Sunday, December 30, 2007

Forrest for the Trees

Today was a whole revolution of mood swings. I started out feeling like the word "linguine" feels to say out loud. Linguine. Liquid. Full of movement outward, searching for that slightly downward sloping direction to roll into. But soon the surface was flat, and I was still. Angrily still. I was in a hole. And then the word became something closer to "stagnant". I adore the word stagnant, because it sounds like the inaction of it's definition. Similar to stop.

Sometimes when typing the word stop I pause for a second afterwards. Stop has a definite end, stop demands to be recognized, stop conveys an attitude of absolute authority.

By 11:30 I was "stagnant". Which frayed into "frazzled" after leaving the parking lot of the gym, without ever going into the gym. My being encompassed "frazzled". My hair frizzed out into the rainy climate, uncooperative to the effort of my hands constantly mashing my bushy mane back down to a respectable shape. Frazzled. Fumbling. I ran a red light because I was reaching down to pick up my phone which I had dropped when putting a cd into the disc player while driving 52 in 45 mph zone.

By the time I made it home, un-exercised (please allow me to make up that word), my "frazzled" mood swooped down to "dull" and curled up in bed at 1:30pm. My husband, bless him or beat him, will not allow me to sleep during the day. And he comes into the bedroom and rips off the covers and says "Get up! Let's go get a snicker's blizzard." Mmmm, snicker's blizzard. My happy food. And totally non-vegan. But let's not think about that right now.

So I'm in the car with the kids, the neighbor's kid and we are munching on snickers blizzards and I'm feeling unsure, but reluctant to let go of the power that "dull" held over me for the last hour. Because "dull" was intense, with it's brute hands pushing my shoulders down, squeezing my face, telling me not to breathe. But then we head to Barnes and Nobel and before long I have abandoned "dull" though his residue is still on my hands and my cheeks.

And for a bit I am in the rare moment of "me". An hour roaming the shelves of Barnes and Nobles, reading Vegan cookbooks, counting the classic literature novels I own and those I hope to own, learning new positions from the cosmo sex books, and gasping over breathless poetry. But "me" is gone as soon as Chris announces he is tired of following the kids and it is now my turn. And then I become "no we arn't buying that", "don't whine", "be nice to your sister", "come back here", "no I said we arn't buying that", "because i said so".

By 5:30 I am "drab". Will I fall asleep before 8:30 tonight? What will I make for dinner? Do I have to go back to work next week? Why can't I finish anything I start? Where is so and so and what are they doing right now? Can I bare this baseness tomorrow?

All these words and questions and feelings and obligations.

When I got the chance
I asked them a slew of questions.
They offered to burn me.
It was all they knew.

How can I expect so much from just a word? How can I expect salvation by simply running towards the word "peace"? Surely once I capture that word it will be fleeting, like type on the page, jumping from word to word, barely noticing the paragraph for my obsession with the descender on the letter "g" in the word "unchanging".

Saturday, December 29, 2007

You are my Heroine

As with most scheduled activities, I was 5 minutes late to my yoga class this morning. But I made it, breathless as the class was beginning pranayama exercises. I have to admit I haven't been to yoga for maybe 8 months, and saying I was "rusty" is a dramatic understatement. Into the second down dog my wrist were shaking, and my back was saying "hey lady, if you want me to stretch out, then those legs down there are gonna have to stretch first". The triangle pose required me to hold my arms straight out from my sides for 10, maybe 20 minutes, leaving them feeling lifeless, like I'd been balancing a barrell of whiskey on the left, and basket of wet grapes on the right. I was so grateful when the instructor turned down the lights for savasana, I nearly started clapping. I laid there, in my corpse pose, staring at the white ceiling fan, and it occurred to me, I have never "cleared" my mind, even though the train of yoga instructors encouraged me to "be in the present". I think it's kinda funny for someone to say "don't think about anything" because I immediately start thinking about how I am not supposed to be thinking about how Payton needs a new pair of jeans, and I need to stop by the market and pick up sweet potatoes on my way home, and how this or that is such a disaster right now, and how I absolutely can not forget my therapy appointment at 12:30 today. Basically, it's an elephant in the yoga studio and the instructor is saying "yes I know its an elephant, and the elephant is stepping on your feet, and it's tail is tickling your nose, but DON'T pay attention to that elephant". Um, yeah, okay.

After yoga, I drove over to Ellwood Thompson Natural Market. Three years ago I would take Payton to a kid yoga in Carytown. While she stretched into the caterpillar and the iguana poses, I would browse the stalls of Ellwood Thompsons for the freshest organic fruit available that day. She would run out of the studio saying "What fruit today?!" And then smile her very Payton smile, a smile which stretches across her face lining up directly under her doughy gleeful eyes, and she would grab the nectarine or bunch of grapes from the bag and munch on her treasure during the drive home, stretched, relaxed, and healthful.

So I was in Elwood Thompson's this morning, adoring the ripe strawberries and golden pears, all natural, all organic, all very very expensive. In a market like this, with fresh locally grown produce, my relationship with food becomes sensual. I looked at each bit of produce like a jewel, like a gift which I glorify myself to be worthy of consuming. I held them like I would my favorite wine glass, with care and adoration. And I placed them gently into my brown sack, choosing only what I need to make Butternut Squash and Pear Soup for dinner. 1 sweet potato. 1 butternut squash. 2 pears. 1 red pepper. 1 onion. A small can of coconut milk. A container of earth balance. Oh, and a slice of vegan zucchini bread as my own personal treat to enjoy on the ride home.

So I made it home. Chris gawked a bit at the $15 bill for food to make yet another vegan dinner. His patience is wearing, though this meal will feed us for 2, maybe 3 meals. Payton and Chloe wanted to make chocolate chip cookies, so I employed their help in the kitchen cleaning, decluttering, and then finally the baking. Below is proof of our endeavor. I discovered a new faux-egg mixture, a powder that combines with water to have the same congealing properties of real eggs. Payton's friend came over and we served the kids chocolate chip cookies with soy milk, but they weren't fooled, and the soy milk was quickly exchanged for regular old skim milk.