I can stand on one leg long enough to put each sock on the other foot. I cannot stand on one leg for long with my eyes closed so I stopped trying to do that. I keep reading that my ability to balance on one foot is an indication of longevity.

This morning I read about the 30-second test, balanced on one foot, and with one eye closed. I can sort-of do that with my right foot and right eye closed. (I am left-eye dominant—cross dominance is more common among women than men—right handed and left eye dominant. It’s why I had to aim off-center when I had archery in high school, though I did not understand this at the time.)

The goals I set and the accomplishments I am proud of… a little planning and some realism.

I completed my review of 2022 this morning:

  • covered 1012 miles in deliberate walking/running exercise
  • ran 245 of those miles, about 10-minute miles
  • completed a 10k in 1:07 in October a week before my 70th birthday
  • maintained a BMI of around 22, weight between 122 and 126 pounds
  • slept 118 nights in the condo
  • wove sixteen shawls, two narrower scarves
  • knit a silk noil shawl   
  • pieced 86 leaves for Christmas
  • participated in a wood carving workshop to begin a doll (my left thumb-pad was completely numb for weeks after those days and I will use a thumb-pad next time)
  • revised Gina’s story for publication and Tula’s story for submission (from All the Daughters Sing); prepped “Scar Map” for an anthology from Raven Chronicles hopefully due out 2023
  • Gary drove us to Portland and Nye Beach, and we traveled to Seattle by train
  • found a lot of agates and seaglass
  • wrote on this blog
  • read 40 books—discovered I’d entered a book twice and did not finish my current book as expected

And I established goals for the new year:

I set GOALS for 2023:

  • dry January
  • read 52 books
  • run Bridge Crossing again in October 2023 @ age 70                                               
  • attend MFA Residency in Seaside January 5-15 2023
  • reapply to Hedgebrook in mid-February 2023
  • weave, piece fabrics, knit
  • Cannon Beach Gallery show in October
  • from last year: watch my weight and drop to ±120 range
  • from last year: complete THE NOVEL, All the Daughters Sing        
  • from last year: pen-and ink illustrations for Cows Go Night-Night        
  • from last year: continue running every other day and cover ±3 miles each day
  • continue divesting + tidy workspace (something I have to do routinely several times/year before beginning a project)

My goal regarding drinking from last year was ≤7 glasses of wine/week. I did that. I will take January off entirely and then reconsider.

While I was teaching, I read 50-70 books a year. Five or six of those would be rereads of books I was teaching. My post-retirement and pandemic depression seriously cut into my reading.

My experience running Great Columbia Crossing was a surprise. I want to do it at age 70, and I feel confident about that with walking breaks I will manage, even if the weather is awful and my time is slower.

The MFA residency begins on 12th Night, when we hoped to have family with us at the beach. Not sure that visit will happen, but hope to reconnect with friends at the residency.

The Cannon Beach Gallery contacted me last week about an October show of textiles. I hope to participate and they asked if I might weave onsite—something I suggested last year. Yes, I am interested.

Then there are the goals from last year. Weight is ongoing. (I am an American woman—of course weight. sigh) I am confident about running longer distances. At the beginning of 2022, I was running a mile as “basic” and anything longer was good. Today I would say that two miles are basic and 2.5-3 miles are better. I accept that this running habit will not be forever, but I am also aware that William Stafford ran in Portland until quite late in life—a little slower and shorter as he aged—in the morning before writing. I will go on as long as I can.

Writing: I made notes, but never did revise the novel from beginning to end as I’d intended in 2022. I hope to do that this year. Also, I got as far as finding and loading my stylus fountain pen last year (a goal) but I did not illustrate the story I wrote ten years ago, as I’d planned. I will try again this year to complete that goal. These two goals are the most precarious.

They weren’t among my goals last year, but I did bake a lot of bread and rolls; made tamales; canned 100 half-pints of jam, marmalade, and chutney; brewed rhubarb liquor and limoncello; and sent out greeting cards for winter. I made Dundee cakes for 12th Night. I completed every available covid booster and tested after every in-person encounter. Gary and I completed furnishing the condo, mostly with things we had or could find used. I waxed furniture.

I am not promising to finish the carved doll, though I would like to do that. I am not promising a doll to wear the adorable dress and apron gifted to me. I am not making promises about donations, though that will happen.

My mother’s balance was terrible. She often used to visit me in my classroom after classes were out until twenty years ago. She walk-trotted on her toes and stopped her forward movement by running into the wall outside my door—seriously. I can still hear that thump. Mom had undiagnosed Parkinson’s Disease—undiagnosed because she would not allow the doctor to say it. I was present twice with two different doctors who tried to tell her she likely had Parkinson’s and both times she refused to listen. Her spine was a wreck. She would not do the exercises recommended by the physical therapist and would not keep her floor clear as recommended by her occupational therapist. She fell over and over, breaking her cheekbone, arm, wrist, and both hips—the second hip replacement was what really killed her. She did not recover. Nevertheless, she lived longer than anyone in her family, a few months past age 82. She ate badly. She never exercised. She suffered nonstop pain. She always did the opposite of what was recommended. She was stubborn and kind, compassionate and unable to step outside her own worldview. Like everyone I know, she had her virtues and blindness.

I will stop now and go for my morning run.

5 thoughts on “BALANCE CONTROL

  1. Balance is a large part of why I practice yoga. Both of my sisters (RIP) had balance problems; one because she had Parkinson’s (got the diagnosis and did her exercises but still fell and fell and fell), the other from a broken hip and lifelong alcohol abuse. So when I practice yoga, particularly balance poses, I always think of them.

    I should have a dry month, but not at all likely. Best I will do under the circumstances is limit alcohol to meals at home (except for the infrequent gin martini enjoyed outside the home because I will not have those ingredients in the house).

    I’m impressed with your accomplishments and your goals. I hope you meet each one of them with a smile and a happy heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. and you wonder why you are tired sometimes—maybe the dingoes are snapping—didja ever think of that—interweb is back and I got me best mate you with me—happy newt ear

    Liked by 1 person

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