My current TV show list

Here are my favorite current TV shows. Maybe I’ll make a list of favorite shows from the past sometime, too.

The Good Place. I’ve been a fan of Kristen Bell’s since watching Veronica Mars years ago, so I was excited to see her in a major role on a sitcom on network television. Plus, Ted Danson (originally of Cheers fame) is in it, too. The main story: it’s about four people who die and find themselves not where they expected to be in the afterlife. The Good Place manages to include philosophy and ethics about what it means to be a good person and how people can change. Plus, it’s a sitcom and there are plenty of funny moments.  I would love to be a fly on the wall in their writers’ room — there have been quite a few plot twists I didn’t see coming.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It’s a musical dramedy, which, well, there aren’t many of those on television.  The main character is Rebecca Bunch, a neurotic (also quirky, passionate, etc.) lawyer who moves from New York City to West Covina, California, where the guy she dated at summer camp in high school happens to live. There’s definitely romance, heartbreak, and drama in the series. I also really like how the series continues to develop its characters. It also addresses mental illness in a refreshing way. Here’s a link to a sampling of songs from the three seasons.

This is Us. Stellar performances by its ensemble cast. The story of one family’s love, joys, heartaches, and loss across the years. It can be overly tear-inducing and heart-wrenching at times, but I think its strongest scenes are its portrayal of the characters in everyday moments.

Since I got distracted by The Good Place and This is Us (and freelancing and living my life) over the past few months, I haven’t been watching the fourth season of Jane the Virgin. I’ve pretty much watched it from the beginning besides that. It’s played off like a Latin American telenovela. It definitely has intrigue, mystery, and drama, but it’s also so much more. I love how it portrays the relationship between Jane and her mother and grandmother.  Also, Gina Rodriguez, who plays Jane, is a great actress.

Past seasons of The Good Place, Jane the Virgin, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are streaming on Netflix. This is Us is available on Hulu.*

*This is not an advertisement for any of these services or shows. I’m posting this because I wanted to share.

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Friday link roundup 2/2

I don’t know if I’ll start posting weekly roundups again, but I do intend to at least do it every once in a while. I do miss posting it; it brought a nice pattern and consistency to my life, and I like finding and reading articles.

The Work-at-Home Summit! Seriously, this is full of wisdom and resources. There’s interviews about time management, virtual assisting, blogging, and much more. It’s also FREE to watch the videos (and/or read the transcripts) through February 5 at midnight PST. You can also find out more about Work-at-Home School, which has a wealth of courses for people who want to venture out on their own and work from home.

Video: A sweet story about best friends who find out in their 60s that they’re biological brothers.

On sleep deprivation and how it can affect people with bipolar disorder and depression…and potentially be used as part of a method of treatment. The studies are really interesting and not what I’d ever expect.

A comic on getting out of your comfort zone.

It’s Groundhog Day! The verdicts of groundhogs in different regions on the coming of spring.

A moody week.

I had a moody week this past week. It was the kind of mood, heavily influenced by hormones, that creeps up on me every once in a while and makes me grateful that it isn’t always like this.

But in the midst of it, it felt downright depressive and it was hard to see much light in anything. And it was hard to do much of anything, aside from what was absolutely necessary.

To give myself credit, I probably did more than that. But there’s something frustrating about starting a week with a “this is the week I’m going to get organized and do the things I need to do” and then realizing halfway through that I’d have to narrow it way down.

I sat with the mood sometimes: it felt heavy and slow and sucked the meaning out of activities. I distracted myself from it at other times. I cried at the drop of a hat at moments and knew that it always didn’t make sense and it didn’t have to.

Sometimes I judged myself for it, and had thoughts that I should know what I want and I should be clear on what all my next steps are. Despite these moments of “shoulding” myself,  I also knew that it wasn’t a practical time to make decisions other than what to make for meals or what to do next in that particular day.

I have moments where I see moods like this as something to be wrestled with, to get through, to overcome. Perhaps if I add something to my day, a formula of getting enough sunlight + Nia + good food + whatever else, that it will lift, voila. While self-care and doing these activities help, there’s not a fail-safe guarantee that I’m going to feel better and stay feeling that way.

I used my DBT skills and checked the facts of what was really going on. This doesn’t always make feeling and being easier, but it does allow me to see my vulnerabilities. It takes me a few more steps closer towards accepting the mood rather than fighting it.

Now, the mood continues to lift. There’s more grays in it, more rays of sunlight, more hope and desire. I still feel somewhat exposed and cautious. I feel the fear that this mood will continue and become something more. If it does, I’ll take steps to take care of myself. Last week felt deflating; this week may feel different.

Now, I breathe in. I look at the first thing on my to-do list. And I begin my day.

From imagining others’ lives to finding my own.

I tend to write more than I post, so I’m working on finishing what’s in my drafts folder from the past few months.

Around five years ago, I used to work at a place on the San Diego harbor. There was a period of time where I didn’t drive, so I would take the bus to work. The bus would wind its way from where I caught it in Golden Hill, through the streets of downtown San Diego, and drop me off about two blocks away from the harbor. I would walk the rest.

This thought pattern may have lasted days, weeks, or months. But I would often look at someone during that walk and imagine what their life was like, and if I would be happier having a life like theirs. I would wonder if that woman was happy as she went to her 9-to-5 job; maybe it was one she had worked hard to get, a dream job. Maybe that man in a suit was smiling because he was looking at pictures of his children on his phone. At the time, I was working at job that wasn’t a good fit for me. My passion simply wasn’t there, and some of my values clashed with their mission. I kept telling myself that it was a temporary job, but temporary ended up lasting two years. I had a life that I invested a lot of my passion into after work, but that gradually lost its luster as well.

I think I was longing for something else, something more to fill my days, and I sometimes translated that into thinking that I wanted to be someone else. Maybe I would like someone else’s life better, maybe they were living their passion, maybe they felt more comfortable in their own skin.

…Or maybe they were miserable at that moment as well. I have no way of knowing.

It definitely is food for thought though, of how I would imagine these lives that were not mine and focus away from my own. How some of my personal growth work around that time ended up being on-point, but some of it ended up being me try to mold myself to be a certain type of person. I sometimes unconsciously went away from myself while doing work to try to find myself.

And maybe this is all part of the stumbling blocks of self-discovery. Perhaps I needed to learn who I was not in order to learn who I am. After all, I can’t be true to myself if I don’t know who that is — or isn’t. However, I also recognize that there may have been an element of disconnection/dissociation from my own experience as I looked outside of myself and imagined the contents and emotions of other people’s lives.

There’s definitely a difference between striving to be the best version of myself versus the person I think I ought to be. I’m currently doing much better on former, although I still struggle with “shoulds” sometimes or wish that I didn’t have sensory processing challenges, etc. In my current personal growth journey, I strive to focus on my own strengths and challenges.

These days, while I may sometimes be curious about those around me, I’m not longing for someone else’s life. I’m grateful for the the life I am currently living, with its ups and downs, struggles and wins — my own life.

 

Rain dance

I saw some headlines about the intense storm that hit the East Coast this past week that read something like, “Storm hits U.S.!” “Extraordinary cold temperatures this winter in the U.S.”

Well, not here in southern Nevada.

Here, I am excited about the forecast of rain this coming week, which would be the first precipitation in the city since September. There should be snow in the mountains, too.

There are certainly things I love about the desert, but I sometimes feel restless during a dry spell. The weather has been generally beautiful, and the winter clouds are often interesting, but I find myself wanting more.

So here is my “rain dance” in words:  May it rain this week. Let the water soak into the ground. Give me a moment or two to stand in it and savor it. Let us have a glimpse of winter in the mountains, let the weather turn colder. Let it rain.

On New Year’s Day, four year ago

Facebook has a memories feature called “On this day” that shows what was posted on that day however-many-years ago. The poster can choose to share it or leave it.

On New Year’s Day, this came up for me from January 1, 2014, four years ago:

“Happy New Year! 2013 felt very full, with so many transitions and significant life events. I take its lessons, and shed the skin of what I no longer need. 2014, I call for a deepening of my power, gifts, and wisdom. I dare myself to dream big. I intend to listen to the wisdom of my body. May this be a year of growth, claiming, magic, connection, and laughter.”

Those are big, bold words. It’s a tall order. The words say a lot in broad strokes; they do not say very much in terms of specifics.

What kind of wisdom? I received that, but it was more in the vein of “life doesn’t always give you what you think you want.” I grew a lot, but before I did, I hit rock bottom.

And the rest? I lost my sense of magic for quite a while there. 2014 was a year of stepping back, retreating back to the bare bones of what I needed. Perhaps there was a claiming — a claiming of what I needed, a reclaiming of home. But perhaps there was a kind of magic every time I stepped on the dance floor in a Nia class or looked out at the mountains. And there was a power in choosing to step away, to leave my life as it was. I chose the path that led me towards healing. At that time, it was likely the most active decision I had made in months.

It took me a while to truly listen to the wisdom of my body.

2014 was full of major life events and transitions as well. They were not the ones I expected or hoped for when I wrote that post. That year, I had to let go of certain dreams.

The “on this day” feature on Facebook can sometimes remind me of great times and memories. It can also remind me of what I no longer have. In this case, I do feel a sense of loss. I think at least part of that is grieving that sense of idealism I once had.

And part of me just wants to hold my past self and tell her that it’ll be okay if things don’t turn out how she hopes. Because it will, eventually.

It’ll be more than okay.

2017.

It’s New Year’s Eve, and it’s time for my year-end retrospective.

In 2017…

My love and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary and our tenth dating anniversary. We continue to grow and deepen our relationship. I love how can be silly and laugh together while also opening to new depths of connection.

I started teaching Nia classes in Las Vegas. After occasionally subbing and attempting to introduce Nia at a new space, I took over another Nia teacher’s classes in October. I now have a small group of regulars. While I miss my Albuquerque Nia community, I’m grateful to be teaching here…and to have space in my living room to dance!

Dancing, Studio Nia Santa Fe

I took the Moving to Heal training in Santa Fe. It’s comforting and gratifying to occasionally return to one of my Nia homes and connect with people who speak the language of Nia. I’m also really grateful for the opportunity to learn new skills and techniques — and new ways to look at what I already know. transcript proofreading

I completed an online transcript proofreading course. This course included lessons as well as 50 practice transcripts; it was a lot of work but worth the investment of time, energy, and money. I started my own proofreading business and am now contributing a small (but helpfully significant) amount to our household income. It’s been gratifying to make money again.

My husband and I started taking Tai Chi and Aikido classes with a local teacher who teaches informally, on a loose schedule without belts. It has really helped my spouse be more in his body. Sampling these martial arts forms has also improved my Nia practice: I’m much more aware of weight shifts, where I put my feet, and how to be in the flow of my own energy.

I experienced what it is like to live in a city that has had a mass shooting tragedy. It was scary and horrifying to wake up on October 2nd and realize what had happened. While I did not personally know or lose anyone who was at the Route 91 concert, I felt and witnessed the ripples of the tragedy. I also witnessed how the community came together in the aftermath, and continues to do so.

10.1.17

At the memorial garden downtown, October 2017

Trips: Visited Albuquerque in May, June, and November. Visiting my hometown and home state often helps ground me.

Albuquerque scene

Traveled with family up to the Durango, Colorado, area as part of the June trip.

 

Went to Sedona, Arizona, for our third annual holiday trip this December. It’s been so nice to have a relatively close place to travel for the holidays, especially one that is so beautiful and dynamic.

Locally:

Visited the Strip for the first time in January when my friends were in town. We went to the Bellagio.

Went on a day trip in February, visiting a goddess temple and labyrinth on the way.

Temple Labyrinth

Went to Mt. Charleston to see the changing leaves in September. We went to Valley of Fire State Park (about an hour outside of Vegas) when Luke’s friends from San Diego visited in December.

 

This place definitely feels more like home than it did a year ago. I have settled more into my life this year. I’ve met new people and started a new business. I continue to work towards creating a life that works for me, keeping my sensory and emotional needs in mind. Aside from stress about politics, finances, and the everyday kinds of challenges, I am generally content.