Posted tagged ‘Stress’

Four minutes of free airport wifi to philosophize

August 9, 2011









Our brains want to understand things

July 23, 2011







Was it the Cheese? (Pulling Pectoralis)

February 28, 2011

Was it the cheese?

Some things sound better than others pulled.  Taffy or a leg or, even perhaps, pork are more inviting, for example, than “the plug,” or, as I found out last night, a pectoral muscle.  (Maybe forget the pork.)

I think it happened at the gym.  My tendency to rush around goofily is not particularly healthful when applied to weight machines.

I didn’t notice any problem when I was actually on the machines, but about an hour later, an intense pain began in the upper left side of my chest.

The pain was initially met by disbelief.  (The words “angina” and “vegetarianism” just didn’t seem to fit.)

Then involuntary tears took over.  (Did I mention that the pain was intense?)  My protests of vegetarianism were pretty quickly replaced by all the full-fat yogurt I have eaten, the whole (rather than skim) milk that I put in my tea, and the heart attacks suffered by grandfathers.

(Yes, I was macrobiotic for a while and religiously used soy milk, but that was years and year ago.)


In the hours of pain (did I mention that it was also kind of unrelenting!? ), I learned several important things:  (i) it is hard but not impossible to tap the stopwatch button on an iPhone while also keeping a finger on one’s pulse;  (ii) practically nothing in the world short of draining blood loss will induce me to go to a New York City emergency room;  (iii) I have a truly wonderful husband;  (iv) soy milk really doesn’t taste that bad in tea; (v) if you want to change your life, it is important to take actual concrete steps sooner rather than later.

Thankfully, I am quite a bit better today and am pretty sure that the pain was all muscular.

(What was that about changing my life?)

Trained To Complain?

January 20, 2011

Trying to Pack It All In

It’s been one of these days and weeks in which there are not enough hours.    The odd thing is that a long list of tasks, and a short amount of time, typically does not make me efficient.   Instead, these circumstances inspire me to to (somehow, magically) find a huge amount of extra time which I spend complaining, resisting both reality and my own prior choices, and avoiding and bemoaning same.

I am on a train right now (where I was able to do above drawing with great iPhone brushes app), thinking of how I managed to squeeeze it all in.

Draft Sonnet, Cold House – Choosing the Wrong Train

December 11, 2010

I’m typing up this post in a freezing (closed-for-winter) house which happens to have an Internet connection.

A sonnet!  A draft sonnet!   Because my teeth are chattering, fingers growing stiff, I am posting this before making final decisions about the poem, especially the last lines.  I’ve posted a few alternatives.  Any preferences let me know.  Any suggestions–absolutely let me know!

In a Hurry, Choosing the Wrong Train

I worry that, in my forgetting much,
the best route from here to there eludes
me.  I overthink, then blurrily rush
to a train I barely know that broods
upon the track while my regular line
goes whoosh (in my mind).  Beneath the slow chug
of this one’s start and stop, tremorous grind,
ears burn with trains not taken that speed snug
along their rails.  All for some two or three,
maybe four, saved blocks–my brain’s too tired
for the calculation.  The part of me
that invents tests it hopes to ace, that’s wired
for glee in a glide, tick-tocks by the door,
longs for time itself to open, offer more.

Some alternate last lines:

longing for time to open, offer more.

longing for time to spare her, feeling sore.

longing for time to spare it, feeling sore.

longing for time to open, time to spare.

Is “spare” close enough rhyme to door?

Benefits of Obessiveness (Visiting Parents)

December 3, 2010


December Eve in FL

Sometimes it’s good to have lifelong obsessions.    One of these times is a visit to parents.   My parents are, frankly, pretty undemanding.  And yet there is something amazing about how time, plans, routines slip away when I visit them.  To some degree, this is exactly as it should be, since I really am here to spend time with them, not to write (i) a novel (ii) or blog (iii) or tax memo, or (iv) to hang out extensively at the beach.

And yet…  and yet… there is also something about the atmosphere of the parental home (and I don’t think it’s just my parents’ home) that seems to crumple discipline, will, even in those moments in which we are not actively “visiting”.  (I find myself, in other words, reading old Readers’ Digests late at night.)

These are moments when even more deeply ingrained obsessive conduct is very welcome.  In my case, it’s a mania for exercise.

I’m not systematic or forceful enough for true fitness.  But I have, since my teenage years, been pretty obsessive about moving my body around every day, shaking things up, as it were.

I can’t somehow do my regular yoga practice in Florida.  Astanga yoga is a practice involving a fair amount of bouncing (jump-throughs) and it doesn’t really work on carpeting (rug burns), or concrete (fractured wrists), or even sand (sand).  (And then, of course, there’s that whole will/discipline problem here.)

But running around on dark streets lit with Christmas lights works pretty well.  Even an occasional Tree pose.

Thank goodness.


Writer’s Fatigue – Watch Out For The Burn.

September 8, 2010

Washcloth washcloth burning bright!

I’ve written a lot about blocking writer’s block; usually I’ve talked about blocks caused by insecurity or fear of failure, indecision, just plain stuckness.   I’ve advocated various exercises to limber up pen-holding or keyboard-typing fingers.

What about writer’s block caused simply by fatigue?

Sinking eyelids, molasses mind, slurring fingers.

I inadvertently set a washcloth on fire a few minutes ago.  In two places.  That kind of fatigue.

It’s not all that easy to set a washcloth on fire.  It wasn’t even on fire until I took the symmetrically charred fabric out into the night air and lay it down on some stiff, humid Florida grass–really called  Bermuda grass–grass that my crabbed mind thought would dampen all embers.

But something about that combination of night air/grass/stretching and glowing washcloth out set off actual flames.

That kind of fatigue.

That kind of block.

Avoid, during such moments, writing while operating heavy machinery.

Snuck Dog in A.M. Hotel, Enjoying Fly-Free Ointment

September 2, 2010

After Application of Fly-Free OIntment

I am sitting in a hotel room with a dog nestled against my bum.  She is a great dog to sneak into a hotel room because she is little, quiet, and extremely well-behaved.  She is also very old, which is perhaps what has caused her to throw up twice during the night, luckily with enough warning (i.e. an abrupt standing up) for me to get her into the bathroom in time to avoid soiling either hotel carpeting or bedspread.

Thankfully, she does not seem seriously sick.  But it’s made for an extremely alert night, for me at least, who as sneaker-in-chief, feels responsible for any canine effluviance.

She’s sleeping comfortably now, while I feel a little tired.   But, as is popularly noted, there’s always something. Yesterday, it was a suddenly sick mother (88); the day before, a fallen and head-bruised father (87); and now in a few minutes’ time, the moving of a daughter back into college, a wonderful and fairly independent daughter but one with a great many clothes.  (These are not particularly fancy clothes, but have the advantage of allowing for extended laundry avoidance.)

Each of these events is capable of causing a manicddaily type like myself as much fretting as the neck of a bass guitar.  But this post is not meant to be a litany of woes, tasks,  or even of a zillion telephone calls, but rather, a lesson in enjoyment.

Don’t wait for the unalloyed when there’s goodness in the alloyed (sunny day, delightful daughter, snuggling dog, sweet husband willing to drive.)  Do what you can, more than you can, but don’t hinge your happiness on immediate or right  results.  Forget about rows of orderly ducks, fly-free ointments.

Wait a second.  That’s an idea–fly-free ointment. Conjure up some and rub it all over yourself.  Don’t forget to glom a bunch on the inside/underside of your forehead.  Then let yourself just glide, even for several whole minutes.

Trying To Leave For Vacation (Sort Of)

September 1, 2010

Chameleon Brain

The wonder of over-pressure is that, at a certain point, things simply get put off.   Somewhere around the apex of “too-much-to-possibly-do”, “some-things-are-just-not-going-to-get-done” takes over, and the imperative becomes the postponed, then the optional, and sometimes even the irrelevant.

It’s a funny old world.  Our brains are so chameleon-like that you barely see the flash of turning tail.

Not Quite National Poetry Month but “Good Enough”

May 3, 2010

Diamond Enough

After yesterday’s post concerning the relatively higher payback for posts about Robert Pattinson, I am returning to poetry.  This is, in part, because the  Academy of American Poets announced that it is extending its April program of daily emailed poems for the entire year.  (I figure if the Academy of American Poets can post a poem a day for longer than a month, I can too.)

So here’s another draft poem  (written on the morning subway).   Any suggestions for improvement that you may send are seriously considered and greatly appreciated.

Good Enough

Why is it that they,
the amorphous they,
can never say
you’re good enough
well enough
for you to feel, in fact,
good (enough);
not perhaps like a
diamond in the rough,
much less a diamond buffed,
just not ‘not good enough’.

What can they say
to allay
that bay of inadequacy,
that convenient, if unsafe, harbor,
built-in, if empty, larder?

It sounds like a game,
but if words can tame pain,
rhyme act as anodyne,
it’s worth a shot,
would mean a lot,
maybe, for a short time, enough.

(PS – note that an earlier version of this post incorrectly named the Academy of American Poets.  Sorry, Poets!  Their emailed poems are a feature called “poem-a-day”. )