Friday, July 22, 2011

My backyard

I have been on a cleaning binge. And patching and repairing on my house.

I LOVE my home. But it didn't start out that way.

I LIKED it, but I've done a lot of work on it over the years. Let's say I saw the potential in it.  Now, I really enjoy hanging out in my backyard.

This is a corner of my yard that shows the most impact.

Before it looked this this, the yard was void of any flowers or trees except one lowly rose bush.

The grass needed care. The screened in porch needed to get pulled down. So I pulled it down. And I planted trees. And I planted flowers. I also painted my house. And fertilized my lawn.  I did a lot of this with my own bare hands. I also had a coupla friends over the years to help me which I will always be grateful for. 

It is now really lovely to sit out in my backyard alone or with friends and family over dinner on a warm summer evening.

But it wasn't always that way.  Because when I first moved in, my yard looked like this.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Another 10K Race

It looks like I'm running in a relay.

But, instead, I am carrying a rather old ipod shuffle that ran out of batteries after my fifth mile. I had it hooked on my shorts, but it apparently started to bug me, so I just grabbed it and carried it in my sweaty hands. 

I sprinted to the finish but it still turned out to be one of my slowest races. Falling behind nearly three minutes from the previous year. It was much warmer this year. But I am blaming it more on my breathing.

I've been having such a difficult time breathing while running. It has really been frustrating for me trying to keep up with the other runners I used to pass.  It wasn't always this way, but now it is getting in the way of my running.

My lungs feel heavy and strained. So do my legs. Like boards. I can't get them moving as fast or with the same ease as I once did. My chest aches. I don't breathe in deep enough and I run like a panting dog.

I'm still out there running twice a week (not nearly as much as I should be running)... but I'm out there running with my running buddies... six or seven miles up in the hills, jumping over rocks, (and an occasional snake), and through meadows and along streams. 

It's just different now.

I can barely catch my breath. My lungs feel so tight and ache when I take a breath in.

So i decided to seek medical attention.
First, I had a stress test done to check my heart. Walking progressively faster and faster as the incline increased every few minutes while they stuck me with sticky electrodes and attached to my chest, shoulders and hips.   I aced it! (well, that's the word my doctor used... "you aced it, Shawn!")

I have gone to an allergist.   No real allergies were determined. I had a reaction to a walnut tree... but other than that, I came clean with allergies. 

I had lung function tests and the doctor listened to my heart and lungs and it, too, turned out strong and clear.

Next option: An inhaler. The doctor suggested that perhaps I have exercise induced asthma. He gave me a sample inhaler and suggests I take two puffs of it 15 minutes before I run.

I look forward to it working it's magic.  I want to enjoy running again. Because at the moment, I am not. 

Mostly, I'm scared, because I don't know why it has become so labor-intensive to run even short distances.

And I only know too well what will happen, if I continue to feel defeated. I will stop running. At at the present moment, I don't want that to be option.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

what would you do if you couldn't fail?

i'm back in my body where I hear the small yelp for something new and refreshing to quench my creative soul.

It's like a mirage.

Seemingly right there in front of me.  If I reach out, I feel as though I can touch it; taste it. I stare out into the abyss and similar to the magic eye pictures...  i squint my eyes a tad, so i can peer into a picture previously unseen to the eye.

What is it that i'm supposed to see?

What's my destiny?
What is my heart telling me?

Another birthday is approaching and so it's no wonder I am looking back over my life and wondering what the hell I'm supposed to be doing. I mean, rrrreally be doing.

It has nothing to do with my day job. I love my daylight hours designing fabric, ads, movies--- anything that lands on my platter... I enjoy doing...  and hope to work here until my 100th birthday. But still... there is a huge longing to do something that is purely a "shawn" thing to do. A doodlegirl dream that has nothing to do with my daytime doodling.

It has everything to do with what I do with my free time in the evenings. I want to do whatever that IS that makes my heart sing.

What IS my greatest talent. What is that thing I am best at?

So many thoughts and ideas bouncing inside me like drunk people dancing at a wedding.

So I sit here outside under my new patio on a warm July evening and let my imagination soar.  I am so grateful for my home. And my backyard that was once a pile of weeds but now green and luscious with beautiful purple agapanthus that look like fireworks in the night sky.

I am writing down notes. Remembering my earlier accomplishments and my pile of creative projects I started but never completed. Dreams I planted ... and can still grow if I cultivate it.

It's okay that I don't know the answer now. The map is still in my spirit and it's up to me to keep making steps in my creative journey in the same direction as I follow my heart.

Thinking about this makes me deliriously happy. And it takes my breath away.

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

In line at the Jack in the Box

So, i don't normally eat fast food but today I couldn't resist. I pulled into the long line at the Jack in the Box and contemplated my order.  The car ahead of me had two tiny old ladies in it and the driver could barely see above her steering wheel. 

She crawled her way slowly toward the menu sign...  and then pressed too hard on the brakes, lurching the car forward as it dipped to a stop. Both women bounced around in their seats. 

The shocks in the car were shot. It was as if they were sitting on a trampoline. 
Once the car settled down, she backed up so she could get a better view of the outdoor menu.

They took a long time deciding what they wanted to eat and when the voice in the speaker finally thanked her for her order and to move forward... I noticed her car was still in reverse! She started to inch her way toward me and I was just about to honk at her, when she noticed her mistake, breaking hard again. 

Even more bouncing. Little round fuzzy white hair-dos rolling all over the front seat.

Eventually, she made her way to the first window and paid for their order. And as she drove up to the second window to receive their food, she simply waved, "thank you, darlin'!" and continued to drive out of the parking lot and turned right and drove down the street, forgetting to pick up their lunch!

I pulled up to the front window... still giggling to what I had just witnessed.

The Jack in the Box employee rolled her eyes and blew out a breath so hard, her bangs blew upward. "Old people!!!!  Look what we have to look forward to!"

Reminds me of this joke:

Three sisters, ages 92, 94, and 96 live in a house together. One Night the 96 year old draws a bath. She puts one foot in and pauses. She Yells down the stairs, "Was I getting in or out of the bath?"
The 94 year old yells back, "I don't know. I'll come up and see." She starts up the stairs and pauses. Then, she yells, "Was I going up The stairs or down?"
The 92 year old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea, listening to her sisters. She shakes her head and says, "I sure hope I never get That forgetful."
She knocks on wood for good measure.
She then yells, "I'll come up and help both of you as soon as I see who's at the door."