Eggs are great – with a few small exceptions

Soft-Boiled-Eggs1
Aaauuugh! That drip makes me crazy!

Every morning I have my egg. I soft-boil one after I finish my workout, at the same time I make my coffee, and by the time all is said and done, I have coffee and egg (and some fruit or gluten-free granola) for my breakfast.

People are often alarmed to hear that I have an egg every single morning, but my triglycerides are all of 38, and my good cholesterol is 104 (40-60 is the good range, so I’m way above that), so that offsets my LDL cholesterol level of 142. My Chol/HDL Ratio is 2.4, which is well within the 1 – 3.5 range, so I’m good. No harm from those eggs, apparently. If anything, the Omega-3s are helping to lower my triglyerides. I only eat pastured/free range vegetarian brown eggs, sometimes with extra Omega-3s. They seem to taste better than the white eggs my mother always got when I was growing up.

Today was no exception to my routine. I rode the exercise bike (sometimes I lift weights – but today is a rest day for me), then made my breakfast. I really like the ritual of it all… especially running cold water over the hot egg, setting it in the egg cup, and clipping off the top with a quick chop of a butter knife. I get my salt and pepper and hot sauce, and I scoop out the first part of my breakfast carefully, so the runny yolk doesn’t drip down the side. And then I eat. Very carefully. Taking my time. Adding more hot sauce as I work my way down to the bottom of the shell. What a neat little package, an egg is.

One thing about eggs that I hate, is when they run, splatter, or drip. That happens pretty regularly, and it makes me nuts,  because then everything gets sticky, and I cannot stand sticky things. Must be a sensory thing with me. Especially lately. For some reason, my hands are really sensitized to everything they touch. And touch is a big way I both navigate my world and also soothe myself when my nerves are frazzled. When I am off-balance, my sense of touch allows me to right myself. It’s extremely sensitive, and it’s what I rely on, when I’m on sensory overload, with my hearing screwed up by tinnitus, my eyesight focused on straight lines so I don’t fall down, and my sense of smell and taste practically non-existent. If my sense of smell and taste are almost nill, and my hearing is stopped up by tinnitus, and my vision is engaged with keeping my balance and making sure I stay upright, then that leaves my sense of touch to keep me connected with the rest of the world.

Plus, when I am stressed out, I tend to “stim” — or “self-soothe” — to calm myself down. Touch is a big part of that. I will either wring or rub my hands or run my hands over nearby surfaces. Once, I was visiting relatives and I was completely whacked out by the long drive, the sensory overwhelm of travel, not to mention fatigue from the drive, and I went for a ride in someone’s new BMW. I hopped in the back seat, and immediately started running my hands over all the surfaces. Leather interior. Soft and smooth and clean. Nice. My spouse had to explain to the driver (who was watching me curiously/weirdly in the rear-view mirror) that I’m “just really tactile”. And that was that. I felt like I couldn’t resist running my hands all over everything around me. It was incredibly soothing.

Yes, being able to directly contact the physical world around me, balances me out — in more ways than one.

So, when things are sticky or slippery, it makes me anxious. And few things make me more anxious than runny eggs that have escaped the container they’re supposed to stay in.

Runny eggs on a plate of bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns, are welcome. I can deal with that – so long as they stay on the plate.

Runny eggs dripping down the side of the egg cup are not.

Runny eggs splattering on the counter where I’m eating… makes me want to snap. Throw something. Break something. I don’t. But I sure as hell feel like it.

So, it’s always a balancing act, when I’m eating my breakfast. I need to be very careful, to keep the egg from dripping and splattering, and when I get it right, it’s beautiful. When I don’t, it’s yet another opportunity to practice keeping my wits about me and not losing my temper.

So, either way, I get what I need.

It’s just not always pleasant.

Anyway, it’s Sunday, and I have a lot on my mind. A friend of mine hit their head a few weeks ago, and they’ve really been struggling with behavioral issues since then. All over the map, emotionally and logistically. Forgetful. Impulsive. Explosive. They’ve been struggling, and they’ve been telling everyone to leave them alone so they can heal, but I’m not sure they even realize how they’re supposed to be healing, and from what. They’re clearly in stress, and their system is telling them to GO-GO-GO, even while they just need to slow down… stop. Catch up with themself.

I need to write to them. I’m not sure if it’s going to help, but I need to at least try.

Oh, and I also need to call my Dad, since it’s Father’s Day. I kept forgetting to get his card, last week, and it’s probably not getting to him till tomorrow.

But most of all, I need to to take a break. I intended to do that yesterday, but it ended up being a git-er-done kind of day. I did a lot and rested a little. Today I’m supposed to meet a former coworker who is starting their own company, and they want to get my opinion on a software program they’re designing. I’m going to take a rain-check on that. I really need to get back to center. Take a break. Get some more sleep. I think I got about 8 hours last night, but I’m still feeling wiped out. Still dizzy. Last week was a huge week for me. And this coming week is not going to be small, either, what with the finalization of my new job coming through. (Oh yes – I accepted the position, in case I hadn’t mentioned it.) And then I need to give notice to people who are really depending on me being THE ONE to handle certain key responsibilities through the end of the year.

Not gonna happen for them.

They really should have planned and prepared better. But that falls into the category of “not my problem”.

Onward.

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No talking. Please, no talking.

Huh?

I’m having a lot of trouble dealing with talking today.

Reading and writing is completely different — it’s the talking that’s a problem for me. My brain is not in the mood to process vocalized thoughts. It’s in action mode, and when I’m “seeing” in my head all the steps I have to go through, someone talking to me really disrupts my thought process and irritates the living daylights out of me.

I just don’t feel like I have the bandwidth — no, it’s more than that. I don’t feel like devoting the bandwidth to verbal discussion. If someone wants to talk to me, they can write it down or draw me a picture.

It occurred to me this morning, while my spouse was talking and talking and talking about all the things we need to take care of, that some people just talk to make themselves feel better. They aren’t interested in communicating. They aren’t interested in listening. They aren’t even interested in making sense to anyone else. They just want to self-soothe with words, because it makes them feel better.

Augh! Please. It’s so frustrating and irritating and counter-productive. Talking should be reserved for communicating ideas that need to be acted upon or processed by both people, not just soothing the frazzled nerves of the person speaking. It’s really inconsiderate and narcissistic to go on and on, without regard for anyone except yourself. It’s all about your nerves, your anxiety, your pain — not about anything necessary or productive or useful for anyone else.

Anyway, that’s my little rant for the morning. I’m having a good morning, actually — very quiet, aside from the chatter. And I’m working from home today, so we can go pick up the new car we got.

It’s all good.

Quiet is nice.

Onward.

 

No more zoning out

Big blocks of unstructured time are not my friend. At least, that’s true when I need to get things done.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, lately, looking back at the last three years at this job, thinking about all the things I started and have not been able to finish. I also inevitably end up thinking about all those times when I started things as a kid, but never followed through. Those big blocks of time that I thought were my friend… they weren’t. They didn’t help. If anything, they actually made it harder to finish what I started.

Of course, when I need to rest and relax and just “let it flow”, then having a big block of open/free time is my best friend in the world. There are plenty of those times in my life, and I haven’t always done a good job of taking that time for myself.

The end result has been a lot of frustration and anxiety – which then sends  me back into the “zone” where I feel safe and untroubled by the screw-ups in my life.

I just need a balance, is all.

I also need to be aware of what it is I am trying to accomplish, at any given point in time. Like an important project at work. Or chores around the house.  I need to have both aspects of my life — structured, focused periods of time when I am getting a lot done… and open/free time to just let things mellow out. The problems start to happen when I should have structured focused time, but I am really “zoning out” and “going with the flow”. That’s when I get myself in trouble. Likewise, I get into a jam, when I really need open/free time, but I’ve scheduled myself to have lots of structure and focus.

I need to make room for both in my life. It’s not healthy to have only one or the other. They both feed each other, like pistons in a combustion engine, pushing me forward by their back-and-forth motion. When one part of that combination doesn’t get its due, then all hell breaks loose. But when I can alternate and oscillate between one type of experience and the other, and I can let myself just do that in balance, things go well.

It’s funny — looking at my life up to this point, I can see how all that go-go-go has gotten me ahead in life. My ability to keep up a blistering pace has put me ahead of my peers, time and again, and it’s paid off in the past, in terms of money and position and prestige. After ten years of doing that, though, without ample rest, relaxation and rejuvenation, I totally got fried. Burned out. I kept pushing myself, but then I pushed too hard, and I got hurt. Again. The time when I fell in 2004, I was so far beyond burned-out in my job, it wasn’t funny. And the other times when I have fallen or gotten concussed — car accidents, falls, even the assaults — were when I was pushing myself and not using good judgment. I didn’t exactly bring it on myself. But my choices and actions did not help me at all.

If anything, they put me in danger.

But I was all into the go-go-go, caught up in that excitement, in the “zone” along with everyone around me — totally sucked into the mesmerizing fantasmagorical space of imagined productivity and happiness.

Emphasis on sucked.

Now it’s all different, of course. Fatigue takes it out of me, and I rapidly find out what’s not working for me in various situations, when I’m pushing too hard. Everyone around me finds out, too. The saving grace of all this is that now I know better, in my mind, and I have come up with coping mechanisms and adaptations to handle things as they come.

I’d better come up with coping mechanisms and adaptations. The price is too high, if I don’t.

One of the massive adaptations that’s developed with me, lately, is realizing that “the zone” is not my friend. It’s a drug. It’s a temptation. It’s a trap. For as long as I can remember, I’ve considered “the zone” my friend — a safe, comfortable place where I can shut the rest of the world out and just get some work done. Hours upon hours can go by, with me focused on one thing and one thing only. And when I’m done, I feel like I’ve really made progress.

But that’s a deception of the highest order. When I get “into the zone” — caught up in something for hours and hours, feeling good about it, feeling like I’m making progress — I’m actually just wearing myself out and getting more tired by the quarter-hour. I’m not being productive and instinctive and inspired. I’m engaging in some serious soothing behavior that has the only advantage of taking my mind off what’s going on around me. It’s like sitting in front of the t.v. for hours upon hours, just shutting out the rest of the world. But it’s on my terms, doing things that appeal to me. And when I come out on the other end, I can justify my absence from my life by saying, “Look how much I got done!”

Except most of the time, I didn’t.

I was just acting like it.

It felt real enough, that’s for sure. I felt like I was making progress. I felt comfortable and safe and engaged and interested. And maybe when I came out on the other end, I did have something to show for my efforts. But even at my most productive, those hours-long stints of work really did little more than tire me out. Especially when they were done at times when I’m not naturally inclined to be working hard. My own personal “alternating cycle” makes me practically useless between 11 and 3, then I start to gather steam around 3, and by 4 or 5 o’clock, I’m really in the groove. That’s what works best for me, and by 6:30-7:00 p.m. I can get a hell of a lot done. But when I settle in to “get a lot accomplished” early in the day, and then that’s what I do all the livelong day — not taking any breaks, and just churning-and-burning — I end up completely wiped out by the end of it all, and then I’m useless for the next few days.

Of course, it feels great while I’m doing it. It feels awesome. I feel like I’m super-human, and nothing can stop me. But by the end of the day, I can barely stand, I can’t see straight, and I feel like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck. And then I need to recover.

For days.

And days.

And I end up worse off than if I’d just done a little bit, taken a break, then come back to the job fresh and alert at a later time.

Yeah, break it up. That’s what I need to do. I used to think routine was my friend, and to some extent it is. It’s been a comfort for me for many years. But it can also be numbing and deadening and lead to all sorts of excesses of food and activity, just to break up the monotony of daily life.

Now, one caveat — in order to break out of routine and still live my life to the best of my ability, I need to replace it with structure. Routine and structure are somewhat similar, but structure really makes lack of routine possible. I don’t know about you, but I have a lot I need/want to get done on a regular basis, so having a structure — lists and priorities and discipline — lets me get away from the whole routine thing and shake things up.

In a way, structure is the opposite of routine. It’s a framework you can use in your everyday life to get things done, without needing to do everything a rote way. Routine makes it possible to do things (hopefully well) without thinking about them. And that in itself has its benefits — there’s a whole school of thinking that centers around having routines and rituals in your life, in order to make those regular boring old activities into automatic reflexes, and save your mental energy and attention for the really important things. But routine doesn’t have to rule every single thing you do — and if it does, then you’re in trouble. At least, that’s how it is with me.

It’s all about balance. Here I come back to that, yet again. It’s about having a good understanding not only of what you’re doing, but why you’re doing it, and then finding the best way to do it, period. It’s different for everyone, of course, but for me, I have to steer clear of the “zone” a lot more than I have in the past, and keep things fresher and more dynamic. Now that I know how to relax and rest, and I know how good it really feels to do that, I don’t have to rely on the zone the way I used to. I don’t need that same level of soothing, that same level of avoidance. I can just live my life and get on with it.

And so I shall.

Onward.

More cleanup, more progress

So, now that I picked up momentum with this hard drive cleanup business, I went ahead and moved a bunch of old stuff off my “regular” machine, to free up space for other things. Feels pretty good. A lot of the things I moved onto my portable hard drive were fascinations from years gone by that are no longer of any interest to me.

It sounds strange to hear myself saying that, but it’s true. Once upon a time, much of those topics absolutely fascinated me — held me in rapt attention. History… mythology… fiction… Now, I just don’t have any interest in them. They’re mildly intriguing, but they’re nowhere near as vital to me as they once were.

I think part of the reason is just getting older and growing up. The rest of it, I believe, is because ever since I figured out that my stress levels were self-perpetuating, and being under constant duress due to unrecognized environmental sensitivities, having my balance all out of whack, and having such a hard time each day, just getting by… ever since I figured that out and started to take steps to remedy things, I’ve had less and less need to escape into those worlds and entertain/distract myself with those activities. I’ve needed far less “soothing” activity to keep myself sane, ever since I figured out how to: A) listen to people, B) talk to people, C) relax, D) get myself feeling good even under not-so-great conditions, and E) just let it all go.

Before I knew how to do any of this, I was on constant edge, my sensitivities were off the charts, I had trouble staying upright, I was a bundle of nerves, I was constantly on edge over something, and I led a very, very, very controlled life, surrounded by people like me, who had issues of their own and couldn’t come to terms with them, and so — like me — were fascinated with all sorts of esoteric things, which kept them intrigued, entertained, and soothed.

Holy smokes, is my life different now.

And as I look around my home office, I see a  whole lot of books that have no appeal to me anymore. They are familiar, being in their usual spots on the shelves, but I have no interest in picking any of them up and reading them. Of course, the fact that reading is now more of a chore for me than an enjoyable pastime, probably has something to do with it, but even if I could read them all easily , I don’t think I’d have much interest. I’m too busy living.

Yeah, my life is quite different. And in a couple of months, when I am away from this god-awful job and getting on with my life (hopefully closer to home – that’s the plan), I intend to go through this office and turn it into a place I recognize now as some place I would choose to be. I really have to get rid of a lot of these books — I can give them away, I suppose, assuming that they don’t have sentimental value for me. I can also box them up and stash them somewhere. I also need to get rid of a lot of “supplies” I’ve been hoarding (no, not *that* kind of reality-t.v. hoarding), which I have not used in years, and probably never will.

Anyway, that’s a few months off. In the meantime, I just need to keep on keepin’ on, the way I have been, not make any more of a mess than I already have, and keep focused on what matters to me right now.

Because that’s changing. For the better.

 

I haven’t checked out a library book in weeks

Source: Freefoto.com

This is real progress for me. It shows that my anxiety level is dropping off markedly, and I am better able to manage my impulsiveness.

When I am in bad shape, one of the first things I do to take the edge off my ragged- ness is go to the library, wander through the stacks, and walk away with am armload of books, all of which I have every intention of reading cover-to-cover. And that rarely, if ever, happens. Which leaves me feeling worse afterwards.

All those ideas and words lost… It’s sad. And I chafe at the lack of time and the way fatigue gets the best of me before I can dig into the good stuff of a nice sturdy book.

Oh, well. I’m alive. That’s something. And I’m comfortable in my own skin, which is a novelty for me. All new. This I can enjoy — so much so, that I don’t miss the books.

At least not as keenly as I used to.