Aaah…the New Year…Two Weeks In

No joy on these hangers. None.

I read too much and I tend to internalize select books.
My book club wants a Top 10 of 2017 list, and while most everything I read was written for young adults because of the incredibly time-consuming commitment I made to reading all things angst-ridden and gut-clenching — different story — I managed to read a few tomes that adulted up.
Number one on the list was the one about the magic of tidying up. (I don’t quote the title because it’s super long and I always get it wrong and I’m too focused on talking to you at this moment to Google it, but Marie K. wrote it and her Kon-Marie method has made me look at everything in my home differently, darn her.)
Basically, if something doesn’t bring you joy, why have it in your home?
It isn’t often that a non-fiction read makes the top of my list, but this year was an exception, both in the adult genre and in the young adult category. (Ask me later for the YA list; it was a terrific year.)
I think a number one ranking means the book hasn’t left you; vestiges have stuck. For instance, “Lifeboat” by Charlotte Rogan a few years ago…hated the main character, loved how unreliable she was as a narrator and absolutely loved hating her for it. Juicy. Delectable. Now that I think of it, I want to read it again. Loved it.
What does this have to do with a picture of my clothing draped from plastic hangers?
Because in tandem with my Kon-Marie-ing joyful disbanding of all things comfy and habitual, I internet-ed across a challenge in which you turn all the hangers in your closet backward, and at the end of the year, anything left in this dubious direction means, “Hey! I give you no joy! Release me into the wild where I might find an owner who would appreciate my intrinsic value and allow me sunlight and laughter!”
I paraphrase; I don’t know that that’s exactly what clothing longs for, but in my mind it does.
As January approached, I inspected my closet, and do you know, that to the item, all of my backward, no-love-given, didn’t-want-to-wear clothing was for exercise? That’s right. Pastel. Spandex-laden. Lycra-infused. Wicking materials designed to sluice the sweat from my overheated, drenched, plyo/yoga/step-aerobicizing form. All ignored for a year.
I thought, “Huh. Surely I worked out once, or twice…”
Well. If I did, I perspired in something street-level, not gym-worthy, and it must have been while I was asleep because memories aren’t rolling forward of my cardio levels rising or any “Whew!” towel-encased, sweat-dripping moments. Maybe Down Dog or two, but that may be wishful thinking.
But surely I did something to worthy of wearing a swoosh, or eating an extra twelve York peppermint patties; surely I inhaled those things like air because I earned them.
New Year. New arrangement of the closet. New Goodwill pile sitting on the table by the door.
And did I include all the items collecting shoulder dust and staring at me in pretty pastel patterns?
No. Because this year I’m going to wear them out.
Yep, that’s right. I’m going to wear them out.
To Target, maybe, or to the school with yoga pants which I also don’t have the right to wear.
But one way or another, these items will see the light of the day. It will bring them joy.

Hooping, Prairie Style

We prairie librarians are on the cutting edge of fitness, I don’t know if you know that.
We hoop now. Hula hoop. It’s a new thing, never seen before.
Our first class was led by an instructor, an honest to goodness professional hoopist — it’s a word now; just made it up — who walked into the building swaddled in a dozen hoops of varied sizes and colors and asked, “Ready?”
Do you know how hard it is to get grown women to agree to attend a hula hooping class, even when we cloak the fun under the term Ladies’ Night?
Nearly impossible. The fear of embarrassment, trepidation about ability, threat of injury — it could happen, you don’t know — all add up to “uh uh, no thank you, but have fun with that” type responses.
So our small group of risk-takers — we numbered seven in all — trudged to the back acre on a remarkably lovely evening — a gorgeous 70 degrees, the sun at its golden, magically-flattering angle and hue. We followed our cute cute cute instructor who led with the boom box (yeah, I’m old), to ignominious displays of lost agility and old age.
We were comforted to know we would go down in the presence of friends.
But here’s the weird thing: we didn’t stink. We weren’t great, but we were only red-faced by exertion and sweat. Hooping for longer than five minutes is actually taxing, who knew? We had great music by bands I’ve never heard before and couldn’t tell you now, as their names were bizarre and sounded less like rockers than out-of-date food stuffs – Rancid Milk, Pickled Cheese Product, something like that — and we actually had hoops rolling around our middles like they were made to be there.
THEN. The instructor said, “Let’s learn some moves.”
Uh. I thought I was moving. This round piece of plastic is upright; I’m calling it a win.
But before long, we were actually turning within the hoop, and walking around still hooping, and rolling the hoops around our wrists like brightly colored lassos any cowboy would be ashamed of.
Good stuff.
Here’s a fun detail: did you know that on the prairie the weather can change in an instant? One moment we’re blissfully hooping in the twilight, the very next moment we are running from leaves hurtled from trees like organically grown throwing stars — one lady actually caught one in her throat, I kid you not — screaming like we’re being bitten while the temperature dropped twenty degrees.
It was close, but we all survived.
We ran back into the library giggling and sweaty and decided, no more hooping for us!
Because we had snacks. Snacks trump everything.