Monthly Archives: April 2022

Scattered

Had a successful rabbit hole visit earlier today. Was trying to clean up how I categorize these posts and could not figure out how to do batch edits. Although I am not a tech whiz, I can be tenacious about finding short cuts. If I think there’s a better way to do something, someone else has probably already solved the problem. After exhausting the right click options (kind of like looking under the sofa cushions), throwing key words at the search bar (because I don’t know how to describe what I am looking for), I hop around reddit and user forums until I discover a solution or that I am not alone in wishing for one. When a solution requires going deeper under the hood than I am comfortable with, I back away carefully and decide maybe my “problem” isn’t so bad.

Sometimes these searches exceed their original purpose (because ooo that article looks interesting) and derail me from the original task.

Today’s research detour didn’t shake my focus but egads my struggle with the task of organizing my writing is pretty much the story of my life. So much overlap! What about parallelism? Gah, I don’t like that phrasing. I get so easily tangled before leaving the gate, like my shoes are tied together.

I wasn’t even planning on devoting a long paragraph to tech sleuthing.

I know that being a lateral?, digressive?, nuanced? meta? indecisive? thinker has benefits too but blargh I am a little demoralized right now and need to transition to another project that’s much more important than how to categorize this blog post. So. . . I guess that’s it for today.

screen shot showing a section of this blog's organizational hierarchy

sharks and magnets

closeup of a hand, light complexion, with sparkling blue nails, against a blue background.

So I’m thinking about what I wrote re habits and other types of choices I make day to day (not everything falls into the habit category). I guess it all boils down to change which is what I keep writing about, circling around it like a shark. Hmmm maybe not a shark because that implies I’m about to sink my teeth into all these juicy goals. Maybe I am more like a magnet pointing in the wrong direction. Pushing my goals away. If I could just turn around, align the poles, would they stick?

I started writing this last night because I try to “get ahead” when I can or the muse hits and I am glad I did because today was something else and I almost forgot to write.

So. My fraught magnetic field might still be off, but I am going to salute 1) getting started on something before it’s “due” (even though we’re only talking a 24 hour window) 2) coming up for air long enough to remember to keep this streak going and 3) being OK with not writing more than this. But since I am logged on, maybe I will revise some more old posts.

Also, kind of random, but it’s been interesting to compare writing via my keyboard/PC/big screen and my phone. Most of these posts were drafted on my phone and, well, I have a lot of profound (but nuanced, of course) thoughts about that related to education, writing, and, apparently, manicures.

Right now I am at my computer and finding my nails to be a bit of an impediment. Although I am terrible at phone typing, I guess it’s a finger pad kind of situation where the nails are horizontal ie not much of a factor. Keyboarding is more of an eagle diving, talons first attack. And these talons are not good at catching prey.

Oh well. Like this writing project, indulging in nail bling is giving me some cheer during some challenging times.

And oops, I guess I ended up writing a bit more so I am calling it a night and not revising anything else.

Revision Week Day 4

Well, today I ended up noodling with what I wrote yesterday. I think I am OK with that esp because of what’s going on personally. Has another upending morning. Just trying to get by.

Blargh. That is the problem. I spent a big chunk of time today in a mild panic. Frozen between the time I dropped my kid off and left to pick them up. 4 1/2 hours. Plenty of time to be “productive.” Part of the issue is that I hesitate to dive into something due to fear I will get sucked into hyper focus and fail to leave on time.

But seriously? 4 1/2 hours. Yes, we are dealing with some bigger than usual stuff but still. I need to climb out of this hole.

willpower and/or effort

scrap of paper that says write, with underlining

4/18 edit: this took a different turn than I was expecting. I had intended to simply express some excitement about keeping up with the writing streak. Going through past posts to add image text helps me see that I’ve actually written a fair bit. On a day to day basis, I am often frustrated by the product so it has been a great exercise in being OK with muck. I am surprised that I haven’t skipped a day. It helps that word press gives a little congrats for keeping a streak going.

Just had one of those duh epiphanies about the difference between stopping and starting a habit. The first requires willpower. The latter, willpower *and* effort.

This is a gross simplification. Not everything is within our locus of control. And both can require a lot of scaffolding, an exoskeleton of other behavioral logistical and emotional supports.

But it’s relevant to my habits. Some things I want  to stop or decrease, others start or increase.

Booze. I’ve got a relationship with it. If alcohol was not unhealthy in so many compounding ways, I would savor a bottle of red wine every night.  Last summer, I made a commitment to take a break from drinking until the end of the year. Mission accomplished.

Not drinking required willpower. I don’t like to admit that it was hard and tonight’s not the night to write about that. But abstaining from alcohol did not technically require me to *do* anything. 

Going on a run, building my business, cleaning the house, making and sticking with a plan… these require a push. Once I get going I’m fine. Breaking free from a standstill is the issue. I have to force my body to take action.

Hmmmm. My little lightbulb moment is dimming.  It’s not that stopping a behavior requires less effort than starting one.  It certainly isn’t always easier. And when we have to take  action to facilitate  resistance to the  undesirable behavior,  it gets fuzzy fast.

Maybe I’m splitting hairs and just trying to understand why it’s so hard for me to take action. Not drinking for five months was a challenge. Lacing up running shoes a few times a week should not be.

Ugh. I think I do know one reason stopping is in some ways easier  than starting. It’s a clearly defined success. I really wanted to get a donut this morning but marched past Dunkin. Success. When I put on the tea kettle instead of popping a cork? Gold star! Quitting smoking (11/11/2001) was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in terms of willpower, resolve, impulse control. Whatever it’s called, it stayed in the daily win column for a long time.

Blargh I need to pick this thread up again another day. In summary, change is hard. Thousands of books and talk show hosts have already covered this territory. I just have to keep plugging away to find something that works for me.

I spy…

The bloodroot started popping up this week. It’s a spring ephemeral. Blink and you’ll miss the dainty white blooms. These pics are one day apart.

Dad and I used to hunt for colors when stuck in waiting mode. Bus stop, doctor’s office, post office, restaurant (starting to sound like a Richard Scarry Busytown books).

We would try to stump each other with the smallest things. I spy with my little eye. . . something red (collar on a dog in the bottom corner of the picture hanging next to the reception desk).

We did other stuff too… make puns, ponder Big Questions, read, and sit in companionable silence. But lately I have been thinking about this simple game as I crouch, squint, and zoom in to watch spring.

I spy. . tiny trillium and bloodroot leaves blending in with the woodchips. The saw-toothed tips of hellebore foliage chasing jaunty blooms. The dusty pink Dr. Seuss-evoking shoot of another spring ephemeral (I think) whose name I always forget.

“I spy” steers attention to the often overlooked details that add texture and whimsy to our surroundings. I am not sure why that matters.* Perhaps it helps us practice being observant for when the stakes are higher. Maybe it shows respect for human labor and creativity. Reverence for nature.

This outward focus also quiets and calms my racing thoughts. I am not surprised it can be used as a grounding strategy for managing anxiety and difficult emotions.

Of course, this time of the year, my top grounding strategy is staying close to the ground. I am grateful to have so much to spy on.

*Trying to keep my ears open for assertions often considered self-evident.

compost

Releasing the compost is an early spring ritual. We have two bins: we feed one while the other cures? molders? Ideally, when the active one reaches capacity, the resting one is ready to be emptied.

I’m always a bit wary of our home grown black gold. We don’t have enough green and brown garden waste to keep up with the food scraps. Most of the year, red wigglers expedite the process and smooth out imbalances between food and garden waste. Sort of a worm bin/ tumbler hybrid.

The magic slows in winter, especially when the worms die. (sometimes they make it through by huddling in a ball in the middle; the composting process generates heat.). The active bin fills before the resting one has finally digested…. and/or it’s too cold for me to want to deal with it. By February, we are back to putting eggs shells, coffee grounds, and veggie scraps in the landfill. This was less of an issue when we were a three bin family but that’s a story for another day.

speaking of other days I need to just post what I have and then zzzzzz. will come bcaj

functional fitness

no where near to being done but that’s OK

Accidentally did two HIIT workouts today. Or maybe just HIT. Chasing trains was high intensity, but spacing the sprints a few hours apart doesn’t really count as interval training.

Definitions of physical health are varied, personal, and situational (want to be mindful about ableism). The bus test is one of mine. If I can run after a bus, maintaining balance (if not dignity) as my bulky purse bounces around, I figure I’m doing OK, at least in a functional sense.

Being corporeal… OK there are so many words and ideas and questions fireworking and I can’t grab them. Easier to chase a train than a thought.

Back to today. There are two entrances to the Logan Square subway stop, both about a mile from our house. About is an important word. My transit math is granular, maybe because I tend to cut things close.

The Spaulding entrance is close to Kimball, which is great when we take the bus. However, it deposits us at the far end of the platform, about half? a quarter? of a block away from where the train actually stops. It’s kind of a fake out.

At the main entrance on Kedzie, if you feel the tunnel tremors while swiping the fare card, you can breathe a sigh of relief. At Spaulding, it means channeling your inner Jackie Joyner-Kersee and hoping noone is moving slowly on the stairs in front of you.

Lately, I have been taking my child to a day long program downtown. I usually come home between drop off and pick up. I’m enjoying being out and about, but the commute takes a big chunk of the day-45 to 60 minutes door to door, 4 times.

blah blah blah where I want to get with this… all the little variables and decisions. We are about a mile away from the logan square and California stations. The fastest and most pleasant way to get on the downtown bound train is to bike to California. Although the distance is about the same, , the stop is after LS, effectively adding two minutes to the window of opportunity to grab the train. The distance from street to platform is also shorter. but, the train is more crowded by the time it gets to California so if getting a seat is important then Logan Square is better.

taking the bus to Spaulding might be a little faster than biking but that advantage disappears when the next bus is in 15 minutes….

blargh I need to break from this. should make a visual.