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.