Monthly Archives: April 2018

why am I not more indestructible?

I’m back in Brooklyn, working from home today.  I am, however, still mentally back in Canada, and being extra Victorian by drinking Royal Wedding Tea out of my Hudson’s Bay Company mug:


I’ll have a cup of colonial inferiority complex served in some commercialized imperialism, please.

HBC related apologies aside (including apologies for Frontier), it always makes me both sad to leave my family and my homeland, and happy and excited to be back in Brooklyn.  I love Brooklyn so much, and I’m always so glad to get back to it, but I also regret that I’m not able to more spontaneously and regularly spend time with my people.

Also, this weekend’s travel did set me back more than I expected.  I was doctor cleared to travel, so I assume I just need a day at home with my foot up and a bag of TJ’s Frozen Spinach over the injury zone.  Still, this morning, I got up and realized it hurt more to walk than it has since last Wednesday…and my foot has bloated like it went on a salt binge when I wasn’t looking:

That’s yesterday on the left, today on the right.  The angles are different but my foot definitely looks puffier.  The bruising is down a bit though and it’s more…foot colored overall, but I keep underestimating how difficult this injury is going to be, and overestimating my general indestructiveness.  I am generally sturdy as hell, having inherited my father’s rugby player frame, and I’m tough to physically break as a result.  Having an injury that is taking more than a week to heal is killing me psychologically because I keep assuming I’m going to be better each day when I wake up, and then putting my foot on the floor, yowling in pain, crying in frustration, and generally refusing to accept reality.

I was totally despairing earlier today and then I put on a Spotify mix and perked up.  It’s actually incredible the psychological benefits that a good playlist has:

An hour of music and bullet journal work later and I was actually reasonably cheerful and ready to take on my to-do list.  These are the kind of psychological tools I find useful.  And with my mind in a better state, and my task list in order, I was able to find some additional perspective.  It’s going to require patience to get past this injury. I know, this shouldn’t be a revelation, but I always feel like I just don’t have time, a constant refrain in my head, my own Jesse-Spano-on-caffeine-pills mentality I have to breathe and fight back with actual logic.

The whole situation sucks.  I can be grateful that it’s only a sprain and not a fracture; I can be grateful that this isn’t a torn ligament or worse.  I can be grateful that I don’t have it nearly as bad as, say, my mother, who literally shattered the bones in her lower leg and still can’t put weight on it after almost three months.  Compared to that, complaining about my moderate to severely sprained ankle is kind of being a whiny bitch.  Even with context though, it’s difficult to have this injury right now, when I want to be outside, when I was making progress with fitness, when I was looking forward so much to spring.


an attitude of gratitude

I have so much to be grateful for today, not least of which are these guys:


I’m actually in Toronto right now so I have a lot to be grateful for.  My family are here.  My sister has made a beautiful home away from home for us, literally considering my family’s comfort and wellbeing in building her own family’s house.  We’re grateful to be made to feel so at loved & at home here every time we visit.

I’m also here to visit and cheer up my mother, who has been trapped inside with hew own injury, a broken lower leg, since February.  I’m grateful to have my mother still with us, and grateful to have a strong bond with her.  My sister and I are both close with our mom, another relationship we’re lucky to have.

I’m also grateful for the family I have here to visit: my sister and I have a good relationship as adults, and I adore her daughters, my nieces, who are like little sisters to Ben (grateful for that, too).  They’re beautiful, brilliant, strong, free creatures, each of whom displays emotions and intelligence in equally high amounts.  My brother-in-law is a wonderful guy who is just fun to hang out with, as well as a great husband and father.  My sister has a beautiful family, inside and out, and I’m so grateful to be only two hours away.

I’m listing out all this gratitude right now because it’s just hard to feel grateful for all these blessings when my foot looks like it lost a bar fight to someone a lot meaner:


From last night: my foot looks like a bloated drunk who got severely beaten up

I’m really trying for gratitude here, in the form of, “I’m grateful I’ve never had an injury worse than this”, but it hurts today after all the activity and exertion yesterday and I can’t go down stairs properly and anything that isn’t being trapped in bed with my foot up causes the fluids to rush back in a very painful way.

Still, the practice of gratitude does make me feel slightly better.  Over the past year, I started using the Best SELF Journal: a daily entry in which I start and finish my day by listing 3 things I’m grateful for.  Sounds like something out of an archived Well and Good article (“The Buzzy Reason These wellness Gurus Start Their Day with Gratitude – And How You Can Too”).  It is, however, a legitimately proven tactic to improve mental wellbeing, so I have added it to my mental toolkit to deal with my depression.

Gratitude may not make up for missing out on physical activity, which is on the list of the Big Things That REALLY Help With Depression.  Walking or running outside are big needle movers for mental wellbeing.  It’s therefore extremely tempting not to be grateful for anything when I’m on Day 5 of hobbling about and don’t know how long this is going to take because I can run again without fear of messing my foot back up.  The challenge is pushing past that self-pity and finding ways to be grateful that are not depending on my physical status.


where is the nostalgia club for xennials?

I love going to decade specific nights at the Bell House.  It has a huge dance space in the concert/event “big room”, and at least one Saturday a month they through a decade specific dance party.  Usually this takes the form of Party Like It’s 1999, the 90s dance party, at which I can relive all the greatest dance hits that I didn’t like the first time they were popular, but at least now are laced with nostalgia!  (The DJ once played almost all of “Out of Time” one time in the first hour before the club filled up though so I can forgive him constantly trotting out “The Boy Is Mine”)

More recently, the Bell House has seen a rise in popularity for DJ Jane Elizabeth’s “Tainted Love” nights.  These are described as “building on a solid foundation of New Wave” but in reality, have turned out to be far more esoteric.  Here’s the playlist for the 4/21 edition that Paul and I went to:

When we walked in, my first reaction was that, unlike the 90s nights, I was on the younger side of the Tainted Love crowd.  At 90s nights, even though I graduated high school in the middle of the decade, the Millennial “baby boom” that started in 1983 outnumber those of us born earlier.  Therefore, the DJ plays more late 90s songs to appeal to the millennials nostalgia, instead of sticking to the good half of the decade.  We all know that the back half of the 90s sucked for music because it was all downhill after Kurt died.  (see also: shitty pop punk, rap-rock, overproduced R&B, boy bands, girl bands, etc).  This means that by 1am, I’m totally over the music that appeals to people who are only a couple years younger than I am and feel like yelling at them all to get off my lawn because they are kids with no taste in music, as if there’s a real generational divide there


My second reaction was that this was an audience looking for older mainstream 80s music.  I am nostalgic about the late 80s from having been a child, and nostalgic about dark 80s from being a goth.  But I am too young to have seen John Hughes movies the first time they came out.  Paul isn’t even old enough for that kind of nostalgia (1975), and neither of us have any nostalgia for Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” outside of Bootie.  The crowd around us was gleefully screaming along “JUST A SMALL TOWN GIRL, LIVIN’ IN A LONELY WORRRRRLD”, so at that moment we felt like we’d fallen into the wrong soundtrack.

Then DJ Jane Elizabeth put on “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” and i was placated.  First of all, see above on Early 90s nostalgia from childhood.  Second, BLACK MIRROR!  That’s literally the soundtrack to the only happy ending episode, which is about finding your True Love (SPOILER IN VIDEO)


The irony goes layers deep here, people: “Heaven Is A Place on Earth” is now a song associated with a show that correctly identified our culture’s desire to spend eternity in an artificially created nostalgic environment, and it was being played in an artificially created nostalgia environment that I just didn’t have to upload my brain into in order to access.  Also, I would like to spend eternity dancing my MY true love as well, but Paul and I both agree we would have to go to the evil club in town, which was playing Paul’s favorite band (the Pixies) and honestly, just looked like Bar Sinister (Why does the evil club always just look like Bar Sinister?  Honestly, most goths are HARMLESS)

Still, I’d kind of like a club night that skews to my age group.  Not those Nickelodeon watching kids that came after me, not the mainstream-80s nostalgia, but someplace that would hit people in the Xennial band.  It would run from the late 80s through the Britpop craze, and cut out the worst parts of the late 90s.  But because I fall in the 1977-1983 gap between the Xers and the Millenials, I don’t think my subset of people have the numbers to make it happen yet.  In the meantime, I’ll just have to lean on GenX nostalgia to placate me until I can either upload my brain into a 1996 environment for nostalgia therapy…or these millennials take their stupid Third Eye Blind and their stupider Blink 182 and all the other awful bands with numbers from the 90s and get off my lawn.







I sprained my ankle on Monday night:

April 23, 2018 at 11:37PM.jpg

I bounced off the curb outside my house, landed wrong, and immediately went down on the pavement.  You can see the scrape on the side of my foot where my rolling foot hit the rough gravel of the street fill material, directly above my ballooning ankle itself.

Obviously, I was on auto-pilot, focusing on getting to the car to help Paul unload groceries, while talking to my mother on my Bluetooth headphones.  So I suppose the lesson I’ve learned here is BE MINDFUL OF THE STUPID 3″ CURB.

After going down, landing on my side, and being grateful I didn’t roll into an oncoming car in the process, I just started yelling ANKLE ANKLE ANKLE while gasping for breath from the pain.  Paul helped me up, and then I hobbled, slowly, up the 16 stairs to my apartment.  I still had the presence of mind to grab a bag of frozen vegetables before  collapsing on the couch:


When Paul came back in, he brought me extra pillows and a bucket.  Why a bucket?  BECAUSE THE PAIN WAS SO BAD I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO THROW UP.  Thankfully, after elevating and icing the injury – and four Advil – it subsided a bit.

I then proceeded to throw any work I had planned to do out the metaphorical window and watched Netflix for two hours.  The Toys that Made Us was surprisingly distracting from the pain!

It was especially enjoyable because the women of Mattel were badass.  Recommend for anyone who has Netflix and was born in the 70s.  Certainly better researched than the Robot Chicken equivalent.

I woke up Tuesday to slightly less pain and the ability to hobble.  After posts from nurse friends on Facebook convinced me to get my ankle checked just in case, I managed to hobble down the stairs, outside to a car, and into my local doctor clinic.  The swelling was slightly better by then:


I had hoped that my local clinic doctor would look at my ankle, declare it a normal sprain, and send me on my way home again.  Instead, he agreed with my nurse friends that it could be a fracture or tear, and suggested I go for X-rays and a specialist diagnosis.  He then proceeded to kindly call four podiatrists before finding only one that had both imaging equipment on site and walk-in availability: a doctor at Weill Cornell on the Upper East Side.

From Fort Greene to the UES is a long way, but I managed it.  I hobbled down the subway stairs, clinging to the railing and side stepping one step at a time.  I took my two trains, taking full advantage of the mid-day space to sit down.  I took the elevator to street level at 63rd and Lex, and then flagged a taxi to get me to the medical facility.  That was where I realized, this wasn’t a clinic, it was New York Presbyterian, a HUGE facility I would have to hobble around for the next few hours.

It turned out to all be OK though.  My main fear wasn’t the pain itself, but rather, any damage I might be doing by hobbling around.  Pain I can handle, anxiety, I cannot.  I got my X-rays, saw the specialist, and got a great look inside my ankle on the ultrasound machine:


(Image courtesy of Anatomy Physiotherapy, this is not my actual ankle)

The doctor kindly explained what we were seeing: the bones, the ligaments, the tendons.  Ultimately, he found a small tear and told me that it was between a 1 and a 2 on a scale of 3 in ankle sprains.  No fractures, no tendon separating or anything weird, just a plain old sprain.  He prescribed me an anti-inflammatory and an AirCast:



And  now I’m thankful to have the opportunity to WFH for the rest of the week until I travel to Toronto on Friday.  I can walk a little better today than yesterday: I can put more weight on my right leg, and I can walk with my foot forward.  Yesterday, I walked with my foot to the side, dragging my right leg and keeping it straight in a way that allowed me to hobble through the streets of New York City without turning my ankle at all.  Today is much better already – even if it is still hard getting up, and I wish I had done more pistol squats before this happened

Image result for pistol squat

Had I done more of these, getting up off the couch would be a breeze!

Obviously, many lessons have been learned here, not the least of which is to be grateful that this should be healed within 1 – 2 weeks.  The doctor suggested doing single-leg stands starting next Tuesday the 1st, as well as some simple physical therapy exercises I can do at home to get mobility back in the ankle once it’s released from it’s Aircast prison.

This has also reminded me to be grateful every day that I have a completely healthy and working body and to take advantage of it by going for a walk.  Being unable to freely walk around makes me regret all the times I didn’t take a break to go outside.  Go outside, people!  It’s spring!  Your ankles work!




london calling (the third)

I’m taking my son to London this summer!

Of course I have been to London twice before: once in 2006 when I went and explored it on my own and once in 2010 when Paul and I went on our “honeymoon” (and spent a day at the Tower):


This is me at the White Tower in 2010.  Paul and I had not yet learned to take selfies.

This is the first time Ben will go to London though.  He’s been to Paris and Verona and Venice, to Basel and Zurich, but the closest he’s been to the British Isles is either visiting Victoria or the British pavilion at Disneyworld (both are equally fake-English – I actually felt quite at home in a fake Tudor cottage sweet shop in EPCOT)

I had been holding off on the UK because it’s easy to visit.  I like my world traveling to be more exploring and challenging.  Visiting Britain (or any of the British Isles) doesn’t require any language or cultural effort.  It’s actually comforting for me to visit Britain because it’s so much like home: growing up with an English parent, in a former colony, in a borough that boasted two separate tea rooms and an invisible “Tweed Curtain” separating it from the rest of Victoria, means that I totally get shows like Very British Problems.  I may have gone all-in on my mother’s family heritage of Brooklyn Jewish, but I also have British citizenship by descent, and I grew up in a country that was still governed by the British constitution until I was four.

But now, we’re going to Eurocamp!  A handful of us will be representing Brooklyn – and the USA based B-PSA groups – at the camp in Newbury.  And on the way back, we’re going to stop in London, see the city, stay at Pax Lodge,  and see two of Ben’s three namesakes: Big Ben and the Tate Museum (Unfortunately, while there is a PAUL chain of patisseries, there is no major “Boothe” attraction to check off Ben’s full name).


PAUL cubed.

We’ll go swimming at the ponds on Hampstead Heath.  We’ll ride the Eye.  We will go to the Museum of the City of London, and to the Tower and the Bridge; we’ll go to the War Rooms.  I will drag my son with me to shop at Camden Market  (Actually, I may leave him in the hostel room for that.) We will see what we can in the two and a half days we have, from Saturday afternoon to Tuesday morning.  It isn’t a lot of time, but I’m still excited to have it.

So we’re going to London.  And it’s a Mama-Ben adventure, like our trip to Switzerland, because Paul doesn’t have the days off to go with us.  I still look forward to it, even if I have to miss my husband (and Ben has to miss his father).  It will be a great adventure.  And while Ben is not as excited about it as I am, at least, after listening to Neverwhere, and getting over his suspicion of China Mieville to read Un Lun Dun, he’s somewhat interested in visiting the city that has inspired many, many fantasy versions of itself.  Or he could just be interested in riding the London Eye.  Who knows what goes on in the brain of an almost ten year old?



two much needed days of brain health

Sometimes, I have to take a couple days of not accomplishing goals, not doing work, not…catching up on the omnipresent treadmill that is my existence, just taking care of my poor beleaguered brain.  So that’s what I did for the last couple days.

And, yes, in there, I did work towards some goals in that I went through all my old journals from the last couple quarters and looked for either information that I needed to hand off, or that I will need moving forward, as I transition accounts at work to take on new clients.  But I also took some much needed brain rest time to:

  • go on a four mile walk around the park while it was nice yesterday
  • continue working my way through Parks and Rec on Netflix
  • go out to Music for the Masses, the darkwave 80s party in Greenpoint last night

And last night’s M4tM playlist, which brought me much brain-healing joy to dance to, is here:

I have learned this year that once in a while, I have to just…stop pushing quite as hard. I will have to take days when I do “lite” versions of what I’m used to, where I don’t rush from one thing to another but rather, stop, contemplate where I am, and adjust accordingly. I will have to rest my brain. I will have to take care of myself, especially when I know I have a tough month coming up. (As I do this April, with new clients and a Seattle trip and camps and everything else.)

So that’s what I did this weekend, instead of spending Easter with my extended in-law family. I took the time, at home, to prepare myself for the spring season to come. And as much as I missed being with the family, it was time I needed to ensure that I don’t break myself again in the next few weeks.