Yesterday, I had a day I desperately needed. I had a pajama day. I was in pajamas until 1pm. Then I showered and put another pair of pajamas on for the rest of the day. I know that sounds really lazy, but it was actually an incredibly productive day. Continue reading
After a pretty rough November and December, 2017 ended quite nicely. I finally got around to all the cleaning and purging I normally like to do at the turn of the year. I organized the coat closet, the bathroom closet, the kitchen pantry, and the closet that houses the washer and dryer. I cleaned the floors and vacuumed and put fresh sheets on the beds. And I decluttered a bit, mostly cleaning off the counter in the kitchen where photos, papers, and miscellaneous items tend to collect. I could not have asked for a better end to the year, except perhaps that I wish I hadn’t gotten a cold. That I could have done without.
Love him in the morning when you see the sun arising. Love him in the evening ’cause he brought you through the day. And in the in between time when you feel the pressure rising, remember that he loves you and he promises to stay. So when you feel the need to worry, because it seems the thing to do, remember he’s not in a hurry. He’s always got time for you. So…love him in the morning when you see the sun arising…. Continue reading
On Friday, the doctor told me that what I have is viral and that I just need to ride it out, probably a few more days. Well, it’s Monday, and I’m still not well. I truly hate this, whatever it is. On the flip side, the nurse who took my stats told me that I logged the best blood pressure all day: 98/62. I appreciated what Dave would call an “I win” moment. Damn right I win. In this pitiful state, I will grasp onto every last victory that I can. Continue reading
I’ve been quiet. I know. I’ve been working and training and reading a book called Interrupted, When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity by Jen Hatmaker. The book is what’s occupying my attention right now. I’m reading it alone, but I’m wishing I had a small group of friends who were reading it with me. The book is about how Jen’s brief prayer, “God, raise up in me a holy passion” interrupted her life. I’m intrigued, in part because I’ve been at this place where everything feels really good – like I’m on the verge of getting everything I ever wanted – but I’ve had this nagging sensation that something big was about to happen. I couldn’t figure out if it was a good big or a bad big. So, tending to think the worst, I’ve been bracing myself for a fall of some kind. When I started reading this book, I realized there’s a third possible category – a hard but good big. Continue reading
A number of my friends who have kids use the term “sleeps” to count the number of days. If they are going to Disneyland in four days, they say, “Only four more sleeps to Disney!” If they are going to Grandma’s in two days, “Only two more sleeps to Grandma’s!” It’s not always just fun. Sometimes when a kid in a divorced family is having to head to her mom’s and she’d really rather not, her dad might say, “Only four sleeps before you come back here.” Sleeps are a way of counting the passage of time in terms a kid can understand.
Obviously, I understand days, but the thought of sleeps has resonated with me. I’ve caught myself using that language for myself.
I don’t think getting through nights is any easier than getting through days sometimes, but I do take comfort in measuring time by the nights. Nights are my time at home, and home is my safe place, where I am most relaxed. Home is where I hang out with Bread and Butter. Home is where I sit on the couch reading a book or sit on my bed watching television or sit in my chair writing. Home is my space to rest in alone or occasionally with the trusted friend.
Days are harder. Days are about getting out and doing and training and working. They are about running errands and dealing with people and meeting deadlines and, to some extent, putting on a show, though I’m working hard at acting less and being more real. Days can be really good or really bad. Days are a gamble each and every time I set foot out of my home.
100 days to something fun sounds…dreadfully long. 100 sleeps? That sounds delightful.
It’s a busy day at the office. There are lots of suits around today, which always makes it feel more stressful. I’ve got lots going on and a list that is growing rather than shrinking. My space is a bit more cluttered than I’m used to because I have my hands in multiple projects today, all of which are moving forward but none of which are coming to a close. And I’m trying to eat well, which is hard when the days are stressful. (Almonds, anyone?)
After work, I’m hanging out with some really great girls I don’t get to see often enough. We’re gathering at a bar I’ve never been to and discussing a book I actually managed to finish. (We’ve joked that we are a drinking club with a book problem.) I didn’t love the book, but I enjoyed it, and I love the girls, so I’m really excited to see them all again.
When we’re done, I’ll head home to Bread and Butter, to my safe place, for another sleep. Maybe I’ll start the next book. (It’s going to be Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris, for next week’s book club – a different club with another group of wonderful people.) Maybe I will catch up on some shows I’ve recorded. (I have many, including General Hospital, Ellen, Today, Girls, Nashville, and The Newsroom.) Maybe I’ll read through the magazines that are piling up. (Again, I have many – Texas Monthly, Portland Monthly, The New Yorker, Women’s Health, Experience Life, and Runner’s World.) Maybe I’ll write. Maybe I’ll go right to bed and just nestle with Bread and Butter, sort of like this:
All of that sounds really delightful. I can handle just about anything when I think about getting home at the end of the day.
I like my home. I like my sleeps.
I’ve been reading a book called The Ledge by Jim Davidson and Kevin Vaughn. In 1992, Davidson and his friend and climbing partner, Mike Price, were climbing Mt. Rainer when they fell into an 80-foot crevasse. Price died as a result of the fall. Davidson survived and returned to climbing and now is a professional speaker.
I read this book for one of my book clubs that is attended by what some might call excessively active women. We all run, ride, race or do something along those lines. I’m new to the club and thrilled to be a part of it because they are not a typical club. The vast majority of the club had read the book, which makes sense given we are all endurance athletes who share a distaste for the term DNF – did not finish. But they were also quite vocal and lively. I’m a bit of a wallflower, so time around vocal and lively women will do me some good.
Since I left the meeting, I’ve been thinking about one issue we discussed. Some of the women in the group were troubled by Davidson’s building a speaking career around his friend’s death. They were interested in the story, but did not appreciate the book’s shift from what happened to the portion that felt to them as though Davidson was saying, “I’ve since become a professional speaker, and let me tell you what I teach.” I understand their view, but I don’t share it. I see value in Davidson using this experience that left his friend dead to teach and speak.
I read memoir – and have for as long as I can remember – because I think we learn from each other. I will likely never go ice climbing, and I may never use the technical skills Davidson describes in this book, but I will remember and appreciate his discussion of how climbing brings out his best and how he had to peak in those initial moments down in the crevasse to save his own life. I do agree with the women in my club that the last portion of the book, in particular the epilogue, could have been written in a more subtle manner, but I believe the telling and re-telling of Davidson’s story – what happened, what he learned, and how he has been able to use that experience to learn about himself and to help others learn potentially life-saving skills, including coping skills – has value.
I’ve learned some useful things myself just reading the book. When faced with a challenge, I hope I will recognize whatever situation I am in as my crevasse of sorts. I hope I will recognize that my situation is not nearly so dire as what Davidson faced and take some comfort in that. I hope I will ask myself some questions. What are my skills? What are my tools? What is the right next step to take? I hope that I will act, not half-heartedly, but fully invested in whatever I’m doing. And I hope I will keep in my mind and on my heart the people I met along the way who helped me nurture the truest form of myself.
I recommend the book. And given the opportunity, I would eagerly go hear Davidson speak. I think I have more to learn from him.
I mentioned the other day that I was reading a book called Do Life in anticipation of the author’s visit to Book People. That visit happened yesterday, and although I had a ton of work to do this weekend and couldn’t really afford the time, I took a break from the office and went to hear Ben Davis speak. I’m so glad I did.
I don’t remember how long ago I came across this YouTube video called “My 120-Pound Journey,” but I loved it from the moment I saw it. It made me cry, and I felt like I’d met someone who believed in the same thing I did – the power of big dreams. If you haven’t watched the video, stop and watch it right now. Seriously. Right now.
Since seeing the video, I’ve been following his blog, Ben Does Life, so I knew he had gotten a book deal and had a book coming out in December. (It’s a good book, complete with training plans for different kinds of races, so I do recommend it for anyone who needs a little encouragement.) When I got an email from Book People saying that Ben Davis would be visiting the store, I immediately put it on my calendar. He was planning to meet folks for a short run and then do a talk and a signing. I planned to attend both the run and the talk, but I decided to skip the run and just attend the talk so that I could get more work done.
At Book People, he spoke about his journey, his ongoing battle with his weight, and his goals through the Do Life movement.
The races Ben did weren’t about weight. They were about happiness and sharing happiness with others. “Find happiness. Don’t just find it but spread it. Do these things, and do them together,” he said. For Ben, “these things” meant workouts, healthy meals, runs, and triathlons – things that one after another felt like the coolest thing he had ever done. He did these cool things with his dad and his brother and then eventually with total strangers all over the country. But for you and me, “these things” could be anything. The point is to get excited about life and to share that excitement with others.
Hearing that from Ben was a good reminder yesterday. I think I’ve generally done a good job of putting things on my calendar that excite me, but it’s harder for me to share that excitement with others. Right now, I don’t know who, if anyone, wants to come along, and I find it easier sometimes to just do these things myself. Involving others is stressful. It’s a bummer when people say no, so I often don’t ask. But I need to ask more than I do. I need to allow for the possibility that someone will want to do the things I love to do with me. It’s not just about doing life. It’s about doing life together.
Thanks for the reminder, Ben.
I have been reading a lot in the last few months, and there are some interesting books on my horizon.
- The Naked Now by Richard Rohr: I just finished reading this. I had never read this author before, but I am now a fan. He writes about faith not being an issue of black and white or right and wrong or judgment. It’s more about seeing and experiencing God in the daily world. I don’t know that I understand or agree with everything he says, but I do appreciate his general message, and I underlined throughout the book like crazy.
- Wild by Cheryl Strayed: I am reading this now. It’s about a woman’s trek on the Pacific Coast Trail in an effort to find herself. Lost woman on a hike? Yes, I will happily ready that book. I may have a Pacific Coast Trail hike in my future as a result!
- Do Life by Ben Davis: I am also reading this now because Ben Davis is coming to Book People this Saturday. I have been following Ben’s blog for a while. He was obese until four or five years ago when he took up running. He started bit by bit taking control of his life, and now he runs marathons and has even done two Ironmans. He still struggles with food and training at times, which I can appreciate. He’s got a great story. I’m excited to meet the guy and join him for a run.
- Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen: I love memoir. This one is a woman’s look at her past, present and future and comments on marriage, girlfriends, bodies and more. She is a Pulitzer Prize winning writer, but I haven’t read her work before. I think it’ll be good.
- Going Clear by Lawrence Wright: I came across this book when I was browsing Book People’s website about the Ben Davis event. Lawrence Wright was recently at Book People talking about his writing on Scientology and Hollywood. I’m curious about Scientology, not for myself but so that I understand what’s happening in the movie world that I so love.
So this is my list right now. I need to try to not buy any more for a while, but books are addictive.
What are you reading?