The Maple Donut

I really love donuts.

Correction. I really love some donuts. More on that later.

I also have an unhealthy relationship to food. Sometimes I eat it because I want to eat, and sometimes I do it because I’m stressed out and I’m looking for a reprieve, and usually I can’t tell the difference.

So…I do this thing where I agonize, literally going back and forth over whether I should have a donut (or any sweet thing for that matter, but let’s stick with donuts for this discussion). If fills my brain and I just want it so badly, enough that it’s hard to focus on other things. I also know I probably shouldn’t eat it. It’s not good for me, and if I make it a habit—which I do—it’s worse.

If I have the presence of mind, I try to think about how I’ll feel after the donut. Will I be satisfied and think “yeah, that hit the spot” or will I still feel hungry (read: stressed)? I also think about environmental factors. Do I want the donut because I see it in front of me, or am I craving it absent of any obvious temptation?

My reasoning (sound or not) is that if I will be satisfied by the experience, my craving is genuine. For whatever that means.

I don’t love Maple Donuts

My decision tree hits a major stumbling block however, if the think I’ve been craving isn’t what’s available. I love chocolate donuts. Maple donuts are okay, but they just don’t do anything for me. When I eat one it feels like a waste of money and calories. I’ll still do it, but the chances are higher that I won’t feel sated afterwards, just self-loathing.

So I try, when my willpower holds, to say no to the maple donut. If I’m going to spend the money and incur the detrimental effects on my health and body of eating a donut, at least it’s going to be one I really want.

And that’s my take on a lot of things. I’m okay spending a lot of money or time or energy or whatever it takes on something that is really worthwhile, but I try to recognize more maple donuts in my life and say no to them. They maybe just right for someone else, but maybe my attention is better served somewhere else.

That seems a healthy choice. I think. I would love to make it with less agonizing and distracting brain thoughts, but brain is gonna brain, right?

Is this how brains work?

I offered to help our neighbors with some home improvement projects, so this morning after I did some yard work and had the tools ready, I texted asking if now would be a good time to help.

My neighbor Carly said yes, but she was putting her kiddo down for a nap, so she needed a minute.

I decided to take a shower, get dressed, grab tools, then head over to help Carly.

Getting ready to shower I saw we needed laundry done, so I planned to take a shower, get dressed, start a load of laundry, grab tools, then head over to help Carly.

When I got out of the shower I saw we had a lot of dust bunnies in the room so I decided I should get dressed, vacuum the dust bunnies, start a load of laundry, grab tools, then head over to help Carly.

When I started the laundry I saw a pair of jeans that had been line drying since last time I did laundry, so I decided to fold my jeans, grab tools, put my jeans away, then head over to help Carly.

The moment I headed over to Carly’s I was focused on the work done (rehanging some baby gates that had come down) until I finished. I wasn’t distracted at all, because I had the work in front of me and each step was clear what I had to do, even when that was going back to get more tools, and while I was doing that, getting Karen a file so she could file down a rough edge on her new glasses.

My observations:

  • When I had even a few moments where I had to wait, I instantly started filling it up with other things I could/should be doing. And those things kept piling up, each taking precedence in my mind (if not my order of operations) until they were done.
  • When I was focused on work however, everything was step by step. Figure out the problem, propose a plan, evaluate it, do some testing, implement the plan, test the results, adjust as needed. I didn’t know all the steps from the start, but each step was clear, and more importantly I wasn’t waiting, so my brain didn’t start thinking up new things to distract me or change my priorities. Even when I got an interrupt request (pick up a file when I’m in the garage) it didn’t derail me.

It felt like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie but in reverse. I didn’t have the forethought to know I would keep coming up with new things to do, but before I could ever finish one task, I thought of another one that caused me to pause, and reorder my plans. Except when I was focused on a single task…then I just did it.

This is how I end up a night with my pants half way off and looking up something on my phone, thinking I need to brush my teeth, and wondering what I have to do tomorrow morning.

Is this how brains work?

Dusting off the cobwebs

Like everyone else I’m struggling to find an online home after the inevitable crash, or more likely just complete and utter toxification of Twitter. I’ve tried out Mastadon and Hive and so far neither have really clicked for me. I think Hive might be the place once there is a desktop version, but as long as it’s mobile only, it’s not really usable by me. Many other alternatives have been offered, but the one that resonated with me the most was John Scalzi’s tweet

Followed by the article where he elaborates on the merits on an artisan web:

So, I’m going to give a shot. Who knows, if folks really start posting on their blogs a lot, maybe we’ll resurrect Google Reader.

A funny thing happened this Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving we went over to my sister’s house to break bread with her. She married into a Greek family that is very large and if not very religious, still a lot more religious that I am. Generally not a subject that comes up often, but this time I really tried to swallow my whole foot.

We arrived at 1PM and started helping. My mom, who probably arrived a day or two before, was in the kitchen getting things ready and so it was an easy fit to join her. I like to feel useful and also…there was a lot of people there, so my introverted self was happier in the kitchen.

When the food was ready, we brought it all out and setup an amazing buffet. A feast!

The food was out and folks were standing around. I made a few encouraging jests “okay, let’s start eating” but other than a few smiles, nobody responded. So I thought I’d start the feast!

I was midway through the table, when I realized nobody was behind me… I looked up and saw the were all standing in a circle quietly waiting—you guessed it—to say grace.

What? What? What?

I’m not so uncouth as to eat while someone is saying grace, but I figured that was something they would do at the table before eating. Somehow the 20 other people there had figured this out and I hadn’t.

So I did the only thing possible. I crept back into the circle, cast my head down, and tried not to die of embarrassment as my much younger cousin gave thanks for the food and said grace. <dying inside>

Can’t get any worse

The upshot? After that there was really nothing that I could do (or anyone else could do) that was more embarrassing. At one point someone knocked over a vase, spilled water and flowers everywhere, and I was like “well, at least you didn’t start eating before folks said grace!”

Sometimes I make a mistake and I’m just too mortified, but when I can laugh about it, it feels much better. Something about taking ownership of my own gaff.

How were your holidays? Any silly stories you want to share?