Monthly Archives: July 2013

Fluid

It’s been kind of a bad year, health-wise, but life goes on and tomorrow I go back to Tai Chi class.

I didn’t realize how much I’d missed that social interaction until I saw the familiar friendly faces when I stopped at the Center to drop off the quilt I’d made. And how much my body missed the physical poetry that is Tai Chi.

Below is my blog post from August, 2011, called In The Zone.
My goal is to recapture the fluidity I had then.

~~~

Standing tall, I take a deep breath as I raise my arms straight out to shoulder height. My open fingers mimicking a falling rain, I lower my hands to waist level. They float toward each other, palms down. My right hand then slices the air like the flat of a blade leading me to pivot on my right heel in that direction. The left foot adjusts its angle and I “drop” into position, bending at the hip and flexing my right knee.

Poised in a protective stance, I sense strong energy pushing back on my extended right hand, pressing against my outward facing palm.  I am holding it back away from me, keeping it at bay. My left hand, palm down, hangs low in front of me, guarding my center, shielding my core. I hold this position for a moment, letting the opposing force know I am ready and prepared for it. I am invulnerable.

Standing tall again, my right arm gravitates down while my left arm rises towards it; they cross at the forearm, as though suspending something in front of me, something round. I visualize a delicate sphere, it is my world; I am hugging my world. I am the unbroken shell surrounding it. No harm will come to it as long as I cradle it, making it invincible.

My weight resting on my right leg, I lift the left foot and step out on the diagonal, advancing against the unseen force. The motion is fluid, my left hand leads; my body follows, turning to confront that which comes at me from yet another direction. I allow my body to flow with the motion. I concentrate and think of nothing but continuing with the synchronized moves. I am part of a formation, a phalanx, performing a silent ballet. I am in the zone, the Tai Chi zone.

The dance progresses; the right hand moves up by the left shoulder and forms a fist. The left hand retracts against the body gathering energy then pushes back as the fist lashes out. The fist continues its momentum coming to rest by the right hip; the body follows its arc, swinging to the right, back foot pivoting on the toe. I am now crouched and ready to strike. I push that invisible force back once more and step forward with purpose, delivering my right-handed thrust.

I do not fight any one person in these pseudo matches, though I do face an enemy. Locked in a pitched battle against my personified disease, I withstand and do not cower. It is a contest I engage in daily, this struggle to gain and maintain my equilibrium, to meet the challenge of life’s burdens and its inequities.

When I practice Tai Chi, I achieve a level of serenity and all around peace no other form of exercise can give me. My worries succumb; my stressors evaporate. The poetry of the motion is beautiful and graceful, the camaraderie of performing it with others comforting and soothing. Performing it in solitude becomes meditation in motion. I withdraw to my innermost self and find medicine for my soul.

~~~

tai chi

In case anyone wants to join us!

tai chi

We are the largest Branch in the country and the most diverse. For our 20th anniversary, I printed out flags for all the different countries represented in our Chapter. I then had to figure out how to place them on the cake. The answer came to me at the party store. Swizzle sticks!

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Done!

The quilt I promised for my Tai Chi group’s fundraiser tonight is done. With minutes to spare. I was so jet lagged I regretted having promised, but after a week of recuperating, I put the pedal to the metal (my sewing machine foot pedal) and pounded it out. In less than a week! It’s a new record.

The theme is Native American Culture.

QuiltThis is a panel quilt. I didn’t do any of that exquisite fabric painting. I merely trimmed it with borders.

quilt 1The back. I like this fabric. I think I’ll make some throw pillows with the rest of it.

machine quiltingDue to time constraints I had to resort to crazy, undulating machine quilting.

Hope they like it and I hope the raffle brings in a lot of dough. Now I gotta go deliver it.

Amazing Friend

Is there a more beautiful word than ‘friend’?

One who takes the time to know the real you.

Who thinks of you, even when far away.

I am lucky to have such a friend.

Though going through some hard times,

she took the time to think of me.

And surprised me with this T-shirt.

I am awed and amazed.

In six little words it touches on my nursing and editing work,

and my Grandma status.

editing

Yes (comma) let’s save lives and not eat Grandma.

Thank you again, my friend.

I hope I am such a friend in return.

Off-Kilter

And so it begins. My succumbing.

To Bisphosphonates, that is.

I have resisted for over two years, or longer. It’s been a tug of war between my rheumatologist and me. I am the first to admit, I am not the most compliant of patients. I didn’t like what the literature had to say about these drugs and I chose to abstain, after consuming them sporadically for a few years.

His one complaint about me, to my hearing at least, is that I read too much. But, I believe your health care is a compact between you and your doctor. I’m sure a lot of that has to do with my being a nurse. I always saw doctors and nurses working in partnership, in tandem, though they didn’t see that way for the most part.

Now this particular war is over. My bone density test wasn’t pretty. Wasn’t exactly earth-shattering, excuse the partial pun, but it’s come time to grit my teeth and swallow. I don’t even know what he ordered. If it’s something I have to take once a week, or once a month, or . . . never? I just know it’s ready and waiting because my pharmacy texted me before I even reached home from his office. “Irma, your order is available for pickup.” Shouldn’t that be ‘pick up’? Two words?

Digital-age surprise awaits me tomorrow. A little pharmaceutical gift. Another modern medicine marvel to join the ones that already make themselves at home in my medicine curio. One positive in all this is that Prednisone gets kicked to the curb. Or I should say, gently eased to the curb. It doesn’t like any rough stuff, but as it likes to eat bone, it’s got to go. We might have to add another ingredient to my RA cocktail to replace what benefit I derived from it, but time will tell what and when.

I can’t complain, though. The other thing he says about me after every visit is: You’re doing very well. I suppose everything is relative. To him. But, I do feel a little askew. And maybe that’s why I subconsciously chose to place the borders to my panel quilt off-kilter last night.

quilt

End of Days, Beginning of Days

I’ve been gone for a while and I’m having the hardest time getting back to normal. My routine eludes me. Seems all I have the energy for is cleaning out my inbox(es). I collect not only emails, but email addresses. I’ve tried to downsize, keep to one, but people still send me mail where I prefer they didn’t. And by the time I check, they’ve mushroomed.

I need to get back to my reading, my writing, my work in general. I came home but my mind is still making its way to me. Part of it stayed in California with my father-in-law, who is dying. Today finds him in an intensive care unit. That much closer to over there than to over here. As much as I try to stop the images from forming in my head, I can see all the flustered activity around him. A once robust man, he is down to a mere 110 pounds, slowly disappearing.

Graduation

My daughter, me, my FIL and his wife

And parts of my mind, my thoughts, remain with my infant granddaughter. After two weeks in Los Angeles, I flew across the country to home and the very next day flew backwards to the middle of the country. The thought of spending a week with her gave me the adrenalin shot I needed to get back on a plane so soon.

Uber jet lag, mollified only by the thought of spending my days with my little angel. Days that began at 6:30 am, a shock to the non-morning person that I am. At nine months, she is busy exploring how much she can do on her own, how long she can stand unsupported, how quick Abuela will run when she cries.

baby

My Lovely

baby

That smile

I didn’t realize how tired I was till I got home and began waking up several times a night wondering what bed I was in. What room was I in? What house, what town, what state? I’ve never suffered such disorientation before. It was quite eerie. Like being in your own horror movie.

But now I’ve been back a week and I have to get a move on. I promised a quilt. Due in one week. Yikes!

Quilting

Theme is Native American Culture and it’s barely in the planning stages!