May 29, 2009
Why Ballet Lessons Are Important to Working Women
T. is always inspiring me. Not like normal inspirations, though. She helps my mind go weirder places than I might on my own….Yeah, I suppose the blue raspberry High Voltage Mountain Dew with Ginseng probably helped some. Now I’m smartly super hyper.
Here’s the thing…Ballet should be listed as a prerequisite for any job where you will be required to share a public toilet with other employees or guests.
Some imperative moves to be mastered:
Demi Detourné: a half turn executed on both feet – used when arriving at a fully occupied restroom.
Jeté: a jump from one foot to the other – which is what you’ll likely do if you arrive at a fully occupied restroom and choose not to use the Demi Detourne.
Glissade: literally: to slide. The front foot moves out to a point, both legs briefly straighten as weight is shifted onto the pointed foot, and the other foot moves in to meet the first. Most effectively used for the “Toe Point Paper Towel Push” – to avoid contact with unidentified liquids on bathroom floors and seats.
Grande-Plié: literally "bending of the knees". Germ avoidance squats, accomplished by a smooth and continuous bending of the knees to the deepest position where the heels lift off of the floor.
Soutenu en tournant: a series of turns in quick sucessions recommended when using the “Ball of the Foot Flush”. First execute a demi plié while extending the leading leg in a tendu position and then stepping up on a tight leg and beginning the turn while simultaneously bringing the other leg up to a raised position while finishing a full 360 degree turn.
Port de bras: literally "carriage of the arms", varied usage:
* Port de bras, elemente: movement of the arms to different positions as in “Over-Head Arm Extensions” – to reach strangely placed back-up TP rolls when the dispenser is out.
* Port de bras, deux: movement of the arms away from the body, elbows severely angled to avoid drippage on dry clean only shirts after washing your hands when the dryer or paper towels are located across the room.
Epaulement: Literally "shouldering". The best way to keep hands clean when opening a push door – put the shoulder into it.
Aplomb: all of the above must be performed with aplomb – or absolute stability to avoid any sort of toilet related workers compensations issues.
Gnashing It Out
Top 10 Reasons Why I’m Not So Bummed About Not Having Dental Implants, After All.
1. I’m saving a lot of time without as many teeth to brush.
2. I’m saving a lot of money on toothpaste without as many teeth to brush.
3. I’m saving a lot of money on floss without as many teeth to floss.
4. I’m saving a lot of money on gum without any good chewing surfaces.
5. I don’t grind my left back teeth anymore!
6. Missing teeth makes my face looks like I actually have prominent cheekbones.
7. When I smile with my lips closed, I have a really cute dimple on my right cheek.
8. Eating mostly soft foods and protein shakes should help with the weight loss plan.
9. I can whistle now… never could before!
10. I have absolutely mastered the art of giving myself the Heimlich maneuver.
May 26, 2009
Pressure, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 21
Memorial Day Memories and Moments
The last minute invitation to join a GITC cook team headed for southern Illinois fell through.
Trying economic times, holiday weekend plans, graduations, the list of reasons were all legitimate.
Still, I suffered the self-imposed disappointment-pressure that comes with the territory.
So, I accepted another invitation. I was in the mood to work, and the invitation promised that I could.
I missed the lawn mowing, edging, and weed whacking fun, but the promise of using the power washer helped me decide. There was also shed clearing, grocery shopping, inside and outside window washing, bench refurbishing & repainting, flower boxes, and a fence to be clear coat stained.
Why was I looking forward to all this? To distract me from the pressure.
It’s not the uncertainty of my job, or that the 5-year lease on my home is up. It's not that scheduled surgery was canceled for the third time, or the eight pounds the doctor’s scale says I’ve gained in a year.
It’s something else. Not directly related to these circumstances.
It’s the stress on my heart.
The only way to ease the pain is to release all the pressure of built up love that has not yet been given away.
It needs to go somewhere. I come back empty from mission trips.
Sometimes empty is good, especially if I can empty my heart through giving, while at the same time, releasing toxins thru tears and sweat.
In this issue: Pressure, Finding the Deep River Within. Part 2 AARP Walking Guide
Now posted: Mirroring, Slidell, LA, October 2008
May 19, 2009
Walking, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 20
I’ve been walking alone for quite some time now; since January 2006. And although that path had led me to some great accomplishments, it is only recently that I found an error in my route.
I noticed the mistake, or was more accurately God-smacked by it, last Saturday, May 16th, when I took part in the 5th annual Herrick Hospital Diabetes Education 5K Walk and Run. It took a very special invitation to get me there. I am blessed to have one particularly relentless friend who over the past two years has allowed me alone time, wide berths of space, and tolerated many logical-to-me sorry-I’m-not-going-to-show excuses. Even so, she has never stopped asking me to participate in her life.
Over 3 years, I have built up my daily walk to 1.5 to 2 miles per day, and average about 32 minutes/mile. The 5k or 3.1 mile fund-raiser walk was scheduled from 9:00 – 10:30. I wasn’t absolutely sure I could make it within that time frame, but with reasonable effort I was sure I could come close, and maybe end up being just few minutes late.
I didn’t count on some things. The uphill climb to the start line wasn’t something the treadmill prepared me for. Although I’ve often adjusted the incline, I’d never set it that steep! The off-road muddy wooded path around the lake was a little slippery and a lot hilly, also.
I also didn’t count on the outcome. I don’t wear a watch, and didn’t bother to pull out my phone to see how our timing was. I was too busy walking and talking, catching up, and finding parallels in our lives. Our sub-team of 4 had started out together. Soon, 2 of our 4-woman walking group were far ahead. We slower gals kept a steady pace. We were passed by two or three other walkers on the off-road uphill part of the path. I had expected to have been passed a lot sooner than that.
Coming around the lake into the open, seeing the welcoming finish-liners was a great feeling. As we joined others in the pavilion, I asked about the time. It was 10:10 am! How had it happened that I was not late, but 20 minutes early?
There have been a few people lately who have been reminding me that we as people are not meant to be alone in life. I’ve done a lot on my own. But I’ve been limited by my belief that I could go it entirely by myself. I recognize a real need for others now: to encourage me, challenge me, walk with me through and then out of this valley in my life.
It doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll suddenly be easier to get along with, or that I’ll attend every function I’m invited to. I’m like an early spring tulip – I need to be careful not to open up too fast, not to over-bloom. I need a little more time to build up the strength needed to stretch my arms wide, find surer footing, and anchor myself with deeper roots, so I cannot easily be blown over or blown apart as winds of change storm by.
On the Road to Emmaus Luke 24: 13-17
13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him.
17He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?"
In this issue: AARP Walking Guide, STEM International, I Walk The Line & Artists' Walk.
Now published: Cajun Frog legs, Slidell, LA October 2008, Faith & perpetual curiosity, poetry 2009
May 14, 2009
A path by itself
Freeze and retain
Or drift away
Like desert sand;
Still, always finding
Is the answer
May 12, 2009
Open Ended, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 19
"Wouldn’t it be great if GOD left this one open-ended?”
I actually uttered this phrase once.
I was thinking in terms of yet another rebuilding project that the GITC team would not get to complete. We’d have to walk away without finishing another home. I was thinking that for some of our newer team members, there was a driving need for more work, and of course, more work to be done.
I really do need to learn to be more specific when speaking with GOD, because seven months later, I have found myself in the here and now at a very open-ended phase in my life: lots of variables, no real solutions.
Nothing is finished. Nothing is settled.
Nothing is completely clear, and I am certainly not complete.
That’s not at all what I had in mind.
I received an email with an interesting foot note:
Don’t ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to move your feet.
In this issue: Housetrology, Homing Pigeons, How to Relax at Home
Open Ended, Slidell, Louisiana, October 2008
Compliments, Straight Up, Humor, That's Random
Complimentary, Straight Up
Recently a friend and a coworker had this conversation about me… in front of me.
The three of us had been jokingly discussing someone we thought might be hinting at something.
Knowing there is always some truth in jest, the friend asked me if I’d been hinting at anything lately.
I didn’t get to respond - I got cut off by the following dialog:
“Jodi doesn’t usually HINT,” my coworker said.
“I know,” said my friend. “She usually drops the ‘N’!
Translation: I tend to hit, not hint.
I drop the bomb straight on its target. I tell it like it is.
I don’t make you guess at what I mean.
If it’s not perfectly clear, you weren’t listening.
Which brings to mind another fairly recent, and also amusing description of me. This one was offered by someone who knew me better than anyone else in one particular group. It was given to a bunch of folks who didn’t know me quite so well, directly after I rather directly rendered a rather unpopular verdict.
“Jodi is like the Christmas present you get wrapped up in the Sunday comics,” he explained, with a laugh.
“No frills, straight up! You know it’s what inside that counts, and you always know what you’re getting is gonna be real.”
I’m gonna continue to think of these as compliments.
It’s good to be loved for who you are.
May 05, 2009
Staged, ME News, Vol. 2 Issue 18
Last week’s Thursday evening Adrian Symphony Orchestra rehearsal provided an extraordinary opportunity. Introduced to American composer Ken Fuchs, under the kind guidance of conductor John Thomas Dodson, attendees found themselves in the unusual position of co-observance alongside Mr. Fuchs, who would be hearing his work performed by ASO for the first time.
As with any art, created and then given away - handed over, it becomes open to interpretation. Unasked questions titter for answers. Do you see what I see? Do you hear what I hear? Can you carry my inner, intimate inspiration into your orchestral life, make it yours, yet have it remain wholly mine? Like building a remarkable one of a kind instrument and then giving it away; the machine remains intact, but user inflection may vary. Like when I give away words with one specific meaning, and somehow they come back to me as something completely different; interpreted in a way I did not intend, nor could have imagined.
A commanding chain: Composer – Conductor – Orchestra.
Eyes, ears, skin exposed to tactile vibrations, immersed in the drama, I want to be everywhere at once: with the composer, with the conductor, with the orchestra, with the audience. I visualize notes as drifting smoke: swirling charcoal yellows, brighter windy spring greens, wistful streaking skylight blues. An occasional brown bubble, bursting like fireworks, expands in a higher space floating down as muddy tendrils - like muting waves over scrolls of chiseled sound.
In the midst of all this, I sometimes forget to breathe. A gasp and a yawn are not indicative of errors or boredom. I’ve just been biologically forced to find my way back to the present, having been so keenly lost in the concentration of observing and deciphering individuals and individual sounds in the swell.
Deeper into practice, the instant an orchestra is in accord, it is evident that this was the plan all along; perfunctorily preceded by a little pacing, scouting tilts of the head, eyes closed, eyes open, marking notes, turning back, rising to the balls of the feet, and finally, finally, a nod.
Seen in another light: Creator – Conduit – Congregation
The hope is that we as a congregation, acknowledge each others’ rhythms, meld into them, play off them, and perhaps necessarily find ourselves to be in complete contrast to them, and yet we are still gifted beyond what we can afford to repay; competency in combining to create harmonious globes of sound and light.
Assemblage, grouping, gathering, purposefully putting people together, whether as an orchestra or an audience, invites community; creates congregations. Common people, creative people, talented or merely appreciative, we’ve been found; identified. Staged.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! ~Psalms 133:1
In this issue: Home Staging, Orchestral Staging, Stage Coaches
It's Unfortunate That I'm A Realist
It really is... unfortunate that I’m a realist.
I’m not about to accept anyone’s spare-my-feelings, candy-coated version of the truth when I have reality based internal and external mirrors.
Better than I used to be, but still not good.
Line up the facts, and then dare to argue with me:
Short, fat, balding, middle-aged, still possibly soon to be jobless, most probably soon to be homeless, cash-broke, half-toothless, trailer park widow.
There’s just not a lot of call for that. Trust me; I’ve been back out there on the dating sites.
Don’t see any point in avoiding the truth about my widowhood. It’s gotta come up sooner or later. I’m not about to waste my time or anyone else’s covering up my “flaw.” The truth seems to scare ‘em.
My long-time friends and life-time family don’t agree with any of my truths, but they’re not walking up to my life’s window for the first time, either. It’s first impressions that count, and that list is an entirely accurate reflection of my present state.
Then consider the past. There’s never been a line at my door. So, where are all these friends’ and families’ fantasies that I will “meet someone” coming from? Fact: I was single for way longer than I was married. And it’s not like I wasn't trying back then, either.
Yeah, nothing is impossible. So, maybe in another 20 years, when everyone my age starts losing their spouses, I’ll be able to trick myself into believing such silliness.
Nah, I’ll probably still be a realist, even then.
not scared, just wary
not closed, just guarded
not worried, just wondering
not announced, just intuitive
not mentioned, just implied
not changed, just different
not noticeably, just imperceptibly
not sure, just hopeful