Can’t See For Looking

Have you heard that old-fashioned saying before?

My Dad used to use it both as a motivator and as a reminder, and I heard it a lot when I’d work side by side with him as his tool runner.

He’d be building or fixing something, tearing something apart, or climbing something and he’d realize he needed a particular tool but didn’t have it with him, and that’s where I came in.

He’d describe what he needed – I eventually did learn the names of everything –  he’d tell me where he thought it was, and then he’d wait somewhat patiently while I tore off to the shed or to the garage or onto one of his trucks to retrieve it.  The plan was that I’d quickly retrieve it and run it back to him.

Plan notwithstanding, here’s how it usually went.

Invariably, I’d listen intently, then invariably, I’d run to where he told me to go to find it, then invariably, I couldn’t find it then, invariably, I’d run back to him, telling him it wasn’t there.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Then he’d have the Italian version of a bat-shit-crazy fit, then he’d take me to the very place I’d just two or three times gone to on my own, and right the fuck there it would be.

Then he’d say “you can’t see for looking.”

He’s been dead since 1993 and I still can’t see for looking.

Can't see for looking.
Can’t see for looking.

On Saturday morning, I woke up on fire, in a very very good way. It felt like the whole world was brand new and all mine.  I made my usual 6 shots of espresso, dumped them over ice and launched my day.

I had planned some super challenging creative work for myself and whenever I do that, I like to perform this silly little ritual that helps me feel like I’ve got a clean slate, a fresh start, nothing held over – I power down all my computers the night before, giving them – and symbolically me – a clean break by letting my little vintage single wide junkyard jewelbox unwind until we’re completely, electronically detached, until we reach complete pixel tranquility, until we come to a full stop.  I love when we do that.

So my first task on Saturday morning was to fire everything back up and when I did, for some reason, on launch, my fastest, main Mac didn’t recognize my trackpad.

Never fear, I restarted.  But still no trackpad.

I troubleshot my bluetooth settings and was able to successfully recognize the track pad, just not complete the connection to it.

I tested and replaced the batteries in the trackpad.

And then I restarted the computer again.

And then I changed my approach.

I have a trackball – remember those? – that I keep for just these types of situations and, praise the Gods, I’d used the trackball just last week, mere days ago.  All I had to do to begin was find the trackball.

 

Find the trackball.

Find the trackball.

FIND THE TRACKBALL.

But I couldn’t find the trackball.

I couldn’t find the trackball in any of the logical places where I keep things like that – tech and gadget storage boxes –  so I performed a military style “hard target search” (which is also a sort of the same house cleaning strategy used by the big national house cleaning/maid services) where I started up high at one end of the office and worked my way around, then moved down a swath and circled back around.

Over and over and over again until I was on the fucking floor like an infant just figuring out how to crawl, kneeling and reaching in and behind everything and I was down there so long, and on CONCRETE, that I aggravated my patellar tendonitis – thank you, fireworks behind my knee cap – and about 90 minutes in, I just gave up, sat at my desk, went through the start up process one more time, and when the computer launched perfectly – as it always does – I went through the bluetooth discovery process one more time, and this time I held down the “find me, you motherfucker” button on the trackpad extra hard and extra long, and this time, you motherfucker, it worked.

I didn’t need the trackball after all.

My day was still perfect, I roared through all manner of creative endeavor and I was super super happy even though I still had no idea where my trackball was.

 

Today, sitting at the very same desk, working in the very same set up, I look at my keyboard for what must be the bazillionth time, and what do I see?

The trackball.

Where is it?

Right in front of me.

Why couldn’t I find it Saturday?

Because I can’t see for looking.

Still.

PS I miss my Dad.

 

Can’t See For Looking

Gone So Long

As I watched NFL playoff games yesterday, I was rooting for the underdog Dallas Cowboys. It was a thrilling game, one of the best in NFL history, and as I watched, matching my understanding of athletic performance with play by play analysis from the experts, I realized that one of the reasons I love watching football is because of I used to watch sports on television with my father and grandfather.

My dad died on a Tuesday in November of 1993 and we watched NFL football, specifically a Cowboys game, the Sunday before he died.  And the Sunday before that.

As a little girl, I remember sitting in my grandfather’s lap after my evening bath, with him drying my wet hair, while watching boxing.

The thing is, while watching the Cowboys game yesterday I realized I couldn’t remember if Daddy rooted for or against America’s Team.  He’s been gone so long that I can’t remember his Cowboy preference and I’m certain that I’ve lost track of countless other details that made Daddy Daddy.

But that doesn’t really matter.  All that DOES matter is a little bit of Daddy and Poppa are still mixed up inside my heart and in my head.

I think this is what smart people mean when they teach us that all that matter is love.

 

Gone So Long

White Hair | Just Do It

If you’re like me, you’ve spent thousands of dollars on your hair.

If you’re like me, you’ll eventually stop doing that.

Maybe reading this will accelerate your hair color full stop.

 

Here’s me from high school.  I’m a blonde and although I have an absolute ton of hair, it’s really fine so it’s slinky but it’s got a bit of natural curl when it’s short enough to not be pulled straight by its own weight.

natural-blonde

 

In my early 50s, I started messing around with the color of my hair.

For a few years, I had stripes of color put into my hair – 1″ swaths alternating blonde, burgundy, dark brown and a bunch of black underneath in the back.

img_6639
img_6703

 

img_9848

I started having chunks cut into it so that bunches of it was shorter than the rest, sort of stacking layers instead of the traditional shag cut.

I don’t think anybody completely gets away with doing such unnatural color stuff like that so I wasn’t really surprised when my long-time stylist over-processed my blonde TWICE and – shocker! – all the blonde broke off and even though I suggested cutting it all off and starting over, my stylist convinced me to try and save my hair.

Good thing I love a challenge because things got worse – by a lot –  before they got better.

 

Red is the hardest color to cover/recover so my stylist decided the hair equivalent of “can’t beat ’em, join ’em” and made all my hairs red.  Nooooooo!  But yes.

20131105_173005

Take a moment to fully appreciate the ratty scorched brittle ends.

20131105_172946See the ghosts of the stripes?

 

I broke up with that stylist and took my ratty, brittle mess of a red mop on an expensive, self-esteem challenging daisy chain of a wild goose chase through a series of under-performing, confused and technically incompetent stylists before – happy ending! – I found, all on my own, a true hair genius who not only knew exactly what to do, but she specialized in doing it.

I spent almost 18 months in the hair hospital and thanks to the combination of a genius stylist – let’s call her the Hair Doctor – and her use of miraculous products from Organic Color Systems, I began to recover.  Specifically, big product credit goes to OCS products Revamp and Moisture Boost.

NOTE: I know you want to know who the Hair Doctor is, and you know I’d tell you if I could but I can’t because both with me and with others I’ve sent to her, she’s proven unreliable in critical hair-centric circumstances, and she’s behaved unprofessionally, and because of that, I can no longer recommend her.

Back to my hair recovery plan.

My Hair Doctor set out a treatment plan that included me coming into her salon 3 – 4 times a month for her to fashion mini-intensive care units around my most damaged swaths. Eventually, me and my hair recovered.

 

20131105_151815

 

And after my hair completely recovered, was dyed milk chocolate brown and was long, silky and shiny again,

 

 

 

Girly Hair

 

I cut it all off and went back to my native color which, Holy Mother of Jesus, is still some shade of blonde only now, in the front around my face it’s mostly what they call platinum and the rest of it is what they call ash blonde.  In the estimation of my current stylist – best so far, total genius, complete professional – this is my version of gray hair.

 

platinum-mohawk

I am finally free from dependence on the salon because with $30 clippers, I can shave down my own sides, and using office scissors, I can hack the top so it’s heavy enough to flop, just so, when I spike it up.

NOTE: Ears and noses continue to grow.  Look how huge my ears are!  #shutupmontana  Look how huge my nose is!  #toastisburningidaho

 

Do you color your hair to cover gray?

Do you WANT to color your hair to cover gray?

Here’s commentary on the shift in cultural norms that will, hopefully, free you to think more openly about “White Hair, Don’t Care.”

 

My friend Trina has what can only be called “Miss America Hair” and she says, so many people “believe the lie” that stylists tell us about growing out our natural color.  The NYT piece “White Hair, Don’t Care” includes an at-home recipe for recovering your own natural color, your own natural self.

 

If you’re ready for a more natural you, go for it.  And send me pictures of you all along the way.

 

 

White Hair | Just Do It

Destabilized? Love Your Way Through It

me-popa

My grandfather died a few days after he had surgery on some veins in his leg.  During the surgery, a blood clot formed when they tied off his femoral artery for more than 3 hours, and, while the surgery was technically successful, it took a few days for the blood clot to make its way through his system and hit his heart or lungs, or maybe his brain. We’ll never know exactly what the clot hit, only that it hit some vital organ causing powerful and grotesque convulsions followed by almost immediate death.

Popa died while Mom and I were visiting him in his hospital room, and we were all watching The Honeymooners on his hospital room TV.  Mom was sitting in a chair near his bed and I was laying to his right in the bed bedside him, I had my left arm around his neck and he was holding my right hand.  When Popa began convulsing, Mom wasn’t able to hold herself together so, as nurses rushed into the room to help Popa, some of them tended to Mom by getting her out of there.

Because of me being in the bed with him and because of the configuration of the bed in the room, I was trapped beside him as hospital nurses tried to revive him.   For about 20 minutes.

After I called off the efforts to resuscitate him, the nurses helped me escape his “death grip” on my right hand and wrist, and I dealt with some paperwork out at the nurse’s station.  I went to check on Mom who was in a room down the hall and, after being sedated, was asleep.

After that, there was nothing more to be done at the hospital.

Within about 30 minutes of Popa dying, I left the hospital and began to let down.  I sat in my car for a few minutes wondering what to do next..  It’s one of the most bizarre feelings ever and one I experienced again after the deaths of both Mom and Daddy – just a few minutes after someone you adore dies, you’re supposed to get on with the task of living without them.

Where am I supposed to go and who am I supposed to be with?

Mom’s indisposed, Daddy’s not an option because he just doesn’t do this type of emotion plus he’s at my parents’ home cooking which is what Italians do when someone dies, my sister was not at the hospital visiting Popa when he died – Mom and I were – and she’s riding this out with her family which I’m not part of.

I didn’t want to go back to my flat and be alone so I went to my friend Roseanne’s house, she and I worked together and we were close.

She was older than me by about 10 years, she was big, happy, beautiful, smart and she had a boyfriend who had a rubber fetish.  It was pretty common for her to come home from work and find him sitting on top of the dining room table which he would cover in a rubbery plastic table cloth, he’d be wearing rubber pants – the kind you’d wear for incontinence – and a plastic shower cap.   Arriving unannounced, I knew I ran the risk of interrupting something I’d spend the rest of my life trying to unsee, but I was undeterred.

I got to her place, knocked on the door, she answered and I just lost it.

I sputtered out the words to tell her that Popa had just died, I started sobbing and I just sort of fell into the front of her big beautiful body, throwing my arms around her and hanging off her, like I might not be able to stand up on my own anymore.

She stepped forward onto the stoop, backing me up a step or two.  She put her hands on my shoulders and moved me even farther back, and then she said . . .

We have company, you can’t stay.

Oh.  Okay.

So I left.

I sat in my car and here’s how I felt.

I’m alone in this and there isn’t anybody to help me.   I’m broken all the way down and I need and want help but help is not available so I’m going to have to manage this by myself. I’m going to have to pull myself together.

When I tried to think of what I for sure had that might help me feel like I could get through it, the only things I could come up with were my faith in myself, and my faith in God, and at the very bottom of my faith was love.

Essentially, my strategy for dealing with the immense grief of how I experienced my grandfather’s death was for me to love my way through it.  Love is what helped me start my car and safely drive it to my flat.  Love is what helped me get through losing Popa, what helped me deal with the graphic nature of seeing how he died and love is what helped me find a way to neutralize the way he last held me.

Were there other options?  Of course.

What’s the opposite of love?

Being angry wasn’t an option – I could never have produced enough rage to come close to expressing my devastation.

Could I have found someone else, anyone else, who would have ministered to me in that moment, who would have prioritized my needs over theirs?  Maybe.  But after the initial shock of Roseanne not being able to help, I realized it was tremendously unfair to blind side someone with such enormous emotion.  In that moment, I accepted that I couldn’t rely on others to help me offload that or any other trauma that might come my way so, really, when you think about it that way, what else is there but love?

In the 45+ years since Popa’s death supercharged my ability to love, when shit gets real I’ve never relied on anybody to help me and I’ve never expected access to assistance.

I’ve gone through surgeries alone, I’ve been really really sick alone, I’ve spent birthdays and holidays alone, and I’ve continued to lose loved ones and go through the aftermath alone.  I work alone.  I live alone.  I am alone.  But I’m full of love, and I love being alone.  See how that works?

And I’ve become quite practiced in applying the “love technique” across domains.

That’s the really cool thing about love – everybody wants it, everybody needs it, and every single situation you can imagine goes so much better with love, love, love.

Since Trump won, I’ve doubled down on love.

Here’s why.

Since Trump won, for the first time average Americans know first hand what it’s like to have a country powerfully emotionally divided.  Since Trump won, we all know and love a bunch of people who completely disagree about big, important, life-changing and world-changing issues.

Many of our friends feel destabilized by the disruption candidate winning and many of our friends feel destabilized by the disruption candidate disrupting – Hello Taiwan!   Many of our friends feel boastful about their candidate winning – “lock her up” “drain the swamp” and defensive about the relentless attacks on Trump that come from pretty much all directions.

Politics in America has become an angry emotional mess and with the holidays coming up, our normally high stress levels are red lining.

What’s the answer?  What’s the fix?  What’s the solution?  How do we cope?  How can we manage?

Love. Love. Love. Love.

Please join me in unabashed, unapologetic, undeniable love of everyone.

IT’S A BUMPERSTICKER!

bumper-sticker

If you’d like one, PayPal me $15 domestic/$20 international, provide your postal address and I’ll mail one to you.  My PayPal email address is rebecca@rebeccaleone.com.

Loving everybody is the answer, I promise.

I love you.

Destabilized? Love Your Way Through It

Everything’s Going to Be Alright

Goodness me, it’s a new day in America, isn’t it?

How’ve you been coping with either your immense joy or your severe depression, or are you enjoying that “I didn’t vote because I don’t care” ambivalence?

Are you dreading the upcoming winter holidays because you’ve got friends or family on the “other side” of these divisive political and social issues, and there’s sure to be heat?

I don’t have a family and I love spending the holidays alone so, for my weird self, everything is super clean and simple, but for normal people, it’s just a huge challenge to find a way through what, even in good times, is an emotionally charged, difficult to navigate holiday season.

How about this.

Let’s back off of broad assumptions for now and work on realizing that the good people you know who voted for the candidate you didn’t are more like you than not.  They’d help you if you needed it.   They look just like friends of yours, maybe they look just like you.  They want the same things you want.  They work hard.  They try their best.  They believe as much in their candidate as you do in yours.

 

To help you enjoy the holidays, practice saying:

“thanks for letting me know how you feel, isn’t the pie delicious?”

“only time will tell how this turns out and I know we’re all hoping for the best”

“I’m needed in the kitchen, will you please excuse me?”

 

To help you enjoy the holidays, avoid saying:

“He’s going to start a war and it’s going to be your fault”

“America is the laughing stock of the world, happy now?”

“Mike Pence for President”

 

For more help in preparing for holiday interaction with “them” read this and this and this, which contains the gem “If he continued, she would hold her hand up, making a peace sign and signaling for him to stop.”

 

This Thanksgiving as you gather with loved ones, some of whom will surely be on the other side, here’s hoping you have the grace and decorum to flash that peace sign, excuse yourself and get busy in the kitchen or better yet, out in the yard where you can more easily enjoy the crisp air and marvel at the enormous sky as the world continues, as the world does, to spin.

 

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

PS  I knew Trump would win.

UPDATE A day later:  PPS  A reader wrote that they thought my PS was snarky, and they were disappointed in me for that.

To which I responded:
First, I hope you’ll accept my sincere apology for having disappointed you; that’s obviously never my intent and in spite of purposely trying not to, having done it is especially, well, disappointing!  Please forgive me.
I thought “snark/snarky” meant a kind of passive-aggressive, snide insult, so I’m not sure how my PS rises to the definition Urban Dictionary and I have been assuming.
____
Urban Dictionary:  noun
Combination of “snide” and “remark”. Sarcastic comment(s).
Also snarky (adj.) and snarkily (adv.)
His commentary was rife with snark.
“Your boundless ineptitude is astounding,” she snarkily declared.
_______
About how I knew Trump would win, I’m based in Florida which is a crazy kind of state for a lot of reasons but is crazy important in politics.  In the final week of the campaigns, both candidates and surrogates were not only in Florida every day, but specifically along a corridor that runs right through my hometown – without that corridor, no White House.  Weird, to think that could be true, but it is.  Because of my proximity to that craziness, plus my awareness of early and pervasive Trump yard signs at homes all over town including our biggest waterfront mansions and, as more expected, all over my trailer park which, oddly, is mostly owned by rich Canadians.  From home, I could see wide support across socio-economic strata.  I also traveled a bunch during the summer and fall and in airports across America, I saw the same thing only demonstrated through Trump hats, t-shirts, and bumper stickers stuck onto carry on luggage.  Absolutely nothing to that extent was being shown in support of Clinton.  I kept reading the polls showing Clinton with a narrow lead and I’d think, that won’t hold, and, of course, it didn’t.  That’s how I knew he’d win.  There was nothing insulting or snide intended in my PS.  When I have time, I’ll get back into the post and expand on it so that I don’t run the risk of disappointing anybody else by causing them to think I was being snide.
And just so you know, whenever I have something to say that’s considered to be counter, or confrontational, or oppositional, I’m direct, urgent and crystal clear.  If you’ve been reading me for a while, you’ll already know that.  If I’d meant to say anything substantive, candidate wise, I would have come at it straight on.
I’ll do a better job for you having reached out.  Thank you for that.
Happy Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for you!

__________________

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of when I do engage for counter/correction/calling bullshit, you know the difference between what I meant by my PS and how I present when I have something counter to express.  The opposite of passive aggressive/snark – I have a long consistent history of pragmatically addressing controversial subjects, keeping personalities completely out of it and strictly adhering to the facts as established scientifically by experts outside the unregulated, unsafe Pilates industry.  I’m known for being direct, clear and absent personalization.

My PS illustrates the limitations of writing short.

So everybody, are we clear on this?  If not, please give me another shot at cleaning it up.

Everything’s Going to Be Alright

Flash of Objectivity, Election Edition

Trip with me, won’t you?

These are images of Galaxies from NASA’s Hubble telescope.

There are trillions of stars in some galaxies with over 100 billion galaxies in the known universe.

Hello everything!

a Flash of Objectivity

If we’re lucky, we get a handful of moments in life where some seemingly mystical, random combination of circumstances converge around us, and we’re suddenly capable of true objectivity; of feeling and seeing and being at one with our place in the universal order of everything and everyone, of our place in line with everything and everyone that’s gone before us, and all that will come after, of how insignificant we are and yet how extraordinarily important we are.

Regardless of where or when they happen for me, when they happen for me, I’m insanely aware of everything and, simultaneously, of nothing.

Regardless of where or when they happen for me, when they happen for me, I’m able to realize the bounds of my utter impermanence, the bounds of my life and its utter insignificance in relationship to everything else but how I’m somehow an integral part of the physical space I occupy, on this physical land, on this physical continent, on this physical planet, in this physical galaxy, and how this physical galaxy is part of billions of other physical galaxies in our physical universe.  To recap, while in Flash, I’m aware that I’m nothing while at the same time my nothingness is part of everything else that’s, at the same time, something and nothing.

Suggestion: Perhaps you should take a hit of pot because I’m only half way through the set up of this piece.

That’s what’s happening in my mind on/in Flash, but there’s a body-centric component of being on/in Flash, too.

My body doesn’t end, it blends, it merges, it is subsumed by the air around me.  What I’m seeing is somehow not coming in through my eyes, it’s already inside me and I’m looking out through it, as part of it.  For me, these Flashes of Objectivity almost always occur when I’m out in nature and when they happen, without exception, wind and light and sound pass through my body as if I had no mass.  Instead of giving resistance or being impenetrable to wind and light and sound, my body seems to no longer exist as something separate from everything else.

During these Flashes of Objectivity, I am gone from what I know of myself and I’ve become part of everything else.

This type of transcendence is what the monks are capable of when deep in meditation or prayer.  Surely, this is what drug addicts’ seek to control the repeat of.  Surely, this is what it’s like to merge with all life forms, and with God.

You want more of everything, don’t you?  Me too!  I went and got us more of everything from the internet!  More of everything is right here!

 

I have memories of those Flashes coming to me as early as 8 or 9 years old – while fishing, while riding my boy’s bike with a banana seat and cherry picker handle bars (I was gender fluid before we knew what it was!) – but I couldn’t describe them until I got into my teens.

In my late teens, I had one of my longest sustained Flash.  Not surprisingly, a Fiat was involved.

I’ve always been a loner and one day, I drove my bright yellow Fiat X19 out to the Ten Cent Bridge where I parked on the sand just a few feet from the water’s edge, and I laid on the hood and watched the clouds float by.

Ten Cent Bridge

Dolphins came to breathe with me, for me.  Fish burbled to announce themselves, then jumped to show off for me.  Waves lapped the shore trying to get to me.  Heavy wet hot air carried the trace elements of the water that couldn’t quite get on me, and that heavy wet hot Florida air surrounded me with salt that left grit in my nostrils as I took it, with every breath, into my lungs.  That heavy wet hot Florida air carried the grit of salt into my ears, and all through my waist length blonde hair.  Bumble & Bumble, you’re a poser.  The sun baked my skin, it heated my body from above and it came for me from underneath by heating the hood of my car beneath me.  As I laid there in complete willful sacrifice and with the power of eternal nature surrounding me, I was being environmentally birthed, swaddled and nursed.

Halle-fucking-lujah!

 

Today is Election Day in America.  What a shit show.

I haven’t attended any rallies, I don’t talk politics, I did watch the debates but not for the same reasons most people might.

Yesterday, I walked the downtown waterfront and just so happened to arrive at my turn around point, the Dali Museum, just in time for a Joe Biden/Jimmy Buffett “get out the vote” rally in a waterfront park.

I’m still a loner and I had no intention of going to the rally – it was full of the dreaded “other people” –  but I wanted to hear what the Vice President had to say, and who isn’t up for a little Jimmy?  So I stood along the seawall railing just across the water from where the rally was being held and there, I fell into Flash and stayed there for I don’t know how long.

When I came out of it, I took pictures of the sky.

election-day-clouds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I came out of it, I took pictures of the waterfront.

Buffet Flash

 

When I came out of it, Jimmy was singing this:

 

 

And with that, I stretched out my tight hips using the railing you see in the foreground of the marina shot, and as I draped my body over that railing, I released myself into the 12 knot wind and it took everything I don’t need and it brought me everything I do.

 

God Bless America.

God Bless You.

 

 

 

Flash of Objectivity, Election Edition

I’m Next

Let’s talk about what I call the “presumed order of death.”

If everything goes really well and things follow the presumed order of death, our grandparents die first, then hopefully many, many, many years later, our parents die, and then hopefully many, many, many, many years later, we die.

Daddy died in 1993.

Mom died in 2008 – 8 years ago today.

I’m next.

mom-and-dad-hipsters

Here’s how I imagine Mom and Daddy in the great hereafter, their bodies young and perfect, restored to being the hipsters they were.

I know I’m next, but I also know that I’m still very much alive.

And on fire.

And in love with every moment of every day.

 

I miss Mom and Daddy but . . . I’ll be right along.

 

PS  The order of death is randomly jumbled, leaving us without a shred of certainty about anything other than how we manage ourselves in response to the complete randomness of everything including the death order.  Cheers!

 

 

I’m Next

She Is Risen! The Pilates Nun is BACK!

I float for you!
I float for you!

With a new url.

Which you already know.

Because you’re on her brand new, state of the art, privately-hosted blogging platform right now, and this site, http://rebeccaleone.com/blog, the site you’re on right now,  is where the Pilates Nun’s content will magically reappear, article by article, organized into her exclusive category and by original publication date, until everything that was there, will be here.  Like internet magic.

The internet made me take down the original Nun site.

Here’s why.

I’m a leader in the Pilates industry for lots of reasons but one of the most important is that I’ve been first to use the internet to bring my work to you, the vast majority of it for free.  I’m what’s called an early adopter of emerging internet technology which, almost all the time is a good thing, except for when it isn’t.

Before the majority of other educators knew what a blog was and years before the platforms that dominate blog hosting today were even around, I used the absolute best platform available at the time to build my little Pilates Nun blog.  It was up for over 8 long years and it was full of 100% original content – no writer’s block here! –  that all had one important thing in common; every article comprehensively detailed important educational aspects of teaching, business development, staffing, client service outside the session, and a bunch of fun stuff that didn’t have anything to do with teaching but had to do with living a good life, a big life, a full life, on being happy, being strong, resilient and self-sufficient.  Thanks to you, dear reader, my PilatesNun.com site became very industry-famous, and whenever readership soars Google knows it so my little Nun site ended up at or near the top of many of your problem-solving Google searches.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for that and for everything else you’ve ever done to support my work.

I knew the Nun site had reached critical mass when one of my longtime athlete clients from Seattle, Samantha Boyd, was walking through the food court at one of Seattle’s larger Home Depots, passed a group of older men sitting at a picnic table eating, and overheard one of them say, and I quote, “the Pilates Nun fixed my back.”  Samantha stopped dead in her tracks, then approached him and told him she, also, knew the Pilates Nun.  He corrected her.  He didn’t know me IRL, he only knew me by having found the Nun site online as he searched for relief from back pain.

 

pilatesnun2

 

So the Nun site was definitely reaching people I surely never could without it, and that’s an amazing feeling.  And it’s an enormous privilege.  And it’s a really important responsibility.

But the very internet that I used to bring that marvelously deep content to you is the reason the site had to eventually be taken down.

The internet made me take it down because the back end of the Nun site had become so prehistorically ancient that the internet, which changes for the newer/faster/smarter/better every second of every day, eventually broke up with the back end technology we’d used for the Nun site.

Hosting platforms like the one I’m using to write to you right now have constant choices to make about how current they’ll stay, what changes they’ll make in market focus, and even if they’ll stay in business.  The platform we used for the original Nun site couldn’t keep up with the powerful emergence of blogspot and WordPress, blogging platform behemoths, and my old back end simply became too old for the modern internet to make sense of.  When that happened, the site came down and all the content went into storage.

Where it still remains.  Completely intact and just waiting to get back out here so together, we can reach more folks who need help.

Nun content is on the way.  Plus, as you know, I’m still writing a ton and this site, this “we’ll be together forever” back end and I, will contain all my new written material, as well.

Thank you for your patience while I’ve done a million other things that were momentarily more important than dealing with the Nun site.  Thank you for waiting for me to finally get around to it.  Thank you for reading me.

In case you were wondering – you were, weren’t you? – I want to assure you about my other platforms.  All of them are state of the art and all of them enjoy market entrenchment so deep that there’s no way imaginable that they’d become obsolete.

Let’s go through my various innovations, one by one.  This is a good opportunity for you to review your engagement and make sure you’re getting notifications of new posts on the platforms you most enjoy.

I was the First Educator:

*and still only* to produce a video site, full of comprehensive, valuable  free 100% original educational content.  After hearing how I wanted to share video educational content with you, my brilliant web consulting genius, Sean Hreha of Breezy, recommended I use Vimeo.com for my video site, and for over 7 years I’ve been pumping out the video content on my Vimeo channel since

*and still only* to video record all courses and give you a copy, plus a copy of the next time I teach the same content.  Internet file transfer services have historically been befuddled by the burden of transferring large video files so course attendees used to have to provide me with an external hard drive for me to copy the video files onto (which takes hours and hours and hours of my time) but now Dropbox, my preferred file transfer service, has finally caught up with me and now has the technological attention span necessary to allow me to upload an unlimited number of hours of video and transfer those video files to you via the internet.  Live long enough, everything works out!

*and still only* to email push substantive free valuable content to my 100%-you-asked-to-be-on-it mailing list.  Your inbox is undoubtedly flooded with emails from tons of other educators but their emails absolutely do not contain substantive, comprehensive educational content.  Mine do, and always have, and always will.  If you’re not on my email list but want to be, email me at educationconspiracy@gmail.com that you’d like to be added and I’ll get you on it.

to teach via Skype; many many other educators have followed but they don’t film it for you like I do.

to podcast with over 50 hours of free substantive educational content on my Listen & Learn playlist; not many other educators have followed my podcasting lead and here’s why; podcasting reveals the speaker’s ability to speak logically, progressively, constructively – or not – and many “educators” know they can’t do that AND they don’t know how/want to edit the way they’d have to in order to make themselves sound reasonably capable.

to offer my services bespoke; what you need, exactly the way you need it, completely customized for you.  My skill set is very broad so not only can I, of course, help you with all things Pilates, but I also offer you my design and creative services to help you do things like choose your studio name and tag lines, design your logo, design and content-create your website, design and content-create your studio forms.

 

My forever promise to you is that I will continue to early-adopt, I’ll always keep innovating – I can’t help it! – and I’ll always give you as much of me as I possibly can, for free.

Thank you for being here!

 

She Is Risen! The Pilates Nun is BACK!

CeraVe Will Rebuild Your Skin’s Barrier

When my Derm told me about this DRUG STORE product line, she raved about it

She kept saying “it will rebuild your skin, it will rebuild your skin, it will rebuild your skin.”

I tried it.

It’s rebuilt my skin.

 

CeraVe

Products cost between $7 – $12, and among my local CVS, Target, Walgreens & Walmart, Target has the lowest everyday prices but be sure to watch for specials on Amazon Prime.


Through my mid-50s, my skin’s been getting thinner and thinner, and as that’s happened the texture of my skin has changed leaving me with tons of wrinkles, crinkles, folds and drapes.  Now, at 59 (which is really 60 because, you know, we don’t count it until it’s done), the surface of my skin is more similar to crepe paper than it is to a human organ.

Here’s what CeraVe’s done for my skin.

My first 2 CeraVe purchases were the body lotion in the big tub and the healing ointment in the blue tube, and I started using them in August.  I use the body lotion after showering and I slather it on everything but my face.  I use the ointment as an overnight treatment on the backs of my hands and on my forearms.

After just a few weeks, my skin became thicker, shinier, waaaaay smoother feeling and looking.  As my skin thickened, many *MANY* wrinkles on my neck and arms went away.  Gone.

For my whole life, I had asymptomatic small flat red dots on the backs of my upper arms and legs; they’re completely gone.

In the past month I bought the full facial line (eye repair, 2 PM creams, hydrating cleanser, facial soap) and am now experiencing the same improvements on my face.

I still cleanse my skin in the Laszlo way, I still use my Prevage system and Tretinoin in addition to CeraVe.

How thick and smooth and thick has CeraVe made the surface of my skin?  Right now, I’m somewhere between a Nathan’s Hot Dog and a dolphin.

Get on it, ok?

CeraVe Will Rebuild Your Skin’s Barrier

I Knew It

My trailer floor is collapsing.

I bought my precious vintage single wide trailer just over 2 years ago, and it wasn’t long after I moved in that I realized the real estate ad should have said:


All maintenance has been 100% deferred!

Absolutely everything is wrong with it!

Spend the foreseeable future fixing expensive and sometimes life threatening problems!”


Life threatening?  I must be exaggerating, right?

I’m not.

As soon as I had the electricity turned on, the fuse box blew up, caught fire and burned along the raceway through 8 feet of wall.  After the electricians “fixed it” and turned the power back on, thankfully the fuse box didn’t blow up again; this time the bus bar melted which eventually blew all the fuses including the main.  Through all my many electrical problems that have put me in the dark, the longest I’ve been without electricity is 9 days.  In a row.

So there’s that.

Then there’s this.

Soon after the fire, and by “soon” I mean the next week, the ceiling in the living room, kitchen and dining room collapsed.  The 1″ x 2″ chopsticks beams that provide the structure between the roof and the finished interior ceiling came crashing down, taking with them the finished interior ceiling, and it all fell together, in one enormous whump.  The place was full of workers and I’m pretty sure one of them caused the collapse but, regardless, it’s God’s grace that nobody was underneath it at the time.

Once the dust settled, the metal roof was exposed, and it had bowed inward forming a huge hollow, like a single-wide sized metal soup bowl.  The roof was collapsing under its own weight.

I sprung into action and called roofers, construction companies, handy men, and anybody else I could think of.

 

The lightning capital of the world is Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, but the part of Florida that I live in is nipping at its heels.  Because our weather is so severe, there are a bunch of apps that construction workers use to help them plan their work around the weather.

After I described my situation to one very kind roofer, he told me that thunder storms were predicted to begin around 3:15 that afternoon and I might well be killed if I didn’t leave the trailer before the rain started.

Whaaat?

I was so stressed I doubt I would have figured that out but, of course, rain would accumulate in the soup-bowl roof, and, of course, the weight of the accumulating rainwater would cause the walls to collapse, and, of course, when the walls came down there’d be nothing holding the roof up and then, of course, the roof would come down.

Of course.
Florida is full of trailer parks and I had called a bunch of them asking for contact information for the park handy men, and the handy man from the park right next door to mine actually called me back.

Michael Fernatt, who became my personal hero, took a break from his scheduled job for the day and came over just as the rain began to fall, and he stayed just long enough to hang some cross beams and screw into them toothpick type props that forced the metal roof out of its perfect bowl shape.

That held me over until Mike worked me into his schedule to properly rebuild my ceilings including reinforcing the living room ceiling so it would be strong enough to hold my fabulous Schonbek chandelier which hangs in the center of a gold veined ceiling mirror.

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Schonbek Halo
Schonbek Halo

Mike said to me, “you do know you live in a trailer, right?”

I do, Mike, I do.

Then he died of pancreatitis.  RIP Mike, you were awesome.

 

You’re probably wondering why I bought such a dump.  Well, the real estate agent that sold it to me was dishonest, and she was in cahoots with a “contractor” who made almost everything worse, and every bit of work he did for me had to be redone.  And there was a trend; she’s been accused of embezzlement at the firm she worked at at the time of my transaction.  If I were to pursue action against her, it would implicate the sellers who are an adorable, ancient couple who I’ve fallen completely in love with.  They were clueless about the condition of their trailer, they never lived in it, it had been empty for years, and they never claimed to know its condition. The agent was the dishonest party, not the sellers.  You’ll hear more about “my old people” later.

I totally get the problem with “good money after bad” but I also think it’s possible that, at some point, enough good money will eventually modify the bad to the point that the bad money isn’t bad anymore.

Instead of worrying about what might go wrong next, and instead of focusing backward and seeking restitution, I decided to go another way.  I named my vintage single wide my Junkyard Jewelbox and I set my mind to saving it.

 

About a year-and-a-half ago, Jamey was under my trailer pulling wire between my modem and some of my computers.  Since it’s a single wide, while he was in the “crawl under” he could take in the entirety of my trailer’s underbelly landscape, if you will.

As fate would have it, he spotted a plumbing leak.

In the outflow pipe under the double kitchen sinks, Jamey saw a slow drip, drip, drip.  He crawled over to it and found that it had been going on long enough that a significant wetland had formed beneath it.

He also noticed the reason my sink drain occasionally ran slow; as the outflow pipe ran under my dressing room which shares a common wall with my kitchen, it angled in the exact wrong direction an outflow pipe should angle; it angled up instead of gently down toward the oblivion that is its connection to the greater sewer pipe system that serves the entire trailer park, and beyond.

 

Jamey, beautiful Jamey.
Jamey, beautiful Jamey.

Jamey is a genius, and it’s important that I get that right out there, unequivocally and right up front.  There really isn’t anything he can’t do, and do well.

His mind is lightning fast, absolutely nothing gets by him, his construction and carpentry skills are excellent, he’s an artist in the truest and fullest sense, and his work and life experience is intensely significant.  Plus, he’s an ex-porn star, and they simply don’t put unattractive men with small penises in porn.  Well, they do, but it’s a sub-genre, and Jamey’s gorgeous in the main-stream porn kind of way.

I digress.

He reconfigured the elbow to create the necessary slope in the downhill direction and he replaced the pipe.  And just like that, the leak was fixed.

 

Fast forward to about a month ago.

As I storm delicately float through my trailer, stomping walking softly like the fierce graceful, scary feather float, freakishly strong wispy ballerina-type, gender fluid dom girly girl that I am, I’ve noticed a softness under foot.  As I stalk pirouette about, I’ve noticed that the floor seems to give, but just a tiny bit, underneath me.  It’s as if the floor is suddenly “sprung” – like a proper dance studio floor.  It gives, but just a tiny bit.  It bounces, but just a tiny bit.  It moves with me, but just a tiny bit.

And somehow, in the teensiest partial wrinkle in the palest of shimmery grey grey matter in the deepest recesses of my brain, and completely unconsciously, I began cross linking disparate data points until I was strong enough in my theory to know what was coming.

And I actually called it.

In late September, I was visiting with my “old people” and something odd happened.

Somehow, I spoke words that didn’t really make any sense at the time . . .

Somehow, completely, unexpectedly and without any logical context triggering them . . .

Somehow, certain peculiar words, strung together in such a particularly strange way and then softly, almost at a whisper, these strange words tumbled haltingly from my wrinkled lips.

“I hope my trailer floor doesn’t collapse.”

Here’s the thing about some old people, and my old people, particularly.

Non sequitur is de riguer.

My comment went completely unnoticed.

Except for by a microscopically microscopic portion of a wrinkle in the pearly palest recesses of my grey matter where 3 cells celebrated with a perverse sense of satisfaction, knowing that the thrill of accurately predicting the future would soon be overwhelmed by an enormous amount of work and expense that would, in the end, suck.  And suck large.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

Early this summer, while cleaning like the germaphobe I am, I flooded my kitchen counters with a quarter inch of scalding hot bleach water and as I let it sit – you must let it sit for a while in order to kill bacteria, you know that, right? – I noticed my kitchen counter had separated from the wall.  Where I used to enjoy scrubbing in the grouted “u” shape that joined the horizontal counter with the vertical wall, now, in that same place, there was a void.

My counter was sagging, hanging, sloping away from the wall that it used to be connected to.

Where the horizontal meets the vertical
Where the horizontal meets the vertical

 

Busy, as we all are, and as I tend to somehow always be, I simply added the recognition of the counter sag to the mental “things of mine that sag and/or hang” database I keep in the brightest shiny pearly part of my grey matter.

 

My morning ritual of exuberantly pounding empty the grounds basket in my 9 shot espresso maker often creates a Rorschach of droplets of espresso all over the chalk white faces of my kitchen cabinets.  Early in September, while I was wiping them down with scalding hot bleach water, I noticed a vertical gap where my corner cabinets meet.

Where the Cabinets meet in the Corner.
Where the Cabinets meet in the Corner.

 

Do you know what happened next?  Of course you do.

I added the kitchen cabinets to my mental database of “things of mine that sag and/or hang.”

 

Then time, as time does, began to warp.

Five days in London, less than a week at home, then a grueling 6-day course in Paris where I didn’t realize a housing host offer didn’t include anything to actually sleep on, so, like the tough girl I am, I (gratefully, happily) slept on a Cadillac conversion for 6 nights.  Without sheets.  Without a pillow. And for 2 of those nights, with a bath towel as a blanket.  And – hello Europe! – even though it’s in the low 40s at night, the heat wouldn’t be on until the day after I flew home.

But I’m durable and resilient and man, am I game, so, in spite of the difficult sleeping situation for most of my nights there, I crushed it in Paris and I flew home in high spirits, feeling invincible, unstoppable, and super charged by my own constantly-compounding ambition and overflowing with unmitigated joy derived from simply being alive.

But while I was gone, a bazillion Jewelbox data points that had accumulated from 45-years-of-deferred-maintenance had cross linked and reached a critical mass of their own.

While I was in Paris, my kitchen floor collapsed.

 

The floor is separating from the wall.
The floor is separating from the wall.

 

I’m the Momento of story tellers; To go fully forward, we have to go a tiny bit backward.

 

Last February, the guys who mow the lawns here at the trailer park hit my trailer with their interstate-median-sized commercial lawn mower.  The driver in question was a super nice man who just couldn’t stop apologizing.   And that really matters.  Especially when hardly anything else does.

Here’s what needs to happen for a super nice man to run an interstate-median-sized commercial mower into your trailer.

He sneezed.

And as you may know, sneezing requires –  without exception it includes, it most assuredly insists upon, it fucking demands – an eye blink.

To review: he sneezed, and, simultaneous with the sneeze, he blinked.

When he opened his eyes after the blink, he was headed straight for my neighbor’s Frangipani and rather than commit an interstate-median-sized, landscape edition, Director’s Cut of Trailer Park Chainsaw Massacre, he swerved into my screened porch instead.

When he hit me, I was inside my Jewelbox, in a state of blissful flow working at my desk.  The force of impact was strong enough to knock a small vial of my dead mother’s hair off the stand of my Thunderbolt.

Instantly, my mind, ever the problem solver, produced this list of possibilities:

Then I became aware of the sound of the powerful mower motor, which before had been the familiar mow-day constant deafening roar, but now it was chugging and coughing and wheezing to a stop.

And then I knew what had happened: an interstate-median-sized mower had just crashed into my trailer.

 

My first instinct was to chase down my dead mother’s hair and restore it to its rightful place of honor, so that’s what I did.  Then I went into the yard prepared for absolutely anything. And that’s what I got.

My porch was trashed.  Vinyl panels were everywhere.  Two walls were down.

Trailer Park Chaos had been visited upon me.

Again.

 

It took 4 days for the boss man from the grounds keeping company to even call me back, and it took another few weeks for them to under-the-table fix my porch – of course we’re not going to report this to the insurance company, we’re going to handle this just between us.

 

What’s the lawn mower incident have to do with the floor collapse?

My floor collapse is centered on the “T” where the trailer wall meets the porch wall that took the greatest mower impact.

I wondered if the floor collapse had something to do with the fact that an interstate-median-sized mower crashed into my trailer.

I had the owner of the lawn maintenance company come out a couple days ago, he ventured into the “crawl under” space, snapped some pictures, came back out and proclaimed that Sneezy crashing his interstate-median-sized mower into my porch didn’t have anything to do with my floor collapsing.

I thought it did.

It didn’t.

 

The reason my floor is collapsing is because the outflow pipe under my kitchen sink – the one Jamey fixed – broke, and, for some unknown length of time, all the water down my sink drains has been directly flowing into what was once a wetland but is now the Gulf of Mexico.

My “crawl under” Gulf of Mexico is a large enough body of water to have formed a tropical biosphere beneath my trailer.

As tropical storms, hurricanes, tornados, and a summer-full of near-daily sub-tropical, Class 1-equivalent storms raged in the real world, I’m certain there have been miniature versions of all of that in my crawl-under Gulf of Mexico biosphere.

Surely, the vapor barrier will protect the subfloor of my Junkyard Jewelbox, right?

Ha.

It’s not that my vapor barrier is breached.  I never had one.

Fortunately, the vast majority of what goes down my sink drains, and I know you saw this coming, is scalding hot bleach water so – great news! – no rodents have moved into my crawl-under Gulf of Mexico diorama.

My subfloor is made of particle board, and, as you know, on the best of days and under the most favorable circumstances, particle board just wants to fall apart but when you install a Gulf of Mexico right underneath particle board, the particle board not only falls apart, it molds and funks itself up into a rank organic slurry of rotting goo.  And it expands to about 4″ thick.  And then termites come to feast on the untreated joists that my floor system rests on.

And then my kitchen floor collapses.

 

I’ve spent most of this week getting estimates.  Three of the 4 contractors who’ve been out agree that my beams are solid and the floor won’t completely give way but the 4th said “it could go anytime.”

 

Stay tuned.

I Knew It