check in

today at work i had meetings for pretty much 7 hours straight. i started at 9, had maybe half an hour for lunch, and got back at my desk to answer some emails around 5. there was a foot appointment in there, but since i was running to that in the space between two meetings, i’ll count it. and it was ok. i’m feeling better about being there! after my coworker left, maybe a week afterward, i was sitting at my desk with a pile of work and no one to even say hi to in the morning, and i got so lonely for my old job in roch. it’s better now though!

i’m going to the women’s march in st paul on saturday! that should be something. my mom said i would feel empowered after that, and i hope so because i think we all need some empowering right now.

so far i’ve done yoga every day this month. i’m feeling really stagnant right now so i hope today isn’t the dealbreaker.

in addition to my iphone dismissal, i installed a procrastinator extension on my chrome so i can only spend 60 minutes a day looking at facebook and twitter. i figure i’ll try to whittle that down even more as time goes on. the march toward less anger continues!

party like it’s 2006

a couple years ago i had started thinking about getting rid of my iphone. don’t get me wrong; i love that thing. if i could, i’d marry it. therein lies the problem

the iphone introduced a magical world where every thing you’d ever want to know was right at your fingertips. 

15972522_1430143347016414_1385155669758435752_o

want to know how to get to the nearest mcdonald’s? google maps. stopping by jcpenney and wonder if there’s a coupon? google it. grocery shopping at target? cartwheel. need to remember to bring something somewhere? set up a reminder. want to track your runs? runkeeper. need something to listen to during your runs? podcasts and spotify. out and about, see a fake colosseum, and wondering what the downfall of the roman empire was? instant google to the rescue. 

we’ve created this culture of instant information and instant gratification, right at our fingertips. it’s very empowering, very satisfying, and very addicting, when you think about it. 

ten years ago, you’d have to print out directions from mapquest if you were going somewhere new, or look at a map. you’d have to make sure you have your penneys coupon printed before shopping. same with target coupons (as an aside, you CAN print cartwheel coupons out at home and bring them with you). you’d have to carry a small notepad and pen in case you needed to remember something. tracking runs meant timing them and then figuring out distance on a map and then doing some math. ten years ago, you could bring an ipod with you, but you’d have to make sure all your music was downloaded and stored on the device. see a fake colosseum? well, make a note about the roman empire in your notepad to look up later when you get home (via wikipedia OR your encyclopedia if you’re a true luddite). 

not IMPOSSIBLE. but certainly more inconvenient than these past ten years have been.

so why would someone want to go back there? why would i want to give up my iphone? 

nothing pushed me more to give it up than this last election cycle. the constant information, the “always on” aspect of the news, the bombardment of opinions and news or propaganda via social media was completely overwhelming for me. and that rush of just being able to pull out my phone and look was too much to turn away. social media addiction is real and documented; you get a high from checking it. and i know i’ve devolved into a weird sort of ADD personality when it comes to that stuff. if it’s not a soundbite or headline, it’s not worth the time and effort to read. this is how misinformation get spread, and this is how you become a lazy bum. 

it was time to just bite the bullet and start to step away from information overload.

i know the best way to do this is to get rid of my facebook and twitter accounts, but since a lot of my job is involved with that, that step is a bit too drastic at this point. i started to take some steps:

  1. curate my facebook feed so it makes me happier. this meant blocking the people who posted negative (to me) information, unfollowing all news sites, and start following a bunch of pages dedicated to cats, baking, cooking, grammar, writing, books, yoga, and running. i also made sure my starred friends were my like-minded siblings and close friends and relatives so i’d see their posts first.
  2. my twitter feed pretty much WAS curated this way already. i could always count on my twitter feed to focus on my ideals versus FB, which was hit or miss before #1. there are a few political people on there that i should unfollow though, as their tweets tend to get overwhelming at times. 
  3. a couple years ago i had stopped bringing my phone to bed with me. i had been using it as an alarm, but it ended up being more of a “let’s look at stuff until 1 a.m. and i’ll be dead tired the next day.” so i’ve been using an alarm for a while now. 
  4. stop reading the FB comments on MN-based news outlets’ stories. you want to see the cesspool that has become humanity, just go to your local newspaper’s FB page and read comments on a controversial article (i.e. anything having to do with muslims in the st. cloud times). 
  5. no really. just stop. 
  6. STOP.
  7. ok, we’ll start that one tomorrow then.

right now i’m at a better place in my social media feeds. it’s not perfect, and it’s not going to be perfect until i get rid of them completely. even then, my job will require me to look at social media for a while yet.

but i figured one GOOD step would be to get rid of its constantness. which meant setting aside my smartphone. 

now: i’m attached. if i leave my iphone at home when i go out, i feel like i left a body part behind. i was checking FB on my laptop once and picked up my phone TO CHECK FB.

watching a TV show? phone is in my hand. it’s rare that a movie or show i watch at home has my full attention anymore. i’ve tried leaving my phone in the kitchen while i watch a movie, but i’m always thinking about getting my phone to look at twitter or FB or reddit or the latest news.*

i have a problem.

15994831_1432184796812269_3680105502422106203_o

i bit the bullet. i went on ebay, found a pink motorola razr like i had back in 2006-2009, and i paid $25 for it. i bought a new battery for $30, put my sim in it, and fired it up. 

hello, moto.

image1 IMG_1709 IMG_1710 IMG_1711 IMG_1712 IMG_1713

(yes, i took all these pics with my iphone.)

oh god, it was all coming back to me. i set up the ringer, the wallpaper, punched in the numbers of a few people, and sent a couple texts. called jane to make sure it worked. so far so good. 

then i kept picking it up and looking at it, expecting it to entertain me like my iphone. but it’s JUST A PHONE. the only way it will entertain me is if some real, live person gives me a call or sends me a text. even the TZONE doesn’t work anymore, and connecting to the “browser” brings me to google circa 2006. 

it’s weird. it doesn’t do anything, yet i still keep it on me all the time. i could easily set it on the kitchen counter and nothing would ding or beep or notify or have anything new happen all evening long. it’s bizarre. and it’s all me that’s placing this expectation on it. 

i’ve had it switched for two days now. last night, i left my iphone at work ON PURPOSE. and life was fine. sure, i use my laptop a little bit more, but i feel using a laptop is more intentional than just slipping your phone from your pocket or setting it beside you. you can’t just drop your laptop between your leg and the couch cushion to absent-mindedly pick it up again 30 seconds later; you need to intentionally place it and pick it up. 

Screen shot 2017-01-13 at 10.02.49 PM

My current iphone screenshot

for now, i still have my iphone, but in a neutered format. i removed a bunch of apps, including my google drive, alienblue (RIP), pokemon, all the games, all the cooking stuff, all the news apps, etc.

i can still use imessages if i’m logged into my desktop mac (laptop is too old).

i kept my running app because i will still use my phone for that, as well as music apps and podcast ap. (i have an extra phone number/sim from tmobile because it was a cheaper package, so it will be the “second line” and my gps.) i kept twitter, FB pages manager, instagram, and outlook for work stuff; i will use it more for work, is my guess. and i kept google maps, my bank app, wunderground, and all my coupon apps (the coupon apps may be deleted soon). you just never know; i may go on vacation and want to use my iphone instead of my flip phone (OR MAYBE NOT??).

what i’ve noticed so far? it may be all in my head, but there is less of a need to check everything all the time. i feel less angry at things i can’t do much about. i don’t feel compelled to check FB just because. and those phantom pocket buzzes? pretty much gone.

what i’m expecting will happen? i’ll print more directions. i’ll have to just guess at some stuff instead of look it up. i won’t be able to check my email constantly. i’ll check FB and twitter less. i’ve pretty much already stopped looking at reddit. 

and if the last couple days have been any indication, my mental health will be a little less angry and annoyed, and a little more hopeful and happy, and it should be rising exponentially the longer i stay away from that iphone.

i’m not saying this is the best thing for everyone to do, but if knowing so much about the world is making you unhappy, this might be a step to take. the question of “would you rather be ignorant and happy or informed and unhappy” always had me ambivalent, leaning toward informed and unhappy. these days? i’m leaning toward ignorant and happy.** 

so i’m embracing my inner luddite. the only way my phone will entertain me these days is if someone calls/texts me, or i call/text people, just like the old days back in 2006. this may be short-lived; this may be a wake-up call and i’ll never own a smartphone again. either way, i’ve already noticed benefits, and if it makes me a little bit happier, i’ll take it for as long as i can.

*not that knowing the news is a BAD thing. i love that i find out a lot of “breaking” news via twitter. generally i know more about a current event from twitter users than from the news.

**this is NOT to say i am uninformed; i generally know what’s going on. but i am not so informed so much of the time and thinking about it constantly. there’s a difference between being informed and inundated.

ohm

here’s my plug for fightmaster yoga. i’ve been doing the 30 days of hatha yoga for happiness, and it’s been great. all her videos are generally great, and this one is no different. i did a headstand against the wall, we did about four rounds of warrior two namaskare flow things and about died in the process. i’ve been utkatasana-ing all over the place, and if i do go skiing this weekend, i’ll be ready. 

she has a youtube channel, a website, is on FB, all that stuff. she has beginner’s classes and ashtanga classes (i want to take her ashtanga course but it’s $100!), and basic yoga flow classes. everything from 10 minutes to 1-1/2 hrs. 

there’s my plug. 

i gotta say, not listening to news nonstop and doing yoga has actually calmed me down a little bit. i can notice a difference.

classy

i watched pres. obama give his farewell speech, and i feel more relaxed about this presidential transition than i have in a while. of course he said the right things the right way, like he always does. he thanked the right people and made them cry (made ME feel a little weepy). despite his occasional stuttering and propensity to say “ta” instead of “to”, he has a way with words to make people feel a little calmer, a little more centered, and a lot more energized.

“I do have one final ask of you as your president―the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago. I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change—but in yours.”

this made me just so happy. it’s why i was drawn to bernie – the fact that americans need to realize THEY have the power. it’s why you call your representatives and make some racket, even if others think you’re a weirdo or you don’t deserve to have a say because they just want to be complacent. being a citizen is not complacency!

if you haven’t seen his speech, i recommend finding it on youtube and giving it a watch. if ain’t nobody got time for that, check out this quote list to get you feeling a little more balanced in life (if you’re like me and have been feeling rather ragey and anxious for a while).

in other news, this flip phone thing is weird. i keep picking it up, expecting it to DO something. i guess you people need to start calling or texting me! things i’ve noticed so far: less facebooking when i’m not at work; less redditing for sure; still use my laptop all the time and keep twitter up. (i watched twitter during the trumpster fire of a press conference this morning, and it wasn’t fun.) still got some work to do, but i’ll get there. 

done-zo

in an effort to feel less stressed about the world around me and focus on my resolution to be happy, i decided to finally go back to a dumb phone and set aside the constant overload of information that is the smart phone in my pocket. 

41qdbaubnhl-_sx425_i bought a motorola razr on ebay, and i got it in the mail yesterday, TEN YEARS TO THE DAY THAT STEVE JOBS INTRODUCED THE IPHONE. i take it as a sign.

i will keep my iphone, and i stuck my extra sim in it with the extra phone number i have. i will need to use it for work occasionally and i want to keep tracking my outdoor runs with runkeeper, as well as listen to podcasts and music on the run. so it’s not like i’ll be completely cold turkey.

so my phone number is in the razr. my imessages on my computer still works, so if you send me a text while a mac is on, i’ll get an imessage vs. a text message on my phone. that’s ok. emojis and pics!

i stopped at tmobile today to get my extra sim figured out, and the guy who helped me said he quit social media last year, and he’s been really happy with it. i’ve already taken steps to get rid of the news and negativity on my fb and twitter feeds. if it comes to it, maybe i’ll quit those, too. it’ll be like 2006 all over again. mapquest here i come! (no, really; no more google maps on my phone.)

in other news, it snowed today, and i got NEW snowpants in the mail, so i’m gonna go out and shovel. 

let’s get this party kickstarted

this summer i have the opportunity to work on a big photo project again! this time around, we’re working on bringing old hollywood to life. this project will be super duper fun and i’m really excited about it. i’ll be working with a lot of the same people who were part of the cosplay calendar i did a couple years ago. (which was also super duper fun.)

SO. it’s currently in a kickstarter, and we need to get this funded! i’m going to up the ante for my blog readers: if you fund this at $20 & up, and it gets fully funded, i’ll send you a copy of any 8×10 photo or notecards from my etsy shop. (you also get a piece of jewelry from the set!) just make a screen shot of your receipt and comment with it below (make sure to comment with your name so i know who you are). or you can email it to me if you have my email.

let’s get this going! click here for the kickstarter page!

d-clutter

i wasn’t sure if i should title this the clutter or declutter. some sort of compromise, i guess.

i’ve watched two or three videos in the past week that told people to declutter. so i guess it’s time. i went through a bunch of books and have a stack to sell, a stack to donate to the library, and a stack to donate to goodwill. i also have a stack of books that i don’t want but can’t get rid of because they’re inscribed. 

next up is my DVDs. i rarely watch movies off DVD anymore unless they’re holiday related. i do have blu-rays that i watch, but even my herk and xena dvds are available on netflix now (except for two x episodes because of music royalty issues). this is such a weird issue for me. books i can deal with because i know which ones i will read again (HP? yes. hunger games? yes. writing manuals? yes. etc. etc.). movies are a whole other ordeal. once i’ve watched them once, i feel like that’s it. but what if someone comes over and wants to watch a movie and i say i don’t have it? do we rent it from amazon? who knows. 

after that i think it’s time to go through my clothes again. that’s always a fun time. 

then the closet in the guest room, which is full of stuff i never use but need a place for. ugh! 

THEN. in march or april, on that one day when it’s 60º and feels like spring has arrived but really hasn’t, i will clear out my shed and garage!! gotta make room for garden stuff!

2017 – the year i regress (possibly)

so, we can come to the conclusion that 2016 was not good for celebrities, politics, or bernie sanders fans. it wasn’t bad for me, generally speaking. lots of good things happened. a lot of things kind of put me in a holding pattern, but ultimately, i think 2016 was ok. good jorb, 2016!

so what’s to come in 2017? i think my resolutions list will mainly be a list about home improvements, now that i have a GIANT ACRE of land. 

  1. longstanding resolution: TAKE MORE PICS. i’m excited for my august photoshoot i’m a part of! it should be fantastic and fun!
  2. another longstanding resolution: get a garden in! i’m torn on where to put it, and i think keeping the riffraff out (aka the deer and bunnies) will be a challenge, but it should be super duper fun.
  3. get a compost pile going! like, a real one.
  4. consider a chicken
  5. consider bees
  6. since my trip resolution worked out so well last year, i’d kind of like to put another trip resolution in her in case it makes it
  7. i’m not sure what to do on the running front. maybe i can just say, resolve to run as much as i comfortably can and do a couple races. there’s a relay half marathon in la crosse in early may that might be a possibility liz and i decided to run the earth day half marathon here in st. cloud. bring it on (i guess).
  8. do something interesting with nate. i don’t know if this is in conjunction with resolution 6, but i’d like to do an out-of-the-house activity with nate
  9. i like last year’s be happy resolution. i think this year, i want to scale back on connectivity ALL. THE. TIME. i was just listening to npr this afternoon, and they were talking about “ambient news” – you know what’s happening all the time because you’re checking your social media all the time, and you’re getting blasted with everything, ALL.THE.TIME. it’s agitating, kind of nerve-wracking, and constant. i’ll be informed! i just won’t be immediately informed. and possibly fake informed. this would require some adjustments; i’d have to get a dumb phone. i’d keep my iphone, but i’d use it for running tracking mostly. and mobile bank deposits. i’d keep my extra sim card in it so i wouldn’t be tempted. so no more emojis and no more camera on me all the time. it’d be weird, but i think, ultimately, it’d be really good for mental health. now i just have to find a dumb phone. if anyone has one that works with at&t or tmobile, let me know.

 

2016 reading challenge

huzzah i met my reading challenge for the year! i set a goal of 60 books, and i met it. (not that the last two years haven’t been great reading years). 

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-8-32-53-am

but what’s REALLY interesting is my pages read:

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-8-33-05-am

first, i think it’s interesting that 2012 and 2013 were within 400 pages of each other. and this year, i read 2000 pages more than those two years.  (i don’t know what happened in 2014 or 2015.)

generally there are a couple books each year that i start and then decide, naaahhh, and toss aside. i mark them as “read” on my goodreads because otherwise they just hang out in my queue forever. i know in 2013 i started infinite jest – a lot of pages – and quit after less than 100 pages. so these numbers aren’t completely indicative of my reading habits. BUT this year, i know of two books i quit – one i was 3/4 done with (just couldn’t anymore) and the other i’d gotten about 1/4 of the way through – that one was “duma key” by stephen king, so it was pretty long. 

i wish i could set a goal by pages, not books read. i can choose books that are 250 pages or books that are 800 pages, and they both count as one. 

see ya 2016. bye. just go away.

2016 was not a good year for celebrities or politics. or bernie sanders fans. D;

anyway, let’s take a look at my resolutions for this year and see where i ended up.

  1. same old same old: take more pictures.
  2. train for the half marathon liz and i signed up for in may!
  3. maybe a deck this year?
  4. spend more time at whitewater. it worked well last year; i should be able to keep the trend!
  5. another garden – fine tune my plant-starting skills. they need help.
  6. i have no trip plans besides my derry fam reunion in july. i wouldn’t mind an excuse to go somewhere, though
  7. let’s try kablpoye again. i felt like it was a good exercise in making sure i wrote every day, and i know my four readers enjoyed it. every day blogging, here i come.
  8. i think i should just focus on being happy! whatever makes me happy, i’ll try to do. 

 

  1. same old same old: FAIL. BUT. summer 2017 i got another gig doing a photoshoot for a book. awesome!
  2. CHECK! train i did, and finish we did!!! in may, liz and i ran a half marathon in sub 13-minute miles! it was long. it was difficult. it was really hard on my hamstring. BUT WE FINISHED. huzzah! now liz wants to do a marathon. i’ve got to get my foot figured out before then.
  3. well, yes. we did put on a deck. unfortunately, i don’t get to enjoy it.
  4. that didn’t happen 🙁 
  5. a garden DID happen. i had a ton of tomatoes and a ton of pumpkins – it was awesome. however, i didn’t get to spend as much time as i’d’ve like in it.
  6. trip? did someone say TRIP???? OMG. CHECK. i went on a TRIP. jane and i went to california!!! it was awesome. i’d go back.
  7. FAIL. every day blogging just didn’t happen. i don’t know if i’d try it again. i’ll have to think about it.
  8. you know what makes me happy? being in central minnesota. and guess what. i made that happen. in april i had an interview at the college and accepted the job offer. started commuting between st. charles and st cloud in may, and in july, someone put an offer on our house. we bought a house in avon, just four miles from the st. john’s campus. in september, we closed on both houses and moved up here. there are some little things that i forgot about – namely the traffic and the hatred – but overall, it’s VERY GOOD TO BE BACK. and nate just got a full-time job at the holiday station in albany, so things should be smoothing out. i’d call this one a check, even though it took some work to get there. CHECK CHECK CHECK!

some not so great things about 2016: my grandma died. she’s been on a downhill slide for a long time, and about 5 months prior to her death, she was pretty much bed bound. so that sucked. i did get to see her a few times before she died, so that was good.

****

2017 resolutions to come.