Sunday, August 13, 2017

The schedule monster

I’m starting to obsess about what kind of morning routine I want to have for the fall—in fact, at one point I had convinced myself that I need a morning routine, an evening routine, and also some sort of afternoon ritual to break up the day. In all honesty, I’m not yet unconvinced of that. It’s like there’s a Scheduling For The Fall Monster that wakes up inside me every year around this time and roars until it’s presented with a detailed, color-coded, hour-by-hour schedule for each day of the week, down to who takes what vitamins when.

The schedule monster is rather unhappy that this year there will be several days of the week when it will be literally impossible to get the three of us around the table at the same time for dinner. Of course, that makes my obsessive scheduling even more important—if Monday and Friday at 6 are the only times I can gather my family around me, then I really don’t want to have other plans. And that’s also made me realize that I really don’t want to overschedule my morning with a bunch of stuff that takes me away from breakfast, which is the other time we can all be together, if only for 20 minutes.

Still pondering. Rawr.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Resolutions for August 2017

I was not in the mood at all to make August resolutions until I hit on the idea of making them all calmy ones rather than achievy ones:
  • Read the newspaper. I’ve fallen into the terrible habit of getting most of my news from Twitter—or at least I find out about things on Twitter and then sometimes go read about them elsewhere. But since 90 percent of the people I follow are scathingly vicious Trump opponents, I don’t think it’s that healthy for me. (I mean, I curated my feed that way on purpose, but I think I’ll take a short break from the firehose of rage.)
  • Keep up the morning yoga. I’ve written about how much I like doing yoga with no guidance of any kind, and since I started that, I have not once had the faintest desire to ever go back to watching a video or taking a class. I’m telling you, I’ve had some terrific yoga teachers, but this is WAY better. (And this is barely a resolution because I was totally going to do it anyway.)
  • Add in some meditation. I often take a few seconds to focus on my breath at the beginning and end of yoga, but I think I could extend that to a few minutes.
  • Get outside. Just want to make sure I still get outside a few times each day to walk or whatever.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The seasonal morning routine

I’ve been informed that this is Tuesday, which means—holy mackerel—I have only two more days of outdoor swimming left this summer! I have LOVED having this whole adventure every day. It has made the summer really feel like summer, if you know what I mean.

So…my latest brilliant idea is to think about some sort of new morning routine to make the fall feel more like the fall (“fall” being defined for this purpose as “when school starts in late August through about the first major snowfall”). The new ritual would definitely involve walking and yoga—and coffee—but I’m not sure what else. I do know it could no longer be a FOUR-HOUR extravaganza, because summer is the only season that really accommodates that kind of awesomeness.

I’ve always liked the idea of having a morning routine, but I was never able to get one to stick before. I think making them seasonal might actually be perfect. After all, your circumstances and moods change A LOT with the seasons, particularly in a place like this with drastic weather. And it’s nice to give each season some sort of limited purpose to remind yourself that this time is not going to last forever—for better or for worse.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Fuhrman firehose

One highlight of my summer routine is that it offers a glorious amount of time for listening to podcasts and then reflecting on them. I feel like I come across interesting recommendations and bits of wisdom more quickly than I could ever keep up with. It got to the point where I had to drag the never-before-used Notes app onto my iPhone’s main home screen so that I could jot down book recommendations and random fantastic ideas I hear as I walk home from the pool.

Yesterday, for example, I heard an interview with Dr. Joel Fuhrman (link here, but beware some locker room talk*), who I have never taken all that seriously before. I have to say, though, I have a new respect for him, mostly because of his righteously-super-angry attitude toward the American diet, which he calls “suicide by food.” (And he has a book coming out this year called “Fast Food Genocide,” which, YESSSS.) He finds it baffling that people just accept that they could get some horrible disease at any moment—and that they will live the last few decades of their lives in some degree of pain, immobility, and mental decline—even though we’re living in a renaissance of nutrition research, and all those things are pretty much preventable if you are paying any attention at all. And then he comes right out and says that the way most of us eat makes us literally stupider** (and slaves to our addictions) and by this point I am AMENING all over the place.

But then he talks about being a vegan, and I am like, Huh? Do you not see your incisors, Doctor Goofy?

Anyway, I also came across this quote yesterday:
“ ‘Wellness’ is capitalism trying to sell you back the sanity it stole from you.” —Gesshin Greenwood
I have thoughts on that one, too, but for now I’ll just throw it out there for general reflection.

* Nothing as bad as what comes from the mouth of our current president.
** A second allusion to our current president.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Of moose and MacBeth

The plan yesterday was to do a little five-mile hike and then go watch “MacBeth” performed by Montana Shakespeare in the Parks in a small town near the mountains. It turned out to be more of an adventure than anticipated, and here’s a preview:


(Not pictured: Four hikers cowering behind a tree.)

So…we hiked Phantom Creek Trail to Slough Lake, and we hadn’t gone a mile when a storm started rolling in. It rained on us a bit, and there was some thunder, and even some hail—all that said, it never got too bad, and we were only going 2½ miles from civilization, so we hiked on. Slough Lake was lovely, even in the rain:


On the way back we got passed by a pair of young women; they were the only other people on the trail, actually. But not five minutes after they passed us, they came running back shouting about a moose. The four of us found a place to climb up a steep embankment and made “We are here but no threat to you” noises while a bull moose wandered up toward us. He didn’t seem to pay us a lot of attention but eventually wandered off the trail in the other direction.

Now, moose will not eat you, obviously, but they will still try to kill you, and it was a little scary, even with bear spray in hand. But when the moose was well out of sight, M.H. and I decided to go on. We had a play to get to, and there was only one way back to the car! We went another 100 yards down the trail and ran right into a mama moose with a baby—those being the kind that will even more readily kill you, by the way.

We hustled back to the spot where the other hikers were still hiding out. These two moose stayed on the trail and walked right past us as if they owned the place (which they totally did) and were simply taking the most expeditious route to Slough Lake. Long story short, we all survived, “MacBeth” was great (though if it hadn’t been for the moose I would probably be blogging the story of how the sprinklers came on in the park in the middle of the play, soaking us for a third time that day), and we got home so late and exhausted that I had to skip another morning of swimming. Totally worth it.

Monday, July 10, 2017

A daily poetry practice

In case you were wondering, it’s July 10 and, yes, I do have ten poems to show for it (per my monthly resolution). None of them is long (they top out at eight lines), not all of them are good (in fact, I’m confident that six of them are terrible), and not all of them rhyme (one is a haiku). But it has been fun, and it’s getting easier to do as the days go on.

They say that when you think about what kind of life you want to have, you should think about what you enjoyed doing when you were 10, and I know for a fact that wrote a TON of poetry between the ages of 8 and 13. I wrote a little in high school as well to fulfill English assignments (sometimes even when the assignment was not poetry). I wish I had continued, but I made that classic mistake of stopping because I was not that good.

Of course the mistake there is twofold: It wrongly assumed I would never get better, and it totally missed the point of making art in the first place.

On the other hand, I shudder to think about how much hot garbage I would have produced as a prolific poet between the ages of 13 and 30, so you’re welcome, universe.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Problem solving

I was having a Yahoo Mail issue that required me to clear all my cookies, which of course then led to 50 million other problems, including not being able to sign into a bunch of sites or to comment on my own stupid blog. I lived with the frustration for about two weeks before deciding yesterday that, from now on, every time I encountered a computer problem, I was going to do whatever it took to figure out the solution then and there. It has been stupidly time-consuming—but also liberating, now that I seem to have most everything sorted out.

(I would probably experience the same brand of satisfaction if I were to ever organize my digital photos, but at this point I’m sort of curious if it’s possible to just live out the remainder of my days without photo organization.)

The other big problem in my life is that my right shoulder has been bothering me the past few days. This morning it reached a level that I had to admit was pain, so I cut my swim off at 400 meters and am planning to take a three-day weekend to rest (we were going hiking Monday anyway). I think this is smart, but it probably would have been even smarter to stop swimming as soon as it reached “bothering” level. It’s just hard because I’m enjoying my swimming routine so much. But I may find I also enjoy sleeping in for a few days, who knows?