30 June 2012

moderating where I have no moderation

Not eating sugar is all or nothing for me. Every time I try to bend the rules [I have given myself] a little bit, I realize anew: I don't do moderation. Not when it comes to sugar.

One of my original exceptions was for Friday and Saturday nights, when I go out with friends. I allow myself a drink and/or dessert.

This quickly turned into a Sugar Fest beginning at 5 pm each weekend night. It stopped mattering whether I was actually out with friends - I just began hitting the sugar as soon as I hit my car after work on Friday. I had ginger chews in the glove compartment. Excessive numbers of popsicles may have been consumed upon arrival at home.

And so, sigh, I am back to the old rules. No consumption of sugar while alone, except on Sundays.

18 June 2012

stranger danger

Over there, beyond the mountains, it is reliably sunny this time of year. Gloriously, reliably sunny. 

Every time I go over the mountains, I expect my allergies to go away, because after all, it is just this area where the pollen/pollution/everything gets trapped over us by the mountains that is the problem, right? RIGHT? 

Every time I go over the mountains, I am disappointed, because I am just as allergic to the dry side of the mountains (over there) as I am to the wet side of the mountains (over here). I suppose I should expect this, given that there are literally waves of yellow pollen blowing around over there in June.

Pollen or no, there is glorious, reliable sunshine over there, and I was stuck inside at a conference. 


 This morning, I listened to speeches by two of my favorite lawyers in this state, and then meandered around Beautiful City Beyond [the Mountains] finding reasons not to start out on a hike.

There was coffee, drunk while perusing the hiking guide. 

There was lunch, eaten in the sunshine. 

There was wandering to find snacks for hiking, which turned into fighting for a parking spot downtown and then waiting for the bubble tea I decided I must have. (This particular bubble tea is really only available in Gone West and Beautiful City Beyond [The Mountains]. What was I to do but wait for the bubbles to be cooked?)

I almost canceled the hiking because, well, I'm afraid of hiking alone, as we all know. I didn't really hike until I moved to State of Happiness, except on vacations in Colorado and such, and when I moved to this state, I started hiking, but only recently have I ventured out alone. Occasionally. In non-secluded places.

I had mentioned the hiking to T., though, and she made me go hiking. Insofar as someone can make you go hiking from across the country. It's called accountability. You (I) feel reeeeally stupid when you (I) say you (I) are (am) going on a hike and then bail because you (I) are (am) fluttering helplessly about a city looking for snacks.

The hike that I picked was 4.7 miles long, just outside Beautiful City Beyond [The Mountains]. It was perfect. There were just many enough people on the trail that if I were attacked by a cougar or a rattlesnake, someone would come upon my mauled and/or convulsing body within a reasonable time span. There were just few enough people on the trail that I was alone for the entire trip.

I wore cotton.

The trail ran up one side of a creek and down the other, mostly through that scrubby mix of underbrush and Douglas Fir that marks the east side of the Cascades. The air smelled good. It was all so pretty, and the air was so warm, and it felt so good to be moving, and I was so proud to be out on my own. I got some good thinking and journaling done.

There is something about a dusty trail through mountains that reminds me of Rwanda. It reminds me of all the long walks through the mountains to visit people who had received goats through our goat project, or evening walks along the peninsula, or Sunday afternoon walks with S. 

To make sense of the following story, you need to know that, in Kinyarwanda, a white person is a muzungu (mzungu in Swahili). More than one white people are abazungu (wazungu in Swahili). 

S. and I were walking through the hills behind her house one afternoon when a little girl, probably three years old, came barreling down the trail at us, calling "Abazuuuungu!" in the most delighted voice, as if we were an exciting gift that the universe had delivered to her door.

And then she just didn't stop. She ran full tilt directly into me. 

Which was fine, because she was only three, and I caught her and swung her around and set her down again, but it was hilarious. I kept thinking she would stop, but then she just didn't. She ran directly into the arms of a stranger.  On purpose. Apparently stranger-danger had not hit Rwanda, c. 2003.

Kids make me laugh.

10 June 2012

jogger, reprise. #, I think, 3.

I am back to that phase I go through every now and again, the one in which I decide to start jogging. 

The difference this time, though, is that I do not have the goal of becoming a jogger. Usually I am all, "Look at me jog! I'm going to be a jogger! A jogger who jogs along jogging!"

Okay, part of me is thinking that this time I'm really going to turn into a jogger, despite the fact that I will never keep it up in winter because I cannot stand being cold and wet and I can't jog when my ears or lungs are cold, because they hurt.

But really, I am jogging now not for the sake of jogging, but for the sake of fighting and, less immediately, hiking.

Fighting class is intense, but it is intense in spurts. We pummel pads for two minutes, and then spend two minutes holding the pads for someone else. We sometimes have painful workouts that work our endurance (see also: burpees, the workout that makes me want to throw up). Rarely, though, does any one series of exercises last longer than ten minutes.

The workouts at fighting class no longer kill me, most of the time, but I want to have more endurance than I get from those workouts. I want not to be winded by crazy fighting workouts. (This is nonsense. It will never happen - as soon as you are not winded by the workout, you work out harder.)

Let's just be real: I am probably never going to want to run a marathon badly enough to train for it. I do, however, want to have the endurance to kick the shit out of a tombstone pad for ten minutes, and I want it badly enough to put on my running shoes and get out on the trail.

06 June 2012


I feel free today, in that way that you feel free when a great source of stress has suddenly gone away. It's almost better to have the stress and then feel it go away than it would have been never to have it in the first place.

After the stress went away, I took a book and a journal over to my usual coffee shop for lunch, and I sat outside thinking how very happy I am just now. 

It helps when the sun is shining - oh, how it helps - but it is more than that. Summer is coming, and I foresee lots of hikes and outdoor happy hours and little weekend trips and just general being. Life is so great now that I have learned to enjoy just being. 

I mean, not all the time, obviously (cough, winter in Universe City, cough). I am learning to let myself live the unpleasant feelings, too. 

But I love that I can now just enjoy standing on top of a mountain, or sitting drinking chai, without always wishing for something more than would make it better. Those moments are already full. They need nothing more. My lunch break today was such a moment.

02 June 2012

one of these things is not like the other

Things on which I want to spend money right now but I am trying to avoid it for fiscal responsibility purposes:
  1. Dangly earrings.
  2. Summer dresses and skirts.
  3. A pedicure.
  4. Training knives.