Friday, February 12, 2010

Thanks for missing me ---

I've been reading the comments to my last post. I was halfway through writing responses to the comments when I realized that my response was turning into a blog post, so I've moved over here.

I am truly looking forward to having John's book, The Days of Wine and Roses, in my hands. (I'm also fascinated by the fact that he calls himself Jack. Who knew?) John, would you prefer to be called Jack, or is that just the name you use for publication purposes?

England - My husband is English, and he is always homesick, so we go to England pretty well every year. I love visiting England, but I'm homesick for Canada by the end of my three or four weeks' holiday.

Kathryn, I recommend to you the experience of climbing worn stone stairs to some little chapel that's been in use for over a thousand years. It's a memory you will cherish for the rest of your life. (I'll be there for most of May - come on over, and I'll show you around!)

As for Tai Chi, it's all about pushing and pulling, sending out energy and drawing it back, finding balance. Making room for Tai Chi in my life, making room for The Turtle, making a living, making poetry -- sometimes it is hard to get my balance, and when I stumble, as I often do, I'm left feeling angry and tired. Then nothing works. Nothing.

So here I am, trying again to get my balance. Bear with me, friends.

I'm reading a book called Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain, which addresses this quest for balance. In it, I found a beautiful quotation from Lieh-tzu -- and immediately, I wanted to share it with you. It describes the moment when Lieh-tzu stopped trying to push the river.

"It was then that the eye was like the ear, and the ear like the nose, and the nose like the mouth; for they were all one and the same. The mind was in rapture, the form dissolved, and the bones and flesh all thawed away; and I did not know how the frame supported itself and what the feet were treading upon. I gave myself away to the wind, eastward or westward, like leaves of a tree."

Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain: pp. 72-73.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mental flu -

-- that's the way I'm thinking about it. From time to time, I go through a period in which I simply cannot post, and that's what has just happened. I didn't even check my e-mail for a few days. Every time I looked at my computer, I tensed up, and my stomach fluttered. Obviously, I needed to back away, so I did. When I was at home, I read or listened to music or watched television, just as if my computer weren't calling out to me, alternately beckoning and scolding. Every relationship has its rocky times, even the one between me and my laptop, or so it seems. So I waited. Then I started gradually working my way back to The Turtle, inch by inch, step by step, until today, when I appear to have recovered sufficiently to allow for this Post About Nothing. Well, not really about Nothing. I haven't just been sitting here. There have been things -- work, mostly, a new job that isn't difficult but requires a mental adjustment. At the moment, I'm working pretty well full time. I'm also taking Tai Chi classes again (finally!) After the Hawaiian holiday, I got into a class as quickly as I could, and I found that I had remembered the first four moves pretty well. Now, I'm trying to learn the mini-set (which is something like the first 16 moves) taking classes with several different teachers, each of whom has something unique to offer. I went to a class this afternoon with a teacher I didn't know. He showed me something I was doing wrong. I haven't figured out how to stop it yet, but at least I'm aware of the problem. Tonight I'll go to Rick's class. I've started enjoying his classes, which is a lesson in itself. Once, years ago, I attended a class with Rick and hated it. It made me think of Boot Camp. It turns out that that was as much a function of the class membership as it was of Rick's teaching style. That particular class was full of young men who were confusing Tai Chi (as practised by us old folks, at least) with Kung Fu or karate or something much more rambunctious. The testosterone in the room was palpable. Anyway, I've learned that Rick, too, has much to teach me, and I look forward to tonight's class.  My Tai Chi dream is that by the time I go to England in May, I'll be able to do the set on my own. Maybe I can do it on the airplane.  ;>)

Oh, yes. That happened, too. We set our dates for the England trip. Robin will spend most of April in England on his own. I will join him on May 6 (well, I'll leave here on May 6) and we will come home together on May 31.

And....I ordered John Hayes's book, The Days of Wine & Roses. I probably won't see it for a couple of weeks, but I shall enjoy the anticipation, right?

And...the pipes under our kitchen sink hit their expiry date yesterday, so I spent part of today watching the plumber save us from drowning.

So you see, this hasn't been a nothing week after all. What have you folks been up to? I'll visit you as soon as I can, and I'll be back here, I promise. It's time to put a new flower and poem in the sidebar. Somebody has been neglecting her duties.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday Photo Shootout - 'round and 'round and 'round...

we go. Since I got back from Hawaii, I've been (1)trying to wake up and (2) working. Up at 4:30 a.m. the last couple of days, I'm finally on a more civilized shift today, which just happens to be Friday. Robin and I put on our warm woolies this morning and went for a walk. I took my camera along, hoping to find a circle or two to photograph, because today's prompt (Thank you, Kerry) is Circles.

 It felt great to get some exercise. Hawaii was lovely, but Robin and I have decided that our aging bodies are much better attuned to the climate of Vancouver Island (or England) than to tropical places. We hardly got any exercise while we were in Hawaii. The warmth felt good, but it wasn't conducive to walking or otherwise exerting ourselves.

Before I show you my circular finds, I must mention that I'm still having tropical breakfasts. I can't get those beautiful strawberry papayas here (they fit perfectly into a cereal bowl - just the right size for breakfast) but I can get Caribbean papayas, so I'm having a chunk of papaya with yoghurt and granola every day. Most delicious - and without the jet lag. ;>)

So anyway - to the walk. We were surprised and delighted to see that apparently we have a family (den? group? pack?) of beavers in the stream that runs along the Parkway Walkway. I didn't take a photo of the pointy tree stumps they left behind - I was too busy looking for beavers - but seeing them reminded me to take a picture just a little way down the path - of another stump, this one Not Felled by Beavers. Aha. My first circle.

After that, there seemed to be circles everywhere. Somebody even left a piece of litter that fit the theme. I have no idea what it is.

We both quite enjoyed this walk - checking out the new dams under construction, looking for the builders, kept us both occupied so that we didn't think too much about the drizzle or the fact that I, at any rate, hadn't bothered with a coat or a hat because I figured I would walk faster if I were just slightly chilly.

I can truthfully report that this is not Hawaii. It's cold out there.

As we approached the car, which was parked in a lot along the Parkway, I found a manhole cover.

Then it was time to go take the photo that I had been thinking about along the walk - at the Tai Chi clubhouse. When I haven't been working or trying to catch up on sleep, I've been at Tai Chi class, making up for lost time. The movements of Tai Chi are circular, and so is its logo.

This was fun. I started out thinking I would take one or two photos, but I ended up with more than I could use - and I never got around to photographing piles of coins, though I considered it. We have lots of coins here in Canada - not just pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, but loonies - and toonies, too. Maybe one of our other Canadian members will do the honours.

I'm off to work now, leaving a musical circle for your enjoyment.