Today Gabe is wearing a white t-shirt, red shorts, and brown flip flops.
Last fall, when we were running the Spark Notebook Kickstarter, I spent days upon days on Twitter. We would tweet at people who were tweeting about other planners, and say, “Hey! I saw your tweet about ___ and thought you might like this project too!” and then link them to our Kickstarter.
When we first started, I was terrified I’d get a barrage of replies being like, “Hey stop spamming me.”
But do you want to know something crazy?
No one ever said that. There were maybe three people who replied saying, “Aren’t you worried people will think this is spam?”. And then I’d write back and say, honestly, “Most people just seem to either ignore it or be excited to have been alerted to a project they really do like.” And then those people would write back and say, basically, “Oh okay, carry on.”
So the consequence I thought would occur from spending all day on Twitter didn’t occur.
But a different consequence did occur. And that consequence was that I lost my mind.
There is something crazy-making about copy-pasting the same phrase over and over into a Twitter box for several hours a day. It’s boring, but demands your attention. You can do it while listening to an audiobook or watching TV, but you can’t totally engage with the other thing.
And it is completely, overwhelmingly, unstoppably addictive.
Even after 4 hours of tweeting while watching Law and Order, with my eyes drooping and my legs screaming for me to move them and take my body outside, I would think, “Okay, well I’ll just clear this page and then I’ll go.”
So I would clear the page, scroll down to reveal a new list of names, and think, “Okay, well I’ll just clear this page and then I’ll go.”
Is this what it feels like to be a robot? If so, then I don’t blame them for always taking over in those movies and books where robots take over. I wouldn’t want to be a robot either.
Anyways, we are selling the Spark Notebook again. The print run is happening next month and they’ll be delivered in June. But final orders are due in next week, which means I’m back on Twitter. Always. And forever. Every second of every day, until next Tuesday.
If you want to buy one, the email alerts I get telling me that there’s been another sale are basically the only punctuation during days of tweeting and law-and-order-solving and listening to the new Jon Ronson book that I actually listened to in less than 24 hours because it was so good and, like, what else was I going to do? But that’s not important.
What’s important is that I am losing my mind, but there is an end in sight. Oh, and then there’s this picture of Romeo from Easter which is great:
Today Gabe is wearing…
Well, today Gabe is actually wearing something different than these pictures. But in honor of my Southern California vacation, which starts tomorrow, I’m throwing this week’s photos back to a warmer, sunnier time in Humboldt County. One where Gabe was wearing green sunglasses, a yellow t-shirt, blue shorts, and brown flip flops.
Tomorrow morning I’m flying out of foggy Humboldt and down to sunny Southern California and I can’t wait. I have a full day of work between now and then, but basically all I can do is write packing to-do lists and try to remember things like watering my plants and sending out important mail before I leave.
I’m getting all my anxiety and worry in now, since I’m planning to completely unplug on this vacation. I probably won’t stop checking email because, I mean, I’m just really important and people are always trying to get in touch with me, but I’ve worked really hard this week to make sure there’s no work stuff I have to do next week at all.
Because I’m going to be busy. Being on the beach. Eating great food. And hiking through the sunny, majestic hills of San Diego.
It’s going to be great.
Today Gabe is wearing a grey sweatshirt, blue shorts, and brown flip flops. Romeo is wearing white fur.
Last week, on a run I had a cow encounter. An en-cow-nter? Nevermind.
I was on a run, in the same place where last summer I TOUCHED A COW’S NOSE FOR THE FIRST TIME, and this time I saw something amazing. It was better than one cow. It was, like, 20 cows.
And you guys, I touched ALL of their noses.
They were all standing in a line at the fence, just looking at me as I ran past. And what was I supposed to do? Not touch their noses?
So I went one by one, greeted the cows, and then pushed my fist slowly into each one of their noses.
It was just as satisfying as the first time. And even better because I was going to be able to do it a seemingly endless number of times.
And then something amazing? weird? gross? happened.
One of them, while I had my hand on her nose, opened her mouth. And out came her tongue. And it went all over my hand. Like, a lot.
It was warm, and weird, and like, very very soft. I guess this is the price you pay for touching a cow nose. Sometimes they are going to touch your hand back, by any means necessary.
I ran on.
This morning, I am painting the bedroom in the new apartment Gabe has been building for us in the middle of the forest in Humboldt County. The former art studio at his parents’ house has become, over the last few months, a brand new adorable living space.
Gabe has delegated paint to me (since he is literally designing and building everything else — it only seems fair), and it has been a really daunting task. So far I’ve painted the bathroom, some main living spaces, and yesterday afternoon I did the light green kitchen.
The bedroom has by far been the most challenging color to pick, because that’s the one room of the house that isn’t lined with windows. Everywhere else is so bright and light that it hardly matters what color you make it. But this bedroom…it’s dark.
I finally figured out what Pinterest is for and how to use it, and I started researching how to paint darker bedrooms. At first I chose a grey that everyone thought was too dark; then a blue that everyone thought was insane.
Today, though, I think I have the color. It’s called “Regal”, so it can’t be wrong, right?
Plus, it’s only going on two walls. (I learned from Pinterest that if you have a dark room, painting two walls a darker color can trick the eye into thinking the room goes back farther and is bigger.) So it can’t be that bad, right?
Can you tell I’ve gotten kind of insecure about my paint choices?
Well, I can’t wait any longer. It’s time to go paint. Fingers crossed.
PS. Here’s another cow I saw on my run that day, just standing in a big puddle. Cows are weird.
Today Gabe is wearing a green t-shirt, khaki pants, and brown flip flops.
This week my post is late because I transitioned back from Central Time to Pacific Time, and I guess that laid back West Coast spirit took over and caused me not to realize how quickly Friday morning would come.
Or maybe it’s just because at some point in the last few days it became fall, and my fingers are so chilly I simply can’t bring myself to type.
Or maybe I just lost track of this week.
Either way, I’m back in California after narrowly escaping the first snowfall in Illinois this week. I flew out Wednesday and got a photo from my dad on Thursday showing me the snow on the ground in their backyard. I’m going back in December to visit for Christmas, so I guess I should prepare myself for the fact that I may actually be interacting with snow for the first time in like 3 years.
Do I even remember how to make a good snowball?
Last week, while I was in Illinois, I had a week off — an actual vacation, where I didn’t work (that much) and I spent lots of time going on walks, watching crime TV shows, and making soup — and now I am back in the real world. And the real world is cold.
Even as I type, I am huddled next to a wood stove at Gabe’s parents’ house. It’s raining. Gabe is lecturing me on the virtues of patience and the art of building a good fire. I am thinking quietly, “Yes, but warm fingers are a nice thing too.”
But I take his point.
While I was at home visiting my parents, the following things happened:
To put these photos into words: I ate all (and I mean ALL) of the leftover Halloween candy, and I watched Law And Order with my dad and his faithful sidekick, Apache the cat.
It was very nice. Although the full day of three flights getting there and back is long and not that great, I’m looking forward to going back in December too.
Do you want to hear a joke? You’ll probably have to read it out loud for it to be funny, but here goes:
What do you call a deer with no eyes?
Today Gabe is wearing a white t-shirt, blue shorts, brown flip flops, and green sunglasses.
To say that I was disengaged during high school would be an understatement.
And when I say “during high school”, I mean literally the time that I was inside my high school, from 7:55am to the time the final bell rang at 2:25pm. I wasn’t a super sulky teen who just didn’t care — I was an editor on the newspaper, I had friends and boyfriends, and I knew that continuing to be a very good student would mean going to a very good college, which was all I had cared about since I was about 12 — but by the time I was in high school I was so bored during school every day that I checked out mentally for huge blocks of time on an almost daily basis.
I would wander the halls every single day.
I would ask to go to the bathroom in a different class each day and, knowing I had some A-student credibility built up, I would just leave and go take a walk for 10 or 15 or 20 minutes. No one ever stopped me and I never got up to any trouble while I was on my walks; I just couldn’t stand to be in class anymore and so I would go take a walk, look at art projects hung on the walls or read student council campaign signs or look at old photos in the trophy cases, and just enjoy a break.
I bring this up because this week, I was re-introduced to my checked-out self — who I haven’t seen in years — and it brought memories of wandering the halls of high school and taking a mental vacation when you’re somewhere you just don’t care to be anymore.
It was Saturday morning, and I wanted to take a yoga class. Gabe was out of town and I was feeling antsy, having given no thought to what I wanted to do with a weekend on my own. This was my first mistake.
I don’t usually take yoga on Saturdays, and so I didn’t know any of the teachers who were teaching that day when I decided I needed to take a yoga class.
The one who happened to be teaching an “all levels” class closest to the time I wanted to go had the kind of “why yes, I AM a yoga teacher” name that tends to give me pause when selecting my teachers. I won’t re-print it here, but suffice to say, people who have self-given touchy feely names tend not to be a good fit for me.
But I decided to be cool and non-judgmental. I mean, I quit using shampoo! I can be very cool and into hippie culture, right?
(As it turns out: no, not in all cases.)
When I got to class everything seemed fine at first. Nice music, good vibes, and poses I could handle. But I noticed she had a very distinct way of talking. And by distinct, I mean impossible.
She would whisper, inaudibly, “now just roll ontoyourback..spreadyourfingers…putyourkneesup..”
“AND RISE!!!!” she would shout.
11 heads pop up, having missed the previously whispered string of instructions, quickly eyeball the pose the teacher is in, and scramble to mimic it.
“Okay. Now…whileonyourback…lift your hips and your arms over your head.”
11 heads pop up, wondering how to get your hips and your arms over your head at the same time.
This, on top of a lot of talk about love and those annoying reversing platitudes that fold in on themselves (“what is inside you is outside you, etc”), and by about 45 minutes in, I was out.
I was not engaged, to the point where I didn’t care if she thought I was doing a good job (which, you should know by now, is generally my only motivator in yoga: pleasing my teacher). I was bored. I wanted to leave.
And so I did something I’ve never done in a yoga class before. I left.
Not for good, but I just stood up, walked to the door, and went for a wander around the halls.
I looked at a clock I’d never noticed before. I got a glass of water. I read the rules for the sauna, which it turns out, have some pretty funny jokes in them.
It was delightful. I stayed out there for maybe 5 minutes, but those 5 minutes made it possible for me to come back to class and actually do some yoga that pleased me — rather than just running out the clock and waiting for it to be over.
And my walk did what my teacher could not — it brought me into the present moment; it relaxed me; it tuned me into the world around me that I see all the time, but fail to notice. I stopped thinking about how bored I was, and found something to appreciate and enjoy.
Gabe doesn’t like going on my daily long walks with me (though he humors me more and more every year by coming along) but I wonder if my need to go walk around, even on the same route every day like I used to do in Seattle, comes from those days back in high school where a little walk was a special, just-for-me time I was completely present during the day, and appreciating a place I normally couldn’t stand to be.
I don’t know.
After yoga, I did a shopping trip to see about making my own homemade deodorant but ended up buying a pre-made hippie version when I couldn’t find one of the key ingredients for my recipe. Sigh.
Today Gabe is wearing a grey sweatshirt and red shorts, and he’s kicked his brown flip flops off to the side.
Well, you guys, I washed my hair. And, if you’re keeping track you’ll remember, by washed I mean rubbed baking soda into my scalp and dipped the ends of my hair in vinegar. And you know what? My hair looks — normal!
I washed it on Saturday, after a week of not washing per the internet’s directions, and on Tuesday evening it was still good to go. In fact, it was better than it ever would have been going that long between washes before. I didn’t wash it again until Thursday.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean I didn’t shower — I do live a normal human life which includes things like exercise and being a functioning member of society. I just didn’t put anything in my hair. Nothing but a good scalp rub, which is apparently (again, according to the internet) all you really need to do to keep things from getting weird.
One of my biggest motivations for this (other than great hair) was a desire to spend less time in the shower, which has been one of my favorite parts of this whole process. The more days I can go between showers, and the less time I spend in each of those showers, without becoming a disgusting person, is a huge win.
Now, in other news not related to my hair but still related to my shower, the English ivy plant that I put in my bathroom is dying. And I don’t know why! I know this kind of ivy likes indirect light or even shade (my bathroom window is surrounded by big redwood trees) and I’ve heard it likes humid conditions too. And what is more humid than the place where showers happen??
But still it is losing lots of leaves and the leaves that are still there are losing their color. It’s vines are getting longer, but nothing else about it seems healthy. I AM DEEPLY CONCERNED.
This afternoon I put it outside, sighing an exasperated “Why are you doing this to me?”. Maybe some sunshine and fresh air will help? I have no idea. Maybe it’s not even dying. Maybe it’s just mad at me for buying another new plant.
I bought a Dieffenbachia Compacta (also known as Dumb Cane, which seems unnecessarily mean) for my bedroom, which is one of the darkest, shadiest rooms in my house and so one of the hardest to find a plant to put in. But today I found Dumbo, the dumb cane, who loves to grow in shade and is only slightly poisonous to humans if eaten, but let’s all just promise to be grownups and not to eat this plant, okay?
On the flip side from its poisonous streak, it’s also apparently great at removing toxins and pollution from indoor air — this according to NASA. (Why are they studying this? I don’t know.)
Other things that happened this week, unrelated to my shower:
Today Gabe is wearing a yellow t-shirt, blue shorts, and brown flip flops.
It’s been 6 days, 1 hour, and 15 minutes since the last time I washed my hair. And by washed, I mean the last time I scrubbed baking soda into my scalp and then conditioned the ends of my hair with apple cider vinegar.
And you guys, things are exactly how you’d expect them to be.
On Tuesday, I had to admit that my hair smelled weird. On Wednesday, I bought some essential oils (lavender and grapefruit, in case you were wondering) to make my hair and general environment smell better. On Thursday, I had that terrifying thought that people sometimes have when they are on drugs, which is, “Is it going to be this way forever?”.
I didn’t wash my hair for a week because the internet told me to.
Apparently, when you quit shampoo, you’re supposed to wash with baking soda and vinegar a few times, and then go cold turkey for a week. No shampoo, no baking soda, no nothing. Nothing but hot water, a new commitment to high-and-tight ponytails, and, ideally, a work-at-home environment where you can live your normal life without coworkers noticing your new weird appearance and odor, which they might feel compelled to ask you about every day.
“You look…different. Wait, no, that’s not really what I mean. What I mean is: you look worse.”
Since the last time I “washed” my hair I’ve also gone on two runs, done two very sweaty yoga classes, and realized the power of just letting it go and giving in completely to your weird new project.
My yoga teacher gives everyone a little head massage during savasana at the end of class, and this week I’ve been trying to send her empathetic, “I know this is difficult” mind messages during my head massages.
Because just giving me a head massage after a yoga class is already a testament to your commitment as a yoga teacher. For those keeping track, I am still, all these months later, still getting ridiculously, unbelievably sweaty in every yoga class I do. To be fair, I like classes that really challenge me, but even so — my sweat game is basically off the charts. No one in my class can match me. It is the one thing I have over all of them.
(I have to count this as a victory, since in the new class I joined, I am the worst person there. This is just a statement of fact. I am getting over it. Slowly.)
So with the sweat situation I am working with by the end of every class, it is already a real commitment to her craft that my yoga teacher deigns to rub my temples with her fingernails and give me a cute little tap on my third eye every time.
But now with the sweat and a new hair texture that could only be described as…hmm..eerie? — well, let’s just say I am now also the worst person in my class in the “heads I have to touch” category for my teacher as well.
But see, this is what yoga — and also giving up shampoo — is all about. Getting into your body (or your hair) and letting go. Letting go of hangups. Letting go of insecurities and self-doubt. Letting go of conventional notions about what clean hair looks like.
Embracing this weird thing you’re doing. Completely. And spraying your hair with lavender essential oil spray, because seriously, we are trying to live in a society here and there is a line.