Saturday, March 31, 2007

Revolutionary Concepts in Not Taking People for Granted

After talking with some friends about blogging and the Internet, I'm shy to post very personal thoughts and feelings...knowing that nothing is as anonymous as I like to pretend. On the other hand, I'm not posting anything that I would be ashamed to admit to. Just a preface, I guess, to indicate that this one is challenging.

A QiGong Master told his student that anyone wasting another person's time is killing him - because he is taking time away from another person's life. When I think about using up the finite time available in my own or another person's life, it changes the concept significantly. I want every moment to be lived to it's fullest, which doesn't mean extreme sporting or peak experiences, but rather with that concept of authenticity, presence and awareness. Even negative experiences or the tension of not-knowing can fill the moment. Playing Table Topics the other day, I couldn't recall a single peak experience that I would want to re-live, but I easily remembered the hardest thing I'd ever done because I was so present in that moment. This is the root of Daoism and probably best explains why I have the kanji for Dao tattooed prominently on my arm.

So today, talking about relationships and discontent, my friend came up with this idea: A boyfriend/girlfriend needs to make up for the other men/women their partner is choosing not to be with. I hesitate to even write it that way, because "make up for" sounds not quite right, but in the interest of getting this down, I'm going to let it stand as written.

My mind is reeling from the possibilities and I recall a Buddhist wedding I attended. The Buddhist's did not vow "to have and to hold until death do us part," but did exchange vows including a vow from the husband to keep the woman's makeup and jewelry boxes stocked. The explanation was that the husband would always value the woman and want to adorn her and that the woman would always want to adorn herself for her loving husband. It was really beautiful and touching and I've always remembered that. The above concept, in both forms, really means to me just that we should value our lover/partner and recognize and value that they choose us. And kick the asshole to the curb if he's killing you by wasting your precious time.

Friday, March 30, 2007

101 Goals in 1001 Days

Read about this 101 Goals in 1001 Days thing on another friend's blog and was so inspired. Apparently, people who write down their goals are ridiculously more likely to achieve them. I would like to achieve some things, so I'm getting with this program, too - thanks to KHK for turning me onto this and for a few goals I borrowed! [Note - coming up with 101 goals was harder than I thought, so I ended up reading a lot of other people's lists for inspiration - if you're interested this site has a list of people's lists and you can see how people are doing. I like seeing the accomplishments pile up!]

End date:
December 25, 2009

1. Complete my list of 101 things to do
2. Finish putting my hard copies of photos and scraps into albums
3. Reorganize the music on my MP3 player
4. Get names/artists for the currently un-labeled music on my computer
5. Try rock climbing (no one says it has to be something I'm not already planning!)
6. Finish my last case paper
7. Write my Masters Thesis
8. Graduate NCNM
9. Build/commission a professional website
10. Finish my mom's afghan
11. Walk Chibo everyday for 2 weeks
12. Drink no soda for 1 month (excluding soda water)
13. Visit Rebecca in Trinidad or elsewhere
14. Sell or donate crafting supplies not in use
15. Sign up for Bikram Yoga new member package and use it at least 2x
16. Ride my bike to school or clinic at least 5x in spring term
17. Get a basket or pannier for my bike
18. Go to the next staff or company meeting at work
19. Apply for Mercy Corps business grant
20. Do deep breathing exercises every night for 1 week
21. Memorize Tai Ji Yang Style form
22. Take a Tai Ji class outside of NCNM
23. Teach a QiGong class
24. Volunteer anywhere
25. Walk to Fred Meyer instead of driving as needed for 2 weeks
26. Sell my Pathfinder
27. Go outrigger paddling again
28. Go for an overnight backpacking trip
29. Go backpacking for more than one night
30. Get caught up on filing and data entry - counts when there is not a pile of papers waiting to be filed!
31. Take another obedience class with Chibo
32. Go kayaking
33. Learn to straighten my hair
34. Consult with a dermatologist
35. Consult with an adoption counselor
36. Go to a live sporting event at least 4x per year
37. Pay off my Citibank credit card
38. Reduce by 1/2 my primary credit card
39. Request my credit report
40. Cancel out of date creditors
41. Finish updating my name with relevant resources (such as credit reporting agencies)
42. Sign up for 401K at New Seasons
43. Take guitar lesson/class
44. Take dance class
45. Take ceramics/pottery class
46. Find an acceptable news source and read it daily for 2 weeks
47. Identify my favorite section of the bookstore
48. Eat no processed food for 1 week
49. Plant an herb garden (or at least 4 kinds in pots)
50. Plant a vegetable garden
51. Plant Tiger Lily's bulbs
52. Buy a book on Lily's or orchids
53. Read a book every week for 2 months
54. Crochet something to wear
55. Crochet something as a gift
56. Spend an important anniversary with mom
57. Get a facial
58. Find a good facial moisturizer with SPF
59. Hike 2x per week for 2 months
60. Visit Pete and Sara in DC/NY
61. Cook a meal (not counting sandwiches or boxed soup) for my housemate
62. Cook a meal (not counting sandwiches or boxed soup) for my boyfriend
63. Cook a meal (not counting sandwiches or boxed soup) for friends (more than E and A!)
64. Try a recipe out of the vegan cookbook
65. Make a supplement list and take consistently for 2 weeks
66. Go 1 day without swearing
67. Set aside an afternoon 1x per month for 3 months to send birthday greetings and other mail
68. Make a reasonable budget
69. Find a good calcium supplement and add to regular supplement list
70. Put videos onto DVD
71. Learn to sharpen dad's knives
72. Renew SCUBA certification and go diving!
73. Learn 3 prayers
74. Memorize 1 poem
75. Floss nightly for 2 weeks
76. Teach Chibo to lay down
77. Hang wind chimes
78. Consult financial advisor
79. Lose 25 pounds
80. Go to the zoo
81. Have a day of gracious living - tell people about the concept
82. Backup Computer
83. Get a fish or bird
84. Acquire a new camera and learn to use it
85. Go to my 10 year college reunion
86. Find out if Math/Science Center is still running and contact the director
87. Tune up sewing machine
88. Take a sewing class
89. Eliminate eggs from diet for 1 month
90. Make a recommended reading list for professional development
91. Find a resource to keep up to date on research (list serve etc.)
92. Go to AANP and/or NWNPC conferences
93. Drink 8 glasses of water daily for 1 month
94. Clean out garage at Center Commons
95. Take the train to Seattle
96. Fast for 24 hours
97. Have a cocktail party - make a new drink for friends!
98. Go to the Garden at least 3x before membership runs out
99. Get a new membership somewhere when Chinese Garden runs out
100. Go to Olympic National Forest
101. Visit Italy

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Note to Self - Remember the Four Agreements

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

I like that this isn't just about honesty, but also about how to use the power of our words for good. Even though I use words very loosely, I love definitions and etymology of words and know they do have power.

2. Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

Someone told me once that when a man says something to a woman, if it can be taken two ways and one of them is hurtful, he meant it the other way. I think that's generally true. Seinfeld also said that men are walking around, looking around, thinking about nothing and I think that's generally true of most people...well, at least they aren't generally thinking about me. I am the center of my own world and likewise every other individual is the center of their own, so it's not about me.

3. Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

I don't even have to say what people say about that.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

It's true - when I don't do my best, I question myself and feel guilty. Okay, I'm off to do my best to start working on my thesis.

From: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Note to Self - Remember Your Core Values

Integrity -
1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : INCORRUPTIBILITY
2 : an unimpaired condition : SOUNDNESS
3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : COMPLETENESS
synonym see HONESTY

I really like these definitions and feel freed by having these synonyms for integrity as I may have laid a guilt trip on my door by holding a "firm adherence to a code of especially moral...values." Rather than focusing on someone else's moral values, I think I'll focus on being sound and complete within myself and honest both within and without.

Serenity - the quality or state of being serene
1 a : clear and free of storms or unpleasant change b : shining bright and steady
2 : AUGUST -- used as part of a title, as in: His Serene Highness
3 : marked by or suggestive of utter calm and unruffled repose or quietude

I have been talking lately of subtlety, but I realize now I've been meaning serenity. I do want to laugh loudly with abandon, I do want to live out loud, I don't want to go quietly into this good night, but I want to do it all while shining bright and steady and remaining unruffled in the face of the storms of modern life.

Personal Development (Learning and Growth) -
Some concepts related to development:
  • to set forth or make clear by degrees or in detail : EXPOUND
  • to make visible or manifest
  • to elaborate (a musical idea) by the working out of rhythmic and harmonic changes in the theme
  • to work out the possibilities of
  • to create or produce especially by deliberate effort over time
  • to make active or promote the growth of
  • to make available or usable
  • to move (a chess piece) from the original position to one providing more opportunity for effective use
  • to cause to unfold gradually
  • to expand by a process of growth
  • to cause to grow and differentiate along lines natural to its kind
  • to acquire gradually
  • to go through a process of natural growth, differentiation, or evolution by successive changes
  • to become gradually manifest; to come into being gradually

Wow. And here's one that wasn't in the original list, but since I'm looking up words and gaining such useful understanding -

Authentic - true to one's own personality, spirit, or character.

Yep, the dictionary is my favorite book of all time.

Definitions from: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Impostor

I've been trying to write a post about my core values, how I discovered them, how I'm developing them and the challenges to acting in alignment to them, but I'm finding it extraordinarily difficult to post a blog that has meaning and connection to my heart in that way. In my personal growth work, I've identified a pattern of acting as an "Impostor" in my own life. The Impostor is ultra-competent, always compassionate and embodies integrity to the nth degree. Impostor never feels insecure, always knows the answers and never makes mistakes. Of course, the impostor is also not human or possible, but with superficial friendships, distant professional relationships and short term time frames, it it possible to pull off sometimes...but it doesn't feel good.

I am actually a highly competent, but procrastinating and sometimes lazy professional. I am compassionate but also sometimes cynical and judgemental. I hold integrity as a core value and regret the breaches of integrity I have made but am also still fallible and make mistakes every day. I vacillate between intense confidence and depressing insecurity in many arenas of my life. Challenges to my knowledge and differing opinions make me anxious and responding to them is difficult. I tend to think in extremes - black and white - all or nothing - when it comes to interpersonal relationships. I take things very personally.

Maybe I'm doing some interior spring cleaning since I'm on spring break this week...or maybe it's just another way to avoid working on my thesis, but either way, there is use to working on how I relate to the world. So here's the concept: today is the first day of the rest of my life and I'm going to work on being more authentic ... starting now. Right now. Yep - here I am world - naked, scarred, scared and flawed - and perfect, starting now.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

6 Degrees of Separation

My friend recently moved to New York for a new job and had very exciting news in her first email report about her new life. Her roommate's girlfriend, who may or may not be a model, was in a photo shoot and her roommate (the boyfriend) was asked to participate in the shoot too...and the photographer was none other than ANTM's Nigel Barker. It's disgusting, I know, but I love ANTM and have watched the show regularly since Season 2 (I caught Season 1 on syndication). I always feel the need to justify spending my time watching this show, but I really don't see how it's different from other reality shows which are also popular - I don't consider it any better or worse than Survivor, Amazing Race, Fear Factor, the Bachelor, etc - it's just about modeling and I find it appealing because 1. it doesn't involve eating disgusting things and 2. it's fundamentally about creating something beautiful.

Some of the girls come across as insipid and there are many a cat-fight, but this is the drama of reality television and it keeps us all coming back for more. We love to hate the stupid and adore our heroes. Incidentally, my hero is whoever thought of putting full episodes on the website - I don't have to set my VCR to record, I don't have to get Tivo or a DVR and I can still watch in my own time where ever or whenever!

At any rate, the point I'm trying to come to is that this 6 degrees of separation really is true! I know my friend, who knows her roommate, who has met Nigel Barker, who knows Tyra. That 4 degrees. I also know someone who has worked with Viggo Mortenson and Kenny Loggins - only 2 degrees. And if you consider who they know, it's a whole world of famous people that I'm within 6 degrees. I am an unabashed fan of the glitz of Hollywood, but I also have incredible discomfort around famous people - I once ran into Danny Glover at the juice bar and left immediately because I couldn't be that, of course, I wish I would have thrown in a little "I'm getting too old for this shit" as I walked out.

So, consider this, how many degrees am I from any one person within the city where I reside? Not far and especially closer considering how many people I've dated in the almost 8 years I've lived here. I probably went on close to 100 first dates in the first year here - I was bored, give me a break - and many since then in addition to joining an online social network that creates real time friendships. I'm constantly running into this situation of knowing someone who knows someone who... Example: I met a girlfriend at the gym and she tells me she's got a date with a really tall hunka hunka burnin' love - really tall? how tall? - 6'7'' - Is his name John? Example: My boyfriend is showing me pictures of his last birthday party and someone in the picture reminds me of someone...Is his name Tom? Example: Having dinner with another girlfriend who tells me her recent x, Joe, is a gas station attendant - is he Korean and drives a blue KIA Spectra? Yes, I'd met, contacted or dated each of the above and it was always weird finding out that we had that person in common. I can only anticipate the Internet creating more of these strange situations and overlaps and I can't figure out if that's a good thing or not.

PS - I did, in fact, change names and details above for privacy sake - maybe totally unnecessary, but really how hard was it and who cares?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

See You Next Tuesday...

It's spring break. I finished all 7 outstanding homework assignments between Thursday night and Friday at 5pm, took my last residency interview and saw another new patient before calling it a wrap for my last winter term in school. It's strange thinking that this is the last...the last winter term, the last spring break, the last year of formal schooling. That's not to say that won't go back to school or ever study again - I was speaking to my own physician this week who graduated about 2 years ago and she's almost ready to return to school for a part time MPH program. I would consider getting another Masters or my Doctorate in Oriental Medicine at some point. Education has really become a habit and the time line really works for me - autumn means freshly sharpened pencils and new pads of paper, after all.

I'm not looking that far ahead though - for now, I'm really only take it one week at a time and this week is spring break week. I'm not heading to Acapulco, San Padre or even Lauderdale, but I am taking a brief hiatus from my daily life to stay at my boyfriend's house and oversee (that means just being home) the contractor he hired to install some new flooring. That's going to be Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday - so I made a lot of appointments on Tuesday: trainer at 9, health appointment at 11:30, patient at 3:15, and 3 social engagements that evening that all start within an hour of one another. I keep sending emails saying "See you next Tuesday" and I'm very conscious of what that has become an acronym for.

I can only remember being physically punished by my parents twice in my life - once my dad gave me and my brothers all spankings when I was pretty young - I hated waiting in my room listening to my brothers holler as he spanked them, knowing it was coming. You can bet I never got up to whatever we did to deserve that again. The second time my mom slapped me as a teen for swearing at my brother and specifically for using the word "c_nt." Yes, my momma raised me better than that, too, and after that slapping, I never said that word in mixed company again, despite my love of a colorful swearing. I always considered it the height of profanity. Well, apparently mom has changed her view as she recently told me that so-and-so was just a "stupid c_nt." I was so shocked that I almost slapped my mom for it! I guess the same rules don't apply once you're over 30.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Overdraft Protection

I used to love my bank. I've been with them for almost 8 years - they're only the second bank I've worked with, but they've held onto my money and given it back when I've asked without charging me and with very little fuss. We only really ever had one disagreement and that was when I used the express deposit box, so really that was just piss-poor planning on my part. Until yesterday.

I'm embarrassed to even write here the extent of my mathematical mis-calculation, but I made an error in my checkbook and overdrew my account. Not by much, but I paid for it by much more. Here's some fast facts that I learned in my banking adventure yesterday:

1. When you overdraw your account, the bank may still pay for those items - Yeah!
2. The bank will charge you EVERY TIME they pay for something on your overdrawn account - Boo!
3. You will be notified when your account is overdrawn - Yeah!
4. USPS - Boo!
5. The bank will reverse some overdraft fees - one reversal is automatic and the bank managers have discretion to reverse more if you sing, dance, reveal your utmost personal financial history, talk about your dog's cancer, your mom's cancer, your own cancer and your desire to cure cancer.
6. Even all of that will probably reverse only one addition fee.

The bank does provide some options to help prevent overdrawing, including drawing from other accounts which would have helped me since I have cash sitting in other accounts at that same bank, however this also incurs fees, and therefore doesn't really address my problem. So I just paid $xxx dollars to learn that I need to keep my checkbook accurately balanced every day and to set up the Internet banking options to tell me my balance anytime it gets below $100!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bloody anemic

I'm trying not to start every post with "I love," and I suppose I've succeeded at that with just this prelude, so it's safe now to say: I love when authors utilize the word "anemic," often spelled with an extra o or a thrown in for a nice British touch, to describe something as uninteresting or uninspiring. Except that today I learned that I am anemic - not in the authorial 'uninspired' way, but in the medical 'not enough of blood' way. This explains my extreme fatigue, exercise intolerance and mental fogginess of late, but what remains unexplained is how this developed, since the only blood loss I've sustained of late was getting my blood drawn for these tests and a few paper cuts.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My Momma Taught Me Better Than That!

I love Hip Hop music. Pertinent to this post only because it inspired the title. The complete relevant lyric is "I'm not gonna slam you on the Internet - My Momma taught me better than that!" The song describes a breakup and all the things the woman is NOT going to do afterwards. No, I'm not experiencing a bad break up...well, at least not in my relationship. I am experiencing it vicariously through MySpace, though and it's very painful and confusing.

Through the MySpace grapevine, I've begun reading a woman's post about her recent relationship. She describes in some detail how abusive her relationship was and provided her partner's first name. Something about this occurred to me when I read her first blog, but I trusted that she probably changed his such luck...her second and third posts only confirmed what I suspected. Her former partner is someone I know and am friends with...and not just MySpace friends!

Many people have tuned in to her story and are commenting about how brave she is and how glad they are that she is sharing, but I have several concerns about her presentation:

1. She's basically trashing her x on the Internet
2. She's using this as a tool to process her former relationship and the issues she's raising may in fact be better served by working with a professional counselor
3. She's using her x's name and has identified enough aspects of his person for me to have figured out who he is, so it's highly likely that other people will have figured out that she's describing him
4. She's described very private issues related to his children - if people can identify that she's talking about him, they may also be able to identify his children and this information could be extremely damaging to them
5. She's presenting a one-sided view on a lifestyle choice that did not work in their situation and may have become abusive, but that works for other people and is highly susceptible to misunderstanding

In describing this, I find myself wanting to pre-defend that I'm not blaming the victim and wondering how much privacy an abuser deserves. Sexual offenders are required to register in many states, and it would be helpful to know from former partners if a boyfriend has been abusive in the past...but especially as this relationship was related to a BDSM lifestyle choice, it seems like discretion should be the rule.

I have considered raising my concerns with her or with him, but will instead pursue a course of watchful waiting. It breaks my heart to read this adult woman slandering/exposing someone (because in some respects it doesn't matter if it's true or not!) using the anonymity and open endedness of the Internet, because it can only be worse among adolescents and they are so much more likely to be damaged by this type of exposure.

Monday, March 19, 2007

When it's hard to choose love over fear...

Just this moment I decided to add another blog ... it's that whole procrastination thing ... but I had writer's block. I looked out my window (which is really a big sliding glass door) and received inspiration as I watched my roommate start climbing over the gate that leads to our patio that leads to the big sliding glass door which could easily be broken or broken into ... that's probably not what I want to be thinking about when I just learned my friend was assaulted by an intruder in her home.

I know that these things happen and am actually terrified whenever I have to stay the night in my home alone. I wake up on those mornings with a sense of relief that the night passed uneventfully and the day is here. It's worse at night, but I get scared during the day, too. I was unloading my truck yesterday morning and accidentally left the garage door open when I took everything upstairs. It was all I could do not to call the police when I realized the door had been open for up to 30 minutes unattended. That my bike was still in the garage and my dog hadn't barked the house down helped me relax and just close the damn door.

I'm not constantly quaking in my pansy pink booties, but these fearful thoughts enter my head on a regular basis throughout the day. I check that all doors are locked, put my faith in something and just keep going. I don't walk down dark alleys alone at night, but neither do I avoid taking my dog out for a pee at 3am when the bar across the street is long closed and the drunks and crazies are still about. What I'm trying to explain is that I have a heightened level of vigilance, but I try not to let it affect my options in life.

I was going to wax philosophical about this being a difference between men and women - that men don't have to be as constantly on guard as women - but it occurs to me this is not a male-female issue, but a minority issue. Any non-majority group or persecuted group can probably understand this feeling very well ... gay, person of color, women, fat, nerdy ... I guess we're all subject to the vagaries of human conscience that allow another human being to willfully hurt us. For now, I'm just happy that my boyfriend is a door locker, too, even though I laughed when he made a point of locking the car doors when we were scooting down the freeway at 85mph - maybe he knows something I don't know.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My Space

I'm such a sell out. I joined MySpace.

After starting a profile with just a photo and nickname (after a few comments, I also had to change my relationship status and state, as people thought I was single in Alabama and that just won't do), I started adding friends - I now have 26 friends on MySpace with several pending. One of my friends mentioned the phenomenon of having MySpace "friends" they don't actually know and said she knows 95% of her MySpace friends IRL. I feel a little superior that I know 100% of my MySpace friends in real life, but yesterday I felt superior because I didn't do MySpace...I guess it's only a matter of time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Just Being Nice

I was ogling my boyfriend in the car the other day and complimented his profile - he asked, "on MySpace?" [For those others who don't remember the original meaning of the word profile, it means: a representation of something in outline; especially : a human head or face represented or seen in a side view.]

Speaking of profiles, I have an online profile and have even posted a series of photos, despite my many misgivings. My partner complained that he didn't like my photo though because I hid my face behind my dog. It's a cute photo, but he's right, you can't see my face. So I went through my photos searching for a more appropriate photo for my profile - he expressed admiration for many of them, so I picked one and posted it.

The change was noted by many of my friends on that site. I received some compliments, but then a new friend said it made me look older. This was the permission that my partner needed as he then said that he actually didn't like that photo and had just told me so to be nice. It's sweet that he wants to compliment all my photos, but not so nice to allow me to post a not-so-good photo.

So yesterday, I made a drastic but temporary change in my appearance. I LOVE it and sent him a photo on my phone right away and asked if he liked it. He said it looks hot and came over right away, but hesitated when I said I could make this change more permanent. That's the problem with just being nice! Note to self : tactful honesty is the best policy.

Monday, March 12, 2007

How Never to Look Foolish

For the past several days (which really amounts to the past four years if I'm being honest), I've been doling out advice in the form of declarative statements and strong directives to a particular friend of mine. Apparently, I can see clearly where all her mis-steps and errors of judgement lie. I know exactly what she should have said, how she could have dressed and what she definitely should not have done that night after midnight margaritas, but I can't imagine how I've possibly ever hurt a friend's feelings, offended a lover or what could possibly be the reason my jeans are tighter today than they were last week.

This week, my great advice was not to worry about looking foolish and to just have fun! Have fun. Don't worry about looking foolish. Somehow I heard those words amongst the other gibberish that I rushed out just to finish the conversation so I could hang up and go to bed, and they've haunted me all week.

I had a residency interview Wednesday morning. An important interview for a job I'm really excited about. An interview that only my boyfriend, my mom and my housemate knew about. I couldn't possibly tell anyone about it because if they know that I aspire or that I care about getting this position and then I don't get it, how will that look? Foolish? Would I consider someone foolish if they don't get a job they apply for? Probably not, but that's what I imagine other's would think of me.

I have two more interviews for other positions, and I found myself idealistically hoping that I'll get offers for all three positions so that I can choose. I even made a pros and cons list. Then I somehow decided that I would be lucky to get even a single offer. That's how to never look foolish - just don't hope, don't aspire, don't be idealistic or optimistic.

I guess that's why the fool card always comes up in my tarot readings.

Friday, March 9, 2007

When I Write My Blog, that is, My Homework

Looking over the past several weeks, I notice my blogs are often written on Wednesday or Friday. These are the two days when I sit in 3 hour long lectures enjoying the free Wi-Fi available at my school instead of paying attention to my instructors. I try to pay attention, but 3 hours is just too long in my opinion. It is all I can do to even give the appearance of paying attention - at least our notes are online, so looking at my computer is not a complete show of disrespect.

Maybe I should use that time to work on my homework instead. Yes, I have homework - I always have homework. It's not just that I always have studying to do, but I actually always have some paper or case or project coming due in the next week. This week, being the last formal week of classes, with finals in the next two weeks, is not only no exception, but is actually even more intense. Imagine my surprise when my partner asked, "oh, do you have homework too?" after I explained that my housemate was missing the party to get homework done. I guess that explains a lot.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Procrastination as a Lifestyle Choice

Everyday I check items off my task list, so I get to feel like I'm really getting a lot done. But my thesis remains untouched, my case papers unwritten, I need to renew my library books for the 10th time and my cortisol levels have bottomed out with the combination of my high stress level and immense coffee intake. It's all I can do to attend my classes during this last week of term and hold myself back from cleaning out my garage and holding a yard sale this weekend.

I'm just looking away from my major priorities in favor of the small tasks that are so much easier to accomplish. Procrastination as a lifestyle choice does not work - I know this, but it's a hard habit to break. How do you stop procrastinating when the things used as distractors are also important tasks for a healthy lifestyle? Even going to the gym has become a way to ignore my homework. Cleaning my home, especially from the top-down as my office is on the bottom floor, also needs to be done so I don't go crazy, but may not be the most effective use of my time.

So do I just get fat and live in filth for the next 4 weeks until my draft is due? Maybe. Black and white thinking will get me nowhere, but at least I can use that as an excuse when we don't have a clean glass to drink out of. I better sign off and wash my car before the neighbors in the parking garage complain.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Food Frustration

So I had a panic attack at the grocery store a couple weeks ago. With the possible exception of the night I was scuba diving and saw a 6' shark hanging out just below me, I've never had a panic attack before. My friend and I were just picking up some food to take hiking - simple sandwich foods and easy hiking food: peanut butter, jam, bread, apples, carrots, maybe some GORP. Should have been pretty easy, but it threw me into a tizzy - my heart started racing, I got disgusted with everything in the store and the room started spinning when I was faced with the brightly colored packaging all around me.

What's the problem? What freaked me out? It's pretty vague, but I've been working on figuring it out and one thing I've come up with is trans fats. I've known about trans fats and their deleterious health effects since about 1998. I've gone through periods of time where "no trans fats" was actually the major dietary rule that I followed. These days, it's not that hard to avoid these fats, but the first peanut butter we found was a conventional variety still containing partially hydrogenated something oil, which means chemically modified fat likely to contain the trans chemical orientation. Yuck - instant panic attack.

Well, I ate trans fat freely for more than 20 years of my life - I always loved Shedd's Spread Country Crock margarine on toast - so it seems a little crazy to get freaked out enough to have a panic attack about having a couple of peanut butter and jam sandwiches with questionable peanut butter. Maybe it's also about choice - I've worried about moving from my "liberal city home" to other places for fear of not having as much choice and variety of healthy food options available to me.

Hmm...guess that gives me some understanding of the Indian hotel proprietor who said he has to order all of his food online because there is no Indian market available in Monticello, Utah. Thank God for the Internet.

Friday, March 2, 2007


Somehow when one has procrastinated for hours-days-weeks-months, just getting started can turn everything around. "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Last night I took a step - a tiny, itty-bitty, baby step towards the large amount of work that needs to be completed in the next four weeks, but a step that helps me see the possibility of getting through this tough period.

I was also able to get this step completed while taking care of my dog and my home, seeing my friend in from out of town and spending quality time with my beloved. Usually getting any homework done means locking myself away from everyone, even my sweet dependant little doggie and letting my house fall into a state of intense filth. As any other master-procrastinator knows, cleaning house is a great way to procrastinate. I suppose any non-deadline, but still essential task can be used as an excuse. I actually wrote "clean garage" and "spring cleaning" on my to-do list - that's how bad I didn't want to do my homework!

To set myself up for success and ride the wave of momentum, I plan on taking the next step tonight. I'm hoping to do some research and write two case papers this evening. Definitely a possibility. I read that people with debt find some level of accountability in blogging about their debt - maybe I'll find some accountability by blogging about my assignments...after graduation, when my student loans come due, then I'll have to start blogging about debt!