Thursday, January 28, 2010

Psyching Up to Get Strong

For those of you who like the video I linked to on Light and Macaroni, here is another one of my favorites. I found it while looking for ways to stretch my back when I was in a lot of pain last year. This was NOT the way, but I love it. It's not professional and a little hard to hear, but very inspiring. The wonderful Michael Franti sings a song of peace while 2 amazing yoga practitioners demonstrate their skill and strength. I wish I had been at this event, surrounded by the positive energy. I would love to feel this free and strong in my body.

Lately my exercising has consisted of long walks and weekly Zumba. The few times I have tried yoga, I often felt faint. Sometimes the room was too warm or the positions seemed stressful. I would get light headed and have what I imagine a hot flash is like. I don't know why this happens, but something about yoga overwhelms me. I just took a video out of the library about Alexander technique. I'm going to try before the weekend. I want to get more flexible, healthy and strong, but often my willpower lags. Any suggestions?

"One for the Lorax who speaks for the trees."

Later this day: Proud of myself. Followed through. Did First Lesson Video of Alexander Technique with Jane Kosminsky. Very relaxed right now. Thinking about alignment and floating my head on the spine, keeping the neck soft.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Icicle Physics

Can anyone out there describe how this icicle could form? I couldn't figure out how to get a photo that doesn't include our window screen, but I hope you can see this unusual icicle that reminds me of the spoke of a snowflake or part of a spiderweb. It was hard to photograph ice on a grey sky, but I'm glad I didn't wait until the sun was higher or the sky was blue. By then it had melted.

Here is a bit of art journaling I did recently inspired by Teesha Moore. I painted the backrounds with acrylic paints then quickly chose magazine pictures that inspired me at the moment. I think they came out well.

The quotes in the page above:
"When you're stuck in a spiral, to change all aspects of the spin you need only to change one thing"
"When facing a challenge, if your first instinct is to think, I can't, it's time to retrain your brain. Next time say to yourself, I can--or at least, I'll try. You might surprise yourself."

I need to get these thoughts into my head, not only down on the page.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Attempts at art (?)

My mom is visiting for her birthday this weekend. We tried a new restaurant for her special dinner. It was Elephant Walk in Waltham. The menu was Cambodian/French, a mix of Asian flavors intensified by French techniques. The food was unique and flavorful. Yum.

I am inspired daily by the amazing art and craft and self exploration of fellow bloggers. I don't really consider myself an artist of any sort, but perhaps many of them started out feeling the same way. We must start somewhere. So I have been participating in little swaps or trying techniques and challenges.

Inspired by a little art book swap I did with Amelia of 101 Bird Tales, I made my mom a little Birthday book card. Here are some of the pages made with recycled materials, photos, and stuff found in my craft box.

The finished cover:

First open page:

The 4 signs of aging:

The story of Mighty Joe Rollino, a true Coney Island strongman, who recently died at age 104. He was hit by a minivan on his daily 5 mile walk:

Grandmas must have pictures of the grandkids in the mix:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Mom's Passion, Knitting!

Inspired by the beautiful knitting over at My Bit of Earth, I decided to post my mom's latest gifts to us. With regard to my last post about passions: knitting is definitely my mother's passion lately. In the last 3 years or so, she has taught herself to be one of the best knitters I have ever seen. Here we are in cold Massachusetts, and I get to wear cozy handmade hats, gloves, scarves and sweaters every day.

Here are my daughter's newest scarf and gloves. I love the heart that matches the ruffles on the cuff of the opposite glove. She likes the pattern with 2 fingers and the mitten. (Sorry about the colors, I have to figure out how to correct them.)

My son's scarf has beautiful cables and my mom's label which reads, "Made with love in every stitch by Grandma R"

My latest scarves and gloves. The wool on the blue one has tiny beads on it. The multicolor scarf is the softest wool with matching silk fringe. Gorgeous. Thank you so much mom!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Do You Have a Grand Passion?

This morning I read an article in this week's New Yorker (Jan 11, 2010) about Mark Fuller and his water fountains. From the time he was a teenager he was passionate about the movement of water along with engineering and set design.

In college he learned about laminar flow. Bear with me for a minute and read this quote to understand his breakthrough or just skip this paragraph and continue.
Here's a quote to explain laminar flow:
"In an ordinary garden hose, the water flow is turbulent. Water molecules bounce off one another chaotically, moving at different velocities, under changing pressure. When the water is projected out of the nozzle, it splinters into spray. In a laminar stream, the molecules all flow in the same direction, and surface tension binds the water as it emerges from the nozzle into a glassy rod that holds together, like a laser beam and looks heavier, ropier, and wetter than water in a turbulent-flow stream."

Anyway Fuller made the first laminar-flow fountain for his college senior thesis, he became a Disney Imagineer and eventually started his own business called WET (Water Entertainment Technologies).

Today, his fountains are breathtaking spectacles around the world. Steve Wynn, the developer of Las Vegas' Bellagio was instrumental in the backing Fuller's company at the outset. Wynn gave Fuller a giant platform to test and create his dreams in the mid-1990s. Since then, WET has built fountains around the world. One of his latest is the new fountain at the center of Lincoln Center.

On first seeing the Ballagio fountain Wynn was overcome:
"I'll never forget that moment. Within sixty seconds I knew--this is it. It was the most incredible feeling."
A WET designer said:
"There's something extraordinarily emotional about that fountain. The waster is so alive--it is life. And people get very emotional around it. You see people crying--just overwhelmed by the spectacle"
Here's some video of the fountain:

Now I've never been to Las Vegas, and I'm more likely to be in awe of Niagara Falls or Yosemite's Bridal Falls than the Bellagio's fountain. But I can see and appreciate passion, the passion of Mark Fuller to pursue his interests and create something unique and spectacular. Most people (myself included) capably move through their lives holding jobs, caring for their families, etc. What would it be like to have a passion and make it happen on a grand scale? I'm still searching for mine.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Oldest Friends

Back to real life after a busy vacation. In a week and a half we visited CT, NJ, New York City and Rochester, NY. I spent more than 20 hours in the car and my back is hurting again. Thus I am out of bed standing at the counter on the computer at 5am. I can't be on my back or sitting one more minute! I'm trying the Aleve, standing, gentle stretching cure. I hope it starts to work soon.

In Rochester we visited our oldest friends, Doug's friend from 4th grade who married my friend from graduate school. Yes, we introduced them. We were all in eachother's weddings and now between us we have 6 kids ages 1 to 13. (They have done double duty to contribute to this total.) I am so grateful to have them in our lives. My family is small, and I feel like they are extended family without the family baggage. They are always in our hearts even if we don't get to see them very often. (They just came back from 4 years in England. And we did get to have a super visit there during that time.)