My Hair in Curls: A Case Study

Subtitled: a bunch of hilarious photos of me for your Friday enjoyment

Like many babies of Western European persuasion, I was born with brown hair and bluish eyes. I didn’t have a whole lot of hair, but I was clearly my dad’s daughter:

By the time I was a year old, my hair was blonde-ish and curly, which would mark the last time I had anything resembling natural texture in my hair:

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It is also worth noting that if you tickle me now, 31 years later, I’ll likely still make that face, though I’ll also likely punch you.

My sister’s hair went through the same arc of blonde-curly-straight. Here we are circa 1986, all piled into Grandpa’s lap in his oversized naugahyde chair.

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I was not immune to the appeal of the 80s perm, though I’m not sure this photo captures the majesty of it – bangs AND a perm AND a hopelessly “timeless” dress at my aunt and uncle’s wedding:

Wedding photos

Apart from a brief Dorothy Hamill-esque cut, my hair remained long, thick, and straight until the late 90s. And I remained hopelessly unable to do anything with it, and so was subject to Mom’s best attempts at styling. Like this:

Glamorous 13

The sheer amount of hair also made those fancy up-dos that everyone else got for prom impractical on me. Mom set my hair in rollers, and this was all that remained of the curl within an hour, much less by the end of the night:

Prom

Man, I loved my prom dress. LOVED it. I’m still not sure why Dustin wore teal, though.

From 1997-2003, I was in a relationship with someone who insisted that my hair always be longer than his. It took 80 bobby pins to secure my hair for Mary’s wedding, and for Noelle’s, the sheer mass of my hair made me taller than the gentleman of the same height who escorted me down the aisle. When we broke up, I immediately chopped my hair short-short, then was too poor and inept to maintain it, which resulted in a year or two of experimenting with styles intended to keep my hair off the back of my neck, and that would occasionally result in lovely waves:

great hair

I was also swimming every day and riding my bike everywhere, resulting in lovely bleached-out streaks that I haven’t been able to replicate since. And then I chopped it off. Like, OFF. And kept it that way for four years:

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I’ve been growing it out for a while now, and this time around, I’m determined to actually learn how to do something with my hair. I bought rollers, and dammit, I’m learning how to use them. What I haven’t quite figured out is how to make the curls stay.

Exhibit A: Foam rollers that I wore out to breakfast and then for the entire five hour drive to Chicago for Keem and Paul’s wedding. The curls lasted through a museum visit, a shitty bar, the ceremony, dinner, and a lot of dancing. Total time: 6-8 hours.

Vintage E

Exhibit B: Foam rollers that I wore out to the store while prepping for my birthday party. The curls lasted through dinner, dancing at Innjoy, and part of the night at Neo. Total time: 4-5 hours.

Birthday Curls

Exhibit C: Hot sticks. The curls lasted through dinner, occupying the loft, and a super shitty bar experience. I have no idea how to use the hot sticks.

Exhibit D: Late evening foam rollers for my friend’s DJ night at Neo. Pinned-up curls lasted (well, sort of) til 2am on a very sweaty dance floor. Total time: 4 hours.

Pinup hair?

Exhibit E: Hot rollers for Annette’s birthday. Note that my hair looked AMAZING when I left the house, but that the curl was almost completely gone by the time I got to the train. Total time: about 10 minutes.

Monroe hair

Exhibit F: Hot rollers for the Panic! 6th anniversary. No photos, alas, so you’ll have to take my word that I set my hair for 20 minutes, then danced at Panic, slept on it, and still had texture and a little curl all the next (95 degree) day.

Exhibit G: Hot rollers for New Wave Prom at Neo. 10 minutes to heat the rollers, and 20 minutes in my hair between my house and Neo. Photos forthcoming, but curls lasted barely an hour on the sweaty dance floor.

So what have we learned here? I have no idea, but I was amused by pulling all of this together, and there are now naked photos of me on the internet.

“To look life in the face, always.”

“Dear Leonard. To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. Leonard, always the years between us, always the years. Always the love. Always the hours. “

This morning: time and temp can’t decide whether it’s 80, 70, 75, or something in between. The sun is shining, and I have my windows rolled down on Lakeshore. I’m speeding a little, and my hair is blowing around, and I’m singing along with The Cars. The lake is an impossible blue, the surface wrinkled by wind.

Driving to my new job, the one where I get to do all the things that I’ve loved about my last three jobs, and none of the things I haven’t. Driving with my new city behind me, marveling every day at my good fortune at actually getting to live here. Thinking about last night – good food in the company of a newly dear friend and her close friends – and the night before – bourbon and The Smiths until far too late, just like in the old days. Thinking about the morning already behind me, waking too too early, a breeze ruffling the curtains, my sweet cat curled next to me on the quilt made by my great-grandmother.

Feeling thankful for the wall of love surrounding me, for so many amazing people in my life in so many different ways. Remembering how three months ago, I ran head-first into my own sadness – and how this morning, driving through my new city to my new job on a perfect day, I was struck by the intensity of my happiness in that moment.

“I remember one morning getting up at dawn. There was such a sense of possibility. You know, that feeling. And I…I remember thinking to myself: So this is the beginning of happiness, this is where it starts. And of course there will always be more…never occurred to me it wasn’t the beginning. It was happiness. It was the moment, right then.”

Three months ago, I was afraid. Today I would say that I’m terrified, very deliberately using the word that a love and I once used to delineate our feelings about what we were coming to share: equal parts fear and delight. Terrified by the possibility that this just might be it, that this might actually be happiness, that I might have actually rounded that corner and found myself exactly where I’m supposed to be at this moment in time. Honoring everything that I’m feeling for what it is, and not needing it to be more or less. I’m so overwhelmed. I’m so thankful.

Burn It Up (or: April at the races)

5K Pigtails

My wide eyes tell you everything you need to know about how I was feeling before April’s races. Tired. Overwhelmed. Undertrained. In need of a hug, a pep talk, and a lucky charm.

Motivational Speech

I already told you about my race plan for the CB10. I stuck to it for the most part, though the sun didn’t cooperate with #14, and there were no space blankets (#18) on offer. Instead, I shaved five minutes off last year’s time, even with stopping for an Oreo and 2 oz of Yuengling, even with cold weather, even with the the wall I hit between 8.5 and 9, just like last year. Jeff brought us sweatshirts, and Tina’s friends provided a sun-drenched brunch. And I logged a new PR: 1:33:56. Two days later, I moved into my new apartment in Chicago.

Medals and Swag

A couple of weeks and a new job later, I drove down to Champaign for 24 hours of races – the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon weekend, with races ranging from a 1K fun run up to the full marathon. I was registered for the Half I-Challenge – a 5K Friday night, and the half marathon Saturday morning.

My feelings for Champaign are complicated, as I’ve explored here before. It felt like home from the time that I first moved there, and no place has quite replaced it in my heart. Between the race expo and the 5K, I went to Kopi and worked on my laptop at one of the small tables just like I did for years and years, with the same people ordering the same drinks as they have for years and years, and the same music on the stereo as has been playing for years and years.

When I moved to Champaign, it was on the heels of the end of my first marriage. I was alone for the first time in my adult life, making choices that would establish my new life independent of the person on whom I’d based my world. It was scary and overwhelming, but also so full of possibility. It got easier than in those first days, and what made it easier – and what made Champaign feel like home – were those anchors – like Kopi, like the regular customers, like the park at night, like the family of friends that surrounded me.

I mention this because when I queued up for the 5K in the cold and the wind, totally alone in the crowd of thousands south of campus, I looked to my right and saw one of my favorite regulars from the years I worked at Aroma. I don’t know his name or anything about him beyond his regular order – a small coffee and a brownie – but every time he came in, he made me smile and think of my dad. I have no idea if he remembered me – hell, I lost him in the crowd almost as soon as I spotted him – but it was a moment of grace, and gave me energy for the cold, rainy, windy race ahead.

5K PR!

We went down First past the Stadium, turned right on Green, and then up Sixth, where I blew a kiss in the direction of GSLIS. The rain started as we turned right to head past the art museum, but it hardly mattered at that point. Down into Memorial Stadium and onto the field, where Jill spotted me and yelled out a cheer that pushed me to the finish line with my last burst of energy. Another PR, this one by 20 seconds: 25:58.

Dinner with Erin and Jadon, one of the last of my GSLIS crew still left in town. We had pizza – maybe not the best race fuel, but damn, was it delicious – and I slept fitfully on their very comfortable couch, concerned about oversleeping, concerned about the race, concerned about the weather, concerned about everything.

Up at 5, and out the door by 5:30 because I was anxious about road closures for the race. I sat in my car and listened to music and blasted the heat and prayed for the rain to stop. I dug out a permanent marker and wrote Keem’s cheer on my hand: YOU’RE DOING IT. I stretched at Assembly Hall, then hopped in ahead of my designated wave, hoping to pace at 9:15 and beat my Detroit time.

I can’t really explain the race – I couldn’t then, and I can’t really now, a few weeks later. The course was easier but the run more demanding than in Detroit in October. It was cold and windy. It never seemed to end. We ran through campus, past Hendrick House, where Mark lived for years. Maybe I took too much water. Maybe I didn’t have enough water. My nose wouldn’t stop running, but my legs felt like a million bucks. We pushed on through Urbana, passing the street where Amy and Adam lived, past the turn to go to Sarah and Hannah’s house. We hit the edge of town, turned south, and ran through Meadowbrook Park. I hung with a couple of guys, laughed as others challenged each other and ran off the edge of the path to get around slower runners. I felt strong and steady. I had no problem hitting my pace.

We turned north to head back toward campus, and I hit a wall. 10.5 miles and I felt like I couldn’t possibly go any further – and then, on the sidewalk, just walking, not paying attention to the race, I saw Rick Powers. I used to see him occasionally when I was dating Shawn and going to English department events – and then once in a while around town – but hadn’t seen him in years. That little burst of happiness helped, though not enough to get me through the side cramp a mile later, or the complete and total exhaustion to come. The latter would come in the form of two marathoners who came up beside me near the Meat Science lab and stayed with me for a few blocks, encouraging me about my time, telling me that I was lucky that I was almost done.

A hairpin turn, and around the corner into the Stadium. I looked down at my watch, and poured everything I had into the last minutes. As in the Cherry Blossom race, I repeated over and over: All the pain. All the sadness. All the hurt. Burn it up. Use it as fuel.

I crossed the finish line, hit the stop button, and saw this:

Half Marathon PR
Under two hours. 1:59:09. A PR by almost six minutes. I got my medals, sat down, and immediately lost it, crying hard enough that another runner came over to check on me. No, I didn’t need help – I was just overwhelmed. Overwhelmed to finish, much less PR, much less break two hours. So very thankful for every person and emotion and thing that had carried me through the miles and through the last few months. So very much, all in those miles, in those medals, in my aching body and heart.

I fucking did it.

Things I’m Afraid To Tell You

There’s this thing that’s been going around the internet for the last week. It started with one woman writing honestly about aspects of her life that were incongruent with the persona and lifestyle depicted on her blog, and spiraled out from there. These confessions have ranged from very superficial to very personal, and have left me thinking a lot about what I do and don’t share here (or in other, less public fora).

I’ve written here since 2001, though the URL has changed a few times, and much of what I wrote in the early years is no longer public. Since I started this blog, I have lived at 15 different addresses in 6 cities, worked at 13 different jobs, and had 4 serious relationships, much of which has been documented here. When I need to remember what I was thinking or feeling at a particular time, this is one of the places I turn. On this site, as in real life, there are few topics that are off limits – but on this site, as in real life, I’ve constructed an identity that incorporates the parts that I’m willing and able to share.

The last 6-9 months have been a rollercoaster for me. I’ve been trying hard to put my finger on a triggering event or events, but end up with more questions than answers. In doing so, I’ve been working on being very honest with myself about a lot of things. Along the way, I’ve realized a few things I’m afraid to tell you:

Over the last few years, I’ve used my tendency toward introversion to avoid investing in my relationships. It’s not that I’ve ever had a shortage of friends. It’s that I stopped trying to really connect. Since realizing this and starting to open myself up, I have experienced a depth of connection, communication, and honesty in friendships that I’d forgotten was possible.

I require fulfilling work to be happy. Of those 13 jobs, I can point to two that really made my heart sing: the year and a half of gyne instruction and the almost three years at GSLIS. I’ve had jobs where I worked with wonderful people, and I’ve had jobs where the work was challenging, and I’ve had jobs where both of those statements were true, but for the last few years, I’ve been stalled professionally. My current job holds a lot of promise in this area, but I’m trying not to swoon yet. I would like to be one of those people who can leave work at work, for whom a job is just a way to pay the bills, but when I’ve been in those jobs and when I’ve aspired to those things, I’ve felt myself steadily go numb. I would be such an excellent housewife if I could just turn all of this off.

I really don’t know how I feel about having kids, and that’s a pretty scary thing to me. Most days I’m resolutely in the anti-kids camp, in part because I can’t see a persuasive reason TO have kids. But my strong opinions on this subject are undermined by a nagging fear that I’ll change my mind after it’s already too late. I also worry that the fact that I’ve never had a serious pregnancy scare points to some underlying fertility problems.

I have a very hard time communicating my needs in relationships, intimate or otherwise. I’ve become inured to disappointment, and to a large extent, that’s my own fault, as I haven’t given my partners or friends the opportunity to be the people and things I’ve needed them to be at the time, and so of course I’ve been hurt and disappointed. This tendency grew out of a terribly low self-esteem that led me to believe that no one would ever love me as much as _______________ did, and so I’d better do whatever I could to be happy with whatever was given, rather than advocating for my needs – emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual, etc. I have worked hard at this in the last few years, but I’m still so far from where I need to be.

I have never been able to establish the habit of flossing. I also keep nail clippers in my desk because I will destroy my cuticles otherwise.

I worry that I’m too selfish to be in a real, lasting relationship. Since starting this blog, I’ve had two relationships that lasted six years, a relationship that lasted three years on-and-off, and a relationship that lasted one very tumultuous year. I don’t (think I) have unrealistic expectations about relationships. I’ve been there. I’ve done the work. But then I’ve also not done the work in significant ways, and I’ve hurt partners, and I’ve failed partners, and I’m no closer at 32 to understanding any of it than I was at 21.

I’m afraid of failure. Like, really afraid. You’re saying to yourself “duh, everyone feels that way,” but I feel it acutely, and am often simultaneously too lazy to do anything about it. I’ve been a perfectionist and an overachiever since at least age 5, when I came home from kindergarten in tears because, as I told my mom, I felt like I had to turn my brain off when I went to school. I was moved up to first grade shortly after that, and haven’t stopped being my own hardest critic since. If there’s anything you might think is wrong or could be improved in me, you can rest assured that I’ve already dug into it and remind myself of it all the time. Like my failure in relationships or my stagnated career.

I’m trying to practice vulnerability. This post is part of that practice.

Evening

In an effort to avoid work and the storm last night, I spent some time reading old entries in my LiveJournal, and in doing so, came across excerpts from Susan Minot’s Evening, a book that I’d all but forgotten reading. The really breathtaking parts are in the original entry, but the following resonated with me as much now as it did when I first read it eight years ago:

“Later her life would be full of things, full of houses and children and trips to the sea and husbands and hats with brims and dogs catching sticks and tables to set and lists to cross off and she would have left singing behind and the stars would never look this way again, they would be further away but at odd unexpected moments something of the stars might strike her and it would be as if someone had branded her forehead with a hot iron. She could not name it, the thing hitting her for an instant, and would not recall what had once been in her head at another time with other stars, but she would have the sense that she’d lost something and not know what it was and not want to find out. She sensed it might be too great to bear.”

Waiting on a Sign

A month after we moved here, I volunteered at an underground dinner party, drank an alarming amount of wine, and had a tarot reading under the stars. I don’t remember what we talked about in the reading, or what my intention was going into the reading, but I clearly remember the smell of the fire and the sense of the world sparkling around me in the deep velvet fall evening.

I don’t put much stock into such things, though I can certainly see the ways that I am a super Capricorn and how I am different from my Gemini crew here, but I’ve been feeling the urge to get another reading, though I don’t know how to seek that out. The tarot came to me once, dug out from the piles of Steven Link’s stuff in our attic. I would like it to find me again – but in the interim, Rob Brezsny will have to do.

Rob Brezsny’s Astrology Newsletter – February 29, 2012

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The Oxford English Dictionary, an authority on the state of the English language, adds an average of two new words every day. In the coming weeks, Capricorn, I’d like to see you expand your capacity for self-expression with equal vigor. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you’re due for an upgrade in your vocabulary, your clarity, and your communication skills. Here’s one of the OED’s fresh terms, which would be a good addition to your repertoire: “bouncebackability,” the ability to recover from a setback or to rebound from a loss of momentum.

And this:

Fortune dated 02/07/2012

“And besides, feelings are totally full of shit.”

I woke up last Sunday adorned with the previous night’s glow sticks and feeling like someone had dropped a load of bricks on my chest. Such is the weight and effect of running into one’s own unhappiness.

The last two months have been endlessly stressful: holidays, moving to Chicago, moving out of our apartment, moving into my Unnamed Hippie House (which I’ve decided is its name, by the way), my uncle’s death, drunk people drama, sickness, job hunting, job interviews, the beginning of the semester, winding down a job, and living apart. It’s all fucking hard! Hard, hard, hard.

I’m a person who thrives in chaos, so times like these usually see me rising to the occasion. Five years ago, we launched Moodle at the beginning of the semester while I was also a full time doctoral student and a new gyne instructor – so I was essentially working two very demanding full-time jobs while taking on an emotionally and physically challenging part-time job while also maintaining a relationship and starting to focus on losing weight after four months away from the gym (and my bike) with a broken arm. Literally the day before Shane moved to DC, I had unexpected minor surgery after receiving scary lab results from an abnormal Pap and also got an estimate of $2400 to make the necessary repairs to my car so that I could move to join him – while also gearing up for the beginning of the semester and actively job-hunting. I’m not alone in my experience of shit stacking up in impossible ways, or of being able to put my head down and knock through it all to come out on the other side smarter and stronger.

But in and around the stress and stressors of the last two months, I’ve had a lot of time to think. The time and space and distance have allowed issues to rise to the surface that I’ve been ignoring or just haven’t been brave enough to face. And one of those is my unhappiness, a thread of pain through so many aspects of my life.

It’s no secret that I’ve been profoundly unhappy in my career in the last few years. In job interviews, I’ve spun it as “a series of right turns” – from instructional technology support at Illinois to reference librarianship at GW to web development at UM. From a position of authority and trust to the bottom rung of a soul-deadening bureaucracy to manual labor, working in a call center, finding ways of stretching 5-8 hours of work to fill 40, and then ending up in a position where I’m challenged and respected, but which is still tangential to any of the goals I can loosely define for myself.

I’ve been tremendously lonely in my relationships. I’ve focused my energies on my marriage to the detriment of my relationships with others – perhaps appropriately so, but still a stark thing to realize. I’ve been trying to change this in the last few months, but I know I have a long way to go.

I’ve tried to direct this loneliness and frustration into positive channels: running, the garden, cooking, blogging, teaching, and connecting with friends online. What I haven’t realized until recently is the extent to which my loneliness and frustration has been self-reinforcing. I’m lonely, so I go running alone. I like running alone, so I opt to continue with this solitary activity, even though it could be a great opportunity to meet other people and build relationships around running. Shane is often busy with hobbies or friends, and I respond by soaking up the much-desired solo time, which then leads me to support (rather than complain about) more time dedicated to hobbies, which then leads to more time alone.

Which leads me to this place: waking up on a Sunday morning feeling crippled by sadness. Grinding away on the track to meet a training goal but also to focus my mind on something other than the intractability of my feelings. Struggling to remember happiness, or to picture what happiness might look like. Knowing that the easy answer is more meds, or changing the meds, but being unwilling to accept that as an answer YET AGAIN.

I want to be happy.
I don’t know how to be happy.
I don’t know what has to change in my life for me to be happy.
I’m afraid of my own unhappiness.

2011, part 1

Does anyone have the patience to read another year-in-review post? Much less more than one? If not, sorry about that, as I apparently have more to say about the year gone by than can be reasonably accommodated by the checklist of sorts that is my resolution list.

First, though, what I intended to do in 2011:

Expand my bread repertoire by baking 2 new types per month.
The Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day technique led to a whole lot of delicious bread in the first half of 2011. Halfway through the year, however, we adopted a lower carb diet, and I haven’t baked a loaf since. I miss baking and also bread.

Baguette

Knit socks.
Done! Except that I used cheap cotton yarn and didn’t finish the toes neatly, rendering my lovely handmade socks the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever put on my feet.

Sock #2 in progress

Run the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.
Done! Also two half marathons and a handful of shorter races, with 523.22 miles run in total.

Team Astronaut Mike Dexter!

Continue saving aggressively for a down-payment on a house.
The first part, yes. The second part, not so much. Instead we paid off our car a year early and built up a decent safety net.

Complete the 25 Recipes challenge.
If the convener of the challenge is treating it as a lifetime project, I think I can too. I did manage eight successful recipes, and a few unsuccessful attempts.

Learn to accessorize.
I don’t know that I’ve succeeded here, but I did embrace vintage dresses and big hair.

Make a decision about grad school.
In retrospect, I’m not even sure what this was about. Was I seriously considering grad school at this time last year? Huh.

Sock away 3 months’ worth of my half of the household budget (approx $4500).
Not quite there, but in good shape.

Sisters

Survive my first semester of teaching.
Two semesters down, with my third starting on the 17th. I’m incredible thankful for the opportunity, as teaching has been both more challenging and more rewarding than I expected.

Take a solo trip and a vacation with SB.
I went to Philly and DC in the spring, where I gave a talk, went to a bibliodiscotheque, and ran the CB 10 Miler (see above):

Bibliodiscotheque

New York in the summer, where I walked for hours and hours and hours:

Rainbow City

and DC again in the fall, where I dressed up as a fancy lady for Halloween:

harroween

In addition to many weekends in Cleveland, Chicago, and Rockford for weddings, Shane and I took a Midwest road trip, where we rode a ferocious beast, hiked around a lake, ate a lot of ice cream, and laid on a beach long enough that I got a sunburn on my butt.

Mo-mo-more?

We’re in Rockford for the holiday, having moved the majority of our material possessions to Chicago three days ago. The last two days have been full of cookies and presents and traditions and relaxed family time. Max has been running around playing with trains and pointing at various delicious things and saying “mo-mo-more”, his voice lilting upward as he points at the object of his desire.

I mention this because as I look forward to 2012, what I want most is mo-mo-more. More time with friends and family. More travel. More flowers, more movies, and more amazing food. More miles. More love, more patience, and more connection in my relationships and with the world. So this post is me reaching my hands in the air and asking the universe for what I want in the next year:

  1. This year was about running further. 2012 will be about running faster in at least two half marathons plus the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.
  2. I want to take better photos of more than just food, though better food photos would also be progress. I want to take a class, read a book, participate in an online workshop – in general learn more about the fancy DSLR we bought almost three years ago. And then apply that knowledge for good, not for evil.
  3. I’m reasonably certain that the only movie I saw in the theater this year was the final Harry Potter installment. With two movie theaters within a mile of our new place, we should have no excuse – other than lousy offerings – to see fewer than 12 movies in the theater.
  4. I want to write more letters – at least one per week. Do you want to be my pen pal?
  5. I need to find a job in Chicago, as it will make many of these mores possible. More time with my family as they’ll be 75 minutes away instead of 5-7 hours. More time with many many Chicago friends (though less time with A2 friends). A new and exciting city life for the two of us. I’ve loved my MPub job, but I need to be in Chicago.
  6. I wanted to bake 24 unique loaves this year. We made significant changes in our diet over the summer, and I haven’t really baked since then. I think, however, that one pie per month is a reasonable goal.
  7. Bourbon and I got back together in 2012, but I need to have more in my cocktail repetoire than the trusty Manhattan. There will be many opportunities to drink fancy cocktails in our new ‘hood, but I want to master at least one new cocktail at home per month.
  8. We took a fun road trip vacation over the summer, and I took solo trips to Philly, DC, and New York for work, races, and fun. I would like more of the same this year, beginning with my birthday weekend in California and possibly including a trip to Europe after the semester wraps up.
  9. More books read: finish the 2/3 challenge, keep up with my book club, and hammer away at the To Read lists while reading at least two books per month.
  10. Step up my game and learn to do alterations so that I can finally finish all of the half projects in my closet.
  11. More feats of strength! More push-ups. More miles on Orange. And maybe, just maybe, a pull-up.
  12. And, most importantly, more time connecting with the important people in my life. I’m not sure how to quantify this other than to say that I want to fight my introvert nature and say ‘yes’ more than ‘no’ for lunches with friends, dates with my husband, or visits to my family.

What will you do in the new year?

“Energy is everything,” she says, “not emotion.”

Rob Brezsny’s Astrology Newsletter – December 14, 2011

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Emotion is the resource we treasure when we’re young, says poet Naomi Shihab Nye, but eventually what we thrive on even more is energy. “Energy is everything,” she says, “not emotion.” And where does energy come from? Often, from juxtaposition, says Nye. “Rubbing happy and sad together creates energy; rubbing one image against another.” That’s what she loves about being a poet. Her specialty is to conjure magic through juxtaposition. “Our brains are desperate for that kind of energy,” she concludes. I mention this, Capricorn, because the coming weeks will be prime time for you to drum up the vigor and vitality that come from mixing and melding and merging, particularly in unexpected or uncommon ways.

This is feeling particularly timely as we approach the end of our time here. My time will continue for a while longer, but our life here as a couple, as a family unit, will end in a little over a week. It feels like every day we’re rubbing happy and sad together: solidifying friendships just in time to leave, revisiting favorite spots that won’t carry the same weight when we come back to visit, one last time for x or y or z.