Monday, March 27, 2017

Doable Daily Action and a Catch-Up

Well hello there! It's Monday, I'm sitting here with my second cup of coffee. My husband is out of town, I got kiddo to school successfully, and I'm thinking about my day.

My night classes are on break for another week. Somehow just knowing I don't have to commute an hour each way in the evening makes the day seem so much longer and filled to the brim with productivity opportunities. I woke up with a bitchin' headache and my allergies are trying to kill me, so I called in to my morning classes in favor of having them do work online today. Again, the day feels so LONG.

I have a mind to do some grading today. I'm perpetually behind. Can I get an AMEN from my fellow educators out there? I also need to begin doing some bits and bobs for a new online class that starts next week. Stuff. So much stuff. And stickers, but I won't even go into those specifics right now.

But really, this post is supposed to be less about mundane bullshit and more about specific mundane bullshit. Ever since the election, I've begun daily action. Do I skip days? Yes. Do I forget days? Yes. But more often than not, I'm calling my representatives to bug them about something or other--an appointment hearing, a bill. Because I am progressive-in-Texas, more often than not, I'm calling to oppose something that I have no faith my representatives will actually oppose. Sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised.

When I started this process, like so many of us, I was on fire about EVERYTHING. I could literally feel my heart rate rising and my anxiety kicking up the further I read through the news. Now, I've upped my anxiety meds and fallen into a groove of things that I do, and it's a lot easier. It's a part of my day. It's fairly mundane but important. It's an adulting step just like doing work or cleaning the house.

Here's a quick list of the things I do. This is less about patting myself on the back (I have a headache and I can't reach) and more about hoping it'll help you fall into your own groove:

  • I skim through the news to see what fresh hell is brewing. I prefer the New York Times Daily Briefing which is delivered to my inbox. Or, if I'm already on Facebook, I'll zip over to the Washington Post's page to see what's shaking. 
  • I usually have an idea of what I want to call about as I'll hit on the latest thing or I'll cycle through a few issues, but if I need help, a reminder, a script, I'll go over to CallThemIn because it's so damn easy. Script, check! Input your ZIP and get your reps' phone numbers, check! 
  • If I'm floundering for something to do/say, I'll also check out the "Do a Thing" tiny letter. Also delivered to my inbox. 
  • I have my representatives on speed dial. No, literally. I told my husband a couple of months ago that I was putting John Cornyn and Ted Cruz into my "favorites" call list so they'd be close at hand. I guess he didn't listen or didn't take me seriously because when he actually picked up my phone and went to the faves (I think he was calling my mom), he laughed out loud. THEY ARE LITERALLY ON SPEED DIAL.
  • Because I like to call them in the morning...when I'm sitting down with coffee, before I'm completely coherent, sliding into my day, and before their voicemails are full (except you, John Cornyn, I see you). 
  • I also added all of their addresses (US, State) to my planner because I'm trying to write more postcards when I have spare moments. 
So that's it. That's how I've kinda/sorta streamlined contacting my representatives on the daily. Because hey, if Trump can be president, I can be politically engaged forever and ever amen. Because every voice matters. 

Go raise some hell. 

OH, and before I forget, Daily Action has a way of reminding me of things I forgot. I follow them on Facebook and LOVE THEM HARD. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Running Journal 1: Don't Call It a Comeback

A couple of weeks ago, my husband came barrelling through the kitchen with his planner in hand with a look of purpose on his face. When I asked what he was up to, he said, "I'm going to run the Fox Fest 5K in May."


So back up to the end of August 2016. The ridiculously hot weather completely zapped my energy and will to run, and I started to fade in my regular running practice. We had planned to do a 5K in September or October, but my son's Cub Scout camping trip changed those plans.

Alas, since then, my running has fallen off. I've made a few unsuccessful attempts to re-start to no avail.

Until hubs declared his 5K participation. Now it looks like I'll be running my first race in two months, whether I'm ready or not!

I'd rather be ready, so I'm back to work. The first time around, when I blogged about Couch to 5K last year, I said I wish'd I'd kept a running journal, so here we are. I rewound my C25K plan to Week 3 in order to get level with my current fitness and get ready for the race in time. I've been at it a week or so.

The first run was great. Never felt better. I even did a few extra intervals because I had some gas left in the tank. On the second day, I was a little slower and felt heavier. I had some mild knee pain and just felt slow. Today, run three, was a beast. Mild knee pain, foot pain that faded, and a bitchin' heel blister that came up halfway through. But it's done, and overall, my pace is markedly improved from last year when I started this journey.

The truth of the matter is that running will never be as hard as it was the first time. The days when I would run 15 seconds and wish for death. Ha! I've never felt as healthy, strong, and badass as I did when I was running regularly, and I desperately need those positive feelings these days when my creativity has largely been sapped and overwhelmed.

Wish me luck friends. I'll need your good thoughts.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Playing with Paper

I'm still on a planners-more-than-books kick, so here's my latest "Plan with Me" video! Because why the hell not?

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Books in My Ears: Shadowshaper

I've been reading with my ears lately, and that's not usually my chosen method. I'm finding that, right now, audiobooks are rewarding and engrossing in a way that print is not. I can't depend on my tired, rebellious brain to bring books to life for me, so I need a kickass reader to do it. I also do some pretty serious commuting, and rather than finding my drive a chore, it's become a moment of solace in my day. 

I just finished Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older. I've heard nothing but good things about Older from the likes of Amanda and Jenn on the Get Booked podcast. When I was browsing my library's audiobook holdings, it popped out at me, and the rest is magic.

Read by Anika Noni Rose, this book was magical and mystical and sensual and fast-paced. In short, it was just the kind of novel that pulls me in from the start.

Sierra is a teen growing up in Brookyn, and she's a talented artist. As the summer begins, she's looking forward to a carefree time, but then a zombie something-or-other shows up at a party and changes everything. Along with her friends and a mysterious cutie and fellow artist, Robbie, Sierra begins to uncover the Shadowshapers, an order originally comprised of her ancestors. They can channel spirits into art--paintings, music--and those spirits will work with them, protect them. It's great until a twisted anthropologist comes into the mix and screws everything up, perverting and twisting the Shadowshapers' abilities to fulfill his own selfish wishes.

This was a perfect pairing of novel and reader. Anika Noni Rose is seriously amazing. Her voice is buttery and enthralling, filling Sierra and her quirkiest friends with life. Older's writing is quirky in itself, cheesy in spots, but so much fun. I appreciated the atmosphere of New York, the distinct voices of Sierra's friends, and the inclusiveness in this YA urban fantasy. Sierra's Caribbean heritage and the web of culture, magic, and family in this story was lovely and refreshing.

As usual, I'm not doing this one any justice, but if you need something fun to sweep you away, this is probably it.

Images by Freepik