6.19.19

What I’ve been up to:

I had a free weekend with nothing on the calendar (tough to come by in these Seattle summer days!) so I hopped on the motorcycle and headed east. Well first south to Portland to collect some McMenamins stamps for my passport, then over to Hells Canyon in Idaho, up Lolo Pass into Montana and then back home, stopping in the town of Wallace (and fell completely in love with its quirkiness), Palouse Falls, and the Ginko Petrified Forest – so many things that I’ve been meaning to visit or that have caught my eye on the way to somewhere else.

Also trying to cram in some dog training so the dogs won’t bark in Vancouver and of course, finish off my online Psychology classes and grad school application.

What was beautiful:

So many things in Wallace, like this bizarre antique typewriter and the (unrelated) handwritten mining ledger.

What I’m reading and listening to:

BOOKS –

ARTICLES –

Relationship habits

Being a good person

Cognitive Distortions and Depression

How to quit drinking when you love drinking

on ACEs: https://www.acesconnection.com/blog/do-you-want-an-answer-to-aces, https://www.acesconnection.com/blog/part-2-do-you-want-an-answer-to-aces-playing-the-mirror-neurons-like-a-harp, https://www.acesconnection.com/blog/part-3-do-you-want-an-answer-to-aces-how-do-they-do-that

The Missing Element – need to know what time I was born

Woman invents tents that collect rainwater and store solar energy

It’s not always depression. Sometimes it’s shame.

6.9.19

What I’ve been up to:

Saying goodbye to the flamenco community with a house party (although I am still learning Sevillanas, and now have learned a couple of chords on the guitar)

and to the Rainier Ravens women’s motorcycle community with a motorcycle ride and beach bonfire party

plus some last minute dog training before we have new neighbours.

What was beautiful:

The Sinking World Plastic Project
Intricate paper-cut octopus
The art of Aidan Sartin Conte

This decorative African village

What I’m reading and listening to:

BOOKS –

ARTICLES –

VW Vans are going electric but not as pretty as the classic

Booklovers’ guide to Seattle

The controversial Madonna article

How to get your dog to stop barking

The Night Witches

FIRE – Financial Independence, Retire Early

British Doctors May Start Prescribing Art, Music, Dance

People are sick of drinking

Vancouver at the forefront of psychedelic research

6.1.2019

What I’ve been up to:

Study, study, study! and trying to see Seattle friends and favourite spots before we move.

Flamenco party tonight!

And hopefully riding my motorcycle soon. Been way too much riding around in cars with dogs.

What was beautiful:

My new art piece, “Corner of Hell” by M.Coombs

Bauhaus costume parties

Amazing clarity from Hinterland

I always love amazing maps

Decolonizing BC’s roadside history

Portraits made from DNA of cigarettes

What I’m reading and listening to:

And watching! Good Omens is amazing.

FICTION – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Finally! This has been on my list for years and I shouldn’t have waited. It is excellent.

NON-FICTION (ish) – Artful. I do love absolutely everything about Ali Smith.

& still psychology everything! ON PSYCH –

Self-care isn’t enough. We need community.

Inuit mental health

Dealing with a partner with anger issues

Therapists on MDMA

ON WORK –

It’s never too late to start a brilliant career

Save the planet by working less

How to stay focused

ON LIFE –

The new beauty

Becoming irresistible “Humility is the soul. Curiosity is the mind. Empathy is the heart.”

BAD NEWS –

Ways the government keeps Native Americans in Poverty

GOOD NEWS –

Female chief comes to power, immediately annuls 850 child marriages

Amazon tribe wins lawsuit against big oil saving millions of acres of rainforest

New orca calf is born!

Willie Nelson rescued horses and let them roam free on his ranch

Sikhs aim to plan 1,000,000 trees by November

Riverview to re-open with $101m mental health facility

5.28.19

What I’ve been up to:

Planning out the final details for our trip to London and Wales!

Removing the subjects on our new house!

Dancing in my debut flamenco show!

and spending as much time as possible in the yard before we move

What was beautiful:

listening to the rain.

What I’m reading and listening to:

Mostly psychology texts but also listening to Circe on audiobook and loving it.

The Importance of Knowing you Might be Wrong “As technology makes it easier to lie and spread false information incredibly quickly, we need intellectually humble, curious people.”

Unmarried and childless women are the happiest subgroup in the population. And they are more likely to live longer than their married and child-rearing peers, according to a leading expert in happiness.”

Notes for making a drastic career change Remains to be seen what I will wish I had known!

Reviled, pit bulls have become representative. There is no other dog that figures as often in the national narrative—no other dog as vilified on the evening news, no other dog as defended on television programs, no other dog as mythologized by both its enemies and its advocates, no other dog as discriminated against, no other dog as wantonly bred, no other dog as frequently abused, no other dog as promiscuously abandoned, no other dog as likely to end up in an animal shelter, no other dog as likely to be rescued, no other dog as likely to be killed. In a way, the pit bull has become the only American dog, because it is the only American dog that has become an American metaphor—and the only American dog that people bother to name. When a cocker spaniel bites, it does so as a member of its species; it is never anything but a dog. When a pit bull bites, it does so as a member of its breed. A pit bull is never anything but a pit bull.”

Abandoned psychiatric hospitals

Korean deep sea diver women

A history of women and psychedelics

Research Confirms that No one is actually thinking about you

05.15.19

What I’ve been up to:

So much! but we are making good progress.

It has, however, been a bit of a throttling exercise. In between late nights painting and studying, daily dance practices and dog walks, we’ve had long stretches of time to kill, trying to enjoy the early summer.

Just perfect.

What was beautiful:

I’ve been really in love with my garden this week. The early heat has brought out all the irises, lilacs, lavender and rhodo blooms – and with it all kinds of birdsong. Our house is also the most beautiful it has ever been, due to being staged for sale and so we have been spending quite a bit of time in the yard. I am loving noticing the changes throughout the day, from all the different vantage points.

We also spent the weekend at an airbnb in Strathcona, a historical area of Vancouver and I delighted at the row houses, quirky artist studios and coffee shops, not to mention the riotous colors and smells and sounds of Chinatown.

What I’m reading and listening to:

Post Meditation

“Did you grow or stagnate this year?”

Is Your Life Playlist Set to Repeat?

Getting Past Emotional Dependency

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. They’re either speaking or preparing to speak. They’re filtering everything through their own paradigms, reading their autobiography into other people’s lives.”

Seek First to Understand

Fear of Better Options (FOBO). I have it bad.

Are you a good partner or the other kind?

I love Instagram! And now it’s working on Anti-bullying

How to find a lost pet

You will be young for a very long time. You have to try new things.

““Anger is a moral response.’ But then it’s what you do with that anger…it’s not fair [that it] is a fundament of morality and of activism. So how do we walk that line between demonstrating that and also helping ourselves and our children live wisely with those feelings and those observations of life’s unfairness?”
…I remember my father, who is now long gone, hearing me teach about transforming anger into work in the world, doing something. He’d say, “I need my anger, Sylvia. It motivates me to do all the activism that I do.” And I’d say, “Well, you do need it, Dad. You need it just to alert you to what needs attention. But you don’t need to carry it along with you to keep refueling you.” As a matter of fact, if you keep nurturing the flame of anger, it confuses the mind and maybe we don’t respond as wisely as we ought to. But I need the anger as if I had 104 fever; it would be a sign that I need to do something about it…But then you let it — well, I hope that what I do is I recognize the anger as a response, actually. It’s a response, I think, to what I feel underneath it, which is a fear. Things really aren’t fair; this is not right that this and this is happening in the world. And I think it responds to that fear, which is basic. The human response is to lash out at it when something frightens us…So I think that the anger is on top of the fear. And to be able to say I am frightened, because in the world these unjust things are happening, what can I do and how can I have a mind that’s energized to do something about it, but not reacting in anger, but responding in firm kindness? But things need to be different. Things need to be different.”

Sylvia Boorstein in conversation with Krista Tippett

Energy plus Will gets you a new life

Having just turned 43, I suppose I am no longer the answer to life the universe and everything – but I do feel as though I am honing in on what that might be for myself, and moving away from things that I know have not been good for me.

5 years ago as I prepared for the year, I wrote, “it’s going to be busy. We’re getting a dog and moving to Seattle. I’ll be travelling … I’m working on a new art project, will probably start grad school in the fall and already have some exciting ideas about What’s Next.”

And now we are prepping for another big, goal-changing year; we will be moving back to Canada and I’m leaving retail project management to be a therapist! It’s all coming together, after months of prepping our house for sale, sorting out Matt’s work, taking several undergrad classes online, applying to grad school, quitting my job, looking at houses in Vancouver, and – as an unrelated bonus – practicing for my debut flamenco show.

We’re so tired.

And yet somehow we keep finding the energy to move forward. A large part of this is due to 1000 task lists and energy drinks and the glorious sunny days that seem to have appeared out of nowhere while we were painting but it also feels really good to be putting energy into known good things. We will miss Seattle and our house but we’ve made many good friends here, acquired another amazing dog and had a lot of fun adventures.

The Anais Nin quote seemed initially like the theme for the year but sitting in the garden and thinking about all the work that has gone into this move – the internal work to figure out what is good for me, the work on our marriage to determine the conditions where we thrive, the work on dog training to develop good canine citizens, the community and relationship work with friends to build lasting connections, never mind all of the work on the house and school and jobs and even the mound of paperwork ahead of us – the quote seems very flingy and insouciant. Do instead I picked this one:

“Leonardo da Vinci said that Genius is Energy plus Will. Energy plus Will gets you into the Pacific Ocean. Da Vinci said nothing of Talent. Genius does not depend on Talent. Without the snorkel of Energy and the fins of Will, Talent is the bather who from a dune watches the sun set.”

– David Barringer

The new life is a gift from the old self and it doesn’t come without both a cost and a tremendous amount of energy and will. But we are built for growth, not stagnation and so we press on.

05.06.19

What I’ve been up to:

We had our 8th anniversary but had to reschedule celebration plans until things get a little calmer.
So much painting!

What was beautiful:

Putting your feet up, enjoying some calm with a dog at your side and a glass of rosé within reach.

Our house is nearly perfect…just in time for other people to live in it.

Used bookstores
Dogs

What I’m reading and listening to:

Ayahuasca

Retiring early

Mindfulness

How to Uplift Yourself When You’re Feeling low –

When every area seems to fall apart, start with the basics:

Food
Movement
Sleep
Stress

How to unlock your brain and become a top student

Normalizing sobriety

Fighting cancer before you have it

Be happy by making others happy –

“We need to think of happiness as a collective phenomenon. If I come home in a bad mood, I may be missing an opportunity to make not just my wife and son happy, but their friends.”

How to handle a workplace bully – no longer relevant to me!

Science proves dancing is good for you

Vancouver home prices sink 29%

4.19.19

What I’ve been up to:

Well, I had a birthday so that was fun. We went to Washington DC for the weekend and saw all the things (or at least tried to!), walking up and down the mall, through most of the Smithsonian museums and amongst many cherry blossoms.

The Mall in DC
Getting ready for my flamenco debut!
I gave my notice at work today.

What was beautiful:

Karma, karma, karma, karma, karma chameleon 
This gorgeous luggage – and split window VW to match.
My flamenco assigned seating
An excerpt from Upstream, by Mary Oliver.
Spring blossoms in DC
An immense number of beautiful artifacts and experiences in the Smithsonian museums, including this one by David Beck in the Museum of American Art.

What I’m reading and listening to:

ON HEALTH –

Preparing for the Dementia I believe I will get

Rethinking Depression

ON EATING –

ON DRINKING –

A year in drinking.

ON RENEWAL –

The Healing Power of Gardens

ON WORK –

How to identify and navigate gaslighting at work

Why we spend our brief lives indoors, alone and typing

When Work Lacks Meaning

Could Your Therapist be Replaced by an App?

ON SENSITIVITY –

Why are friendships so clingy these days?

Extremely Sensitive People

ON OCEANS –

Adidas plans to make 11 million shoes out of recycled ocean plastic.

AND A BIT OF POETRY –

4.2.19

What I’ve been up to:

Booking Mexico for Matt’s birthday and he booked the Oregon Coast for our anniversary, so that is some nice beachy R&R in our future. But first DC for my birthday and then Vancouver for my dad’s birthday.

The man is full of joy.

Trying to cut down on plastic and cans but I’m also trying to cut down on drinking and I have developed a powerful LaCroix habit.

Studying all the (psych) things, painting the entire house. And now also the garden is coming up so weeding in between things too.

Cat kingdom

What was beautiful:

Sand, magnified incredibly:

What I’m reading and listening to:

About the largest cave in the world

Dolphin’s experience psychological trauma after being hunted for research

Soccer Mom Hate

Highly Sensitive People. No surprise but I think I am one.

Every day mysticism at On Being

Charting a life course with diagrams

Breathing in the light

How I got my husband to help with the housework – the high cost of emotional labour

Quitting a drinking habit

Alcohol & Anxiety

Shiba Inu who runs a vegetable stand

A WW2 spy

Emotional fitness

How to think about feelings

The Hell of High Expectations

Attachment styles in Adulthood

For the love of hard work

Rethinking the battle against Depression

The Unifying Theory of Work

“Sober-curious” bars”

High-functioning alcoholics

Related: How to Relax without Alcohol

Where the Art is:

It’s in your pockets and behind your eyelids, it shares your clothes and has its hands wrapped around your throat. It’s dripping down the walls and yelling from the trees, it whispers and sings and dances and sobs, all day every day and your one and only job is to pay close attention

How to be Perfect:

Hope for everything. Expect nothing.

Be kind to old people, even when they are obnoxious. When you

become old, be kind to young people. Do not throw your cane at

them when they call you Grandpa. They are your grandchildren!

Live with an animal.

3.21.19

What I’ve been up to:

Really just more of the same – work, study, dance, walk the dogs – and it’s unlikely to change until mid-April, but we did have a lot of visitors over the weekend and that was fun.

What was beautiful:

Springtime in Cascadia!

First buds and blossoms of spring and the equinox full moon

What I’m reading and listening to:

Alain de Botton at Brain Pickings

Bluets, by Maggie Nelson

Erin’s Merrihew’s pep talk email this month

Zen Habit’s Method to Deal with Tiredness, Loneliness and Stress

Survive a Mid-life Crisis with Dancing and Drugs

The Psychopath Test at This American Life

Seth Godin asks How Big is Your Unfillable Hole?

How to find a volunteer gig that makes a difference

It’s not enough to be right, you also have to be Kind