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  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #118: Navy Strength

    Mmmmmm, navy strength! Swashbuckling and romantic.

    Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)

    Perhaps you think, as I do, that Anna Wintour's Vogue is the least temperate of the American Vogues. (Grace Mirabella wasn't half so breathless. Diana Vreeland the woman: dramatic. Her magazine? I remember reading it without fanning myself.) As measured and cool as Anna the Woman is, I find her magazine that delirious. For example, see treatment of any politician ever.

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: asking What else might be possible?
     

    Or oh, say, cosmetics, which they discuss with excitement I would reserve for an AIDS cure or a new Austin Grossman novel. Vogue will pronounce, in all seriousness, things like 'probably the best cleanser in the world' as if they believe it.

    (Have you noticed this? Yes.)

    However! When I went to get my Tote of Receiving with its new red-and-yellow initials, insanely eye-popping, I don't know how I can leave the house with it (but Imma try), I got a Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrade of said cleanser, Eve Lom by name, in the form of several samples, and I will tell you it probably is the best cleanser in the world. You might want to go seek out samples yourself.

    After that experience, I decided to start using other samples. You can hardly move in my bathroom for all the free samples there, actually. Didn't want to use them; didn't want to throw them out. Suddenly, they have become a luxury worthy of Vogue-style ecstasy. 

    I think this is probably a key to enjoying more Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades: appreciating and using up the ones you get. Emptying out to receive more. Even the little sample-size upgrades.

    Speaking of Havi (emptying and receiving), she has been mentioning the idea of the training montage recently. You know what they always leave out of the training montage? The long recuperations from the training injuries. That is what happened to me in Maine this past week, when the first day out I had an inglorious paddleboarding accident and spent the rest of the week with my knee up on a pillow, watching Elementary <<<<-- the unexpected upgrade part, thoroughly glorious OMG I LOVE LUCY LIU AND JONNY LEE MILLER SO MUCH.

    But also in that one afternoon before the inglorious accident, I made glorious, glorious, astounding leaps. Like in a real Hollywood training montage.

    Imagining

    In the department of OMG could it be more obvious?!, I appear to have understood, finally, that Job No. 1 this incarnation is to care, as my Zen teacher would say, for this incarnation. Obviously I knew something about that before. It is what I live to teach. And yet.

    While in Maine, I had a distressing and very simple dream. Someone approached me at a party and asked me a single-word question. I responded with a single word. And that was the whole dream. It was dead easy to analyze and it was telling me that I was falling apart from lack of self care. The dream's message was "your self care needs to be ferocious." Not uncompromising at all times, not "nobody else gets nuthin!", just ... no more confusion about priorities. 

    So I've been thinking about this as navy-strength self care, "navy strength" being the quality of gunpowder that will still light if you get rocked by a rogue wave and spill your gin on it. Nowadays the term refers more to the strength of gin (strong!) than gunpowder, but I like the original definition. Like, this is how strong you would want to be if you were going on a sea voyage and your inner fire could possibly get misted. You want to be navy-strength strong.

    Obviously, it's related to provisioning, to mantles, and to Operation Passport.

    (And to Operation Higher Ground, which is about figuring out where we want to live, when all we know is it can't be landlocked.)

    It also has the quality of being the Most Ordinary Thing in the World. It is a question I am asking all day, every day now. What does ferocity of self care look like? What would navy-strength self care do (WWNSSCD)?

    Turns out yoga is involved. Turns out that shit that is not fun is NOT INVOLVED.

    Updates on past experiments

    I got a really unpleasant email this week. Instead of making the sender into the Great Satan and wondering what I had done to provoke her, I made an entry on my Pride, cha cha cha! list when I calmly revived Operation Johanna Mason, and put all future such emails on the kill list. No need to explain. No need to respond. Definitely no need to wait for three strikes. Just, WWNSSCD?

    Simple: 86 that shit, forever. So easy. No need to fry down any villages, either.

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? Mr Jones and I went to Primo, in Rockland, Maine, which is harder than ever to get into on account of all their recent James Beard awards. As we approached the door, we saw into one of the smaller dining rooms, one we'd never been in. It was hung all around with Igor Galanin paintings of mermaids. Each of us thought, privately to ourselves, Oh I hope we get seated in there! And we were, under the best of the mermaids.

    We also went back to Suzuki's, home of Old Ladies Still Killin it in the Sushi Business. Mr Jones had a beautiful bowl of scallop cakes and jewel-like vegetables that made me vow to pick up my Everyday Harumi again.

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (Chicago)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Beast (Portland)
    7. Bondir Concord
    8. Brine
    9. Commonwealth
    10. Coppa (for brunch)
    11. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    12. Giulia
    13. Kirkland Tap & Trotter
    14. L'Espalier
    15. Myers & Chang
    16. No. 9 Park
    17. O-Ya
    18. Pok Pok Noi (Portland)
    19. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    20. Rialto 
    21. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    22. Scampo
    23. Shojo
    24. West Bridge

    Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:

    1. B&G Oysters
    2. Brick and Mortar
    3. Miracle of Science
    4. Sarma
    5. Sportello
    6. Strip-T's
    7. Toro

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.

    I would love your comment

    I love lurkers, too! I suspect comments bring more readers, though, so if you're inclined, that'd be lovely.

    You might also enjoy

    Wayfinder's Quest Post #110: Adding Operation Johanna Mason

    Points of Pride

    Wayfinder's Quest Post #113: Summerscarfprincessmagic

    Photo: steeljam via Compfight cc

  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #117: Pompeii Purple


    Also this week we are frying down whole villages.

    Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)

    There has been a big spontaneous upgrade to all-the-time contacts. I got them last January, but I had a story going that I couldn't write with them in. Too much disequilibrium somehow. (To be fair, this was fully mid-Frognado. Real disequilibrium.) I spend a fair bit of time writing, so days could go by without my putting my contacts in.

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: asking What else might be possible?
     

    But right now, my only pair of glasses, possibly among the last ones ever manufactured in the great fashion nation of Italy, are lying at the bottom of the Annisquam River following a completely predictable paddleboarding accident, all my fault. 

    People used to regularly stop me in the street to exclaim over these glasses, right up to the end. I loved them intemperately and am even now wearing my black armband.

    But I think it is a Sneaky Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrade (SSUU). Forced to write with contacts in! And just like that, I have become a person who wears contacts. No big deal. Isn't that the way?

    Another upgrade-in-disguise: I couldn't find my Brazil-themed nail color (Samba-dy Likes Purple) today, and I spent an unreasonable amount of time looking, and in the end settled for a color named Pompeii Purple, which like the first is in no way purple, it is a sparkly fuchsia, but is better because 1. ITALY, the place with the BEST GLASSES and best everything, really, and 2. You know how I am always bragging about being a volcano of excellent ideas?

    Well right now I am a volcano of actual lava, a fury of natural destruction, and anything "Pompeii" better fits my mood of wanting to fry down whole villages with what's inside me, more about that later or perhaps never.

    (Well, maybe when I get around to writing about those Dangerous Things.)

    Imagining

    I am noticing some things about comfort. Here are a few:

    I.

    That if I have eaten "for comfort," I don't get any comfort from it because eating that way makes me go numb. I'm actually tring to stop feeling, and in that state, I can't take in comfort, because "comfortable" IS A FEELING.

    Then, while I'm disconnected from my feelings, I eat too much, and when feeling returns, I'm even more uncomfortable because I've got a full stomach on top of the emotional pain, and I don't like the feeling of fullness anymore, and haven't for quite a while.

    Not that this happens a lot; it hardly does at all. Just putting into words what I've never seen so clearly before.

    II.

    When traveling you've got to negotiate a tricky balance between carrying everything you need (heavy = uncomfortable) and going without (underprovisioned = uncomfortable). It's … tricky! That makes this another DUH insight, but I'm traveling a lot. In fact, I'm traveling again tomorrow. 

    III.

    I'm getting very aware and much less tolerant of unnecessary discomfort. 

    Marines, hippies, narcissists, environmentalists, crunchy boarding school faculty, outdoorsmen - so many of the people who brought me up encouraged or approved of physical discomfort in such a way that I thought there was something wrong with me for wanting comfort (and even luxury). 

    Since I was surrounded by confident (and egocentric) people - and a zero on the confidence scale would've been north for me - I tolerated an insane burden of discomfort. I was absolutely ashamed of preferring comfort, as if God and Darwin and everybody would've been mystified by me. But now I see it as a neutral preference, like espresso v americano. 

    So all the people around me who celebrated physical hardship like it's a badge of honor … augh, I don't want that.

    Here are some other Badges of Discomfort (BoD) I have earned but don't want to wear anymore:

    • The Quarter Bounce
    • The Obeys Orders (well, except when she doesn't)
    • The Straight A's
    • The Summa Cum Laude
    • The Teacher's Pet
    • The Teacher Knows Best (especially the yoga teacher)
    • The Invisible Stitches (actually I'll keep that one, because being able to sew beautifully is a fine skill - I just don't feel it's among my most sexy attributes)
    • The Clean Plate
    • The Deflected Compliment
    • The Selfless Sex Partner
    • The Reflexive Apology
    • The 14er (oh! NOPE, failed to collect that one by a couple hundred meters)
    • The All-Natural Childbirth
    • The Cloth Diapers
    • and more!

    IV.

    I notice I'm pretty comfortable writing. Until I'm not. Which is right now. Because I really want to be writing even-more-dangerous Dangerous Things, but it feels like Silent Retreat might be a better idea until the lava cools down and makes some nice pahoehoe <<<- favorite word from freshman geology. I've waited a long time to write that.

    So I guess I am imagining 1. Frying down some villages with my lava flow but NO! 2. Turning into Thich Nhat Hanh and transmuting my lava into pahoehoe for ... what? I don't know. For tourists to admire? I really do not even know.

    And that makes this another piece of documentary evidence showing I have Trouble with Metaphors. Help a sister out, if you like. What is cooled lava good for, anyway?

    Updates on past experiments

    There have been no further Indecently Long Lunches, but I am going on a beach holiday to Maine tomorrow, so I expect to have one every single day. To be followed by Absurdly Leisurely Apero.

    The Tote of Receiving (kinda like a Bag of Holding, but I don't call it that because I don't want you to get wind of my Nerd Origin Story, which is that I'm kind of a nerd) is back at the shop, in Texas I believe, where it is getting its red-and-yellow initials. I miss it very much, in fact so much that I caught myself looking at other totes (Henry Beguelin, yummy) at the consignment shop. Whereupon I reined it in, of course. I am very loyal to my Tote of Receiving, as it is the Bag to End All Need for More Bags. 

    Although I will just allow that I was in that shop checking on a pink python Dolce & Gabbana evening clutch, waiting for it to go to 50% off. Which it did! But, you know, a gal's gotta have an evening clutch. You can't carry Bag of Holding Tote of Receiving while wearing a sexy cocktail top into a glamourous cocktail joint.

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? We went to Kirkland Tap & Trotter, which I might be the only person in the world to have disliked. The food was fine. The staff are fine. But as you know, there are things even more important than food. Here the atmosphere is Ironic Iowa Hootenanny, which, I am not from Iowa, but WHAT NO. Farm implements and those big fake barn stars on the wall. Bob Seger - really loud - on the speakers.

    I go back and forth: Which is harder to take, earnestness, or irony? Today, irony. Ironic Iowa is not my kind of Iowa. I guess Star Trek (2009) is my kind of Iowa.

    However, DATE NIGHT. Doesn't happen every night. So that part was good.

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (Chicago)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Beast (Portland)
    7. Bondir Concord
    8. Brine
    9. Commonwealth
    10. Coppa (for brunch)
    11. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    12. Giulia
    13. Kirkland Tap & Trotter
    14. L'Espalier
    15. Myers & Chang
    16. No. 9 Park
    17. O-Ya
    18. Pok Pok Noi (Portland)
    19. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    20. Rialto 
    21. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    22. Scampo
    23. Shojo
    24. West Bridge

    Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:

    1. B&G Oysters
    2. Brick and Mortar
    3. Miracle of Science
    4. Sarma
    5. Sportello
    6. Strip-T's
    7. Toro

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.

    Comment

    Or just read on Silent Retreat. Either way: RESPECT.

    You might also enjoy

    Wayfinder's Quest Post #81: The Dangerous Thing I (Don't) Really Want to Write About

    Wayfinder's Quest Post #112: Danger! Not OK!

    Old Ladies Who Write Friendly Books (are the best Old Ladies) 

    Photo: coolinsights via Compfight cc

  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #116: Immodest Responses


    The unusally empathic bartenders at Pai Men Miyake, Portland, Maine. They are also very skilled in the realm of mixing drinks.

    Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)

    What we are doing here:

    Treasuring ourselves.

    Dwelling in mystery. 

    Luxuriating in pleasure. 

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.) 

    And: What else might be possible?

    I've been on the hunt for good cafes in which to sit and write. My working premise: I ought to be able to put together a stable of half a dozen places within a few miles of Casa Franklin. I really shouldn't have to go all the way to New York or Portland for good writing atmosphere.

    So I decided to try Haute Coffee in Concord center (as it is a well-preserved and very picturesque, thus very expensive Revolutionary-era village, New Englanders do not say "downtown Concord," but rather "Concord center").

    I parked - I am glossing over the miracle of that - and opened my door, only to see Supergravity Jones™ pull up on his bike alongside. He was out on an 85-mile ride, so the odds of our arriving at the same place in the same moment were, as he said, "vanishingly small." Then he said It's like a mystery date! Let's never forget this.

    Well okay!

    Then I went to Portland, Maine this week to meet my friend Colleen. We had a drink at Pai Men Miyake (I recommend their mezcal cocktail called "Smoke and Roses." And their ramen is really good, too.) I was trying to see across the table to Colleen, rubbing lamely at my glasses when the bartender stepped over to our table, whipped out an eyeglasses cloth, and polished first my glasses and then Colleen's, while chatting. It was a moment of simple-but-exquisite being cared-for. I can still feel it in my body: relaxation, pleasure, gratitude, trust, support, being seen ... and then being able to see again. And I'm not overstating the near-orgasmic pleasure of the experience; to have a need noticed and met by another human animal - it was very intimate and delicious.

    So that is one of the things about Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades. They can be simple. And they can be exquisite. But only if you notice and appreciate the way they come seemingly unbidden, to fill a need maybe you haven't even expressed to yourself, and they do not usually arrive in the form of, say, stock options that pay off with a comically huge multiplier. They are often modest, and that does not at all mean that your response must be modest. 

    Also while in Portland I had an L.A. Story moment, when an electronic billboard kept flashing the message "Call Joe" (Mr Jones's other name). No explanation, no clue elsewhere on the building. Just "Call Joe."

    So I did.

    Imagining

    More Indecently Long Lunches (ILLs). I had one of these at Sam's at Louis while working (where "working" is writing on the deck overlooking Boston Harbor, in the company of other similarly "working" folk) this past week, and it was surprisingly productive.

    (I hate the word "productive" with a fiery passion, and I seldom use the word "passion," because I hate it almost as much as "productive," the two things being so thoroughly subverted by corporate culture - but I haven't found a good substitute. Lisa Sonora likes the word "generative," so I might try that.)

    But actually, what I really hate is the idea that productivity is some kind of state so ideal that you basically can't have too much of it. Like if you could be "productive" every working - or even waking - moment that would be perfect. It's such a flat-footed way of looking at things. Like the way economists never seem to spot a growth trend that doesn't make them happy.

    Updates on past experiments

    It has been yonks since I went near a hot spring, but Colleen and I had a foot bath at Soakology in Portland. It's a little foot spa with a tea shop upstairs, and a quiet, dim soaking room downstairs, with big squashy comfy chairs, and copper tubs for your feet. The ceilings are low, and the room is divided with dark but gauzy linen curtains, so we could hear but not really see the bachelor party happening at the same time.

    Yes, bachelor, not bachelorette party. I confess we were fascinated.

    So not an actual hot springs, and it isn't on the World Tour, but Soakology does go on the very short list of Places in New England That Feel Nice-and-Western.

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? There is a new Best of Boston out, so I have updated my list of places I haven't been to yet:

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (Chicago)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Beast (Portland)
    7. Bondir Concord
    8. Brine
    9. Commonwealth
    10. Coppa (for brunch)
    11. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    12. Giulia
    13. Kirkland Tap & Trotter
    14. L'Espalier
    15. Myers & Chang
    16. No. 9 Park
    17. O-Ya
    18. Pok Pok Noi (Portland)
    19. Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
    20. Rialto 
    21. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    22. Scampo
    23. Shojo
    24. West Bridge

    Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:

    1. B&G Oysters
    2. Brick and Mortar
    3. Miracle of Science
    4. Sam's at Louis
    5. Sarma
    6. Sportello
    7. Strip-T's
    8. Toro

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.

    Have a comment?

    Let me know what you think! You can report on your own Wayfinding experiments, or tell me about your word for "productivity," or just say Hi.

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    Wayfinder's Quest Post #106: Diving under the earth

  • Eating for right now, no matter what the scale says

    Eating at any weight

    Please do not wait for the scale to tell you when it is dinnertime.

    Recently in our series on keeping current and telling the truth (for eaters), we talked about

    • not eating for future hunger, as long as we have a choice in the matter, and most of us do
    • and not eating for past unsatisfied hungers, since that will just a little bit never, ever solve the original problem (although you might like to experiment with taking care of Past You using other means)

    So to the flip side, because we also want to remember that eating for now also means eating enough, no matter what our body looks like. As we were talking about last month in "Your Last Diet," there is no restrictive way of eating that can be sustained forever.

    (As my clients will tell you.)

    We can use restraint, and that's often a good idea, with eating as it is with other ways we relate to the world through our mouth, like drinking and talking <<< me

    And we can refrain from eating things that harm our health (immediately or long term).

    But if you're reading this, you're almost certainly the kind of person who can't repress their hunger forever.

    (Which is a good thing! As we all know, the drive to eat when hungry is what kept our ancestors alive long enough to reproduce. If you were indifferent to food, you would have been a poor match for a hungry tiger. So we could thank nature instead cursing our appetite, if we want to shift things a bit. Thank you, hunger, for hipping my ancestors to their need for fuel! Thank you, body, for prioritizing survival over meeting narrow aesthetic ideals!)

    No question, it's more sustainable to satisfy our hunger today, rather than trying to starve today with the promise of post-weight-loss feasting. That could leave you stabbing your fork at hallucinated pancakes.

    Except that's not usually what happens, is it? That's what would happen to our mythical ancestor who didn't care about food, who in reality must have left the gene pool, because I don't meet very many people like that. What really happens is that not getting enough to eat makes us so hungry that when our will gives out and we do eat, we blow right past the body's fullness signals without even noticing, stopping only when we're uncomfortable.

    So please do not wait for some golden future moment when the scale says you've earned a meal. Today, just eat for now.

    Discuss

    Leave a comment! I would love to know what you think.

    You might also enjoy other posts in this series

    Wear it now

    When is it time to tell the truth?

    Know it now

  • Wayfinder's Quest Post #115: Diamond SUUTRA

    Dwelling in mystery! AMAZE.

    Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)

    As you may have read in her latest YEARbook, Havi has taken the phenomenon of spontaneous unsolicited upgrades and upgraded them to SUUTRAs: Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades of Treasure, Radiance, Abundance. I'm adopting her term because my crazy unaskedfor upgrade this week was actual diamonds. Thus I have an honest-to-goodness Diamond SUUTRA to list in my Wayfinding report.

    What we are doing here:

    Dwelling in mystery.

    Luxuriating in desire.

    Seeking the hot tracks.

    Working magic.

    Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world.

    Gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality.

    (If there is one.) 

    Here it is: I really truly love my engagement ring. It's a big, ugly, lumpy lump of gold, made up of little lumps put together, the way Andy Goldsworthy might. It's somehow very 70s, also very Danish. It was made by a Provincetown jeweler, and all over the Outer Cape people recognize his work and exclaim over it. It really fits my hand, which is not easy. And I didn't even pick it out; Mr Jones did. He didn't know my taste anything like as well as he knows it today and he got something just perfect.

    And still. Like my friend Briana knew by age 3, DIAMONDS.

    So after many years together, Mr Jones had been thinking to surprise me with a diamond when his daughter, who I will style Miss Jones because why not, said to him: Max needs a diamond.

    He did not say I am way ahead of you daughter. He said What makes you say that?

    And she said I just know. Trust me on this.

    (I did admire Miss Jones's engagement ring. Sincerely, but not extravagantly or enviously. I maybe injected a note of overcasualness in trying to throw her off the scent of my lust. Obviously I failed to cloak my desire from her considerable psychic powers.)

    So it is possible that her urging caused him to upgrade his original plan, because I wound up with an adventure as well - a surprise journey through the countryside, or so it seemed, until we wound up at a fancy suburban mall, where Mr Jones steered me in the direction of a … Wolford shop? Uh oh. I thought What's happening here? Are we buying some extremely expensive-yet-mumsy Swiss stockings? and I had a nervous moment before Mr Jones took my elbow and guided me into the jeweler next door, where I became a bit delirious, and the next thing I knew someone was putting a very Game-of-Thrones-looking ring on my hand.

    (I hope it was Mr Jones. I really don't remember.)

    The ring has an inverted diamond, which means it points up, like Everest, and it's very dark, "meant to evoke twilight," as its maker says, and maybe to him that means vampires and werewolves and the Pacific Northwest, but to me it means the best time of day. This ring is so beautiful.

    (Also, it is an actual upgrade, intended as such. Of course Mr Jones is a software person, and thinks in terms of "upgrades," but it tickled me to hear him say I thought it was time you had an upgrade. Because he definitely does not read this blog.

    And I will show you a picture later, when it's back from the shop where it's being resized.)

    Another SUUTRA: I have gotten very keen on naughty underwear this year. One of my sister students at the School of Womanly Arts put me onto Agent Provocateur, which is a fancy British brand with stuff for the seasons, which goes on sale, and "Classics," which do not. These of course were the things I wanted. They just had their sale, and although the girl in the shop assured me that the pieces I wanted would never be included, they threw them into the sale at the end for 75% off. And they still had my size.

    Imagining

    Further treasuring myself. I think this means organizing my underwear drawer this week, which probably sounds like polishing the silver or cleaning the fridge. But it feels like a particularly delicious kind of self care. Making sure the good stuff is ready to hand. Setting things up so that making good choices is the easy way.

    That, actually, is what 90% of my work is about. So I will say it again: Setting things up so that making good choices is the easy way.

    Updates on past experiments, aka Treasuring Myself, aka Act Natural

    This may strike you as extreme and insane, and maybe more fitting for a person recovering from having been raising in an attic or a basement or Kamchatka. Or, I don't know, maybe a hippie town. But I don't know any other Boulderites my age who have this problem. Anyway.

    While I was in Portland a couple weeks ago, I noticed that one of my sister agents, who I will call Agent Orange, had amazing hair. Like maybe the best hair I have ever seen. Really full and bouncy and, clearly, the object of affection, attention, care, love and time.

    [Time! The thing that signifies care better than just about anything.]

    And I noticed that, as I often do when drawn to something beautiful, I instantly went through this process:

    Step 1: admire [something]
    Step 2: desire; wish I could have something like it
    Step 3: deny; tell myself it would not be possible
    Step 4: feel sad
    Step 5: dismiss; calmly recite reasons why it's not possible for me in an attempt to pacify myself
    Step 6: feel more sad, disappointed, a little relieved (no risk! no work! no big change)
    Step 7: accept the verdict "you can't have that" and carry on as if that's true

    (Wow, look how many subpersonalities, as my Zen teacher would say, are involved here. Definitely a Small Sad Me and a Miss Slighcarp type: a knuckle-rapping governess whose job it is to say No! and lambast me for wanting in the first place.)

    But sometimes a further process can occur, which is

    Step 8: desire comes back, even stronger than before, now with added anger, which could be expressed as belligerence toward the denying part of myself, or with renewed determination

    And then, maybe, Step 9, rather than return to the beginning and repressively stamp down the desire, perhaps with added verbal abuse for persistently

    Step 9: Consider that Hey! Maybe there's a way to have this thing... 

    So the task "make appointment for Bumble inversion cut" has been on my to-do list a long-ass time. Huge resistance. But the mental image of Agent O's fabulous hair kinda egged me on, and I forced myself to make the appointment - helped by the fact of far more unpalatable items on my to-do list, like Get new doctor, Get new dermatologist, Get mammogram, augh - and instead of acting like a big embarrassed weirdo at the salon, I watched and listened carefully as the stylist explained exactly how to get volume, and I did not curl up and pray for death when she showed me 86 ok 3 tools I do not currently use.

    And when she said Most people do not use anything like enough product in their hair. Do not be afraid to use a lot, I heard the voice of my father say "She's just trying to see you more stuff," but I merely responded "Ok maybe. Thanks for the heads up. I'll take that under advisement." So I let her do whatever she wanted and I will say, my hair is bangin right now.

    (And that makes this inversion #2 this week, so perhaps inversion is a Clue.)

    I have mentioned before about my idea, erroneous I mostly know now, that I was so ugly that any visible attempts to make myself less ugly would only invite ridicule. Like, public humiliation. Like, haha look at that hideous chick wearing lipstick. Did you ever?!

    (This strength of this belief is stunning to me now. GOD! WHERE DID I GET THIS IDEA??!!)

    To this day, I take mostly horrible pictures because I am on fire with intolerable shame if anyone sees me "preening" e.g. checking for egg on my face or some equally outrageous egotistical concern. The antidote for all this might be "Go where they have a vested interest in helping you look better, and will say nice reassuring things while they're doing it and most important of all, my acting natural while the whole wild and crazy enterprise is happening.

    One day, I will not be acting natural when I put "product" in my hair. It will just be natural.

    Well! It'll still be artifice. But I'll do it naturally.

    Destination: Date night

    What has happened? Nothing on this list, but Mr Jones and I went to Deep Ellum in Brighton this week on our way home from an errand. Great burger, perfect fries, unbelievable cloud show from the deck.

    Also I think it's time for updates. The new Best of Boston list should be out now.

    1. Alden & Harlow
    2. Alinea (Chicago)
    3. Area Four
    4. Asta
    5. Battersby (Brooklyn)
    6. Beast (Portland)
    7. Belly Wine Bar
    8. Bondir
    9. Brine
    10. Clio
    11. Coppa
    12. Franny's (Brooklyn)
    13. Hartwood
    14. L'Aquitaine
    15. L'Espalier
    16. Myers & Chang
    17. No. 9 Park
    18. O-Ya
    19. Pok Pok Noi (Portland)
    20. Ribelle
    21. Roberta's (Brooklyn)
    22. Sarma
    23. Scampo
    24. Shojo
    25. Toro
    26. Toro Bravo (Portland)
    27. West Bridge

    That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.

    Discuss.

    Let me know what you think. You can report on your own Wayfinding experiments, or tell me about the best places for naughty skivvies, or just say Hi.

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