Unfortunately Unsponsored

My computer died a year ago, pretty much. I used my brother's old desktop PC (and resisted the Sims for months!). I waited for the new MacBook Pros to be unveiled--way too expensive. My boyfriend bought a new laptop and gave me his old one. It works, not great, but it works. I decided I would buy a MacBook Air, 13-inch, but I saved the large birthday check my parents gave me to put toward it. Why buy a new computer when you have one that works? So I got used to seeing that lovely large (for me) number in my savings account. 

The old MacBook I'm using is getting worse. I'd already picked out the new computer; I have the money; I should buy it. But how do you know when to pull the trigger when you've been sitting on the money for the better part of a year? I was waiting for my old computer to die--that was going to be the sign. It did. I avoided the large purchase. Do I wait for this MacBook to one day go black and never light up again?

I've already put the Air in my shopping cart online multiple times. But I am not decisive. I keep thinking about the 11-inch one, how easily it would fit into every part of my life. But if you're buying a stupidly small computer, you might as well get a $250 Chromebook and save your money, right? But that's not the same as a real computer. Or maybe I want an iPad. In which case I probably also want a computer, so I will only get a computer. Maybe someday a tablet will fall from the sky and I'll use it and be like, this is awesome, here you go, person in sky who owns this, thanks for the information, and throw it back up. And then another one will fall from the sky, all for me.*

*Possibly this is called Christmas?


These are some good-looking ruts.
Last week when I got on the elliptical after lifting some weights (it's always time to do arms), everything was perfect and the "running" just happened and it felt good and I was trying the whole way through.

Today I forced myself out of bed, slowly, but not too slowly, because it is always better to get out and up and start thinking and doing. But I didn't do anything, really. I now know that I should have slept in. I should have gone back to sleep at the moment when the curtains were still shut and it was that perfect gloomy grey, and I felt the covers against my skin and I knew, I just knew that being asleep would be perfect.

But I also know, intellectually, that getting things done feels better, at least if they are worthwhile things, and especially if the worthwhile things are accompanied by dish-cleaning, so that all the surfaces everywhere are clear and easy to look at. So I got up. I pulled on leggings instead of clothes—I'd like to be working on the habit of getting fully dressed when I get out of bed, like I used to in high school, but so far, no luck—and I checked the evil internet and then I ate some cereal and then I just couldn't.

Or I didn't.

I didn't do anything besides finish reading an article I started last night, and plan out my evening, reluctantly, because do I deserve a social evening when I didn't have a productive morning?

I think I'm broken. My boyfriend said I'm in a rut and it's so true. I'm in a series of ruts, though. I slide from one rut to the next. Each rut has a set of anxieties and guiltinesses and warring impulses, and together they are inescapable. (Free time, money. Exercise versus reading blogs versus reading literature versus reading about translation versus translating versus friends versus cooking versus drinking versus shopping. Knowing some of what I want theoretically but not wanting it in the immediate moment, and not knowing in the long term.)

Maybe Emma's instincts are right. Maybe my boyfriend is right. Maybe we have to obliterate the entire terrain, so that there are no ruts, but also no tracks. Nothing to trap us but also nothing to lead us.

My boyfriend says that my commitment to incremental progress may not be enough. In terms of livelihood, I know that's true. There's got to be a leap somewhere. Not necessarily a big one. But no more of the same thing—not a better-paid job like this one. Not another restaurant. New things, new lessons.

Emma wants to move away. A fresh start. A bigger place with new people and more opportunities (and less driving).

But I really love the people here, and an escape is not necessarily a solution.

Remember February

This should probably actually lead you back to this post, where it was last used, or else this photo album of Emma's and Maraia's and my spring break to Munich/Slovenia (and Emma just blogged about Slovenia, so, there's that), but the post I used it for in 2010 was actually a hopeful spring post, if you average its content all together. I guess the ominous crows didn't bode well.

For me, this photo will forever symbolize the oppressive length of winter. All that snow, with the palace tiny in the distance. You may love winter. I don't really hate it. But I love hating it. So let's all remember the February theory, and reminisce about cozy sunshine naps under the heavy History of the Byzantine State in that wonderful house I used to live in on Packard.

The antidote to February:
Let's get on with life. Let's go. To the wide open west! To the (somewhat) warmer south! To the I don't have an adjective right now besides snooty and cultured east! To the wilds of the north! The secret is that it's not that warm anywhere nearby, and life here isn't so bad when you're not applying to things constantly and then realizing the devious kitten is sleeping on your computer in the hope that the rickety screen will finally get pushed all the way off so that you have to buy a new computer* and can never afford to travel anywhere ever again.
After you revisit that old post, let's dream about the wilds of the north. In summer!

*Last year, that computer died, after a good, long run. And now, I think, I'm finally on the cusp of a new one. The first such large purchase since I fully learned to understand that this money I have Really Matters. I'm scared. But the clicker button on the MacBook I'm using now clicks 2-4 times every time you hit it. Insanity. And, of course, Word makes the computer boycott me.

Sustainable Motion

I want to write to you about body image, and exercise, and whatever. But I don't want to do a good job at it.

I also want to share with you the glorious lunch I had on Friday.
I'm sorry. I know it can't possibly look good, especially in its ugly office surroundings. It is half my mom's leftover hot beef sandwich from the Sidestreet Diner, along with some mashed potatoes covered in their glorious gravy, and then leftover matzo ball soup from Zingerman's on the side. And I ate dried apricots for dessert. And I ate a whole hot beef sandwich the night before, when John and I were at home visiting our parents. This is a tangent, but the four of us sat in a circle in my bedroom, upstairs, eating hearty diner food out of styrofoam boxes on perplexingly ugly trays my mom had purchased at a dollar store and previously used to make and store jewelry projects on. She was reclining in my bed, because she had back surgery recently; John and my dad and I were sitting on chairs brought upstairs from the dining room.

It was a supremely tasty meal.

I haven't been to the gym since. I'm a little guilty about that, but I worked a full day that Thursday, a full day on Friday, four and a half hours on Saturday, a full day Sunday, and a full day today. Tonight I'm going to yoga; last Monday I went to yoga. Tomorrow I'll probably go to the gym, now that I'll have free mornings again, as well as a few evenings.

This time last year, Emma and I had just joined the local YMCA, and I was starting to use MyFitnessPal. It was my first-ever real dieting experience. Definitely the first time I counted my calories. It was interesting, it helped me decide what to eat, but it also gave me another OCD thing to keep track of (now I'm stuck on minutiae of my spending habits), and that is good when you have nothing else to do while sitting at your meaningless office job, but it is not good when you want to focus on other things. Anyway. I lost enough weight to fit in all my pants again, and Ali and Drew got married. Emma joined tango, and Emma's and my combined dedication to going to the gym faded to a point where neither was strong enough to motivate the other. I worked a lot. A lot a lot.

Exercise was a duty at that point. An extremely unappealing duty that neither of us wanted to fulfill...so we didn't. I'm trying to change that. When we first joined the Y and spent a large chunk of our free time there, it was fun. It was a joint commitment to our well-being. It was partially motivated by our upcoming role as bridesmaids. (We also learned all about wedding etiquette and planned a party and picked out dresses and thought about makeup and shoes.) We looked at it as a luxury, tried to make time to relax in the sauna afterwards. But then we burned out. We didn't have the same schedules, we couldn't spend every morning there, didn't want to spend many evenings there.

Now I'm trying to be less ambitious, less rigid in my requirements. I go to yoga once a week, most weeks, so as long as I can afford that, I can spend less time at the gym and still have exercised the same amount (or more -- Foundations class is hard work!). Yoga always starts to feel good by about halfway through, even as it's getting to be too taxing. At the Y, the elliptical hasn't gotten painfully boring yet; instead, it usually feels good, too.

I don't really have goals for my exercise, though. Sure, I would like skinnier arms (by summer). But not really. I don't have to exercise a certain amount to make up for the ice cream I plan on eating. On the weeks I get to the Y a couple times and go to yoga, I feel pretty happy with myself. I moved my body and it wasn't awful. Just keep doing that, regularly, for the rest of forever.

That's probably a big enough goal for this category, right?