It’s almost Thanksgiving. Last week was busy, and this week is going to be crazy. We almost decided to skip a new post today, but then we saw the Monday Listicles writing topic and we knew we had to participate.
Write about: 10 things you learned in 2012. (Actual skill or enlightenment)
Oh, man, it was perfect for us! We’ve both been on quite a journey of discovery over the last 12 months. There are so many skills we’ve learned and ways in which we have become enlightened. It would be a crime for us not to share them with you!
New Physical Skills
#1 Parkour (Lisa): Some of you might know this form of scaling obstacles as “free running”, but we enthusiasts prefer the more traditional “parkour”. It requires no equipment– just the desire to run, jump, and flip over obstacles in your way with abandon. Although it can be done anywhere, a city is the best place to find buildings and other structures with enough height to be challenging. It does take a bit of a dare devil’s heart to take to the streets of Uptown Charlotte for an afternoon session, but I have come to love the adrenaline rush!
#2 Cane Fu training (Ashley): For the uninitiated, Cane Fu is a fantastic activity that takes canes and melds them with exercise into a kick-ass self defense method that can be practiced from the seated or standing position. I first discovered it when my father started training with Grand Master Mark Sheuy (owner of Cane Masters which has been featured on ABC’s hit show 20/20). Although the training can be grueling, it’s completely rewarding to know that I have 24 simple and effective ways to take down attackers should the need arise. I don’t use a cane in everyday life, of course, but for training I sport a standard street cane. I have the hopes of upgrading to a custom hickory diamond shafted serrated cane at the beginning of 2013. You don’t even want to know what I have in mind for bad guys with those serrated edges!!
New Skills of the Mind
#3 Committing the US Constitution to memory (Lisa): I believe the mind is a muscle. If you don’t exercise it, it will atrophy. The last thing I can afford is for my mind muscle to become as puny as my abs. I needed a challenge to bring my brain up to the 6 pack form it deserves. Since it was an election year and I was feeling patriotic, memorizing the US Constitution seemed to be the perfect fit. I went with the original draft of 1787 which consists of 4618 words (including the signatures). If we had 13 months in the year I might have been able to complete all 27 amendments as well, but that is a task I happily have on the schedule for 2013.
#4 Working toward a PhD in 19th Century French Literature (Ashley): It’s no secret that I’ve always been a Francophile, but I stepped away from my love of French Lit when I entered nursing school. Now that I have more free time than ever, this year was the perfect time to rekindle this dear love of mine and go even further with my academic studies. I’ve enjoyed diving headfirst into the works of Victor Hugo, François-René de Chateaubriand, and Alphonse de Lamartine in their original French. I know you are thinking, “So many romantics, why no realists on your list?” I know! But this time around I am focusing on what brings me the most joy!
New Skills That Brought Us Back to Basics
#5 Making our own soap (Lisa): After reading several different pins on Pinterest to prepare me, I decided that this was the way to go for our family. Yes, it’s easier to visit aisle 6 at Target and be done with it, but I was tired of my family being slathered in chemicals and artificial fragrance. They deserve to be treated with all natural, organic ingredients just like our forefathers. I prefer the cold process method and have had fantastic results (except once when my lye solution ate a hole in my plastic glove). My family truly appreciates and respects this use of my time especially because I am learning to whittle their likeness into my soaps! This way everyone has their own personal bar that looks just like them!
#6 Operating my weaving loom (Ashley): This year brought one of the biggest joys into my life: my beautiful Ashford Inkle Loom. Nothing brings me more happiness that making things from scratch. I am as crafty as they come. Until this year, however, I’d never really taken things back to their true basics by weaving fabric from thread. My loom is my treasure. I can weave anything you desire: shoelaces, trim, tassels, computer bag straps–you name it ! My designs just keep getting more and more intricate!
New Artistic Skills
#7 Competitive sand sculpting (Lisa): I didn’t start this until late in the year when I came upon a President Obama sand sculpture while practicing parkour in Uptown Charlotte during Labor Day festivities. I was taken aback by the incredible medium. It’s so tactile and elemental and ready to be worked into any creation your mind can conjure. It’s like art in its purest form. Entering competitions almost seems crass when you are talking about true artistic expression, but I found that the competitive experience really helped me liberate the inherent creations lurking in my mind space.
#8 Urban tango dancing (Ashley): Ever since Dancing With The Stars premiered in 2005, I have been itching to learn this gorgeous art. When I first entered the studio, I was unsure if I would focus my attentions on ballroom or Latin dance. Once I finished the rigorous evaluation process, it was determined that tango was the best for my body type and temperament. Since then I have sub-specialized in the demanding discipline of urban tango. It has all that traditional tango offers but with a gritty realism seldom associated with the glitz and glamour of the ballroom. It frees my soul.
#9 Discovering and wearing my signature color every day (Lisa): One night I came across Steel Magnolias playing on TBS commercial free. When it got to the scene where Shelby explained her two signature colors of blush and bashful to her mom, I realized what my life was lacking– a signature color of my own. As I meditated on what color brought me the most joy, several crossed my mind but none stuck like a specific hue of yellow-brown. It’s HTML color A18600, but I like to call it Hazelton Copper Brown (HCB). It just spoke to me, you know? It made me feel grounded with its earthiness, free with its charm and effervescence, and enveloped with its warmth. Since that day I have worn an article of clothing featuring HCB every day. It’s a hard color to find, so I even handcrafted some accessory bows and pins to wear in a pinch. I wanted to color my hair HCB, but my stylist thought it didn’t compliment my coloring properly. Instead, I went with a small streak of HCB under all my hair at the nape of my neck. I consider it my talisman.
#10 Recognizing my spirit animal (Ashley): It happened this summer during a visit to the Carolina Raptor Center. As I made my way around the different enclosures and perches, I locked eyes with the most beautiful animal I have ever beheld: a bald eagle. The wisdom and majesty of this sacred animal emanated from it’s golden eyes, the whiteness of it’s crown spoke of it’s purity and nobility, and the strength of its talons gave it an aura of danger and ferocity. It was as if I was looking in a mirror at my true spirit. Since then, the eagle has been with me in my heart–guiding me, protecting me, and making me a better person. One of my most cherished possessions, now, is a small eagle cast in pewter that is never far from my reach. My life’s experiences have been enriched and magnified since the bald eagle has made its nest in my soul.
Boy, what an eventful year! Well, it would have been if any of that had actually happened. Honestly, most of the things we’ve learned in 2012 have to do with blogging, social media, and website code. Since that would make for pretty dull reading, we thought we’d spice it up a bit for you. You’re welcome.
Okay…now we’ll tell it like it *really* is
#1 Parkour (Lisa): Having been nicknamed by her parents “Cautious Clem” at the age of 8, there is literally nothing about this activity that appeals to Lisa. Just seeing those people perform all of those stunts (WITHOUT HEAD PROTECTION) while trying to find a youtube video to link made her want to cry for their mothers. She welcomes no adrenaline rushes of any kind…ever.
#2 Cane Fu training (Ashley): Sadly, Cane Fu remains an elusive dream to Ashley. She’s never taken a course and has never even see the 20/20 episode where it was featured. Her dad has, though, and loves it. He even flew to California for a retreat weekend to take special classes from Grand Master Mark Shuey himself. Since the diamond shaft serrated hickory cane will set you back $200, it’s probably for the best Ashley only vicariously participates through her dad.
#3 Committing the US Constitution to memory (Lisa): First off, a disclaimer: Lisa went to a fully accredited medical school and acknowledges the structural and functional differences in neural and muscular tissue. She knows the brain is not a muscle. While memorizing the US Constitution would certainly be something a person could do, that person will have to be someone else because Lisa needs those circuits for more important things like remembering how old she is. She does know the entire Preamble to the US Constitution, but she learned it from School House Rock like everybody else.
#4 Working toward a PhD in 19th Century French Literature (Ashley): Ashley doesn’t actually know the first thing about French Literature. She majored in Sociology in college. She doesn’t have any free time for studying anything, and the fact that she hasn’t taken a French class since 9th grade would seriously impede her ability to read the romantic classics in that language. She even had to Google “19th Century French Literature” to get names to include. She will definitely be seeing the movie Les Misérables when it opens later this year–but only because Lisa will drag her to it.
#5 Making our own soap (Lisa): Lisa has never, ever abandoned anything for being too easy or too artificial. She has never seen a pin on Pinterest about making soap, but is sure they exist. She has never wanted to imitate our forefathers. They couldn’t even get their gray hair colored.
#6 Operating my weaving loom (Ashley): Ashley is the worst crafter of all time. She doesn’t even know what Modge Podge is and has never entered Michael’s of her own free will. Weaving is totally out of the question. She doesn’t have the counter space needed for a loom and if she did, she’d put it to good use with piles of school papers and junk mail.
#7 Competitive sand sculpting (Lisa): Lisa can’t even make decent sandcastles at the beach using an upturned bucket. The heat and the dirtiness of the entire process comes between her and her ability to enjoy a good book under an umbrella while slathered in SPF 1000. Her sole artistic outlet is writing things on photographs for this blog, and that’s how she likes it. She did take this picture of the Obama sand sculpture, though.
#8 Urban tango dancing (Ashley): Much to Lisa’s regret, Ashley has never seen a single episode of Dancing With The Stars. Ashley would never be tempted to use one minute of free time dancing where other human beings could witness it. Urban tango is a completely made up ballroom phenomenon, and that suits her just fine.
#9 Discovering and wearing my signature color every day (Lisa): Lisa doesn’t have a signature color and if she did it would have to be black since that is the color of the majority of her yoga pants. She’d certainly never pick a color that is identical to the seedy poop of breastfed babies. She’s also never had a talisman in her life unless you count an eraser she took to every test in college. And honestly that was only because it erased really, really well.
#10 Recognizing my spirit animal (Ashley): Ashley has a strong dislike of all things avian. Birds totally and completely creep her out. Just the thought of the Carolina Raptor Center makes her want to rock in the corner and sob silently, although she’s sure it’s a lovely place for other people to visit. And let’s face it, if Ashley had a spirit animal it would have to be the honey badger because it just doesn’t give a damn.
What fake skills or enlightenments do you wish you had learned in 2012?