Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pick Your Poison

On any given day, any one of us may feel a little doldrumy. No, that's not necessarily a word, but it is now as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway.

I'll go off of the assumption here that most of us would not rather be in a bad mood. And of course, those of us who would aren't consciously aware of it - why would anyone ever choose to be glum?

Er, it comes from habit, but that's for another post.

I'm also not talking about sweet melancholy - that emotion when, in a healthy balance combined with all of the other colors that make up our fluid states of being, creates a gorgeous, complex and ever-changing mandala of life experience.

There isn't a thing in the world wrong with some healthy melancholy. In my experience (I am very well versed from years of practice), when in a temporary context, it can be enjoyed as a way of slowing down. If it's really acknowledged and accepted as a valid emotion (rather than immediately suppressed, also from habit and a cultural belief that anything other that a smiling face is "bad"), it coats the world before your eyes in a sort of delicate veil, making the light burn differently and giving credence to the sensuousness of curling up in a warm blanket for a quiet contemplative time, just for yourself. Janet Luhrs even touches on this type of melancholy in relationships, mainly as a way of accepting your lover's moods using the lens of unconditional love rather that being stuck within the constraints of expectations, in her book Simple Loving - a must read for all of us who are pursuing the ever-elusive "perfect relationship".

But I've digressed again. The original point of this post was to talk about choosing to be joyful - or if that's too big a stretch, choosing to adopt a relaxed and accepting "go-with-the-flow" attitude.

Today's trick for doing that is to think back on some of your most proud achievements, or even just your ultimately lucky moments.

If you ever won a contest that you gave your all for, or created a truly beautiful piece of art, or aced the interview and got that perfect job you were wanting, or finally got up the courage to start a relationship with the person you'd been admiring from afar...

It doesn't matter if by now the contest winnings have come and gone, or if the art is sold or just doesn't hold that sparkle for you anymore, or if you've moved on from the job or the lover.

Do you remember how you felt when you got the news and you felt those mind-fireworks that, with their little explosions, brought waves of joy, satisfaction, and pride?

Do you remember how great you felt, knowing that you'd achieved something that you had been working for, whether the reward was expected or not? Remember that sense of self-confidence that surged within you because you'd proven that you could achieve that thing that you'd been reaching and grasping for?

Revel in that memory for a moment. Swim in the feeling, let it permeate your body and mind.

Now, return to the present. No matter how under-the-emotional-weather you're feeling, or how much that old goal has lost its luster once it was achieved, remember that you did it.

You still did that thing that made you so proud and happy - you still have all of those qualities that were affirmed to you by reaching your goal.

That's who you are.

All that has changed are your thoughts.

Just think - if you could monitor and choose the internal winds that drive you, what you'd be capable of....

Now, what are your goals for the day?


Today's whiteboard quote:

"In life, you can never do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, June 29, 2009

Car Dancing

"Climb up, over the top,
Survey the state of the soul.
You've got to find out for yourself
Whether or not you're truly trying.
Why not?
Give it a shot- Shake it, take control...
Inevitably wind up finding for yourself
All the strength you have inside, still rising...."

Lyrics from an old Jason Mraz CD (genius!) that had me singing along while stuck in traffic, gazing at downtown LA, whose buildings looked as if they were made of mother-of-pearl as a result of the smog this morning.

Why not, indeed?

True, it is a Monday. However, I had a fantastical weekend, actually got a full night's sleep last night (for a change), and am now ready to light up my jet packs this week.

What are the goals on the current list?

1) To get my doggonit website up and running (been in the works for months, yes, I'm aware...)
2) Finish revising my DQP (all of the procrastination I didn't do for the original submission has returned in force and set up camp in my noggin this time around)
3) Send in the rest of the forms to the State for my L.L.C. (I'm now a company owner....there's just something so awesomely wrong about that)
4) Practice Reiki (it's more about setting up and taking down the table than it is about the rest of the process....but someone may as well benefit. Yes, it'll probably be T.)

As for this weekend, T (the below pic is pre-haircut) and I spent our Saturday in Santa Monica with buddies of ours,
(yay for new sunglasses. What is it about seeing the world through
newly purchased and unscratched shaded vision that makes one so happy?)

...followed by the best part, midnight vegan nachos, courtesy of B.

Today's whiteboard quote:
"The cyclone derives its powers from a calm center. So does a person." ~Peale

Friday, June 26, 2009

Shore

It's been a rough week. TGIF has never been more heartfelt as it echoed through my mind this morning, just as an unladylike four-letter word echoed through my quiet room right after the alarm began to sound...

At times like these, when there's an internal conflict involving trepidation and stress, and when thinking about the problem doesn't make it better, but only attacking it proactively would, but you're too exhausted and confused to even formulate a plan, much less do anything about it, I have a practice that always helps.

It's simple, but more difficult than you may automatically think.

The effect is also simple - it's as if you've placed your mind and your point of perceiving (your Self with a capital S) into a stream. It's almost as if your mind is washed with cool, clear, moving water and you begin to feel refreshed and renewed. It's subtle though, and usually takes a couple of hours to take effect.

For me, it takes less than an hour to start to make me feel better. It takes longer to finish. Roughly a day.

The trick I use is to stretch out to the edges of my skin.

It sounds funny, I know.

And it also doesn't work well at all if I'm in physical pain of any kind.

But, when the pain and fatigue is mental (it also works nicely if you're a bit physically tired), this does the job nicely.

I put all of my attention on two of my five senses. The main one is touch. I really feel everything that I touch. My fingertips tingle with aliveness. My spine straightens and becomes stronger and more graceful with the attention I'm giving it. My jaw relaxes and my eyes become more alert. That's when the second sense kicks in - sight. And not just everything, but how colors and shapes and light are in the world around me.

This is more subtle, again, I envision it as stretching out within myself and inhabiting only the edges of my body. I think most of us usually feel buried in here somewhere. Spending time noticing things you don't ordinarily take account of is freeing. For instance, I'm typing right now. How often do I notice what these keys feel like under my fingers? Not as often as I should.

How often do I notice, really notice, the cool breeze against my cheeks as I walk outside? Or feel my keys as they jangle in my hand? We're used to the meaning of it all (I pay attention to WHAT I'm typing, not just the ACT of typing), rather than the feel of doing it. Once you learn how to wield a fork and knife as a child it's as if your hand disappears. You're not aware of its action, only of what you want to happen because of it - you darned well know where those fork prongs are, but where is your pinkie finger? As I sit and type this, I honestly can't tell you where the heck it lies when I use silverware.

And on and on.

After awhile what I've found is that my body takes over and feels the pure joy in just living that tends to get buried under the 'in-your-head'ness of it all....and that visceral joy commandeers your attention and emotion, so you can't help dancing just a little too.

On the inside, of course.

And like I said, it's subtle.

But just for kicks, try it. Give it a go. Tell me what happens.

Today's whiteboard quote:
"One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time."
~Andre Gide

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Weekend Bliss and Caffeine A'Comin

Today is Thursday. And what does that awesome fact infer?
Oh yes, that tomorrow is Friday.
Which means the weekend.

It had been awhile since I'd textually danced, filled with bliss for my love of weekend anticipation.

What do I have planned, you ask?

Nothing.

And that fact in itself is nothing short of delicious.

I'm very excited, can you tell?

I'm also excited because a couple of days ago I got my very first moolah for writing - that means I'm actually a professional writer now, and can call myself such....at least that's what they tell me :) I got a chapter in a book published some time last fall, but who knows if it's been printed yet (or even if it will be, considering that this was before the economic slump). Besides, if there aren't any funds, I don't consider it pro. Even now, I don't really consider myself professional because I won't believe that until I'm making a sizable chunk of my monthly income from writing - if it don't pay the bills, it don't count as professional....to me, at least.

All this one paid for was my new lovely coffeemaker that I ordered from Overstock (love that site!) on Tuesday:
But wait, I don't drink caffeine...often.

However, the Santa Monica pier concerts start next week. If we go, it will be cutting a bigger piece of my REM cyclage out than I'm comfortable with. As in, miserable Fridays from sleep deprivation. I love them, though, and so does T - even more than me, in fact.

I made him this deal.

I'll go to the concerts with him every Thursday night if he'll get up pre-dawn with me every Friday morning and make me coffee :)

I think that sounds fair.

On that note, here's today's whiteboard quote:
"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
~Goethe

Now get busy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Snippet

Today's whiteboard quote:
"Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." ~Albert Einstein

That's about as much as I'll post today - it's a busy one, and that quote is gonna help me more than ever with my outlook, whew!

Oh, and this (a pic of M from our shoot a couple of weeks ago):

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Monday Night Pizza

Last night's happenings en maison a la Redondo Beach:




(love that wine)

Watching TV on the computer, that's how we roll...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day '09 Review

Saturday morning T and I jumped in the car and drove up to Los Osos to visit him:
We arrived in the late morning, and after having a tour of his cabin in the woods, (where you can see the wild animal trails - yes I mean bobcats and possibly bears, not to mention all of the other ones - about 20 feet from his front door), we went out to breakfast at the amazing Garden Cafe. We chatted about school and work and politics and religion, and at some point I zoned out and became intensely interested in my delicious Reuben with sauerkraut on the side.... And bread pudding for dessert. Mmmmmm. It's not that I wasn't paying attention, it's just that the food was so good.

After brunch, we headed out to the adorably quaint restaurant and shop-lined shore in Los Osos, and strolled around for a bit before finding a table perfectly shielded from the wind at a restaurant and spending the afternoon there, munching on appetizers, having drinks,
and sea-lion watching.

What's that, you say?

There were gigantic sea lions swimming in the harbor about 50 feet away. I'd never seen any sea lions that close before, much less wild ones. They were so cute and friendly, showing off and coming up, trying to get the attention of the people above. They came right up to where we were and hung out for awhile, then as soon as I uncovered the camera they'd skedaddle, or only come up long enough for me to get an almost picture.... At one point I heard one sitting underneath the boards in the deck we were on, barking....taunting me.
Eventually we partook of more of the sights of Los Osos, going into a few shops and getting #1) an initial seal, with sealing wax to accompany it - I've been looking for one of those for years! Actually, I got my sister one in high school as one of those I-get-you-a-gift-that-I-really-want-for-myself presents. I came across the same one in a box in our library the other day, still untouched....She's not much of a letter writer. But the shop where I got it closed soon afterward, and I never got one for myself. I complained of that fact to T when we were standing in the library that day, and explained to him how now, they're nowhere to be found. Imagine my surprise when, not even a week later, there one was! Last night I sat down with it and made a few very messy and not so successful attempts at creating my seal. I'll practice. And, #2) homemade fudge. That's all I need to say about that.

We went back to the cabin later, where my nemesis, Rikki, and T gave each other the eye for awhile.
What is it with the men in my family? My father and brother both have a strong affinity and pride for animals who don't like anyone but them. Oh well, what are you gonna do, except skirt the scary bird (the pet store visitors nicknamed Rikki "the piranha" because of his tendency to bite....no, he's never bitten my Dad. But I wasn't taking any chances with that wicked little beak).

Sunday morning T and I came back home, passing mountains and vineyards and other such loveliness on the drive (which I could enjoy as he was dealing with the not-so-great traffic),
and got Cheesecake Factory takeout. Delicious.

And today I'll be fasting as a result of my horrifically unhealthy weekend food. Just kidding.

Today's whiteboard quote:
"Undertake something that is difficult: it will do you good. Unless you try to do something beyone what you have already mastered, you will never grow."
~Ronald E. Osborn

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hearting this Friday

And a happy Friday to you all!

I feel compelled to say something here, before I start with one of my usual posts.

My presence on a couple of news blogging sites has given me a couple of epiphanies over the past couple of days. I've always been too empathetic to a fault (trust me, that is NOT a good thing when you're me), and yesterday, after spending most of the day following what's happening in Iran with bated breath and a clenched stomach (my appetite is the first thing to go when I'm upset), I was nearly incapacitated. By the time I got home, I was an emotional wreck. I had a glass of water and sat on my couch, staring out of the window, eyes unfocused, for awhile, which would likely have turned into all night if T hadn't snapped me out of it.

Don't get me wrong, I think when things like that happen being emotionally wrung out and filled with despair at the state of things is how it is an appropriate way to feel. However, a good chunk of that despair stemmed from the knowledge that I could do absolutely nothing to help the situation, considering my position in the world and the resources that I have at my disposal. About the only contribution I could make was to post some links and hopefully make some people aware of what was happening who hadn't previously known (because one of the big problems was that all communication by the general public was being cut off by those who are in control of such things over there), and I had already done that. I knew that people were dying, terrified, and watching other people die, right then, as I was sitting on my couch, and there was not a thing I could do about it.

I'm also a firm believer in the energy of places and of a people, and I think that the more joyful you are, the more joy you bring into the world - through the joy you put out, and hopefully by making the people you interact with more joyful as well (and vice versa, of course). To that end, me sitting there and feeling a quiet panic, thinking that maybe the world is a horrible place, makes that thought closer to the truth. So, with those caveats in mind, not only was I not helping, on a more subtle but larger scale, I was making things worse.

As a person who's been lucky enough to live in a place where I am free and have the resources and abilities to create a happy and fulfilling life, don't I have a responsibility to do just that, in the interest of what I hold to be true?

I know it's a silly thing, but I think there's real truth in that simple religious song about "this little light of mine."

So, what is it, in all truth and objectivity, that I am able to do, in order to make a difference in the best way that I can given my resources, blessings and talents? Well, I've got this blog. And I have the ability to pour my thoughts onto my keyboard and onto the web, and I have the training and knowledge that has taught me to consciously create a happy life and to interact with others in a way that I believe increases goodness in the world, pushing the opposite out for lack of space to thrive. So, I can tell other folks how to do that, and hope that sometimes it makes a difference to someone, somewhere, who will now approach their day with an outlook that makes the world a better place in their own little way. After all, we're all just living our own little lives, but together, we make up all of the people of this world. If we all chose to be a little more happy, compassionate, and loving, what kind of a place would we see when we looked out of our window?

So, I think that, even though I'll stay up on what's happening (and relay information when doing so would benefit someone), my place is not to be a relayer of all of the craziness that are current events. My place in this world is to be a sanctuary of peace and of mindfulness, and a reminder (no matter how small my influence is) that we are all creating the lives that we're living, and the world that we're living in.

So on that note, I'm back to my old blogging antics in 3..., 2..., 1

And thank all that is holy that today is Friday, because I think one more day at the office is all I can handle! I'm in major need of a weekend - getting up at 5am on a Saturday and making the four-hour drive to visit my Dad (and his scary parrot) sounds like a plan to me. Remember those paintings I've been working on for his living room for months? Well, one of them is halfway done.

Hmmm, what to do....

I'm bringing up the panels and my paints and brushes, and I'll finish mine while he paints his own danged painting! I think that's a good call :) (happy father's day, here ya go....)

Today's whiteboard quote:
"Experience shows that success is due less to ability than to zeal. The winner is he who gives himself to his work, body and soul."
~Charles Buxton

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Teeter Totter

In the interest of occasionally dealing directly with things that relate to the title of this blog, here's an example for you. Yesterday I stepped into a firestorm on facebook when I posted a reply to a political article (namely, one about Obama's extending partial federal benefits to the same-sex partners of governmental workers....the article link was posted along with this remark: "the worst president ever.") I should have known the slippery slope I was embarking upon, but before thinking too deeply about it (because the point that I was about to make is one that the fact that it is routinely ignored is absolutely amazing to me), that one of the things that makes our country a free one, and has made it, since its beginning, a great one (a.k.a. the separation of church and state) is completely ignored on this issue, and that no one seems to care. Am I really the only one who thinks it doesn't make any sense to use religous viewpoints as basis for laws? I can't help but feel incredibly unsettled once religious beliefs start becoming law in this country which is supposed to embrace everyone, no matter what their race, creed, background, or religion is.

In fact, I could've sworn that the reason this country was founded in the first place was to escape religous tyranny.....

But anyway, back to the tightrope. Of course what I said provoked a buncha comments, at first agreeing with me, then strongly, strongly disagreeing and starting to quickly go bad. I actually walked away from my computer before the downslide happened, but by the time I saw the stream again a few hours later, people were insulting each other and calling each other names, and it was general craziness.

The balance that I try to keep (which is one of the reasons that I don't comment much on these type of subjects) is one that on one hand, lets me stay true to my innermost values (which involve always speaking with respect and compassion for everyone, no matter who I'm talking to and what their beliefs are), while still standing up for what I believe in (which, honestly, generally is basically the same thing). A conversation that is coming with as much fiery impetus as that one was has a high likelihood of quickly dissolving into "you're stupid." "You're stupider." "Your mom," and so on. In fact, that's exactly what happened (with different words, but with the same spirit). I really can't get behind that. And, for that matter, it's a little difficult for me to understand why anyone would if they're conscious of what they're doing. Perhaps that's it - once a nerve gets touched, people forget what they're saying (and typing), and unfortunately, not only is it appropriate in the media nowadays to sling hate (in various disguises - both light and heavy ones), but that's what often gets hits and comments and calls-in and the like.

I'll settle for a small readership, thanks. I'd rather not sell out to what I see as one of the biggest problems in our world right now - the lack of empathy that everyone doesn't think the way that you do, and, even more of a novel concept, that this is okay.

And that's what I think.

On another note, I had my lovely sister be a model for me yesterday on my ongoing journey to master my camera's settings. Here's a peek at what we got:

And on a third note, I'm making the 4-hour drive Saturday morning to go see this guy:
Daddy Brown (and Rikki, the parrot. That guy had better be snug in his cage when I arrive, I've never met him but hear he's posessive and I would prefer to still have all my fingers by Monday...)

Today's whiteboard quote:
"One wa
y to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure."
~William Feather

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Spooner

Oh yes, there's a new Pink Spoon page up. It's here.

Thug Story (so so funny)

So this is the funniest thing I've seen all day. I heart Taylor Swift.

MISSING

My journal is lost. Lost.

I can't find it anywhere - not in my bedroom, or the living room, office, nor kitchen. It is not in my car or in T's. It isn't in his beach backpack or my beach purse.

This is aggravating. And terrifying.

It's not so much that anything in there isn't stuff that I'd pretty much share anyway, if asked about it, but having that clear and unfettered view into my innermost feelings and ramblings is something that, knowing that anyone who picks it up (whether or not they know me, depending on where the darned thing is) has instant access to, makes my skin crawl... (it's also why I have no, and I mean, no, self control when given the opportunity to read someone else's journal. It's disgusting. Remember that study where they gave kids candy, told them that if none of the candy was eaten by the time they returned the kids would get double, and and left the room to watch from behind a one-way mirror? And the kids would do all sorts of things to distract themselves, but often ended up eating the candy anyway? So me. Something about just being able to really, really see inside of someone else's head is irresistible to me. I'm despicable, I know.)

Not the least of my worries here is that with along with the M.I.A. journal is a library book that is overdue as of this morning. Argh! I hate returning library books late - it makes me feel sooooo irresponsible. Not to mention the fact that I'll have to pay late fees to the library, which makes me feel duuummmb. That'll be a cup of (decaf) coffee that I could have had...

So the search is on. If anyone finds a 2/3 filled black leather notebook that's moderately falling apart, holla.

Speaking of annoyances, here's today's quote (and an instant favorite of mine):

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much."
~Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Random Pictures and Fun Facts

I've been tagged by m'girl PDO, so here goes:

The tenth picture in the first folder under 'pictures':
T and I being silly at a tiny and minimally gross dive bar about a ten minute walk from our house. The four roomies had been sitting at a table, having drinks, and playing on the PhotoPop machine for about an hour and a half, so that explains the pervading goofiness.

Now, the second part of the tag - 10 things about myself:
1) The texture of onions creeps me out (canNOT handle it)
2) I've been skydiving twice (once tandem, once AFF)
3) My sister's been skydiving over 500 times (although I don't know if that counts as a fact about me, but it's my blog and I can do what I want)
4) I have absolutely no cold tolerance, although I was raised in VA. Doesn't make sense to me either. ("You're obviously descended from a tropical people", T says when he feels my frigid feet on an 80 degree afternoon. Don't know whether that's a complement or not...)
5) I drink my water out of a recycled glass Tazo Tea bottle (very green of me! And it stays cold unlike it would if in plastic and doesn't taste like metal unlike it would in a stainless steel bottle)
6) I have blonde hair on my arms and no idea how I lucked out on that one considering how dark my hair and skin is (yessss)
7) I have two master's degrees and, at the moment, don't use either of them
8) My favorite ice cream flavor is cookies and cream
9) I heard "Brick" by Ben Folds Five on the radio last week and it totally made me cry (tears streaming, who knew? I've heard that song 5 zillion times and nothin), and...
10) I'm an ordained minister (yep, seriously! I've even officiated at a wedding. And no, I didn't get my ordination in order to officiate at the wedding...)

And by the way, there's a new Pink Spoon snippet up. You can go see it here...

And on another note, here's another picture from the shoot last week:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Morning Affirmations

If you at all believe that your mental state affects your physical one (which I do, fully), and if you've never heard of this book, I'd recommend ordering it directly. In Heal Your Body, Louise Hay discusses her own journey with cancer and the power of the mind and physical health. Most of the book, however, is a chart of various physical maladies (almost literally anything you can think of), the corresponding thought loop that created the illness or that exacerbates it (or both), and another thought loop that you can override the first one with, to bring health rather than the opposite.

For me, the best part of the book is the last page. On it, there is a sort of catch-all long affirmation, which can be considered a preventative for all of the problems talked about in the book. It covers your body, your mind, your emotions, even your job, home environment, and relationships. There's more, but I'd just recommend getting the book (which is also why I'm not including the affirmation here for you to see - it's under $2. Just order it, if you're curious. If it's cheaper than a Slurpee, where can you go wrong...).

During what I consider one of the happiest periods in my life (lasted nearly a year, and it was awesome), I did this affirmation each morning. But time passes and schedules get more hectic, etc., so this morning I picked it back up. And so far I've seen the benefits already.

I feel physically fine these days, so that's not where I've noticed a difference. These two areas are where I have noticed one:

1) Remember that photo session I talked about last week? Well, we had it. And the weather was perfect, the little guy was freshly napped and in a great mood, and everything went very well. That is, until I got home and discovered that my memory card had decided to encode 2/3 of my pictures (the last 2/3 of the shoot, which were of course the best ones) in a format that nothing, not even the camera that did the coding, can recognize.
Lost.
Kaput.
Oh-so-gone.
And I spent a couple of days gasping for air (not literally, but you know) about this, but this morning I decided to tackle my measly amount of pictures and make the best of it. Here's an example:


2) The university where I work bring in a good chunk of change by letting shows come film here from time to time. The campus is notoriously beautiful, and it's easy to see why it would be a preferred setting. For example, in The Wedding Planner with Jennifer Lopez, the scene during which she first meets her big clients (which can be seen at 3:46) was filmed right here:

Ordinarily, this doesn't bother me. Skirting around production crews is fine when going from place to place, and other than having to do that, there's not generally any inconvenience. Except for days like this morning, when Entourage has decided to film a scene at the entrance of my building and now all of the parking on campus is blocked off. That means that I'll have to trot out every two hours and move my car...all day. Awesome. But, because of my affirmation this morning, instead of grumbling, it occurred to me to see the extra clip-clopping as exercise. Hey, this means I can maybe skip (or just shorten) my run tonight! Yessss.

In closing, get that book. It'll make you happier. And what's a better goal than that to have? If you're happier, you'll be a better force in each life you touch. Can't go wrong.

Today's whiteboard quote:
"It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness."
~Chinese Proverb

Oh, and pink flowers this week make for a happier me too (thanks to T... ...Gotta love him)

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Pink Spoon Theory! - Go take a look

My first excerpt from The Pink Spoon Theory is up here.

Go take a look at let me know what you think!

I'll be posting some snippets of what I'm writing as I go, so I'd love love love feedback!

(and happy Friday!)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Itchy Legs

So I've been feeling very guilty about my lackluster post this morning. I've been so busy posting things like this and this that I have let my first true typing-into-the-cyber-ether love, my blog, go without real attention today.

I'm sorry.

Please forgive me.

On Tuesday afternoon I bought some ultra cool new running shoes. They are grey and teal and seven kinds of awesome (not the least of which is that they were originally $80 and I got them for $55, yessss), and look like this:
I got them because the three interchangeable pairs of sneakers that I'd been wearing since 2002 (don't judge) all came apart within a week of each other last year. I'd been making do with wannabe athletic shoes that were in no way suitable for running, because I only went to the gym and lifted weights and such, and you don't need shoes for yoga or pilates (or even for weight lifting in your bedroom, which is what I usually do lately...)

However, we'd decided to take up running and so I needed some proper shoes. After a disastrous attempt to buy some online (ouch on the arches), I bit the bullet and stopped by a Big 5, where I picked up my new friends.

So T and I (and my new friends) went running last night on a trail in the middle of Manhattan/Hermosa Beach. What the heck, you say? I have no clue. It's in a giant median and it has mulch on it and is a real running trail - you almost forget that there are cars whizzing by on each side of you beyond the one-trunk-thick tree barrier.

It's amazing.

Except for the itchy thighs.

I'd forgotten about those. Not fun at all.

If you don't run, and you start to do so, (and I think this may only happen to women), you sometimes run the risk of having itchy thigh syndrome for the first few runs.

I don't mean itching from any logical reason - clothes don't matter, weight and fitness don't matter. I wear a size 0/1 and my thighs were maddening.

It's as if your skin is on fire. Scratching doesn't help. Actually, nothing helps. Smoothing your palms over the offending areas (mid thighs) momentarily eases it, but as soon as you stop the sensation is back in force.

I don't know why this happens, but I vaguely remember it from when I started to run after never doing so years and years ago, and my previously-non-runner aerobics students used to complain about it a lot when I'd take them running in the stadium:
Ah, fun times.

My layperson hypothesis is that the tiny capillaries in your skin there aren't used to having blood forced into them as it is when you're running and your heart is pumping and the like. So, when all these things are happening, and that blood is getting pushed into your thigh muscles and the surrounding areas (a.k.a. that skin), those little nerves, which aren't usually so, are being fed, and the capillaries, which aren't usually so, are being stretched, both groups are going:

What in the hell's bells is going on here?


But they get used to it. It goes away the third or fourth time you run.

Which means, yes, I will be running again tonight. (argh)


Plans and ramblings

Today I have a photo session with one of our grad students who's graduating this summer and moving away (sad), her husband, and their cutie son. Can't wait! Should be exciting! I'll post pics asap :)

In other news, my sister and I are planning to visit Magic Mountain this Saturday morning (remember that season pass I bought months ago? Yeah this'll be the second time I go.....I'm really on that, can't'cha tell). I need to be shaken up by huge conglomerations of metal beams, wheels and pulleys, not to mention shaky-looking rubber braking mechanisms from time to time to feel balanced :)

Today's whiteboard quote:
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."
~Ambrose Redmoon


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Contessa Lost her Cool

Just published my first news story. (about interpersonal drama, go figure, right up my alley. My educational alley, of course!)

Here's the link: http://www.huliq.com/5972/82067/john-ziegler-and-contessa-brewer-situation

Book Review: French Women Don't Get Fat

This morning I popped in a new audiobook during the commute:
It is amazing. Her writing style, advice, dry humor, I just love it. And the information is great too (I'm still on the first chapter, I think - it's hard to tell when you're just listening...)

A concept she touches on that I'm loving is that being overweight, as the author was in her late teens, can be viewed as an illness. Note here that I am not referring to being a perfectly healthy weight but struggling to find an ideal waifishness (yes I may have just made up that word, not sure actually) that is a result from those current fashion and ad campaigns where the women that are "supposed" to be so beautiful are either
#1) malnourished and scary (once someone has the skeletor chest it's gone too far...I can think of a couple of actresses right now), or
#2) photoshopped anyway. Believe me, I'm learning to edit photos right now and while I won't be making myself skinnier, expect to see nary a zit on my face ever again on this blog....and there's your disclaimer.

But back to the illness part of what I was trying to get at. When the author was overweight, her mother asked the family doctor to pay her a discreet visit, and he gave her a "perscription" of various tasks, like keeping track of what she ate for a while, then paring back her portions of rich and unhealthy pastries that she was ODing on at college, etc. I'm sure there are more to come, but like I said, still just in the first chapter.

(I had the "epiphany", which I put in quotes because I am 100% positive that it was not actually a novel idea although it seemed so to me at the time, that the reason girls can gain that "freshman 15" in college is because in high school, when you're often involved in sports, busy extra-curriculars, etc., you don't realize that you are actually exercising - it's just team practice. Then, when you go off to school, because your mind didn't code it as exercise, you don't notice that you're not doing it. And before you know it you've got a muffin top and don't know what happened....)

But I've digressed again. If being unhealthy and eating foods that don't increase your vitality and just weigh you down, needing to get stuffed in order for you consider a meal finished, and not really enjoying your dessert so that you have to have way more than you would if you were simply paying attention can be considered an illness, than it seems to me the changes you'd undergo in order to course-correct would seem a lot more pleasant than they do when they're part of that 4-letter D word (a.k.a. diet).

What a concept....wow.

This is, of course, coming from a person who's never been overweight so I recognize that I'm biased. However, my mom swears that the reason me and my sister have always been thin is that she never forced us to "clean our plates" when little and we learned thereby to listen to our bodies and determine when we were full, so maybe I kinda know what I'm talking about. (not to mention that I taught health and wellness classes at the Univ of F)...

So that's it for my ramble today. If you're wondering if it's good, get that book. If you don't want to shell out the cash for it (bad economy and all that, I get it), go to the library (it's what I did). I'm sure it's there.

Happy Wednesday!

And today's whiteboard quote:
"Be yourself. No one can ever tell you you're doing it wrong."
~James Leo Herlily

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Little Spring Poem

The sky staying lit til nearly my bedtime

makes for tired mornings

but happy evenings.

(photo courtesy of T, 6/8/09)


"Who thanks the wind? Who thanks the water or the rain when it comes? Our roots are in nature -- go outside and really see what is there."
~John Stokes

Monday, June 8, 2009

A case of the Mondays...

"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are."
~ Marcus Aurelius


Today is Monday.

While on some weeks that fact is responded to by inward (and outward) groans and grimaces, this Monday I'm glad. To be completely honest, after a properly enjoyable weekend, I'm ready to get into the swing of the week again because a part of me misses the driven productivity of my workaday world. Isn't that what weekends should be anyway? A respite from the life that makes you need a respite?

Of course, in an optimal world, your whole life would be enjoyable and you wouldn't need a respite. I'm not referring to winning the lottery and going to live in seclusion on a private island, although that's what most of us tend to think an "enjoyable" life would be - truthfully I think we'd also be pulling our hair out in a month from the boredom of it. What I mean by an enjoyable life is one that is balanced - that has play, work (that is fulfilling and that speaks to your spirit, whichever language that takes), love for the feeling of it, interesting things for the thinking of, and ways to enjoy your body (physical exercise, etc.) all in amounts that combine to make a satisfying life. Not just a life that satisfies you, but one that also serves the greater good...

It's one of my beliefs that if everyone followed what their heart truly wanted them to do in life, they would end up doing things to benefit the world and themselves. It may be naive, but from what I've felt and seen in myself and others I believe it to be true.

So anyway, back to Mondays.

As for me, my life is not perfectly balanced, but I'm working on it. And something that's helping to push me along that path is this nice Monday morning - I can buckle down to work this week knowing that I've also spent time doing things that needed to be done for reasons other than grades and paychecks, those reasons being things like, enjoying the summer:Happy Monday!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Learning to See

Yesterday was a food poisoning day.

In response to a birthday dinner for my sister on Wednesday night at Marmalade in Redondo Beach (if you haven't been, keep that trend going) I had a stomach-cramping, headaching, sleeping-in-the-bathroom-with-a-pillow kind of day.

T woke up and ran to get me some medicine (which I didn't take...I'd been throwing up water and was afraid to eat anything, gross I know), but by afternoon I was starting to rally.

So, that means food poisoning to me.

Today I feel tentative, but still on the upswing, so that's good. We were planning to go to Magic Mountain this weekend, but I'm thinking that it might not happen....

Today's whiteboard quote:

"Besides learning to see, there is another art to be learned - not to see what is not."
~Maria Mitchell

Today, not seeing what is not will be to not get aggravated over silly things....I'm sure my absence yesterday will cause an overwhelming influx of tasks at work today, and my fatigue may or may not turn me into a half-witch, half-Charis hybrid....we shall see.

However, it's Friday, and that makes most things better, so I'm not complaining!

(It's also raining outside, which is awesome. The combo of dreary skies and oldies on the radio during my super-long drive in because Californians don't do rainy tarmac made me feel I was back east again...sigh)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Heavy

Today I feel horrid (physically, that is).
I feel heavy and yucky.
From past experience, I know that the only cure would be to lay in bed all day, drifting in and out of sleep as the misty sunlight falls across the blankets from the shaded window (it's a hormonal thing. Girls, you know what I mean).
However, I'm a working girl (not that kind) so this staying in bed all day business isn't possible. Wednesday is my busy day. So I'll be drugging up and stumbling along, trying not to think about it.
But T brought me flowers last week and they're finally blooming, which makes me happy.Maybe I'll take a sick day and sleep all day tomorrow instead....

Today's whiteboard quote:
"You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it."

~Margaret Thatcher

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Muse

Learning the settings on your new camera is easy when you have a model as awesome as mine...



"Happiness is the ability to recognize it." ~Carolyn Wells

Monday, June 1, 2009

I bet it would give you funny tan lines too...

T sent me this pic that he randomly came across a week or so ago, thinking I'd get a kick out of it.

He was, as usual, correct.

Can you imagine?

It may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but the prospective pinches alone make me shudder....