i'm alive and awake

Apr. 20th, 2019 10:10 pm
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[personal profile] blk
A while ago I decided to go for a week without caffeine or alcohol, because reasons(1). I aimed for a week because I figured that would be long enough to get any residual effects out of my system entirely and observe real effects. It ended up stretching into almost two weeks because I caught a cold at the end of the first week and as a rule I don't drink alcohol while I'm sick.

Caffeine

I went minimal caffeine but not zero, so I still had some decaf tea and coffee, and also small amounts of chocolate, so I estimate my daily intake was probably in the <10mg range, as opposed to my normal daily intake of roughly 50-100mg (1-2 bags worth of black tea).

Some things I don't have answers on. After about two days on no caffeine I had a mild headache. Could have been related, or could have just a random mild headache that happens occasionally after a day of staring at a screen. Several other days that week I had a hard time feeling motivation to get things done at work as well as I like to. Could have been related, or could be that I had a couple daunting projects that I was procrastinating, which definitely affects my brain for other things.

Some things I did answer. I was able to prove my claim that I've made for years that although I require tea in the morning to feel properly ready for the day, it's not the caffeine that I rely on, it's the ritual of sitting down and relaxing and sipping a warm hot drink with the right taste and feel. I spent a couple days not feeling quite right, because caffeinated black tea tastes different than decaffeinated black tea, before I explored my tea cupboard and found a decaf breakfast that is close enough, and thoroughly enjoyed that for the rest of the week. Unfortunately, it's a finely ground loose tea and so I didn't have it at work. I have some bags of a well-reviewed brand on order to test for future, though.

I observed that while I was slightly less productive (unsure if related), I was also a little less anxious overall, which is interesting because I've generally considered myself to have high functioning low anxiety all the time. So for times that I'm feeling especially stressed, going decaf again might be a useful thing for me.

When I added it back in, I was able to observe the slight elevation in alertness and concentration in a few hours following, which I appreciate and intend to keep using. I also recently accidentally gave myself a reminder to stay strict on my no caffeine after noon rule, as on a day recently when I consumed a bunch of coffee ice cream in mid-afternoon, I then completely failed to sleep well that night.

Alcohol

In some ways alcohol is pretty easy for me to go off of for short periods of time, because I tend to drink primarily when I am socializing and after i'm done Doing Things for the day. In a week I think only had to turn down one usual outing to grab a beer.

I think I may have slept better eventually and woke up a little more comfortably. I recognize that alcohol too late in the day will affect my sleep (and too much will give me gastrointestinal discomfort), but it also greatly decreases my anxiety, which I appreciate a lot and use it intentionally for. Adding it back in reminded me of these things, and I think will help me keep moderation in mind going forward.


(1) The specific reason I decided to do this experiment now is because I had a couple nights of crazy bad Restless Leg Syndrome pains, and attempted to tackle on every single recommendation(2) in a desperate attempt to get a good night's sleep. So no caffeine, no alcohol, normal amounts of exercise with gentle stretching before bed, multivitamin with iron, supplements with calcium and magnesium, extra banana every morning for potassium, staying well-hydrated, and eating well. Nothing changed for about two more nights of really awful leg pain, then it gradually decreased after I put more blankets on my bed to add weight and hasn't been back (much) since, even after going back to my usual habits, so overall I'm calling this a failed experiment since I can't tell if anything I did affected it. Bleh.

(2) Well, the sensible recommendations. I am not sleeping with a bar of soap in my sheets, TYVM.

I had therapy twice today

Apr. 18th, 2019 11:01 pm
sisceal: Photo of a cats paws, overlaid with a refracted rainbow (Default)
[personal profile] sisceal
... once with my therapist and once with a new couples therapist. I am suddenly so tired that I can NOT finish any of my evening tasks. Cool.

Keep it going

Apr. 18th, 2019 07:01 pm
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
[personal profile] sorcyress
So here is something I didn't even realize I missed until right now, and it's more or less thanks to [personal profile] tinuvielchild that I realized it.

When you go to a Big Event, it's a well-known phenomena to have "con drop" afterwards. The festival is done, afters is behind us, there's no more songs to sing or volunteer tasks to complete, and all the great many friends have packed up and gone home. Oh sure, you'll see them all again at another event, another year, but this one is done and gone behind us.

And then you log onto your computer in the days not-so-long after, and scroll quietly through your livejournal feed, and get the little reports. You get to relive the event, through someone else's eyes. You get a thrill of delight when you read your name, recognize the ways that someone you love cares too for you, and included the memory of you in their presentation of What Was.

I love reading event reports from things I've gone to. I love it even if I don't cross paths with the person I'm reading, I just adore getting to experience the thing all over again, this time in a slightly different what-might-have-been. And it's a mostly dying thing, as so many fewer of my friends flock back to dreamwidth after the events, and Facebook is so completely useless for it and decentralized.

As always, I will try and be the change I want to see in the world. But know that this is a good thing, when you talk about the lovely adventures you've had. You're letting me keep the good times going, just a little bit longer.

~Sor
MOOP!

Surprising words of affirmation

Apr. 17th, 2019 03:48 pm
sisceal: Photo of a cats paws, overlaid with a refracted rainbow (Default)
[personal profile] sisceal
Of the handful of people I've reached out to about my distress feelings this week, THREE of them have independently said "you are the strongest person I know."

And you know what? That legit calmed me the hell down. Thank you for the vote of confidence, loved ones. I will get through this.

Thoughts on Cathedrals

Apr. 16th, 2019 03:15 pm
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[personal profile] skreeky

A couple of years ago, Jon and I went to Europe for the first time. We walked through so many cathedrals and churches that we barely remember them all, and after 3 weeks had no interest in ever seeing the interior of yet another cathedral. However, fairly early in our trip, we did see something special.

There is a saying in Cologne, Germany, that if the cathedral is ever completed, the world will end... but there is no chance of that happening.

The Cologne Cathedral is so large, that by the time they have finished restoring and rebuilding one section, another has nearly crumbled away, so they move the scaffolding every decade or two and begin again. This is on a scale of hundreds of years, since 1248.

Since there is essentially permanent scaffolding in place, they are able to offer a "behind the scenes" cathedral climb. It is not much of a climb, since the so-called scaffolding has elevators. The cathedral attic has staff lounges and storage rooms and construction offices and restoration workshops. The pathways along the rooftops, amid the gargoyles, are built into the structure.

Still attached to one of the roofs is a wooden crane hundreds of years old. It was easier to just leave it there after doing its job. They figured it would be needed again.

The storage rooms are jammed with art and decor that is currently simply "out of fashion." Apparently even in these gothic cathedrals that all sort of look the same to us, decor and icons go in and out of fashion, and the church is redone in a more pleasing and modern style, according to the tastes of those currently overseeing the space.

There is a giant eagle, of all things, which currently hangs over the door to the roofers' break room. It was uncovered awhile ago in a storage room, and they liked it, so they stuck it on the wall. In the process of cleaning it up, the restorer found a roll of parchment stuffed up its rear, which when unrolled, read simply "Johannes Schmidt war hier" -- John Smith was here, possibly in the 1800s.

Semi-famously, the stone gargoyles which are too far from the ground to be seen well by passersby, now include a person on a cell phone, and a person in a hardhat. Our guide spoke of the German attitude of "creative restoration." They do not have a philosophy that these living buildings must remain unchanged, restored every time to an exact copy of the original design. They are not historical preservations; they are not frozen in time. They are the facilities that people use to live and work and worship in the 21st century. Every modern touch and flourish that is added becomes part of the history for generations that will follow us. People will look back at these new gargoyles in two hundred years and discuss how people lived and dressed at the turn of the millennium. The legend may even live on, of who these statues were modeled after and why they were chosen.

Periodically, cathedrals are blown up in a war, or burned down in an accident. Damage from WW2 is still evident all over Europe. Some cathedrals have a whole wall of windows in a clearly different and more modern style than the other windows, created by the artists of this past century to replace what was broken. It is all part of the history we tell now.

In Vienna near the river, we saw a beautiful church up on the hill and asked out guide about it. She said, "Oh, I don't know that much about it. It is pretty but not historically important and not really very old." Not very old - how old? "Maybe 200 years?"

In America, we have a very limited idea of what is old, and what is permanent, and what is important. We fetishize the past 200 years, treasuring buildings and artifacts that are "not really very old," converting 150 year old buildings into preservation sites instead of keeping them in our daily lives. We do not rebuild historical sites that are lost, updating them in order to continue using them for their intended purpose. If we restore them, it is as a sterile museum.

So yes, Notre Dame has suffered great damage, and will never be the same. Weep for the hours of labor and love, weep for the beauty that was lost. But do not mourn Notre Dame.

It will be different, and it will still be Notre Dame. It will be grand, it will pay homage to the generations that have come before, and it will be the symbol of France that this generation builds.

I bet it will also have a proper lighting grid.

(no subject)

Apr. 15th, 2019 10:58 pm
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
[personal profile] sorcyress
I am in California!

This is a trip to visit mek, and hang out with him, as I am wont to do. It has already included being twits in various stores, watching two episodes of taskmaster, and napping. This is a good life, and I'm fond of it.

Further plans for the week include doing some social with writers group and with his DnD nerd friends, and spending a day at Scandyland, which is the little amusement park not far from here with minigolf and stuff. Plus probably writing, and watching many of the Televisions, and harassing the cat and that sort of thing. It's a difficult life, but one that must be occasionally led.

Last weekend was NEFFA and it was...not the best NEFFA I've ever had. *probably* not the worst, since I think that honor goes to the first year, but some similar problems honestly.

But there were lots of good parts! I had long discussions with lots of friends, and plenty of sunshine-time, and I got to listen to Elishka be passionate about knitting and the SCA, and I got to have a couple of really satisfying dances with strangers, and the demo team performance wasn't too bad. So ultimately, it wasn't terrible, it was just...a lot. Don't wanna talk more here/now.

It's near eleven my time, so my brain has slowed down pretty badly. I'm running on about an hour and a half and three hours sleep in a bed, then a whole heap of chunks of sleep on the airplane(s). Coming back home's gonna be plenty exciting too, but that's definitely a problem for future Kat.

I hope wherever you are, you are well, and with people you care for, and with things to do that make you happy.

~Sor
MOOP!
sisceal: Photo of a cats paws, overlaid with a refracted rainbow (Default)
[personal profile] sisceal
You know what? At this point I want to start keeping record to see how much time passes between each absolutely fucking terrible thing the world drops on me. Maybe I'll be able to notice that other things do happen.

T minus one month to... no big deal

Apr. 14th, 2019 05:00 pm
sisceal: Photo of a cats paws, overlaid with a refracted rainbow (Default)
[personal profile] sisceal
Hey everyone, aside from all the nonsense which is continuing to fuck with me, I wanted to mention (wherever possible) a thing.

My birthday is a month from today. Ever since I lost a really special romantic and domestic and adventure situation related to my birthday, it has just felt awful and weird. Last year I tried to arrange a chill tea and cancelled at the last minute because I felt so off about it all.

This year I'm going to celebrate by giving myself a full day of silence, and I'll be turning off my phone as well. Which is all to say, please dont send birthday wishes.

Thank ♡

(no subject)

Apr. 11th, 2019 09:14 pm
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
[personal profile] sorcyress
Having submitted my evidence file in a beautifully timely manner last night (I hit submit before 7PM! I made it to bells only a half hour late, and had great fun ringing and climbing on things!), my subconscious decided to throw a truly wicked anxiety-dream at me.

On the plus side of everything, it was honestly ridiculous enough that during the dream everything was deeply stressful and upsetting, but as soon as I woke up, I was able to take the situation firmly in hand and say "that is not how any of that would happen, don't be ridiculous, brain". And then I could just sortof marvel at the utter ridiculosity of it all!

See, I was teaching a Scottish Country Dance class, at a con-like event. It was the SCD class where _everything_ was going wrong. All my dancers were newbies, except a handful who did a lot of English or Contra or otherwise not-quite-Scottish and they kept talking over me and not letting me explain. I was ready for music and found my musicians had wandered off to get snacks. We spent all this time on skip-change practice, and then I realized that the really easy first dance I'd prepared was a strathspey. Also it began with an allemande, which is actually a great figure for when you've a mixed class and there are experienced people, but *not* for when you have all beginners all the time.

Also, like, Austin and some other more generic "people who are my friends who I like" were there for a while but then wandered off in an annoying and unsupportive way. Alsoalso, at one point we were having to arrange our set on an incredibly awkward ledge with raised metal panels on the floor. It was...deeply sub-optimal.

So yeah. Like, _none_ of that would happen in real life. If people insisted on talking over me, I'd utilize my Withering Looks, if my musicians wandered off, I'd switch to canned music, if I had a ton of newbies, I'd do what I always do and crack wise until they relax, if my dances were too hard, I'd switch 'em out for something I make up on the spot, and if I teach skipchange as my step _I will damn well use quicktime dances instead of strathspeys_.

But, yanno. Evidence is in, which means the waiting game has begun. Sometime in the next two months, I will find out if I get to keep the dream job. If I recall correctly, last year I had at least four anxiety dreams before I found out.

Fingers crossed y'all.

~Sor
MOOP!

(no subject)

Apr. 10th, 2019 03:05 pm
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
[personal profile] sorcyress
Aight. Frantic and worried part two. It's EVIDENCE TIME BAYBE!

There is no Highland tonight. If I superstar get my shit together (oh hey, maybe *this* is why I've been keeping those spare meds in my bag, and not because I'm just forgetting to pull them out0) then I could theoretically go to bells, which would be awesome because Emily and Dale, and because I've had no chances to bells recently, not really. And I'll have no more chances for...a long time, for me.

HERE IS WHAT YOU ARE TO BE DOING1:

*I need to do, at minimum, attendance for today. I also really _really_ need to print new attendance sheets for this week, now that we're three days through.

*I need to put in an offer on a car-renting for California trip.

*I need to create some kind of spreadsheet showing how participation grades are doing in my various classes across the quarters.

*I need to find the slide about the cell-phone-box-for-bonus-points thing I'm doing with my Algebra class, to help them with their participation grades.

*I need to create a curriculum map for Data Analysis

*I need to scan like basically everything in the universe.

*I need to upload all my evidence

*I need to apply Standards to these things. Four strands breaks into sixteen sub-strands breaks into 33 relevant standards that need to be covered by my evidence file. Whee!

*CLICKEN SUBMIT!

*DONE EVIDENCE? GOOD FOR YOU! GRADING IS CURRENTLY IRRELEVANT BUT YOU COULD DO SOME OF IT ANYWAYS SO AS TO MINIMIZE STRESS DURING THE BREAK.

*Also I could work on my NEFFA and California packing lists, because like...look, it's gonna be a *very* exciting super-tight turnaround from one adventure to the next.

Cool. Cool cool cool. Got two hours before the SAT folks show up to crash in my room, and then I can go move upstairs for a while. Let's see what I can get done in that time. LET'S DO THE THING!

(Please send lifesavers, encouragement, haiku, funny jokes, cheerleading, sneks, and anything else you think might help.)

~Sor
MOOP!

0: Going to bells implies going to Austin's after, hence the need for meds tomorrow morning.

1: Sources say the thing I am quoting here is from _2005_. It's old enough to be one of my students. I am...man. I don't even know how to feel about this.
(Put for the jelly upon one slice of the naughty bread. For it is to be weighted down for to be not running away.)

Bleh

Apr. 10th, 2019 10:40 am
sisceal: Photo of a cats paws, overlaid with a refracted rainbow (Default)
[personal profile] sisceal
Honestly I have nothing to say which isn't frustrated or sad or afraid.
Also somehow therapy made me feel fucking... a lot worse on Monday? I feel trapped and hopeless, and that old familiar standby: unwanted.

I guess the upbeat shift of this post is that I'm making myself accomplish a few things every day. And even if it's not enough and it doesn't make me feel better, it's still a notable improvement from Sadness Standard.

Cockroach Queer

Apr. 8th, 2019 11:04 pm
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
[personal profile] sorcyress
This is a very angry post, it is an extended subtweet of someone who ignored my boundaries in order to 'debate' me when I didn't want to. I'm not bothering to explain context, I'm not bothering to censor my cuss words. It's about a thousand words long, read or not as suits. )

This is an angry post, but you know what? I'm almost thirty, and I have almost entirely stopped caring what men think about me. Good Girls Aren't Here, but I'm not a girl and I'm sure as fuck not good. Piss in the wind, if you wanna whine about it.

~Sor
MOOP!

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