I am currently going through a rough breakup from a 3 years relationship with a man that I loved and completely devoted my life to.
On my first weekend outing as the “third wheel” with my group of couples friends.. this was left in my hotel room by my housekeeper.
She has no idea what how much of an impact she just made on me. She has giving me more strength to get through this.
Cover art and design by Ron Miller.
The vendor-page copy will read:
"In this sequel novella to "Mira's Last Dance", Temple sorcerer Penric and the widow Nikys have reached safety in the duchy of Orbas when a secret letter from a friend brings frightening news: Nikys's mother has been taken hostage by her brother's enemies at the Cedonian imperial court, and confined in a precarious island sanctuary.
Their own romance still unresolved, Nikys, Penric, and of course Desdemona must infiltrate the hostile country once more, finding along the way that family relationships can be as unexpectedly challenging as any rescue scheme."
I don't have a firm release date yet, though I'm hoping for launch in not more than a few weeks. I will, of course, post the news here when it goes live.
Ron, by the way, has two books of his own out this month:
posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on October, 21
Please give a huge paws up to our Caturday Star kit, Percy. He is 8 weeks old from Enterprise, Alabama.
We decided to add a boy kitten back into our home (w/ 2 older female cats) after losing the most gorgeous, one-eyed, male Calico rescue EVER. After only 5 years he died from a congenital heart defect and I was absolutely crushed! He was my buddy! I decided then that I wasn’t going to adopt any more cats because it just hurt so much. I’m used to my cats living for 15 plus years and thought we’d grow old together.
My adult kids convinced me to adopt after many months and one of my daughters found this little boy. He is a sweet, laid-back, red Manx/American bobtail mix with a cute, short, hook of a tail. His mother abandoned her litter after 4 weeks. The first night I found that he’d made his way up onto my bed and was sleeping right next to my face. After just one day he started following me everywhere like a puppy might! I’m so glad we adopted him; I think we needed each other.
By Leo Babauta
Lately in my life, I’ve been repeatedly reminded of the power of practicing something regularly.
Daily is best, I’ve learned, but several times a week works well too.
You’d be surprised how much progress you can make with even a small amount of practice, applied regularly.
Some examples in my life recently:
- A daily yoga practice of just 10 minutes: I am not an experienced yogi, I’m very inflexible, and becuase I only practice yoga sporadically, I don’t really make any progress. But recently I committed to practicing yoga for just 10 minutes a day (a few sun salutations, mostly) … when I started, my shoulders would get exhausted in downward dog fairly quickly. But now, I’m able to hold the poses for longer without tiring as much! I’ve really seen some solid progress with just 10 minutes of daily practice. Of course, that’s not the point of yoga (it’s a mindfulness practice), but it’s still amazing to see that kind of progress.
- Running 3-4 times a week with Eva: Eva and I started doing a half-marathon training plan by No Meat Athlete about 6 or 7 weeks ago. We do 3-4 runs a week (depending on our schedules), and when we started out, we were both pretty out of shape. Eva had to stop a couple times even on a 2-mile run, and I was far from my peak running shape. But six weeks into it — just doing short runs — we can see a huge difference. At no point did we push ourselves too hard, but just doing it regularly really made a solid amount of progress.
- Studying go for just 10-20 minutes a day: I’ve been studying the ancient Chinese game of go this year, and I’m still very weak at it. Honestly, if I had more time to study, I might be much stronger. But instead, I’ve been just doing about 10-20 minutes of studying a day, and I’m still making noticeable progress with my calculating ability. Still not strong, but I’m getting stronger slowly, just putting in a minimal amount of study time.
- Chinups with my son 3 times a week: In the last couple of weeks, my 13-year-old son and I decided to do a chinups challenge. Three times a week, we do five sets of chinups during the day. When I started out, I could only do 10-11 chinups per set, but now I can do 16-17 each set. In less than two weeks. That kind of progress is encouraging.
- Daily focus sessions by a client: I have a coaching client who does daily focus sessions, training himself to focus on something longer. He just does 15-minute sessions every day, which isn’t a lot. But he’s seen his ability increase noticeably, even when he’s not doing a focus session.
Just a small amount of daily practice, or at least a few times a week. It’s powerful.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
- If you’re studying something, you forget less. It’s great to study for a couple hours, but if you don’t study for a few days after that, you’ll start forgetting. Daily study sessions, even if they’re short, interrupt the forgetting process. Therefore it’s more efficient, as you don’t slip backwards but keep making forward progress.
- If you are weak, you get stronger without injury. It’s hard to get stronger when you’re weak (at yoga, running, chinups, whatever). But small regular doses will get you stronger, slowly. If you give yourself big doses, hoping for faster progress, you’re more likely to get injured, burn out, or get demotivated because of the difficulty level. Slow and small is better.
- Progress isn’t noticeable in the first week, but it is after a couple of weeks. If you’re just giving yourself small training or study doses, you won’t see any difference at first. That’s OK, keep doing it. After a couple of weeks, you’ll notice some solid progress, and a month into it, you’ll see major improvement. Keep at it.
- Small doses make it easy to do daily. If you want to train for an hour a day, that is only sustainable for awhile. Eventually you’ll run out of energy, or things will get busy and you won’t have the time for your hourlong session. Maybe you’ll miss 2-3 days in a row — now you’ve lost motivation, and you’re discouraged. It’s better to do it in small doses, because it’s easier to get started when you know you’re just doing 10-15 minutes, and it’s easier to find the time and motivation for small sessions.
- Make sure it’s fun. Doing a chore is boring and hard, and you’ll put it off, even if it’s just a 10-minute session. Instead, don’t make it a chore that you have to get through. Make it a game that you look forward to doing. Or a mini-meditation session that brings peace to your life, a time to relax. Or a moment of magic and loveliness. Create an activity that you’ll look forward to.
Bring the magic of small, regular practice to your life.
My Habit Mastery Course
If you’d like to get better at habits and daily practice, please join my new video course, Habit Mastery, which is designed to help you practice and level up your habit skills.
It’s a 12-week course with two video lessons a week, daily practice, and interviews with 11 other amazing habit experts.
This is one of the best things I’ve ever created, and I really hope you’ll join me.
The course includes weekly Q&A where I answer your habit obstacle questions, a Facebook group for support from fellow participants, and 7 bonus ebooks. All of this for $299. The course will start on Monday Oct. 23 (but you can start anytime) … and it will run for 12 weeks.
What will we cover in this course? Basically, the goal is to get you from one level of mastery to the next:
- Beginner to Intermediate: You struggle to create habits, and feel a bit lost in sticking to anything over the long term. We’ll have you practice the basics and some key skills to overcome the most common beginner problems.
- Intermediate to Advanced: You have successfully created some habits, but often have them fall apart when things get disrupted, and struggle with more difficult habits. We’ll have you practice advanced skills, and your habits will get more solid overall.
- Advanced to Habit Master: You are pretty good at creating habits, but are in a place where you’re trying to optimize your day, and are dealing with the more dynamic aspects of habit creation. Also, you’d like to tackle some of the hardest habits — mental habits. You’ll practice these and be amazing at everything.
Of course, it will all depend on how much work you put into it, but with the video lessons, daily practice, Facebook support group and ability to ask questions … we believe you’ll be in the optimal conditions for getting good at habits.
According to the Guttmacher Institute:
Between 2008 and 2014, the overall U.S. abortion rate declined by 25%, from 19.4 to 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44. Key data points that may help explain this decline, including trends in unintended pregnancy, are not yet available for this time period. However, the available information suggests that improvements in contraceptive use—particularly among women aged 20–24, who account for one-third of unintended pregnancies in the United States—were an important driver behind the decline. Abortion rates declined among all demographic groups from 2008–2014, but the declines varied widely by group.
It's too bad that the necessary data to explain the decline isn't yet available, though note that the above excerpt singles out improvements in contraceptive use*. That the Affordable Care Act made contraception more affordable could well be part of the explanation. If it is, what the Trump administration is doing right now could reverse that falling trend.
Such an outcome should be the very opposite to what the so-called pro-lifers (who largely voted for Trump) want, if they indeed were motivated by the desire to reduce abortion rates.
But it sounds like the Trump administration has added an anti-contraception stance to its anti-abortion stance. Erin Gloria Ryan writes the following about a leaked memo which is supposed to have come from this administration:
If the Trump administration got its way, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) budget for family planning would be slashed, with “no other family planning programming for girls except fertility awareness methods.” Lapsed Catholics should remember the phrase “fertility awareness” from confirmation class; it’s just a scienced-up term for “the rhythm method,” a form of birth control that doesn’t work for one-quarter of couples who use it.Title X funding, which helps poor women afford contraception, would be slashed in half if Team Trump gets its way. Money would be diverted from sex education that emphasizes “risk reduction” and instead flow toward “sexual risk avoidance,” which is another term for “abstinence-only education.” Abstinence-only education doesn’t work. A report published this year declared the practice both “ineffective and unethical.”
Bolds are mine.
There was a time when I believed that writing about a conservative attempt to make birth control harder for women to access would be joining the tinfoil brigades. Sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case anymore.
I'd love to know who is behind this memo. Is it the extremist anti-contraception Catholics or some other fundamentalist group? Why do they appear to support policies which will cause suffering and poverty at home as well as abroad?
And what about the impact of such inherently stupid policies (not letting women avoid pregnancies they don't want) on overpopulation in poorer countries, on increased fights for arable resources and water, on higher levels of conflict, on greater levels of political radicalization, and ultimately on much vaster numbers of economic migrants?
The goals of world peace, global economic well-being and the empowerment of women both at home and abroad are all at risk if the Trump administration actually manages to reduce poorer women's access to contraception. But given what else we know about this administration's policies, this could well be the intended effect.
* Other explanations are possible, either alone or in combination with the one mentioned in the body of this post. For instance, the Republicans' strong push to make abortion unavailable in practice, however legal it might be in theory, could have resulted in larger numbers births to women with unplanned pregnancies. To gauge that theory, we need data on pregnancy rates. But the available evidence is more likely to support the explanation based on improved contraception use:
And contrary to what anti-abortion advocates might hope, this historically low abortion rate also does not mean that more people are choosing to carry their pregnancies to term instead of having abortions. The abortion rate in the United States has been declining for the last 25 years. As of data from 2011, unintended pregnancies have declined, and as of this past summer, the birth rate in the United States is at an all-time low.
Putting this behind a cut given the “Guy In Your Office Who Gives Weird Backrubs And Ends Every Sentence With ‘That’s What She Said’ Is Totally #IBelieveYou About Your #MeToo Social Media Posts” and “Pretty Much Every Movie You Loved In The 1990s Is Now Kinda Gross To Think About” week we’ve had.
Dear Captain Awkward,
I’m a lady who has been friends with this guy for about a decade. He moved away to a nearby city a few years ago for post doc work so most of our conversations are through WhatsApp and Skype. A couple times a year we’ll visit and sleep on each other’s couches. We’re both unattached hetero-ish opposite gendered folk, but I have talked about how I’m basically asexual and never looking for anyone and he’s looking for someone to marry and have babies with. So that’s been discussed while neatly avoiding the ‘I’m not into you like that’ more direct conversation. We have always just been normal friends who are friends. I really like hiking, and he’s one of my only friends who shares that hobby so it’s something we’ve also done a lot together. A decade. No issues.
We went on a weekend camping/hiking trip this summer, and on one of the days we trekked out to a beach that happened to be clothing optional. He asked me if I was OK with him being naked. I said that while I would rather be clothed myself, I didn’t mind in the context of our hanging out sunbathing and reading our respective books at a nude beach if he’d rather ‘run free’. Since then, he’s casually WhatsApp’d me a few articles that tangentially relate to nudism. It’s clearly on his mind. “Look-these Germans are totally fine with going to the sauna naked with co-workers!” Neat. “Hey, have you seen this BBC article about naked co-ed swimming pools in Poland? It’s nice they’re comfortable about perfectly natural human bodies.” Sure, that’s cool. “Isn’t it terrible how clothing is used as such a marker of class and social difference?” I guess that’s true. Why are we so weird about bodies? But also, I like my tyranny of clothing?
Then I went out for another visit. Crashed on the couch as ever. Everything perfectly non sexual. We talked philosophy, pop culture, politics, hiking, the usual. In the morning I was getting ready to leave and he came out of the shower while I was packing up. “Do you have the bus schedule?” I asked, and as he checked the times he just fully removed his towel-one-Mississippi-two-excruciating-
He moved apartments just after our trip, and I’d been asking to see what his new place looked like. “Give me the virtual tour!” I suggested. He WhatsApp’d back a five minute video. Wow, it does have great lighting! And there he is casually narrating how great the appliances are here and the closet space is there, and 4 minutes in, in full view of the mirrored closet doors but not looking at them, he’s just totally naked. Dick a swinging. OK, I thought. Plausible deniability… it was a heat wave. Maybe he wasn’t thinking about the mirrors? Maybe he was, and he’s just chill with the human body? I can’t be chill this way. But I said nothing. Pretended that wasn’t in there. “Love the counter-tops” I wrote.
A few weeks have gone by. Conversations on WhatsApp are normal. “Maybe we can do more camping and hiking next summer?” he asked. Maybe. A few days ago I sent him some photos of a new hiking bag I’d gotten. He’d been shopping too. “And on sale because it’s end of season!” declared the caption on a perfectly innocuous photo: a box of new hiking boots on his living room floor. I scrolled past it and replied “Those look way better than the old ones, how much?” And so it went. We move on to other topics. Politics. Hikes. OK, maybe I wouldn’t have to deal with this situation. Things are… fine? But going back through the photos today, I clicked on the boots image this time to see them better and there, in the now fully expanded view on my phone, was his dick. Just hanging out in the bottom corner of the image. NothingwrongwithbodiesbutcomeONadickisno
Lest I make you do the summarizing work yourself, here is a less full-picture but probably sufficient TLDR alternative:
Dear Captain Awkward,
I am a lady whose close decade long platonic friendship with a dude has taken an awkward turn. He lives out of town now, so we mostly communicate online with the odd visit to one another’s respective city. We both share a passion for hiking. We stopped by a clothing optional beach when hiking earlier in the year, and he asked if I was cool if he took advantage and let it all hang out whilst we sunbathed. I said that was fine, though I was gonna carry on wearing my clothes and enjoying my book. Since then he’s sent me a number of ‘isn’t nudism/naturism? great’ articles. OK, fine. What even are bodies anyway. The menace of class expression through clothing and the joy of non sexual naked bodies has been a recurring theme in his recent ‘check out this news link’ communication.
When I crashed at his place during my most recent visit, he let his towel slip for a moment too long after getting out of the shower, but I said nothing. A few weeks later he sent me a video tour of his new apartment where four minutes in he’s just casually and totally naked in the reflection of his mirrored closet doors. Just for a short few seconds. There was a heat wave. He’s maybe a nudist/naturist now? I was uncomfortable but pretended it didn’t happen. Now this week we exchanged innocuous ‘cool new hiking gear purchases!’ photos. But I realized upon expanding the shot of his hiking boots that his footwear was photo bombed by his dick. It’s autumn. There is no heat wave. Nudism surely does not equal what feels like stealth dick pics. WHAT DO?
Hi there! I included both the longer version and the TL;dr because you summed it up so well in both.
So, your friend is exploring nudism. Many people in the world are into that. There are clubs, days, events, hikes, bike rides, runs, online communities, resorts, and an entire Wikipedia page for “nude recreation.” Your friend can be free-falling and free-balling in the great outdoors as long as he a) finds like-minded people (i.e. not you) and b) he respects certain limits.
Speaking of limits, your friend is testing yours by repeatedly showing you his bathing suit area. He started with “accidentally-on-purpose” towel drops and escalated to “Oh hai, my apartment tour has some very special features!” Not cool. The chances that the hiking boots were accidentally photobombed by his junk approach .001%., though to be clear I don’t actually care if it was an accident.
We could spend a lot of time discussing his intentions, does he MEAN IT-mean it like, in a sexual way, or is it just part of his new lifestyle and he’s really comfortable with you vs. is he trying to be creepy/provocative, is it just a mistake where he thought because he asked you that one time that it’s okay forever, is it just that he’s too shy/socially awkward to ask you about it again (though somehow not too shy to do it). And, why stop at “shy/socially awkward” as descriptors? Why not dive into his entire psychological makeup and history for explanations so we can find a diagnosis that would make this somehow less his fault? Or, we could try to separate a clear pattern of behavior into totally unique isolated incidents that definitely do not have anything to do with each other and definitely do not have anything to do with gender or misogyny or culture. We could write it all off as probably “harmless,” we could discuss body positivity and why are people so weird about a little bit of nudity it’s not all sexual/why are we making it that way with our dirty minds and narrow-minded upbringing, are we some kind of prudes or something? We could do the 1,000 other absurd, exhausting mental and emotional gymnastics where we deep-dive into the intentions and feelings of men and try to find the most reasonable, gentle, benefit-of-the-doubt approach that won’t startle them or make them feel bad for even a second about the things they do to women.
I think there are two questions women can ask themselves when a man does something that creeps them out that are way better than “but did he MEAN IT-mean it”:
- Does he do this behavior to other men? Do his dad or his boss or his male buddy have to say “Whoa dude, consider the pants” when they chat with him?
- Do we think he’s doing even a tenth of the emotional labor in this situation that you are? 1/100th? 1/1000th?
This week has felt like a century. I don’t know about y’all but I’m done with doing this much work around men behaving badly.
Here are the facts:
1) Your friend repeatedly exposed himself to you.
2) You don’t like it and you want it to stop.
That’s enough. That’s enough to block him from your life if you want to without any further communication or work on your part. It’s enough to change whole story to “I had this really lovely friend for 10 years but then it got weird between us and we’re not friends anymore.”
It’s certainly enough to send him a text that says: “Can you make sure to put on clothes if we’re going to video-chat? Thanks.”
- “Can you make 100% sure that your penis doesn’t show up in photos you share with me, thanks.”
- “I’m glad you’re enjoying all that. I don’t really like reading or talking about it with you, so you should find someone else to send these articles to.”
- Also, while we’re talking, that hiking day at the clothing optional beach was a one-time thing for me, please opt for pants when we’re talking or hanging out in the future.”
- “I don’t like that.” = Good general script for unwanted nudes.
If your friend has sad or embarrassed feelings about what he’s done…okay? Good? He should feel some awkwardness about making his friend so uncomfortable? He should be the one writing to advice columnists right now about how he’s really into this new hobby and he’s afraid and uncomfortable about maybe fucking up a great friendship by getting carried away with it and constantly showing her his penis, so, how can he apologize and how can he make it right.
Honestly, if you tell him to knock this off, “I’m really sorry I made you uncomfortable” + STOPPING THE BEHAVIOR AND DROPPING THE SUBJECT IMMEDIATELY & FOREVER = is pretty much the only acceptable reaction from him. If he gives you an iota of pushback about this, your friendship is probably over. “Wait, did you think I was harassing you? I was just enthusiastic about my fun hobby!” = “Cool story. But now you know that I don’t like it, so, STAHP.”
If that pushback becomes about how this is all your fault somehow, like “But you said it was okay that day when we were hiking, it’s not fair for you to change the rules on me now” or “I didn’t think you were such a prude,” we’ve crossed over into friendship-is-over-with-extreme-
I’m so sorry, this sucks and none of it is your fault. Neither his penis nor his feelings are your work to manage.
I plan to write about the #MeToo hashtag more later, but right now it seems useful to point out that the hashtag (used on Facebook and Twitter to denote that the woman (or man) posting or tweeting it has also been the target of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence) does not directly measure the percentage of all women (or of all men and women) who have experienced sexual harassment or sexual violence. That's because a) not every person is on social media, aware of the hashtag or willing to use it, and b) there's no comparable #MeNeither hashtag that those would use who have had no such experiences or at least do not recall them.
For us to get more accurate data of the overall prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual violence, as well as on how such behaviors are divided into, say, street harassment and workplace/school harassment, we still need surveys based on random sampling from the general population.
What the #MeToo hashtag tells us is that sexual harassment, at least, seems to be pretty common. But it cannot tell us exactly how common*, and it cannot tell us what percentage is of the Weinstein-type harassment taking place at work or at school, possibly by individuals who have career-breaking power over the target, and what type consists of, say, street harassment by strangers.
This seemed worth writing, because I have come across a few essays asking if anything at all could be done about a phenomenon which appears so ubiquitous. That kind of despondency is unwarranted, in my opinion.
* Both because the hashtag doesn't measure the percentage of all women who have experienced sexual harassment and/or sexual violence and because it doesn't differentiate between one experience and several experiences per each respondent.
Please join me to give a huge TDK welcome to our Star Kit for today, Irma Bell. She is an 8 week old Calico from Leesburg, Georgia.
Irma Bell was brought to me during the hurricane Irma storm. Some people said they found her on their steps. They also said the mom had left her but I believe they got her and didn’t want her anymore. I like to think its was Gods gift to me because the animal shelter is right next door to the office I was at when they brought her in.
The headline says it all: The Dispatcher is an Amazon Deal of the Day, so you can get it for under a buck on the Kindle. What a deal! But it’s only for the day (October 19, 2017), and it’s for the US and Canada. I’m not sure if the price applies on other retailers today, so you’d have to check it out for yourself. Regardless, if you’ve not picked up this novella yet, today is a good day to do so. Enjoy!
In the most recent installment of Trump-scapades, we are told that Trump's telephone call with the widow of a slain US soldier, Sgt. La David T. Johnson, might have gone in a way most atypical of condolence calls:
Without very clear proof to the contrary, I'm going to believe Sergeant Johnson's mother and Congresswoman Wilson. That's because the quote sounds like Trump. He has always had difficulty expressing empathy or sympathy, as if he was trying to speak a language he didn't know very well.Twelve days after four Americans were killed in an Oct. 4 ambush in Niger, the president called the widow of Sgt. La David T. Johnson, who was among the slain, and said that her husband “knew what he signed up for,” referring to the soldier only as “your guy,” according to Sergeant Johnson’s mother and a Democratic congresswoman, who both listened to the call.Mr. Trump angrily disputed that account, insisting that he “had a very nice conversation with the woman, with the wife, who sounded like a lovely woman.” The White House accused the congresswoman, Frederica S. Wilson of Florida, of politicizing a sacred ritual after Mr. Trump initially said she “fabricated” it.
That inability to empathize was clearly discernible during his presidential campaigning. So all who voted for him knew what they signed up for.