Category Archives: life in general

Squishy Chair Etiquette

I would like to talk for one moment about squishy chair etiquette. By squishy chairs, I am speaking specifically about those soft comfy chairs found in coffeeshops and libraries. They are usually set apart from the four-top tables, and are sometimes set up in groupings like a friendly family room.  Like you could be sitting in your pajamas or boxers and it would be just fine, because you’re in the squishy chairs. You know what I’m talking about.

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I love the squishy chairs. When I’m going someplace to write, as soon as I walk in the door, I scan for them. Is there one empty? Good, it’s mine.

According to the book of etiquette that I have written in my mind, if all the squishy chairs are empty, you have a right to sit in any one you choose. But if there is one squishy chair occupied, you have a right to sit anywhere except directly next to the person who is already sitting in the said chair.

Let me give you a real-life example. I walk into my second favorite library the other day to do some writing. I’m excited because I am by myself! I have an hour or maybe even two to be in my own space and write! No one is crying or smashing toys together or eating day-old cheerios off the floor! Obviously not your typical Thursday evening for me.

I find the quiet reading room where there are: two work tables and chairs on one end of the room, and a fireplace and eight squishy chairs on the other end. The squishy chairs are lined up against two adjoined walls, so they form an “L” and all of them face the fireplace.  In other words, no seat is worse than any other- they all face the fireplace, they all have a view of the door- not a bad seat in the house.

When I first walk in, I have the place to myself and I choose the chair furthest from the door, in the far corner of the room. So there is one chair directly next to me and six chairs on the adjoining wall. I am blissfully writing when I glance up to see a very nice looking lady walk into the room. I immediately look back down to my screen to let her know I’m all business, no chitter-chatter to be found here. She pauses for a second and walks past the two tables and six empty chairs and sits down right next to me.

To me, this was the approximate equivalent of sitting in my lap. This kind of squishy chair intimacy was totally uncalled for. The appropriate social distance would have been to sit with at least one chair in between us, if not more. But the line had been breached and now I was listening to her breathe and turn pages from a distance of not more than 24 inches. My bliss bubble popped and I powered through my work and headed out.

If this were an isolated incident, I probably wouldn’t be writing this post, but I tell you, I have some concern because the exact same thing happened again today, just now, in fact. I was sitting on a squishy chair in a coffeeshop, this time we were dealing with a rectangle formation- two chairs on one side, one on the other, one on each end and a coffeetable in the middle. I’m again blissfully writing, when all of a sudden a sweaty yoga guy comes and sits directly next to me. Three other empty chairs not next to me and he picks the one where I can reach out and touch him…Too close, my friend, too close!

Is this a direct result of social media? Are we so far away from each other metaphorically that now we have to sit in a stranger’s airspace like we’re on an airplane in order to feel connected? I’m disturbed. Because the etiquette book in my head distinctly states that there really isn’t an appropriate response to this behavior other than staying put. Getting up to move into a different chair as soon as someone sits down next to you is rude.  As is saying something like, “I’m saving this seat for Daniel Craig.” Plus, what if you get up and move one chair over and they get up and move next to you again, following? That’s just awkward.

I must ask, is this a normal trend? Is your etiquette book different than mine? Am I just so attractive that people can’t keep away from my airspace? I’m looking for answers, people! I await your responses.

Sad about the bees.

I was two paragraphs into the Time magazine article about Colony Collapse Disorder when I had to stop reading.  Too furious that our actions regularly seem to destroy worlds like the world of the grand little honeybee.  What must these animals think of us? “Tyrants! Idiots!  Watch out, butterfly! You’re next!”

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Turns out the world of the honeybee is our world, too.  And compromising any ecosystem compromises us. I don’t really think this is new information.  You could have asked Chief Seattle and here is what he would have said:

“All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the earth
Befalls the sons of the earth.
Man did not weave the web of life,
He is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web,
He does to himself.”

I can still see the picture from my earth science textbook from 4th grade illustrating ecosystems and how everything in the natural world is connected.  There was the underwater life where the big fish was eating the little fish, and the clouds above producing rain, and carnivores nibbling on smaller carnivores and herbivores nibbling on berries.  And then there was the human beings spraying green science-fiction chemicals on everything.  No, wait.   I don’t remember seeing humans in that picture at all and I think that’s where the trouble lies.  Somewhere along the line, we decided that we aren’t in the picture, we just draw the picture. Where did this concept come from? That we can just be plucked from our ecosystem, lifted right out into another plane of existence.  Conveniently we have also decided that we can lift various species out at our whim, as well.

I hear my dad chortling at me from the afterlife as I actually shed a tear over these bees.  “Why don’t you go hug a tree or something? Save the whales, Kris. Become a vegan.” I can hear him now. But it is just too sad that what finally draws our attention to the bees is the possibility of our favorite foods going away, rather than just the fact that we are killing off a species with our idiot chemicals. Don’t think for once second we would be this freaked out if it was the earwig that was threatened.  And shame on me because damn right, I want my blueberries too.  I care about the luxuries of non-buggy, plastic-looking summer fruit in winter and that is such a 1st world problem.  But at least I know when I’m being an obnoxious 1st World brat.  We know exactly what needs to be done, so there is no excuse to keep at destructive practices so that we can have our cushy -strawberries in winter-unbruised gigantic apples-abundant corn crop- survival.

This issue has become so depressing that I now want my own garden, which is saying something for someone who can barely handle one potted tomato plant and doesn’t have a yard.  I don’t want to think about whether I am killing bees by not buying pesticide/fungicide/insecticide-free produce. I don’t like that my salad is contributing to the bees possible extinction. And I recently learned that organic produce might not even be free of gross-icides and I don’t like that either. I don’t like that Colony Collapse Disorder was the name chosen for what is essentially Consequence of Human Interaction Disorder.  Collapse implies the colonies mysteriously dissolved from some weak internal structure.  When we all know the biggest cause of their trouble is that big, human black boot coming down on them from the sky.

So here is my naïve, simplistic, tree-hugging take.  I’m thankful that Time is drawing more attention to the issue.  Trying to analyze and solve the problem= Good.  Spending a fraction of a second thinking about: 1. Money and 2. Convenience= Bad.  When dealing with a problem as far-reaching and spectacularly important as keeping honeybees alive, once there is even a shadow of an idea of what’s causing the problem, you fix it.  It is disaster relief.  Call in every available resource nationally and internationally.  We must find a way to stop using the pesticides, herbacides, fungacides, whatever we have used to make our lives more convenient, cheaper, and tastier at the cost of destroying our environment.  We must find a way to support the farmers who are relying on those toxins and give them alternatives. Restructure, refinance, redesign the way we do growing. We must make it illegal to use chemicals on our lawns and fields.  We must grow our own gardens, buy local.

I’m just exhausted from reading stories about how we are trashing our world. Enough, already. Just who do we think we are?

Save the bees.

And P.S.: Time Magazine, after an uber-f***-ing depressing article, please include action steps that tell readers what to do about the problem.  Like so:

Did you know that it’s legal to keep bees in Madison if you adhere to a few regulations?  If I had a backyard, I’d be keeping some myself. Here’s the link to an article about the ordinance.

Find a few things you can do to help bees with this article here and a PBS article here.

Find resources for being a Dane County beekeeper here.

It’s sooooo good.

This is dazzling yellowy-orange glorious.  I’m sitting in a coffee shop (no, it’s not Starbucks- but they’re still my boo) and writing on my laptop.  I am in a squishy green chair, drinking a latte that is not on a table behind me, or just out of reach hiding on some high surface above the reach of little groping hands. It’s here- right next to me.

Photo on 7-31-13 at 11.21 AM

It’s still hot as I’m drinking it because I have not been interrupted from drinking it. I am drinking my coffee uninterrupted and alone. When I set down my coffee next to me on a table, I have both hands free to type so I can correct typos if I choose. I can read what I’ve written over and over if I choose.  I have the time for it. My legs are crossed and my laptop is resting on my lap- it is my lap’s only occupant.

I am writing this short post as a love letter to the heavens that are available on an every day basis in this life. I’m in one of them, courtesy of my babysitter. Because were it not for her, I would not be here alone with my coffee and laptop, gazing out the window every so often as I write. Just gazing and thinking my thoughts. I don’t have to speak at all. I can be silent, unentertaining, internal.  But if I were to speak, I wouldn’t have to edit out swearing, sarcasm, adult themes, pettiness, or unwarranted anger or frustration.

It used to be my favorite thing was to go to coffeeshops or restaurants by myself and write, read or just listen to people’s conversations.  It was heaven to me.  Now I have multiple heavens, one of which is this peaceful, gazy, quiet bliss.  Another is the one that awaits me when I return home. That one is the heaven of giggling little people, scurrying around at full speeds, exploring and inventing their world.  Of my family’s blissful chaos.  I. Am. So. Blessed.

The White-Headed Robin

There is a white-headed robin that lives in the green space around our condo.  We call it The White-Headed Robin.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWHITE-HEADED ROBIN

It’s pretty much the coolest bird I’ve ever seen.  We noticed it last spring (2012) and for some reason I was surprised to see it again this spring.  I had never thought about the same exact birds coming back for our viewing pleasure year after year.  It did not occur to me that birds were individuals and would either survive or not survive the winter and then come spring be frolicking about their old hangouts and favorite spots.  Seeing this bird brought the realization home.

The White-Headed Robin is unlike any other robin.  It is totally unique.  Before seeing him again this spring, I thought every robin was any robin- I made no distinction between them.  In my mind they were like a package of nails from Home Depot- interchangeable.  But Nature broke it down for me.  Now I know every robin is its own robin.  And that, my friends, can carry forward.  Every squirrel, chipmunk, bunny, hawk, spider, ant, and mouse.  These are villages of individuals.  Gone are the days when I can say “Hey there’s a bunny.” without thinking about what makes it special.  Mind blown.

Starbucks, I love you.

But I feel sort of guilty about it.

Why should I feel guilty for loving Starbucks? It’s hard not to love them. They are consistent in service and quality. I never feel uncomfortable in their atmosphere.  They promote unknown musicians.  They have drive-thrus.  Their cups don’t leak. And they make delicious drinks.

Cup of Coffee

My need for deliciousness has amplified since I’ve become a stay-at-home mom.  To survive and thrive, I need quick and easy ways to feel like I am on a mini-vacation.  I don’t have the luxury of getting a mediocre mocha with sad whipped cream and just shrugging my shoulders saying, “maybe next time they’ll get it right.”  I don’t want to be disappointed with my vanilla latte because it isn’t strong enough or has too much syrup or is made differently depending on whether Sally with the nose ring made it on Monday or cheerful Billy made it on Tuesday.  And I really don’t want a cheap-ass lid that causes coffee to leak out the seam and all over my hand every time I take a sip.

I need to be able to count on my coffee.  Depend on it.  My love for Starbucks coffee drinks is at least 80% rooted in emotional dependency.  Drinking a perfectly made beverage is a little mini-therapy session, frankly.   Starbucks is the stability I wish I had in my twenties- it is the consistency I sometimes lack.  Their drinks are like a hug from deliciousness- an indulgent expense that exists for purely selfish reasons- like because it tastes so damn good.

My day is filled with doing things for others.  But my decaf Americano with extra cream and two sugars?  That is just for me.  That is what Starbucks does for me.  It says: “You can depend on me, Krissy.  I will always taste satisfyingly delicious. You deserve it.”  And it never, ever lets me down.  The only variations are in the amount of whipped cream in my decaf grande mocha extra whip.  I can live with that.

However, I also love supporting local businesses.  But not at the expense of an incredibly delicious beverage, which is sometimes the case when I frequent independently owned coffee shops.

I can think of two examples off the top of my head – one place near where I used to live that had pretty excellent baked goods, but where the owners were rude.  And inconsistent. I would stop there on my way to work, in a rush, and they were almost always out of decaf coffee.  “It’ll just take about 8 minutes to brew,” they would say.  Unfortunately, when you wake up late as I tended to do, I don’t have 8 minutes to wait.  What kind of coffee shop is out of coffee at 7:30 in the morning?

And the more recent example is heartbreaking- it’s a 5 minute walk away and they, too, make pretty decent baked goods.  But the owners have a sterile, cold vibe even though the words coming out of their mouth are standard, welcoming cafe talk.  I try to imagine what it is exactly that feels off about them: Were they recently released from prison for some heinous crime?  Are they spies? Is there an unwilling grandmother being held hostage in the basement?  Do they have unwashed hands?  I will probably never know, but something feels unsettling about the place.  At times they have been downright rude and then caught themselves in it and tried to shine it away with a smile.  Not so fast, suckers! I’m onto you!  Put your hands where I can see them.

In a town like Madison where there are 12 Starbucks (including the ones in Targets), an independent cafe has to make a pretty darn good coffee drink to lure me away from the ridiculous convenience of Starbucks.  Even with a welcoming, cheery atmosphere if your coffee drinks aren’t all that (yes, I said all that), then I will just head to the Starbucks down the street instead.  I love them.  And if consistent, delicious drinks are any measure of love at all, then they love me back.

Energy Work and Distance Healing

In addition to dabbling at writing and songwriting, I am also a Licensed Massage Therapist who focuses on energy healing and craniosacral therapy. I’ve been studying different forms of energy work for decades and have found the results of my work to be most profound when healing emotional/mental issues and life situations/relationships.

A friend asked me the other day what exactly I do when I am doing energy work without being in the same room as the client- otherwise known as distance healing.  I had told her a story of how I worked with a friend’s young daughter in this way recently and the results were amazing.  Her curiosity led me to piece apart my process of distance healing and put into words what I do energetically.

I think most people are familiar with the concept of energy work – it’s a grand category of healing modalities that affect positive change on emotional, mental, spiritual, physical and/or situational bodies and energies.  Reiki is probably the most mainstream at this point.  But I’m not sure how many have heard of the concept of performing energy work over a distance, affecting positive change while not being in the physical presence of the client.

The nature of healing energy work is that it is effective both in person or over a distance.  This might sound quacky to some, but it is true.  Energy is energy.  In fact, for me, it is sometimes more beneficial to connect with someone’s energy without being in their physical presence so that there is not the distraction of the physical body to interfere with seeing what energetically actually needs attention.

We take for granted that we can pick up a phone and hear someone’s voice on the other end of the line even though they may be across the city or across the world. We dial their number and speak with a phone that belongs to them. We hear their exact voice and their words, feel their presence over the airwaves.  It’s the same concept for energy work, except you don’t use the tool of a phone to connect.

Here’s a play by play of what a distance energy session looks like on my end:

1. I ground myself by sending my own “roots” down into the earth.  For me, they are red streams of energy that look like, well, roots and dive all the way down to the earth’s core.  I do some deep breathing and open up my crown chakra and connection to the divine at and over the top of my head.  For me, this looks like a stream of purple/white or gold energy stretching infinitely into the cosmos, landing at the divine creative center of everything (aka, God.)  I then open up my own core energy to both the crown chakra (heaven) and my root chakra (earth) so I feel a column of very strong, stable light all through me, top to bottom.

2. I ask for assistance.  Usually I say, “Divine Archangels, Ascended Masters, Guides, Guardians and any available to assist in this session for the highest good, I ask for your assistance now.  Show me what I need to know in a way I can understand.  Help me with this healing. Thank you.”  If there is a specific deity that comes to mind or a specific issue I’m working with, I would use the specifics: “Archangel Michael, Archangel Raphael, St. Germain, Bob’s Guides and Guardians, thank you for assisting me with Bob’s anxiety. I welcome all available help you can offer. Let me be an instrument of healing for the highest good for Bob.”

3. I say hello energetically to the person I’m working with and usually say something like, “I am here.”  Then I wait and focus on holding my core light hugely strong.  Sometimes, great change can be affected if I simply hold a high vibration and invite/allow the client to bask in that vibration.  Like a tuning fork, if I am humming at a certain frequency that is of benefit to them, they can tune their own energy to that frequency simply by “hearing” me do it.

4. I ask what they need and then listen.  Listening involves for me numerous things: seeing in my mind’s eye, sensing in my body, and hearing in my mind’s ear (first time I ever  used that phrase!)  I sometimes gather information about a specific issue: “I need to hear that I am loved from Person X.”  Or the information may be more vague “I need attention in my left ankle.”  Sometimes they need to receive energy and I can be a channel for that energy from the universe to them.  Sometimes they need help purifying their energy and I can run an energetic strainer through them to “catch” what they don’t need- things they’ve absorbed from other people, environments, or situations.  I can help ground them and offer the unwanted/unbeneficial energy to an Ascended Master where it can be purified and returned to where it needs to be.  A lot of times people “hold” energy for others.  Moms do this all the time.  If it’s something that is working for their highest good, yay.  If not, I help them drop what they don’t need to be holding and kind of fill in those pockets where they have a habit of holding energy for others, so instead it’s a pocket of their own energy.  No room for holding others’ stuff if you are fully occupying your own space.  On super far-out sessions, I have worked with parallel universes, past life issues, and invasive spirits/energies.

5. I seal any tears in their energy that are obvious to me, and “fluff” their energy body a bit, instruct them that if there are any other adjustments that need to be made at this time, to “do so now.”  Then I seal their energetic body with protection and universal love (usually looks blue) and then assist with grounding.

6. I close the session by giving thanks to all that assisted and to the client.

7. I write down anything that the client needs to know in words in real time and pass it along to them if they are interested in knowing the insights I gained during the session.

That’s it in a nutshell.  It can be extremely powerful stuff. Anyone curious let me know and we can set up a free/discounted mini-session.

Kick-Ass Owl

My son and I saw this amazing Great Gray owl today.

Every birder within 60 miles is coming out to look at this sucker who has been hanging out near Madison.  This bird is stunning.  Intense.  Gigantor.  A bird like this carries something in its presence.  You just have to take some time to stare at it and be awed.

Check out this link to more pics from Wisconsin Birding’s fb page.  These are not, like, google images of a Great Gray owl- this is the actual owl we saw.

Kick-Ass Owl