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First, maths: Your children’s need for new clothes, because they have NOTHING TO WEAR, MOM, is directly proportional to the week of school in which they have a Shakespeare play and [had] a dance recital.

And in which you, as the mom, most need to expend some excess and erratic chi, but you are busy, busy, busy doing prompt sheets and picking up bobby pins and mascara and labeling paper bags for backstage.*

And if you don’t get to your !@#$% yoga class tonight you JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN!

(the author is keenly aware of her entitled and easy life and she wells with gratitude in spite of her rant)

*I am not actually very involved in helping out with my daughter’s class play this year. I have a very small helper role, perhaps the easiest and least work I’ve taken on in the last few years. Many other hands are doing much more work, just so you know.

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Yes, bike ‘n’ bitch was embedded in a previous post, but as I make my way back into the world of cycling, I feel the need to give an update on my progress. You know, for me. So I know. So I know I’m doing this and taking it seriously, in spite of my years away, in spite of my age, in spite of of of of.

When I do yoga, I am full of fierce power and strength and flexibility and balance and inner peace and spiritual connection to the void and the expanse, with nothing to prove to anyone; but with biking, it is obvious that a very aggressive part of me is looking for expression. I’m not a biking slut. I am not a biking whore. I am a biking bitch. I know that sounds silly. I hate blogs by women who call themselves bitches. I hate the overuse of the word biatch. This is all part of the reason, not yet fully understood by me, for my need to be a bitch around the issue of bicycling. At least for this moment.

Today’s ride:

yes yes yes

today’s potholes and frequent lack of shoulder reminded me of the Julian Cope song No Hard Shoulder to Cry On, an excellent pun and particularly apropos considering that I spent much of last Saturday’s ride bitching and crying; also coming home to a house sans Hubby

today I was much more comfortable in the incredible wind coming off of the Hadley fields. I felt stronger and less afraid when it pushed me sideways along with it. Yes, fuck you, wind, you didn’t knock me over last week and you won’t today, ha ha!

what else? I am gaining confidence at intersections and on banking my turns without slowing myself down.

next challenge: to keep my shoulders relaxed enough that my mid-traps aren’t burning like the fires of hell mid-way through a short ride. Fuckin’ A!

Until further notice, I have also decided that I will feature someone giving the finger in each bike ‘n’ bitch post. This is probably the most famous one around and coincides quite nicely with the recent Johnny Cash fest in my car

P.S. I will not tell you a. whether I was tempted to flip someone off today while riding or b. whether I actually did flip someone off. Some things a gal needs to keep private until she is able to overcome the tendency to make manifest her inner bitch.

Yours truly, the bike ‘n’ bitch, twinklysparkles

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If you are new here, if you searched for twinklysparkles on google to get here, for instance, you may surprised to discover that I have a tendency to chew on the negative, to get the blues, to sit with my own dry crusty thoughts*

*from the poem What Have I Learned? by Gary Snyder, from the book Axe Handles

I’ve been a bit funky lately and not in a good James Brown sort of way. This condition has put a damper on my creative juices (or is it the other way around, chicken-and-egg like?). This is entirely the reason that I invented Thankful Thursday (yes, I invented it; I was the first, I swear).

I love many things today

I love yoga, the 2 studios I frequent, the teachers whose classes I attend. I love the yoga class I was in on Tuesday night wherein my teacher taught to the body of spring, to our spring bodies, to the shift in the air and light. I love how deep yoga goes, how it inspires me, the coiled snake, the mud, the ooze, the tones of my being, the heat, the invertebrate that resonates in my soft tissue, below the bones. I love the 7 chakras and that each has a sound, a color, and a desire or higher manifestation. I love the double helix and the spirals of my muscles which wrap around my bones.

I love that to be a student of yoga is to be in a state of unknowing, same as to be a student of the Alexander Technique. That in the West, thinking one needs to be positive alone to attain enlightenment is a misunderstanding of complexity. I am not enlightened; I am only on a path and that path has no destination.

I love acupuncture and the lessons my practitioner shares with me. That the Chinese system of looking at the body is more complete and encompassing than a Western approach, that it is both subtle and complex, that I will never understand it, that I know only the tiniest bit about it, but what I know I understand and want more of. I love that the Chinese understanding of the body includes how we relate to the world seasonally, that there is an explanation for how our bodies chime with the brightness of spring and that sometimes this can manifest in restlessness and anger. I love that there are foods and activities that nurture our bodies and that these change seasonally. I love that every part of the self is interdependent. I love the 5 elements though I have little understanding of them.

I love that my Alexander teacher, Missy Vineyard, sent me a link about this.

I love that I wrote my original Thankful Thursday post almost a year ago today. I had no idea when I went to search for it just now. I love symmetry and anniversaries and time as much as I hate them; therefore, I love asymmetry and random occurrences and timelessness.

I love so much that sometimes I am taken down by it. I cry with the spring, I wait for the rain, I walk the earth alone; I let my thoughts whisper and hope they take flight in the moonless, cloudless night. I bear witness to the air, the red planet twinkling, the new prey being eaten in the dark, all that goes past us and beyond our time here.

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You probably don’t remember that February is birthday month around here. When you have 4 core family members and half of them have birthdays in February, right after Valentine’s Day, no less, it’s a big deal. Makes for scrambling and excitement and extra cake.

As far as other things I’m grateful for, I’ve been feeling mostly better for almost 2 weeks. After a 7-week hiatus I got to go to Shape Note singing on Tuesday night, took Vi with me, sang for about an hour. It was fabulous. I had enough breath and I was using my best Alexander thinking due to having been around one of my colleagues on Saturday night (nothing to get good psycho-physical unification functioning like being around another Alexander teacher!).

In the 7-and-a-half years that I’ve been singing Sacred Harp on Tuesday nights in Northampton, Mass, I have never missed as many weeks in a row as I did over this extended period of ill health.

I also returned to yoga this week. This was the longest period in which I’ve missed yoga classes in over 3 years. Seven weeks. I was much stronger than I imagined, not so much was lost. I’ve still got muscles–even my abs (who knew?) and I’m regaining my breath very nicely.

Today is Hubby’s birthday and also marks the 25th anniversary of our first date. I don’t have a photo to share (I should get out the scanner) and I’m tired of google images, but I think some color is needed to break up the monotony of all these words.

I have now passed the point in my life after which I will now have known Paul for longer than I haven’t. I love to mark time in this way.

Time lengthening, time speeding up.

On Tuesday, I got to lead one of my favorite songs from The Sacred Harp:

#230 Converting Grace

As pants the hart for cooling streams, When heated in the chase;

So longs my soul, O God, for Thee, and Thy refreshing grace.

Oh, for converting grace, and oh, for sanctifying pow’r; Lord, we ask in Jesus’ name, A sweet, refreshing show’r.

For Thee, my God, the living God, My thirsty soul doth pine;

Oh, when shall I behold Thy face, Thy majesty divine?

Why restless, why cast down, my soul?  Hope still; and thou shalt sing

Praise of Him who is thy God, Thy heath’s eternal spring.

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Before you think I don’t wish us all well for the new year,

★ ★ ★ Happy New Year!!! ★ ★ ★

Also, in case you think I’m in some sort of seasonal crappy state, like last year at this time, here is a dashing couple to put those fears to rest:

I have been uninspired of late. Should I stop blogging (for now)? Was this just an enjoyable one-year experiment? Do I really want to continue Music Monday on a regular basis? What about posting poetry? Will I continue to participate in Poetry Jam? Do I have anything that needs to be said or is it just more ether? Should I continue to link [some of] my blog posts to Facebook?

I am not one for resolutions per se. Two years ago I started taking regular yoga classes. This had been something I’d desired for YEARS. I have done a little bit of yoga my whole life and finally, in December of 2008, I knew I could commit to regular classes. Last year, I decided to start this blog. I didn’t make a resolution; I was simply ready. I do like the idea of a new start, but I don’t like to box myself in. As an alcoholic, rigidity tends to make me rebel; I try not to set myself up for failure (as if I can always see where I’m going–wouldn’t that be nice). Rather, I like to give myself the best chance of success. That can be tricky to discern, but I do okay.

I am already making some of the changes I want for 2012. Nothing difficult or life-altering, just small things that need attending to and to which I can attend because my children need it, our finances need it, I need it, my house needs it, &c. (HA! The first time I’ve used an ampersand with a c on the end on my blog, maybe even the first ampersand on my blog. I promise not to do it again for at least a day).

For today, a video of Tim Eriksen from a couple of years back. If you read the notes below the video on youtube, he gives a little background on the song. It is one of my favorite Sacred Harp songs, one which I can actually lead (not always so easy with more complex songs). I do love the sound of the bajo sexto, but could do without the spinning around of the camera. Still, I hope you enjoy this. It was either this or my kids and I were going to sing Sacred Harp #162 for you via the Mac. But the light is SO bad in my kitchen and my face so sunken. I wouldn’t have chatted, though, only the song. Maybe next year….

Obviously, it was a lot colder a year ago this time of year, though it’s predicted to go into the single digits overnight this week, lots of low 20s and wind in the day.

Today, I was driving down my little street and the wind was whipping the leaves around. It seemed to be snowing broken leaves, but then, I saw real snow. The snow lifted up from the ground, I swear it wasn’t falling. It lasted all of 2 minutes.

No matter what happens, I’ve been happy to blog. Now I wait for snow and the return of the light which is happening some days. Other times, it seems so strangely overcast and blustery that I can’t tell what season I’m in, where I live, when the days will change.

Look, I can tell that you are not convinced about my well-wishes. Time for another New Year’s photo to let you know I’m serious:

If they can do it, why can’t I? I could immerse myself in non-alcoholic bubbly, right?

Best to you and yours, with love and kisses,

♡ twinkly

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I am not going to say that I am grateful for electricity, okay?

Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll say it. I’m grateful for electricity.

I am more grateful for a heated house and hot water and light in the darkness, which is to say that for the 3 days and 4 nights we just spent without electricity, I would liked to have had a better ability to create a source of heat and light that is not dependent on power lines. We did use a camping stove for heating up soup and noodles and water a few times. That was nice.

But I would like to have a gas stove, a wood-burning fireplace, and more surfaces in my house that could be safely used with candlelight. My house is small-ish (to me who grew up in much larger houses) and cluttered-ish. I would have liked to read or do my crossword puzzles by candlelight in my bedroom on those nights without electricity, but there isn’t a safe place to put a candle–too much clutter or too many fabric-y things all over the place.

I am grateful for HEAT and LIGHT and FIRE which is to say, from within.

You may not believe it, but I, twinklysparkles, was getting very pissy and whiny after just ONE NIGHT without heat. It was cold, I tell you. By Monday night, I was too cold to sleep and I had a super-shitty night. But on Tuesday evening, I went to my regular yoga class. My teacher, too, had been without heat at her house. She taught a very heat-producing class. Like strip-off-your clothes yoga workout. Not hot yoga, just bringing up the inner heat, the heat you can create by moving your own muscles, breath, chi, prana.

I came home ready to conquer. Full of fire. Remembering who I am and remembering that before external power, I have the spark of life inside.

Hubby heated water on the camping stove. I did a whole dang load of dishes. (Have I ever told you about my champion dish-stacking skills? I am the best dish-stacker I have ever met. My drying rack is a thing of beauty. Balanced, poised, sensible. I love stacking clean dishes almost as much as making sure the dishes are clean).

Warm toilet seats. Oh my God.

Warm floors.

Warm bed.

You know, in the winter, those 3 things aren’t terribly warm all the time anyway, but 48-ish degrees was going too far.

What I learned: I would be able to adjust if we had no electricity. I would figure it out. I would need help, yes, but I would not die or fester or crumble or disintegrate. We all would figure it out. We would have another way of heating, of lighting. We would have root cellars and canned foods and jerky. Yes. We have not lived with electricity for much of human history; we would get it together.

I actually liked the pace while we had no electricity. Slower. Boring and depressing, but I liked the slow. I liked the candlelight. I liked having a little pot of hot water from the camping stove that I could put a wash cloth to and wash in the candle-lit bathroom, so cold to be uncovered, but my body craving the heat. Steam. I like steam.

I really missed my vacuum cleaner (I think it has made Thankful Thursday before). My German-made SEBO. It is the best vacuum cleaner I have ever owned. Love my SEBO.

Love my kids. Love my Hubby. Love my mom.

I love shopping. I love when we are out of food and can’t cook but can go eat somewhere else.

Love my blender with which I can make my own coffee blended (I know you know that, but I really missed it).

Love my granola (ran out and couldn’t bake more)

Thankful for friends who open up their homes to us when we have no heat, electric, shower.

Thankful that I have an old-fashioned land-line (not cordless) that never went out so I could stay connected.

Love my internet. Love my blog.

Love my car. Love having a car. Love being able to drive when I need to.

Love being able to help my mom.

Silk long johns–bottoms, tops, undershirts, especially if they are pink or black

non-itchy, but warm, socks

polarfleece

Oh I hate this post, but it being Thankful Thursday, I’m not supposed to say that. Just this one time, I’m going to allow it. Then it will be forgotten and I won’t remember the cold and the lack and the dependence and it will happen again and no one will remember and it will be okay and I’ll let you know, just once in over 10 months, that I don’t like my writing sometimes. So deep and rich for me to practice not hating my writing. So deep and rich to not hate anything at all, really.

It’s hot, it’s cool, it’s the bomb, this practice of not hating. I recommend it. I am learning to love it, but it may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Is it simple acceptance, then, not hating? Is it detachment? Is it love?

Start of new poem, or fragment of new poem, not sure which:

Fragment

The dead cornstalks flutter like prayers

Why try to measure my immeasurable love?

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