Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Of lights, night, and early morning


In winter, night photography becomes less of a whim and more of a...must. First photo: don't miss the moon. Last photo: I woke (I wake early) to a strangely diffuse white glow outside - a magical overnight fog had had a most interesting transformative effect on the light of the street lamps.

Happy New Year, you all.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Gratitudes + things that are making me happy


• Animal rights reading (although I seem now to have misplaced the book in question, 60% of my way through it...)

Bibliopedestrianism - both the practice and the word

• Gentle yoga videos

• Anniversary plans

• Singing with friends

• Blog comments

• Pared-down Twitter (I shaved away most of my follows and followers)

• No Instagram anymore

• Being the girlfriend of a grad student who is currently done with finals!

• Flannel sheets

• Short work weeks

• Doing my best at work, and my best getting better

• Bouquets of what's actually growing in December in Northern California (currently: marigolds, eucalyptus, fir, and some other things I can't name)

• A break from Hebrew classes, and plans to fill it in with Hebrew-language movies

• Weekend breakfast the way my girlfriend's grandparents have it: tomato-cucumber-green onion salad, and cheese on bread

Call the Midwife

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Farmers' market still life

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With night falling early, my farmers' market takes place partly after dark now. Most of the farms illuminate their produce with strings of lights hanging from their canopies; this one simply put their lights on top of their produce. I loved the effect - an uncalculated but striking display that looked like the old masters would have turned it into a painting.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Autumn fog walk

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This is the beach I grew up with, and this is the type of beach I grew up thinking of as normal - gray, cool, dangerous to swim at, and sweetly melancholy in appearance.

Walking on this cool morning, bundled up, I chatted on the phone with my dad and then simply kept myself company with song and camera. As the sun gradually brightened the fog, I was struck by how the color of the sky melded into that of the water's shine.

Thank you to the gulls and sanderlings for making the beach even more enchanting, and thanks to the surfers for making me feel extra warm by comparison.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Gratitudes + things that are making me happy


• Replacing crackers in my diet with fresh bread

• Work calming down in the wake of Thanksgiving

• Reading Frankenstein with my college best friend

• Brewing full teapots of tea instead of just one mug's worth

• Drinking tea in the shower

• Homemade mashed potatoes

• The nearly magical benefits of some stretching time during the workday

• Rain clouds

• Experimenting with buying as many of my gifts locally as possible

• Also experimenting with a non-perfectionist attitude towards choosing gifts, in the interest of not having quite so many left to buy at the last minute

• My oldest niece asking for a diary for Christmas. As someone with a cherished journaling habit of nearly twenty years, I could not be more touched.

That hygge book

• An unexpected field trip with a coworker to stop by a customer in the middle of the day today - a short drive by the water with a Beach House soundtrack. Delighful!
• Early bedtimes to make up for late ones

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Body thoughts, continued

For a while, when I thought about physical activity, I thought: the point is dance. The thing to do is go to dance classes, or do something else that will make my dancing easier or better (e.g. jogging so that I had better cardiovascular stamina for jumping combinations). And I thought, I could or should make sacrifices for this. And there was so much to lose from any time off.

Then I thought, maybe the point is physical fitness in whatever form feels good at the moment. Maybe what feels good points to what I need, and maybe what feels good will be easiest to stick with and therefore also the best for my health.

I took up jogging, again. I saw changes in myself - I grew stronger, and softer. Not smaller. I grew calmer. I walked up the long flights of stairs from the underground train stations without getting out of breath.

I struggled to fit in as many runs each week as I thought I should. I thought that I should still be able to fit in dance classes too. Part of me felt I was holding out on myself, not trying as hard as I could. I don't know why, though - when in my life have I ever succeeded in having that many regular commitments of time and energy on top of existing ones? Never.

Then after a while more, I thought, maybe the point is not physical fitness or movement. I thought that whatever the point was, it was achieved by various combinations of napping, jogging, dancing, sitting in my grandmother's chair doing nothing, walking, looking at the sky, lying in the dark in a bed of saltwater, each according to the day, and that whatever was gained was worth sacrificing for nothing. There is a high-level vocab word I can't remember that means "incapable of being lost." Whatever was gained was something occurring between me and myself that could not be lost.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Body thoughts: I promise I'm going somewhere with this

I was in love with ballet as a teenager, painfully so. As the vast majority of teenaged ballet students do, I eventually quit. Then I did something as a twenty-six-year-old that kind of surprised me - I went back to it, back to the same ballet school even. And I had such a wonderful time compared to when I was fourteen/fifteen/sixteen years old. It was what I needed, too, during a tumultous and painful period of my life - something absorbing that felt as familiar as church. After class, I strode around in the night hours collecting groceries, putting off going home, all glowy with sweat, my legs sore and strong.

 And I actually think I was a better dancer than during my teenage years dancing... I had much more awareness of my physical self, more intelligence about what my muscles were doing. I had more ability to have an interesting physical presence in the center of a dance floor.

But after a year and a half I changed jobs, my work hours changed significantly, the neighborhood I worked in changed, and it became a lot more difficult to get to class, so I stopped. And my life became, for separate reasons, a lot calmer and safer, and held itself together without ballet class.

I have further places to meander with this; to be continued.