Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Years Eve and December Review

new years eve

We're going to Problem's tomorrow for New Years Day, so we're having hoppin john tonight. The lads are ready to party. Happy New Year!!

It feels mostly like December has been a Winterval production, which is as it should be. Quiet on the people front, busy on the me front.

December's picks:


3. Cleaning is on hold under after the holiday!

The thing that has to be done during Winterval, I decided, is putting the plastic on the windows. Preparing for winter, right? DONE.


4. Structural integration ten series to finish!
5. But the big thing this month is my holiday, Winterval.

Not quite done with either, Winterval's not over obviously and I missed a bodywork appointment because I had to have, wait for it, a root canal. Remember, my toothache. Yay.

Annd, I got a smartphone. Ahhh. I hate it.


6. Figure out a weekly/monthly time to work on admin/business development stuff.

Ooh, done! I have implemented new best practices: set times to email clients to confirm appointments, prep before appointments, and post—i.e., take notes—after appointments. I'm also taking a trainer holiday between Xmas and New Years, ever striving to be a good example of self care. Maybe I'll take one in summer, too? And I have a set time to do a little thing every week for business development, let's see what comes out of that.



7. Figure out a plan or schematic for how this is supposed to go...

Ooh, also done. I have this set up in my timetracker, what's alla Poppy and what's Nomnomnomicon (my new blog) and when I have time to work on them? What I've been doing for Nom is getting together all my photo assets, FINALLY done with that, omg that took forever.


December ended up being pretty OFF people, which I sorely needed. No offense, people.

8. Breakfast with Sparty
9. Wine Party chez Trouble
10. Lunch and Christmas concert with family
11. King Spa with A-Bomb

I did have breakfast with Sparty, that was nice. We went to Whisk, it was good. (I am the worst food reviewer ever.) I cancelled on wine party, that was the day after my root canal and I was on antibiotics. We did go to my niece's concert, that was nice. And King Spa was cancelled, A-Bomb was sick.

Oh, I did go to this Logan Square Skate Night on a whim, it was fun to do something on a whim. I ran into Riley and Mangle and skated around with them a bit. Still know how.

Oh and just last night, I met Jen from my Power 30 group. Weee.


0. Cosmos
1. Idk, I'm running out of stuff again...
2. Theory of Everything, A Beautiful Mind

Type 0: Cosmos got me through most of December, but oh noesss I finished it. I tried NDT's Inexplicable Universe, too shouty, and also David Attenborough's Planet Earth and Life, really kind of the opposite of what I want: what like about Cosmos is it zooms me out, the planet shows zoom in, nice closeup of all the suffering on the little blue dot :(

For Type 1, I think all I did was finish off that season of Hawaii Five-0. Until I started Arrow, oy vey.

Der schweetums and I watched lots of good Type 2 stuff this month: we finished season four of Longmire (srsly wtf), and we did watch The Theory of Everything and A Beautiful Mind, and also Birdman and Pawn Sacrifice, and we stuck our toe in The Flash, which is what got me stuck on Arrow. But we put The Flash on hold and have been watching Ash Vs. Evil Dead, which der schweetums loves. Then we finished up with the original Star Wars movies, Empire and Jedi, so then we went out to see The Force Awakens. Weee.

January Picks

I have this mapped out on my power grid, do a little bit of cleaning every week or every month at least, a little bit of admin, a little bit of business development, a little bit of blogging... these are the things I want to get work on this year.


3. 2016 means ASSAULT ON THE FRONT ROOM. Make it nice :|


4. Aagh get up to speed with this phone...


5. TBD.



6. Whatever gets written for aP...
7. Start writing Nom!


8. New Years Day chez Problem, maybe I will take pictures with my phonnne
9. Reschedule King Spa?


0. Find something to replace Cosmos, or start from the top...
1. Eeeegh I guess I'm watching Arrow
2. Ash vs Evil Dead to finish, after that TBD

Eh, these aren't the pickiest picks. Not the planniest plan, but sometimes that's the way to go.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Boxing Days
 set up agenda

In all seriousness, Winterval has a purpose. Winter is hard for me, I get SAD. Which I guess I can talk about now that I'm out as a person with depression. An obvious function of all the winter holidays is to get folks through goddamn winter, and Winterval certainly is a child and thief of all those traditions. And probably the best way to deal with winter, or with just life in general, is to see and accept it for what it is. Actually the first thing I did to help myself with winter was to unstick myself from thinking that winter is at the end of the year, that OND is winter. Listen, winter is not at the end of the year; it's at the beginning of the year: JFM is winter. OND is fall, look at the calendar! Because if you start slouching toward winter pretty much after Halloween, the real horror is that it's still moving its slow thighs in March, or sometimes in Chicago you get a surprise blizzard in April and I feel like maybe once there was one in May though I think I might be getting a little dramz there. But anyway, that still leaves you feeling winter is SIX MONTHS LONG. Which is why my first internet handle was Persephone, by the by.

More recently I've unstuck myself from the thought that winter starts in November because that's when it starts to get cold and sometimes snows. It's still fall! If that's not your idea of fall, what's easier to change: your idea of fall or how fall actually is and has been every year of your life. Change. Your idea. Of fall. It's stupid to be angry that what actually is doesn't conform to the idea of it in your head. ONLY OCTOBER is crisp piles of brightly colored leaves and pumpkin spice lattes and all that. Yes, that's fall, everybody's favorite season, but the rest of fall is the dying of the light; that's fall, too. It just occurs to me, do you know what fall is? It's like on Season 9 of Grey's Anatomy when McSteamy is cheerful and talking after the horrible plane crash, but ::spoiler:: it's just the surge and he knows it, and then he totally dies. Yeah, that. Fall is the surge, and then everything dies. That is fall, in its entirety. I am going to accept that. And deal with fall as it is, in addition to winter.

But, winter. This here winter. I love this quote from Groundhog Day, I'm sure I've quoted it before:

When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter.
and have resolved to try this Norwegian secret to enjoying a long winter. Which is getting back to where I started, the purpose of Winterval, to prepare me for winter. Or really to prepare me for the new year, for a good start on the next leg of my life trek, and it just so happens that this next leg is through winter. So I'm preparing for both those things, the trek and the weather.

(Other times I start new legs: my birthday, and Labor Day; you can take the Asian out of school, but you can't take school out of the Asian. The weather is fine for both of those, though.)

For the trek I need:

  • primarily, my agenda for new year
  • as well as various other systems that I am continually updating, my timetracker and my powergrid
  • and a thing to put into those things, which is to say, a plan
  • maybe a review, I like how Chris Guillebeau does his annual review

Idk about the plan or the review, the days between Xmas and New Year are when all this is supposed to happen but I've been sort of depressed this week. Haha. But look, I made the agenda:


All stamped in gold and shit.

Should I post an agenda-making tutorial? I'm getting pretty good at this.

coloring pages inside agenda

Look, I put coloring pages in the middle.

To make the number of pages work out, finally figured that out.

charging station

Look at what der schweetums made!!!

Ahhhhh, it's so good. It floats! It's a leftover IKEA shelf from nevermind that long story, it's been laying around and MJ glued—not nailed, to preserve the floating effect—two pieces of trim underneath to make room for the cables to snake underneath. OMG, GAMECHANGER. I've been so bad with charging my phone, but now I put it right on the station when I get home and plug it right in. I do inordinately love a place for everything.

From left to right, that's my tablet (hand-me-down from MJ, I only use it for listening to music or watching type 1 TV), my phone, this box of cards with quotes from the Dalai Lama, and MJ made that little stand that the card's propped on for the tablet actually, he chiseled out that angled slot with a chisel, which made him so attractive to me. What, I am not good at making physical things and he is; it's attractive. The little package is a present I made for somebody for New Years Day. The round thing is a bluetooth speaker that I need to mend with sugru, MJ's phone and tablet go here too and in the back is his tiny drone that I got him between his birthday and xmas, because that's how I do presents. Those are not doilies, by the way, for under our phones. I finally learned how to cut six-sided snowflakes, so they have been laying around. I'm making giant ones for the bedroom!

For the weather I need:

  • warmth
  • and light
  • and just get hygge with it
Haha I didn't make that up, I heard that from Freddie R. Knott. I have no specific plans for this either, just the idea of the warmth and the light—and holding in my head that actually winter is when the days get longer— and the hygge. When I get sad I will come back to these ideas, and try to come up with stuff.

I'm also supposed to throw shit out over boxing days, but I have a pretty full boat for the rest of this week. I threw out my stupid ideas of fall and winter though, how's that for a start.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Xmas Day
 orangenwaffle breakfast
 open presents

spaceship of the imagination

Santa brought Odie and Kevin a spaceship of the imagination!

hypnotic waffle

"Bah, I'll just make a giant waffle with the rest of this batter."

I've made a lot of progress on my trust issues this year, though. This is the first year I did not butter this nonstick waffle iron (I've had it for nine years, it was a housewarming gift from my darlingest friend Sarvi) and guess what. It doesn't stick!

club soda and OJ with orange bitters

Fill a glass with mostly club soda, add a big splash of orange juice, and a few dashes of orange bitters.

orangenwaffles with blueberries and duck bacon

Orangenwaffles with blueberries and duck bacon.

pluto: never forget

Der schweetums is really getting the hang of this present thing.

it actually opens

It's a working spaceship, obvi.

ninja in space

Ninja in space!!!

dancing monkey

His card game is getting pretty strong, too.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Xmas Eve
 chinese takeout

xmas eve waiting for santa

Waiting for Santa.

Important things to remember about Xmas Eve chinese takeout:

  • order almond cookies as a special treat
  • definitely order enough food so that you can eat leftover chinese on Xmas Day
  • suggested order: hot and sour soup, potstickers, pork lo mein, mon lung chicken, mongolian beef, almond cookies, plus rice and fortune cookies
  • milky Tazo zen (green and lemongrass) tea is very good for dunking almond cookies in

I love this, in so many ways this is what Winterval is all about:

The only thing scarier to me than something ending is a new thing just beginning, which means I’ve been on edge since November. If you’re like me, you’re balancing holiday planning with wrapping up year-end business, while getting extremely introspective about where you are and where you want to be.
THE WORLD IS YOUR CARB. I hope Santa brings you everything that you asked for!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Winterval Day
 potato pancake dinner

winterval day potato pancake dinner

Okey doke, I got my act together for my potato pancake dinner. I made the applesauce when I got home last night from lights, and I made the potato pancakes when I got home tonight from work. I'm not vegan anymore, not that I wasn't a pretty poor vegan, so here again are deveganized potato pancakes, which is to say, potato pancakes. And they're not paleo either, if you keep track of such things.

For the applesauce:
2 apples, this time I used Jonagold
2 Tbsp sugar or to taste
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Peel, core, and cut up the apples into chunks. Put the apples into a saucepan with just enough water to cover and cook uncovered over medium high heat until the apples are soft. Mash the apples, add the sugar and lemon juice, and refrigerate until needed.

For the potato pancakes:
3 russet potatoes
1 small onion
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup matzo meal
1 tsp salt or to taste

Peel and cut up the potatoes and onion into chunks. Grind them together in a food processor, in batches, until fairly fine. Transfer to a large bowl and add egg, matzo meal, and salt to taste.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Drop heaping tablespoons of potatoes into the hot oil, fry for about two minutes per side, and drain on paper towels.

Eat potato pancakes topped with sour cream, or in this case greek yogurt, and applesauce.

Winterval Day
 eight presents 2015

hairdryer baby oilfrank o'hara poems sheet masktiny chapstick chalk lettering booknight cream lotion

OH MY GAHHD around Halloween I had a PLAN, I was going to finally get a smartphone and my first eight apps were going to be my eight presents this year... but then I starting buying things, nothing huge, I have less than no money right now, which also kept me from pulling the trigger on getting the smartphone. Which facebook memories reminds me, I have been talking about since 2013. I WILL, I will get one! I have a plan. A new plan.

Also I edited the schedule of Winterval a little bit, so now Eight Presents is happening on Winterval Day. Which is today:

  1. Conair Infinit Pro hairdryer - My old hairdryer finally gave up the ghost while der schweetums was putting the plastic on his windows, Shanna's friends just happened to be talking about hairdryers and this was the winner. It was on sale and everything, seems decent. My plastic is TIGHT.
  2. Travel size Johnson & Johnson baby oil - Weirdly I have wanted a little baby oil for a while, because I want to try this thing with the witch hazel and the baby oil, though I see that was in August. Well, I will be ready next August >:|
  3. Two volumes of Frank O'Hara poems - I came to these because I take that little pause at lunch, remember, and then mein wifey posted this thing about how to read poetry, and that made me want to read poems and I didn't know where to start, and then I remembered that I love Frank O'Hara, and I read a bit about him and, yes, I do love him. I feel like if I wrote poems, I would write poems like Frank O'Hara, if that's not too douchey to say. The thing I read said not to start with the whole collected works, I picked Lunch Poems because lunch and Meditations in an Emergency because meditation.
  4. O'Three Waterising Mask - Sheet mask authentically sourced from Korean mom! Because Ronnie and I were talking about skincare, now that I actually talk to the people at work, and she got one from her mom for me, "makes your skin moisturizing & vitalizing," lol. This is what I'm doing for Xmas day!
  5. ChapIce tiny chapstick - I don't think I've appreciated anything more this year than I did this tiny chapstick that the dental assistant handed to me during the break between my root canal and my crown. Well I hope I appreciate it, I paid $1500 for it. (JK, that's not why I appreciate it.)
  6. The Complete Book of Chalkboard Lettering - EEEEE! I have plans.
  7. Aveeno Active Naturals Ultra Calming Nourishing Night Cream - Astonishingly I used up the jar of night cream that I started this summer. I have not historically been good about nighttime, well, hygiene in general, and skincare in particular. But I guess I am at that time of my life when it seems serious, and now I'm good as gold. Or maybe I finally set up a habit stack that works for me. Or maybe I'm less depressed. Who can say! I specially found the Ultra Calming night cream to match my other ultra calming products, which I've used for years and years and love them; but I must say, this ultra calming night cream sits up on my skin in a way that the positively radiant night cream didn't and I'm not sure that I like that. Idk, maybe I will switch to all Positively Radiant stuff for the next round. Maybe I'm done being ultra calm, time to be positively radiant?
  8. Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 15 - Astonishingly also, I used up my body lotion! So serious about moisturizing, Munt. Good job.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Erev Winterval


Win-ter-vaaal is here...

It's supposed to be potato pancake dinner tonight, but I didn't plan my day right and was doing the week's cooking right up until there was this Walk on the 606 with Light that I wanted to observe for my own festival of light; nice of the city to arrange that for me. And ironically I was out of cooking oil, I was thinking out of the box that we could stop by the Jewel on our way back from lights. But then as long as I was out of the box, I thought we could just stop by The Hat for gyros tonight and do potato pancakes tomorrow. The Hat does really good gyros, so we did that and when we got back we lit the first candle for Winterval.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Catalogue of a Friendship
 volume 2

chapter 287 - in the gap without a helmet
chapter 286 - imma rip off your arm and use it to scratch my head!!!
Chapter 285: adventures with the Mewkaroo!
chapter 284 beautiful gut biome
chapter 283 - the usual numbing agents
christmas present for zombea <--haha sekrit thread
chapter 282 a squid among clams
chapter 281 - and now our watch begins, winterval is coming!
chapter 280 - happy thanksgiving shoalies
chapter 279 - freiheitangst
chapter 278 - crockpot intervention
chapter 277 - sheesh
chapter 276 - eight apps!
chapter 275 - judgy cat cucumbers
Chapter 274: Maybe a tiny Buddha, Maybe not
chapter 273 thanksgiving sans food
chapter 272 - a whole new ruleset
chapter 271 - winner winner chicken dinner
chapter 270 - spilt boners
chapter 269 - drone adventures
chapter 268 - shemar moore problems
Chapter 267: Space problems
chapter 266 - suncatcher
chapter 265 - the friday at 6pm dance
chapter 264 - retraction
chapter 263 - in the gap the air is so thin
chapter 262 - the trouble with trouble
chapter 261 - i came in like a firewall
chapter 260 - fallin' friday
chapter 259 - womp womp wednesday
chapter 258 - fresh start monday
chapter 257 - math
chapter 256 - stuffed things
chapter 255 - a shocking lack of clams and squids
chapter 254 - DON'T LOOK
chapter 253 - charmed i'm sure
chapter 252 - thank god his hair is back to normal
chapter 251 - a dog basking in the sun
chapter 250 - married life!
chapter 249 - i came in like a melon ball
chapter 248 - rinsibgt
chapter 247 - oatmeal chum
chapter 246 - ziva david's bridal

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Winterval Advent
 and now our watch begins

and now our watch begins

EEEEE I thought maybe I was stuck in an endless groundhog day of wanting an advent calendar every year at this time of year, but this year the stars have aligned, albeit four days late for this year, because I of course am counting down to Winterval and not Christmas. Idk if the number of drawers will always work or not, I am not good enough at abstract math to figure that out and by abstract math I may mean counting. Shanna scouted this out, and Biggie and I both got it; but whereas I obediently numbered the drawers like the good little Asian I am, Biggie drew an amazing design on hers literally outside the box(es). She also has a brilliant use for hers, which I shan't steal her thunder and let her tell you herself if she wants.

Monday, November 30, 2015

November Review

I was imagining a little ebb in November for a nice little ebb-flow rhythm, but October was flow and November was more flow... and that is how I always get in trouble. I did significantly slow my roll over Thanksgiving weekend, which was the best.

November's picks:


1. Clean kitchen to finish?

Nooo, not finished. But I did the stove and hutch areas, sooooo improved. And now all that's left is the little strip away from the back door where the coffee cart is and where der schweetum's project is parked for the nonce. Which we had to move for the landlord to take away the air conditioner, so could see that it's not too bad underneath all that. So we put it back and I'm at peace with it overwintering there.



2. Last neurologist appointment!

Done, but doesn't feeel done? I think I'm done with him. Which means done with this stroke?

I do have this new toothache, which I don't know if I should just go to the dentist or is this another sinus infection that I should see my PCP about or am I batshit crazy and need a head doctor. Sigh. If I do need a head doctor, I want to go to Rush though. For the record my neurologist was great and the nicest of all my doctors, but Elmhurst is far—a million thanks to Biggie for taking three hours out of her day to cart me there and back.

I don't think I've mentioned that for the past couple months I've been getting structural integration work done by Maul, which has been important and great and I highly recommend especially for newly retired derby girls.


3. Revisit muscles and movement, per The Power of Posture.
4. Maybe one admin project per month, maybe order postcards.

Not done, I have some thinking to do about how much time I have available and for what. All I really made time for this month playwise was staying ahead of who needed new workouts, what Stephen Covey would call Q1 urgent work and obviously staying ahead is better than not staying on top of that. But, I want to make time for Q2 important work too.

To give myself credit, I have significantly transitioned in the past two months from basically flying by the seat of my pants with four clients to staying on top of six clients, where for the former I could keep everything in my head and for the latter I need to keep it more organized in the cloud, which requires a little more desk work—which is to say, desk time—than was previously required. And now I want to level up again and put a little more desk time into admin and business development... and I do think I did all this in the right order. I didn't do a lot of planning and organizing at the outset! One, two, four things kind of organize themselves, you know? I guess I would recommend letting things be fruitful and multiply first, and then organize when they have multiplied enough that they need to be organized. Like I don't know what came first, the chicken or the egg, but I do think eggs first, then egg carton. [ETA: Though for actual eggs, I guess I would start with the egg carton.]



6. Nom Phase I to finish?
7. Not to mention, alla Poppy is changing. Maybe pay a little mind to that.

Not at all done!

The battle royale is all on this side, where HOME and SYSTEMS on the other side have staked their claims (though I will be done with my bodywork at the end of the year, which will free up some time that I'm not counting on) and where PLAY and PASTIME have to compete for the last bit of ground. And, there are three kinds of pastime. Though the real fight is between writing my (two) blogs and seeing my peeps. Watching TV is not an active pursuit, you'll be happy to hear; that's my default rest mode.

Anyway all I managed to do this month blogwise was flip through little bottleneck tasks and that's not nothing, cooking and photographing things that I need for The Big Write (for Nom).

Oh and, I wrote a couple three big things for alla Poppy: Grief and the Maiden, Shit's Getting Real: gratitude edition, and Shit's Getting Real: meditation edition. That stuff I write in my morning pages, my 750 words. I'm writing this review in my 750 words, too. I was super productive with that for a couple weeks while I was adjusting to daylight savings time, I wish I could do that all the time. But, I have adjusted. And sleep trumps all, and I don't mean that in a slacker layabout sense. I mean that as trainer valorizes sleep as a real important thing.


8. Longmire season four to finish.

Mehhh, the long arc on Longmire made me lose interest. So I started watching Jessica Jones. Which also has a long arc, bleh. Not a fan of the long arc, at least it's only thirteen episodes.

Have I mentioned this already? There are three types of watching that I do: type 0 is pretty much not watching as I fall asleep, currently being filled by Cosmos (I'm onto Neil deGrasse Tyson now, not as soothing as Carl Sagan but still works.) Type 1 is half-watching whilst I do other stuff, where my procedurals tend to go, this month was another season of Criminal Minds, another season of Bones... and the first season of Legends... and halfway through another season of Hawaii Five-0. Type 2 is actually watching with der schweetums, where Longmire was supposed to boldly go and might have failed, and where Jessica Jones just made it to the finish line.

Moviewise we're doing much better, der schweetums proposed The Imitation Game. Which, I forgot that Alan Turing is the saddest story, and thankfully remembered just in time before I was completely destroyed. You know I remember when I was in my twenties at Squaw Valley Writers' conference, one of the editors saying that she wasn't so interested anymore in young writers talking out of their belly buttons and preferring fiction or indeed nonfiction that could teach her something that she didn't know about the world, and feeling depressed about that because my belly button was all that I knew and Write What You Know. And that was then, this is now and I am probably the age that editor was, still writing out of my belly button because that's still all I know, but I get now what she was saying, I totally prefer fiction and non-fiction that teaches me stuff I don't know. But where I was going with that was, next we're going to watch The Theory of Everything and maybe after that A Beautiful Mind, for a little tragic science and math festival.

ETA: Oh and, The Martian!


So lol, November was supposed to be OFF seeing people, fat chance. Once you get the ball rolling, that thing picks up mass and speed like woah. To wit:

9. Chili Weeknight at the Aloha Palace
10. Wine Club chez Trouble
11. Chubby Run with Trouble and friends

Trouble started this Chubby Runner's Club where we meet at a donut shop, run away from the donut shop, then run back to the donut shop, and then eat donuts. Haha! In truth I don't really care that much for donuts or for running for donuts, I'm more donuting for runs.

12. Last Feed with meine frau
13. Star Wars 5K with Biggie and Outlaw

This did not involve running, it was supposed to be a Star Wars marathon but I only made it through the first one so it was just a Star Wars 5K. Haha.

14. Chubby Run with Problem
Problem and I did not harm any donuts in the making of this run, we had fancy juice after instead.

15. WCR Round Robin
16. Friendsgiving at the Aloha Palace
17. Black Friday Grief Chicken with Problem and Minerva

I kinda do want to talk about these. But by talk I mean, blog. About seeing people. Where seeing people is what hampers my ability to blog o.O

December Picks

I am liking these monthly reviews, really looking forward to doing them and combing out how I want to do them in 2016. Even though there's still a month of 2015 left. But, now we're going into holiday season where not a lot gets done. Probably good to note that though, to prevent freakout.


3. Cleaning is on hold under after the holiday!


4. Structural integration ten series to finish!
5. But the big thing this month is my holiday, Winterval.


6. Figure out a weekly/monthly time to work on admin/business development stuff.



7. Figure out a plan or schematic for how this is supposed to go...


8. Breakfast with Sparty
9. Wine Party chez Trouble
10. Dinner and Christmas concert with family
11. King Spa with A-Bomb

I am missing Riley's Breakfast with Santa again, sigh. I cannot waiiit for King Spa.


0. Cosmos
1. Idk, I'm running out of stuff again...
2. Theory of Everything, A Beautiful Mind

Woah, did you see what I did there. I'm weird. Idk if I shouldn't just wean myself off half-watching TV, it's definitely a crutch. Or maybe wean myself onto music or podcasts or whatever.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Shit's Getting Real
 meditation edition

Well, idk how real shit's getting with meditation. I started to write about meditation and then that went sideways into gratitude, it's gratitude that's getting more real and that's when SGR popped into my head for a title; and then it was getting so long, I figured I'd split it into a two-parter. Where shit's getting real in Part I, but not so much in Part II. I didn't look far enough ahead, ah well. Meditation's getting something else, though.

Historically I've had an okay grasp of meditation, first of all. I've been doing some form of meditation since 2000 or 2001, picking it back up and putting it back down at points—June 2009, October 2014— and being okay with that, and picking it up again this August 2015 and more or less holding steady since then.


Here's an appropriately-sized, not entirely legible image from 2009.

Way back when I first started meditation in 2001, I started with the parade. When I started again in 2009, I started breath counting and played a bit with the path through the body—i.e., skating laps. Then when I returned last October, I returned to breath counting with the parade as my backup mechanism. And then when I picked back up this August, I picked back up with breath counting with the parade as backup and that's pretty much what I've been doing since then. But now that's changing in kind of an interesting way, so I thought I'd write about that.

Breath counting with the parade as backup is counting my breaths up to four and starting over, over and over, until the timer goes ding, and when my mind wanders to the parade of thoughts, see those thoughts as the never-ending parade, name the thoughts that as passing by, and gently return to counting breaths. This has worked great for me and I recommend it, but only if it works for you.

And also, but.

But it entered my mind... well, what entered my mind was that song Cat's in the Cradle. Super sad song, right? Because a thing that came up in my therapy was that I felt like I had no friends. (Sorry, actual friends that I do have and did have then.) Raise your hand if you predicted that my therapist annoyingly asked, Are you a friend to yourself?

It's annoying because being a friend to myself doesn't count, now does it!

Annoying therapist: why don't you count?

Dammit. Mind blown.

So I started to think what if my friend wanted to bring up a thought. Would I smile beatifically at her, boop her on the nose, name her thought, and gently return her to counting breaths? I gotcher boop right here, Poppy. No, I would listen to her thought! I would let her talk. Because I'm a good friend like that. Am I a good friend like that to me?

So my meditation is changing to breath counting and ...listening to the parade, I guess. I start with counting breaths but when the parade goes past my house, I don't just boop it on the nose and go back in the house. I say hello, I suppose. I ask how it is. Sort of like that.

Listen, it's still the parade. It's still seven-six trombones and a hundred and ten cornets and elephants and flying monkeys, I still try not to be carried away by the flying monkeys. I pet the monkeys, let them know they're cared for, and politely excuse myself and invite them to join me? No? Okily dokily.

And that's what convinced me about anti-gratitude. I don't think I'm a very good friend to myself if I only listen to myself when I have nice things to say. I'm a good friend to myself if I don't have anything nice to say, I still listen. I wasn't in good enough shape to listen to it all before, but I think I'm in good enough shape now.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Winterval Advent

HATS ON 2015

OMG LOL, this pic. Biggie randomly emailed it to me and Shanna a couple weeks ago and I put it as my profile pic for #tbt, it's from Shanna's going-away party in 2010 I think. Whatever's my profile pic on Black Friday gets the HATS ON treatment.

And now our watch begins, Winterval is coming! I'm totally going to say that every Winterval Advent from now on.

I did fun things this Black Friday, chiefly rode my bike in not too nice weather—forties, windy, with a light rain—to Gus's Fried Chicken where I met up with Problem and Minerva and tried this new, very good fried chicken restaurant. I was going to do a fried chicken quest, but the quest is already over: actually the first place I went was Harold's—also very good, and blocks away from my house. And Gus's is extremely good and easy to get to via the Milwaukee bus for more festive occasions, done and done.

To do before Erev Winterval (12/20):

\\ put plastic on the windows
// get tea lights
// get eight presents
// get presents for Josh and Cara
// get presents for Odie and Kevin
} Cara's xmas concert usually happens, too

I didn't go to Cara's concert last year! Boy the more I remember this time last year, the more I think it's no wonder I had a stroke.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Shit's Getting Real
 gratitude edition

I have historically not gotten gratitude, basically feeling like I was naturally grateful and not needing to pay particular mind to gratitude. Which, maybe that was legit. Also being pretty severely inclined to doing rather than being, and so treating gratitude like a verb: identify what you want! Get rid of what you don't want that you have! Go out and get what you want that you don't have! Chop chop! You know what else I have historically not gotten? Forgiveness. I sort of get that now. Also unconditional love. I still ...don't really get that. Not sorry. Just saying if you're looking to get advice from me, I'm not offering advice and I'm a person who doesn't understand unconditional love.

Things look different from the bottom of a sinkhole, though. This is my version of shit go down when it's a billion dollars on an elevator. LOL bully for you Beyonce, I woke up like this. So in September I figured I'd give gratitude a chance, and I have to say it worked for me this time. Because I'm me, I made a google form and then in October I tuned up my form a bit:

grateful and proud

Where I structured it a bit so that I phrase my gratitude in the form of I am grateful for [x] because that means [y] so that [z]. Where Y is something that caused the thing that I'm grateful for, and Z is something that the thing I'm grateful for caused, little gratitude centipede. Then I dropped the Doubler, which I didn't get, and I substituted pride. Why not. Where gratitude is for something that was done for you, and pride is for something that you did yourself, I think that's another nice way to divide the waters from the waters. You can see that I am operating at a 3:1 ratio of gratitude to pride, possibly because I thought I would only be able to think of one thing that I did for myself per day. That number is up, but I still think it's spiritually healthier to be balanced toward gratitude.

My point: there's no right way. Not only is there no right way for all the people in the world, there's no right way for just one person for all time. Different things are going to be right at different times. Writing is hard because it's hard to get things to sit still so that they're in focus, but I'm writing this because I want to show something in the act of not sitting still.

At the same time as this is happening, my meditation is also shifting its feet and I've been thinking about that, and while I was thinking about that, this popped up, another example of the universe providing in the form of the internet.

For what moment today am I most grateful? For what moment today am I least grateful?
Woah, an anti-gratitude practice. In some ways I appreciate even more that it's all couched in uncomfortable (for me) talk about God's loving presence, you kind of assume that the godly people are the ones who are out of touch with how life can suck, and by "you" I mean me. Me kind of assume. Me U ass.

Anti-gratitude! Mind blown!

Again I will say, different things for different times. I think I was pretty well drowning in anti-gratitude at the bottom of the sinkhole, so thanks but no thanks! But now that I'm more or less at street level, the queen will see you now. Wait, I forgot again what gratitude is:

the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness
So then, anti-gratitude is the opposite: the quality of being not thankful; readiness to show that you do not appreciate...haha I don't think I have to go full "he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue" here, baby steps, but how often do you politely accept something that you DO NOT WANT, let's just try do not accept and send it back. Frankly I don't think I have the ponytail even just for that, I was raised to be politeAF. I don't know if I want to be impolite. Let's start with saying to myself that I don't appreciate, fetus steps.

Because the goal is not sunshine and lollipops. My goal is not. Sunshine and lollipops are just to lure me so that I'm not quite so far back in the cave. And sunshine and lollipops are loud, so you hear about them. The cave, sort of, is silent. But my goal is not to be sunny all the time! I mean I've read Dune, that way lies drinking your own pee. My goal is to be sunny at times and rainy at times, sunny when I'm sunny and rainy when I'm rainy. My goal is to be balanced. My goal is to be real.

And real talk, some shit you just do not appreciate.

Anti-gratitude, it's an interesting choice.

00:06:10 Yeah. Yeah, I'll be fine.
00:06:13 It's- It's no problem.
00:06:16 Bacon, it's an interesting choice.
00:06:19 Yeah. Yeah.
00:06:22 A lot of interesting possibilities for bacon.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Grief and the Maiden

lunch on the stoop

So I'm done with therapy (for now) and this is what I learned. If you're just catching up now with this story 1) I was planning to retire from roller derby after IKC, but then 1b) I had a stroke so I didn't actually get to play in IKC, and then I retired. About which I was fiiiiine, where the extra Is mean maybe not as fine as I thought. So then I was getting my act together and taking it on the road, and then 2) I fell into a sinkhole--i.e., a deep but as it turned out not too wide depression. I was pretty deeply depressed for June, July, and August, climbed out in September, and Cup of Jo wrote this piece about her postpartum depression that was just like mine, except mine was summer and no baby, all the way through where she says "I woke up one Tuesday morning, and it was over." It might even have been a Tuesday for me, too. I love Tuesdays. Just like that, though. Just as if night had ended, and the sun came up like it always does.

I mean, "just." Three months of therapy and Power 30. Where I used my Power 30 for self-care: sleep, hygiene, hydration—it all started with drinking that glass of water—nutrition, movement, and meditation, all of which I hope to be writing up soon. And where I guess in therapy I learned to feel my feelings, which I feel dorky even saying, which in itself says something. I say everything now. Where everything doesn't mean literally everything, obvs. If you want to know why I say everything when I don't mean everything, here's a thousand more words about that. Fiiine, I say a lot more. Terrifying. I feel like I was saying a lot to begin with.

Very early on, like on day one, my therapist brought up that we could talk about why I felt sad about being done with roller derby, literally right after I had just said that I didn't feel sad about being done with derby, which honestly was a little triggering because what really consciously bothers me is that sometimes people don't seem to hear the words that are coming out of my mouth. But then again there I was sitting on her couch trying not (another clue) to cry, so I thought maybe I should keep an open mind. If you're really interested, you should take a break now to see Inside-Out because that will explain everything. Which she actually gently suggested to me.

Okay, so. Let's say that I was suppressing my sadness about being done with derby, what is that about. I think one of the things to remember is that emotions are there to initiate behavior, they're so closely linked that I forget they're not one and the same. I almost said "we forget" but I don't want to ass U me, even though I think it's a decent assumption that would make me feel like I had company. But, write what you know. I forget. I conflate. I think I was conflating a) feeling sad about being done with derby with not being done with derby. Which for me there could be no question of, not even because of the stroke. Because reasons, reasons why I had decided to retire in the first place. But also, I had a stroke! Therefore, no feeling sad. Then I was conflating b) feeling sad about being done with derby with doubting that being done with derby was the right decision, and I personally don't like going around doubting my decisions if I'm not going to change them—which this I wasn't— I think that's undermining to my confidence. Therefore, no feeling sad.

Essentially I was protecting myself from going back to derby and from doubting that not going back to derby was the right decision. Neither of which I was actually, ever, in any danger of.

When the actual danger I was in was, well, stupid Joy running around in my head trying to keep Sadness out of my core memories and fucking up my entire internal infrastructure in the process.

Because you can safely feel sad about c) death. Or worse, things similar to death that don't seem as inarguably final as death. I'm actually pretty decent with death, having had a decent amount of practice. Death is kind of easier, it just is what it is being that I don't believe in an afterlife. I mean, death isn't great. Death is bad enough, I want only death to be death and everything that isn't death to be not death.

But some things that aren't death, are death. A thing like that is almost harder to accept because it is what it is ...or is it. Because in some way it's up to you, which is awful.

Things that suck but that can't be fixed, they are what they are, sucky and unfixable. Or you choose not to fix them and let them suck and maybe die, because you can't save everything. That is a very sad situation, there's lots to be sad about that doesn't involve a) going back or b) doubting that not going back is the right decision. You can just feel sad because c) death is sad, because you'll never get that back now. I mean that's what's sad about it, that there's no getting it back. It is lost. It's okay to feel sad about losing something! It would have been okay just to feel bad that that's how my derby career was going to end. Ah endings, another clue. I'm a writer, I always want a pretty ending. Can I say we? There's a great thing to insert here that Athena said about hardly anybody's derby career ending how they want, it's the whole ride that matters. I mean, think about it: consider the sport. Consider the odds. So if not a pretty ending, a pretty story? It's like everything with pretty, you know? You can lose yourself trying to fix all the parts you don't think are pretty, when you can just feel sad about that part not being very pretty, accept your actual face—er, story—for what it is and what you can do with it now.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

October Review

Now we're cooking with gas, no whammies!

October's picks:


1. Clean kitchen to finish! Let's do this! Before the holidays!

Okay, no. But because reasons!

I did take a mighty cut at the front room though, omg sooo much better. Now it's an even more neatly, almost attractively stacked warehouse. The sweetie man continues to work on his project, which has been making for very harmonious home life :)


2. Review all (seis!) client charts, get all them straight in my head, and get them all situated in their slots in my schedule.
3. Read The Power of Posture, very stoked!

Done and done, and I also set up google calendars for all my clients to keep track of who's starting and finishing their sessions. This matters for cash flow, and also for desk work—i.e., who needs a workout written when. It's funny, the difference between four clients, which I had forever, and six. Four I could pretty easily keep in my head. Maybe my brain will grow and I'll learn to keep six in my head, but for now it takes more superstructure to keep them straight so that I'm not like a mom calling her kids by the wrong names.



4. Nom Phase I to finish.

Nooo, because reasons.


5. Actually watch when we're watching. If not, hey, do something else.

The CSI beast got out a little bit; but this like every indulgence is not about being banished, but being managed. Because sometimes the right thing to do at a given time of day is wind the fuck down, and CSI is good for that. It's important, actually, to communicate to yourself that you are a creature who ebbs and flows (and if you are a person who mostly ebbs, you would shift the emphasis to the right. The tricky part of this, high-flow people are hyperfocused on their ebbs and always think they need more flow. I can almost guarantee you that a person who calls herself lazy is working herself too damn hard. A true lazy person never thinks that he's lazy, and yes I totally did assign them genders. But, not sexes. This is a very hardworking paragraph! But ...does that mean lazy? Haha.)

I didn't really need to test this, but I have more test results that Cosmos >>>>>>> CSI for going to sleep at bedtime. Ahhh I love Cosmos, I'm finally almost done with the series. I probably can start back from the top, but I've learned from Jeff Bridges sleeping tapes and ASMR videos that things stop working when they get too familiar. So maybe I will switch to the new Cosmos on Netflix, but idk about that because I'm still mad at Neil DeGrasse Tyson about Pluto. This is not technically PASTIME, by the way, this is Sleep.

We've mostly been watching season four of Longmire, which is now out on Netflix, despite what I said about preferring movies to TV series. I really prefer one-off stories for TV series, though the trend for a while has been season-long—or even multiseason—story arcs. Aagh, a multiseason story arc: a movie is like two hours long, right? A TV season is like twenty-some episodes times forty minutes, so like thirteen hours. That's just too long of a story for me. That's the style nowadays, like I don't doubt that Breaking Bad is an artistic achievement but from episode one I knew that I couldn't commit so much time and feelings to that. There's an intermediate style where they lure me in with one-offs, but eventually the long story arc always snakes in. Longmire sort of seems like the opposite, it started with the long arc and kind of abruptly switched back to one-offs... like maybe somebody who actually makes TV shows was thinking about the stuff that I think about. The upshot being, I'm continuing with Longmire when I was thinking I could take it or leave it.

TV is interesting these days, TV is changing. TV is one of the things that makes me aware of the passage of time.

Moviewise we watched Snake Eyes because Shanna reminded me about the Nic Cage film festival project, and also The Bank Job because der schweet brought it up to backfill our ongoing Ouevre of Jason Statham project.


So, let's talk about these reasons. They were good reasons!

6. Taco Ride with Problem et al.
7. Long food date with wifey.
8. We Meat Again at the Aloha Palace a.k.a. Boxstone.

October was a huge month for seeing people, it was really great. And also, the inverse proportion between how much I see people and how much housecleaning and writing I get done was in full effect. C'est ├ža. If I'm going with the Biggie paradigm (one month on, one month off), that means November will be OFF; but there's that momentum (and also the holidays), we're invited to a fall chili night and wine party next week. And the round robin bout is coming up.

Haha, I guess I'm not going to talk about them. This post is long enough. Each of those could be a long post on its own, with pics. Idk, do I want to document my life that way? Maybe? Maybe not.

November Picks


1. Clean kitchen to finish?


2. Last neurologist appointment!


3. Revisit muscles and movement, per The Power of Posture.
4. Maybe one admin project per month, maybe order postcards.


6. Nom Phase I to finish?
7. Not to mention, alla Poppy is changing. Maybe pay a little mind to that.

8. Longmire season four to finish.

9. Chili weeknight at the Aloha Palace.
10. Wine party.
11. WCR round robin.

Happy Halloween!

happy halloween

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Happy Birthday Kevin!

happy birthday kevin

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Do You Wanna Taco Bout Day Breakfast

fresh apple clafouti with greek yogurt and toasted slivered almonds

Fresh apple clafouti with greek yogurt and toasted slivered almonds, served on the tray that I can now get to since Power 30 convinced me to throw away the two trash bags' worth of egg cartons that I had been compulsively saving on top of the tray on top of the refrigerator.

Taco ride today!!! I am soo not going to make it to Don Pedro by 11, still in my pajamas...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September Review

More huge assist from my Power 30 group, self-care on fleek! And starting to GTD even.

September's picks:


1. Clean kitchen to finish?

Not finished yet, but I did do an emergency mop of the main floor after der schweetum's project tracked a lot of grime in—erk I cannot stand to feel dirty floors with my feet, which is why I always wear socks in the house, which I recognize doesn't solve the problem—and I also went Kon-Marie on the pantry shelves, oh and all around the fridge. That was awful. Here, I will draw a map:


I've done where the gear crates used to be (omg that was the worst, that was the corner between the sink and the bedroom), the sink corner, the island corner (but not the stove corner), the pantry corner, and the fridge corner. Down the middle kind of always gets washed with whatever corner just because it's always open, it sure doesn't hurt it, and maybe it needs it because it's the most trafficked. In any case, that's where I'm doing my yoga and my church, and for church I don't use a mat and am rolling around the bare floor; so, that's nice. So I need to do all around the stove, the coffee cart corner, and Kon-Marie the equipment shelves. Oh, and the hutch over the sink. I might be done with this by the end of the year.

The sweetie man's project is going apace, most of the apartment is quite liveable. Even the front room is liveable if you don't mind living in a neatly stacked warehouse. I think the front room will be my big project for 2016. I WANT FURNITURE.


2. Draft budget/business plan, how about that. Or maybe write up where I am with sun salutations, that's been a real bright spot for me.

Done, done, and done, how about that.

Ughghghgh I have dreading looking at my budget since 2013, and before that I wasn't dreading it because I wasn't even thinking about looking at it. It's not half bad, I seem to have just enough income to meet my expenses. It could be better, but it certainly could be worse. Actually I'm $11 over budget, and Hulu is $11.99... then again, between Netflix and Hulu, I can cover a lot of entertainment for $20/month. Truly we live in a golden age.

Business plan
I'm so not an expert on personal finance or running a business, so I don't think it really merits a post, unless you want to read a post about a total innocent stumbling into business without even trying. I already have a title: Mistakes Were Made: How To Succeed In Business Without A Business Plan. Because truly, and I know this might seem surprising, I don't believe so much in plans. I believe in knowing where you are, which is what's good about having looked at my budget? So three years into my business, I know where I am. What does that mean: I know roughly how much money I need to live the way that I live. I know how much money I make from my office job and how much money I make from my training business, and happily there doesn't seem to be a gap between income and expenses. In some ways I'm not sorry that I didn't look until now, because I'm pretty sure that there used to be a pretty big gap and I think that's all I would have been looking at. A pretty basic thing I used to teach in skating was that your body follows your eyes. Look into the gap and you'll find yourself in the gap, look at the work and you'll find yourself with work. And by keeping my eyes on the work for the past three-plus years, I know a lot about the work: how much work this work is, what kind of work this work is, etc. I feel like you can't know that stuff about the work unless you do the work. And therein lies my business plan: I know this is what I like to do, I know this is how much time it takes me to do, I know this is how much money people will pay for me to do it, I know this is how much time I have, I know this is how much money I have, all of those things are like slips of paper that go into a mason jar and ::shake shake shake:: out comes a slip of paper with an idea of what to try next. I mean, mason jars don't work like that. My brain does, though; the mason jar is my brain.

I know, I'm demented. But somehow all of the above is how I have a full boat of clients now. SEIS! (That's an El Mariachi reference.) Until I get a bigger boat—i.e., reduce my hours at the office to open up more training slots. And just under the wire to intake my newest client, I redesigned my new client intake forms. Though I guess how much am I going to be using them, being that I'm not taking any more clients for the time being.

Write up sun salutations
Well, I didn't write them up. I videoed them for my post about practice, and that sort of scratched that itch. They sort of resist writing up because a) I'm no professional yoga teacher, and I don't want to come off like this is the right way to do sun salutations, and b) there's always something that I'm working on and changing, faster than I can write it up, and c) it's always something really little that really would be best shown with animated GIFs, and frankly I'm not all that used to having photos of myself on the internet, let alone video, let alone animated GIFs. Of me possibly doing sun salutations ALL WRONG. And d) if you do take up sun salutations, it's going to be your own thing and maybe showing you my thing gets in the way of that most important message.

I've always had the least to say about what I used to call "fitness" on this blog, and it's becoming clearer to me, now that I call it Movement, why that is. It's because what I'm really passionate about is movement, and writing— though well, I'm also pretty passionate about writing, I suppose writing can capture movement, I wouldn't be a writer if I didn't feel that writing can capture anything, though what I'm really passionate about is that writing captures everything very imperfectly and there's nothing wrong with that, that just is what it is. And that there are other ways of capturing and expressing, ways you can get at what writing doesn't get. Which tangentially is why I love emojis so damn much. Anyway. Writing isn't the best for capturing movement. Pictures are a little better but not much better. I like pictures for yoga because poses are such a big part of yoga. Obviously pictures are fine for poses, not so much for the movement between the poses. Video is fine for movement, and now that I've finally learned how to video I might do more of that. But to break down movement, really I think animated GIFs are ideal. The upshot of all of which is, capturing movement on a flat screen can be done but it's a lot of work to make it worthwhile. It's definitely worth it when it's done right like that GIF blog that one derby girl does, God bless her for doing all that.

But see, there's already an easy way to capture and communicate movement: move. You know, your actual body. And talk about it. With your mouth. Which is what a training session with me is. So like the way easier end of the stick is also the money-making end of the stick, and the more difficult end is the end that takes six years to make a hundred dollars... sooo...



This blog continues to be brought to you by Power 30! But also, I finally started working on my new blog, which is 62% complete at this point. I mean, define complete. There's a certain point in my mind that I want to get to, after which I might soft launch it. Might. Anyway not to be coy, it's nothing groundbreaking, pretty much all recipes that I've published here, but I'm scratching an itch about how I want them to be organized. The project has phases, I'm working on Phase I right now. Phase I will give me what I need to work on Phase II, something I've always wanted. The soft launch might happen after Phase I or it might happen after Phase II. After Phase II, the idea is that I will shift into maintenance mode and it will just be live going forward. Whatever. Keeps me off the streets.


The CSI beast is back in its cage, not roaming around snacking on my life and der schweetum's life. We are tuning up our watching "practice," and our relationship practice in general--trying to be more present together when we are together, trying to watch stuff that we will actually, first of all, watch. We're both terrible about sitting down to watch something together and then separately looking at our own things; you can file this right next to how I need to practice taking a shower, I need to practice watching friggin television with my boyfriend. So far we've watched Black Hat (meh), Furious 7 (the feels!), and Spy (lolz), and we started Narcos. Did I say this already, I actually prefer movies to TV series for this, OITNB notwithstanding... and I have maybe a deep theory why, but I feel like TV series are more affected by commerce? And I can see the commerce, it's like being able to see the strings holding up all the puppets and the scenery.


We didn't see any movies this month, which remember means go out and see. Which sort of goes with having just done my budget, going to the movies is esspensive. I have to really want to see something on the big screen to shell out the bucks, otherwise I'm good with Netflix and Hulu and the food is better at home.

I also didn't see any ...people this month? Except for sitting on the stoop with Biggie that one day, and Box and Brawla's Labor Day BBQ. Nobody since then. Except clients, obvously. I may have needed the rest. Also don't think I don't notice the inverse proportion between how much I see people and how much I write, which is important to me. Not to mention the inverse proportion between how much I see people and how easy it is to stick to my food plan and my budget. I don't think not seeing people is a long-term solution, though. It's tricky because momentum: it seems like the formula is to get up to a certain critical mass of seeing people and then momentum takes over; but if you just need and want to maintain a relatively low level of seeing people, you kind of actively don't want to get picked up by momentum. With momentum, you tend toward eleven. Without momentum, what you tend toward is zero. How do you maintain one, or two? Is my question.

[ETA: Sparty with the save, I also had a brunch date with her, TS, and Ska (and Rudy!) at Bang Bang Pie Shop. And I visited Brawla in the hospital. And MJ and I saw the super blood moon eclipse. And Biggie and I went for a walk, and actually she gave me a great idea for how to manage seeing people: one month on, one month off, eh? Eh? I think it is genius, and October is ON.]

October Picks


1. Clean kitchen to finish! Let's do this! Before the holidays!


2. Review all (seis!) client charts, get all them straight in my head, and get them all situated in their slots in my schedule.
3. Read The Power of Posture, very stoked!


4. Nom Phase I to finish.

5. Actually watch when we're watching. If not, hey, do something else.

6. Taco Ride with Problem et al.
7. Long food date with wifey.
8. Steak date chez Boxstone.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Lover's Got Humor

p: let me tell you how my "dance" is going

p: first of all, sliding on your head hurts

p: that's why i'm wearing this hat

p: i guess that's why breakdancing kids wear hats

m: how are you sliding on your head

p: like this

::big supine arch::

p: if you don't slide on your head, you can't go up

p: the hat doesn't really help because your head slides in the hat

p: okay so, then this is where he does that huge jump nevermind that

p: i do this instead

:: ipsilateral bird dog::

p: but look, i never used to be able to do this before

p: this for three minutes really hurts your knees

p: so i put on knee gaskets

p: also i'm wearing sweats because the floor is cold

p: so sweats, hat, knee gaskets, and some of this stuff is pretty hard, and i've been doing it for like twenty minutes

p: i'm basically dying here

m: so shower before brunch, then?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Church on Sunday

So for my little bit of morning movement, I walk to the train MWF, do sun salutations TuSa, bike to therapy Thursday, and that leaves Sunday. I had originally planned sun salutations TuSaSu, but they actually made me sore! And if I've learned one thing this summer it's that if I don't respect my body, undermind is going to send me to the cornfield. I could have done sun salutations 3x/week if Thursday had been available, the spacing would have been better. Two days in a row though, not so much.

The idea then was to add days when I got stronger at sun salutations, which I have already. I think sun salutation adherents say that you should do sun salutations every day—what's with everybody wanting to do everything every day, sheesh. There are other factors: first of all, there's what organically works for the day, like walking works for walking to the train to work and biking works for biking to therapy. My pattern-loving brain wanted to bike on Sunday (walk three, yoga two, bike two), but really what organically works for Sunday is something I can do in the kitchen. Which brings us back to sun salutations, and I'm strong enough, sooo... let's go? But secondly, there's keeping it fresh: if I only do sun salutations on Tuesday and Saturday, it changes in my mind from "I have to do sun salutations" to "I get to do sun salutations." Not only can I keep it like that for sun salutations, I can have it like that for something else that I only do on Sunday. So what to do on Sunday. In the kitchen.

This is what came to mind:

Sergei Polunin, "Take Me to Church" by Hozier, Directed by David LaChapelle from David LaChapelle Studio on Vimeo.

If you're starting to worry about me, I am not insane. I'm not thinking that I'm going to take up ballet at the age of 48, having studied dance in my life never, and match the performance of a principal dancer with the British Royal Ballet. Even if I practiced more than once a week! No no, I am a student of small things. I was thinking it might be nice to sit like he's sitting in the first seconds and just drool at this beautiful thing, I can think of worse Sundays than that.

And hilariously, I could not even do that. I don't have that range of motion in my ankle yet, because of the sprain. I literally could not just sit. It wouldn't take my body weight, not even for one second.

Which meant, I had something to work on.

But I only get to do it on Sundays! That was last week.

This week I worked out sitting on a cushion, and I watched the video and took notes up to, ha, 47 seconds:

breaking it down

Now I have a LOT to work on:

  1. Sit with ankles plantarflexed
  2. Sit up to half side plank
  3. Half side plank collapsing to supine—this is the get down from a Turkish getup
  4. Supine thoracic arch to sit cross-legged (not boat)—this is SO. HARD.
  5. Sit cross-legged roll forward to quadruped
  6. BIG JUMP—right, nevermind this
  7. Quadruped roll to supine
  8. Supine bridge flip to prone
  9. Prone pushup to side plank
  10. Side plank drop to prone
  11. Prone pushup thread legs through to L-sit
Except for the crazy big jump in the middle, these are all familiar, doable movements, worth doing in themselves. Ten reps each of each of these, just saying, that's a workout. I'm going to need a bigger kitchen. It's going to take thirty years for me to string together the first 47 seconds of this video. By which time I will be ninety, which will be remarkable in of itself.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


The idea of practice came up in my Power 30 group, treat everything in your life as practice and that takes away the idea that it has to be perfect and more importantly it gives you the idea that you're learning and getting better at stuff. At life! I am of course 100% down with this idea. It's absolutely central to how I work with my clients, I'm not a trainer who just drives my clients through umpty repetitions of burpees to TORCH BODY FAT NOW! I'm a trainer who teaches my clients how to do burpees, and if that's too hard --burpees are really hard, people-- I break a burpee down into all its little burpee parts. Because nothing rends my soul more than seeing somebody doing hundreds of repetitions of really wonky burpees. Because what they're doing is practicing really wonky burpees, they're getting good at wonky burpees. Now at some level, and I'm just starting to work with a few of my clients at this level, the wonky burpee has something to teach us, because life is wonky, but let's not go there just yet. I just mention it so I don't wall up the idea of the wonky burpee forever: there's a door here and let's keep that door closed for now, and we can open it later.

sun salutations after a month 2x/week

Speaking of practice, here's where I'm at with sun salutations. Actually there's a tiny burpee inside sun salutations. That I'm not even up to yet.

Anyway, I'm not even talking about burpees here. Another angle on this word practice for me comes from my roller derby side and it's that practice is something that you show up for. That's why I started to say cooking practices, I need to show up for cooking like it's a practice, because nutrition is part of my training, and then fold in the idea that it doesn't have to be perfect, it's an active process of learning and getting better. At cooking.

I'm not actually talking about cooking, either. I'm talking about taking showers. Oh my god Poppy, you're talking about practicing taking showers. What, did you fuck up taking a shower?

Yes. Yes I did.

SO I'VE BEEN UNDER A LOT OF STRESS LATELY, and I believe in the concept of allergy load. Your body can only handle so much, physically and emotionally; so like your allergies might get triggered when you're emotionally stressed. This is also known as the concept of I Can't Even. Fun fact: when I was married, I was lactose intolerant. So, anyway. My arms have been breaking out a little bit, I am not into that at all. At this point I've started all this self-care around here, and I figure a good thing to do would be to add neti pot and oil pull to my shower routine. The doctor actually recommended neti pot to me when I had my sinus infection to rinse the bacteria out of my sinuses. Oil pulling supposedly pulls bacteria out of your teeth. The shower is perfect for me for both of these, just get it all done. Neti pot and oil pulling adherents say that you should neti pot and oil pull every day and I only shower every other day—for that matter, I guess shower adherents say that you should shower every day—but nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little (that's not me, that's Edmund Burke.) And really, neti pot and oil pull four times week is a lot more than a little. And it's going to add time to my morning routine on work days, which is when I shower, and I may or may not have time for that. Well to find out which, I have to try.

I'm going to try. (Shut up, Yoda.)

My very next shower I'm standing in the shower and I'm like, shit, I forgot the neti pot and the oil. Welp, it's too late to go back out and get them. I mean, it's literally too late. Welp, next time.

So I'm down to scrubbing my feet—so like, twenty minutes later—and I'm like, Why is my hair still dry? Great Scott. The whole point of showering on work days is to wet down and condition my hair so I don't go to work looking like Christopher Walken.

I wet down and condition my hair, finish scrubbing my feet, and I think to give the conditioner a little more time to work I'll just brush my teeth and wash my face in the shower. What a good problem-solver.

I get out of the shower and go to the bedroom to dry off and get dressed, and uh, facebook. Now you know: if you see me on Facebook in the morning, I'm generally naked. Then I go back to the bathroom to blow dry my hair.

So I'm drying and styling my hair, and my hair feels really odd. Like, weirdly thick.

Mein gott, I have not rinsed my hair.

At this moment, I do actually think it's cool, it's just practice! as I'm sticking my head under the faucet to rinse out the conditioner. I'm even laughing a little bit, which is more me than I've been all summer. That's good! It's good to be resilient!

To be able to bounce back and laugh when you walk to the train and you're at the turnstile when you realize that you've forgotten your wallet!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

My Shower Routine

Oh god, please tell me that I am not writing a blow-by-blow account of how I take a shower. I'm just doing it so I can get it out of my head and stop thinking about it.

shower products

Okay so, first of all, showers are only every other day. Other days I just wash what needs washing, go on to my skincare routine, and get dressed.

Secondly, I just added a little bit to my shower routine that, who knows, might go the way of the toner and serum in my skincare routine; but for now I am neti-potting and oil-pulling every shower, which takes a little prep before I get in the shower:

  • Prep neti pot - First I put on the kettle, obviously not to boil the water, just to warm it a bit. When the kettle starts making a little bit of noise, that's usually warm enough. I fill a pint measuring cup with warm water, add a teaspoon of kosher salt, and stir well.
  • Prep oil pull - Then I scoop a spoonful of coconut oil into a little cup and bring the salt water and coconut oil into the shower with me.

1. Neti pot.

First thing when I'm under the shower, I fill the neti pot and pour half the salt water through one nostril and then the other half through the other nostril. I'm not giving instructions because I'm no expert about or at this. In fact the reason I do this in the shower is because in the shower it doesn't matter if salt water goes everywhere.

2. Oil pull.

Oil pulling is supposed to, at the very least, pull bacteria out of your mouth. I'm doing this because I figure my poor old immune system could use all the help it can get, and I'm doing it in the shower because you're supposed to do it for twenty minutes and I shower for about twenty minutes—birds, stone, no need to time it or anything. And I would never do it otherwise.

So I scoop the spoonful of coconut oil out of the cup I brought in the shower with me and pop the coconut oil into my mouth. It's that time of year when coconut oil is solid, so it's like a chunk of coconut oil. So I chew it up until it melts and then I just swish it around in there for the rest of my shower. I will say this, you have to be a little careful about getting water up your nose when you can't open your mouth because it's full of oil.

3. Shampoo, 1x/week only.

So yeah, Biggie says I only need to shampoo my hair once a week; dirty hair styles better. Most days I just scrub water through my hair before the next step...

4. Conditioner.

...which is conditioner. I use Herbal Essences Honey I'm Strong Strengthening Conditioner (also shampoo) now that Jewel doesn't have None of Your Frizziness, which I used for years (because orange). They're both fine.

5. Scrub!

This is the real right part of the shower to me, nobody scrubs like a Korean. For soap I love Dove soap despite their questionable advertising, I put that on my scrubby that I get from the Korean store a.k.a. Joong Boo Market and go to town. This is why the shower takes twenty minutes.

6. Rinse.

Rinse hair, rinse body, and turn off the water.

7. Now spit.

Finally I spit the oil into the toilet and flush. My teeth do feel cleaner after oil-pulling, I do have a coconut oil aftertaste, but Imma brush my teeth in a sec so it's all good.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Habit Stacks

Month two of Power 30 so far:
Week 1 - under the bus
Week 2 - goodbye bus, getting up

So like I said, I am really focused on self-care for this challenge. Sooo many things about self-care are like, oh that's a nice idea, drive on by! Listen, self-care is just like exercise: the best self-care (or exercise) is whatever self-care, however small, that you actually do. Paying lip service to self-care, well actually, is a step toward self-care, but the next step is shall we say foot service. And right away you can shoot yourself in the foot by taking on too much (just like with exercise).

So, foot service: things that I am actually going To Do for self-care.
Not shooting myself in the foot: really little things.

I have these things organized into "habit stacks." Do you remember when Shabby Chic was all the rage? The Shabby Chic lady said a thing back then about how to make shabby look chic, something like, Three things make a story and not, presumably, a pile of junk. So like, I have a morning story, and an NEW! afternoon story, an evening story, and a bedtime story in neat little stacks:

# drink water
/ do 750 words
// walk or bike or do yoga

This story I started when I started Power 30, and it has saved my life. Water is elemental, you've heard a million times that humans are mostly water. You dehydrate a little bit when you sleep, through respiration. Drinking water to me is like adding the human back or topping off the human or whatever. You can't take a walk in the blogosphere (including in this blog) without tripping over Drink warm water with lemon; but if you ask me now, the warm and the lemon are just decorations. It's the water, man.

If humans are mostly water, I am mostly ...words. I wonder if I respire words in my sleep, maybe that's what dreams are. Do you know what I think though, this depression was me dying from lack of words. Words are also kind of like water in that... like you know how when you're dehydrated, you hate water? I mean, I think that's where the lemon comes in. I felt like I didn't need writing the way I used to feel like I didn't need water. Once you drink the water, with or without lemon, you wake up the water demon, which is to say the human, and now I'm passing through How Odd, I Actually Want Water to Obviously, Water. Though for water that took years, for writing it was maybe a week—if not a day— from How Odd, I Actually Want Words to Obviously, Words. YMMV!

Last but not least, life is movement. So it's very nice for me to start the day with a little bit of movement. On the one hand, I'm the world's biggest fan of whole day movement: if you get out of bed and walk to the shower, that is movement. There's no level below which it doesn't count, it all counts. Your whole day movement counts more than the thirty or sixty or even hundred and twenty minutes a day you spend "working out," not saying that a hundred and twenty minutes a day isn't a lot, but it's not more than a thousand, four hundred and forty minutes—though presumably for four hundred and eighty of those minutes you're sleeping. On the other hand, and this is what's positive about working out, I want to this to be a mindful nod to movement like working out is. So MWThF I take the walk and bike that I already do and just add mindfulness, and that's the level of movement I'm looking for. Because I am going to run a half marathon when I get out of bed never. TuSa sun salutations fit the bill though they are actually quite hard, I will be working on these for a long while. I'm still figuring out what to do Sunday. (And I don't think that Sunday needs to be a day of rest, in this case. Of course you do need rest days from working out, but you can move every day. You do move every day.)

} be curious and present

I had initially put /gratitude here, and it made me angry. Haha. So I deleted that and since then, this idea of being curious and present has really come into its own. The idea here is to have lunch and then do just a little something-something kind of again like a mindful nod to self-care and connection, and also I guess something different than scrolling through Facebook and Feedly, which was my default. I'm not reflexively negative about social media or screen time, I think there's good and bad in everything and the cloud is like home to me in a lot of ways. But. Sitting on the stoop with Biggie or with the sweetie man, or going out to lunch with my really nice co-workers. Or singing a song (not at work). Or a dance break, I love to dance and do you know in the depth of my depression Athena posted this really great self-care PDF and one of the things was to dance... and I did not want to dance. Sort of like when you hate water, I guess. Do you know what about Fury weekend though, I danced.

Not only has this been a lovely spot in the day for discovery, but also I think this has improved my ability to GTD in the afternoon. Which I had not been doing for a long while, that was where the CSI was coming in.

There's nothing wrong, by the way, with collapsing and watching a lot of CSI. There's this article doing the rounds about Ignoring Your Feelings and focusing on what you have to do. I will always say different strokes for different folks; but as for me, I'm real good at focusing on what I have to do and when that falls apart, then I have to shell out for a therapist to even realize that I'm sad that I'm done with roller derby. Even though Obviously, Roller Derby is totally a place that people have told me about! Sometimes what you have to do is feel your feelings and when you do, it's a serious To Do like on a To Do list and it pushes other things off the list. Because it's important.

\\ tidy bedroom
:: meditate
\\ tidy kitchen

Every day now.

\\ fill water
\\ sheets temp lights
# stretch
/ gratitude

I initially made this stack too big and wrote to myself, Your stack doesn't have to be a Dagwood sandwich. I like a sandwich that fits in my mouth, personally. The essential things that need to happen are:

  1. I have to fill the jar that I'm going to drink my water from the next morning.
  2. I have to be mindful about turning things down so that I can go to sleep, but these can be a set of little grace notes, a little bit of night music.
  3. I do really like to stretch, just a little bit. Remember the best exercise being the exercise that you actually do, the best amount of exercise is the amount that you actually do. An hour—or in all honesty, fifteen minutes— of stretching is stretching that I'm not going to do. But like, two minutes of stretching in bed every night is going to add up like woah. I mean, I don't time it. I just play with whatever stretch I'm playing with at the moment. For a while I was doing PNF stretching of my hamstrings, let me tell you that is witchcraft. I just changed to these 90-90 hip openers from Onnit. Generally by the end, I get excited and do headstands up the headboard but I don't actually recommend that. I don't think it's entirely safe. Headstands on fleek, though.
  4. Finally, I put gratitude here and first I thought, Rule of threes. Is this not one too many. But actually I have been training to fours lately with the breath counting, maybe gratitude can be that last exhale of the day. Then I thought, I prefer gratitude to be random. But seriously, what would be wrong with routine gratitude. Besides, I made this form.

Speaking of night music, I was wrestling with Turn down brain because surely turning down the sheets and temp and lights, and stretching, and being grateful, were sufficient to turn down my brain, but really because you were going to have to pry my nightly episode of CSI out of my cold, dead hands. Again I'm not reflexively against watching TV to fall asleep, as long as it's not stimulating. CSI though is lit generally dark but punctuated with flashes of light and also is generally quiet compared to most police shows but punctuated with The Who's Who Are You which has very loud guitar riffs. So I would drift asleep to the sound of them, you know, running DNA, and then wake up to the flashes of light or dunnn-DUN-DUNNN. So I switched to Carl Sagan's Cosmos, which I know nothing about because I've never stayed awake more than four minutes in.