Sunday, June 16, 2019

Sucker


Man I have the longest thing to write about dance classes so far.

SO. I was prepared to suck, beginner’s mind, yadda. Knowing ahead of time that you’re going to suck is one thing and feeling in the moment like you suck is another thing that required stronger management than I imagined, but I managed it 😤 and after my one-week unlimited pass was up, signed up for a three-week unlimited pass.

Okay so I’m a very specific kind of trainer, you know? For me it’s not about spending [x] time a week sucking at some thing so that in time you won’t suck at it; the thing itself is not important, the person doing the thing is important. So I’m not so much about bringing the person up to the thing, I’m more about finding a thing to spend [x] time a week awash in good feelings. That may seem stupidly warm and fuzzy, but it’s a cold hard world and what are we talking about—an hour, three times a week? So like 1.78% of your week dedicated to warm fuzzies, I don’t think that’s over the top. Okay fine, even assuming that sleep is warm fuzzy time, which is why people friggin love sleep, it’s still only 2.67% of your waking hours. So I gotta ask myself, can I find a better use for my 1.78 / 2.67 percent than intermittently standing lost and frozen at the back of the room. I mean, it’s not like I don’t like running.

The thing is, I only like running. I love dancing. Like love love dancing. If I could only learn these choreographed dances! At this point I was starting to look into Dance Dance Party Party, which is unchoreographed and would be an end run around learning these dances. The only thing about DDPP is the times it’s offered are exactly when I’m already climbing with Splatz. Which is not insurmountable, but my current dance classes work perfectly with my schedule apart from beating my head against the brick wall between me and learning choreographed dances.

The way you learn in these classes is, the teacher dances at the front of the room and you do your best to pick it up—that's it. Which I had a lot of thoughts about. Like I can see how this works for their business model, but I don’t think this is going to work for me. I can see how this could work for some people, but I don’t think this is going to work for me. I’m not a trained or gifted dancer, I can’t just pick shit up; I need somebody to break it down and show me very slowly. It’s fine, everybody’s fine! Everybody’s doing their best, no blame. I’m not going to quit in the middle of my three-week pass; but when that’s used up imma see about redoing my whole damn schedule around DDPP, gnar, wotta pain.

Literally that evening: I GET IT. I’M DOING IT. Not 100%, not even close. But like the difference between when you’re sick and don’t feel like doing anything and then you’re well, just not 100%! So what’s the most important thing I learned here, holy shit I can just pick shit up. I don’t need somebody to break it down and show me slowly. Just because that’s the way that's always worked for me, that’s not the only way that works for me! Becauuuuse my brain is always picking up so much more than I’m conscious of picking up, and processing it in the background, and blurping the partially digested dance back up for the conscious me to do something with.

Or in the words of the Jonas brothers:
I'm a sucker for all the subliminal things
No one knows about you (about you) about you (about you)
And you're making the typical me break my typical rules
It's true, I'm a sucker for you, yeah
(This is one of the dances, I’m not just randomly singing a Jonas Brothers song.)

ANYWAY. All of this is just an intro to the thing I just decided, well, a couple hours ago because it took a while to write all this up. To wit, I made a summer bucket list—boy there’s a whole other long thing to say about that, I wrote a little bit of it on my instagram—and one of the items was to master one complete dance. My favorite teacher very nicely has a public playlist of the songs we dance to, which opened a whole other room of stuff to pick up. Like the names of the songs, helpful for communicating with teacher when you’re trying to figure out a set of steps and she asks what song they’re from ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Or like the words to the songs, the basic structure of the songs, intro outro verse chorus bridge etc etc etc. I have a google document now with the words to all the songs on the current playlist, you know I do.

I ripped two holes in my hands climbing last Wednesday, and the one isn’t quite healed enough to climb on today. So I signed up for an extra dance class, figuring I could work on my bucket list item—sit in the back of the class and write down the steps next to the words for the one song that I have yet to pick to master.

But I just decided, No. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to leave my document at home and in my brain, and just go dance. See how it comes together, whenever it comes together, wherever it comes together.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Crossing The Streams


full disclosure: i woke up this morning and thought i'm getting sad, this going into the office on sunday is wearing me down. saturday i have to hop to and get stuff around the house done, i have no day where i can just lie around. why is it necessary again to climb twice a week? are you being honest with yourself, is it the climbing or are you stealth trying to get work done. i legit need to get some shit done before tomorrow that i ran out of time friday for.

but i got up, just to see how it would go. it's going fine. i wanted to return some leggings to old navy that didn't fit and got cheaper cuter leggings, so that made me happy and now i've already walked two miles today. i haven't started work yet, i'm just chilling drinking my cardamom coffee and about to read my reader. i might put up my hooks in my closet, which will be boss. maybe i'll read, put up my hooks, and then eat my lunch. then settle in to get shit done. then climb!

however, your concerns have been duly noted. in theory you should be able to take a sunday to just lay around, so we're looking to see if every single sunday you feel like you can't. and sundays when you have plans with other people don't count, because you know you will take time off for other people and not so much "just" for yourself

haha crap now i want to put that on my blog so i can find it later, so now i have to go back in change it all to sentence case. BAH SEZ WHO

[ETA: I think part of me knows that even an easy thing like putting up Command hooks actually does take an hour that I don't have, or that I would not be able to quiet my brain to do, during a work day. (Especially when you put the hook for your running bag too high and have to move it lower, WHICH YOU CAN because Command.) But if you can't quiet your brain on a Sunday morning, when can you? Sunday morning is for quieting your brain. It's the time to put up Command hooks that will make you happy every damn day that you grab your climbing gear or pick a thing on a string to wear. Oh, I can include a photo! Brb.]

Saturday, March 23, 2019

O What A Tangled Web We Weave


So. There's more than one good idea here, but I think they're tangled up and I thought I would try to pick them apart a little:

Newsflash: if you are restricting your caloric intake and or limiting your food choices solely for aesthetics you are on a diet. I don’t care if you call it a “lifestyle change”, “wellness program”, “change of habits” etc.

Diet culture runs deep. We’ve all been duped into believing that “health” is attainable through starvation (dieting for weight loss) and that it’s a moral obligation.

Dis-ease & Disability are part of the human experience and could happen to any of us at any period in time no matter what we do.

We just do a shitty job at making the world accessible for all types of bodies with all types of conditions. Then we get blamed for not maintaining our “health” never mind all the environmental and sociopolitical factors that affect it.

Health is sold to us because our bodies are only good for productivity in a capitalist society.

We chase the dream of being the picture of “Wellness” which is a cleverly disguised code word for HEALTH.

Set your self free. Realize that your body will attempt to return to its natural state, but dieting (starvation) will permanently alter it.

I don't think anybody doesn't know how fucked up and folded over the subject of weight loss is—well I take that back, one of the shocking things that I stumble upon now and again is that person who... doesn't seem to know, and accepts it as it is? Eeesh. But say, I supposedly know; and, I'm still fucked up by it. "Diet culture runs deep," now that is a true statement.

Not to make things more confusing, but I really wish I could take back the word diet to just mean the sum of food one eats in a day. Eh, I suppose that ship has sailed. For my current intents and purposes, I will be saying diet like it's a four letter word. Not that some of my best friends aren't four letter words.

So everybody also sees this, right: weight loss is sort of like racism nowadays? People still want to lose weight, they just know they're not supposed to say that out loud. I guess this is where the shockers fit in, they're like your loud uncle at Thanksgiving. Or the President of the United States. I'm not going to say that I don't want the president or your loud uncle to STFU, but a) I don't have an uncle which means b) I'm more worried about what's passing as polite conversation. Ahhh therapeutically I'm probably supposed to take people at their word: it's not that they care that they're fat, they want to be strong, they want to be comfortable in their own skin. Those are great goals and we can work toward them! But if you're secretly harboring a hatred of being fat, I can't work with that.

The fuckedupness of this whole topic is nipping at my heels, so let me try to get ahead of it by rattling off some true statements, some statements that I think are true:

How much you weigh is not super connected to how fat you are.


This is really basic, right? I know people are still confused by this, but is anybody still confused by this?

[ETA: Oh looky here, Nerd Fitness per usual has done the work spelling it out. I actually needed to read this today, diet culture has been finding me in my bunker. I'm on board with this article all the way up to "Look at your body composition rather than your weight." That way lies madness, and also to my next true statement...]

How fat you are is not super connected to how healthy you are.


I don't super care about studies, but there are studies! There was this great article I read about this that I should have pinned because I can't find it now. But it was all about how the findings that keep showing little to no correlation between obesity and morbidity and/or mortality get steamrolled or squished to fit the dominant trope that obesity kills. I really must find this article.

How healthy you are should not be connected to how worthy you are.


This is what I think that big blockquote is or should be scratching at, but then I'm not sure if it's still talking about dieting and weight loss. Which I'm so. bored. with! While still being fucked. up. by! But this is why I really wish we would get past talking about weight loss, so we can get on to talking about the way more life and deathiness of how a society defines the worthiness of its people.

How worthy you are should not be connected to how productive you are in a capitalist society.


Here be the dragons.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Knock Knock


Woof! Long story alert, so first of all, I do not need advice. It occurs to me that I am isolating myself by being such a no-advice hardass, and in fact I have softened my stance on advice in the sense that I have not believed for a while that you can say "when you say [x] it means [y]" where y is some objectively determined undermeaning, which is how my dad taught me English or perhaps even language full stop. Come on dad, it's not like that. Somebody who problem-solves for you isn't necessarily telling you that you're incompetent, they may actually be trying to tell you in the best way they know how that they see you and care about you; so I'm trying to see the seeing and the caring more. HOWEVER, as regards problem solving, I still find that people skip right to the solution which 😒 that is not good problem solving [this part redacted for swears because I still have hard feelings about this]

Haha I forgot what my story was about. OH RIGHT.

I'm trying to notice what I'm doing when I'm starting to get depressed, is what this story is about. My last dip was midsummer last year, my therapist and I eventually determined that I was overworking myself—i.e., compulsively going into work on Tuesdays, which is my day off—chasing a fantasy of being finished, feeling finished with work. Where I'm never going to be finished with work, and I can always feel whatever I want if I give myself permission.

Work, though, has been objectively busy, yearend is always busy for an admin, and I partly solved this by, well, working ten hour days a little bit at the expense of my workout schedule, and then more lately by going into work on Sundays, which I know, yellow card, but Sundays have the side benefit of getting me out of the gravity well and then it's just a hop skip and a jump to the climbing gym; so I've been climbing on Sundays, with Splatz even, so there is something in it for me. And workwise, Sunday is better than Tuesday because nobody is bothering me. And otherwise, I can do whatever I want like properly aerate and water my plants or prep my tax organizer for my accountant.

I feel like I might be getting over the yearend hump, I just need a quiet minute to corral all the handbook acknowledgments and some stray beneficiary forms and also some last minute discounts that need calculating. So I went into the office this Sunday, potted some cuttings that have been ready for a couple of weeks already, climbed and had lunch with Splatz, impulsively bought and carried a full-length mirror back to the office for my closet, and by then it was already two or three, and the main thing I had to do was my tax organizer. So I did that and by the time I was finished, it was six. So I went home.

You know what I didn't do? I didn't say to myself, PHWOAR!!! TAX PREP DONE!! And, tax prep done in like three hours, which I think is a land speed record for me. I didn't say, Enjoy your accomplishment! I said, crap. I didn't get a single work task done. I said, you know what, I'm going to bird class with Biggie so not climbing on Thursday, so the thing to do is go into work on Tuesday, finish up yearend tasks, and then pop out to climb, what a good idea this is.

I had this idea in my head all Monday, on Mondays after work I go up to the work gym for a run. Friday I had had a great four-mile run, and I was expecting the same:


Lol.


This seems like a side note, but it isn't: it's always been the case that the part of me that gets tired when I run is my arms. When I run outside, I give myself breaks by relaxing my arms now and again. On a treadmill, I hold the handrails but I've never made the connection between that and giving my arms a break; I just always thought of that as "cheating" or, you know, "sucking" and that was how my Monday night run was going in spades. Friday I thought I might get under a 12:00 pace, and here I was barely hanging at 13:30. What the Sam Hill happened between Friday and Monday?

I literally thought, taxes?

Oh, I climbed. Last Sunday was my first climb with Splatz, so we did all the VBs first and just one V0 that I climbed once and then coached her on. Splatz is like me, she's not cowed by not being able to climb a route at first; she tries it again, and again, and again, and again, and again. Which is a recipe for burning out your forearms right quick, not to mention your brain; so this Sunday I suggested that we always alternate so that she could rest in between and also watch. And she did climb that V0 like on her second or third try, like I wasn't expecting it so I wasn't videoing, and then we alternated again and again and again trying to capture it on video, no dice, her hands were cashed. So like I climbed that route, idk, five or seven times versus once last Sunday. I had to ask for help peeling the foil off the new can of Folgers Monday morning, lol.

For whatever reason, I am actually able to access things like, climbing is not a good idea tomorrow. I lost the plot a little bit about if I'm doing something social instead of working out, it is what it is, move on, no need for makeups. In fact I think that my losing the plot about that was a sign that I really lost the plot about Tuesdays and feeling finished if I give myself permission.

Anyway, I woke up this morning and my body has turned into a piece of beef jerky. My body puts the D in DOMS, every time. After I post this, I'm getting in the bath with some epsom salt and maybe the new season of Queer Eye to help me feel my feelings. I have a nub of soda bread thawing on the butcher block, so I can take a picture while I have the light.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Soda Bread

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just need this pic for my blog, carry on

A post shared by Pauline Pang (@allapoppy) on


Adapted from Paul Hollywood's soda bread, which calls for half whole wheat and half white flour and he weighs his ingredients. I start with four cups of flour and then pay attention to the look and feel of the dough for how much buttermilk actually goes in.

4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk

Heat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Combine flour, salt, and soda in a large bowl. Make a well in the flour, pour in half the buttermilk, and stir the flour into the buttermilk with your fingers. Add more buttermilk until all the flour is absorbed into a sticky dough.

Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface, knead lightly, and shape into a ball. Cut the ball into quarters with a large knife and push the quarters back together. Dust the top of the loaf with flour.

Bake the loaf for 30 minutes until golden brown and hollow-sounding. Cool on a wire rack.

Break the loaf into quarters. Slice up one quarter to eat right away, obviously. Wrap each remaining quarter in foil and freeze. Then when you feel like a bit of toast, thaw a quarter at a time, slice and toast it up.