Friday, November 23, 2012

The November blues

In my part of the world (Portland, Oregon), we are entering the time of the very dark. We are a month from the winter solstice and two months from any substantial shift in the light. The sun comes up about 8 am and by 4 pm it's starting to get dark. And when it rains all day, like it did today and will do repeatedly throughout the winter, the sky is not ever very bright. In addition, above the 45th parallel (that invisible global line that marks half-way between north pole and equator), which is situated about 40 miles south of us, just north of the state capital of Salem, winter sun doesn't give us any measurable vitamin D that might enhance our mood.

I grew up here and I love the rain. It's what makes it so incredibly green and lush here and it's an important part of our climate. I also love the coziness of being inside when it's cold and darkish outside. But in November, it's always tough to adjust to the short days. And this year seems particularly difficult as we had a magical two months of dry sunny weather through September and October.

It took me a couple of weeks to remember that this always happens. That I want to sleep more than usual, that I feel like going to bed at 8:30 (it's already been dark 4 hours), that I don't want to get up when the alarm goes off, that I drag around a bit and wish I could open the windows (too cold, too wet) or go for a long walk without being plastic-coated.

I know it will pass. Not just the dark time of the year, but this adjustment period. That I will grow used to the long evenings and find ways to fill them. That I'll burn candles and keep the lights on. That I'll up my vitamin D intake and eat things that make my mood better. But for now, I just have to ride the November blues.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

letting meaning trump mood

If you're not a regular reader of my other blog, you might find tonight's post of interest: Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Identify theft

No, I didn't lose my wallet or have my credit card number pilfered. I'm talking about another woman giving me a bad name and not for the first time.

When I got ready to launch my website, a search showed that was already taken.

I already knew there were other Jill Kellys in the world. For several years in the 1980s, I was pestered by creditors wanting to repossess the car of Jill F. Kelly. Such communication was all done by phone in those days and month after month I'd get calls asking for money and threatening my credit, even though I was Jill B. Kelly and could prove it. The in the late 1990s, I was working for Oregon Health and Sciences University as a contract instructor. When my paycheck arrived one month, it was for nearly three times the usual pitiful amount. I noticed that it was made out to Jill R. Kelly. OHSU had two employees with the same name (and different jobs and different SS numbers and addresses). They were very embarrassed at the error.

I even found other books authored by Dr. Jill Kelly, one a fantasy novelist, the other an academic writing on religious history. Another Jill Kelly was a ghostwriter for country and western stars. So I knew I wasn't unique although I think I believed that for a long time.

Back to my website. was taken all right and by an apparently famous porn star. She appears in countless porn magazines and films, and you have to pay to get into her site so I haven't seen it.  In addition, a trucker in Arkansas is one of her biggest fans and has a Jill Kelly blog where he pours out his adoration. Jill Kelly isn't this woman's real name and hence my feeling of identify theft. But I can tell from her home page that my body parts are more real than hers.

Now there's Gilberte "Jill" Khawam Kelley, thoroughly mixed into the Petraeus scandal. She looks a bit more like me than the porn star, but Jill isn't her name either so my identity is again being taken over and my name, although not myself, dragged through the mud.

It's a good thing I'm not attached to it. :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Slowing down--what a bitch!

I'm taking a Tai Chi/Qi Gong hybrid program called The 18 Therapies. These are a series of 18 shapes that you make with your body in a flowing motion. They are not stretches, though we are all tempted to make them be stretches for that's how we know to be with our bodies in slow motion. They aren't exercises exactly either as we don't move around much. We mostly stand there and move parts of our bodies. The very patient teacher, Patty, encourages us to give 70% to our efforts. This too is very countercultural as we are normally exhorted to give it "our all" each time we do something.

I had my second session today and it went much better than the first. While the movements aren't exactly complicated, they require a certain level of attention and coordination that I don't usually associate with movement. Yes, I am confessing that my gym routines are not a mindful practice. In fact, I purposefully go somewhere else in my head during the 30 minutes of treadmill work. During the 18 Therapies, you pay attention to your hand or shoulder or your breath, in fact, you hold all of that in quiet attentiveness. It is restful to do so when I can let myself.

Today I came in in a flurry. I'd been up for a long time already and had skipped going to the studio, which I wasn't happy about but it just seemed one more thing to cram in, because I had so much to do and I had done quite a lot by the time I got there and I had quite a lot left to do (in fact, too much as I've said yes to too many clients in the same time frame) and I crammed in going to the credit union and mailing a package on my way to class and I was practically breathless with hurry.

And I thought about how some years ago, I took on never being in hurry again and wondered when that disappeared and how I could get it back.

As I left the 18 Therapies session, Patty encouraged us not to rush off but to move slowly back into the day and while that sounded so good, I didn't. Hmmmm. What's up with me?