Sunday, January 29, 2012


Because I suffer from A.D.H.D. (Attention Deficit Hobby Disorder), this blog also has a problem (Attention Deficit Blog Disorder). I see the focus, but can anyone else?

I think the focus is that lots of things are interesting. In theory, ALL things are interesting if you pay attention to them. Attention and interest are almost the same thing, yes?

So, in that interest, allow me to update you on a few developments.

Positive Running: I ran a 5k yesterday, in the snow, through a Christmas tree farm and the rail trail. I tried to take a picture from my phone, but I had filled the memory card, and I was supposed to be running. The affirmation was "I am so lucky to be able to do this. What a beautiful day!". Or, between pants, "So lucky! Beautiful day!" I have no idea what my time was, and that's just fine. In fact, it might actually be the way to run.

Walk this Way: While running, I found my experiments in walking to be extra useful! The trail was "groomed" with snowmobiles, but this still left some deep snow areas. I found that by landing on my toe I could bound through these areas much easier. At work, I've softened my approach also. Heel-toe does work better for flats, but toe-heel is great in heels, and makes less of a racket. I would like to build a better habit of walking to dance class (which would theoretically make my walking during dance class toe-heel also), so that's the next experiment. (Related: Joette says we should get SALSA HEELS for the Greek Festival dance performance!!!) Click to Zoom

Keeping on: I actually feel pretty good about my goals this year so far. I have figured out I need at minimum $2,000 to go on the trip I may want this year, which would mean saving $166 a month. I have been running, and I found a sneaky way to make it fun. I've been blogging as scheduled. I did a few home projects that made me happy. And it was not a struggle. It was FUN!

But we're only 30 days in. So hang tough. Hang loose. Hang out. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Positive running

I had one of those crazy shower thoughts that seems brilliant while you're wet, and still makes sense later too. I would like to live my life believing that the ideas that make you smile and feel fizzy are the good ones. So I'm going for it.

I have done the local "Run Camp" program for the last two winters. You meet with a group of people (there are hundreds signed up) who run your same pace every Saturday, get a little education session, and go for a run. They give you a training program, support, snacks, leader, etc. The first year I was super-literal (surprise!) about the program, but was probably assigned to a group that ran too fast for me (but I was assigned! they were MY group!). I felt the healthiest I'd ever felt, and yet, the whole program ended with me having my thyroid removed for tumors. (It was certainly not a cause and effect situation, but it was a bit defeating.)

The second year I was better matched with a group, but I'd lost that literal feeling, so I didn't do as well. I basically found that I said horrible things to myself as I ran. Although the running was getting "done", my ego was freaking out and fighting with that other person(???) and the other insisted that I walk when overly winded, or bored, or whatever. The reward for not quitting was NOT being the last one in, which wasn't necessarily within my control, depending on whether the woman with the knee injury had showed up that particular morning. (Also, SATURDAY morning. So unkind.)

So I'd decided not to do it this year, and I felt good about that decision. I was still going to run (and probably even run the race that the camp was training them all to run), but I wasn't going to torture myself again.

But running is magic! It's the way to self-actualization! If you are a runner, you are the epitome of health and devotion and zen. I knew there had to be a better way.

My better way is this. I call it Positive Running.

1. Follow the plan, but chant an affirmation. You don't have to literally chant, but I want to have a positive thought in mind. Today's alternated between "It's fun to run!" and "I run to take care of my body."

2. Rewards. I am (pathetically) motivated by pretty nails and extra internet time. In the longer term, I can get books for my e-reader. In the longest term, I will get some fancy-ass John Fluevog shoes. And that's the whole plan. It seemed more detailed in the shower.....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

one day service

I like to read it like it's a promise - one day, Service. It's one of the sights that made me instantly happy. This neon had been dark for so long.

It's also the last picture I've uploaded. September 2011. I have more on my camera (the afore-mentioned NOLA pics, some bands, etc.) I love to take pictures. I'm not sure what the blockage is all about.

ONE day service. Maybe that's the approach. It's just one day. Take some pictures, share them. Do it again some other day. One.

Or maybe this is a picture about Paris. Get your ducks in a row, lady duck, and fly to Paris. (It's funny how the ducks came in there - this cleaner is near the creek, where the geese and ducks like to land / gather / fish.) You know you want to go back.

All of these things together make it the picture of motivation. Service, One, Paris, that fluorescent light on inside, the dusky sky, pulling the car into the parking lot and taking this picture spontaneously. That is what I would like to remember. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Black and white

I know it's best not to get into these things, but I did it anyway. I got in the facebook comment argument with an old high school friend and total strangers, about an issue that I don't really care about, to illustrate a principle. Which, when I think about it, makes it a total circular argument, since the crappy "informational graphic" that started the whole thing was probably more about principle than fact relay.

For being such a "literal" thinker, I don't have the black and white vision. I can always see it both ways and I always like the freakonomics angle better. I have a tendency to argue that the weather really isn't that horrible, that it was actually quite sunny, even though it was bitter cold. Is this optimism or just to be "contrary", as my parents used to call it? I don't know. 

And I suppose the reason I got all worked about a facebook post was because of logical fallacy (again. See the post about Gender Blender, which turned out to be the fallacy of false dichotomy). It was that one about the "Salary for Life" of various government positions. Number one, the salary figures were incorrect. And the call to action was about "where the cuts should be made". So, I guess we have the argument from fallacy (since the argument is false, the conclusion MUST be false).

But really, I think they just haven't thought all the grey areas. So how would one compensate a public official? If you paid them less, would they still need to relocate to the Washington area? Or would you only attract independently wealthy candidates? (One could argue we are already doing that based on campaign finance requirements.) Wouldn't paying them for life keep them out of lobbyist field, which would seem like a good thing? 

So that's what I did with my Sunday night. I threw it away thinking about gluten-free diets and logical fallacies. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I love Jimmy Carter.

Don't all belly dancing health care performance improvement coordinators recovered from thyroid cancer? I mean, I can't think of one that does not. And I don't want to know how anyone could not.

I have always loved Jimmy Carter. I remember very angrily pointing out (as a 10 year old) that Ronald Reagan did NOTHING to get those hostages released, because he'd only been president for like, 2 minutes. Jimmy Carter had a daughter who my around my age. He wore cardigans (I WEAR CARDIGANS NOW!). We have so much in common.

Every now and then (or at minimum, every Sunday and Wednesday as I blog), I wonder what is the purpose of my life. I try and figure out how Jimmy Carter works into that. For a while, I thought it might be Habitat for Humanity. I've always wanted to learn some of those handy skills.

Then I thought just meeting him would be enough. But why would he meet me? What would I say?

On the way home tonight, I started thinking about public speaking and democracy. I am just as reluctant to perform a public speech as any other mumbler with a terrible accent. (But Jimmy Carter has an accent too!) I've also ruled out public service an any elected capacity based on my background. But election monitoring is the coolest thing ever. Somehow, speaking and election monitoring go together in my crazy brain. And for once, I'm putting it out there instead of mulling it over in my head forever until it gets all muddled. What do you think? Is this my future, going on and on about election monitoring at public drinking establishments? Or is there more to it than that?

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I just finished hemming the curtains for the big living room makeover. What's next?

The funny part is, I don't think anyone who has ever been here would even notice the difference. It's kind of like how no one ever notices the pink walls, or when they turned pink. The furniture is in the exact same constellation. The couch is still bright green. There's still a tall lamp in the window, two smaller vintage lamps (that Richard almost gave away to Goodwill!!!) on the same side tables.


This is amazing because the former rug we bought on our honeymoon 18 years ago. It has been in the center of every seating arrangement we have ever had (which would be all of two, by the way). The corner was getting a little chewed up, though. We freely allowed Mr. Awesome to go to claw-town on whenever he desired, in case destruction could entice us to update. We'd been looking at rugs for a while, but nothing was affordable / desirable.

I saw some nice, reasonably-priced rugs at our lovely Marshall's and pointed it out to Richard. He finally moseyed over to look at them this week. We found a Oriental-style rug (although it was more than the other rugs, but not as much as the rugs we had liked in the past) and brought it home.

It looked great with the couch. But then the curtains didn't look right anymore. Too busy. So we went to Ikea (which is kind of a road trip and anxiety attack / divorce trigger in our reality, but we survived) and got some new curtains.

It is quite lovely. I want to see it in the afternoon light (it's nighttime now). I want to take an afternoon nap. I want to have some people over.

And I want to do more. Is there a way to change myself like this? Leave the furniture, and just replace the other bits? If I were to buy a new "rug" for myself (let's say, a new top), what would it be? Some kind of flowy, hippy top? Or more structured?

Answer the question, then shop, I guess. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Gender blender

(Schmender.) I've been thinking about gender issues today. Linsdsey posted this video on her facebook page. I'd seen it before, and it did bother me for about a minute at the time, but I got over it (which I will explain shortly):

1. These are young, inexperienced people. Do you know what an idiot I was when I was 20? I try not to think about it. Ever. Shudder. But I remember enough to know these people are temporarily insane.

2. I consider ALL of my friends, male and female, smart, funny, and attractive for one reason or another. I also would only consider sexual partners of the same description. Am I plotting to "trick" everyone into bed? Apparently.

3. Upon further consideration, that is most definitely could possibly be true. I have made major education, career, and, in fact, predictions for the coming new year based on interactions with men, whom I may have found quite attractive. So stone me. I'm a whore.

This would all be hilarious, except that modern American society will take me literally. Despite the fact I've been married for 18 years, once been given the nickname "Vanilla Square" (because I'm the imaginary stripper that would be all BA DA BA DA BABA but then be too shy to whip my top off and therefore runs off the stage), and otherwise reputable member of society, I'm subject to slut-shaming, misogyny, and judgement. Just for being a woman.

It pisses me off that I even have to think about being a "reputable" member of society. My mother and my grandmother were very worried about reputation. It sometimes amuses me to think of the horror they would feel if they were alive now about my Middle Eastern dance obsession. (See? It's making me use fancy terms for belly dance.) Why can't I just do things that are loving, moral, and make me happy?

So, foolish young adults, you are correct. Men and women can't be "friends". Especially if "friends" means something like "coffee table" or "inert material" to you. Friends interact and touch and sway back and forth. It's kind of sexy, but it doesn't need to be SEX.