in which I am hoping my feet don’t fail me now

It’s been a big month. I’ve been in and out of my house more than I can remember. Between my trips and his job, Sam and I are in a haze of gratitude for the time we do get to spend together. Kiddo turned 21 this month, which seems both absolutely natural and utterly impossible. Where did my sweet little mop- headed monkey go? While we are at it, how did it take so long for the world to acknowledge she’s an adult? TIME JUST DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE. Oh, and hey, Rhinebeck happened, too.

I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting, journaling, sketching, blank knitting, any sort of meditation I can get my head into while everything is happening. My physical practice is so scattered lately; mostly a few daily sun salutations followed by whichever poses I’m working on at the moment. (A lot of upper back and arm balance work lately, but I’ve been doing some interesting things with hip openers, too. I have ideas about splits, and that’s new, I’ve always kind of dreaded them previously.)

I feel as though I should be doing more yoga as we move through all this stress: for alignment, to keep limber, to work out knots before they happen, to keep my massage therapists from needing to do more work than they ought— all of that. It’s an issue of time, always. I work on my posture, try to be mindful of body mechanics and hope that’s enough, instead. I’m getting better at self- care, certainly, but still wouldn’t say I’m awesome at this stuff. When do we ever prioritize ourselves, or our own bodies, enough? And then we expect ourselves to be able to take care of our homes, our families, our friends and our lives like superheroes. Hm.

Yeah, I know. And I can hear a select few of my friends telling me things I never want to hear. I’m writing it down, I know the right things. It’s a learning process.

Along that vein, though, I think I did something good for myself today. I hope so, at least! I’ll know for sure by tomorrow morning. For the last few weeks, I’ve noticed this lovely shift in things. When I work in Fells Point, I frequently need to use metered parking, which means sprinting to the meter to pop my card in, add funds, and then jogging back to my job. Parking tickets in the posher bits of the city are no joke, folks- I think my last ticket in Federal Hill was about $32, give or take, and I just missed that by about 6 minutes.

Here’s the thing; it’s been maybe 3 years since my last real run; I gave it up after the relapse before my meds switch, the one where my left leg didn’t work correctly. The fear of a fall was just too much, especially at speed. Gilenya has been going so well, though, and my neuro PT & yoga have me in a really good place with balance- I think I’m better off than most people, unless I’m having a bad day. Working on it offsets both the disease and age, which is nice- I would never have thought of that without MS. Small, un- thought- of benefits. It’s those tiny things, you know?

Anyway. Those sprints to the meter have felt good. Really, really good. The weather has been just right, too; those grey, cool- but- not- cold fall days. I got to thinking about how much I missed my runs, so I pulled out my shoes this afternoon and gave my old route a go. I didn’t aim for the full 5 to 6 miles- that would be begging for an injury- but instead ran my old 2 mile warm- up, which seemed about right. It felt so familiar, like falling into an old pattern, with that sweet flying feeling once my muscles opened.

Hugo had no idea what to make of it all.

Hugo had no idea what to make of it all.

I know that running isn’t for everyone. It isn’t for every body! It can be brutal on knees, hips, and backs. I love it, though, when my body will allow it. For me, there’s a magic to running: timing my breaths to the pad pad pad of my feet, the single- mindedness of the action, the way it clears the head. Much like meditation, archery, sex, and yoga, running has a way of silencing the outside world and bringing me directly into the present moment: there is nothing but this, here, and now.

I’ll spend the evening carefully stretching, to be safe, but I think I’m pretty all right after my teeny run. I’ll admit, I wasn’t completely sure about it, but I’ve been feeling better than I have in a very, very long time, and I’ve been hoping this might be possible again. I’ll give it a few days before I try it it another time, but this was my day- before- my- birthday present to myself, and if this is how I come into almost- 40, that’s really great by me. Thanks a lot, feet. You’re pretty rad.

Complete subject change: let’s talk yarn. You all have some GOOD IDEAS, folks. And I have GOOD YARN. Let’s trade.

Jody, we are running with your idea first, which means two things— first, please send me an email, I’m sending you some yarn! The OTHER thing that this means is that for the next yarn giveaway we have a new set of rules, and you’ve written them.

Jody’s suggestion really grabbed me; I’ve been thinking a lot about kindnesses, love, and compassion lately. Here’s what she suggested: “What if everyone wrote about a kindness they’d done or that was done to them? The news is so full of bad things -let’s hear about good things!”

I AM INTO IT. Here’s what I’d like- in the comments, please share TWO THINGS: the last random kindness that was done for you, and the last kindness you saw done for someone else (it counts if you were the doer!) I’ll choose the winner late next week and send them yaaaaarrrrrnnnns, winner pays shipping.

Be kind to yourselves in the meantime, Gentle Readers. I’m working on remembering that I’m no good to the people I love if I’m not taking care of myself, which means I’m reminding everyone I care about to do that, too. So hey, remember that self care stuff, okay? Good good.

  One thought on “in which I am hoping my feet don’t fail me now

  1. Tan Summers
    October 27, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    When a friend was getting a divorce she thanked me for the shawl I made for her. I was startled, and it was clear to her immediately that I had not been the anonymous donor. I later found out who the giver was–another neighbor who has been through hard times with illness in her family but who just keeps plugging along. I WISH I had made the secret gift shawl–but since I didn’t, I’m glad someone else did.

  2. October 27, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    I loved this idea. Both answers come from the Renaissance Faire, where we have a booth and are able to watch lots of people passing. The kindness I saw needs explanation. We have a family there where the daughter (early 20s) has some form of brain injury or severe cerebral palsy. Every day they are at Faire in costume and the Mother pushes her daughter’s electric wheel chair which is encased in a moving booth about the Faire. One day the undercarriage of the wheel chair caught on fire and this young lady started to panic. While people tried to get water to put the flames one of the rather large and allegedly evil Sheriff’s Guards came running up and scooped her out of her booth. He sat with her and held her in his arms, comforting her and keeping her safe until they were able to get the fire out and she was calmed. He had other places he was supposed to be as he was one of the actors, but he did not leave her until she was taken care of and calm. He became my favorite actor of the entire season. The kindness done to me was really to my entire family when we were trying to figure out what to do about a booth space so we could be at the Faire this year. We did not find out until late that we were going to be there and there was not enough time to build a booth and there were no booths to rent. One of our friends from the Faire knew we were trying to figure it out and contacted my husband and told him we could use a tent he had for the season. Now, he could have rented it to us or to someone else but instead he let us use it for free for the season. That really made it possible for us to be there and get back to the Faire we had left for 13 years while raising our minions. So a long comment but much shorter than if I were to list all the many kindnesses that come our way each day. Thank you for turning my mind away from my work to think about those things that really matter.

  3. Jenny
    October 27, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    I’m an instructor at a community college, and although most of our students are wonderful, we occasionally have trouble. My colleagues and I always watch out for each other. The other day a male student came into my office, closed the door behind him, and started talking loudly. My colleague threw open the door, placed herself between the student and me, and pointedly asked if I was okay. Everything was fine. The student is just naturally loud and didn’t realize that he should not have closed the door. I am so thankful to have a friend like my colleague who watches out for me.

    Today I was able to repay her kindness in a small way. She almost drove off with her jacket hanging over the bed of her truck, and I was able to stop her in the parking lot. It’s the small things, right?

  4. October 28, 2015 at 7:15 am

    I am the mother of 9 month old twin boys and have a 6 year old daughter, Anna. The boys have been sick with bad colds this past week and after a week of sleepless nights I finally came down with this killer cold myself. Feeling particularly crappy last night and early this morning during their 5 am feeding I slept past the 7:45 wake up call for my daughter to get her ready for kindergarten. When I awoke at 8:45 with only 10 minutes to get her ready and out the door, I was in a panic when I saw that my husband had already fed her breakfast, she was dressed, and had her hair done nicely and was just about ready go. I was mostly shocked about the hair part as she has long hair and my husband has trouble putting in a ponytail most days.

    We are living in Germany right now, my husband is German and I am from NY but we met in school while we were both attending the University of Rhode Island together. Anyway there has been a large influx of refugees to this country mostly from Syria but also from other war torn countries. We have been gathering our things that we are able to part with, toys, clothes, Anna’s former stroller, knits, etc. to donate to the refugees who have recently arrived in our town. I am also looking into starting a knitting group once they get established in the new refugee camp that is opening up not far from us. I am hoping that working with yarn together even if we can’t communicate much might forge a welcoming connection between their culture and ours.

  5. October 28, 2015 at 7:18 am

    I am the mother of 9 month old twin boys and have a 6 year old daughter, Anna. The boys have been sick with bad colds this past week and after a week of sleepless nights I finally came down with this killer cold myself. Feeling particularly crappy last night and early this morning during their 5 am feeding I slept past the 7:45 wake up call for my daughter to get her ready for kindergarten. When I awoke at 8:45 with only 10 minutes to get her ready and out the door, I was in a panic when I saw that my husband had already fed her breakfast, she was dressed, and had her hair done nicely and was just about ready go. I was mostly shocked about the hair part as she has long hair and my husband has trouble putting in a ponytail most days.

    We are living in Germany right now, my husband is German and I am from NY but we met in school while we were both attending the University of Rhode Island together. Anyway there has been a large influx of refugees to this country mostly from Syria but also from other war torn countries. We have been gathering our things that we are able to part with, toys, clothes, Anna’s former stroller, knits, etc. to donate to the refugees who have recently arrived in our town. I am also looking into starting a knitting group once they get established in the new refugee camp that is opening up not far from us. I am hoping that working with yarn together even if we can’t communicate much might forge a welcoming connection between their culture and ours.

  6. October 28, 2015 at 11:10 am

    The last random kindness that was done for me was on Monday. I was sitting in a cab in front of my house, paying the driver, when I realized that (a) paying him would leave me with two dollars and (b) I had four more cab rides coming up later in the week. I asked him if, once the ride was charged off, he would drive me to the corner store for the other $2, and he said yes. The random kindness was when he waited for me to use the cash machine and drove me home again at no charge. Sweetest thing. I walk with a walker, and I was very tired and wobbly.

    I paid the RAK forward this morning by charting a stranded color pattern for someone who had posted in the Patterns thread. She had linked to photo of a garment for which a pattern or chart were not available, so I pulled a chart from the photo.

    PS — I’m so happy for you that you are running again! Yay Gilenya! I used to run, too, pre-illness, and I still dream and daydream about it frequently. I know exactly the flying feeling you are talking about.

  7. October 28, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Let’s see: the last memorable random kindness I did was when I saw a couple waiting with that sad-anxious-hopeful look at the box office of a sold-out show. I asked the extra-sad-looking guy “Were you guys looking for a ticket?” and he said “YES OH MY GOD WE ARE, I thought I had two on Craigslist but the guy flaked and we have none and I love this singer and I’ve never gotten to see him and it sold out — and –” So I handed him an extra ticket.

    “OH MY GOD. THANK YOU. OH MY GOD –”

    “Do you both have tickets?”

    “No, there’s only one left at the box office and I wanted my boyfriend to see the show too because he’s my favorite and we’ve been trying –”

    “Oh. Here.” I handed them my other spare ticket. (Both my friends had flaked at the last minute.)

    “Oh my god, thank you, how much do we owe you?”

    “Eh, don’t worry about it.”

    “What? No, we can’t, that’s too much –”

    “It’s OK. Let something nice happen.”

    I don’t think I’ve ever been hugged so hard.

    The last random one for me? Hm, probably the manager at the gym waiving my fees and renewing my membership at the old, cheaper rate, even though I said the new rate was fine. It’s a small thing but it felt really nice.

  8. October 28, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    I’m so glad you were able to run! I’ve tried so many times over the course of my life to Become Someone Who Runs and it just really has not worked. This last go-round I was attempting a couch to 5K program and developed PT-requiring hip pain. Both my doc and my PT have suggested that my body is just not happy with running. For someone who needs constant exercise in order to not gain weight, this is really discouraging, as running is one of the most efficient workouts for weight management. Sigh. Like people dream of flying, I dream of running.

    As for kindness, I was having a really stressful time earlier this month and a friend-I-only-knew-through-Ravelry gifted me a pattern, just because. It’s such a small act but such a sweet, caring thing, it means a lot.

    Kindness observed in others: my mother has been recovering from surgery and my cousin has been over her house multiple times per week helping her out, taking her to appointments, and making sure she’s ok. This is a kindness both to my mom and myself, who lives 4 hours away and can’t be there for the day-to-day stuff.

  9. Jody
    October 30, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    I’m glad that my idea was picked-I’m enjoying reading the kindness stories! And since it was my idea, I’ll add stories of my own. My kindness–when I’m out in winter and there is snow on my car, I’ll start it and turn on the defrosters and then clean off the windows of the car next to mine while I wait for mine to be ready to clean off.

    Kindness to me–I visited a high school girlfriend earlier this week, and she ran out to Starbucks and got me an iced coffee while I was getting ready in the morning, because she knew I didn’t drink hot coffee.

  10. Megan K
    November 1, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    I am so happy that you were able to go running. I love to run and even though right now I have no running mojo, I know that I would be crushed if I couldn’t run. Running makes you feel powerful.

    I love this comments thread. What a wonderful idea. The last random kindness that happened to me: I was home sick on a Sunday – just ya know, feeling awful – and the doorbell rang and I heard one of my friends talking to my husband. She had heard I was sick and had dropped off some Brazilian cheese balls. They were delicious, but what amazed me was that she had heard I was sick and then was over at my house that evening with a treat – just something that said, “I was thinking of you.”

    My kindness – My daughter and I were coming out of the library and noticed an old man who was standing outside in the rain looking under the hood of his car. I asked if he needed any help and he said he just needed some one to ‘jump’ his car. He already had the cables. So, I told him we would be happy to help. Pulled my truck around close to his car and popped the hood. He did everything else and his car started right away. Only took 3 minutes of my time, but it made such an impression on my daughter (which thrilled me). Then we proceeded to finish running our errands which ended with hot chocolate at this little convenience store. As we were walking out with our hot chocolate, the older gentleman was walking in and we saw each other and said hi. He said, “If I had been here two minutes earlier, I would have bought your drinks. Thank you, again for your help!” Never seen him before, never seen him since, but saw him twice in one day – what a blessing for my daughter and I. She loves that story. It’s amazing how good it makes you feel to help someone else.

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