Dear Internet,

I was gifted with a year long subscription to Headspace, a site that teaches you guided meditation in easy, bit sized chunks. In true Lisa fashion, I’m having panic attacks left and right during and after the exercises which sets off a whole slew of everything elses.

That surprised me. Aren’t you supposed to feel whole and unconflicted while doing your meditation and not a hot fucking mess? The answer is no: This is apparently a normal part of the process, as is sadness.

When I posted my experiences on Facebook, there were numerous comments from others that had similar feelings when practicing; hearing I was not alone was comforting. There are times when my own feelings seem to overrule so much of who I am, it is almost incomprehensible others may feel the same way or could fathom where these feelings themselves. Hearing related stories is helpful in addition to being comforting as it indicates no matter how much my brain tells me otherwise, I am not so alone in the world.

That is often very important bit of knowledge that I need to remember: I am not so alone in the world.

The big question Headspace asks is what do you intend to get out of the practice? I’ve been gnawing at this for the last five days as I’ve been working through my foundation pack and I realized the first thing I came up with was: I expected instant gratification and for all the emotional pain to just go away (which explains since I’m not getting instant gratification, I’m going into panic mode when I begin my session). That answer was not the direction I wanted to go in, so it helped for me to actual vocalize what and why I was thinking these thoughts so I can begin to formulate a healthier plan.

I’ve been in such an emotional free fall these last few months which has been amplified by the lack of a solid foundation that should have existed before making any big moves. I know people have got me, but I need to have myself and more often than not, I don’t.

While I find myself acting impulsively at times, mainly with money, I tend to catch myself before I’m entirely stupid. My thoughts are often racing. My verbal word retrieval, which is usually an indicator of how bad the racing thoughts are occurring, is fairly awful on most days. I often find myself attempting to panic on things that I cannot control, no matter how minute or out of my control they are or how ridiculous it would be to panic over that thing. Let’s say I need to do something in the next week. I’ll start the panic process on anything else related to that thing even if that thing is as benign on sorting items out to donate to the local Goodwill.

I have forgotten me in all of this. I have forgotten self-care.

Knowing that this feeling of panic is part of the process, that it is normal to feel this way, takes a bit of the sting out of the attack when it happens. While I’m still panicking during and after practicing, I know where the root of some of the panic comes from. I know that by bringing the focus back to the body more and less on attempting to follow my herringbone mind is totally okay and will get better with practice.

Headspace used the analogy sitting on the side of the road watching the cars go by, something I found I don’t really do at all. Often I’m so busy wanting TO BE the car I forget that I can just let the cars go by and not having to actually interact with them. Working on the meditation allows me to really see that sometimes these thoughts are really just that: thoughts and not concrete methods of decision making.

This was this week’s lesson learned: it’s okay to worry or have a panic thought, this is normal part of all the changes I’m going through. It’s okay to want to always begin with building your own foundation. Thus, for now, that’s what I want to get out of Headspace is the ability to make more mindful decisions, recognize thoughts are just thoughts, and to remind myself to be present in this world while building a solid foundation for myself as I do so.


notes for cabinet particulier, part iii: sorting the research

View from the back deck
View from the back deck

Dear Internet,

As planned, I got up early and headed into Traverse City to get Jeeves’ tires attended to. I called the local BMW dealership and was told, despite confirmation from MINI Grand Rapids and the TC BMW receptionist, they do NOT service MINIs. His suggestion? Take my car to MINI Grand Rapids. When I pointed out a 160 mile trek on possibly bad tires was not a wise move, he suggested I head to Discount Tire (as I had originally was leaning towards) and also gave me the name of a local TC shop that specialized in MINIs and other foreign cars.

Once you get off of M-72 and start heading into Cedar and then further on to Throbbing Cabin is some of the best driving roads around, barring M-22 of course. I love this part of the drive when we come up here as this is the kind of roads where Jeeves thrives and begs to be driven on. There is a stretch of about five miles after you leave Cedar that is hairpin straight and goes up some minor hills; when you hit the apex of each hill, you can see Lake Michigan beckoning in the distance.

Uncertain to the status of the my tires, I drove ever so slowly down to TC and who am I kidding here? I was probably white knuckling it the entire way, waiting for the supposedly bad tire to just fall off and planning in my head how I was going to handle each and every bad scenario that landed in my brain.

Discount Tire was busy for 10AM on a Wednesday morning — me and all the OAPs hanging out getting our tires issues sorted. The tires are fine and the TPMS is all normalized (again). Rationally, I knew this was going to be true, but anxiety eats away at all rationality. I spent time on the deck last night staring at Jeeves as if he was a monster because I could not stop thinking of worse case scenarios of having massive car issue 160 miles from home. THIS! Despite having insurance, an incredible maintenance and warranty plan, tow truck numbers programmed in my phone, and local numbers (now) for car repair, I could not let it go until the nice man at Discount Tire told me everything was going to be fine.

I got back to the cabin several hours later than intended as I ran a few errands since I was out and about. After having lunch, I started getting settled into doing research for the book around 4PM and here it is four hours later and fuck man, I am overwhelmed.


On Monday night I started culling all the random tidbits I had been collecting for the last 18 months and began to import them into Scrivener. I broke each thing down to its own category for easier sorting and updated the research page for the project in the process.

Today’s work was much of the same as I found more locales where I had stored bits and bobs. I think in my head I always fancied myself to keep things neat and simple, but apparently I keep trying to find the best product for everything, test it out, and ultimately forget it and all the content I stored there. Today the culprit was Pinboard, which while it seems to prove useful for many, I need visualization to organize.

(Still sitting on Pinboard  is a good chunk of research I found for my viking and medieval lady boners which still needs to be imported over to their respective Scrivener projects. Marginalia for the win!)

Granted Scrivener has a learning curve, but once you get in the groove it starts to really make sense. Best thing I’ve ever done? Put all my notes, ideas, and everything into a single Scrivener project.


I’ve also been reading contemporary stories while I’m up here based in the Edwardian era – of which there is surprisingly not many.  I suspected with the rise of Downton Abbey that there would have been a huge influx of lit based in the Edwardian era, but no, there really isn’t. I know of less than half a dozen mystery series based in that era and handful of fiction books written in the last five years but that’s shockingly about it. Since I’m having a hard time finding contemporary books of that era, I’m going to create a bibliography over on my author site for read alikes. Because librarian, yolo.

I’m also collecting titles of works written in the era to read to get a better sense of the period. so watch it Lawrence, Forster, Galsworthy, and the whole lot of you. I am on to you. And lucky me, most of their work is available in the open domain.

(I finally finished Maugham’s Cakes & Ale, though written in 1930 much of the book takes place in the Edwardian era. Holy fuck, do I hate this book. It was just so awful for a large list of reasons I will be discussing later.)

Additionally, there is only a handful of sites dedicated to the Edwardian era and some of them are dubious in nature while others tuck that period in as very-late Victorian without giving the period its proper due. I was distressed to find that one of the sites that I had considered, due to the breadth of research and writing, to be a fabulous resource was passing on debunked knowledge as fact.

Case in point: I am supremely disappointed to discover Edwardian women did NOT pierce their nipples to make them more pert. This is repeated over and over again in many legitimate sites but apparently there is no reference other than to a correspondence page in the back of a publication from 1899 that was more of fetishism than actual fact.

I have a draft started for a blog post quaintly entitled, Who the fuck are the Edwardians and why should we care?, which I hope to write tomorrow. Because we should care, dammit.

Legit writer tools.

The mosquitos are eating me alive out here and it grows late. My treat for getting work done will be a vegan white russian, dinner, and a not so terrible book.


This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2012, 2010, 1998

daily walk: pause

Dear Internet,

Today is my last day at MPOW and this morning instead of doing my new usual morning mile, I lolled in bed slapping the snooze button until I had to get up.

It would be irony to be late on the my last day of work.

Truth be told, it was not overt laziness that prevented me from getting up but downright sleepiness and exhaustion. Starting with Sunday night, this week has been torture for sleep. I could not sleep until 6AM Monday morning and then ended up sleeping for four hours which threw Monday off like woah. Monday night we gutted like pigs in a trough over pizza and I took a Benadryl hoping it would knock me out early so I could actually get some sleep.

That failed as four hours later I took a Klonopin to finally knock me out.

Despite the drugs, Monday’s night’s rest was short which coupled with getting up early on Tuesday to walk, and the same pattern repeating itself on Tuesday meant I was averaging about 4-5 hours of sleep each night.

After dinner on Wednesday, I decided to put my feet up and do some web work with Orphan Black on in the background. TheHusband was off playing a video game, so he was relaxing on his own. I was feeling fairly peaceful as I worked until I got hit with rapid heart beat, which is my usual physical manifestation of anxiety.

A panic attack while watching Orphan Black? Really? Fuck this.

So obviously I took a Klonopin.

Hearts and guts are treacherous souls.

An absolute known, for me, on taking Klonopin on consecutive days is that I feel sluggish and even more tired the more I take it, even though the shelf-life is not long. Klonopin is great when I need to put a rampaging panic attack in its place, but it can never be more than that thought on occasion it has been.

So you will forgive me, I hope, that today’s walk was not done. After all, tomorrow is another day.


This Day in Lisa-Universe: