On Hippies, Hoops and Happiness

hula-hooping

In keeping with my this year’s mantra (see previous post), “Take Care of Your (effing) Self” I signed up for a hula hoop class. Or, a-hem, for those of us “in the know”, Hoop class.

You cannot imagine how much fun it is. Or what damn exercise. I do feel a six-pack a-coming! Well,let’s not exaggerate. Maybe one can.

And it is SO NOT just about swinging that colourful circle of plastic around your middle. Oh no, my friends. There are tricks galore. None of which I can truly yet do, still working on swinging that colourful circle of plastic around my middle. However, check out Edo from Cyprus:

I met Edo at a drop-in circus tricks practice (hoop, poi, swords, tight-rope!!). I was happy just keeping my colourful circle of plastic swinging somewhere around my middle and there’s this blue-haired hippie with matching blue sweatshirt so to start a conversation I said, “So do you change the color of you hair everytime you change your top?” He gave me a shy smile and could barely look me in the eye.

He’s from Cyrpus and moved to Brighton one week before.

“I was the only person on the island who hooped.”

How did he learn?

“Youtube!!”

Brighton has a very established, “hooping community.” (OMIGOD I LOVE LIVING SOMEWHERE THAT HAS ANY FLIPPING KIND OF HOOPING COMMUNITY!!!!). So I asked him if that was why he moved to Brighton:

“Well,” the blue-haired 60s Cypriot throwback responded, “that’s one of the reasons.”

Then there’s Nick. He is one of the organisers of CircusSeen and he oversees these Friday evening open practices (what do YOU do on friday night???). Check him out in the video below! I have never even seen those little do-dads that he’s playing with!! They’re called something like Figure Eight Whatchamacallits. Ok so I don’t remember the name. But when you see them. you ain’t gonna forget them!

These colorful characters with their piercings and hanging pants and dreadlocks and tie-dyes were so kind and sweet and HAPPY.

And that’s what I needed… Hippies, Hoops and Happiness.

Mantras Not Resolutions

new-years-resolution-list

Every year I take on a “mantra.”

Instead of a long list of resolutions that are destined to fail (I’m gonna lose 10 pounds, eat healthier and stop stalking the cute guy on the bus), I focus on a slogan, a guiding principle — in short, a mantra. In years past, I had “Slow (the F) Down” or “Get It (G-ddamn) Done.” (The words in parentheses are just for my thoughts. There’s something fun yet firm about a well-placed expletive. I didn’t tell other people about those words. Until now, that is.)

Sometimes the mantra was silly: “Be Like a Duck and Let Things Slide Off Your Back.” (That was less successful — too long. I forgot most of it by March instead just remembering the “Be Like a Duck” part with not very pretty consequences.)

finally learned how to swim at least

At least I finally learned to swim.

One year was a bit unseemly: “Get Rid of the Old (Crusty) Underwear.” Meaning, stop hanging on to shit you don’t need: crappy stuff goes in the garbage and crappy friends — show them the door! (Please recall: words in parens — here, “Crusty” — are for my thoughts only. I wouldn’t tell that to people. Well, like I said, until now.)

And the rule is: it needs to be an affirmative statement. It’s something you DO want to do. No negatives in the sentence — no “Don’t Be Mean” or “Quit Complaining.” Turn those into “Smile at Everyone” and “Appreciate the World.” The Lady in Pink makes this clear:

a better slogan (mantra) would be... well, actually Take Care of Yourself!

A better slogan (mantra) might be Keep It Healthy!

And the second rule is, I don’t think about the picking of The Mantra too much, I just sort of “discover” it. Let it come to me.

However, this year for Xmas/New Year’s, I was in my mom’s tiny home town in southern Italy — a place not known for keeping up with the times.

At 5pm after siesta, the men gather in the piazza to hang out, smoke play cards and talk about who'd dies recently.

At 5pm after siesta, the men gather in the piazza to hang out, smoke play cards and talk about who’s died recently.

And so, I was overloaded on too many kissing-my-cheeks-twice relatives, bored by the constant hum of bad Italian television and screaming conversation (that’s just how they talk) and over-indulged in amazing food. It broke my brain. The mantra was not only undiscovered but completely forgotten.

Until…. I got a message from a friend I adore and haven’t seen in years. She wrote, “So what’s your Mantra for 2015? I LOVE that you do that!” I didn’t even know she knew about my quirky mantra thing. At the VERY moment that the message came, I’d been feeling bad about eating pasta for both lunch and dinner and it just came to me: “Take Care of Yourself” (I might need to adjust that to “Take Care of Yourself (Asshole).” )

Silliness aside, a mantra is more powerful rather than a list of resolutions that you HAVE TO do. Because those remind you of your failures, whereas, a Mantra reminds you of who you declare yourself to be. Who you are is who you SAY you are. Train your brain to be your best self.

Wonder-Woman-Flying

Wonder Woman and the Golden Lasso of Truth! She’s cool, she cares and she obviously takes care of herself! What might her mantra be?

Ok so… pick a mantra, from the list below and/or write in comments and then TAKE IT (THE F) ON!!!!!

 

 

Gay is the New Straight

joancusack

I was watching a great Ted talk given by a terribly bright, terribly funny gay man who designs book covers. First he was talking about one author, then another, both of whom are also gay. And I suddenly felt like Joan Cusack in that scene from the classic 1997 comedy In & Out — when she’s still in her wedding dress, having been dumped at the altar by Kevin Kline (who in the nick of time realises he’s gay) — and so Joan Cusack goes to a bar, still in her damn white dress and a bit tipsy (and very horny), and she hits on Tom Selleck who informs her he’s gay as well. She then runs out of the bar and screams: “IS EVERYBODY GAY? AM I IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE! I NEED A HETEROSEXUAL CODE RED!”

Here she is, Joan Cusack, in one of the funniest performances ever EVER EVER:

Anyway, that’s kinda how I’m feeling right now.

 

 

Cheers, Me and Josh

The British do some very cute things: they say “Cheers” instead of “Thanks,” they say “me” instead of “my” – “Gotta call me dad,” and they add those darling question tags at the end of all their sentences — “Nice day, isn’t it?”, “Got meself pissed last night, didn’t I?”

But the cutest of the cute is that they name their houses. I noticed when I visited my friend, Alice. Alice lives in The Garden Flat, and it’s even included on her formal address.

Alice HerLastNameNobodysBusiness
The Garden Flat
2 Cambridge Street
Tunbridge Wells TN3 4SQ

I mean, besides plantations (Scartlett’s Tara from Gone with the Wind), and some holiday homes in Cape Cod and the like (Seascape, Sea le Vie, Vitamin “Sea” etc)  Americans don’t name their houses.

Here are some examples of British home names:

sometimes it’s food related —
IMG_5393

sometimes a posh name —
IMG_5400

then of course, there’s the royalty angle — IMG_5521

Thus, we decided to name our house, too.
We have called it Josh.
IMG_5502

I guess it’s official. We’ve moved to England.

They really ARE white.

They really ARE white.

Yep, that’s what we could see from the ferry. The white cliffs of Dover. Through the raindrops. Through our exhaustion. Through our misgivings. The white cliffs of Dover.

We decided to move out of Italy last January. Trying to run a small business in Italy is … well, comical. Between the taxes and bureaucracy, — surprise surprise! —  there’s a huge black market.

I remember when I first opened a regular old bank account 10 years ago in Rome when I still felt romantic about immigrating to the county of my forefathers. Eugenio, the very pleasant bank manager, gave me some documents to sign in two places. I did and then I started to put my pen away.  “Non abbiamo finito,” he said. We’re not finished. I’m sure I smiled. Then he gave me another set of documents, six signatures I think. Then he gave me some more documents. Then more. More. More. At some point I looked at him and asked if there was a hidden camera somewhere and if this was a joke. He chuckled and said, “Welcome to Italy.”

Welcome to Italy, my culo. My ass.

More to come.

Terianne