Archive for July, 2011


Recovery

Mood:  4; quite a good recovery from yesterday’s excitement.

Breakfast: Kashi GoLean w/ fresh strawberries & Silk unsweetened soymilk, hot tea

Lunch: the other half of my Nature Boy from yesterday

Snack: bowl of homemade ice cream (half ginger, half peach)

Dinner: none

Snack: 12-16oz white tea w/ chrysanthemum

Exercise: a rather pathetic 15 crunches

Self-Maintenance: showered, shaved the bikini area (not going to swimming lessons with crotch mane). getting ready to go brush my teeth.

Motivation: enough that I did those crunches.  Also finished laundry, though I forgot about the last load in the dryer so now they’re all wrinkled and I really should iron them…..

Avoidance: Today I was really, really sore from the volunteer work yesterday, so I am totally OK with having done nothing but hang around the house all day.  Ow.

Honesty: saw and spoke to literally no one except mom.  therefore, n/a.

I don’t even want to report on my food today.  But I will.

Mood: 4; generally positive. Just wish this day could have been divided into at least two different weekends.

Breakfast: Kashi GoLean w/ Silk unsweetened soymilk, hot tea

Lunch: late lunch at Pinky’s: Nature Boy, sweet tater fries and 3/5 of a pitcher of Bell’s Oberon. I forgot that I recently resolved not to buy alcohol at restaurants, bars, etc.

Snack: Soy “Shorty” at Central Coffee

Dinner:  glass of Syrah

Exercise: 3 hrs laboring under the sun at this month’s BIG Project

Self-Maintenance: Still haven’t finished the laundry from last week.  Did take a shower after the volunteer project.  Mostly out of necessity.

Motivation: SUCH a long involved day all I really wanted to do was go home.  But I stuck to my plans and visited with everyone I said I would visit with.  Being social shouldn’t feel like a chore — and it’s not, really, once I get there — but damn if it doesn’t all pile on at once.

Avoidance: See above.  Didn’t do any laundry, didn’t really watch what I was eating (*ahem* booze) but then I was rather busy.

Honesty: I think I did pretty well today.  Sometimes I don’t know when being “honest” might be more like being rude, so I don’t say anything.  Is that bad?  I don’t know, I go back and forth about it.  On the one hand, why the need to rock the boat if it’s of little to no consequence. On the other hand, no one will know how I feel if I don’t speak up.  ~.~

My day went like this: woke up, had breakfast about 9:00. Went to McAlpine Elementary for the BIG Project at 10:00 — was on the team that made the frames for new raised beds in their cute little courtyard. The other team cleared all the weeds out of the courtyard — it was seriously, woefully overgrown. Sad that no one tended it. It really is cute.  Anyway, after the frames were done, spent some time in the courtyard helping with the weeding, then digging some holes for the frames to rest in.  Had to stop due to minor exhaustion.

1:00, headed home, stopped by Ross to get some new underwear. I needed some anyway, but I also knew I didn’t have any clean undies and I desperately needed a shower.  2:00, got out of shower. Headed to B’s. We went downtown for the annual Bon Odori festival but found it was about the end.  Went to Pinky’s for a bite instead.  Chatted for a long while there, went back to her place briefly.

7:00pm, I’m afraid if I stop by the house I won’t want to leave again, so I head down Central and stop in for a delicious Soy Shorty.  8:00, reach L’s place and chill and watch a disc of 30 Rock.  11:30, head home, exhausted.  Lovely heat lightning in the sky, breezy, probably mid-70s.

Walking back to my car after 30 Rock at L’s, I tried to put my finger on what bugs me about 30 Rock.  It’s Liz Lemon.  I know it’s a comedy and she’s a caricature, but she comes so close sometimes to having redeeming qualities that her caricature-ness just grates at me.  It’s like a cynical man once said, “just when you start to think she’s responsible, she proves you wrong.”  I have to remind myself that she’s not supposed to be realistic, that it’s the absurdness, the selfishness, the dumb shit, that makes her so funny.

Also, driving home I caught myself nearly “settling” for one of my embarrassing bad habits — excusing it as something I “just do,” something Liz Lemon does constantly, after some monumental failure of an attempt to change or improve herself in some way.  Then I thought, what the fuck, m E. You’re not a caricature.  You’re not a two-dimensional sketch of a person. You don’t live your life in yeses and nos, black and white, up and down.  Your life is an enormous, frustrating (and overflowing with potential) gray area, and there’s no room for “well, that’s just the way I am.”

Despite all the setbacks, the frustration, the giving up, the shame, I am and always will be a work in progress, and I will continue to give myself the attention and care I require to keep the work alive.  My application may be uneven, halfhearted some days, misguided others, but I’ll be damned if I allow any clever floozy on a 22-minute comedy show to twist my sensibilities to the point that I give up on any of it.

Picking back up

Mood: 3; bit uneasy due to stress at work (mostly related to situations I got myself into).  I wore a loose-fitting top and flowy pants and I felt… fat, almost.  As though dressing comfortably meant I had something to hide.  Definitely impacted my mood somewhat.  At least distracted me somewhat.

Breakfast: Kashi “Go Lean” w/ unsweetened Silk soymilk, hot tea

Snack: Lapsang Souchong (lightly sweetened), about 1/2c trail mix

Lunch: Grande mocha-coconut frappuccino

Dinner: 2 cobs of corn, glass of wine

Exercise: none

Self-Maintenance: did not shower this morning.

Motivation: hit “snooze” an extra time or two this morning. Avoiding some stuff I need to attend to at work, so thoroughly motivated to do the other things.

Avoidance: Things which involve contacting a customer with bad news, inquiring with a customer’s customs broker, getting back to someone who inquired about a product — basically anything that involves making phone calls, go fig.  Why do telephone calls terrify me so much?? I still can’t seem to get to the bottom of it.  I’m awkward with people in general but phones seem to bring out the worst in me. The most afraid and insecure in me, anyway.  Must attend to these things tomorrow.  Face the fear, m E!

Honesty: Nothing except the things noted above (in “Avoidance”).

Bechtler MOMA

Mood: 4; generally positive.  Got out of the house despite the miserable heat & humidity and went with mom to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art uptown.  Some really nice, some really fun pieces there.

Breakfast: Piece of toast with crunchy peanut butter and strawberry jelly. Hot tea w/ cream.

Lunch: Got lunch at Mert’s after the museum: sweet tea (a little too sweet), fresh hot cornbread, collard greens, black eyed peas (a little too salty) and macaroni & cheese.  Ate a bit too much.

Dinner:  Sangria and Blueberry-Oat Bars

Exercise: between walking around the museum and walking around a bit uptown, probably about 1/2 hr of exercise.

Self-Maintenance: I do intend to brush my teeth before bed.  Did not shower this morning.

Motivation: Did not finish laundry, but that was largely because we spent all afternoon at the museum. I did go to the store after we got back and made the aforementioned Blueberry-Oat bars.

Avoidance: Friend I’m conflicted about called several times and I ignored rather than pick up. Don’t really know what to say to her.

Honesty:  See “avoidance.”

 

We had a lovely visit at the Bechtler.  Stopped in at Fuel to see if my niece was there — she was, and she accompanied us for lunch and then led us through the labyrinthine (and mostly air-conditioned) Overstreet Mall (a network of enclosed overpasses connecting major buildings in the uptown area) back to my car.  Gave her a ride to her apartment, headed home.  Very relaxed, low key day.

Mood: 3; generally OK. bit lonely.

Breakfast: None (slept in ’til noon)

Snack: small plum, garlic-lovers’ hummus & pita chips

Lunch: 1 cob sweet corn, sliced cucumber, watermelon, water

Dinner: Mom’s “Summer pasta” (tomato, squash & bell pepper w/ basil over spaghetti), garlic bread, iced tea

Exercise: None

Self-Maintenance: Took a shower after I got up.  Brushed my teeth before bed.

Motivation: Did laundry, including sheets & pillowcases. Stopped 1/2way through, will have to finish Sunday. Cleaned up & swept around the litter box.

Avoidance: Gotta poo. Don’t want to cuz I’m afraid it’s gonna hurt. Or clog the toilet. Or both.

Honesty: I sent a text message to LT around 4:30pm inviting her to come out to the drive-in. She texted back that she had a headache. Kinda hurt my feelings since it’s not even close to dark yet.  I didn’t want to be mean, but I did want to make that fact known, so I just said, OK, let me know if you feel better in the next 4 hours. Not super nice, but I felt it was important to say, hey, don’t write it off just because you have a headache right now.

A friend posted this video to her google+ just a few days before my last post.  What struck me most was the speaker’s assertion that breathing is not determined by “sucking air” through the nose or mouth.  It happens through expanding the “core”, which creates a vacuum and pulls air in to fill the vacuum.  We don’t have to “inhale” in the sense that we consciously pull in air — we merely have to expand and contract the core.  It makes so much sense — and feels good when I concentrate on doing it right! — that I think that will be one of my little projects.  I was working on breathing anyway, and I think training myself to breathe in this way will be very beneficial.

On another note entirely, I talked it over with my therapist and I will be dropping back to once a month sessions.  What that means is that I will be more responsible for keeping up with my progress and paying attention to my moods and reactions.  I came up with a basic list of things I want to monitor, and intend (ha ha) to keep up with it daily.  The format will be as follows:

Mood: Scale of 1-5 overall for the day, with notes as needed for particular events which cause (or seem to cause) a change.
Diet: Record breakfast, lunch, dinner & any snacking. Include alcohol.
Exercise: (if any)
Self-maintenance: Did I brush my teeth? Shower? etc.
Motivation: Making note of things I chose to do or chose not to do, including social, domestic & work-related activities.
Avoidance: Honest assessment of the unpleasant tasks I chose to avoid or chose to face throughout the day.
Honesty: Noting opportunities I had to speak the truth (i.e. my mind), whether I chose to do so, to keep silent, or whether I lied in order to avoid possible conflict.

The last two items are in response to habits I have become aware of in myself to avoid unpleasant tasks and to avoid conflict by either avoiding giving my opinion or sometimes outright lying.  I believe the best first step I can take in change these habits is to make myself aware of how often I employ them, and how often I am able to overcome them.

I hope very much I can continue this throughout the summer at least — a pretty big commitment for me.

Just Swing

I have noticed over the last few weeks my breathing has been bothering me again.  The odd thing about it is that I’m noticing it.  I’ll catch myself kind of holding my breath — I think that’s what it is I’m doing, but it’s like a “just out of the corner of my eye” type awareness — and, over the last couple of days, I encourage myself not to gasp for air as was my wont, but to breathe deeply, expand the diaphragm.

My meditation habits have been terrible the last few months, so it’s no wonder I’m having breathing problems again.  I seem to stop breathing even just while I’m typing.  It’s something of an exercise to sit here typing and try to breathe deeply at the same time.  Try to prevent that shallow, upper chest breathing that I do so well.  Try not to tighten up reflexively when I notice I’m doing it — a little mini-panic as my brain thinks “I’m not getting any/enough air!” — but to do the opposite: to Relax, which is really the only way to break from the shallow breathing cycle.

There is a mosquito bite on the top of my left big toe that is driving me crazy.  I have gotten in the habit of spreading an old folded bedsheet out on the bare parts of the landscaping outside the building where I work, spread it out like a picnic blanket and sit on it under the crape myrtles.  I even will usually take off my shoes and socks and make myself as comfortable as possible.  The ants & mosquitoes take note, but it’s worth the irritation.   I love my little picnics.

I signed up for swimming lessons at last.  I didn’t make the session that began this week, but I got the next one, which begins on Monday, August 1.  I’m both excited and scared.  What if I’m bad at it?  What if there’s traffic on the highway so I’m late and miss a class?  But I am looking forward to really learning how to do a few simple strokes.  To actually be able to swim and not just piddle around in the 5′ depths.

I have been thinking again about Roadside Conscience.  Haven’t touched it since winter but I think I need the practice.  No plans tomorrow except taking my car to the shop.  Sounds like a perfect opportunity.

I’m actually quite tired — visited last night with a friend from college I hadn’t seen since about that time, and as a result stayed out much later than was wise.  And I need to get up early if I’m going to get my brakes etc. looked at.

I got a little short with my therapist last Thursday because it felt like she was pushing me to be less introverted, which is a little silly since introverted is what I am no matter how you slice it.  Working my way through last week’s Sunday NY Times (which, incidentally, was my last of the 12 weeks I got in the Groupon deal) on Saturday I read an opinion piece about shyness being an evolutionary trait — sometimes holding back really does keep us safe.  Interesting thought.  But the article also talked about how shyness and introversion are so often diagnosed as “Social Anxiety” (a disorder invented in the DSM III) and sufferers are medicated in order to keep those tendencies at bay.  And don’t get me wrong, my depression is significantly more manageable due to the 150mg Effexor I take each morning.  And because the depression isn’t as bad, my shyness is not quite as crippling as it used to be.  But to be honest I value my introversion.  I like to go out, hang out with friends, hear a concert every now and then.  But my week is soo much better if I get at least one day on the weekend to spend at home with very little company, running errands, beholden to none.  It was very affirming to see that opinion piece shortly after leaving therapy with that feeling of “is she trying to suggest that there is something wrong with being introverted?”

Figured I would track down the link for posterity’s sake.  It was: Is Shyness an Evolutionary Tactic? by Susan Cain.

All this being said, I did go out to the Double Door last night by myself to see a local band I enjoy.  When I got there the band hadn’t started yet so I did feel kind of awkward, wandering around by myself.  But once the band started playing it didn’t matter — in fact it was almost better to be alone, because there was no one trying to talk to me over the sound system.  I hate straining to hear, and I hate having to yell to be heard.  So it was just me and the band.  Awesome.  Of course when I tell Hannelore (my therapist) this next Thursday I’m sure she will be delighted.  I don’t think she realizes, though, that you can’t push me to do anything.  You can suggest it, and maybe a while later I’ll consider giving it a try, but it’s always going to be in my own time, on my own terms.  I’m just that stubborn.  But I recognize it and I know that if I’m patient and just think about it for a little while, I may grow comfortable with an idea and try it out.

Next on the list is the swimming lessons.  Since I’m not paying rent I don’t have to worry about needing that 80 bux to pay for vitals like groceries or utilities.  I just have to remember to make the call or drop by the Aquatic Center.  There’s a class starting the 11th or 18th I think; I’d like to get into that one if possible.

Anyway, it feels like I’m definitely on a positive track right now.  I even cleaned the kitchen while my mom is out of town!  I’m not holding my breath, because the cycle always bottoms out eventually, but for now I’m just gonna ride it.