So Fitbit is now the boss of me.

Summer is always the time where I get to pay attention to my body and get back into shape, with grand ideals about continuing into the fall and winter and then having that kind of die off around November when it’s too cold to run outside. I also do some general health stuff – not strictly fitness – like try to tune my palate to crave less sugar and lay off the carbs quite so intensely. I love sugar like a person with a brain that wants sugar, so it’s tough, but I’ve made some moves over time that stuck. For example, I walked myself off sugar in tea. Used to have two teaspoons in every cup, and three or so years ago I just started using less and less until I wasn’t adding sugar anymore. Stuff like that. Nothing drastic.

Then earlier this year my spouse got a fitbit and I watched him lose 30 pounds and just be more dedicated overall to moving and being active. His fitness level has improved. So I got one, too. And now the device is the boss of me. I won’t bore you with a lot of detail about weight and exercise here, but I’ve had the thing roughly 30 days, and since strapping on the actigraph, I have walked 10,000 steps every single day. That little buzz that I made it…it’s really motivating for me. I don’t know why. Just works. And it works out to basically two walks a day, which isn’t bad.

One of the things the actigraph measures, besides my steps, is my heart rate. Having more information about what my heart is doing is kind of fascinating. I have hereditary low blood pressure (in fact, I have historically had a tendency to pass out, like delicate women receiving a shock in gothic novels), and I kind of always assumed my heart was in good shape, even though heart rate and blood pressure are not directly related. And it turns out, my assumption was correct (this time). My heart is fine. Resting heart rate should be between 60 and 100 beats per minute (according to AHA, here), but lower is not necessarily bad, just means your heart doesn’t work very hard. That’s me! Lazy heart girl. Here’s the graph of my resting heart rate for the last 30 days:

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 7.52.46 AM - Resting Heart Rate

During the 30 days shown on the graph, I also started C25K (again, for like the third or fourth time), and started back to doing yoga regularly (which I hope to be able to sustain in the fall, when school starts. I’ll find out in a couple of weeks whether this will work out or not). There’s a kind of steady climb on the graph, and then a sharp drop below what it was when I started monitoring. Is my resting heart rate affected by the high intensity workouts, the running? Or is it the yoga? Or both? Or neither? It’s kind of neat how it has plummeted, even though I don’t really understand why it would do that. Today I sneaked a peak at my fitbit during yoga, right before savasana, and my heart rate was clocking 52. That’s the thing about having the data always there. One wants to monitor it. How low can it actually go? Is it going to climb back up? Level off into the mid-50s after a bit? I have no idea. Stay tuned.

I am fast asleep and I wake suddenly. Someone has just called my name, and that’s why I’m awake. I hold still and silent, eyes open in the dark, waiting for them to call out again. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. When they don’t, when no one’s there, did the call happen inside my dream? And if so, why does that wake me?

I’m going to kick the tires on this thing and see if it goes.

Because I like to make things complicated, and perhaps overthink things, I made up a reason to stop blogging which was more than “way too busy with other things”. And while “way too busy with other things” was technically true, and a lot of things fell out of my life when I started teaching full time, I was also having a crisis of faith, a crisis which applied not just to my blogging but to my writing generally, and even to sharing anything at all.

I don’t know how this is going to sound to anyone not inside my head and I’m sorry in advance if it sounds precious or overdramatic or obnoxious or excessively self-deprecating. On the inside of my head it’s a simple enough truth I wrestle with and it’s this: I’m pretty sure no one needs to hear what I have to say or read what I have to write. This isn’t a particularly painful or upsetting idea to me, by the way. I’m just trying to work through what I do about it.

Of course there are all sorts of reasons to say and write and post beyond whether people need to read or hear it. I get that. But for me it is – at least in great part – worth doing if I have messages to impart. And I’m just not sure that I do. Or ever did. Somehow having the ability to blog and write became synonymous with it being a good idea for me to do so. Talk about unexamined assumptions. Because when I look around I find I don’t need more of people’s ideas and opinions and thoughts and input and stories. I need less. I’m too connected. And so why would I add to the too much? Thus begins the crisis of faith, by examining what had heretofore been a happy, simple maxim: I can write, and pretty decently, so I do.

You can see that this line of thinking more or less leads to me never ever blogging or writing again, because measuring the value of “something worth saying” is super nebulous and abstract. And you can see by my typing right now that it chafes me to buy into that unmeetable standard and give up, despite being more or less proud of my awesome skill with giving things up.

Not telling anyone I’m having a crisis of faith until it’s mostly over is also standard operating procedure for me. I’m not a sharer. My internal landscape is mine. And private. You have your own. So it’s weird that I blogged so openly and directly for as long as I did, actually. Part of that worked by imagining myself with no readers, like you tell yourself people aren’t paying that close attention when you’re on stage or that no one cares if you mess up a little on this project you’re creating. The directness isn’t a problem for me. Neither is the honesty. But the continual revelation? That’s hard. And, I suspect, boring to read.

So the world and its people don’t need this. Don’t need me typing at them. Now I have to decide whether I do it anyway. It’s a big decision, and it’s also one I have to keep making. Maybe today I decide, yes, I do it anyway. Maybe tomorrow I decide something else. Certainly there’s been a whole long string of days where I decided not to, hasn’t there? It definitely helps that people are largely on other platforms like tumblr and twitter these days, so that whole “no one’s reading this” is still working to my advantage.

Generally, I’m at a point where I realize that most of the time my best move is to STFU and listen. That’s kind of a hard place to stand for someone with a lot of words. Which I definitely am. Blogging feels like the opposite of listening. It feels like piling up more noise, obscuring clarity.

To be clear, I won’t accept anyone else’s assertion that I have things worth saying. That’s a measurement that only I can (and get to) make. I’m not actually fishing for input here, though of course the available comment section says you’re welcome to provide it. That hasn’t changed.

This whole post is actually just throat clearing for something I do want to address, a topic I (possibly foolishly) would like to invite people to think with me about. But I don’t know if I can. So I poke the blog. See if it still stands. See if it’s going to fall on me or bear up the weight of my din and blather.

One last word. This post is excessively navel-gazeish and introspective. It’s not about you and your blog or your fiction writing. I’m not seeking an army of blog and/or writing deserters to take up this doubt and uncertainty as their own. All of this is likely invalid for you, at least I hope it is, and if it is, don’t put the shoe on. I’m not secretly telling you you’re wasting your time. Because nobody and everybody is wasting their time. You choose for you. I gotta choose for me.

Last post was number 600! That makes me laugh, somehow, because it means that I was on the cusp of that beautiful even number for over a year. The will to post one more time and I could have said, “Go me! Six hundred posts!”

It’s time to tell you what music I love this summer! Here are the songs that I’m enjoying listening to over and over again, lately:

Hello!

It’s been more than a year since I posted. And I was only posting sporadically before that. I am unsure what I want to do here. Maybe blogging is over? Maybe no one reads blogs anymore. Or maybe the small set of people who may at one time have been interested in what I would write and post are no longer interested. Who knows? I still make blog entries in my head from time to time. And I miss blogging, at least a little. Maybe more of those in my head things will come to the page.

I had to go into the admin module to upgrade WordPress which was so outdated it was like a magnet calling out for someone to hack the site. And that would have made me grumpy. Instead the upgrade was so easy and now I’m already in the control panel and it totally makes sense for me to type something and post it!

Life’s satisfying. Good things happen to me on a regular basis. This summer has been a spectacular time off, after three summers spent working far too hard at getting my AMI elementary certification. First summer off in three years and how I am cherishing it! I have not gotten accomplished everything I would wish to (of course) but I have done quite a few things that had been waiting to be done for a long time. Nothing earth shattering, just worthwhile. Such as finally getting the bedroom to be the secluded, refreshing, neat place I want it to be. I went to a free class and made a necklace! I took apart a three cube and spent lots of hours trying find 7mm glass beads (without success, any ideas?). The internet gave me a lesson on making onigiri and I may just turn into a person who makes themselves bento lunches. Got shelving in the front closet and now it’s all neat and organized and stuff fits in there.

Things I’m not currently doing:
  • keeping up with my reader feed
  • yoga
  • writing or editing or submitting stuff I’ve written (I wrote zero new stories so far in 2012, and I think I wrote zero in 2011).
  • cutting my hair
  • clearing up enough space on my hard drive – which is too full – or catching up appropriately on podcasts
  • taking on stress
  • making that t-shirt quilt I’m going to make someday
Things I am currently doing:

And how are you?

Hey, look there, will you? After like a year and a half of co-editing PodCastle, I’ve finally narrated a story! It’s Maria Deira’s excellent “The Giant Malheur Park“. Amusing fact: I wrote the author to ask how to pronounce Malheur (and a good thing because my instinct was dead wrong, not MaLOOR at all) and she helpfully provided a pronunciation for her surname, Deira, in the return email. Which I think I more or less had covered, but how was she to know? Author Maria Deira wrote one of my all time favorite stories on Pseudopod: Regis St. George. That one is masterfully read by Mur Lafferty, who now edits EscapePod. I know, small world, right? PodCastle’s got some great stories in store for the summer. I can’t wait until you get to hear them!

Also, next week begins the last summer of my Montessori training. Wish me luck! I expect to be crazy busy for the next nine weeks or so and I’ll be taking both written and oral exams and handing in lots and lots of charts and album work.

Also, also, I’ve started on this new hobby, called Zentangle. I bought the first book at ArtMart (aka that store where I spend too much money) and started doing them last week. I love this work, and I can’t wait to give lessons on it to my kids. I think this may be my elementary level walking the line or handwashing. One of the things I really like about it is it provides lots of ideas for patterns which can be used to embellish work. And also a method for coming up with your own patterns to use. Yay!

Ok, I’m off to eat at the Everest Cafe, which I’ve heard a lot about but never eaten at. Then over to paint charts with one of my classmates. Life is good. Look after yourselves.

I shopped at Target today for the first time in almost a year. I’m bummed about that, but I only spent ten dollars and it’s not like I’m going to be shopping there regularly.

I’m flying in November and I’m bummed about that too, but my choices are limited. Of more concern to me is how I’m probably going to put my kid on a plane in two weeks, flying alone, and I really, really don’t want her going through the backscatter machine (not so much because of the nakedness but because of the radiation, though obviously the nakedness business is not so wonderful either) and I’m worried about her opting out and being manhandled. I’m taking advice, information, anecdotes and all else on that, if you’d care to leave some in comments.

I’m on the eve of finishing up my first year of teaching. It’s been a crazy ride, ninety eight percent wonderful and maybe the best thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. The children, the method, the environment I’m fortunate enough to be in…it’s all beyond anything I could have dreamed up for myself. I feel about it the way I sometimes feel about Sophia: like I can’t say anything because I’m too fortunate and it’s not fair to anyone else because so many people have children with problems or children they wish were different or children living with terrible traumas. Just so, my job is great, and the world is full of people in horrible jobs that are grinding them down little by little and also full of people who can’t even get jobs and really want them and it just doesn’t seem right to go on and on about my happy, idyllic, peaceful, Montessori classroom (or my happy, smart Montessori child). I feel like I’m skating the meniscus of perfection and that shouldn’t be possible, right? Some other shoe has to be waiting to drop, right? Narrative law says so. I just know that in all the ways it counts (sense of purpose, love of life, general contentment and daily challenges that uplift instead of knocking down) I’m in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.

So I’m not sorry I gave up on writing. I am sorry in the sense that giving up is lame, lame, lame. I acknowledge that. And I didn’t give up in the sense that I’ll never write anything again. I still have this novel and a few short stories hanging around, coming into my mind on my daily commute. So I still want to write, but I’m not sorry I stopped doing it for a while to teach. Besides, I get to tell stories any day I want to. You should hear my story about papyrus, or the one about Henry Hudson, or the one on the peace crane. You should have seen the look in the child’s eyes this week when I gave her the lesson on storywriting. Three sentences long, but if only you could see her look of wonder. First, I wrote: “I went to the beach. I built sandcastles and played in the waves.” Then I said, “Now, when you are writing a story, you may write anything true. Anything that happened to you or that you want to write about. Or…you can make something up.” Then I add the last sentence: “At night, I heard mermaids sing.” I don’t know what it feels like to have a big publication credit or to sell a book, but I’m betting it feels like when that child reads that sentence and her eyes lit up like the whole planet just unwound before her, full of possibilities. “Which of these sentences did I make up?” The one about the mermaids. Yes. That one. I made it up. And so can you.

Oh, and the real reason I started this post? Trader Joe’s stopped making cashews and hibiscus and I loved them SO much. This is my perennial problem with Trader Joe’s. They make something I love, then stop.

When my mom was here last, she offered me her hand mixer. That thing is older than I am, and that’s saying something. It’s also all chrome retro-future rocket shaped. Just looking at it made me taste seven minute frosting, which is what I usually got to lick off those beaters as a wee thing. She warned me that the beaters only sort of stay in, but I couldn’t resist it. I donated my hand mixer (which was a wedding gift, so I’ve had it a long time, but it was pedestrian plastic and purely utilitarian, although it had a ton of attachments, unlike what my mom offered me, but then again I only ever use the beaters) to goodwill without another thought.

Today I pulled it out and used it for the first time. It was gorgeous and cool and the banana bread I made with it is utterly delicious.

I know full well that life is not about things. But this particular thing? This mixer with all this history handed to me by my mom? Pretty cool right now.

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