Engage

What is your favorite holiday? I think mine is Halloween. I hope you had a great one, full of spooks and treats. I have been feeling a little slow and dreary lately, and have definitely been dragging my feet here on the blog, with a pitiful 8 posts for the month of October! Thanks for sticking with me. I love this page, and want to keep building the momentum we’ve gained since its origin in March.

October was themed “discovery.” My words on the month were,

“October brings the first brisk bites of fall weather, with the accompanying sense of opportunity. It is a time of year that people consume all sorts of flavors we neglect the rest of the year: apple, pumpkin, nutmeg, mace, squash! The same goes for color and texture. The other day I bought goldenrod high heels and a royal blue velvet clutch. Granted, the purchases were for a specific wedding outfit, but the color and texture were so unlike me! I think I caught a little bit of this autumn influence.”

Ways I was an explorer in my own world:

-I did in fact wear those goldenrod heels and royal blue velvet clutch to the wedding. It was quite a statement. People were referring to me as “the girl in yellow shoes.”

-I tried something very intimidating and started teaching my middle school students how to play guitar. I also taught my intermediate students a Halloween dance that they performed today. And all of it was… okay. It’s been going well. So trying new things pays off.

-I have made a new habit shift and am not snacking incessantly every night. Tip for others trying to limit their snacks: turn the tv off. Find something else to do. I am playing music while I work tonight, and it provides comfort and company without encouraging me to check out for an hour. Rather, I feel more engaged.

-As frustrating as it has been, I have put a hold on personal spending so that I can provide health care for myself and my cat (who is having a hard time lately), so that I can kill my leftover summer debt, and so that I can by that stock I want and start an money market account. Most difficult, I am committing to a summer job, which will turn my normally blissful hot summer days into… a job.

As I look ahead to November, I am thinking of overused words like “self-care” and “presence.” Not that these aren’t important, but it feels like everyone is talking about it and no one is doing it? What do those things even mean? There is a spa down the street from my climbing gym, but the money I would spend there could buy me two personal training sessions. Is the gym my self care? I am so tired after climbing late at night. Should I be relaxing at home instead? But does that really make me feel better??

Those words are too vague to use as my theme, because I need clear direction in these long and dark months. So, my mantra for the month, both here and guiding my everyday practices, will be engage. I strive to be engaged in each task I commit to, and engaged in my life. At work, in my exercises, while I make music, with my partner, with my family. There are a lot of fun and loving ways to connect that I strive to practice this November.

Happy Halloween!
-K

 

The October Roundup:
Wake Me Up When September Ends?
Discovery
Reflections and Intentions
Fall Outfits in Three Moods
Four Things
Weekend Update
The Mysteries and Thrillers My Friends Recommend
The Day After Friday the 13th

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Discovery

I really enjoy the personal challenge that comes with each new theme. September was all about resiliency, which translated for me as a strength and firmness. I am excited to learn and evoke more playfulness with October’s theme: Discovery.

October brings the first brisk bites of fall weather, with the accompanying sense of opportunity. It is a time of year that people consume all sorts of flavors we neglect the rest of the year: apple, pumpkin, nutmeg, mace, squash! The same goes for color and texture. The other day I bought goldenrod high heels and a royal blue velvet clutch. Granted, the purchases were for a specific wedding outfit, but the color and texture were so unlike me! I think I caught a little bit of this autumn influence.

October brings instant thoughts of festivals and Halloween. A month of celebration and adventure, people from all walks of life partake in a bit of blatant paganism. Expect a post on the vital relationship between women and their personal witchiness. It’s coming.

My personal resolutions for discovery including learning something new, trying on a new viewpoint or lifestyle, and trying something I think I don’t like (swimming, pickles, etc.).

Expect invigorating challenges, new things, whimsical stories, and the expected spookiness on the blog this October.

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Wake Me Up When September Ends?

I feel like I sort of blacked out during the month of September. Everything started out fine, and is still fine really, but I lost my focus. I stayed busy and did what I needed to do, but this blog definitely fell back in priority.

Kudos to your readership, though, because we maintained our following with only 11 posts in the month. I am working to maintain some regularity with posts throughout October. I have a lot of great drafts in the works and hope to publish them in the coming weeks. Thank you for sticking with me!

September’s theme was resiliency. Here were some of my early September thoughts on the topic.

I can be resilient.

Resilience requires constance. A commitment to one way- the harder way, usually. I commit to a job that makes me weary but brings the weary up. I commit to food I need even if it’s not the food that I want. I commit to moving when all I want to do is be still.

I think that is how to be resilient. Commit to a few hard things.

I am happy to say that, now in October, I did these things. I started some ass-kicking weight training, I went outdoor rock climbing, my boyfriend and I kayaked through downtown Chicago. Oh, and I lost 10 pounds and counting. It’s been a strengthening month.

Here is a collection of posts from this month on the theme of resilience:
Strategies for Resilience
Learning to Ride a Bike
5 Rules for Your Side Hustle
Game Changing Workout Gear
On Female Friendship
What I Ate in 10 Days

Thanks for sticking with me!

Related: The Best of August on The Wonder Of

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The Best of August on The Wonder Of

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On travel

Backpacking in Banff National Park

Lake Agnes Teahouse Hike

Hiking in Jasper National Park

Vacations: Good, Bad, and Beautiful

In the City

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Entertainment

Book Lists

Unexpected Party Playlist

5 Podcasts to Listen to on Your Roadtrip (Or Right Now!)

Books I Read This Summer

Every Movie I Watched this Summer

I’ve Never Played Poker Before

Ten Best Album Covers of Summer 2017

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Outer Space

Space is my Jam

Eclipse Experiences in 5 Regions

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Professionals Series

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Applying for Jobs

10 Ways to Get Ahead and Get the Job

Dress for Success: The Professional

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Reflection

On Ritual

Changing Mindset

True Crime

Weekend Getaway

Resiliency

 

 

Changing Mindset

I want to change my circumstances. The people who love me insist that, while my circumstances are not ideal, they are bearable. They say I need to change my mindset.

How does a person change their mindset? A way of thinking feels like something you acquire and can barely and gradually adjust, like posture or breathing. You carry yourself in one way, behave this way always, and never notice it. And you notice it so rarely you can hardly change it.

I feel angry and anxious when I think about the circumstance I want to change. I also feel, in small parts, grateful to be self-sufficient. Proud to be independent. Loving towards the people I care for. In small parts.

So perhaps the way to change the mindset is to make those small parts big parts. Grateful to be self-sufficient. Self-sufficient enough to buy something I really don’t need, but really would like. Proud to be independent. Free to take a trip over the weekend, just because. Loving towards the people I care for. I can reward those people, thank them, care for them in more loving ways. If I make the small parts big parts, maybe the big parts (anger, anxiety) will become small parts.

Maybe not. Maybe I will bribe myself with presents and distract myself with outings to get through this. That is not changing my mindset, that is enduring. But I already know that I can endure.

So, maybe if the small parts are big parts, then the big parts will be small parts, and I will be happy again. Maybe I can change my mindset and accept my circumstance.

 

Mid-Week Roundup

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5 tried and true morning routines of successful people, including Jennifer Anniston and Barack Obama.

 

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It’s back-to-school season, or career change month: here are 18 beautiful laptop cases and covers to change things up.

 

What I’m reading right now.

 

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I know what I’m having for lunch today.

 

Are you ready to watch the eclipse next week?

 

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Obama’s response to Charlottesville, a quote from Nelson Mandela, is now the most favorited tweet ever.

On Ritual

Rituals We Build

We build a ritual of evening tea, or easier, evening drink;
Rituals of candles, or worse, smoke.
Nightly rites of meditation, of running, or more accurately: of eating, of sitting.

Breaking a pattern of consumption for a practice of reflection, production.
Importantly: My Rituals are My Own.

Halting a custom of 9 to 5 misery and 5 till 9 dread
And building a new habit of morning gratitude and a nighttime celebration of joy.

Once I knew a ritual of music and laughter.
I will know that ritual again.

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5 Podcasts to Listen to on Your Roadtrip (Or Right Now!)

As I’ve mentioned before, I have been traveling all summer. These last few weeks have been spent in the car, which means we’ve been listening to a lot of music and a LOT of podcasts. I am sharing some of our favorite podcasts with you here.

Science is Cool
Radiolab always has a fresh take on innovative, or sometimes just plain weird, science and technology. This episode is about a meat lover who is forced to stop eating red meat because of a freak accident… one that could happen to any of us!

Learn from People Around You
This American Life looks at people and the inner-workings of our everyday world. This episode is tender when you least expect it, and highlights the importance of platonic and cross-generational friendships.

True Life Crime
Criminal is about crime and criminal activities, but approaches the criminals in the situation as people. There are surprising episodes that show people challenging the law of the time to do what they feel is intrinsically right. One episode that blew my mind was this one, about lifelong identity fraud and the least-likely suspect.

Scary Stories
Lore is a podcast about folklore and myth that lives on and continues to scare. This episode about the Chicago murder house hits close to home… it’s literally a 15 minute drive from my apartment! Yikes!

Everybody Loves Food
Gastropod is so cool. Every episode looks at a different food element through the lenses of science, history, and culture. I think just about everyone can get behind this episode about the benefits and long history of caffeine.

 

 

Check out this unexpected party playlist and my to-do list for the final days of summer!

Tanzanian Dreams

I woke up from a dream about a dream I’d had before,
Where I’d fly out to Africa to visit the Tanzanian shore,
I don’t remember buying the flight, but I know I reserved our stays,
In Tanzania, in Africa, for twelve or thirteen days.

I need to call my sister now, did I even tell her we’re going?
Waking in the night, memories quickly slowing,
I dreamt I bought these tickets, now I dreamt we must soon pack,
We need to check in for the flight in order to make it back.

In my first dream, I remember, rivers and forests at night,
My geographical knowledge is limited, but somehow I got Tanzania right.
Three great lakes of Africa here, with abundant greenery,
With beaches and plains and east African rains, Tanzania has distinctive scenery.

I imagine there are zebras and giraffes, wildebeests on the go,
Sipping the waters of Lake Victoria, or surrounding the peaks of Kilimanjaro.
When we visit Tanzania again: in my dreams, in my sleep, at night;
I’ll be sure to call my sister first, and tell her about the flight.

In the City

In the city you can get away with
Anything.

If you need to
Lie down
In the city, it’s okay; go ahead.

“Hey asshole, it’s an emergency!”
“I can’t see past the construction. Does she need help?”
“Where are the police?”
They bond by uniting against the jerk in a hurry

Because you’re in the city, we move fast enough, already.
What could be more urgent than being in the city? You’re here.
Slow down already.