After the combination of sitting for hours during flights and train rides, walking for many kilometres each day (with a cross-body bag strap pressing on one set of shoulder muscles or the other), and coming back to small hotel rooms with no room for serious stretching, I've been very happy to pick up my yoga practice, guided by a wonderfully nurturing studio we're lucky to have close by. So far, I've been managing two 75-minute Rise-n-Shine classes each week, and yesterday evening I took a 2 1/2-hour workshop in Yin and Fascial Release -- marvellous! Slept like a baby afterward. We learned a number of techniques, especially working with small, dense balls, for releasing knots in shoulders, feet, glutes, and more. So good!
Paul and I ran regularly for the first three or four weeks in France, but we'd decided only to bring warm-weather running gear (suitcase size restrictions), and we didn't want to run in Rome. So when we got home, I hadn't run for a month, although there'd been ample exercise in the form of cycling or walking. And walking. And more walking.
But I'm back into it now: I did three 8-kilometre runs the first week home, and a really great 9K seawall run with my sister Monday morning. I'm being a bit careful right now, though, with my right knee, and I stopped yesterday's run at 4K. Crossing my fingers that some ice and a little rest will let me continue building my mileage back to the distances I enjoy.
This week's Watercolour class was more challenging than last week's -- we worked on colour values, building an image (copied from a photograph) up in one colour (blue), building from palest to darkest values of that colour. Even the more experienced, more talented students found the mental work required for this demanding, and I think we were all tired by the end of the day. But as critical as I am of my work -- and oh, I'm very critical -- I admit I'm pleasantly surprised by the results. Not as much by this week's as by last week's, but still, for someone who has always dismissed any possibility of drawing or painting with the staunch declaration that "I'm not artistic," it's pretty wild. . .
Oh, you want to see? Hmmm, this one I'm more hesitant about sharing, especially since I tried one last technique we were offered, pouring a yellow (Quinacridone gold) glaze over the blue painting, and it's changed the overall effect to what feels more twilight to me than the sun-and-shade of the original. And even though our brilliant teacher worked patches of the painting, as she helped me see what it needed, I know more could have been done, if I hadn't been feeling a bit overwhelmed, a lot tired. I also know that I learned so much, and I'm already looking forward to next week's class. . .
I was so annoyed, in Puglia the summer before last, that I hadn't found any time to learn a bit of Italian before our trip, and I insisted I wouldn't visit Italy again until I had at least some basic phrases of greeting and please and thank you. Then my daughter's family moved to Rome, and once again, there I was visiting Italy without having acquired enough Italian to do more than manage a cartoon "Ciao" or a tentative "Grazie."
However, now that we clearly have a reason to head to Italy regularly, I've taken action. Sadly, our local language school closed recently, so I went online, investigated the options, consulted my daughter, and I've subscribed to Babbel for six months. Early days yet, but I'm having fun with the interactive, mobile-platform lessons. Have any of you tried this, or other online programs for Italian or for other languages? Any recommendations?
Okay, as I finish up my Five Things for this Fall Friday, I realize how busy my retired life is, how many activities are left off today's list. Every day, for example, includes at least an hour of reading; I'm finishing a few knitting projects while itching to begin a new one; writing blogposts, of course, gobbles huge swathes of my dayplanner; and then there's the list-making towards editing and organizing my house -- my life, really -- all the maintenance that's gone undone over the past few years when work took most of my energy. Importantly, I'm trying to build a social life again (I'm hosting a Friday Afternoon Wine-Down today, for example).
But all of that is for another Friday, another Five Things.
Today, Retirement Activity #5 is Spending Time with the Grandkids. In fact, I've committed to a few mornings, over the next month or two, of babysitting as my daughter eases back into part-time work. This is a temporary solution, bridging the gap until she knows her regular hours and has a sitter she trusts to cover those times. Pater's putting in a shift or two as well, both of us keen to help with the transition (it takes a village, right?), while clearly delineating our boundaries -- after all, we have to reserve time and energy for the other three little ones, maintain our individual activities, and continue to have fun and develop interests together as a couple.
Now,since this post is long on words, short on visuals, and since everyone loves a baby pic (No?), let me close with a collage of photos I took during last weekend's marathon baby-sitting session:
Happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? I don't even need to tell you I love your comments, do I?