So you know how there are times when a website temporarily shuts down to perform routine maintenance; well, I don’t think it’s the same here at the thoughtsintraction blog but I did have to add some water to the weight bag! Two pounds of water had evaporated, and we can’t have that now can we? Can’t have only eight pounds of water pulling at the neck instead of the recommended ten. I’m being a smarty pants about this but it is rather exciting that I’ve been at this so long that I have to do things like “maintenance.” It means more than pouring some water; in fact the only reason I can pour that water is because of traction, it also means that I’ve maintained my schedule, I’ve hung in there. I owe you, I owe every person who has ever read this crazy, random blog and according to my stats that’s pretty many of you. I’ve maintained the hanging when I certainly would have given up some days if I hadn’t had a sense accountability to the blog, to you.
Maintenance is a good thing, Martha Stewart would approve. We maintain our cars, our bodies, our homes, certainly should maintain a traction device if you have to use one. Maintenance isn’t something we usually throw a party for, we don’t make an announcement when we get an oil change for the car, although some do I guess now a days on Twitter or Facebook, but we typically keep the maintenance parts of life to ourselves and in reality if we don’t take care of maintenance it will come back to get us. If you don’t clean out the gutters they will eventually let you know about it in not fun ways, if you don’t maintain now you will pay later. It’s certainly been established in my life if I don’t do traction I lose and if I don’t add weight to the gizmo what’s the point, it might feel like I’m getting by with something in the short run but not enough tension in the traction does little to keep these fingers moving. So go maintenance, in a world that seems to celebrate everything, I think you need your own holiday, your importance should not go unnoticed!
Way before the “Rocky movies” with Sylvester Stallone there was another Rocky, a real Rocky, Rocky Graziano. At some point in my life I watched an old movie starring Paul Newman playing this middleweight champion. It’s based on a true story; it’s sentimental and sweet and ends just as you’d want any sentimental and sweet old movie to end. One of the final scenes in the movie, Rocky aka, Paul Newman points to the sky and says, “somebody up there likes me.” Well, today I said the same thing as I was saved from what could have been an unpleasant tumble to the ground. I’ve mentioned before how I can’t feel my left foot, my sciatic nerve is damaged at the root in my spinal column; as a result, I can walk on my foot but don’t ask it for much else. I’ve also mentioned one of the reasons I do traction is because I have difficulty feeling my hands, traction relieves pressure from my neck, therefore helping the hands. Anyhoo, so today a plastic shopping bag slid out of my hand and I didn’t notice nor did I hear it fall right in front of my path and then I tripped over it because I couldn’t feel it! I just happened to catch myself as I was walking up a step, fortunately there was something to grab onto as I started to fall. As soon as I recovered I pointed to the sky and said, somebody up there likes me!
It could have been an ugly one-two punch, but other than feeling a little shaken I was fine. I will never win a middleweight championship boxing match, which is really ok; but I like feeling “old blue eyes,” Paul Newman and friends are smiling on me.
This is new, have never done traction after I’ve gone to bed for the night and then wake up and can’t go back to sleep. Traction is traction but I’ve never done it when it feels like everyone else is sleeping. Insomnia is not your friend. You know when you can’t sleep in the middle of the night you try all the old reliables, reading, something to drink, watching tv, if none of that works you probably wouldn’t next think, well, there’s always traction. But hey, that’s my life and I’m sticking to it. Happy sleeping world, I’m jealous, nighty night.
Not in a creepy way, just when something is so great, near perfect that you feel like there’s another force at play. When someone says something was “so magical” it usually conveys something good but how to repeat the magic can be tricky. When a day or an event comes together with forces opposing it, when folks that don’t like each other get along, when every thing flows and one typically complicated thing easily leads to another less complicated you wonder what just happened. Who just smiled on me? What forces caused such a cool thing? Then sometimes the exact opposite happens and the reaction is what storm cloud did I just walk under; who did I tick off to cause this? Cause and effect, or are all things working in an order and are predisposed….who the heck knows….I guess I just know within myself when I’m lying to myself or when I’m being real and as long as I know that, I don’t have to share it with anyone, I just know if I’m being real or not, then I’m doing ok. I overheard a woman today and wondered if she was being honest with herself or the person she was speaking with on the phone, only she knows. She has the power to make that moment what it is, a lie or truth, there’s no magic there.
I’m trying to live the truth of my life and the rest comes as it comes……..I don’t need magic do I, yeah, it can feel wonderful if you think there’s some big thing pulling for you, causing it all to go your way today but really, if I really know me, I mean really know, no holding back, then I know everything I need to know, no magic necessary.
Height was pretty much all I needed to be welcomed on to the basketball court but having a consistent shot and some speed was allusive so my career was short-lived. It’s fun to watch and follow all the March Madness NCAA games. So far I’m second in my family’s notoriously competitive pool……..but after today that will most probably change and I look forward to the clever emails notifying me of such.
When my Mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and sent home to live out her days the NCAA basketball tournament was on the television in the background of her hospital room, I guess as a way to allow some normalcy. One of my brothers remarked that he’d never be able to enjoy it again because of the association with this devastating event in our lives. We are years down the road now and although it obviously still comes to mind she of all people would be checking her brackets to see how she was doing. She would want us to enjoy things and participate fully and not be stricken on the sidelines with sadness.
There are always things that remind us of other times in our life and there are certainly many reasons in this world today for feeling some kind of March madness. The people of Japan, dealing with so much, Libya, heck, there’s plenty of people still living in tents in Haiti. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it all. Looking at the super moon last evening puts a little speck like myself in perspective.
Traction is certainly something to “ground” me if I’m feeling out of sorts, hanging in there the best way I know how. Living thru March madness, hoping for an amazing April.
I almost did traction twice in one day! It may have been in part because I was tired and forgot I had done it earlier in the day BUT it was really because I WANTED to……yep, even harder for me to believe. I wasn’t feeling well and I found myself headed for traction because I thought it would help and also had the thought in my head, that’s not so bad, maybe it will help make me feel better. Woah, just the mere thought that traction and some sense of relief or comfort are in the same sentence just goes to show anything is possible…to go from something I dreaded, so hated to a “comfort” zone, crazy, absolutely crazy……..life is so unpredictable, just goes to show if you just “hang on” long enough anything really is possible! Not saying I’m going to start everyday of my life sitting here with a smile but wow, we’ve come a long way baby!
Did you ever find something that you forgot you lost? When I was about eight years old my Dad brought me back from a business trip a small hand mirror with my name written on it. I don’t have an unusual first name, but for the time it was a big deal to see something sold in a store with my name on it. (Yep, I’m that old) It was also a big deal when my Dad went away on trips. He didn’t travel for work very often but when he did it was very noticeable in our house. For starters we had a much more relaxed dinner menu, we ate everything he didn’t like and to a kid it was all the favorite foods. Despite the fact that he wasn’t home my Mom made it fun and he made it memorable, I still recall the first time he sent me a post card, just to me, I thought it was the coolest thing.
So I find this little mirror the other day at the bottom of a drawer and it immediately made me smile. I still remember being so surprised the first time I saw it. We knew not to expect “things” when relatives came to visit or when Dad returned from a trip but to this day it is still easy to remember the excitement when they came bearing treats. My Godfather would come to dinner and bring four big bags of candy, one for me and my three siblings. They were the family size bags, the kind that if you were lucky your whole family typically received and shared, but he spoiled us so that he brought one for each of us!
These are such little things, such tiny moments in a whole life but there is something about them that many years later they still have the power to remind you of a surprise that is as sentimental as it sounds. It is true, making the ordinary special, taking simple moments and making a lifelong memory. It’s comforting to know that something might be out of sight or out of mind for a while but when rediscovered, when found, it still holds a piece of you. When I come across something like this it makes me wonder if I’ve been that person in a child’s life, have I made a lifelong memory for them, one that instantly allows them to know they are surrounded with love. I sure hope so.
I was good at arithmetic when I was a kid, I was the champ of my fourth grade math class, even beat the boys, and that was tricky back in my elementary school days because there was a lot of favoritism and sexism and the boys ruled. But before I boast one more second and live on in the glory of my 10-year-old math brain I’ll let go of that tangent and instead share what I’ve been thinking about, a different kind of addition. It’s easy to hear people these days talk about “giving up” something, sacrificing or fasting, sort of subtracting something from the norm. I’ve decided I’m adding this season not subtracting. I’ve been thinking about my life and I think it needs to expand and if I believe the whole point of any season, especially the Lenten season is to grow closer to God I think I need to work on becoming more and I’ve decided this season I’m not going to do that thru less.
In certain phases and stages of my life I’ve felt “practicing” my faith an obligation, sort of like when you’re a child and your Mother makes you take something to the house of the old person down the street. Your first reaction is to say no, then whine about how their house smells funny and they talk too much. She insists you do it and when you go in the house and the woman greets you at the door sitting in her wheel chair you are creeped out, scared because you are alone with her. She’s so grateful that you have brought her the newspaper and her mail you think she’s faking her excitement because how could it be that big of a deal. Not until you are a grown woman dealing with your own physical challenges do you realize how complicated it can be some days to get your mail in or what a comfort it is to have someone bring you something that you can’t easily manage for yourself.
Your Mother made you visit that woman and run errands for her and it took a long time before it didn’t feel like an obligation, until you didn’t mind going, until you actually sat down in the lady’s home and ate a piece of candy that she offered every time you went. It took a long time to not notice the funny smells and to talk to her. Eventually it was easier and your relationship changed. You grew and it was no longer a burden, she had become your neighbor and by the time you were a teenager you never thought twice about stopping at her house to check on her. Your Mother knew what she was doing all along and it seems to me it’s sort of like that with faith. If you hang in there and do the routine, unpleasant, tedious stuff, the boring stuff, the creepy stuff you eventually get to know God and yourself a lot better than you did when it was only drudgery. God feels like your friend because you invested in the relationship. So it seems to me I’m going to add things this Lent, not deduct. My heart needs to grow wider, my attention needs to focus on more than me, my mind needs to expand. So everyday I’m going to research something I know nothing about and learn more about something new every day. I’m going to double up on some of my “practices” that bring me joy. I’m going to add more to my life, grow my mind and heart and hopefully deepen my faith. I’m spilling all of this to you because accountability is a big part of any new endeavor. You are going to keep me honest.
I’ll let you know in 40 days how I did. Happy Lent!
A bit out of my routine this week, although I can always benefit from more traction time. Honestly, I could sit here everyday if I could tolerate it but I think I’ve found a good balance, mostly one where I can live with the schedule, commit to doing it, yet still benefit enough to function. Sundays for me have always been a day to do the special things, out of the routine, which everyone needs. So fitting traction in today isn’t cool but for the best. I’m going to a baby shower later today in honor of one of my favorite folks on the planet. How exciting, expecting twins, two babies God willing will soon be coming into our family. Can’t wait to meet them and have that feeling once again of where have you been all my life! Truly, doesn’t get any better than new babies in your life, so fun, so exciting, so worth doing extra traction for!
See you next week.
I had that shopping cart today, the one that sounds like fingers on a chalk board, the one that all four wheels seem to be going in different directions and the noise is so high-pitched you start to look for a camera thinking you’ve been punked. But nope, your cart is not part of an elaborate prank, it’s just a mess and you are the lucky girl today that grabbed it and now you are half way around the store with this screeching thing and you can’t seem to push it fast enough to get this experience over with, oh yeah, and the faster you push the worse the sound. You start to feel self-conscious because it feels like your car alarm is going off inside the grocery store and all the stares and expressions of, “what the heck lady, turn that thing off!” are starting to get to you. You talk yourself off the ledge of just ditching the cart because you really need the stupid thing to hold onto even though you came in the store for only three items you are too unsteady on your feet today to be walking around the store without it. So you cut down another aisle just as the looks become embarrassing and force yourself onto some poor unsuspecting shoppers soon to have goose bumps from the unpleasant sound headed their way. You literally have the cart with the squeaky wheel and it truly is earning attention. You remember a child in Haiti that would cry out for any attention as soon as he’d see someone pass down the hallway, he’d scream as if he was dying and the stranger would immediately head in his direction. The little attention there was to be had he consumed it. You rarely picked him up because you saw this happen often enough that you knew he would survive, you focused your attention on the silent children with out the will or strength to scream. Why is it that the squeaky wheel gets attention? It really does work, you’ve seen it first hand in humans and with grocery carts. Why don’t things work as they should? Why do noisy things get more attention than quiet ones?
Why is human nature that when you push a crazy loud cart you feel like crawling under the shelves after a while because you just want to be the anonymous shopper, not the squeaky wheel…….geez, too much thinking in the aisles makes me grateful for the peace and quite of traction. This thing looks like it should make noise but other than the water sloshing around in the bag and the sound of the pulley running over head it’s all quiet here now and it’s quite nice.