Saturday, March 23, 2013

Oh Tracy. Really.

At times in my life I have felt freakishly healthy.
Getting pregnant in my mid-forties only bolstered my confidence in that regard.
When the doctor asked, "And are you healthy?"
I answered flippantly,
"Oh yes. How else do you think I got in this......predicament?"
(A welcome predicament, as it turned out).

So when we creaked back from Georgia, and my sciatica and shoulder pain
became intolerable,
I hied myself to the chiropractor, my sister-in-law the PTA, and my good friend the other PTA.
I need my body to work,
in order to keep up with this loaf of a baby.

And somewhere along the way,
my sister suggested (casually, cheerfully)
that I try Tracy Anderson's mat workout video.

The picture (above) shows my clutching the chair, beginning the leg workout.
I'm not sure why I think I'll be able to do this part,
since the hamstring stretches didn't go so well.
The reps are random.
She seems to prefer to mix it up,
going to roughly 25 on the most impossible ones.
I stop at ten.
Ten is a nice number.
Ten leaves me out of breath and in a fair amount of discomfort.

Here's Tracy: on the standing ab workout:

"You will get good at these.
They take some time though."

All while moving her abs in complicated maneuvers that I don't even try to replicate.

I just close my eyes.

For most of that first workout, my eyes are shut.
It's too discouraging to watch what she can do,
and hear her perky, fit-sounding voice saying things like,

"I've designed this arm workout to make your arms as tiny as possible.
You have to really control your arms.....
You're going to go through a period of time when you don't think you can hold your arms out any longer....
You really can.
You really must."


I don't think so, Tracy.
Eyes closed, I drop my arms whenever I feel like it.
Which is all the time.
And they still hurt.

After the arms, Tracy does arms with weights.

Then the floor ab workout.

I haven't gotten that far.

I do about a third of the reps,
and I stop about half-way through the video. (The baby needs to nurse!  Best excuse ever).
Most of my workout has consisted of walking in place, eyes closed.

Then I'm starving.
I need chocolate cake.

At the end of the workout,
the part I've only seen because my daughter does the whole thing,
Tracy says confidently,

"I'm really proud of you.
You did really great work.
Keep doing it! Keep it up!"

So innocent of her.
But I sort of believe her.
I did really great work!
I moved my aching body.
I got off the couch!

And now I'm going upstairs
to hunt for chocolate.

Monday, March 18, 2013

After Twenty Years

Joey Walter, Laura Murphy, Tacy Spyker, Lisa Kimsey, Kristi Lehman

Remember that O.Henry story?  Kinda creepy? I read it in high school, and I wondered then where we would be in 20 years.
For this old group, it's been a lifetime of friendship.
(And also we are quite a few years past 20 since we graduated).

My husband agreed to drive 18 hours, just out of love for me.
With a baby.
Who cried whenever we put him in his car seat.
It was not a peaceful drive.

We got to Atlanta, and there my family vacation merged with a class reunion.
The year we graduated from our missionary school, seven of us walked down the aisle.
Five of us made it to Georgia for this reunion.
Here we are gazing at the 1858 plantation home where we stayed two nights.
It had 12-foot ceilings, cracked plaster walls, fireplaces in every bedroom (converted to gas heaters in the 1960's), and rooms chock-full of antiques.

I was beside myself with delight.
I know we need a few new furniture stores.
(Just one night on these mattresses would explain why).
But old stuff is the best.
This Adams - Duggan - Trawick House, which has always been in the same family, is owned by my friend Lisa's mother-in-law and her brother.
They keep it in good enough repair to host family gatherings and Christmas tours.

I told my little girl that this sofa would have been the kind owned by Anne of Green Gables.
It's fantastic, but more for looking at than for sitting upon.

Time with old friends.
Time for us to get to know each other's families.
Time to listen, cry, pray, eat, and just sit together.
We brought games, but hardly played them.
The time was too short, too precious.

When we finished high school, I could hardly wait to escape the jungle of Peru.
Of all my friends, my family had the fewest furloughs.
I spent just half of third grade and half of seventh grade in the States.
I was tired of the heat, the boredom, the enmeshed community.
The dolphin-filled lake and the dusty red roads would be as fresh as yesterday, forever.
I couldn't imagine missing them.
Of course I was thankful.
We each knew that we had the best childhood in the world.
But the future seemed like a glorious freedom,
and I couldn't wait to step into it.

We had no choice, we all stepped into our futures.
And now, all these years later, life has probably been more difficult than any of us could have imagined.
I'm not kidding when I say our conversations were sprinkled, sometimes drenched, in tears.

My husband Nate with our baby Malachi, Tacy's husband Brian with their son Judah
But here is what I am most grateful for.
We all worship the same Lord.
We can all say, with absolute conviction, that
He has been faithful
to all generations.
He is good.
 The view from the "attic."

We are trying to plan the next reunion,
hoping more of the class can make it.
I expect the years between now and then 
will hold some surprises.

Thank you for the hospitality.

"You can look at your life as a large cone that becomes narrower the deeper you go. There are many doors in that cone that give you chances to leave the journey. But you have been closing these doors one after the other, making yourself go deeper and deeper into your center. You know that Jesus is waiting for you at the end, just as you know that he is guiding you as you move in that direction. Every time you close another door - be it the door of immediate satisfaction, the door of distracting entertainment, the door of busyness, the door of guilt and worry, or the door of self-rejection - you commit yourself to go deeper into your heart and thus deeper into the heart of God." (Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Turn-of-the-Century Piano Bar

Last year, my husband Nathan spent about 150 hours creating two piano bars.
If you search "Piano Bar" on Pinterest, you'll see the first one he made.
He loaded them onto a trailer and hauled them through a blizzard
to the south Twin Cities suburb where we tried to sell them.
People at the show went nuts over them and took many photos.
Everything else sold - piano keys, piano strings, piano boards.
But the piano bars themselves remain in our possession.
It's high time I try to promote them.

Even sitting out in a cold pole-barn, this is beautiful.
Here you can see the cubbies where the piano keys used to be.

The inside of the cabinet, with old framed clippings that Nate found inside the piano.

He decorated the back wall of the cabinet with the "Franklin" brass fitting from inside the piano.
It was too beautiful to hide.

He left the pedals, but the decorative board behind them opens up......

to reveal shelves and storage for a wine refrigerator.
(This picture also shows the recessed lights in the top of the cabinet).

I think it's prettiest from the side. The fluting on the pedestals is lovely.

The carving and fluting shows up better on the white piano bar than on the dark.
If I have to keep one of these, I'm not sure which one I'd choose.

When not in use, the top closes to hide everything.
Looks just like a piano.
A quiet piano, dressed up for a party.
If you decide you want one, we were selling them last year for $3200, but now we're lowering the price to $2400.
Nate can deliver within the Twin Cities area if you call him at 612 239 4888.

To see our other piano bar, look here.

(The buyer should be near the Twin Cities area. If you help us sell a piano, we'll pay a finder's fee).