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I picked up a few orchids that weren’t going to make it from the clearance shelf at Kroger last year, and learned a LOT about orchids. I’m not an expert, but I learned that the reason you can buy orchids everywhere is because they have become a mass-market export of Singapore.

Unfortunately, the whole process – which takes years of care in miles upon miles of greenhouses – is designed to have the orchids peak when they get to the store. They look so perfect and infallible, don’t they? And the watering instructions are so simple! What could go wrong?

Well, the whole process of leaving the greenhouse, forcing them to bloom for sale, and all of that, is a shock to the system. So that’s why they all die as soon as you get them home.

On top of that, they are given to you in the cheapest possible potting substance. Phals – the kind of orchids mass-produced – need a bark potting soil. It drains well. If you have roots in moisture even a little too long, they rot and die very quickly.

I managed to save one plant through learning all of this, and it lived in a strawberry quart container. It drained well, and it’s been doing okay. It’s been growing new leaves. The flower stalk went away a long time ago, but hey, it might come back!

I realized last night it wasn’t really doing so great in the strawberry container, and just repotted it – into a giant pot. It’s not a long-term solution, because they like to be a bit pot-bound, but it’s alive. Pretty soon, I’ll have to invest in some actual orchid pots.

Anyway, it’s alive, which is better than most all of its brethren are doing right now.

Learning an instrument with @YousicianApp


I’ve been learning to play the guitar since late December, using an app called Yousician. It plays a bit like a video game, so it often reminds me of Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero, but for learning an actual instrument. J


It really is a fun way to learn. The songs are well suited to each level, and some of them are so catchy I’ll be humming them long after I’ve stopped practicing. There are levels, too, and is there anything better than getting a certificate saying you’ve reached a new level?


There’s a built-in goal of 60 daily stars, which you earn for doing well on songs. When I’m learning a new skill, it can be slow going. There are songs I know I’m good at, though, and can rack up stars quickly. I think this feature really keeps me going, because I know I have always accomplished something, even on days I might not feel like I’ve made a lot of progress. It helps me stay in the process-oriented goal (of practicing a certain amount each day) than the outcome-oriented goal (I want to be a good guitar player!). This goes a long way to keeping me from getting discouraged.



I’m a little frustrated.


This blog (as a whole) has no point. But I’m kind of to the point of deleting it all and saying goodbye, or writing something. So I’m writing, something. 🙂

I teach Spinning as part of my corporate fitness job, and I’ve been in such a rut lately. But yesterday I went in kind of excited, revved up, trying every trick I had for mental preparation and visualization.

Class was okay… not great. And then, I ended up talking about politics. I was mentioning the opening number for the Academy Awards, and someone said she didn’t watch awards shows because they were too political.

First off, I hate when people say this. What they really mean is, Hollywood is full of liberals and they don’t want to hear what liberals are concerned about. While the world is falling all to hell, they want to stay in their isolated bubble and believe whatever Trump says is true.

I didn’t say all of that, though. I just said it wasn’t that political, other than some Trump jokes, and the Iranian director’s speech, which was just about not being divisive. And I don’t understand why people think that’s a controversial statement, especially when it’s far-right Christians who seem to think it’s a controversial statement.


And, I did say a lot of that. Which is inappropriate to say in the work environment, and killed the class mood. I killed my own mood for the rest of the day.

It’s a simple solution. Don’t talk about politics at work. And I can follow it, mostly. But I feel like this is how life is now. If you say, I’m worried about the direction our president is taking us.. If you say, Do you really believe all Muslims want to kill Christians? … That will get you mobbed by Trump thugs on Twitter. And heaven forbid we talk about our disagreements in a civil manner in real life.

The problem is, there is no way to bridge a gulf with people who don’t believe in actual facts. If you point to actual numbers and research, they say that’s liberal propaganda, then put up a nasty meme, call you a snowflake, and link to a YouTube video about how Obama bought missiles for ISIS. frustration

Then they call news that follows actual journalism guidelines “fake” news, as if they didn’t create a world that is only fake news.

I do believe, if this were a regional problem, it’s divisive enough now that it could lead to a Civil War. I’d personally like to put the boundaries of state between my fellow Americans and those nutjobs. But it’s not like that… It’s really come down to city versus rural.

And there’s nothing to be done for it. My best hope right now is that Trump will finally fail, and disappoint those who supported him. I know a few people have already regretted their vote. But for the most part, it’s clear that Trump followers are with him 100%, and there is nothing that will change their minds. If he shot his Chief of Staff in the head today, they’d say it was deserved.

Or that Obama did it.

A year


It’s sort of depressing to have a long-term blog that you’re really bad at keeping up. I can look back and see, pretty easily, the things I’ve been really excited about over the years.

There have been a few writing phases. Times when I genuinely thought I would finish a novel, come what may. Last year, I was deep into daily writing, and talking about writing in such earnest ways.

I never finished the novel.

I was so excited about teaching Les Mills classes for a while! For years, that was what kept me moving forward. And in some ways that’s nice to think about, because it ultimately led to me having the best job I’ve ever had.

In other ways, it reminds me I used to love this stuff. I guess that’s the way with any hobby that becomes a job. I mean, it’s a job.

But now, all those instructors who talk about how “passionate” they are about what they do, just make me roll my eyes. When I think about how much energy I put into it back then (and yes, passion), I feel like it was kind of silly.

Hmm. I am probably looking at this the wrong way. A certain amount of obsession was really good for me. Maybe that’s the feeling I really miss. Being in love with the idea of something, with a sense of possibility and potential.

There’s not much I’m in love with right now. Unless you count Lin-Manuel Miranda, ha ha! (*dreamy teenager voice* “He’s so great…!”) I am learning to play the guitar. And I’m doing some interesting things in my work life.

But life just… goes on. It’s hard to feel inspired about much right now.

I’ve got this! (Some of it.)


I’m trying to get my life together.  But I sometimes feel like I am not giving myself credit for all I am getting right. 

So,  here’s what I’m doing well on! Or at least better.  🙂

  • I am holding down a good job! I am able to do a good job even though I have a chronic illness and have to really talk myself into it most days. The job has good benefits and pays well enough to get my basic needs met on a part time schedule. 
  • I haven’t overdrawn my bank account in a while. 
  • I stopped biting my nails. When did that happen anyway? I tried to quit my whole life and it finally took. 
  • I’m not drinking,  for physical and mental health.   (And God have I wanted one this week.) 
  • I’m remembering to feed the dog and cats. I remember to take my medication daily. And to shower and eat and mostly keep up with basic household chores. 
  • I’m reading lots of good books. And writing an okay one. 
  • I keep a solid sleep schedule. I keep electronics away from my bed and sleep 7-8 hours a night. 
  • I’m still using Habitica.  So great! 
  • I keep my doctor appointments. 
  • I started seeing a therapist, who is helping me with my goal setting. 
  • I exercise regularly,  both as part of my job and for myself. 
  • I’m doing well without a car! I am mastering the bus system. 

Well,  that is a pretty good list! I feel like I could keep going, but I can always add to the brag list later. 



I am at the new clubhouse of my apartment complex. It’s nice. I can go to the fitness center while doing laundry. But a bunch of guys are in there acting like it’s their private gym, blasting rap music, talking loudly. I was able to deal for 30 minutes on the elliptical, but the LOUDNESS just… I understand my grandmother now, how she would say something was getting on her last nerve. That’s me.

I told myself it’s not rap music, because I am all excited about Hamilton tonight. But let’s face it, that’s not exactly hardcore, right? And I feel like it’s racist (or agist? Classist?) to complain about people and their rap music. (“Hey guys, can we put on Hamilton instead ?”) Because I play the pop music at the work gym pretty loud sometimes.

Probably just waited too long to take my meds. I was laying there at the end of BodyFlow (relaxation, lights off) thinking” That was terrible. They hate me.” Then, “Oh, I forgot to take the afternoon dose. ” It’s scary how noticeable it is.