Saturday, January 22, 2011

now here.

It’s another round of winter outside.  they’re calling for 19 degrees today and an even colder night + day tomorrow.  WHOO.  I didn’t order this weather.  this wasn’t on the menu.  but i’ll take it.  what else can we do?  besides, it is a nice excuse to keep the fires going, eat that second helping of turkey chili and exercise indoors.  
haven’t been able to run much since the first of the year.  my psoas has succeeded (finally) in getting 100% of my attention and this time i’m listening and proactively (by course of retroactively) setting up my core to be the strongest it’s ever been.  this morning I took a class of Core Vinyasa yoga at Back Bay Yoga Studios, taught by the founder, Lynne B.  The class was completely full and the room warmed quickly.  I’d never taken the core class before but it was apparent from the first few minutes that she was going to be tough, and funny, and push us to our limits.  Throughout the hour and a half class I could feel my hips opening up and my arms, back, legs, abs, getting stronger and rooting down. establishing themselves. muscles i had no idea i had and had no idea how to use, were firing.  i shook a lot.  but i held on and found myself often on the edge of collapse/ know: The Limit, but i dug in and found that tiny pool of strength located somewhere in this 5’9” frame.  it’s the same pool that fires up on your last 2-minuter, the last climb of a hill session, the release of resisting that suddenly frees you up to gut out the last 2k of a road race with indomitable speed.

it was awesome.
I’m almost a regular at this studio now and it feels good to return a smile to the girl with the blue mat, the tall guy who can do the handstands in wednesdays classes.  it’s like an uber earthy family and no one’s wearing any make up.  i love it.  
last weekend i was out visiting my cousin, Molly, in Northampton, MA.  We were headed out later in the day to see The Felice Brothers perform at Mass MoCa, and decided to take an early morning yoga class, which was awesome (see psoas?  read this.  i am totally strengthening you. i am being patient.  let me run you soon.). 
Now, sometimes teachers direct you through a series of poses and you proceed to hold them for an ungodly amount of time while they walk around + talk about about their day and you’re trembling and holding your breath and silently begging them to bring you back down to child’s pose. but this class was cool. Niema asked us to focus on the “hard part”.  she challenged us to accept something hard and to try.  just try.  try and fail and get back up and try (i think our legs were up around our shoulders at this point, with our toes by our noses).  And then she said this:

“be present.  be now here.  NOW HERE.  don’t hold your breath, don’t lose yourself or talk yourself out of the hard stuff.  then you are no where. NO WHERE.  so you’re either “now here” or you’re “no where” and the difference between these two is the tiniest of spaces and that space sits just below your belly button and it’s always available to you at any time.”  
and it hit me really hard.  and i loved it.  it’s that simple sometimes.  so i held on.  i shook and sweat a lot but i held on and imagined that little space on either side of the ‘w’ ...and i push it slowly to the left and, instead of feeling my fears, i focused on my ability. now here.
here’s a fresh poppy sound that’s been making me joyous.  it’s been on repeat for days.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


nothing gold can stay, but for today, today. 
an early morning romp on the streets proved good for every fiber of my being. my camera liked it, too.  after a cup of joe and a few emails, me and my nikon took the streets.  here are some from my neighborhood. enjoy + brrr.

this intersection of mine

what i think when i think about boston

stop, light, stop, light

snow bench

my ladies on the avenue.  i come to them when i need their silent/sage advice

i run by her almost every day and i like to think she's got something she'd like to tell me.

the matron lady

little details like snow on bark

my turn.

 bronzed + cold on comm ave.

walk walk walk walk walk as white as snow

Up through sky + it's a maze (ing)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

bladder battle

Well I’m excited for the New Year.  It’s been a pretty eventful one thus far and seeing as how 2011 is just 5 days old, it can only get better.  On Monday, my twin, Mary (I feel the need to constantly reintroduce her to you), was admitted to the hospital for gallbladder surgery.  It was technically “emergency” surgery because most operations are scheduled a month in advance.  This one was scheduled in one week. 
Mary’s had digestive issues for the last few years.  I say issues not to downplay them, but because they were so fickle and severe and elusive that for years, we simply couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  I guess it was mid-summer when she finally went in for a scan and they found some giant mother bleeping gallstones building a house in her gallbladder and, hence the crazy pain.  At the urging of her naturopath, she tried some crazy “natural” way of passing the stones, which entailed green apples, vinegar, limes and olive oil (i kid you not).  Gross.  But it worked...for a hot second.
Then, on Halloween night, the gb (we’re going to shorten the gallbladder from this point on) was in serious tantrum mode and for 8hrs, Mary was on her side in pain.  I heard about it the next morning, how she almost went to the hospital.  First, only popping out another human being should be that hard.  No need to eat a good meal and then be writhing in pain.  That’s shear torture.  And 2nd, let’s thank the naturopath for the witches brew that solved her short-term issues with the pint-sized pebbles and now move onto a doctor.  who can remove the evil blob from your body entirely.
So, when Mare came back home for the holidays, she showed her test results to our family friend and incredible surgeon.  He didn’t like her amylase enzyme count and shizam! we have ourselves a surgery date.
Monday I was all nerves at work.  Not only was it the first day back in 10 days and I had some catching up to do, but her surgery was scheduled the middle of the day and I knew how nervous she was to go under.  Go under.  I’ve never had to “go under”, either and I can’t imagine giving up control like that.  What if you don’t wake up?  What if you feel everything?  I wanted to be right by her side.  But I was at a desk shuffling papers, my mind on her well-being and on her surgeon’s hands.
Surgery runs late and at 5pm I get a call from my crying mother. 
“It’s Mary....”
“She’s...They’ve found stones in her bile duct.  She’s going to need another surgery.  They need to monitor her overnight.”  
an hour later i was on a bus to Maine and stayed with her until midnight.  My mind spun everywhere and I wasn’t even sure it was on my head.  That girl is half my heart.  I almost threw up on the bus.  Twice. 
Today was her second surgery and it was a total success.  They’re still monitoring her, as there is a 10% chance she could get pancreatitis because of the jostling about of the surgical equipment during the operation.  But she’s in good spirits and will likely be released tomorrow.  I feel like I ran a marathon having watched this play out.  I’m sure she feels like she personally ran around the world including all the deserts and the oceans, too.  All with very little food and a whole lot of pain.  Reason #582 she is my hero.
I guess the reason I write all this out, why I write this to you, is because these last few days I have felt more joy and more pain than I cared to, but I couldn’t stop either from coming my way.  They were invisible freight trains appearing right as i hit them. full force.  That razor-sharp aliveness that buzzed the top of my head when my mom called, crying.  The fact that both surgeons ended up being two wonderful men - one a longtime family friend and the other, our next door neighbor who just a few days ago, offered to run a mile with my dad.  Little did he know he’d be working on Mary just days later:)
The number of nurses who were friends from our church, friends from the beach, locals that we’ve long seen in the wide world, who were now holding Mary’s hand on the operating table or swinging by to offer dinner to my parent’s as they sat with her.  I mean seriously.  It was awesome.  And I mean that in the truest sense of the word.  I was in awe at how it all came together, this tapestry of pain and joy and love.  
Mary (in her drugged state) and I were talking about all the cool things that transpired and, despite how terrified she felt, she was never alone.  There was always a familiar face popping up at the right time. The connectivity of it all.  We laughed.  God’s got a sense of humor and perfect timing.  She’s home for another week or so and will be raised back up in good health by the best parents in the world; Big John and Kaks:) 
Thanks to so many of you for the texts, the prayers, and for loving up on her and our family this week.  My parents are definitely MVPs of the year.  Please keep sending good thoughts and prayers her way.  She’s a good egg.  We need her back in the saddle and running down asphalt in a few short weeks.  First race of the season in Oz and that girl is going to Kill It.