Sunday, July 31, 2011

Battling in the Spaghetti Noodles


Does this even need any words to go with it?

Today was Camp Tomato.
Camp Tomato 2011.
Thank you Jason Webley.
It reminded me to envision beyond the norms and constrictions I think are there.
It taught me that if you set up a pool of spaghetti noodles up in a park and instruct people to wrestle in it, they will.

It also reminded me that I love Seattle, Washington, United States of America.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sleep, Maggie, Sleep - Collaborative Sleep Effort

One of my favourite bedrooms I've ever had.

I was over at The Gift the other day when a post on sleep caught my eye.

Sleep is so crucial to my mental and physical well being - yet folks skimp out on it often. In a world of artificial lighting and 24/7 entertainment that I can review in my bed until the early hours of the morning (laptop) I've had to take some action in making sure I get the full 7-9 hours I need.

Indeed, like with many things, I have a sleep routine I treasure and try to uphold. By keeping it up, my body does a lot better job at falling asleep and I get at least an hour of relaxed peace in the evening.

I also realized that a lot of my sleep habits have been derived from other people. I wonder if I've ever even told those folks about how they influenced my every night. Here's a few influences:

Jenny
I've known the dear Jenny for some 9 years now. Back in the day, sleep-overs with her were definitely a high point for me.

Jenny taught me about changing your underwear right before bed (too much information? doesn't matter). It made so much sense! Does everybody do that?

Anyways, why would you want to go to sleep in lived-in underwear. Putting on a fresh pair as I'm pulling on my pyjamars is definitely a refreshing experience at night. In the morning, I'm also already set for the day.

She also taught me that sleeping with no pants on is much more comfortable than with pants where they get all twisty as you turn and dream on.


Tricia
I was interviewing Tricia for the Shirts-n-Skirts website when she informed me that she slept with the window open when she slept at night.

What?

And now I sleep with the window open most nights.

Yes, even when it's really cold, windows are open.

It makes the bed seem cozier, and I love the fresh air I get. Also, allowing the temperature of my body to drop a bit while trying to sleep helps induce sleep. Triple win!


Kyle
It was naptime at Folklife and Kyle pulled out an bandanna and tied it around as a blindfold and put earplugs in his ears. I considered that quite unusual.

About a month later, I was folding up my handkerchiefs and bandannas before bed when I decided to see what it was like.

I tied it on.
And slept well.

What was great is, when I'm trying to fall asleep, sometimes I get distracted and don't realize my eyes are open. With the blindfold tied on, I can't get distracted and it is super-dark. Super-dark? That means faster sleep.


The Routine
The goal when going to bed is to have the lights out by 10:30 PM. That ensures plenty of time to rest, even if my body doesn't fall asleep right away.

7:00 PM

Stop eating. This gives my body plenty of time to digest before I sleep.

9:30 PM

Screens off. My laptop get's stored away in my closet or in another room. But what is key is it can't be accessable to me. The moment I get weak and pull it out, it's almost guaranteed I won't sleep for 30 minutes to an hour later than when I want to be asleep. It's important to have the screens off because it calms my mind, makes me aware of what I need to get done in my life, and tells my brain it's night time.

Quite music on. I listen to music every night and have since I was really young. Starting at the age of 7 or so, my dad made me a looped CD of the ocean to work as white noise because I was bothered by any noise in the house and couldn't stop listening. This is more than 10 years before they knew I had SPD. These days I listen to Julian Lloyd Webber (beautiful cello, Andrew's brother), Chris Rice (relaxing, rich hymns on the piano), Disney's Lullaby Album (first sleeping album I bought with my own money), and lately I've been listening to Secret Garden (got this one on a whim for a few dollars at St. Vinny's without knowing what it was - no regrets) as I get ready for bed or in the morning, but not to fall asleep too.

9:40 PM

Brush teeth.
Wash face.
Put on pyjamars.

9:50 PM

Make a cup of tea.

Turn off main light in bedroom. Just bedside lamp is on.

Ideally by this time I am all ready for bed and my windows are open. With this time until 10:30 PM, I often tidy up my room a bit, sort things out, read the Bible or other books, wiggle and stretch, and mentally prepare for the next day.

10:30 PM

Start sleeping album over or choose the right album to fall asleep to.
Check alarm clock (I wake up to either classical music or NPR).
Lotion or coconut oil and chapstick.
Sips of tea.
Squish lavender between fingers - inhale.
Tie on bandanna.
Pray.
Sleep.

With this entire routine, sleeping hasn't become a problem for me. I've made sleep a priority and my body is grateful for it. On the weekends, my routine does slip (my regular dances go till 10:30, 11:00, and 1 AM) but during the week I do what I can to make sure I can start calming down at 9:30 (this makes sure that friends know that I need to be back home by then).

With ADHD and SPD combined, I have a busy body and a busy brain. It used to take me forever to sleep and it wasn't something I enjoyed. It's now that I'm older that I'm taking complete control of my habits so I can live at my full potential.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Spilling Personal Guts Into A Blog


What if I actually blogged those thoughts that fill up all my brain-thoughts when I go for my bike rides and walks and clean my room?

I consider that sometime.

I've only blogged personal thoughts on an interaction with another person once or twice - simply because I don't consider it to be wise to share such things on the internet.

Whenever I write something I have to think through what the person would say if they read this and if they would think about it being shared with anyone who wants to see it (not that that many people read it - but that fact that they could read it).

--------------------------------

But if I were to write things out, it would be things like this…

I had a brilliant friend since I was 7 and were very close and hung out a lot and then one day he cut me off completely because his girlfriend was jealous (absurd) and then we didn't talk for an entire year (and I couldn't do anything about it).

So, that's the story. And that, there, could be expanded into an entire post in itself with details, but you don't need them. But I am going to reflect on how I was affected by this and how it is now affecting my relationships (as in friendships) with others now.

This series of events had a very distinct pattern:
- become very close friends
- communicate lots
- he get's a girlfriend
- communication cut off
(yes, it's as stupid as it sounds)

And unfortunately, it engrained itself full-well into my brain.

I didn't think it was going to affect me that much until a few months later when I started hanging out with another sir in a pure platonically-friendshipped way.

That's when my brain started to freak.

It made the jump that what had happened before would happen again. I put up some walls to protect myself, communicated, and let the friendship dissolve.

Or as of lately, I've come to get a bit close with a good mate of mine till our communications became a daily habit.

Yesterday, when on my bike, though, I had these thoughts.

"Oh bother… I'm becoming similarly as close to K as I was to C. See, it's just friendship, but, unfortunately, it is between a girl and a guy -- why couldn't we be the same gender? The next step is for K enter into a relationship and cut me off completely. The best way to protect myself, then, is to emotionally distance myself from K before he can cut me off and perhaps I ought to just cut him off now and save myself the trouble…."

And then I had to stop myself.
Remember that K is not C.
Shake three times.
And write to K because communication rocks.

Texting Interaction:
M: …and please don't ever pull a C. 

My brain was wandering on the bike ride today and it realized that you are both very similar and then it realized that very soon you'll probably do exactly what C did and that I should protect myself by just cutting you off completely now but then a mile later I remember to think and realized that was stupid.

I forget - have you read the Screwtape Letters?

Seagull

K: Oh my thank you for thinking and realizing!! Please never cut me off! That's the worst! If we hurt each other we need to stick together and work it out, not excommunicate each other cause that is horrible horrible horrible!

And yes I have read the screwtape letters.

Bookcase.

I hate to be the insecure child, here, but I'm a huge fan of communicating where I'm at with people when it might affect them.

K and I are in the same green-paddle boat in terms of thoughts on communicating and working things out. The problem was, C is very much so a conflict-avoiding kid. He would go out of his way to avoid conflict, even though, in the end, everyone got hurt because his way of avoiding conflict was avoiding confrontation and communication.

After what happened with C, I don't think I realized at all what an effect it would have on my interactions with others later on, but it has. Luckily, I've taken to grasp that and am learning when to keep my guard up and when I can let it down. I still put it up and very inopportune times (I don't know if you've ever experienced a distanced-Maggie, but it is an unusual thing to behold) but I'm glad that I at least realize why I'm doing it and what I need to bring myself back so that the friendship can grow and strengthen.

----------------------------

I still don't think I'll every write out the details of personal interactions on a blog. It just doesn't seem right. While it might be an excellent read for the world, I don't consider it full proper. Some people can pull it off but it's just not my style. However, writing out the thoughts behind those interactions and the lessons behind them, those are what are more likely to come out.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

St. Vinny's the DJ

$0.99 a song on iTunes.
$12 for an album.

And then I go to the neighborhood thrift store, St. Vincent de Paul's, where I can get an album for $1.49.

St. Vinny's is legendary - you can find anything there. And when I need a music mix-up, I like to head over there.

Lately, I've been listening to a lot of music or sounds that are either...
     a) instrumental
           - classical (Baroque, Copland, Yo-Yo Ma)
           - pretty stuff
           - weird new agey stuff from the 70s
           - folky music (Scottish or banjo)
     b) sound CD's
     c) NPR
     d) books on tape
     e) and a few other more recent happy songs

And that's about it.

So what have I been listening to lately from St. Vinny's?


One CD I got a while back was Songs from a Secret Garden (1996) by Secret Garden. I had no idea what it was when I bought it. It looked.... pretty. And it was! It was gorgeous. Simply incredible, soothing music. My favourite song goes by the album title, Songs from a Secret Garden. If you're feeling any stress at all, check it out. Secret Garden, the band, is an Irish-Norwegian "duo" (thank you Wikipedia). It sounds classical but it's not. Bit more recent than that. Wish I knew how to describe sounds, but it simply is my favourite way to end an evening. I'd fall asleep to it but it has a lively song near the end that would disturb my sleep-intentions.

This was purchased quite a while back. But just today I got three new ones.


The first album was this one, Wild Sanctuary: Alpine Meadow by Bernie Krause. Over an hour long soundscape of, well, being in the Alpine Meadows. Bernie Krause traveled around the meadows around Gray's Lake Wildlife Refuge in Idaho capturing these sounds, follow spring as it moved. As they put it, "the soundscape is an example of a rich June evening chorus in a western alpine meadow." It's a good listen, I'm going to try sleeping to it tonight.


The last CD was Crossing to Skellig by Philip and Pam Boulding, a delightful married-duo who make incredible music and craft, if I am correct, their own instruments. Well, at least I know Philip has made well over 2,000 instruments - many of those harps and dulcimers. This one, when I bought, even came pre-shrink-wrapped and new. My favourite track has to be number three, Fairy Dances from Magical Hill. Simply adorable! Anyways, a charming mix of Celtic instruments and songs.

I'm just keeping reviews short because I don't really know how to describe songs.

But I love what St. Vinny's does for my ears. For cheaper than getting certain one songs on iTunes, these days, I can get entire albums of music I wouldn't otherwise hear. And for the peace and sense of calm I get from these albums, I'd say it's well worth it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Origins of This Blog's Name: The Haiku That Started It

The term, "Run away Maggie May" originated, for me, on Tuesday, 07 October 2008 at 21:34. I was writing haikus.

Here's the one I had written.


Never have settled
Since I was smaller than now.
Run away Maggie.

The first time I wrote out those words.

Can't say much has changed since then. I still desire, greatly, to get a van or RV and live out of that. I don't want a house. I don't want an apartment. I want a little cozy place without owning lots of stuff. And I want to connect with people.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Watching Her Grow


See this girl?

Isn't she beautiful?

For safety's sake, and to respect her privacy, I'm going to leave her nameless, wait, we can call her Sophia.

Anyways, lately, I've had the wonderful opportunity to get to know her even better. This past week we spent every afternoon together.

My history with her?

I met Sophia back around 2004 or 2005 when she was three weeks old. I was only 13 or 14 years old. Her parents hired me as their mother's helper and I started to come over two hours a week. Two hours turned to four hours, two afternoons a week.

I remember holding her until she slept, hours spent with her in my arms. I remember cleaning bottles, peeling carrots, and doing anything to help out her folks. I remember long times spent saying, "Ahhh-Ooooh," to help her learn to form words. I remember all of the games we played. I remember the first time her mother left the two of us alone.

And this continued until the Summer of 2007 when I went to Switzerland. At that point, Sophia would have been around 3-4 years old, young enough that when I came back in 2008, she barely remembered me and hid when I came to say "hi."

Now, I have to say, we're pretty legit friends again. I don't come weekly, but when her family needs someone to step in, I'm on the list of babysitters (unfortunately, I'm not the cheapest sitter on the block anymore...).

Watching her grow up has just been an incredible experience. I imagine this is only a tiny fraction of what being a parent is like.

I love watching her personality develop.

I love rolling down hills in the rain with her, having flower petal fights, picking raspberries, and getting pollen on our noses.

I like encouraging her to explore and learn and help give her those opportunities - but in turn, she's not the only one learning.

I'm Growin'! Habit Changes for the Better

Photos by Carole
Yes, that is half of a broken finger-cymbal in my mouth.

Oh goodness.
I'm growing.
Changing.
And my habits of life are changing.

Two in particular.
Wait! Three!

There have been some changes to my life lately, for the better, that I have thought would be temporary but have stuck on like glue. It's pretty incredible and gives me hope for the future.

First one is procrastination. It just isn't something I do anymore when it comes to school work. Right after school, or during the breaks, I get all of my homework done. It is very rare that I actually do any school work at home. This has been going on for about three quarters now.

Second is cleanliness and organization. Before I go to bed and before I leave the house, I put my life to order. Things can get really chaotic at times in my space, but I feel like I've done a significantly better job and keeping the mess from getting out of hand. Proud to say I think I've had the cleanest room in the house, for the majority of the time, for the past month or so.

Third is bedtime. I go to bed by 10:30 PM. Simple as that. Screens off by 9:30 PM and I put the computer away and just listen to classical music or the New Testament on CD. I take the last hour to tidy up, sip tea, read the Bible and walk through my next day.

And all of these changes make for a very, very happy Maggie.
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