Posted in ebb & flow, meandering, storytelling

Words words words SO MANY WORDS!

October and November hold quite a few anniversaries for me: my birthday and The Kid’s birthday. Getting National Board Certified. Finishing chemo.

Today is none of those.

I made it a year! Every day, a post has gone live. Days I was sick. Days I was on vacation. Days that were just regular days. Sometimes written and scheduled ahead of time; sometimes written ahead of time but not scheduled and then oh crap I didn’t publish that post yet!; sometimes written, edited, and posted in short order.

Not all of them have been my best work, but I think that’s within the realm of reasonable.

It feels good to have made it this long. I recommend trying it. (If you do, let me know!)

Woot! Yay! Hooray!

Of course, once I hit “publish,” the last square on that year (in the photo) will fill in.

Getting followers was not my goal, but as you started to trickle in and accumulate, I started to notice. I was hoping to hit an even 100 followers by today and thought I had 97, but when I went into stats areas I don’t typically go (looking for something else), I noticed that email subscribers are counted separately. 100 followers!

Screen Shot 2019-10-31 at 3.35.27 PM

In chronological order, here are my posts from the last year with the most likes. (They’re set to open in new tabs.)

Update: accountability to self

It’s normal. But is it good?

Distracted exercising

Do something for you

Go get what you deserve

Junk on vacation: how I managed it

I like sweating

School, escapism, perfectionism

Standards and accountability and homework

Goal-setting, goal-pursuing, and real life

Making just a little time to let yourself feel better

Workplace wellness

The hidden side of … everyone

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I’m going to cut down to three or four posts per week so I can dedicate more time to working on my book. I foresee returning to daily posting once that writing project is complete.

Thanks for reading, for liking, for commenting. I appreciate the interaction. I hope I’ve made a positive impact on your life in this journey.

 

 

Posted in about me, ebb & flow, follow-up, gifts, meandering, motivation, vulnerability

Hello? Is this thing on?

I like to been seen. So do you. Might be in totally different ways or contexts or audiences, but we all want to be seen, understood.

As a kid, I was introverted and socially anxious, good academically, and eager to please. In elementary school, I more or less spoke when spoken to. I remember clearly getting in trouble for blurting out an answer once in fourth grade, and while I can’t say for sure that’s the only time it happened, it was rare enough that that once sticks out.

I was “seen” by doing my work well on time. A sticker or a pat on the back. Because that’s good enough at that level and that was enough.

As school got harder, I found a niche and a family in performing arts. I was never great at any of it, but I was dependable, and for what we were, that was enough.

And then we all grew up and life went in planned and unplanned ways, and some combination of social struggles (in part because of childhood emotional trauma, in part because we societally don’t value introverts), and “good enough” and “dependable” not being enough to be seen, and choosing a career path (teaching) that’s considered “less than,” and within that choosing a specialization (band) that is constantly fighting for time, students, space, validation, I’ve spent a lot of time feeling … invisible.

All this to say that this is why I have a stormy swirl of emotions regarding birthdays (and now also Mother’s Day).

Because I want to be seen. And if the anniversary of being born is a socially acceptable day to get positive attention, I’ll take it.

But we’re adults and I’ve certainly heard enough times to grow up, that birthdays are for kids (with the possible exception of milestone birthdays, though their importance is pretty random unless you’re becoming eligible or ineligible for something legally).

Birthdays always runs into gifts, and I’ve written about gifts before.

I don’t like obligatory, “I have to have something to give you” gifts. But I love gifts that are thoughtful. A couple of years ago, The Climbing Daddy threw a surprise party. A few people brought gifts: a stainless steel water bottle; a bag for dance shoes; a vegetarian cookbook for backpacking (or camping) and a gift card for REI; a pair of earrings from a friend who always picks out the best earrings. (Others, but that’s enough to make the point.) They are really different things, and they all say HEAT all over them. Having the party in the first place was amazing enough. Gifts that say “I see you, I know you” were icing on the proverbial cake.

 

 

Posted in cancer, connections, differences, ebb & flow, mindset, socializing, thoughtfulness, tips, vulnerability

Talking to people going through hard things

A friend’s father-in-law is in his final hours. I would not text her right now to complain about … anything.

Thinking about that led me to realize that perhaps people get situations confused. Or just aren’t able to find out what direction to go in other difficult situations.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I was inpatient at the hospital, had a seemingly endless string of tests and procedures, one of which landed me in ICU overnight, and was somewhat overwhelmed. But within two weeks, I was home.

Despite being home, cancer treatment often lasts a long time. I was admitted to the hospital in mid-May and finished treatments in mid-January. I’ve known too many people who tally up years of treatment.

Once the initial storm settled, socializing was really important, because I couldn’t do most of the other things I was accustomed to doing.

A relative had gotten a flat tire, and started a conversation with, “Well, I know this is nothing compared to what you’re going through, but …”

And no, it’s not, but in real life, that doesn’t matter. I mean, I wouldn’t complain about what my spouse made for dinner last night to someone who was food insecure, but the people in my social circle are, for the most part, all secure in food, housing, and other basic needs. (Except healthcare. Welcome to America.)

OK, I got off on a tangent there, but what I’m saying is—the majority of my people share similar annoyances, with the occasional life-shaking event.

Is the life-shaking event finite? A death, the onset of serious illness or injury, loss of a job, for example?

If yes, they’re not in a good place for you to bug them with minutiae. (“I was just diagnosed with cancer.” “OMG really? Can you believe I got a flat on my way to work today?”) Choose another friend for that.

If their life-shaking event is chronic (whether permanent or temporary) and the initial blow has passed, then you need to know, in response to a story about the flat you got on the way to work, would they say:

Must be nice to be able to go to work/have a car to get a flat/etc.

or

Oh man! That sucks! Why did it take AAA so long to get there?

And base your decision on that.

If you don’t know, ask.

“Hey, I know you’re going through xyz shitty thing right now, and I wasn’t sure if you wanted to talk about that, if you were looking for conversation just to be kind of light, or if you were looking for just normal conversation.”

Or something like that.

Then people who really need you just to be there and hang out have you there and hanging out (um, maybe not literally), and people who really don’t want to hear about your shit won’t be offended by your insensitivity.

Posted in ebb & flow, know better do better, mindset, thoughtfulness

Old and new: rambling thoughts

The photo was taken in Tempe, Arizona. The building on the left is an old flour mill, built in 1918 and used until 1998.

The building on the right is a glass office building. I don’t know when it was built (how do you find that information?), but it’s obviously much newer than 1918.

The juxtaposition of the buildings was striking to me, which is why I snapped a photo.

There’s so much development that’s considered progress or improvement that just … isn’t. (And really, you could potentially make that argument about either building.)

I know that where I live and work and play were all once desert, and then were slightly populated, and now are crowded, and as such, there’s a bit of hypocrisy in believing that it should stop now. Why now?

We have enough.

There are enough vacant buildings that we can repurpose space that is already developed, whether in reusing existing structures or knocking them down and starting over.

Undeveloped space is important. Let’s make do with what we have.

Posted in about me, ebb & flow, food, physical health

The former deliciousness of peanut brittle

For a long time, peanut brittle was one of my favorites. And it was an infrequent treat, which made it even more delightful.

It’s been years, maybe decades, since I had peanut brittle.

There was some at work the other day.

I took a piece. Or two…

And you know what? It wasn’t that delicious.

I relayed this story to a friend who reacted with sadness, but no! It’s not sad at all!

Peanut brittle is crap. It’s (formerly) tasty crap, but it’s still crap.

And now, if it shows up in the teachers’ lounge again, I won’t have to expend any energy to pass it by, because it’s not delicious.

It’s not the first time this has happened, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. The list of things that are no longer delicious just got one thing longer.

And yes, there have been a few things that I had for the first time in years and yes, they were still amazing. (A cream doughnut from McMillan’s Bakery immediately comes to mind. Only ate a couple of bites but YUM.)

But it’s OK to let your taste buds get pickier about junk food. Your body will thank you for it.