mollyringle: (bradley)

My list goes to 12:

1.     Quitting Facebook, or at least spending waaaaay less time on it

2.     Finishing a trilogy!

3.     Starting a new novel that is not going to be a trilogy and is way simpler and smaller in scope but still paranormal and romantic and quirky in my usual ways

4.     Getting into the habit of daily meditation - I like the app Calm to help guide the practice, but there are lots and lots of others that do similar things and look good too

5.     Stepping up my exercising. In addition to making sure I take walks on an almost-daily basis, I've started doing some high-intensity-ish exercises a few times a week. (Try this one if you dare. Calling it "beginner" may be a stretch! But it'll give you a workout for sure, and I'm getting better at it with practice.)

6.     Also tai chi. I've been doing various YouTube sessions of that on occasion, and find it really does make my joints all feel happier.

7.     Recognizing anxiety for what it is; i.e., my imagination working overtime; and redirecting that imagination into creativity, such as writing stories, or thinking up ways to improve my surroundings

8.     Probiotics for all in the household. Or at least, definitely for me, in the form of things like kombucha, yogurt, kefir, and fermented pickles, and for my kids in the form of chewable probiotics when they won't eat those other things, which is usually. It has correlated to a notable decrease in number of viruses and other infections we've caught. I won't claim it has caused the decrease, but it has at least correlated, and I wouldn't be surprised if there's a cause and effect here.

9.     Earlier bedtimes for kids, better enforced. More sleep for me too. The meditation and similar breathing exercises help relax insomnia's grip on me. And more sleep surely helps our health too.

10.  Being a lot gentler in how I think of myself, and getting a lot better at not giving a damn what other people think of me. Self-care feels real good, and ends up making me more patient with everyone else, so hey, win-win.

11.  Leasing my soul, for a time anyway, to the Merlin (BBC) fandom, and in particular the Merthur ship. Yay, slash daydreams and fanfics! I've missed your siren song.



(It's pretty much canon, anyway.)
Also, maybe I just haven't dug deep enough yet, but so far the Merlin fandom is one of the sweetest-natured I've ever encountered. Everyone has been wonderfully nice.

12.  Trying doing things in new ways, or doing new things. I'm starting small, no bungee jumping yet, but practicing flexibility in daily life is like yoga for the brain.

So my resolutions for 2016 are pretty much to keep all of those up, and do even better at them. Happy New Year, everyone!

mollyringle: (my life is so thrilling)
Recipe for insomnia
------------

Take a handful of any of the following irritations, and stir (and toss, and turn).

- My arm is squished if I lie like this.

- My hip hurts if I lie like that.

- The pillow is blocking my nostril.

- My shoulder is too cold.

- My feet are too hot.

- I should get up and go to the bathroom. No I shouldn't. Yes I should. No I shouldn't.

- The inside of my nose itches.

- I'm so hungry my stomach is eating itself.

- My mouth is dry. My teeth are sticking to my lips. I should get a drink of water. No I shouldn't. Yes I should. No I shouldn't.

- My hair is poking me in the neck.

- My ear is bent funny against the pillow.

- My nightshirt is twisted around me too tight.

- I'm preoccupied by those emails I need to answer.

- I'm preoccupied by thinking about illness, injury, and death.

- I'm preoccupied by story ideas I don't spend enough time working on.

- I'm preoccupied by the insulting things people said to me five, ten, or fifteen years ago.

- I'm furious because I'm going to be too tired tomorrow to get anything done.

- Furious. Argh.

- A bird is singing outside. It's only 4:00 a.m. Argh. Hate the bird.

...And this says nothing about sleep disruptions caused by others, such as toddlers. Then, at least, there's a reason I'm awake. But there is nothing more agonizingly frustrating than lying awake for no good reason while the clock ticks away the minutes and hours. 12:48...1:15...2:09...3:34...4:02...and you bargain for less and less time. I'll be all right if I can just get six hours of sleep...or five...or three and a half...or two...

I've been this way off and on for most of my life. The worst spell was in college, when, for no apparent reason, I didn't sleep at all for about a week. These days I usually do get at least a few hours even on the worst nights, and the worst nights are no more than a few times a month. But I'd rather get seven or eight hours every night, thanks.

I don't want meds. At least, not really, not regularly, not so I rely upon them. Does anyone have other sleep-inducing tricks? Acupressure points? Breathing techniques? Melville novels?

All other insomniacs out there, come here. Group hug. I'm sorry I didn't come out earlier. It's nothing to be ashamed of, except maybe once in a while when we turn into total crazy people and beat our heads against the pillow, or kick the mattress repeatedly with our heels, or throw ourselves upon the floor in a frustrated heap. But sleep deprivation is a form of torture, you know.
mollyringle: (Elvgren girlie)
Please welcome into the Famed Halls of Celebrities I Have Kissed in My Dreams... Heath Ledger!
(*clap clap clap*)

I've always liked and admired Heath, but he only murmured and shouldered his way onto my so-called "lust list" just lately, after I saw Casanova. Yes, it's a fluffy and ridiculous film with no historical redeeming value whatsoever. But, come on. It has Heath and other lovely people looking like this and acting silly, so of course I liked it.

Now, what Heath and I would ever be doing in the same room, let alone kissing, I can't imagine. What a pity. But thanks for those sweet nighttime hours, Signore Casanova. I'll leave my window open for you.
mollyringle: (Seattle - Pike Place)
This morning as I got some extra sleep while Steve took the little 'un downstairs between feedings, I had a fun wild dream that Neil Gaiman or Tim Burton might have written. The notable part was that I visited the Underworld, which you accessed by a stairwell in a city street. The Underworld looked about like an underground street market--in fact, right at the foot of the stairs was a fruit-and-vegetable stand, like the otherworldly version of Pike Place Market. And featured in the front of the stand was...pomegranates. Heheh.

This doesn't even mean I'm obsessed with death or anything. It simply means I've been thinking about rewriting an old novel about Persephone and Hades. My dreams tend to be comically easy to interpret.

Also, Harry Potter was there to free, or maybe just visit, Draco Malfoy, who was being held captive. Foreshadowing of book 7? After all, Draco is now in the hands of the dark side, and (like Persephone) may or may not be able to escape it ultimately. I'm not a follower of H/D fanfic, but maybe one of you is, and wants to take this plot bunny--could be a tribute to the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, if not Persephone--and run with it.

In other news, bestiality is finally going to be illegal in my state. About time, y'all. *facepalm*
mollyringle: (Grace)
Challenge to self: come up with at least three remarks.

1) Melatonin may or may not make me fall asleep sooner, but it does seem to make me sleep deeper, and usually with more pleasant dreams. A quick Google on the subject suggests it does stimulate stronger dream function, for better or worse, in most people who take it. Majority of subjects say dreams are better. This message not reviewed or approved by FDA.

2) A Jeeves & Wooster icon out there led me onto an odd train of thought this morning: C3P0 and Luke Skywalker are the galaxy-far-far-away analogy to Jeeves and Wooster. In the earlier three films (Eps. 4 thru 6; ugh, I hate how prequels screw up words like "first" and "earlier"), I almost expect 3P0 to say, "Master Luke, surely you don't intend to go outside wearing that." 3P0, however, gets easily nervous and flustered. Jeeves never does. As such, Jeeves is a much better protocol android.

3) Great quote of day, from Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides: "Emotions, in my experience, aren't covered by single words. ...I'd like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, 'the happiness that attends disaster.' Or: 'the disappointment of sleeping with one's fantasy.' I'd like to show how 'intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members' connects with 'the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age.' I'd like to have a word for 'the sadness inspired by failing restaurants' as well as for 'the excitement of getting a room with a minibar.'" Amen, Mr. Eugenides. Amen.
mollyringle: (Jarvis)
(I was just going to write "sleep" in the subject field, then the Wicked Witch of the West took over.)

Today I added "sleep" to my interests list, not just because I love to sleep, but because I recently finished reading a very interesting book about the subject by a sleep specialist: Dr. William Dement's The Promise of Sleep. If he's to be believed, I now understand more about sleep and sleeping disorders than most primary-care physicians. Here are just a couple interesting things I learned:

Contrary to what I used to believe, it is not possible to "sleep too much". Granted, there are diseases like narcolepsy where it could be argued that the sufferers sleep too much, but I'm talking about the case where you sleep 11 hours on the weekend, and drag yourself around groggily the next day complaining that you "slept too much." Well, what actually happened was you started paying off the sleep debt you accumulated over the busy week, and the reason you're still tired is because you haven't paid it all off yet - and there's no stressful work stuff keeping you alert. When there are no outside causes to wake you up, you sleep as long as you need to. Then your brain wakes you up. If you've gotten all the sleep you need, you won't be able to sleep any more. Simple as that!

Caffeine does work, of course, to perk you up when you're feeling tired during the day. Taking a nap works too--even a 15-minute nap can improve your alertness for the next six hours. But caffeine takes 15-30 minutes to start kicking in; and, similarly, after a nap you're groggy for about 15 minutes before its effects kick in. So here's a cool thing you can do: drink a cup of coffee (or cola or tea), then lie down and take your nap. 15 to 30 minutes later, the caffeine will awaken you, and erase the grogginess you'd ordinarily have after a nap. So you synergistically get the effects of the caffeine and the nap. This suggested by a bona fide sleep M.D. Neat, huh?

Of course, keep your overall caffeine intake low, or you build up a tolerance. But you knew that.

Btw, the number of motorists and pilots who fall asleep while driving or flying? Much higher than I had dreaded. Freaky. Get some sleep, people! For the sake of us all!
mollyringle: (narnia)
(Isn't that what LJ is all about, really?)

I've been reading a book about sleep lately, and it has verified what I already suspected: I should try to get more of it, and the health consequences of not getting enough are hugely serious, not just a mild inconvenience. Mood is the first thing to plummet when you don't have enough sleep. Reaction time and sharpness of thinking suffer too—basically, you get stupid when you're sleep-deprived. And your immune system takes a grievous hit as well, opening you up to all kinds of problems.

But let's just look at mood for now.

I found myself wondering this morning, as I stumbled around getting ready for work when I wasn't quite awake, "Does everything seem so stressful in my daily life lately because I'm not getting enough sleep? Or am I not getting enough sleep because everything is so stressful?" The book hasn't said yet whether we actually need more sleep when we have stressful situations going on, but it has said that we feel stress a lot more acutely when we're sleep-deprived. So, I suppose it follows that more sleep would ease stress.

Or maybe it's all in my head. I'm a firm believer in the notion that the brain can screw you up any which way. Question is, how much can you actually do about it, even if you know it's just in your head?

I've wondered a similar thing before, years ago, when lying in bed with an upset stomach: "Does the world seem so nightmarish because I'm sick? Or am I sick because the world is so nightmarish?" Some days, probably just the former. Other days, it's got to be the latter. Most of the time, though, it's hard to tell.

Lately, with the changes at work, my stress has led me into my usual dichotomy: low self-esteem and the certainty that I suck on the one hand, countered by narcissism and the belief that everyone is being unfair to me on the other. Which is truer? How can I tell in any given situation?

Recently, I've decided most of what I write is stupid, my intelligence is severely overrated, my attempts at humor are pathetic, and my social skills are appalling. I've also decided I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to do, am being unjustly condescended to, and am perfectly normal in being quiet and introspective to the point of isolation. No, I don't think I'm bipolar. I just think I'm full of conflicts and am always questioning whether my actions are "right". Perhaps I over-question and simply need to relax.

I have no point to this, except to hope it explains my personality a little better to those who don't quite get me. Several times in my life I've been told I'm mysterious. I'm not trying to be; I'm just not sure what I think of myself, so I'm standing over here quietly musing over the subject, when I probably should be doing something productive.

Maybe the constant conflict is good for me, as a writer. No story without conflict, right? Then, hey, I'm your gal!

But I know there are two things I must keep at the top of my list of priorities: one is sleep. The other is humor. It's life-threatening to skimp on the former, and a cardinal sin (in my book) to skimp on the latter. That goes for all the rest of you, too.

No, make that three things. Chocolate. Yes.

Spiderific

Sep. 23rd, 2003 12:08 pm
mollyringle: (Default)
Oh, great. To judge from this new spoilericious pic of a Shelob action figure, our favorite arachnid villain will look a lot like a gigantic hobo spider wearing armor. This may be the first thing in the LOTR films to really give me the creeps. (As well it should, since the Shelob incident is among the top two or three most traumatic events in the whole story...but I've talked about that before...) [Edited later in the day to add: TORN now reports that this is not movie-Shelob, since this is an action figure made several years ago. Anyway, supposedly movie-Shelob is based on some evil-looking black NZ spider. Not that this will make me any less creeped out.]

Hobo spiders, for those who are blessed enough to live somewhere other than the NW or Europe, are nasty big brown hairy spiders that like to hang out in your bathtub, woodpile, basement, or slippers, have a tendency to go running across the carpet just when you thought you were safe, and can give a bite that sometimes turns extremely ugly (necrotic, as in "dead flesh"), resembling the bite of the brown recluse. In the Northwest here, we do not have the brown recluse, but the similarity of the bite confused experts for a while, before they worked out the source as the hobo spider. Hobo spiders, see, are new to the area: they are from mainland Europe and got into Seattle on a boat, and have now spread at least as far south as Corvallis, Oregon (we definitely had them there), and east into Idaho. All I can say is: thanks a lot, Europe. First Scotch broom and now this. *sigh*

I encountered three or four hobo spiders lurking on the beds and in the corners of the vacation house this weekend, and thereby did not sleep very well Friday night. And then I came down with a cold. So in some way I can blame spiders (or Europe) for my illness. Yes.

Btw, that fast-breaking Shelob pic was courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] wee_tolkien, which is absolutely the best, funniest, coolest, snarkiest source for your Tolkien-related news, and you must join at once if you have not done so. They provide two concise updates per day, which is much tidier than sifting through the numerous "Legolas rox!!!" posts of, say, [livejournal.com profile] lordoftherings (which is a fine community anyway and I am still a member and all that).
mollyringle: (Ringlust)
(Just to prove I can address topics other than hobbit-loving.)

My fine editor Deborah at Scheherazade Tales posted this valid complaint to an ebook mailing list:

Some gripes about the rewriting process and prima donna writers )

On cool stuff I've recently read: finally finished the colossal Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. This book was amazing. Mr. Stephenson somehow did enough research to last five lifetimes and crammed into this novel every detail of life in the Philippines, life during WWII, code-making and code-breaking, military and computer technology, and geopolitical history for most of the world, and made it funny. A couple favorite excerpts:

Later, he was to decide that Andrew's life had been fractally weird. That is, you could take any small piece of it and examine it in detail and it, in and of itself, would turn out to be just as complicated and weird as the whole thing in its entirety.

(And, for those who like a splash of slash...) One day a couple of weeks later, as the two of them sat by a running stream in the woods above the Delaware Water Gap, Alan made some kind of an outlandish proposal to Lawrence involving penises. It required a great deal of methodical explanation, which Alan delivered with lots of blushing and stuttering. He was ever so polite, and several times emphasized that he was acutely aware that not everyone in the world was interested in this sort of thing. Lawrence decided that he was probably one of those people. Alan seemed vastly impressed that Lawrence had paused to think about it at all and apologized for putting him out.

You can read the first several chapters of Cryptonomicon for free here, if you like. Also, Stephenson occasionally compares his characters to Tolkienian races ("so-and-so was like a Dwarf...so-and-so was more like a Wizard..."), which gets bonus points from me.

And, you know - what the hell - I lied - I'm going to include some hobbit-loving in this post after all. I just have to tell you about this dream I had a few nights ago:
I was naked in bed with Dominic Monaghan, to film some (nonexistent) scene where Merry is cold and needs to share a bed naked with someone for warmth, so naturally I played this character. Dom and I groped each other a few times, never ones to pass up an opportunity. Liv Tyler (as Arwen) was there too, briefly, on his other side. Billy Boyd also put in an appearance; I think we all three were in the bed at some point. Anyhoo...nice to know I'm hobbit-swapping in my sleep, eh? And last night's kinky dream was actually, as usual, about [livejournal.com profile] radiofreecarbon, but people get all squicked when folks talk about being attracted to their spouses, so I'll stop now.
mollyringle: (Default)
What a bizarre way to start the morning. I woke up out of a dream that I was--for a little while anyway--making out with Reese Witherspoon. Yeah. The actress. Another girl. This is really unusual for me. Dreams about famous guys, guys I know, guys I don't know, sure, all the time. But this? What the...?

As it turned out, in the dream, we were doing this mostly for the entertainment of some guy who was hanging around watching. (Yay, I'm a whore too!) And in this dream, Reese told me that it wasn't her first time with a girl, as she'd done this with Uma Thurman once. Heh. All righty then.

I'm guessing this is my karmic revenge for having enjoyed all that male-on-male slash. I've now been slashed in my own dreams. (I'm sure you've seen it: that ever-popular Molly/Reese pairing.) Still, I've never even looked at any of the female/female ones...I mean, why would I? So strange.

I guess it could be worse. At least Reese Witherspoon's pretty...right?
Well, I feel cheap, all the same.

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