Monday, October 27, 2008

Living to 102 and making the world a better place

Well, after my youth cream debacle, I checked out a life expectancy calculator I saw on MamaKat's site. Good to know that I have a life expectancy of 102 years old. I'll make a cute old person, I think. I saw a bunch of centurians on Good Morning America this morning before I left for work. I could see myself in their shoes, saying things like: "I may be 98 but I don't feel a day over 70!" Hee Hee. Not so good to know that in order to reach my "ideal weight for longevity", I need to lose 9 pounds.

And speaking of losing things, I'm continuing to lose the clutter. Last week, I reached the bottom of the paper and can recycling pile. This week, I plan to get to the bottom of the cardboard pile. Little by little, dumping it into the work recycling bin, but not too much at once. My hope, by the end of this week, to have it to the point where I can just keep up with, not pare down of the piles of crap-o-la. I also got rid of all the catalogs in the magazine basket that I am not going to order anything from. One more week of paring down! It's getting easier to think since I'm not surrounded by as much clutter. If I keep this up, before long, I'll be solving all the world's problems.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Magical Youth Cream

Still paring down and purging: got to the end of the aluminium recycling pile on Friday, dontated the bag of clothing on Saturday, as well as cleaning under the bathroom sink and throwing out a few tubes of expired sunscreen and lotions that smelled rancid. Finally, today, I recycled the plastic bottles and donated 3 magazines to the gym rack. (they are getting old there) Five more days to go!

The other thing that has been occupying my mind lately is the condition of my skin on my face. Normally, I don't give much thought to it. I put some tinted moisturizer with sunscreen on in the morning and I'm done. But a few weeks ago, on a Costco run, I noticed a big markdown on a giant batch of wrinkle treatment cream. I've got to be honest, I never really agonized about wrinkles. I don't have a whole lot of em. But, my birthday is creeping up and I do have a few fine lines around the eyes. Plus, I'm kind of obsessing about the age difference between me and Nerd. So on a whim, I bought some.

The first time I used the stuff (at night, right before bed) I noticed a little tingle where I had applied. "That's strange," I thought "why is it tingling?" Turns out, the tingling sensation is normal. According to the directions on the tube, it happens until "your skin adjusts" to the product. Plus, the directions suggest using the cream every three days for two weeks, then every two days for two weeks, finally working your way up to every day at the end of a 6 week adjustment period.

Right about now, warning bells SHOULD have been going off in my head. What the hell kind of skin cream needs a 6 week adjustment period for your skin to get used to it? And what is with the tingling? I decided to just keep on with the every three day schedule. I don't have THAT MANY wrinkles. I'll just do the lite method for this product that is supposed to make me look younger.

I can say this: the anti-wrinkle cream definitely made me look younger. The last time the skin on my face looked like this, I was worried about the state championships for soccer and stressed that I did not have enough time to study for my French test. I have break-outs of adolescent sized proportions on my forehead, chin, and along side my nose!

You'd think I would have known better. I trialed some anti-aging serums a while back, after my 35th birthday meltdown. I bought some coQ-10 cream and some retin-A crap and who knows what else. Every single product was a bust. If it didn't burn my skin and leave it red and blotchy, then it gave me zits or caused a bumpy rash along my cheeks. I ended up tossing all of them and adopted my present regieme of tinted moisturizer.

So now I have a Costco sized batch of blemish producing skin de-conditioner. I may see if I can pass it along to somebody whose skin is not as sensitive as mine. Maybe I'll check out some Burt's Bees products the next time I'm in the store....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Today, I got rid of a book from the ol' homestead. I usually divide books into two piles: books I will give to friends and books I will give to the Book Barn. (Book Barn books are books that I either did not like or am embarrassed that I had to begin with) However, I had one that just did not fit into either category. It was cute, but I couldn't think of who I wanted to give it to. So today I brought it into work and put it on the patient book cart. Done and done.

Today is also Writer's Workshop Day, compliments of MamaKat.

The prompt I chose is: "I would walk a mile for ____"

I would walk a mile for the simple fact that I CAN. In the morning, I am able to walk across my freezing cold floor into the bathroom. I can walk to the refrigerator to get a drink. I can walk across the street and sit by the pond on a warm Saturday morning. Do we really need any other reason to walk?

It's amazing when you think about it: all the different factors that go into the seemingly simple act of walking. We need the strength in our legs and trunk to maintain an upright posture and propell ourselves forward. We need adequate range of motion in our joints. We need good balance, coordination, and overall motor control to coordinate the movement pattern. Walking has been described as the act of continuously losing and regaining your balance in a coordinated manner. There is even evidence that when we walk on varying surfaces (like going from a sidewalk to grass) we operate not on a feedback loop but a feed-FORWARD loop. Our bodies anticipate the needed changes in the walking pattern and adapt BEFORE we even hit the grass. Like our own personal spidey senses! How is it that we are able to do all of this without even thinking about it?

I realize that I analyze walking more than the average person. (after all, gait analysis is a vital part of my job description) But I'm referring here to analysis in a more philosophical sense. Oh, the joy of pondering the act of walking. Or pondering the act of walking for 6 months straight. (Another life goal of mine, walking the entire Appalachian Trail) Someday, someday...

Until then, I'll have to have to settle for walking across that cold floor every morning.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

I got tagged again today, and it looks like a good one: check out Heather's blog. She makes me laugh.

So part one is to open the closest book to you, turn to page 56 and write the 5th sentence on that page. My computer is next to my bookshelf, so I reached out for the first book I came into contact with without looking. It turned out to be My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir. It just so happens that this book says a lot about me. My love of nature, of hiking in the mountains, and of the author, himself, who founded the Sierra Club. It was also a gift from M, which I guess at this point, is neither here nor there.

"The serenity of this mountain weather in the spring, just when Nature's pulses are beating highest, is one of its greatest charms."

Part two of the tag: name 6 things that you value and 6 things that you don't.

Six Things I Value:

1) Adventure: May seem weird to top my list with something like adventure. But life without change, life without something new to explore, life without adventure is, to me, no life at all.

2) Friendship: I am still best friends with the same people I called my best friends when I was 12. My mother's best friend died last year and the most greatest tribute to her, in my eyes, was that at her memorial service, no fewer than 5 people said: "She was the best friend I ever had." I would like to be remembered that way.

3) Education: We never stop learning. Life is full of new things to learn every day. I always strive to continuously build knowledge not only in my field, but in totally unrelated areas. Well, at least that's how I rationalize spending money on classes.

4) Family: They are the reason I moved back home after 10 years away. And though I often joke that I love my small doses... I am eternally grateful to have the family that I do.

5) Physical Activity: That may not qualify as a VALUE. Yet it is a central theme in my life. Physical activity is vital to good health, emotional and physical. My very livelihood is based on that idea.

6) A Sense of Humor: make me laugh and I'm half way in love.

6 Things I do not value:

1) All or nothing thinking: It burns me up to hear people say that if you are not like me, then you are wrong, you are a bad influence, you are dangerous. Though I often cannot understand other's points of view, at least I try to recognize that it is not wrong, just different.

2) A big house: A cozy home is nice, of course. We all need shelter and a place to feel comfortable in. The plethora of shows on TV right now, though: Cribs, Million Dollar Realtor, Design Challenge, etc. I think they just perpetuate an unhealthy desire to lust for homes out of our reach. House rich and experience poor is no way to be.

3) Safety: Ok, I wear seatbelts, helmets, don't drink and drive, and all of that. But safety in life isn't in my book. I need to go out of my comfort zone.

4) Fashion: I've never been one to keep up on latest trends, designer clothes, fashion and style. Maybe that's why I look like the "before" people on What Not To Wear.

5) Tradition: I loved "Fiddler on the Roof", don't get me wrong. The idea that there is a certain way to do things and we should continue to do things that way simple because that is the way we've always done it just doesn't fly with me. Mix it up! Create new ways of doing things! Sometimes they way it's never been done is better.

6) Wealth: Money is nice to have. It's a great tool to achieve things we want to achieve. But money has been given too high a priority by too many people. It's certainly nothing to base your core life values on.

AND last but not least: today I polished off the rest of the paper recycling pile! What's next?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So I was back at work today, and again hauling some things to the recycling bins. Three cardboard boxes and a few cans later, the recycling pile is almost to the point where I'm just keeping up, rather than paring down.

Sometimes, I feel lucky to have the job that I do. Yeah, it has its share of frustrations, like any job. But then again, I get to meet some wonderful people, some interesting people, some fascinating people. Even better than that, I get to help make their lives a little easier. What more could I possibly ask for?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Playing Hooky

Today, I was feeling pretty foul, so I did not make it into work. I'm still not 100%, but wildly better than this morning. Ya just need a sick day every now and then.

I did get a chance to putter around the apartment for a bit, and I was able to actually repurpose a few of the things I had been hanging onto. It's funny, the less you have, the more useful those things become. So a few of the plastic pouches I had kept seemed perfect for packing away the summer weight sheets, curtains, blankets etc.

I'm also able to see the "projects" more clearly that have been sitting around gathering dust. I'm thinking that next month tackling the projects will be inline. One goal flows naturally into the next, I suppose.

My goal for tonite is to get to bed early so I can get to work tomorrow!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chilly October Morning

With the place rearranged and the clutter slowly paring down, it's really starting to look neat and homey around here. Plus, I can better determine where to put my Halloween decorations. I don't have alot, but I always enjoy decorating for Halloween, just like Christmas. Today, I attacked the top drawer of the dresser. I repurposed some elastically-challanged undies into one-time-use-rags for those extra tough jobs, and I gave away two pair of perfectly respectable socks.

Today, I got up at the unnaturally-early-for-a-Sunday hour of 5:45 to drive to a group bike ride on the Cape. It was also unnaturally windy with a chill creeping in. That translated into a very small group for the bike ride. So small, it wasn't even really a group so much as a pair of riders. The other rider was none other than Potential P! I haven't spoken to him in a while, so it was a pleasant surprise to run into him this morning for a brisk morning bike ride.

We rode along a very nice Rails to Trails bike path that runs almost the entire legnth of Cape Cod. It winds in and out of towns, along salt water marshes and ponds, and through long stretches of piney woods. It is sensational!

During one of these stretches, I looked down the path and it was almost surreal. The clouds were low and pewter colored, the wind was gusting and bending the tree branches, the leaves were swirling in little eddys across the bike path. It was like a scene from "Something Wicked This Way Comes".

P and I raced along the path, panting our breath, and yelling over the sound of the wind as we caught up on news. My hands were freezing, my legs were sweating. We rode as if something wicked was, indeed, chasing us.

In the end, I was sort of glad that the group didn't show. I know we wouldn't have ridden as fast. I'm also pretty sure I would not have been as aware of my surroundings. I may have missed the picturesque beauty of a chilly October morning that foretold the coming of winter.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

7 strange things

Today, I was supposed to go hiking with a friend of mine in New Hampshire, but after last weekend's toe debacle, my foot was throbbing and I cancelled. Instead, I spent today getting the apartment into "winter configuration". It's a one room studio/ loft type deal. I need to arrange the furniture for maximum breeze catching in the summer and maximum warmth in the winter. The temperature has officially dropped enough here to warrant winter configuration. Whilst doing all of this, I managed to throw away a whole bunch of paper type stuff and to give away two shirts.

I also got tagged today by Diane. I'm supposed to share 7 strange or weird facts about myself. Seven seems like a very lucky number for weirdness.

1) When I was little, I thought that statues were people covered in cement. I thought that after you died, you got dipped and then put on display somewhere. After my grandfather died (I was around 3 or so) I used to look out the window of the station wagon, yelling "There's Grandpa! There's Grandpa!" at any statue we drove by. I don't remember what my parents' reactions were.

2) I have the dubious honor of coming in second place in both a "Best Legs" and also a "Worst Legs" contest.

3) I have seen Van Halen in concert 16 times.

4) I have lived in 8 states in the past 10 years.

5) I name all my cars. So far, I have driven "Little Blue", "Axle", and "Cherry Bomb". I also name rental cars. Most memorable are "Clyde the Ride" who we killed by driving over a curb in Scotland (they drive on the wrong side of the road there). He was replaced by "Harriet the Chariot" for a large towing fee.

6) I am strangely attracted to nerdy guys. I have dated a physicist, a computer programmer, an endocrinologist, and a biochemist. When they'd talk about their jobs, my eyes would glaze over like a donut.

7) My driver's license says I am 5 feet tall. But I am really 4'11".

I'm not sure who to tag....So consider this an open tag to anyone who wants to participate!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lost and Loving It

Still plugging away at the magazine basket, I skimmed through and gave away 5 more magazines. Someday I'll see the bottom of that basket.

In the spirit of following through on goals, I stopped by MamaKat's blog for the weekly writing prompt. But in the spirit of rebellion and individuality, (as well as the spirit of cleaning and purging) I decided instead to return to a prompt from a few weeks ago, that has been hanging around my head like an over-full magazine basket. That prompt read: Lost? Why?

One of my favorite all time quotes is by JRR TOLKIEN: "Not all who wander are lost". When I first read this quote, sometime in my teens, I felt like I had found a kindred soul. The quote seemed to speak to me and me alone. I mean, all teenagers feel that way to some extent, but I'm not sure if we all share that intense wanderlust. Literal wanderlust and figurative wanderlust. I wanted not only to explore places I had never been, but I wanted to explore a different sort of life that I was unfamiliar with.

I guess that quote reminded other people of me, as well. I now own 2 T-shirts, a rubber Lance Armstrong-type bracelet, a beaded necklace, and a wall plaque with this quote written on it. All were gifts to me.

The strange thing about my life is that the times when I seem most "lost" are when I am happiest and most at peace. The times that I seem most settled are the times when I am utterly lost.

The past two years have been strange for me. I moved back home after 10 years of traveling around the country solo. I took a gamble in doing so, as I left somebody behind in California. We had been together for almost 6 years. I was so sure that he would follow.

We'd talk on the phone and discuss plans for him to move out. We'd talk about getting a place together. We'd talk about alternate places to settle if New England did not agree with him. We'd plan long weekends where we'd meet in a central location to reconnect. He'd always find an excuse to cancel.

I didn't see it at the time, but somewhere in all the talking about "we" I ended up losing "me". And then I lost "we", too. Then I was really lost.

I don't remember being that lost at any time during the previous 10 years when I was driving aimlessly around the United States.

Over the last year, I ended up finding myself again, but only when I stopped looking. Only when I stopped questioning and searching and just took to running and riding and more or less getting lost in nature.

Now here I sit, once again lost and happy. I have no idea which direction my life is going in. I have no idea where I will be living in 2 years. I am in a strange relationship that is not quite friendship and not quite dating. I have no idea if there's potential for it to be anything more. I am utterly and ridiculously happy.

Not all who are lost want to be found.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

5 current addictions

In September, I got tagged by Mrs. D for a thing called "5 current addictions" started by Being Brazen. At first, I was kind of against the whole "addiction" thing. When you're trying to find balance in your life, the word addiction brings up negative connotations. However, after perusing Brazen's blog, I changed my mind. It's not about being under control by something else, just about what's going on in your life at the moment.

So on that note: October's Addictions:

Diet Coke (still)

Candy Corn It's October and the bag of candy corn are everywhere. I gotta get that sugary, waxy goodness while I can!

Colored Leaves The foliage is in full swing and I am drinking it all in, breathing in the crisp, sweet smelling air, and planning a bike ride for this weekend.

Incense Last October, I went to Salem with a friend of mine and we went into a cool crazy store where you could buy potions and spells and such. We bought incense sticks. (It's supposed to bring luck to your love life or something) Anyway, the incense sticks have been sitting in a drawer ever since. But while cleaning and purging this month, I discovered the underutilized air fresheners and have been incensing it up ever since. My place smells fantastic. I'll let you know about the luck in love...

and finally, Purging One of my goals for this month was to get rid of one thing every day. It has been quite the soothing ritual. Once you start, it's hard to stop. I can officially say I'm addicted to purging this month.

And just to prove it: I threw away a stack of catalogs I had in the magazine basket. I don't need them. I'm not going to order anything. So they had to go. And it feels good to let them go.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I'm back from a great, long girl's weekend! Once back, I attacked my bookshelf and gave away three books. A former patient of mine gave me a bagload of books that she had enjoyed. The problem was, I attempted to read them and came to the conclusion that we have very different tastes in pleasurable reading material. But since these books were given to me, I kind of felt like I needed to hang onto them until I could slog through them. Today, I gave myself permission to give the books to the book drop and let somebody else enjoy them. What a weight off my shoulders.

Ok, now onto the girl's weekend... My friend Isabelle and I met in Montreal for the weekend. I have never been to Montreal before, even though my brothers had been there several times for hockey tournaments. (I was one of those dorky kids who didn't want to miss school and I didn't want to go with them) Now I want to make up for lost time.

Montreal is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! With the foliage in full bloom and the weather in perfect fall mode, we couldn't have picked a better weekend. Plus, those crazy Canucks with their self depeciating humor were so nice! Every place we went I felt like the employees were my new best friends. (I also think they find short brunette and tall red-haired American girls quite fetching, which is a definite plus)

The best part of Montreal, however, was the food. I ate my way from one end of the city to the other. Each meal was better than the last. I had perogies and potato pancakes that tasted like they were made by God himself. I had banana flambe french toast! How cool is that? I had a seafood meal at a French restaurant that was eyes-rolling-to-the-back-of-your-head good. I had bagels with salmon and lemon, I had crepes with ice cream and fruit. I had so much good food my taste buds were fatigued. I had to recover with Mc Donald's fries on the way home just so I wouldn't go into shock when I got home and started eating my normal diet.

Those French-Canadians really know what they are doing. I can't wait to go to France and taste the food there. I may just keel over and die with a giant, goofy smile plastered on my face.

The one bad part about the weekend was when I stepped out of the shower and smashed my toe on the edge of the bathtub. I was a little concerned when it still was throbbing 10 minutes later. We had lots to do, though. We had to go visit the Olympic stadium (a little disappointing. They could have done so much MORE! I mean, who runs a tour of the stadium from the 76 Olympics and DOES NOT HAVE a little movie of Nadia Comanice? Or Sugar Ray Leonard and Leon Spinks? How about mention of China's boycott? Or talk about the East German women's swimming team and how that sparked questions of anabolic steroid use? No. Nothing like that.'s the stadium. It's losing money every year. Wanna ride up to the top of the tower?)

But...I digest. After our trip to the underwhelming Olympic stadium, we had to walk around old Montreal and visit the Notre Dame Basilica where Celine Dion got married, we had to stroll by the St Lawrence River and look at the rushing water, we had to watch the street performers, and of course we had to EAT! By the time we got back to the hotel, my poor toe was the size, shape, and color of a concord grape!

Even the drive home was wonderful! Vermont looks lovely this time of year.

Ever feel like life is just perfect? That's what it felt like in Montreal.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


today, I took the big bag of donated clothes to the Goodwill on the way to the gym this morning. How lucky am I that my gym is exactly halfway between home and work and thr Goodwill is across the street from the gym?

So, today I am back on the bandwagon and doing my homework from MamaKat after playing hookey for a week. The assignment is to list 10 of your fears.

1) I am afraid of cockroaches. It's completely irrational. I am about 10,000 times the size of a cockroach. What could a cockroach possibly do to me? I'll tell you what: it could crawl in my ear and puncture my eardrum. It could climb all over my toothbrush. It could slip into my sofa and lay eggs for hundreds of little cockroaches to come climbing out. When I lived in Savannah, Georgia (the cockroach capital of the east coast) I was a basket case. I'd come home, drunk as hell, and see a cockroach on the floor. I'd be frozen, unable to walk past the cockroach for fear of...I dunno what. And then---one night---I learned what! A cockroach that was crawling on the ceiling fell off and landed on my head! I still haven't fully recovered.

2) I am afraid of drowning. Which is really strange, as I go scuba diving and swim in the ocean all the time. I cannot go out on a boat without jumping off of it and swimming around. (well, a small boat) However, when I went to see "The Perfect Storm", I had to leave because I got so freaked out. I couldn't see "Open Water" and get slightly ill even thinking of it. The other night, J was watching "Hannibal Rising" and there was a really gruesome drowning scene. I had nightmares. Maybe I'm afraid of drowing in a movie?

3) I'm afraid of being boring. This may, in fact, be my greatest fear of all. I think about my life and there is so much I want to do! I'm afraid I won't do it all. I'm afraid I'll be a home-body and just watch life go by from the comfort of my sofa. Which is perfectly fine, if that's what you want. But that thought makes me feel like I'm drowning. Which scares me (see #2).

4) I'm afraid of the Orange Glow guy. What's up with him? Why does he yell so much? Why does he sell every product imaginable from cleaners to hooks to putty? If I refuse to buy his products will he come to my house and beat me up? It sure seems that way. Is there any way to stop that guy? I don't think there is.

5)I'm afraid of getting a progressive neuromuscular disease. I work with people every day who have MS and ALS and Parkinson's and Dementia. It sucks. None of these ailments run in my family. Diabetes runs in my family, but that is a lot more manageable. I watch what I eat and I exercise and I take cinnamon extract tablets, which Dr. Andrew Weil has said helps to prevent diabetes. The neuromuscular diseases are a whole other ball of wax. They scratch at the back of my brain like a scary little tickle.

6) I'm afraid of getting attacked by a bear. I love to hike. I spend a lot of time in the wilderness. That's where bears live. They are very strong. Have you ever seen what one of those guys can do to a car? Just imagine what he could do to me! Scary!

7) I am afraid of those Thomas the Train cartoons. The toys are fine. The cartoons are creepy. Its super bad animation with big bulging eyes and questionable subject matter. Whose idea was it to make a kids show about train disasters, anyway? Were these shows found in a box of rejected BBC ideas from the 1950's? It sure seems that way. I'm kind of scared that kids love em so much.

8) I'm afraid of running into my ex, M. It's fairly unlikely. I live 3000 miles away. But every year we all meet back in San Francisco for the Bay to Breakers. We build the float in Palo Alto. These are two places where running into him is quite likely. And we like the same music, bars, restaurants. There is a small, but very real chance I may run into him one of these times. And even though I'm in a good place right now and don't even think of him hardly at all, I'm not sure how I'd react if I saw him. Or how he'd react. Do I sound like I'm 14? I sort of feel like it.

9) I'm afraid of accidently saying something to one of my friends that insults them to the point where they never speak to me again. I'm not sure why I have that fear. It's not like I say insulting things all the time. I'm much more of a clam up and stuff it all down kind of gal. Then I just go for a run and let it all out through the bottom of my feet. Plus, I have the kind of friends who would maybe be upset for a while, and then would talk to me: "What you said really hurt my feelings, but I'm over it and I'm glad you're my friend and I love you". Something to that effect. The chances of this happening is very remote. But if it did happen...I'd be crushed. It'd be the worst. I don't know what I'd ever do.

10) and right now...I'm afraid I like Nerd more than he likes me, and I'm making something out of nothing, and I'm bugging him, and he's trying to think of a way to gently get rid of me without hurting my feelings. Even though HE was the initiator in this little thing we got. And he says super sweet things to me. And he wants to introduce me to his coworkers. And blah, blah, blah. He's much younger than me. I'm allowed to be insecure every now and then.

And there you have it, my own little house of horrors.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Slowly but surely making my way through the excess stuff. I put another pair of shoes in the donation bag, and recycled the paper and more cardboard.

I seem to be in a miscommunication zone lately. I sent in a form for a certification exam this week, and I got a call from the association today saying that I had printed out and mailed the wrong form! Then I got a call from American Express about my card that had been returned to them. I don't have an American Express card. What's that all about? And once again , the lovely California DMV sent me another non-sensical letter outlining why I should still be paying the state of California for a vehicle that is registered in Massachusetts. (I think its time to play the relative card to my brother, the lawyer, on this one)

It just seems odd that all this communication happens in batches. Like there's a cloud of miscommunication energy floating around the world and this week, its hovering over me. Hopefully, it'll blow away by next week!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Today, I recycled some cardboard boxes and I went through the mounds of papers that were magneted to the fridge, recycling the expired memos.

I talked to my friend, Isabelle, on the phone today and she told me about a dream she had the other night. In her dream, I had won the lottery! However, instead of being ecstatic, I was in existential crisis. SHe said that in her dream, she came upon me sitting head in hands, bemoaning the fact that there were so many things in the world that needed that needed fixing. "How will I fix it all?" I was crying, "How did I get saddled with all this responsibility?"

What's really funny about this is that over the weekend, I got into the "What would you do if you won the lottery?" conversation with K and J. They were of the mindset that they would engage in endless consumerism for things that nobody in their right mind would ever want or need. (They've been watching a lot of HGTV lately, with the shows about people who redo their bathrooms for $150,000 or build a $75,000 treehouse in the back yard for your kids to play in) I said that I have no desire for a stone fireplace next to my toilet and that any hut designed for a hobbit should stay in the Shire. I'd buy some things, of course, like a place to live and some nice hiking apparel. I'd do a lot of traveling. And I'd make sure my friends and family didn't have to worry about money. But building a 7 million dollar pirate ship? Nah!

Then the conversation turned to charity. Who would we give money to? How much? Why? K came up with some weird formula for figuring what we could spare for charity. I came out to something like we'd need at least 100 million dollars for ourselves before we could even think about charity. J and I were incredulous. Then the two of us had almost the exact crisis that Isabell had dreamed about. We concluded that its a good thing we hadn't won the lottery.

Are we lucky or what?

Monday, October 6, 2008

I love October

Needing to do double time, as I will be away for 4 days this weekend. Soooo.... I bought 3 magazines from the magazine basket into work to give away, and then threw away 3 catalogs I didn't need. I filled the canvas bag up with some things to recycle and put a pair of shoe in the bag to donate. WHEW!

I love October. I love the post season games, especially when the Red Sox are in the playoffs. The only thing I don't love is how late they schedule the games. Seriously...yesterday was Sunday. Couldn't they have started playing at 3:00pm? I went to bed at midnight and still didn't see the end of the game. I love the sunny, crisp days and I usually love the cold crisp nights, but I'm not exactly loving how cold it got so quick this year! I love pumpkins and hot chocolate and squash. I love Halloween parties and Halloween candy. I love hiking and biking on the weekends. I love, love, love October!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

October Check In

Today, I attacked a pile of papers I had put on the kitchen table to go thru. The pile has been sitting there for weeks. I finally made the decision to be ruthless and I threw out a pile of papers. (ok, I put them in the recycling pile)

I also had to go to a sporting goods store and pick up my goodie bag from the last triathlon that was cancelled. And guess what?? I won some sunglasses from the giveaways. I gotta go online and pick out what pair I want, then they'll send em to me. So hey! One of my October goals completed itself!!

Afterward, I went over to Nerd's and helped him with Phase One of his move to a new apartment. The new place is quite nice, but has a serious lack of parking. (He is doing quite a bit of throwing out and recylcing himself)

I joined a triathlon training club and I'm gonna peruse the calender for some training runs. And I'm all mapquested up for my trip to Montreal.

Doing quite a bit better than the September goals. Just gotta start losing the pounds!
Onward and upward.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


On Friday, I returned a bottle of nail polish to J that had been sitting my bathroom for months. On Saturday, I returned two library books and a toy train that miraculously re-appeared on the floor of my jeep. We had thought the train was gone for good; that the baby threw it out the window during our bike trip in August. However, today when I was cleaning out the jeep, there it was, plain as day. I also threw away a small mountain of stuff from the jeep: rags for cleaning and checking oil, the broken container that once held my tool and emergency kit, a few expired bits and pieces of stuff, some screws to the top of my old jeep, and the bottles of some windshield wiper fluid and anti-freeze when I topped all the fluids off. I also drove off a small army of spiders that had taken up residence in my hard top for the summer. I'm sure I'll be driving away a few spiders in the weeks to come. (Nerd outlined an entire green spider elimination plan, but I have yet to execute it) Four down, 27 more things to go.

Friday night, I went out with KC and a couple of her co-workers to watch the Sox and see a band. It was freezing here Friday, so I threw on some jeans, chuck taylors, a long sleeved Tshirt and a Red Sox shirt over it. I figured, when you are going out to watch a baseball game at a dive bar, it's a casual affair.

When I arrived at KC's there was a small whirlwind going on. KC was one step less casual than me: jeans, boots, a semi-fitted Tshirt and a cardigan. Her two co-workers were not. They had each brought several outfits and were changing repeatedly between them, modeling and asking for opinions.

"Well, that color looks better on you, but you look skinnier in the black, and your boobs look best in the red."

"Should I wear the heels or the boots?"

"Does this look too trashy?"

Finally, they each settled on a look, we finished our drinks, and piled into KC's truck to go to the bar. We said "Hi" to the band, grabbed drinks, and found a good spot. Then I started watching the action. And I'm not referring to the playoff game.

KC's friends were WORKING THE ROOM. Literally. They were systematically moving from one end to the other, tirelessly flirting, sizing up, considering, discarding. They were eyelash batting and hair flipping. They were laughing earnestly at jokes. They were standing just so in the most flattering positions they knew. And every so often, they'd run back to where KC and I were standing to ask for opinions.

"Do you think he's cute?"

"Is that shirt he's wearing too dorky?"

"How much does a personal trainer make?"

Ok, I know I'm the old fart of the group. I know I'm in a much different place in my life than them. I know that unlike most of the crowd in the bar, I almost had a sensory overload meltdown trying to simultaneously watch a baseball game, listen to a band, talk to one person, dissuade another from taking any further interest in me, and send text messages to Nerd. (Sure, anyone under the age of 25 could have added two more tasks into the mix without missing a beat. I, however, could not)

That being said, I don't ever remember trying as hard as those two. EVER.

When I was in my twenties, I used to go to bars straight off the beach. Wearing cut off jeans over my bathing suit and flip flops, my hair matted together in a dreadlocked mess. I never paid cover. I never waited in lines. I never paid for drinks. (ok, maybe people thought I was homeless and felt bad for me) But at least at was a lot less work!

Seriously. I can't fathom working that hard to go out on a Friday night. I work hard at work. Going out is supposed to be relaxing. I don't think I put that much prep work into my state licensing exam!

When I got home (after a 1:00am trip to Wendy's for sustenance, a crazy after-party at KC's with half the band, Gman and his obnoxious friend, and getting pulled over in a road block the state troopers set up) I said a small prayer of thanks: Thank goodness I am a a sloppy, boring non trendy person! I don't have the energy to be any other way.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

item two (and then some)

Today, I threw away the mail order bag that my active dress came in. I had misguidedly saved this bag thinking I could re-use it to mail something out in. However, there was so much writing all over the bag and it was too difficult to write on. How did somebody make a sharpie-proof material? Then, I thought I'd use it just as a trash bag. But it was such a strange shape. It wouldn't really fit in a trash basket. It wasn't practical for the car. It just wasn't going to work. So what did I do? Kept it just in case. A mail order bag! What the heck is wrong with me? Eighty six that sucker!

I actually started this whole get rid of stuff thing on September 29th. It was a Monday. It seemed to make more sense. I gave away three magazines on Monday; brought them into work for the waiting room reading material. On Tuesday, I recycled a bag full of cardboard boxes. Again, I had to bring them into work to recycle.

Its a weird thing. My buddies from whom I rent are strangely anti-recycling. It seems a bizarre thing to be opposed to. Something about how all things in landfills are picked through anyway and everything is recycled. But if we seperate things at home and put them in bins, it takes away jobs from trash pickers? And somehow somebody is making money off of it?

I dunno. I have learned some things in my years, though. One of which is, if somebody feels very strongly about something, no matter how odd or even backward it may sound to you, there is no way you will change their mind. I've been floored the past few weeks at the ferocity of some of the comments on political blogs. Angry, ranting, crazy talk (from both sides) somehow expected to change other's minds by calling them idiots. Of course, my friends wouldn't get THAT riled up about the recycling. But there is no way I'd convince them that recycling is a GOOD thing, nontheless.

So I've been hauling my crap into the bins at work. I don't want to be too obvious, though, filling the work bins with my house trash. I've been taking it in a little at a time. The canvas bag sits in my jeep and a couple cardboard products come in with me each day.

Am I anal or what?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Item one

Today I gave away a small foam apple that has been sitting by my computer. It is one of those hand stregnthener squeezie things that I got in a swag bag from a race or conference or something. The thing is, I have no need for a squeezie stregnthener. But some stroke patient at work may need it. So I brought it to work today and gave it to the OT to distribute as she sees fit. One down, thirty items to go!


Well, September has come and gone, and it was a complete washout figuratively and literally. It rained and rained and rained. I had two triathlons cancelled because of remnants of two hurricanes blowing thru and my plan to exercise every day outside was sideswiped because I was tired of getting soaked. With so many pets disappearing or dying in September, I had to console myself with as much ice cream as I could possibly force down my throat, so my eating plan went right out the window (and into the pouring rain).
I DID start on a few crafts, but nowhere near completing four from the craft box. No museum. No rock climbing. No guitar. No hiking. No camping.
I could not find the book "Downshifting" no matter where I looked, so that was a bust, as well. Though I did revisit Anna Karenina, not touched since high school, thanks to a previous post about an old high school teacher. (more on that later)
The only thing that worked out in my favor is that I DIDN'T have the chance to fill out the forms to completely maximizie my 401k contributions and move everything into one neat, little package. I feel a little smarter for keeping everything a little more liquid where I can access it if I ever decide to grow up, move out of the garage-majal and buy my own place. Savings don't have those little parenthesis I keep seeing in my retirement statements.
SO I shake off the water, wet dog style and jump right into October with both feet:
1) For 30 days I will get rid of ONE thing in my house. I've been looking around and noticing how much stuff I have accummulated. And since I live in a small studio apartment, I can see it all at once. So every day, I will throw away, give away, recycle, return, re-gift, donate, or burn one item in my house so come November, I don't have to look at as much junk. (Just kidding about the burning)
2) Along the same lines...a few years ago, when I was feeling a little lost and unsure of where to go, a friend have me a big box of self help type CDs and tapes. They have been sitting neatly in that box ever since. And I feel a bit bad about just donating them without at least having a listen. So I will give those a listen, too, in October. Maybe I'll like em so much, I'll hold on to them.
3) I will read "Three Cups of Tea" a suggestion from a book club of sorts. Remember the snobby high school I went to? Well they send out these newsletters and they are starting a little book club. In October, all the students in school are reading it, and they are asking any alumni who wishes to read it as well. They are gonna have a blog/ discussion group, as well as an in person book club meeting, for anyone who doesn't have to physically be in work, I guess. I figured I'd give it a try. (all this old high school crap is a bit serendipitous, is it not?)
4)I am going to go to Montreal! For a weekend of drinking and debauchery.
5) I am going to sunglasses. I need them.
6) I am going to host a Halloween party.
7) I am going to go on at least one organized training run and ride.
8) and last but not least I am going to lose 3 pounds this month. I really need to.