Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Ishi no chikara

(Pictured: What we try to will ourselves away from, with inconsistent degrees of success. And by inconsistent, I mean negligible.)

The past week, I’ve kept a journal (o.k., more like a checklist) of what I did (or didn’t do) that day. I found that when I do everything like I’m supposed to (like exercise AND work like the Energizer Bunny all day AND stay away from social media until I’ve done everything AND not drink or eat chips before bed), I will get “good behavior fatigue” and have about two rebound days short on exercise and big on emotional eating and going down the internet rabbit hole. And while I am ready to forgive myself for one rebound day, I will beat myself up over having two in a row, then I will get moody and snap at innocent strangers (well, the guy wasn’t completely innocent, he was being righteous and obnoxious, but being those things isn’t a crime and he shouldn’t have had some middle-aged woman he didn’t know yell at him because of it).

So what is the solution here? Set lower expectations for myself? Try harder not to have two rebound days? Forgive myself when I do? Or maybe all of the above?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Time flies like an arrow

Kouin ya no gotoshi (this one is kind of like a proverb so it's in classical Japanese)

Three weeks into the New Year. Wow, that’s fast! I think it gets faster every year, as we age. (Theory of relativity in ageing: a person’s concept of time is determined by the relationship between a given time frame and how long the person has lived. One year to a seven-year-old is 1/7th of his life, whereas one year to a 45-year-old is 1/45th of his.)

Addendum to New Year’s Goals

1)    I’m still working on the online course. I’m up to Unit 4 (of 8). It’s difficult, which is why I didn’t absorb and retain it as an undergrad.
2)    The Pumpkin Princess sewed her drawstring bag all by herself. I let her make mistakes, pointed them out before they became impossible to fix, and let her do all the ripping out and re-stitching by herself. She now proudly carries her PE uniform in it every week.
3)    The decluttering has spread to the pantry. Spices expired pre-2011? WTF??
4)    I should hire a gardener.
5)    Only four cubes left. I definitely should have made a bigger batch.
6)    I ran 6k on the second weekday after the holiday, and I think that should count as a holiday run, so  that I can say I accomplished my goal of doing 3 runs over the holidays. Since then, I’ve done Jillian Michaels’s 30 Day-Shred Level 1 when it looked like consecutive days of bad weather would give me more than a whole week without exercise.

7)    Ended up with leftovers that stayed in the fridge longer than several days, and had to chuck them. I’ll have to revise my New Year’s Cooking for the next New Year’s Holiday, since the next one looks just as short as this one.

Trying to stay focused and do my part in the machine of quasi-academia and society, but also trying to be realistic about what I can and cannot do, and what is best for me and my family. 

Aren't we all?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

It's cold


Year of Requirement Part 20

I mentioned that my home, pre-renovation, lacked air conditioning. Post renovation, it had air conditioning in the living room, but none in any of the other rooms. In winter, I had an electric space heater in my new room.

The school didn’t have climate control, either. Air conditioning consisted of an open window. It was considered rude to fan yourself during class, though everyone did it when the teacher had his back to us. This happened quite a bit because school ran into mid-July, unlike the US.

Heat came from a kerosene space heater. The duty person (it rotated through all 42 kids in the class) had to go to the custodian’s office every morning, get the plastic tank of kerosene, and fill the heater tank.

Kerosene cost money (duh). The JHS principal announced that the kerosene heaters were not to be used until January. An exception was made for the third year students, because he didn’t want them to catch cold before their entrance exams. Then my homeroom teacher said that we should follow the rules set for the other years because it wouldn’t be fair and we should be setting an example for the underclassmen, plus the cold would help us focus.

My friends from Suburbia would have probably made fun of me for complaining of the cold because it hardly ever got below freezing, but part of the problem was clothing. You could only wear the uniform, and the uniform didn’t allow for sweaters, plus I had to wear a skirt, not pants. This was in the mid 80s, so I couldn’t wear Uniqlo Heat Tech leggings with black socks and pretend they were tights, partly because they didn’t exist (I think Uniqlo was already selling clothes in Hiroshima, but it would be several more years before they became a thing), and partly because if you wore tights, they were supposed to be flesh toned. The cold turned my lips an ugly blue color, more fodder for kids disappointed that I wasn’t tall and pretty and long-haired. I spent breaks near the window trying to soak the warmth from the sunlight, which was only partially effective because it was time for the next class by the time I got warm.

Then came winter vacation and then January, and the teacher let us use the kerosene heater. It was hot near the heater and cold away from it. You hoped your seat would be near the middle of the room where the temperature was reasonable.

I found out a few years ago that the classrooms in my old JHS now have air conditioning. I am happy for the kids, but also slightly jealous.