Finally, my peds got cured.

Yesterday I got my first pedicure in months.  We were so busy all summer with moving that fingernails and toenails fell by the wayside.

I took a “before” photo.  After I sent it from phone to computer and saw it enlarged I decided it’s too horrifying to include here.  Just trust me, my toes needed help.  I haven’t worn sandals since early May.  It was imperative to keep these dogs under wraps.

The Woodhouse  day spa just opened across the street. While walking Bronson in closed toe shoes (Me not him.  He goes barefoot) we stuck our heads in to see if anyone would have time to take on my sad tootsies.

The answer was “sure”.  I took Bdog home again, dug out a pair of sandals, and headed back to the spa.  The place is quite elegant.  They recently had a splashy open house complete with piles of appetizers and oceans of wine.  Many people from our building were there.  We were all gifted with a card for ten percent off all future products and services.

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My pedicurist was named Meimee.  While she struggled to restore order to foot chaos, I sat and wrote several pages in the red Mead notebook I take to writer’s workshop.

My morning pages–as suggested by Julia Cameron– have their own Mead notebooks. I’m on my third.  The first was aqua.  The second was yellow.  The present black one is nearly full.  Next will be kelly green, then purple and then I get to buy six more spiral notebooks on Amazon Prime.  Yay! The little things in life, eh?

I almost didn’t bother going to class.  Saturday Market was yesterday.  We went early to get the farm fresh eggs before they sold out. If you haven’t purchased extremely fresh eggs I recommend it.  They are divine.

The class began at 10.  Did I really want to bother showering and manifesting a face in only half an hour?

Jim reminded me how much I’d relished it the week before, so I pulled my act together, put on my closed toe shoes and went to school.

I was a couple of minutes late.  The group was asking each other questions to sort out what they had in common.  Supposedly this is a helpful exercise in character building.  Bob-group leader and all together fun guy-asked me several things.  First, “Where are you from?”

“Delaware.”  No common ground there.

Second, “What’s your favorite food?”

“Cream Cheese.  Out of the package.  Eaten with a fork.” Everyone laughed.  Weird since cream cheese really is feast from the God’s.  I never did hear Bob’s favorite food.  But I noticed he ate a Starbucks cookie during the workshop.

At the end of class we did a ten minute timed writing.  Our hands were not to pause.  It was freeing.  I decided to repeat the exercise and continue writing all through my pedicure.  Which, given the miserable state of my feet, would last more than a mere ten minutes.

As I wrote and Meimee worked I spent the time manifesting the three million dollar lottery win I have planned.  I’ve budgeted $16 a month for tickets, invested as follows: One two dollar ticket weekly on Mega Millions and two one dollar tickets weekly on Florida lotto.

So far I’ve only played twice.

I didn’t win last week.  Which was good because Florida Lotto was only up to 2.5 million. It is rolled over to 3 million now. I’m buying all the tickets from mom and pop places so they’ll win money too.  Ain’t I generous?

I have my winnings earmarked.  Fifty percent will go to two causes near and dear to  my heart.  Another percentage, not yet decided, will be pledged to NPR.  The lion’s share will go to our four kids.  The remainder will be for us.

I know Jim will want to use lots of it for travel.  Since I loathe flying we’ll splurge on Business or First class tickets.

I will invest a bunch in buying stamps and thick fancy stationery.  I’ll purchase a self driving car so when we take our long road trips I don’t have to gasp and stomp on the imaginary brake when Jim follows too closely.

Another thing I’ll do is eat all the cream cheese I want then go get liposuction to remove the inevitable fat wads.  I can’t get a facelift because my daughter, the critical care nurse, tells me at my “advanced age” (ouch) the time spent under anesthesia would be dangerous.

Meimee finally inquired what I was writing.  I told her I have a blog and was working out what to blog about next.  She shared that she’s writing her life story.

I then put down my pen and asked her to share that with me. I learned her grandfather was a General in the Chinese Army during the revolution.  When China became communist he moved his family to Taiwan.  Once Meimee was three Grandpa and Grandma took her to America.  Mom stayed behind.  Meimee goes to Taiwan every few years to see her.

I found myself wishing my hearing was better.  Between the bubbling water and her slight accent I missed a few answers to my questions.  Everyone has a book in them, don’t they?

Here is what Meimee created!

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Yes, I have the tiniest toenails on the planet.

Now, I have to go manifest a crab boil at Lynda and Rusty’s house.  She recently  had us for one and it was delicious.  She said, “Don’t tell Mama we did this while she was out of town. She will be mad to have missed it.”

Erika, aka Mama, was picking apples in Connecticut.  Naturally, I sent Mama a postcard and tattled.  Now Mama is recovering from a knee replacement at Lynda’s home.  I’m pretty certain a crab boil would be exactly what the doctor would order for  speedy recovery.  And Lynda, I’ll supply the crab, shrimp, sausage.  You just cook it all up in a pan.  Yay for manifesting great things!

Now all you good and gentle readers–go forth and prosper.

Writing Workshop

I took my first writing class yesterday.  It was called Writing for Self Discovery.  I felt so shy.  I was nervous to read my stuff out loud.  I was reminded about a book I had read earlier–Stephen Pressfield’s The War of Art.  In it, he talks about the difference between an amateur and a professional.   An amateur gives in to fear.  A pro pushes through the fear.

I have to turn professional.  I have to keep putting one word in front of another, day after day, year after year.  I’m almost sixty-seven.  I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid.  But fear of writing badly stopped me.

Of course, my early writing will be bad.  My early paintings were downright embarrassing.  I still shudder when I recall the barn Lynn commissioned me to paint for her parents.  But I kept painting.  And the muscles got stronger.

I will keep writing and expect to eventually get better.

The writing teacher, Maureen, writes poetry.  I don’t  “get” poetry.  I think I’m too literal for poetry.  If I were a poet I’d have to make all the lines rhyme.

Every morning I force myself to write three pages, as recommended by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way.  Some days I can barely think of anything to write.  So I just start rhyming.  Don’t do it.  It becomes a sickness.  I have a friend, Herb, who used to read signs backwards.  He warned me NEVER to start doing that or I wouldn’t be able to stop.  I texted him about my rhyming sickness.

Here is what he texted back to me.

“I thguoht id ekat eht emit ot ekam siht egassem emyhr.  I deen ot ees a esrun ot kaerb em fo siht esruc.”

Three pages, with a fountain pen.  When I begin to write about all the things I’m grateful for the writing flows and I can go on for even four or more pages.

Blah blah blahing away.  I never go back to reread my morning pages.  I started this practice in June.  At that time we were still living in our Palm Harbor home.  Then the summer of condo happened.  Now we live in a high rise.  I can walk to the library.  And to my writing classes.

I haven’t felt like sewing at all since the move.  I will keep my wool for a year.  If I haven’t begun making purses again by next September, the bins get taken out of the closet.  We need all the storage space we can find.Screen Shot 2018-10-01 at 2.08.51 PM.png

Somewhat related blog posts:

The Artist’s Way

Adventures with wool continue.

I manifested a condominium​!

Walking a Marathon. A painful, enlightening experience. If you can endure a marathon, you can endure anything.

In the early 90’s three friends and I signed up to walk the Chicago Marathon. The only walkers permitted were required to fundraise for juvenile leukemia research.  I have referenced bits of this experience in my blog post of April, 04. Click here if interested.

Preparing for the marathon meant grueling months of walking mile after painful mile.  Three of us, Gray, Mo and I, would rise before the sun to begin trudging through our neighborhood.  The fourth walker, Carol, usually trained alone.  I asked her how she kept boredom at bay.   She said she recited the prayers repeated when praying the rosary.  I’m not Catholic, so I just looked up what is repeated doing rosary beads.  It seems there are enough entreaties to fill several marathon walks.

When we were training for the Marathon, I was suffering from anemia caused by undiagnosed celiac sprue.  Chronically exhausted, I wasn’t fit to walk a marathon.  Gray, one of the most forthright women I’ve ever known, stated firmly, “Alice if you aren’t able to keep up, do not to expect the rest of us to slow down and assist you.”

The night prior to the Marathon we stayed in the city.  We rose before dawn to begin walking. We marched the first few miles in the dark. Finally, the sun rose over Lake Michigan, gloriously painting the sky crimson, pink and orange.

Shortly thereafter a herd of gazelle-like runners thundered past us.  They had long, lean, muscled legs, minuscule butts, and rippling abs.  I turned to Gray and asked, “If we run, instead of walking, will we look like them?”  She laughed and replied, “Those are the elite runners.  Those athletes run in marathons all over the world.”

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Next passed a group of good runners.  They weren’t as sleek as gazelles, but they were strong, toned, comfortable with their pace.

We were overtaken by many levels of racers that day.  The good were followed by the mediocre.  Eventually, we were confronted with hopefuls vomiting into the gutters.  Taking on a marathon isn’t for sissies.

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The most inspiring runners weren’t runners at all.  They were the wheelchair division.  Men and women with withered legs, propelling themselves ever forward by the strength of their good arms.

We saw them on slight inclines.  The temptation was to help.  But helping would be to diminish them.  They needed to succeed on their own terms, with their own hearts, pushing through the misery, accomplishing it alone.

I so clearly remember one particular wheelchair “runner.”  He had two useless legs, one dwindled arm.  Yet he soldiered on.  He was the picture of courage, determined to push himself over the finish line.

I too needed to cross that finish line without assistance.  Nearing the last mile I remembered Gray’s words,  “Alice if you are unable to keep up, do not to expect the rest of us to slow down for you.” And suddenly I grew astonishing resolve.  I gathered my soul together and willed myself to cross the finish line inches before Gray.

I, like all Marathon finishers crossing the finish line, was wrapped in a sheet of mylar.  A medal was hung around my neck.

In agony, I hobbled to the curb.  There, on the same Chicago corner, draped with mylar, was the man with no legs and only one arm.   He had reached the finish line before I did.  I can picture his slumped shoulders, heaving with sobs.  He accomplished the impossible. With merely one withered arm and a heart full of belief, he crossed the Chicago Marathon finish line.

That withered man didn’t, on the surface, have the skill set to prevail. Yet he did. He did because he believed he could.  Anything can be accomplished if we have faith.

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Positive thinking, Shel Silverstein and my marvelous Book Club.

In March of this year I had a profound, personal experience.  In spite of my willingness to share many intimate life struggles, my March reality will remain private.

The experience moved me so deeply I began my journey of learning how, exactly, the power of positive thinking can be harnessed.  Since March I’ve read several books about how to manifest the life you truly want.  The life I truly want is to be a published author.  My current read is The Circle. Author, Laura Day, says to tell yourself you already ARE the thing you want to be.  State it with conviction.  My statement, “I am a published author.  My life changed when one of my blog posts went viral and was seen by an editor at Simon and Schuster.”

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I am only about halfway through The Circle.  There are lots of things to wrap my brain around, and I still need to do the workbook section.   However, I have to put it aside because my book-club read arrived.

Our book club rule—all members must finish the book or just stay the hell home on book-club night.  I don’t want to stay the hell home.  I love our book-club.  We sit around dining tables, drink wine, share snacks and have the most interesting discussions– sometimes deep, occasionally hilarious, and never about politics.  (Remember, I live in Florida, opinons vary widely.)

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This is our current read.  The author uses the language with such brilliance . I am high-lighting certain passages.  Here are two short ones, “Ribbons of stars swirled like milk.” “…one eye on the horizon, my heart on tiptoe.”   How does a heart stand on tiptoe?  I love the mental picture those words create.  I don’t want to race through this excellent book.   I started reading early and will absorb it carefully.

But for today I have put Circling the Sun aside. There is another project on my desk.  I am coloring in all the illustrations of Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends.  This book is a favorite of mine.  The book, and coloring, are a gift for my seventeen month old grandson, Tate. I’m hoping he will love it as much as Nana does.  Where the Sidewalk Ends is 183 pages long.  I’m on page 115.

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I hope to get this enterprise completed before the kid heads off to college.  Determined to put my nose to the grindstone this afternoon, I decided to continue my  positive thinking learning by turning on YouTube. I stumbled across Oprah Winfrey.  She is the world’s best example of someone who truly manifested  her own destiny.

Even so, I surprised myself by choosing her.  I get her magazine and don’t like it. ( I can hear you asking, “Then why get it, stupid-head?” Answer– I never subscribed so have absolutely no idea why it turns up in our mailbox.)   The articles make me feel like I’m a “fixer-upper”, always making suggestions for how to improve myself.  I spent years struggling to learn to like Alice Katherine Jay.  I don’t want to be made to feel I need repair.

However, Oprah proved to be the ideal person to watch.  She shared the interview that most impressed her as proof that we control our future with our thoughts.  Oprah said, “That conversation was with Jim Carrey, of all people.”  While on her show,  Carrey talked about his early years struggling to become famous.  He said he would drive into the Hollywood Hills, look down at the lights and simply KNOW his rich and famous life was already out there.  It was in the air he was breathing and the moonlight on his head.  It existed and the Universe was moving it toward him.

Carrey, broke, wrote himself a check for ten million dollars, dated it five years into the future, and slid it into his wallet.  He said he carried that check around until it was thin as tissue.   Five years later he made that ten million dollars when he  starred in the movie Dumb and Dumber.  He believed himself into his reality.

I’m going  to manifest my future as published author.  I don’t know what sort of writing will be published.  Maybe I’ll come up with a book of wacky poems, ala Shel Silverstein.  Perhaps a coming of age story?  Whatever my writing future is, it exists right here and now.  And the Universe is rolling it my way.

  I posted the above in the wee small hours.  Early today, in my morning dream, a poem whispered to me.  The image–a line drawing– Tate, seated on my lap. I was reading him this poem— 

“Wibbely Wobbely Weebely Wooooo.  I’m in love! In love with you!

Wibbely Wobbley Weebely Wheee.  Are you in love?  In love with me?

I hope so.”