What would Grandma say?

Another week, another round of trying to get healthy.

I thought I had done well trying to ease myself back in after a round of the flu. But two nights of dance class and a night out drinking with the girls were fun … but perhaps overly ambitious. I spent last weekend in bed again, and have been pretty non-functional again this week.

The benefits of being sick:

I’ve been out of commission for so long, I’m having to step up my practice of asking for help. I’m so overly independent, I hate asking for help. I can’t even figure out what I need until I’m in tears and making jokes like, “Thank god I have the flu and have no appetite, so it’s no big deal that I have no food in the house.” Uh. I need to eat. And I know some damn good cooks who are happy to feed me if they know I need food.

I’m checked out of work enough, that I’m giving my co-worker plenty of space to step up and shine. Which she’s doing amazingly, of course.

I am remembering that my spiritual practice for now is to practice taking care of myself. Cooking meditation. Eating meditation. Resting meditation. Walking around the block and not any farther meditation.

My favorite new tool is “invoking Grandma.” My friend and I decided that we both needed a mom in our lives, someone who would yell at us, and know magically when we needed to get our asses in bed, and when we were just being lazy and needed to get up and face the world. In my head, she turned into a crotchety old Grandma who says fuck a lot, and won’t put up with my whining.

“Put some goddam socks on! I don’t care if you are wearing a skirt and it looks stupid! You are sick, and you need socks if you are going to go outside.”

“If you want to eat, you need to eat at the table like a normal person. What is this eating in front of your computer anyway? It’s so rude, and a waste of a perfectly good meal when you could be eating on the porch and get some sun while you are at it. Get your ass out there!”

“Are you on that Face-thing again? Why do you need to see what Janey Whatsit and Joseph Sonofagun ate for breakfast? Who the hell cares? And if you care so much, why don’t you just call them and ask?”

“What are you doing out of bed missy? Do you want to be sick the rest of your life, or do you want to get better?”

Grandma is kicking my ass. But I just might get healthy in the process.

Fuck Off 2012! Welcome 20…OOF. Let’s Try That Again.

The theme for New Year’s Eve was “Fuck Off 2012.”

While there was a lot of good in 2012, it was mixed with a lot of hard times for me and other friends. It felt good to close that chapter and move on to a new year with new energy!

And then I got the flu. I’m an epidemiologist’s nightmare, picking up the flu in Colorado, flying in airplanes for a full day before depositing my virus-infested body in California. Which had been one of three states reporting minimal flu cases. And I was hoping to leave my “Typhoid Mary” status in 2012 …

So I’m raising my head again, midway through January. We’re calling those first two weeks a false start. Hello January! Hello New Year! I’m ready for this new energy to arrive!

As I turn my attention toward next week, I feel a little overwhelmed. I could promise to jump back in to all the things that I’ve had to put off, but I’m guessing my priority should be on getting healthy. What does this look like?

1. When in doubt, rest.

2. For the next 10 minutes I could goof off on Facebook, or I could get X done. (Especially when X is filled with regular chores I’ve been avoiding).

3. Play Clue. Not the murder mystery version, but my dorky life organizing version. Where there’s a room, a “weapon,” and a persona to channel. (It’s awesome. Everyone says so. Even though everyone also agrees it sounds even more dorky than my normal dork-tastic self-help productivity tricks.)

4. Remember that I have a limited number of spoons this week. Use them wisely.

Back

I’m back.

Back from Italy.

Back to work.

Back in the dating game.

But I also don’t quite feel back.

Maybe it’s jet lag. Maybe I’m still recovering from being sick for 2 weeks on vacation.

Whatever the reason, I feel a little floaty, disconnected, unsure where I am and where I’m going.

My inclination is to set some goals to help ground me, but every goal I can think of seems terribly inadequate or way too much.

Possible Goals

  1. Work hard at work. It’s crunch time. Get it!
  2. Catch up on all the episodes of The Voice. And Grey’s Anatomy. And Glee. And anything else I’m feeling drawn to. Watch ALL the TV!
  3. Get my dating life in order. What do I want? Who do I want to draw in with a revised profile? What do I like / not like about the folks I’m currently dating?
  4. Get off my butt and move to Oakland.
  5. Get serious about all the boring, everyday stuff that keeps me going – cleaning, cooking, meditation, exercise. Figure out what it takes to just do it and get it done and enjoy doing it.
  6. Read ALL the books. So many in my pile and I keep adding more!
  7. Plan a Ballots & Beyond fundraiser
  8. Get writing & editing on personal projects
  9. Call people! Hang out!

Too many goals! All feel important! Or compelling (The Voice is on in the background right now)! Can’t choose tonight … but trying to do all the things only leads to doing none of the things.

Happy August!

Hello August!

Hello to my brand new niece, born today!

Hello to a month where I will be in town the ENTIRE month. This might have happened in March? And perhaps the previous October? In other words, this is rare.

What do I hope for this fine month?

1. Relaxed Motivation toward Work

There’s a lot to do at work. I even want to do much of it, as we’ve just dreamed up a cool project that weaves together so much of what we’ve been dreaming about since I started a year ago.  I want to find both motivation and relaxation – not striving too hard, not lazing around too much. Remember the 7 Factors of Enlightenment as a tool for balancing relaxation and motivation!

2. Refrain from judging things as “good” or “bad” – especially when it comes to dating

Because I’m no longer clear what I want from online dating, it’s felt kind of confusing as some people I was excited about fall away and other people I found so-so seem more interesting. It’s hard to know whether some of these things are temporary or permanent, whether they are good or bad in the long term.

I’m reminded of this great story from Buddhism:

Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

3. Get Everything Settled for Italy

I leave for Italy September 13! I need to brush up on my language skills, reserve a rental car for part of our trip, get a new suitcase, and probably a hundred other details I’m not even thinking about yet. It’s time to think about all the tiny details!

4. Have a BBQ

I’ve been slowly working on the back yard. It’s time to get some patio furniture finally, and pick a date to host a little party.

This makes me panic a little – what if I pick a date where no one can show up? Ahhhhh! Get a couple of people lined up, and the rest will fall into place. It will be fun even as a small party.

Till Things Change Enough that We Should Part

Insights from meditation are notorious for being both obvious and profound at the same time.

One of the key insights Buddhism offers is that “everything changes.” Look anywhere, and it’s obvious this is true. Yet every day, we live life as if this is not true, as if there are things we can count on to last forever.

This is one of my (many) beefs about marriage. “Till death do us part” leaves little room for the change and growth two people might go through in their lives. In the examples of long term marriages I’ve seen, too often it appears to be that one or both people make major sacrifices in their happiness and self-fulfillment in order to maintain the relationship. My independent self chafes at the thought.

Yet I’m also unafraid of the kind of commitment to working through hard places that marriage requires. I have been in several long term relationships which required challenging, emotional conversations. I’ve learned to enjoy digging in to these messy places as “the goods” – this is where trust and intimacy and connection are forged.

My initial forays into online dating have been focused on casual connections with people who seem interesting, attractive, and fun to spend an evening with. My profile is playful, focused on meeting new people, detailed about the activities I’d enjoy having a partner for, short on qualities I possess that might be interesting to people seeking a longer term relationship.

My beefs about marriage have had me turning my nose up at the thought of a long term relationship, something even more than the serial monogamy I’ve practiced most of my life. Yet I have other models. Some friends of mine say that their long-term partnership will remain, as long as it’s still better to be together than to be apart.

On my meditation retreat, James Baraz talked about love and lovingkindness. In his book Awakening Joy, he talks about his marriage, and how his commitment with his wife was to use their relationship as a vehicle for growth. In his talk on love, he asked (as I remember it), “What beliefs do you hold about love that might not be true?”

I was able to see instantly a core belief about relationships. My belief that “Marriage = Stagnation of Self” has had me ignoring all the other forms that long term relationships can take. If I stop believing this is true, what forms of relationships might I really want?

I’m not entirely sure of the answer to that question yet, but I think it’s going to require an entire rewrite to my online dating profile!

How (not) to pay me a compliment

I love online dating because OMG funny!

Today’s Study: A lot of terrible ways to pay me a compliment. Plus one excellent one.

Tell Something I Don’t Already Know: youre gorgeous in your pics

Maybe $omeone’s $tyle, but Not Mine: Hey, Wuzzup Wit’cha $exxy!! LOOOKIN’ LOVELY!!

I Already Have a Stable of Fellas Younger than You, but Thanks Anyway: It would be an honor to have you rob my cradle!

Unfortunately I Have a Weird Attraction to People Who Don’t Think It’s Weird to Like My Body: I have a weird attraction to bigger women with thick thighs. [Side note: You must watch this internet awesomeness tearing down fat haters]

In the midst of all this idiocy, there are also some gems. My current favorite is this one: Your body looks exactly like a woman’s body is supposed to look. God, I love all of your curves.

Of course, he got the benefit of saying all that to me in person🙂 It’s time for the rest of you boys and girls to step up your game!

T-minus 10 Days

I am preparing to go on a meditation retreat. I leave in 10 days. A mini set of goals for the period from now until then.

1. Get butt on cushion.

Even if it’s just for 5 or 10 minutes. My body can really get overwhelmed by meditation, and I’m signed up for 16 straight days of it. I’d like to at least remember how to focus and settle my mind.

2. Get Italy travel plans in place.

I’m going to Italy this fall with my folks to celebrate their 60th birthdays! We leave in mid-September, which will be less that two months after I get back from retreat. My mom and I want to have all the lodging in place before I leave, because the good places are already starting to get booked up.

3. Get fundraising letter finished

I keep writing and rewriting this one. I have many things I want to say, many of which are not appropriate for a fundraising letter.

I also need to figure out the mailing process, and who/how the approval process will work while I am gone.

4. Schedule some posts from all the writing I’ve been doing

All that writing I’m doing does belong SOMEWHERE, even if not in a fundraising letter. I’d like to write up some of it for posts on my work blog.

I also have some posts to write for Treasure Island. There is writing and more writing to be doing.

5. Have some fun!

Online dating is still (mostly) fun, and I even met some new folks the old fashioned way – hanging out in dance clubs!

I’d like to hang out with several of those folks before I leave, if possible. I worry that if I don’t keep the fires stoked, I’ll lose any steam and folks won’t be interested in hanging out when I get back. Especially folks who have already played the waiting game through my other various trips the past month.

My travel & meditation schedule is putting a serious crimp in my dating life! I may have to curtail travel for the second half of the year (besides Italy of course) so I can actually hang out with people here for a change.