On glow sticks, and getting out of a funk

Hello my friends!

I’ve missed you : )

So, you might be wondering (or not), what’s up? Why no new posts in the last three weeks? How is the novel? Any chance I’ve reverted to certain addictive behaviors over the past few weeks? Am I blaming Halloween for any minor life or habit setbacks? How’s Basic Training? Still meditating? Still eating fermented foods? Have I been wearing the same shirt for a week? Do I have a not unwarranted but probably disproportionate rage against glow sticks? How is my cosmetics business?

You know, it’s funny you asked!

Here are the updates, in brief:

Novel: I am up to 17,090 words on the novel. To get to 50,000 by November 30th (the National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo goal), I am about 7,000 words behind where I should be. But if I write an average of 2,194 words each day until the 30th, I’ll get there. My biggest day so far has been 4,390 but we have to keep in mind that I will have family in town, Thanksgiving to host, children out of school, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (shudder), birthday parties to attend (etc, etc). So maybe I’ll just get to 40,000. I’m pretty happy about that. Right now the main character is a mother of two who lives in Alexandria and takes issue with the status quo (I don’t know how I think of these things either!). Maybe I will include a bit of the text on the blog some day. It is fun and challenging and sometimes it makes my heart feel like it is hurting but I think that is just muscular inflammation from sitting in one position for too long at a time. It takes a lot of emotional energy to think about what you really mean, what really motivates someone. I think I like writing novels. But I’m not totally sure what is going to happen yet. We build to that. So far though, so good. There are some parts I love, that I read and feel like I don’t know who exactly wrote them. That’s fun.

Confession: I played THE GAME. About five days ago I played the cursed iPad game. The one I was addicted to that I used to play before starting the blog. I can’t remember exactly what happened. But i did it. And then i kept doing it. For hours. Hours. And the next day, maybe for just one or two hours. And then I knew I would have to tell you about it. So yesterday I deleted the game (ok, the two games) from the iPad forever. I had not touched the games since starting the blog last spring, a huge achievement. More about this below.

Coffee: In the past two weeks I have unintentionally switched from being a tea-drinker who dabbles in an occasional weekend coffee to a full-blown coffee addict. I did not have coffee on Tuesday and I woke up on Wednesday morning in excruciating pain that could only be taken away by sweet, sweet caffeine. So this will have to be addressed but for now I’m a coffee drinker. Again, don’t know what happened. I just felt like being reckless so I started drinking a big mug of coffee every morning and – bam. I think i thought I was being kind of naughty because I know I’m super sensitive to caffeine. Well, what’s done is done. I will have to figure a way out of this.

Halloween: Used to be my favorite custom/tradition. Now I kind of hate it (for so many reasons, many of which are discussed in my upcoming novel). Also, I cannot resist a Kit Kat. So I get hooked on Kit Kats and then I become a coffee addict and play farming games until my arms hurt. I’m weak I guess. But I fight this battle every year and it is never pretty. The Kit Kats are gone now (and not in the trash) so it will be back to smoothies soon. Oh, I should mention that I haven’t had a smoothie all week. Or any fermented food. Nor have I played the piano, meditated, spent time outside, danced. I have done a lot of singing in the past two days. And I’ve spent time with two friends, which was probably the only antidote I needed.

Glow sticks: Can we talk about glow sticks, just for a minute. Please, if you care about me, please vow to yourself – right now – that you will never buy another glow product again. Please, just do it. Or rather, don’t do it. Glow sticks are one great example of something that it is possible to make. Yes, human beings, ingenious creators, have figured out how to make a little plastic stick glow in the dark for a few hours before it becomes trash. Yay! Kids love these things for at least 5 minutes before they throw them on the ground and forget about them forever and then they are just garbage. YET, I do not rail against the glow stick because they are just dumb trash. I rail against them because the chemical inside a glow stick that makes the glow is a phthalate, in most cases dibutyl phthalate, and these little chemicals are pretty horrid for human beings. True, most children do not eat glow sticks. But when you throw them away, they don’t magically disappear! They go SOMEWHERE. And that somewhere is the water we drink. Pthalates are linked to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues. People, it just isn’t worth it. Twenty seconds of sheer glee (for a kid who, most likely, is way overstimulated already whether it is Halloween or not) versus a population exposed to chemicals that we know are making us all sicker. If I see you buying glow sticks (I’m so sorry, I’m working on this, truly, but) I will judge you. Maybe you’re judging me right now. I know, all this judging is the worst, maybe I should just work on being at peace with the glow stick. I’m just being honest. It will make me feel sad. So keep that in mind.

Moving on…

Roadrage: PEOPLE — we are all in agreement that watching a show on your phone while you are driving a moving car is not an ok thing, right????? I was so happy this morning, singing a song after dropping my kids off. Driving back home. And this lady was driving very erratically and I needed to get over so I looked at her to see if she saw me signaling and she was watching a show on her phone — not at a stoplight (I do not condone this either) — she was driving on a road that has a 45 mph speed limit. She was driving and watching a show!?! I got upset. I tried to feel lighthearted again and sing my song, but it just wasn’t in me. Then some other people drove like selfish jerks (I, meanwhile, drove perfectly, faultlessly). Then I saw a friend and felt much better.

Cosmetics: My Beautycounter business is going pretty well, thanks for asking. If you are curious about the line that I have chosen to represent, I encourage you to take a look at my Beautycounter page. I like that they are trying to change the industry and to make products for people that don’t contain known harmful ingredients. I have a thing about businesses that know – full-well – that certain ingredients/behaviors/substances are seriously damaging to the population as a whole and they just don’t give a crap. Please see my note below about the Sacklers.

The Sacklers: I have been very upset this week. I do believe the iPad game relapse was due to an article I read in The New Yorker about the Sackler family. These guys are well known as generous philanthropists who give tons of money to art museums all over the world (think the Met, Louvre, Smithsonian) and have their names on all this stuff and are knighted (etc), but their names are strangely absent from the webpage of the pharmaceutical company they privately own, a little company called Purdue Pharma that developed OxyContin and, it turns out, knew pretty well from the start that it was extremely addictive but had a very targeted campaign to convince doctors across America that it was safe to prescribe, even though the doctors had very legitimate hesitations. This drug is the primary driver of America’s opiod crisis and the family now has $13 billion dollars (that number growing every day, along with the number of Americans dying from overdoses, the number of babies born addicts, the number of families destroyed, etc). And now they are expanding to foreign markets (oh, also there’s a new pill for kids over 11) — even with all that is known. SO, read the article. You are probably not as soft as me so you won’t fall into a virtual agrarian, Kit Kat fueled, despair. It’s important stuff.

What Next? Well, by the very fact that I am writing this post you can rest assured that I am now on an upward, rather than downward, trajectory. There are many possible explanations for why we get into “funks.” Could be related to the time of year, could be you get a huge credit card bill, could be how you are eating, or not eating, could be that you are lonely and feel isolated, could be that you are reading too much news, or not reading or thinking or doing enough to remember all that you do have, could be you are super tired, could be someone you know is sick, could be you are sick.

I also don’t know what it is that gets you out of a funk. Could be talking to a friend. Or just getting to the end of the candy and making a decision not to get more. Or making a decision to help someone else. I think usually (always?) there is a point where you make a decision and then you follow through with that decision. Maybe you have help or maybe you do it on your own. Well, once again I’ve made a decision to crawl out and, luckily, this funk was short lived. (sigh of relief.)

Children’s literature: My kids have been discussing a book they are enthralled with, one I have never read. Apparently the main character is a cat who poops out cupcakes. Look, there may be a great lesson in this book. It might be Shakespeare, or Beatrix Potter, say. I cannot help but wonder. Kids used to be told stories that helped them understand their place in the universe. To learn values. To learn how humans behave, how we interact with other people, creatures, the Earth. Now people make money figuring out how to make characters that kids will think are funny. Give the four-year-olds what the four-year-olds want! I like that we value childhood more now than in, say, Victorian times. I love to laugh with my kids. I’m all about creativity and imagination. But I guess I feel like there is maybe a middle ground that we’ve missed. A cupcake-pooping cat? I guess I’m old fashioned but it feels like somewhere we went a bit off the rails.

Messages from Everywhere 
light up our backyard.
A bird that flew five thousand miles
is trilling six bright notes.
This bird flew over mountains and valleys
and tiny dolls and pencils
of children I will never see.
Because this bird is singing to me,
I belong to the wide wind,
the people far away who share
the air and the clouds.
Together we are looking up
into all we do not own
and we are listening.

Naomi Shihab Nye

One thing that helps me get out of a funk is this blog. So thanks very much for being here.

Now back to that novel…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *