Creativecraft: There is no such thing as “good enough”

One of the things more likely to break my heart than anything else is hearing someone say they don’t do something because they’re “not good enough”. I hear this more often about the arts than any other thing, but the sentiment applies to almost anything.

I’m here to tell you there is no such thing as, “good enough”. In fact, there is simply a continuum of skill between none developed yet and as much as one is ever likely to develop. Yes, some people have more natural talent that may put them further along this continuum than others or make it easier for them to develop, but talent undeveloped is no better than skill undeveloped.

The simple fact is that you should do something because you have it in your heart to try. No, I am no pandering to some kind of “pursue your dreams” mentality. Yes, the bills still need paid. Yes, our obligations still need met. Nevertheless, you should still try because it suits you.

I would argue that the only thing “not good enough” is not trying. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It doesn’t matter how “good” anyone else is. If you love it and it completes you, do it.

That, my friend, is good enough.

DLH

Read more at my Creativecraft site...

Posted in Uncategorized

Wordcraft by Dennis L Hitzeman: On writing and needing a gimmick to write

I’ve discovered recently that I need gimmicks to write. At some level, it offends me that I need to have some trick to convince myself to do what I know I want to do, but the fact is that it’s a valuable bit of psychology that actually works.

For example, I’ve struggled to meet my self-imposed word counts for the first three months of the year, missing March’s altogether. In March, I decided to do Camp NaNoWriMo in April, and even though it’s only one day down, I’m already feeling more invigorated about writing than I have since November and NaNoWriMo last year.

What I’ve come to realize is that both NaNoWriMo and its camp version represent a form of accountability, so very tenuous yet necessary so that I am not lying to myself about the progress I’m making. Needing to write 1667 words a day and knowing others, even if they’re people I only know online, are watching is enough to motivate me to move forward.

Realizing this, I plan to seek out more challenges and the like to make this a year-around motivation instead of April, July, and November. Hopefully, having that motivation will help me move forward on what I want to be doing that much faster.

Hooray for psychological tricks.

DLH

Read more at my Wordcraft by Dennis L Hitzeman site...

Worldview: The Rambling Road: Work or work out?

Ages ago, I developed a hypothesis that I wanted my work to be my work out. At the time, it was a wrongheaded attempt to ignore the fact I was doing neither, but it turns out I also wasn’t completely wrong about the notion.

As part of my effort to improve my health, I have been researching, learning about, and engaging in the idea of natural movement, especially as it pertains to the fact that, even when we work out, we’re often incredibly sedentary in the intervening time, effectively undermining some of the best benefits of our work outs.

Now, I grant, it’s nearly impossible for us moderns to return to our hunter-gatherer roots, but I think we can make specific changes to how we approach physical activity that allow us to utilize some of their genetics we inevitably carry.

One of the biggest changes I’ve made pursuing that goal is to make sure I eat after I engage in physical activity. In short, I work out first, then I eat. It turns out, that’s the pattern our bodies are designed to follow rather than the bell schedule three meals a day. In fact, that’s where exercise “hangry” comes from, and we would do well to listen to it.

The second thing I have changed is how I exercise. I walk a lot, but I have made my walking less structured and more free-form. I sometimes carry awkward things. I have the benefit of having a 185 acre farm with few dedicated paths, so I force myself to walk in the unimproved areas to get the benefit of climbing and having to work my way through.

The result of these changes is that I am working my body more the way it expects to be worked, thereby increasing my overall fitness.

My goal from here is to increase the amount of manual labor I do on the farm, meaning that I intend to forgo the use of labor saving tools when it is possible and safe in favor of doing the work by hand. This labor follows the same pattern as the rest, and I expect it to magnify the results I am already achieving.

In the end, the answer of work or work out is yes, do both. Do as much as you can. Get up and move around often. Lift and carry heavy things. Eat when your body says it’s hungry. Sleep when it says it’s tired. The benefit is there. Pursue it.

DLH

Read more at my The Rambling Road weblog...

Read more at my Worldview site...

Food: Food and food making

I started this particular blog years ago with the idea I was going to capture my journey into eating better by showcasing recipes and ideas I encountered along the way.

What I actually encountered along the way is that, while I can cook and go through spates where I do, in general I tend to cook as an afterthought, which is to say, not at all when I have something going on. That becomes problematic because my spouse has a similar view of cooking, meaning we spend an awful lot of time staring at each other and asking what the other one wants to eat until one of us dies.

Jokes aside, the fact is I got fat by just-in-time eating of convenience foods because I always felt like I had other things to do. I still feel that way, and that has made me realize I have to rethink how I approach the whole idea of food and eating and cooking if I’m not going to be fat or starve to death.

My main realization in trying to figure this all out is that, most of the time, my food needs are simple and straightforward. I don’t tend to eat meals most of the time. Instead, I “graze” and if I have nutritious, grazing compatible foods around, I can eat those for quite a while before the desire for variety overwhelms me.

The first realization factors into the second one that I’ve been doing intermittent fasting (a combination of 16/8 and 5/2) for about a year now, and in embracing that change to my eating habits, I also need less complicated food nearly all the time.

So, where does that leave this blog? I don’t know yet to be honest. I would still like it to be a place where I catalog recipes and ideas I encounter along the way,  but more than that, I think I want this to be a place where I document my changing relationship with food and, frankly, with our cultural presumptions about eating. We’ll see.

Stay tuned. More will follow.

DLH

Read more at my Food site...

Worldview: The Rambling Road: Movement vs Exercise

A long time ago, I started getting fat and it started getting me in trouble with my job in the Air Force (Air National Guard). At the time, I adopted an exercise routine that, despite what some people believed, was quite focused and rigorous. There was a point where I was walking several miles a day for months. During that time, I lost maybe five pounds but ended up gaining dozes over the long run.

Now, I will be the first to tell you that adopting a sleeping habit that actually fits me and adjusting my diet to fit my metabolism and nutrition needs has paid huge dividends, but one of the most important changes I have made is to stop exercising and start moving.

What do I mean by that? Well, I still walk a lot, but what I’ve discovered is that the things I am doing that I can feel almost every time I do them are not exercise in the classical sense. I do body weight squats, modified push-ups, simple getting up and down off the floor, Tai Chi, and Yoga, and I am convinced that these activities help me as much as all the walking I do put together.

And the fact is that the science supports that it is our lack of general movement over aerobic calorie burning that has gotten us all into trouble. One of the reasons that exercise programs like CrossFit end up being so effective is because they so often focus on movement over other kinds of things.

So, my challenge to you is to just get up and move. Don’t worry about duration so much as frequency, and make it movements you don’t already do. Try it for a couple of weeks, and see how you feel. I’m convinced you’ll thank me for it.

DLH

Read more at my The Rambling Road weblog...

Read more at my Worldview site...

Brickcraft: Excuses, excuses…

Read more at my Brickcraft site...

Posted in Uncategorized

Thoughts from Innisfree on the Stillwater: Please excuse the mess

Really, it’s more of a metaphorical mess as we go about the business of steering the beast that is Innisfree on the Stillwater in a new direction.

What does that direction look like? Well, we’re now share-cropping organic row crops, raising wool and meat sheep instead of cattle, and transitioning to perennial permiculture over annual monoculture.

The goal is to make our farm a model for what the future of sustainable farming can look like. Until then, it might seem like a mess.

DLH

Read more at my Thoughts from Innisfree on the Stillwater site...

Worldview: Science and Technology: Galaxy Fold: Samsung’s $2000 missed chance

I’ve been watching the coming of the now revealed Galaxy Fold for some time now, and while I am cautiously impressed with the technology the are releasing, I also think Samsung–and really almost all device manufacturers–have missed the point.

Samsung had an opportunity with the Galaxy Fold to change the rules about mobile devices by no longer catering to the luxury flagship notion of innovation. I get Samsung had costs associate with its product, but the fact is that, at $2000 or more a device, it’s already a loss leader in almost every sort of way, so why not take a risk and get the device into the hands of the kinds of people most likely to use and prove the technology and least likely to be able to afford $2000 to pay for it.

What kind of people am I taking about? Well, mostly the creative kind: writers, artists, photographers, and producers of various types who can honestly use a tablet in their pockets and would help Samsung realize the investment they’ve made in the long run. Instead, the device will get consigned to the dustbin of interesting but unrealized gadgets in the same way as Microsoft’s early slate PCs and Googles Glass.

I think the company that will prove this technology will be the one that takes more than just a risk on the tech. They need to take a risk on users too, and there’s yet to be one willing to do so.

DLH

Read more at my Science and Technology weblog...

Read more at my Worldview site...

Worldview: Science and Technology: Galaxy Fold: Samsung’s $2000 missed chance

I’ve been watching the coming of the now revealed Galaxy Fold for some time now, and while I am cautiously impressed with the technology the are releasing, I also think Samsung–and really almost all device manufacturers–have missed the point.

Samsung had an opportunity with the Galaxy Fold to change the rules about mobile devices by no longer catering to the luxury flagship notion of innovation. I get Samsung had costs associate with its product, but the fact is that, at $2000 or more a device, it’s already a loss leader in almost every sort of way, so why not take a risk and get the device into the hands of the kinds of people most likely to use and prove the technology and least likely to be able to afford $2000 to pay for it.

What kind of people am I taking about? Well, mostly the creative kind: writers, artists, photographers, and producers of various types who can honestly use a tablet in their pockets and would help Samsung realize the investment they’ve made in the long run. Instead, the device will get consigned to the dustbin of interesting but unrealized gadgets in the same way as Microsoft’s early slate PCs and Googles Glass.

I think the company that will prove this technology will be the one that takes more than just a risk on the tech. They need to take a risk on users too, and there’s yet to be one willing to do so.

DLH

Read more at my Science and Technology weblog...

Read more at my Worldview site...

Worldview: The Rambling Road: Documenting Progress

I had a medical appointment yesterday, which in itself is not remarkable, but that revealed a very good result.

I should back up a step and explain that, since about June of last year, I have altered my approach to managing my physical maladies, adopting a very low-carb diet(1) and following an intermittent fasting schedule(2) along with ramping up my physical activity. These changes flowed into the fact that I also started taking a pair of antidepressants in October that helped clear my head so I could focus better on what I am trying to do. Finally, in December I started taking Trulicity in addition to insulin and metformin

When I got out of the hospital a couple of years ago, my A1C was 8.5 and my blood glucose was running in the 450s mg/dL (yes, I am aware of how dangerously high that all is). At my last appointment, my A1C was 7.1 and my blood glucose average was around 180 mg/dL.

Fast forward to yesterday, and after about 9 months of focused effort, my A1C has dropped to 6.6 and my blood glucose average sits at around 161 mg/dL.

The moral of the story is that, if you are suffering from similar issues to mine, there are methods to overcome the obstacles those issues present. The right combination of medications, diet, and exercise can pay huge dividends in a short period of time and offer the promise of remission if not recovery.

DLH

(1) I try to keep my daily intake of all carbohydrates between 20 and 40 mg a day and do so by avoiding all sugars, modern grains (basically, anything containing wheat or rice), and manufactured foods. In general, I also try to keep the foods I consume in the low Glycemic Index range (below 55). Foods called Brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and the like) are great for this.

Understand this kind of diet can be a huge adjustment, and if you decide to try it, there may be a period of transition where you experience symptoms similar to coming down with the flu. Also, if you have other health issues, be careful not to make them worse by following this diet. Be sure to consult your health care provider as you move forward.

(2) There are as many opinions on intermittent fasting as there are people who try it, and I don’t have a specific recommendation of where to start, but in general, the idea is to limit your calorie consumption to a narrow window once or twice a day. For me, this means usually eating one big meal between 2 and 4 and another smaller meal about an hour before bed (this helps level out overnight blood sugar spikes). These meals can vary somewhat based on my daily schedule, but in general results in there being at least 12 hours and as many as 16 hours between caloric intakes.

This method of eating helps encourage your body to take advantage of its already extant biological pathways that are part of the “feast and famine” experienced by our ancestors. Doing so helps our bodies use calories more effectively and, once you get into the habit, often results in eating less.

Read more at my The Rambling Road weblog...

Read more at my Worldview site...