Tuesday, March 31, 2009

DC Day 6: Lunch Date, Dinner Date

So today was date day on our travels - we had a lunch date with our hosts' sister which was really fun. She's a pile of sassy and invited us to meet her downtown for lunch at a pan Asian restaurant. I realized after we walked 2 miles to get there that part of my ...?...angst?...at walking everywhere is that I am a sweater, as in a person who sweats. This is not good for the walking around everywhere.

Not only does make up cease to function, but sometimes my clothes actually get a little damp and then there is rubbing. Yeah, not so fond of the walking everywhere in the city, except for the day that I defied the fashion industry by walking out in my yoga pants and sneakers. I don't know how I will reconcile the sweating and the walking if/when A and I move to a big city.

[On the subject of A, I realized tonight that despite multiple, almost daily telephone calls in both directions, I have not spoken with him for the duration of this trip and I find that somewhat alarming, though my hosts and travel companion assure me that if we were both trying, nothing is likely wrong. I do look forward to getting home tomorrow though and seeing both A and C! Traveling is fun, but I miss my home!]

I'm tempted to do likewise on the plane tomorrow - wear sweatpants and sneakers with a hoodie and pack the rest. The major thing holding me back is NOT wanting to look respectable, but rather that I have a new high maintenance purse that requires a better outfit as a back drop. I've never had a purse that was so nice that it came with another bag in which to store it! I do love this bag.

On the subject of bags, I started repacking mine tonight and learned that once again, I have packed too much. I would not have guessed about the walking, so I don't blame myself on the high heeled boots, but I also ended up wearing jeans the entire week, which I would not have predicted. I suppose as I develop my personal style, my wardrobe and my impervious shield to fashion trends, horrified stares from strangers and my own insecurity that I'll be an even better packer regardless of whence I'm bound. In the meantime, I'll probably just keep bringing everything that fits.

PS - The dinner date part was just that though we planned on going out for Ethiopian, we ended up having a pizza, playing a game and watching a video at home, which is like "date night" for me. It was nice and I'm glad to have a low key evening the night before traveling home. I just don't feel the need to squeeze in any other last minute activities.

Monday, March 30, 2009

DC Day 5: The Theater

Went to Woolly Mammoth Theater tonight to see the preview of Ante Bellum. It was all very exciting, partly because our hosts are huge theater buffs and Woolly is the theater they volunteer with, but also because this was the premier stage performance of Ante Bellum. I'm asking my friends 100's of questions about their opinions on this performance and the play. I found it invigorating, thought-provoking and entertaining, but have little experience or exposure to the theater.

My friend is also involved in the making of this film, which he's hoping will really take off and I'm hoping will make it to P___ so that I can see it!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

DC Days 3-4: Walking

Lots more walking, talking and laughing. Good times. Very nonspecific activities - wondering if I would be having this good a time doing nothing at home? Missing A.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

DC Day 2: Accidents Happen

More walking.
Little blister.
A slip and fall.
We're all okay, though.

Friday, March 27, 2009

DC Day 1: Lovin' The Yellovater

ENIRINDC. That is, E and I are in Washington, D.C. Wahoo! We just got here yesterday and it's already been quite the adventure. Neither E nor myself, nor our friends (S & P), nor many of our traveling companions on our flight, had ever experienced the de-icing process, but in Denver, we got to experience a full range of flight problems, waiting onboard for a couple of hours, deplaning, reboarding and de-icing among them. We did manage to get underway and on to D.C. where we've spent today walking, talking, walking, laughing, walking, drinking, eating, walking, laughing, laughing, walking, laughing.

We broke our fast at Busboys and Poets, a restaurant/cafe/bookstore dedicated to peace and named after Langston Hughes, a favorite poet of mine from old. I had a Fuji Apple and Gorgonzola sandwich on walnut bread with fig sauce and fries - the apples were sliced and stacked like lunch meat and it was delicious. E could probably have perused their small bookstore shelves for hours, but we decided to walk on.

A lot of walking around and looking at D.C., including a quick trip into the Islamic Center mosque. P insists that there must have been a sermon on spreading the faith, because we were stopped by one Muhammad who told us how we can and should go into the mosque, but also gave us a mini-lecture on sinning, including drinking, gambling and lying. The mosque was incredibly beautiful with tiled walls, stained glass windows and large carpets throughout. We ladies had to cover our hair before entering and it formed quite the habit for the evening as E and I continued to use our scarfs this way while walking around in a light D.C. drizzle.

More walking until we decided to go to a show and timing dictated that we stop for a quick bite. We did so at C__ where I had a delicious mac and cheese featuring asparagus and artisanal cheese. Yum, but I still graded it B- to B because the sauce was a little runny (and splashy!) and the portion was small, though enough, I'm sure. After that, we changed our mind about the show, opting for a short improv set instead of a three hour play.

On the way home, we decided to stop by the new local bar in S & P's neighborhood, which we originally thought was called "Truth, Love, Beauty," but which was really called "Policy." The bar was an interesting pastiche of wooden slat board, concrete, faux antique chandeliers, graffiti art, chain mail curtains and the color yellow which was used to light up both the entryway staircase and the elevator, hence the term "Yellovator" thanks for our new friend Eddy. Thanks Eddy.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Not the Boss of Me

When I was little and my brothers and I would fight, we could often be heard shouting back and forth, "You're not the boss of me!" It's funny how this keeps coming up. People bossing me about is probably one of the things I dislike most in this world and it's still one of the things that causes me to react with old patterns and sometimes (often) to my own detriment.

At my clinic, one of my partners has pretty strong opinions and boundaries, resulting many times in the rest of us going along with his ideas. Whenever I complain about him, the complaint often includes reminding myself and whomever I'm speaking with that, "he's not my boss, he's my partner."

At home, I can't stand it when A tells me what to do, despite the fact that most of the time, I'm happy to help him and take care of him. The worst is when he rushes me - it's not just the rushing, but it's the being on his timeline.

Happily, at the market, I work with/for a new manager in a very egalitarian setting. In some ways, she very little like a boss/manager as she usually doesn't have to tell me what to do and rarely has to manage me. In fact, one day, she even told me she wished I were her boss! Not something you should ever say to your employees, but I took it as a compliment, nonetheless.

Well, today, another woman I work with asked me to do two things and it tripped my trigger. The first is something I do every Sunday, so she could have guessed I would be doing it any moment. The second involved making a change to the first. It bugged me because I felt like she was bossing me and also because her second request was incorrect - that is, she asked for me to do X when I really needed to do Y. Instead of telling me there was an xyz problem, she tried to tell me to do the solution as if she knew my job better than me.

I didn't do anything, I didn't say anything, but I am still feeling slightly bugged and it just reminds me of all the other "bossing" events that happen that make me feel bugged. I'm hoping writing will help me just let it go. Put it in a bubble and blow it away.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Must Be Nice...

One many snarkish phrases that I've said more often than I would like in my life, "that must be nice" is one that has me thinking a lot lately. I'm sitting at a coffee shop with A. We're both doing research and writing presentations for our work. And a musician has just started playing.

And I thought, "wow, it must be nice to just write music and perform for work."

Revealing, no?

Lot of assumptions there - that writing music and performing it is easy or easier than other work, for one - but also a sad commentary on my own life. Must be nice implies must be nicer than what I am/do/have which relates to a level of dissatisfaction with what I am/do/have. And there is some (sometimes much) of that, but also there is a lot that I appreciate or even take for granted that someone else might "must be nice" me about.

I think one of the things that I realized when I thought "must be nice" about this singer is that it must be nice to be doing creative work that he loves. In between songs, this late 20's singer-songwriter revealed that he works at a movie theater and burned himself on some popcorn. Wow, that's not so nice. I wouldn't want to work at the movie theater and I bet they don't pay that well. But he's just doing what he needs to do to support himself while he does create.

And I hope I can remember that when I'm doing all the daily mundane tasks at my clinic or when I'm working my side job at the market - I'm doing all of this so that I can have the time and space and health to be present with my patients and help them on their healing journey, which is the creative, psycho-spiritual, energetic and physical work that I love and it's worth it. Just like it's worth him working at the movie theater and getting burned by popcorn when he has a beautiful voice and creative spirit.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bragging Rights

Went to a friend's house tonight for Wii and board games. Introduced friends to Wii Tetris Party. One fellow who arrived late came in and said, "who thinks they're better than me at Tetris?!" Without thinking, I yelled, "I do!" Usually I'm not such a braggart, but I lived up to it. Not only did I beat him several times, but in team battle mode, I went up against him and two other players at the same time and still beat them.

Not every time, but enough that I am still the reigning Tetris Queen B for now. Although I wouldn't mind finding someone who plays at or slightly higher than my level to make it interesting. Kind of like backgammon - it's no fun when you just smash the other person every time.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Relationship Building ... Thru Tetris?

We got a couple of my old favorite video games for Wii - Dr. Mario and Tetris. They are both just like the classic games, but Tetris has a few other features that are pretty fun. In Wii Tetris Party, up to 4 people can play at a given time and there are lots of different competitions available. There is also a cooperative mode that A and I have been playing with mixed results. In this mode, both players get the long straight peice, but only one player gets all the squares, L's and J's and the other player gets all of the T's, S's and Z's.

We've found several ways that Cooperative Tetris is like a relationship:

1. Team building - We're working together to clear lines off the screen and that requires figuring out how we want to do certain things. Just like in our relationship when we're trying to accomplish something or just get along. We noticed that when we don't talk about our strategies, we don't do as well. Point taken, I hope.

2. Stress management - When the pieces start coming more quickly or if we make a mistake and things start stacking up, we find ourselves freaking out and sometimes even yelling at one another! Yeah, it's only a game, but think about it - when stresses start building up in a relationship, how do you cope?

3. Seeing the other's point of view. - Despite playing this game a lot, A and I have always played the same side - I've always had the Z's and S's and he's always had the L's and J's - until last night. After getting frustrated with me for always "coming over to his side," A decided we should switch roles and see how we did. I compared it to a role play like a counselor might suggest - he had no idea how hard it was to play with those pieces and understood my strategies and invasions into his territory so much better. And I got a window into why my coming over to his territory would be so annoying to him.

I don't necessarily think any counselors are going to be prescribing team Tetris for couples having trouble, but I do find myself surprised at the lessons from this unexpected source. Just another reminder that when the student is ready, the teacher will be there.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Inspiration x 2

My partner has been studying for a certification exam for the last several months and today, he took it and passed it with a perfect score! I'm so proud of him and find myself feeling particularly inspired to get on with my own board exams.

Not only was his example inspiring, but I was also inspired by my own reaction to it. I was happy for him. Can you tell that I bolded that period? I'm stressing that because that was it - that was my reaction. I was just happy for him. Okay, that and proud of him and inspired. Not jealous, not guilty, not snarky, not sad, not taking it personal, just happy. And that's something kind of new for me.

After the fact, I kind of remembered, "oh yeah, I would normally take this really personally and be upset with myself" for not passing my board exam, for not studying enough for it then or now, for not having it scheduled or having a plan. But I saw that come up, after I'd already noted how happy I was for him, and I just let it go. I just chose not to have that reaction and to just be happy for him and inspired to get back on track with my own exam.

And this is the second time that something like this has happened. When I found out that my good friend was pregnant, something I'd been dreading for the pain I anticipated it causing me, I was also just happy. For her and her husband, of course, but also for me! I get to meet another new human being and potentially be a part of his or her life for a long time. Again, after the fact, I realized that I could feel some pain about this, but I just didn't want to. I wanted to be happy about it.

I had thought about using CHOOSE as my word for 2009, which would really have fit in well for this, but I do think that my dancing is helping me choose happiness, because I feel so good when I'm dancing that it does spill out into other arenas of my life. So, I'm going to keep choosing happiness and keep dancing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hello, Reader, This is The-B-Hive

I didn't know that Cotillion was a class, but according to Wikipedia and King of the Hill, it is. Watching KOTH and Bobby trying out his newly learned manners on the phone got me wondering - does caller ID eliminate the need to identify one's self when making a call?

At first, I thought maybe it did - after all, you've got a pretty good chance to know who it is.... Doesn't seem that many people identify themselves when making calls anymore anyway and maybe that's because of caller ID - after all, it's not the latest invention.

After some thought, I think this is not such a positive development, though. At work, I have caller ID on my phone, so I can see from which phone someone is calling me, but I do not know who is calling and without them identifying themselves, I have to either ask who is calling or not care.

Because I share my phone with my manager, I usually pick up the phone and answer, "This is The-B-Hive." When I call someone, usually in response to a page, I also start by saying, "Hi, this is The-B-Hive, did you page?" Even at my clinic, if I intercom from one office to another, I quickly and briefly identify myself to the other person.

And it's not just at work, but even on personal phones, especially with the use of cell phones. I've both answered and made calls from my partner and my friends' phones and people will often simply start talking assuming that I am the owner of the cell phone without waiting for me to identify myself and without identifying themselves.

I haven't had any major misunderstandings or cases of mistaken identity from someone failing to identify themselves on the phone, but I think it's one of the niceties that keeps society lubricated and flowing smoothly, like most rules of etiquette.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Radio Head

Since I got my new car in October, I've been so pleased to have a radio. At first, I listened to radio music a lot and was happy to hear some great tunes. Then I played a few cassette tapes that I hadn't listened to for ages, having no other cassette player. Then I got addicted to NPR - that, along with reading the paper during my breaks at work kept me pretty well in tune with the goings on locally, nationally and internationally. This winter, I was probably better informed than ever before in my life and could finally understand people who read several newspapers and watch the news (their reasoning, but probably still not all of their conversation).

At some point along the line, though, I remembered recorded books. I just finished listening to Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees on CD and found it a delightful listen while driving to and from work. Light enough that I could focus on my driving, but a great story. The second recorded book I tried, The Thrall's Tale, was not as compelling and I find myself scanning stations and listening to NPR again and find that I'm out of touch! My partner blogged about the AIG bonus scandal before I'd even heard about the AIG bailout!

I'd like to be well-read and up to date with current events both, but it seems that there are not enough hours in the day!

How That Worked Out

So here's how that all worked out:
  • Wash and put away all dishes, clean kitchen

Ran another load in dishwasher - still have a few left as well as last night's dinner dishes.

  • Pick up bathroom and wipe everything down

Picked up, but didn't wipe anything down.

  • Change sheets and vacuum bedroom

Had already changed sheets, wanted to change comforter and find more pillow cases. Didn't vacuum.

  • Pick up and organize office

Yes! Done.

  • Put away clothes (also in office and huge deterrent to working in there!)

Yes! Done.

  • Come up with a general outline for meals for the week

Not done, but we had a "whole bowl" for dinner and I could eat those for every meal!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Intentions

I'm tired.

I didn't get enough sleep last night. Was out celebrating A's birthday early.

I didn't get enough sleep the night before. Was out helping a friend move (okay, watching A help a friend move) and playing Rock Band.

I am tired, but I'm still setting my intention to get a few things done this evening after work. When I start having Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday off from my market job (in 2 weeks), there is a very real risk that I will start Monday with a thorough house cleaning. Risk, because this is valuable time to get started on clinic projects and board studying and I don't want to be distracted by house work. So, I'm setting my intention to work with A to get our house picked up by Sunday evenings. Not just tonight, but every week.

When I first moved in, A cleaned the house thoroughly every weekend and I kept it picked up through the week, but we've fallen out of that habit and sometimes the dishes get pretty stacked up. No more. My intention for Sunday evenings is to:
  • Wash and put away all dishes, clean kitchen
  • Pick up bathroom and wipe everything down
  • Change sheets and vacuum bedroom
  • Pick up and organize office
  • Put away clothes (also in office and huge deterrent to working in there!)
  • Come up with a general outline for meals for the week
I'm hoping that with A's help, this will go fairly quickly and that if we do it every week, each week will require slightly less work. For example, if I put my clothes away every Sunday, there won't be 2 weeks worth of clean and dirty, tried on and discarded clothing to launder and/or put away every time. For that matter, the more things I try on and discard, the more my Goodwill bag should fill up!

I was just depressed to look around my office and see my study materials (which are currently on a folding table set up in an "L" with my desk for spread-out-ability) covered by misc other books, clothing and brick-a-brack, both my desk chair and my comfy chair buried in clothes, and both kitchen sinks full of dirty dishes, despite the 2 loads I ran in the dishwasher on Friday. (Luckily, two full sinks doesn't actually fill up the dishwasher, so empty and reload means done and done quickly tonight!)

This is all part of the Schedule Board Study Time plan - it's partly distraction, but also partly distraction avoidance. Will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another One of Those Weeks

It's another one of those weeks when I'm feeling swamped and like I keep thinking "I want to blog about that" and can't remember what it was a second later.

Even though I'm feeling swamped, I still feel pretty good. I'm beginning to realize that once I finish my board exam, this is what life could be like. I could have two days off per week to just mess about and recuperate. I could have my evenings free to do whatever I want. I could have energy to mess about and do whatever I want.

Right now it feels like adding studying for my final board exam always puts me over the edge. Just adding that one thing (which is really hours of that one thing) overtips my schedule and my energy such that I become whiny, bitchy, needy and overwrought. Watching A study for his certification exams has been somewhat inspiring, though, and I want to get back on that train.

I'm thinking I need to schedule in my study times again, in small blocks, almost every day. If I can take 1 practice test each evening and study for a good block on each of my days off or days that I get off work early, I think I could be ready in a couple of months. I guess if I can schedule in the gym, I can schedule in my studying.

Maybe just need to take a few of those Rock Band and Wii events off the calendar for a while. :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Pat on the Back

I give myself a little pat on the back today. First, I kept my plans from yesterday and ended up having a nice time chatting with friends. I think I was immediately rewarded for that: A and I stopped by Trader Joe's on the way home and picked up some yummies!

Second, when I woke up early this morning, I was still thinking about my gardening plans - no, nothing I have blogged about, probably ever, but something I've spent a bit of time thinking about this week - and had a bunch of ideas. Yesterday, A was not very receptive to the idea of helping me with the garden. I think (hope!) that it was because he was wiped out at that moment and not that he doesn't want to help ever. (Especially since he talked about doing the gardening if we ever open a BnB, which has been a dream of mine for a while now!)

So, instead of throwing all my early morning gardening plans at A, I kept them to myself and I think that's pat-worthy. It was hard not to bombard him with all my ideas, because in the end, it's actually about simplifying and I just want someone to hear and acknowledge my minor genius.

It's hard in general not to bombard him with my ideas - I am very aware of the areas in our home that could be re-organized or sorted or clutter cleared or cleaned - and I have lots of ideas about how to make our home more beautiful and functional, but I generally keep them to myself. I think when I have weekends off, it'll be easier to spend a short amount of time working on these kinds of projects together instead of trying to do them when we're both tired after work and looking for entertainment.

However, I think I'm going to keep working on this gardening idea - a few shady plants in the back yard, a couple of pots of veggies in the front - nothing too outrageous, but I don't like to see the desolate and untouched garden strip he made for me last year and I want to grow something that I can eat!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hatinest Day

I hate today even though we've only just met.

I have a love-hate relationship with daylight savings time (DST). I love the sun and think it's smart to save energy, but I hate this one day of every year when I lose an hour of sleep, usually without adequate warning or preparation. Spent last night with friends playing games and couldn't stop myself - we were just having too much fun. But on the way home when I realized it was as if it was already 2am, I knew I was going to be hurting today.

Note to self: Next year, spend the day before springing forward at home and go to bed EARLY.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Did that really happen?

I used to have trouble telling dreams from my day world. I could fly until I was ten and got caught by a friend. Needless to say, when I approached her in my waking life and asked her not to tell anyone, she had no idea what I was talking about. That's when I realized there was a difference and sadly, that's when I stopped flying.

Last night, after dinner with friends and a single Perfect Cocktail (it really was perfection on ice), I started falling asleep in the car on the way home. I was so sleepy, but the transition between asleep in the car and getting into bed woke me up, as it usually does. My partner and I then had a conversation that I brought back up this morning, unsure if I'd fallen back to sleep in the middle of it or if we'd finished it. In any case, I thought reiterating my apology from the night before was appropriate.

But he didn't remember having that conversation. And this isn't the first time this has happened. I often feel like he's pulling my leg - like he remembers the conversation I'm referring to, but thinks it's funny to "not remember" or just doesn't want to talk about it. Or maybe he doesn't really remember - a couple weeks ago, the dog woke us up in the middle of the night barking at ghosts (I mean that literally) and we talked about it in the morning. That evening, he denied that we'd ever had that conversation or that we had just discussed him running into a mutual friend unexpectedly at the local market. He looked at me suspiciously and asked, "How do you know that?!"

I find this exhausting, but it also reminds me that night worlds have validity and reality, too. Maybe I should try to be more lucid in my dreams again? And maybe my partner and I shouldn't try to have conversations when one or both of us are falling asleep.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Goal: Baby Afghan

After learning that my friend is pregnant, I immediately started looking up all kinds of craft projects for babies and pregnant moms. Unfortunately, my history with completing crochet projects is not great, but this 9 month deadline is a great motivator. I'm thinking of making her a couple of small things - a baby afghan, maybe a stuffed bear and there's a cute bear garland for the back of a chair or wall that shouldn't take long - but I decided that I have to finish the other two projects that I've started before I can buy the yarn for baby projects.

If I can't finish my other projects and her gifts by the time we do a baby shower, I'll pick her up some great organic baby products instead. Win-win. Then I wouldn't have a project lingering over my head to feel guilty about and an unfinished baby blanket that's too small when it's done. And if I do complete my mom's afghan (which I started in 2002!) and a baby blanket, I feed two birds with one seed!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Aunt Cookies

My girl friend of 30 years is pregnant with her first child and I couldn't be happier for her.

I thought and worried that I would resent my friends getting pregnant (ever since I things changed such that I could not get pregnant) and I haven't attended a single baby shower in six years. But I don't resent her and I don't resent my situation. When she told me, my first response was joy. I was just so excited for her to have this experience and for this new person that is already so important to me.

I love children and have been surprised to find myself really attached to friends' babies. When I lost a close friend (to a falling out) a few years ago, it tripled my grief to lose my relationship with her two daughters. I had fantasized about being a great "aunt" to the girls and though I'm not really family, I hoped that they were distracted enough by the many other new things in the life not to feel that I left or abandoned them.

Maybe because my partner and I are continuing to move ever closer to adopting our own child, I'm losing my grief and resentment about my own situation and just getting more excited about the future joys of being a parent that I can share in the excitement of my friends. In any event, I'm happy for my friend and look forward to meeting this new person. And to seeing how my friend of 30 years evolves as a person and a parent in the next 30.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Just. Keep. Breathing.

In my dance class, as in life, I keep breathing. I may not be breathing particularly well, but with or without my own volition, I'm going to keep doing it, breathing, that is. In addition to own particular brand of crazy, my life has been affected a lot lately by the relatively recent development of roller coaster ups and downs in my partner.

We were planning a vacation to Hawaii UP
but we decided to cancel, because of the layoff DOWN and DOWN
We might move somewhere exciting like Phoenix or China UP
but we might move somewhere really cold where I'm not licensable DOWN
We'll still take a vacation UP
but we'll probably go to a ski resort DOWN (I don't ski, I hate snow and I hate being cold)
Let's go out to dinner UP
but he doesn't know where he wants to go or what he wants to eat DOWN

Yesterday after work, I just felt wiped out and I couldn't figure out why. It was easy to point to a few proximal causes, but I think it's ultimately that there is just a friggin' lot going on at the moment. Every reason I state is true, but there is more underlying - I'm just exhausted. I wish I could say that I'm looking forward to getting some rest this week, but I'm working an extra day, so I won't actually get any time off until Friday, so I guess I'll just keep breathing, count to 10 and try to make it to the end of the week.