Monday, February 24, 2014

Dance is my language

Since I can remember thinking thoughts like this, I've known that expressing myself with total fidelity would involve not a single word. My story, my song, my portrait, my compassion, even my apology would be a dance. A swirling, muscled parade across a wide stage. An epic stretch from the fingers on my left hand through the toes on my right foot. Joy would be pirouette in attitude. Fear a open-mouthed back bend. Sadness a deep bend in the knees until no one could tell where I ended and the vast floor began.

Every once in a while, I come across a song that seems a perfect setting for one of these imaginary episodic dances. It's almost painful to listen to while sitting still.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Report Is Positive

Today, perhaps more than any day since Jimmy deployed, I feel good - accomplished, energetic, optimistic. Jimmy and I had amassed a pretty serious to-do list before he left, and I've finally checked off many things on that list. The house is relatively clean after a weeklong battle with at least eight - count them, eight - loads of laundry. And despite the dishes in the sink, the Valentines sitting desperately incomplete on the breakfast bar, and the BoA bills I need to pay this month - Christmas catching up with me - I'm feeling a rare sense of compassion for myself. As if the unfinished things are not a reflection of an unfinished person. Kindness feels good.

This Thursday will mark one month since Jimmy deployed, and not only have I not totally crumbled in his absence, I've been happily chipping away at my "List of 10 Things." Check it out:

1. Run. Swim. Dance. Every week.
Resting in the corral after summiting Cowles Mountain
On April 12th, I'll be one runner in the pink, orange, and green blur of the 5k Neon Run in San Diego. I'll also be sinking into the driver's seat around 4:35 am four days a week for the next five weeks to join the lovely ladies of Kaia FIT 4S Ranch. I sincerely look forward to kicking my own butt.

La Jolla Shores
2. Let no day be spent totally indoors.
I've been on two early morning hikes with friends Heather and Hans as they train to traverse the Grand Canyon, rim-to-rim-to-rim, this May. The trails up Cowles Mountain and Fortuna Mountain now bear my footprints. This Saturday, I also spent three hours wandering around sunny La Jolla, taking in the lazy sea lions, well-dressed shoppers, and historic storefronts (many complete with Girl Scouts and towers of  boxed cookies).

3. Read the books I've purchased but scarcely cracked.
I'm currently hiking through the pages of Wild and unknowingly aiding the Manhattan Project with The Girls of Atomic City.

Early Valentine's Day treats
4. Eat decadently. But make sure it's homecooked.
I count this sweet potato and black bean chili and the adorably boxed sweets (pictured right) among my culinary accomplishments this month.

5. Learn something new. Try something weird.
I'm enrolled in my first three-hour photography class on March 2nd. Stay tuned for some beginner shots of Balboa Park!

6. Get more curious about God.
I picked up a Rob Bell book, "Love Wins," at a Saturday morning book exchange down the hill from my apartment complex. The Unitarian congregation in Hillcrest is my next planned stop.

7. Get out of town.
I'm looking forward to my trip to Austin in late May to see my amazing little sister graduate from college. Also hoping to make it out to D.C. in early June when my office closes for Shavuot. I can't wait to ride the Metro until the train slides up into the sunlight, shuffle between produce and craft booths at Eastern Market, sit in the aged pews at All Souls Unitarian Church, stuff myself with Jose Andres nosh, buy a book with a radical title at Busboys & Poets, sip a pinot at Tryst, get a haircut from my favorite barber in Dupont Circle, and join the throngs of tourists armed with smartphones, hoping for a glimpse of Bo or Sunny lying out on the White House lawn.

Friday afternoon, 5 minutes until close
8. Keep my job in proper perspective.
No solid evidence (except the photo at right) to support this, but I consider this done and done. I love my new job but understand - and seek to allocate my time in ways that demonstrate - that the other things on this list are what make me whole. Plus, becoming a better writer, photographer, and citizen of the world count as professional development in the world of non-profit marketing.

9. Find a few people who think the strange mix of things I like is fun.
I'm hoping my return to Kaia FIT will result in some rich new friendships. Meanwhile, I've been reconnecting with friends who understand and inspire me. When I really think about it, my cup runneth over.

10. Stop planning, and do.
I submit to you my future participation in a 5 am boot camp, photography class, and 5k run as evidence of my progress in this area. The home cooking, serious laundry accomplishments, and trips to the book exchange also top the list of time well spent this month.