Tuesday, January 27, 2009

the little things

I confess that....it is really the small little things that I find bring me more pleasure than any sort of big event.

Some examples:
  • Blankets. There is very little that comes close to the comfort a warm blanket can bring on a cold day/night. Even nicer, the fact that my husband will pile as many on me as I ask for each night to be sure I'm kept warm.
  • Chocolate. A few times, I've seen stories on extending life through intense calorie deprivation. Honestly, I'll sacrifice a few years. Life with no chocolate wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable. There's something so wonderful in that moment of indulgence.
  • Red wine. See chocolate. I think there's also a mental element...red wine signals to my mind that it is the weekend and I can relax and enjoy.
  • Endorphins. I don't "like" working out, but I'm definitely an endorphin junkie. There are a lot of things are bodies do that baffle me (why does evolution letting healing cuts itch so you scratch them open again?). But endorphins make sense. Do good for your body and you get to feel good too.
  • Email. I'm just not a phone person (which is ironic given my job). I express myself much better in writing than on the phone and more comfortably. I'd have "lost" may more people without email. It even helps maintain connection with the Boy during the day since I don't have to worry about interrupting a good thought train.
  • PJs. I put them on as soon as I get home on weeknights and sometimes if I'm home for more than an hour or two on weekends. Another mental symbol to relax. And they are just so darn comfy!
  • Grover. He sits on the rocking chair. And makes me smile. How can Grover not make you smile? He so beats out this Elmo kid that I really don't think was even around 25+ years ago.
  • Good books. When time allows, I love to read a good novel before bed. I love when I feel a connection with the characters. I get to meet new people. And I can put them away when I'm done with them only only see them again if I choose :P
  • Good hair days. No explanation needed. Especially for anyone else with hair that has its own personality (and, on frizzy days, its own zip code!).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

i see you....or me....

I confess that....I notice what people eat.

I watch the guy on the platform down two huge bear claws in five minutes. I notice the lady order extra cheese and mayo on her sandwich (adding more mayo to tuna is a bit much...even if you like it!). I notice the woman who only gets the side salad and doesn't finish it.

I try really hard not to judge. Maybe this is the only treat this person has had in weeks. Maybe her stomach hurts or she already ate. But I confess to snap judgments that I can't quite put away. "Yeah, buddy, those two bear claws are great for your 300 pound frame." And I really hate the part of me that says that. I try and quiet her down and make her go away. But I can't.

The reality is, I think she's usually talking to/about me. Most who bother to read this know I've had my struggles with food. And they've been acting up again lately something fierce. I think the judgments I put on others are an extension of the ones I put on myself. I'm so very used to putting myself down, that it is hard to stop that habit when it comes to other people.

Then again, I "retreat" from the judgments with others...but never with myself.

I've told so many people, especially women friends, that they need to treat themselves at least as well as they'd treat a friend. Probably better. But I don't live those words well.

This isn't where I expected this ramble to go.

I want to stop judging others. And I know I need to be better in judging myself.

Chicken or egg???

And where's the line? We do need to watch others and ourselves. And there's a healthy level of judging. We learn by seeing what other people do and evaluating the results. And we need to keep some level of self-responsibility and I think that requires at least some form of judgment. In college, I gained a lot of weight because I didn't think twice about what I ate and I rarely moved a muscle. I didn't judge myself at all...and my physical health suffered (and would have more as I aged). That isn't the "right" place to be either.

As with so much, clearly the answer is balance. And it seems like a lot of people have that knowledge magically....they just go and walk the line without a thought. I don't. But I don't think the answer is to be resigned to that. Maybe it is just walking really really slow some days (some weeks/months/years) until I find my way.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

habit, or more?

I confess that....I have some degree of OCD.

I don't wash my hands all the time or need to check the stove, but I need certain things "just so." If they aren't, I feel off-kilter and get thrown off. Here are some examples:

  • I stand in the same spot to catch the train. I can be "off" by a few inches but more than that and I'll glare at whomever is in MY space. Don't they know! I get priority, I'm there every day! I think it is normal to have a general habit of getting on in a given area, but I think I take that farther.
  • I must leave the apartment for work at a specific time. This is WAY before I really need to leave in order to catch my shuttle. I tell myself that. I remind myself I'll be waiting and often cold. But I still go. And then get annoyed waiting.
  • I check my alarm's time every night...even though I never change the time on the "alarm 1" setting. I also check the volume. And that it is on a station, not in between. Which is especially odd since I generally have it on "buzzer" not "radio."
  • I need the Windows bar with my open items to be in the right order. Most importantly, Outlook MUST be first. If I accidentally close it, I need to close everything else and then reopen them in the proper order. The other day, it got messed up ten minutes before I was going to leave. I still "had" to fix it.
  • I review my morning websites in a specific order. I've accidentally pulled up a site that's later in the series. I close it and go back to it later. At its proper time.
  • When I can (i.e. at home/work vs. movies), I line up my M&Ms (usually PB flavor) by color. I eat them to "even them out" and get to the same amount of each colors. Then I eat "across" so it stays even. This is more fair to the M&Ms. I'll also put the bigger ones at the "top" of their rows. They get saved for last b/c they are the yummiest.

I know I don't have real OCD. And that it isn't even comparable. But I think a lot about my need for routine. I think it is about control. Maybe because I lacked a lot of control over my world as a kid (more than normal). Or because I feel like there are so many elements in my life that are out of my hands so I want to take power of those that are.

It would be nice though if it manifested in more useful ways. My apartment would look neater at least!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

party on

I confess that....I can't get into all the Obama-mania.

I voted for Obama. Twice. And I am glad he won. I hope he will lead our country in a great direction and continue to inspire and bring hope...two things that are a lot harder to do as a leader than as a candidate. I think he is surrounding himself with a lot of talent and intelligence and I truly believe that is the number one key to a job like the presidency. No one can know it all, you need to have people you can rely on to know it for you. And I like that he looked for people who might challenge him...it is important to be challenged in your thinking if you've got such big responsibilities. I also think he has both a good head and a good heart. Okay, and I like seeing him with his little girls.

So, yes, I'm thrilled he'll be taking the helm next week. But I just can't get into the "spirit" that many others seems to have. My husband wants to stay home and watch all day Tuesday. Granted, he's a political junkie and his work is related to politics, but I couldn't imagine a whole day of coverage. I'll take my ADD-friendly news flash, even though I don't have ADD.

Even more so, I'm glad I'm not in DC. I don't like crowded trains or middle seats, let alone an entire city of wall-to-wall bodies. I don't feel the contagiousness of atmosphere that others seem to have in such situations. I don't feel the need to "be a part of it"....and wasn't casting my vote the true way to be part of it anyway?

On a related note, I recognize the momentousness of the occasion as the inauguration of our first African-American President. But I'm not sure I'd say I feel "pride" in our county for it. I'll feel more pride when we don't need to even mention a candidate's race. Certainly, racial and ethnic background is a part of who were are and should be celebrated and embraced. But it disheartens me how much it still "matters" in public arenas. I look more towards the day when a candidate is a candidate, not a woman candidate, a black candidate, a Hispanic candidate, a gay candidate...

Anyway, wrapping up the rambling...I'm happy for the change in leadership but having trouble getting into the vibe and the spirit that I'm hearing about. Maybe that's about where I am right now (a bit numb in some ways) or maybe it is about who I am (never one to really get "excited" about things). Or maybe it is about believing the real event is what happens after the inauguration, not the party itself.

Monday, January 12, 2009

all fought out

I confess...that I'm in a bit of an "I can't" mood.

The pain yesterday was the worst it has been in a long time. Bad enough that I even skipped over my typical meds and "borrowed" a higher-power one that my husband had left over (yeah, yeah, not the greatest thing to do, but it was truly that or the ER). It did help, and made me a bit giddy, but some of the pain even poked through then.

I woke up kinda queasy and achy but thought it might just be fatigue, the Mondays, or even a medicine-hangover. Now the pain is coming back. And I just don't feel up to fighting it off. So this will be a short and whiny entry.

When medicine works I always wonder if "this" (the way I feel on medicine) is how "normal" people feel every day.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

for the love of...

I confess that...I don't actually enjoy working out.

I do it. A lot. Maybe more than I should, though not dangerously so and I eat enough to fuel myself. But I don't really enjoy the process. I used to visit a running-related bulletin board and saw all these people who truly LOVE running. They love the act itself. Their runs are one of the highlights of their day. That's so not me.

I do love what I GET from working out. I like the results. I have definitely worked hard over the years to transform my body and (if I do say so myself...and it is impressive that I can) it shows. I like seeing the tone that comes from both the work on reducing fat and building muscle. I like being "little" (but healthy little, I promise).

I also like the idea of HAVING worked out. I like the feeling after. I like knowing I did something "good", especially that I started out my day with something good. A part of me I'd like to deny gets a boost from doing that while most of the world is still asleep. It isn't pretty to admit, but it can be a "better than them" kinda feeling. And I suppose I need that since I've never been high on the confidence factor.

I do get a bit of the endorphin rush too. But that isn't a primary motivator for me.

I do feel like it would be healthier in some way to workout for the love of the workout. I'm jealous of those that do. The lack of that feeling makes me nervous that some day I'll fall off the wagon. I know I'm addicted in a lot of ways to my routine, but I get nervous that if I fall out of it for even a week that I'll never get back. That itself DOES provide motivation to keep the routine. But there's something messy in that cycle.

Monday, January 5, 2009


I confess....that I really need a sign. I'm not sure I believe in "signs," but I need one anyway.

Years ago, I remember hearing about how people in my generation would change jobs and careers many times over a lifetime. And I laughed. Because that wouldn't be me. I got in line. I went to a "good" college and a career-focused grad program. I went off to be a lawyer. And it didn't click. I didn't have the passion for it that people needed to survive, let alone thrive, in that world. And while a change of focus might have helped a bit, I really simply can't see myself doing it again. I don't have it in my heart.

So I moved on. And I'm in recruiting (for lawyers). It might be closer to right, but it still isn't right. I don't have the stomach for commissions. And it doesn't quite mesh right with that statement, but I also am not motivated enough by the bottom line to put in my whole self. I feel like my results have had very little correlation to my effort. I do get some sense of reward from the work, but not enough and those moments are too few and far between. Would I feel better if I were more successful? Or would I be more successful if I felt better? I don't know. But it isn't "right" and I'm not feeling happy.

So....what now? I don't feel called to anything. It is nearly impossible to look for a job when you don't know what you want to be. What do I even pick on the Monster pull-down menu for occupation category? How do I start? I really don't want to go back to school, especially because I'm afraid I'd pick another wrong path. But I feel like I'm over and under-qualified for everything all at once. And then you add in the economy....I need to go, but there's no place to go.

How do people KNOW what to be, what to do? My husband knows. He's got his gripes, but he loves his job. And I'm happy he does. But sometimes that makes it a little harder....I can't get out of bed for work, he can't stop thinking about his because it's truly a passion.

Where's my sign? I don't need a job that totally defines me, but I need one that fits.

Friday, January 2, 2009

new year, new start? blah!

I confess...that the New Year's Resolution is on my list of pet peeves.

I appreciate the chance to reflect on another year gone by, not to mention the chance for a fun night out, but I feel like New Year's is really overblown. I don't see why it should be a milestone for announcing some big new change in one's life. Why this date above all others? The way I see it, true change is inspired by more than a clean page on the calendar. Real resolutions come when they (and we) are truly ready for them....not when some arbitrary date tells us we should be. And most change, especially truly successful change, is a gradual process...not something you can announce one day and enact the next. It seems to me like resolutions based on the calendar are a lot more likely to fail, and to result in a bit of a backlash, than those that just come on their own. We resolve, we fail, we feel worse than when we started.

Not to mention the industries built upon the resolution. The normally long wait at my old gym in ATL would more than double in January and February to the point where I'd wait 40 minutes to be allowed to use a machine for only 20. And the barrage of diet ads, stop smoking ads, etc. seem almost designed to make us all feel pretty rotten. It's January...the weather is doing a good enough job of that (especially here in New England)!

I'm all for self-improvement. I'd love it if more people got fit, quite smoking, spent wisely, and on and on. But I think it needs to come from the individual, not the calendar.