Sunday, May 22, 2011

Things You Shouldn't Say to a Woman...

Henry: Hi Asha, I haven't seen you for a long time.
Asha: Hey Henry.  Yeah, I don't come around (to the pub) much anymore.
Henry: You look different.  I hardly recognized you.
Asha: Yeah, my hair is getting long.
Henry: You've gained weight.
Asha: Yeah, I guess I have.
Henry: You must be eating a lot.
Asha: Something like that.  Nice to see you Henry.  Bye.

Okay... so my feelings were hurt.  Yes, I've gained weight-- about 7 or 8 pounds.  This could be for a few reasons:

1. I am eating more consistently (and still probably less than your "average american").
2. I have been lifting weights.  No, this doesn't excuse my round face, but it does mean that I'm one step closer to being able to kick your ass when you start talking about my weight.

Seriously though...."skinny" girls think about their weight too.  So be careful what you say and who you say it to.  You might really hurt someone's feelings. 

Oh, and in other news today, I was editing photos for work while having a cup of coffee at The Bad Waitress.  There was an older woman (in her 70's?) with an older man and their son sitting behind me.  The old woman was talking about a car full of Mexicans.  Moments later she exclaimed "They're all a bunch of roof monkeys anyway."

What the eff is wrong with people?  Seriously.  Do people have no sense anymore?  No filter?  No clue?  It's 2011...and clearly some people have a lot of growing up to do.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

When I visit my friends at the nursing home...

...the first thing I do is look for an exit.  Those are the words of my friend Ardes.  She's 89.  And awesome.  (More about her soon, but I have to do things chronologically). 

Saturday morning I went to a "self-love" workshop.  I know what you're thinking... self love, like in a sexual way?  That was my first thought too, when I heard about it.  No, self love in the emotional/healing way.  It was a 2.5 hour workshop put on by Luciana Freire and Andrea Mueller.  I can't really go into a lot of detail about it, but I will say that it was worth the cost and the time.  It's important to be intentional and mindful of taking time for ones self.  I feel like I've been trying (unsuccessfully) to please a lot of people lately, and it's become overwhelming.  This self love workshop was a good opportunity to check back in with myself. 

Saturday early afternoon I drove to Ardes' house.  She lives in Litchfield, which is a little less than 2 hours away from me.  I arrived around 2pm, and was welcomed with a huge hug.  Hugging Ardes is always a little scary, because she's so tiny I don't want to break her.  Anyhow, I set my things down, made a cup of coffee, and got cozy in her TV room.  A few minutes passed and her friend Florence drove up.  "There's a baby cow running along Florence's car" I said to Ardes.  "Are you sure it's not a dog?" she asked.  Being a city kid, and not around cattle a whole lot, I had to think about it... no, I'm pretty sure it was a cow. 

We stood up and walked to the door to greet Florence...and sure enough, there was a baby cow right next to her car.  Florence said hello to the calf and Ardes went to call Dale, her neighbor who owns the cows.  Steve (another neighbor) walked over and looked at the calf, whose legs were struggling to keep it standing.  We stood around and talked for a few minutes, and then the calf took off running.  Keep in mind, this was a newborn calf, with wobbly legs and newly escaped from it's home.  We watched it as in ran off, and all just kind of stood around stunned.

We saw Dale later that night, out looking for the calf.  He didn't find it.  The next morning he was out there again, but didn't find it.  Had I known the calf would have ran away and not come back, I would have chased it.  Ardes and I joked on Sunday morning about what it would have looked like for me to chase a cow-- being a city kid and all-- I'd have no idea what to do once I caught up to it.

Saturday we (Ardes, Florence and I) went into town for dinner at the country club.  We ate from the salad bar; it was quite good.  Florence left and Ardes and I sat around Saturday night.  It was nice to talk to her about what's been happening in my life.  We talked about the self-love workshop and I showed her the folder of info they gave us.  She also shared her stories with was a really nice, low key, love filled evening. 

Sunday morning we had breakfast-- I had toast with peanut butter, a bowl of maple nut ice cream, and a cup of coffee.  Ardes had some toast and coffee, but no ice cream.  I asked her if I could take a picture of her, so I could write about her.  She made some comment about not being pretty, to which I said you are beautiful.  She let me take a picture (see below). 

I was sad to leave Ardes on Sunday morning.  I had to get back to the cities so I could help my mom weed the garden.  When I say "help my mom" that means I do the work and she sits in her new lawn chair drinking a diet coke.  Either way, it was good to get my gloved hands in the soil again.  It's been a long winter, and being able to plant and see new growth is good for the soul. 

I should mention that before I left Litchfield, I told Ardes how much I appreciated being able to come visit with her.  I told her that it was good for my heart.  "It's good for me too," she said.  We both smiled.  I think what I like best about Ardes is that I can talk to her about anything (relationships, adoption, gardening, traveling, depression, college, etc...) and she's cool about it.  I also feel really blessed to be able to listen to her stories-- she's lived an amazing life, and continues to do so.  She's got a half acre garden plot (which really should be called a farm) that she maintains each year.  She's got 3 tractors (which she still uses regularly), and has the most beautiful heart.  Oh yeah, and she's hilarious-- did I mention that?

Ardes Shea-- May 15, 2011

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A scattered late night entry

A million things have happened lately.  Where to start—how about with today?  Today a bunch of straight white men voted to put the definition of marriage on the ballot next election—which means folks will vote on if marriage should be defined as  between a woman and a man.  I’m sorry…but who the fuck cares?  Really.  Why do folks care who marries who—love is love.  Let it be.  I’d much rather be happily married to a kick ass woman than unhappily married to some dude just for the sake of fitting in and getting a tax cut.  Rich people get tax cuts all the time—people aren’t going after them the same way they do gay folks.  I guess I just get frustrated.  Don’t tell me who I can and cannot love. 
What else?  The weather is nice—real nice actually. It went from cold, rainy and windy to warm, rainy and windy.  Rad.  I’m not going to lie, I love the sun.  I wish it was sunny all the time (add this to the very short list of reasons not to move to the northwest corner of the US).  Sadly, it cannot be sunny all the time.  In fact, this spring, the sun has been in limited appearance.  The warmth is a welcomed sensation and I hope it stick around for a while.
My partner coaches a high school softball team, which means I’ve watched more softball in the last month than I have in all my life (which is funny, because I played softball for several years).  It’s fun watching games—seeing the passion that kids have when involved and invested in sport and school.  (for the record, it’s a lot more fun watching when the sun is out and the mercury has risen than when it’s raining and cold as all get out).  Watching softball (and my partners basketball team—jeeez, I’m dating a jock) makes me want to play a team sport again.  I miss the feeling of being on a team (outside of work).  I miss the adrenaline rush at the starting line of a race (not a team sport, necessarily), the stupid cheers we did at hockey, the drills we ran together at basketball practice.  I miss being a part of something. 
I was a coaches nightmare….which is odd, because I loved most all of my coaches.  I don’t know if they knew that or not.  It’s funny (now….finally) how important of roles coaches have had in my life.  Teachers and coaches saved my life.  Repeatedly.  I think that’s a big part of why I want to be a teacher and coach.  I want to be that safe space, listening ear (cliché, I know), role model and trusting adult in the life of others.  I want to be the hope that so many others have given me in my lifetime. 
For the record, the reason I was a coaches nightmare is because I was a talented athlete who didn’t give a shit.  And for the further record—I had a few coaches who didn’t give much of a shit about me—which I think I still take issue to—because I needed them—I needed that hockey scholarship, that last spot on the xc team, that extra push and reassurance that someone believed in me, that I was worth believing in.  There’s a whole conversation to be had about responsibility and accountability (for me and the coaches)—not one for this blog, but eventually.  Whatever.  Another day. 
In other news, Osama Bin Laden was killed a week or so ago.  And what happened as a result?  Giddy Americans in celebration were shown on the TV worldwide.  Fucking morons.  I live in Minnesota—a few hundred miles from Canada.  I might as well just say I’m Canadian; although Minnesota is a pretty awesome state.    
Oh, and for some awesome news; I’m going to Guatemala in a couple of weeks.  I’m going down there with Jaimee and her family—through an organization called Common Hope.  I’m familiar with Common Hope, as Jess’ aunt has been a key player on their staff for several years.  It should be a good experience.  Minus Canada I’ve only been out of the country once (unless you count when I was born in India).  I went to Costa Rica when I was 12, and it was fun—that’s it, fun.  Not meaningful…other than a slow dance and an ear infection I had while I was there. 
When I went to New Orleans more than 5 years ago, it messed with me.  It was a good, hard, frustrating, scary, empowering, enlightening feeling.  It was an experience of a lifetime.  I don’t think this Guatemala trip would be the same had I not gone to New Orleans and learned about my relationship to privilege.  (I don’t feel much like getting into this, other than to say that in relation to New Orleans residents, I had privilege as a volunteer, but as a volunteer amongst other volunteers, I was nothing special—in fact, I was nothing much at all).  I’m excited and nervous to go to Guatemala.  I can’t think of the last time I had a vacation.  It’s overdue, much needed, and can’t come soon enough.
I suppose that’s all I’ve got for now.  It’s 1:15am.  I’m tired.  Jaimee and I have been working out at 6am several days a week.  I think that’s the plan for tomorrow as well.  I’m tired.  I’m exhausted actually.  I’m exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally.