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(c) 2015 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2015 Christiana Lambert

All this dog walking we’ve been doing lately is a great way to slow down and really see the neighborhood where we live. When my daughter and I first started walking our little pack of three, her puppy, Patches, garnered much of our attention. Not sure how often I really noticed the surroundings. But now that he’s about to turn five months’ old, we’re all settling into routines. That leaves more time for us to pay attention to more than just the dogs.

We tend to amble around without a pattern, especially to keep the puppy from thinking he knows where we are going. Why should he be any different than we are? Even if we choose to walk the dogs to a specific place in order to complete an errand, we don’t often choose the same path. We set off on an “expotition”—in the words of Winnie the Pooh and friends.

I love living in an older neighborhood laid out in a grid. Every block as well as every house on that block is different. Not only that but properties range from very well kept-up to, well, not kept-up at all. That’s just the potluck of living in a town developed one house or a few at a time, mostly before most people thought about master planning communities. If you know anything about me, you know I think potluck=you take what you get—and that’s most often a good thing.

Each walk we take leads us to discover another house that surprises us in some way—a bold color combination, a unique original style, or a creative response to adding space to a home built before most homeowners expected more than 1,000 square feet to satisfy their needs. People can mock our town as a “hood” all they want, but some real jewels add sparkle to the neighborhoods, either in traditional ways or “would have never thought of that” ways.

Part of why walking around these spaces feels like home to me is because so many of my nearby streets remind me of the small town where I often explored streets on foot and/or wheels or the one where I did so with my cousins when I visited my grandparents. Those were streets where real people lived and where putting on airs and “keeping up with the Joneses” was the stuff of seeing who could get wet laundry out to dry on the line earliest and whose flowers and produce might do best at the county fair. These were not homes where people thought spending money in showy ways was clever, but rather that thrifty living and taking a creative—and wise—approach to making do was how the clever amongst them had survived the Great Depression.

Most people who live in the homes in my town either do not have the means to spend in big ways or still believe in the value of a dollar taught to us by previous generations. We choose to live here in this old school place with its old school values because we want to do so—even if that means putting up with not everything around us being just so.

And during these now-hot days of August, I especially appreciate the opportunity to drink in the kind of growth that comes from my neighbors’ diligent attention to tending their colorful flowers. At the same time, I also notice the kind of growth that comes from ignoring weeds—something that will eventually be handled through encounters with city code enforcement officials.

Potluck—that’s what we get here, without the tightly held parameters of HOA control and without the sameness of master planning. These daily walks of late remind me just how much the ordinary as well as extraordinary that surrounds me and my humble abode satisfies my hunger for beauty. Not every dish is pleasing, but the overwhelming bounty and variety at the table provide just the sustenance I need to fill me up.

Some of the women standing by the limo. (Picture taken for us, 2015)

Some of the women standing by the limo. (Picture taken for us, 2015)

Just when you thought that limousine was full of hot young women, you might have been surprised to see the women from my bible study climb out—or lumber out if we want to be truthful. Keep in mind that I am the youngest in the group—thank goodness my hip is healing because it took quite a bit of effort to shimmy back and forth from the depths of that stretch limo. The more limber folks among us did our best to scoot to the back whenever loading up.

So why would a group of “mature” bible study ladies hire a limo?

I guess because we have no access to a church van and because we wanted to take our road trip together—while avoiding the increasingly hostile traffic in the region.

And what a road trip. These “ladies who did lunch with me” not only offered to go 70 miles (one way) to see my daughter’s senior capstone art show as a group, but also to treat me to the gift of transportation with them for the ride. What a great showing of support for both my daughter and me—have appreciated all their prayers for my family over the years, but this expedition was something else.

Let’s just say that not driving while also not being able to see how our driver was handling that crazy roadway was extremely relaxing. (Perhaps a little bit of a metaphor about control there? Hm.)

No doubt the arrival of our bustling group shattered the illusion of a quiet morning for Max, one of the owners of ARTISAN FRAMING, the custom framing shop where the works are being exhibited. But, ever the professional, he took our presence in stride and continued constructing frames despite the considerable change in noise level. I did the best I could to play gallery host to my daughter’s works, but was relieved when she and her brother arrived together—without a limo driver their journey took a bit longer.

She took over answering questions and I got to bask in the pride I feel knowing that the little girl who always made art out of materials grabbed from our recycling bin grew into an accomplished artist who creates pieces by repurposing common materials.

We left the artist and her brother behind to their own plans so that we really could go do lunch before riding back to our own town. At the Mainline Ale House we not only received excellent service and ate tasty food, but we all also received the anniversary special of two-for-one entrees. What a pleasant surprise to add to our already pleasant experience.

Neither rain nor parking woes nor traffic slowdowns stayed our swift courier from completing his appointed round—we had a ticket to ride and I’m so grateful that everyone cared enough to let my daughter to know that she, also, has a ticket to ride.

The only way that will bring us down is if she doesn’t take that ticket and ride with the gift of art she has worked so hard to nurture—she has a ticket to ride and may she ride it for all it is worth. Limousines, planes, trains, or automobiles—any form of transportation it takes, but she’s got a ticket to ride—and we all do care.

(c) 2014 Trina Lambert  Hummingbird Moth seen among the flowers at O'Toole's

(c) 2014 Trina Lambert
Hummingbird Moth seen among the flowers at O’Toole’s

Mother’s Day has come and gone and that makes me think of . . . planting flowers. Here in the metro Denver area of Colorado, gardening experts warn us not to put annuals in the ground until after Mother’s Day—which is really good advice. This year that day dawned with about six inches of snow blanketing my lawn. Much as I love my local garden centers, I’d rather support them by purchasing plants that live. And so I wait, but not very patiently.

For me, searching for seasonal colors in a place that only sells plants and trees and soil and the like is worth the extra pennies. I know I can usually find plants for cheaper at big box stores, but the quality and experience is nowhere near the same as that in a garden center—plus I really don’t want to contribute to the demise of this type of business so near and dear to my heart.

I most definitely work to support local businesses by patronizing them and by sharing my good encounters with others. However, I am only one person so I also love seeing that other businesses such as Good Monster—which creates engaging customer experiences through digital marketing—support the cause by helping the types of local businesses, such as those I mention here, build and maintain customer awareness. I want others to share in the joy I experience, but I also, selfishly, want to keep the businesses I enjoy in business. Yes, I have ulterior motives, but I also believe that others—small business owners and other customers—benefit from our support of  unique businesses and how those businesses add to local economies (and beyond) while fostering a more creative business climate for all.

And thus, my first plant-buying expedition of the season takes me to a small family-owned nursery that, despite all the development built-up around it, has more land than I ever imagined. Bonsai Nursery Inc. (Englewood) offers so many more plant options than the casual gardener I am needs. Other than providing my yard with two dwarf conifer trees and a (gift) rosebush, Bonsai mostly serves as the place where I go in order to bring home the splash and easy-care of annual plants for my containers and built-in beds.

But what splash those flowers have brought my yard over the years. Bonsai is a quiet sanctuary where I can arrive on a weekday and take my time moving back and forth between flats of plants while visualizing and dreaming. I do not buy the colorful pre-made hanging baskets—I come here to create for myself. Which palettes do I want to honor this year for each of my various containers and which of the available plants will work best together? If I pause too long, often one of the owners shouts across the space to find out if I need help. He can answer what conditions work for certain plants or when he will be getting another truckload of which plants and talk about how the current season’s conditions are affecting what is available and which plants are thriving. Not only do I get experienced guidance on the flowers and conditions, but also on fertilizers and soils and maintenance—all served up with humor from the various family members. They may not remember me personally but they most definitely do remember those who return season after season for larger purchases I can only covet. Though I wish I could spend even more there, I always spend more than I should.

My next stop on my plant-buying tour—usually a few days later—is at the closest of three metro Denver stores. The experience at O’Toole’s Garden Center (Littleton) could not be more different. Even early on a weekday May morning, the parking lot is full. I park as far away as I can to avoid all the crazy shoppers who just can’t seem to buy enough plants—once again I envy their budgets. In through the store and out to the plant patio and the land beyond, we shoppers negotiate our carts between aisles packed with almost-overwhelming options. The ever patient plant specialists working amongst the plants provide solid advice as we line up for their expertise on plants as well as for their knowledge of where the newest shipments are on site. Off to the side and across the back we can find more, more, more—maybe the hidden plants at the back corner will be even more vibrant than those on close display—the hunt in O’Toole’s can take me hours as I—and many others—waver between this and that option. All the while lively music (from the younger days of many of the shoppers) plays over the loud system—plant-buying at O’Toole’s is a party, not a solitary experience. We whisper admissions of guilt to one another about how we are just too tempted to behave properly with our purchases. Non-gardening family members enter into this pleasure palace at their own risk.

I admit I still pick up a plant or two at the big box centers—but only to round out what I have not found elsewhere. For pure magic and possibility, only garden centers provide. As I write this—full well knowing my schedule is too busy yet for my seasonal return to the garden (centers)—I am already seeing, smelling, and touching those beautiful plants that will fill my heart again this season—even those flowers I only visit in passing on the journey to finding those that will come home with me to brighten up our humble spaces.

Thanks to my local garden centers, paradise awaits.

(c) 2015 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2015 Christiana Lambert


Winter term, freshman year, on a bleak, white-washed January Ohio day, I showed up for the first day of that necessary evil of college: composition or expository writing or whatever you want to call the class each college makes you take to ensure you write well enough to get through any future college writing assignments. That day I met my future academic adviser, though I didn’t know it yet. The major hadn’t chosen me yet so I still had the adviser assigned to me before I showed up on campus. Dr. B. seemed the picture of one of those common caricatures of what a literature professor is like—he was a former beatnik with a salt and pepper early Beatles’ style haircut who rode an old black bike across campus, keeping his small manual typewriter set in the mesh basket attached to the front. He wanted us to call him by his initials or his nickname, but I stuck with the formal “Dr.” whenever I addressed him. I was way more uptight than this man, but we got along just fine, nonetheless.

When I left for college, I wrote well enough—you know, for a person who could apply basic grammar rules. My papers made sense and I could say what I meant. Still, like most of my peers, I did not write well enough to test out of the basic composition class. At the time I put that down to a writing prompt that had something to do with the Iran Hostage Crisis. As I mentioned in the previous post, I was really not into thinking that deeply at that point in time, but I’m pretty certain the reason I didn’t test out of the class was because I needed to take it not because of the difficulty of the prompt.

What I learned most in his class was less about writing with correct grammar—because I already did that well—and more about how to create writing that sounded fresh in a variety of settings. Yes, we could insert fragments (incomplete sentences) as long as we applied them sparingly and used our pens to indicate we knew what and where they were. (Excuse me while I apologize to him right now since it appears I often ignore his “sparingly” rule regarding usage of fragments—sorry, Dr. B.)

However, the fragments are just something that really resonates with who I am as a writer. I imagine I might write better if I stopped making quite so many asides. Not that I’m stopping. (Mark that frag. for Dr. B.) What mattered most was that he taught me and all my classmates the difference between writing in passive and active voice. He challenged us to circle every instance of passive voice we used in our papers and to leave as few as necessary in the final drafts. Even if I hadn’t majored in English or chosen to write/edit, I would have needed to learn this—hey, I think everyone needs to know how to write in active voice. Not only does writing become more immediate with active voice, but using it also forces writers to search deeper for just the right verb, something that tends to develop a more creative process.

To this day, I struggle to get through a book that distances itself through passive language. Maybe reading all those (mostly ancient) philosophy texts my first weeks in college influenced the amount of relief I felt from learning how to bring about some clarity in writing! Yet, I have read books on topics such as probability, process management, business, psychology, and DNA but only if written well—which for me tends to mean the writing uses active language. Even the chemistry and astronomy textbooks I proofread last fall avoided most usages of passive voice—the writing spelled out concepts in a straightforward and accessible manner that should aid future students in applying those concepts to the associated exercises and experiments.

Some of life happens to us—passive voice sometimes works in the tales we tell of those stories, but not always—unless, of course, we are deliberately trying to downplay the action. Imagine the emotional and visual difference between saying “I was hit by a car” versus saying “A car hit me”—one creates distance and a sort of matter-of-fact impression of the news while the other projects a strong picture that could lead to a more visceral response. Nonetheless, the first statement is exactly how my mother finally admitted she did remember after all that a car hit her first before she came home and fell again. Though my mom had a story to tell, she did not want to do so—she deliberately fell back on passive voice to obfuscate the facts.

Don’t make the mistake of using passive voice when you really want others to hear your story, though. Doesn’t matter if it’s an annual report for a business or a technical how-to piece or the story of how your mother broke her foot—if you want the reader to stay with the story, write in active voice as often as you can.

(Even after a car hit my mother, she healed well. Thank goodness we soon found a doctor practiced enough at listening to seniors that he could interpret passive voice narratives meant to conceal health and/or safety concerns.)

(c) 2013

(c) 2013

Despite all the frustrations over scheduling and advising, our daughter is getting ready to graduate this semester. Yahoo! She is busy making certain all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed so that she can leave with that degree—for which she will have an extra 14 credit hours. No, I told her not to accept the department adviser’s minor error on her graduation contract—it could matter. (My niece is marrying a man whose academic department started quibbling with him regarding his degree completion over two months after they said he had graduated.)

Besides completing her capstone art semester, which will culminate with a solo art show, she is also taking a professional practices course. She’s been working on tasks such as creating business cards and setting up her professional Facebook page. Somehow it’s hard to believe—despite the extra two semesters—that she is finally graduating.

Yes, we are those “crazy” parents who “let” our daughter declare a major in art—with a concentration in drawing in a small and highly competitive program. Will she be able to support herself solely with her art? That remains to be seen, but the desire to support herself is one of the reasons she is getting her art education within a four-year (make that five-year!) university program.

In these times so many people believe studying the humanities at all, let alone art, is a license to starve. And I have to thank everyone (sarcasm intended) who has pointed that out over the years, including some of her professors who think it is some sign of poor artistry to do anything with her art that doesn’t involve selling in a studio. Also, I would like to thank the many lackluster students in more practical majors who are shocked—just shocked—that she not only has a lot of work to do for her classes but also that she gets graded. How many of them could survive having all their highly unique work critiqued not only by the professor but also by their peers, every single time?

I happen to believe that being a passionate student in any subject teaches students more than they will learn if they only do the bare minimum in some subject they take because it is supposed to earn them money. Hey, I have an MBA (to go with that lowly humanities degree) but I’ve met a lot of former and current business majors who cared more about partying than balance sheets or P/E ratios.

When my daughter tells many students what she is studying, they say, “Oh, wow, I can’t draw.” As if somehow this has anything to do with them in the first place but I think they’re trying to point out how irrelevant her knowledge is. I’ll get to what’s relevant about her studies in a moment, but let’s just say that it’s too bad they can’t draw, because she can draw by hand and computer (plus edit by computer) as well as create spreadsheets, perform accounting, write, do research, and excel in math and science classes.

You see, she’s graduating with a bachelor’s degree just like all the other people at her university—they don’t give those degrees away no matter your major. Like everyone else there, she’s taken a variety of other courses besides those in her major and area of concentration.

Plus—and here’s where my liberal arts rant begins again—each discipline teaches valuable skills that apply to many situations.

In order to obtain a degree in art, for each project she does she has to follow a prompt—in other words, she has to design her finished product to some specifications. She must sketch possibilities from her ideas, research artists and works similar to her idea, investigate materials and see how well she can apply those materials to her specific project plan, and change the plan as needed. She has to manage her time in order to finish a long project by the deadline. When she is finished she must go through a group critique where the professor and her peers get to weigh in on how they perceive her finished project achieved its intent. At times she must create art in partnership or as part of a team. Keep in mind that few of her courses involve taking multiple choice tests by Scantron—most of the work she does is distinct and individualized.

So to summarize: For any given project she must work from directions, use creativity, perform research, practice good time management, remain flexible as her project develops, meet established deadlines, communicate ideas in writing and orally to individuals and groups, and receive criticism and feedback from multiple individuals.

Don’t discount her education—it’s been rigorous and has helped her develop the tools she needs to meet the demands of a variety of professions. Hey, I’d be happy if you’d buy her art and she could live as an artist. But just so you know, her discipline has taught her many skills and developed others that are valuable to many kinds of jobs and careers.

Just because she can draw a box doesn’t mean she isn’t able to draw outside the box.

(c) 2014 Trina Lambert

(c) 2014 Trina Lambert

Desperate times call for—a little laughter. OK, any times call for a little laughter, but especially when the news surrounding us is so tough to digest.

My deep water exercise class each summer brings out way more than a little laughter, class session after class session. The challenge is still hearing the teacher’s instruction while doing the workout—and not getting a mouthful of pool water at the same time. Pool maintenance staff may put a lot of chlorine in that stuff, but we all know what all they’re trying to kill in that water—my classmates especially know since I’m prone to telling them whenever I read studies about what’s in pool water.

During most of the summer we share the pool with kids taking swimming lessons, but the last few sessions each year we are the only ones in the pool. The water is pretty still when we first get in, which means it’s easy to see all the way to the bottom of the 12-foot plus deep end. So last week a few of the women saw something at the bottom they thought might be a mouse or some other critter.

The pool maintenance manager was called in to pull out—a broken pair of sunglasses. The water park’s general manager also witnessed this rescue and promptly promised a free eye doctor visit for all of us at our next session.

Well, what if a (rubber) rat did show up at the pool for our final class?

One woman volunteered to seek out the rat, which she found at Reinke Brothers, a local store with a focus on Halloween, magic, costumes, and the bizarre. Though the man behind the counter had two types of rats to sell her, he apologized because the Halloween shipments had not really started arriving so he could not offer her more variety.

But she was good with the scary-looking black rat with evil red eyes—which she later handed me as she declared it was now my job to provide said rat with a raft and sunglasses to complete the effect.

Thus last night found my husband and me scouring Target for something that could float a rat. How often is it that you find a salesclerk who really gets what you are saying when you’re looking for something for all the odd reasons? But that’s just what happened when I told the clerk in the toy department that I didn’t know what I wanted but that it had to float a rat.

His quizzical expression changed as soon as I clarified the rat was a toy. “Ah,” he said, “you’re pranking someone.”

Armed with the “raft” (a Sky Bouncer by Maui Toys—which the clerk confirmed did float since a friend of his accidentally flew one into a lake recently), my husband and I headed for home to make sunglasses for the rat and then attach him to his raft. When you want to put together something really creative in this house, you either involve our daughter Christiana—who, alas, returned to college last week—or my husband Sherman—or both. She gave us the idea for using aluminum foil, I came up with wrapping it around a pipe cleaner, and he molded the shades and then taped the shades and the rat to the raft. My big task? Coloring the tape he had affixed across the shades. Voilà—and then that rat was one cool dude with his blue-lensed glasses.

(c) 2014 Trina Lambert

(c) 2014 Trina Lambert

Mr. Rat (whose real name shall remain anonymous since we named him for the water park’s general manager—he of sarcastic wit) floated along with us as we did our workout this morning, even startling a few women as he crept up on them. When we complained to the pool maintenance manager about the rat, he laughed and ran to get his phone to record the interloper. He even managed to prank the kid who had made sure the pool was ready to go this morning.

Well, I made off with the “raft” because I have a few grand-nephews who plan to visit, but what about the rat?

What about the rat? We shoved him under the opening in the cashier’s box and left him as a gift for the water park’s manager. What water park manager doesn’t need his own shade-wearing rat to help chase away the wintertime blues—and to remind him of patrons, such as us, who delight in plaguing him every summer?

(c) 2014 Trina Lambert

(c) 2014 Trina Lambert

My husband Sherman and I have worked to create an authentic life together—one where we don’t put our efforts toward impressing people based on outward appearances. We have chosen to spend our whole marriage in a funky neighborhood that has no covenants; we do not drive fancy vehicles; and, we have not pursued the material path in any way. We yam what we yam.

And for some people of the upwardly mobile educated kind, all that makes us a little suspect. What are two people who hold master’s degrees doing living in that ‘hood (seriously people, check the home values), why don’t we have more money for our kids’ educations, and where are the pictures from our European vacations?

Frankly, it’s a little too exhausting to spend much time with people who are chasing outside proof of their success—and, more than a little boring. I don’t care about the slight jumps in the property values or what so-and-so is doing to what home model in a sub-division. When did obtaining an education become simply a license for consumption? If that’s what education is about, then count me out.

(c) 2014 Trina Lambert

(c) 2014 Trina Lambert

I just want to spend time with real people who do things with their lives that are more than about what the neighbors are doing—and people who not only do not judge us for our 1976 Mobile Traveler RV but who also think it is pretty cool for what it allows us to do. And that’s almost as cool as going for a post-storm group run on a moonlit night followed by a post-run cooldown tailgate party of watermelon and chips and libations in the not-so-dark of one summer’s evening.

Oh, no, I don’t want to be around the cool kids at school—unless cool means cool in a geeky way that accepts what everyone has and does and is as part of living an authentic life, regardless of whether or not the “in” crowd would be impressed.

(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

Happy Independence Day! But right away, my mind is wandering from that topic as it relates to the United States of America and thinking more about individual independence. Oh, I’ve read David McCullough’s books, John Adams and 1776, and remain absolutely amazed about how our country came to be—and that it came to be at all. The great experiment of trying to create a new country in a new way had so many reasons to fail—and yet it did not. What I noted about the great minds behind our country’s formation was that they were men both of action and of deep thinking. However, I am convinced that living in a time when people spent so much time alone in their own thoughts made it easier for them to come up with the original ideas they used to found this nation together.

That’s why a story on the front page of my newspaper (yes, I still want to hold that paper) grabbed my attention—and shocked me with its lead-in line: “People, and especially men, hate being alone with their thoughts so much that they’d rather be in pain.” (See Rachel Feltman’s article in the Washington Post referencing results from studies, published this week in the journal Science.) Many people would rather receive an electric shock than be alone with their own minds for a mere six to fifteen minutes? Really?

The results of studies on the ability of people to let their minds “wander”—defined as having time to sit and do nothing but think—make me (and others, no doubt) question just how often we as a society are missing out on being able to produce great ideas simply because we don’t let our minds wander nearly enough. Certainly our founding fathers had fewer outside distractions due to distances or lack of lighting and such, but they were also born not so long after people in their families had made a bold choice to leave what they had known to come to live in a place full of uncertainties and undeveloped spaces that encouraged much time alone with their own thoughts.

Between my husband, my daughter, my son, and me—not a one of us understands being bored with our own thoughts. No wonder we so often do not understand other people—nor they us!

True confession here: I find my mind to be fascinating and always have. I grew up in a small town where most of my classmates were bused in to school, so summers and weekends I had a lot of time to myself and yet rarely felt bored. I also had insomnia growing up, though I kept my eyes closed and stayed in bed, trying to fall asleep. In order to pass time, I made up stories for myself.

Years later I became a runner, for a few years running up to thirty-six miles a week, spending most of those six hours a week alone. I’d be rich if I got paid something for every time a person asked me, “What do you think about while running?” or told me how boring running was.

A few years later, a college professor of mine put into words how I felt about boredom. He used to say, “You’re not bored—you’re boring.” While I understand that the physical movement of something like running might not appeal to everyone, I still think the aspect of being alone inside one’s mind should not seem so boring.

Don’t just wait for someone else to fill your minds or–for goodness’ sake–give you physical shocks just to break the boredom. Slow down enough to learn how to listen to yourselves and the real shock might be in discovering that your own thoughts are way more fascinating than you knew.

Oh, people, people. Time spent thinking alone—even when you let your minds ramble on their own—is a great way to gain control of your own lives—and, maybe, a way to make a big difference in the lives of others. That little thought that asks you to pursue it might just be the next great thought for which we have been waiting. Your independent thoughts combined with mine and your neighbors’ thoughts might just lead to the next creative revolution.

Our founding fathers made order from chaos—perhaps by giving up a little order to pursue the chaos of our own minds, we have our best chance to return to being the sort of free-thinking people who created this country and made it great. To wander with wonder–now that’s independence.

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

Boy, have I been blocked this month. I’ve started a few posts I have yet to finish and tried other times without getting any words down. My main technique for getting unblocked—getting moving by doing something purely physical such as exercising or performing chores—has not worked. Maybe it’s time to look for a writing prompt.

But today I finally have something to say—and I wonder if the loosening of the block is related to what is happening to my longtime physical block. After the last really tough physical therapy treatment didn’t yield nearly enough relief as I had hoped, I thought I ought to try something else before the next PT appointment.

At my age it’s pretty easy for me to know other people who have been dealing with injuries and/or pain—and some of them have even found relief. Those are the people whose advice I seek out for better possibilities. Thanks to a referral, on Saturday I got the hardest (deepest?) deep tissue massage I have ever had—which was just as planned. I went in seeking short-term pain that might be able to relieve the less intense but long-term pain I have been experiencing.

A big part of me is into traditional western medicine but another part of me acknowledges that sometimes the difficulties can lie more in the realm of the unexplained. That’s when seeking a whole body approach to why something hurts in a specific location might work better. Just what about those old emotions and/or experiences might be keeping logical solutions from working?

Though my lower back and hips have been crying out for attention, I was not unaware of the possibility that maybe something on the front side might be torquing that back side into those painful knots. Suffice it to say, I believe now. After the massage therapist reviewed my surgeries and accidents, she chose to focus on areas in my abdomen and groin rather than where the most recent pains have occurred. I don’t think I cried during the session, but to get through the worst moments, I definitely used that yogic breathing I’ve been practicing for years. The crazy thing is that when I stood up from the session, I knew I was better. My shoulders were more relaxed and I didn’t favor the achy side anymore.

Yes, those relaxed feelings were just the calm before the storm of aches I knew I faced. You don’t work tissue that deeply without moving toxins throughout your body. I went home to a hot Epsom salts bath, then drank and drank as much water as I could as well as rubbed (lightly!) Arnica on the most abused areas. Sunday was incredibly painful—more water and Arnica followed.

But today? Today I woke up feeling much less one-sided than I have felt in almost a year. Plus, I didn’t need to wait a few hours for my body to loosen this morning. And in yoga? So much of the resistance was gone. I could work hard and not really feel so obsessed with the areas that have been so prominent for so long. The cries for attention were almost inaudible to me—and that’s even though I am still very sore from the massage.

I’m sure it’s too soon to know if my massage has really chipped away as much of this block as I think it has, but I know something in me has shifted. Stop the world—I want to get back on again.

"Udder" nonsense

“Udder” nonsense

So much for a theme for Blogging A to Z—I had no idea how difficult I would find it to talk about beliefs for a month. Beliefs are just so serious—ugh! And I am not that serious all the time. About half the time I am a goofball who doesn’t want to think deeply.

Right about now I am craving the chance to utter thoughts about utter nonsense. [Instructions: use utter as a verb (infinitive form) and as an adjective in the same sentence. In other words, use the word in more than one way and play with it—that’s more like me.]

Even I’m bored with my utterances. Really. I am, however, amused by a question listed on Dictionary.com: “how to soften a cows utter.” First of all, that’s not a question! Second of all, use the possessive—and, third of all, that’s udder, not utter—unless you’re trying to lower the volume from cows that are mooing and bawling and such. While my writing on udders might allow for a whole lot more humor, I regret to inform you that I have always been a town girl and (actively) try to know as little about udders as I can. I’m still traumatized by the time a classmate’s mother tried to serve me fresh-from-the-cow milk with my cereal.

I will leave you with one more reference from the Dictionary.com listing for utter—well, with a slight change—and be done with my formal utterance for this day.

(Trina) uttered a shriek.

The End—and that’s (almost) the truth. [P.S. If you get the Edith Ann reference (Lily Tomlin character), then you are old. Plus, you also need to know that I stink at making raspberries and will not be uttering one with this post. Feel free to utter your own, if you so desire.]

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Blogging AtoZ Challenge 2012

(c) 2009, Christiana Lambert