Dia de Muertos

“Hey, daisyfae – someone sent us a message asking if we could organize some cyclists to join up with a parade. They’re trying to put together a Dia de los Muertos celebration and asked if we could help.”

“Sure… Sounds like fun!”

That was in 2011 – i was a volunteer with a cycling group. Putting on make up, decorating bicycles and riding through town seemed a grand idea!  The first year they hadn’t secured an actual parade PERMIT, so the bikes and a couple of cars went slowly down the street while a gaggle of people followed along on the sidewalks.

There was a gathering at a gallery showcasing ofrendas – altars commemorating the dead. Flowers, candles, and music. It was absolutely beautiful to see the altars, carefully crafted with the remembrances of the dead.

In August of 2012, i was shattered by the suicide of a close friend – rattled to my core and immersed in the complex grief that comes from an unexplained death. i was still a mess when the organizer of the Dia de Muertos event asked me to help. i joined the ragtag band of hippies and artists, and sat in a few meetings. They were expanding the effort to include workshops on crafting ofrendas.

Still grieving, i decided it was worth a couple of hours. At that workshop, i dug in… i learned how to make a skeleton from bread dough ‘clay’. i spent hours over the next few weeks thinking of all of the things he had loved, the things that brought him joy.

Cooking, his old gray cat, beer, sushi… i built a beer glass, and figured out how to make acrylic beer. i am not a crafty person, but i build shit. And that year? i built an altar to remember my dead friend. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was cathartic.

stella

The following year, when contacted by the organizer i offered her my services. i basically laid down at her feet and asked her to put me to work. That was the year i strapped a giant skeleton to my body while driving a car through the entertainment district in town.

i’ve continued as a parade marshal, farting around with a variety of creatures and whatnot to launch the parade with a bang. This year, it was cold. The parade was a touch smaller, but no less enthusiastic than in the previous years.  i modified the fanciful alebrije we built last year, gave her wings, and let her fly…

parade 2017

The ofrendas draw me in – whether small remembrances, just a few photos and candles, or intricate creations, they leave me wanting to know more about the person being remembered…

altar 2017

i’m not religious. Can’t say that i’m even spiritual. But this is a beautiful, healthy and glorious way to work through death. We paint our faces in the style of the Calavera Catrina.  We dance with death – and celebrate life…

skelfie

 

 

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30 Days – Part 2

With communal accountability, i was able to make some very gentle adjustments to my habits over the past 30 days.  Re-discovering my ability to focus on reading honest-to-god BOOKS, I’ve cleared three and a half from my reading pile, while re-wiring some of the focus-neurons in my brain.  

In addition, this “seven hours sleep/night” thing has worked wonders – except when it hasn’t (largely driven by opportunities to stay out too late playing with my little friends).  i can now go to bed before 11 pm, and awaken without too much drama at 6 am – and as a result, not wind up dragging my sorry ass to the office late.

Thanks to bob for orchestrating the “accountability” portion of the game – a very clever experiment. We’re going to do it again!  i enjoyed tracking the progress of my partners in self-improvement across the globe.  

The idea came from a TED talk, which is really about trying something new, not just doing little bits of self-improvement tweakage.  But it also emphasizes small, sustainable movement…. So i kept it small…  

Round 2 starts on Monday, 15 August, and if any of you are so inclined, stop by our tracking blog, and let bob know you want to play along!

With another bit of travel in the middle of this one, i needed something portable again.  Not yet ready to tackle learning a language, or anything of substance, i’ve decided to target something that has simply started to annoy the shit out of me.

My arms. They are starting to look like Mom’s.  Which used to whap me in the head when i was a little girl, scampering* around the kitchen.  

Call them what you will – “Bingo Wings”, “Auntie Arms”, “Nanna Wobble”, “Sugargliders” – they suck.  And i am declaring war on mine. 

Using The 100 Push Up Challenge as a model training program, i am committing to 30 days of the program.  Also committing to posting a weekly photo of my flaps.  Not in a corset, mind you.  There is nothing sexy about arm flaps.

Since that’s a 3 day/week activity, i’ll throw in something for alternate days for my ass.  Squats, that is….  Not “sitting on it”.  No photos of the backside, however… even i have my limits, and will spare you the arse shots.

Rather than count on just the communal accountability this time, i did something quite stupid last week.  i have a young engineer on my team who is a former Marine.  He is a rabid distance runner, and is in great physical shape – always encouraging the rest of us to “Move!”  He also shouts “Drop and give us 50!” when someone shows up late for a meeting…

At a group meeting i mentioned to him that i would be starting a push up training program – and that by Christmas i would be able to drop and give him at least 40.  On my toes. And asked him to hold me to it…

Let’s hope my shoulder holds out…

pic found here

 

* “Scampering”?  Did i ever scamper?  Even as a small child?