Monday, September 22, 2008

It's All Fun and Games Until...

Someone gets their eye poked.

Somehow A and I have a these weird things that happen in our sleep. We've each gotten socked in the face several times, there have been rolling-over-on's and now, an eye poke. I'm unclear exactly on how it happened, but somehow he stretched with his arm extended in the air over my part of the bed and his finger(s) pointed at the exact moment that I returned to bed from a nature call and lay back down. The pointed fingers landed right in my eye.

Luckily I hadn't flopped quite as vigorously, but it still hurt and there was little sleep after that.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Every Friggin Day

My friends from DC were here since Wednesday and I spent every evening with them. Wednesday night, we met for dinner and planned to see a show. When showtime turned out to be 11 instead of 9, we all admitted that the show was just a great way to choose the venue and we were there for the company anyways. Thursday, I went to a game night to see them and was disappointed that I didn't get them all to myself, but practiced my sharing skills and eventually got to play with my friends again. Friday, typical date night, we had dinner and a movie. Delicious middle eastern food and Burn After Reading. And, finally, Saturday, visits to my and E's shops and some rice pudding, hugs and tears as we said goodbye. I had told them I was keeping my schedule open to spend as much time as possible with them while they were here, but never expected it to work out that way.

It was wonderful to spend some time with them, but I definitely was feeling my routine blown a bit. Yesterday, I came home after work and got several hours to putz around the house before meeting them and that was great. So now I find myself wondering about things I do every day and things I don't. I recently set a goal to take and post (to a different site) one photograph every day. My first day was easy, that was the day I set the goal and the goal came after the first photo which was really cool and jumped out at me on its own. The second day, no photo, but I posted one on the third day and pre-dated it the second day. Since then (4 days later), no photos taken or posted. Maybe that has something to do with how I did spend the last 4 days, but I also think it's a goal-setting issue that I have.

I set high goals - realistically or not - of doing certain things perfectly. Post a photo everyday, and make sure it's a good one. Give up soda pop everyday for a month. Do X, Y or Z consistently or everyday. When I miss a day or mess up, I have trouble continuing - this, of course, is the curse of perfectionism. One can't actually live up to the perfectionist ideal that exists only in our heads, so we do nothing. I think that's one reason I actually blog so much - it's easy to blog everyday or regularly because I don't consider this a priority, I don't try to write anything particularly deep or well, and I don't feel obligated either way to write or not write. It's just something fun for fun.

I think goals are important and wouldn't want to be without goals, but I think this is worth thinking about some more. Perhaps I would do better with hobbie-related goals that are about attaining a skill or skill level or trying something new rather than about consistency, especially since my schedule is so packed with work. So, my modified photography goals is to take and post photos on that other site from time to time. And my modified fun goal is to have some, every day. Oops, I did it again.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hi Mom

Talked to my mom today. Have been trying to call regularly because I feel helpless to help her out during this hard time. As a result of Hurricane Ike, her basement flooded, her roof was damaged and water leaked into her house. In addition to all that, my brothers have not been as helpful as I feel they ought to be. But, I beat myself up by wondering who I am to judge, happily giggling with my friends all this far away.

I'm doing what I can, though, calling regularly, being an ear, hopefully taking her mind off her woes a bit by talking about things we both enjoy. That helps me finally realize what Ree was going for years ago when I was sick and she was trying to keep things light. Now I understand that when you don't have the personal resources to go deep, you help by staying light.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Our House is a Very, Very, Very Fine House

Work happening on
Our house. So far so good. So
Much work happening.


My friend Ree shines.

Addendum: What do you know?

My Best Friends' Ex-Boyfriends

In junior high, negotiating relationships and ex-relationships was easy. Any boy who didn't want to be with my gal pals was a jerk and I didn't talk to them anymore. And any girl who dated my friends' exes was some kinda something. Things are different now and I sometimes remain friends with friends' exes. Things are really different in that I now have become friends with friends' exes new girlfriends and wives.

I like to think we're all mature (read: ma-toor) enough to be in the same room together, but human emotions get involved and sometimes that's just not comfortable, not least of all for me. There's definitely a feeling sometimes of being in the middle. Take the other evening when I found myself with a close gal pal and her old flame's new wife. I hadn't been together with them before, so I was very conscious of the hugs and kisses I gave new wife in front of old girlfriend. Though we used to poke fun at new wife together, I've since gotten to know her and found her perfectly pleasant and nice to be around, but old girlfriend wasn't really around for the getting-to-know part.

I've also become quite close with the ex-boyfriend and his new wife of another friend. This ex-boyfriend had made something, let's call it a 'birdhouse' for lack of any other imagination on my part, for his ex-girlfriend, my good friend. This 'birdhouse' was given or taken back in the break up but has landed with me several times in the years since. In my recent move in with A, I declined to take the birdhouse with me and another friend took it to put in her 'yard.' I'm not losing sleep over this, but I am aware of the fact that when the ex-girlfriend-friend visits the home/yard where the birdhouse is now displayed, she might have a reaction.

I'm learning to let people have their own reactions, to be open and willing to talk about them and negotiate ways to keep people comfortable within my own home or event, but not to take responsibility for managing these people in other circumstances. I've also stopped being afraid to say an ex's name in front of the wrong people - these are people in my life, so they may get mentioned, although I try not to do it gratuitously. And finally, I've learned that there are some advantages to my having kept my dates outside of my own social circle for the most part.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rain Tunes

Been thinking of a rainy day soundtrack since I moved to the wetlands.

1. Rusted Root Rain
2. Eurythmics Here Comes The Rain Again
3. Fleming and John Rain All Day
4. Jane Siberry It Can't Rain All The Time
5. Frank Sinatra Come Rain Or Come Shine
6. Prince Purple Rain
7. Red Hot Chili Peppers Naked In The Rain
8. Kenny Chesney There's Something Sexy About The Rain
9. John Denver Fire and Rain
10. John Mayer Covered In Rain
11. Adele Right As Rain
12. Ani Difranco Rain Check
13. Counting Crows Rain King
14. Otis Redding I Can See Clearly Now The Rain Is Gone

Sunshine Songlist

Just for fun:

Marvin Gaye Ain’t No Sunshine (When She’s Gone)
KC and The Sunshine Band Walking on Sunshine
John Denver Sunshine on My Shoulders
The Beatles Good Day Sunshine
Natasha Bedingfield Pocketful Of Sunshine
Prince Play In The Sunshine
The Brady Bunch It's A Sunshine Day
The Corrs Summer Sunshine
Stevie Wonder You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
The 5th Dimension Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In
Osibisa Sunshine Day
De La Soul Sunshine
Belle And Sebastian Song For Sunshine
Johnny Cash You Are My Sunshine

Monkey Business

Would that be the version by Fats Domino, Michael Jackson or Skid Row? If it was Too Much Monkey Business, we'd have to choose between The Beatles, Chuck Berry, The Hollies, The Kinks and The Cramps . I used to be in the monkey business, studying animal behavior. After reading Walking With the Great Apes: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Birute Galdikas by Sy Montgomery in college, I was sold on studying primates and twisted every special project to learn more about monkeys and apes. I even studied American Sign Language (ASL) in the hopes of interacting with chimpanzees trained in ASL. I haven't given up my love for these amazing creatures, but my deeper forays into animal studies led me into a field that supports our keeping wild creatures wild.

That personal history aside, I've always wanted to make a compilation CD of songs about monkeys or with monkeys in them. I was shocked by how many songs I was able to find with just a simple search - 111! No fewer than than 10 songs just called Monkey or The Monkey; several about Monkey Business; the obligatory monkey phrases such as Monkey Wrench and Monkey Bars; monkey body parts: Monkey Butt and Monkey Back; all kinds of monkeys: Dirty Monkey, Toilet Monkey, Spider Monkey, New Monkey, Cheeky Monkey, Little Monkey, Steel Monkey, Musical Monkey, Brass Monkey; and all kinds of things to do to or with monkeys: Spank the Monkey, Shake Your Monkey, Punish the Monkey, Shock Dat Monkey and my favorite, Let Da Monkey Out!

Hard to choose, but my CD would probably go something like this (some picked just because I like the name or the band):
Dial Zero Be No Monkey
George Michael Monkey
Eminem Monkey See, Monkey Do
Beastie Boys Brass Monkey
Dave Matthews Band Proudest Monkey
Elvis Costello Monkey To Man
Goldie Lookin' Chain Monkey Love
Michael Jackson Monkey Business
Smokey Robinson Mickeys Monkey
The Rolling Stones MONKEY MAN
Aerosmith Monkey On My Back
The Beatles Too Much Monkey Business
Traveling Wilburys Tweeter And The Monkey Man
Gorillaz Fire Coming Out Of A Monkey's Head
Sprout Why Don't You Wear What That Monkey Wears?
The Beatles Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey
The Monkeys Hey, Hey, We’re the Monkees

Monday, September 15, 2008

I ♥ Old Men

In trying to determine the highlight of my day, it's hard to choose between the two older gentlemen who I spoke with at work today. The first was an older gentleman that I helped find some green powder. He had read about spinach powder as a weight loss aid and wanted to try it. When I showed him the New Chapter Berry Greens, he was game to try it. We had a nice talk about fruits and vegetables. In addition to being spry, interesting and kind, he was old - I was delighted to learn that he was 75. I look forward to enjoying such health in my elder years.

The second older gentleman I spoke with ribbed me about my shortened name tag which has just a "B" on it. He asked if that's all I get, and I replied with my usual, "They weren't sure I was going to last, so they made sure they could reuse my name tag." And he almost brought tears to my eyes by saying, "Well, you're an A in my book."

It's a great day when you can't choose the best moment because there are too many.

Also grateful today for:
  • A making dinner - yummy BBQ tofu and rice
  • Fruit salad - free pineapple, cantaloupe and apples
  • Feeling energized for the first time in a while!
  • Connecting with Ree and my other Soul Sister

Saturday, September 13, 2008

TV Free Me?

You know it’s bad when you’re trying to make a spreadsheet to track which TV shows to watch and are upset that America’s Got Talent is on at the same time as America’s Next Top Model. Wouldn’t it be great if America had talented top models? No knocks, gals and guys of the modeling industry, I know many of you are intelligent and talented individuals, in addition to being beautiful and photogenic – just easy targets…and stupidity, like assholes, occur at about the same rate in any group. (As for example, the ANTM winner who didn’t know the difference between a bird and a bat – is our education system really deteriorating so quickly?)

After reading this post on The Root, something must have stuck in my consciousness because a couple hours later as I was making said spread sheet (yes, I was in fact doing that, and yes, I was torn between beauty and talent), it finally sunk in. I shouldn’t be watching so much TV. Since I moved in with A, we watch a LOT of TV. He comes home and turns on the tube to chill after a hard day starting at his computer screen. My mom was laughing when I mentioned that “one of our” TVs has a computer hooked up to it as a DVR so we can “TiVo” shows – she said, “Is this the same daughter who begged me not to buy her a TV?” Yes. And no. I’m the same daughter, but now TV addicted.

A and I are only two people, but we have FOUR TVs. Four. One in his office which he keeps out of sentimental value (it’s from his parents old motel); an LCD in the living room which we sometimes watch TV or movies on, but mostly use for playing Rock Band; one in the bedroom in front of which we spend most of our evenings and my 13’’ TV-VCR combo which has yet to find a home, but which I’m planning to put in the guest bedroom. This is too many TVs and reminds me of the days when my housemates and I had three TVs set up all together and would be using them all simultaneously.

In addition to feeling like my evenings are a colossal waste of time and like I’m tied to the house, because I don’t want to miss X show, I have noticed that I feel aware of the TV in the bedroom even when it’s off and that A keeps the volume of the TV and on the rare occasions when we’re playing music, the stereo, godawful loud. I crave the quiet of neighborhood noise and dogs barking. I want to have a quiet music playing in the house that I might have to strain a little to hear. I want to eat at the dining room table and I want to feel like my evenings are my own. I want to spend my evenings engaged in meaningful work and restful recreation. When someone asks me what I did last night, I want to be proud of my answer. I don’t want to keep up with those Joneses.

TV Alternatives:
  • take the dog for a walk
  • unpack a box
  • read a book
  • work on a project/hobby

TV Goals:
  • no TV in the bedroom after 9pm
  • enjoy TV if I choose to watch something
  • no more than 3 hours of TV per week

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Taking Risks

I'm putting my job at risk to go on vacation in the Caribbean in December. This reminds me of the time I quit my job because my long-distance boyfriend was coming into town and I couldn't get time off. I regretted that decision intermittently since we broke up, but didn't think twice about it at the time. Was it worth it? Yes. I dated that man for another two years and we had a great reunion.

Will it be worth it if I lose my job in December? Maybe. The vacation will be worth a lot - visiting Haiti, Mexico and Jamaica with A will be so fun. But the negative experience of losing my retail job could be really bad - losing the freebies, losing the discount, losing my health insurance. Well, wish me luck, because our tickets are purchased, and I'm going either way.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Another List of Ways to Improve My Outlook

"Sorry, it'll get better when..." has become a mantra for me. Mostly in my relationship with A, but also with other friends (and family?), I find myself reciting this. Things will get better when some external force in my life gets better. No. Things will get better when I decide to make it better. I have found myself promising change to my partner for months (years?) without changing anything other than the excuse and I'm fairly ashamed of myself. Not deep-shame-ashamed, but embarrassed-ashamed. I'm constantly encouraging A to adjust and change and open up, but I think I need to change just as much (more?). So, what can I do? This is what I can do:

1. Change my work schedule.
I've been promising to get weekends off for months (years?) and still work Saturdays. Having Sundays off is a boon and really helps, but it's the only day off and that's taking its toll on me. In October, I plan to ask for a change in my schedule. I'm not sure what that's going to look like, but my plan is to change the schedule in October, work less by January and have weekends off by next May. Stay tuned for progress.

2. Deal with stress.
I think I'm just not dealing right now. I need to develop some routines that will help me come home without carrying the stress of my jobs. The long slow drive home through the country is really nice and maybe starting going to the gym (next week?) again will help. Walking the dog is a nice activity, as is working and cooking in the kitchen.

3. Apologize for my mistakes and not make excuses.
First it was being in school, then it was studying for boards, then it was opening my business, lately it's been the move and now it's not being settled (unpacked). These are all perfectly good reasons to have stress, but not good reasons for treating my partner like crap. I have been a bitch sometimes and need to acknowledge that, apologize for it sincerely and try not to let it happen again.

5. I need to lighten up and have some fun!
A really likes getting out and being social. I remember when I did, too, but lately even playing seems like work. I think I need to have some real fun with my close friends so I remember that I like playing with others.

6. Eat, sleep, move.
Okay, it's not as catchy or as new age as Eat, Pray, Love, but we all gotta do those things, too.

Okay, I'm moving now...moving straight away from this computer.