Go Outside

One of my goals for this year is to spend more time outside in the elements. I’ve been going outside at every opportunity during the day, and am planning some day-trips to get out into wild nature more. I’m a creature of earth, literally made of it and its elements, and it feels good to be with it in a communion sort of way. I’m made up of everything thing and everyone that’s come before me, and for the majority of time (as we know it) life was lived in a very different way than it is in modern times.

It was strange to consciously ponder that I spend the majority of my time not physically being on earth and in the elements: In my 2nd floor apartment, at my desk on the 2nd floor at work, in my car - all separated from the earth, the weather, other life. There’s even a sense of experiencing time differently when driving, for example. In what “natural” way were humans meant to safely travel 70 mph? At any rate, the amount of time I spend actually being in contact with the earth is negligible and I think that’s been detrimental. At the moment I’m not interested in the minutia of the science of it, per se. It’s not about a transfer of ions* or how everything’s made of stardust. I prefer to think of it a bit more holistically.

I’m quite fortunate to live in a place where sitting in the sun with my toes in the growing green grass** is possible in January. But even in places with seasons, there are opportunities to be elemental… perhaps by sitting near a roaring fire or sitting in the sunshine, or having a walk in the falling snow or blowing wind. And if you live where the cold hurts your face, take heart. Spring will be here soon enough.

*I’m familiar with “earthing” but am not interested in its dubious claims and products.
**I’m going to set aside my general disdain for largely decorative lawns at the moment.


I Have a Million Excuses but I Don't Need One

For many years I’ve carried a quiver-full of reasons, excuses if you will, for nearly everything I choose to do, including things no one ever sees. I am a master of spin. 

If you were to question why I’m eating a grilled cheese sandwich, I could give you any number of reasons of varying pomposity to explain to you why I made that choice and its significance not only on my life but on yours, on the greater community, and perhaps even the world. I’m making a pro-active move to have an answer at the ready that will assuage your concerns or feelings about my choice, whilst also protecting me from your judgment. My answer is tailored to you, based on a complicated algorithm, and is designed to end the line of inquiry and take the focus off me. It's simultaneously a power play and rife with a lack of self-confidence. Let's look at an example.

I chose to eat this sandwich because:

I like the crunchy toasted bread. 
I'm starting keto again tomorrow. 
I had some artisan pepper jack I wanted to try. 
I wanted to use my little skillet. 
I just wanted to make something quick. 
It’s all the food I have. 
I haven’t had one in a while. 
I’m trying to eat less meat. 
I was hungry. 
It tastes good. 
It reminds me of my Grandma. 
I need more butter in my diet. 

If you ask about my sandwich I will immediately suspiciously question your curiosity. What did I do wrong? Is my sandwich a moral affront to your cultural or religious mores? Were we supposed to go out to eat? Do you think I should be eating something else? Is there something wrong with my choice? Why is this an issue for you? Are you in distress about this? That puts me in distress. How can I help? Do you want me to make you a sandwich? Are you hungry?

I would like to break this habit of having reasons-at-the-ready, not only because I waste a lot of mental energy on them despite rarely needing them, but because I owe no one an explanation for anything. This extends beyond sandwiches, obviously. If I choose to dye my hair (I did) or if I choose to never go to Dunkin Donuts ever again (count on it) or if I decide to become a Republican (I’m not) these are my choices and I’m accountable only to myself. This isn’t my default way of thinking, but it should be. So I’m sorry if you ask me a why question and get a shrug and a smirk in return. Try not to take it personally. Or try re-phrasing your question so your motives are clearer to me, I guess. I don't mind answering questions, it's just the why questions that ruffle my feathers. 


So I Think I Want to be... a Nerd?

Hello! Welcome to 2015, a year in which I try to think less, do more, and have a bit of fun. Last year I spent the bulk of my time mired in negative thinking.* I see people get excited about things and places and I’m forever thinking of reasons why their excitement is misguided or just stupid. That’s the definition of a Grinch, to be honest, and I can tell you that it makes you no friends. It also makes life very heavy and dark. 

My brain is always telling me all the ways that stuff is problematic. “Problematic” usually involves something not being “green,” something being corporate and soulless, being a poor use of resources, money, or time, or being complex (this one usually applies to people). Everything is problematic in my mind and it's exhausting. 

Take ice cream, for example. In my mind the experience is fraught with potential negativity and reasons to not enjoy it: the reputation of the brand, what corporation owns the company, the husbandry of the cows, the environmental impact of the factory farming, how the milk was handled, how the ice cream was made in a factory, the environmental impact of the factory, where the added bits came from, its packaging, what store I buy it from, how much to eat and how often, and whether or not it’s a limited edition flavor or a classic. 

Feel free to roll your eyes. Everyone does, so I rarely speak of it. Even I mutter "oh, for f*ck's sake" when my mind goes into this kind of spiral. 

Anyway, somewhere along the way this year I heard Mr. John Green say

“…nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff…nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself-love-it.” 

Can I please be unironically enthusiastic about stuff?! Somebody tell me how to do that. I want to be a nerd!

*Before you freak out and suggest I’m depressed, I’ve been this way for years, through therapy, medication, and back again. It’s just my natural cynicism. I’m fine; calm down.


Obligatory Year-End Wrap-Up

*unfriends and unfollows 2014*

bye, bitch.



Of Pelicans and Clove Oil

I smell of cologne and cloves and I'm totally into it.

It's my day off so I headed out to run some errands around noon. My first stop was going to be a cheap walk-in haircut place to get the sides and back of my bonce re-faded. I have one of those shortish, long-on-the-top, shaved-on-the-sides kind of 'dos that needs a touch-up now and then. But as I headed out of my neighborhood, I passed Razorbacks Barbershop and got the idea to stop in.

I've passed it a million times and wanted to go in for a while. I felt a bit intimidated for stupid gender-constricting reasons that needn't be a thing. I knew that they do what I wanted done all the time for traditional guys' styles, so I was sure they'd get it right. Before I could talk myself out of it, I'd turned around and within just a few minutes I was a client.

I've never had such a deliberate haircut that left me feeling so clean-cut. I was clippered, faded, oiled, and straight-razored by a gentleman who was friendly and professional. He asked how my day was going and then didn't press for chit-chat. It was so nice. The only thing took maybe 15 minutes. I'm really pleased with the result and happy to have supported a local small business.

This single quick decision was the first domino in a pretty good day. After my haircut I spent some time with my toes in the sand at a local lagoon to take some pics of the water and birds, went to a market I don't usually go to and had a pithy conversation with strangers about Paula Deen (we agreed she's problematic), stopped by the library after a 6 month absence, went to a restaurant I'd never been to, then came home and dyed my hair just for fun for the first time in 20 years. My fringe is purple now and my sideburn game is strong.

I hope you had a good day too.


Six Word Saturday: Simple, but Colorful

Minimalism isn't just black and white.