What Once Was Old is New Again


My friend Karen rattled off a list of “must-sees” for my visit here as we longed around my little studio on Monday. I didn’t get to all of them but there were two that ignited my curiosity. The Big River Crossing is a revitalized and repurposed pedestrian bridge that crosses the Mississippi River, and Crosstown Concourse is a “vertical urban village” created from the ruins of the old Sears distribution center. Both projects seemed interesting and unique, so they made my “to do”  list.

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I never knew that old building off Watkins was a Sears distribution center. I vaguely remember someone telling me it was a Sears building many years ago, but I’m not sure I believed they knew which building I was asking about because it looked nothing like a Sears store. I ran by it on long marathon training runs and wondered if it was a factory of some sort. The building was brick and massive with many broken windows. I really thought it looked like an old hospital with its parking garage and what I imagined to be many rooms. I assumed one day it would be torn down to make way for something shinier.

 

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Large photos of the decaying distribution center line the hallways of this multi-use building. It was a mess inside, and I loved imagining walking through the rubble. But I love walking through this renovation even better. It is brand-spanking new as it opened just recently. I’ll let you read the details in this article, but I love the sounds of voices ringing throughout the wide open spaces. Much of the interior was cleaned up but not repaired, providing a glimpse into what was amid what’s new.


I had the same thoughts at The Big River Crossing on my run this morning. A beautiful corridor sits inside an old railroad bridge that crosses the Mighty Mississippi. One of four bridges, the walkway fades into the noise of two railroad bridges and Interstate 55. Railroad cars painted with graffiti fly by while the city of Memphis looms on the horizon on the other side. Midway a sign designates the state line between Tennessee and Arkansas. Clean steel butts up against rusted supports for the old bridge. Like Crosstown Concourse, it is the juxtaposition of old vs. new that provides interest.


I love the imagination and the resourcefulness of this new generation. My generation preferred new and shiny as we fled the cities and built up suburbia. We totally missed the raw beauty of decay and the durability of materials used so long ago. This generation likes to recycle, repurpose and revitalize. This tradition seems to have taken hold in Memphis. And as I look around, there is so much more that can be renewed. I can’t wait to see that transformation, too.

 

How to Relax on Vacation

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I think I like this kind of vacation. I lived here, so I don’t feel pressured to go to all the tourist things. It’s a city, so I can sleep in a bed. It’s October, so it’s not horribly hot, although yesterday was pretty awful. This morning’s 50-ish temps were a welcome relief after yesterday’s hot, humid, messy, rainy weather. I’m in a little place with a kitchen, so I can eat out when I want, eat in when I’m tired and don’t have to spend money unless I feel like it. I can take naps in the afternoon, schedule coffee any time of the day with friends and overall just do whatever the hell I want.

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Memphis has tons of new coffee shops. Right now I’m at a trendy one on Broad Street called City & State. “Yay Coffee” is painted on the outside wall, and there is a dog water bowl and a dog treat bucket built in to the patio right beside a dog tie-out. Ashok wasn’t much interested in the water, but she was sure interested in the home-made-looking treats. This place has clean lines, is open and airy and has plenty of outdoor seating. Yesterday I would have passed, but sitting outside today is really nice.

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Yesterday I sampled Muddy’s bakery and had my morning coffee here. A friend suggested Tart this morning on Cooper, but it was closed. So, I went to an old favorite, Cafe Eclectic for their Sunny Hash and coffee. It was just as I remembered although a little more worn than it was five years ago. But the food and coffee were as fresh and lovely as ever.

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Shelby Farms has a restaurant overlooking the lake where we used to walk. They’ve improved and expanded the lake and built this trendy restaurant with a large porch called The Kitchen Bistro. The food was really good but $20 for a 2-egg omelet, a piece of toast, potatoes and coffee was a bit steep. My breakfast this morning was much better and was much cheaper even with the tip. Keri and I took a walk around the lake but almost died from heat exposure as the trees are still just sapling and don’t provide much shade.

Whole Foods is larger and much improved, Lululemon has moved to Germantown, Penzey’s Spices seems to have disappeared or moved somewhere else, and the Soul Fish Cafe has expanded. They finally did something with the Hotel Chisca on South Main. I longed to go in and look at that old abandoned hotel. I used to daydream that the rooms were left just as they were when they locked the doors, and my hope was that ghosts might roam the halls and would stop by to say hi. Now there’s a fancy restaurant called Lyfe Kitchen that has a stellar reputation. There just aren’t enough meals in the week for me to hit them all. This one will have to wait.

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This morning I got a chance to run and go to my friend Leah’s yoga class. I have two more days here. Tonight some friends are gathering at Central BBQ downtown, and a girlfriend is meeting me here in about 20 minutes. I hope the weather holds out, and I look forward to more laughs and good coffee and yummy Memphis cuisine. Ashok just always look forward to the next meal – whatever it is. She’s so easy to please.

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The First Kiss of Memphis

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This morning I woke up in my beloved Memphis. This cute little AirBnB is equipped with all of the comforts of home except maybe a bathtub. But I have a shower, and I suppose that’s all I really need. Last night I ran over to the new Fresh Market which would have been right down the street from my house and stocked up with some healthy treats and a few not-so-healthy ones. I tried to think back to five years ago and choose one of my favorite restaurants.

Let’s see …. there was the convenience store on the corner where I used to get this amazing sautéed veggies over rice with a fried egg on top. Of course, there was BBQ everywhere, but I’d want to save that for Wednesday night. The Mexican Deli in Cordova was too long of a drive after driving all day. I even noodled the Vietnamese place on Poplar. Hmmmm … Bhan Thai popped in my head, and I knew right where I was going.

They’ve made some upgrades. The parking lot is bigger. I no longer had to walk down the street to park. They’ve extended the porch so it’s larger. I opted to sit on the porch since it was nice out, and I tried something new – the potstickers – and one of my favorites – cashew nut tofu. I even opted for the sticky mango coconut rice for dessert even though I knew I could only have a taste or two. I’m on vacation, right? A singer sang old favorites from my childhood, and I let myself relax for the first time on the trip. “I am here,” my body said. “Kick your feet up and relax.”

My little vacation spot…

I made an early night of it since I had gotten up early to drive. So I awoke rested and ready for my run. I thought of several running routes but settled on walking out my front door and heading to my old neighborhood. Memories started rushing back as I made my way down the same streets that I’d run a million times when training for marathons. Looks like they finally sold that place over on McLean. Wow, they made some nice upgrades on that house off Lemaster. Dogs, as usual, were being walked all over, the humidity hung like a damp cloth in the air, and the trees of Memphis stood as stately and beautiful as ever.

My old house… with my porch swing.

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I ran down my old street and checked out my apartment where I lived after my divorce. It looked the same. I wondered if they ever fixed that back yard so it looked a little nicer but didn’t have the hooha to walk over and peek over the fence. It was occupied as a fall wreath hung on the door. I thought of the Memphis drummer that lived beneath me and harbored a secret crush on the older woman on the second floor. I passed my house down the street. They chopped down all of those bushes to the side of the house to make a two-car driveway. And they added the porch swing that I wanted but never hung. I longed to look inside to see what else was new.

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Overall, the old ‘hood is the same. Central Gardens is where I am, and Central Gardens is where I lived. It’s where I trained for my first marathon. That house on Carr was Ashok’s first home with me. I remembered with a gasp how hot it was that one summer when temps hung over 100 for weeks on end. My sister came up to go to an outdoor gospel concert during Elvis week. It was 104, but they still held it outside. Thank heavens it’s not that hot today! I remember those countless long runs through that neighborhood where I’d suffer through eeking out another 5 miles … another mile … another 100 yards. And I remember how I felt today when I was done… soaked through with sweat, fully worked out and glad to be here.

I asked myself if I should have left Memphis. I have great friends here, and I really do love the gritty soulfulness of this city. I thought about the year before I moved to Louisiana and what I was feeling. I had a restlessness about me, and I was ready to go. “You are not the staying kind,” I heard a voice in my right ear. I giggled a little and answered back, “Yeah, I suppose commitment is not my strong suit.” Thank goodness that doesn’t mean I can’t journey back for comfort. I may not stay for long, but I’ll be grounded in love and gratitude while I’m here.

Detours to Memphis

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When I lived in Memphis, one of my favorite weekend getaways was St. Louis. The old Italian area is called The Hill, and I spent many a weekend grocery shopping at the old-time Italian supermarkets and delis, eating cannoli and drinking dark, smoky coffee at coffee shops and eating plate loads of pasta at some amazing Italian restaurants.

One Halloween I came up to run a Halloween 10K that had to be one of the most beautiful and fun races I’ve ever run. The only one that surpasses it for me is the Mount Baldhead Challenge 15K in Saugatuck MI. Saint Louis neighborhoods feature beautiful brick architecture and tree-lined avenues which provide outstanding fall color. When I ran the 10K, the weather was a perfect 45 degrees at the start which is truly perfect running weather.

Only a four hour drive from Memphis, those road trips were perfect for a weekend. I’d drive up Saturday morning in time to grab lunch on The Hill and then grocery shop at DiGregorio’s Italian Market. They had their own homemade mozzarella and pasta along with bulk beans and grains and all kinds of Italian meats. I would easily spend $200 to load up my ice chest and my car before heading back on Sunday afternoon.

So, I’m driving down I-57 today trying to work out my Sunday plans. I can’t check in to my AirBNB until 4 PM, and it’s too hot to leave Ashok in the car to do anything. I saw the sign for St. Louis, and I thought… hmmmm…. “Why not?” I found an AirBNB in the Tower Grove Park neighborhood and took a right when the time came. After taking Ashok for a stroll on The Hill I had dinner at Mama’s and then found my lodging for the night. Fall colors are just beginning to come out here, and the neighborhood and parks are beautiful.

Memphis Memories…..

I’m settling in for the night here. I have a full slate of activities planned with old friends this week, and I’m really looking forward to it. I rented an AirBNB in my old neighborhood, and I’m just going to move “home” for a week. Ashok will be so happy to be back in her birthplace even if it is a lot hotter than Michigan. I packed summer clothes for the week, and I’m hoping that Nate stays far enough to the east to steer clear of my vacation. But even if it rains, it’ll be nice to be back in Memphis. I’m already dreaming of BBQ, Shelby Farms, Whole Foods and downtown shopping.

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Running in the Rain

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I hate being sick. I’m actually not sick that often, but this week I got some kind of awful, debilitating cold with a fever. I was down and out for two days. I slept and slept and slept all day Monday and Tuesday. I still had a fever Tuesday night, and I thought for sure I’d be off work Wednesday to spend another day in bed. But, for some reason, when I awoke on Wednesday, I felt like my old self again. With no fever and no raging river of snot cascading down my nose, I got dressed and went to work.

I didn’t want to revisit that cold again, and since many people at work are getting over it or suffering with it, I sort of kept to myself and treated myself to a lot of rest and relaxation when I got home. But, we all know that you can’t bank exercise, so I texted Jessica who has been coaching me again and committed to running first thing this morning. She sent me a speedwork plan earlier in the week, so I got up at 4:30 and was out the door at 5 AM to check that box. It looked a little like rain, so I brought a rain jacket just in case.

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I got through the first quarter mile repeats with no problem, but then I felt a sprinkle. During the 3rd repeat, it started pouring. It wasn’t a Louisiana pouring, but it was definitely a Michigan pouring. I wasn’t too far from home, so I could have gone back, but I knew I had to finish this run. Surely, it wouldn’t last long, I thought. This isn’t Louisiana. Rain doesn’t usually last long. Ashok looked at me with a sad look in her eyes, and I told her we were going to finish the run. A little rain wasn’t going to melt us.

So we ran in the pouring rain, splashed in small streams and large puddles and I spent a lot of time and effort trying to protect my iPhone. After 5 minutes of feeling like a wet rat, I started to appreciate the freedom of running in the rain. Ashok seemed to mimic my mood and picked up her pace as she raced through puddles of her own. The last of my congestion from my cold made breathing difficult, and I found myself shooting snot torpedoes out my nose more than once. It stopped raining by the time my speedwork was done, and we walked in the house dripping water all over my front porch.

I love the feeling of completing a challenging run. Sometimes it’s the run itself. Other times the weather makes breathing difficult. Cold weather, too, can cause exercise asthma, or icy roads can make running treacherous. The workout can be a b*tch. After work some days, my legs feel like lead posts, and I struggle with every step. But every time I persevere and finish, I feel like a rock star. When I check that box on the finished workout, I have successfully completed at least one task for the day. Actually, when I think about it, I truly am like a rock star when I stick with something hard and finish it. There were a lot of people who slept through that rain this morning. I conquered it.

Go conquer something this weekend. You deserve to be a star.

 

Embracing SandCastles

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This morning’s meditation was about holding on to sandcastles. Being human, we have a natural tendency to build and create things that last. We have some notion that committing to something means that we can stop it from never ending just by sheer force of our will. We think that building sturdy strong structures can somehow be a legacy for generations because of stellar engineering. We think that once we have the right job, the right car, the right partner or the right bankroll, we are set. We forget that the only thing that is permanent is plastic. (But that’s another blog topic altogether.)

The longer I live the more I am informed by the Universe that everything changes. I was joking with a friend yesterday that I’m on my 8th house. This is the 8th one that I’ve OWNED. This doesn’t count apartments, roommate situations and other temporary living arrangements. Before I bought my first house, I was consumed with worry about the commitment of 30 years to a house! How did I know I’d want to stay that long? What if something happened to my job and I couldn’t pay for it? The worry was insane. Now, I know if something changes, you can just sell it. Sometimes it’s not easy-peasy, and sometimes you lose money, but money, too, is easy-come-easy-go.

My teacher on my meditation asked me to remember when as kids we built sandcastles on the beach. Sometimes we spent hours and hours and built really elaborate sandcastles on the beach – always knowing they would disappear by morning if not before we left the beach. We did not cry over leveled sandcastles because that’s what the ocean does. We knew it was impermanent. It was the effort and the moment that mattered.

This year has been a leveling of many sandcastles. Hurricanes, earthquakes, the mass shooting in Vegas, the tearing down of the “administrative state”, and raging wildfires are leveling and continuing to level the sandcastles built before them. Costly, painful and consumed by loss our nation staggers through the ruins. Some faces are streaming with tears. Others raise a fist and say, “yeah… tear it down,” often proclaiming that an angry God is bringing justice. Some blame someone else while others wearily search for a scapegoat. “What is happening here,” we all ask with some level of urgency?

Is what we’ve built here on this planet a sandcastle? Is my very life a sandcastle? What wave will overtake us and wash us into oblivion? We have to let go of the outcome to remain sane. We have to accept that all things must pass at some point. But, in the meantime we have to remember that the effort to build and rebuild and refine and create is what makes us tick. Creating and loving and nurturing is what we do best. We must know that we are merely building sandcastles …. and yet we must somehow once again, find the will to create …. and then probably watch them wash away.

 

 

Getting 10% Happier

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I deactivated my Facebook account again today. Honestly this last time that I got back on it, I haven’t really been doing much with it. I’d check it once a day and maybe every now and again post some pics of Ashok or my weekend. But my heart wasn’t in it. Facebook has lost its luster.

I’ve been doing other things with my time. I listen to podcasts, read the New York Times and meditate. I’m meditating anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour a day – not all at once, but it’s still an hour. I do several short meditations a day. It makes such a difference in my feeling present and grounded. So, when you take away that hour a day and my exercise time and my podcast and news listening time, I don’t have time for Facebook anyway. Besides, the meditation does seem to make me a little happier.

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On one of my regular podcasts, an author was talking about her book about taking your life back from your smartphone. She had a three day challenge that got me thinking. I can’t find the article right now, but I know that day 2 challenged me not to take any pictures with my phone and day 3 I deleted the most addictive app on my phone. I tried the challenge, and it felt really good. I was more present. I spent more time talking to people, and I even got bored once or twice. I haven’t added the app back (it was Facebook), and I haven’t resumed taking pictures constantly. That has affected my blog media library, but I’ll get back to it if I can find a way to control it.

In the words of my meditation app 10% Happier, I felt happier after the challenge. It might have been 10%. It could have been 9%, or it may have been 15%. I don’t know how to place a percentage on it, but I felt happier. I kept the habits. And with that little push, I’ve been looking for other things that will make me just a bit happier. After a bout of insomnia, I hypothesized that cutting out coffee would make me happier. That REALLY made me happy. I drink green tea now, and I don’t experience the roller coaster of energy that coffee gives me. That made me probably 15% happier. Two weeks later, I decided that cutting out sugar again would make me happier. It has. I even went to Chicago this weekend and without coffee and sugar I was in a great mood at the end of the trip. Score. I’m probably 20% happier now.

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I was on a roll! So, when I checked Facebook this weekend I found myself getting irritated and depressed. I had to ask myself whether or not this activity was making me happier. It wasn’t. When I noticed this morning that scrolling the news feed for a minute or two put me in a bad mood, I decided that it was time to add a little more happiness to my life. So, Facebook is history, too. I can’t wait to see if this really makes me happier.

With all of this stuff making me happier, life is going pretty well. I don’t know where percentage-wise I am on the happiness scale, but I’m definitely trending in a positive direction. I think I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing.

What would make you 10% Happier? Do that.

 

 

Summer … It’s Back!

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For some reason, it’s now in the mid-80s in Michigan. I had already mentally and emotionally moved on from summer. I even packed up my summer clothes and got out my fall wardrobe. My heavy winter coats still hang in the closet upstairs for it’s not time for that yet. It’s time for fall. The leaves are turning yellow, orange and red, and I’ve spent most of my outdoor time in jackets the last few weeks. But, this week, 80-degree temperatures returned with a vengeance. Everyone is complaining up here… and sweating.

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Ashok likes it cooler, too.

I’m not a fan of summer. I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up in Louisiana where summer was present for 6 months out of the year, or if my constitution is just not suited for it. It doesn’t really matter why. I’m just not a fan of hot, humid and extremely long days. I don’t sleep well in summer, my energy flags and my mood tends to err on the irritated side – especially when I can’t breathe.

I have to admit I’ve liked my temperate northern summer more than my southern summers of the last 10 years. The season is very short, so it almost feels novel after winter and a longish spring. And I’ve been productive this summer. I’ve established a solid meditation practice, met many new people who may eventually become friends and joined a book club. In fact, I’ve been so busy living my new Up North life that I’ve slowed my writing pace significantly. I’m distracted … and in a good way.

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Summer vacation in Copper Harbor

The meditation practice has made me more mindful, and I’m working on changing a number of habits. I’ve started running again, making homemade almond milk and have cut out coffee and sugar yet again. I don’t sleep well in summer because the long days upset my circadian rhythm, but my new habits have helped me get better quality sleep. I actually don’t even feel like I need as much sleep as I did before because I’m so rested.

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Summer Road Trip – I think this one is in Holland?

My gal pals at work are complaining about the heat, and I roll my eyes at the thought of the mid-80s being sweltering. All the while, I’m saying “WTF” as the sweat rolls down my face on a 5 AM run. Yesterday, it was very hot with very little breeze, and I was reminded of Louisiana for exactly 5 seconds. “This is not Louisiana,” I laughed to myself. And I thought cooler thoughts.

I’m ready for fall. I’m dreaming of cozy winter sweaters, knee-high leather boots, hot chai and chili. I discovered a shop downtown that makes a mean chicken and sausage and gumbo. I saw it on the menu, and I asked the lady behind the counter if it was good. I warned her I was from Louisiana, so my gumbo bar was set pretty high. She said it was really popular, but she was telling people that it had jalapeños in it until she was corrected. “It’s okra, I think,” she said. “Do you want to try it?” I did and was very surprised at how good it was.

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We have several more 80-degree days ahead of us. I’m visiting my friend Nancy in Chicago this weekend where we will see Hair. Supposedly there’s live nudity. That should be interesting! The concrete will make it hotter still, so I need to get some of my summer clothes out of hiding for the weekend. I’ll need to call on my new mindfulness practice and accept that summer has not yet breathed its last gap. One day in January, I’ll look back at this with longing.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

 

The Indiscriminate Taskmaster

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This morning I am enjoying downtown St. Joe in its post-summer quietness with a mocha (decaf), the book Quiet Your Mind by John Selby and my sweet Ashok. A chipmunk just raced across the road which perked her up as I dove into Shelby’s thoughts on how judgement impacts others and, more specifically, our own minds.

The first premise he asserts is that we all judge. We see a dark alley, and we judge that it is not safe. We see our unclean house, and our critical minds asserts that we are messy. A friend says that they are $10K in debt on their credit card as they charge up a new dress, and we think to ourselves that they need to be more financially savvy. And we tell a grieving friend that they need to trust God. Judgements keep us safe, destroy our peace of mind and confidence and ruin relationships. I first need to accept that I judge and stop judging myself about that.

I have been judged harshly by others about my lifestyle. People have judged me and condemned me for my divorces. Some people even judge me for feeling and expressing my opinions. In a really odd turn of events, others judge me for working on my problems. It is painful to be judged. And, lately, as I’ve been sinking into my meditation practice, I have become aware of how much I judge.

Meditation is not about stopping your thoughts. Experienced meditators say there is no way to do that. Our brain thinks. That’s what it does. Our body breathes. We can’t stop it from breathing either. The goal of meditation is to ground yourself and just notice what goes on in your brain without following the thoughts down the rabbit hole. I’m going to follow them down the rabbit hole inevitably when one interests me, and then I judge myself for doing it. I breathe, and I judge myself for trying to control the breath instead of just watching it flow. “STOP doing that, I tell myself,” as the meditation guide says to be gentle with yourself and don’t judge yourself for going down the rabbit hole.

My mind is a never-ending stream of thoughts and judgements and fears that are at once profound and a meaningless waste of time. One of my yoga teachers said that the mind that tells us to eat the apple pie is the same mind that berates us after we do. We are not our thoughts, and our thoughts are not excellent guides. I would love to study more about what creates our thoughts, and maybe that is something I will research later. Meditation sometimes relaxes me, but it is sometimes extremely frustrating. Following my thoughts can keep me constantly contradicted.

My thoughts are often the reflection of criticisms I’ve received in the past. It’s as if the very words that cut me to the bone get stuck in a recording that plays itself back to me throughout my day.  I feel confident that I was productive and creative, and I hear a disapproving parent telling me that “every time you think you screw up.” I feel healthy after a great run, and a long-ago passer-by says “hey fat-ass!” Luckily, therapy and healthy friends have recorded complimentary messages that counteract my everyday failures as well. When my house is a mess, I hear a good friend’s comment that “your house is your home. You can keep it how you like it.” When I snap off at a colleague, I hear a therapist’s message “No one is perfect. That’s why we have apologies.” The brain, it seems, is an indiscriminate recorder that plays its messages with no particular motive. In fact, sometimes I get two or three contradictory messages at once that can paralyze and confuse me

I’m playing with not reacting to my thoughts in meditation, and I’m finding that I’m playing with not reacting to my thoughts in real life. I’m becoming more aware of the content of my thoughts and my gut reaction to them. No wonder I was being jerked around so much by the thoughts in my head. Without awareness, they are a brutal taskmaster.


“Let’s go for a walk,” I told Ashok this morning. From my sofa the day outside beckoned me. The last 3 evenings have been chilly with temps dipping into the upper 40s. I find it such a contradiction to the southern summers of the last 10 years. I have to remind myself that August is pleasant.

I put on my long sleeves and sweatpants and pack a jacket, my journal and a cup of hot homemade chai. I have my sights set on a particular bench overlooking the lighthouse. 

The crowd for the farmer’s market is still sparse on the bluff. We walk down the stairs just in time to see a couple walking their rambunctious dogs. “They better not get our bench,” I whisper to Ashok and quicken  my pace. 

There is no need to worry. My bench sits waiting for us. A couple near the water is allowing their lab to swim in Lake Michigan. Ashok finds a fly and is busy trying to catch it in her mouth. A couple of seagulls dance and soar against the blue almost cloudless sky. A dredging rig chugs up the river channel and finds its place near the end of the pier. 

Sailboats, fishing boats and runners race each other to the end of the pier. The boats move on into the lake while the runners circle back toward the beach. A group of teenagers run along the shore. The young girl whoops and screams as the cold water hits her feet. Eventually she removes her sweatshirt showing off her small frame and striped bikini top.

“It’s a great day for a walk,” a runner says to a couple walking past. “No tourists this morning,” he says a bit snarkily. I have to laugh at that. It’s a short tourist season between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Throngs of FIPs (f*cking Illinois People) inundate the area during the warmer months. The benefits of being a Chicago vacation spot outnumber the disadvantages as this rural area has great restaurants, shopping and events. But the locals still have a love/hate relationship with the tourists.

Talk at work has been of fall. These first crisp days remind people that summer is almost over. Most people here love fall. My friends are defiantly threatening to wear boots on September 1 no matter how hot it is. Pears are starting to show up at the farmers market, and apples will be following shortly. Without saying it aloud, there is the knowing that we get this place all to ourselves in a few weeks. We have a few weeks or a month until the summer businesses shutter. No lines, no waiting, no parking hassles await us. 

A sailboat floats across the water in front of me. Ashok snoozes. The hum of the dredging rig drones on in the background. Children giggle and scream on the beach as the sun starts to heat up the sand. Paddleboarders make their way across the calm harbor.

The lighthouse watches it all from its perch by the river.  Mornings rise. The sun sets. The crowds grow and at last dissipate. Soft summer breezes make way for winter’s gale force blasts. It freezes over in ice only to see its cover melt in the sun. If only we could be so welcoming and steady during change. But we breathe and judge and sweat. 

It’s Saturday in St. Joe on one of the last weekends of summer. Enjoy your weekend, Peeps. This day will only come around once.