Tuesday, January 29, 2008

we're gonna gonna

Sometimes life is easy to forget about. Sometimes you just sort of roll with it and things go along fine and you don’t even need to look deeper or think that maybe you ought to be finding a reason or drive or need to push you onward outward forward.

But then things get slow, there is nothing on television (or you don’t have one) and your boyfriend is out of town (or he left you) or you read all the books from the library already (or the ones you bought from Amazon still haven’t arrived) and then you start to wonder. What in the hell should I be doing with myself anyway? Shouldn’t there be something: a driving desire to write and have the writing be readable / be read by someone, or a craving for entrepreneurial enterprises: to go out on your own and start a dynasty, a hegemony, an institution of a small business? Shouldn’t I need something like that? Surely it would be a hell of a lot easier to get up in the morning if I could just picture something that concrete.

I think often in novels the main character has such a drive, such a need to succeed and re-create themselves in such an image of success. But I am not sure if that isn’t just a plot device rather than a common life plan. Damn it.

Well, I guess at least that means that I shouldn’t feel so bad for taking so long to figure mine out.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I hear reminiscence can kill you

Its a bad idea to re-read your own stuff. It just reminds you how enduringly pathetic you are.
And obviously I don't need reminding.
One of the holes the construction workers outside my window dug last week filled with water over the weekend and they have spent all morning pumping it out. Its about 18 degrees outside today so I can look at them and be really really greatful that it was never my life's ambition to be a construction worker, because it looks like today would be the kind of day that would kill an ambition like that.
And nobody really wants to live through the day their life's ambition is killed, do they? I don't anyway.
I have this half hearted ambition to aspire to thinness. I have never really experienced thinness personally, and from an outsider's standpoint, it looks like it could be nice. Those skinny girls always look so happy eating their nachos and batting their eyelashes at the big wide world that would appear to be theirs for the taking.
So I aspire. But really only half-assedly. Its sad really. But most anything approached with a lack of conviction are eventually sad.
I go along for most of a day (we're talking the awake part, obviously, so we can say between 12 and 14 hours in a stretch) thinking that I will be good and control my intake of calories and then put forth some effort in the form of exercize to narrow myself even further and I will win this battle and be able to stand beside someone sideways and disappear. Delightful idea, right? There are all sorts of pop culture images that recommend this approach on perusal. Who among us doesn't look at Angelina and think even as the headlines scream above her that she is wasting away that she looks damn good in that black dress? Yeah, I know. Its totally anti-woman and anti-strength and anti-feminist to believe so but I still wish I had a little more conviction. But I don't, as displayed by the following:
@ I crave chocolate almost constantly. Its horrible and it won't go away and I want to eat Milk Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips every day for a month.
@ I give in an annoying amount of the time. Sometimes I can go two or three days without having any, and then it gets a little easier, but most of the time I can reason myself into a small bowl of chocolate chips or something similar with embarrassing ease.
@ yesterday I bypassed the chocolate chips at the grocery store and resolved to stay strong, but last night as I was taking out the garbage I convinced myself I could go for it and bought some Chubby Hubby at the convenience store down the street and ate the whole pint
@ I can't seem to make myself puke it up either. I am that lame. I thought about it and didn't go through with it. I have no shame and I lack commitment.
@ I didn't even go running yesterday, because it was snowing. I might go today, or I might just continue to suck at life

So yeah, I pretty much suck. Its one of those you-know-better-but-you-just-can't-help-it sort of things: I have read enough stupid books on the topic that I should be attempting to change the bad behaviors and yet I continue the cycle, keep banging my head against that wall, and am frustrated with my lack of results. How ridiculous is that?
Completely. I know.

Friday, January 25, 2008

in a post-fanatic haze

What is it about winter? I feel sluggish and hungry and lazy. I don't really want to go out and do anything at all. I have no real interest in exercize. I want to watch movies and read books and wear blankets over all my clothes.
It is cold here, around 9 degrees this morning, and I have to go running today. I am going to try and do it during the work day (this is one of those occasionally negotiable things: sometimes my boss will go down to the gym instead of taking a lunch break, sometimes I do the same) because I am hoping that I can be out during the highest temperatures of the day rather than trying to squeeze in six miles between the end of work and the fall of darkness (and with it the falling temperatures). I thought about waiting and trying to do it tomorrow (Saturday) but the weather is supposed to just get colder from here, so best bet would appear to be this afternoon.
Running in the winter can be a hard sell for me. I know I should do it and I will feel better once I have done it, but it isn't quite as pleasurable as it might be . The boy (the one who left, who I've heard from every day since he left--odd huh?) used to say that it was never a bad idea, and that was the main thing to keep in mind: that you might regret not having gone, but you wouldn't regret going, once you got started. I think that is generally true for shorter runs (3-4 miles). I haven't ever regretted a short run that I can remember. Longer stuff is another pot of soup all together. Were I to dole out advise on running (not that I am necessarily qualified: everything I know I learned by trial-and-error--mostly error) I would not recommend anything over 8 miles if you don't know:
1) how hydrated you are ( : did you drink too much last night? then just don't try it, trust me) 2) the temperature outside ( :does the air sting your face and make your eyes water? maybe you should invest in a thermometer before you layer up and go)
3) that you have enough time to not make yourself crazy ( : do you need to be at work in three hours? then trying to run 9 miles and shower is a stupid idea and you know it.)
I have plenty of anecdotal tales I could tell where any one of these things has made me regret a run. The worst is the first: hydration is so important in anything in the middle distances! I think you could probably get away with 6 miles with a hang over and not hurt yourself too badly, but 9 miles? or worse 11 or 12? You're going to want to die if you haven't been drinking enough water and if you aren't either carrying water or stashing it along your route.
The first time I did an 11 mile training run with a bad hang over I ended up just giving up and laying on the side of the road for about a half hour after my second water stop (--somewhere after mile 7 I think--I do bottle drops usually--I don't really like carrying things while I run). It was awful. I thought I was never going to make it back. With a really bad hangover and altitude sickness (getting drunk in Vail first night there and then running the next morning--a bad, bad idea) I even regretted a kicky little 4-miler (Oh that was so terrible--8950 is no joke my friend, it catches you quickly! Especially if there is vodka involved!).
But, doing 6 miles today, during the day, when I at least know there will be some sort of temperature break (though I will be closer to the ocean here than at home) is something I won't regret. At least I don't think so right now.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

audio but no video

What is it about pickup trucks?
The seem to be everywhere. I parked in between two of them today, and there are three visible from my office window.
With gas prices the way they are you would think you'd see fewer trucks rather than more. But I guess that isn't necessarily the way the American mindset works. We don't necessarily see prices rising and decide its time to economize, do we?
Listening to the news this morning I heard someone explaining the current finance crunch in terms something like "health care costs and fuel prices have risen sharply and the median income in America has dropped by $1000 in the last year" I don't know who that is from, but I think it was during Marketplace . It made me think about the things I've been reading about financially for over a year now--about how the US has a negative savings rate and the middle class is relying on credit cards to make ends meet these days. Its kind of totally terrifying that our system is so broken (and we're so broke--and not just financially either, some might say morally and culturally bankrupt as well). But even more horrifying than that? The proposed solution is to give every wage earner in the country $300. Sweet dude that should totally fix things, right? (Please note the very heavy sarcasm).
What are you going to do with your $300?
Oh the American Dream.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

whipped up

Okay, hi there, sorry.
Its been a long little while. I have been lazy and introspective and reading too much shameful genre fiction. But I get like that sometimes. Some weird combination of sudden (long-planned) abandonment and the cold of winter are making me want to hibernate, huddle under covers and not move much, possibly for a month or more.
However, I am trying to resist the urge. Besides all the delectable genre fiction I've been reading (and ordering from amazon and waiting with baited breath for) I have also signed up for a new activity (Karate) and gone to dinner at a friend of a friends house (generally when offers like this come my way I say "no" with very little pause, but I figured I really ought to make some sort of effort not to hermit myself forever). So I think I'm doing alright, thank you very much. And so far Karate is very cool. I have almost no skill whatsoever, but I am going back tonight in the hopes of learning more. Soon I will be kickass. Or something.
On the missing/ leaving frontier, he left and I miss him--but it has been suddenly nice to see / know that he is going to miss me too, and that he was ultimately sad to go (there was a whole lot more crying than I expected at that final farewell--not all of it mine, for a change). I've actually gotten several updates from him since, which I hadn't really expected--I mean, the lack of communication was one of his reasons for not wanting to be together during all of his travels, and yet he hasn't been gone a week yet and I've already gotten both a phone call and email from him. Its nice. But we're still "broken up" or whatever, so its not that nice I guess.
Why can't things be less complex? I don't want to be the wait around girl who is all faithful in the manner of a puppy dog until he gets his crap together and comes back. But I don't really want to not either. Grrr.
Enough about the boy--all I can really worry about right now is me.
I have this problem, you see, with being insanely early for things.
I get out of work at 4. I have Karate at 6 about 1/2 way home. So it doesn't really make sense to drive by it and go all the way home for the scant hour I would actually have there before I had to leave again to go back, right? But it doesn't really make any sense to get there an hour early either. I'm still working on how this one will work out. I think I might go to the gym on this campus before I leave today--only I took the bus in from a satellite lot, so I need to first figure out how late that bus runs so I don't have to walk the five miles to the parking lot in freezing weather. I guess the walk would definitely ensure I wasn't super ridiculously early any way.

Friday, January 11, 2008

i wanna wanna be a dilettante

well, its friday, and it was a crazy friday, and i thought i felt like writing something sad, something morose about the death of love or being the left behind. but i don't really, i keep going over it in my head, how sorry for myself i am or have been, how i wish i had some recourse, but i feel sort of done with that part. sort of.
i crave forward movement. i feel a need for something more something fulfilling something that might better me and distance me and keep me from continuing to feel so badly for myself. self pity is no fun to be around, especially for the person feeling sorry for themselves.
well, maybe some other time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

snack attack

I'm feeling more like myself today, and less like a ball of mucus. I'm not totally better, but I am a hell of a lot better than yesterday.
I keep hearing how Hillary Clinton's win in New Hampshire is because she "proved she was human" and grating my teeth. What in the hell is that even supposed to mean? People do not seriously doubt her humanity--AI intelligence hasn't come that far yet, they doubt her authenticity maybe, but not her actual physiological being. And I generally think of politicians using the word "human" in phrases like "I'm only human" (i.e. "even I screw up a good bit") So what in the hell? Really?
Also, let it be known that at the moment I rather despise humanity.
With me this is a pretty cyclical thing, both the reason I want to live alone and the reason I have a feeling living alone would be a bad idea (hello modern day hermit). But in all seriousness--my roommates reprogrammed the thermostat while I was at work the other day, a full 10-15 degrees warmer at every preset time period across the board. And I'm the girl who handles the gas bill and still hasn't been paid their parts of it for June-through the present. And I've heard endless variations on how very broke they will be until their respective refund checks come in at the end of the month (they're both students) and when I got home last night they were just coming back from a little old navy shopping fest with a bunch of useless crap that was on "supersale". And I don't want it warm, for several reasons, the first being finance (oil prices are skyrocketing and my checking account balance has plummeted--I have to wait for my next paycheck to cover the next gas bill--which again they will need to reimburse me for eventually) and the second being health-- we do not need the interior of our house to reach 70 degrees in January, no sir no way cool air is better for sleeping and better for plant growth and better for human health as well.
And of course I am being a major cranky-pants and passive-aggressive as all get out (yes thats right this morning when I discovered the re-program I went back in and changed things back again to the way they'd been). I actually thought about leaving a note on the thermostat saying something like "if you plan to turn up the heat please pay your part of the heating costs first thanks bye" but then I rethought that. Instead I may just go to town on them with a frying pan. That, at least, wouldn't be at all passive aggressive of me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

When the architects ask are you supposed to act happy? Well, too late.

I have something of an affinity for toast.
It used to be more of an obsession: something I needed to have at least once a day and often fell back to if things were difficult or uncertainty presented itself.
Mmmm toast. Warm crispy bread with a nice layer of buttery goodness (often Earth Balance--a vegan butter alternative that is still quite buttery enough in flavor) followed by a layer of fresh ground natural peanut butter or raspberry preserves. Oh yeah.
Makes a great breakfast, makes a great lunch. An excellent snack and even a decent dinner if you add a cup of tea to it.
Also, in some circumstances well-steeped black tea and burnt toast are used as an antidote to poison.
So you know they're good for you.
Only sometimes enough is too much, and I've laid off the toast for awhile now. But this cold, with its attendant misery has made me want toast--I was aiming to have it for dinner last night, but instead had a bit of the too-peppery eggs my sister and her boyfriend made (everything my sister makes has too much pepper in it for me I think--she has a spice allergy and likes things spicy so she compensates with weird things like over-peppering everything instead of just her own meal) . I woke up late for work this morning and though I thought about toast the whole way down the stairs, I forgot about it when I got to the kitchen and realized what time it was.
So maybe later, since obviously I'm obsessed.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Can I get a bottle of that to go?

At the moment I am totally and completely filled with mucus and wondering how it is that this year I just keep getting sick: typically I am fairly healthy on a regular basis, but it seems that more often than not lately I have some sort of malady or malaise. What gives? I am tempted to blame it on numerology (this is a bad year--have I mentioned that?) only thing is, although my personal age/ year is inauspicious, the turning of the calendar has brought us into a better and potentially fortuitous set of numbers, so I would hope that things are going to improve. Only, obviously, that can't start right away, otherwise I wouldn't be feeling so down in the pits. Possibly it has something to do with my mood and mindset; I can see that that would certainly have some bearing on my physical well being (and, aside from a particular fondness for the number 8, I don't really hold too much with numerology generally) --I can understand if a general funk were to turn into a particular ailment I think. And of course I've had my heart bruised, ever so slightly, again (he would be willing to stick around for the right job--isn't that great? he won't stay for me or with me, but employment might be enough for him to at least post pone his ticket. He sure does know how to make a girl feel special). But I am brushing it off. Or at least ignoring it. Which is easy to do in the midst of a river of snot. A big downside, however, is that I can't really go running, and I really need to: I've got two races in February that I don't want to look like a complete tool in. I did a nice 9 miler right before the onset of this cloud of grossness but I should have done at least three miles today and instead I've stayed glued to my couch. Major bummer, really: starting the week in the dumps and in a hole as far as mileage goes. Hope it all gets better quick-like!

Friday, January 4, 2008

and the tea cozy pulls ahead at the last turn

Several days ago we had a decently sized snowfall--a wet warm sort of snow that is great for building snowmen in and has a tendency to coat the branches of trees with several inches of whiteness, and then it got very cold very quickly, creating what the ski industry calls a "bulletproof" snowpack. The dense wet snow has frozen as hard as concrete and its not going anywhere. While this might be unpleasant in some circumstances (say, shoveling my back stairs) it has had the effect of turning the whole world into a white-rimmed fairy-land: there is a 4 or 5 inch coating of snow on anything big enough to hold it: the branches of trees, fence tops and exterior molding on buildings--its really very beautiful. Its a little cold at the moment (hovering around 6 degrees above zero fahrenheit) so I haven't really been out to enjoy it, but just driving my car to and from work its been quite uplifting to look at.
I've been on my own all week--all of the people I live with are off on various holiday and family type visits and so it has been very quiet and I find I'm enjoying it and at the same time wondering what I would do with myself if I lived on my own all the time. I've rented movies and re-arranged all of my furniture, created detailed point lists of things I want to get done and hung out with my cats. I long for bargain basement genre fiction to fill my time with but have yet to go and purchase any (hasn't stopped me from looking at amazon longingly though). Perhaps tonight will be the night--I have a single semi-firm plan for the weekend which leaves me with plenty of time between now and Saturday at 6:30 so perhaps the siren call will finally be answered.
Or maybe I'll just hang out with my cats some more and read one of the many fine nonfiction books I was given for christmas.
Its not that they are not wonderful--I love good information and I got a lot of it, on several subjects that are of interest to me--its just that sometimes a girl wants a little fantastical adventure in her life, a little peculiar happening and out-of-the-ordinary excitement, and at the same time to snuggle under covers and stay in one spot with tea and a kitten. You know what I mean? I hope someone does.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

pieces of pie

A lot of hype about new year's resolutions goes on at this time of year. There are lots of deals to be had at gyms and the anti-smoking hot line has increased its staff in the hopes of a flood of callers hoping to kick a habit in the new year.
I enjoy writing lists, generally, so of course I make a list of goals / wishes / plans / hopes for the coming year: Things I want to do or stop doing generally, and sometimes it isn't bounded by the calendar year. I like three year plans and five year plans as much as I like plans for the new year.
In general my goals tend to be pretty basic I think: the growth of my net worth, the shrinking of my debts, dropping 10 or 15 pounds (I have managed, once, to do this, but it didn't last long my body is pretty set in its weight, and as I'm not technically overweight I don't tend to worry about it: I'm at the high-middle of my BMI range, and I'd like to get to the low end and stay there for awhile, if it were possible), getting ahead career-wise and taking up some new extracurriculars (sewing, and possibly a martial art of some sort).
As far as plans, I'm going to run a couple of ten-milers in February, possibly a half marathon in April, a 10k in August and possibly part of a marathon (as a relay team member) in October.
I've got a wedding to go to in April, in California, which is why the 1st half is a maybe, and hopefully plans to go visit a good friend I haven't seen in a while in Raleigh this winter, which is still very up in the air. The over-arching point of all the planning is not to dwell on the boy who is leaving me at the end of the month. That part sucks, but I am looking forward at this point to having the time to myself. I'm trying to look at it as an opportunity rather than a loss. I'm hoping that will make things easier. This isn't really much like a list, but it is what I want my year to look like: filled with activities I like and activity in general. You won't find me sitting still, no siree.
And thats the way I like it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

One more in the coconut

Happy Happy--everything really; new year, new month, new snow, same old pretty much everything else.
It was a pleasant snow storm last night though, and looks like it is quite a pleasantly sunny day. Due to my own forgetfulness I am going to leave work early today to go pick up some veggies (I have a usual Wednesday pick up because on a usual Wednesday I work in the evening) and I might just skip out on the rest of the day after that, but I probably shouldn't. There is a lot of stuff going on and I can always just go to the second location (much closer to where I actually live) rather than driving the whole way back here again.
I had a quiet languid occasionally alcohol soaked little break. It was pleasant and fairly laid back. I went to visit family and while playing cards managed to drink most of a bottle of wine and then spent the next day wandering around an art museum (a favorite hang over day occupation of mine). On the way home we had to race a snow storm which provided a nice little slice of drama and urgency to my mother's generally erratic driving. Then I came home and went to a friend's house for a new year's eve bash that lasted until around 3 in the morning. On that particular occasion I was able to remember and stick to an alternating 1-glass-of-water 1-glass-of-alcohol / rum ball rotation that left me feeling much better in the morning than several other overnight guests. I love it when I remember to do something right.
I need to collect my various scraps of paper and thought and put together a list of goals for the year and coming months. Hopefully I will have that done before the end of the month (theres a goal I can stick to! Hopefully!).
Watch the steps, they're slick!