Week #26: Morning Glory

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius

I love sleep, it’s one of those beautiful gifts that God gave to us. Dreams are also one of my favorite things & are usually a rich, wild ride. But this morning I woke up at 5 AM. Why? Because God’s beautiful moments are like breaths. They’re always there, you just have to take them.

The reason I needed to be up so early was because I completed a 5K—The Color Run! Now such things & I do not go hand in hand. But when a coworker suggested this walking-optional, colorful 5K, I actually wanted to do it. The Color Run special is special because at points throughout the course, participants are blasted with brightly colored powder. Color? Count me in!!

Even though there was no pressure (it’s not even timed), I was pretty nervous. The girls I was with—my coworker, her sister & friends—were all at least somewhat athletic & I didn’t want to slow anybody down. But, as usual, my worries were unsubstantiated. The entire experience was a blast (of color!); the crowd (15,000 people), the color stations & fellowship all filled me with energy & it was hard to stop smiling. After crossing the finish line with about 1,000 other people—all of whom started out dressed in white to maximize the before/after effect—we danced to the music & waited until the countdown to simultaneously launch our color packets into the air. It was beautiful; get the pics here 🙂

I never thought I’d say that a 5K was one of my most enjoyable experiences, but I guess, when the moment is there I just have to trust God & take it. Whew!

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Week #25: I can see clearly now

“I had glasses & was kind of weird.” – Jennifer Sky

Improv is a hobby of mine & I’m not bad at it. I’d like to say it’s because of my quick wit, natural talent or Wayne Brady-esque vocalizing, but I think it’s all the lying I did as a kid. One of the few tall tales I remember that actually fooled someone somewhat inspired this week’s AN52.

I’ve had 20/20 (or whatever’s good on the eyeball scale) vision my whole life. But when I was in the third grade all of the rest of the kids started getting glasses. So—I decided that I’d get some. I got my mom to take me to the optometrist & then proceeded to lie my toukas off while reading the eye chart. The result was a tearful confession to Mom after an extremely painful hour of wearing the thickest glasses ever made.

But I’ve decided to give it another try, honestly this time, & so this entire week I wore a pair of (non-prescription) glasses. It was painful at first since I wasn’t used to having this extra appendage, but later on in the week, I felt strange if I didn’t have them on. A few amusing things were the ‘fogging up’ factor, how many times I bumped them into things, & the fact that my boss said, “They make you look like you’ve got hootspa/chutzpah.” The downsides were the initial headaches & trying to keep them clean.

All in all, I think if the day comes, I could do glasses. But I won’t be telling any tales to get there.

Week #24: Every day I’m shufflin’

“You work faster & faster & every time you look up there seems to be just as much left to sweep as before, & you try even harder, & you panic, & in the end you’re out of breath & have to stop…” – Michael Ende, Momo

There are so many things to thank Canada for—Nathan Fillion, maple syrup, & many, manly beards—but I never would have thought I’d add curling to that list…which I’m doing..right now.

One of the brightest (that’s an inside joke, just so you don’t think I’m insulting the rest of you) of the AN52 readers suggested curling as an activity when I was trawling for AN52 ideas (thanks!!). I signed up almost immediately—here it was something completely foreign, somewhat obscure, but with style & panache enough to spare.

In case you don’t know what curling is, it’s just like this—at least if you’re Canadian. You begin by pushing off from the hack (a block stuck into the ice) with the “rock”, that stone with the handle, in your dominant hand & a broom in the other. The idea is to transfer your mass’s momentum to the stone and get it to land in the center target on the other end of the rink. 2 members of your team have brooms and shuffle along the ice sweeping in front of the rock. Too slick & too much momentum, it goes to far; too little, & well, you get the picture. There are 2 teams who alternate throwing & with the strategy that ensues, I can understand why it’s sometimes called “Ice Chess”.

If I haven’t communicated the game play well, at least I can let you know how enjoyable it was. Coming into an ice rink in the middle of the summer heat is refreshing & even though it’s incredibly low-impact, I worked up a sweat & “felt the burn”. I’ve never played a sport that was so social & low-key, kind of like, “Hey, you want to come curling with me? Bring the kids & the dog & the burgers & we’ll all have a good time.”

Despite that there’s still a moment of thrill.When you’re sweeping like mad & the rock is getting closer to your broom (if they touch, they’re disqualified), all that matters in the world is sweeping faster & shuffling faster to set a good path & keep ahead of it. You don’t even have time to ask yourself, Why am I fleeing from a rock sliding down this ice with a broom in my hand? It’s just that much fun.

Week #23: New heights

“If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!” – J.M. Barrie

It was going to be pickles, my new thing for this week. But, pickling actually takes a lot more equipment than I had previously thought. So, I tried to find some inspiration in the great wide world, get out & about, you know, that sort of thing. It didn’t really work, so I went to one of my happy places—the public library. & there in the halls of learning, was a poster for, of all things, the Midwest tree climbing competition.

Bango, bingo, cha-chingo—there’s my new thing! The competition was at a local park & after lunch I headed over. I honestly didn’t know what to expect(you can judge for yourself if the website‘s very clear), but it was nuts. Which makes sense, because nuts grow in trees.

Tree climbing is a huge, international sport (as you can see from this video from Wales) & hecka fun to watch ’cause the trees are alive with helmeted, bearded good ol’ boys secured with climbing harnesses & carabiners. As far as I can figure it, it goes hand in hand with people in the tree service (ironically, my uncle was also a treeman). The events (work climb, aerial rescue, belayed speed climb, throwline & secured footlock) highlighted the skills that are key in that line of work, focusing especially on safety, time & technique. Throwing a log into a box & handling equipment without dropping it may not sound like much until you’re doing it from 30-60 feet up. One of the guys even said he had once rescued a cat from a tree.

All in all, it was a very professional, ‘safety-first’ sort of atmosphere. That’s probably comforting to all the mothers out there who yell out to so many children, “You keep climbing those trees, you’re going to get stuck up there!!” So, the next time I’m stuck for ideas, at least I’ll know it couldn’t be any worse being stuck up in a tree.

Week #22 Report

“They say when you are missing someone that they are probably feeling the same, but I don’t think it’s possible for you to miss me as much as I’m missing you right now” – Edna St. Vincent Millay

When I went home for Memorial Day Weekend, I spent a bit of time outside. Which meant chigger bites & the ensuing itchiness. You’ve all had that feeling before, I’m sure, the one that starts in your finger tips & continues until even your hair’s on fire, dying for just one little scratch, one bit of relief.

That’s kind of what it was like for me without the mirror this week. While I wouldn’t classify myself as a vain person, I felt like Narcissus pining for his pool, almost aching to be able to use the mirror again. It was so strange walking into a room with a mirror & averting my eyes or even closing them. If I accidentally caught a glimpse of myself, it was startling, like a shock of cold water & I usually gasped & snapped my peepers shut.

I missed seeing my face, but more than that, knowing what was going on with myself that day.  Not going to lie, I get a little swagger when I especially like what I see in the reflection. I carry that mental image with me throughout the day & get a little boost from it. Without that, I felt somewhat deflated, but it wasn’t all bad.

Similar to losing a cellphone, it was refreshing not to have to meet an object’s expectations. When I headed out the door, I felt somewhat of a ‘Qué será, será’ attitude & didn’t let myself stress over my appearance. A few times, I even tried to do my hair, but attempting a new style with only touch to tell you what’s going on is very challenging. Messing up didn’t come as a defeat, just a new adventure.

Was it hard? Yes. Will I do it again? No. Did I gain something to reflect on? Oh yeah 😉

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