I really don’t feel particularly inspired at the moment.
The Office. Exclusively. I am almost at the end of Season 6. I like it. I still have three more Seasons to go. This was one of my summer projects, but it will bleed into fall. I’m fine with that. There’s nothing else competing for my attention on TV at the moment. Every night I treat myself to two, sometimes three episodes. It’s become a ritual.
This month I’ve listened to From Strength to Strength by Arthur C. Brooks, which was good except for the god/ faith chapters.
Otherwise, very wise and helpful advice for aging intellectually. I listened to the audiobook and then bought the physical book because I wanted to be able to re-read and take notes on parts.
I also listened to Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro which was strange and compelling.
It is a futuristic novel about humans who are cloned for the sole purpose of supplying organs for the rest of us. The setting is a large, patrician boarding school with stalwart guardians, games of rounders, and descriptions of the petty intrigues of adolescents living in dorms.
It raised a lot of ethical questions for me about the rights of AI.
His other novel, Klara and the Sun did the same thing, only in Klara the AI was a doll owned by a little girl.
Both these novels made me question what makes something human. Can AIs have souls? What do they feel? If we design them with the ability to have feelings, what is our ethical responsibility to them regarding granting them rights and looking out for their welfare? We created them, after all. Hnnnn….
I’ve recently started the Yoga Lounge Book Group book,
The Anthropology of Turquoise by Ellen Meloy.
After a bit of a slow start, it picked up magnificently in Chapter 2, and now I’m in it and loving it.
Audiobooks. I had been listening to audiobooks on my boring Campus Scamper walks. The books themselves were great (see above) but my rule is I can only listen when I walk. This incentivizes me to get out the door.
I’ve stopped listening now because I’m not doing the Scamper anymore. I’m training Rookie instead.
Dog behavior and how to modify it. Turns out I have been doing everything wrong when it comes to Rookie.
She freaks out whenever she sees a biker or a runner, screeching and lunging at them. I used to yell at her, but that didn’t work.
I tried consoling her, and that didn’t work either.
So now I just hold her back. I let her have her 15-second freak-out, all the while mouthing my apologies to the person trying to get past her.
She totally embarrasses me.
I could not figure out how to fix this.
My original thought was that continued exposure over time would allow her to realize that bikers and runners are not threats.
Turns out, according to my new training protocol, this continued exposure only makes things worse.
I downloaded the videos before we went to the beach but only finally looked at them this week.
That’s when I learned I have been doing everything wrong.
No more exposure to her triggers.
I need to get her to focus and be calm.
I do this by giving her massive amounts of treats.
But not just any treats. Oh no.
High value treats.
Treats I am making myself from tuna and sardines and peanut butter and bananas. Not in the same recipe, always, but some recipes have revolting combinations of flavors.
Dogs apparently lose their minds when you combine liver and sardines.
Once I can get her to focus on me on command, then and only then can I begin to introduce her to bikes again.
This could take a while. But I’m committed to it. (Fingers crossed.) We WILL walk on the bike trail again!
I don’t pay attention to my dreams, but I do pay attention to the sleep data on my Oura ring, and it turns out I’m a world-class sleeper.
It doesn’t always feel that way though. I have rough patches at night when I wake up too hot or can’t get back. But apparently, these awake periods don’t alter my overall percentage of light, deep, or REM sleep. I usually get a sleep score in the mid-90s which is Optimal. Go me.
Eating and Drinking
I cut way back on alcohol consumption after returning from Rehoboth, which was the second week of August. I’ve been making drinks with either Aplos or Ritual. And I’ve been fine with these mocktails. I’ve been missing wine, though.
Recently I fell for an ad for a sampler of five non-alcoholic, or as they say, de-alcoholized wines. They said they fermented the grapes just like in regular wine-making and then just de-alcoholized the product. I was hopeful.
Boy, was I disappointed.
I don’t know what this stuff is, but it’s def not wine. Tasted like water, or Kool-Aid without sugar. It was flat on the tongue, had no body, and to say it had no complexity? Pfft.
Then, as if I needed any more incentive not to drink alcohol, I listened to a recent two-hour Huberman Lab podcast on What Alcohol Does To Your Body, Brain, and Health and there’s nothing good about it. Not a single thing.
I don’t like how alcohol makes me feel the next day anyway, so it’s not all that hard to give up. I do like the whole aesthetics of wine though: the olfactory experience, the tongue feel, the various notes. I love going wine tasting. But the next day? Ugh.
I’d rather do other things to change my consciousness.
Watching Dog training videos have constituted all my “research” lately.
I will use this Grateful category today to pat myself on the back for taking time every day to notice and appreciate the natural world and the minute changes from day to day.
I have walked the dogs on the bike trail each day since early spring learning the names of the wildflowers, and identifying the birds by their songs.
When the goldenrod and asters popped recently, and the sumac bloomed red, I saw it all coming ahead of time and expected it. I wasn’t the least surprised or taken aback. I didn’t miss any of it.
Fall is approaching now, and I’m curious about it. I’m only dreading a little what comes next. And it’s not like I can change it anyway.
What I’m most wondering now: Can I stay curious and interested in the daily changes in the natural world in winter? A long season in which nothing seems to ever change?