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Yesterday I was thankful for the community of my yoga class. We were off last week, so yesterday was the first chance I had to tell my friends there that I got laid off. They were all sympathetic, and they all offered hope for better things in the future.
rsadelle: (Default)
Today I'm thankful to be part of such a great yoga class. Our class is mostly returning students, but today was the first day of a new session and we had one new person. She rode her bike to class and brought it in to sit at the edge of the room. In the middle of class, one of her tires popped with a giant whoosh of air. When class was over, everyone gathered around her to make sure she could get home.
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I started this post early this morning, before I even went to work. Today was a busy - and constantly busy - day, and I loved having this post to come back to at lunch and this evening. So although this is a post of three things that are making me happy, the post itself is a bonus fourth.

Christian Kane's The House Rules
Okay, I know this came out in December, but I just bought it yesterday. I couldn't listen to it and write at the same time because I just wanted to grin and sing along, so I listened to it on my walk this morning. (Thing I don't think I've mentioned here yet: four of my amazing friends went in together and bought me a tiny, red iPod! So now I start my day thinking of them and listening to music on my morning walk.) I'm pretty delighted by it.

Chris's gender politics are interesting as always: he makes a distinction on "Callin' All Country Women" between "uptown girls" and "country women," which is perhaps not the best presentation of "uptown girls," but very interesting in that I read this post, in which the comments discuss the way women aren't referred to as "women" this week. (He himself is a "country boy" in the lyrics.) "American Made" refers to women as everything from "women" to "girls" to "beauties" to "ladies," depending on the fit with the lyric - although he does refer to "my girl."

He also does a pretty straight up cover of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" - the only lyric he changed was from "checkout girl" to "checkout boy," which was jarring the first time I heard it but not the second. (His tweet wondering what Tracy thinks of his cover is what prompted me to finally go buy the album.) It's an interesting choice, and I think it works well.

The most interesting thing about my emotional reaction is that I wish I'd bought the CD + digital download version. I didn't because I thought, "Of course I don't need a CD," but it turns out that when it comes to Chris, that does actually matter to me. Strange! I do have an unused Amazon gift card, so maybe I'll use part of it to get the actual CD.

Rosemary Clement-Moore's The Splendor Falls
The last book I read was bad. Really, really bad. (I'm writing an unrec post for [livejournal.com profile] romoerotic. I require a lot of words to describe how bad it was and why.) Anything else would probably look good in comparison, but The Splendor Falls is genuinely excellent. It has a compelling first-person narrator, an interesting plot, and the word "collarbone." (Those of you who don't follow me on Twitter may not realize that the use of the word "clavicle" has reached epidemic proportions. There are, of course, appropriate situations for the word "clavicle," but next time you write it, think about your intent. Are you providing a clinical listing of body parts for an anatomy test or trying to give your reader a sense of the beauty and sensuality of the human body? If it's the first, by all means do use "clavicle." If it's the second, switch to "collarbone." We'll all be a lot happier. [If you really feel the need to use "clavicle," I would be totally down with a Brendon/Spencer college AU where Spencer's studying anatomy by using the technical terms for all of Brendon's body parts as he touches/kisses them.]) Every time I start reading, I don't want to stop.

My Inspirational Desk
Between yoga and Sean Van Vleet's obsession with Steven Pressfield, which he has then passed on to several of my friends, I can't escape the concept of resistance. I finally bought white index cards so I could write "No resistance. Just let it be easy." on the back of one. It's more a paraphrase of something my yoga teacher said than it is a Pressfield reference (I've tried to read The War of Art twice, but haven't managed to finish it), but it's absolutely helpful writing advice. Monday's reading at yoga was the first four lines of this. I almost didn't catch anything else she said because I found "Empty yourself of everything" to be so powerful. I now have that on an index card on the other side of my monitor. (I didn't estimate well, so it's not centered and the letters squish together at the end. I'm trying to figure out if I can empty myself of the need for it to be right or if I just need to rewrite it.)

I was so pleased with my index cards last night (I'm thinking about doing a whole series of handwritten cards of things I find inspirational so I can shuffle them and let the hand of fate choose what I need in the moment when I need inspiration), and then I looked at the few other things on my desk, and realized that they are also keeping me in touch with good things. I have a heart-shaped petrified wood paperweight that I got from my belly dance class when I quit my last job to write, which reminds me both of my commitment to writing and the support of others. The cable for my iPod, which reminds me of the people who gave it to me, lies in a slight curve to my right. And then there's a small, wooden whale, which I bought at the woodworking place in Ghirardelli Square on a work trip. Something about its puppy dog expression called to me, even though I don't like puppies and have left my dolphin and whale obsession in my past. Part of one of its flippers has broken off, so it lists a bit, but the wood is as smooth as ever.
rsadelle: (Default)
Today I'm thankful for yoga. I was a little keyed up when I got to class this evening, but I came out of it relaxed. As much as it's a good thing to have new/more people in our class, I really like those sessions where it's all people who've been taking it for a while and our teacher does less explaining of each pose. It's very relaxing.
rsadelle: (Default)
I've been thinking recently that I need some inspiration. This isn't even about writing. This is about my inner self, my spirit, which just feels empty - and not in the good way where it's making space for the universe to come in and make itself at home, but the bad way where I feel drained. For anyone else who needs some inspiration, here are three four things I found inspirational that you might too.

I was trying to think of places I could go looking for inspiration, and I wondered why on earth I ever stopped reading Corilee Fox's blog. Then I discovered that I hadn't actually dumped the feed ([livejournal.com profile] corileefox) off of my friends list; it just changed URLs and I didn't notice. So I had LJ update the feed, and now her lovely blog is appearing on my friends list again.

In my quest for things that are inspirational, I also followed a link from Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project blog to the companion Happiness Project Toolbox where I started sifting through the Inspiration Boards section. What a lovely collection of things that other people have found inspirational.

[livejournal.com profile] willowbell wrote "we'll never settle for the quick defeat" for [livejournal.com profile] realwomenfest. I loved it, so I wandered back to her LJ to see what else she'd written and came across "the literary magpie." This story is so beautifully written that I think you should read it even if you don't like Gabe and Victoria, even if you don't know who they are, even if you never read fan fiction. It really is that good.

Bonus! As I was working on this entry, Gretchen made a post about Secrets of Adulthood. I'm finding that "Seek mentors for more than your career" in particular is making me think.
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If you need a refresher, I did make a 2009 Projects post. I've stuck the projects I added as time went on where they seem to logically fit.

Dewey Decimal Project
I did continue this, mostly. I did not read anything in October, much less a nonfiction book, but I did well with this project the rest of the year (in November and December, the nonfiction book was the only book I read), and I read a couple of books I really liked.

Music
One of the nonfiction books I read totally changed my life in a completely unexpected way. When I read Jonah Lehrer's Proust Was a Neuroscientist, I said, "This makes me think I need to start listening to new music. I know I've noticed my own tendency to not bother with music I don't already know." As a result of that, I started downloading every mix I came across and making a conscious effort to listen to new-to-me music. I found a lot of music I really like, a few things I hate, and some things I didn't like at first but that grew on me over time. I actually started listening to music more than watching TV as my background noise.

PoC Authors
In April, I added reading at least one book by a PoC author every month to my list of goals. I did really well with this all the way through September. I didn't manage to read anything for this in October, November, or December.

What happened with my reading is that in about September or October, I got very, very anxious about not having a job. If I was at my computer, even if I was just reading fan fic, there was a chance I would do work (either writing or job hunting), whereas if I sat on the couch and read, then I really wasn't doing any work, so I read almost nothing for the last three months. (I'll post my book list later today or later this weekend, and you can see how true that is.)

Food
I continue to eat vegan and gluten-free. This is not an issue for me, but it does make me difficult for other people to feed. I kind of forgot that I was giving up refined sugar at the beginning of 2009; that didn't last. I did give up chocolate, though, and that's working well for me.

Exercise
I did really, really well with most of this. I continue to walk three miles every morning and do at least some yoga every day. Weights are getting a little iffy with the change that I have a job and therefore less time at home. I think I'm going to try to do Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, and that way I can do them while I watch How I Met Your Mother on Monday, Mercy on Wednesday, and whatever I'm catching up with on Saturday. Dance continues to be a challenge for me, especially since I had to temporarily drop ballet because I couldn't afford it. (I didn't drop belly dance only because my teacher told me to just keep coming to class and I could pay her when I could.) I've been noticing my posture has gotten worse since then. I keep thinking I'm going to start doing pliƩs in the kitchen at least once a week, but then I don't do it. I do occasionally get up and kitchen dance party when I'm listening to music that I can't resist dancing to. (Note: I dance in the kitchen because it and the bathroom are the only non-carpeted areas of my house. Dancing on carpet is hard.) I'm going to have to think about how to approach this better.

Writing
Ugh. This is the one I don't want to look back on! I did submit a story to an anthology. It was rejected, so now I'm a real writer with a rejection notice. I didn't finish the third draft of football.txt or the paranormal mystery novel, nor did I start the lesbian romance novel. I did start an erotic novel and write a lot of fan fiction. My struggle with writing is that I write a lot, but I have a hard time being okay with what I'm writing. I keep thinking I should be writing other things, and then trying to remind myself that writing something is better than not writing at all. (I thought about doing the fan fic wrap-up meme, but I was kind of overwhelmed by how much I wrote this year. I'm still thinking about doing just the questions part.)

While I definitely think of myself as a writer, I found myself really discouraged this year about my ability to be the kind of writer who makes a living at it, so I've been startled when other people have put it in those terms. When I was looking for a job, my mom said I just need a job for now because eventually I'm going to live off of my writing. Then [livejournal.com profile] schuyler said in my holiday card that this is the year we get my writing career off the ground.

Something I started doing just in November or so around writing is being up front and honest, with myself, my writing group, and selected friends and family, about the fact that as much as I'd like to think I'm going to write a sci fi/fantasy or mainstream novel, I really only write erotica.
rsadelle: (Default)
Wow, am I having trouble remembering this this year.

I'm thankful my brother came to family dinner night last night. I haven't seen him in a while (um, now that I do the math, "a while" means "four and a half months" - since Father's Day), and it was good to both see him and meet his new girlfriend.

I'm thankful for yoga. I'm amazed every time by how much better I feel after doing yoga.
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Dewey Decimal Project
As I mentioned earlier, I'm going to continue my Dewey Decimal Project. If you've read any good nonfiction, feel free to tell me about it. I may or may not ever read it, but I'd certainly be interested in hearing about it! I'll also continue to post about the nonfiction I'm reading. It helps keep me on task, and I hope it's interesting to you, too.

Food
Starting tomorrow, I'm no longer eating dairy or wheat, and I'm avoiding refined sugar, at least for the month of January. (Starting tomorrow because I'm having birthday cake and ice cream today.) I'm sick of being on acne meds (and I refuse to do either Accutane for a third time or hormones), so I'm going to see if not eating dairy helps. My joints are also really crackly, which my doctor said isn't a problem if they don't hurt, but which is kind of annoying. My mom told me she knew someone who told her his joints got better when he stopped eating wheat, so we'll see if it does anything for me. And as long as I'm not eating either of those two things, I might as well stop eating refined sugar too.

Exercise
This holiday season, I got very lazy about exercise. A couple of days ago, I finally said to myself, "You feel bad because you're not doing yoga. Do your yoga and you'll feel better!" So I started doing yoga every day again, and after even just two days of it, I felt so much better. Actually, daily yoga, aerobic exercise, and some sort of strength training are pretty easy to do - I love doing yoga every day, I go walking first thing in the morning (um, usually; I slept in an extra hour today instead), and I catch up on TV shows while doing weights two or three days a week and do a few crunches and/or lunges the other days of the week. It's doing some dance every day that's tough. Without a set something to do or someone to follow, I get bored within thirty seconds of shimmying around the house. I usually wimp out and do a very small amount of shimmying, practice a few wrist circles, or stand in first position while I do the dishes or brush my teeth. I'm not sure what to do about this one.

Writing
I suppose I should have some writing projects explicitly mentioned! This year, I have a short story I want to submit to an anthology, a novel I want to write the third draft of and try to get published by an ebook publisher, and a novel I want to finish and try to get published by a mainstream sci fi/fantasy publisher. And that's just at the very least. I'd also really like to write the next book or two in the series the mainstream book is the beginning of and the lesbian romance novel I mentioned before (I even have names for all of the main characters). I'm sure I'll also have other writing projects jump out at me over the year.
rsadelle: (Default)
Today, I'm thankful for my yoga teacher. She's the only person teaching her style in the whole Northern part of California (the next closest is in Sacramento). There are a whole bunch of different styles of yoga, and I'm glad this is the one I experienced first. Yoga has been such a force for good in my life, and I don't know that I would have continued on with it if my first experience had been a style that didn't work for me.

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Ruth Sadelle Alderson

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