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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30 Days of Lists: Day 6! Projects I’m in the Middle Of

Bahahahaha oh man. So many. So, so many. Let’s number this list to see how scary it is.

  1. Knitting a [redacted because he reads this blog] for my Dad. Almost done! GAH!
  2. Knitting a temperature scarf for 2013.
  3. Unpacking from the move.
  4. Ongoing: Binding books for The Book Roadie.
  5. Ongoing: Finding craft fairs to vend at for The Book Roadie.
  6. Shelving my books. I basically finished, except for a stack of graphic novels which needs to be double-checked so I’m sure it’s in my LibraryThing database.
  7. My 2013 taxes. Prepping to meet with my shiny new CPA next week. Yikes.
  8. Re-dying my hair green. Did the roots last night, doing the green this afternoon.
  9. Researching book-related deities.
  10. Paying off my credit cards.
  11. Registering The Book Roadie as a business in Oregon.
  12. Ongoing: Reading the books in my To Read bookcase. Someday, someday I will be down to just a little stack of unread books again. Someday.
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30 Days of Lists: Day 5!

Today’s list: Favorite Fictional Couples!

Oooo fun! In no particular order:

  • Gomez and Morticia AddamsGomez and Morticia Addams have long been my ideal couple, and will probably stay that way.
  • Abigail Wendover and Miles Calvery in Georgette Heyer’s “Black Sheep.” I love Heyer’s regencies, they are the only romances apart from Jane Austen that I can stand, and I generally adore them.
  • Speaking of Austen: Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy in “Pride & Prejudice.”
  • Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt from “Parks & Recreation” on NBC. Seriously, they have one of the sweetest and best relationships on TV, and I adore them. ADORE.
  • They are followed closely by April and Andy, on the same show. They’re a couple who really complement each other and bring out the best in each other, and it’s awesome.
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30 Days of Lists: Day 4!

Favorite tools to create with!

  • Ealasaid in front of her bookbinding workbenchPretty much all my bookbinding equipment, especially my awesome stack-cutting guillotine (the cast iron beast on the left in the photo). My favorite hand-tool is probably a tossup between my bone folders and my scalpel.
  • Knitting needles, particularly bamboo or wood ones. (I have a pair of bone knitting needles, but they’re cold and feel brittle and weird, alas) I love double-pointed needles in particular, I’m way more comfortable with them than with circular needles.
  • My Prismacolor markers. I like coloring abstract patterns (I have a couple fancy coloring books of things like tile patterns).
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30 Days of Lists: Catchup!

I registered for 30 Days of Lists and then promptly forgot about it! Whoops! So today is catchup day. :)

I originally planned on doing fancy, illuminated lists (kinda like Dianne Sylvan is doing), but that is so not happening. Not if I want to actually do the lists, anyway. So let’s move forward with text lists!

List 1: Ways to Add Magic to my Life

  • Wearing awesome socks
  • Drinking fancy teas – especially blooming teas!
  • Making space for magic – decluttering
  • Get a Tiny Relics shrine
  • Make more shrines of my own

List 2: How I Would Describe Myself to a Penpal

  • My hair is almost always dyed green.
  • I wear a lot of geeky tshirts.
  • I have several chronic illnesses and am still learning to live a full life within the limitations they set.
  • I have three tattoos, two about 6″ across and one that curls all the way up my right leg.

List 3: My Ideal Day

OK, I mostly have a “how weekdays would look if only…” list. I guess I’m practical?

  • Get up around 8.
  • Daily spiritual and writing practices + breakfast
  • Bookbinding!
  • Lunch outside if the weather is nice. Read a book.
  • Bookbinding biz paperwork stuff (accounting, website/marketing, etc)
  • Go for a walk, either in my neighborhood or out in the city somewhere (Japanese Garden! Chinese Garden! Rose Garden!… I sense a theme)
  • Chillaxing time (video games, reading, play with cats, whatever)
  • Dinner with my sweetie
  • Relaxing time (yoga? chamomile tea? coloring and listening to podcasts? whatevs)
  • Bed around 11.

The “a single ideal day” is a lot more difficult for me because I want to Do All The Things ™, so… yeah.

Woo! Now I’m caught up.

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Today I am noticing a number of things.

  • I am noticing that the joints in my hands ache. Not as much as they did a few days ago, but more than they do on a day where my fibro isn’t acting up.
  • I am noticing that my back and shoulders ache but are not clenched, which is kind of a miracle (one of my docs and I are trying a very mild muscle relaxer and it seems to be helping!)
  • I am noticing that I am exhausted except when it’s bedtime and then I want to read.
  • I am noticing that my knees ache, but not awfully. Just a bit. So does everything else. this isn’t a full on flare, just a bit worse than a day when I’m doing well.

What Does it All Mean?

Well, primarily it means that I am paying attention to my body, go me.

It also (especially the bedtime thing) means that I am stressed out and not getting enough exercise or rest. (Naturally, I need both. Too little exercise makes it hard to rest; too little rest makes it hard to exercise.)

What Can I Do About This?

Lots! One nice thing about all the work I’ve done over the last decade is that my metaphorical toolchest is huge.

Things I could do:

  • Go for a walk.
  • Do some yoga.
  • Make sure to be in bed and chilling with a book by 9:30.
  • Remember to do my PTP exercises (physical therapy for knees and neck, pilates for everything else).


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Hannibal FTW

My current media obsession (which is likely obvious if you follow my Tumblr at all) is “Hannibal,” NBC’s drama about a few of the people who knew Hannibal Lecter back when he hadn’t been caught yet. It’s not really about Lecter himself — he doesn’t show up until quite a ways into the premiere, and the show isn’t really from his point of view, so we mostly get to see the mask he presents everyone to keep from being exposed as a serial killer and cannibal. His, as one character puts it so well, “very well-tailored person-suit.”

I watched the show when it first aired, have rewatched it since a couple of times since, and I keep finding new things to be impressed by. (spoilers ahead, of course)

Continue reading »

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Finding a New Dojo

I started studying Aikido back around 1993, when I was a teenager. One of my uncles does martial arts, and he helped me shop around for a good dojo. We checked out three, and the one I liked the vibe of best is where I started training. I stayed there (barring time away at college) until I moved up to Portland last year.

The one time before now that I’ve had to look for a new dojo was when I was in college. I wanted somewhere to train while I was in school, since just training during my vacations wasn’t cutting it.

For starters, there weren’t a lot of options for dojos. I found one where I really liked one of the senseis, but I wound up dropping out because I felt so dissatisfied with the training. It took me a while to figure it out what red flag I should look for next time: I didn’t like training with the senior students. At all. The sensei I liked taught Aikido as I’m used to it – flowing, friendly, and focused on studying how the movements. The senior students apparently took after one of the other teachers, because they were constantly pushing me to train harder, to move faster, to be more harsh.

Needless to say, I didn’t last there very long, and that started a long period for me where I would train occasionally but not regularly, thanks to scheduling, travel, and health (having surgery twice in eighteen months is not a way to keep yourself fit, let me tell you).

There are a zillion Aikido dojos in Portland. There are literally two within walking distance of my house! So cool!

But I decided to try Budo Dojo in Beaverton first, because they’re affiliated with the same federation as my old dojo – Aikido Schools of Ueshiba. I figured that was the best way to ensure continuity of training (plus the thought of training toward my black belt and not having it be under ASU really made me sad). I was not disappointed. For one thing, the dojo is clean and has a big feel to it without being empty. The mat takes up almost all the available floor space, which is cool.

Most importantly, once we started training, I really liked working with the senior students! They were all friendly and helpful without being pushy (I may be nikyu – a brown belt – but I haven’t trained with an real regularity in years and years. “Rusty” does not even begin to describe my Aikido skills).

That I liked the younger students and was impressed by the friendliness and skill of the teacher were also important, but the fact that I instantly liked every senior student I trained with was what sold me. I was thinking that I’d keep looking after checking them out, but I’d be kidding myself.

Budo Dojo feels like a new home — enough is familiar that I feel safe and comfortable, and enough is different to make me really pay attention and be in the moment.

Plus, I managed to train the full 90 minutes without injuring myself, which is itself a minor miracle. Woot!

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