Super Brief Update on Siouxsie

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A hint about my job, but also an interesting product for sale. “Extra Green” green beans. What will they think of next?

I can barely call myself a blogger these days. Three months without a post.

Because, see, I got a job. One where I go out of the house early in the morning and stay there until early in the afternoon. One where I am with people all day. One where I walk 3-5 miles during my work. One where I have fun, serve people, and enjoy being myself.

When I interviewed, I said I wanted 24 hours per week. I was a little nervous about working after so many years having been a SAHM, so I didn’t want to overdo it right out of the gate. It wasn’t a minute before I realized this was a GREAT fit for me and I sought out ways to work more hours.

The job started while Kepler was still in school and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen when summer arrived. But, with the help of my tribe, mostly Greg, my mom and faux pa, he has been well cared for, and I have gotten lots of practice at logistics.

So I’m 8 1/2 months into the keto lifestyle and three months into my job. Both are a great fit for me. Both give me lots of positive things and reinforce lots more positive things.

My blog continues, albeit in fits and starts.

Today is quiet, overcast and rainy. The windows are open so I feel the effects of the rain and I hear the cars splashing through the puddles as they drive by occasionally. It couldn’t be a more perfect day. I hope yours is going well.

Love,

Siouxsie

LPT: When You Get New Internet Service

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LPT (Life Pro Tip)

I suppose I’m not the only household that has switched cable/internet companies from time warner to directv to cincinnati bell (locally) and back again. I’m guessing readers from further away have their own version of these three.

This time when I changed I had a brainstorm.

In my life, in my very humble opinion, I have entirely too many login usernames and passwords to keep track of. 1Password does a good job of keeping track of things, but there are just objectively a great number of these to deal with.

So here’s the tip.

When you get a new network, name it the same thing as the old network. When you choose a new password, make it the same as the old password.

(Note: you often hear you shouldn’t use the same password for multiple sites. Using the same password for an old network and a new network is like using the password for ONE network. That thing about multiple sites does not apply here.)

As I was watching the installer yesterday, I realized that there were going to be several complications if I now had to deal with a new network name and new password. Keeping things the same made this switch over very nearly seamless, not only for me, but for everyone and everything in our home that connects to our wifi.

You are quite welcome.

 

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I seem to have been dismissed from my position.

Somebody landed the Helicopter Parenting helicopter and escorted me off.

I’ve been driving this thing, while holding on to all the passengers so they didn’t fall out, while maintaining communications with ground control.

Someone else can fly the helicopter? Someone else can make a plan?

Now what? Who else am I besides a Helicopter Parent? This could be interesting.

Putting on the Brakes

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I follow a few bloggers who write regularly. James Clear posts every Monday and Thursday and has for a few years. Seth Godin writes a daily post and has for something like 16 years, or maybe 61 years. It’s been quite a long time anyway. *You* may follow bloggers who are consistent, but you follow at least one who lurches forward two baby steps, then writes posts for 7 straight days, then nothing for 4 months. Following such a blogger takes patience and determination! While I may be more the norm as far as bloggers go with my haphazard posting, expect to see some consistency from this blogger starting today.

I listened to the latest episode of a new favorite podcast yesterday called 10% Happier. The guest was Daniel Pink, who I think I have heard of, but maybe just because his name is a color I like. His latest book, When, is about the science of when we do things for optimal performance.

The takeaway for me was the Peak-Trough-Recovery cycle of our days. Around 8am we are at a peak of energy and brain power. Around 1pm we have moved into a trough where we definitely do not have that creative energy flowing. And by about 6pm we have recovered somewhat, although not up to the same peak levels as the morning.

Analytical thinking and creating is best done in the morning.

Administrative work is best done in the early afternoon.

Brainstorming and insight work is best done in the later hours of the day.

This is the opposite of what I have been doing. I have been tackling email and paperwork in the morning, which would be better addressed later in the day. I realize now that it is difficult to be writing consistently when I am using up my juicy writing time adding up columns of numbers. So I screeched my old schedule to a halt and I’m experimenting with Pink’s suggestion on what to do when.

How do you structure your day? If you were to apply Pink’s insights, what changes would you make? As always, thanks for reading!

 

The Story of the Fail

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As a keto enthusiast, my list of foods is pleasing to me, positive for me, and pretty consistent. I suppose most people have a list of foods they typically eat, and it probably contains foods that get eaten regularly. That’s probably the difference between a healthy diet and an unhealthy one, whether or not the typical foods are full of nutrients, or full of nothing but empty calories.

On Fridays, I make “fathead dough nachos,” which is simply a keto-friendly dough, cooked and cut into triangles, and served with grated cheese and pico de gallo. It’s a perfectly legitimate keto food, but I keep it as a treat for once a week.

Yesterday, I went to make the nachos and my dough was acting very strange. Dry as all get out. I looked to make sure I had grabbed the almond flour bag. Yep, it said Almond Flour on it. I was talking at the time but I didn’t think that would have made any difference. Decided to set that batch aside and try again. However, I did the same exact steps with the same exact ingredients, having decided that my scale was acting up because it had been unplugged for awhile.

The second batch also seemed pretty dry but I pressed on because I knew I had the correct amounts the second time. As we choked down the nachos, it finally occurred to me to look closer at the almond flour. Aha. The bag said “Try our other products like Almond Flour.” And it all came together. This bag contained coconut flour; also keto-friendly, but made up of an entirely different product and yielding a way different product.

The embarrassing truth is, I was bitterly disappointed. I didn’t just blow it off, laugh it off, or otherwise take it lightly. And that made me realize that my dependence on that treat was maybe a little out of balance. I’ve been seeing it as a reward for all my perfect eating all week, when the actual reward is the results of the way I am eating. Which made me realize how “soft” I really am, how coddled.

Sure, there are a few hard things in my life, but not many and not very big, in the scheme of things. I think I have a pretty strong illusion of control of my life, if not actual control of quite a few things. And while I utilize my ability to choose in sometimes positive ways for myself and others, here I am, again, realizing that the way I interpret and explain things is either incomplete or short-sighted or both.

During March, I have been looking at circumstances and asking what is being offered to me in terms of life lessons. I’ve really only been asking in tiny whispers and a tiny font, but the Universe is a really good listener and showed me that I’m waaaaaay too attached to outcomes. As much as I write about life being a journey, not a destination, I LOVE closure and answers and I guess it’s going to be a life-long challenge for me to focus on the process, to be right where I am, to learn to be present.

Would you be disappointed if your weekly treat was a big fat fail? How do you, kind readers, stay unattached to outcome?

 

Between a Rock and a …

So a few weeks ago a storm blew into my life. A veritable tsunami of chaos. A tornado’s worth of choices culminating in strong, tall trees being blown down, boulders being dislodged. I think you get my drift.

Some days I’m flying the kite, and some days I *am* the kite. Been wanting to write about this but it’s taken me awhile to get my head into a writing place.

Of all the google images that come up when you search for “between a rock and a hard place” this one actually made me smile and reminded me to keep practicing asking questions and being accepting of what is. As I’m remembering that, I’m also choosing to share it with you.

Plot Twist

I Knew This Day Would Come

IMG_0640For the first couple of weeks on keto, I felt like a pile of dirty clothes, left on the floor to fester and rot. Well, maybe that’s a little exaggeration. I just remember the transition from being a carb-burner to a fat-burner was not without its struggles.

For the next couple of months, I started feeling better and better, and I knew I was feeling on top of the world (cue Karen Carpenter’s voice here). I also knew that no one ever stays feeling that way forever. Gradually, though, I have become a little less ecstatic and a little more realistic.

I’ve been cheating on myself a little bit lately with food. Still no carbs, but a little bit extra here and there. I managed to keep this fact from myself as I simply didn’t write down all the transgressions on my food tracking app. For all intents and purposes, if you looked at my food diary, I was rocking this diet!

Hi my name is Siouxsie and I’m an alcoholic. That’s what they say at AA meetings, even if your drug of choice is something else. I’m far, far from an alcoholic, laughably so, but I still possess addictive thinking and behaviors. And what I’m addicted to is anything (legal) that I think will make me feel better. My drug of choice used to be carbs. How often I turned to junk food and sugar when I sensed dissatisfaction within. And, just like any addict (I think), when you get rid of the main source of feeling “good,” a bunch of feelings you have been avoiding rush in and vie for attention. Surely these feelings contribute to relapses.

And for an addict, occasionally there will be some other substance which will quell that dissatisfaction and those uncomfortable feelings. Which brings me to today.

I turn to social media now hoping it will make me feel better. More connected, heard, witnessed. I turn to meaningless television shows I can binge on Hulu and Netflix and Amazon prime. I turn to the carb equivalent of literature — easy to take in, non-nutritious, digested quickly and I am left wanting more.

So what if there is a “keto equivalent” for information? What if there is a portion that is similar to these good fats I am eating every day? Well, if you have read anything I have written you may know I love a good analogy. Therefore, for me there is definitely a keto equivalent.

The good “fats” are writing, creating, reading non-fiction, drawing, reading classical or deeper literature, listening to podcasts with some depth and meaning. 75% of the time I am using my brain these are the activities I want to be doing. The protein is connecting with people in real life.  (In some cases, that may mean FaceTime if the person lives in California.) 20% of the time I am using my brain, I will be nourished by connecting with people in real life. The “carbs” could be empty or near-empty like scrolling through Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, or slightly more nutritious like (TBD – to be determined – any ideas?) and I would allot 3% of my brain space to these activities.

I drew the onion illustration for my post. Normally, I just google an image, which is fine, but I like drawing, even though I’m a primitive beginner. Actual food was the outer layer of my onion. I see that information processing is the next layer. The parable of the two wolves has caught my attention today. I want to feed my good wolf so I’m taking in more goodness, kindness, compassion, truth, beauty.

I still have to work out what going “keto” on information looks like. I know a few things it doesn’t look like. I have a hunch that shifting my information “macros” will lead to a more satisfying, meaningful experience. What about you? How do you find a good balance in how you take in information and create things? What tips do you have for managing the information that is available and coming at us full speed ahead 24/7/365? What are your good “fats” relating to information?

 

Because I Want to Remember This Day

Grumpy Moody Boy.

Yesterday, I picked Kepler up from school as I do each day. He walks down the hall into the lobby where I wait and he hides under his hood, tricking me into thinking that I’m not going to be able to find him. We play our little game where I finally find him and we start to walk to the car.

Some days he’s relaxed and happy, and some days he comes out of school with some unresolved feelings. Maybe he’s tired, or had words with a friend, or is hungry. When he comes out this way, no matter what I say, it’s the wrong thing. Usually, that’s no big deal. Yesterday, I was at the end of a relatively stressful week, and I wanted not to engage in a conversation which was going nowhere fast. So, I stayed quiet.

When we got home, instead of coming around to his side of the car and opening his door, I went on into the house and let him come in in his own time. He was quite offended that I had gone in and closed the door, even though it’s unlocked, easy to open, and I’m right inside.

It had been about 10 minutes since I had picked him up and he was still expressing his displeasure with everything. So I asked him if I could give him a hug. He folded himself into me and just rested. He said, “Thanks, Mom.” He asked me to sing the Ho’o Pono Pono song that I sing to him every night at bedtime.

Ho’o Pono Pono, Ho’o Pono Pono

I’m so sorry; I love you.

Please forgive me; I thank you.

This song can be repeated over and over and is lovely to sing in a group. I felt him relax. He had a way to deal with the feelings. He felt heard. He felt loved.

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I could see visible changes in his body as he processed his feelings. And when we finished the song, he said, “lovely Mom.”

There was a time in my life when I would have doubled down on insisting that he not be grumpy, which would of course have just exacerbated the problem. And all I can say is I am grateful that in this case, I recognized that he needed kindness and gentleness.

Here is a recording I made on Noteflight, as well as the music with lyrics below. Try singing it a few times. Let it heal you.. (First time I’ve ever used Noteflight, so it’s a bit rough, but it does get the melody and harmonies across.)

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Forgiveness

I had the quote in mind, but didn’t know who had said it. Anaïs Nin said this:

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“We see things not as they are, but as we are.”

The Soundtrack of my Youth

Keith Green was a Christian musician who enjoyed a brief, intense life before perishing with two of his young children (ages 3 and 2) in a plane crash at the age of 28. I remember exactly where and when I found out he had died. I was at Honey Rock Camp and had just finished my 18-day wilderness trip. On the bulletin board was a short article about Keith and his death. I did not know at that time that also on the plane were a married couple with their six children. All were killed.

Keith’s music reflected his intensity. I loved his music. His music became the soundtrack of my life from 1977-1982. Today, even though I no longer believe in God and am no longer a Christian, I still love “Until Your Love Broke Through.”

The chorus:

Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
I’ve been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me
Until your love broke through

I loved that song when he sang it, and later when Phil Keaggy covered it. But “we don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.” I think Keith couldn’t not sing. He had been making music since he was a tiny boy, and Jesus made a lot of sense to him. Indeed, he felt like everything made sense now because Jesus’ love had broken through his blindness.

Life is Difficult

Being in a post-Christian state, I find interesting the stories of others who have left the faith they grew up in. Plenty of people seem to leave because they were hurt by Christians and/or disappointed by God. The teachings I received as a child and young person indicated that being disappointed by God was antithetical to actually trusting him. That if you really trusted, you would believe that “all things work together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” The sense of letting God down can be strong in someone who struggles with their life.

As these concepts are inculcated into small children, they are quite often toxic. Children have strong abilities to perceive, without the matching strength of ability to interpret. A child may detect tension between her parents, but will very often interpret the tension to be something that is due to the child’s failure in some way. Sadly, I saw the world and the things I heard at church as evidence for my defective nature. And every time I heard anything related to the idea that we are capable of no good things on our own, that reinforced my belief.

I place no blame on the adults in my life who taught me that I should be a good girl or I would go to hell. I truly believe they believed what they were saying. That man who stood on the platform, striding back and forth in the little Baptist church, bellowing about hellfire and damnation — I figure he really did believe that. And I suppose there was less understanding 50 years ago about how children thrive and how they suffer. So, hindsight is 20-20 as we know, but that’s also why I do not point fingers at them in a judging kind of way.

Every day with Jesus

When I got my “fire insurance” at that little Baptist church, I finally breathed a sigh of relief. I wasn’t going to have to go to hell because I had finally put together the right combination of words and “asked jesus into my heart.” But nobody’s love broke through to me. I “came to Jesus” completely out of terror. Madeline L’Engle said, “Begin as you mean to continue.” In my childish way, I meant to continue to be good, to do whatever it took to keep myself out of that lake of fire, where I would be burning eternally with no relief.

As a child, I couldn’t distinguish between concrete and abstract. To me, it was a literal lake of fire — I can still remember the mental picture I had of it — people writhing, burning, agonizing, and shit out of luck because they had their chance on earth and they had missed it.

Soon after I got fire insured, I was introduced to the lovely “I Wish We’d All Been Ready.” To wit:

Life was filled with guns and war
And all of us got trampled on the floor
I wish wed all been ready
The children died, the days grew cold
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish we’d all been ready
There’s no time to change your mind
The son has come and you’ve been left behind

For an anxious child, this terrified me further.

The father spoke, the demons dined
How could you have been so blind?
There’s no time to change your mind
The son has come and you’ve been left behind

Well, I thought, I’ll just have to make sure I’m ready because I sure as HELL do not want to get left behind. I memorized bible verses, learned the books of the Bible for a crisp $1 bill, sang the “hymns and songs and spiritual songs,” and generally had a lot of fun with our friends from church. Then we moved on to a different church where exciting things were happening but where we didn’t have nearly as much fun with our friends.

Anaïs Nin was onto something

Fast forward a lot of years and experiences later, and I saw more and more how the truth of “we see the world as we are, not as it is” meant we do christianity in the subjective world of our own experiences, assigned meanings, wounds, and temperaments. Just like we do everything else, we assign meaning to the story of our lives.

I had long ago internalized the belief that I was defective, unable to do good, unworthy of anything, unrighteous, unclean, un, un, un. Not enough. Never ever enough. The years of pain from feelings like I wasn’t a good enough daughter, sister, cousin, friend, student, wife, mother, and of course, Christian. When I first was introduced to the idea that I might actually be ok just the way I am, I rejected the idea. But there came a day when I heard the right person at the right time talk about it in a way that made sense to me. It was possible, it is possible, to see myself as something other than a broken thing that doesn’t deserve to take up space.

And that’s when I started to understand forgiveness. When I forgave myself. I started to understand love, when I began to love myself. I became compassionate when I gave compassion to myself. Grace made sense when I was able to extend it to myself.

All the years of praying. All the years of bargaining. All the years of trying, trying, trying to believe that God loved me were fruitless, as in, literally devoid of fruit.

Sweet Hour of Prayer

And speaking of prayer, I heard many sermons, read books, had discussions, read articles, journaled, and listened to teaching about what prayer was, what it was for. I believed the lyrics, “Sometimes He calms the storm; sometimes He calms the child.” That meant to me that sometimes God would answer the prayer about stopping the unpleasant thing with a yes and it would stop, and sometimes he would answer the prayer with a no, but would be kind enough to comfort me in the midst of it. But, the only way we feel calm is if we believe that we can.

I’m sure (if anyone is still reading at this point) plenty of people have experiences that seem to be supernatural. That they have experiences where they can’t explain why they were able to be ok in the midst of a loved one dying, or losing a beloved pet, or facing devastating news. Everybody is I, and we all have our own experience. To me, it makes the utmost sense that my experience of religion was simply one more facet of my experience of life.

So, yeah, I too woke up from the longest dream. I was lost in this belief system that started in my first minutes of life. And what broke through to me was true love. Or should I say, what broke through in me was true love.

Until Love Broke Through

I’m a much more loving person now because I love myself. My shackles are gone. As I often say, I think the “fruit of the spirit” is da bomb. I say yes to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. And there is no law against any of those things. But I don’t have to worry about The Law anymore. Because I don’t have to do things in light of eternity. I get to live now. I get to love now.

It’s a big world out there and a really, really big universe. Religion makes sense as a way we try to explain the fundamental questions we have about how we got here, where we’re going, and what to do along the way. But what if, just what if, there are other options? What if we can love others? What if we do deserve to forgive ourselves? What if we love be present to others with nothing other than being human?

Can you imagine a world where there’s no promise of heaven, nor threat of hell? Can you imagine what might happen if people could love each other because we are all one unified whole? Can you imagine?

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