City of Angels

January 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

IMG_20150127_100007helicopter circling our house

When we lived in San Francisco, occasionally a big vehicle would go by and rattle the front windowpanes of our apartment.  My automatic reaction was always, “EARTHQUAKE!” (though I only actually started to duck and cover once).

When we lived in Kentucky I would hear ice cream trucks and think they were tornado sirens.

Last night, I heard the the thunk thunk thunk of the washing machine and immediately jumped on Culver City 311 because I thought it was a helicopter circling.

We live in a very nice area.  Lots of foot traffic.  Lots of restaurants and bars.  Lots of babies.  You may think the helicopter presumption is paranoia on my part. And it might be.  (Because Paul was gone.  And I am paranoid.)

But in the 6 months since we moved here, we have:

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  • Had the closest freeway onramp shut down and the nearest preschool on lockdown because of a shooting (not at the preschool, thank god, just near it).
  • Had a car chase end in a crash in our neighborhood, followed by the SWAT team moving in and shutting down all of the roads in the area because the driver barricaded himself on the roof of an apartment complex across the street, resulting in a 4 hour standoff.

IMG_20150127_100253media helicopters suspended over our hood during the standoff

  • While walking home from a cafe in our neighborhood, witnessed the police break down the front door of a house and charge in, followed by a woman screaming bloody murder.  It was like something from a movie, I didn’t realize that’s actually how it happened.  I looked up and down the street, there were a few other people around, no one seemed to notice or care.
  • Had a group of Trader Joe’s employees chase a guy who had shoplifted some TJs merch through the car dealership down the street.

Spike, I don’t think we’re in Kentucky anymore.

The Problem with Swimming

January 26, 2015 § 1 Comment

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Saturday morning I swam for the first time in over a month (all the pools in town close over the holidays).  The first thing I did when I got home was make a shake, a sandwich, and finish all of the leftovers from the previous night’s dinner.

Then I sat down to work.  But instead I fell asleep.

I would like to buy them all a Coke

January 21, 2015 § 1 Comment

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I keep thinking about that play, Our Town, I remember we did it at my high school and at the end of it…you know, the person dies and they get to kind of revisit…it’s a little bit like It’s A Wonderful Life, it’s the same thing.  They get to look at their life and they miss eating breakfast, you know, they miss seeing their sister walk to school.  And you start to realize it’s just the minutiae of life that’s wonderful.  We think that being a Maverick or being a big shot or winning this prize or having these significant … moments, whether it be a wedding or an achievement, a prom, a party, or whatever it is, the Oscars, these things, we think that they’re going to be the good stuff.  And the good stuff is like waking up in the morning.  The good stuff is the stuff that’s for free, it always is.  And that’s what I mean when I say ‘wax the corny’, but there’s that line, I forget who said it, ‘the secret to life is enjoying the passing of time’.  To me that is essentially…if I had to do Boyhood in a pithy little statement, that really is it.

~Ethan Hawke, “waxing the corny” on when people ask him what the movie Boyhood is about and why it is so moving (Nerdist Podcast 625)

Meditation: Early Lessons

January 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

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The lessons learned over 10+ days of meditating (I was with the grampies last week, meditation wasn’t happening there) are less of the altered-world-view type, more practical.  But they’re still lessons.

  1. Brush your teeth before you start.  Morning dragon breath is a distraction when you’re doing deep exhalations.
  2. In a completely unshocking twist of events, sitting still with your eyes closed before 6am is difficult to do without falling asleep.  What IS surprising is the fact that if you can persevere and make it through a mere 10 minutes, you actually feel more awake when you open your eyes than you did when you started.
  3. Apparently mind exercise triggers the same physiological response as full body exercise because without fail, 3 minutes in, I will have to get up and run to take care of business.  Then come back and start over.  I need to figure out a system, like I did with running, so my morning sessions don’t take twice as long as they should.
  4. Breathing exercises (like simply counting your breaths–odds on the in breath, evens on the out breath, up to 10, then start over)  are very, very similar to doing hypoxic sets in swimming (breathing every 3/5/7 strokes) or getting into a breathing rhythm with running.  It makes it easier to focus without having to focus on focusing.  The thought centering just kind of happens.  And I like it.

Concerto 21

January 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

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On the radio the other day they played Mozart’s Piano Concerto 21 and mentioned that there was a study done somewhere (Sweden? Switzerland? I couldn’t find it) that concluded that women who listened to this specific concerto during lamaze classes and while in labor had a much more pleasant experience giving birth (how they prove this I have no idea).  But interesting concept.

So today, I decided to give it a try.  Not having a baby, but since I was struggling to produce any meaningful work, I thought listening to Concerto 21 might help me birth out some good results.

So far: not working.  But you did get this post.  You can thank Mozart and KUSC for that.

Routine

January 8, 2015 § 4 Comments

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Being back in California has been great.  Adjusting to this new life of part-time daycare, working from home, Paul always gone: less great.  I’ve struggled to get into a groove and spent a lot of the past four months feeling exceptionally tired and stressed, like I was spinning my wheels.

I’ve never been big on New Years resolutions, but there is something nice about the beginning of a new year and a clean start.  So I decided to step back and evaluate: what can I change?  Starting from the top…of the day.

Mornings, to me, have always set the tone for the rest of the day.  They are also one of the few windows during which I have time to myself.  And I get to choose how to use it.

In 2014 Paul started his intern year, and I started actually adhering to my own rule about not running in the dark alone (especially with a kid in tow).  This threw a monkey wrench into my previous schedule of early morning runs or swims.

So instead, I’ve been getting up around the time that Paul walks out the front door (at 4:45…yes, seriously, sucks to be him) and squeezing in some work before the Kraken arises.

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It’s great because I get work done.  It sucks because by 7am I feel lazy and drained, have already spent over 2 hours staring at a screen, had 2 cups of coffee, and am usually still in my PJs.  Apparently 20 years of voluntarily subjecting myself to various forms of physical and psychological torture before the sun comes up is a special kind of masochistic behavior that is hard to de-program. Because slow mornings make me feel lethargic and crappy and like I want to go back to bed.  All day long.

So I started there.  I decided to change my mornings.

First up: movement.

Despite my contentious history with Lululemon, I’ve loved doing yoga the past few years (WHATTUP PEACOCK).  But I cannot afford to pay $15 per yoga class right now.

As someone who still can’t touch her toes, I’ve always been skeptical abut the value I would derive from instructional yoga DVDs.  But I decided if I was serious about this then I had to risk it.  So I sucked it up and spent $3 on the Pocket Yoga app.  Five different types of workouts, three options for duration, difficulty, and environment for each.  Good place to start.

Second: peace of mind.

My father has been on my case for years…YEARS (like almost a decade)…about meditating.  I know it wouldn’t hurt to slow down and be more mindful.  I also know that as soon as someone tells me I need to do something for my own good, I will refuse to do that thing.

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After 7 years my father finally gave up on trying to convince me to meditate, so I finally started to seriously consider it.  But every time I actually tried to sit down and do it I had trouble starting.

Enter Headspace: the super hot meditation app that everyone and their mother is talking about.  10 minutes of guided meditation first thing in the morning.  Turns out the guidance, for me, is very helpful.  I’m still on the 10 day free trial, so we’ll see if I’m ready to buck up and pay money by the end of this.

SO!  New morning routine, as of last week:

  • Up by 5:30 (give myself that extra 45 min to sleep)
  • 10 min meditation
  • 30 min yoga
  • Shower, change, maybe coffee and news (depending on how long she sleeps)
  • Deal with Crazyface.

It’s not the normal cardio extravaganza that I’m used to, the risk that she will wake up and I won’t be able to do a complete yoga sesh exists (and has happened once), and I realize that an n of 7 is too low to reach any sort of real conclusion, but so far my days have been better.  I’m diggin it.

To be continued.

Throwing Stones

January 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

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Hours of fun.

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