His best childhood friend dies then, and he and this man fished constantly, flying down south to oil rigs and similar sites to real in the big boys of the game, marlin and tuna. Since he died, Paul has not been back out, and while our little excursions are not the same, watching the stress melt from his face as he relaxes makes my own heart sing. He is in his element on the water, beautiful to watch as a gracefulness that belies his size controls his movements. He smiles hugely enough to block out the sun, and comes home exhausted and sated in a way I have not observed before.

That he would chose now to return to this sport, and chose me to accompany me, is not small thing, and that fact is not lost on me. Our relationship is deepening, but rather than feel strangled, I feel buoyed by it all. He shared this part of himself with me, without reservation. Those of you with men in your lives understand the wow factor of that statement. =) So while my living room is littered with yaks, life vests, and the odd whistle and ePirb device, I am deeply satisfied in a way that is very new to me. I feel like I am trying on couture, but instead of being tight and scratchy, this lusciousness was made for me, and that realization stuns me. Looks like my general plan to move to the Keys and teach my college classes online should become something to more seriously consider. =)

At any rate, I have to go now. I love being here with you, but I love hiking in the rarity of a cool July afternoon even more. Catch you on the flip side, peeps… much love to you all who chose to share my journey. =)

gravel and gravity…

Poised at the top of the aptly-nicknamed “death trail,” I wiped sweat off my brow and adjusted my ponytail. The Oklahoma humidity pasted my t-shirt to my spine and sprouting breasts, nestled in pools of sweat in my new bra. Feet clad in dusty ropers placed just-so centered on pedals, fingers curled around worn handgrips, reaching for brakes… yup, hard to grasp but in mostly working order. Delaying the inevitable, I blew fat grape-flavored bubbles, plotting my coup de grace…

Tossing my head to unstick hair from the back of my neck, I stood elegantly for a moment upright in the pedals, suddenly two feet taller, and feeling the exhilaration of every inch, and… SWOOSH!!!!!!

The trail that I had gingerly pedaled down uncountable times seemed more treacherous suddenly, the grippy tires of my used 10-speed unable to gain permanent purchase in the gravel and odd weed scrub. Branches stretched out to snatch at my sweaty visage, paling with the beginning of full blown terror. It never occurred to me to simply slow down, or leap off, or even use the brakes. I simply was on a mission and had to see it thru to the end, no matter how detrimental to my overall well being that turned out to be. I fear I was a bit melodramatic even then…

It was when I careened none too gently around the large curve half-way down Ginger and Charcoal’s mountain that I finally lost all pretense of control, and I remember noticing the small bumpy stone that would be my undoing. Moments later, flying through the air, pure joy bubbled in me even as I saw the ground rushing toward my prone figure with unbelievable speed. The dull thud resonated through me as I hit and began my descent, belly down, limbs akimbo. 10 feet later, I sat up, coughing and dusty, to see my thighs sprinkled, or imbeded actually, with gravel, a swath of red and brown pockmarked into my aching flesh. Standing and limping gingerly toward the trees where I assumed the bike had flown, part of me wanted to sit on the dusty trail and cry while waiting for Gramps to rescue me on his way down the mountain toward home. But somewhere in the pain and tears, throbbing skin and cricket calls, I felt a burst of confidence. I had done it, had tried to race down the trail, and I had LIVED! I would surely endure a whupping for the stupidity of the stunt as well as the condition of the bike, but hot damn, I had done it. Bragging rights would be mine, and my siblings and younger cousins would look up at me in awe. Yeah, it had been a successful day…

snow day…

Icy rain pelts the window panes, staccato beat making my feet twitch…

Wind rushes across rooftops and catches in the tree branches, eerily beckoning me from my cocoon of warmth…

Diesel engines rumble to life in the distance, sounding like ancient beasts, signaling the plowing will commence in short order…

Snow day, hunting day, day to stay under the covers for just one more kiss… gulped coffee, I’ll scrape the windshield if you shovel the steps. “Here, I got the mail little girl” and “Look, I packed you a dry outfit for the ride home”…

Textbooks piled comfortingly on the couch beside me, coffee steaming away, laptop open, word document started for Humanities and turkey roasting in the oven. Waiting for the wet, shivering man to reappear, I daydream of a hot shower and dinner on the couch, wrapped in robes, watching a documentary about tigers…

Snow day, off day, relaxing day. Happy day, slow day, snow day…

Namaste, peeps… =)

a small stone growing larger…

It is illogical to think that over time, a small rock can grow into a huge boulder, covered with a thousand years of moss. Erosion and climate change would not allow for this lovely sentiment… but what if it were possible, what if it were true?

I am a small stone. Lifetimes ago, happiest when surrounded by rushing waters, I was worn down and nestled into the stream bed, my place assured, integral… at peace.

Now I find I am buffeted by winds, and want no part of it. Smallerizing, that it. I want to be placed in a warm meadow, surrounded by cherry trees, with shreds of moss to my right. I want that moss to creep closer, and cover me. And I want to swell under the collective warmth of my green carpet. I want to lay my wanderlust aside, clutch firmly to the earth, and patiently wait a hundred lifetimes to increase. I want to grow thru endurance, not always be fresh and sparkling. I want to become the wisdom of the ages, not some western representation of renewal.

Can you tell I’ve been listening to the Japanese National Anthem on a sun-warmed patio this morning? Predictable, that’s me in a word as of late. =)

Regardless, I do so want some semblance of permanence. I don’t want to be the dandelion of the universe, sweet but fluff. I don’t want to be the appendix, but long to become part of the neural structure; a part so integral that were it missing, the loss would be felt reverberating thru lifetimes.

Is this a normal part of identity crisis in midlife, a narcissistic psychological disorder, or simply the universe trying to tell me I am certainly NOT fulfilling the role which I was meant for, and to get my puny ass in gear ? I tend to go with option 3, but am at a loss of what exactly my role is, and how I should proceed…

Were I a friend or client of mine, I would advise 6 months of developing a yoga practice, deepening my meditation work, and taking that 6 months to not act, just ponder in what ways acting can be beneficial. Unfortunately, with school admission deadlines and the elusive 4.0 ruling my life at present, there simply is no time to step back and see the forest, rather that the particular tree.

Biggerizing, patience, wisdom is what I crave. Do you as well ? Have you found it ? Or is a freshly-scrubbed, microdermabrasion version of yourself, complete with prickly-stinging skin the way you choose to go ? Comments appreciated, peeps. Namaste, lovelies… =) =)

wtf… is… wrong… with… Tish… ?!

Now that I have your attention, I am here to say beyond a shadow of a HINT of a doubt, I believe I am losing my mind. I have registered for my summer and fall semester classes, and since then, have been having an existential crisis of the highest order… I know that psychological speaking, this is common as I am less than a year away from complete commitment to my degree plan, and I am wavering like prairie grasses in July. I really thought I had it all figured out, and now, with new passions having been ignited, and the possibility of a career more of the outdoors and travel type, I am balking at the idea of the eventual MSN. I know, I KNOW, “Tish, get your head out of your ass, and just become a nurse already!!” But really, this is my one, last, best chance to create a life that I desire, me alone, MY wants, MY needs, and I am feeling lately that I am throwing this chance away to do the “safe” thing. I am SO not that girl, I NEVER walk on solid ground when I can be climbing up rocky terrain. I do NOT take the path of least resistance, but instead look for a challenge, and when I nail it, I am on top of the world ! So why now, why this stress and round-and-round game on my head ?

I was talking to my Bear last night. We were laying on his couch, covered with his green blankie, and he was running his fingers thru my tabby-cat-stripey hair, marveling at the “beach smell” he says I exude. Yes, I repeat, I was with My Bear… that is a conversation for another day… At any rate, he is deeply unsatisfied with parts of his life right now; career being the one thing he desires to change first. I told him he can always take a few years off, get more college and change what he does. He is not certain what he really and for true wants though, so is holding off for now, not willing to make the jump from frying pan if it seems he will only land in the fire. I completely understand, why change your life completely and be broke for YEARS for just another job you don’t really want ? Ooh… that was an “a-ha” moment there, did you catch it ?!

So today, instead of writing the 3rd from the last in the seemingly-never-ending research paper procession that has been my semester… I fertilized my plants and drug them to the sun-drenched patio. I cleaned the floors, and opened the windows, lit the first joss stick of the season and lay on the wood-planked floor of said patio, bluish smoke curling around my warm body along with the soft tones of the happy birds in the distance. I drank Kombucha, and coffee, and a Raw Meal shake… tummy sloshing with the liquid, causing laughter to bubble forth and startling the birds who perched on the railing to observe the curious sight. I called my friend, I wrote a letter, worked more on my book… drank lemon water and now am typing happily away, sunspots fading from my eyes as I contemplate my circumstances. Teach english in Japan ? Work in medical anthropology to study nutrition disparity between genders in Mali ? Stream ecology MS, and teach at a local community college, summers off to travel to Costa Rica and inoculate children ? Study aviation structure and repair fuselages, happily welding my way thru days in my beloved cover-alls and boots ? Ooh, what about evolutionary biology, with a minor in botany, and work for UConn, digging in dirt and watering all manner of pretty plants while teaching part time ?

I have so many options… and I truly do not know where to start crossing items off the wondrous list. I want to feed myself, lead a small but meaningful life, and be outside as much as possible. I do not care if I work alone or with others, as long as I can have time to swim and write at twilight, cold beer or tea to my right, flip-flops discarded to my left. I am flexible, have not much in the way of material desires, and want to make as small a footprint as possible on our beautiful Earth. I am hardworking, idealistic, happy, and loyal… I want to find a way of incorporating these things into my career, rather than having to don an appropriate Tish-suit for work, only to peel off the confining thing and run barefoot when I get home from work… does anyone have this ? Has anyone been able to create a job that allows them the freedom to be all of who they are ? If not, how do you deal with the discrepancy with grace and maintain your happiness and zest for life ?

GAH… I am rambling now… I want to eat some actual food now, and soak up some more of this yummy sun before I get back to the grind. Here’s to all of us who are at a crossroads, and are brave enough to realize it, and just perhaps, if the stars align, who can trip the light fantastic and become the person we are when we fly in our dreams…

Namaste, peeps… much loving-kindness and happiness being pushed your way in huge, encompassing waves… here it comes… =)

words for the day… take 12

“I wanna be that bunny…”

TishMoon =)

No words are necessary here, just something so perfect and happy that I had to share. =) Spring is slowly on it’s way, I can hear birds chirping amongst the new snow fall, and the tiniest shreds of green are visible on one or two trees, even as ice covers power lines and car tires. The world is an unappetizing shade of oatmeal, muddy-grey mixed with taupe… as far as the eye can see. But there is hope in the air, something electric that makes me want to dance a little longer, play a little more, and laugh a little louder… can you feel it, too ?! No matter what color your world is painted with today, I wish you well… happiness and growth, renewal and a full tummy as you smile thru your day. Have a lovely, peeps !

174

 

I mean, seriously ??!! How fkn perfect is THIS ??!! How could I not snitch it off the ‘net ? I have no idea to whom I should send my profuse thanks for taking this amazing photo, but it seriously was too good not to share. =)

on hiking and relaxing…

New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut… 3 days exploring 3 states. Hiking, climbing, toes in the water. Picnic lunches, swinging, driving thru small towns. Sunburns, scratches, ice cream and full tummies… padding thru a Civil War-era cemetery, marveling at the care taken even for the babies’  grave stones, so small and mossed over. Days filled with introspection and laughter, photos snapped, memories made.

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I cannot get over those Tiffany blue and silver row boats all lined up… the area looked like the set of Dirty Dancing, complete with winding trails and sweet, little chocolate-colored cabins nestled into the tree line !

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Here is my foxling sitting on the wall at the Quabbin Reservoir in MA… we have snaps of her thru the years on this wall, overlooking the spillway. She was so happy to go back and climb the rolling hills and walk amongst the forests. Ice cream at the UConn Dairy Barn on the way home was a highlight of the trip as well, walking thru the pretty campus and relaxing on steps in the sun. =)

Will write more in the next few days, but wanted to post a sunny entry with proof that spring is indeed here… =) Have a lovely !

 

a moon, a list and a photo…

March 8th… is it just me or is 2014 racing by ?! March 16 is the date for our next full moon, number 3 of 12 for the year. This means we are almost 1/4 of the way thru our year. Time needs to slow down a bit, I have not accomplished as much as I need to thus far. =) The March full moon is referred to as the “Full Worm Moon”, because by this time of year in North America, earthworm castings begin to appear which brings all those lovely robins to our backyards. Some of our local Native American tribes historically called this the “Full Crow Moon”, as the birds’ incessant cawing was thought to signify the end of winter. This moon heralds in the tapping of Maple trees for sap as well as a speeding up of the freeze-thaw cycle. Any way you look at it, this will be the last full moon of winter. To which I say… YIIPPPEEEEEEEE !!!!!!!!! =)

 

What I am as of late…

1.  COOKING… anything easy, especially chicken and squash and salads, a bit of chopping here and there. Nothing fancy, but beautiful on a small plate, with lots of color.

2.  LIKING… the feeling of freedom on my solitary Saturday mornings. =) Can study, eat and workout to the beat of my own drum.

3.  SMELLING… fresh rain and dirt, the cool icy-ness curling up from the packed-down snowbanks, and the occasional wood fire.

4.  WEARING… old, soft t-shirts and much-to-big sweatpants, warm sox and a silver necklace from him…

5.  FEELING… smaller, loose in my joints and safe; but a little uncertain at the same time. Conflicted, but in a peaceful way…? Mostly content.

6.  HOPING… to take 2 classes online this fall, and that I reach my weight goal by September 29. I really need that day to mean something…

7.  DRINKING… a half-caf cup of coffee every morning (I KNOW, don’t judge ! ), Kombucha with chia seeds whenever I can find it, and enough water to make my tummy slosh when I walk. =)

8.  NOTICING… how the sun wraps around the curls at the nape of her neck, the underlying riffs in so many UNDERWORLD songs; only audible at high volumes, what instantly calms me down, and how I ALWAYS smile and look out my bedroom window before I fall asleep.

9.  NEEDING… to speak to my old best friend more often, that new saucepan for the kitchen, running shoes so I can take my transformation to the next level, and a few more plants to give us more fresh air to breathe in this stuffy, carpeted house.

10.  WASTING… time playing “Disco Bees” instead of doing my classwork, that last bite of food on my plate, water when I take a too-long shower, but simply cannot force myself to get out just yet…

The photo prompt for today is “in the corner”. I have nothing here. =) An end table, a photo frame with a few books… was just not inspired by this one. Out came the jacket and kicks, and my foxling and I walked outside in search of something to catch our fancy. There was an abundance of dirty snow nestled in the corners of steps and porches, but nothing fun. We rounded the bend past the big snow pile and came upon this beauty, a HUGE nest built on the corner of a bush ! We thought it had fallen out of the tree perhaps, but the paper strips were carefully tucked into the side of the shrub, seemingly indicating the purpose with which it was placed. It was not there 2 days ago, so perhaps it did fall and is merely shored up to the bush out of necessity. Either way, it was quite a find, and reminded us again that a new cycle of life is beginning and we lived thru another long winter to see it. =)

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shoeless Joe…

My foxling and I went out to enjoy some sunshine yesterday afternoon. We had some steamed veggies and soup at the local Chinese joint, followed by a jaunt to the park at the bottom of The Big Hill. She wanted to swing, and I was looking for birds to photograph, in preparation for today’s challenge. I saw so many small beauties, but they would not stay still for me, and just swooped into the brambles every time I attempted a shot.

My dear, sweet girl wore her clogs, and I thought nothing of it, until she had to walk across the frozen snow to the swings. She did not break thru the ice, and managed to swing quite happily, until her clogs dropped off one at a time, and she started hollering to beat the band. I was laughing so hard, it took a few minutes until I pulled myself together enough to go fetch her shoes for her. In the meantime, I was able to snap several photos and think they convey the situation perfectly.

Even though the photo challenge was “fly”, this was as close as we got… =) Just loving that bereft little shoe and her pouty demeanor !

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i need to go outside and play…

The indigenous people of the Andes believe that our world is the body of the Earth Mother, Pachamama. That we are inseparable from her and we need to pay her homage, live within her, as she is within us. I was thinking about this earth-honoring that their lives center around, and was struck by the sheer simplicity, and genius of their belief.

Life in 2014 is busy, insane, really. We fill our precious free time with computers, cell phones, technology and other man-made objects meant to distract us. We were not made to sit in cubicles and at small desks, to stare at screens all day instead of interacting with people. This disconnect we have from nature is in part responsible for the depression, diabetes and discontent that plagues each generation in growing numbers.

No society 200 years ago had to be told that being in the country was good for them, that a day at the beach under the sun would recharge their batteries. We have replaced healthful living with work, stress and fast-paced workouts in the morning, so we can get on with our day. I dream of being able to work in an environment that promotes health and well being. Where I am not cooped up inside all day, but can at least access the sun and fresh air on generous breaks. Long ago, I would spend my work weeks at a ridiculous pace, pushing myself to get all collateral duties finished early so I could enjoy my days off without interruption. I would drive up to Eureka, fly to Ketchikan or Seattle to hike, swim, rock climb. I would fly to Mexico, Belize and Florida to swim, dive, and lay on small tree-covered beaches and splash among Mangroves. Every penny I had, every free moment was spent racing back to the natural world, back pack in tow. I was deeply happy, sun-kissed and self-assured. I was strong, healthy and felt I could do anything at all, there were no boundaries in my head. It was an exhilarating way to live, and I deeply miss those times, and wish circumstances had allowed me to raise my foxing in the same manner.

I am now a cliche… 40something overweight woman, separated, with a child at home. Living life smaller than we wish, doing all we can with the resources we have. It is not a bad life, just confining. The Professor left in part because he felt he could not achieve what he wanted with me by his side. I hope he can create the life he is searching for, and that my foxing and I will have the opportunity to do the same. This waiting is hard, but promises of a richer, more satisfying life make me work toward our goals with a smile on my face. Do not get me wrong, it is not a bad life. I love teaching my brilliant daughter, I adore our free time together, and how she begins every day with a renewed purpose. We do explore our natural world as much as possible, but in truth things always seem a little gloomy during the winter in our neck of the woods. By throwing on ski pants and heading out to play in the snow, we are taking advantage of what we have in front of us. I know that our path will lengthen, there will be many adventures around the curves ahead. For now, the cold air and bright sunlight are tiding us over until spring, when our world will once again burst bright and new.

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