Category: anything

Twitch

My eye has been twitching for fourteen days.

Some self defense classes say to go for the eyes, because once something happens to your eye it’s really hard to focus (literally and figuratively) on anything outside your eyes.

It’s funny how quickly a tiny muscle wiggle pulls my focus from everything else. I’m slow to anger usually, but I found the quick intense pointless rage that bubbles up with you stub your toe on the coffee table to bubble up sometimes when my eye twitch pulls me out of the moment I’m in.

I went to an optometrist because I am the opposite of scared of the doctor (meaning I go all of the time for everything). She said eat more potassium and magnesium (I have 5-6 bananas a week and a magnesium supplement every night), sleep more (I sleep 8 hours and 24 minutes a night on average according to FitBit), and to cut down the caffeine (I usually drink 1-3 small cups a day) and the stress. Well shit.

I’m an anxious gal, and this country and time don’t help. In The Bell Jar Platt talks about her life being her sitting in a crook of a fig tree, and each fig looks tempting, but she can’t decide which one to reach for and while she’s deliberating every fig wastes away and she’s chosen nothing. That’s been resonating in me for a while as I wait to pick a fig in my life. This week a financial podcast I listen to was talking about the marshmallow test that expanded the test to remind us no one wants to wait a year for three marshmallows – your current one will get stale and there’s too many other variables to ever make that a good bargain. So maybe I need to stop staring at figs and marshmallows and just eat ‘Em, eh?

20 Books read in 2015

My commute involves 25 minutes each way on the light rail. I oscillate between podcasts, work emails, Duo Lingo language learning, longreads and books. I read books I seek out, books leant to me, and many I pluck out of a Little Free Library. I love how each title brings back memories of the week(s) I read it – plane rides, humidity, strep throat or other ups and downs of life. I tried to rank them by order I enjoyed them, but it was a bit of apples to oranges. Here’s the books I remember (and photo links to my top five recs if you want to buy them on amazon thru affiliate links).


Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell People have been recommending David Mitchell to me for years. I get it now. I love period pieces. I love the circular tracks of each life. I love the chapters ending mid-sentence. Magical realism at it’s best.


Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons I’ve always loved this movie, and the book was an equally fun romp. Total fluff, but written in the period to make fun of other fluff, so it’s even sillier. Definitely laugh out loud literally with this one.


The Wind Up Bird Chronicles – Haruki Murakami Like Mitchell, Murakami has been on my to-read list as well. More magical realism, amazing character journeys, full fascinating world that made me research the histories of Japan before and after WWII more than I knew before. It was long and got a bit turned about for me, but still a top five.


The Dud Avocado – Elaine Dundy A memoirish tale of a young American in Paris in the 50s, told more realistically than I expected. Charming, silly, a bit dark and I read it while in Paris which made me fall for it even more.


My Life in France – Julia Child How could this not be great? Appreciate her honesty talking about her discomfort being a housewife and all the work and drama that went in to cookbookery.

You Can’t Win – Jack Black Not that Jack Back. A depression era hobo tells the tales of riding the rails and his time in the pokey. Fascinating.

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs – Chuck Klosterman This was a read-out-loud-to-your-friends kind of book. He nerds out pretty hard on some pop culture I don’t know about. I skimmed some of the shorts but enjoyed it as a whole.

Brain on Fire – Susannah Cahalan This was a devour-in-an-afternoon kind of read. First person account of losing your mind drew me in deeply, but left me feeling like I didn’t gain much.

The Nick Adams Stories – Ernest Hemmingway Hemmingway – what more can I say? Not his best collection, and not meant to be published in a collection so it doesn’t always flow well, but Hemmingway’s worst writing would be better than the best of so many other authors.

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green Also a super quick read. Teen cancer romance – totally cried and really believed the characters. Also they obsess over a book that stops mid-sentence, circling me back to Cloud Atlas.

Changing My Mind – Zadie Smith I remember liking this when I read it last January, but I can’t remember a single point from it. I know it was a series of essays but obviously it didn’t resonate with me if it’s all gone.

The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion Not super relatable for a young unmarried gal, but I think it helped me empathize with my grandma more. Didion is great at painting the full picture of her pain and experience.

Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen and the Inimitable Jeeves – P.G. Wodehouse I mainly love Jeeves & Wooster as I can picture Stephen Frye and Hugh Laurie as the duo and that makes everything funnier. Wodehouse is a linguistic genius and I want to add some of his similes in to my daily speech.

Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackery I had this on my kindle and kept switching to other books. I’d rather just watch the movie, embarrassingly. I did finish it finally though.

The Turn of the Screw and Daisy Miller – James Henry I did find Turn of the Screw to be suspenseful! Daisy Miller I’d read years ago and forgotten, and then after rereading it immediately forgot most of it again.

Dead Man’s Folly – Agatha Christie The first Christie I’d ever read! A very late Poirot, so probably not the best place to start. A who-done-it can be fun and I couldn’t figure this one out until the reveal which didn’t wow me.

Snobs – Julian Fellowes Shallow look in to shallow lives. I don’t know much about old rich in Britain, and I think I’d prefer more Wooster to this.

The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner I actually missed my train stop because I was so engrossed in this book. Had to walk extra far home. But I still couldn’t figure it out and found it terribly frustrating.

Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates – Tom Robbins Second Robbins attempt and I just don’t sink with him. So many silly fanciful storylines and quips that I should like, but I just end up disgusted by the characters (and not in a Confederacy of Dunces sort of way). Ick.

pots

I just replanted most of my potted plants. When I turned over some they were entirely root bound, the pot was basically filled with just one tangled root. Others barely extended an inch under the surface, hardly needing any space at all. I don’t know enough about plants to tell the difference until I get my hands dirty.

I’ve twice bought a giant bag of potting soil and left it out in the sauna/shed behind my duplex, only to have it disappear. I gave up and just used fresh compost from my kitchen scrap pile this time to supplement the dirt already in the pots. One of the biggest plants now has multiple little volunteers sprouting beside it.

I feel like there’s a lot of metaphors resting just below the surface here. Somewhere mingled with my decomposing avocado scraps.

protecting yourself

I am taking a six week meditation intro course. It’s hard and frustrating and maybe not for me. But sometimes I really like what the teacher has to say.

He told a parable I had to share. You’re an early human. You’re walking around and you keep stubbing your toes and scrapping your feet. What do you do? Cover the entire world in a mat? Weave a giant rug to protect your feet everywhere? In order to put it down you’d still cut yourself. What you should do is wrap up your own feet so they are protected. Once you’re safe you can look at clearing rocks or setting up mats for the world, but you have to care for yourself first in order to do the work.

Get some nice shoes. Or nice protection for whatever part of you is exposed.

getting away from it all

I am on this two month trip for lots of reasons. A restart, a recharge, a reboot, a reevaluate.

And a realization that I’m still me half way around the world.

I have an endless list of things I’ll do once I get myself together. Blog more, floss more, do my sit-ups, quit checking internet sites addictively, etc. I thought being in a town where I knew no one, and had no firm obligations, I’d have all the time and could knuckle down and get shit done.

This is not the case. At all. I’ve actually gotten less reading done than I do at home. I still buy ice cream treats when it’s hot and I don’t need them. I’m still me.

So how do I actually restart my approach to everything?