Summer of 43

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Forest tent caterpillar

Condo Caterpillar

Milestones. Bucket lists. Meaning. Evolution, growth.

This morning I was reading a blog post in which a talented, stylish woman shared her excellent list of “40 by 40” – these are the things she’s like to accomplish by the time she’s 40 years old. The idea of a setting a deadline based on an age is a little novel to me, but I’ve been using goals, and even time frames lately, and to rewarding effect.

And yet there are some things that have recently, simply, happened, that seem like they would be the product of something intentional, but are not. Maybe they are. Or, maybe I’m now 43 and this stuff happens at this age:

A suit jacket

I suddenly want to wear blazers. This taste may be unfortunate in coming steamy months, but today it’s in the 50s and I’m wearing a jacket to work, for the 2nd day in a row.

This inclination seems to have started 2 winters ago, when I suddenly wanted to wear a tweed jacket, and found a chic, well-fitting one on sale at Talbots. I think what cemented it for me was seeing a coworker who I admire wear one with aplomb, just last week. The next day, I was at a mall and two fitted jackets called to me. There is a reason they are called blazers! They speak of composure, style, urbanity, confidence, and a cool feminity, if styled right.

My husband may say that this spawns from my taste in strong female characters in TV crime dramas like The Closer, Saving Grace, In Plain Sight, and most seasons of Numb3rs. If that’s also a reason, well, that’s all right (no, I don’t plan to hide a sidearm with the jacket).

No more newspaper

We finally cancelled the last of our local newspaper home delivery subscriptions. We held on, for a good long time, feeling allegiance to the weekend paper habit and to a classic business model that is struggling. What drove our decision? The volume of unread sections and unused inserts, the volume of poorly copy-edited writing, and, on the other hand, the volume of other things that we could be doing with our eyes and minds on weekend mornings, to name a few.

And so, I am finally reading my Smithsonian magazines, from cover to cover. This shouldn’t be surprising, but it is. Mom has bought this magazine sub for me as a Christmas gift for many years, but my reading of it has been spotty: there are too many other things vying for my attention. And while one of those things could easily have taken its place, reading that magazine is the activity that has taken the weekend-morning slot of the local paper. I can enjoy it with coffee or while soaking in the tub; the writing is better and the topics are far more interesting than what the paper was offering. I find myself wanting to visit … Tanzania? And Naples, Florida?

Radio

I’ve been listening to internet radio and podcasts on my mobile phone. Part of this new pastime was brought on by the brilliant postseason performance of the Phoenix Coyotes. We are fans, but we don’t subscribe to cable television, and heading to a sports bar every 2-3 nights to watch the games just wasn’t sustainable. However, listening to the internet broadcast of the games was very sustainable- so on several playoffs evenings we’d hook the phone up to the living room speakers, curl up on the couch, and listen, cheer and gasp for three hours. How fitting, in a living room that was built in 1923!

I’ve also taken to queuing up several podcasts to enjoy on longer walks or the rare long drive, from Radiolab and Science Friday. Who knew that Lily the fistulated cow would captivate me so? Radio is still a great medium: some things are better left imagined.

On my Android (Motorola Bionic) phone, the Google Listen app has been key for this new pastime. It’s well-designed, and integrates with Google Reader very nicely.

My music

This one has been happening since I started teaching yoga, now two years ago: I’ve rediscovered my love of music. Now that I need to select and play music to accompany the classes I teach, I listen for different things. Some music is surprisingly good for yoga practice, or for a run. And I find that as the seasons, my moods, and other things change, so does the the playlist that I create that day or week. My latest purchases included music by Hammock, Po’ Girl, Elbow, Debashish Bhattacharya, Glen Hansard, and (again) Jack Johnson.

And with music, comes dance: I’ve finally given in to my cravings to shake it, and now regularly seek & attend Zumba classes, mainly because it makes me smile for a few hours. I love that this type of fitness class has made dance much more accessible and fun – both at gyms and even in my living room.

This caterpillar

The thread that connects the photo above to this topic? I spied this beastie a few weeks ago. He’s also a new discovery: I’d never before seen a caterpillar with such a lovely denim-blue stripe. I’m pleased that the camera captured him so well.