Category Archives: festivities

July Magic

Hi! This is July and usually, I hate to say, I’m sort of in the Summer doldrums by now. My lovely humid hometown makes it easy to leave you feeling dirty and gritty in July and August. But not this year. And what a magical thing that has turned out to be! I say that because, as an Atlanta native, this is the first year that I’ve decided to run the Peachtree Road Race. It is the world’s largest 10K (or at least billed to be) and is a major event every year. Typically, I’ve equated running the Peachtree with being as dumb as a lump on a log — because who runs in 98+ degree with 80+ humidity and NO RAIN? Well, about 60,000 do, that’s who. And this year, I was one of the idiots.

Except I wasn’t. The weather was its mildest ever for the race. They had the fewest numbers of heat related incidents. It was remarkable. Mother nature smiled on me and I was able to finish the race in spite of the past few months of aging body problems (you know, feet, back, the like). Sure, it was a run and walk event for me, but I did it and am super happy that I participated in an Atlanta institution. Even happier that I didn’t have to be walked to Piedmont Hospital during the event.

And for more magic, today I did something that I completely wouldn’t have expected to do (well, my 12 year old self would have). I woke up at 5 a.m. and went to a yin yoga class that started at 6. It was in a hot yoga room which I was not expecting. So two of my resistances were dismissed in one morning. Getting out of my comfort zone (and comfortable bed) was definitely worth it this morning. I feel like electricity and lightening bugs. It’s a great way to start the day and I may be a believer.

Send out good vibes to the universe. I know a lot of people that could use the extra lightness right now.

MLK day

Just pointing out how much I love the fact that MLK day has transitioned into a day of community activity and service. I mean, sure, everyone wants just a day off — but the impact of getting out and working for an organization or event that helps those in your community speaks more to the message that (perhaps) Martin Luther King Jr. would advocate. (I only say perhaps because I didn’t know the man. But have you heard anything he said? Read any of his speeches? Well, I think we can all make the leap that he would love the fact we celebrate his life by participating in his dream.)

Unfortunately I have to work. So please, if you can, get out there and pick up trash in front of your home (wear gloves) or take something useful to a shelter. Or go the extra mile and participate in an event and be part of a team. However big or small, it may have the potential to positively change a moment in someone’s life — or just make it look better when people walk by. And if you live in Atlanta, I can’t think of anything better than going to visit the King Center and get a glimpse of the past, present and hopeful future. Tell me all about it, because I have not been (yet).

Me? I’m taking a box of books to a book drop after work and have 2 bags of clothes to drop off. No, it’s not a lot, but it is what I’ve got planned for today. Hoping for more in the weeks to come. As I commented to a friend’s blog earlier, I need to redirect some of my energies to my dear hometown. There is a lot here that needs some healing.

All Saints’ Day

Today I put a gold star on my calendar and noticed that it was All Saints’ Day. Not being especially religious, I had to look up the significance of the day and discovered thanks to Wikipedia that today Western Christianity commemorates those that have attained beatific vision. Wow. Let me just say, I’m not there. However, the placing of the star on the calendar for me today has taken on something akin to communing between the individual and the universal. Today marks the 1 year anniversary of me quitting smoking.

This is a deeply personal day and entry in my life. First, I should just say to all of you non-smokers out there that you may want to suspend judgement or stop reading. I, more than you, do understand that smoking is by and large a self-inflected torture and slow suicide. So, if your impulse is to say “well you shouldn’t have been dumb enough to smoke in the first place” you are correct. Bravo. Good for you. Now shut it. Talk to me about addictions that you may have (chocolate, work, sex, cocaine, heroine, anger, exercise, coffee, TV, food, etc.) And if truly you have lived your life without a crutch or addiction, then I still ask you now to just be quiet. Because this isn’t about you.

This is about everyone else.

Addiction, especially in the case of tobacco, lives in the psyche and the body. On many levels, the psyche is the hardest place to scrub. The body will eventually forget. But the psyche will cling to the crutch and I wonder, even a year later, when it will stop seeking the soothing beast of nicotine. Just last night I had a dream that I was lighting More’s for a friend of mine (a friend that in reality doesn’t smoke). The guilt and shame of that act lingered even upon waking. Smoking is still that powerful.

So, today, a year out, I am celebrating the long road I have ahead of me of learning how to live without a crutch. And one way I’m going to do it is to provide a little bit of advice on how to quit for anyone out there that may stumble upon this post.

Quit everything at once. Go online and find what is usually called the elimination diet. It is a diet that was created mainly to find out what food allergies you may have. The goal of the diet is to eat 3 main foods (chicken, turkey, rice with a few acceptable greens) and that’s all you eat for about 3 to 4 weeks and then you slowly add food back in and see if you react to it. (I tried to find my doctor’s version of this, but all of the ones online allowed more than I could eat. Seriously, ground turkey, rice, baked chicken, water, lemon and spinach are the only foods I could eat.) I had to do this last year and decided to go ahead and make it a pure test and to quit smoking. I can’t emphasize this enough — quitting is tough. I tried it several times and several different ways. But quitting everything (even pepper!) is brutal. And so, I think that’s one way it worked for me. The nicotine demon was competing with a whole lot of other demons. The simple fact of the matter was that after 2 weeks of that lifestyle, the thing I wanted more than ANYTHING in my life was pepper and spice and flavor. Easy? Absolutely not. Effective? Well, I wouldn’t be writing this entry if it weren’t.

My other advice is to surround yourself with compassionate and supportive people. As hard as it was, I avoided my few friends that still smoked. I had to. And, when I did see them, I made it very very clear that not only was I not going to, but I wasn’t going to be around them smoking. Quitting all foods and flavors takes care of the physical addiction, but what really got me through the inner struggle was having 1 or 2 close friends that I could talk to and they would cheer me on. Yes, cheerleaders do help.

And that’s it. Will it work for everyone? Probably not; you have to really be ready to let go and that is something no diet or advocate can do for you. That’s all you. But, just so you know, as someone on the other side, I have replaced one deadly habit with being more active, smelling like the perfume I put on, having more money, walking up hills or stairs, not hiding, having no shame, feeling clean. Being happy. Most of all, being free.

Happy All Saints’ Day! Go out and quit something you should. Let me know if I can help.

Padgett bash, old school style

I’ll let the pictures tell most of the tale — but everyone I talked to said they had a blast. It was fantastic seeing so many old friends and family from both sides show up and have a good time. Just wish the weekend could have gone on longer.

Dads 70th April 2011

Rekindled

I’ve just been reading the NYTimes article about the Winter Solstice. It brought back Rome and my teenage years and rambling in the woods and all the mythology of my life so far. There is a whole life of shadow and another of the Sun that we can’t even begin to pinpoint within ourselves. Yet I do intend to try soon.

This past weekend I was able to participate in a lighting of a fire, this time it was burning rum off of chocolate to make a really tasty mousse — regardless of the reason, this convergence of themes has reminded me to light the fires of the things we need to get rid of. So I’m going to collect those bits of consciousness and memory and acknowledge that I’ve learned from their pain/experience/moment and then I’m going to burn them on their little scrapes of paper. I’m going to celebrate the fear and cycle of life with every little flicker. Allow them to lift off and enter the inky dark. I’ll see the new that comes from it.

Happy Winter Solstice!

Aughts be gone

I wanted to write something lovely, something that would tidy up the decade nicely so I could send it on its way. But, like so much of the past 10 years, I’m out of time.

In an earlier post, I pointed out that it has been a sucky decade — but I’m a creature of positive and negative, so let me point out some of the good things that have (personally) happened.

  • My god-daughter was born in this decade. That would be the number one good thing. She redeems a lot, in my mind.
  • I earned my 2nd Masters and that has led me to a profession that I love and feel comfortable in.
  • Naturally, I can’t not mention Italy. Being able to survive and experience life outside of my comfort zone; getting to know wonderful people; walking the streets of Florence; well — the whole life I lived there has left a permanent and beautiful mark on me.
  • Alternately, living in Tallahassee definitely allowed me to meet some of the best and most interesting people ever. Those Tally days where I emerged from heart ache, walked the quiet neighborhood of pine trees, laughed with Cheryl, played with little Evan, and all of the time with Claudia and the muslibfolk — well, that helped make me stronger.

There are little things, private things that I’ll leave off. But I will say I find it fitting that I left Atlanta in 1999 and ended the aughts back here. Honestly, it’s been a mixed bag of tricks. The whole decade has been that. Maybe it’s not the decade’s fault. I know deep down that is life. Good and bad, pain and pleasure, alienation and connection. It will happen again and again, in different ways for us all. The repetition can be a comforting hum.

Happy New Decade everyone! I’m taking Kimbre’s advice and blending it with my own needs. So tonight I’ll be a bit social and say goodbye to the aughts with friends, but will wake early and great the new year alone and looking at the world. Greens and black-eyed peas to follow (certo).

Duck butt

Well, as promised, the NC State Fair was good stuff. I ate half of a meaty, cheesy sandwich, I introduced Shelby to Kettle Corn, there were ribbon fries that we paid another vendor to cover in cheese, lovely floral displays and gardens, farm animals, chicken rooster madness, it was a great fair. But there was something that I was not prepared for — duck butt.

Apparently North Carolinians are into racing, who knew? And they hold a pig race at the fair. This may be the cutest event in the history of fairdom. Little piglets run around a loop with the promise of Cheetos driving them into a frenzy. The curly little tails,  short legs, tiny squeals and cheering from children and adult onlookers. It was too much. And followed by billy goats and pot-bellied pigs. But then, the cream on top of it all, the duck race (or were they geese?). I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed as hard as I did at that moment (with an exception of one evening watching Twilight with Lori, Mendy and Heather). I think the neighboring children were concerned with my well-being. I can’t even describe what happened. Just know that duck butts waddling in slow pursuit of some cheesy crumbs put me over the edge. I’ve been pushed back into a childlike state and I really don’t want to recover from it.

I’ll get to the pictures from that visit and the farm soon enough.