Thoughts on the State of Things

I skipped yoga class today to give my body a bit of a break.  My body was asking nicely but persistently, like a polite six-year-old wanting ice cream, so I took the path of least resistance and opted for a day off from the studio.

I’m instead spending the morning doing domestic things and sipping chamomile tea to calm my anxiety so that I can have coffee and remind myself of the difference between caffeinated energy and a panic attack.

My anxiety has been growing since I read an article about Donald Trump’s ghostwriter.  I don’t make a habit of reading the New York/er/Times/Post, but I started because of this astoundingly hipster marriage announcement that was just … a delight to read.  A true delight.  I am at a loss for words, but not at a loss for ALL the available side eye to provide to that couple.

But the article about the ghostwriter …it’s given me nightmares.  Actual nightmares.  I want to inform myself by looking up the platforms of both candidates, but I cannot do it.  I feel this awful loathing toward informing myself on The Real State of Things, because if I see something that I don’t like, I alone do not have the power to change it immediately.  For those of you who have an irrational fear of something like…checking voicemails, or your bank account, it’s that same feeling.

Everyone I’ve talked to, or read (their tweets / posts / etc) are in some state of mixed terror-ennui, with a healthy dose of WTF.  I thought about Pokemon Go (and its inane fun to collect small things that remind me of how much I loved Tamagotchi), and then thought about how people are disgruntled and saying it’s a distraction from what’s really going on.  I thought about #BLM and #ALM and how people of any color are just killing people for no reason other than hating the color of the other person’s skin.  I thought about how things like this have happened for so long but only recently (in the scope of humanity’s timeline) that it’s been so widely publicized.  I thought of how I may only hear the same sentiment because I – like so many others – am friends with, or follow, people with similar interests.  It makes sense in some scale: you don’t associate with people who are adamantly not like you, or against things that you enjoy.  Excuse the broad brush, but if you’re a recovering alcoholic, you aren’t going to hang with your college buddies that only play beer pong or do bar crawls.

I started wondering… how can we mix everyone’s ideas?  How can someone Uber-Right talk with someone Uber-Left, and keep it to an intelligent roar?   How can someone, trained from childhood that the right thing to do is kill someone with different religious beliefs, have a discussion with someone who has different religious beliefs?  How can someone of one color who hates someone of another color have a discussion about why they feel that way?  Not a fight, not a riot, a discussion.  I’m not saying change the beliefs, I’m saying let’s change the approach.  Ask questions.  Why do you feel like this?  It’s not everyone …who feels this way, against your beliefs.  I just want to help.  I just want it to not be so awful.

I thought about starting a thing of just talking to people with vastly different opinions of mine, with a goal of having a discussion.  It might change their perspective, it might change mine, but we’d both come away with different points of view.  We could agree to disagree, if we really couldn’t find anything in common.  I think I’m open to that.  If one person, for example, a person of one race that really hates people of another race, wanted to talk about why they felt that way, I’d be interested in talking with them as long as they attempted to have a discussion and not a shouting match.  One by one.  We can do this.

I thought of the lifestyle changes I’ve made recently and how they’ve helped me, and then I read an article about how wellness and self-care are bullshit to help us not pay attention to large-scale issues.  Which might be true, and which did not a single bit of good for my anxiety, but I’m trying to think of it this way:  I know how I feel when I take time for myself, and that INCLUDES reading cheesy motivational stuff.  I tell people about it because I feel great, and I want them to experience the same feelings.  And I know how I felt before, which was not great.  My new positive-ish outlook then gives me more energy and more motivation to help others, and if I can put just ONE person in a positive mood, maybe they’ll help or motivate someone else.  Maybe that ONE person will be nicer, and someone else will notice.  Maybe someone will be in a good enough mood to discuss tough issues and change someone else’s ideas on bad things.  It might start a chain.  It might not, but you never know.  All I know for certain is how I feel.

Here, have some background music.  And hopefully a good day.

 

 

 

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Adventures in Domesticity

Hello!  It’s been a minute.  I’ve been busy in that way that completes the things you need to get done, but not the things you want to get done.  It’s all for the greater good, apparently.

Essentially time after work is spent corralling, feeding, herding, and cleaning up after the cats.  We’re all on a pretty good schedule and things are finally settling down.

Last weekend I was rather domestic and built a succulent garden (and cleaned, and .  I finally got everything properly potted, but here’s what I’ve got so far.

before1

Before

I had to dig out a bunch of that dirt that neighborhood strays had crapped in, scour the bricks of the porch (causing hordes of ants to climb everywhere), and paint the bricks.  Whomever ‘built’ the weird little planter area  decided the best way to do it would be set concrete blocks in cement.  I doubt there was any measuring or leveling.  In theory it’s a nice idea, it reality it made things a hassle.

The next step was to measure the area, head to Home Depot, buy the wood, stain and paint it, then put it together to cover up everything while being strong enough to hold the brilliant plant idea I came up with.  (“Brilliant” typically means “In Over Your Head” with my projects.)  After we got everything situated, the only thing left to do was add plants.

garden1

After

This makes me much happier. It also rained all week, and two days ago one of the strays knocked over a rectangular planter, but it seems to be mostly okay.  Jason straightened it up and I’ll deal with making sure all the plants are snug in their homes (they don’t look too bad).

Oh, I also re-did the container gardens on the porch.  There are two small succulents at about 1100 and 1200 in the left arrangement, and those are from the wedding.  THAT makes me happy.  Now that they’ve been replanted in good soil and watered, they’ve come back from being dormant, and are blending right in with the rest of the crew.

arrangements1

Container gardens

Did you guys know that I have another blog?  Yes.  Domesticity (http://dmestic.wordpress.com/) except I haven’t updated since 2010. Everything seems to just fall into place in this blog, so this is where most of the updates happen.  Also, as the kittens slowly settle down and stop requiring me to pay attention to them every single nanosecond (else they’ll destroy everything), I have a smidgen more time to do things not involving them.  Things that are a touch more relaxing, like drinking tea, or writing an email, or looking at the internet.  That latter part is tough because they tend to want to jump up and down on the laptop specifically when I’m using it, making updates rather difficult.

Bonus round: my home office finally has a desktop system, which is loaded up with Adobe’s CS6 Suite.  It only took me five years to get back on track, but there was that whole search-and-buy a house thing, and that wedding thing, so life was a bit hectic.

See, there’s this thing floating around the Interwebs, one of those memes, and it says (essentially) that “When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to grow up. Uh, this sh/t is NOT what I expected.”
Here’s the part where (if I was a kid), I’d brag all about how I cleaned my room AND put away the laundry AND made my bed.  Then I did the dishes! They’re put away!!

Anyway, since I’m an adult, you get to hear me being excited over my accomplishments of that single day last weekend, which include:
-going to the doctor
-going to Home Depot
-bought a ton of plants and supplies for the succulent gardens
-brought the plants and supplies home AND set them up (the painting/potting adventure (during which I spilled white latex paint all over the driveway had to wait until there was more daylight)
-made yet another homemade smoothie and dinner in efforts to get myself healthy and back in shape (now I’m drinking juice concoctions on a regular basis, mostly thanks to Casa De Juice)
-washed and put away the majority of the dishes (which is impressive because the majority of all dishes we owned were everywhere but in their proper place)
-cleaned out the spice drawer and made a spice area elsewhere (!!! there was stuff from 2004, you guys! it’s cleaned out! we now have a cat food drawer, oh man. OH MAN.)
-reorganized the kitchen and cleaned it
-SWIFFERED
-cleaned out the utility area and made room for the kittens’ litter to be moved over
-actually cleaned the litter (argh)

I know there was more, but that’s a metric ton of stuff for me to do on my day off, which is typically reserved for sitting on the couch With Snacks, reading and passing out when whatever’s on TV bores me to unconsciousness.  I even broke a sweat.

That was two weekends ago (oh, I had a birthday on Jan 10th, so last weekend was all about partying it up). This weekend was reserved for more standard cleaning involving laundry and vacuuming; psuedo-spring cleaning.  My next domestic project for today/tomorrow is to reorganize my linen storage area and office, then tackle the huge pile of freshly cleaned laundry.  I need to reorganize the office to make it more conducive to art stuff and also kitty-proof it.  The sun is out but not strong and there’s a nice breeze, so I’ve got the house brightened up and am hoping my allergies stop sucking my life away. I’ve sneezed more in the past two months than I have in my life; seriously.  Sneezing fits are not something that happen to me, nor are constantly itchy eyes and throat.  People that suffer from this constantly have my sympathies.

The juicing thing has been good. I’ve been making daquiri-looking concoctions at home, and drinking juice blends as meal replacement every couple days.  It’s helping a lot, because my weight and skin were making me very unhappy.  Now that the house is much more organized, the space is here to do that stuff at home.

Anyway, it’s been a long strange trip, but for the most part, 2013 is off to a great start.  I’m even doing yoga a bit more frequently.  Now to remember this feeling when it gets crazy…

I Drank From Bronte’s Poisoned Well

“I looked, and had an acute pleasure in looking, – a precious, yet poignant pleasure; pure gold, with a steely point of agony: a pleasure like what the thirst-perishing man might feel who knows the well to which he has crept is poisoned, yet stoops and drinks divine draughts nevertheless.”

My recent read of Jane Eyre – not yet complete – has just brought me to that passage. I picked up the book a few days ago from the library and wasn’t sure how it would go. Would it be some herculean task to read, each sentence a small hurdle to get through? Upon finishing a chapter, would I inhale, feeling as if a new, boulder-filled hill lie in front of me and a valley behind? Reading for me is (and probably always will be) one of those experiences like fine wine or complex beer. You sip, you consider. Reading is luxurious and gratifying in almost every sense. A recently emailed installment of the Zen Habits newsletter touted the propensities of reading simply for pleasure. It’s not a task and should never be a chore. “Even ten minutes is bliss”, I think the phrase went – which is so true.

There are people who don’t like to read. Some of them are close friends, coworkers. They hate assigned reading, essay work, things involving words that they have to look at and sometimes comprehend. I have never understood what it means to hate reading, but it is definitely one of those things that you either love or loathe.

At this point you should realize I love reading. Give me a well-written story and hours will slip by, the world outside of the pages ceases, and my mind is completely engrossed in some other realm, the visuals unmatched by Scorsese – Jackson – Spielberg. Not that their work is sub par, it just never comes close to the sights in my imagination. This is why art frustrates me: I can never get the images properly from my mind into a tangible format.

Additionally, it bothers me to have to repress my verbiage, my thoughts. My writing capabilities have always surpassed my speaking capabilities for numerous reasons. One can’t delete something just spoken, and it’s easier to organize the words on paper. My train of thoughts has always run at about five hundred miles per hour, so when I open my mouth the words tend to tumble over each other. Given the chance to arrange my thoughts properly, the problem lessens, but I’ve failed in Sales for a reason. Objections? I don’t know. If you don’t want it, the first thought that comes to my mind is not a rebuttal, but some anti-confrontational mumbling: “Sorry to bother you, thanks.” On paper though… why is it I can’t say what I want? Does it stem from that childhood fear of being labeled a nerd? Some antiquated being? “Why the f//k is she talking like she’s from some stuck up old sh/t?” …or something.

Sometimes it feels like there are no words for me to say, and that results in behavior that makes me want to punch a wall. So when they finally do come effortlessly, in some form or mixture that actually sounds good in my head, all I want to do is let them out. Why is that wrong? Why – more importantly – do people still mix up “their” and “there”? “Lose” and “loose”? “Your” and “you’re”? I’VE SEEN THIS IN ADVERTISING, FOR CHRISSAKES. PAY ATTENTION.

That was quite a tangent, and I apologize. Where was I? Ah, that’s right. Some of my self-imposed goals as of late have been to just read a book without first reading the summary or the jacket (and never the Cliffs Notes [not even when past assignments required them]). Jane Eyre is one of those books I mistakenly thought was by Jane Austen, so my mental recollections were of past failed attempts at getting through Pride and Prejudice. (After this next round of library books has been completed, I’m going to give Ms. Austen’s works another shot.)

After a chapter or so, my assumptions proved to be completely inaccurate. The book is wonderful. The original clumsiness which I read with was merely due to the unfamiliarity of the phrasing. As Miss Eyre’s story unfolds – nursery to adolescence to young adulthood – I find myself completely engrossed. It’s like falling into a pensieve.

It would be alternately blissful and excruciating.

It was only after she met Mr. Rochester did the pages start turning faster, which means the book is not only being read but being comprehended. I’ve just arrived at the part where Miss Eyre was looking at Mr. Rochester – against her will.

Let’s revisit the statement again, shall we?

“I looked, and had an acute pleasure in looking, – a precious, yet poignant pleasure; pure gold, with a steely point of agony: a pleasure like what the thirst-perishing man might feel who knows the well to which he has crept is poisoned, yet stoops and drinks divine draughts nevertheless.”

Bronte, you’ve nailed it.

There have been a few times in my life where I’ve been in love, in lust, in …crush. Whatever you call it, my heart has wanted what my heart has wanted, and that phrase above was so completely accurate that upon reading that phrase I was unable to do anything but shut the book and mentally exclaim: “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I had to take a break from reading for a few moments just to share this with you, Reader, whoever you might be. Also because things were getting a little too intense for me and I needed to remember to breathe. It’s funny how so few words can call up such clear recollections of all the times I waited to see a specific person, all the rejections, all the hope that they only thought of me as I thought of them, against my better judgment. Then of course there were the feelings that occurred during our meetings – even the brief ones, even the ones in the very beginning, no matter how trivial. If you were in the vicinity, I couldn’t think of anything except to try and act natural. Act natural and stop giggling, damnit! Pay attention to the words coming out of your mouth – don’t try and force anything funny or charming or witty when your brain is somewhere in the middle of your chest. Was that your car I saw? The song that reminds me of you is now on the radio every time I turn it on. “When the minutes turn to hours and the hours turn to days”, indeed. You begin to do silly things like make sure your hair looks nice, check that your manicure is in decent condition. You wear lipgloss when you never have before. Have you ever been somewhere you don’t want to be (or somewhere you DO want to be), all …just in case? And oh, the pain, the wordless agony when you find out it’s all for nothing.

I don't need to review the situation, I just need to make more space in my head.

There is no more intense, no worse, no greater feeling than the one your heart calls up against your will.

I’m not sure if I envy or pity all the un-romantic people out there… but at least it ensures life isn’t boring.

Back to Bronte.

Bucket List Checkbox: Obtained

I’ve been making notes throughout the week when an idea for a post strikes me, and trying hard to not force a post. The plan for the evening was to come over here and talk about debt or exercise or my cat or post a sketch or something. Speaking of debt, remember how my other post was about trying to get out, right? Well, one version of my commute takes me past Spreckels, and I totally almost hit some pedestrians because of the marquee:

Immediately the words came out of my mouth: “Oh HELL yeah!” There wasn’t anyone in the car, but the people I nearly crushed in the crosswalk probably heard me. My one-sided conversation in the car on the way home (a regular occurrence) was trying to figure out how to explain to Jason, in a reasonable decibel, that this was a mandatory event. If he didn’t want to go, then he’d just get to hear about how great it was, because it wasn’t an option for me to not go.

I get home, I research tickets. The first option is “VIP”. For a laugh, my selection was for 2 VIP tickets – just to see the ludicrous cost and what constituted “VIP”, exactly. Here is what that entails:

VIP Packages include : (1) VIP Seating Ticket – Ticket exclusively located within the first 5 rows, Exclusive access to post-show reception meet & greet with Anthony Bourdain. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres at reception. Limited edition Anthony Bourdain poster (numbered exclusive to ticket packages). Limited edition VIP tour meet & greet laminate.

Anyway, when you’re in debt, the reasonable thing to do is to stay far away from researching (let alone purchasing) some $175-each tickets to anything like that, which is exactly why Jason and I both have VIP TICKETS TO IT AND WE’RE SITTING IN ROW D ORCHESTRA PIT AND WE GET TO MEET ANTHONY NO BIG DEAL RIGHT.

I'M DOING THIS RIGHT NOW BUT WITH LOTS OF LOUD SQUEEEEE

It’s very hard for me not to start calling everyone in my phone to shout the news, because none of my friends – except maybe Ivonne – would get as excited as me. Except she’s in Jersey and already met him, so at least she knows. Bucket list indeed!!!

For those of you who don’t understand, this past post of mine kind of sums it up.

Jason will be going with me, because I bought us both tickets. So while it’s super cool that we’ll get to experience that together, this means that any overt fangirlism is going to seriously need to be kept in check. He knows I’m excited, but I don’t think he …understands. Past people that have been on my “Need to Meet” list have included: Art Alexakis, Dave Navarro and Mike Ness.

I met Art. He was kind of an asshole.
I’ve never met Dave in person, but we emailed back and forth a few times in the late 90’s. He was very nice.
I almost met Mike. He seemed nice; waved at me, gave a smile. I’ve heard nothing but good things about him.

I have never had the full experience of meeting someone like this.

Bourdain has basically changed my entire life so there’s that.

After Googling – and talking with – some people who have met him, everyone has great things to say about the guy. This is like … next level excitement. I mean, what am I going to say to him? Please don’t let me stutter. Or faint. Or get sick the day before. :(( Maybe I’ll invite him to the Sod, haha!

Oh lord, what am I going to *wear*?!?!

Okay, I need to go do some deep breathing and think about how much $$ I just put onto my credit card but OMFG WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fresh Start Phase 2

Yesterday was the first day of my personal yoga challenge, and I managed to get in 20 minutes of relaxing poses. Nothing too strenuous as the house was super muggy, but it was nice to stretch out on the cool floor.

Tonight is a session over at Ginseng Yoga, my first class with Laura Dasi, who has an AMAZING FLAWLESS GRACEFUL video on her own site that I can’t stop watching. Very nice. Reports on the class forthcoming. 🙂

—–Later That Evening—–

Home now. Fed. Showered. It was an eye-opening class. The instructor moves like music. Fluid, graceful, everything I want to be. There’s not a real way to explain it, other than… when I dance, the way it feels is the same as the way she moves. Just awesome. It was liquid art.

Spent more than a few moments being hard on myself for being overweight and out of shape (compared to everyone else in the relatively small class). There were hurdles to get over. But I’m going to reflect on it – and all my upcoming sessions – to remind myself that it’s okay to fall. And I’m going to try not to become some …overzealous hippie. 😉 It’s all just intriguing, exciting. I think I’m finding myself.

Anyway! Class review:

+ Showed up.
+ The studio was too warm for me at first.
– Had a hard time resisting the need to rush out into fresh air.
+ Sat quietly and focused, felt better.
+/- All the classes I’ve taken so far (at gyms) have only prepared me for what I consider my first “real” class.
+ Sweat a lot.
+/- Was shaking a lot.
+ Wanted to sit and just watch the instructor, it was like a dance. Fantastic to watch.
– The size of my …chestal region is not really suited for things like yoga, even with a sports bra.
– Hurt my thumb.
– Was the only member of class to take a break in Child’s Pose.
+ Remembered it’s okay to take a break in Child’s Pose.
+ Was able to do a Plow Pose!
++ Was almost able to do a shoulderstand!! [That’s right, I gave myself two bonus points. 🙂 ]
+ Instructor gave me minimal adjustment
– Spent a lot of time wanting to be better and not feel like the out of shape, overweight beginner.
+ Remembered a few extra poses for practice outside of class.

– 7 + 13

Every day for the next month, I’m going to try and figure out which lesson my practice held for me. For today… I am not a fan of that whole feeling of paranoia, where it seems like the whole class (including the instructor) is staring at me, pitying me for being so terrible, but I am trying really hard to push it down and focus. In short, today’s lesson: showing up is the most important step. Go, focus. Breathe. Repeat.

Daily Zen

A more appropriate title will be forthcoming. For now, that fits.
It’s my blog, I may keep that title. So there.

Just a little bit of daily routine, shared with all y’all, in hopes that it might add a little zest of zen to your lives.

When it’s almost time for bed:

This site reminded me to clean up after myself (although I’ve been much better lately). For those of you who eat in front of your computer (or tv), go put your food trash/dirty dishes in the kitchen. Where it goes.

-Put away your shoes. Just do it. It sucks, but just do it. You can grab them on your way back from putting away your stuff in the kitchen and toss them in the closet/shoe basket/shoe rack. Then, surprisingly, you’ll know where they are in the morning. It may take a couple days but suddenly you realize that shoes have homes and those homes are the only logical place they belong when not in use.

-Stretch. One or two good full body stretches will get you comfy and ready for sleep.

-Go to bed half an hour earlier than you normally would. This way you’re probably asleep before you would have normally even gone to bed. Seriously, I know some of you (including me) have an Internet addiction, but you know roughly how long your daily e-rounds take. If you start doing those rounds a little earlier that’s helps, and for the love of all that is holy don’t get sucked into surfing Myspace, Facebook or Livejournal when it’s getting close to bedtime. No matter what, just try not to surf endlessly into the wee hours of the morning. Perhaps end your rounds at an inspiring site, a daily quote site or something that is not constantly updated. Bonus points if it’s a health/fitness site, maybe you’ll be inspired to do some yoga in the morning. 😉

-Read in bed if you want, or maybe play some mediation music to fall asleep. Nothing crazy, just some nice nature sounds or maybe monks chanting if you like that sort of thing. SomaFm.com has 2 great playlists (Groove Salad & Drone Zone) that can help you pass out.

-Bonus points if you get up a little earlier than normal due to feeling more rested (hopefully from going to bed earlier)!

Have a good night, everyone.

To infinity and beyond!

Today’s link (YogaFuzion) is brought to you by a drive-by flyering this morning. On this morning’s walk to my car before work, I noticed that someone had taken the liberty of dropping a few flyers under the windshield wipers. Normally they get dumped in the nearest trash bin (or stored with my flyer collection if they’re cool). One was for some new club downtown, and the other was for a yoga studio very near Bird Rock.

Karma has a nice way of showing up at random opportune moments. I’ve been casually reading about yoga, studying up and trying to use my training DVDs, but the lingering thought in the back of my mind does involve yoga at Bird Rock. It is indeed my very favorite place in the world, as you can see via an old photo shoot.

The pricing appears to be only slightly more expensive than the bellydance classes. As much as I love Jim and all the people I’ve met through him, my current schedule is making it just too difficult to attend. At the moment, the only class it would be possible for me to attend is his Wednesday night Advanced/Level 4. It’s a fun class but my skills are very rusty – resulting in my feeling uncomfortable both physically and mentally. “Left out” may be a better phrase. Therefore, my bellydance adventures are going to be on a very sporadic basis until further notice – unless I’m able to shell out the cash for bi-weekly private sessions.

The good thing is that going to the gym is cheap, and available 24 hour a day, seven days per week – which includes a pool, as well as quite a few other amenities.

Looking back at my budget, two other things that come to mind are ballet classes, and Sabrina’s classes. Sabrina is a member of Atash Maya, and I greatly admire her style and physique. Both the pricing and the schedule of her classes would work on a semi-regular basis, not to mention it would still allow me to learn new forms of dance for fun and fitness.

The dilemma, oh the dilemma.

In any case, I plan on researching more and seeing how things pan out. The yoga classes would put me on a strict schedule (you’ll notice they start at 630 A.M.), but would most likely do me a world of good. In the meantime, I’m having some Sweet Dreams tea and trying to relax for sleep. Six or seven hours of undisturbed sleep would be very nice indeed. I read this article last night and am clearly not checking my email. I suppose this is my way of getting all those strange thoughts out of my head so sleep can arrive unfettered.

Have a good night, everyone.