Big picture

Today I was thinking a lot about what I want in a big picture sense and what I want, I suppose, in the smaller picture.

For example.

I ended up at a fundraiser luncheon for an organization that provides scholarships for low income families to send their kids to private schools (elementary through high school). It’s essentially privately funded school vouchers.

And, well, you can’t watch a video about tearful single mothers who can’t afford to live in neighborhoods with good schools and bright eyed kids who say they feel loved and supported at their private schools without thinking yeah, okay, that’s a good thing.

But of course I think all that money could be best spent at public schools. As a speaker lamented the state of public schools in Colorado, my friend nudged me and whispered, “That’s why we all need to vote for Bernie.”

So in the big picture sense, this charity isn’t something I’d be on board with. But zoom in, and all of the individual success stories are still, well, successful.

By the way, Missy Franklin was the keynote speaker. (You know, the Olympic swimmer.) She went to a private Catholic high school in Colorado but I’ll point out she opted for the number one public university in the world when it came to college. (Though to be fair you’re allowed to go to any college you want, they don’t make you go to the one closest to your house. But I digress.)

Anyways.

I’m reminded, as we inch closer to a presidential election, as more and more soundbites make headlines, that things are complicated, especially when you assume good intentions, that no one is out to get anyone, but that both sides have a sincere and earnest desire to do good. It’s easy to paint the other side as the bad guy. It’s harder, and less provocative, to say that we’re both the good guys with different ideas for how to best achieve shared goals.

catching up

I tried to think of thing I haven’t blogged about and I made this list:

  • Getting blonde highlights and having ridiculous incredible emotions about them. Still not resolved. 
  • Moving!
  • Becoming a yoga teacher! (!!!!)
  • Almost fostering a dog. 
  • Acquiring new good friends. 
  • Becoming landlords. 
  • Chris quitting his job to go back to school. (!!!!!)
  • That one time we went to Maine. (Gorgeous.)
  • Complicated feeling about social media. 
  • Even more complicated feelings about family. (Lolz, not for blogs.)
  • My love affair with gin. 

So. I guess look out for our Christmas card.

get off my lawn, Jewel

I just somehow fell down an Instagram hole that led me to Jewel. Like, Who Will Save Your Soul Jewel. That one. 

And in general I have the utmost sympathy for singers who become famous at a young age. Can you imagine, seriously, can you even imagine the poetry you wrote at the age of 19 being the thing people know you for? 

Alanis Morissette is the same age as she is, now 41. I would cringe to be known now for the “deep” things I wrote about ex boyfriends at the time, much less ten years from now. 

But I have no sympathy for Jewel! I saw her in concert three years ago and she was really unprofessional. “I was going to release a few songs before coming today but instead I took a nap.” And she quit two or three songs halfway through because she couldn’t remember the words. When it came time for an encore, she begged off. “Let’s pretend I walked offstage and walked back on, my feet really hurt.”

I can’t find it now but three years ago Mel was pissed and tweeted something about how if I had showed up that unprepared for work, I’d get fired. And it’s changed the way I look at young celebrities. 

I can’t imagine that level of fame and stress packed on top of youth packed in top of not getting a college education or having those young formative years in an office job where you get knocked down a bit and just learn to be a fucking grown up. Like, why are these the people we hold up and idolize? In real life the people are so annoying. 

AND THEN I was scrolling through her Instagram and not but a few days ago she posted a photo of the footbridge not even one block from our new place. Get off my lawn, missy!

Hi, friends. 

If you’re ever looking for a great way to practice nonattachment I highly recommend something we tried a few weeks ago: move from a three bedroom/two bath home into a one bedroom apartment half the size. 

At this point I’d love to say that every single thing we own is either necessary or something we love. I mean, that’s a lovely sentiment. 

But we still have some candles that are just kind of there. Turns out we currently own four bottles of olive oil. There are knick knacks I’m fond of but that I’m not sure I love. 

But this view? Literally the view from my pillow without me even lifting my head? Love. Worth losing 300 square feet or so of closet space.

  

Working from home

I’m working from home today.I dropped into a coffee shop to have breakfast, pulled out my laptop, and probably got more done in an hour than I get done in a whole day sometimes. It’s amazing what you can do without any interruptions, the velocity you can attain when racing a battery about to die. I also felt some kind of pressure to just work. Like my neighbors would judge me if they saw gmail up on my screen instead of Outlook.

You know that feeling when you would leave school mid day for a dentist appointment? It always felt so weird for me to be out in the world in the middle of the day. It still feels like I’m going to get caught.

Year of the (Down) Dog

Apparently this is the year I get super into yoga. I just counted on Daily Mile and today was the 111th day of 2014 and I did my 93rd yoga practice of the year. (Mostly classes at a studio, three or four podcasts at home.) I’ve gone almost every day, with a slump in March when I was sick and then traveling. I finally splurged on a monthly membership and then, motivated to get my money’s worth, I just found myself showing up most evenings and some mornings, planning my day around classes with my favorite teachers, and getting a little weird. There are colored strings representing each of the seven chakras tied around my wrist right now. So there’s that.

A friend asked me if I was feeling quite flexible, and I had to say no, I don’t really feel much difference in my flexibility. But I feel incredibly strong. I couldn’t do a proper chaturanga before; I had to modify on my knees or do that fake thing where you start to lower yourself down but then you just kind of slide into updog, waving a quick hello to chaturanga as you drive by but don’t stop to chat. But now! I’ve got the real thing going on with that solid pause in the middle. Even one legged on a good day.

I also think it’s making me a better person. More calm. More grateful. Less judgmental. (A little.)

So. Here I am, contributing to the cacophony of bragging about work outs on the internet. I’ve certainly gone through my zealot phases before. With running, with Jillian Michaels videos, with swimming, then with triathlons, and now yoga. It’s an even more expensive hobby than doing tris, but I suppose as far as expensive habits go, there are much, much worse ways to spend your money.

 

On Points

A coworker sparked my interest in the practice of signing up for credit cards to get the sign up bonus points and earn free travel. So, Chris and I have signed up for four credit cards and have earned about 200,000 “miles” or about $2,000 to spend on hotels or airfare so far. Peanuts compared to folks who spend a bit more effort and earn, like, a million miles a year. But hey, it’s $2,000 we didn’t have before. It would be nice, at least, to not have the huge budget bombs of plane tickets for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I just found myself down a hole looking at tickets for Fourth of July weekend. Maybe to San Diego? Maybe Portland or Seattle? I was doing points math, checking deals leaving Thursday night vs Friday morning.

Then I remembered I actually love Fourth of July in Denver. So I feel silly.

Good morning

Yesterday Denver was expecting some bad weather. There was a winter storm warning, we were expecting lots of snow, the airport had even started to cancel some flights already.

I was planning to go to a 7 am yoga class this morning. I checked the website to make sure it wasn’t canceled and then rolled out of bed. I peeked out the window at the snow. It didn’t look too crazy.

I don’t love working out in the morning, but with yoga I do pretty well, even really early, because you warm up pretty slowly and because there’s very little you need to find. Like, you don’t have to be stumbling around your house trying to find your garmin and earbuds and two socks that match.

I’m rambling, but what I wanted to say was that while I really love yoga and I’ve been enjoying going in the morning, it was pretty snowy and it’s Friday and I was a little tired and thinking maybe I should skip it.

But I didn’t. I went outside to my car around 6:30 and said hello to my neighbor who was scraping off his car and he lamented that the rain before the snow had made our cars extra hard to scrape because it was more icey than powdery. And then he helped me scrape off my car. And then I helped him scrape off his car. And I felt so happy and glad to know and like my neighbors so well. Even drudgery like scraping your car can be pleasant when you’re doing it with a friend.

It put me in such a good mood, and then I found myself being extra super duper smiley and happy to the lady who rang up my breakfast and the guy at Whole Foods who helped me with the catering menu. 

I hope you are having a good day, internet friends. I am.

Trophy Wife

A few days ago Chris and I were out of shows to watch. We watch a handful of shows on hulu, but since it’s January, we’re caught up on almost everything and there weren’t any new episodes of anything. Rather than, say, finding something else to do, I suggested we watch the pilot of Trophy Wife. Hulu automatically starts shows for you when one finishes, so we’d seen like 30 seconds of it and I thought it looked funny, plus I love Bradley Whitford and would watch him in about anything.

The pilot was good. A lot of the jokes were spoiled in a commercial for the show, but it had several solid laughs, enough for us to start a second episode before bed. The second episode? I was crying laughing. Honestly, we kept having to pause it because we were cracking up.

If you decide to watch the pilot, you can also have fun just trying to spot the main character’s baby bump; it was shot when she was five months pregnant.

Sorry for shouting

I haven’t ridden my bike to work in months. I’ve been using car2go, very rarely taking the bus, and mostly walking. (It’s just under 40 minutes walking, a bit faster if I grab the 16th street shuttle for the last few blocks.)

I stopped riding my bike because I was getting really frustrated with pedestrians, other cyclists, and drivers. Most of whom are lovely, but a significant minority of whom are terrible. And I just didn’t like starting and ending my day feeling angry. It had gotten worse as I had started going into work just a little later than I had before. At 7 am the roads are still fairly empty; the closer you get to 8, the more bozos there are.

I rode my bike this morning because I had a busy day on my schedule. (Though three hours of it just got canceled, which is why I have a moment to sit and write this.) Biking to work only takes about 15 minutes, and I wanted the extra time this morning.

On my way in, in the span of less than two miles, I shouted at four people:

  1. A woman on a B-cycle who genuinely startled me by whizzing past me on my right. (“You startled me! Usually we pass on the left!”
  2. A car who decided to pass me just as we came to a stop sign, meaning we arrived at the stop sign at almost the same time, and I was almost sure the car was turning right. “What are you doing?!”
  3. At a pedestrian who did that thing where he was waiting for me to go so he could cross but then stepped off the curb just as I passed him. “Too close!”
  4. At a pedestrian with her nose buried in her phone as she crossed an intersection. Three vehicles were waiting for her, as they should, but I wouldn’t trust my life to other people doing what they should in traffic. “You gotta look both ways!”

So. I think I’m going to stick with walking. Even though a 40 minute commute isn’t really my favorite, at least it’s 40 minutes of listening to This American Life podcasts instead of 15 minutes of hating everyone.