30 days

I’ve been off Facebook and Twitter for 30 days now. Somehow it feels longer than that.

It’s been a relief to be out of the 24-hour non-stop Twitter cycle re: politics and the unending nightmare. But I’m still keeping tabs on the highlights by looking at the paper every day, and listening to the various podcasts I keep up with. I don’t need to be aware of every bread crumb of outrage as it flows through the day in real-time. An occasional summary will do.

Not being on Facebook makes me realize how central it’s become to keeping in touch with my friends. I’ve loosely kept in contact with a few people via email and texting, and I’m still on Instagram, so I’m connected with people there.

At least once a day I think about something I would post, some pithy little thought or observation I would like to share, but have no outlet to do so. If I can communicate it via a photo, I can put it on Instagram, but I don’t have a lot of followers there. I suppose I could be putting all my thoughts & observations into more frequent blog posts, but that’s an even SMALLER audience since basically no one reads this, especially when I can’t post to Facebook or Twitter to alert everyone that there’s a new blog post to read. (One obvious point being that if I posted here more often more people might read it. Ridiculous.)

What have I been doing with all the time I don’t spend scrolling through social media? I’m not quite sure, honestly. My apartment is still a mess. I did watch all 90 episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine in the last few weeks, but I could’ve done that any time. (It’s pretty good, I recommend it.) I’ve been working on the mess that my Duran Duran photo archive has devolved into over the past year (don’t ask), and made some headway on that. I spent 3 days at Pitchfork, and under normal circumstances there’s no doubt I would’ve been live-tweeting and posting endless pics. I could’ve asked Dan to give me back my password for the weekend, but honestly I didn’t really want to. Maybe I’ll put some pics here on the blog if anyone finds it, or I’ll flood Facebook with them when I return.

My Uncle Jerry died two weeks ago, so I went home for his funeral, and then a week later my Aunt Virginia died, so this past weekend I was at home again for her funeral. I hope the family is done with this for awhile.

Stuff is happening at work. We’re getting ready to move to a new office in two weeks. I’ve been sweating bullets over a couple projects that i just want to be DONE so I can quit stressing. I had constant nightmares for a week about a certain project, and actually had bags under my eyes from lack of sleep for the first time in my life. I think the worst of it is probably over but I have NO confidence that it won’t come back and bite me in the ass later. Whenever I do have confidence about something at work I am immediately offered an opportunity to feel shitty about some failure, so I try to keep my pride at an absolute minimum level. “Waiting for the punch,” as Marc Maron would say.

I drove through an epic thunderstorm on Friday night. I rented a car to go home this weekend for my aunt’s funeral, and about an hour into my trip, there was a lot of lightning in the distance, which I was driving directly towards. The closer I got to it, the more frequent the lightning came (or so it seemed) and it started raining, harder and harder. I made a pit-stop to see if the rain would pass, or at least lessen. After about 10 minutes it stopped, and I continued on my way. There was still a lot of lightning, but it seemed to be behind me most of the time. Then after maybe another half hour, it started up again. It rained so hard, I saw people driving with their flashers on. The windshield wipers werer at their highest setting and barely making a dent. All I could do was follow the taillights of the person in front of me, or the reflective strip down the middle of the road, driving 40mph where I would normally be driving 70+. I thought about pulling over and waiting it out but I just kept going, hoping eventually it would stop, or at least I would be on the other side of it. As much as I hate driving, even in the best conditions, I felt strangely calm during this experience. But I was also mad that I was driving and not a passenger because I could’ve gotten some AMAZING photos and video. I’ve never experienced anything like it — driving across the flat prairie in the dark, nothing for miles in any direction and the sky full of flashing light and electric bolts coming down to the ground. It was scary but also magnificent.

Now I’m back in Chicago and it looks like it’s about to rain again. I’m really glad Pitchfork wasn’t this weekend.

30 days

2017 Reading List Update

Currently reading:
Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
by Dee Brown
The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life by Wendy Shanker
An Innocent Abroad: Life-Changing Trips from 35 Great Writers
(will I ever finish this? I dunno.)
Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love your Body by Jessamyn Stanley

Read:
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
David Bowie: The Last Interview and Other Conversations
Sipping from the Nile: My Exodus from Egypt
by Jean Naggar
How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
Girl In A Band by Kim Gordon
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency/The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams
The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of  Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David I. Kertzer
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Sellout by Paul Beatty
Waiting for the Punch: Words to Live by from the WTF Podcast by Marc Maron and Brendan McDonald
The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper

2017 Reading List Update

2017 Reading List Update

Currently reading:
Waiting for the Punch: Words to Live by from the WTF Podcast by Marc Maron and Brendan McDonald
An Innocent Abroad: Life-Changing Trips from 35 Great Writers
(will I ever finish this? I dunno.)
Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love your Body by Jessamyn Stanley

Read:
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
David Bowie: The Last Interview and Other Conversations
Sipping from the Nile: My Exodus from Egypt
by Jean Naggar
How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
Girl In A Band by Kim Gordon
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency/The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams
The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of  Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David I. Kertzer
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Sellout by Paul Beatty

2017 Reading List Update

2017 Reading List Update

Currently reading:
The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of  Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David I. Kertzer
An Innocent Abroad: Life-Changing Trips from 35 Great Writers
The Sellout
by Paul Beatty

Read:
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
David Bowie: The Last Interview and Other Conversations
Sipping from the Nile: My Exodus from Egypt
by Jean Naggar
How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
Girl In A Band by Kim Gordon
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency/The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams

******

For 2017, my goal is to read at least 50% books by women and/or POC authors.

2017 Reading List Update

2017 Reading List Update

Currently reading:
The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of  Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David I. Kertzer
An Innocent Abroad: Life-Changing Trips from 35 Great Writers
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
by Douglas Adams

Read:
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
David Bowie: The Last Interview and Other Conversations
Sipping from the Nile: My Exodus from Egypt
by Jean Naggar
How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

******

For 2017, my goal is to read at least 50% books by women and/or POC authors.

 

2017 Reading List Update

2017 Reading List

For 2017, my goal will be to read at least 50% books by women, and include overall more POC authors, both men and women.

*****

Currently reading:
Sipping from the Nile: My Exodus from Egypt by Jean Naggar (I’m not sure I’m going to finish this one, I’ve neglected it for too long & I probably need to start over.)
The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of  Piux XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David I. Kertzer
An Innocent Abroad: Life-Changing Trips from 35 Great Writers


Read:
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
David Bowie: The Last Interview and Other Conversations

2017 Reading List

Turning 50 in 2017: A mid-life Constitutional Crisis

In just over a month, I’ll be 50 years old. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, trying to decide how I feel about it, and whether or not I even need to feel anything about it.

Obviously I don’t want to stand in the middle of my life (more or less), turn around and look at all the mistakes I’ve made, and get hung up on my “failures” as a human being. I’m putting “failures” in quotation marks because (with an exception or two) they really aren’t failures. It’s just me following my own weird little path that looks different from the path a lot of other people follow. When I get hung up on being a failure I end up paralyzed and unable to do anything, so what’s the point of that?

Instead, I stand in the middle of my life and look forward. What do I want the rest of it to be? (Assuming I have some say in the matter.)

I decided that I wanted this year to be meaningful, but honestly that wasn’t a decision that I needed to make — that was taken care of for me on November 8th, 2016. It’s already shaping up to be a terrifying and momentous time for the country (and by extension the world) and I have to do my part to keep the nightmare at bay. The actions required are way outside my comfort zone, and will be a nice separate layer of anxiety on top of the layers of anxiety and horror and despair over what is already happening. But I have to get over it and do my best or I won’t be able to look myself in the mirror for whatever years of life I have left. My discomfort is small potatoes right now. I participated in the Chicago Women’s March, which was a really extraordinary experience. It would be great if we never had to do it again, but we will. I’ve made many phone calls to my Senators & Rep (who are solid Dems, so don’t need persuasion as much as thanks and support.) I’m still figuring out how best to proceed with this ongoing situation. One thing I did was create this design, which I’m selling on RedBubble, and donating all proceeds to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. I use the skills I have.

But I also want this year to be fun. It will be essential to surviving the other garbage that fills 98.9% of my life. I’ve been to two concerts already this year (Tortoise and Mogwai) and have tickets for Sigur Ròs, U2, and Lady Gaga in the books. Ticket purchases for Tortoise (again) and The Revolution are coming soon. I was supposed to see Adam Ant last week, but for the first time in over 30 years of concerts, I was denied entry to a show because I had a camera. A non-professional, non-fancy camera. I’m still kind of boggled by it, but as problems go, it’s obviously a great one. Two weeks ago I spent the night at Quimby’s Bookstore for their annual Zlumber Party, where I got a good chunk of writing done on my Barney Miller zine. Two weeks from now, I’ll be attending Ladies’ Rock Camp which will result in me standing on a stage and playing a song in a band that will have only existed for 3 days, which terrifies me to my core. I’ll be there with two friends, which will alleviate some fear, but definitely not all of it. I have plans to visit a friend in Colorado in March and do some hot-springs-soaking. I’m contemplating a new tattoo. The calendar is filling with exciting adventures to combat the daily shitshow.

I had a vague dream last year that I was going to be able to do a backbend by the time I turned 50. Well, I didn’t do anything about it so that’s not going to happen. Maybe it will happen before I turn 51. I need to make a concrete plan. I’ve been working extra hard on the self-love-trying-not-to-hate-my-body-anymore & surprisingly it’s working more often than it doesn’t. I have some middle-aged aches and pains, and I’d like to lose another 30-ish pounds. It might happen, it might not. I’ve kept 30 pounds off for going on three years and that’s not nothing. After Election Day I decided that getting in better shape was essential. I might have to run from a Nazi, or punch a Nazi, or walk for a really long time across a dystopian hellscape, or loot supplies from the abandoned Costco. So I started going to a circuit/crossfit-style exercise class. It’s awful, but I keep going back. The best thing about it is while I’m doing it I literally CANNOT think about anything else, so it’s a good distraction, also endorphins are fun. I’m five days away from finishing Yoga With Adriene’s 31-Day Yoga Revolution. If I was a better person I would’ve finished it on January 31st like I was supposed to, but I was sick for a few days and also life happens. Regardless, I’ve done yoga more consistently so far this year than I ever have before. I’m definitely stronger now than I was on January 1st. I have a weight goal I want to hit by my birthday. It’s very possible.

But — I don’t take anything for granted. There are always those lingering worries that my health will take a turn again. It’s been seven years since my surgery and *knocks on all available sources of wood* things have been very stable since then. However if the repeal of the ACA goes through as soon as the Republicans would like it too, I’ll have the scarlet letter of “pre-existing condition” slapped on me and might be stuck at this job for longer than I want to be, because I without insurance I would be in deep trouble very soon.

But really, all of this is speculative fiction, because all there is is today. I might not even make it home from work tonight, let alone to 50. Here’s hoping.

Turning 50 in 2017: A mid-life Constitutional Crisis