Sunday, August 31, 2008

Really don't know about this...

OK, I know the bear -- shot by her dad -- speaks volumes to Sarah Palin's cred as an Alaskan, but this whole thing is bothering me...

It just feels like such disgraceful pandering, to select a woman for the ticket with so little experience, the self-proclaimed hockey mom who came to public office through the PTA.

Yes, it's great for a woman to be on the ticket, but was there really no other woman qualified to occupy the seat?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The perpetual optimism of the migraine-sufferer

Goes a little like this.
Maybe this is just a headache and if I just (choose one or more):

- have a cup of coffee
- don't have a cup of coffee
- eat something
- drink some water
- sleep
- wear dark glasses
- swallow some ibuprofen
- other nonsense, fill in the blank

then it'll go away and not turn into that same, tired crap with the potential to ruin three or more days of my life.
Such optimism, so endearing and so ridiculous! You get so tired of having migraines, of feeling like shit, of drugging yourself through them, that you'll believe anything, try like hell to resist going there again.

The downside to such optimism is that point that arrives hours later, when you realize that none of the sweet little over-the-counter half-measures have done anything to stop it from coming, that in fact the delay means the migraine is worse, has its claws in deeper, and that it'll take longer for the drugs to kick in and kick its ass.

With migraines, optimism is for suckers. From now, as long as there is supply, have pills, will swallow. I'll sort out what it *really* was later.

Down the hatch!

Sitting still

"Ariane is sitting still," according to my Facebook page this morning. But as I've been variously sitting, picking, cooking, cleaning, posting shit to Facebook, messing around on the internet, and walking back and forth in my house, it has occurred to me that I have a very weird definition of what it means to sit still.

In today's case, I suppose sitting still means staying put, not leaving the house, not having a quick breakfast on a Sunday morning then dashing out for yoga at 8:30. It means not having a plan that involves running around in the car. It has meant, instead, that I've just been here for the past few hours doing whatever I wanted without thinking about its implications on the rest of the day... This is the activity that Joe and I call "beetle-ing," just going from task to task in the house, getting caught up in the flow from thing to thing organically [named after the time Joe was walking from the lawn to the shed for a rake, but then noticed that something else needed attention, and an hour later remembered the rake, and on his way to go get it noticed a beetle, stopped in contemplation of its movement, twenty minutes later remembered the rake, and so the whole afternoon went by. Beetling by nature is relaxing and thoroughly satisfying.]

So if today's sitting still means celebrating the bounty of the garden by picking a huge bowl of tomatoes and starting sauce on the stove, so be it. If it means watching Cherry Poppin' Daddies videos for a while on youtube, so be it. Uploading photos to flickr, watching the robot-vacuum on its rounds, listening to music loud, same-same.

Truth: I'm fried from a work-event yesterday that had me up at 4am (after not sleeping so I wouldn't miss the unusually-early alarm), at Lake Merritt by 5:30 am, largely on-deck until 6:45 pm, not home until 7:15 pm. So it's no wonder about the sitting still. But I also realize how little time I spend inside of the home that my hard-ass work pays for, so it's about time for some just kickin' it at my address. I need a steady week or two of exactly this kinda sitting still, but will settle for this sunny day.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Trying to get out, getting sucked back in...

I am on track to make some really big shifts and am really marveling at how strong resistance is. I'm not surprised, really -- maybe I'm just impressed by how much force can be marshalled.

Laura said the other night that when you start to feel veiled and contracted, then come back to center, plug in and re-expand from there. Really trying to keep those words in front of me.

I am definitely feeling veiled 5 days a week, asked to keep the truth to myself, operating at the margins of what I think is correct. And chafing at the necessity. Losing sleep, trying to keep the [inevitable?] migraine at bay. Pulled in multiple directions, which makes me think of the migraine as the result of this seismic break in my awareness -- the fault-line that is building pressure. And building pressure, and building pressure, fed by holding back, not releasing the bottled-up thoughts and feelings in words. If I always acted according to my code -- i.e., only do what you want to do, don't do what you don't want to do -- then I wonder if I would stop having these mind-splitting headaches? Heavy...

Anyway, the thing that's totally ridiculous and irritating is that all I want is just to be done, to move on, to get on with it, and that the situation has actually gotten worse rather than better since I announced my intention to change. I need to take a breather, come back to center, figure out what I need to say, then expand back out in full confidence of that truth and SAY IT. I'm done spinning at someone else's behest, just to keep her company.

Thanks, Laura. I needed that.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Only in San Francisco is it possible to have Seasonal Affective Disorder all summer long. Instead of shorts and swimming weather, summer in the city feels like the coldest part of the whole year. I knew this growing up, having to leave the warm sunny Castro for school in the gloom of the Stonestown/SF State area. But now that I live in Marin and commute to work just off Van Ness 5 days a week, I've upped the extremes and make a daily journey from summer to winter, back to summer again. As a native it feels disloyal to say it, but jeez the weather in San Francisco really makes it suck.

Since I just spent a minute or two reading about SAD (love you,!!), I now know that it's a form of depression that affects most people in fall and winter as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder. The symptoms of the most typical form, winter-onset SAD, include:
  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of energy
  • Social withdrawal
  • Oversleeping
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating and processing information
This explains volumes about the population here, the reliance on caffeine, the dominance of pasta. The problem is that we all have this all summer long, then fall comes and we kick into the opposite gear of everyone else in the country since September and October offer the most beautiful and exhilarating weather of the year. Which might explain why this place is so different, why people here are so different. It takes creativity and ingenuity to survive the annual cold when we want hot, so that when everyone else is winding down and getting ready for a long winter's nap, we are just getting started.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

People are awesome

I generally think the people who work at Blockbuster are watching jealously as evolution passes them by, but turns out they're delightful like the rest of us. Who there took the time to cut out Obama's face and apply him over Indy's? Those guys have mad skills developed from years of D & D and Magic cards. So nice to see them applying them in this way!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Getting back to running

Since high school, a piece of my identity was wrapped up in running. From the very first time as a sophomore that I felt the satisfaction of being able to run a mile without wanting to die, through competing cross country, through my 20s and 30s, running felt like part of who I was. In some ways the running contributed to the Good. In high school certainly, it was the avenue through which I created a sense of independence and strength for myself, and through which I secured uninterrupted and unsupervised time away from my mother and with my friends, plumbing the depths of who I was... In combination with learning to write, running help build me into the person I was at that age.

Over time though, it seemed to become another way in which I pushed myself. By the time I was starting my 44th year, I decided to knock it off - just stop cold-turkey, quit running altogether. I ran only a couple of times after that -- one notable time out of sheer exhilaration the morning after Kenny's last regular Friday night Anusara class, completely powered by my joy at how much fun that was.

In combination with yoga, running was a funny thing. Everything I'd stretch in yoga, I'd subsequently contract when running. I found that I was progressing in neither arena, since I'd do this very careful doling out of energy. If I was going to a hard class, I'd do a short run. If I was doing a long run, I'd skip class. Ended up feeling pretty stuck.

Plus, the running was supporting a self-image that I was trying to relinquish -- a kind of hard-ness, toughness, that I felt wasn't serving me.

For better or ill, I gave it up completely. It's been interesting.

Actually, it's been really easy, but I have missed it.

So this morning when I started running, just 'cause I felt like it, it was really fun. The feeling came back to me -- how much I love it, how different it is, even when moving along exactly the same path in the woods, from walking, how much more my senses take in.

Now that I've had a chance to feel what it's like not to do it at all, to give up that push, I'm coming back to it, differently, without the push, just for the joy of it. Balancing it with yoga, I think, will be less challenging now that I've had a solid year and a half of yoga and have built my practice up to a different platform. We'll see what happens. It'll be different for me to not take a "training" mentality toward running, not to choose a goal or race and push toward it. That may come later, but for now, I'm just going to do a little every day and see if I can keep it all in balance.