Post #3236: Forms of work and play

This week has been all over the place in terms of time and routine. A bit of time off, some (more) dental appointments, and then full days of online union convention yesterday, today and tomorrow. While I am glad I took a day and half off at the beginning of the week, the rest of the changed schedule reminds me just how much of a creature of habit I am. I’ve been eating at weird times and working out in the morning instead of the afternoons. I’ve been having difficulty finding the energy to write and play music in the last couple of days especially.

And yet, it’s been a fairly productive week all round. I did manage to record three violin tracks on Saturday and Sunday for my husband Brian’s new album, and listening back to them, I feel pretty good about what I did – both in terms of how I divided the recordings up for a more professional approach, and also the parts I picked out to go with the tracks already laid down. I have been playing my violin steadily now since December, 3 or 4 times per week, the longest run of regular practice I have had in fifteen years.

I had almost forgotten what it’s like to play freely, without hesitation and stiffness – but it’s coming back to me now as my joints become more fluid and the instrument more of an extension of my feeling-self again. I’m not sure I will ever get back the dexterity I had when younger, but can tell you that the nascent arthritis in my hands has completely disappeared since January. At the very least, playing will keep my hands flexible longer. Sometimes the issue with dexterity isn’t so much the joints themselves, but the connection between my brain and body, and that’s something I know has gotten slower with age. The muscle memory doesn’t lock in quite as quickly as it once did.

Besides that productivity, I finished weaving and hemming the hand towels that were on the loom last week, and warped again with what I think will be a table runner (pictured at the top). Having Monday and Tuesday morning off work really put a dent in a number of small projects around the studio, and I even got started on a bit of sewing for the first time in awhile. Studio time has been mostly flow-state lately, with one project morphing into the next, and tidying going on simultaneously so that things really keep moving. I wish it was always so easy!

I’m looking forward to my next projects which include experiments in weaving linen, some more tea towel gifts, getting the big loom up and running with shawls (treadle cords retied and we’re a go), and an overshot project in silk.

I think I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’ve returned to running – just a couple of times per week, but I’m enjoying the bit I’ve been fitting in. I’ve also made some new fitness goals for the spring/summer – to push my power-lifts up in density, to get additional outdoor activity in every week, and to stretch for at least five minutes aftder every strength workout. My strength training the last couple of weeks has been fairly intense, but I am very satisfied to complete the workouts. Ever since I started doing Stronger by the Day about five months ago, I’ve really noticed big differences in my body composition. I look the same to folks on the outside, but my muscles are much more present and defined. I find it hard to show this stuff off because I’m not much of a muscle-flexer, but its real and I can link my growth in muscle over the last eighteen months to better posture, better metabolic rate, and more stamina overall. I just finished reading the book Exercised by David Lieberman and it was one of the best books I’ve read about why we resist exercise (evolution, obviously), but what it does for us – especially as we age. It’s some of the best work I’ve read about fitness and evolution, science-based and not at all faddish.

Union convention continues through the weekend so I am definitely tied to my desk when I’m not playing for the next few days – but then next week is back to my regularly scheduled life.

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