#AtoZChallenge Wrap-up and #MAYkingItWork

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Took this yesterday, April 30. Told you it’s spring!

Well, it’s May! After a month of blogging six days a week (and seven in the first marathon stretch…whoa) we’ve glided on through to May. Hello real spring (do you hear me, Chicago weather? What you’re doing out there right now, keep it up), hello MAYkingItWork.

What’s that you say, hypothetical reader? What’s that jumble of letters at the end of that sentence there? We’ll get to that in a second.

So I kind of wrapped it up yesterday, but overall, though this A to Z Challenge was, well, challenging, and I didn’t do as well as I wanted, it was definitely worth the time and effort. Every year it’s like a blogging reset, settling us into the habit of daily posting. And this year, coming up with posts, even with the headaches, wasn’t even that hard.

I think I’d call that growth.

You all know how I did with the visits, but I’ll try to catch up.

So from A to Z to MAYkingItWork. We all have those projects we mean to get to, and we keep meaning to get to, and yet somehow never get to. And they haunt us. They nag at us. They demand our attention. Kind of like the prepositions hanging out at the ends of each of those clauses, but the whole thing is far more awkward to when it’s grammatically correct.

But I digress.

In May, MAYkingItWork encourages you to pick one of those buzzing neglected bees and do something with it. Make some progress. Take a few steps toward finishing it or finish it outright.

This is a no-pressure challenge. So no pressure that it’s more of a support group. So if you’re interested, blog about it and post a link here, or come here and talk about it on Fridays during the month of May. This Friday, we declare ourselves, what we will do.

I’m tempted to make MAYkingItWork my MAYkItWork, given I wasn’t planning on doing it again this year until Breaker of Things sent a gentle nudge, so entirely without his permission I declare him co-host. Debs too, if she wants. Anyone else want in? Let me know.

So, non-hypothetical readers, think about what you’d like to get back to, or even start, if it’s something new. It doesn’t have to be writing if writing isn’t your thing; it can be craft related, home-related, anything. It’s a spring renewal for the dusty parts of the to-do list.

And come let us know what it is on Friday.

Thanks again to all my A to Z buddies, I couldn’t have done April without you, and hey, how much do you rock for completing the challenge?

(Spoiler alert. It’s a lot.)

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

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Zero

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This is a zorse. Well, technically it’s a hebra (hobra makes more sense I think) because it’s a cross between a female horse and male zebra. By Christine und David Schmitt (originally posted to Flickr as Zorse) via Wikimedia Commons

As in zero-hour. As in here we are, the very last letter of the alphabet. As in zipped through April and  the A to Z Challenge.

Granted, for me about half of April was a blur between two viciously-long persistent migraines. But it almost feels like a cut-scene in a movie, where I sat down to write A and now I’m on Z.

Time is weird.

But you probably already knew that.

Zero is such an odd word. It can mean nothing; it can mean a close examination with the mere use of a preposition (zero in); it can mean the end of something; it can mean a fresh start.

It can mean the number of blog visits I managed yesterday despite my best intentions. Still sorry, all.

Tomorrow’s really the day for a wrap up, so I’ll leave a little in the word reserve, but thank you everyone for visiting this month, even though I wasn’t at my most social. With a clearer head, hopefully will come a longer hop around the interwebs.

Zero days of April left, and only spring ahead. Thanks for sharing April with me, my non-hypothetical readers.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

 

Yoga

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Yak in Tibet. By Dennis Jarvis via Wikimedia Commons

So I’ve known I was going to do yoga for Y since the beginning of the challenge. Look at me! Planning!

At the end of February of this year, I decided that I wanted to do yoga daily. It wasn’t a resolution or challenge. It was merely a choice. So most days, I get up and do a short practice on Gaia, where the practices stretch as far as the eyes can see. When I have more time, I do a longer practice later in the day.

I try different styles. I like the vinyasa yoga, the kind that flows from pose to pose, but I don’t limit myself to those practices. Sometimes I do yin yoga, which requires you to sit in a pose for a long time, to be still.

That, for me, is the most difficult.

Yoga is more than the physical movement; yoga shapes the mind as well as the biceps. As I mentioned earlier in the challenge, it’s helping me to let go of the idea of perfection. It’s teaching me to appreciate the body it I have for what it will do and what it will try to do. It’s shown me the vast universe inside of each of us.

It’s shown me that we can each form our own morning rituals, whenever we want them. It’s as easy as making a choice.

***EDIT: If you’d like to try a practice, here is a beginner one for free from Clara Roberts-Oss, one of my favorite instructors on Gaia! Free Practice on Gaia from Clara Roberts-Oss***

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

Xylocarp

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By marlin harms (Flickr: Xantus’s Hummingbird, Hylocharis xantusii) via Wikimedia Commons

OK, I’m just going to start with this: X words are the worst. The worst. Absolutely the worst of all the letters of all the days in April.

I’ve cheated with X in the past, chopping off bits of words; I’ve used the standards. But today, I decided I would use a bona fide X word that maybe most of us (some of us…me) don’t know.

And here’s the thing with X words. They look cool. They sound cool. But their meanings are dry as toast when the only thing you have in the house is salt.

That’s dry.

Take, for example, today’s word, “xylocarp,” which I chose because it made me think of a fish with a built-in musical instrument, swimming around, adding a colorful tropical musical flare to the reef. The kind of fish that’s the life of the party, who always has a happy tune ready to go.

Xylocarp.

Know what it means?

It’s a hard dry covering, like on a coconut.

I told you. Dry. In both senses of the word.

X is just one of those letters. It looks cool. It sounds cool.

It’s rarely cool.

So I’m going to stick to my improvised definition. Some where, out there, a xylocarp is rocking it out as the anemones dance.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Well

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Sperm Whale Pod by Gabriel Barathieu, via Wikimedia Commons

Here we are, all the way down at W. So many options for W and I choose “well.”

Oh well.

I came out of the last migraine and ricocheted right into another one thanks to our frenemies at Uncle Julio’s, so I can’t say it’s been my best A to Z, at least when it comes to be being neighborly. There are so many stories I’m WAY, WAY (W!) behind on, so much travel, so many songs, so much so much.

Well, the posts will still be there when my migraine isn’t, I assume. I hope.

When I have one, my ability to absorb what I’m reading goes way down. Something I’ve learned: bite-sized twitter is OK in batches. Posts where I have to synthesize from top to bottom less so, especially when they’re complex.

Thank goodness for coffee! This post is written entirely in it.

There are more external distractions, too, as I watch the circus that used to be our government, and for my friends in distant lands, yes, it looks even worse from over here. But even with it all, I’ve managed to write the posts (WRITING. I’m a WRITER and I didn’t even think of WRITING for W. Oh migraines), so that’s something.

Well, imperfect.

But something.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Vicissitudes

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Baby vicuna (related to to the llama. Might be the ancestor of the alpaca). By Thomas Quine (BabyfaceUploaded by Dolovis) via Wikimedia Commons.

It was another day–oddly, only the second one in this year’s A to Z Challenge–where I didn’t have a word pop easily into my head, so I decided to let google lead me again. And I ended up with vicissitudes. Actually vicissitudinous, but given that the definition was: “Characterized by, full of, or subject to vicissitudes,” that wasn’t entirely helpful.

Vicissitudes are ups and downs in various forms, but I like the word as it pertains to life. From our friends at Merriam-Webster:

1 a the quality or state of being changeable mutability
b natural change or mutation visible in nature or in human affairs
a a favorable or unfavorable event or situation that occurs by chance a fluctuation of state or condition 

  • the vicissitudes of daily life
b a difficulty or hardship attendant on a way of life, a career, or a course of action and usually beyond one’s control
c alternating change succession
To use it entirely incorrectly, it seems at this precise moment in time, we are all up to our necks in vicissitudes. That’s that’s not a mixed metaphor; it’s a hard-churned one.
The word itself is as undulating as a snake, especially in its plural form, all sharp, biting S sounds. It holds no clue to its meaning at a glance, yet when you say it, it practically acts it out. Vicissitudes.
A word for our current experience, personal for some, universal for all. Vicissitudes.

Unfair

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This unicorn llama has nothing to do with my post, and it’s kind of silly, given the serious tone today. But we have to take the sweet with the bitter or we’ll choke. By Amberbunting from Wikimedia Commons.

So by now many of you have read my Sensitivities post about my terrible restaurant experience on Friday. Got a call this morning from the health department, the nice guy went out to Uncle Julio’s yesterday to talk to them and make sure the manager was aware of a new law requiring training on food allergies. He also explained the dangers and required practices. Which is wonderful, and I’m so glad all of this may have prevented real injury.

I still got a headache, but that’s not why this post is titled unfair.

Yesterday you may have heard about Chikesia Clemons,  a woman from Alabama who, after complaining about a $0.50 charge for plastic eating utensils at a Waffle House, was brutally arrested. In the video, officers were heard threatening to break her arm, and her clothes were ripped from her, exposing her breasts.

I cannot get Chikesia out of my head.

On Friday night I complained and complained vociferously; never once did it even cross my mind I’d get anything but an apology. Never once did I think police would be called. Never once did I question my reaction, my right to have it, or my right to express it publicly.

Chikesia complained at a restaurant on Saturday, she ended up surrounded by three white officers, her body bared as they threatened her with further harm. Because she complained.

Because she complained and someone at that restaurant decided it was a police matter. Because she complained and the police decided it was a police matter, one that called for incredible violence and an apparent sexual assault.

This is not OK. Those words are the only ones I have left about it. This is not OK. Everyone deserves to be treated with basic dignity and respect. Chikesia’s story should not be so disparate from mine when the thing that divides us is the color of our skin.