Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hey Look, She's Obsessing about Food Again. She NEVER Does That.

I recently renewed my membership to the city library. I am stoked about this because now I can read all those books I've been wanting to read without the investment of actually purchasing them. Because right now I have more important things to spend money on. How is that possible you ask? Let's just say I'm choosing between underwear and books. You can only choose books so many times before things get desperate. With this next paycheck I should be okay to buy things I am actually needing: supportive shoes for work, underwear, and shirts to replace the ones I just bought that now have holes in them. Thanks, cats.

Holy tangent, batman.

Anyway, one of the first books I took out was Grain Brain. I have my own personal opinions about the gluten-free movement, but I also have many friends who are diagnosed with either Celiac disease or gluten intolerance and this book came recommended. As I like knowing what the fuss is about, I decided to read it. I'm about a third of the way through it and I've already wanted to throw it across the room a half dozen times. I hate leaving a book unfinished, but I think this is one I may have to walk away from.

The ironic thing is, I don't necessarily disagree with what he is saying. We absolutely have an over-reliance on highly processed, barely "food" breads, crackers, and grain-based products in our society. We strip away everything healthy and then chemically put it back together, along with a ton of preservatives and stabilizers and call it edible. I also believe that this can negatively affect people both physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The thing is, we don't just do this with grains. We do it with everything. We live in a highly packaged, highly processed society. Where everything we consume (not just food) has to come in pretty, eye catching packages that tantalize and scintillate.

Which brings me to the movie I watched yesterday after I got sick of the book. Forks Over Knives is based on the book by the same name (which I'm pretty sure I read years ago, although I don't have it in my personal library). The movie is a big proponent of plant-based eating in order to reverse any number of heart, cholesterol and obesity-based issues.

At the base of the recommendations are whole foods, minimally processed, and little to no animal products. Which makes complete sense (unless you are the author of the aforementioned book, where he agrees with the first two and goes to the other extreme with the last). Whichever side of the animal line you come down on, virtually everyone agrees on "the closer to the original the better".

Which is where I start to have problems.

The thing is, both of these dietary recommendations require that you have a certain amount of obsession over them. Eating this way is not easy in our society. It takes planning, dedication, a large time commitment, and let's face it, financial means. For someone like me, who takes planning, dedication, and adds "perfectionist" onto it, it becomes something else. I won't say I had Orthorexia, but I could tick off a lot of those "signs you may have" boxes. Which is scary in and of itself.

So I struggle. I struggle with my morals, my opinions, with the gross amount of over-information and half truths as to what constitutes healthy, and moreover I struggle with what is realistic and how that does not reflect what most "experts" consider best practices.

Do what is best for me. Don't be so hard on yourself. Good advice and I am getting better at taking it. But I have days when it is very hard. Where I feel judged for my choices, even though that judgy voice is in my head. Did I really need that pepperoni on my pizza? You know, you could have gotten the hummus sandwich, not the turkey.

Want versus Need versus Should. I think all of us have some version of this conversation running through our psyche. Mine just happens to be about food.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Snake Medicine

A few days ago, I was lucky enough to attend two local workshops integrating movement/dance and inner work. I found both to be immensely gratifying and I am very glad that I bit the bullet and signed up for both, as I didn't really have the money for either.

The first workshop was using meditation in order to deepen your emotional connection and using movement (in this case, belly dance) to express it. I firmly believe that going through this workshop left me open to have a truly transformative experience in the second. The next workshop led us in to a shamanic journey, then used movement while in a trance state to deepen our experience.

Can I just say.... whoa Nelly?

I've gone journeying before, and I know a couple of my Spirit Guides (although I've been told of at least one other I haven't yet met). This time, however, someone new came to party. Snake. This one showed up subtly at first; so much so that I didn't recognize it until much later. But when I wasn't taking the hint, Snake just unceremoniously pushed everyone out of the way and let me know in no uncertain terms just who was inhabiting my body.

It was a surreal experience and days later I'm still trying to figure things out. Whether it was a Kundalini Awakening or a Spirit Guide (and how different are they, really?) it was a Big Deal. Even though I was still there, my body was not my own. I was just along for the ride. And frankly? Finding my way back into my body was difficult. It took almost an hour before I was finally fully "home."

I am still processing the experience and trying to figure out my next steps. One some level it feels like a graduation. On another, it feels like I've graduated to "beginner", if that makes any sense. It was a transformative experience.

Just not sure what I've transformed into...

Friday, July 24, 2015

You Can Choose to Have a Good Day

We've all been there. That day where everything seems to break or bunch up or generally coalesce in to a flaming pile of fuck that shit.

Okay, so I should probably mention here that I've had a glass of wine on an empty stomach.

Moving on.

We've all had those days. Nothing seems to go right and as you're climbing in to bed you say while looking at your partner or say to yourself "well... this was a day. Let's never mention it again, shall we?"

Sometimes we have no control over the things that jump into our path. They appear or stumble in front of us like confused deer on an interstate and it's all we can do to swerve out of the way to avoid serious damage.

Most days, however, we have a choice. There is infinite potential in every morning we manage to crawl out of our beds. You can look at this day and say "oh, not this again," or you can say "well, I've got this thing and I'm not too keen on it, but I'm going to greet it with compassion, humor and no attachment." See what happens.

I'm guessing you start seeing others for where they are in their moment, and for the humor in those same moments rather than the frustration you might otherwise feel if you were in any way attached to the outcome of your day.

Sometimes days suck. But sometimes, you can choose to reframe your sucky day. Laugh at the idiocy of the way things unfold. Because really, it's all one big cosmic joke isn't it? You may as well be in on it.

And now... since I'm in for a penny I might as well be in for a pound. Off to find some more wine.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Striking Out on my Own... Genius or Folly?

I have been in a weird place lately, professionally. I have been struggling to feel like I fit in at my new place, which is completely on me. On paper, I should be thrilled to have this job. The people are very nice and have gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable there, the pay is pretty good for the industry, and the commute is easy and relatively short. I can see myself succeeding here.

And yet.

Best Guy and I have been having conversations about this, and at some point I came out and said "I think the reality is that it didn't matter what my next job was, I wasn't going to like it."

I loved my last place. I've never made any secret about that. But, it was time and I needed to move on. I think sometimes when you are so attached to something and a replacement becomes necessary, by default we almost always dislike the next thing that comes along. It can't possibly compete, no matter how good or great or awesome it is, because it isn't the last thing we had.

All my self-inflicted frustrations have led me to start considering something I never previously considered an option: striking out on my own.

Owning my own business terrifies me for multiple reasons. The most important reason being I am not a particularly good business person. All of the administrative, financial, and marketing things that go along with owning your own livelihood confound me, anger me, and frankly bore me. If my business model could be "I'll set up my table in my spare room and you just give me $60 in cash after the treatment" then I'd have been up and running years ago. But that kind of entrepreneurialship is pretty frowned upon these days.

So, I'm in the early stages of reviewing my options. I am seriously considering writing up a business plan. That way, I'll have a plan in place if I do decide to pursue that option and if I decide not to at least I'll have done the research and answered my own questions.

I have been getting messages lately saying that I need to get out of my own way. Which is always good advice. But I struggle with which thing I'm holding myself back on. Massage? Yoga? Writing? Dancing? All of these? Something else entirely?

I guess on the plus side, at least I have options...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I Just Realized it has been 10 Days Since I Posted Anything.


Things have been busy here. Best Guy's brother and family is up for the week visiting and we've been spending our days trying to prove that Vermont has Things To Do. Besides drinking. I think we're mostly succeeding at this.

They brought their two dogs with them so our house currently has four adults, one 15-year old boy, two cats and three dogs. Buddy got into their dog food yesterday and has spent the last 24 hours spewing things from both ends. Fun times. The most ironic thing is I've started making noises about getting a second dog. What what??? This coming from a die-hard cat person. BG and I have agreed that we won't be owning more than three pets at any given time. But... the idea has been floated.

Puppy Cousins! Buddy is at the top of the stairs, the one with the
"black eye" is Sky and the little guy is Shorty.

Work has (FINALLY) picked up for me this week and I'm beginning to hope that things won't be as bad as I thought. I am still struggling with the feeling that I don't fit in there, but that's mostly on me. I'm the newbie there and I was the big fish in a little pond at my last place. I think a little humbling needed to take place.

I have another belly dance show coming up in a couple of weeks. I am collaborating with a local duet who is off-the-hook amazing. I've always maintained that I wanted to be them when I grew up, so when they asked if I was interested I think I said yes before the sentence was finished. It has been a lot of fun working with them and I can't wait for the performance.

So yeah... a little of my life these days.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sun Day Fun Day

Happy Independence Day!

We celebrated it by doing nothing. Best Guy had Friday off but it was a work/dance rehearsal day for me so I was out until late. On the 4th we went down to the Farmer's Market and did a few chores around town. BG spent most of the afternoon holed up in the basement working on a new recording. I had tentative hiking plans with a friend, but by the time she got to my place the idea of sitting on the couch with some pita chips, guacamole, and Pino Grigio sounded much better.

This morning we met up with a couple friends and went raspberry picking. It was only the second day of picking at this location, so there were tons of berries still on the bushes. It was a beautiful drive and the scenery was gorgeous. It seemed like burgers and creemees were in order so we stopped in at a local joint. We're back home now, with BG back in the basement and me about to spend some quality time in our back yard, laying in the grass and enjoying the warmth.

Berries!!! Yay!!! Sun!!! Yay!!!

Ever the ham...

Nestled amongst the bushes. So pretty.

I've mentioned the ham thing, right?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

No, Actually We're Living in Sin. Thanks for Asking!

Even though I was born and raised in rural Vermont, I consider myself a quasi-urbanite. Sure, I like rolling hills and lush pastures as much as the next farm girl, but after I'm done dodging cow patties I prefer to come home to sidewalks, restaurants within walking distance, and red wine. Both Best Guy and I enjoy the outdoors but prefer the luxuries city living offers. As much as a Vermont city can offer anyway.

All that being said, living in the suburbs has been a whole new experience. This is the first time either of us has bought a lawn mower (we went with an electric mower). This is the first time we've been responsible for the maintenance of the entire house, inside and out. We're getting quotes to replace the furnace, because if it goes on a Saturday night in February (which is pretty much the only time an old furnace can go), the amount we'd have to shell out to replace it would quadruple. We're going to have to buy a snowblower this winter because driveway maintenance is on us.

It's a bit of a learning curve, and more than once we have looked at each other like "what are we supposed to do here?" Nothing says "grown up" like owning a home. It's a little freaky.

What we have found to be the most disconcerting is the fact that everyone assumes we are married. We never had this problem living at the condo, but for some reason we move 15 minutes down the road into suburbia and everyone assumes we're hitched. It's gotten to the point where we've stopped trying to correct everyone because it's just easier to let it slide.

For god's sake we have a Scarlet Letter on our mantle. What more do you people need?

Because I'm home the most, it's gotten to feel a little too housewifey. Whenever we have someone in to give us a quote or whatnot, I'm always the one answering the door and I'm always the one to say "Best Guy will be here soon, he's on his way home from work." It sounds like I'm one of those useless stay-at-home throwbacks who has to let Her Man make the decisions. At times I feel like I want to say "please do not mistake my waiting for my partner as an inability to make decisions or take care of things on my part. I am an intelligent and modern woman who lives and participates in society." 

The fact that I have no desire to remember how many feet of piping it's going to take to run the gas to the new furnace is completely besides the point. Best Guy is good at remembering and understanding such things. My talents lie elsewhere, so I defer to his knowledge. That does not mean that, if I had to, I couldn't do the same thing. Far from it.

And mainly right now I'm whining to myself. Although I have started calling Best Guy "Darren" in deference to the fact I appear to be a stay-at-home witch these days. My familiars are a geriatric beagle with lethal farts, one senile cat who forgets what he is doing in the middle of eating dinner and starts whining to be fed, and one other cat who simply is above it all.

At least the cats are both black.

Better Kate Than Never

As you've probably noticed (all six of you), over the last few months my contribution to this blog has dwindled significantly. In trying...