Wednesday, November 23, 2011

(Not So) Thankful

In this season of Thanksgiving, it is important to recognize and acknowledge our blessings. I have so much to be thankful for:

The most perfect husband (for me) in the entire world.

A family that cares for each other, whether or not we agree on a particular topic.

In-laws - and an extended, by-marriage family - who love me as if I were born to them.

Wonderful friends who truly understand me, laugh with me, hold me up when life beats me down, and *always* know an out-of-the way spot to hide the body.

A job that suits me and makes me happy, even when it makes my brain hurt.

Three precious kitties that never fail to make me laugh.

But let’s be honest: it’s not always fun to be thankful. And I’m all about fun, and about finding joy in life. So here are a few things I’m *not* thankful for:

J.’s classes this semester. His professors are inept, snotty, and unfair, and they are destroying his desire to be in school.

Commercials which are three times louder than the television show.

The obvious conspiracy among publishers to keep me buried in books I want to read (ok, maybe that’s something to be thankful for, too)

Reality tv

Big business

The beyond-crazy holiday shopping season, and the rude behavior that will inevitably come with it.

Well…I could keep going, but this week really is about thanksgiving. One more thing I’m thankful for: the internet, which has opened up so many doors and given me greater access to friends and a platform to share my thoughts.

Thanks for reading along.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Day in the Life

I “borrowed” this one from RoseAnn…not sure my daily life is very interesting, but I thought it would be a good exercise.

5:00 am – alarm clock goes off – hit snooze.
5:09 am – get up or hit snooze.
5:18 am – get up or hit snooze.
5:27 am – drag my butt out of bed and grunt at J.
5:27 am – 5:35 am – drink coffee and achieve consciousness.
5:35 am – 6:15 am – check email, Facebook, and a few other sites I read every day.
6:15 am – 7:00 am – shower and prepare for the day.
7:00 am – leave the house. Run errands if needed.
7:15 am – 8:00 am – arrive at work (sometime in this window).
8:00 am – 8:30 am – Get breakfast from cafeteria. Check mailbox. Boot up computer and open work and personal emails.
8:30 am – 8:45 am – Review the day ahead: check office calendar, to-do list, and upcoming due dates. Determine which items, if any, must be done today.
8:45 am – 10:00 am – Work
10:00 am – 10:30 am – Take cigarette break. Walk interior of property; check in with tenants. Walk through construction areas, check progress and status of any inspections performed the previous day.
10:30 am – 12:00 pm – Work.
12:00 pm – 12:15 pm - Get lunch from hospital cafeteria or prepare lunch that I brought from home.
12:15 pm – 2:00 pm – Eat lunch while checking blogs and other favorite websites. Work as needed.
2:00 pm – 2:15 pm – Cigarette break.
2:15 pm – 2:30 pm – Review list of must-complete items.
2:30 pm – 4:00 pm – Work.
4:00 pm – 4:15 pm – Address all work emails and reply as needed.
4:15 pm – 4:30 pm – Verify that all tasks on must-complete list are done.
4:30 pm – 5:00 pm – Prepare for the next day. Straighten desk. Look at personal to-do list for things I need to do after work.
5:00 pm – Leave work.
5:20 pm – 5:45 pm – Arrive at home. Greet J. Greet Keke. Ask Monkey why he ran away when I tried to greet him, as if he doesn’t remember me (yes, this happens every day). Hunt for Bo, say hi, try – and fail – to pet her. Unpack all the junk I take back and forth every day: cell phone, cigarettes, book-in-progress, to-do list, planner.
5:45 pm – 6:00 pm – Fix and eat a small snack. Ask J. what’s on tv tonight. Ask J. what’s for dinner.
6:00 pm – 6:30 pm – Watch tv and/or read while J. finishes studying.
6:30 pm – 7:00 pm – Sit on my butt while J. makes dinner. Offer to help, knowing he won’t let me.
7:00 pm – 7:30 pm – Eat dinner.
7:30 pm – 8:00 pm – Clean up kitchen. Try to help with dishes, knowing J. won’t let me. Tidy up house instead.
8:00 pm – J. and I go to bed. Play with cats (bedtime requires play with the laser pointer). Read and/or watch tv until we fall asleep.

Wow…this was difficult to write, not because I’m so exciting, but because my days vary so much! My workday is especially hard to pin down, because there’s just no predicting how a given day will go. A day can be moving along smoothly and then an issue arises that derails the rest of the day – or the rest of the week. I may be working at my desk one moment, then be running all over our campus for the next two hours (with no notice!). I have one week of the month that is especially busy, with items due to our corporate office. During the rest of the month, on a quiet day, I may spend most of my time playing online. And in the early part of the month, I often leave at 3:30 pm to take rent payments to the bank. I love the flexibility, and that every day is different, but for someone who is such a planner, that’s also part of the challenge of my job.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bad Habits

As everyone around me is talking about the approaching holiday season, I’m thinking about the coming of a new year. Since I tend to be introspective, I often think about who I am and who I want to be. I’m sure I’ll be writing about that a great deal over the next six weeks. Today, though, I’m thinking about my bad habits.

I smoke cigarettes. I began smoking at age 15 for an incredibly stupid reason: I was a good kid, and I wanted to do something bad. I needed to rebel, so my high-school best friend and I bought a pack of cigarettes and off we went. Twenty years later, I’m still a half-pack per day smoker. I know it’s bad for me; I know all the reasons I should quit. J. quit about a month ago, and I want to quit soon, but I’m just not quite ready. It’s more of a mental thing than a physical one. I like smoking (even though that makes me a pariah these days), and I just don’t *want* to quit yet.

I use language that would offend sailors in a brothel, and I’m not ashamed of it. I think this stems – in part – from my mom’s efforts to control my language use. I wasn’t allowed to say pee, darn, or dangit. As far as my mom (and her parents) were concerned, those were just lite versions of swear words, which made them swear words, too. I think the strict rules placed upon me as a kid made me a lot more prone to swear as an adult. Of course, I know that there’s an appropriate place for “bad” language, and I can control myself. But for many years my favorite curse word was Jesus-fucking-Christ. I’ve mellowed a bit in my 30’s; now I say “sweet baby cheeses” as often as I say “motherfucker.” It’s all about progress…right?

I drink coffee, and soda, and wine, and liquor. I don’t drink any of them to excess, and I rarely drink liquor, but I like – even love – all of them. I like good food: rich pastas, and thick steaks, and lots of starches. And I’ll be damned if I’ll eat fat-free cheese. I try to eat the really bad stuff in moderation, but enjoying a meal is one of the greatest pleasures in life, and I’m not going to have regrets for doing just that!

Patience is not a virtue with which I was blessed, nor is it a virtue I desire to have. As far as I’m concerned, patience is for people who can’t keep up. My lack of patience makes me organized (because I can’t stand wasting time searching for things) and productive (because I rarely procrastinate, since that just keeps things on my to-do list longer). The downside is that I become irritated easily when things aren’t going as quickly as I think they should, or when I feel that people are making things harder than they need to be.

Do you know what dermatillomania is? Until Saturday, I didn’t either, even though I’ve had it since I was a child. It’s also known as neurotic excoriation or compulsive skin picking. It can manifest in lots of ways, but in my case, I pick at scabs. I cannot tolerate the feel of a scab, so I have to remove it. (I find this very interesting, since I know that I’m a very tactile person, and I wonder how much the two things are related). Dermatillomania is a type of OCD, and is often found in people who suffer from other mental illnesses, including depression. The picking is worse during times of stress, and (not surprisingly) I’ve been picking much more often during the last three months. It’s a comfort, in a way, to find that this thing I’ve always called a nervous habit actually has roots in my mind, and that it’s *not* just a bad habit.

I’m sure I have other bad habits, but these are the worst. As I reflect on 2011, I’ll be making plans to work on some of these habits, and try to find ways to better myself in 2012.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October 2011 Book List

Everyone knows I’m a voracious reader, and I’m often asked for recommendations. I decided that on or around the first of each month, I’ll post a list of the books I read the month before. I give each book a numeric rating, from 1 to 5, with 5 being excellent. I do not generally rate non-fiction works; those will be shown with a rating of N/A.

Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris – Rating: 4

It’s Okay to Miss the Bed on the First Jump by John O’Hurley - Rating: N/A

Shakespeare’s Landlord by Charlaine Harris – Rating: 4.5

The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian – Rating: 5

Devil’s Knot: the True Story of the West Memphis Three by Mara Leveritt – Rating: N/A

Push by Sapphire – Rating: 5