Books, writing, memoirs and musing

Here’s a rare, conversational post on my exercise blog, one that’s not just a workout breakdown with stats & comments. I’ve moved most of the personal stuff to my private blog, because it’s detailed, voluminous, completely frank and darkly comic. I’ve realised I’m writing a book, my memoirs of the vast cultural differences between NYC and PDX, and about my experiences since swapping one existence for another. I’ve been inspired along the way by two other memoirs steeped in biting commentary: Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble and Live Work Work Work Die.

Now that I have the ability to leave, I’m quite content to hang around on The Hill all weekend

I got out of the house early today. I needed to get a package to UPS, off to my mom for her birthday. I was ready early and allow myself one visit to my favorite bakery a week, so this morning I decided to bring my laptop and hang out there for awhile. Just that simple pleasure was profound, actually. Just like when I stopped at Zupan’s and then Starbucks, after my last plein air attempt. I still haven’t looked at the initial sketch! I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed, like the last time. Granted I was in a much more public place & I’d gotten there a bit too late, for the light situation. I was also distracted by people determined to engage me in conversation, the first a homeless woman who wanted to talk to me about some physical, sexual harassment she’d suffered under one of the bridges, and an indifferent cop. She was then distracted by the fact that I dared to be grey. (!!!)

If more people had the balls to defy oppressive societal norms, perhaps they’d fade, ya think?

Even for a homeless woman in dire circumstances, another woman openly grey is a traffic stopping marvel. There’s always some area where people still feel free to be openly asshole-y. In today’s world, the places I’ve chosen to live anyway, no one in educated circles would ever dream of mocking someone’s sexuality, but grey hair on a woman? Fair game.

Granted the current president has regressed societal norms to an alarming degree, especially if we’re talking about internet vs real life exchanges.

I saw a comeback red hat that made me smile. It said, “MAKE RACISTS AFRAID AGAIN”.

I’d intended to (try to) face up to the bridge thing this weekend

That’s the point I was trying to get to. The plan was to ride with Charlie across the Broadway Bridge to the I-5, at least, so I could see the intersections & whatnot, and then to try to get myself to do it solo on early Sunday morning, when the traffic is super light. I wasn’t going to tell my friend Tom I was doing it either, in case I decided I’d rather turn right around & go home & not try to amuse myself until lunch time. I still get so nervous driving each new place. It’s incredibly irritating! But at least I’m giving myself and accomplishing the regular baby task of driving one new place a week. Last week I took myself out for lunch one day #imtheonlygayeskimoinmytribe. The week before that I stopped at Mud Bay on the way home to pick up some more Rad Cat for the princess, Lady Theodora. This is small stuff I know, but my New Yorker friends all get it. They’re the only ones who do! Almost everyone else pretty much drives from their teens to incapacitation.

Anyway I don’t feel like doing the bridge thing this weekend, and given the events yesterday I’m not all that convinced I’ll need to drive to Overlook any time soon. The last time I’d done any prepress was print stuff – “deliverables” they call it now – for the carpet company. We never went on press though. We were in New York and the printer was in Tennessee. The products were all promotional paper materials, and colors didn’t shift much at all in production. (Or if they did then quality control took care of it!) They’d send us proofs. We almost always got satisfactory color adjustments in three rounds at most, for just some of the images. (Granted, carpets are probably a lot easier to light and photograph than other subjects, like glass.)

There’s been drama at home too and I need to take care of myself and relax. Saturdays I like to read, work out late afternoon rather than early evening and generally chill. It’s a nice, cool day out today too, and the forest fire smoke & hotter temperatures are predicted back on Monday. That’s even more incentive to just enjoy the day and not introduce any personal stress into it!

Meditation and witchy stuff

I’m hanging out in the magic circle with Henry right now. One of the things I did was plan a prayer / ritual / spell for tomorrow. I already knew Jupiter is trining Neptune, which is supposed to be good for Pisceans in particular. Wanted to look up the most convenient hour ruled by Jupiter and plan a thing. My mother sent me the King James version of Psalm 91! I’d never heard of it & was going to just delete the email, but then I noticed she mentioned it is “for protection” and I remembered the pagan qualities of older Christianity. Why not get all Golden Dawn about it?

First of all I need to do a seated meditation. Even once in awhile would be better than never! The the LBRP. Those are always the prelims, which take about a half hour. Whatever follows is the specifics, which are always geared to the purpose. A protection spell is just the ticket! I think I’ll use the “dead things” ingredients: wasps for the sting of course, with their queen, the vanquished matriarch. The bird skeleton for the freedom of flight. I even have some human teeth! Courtesy of dating an oral surgeon. They do not apply for this spell though. The animal, non-ego / thinking spirit is what I want involved here.

Perhaps I’ll just read the psalm, burn some incense and make an offering. Perhaps I’ll draw the symbol of Abbetira, but no serious attempt at invocation. Whatever I do it’ll be an hour max, so a proper “thing” but not a huge deal that lasts half the day.

Maybe I’ll get my haircut in the morning instead of the bridge thing.

It’d still be driving practice and a new place and thus nudging my comfort zone boundaries a bit. Also it might make me feel better! I’ve been desperately needing one for awhile but I was afraid to lose my baby ponytail in August.

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today’s movement: a walk, yoga & legs like a dancer #12

I got so sore from yesterday’s WO, and in odd places, like my forearms, right more so than left. It was the two AMRAPs w/ all the single arms bicep curls. 15lbs was good work for those two, 3min sets.

Got my laundry done and took Theodora for a “walk” up to the park today, which is to say I mostly carried her around in the bag. Charlie, Rocco and Penny came too! Everyone had to go Linda pace, lol.

Henry has a more outward personality than Theodora & was lucky to be exposed to the small parks and gardens in the East Village when he was a maturing kitten. They had little trails, shrubs and grasses around the borders, which is much preferred for cats. They’re not huge fans of vast, open spaces. It was a good adventure for her though and she prefers short & sweet ventures like this to cat shows for sure!

And then I procrastinated!

I’d pulled the blinds because we’re going into a 9-day streak of mid 90s weather. It gets hotter much later in the day in the Pacific Northwest than it does in either New England or New York though. It’s still weird to me that it will quite often continue to get hotter after 5pm, in the summer.

I know I need it but I didn’t feel up to the particular demands of a full Astanga. So I didn’t.

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Yoga

Suryas & Fundamentals, with hanuman & the two 5-breath handstands @ the end. First 3 poses of primary, but no vinyasa between paschimo & purvo – 29:15

Zgym – Legs Like a Dancer #12

  • Skipping video warm-up. WO starts @ 4:45. My Time was about 33min.

1. Backward Slide Lunge / Side Slide Lunge on Demi Point x 16 / 16
2. Curtsy Slide Lunge / Grand Plie on Demi Point x 16 / 16
3. A la Sebesque Slide / A la Sebesque Battement on Demi Point x 16 / 16
4. Squat on Demi point with ball squeeze (x20) I made a “ball” out of my two, 5lb ankle weights strapped together for 1st time, but it was too slippery to hold w/ arabesque. Sometimes I’ll use up to a 10lb dumbbell behind the knee for hands & knees, but didn’t work here. So put a weight on each ankle & kept them there. 2nd “ball squeeze” I used a 5lb dumbbell the long way, but not comfortable. So after that I substituted 20 on the floor inner thigh pulses per leg – better. / Arabesque Pulse in Attitude with Ball Squeeze (x20) X 4 sets alt. legs
5. Dégage to the back (toes flexed, x 10) / 2nd position plie (x4) / Dégagé a la Sebesque (toes pointed, x10) / 2nd position plie (x4) X 3 / 3 sets orng band – above knees for all the banded moves. Thought I needed ppl band for clams but nope! LOL
6. Side Laying Leg Lift to Knee Tuck/ back to Extension x 20 / 20
7. Clams x 20/20 ppl band
8. Laying Hip Raise Abd. (x20) / Ballerina Hip Raise Abd. (x20) last move was killer

Yoga

  • Single 10/60, timed intervals

— Virasana, supta virasana, malasana.
— Hanumanasana, w/ strap. Quads
— Urdha D @ wall, blocks on high, savasana

This was enough for me! I did feel much better after.

 

2 sets HIIT & a stretching session

Woke up with a stiff neck!
Got a shitload of stuff done though.

  1. Daily cat care & got ’em both outside for a long stretch (since there’s no one here to get them out during the weekdays for the next 3½ weeks.
  2. Did a load of laundry. I’ll put that away tomorrow probably.
  3. Fed fish.
  4. Cleared recycling in bathroom & kitchen & took bag to bin & bin to end of drive.
  5. Watered – greenhouse, herb garden, roses & strip of grass on that side of house.
  6. Scanned & posted (3 places) latest window film compositional sketch. I had to scan it anyway to use it for drawing at work! We haven’t gotten a flatbed scanner yet & printer scanners just don’t capture nuance. They’re ok if you’ve inked something before scanning, but are terrible for sketches in pencil or charcoal.
  7. Started a new album on Flickr, Surface Design, PDX. I realised it’s really good for me to do this, so I can add periodically, because if few designs make it to production and that takes a long time, it’s easy to feel as if you’re not doing anything! But if I continuously make process images, then I can see my design & thought processes together. I can get a sort of overview idea of my current body of work.
  8. Had a magical find, in the form of something physical. Put it in a safe place for further evolution.

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BodyRock – Full Body HIIT

  • Previewed, made a few changes & did from breakdown.
  • WO starts after 11:20. I did it (15/50), broken up into 2 sets of 16 w/ a 2min rest in the middle = 36:40 min (plus however long I took w/ one pause to get wrist weights on)

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Flexible Strength #5

  • This was intermediate & she goes much slower than usual. But it was good. I’ll do next time w/ breakdown (probably skipping the warm-up)

Warm Up Flow x 2

  1.  Pass under squat (x5) / Clean & Press X 6 sets 26lb kettlebell – did this faster than vid & had time to make notes. Could use forearm guards!
  2. Clean / Archer’s Squat Slide x 4 alt. sides 26lb kettlebell – very challenging to get back up w/ only strength of the legs but I could do it! Maybe do 3x ea side next time.
  3. Hanging Leg Raise to Push Up x10 5
  4. Uttanasana  2min This’d be better as uttana 1min & ustrasana for 1min
  5. Kneeling Chest to Floor Stretch – 2 min
  6. Hanuman, front heel elevated on block  – 90 sec / 90 sec
  7. Vertical Shin Quad and hip Flexor Stretch 90 sec / 90 sec
  8. Handstand Front Split x 3 5 breaths ea leg
  9. Laying Spine Twist

 

 

So happy to be relaxing

Had a “wouldn’t go back there again” happy hour meal at Kell’s on NW 21st. I knew I should’ve gone to Deschutes! They may be pricey, and assemble their crab rolls in asinine fashion, but it would’ve been a much better, overall experience.

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Then thought, Screw it. I don’t feel like going to Powell’s. I’ll just stop by Mud Bay for a Rad Cat restock & Uber home from there. I was going to make up for it by starting a subscription to House & Garden UK, starting with the June issue, but then remembered… We’ll see what happens during today’s “sit” at the mailbox. At least there’s a portable, very lightweight chair I can take with me. It’s a long drive! No running back & forth into the house. I’ve gotta stay there to ambush the postman & plead my case for my piece of mail. Wasn’t my choice for how I should spend mid afternoon on one of my two days off, but so be it.


I’m grateful that the dogs aren’t here this weekend. It’s so quiet!! Let Henry outside earlier. Then did the watering & went & got Theo & the long lead. The pricey, human grade CBD oil was worth every penny in getting her interested in food again. That & the Rad Cat. I only buy the small containers, b/c it’s expensive and having it go bad before getting finished would be no good. Henry is willing to take care of any leftovers, but what I often do is mix in baby food if a container’s toward the end and the princess is less interested. [The baby food smells so disgusting, so she loves it. I discovered the practice of feeding the stuff to show cats at the six TICA shows this past season. It’s WAY worse than even mass market, wet cat food, but people with the long-hair cats that require heavy grooming like to spoon feed their cats at shows, sometimes, so they can avoid messing up the poof.]

Anyway I have an illustration / drawing session set up today and my subject is on his way over. I’ll post my late afternoon workout, after I’m done with my stakeout.

List making #virgorising

My body clock has already been reset to wake between 5:30 and 5:45. Having two cats already used to getting breakfast just past 6am helps in this! I’ve been getting organised.

Things accomplished before 10am on Saturday

  1. Unpacked art bag.
  2. Picked out a WO for the afternoon.
  3. Earmarked an inspirational / witchy YouTube clip, by one of my favourites, to watch later.
  4. Initial pass through House & Garden, UK – one of the three magazines I snapped up at Powell’s last night. I had to be quick b/c Charlie was waiting in the car with a full bladder. Started a spreadsheet, of advertisers & their websites.
  5. Deposited check.
  6. Attached passport picture to renewal form & put that plus a check and my old passport into an envelope.
  7. Had breakfast
  8. Emptied trash.
  9. Unpacked portfolio case, to retrieve my Wacom tablet mainly. Now that I’m used to one I find it really cumbersome to use a mouse, for a lot of things, never mind a wonky one. There’s simply too much surface dragging you have to do. You can’t “hop & select”. And if your mouse has tracking issues…
  10. Put away the rest of my laundry from Thursday night.
  11. Mapped route to Post Office. It’s the dreaded driving practice & I need to send my passport renewal via certified mail. Since the nearby PO isn’t open weekends, I’m forced to head downtown.
  12. Applied CBD oil to Theodora’s elbows.
  13. Ordered bath bar soap & post-it tabs (the latter for marking up reference material).

What I’ve learned from the cat show experience so far

  • I’m not a total fan of the experience. It’s ok. It’s worthwhile to the extent that this is what I have to do to make the best possible kittens, and the breed is really under represented. I had the ONLY adult Scottish Folds at the show, the largest one all year for this region.
  • am, more than ever, an ambassador to the Scottish Fold & Straight breed.
  • There were many people who were dying to see Folds. I’ve only ever seen them online!!! They really responded.
  • Two days is really “enough” for a show, for both myself and my cats.

I was under prepared. I took names and numbers and/or email addresses. I didn’t have any cards. I felt like there was enough interest for five litters, not just one. But I don’t want to be a volume breeder. I love Scottish Folds & truly believe that wonderful, healthy cats can be bred if it’d done ethically.


Unfortunately with the nature of the gig economy, my being unavailable Thursday and Friday meant the loss of the rest of my measly income for the month, and since I was only booked late it probably amounted to at least half of my total January earnings. I was really hoping the Keynote deck I’d been working on would be reassigned to me for today, but I found out on the way home last night that it wasn’t.

And not only did I pay for Theodora’s genetic testing, but I also bought myself two items of cat lady clothing, which was obviously a bad idea.

When these things happen I get depressed for a bit. I’d been hoping to earn money today… Am I going to immediately change gears and work on a bad oil painting? No. Maybe I’ll upload the clips of Theo with the judges. She only finaled three times at the Portland International Cat Show. It’s much bigger than the two we’d done before, but I was used to missing only one final out of the bunch and getting one “best cat” per show. We packed up about 20-minutes early last night, when we found out we weren’t going to final even once that day for sure.

 

Tabata Pairs #2

I had to modify this WO a lot in the easier direction. I halved most of the reps based, challenge moves & it still took me 1hr & 32min to finish.

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Challenges

  1. two nights of very poor sleep. I was so exhausted & stressed last night, after ten hours in a conference where I felt very out of place & then an unexpected, 90min delay before I was home & could give Theodora her pre-show bath, which she hates, so ya you really don’t want to be doing it in the mindbody state where you were just sitting in a bar opening crying.
  2. not having eaten anything whatsoever since a comically crappy lunch served late & lukewarm by Holiday Inn, yesterday at 12:30.
  3. too much sedation in the event of a typically unresolved conflict

Tabata Pairs #2

Group 1:
1. Kickthroughs + pushups
2. Donkey kicks up and over
Challenge Move: 50 animal flow kickthroughs

Group 2:
1. SL dead lifts 20s
2. bulgarians 15s
Challenge Move: 50 bulgarians + deadlifts (25/leg) 15s Kept pace w/ Julia thru group 1 reps but was SO EXHAUSTED that HR was running super high. So I turned off video for this & did 10/10/10/10 and then a last round of 5 alt legs. With breaks! No 25 per leg in one go like J.

Group 3:
1. chair lunges
2. iso squat + bicep curls 15s
Challenge move: 50 alt step up + bi curls 13 Had to sit down for a minute before starting reps. Really struggling. Two sets of 10 & then I dropped down to 10lbs ea hand. Then I was able to pick up pace & do two sets of 20. With breaks! Like last group of reps.

Group 4:
1. sl pike pushups
2. weighted squat jumps
Challenge move: 10 20 weighted sl pike pushup burpees And I had to start halving the rep counts. I wanted to get to as many of the tabata groups as possible.

Group 5:
1. SA rows 20
2. Heavy weight bench squats BL sandbag I did alt SA rows for the first 4 rounds & then switched so I only had to backload once. AND I sat on the bench during the 10sec rests, lol. 
Challenge Move: 10 20 manmakers 15s Saw this & thought “Ugggh”. I’m SO SLOW on MMs. This is gonna cost me some time, so I lightened it up too. And then I remembered, “Oh ya, you haven’t eaten anything since that small, terrible lunch Holiday Inn served up, a half hour late & lukewarm, at 12:30pm yesterday.”

Group 6:
1. box jumps
2. mtn climbers
Challenge Move: 10 20 box jumps + 5 mtn climbers F-it – I’d been dizzy since the get go. At least I did 2=1 on the mtn climbers. Not sure what J did.

Group 7:
1. dips
2. rev plank leg lifts Did this on floor b/c I like working on rev plank
Challenge Moves: 50 dipping crab kicks 1=1 This was the only rep move, past group 3, that I didn’t halve & could keep pace. I still took a break before moving on though, to type this.

Group 8:
1. heavy weight bulgarians 20s
2. tuck jumps, touch ground, pike jump
Challenge Moves: 25 50 bulgarian hops (or tucks) 2 rounds of 10 alt legs then 2 rounds of 5.

Group 9:
1. SA clean and Press + surrender 20 weight on shoulders  first round each side but then I kept it OH the 2nd time
2. SA plank hops
Challenge Move: 5 10 beastly burpees (SA pike pushup burpee + pike, tuck, heel grab)

Group 10:
1. Handstands + tuck jump
2. Plank rows 15s
Challenge Moves: 10 manmaker handstands

Meditation & injury(?)

I definitely have some sort of tweak in the left side. I felt it during and after my last Astanga practice on the 23rd and it continued to some degree. Then during yesterday’s practice, I have to admit that when I got into the tiny bit of 2nd I do, all workshop-y slow, it got worse and at one point I paused because I felt something radiating from there. It was a WTF was that? moment. I put my attention there but then it seemed to dissipate, so I carried on & finished. I did my usual back bending and ticks. But later on I wondered if it was therapeutic the way I’d supposed.

It kept bothering me… Was trying to relax and watch Grimm with Charlie. I had to ask for some pressure on there, and that helped, but only when the pressure was being applied.

And then I got paranoid. It better not be something for which one should see a doctor. This inspired one of those utterly exhausting bad dreams where I cannot stop sobbing. Not just crying, sobbing. And I was literally trying to get to the poor person’s doctor, two buses and 2.5 hours away, with a 20-min walk in 90-degree weather at the tail end. I’d visited a doctor close by and they’re all, Uh, ya… YOU need to go over here (pauper). I had no cash. Couldn’t even buy water or a coffee. Nothing to read. #lol

Unsurprisingly, this morning’s sit was not that steady

Because of the discomfort. I did some stretches, while still in padmasana, before my short, sephiroth-based pranayama. Did my LBRP. Perhaps later on today I will just do an unmeasured (via Polar) restorative. I’d been planning to try to keep my five-day quota for the week, getting up early to get some exercise in Friday too. Theodora’s second show is this weekend, for two days this time, and Henry is coming along with again. (I have to figure out what time we need to leave today.) Thankfully we don’t have to get up at 5am to be out the door at 6:30, but the show starts 1ish I think, and closes at 9pm. For our first show which closed at 4pm, we didn’t actually get out of there until after 6. The judges have to finish…

We shall see. Maybe I can get one more WO in today and just take both Friday and Saturday off.

Rest Day! Got the CityKitty cat toilet training tray installed too

It would’ve been worth it to buy the $50 tray system instead of the $30 CityKitty, because with this cheaper brand, after the first week of having no holes in the tray, you cut along the perforated edge to expose the smallest hole, and so on. This means if you’re training more cats later, you need to buy the product again. If I’d gotten the Litter Kwitter, we’d have received different size trays that I could wash, store and potentially reuse. Oh well!

Even though the recommendation to buy this specific toilet lid, with the child seat attachment we promptly discarded was a piece of bad advice, it’s still kind of good that we replaced the old seat. Now Charlie knows how to get old, corroded bolts out & he can fix the wonky one in the downstairs bathroom! That one slides & clunks dramatically whenever you sit on it unless you lower ever so carefully like your butt’s a hovercraft.

I’m going to have to remove & replace this tray every time I use the toilet for quite some time! So this is an investment, but we’ll see.

 

He made me screw on the new seat so I’m not that spoiled.

And then I showed Henry too, but we’re thinking that Theodora will be far more likely to be into this, since she’s the one who’s fascinated with the toilet. She hopped onto the back of Charlie’s so often that he was the one who suggested we try this! Even if it’s one of two cats, we’ll save on litter and mess in the long run. (And when she has kittens… Maybe she will show them without the tray. After all I’m going to be a responsible breeder and keep the kittens for a full three months.)