liberty, luna, and the pursuit of pistorius.

Two things today.  Well, maybe 3.

1. Happy Fourth of July!

Interesting.

2. Full moon!  Yesterday at 12:51pm.  I couldn’t sleep, which got me to thinking about why we associate so much cray-cray with the full moon.  I couldn’t find anything substantive (which is sort of a given, considering it’s all very woo-woo anyway), though I did familiarize myself with the myth of Luna (Latin), aka Selene (Greek), à la Edith Hamilton‘s Mythology:

Endymion the shepherd,
As his flock he guarded,
She, the Moon, Selene,
Saw him, loved him, sought him,
Coming down from heaven
To the glade on Latmus,
Kissed him, lay beside him.
Blessed is his fortune.
Evermore he slumbers,
Tossing not nor turning,
Endymion the shepherd.

Basically, we have the crazy-town, love-obsessed moon-goddess Luna, smitten with the shepard Endymion, who she turns into Rip Van Winkle, so she can gaze upon him nightly, eternally.  And this, in a roundabout way, might give insight why the condition of lunacy is so named, if Luna was the goddess, and the moon’s phases are intrinsically connected to menses, and the goddess was cray…  If, then.  If you follow my line of reasoning.  Which may be faulty and disjointed after a sleepless, moonstruck night.

3. Lastly, a friend posted this amazing story about Oscar Pistorius, a double-amputee who will compete on South Africa‘s Olympic track team.  This snippet is thought-provoking:

Pistorius, 25, was born without fibulas and had his lower legs amputated when he was 11 months old. He runs on carbon-fiber blades known as Cheetahs, which have stirred international debate over whether they give him an unfair advantage.

It’s a little mind candy to play with.  A double-amputee.  With carbon-fiber prosthetics.  Yes, the material is probably superior to the good ol’ human leg, but is it an advantage?  Discuss.

Oscar Pistorius

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beautiful. fighter.

There’s not much that either one, or both of these songs cannot cure.  Pretty sure of it.

Sometimes you have to get a little angry.

Then remember: Yes, you are.

hosted!

I don’t know why it’s taken me forever to figure this out.  Installing WordPress on my computer so that I can do all sorts of wondrous things has been nearly as painful as contemplating chewing off my own arm, like that guy in 127 Hours, a movie which did not hold my attention.  Or else I was knitting or cooking and only marginally paying attention to a movie which probably required a lot of visual processing, so it was all just lost on me.  My point being that WP is hopefully installing as we speak.  Maybe.  And then, perhaps, I can figure out how to use it and not funk everything up!  Woo-hoo!

Did I mention I’m wanderlusting?  Whereas the Daily Show will give you a moment of Zen, I am giving myself a daily dose of torture, or inspiration, depending upon how you view it.  I’m somewhere in between, myself.  The image du jour:

I’m practically salivating over anything Montana-related at this point.  Except for fires and the like.  Except if I were salivating over wildfires, I would be, theoretically, helping the cause.  Anyway.

I’m not just fantasizing about any old place in MT, it’s one area in particular.  It starts in Red Lodge, stretches north by way of U.S. Route 212Beartooth Highway, which, according to Wikipedia, passes through portions of Custer National Forest, and Shoshone National Forest and near the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness.  U.S. 212 winds in and out of Montana and Wyoming, with a layover in Cooke City, until it finally ends just a bit further along, at the northeast entrance of Yellowstone.

We camped along this route a million times when I was a kid.  An oft-repeated story of Ang-as-toddler occurred while staying at Island Lake Campground, elevation 9,600 ft.  Not ever a graceful child, I fell into the very-very cold water one night and, because I was pretty short, drenched all of my little jeans.  The jeans were hung outside overnight to dry, but the temps dipped that night, and we awoke to frozen pants, and I started to cry.  This is where opinions differ.  I’m quite certain that I was crying because I saw snow on the ground.  The three other members of my family insist it was because the jeans were frozen.  I have always disagreed with this premise, but no longer dispute it when told around the campfire.  There are other stories they don’t tell, like the time when, raising it too quickly, a flaming marshmallow launched from the stick, landing squarely on my cheek.  Or how, as a teenager, I insisted upon wearing makeup throughout our annual westward trek, secretly convinced I would pass some hunky guy on trail.

So, while we’re at it, let’s take a moment to ruminate on how much we love the National Parks and Forests, shall we?  What is your fave Park or Forest?  Share your memories in the comments!

today, part II: and then. (or, how to shake the blues!)

This afternoon, I had a little shift from the wackiness of the morning, and I just felt a little down.  In a nugget, moping. You know how sometimes you just feel it?  Probably just the lack of chocolate in the week’s diet, but it just stuck around.  And wouldn’t go away.  So, I just let it be there, and went about the business of working.  Which really is the best way to get through it anyway.  Much better than lying on the bed, listening to old Cold Play songs that, perhaps, remind you of happier days, say 10 or so years ago, and approximately, oh, 9,000 miles away.  With palm trees, and sunrise diving, and midday hammock time…

Digressing.  Self-pity.  Pity party.  It’s so pathetic, because you can identify it, and you know it’s not rational, and YET.  I was on my way to a friend’s house, to visit her newborn, and I really f*cking needed to shake it, at least a little.  So I started employing some tactics, and I thought I would share.  Yes, I still feel a bit blue, but not so much as earlier.

How to: Debbie Downer

  1. Say thank you.  Say it out loud, or in your mind, or in the windows-up radio-down seclusion of your Ford Focus.  For whatever damn thing that comes to mind: your car, the fact that you have a pair of shoes that fit, whatever.  And not in a smart-assy way.  Say it genuinely, or as close to genuine as you can get.
  2. See the opportunity, if applicable, in the situation that upset you.  In my case, I recently lost a client.  If you can remove yourself from the situation (e.g. it’s so damn nice to have a regular gig), and gain some perspective on the actual situation (I didn’t feel particularly good about the type of biz said client was in), you can see that it might, somehow — in even the minutest sort of way — be a good thing.  And really, it is just a matter of allowing yourself to see the tiniest speck of light that can make all the difference some days.
  3. Get the hello out of the house!  Depression equals wanting to sequester yourself and bask in the badness of it all.  If you can, get your butt outside, even if you’re only going to scowl at people at the library.  Just get away, if only briefly, from the energetic raincloud you’ve been inhabiting.  Stare at a tree.  Buy some notebooks and new pens at CVS.  Eat 15 samples of homeopathic-organic-vegan brioche at Whole Foods.  Make fun of hipsters getting lunch from the food trucks.  Just. get. out.
  4. Exercise.  This should really be higher up on the list, because it’s the best one.  It’s hard to cry when you’re at the gym, watching reruns of House Hunters.  Also, you just feel better when you’re doing something great for yourself and your body.
  5. Go to sleep.  Sometimes it’s just better (unless it’s a habit, then you need to talk to someone).
  6. Listen to a good/inspirational/high-energy song.  Faves include “I can only imagine,” by MercyMe (a disclaimer here, this song is highly, highly religious, but it is bound, indelibly, to Team Hoyt [see vid below], and that is one amaze-balls story, right there.  Much inspiration.), maybe a little Eminem, and loads of other either cheesy or horrible songs that I’d prefer not to make you privy to.  Start paying attention to songs that make you feel good, that give you a little boost when you’re driving, check the interwebs for exercise/running playlists to get some ideas.
  7. Write it out.  I tend to express myself better in writing than I do with the speaking, so it’s always worked for me to have a come-to-Jesus with some loose leaf.  I like a little Q&A, though it can just be a rant, or a drawn-out wallow.  Simply expressing it outwardly can extricate it from your body, and leave you some room for relief.
  8. Scream.  Preferably where no one can hear you.  Again, the car works pretty well for this particular option.
  9. Talk to someone.  A friend, parent, spouse, whomever will listen.  Don’t go on and on for an hour, or they may never listen again 😉 but if there’s a trusted someone you can talk to, see if they’ll lend an ear.
  10. Spend time with an animal.  I love dogs, because they just love you.  Cats sometimes let you get close to them, and they might let you pet them, and it’s possible they’ll purr.  Pets don’t carry around the stuff we do, they just love.  You know what they want, and they want to give it right back to you.  I hug my roomy’s dog as often as I can.  I kiss him between the eyes, I talk to him and call him stinky, I’m intoxicated by his dog-smell.  There’s nothing more joyful than watching him swim in the lake.  Even just thinking about him makes me happier.
  11. Find a way to gain some perspective.  I lost a client.  In the scheme of things, so what!?  As I drove away from the house this afternoon, the aforementioned song “I can only imagine” song was on the radio and I was instantly reminded of the video below.  Lost a client?  Boo f’ing hoo.  This dude runs/jumps/swims/bikes in IRONMAN competitions with his full-grown son in tow.  I like to call this method buck-the-f@ck-up, because sometimes the touchy-feely shite doesn’t work, and you just have to knock it out of yourself.  Which I think is what just happened for me (finally!).
  12. Which leads to the last suggestion: help someone else.  Volunteer, stalk old people in parking lots to help them carry things, wait at a door somewhere and just open it for people.  It feels good to help people out, and it moves your focus away from what’s bothering you.

I know I have more than this, so I’ll update when I can think of them.  What works for you?  Leave your suggestions in the comments!  (Also, see if you can make it through Team Hoyt without crying…)

wagon wheel, 1st ed.

Happy Friday, friends!  Here are some nuggets (or nougat, if your taste buds swing that way), that I’ve happened upon during this week’s frolicks amidst the interwebs. 

The 5 Creepiest Urban Legends (That Happen to be True)

Cracked is one of those horribly wonderful sites that ropes you in with some random Facebook post (in this case 6 Great Old-Timey Comics for [Traumatizing] Kids) and then keep you sucked in by peppering each and every page with lists of stupidly innocuous things that for some reason you MUST find out about right this very second.  I found 5 Creepiest when I navigated over to their Horror section, seems like it might actually be worth a read.

Radiolab : Crossroads short

I love me some radiolab.  Topics are usually pretty obscure but well researched, and the production is kind of campy and odd, so it makes for a fun and experiential listening experience.  Perusing podcasts this week to facilitate my morning toilette (which, in French, means getting ready, and not anything gross or poop-related), I came across this short which piqued my interest ginormously.  The subject is Robert Johnson, a 1920s Blues musician who, initially, was really, really bad.  Until, that is, he sold his soul to the devil.  He is still considered today to be one of the best Blues guitarists who’s ever lived.

Outside Mag + Gluten-free feature

And, heading back into the known world… I’m pretty sure pre- and post-race festivities (read pasta feed and beer gardens) are not nearly as fun for gluten-free runners they appear to be for the non-allergic counterparts.  It’s been an interesting challenge to find advice suitable to my needs, to the extent that I basically stopped trying, and just rely on my Clif and Luna bars to get me through.  This article (Are You Too Sensitive? The gluten-free movement isn’t just a fad. It could be the performance boost you’ve been missing.) popped up in an email and, while it’s a bummer that more and more peeps are becoming sensitive/allergic to gluten, it does make me happy that there’s more exposure and thereby more info available.

Pre-run eating, quelle PITA.

In case you’re wondering, I’m basing the quelle above on my belief that pain, in French, is douleur (and I’m totally not even bothering to look this up right hyeh), which would make PITA (aka pain-in-the-arse) feminine, necessitating an appropriate, um… ah, I don’t have any idea what form of speech or whatevs that would be.  Rejoinder?  Nope.  It’s quantifying something.  Again, not looking it up, yo.

Back to the original point: trying to figure out when and what to eat before runs makes me want to stab myself in the groin with an icepick.  It really doesn’t, but it’s fun to think about, isn’t it?  Yes, yes it is.  Anyhoo, this is a good post to check out if you want some suggestions about how long in advance to eat stuff if you’re doing a long run, or a shorter run, or what-have-you. Basically, I think it all comes back to this: eat a Clif bar.

1 space after a period. It’s a real thing (and yet it feels so wrong).

This is a real thing.  It’s not just laziness.  And yet… I simply DO NOT WANT to do it.  It’s in my make up to double-space after the full stop!  Yes!  I did learn to type on a typewriter!  It was in a dingy old classroom at Harding High — on green typewriters, I’m almost certain of it!  Alas, I must move with the times.

And finally, in honor of 2 beautiful babies born to friends this week, a bit of Monty Python irreverence:

kombucha experi-fermentation, bottoms up!

Despite my lack of posts, the kombucha is coming along nicely.  I have bottled a few batches, and even had the nads to drink a few bottles!  I’ve only allowed others a sip here and there, and then only those whose composition is tried and true, by way of raw-food retreats and Master Cleanseses.

Here’s the bottle of the stuff I drank tonight.

liquid gold, texas tea.

Bits and pieces I’ve picked up along the way:

  1. It’s important to taste the brew regularly.  I didn’t realize this until after the first big growth batch had passed its prime and tasted very much like vinegar.  For some reason I was hesitant to do this at first, as though I was growing some exotic cocktail I’d never tried before.  Now I taste it every few days, and am getting a better sense of the process just by looking at the scoby and the tint of the liquid.
  2. Bubbles aren’t automatic.  I was surprised to discover my first batch was flat.   I thought this was just another benchmark I had missed, but a friend recommended a little beer-brewing trick, which worked.  I then corroborated the tidbit by looking it up on the ‘net.  You know, the internet?  Yeah, I’m connected.  (you have to forgive the wackedness, I really just want to update the dang blog, and it’s late, and I’m loopy.)  It’s simple: just add a little sugar to the bottle, close it up, and let it sit for a few days.  I don’t know exact ratios right now, I’ve just been adding a scant teaspoon in each 16-oz bottle.  What it comes down to, I suppose, is that the little buggers have food (sugar) to eat, so they’re happy, and the by-product is the fizzies that can’t escape from the bottle because it’s closed.  There are laws of gas and physics here, that I could possibly explain.  No, I really couldn’t.
  3. Stockpile bottles in advance.  My roomies have been saving Snapple bottles for me for the finished tea.  But you also need a good amount of filtered or clarified city water (boiled then left uncovered to allow chems, etc. to escape) when you start a new batch, so you’ll want to have a place to keep that as well.  Ideally, you would have enough water to bring the temp of the sweet-tea mix down to tepid before adding it to scoby/wash.

That’s all I can think of, though I’m sure there’s more.  At some point, I will add some info on the water kefir, which has been a great addition to the kombucha.  It takes much less time (1-2 days) and is infinitely tinkerly-able!

kombucha experi-fermentation, douze(y) du jour

It’s definitely happening now, it wasn’t just a fluke yesterday.  The mushroom is definitely both gromandizing and aggrandizing (sorry, sleepy and in need of a little alliteration).  True to my word, I checked it just as many times today as usual.  And changed the location.  But it seems to be a resilient bugger and keeps on keepin’ on.

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I think I’m getting very close to being able to brew a batch of the coveted kombucha!

om… (how the mind wanders)

I don’t feel like going to meditation class today.  Mostly because I’m now done with work but still have 1.5 hours til class begins, which leaves limited options, the most obvious being a visit to the gym.  Which I’m feeling too lazy to do, but I feel lazy because I’ve been sitting all day, so it’s really the perfect thing to do before I go sit for another 2 hours.

I just learned of this: the Gypsy Flower (Cynoglossum officinale)! And it grows right here in Minne.  Here’s a photo:

Ooh, so pretty!  Unfortunately, it appears to be known by another common name, Hound’s Tongue.  Probably in another country, though.  Not here.  It’s definitely called Gypsy Flower here.

Here’s a photo of Robert Plant eating ice cream:

And, with that total randomness, I feel well prepared to barter with the monkey mind in seated meditation tonight.

31.

Ugh.  There’s really no good, or witty, or original way to start a post like this, and I wouldn’t even share but for the interesting peripherals.  My uncle passed today.  He’s been suffering from cancer for several months and opted out of continuing chemo.  He slipped into a coma after receiving the last rites yesterday, and died peacefully, surrounded by friends and family.  My mom has been with the family in Iowa for the past few days and has kept me updated.  When I talked with her yesterday, she told me he would go within the next day or two; when I talked to her today, he was holding.  With the arrival of his oldest son, he was surrounded by his family and the unspoken understanding was that this was what he’d been holding out for.  Tonight was my first class in a beginner’s series at the Shambhala Center of Minneapolis. Walking in, I turned off my phone, knowing that Chris would be gone by the time I left the building.

I was mostly fine in class, if a little distant.  During the second hour, I started feeling really agitated and even cried a bit.  At one point, Chris’s face entered my mind, the way I remember him looking: jovial, kind, smiling and laughing.  I wouldn’t claim to be psychic or similar, but I have had a few of these experiences before, I suppose they’re so powerful, especially when it’s a family member, that you can’t help but feel the vibe even many miles away.  The distraught faces of my aunt and my mom co-habitated with this peaceful image of Chris for a while, and then it was gone, then I carried on my meditation.  When I left and turned on my phone, there were two messages from my mom, and one from my aunt that Chris was gone.

I called and spoke briefly with my mom and aunt, shared my vision with them and gave them my love.  When I hung up, I turned on the Radio K-tuned radio, smack-dab in the middle of this:

Stylistically, it’s not at all appropriate for Chris, but the message is.  Rest in peace, big man.  May you be pain-free and joyful once more!