Even a smile is a good deed.
— Shari Arison
Peace . . .
Here’s an up-close and personal look at one of the pests I love to hate. This is the first of thousands of Japanese beetles that will alight on my Virginia creeper this year. Left unchecked, with their insatiable appetite, the beetles will strip the large plant of each and every leaf.
If you don’t want to spray several applications of poison to control the population — and I don’t — the experts say one can simply pluck the bugs off the plant and thrust them into a bucket of soapy water. I’ve devised a more efficient and less intimate strategy.
I fill a Shop-Vac with a few inches of soapy water, hook up a long extension cord, and quite unceremoniously suck the buggers up the nozzle. It’s especially satisfying if you can catch them copulating, but that’s just me.
With their iridescent green head, I can see where one Japanese beetle mind find another utterly fetching. And if they weren’t so destructive, I might be inclined to agree. But as one who had the unique experience of feeling a Japanese beetle floundering along my scalp at 65 mph down the freeway, I will be the first to say they are completely unwelcome.
Peace . . .
Movement is the new exercise. Exercise is pedaling nowhere watching the miles click by on a monitor. Movement is breathing the fresh air, nodding to your neighbors and feeling the sun on your face. Movement is dance. Or stretching the kinks away, or even mowing the lawn. Movement can even be lifting weights in a sweaty gym, but not for me.
Movement is physical activity, no matter how small. Exercise is a type of physical activity, but implies counting reps or miles and following a program in the hope of achieving a level of fitness.
I love the idea of movement. But lately, I’ve been trying to be a little more vigorous about my movement without slipping into exercise. I have some autumn goals I’m looking toward, and I want to be strong and capable when they get here. For me, it’s a slippery slope to exercise. And I hate exercise. If it becomes exercise, (pardon my French, NIKE) I’ll just never do it.
Last weekend was hot and humid. It was my least favorite weather. And for a Minnesotan to say it was the worst weather of all, is saying something.
I strapped a water bottle to my bike with the intention of cycling just a little bit farther than I had the time before. And I did. Until, on the way back, I ran out of gas, so to speak. My water was warm. It was hot in the shade. Even after resting, I had trouble swinging my leg over the crossbar without losing my balance. To make a long story short, I eventually made it home safely and was fine after resting in the back yard.
Since then, I’ve had every excuse in the book why I can’t hop on my bicycle for even a few blocks. I’d ruined it for myself.
The days of rest gave me some space to assess the situation. I hadn’t practiced mindful movement. I’d made the mileage the goal. I’d turned it into exercise, which I personally equate to mental, physical and emotional torture.
So I pictured a meter. At zero is rest. At the far right is death. In between, the needle moves from leisure to torture. The sweet spot on the meter is where I find challenge. If I want to continue getting stronger, I need to push past leisurely movement and try not to venture into torture. The minute I hit torture, I’m going to shut down — physically, emotionally and psychologically — I’d literally rather sit on the couch feeling horrible about myself.
Torture = feeling too sick, hot or tired to continue; cursing myself because I can’t do what I think I “should;” playing mind games to keep myself moving
Leisure = feeling good to get up off the couch; smiling at flowers or bugs along the way; shaking off stress
Challenge = awareness of breath and body; gratitude for the ability to move and breathe; mastery of presence — finding the sweet spot on the meter
For me, running a marathon or training for the Olympics sounds like self torture. I simply want to walk a 5k without limping across the finish line. This is the movement movement. It’s personal, it’s mindful and it feeds the body, mind and soul.
Peace . . .
The Creeping Charlie is at it again. It’s more of a march than a creep, to be honest. I pulled out a whole yard waste bin of it, uncovering, to my surprise, the milkweed I planted last year.
This afternoon I took a bicycle ride around town, and was delighted by how many gardeners have included this vital Monarch Butterfly treat in their yards.
As I pedal, I like to wave or nod to neighbors working on cars, mowing lawns, or having a glass of ice tea on the front step. It’s an old-fashioned gesture reciprocated more often by older folk than young, who double-take, smile and quickly glance away. I like to think it’ll catch on.
Maybe I’ll just always be that crazy waving neighbor lady. I’m okay with that, too.
Peace . . .
It was a rocky start. The baby crowned and then receded, not once but twice. I remember the discomfort as the doctor reached in to relieve her shoulder from the constraint of the umbilical cord. And then she was born.
She was healthy except for a few bruises on her face from her dramatic entrance to the world. There were people pressing on my abdomen and novocain shots in the most excruciating place, and stitching. And the mother thing didn’t kick in right away.
Then the nurses came in and out and the family swarmed and gave her the first bath and the first diaper change and the first swaddling. They put her to my breast and they watched to make sure it all worked the way it was supposed to. The doctor came and left.
When they told me it was time to go home, I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know why. I just needed another day or week or month.
Once the home care instructions were given, my bags packed, the papers signed, like a magic spell everyone disappeared. Nurses went off to dote on other patients. Family left for home. Her dad went to get the car and we were alone, she and me.
I turned her to face me on my lap. I looked in her puffy dark blue eyes and I asked her if she was ready to come home. I told her about the alphabet border I painted around the top of her bedroom wall; about the clothes and crib we had readied for her arrival. I explained that we had never done this before, and that I understood it was all new to her too. I promised that I would always be the best mom I could, and that sometimes it might not be good enough, but that I would always love her with all of my heart.
Suddenly and without warning I was ready to go home. Though she’ll never remember it, she gave to me the greatest gift of motherhood, and I’m ever grateful she saved it for just the two of us . . .
she and me.
I can’t tell you how many different ways this makes me sad. While my daughters grew up, I dieted incessantly. I stepped on the scale daily — at least. I kept logs and charts on my weight, menus listing points and calories. It was not a body positive household. And the messages I learned were passed to me from my mother.
In their teens, as my schedule grew to include a career, there was less time for meal planning, point counting, and self-loathing. I finally learned to love my beautiful self. I can only hope they absorbed some of that message, too, and maybe even restored some of the damage.
As Mother’s Day approaches, it’s my wish that every mom can see herself as the beautiful life-giving Goddess she is. We should all see ourselves through the eyes of those who love us most. After you’ve watched the first Dove video, check out this one from Dove, too.
How do you describe yourself?
Peace . . .
With the younger generation waiting longer to start their families, people like me are having to wait longer to have grandchildren. I’m okay with it as long as they keep letting me call these creatures my grandpets. None have objected, but I do notice their sideways glances when I walk in announcing “Gramma’s here!”
And like any proud Gramma, I brought pictures….
Thunderpaws was so named for the size of his tremendous feet. I like to call him T-Paws. He was such a good boy when he arrived, we were convinced he might have been perfect. That is, until he ate the carpet. Well, he might not be perfect after all, but he’s a very loving boy.
Thunderpaws has us all wrapped around his heart, which is at least as big as his paws!
Frank is a clever little pup. He has his own social media account on Instagram as Frank The Tank but I call him Frankster the Prankster.
Last month he learned to drive. As far as I know he hasn’t had any accidents or moving violations, but he likes to stop at all the fire hydrants.
Mufasa is my grand-rabbit. He might be named for the fluffy mane around his neck, or maybe because he’s a brave little bunny. My own dogs are leery of a running vacuum, but Mufasa hops over and sniffs the windy nozzle. He doesn’t seem to mind when his dog-cousin, T-Paws, comes to visit, either.
Admit it. That little bunny face made you smile.
It’s not like I bring a lawn chair to watch their sports at the dog park, or take them out on their birthdays. Hey, I haven’t completely lost my marbles. But sometimes you have to make do with what you’ve got, and for now I’ve got grandpets.
Peace . . .