Category Archives: being a boring adult

One Day I’ll Be Fine With That

I’ve been listening to this song on endless repeat lately:

This week has been filled with partner and non-partner yoga, and it’s brought up a lot of emotional stuff.

Mostly I feel empty and open. And sort of peaceful.

And I feel like being alone and just thinking about me.

And I know I’m not ready for any sort of serious relationship. I have a lot of stuff and growing to do still.

Truth Building

Yesterday ended/today began with a midnight phone conversation with CJ, whom I am immensely grateful to count as a friend. The chat wrapped up with CJ saying something that struck me in a very good way. To paraphrase (and hopefully not mess it up): we know our truth, and at some point we will act accordingly.

I thought about this some more this morning as I did a bit of sat nam meditation before a mini kundalini set. Sat nam: I am truth; truth is my identity.

Looking back, I’ve been grappling with my truth for the past few months.

Post-break-up, I kind of wanted to scrap everything. Kick my old, damaged self to the curb and build something new. Something fresher and more exciting. Daring and a bit crazy.

But I’ll level with you…I tried my best in my previous days to walk a path of compassion and understanding, of groundedness and introspection, of truth and kindness. And deviating from this path led to some major cognitive dissonance.

I was often operating at a frenetic pace, trying to keep up with crazy things. Sometimes I would zoom out, look at my life, and think what the fuck is this?

While I met some good people who are keepers, a lot of it was utter crap. Meaningless, mindnumbing crap.

Yesterday, I looked at the shambles that are my raised beds and felt terrible for not taking care of my plants and nurturing them through the summer. I let them fend for themselves during a horribly hot season, and I vowed to not repeat my actions next summer.

I feel quite the same about my life. I fed it crappy things and did not give it direction or support. Weeds overtook my thoughts, and it’s taking some work to reclaim them.

I suppose everyone is entitled to one crazy period in life, and I’m glad I burned through mine pretty quickly.

But there is work to be done now.

There is a path to walk, truth to be reclaimed, and greatness to be had.

Forward, my friends, forward.

Churning Thoughts

I have a lot going on in my head right now.

I haven’t been sleeping past 4 AM for a while now. Different anxious thoughts wake me up.

This morning, it was what to plant in the front garden beds in the spring. Should I do cannas and other lillies? Or some other type of perennial? Then I move on to paint colors for the front doors, the upstairs, the eating area, the little nook off the living room. Then I start wondering if I can do some minor tuckpointing, fix a couple of walls downstairs, fix the upstairs bathroom, paint, and buy a new couch without spending more than my tax refund. And don’t get me started on what color to paint our old bookcase, what to hang on the walls, or selling the old kitchen table I’ve had since college.

It’s an exhausting mental treadmill.

PS Did I mention I’m staying in St. Louis and taking the house on by myself? With possibly a roommate later, but only if the roommate can be non-intrusive and invisible. I want to change some things in my life, but I really feel much too set in my ways to have a roommate. (Loud music? You’re out! Dirty dishes left in the kitchen overnight? Pack your bags! Using metal utensils in the non-stick pans? You’re dead to me!)

Now

This is the wintry day from my basement office window:

You can't see the blowing snow, but it's there.

This scant amount of snow caused the St. Louis roadways to shut down in many places. My usual 15-20 minute car commute increased to 1.5 hours, and while I enjoyed listening to NPR for an extended period of time, it was an hour longer than I preferred.

While the wind screams outside, I’m ensconced cozily in my Tilted Duster, Clapotis, new boots, and longjohns. This day could only be better if I wasn’t at work but sitting elsewhere drinking a spicy hot chocolate (and, well, I can think of a few other things, but let’s not get into that).

Back to Now

Last week, my doctor recommended that I read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. It can be a bit heavy-handed, but it’s a good reminder to observe your emotions instead of becoming your emotions.

One particular passage really resonates with me for many reasons, so I’m reproducing it below. If you are not into new age-ish stuff, you can stop reading now.

Another aspect of the emotional pain that is an intrinsic part of the egoic mind is a deep-seated sense of lack or incompleteness, of not being whole. In some people, this is conscious, in others unconscious. If it is conscious, it manifests as the unsettling and constant feeling of not being worthy or good enough. If it is unconscious, it will only be felt indirectly as an intense craving, wanting and needing. In either case, people will often enter into a compulsive pursuit of ego-gratification and things to identify with in order to fill this hole they feel within. So they strive after possessions, money, success, power, recognition, or a special relationship, basically so that they can feel better about themselves, feel more complete. But even when they attain all these things, they soon find that the hole is still there, that it is bottomless…As long as the egoic mind is running your life, you cannot truly be at ease; you cannot be at peace or fulfilled except for brief intervals when you obtained what you wanted, when a craving has just been fulfilled.

As hokey as it seems, this actually gives me some insight into myself and others. Thanks for sitting on a park bench for two years, Eckhart Tolle!

This One Thing I Know

I don’t know much these days.

But this one thing I know. Someday, I shall live by a giant expanse of water with rocky beaches and old trees.

I want to watch the waves forever.

The above is from Cave Point in Door County, which is the bit of Wisconsin that juts out into Lake Michigan. It was beautiful and serene, and I did not want to return to St. Louis.

No, seriously, I cried in Illinois before we crossed the bridge. Not just crying, sobbing. I wanted to continue along with the tent and sleeping bags and borrowed camp stove. Forget the house, the weighty belongings, the job that I can’t stand, and just drive wherever the hell the road leads.

And suddenly, I feel like my mom. Coming home from a day trip to the closest big town, we would hit a stretch of road on the flattest bit of earth you will ever find. It would be just our car, the road, the cotton fields, and the hot shimmering air, and then she would whisper, Don’t you want to just keep driving forever? Let’s just keep going. I always felt so sad when she said that because I knew she didn’t want to go back to our house and the drudgery that had become her life.

If the gas fund was limitless, and I didn’t have these stupid obligations like a mortgage and bills, I would totally keep driving.

Countdown to August 8

On August 8, summer school will be over and done, my center’s conference will be underway in Beijing, and I will be on my way with Porkchop to Potawatomie State Park in Wisconsin. There, we will canoe, fish, hike, swim, poke around Door County, pick cherries if it’s still cherry-picking season, dump all microbiology knowledge from my mind, and not think about work.

I can’t wait.

This summer has become rather tiresome, despite my efforts to sprinkle it with some fun. It’s difficult, though, because most weekends are spent cramming for microbiology tests. Last night in lecture, our professor was reviewing the coming lectures, and he said, “…and you have a test next Monday. Oh wait, you had a test last Monday too. Wow, your professor is a real bastard. Hahahahahahah.”

Not a single student was laughing. Because in our heads we were all agreeing, you ARE a bastard.

Class is hard because it’s biochemistry-intensive, which was quite surprising, but makes sense because the professor is a biochemist. Unfortunately.

Meanwhile, the lab instructor is a complete doof who sings in class and says gems like, women change their clothes and hair every 70 minutes. I spoke up to this last night and said, I don’t, I wear the same thing for years. I don’t know if he heard my exact words, but I think he got the message that he’s an asshat and should perhaps shut his effing mouth before I pour E. coli down his throat. Anyway, he’s a doof and then hits us with incredibly difficult tests, even though we never talk about any of the material in class.

Welcome to my pity party, folks! Please pick up after yourselves and don’t mind the chicken living in our dining area.

Poor Agnes injured her wing and is molting. It’s a rough time for her, but Porkchop is an excellent chicken caretaker. Agnes is living inside for now so that her wing doesn’t become infected with flies or other nasties. The poor thing is super lethargic and doesn’t eat much, but her wing is healing. Being injured and molting takes its toll on little chickens.

As much as this summer is taking its toll on me, I feel pretty good about the year in general and its double threes.

Yeah, I had a birthday a couple of weeks ago, and I’m now on the cusp of my mid-30s. Egads. Thank goodness for awesome presents from Porkchop.

Awesome new shoes!

Pretty new bag! This replaces my other bag of nine years.

A screenprint by one of Amanda's students. Lettuce Turnip the Beet. Get it?

There were other, unpictured items as well: a cute t-shirt and Tomatoland.

So, here’s the summary of things: I’m older, summer school sucks, and work is not fun. What’s new, right? 20 days until vacation – I do hope I can make it!

Ice Cream at the End of the Tunnel

This past weekend was grueling.

I put in around 12 hours of studying, and I haven’t even started working on my lab exam on Wednesday.

I am tired, and I don’t even know how much I remember after all of that studying. All shall be revealed tonight, I suppose.

This was the type of weekend that ended with a trip to the grocery store at 8:00 Sunday night. All I wanted to buy was a rotisserie chicken that I could dice up for salads for Monday’s lunch and dinner, as well as Tuesday’s lunch.

In keeping with the theme of the weekend, the grocery store’s hot deli was closed, and no rotisserie chickens were in sight.

At 9:00, I was cooking chicken and swearing up a storm in my head. I did not want to end the weekend with cooking chicken and putting together half-assed meals for the next two days.

At 9:30, I was sitting on the couch knitting, watching an episode of Doc Martin, and eating this:

Best Ice Cream Ever

A weekend without treats while cramming microbiology into my head would be a crime, so I took a break earlier in the day to make chocolate ice cream with agave nectar, recipe courtesy of David Leibovitz. While refined sugar is a no-go, I can handle agave nectar, so this recipe was perfect.

Before yesterday afternoon, I hadn’t enjoyed any chocolate for at least six weeks. I have no shame: I admit I nearly drank all of the ice cream mixture when I took it off the stove. I held back though and made do with several spatulas full of this most divine stuff. All of the chocolate receptors in my brain started firing, which I’m pretty sure short-circuited the neurons filled with the microbiology knowledge. If I make a bad grade, I blame the ice cream, and the ice cream’s punishment will be that I have to eat all of it!

On Saturday, I had another treat break and made these honey chai scones (only I replaced the honey with agave and didn’t use stevia):

Scones!

These were pretty good, and I think the base is suited for making a savory scone. Next time, I’m going to use olive oil, rosemary, and some Parmesan cheese and have the scones with eggs.

Anyway…this week is going to be ridiculous. A big test tonight, PT on Tuesday, Porkchop’s younger brother’s wedding on Wednesday, another test Wednesday night, an important appointment Friday afternoon, and leaving for my parents’ Friday evening.

I’m already exhausted, and it’s only Monday morning. Sigh.

Big Sigh!

Of relief!

My work to-do list is long, and my weekend plans include only studying for two microbiology tests next week, but there is a spring in my step! Because! The GRE is over! I took it last night, and I’m happy with my scores.

Convinced I had completely bombed the quantitative section, I was more-than-words-can-describe surprised to see that my quantitative score was 710. I was a tiny bit disappointed that my verbal was 620, but I am not complaining in the least.

Whew. Now I can use the mental space previously allotted for the GRE for something else.

Chronicles of Chronic Pain

I don’t want my blog to become My Health Saga, but check out my left hip!

You can't see my butt, but it's under there.

I finally went to a physical therapist (yeah, yeah, the irony) for my hip pain, and I’m so happy with what we’re doing. We’re going through years of chronic pain to get to the root of my problems.

And the root is that my hips, particularly my left, are way too mobile. I’m not blaming yoga, but getting super stretchy in my hips and hamstrings did not help me at all. Having super flexible hips is probably fine for people who also have strong hips. But my poor left hip is weak and stretched to all get out. Because that’s what I’ve been doing for the past five or six years…stretching what I thought were tight muscles. Unfortunately, they were weak, strained muscles.

When doing the initial evaluation measurement, my therapist was totally appalled at my amount of hip mobility. At the end of the visit, I showed her a series of stretches that I like to do, asking whether or not I could continue doing them. Appalled again, she exclaimed that I should not have that much flexibility in my hips! In its current state, my left side is a time bomb waiting to go completely out of whack.

Now I’m working on tightening and strengthening those suckers. No more yoga for quite some time, not even child’s pose. No deep squats or lunges. Nothing that brings my knees above my hips (and preferably, I shouldn’t even have them level for now). I’m still learning what I can’t do. For example, I totally blew out my hip this weekend while swimming (frog kick!) and gardening (squating!). So, I’m trying to figure out how to move about without hurting myself.

The tape supports my muscles and allows me to sit without pain, among other things. It’s also a reminder when I’m flexing my hips too much because it gives a little tug on my skin.

I look forward to the day of sitting, sleeping, and moving without pain!

To sit more comfortably at work, I fashioned a chair wedge out of an old exercise mat. Before cutting the mat over the weekend, I was sitting on my GRE math book (which was nearly the perfect size, but tended to cut off butt circulation).

DIY wedge cushion

Other Stuff

Over the weekend, I made one of my favorite things: roasted beets! I know some of you don’t like beets, and I think you’re crazy!

Pretty AND tasty!

Monday morning, we had quite a rude awakening. Some guy fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into our neighbors’ SUVs. Yes, plural.

Monday morning alarm clock

Just by chance, we did not park behind this SUV. Our usual alignment is SUV #1, SUV #2, our car. But someone’s mother was over on Sunday and messed up our usual parking. Thank goodness! Otherwise SUV #2 would have smashed up our car.

Speaking of smashed up, my campus is totally torn up. It is seriously impossible to get anywhere without running into this:

Campus is a-mazing.

It’s really frustrating to walk on campus at this point.

That’s it! Have a good week!

Recovery

As I’ve mentioned before, I had to work at another big event yesterday, and I’m exhausted.

Utterly exhausted.

Before a big work event, I get pre-event anxiety that manifests as sleeplessness. The night before an event, I usually get to sleep around 2 or 3 am, and then I usually have to get up by 6 or 6:30. Not fun.

This event thankfully ended at 6:30 last night, and I was in bed at 8:30.

But I’m still exhausted.

So you can bet I’m taking up my director’s offer of a day off. Tomorrow at this time, I hope to be just getting out of bed and feeling fresh and energetic. Rather than old and lethargic, as I feel right now.

This is all I have. I’m tired and whiny. And counting down the days until I don’t have to do this sort of thing any more.

A Heavy Head Day

Saturday afternoon I felt really tired, and after going to the gym Sunday morning and feeling totally wiped out, I came to a dreaded realization.

I’m sick.

You know I don’t feel well when I spend 7 hours on the couch doing nothing. Not just because of my personal drive to do something, but because sitting/lying on the couch irritates my (apparently) chronic hip pain.

Moving means no hip pain. Sitting means lots of hip pain (like now – lots of pain). I’m working on the pain with myofascial release and by doing various leg weight machines at the gym. Also stretching. Lots of stretching.

Things are getting better in that the pain is more of hey, still here! instead of HAHAHAHAHA YOU THOUGHT YOU GOT RID OF ME 3 YEARS AGO? THINK AGAIN MF’ER ‘CAUSE I’M HERE TO CAUSE YOU MISERY.

So when I sit or lie down, the pain also settles in with a cup of tea and warm blanket and makes itself at home in my deep left gluteal muscles. If there’s anything I can count on in this world, it’s the hip pain.

Anyway, I’m feeling much less sick today. My body is fine (except the hip, of course), but my head is awfully heavy. I stayed home from work and slept a frenzied sleep all morning. I hate sick days.

Things would be bad enough with just sickness and hip pain, but I had a little row with my dad yesterday. I thought he had outgrown his angry, bullying self, but vestiges of it came back yesterday. This resulted in me calling him up and telling him that, while he was able to talk to me in such a manner when I was growing up, he can no longer talk to me like I’m a piece of shit.

Many other things were said and issues semi-resolved, and the conversation ended with him asking, “so what day are you leaving to come here?” And me answering, “Thursday afternoon.”

My dad can be messed up, but at least he and I can talk honestly to each other. And sometimes “talking” means “yelling.” I don’t particularly like that part (I had to wait to call him until Porkchop was in the shower, because I don’t like the person that I have to be sometimes when talking to my dad), but it’s better than never being honest at all, I suppose.

I would say the angry yelling exhausted me and made me sick, but I was already feeling unwell.

Happier Things

Two weekends ago brought a few inches of snow to St. Louis. This was the chicken coop in snow:

Snowy Coop

The chickens stayed snug inside. A couple of them ventured down the ladder, saw the snow and felt the chilly air, and ran back upstairs. When some of the snow melted and then turned to ice, a couple of the chickens ventured outside of the run and slip-slided around on the ice.

I felt a little guilty laughing about it, but a chicken sliding around on ice is quite an amusing sight. At one point, rather than having to touch the snow or ice, Agnes flew across the yard back to the coop. Considering one of her wings is clipped, this was quite a feat.