How is everyone?
I appear to be writing here again, an event I blame solely on last week's super moon, because I've been overrun with thoughts and the desire to type them out ever since.
I've launched back in with the usual love letters to my people and random other things, but I feel like I should say something more specific about what's going on with me lately.
"But I don't give a damn what you've been up to," you say.
Fair enough, but bringing things into chronological order is just another of my compulsions. I'm on Twitter so much the virtual world is choking on my words, but that's different.
Let's see. Let's take this back to last fall, shall we? That's where I want to go.
We were filled up with good food and laughter and talk of creativity and business and late night readings of McSweeney's comedy that still make me cry. I got to stay in the coolest m/hotel, I got to see a part of California I hope that I can go back to so soon, and I made some friends I know that I never would have met otherwise. Everyone is listed here, so I don't forget anyone. (I love you, Ann, Jess and Kristen. You're everything good.) Plus I got to spend time with Deb and Sue and that is always so good for me. We spent a fun day at the end wandering Ojai then up Ventura Highway (in the suuuuuun-shiiiiiiiine) to see Sue's town and then on to visit Erin and her family before I went home. It was such a great trip, and I'm so glad I went. Ask me about the yurt sometime.
Hey, remember when I got that big ass sandwich last summer?
Oh my God. I already told you about that a long time ago, but I was just going back through Sarah's pictures to try to find a shot or two of us in Asheville in September because I LOST MY MEMORY CARD ON THE WAY HOME from that trip, and I count on her to back me up in these tragic situations. And of course this is what I come across.
I just realized I have some horn action going on there. The rock never stops, stupid sandwich or no. You want to get with this. Anyway, moving on.
This is the Biltmore, in Asheville. Sarah took this too. I loved my shots of that staircase so much that I can't really think about them or I get sad. Oh well. Also it's a good thing that I trust her not to push me down stairs.
The Biltmore people were very nice and took us on a tour of which I have no photographs and let us sample sparkling wine that I tried to con the man into giving me more of but he wasn't down and there were gargoyles and that was that. Let's pretend that every shot I took on that whole trip sucked, because they're gone, okay? Thanks!
Asheville is a great town with good restaurants and lots to see, so we had fun. I got to drink habanero margaritas (reminding myself to try to make them at home) with Laurie and Deb and Penny and other various blog friends. We drove by a huge guitar and a NASCAR track in Tennessee, and through relatively terrifying foggy mountain passes very early in the morning, and got to do the talky thing we do so terrifyingly well, which is always nice. A friend you can be trapped in a car for hours with and not get sick of...at all, ever? Dude. I strongly recommend acquiring this. We spent an excellent afternoon at the end of the trip in a brew pub with good beer and approximately 17 televisions with football games visible from every angle, something I know ranked as a highlight for at least one person in my party.
The holidays were...eh. I deal worse with winter coming on every year. I hate hate hate cold weather, and last year's ridiculous snow totals in our underprepared area left me with some kind of strange winter PTSD and I apparently mentally resisted it coming back again as hard as I possibly could. I was supposed to move in November and then that fell apart due to sad circumstances beyond my control, and for the rest of 2010 I thought too much about how I was going to turn 40 in December.
I'm listening to this right now, by the way. You don't wish you were me at all, but just know that I rock exceedingly hard.
We went to Pittsburgh on New Year's Day to watch the Caps play the Penguins in the Winter Classic. It was a quick, awesome trip and we had fun just being there, although I have to admit that the Caps win was a huge bonus. I love my hockey, oh do I love my hockey, and someone may have to wheel me into wherever they're playing when I'm old to see them finally win a Cup, but this was a nice second to that. We stayed with Kim, who is one of the greatest people I know, and was the reason we were able to get into the game in the first place. She is also very gracious when her team loses, and such a good friend in all ways having nothing to do with sports. She is also writing more, and you should read her blog. She's been saying since I met her that she's not a writer. I always knew it was bs, because anyone with that many stories and her prodigious brain has the ability, and I'm proud of her for committing to the practice. It sucks a lot of the time but when it brings joy it's among the realest out there, and...yeah. I can go on about that for a long time.
We were also able to get in a little bit of time with Kelly and Andrea, which was so nice, in a pub with a bunch of soccer games on Sunday morning television. I like Pittsburgh. I could get used to it.
We were kind of happy about the whole thing.
We are so silly but whatever. Oh! We also went to a women's hockey event at the Capitals' practice facility in November, and I met Peter Bondra and he guided me through shooting a goal. Bondra is such a highlight of Caps hockey and this was truly a fun life highlight for me. Plus he's genuinely nice. And cute. This is our Christmas card.
As you can tell from the relative absence of my eyes in that photo, I'd gained a lot of weight. By the time I turned 40 on December 27, I was at the highest weight I'd hit since college. I spent the week of Christmas and my birthday pouring Bailey's in my coffee and eating food I don't allow myself to have most of the time. I spent a wonderful actual birthday with my family and friends, and my sister gave me the sweetest book full of words and photos from my friends from all over. It made me cry two pages in and was such a highlight of my year and my life. She and Sarah both got me hockey jerseys, and in general I felt very loved and that was nice.
But I felt like hell and I knew I looked it. Right after I got back from Pittsburgh, I started a 40-day yoga challenge, a process that included daily yoga practice of some sort, meditation, and more attention to clean eating. "Clean eating" is one of those phrases that makes me want to punch myself in the face, but it's the best description I've got of what I'm trying to do. I limit processed stuff and I do not keep junk in my house, for the most part. If I ever stop drinking beer and wine that would probably help, but I'm not interested in that now.
The 40-Day program was intense and I really felt I should write about it while it was happening, but it was such a heavy thing I just couldn't. I went to the yoga studio near my house and office almost every day between the second week in January and the third week in February. I've tried yoga before, even keeping it up for months in other times of my life, but this particular process was life-altering.
The Thrive studio is owned by people who have good attitudes about people in general and what they can get out of practicing yoga. I was also ready to physically challenge myself even when I feel stupid or weak, which is often. But all I know is that after 30 years of consciously hating my body, this experience has allowed me to step off of my usual track of measuring exercise value strictly in minutes of hell on this machine or that at the gym. My body and mind came together in a way that seems to make me a better and also healthier person, I think. I can also do Wheel pose now, for like 30 seconds.
I don't look like that when I do it, but you can pretend I do if it makes you feel better. I just did it fully for the first time on Saturday, in a class that also had me bracing my feet halfway up a wall while I stood on my hands. No really. I did that. I lifted this weight on my hands, with my legs up the wall BEHIND ME in an "L" shape. For real. Multiple times. And as much as I'm horrified at the thought of people who know me seeing me in this configuration, a part of me still wishes they could look at a picture of it long enough to know that it's definitely me, so they can be all WHAT THE HELL?
And no, it isn't very yogi-like to stroll around saying I CAN DO WHEEL I DO WHEEL NOW AND STAND ON MY HANDS WITH MY LEGS BEHIND ME UP THE WALL, pretty much because as soon as you do that successfully you'll bust your ass in a simple down dog, karma being what it is. But I admit that it feels pretty good to be in my body in this powerful way. I also really like my studio. I can have a terrible day and without fail, by the time I get there and do a class and leave, my head is fixed for a little while. I wish it were practical to spend three hours there a day, every day.
I also started running, with the plan to run the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia on May 1. This is a huge deal for me. I've never run anywhere except after a plane or from pain and scandal in my 40 years. I was terrified to try it, especially at the size I was in January, but I did it. I'm up to a max of four miles at a time now, and I'm hoping I can be in good enough shape to at least finish out the race without dying. I visited my friend Greg, who sells running shoes, and got new ones Saturday, which I understand will imbue me with the powers of flight, or my money back. My next step is to actually run outside now that Maryland is deciding it really doesn't want to be winter anymore, a process that always takes its adolescent self about three weeks. He claims he is going to come and run with me, and I'm hoping he's not lying.
Running is hard, man. It's the hardest thing I've ever had to physically do, but somehow I keep doing it. I really need some new playlists, though. I'm so sick of mine. Please send me new music, but know that mine jump from Cinderella to Kid Rock to Pink, Kenny Chesney and Christopher Cross.
No, I'm not kidding. No I, will never be the same without you here.
Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I moved into a condo that I love. I really, really do. I have so much to do to get it fixed to the point where I'm really comfortable and it feels like home, but it's a good place for me to be, in an excellent location near a metro and the Beltway. I've had a little bit of trouble adjusting to the silence, but I'm relaxing into it and seeing where it takes me.
What else did I miss? Elisa, who makes my world infinitely better, bought me a ticket to see Billie Joe Armstrong appear in American Idiot on Broadway, so I went to New York in a snowstorm to make that happen. This coincided with Renate, one of my best friends, moving there, so I drove up with her on that adventure.
I could explain to you how I feel about Green Day, Elisa, New York and Renate, but that's its own post that should be written. It was amazing. Billie Joe is my boyfriend, we had an amazing time at the show, and on the moments when I realize that I'm a lucky girl, this is one of the experiences that makes that happen.
This is what I'll remember forever from that night, and if they come back here, I'll make sure we go, because it was entirely fucking worth it for this.
I'll have us do this until we're old ladies. It's just how it should be.
(I love my Sarah. You've got that, right? If you were me, with the experiences I've had and the way I came up through my life into now, you would too, I swear. You'd get it.)
I'm looking forward to spring so much. I'm going to New Orleans to do a photo workshop at the Mom2.0 conference in April, and I'll be so happy to see some of my good friends who live in the computer. The internet has been very good to me. Sometimes I can't even believe it. These people send me housewarming presents and look for me when I'm not around, so I like to go and visit them in person when I can. I can't wait to be back in the Quarter and show Sarah my favorite parts of Magazine and Rocky's house in the Garden District and and and...New Orleans is just, it's everything. It's my soul city. New York is my heart. New Orleans is my soul. New York is my soul. New Orleans is my heart. Interchangeable.
My sister's wedding shower is in Philadelphia next weekend, and she gets married in June. I'm headed to BlogHer Food in Atlanta in May, and have a few other trips planned, some to places I've never been before. I think I see beaches in my future, too. Have I mentioned lately how much I like it when life warms up and we can all get outside again?
I haven't been shooting enough, at all, and I hate that. I also have to get a website done for the photography and writing. There are lots of things I need to do. My only sources of sadness and upset are some things in my daily life and routine that only I can remedy, and I feel pretty sure that I can handle those too, this year. It's more difficult to figure that out than I was expecting, but I'm trying.
It still makes me a little bit sad that I was in such a strange place on my birthday, and really didn't mark that time consciously in the way that I hoped to do. I'm not sure if it's a bullshit move to extend the celebration and do that now, or if that's something I have the license to do for the entire year. What do you think? If I throw myself a belated party, would people come?