It’s Like Riding A Bike. . .

It seems like the change of seasons wreaks havoc on my mind and body every year, and the older I get the more I notice all the subtleties within my mind and body in connection to my environment.  The pulsating call of the cicadas, the chirping of the birds and the squeaking of the crickets are like the orchestra to my thoughts while there’s also this wild surge of energy in certain parts of my body as this natural symphony plays around me.  I have to really force myself to practice yoga and help my mind and body get more grounded and centered.  Lately, I have let that practice slip, or I have been doing easy-peasy yoga poses because I’m just so tired and/or anxious.  I know the answer to the crazy chitter-chatter in my brain and the untamed energy in my body is to do a bit more intense yoga where I hold the poses a little longer and breathe a lot deeper.  For whatever reason, I’ve resisted doing the practice.

Then, like a good girl, I went to yoga class this morning.  My regular teacher was out and there was a substitute, Rick.  He is learning to become a yoga instructor and Sarah trusted him with our class (he practices with us weekly as well).  He did an amazing job, and his class was all about getting grounded and holding poses a little longer, moving slower and breathing deeper.  He also played his acoustic guitar during meditation and relaxation pose which was super cool.

I carried this grounded feeling with me the majority of the day; but there was still this lurking anxiety in my mind and in parts of my body.  I knew if I didn’t do something about it, that anxiety would come and bite me in the ass again later.  So, I tried to move slower and breathe deeper as I completed my mundane chores around the house.  I tried to take a nap.  That was a big mistake as my mind was very active and focused on every nuance in my body and drove me crazy to the point I had to get up and make myself do something worthwhile.  I thought, “I’ll go shopping.  Get my mind off of things.  Go buy myself some new clothes for work.”  The next thing I know, I was taking a drive around town with my windows down.  I drove in and around some historical neighborhoods and admired the old homes.  I used to walk around those areas for hours at a time and enjoy myself.  At that moment, I realized that spending money on clothes would be fun for a few minutes but that I couldn’t sustain any sense of peace or contentment once I hung them up in my closet.

Before I knew it, I was walking in to Wal-Mart on this gorgeous fall day.  I went to the “Sporting Goods” section and started looking at all the bikes.  I haven’t had a bike in probably 10 years.  I used to ride one all the time when I taught junior high in my old college town.  I rode it on the bike trails around campus and even rode it to work, parking it in my classroom.  I’ve had the idea of getting a bike in the back of my head for awhile now, and I thought “Better now than never.”  20 minutes later I was wheeling the snazzy Schwinn purple and cream colored bike out to my car.  A Kiwanis club member doing a fundraiser helped load my bike up and gave me suggestions on great trails in the area.  I thanked him and drove home with my bike packed into my car and one of the doors slightly ajar.

My latest purchase.  Ain't she a beauty?
My latest purchase. Ain’t she a beauty?

I went inside and changed and then unloaded my bike.  I saw my neighbors across the street and they commented on my new purchase.  I was nervous about riding off in front of them because I had nearly crashed in the aisles of Wal-Mart when I took it for a spin.  I talked to them for a bit and walked the bike down my drive.  I joked and told them to come looking for me if I wasn’t back in at least an hour as that was proof I was probably mangled from a certain crash into trees or shrubbery.  They laughed and I waved goodbye, hoping to God I didn’t “biff” right there in front of them.

I started down my street.  The wind was in my hair and I felt happy.  I felt like a little kid.  I stood up and peddled faster and then reached the top of the hill and put my feet out and went coasting down, only having to pump the hand brakes twice out of fear of falling on the hard concrete.  All of my bike skills were returning and I was able to turn and weave between the posts that marked the bike trail in my neighborhood.

On the trail
On the trail

Once on the trail, I rode at a quick but easy pace.  It was so easy riding my bike and I felt so alive!  I went up and over small bridges that crossed the little creek and the tires crunched over fallen, dried leaves.  Then, a bug hit my sunglasses and splattered all over the lens.  I started to laugh and hit into a long strand of a spider’s web.  I closed my mouth at the right time because another bug hit my lips as I was trying to get the web off of my face.

A few minutes later, I turned around and headed back home.  The ride was tougher now.  My calves were straining and I felt muscles in my inner thighs contracting.  My lower abdominal muscles were clenching and I was breathing a little heavier than when I left my driveway.  And, I was sweaty.  I paused at a shaded area of the path and caught my breath.  Although my body was getting a good workout, it felt alive and that once untamed energy was in check.  My mind was clear and my breathing was deep and steady.  Before I started back up again, I noticed something about myself:  I was smiling.

Smiling
Smiling

I guess that old saying is true about many things in life worth doing, “It’s like riding a bike, you never forget. . .”

For those of you following my 100 Day Creative Writing Challenge, this post is Day 74: Satisfied

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Domestic Goddess

I wake up early this morning and have a sense of inner calm, which is good seeing how my day has been anything but that.  I shuffle into the living room to grab my tennis shoes so I can take the dog outside.  I switch on a light and look over at my green recliner, the one I use when I drink my coffee, write and read my book.  Smooshed into the cushion and covering almost half of it is a big glob of cat puke.  “Awesome,” I mutter and grab some paper towels as my dog is barking at me and begging me to take him outside.

Once back in, I spray stain remover on the cushion and feed my dog and cat and pour the hot water into my French press for my morning coffee.  I grab a sponge and clean off the chair as best as possible.  Suddenly, I hear a retching sound and watch as my cat throws up again near my feet.  I sigh and turn around to grab more paper towels and have to yell at my dog who is getting too curious with the cat hack.  I clean that up and fix myself breakfast and a cup of coffee and set everything on the end table.  Looking down, I notice there is what looks to be a piece of a granola bar wrapper on the floor from yesterday’s breakfast.  I reach down to pick it up and come up with a smear of cat puke on my fingers.  I clean that up and finally sit down to drink a lukewarm cup of coffee and read my book.

Awhile later, I hear rustling from the laundry room and look around.  My dog is nowhere in sight.  I know he has moved the litter box again and found himself a tasty breakfast morsel that is not on the menu.  I know I’ll have to clean that up, but I choose to do yoga and prepare for my day.  Wearing my tight spandex yoga clothes, I unroll my mat and start doing a “sexy” butt wiggle practice, channeling my inner goddess and laughing at the mundane yet gross start to my day.  I shimmy my hips and dance and breathe and do core bicycle work and sweat and breathe and shimmy my hips some more before I end with relaxation pose and sit in a deep meditation.  I am ready for whatever my day hands me, and somehow I know that it will not be the type of day where I get to go out with friends and dress up and look pretty.  But, I still feel the need to connect to that inner sexy goddess that has been begging to be recognized for awhile now.

My sexy morning continues with the cleanup of said litter box, which includes a thorough suctioning with the vacuum hose of the entire laundry room because my dog isn’t the neatest when he goes on a cat turd raid.  I rationalize that the cleaning shouldn’t stop there and I vacuum and sweep and do dishes and organize the clutter in the usual drop spots.  I reward myself with a hot shower and feel confident that my day is about to begin and something fun and interesting will arise.  I decide that today would be a good day to blow dry and straighten my thick, curly, wild woman hair, but tell myself that I should also throw in a load of laundry while I work on my uncontrollable brown locks.

And somewhere in the mix of all of this I get a wild hair up my ass to make guacamole.images

Midway through my styling session, I hear the washing machine go “thunk,” and then it doesn’t progress to the rinse cycle nor drain any of the soapy water.  I investigate and even stick my hand down in the warm soapy suds and feel around to make sure no clothes are stopping up the flow of water.  I reset the rinse cycle again and the washing machine starts up.  “Awesome,” I say and go back to running the straightening iron through small sections of my hair.  “Thunk,” goes the washing machine and the rinse cycle stops.  I walk back in and repeat the process and start the machine up again.  This happens 3 more times and I finally admit defeat.  I have a broken washing machine and a load of my delicates floating around in warm, soapy water.

I call my dad, frustrated at the fact that I am going to have to spend some money at some point to get this damn thing fixed or replaced.  Dad tells me not to call a repairman on a weekend or I’ll have to spend a lot of money then.  Instead, he tells me to take a bowl and scoop out the water and dump it into the laundry sink next to the washer.  “Awesome,” I  say and start looking for a bowl (after I finish straightening my hair and getting dressed in cute capri pants and a sexy little summer top).

Broken washing machine
Broken washing machine
Scoop 1. . .2. . .3. . .
Scoop 1. . .2. . .3. . .

I look and smell pretty and I am standing in front of my washing machine with a tupperware bowl that fits down into the basin, but cannot be pulled out without angling it and spilling out all the water.  “How is this going to work?” I ask myself.  Then it hits me:  I’ll just ladle the water out of the basin, put it into the bowl and dump the bowl into the sink until it’s empty.  This won’t take long.  I squeeze out each piece of clothing and toss them into the dryer for a half an hour.  Then, I begin scooping out water with the ladle in my left hand, and dumping it into the bowl with my right, and then pouring it into the sink.  A rhythm sets in.  So does my OCD and before I know it I’m counting out 10 ladle scoops of water into the bowl and counting how many times I pour the bowl into the sink.  “Scoop 1. . .2. . .3. . .4. . .5. . .6. . .7. . .8. . .9. . .10.  Pour 1.”  50 times.  And I’m in sort of a trance as the dryer whirrs next to me and the counting, scooping, pouring continues.  I would’ve kept going on ad infinitum but my cell phone rings and it’s my dad asking me if I’ve checked the circuit breakers and can I get behind and see if the hoses are completely connected.  I’m a little miffed that he’s broken my rhythm and I say, “I don’t know.  I’m not gonna check that crap.  It’s broken.  I’m not going to fix it.”

He says, “Yeah, probably not the circuit breakers.  Just keep using a bowl to dump out the water.”  I told him I was using a ladle to dump it into the bowl and he got quiet and said, “Why not use one of your big cups to pour into the bowl.  It will go a lot faster.”  It’s been almost an hour and I’m only at the halfway mark of the basin.  “Awesome,” I say to him and mentally kick myself for not thinking of a faster solution.  I grab a 32 oz plastic cup my mom has collected and kept at my house for years.  Immediately I see results and the basin empties in less than 20 minutes.  The downside is that I am no longer in a zen state and realize that I do miss the elegance of the ladle, the bowl and the counting.  That moment has passed however and by now it’s past lunch time and I’m hungry and want some of that guacamole I made earlier.

I go into my bathroom to freshen up and see that my straightened hair is in disarray, I have a new zit on the side of my mouth and my hands are cracked and irritated from being in soapy water for almost 2 hours now.  I clean up, eat some of that guacamole and feel better.  I debate whether I should eat one of the juicy peaches I bought at the grocery store yesterday.  “Later,” I tell myself and resolve to get my soggy loads of laundry finished before the evening is over.  Unknown-1

I load up the laundry, making sure my underwear and bras are stashed down at the bottom.  As I pull out of the garage, thunder and lightning fill the sky.  I decide to keep going and get a $20 from the bank ATM.  I pull up at Jessica’s Coin Laundromat and watch as a jagged line of lightning pierces the sky.  I dash inside and feel the blow fans inside toss my “straightened” hair over my face and every which way.  “Awesome,” I say and let out a sigh.  I am hoping that they have a big change machine that gives out dollar bills at least and another small one that gives out coins.  No such luck.  I stick the $20 in the coin machine and laugh as the quarters come tumbling out.  I stash them in my billfold and when that fills up, I toss them into a hidden pouch inside my purse and add a few to my pockets.  I look around and see that “The Honeymooners” TV show is blaring on the TV screen above me and Ralph is yelling at Alice because she screwed something up to ruin their momentary domestic bliss.  I laugh with Alice as she gets the best of Ralph:  “Hardy har har, Ralph”.  I walk over to the row of plastic chairs and pray that a torrential downpour doesn’t begin as I’m walking to my car with my clean, dry clothes.

An hour passes and nothing dramatic happens at the laundromat.  photo

My clothes are dry and thank God my sexy lingerie are intact (if you call polka dotted underwear and yoga pants sexy).  The fans in the laundromat mix with the outside breeze of the storm that passed overhead.  I stand in front of one of the big blower fans and fold my delicates as the generated wind tosses my hair over my face and all over the place.  The sun is shining and my purse is heavy with silver coins.  I shimmy my hips a little bit and pretend for a split second I’m Cindy Crawford in one of her famous Pepsi commercials.  I laugh and walk outside with my bundle of clothes and dream of the juicy peach I’m going to eat while I lie naked in my bed and reign over my world like the domestic goddess I am.

From Google Images
From Google Images

Day 55 of 100 Day Creative Writing Challenge:  Calm