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What I learned in Math 116

In December, I finished 100-level math survey course called Introduction to Technical Mathematics. It went through basic algebra, geometry, functions, trigonometry, and logarithms. It’s one of the prerequisites to a science course I want to take as I consider applying for a graduate program, so I reluctantly took it.

Here’s some of the things I learned:

• It was much easier for me at age 35 to learn and refresh myself on mathematical concepts than it was in high school. The last time I fully learned these concepts was when I was 15-17, where I was also dealing with other classes, social intricacies as well as everything else that comes with being a teenager. So perhaps I was more distracted then, and perhaps my life experience has helped me be in a better space for learning math now.

• That said, I was really grateful for my main high school math teacher, who I took Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II with. She had a way of making math fun, and she helped me catch up where I was behind my freshman year. While I might have been somewhat distracted at times by being a teenager, she gave me a good foundation in math that served me well in the more recent class.

• I used to think that I wasn’t a “natural” at math. It might be closer to the truth to say instead that I am more natural in other subjects (English, languages, art) than I am at math. I am certainly more right-brained than left-brained, and it takes a different kind of thinking and sometimes more time for me to get into math mode. But after watching other students struggle, where explanations that made sense to me didn’t make sense to them, I realized I’m more natural at it than I previously thought. It’s also that math isn’t my favorite subject; perhaps I’d feel like more of a natural if it was something I felt more naturally drawn to.

• I might actually enjoy doing math more if I didn’t get so anxious taking the quizzes and exams. I enjoy figuring out how to make sense of problems. I do not necessarily trust that I know enough to be able to master them during a timed quiz. The truth is, in the end, I often *do* know the material well enough.

• In high school and college, I was very quiet in my classes. It was hard for me to speak up in class, even when I wanted to (I now think that it was primarily sensory-related and I kept shutting down). In this math class, I was actually one of the more vocal ones when the teacher asked for answers to problems. Now that I know more about myself and don’t put so much pressure on myself to speak, I actually say more.

It was good to review the mathematical concepts and be reminded of the practical applications. While I don’t use all of the concepts in my daily life, I do use some and I can also see where else they would be useful. That’s one of the things about having more life experience – practical applications often make more sense.

I’m planning on taking the first biology course that I’ve taken since sixth grade this semester. I’m curious to see what I learn there!

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Clinging to the in-between time

Sometimes it feels that there is a like a quieter, almost suspended piece of time in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Perhaps it lasts a few days more.

It’s January 6th. I find myself wanting, as I often do this time of year, to hold onto that feeling of quiet. Tomorrow, many activities start again at their regular pace. My husband’s first full week of work, uninterrupted by any holidays, begins tomorrow. I’ll put up a few ads for more proofreading work, resume my Nia classes, and send some e-mails out. As a freelance proofreader, January can be slow sometimes, so perhaps I will have time to clean and organize things. I’m planning on taking a class at the community college this semester, but that doesn’t start for another two weeks.

Since Winter Solstice, the days have grown longer, slowly, minute by minute. But they still feel long. There is currently snow on the mountains above Las Vegas, and sometimes the temperatures dip to freezing in town. It’s not wintry weather by some people and place’s standards, but it is wintry for us.

I often feel like slowing down this time of year. I’m generally more tired; my moods have a tendency to dip lower. Hibernation sometimes sounds appealing.

I’ve seen so many messages over the past week about starting the new year “right,” to make lists, clean up, work out more, make plans. All of these things require direct action and the energy to do them. For me, this time of year isn’t necessarily about renewal; it’s about slowing down and listening deeply. This doesn’t mean I won’t make goals or won’t start new things, but it means I might do so less energetically – or at least with more consideration of my energy level – than I might in another season.

So, as much as I sometimes wish there was a way to “pause” time just for a little bit, my hope is to honor where I’m at and how I feel, take care of my obligations, and take small steps towards my goals. Right now, I have no specific deadlines; that may change tomorrow or another day soon. I will savor the stretches quiet time when I can, and find the quiet moments between things when life gets busier.

Intentions for 2019

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but I do like setting intentions that are open, can be revisited, modified, or even scrapped if need be.

Here are a few of mine for 2019:

To continue practicing self-care and self-love. To have compassion for myself in the times that this is more challenging.

To find a place to teach at least one more regular Nia class.

To continue to find time to dance Nia for myself. This might be more challenging if I add another Nia class because my prep time might increase. But I want to still make time to dance on my own for no reason other than I love doing it.

To take more hikes/spend more time in nature. Sometimes even taking a walk outside around the neighborhood can fulfill this to some extent. Being outside in the sunlight does wonders for me. Being out in nature does even more.

To make more art for the sake of creating, not just for sale. Making arts and crafts to sell at vendor fairs is great, and it definitely motivates me to continue to make art. But sometimes I just want to sit down and let my creativity go and be in the process and not be focused on what I want to create.

To do more activities that might help make Vegas feel more like home. In some ways, it feels very much like home, especially now that we’ve moved into our own condo. I like it here. And yet, it’s been over two years since I moved here and sometimes I don’t feel quite settled. I’m leaving this open-ended.

To maintain my current client load for proofreading and add one more regular client. Doing enough backup proofreading can satisfy this requirement as well, but that’s less predictable (to be fair, freelancing is not exactly predictable).

Happy New Year! What are your intentions for this year?


2018 highlights

I don’t write here as much anymore, and not as much as I’d like to. Life has been busy.

Perhaps more on that later.

But now, I am reflecting on this past year. 2018 has generally been a good year for me.

Here are some highlights:

  • In March, I visited my mom in Bellingham, Washington, and we also spent time in Langley on Whidbey Island. We spent our time walking around on the beach and through the town. We spent a fair bit of time browsing local shops. We also sorted through her photo albums for the photos we’d like to keep in the long-term, so we revisited a lot of memories together.
  • In June, we bought our first home, a beautiful condo in a quiet neighborhood. I sometimes forget it’s in the middle of the city. We are continuing to make it more homey. I’ve been feeling much more settled here since we moved into our new place.
  • In August, I took the Nia Blue Belt training in Portland, Oregon. There’s something about Nia trainings and events that resonates with me deeply and makes me feel more at home in community with others and within myself. Blue Belt is all about relationships, communication, and intimacy. I’ve noticed the most difference in my relationship to myself: I’ve been more kind towards myself since taking the training. I also feel more connected to my learning process and practice of Nia.
  • In October, my husband and I celebrated our two-year wedding anniversary. Our relationship continues to grow and deepen and we enjoy being our quirky and silly selves around each other. 🙂
  • In December, we took our fourth annual holiday trip to the Sedona area in Arizona. It’s become a sweet tradition of us meeting my father in the relative midpoint between Las Vegas and Albuquerque and spending time hiking, dining, and enjoying each other’s company. Also, it’s a breathtakingly gorgeous place.
  • Several trips to my hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Having quality time with my father, Nia friends, and family friends. Enjoying being in the high desert. Feeling the sense of home that lingers with me even as I feel more at home where I currently live.
  • I completed two college courses (Spring and Fall Semester 2018): one English and one math. They are prerequisites for a program I’m considering applying to in the future. Taking classes reminds me of how much I love learning.
  • It was my first full year of proofreading legal transcripts! It’s become a good source of supplemental income, and I have a few regular clients. I also enjoy it.
  • First full year of consistently teaching a Nia class! I also started teaching private Moving to Heal sessions. In December, I taught a one-time class at a studio in Boulder City in December and got to experience teaching a group of people who were completely new to Nia.
  • Various explorations of local places: the mountains, Red Rock Canyon, Fashion Show Mall, Caesar’s Palace (I prefer exploring out in nature on a hike, but the sights and sounds of the Strip are interesting in their own way too).

Thank you, 2018, for the blessings you have brought me and the lessons you have taught me.

Now, on to the next…

Five years since my surgery

What I wrote on my Facebook status on Sunday, November 25, 2018, and wanted to share here as well:

It’s now been five years. On November 25, 2013, I had open abdominal surgery for what turned out to be a borderline ovarian tumor. At a doctor’s appointment less than two weeks earlier, my doctor had expedited my surgery and told me that the tumor on my right ovary had grown and that it was either cancerous or borderline.

For me, this date is a marker of not only the surgery but also of change. I consider the surgery and the events surrounding it to be a turning point in my life. It’s been a very full five years. If you had told me in October 2013 where I would be now, I may not have believed you. Post-surgery, as I found emotional and physical healing, I left dreams behind and gradually accepted that what I wanted – and needed – was changing. I walked through a deep depression and made it out the other side. I discovered Nia. I found out I had sensory processing disorder, and it was a revelation that changed the way I see myself and my experience of the world. My love and I renewed our relationship and became closer than ever.
…and much more.

I don’t really believe that everything happens for a reason. Some things in life just happen. I do know that I am grateful for what I have now.

My surgery story, parts I and II.

Poem from one year after surgery.

Election Day 2018 Links! Get out and vote!

Attention voters in the United States:

If you have done early voting or turned in your ballot for the midterm election, great! Go you!

If you are registered to vote (or are in a state where you can register on the day of), go vote on Tuesday, November 6, 2018!

States where you can register to vote on Election Day (list from here): California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Washington D.C. If you are in North Dakota, you can go to a polling place with a valid I.D. and vote.

Wherever you live, you can find your assigned polling place here.

Need a ride? Or are you available to give someone a ride? Go to carpoolvote.com and request a ride or offer one here.

Uber and Lyft are offering discounted rides to the polls with the promo code available on the apps on Election Day. They are also offering free rides to the polls in underserved communities. More information here.  (The link also includes information about bike sharing, scooter sharing, and free public transportation in select cities).

Need time off from work to vote? Here is information on different state’s laws on time off from work and voting.

Important to know: You need to be in line to vote before polls close. If you are in line at closing time, the polling place must stay open to allow you to vote.

The Election Protection Hotline can help people who have been turned away from the polls. If you or someone you know has this happen, call 866-OUR-VOTE. More resources that might be helpful are in this article by The New York Times (scroll down towards the bottom of the page for information about day-of tips and resources).

Once the polls are closed and the results are in, Ballotpedia is tracking the results from the major races in each state.

Some late-night and talk show hosts are hosting election day live specials.

From Bustle: 7 Ways to watch the election results roll in.

Nia Blue Belt Insights: My relationship with FloorPlay.

I started writing a post that summarizes my experience at my Blue Belt training. And in truth, it didn’t really touch it. I can use adjectives like amazing, life-changing, but that doesn’t really give you a picture of how it touched me.

Over three weeks later, I am continuing to integrate the material. I imagine I will be integrating for quite some time. The Blue Belt training, the second belt level of Nia training, focuses on communication, relationships, and intimacy. I just opened the PDF version of the Blue Belt Learn book on my iPad and turned to the first principle: the Joy of Being in Relationship With — with another, life-force energy, etc. So in honor of that, I’m going to create separate posts about how my relationship with my Nia practice, myself, life, other people, is shifting in response to my experience at my Blue Belt training.

I’m beginning with FloorPlay, which is both a Nia practice and a Blue Belt principle.

My relationship with: FloorPlay

I am predisposed to like being on the floor. I don’t remember a time when plopping down on the floor didn’t feel like the most natural thing in the world. In the living room, I am generally more likely to sit down on the floor against a couch than sit on the couch. It is fairly easy for me to get up and down from the floor. So, generally, I like being on floors and I appreciated that moving and playing on the floor was part of Nia.

And yet..sometimes FloorPlay in Nia felt muted to me, like an obligatory extension of cooling down and yet not quite a cycle unto itself. FloorPlay is the sixth of seven cycles in a Nia class. So coming down to the floor is often an expected part of any routine. I understood that it was supposed to have a conditioning element, but how often did it really feel like it? I liked being on the floor and moving there, but I sometimes felt like something was missing.

NiaStudio floor

The studio at Nia Headquarters

After spending most of a morning on the floor during the training, I gained more of a felt sense of FloorPlay conceptually and as an embodied experience. We spent time on the floor concentrating on areas of our bodies we wanted to self-heal. We played with conditioning and experimented with how it felt to exercise versus move. Moving is easier, smoother, less forceful, more flowing, more energy-centered. I realized that I could do the same action, like crunches, from an exercise approach and a movement approach and I would feel and experience it differently.

I gained a deeper embodied experience of what it meant to play on the floor. I had moments where I felt giddy in the revelation and expression of play. I can gain a similar feeling I had as a child rolling down hills at a park as I play and move on the floor.

Now, after the training, I crave more quality FloorPlay time. I want to intentionally spend time on the floor, not just as a part of a routine, but a practice of conditioning, self-healing, and play.  I look forward to what this practice will teach me, how it will add to my experience of my body, myself, and Nia.

I am now the proud owner of Nia kneepads to help support my body with this practice.

kneepads

Kneepads!

After that morning’s FloorPlay session, I was texting my husband about it. He said, “I’m glad you’re such good friends with the floor.” I said, “I could be even better friends with the floor.”