QUICKIE ON THE DOVE REAL BEAUTY SKETCH

I know that ads are supposed to appeal to the widest demographic possible, and in this case, the widest female demographic, but as a female, my first reaction was: “I can’t relate.” Again with the solving of a problem you didn’t think you had.

I didn’t realize that I had a problem with my looks. I have lot of other problems, but as most makeover shows will tell you, good makeup, clothes and hair will make practically any woman look hot.  It just takes time and effort. You don’t fall out of bed hot, you have to put effort into it, and when you take the time to take care of yourself, most of the time, you will feel better about yourself as well because it sends a message to your subconscious that you are worthwhile, and then you will not need weird ads from Dove.

DRAG RUNNING

Source
You can file this under WTF, because sometimes life is weird. 
At a really inconvenient time last month, I decided to get sick, and then decided that running would be the perfect way to deal with it. Check my logic:  If you have a cold, running will make your body hot = burn off the cold!  Genius, right?  
So I started running at the pace of a sick person. One of the key things about running is to prioritize distance over speed. Find a good pace that will allow you to go farther every time, or at least a good distance every time.* I have a tendency to go too fast because I become impatient, and then I burn out before going very far and fail at life. It’s a mental game you play with yourself: distance first, speed comes later, so slow your ass down.  
You pass by some trees, you eat up a little road, and then you come to a moving obstacle: another jogger. What to do? Here’s the thing: if you are running, and the person in front of you is running, and you get closer, then you are probably running faster than the person in front of you.   
I would describe this person as a middle aged male. Now here’s what happened: I paused for a phlegm break. I wasn’t going all that fast, but it was slightly faster than this guy, so I went over to his left to pass him – that’s what people do, right? – and he increased his speed to match mine, effectively blocking me from going around him. I ran slightly faster, and he sped up too.  Just to be clear, it was snail v. snail, but like I said, maintaining your pace is key. You know what’s weirder than running thisclose to another person? Running alongside them. You’re in hostile territory.  
At some point I fell back behind him so other people walking towards us could pass, and he turned around to check if I was still there and then slowed back to his previous pace. When I tried to pass again, he increased his speed to block me, and I started to wonder – are we racing? Seriously? And that etiquette question – is it insulting if someone jogs past you? When was the last time I have ever given a rat’s ass if someone passed me? Answer: never. 
So the stand off ended when we came to a downhill portion, and my nemesis sprinted to the end of the block, u-turned, and ran back the other way. Double win: he never let me pass, and I kept my intended pace and kept going, phlegm be damned.  
* Do I ever check my distance? No. 

WRITING UPDATE + TIPS

First draft of my co-novel – DONE!  I should also add that my co-author finished her end of things ages ago, and I have been the one holding up the entire project.  So when I say “done,” I am referring to the whole she-bang.  Thankfully, I saw some juicy edits that I can now dive into, full tilt.  The fun never ends!   
In the meantime, here are some tips I cobbled together during the process of getting myself back in writing shape:

  • Most obvious: find a way to write often that suits you.  This is why I started blogging.  You can also journal, but I don’t like journaling because it’s like being your own main character in every single thing you write, all the time.  I prefer to mix it up. 
  • Try your hand at Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month).  In November, ignore your family obligations and instead write 50,000 words, and you can receive a bound copy of your finished product, but only if you finish.  
    • This is what I did to start my current novel.  50K was not enough to complete the story, but when you’ve hit your number, you’re well on your way and you can see the end approaching.  
  •  Morning Pages: In the morning, hand write three pages on paper.  
    • Okay, as part of the laptop generation, I know this sounds like torture, however, for some reason, writing by hand stimulates creativity, and will get your juices flowing when you’re in a rut, even if you have to finish the other 80% on your computer.  
  • 750words.com.  Following the same principles of Morning Pages but using typing, 750 words is approximately three handwritten pages, and this online program allows you to type out and track whether or not you have met your quota.  If your writing is illegible, this is probably a better method.
  • Hypnotherapy.  Life is short, right? I would say use yelp or word of mouth to find an effective practitioner, because it can be an useful method for dealing with mental blocks. To put it another way, hypnotherapy is a way to adjust yourself mentally, and it can be helpful because writer’s block is primarily a problem that exists in your mind. I would suggest that you know yourself well enough to tell the practitioner exactly what you want to work on, and then constantly reinforce the techniques she provides. 
  • Join a writing Meetup.  This has really helped me and I cannot emphasize enough how effective this has been. Writing can be very isolating, and that’s not always a good thing. There really is nothing like being in the company of people who, on some level, understand you and are doing the same thing, even if it’s not a chatty group and people just sit and write. I think when people write together, the creative energy is stronger and you can pick up on it and let it carry you forward.   
  • And don’t forget: 7 Writing Habits of Amazing Writers 

EMBRACING IMPERFECTION

Cracked Cup from Jima
A while back I tried a DIY pendant lamp cover that was supposed to look like the Moooi Random light (If you follow the link, it should lead to a pic of a nude male model humping the light cover.  I’m not sure if I should be turned on, but it’s an interesting way to promote a pendant lamp, no?)  My DIY did not work out quite like that one, and sadly, no model would want to have sex with it.  You can see it below. But then I looked at it again, and thought: I kind of like it. To be honest, what I actually said was not that eloquent and involved dropping an f-bomb, but I think imperfections are interesting. I really like looking at my shoes after I’ve worn them down, especially boots, because perfect, new products all look the same, but after they’ve lived a little, the scars and tears have a story to tell you.
The DIY version
Do you ever wonder at all the time you spending chasing perfection? Advertisements promote poreless skin, faces that are perfectly symmetrical, and models with beautiful proportions (humping lamps). I think this inherently creates dissatisfaction, because perfection is exhausting and almost impossible to achieve in your day to day life, that is, unless you chase it.  And where does that leave you?

 
This is part of a theme I’m gradually exploring. I’m not going to chat too much about buying things or making dramatic changes.  I’ll share a mental restraint I use while shopping in another post. For now, though, I’m less about changing the way the way I dress than the way I think, and reorganizing my thoughts to match my priorities. Why? Underneath the clutter, I believe, you will find the things that really matter to you. Everything else is not all that important.   

If you want to make a study of this method of thought, there is a Japanese aesthetic called Wabi-sabi. Wabi-Sabi values beauty that is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.

QUICKIE ON BOSTON: I WISH, I WISH, I WISH

One of the few times I wish I had actually gone to medical school is when I hear about events like the attack in Boston, so that I would actually have the skills to help heal people.  I wish I could have a direct hand in helping.
But I live in California, and Boston is far away.  The way I try to think about traumatic events is: Now what positive thing can I do for those close to me, to counteract the negative?  My sphere of influence is small, but it’s there.  I can always try to make the world better for those around me.  I don’t need to make grand gestures, a series of small, positive gestures will do just fine.