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Jul. 22nd, 2017 12:36 pm
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[personal profile] sheafrotherdon
Today I told my yoga instructor about my ankles and calves, and what we were doing in PT. It's always good to let her know what's going on, and we had a long conversation about how hamstrings and calf muscles can pull on ankles and plantar fascia and so on.

And then she proceeded to make the entire class about stretching out hamstrings, calves, and plantar fascia. Oh my god.

It was great for me. My PT exercises don't last a whole hour, and aren't as dedicated to holistic work, so I felt great when I was done. But mid-class I was silently cursing :D At one point she had us get into downward dog, then lower our knees almost to the floor, hold it, and then come slowly back up. She then had us shorten the distance between our hands and feet and do it again. And again. And I wanted to vocalize my feelings as "AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" I did not, however, and it was all for the good.

Yesterday at 3pm it was 94F, felt like 110F. Holy moley. Today is better so far, tomorrow will be a little better again, and Monday we've been promised a balmy 80F. The main result of all of this is that all my everyday bras are in the wash right now, as they were treated very badly by the heat, leaving me with only demi-cup lacy bras to wear today. My girls have not been this perky or fancy on a weekend in a very long time. I keep expecting to be going somewhere, but nope, I'm just the perkiest and fanciest in my house.

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 01:30 pm
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[personal profile] sheafrotherdon
I'm thinking a lot about being left and leaving today. I've felt so low since my brother went home - lowness that is grief, Jan suggested, because whenever someone leaves for an extended period of time we grieve their absence. That I only get to see him once a year, and that those circumstances are not entirely of my creating compounds that. She reminded me that we do not expect a lot of people who are grieving when we clearly see the cause, and so I should not expect too much of myself while I'm working through all these feelings.

Having the feelings in the first place is a wondrous and hard-fought thing, and I'm keeping my eye on that as I process.

There's been a lot of left and leaving recently. Three people left their jobs at my place of work and left a vacuum that has still not been filled. Their leaving increased the amount of work on my plate to such a degree that when it's time for the creative part of my job I'm already depleted from the administrivia I'm doing, and my creativity feels forced and lacking. The hard conversations I had with colleagues last week happened while two of my closest local friends were away on vacation, so I felt their absence keenly, too. Then my brother. This all twists up with the bigger narratives of my life about leaving - especially about leaving England - in ways I haven't quite fully pinned down. But at least I see the patterns, or the patterns that my brain finds important, at least.

Leaving things has been my path to freedom. I wonder if, because that leaving was so big and important, I used up my share of goodwill where leaving is concerned, and now I just fear it. Lots to think about.

Rec: The Turnaround podcast

Jul. 21st, 2017 10:59 am
semielliptical: road beside a field (travel)
[personal profile] semielliptical
 I’ve been listening to a new, limited-run podcast, The Turnaround, in which Jesse Thorn interviews well-known interviewers about interviewing. It’s not a topic I’ve given special attention to before, other than getting annoyed when I think someone is doing a bad job interviewing. But I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts and NPR shows that include interviews, so I have really enjoyed this opportunity to think about how interviews contribute to news and stories and how they are produced and edited. While there are some themes that have come up in most interviews, such as the importance of listening, the guests also have some widely different approaches to other key parts of interviewing, such as how they prepare.
 
I haven’t heard all of the available programs yet, but I can recommend:
 
Audie Cornish, host of NPR’s All Things Considered, discussing interviewing in the context of daily news.  
 
Brooke Gladstone, of On The Media, (essential weekly listening, imo) on the more critical, in-depth interviewing style of this program.
 
And then, it's interesting to contrast those interviews with two people who usually do much more lengthy, free-form interviews:
 
Susan Orlean, who writes books and long-form magazine pieces, and speaks thoughtfully about how she enters different communities and approaches interviewing "regular" people.

Errol Morris, the documentary filmmaker. He described liking to get interviewees to talk for extended lengths of time, and that is also his approach to being interviewed - long-winded and rambling, but still interesting.

If it weren't for podcasts like this, I would probably do much less housework. Anyone have recommendations for good listening? 

(no subject)

Jul. 19th, 2017 07:36 am
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[personal profile] sheafrotherdon
My brother's visit last weekend was really lovely. We hung out, I took him to the outlet mall for jeans (501s, on sale, are about $80 in England right now. He got two pairs, plus a shirt and some boxers, for $116 here), we cooked together, we took a walk around the local lake, and we had a good time with friends. It was so much fun, and Monday I was horribly sad after I dropped him off at the airport. In the past I would have simply quashed those feelings instead of feeling them, but on Monday I kept thinking, "I am so sad," and told myself, "just feel it." It made for an uncomfortable day, but it was honest. There's something I can feel good about in that.

I got new glasses yesterday, and while my eyes are still adjusting some, they're pretty revolutionary for me. For the last two years my reading vision out of my right eye has been blurry - not because of my eye, but because of the lenses in my glasses. We replaced them three times last time and eventually they told me that was the best that they could do. It's made reading difficult and frustrating when it used to be a real joy. Now, with the new glasses, I can see to read again, and OH it is amazing. I keep looking at pages of books and the computer and noting that I can see and just reveling in it. Yay new glasses! (And yay for a FSA that made it possible.)

I have a bunch of deadlines at work coming up and I feel singularly uninterested in everything I have to do to meet them. I will meet them, but eh. Sometimes it's just not that satisfying. But that said we're about to enter a heat warning that will last until Saturday night - real temps of 95 and above, heat indexes into the 110s, so work will be delicious because it is air-conditioned, as opposed to my house which has floor units that at best keep things at about 80F. So I am prepared to find work much more interesting as of today so that I can soak up the cool.

I hope, wherever you are, you are not about to enter a heat warning, and that you can soak up some delicious cool wherever you are (or, if you're in the global south, you're not utterly miserable with cold!) ♥

(no subject)

Jul. 15th, 2017 10:12 am
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[personal profile] sheafrotherdon
This week has been a doozy. First came the workplace politics, where I discovered someone believes I have been bullying a close friend of mine into doing things she doesn't want to do. It's such an astonishing mis-read of the situation that I was actually rendered speechless when I heard, and not only is it a horrible thing to think about me, it's a horrible thing to think about my friend. I have no idea what has prompted this interpretation of events, except to say that last night I remembered that the person who believes this is firm and fast friends with a former supervisor of mine, who famously remarked in a work evaluation of me that I wasn't nice enough. (Which - what? And second - can you imagine a man ever getting that in an eval? Me either.) I have no idea if their friendship is at play in this, but the last time I was so fundamentally misunderstood was that eval. For whatever that's worth.

Learning this was unbelievably painful, especially as it has repercussions for the department in which I serve, and I spent a lot of this week feeling very low about it all.

And then there was a situation where I did every last thing right, and ended up without a reimbursement on Wednesday as I'd been promised, and so things bounced at the bank, and I ended up with fees, and then I ended up in a mad scramble to make sure my water wasn't turned off. And then there was the letter about a loan from my retirement account that has been declared in default, which means I will owe taxes on it next spring, despite the bankruptcy proceedings. *HANDS* As I remarked to Rachel, I am the opposite of King Midas. Everything I touch turns to NOT gold.

But! I started bouncing back from all this junk on Thursday, and then my brother arrived yesterday for a weekend visit. It's so fun to have him here, and it's so easy to hang out with him. Today we're headed to the farmer's market and an art pop-up market and to hopefully have lunch with some friends. The weather has miraculously agreed to stay fairly cool while he's here, too, which is nice, since the last two times he's visited it's been above 90 his whole stay. We can get out and about much more pleasantly now! I feel really lucky that we've remade a relationship as adults, and that we've both turned out as good, fun people despite the odds. It's not true for everyone's situation, and I will count myself lucky to have this good thing come out of the ashes of the old.

Off to find green beans and corn and flowers ♥

Musings on mum

Jul. 15th, 2017 02:02 am
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[personal profile] busarewski
Here I am again, almost five months later. Mum died on February 19th, she took her last breath at the hospital, with me and my sister by her side. Life became so much emptier when she left us. She never did regain consciousness after those last words to me in the living-room on the 18th of February - "Det blir bättre" - "det blir bättre".. it's mum in a nutshell, but how can it get better? Time pass, and now it's not everyday that I start crying because I see or hear or find something that reminds me of her, it's not even every week, but then something happens, and the loss is there. The realization that I will never speak with mum again, that she won't answer, even if I will continue to talk to her.. 

I logged on to livejournal for the first time since mum died and went back and read old posts. So very few were tagged "mum" even if she was mentioned in many more. Dad's illness came and took over, he was, and is, always the one that got the most attention. But mum was always there, and she was our steady rock, the one that fixed everything, that made life bearable, that made the house beautiful, the one who got all my literary talk, who finished my sentences, and who had the best laugh ever. How on earth will we be able to celebrate Christmas this year? she was so ill last year, and she didn't really manage to do her usual stuff, but she was THERE, she sat in the sofa, and we got our hugs.. it was terrible to have Easter and Midsummer without her. Mum's and dad's wedding day passed and we could only be happy that they got to celebrate their 40th anniversary last year.All these special days that now will have to be remembered in another way..

In some ways it's been extra good that we still have dad to take care of.  We haven't been able to wallow in sadness, which at least I probably would have done otherwise. Dad misses mum a lot, but I think he was more prepared than we were, since mum apparently talked to him several years ago. In hindsight I can see that some of his anxiety over where mum were probably came from this. But sometimes I think he forgets that she's gone. And it feels terrible to have to tell him she isn't here. 

I haven't been able to write about mum's death until now, and it still feels inadequate and quite strange to make this post. But I think I need to try to write about it a bit more. Mum, and life after mum. The strange sensation I had in the weeks just after her death of someone touching my feet to wake me up in the middle of the night, and then waking up and hearing dad crying. Mum continues to look out for him, and her love is around inside us. Finding old postcards with her handwriting. Bickering with my sister over what to save and what to throw away. Not being able to make those decisions so instead putting quite a lot of mum's stuff in boxes in the attic instead. Crying tonight when we watched Father Brown and they sang Christmas carols, since I realized I'd never visit St Andrew's Anglican church with mum for their carol singing at Christmas again..

So many small things that just won't happen again. 

In mum's obituary we quoted one of her favourite poems by Emily Brontë, it's mum for me in so may ways:

No coward soul is mine
No trembler in the world´s storm-troubled sphere
I see Heaven´s glories shine
And Faith shines equal arming me from Fear
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thinky thoughts

Jul. 10th, 2017 07:22 am
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[personal profile] sheafrotherdon
I was in Chicago this weekend, which was, for me, an exercise in seeing many, many things I wanted to buy and buying none of them (because, in most cases, they were beyond my means, but in other cases because I knew it would be a bad financial choice). It was a fascinating process to take a step back from and observe. I noticed that with every item I was drawn to, there was a corresponding narrative about how it would make my life better / me more attractive / my home prettier, and it's that narrative that's super hard to walk away from. I guess we all do that - put together a narrative in our heads about why we need a thing - but for me there is this dread certainty attached that says without the thing my life will be boring / uninspired / bleak. I was thinking about this last night and realized that in part that comes from growing up poor, where a lack of income really did make things uninspired and bleak. That was good to figure out, because I've long known there was some connection between being poor and spending too much, and while I could understand part of that (the part where no one modeled good spending or saving habits to me until I was an adult) that didn't explain the whole. I feel like I'm getting closer with this realization, and better armed to confront that "need" to spend.

Jan and I also did some EMDR work on Friday about the bankruptcy, and while I can't begin to tell you all the twists and turns my brain took me through (it was such a messy web) the end result was that I realized the bankruptcy has left me feeling exposed and vulnerable. I feel like it's revealed a terrible flaw in me for everyone to see. But where that's become poisonous is that it's hooked itself up to an old, old story in me about my abuse being because of some terrible flaw in me. That the two are not to do with one another doesn't seem to matter to my brain - the one happened, the second followed, and so I've been experiencing hyper-vigilance and shame and all kinds of other PTSD symptoms. So now I need to program in reverse - the abuse was not about me, and was not my fault. Likewise the bankruptcy does not expose some terrible flaw at my heart, but rather a process of learning. And the best thing I can possibly do is to keep talking about it so that I don't give in to that impulse toward shame.

We always talk about my general health and whether I'm sleeping etc at the beginning of session, and I told Jan this time that my sleep has been poor because either I have the windows open and I'm too hot to sleep well, or I turn on the a/c unit and can't sleep because it's so loud. She pointed out that it's likely not the loudness alone that's making me sleep poorly, but the fact that I can't hear what's going on in the rest of the house. When I can hear everything, my hyper-vigilance is satisfied that I will wake up with a threat, but when I can't hear anything but the a/c, it remains revved up. So that explains an awful lot.

I also came to another conclusion this weekend - that I need to put progress on my new book project on the back burner. I've been looking at these summer months as a time to work primarily on that project, and then do everything else between times, but it's not doable. I need to reverse that - work on all my other things and then work on the book project when I have the time. I'm sort of bummed that the writing has to take a back seat, but on the other hand I'm so relieved to know that I now have time to get everything else done that it feels good. If only there were more hours in the day, you know?

I hope everything is well with all of you! I'm off to the eye doctor this morning, with the hopes that they will figure out why my one progressive lens has been useless for reading for the last 15 months. It would be lovely to read without things blurring!

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