Saturday, January 22, 2011

Life in the Tundra

I live in a part of the country known for its weather, and not in a good way. The past few days, the idea of hitting even zero sounds warm! Not to mention all the snow and ice and blowing snow and general air of bluster! I'm a little sick of it and wouldn't turn down a tropical vacation right about now!  Here are some images of life on "the tundra" recently:

My niece's playground...a few months of the year anyway!

Driving when the snow is blowing like this can be a little dizzying! 
My brother blowing out his driveway. Note how high the snow is on the right side!

Frost on the car window. Frost can be so pretty!

Not a great picture at all, but the moon was gorgeous in this early morning sky!

Also not a good picture, but later that night the moon was even more gorgeous!
Huge and gold and breathtaking.
If only I had better equipment to capture this kind of image....not to mention skill!

I hope you've enjoyed this peek at my currently very cold surroundings! I hope that if you live in a similar climate that you're inside under a warm blanket with a mug of hot chocolate!  And if you live in a more enviable climate, I hope you appreciate what you have!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Resolutions, part 2

Oof, getting around to writing this part 2 has taken me longer than planned! A past self would have used this complete-and-total-failure-at-blogging-and-life as an excuse to give up the whole blogging enterprise altogether, but (as you well know from reading this and this) I am choosing to no longer let my perfectionist all-or-nothing tendencies hold me back. So here we are - later than planned/hoped, but better than never - back at it for the promised part two.

The other resolutions-themed stuff I want to talk about is largely a reaction to the January email newsletter from one of my favorite MS bloggers, Kate Wolfe-Jenson of Dancing With Monsters. I adore Wolfe-Jenson's creative approach to life with MS. She uses creativity as positive fuel in the energy-depleting world of chronic illness. (She's even authored a book on the subject, Dancing With Monsters: Chronic Illness as Creative Transformation, which I've not yet read but will certainly review here when I do!)

Back to resolutions. Her January newsletter takes a creative approach to the subject, with wonderful results.  Basically, she explores the meaning of the word and reminds us that resolution has other meanings, including two from the arts world.  In visual arts, especially in the digital world, resolution is about the number of pixels that make up an image. In digital photography, for example, the number of pixels per inch has a major impact on the clarity of the image. So, a great analogy can be that resolutions are (or should be) ways to bring focus and clarity to your life. Resolutions that don't do this will no longer make my list.

My niece and I late on Christmas Eve, shown here with much lower resolution than previously.
This resolution is probably a more accurate reflection of how tired we were at this point!
As a musician, I appreciate even more her second refreshing look at the word resolution. All college music majors spend quite a bit of time in theory courses learning about resolution, or the process of moving from dissonance to consonance. Anyone with even a slightly developed ear instantly recognizes when a chord doesn't resolve, or doesn't resolve well. The reaction - even in those who don't really know why they're having such a reaction - is one of tension. A dissonant chord that doesn't resolve makes you feel tense and there is nothing quite so ahhhh-inducing as a beautifully resolved chord.  So in the life analogy, another great way to look at resolutions: ways to reduce tension in your life.  Old-me resolutions have tended to be so ambitious and rigid and specific (and impossible to ever meet for long) that they added great tension in my life.  New-me is going for the ahhhh-inducing tension reducers!

So, a big thanks to Kate Wolfe-Jenson for this refreshing look at the word.  May all your resolutions (New Year's or otherwise) take a cue from the arts world and bring you less tension and more clarity!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Resolutions, part 1

Earlier this week, I resolved to have a New Year's Resolutions post up by the 1st, so it seems like I've already started my year off with a failure!  Or not...because one of my biggest resolutions this year is to let go of my plans of perfection (like I previously discussed in relation to blogging) and follow through anyway.  A major pattern in my life has been not doing things I want to do and plan to do because I can't do them in the "perfect" way I've envisioned and planned, so I do nothing. Or I give up and stop anything I've started when I fall short of the perfect.  So this year, my only official resolution is to push past my ideas of perfection and just do it anyway, imperfectly.

This will play out in many unofficial resolutions, which I'm not writing down and formally committing to (because that would be part of the old pattern of perfection and setting unobtainable goals).  For example, health.  I'd like to improve here in several areas. (Wouldn't we all?) Discontent about the areas of my health that I can't control has led me to not do much about all the areas that I can control. I need to take more responsibility for my health.  There are the usual stereotypical resolution areas like getting fitter, eating better, losing weight, etc. and these are all areas I can improve on.  I'd also like to become a more empowered patient and get more involved with the MS community.

The idea is that I've known all of the little things that I want to be doing towards these goals for a long time, but I just don't do them, often because of my paralyzing drive for perfection.  So, I plan to try to act on, rather than just think about doing these things, when they come up.  I plan to look my need for perfection in the face and tell it that I'm not going to let it hold me back and just move forward anyway.  Perhaps a little paradoxically, my primary goal this year is not to hit the target, but to keep releasing arrows in that direction.

Expect another post on the subject of resolutions later, as I have more to say on the subject that I think deserves its own post.