About Face

I’m reading Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, which chronicles the period after the sudden death of the author’s husband’s and the concurrent illness of her adult daughter.

On the back cover is an intriguing photo, one with such interesting composition and mystery that I’ve found myself staring into it on occasion. It was taken in Malibu in 1976. I play the guessing game with myself.

I think on their names. John Dunne and Joan Didion — Irish, perhaps? Quintana Roo, their daughter. Must have a connection to Mexico — hopefully it will be explained in the book. She looks to be about my age that year.

I study their faces. Yup, Quintana looks like the perfect combination of John’s facial structure and Joan’s self-assured sassy. She looks as though she’d like the photographer to leave already, and let her get back to the conversation she was having with her parents.

face watcher

I read for several nights. I find out, as part of a casual mention, that Quintana was adopted. On page 118: “…John and I had brought Quintana home from St John’s Hospital. She was three days old.” Not much of a clue until two pages later: “We took Quintana there on the day of her adoption, when she was not quite seven months old.” (No other mention so far, so I am still guessing at the story and filling in with what I can intuit.)

I study the photo again with this new information. I look at the faces to re-verify their connections.

I do this face-study thing often, and I wonder if I do it more often than others. I look for genetic clues in faces to see if families are biological or adoptive. I look for similarities in chins, matching mouths, equal smiles, companion expressions, between children and parents and among children.

I wonder if, on this playground or at that school function, there are other families like us — connected by biography rather than biology.

Do you? Study faces?

I’m no slouch

Well, to tell the truth, I AM a slouch. Good posture has not been easy for me.

As a child, I had asthma, and I found that hunched shoulders eased my breathing.

Later in junior high school, I rounded my shoulders to hide my late-developing chest.

And in college, I was surprised to find I’d grown taller than many of the guys, so I once again found a reason to diminish my true height.

At my recent physical appointment, I found out that the greatest long-term risk I have isn’t cancer, cardiovascular disease or neurological dysfunction. Because of my build, my greatest risk is osteoporosis.

And I had a massage last week. The therapist pointed out that most of my daily activities require a caving in of my shoulders: driving, computer work, carrying children, bicycling. Even many of the exercises I’d been doing at the gym were aimed at building my front-torso muscles and neglecting my back-torso muscles. She said improving my posture isn’t just about moving my shoulders back and down. It’s about lifting my sternum. About leading with my heart.

So here I am posting about contraction versus expansion. Here I am blogging about opening my heart and living from it (not just my head, which is much more comfortable in the role).

Yoga will help. Being conscious of my breathing and posture will help. Modifying my workout will help. Stating my intentions will help.

Here I publicly state my intentions:

  • I am expansion.
  • I live from my heart.
  • I walk tall and straight.
  • I release fear that no longer serves me.
  • I allow in abundance.

This about so much more than just posture.

(It’s Mojito Friday…free to anyone with a prominent sternum.)

Observations of a Control Freak

Anyone who blogs is probably a control freak. We write to bring order to chaos. To understand the mystifying. To get people to do something, even just to agree or disagree.

As any of the three people who live with me will attest, I fit nicely into the CF category.

Yesterday evening while driving home, I noticed a stunning sunset over the mountains. The clouds had mercifully rolled in, and created a canvas on which the sun painted various shades of pinks, blues, purples, and all hues in between.

This sunset happened without any impetus from me.

So I started thinking about other amazing processes and events that I don’t have to influence. They pretty much happen when I just go about my business. Here they are in all their random glory:

  • My digestion, respiration and other bodily functions happen without a lot of controlling on my part.
  • When I go to a store expecting to buy certain things, 99% of the time they are there.
  • Neighborhood streets are clean and passable.
  • Trees shade my house.
  • Water evaporates, becomes precipitation, hits the earth only to evaporate again.
  • My husband comes home every night.
  • My children keep growing taller and wiser, no matter how I might thwart their efforts.
  • Sunrises and sunsets like this happen all over the world every single day!

Truly, I am part of something much grander than I. I can relax. I don’t have to try so hard.

Now if I can just remember that today. All day. Every moment.

Or is that too controlling?

adoption, parenting, mindfulness, open adoption