Hump day!

It’s my virtual Friday. I have a conference tomorrow, which is almost like not being at work, and then a vacation day Friday. Of course I feel sort of bowled over by the amount of work I have today, but it’s all good, right? (nod to my CIO – that’s his catchphrase and he’s proving to me that hearing something enough times makes it feel true even if it doesn’t actually become true).

Today is the first day I made a smoothie in my brand-new smoothie maker. We went and bought one of these at Walmart last night, despite my shuddery dislike of all things Walmart. I was tired, and Target is all the way on the other end of town, okay? So I made up my typical smoothie, or the current typical one anyway. If you’re curious, it’s been a scoop of vanilla protein powder, a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, a cup of low fat vanilla Greek yogurt, and a cup of frozen fruit (current selection is the cherry-berry-blend from Giant). Well. The new cups are just not that big. And I made a bit of a mess, because my how-much-more-will-it-hold eye is quite inaccurate. Tomorrow I think I’ll try it with 1/2 cup of yogurt.

While I was drinking my still very delicious if rather messy breakfast, I discovered two quite interesting things on Facebook. I don’t spend a ton of time on there anymore, I sort of check in once a week or so. I treat it like I treat Twitter, basically. Jump on if I have something to share, but mostly try to consume chunks when I don’t have enough time to get into my current book but have too much time for something like daydreaming. So anyway!

The first very interesting thing was a message from an old friend with whom I had a falling out almost four years ago. I think maybe we have been un-friends longer now than we were friends, but that has no effect at all on how much I’ve missed her. She’s a pretty awesome person in general, and she really hurt me there at the end, and then this out of the blue missive. I started replying but realized I couldn’t just reel something off like it was nothing because it is so much more to me than nothing. I asked Wayne what he thought about it and he suggested I sit on it. Sitting I am. Hopefully I will compose something worthy of what we shared but not too weird and pushy and not too push-over-y, and compose it soon, because if nothing else she deserves my answer.

The second thing was less shattering but still interesting. My sister, who seems to be a different person now than she was a year or two ago (not my story, not sharing it), posted an update that said she’s glad she doesn’t look like all she’s been through. Wow, did that resonate. And it set my brain scurrying off on a list of what I’ve been through, and what I’ve done to others, because I am far from blameless in my personal drama. Are any of us, really? But still. My mind took me in a curious direction, and brought a few thoughts to the fore. For example:

  • I told someone recently that I write every day, and didn’t realize when I said it that I was lying. I stopped writing every day some time ago, but did it for so long that it still feels like it’s part of me. I felt a twang of guilt for this unintentional lie, and then I got out one of the journals Wayne gave me for our first (paper!) anniversary and I wrote and it felt good.
  • I thought about the fact that I now spend more time with non-readers than I do with readers (the former friend was a reader). Part of what attracted me to Husband One and Husband Two was that they read some, more than most men do. Wayne is not a reader. I don’t think he’s read the book I wrote, and I’m his wife. He reads news articles and sometimes he reads my blog posts, but he’s not anything like the type of reader I am. And you know what? He’s making me think that being a reader is really not as important as I thought it was. Readers hurt me, and he does not. Thanks for tossing yet another long-held belief on its head, dear and darling husband.

Thinking big thoughts in the morning is sort of fun, you know? I bet, though, that the “it’s all good” guy, and my actual boss, would prefer me to do work rather than think, so to work it is.

Happy VF, everyone!

Unwound

4-ish, Sunday afternoon, end of a three day weekend. The house is clean, the shopping done. My clothes are laid out for tomorrow. Between now and when I go to bed all I have to do is make my lunch and ask Wayne (a.k.a. my human alarm clock) to get me up early enough to spend some time at the gym before work. It’s been a weekend, for sure.

I am finding myself in a place where I am not doing anywhere hear as much as I normally do. Mostly, I’m sleeping a lot and reading a ton. But I’m not getting much knitting done, I haven’t exercised since Thursday, I haven’t tracked my food, I’ve been eating like I’m carrying sextuplets and they’re all destined to become sumo wrestlers. There have been times in my life where this combination of things represented a real problem, a need to get my meds adjusted or the beginning of a slow roll downward into one of those nasty depressions. But I feel okay, actually I feel pretty good. I’ve made the decision not to worry.

Some things that have happened this weekend:

  • I watched 5 Flights Up, loved it, cried so much I couldn’t knit.
  • I watched If I Stay with the Squirrel. I started out bashing how it wasn’t 100% accurate (I read the book not too long ago). But then… I loved it and cried so much I couldn’t knit. Seeing a theme here?
  • I watched the 2013 Carrie with the hubs & the Squirrel. I may have gotten a little snippety at all the questions – I was the only one in the room who had read the book and seen the original movie. It was okay and I’m glad I watched it. I didn’t cry. I got about 20 rows of the grandbaby’s blanket knitted.
  • I fixed my Goodreads account so it has my name on it and not Wayne’s (long story short, he got my Kindle for me as a birthday gift and it was pre-configured on his Amazon account…)
  • I finished Gangsterland, read Empire Falls, read Water for Elephants, worked on A History of Loneliness, started The Things They Carried. All of it amazing. It’s been a rather good reading week all in all.
  • I had a dream about a way to take feelings from one person and give them to another and started writing a story (book?) about it.

Tomorrow it’s back to the real world, the world of counting calories and eating salad, of sweating like a pig and not eating Edie’s Butterfinger, a world of the job that still feels new (and is still kicking my ass) and apps to build and meetings to attend and drama-attitudes-etc. Tomorrow is shoes that aren’t flip flops and no afternoon nap and answering emails. Tomorrow it’s being that other Karen, the one who isn’t told “That’s okay hon, just get your read on, I can take care of this myself.” Love that man.

Speaking of loving him, Tuesday is our first anniversary. I’ve purchased a suitable gift, one made of paper, that I really hope he loves. We both took the day off. We have a half-made plan to ride our bikes to Cambridge and split an order of seafood nachos at Jimmie & Sooks, then ride back. It would be about a 70 mile ride round trip so we would totally swing a second meal out – maybe Plaza? All I know for sure is that we’ll spend the whole day together, just like we did last year. I’m really looking forward to it. 🙂

Crazy!

I saw a picture this morning on the Internet that gave me daymares and is still quite vivid in my head. Turns out it was some sort of lotus blossom photo-shopped onto human skin. It was beyond horrible and has since caused me to get Wayne to check my heels for weird holes and to look it up again. Because why not make myself nearly vomit, right?

Actually, I think it’s called research. Or something.

As far back as I can remember, some things with holes have freaked me out. I remember in elementary school, there were two types of lunch trays. One kind was smooth and plastic, top and bottom. The other was made of something like fiberglass and had all these irregular holes on the the bottom. I couldn’t use the holey trays because the feel of those holes under my fingers made me ill. The photo-shopped picture made me feel like that.

And so the research. It turns out that (quel surprise), I’m not the only person who spends hours trying to make their skin stop itching after touching (and it turns out, in some cases, seeing) things with holes. Some British scientists are trying to get trypophobia, or fear of holes,  recognized as an actual phobia. I’m just glad I am not alone – it actually makes me feel a tiny bit less crazy.

I did discover that my issues aren’t the same as everyone’s. Regular holes (honeycomb, a handful of straws, etc) don’t bother me at all but they are on the list of ick-inducing for others. Coral is a little bad. Plucked bird skin is worse. I saw a picture of a tree with all these irregular holes that had nuts in them – that one was shudder-creating. Anything on human skin (the aforementioned photo-shop deal, a picture of knees after kneeling on frozen peas [why???], one of stretch marks right after giving birth) gives me the very strong feeling that things are crawling all over me and the almost-real fear that those things are making clusters of irregular holes. In my skin. Oh my gosh.

It’s been a couple hours since I looked at the last picture. I tried doing a bunch of things to reset the oogie feeling. I folded and put away a load of laundry. I looked at pictures of kittens. I renewed the registration on Wayne’s car (yay for online MVA). I got myself a drink. I started typing. And I can still feel the crawly feeling on my head and my arms. Oh and one more weird thing – artificial sponges don’t bother me at all, and they have irregular holes. Only the natural ones. But loofahs – those things are nightmare-inducing. Just imagine all the creepy-crawly things that could pop out of those holes!

Okay okay stop, Karen. Just stop. 🙂

Subject change! We rode almost 45 miles today, ten of them accidental because someone took a wrong turn and someone else followed. I was a tee bit grumpy around mile 35 because it was humid, I was out of water, and the voice in my head that I have all but banished popped in for an encore and told me he did this on purpose. It took getting home, half a bottle of G2, a shower, and Edy’s chocolate peanut butter cup to shut that b*tch up. I bet she grew up in a sponge. Or a loofah.

Anyway!

Fibery stuff is not happening lately. The new job is taking up a lot of time and is requiring a good deal of depressurization that I’ve found happens best when I play stupid, mindless games like Candy Crush and dump my entire brain contents on Wayne. By the time I’ve talked it out, it’s usually time for bed. I’m not sure how many active projects I have (baby girl C’s blankie, a Clapotis, a Now in a Minute, C’s afghan – and I’m sure there’s more, like a sock or something?). I did bookmark a couple patterns today before the whole freak-myself-out session, though, so obviously it’s in my head, just not demanding too much attention.

Reading is…. happening. I’m working my way through Columbine by Dave Cullen (Kindle, library book). It’s really good but it was depressing me so it’s taking a break while I read Gangsterland by Tod Goldberg. Folks I love this book. I’m about halfway through and it’s just awesome. I’ve been listening to Tod on Literary Disco almost daily for the past few months – I discovered the podcast when they were already several years in and started at the beginning – and I hear his voice while I read. Normally, I don’t hear any voice at all, so this is an interesting, albeit strange, experience. Perhaps I should get one of the books of poetry that Rider recommends on the podcast to see if I hear his voice, or maybe try Joan Didion in Julia’s. I also started A History of Loneliness by John Boyne on the Kindle (not sure if it’s a library book or Bookbub). I’m only 5% in so I can’t really give a firm opinion yet but it’s wonderfully Irish and fraught with angst so far. I’m expecting it will be quite good.

After the three I have going, I have two more physical library books to read (Gangsterland is a real book, much like the velveteen rabbit became a real bunny). They are Empire Falls by Richard Russo (recommendation of the wondrous Tod Goldberg by way of a Literary Disco episode) and Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen (my mom said I’d love it). And after those five books I think I will allow myself to read the third book in the Touchstone series. I don’t think I’ll be able to hold out much longer than that.

Now I think it’s time to read until I fall asleep. If I can stop itching, that is.

Once more into the breach!

I love Friday morning in the summer. Today I’m wearing my jeans and this awesome sleeveless shirt – it’s tan colored and dotted with camels. I just re-found it in my backup closet (don’t ask) yesterday when I was hunting for a black skirt. But this isn’t about clothes! It’s about Friday. At least that’s what it’s about right now.

It’s almost the end of an extremely busy work week. I’ve put in a bunch of extra hours, despite leaving early on both Wednesday and Thursday. I am not sure if it’s been a particularly productive week – I’ve been too busy to really notice if anything at all is getting done. It has been interesting, though. And I chose to cap it off with the first official team meeting for my new team, scheduled for 9 AM. I have a 10:00 remote webinar scheduled today, too, which will help keep the team meeting from going long. I suspect it will not go long for the first one, though, but better safe than sorry. The group has a tendency to not speak out a whole bunch, and since people higher than me in the food chain will be present, I imagine that will not change today.

I am nervous about it, though. It feels like another hurdle for me to get past, over, around, whatever.

And even though someone else is nominally in charge of our student workers, I think I may need to schedule a meeting next Friday with them. As a group, they are much more vocal. I’m actually looking forward to that one.

But back to today. I was awakened by the cat pouncing on my toes, which I am quite sure were not moving. She’s just evil. Because it’s normal hours today, I didn’t get the princess treatment Wayne’s been dishing out this week in his effort to get me ready and out the door early enough that he could stick with HIS routine and not be late. Instead, I made my own (too strong) coffee and my own breakfast. I finished off the strawberries because, well, desert. And then I sat with my coffee and finished my book. Of course I immediately started another, like the crazy person I am.

Right now, I am sitting at the kitchen table listening to a symphony of birds singing outside (the back door is open), accompanied by the hum of the refrigerator and the ticking of the kitchen clock. I’m typing on my resurrected Chromebook, which was returned from the repair depot earlier this week. My Hello Kitty travel mug of coffee is close at hand. I’m all packed up and ready to leave and longing to linger.

I’m thinking about sitting on the deck. It’s the perfect time of day, not yet breathe-through-a-sponge humid. I could take a cup of coffee out there with my Kindle and the cat. She would sit in my lap for a bit, purring and rubbing her chin on anything semi-firm. Then she’d go off somewhere and I’d turn my chair so I could prop my feet up on the next level of the deck and sink into a world painted by someone else’s words. I could stay out there until the sun creeps over the garage roof, or until I run out of coffee, or until the coffee revisits in the other direction (wink wink). The cat would run off to pounce on clover flowers and then come back and demand attention. I would read and sip and listen and relax.

I’m also thinking about the sofa. I’d curl up in my usual corner, again with coffee close at hand. Of course, I would close the back door and turn on the air conditioning first. Then I could curl under my favorite blanket and not feel too hot. I’d sit my Kindle on the coffee table, propped up by something, and grab the blanket I’m knitting for the granddaughter because it’s a simple enough pattern to knit while I read. I might find some awesome music on Pandora and cast it to the television and fill the room with something indie or maybe classical or even jazz, Coltrane-type jazz of course. I would knit, feeling and hearing the swish-click of the needle tips and the notes of the music. I’d sip my coffee. I’d relax.

But it’s Friday, not Saturday, so that means I need to hang my lanyard around my neck, get into the car, drive a bit south, and prep for this meeting. Relaxing, reading, and knitting will have to wait. I can, however, dial up some Coltrane in my office.

I think it’s going to be a good day.

It’s in the can

The first real week of the new job, that is. I found it extraordinarily frustrating. I spent many years doing the same work and now, at the ripe old age of 45, I have changed track, albeit just slightly. I’m still in IT but my role is definitely not that of a sysadmin. I am still not entirely sure what’s expected of me – we had a massive emergency crop up on Wednesday that kept the team on their toes for the rest of the week. It could have been really bad but instead I got a chance to see them in action and I must say I am more than impressed. They churned and burned and did a massive amount of work (work that should not have been necessary) in a short period of time, despite an obvious lack of appreciation from some quarters.

I had scheduled a sit-down with the people above me and lay out what is expected of me both in a day to day sort of manner and what they would like to see changed. I want a feel for where they see the priorities so I know where to put my focus. That meeting got delayed in favor of all-hands-on-deck, though, and then I was sort of bowled over by all of the other things that kept cropping up. It seems that purchasing computers and peripherals for the campus is one of my duties. This is a process that lacks a process, so to speak. There is no documentation, there is no real supply of spares or of equipment that can be transferred from our cost center to another. The lack of a process means that I am juggling requests and quotes, trying to prioritize, and spending far more time than I should on the whole thing. I can see that I am looking at purchasing taking at least half of my time until it’s all fixed, and that might take months. And it’s such a hot mess now, it’s hard to know where to start.

The next couple weeks will be dedicated to a major, campus-wide project and the answers to what is expected of me and how I am to organize and prioritize will not be answered until after that. Meanwhile I will become more and more lost. The campus has not been notified of the changes that have been made so things that should go to me go to the person I replaced, which is itself causing problems. I don’t know why that piece was forgotten but it is yet another bit of this experience that is frustrating me and making things harder than they have to be.

But I was told by one of the members of my new team that he was impressed with something I did. I got another team member to smile and talk about something other than the things that make her angry. I met some new people, shook hands with them, made them laugh (or at least smile). These tiny blessings make the struggle almost worth it. They make me believe that I can  do this, that I will  do this.

Plus, I put an owl on it, and called it art. Just saying.

Meanwhile, on the home front, our newest family member Bunny Foofoo is settling in to a life of overturning his litter box at 2 AM and harassing Noel, the kitty. One of the old, copper pipes that feed the upstairs bathroom burst and caused my sweet Wayne all sorts of stress and heartache (I am so glad he’s a worker and just jumped right in and started fixing things). The pipe has altered our remodeling timeline and we are both list makers and planners so timeline altering is not something either of us likes. This, too, shall pass though. As does everything else.

I’ve started knitting a baby afghan for Baby Girl C, Wayne’s second granddaughter. I’m so excited about the idea of a wee baby girl. Her mom-to-be just found out this week that she is, indeed, a girl (we sort of figured that she would be, considering that her mom is one of five sisters and her only cousin is a girl). It’s the only yarn-like thing I’m working on because it’s insanely hot and all I want to do is drink wine spritzers and read Chick Lit. Everything else will be hibernating for now, and I am cool with that. It’s a phase, and it will also pass. 🙂

Book wise, besides the aforementioned Chick Lit, I accidentally stumbled across some not bad good books recently:

  • If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (YA) A girl is in a car with her family when they’re in a terrible accident. She has to decide if she’s going to stay (i.e., live). It was quite readable and may have made me cry, a little bit.
  • Let’s Be Frank by Brea Brown (Chick Lit) The male protagonist, Nate, a nurse in a pediatrics practice and a lover of well-crafted chick lit, poses as an author named Frank at the behest of his domineering girlfriend. She wants to publish books as a man and finds Nate to have the perfect look. It’s very well-written and funny.
  • The Not So Secret Emails of Coco Pinchard by Robert Bryndza (Chick Lit) British author Coco Pinchard is a hot mess and I want to go out for a beer with her. She makes every mistake under the sun and makes you want nothing to be on the receiving end of one of her emails. Brit-chick-lit rocks. This one made me laugh out loud more than once and I might read it again,  it was so funny
  • Stray by Andrea K. Host (YA, Touchstone Book 1). This one I’ll be doing a full review on at some point, but as a synopsis: a Australian girl Cassandra Devlin who steps through something akin to a wormhole and finds herself in a strange, new world.

Right now I am reading a time-traveling book that I don’t love but that isn’t too bad. I’m trying to talk myself into spending the money to buy the second and third books in the series the Touchstone series. I guess since the first one was an e-library-book, I’ll buy them on Kindle – that way I won’t stress the imbalance of seeing books 2 and 3 on the bookshelf without a book 1.

Reading what I’ve written, it sounds like I’m insanely busy, especially when you take into account that the new job is demanding that I work a lot more hours than I have been recently. And then I remembered that we are also bike riding regularly, around 60 miles a week most weeks. I’d like to step that up but it’s hot and I can’t seem to get any more hours out of a day. Wayne registered us for this year’s Seagull Century earlier this week, though, so I have to ride regularly or I won’t be ready. Maybe I should sleep less, or something.

Until next time….

Knitting group!

I’ve been strongly encouraged by my dear and loving husband to get out of the house more. I was fighting it, let me tell you. There is little I like more than curling up on the couch with a book and my knitting (super easy if the book is on the Kindle) for an evening. But then…

A couple months ago, I talked Wayne into joining me at a program at the library. He was miserable but he hid it well and did it for me. I, however, felt that I had found my people. The lady sitting next to me commented on my knitting and asked if I was part of the knitting group that meets at the library. I said no, but the question sort of layered itself on top of Wayne’s encouragements and I thought this might be the thing. I could knit with others, right? Surely the knitting would not suffer from being done at the library?

Well yesterday, I went. And I am over the moon! I thought the book people were my people; I was wrong. The knitters are my people (to be clear, it’s a knit and crochet group – I don’t want to denigrate any of my fellow fiberistas!). They welcomed me with open arms. About two minutes after I sat down, I felt as if I’d been hanging out with those women for months. The stories! The yarn! The patterns! The jokes!

The pizelles!

I copied down the address for the next meeting. I put it on my calendar. I squeed and shook hands and barely restrained myself from hugging every one one them. I’m a hugger, what can I say? But even I know better than to hug people I met two hours earlier. I’m saving that for next time.

This morning, I woke early and refreshed, still feeling a bit of the warm-and-fuzziness from yesterday. I did some yoga and a bit of meditation. I wrote in my journal. And then I went upstairs, pulled out the plastic tub that holds my yarn stash, sorted, and dreamed. Noel followed me up and sat on a box across the room, watching me and making the little cheep-purr noise that she makes to remind us that she’s there and happy. I re-rolled balls and thought about what I want to make next (a pair of toe-up socks, a pencil skirt made from granny squares, a toy for Breccan, baby booties, fingerless gloves – all of them at once!).

Sometimes I just need to feel my fingers plunging into yarn, what can I say?

I closed up the tub and put it in a new spot; front and center so I can see all that yummy yarn waiting to be made into beautiful and warm things. I picked Noel up (she butted her nose against my chin – kitteh kisses), and carried her downstairs. I got ready for work, feeling this wonderful combination of excitement and calm, sort of like I have my feet so well grounded that my head is able to go exploring. I’m catching myself smiling, thinking about the yarn, the knitting group, and how smart my husband is. Life really is good.

Defining addiction

The DSM-V offers eleven criteria to define addiction. Meeting more than one of the criteria could define you as having anything from a usage disorder to a severe addiction. It also recognizes only one behavioral addiction – gambling. Anything else that is behavior-based and that looks like addiction can only be a usage disorder. Some potential addictions are included in the deserves-further-study section. None of the faddictions (I’m assuming I made up that word – it’s either a fad that looks like addiction or a fake addiction – and I apologize if you used it first) that are on my radar are on either list.

The faddiction that’s really got me intrigued lately is exercise addiction. There has been talk swirling around me that I could be addicted to exercise. I imagine that’s like being addicted to oxygen, but if I am truly an addict, isn’t that what I would say? I also say there are much worse addictions, but that is hair-splitting. Addiction, in and of itself, is a bad thing.

I did a little Googling, because Google is my oracle, and found that there are people who treat exercise addiction like it’s a real thing. Those people are not the ones who contributed to the DSM-V, though, so I say pish-posh. Or I would say pish-posh if that was something I ever said. I edited the eleven addiction criteria from the DSM-V they’re focused on exercise and then answered them, just to see what results I would get:

  1. Exercising in larger amounts or for longer than the you meant to: I always know exactly what I am going to do before I start. I’m riding ten miles, doing 30 minutes on the stationary bike, following along with a 45 minute long exercise DVD. I never do more than I planned to, because I always plan enough to get me really good and sweaty.
  2. Wanting to cut down or stop exercising but not managing to: I absolutely do not want to cut down or stop. It feels good and makes me happy. Why on earth would I want to stop?
  3. Spending a lot of time doing or recovering from exercise: Yes, I spend a lot of time doing it. Some days, I’ll spend as much as three hours sweating. It’s been a really long time since I’ve needed to recover. If I do something out of my norm and get sore, I just stretch it out next time and it goes away.
  4. Cravings and urges to exercise: Indeed. I love it. Some days, I’ll be sitting at my desk at work and just be having a miserable time. My brain won’t work right, I won’t be able to fix anything, I will be making things worse, people will get on my nerves. I’ll change into my gym clothes, walk over to the gym, and do 10 miles or so on a stationary bike and it’s like all of my synapses reconnect.
  5. Not managing to do what you should at work, home or school, because of exercise: See my answer to #4: it actually makes me feel so good that I do more than on the days I work out a lot than on other days.
  6. Continuing to exercise, even when it causes problems in relationships: It hasn’t caused a problem, yet.
  7. Giving up important social, occupational or recreational activities because of exercise: I’m not very social in general so that’s a wash; I work better, smarter, and more professionally if I’m feeling well-exercised; and it’s a big form of my recreational activities. A second major recreational activity is reading and I can do that on a stationary bike. It’s like magic!
  8.  Exercising again and again, even when it puts the you in danger: I’m pretty sure the only danger it puts me in is when I’m bike riding on my real bike and idiot drivers act like idiots.
  9. Continuing to exercise, even when the you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by exercising: This one I don’t even know how to answer. On one hand, my doctor told me that whatever I’m doing is working and that tells me it’s having the exact opposite effect. On the other hand, when I hurt my shoulder and had to do PT for months, I pretty much stopped all other exercise except the PT, which makes this not a match.
  10. Needing more exercise to get the effect you want (tolerance): This one is absolutely true, but it has nothing to do with tolerance. As I become more physically fit, it takes more, heavier, and faster to get to a good cardio zone or to really feel what I’m doing.
  11. Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by more exercise: This one is also true. I am grumpy when I don’t exercise. I get tense and tetchy. I want to move, sweat, feel muscles working. One of the other magical things about exercise is that it focuses me. It seems counter-intuitive, I know. You’d think that doing something so repetitive would allow my mind to swirl into stress and circling thoughts, but it has the opposite effect. In fact, it works much like knitting does. Steady, repetitive, rhythmic motion is very calming.

I would have to say that, in the fictional world where exercise addiction is a real thing, I am mildly addicted. I could give it up if I wanted to, but there would be withdrawal symptoms. I would be grumpy and wouldn’t sleep as well. My clothes would get too tight. I’d spend a lot of time sitting around and doing nothing because I’d lack the energy to even lift up my Addi Turbos. Relationships would suffer because I’d be either too grumpy to communicate or so snappy that I’d hurt everyone’s feelings. My house would be dirty and I would owe thousands on credit cards from all of the Ben & Jerry’s purchases.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I need to do some other stuff and reward myself for ticking things off my list with a second trip to the gym.

Note:

This article shows the DSM-V vs DSM-IV criteria for alcohol addiction (all addiction criteria are the same, just change the name of the substance/action)

Walking in the rain

Read-write-make-move is a sort of daily goal thing going on. It started on New Year’s Day, 2013, when I decided that goals beat the pants off resolutions. It’s hard to fail at a goal because it doesn’t have any real stopping spot. If I don’t meet my daily goal today, I have tomorrow. Goals are gentle and forgiving, goals are reachable. Goals give me a reason to reward myself.

My daily goal does a few things for me. It keeps me on the upside of my lifelong battle with depression and anxiety. It’s a harbinger of my downslides, which I am not always able to recognize until I’ve slid all the way to that place where I have panic attacks at work and can’t get off the couch for a week or two. Doing them makes me feel good and I cannot do them when I don’t feel good, in other words.

Reading, well it’s a given. I read everything. I read real paper books and fake books on my Kindle. I read other people’s blogs, essays, news stories. I read signs and boxes and instructions and the small print. Reading is a thread through my whole life. It connects me to afternoons in my Mommom’s rumpus room and Nancy Drew, to the pine tree next to the armory in Georgetown and Madeleine L’Engle, to candy striping and the volunteer book cart, to memorizing my general orders in basic training. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t read, or a time when I wasn’t excited about books and the wonders they are holding, just waiting for me to discover.

Writing is a little more complicated. I have a dream of being a real writer. I want to be paid to write, and paid enough to live on. I know, it’s crazy to even think that, isn’t it? But it’s my dream. To that end, I have several books in progress and I try to do at least a chapter of new stuff or twenty pages of revisions every week. I also journal daily and write blog posts occasionally. Some days, the only writing I can do is my journaling. Some days, I have to write in my special, paper journal – the one where I can vent all the really bad stuff and then burn it up. Sometimes I think I have brain gas and I just have to get the words out of me to relieve the pressure.

Making is probably the most generalized of these goals, and it has no rules. I carry a small knitting or crochet project in my purse and work on it when things are slow at work but I still need to keep my eye on stuff (can’t do that if I’m reading). I always have one or two bigger projects going on, too, and I usually set a daily row or section goal for them. Right now, I have a dishcloth on my desk from my purse and Multnomah at home, waiting for its one (or more) daily rows. I’ve also bought the yarn to make a gift for a couple of crazy kids I know and that may be started in the next day or so. Making might also be gluing some plastic bits to earring posts or weaving plastic loops into bracelets or adding a crochet lace border onto some Walmart pillow cases. It all counts!

Moving is really the only daily goal that I cannot afford to skip. I have to exercise every day. No medication will ever be enough for me without a daily influx of endorphins. I can’t be happy without it. I can be okay without it but not happy. I want to get up an hour early every day and do a workout video, walk at lunchtime, walk or bike in the evening. I aim for a number of miles every week, thirty in the winter and sixty when it starts to warm up. If I am feeling particularly generous to myself, I will put an audiobook on my iPhone and go for a walk then tell myself I’m walking and reading at the same time.

This week, I took a walk in the rain. Delmarva forgot that it was springtime and gave us a gray and rainy Thursday. I went to work in a sleeveless dress and flipflops. It was so cold out that I didn’t bother changing out of my work clothes and into my exercise clothes. I just tied on my sneakers, put on my cardigan, grabbed my umbrella, and left. Twenty minutes later I was damp from the waist down and happy. Happy is good.

Since my last post, I:

Before we talk again, I hope to:

  • Get to the lace border of Multnomah
  • Make five or so dishcloths (new pattern of course)
  • Clean the craft room
  • Take in my favorite dress, or at least move it out of rotation so I stop wearing something two sizes too big for me
  • Do three Sun Salutations in a row without pain
  • Start the new project for the two crazy kids
  • Eat less cake
  • Get my walking splits consistently under sixteen minutes (I can do this if I listen to music and not Knitting Pipeline, but I have so many old episodes to catch up on now that I’ve found it, I don’t want to stop!)
  • Finish uploading my “read before I die” list into Goodreads
  • Wag more