Monday, April 24, 2017

No Job Too Small
 my couch to 5K

Photo via Athena DeCrime.

First of all, I'm talking about the couch to 5K trope, or actually quite literally my progression from my couch to running a 5K, and not the Couch To 5K ™ program. I've never used or even read Couch to 5K, I've only ever been aware of it out of the corner of my eye and had a client once who used it to run one 5K and decided that he hated running. But also I'm aware of it as a frequently recommended training program, like 5x5 for weightlifting. Sigh, I wish I could think of these snappy names. But on the other hand, snappy names are kind of the opposite of what I do and I do think there's a need for what I do even though the long shaggy dog story tends not to go viral in this 140-character world we live in.

Anyway, I sort of instinctively felt that Couch to 5K would actually be too progressed for me and then I was reading this article about how to start running, and it was like "start with a small distance, like two miles" and I was like Eff youuu, two miles is not a small distance for me >:( ughhh it's even more insidious that it gives lip service to starting small, like it wouldn't have been half as bad if it had just said start with two miles! Instead it implants in your head that two miles is small and if you can't run two miles, you can't even run a small distance—that is just evil, if you ask me.

Luckily as a trainer I have a thicker skin than most that protects me from these sorts of arrows; but also as a trainer I feel bad for all the people who are not so arrow-proof, which is why I'm poking my head back in here for a sec. Personal training is personal, really, that's largely what you pay for, like a professional bulwark against the bullshit and mixed messages about body issues that you get bombarded with, and ideally a weekly bulwark because I'm teaching you to be your own bulwark and it's a process. One blog post isn't much up against an avalanche of fitspiration, particularly as blogs are mostly dead and hardly anybody reads them. But, I felt like my one blog post should at least be out there. And it should not go without mentioning that my one blog post is personal to me; this is how it went for me and my personal circumstances, the physical and psychological condition I'm in. It's not meant to be a turnkey solution for anybody; it's only meant to be one example, perhaps a little bit of a different example, and if I only get one point across I hope it's that the right way to "get in shape" is the way that works for you.

Okay but, before all this, there was this car dealership under construction at the end of my block for, idk, a while. And they took away the bus stop at the end of my block, which meant I had to catch to bus at North and Ashland. And it's weird, but that turned the most convenient bus to the gym into THE WORST, because if I was stuck on my side of Ashland and could see the bus pulling up, I had to fight the urge to run into traffic and then be consumed with rage as I helplessly watched the bus go by. So now planning to catch the bus was a thing, which I weirdly hate, I love to plan everything but I really like to spontaneously catch a bus, and actually now that I think about it, this started before I got my smartphone, which I got up and going at the beginning of last year. Anyway, it seemed much less stressful just to walk to the gym, and so I did that for like a year, a mile to the gym and a mile home, two and a half times a week (the half is because Nora always gives me a ride home.) The cool thing about this is, I used to think that the gym was sooo far, but now it's in my head that a mile is a short walk. I don't think I would have gotten started walking if they hadn't taken my bus stop away, I should send them a fruit basket. The car dealership is constructed and the bus stop is back, but now I prefer to walk.

Okay so, where was I: pretty salty about the two miles. Actually I think this starts last August, remember, I'm in the thick of a depression then, and kind of randomly I suggest a ten-minute cooldown run on the treadmill to my Tuesday client and the other treadmill is free so I run with him and actually run the whole ten minutes? I'm not sure if I did. I vaguely remember two things, rolling a joke along the ground and following it like Bluebell and Captain Holly to keep going, and thinking at the end, woah, I'm in okay enough shape that I did that right out of the box. But like, where "right out of the box" is having walked five miles a week for like a year.

So I sort of haphazardly start running, and not with a ton of success. I ran three times in August, six times in September, twice in October, and apparently just gave up in November. Well, October and November is when I started on antidepressants.

This is my brain on drugs: I decide to commit to running in December and, still salty about the two miles, I decide that I will run a half mile twice a week. This same month, Katie Jean is doing a fifty miles in a month challenge and as a joke I make my own five miles in a month challenge, and I come up with this really useful and truthful #nojobtoosmall hashtag. It's a pretty tiny goal but even with a tiny goal, you still have to make that choice to get off the couch and go to the gym and get on the treadmill, every Tuesday and Thursday. And really this is the proto-habit that I needed for the rest to follow, and I think it would have been less easy to talk myself into getting off the couch if I knew that what was waiting for me at the gym was some mountain troll and not just a garden gnome—annoying, but pretty easy to dispatch. Spoiler, I did it! You've seen this star chart.

Let's talk briefly about that star chart, I am very strongly motivated by patterns. If I can at all avoid a hole amongst my gold stars, I will walk in a snowstorm to the gym even if my client has cancelled. But also I had a fail-safe goal, the five miles a month; if I did end up with a hole in my chart, all was not lost and I could still make my mileage goal. But also I ran a little bit more than half a mile most days like putting away money in mama's bank account, which was more trickery! Because mainly that just got me used to running more than half a mile, though by the end of the month I had enough mileage socked away that I could take a week off for the holidays. Let's also talk about the gym, why not leverage that my body is already in a gym three times a week. And also later, that there's a gym in my building that my work will pay a one-time fee for me to access for free, that I have never availed myself of because I knew I would never go because I had derby and I avoid guilt debt; but of course, I haven't had derby for two years now. All of these things worked for me, though I've since outgrown the star chart. It was good for getting started, though, simple, and I think if I'm going to do something hard I have to get my inner child on board and what kid doesn't love stickers.

And boy howdy, hardly anything is motivating like success. Which is sort of the fitness equivalent of needing job experience to be qualified for a job, but not as annoying because for fitness—at least for Fitness alla Poppy, anyway—you can succeed at something you can succeed at. Though this might be easier for me to grasp than for a gen pop person, because of my aforementioned thick skin and because I have pretty well dismantled the idea, well, that some jobs are too small. Remember in the eighties when they told us that you had to do forty minutes of cardio to burn fat, and anything less didn't count? Like all the fat cells are gathered at the edge of the lake of fire looking at their watches and trudge dejectedly back to your thighs if the clock stops at thirty-nine minutes. No, you don't remember, don't tell me, because you were born in the eighties. Or maybe they're still saying this and I'm finally old enough to wear purple and not give a shit. Maybe I'll tell you that no job is too small to no avail until you're my age, some stuff my mom was always trying to tell me I just got like six months ago. Sorry mom.

So anyway, I was feeling good about my five miles in a month under my belt (seven, actually) and Katie Jean started a 50 miles in a month facebook group and invited me and I said LOL okay but I'm only running ten miles. And she said that was fine, so I accepted her invitation. Here's the thing about that, I had intended just to keep an eye on the group out of the corner of my eye, as inspiration, but not post my piddly little runs, and then I thought that was sending myself the wrong message that what I was doing was something to be embarrassed about. Not cool! So I decided to post my little runs along with everybody else's... and everybody was so supportive and nice! And nothing at all is motivating like success and support. Like I finally signed up for the work gym and everybody was like GOOD JOB GO YOU, hell yeah I was gonna get up there Friday after work and make everybody proud. So in January I ran just short of 25 miles.

Somewhere in there Tami peer-pressured me into signing up for the BT5K. Which I was going to say no to, I felt like the slow and steady approach was working for me and I didn't want to shoot myself in the foot by biting off more than I could chew. LOL, I am the best at metaphors. But the race wasn't until April and I was already able to run for a mile nonstop after a month of consistent training, it was reasonable that I could get into 5K shape in three months. If I kept at it consistently! They always say Always Train For Something and I have mixed feelings about that, I'm not extremely pro The One Validating Event, but I do think it helped keep me even more honest, being that I'm basically honest.

But I did have to work with this idea of validation, because I was running with Katie Jean who I was seeing do nine and a half minute miles to say nothing of Tami who just started running last year at an eight and a half minute pace, sheesh. And of course there's the nice roundness of the ten minute mile. But my treadmill work was pretty consistently clocking in between eleven and twelve minutes. So I had to make a decision about what I was chasing for now, I had to remember that I started just barely being able to run a half mile and to run a 5K at a ten minute mile was really two goals. One goal at a time, please: run a 5K, full stop. So that became my goal: run the whole thing, and then I added don't get sick afterward. Because the last and only other time I ran a 5K, I came down with a cold the very next day—that's recorded in this blog, as a matter of fact, in July 2010.

And that was basically it, I ran 26 miles in February and 35 miles in March. Along with not stressing out about running faster than I am, I did have an additional epiphany in March about running slow, up until then I had been running intervals and cranking them up to tolerance. So like after four months of being a self-taught runner, I finally looked into a running program. Actually I was sitting on a bench waiting for Maul and Rosito Polito, googling "how to run faster" and I came across this how to get started running program by Runner's World, and the steps were:

  1. Start Walking
  2. Start Running
  3. Run Non-Stop
  4. Run Longer
  5. Run Faster

...where I had been trying to run faster before I could run longer. And how to run longer is, run slower. And running longer helps you run faster. I think this was the point where I really got into running, but I'm not sorry that it happened four months in. I basically figured out the first three steps on my own: walking to the gym, then running intervals on the treadmill, then I got bored walking and just ran slower between intervals until I was running non-stop, and then I started running outside which was all non-stop and building up to that two miles, remember the two miles? So basically it took me four months to build up to the two miles that that first article said I could get started with.

Anyway, goal accomplished! I ran the whole 5K, and I'm not sick. Sick can happen when you overstress your body, and it wasn't at all stressful to run that race. It was a very comfortable race. I ran a twelve-minute mile, for the record. And I still like running, and plan to run more, and I'm pretty sure that's because I figured out that being in physical distress doesn't have to be part of the plan. YMMV, but if something hurts, I do it less. If it feels good, I do it more. And if I do it more, I can do it better and and it feels good. And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo bee doo bee, but that's just the physical part. I think the harder part is weeding out psychological distress when it comes up, where you let yourself enjoy yourself and be proud of what you can do, and that's the part that I think I got right this time.

couch to 5K #nojobtoosmall #notthatsmall

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Friday, March 31, 2017

March Review

It occurred to me in bed the other morning that I could keep up these monthly reviews until my birthday, and then that would be as good a stopping point as any. So, onward to 50...

HOME

In the "above" layer, I went to my second Hideout meeting and it was the gentlest of emotional rollercoasters where I'd been feeling like I really need that Saturday for myself but like it was necessary to give it another try and also necessary to give it two tries in a row, and right up to the meeting I'd been thinking thank god this will be my last wiccan meeting (I'd been calling it my wiccan meeting, which is sort of what I think about nice white people in groups, where not nice white people in groups are the klan) and then I settled into the meeting and right off the bat they improved some things that didn't quite work in the first meeting, and I do love an evolving thing, and I was listening to the speakers and knitting Sparty's hat and thinking, you know, this is a good thing, to listen to these things, and then Sparty texted that she was running late to pick me up, which was perfect because to my surprise I was just about done with her hat, and there's supposed to socializing after the meeting and I missed that part last month, but it turns out nobody socializes with you when you are utterly focused on finishing your knitting, no blame. And somewhere in there I came down from the idea that I would continue going to these meetings because I'm already active and I already have friends, so even if it's a nice thing, I have enough nice things, and I need that Saturday for myself.

Also in the "above" layer, I had foot clinic, which I love. Oh, I had the socks! I broke down the order into four bundles of three packs of large and one pack of medium socks and brought just one bundle. I snuck them into the bin because I didn't want them to make a fuss, but the I overheard one of the nurses say "sweet" when they realized there were two sizes to choose from ^_^ and then a man came in and whispered that he didn't need to wash his feet, just socks, and I brought out two sizes so he could pick and he was like, can I have both? And I was like, you can have two pairs of socks but do you want both pairs the same size? So he picked the bigger ones and I brought him a second pair of those and he smiled so big and gave me a fist bump.

After I filed my taxes and applied for my passport (YES!) I felt like I deserved a present, so one Saturday, well actually, I ran to Tsubo to pick up a knee gasket that Varla left for me and hung out with Biggie on her break, and then I walked back home and treated myself to some brow powder and a brush:

Nothing in the "below" layer, erk... see, that's what I need the Saturday for. This month!

SYSTEMS

BUT, I finally buckled down to do my taxes. I really need to get on this earlier in the year, like right at the beginning of February; it's just not that hard, and it's so nice to have it out of the way. This year has been such a kerfuffle of figuring out what #resist is going to mean for me, though.

And as previously mentioned, miracle of miracles, I finally actually applied for my passport renewal:

ermahgerd passport application started 8/4/2014, completed 3/24/17 🙌

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Yeah, that's only been on my to do list for three years.

Full boat of therapy this month, and a full boat of running. All systems are go!

PLAY

Boy PLAY is really getting squeezed, I did make this runner's strength workout, which I haven't done myself, what I'm actually doing very well is running and pushups and posting my progress on Instagram. Both of those are a continual process of learning and I suppose I'm at the point where I could write them up into some kind of news you can use... but, idk. Writing and living aren't synced up for me right now. Training for me right now is what I'm thinking to myself, talking about to my clients, and the not infrequent fly-by on Facebook and Instagram, and I feel like that's okay for now.

Though I do have to do my CECs this year and also renew my CPR certification, so there's that.

PASTIME

Going out

I feel like this wasn't a very outie month, Biggie and I had a lipstick date:

today we are trying purple #lipstickdate #urbandecay #moshpit which i thought was called no shit

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Another thing I could write up, if I felt like writing.

There was the aforementioned brunch with Sparty and hangout with Biggie, and a farewell brunch at Journeyman for Painbows who has moved to California:

Incredible women. Even better friends. Until we adventure again, my loves. #friends #love #ILtoCA #journeyman

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Hasta la vista, baby :*

And last but not least, a rare Thursday movie night: me and der schweetums, Brawla, and Karma went to see Logan. Man, that was really good. I have really lowered expectations for movies these days and pro forma go to superhero movies, but Logan was actually good.

Staying in

So if it wasn't an outie month, I must have been innie. We certainly hardly spent any month this month, which surprised me. On the production side, I wrote last month's review, I knit a hat for Sparty:

hat in progress

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Also new hats for Kevin and Odie are in there somewhere. And I repotted some plants at work, you don't need to see yet another picture of pothos do you.

On the consumption side, we watched The Expanse, which I am concurrently reading; tried a bit of Taboo but eh; The Arrival, which I thought was great; American Ultra, also great; Iron Fist, not the greatest but which I don't really want to talk about except in my innermost circle of trust; and Dark City, which der schweetums wanted me to see. My absolute favorite of the month, though, was Ultimate Beastmaster, at which Koreans kicked ass as competitiors and as announcers. SEASON TWO!


Monday, March 6, 2017

Runner's Strength Workout

runner's strength workout

Weee, I made a thing! Of course if you don't know how to do a pullup or pushup, or if you don't know what I mean by rotations, you will need a trainer. But stuff that you find on the internet is just a starting point and not the be-all end-all, you know that right?

I'm mostly super excited about this because training pullups can be challenging sometimes, well, because pullups are challenging, but also because sometimes it's hard to find a place to hang from. Where oh where could you hang from.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February Review

Full disclosure, I'm actually writing this on March 5 and backdating it to the last day of February. I feel like I know better to never say never and to never say that's how much fuck fish to writing, but it's certainly ebb tide around here and you could get this same story just by looking at my Instagram feed. But, I do happen to have a bit of free time on a Sunday night that I don't want to rot away just watching more TV so here goes:

HOME

All of my HOME stuff this month was in the "above" layer: I organized a call sheet for making calls to my representatives, I attended a meeting at the Hideout that Bork tipped me off to, I made calls to the aforementioned representatives, and I worked at foot clinic. Oh! I also raised money to buy socks for next month's foot clinic:

unboxing socks

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Haha, that was extremely fun. I can't wait to bring the socks next month.

SYSTEMS

Running is still going strong, czech it, I was up to 2.2 miles at the end of the month:

haha dang it ya big hand #25milesin30days #nojobtoosmall

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Therapy still also going strong, every week this month. And I also feebly started shuffling the papers around that I need to prepare my tax organizer for Elliott, and also my bank sent me a new credit card for no reason so I had to update all the expiration dates on my autopays, fuck you very much >:(

PLAY

The only thing I did for this was draw some planks for GOYB, who's in my running group:

Nora brought these to me, actually, she does tham and now Rachel does them, too. It's a good little plank sequence that emphasizes stability with mobility, which is the real brass ring. I like them a lot.

PASTIME

Going out

Did I go out a lot this month? Let's see, there was Brawla's birthday slash Super Bowl with goat, a.k.a. Super Birrierañera. Nina and I went out for pie at Bang Bang Pie, chicken at Parson's Chicken and Fish and then Bang Bang Pie at Parson's Chicken and Fish, a.k.a. #piechickenpie. And, the Juanna Rumbel Cup, where Rudy actually recognized me squee:

s: wanna say cheese rudy? r: NAAOOO

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Usually he only has eyes for MJ!

Oh and, the Oscars! Which we watched chez Problem. Sparty and I went out for brunch in there too, after the Hideout meeting.

Staying in

Not so much knitting this month, though I did just start a hat for Sparty. But instead I wrote last month's review, the only blogging I did all month—der schweetums has just expressed surprise to find me blogging now—and I potted a bunch more pothos cuttings that I rooted in January, which I think is not when you're supposed to root pothos cuttings, oh well, they are doing fine:

just making a picture for my blog!

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Eeesh I still have three more that need pots, sigh. It just came up in my fb memories, it was only a year ago that I started with all this pothos madness.

What else, I painstakingly mended my one pair of jeans, which promptly ripped in another place:

sorry jeans, you got more work to do in this life

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And cooking is much less of a chore than it used to be, remember twice a week cooking practices? Sheesh. Now der schweetums is in charge of vegetables and makes them whenever, so I never have to make dinner, and all I do is make a giant batch of chicken stew every week, and I'm finding I can squeeze that in wherever:

On the less active side, we watched the next seasons of Vikings, Lucifer, The Man in the High Castle, and The Expanse (which I'm also reading), and also Dr Strange. When I'm doing stuff around the house, and also at bedtime, I seem to have fallen into this genre of melancholy British detectives solve one crime per season (Broadchurch, Paranoid, Happy Valley)—yeah, back to "working" and "sleeping" TV but on the other hand I'm also back to working and sleeping, so—


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Review

I'm liking not making any picks for the month, playing things by ear:

HOME

This idea of home is supposed to encompass as above (my world, country, state, city) and so below (my house), and the time set aside for this being Saturday morning. Of which one Saturday went to foot clinic, which is becoming one of the most rewarding things I do, two Saturdays went to SYSTEMS as tends to happen this time of year, leaving one Saturday for me to feebly catch up on dishes and laundry. Sigh. So much to do, above and below.

I managed to write a few emails to my senators about this horrid Sessions nomination, and I finally have something to write about to my state reps—overall, I need to regroup and set up a system for staying on top of this.

SYSTEMS

This idea of systems is also encompassing: my body that holds my mind that holds the things in my mind (time, money, not that those are the only things in my mind, but they're the things that hold the other things). As for body, I'm still running:

nothing to see here, just need a pic for my blog #25milesin30days #nojobtoosmall #notsosmall

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That math is... not right. In any case, my January goal was to run 1 mile 2x/week, and by the end I was running 3 miles at a time. I guess since I signed up for this 5K in April, I should stick with 3 miles so let's say my February goal will be to run 3 miles 2x/week or a monthly goal of 25 miles.

As for mind, Tuesday mornings is therapy; I did that every week except the first when I was getting over the stomach flu that I got on New Years Day. Thursday mornings is supposed to be time and money, but I still wasn't over my New Years flu by the first Thursday, then I worked the next two Thursdays, and then last Thursday I had breakfast and saw Sing with Biggie:

today biggie, all this will be ours 🙌

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friends don't let friends watch #sing alone

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So that's why systems pushed into one of those Saturdays: I set up my new calendar for the year, which I'm getting good at, and the other Saturday I paid bills, as I do. And I figured out all by myself how to prepare a 1099-MISC for the gym I pay rent to, proud of myself (it was easy). And things are going to continue in the vein at least through next month, because it's tax prep season. It's not the most wonderful time of the year, but it is what it is.

PLAY

Not much of this done, mostly because therapy is taking up the spot that I had set aside for watching Functional Patterns videos and such. And I want to stay in therapy for a while, while I feel good, because what I already know how to do is dig myself out of a hole that I've dug for myself, and what I want to get to know better is how not to dig myself into a hole. The former you tend to learn if you only go to/stay in therapy when you feel bad, whereas the latter is more a project of learning about feeling good.

Having said that, learning about muscles and movements has been a thing that makes me feel good. And, the odd years are when I'm budgeted to take my CECs and get recertified in CPR and first aid. And I'd like to learn more about first aid, in case I get involved in direct action; I listened to a webinar and have been doing more reading about Street Therapy by The Icarus Project, which I'm finding is right up my alley. So somehow that will have to be worked in this year, probably after my taxes have been filed.

PASTIME

Going out

I was supposed to spend New Years Day with the supper club gals at Painbows' house but I woke up anxious and not sure if I could go and just as Problem emailed the order of pickups, I threw up in my mouth a little and slid from bargaining straight to acceptance.

After I got better I hung out with Nina, she made these amazing hot sandwiches:

@technicallynina made sandwiches!

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What else, der schweetums and I also watched Bellator 140 at the Aloha Palace; as previously mentioned, I saw Sing with Biggie; my work holiday dinner was at The Dawson; and I met Ernest for coffee to deliver his yoga stick:

yoga stick production has begun! @frenshaw look this one has your name on it

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Staying in

What I mainly did this month was knit hats, Riley's I actually knit in December but finally delivered in January:

My lady @allapoppy made me a #pussyhat and I looove it! #teeth

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Just to be funny, I knit myself a yellow pussyhat but then I got tips from Brooke how to make a round-headed hat and then couldn't rest until I found black yarn to make myself a hufflepuff hat:

yayyyyy #hufflepuff

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Then I had enough yellow and black yarn left to make another hufflepuff hat for Maggie, more stripey to stretch out the yellow:

And right at the last minute, I made another pussyhat for Pom:

Plus I reknit Higgy's hat three more times, haha. I had forgotten how much I like knitting, and I'm surprised that I never thought to make hats before—they're so easy, much less time-consuming than scarves. Next I'm going to find some rainbow yarn to make Sparty a hat for the Pride March on Washington.

Plus, knitting is a thing that you can do while you watch TV. This month we watched Sherlock (meh), The Accountant (very good), continued with The Man in the High Castle (good), and at my insistence we had a Jack Reacher festival (lol). On my own I watched Lilo & Stitch 1 and 2 (omg I sobbed and sobbed) and Reign (also lol)... did I say The Crown last month? I'm not sure when I watched that, but that sent me down a royal rabbit hole for a bit including rewatching The Tudors.

Also, reading! I know, shocking. I'm copying Deb's idea about reading and then putting Animal Farm and 1984 into circulation, I thought I had read 1984 but not Animal Farm but I'm finding that I have no memory of either of them.

And actually I'm gnashing my teeth because I'm so impatient to finish writing this review, so I can get back to my book. Which doesn't bode too well for blogging, but oh well!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

December Review

Man, I feel pretty good. December was kind of a mess by my usual standards, but I'm also relooking at those standards. Maybe things don't have to be so structured, you know? I've been so strict since my stroke, before that even, about only being able to do so much, but my therapist and I talk a lot about how energy can be illusory. Especially when you're depressed, everything seems like so much work. My strategy for years really has been to carefully husband my resources, but lately we are looking at maybe I have more resources than I think. Without, of course, pathologically doing All The Things. It's a little hard to explain, it has something to do with being aware of your quality of energy at given moments: closing off the bad energy spigots, and opening up the good spigots.

December picks:

I didn't pick any specifics for December, just roll the dice and see what comes up.

HOME: Make a better place to live in

1. Pick anything.

The two main things I did in this area was my monthly volunteering for the foot clinic, and decorating my house for the holidays:

home for the holidays #winterval

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In addition to providing a nice mise-en-scene for Winterval, this was good because the top of that bookcase was getting cluttered and crazymaking; when I move things back after the holidays, it will be calmer there whilst still functional.

Also, der schweetums put up my new shelf!

OMG, it's so good. It has taken up a good part of the clutter and turned it into visual interest. More solutions TK!

There was also a pretty consistent amount of writing to my representatives this month, I suppose now that this inauguration is actually happening I will refocus my efforts where they will be best used.

SYSTEMS: Sharpen the saw

2. Pick anything.

LOTS of saw-sharpening this month: therapy, a Forrest Yoga workshop with Box, a Defence Lab taster with Brawla, holiday stuff like gift wrapping and gift delivering, people stuff like coffee with Painbows, breakfast with Sparty and Maggie, tea with Nina, and coffee with Sparty again, oh and King Spa with JJ:

spa date! #yangmeori #jjimjilbang

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I guess last but not least, I completed a little running challenge this month. Super-pleased with how that went:

PLAY: Study movement and muscles

3. Keep watching Functional Patterns videos?

Just a tiny bit of this, watched a couple videos on the suboccipital and the illiacus.

PASTIME: Write alla Poppy

4. Figure out what this blog is for.

Nnnn, idk. The only thing I really feel like writing these days are these reviews, just for my own edification. I have more of an idea about not really feeling like flash-freezing my thoughts, I've noticed that I just let them sit at room temperature as it were, they ferment and transform. I'm liking that, it seems really productive in addition to being a lot less work. Well, we'll see.

Going out

It's been an uber-social month, besides the stuff that I've already mentioned under self-care: December is my niece's Christmas concert, we went to that and out to dinner with my family after; I ran into Pom and B at the yoga workshop and we went out after for brunch:

yoga franns

A photo posted by Pauline Pang (@allapoppy) on

There was prime rib at the Aloha Palace, and also UFC 207 there. And me and der schweetums went out to see Rogue One, we were supposed to go Xmas Day but that day he said it was supposed to rain and not the next day, and the next day turned out to be this one warm, sunny, blue sky day that was beautiful to be out walking, boy when he's right he's right.

Staying in

I feel like I did a fair amount of staying in, too—except I don't think I did, but anyway. Actually this month I've been doing a thing that I haven't done in forever: making stuff—i.e., knitting hats for the PUSSYHAT PROJECT, or well, I knitted a pussyhat for Riley and then I sort of couldn't stop making pussyhats:

just making a collage for my blog, nothing to see here...

A photo posted by Pauline Pang (@allapoppy) on

Now I'm obsessed with making hats, I'm almost done with a hat for myself, it's head-shaped and everything. TK!

Knitting means you can't do anything else with your hands, which means watching a lot of TV. Meh, I usually list all the TV I've watched, but no me importa. We're watching the second season of Lucifer, which we really like, and also the second season of The Man In The High Castle, and on Xmas Day I watched The OA in its entirety while knitting and vacating my mind. Okay fine, movie-wise we watched Suicide Squad, which was not good; 2 Guns, which I fell dead asleep in the middle of, and The Magnificent Seven, which I liked all right. And a bunch of other junk.

Woosh, what a year. Much work to do ahead. Happy new year, all!




Sunday, November 27, 2016

November Review

Hoooookay, mooovin' on up. Though sort of in the context of everything else going down the crapper? By which I don't mean to be coy, the horrendous prospect of Donald Trump as the president of the United States and, worse to me, the parlous state of discourse in this house divided. Perhaps this itself has been galvanizing to me, I surely do appreciate that the country flushed itself just to cheer up little old me. But mostly I think the Lexapro is working, I emailed my doctor a couple weeks ago that I thought it was working but was I supposed to *know* that it was working? But I'm not having any side effects so it's no skin off my nose to keep taking it, so then I was out on a little walk mit der schweetums and was chirping about how much I loved my shoes and totally flashed back to the time that I got baked on vicodin, haha. It's kind of just like that, without the dry heaves and lockjaw.

Well, we shall see! I'm working on some other interesting stuff with my therapist, too.

November picks:

My neat schedule was scattered for most of the month, I decided to up my therapist to every week from every other week and that more than anything threw me off, though I've also been trying to pick up where I left off with figuring out who my representatives are and that had to be fit into my life, too.

Luckily I had really low expectations for this month.

HOME: Make a better place

1. Pick anything.

I started the month picking up little piddly tasks—making chicken broth, sorting laundry, setting the thermostat for winter— and finished out the month with a couple good projects:

I seasoned the two cast iron pans that Box and Brawla gave me, I used these instructions from Serious Eats, though for the oil I used Crisco, I read that someplace else. They turned out amazing!

woww #castiron what should i make in them

A photo posted by Pauline Pang (@allapoppy) on

I want to cover our little odd-shaped couch, but I have almost no ability to visualize how anything works in 3D. I had to physically work it out with a scrap of fabric. I'm looking forward to finishing this because the times before when I've done something nice for my surroundings have been really uplifting.

really ridiculous how painful this was to puzzle out, i'm trying to make a couch cover

A photo posted by Pauline Pang (@allapoppy) on


Asking what I can do for my country also falls under HOME: I've made phone calls to Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, my senators, and my representative opposing Bannon and supporting Obamacare, sent emails to my alderman asking him to support measures to protect Muslims, Latinos, and blacks in this city, and to Obama asking him to demilitarize the police at Standing Rock, and mailed a postcard, again, opposing Bannon:

#postcardavalanche #stopbannon

A photo posted by Pauline Pang (@allapoppy) on

Though honestly demanding action from my representatives is not really satisfying to me, I won't abdicate my responsibility to do my part with that but I prefer my own agency at the end of the day. I was poking around Volunteer Match for something I could do, it was interesting what appealed to me and what didn't. I didn't want to write. I didn't want to raise awareness. I wanted to work. In a minute this thing about a footwashing clinic popped up, so I sent them an a email. I wasn't really expecting to hear back very soon, I figured it likely that a volunteer organization would have their hands full enough to not be able to attend immediately to my need to feel like I was making a difference. But, Barbara from the foot clinic emailed back in a day asking if I could come in that weekend. So, I did. It was pretty much just what I thought it would be, and just what I wanted. The clinic is the third Saturday of the month, it's simple physical work and I feel like I especially understand the problem as a trainer. Though it's the opposite of what I work with as a trainer—undoing what almost always sitting does to the body. Homeless people are almost always standing, that's going to do something else to a body not to mention their feet. Not that I'm there as a trainer at all, just fill the buckets from the sink and fill the foot baths from the buckets, then empty the foot baths into the big bucket and empty the big bucket into the sink. I suppose what I bring to the party is, lifting that big bucket ain't no thang when you can squat proper.

SYSTEMS: Sharpen the saw

2. Pick anything.

Well, I'm sharpening my brain-saw with my therapist once a week. And, I have a new crown. In my mouth, not on my head. And guess what, I finally ordered those damn glasses. Lol, I get bifocals now.

I'm also putting together a new chart for my life, which is the interesting thing that I'm working on with my therapist. See, this is how I do, circumspicere. I dig myself out of depression by writing myself a routine (in chart form) and then I'm good for a while. Then the routine starts to feel routine and I get depressed and I trash the routine and then I'm good for a while. Then I get anxious. Haha. So I write a new routine. Around and around and around. And you know that's worked all my life, I have been seen as very functional and not even as depressed until after my stroke; that in itself has been quite isolating. My therapist is sort of pro-routine, which is sort of surprising to me. I think the self-help that I've been soaking in has been mostly of the busting out of routine nature. Anyway my therapist wants me to put together a routine and see what happens, and if it starts to feel routine and I want to trash it, then we are going to talk about that.

PLAY: Study movement and muscles

3. Keep watching Functional Patterns videos.

Erk, idk, I only have one day left to do this if I'm going to do this at all...

[ETA 11/29/16: Done!]

PASTIME: Write alla Poppy

4. Keep editing and publishing recipes.

Not done, I didn't even do November Eats this month. I wasn't even going to do this review, but I started feeling cheerful about my shoes and in any case these reviews are actually useful to me. Eats, not so much. I know what I eat, I don't have to look back on what I've eaten. This is the state of the blog at the moment, I have to figure out what it's for.

Going out

Kind of a light going out month, early in the month I went to the South Side Pie Challenge with Problem and Karma:

sweet and salty pumpkin pie, savory sweet potato pie, buttermilk pie

A photo posted by Pauline Pang (@allapoppy) on

The next weekend me and der schweetums rode bikes to Minerva's to watch UFC 205, and a couple weeks after that Box and Brawla hosted an early thanksgiving at the Aloha Palace, and last weekend I went to see Fantastic Beasts with Biggie.

Staying in

It turns out that MJ really likes Harold's Fried Chicken, he normally hates talking on the phone but he's happy to call Harold's and place our order and then go pick it up. He texts me at work on Fridays to ask when I'm coming home so he knows when to call, haha. Though work is winding down and I don't work late so much. So Friday nights we have fried chicken and watch TV, this month we watched this SyFy series The Expanse that's based on a famous series of books, which I got into reading for a couple weeks. Then we fell into a nest of action movie duds: Mechanic: Resurrection, Ghosts of Mars, Oblivion, and the remake of Point Break. I thought I had pretty low standards for action movies, but it turns out I need a story and characters to resonate with. Huh. We did also watch The Man Who Knew Infinity, which I liked. I like movies about math. That's like I love space but have less than zero interest in going into space myself.

Yeah, nope. Nope nope nope.

December picks:

Let's keep it simple, shall we?

HOME: Make a better place to live in

1. Pick anything.

SYSTEMS: Sharpen the saw

2. Pick anything.

PLAY: Study movement and muscles

3. Keep watching Functional Patterns videos?

PASTIME: Write alla Poppy

4. Figure out what this blog is for.


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