What... me worry?
There is always some new piece of data that gets attention. The recent wildfires are a great indication of the ongoing abnormalcy of our global climate system, and recently there was discussion of this years very early and very anomalous fire-radiative power (FRP) curve, which has reached and exceeded previous peaks many months in advance. There is a tweet, with a visualization, and it looks rather scary, it's archived here.
Meanwhile, in other news there's buzz about the present El Niño climate pattern we find ourselves in and the terrifyingly high ocean temperatures. The Climate Change institute has some scary looking data visualized here.
What am I going to do about it, worry?
Right now, I'm going to talk about our week, which has been super busy and I couldn't possibly stop to consider the implications of runaway cliamte change right now.
As mentioned in last week's post, we went to see the seminal film: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and found it to be an amazing movie. It has come up repeatedly, I've thought about the movie many times and I really cannot wait until I get to watch it again.
In other news about Sunday, we, especially Lou, did some rearranging and updating our space this week and it all started on Sunday. We moved my desk upstairs as I have decided that I am no longer interested of spending my time alone in the basement dungeon and would instead prefer to be upstairs in the brightness of the living among the hustle and bustle of my family as they go about their days. Given the new space it got me thinking about my ongoing desire to invest in some of the latest hardware and build (or buy) a new desktop computer.
We decided to update our living room space to be more like a co-working space with a few workspaces and flexible seating that can be both communal (e.g. games, eating, and collaboration) and theatrical for (e.g. movies and tv, video games). To accomplish this we've decided to donate our old futon (since we now have a "guest room") to someone who can use it and invest in smaller loveseats and an additional guest chair. On top the seating, which does include my rolling chair, we found this sort of "right-sized" 48" square 4-legged table that is super simple and very functional for various activities (see the previous lists). Finally, Lou added an additional on the open wall.
Monday to Wednesday
Monday we had dinner with Moira (who, in addition to seeing her brother returned, was able to take care of their laundry 😅 It was a nice little visit. Time flies! 😵
We may, or may not, have played some Fortnite. Maybe on Tuesday as well
Working from the living room does seem to have been a largely positive improvement for me. There are times where I might need or want a bit more privacy, and I think we're going to make that work, but for now
On Tuesday, a former President of the United States was indicted on 37 charges related to handling classified information. He ultimately used it as a campaign stop on his quest to again ascend the to presidency.
And the world burns.
We had a few other events, of course. Checked some TODOs off our lists. Assembled some new furniture and cared for our high maintenance puppy. Generally, we lived our vibrant and dynamic lives.
Wednesday (or: Catching the Mariners Game)
Wednesday, after work, we took the ferry across the sound to Seattle to take in a Mariners game at T-Mobile Park. I keep wanting to type Target Field when thinking of it. They do have a variety of similarities, of course, but it's still an absurd bit of "muscle memory", if you will.
The trip was, unlike our previous sojourn to T-Mobile Park back in April, this time we had Ozz and Mikey, neither of whom have attended a professional sporting even since they were little and went to, of course, Target Field to see the Twins.
Our seats, in section 123, were wonderful. We got an excellent view of the action. The action, unfortunately, wasn't great. And while they'd one the first two games of the series against the Marlins 8-1 and then 9-3, they ultimately lost this match 4-1. Despite the poor showing from a couple of teams that both just seemed a little tired at the end of a long series. I could be wrong, of course, but the energy was definitely different than when we watched them play the opening series against the Angels.
But what do I know from the bases balls?
I do know from a good time, however, and we had that. We paid dearly for it, but I think it was, broadly speaking, worth it in the end.
Treat yo' self, as they say
The family had a lovely time, Ozz is already begging to go back, Mikey seemed to enjoy it (it can be hard to read the enthusiasm of a 16 year old), and Lou and I both had a great time! It was fun family experience, and one that we'll have to replicate as soon as feasible. Maybe next time we'll do a Kraken game
Thursday was the day that it became clear how much I needed a Thursday hike.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get out and I'm still feeling the effects. I've certainly managed to touch grass, a bit, but I've definitely not had the experience that I need to really achieve that necessary bit of mindfulness that I normally achieve with at least a few miles in the woods every week.
Sure, I've managed to get plenty of time outside, and I've done my best with that time as well. But I'm feeling that missing hike, friend.
My journal this week has definitely had a few mentions of feeling overwhelmed and I've done some reflection on that. I've been able to use my tools, been able to self regulate, and have managed to keep myself pretty level all things considered.
The list of things to get done is long, and seemingly getting longer, never shorter. This is, I know, the human condition, and we all feel this to at least some extent.
To put into perspective I decided to make a list of the TODOs that were on my mind. It was a helpful exercise.
I highly recommend it when you're feeling overwhelmed by TODOs
It can be as simple as just jotting down a few things and picking the most important items and putting focus on getting them done. Or you can try something more involved.
A personal favorite is the Urgent vs. Important matrix (aka The Eisenhower Matrix), which I've talked about and used previously, that simply puts things into perspective.
|Important, Urgent: Do||Important, Not Urgent: Plan|
|Not Important, Delegate||Not Important, Not Urgent: Eliminate|
YMMV, of course, and yes, it's easier said than done.
Friday was another busy day.
It was Ozz's last day of school!
It was kind of nice to see that they had good grades across the board and praise from their teachers!
They're super excited about their Summer vacation, as you might expect, and it's hard for me to believe they're now moving on the 7th grade!
Friday was also our first family game night! Tris game over and we played a couple rounds of Sleeping Queens 2, which had a huge nostalgia factor as the original Sleeping Queens was a family favorite, like Pig Pile. I would say that, ultimately, I think that the original game might be superior, but this new one definitely plays pretty well.
We also played a couple rounds of Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza which is an absolutely amazing game that I enjoyed a great deal despite a few minor hand-slapping related injuries I suffered in the process. Ozz also seemed to love it quite a bit more than the typical card geam.
We had a lovely time playing games as a family and catching up
Lou worked on some little crochet projects like positive potatoes and worry worms to share with folks for the table she was working at the freedom festival at Evergreen Rotary Park after the People's March to talk about some important topics like community :)
That brings us to:
Today was a busy day with the events happening at the park in honor of Juneteenth.
It's wonderful Juneteenth is finally recognized as a federal holiday. I remember the Juneteenth celebrations in the community beginning when I was a kid in Minneapolis. I was actually a little surprised when I would later learn that Juneteenth wasn't as widely celebrated as I'd thought
It was another great opportunity, as well, to socialize Ollie a little. These local community events are a great way to talk to folks in the community-
-on behalf of my adorable dog.
I did, however, receive distressing call from my father.
It was nice to hear from him, but he's been undergoing cancer treatment and today he told me that they've discontinued chemotherapy after discovering new growths.
This wasn't specifically what was distressing, nor was his is disclosure of what he was told is a genetic component that suggests that my children and I should all be checked early.
What threw me off was his lucidity.
He was aware of all of my biological children.
What threw me off was, as it often does, the challenge of facing children trauma whenever I interact with the man.
I love him, and I appreciate that he largely did try to be a good father. At times
This left me feeling a bit extra disregulated today
It's a good thing, though, that I had taken the time yesterday to talk to Michael and Ozz about the super power that is simply focusing on your breathing.
What an amazing thing it is to have something your body does on its own, all the time: breathing, and to be able to take control. You can flip your system from autobreathing mode to focused breathing mode.
Better is that you get to observe your parasympathetic nervous system "in action"
- Inhalation: When you inhale, the pressure in the chest decreases as the chest cavity expands. This decrease in pressure tends to slightly reduce the return of blood to the heart. During inhalation, the parasympathetic influence is somewhat reduced, allowing a subtle increase in heart rate. This is not a direct action of the parasympathetic nervous system but rather a relative decrease in its influence.
- Exhalation: When you exhale, the pressure in the chest increases as the chest cavity reduces in size. This increase in pressure tends to slightly increase the return of blood to the heart. During exhalation, the parasympathetic nervous system, through the vagus nerve, increases its influence, causing the heart rate to decrease.
This is respiratory sinus arrhythmia
It is good.
What is my conclusion for this week?
As we stand at the crossroads of the world’s events and our personal lives, it's evident that there's a whirlwind of emotions and happenings. From the wildfires and climate change reports that spark a call for urgency to the personal joy of watching a movie and redesigning a living space, life is a tapestry woven with diverse threads. But amidst this mosaic, what really stands out is the interwoven essence of family, community, and a deep sense of self-awareness.
Juneteenth reminded us of the importance of community, reflection, and education. As the world around us evolves and sometimes appears to be burning both metaphorically and literally, community events and education serve as anchors to keep us grounded. They remind us that there's more to life than just our microcosm; there's a collective history and shared responsibility that we're part of.
Our personal lives are equally significant, often marked by simple pleasures such as watching movies or playing games, and sometimes by the shadow of pain or worry. The unexpected news from a family member, or the untangling of emotions tied to the past, remind us that human experiences are complex.
In this complexity, however, lies the opportunity for growth and finding stability. The mere act of breathing, which is so fundamentally a part of our existence, can be a tool for gaining control amidst chaos. As we breathe in and out, we’re not just participating in a biological process; we’re regulating our very being. The parasympathetic nervous system exemplifies that sometimes the most profound truths lie in the simplest acts.
So, as we close the chapter of this week, let's embrace the full range of our human experience. Let’s cherish the simple moments, engage with our communities, educate ourselves about the world, and remember that our breath is a tether to inner calm.
In an ever-evolving world, taking a moment to breathe can be the most revolutionary act of all.