Shaking It Up by Eating a Fern??

I love ferns. I have always loved ferns. I had a couple of ferns in college, but I could never get them to live very long. I was actually a horticulture major in college for 2 weeks, and even when I was a horticulture major I could not keep ferns alive very long. I always notice the ferns when walking through nature or visiting a botanic garden. I tried to grow ferns in my previous house, but also without success. So for decades I have had a reverence for ferns.

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Beautiful ferns

Yesterday, even though it was not a Thursday, I did something I had never done before. I ate a fern. There was a special meal at work yesterday, and one of the appetizers had a fiddlehead fern as a garnish. It didn’t fully look like a fern, because it was still very compact and round.

The chef said that I should try one. So after all these years of admiring this beautiful plant, I ate one. Here is the bottom line — I didn’t like it. I think because I was expecting it to taste as amazing as it looks. I thought it would have a light, slightly  sweet flavor. It did not. It should have tasted like a piece of white cake with frosting — that is how much I love ferns. If you look online, there are websites that describe it as a grassy springlike flavor with a hint of nuttiness. Some even say it reminds them of okra. Very disappointing.

So maybe it is a good thing that they don’t taste better. There would be fields of ferns, they would become common in grocery stores, and would lose their specialness.

I will continue to admire the beauty of ferns, but I do not plan to eat one again.

 

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This is what I hoped the fern would taste like.

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A Whole Lot of Shaking Going On…..

I haven’t written in awhile. I was going to post about 4 weeks ago, but had a hard time figuring out how to word something. So I did what I do very well — procrastinate.

My topic from 4 weeks ago would have been about when things get shaken up for you. When someone else makes a decision that impacts you, causing you to have to shake things up. It was hard to figure out what to write, so I didn’t write anything at all. Instead I needed time to process it. When someone makes a decision that changes things for you, the challenge is how to handle it. You can moan and groan about it, or you can just make the best of it. It is all about attitude. My change was not life-changing or really all that serious. But a change nonetheless, so move on…..

The best thing that happened to me on a Thursday was that I got to hold a new grandchild for the first time. Wonderful!

Anyway, keep shaking things up. It is good to get out of the usual routine.

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Yes, I have been Shaking It Up on Thursdays, and other days too…..

I know it has been awhile. I have taken a bit of a sabbatical I suppose. It is pretty hard to top the last post that Denise wrote. So now I am back to more mundane shaking-it-up topics. What have I done since I last posted? A couple of weeks ago I decided to go an entire week with not wearing a fleece vest to work. It was actually really difficult. My favorite outfit is still an Eddie Bauer waffle shirt (Henley) and a fleece vest. It is the quintessential middle aged Wisconsin woman look. And now I really know why. It just doesn’t get any more comfortable than that. Comfortable and cozy. I did make it through the whole week, but it was pretty tough.

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The quintessential winter apparel. 

I also got my hair cut a couple of weeks ago. All of the non-gray hair is officially gone. I wanted to schedule that haircut on a Thursday, but unfortunately that could not be arranged. So that happened on a Tuesday instead.

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This is the last of the non-gray hair. 

 

 

And this week? I actually did something very different from my routine today. I totally shifted around my early morning routine. Generally I go exercise first thing in the morning, get cleaned up, stop at the grocery store for my salad, and then go to work. The catch was that today I played accordion at work. It is was way too cold to leave the accordion in the car while exercising, and I didn’t really want to bring it inside and leave it at a desk somewhere. So instead I exercised, came home to get cleaned up, grabbed food from the fridge instead of going to the grocery store, and then went to work — with my accordion. And I still got to work on time!

And what else did I do this Thursday for Shake It Up Thursday?  I wrote this blog!!

 

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Danger: Selfies While Running (Guest Post)

It started as a joke.

“I think I’ll shake things up tomorrow,” I told my mother on Tuesday evening. “I’m going to run around the Arboretum… in the OPPOSITE direction of my usual route.”

My reason for doing so was actually pure logistics. On my typical route, when I emerge from the UW Arboretum on the east end of Lake Wingra and pass the Vilas Zoo, there’s a massive wind tunnel that gets particularly nasty on cold days. This Tuesday, the air was so cold and the wind so strong that my nose dripped with snot, which the wind pushed back up my nose into my head, giving me a swimmer’s headache.

So the next day, I decided to get the best of the wind tunnel, running with the wind at my back instead of up my nose.

However, because I unthinkingly uttered the words “shake things up,” an idea sparked in my dear mother’s brain.

“You should write a guest post for ‘Shake it Up Thursday!’”

“No, thank you.”

But she continued to inveigle me the rest of the evening, so I eventually relented. So here I am, logging my honorary shake-it-up Wednesday for the entirety of the world wide web, at least the portion that reads this blog, which Google Analytics suggests consists of me and my mother’s dog. (Kidding, mom).

It began this morning with a notification. The Google Photo app alerted me that I was running out of storage space; I would need to either pay for more storage or free up space by deleting unwanted photos. I chose the latter, which, on a lazy holiday morning, gave me a grand excuse to lay supine in bed and stare at my phone for an hour or so.

As I was scrolling and mass-deleting (far too many photos of the same exact sunset and plants that were surely more interesting at the time), I came across… this:

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Hawt.

And then, still scrolling, these:

 

Let me explain.

I started taking running selfies when I was going through a difficult time. For one, this was around two years after my college boyfriend died and I was struggling to move on. But that’s just the most sympathy-inducing cause for my distress. I was also struggling with the banal responsibilities and anxieties that come with simply living, taking care of your own life, maintaining friendships, trying to find your place in the world, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Struggles everyone deals with at some point or another; struggles that aren’t as pitied as grief.

Regardless, I was feeling very down about myself. I wanted a turnaround. I wanted to feel more comfortable in my own skin — even during the lows. Especially during the lows. It’s easy to feel good about yourself when you have a banging hair day and you’re wearing a sweet dress that brings compliments from strangers and a unicorn leaps down from the sky to offer you a lift to work. It’s harder when you’re feeling dejected and lonely and staring in the mirror at a pillow-squished face, ragged from sleep.

Running has always been a great healer for me. It has served as an escape, a salve, a struggle, a victory. An obliviator of hangovers (most of the time). An opportunity to explore a new area and discover the cracks in the map of my own home. A mental oasis perfectly primed for pondering. A laxative. An endorphin rush. A sweat-cleanse. Often it’s the only way I can truly get out of my head.

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Me to me: Stop it, brain!!!

So why the running selfies? I wanted to embrace the lows. I wanted to embrace the makeup-less, sweaty, red-faced, messy-haired version of me — often the happiest version of me — and memorialize it. To transform this chaotic, unfiltered self into a foundation strong enough to hold up everything else.

Thus began this project. I would snap a selfie when I felt a moment of elation, like running hard to the top of a hill or turning around to see a sunrise. Or I would take a pic when I felt like stopping but pushed myself to keep going. Or when I simply remembered that I was running, I was there, I got out of bed, I got out of my head.

 

It wasn’t very pretty (and you should see some of the photos that didn’t make it into this post). But it felt good, even when everything else felt bad.

Somewhere along the way from then to now, I stopped taking running selfies. I forgot.

I’m pretty sure that’s a good sign. Life has improved many ways. It’s still a struggle at times, but I think (I hope) I’ve learned how to deal with it better.

Today, for my REAL shake it up, I remember. You’re welcome, mom.

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Trying not to trip over long grasses in the Arboretum today. Warning: please selfie safely.

PS: Here’s what it looked like with the wind at my back on my reverse-route:

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The new Mohawk.

 

 

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Still Shaking It Up

I haven’t written in a few weeks. I am still shaking things up on Thursdays, and it turns out that others are doing the same. My friend at work, Karla, has been wearing skirts on Thursdays. So I decided to wear a skirt this week, and it turns out that she did not!! Oh well, maybe next week.

I did try going back to doing things using my non-dominant arm. I am pretty left-handed, and I have been trying to do more right handed. I now have become a right handed stapler! And believe it or not, I do a good amount of stapling during the day.    🙂

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I wish I had a pink stapler!

So keep trying to find things to do differently on Thursdays. It is good for the brain!

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Shake It Up Thursday on a larger scale….

I realized that I have incorporated many new things into my routine as a result of Shake It Up Thursday. Last Thursday I played the accordion at work, which has very nicely become part of my usual routine. I now play my accordion every third Thursday prior to dinner, and I have even been put on the activities schedule!!

I decided that I really need to be doing more — not just to shake things up on a personal level, but to speak up and have my voice be heard. So today for the first time, I contacted one of my state senators to state my opinion on an upcoming vote. You can say that this senator is going to vote a certain way regardless of my input, so why bother sending an email. But if I just comment to those around me, I really have not done anything beneficial.

 

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Shaking It Up by Having A New Routine

So you may remember that I have started to play the accordion — it has sort of taken over my life, but I am OK with that. I do still find time to sew, so life is good…..

A number of weeks ago I needed to bring my accordion into work, because you can’t leave an accordion in a car. It will get too hot, and it isn’t good for the instrument. So I had mentioned to someone in the activities department at work that I was going to have my instrument, and she set me up as actual entertainment! My first gig!!

Since I am having lessons every third Thursday — well you can see where I am going with this…..  I have since played a second time at work on a Thursday. I have my list of songs that are good for singing along, and I do take requests! I actually got a few requests for next time – On Wisconsin and The Yellow Rose of Texas.

So this Thursday will be my next accordion mini-concert, as my publicist (!) refers to my 15 minute concert.

So on other topics, a friend at work decided to Shake It Up last Thursday by wearing a skirt and top to work! It is fun that this impacts others as well. And I did put different toppings on my salad this past Thursday.

Remember to continue to Shake It Up!!

 

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