Monday, February 29, 2016

February GTD Review

Ughghghgh I mean, it's been a fine month. Taxes ate this month, though. Taxes always eat this month. I have an accountant now, but it's like Danny Dunn and the homework machine—you still have to feed the information to the accountant. But, I don't have that fear anymore that I'm going to just overlook something that I don't understand. Somebody is checking my work, it's so worth it.

I think I have to write taxes into my calendar, so that I stop thinking I'm going to get this or that done in the new year and stop feeling bad that I don't get it done because taxes always eat the new year. You never get a brand new year, all you get is, like, this used, dog-eared, slightly chewed year. But on the other hand, you get public works like highways and the National Park Service. It's like fall, or bedtime. You've been thinking it's one thing but it's this other thing; start seeing it for what it is and take it from there, maybe you'll finally get somewhere. Hellooo, it's not like "taxes" is this radical new government program. And anyway a used year is just like a used book—maybe it's got somebody's grubby fingerprints all over, but it's still perfectly good for what a book is for.

February picks:

HOME: Cleaning and decorating

3. Big clean front room!

So bah, I did nothing on this. I did organize my hats and gloves a little bit, on the Christmas tree that's still up because I'm using it as my hat and glove tree. This is a great idea actually, except that a Christmas tree, even small one, takes up a lot of room.

and some hats and gloves in a christmas treeeee

BODY: Healing my body

4. Continue bodywork.

Still seeing Maul every Thursday at 11 in her beautiful new space, still trying to wrap my head around how long I might be doing this? I don't know why it seems so weird to me, a weekly appointment to mind my body—like that's not just what I sell to my clients, it's even the same price. This is me suddenly clear on the concept of putting my money where my mouth is. And the difference isn't that what I do makes my clients sweat more, I'm constantly trying to squeeze in more SMR and mobility work into their hours. I'd love to get my hands on somebody who does an hour of MFR with Maul every week and also does an hour of mobility and movement with me every week, and then let them loose to do whatever clients do in the wild. Actually that is Nina! Nina gets more out into the wild than most, too. By the way SMR = self myofascial release, and MFR = myofascial release. Also real talk for Ruth, I pay for my sessions with Maul but I get a free session when I refer a new client to her—now you know everything.

and a little bit of SYSTEMS

5. And prep taxes for Elliott to finish! This month! I'm serious!

Aughghgh after everything, after canceling trapeze, after canceling my dentist appointment, my last chance to get this done in February is tonight and that is not happening. I have an important date with my couch on Monday nights.

PLAY: Studying muscles

6. Start studying muscles.


PASTIME: Writing for my two blogs

7. Start writing up Nom for realz.

Not done at all :(

But yatta, I did write a lot for alla Poppy. I am liking writing for alla Poppy quite a lot! Writing quite a lot, and liking it quite a lot. I have a huge sense of I can do whatever I want, which is great. Maybe it was a mistake to start Nom, idk. Will see how that goes.

Going out, seeing people

8. Felting workshop at Maul's new space, I want to go to that.
9. Few Red Hots bouts coming up, we might go to those.

I didn't end up going to the felting workshop, not because of taxes but because I had donated a free movement screen to the WCR gala last year and my little chicken came home to roost. So I didn't get to felt, but I did get to see Kharma again who I haven't seen in forever. Fun fact, Kharma works at a lab that analyzes gait :::drool::: OMG I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE, tell me what is going on with my knee for the love of god.

I did actually have a pretty fun month, me and der schweetums had ramen at Furious Spoon and ice cream at Jeni's:

ramen date

A photo posted by Pauline Pang (@allapoppy) on

Oh and, WE WON February's wine club:

WINNERS #McKinley #nofilter

A photo posted by Pauline Pang (@allapoppy) on

And, we saw Deadpool. Which I accidentally bought the RPX experience for, which—meh, leather seats and real loud. But it seems like for the sort of movie we're likely to go out for, City North sometimes only has RPX or IMAX and we like City North. We know how to work the soda machines there. Somebody pay me $100 in Amazon gift cards to say that in a focus group. We literally would not switch theaters to see a movie at a reasonable price because of the soda machines, we actually talked it over. We have a soda machine ritual. Plus I can get lime sparkling water, that is some really premium sparkling water.

I also proposed a Sunday supper club to the denizens of the Aloha Palace, and we had our inaugural supper at JJ Thai Street Food:

jj thai street food

Photo by Machel Grizwold.

You know it's no use asking me for a review, right? I'm always going to say, "It was good!" It was good, though. Especially the chicken wings, and the braised pork noodles that I ordered.

And finally we didn't end up going to the Red Hots vs Bros bout, but we did go to Red Hots v Midwest All-Stars:

red hots vs midwest allstars

Photo by Vigilannie!

Staying in, Netflix and chill

Changing this up a bit, I decided that it's weird to plan what TV to watch; plus, I would like to watch TV only when I'm watching TV if that doesn't seem too obvious. Obvious or no, I'm a ways away from living my best life in that regard.

0. Sleeping TV

I was going to wean myself from sleeping TV to sleeping audio, viz., Neil DeGrasse Tyson on SoundCloud, the advantage of that being it would be no light versus low light and also presumably I could stop sleeping with my glasses on, which yes I do. Which, whatever, wasn't even in the top ten things I'd like to change about myself, until like two days ago I had a little panic because I couldn't see clearly out of my left eye, but it turned out to be a film of coconut oil on the inside of that lens because I started oil cleaning my face at night (omg winter, so dry). I thought I had a cataract! ANYWAY. I never got to Neil DeGrasse Tyson because I peeked back at Planet Earth and it no longer upset me for some reason and in fact it put me right out—so I stuck with that for most of the month. Did you know that snow doesn't melt in the Gobi Desert? It's so cold and dry, it just straight evaporates. Bactrian camels eat the snow for hydration, but they can only eat a little bit at a time lest they die of hypothermia FROM THE INSIDE. Clearly I am a monster that this does not upset me, what's happened to me. I mean I wasn't, like, laughing at the bactrian camels. Respect, camels! But anyway the other thing I've been doing this month is working out a very little bit more, little bit of planks, little bit of humane burpees, and holla, you sleep a lot better when you work out. So last Saturday I #justdidmy15 and that night I crawled into bed, took off my glasses, and ...fell asleep. Yatta! Yet I have learned to handle myself with kid gloves when it comes to sleep, I'm not going to force this issue. It was just that one night, anyway.

1. Working TV

If anything, working TV is more troublesome to me than sleeping TV. All this background TV is about what, filling in any white space where your brain might think its thoughts, heavens forbid. When you're laying in bed super vulnerable is one thing, but really, also when you're cooking or doing the dishes or sorting the laundry you need the electronic babysitter? I'll tell you one thing about my struggle with taxes this month, for that and only that I needed the TV off. Like I said though, kid gloves. Stuff in this category is generally disqualified for sleeping TV because it's too loud or sometimes too suspenseful, but otherwise formulaic and not terribly engaging—so generally, police procedurals. Which used to be my sleeping TV, so progress? Actually the level of engagement for cooking or cleaning is sufficient to keep me from getting sucked into any drama, I tend to quit shows that make me, uh, feel. What a lot of food for thought I am digging up here. Anyway, the role of working TV is being played by Person of Interest; it's okay.

2. Watching TV

So then, when der schweetums and I actually have some time to watch TV together, I like for us to pay attention. Which means it has to be good! And now, a thing to watch out for is being on our phones—which I was, when we were watching X-Files. But it was boring! And I hate that you're only going to tell six stories and you're going to choose Muslim suicide bombers for one of them? Come on, it's like Brookfield Zoo naming their hippo Obesa—maybe you mean something special by that, but tell me you had nothing else to choose from. So, no me gusta that. Let's see, we also watched Spectre, The Death of Superman Lives, Spooks: The Greater Good, and the first few episodes of DC Legends of Tomorrow, which I have dubbed DC Legends of Tomorrow and the Tasty, Tasty Scenery. It'll get better! Or DC Legends of Tomorrow Where Rory Gets to Be Doctor Who.

March picks:

1. DO ONE THING for front room big clean :|
2a. Continue bodywork, and also reschedule your dentist appointment.
2b. Prep taxes to finish, for cereal. Obviously cereal, they're DUE.

3. Start studying muscles.
4. Start writing up Nom.

Idk, getting out of the house to see people and movies was a thing last year and idk if it's good or bad to not make them a thing. Wifey and I always talk about how things don't have to be a Thing, they can just be an Is. I think maybe you make things a Thing when you want to change them. If they're just an Is, you're okay with them. And it's not one or the other, you need a little of both, same old same old serenity prayer.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bells and Whistles

Back on the meditation train, which is good. And I finally have this smartphone, the idea of getting a smartphone at all started with meditation: I wanted to have a timer to count down my fifteen minutes. With my flip phone I had to do math and set an alarm. Which isn't the hugest obstacle; but when I'm shaping a new habit, I really want to sand it down so it's as smooth as possible. Not that I waited to get a smartphone to start meditation, I made do with ol' Flippy. But, smartphone now! And here's how that went.

First, I got an app! Because obviously, there's an app for that. I used the Insight Meditation Timer app, it's a pretty simple timer for unguided meditation, which is what I prefer, and the beginning and ending chime is very nice. Here's what I didn't like, though: I didn't really want it to track when I had meditated or, even worse, for how many days in a row. An unbroken string is not what meditation is about for me—but fine, I can ignore that like I do on 750 Words. Here was the dealbreaker: the second time I used it, it said that I had meditated once. If you're going to count my meditations, you have to count up to two correctly! So I got mad and immediately deleted that app from my phone. I mean, I'm sure they're very nice people.

So then I looked at the Clock app that came with my phone, and sure enough it has the perfectly functional countdown timer of my dreams, and the ending bell is very acceptable and not startling. The only problem was sometimes I inadvertently would touch the screen and stop the timer at like 14:55, and then an unknown amount of time later I'd open one eye like what the hell, dammit.

So now I'm thinking about meditation beads, which is a thing. I can have a string of 36 beads, count four breaths per bead x 2.5 second per breath (I timed it, my phone also has a stopwatch obviously) x 36 beads x 3 repeats = the mystical 108 meditation number. That will be an 18 (woo woo) min meditation, roughly. No more timer. So I either need to order one one of these strings of 108 meditation beads offered on Amazon OR I need to go out and buy beads from Joann and string them OR buy fimo and make cute marbled beads and bake them and string them. Sigh. Order, right? [ETA: I also found loose beads on Amazon but the beads I want come in a pack of 100, which is annoying.]

Monday, February 22, 2016

Humane Burpees
 a drama

Box posted a thing about humane burpees, I did them on a Wednesday night while I was waiting for Nora, like totally not in 4 minutes or whatever he says. Like, way spaced out over a half an hour. Thursday I was like, what have I done. Even while I was doing them I was thinking, what am I doing. I could feel the rust stretching off my hamstrings and adductors. Friday though, I felt awesome. Like I felt like I was standing really well. I have a thing with my knee and am trying to fix my flat feet, which nobody ever told me was fixable. I had to find that shit out from Joe Rogan. Man, swings are so great for posture correction. It's a really smart protocol! I started them thinking okay, I will do the 15-5-5 but there's no way I can do this 5 times. Then I was like, I can probably do the 15-4-4. Then I was like, maybe I can do the 15-3-3. And you know after that you know you can do 15-2-2, and then you feel stupid if you don't do the 15-1-1. ‪#‎justdidmy15‬

#justdidmy15 #swing #squat #pushup 15-5-5 15-4-4 15-3-3 15-2-2 15-1-1 15# kettlebell 2x/week

A photo posted by Pauline Pang (@allapoppy) on

Tut my forearm could be more vertical on that pushup!

So this entered my head as a serious contender to be added to my schedule, and it went like this. I mean, it literally went like this. I wasn't like, hey let's write a dialogue about me deciding when to do humane burpees, these are more or less the actual words that came out of my fingers when I was doing my words. They actually came out organized into two speaking parts, and I just labeled them. In my head for whatever it's worth, the part of me that always wants to do more is played by the devil and the beat-up part that takes care of me with half its feathers falling out is the angel.

Devil: Idea 1 - Replace Tu Sa sun salutations.

Angel: Nooooooo, I love those!

Angel: I have lots more to learn, I'm not even really doing the jump feet between hands yet!

Devil: But let us interrogate, is it not possible that you could benefit from changing things up. Think on that a bit.

Devil: Idea 2 - Replace Su power yoga.

Angel: Nooooooo, I just got started and I still really suck at that sequence!

Angel: The way I suck at that is impeding my handstands. If I get good at that, handstands might just be easy!

Devil: Yeah, I kinda do think you could keep working on that. Even though you're not really training handstands right now, are you.

Angel: No, but—

Devil: Idea 3 - Replace Tu Sa sun salutations with Su power yoga, replace Su power yoga with humane burpees.

Angel: Nooooo...

Angel: I mean, maybe this is a way to progress my yoga. I would really miss sun salutations, though! It's really great to have a morning routine that you never balk at, that you definitely know you're capable of, that you definitely know you'll feel good about after, and that you definitely always do when it's on the agenda. I worry about messing with that.

Devil: Mein gott, do you think it's good that you're afraid not to do sun salutations? What about doing Tu sun salutations, Sa power yoga, and Su humane burpees, or whatever order in the week you want.

Angel: I feel like I should do sun salutations at least twice a week.



Devil: Jesus.

Angel not speaking to the devil.

Devil: I'm sorry.

Angel still not speaking.

Devil: What about adding humane burpees after sun salutations.

Devil: No, right? Because that takes away the idea of a thing that is definitely doable.

Angel: And the power yoga is hard enough on its own.

Angel: I could just do the humane burpees on Wed nights while I'm waiting for Nora, that worked fine.

Devil: Okay, let's do that.

Angel: When I get better at the power yoga, maaybe I will mix power yoga into sun salutations.

Devil: If I leave the kettlebell out, will you do some swings MWF?

Angel: Do you want to go back in the box?

Angel: Because I can put you back in the box.

Devil shuts up.

Devil: Don't kill me, but I signed up for a taster trapeze class.

[ETA: Angel canceled the trapeze class. But now we do Tu Sa half sun salutations + power yoga and Su We humane burpees.]

Friday, February 19, 2016

I'm Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

Of all of the sharks, nutrition is the great white. And I just churned out more this week that I did all last year. And I have run out of week.

So: punt!

Until next month, here's some good advice:

don't put soup on your notebook #notebook #soup #dont

A photo posted by Pauline Pang (@allapoppy) on

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Giant Bag of Mostly Water

What has worked best for me re: hydration is: KEEP IT SIMPLE. (I do not call myself stupid.) Hydration = drink water. Nevermind fresh lemon juice, nevermind apple cider vinegar, make it the easiest possible and progress only and optionally after you've mastered that: fill up a jar with water, put it on your nightstand, when you wake up drink it and take your meds. I mean, I only take three meds; one of them is a vitamin, one of them is a baby aspirin, and one of them is private. I feel like that's not up to the level where I can call them meds. I panic if I forget my baby aspirin, though. So I bought this hilarious (to me) huge LARGE PRINT pill dispenser, there was a moment at the pharmacy where I was saying to myself, Poppy do you always need to be so outlandish? But you know how that ends up is, I'm never outlandish. The other day I thought my grey and black outfit needed an accent color, and I picked grey for the accent! So like I'm standing there at the pharmacy looking with heart eyes at the large print dispenser and reaching for a sensibly-sized pill dispenser, which is already a compromise because sheesh what is the problem with remembering to take three pills per day, and then out of nowhere heart eyes took over the hand controls and grabbed the pill dispenser that sparked joy.

water jar and pill container

This is not a post about hydration. This is a post about how I am mental. Well, so what. I am mental. Carrie Fisher is mental, and I like her. I mean, I don't know Carrie Fisher. The upshot is, I never forget to take my meds now. And I'm really well hydrated for like the first time ever.

Another funnyish hydration story: so you know, I weigh myself every day. Which I don't actually recommend if you have any emotional attachment to those numbers, I don't. I used to, and it was partly—maybe largely—weighing myself every day that detached me from that. So. YMMV. My weight has been essentially unchanged since 2012, and by essentially unchanged I mean that it ranges between 139 and 134 on any given day.

Of course this weighing habit started at a time when I was trying to Lose Weight, so I had a few rules—you know, for science—about when to weigh, i.e., when I got up in the morning, after I peed, before I drank water. And actually I think this idea that I couldn't drink water before I weighed myself was blocking me from this really excellent drink water first thing when I wake up habit, which sets me up for a whole day of drinking water and, weirdly, wanting to drink water, which is relatively new. So eventually that occurred to me, and I realized, well, that's dumb. At this point, I've already jammed a little wedge into the rules—i.e., about having to weigh naked mainly because that does not flow with my morning, and flow is all. And also because in Chicago in winter it's really cold to be standing naked in my bathroom. And having to weigh, out of bed, before I drink water, in bed, does not flow. And flow is all. And I think about being a giant bag of mostly water. (I do not call myself ugly.) And this checks out with my experience from last summer, I am mostly water and I'm not all myself if I haven't had enough water, and just drinking a glass of water adds a little bit of me back to myself. And you dehydrate when you sleep, you know. So I'm not all myself when I wake up, I have to add that little bit of me back. The water is part of me! And I should weigh all of me.

(So incidentally, I am developing a twitch about people saying that they lost X lbs, "but it's just water." You mean it's just you, you just lost you! You probably needed that. Respect the water, man. That doesn't mean disrepect the fat, you need that too. Respect all of you, your weight will find its own level.)

So now I drink 16 fl oz water before I weigh, and yes, that is literally one pound, that's what a fluid ounce is, the amount of water that weighs one ounce. If you care, the order is drink water, get up and pee (not part of me), and weigh. With my pajamas on, but not my hoodie or my slippers.

Sometimes I read other bloggers and I think, sigh, they already wrote what I was thinking. And then I write something like this and I think, ha yeah but do you think THIS.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

My Makeup Routine
 a.k.a my five minute face

Truthfully the thing I reeeally want in the hygiene and beauty department is Sunday Riley's Good Genes serum, which Nora told me about. I work with Nora on Wednesday night and we basically talk about beauty products in between her squatting and deadlifting more than than me—not more than I lift, we passed that mile marker a long time ago. More than I weigh, Nora basically warms up with how much I weigh. She lifts barefoot and her toes are always perfectly done, it is adorable. Nora has perfect skin, too; so I always want to know her secrets. But I'm in the middle of my list of hygiene things I want to write about and I'm going to forge ahead and see if this urge to spend $105 (SHEESH) on a skincare product passes before I finish with this.

So actually for me it's shower first, skincare second, and then I sort of get stuck here because I looove skincare and am always reworking as you can see from the scribbles, ahhh I want to go back. But, forward! I actually have a little five minute face now that bold brows are in, bold brows is something that I can actually do. Things I can't do: eyeshadow (epicanthic folds, I mean I'm sure some of you have figured this out but I have not), mascara (no eyelashes to speak of). But, eyebrows. Eyebrows I got. Also eyebrows, part of my problem with eye makeup is hardly having worn any in my life I never learned not to rub or frankly vigorously scrub my eyes when I feel like it. Eyebrows just stay up there, you know? So I have been all over this bold brow trend, Ronnie tipped me off that the Anastasia ladies were at Ulta and I had them do mine for me, haha, I walked out of there like a pair of eyebrows on legs. But I did pick up a few tips, and at home I worked out a reeled-in version that I can deal with.

But it was sort of like making a clean spot in the kitchen, and now you have to do the whole kitchen. This was how eyebrows led me to a five minute face.

makeup products

Okay so, we left off with moisturizer and then there's a little facebooking while that sinks in:

1. Highlight over brows, brow bone, corner of eyes, cheekbone.

I use this Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick that I've had forever, seriously wayyy longer than you're supposed to keep makeup for, I'm not even going to tell you how long. I'm glad they still make it, because I really like it and might run out before I die. I used to use it as concealer, but I stopped doing that. You know, like how you hang the little flags under your eyes? That never seemed to work anyway, and now as a feminist statement I am no longer concealing, I am highlighting. Insofar as taking up makeup at the age of 48 is feminist. Well it is if I say so. I dot it on the high points of my face and pat to blend, and try not to just rub it off which is how I used to blend.

2. Powder over same.

I hit those same spots with Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Loose Powder, the one in my possession actually being of reasonable vintage, because I actually finished the old one. Then I dust it away in the general direction of the rest of my face. I know dewy finish is in, but I was raised matte.

3. Brush and pencil brows.

Then I brush any powder out of my brows with the spoolie end of my Anastasia Perfect Brow Pencil and gently pencil them in with the pencil end.

3b. Set brows.

Then I set them with my Anastasia Brow Primer brow wax pencil; this was my gateway brow product and still my one-minute face: moisturizer, brow primer, and out. I think normally you put the primer first, then powder, then pencil, but that is too much brow for me and, let's be honest, too much work.

3c. Curl eyelashes and clear mascara.

If I'm feeling fancy, I curl my eyelashes—I got a Shu Uemura eyelash curler because it's supposed to be the ultimate and if the ultimate eyelash curler did nothing for my eyelashes then I could conscionably just give up. It does do something, though I have to do a scary Un Chien Andalou manuever when I basically turn my eyelid inside out. Then I put on a little Great Lash clear mascara, which when I inevitably rub my eyes at least it doesn't show.

4. Then lip balm.

Like I said, I'm an Eos gal until somebody comes out with my honey ball shaped like a beehive. If you're keeping track, my brow wax is clear, my mascara is clear, and my lip balm is clear. Why do I even do this.

4b. If I'm going out, lipstick!

Right now I have this tube of MAC Russian Red that Biggie and I got on our red lipstick date (she got Ruby Woo). Pink lipstick date TK! Like I said, I put it on before I go out and then I let that shit just smudge all night.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My #1 Sleep Tip
 you won't believe what it is!

my sleep routine

I feel like I'm living the right life now and I'm sleeping all right, so now I think I'm some kind of sleep expert? Hyeah let me tell you, sleep is the original black box. On the one hand, life takes care of sleep. On the other hand, sleep takes care of life. I usually try to grab the sleep end of the stick, god knows what I would even do if I got the life end in my hand. But too, you kind of can only reach for the sleep end of the stick with a stick. I find that I can set up for sleep and then sleep happens or it doesn't—what an asshole, but that's not what to focus on. What I also found was that I was being the asshole about setting up for sleep. As in, not. And I had feelings about it, and wouldn't stop. At the end of the day all I could do was patiently wait for myself to stop being an asshole. There you go, my tip for good sleep: stop being an asshole.

Stop what you're doing and go the fuck to bed! Grow the fuck up and go to bed! Wah wah you're a special night owl snowflake, guess what—you still have to be at work at nine, you want it to be one way but it's the other way, so how about being fucking present and dealing with life as it is. Which incidentally if you're stuck on anything is how you get unstuck. You're an organism like seven billion pretty similar other organisms on this planet that need roughly eight hours of sleep per night; now what time to do you have be in bed, do the math. It's not even hard math. It's 0700 minus eight, ya think you can handle that?

YES ELEVEN PM OKAY, is this your idea of patient. Also I am generally in bed by ten now. Nine hours, even better.

Like the lady on the yoga video says, Transitions, transitions, transitions. Shit doesn't just happen, you set it up to happen. This is incredibly helpful for yoga, and it's occurring to me how it's helpful for sleep in kind of the same way. So like before, I would wait to feel like going to bed, and by feel like I mean GNAR BED NOW. Which is sort of why I was so terrible about brushing my teeth. Now I transition between not being in bed and being in bed by 1) brushing my teeth and washing my face, now that I'm super into that, then 2) filling my jar of water to drink when I wake up. I super recommend this, it's an easy thing to cross off your list and get your feel-good brain cookie and maybe that helps you sleep too. Anyway I'm no brain scientist but I do know that if you put a jar of water on your bedside table when you go to sleep, the jar is on the table when you wake up, might as well drink it, and that starts the hydration ball rolling on the right foot—but that's another story (but you sleep better when you're well hydrated, just saying.) The next thing is 3) smoothing the sheets because you sleep better when you're comfortable, this post is like Better Sleep by Captain Obvious. Is it cool enough to sleep? Well it's winter in Chicago, all signs point to yes. Last but not least, lower the lights and start making melatonin.

Next I transition between being in bed and being asleep by 4) doing some easy stretches, nothing too crazy or involved. I don't know that stretching prepares my body for sleep, or if crossing it off the list gets me another brain cookie to nibble myself to sleep with, or if it's pushing the next button in the sequence that tells my brain to shut down, and similarly 5) doing some easy gratitudes, either gratitude itself prepares my mind for sleep, or brain cookie, or button.

Finally, my reward for all this is 6) watching TV (on my laptop with the brightness turned way down), though I don't even think TV itself is the reward, I think at this point I strongly associate this type of TV—erm, educational—with falling asleep, sleep is the reward. Let's see last night we left off at "the spectacled caiman..." and then tonight "the spectacled caiman lingers below..." and I am right out is the reward. I'm gonna be friggin ninety before I find out what's up with that spectacled caiman. But you know how they say to reserve the bedroom for sleep and sex, I think reserving this particular genre of television for bedtime actually helped to form this association. Eventually I want to get rid of the TV altogether.

Each of these steps has its own internal justification, some backed by Science like lowering the lights and the temperature, some backed by personal empiricism (and also The Princess and The Pea) like smoothing the sheets; others serve different masters such as hygiene or hydration or movement, though all the masters end up serving each other. I think, though, that probably the biggest thing at work is that all the steps together, one after the other, serve as a shutdown sequence for Brain, like maybe the taste of toothpaste is TIME GENTLEMEN PLEASE and then the lights flicker and Brain finishes its drink and shuffles homeward.

Monday, February 15, 2016

State of the Blog
 winter 2016

It's TLC Shark Week! Which is one of those sentences that only means something to me. I mean, TLC means tender loving care; everybody gets that. But self-care, right? And Shark Week is all sharks all week, except not sharks but self-care. So it's tender loving sharks, okay? Very caring sharks.

mermaid and shark

As you can see, another thing that's going on this year is that I am working my way back to you, blog. Whose stats, by the way, are in the toilet. Lol, was it something I said? If you look back, I start to lose my grip towards the end of 2014, which may well have foreshadowed the big whammy that the one year anniversary of which is coming up, and then it goes dark for a while. And all this while my stats are going up, up, up, and my earnings are looking like I might actually clear $100 in one year, which would be a six-fold improvement over my first $100. I mean, all I do is AdSense. I'm not super serious about this. I only look at Blogger stats, I don't know how good those are; the thingy where you could shut off counting your own page views has been broken for like a year, so I'm guessing not that good.

And then, cue Chumbawumba! And I'm not even kidding, right then my stats drop off like Wile E. Coyote realizing that he has chased Roadrunner right into mid-air, complete with holding up the little sign that says MOMMY—see, that's why I thought it was so funny when Glossier contacted me.

Did I ever tell you the story about when I was on the Clorox account, it was a thing to find the chi-chiest boutique hotels in San Francsico to stay in, and one of them was this glass and chrome number that I check in and I super have to pee. So I check in and rush upstairs to my glass and chrome room, drop my bag, drop my pants on the way to the bathroom, and when I'm peeing I realize that the bathroom also glass and chrome. And I can clearly see a cocktail party happening across the alley. At which point I basically turn myself boneless, melt and slide off the toilet like in the Persistence of Memory and slither out of the bathroom, like, entirely flat.

Writing a blog is exactly like that for me. Except I'm older now, so I just finish peeing and since I'm being watched, make a big show of washing my hands.

I'm sure I've told you that. It's one of my favorite stories.

And then I think: it's 2016, nobody reads blogs anymore. And I do a little dance to Chumbawumba like nobody's watching.

ANYWAY. I have this system set up where I cue myself to write, in my words, first about each of the areas of self-care that I'm trying to stay in touch with, and see what comes up, see if I can make them into something that I can post, maybe every month, maybe for a week in the middle of the month, and that week I call Shark Week. Is all I am trying to say.

Oh wait, I have a dangling ordinal—second is writing my GTD review, also every month, but for now that's going to be all in one post, so I can try it both ways.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day

k: IT'S PALENTINE'S DAY o: because we're pals k: GET IT? #domokun #domo

A photo posted by Pauline Pang (@allapoppy) on

Monday, February 8, 2016

Are These Words From The Future

Soo I'm doing this 52 Lists Project, remember? Maybe if I remember to go back to it once a month, I will actually get one list a quarter out.

Winter's list is list your goals and dreams for this year, yeesh. I don't have goals for the year or if I do they're process- not results-oriented, remember? Idk, do I have dreams? Should I have dreams? A dream seems like something that would take longer than a year to come true. Well I'm only doing four lists per year, so it's going to take me thirteen years to finish all fifty-two lists if I don't die first. So maybe I will think about my dreams for the next thirteen years. Let me think for a second about thirteen years. Thirteen years from now will be 2029, I will be 62. Thirteen years ago was 2003, I was 35.

That sort of is more food for thought. What follows is a two-week comedy where I reconstruct separate alternate histories for this post, one where everybody has already died (I know, hilar!) and one where nobody even has cancer yet and then amazingly I remember my LiveJournal password after only two tries! And it's all there: this is the month thirteen years ago when cancer came knocking. Three times! My sister, my sister's dog, and my mom. I forgot about my sister's dog, poor Jazz. In retrospect, why did I not remember this? I know that my sister was diagnosed with cancer when she was 37 and I know that I was two years younger than her. Welp, math is hard. Anyway I was married, I do remember that. I'm not even friends with der schweetums yet because he's friends with some weirdo who hates me for some reason and I'm giving her a wide berth. He is not even a twinkle in my eye. A lot can happen in thirteen years. Is all I'm saying.

1. Well, you've aged okay! There's a teeny scary thing at the beginning of year twelve but don't worry about that, there's really nothing you would have done differently about that. Overall, your health is way better. You don't have insomnia, for one thing. You drink actual water. You eat actual vegetables.

2. Incredibly you've found somebody normal, dare I say nice, actually unbelievably enlightened, to work for.

3. You know how you don't really love this condo because it doesn't feel like home? Uh... good news? A small apartment is a lot less to clean, amirite?

4. Phones are going to stop getting smaller and start getting bigger and nobody's going to talk on them anymore, everybody is going to write to each other on their phones, and send pictures. And videos, even. That sounds like kind of a nightmare because you can't stand pictures of yourself, but let me tell you something: you're really quite pretty. It kind of blows my mind that you don't see this, but maybe it's for the best.

5. Don't laugh, but you're going to become a legit athlete. Not like the world's greatest athlete, but still. It has to do with when you learned to ice skate, you know how you could just skate. It's going to be more than that and the parts that are more than just skating are going to be really hard for you, but you're definitely kind of a jock.

6. Here's the great news, you figure out what you want to do with your life! People actually pay you to think up workouts for them, and you get to hang out with them while they work out!

7. Oh hey, it's not too late to start a blog, blogs are still a thing in 2016. You're not internet famous like Flux is with Fluxblog, but you are a legit blogger in the sense of writers write. You blog. I know you're thinking I'm 48 and I blog?

8. There's this whole group of friends that you haven't met yet, but you will because you're going to start and finish playing roller derby. I know, what? Anyway after you're finished with that, you're still going to have all these friends. Who you'll still be able to talk to because of Facebook. Facebook is like LiveJournal, but bigger.

9. There's going to be a tiny burst of going out and drinking and dancing after your, uh, divorce, but then you're going to go back to mostly staying at home and watching Netflix. Though Netflix will be totally different, no more getting DVDs in the mail. Spoilers but, movies get beamed straight to your computer.

10. I know, why would you ever leave the house. It's still a challenge. Idk—this means I don't know— if you're ever going to figure out the going out and socializing thing, to be honest. You always did prefer dinner parties to parties, but the dancing was fun.

So, maybe this will help. Maybe if I look at how different my life is now than thirteen years ago, then I can imagine how different it can be thirteen years from now? Because honestly I have been so focused on just getting through the past thirteen years, eyes on the ground! Maybe I could look up ::trip::

Friday, February 5, 2016

Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast

pan-roasted chicken boxes

I learned this technique from The Kitchn's How To Cook Moist & Tender Chicken Breasts Every Time combined with some other reading I've been doing about sous-vide cooking. The basic idea is to cook low and slow to keep the chicken juicy, and obviously the brining also helps. Idk about that initial minute over high heat, it's supposed to be making the chicken golden—but it doesn't, nothing gold can stay after twenty minutes of basically poaching. This chicken isn't much to look at, which is why I have it pictured in boxes, but I've never been a white meat fan—too dry—and I do like this, it's not dry at all.

1/4 cup kosher salt
1 quart water
boneless, skinless chicken breasts, mine come three to a package
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons coconut oil

First, stir the kosher salt into the quart of water (hint: mason jar). Put the chicken breasts into a shallow dish and cover with salt water to brine for at least fifteen minutes.

When you're ready to cook them, take the chicken breasts out of the brine and pat them dry. Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness with a small saucepan, then season them with salt and pepper.

Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the coconut oil and swirl the pan until it's evenly coated with oil.

Place the chicken breasts in the oil and cook for 1 minute without moving, then flip them over. [This part never super works for me and I'm inclined to skip it, brb. ETA: ROIGHT. Do not flip.]

Turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes. [Now uncover and flip.] Then turn the heat off and let it sit covered for another 10 minutes.

Slice the chicken and put in the fridge in containers.

For winter lunches, I reheat the chicken in creamed veg soup. For summer lunches I might try it in salad, like they do at Just Salads.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Creamed Cauliflower Soup

creamed cauliflower soup in jars

1/4 cup butter
2-3 celery stalks
1 onion
1 quart chicken stock
16 oz frozen cauliflower

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat as you coarsely chop the celery and onions. Turn up the heat to medium-high and saute the chopped celery and onions until softened, about five minutes. Add the broth and bring to a strong simmer, about five minutes. Add the cauliflower and about a teaspoon of salt, and bring back to a strong simmer. Simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about ten minutes.

Puree the soup with whatever you have, like a food processor or a blender will work. What I have is the Cuisinart SmartStick Hand Blender, which is awesome and as easy to wash as a spoon.

I divide up the soup between 4-5 jars for the week's lunches.

To serve, I pour the jar into a bowl, top with pan-roasted chicken breast, and reheat in the microwave.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Creamed Carrot Soup

creamed carrot soup jars

1/4 cup butter
2-3 celery stalks
1 onion
1 quart chicken stock
16 oz frozen carrot

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat as you coarsely chop the celery and onions. Turn up the heat to medium-high and saute the chopped celery and onions until softened, about five minutes. Add the broth and bring to a strong simmer, about five minutes. Add the carrot and about a teaspoon of salt, and bring back to a strong simmer. Simmer until the carrot is tender, about ten minutes.

Puree the soup with whatever you have, like a food processor or a blender will work. What I have is the Cuisinart SmartStick Hand Blender, which is awesome and as easy to wash as a spoon.

I divide up the soup between 4-5 jars for the week's lunches.

To serve, I pour the jar into a bowl, top with pan-roasted chicken breast, and reheat in the microwave.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Creamed Broccoli Soup

creamed broccoli soup jars

1/4 cup butter
2-3 celery stalks
1 onion
1 quart chicken stock
16 oz frozen broccoli

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat as you coarsely chop the celery and onions. Turn up the heat to medium-high and saute the chopped celery and onions until softened, about five minutes. Add the broth and bring to a strong simmer, about five minutes. Add the broccoli and about a teaspoon of salt, and bring back to a strong simmer. Simmer until the broccoli is tender, about ten minutes.

Puree the soup with whatever you have, like a food processor or a blender will work. What I have is the Cuisinart SmartStick Hand Blender, which is awesome and as easy to wash as a spoon.

I divide up the soup between 4-5 jars for the week's lunches.

To serve, I pour the jar into a bowl, top with pan-roasted chicken breast, and reheat in the microwave.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Chicken Stock

chicken soup

This is more or less Smitten Kitchen's perfect, uncluttered chicken stock except that I make it on the stovetop because my slow cooker isn't big enough and I went back to the three cloves of garlic that Cook's Illustrated called for. Because I like garlic, and because it's easy to remember three, three, one, three, one.

3 pounds chicken wings
3 quarts water
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt

Put the wings and water in a stock pot over high heat. Pro tip: I measure the water with a quart-size mason jar—so, three jars.

Peel and chop the onion and add it to the pot. Smash and peel the garlic and add it to the pot. Add the salt.

When the water comes to a strong simmer, turn the heat to low and let it simmer uncovered for 8 to 10 hours. I add up to another quart (jar) of water as it cooks down.

I use a colander set over a large saucepan to strain out the chicken and aromatics, which is where this recipe really shines in my opinion: the wings strain very easily and cleanly, as opposed to a more bits-and-pieces chicken stock recipe. This stock is good enough to ladle into a mug and drink straight at this point. Which I often do, after I fill two or three one-quart containers for the freezer.