Friday, July 29, 2016

Marginal Haiku

I may or may not have previously mentioned that my best long-term friend (Megan Willome) is an incredible poet and recently published a book which makes poetry compelling and accessible to all of us. (Joy of Poetry - check it out.)

At any rate, I credit Megan with creating a buzz in the back of my head so that I now see poetry as a constant presence. Fast forward to today's plane trip, when my 13-year-old son fell asleep on my arm and I was pretty much stuck in my seat with the Southwest Airlines magazine and a pen. (The crossword was crazy easy, so it only took a few minutes.)

I didn't have access to the typical electronic distractions so haiku bubbled forth from my head onto the margins of p. 98. (I've always loved haiku - it's like a puzzle to me.) Wonder what might happen if I put down my electronic distractions more often? Hmm.

For your amusement, here are my nine haiku poems presented in the order they jumped onto the page. They start out obviously smarmy/corny but become more real as I relax a bit (or at least that's my interpretation of it). At any rate, I highly recommend this as an exercise in stream of consciousness writing. I go from motherhood to political conventions during the course of about 20 minutes (maybe less). It sort of makes me wonder why.

Flying with my kids
They sleep throughout the whole ride
My joy is complete

Babies remind me 
To cherish each adventure
Although life is hard

We always forget 
To bring jackets on airplanes
AC freezes us

My dog shows her love
By crying for me each time
I leave her alone

Busy moms and dads
Look for snacks and read to kids
As my teens sleep on

The space for haiku
Is now very limited
So my writing shrinks

Almost forty-five
My ankle objects each day
But my smile is strong

Friends are always there
But they can't be everything
I give myself strength

Watching Conventions
Is like watching a family
Have holiday fights

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Turning Mountains Into Molehills with Lin-Manuel's Music

Jenn's Sad, Sad Closet
 I have a confession to make. 

< ------- THIS was the normal state of my closet for a shockingly long time.

I know….trust me, I know.
I’ve lost clothes (not to mention shoes, jewelry, exercise equipment and my sanity) in there.

I don’t enjoy living in clutter - it stresses me out to no end. The problem was that every time I thought about tackling this mess, I gave up before I even started. It seemed like way too big of a problem. It was too time consuming and too complicated. (What if I don’t have enough room for my shoes or clothes?...What if my favorite necklace isn’t at the bottom of that pile and I have to admit that it seems to be gone for good?)

Jenn's MUCH  Better Closet
This is my closet today ------ >

But don’t be impressed yet because this ain’t my first cleaning rodeo. I go through the clean-clutter cycle on a pretty regular basis. It’s not actually all that difficult to organize my closet. The hardest part is starting the job. After that, I just have to set a timer for 5 minutes and clean until the timer ends. That keeps the work from seeming insurmountable because I’m not actually trying to do ALL the work right away. I’m just working for 5 minutes. No big deal. Sometimes I really get into my podcasts and accomplish 30 minutes of good solid cleaning. I even end up enjoying the process. Totally weird but it works.

The tricky part (which I’ve yet to master) is making sure that I don’t allow my closet to become a mountain of work again. The only way for me to succeed is to make sure I spend 5 minutes, 33 seconds on my closet each day. Luckily, that’s the EXACT amount of time it takes for me to sing along with Lin-Manuel Miranda as he belts out “My Shot” on the Hamilton soundtrack.

Oh, yes. Hamilton - that groovy but scampy Founding Father is going to be the secret to my success because I’ve got 23 fabulous hip hop tracks to give me short bursts of organizational inspiration.

Wondering what my next success story will be? Weight lifting.

Wellness, general good health and having a free-from-pain and moderately muscular body is the Everest of mountains in my life right now. I have SO FAR to go and so little time to spare for exercise.

The idea of doing a 30 minute workout feels like the impossible dream, because it sounds draining and I also seriously doubt that it will make much of a difference. Luckily - science and hip-hop are coming to my rescue!

The Science

A recent Scientific American article reported that 30 minutes of walking each day (even if the walking happens in bits and pieces) reduces the risk of dying over a three-year period by 33%. That might not be enough to turn me into a svelte athlete, but it’s a darn good start.

As far as weight training goes, there’s some really great news in that department as well. This article from Greatist gives me a lot of hope because it turns out that a couple of basic strength training workouts each week could result in huge benefits.

I’m already doing a good job of getting plenty of steps in each day. (There’s nothing like a little bit of marital FitBit competition to inspire a more walking, amirite?) Now I need to find a way to add two 20-minute strength training workouts into each week. I panicked just thinking about the idea of setting aside time to build muscle until I remembered my new hero -  Lin-Manuel.

My hip-hop Hamilton plan!

Workout #1 - Start the Hamilton soundtrack at “Ten Duel Commandments” and keep going all the way through “What Comes Next.” It’s not quite 20 minutes (15 minutes, 39 seconds) but I’ll be pumped up  enough that I know I’ll keep going…King George is my new favorite villain so ‘ending’ with him is perfect because I won’t let him have the last word!

Workout #2 - Start Hamilton at “Non-Stop,” skip the two tracks that bum me out (“Take A Break” and “Say No To This”) so I don’t lose my fight and keep pumping iron (or, in my case, heavy plastic) all the way through “The Room Where It Happens.” That’s 19 minutes and 14 seconds of heart-pounding patriotism.

So there you have it - I’m going to use my favorite music to break my emotional mountains (organization and creating a healthy, strong body) down into tiny pieces.

I am NOT throwing away my shot!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Google + Jenn's Insomnia = W.T.F???

Have you tried the late night Google game of typing in your name to find out what Google has to say about you? It's actually an excellent activity* while you're in the midst of insomnia, but if you're easily might want to try YouTube instead. 

Wait...then you have the YouTube comments. 

Never mind.

Back to Google's late-night-Jennifer theories:
- Why is Omaha #1 on my likes? I've never even been there. (Although I'm sure it's perfectly fine.)
- Pooping at parties...I just....maybe it will pull up one of those funny Poopourri ads? Let's assume that's the case.
- I keep seeing "photography" as "pornography" every time I re-read this screen shot. Don't ask me why because I'm sure as heck not exploring that one.
- Now this is odd. I had no idea what a "bellarmine" was. Turns out it's a university in Louisville, Kentucky. (That's where I was born so I'm thinking it's some significant sign. Of what....? I have no idea, but I don't want the poop or photography-pornography to be a sign so I'm going with Bellarmine as my sign.)

*Muchas gracias to my favorite author, Jenny Lawson, for reminding me about this game as I was trolling her blog during tonight's insomnia.