Monday, April 26, 2010

My Inspiration

After doing my spring wardrobe cleaning/organization, I realized that my one piece bathing suit was long over due for replacement.  I didn't wear it very often,  probably just for family affairs, as most of my swimming took place in the woods, at private pools and hidden lakes, and I would wear one of my many two piece suits which up until I hit 50, looked pretty good on me.

Now in my 52nd summer, I am no longer looking so svelt.  Legs that used to be muscular from running and skating are flabby and have cellulite, and my stomach looks like I am carrying a small sack of dimply lemons.  The upper part isn't so bad,  but that could use a bit of firming up too. (I KNEW there was a reason to be happy about  belonging to the IBTC).
 I hate trying on bathing suits in a store, or anything else for that matter. (save for shoes..)  The lighting is never right, and the mirrors usually suck.   This was the first year that I thought--HEY, I can order online and they can be tried on in the privacy of my own home, which has at least a good mirror, and a few options on the lighting.  So when I saw that Lands End had 30% off all bathing suits and free shipping,  I went shopping.   I compromized on a tankini, and I ordered two sizes on the tops, and two on the bottoms, and whatever doesn't fit, I will return them to Sears.  With any luck, the suit will look decent, and since I bought a black and white top, I can wear any of my black bottoms with it! (Thanks Karen for that hint!)

Then while perusing my facebook, I saw this article with a video that Sandi posted which read If a 73 year old Can Get in Shape, So Can You.  I read the article, watched the video and said DAMN! She started her training when she was 56 because of the same bathing suit problem.  Now, 16 years later, she looks better, stronger, and has more energy than I.   OMG, she was amazing, inspiring, and beautiful!! She rocked! I wanted to be like her at 72!  No, I want to be like her NOW.

When I come back to reality my dreams get dashed- just a little.   I was in great shape when I ran before my trimalleolar fracture,  but with all the metal holding my leg together, I will never run or possibly skate or ski again. The months on crutches wrecked my rotator cuffs.  My back is now giving me a hard time.  So, there is no running in this program.

But  I can start with easy yoga (I know what it has done for my husband over the past 6 years), walk, and do some gardening. And if I gain strength, who knows where else that may lead me. The point is = start now. Sit tall, uncross legs.  Keep core strong. Bend from the knees. Don't reach for things at odd angles.  Take care of this body, and it will take care  of you.  These are the mantras that will enable me to build to the next steps. 

As I run up and down the stairs doing laundry, I try to do so being mindful of my core. As I garden I won't look at it as a chore, rather as a workout.  I want to go back on my neighborhood walks, and when the weather warms up, swims at Mermaid Lake.

Ms. Shepherd, you are my heroine.  Thanks for giving me that little kick in the pants that I needed.

And with spring in the air, I think I'm ready.

Patti O Potato - no - more

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Driving under the Influence.

It was the usual, busy week. And, as usual, not much of it involved art, which HAS to change as I need to paint.  I see the images, and boards and canvases and feel the consistency of the paint somewhere deep in my brain where paintings  are churned out in automation, and it needs to leave the brain through my arm and into a paintbrush and onto SOME kind of surface SOON, before I lose momentum.

And somewhere deep within my body are channels that are very jammed up - thus my back/hip pain,intestinal distresses, mixed with nightly sweats that wake me up at 4 am. which was the reason for a visit to my naturopath for an appointment and  accupuncture on wednesday.

Though I am doctor and needle phobic, going to this doctor is enjoyable. Issues are evaluated, and homeopathic/natural methods are used to adjust and heal the body.  The office visit concludes with accupuncture in a healing space.  Tammi was treating several issues,  one of the being my insomnia.  With 12-15 needles in my neck, stomach, and legs, she told me I was going to "go out", and I proceeded -- to my surprise--falling into a deep sleep for 1/2 an hour.

On the way home I was very mellow.  I felt like I was somewhere else. It was warm, sunny, and I felt good for once.  I took the back road to avoid the highway construction.  The flats along which the farms rolled along were beautiful with the dark earth just waiting to be turned over.  I was enjoying this quiet scenic ride home, feeling light, mellow, and I felt very aware of the essense of spring and renewal.

Until I saw the red flashing lights. I pulled over, thinking that he wanted to pass me.  Oh no! He wanted ME.  I rolled down the window, and asked nicely "offficer, may I ask what I did?". He looked at me with a sheepish grin and said: "you were doing 62 in a 45.".  "I WAS?!?".  I knew I was coming close to a school zone and had to slow down, which I did, but never knew what speed I was traveling when he pulled me over.  How could I explain to him that I was under the influence of accupuncture and had no CLUE how fast I was going on that straightaway.  He told me that because I had a clean record that he was ask the judge to ACD it. That's all well and good, but if I do anything wrong in the next six months, they will slam me!!!  It's better than nothing, but I am going to try for better.

I was very upset. My pristine record could be besmirched with a ticket speeding more than 15 mph over the speed limit.  I could be labeled as A SPEEDER.  And once the insurance company gets a hold of that, OH BOY, LET'S RAISE THE RATES even though I have not used my insurance in 25 years.

After some facebook consultation with people in the "field", I am pleading not guilty - how can I plead guilty if I did not know how fast I was going, and besides, perhaps his radar is off !  In the meantime, I have a call into some friends, am lighting candles for the judge to be kind and merciful, drop it to a lesser violation,  give me the fine, which I heard, is a minimum of 85.00 for JUST walking INTO the courtroom.  A friend of mine had a bad inspection sticker...THAT WAS 300.00!!

So lesson learned.  If it isn't raining, I will use my cruise control while driving home from accupuncture.  And I wonder what this next court adventure will be..stay tuned in for the next segment on this!!

Patti O Criminal

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mindful Cleaning

I don't do a lot of entertaining because that means I have to face doing a good cleaning job on my house.  The reality is, that if I did not have events from time to time, I probably would never clean.BUT - I am hosting an event this week which means that I need to clean after I get home from my appointments, for the next three afternoons.

Not just the ordinary sweep,vacuum, wash kitchen floor and clean toilet and tub, but a tear apart the bathroom, clean the woodwork that people can see, wash all the wood floors on two floors, move furniture, get the dust webs and so forth.  Sometimes that even involves washing all the towels and curtains (I have cats who seem to leave a lot of cat hair on them when they look out the windows). And there is the junk, always the junk.

I hate to clean.  OK, I get pissed that I have to clean because the time spent cleaning could be time spent in the studio, reading, watching a movie, or some other fun endeavor.   It was the retreat at the Blue Cliff Monastery and my relationship with a few yoga teachers that gave me insight into mindful living.  It is much easier to clean if you are in a good mood, look at each chore and project as a worthy exercise, and it helps to have little tidbits to reward yourself with, like a point system, as you finish another chore. Today mine was a dark chocolate bar with sea salt.

I took joy in cleaning my bathroom top to bottom.  I smiled as I scrubbed the dirty pots, looking out the window, realizing how lucky I was to have the honor of living and scrubbing the pot.  The sun is shining, the kids are playing basketball next door, and all is good in my little center of the world.

I let my mind wander back to childhood, a time when cleaning was seemed so much simpler -  Mr. Clean, Pine Sol, Lemon Oil, a rag, a dustmop, a mop, and a vacuum. That was it. No Scrubbing Bubbles, no Swiffer Jets, no Roombas, no blue toilet stuff.   I try to keep it simple, and as green as possible, but I see the soap scum in the tub and I know that the Fantastic with Bleach cleans it oh so easier than baking or washing soda.  The rest of my cleaning is with a castile soap with essential oils, and some good old fashioned Murphy's Wood Soap. (ugh, I don't know how green THAT stuff is?!)

When I was tired, and it was dinner time, I stopped.   I have been enjoying going through the rooms, noticing how the house looks lovely without the tumbleweeds and piles of stuff.

I smile, and am satisfied, even though I know it won't last long.

Tonight's card was inspired by my twin cousins who are on Facebook with me and are the zaniest, silliest, funniest boys.  Yes, at 40 something, they still talk about farts and taco eating contests, and how Ed loves cheese. This one's for you boys.

patti o cleaner

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's all in the Hand

I haven't written much lately..and I wonder why, after three years of obsessive writing, have I slowed down to a screeching halt?  A little self doubt creeps and that nasty little voice whispers "perhaps you're all dried up Patti, you really don't have anything to say or express..." and I entertain the concept for a moment, and chuckle, because you know that I will ALWAYS have something to say.  

I haven't been much in the studio either, and as I look back over the last few months, I seemed to have taken a creative hiatus.  I go in and putter around, make a few cards, look at my work, but make nothing of  substance.  I even feel that in my teaching job. 

I start to take inventory.  What is going on?  When I start to think about it I can freak myself out,  because there is a hell of a lot going on.  A lot  of it difficult and painful, whether physically or emotionally- a sick and struggling daughter,  family upheaval regarding the estate of my Aunt loaded with illness, denial, anger and frustration.  My own personal health.  My difficult job.

Perhaps this time I have just needed down time.  Instead of doing what I usually do, which is find some huge thing to distract me, I have spent a lot of time doing what needs to be done,  and taking time for myself to sometimes do absolutely nothing. Nap.  Watch a movie. Putter.   And not worry about when the Muse Fairy is going to grace me with her presence. 

The photos for tonight's blog were taken in Kentucky on Fort Campbell over my Easter break. I went down to visit and help my daughter Megan and her family.  This photo was taken after Megan had chemo and radiation and she was napping.  To me this photo sums up all the unspoken emotions of her struggle.  The other is a photo of my grandson Randy who is 19 months. Everytime he fell down he looked at his hands to see what crap was on them now.  Sort of a euphmaism for my life.

I'll be back....yeah, I still I have lots to say.

Patti O Muser

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sketching on a Sunny Afternoon

Last weekend I vowed that after my 5 day trip to Kentucky,  I was going to spend time with  my husband whom I had not seen very much, as well as take the three days to unwind, and enjoy the weather and get a little art done.   I blew off house cleaning, did a little gardening in between our jaunts, and I did not do one stitch of taxes, school work,  or blogging.   

We traveled through three counties to visit some of the mansions on the Hudson River which included Wilderstein, Vanderbilt, and Olana.  It was warm enough to sketch outside, so I painted some small watercolors on watercolor paper postcards.  I sold one which will buy me another pack or two of paper, or put more gas in the car to wander.  I am posting them here, and if you are interested, they are a mere 8.00 each...and you can pay via Paypal/check.  Just comment on my blog or email me. (the one w/the mansion showing is sold)

It was however, a hellish week.  I did manage to get the taxes done, and to the accountant, and in a week I will have my refund which is not much, but better than nothing.  This year I vow to keep better records to that I can deduct every nickle and dime due to me.  I know I lost out on mileage etc. because I did not keep track of all of my trips. And just about every trip that I make in my car has to do with either school or business and is deductible.

My back has been a different issue.  I have been in pain for a few weeks, but it the spasms got so bad, necessitating a trip to the doctor.  My PT couldn't fit me in, so I had to do the next best fix, which was drugs.  Now I only take drugs when absolutely necessary, but constant pain is one thing that I cannot stand, and I have a high pain tolerance.  I had x-rays done yesterday (which probably won't show anything other than arthritic changes which is no surprise if it does) and will listen to the doc's suggestions, and  I will probably go back to the physical therapist, get massage, and I do have an accupuncture appointment scheduled soon.  This aging thing sucks. I have always had a good back and now....

Off to put some new cards to my Etsy stores, and then start my grades.  After sleeping till 10 am, I feel like half the day has slipped away..


Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Expert Traveler

On my way back from Kentucky, I avoided the luggage check in line as I had no under plane luggage and had checked in online the night before and printed my boarding passes.  I headed to security, where there were several marked aisles.  I quickly spotted the one labeled "Expert Traveler", stopped for a moment to think, then put my finger in the air, looked at the guard and said "ah, yes. I am an expert traveler" and headed off to the scanners. 

I moved through them quickly, as I had no questionables in my bags, no gels or liquids over the limits,  no laptops to pull out,  and my shoes were open back clogs that I tossed into a bin.  A quick smile and thank you, and I was off to the gate.  All of this took maybe 10 minutes and five minutes later I was on the plane.  I had planned the time exactly. 

In the past several years,  I have flown internationally and domestically more than the average non-business person.  I have navigated subways and trains in a country that I do not speak the language and found my way through many airports east of the Mississippi.  You'd never guess that once-upon-a-time I had a travel phobia.  Life circumstances and my desire to have an adventurous life has forced me to overcome it, and I have learned a lot on these trips. 

This blog isn't for the saavy is for travelers like myself who had to learn the hard way.

  • I don't bring my laptop unless I absolutely need it.  It is heavy and I hate having to dig it out of my bag and put it in a bin, then when it comes out, put it back in. Most places I go have internet access, or a computer in the house.
  • I check in online and print up my tickets. I have my Orbitz account send me updates via the computer AND my cell phone so that I get constant updates as to my flight status and gate info.  
  • I no longer pay to put my luggage underneath the plane. It saves 50.00, and the time of checking it and picking it up at the baggage claim.  You can get a large enough carry on bag that will fit a week's worth of clothes that you don't have to check, even though some of them have to be left before you board to be put under the plane as the smaller jets don't can't fit them under the seat or in the overhead bins.  For a 5 day or less trip,  I opt for a business travel bag, that fits a laptop,(should I bring one)  books, a small makeup bag, my meds, undies, socks, some shirts and one light pair of pants.  It fits comfortably under any seat.  No longer do I wait for any baggage; it is always with me.
  • If I have more clothing than I can fit in my bag, or gifts that I am bringing, I sent it on ahead via the US Postal Service to my destination (which is usually a friend or relative's house)  It is much cheaper, and I have the options of parcel post, flat rate priority boxes etc.
  • check each carriers rules on carry on luggage size/regs, and what should be put under the plane, and what is allowed in carry on vs. checked luggage.  It avoids a lot of hassles.
  • don't wear complicated shoes that take forever to get off and put back on.  
  • wear layers of clothes.  I have gone from freezing to roasting getting on and off the plane, and I suggest wearing socks.  The one time I wore sandals in the summer, my feet froze. 
Of course, there are times that you can't avoid complications.  Screwed up connections. Weather delays. Plane problems.  Those I can't control and try to smile and take them in stride.  If I get stuck in an airport, there are always book stores for one's reading pleasure, or crossword puzzle books which keep me thinking for hours.  I love to take myself out to lunch/have a drink, and I always get a chuckle out of people watching.  And someday, when I have my I-Phone, I can entertain myself with that.

Off to enjoy the sunny day here in the Hudson Valley.  The car is fixed, the top will go down, and I think I will head to the Mansions along the river. 

patti O traveler