Saturday, January 31, 2009


Ok, I know yesterday I had a bit of a rant about "addictions." And having a post about Current Addictions the very next day may seem a bit hypocritical. But really, the current addictions idea(stolen from Brazen) is just too grand to ignore.

In the month of January, I was addicted to:

SCENTED CANDLES During my purging sessions, I noted that I have tons of scented candles that I never use. It's like I save them for special occasions. But really, when am I going to throw a party in my studio apartment? I light a candle or two every night when I get home from work, now. Even if only for 10 minutes. It's nice.

MIXED NUTS For Christmas, I made several batches of Chex Mix and had a lot of mixed nuts left over. Simultaneously, I'm trying to eat a little better and I am packing snacks for work so I don't become like a lunatic and eat cookies or candy in the afternoon. Enter the mixed nuts. You know what? They are delicious! And keep me full longer. And delicious! They rock.

PEANUT BUTTER Thank goodness I'm not allergic to nuts, eh? I'd have nothing to blog about. I'm also doing protein shakes for dinner since I don't get home until between 9 and 9:30 pm. But I was finding I'd wake up around 2 am STARVING! Until I started throwing a teaspoon of peanut butter into my protein shake. No shit! One teaspoon of peanut butter and I sleep like a baby.

ROCK OF LOVE BUS It's so bad. But it's so good. Watching Brett Michaels talk about his hair extensions just makes my week. It's quality entertainment at its absolute finest!

SCRUBS I was sooo happy when I found out Scrubs is returning. J and I have to DVR Scrubs because we laugh so hard that we miss half the show and have to keep rewinding it. Plus, it fills my need for nerd-crushes. Oh Zack Braff! I could throw Nerd under the bus for you!

Now there's a reality show I'd audition for: riding on a bus competing for the love of a complete nerd! Oh, the scrabble tournaments, the Simpson's trivia contests, the race challenges: (take out the contacts, fill the humidifier, check the expiration date on the inhaler, and turn on the white-noise machine). Would anyone watch this show? Or would Zack and I be cancelled in the middle of the first season?

Happy last day of January, everyone! Looking forward to February.

Friday, January 30, 2009

ARTIST WAY: WEEK FIVE (and addendum)

I thought last week was hard with the reading deprivation. Last week was a cake walk compared to this week.

Weeks one through four looked a lot at re-discovering the things we used to love to do, exploring people or events through our lives that made us stop doing those things we love, and tentatively trying to do them again, in baby steps. Nice, gentle, nurturing with some challenges thrown in.

Week five makes you get real. Week five make you take a good hard look at yourself. Although those people and experiences in your past have contributed to you being stuck now, the only person who keeps you stuck is you. (Or, well, ME)

Week five is about telling the truth. And sometimes the truth is hard to face.

Like how I'm constantly saying I need to break my Diet Coke addiction. How by drinking too much Diet Coke, I don't drink enough water. How sometimes I'm too jacked up to sleep. But the truth is: I like being wired! I like constantly moving and being busy. I like being able to say: "I have so much going on now! My days are packed from beginning to end!" And if I stopped drinking Diet Coke, then maybe I couldn't be so busy. Maybe I'd sit still. And if I sat still, then...I'd be sitting still! By drinking all this Diet Coke, I can stay stuck in this mindset that I have to rely on an outside source for my movement, my inspiration, my resolve. And I don't really have to rely on myself. So I keep drinking it. Even though its bad for me.

And then there was the night we went out to eat 2 weeks ago. It was me, Isabella, and her neighbor Ellen. Ellen was talking about this guy who she dated in high school, and then again after they both graduated from college and lived in the same town. They eventually went their separate ways. He moved to another state, got married, built a little life for himself. Then, out of the blue, he contacts her through her Facebook page, says he's getting divorced, and he's been thinking about her all these years. She's talking about this guy, getting all glow-y and excited about it, and contemplating moving to another state to be with him.

Isabelle is talking about this guy she's (sort of) dating. He's kind a big wig in her industry. He travels a lot and teaches classes and is super smart and interesting. And he calls her whenever it's convenient for him. Never when it's convenient for her. As a matter of fact, she's very rarely ever able to get a hold of him. When it's not convenient. For him.

And me -- I'm talking about Nerd. Nerd who I'm not dating. But I'm more than friends with. I think. Maybe. Sort of. Kinda. But boy does he make me laugh!

I was sitting at this table, eating wonderful food, with these two smart, beautiful, funny, great girls, and having the most ridiculous conversation. None of us, not one of the three of us, was in a real relationship. Yet we were all hanging onto our fake relationships and talking them up to each other. What the hell is wrong with us?

This week, I thought about this a lot. The truth is, I like my fake relationship. I like that I don't have to think about somebody else when I make plans. I like that I have nothing to lose because I have nothing invested. I really like to laugh. He makes me laugh. He's a great guy. I cheating myself out of something more because I stay stuck in a fantasy that this nothing is really something more? Many of my married friends talk about how I need to invest more time into this relationship and he should, too. And I let them talk as if it's not actually a fake relationship. I think it makes THEM feel better. (And see? See how easy it is to blame somebody or something outside of yourself? Instead of facing your own responsibility?)

Then there's the issue of Nerd, himself. He's a guy. Let's face it. He's not sitting at home pondering if he's being fair to himself or fair to me or fair to his friends. He's probably eating a sausage sandwich, drinking a beer, and watching "This Week in Science". (Did you think I was going to say football? He's a NERD!)

The whole point is: the three of us are stuck in our fantasy fake relationships, even though we ALL know they aren't real. Because it's easier that way. Because they are bones to throw to family and friends who keep wondering when we are going to settle down. Because we truly do like the people the fantasies are built around. And because nobody is getting hurt by any of this. Except maybe ourselves?

Oh, my head hurts.
**Ok, I just read what I posted earlier. And I wanted to point out that even though my post seemed to imply that I had a rough week, swimming around in a pool of existential angst, I actually had a great week! Even though it's tough to admit to yourself that things-in-your-life you-feel-you-have-no-control-over may, in fact, be things-you-have-chosen-subconsciously; it's also very enlightening.
It's easier when you can say to yourself: "Hmm. Maybe listening to Guns and Roses and drinking a bottle of diet coke while I drive home from a yoga class is counter-productive. Maybe I should listen to Jack Johnson and drink water." And then if I go and listen to Axl Rose and chug soda anyway, at least I realize it was my choice to do so. And I can accept it and forget about it, not feel guilty later on that night.
Or if a friend asks what Nerd and I are doing this weekend, I can just say "I don't know. We didn't make any plans and I don't know what he's doing." Without feeling like I need to spin it somehow.
And once those things aren't weighing on your mind, life is a little sweeter. I had a sweet week!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Here Kitty Kitty...part 2

After the cat came over for movies and popcorn, he started dropping by whenever he wanted. I had no say in the matter.

He liked coming by to sit on the sofa and watch TV with me. He liked to come in late and sleep on the bed. And he really liked getting something to eat. Whatever I was eating, he demanded a bit of it: "MEOW! MEOW!" I learned not to leave anything out on the counters after I came home from work to see that my package of muffins was now just a...package.

Eventually, I started opening cans of tuna for him.

And I always talked about "that cat." As in: "If that cat thinks he's moving in, he's sadly mistaken. I do not like cats. I like dogs. I do not want a cat. Not even that one."

Eventually somebody pointed out that if I continued to feed that cat tuna, he'd never leave. So I decided to get rid of him. I went to the store and bought the cheapest dry cat food they had. After the tuna, once he got a taste of it, he'd leave and never come back.

He loved the dry cat food. He actually preferred it over tuna.

I finally surrendered and declared him my pet when I noticed we had a night time ritual: I got up to turn off the TV and he ran into the bathroom. I turned on the water and let it drizzle while I brushed my teeth. He batted at the stream of water with his paw while I brushed. When I needed to spit, I made a *kiss-kiss* noise and he moved out of the way. Then went back to playing with the water. When I put my toothbrush away, he made a bee-line for the bed and jumped up, expanding himself spread eagle across the bed. Then he'd look up at me like: "This is mine. Where are you sleeping?"

I figured I should stop calling him that cat and choose a name. He was all black with white feet, a white face, and a white bib. I was leaning toward "Socks", but Chris pointed out that no cat in his right mind would walk around outside in just his socks. Then I suggested "Boots", but Chris pointed out that only his feet were white, not the lower part of his legs. SO then, I told Chris that maybe he should just name the cat. And from then on that cat was known as "White Shoes".

Tonite, the moon looked amazing! I had a wonderful show while I was driving home from work.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

weekly writing assignment

Good try, Diane, but yesterday's quote was actually stolen from Kelly Bundy, from Married with Children. Yeah, I know that I'm dating myself by quoting from a show 20 years old, but come on! It's Married with Children! It paved the way for The Simpsons, South Park, and Family Guy. And strangely, the Bundys were more cartoonish than any of the characters in the animated series. (Plus, it's kind of quaint that 20 years ago, skanks were created by writers and played --superbly --by sweet, wholesome girls like Christina Applegate. Now we have reality TV for our skank fix.)

Ok, now that that's out of the way, it's time to play the writing game with Mamakat:

This week's chosen prompt is to write about a stray animal you brought in:

When I lived in Washington state, I came dangerously close to becoming the crazy old cat lady. A fact made all the more sad because I was in my 20's at the time. My friend, Adam told me to just give up. "Once that cat lady thing begins", he said, "you may as well just fill your apartment up with newspapers and TV dinner trays. There's no turning back."

Adam has absolutely no idea what he is talking about.

I lived in an apartment that had a very strange window set up: it was hinged at the top and opened outward like an awning. There was also a window screen with a mini-hinged section. You stuck your hand out through the mini-hinged section to access the handle on the glass part of the window. It kind of looked like a pet door. Which is what it eventually became.

Even stranger than the window design was it's placement. It opened up over a walkway that ran in front of the apartments. It really wasn't the safest plan in the world: somebody could easily climb under the window, push out the screen, and crawl into my bedroom. (I know because I did it once when I locked my keys inside.) And for about 6 months, my next door neighbors were drug dealers. They slept until about 2 pm and emerged, puffy eyed and blinking into the sunlight about 30 minutes before it set. They got a steady stream of visitors (walking right past my hinged window thing-y) from 10 pm 'till 3 am.

This was my living situation when I awoke at 2 am by a THUMP-BUMP. I kind of looked around, wondered if I had dreamed the thump, and settled down to go back to sleep. That's when something jumped on my bed! I was literally airborne, arms and legs flailing to get out from under the covers, and planning a mad dash to the door when I heard "Meow." Oh. Whew. Just a cat. My last thought before I fell back asleep was: "I sure hope that cat doesn't have fleas."

At 6 am the next morning when my alarm went off, the cat (who had been sleeping curled up in the small of my back) got up, walked over to the window, opened the mini-hinged section with his little paw, and THUMP-BUMP walked out.

Later that week, I was watching a movie with my friend, Chris. I was telling him about my feline nocturnal visitor. He looked at me sideways and said "A cat opened the window with his paw, walked into your apartment, slept on your bed, and then let himself out in the morning?"


"Uh-huh. I think you should stop drinking NyQuil before bed."

Not only did this cat have amazing paw-dexterity, but perfect timing as well. Because as soon as Chris finished the word "bed": THUMP-BUMP, who should come strolling out of the bedroom with his tail in the air?

He let out a big "Meow", jumped up on the sofa between me and Chris, and pulled a few kernels of popcorn out of the bowl for himself. He hung out and watched the movie with us before letting himself out again.

That was just the beginning...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday's Bad Dates (Bill)

After my horrible date with Adam, you'd think I'd have learned to never go out with anyone from the gym. Ever. Again. But I'm kind of slow that way.

I am the person who, at age 26, looked at my friend, Kristen, and said: "Hey! Their last name isnt' Doobie! I bet they aren't even brothers, either!" Sadly, I probably still wouldn't have put that puzzle together if I hadn't been on Myrtle Beach with the Doobie Brothers blasting out of the speakers just as some fraternity jack-asses walked by wearing shirts with Fred Flintsone on the back declaring "Yabba Grabba Doobie". Oh? Oh. Oh! "Hey! Their last name isn't Doobie..."

But, I digest. *
*(Extra points to anyone who can name who I stole that line from)

Yes, I met --let's call him Bill -- at the gym. I hadn't instituted the "no gym rats" rule yet. Plus, he was talking to my friend, Reggie, who is wicked pissa. I automatically assumed excellence by association.

I used to work with Reggie in a hospital in Boston. He was wonderful to work with. He's smart and funny and a hard worker. Plus, he's about the size of the guy from The Green Mile. We'd have 4 people about to give ourselves hernias trying to haul a gigantic patient out of bed. Then, sweaty and about to keel over, we'd call in Reggie. He'd get the person out of bed with one hand while drinking a latte with the other. Now I see him at the gym every now and then. I either give him a wave or a "Hi" or maybe a hug if neither of us are sweaty. He's great.

On this particular day, Reggie was talking with Bill. He introduced me and said we used to work together and told Bill how great I am. I told Bill that no, Reggie was great. And then we all went our seperate ways to work out.
(Oh--and by the way, Reggie is married. Just in case you are thinking "why doesn't this clueless chick just go for Reggie" )

Several days later, I ran into Bill again at the gym. "Seen Reggie?" he asked.

"Nope, you?"


Then I asked him how he knew Reg, since he already knew I worked with him. Turns out, he grew up nearby and was friends with Reggie's brother.

Ok. Guess there's really nothing left for us to talk about so...

Oh? He wants to go out sometime? Again, I had no real desire to, but I was still on the "I have no idea what I am doing" kick, so I figured whatever. Plus, I couldn't think of any reason why not.

So I said "Why not?"

Of course, NOW I can think of a reason why not. I can think of SEVERAL reasons why not.

to be continued...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday's simplicity

I know it's only January, but this whole getting rid of one thing a day is going quite well and easily. I may be singing a different tune in September, but for now, I'm all happy. I find that as I clear out the clutter, I'm thinking more clearly, I'm relaxing a bit more, and ideas are flowing into my head. 'Course, that may be because of the Artists Way journey I'm on, but I think the clearing out of the old to make way for the new has a bit to do with it, as well.

This week, I focused on my little office-alcove area. (Since my apartment is a studio-type loft thing, I don't have a seperate room for an office. It's a much smaller area with a much longer name: office-alcove-area. Say it 10 times fast. It's fun!)


Jan 19: Under the bookshelf, I have a couple baskets where I keep electronics stuff. I went through the baskets and got rid of the plastic cases from my ipod that fell out of my gym bag and sat in a frozen puddle all night (the day before a 20 mile training run UGH!) and the other ipod that got stolen out of my jeep over the summer. Yeah, that makes 3 ipods for me. Fortuneately, the prices keep going down. I NEED my ipod. But I don't need to keep the cases. (recycle bin)

Jan 20: Over in the corner, I have a boom box and a CD case. (Sometimes I'm old school) I got rid of a couple jewel cases that were still hanging around. (recycle bin)

Jan 21: Back to the bookcase. On top is where I keep my hats. 2 baseball hats to the donation bag.

Jan 22: Over to the desk drawer. (This was very messy and disgusting. It's a wonder I could find anything in there. Suprisingly, I didn't throw out half the drawer) Only some now-defunct business cards from old acquaintences and an ink cartridge for a printer I no longer own. tossed

Jan 23: Today, I brought the now-full bag of clothes to the Goodwill

Jan 24: I moved on over to the bathroom today. (thas IS a seperate room. Because a toilet-alcove area would just be wrong) In the medicine cabinet, I got rid of a bunch of contact cases. How many of these does one person need? They're plastic, though, so they are recyclable.

Jan 25: I went over to my brother's house because my neice needed help with her health class homework. I have no idea from where the teacher downloaded the crossword puzzle for the kids homework, but I think "integumentary system", "epithelial cells", "thalmus", "thyroid", and "anterior cruciate ligament" are a bit advanced for 10 year olds. Especially since none of the answers could be found in the 5th grade text book. Anyway, it was the perfect opportunity to return the tupperware I had cleaned out of my kitchen cabinets a couple weeks ago.

Jan 26: Laundry day! One load today, one article of clothing. I honestly did not want to get rid of anything in the laundry basket. So I hit the dresser and put a pajama top into a new donation bag.

Whew! I'm feeling so much lighter and fluffier! Getting rid of stuff is like fabric softener for the brain.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Honest Scrap

Tonite, I decided that my week long reading deprivation had gone on long enough, and I started reading blogs like a starving man let loose in an all you can eat buffet. And Lo and Behold! I found that Lacey had passed along a little blog award.

I'm supposed to name 10 random things about myself. So, here goes:

1) My favorite food is broccoli. It has been since I was three.

2) I love beer. But only micro-brew beer. I'm one of those people who know exactly what beer to pair with whatever food we are having.

3) I hate shopping.

4) And shoes.

5) And purses.

6) I also have no idea to use styling tools to do my hair. I just kind of let it air dry and fluff it with my fingers.

7) Nerd has way more hair styling products than me.

8) And a better sense of style, as well.

9) I think one of my X chromosomes is fractured in some way to produce the above combination.

10) I've been batting around the idea of adding a weekly feature to my blog about how clueless I am when it comes to "girly" things. Like dressing nice, walking in heels, and primping.

ANd now, significantly more humbled than when I started this post, I pass the award along to:





Saturday, January 24, 2009

slippy sloppy winter days

I was all set to take some pictures today as I drove around doing my errands. But sometimes winter in New England isnt so picture perfect.
Sometimes, after a week of just-above freezing days and below-freezing nights, of sand and salt trucks blanketing the roads and parking lots to keep everyone from sliding into ditches, the lovely white snow turns into disgusting brown and gray slop. The garage turns into a quagmire. The front entryway of the house turns into a sand pit.
These are the kind of days that you'd just assume forget about.
These are the kind of days that make you defeat your two hour gym workout with a night in front of oxygen TV with a giant bag of M&Ms.
Oh, when is spring?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Artists Way Week Four

One of the assignments for this week is to: stop reading for a week. Yes, you read that correctly: NO READING FOR A WEEK! The idea being that we fill ourselves up with daily quotas of media chat and fluff and other bits and pieces of nonsense. Yes, there is certainly quality reading material and thought provoking novels mixed in, as well. But, in a sense, we all use reading to numb ourselves out the same way an overweight teenager uses junk food.
In a cruel twist of fate, my week of reading deprivation landed on the same week as the inauguration. So as much as I wanted to read about what was unfolding in the first few days of the administration, I was banned from doing so.

It's tricky: when you aren't reading and trying to whittle down the "to read" pile, it's tempting to fill up that time with TV. But that's just another name for the same thing. The idea is to be alone with our thoughts, instead of blocking them out.

I did have a lot of time to organize and sort, to clean and do laundry, and to think. Then I started looking around a bit. And I remembered some things I was GOING to do but forgot. I dipped into the project box and knocked off a couple of small ones. I hung up a picture. I brought out some valentine's decorations I had downstairs. I puttered.

I thought the hardest part would be at the gym. I'm used to tuning out and reading a magazine while doing cardio. Strangely, it wasn't that hard. Without my magazine shield, I was able to tune into my body a bit more and ended up having a few great workouts!

With 2 more days of reading deprivation ahead, I'm planning on having a productive weekend.

But I'm looking forward to getting back to everyone's blogs next week! I miss y'all!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A memorable feast

Last Friday, I went to a ridiculously expensive, fancy resturant in Manhattan. I ate at this restaurant once before, last year, and it was THE most expensive meal I have ever eaten. As of last Friday, that would be the second most expensive meal.

The restaurant, called Tabla, is advertised as "American food with Indian spices". I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean, exactly, but I am sure it is amazing! We ordered the chef's tasting menu, which is 7 scaled down courses of seasonal foods. At first, you look at the shot-glass sized helping of mushroom soup and the one cracker with water chestnut and pate and think "I guess I'll be stopping at Micky D's on the way home. There's no way this will fill me up."

But there are seven courses! They just keep coming and coming and coming. ANd each was more delicious than the last. I would say it was nothing less than a taste explosion in my mouth.

It's funny. One entree would taste very distinctive. Then you would taste it with a bit of the side and it would taste completely different! The complementing flavors of the two foods combined to make something far greater than the sum of its parts. Finally, you'd take a sip of wine, and even more flavors would come out! I was quite simply, awed by the mastery of food displayed at this place.

ANd for a combo birthday/ Xmas present, my friend, Isabelle got me the restaurant's cookbook. So maybe someday soon, I'll have to try to make a masterpiece of my own.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Picture Perfect Wednesday

Monday, driving home from New Jersey, I was thinking: "I hate snow. I am so done with winter. That's it: I'm moving to Arizona!"
And then, I drove by a field and my heart fluttered a little. I caught my breath. I broke out in goosebumps. And I turned the jeep around so I could go back and take a picture.
I drove the rest of the way home thinking: "Snow is so beautiful. I love winter! I am so lucky to be living here."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

tuesday's bad dates (Adam, part II)

So today we start anew with new hope. Hope for a turn-around in the way things are going in this country. And hope for an end to horrible dates like the one I had with Adam.

After Adam asked me out seemingly out of left field, there was the question of what to do. It was late September and since I live in New England, late September always starts a vague sense of panic in my gut. Only so many more nice days before the cold weather sets in! Gotta take advantage of every last second of warmth!

So we agreed upon what, to me, is a perfect date idea: kayaking. (The very fact that kayaking is a perfect date to me may explain why I am so bad at dating) There's a nearby state park that offers kayak rentals and it's located near a nice breakfast place. SO the plan was to meet for breakfast and then go to the park for kayaking. Excellent!

Of course, that Saturday dawned on a rainy, windy day. It wasn't POURING, but it was pretty steady. It wasn't BLUSTERY, but there was a steady breeze. Not ideal for a day outdoors, but definitely do-able. I gathered my outdoor gear and a rain jacket and headed out the door.

I pulled into the restaurant at 9:30 on the dot, just as we agreed upon. Inside, I found Adam, dressed in slacks, a sweater, and dress shoes. He looked at me, looked at his watch, and told me that I was "Almost late."

"Almost late!", I said, "That's also known as on time!"

He didn't laugh.

"So," he said, "In light of the weather, what do you want to do?"

"I bought rain gear!" I replied. "I have a rain coat for me and one for you, too. But if you don't want to spend the day outside in the rain, I will totally understand."

"I hope you don't mind, but I really don't want to kayak in the rain."

"That's okay," I said, "Let's get some food and figure out what to do from there."

We got a table and some menus and he looked at my kayaking clothes. "You could have dressed a little nicer. This is a date. Aren't you supposed to be trying to impress me?"

I was incredulous. "Um, we were supposed to go KAYAKING! That's what I dressed for. And no, I don't think I'm supposed to be trying to IMPRESS you. I think we're supposed to be getting to know each other."

"Well, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that one."

At this point, we have just gotten glasses of ice water and he has managed to insult me no fewer than 3 times. This was not looking good. I busied myself studying the menu.

After we ordered, he proceeded to tell me that I shouldn't be eating french toast or I'd lose my "cute figure." Now he's complimenting me and insulting me at the same time!

I managed to steer the conversation around to work (he was a landscaper), family (he had two sisters), and what we did last week (it was his birthday).

"Oh!" I said. "Happy birthday! And it was a big birthday for you! Did you have a big party or go out on the town?"

"No" he said, "just a quiet dinner with the family. Why was it a big birthday?"

"Because you turned 40."

"No I didn't."

"Um....yes, you did."

"No I didn't."

"You told me you were 39. Which would make that your 40th birthday."

"I'm not 39. Do I look 39?"

"No" I said, "You don't."

"Do I look older or younger?"

"Actually you look older." (Didn't we already have this conversation like, a week ago?)

"Then why did you think I was 39?"

"Because you TOLD me you were 39."

"No I didn't."

"Yes, Adam, you DID. Why would I assume you were 39 when I already told you you don't look 39."

"I don't know."

"I do: because you told me you were 39. You asked me how old I was and I said 37. Then you told me that you were 39."

"Why would I tell you that?"

"I have no idea!"

"Well I'm not 39. I'm 48."

"Yeah?" I said, "You look 48."

"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"

(Is this the freaking twilight zone? We already had this conversation. A week ago!)

"It isn't a good thing or a bad thing. It's just -- you know what? It's a good thing. You're 48 and you look 48. Good for you. Congratulations. Happy Birthday."

Then he asks: "So have you thought of what you want to do after we eat?"

"You know," I said, "Let's just call it a day. I don't think this is going to go anywhere."

"Really?" he asks "I'm having a really good time. I like talking to you. I thought you were enjoying yourself, too."


Monday, January 19, 2009

Simply MLK


I have to admit, that I had planned on writing a snarky comment today about how I got rid of President George Bush in my simplicity post. However, as I drove back from New Jersey today, flipping the radio between stations, I heard a number of things: preparation for tomorrow's inauguration, the "I have a dream" speech, and talk radio hosts encouraging people to do everything in their power to make sure Barrack Obama cannot do anything without a fight. And I thought, you know, I've been guilty of similar thinking in the past. While I did not sport a 1/20/09 bumper sticker on my car, I thought about getting one. I rolled my eyes when I watched the news. I more than once uttered the worst. president. ever. phrase.

And I thought back to his farewell address earlier in the week. While I certainly have not agreed with many (any) of his policies, he was NOT a bad man. I truly believe that he was trying to do a good job, no matter what the end result. And I thought, I don't want to be one of those angry, sarcastic, snarky people. That's certainly not what Martin Luther King jr was talking about. That's certainly not what Barrack Obama needs. And I'm sure that's not the way George W. Bush wants to be remembered. SO instead of "getting rid of George", today I'd like to get rid of the polarization that I have contributed to over the past 8 years, and replace it with a chance of healing our fractured psyche.

Jan 13: Still working on the plastic utensils. Got recycled the soup spoons today and brought 2 more magazines to the gym.

Jan 14: LAST of the utensils. One more baggie of forks. Recycled the aluminum. Also, recycled 2 catalogs from the magazine basket to the gym.

Jan 15: Brought the plastic recycling in from the front hallway. 2 more magazines.

Jan 16: Laundry day! 2 loads, 2 towels into the donation pile.

Jan 17: Down in NJ. Gave Isabella a book from my "already read, but give away" pile.

Jan 18: Guess what? Another book!

Jan 19: In addition to throwing away my old attitude, I also went through my pile of potential continuing ed fliers, narrowed it down to the ones I WOULD definitely be attending, and put the rest in my work bag. One less pile in the house.

Good luck to us all tomorrow and the next 4 years.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hanging out in New Jersey with my college roommate, Isabelle. We ate ourselves silly and had (dramatic pause) raspberry martinis, which is really just a little bit of heaven in a glass. Then we proceeded to watch the DVDs of Dark Shadows (the 1990 remake of the 1960's show) and it was just as bad --scratch that, even worse -- than we remembered. It's funny how when you get together with certain friends, it's like you are teenagers all over again. We've decided that on our next birthdays, we are turning 21!
Happy MLK day, everyone!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Artist's Way

This week's Artist's Way assignment was a good one! Really makes you think. Whether you've heard of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron or not, it's a fun exercise. (Might make a good meme if anyone is strapped for post ideas) ANYWAY....

Name 5 People You Admire:

1) Jimmy Carter: I just find him fascinating! How many other people can say that being president of the United States really was NOT their greatest accomplishment? He has done so many incredible things. And he seems to be such a good person. I remember watching him on Jon Stewart and he talked about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro on his 70th birthday! And climbing to the second Everest base camp on his 60th. What a cool guy!

2) Dr. L: A doctor at work. He is so smart and personable and genuinely cares about all his patients. I also think he has a photographic memory because he knows all of his patients by sight and can rattle off all the meds they are on without batting an eye. While I have to pull out their charts and re-read what I wrote 3 weeks ago because everybody just becomes a blur in my head. (thank goodness for pens) But most of all, he has a very creative, out of the box, approach to medicine and I think alot of the success his patients experience is because of this. I would like to be more like him.

3) My college friend, Pig. Pig had a 4.0 in undergrad and then went into medical research after college. She was also training for Ironmans. She finished I think 30th for women in the Ironman in Kona, Hawaii. You know, the big, televised race? She had sponsors and was featured in the tri-magazines and all the while held down a full time job, as well. A very HARD full time job. Eventually, she stopped training so hard and went back to med school where she again, had a 4.0. Now she does surgeries on crazy athletes like herself. She's the most focused person I've ever met. I admire her ability to focus all her energy and keep her eyes unwavering on a goal.

4) My friend, Wheelie. I met Wheelie when I worked on a spinal cord injury floor at a hospital. He taught a class there. He broke his neck when he was in college and has only partial use of his arms, nothing in his legs or trunk. He goes camping and scuba diving and bike riding and kayaking. I can't keep up with him. Plus, he's smart and funny and has a magnetic personality. He always has some kind of scheme cooking. And I know that I only know a small fraction of all the crazy things he is perpetually juggling. Ever have a friend who you feel honored to be friends with? That's Wheelie.

5) Bliss I met her out in California through a mutual friend. She was working in a nursing facility there, just as I was. We were both feeling a bit disillusioned with life and our careers. We took very different paths from there. I moved back home to my family and childhood friends and I'm still in transition. I'm not sure where I'm going from here. She started taking classes and started her own holistic health business where she's the boss. She sees clients on her own terms, not on the insurance company's terms or the staffing company's terms. I admire her courage and vision.

Pretty impressive list. But now: Name 5 People You Secretly Admire:

1) Jimmy Buffet: I don't like his music. I don't think he's a particularly good writer. I don't like his restaurant chains. But I admire the fact that he's found a way to make a living out of basically being a beach bum.

2) Goofy: A former co-worker of mine. He was an OK clinician. He wasn't bad. But he wasn't great. He put in a moderate amount of effort at work. I mean, he showed up, he did his work, he completed his paperwork. But he never put in any extra effort. He just breezed in and breezed back out. Here's the thing: everybody LOVED him! Including me. He was just a happy, funny, fun guy. He was the class clown with the consistent C+ average. I admired his ability to find balance and be happy.

3) My friend, Shara. Shara is a flake. She always has some kind of ridiculous drama going on. She flits from place to place dressed like a hippie saying the most ridiculous things. She's kind of like Phoebe from "Friends". Whenever she leaves the room, everybody rolls their eyes and shakes their heads. Here's the deal though: she can get away with it. It's like she read the rules and didn't like them. So she made up her own rules. And that takes courage of a different sort.

4) My cousin, Andie. She was the quintessential special ed teacher. She worked all the time. She taught special ed in school and tutored kids after school and on weekends. She taught English to English -as-a-second-language kids over the summer and more often than not, they all passed the standardized test at the end of the summer and could go on to the next grade. But then she got married. And had a baby. And she said: I love my work, but I don't want to do this anymore. She quit and became a full time mom. She's a great mom. She did what she said she'd never do. But I've never seen her happier.

5) A friend of a friend, Lexi: I met Lexi when I lived out on the west coast and she's one of the most interesting person I've ever met. Lexi is a stripper. Lexi is also strangely innocent and wholesome. Stripping is her job. It's not who she is. Lexi's husband got really sick and was out of work for 2 years. They were strapped for money. So Lexi started an X rated web site. She posted pictures of herself and other strippers she worked with. She created calenders and memberships where the members get newsletters and emails and get to chat with the girls. And she sells underwear to these men. I remember a conversation where she said that Thursday was the day where she changed her underwear 15 times. She would wear each pair of underwear for and hour and then launder them all. Because telling people that it was "her" underwear if she had never worn it was dishonest. And above all, you must preserve the integrity of your pornographic website, right?

Lastly, name people who are dead who you wish you had met or would like to hang out with in the great beyond. (Like the old question "If you had a dinner party and could invite 7 people who living or dead, who would you invite?") So many people say "Jesus" or "Martin Luther King jr" or "JFK". But I'd invite:

1) Gertrude Stein
2) Isabella Stewart Gardner
3) Oscar Wilde
4) Theodor Giesel (Dr. Seuss)
5) Andy Warhol
6) Antouni Gaudi
7) Queen Elizabeth (the first)

Can you imagine the conversation that would erupt at that table?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jeep Luge

If the Olympic commission finally caves and allows Jeep luge as an event in 2010, I'm totally going to try out! I've been practicing everyday by sliding down our ice covered driveway. Oh it's cold!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

weekly writing prompt

This week's writing prompt from MamaKat is to write about a time you stole something.

When I was 12 years old, I went camping with my best friend Donna, and her family. We spent the week in a family campground in Vermont where the brochure suggested endless activities and fun, but the reality was boredom and bugs. Most of that week, we spent hanging out at a granite outcropping with the rest of the pre-teens in the campground, listening to top 40's hits and trying to act cool. We bought soda and candy and gum and teenie bopper magazines in the campground store and lounged at the playground with our loot, wishing it were just a little warmer. (It's chilly up in the mountains, even in August)

Sometime during the week, somebody came up with the idea that we each should steal something from the store. It didn't have to be big, it didn't have to be pricey, it just had to be stolen. Then we would meet back at the swingset and tell each other the exciting and edgy tales of our shoplifting experience. Everybody HAD to do it...otherwise, how would we know who was cool? And at age 12, I really wanted to be cool.

Donna, her little sister Kara, and I all went into the store at the same time. We got some more soda and candy and spent about 45 minutes wandering up and down the aisles of a store that was about 20 x 20. Donna pocketed some gum. Her sister stuck a packet of Fun Dip in her shorts. I still didn't have anything.

While Donna and Kara were paying for their soda and candy, I made a big production out of looking at a display of decorative pins on the counter. I pulled them all out and spread them in front of me. Unicorn, rainbow, hearts, music note, stars and moon, teddy bear. Kind of like a box of Lucky Charms to wear. I noticed that there were more music notes in the bucket than any other. Not a big seller. Nobody was buying them. Bingo!

As Kara was getting her change, I took one last look at the pins in front of me, sighed dramatically, and swept them all back into the bucket. All except the music note pin, which I had curled in my fingers. When I paid for my soda and candy, the campground owner looked me right in the eye and tsked. SHE KNEW! SHe totally knew we were all going into her store and taking stuff. And she wasn't saying anything. She wasn't telling our parents. She wasn't making us give it back. SHe was just giving us a look. Maybe the look was meant to guilt us into putting everything back.

I didn't put it back, of course. I had to present my ten cent pin at the playground so I could be cool. We all did. We hung with the cool kids for a whole nother day and a half until somebody came by the granite outcropping with a six pack he had swiped from his dad's cooler. Then I immediately became uncool when I moved on over to the horseshoe pits to do gymnastics, sans alcohol.

Last year, K and I were talking about times we had stolen something and we were arguing with one another about who was worse. K thinks she was worse, because she stole a half a piece of chalk from Sunday school for her chalkboard at home. "I stole it from church! I stole a piece of chalk from God!"

I put it in perspective for her: it was a broken piece of chalk. You even took the smaller piece. That wasn't bad. But, I -- I stole something new and unbroken. I stole it from a little mom and pop store, from people who made a living from a seasonal business. I stole it from people who really could not afford to have bratty kids shoplifting from them. I know that my deed was worse. I know, because that look still haunts me. It still makes me feel shame.

I never stole anything again. Maybe that's what it was for, all along.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009




One of my first bad dates began at the gym.

I was going through the lost and found box, looking for my sweatshirt. It's a disgusting thing that I've had since high school. The cuffs are frayed, there are thumb holes in the sleeves, and it's covered with stains of unknown origin. But for a sweatshirt that's 20-some-odd years old, it's in surprisingly good shape! For wearing to the gym. Every so often, I vacillate between thinking I should throw it away and thinking: "What a quality garment! I can't believe it's still in one piece after all the abuse I've put it through!"

I wear this sweatshirt into the cardio room because they keep it around 55 degrees in there. It's damn cold! But once you get going on a machine and get all heated up, the sweatshirt becomes far too warm. So every day, I come in, get on a machine, peel the sweatshirt off, and throw it on the floor. More often than not, I walk out of the cardio room and forget all about my dear sweatshirt. The next day, I go to the lost and found box, take out my sweatshirt, put it on, and go into the cardio room. Then the entire process starts over again.

On this particular day, somebody else was going through the lost and found box. Let's call him Adam. He said "Hi" and I said "Hi" and he asked me what I was looking for. So I described the entire sweatshirt process to him before I finally extracted said garment from the box.

"That sweatshirt story is funny" he said, "Ha ha ha."

Then he said he'd never seen me in the gym before and I told him I had a weird work schedule and usually came in before work and blah, blah, blah.

(I should say now, that I'm completely clueless. Generally when somebody asks me to go out or something, it seems to come out of left field to me. No matter what was said beforehand. So even though it should seem very obvious where Adam was headed, it wasn't to me.)

When he was asking me about my workouts, and if I used a trainer, and what kind of exercises I performed, I thought Adam was interested in workout ideas. I actually gave him some advice about changing up his own workout. When Adam asked me what I did for work, I figured it was because he was so blown away by my exercise knowledge, he just had to know. Then he asked me how old I was.

"I'm 37." I said.

"Wow!" he said. "I never would have guessed that. I thought you were 28."

"Yeah, I look younger than I am. How old are you?"

"Oh," he said, "I'm 39."

"Wow!" I said, "I never would have guessed that."

"Do I look older or younger?" he asked.

"Well, actually, you look older."

"Is that good or bad?" he asked.

"Well, it's neither good nor bad. It is what it is. Some people look older, some people look younger, some people look exactly their age. Whatever."

(I mean seriously, Joaquin Phoenix looks way older than he is, but I wouldn't throw him out of the car. And? Adam looks nothing like Joaquin Phoenix.)

"Oh," he said, "I guess you're right. Ha Ha Ha."


"Do you want to go out sometime?"

I was completely blindsided by this question. I was wearing my holey cardio sweatshirt and talking about fartleks! Who thinks about dating in these circumstances? And I had absolutely no desire to go anywhere with this guy except in the direction of the legpress machine. But then again, what the hell did I know?

I had spent 6 years with a guy who broke up with me over the phone. Clearly, I had bad judgement. So maybe my best bet was to do the exact opposite of what my initial impulse told me to do. AND -- people were telling me I need to get out and start dating again.

So, I said yes. To a guy who looked, at age 39, vaguely like Keith Richards. To a guy who laughed way too much. At really dumb things. That weren't even funny. To a guy who, as I seem to remember, didn't pull ANYTHING out of a lost and found box that he had spent approximately 30 minutes orbiting. I said yes to a date with Adam.

And, yes, it all went downhill from there.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday's Simplicity

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
Albert Einstein

Little did I know that when I started going through and paring down, that while one area got cleaner, another got messier. Behold my giant recycling pile that gets bigger and bigger! It's in the front stairway so that every time I leave the house, I can grab one thing (or more) and bring in out with me. I admit, the ever growing pile has stressed me out a little. But my goal is to get rid of one thing a day, not to get rid of everything the first week in January. I need to chill.

This week, I thought I would attack the storage area and clean and organize like a pro. Only, when I started, I got completely overwhelmed. My storage space is my catch all. Remember that episode of Friends where Monica opens the closet by the bathroom? That's the storage area. I pulled out a few empty boxes and added them to the pile. Then I decided that this week, I would clean out the baskets under the coffee table instead.

Jan 6: In work, we have plastic utensils in the cafeteria. I keep one set in my cabinet and use them over and over. Most of the time. Every once in a while, I grab another set and bring my first set home to give it a super-duper cleaning instead of the rinse with hand soap and napkins at work. However, I sometimes forget to bring them back in. Over the course of 2 1/2 years, I've built up quite a collection of plastic utensils at home. They're washed, they're clean, they're perfectly usable. So today, I brought the fork collection into work and stuck em in the bin in the cafeteria. I also brought the plastic containers from all the tossed food and recycled those, too.

Jan 7: Today, I brought in the spoons and the cardboard from the kitchen to recycle.

Jan 8: Today, I was planning on bringing in more utensils, but I was sick and didn't go to work. Instead, I did some laundry when I finally got out of bed around 2:30 pm. Laundry day, one load equals one article of clothing to donate. A very unbecoming lavender thermal shirt.

Jan 9: Venturing out of the house into the cold, I brought a few things with me. I had a cute little decorative plant that I picked up around Halloween. I don't think it was meant to survive much past Halloween. I tried to keep it alive, but it's been sitting like a dried up skeleton on the shelf. That plant came along with the composting and got dumped in the side yard.

Jan 10: Brought a few magazines from the coffee table baskets to the gym.

Jan 11: My brother and sister in law were visiting my parents today. I brought one of the books I read last month along and gave it to my sister in law to read. I brought a couple more magazines to the gym, as well.

Jan 12: Back to work today. I brought in the knives as well as the aluminum from the kitchen to the recycling bin. 2 more magazines to the gym.

And so it goes...sometimes in the effort to simplify things get just a bit more complex for the time being. And sometimes to accomplish a goal, you have to put up with a bit of tedium. Ah, yes. By the end of January, my front stairway WILL be clean again!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Well, today is my 200th post! I was hoping I'd have some kind of life changing epiphany that I could blog about and create the most amazing post known to man. Alas, sometimes life does cooperate that way. I have nothing earth shattering to report upon. However, I can report about yesterday. Yesterday was a great day.

Yesterday, I finally made the trek up to Boston to go to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It was fantastic! I spent the whole time wishing my friend, Isabelle (who would have gotten in for free, because of her name) was there with me. We'll have to make a special trip this summer.

Isabella Stewart Gardner was some chippy who lived in New York and Boston in the late 1800's to early 1900's. She and her husband clearly enjoyed traveling because they went everywhere on the entire planet. And since they had more money than God, they could purchase anything that caught their fancy: paintings, statues, trunks and trinkets, chandeliers, intricately carved ceilings from European castles, elaborate doors from ancient monestaries, maybe a marble archway to place around your windows or doors. They bought it all! And then she planned a museum to display it all for everyone to see.

Interestingly, ol' Isabella designed the layout of the building as well as the displays herself. And her will stipulates that the arrangement cannot be altered. At first, I figured that Isabella was a little type A. Come on! Who cares if its rearranged after you're dead? Then, I thought that Isabella was a little kooky. (The Renaissance Madonna and Child statue flanked by Chinese lanterns on either side with a Greek urn at its base had me scratching my head) But then I happened to turn around and see that display from 20 feet away. And suddenly I GOT IT! Isabella was a frickin' genius! Nobody better touch ANYTHING!

There is a courtyard inside with plants and trees and priceless masterpieces hidden amongst the leaves. The museum rises above the courtyard 3 stories. From each floor and from each side of the courtyard, there are items that you can only see from that viewpoint. It's like Where's Waldo with art! There are items you can only see while going up the stairs. There are items you can only see coming DOWN the stairs. And each room is packed full of precisely arranged paintings, tapestries, furniture, and trinkets. Moreover, the museum is like a travel journal and a glimpse into her personality. She seems like she was a really cool person to hang out with.

After the museum, I went over and hung out with Nerd for a few hours. He always makes me laugh. He had an exciting night of reading research articles ahead of him, and I needed to hit the road before the snow arrived.

Once home, I had to call Isabelle to tell her all about the museum. She also had an exciting night of work related research to do. But not before she told me to turn on the family channel to watch Practical Magic. We both love this movie! Partially, because it stars Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, and when we finally collaborate on the book about all of our antics and it gets turned into a movie, it will star Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. (They may not be aware of this)Also because it's just a feel good movie and its fun and it has the house that I want to live in someday.

After hanging up, I got down to MY work related research. And so on Saturday, as the snow fell and the full moon shined, the three of us engrossed ourselves in research articles and movies. Even though we were all alone in our apartments, to me it felt like we were together in spirit.

It was a good end to a good day.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Last night, I went to a party at my friend KC's. I've been trying to get out and socialize more, even when I don't feel like it because it's cold and I was sick the day before and I got a new Netflix in the mail and I have lots of new jammies to try. I'm so glad I did.

KC rents a cottage on the beach for the winter months, when the owners have no desire to be on the beach. It's cute.

Unfortunately, the gas went out in the house and she was in a panic, calling her landlord and the gas company while all her guests milled around the cottage in winter jackets. The gas guy finally did show up and fix the problem. While he was working, two more trucks from two more gas companies arrived. We were all laughing, saying that it was like a horror movie "When the Gas Men Come". "Right about now, the audience would be screaming: 'How stupid can you be? Get OUT of the house!'"

Once the heat was back on and the oven was working, things got rolling with food and home-brewed beer. (OH! SO GOOD!) A few disagreements about whose taste in music was best. But luckily, there's always Bob Marley and Lenny Kravitz, who unify everyone.

For the finale, we took her Christmas tree down to the beach and burned it. It was about 8 degrees, and the wind was blowing. But the moon was full, the stars were bright, and the tree lit up like a forth of July sparkler.

I haven't had a night like this in a long time.


And again, I find myself back at Friday, ready to do some Artist's Way assignments. It's a little serendipitous, this week's assignments and my state of mind today. I left work early on Wednesday and called out of work on Thursday because of either a GI bug I picked up or possibly something I ate on Wednesday. I basically spent late Wednesday and all of Thursday shuffling back and forth between the bed and the bathroom. I briefly considered asking the scheduler to re-schedule all of my patients for today, but I couldn't be sure I'd feel well enough to work. And since I had already called my late patients for Wed and re-scheduled them for Thur, I didn't want to have people feel like I was stringing them along.

Well, this morning dawned and I awoke feeling great! And I was immediately racked with guilt for missing work yesterday and not going in to work today. I felt guilty for missing 3 workouts this week (Tue, Wed, Thur) even though I was clearly in no shape to be at the gym. And most disturbing of all, I found myself looking forward to stepping on a scale to see how 2 days of nothing but tea and one serving of rice affected my weight. What the hell is wrong with me?

Thank goodness for ol' Julia Cameron and her insightful exercises.

WHERE DOES YOUR TIME GO? LIST YOUR 5 MAJOR ACTIVITIES FOR THE WEEK AND HOW MUCH TIME YOU GIVE TO EACH ONE. How much of your time was what you wanted to do and how much of it was what you felt you SHOULD be doing?

Factoring out SLEEP, I'm left with: (1) Work --45 hours
(2) Working out -- 8-9 hours
(3) Blogging -- 6-7 hours
(4) Cleaning -- 7-8 hours
(5) TV -- 8-9 hours

It appears to me that all of these activities are things that I both want to do and also feel like I should be doing. But with the 5 or more extra hours per week I work (that I do not get paid for) should I really be feeling guilty for taking a sick day? And I love working out, I am trying to actually do WELL in triathlons next year, not just finish. But could it be that I am ignoring when I start to feel too tired and push myself to the point where I'm more vulnerable to getting sick? I'm loving the blogging, of course, and the TV watching is generally a simultaneous activity (cleaning and watching TV, checking email and watching TV, eating dinner and watching TV). But...would I feel less overwhelmed if I weren't constantly doing 2 things at once? And finally...the cleaning also entails my getting rid of stuff. I'm hoping that once I get rid of some clutter, the amount of time I spend cleaning goes down dramatically. SO I guess just keep track of it.

Contrast this to:
In no particular order:
(1) Hiking
(2) Camping
(3) Going to the beach
(4) Playing with my niece's and nephews
(5) Bike riding
(6) Jogging
(7) Swimming
(8) Roller blading
(9) Playing Guitar
(10) Going to see live music
(11) Traveling
(12) Reading
(13) Writing
(14) 'Rithmatic (just kidding) Lifting weights
(15) Going to the movies
(16) Hanging out with friends
(17) Scuba Diving
(18) Sleeping in and cuddling with someone on Sunday morning
(19) taking a long bath
(20) trying new recipes

And yeah, its been a long time since I did some of those things. It seems silly that I have extra time to do extra work, to watch so much TV, to spend so much time on the computer, so clean so much, to spend workout time "putting in the hours" rather than doing something enjoyable, but not enough time to do the things I love the most.

And what changes can I make to make these two lists more compatible? I don't have the answer to that right now. But I do have alot to think about. And maybe THAT is the answer for not feeling guilty over things I shouldn't feel guilty about.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

weekly writing assignment

ok, after sleeping about 17 of the last 24 hours, I'm feeling a lot better. Slightly groggy, but better. So now, I was faced with the choice of cleaning and disinfecting any "spatters" in the bathroom or posting a blog. Guess which one won out?

I'm one day late in MamaKat's weekly writing assignment. I chose to write about my first Bloggy friend.

But first, some background. I started my blog as an adjunct to a weekly email thing I had been sending out to friends called Thought for the Week. I figured I could gather all the old emails in one spot and anyone could access all of them at any time.

Then something else happened. I started a blog and didn't tell anyone about it. I did not use it as a place to store all the old emails. Instead, I used it as a place to sort through all the conflicting emotions I had been having and also as a sort of road map to becoming the person I used to be. On New Year's 2008, I had told my friend, Isabelle that my goal for 2008 was to find myself again. She looked at me over the top of her champagne glass and said "You really spent too much time in Northern California." (In a strange, full circle moment, I told her on New Year's 2009 that she needed to resolve to be less cynical. "You've really lived right outside New York for too long." Kind of like that "Remember to wear sunscreen" song from years past)

Somewhere along the way of just using the blog as an online journal, I started poking around and reading other blogs. I never commented. I was just a lurker. And one day, I came across a blog that just made me laugh. I saw myself, reflected in her words. I saw that other people had the same hopes and aspirations and fears and stupid things that happened to daily. So I posted a comment. ANd she posted back. ANd I posted back to her. ANd so on.

All of a sudden, this was less of an online journal and more of an online friendship. Most of the other folks I now comment back and forth with I found through her blog. She literally opened my eyes and changed my life.

I'm sad to say that she recently closed her blog. SHe had gone back to work and also is expecting a new baby. Her blog was just taking up too much of her time. So I understand and agree with her decision. But, I still miss my daily dose of dash of crazy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I had such great plans to answer MAMAKAT's prompt today. Unfortunately, the only words that could describe me now are pale, nauseous, and curled-up-in-fetal-position. Proper post tomorrow

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

TUESDAY'S BAD DATES (the beginning)

A year and a half ago, my world turned upside down. M, my boyfriend of 6 years, ended our relationship over the phone. He said that "it just wasn't worth it" and hung up. Then he turned off his cell phone. And never accepted another call from me. Ever. We have never spoken again.

But that's not what this post is about. It's about what happened afterward.

If my life were a movie, everything would have worked out perfectly. I would have spent a week or two in bed, wearing an old shirt of M's that I had in my closet. (My quirky boss would have been very understanding and told me to "Take all the time I needed".) Then Harry Connick jr. would have shown up.

Maybe I'd accidentally spill a drink on him after my friends dragged me out, still wearing the 2 week old shirt. (My hair would be adorably disheveled but still shiny even after 2 weeks without washing.) Or maybe he'd stroll right into the bedroom to install something or read a meter of some kind. (I'd look simultaneously innocent and seductive, despite a weeks worth of cookie crumbs and Snickers wrappers sharing the bed with me.) Our eyes would meet, we'd share some witty banter, we'd go out, then have a fight, then reunite and spend the rest of our lives in bliss. And perfect fitting jeans.

In reality, Harry Connick jr did not show up. I've never met him. I did see him once in New Orleans, when he was throwing stuffed animals off a float in the Proteus parade. Our eyes did not meet. We did not exchange witty banter. He DID peg me off the head with a minuscule teddy bear that bounced into the hands of a little girl wearing a dress and fairy wings. But then the float passed on by. I was left alone in my ill-fitting jeans and fairy wings. (Hey! It was Marti Gras! We can't let the kids have all the fairy wing fun!)

Fortunately, I have the best friends in the world. I have a very supportive family. I'm lucky that way. My friends and family rallied around me to help me through it all. They gave me space when I needed it, they gave me encouragement, and they gave me advice. Lots and lots of really bad advice.

No matter how well meaning they all were, their advice was absolutely worthless. Every last bit. I got some real gems: "Everything happens for a reason." (It doesn't. Sometimes things happen for no reason at all.) "There are other fish in the sea." (Great. I'll call you when I'm craving seafood.) And the worst advice of all: "You need to get right back in the game and start dating again."

Dating was probably the last thing in the world I should have been doing immediately following the end of a 6 year relationship. (after swimming with sharks and amateur knife throwing.) But what did I know? I clearly had no idea what was good for me! I decided to let other people make my decisions for me and latched onto the idea of "getting back into the game".

And it went all downhill from there.

Come visit me each Tuesday for Jeepgirl's newest feature: Tuesday's Bad Dates. Because a year and a half is long enough to see the humor in my own bad fortune.

Monday, January 5, 2009


simplify, simplify, simplify----Henry David Thoreau

Monday's here, and in addition to being my first day back at work after a 4 day weekend (I'm exhausted! Those stupid 4 day weekends have a way of lulling you into complacency so that work smacks you --BAM-- right between the eyes when you get back.) it's also time to check in on the progress of SHIT SLING 2009! (ok, that was just an early working title, I really call it simplify in my head. And on this blog. From here on out. Promise.) It's also blue, in my head, as well. (So sooooothing)


I had some idea that I would weigh all the crap I was getting rid of so that on December 31, I could say: "I got rid of 3000 pounds of unwanted stuff this year." But I don't have a scale. And buying a scale would entail bringing more stuff INTO the house rather than out. That's counterproductive. I nixed that idea and just took a picture. My camera is really starting to suck. Maybe I need to get a new one. Wait, NO! (See, that's why I need to DO this! Focus! Simplify. (So soothing)

Jan 1: I started in the kitchen because that's just the perfect place to start. I needed to clean out the fridge anyway to make room for my healthy food I'm gonna exclusively eat this year. I threw out two bags of non recyclable trash from food containers and such.

Jan 2: Laundry day! 2 loads of laundry, 2 articles of clothing to donate. A pair of capri length sweatpants. Why the heck do I even own those? I'm too short for capri length anything. They look like high waters. And they're sweatpants! Then I eighty sixed a pair of brown cords. I have 4 pairs of brown cords. I don't need 4 pairs. Especially this pair --- high waisted and wide whale. What is this, 1985? Wow, the Goodwill is gonna jump for joy at my stylish castoffs.

Jan 3: Bottle returning day. I have all these saved plastic grocery bags the kitchen, in the car, in the hall closet. I use them over and over again (you know, the reuse side of the triangle) until they are literally disgusting, dripping, ripped and mangled. As were the bags holding the bottles. I had to keep stopping and picking up the bottles that fell out of the bottom of the bag because it was too holey. But look! A bag recycling bin right next to the bottle machine. I think this little drop off will save my sanity. (and, yes, I use canvas bags now)

Jan 4: Chucked all the sponges in the house and replaced with others from the giant mountain of Costco sponges that resides under the sink.

Jan 5: Ok, other than bottles I can't do a whole lot of recycling here at the Garaje Mahal. K has a weird aversion to recycling. He thinks it's a government conspiracy or something. So when I want to recycle something other than bottles, I have to smuggle it into the bin at work. Which is what I did today with all the papers that I took off the fridge on Jan 1.

Well, that turned out to be a bit more long winded than I had anticipated. And I'm sure anyone reading this thinks I think way too much about my trash. So I'm thinking of expanding the idea of simplify to include the writing in future posts. (You're welcome)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Eighties Music

This weekend, I went out for dinner and a movie with J and K and their 15 year old nephew.
As we were waiting for our food, we heard one 80's pop hit after another.
"What is this? The eighties station?" I asked.
"Probably," J answered. "Do they have an eighties station on satelite radio?"
"Oh, I'm sure they do." I answered. "They probably have several. But why do they have it on the eighties station that plays WHAM?"
"Is this WHAM?" asked J, "or is it George Michael solo?"
"Is there a difference? Does anybody actually know the name of the other guy from WHAM?"
"Who's WHAM?" asked the nephew.
"It was the band George Michael was in during the 80's" answered J.
"They gay guy from England, right? I know who he is, but I didn't know he was in a band."
"See!" I said triumphantly. "No difference whatsoever. But still, of all the bands from the 80's to play...WHAM?"
Two minutes later, I noticed that everyone at the table, 15 year old nephew included, was tapping their feet and bobbing their head along to the WHAM song. (ok. I guess they are kind of catchy)
After dinner, we went to see "Bedtime Stories", the new Adam Sandler movie. Chock full of eighties songs! Starring role: "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. I believe there is no better way to get a crowd of people riled up than to play that song, whether it's in a movie theater or a road race.
On the way home, we cranked the radio up and all sang along with the Air Supply and Styx block of songs the radio insisted on playing. (Again, why did the 15 year old know all the words to these songs?)
And tonight, I can't wait until 9:00 to catch the first episode of Rock of Love with Brett Michaels.
I can't help it if I'm stuck in the eighties. The entire world around me is, too.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Picture Perfect Saturday

One of my great loves in life is being outside in nature. I've been trying to consciously do more things that mean something to me and less of the routine things that are just that...routine. Of course, once I had decided to try to spend a bit more time outdoors, walking on the beach or jogging on the canal instead of inside on a treadmill, it snowed 8 inches and the temperature plummeted to under 10 degrees. There is no way I'm walking on the beach in this weather!
Today, I stopped on the way to the gym at one of my favorite walking spots. The wind was whipping and the air was frigid and everything was frozen. And I took a picture. (If I can't be out there walking, I may as well look at a picture of it)
When we think "nature", we generally think of a glorious spring day or a summer morning. We think of the trees heavy with leaves and flowers all in bloom. We generally don't think of a frozen marsh overlooking ice chunks in the ocean. It really struck me today that nature can be harsh and cold and vicious and violent. It can make us wet and cold and uncomfortable. But still, it's all so beautiful! A stark winter landscape can evoke that same flutter of emotion that a summer sunset can.
And even though right now I'd rather be hibernating, even though I'm super jealous of Nerd who is now lying on a beach in Florida, even though I wear a minimum of three layers any time I venture outside, I'm still enjoying nature. I'm still so thankful that its there.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Artist Way Week One

Once again, I have picked up the book The Artist's Way and begun (hopefully) on a journey toward a more creative life. Each week are a series of exercises.

Here's one from this week, which is kind of fun:

If you could have 5 other lives to lead, what would you do in each of them?

(1) Writer
I almost did go into writing as a career. But I let a high school English teacher convince me that I couldn't write, I was uncreative, my grammar sucked, and whatever I did produce was boring. It's funny how no matter how often or how many people tell you they love your letters, your emails, your blog posts, or your short stories, none of that stands up to ONE naysayer, isn't it?

(2) Adventure Guide
I love to hike. I love to camp. I love to climb and bike and raft and scuba dive. I love just about everything there is to do outdoors. Some people actually make their living taking other people out and showing them how to have a good time. I know. I went on a couple Outward Bound trips and paid good money for somebody else to show me how to play without putting my life in danger. I could totally do that.

(3) Professional Organizer
There is something so calming and rewarding about cleaning things up and putting everything back in it's place. There is something just so soothing about lists and schedules, clearly labeled bins and baskets, books organized by size and subject, shoes paired together and lined up all in a row. Some people hate doing this. I like it.
Of course, once I helped a co-worker move. In work, she appeared completely normal. Then I saw her house and I realized she was certifiably insane. She rented a 3 bedroom house with a 2 car garage for just her. Every room had stuff piled from floor to ceiling with a small path to creep through. I helped her "pack" for 8 hours before I had to go back to my own life. We had just about gotten all the way through that mess (I'm a really fast and organized packer). I was covered with grime. You know when the Q-tips come out of your ears BLACK? That kind of dirty.
If all my clients were like that as an organizer, I may go insane. Or I could quit and become a...

(4) Personal Trainer
I've actually done a little training on the side during the course of my life. It's sometimes hard to change gears from working with sick or injured people to working with well people who want to lose weight or keep in shape. But I'm good at that kind of thing. I'm not so good at self-promotion, which is half the battle as a personal trainer, so I'd probably be really broke and really in shape.

(5) Guitarist in a Rock Band
Just because it's so cool. Of course, I'm a diurnal creature, so I'd be in danger of falling asleep half way through a set. But playing guitar is really fun. And really challenging. And a bit like meditating in that your mind goes clear and you must focus solely upon what your fretting hand is doing and what your strumming hand is doing. At least MY mind does that. I'm not so very good on the guitar. But these are, after all, imaginary lives. And in my imagination, I'm like Hendrix!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

January Goals

Well, the ball has dropped (is it me or did that ball NOT move? I heard Dick Clark counting down rather rapidly and Kelly Pickler screaming her foolish head off, but I did not see that ball move one iota) the new calender is up, and hope is in the air.

It's time for the first goals of the new year. I'm feeling rather ambitious. But first, I need to look at what has become in my mind December's Disappointments:

1) Drinking 8 glasses of water a day: I failed miserably at this. I have discovered that the more I drink, the more I need to go to the bathroom (can we have a collective "Duh"?) But here's the deal: I was soo busy at work in December, that I found myself purposely drinking less so I wouldn't have to go because, I DIDN'T HAVE TIME TO PEE! However, after my little meltdown, I have been trying to speak up and keep things in check a bit more. So I'm gonna give this another go in January.

2) Read 3 books from the bookshelf: Ok, that was successful. I read "Life is so Good", "Bright Lights, Big Ass", and "Creative Visualization". Now my job for January is to pass these books along and read three more from the overcrowded bookshelf.

3) Buying very few Xmas gifts: I bought stuff for the kids, as they certainly aren't going to appreciate the handmade route. Pretty much baskets with gift jars inside. It probably ended up costing more than if I just went out and bought something to begin with. But I think all the time that went into them was appreciated. A little more personal than "gift cards for everyone"

4) Finish the Inspirational CD's that somebody gave me: Last month I did about half. This month I did about half of the half that were left. So in total, 3/4 of the way done. I think that's enough. I'm getting rid of em.

5) Going to Isabella Steward Gardner Museum: Bah humbug.

On to January. I'm feeling rather ambitious. The nablopomo theme for January is CHANGE. I'm all for that! I'm feeling a change in the air, and I'm trying to change this around on the blog a bit, clean this place up and make a nice cozy spot to put my feet up. In all my ambitiousness (is that a word?) I have decided that 10 is the magic number for goals:

1) Get rid of one thing every day (it can be thrown away, given away, recycled, returned, re-gifted, re-purposed or donated) Just so long as I'm clearing out the old, making room for the new. This goal is actually a year long goal, but let's focus on January for now.

2) Water Water, water, water. Drink, drink, drink. Let's try to keep my lips from getting so chapped they fall right off my face.

3) Stick to Triathlon Training Program

4) Read 3 books from the overwhelming bookshelf (which can later be given away)

5) Go to Isabella Steward Gardner Museum (I'm gonna keep up with those goals until I either reach them or throw them out the window)

6) Post a blog entry every day (the NaBloPoMo challenge)

7) Starting in on "The Artist Way" program. (I may need 26 hour days)

8) Stick to an eating plan In December I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted as long as I worked it off. I ate my body weight in cookies. Now I need to be a little better to myself.

9) Take more pictures

10) Make an effort to let people I love know it more often I don't do that enough.

Now, if I can just peel myself off this chair and get started...