A tiny bud of creativity

Over the past few days, I’ve noticed a small and quiet pull toward my blog. A growing longing to write again. I’m excited about this because my creative juices have been pretty sparse for awhile.

I’m just heading into work for the day and will be busy but let’s see if this little bud grows into a shoot into a bloom into a flower. Thanks for reading!

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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