I wish I could say that by this point in my Giveaway, I’ve become a real pro at elegantly matching gifts and recipients and smoothly executing the delivery. But, alas, a few days from the end, I’m as chaotic and disorganized as I’ve been for much of the year.
Last night I gave away my little red Google dress. I’m calling it that because if anyone googles images of me, there are pictures of me wearing this dress! I’d had the dress made when my husband David and I were visiting Thailand nearly 13 years ago now. It still looked pretty good when the photo on Google was taken at a Buddhist exhibition opening in Westwood in 2008 – possibly the last time I wore the dress to an event. But it’s a bit it’s too tight for me now, and I’m not planning on losing more weight, so I decided to give it away to a friend. And not just a friend who would fit into it, but one who would look fabulous in it.
A try to take a yoga class every week, though lately I have been missing out because I’ve either been under the weather or under work pressure. Today, after a week of ups and downs, I need to stretch and breathe and take care of myself – not just my body, but my psyche too. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit for “union” and has the same root as the word “yoke,” as in the yoke that connects an ox to its cart. For me, in order to practice yoga, I have to start by disconnecting, before I can connect. In order to get to a class, I have to pull my head and my body away from my computer and whatever I’m working on. I have to change from my regular clothes and put on my stretchy yoga gear and I have to walk away from my home, as I rarely manage to practice in my own house. Once in the class, my placing my mat on the floor, I am creating my own space to practice, symbolically removing myself from the rest of the room so that I can center myself and focus on my practice.
I find it hard to be kind to myself
Even when I’m feeling ill.
I know I should slow down a bit
And take it easy, but still…
I have a book to write and lectures to give
So I can’t afford to slow down.
Now my neck is tense and knotted up
And my face wears a permanent frown.
I discovered our local Goodwill store is open until 9pm, which gives me an option for evening donations on busy days like today when I gave a lecture, had lunch with good friends, edited an article I’d written, shopped for a Halloween costume for our son Theo, helped him with homework and cooked dinner.
Our dress-up box is overflowing and spilling onto the floor wherever I try to hide it from the world – in the deepest corner of our son Theo’s room, in a closet or in behind the couch in our den. Wigs, crazy glasses, ninja costumes, togas, and at least 20 different hats – odd bits of costumes that are rarely played with now that Theo plays more with boys and is more interested in Parkour than Pantomime. However, when I suggest getting rid of anything from this box, I hear protests from not only Theo but also from my husband David who contributed many of the fancy hats.
I gave away a dress today.
It was cute and feminine, but, sad to say,
It made me look pear-shaped and lumpy
And made me feel extremely grumpy.
I don’t think it was actually 106 degrees today but it was pretty damn hot. The official temps were closer to 96, but still. That’s not comfortable. Our son Theo had a soccer game this afternoon and though I felt awful for him and his teammates having to run around in this heat, I also felt a bit bad for me having to sit and watch! How on earth was I going to keep cool? I threw on the closest thing I have to a sundress – a colorful tent-like beach dress I bought last summer in Turkey. But even that felt heavy and clingy in this heat.
Over a decade ago, my husband David and I traveled to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It was an amazing trip, full of beautiful Buddhist and Hindu temples and ruins, like Ayutthaya and Sukhothai in Thailand and Angkor in Cambodia, and spectacular landscapes like Halong Bay in Vietnam. We ate the most delicious food, battled with the craziest traffic (the rule was “don’t look when you cross the road – just cross!”) and even toured some of the region’s hospitals looking for rabies shots after a dog in Bangkok bit me unexpectedly in the leg. Out two weeks there were certainly full of adventure. They were also full of shopping. Things were cheap and beautiful so we went a bit mad. Textiles, ceramics, lacquer and paintings – I remember we actually had to buy a new duffle bag to get everything home. One of the most exotic things I bought was a pair of orange wraparound silk pants. I wore them a couple of times to parties and museum events when I worked at Pacific Asia Museum and enjoyed the way they shimmer and swish about when I walk. However, I don’t have much opportunity to wear such pants these days so this year, I’d been wondering who I might give them too. A dancer maybe? But I don’t know many of those, and they wouldn’t work on just any dancer…
It’s amazing the connections you can find with people once you start an open, honest conversation. Our son Theo has started playing soccer on Saturdays, and though I love the fact that he is out running around learning a sport with a team of kids, I don’t always enjoy sitting in the heat of the afternoon inhaling Astroturf fumes while the kids do their warm ups. This was what I was thinking today when one of his teammate’s mother, Krissy greeted me with a big smile. I was feeling cranky about the heat and wasn’t able to hide it when she asked how I was doing. We started talking about how every year the heat in September takes us by surprise and then we fell into a conversation about living in cooler climes. When I told her I’d been brought up in Scotland and then Canada so was used to the cold, she sympathized with my low heat tolerance, but it was when I told her I’d also lived in Japan that we really connected.