How Much Wood Can a Woodchuck Stack

I’d never survive on a chain gang. I can only do about 20 minutes of manual labor before I have an overwhelming need to lie down and read my book. It’s not that I’m lazy or physically lacking, I just don’t care for long stints of repetitive activity.

Stacking wood and grating cheese come to mind.

3 years ago I decided to count the logs as I looked at the pile dropped in the middle of the driveway.

It took me a couple of afternoons at 20 minutes a pop. 

There are 540 pieces in a cord of wood.

2 years ago there was no way I was getting into the garage until 2 cord were stacked. Back to counting. Looks like we got a couple of fat cords the total was 1084.

Last year as soon as 3 cords were unloaded we got 8 inches of snow. No garage and no plowing until they got moved. This was manual labor at its worst. It had to be a rush job so I allowed myself to be shamed into longer stretches by Honey Bun.

In order to get through this I relied on the old yoga adage of “Be in the Moment”.

I became an automaton.  I didn’t need to count. I needed to do my job. I mean I needed to just “be”.

I focused on the smell of the wood, the snow melting into my gloves, and the numbness of my fingers. It turns out that I have trouble keeping track of the tally when I can’t stop when I need to.  At least I could count all the bruises on my arms, legs and feet.

I wouldn’t necessarily say being in the moment made it any more palatable but at least I didn’t lie down on the job and pull everyone down with me.

This year as the first cord was dropped I decided that it’s okay to count while being in the moment. Any yogi knows that counting your breath can be helpful in class, why not off the mat?

Off and out I went.

When the kid arrived about 30 minutes later with the second load, I proudly said “I’ve stacked 100 logs!”

He looked a little blank.

“Did you know there are 540 logs in a cord?” I continued.

Still blank.

“One year I counted 1084 in two cords!” I added hoping to get some sort of response.

“It’s not that I’m checking up on you or anything”, I added lamely.

“That’s weird” he said as he pulled the lever and the second cord dropped onto the first.

“NOOOOOOOOOOO!” I said to myself. Now the two cords were one big one. I really wanted to test the 540 hypothesis but then again I can work with 1084. Not to worry, one more cord to come and I’ll make sure to keep it separate.

The next day Sister Dee was at the house kindly taking care of Georgia the dog. As I drove up she was stacking wood. I could feel slight panic in my chest.

“Nine, ten!”, she announced as I got out of the car.

“Are you sure” I asked tentatively.

“Pretty sure. Brother Had helped earlier, not sure if he counted” she added.

Okay I still have one untouched cord to go. 

Yesterday I was up to 310. By my visual estimation the tally was going to be spot on again. No sooner had I gone inside to glance at my book when two friends arrived dressed like professional stackers in red and green plaid jackets. 

“We’re here to help!”, they announced proudly.

I wasn’t sure how to go about asking them to count logs so I casually said, “Did you know there are 540 logs in a cord?” 

I hoped for “Oh wow! That’s so cool what are you up to now?”

Instead I got,“Oh man, don’t tell us that”.

That was it. No solid counting data this year but at least I can get my car into the garage.

Time to make quesadillas for dinner. I bought pre-shredded cheese.

Namaste, no more wood to stack hooray!

Here We Are.

“Well here we are”, said Mom as we drove out of the driveway on Monday morning at 5am.

“What does that mean?”, chortled Dee from the back seat. Hysteria set in. I should have gone to the bathroom one more time before getting behind the wheel. We were on our way to Kentucky to see Mom’s sisters.

To say it was a command performance negates the fact that the 3 of us get along beautifully, but performance it was. Mom wanted to go and we wanted to be with her. Northerners, (in our family) have to perform for the Southerners at times. More like we need to prove the Northern relatives aren’t a bunch of dimwits, and power comes in numbers.

We have a hard time sitting and talking but we appreciate good stores and good food. Southern stores, Southern food.

We had our roles to play. Mom was the Big Sister (BS). Dee was the advisor (A). I was the driver (D).

The Advisor bucked up the Big Sister and the Driver spoke when spoken to.

“You are the BS, you call the shots”, reminded A.

“Wait…does that mean I get to call the shots with you?” asked D.

“Turn left for the mall”, said BS and A.

Funny how short that conversation was.

When the discussion got political,

“Not going there”, said A.

“Preaching to the choir”, added D.

“I wonder if it was wise to bring the girls”, thought BS.

“You are going to take off that awful jean jacket before we go to the party aren’t you?”, asked Sister T.

D nodded and wondered if her dress, without the jacket, would make her look fat. (Yup.)

A smirked.

BS ignored it all.

“I want chicken for dinner “, announced A.

“Not KFC I hope”, said the Southerner.

“Of course not”, said A, D and BS.

Luckily our cuz suggested a place started by the Colonel’s ex-partner. His contribution to the secret recipe may have included cooking the chicken until it was bone dry but it sure was good.

BS showed a sense of humor, diplomacy and kindness throughout.

A exhibited an uncanny ability to set up challenges. “Hey D, how many times can you include the word kale into the conversation”.

D focused on not having anxiety attacks while driving on 4 lane highway cloverleafs.

BS and D equate their ability to keep relatively calm due to yoga. A got it from osmosis. (Power in numbers.)

So what if you have nothing to talk about besides your children or kale?

So what if your outfit isn’t quite right?

So what if your dinner isn’t up to snuff?

So what if your flight gets cancelled and you are stuck at the Philadelphia airport?

Things happen and then then they are over.

Life is funny, I mean really funny.

When you take a moment to analyze impatience, insults, or irritation, you can always find humor.

Would you rather laugh or cry?

Here we are, but not forever.

Make the most of every moment.

Namaste- our Southern relatives are AOK!

hush puppies

Friends Shmends

They say you can’t pick your family but you can pick your friends. I’m not so sure about that.

I really, really, really wanted to be friends with the guy running the conference I attended last year. He was funny, intelligent and had some great information to share. I was pretty sure he’d notice the same things about me.

Nope.

Through the week the obvious lack of connection with me was disappointing. Minimal eye contact and a sense of impatience during discussions was obvious.

I closed up, slumped, grimaced and sulked. It didn’t help.

I was dismayed and hurt. Then I got pissed.

Who the f*ck did he think he was?

The painful physical and emotional sensations reminded me of a tumultuous break up 30 years ago as well as the time my “best friend” made me cry in front of our 7th grade class.

It wasn’t pleasant then or now.

After many hours of yoga and energy work I’m learning I can control how I respond in situations that aren’t going as planned. I can only offer my true self, take what I need, aim for understanding and hope for the best.

Academically and philosophically Speaker Man has a lot to offer. So as any “enlightened” person would do, I checked in with the family of girls living inside my heart and we decided to go back for more a year later.

“Okay everyone, it’s time to walk the talk”, said Big Girl.

“Is it possible he was in a bad relationship before and things will be different this time because I have a nice smile?”, asked Middle Girl.

“Nah, I bet he still acts like a dick”, growled Little Girl.

“Hey, watch it you”, Big and Medium said at the same time.

For days LG sat quietly although it wasn’t easy for her. She was pretty certain the guy hadn’t changed much.

“No one knows what’s going on in another person’s head”, BG announced after a few, slightly uncomfortable days passed.

“Maybe he is attracted to me and wants to maintain a professional distance “, added MG hopefully.

“Nah, he’s just irritated that we aren’t oohing and ahhing over everything he says”, groused LG.

“Hey, knock it off”, admonished BG and MG.

BG continued, “Let’s get the most we can out of this and let go of feelings of sadness and rejection”.

“I’m game”, agreed MG, “some relationships aren’t meant to be. Can you imagine my initials if I stayed with that loser boyfriend? A.S.P.”!

LG took a bit more time to respond. “Okay. This whole thing makes me sad but not as much as you guys make me happy”.

I picked my family. I also picked the best out of a person who didn’t want to be picked as a friend. No loss, more gained.

Namaste- maybe I’ll friend him on Facebook what the hay!

Friends