Salix's Shiny Things

A magpie blog.

Summer blues. July 9, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 4:55 pm
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I’m not a fan of summer here in central California.  The Mediterranean climate includes months of dryness, from about May-ish to about October-ish.  Months of mostly sunshine, and temps in the 90’s to 100’s. 

Sunny days.  So. Many. Sunny. Days.  They hurt.

I find the high pressure dome that sits over CA every summer oppressive.  There’s just something unnerving about weather that refuses to change for weeks and weeks on end.

I didn’t grow up here.  I grew up where there was real weather:  hot and humid days would gather thunderclouds in the evenings.  Other seasons would see sleet, snow, ice, rain, sun, rainbows, thunderstorms, hail. 

So I have to struggle to tolerate the lack of weather here.  And the heat.  I mean, who likes 100+ degrees, even if it is a “dry heat”? 

Enjoying the weather?  Even more of a struggle.

So I get the summer blues here, big time. 


Drought in California: this farmer lost 1000 acres of almond trees over the winter.

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And this summer’s going to be a doozy, even by California standards.  We’re in a severe drought, and the fire season is ramping up.  Just a couple dozen miles from here 7000+ acres were burning.  The smoke from it gave me headaches for days.  

How does one deal with this?  How does one not succumb to depression?  (well, not any more than I already have, that is.)

1.  Mindfulness.  Yeah, gotta get back into doing this.  Reading Thich Nhat Hanh is always good, but sometimes depression just means I don’t have the energy to read.  Then not reading Thich makes me feel more depressed, which means less energy, which means… ugh.  Yeah.  Doom spiral of doom is yuck.

2.  Writing.  It helps to write, of course it does.  It also takes energy, but now that I seem to have gotten back some of my activation energy, writing is good.  Like another step on the upward spiral towards non-depression.

3.  Being in the world.  I’ve actually been not so bad on this front, but the little bits I’ve been doing have kind of wiped me out.  It’s good, but gotta take it to the next level.  Like calling friends to go hang out and sew and stuff. 

4.  Gratitude/Beauty Challenge.  Find something out there in the world to like.  Even just for a moment.  Like grass.  Grass is nice.  Green, has an smooth, springy, texture.  Cool to the touch.  Go sit in it.  Nice, isn’t it?  Thank you, grass!  (better enjoy it now, while there’s still enough water for the parks to keep it green!)


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5.  Clean the dang house, already.  Habitat is important.  Today, the floordrobe.  Tomorrow, the world!




Life, the Universe, and Stuff (mainly, depression and coping) May 26, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 7:14 pm
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Hello, hello, hello!

So, it’s been a month and a week since I’ve posted here.  Battling depression and suchlike.  Writing this blog and journaling does help, but it requires a fairly significant amount of energy, which has been pretty much nonexistent this month.  It’s a stupid catch-22 with depression:  doing the things that make you feel better is great way to cope, but actually having the mental energy to do those things isn’t there, so you just sit at the bottom of the depression pit.  Blegh.

But the mood is lifting, mental energy is finally growing to the point where I can do more than 1 thing a day, like clean AND write!  Yoga And clean!  And Write!  Clean and crochet and yoga and help kid with homework!

Every little is a Big Accomplishment after you’ve had to live at the bottom of the depression pit.

One thing that I’ve really wanted to explore in my writing but didn’t have the energy for this month is my experience attending church these past several weeks.

Yep, I’ve become a regular church goer, and my son is now a choirboy!

Which is weird and strange and odd and oxymoronical due to the fact that I’m a Super Secular Science Person.

But… I’m also an anthropologist.  And a pragmatist.  And heavily influenced by my study of the history and philosophy of the Society of Friends (Quakers)  and experiences in  Friends affiliated schools  (meeting for worship is pretty awesome, actually!)

Going to church is a great way to meet people, of course.  And I chose to attend a small church of the same denomination that my mom and her family belonged to instead of one of the more “cool” churches in town (Unitarian Universalist, for example).

As an anthropologist, I analyze my behavior in this way:  I have a human need to connect to my family and my ancestry through familiar things – and absent their physical presence, I can find connection through rituals and traditions.  And because my mom’s denomination (Lutheran) is not very popular in the US, it tends to attract folks who have established connections the culture and traditions, so there are plenty of midwestern germanic old-school liberal types like my mom and her family  in the congregation.  Folks who are very kind if not greatly effusive, emphasizing practicality and scholarship over spirituality.

So, my “people”, in other words.  My family’s culture.

And because I have social anxiety that’s fairly significant, just this once a week thing has been an enormous energy drain.

But it’s an expense that is starting to become an investment.  The energy I spend to go to church and interact with people is great practice.  It’s a gentle and nurturing environment where I don’t have to be “cool” or show off how witty and hip I am, or demonstrate how intelligent I am, or otherwise prove my worthiness to a group of strangers I want to associate with.  I can just relax and practice socializing, work on my conversation skills, be a bit awkward but still accepted.

In other words, it’s just what the doctor ordered.

So I guess that makes me a secular Lutheran?  Well, why not?  So many of my college friends are secular Jews, so why not a secular Lutheran?




Serene Sunday. And hello! (again!) April 6, 2014



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Hello again, world!  I’ve been inspired to blog more in the last few weeks over at zisforzener and then, out of the blue, this blog got some attention.  I’d been ignoring this one because it’s a bit more painful.  It was a useful way at the time to write about things to help me get through the emotional and mental abuse I was experiencing with my partner, but it also reminded me too much of that dark time in my life.  But it has been a year exactly since I left her, and I have been wanting to write more about my journey towards self acceptance and lovingkindness, and this is the perfect way to do so.  I want zisforzener  to remain primarily about parenting, of course, and so this blog will be my everything-else blog, my “magpie” blog.  Expect ramblings about buddhism, mindfulness, recovery from abuse, mental illness (depression and social anxiety, mainly), and an occasional poem or short fictional story.  Like I said, “magpie” – all the shiny things, collected here!