Sit Down and Shut Up

First: I am unapologetically stealing the title from the fab Brad Warner‘s book. OK? OK.

Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how meditation just isn’t for them, that they can’t do it, that stilling their mind just doesn’t work.

It drives me up the wall.

Not the idea that some folks aren’t particularly suited for meditation or don’t find it helpful – that’s definitely true, and folks with serious issues in the mental health department should consult their medical advisers before trying it (and should almost certainly only study it with a teacher rather than alone).

No, the thing that bugs me about it is this: meditation isn’t about stilling your mind. Getting your mind to shut up isn’t what meditation is about.

It’s about sitting down and shutting up – literally. Sit. Don’t talk. That’s about it.

If you notice your brain starting to talk to itself, mentally label that thinking or talking and then let it go. Don’t get mad about it, don’t give yourself a hard time, just… stop. It’s easiest to do this if you have something to focus on. I usually use my breath, but you can also use a mandala or other image, your heartbeat, a mantra, whatever.

I’ve had a Zen-ish sitting practice fairly steadily since some time in 2006, when I started studying with T. Thorn Coyle. Before that, I’d toyed with it a bit, mostly learning from books. My sitting practice is kind of a mashup of Thorn’s teachings and the things Brad Warner has said in his books (aside: I love his take on Zen and on life in general, and strongly recommend reading his stuff).

I’m currently doing standard breath-counting (“one” on the in-breath, then “one” on the out-breath, then “two, two” and so on, up to four; then back to one), but I’ve also done metta (a compassion-focused form of meditation) and a few others.

Brains don’t really do still, especially not at first. Even after all these years, my brain is still super-talkative. A huge part of my practice is not getting mad at myself for losing focus. I played music pretty seriously for a long-ass time, so I can simultaneously count and do other things (including, much to the confusion of my physical therapists, reading a book), so my counting sometimes winds up parallel-processing with other things, when my brain doesn’t derail from counting entirely. If you could put a mic between my ears, you’d probably hear something along these lines:

One, one. Two, two. Three, is it time to stop yet? Thinking. One, one. Two, two. Three, three. I should figure out a way four, four, to track health stuff in my bullet journal, five, five, what? five? Thinking! It’s okay. More thinking. One, one. Two, two. Three, three. Four, four. One, one. Right on, got it this time. Two, two. That was thinking back there. This is, too. One, one.

For me, at least, meditation is about the practice of letting go and refocusing. It’s training my brain to focus on one thing, even one boring thing, for however long I decide to do it. This is a really useful skill to develop, given how often I need to focus on things I find disinteresting.

It’s also useful because my brain is often full of shit, and I need the ability to identify the shit and let it go without fuss. Any investment of energy, for or against, reinforces the shit.

For example, I use this technique with my impostor complex, which now, as a result, bothers me a lot less than it used to. My brain will start fretting that I’m going to mess up and everybody is going to see that I’m a total poser and a fraud, and and and – but once I notice what’s happening, I can take a breath and think, “ah! Impostor complex!” and let it go. Getting mad at myself about it just reinforces it, makes it dig in. Noticing it and letting it go with no fuss takes discipline – which I build with my daily sitting practice.

This applies to a ton of things, not just sitting and impostor complexes. Our brains just kind of natter to themselves pretty much constantly, and it’s important to be able to discern important stuff from the background noise and identify bullshit when our brain starts spewing it so we can stop. Getting quiet and focusing on something simple enough that you can really notice what your brain is saying (and practicing letting those trains of thought go) is an incredibly useful practice, even just for five minutes once a day.

Again: meditation isn’t for everybody – but don’t give up because your brain won’t shut up. Your brain shutting up isn’t the point of meditation.

Learning to refocus is the point of meditation.

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Ealasaid’s Guide to Finding a Bra That Fits!

I got a ton of interest when I mentioned this idea on Facebook, so here we are.

The Status Quo

Most boob-havers get fitted for bras using a measuring tape and math. This is stupid, because you can’t calculate the volume of a blobby shape using two lateral measurements, and cup size is about volume. As a result, most boob-havers have spent their boob-having years wearing bras that are too small! This results in a lot of us having breast tissue squished back from our boobs into our under-armpit/upper-ribs area. Bleh! No wonder bras are uncomfortable!

So, how to correct for this?

How To Put On A Bra

I’m sure plenty of y’all are rolling your eyes, but hear me out. Give this a try next time you buy a bra:

  1. Grab the bra you are trying on and put its straps over your shoulders so the cups hang in front of you.
  2. Fasten the band on the loosest setting.
  3. With your left hand, grab the underside of the band under your left arm and pull it away from your body.
  4. Take your right hand and stick it into the band under your left arm, then use it to sort of squeegee/scoop the tissue from your underarm toward the front and center of your boob.
  5. Repeat that on the other side.
  6. Look at your boobs in the mirror, is there loose material underneath them? (There usually is.)
    If there is, grab the cups of the bra to the inside of the straps and give a sort of tug-and-jiggle upward to settle them into the cups.

You are now ready to evaluate the bra for fit! Huzzah!

Does This Boob-Sling Actually Fit?

Things to look for:

  • Does the bra touch your sternum between your boobs? And I don’t mean kinda-sorta-touch, I mean, is it against your skin if you stand up straight, put your shoulders back, and look straight down.
    If it is, proceed. If not, go up at least one cup size and try again.
  • Do you have quadboob? This is the state of affairs where the upper/inner edge of the cup restricts your boob so that there’s a dent in it. The cup should be exactly flush with the line of your boob, not cutting into it or wrinkling away from it.
    If you have quadboob, go up at least one cup size and try again. If you have a quadboob-like effect under the band or in your armpit, you’re not scooping enough tissue into the cup and DEFINITELY should go up at least one cup size and try again.
  • Is the band nice and tight? This is kind of subjective. A good test is: can you slide two fingers under the band and move them around fairly easily? The right band size for you will probably feel weirdly tight, but you want it to be nice and snug so that it stays put and supports you properly.
  • The straps should also be nice and snug, but not quite as snug as the band. Use the two-finger test for tension and make sure they’re not too loose or too tight.
  • Is the band horizontal? Stand sideways and check in the mirror, the band should be horizontal front-to-back. If it’s not, try adjusting the straps a bit. If that doesn’t work, go down a band size and try again.

Things to remember!

  • Cup sizes change with band size. The volume of a B cup is different if it’s attached to a 34 band vs. a 38 band. When changing band size, adjust accordingly!
  • Bras that actually fit are usually expensive. This sucks, but I’ve found it’s worth shelling out $80/bra to get ones that don’t become painful once I’ve worn them for more than 15 minutes.
  • You are almost certainly going to have to try on a LOT of bras the first time you do this. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and if you (like me) have hands that tire out easily, you can ask the fitter/assistant person to help you with the hook-and-eyes in the back.
  • This will be a LOT easier if you have a local bra shop and aren’t relying on the folks at Nordstrom. Sometimes they’re good, but I’ve found it’s a 50-50 chance they’ll be useless. I go to The Pencil Test here in Portland, OR and LOVE THEM TO BITS.

In Closing

If this seems intimidating or a huge hassle, that’s normal! Boob-havers are generally treated as second-class citizens in the US, we’re used to putting up with bullshit.

Do not put up with bullshit when it comes to bras. You deserve better! Go bra shopping expecting it to take a while (so you aren’t rushed) and make plans to get a treat afterwards. Hell, if you’ve got a boob-having friend in the same situation as you, go together!

Boob-havers of the world, unite!

Got questions? Leave ’em in the comments! I’d also love to hear from folks who’ve found fab bras, especially in larger cup sizes.

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How Does Ealasaid Keep her Hair so Green?

I get a LOT of compliments on my spiffy green hair:


I also get asked by my friends, “did you just regreen it recently?” — when I haven’t. My hair stays nice and solid green for a good 4-6 weeks before I have to redye it.

As you can probably guess from my post about having long hair, I don’t really do things half-assedly, so when I started dying my hair, I started collecting all the various things one can do to help it stay bright and fresh.

Here’s my list of tips/tricks – I’ll do my best to update it if/when I add new things.

  • I always bleach my hair first.
    This is kind of a given, but even light-haired folks will benefit from it – the bleach opens up the cuticle of the hair.
  • After I put the dye in, I wrap my head in plastic wrap and leave it on overnight.
    This keeps the dye from drying out and lets it have extra time to soak into my hair. I also put a black towel on my pillow.
  • When I rinse the dye out of my hair the next day, I use water as cold as I can stand.
    I continue using as-cold-as-I-can-stand every day as well.
  • After that first rinse, I pour white vinegar over it, then rinse that out (again, with cold water).
    This is like the vinegar soak you do when dying clothing, it helps close the cuticle of the hair back up with the dye inside. When I started doing this, it stopped my color leakage cold. I can sleep on my white-with-snowflakes sheets two days after dying my hair and there’s zero dye on the pillow!
  • I don’t use shampoo.
    This is a habit I picked up when I was growing my hair long, and it’s serving me well even with short hair. I use a non-silicone-bearing conditioner (check the ingredients carefully, anything with “cone” at the end is a type of silicone, and those require detergent to get out of your hair – i.e., shampoo – so no product with ‘cone in it either) and that’s it. On the very rare occasions I feel the need to use shampoo, I use a really gentle, for-dyed-or-damaged-hair shampoo and don’t scrub at my hair much or at all.

This combo is working really well for me! Here’s a shot from when I was undergoing a medical trial and couldn’t redye my hair, so I had my stylist cut it into this awesome style. I believe when this photo was taken, I hadn’t dyed my hair in at least 8 weeks.

E and Z

Dig that green, yo. Also dig my awesome cat.

NOTE: People and their hair vary, so I’m not saying everybody should do all of these. It’s just what’s working for me. Experiment and find out what works for you!

Got a tip for keeping dyed hair looking fresh? Leave it in the comments! I’m always looking for new tricks to try.

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2015 – Discernment, More and Less

New Years resolutions aren’t my thing anymore – like a lot of my friends, I choose a word for my year, set a few goals, and that’s about it.

Last year was recognition – as in recognizing my own habits, recognizing opportunities to use what I already know, and also being recognized/recognizing myself for my talents.

Continue reading »

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Peter and Gamora in “Guardians of the Galaxy”

(Yeah, it’s a pretty lackluster title. I’m out of practice, I guess!)

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is easily one  of the best Marvel studios films so far, and I’m pleased to see it getting lots of good press and accolades (and called out on the small handful of things it swings and misses on). There’s one thing people are complaining about, though, that chaps my hide.

The relationship between Gamora and Peter.


So many folks are griping that he’s just like Kirk and she’s reduced to a love interest, and so on.

completely disagree and am really disappointed that nobody seems to interpret their character arcs the way I do. So, since I for once am able to make the time to write a damn post, here we go.

Continue reading »

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I’m not dead, just not blogging as much as I wish I had the time/spoons to. :)

Hannibal Season 2 ended last week, and now we’re in the hiatus #HeAteUs until late this year or early next year.

It’s evidence of how little I’ve been blogging that I only have one post specifically about the show.

I have a lot of feels about the finale, but lack the bandwidth to blog about them, at least so far. We’ll see how that goes.

For them as don’t know me offline or follow me on various social media, I’m doing well. I am also, however, actually working to take care of myself on top of my high-priority to-do items, and that means that lower-priority ones (like blogging) tend to fall by the wayside. It’s the pits.

If you miss me, feel free to follow me on Twitter or Tumblr. I’m active on both way more frequently than I am here (although my Tumblr is largely reblogs, including of copious Hannibal gifs, so it’s certainly not for everyone!).

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May is Fibromyalgia Awareness Month!

So, May 12 is the official Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, but May in general is being promoted as Fibromyalgia Awareness Month, so I’m posting now to do my part!

Fibromyalgia is a nasty critter. Whether it’s a syndrome or a disease (or something else entirely) is still up for debate. What is generally agreed upon is that there is a collection of symptoms which tend to occur together, ranging from overall body pain to elevated levels of particular chemicals in patients’ spinal fluid.

Pretty much every patient experiences fibromyalgia a little differently, and many folks have one or more of a collection of other chronic conditions (interstitial cystitis, migraines, IBS, environmental sensitivities, TMJ, etc. Plus, of course, anxiety and depression, because being in long-term pain messes up your brain chemistry). This makes diagnosis tricky, and treatment even trickier.

My own personal situation (partly due to fibro and partly due to comorbid issues) is:

  • Frequent headaches, caused by an inflamed disk in my neck or stress or sinus pressure or any one of a million other things. If left untreated (painkillers and rest), they turn into migraines (complete with vomiting and the need for prescription stuff to make them go away).
  • All-over body pain. Think the aches you get when you have the flu.
  • Increased pain sensitivity. If I’m flared up, a friendly clap on the shoulder is really painful. It’s kind of like when you have a sunburn, only in my tissue rather than on the surface.
  • Sensitivity to acidic beverages and foods. Too much coffee/tea/etc. and too little water, and … let’s say the symptoms are not dissimilar to a UTI, except if I drink enough water it goes away. I’m sensitive to citrus anyway, but even if I weren’t, drinking a glass of orange juice on a day I’m a little dehydrated would be a bad idea.
  • Sensitivity to scents. There are some things that just smell like pain to me. Lavender in particular, but plenty of synthetic scents and flowers do me in too.
  • Food sensitivities. I have a long list of foods I really shouldn’t eat regularly, so I do my best to avoid them day-to-day and then when I’m out with friends or whatever, if I have some, it’s okay. But on the daily? Baaaaad idea.
  • Brain fog. This is very common with fibro patients, and with chronic pain patients in general. It’s like being really sleep-deprived or sick, where your brain feels wrapped in cotton and it’s hard to remember things or multitask. Some days it’s better than others, and I have mostly gotten it under control with medication, but when my fibro flares, it gets bad too.
  • Disturbed sleep. Before I started taking supplements to help, I woke up enough to roll over, look at the clock, realize I could go back to sleep, and then go back to sleep multiple times a night. Like, once or twice an hour on a bad night. I didn’t even know that was weird until a nutritionist I was working with on fibro issues asked me about it. The first night I slept all the way through freaked me out because I literally had never experienced it as a regular thing. (There’s some chicken-and-egg questioning about whether the sleep disturbance is due to the fibro, or the fibro is due to the sleep disturbance. Either way, pain isn’t conducive to good sleep, and lack of sleep is a stress on the body.)
  • Fatigue. Not just from the disturbed sleep, but in general. I aim for nine hours of sleep a night, but usually get more like 7.5 or 8, which is just not enough. I tire out easily, and more things tire me than just physical exertion. It’s really annoying.
  • Stress sensitivity. If I’m working too hard or worrying too much, I’ll get flared up.
  • Joint issues. These are probably unrelated but certainly aren’t helped by my fibro. My knees have been messed up since I hit puberty — my IT band was too tight until I had a lengthening surgery in 2009. Tight IT band = kneecap pulled to the outside = squished cartilage = ow. I also have carpal tunnel syndrome, probably from my first time doing NaNoWriMo (I was also working half a dozen freelance type jobs at the time, most of which involved typing), and an inflamed disk in my neck which gives me awful headaches.
  • Depression and anxiety. Unsurprisingly, being in pain 24/7 is not great for your general mood or outlook on life!

I’m fortunate that I’ve gotten very good treatment over the years, so I know what I need to do to recover from a flare. 9/10 of the time, when I flare, I know what I did to set it off. I have a decent self-care regimen — but, of course, things change and shift over time, and my tolerances all affect each other, so things may be obvious in retrospect but less so in the moment.

Plus, of course, the whole fibro fog thing makes it difficult. Nate has been a huge help, not just because he encourages me to care for myself and also takes care of me when I need it, he has a clear perspective of overall patterns which I have trouble seeing myself.

So. That’s what my experience of fibromyalgia is like. I’m not looking for sympathy or coddling, I am looking to raise awareness. This is how I experience fibro. Other people with fibro have similar experiences to a greater or lesser extent.

Those of you who see me in person, consider for a moment that every time you have seen me, I have been in pain. Not always a lot of pain, but always at least some. This shit is invisible. You can’t know who has it and who doesn’t unless they tell you.

Let’s raise awareness. Too many people go undiagnosed or get the brushoff from doctors. Fibromyalgia is real, and it fuckin’ sucks.

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Wrapping up 30 Days of Lists!

It’s a good thing that there’s no wrong way to do the lists, because boy howdy have I not been following my plan — to do it every day. OH WELL.

Much to my annoyance, I had a draft for days 17-20, but it has vanished into the ether. Guess I will try to recreate them from memory!

Day 17: People I want to be like when I grow up

There are a lot of people I admire greatly, but I have finally started feeling like an adult, so my actual answer is pretty short:

  • Myself

I want to be like my own self when I grow up. So my job is figuring out what that means, and I’ve been working on it really hard for a long time. Now, at 36, I am finally starting to feel like I know what that means.

Day 18: Where I take out of town guests

Oooo good times! In the SF Bay Area:

  • The Winchester Mystery House
  • Alcatraz
  • Big Basin

In Portland:

  • Portland Japanese Garden
  • International Rose Test Garden
  • Lan Su Chinese Garden
  • Powell’s City of Books

Day 19: “Pins” to try

I don’t really use Pinterest enough to do this list.

Day 20: When I was your age

Oh man. So if the target audience is, say, a high schooler:

  • I didn’t have internet access because the internet barely even existed.
  • I didn’t have a cellphone for basically the same reason.
  • I used a typewriter for my essays and lab reports, not a computer (I did that for my frosh year of college, too)


Day 21: The perfect _____________ involves _____________

Oh man, I could probably do this list forEVER.

  • The perfect day involves reading
  • The perfect life involves cats
  • The perfect evening involves tasty food/drink and good friends
  • The perfect weekend involves sleeping in
  • The perfect video game involves a lot of humor, or at least a light tone


Day 22: This week’s playlist

I listen to music so rarely these days that I guess I will have to use my podcast playlist!

Day 23: It’s time for ….

  • A nap.
  • Lunch.
  • Cards Against Humanity!


Day 24: Best ways to show love

Well, this depends on the person, really. If the person in question is me, the best ways to show (me) love:

  • Ask me questions about my day/activities/cats/whatever. Be interested in what I’m up to!
  • Remembering what I like and letting me know when you see something I’d like that’s on sale or something.
  • Doing or saying something to let me know you were thinking about me when we weren’t together.

Basically just letting me know I’m important. Insecure attachment style + (mostly controlled) Impostor Complex = needs lots of reassurance. :)


Day 25: Songs I’ll record for my album

Oh man. Going by the songs I love performing for karaoke or Rock Band and/or sing along with loudest on the rare occasions I listen to music:

There’d be Dethklok on here if I could do the vocals properly. But I can’t, so no ‘klok. Woe.

I also have a dream of fronting an all-gal band that only does covers of songs written/performed by men about women that are creepy as shit. That playlist:

That’s a list that could be a LOT longer, but I haven’t been keeping it up to date. Time to change that, I think! Putting it into Evernote so I can add things as I think of them. :D

Day 26: Make up your own holidays

Weirdly, this is giving me a lot of trouble. I really like the holidays we have already!

  • Love Your Bookstore Day! Everyone goes to a local bookstore and buys a book. This is celebrated at least once a month.

Day 27: Go to meals/recipes when I have guests

  •  Mongolian Beef
  • Ordering pizza

I know, I’m such a thrilling host.

Day 28: I feel my best when

I feel my best physically when…

  • I’ve been getting 9 hours of sleep a night
  • I’ve been exercising regularly and eating well
  • I’ve been doing yoga regularly

I feel my best mentally when…

  • I’ve just finished Aikido class
  • I’m doing sitting practice every day
  • I’m getting quality time with one of the cats.

Day 29: Favorite local businesses

Oh this one’s easy.

I know I’m forgetting some but just can’t think of them. Argh.

Day 30: Historical figures I would like to meet

  • John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
  • Jesus
  • The Buddha
  • Gerald Gardner
  • Oscar Wilde (preferably via time machine so I could convince him either to dump Bosie before all that shit went down or talk him out of the libel suit)
  • Ada Lovelace
  • Hypatia

Again, I know I’m forgetting some. Very annoying.

And there we are! Done.


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More 30 Days of Lists Catch-up!

Man, I just cannot stay on top of these. But they say there’s no wrong way to do 30 Days of Lists, so I am not going to stress about it. :)

Day 12 – Things I always do for myself

There are a lot of ways to take this prompt. Is it things I always do myself rather than having others do them? Things I always do that are for me that are nice? Things I almost always do for me that are nice? Any sort of things I do for me?

Really, any list where I rigidly enforce the always is going to be pretty short. I am many things but 100% consistent isn’t one of them. I’m as human as the next person, and human means flaws and inconsistency.

But. Nice things I do for myself with regularity:

  • Ask Nate for hugs when I need them.
  • Set money aside for retirement.
  • Work on making myself/my environment better, or at least not consciously making things worse.
  • Daily meditation and spiritual practice (more days than not, at least. I often don’t on non-work days because of their lack of structure).
  • Buy books.
  • Read books.
  • Take time to unwind in the evening.

Day 13 – Describe your childhood home

Oo! Fun!

  • Big (two stories, four bedrooms; one of those was set aside for my parents’ books)
  • Full of books (see above about the library bedroom; also pretty much every room in the house had bookshelves in it. The bathrooms didn’t have shelves but there were always books on the toilet tank lids)
  • Wood floors
  • At Christmas, full of Christmas-tree smell and baking-cookies smell (Dad had a tradition of baking a TON of cookies every holiday season, for us and for friends & family and for parties and and and!)
  • Quiet (no tv on in the background, very little radio on in the background. Lots of reading)
  • Packed with lots of interesting and useful equipment! (camping, horseback riding, playing in the snow, we did all kinds of cool stuff, and had all kinds of cool equipment for it, from my snow saucer to the canvas A-frame tent Mom lived in as a kid)

Day 14 – Favorite treats when traveling

I don’t really treat myself when I’m traveling, though I probably should. Really, the one treat around traveling I love and am generally good at is cleaning before I leave – coming home to clean sheets and clean towels is so nice.

Day 15 – Things I only bought once or twice in my life

Oh ho! This is tricky.

  • My car (One was bought for me when I was in college. I bought my beloved Honda Civic, and that’s it so far)
  • Seriously high-quality dresses (there’s the one I got married in and the one I got to officiate Jenny’s wedding, and that’s it)
  • Messenger bags. I think I’ve only had the one I used back in school and my current one (a ThinkGeek Bag of Holding, which I ADORE)

Day 16 – This week’s to do list

Hoo boy!

  • Tons of work stuff (release on Friday, wheeeee)
  • Laundry
  • Clean
  • Work on unpacking more (maybe start hanging art? Would love to unpack that!)
  • Find another craft fair or two to apply to
  • Bind a bunch of books
  • Track down tax stuff for tax guy
  • More things I am probably forgetting. Been a long day.
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30 Days of Lists: Catching Up!

Busybusybusy. Started this yesterday, then got distracted by shit and left off around Day 9. Pfah!

Day 7: Favorite childhood games/tasks

  • Playing the board games my folks have in the linen closet. Lots of Bookshelf games, whose names I do not now remember. Smess: The Ninny’s Chess. Monopoly.
  • I played a lot of pretend, especially as Darth Vader to the neighbor kids’ Luke and Leia. Good times.
  • SCA events
  • Racing my pony around the arena and pretending to be Conan or pretending to be flying a spaceship with my crop as a joystick (pew pew pew!).

Day 8: How I feel today

Let’s do today today, rather than yesterday today.

  • Tired. I haven’t been getting enough sleep. No good.
  • Sore. Been skimping on my knee exercises, so they are achy.
  • Anxious. Yay brain goblins.
  • Pleased with myself – I’ve gotten a bunch done today and alos have been doing really well playing “Dishonored” lately. W00t!

Day 9: Keep calm and….

I’ve started finding all versions of this to be a bit twee. I really love the sentiment of the original (Keep Calm and Carry On), in large part because I love the way Britain handled WWII. The whole “fuck the Nazis, we will rebuild everything they knock down just as it was before, and if they knock it down again, we will rebuild it again. They don’t get to make permanent marks on our cities! We will have as-normal-as-possible lives, dammit!”

(I’m personally of the opinion that this is the attitude to have toward any sort of terrorist-style destruction. Letting the baddies change your city means letting them control you and make indelible marks you have to see every day. That gives them a lot of power, and I am not a fan of giving those unmitigated shitweasels anything.)

So, no list on this one. Or rather, a short list:

  1. Keep Calm and Carry On

Day 10: If I Ruled the World

Bwah-haha! OK, assuming that I somehow was able to have the power to actually enforce shit but not in a fascist sort of way (I’m envisioning democracy at the local/state/national level, and I’d be the equivalent of the EU/UN, only not incompetent and powerless), here would be my priorities:

  1. Every human has the right to the following:
    1. Food
    2. Water
    3. Healthcare
    4. Education (at least up through an Associates degree, if not a Bachelors, to include sex education as well as comprehensive health/drug education)
    5. Communication (e.g. the internet, cell towers, other infrastructure)
    6. Reasonable privacy (e.g. opting out of things must be respected, no unreasonable search/seizure, etc.)
    7. Control of their own body (e.g. legalizing most drugs, legalizing abortion, no laws against gay marriage or homosexuality in general, etc. Obviously this stops applying to felons, who have to go to jail, where I’d want them to still have the other rights, at least the basic first four)
  2. Transition to sustainable power sources only asap — e.g., all new cars must run on electricity, all new buildings must have solar panels and other energy-efficient stuff, grants to building owners who want to put solar panels or bird-safe wind turbines on their buildings/parking lots, etc.)
    Note: all wind farms would be required to slow their turbines to a speed that’s safe for bats, raptors, and other wildlife. I’m okay with wind power when it’s not decimating endangered species.
  3. Water conservation! Grants for installing gray-water systems, taxes on stupid shit like huge fountains and lawns in deserts, sliding scale water prices (so the less you use, the less you pay per gallon). There’d be a base amount available free to individuals’ homes/apartments, but beyond that, they’d start paying. Companies using water stupidly will pay through the nose, bigtime.
  4. Organic food only. Most pesticides act on our bodies like hormones, and it is fucking up our shit big time.
  5. Finding some way to encourage cities/individuals to archive things, and not digitally. Digital is too hard to keep updated as technologies change, and too susceptible to rain/EMP/crushing damage. I’m all for public libraries culling to keep their collections up to date, but someone somewhere should be archiving things. Ephemera, too. Like, all magazines should be sending copies to a handful of archives around the country, someone should be archiving comic zines and other zines, etc. This shit matters, people.

Can you tell I think about this a lot? Also that I have Very Strong Opinions?

Day 11: When I Need to Focus, I…

  • Take a few deep breaths to center myself and become aware of my surroundings — ensuring that I’m fully present.
  • If that doesn’t work well enough, there’s a technique whose provenance I cannot recall where you visualize a spinning ball behind your forehead, inside your brain, and it’s like a magnet, pulling all the fragments of your attention back from work/school/projects/whatever. Once they’re all sucked in and part of the ball, you take a deep breath and sink it down into your center. I also like to then take a layer of it and expand that layer out to be all around me, like a shield of attention which only allows things into my consciousness if they’re helpful, and doesn’t let my attention fritter away.
  • Put on headphones with white noise and/or Mozart. I love SimplyNoise and SimplyRain for white noise, and often open them in multiple tabs so I can layer different noises over one another. It’s so good for blocking out people talking!
  • Another useful tool is setting a timer for 5 minutes and making a list of every single open loop/distraction/stressor going on for me. After the timer goes off, then I list what I can do about each thing (often, the answer is nothing!). The things I can do become a to-do list, and the things I can’t do anything about get categorized into “welp, nothing I can do there!” and dismissed.
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