Tag Archives: Monk

Pollyanna tries to be Shiny – part deux

Lyda here.

So this is me, tryin’ to be shiny.*

* Some of our beloved readers might not know what I mean when I say “Shiny.”

To which I say:  Get thee to Netflix and watch “Firefly” and then “Serenity.”  Y’all are in for some fantastic viewing! Here is just a taste of the shiny that is “Firefly” – not safe for work. 

In that ‘Verse [universe], shiny = awesomeness. See bottom of post for more shiny fun.

But I digress…

You know when you are trolling the web, and you keep coming across all these lists of cleaning rituals, clutter-busting rules, and organization plans? It’s especially bad at the beginning of the year, and then bad again when everyone is telling you it’s time for Spring Cleaning.

Like the seasons need cleaning. Please. Seasons are self-cleaning. That is what rain is for, people. But I digress…

You read things like:  “2 Million Things You Should Do Every Morning Before Anyone Else is Awake or You are a Failure as a Human Being” or “1001 Clutter-Busting Tasks That You Must Do Immediately – Unless You Want to Continue Living in Filthy Squalor, You Lazy Bitch” or “Your New Simple Task List  –  Two Hours a Day Is All It Takes or You Can Continue to Live Like A Sewer Rat, You Disgusting Whore.”

Wow, those subtitles escalated fast. Calm down, Internet.

And then you have to go lie down because you feel faint. And you are certain that you will drown in your own clutter if you don’t die first from the filth. But before that happens you will be evicted because you are just too hopelessly disorganized to find your bills, much less pay them. And then they will drag you off to debtor’s prison and your daughter will have to support you, and your granddaughter will die in the street and it will be ALL. YOUR. FAULT.

You never want to live out a Dickens novel.

Okay, calm down. A few deep breaths. Think about kittens.  And wine. Think about watching adorable kittens while drinking wine…

That’s better.

I think I can help.

Anna-Liza is laughing now because she knows I have a bit of a cleaning thing* and she thinks my rules are going to be just as bad as Martha‘s.

Really, Martha? 4 minutes and 15 seconds on how to fold a fitted sheet? Really? Someone get that woman some better drugs.

* Let’s just say that I can relate to Monk a bit more than I’d like. I’ve never been that obsessive. Or that funny. But still, hours of cleaning.

But I digress…

I can no longer spend hours obsessively cleaning my place, as I was wont to do back in the old days.

About housework, my mother used to say, make a shiny spot each day. Oh wow. I just realized that Joss Whedon stole “shiny” from my mom. I think I’m due some royalties now. Or free DVDs.  Mom also used to say “You missed a spot” but I’m much better after the therapy…

But I digress again…

So I recently came up with my own plan:  the Five-Minute Shiny.

I decided to see what I could do in 5 minutes. Anything that I could call progress around the place, anything at all.

For five minutes.

Put a few  clean dishes away. Take out the kitchen trash.

No, not “go through the frig and toss everything that needs to be tossed and then clean the frig since it’s now empty, and defrost the freezer, and…” –  Just take out the bag of trash already in the bin.

The Five-Minute Shiny is a tiny bit extra beyond my everyday tasks, like feeding and watering the livestock (my three cats), and cleaning the litter box. And… uh… yeah, that’s about it.

The first week I came up with this, I timed myself – because I happened to be microwaving my dinner for five minutes, not because I was being all scientific. I was amazed at what I can do in five minutes.

So, now I try to do a Five-Minute Shiny every day. Some days, I might do one in the morning and one at night. And some days, even 5 minutes is too much to think about, let alone accomplish. And that’s okay too.

This is the great thing:  Even done semi-regularly, the Five-Minute Shiny has really helped keep the place tidier and more organized.

Of course, I could use the five minutes to fold a fitted sheet.

But let’s not get silly.

* Super Shiny Bonus Fun:  Go here. Let’s do the thing.

Pollyanna, Your Friendly Hunk Scout

Lyda here. HUNK ALERT!!

Today’s the day we can all go to hand eye crafts and nominate our favorite hunks for this year’s Knitter’s Hunk. Here are the winners from the past two years – both are automatically entered, so you are forced to find different hunks to nominate. Oh, the hardship! Here’s her explanation, if you have somehow missed this hunk-fest in the past.

So, go nominate! And then check each day for updates and pictures of gorgeous menz.

Y’all know who I’m nominating, don’t you?

Of course you do.

Oded Fehr.

Oh yeah. I could knit next to him, baby.

Plus he knows how to fight zombies – a skill I look for in my menz.

YUM.

Edited to add: I put in my nomination for Oded, and also nominated Chris Vance, who stars in “Mental” on Fox (a great show that expects the audience to be able to both think and feel), and  Colin Ferguson, who plays Sheriff Jack Carter on “Eureka” on the Syfy channel (another awesome show, funny and intelligent).

I wanted to nominate Eddie McClintock as well, who is on “Warehouse 13” on Syfy (and much cuter than the pics they have of him on that site – and when he takes his shirt off, oh baby!)…

and Tony Shaloub, not because “Monk” is about to start its last season, but because I think he’s adorable…

and Jackie Chan, ditto…

and…

but I could only nominate three.

So many hunks, so little time…

Hmm… I seem to have a thing for men with dark hair, huh?

Pollyanna Versus Acedia

Lyda here.

I recently read “Acedia & me: a marriage, monks, and a writer’s life” by Kathleen Norris.

And now I know what I’ve been battling lately. And by “lately” I mean the last several years. Actually, most of my life.

Acedia. Naming the beast is the first step to taming it. I hope.

Because of its subtle and complex nature, defining acedia requires some effort. Wordsworth described “a state of almost savage torpor.” [Preface, “Lyrical Ballads.”] 

Norris writes:

The person afflicted with acedia refuses to care or is incapable of doing so. When life becomes too challenging and engagement with others too demanding, acedia offers a kind of spiritual morphine: you know the pain is there, yet can’t rouse yourself to give a damn.

She says “the boundaries between depression and acedia are notoriously fluid.” And later, she writes:

Acedia contains within itself so many concepts:  weariness, despair, ennui, boredom, restlessness, impasse, futility… [It is] a time of great spiritual aridity, when desire itself seems dead, and forsaking hope seems the only adult thing to do.

The medieval monks understood acedia to be a deadly sin (it was later absorbed into “sloth”), and called it “the noontime demon.”

Norris includes quotes about acedia throughout the book, and collects many more in the last chapter:

In Inferno, Dante speaks for the dead who had succummed to acedia in life, now confined to the fourth circle of Hell:

Once we were grim
And sullen in the sweet air above, that took
A further gladness from the play of sun;
Inside us, we bore acedia’s dismal smoke.
We have this black mire now to be sullen in.

Poet Anne Finch  in “The Spleen“: “Through thy black jaundice I all objects see / As dark, as terrible as thee”

 Henry David Thoreau: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

Shakespeare certainly understood acedia. It is one of the reasons I’m drawn to “Hamlet.” I feel at home from the opening scene when Francisco says “’tis bitter cold, And I am sick at heart.”

I realize that many of the characters I identify with suffer from acedia.

Hamlet:

How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world.  Act I, scene ii

Sherlock Holmes:

I cannot live without brain-work. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here. Was ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-coloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? The Sign of the Four” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Adrian Monk:

Don’t get me started on joy. When you’re older you’ll understand. Joy is a trick, a diversion. It doesn’t last forever. It breaks your heart every time. DAMN JOY!  “Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa”

It may seem strange, but reading this book really helped me. Kathleen Norris did a lot of research, but she also describes her own battle with acedia, her own ups and downs. Somehow, it helped to read that she has her own noontime demon, that others throughout history have struggled with this, that I am not alone.

What have I found that eases my acedia?  Meditation is very helpful, when I can do it. For me, meditation is one way to pray, and the medieval monks believed that prayer was the cure for acedia.

I often find that I cannot start with prayer or meditation, that I have to use another coping strategy first.

Like cleaning. Cleaning helps a lot, actually. It has something to do with physically changing my environment for the better; if I cannot do anything else, I can at least clean.

And then perhaps I can move on to something else.

Journaling. Writing. Quilting. Knitting. If I can get myself started, it is meditative for me, moving me into a more peaceful and positive place.

Painting. Photography. Collaging. Sketching. All of them help.

Sometimes the images created during these times are horrific, dark, and frightening. Sometimes they are surprisingly light and positive.

The very thing that blocks my creativity is healed by expressing my creativity. Just as the medieval monks found it difficult to pray when suffering from acedia, yet knew prayer was the cure.

The irony is not lost on me.

And so my battle continues with my own noonday demon.

Other things that almost always help? Talking with the Resident Sith Master. Talking with Anna-Liza.

And humor. Humor is essential.

So I think we’ll give Monk the last word: 

 From “Mr. Monk and the Actor”:

Dr. Kroger: And they canceled the movie [about you]?

Monk: [Ruskin] said he wanted to play a character who wasn’t so dark and depressing. [pause] He’s in England playing Hamlet.