26.3.11

Lost

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When I was in college, I had a year-long romance with one of my writing professors. He was a sweet man, with blue eyes and dark, curly hair. We'd clicked.

He had just gotten divorced from his wife of twenty-plus years. The divorce had been quite friendly. The two of them still shared studio space (she was a painter) in Somerville. We, he and I and she and her new boyfriend, even spent a weekend in Maine together. Their kids, both older than me, had been there and everything had been very well-adjusted and nice.

I told him during that weekend in Maine that his stories of Audre Lorde in New York in the '70s were what made me want to sleep with him. He'd laughed and said, "If you liked that, what do I get for Cheever and Carver at Iowa?"

After several months, it was apparent that he was still in love with his wife. I finally said this to him after we'd been to dinner with her following a gallery show for one of her friends. I told him he should try to work it out with her.

We were at his house in Brookline, sitting on the back porch. I liked him a lot, but I didn't love him and he and his wife were so wonderful together that it was painful to see them apart. He said he didn't think she wanted that. I told him he was wrong.

We spent our last night together in his bed. In the morning, when I descended the stairs to the kitchen, he'd made breakfast and placed a wrapped package on my plate. It was a signed copy of Between Our Selves by Audre Lorde. It was one of the most meaningful gifts I've ever received.

I went looking for that book today and found that I've lost it. Like so many things, I don't know how long it's been gone - like the sparkly butterfly barrette my grandmother gave me not long before she died; like the set of calligraphy brushes a boy with a crush brought me from Japan; like the picture-record of Lady and the Tramp I got for my 24th birthday from a man I loved who knew what it meant to me.

For a while I was sad about having lost something that was once so meaningful.

21.3.11

Counterintuitive

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So I have this aching back. I've stopped doing my favorite yoga classes because my back can't take the faster paced classes. Now, it seems, I may reduce my practice even more.

In a counterintuitive turn of events, I have discovered that my back does much better with NO yoga. Yeah. Weird, right?

Ever since I started practicing Bikram three years ago, I've believed in it's healing powers. My creaky knees got better, my tight elbows and shoulders opened up, I felt great. As I took my practice to new places, I continue to see positive changes in my body. My mid-spine, though far from supple, is much more flexible than it used to be.

For all these reasons, I continued to practice when I jammed my SI joint. My studio owner, the chiropractor, advised me to go back to the Bikram-like classes (the hold/rest system as opposed to vinyasa) while my back was healing.

When I repeatedly came out of the hold/rest classes in more pain than I went in, I went back to the studio owner and talked to him. He said that maybe the heat, in this case, was causing the pain by creating swelling in the joint. He then suggested I do only Yin classes.

The problem with the Yin classes is that there's usually only one a day and it's usually late. So I got a Yin book and decided to do it at home. It was fine. It definitely didn't hurt to do the poses without heat, but I still wasn't seeing improvement in my back. It wasn't worse, but not better, either. But I kept on doing the yoga because everything and everyone said that it was the thing to do.

Last week, we were on vacation. I didn't do a single yoga pose the whole week and my back feels a lot better. It's still achy. I still don't have a full range of motion, but I also don't have a searing pain down my thigh anymore. I can sit with relative ease and I can even bend at the waist again without pain.

I think I may have a yoga hiatus until this joint is back to normal. I would never have even considered it if I hadn't had such marked improvement in my back without the yoga. This is the first time in months that I've been able to get out of bed without pain.

It's the last thing I ever expected. But maybe this is what my body needs to have happen right now. I'm going to give it a try and see what happens.



11.3.11

Crap! I forgot it's Crush Day!

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I forgot that it's International Crush Day. Oops.

So really quickly my crushes, in no particular order are:

- Baron Baptiste
- Isabelle de Borchgrave
- Isushi in Castro Valley
- The Purl Bee
- Hyperbole and a Half
- well-made bangers
- iPhone 4
- iPad 2
- Jennifer Lawrence
- Those Darlins
- roasted pheasant
- Champagne risotto

An end with no beginning

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They stood on opposite sides of a hedge where they'd stood long before, saying goodbye.

"Thanks for the use of the house," she said, handing him a set of keys.

He took the keys and smiled.  "You know, no matter what comes after this - another life, an afterlife, or nothing - there will always be a hole in my heart where you belong, but have never fit."

She patted his hand that rested on the dense shrub between them and turned and walked away.  She didn't look back and she knew he hadn't either.

8.3.11

Saying Goodbye to Old Companions

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So far this year, three of my favorite things to read have ended their runs. First was On Language, which, though not the same without William Safire, has been one of my most regular rituals since I was about 12.

My parents always got the Sunday New York Times, no matter where we lived. My dad, always an early riser, would read the paper, organize it, and leave the Magazine on top for me. When I got up, I would go directly to On Language. When I no longer lived with my parents, I still usually got the Sunday Times to start my Sunday with the Magazine.

For most of my life the column was written by William Safire. When he died a year and a half ago, I thought no one could do it as well as he did, but that wasn't true. The column was different and I misses the voice of the curmudgeonly originator, but the pieces were equally good. In the end, Ben Zimmer wrote most of the columns and did a damn good job of it.

When he announced the end of On Language at the end of February, I got a little teary. On Language helped me discover my love of language and my desire to play with it. I could always count on it to make me think and, often, get out my dictionary. I will miss it, the ritual of it, and the fun of it.

The same day, The Ethicist also ended his run. After I read On Language, I always read The Ethicist. Randy Cohen wrote thoughtful responses to people with ethical dilemmas. The questions often dealt with things like how much effort you should put into returning found property or whether it's ethical to accept courtesy cards from the police department.

Sometimes the answers surprised me, sometimes not, but they were consistently well-written and well-considered. The questions, too, were thoughtful. It was nice to know that people want to do the right thing even if they aren't sure what the right thing is. I am sorry to see The Ethicist come to its end, but, to quote Prince, "...all good things, they say, never last."*

Which brings me to the last goodbye, at least thus far in the year. Hannah, just breathe has shuttered her storefront, so to speak, and I will miss her lovely writing, her insights, and starting my day with a reliably good read.

Being in the Pacific Standard Timezone meant that, most days, by the time I woke up, Hannah had posted already. It was my first stop of the day - usually before I even got out of bed. By the time I read her latest post, there were usually already a few comments.

The commenters also had great insights and thought-provoking things to say. I often went back throughout the day just to read the comments.

I feel a bit forlorn at having lost all three of them so close together, but change is what makes life interesting. I thank all of these writers for enriching my days and providing inspiration and companionship.

Here's to new adventures for us all.




*Sometimes It Snows in April