All posts by Laura K

Spirit, heart and rhythm....

When You Realize You Don’t Know Anything… Always Fun and Easy to Get Better When You’re Not so Great!

There was a time that I was pretty good on clarinet and piano.  Then I realized that I haven’t learned any new skills in years, that I can’t pick up any instrument and improvise with anyone, that I got comfortable with what I was and forgot to really maintain that or improve it.

I have been in the arms of a thousand men around the world dancing.  But as I hold my husband or son in my arms, I realize I can’t teach them the leader part and I think I’ve forgotten more swing out variations than I’ll ever learn in the future!

I was the person in the gym who would help the new folks and make up workouts for others and now I find myself not knowing how to train at all for this 30 mile obstacle course race I want to do next year or being the slowest or weakest at certain exercises during crossfit class.  This is especially humiliating when I used to be great at something – like pullups – and found myself having to use bands for months until I got them back.

Every weekend I used to find myself at the library getting out new books and found it had been years since I really finished one.  I think I forgot to learn as I was so busy moving and changing / learning my way around new jobs.  The ipad didn’t help either as I became lazy just picking a movie.  A few months ago I decided to start reading again and starting AND finishing a book.  I probably had about 30 books partially starting lying around.  They are all in a section in my library now for me to work through one at a time and a small pile of finished books are piling up!  I feel good about that.

“It is never too late to be who you might have been.”  Words I got from a very wise man, Glen Sinclair, my yoga teacher at Sadhana Studio in Boston.

Advertisements

Fall Favorites

fall

 

When I had a roofdeck, I would plant morning glories in every container and by the end of the summer, their huge blue flowers would cover every rail (and take a few hours to cut down late fall!).  The best morning glory for quantity of blooms is Heavenly Blue.  If planted in the ground, they can become invasive so must be managed – ie. Keep your eyes peeled and pull up extras in the spring.

My favorite combinations for a yard include blue asters, Sedum Autumn Joy and Montauk Daisies planted together.  You might find Montauk Daisies at the local Whole Foods sold as potted plants – just throw them in the ground for a fairly large shrub for next year!  These are very hardy, very florific white daisies in the late fall when nothing else is in bloom.  Trim these down some in fall but primarily in early spring (before June).  These will also easily root if a branch is touching the soil so are easily proliferated.  Note that asters are also very easy to just shovel in half to divide.  I was so glad I had divided my favorite before it was infested and killed by AZALEA LACE BUGS.  Lesson there is to take quick action when you see anything starting to falter – inspect and deal with it.

Caution:  I would not plant a white aster, which is lovely for a few years, and then will invade your entire bed and spread around your yard.  Do not do it!

Mums are great and are perennials – I have heard if you buy the ones distributed in the fall and plant them early enough, they might come back.  I haven’t had much luck with that but have beautiful perennial ones I have ordered from catalogs and planted in the spring.  Mums will also spread so don’t hesitate to pull out strays you see coming up.  They get to be 3-4’ tall and should be staked late August.  Nothing beats a few mums bought at the local nursery to spruce up a worn bed – I will plant them in sets of 3 in my main perennial beds.

My Favorite Classical Piano Solo Pieces

This used to be a top 10 list but it has a few more now – these are pieces I want to always keep in my fingers to play without notice. Please let me know what yours are!

Chopin – Berceuse Op 57

Chopin – Nocturne Eb major Op 9 o 2

Chopin – Waltz Op 34 Nr 2 (can you ever have enough Chopin?!)

Debussy – Clair de Lune

Debussy – La Plus que Lente

Gerschwinn – Preludes 1,2

Grieg – Notturno Op 54 No 4

Brickman – Over the Rainbow

Mark Hayes – (brilliant, wonderful composer/musician) – Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen  Info on Mark Hayes

Mark Hayes – Simple Gifts

Brahms – intermezzo Op 118 No 2

Liszt – Liebestraume (heart heart heart)

Perrin – When I Look Into Your Holiness (arr. Roger House)

Tschaikovsky – Romance Op 5

Now I gotta go and practice….. 🙂

 

 

“loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself” – rupi kaur

This book is a treasure.  It has truly inspired me to try to write poetry.  She has a lot of simple phrases (ideas) so well stated as in the title of this blog and a few longer ones like this:

“i want to apologize to all the women

i have called pretty

before i’ve called them intelligent or brave

i am sorry i made it sound as though

something as simple as what you’re born with

is the most you have to be proud of when your

spirit has crushed mountains

from now on i will say things like

you are resilient or you are extraordinary

not because i don’t think you’re pretty

but because you are so much more than that

This paragraph strikes me today because I also read an article about how to help kids get grit and the advice was if they do well, to tell them they are so “hard working” and not “smart.”  The test groups that were told “hard working” did better on a much harder test given afterwards.

I picked the title because a friend’s child told me after they had two weeks alone at home that he hated living alone and never wanted to do it again.  That scared me because I want him to be happy with himself and be confident in his journey – not afraid of reaching out to meet new friends – or to face his own fears. I sent him this quote.

Here is my first pass at trying this myself (no laughing) because part of what rupi does so well is capture everyday moments so well.  With my shoulder surgery, I found myself every morning in the bathroom with my sweet husband doing my hair for me (and he is bald so this was not his strength!) and decided I wanted to write about that:

“Love is

a husband

doing my hair

daily for weeks

when I cannot.

I reassure him

I’ll still need him

when I’m better”

Well, it’s a start!  Wasn’t there a book saying you have to practice something 10,000 times to be great.  One down…..

Container Planting

“Success has been defined as the ability to go from failure to failure with equal enthusiasm.”  – Unknown with some attributions to Lincoln or Churchill

The first year I did container gardening on my Boston roofdeck, I carried four 30 gallon leaf bags full of dirt down five flights of stairs in the fall. I didn’t know I could reuse “dirt” year after year by adding a little cow manure and compost to freshen the pots.  And potting/container mix is not the same as garden soil, which is much heavier and has a different composition.  My preference is for Coast of Maine products but definitely beware of Kellogg organic plus found at Lowes and Home Depot which almost killed all my plants.

I would find a pretty flower and put short phlox, or delphinium, or bleeding hearts or bachelor buttons in a container in the spring not realizing the flowers would soon go away and then add nothing to the small space requiring plants with maximum impact.  Read the labels for flowering season, zone and if for sun or shade.

After buying some new containers, plants I knew would do well, and new soil, I planted them and almost killed them because I didn’t moisten the soil and it takes an awful lot of water to wet dry soil.  Spend a few minutes with the hose and then stick your finger in the soil to see how moist it is.  Now I water the soil as I put it in the pots to ensure it is moist all the way through.

My second year, I wanted more and more so I realized I needed to buy containers at least 14″ wide and deep.  What I hadn’t learned yet was that when you have large containers, you need larger plants and that low growing sedum would just look silly in a 20″ round pot.  My favorites for height in containers is mandevilla, salvia, dahlias, geraniums, zinnias, elephant ears or caladiums, heliopsis lorraine, lavender, daylilies, and shrub roses.

I also realized that any space needs a variation in height so I experimented with vines and found little trellises that go in the back of a container to help morning glories grow up to the top of the deck rail or mandevilla vines or thunbergia.

Note:  My goals is to start doing a series on gardening.  This is a draft of my first attempt.  Be kind.  Be patient and this will get better 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEING SMALLER – May 2018

You can do it. I am 51 and have been at it since Nov 2017 – lost 42 pounds and am determined to never say again …”I used to” as I can be my best self right now. Last night I fit into every old and favorite piece of clothing I have and hadn’t worn in over 10-15 years – it was AWESOME! I had been looking for guidance like this for two years being frustrated with working out hard (crossfit) but not making progress. Other benefits: Post crossfit workout recovery is ridiculously better than before (and I wasn’t eating unhealthy at all – just too much), my breathing issues have gone away, my sleep is better, and I don’t feel sick anymore or have headaches.

Keep the faith. Took two months to see scale changes although I lost inches and felt better right away. My weight plot is attached. I’ve been pretty strict the whole time with <5 days where I went “crazy” overeating which now is like 500 calories over plan 🙂

Next step is getting leaner and stronger, having my rotator cuff surgery in June, which gives me the opportunity to work legs/abs and to perhaps start that book I’ve been thinking about…

One important lesson learned is the criticality of habit. I am a Bergeron fan and he had a podcast about the importance of doing things every day – finding what’s important to you and focusing on it. Now I try to be active every day, and am throwing out the “I will go to the gym 3x a week and I can always go the next day” mentality to being active daily. Try and replace bad habits with good ones and get that fitbit to understand what you’re doing for activity levels and sleep – one thing I love about it is that little positive message it gives me when I put it on after my shower:)

Clean eating, honest reporting and en route to badass with my man, Josh Citron of StrongerU- thank you.

 

 

“Impatience – Nov 2017”

I want it now.  I want the body I had at 30 and I don’t want to wait years to get it back.  I was at crossfit for a solid year and made a ton of improvements, then married the man of my dreams and started a new job.  It all went awry.  Tonite was my first day back for a long time and as usual, the warmup kicked my butt.  I keep telling myself that this time, I won’t try to keep competing with the youngsters even though I USED TO do more pullups than they do, an strictly, not the kipping crap.  Age has improved some things…. my deadlift, my patience, the number of scarves I have (world class collection) yet don’t know how to wear, the number of lotions and little chocolates in my bedside table (found a bouncy rubber eyeball in there the other day also), and my knowledge that the place to start building a life is where you are right now.

I’ve been thinking about shaking things up a bit.  I am 51.  Have been in the arms of thousands of men dancing, traveled around the world yet still don’t feel I have found my voice – in a blog like this or musically.  I’d be so proud if I could pick up my clarinet or piano and just play with someone else.  Silly I know as when has that ever been the case…. but something original I mean.  Isn’t it Ok to just try and have fun without being great?  the benchmarks I set for myself are so high I frustrate myself about achieving them.

BTW – note added Sept 2018:  Found this draft post I forgot to publish and a few months ago had a redo of that warmup and completed it without any rest.  I’m pretty sure it was jumping jacks with a burpee every time a certain word was said in Thunderstruck…