Monday, December 29, 2014

A Little Zumba, A Little Writing...

I had such a great time speaking at The Oaks Spa over the weekend.  My memories of The Oaks date back to when I was 16 or so and my mom took me for a weekend getaway. I've written about it before. After the first lunch I escaped the premises and ran across to grab a burrito - i.e. normal food. Now, I treasure the meals there - all super duper healthy and measured out calorically. (is that a word?) They are not drool-inducing, but they are very, very good. 

I gave a talk, and conducted three writing exercises, my favorites from the various courses I teach. They yielded excellent writing samples, and unlike the college students, the spa students were anxious to read out loud. 

Speaking at the spa (there really were people there, I swear)

My mom and our new friend, Frances
When I wasn't speaking, I was dancing, yogaing, hula-hooping, zumba-ing, stretching and sleeping. Happily, I'll be back at the end of March, doing it all over again.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Follow the Paper

Once, many, many moons ago, I had a seasonal job at The Christmas Store, which used to be in the Century City mall. Today we would call it a "pop-up shop", but back then it was merely a "seasonal store." I think I was only in 9th grade when my friend Jen and I both applied for and got the job. Because I had neat handwriting, they put me on engraving duty, that is to say I personally engraved names onto ornaments with some super slim power tool. Is that even legal? The tool shook in my hand as I practiced my cursive on scraps of recycled metal. When a customer approached with his or her bauble, I'd plug in the tool and scratch out whatever name they requested, usually, but not always, to satisfied customers. In my down time, I was put on "wrapping duty", which was much less exotic and required me to wrap gifts. Boy did I suck. I always underestimated the amount of paper, and often found myself taping paper to the box and covering up my botched job with extra paper, and then a bow on top to try and hide the screw-up.  Once, upon watching me struggle, a co-worker or a boss, or maybe even Jen, said to me, "Sometimes you just need to follow the paper. It'll always tell you where to go." How zen! How reasonable! When the paper folded a certain way, I let it, instead of fighting to make it conform to my wishes. "Follow the paper" became my mantra in the store, and still is now when I find myself wrapping gifts for friends, parents, nephews, Hanukkah, Christmas, parties and the like. "Follow the paper" - isn't it a nice metaphor?