Friday, January 19, 2007

Thank you for not smoking?

The thing is… I like to smoke. When I was younger I always liked the heroines from 1940’s era movies with their perfectly coifed hairstyles and those slender cigarette holders. I like the way people punctuate their speech with smoke… a long drag instituting silence that can mean so many things.

Smoking never held the addiction over me like I know it does for so many people. “I only smoke when I drink” I would say. I smoked in High School to be rebellious (Lord help me for that particular cliché) and I smoked in college because… smoking in college just seemed like the thing to do. When I was dieting I smoked to keep the hunger pains away. I smoke because I like to, I like the feeling.

I know smoking is wrong. Trust me. Every mile of every run I ever take I know that I’ve made the right choice by giving up smoking. Every pose in every yoga class I feel better for having not having smoked. I listen to the same commercials as everyone else. I know people whose lives have been torn apart by lung cancer, my own family wrought with heart disease, all attributed to smoking. I get it, I do.

That is why this New Year’s Eve I decided to give up casual smoking. No more smoking “when I drink” (because I’m not in denial – I drink A LOT – that’s another post all together), no more just a drag or two out with friends, no more “when in Vegas”. I was just going to be a non-smoker. I had been proclaiming to be one for ages right?

So why is it that since I’ve made that decision, which I didn’t tell anyone about save one, that I’ve had more of an overwhelming desire to light up than I can remember in ages? It’s like there are cigarettes everywhere! At the drugstore across the street from my office… At the grocery store when I run for our weekly supplies… It’s all I can do to not casually request a pack to be tossed in with the rest.

What the hell?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Random Crap

There is nothing on the planet that can make you feel like there is something out there larger than yourself than ultrasound pictures it seems. This evening I found myself squinting at blurry images of something (someone) that resembles nothing so much as an odd tadpole. Looking up into the proud faces of the parents and seeing my own look of wonder tinged with disbelief reflected there I felt closer to God than I have in years. Something about new life and second chances and innocence…

Yesterday was a day for celebration – I successfully completed my first class back in school. I don’t have my grade yet but I feel like I did well. Even though I thought about quitting, and felt like I was in over my head, I stuck it out and finished. One class down – Nineteen to go. Eeek.

Today I started class number two. This one will be a little different I can tell already. I have a paper due every week for starters… But at least there are already two familiar names (can’t really say faces in an online class now can you?) and the professor seems very direct in his approach which I like.

Apparently it takes three times as much electricity as it does gas to produce the same or less heat in my apartment. Three times the electricity costs roughly 50% more than the gas. And here we thought we were going to save money on our exorbitant PG&E bill by not using our ancient gas heater and using electric space heaters. This means I’ve been freezing my butt off all month not only for nothing, but to pay 50% more than last month’s bill. Awesome!

No one likes to feel like they mean nothing, like their opinions don’t matter, like no one would care if they weren’t around. And yet, this seems to be a recurring theme around Chez Ghetto these days. Whether it’s work and management woes or birthdays we’re definitely throwing a pity party. Guest list total = 2.

Another cause for celebration? I have thus far, successfully avoided catching the nasty flu bug that TheBoy brought home from bowling last week! I know this is probably not exciting news to anyone but me… But if y’all had seen the poor soul, all feverish and miserable, on his birthday no less, you’d be congratulating me too.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Baby!

Picture, if you will, coming home after a long work week at a job you hate but good news is it is Friday and it’s your birthday. You walk into the house and there is a massage table set up, candles lit, soft music playing and your favorite cocktail waiting for you. Good start to a birthday evening no?

After a relaxing 90 minute massage, and a couple cocktails and some yummy hors d’ouvres prepared by your loving girlfriend, you have a quick shower and get dressed up in your best suit for dinner at one of your favorite restaurants. After a leisurely dinner and a bottle or two of wine the two of you decide to head out to a local dive bar to hang out a grab another cocktail before calling it a night.

All in all a pretty good birthday evening.

Now picture that the day before your birthday you come down with some dreadful cold bug and wind up in bed for going on 20 hours straight with a raging fever and you just generally feel like crap.


Happy birthday anyway baby! We’ll try again next week. I love you!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Run Away

I went to college at a very conservative Christian University right after high school… for less than a week. No, sadly that isn’t a typo. I actually lived in the dorms for a bit longer than that as there were all the Freshman Orientation activities and whatnot but I think I actually made it through less than a full week of classes before I walked my crying self into the registrar’s office and un-enrolled myself from college. My poor mother was literally speechless when I called her to tell her I was coming home but good news (!) I got all of my tuition reimbursed. She was not amused. But it was too late, what was done was done.

The following morning… It was a Tuesday… I packed up my entire half of the dorm as my roommate and her sister* watched and tried to make me laugh. Her boyfriend carried my one suitcase and only box down to my car which contained such things as a mini coffee maker that I just had to have for my new dorm life. I set off early, about 7:00 am, thinking I would miss some of the LA traffic. Ha! What a naïve little person I was. I should have left at like 2:00 am!

But that’s neither here nor there… The real question is why? Why did I leave?

I’ve always given the same two answers when people have asked me this question in the past so I’ll start with them now. I stand behind them as I do think that they played a big part in my decision to run away from school that fateful day.

Reason #1 – I realized that I’m not as conservative as I had been pretending to be all those years. Notice I didn’t say that I realized I wasn’t a Christian. I did then and do now believe in God. I just got to school, a very staunchly conservative school and realized that I was spending a lot of time looking around me thinking “are these people for real?” Aside from setting up my own reality check booth in the center of campus I realized there wasn’t much I could do. I was the odd ball there. Even my fellow faith bound readers can understand what I mean… We’ve all met the type. (One girl in particular comes to mind from my youth group days…) Over the top and holier than thou. But to be surrounded by them? Outnumbered? For four years?

Reason #2 – I was HOME. SICK. I mean like physically. The track at the University ran underneath the building where the married students and some of the younger faculty lived. I remember one morning I was out there running fairly early (hello So Cal heat!) and the longing to see my mother hit me so hard I literally doubled over in pain and had to sit down in the middle of the track. One of the women from that building must have seen me because she came down in her PJs to offer me water because she thought I had collapsed. I had never been that far away from home before. I missed my mom. I missed my friends. I missed my (sorry ass excuse for a) boyfriend.

I don’t know if either of those reasons is good enough for any of you to run away and abandon college but that afternoon when all was looking bleak it was enough for me. And y’all I was SCARED. It’s scary to walk in to the admissions office and ask to be un-admitted. Especially when you’d spent a YEAR trying to explain why you should be admitted in the first place!

I. WAS. SCARED. And that, my friends, is the real (and heretofore unmentioned) real reason why I ran away from college that day almost 10 years ago. I sat in my classes and was surrounded by people who seemed like they had their shit together you know? And I was so overwhelmed by the amount of work that was piling up and it was only the first week! No one else seemed to be concerned. Granted, looking back, I can see that I had signed myself up for some serious honors level courses and therefore most of my classmates were sophomores and had a year of this college thing under their belts so no wonder they were calm but to my scared little homesick eye… I just didn’t think I was going to cut it.

Sort of like my mini-freak out of the past two days. I’m telling you guys this college thing is a lot of work! And I am out of practice! This week coming off a two week break for the holidays I was so overwhelmed by the amount of work I had left to complete in a mere 10 days that I was quite literally stunned into inactivity. I would lay away at night and wonder if I was doing the right thing and one particular morning (Wednesday?) I had pretty much convinced myself to call my academic counselor and withdraw from my current class… if not from school all together.

Thankfully I have wonderful friends who are great champions (and who really should stop giving me shit about being a cheerleader in high school cause y’all? Really really good at cheerleading! I’m just saying…) and managed to talk some sense into me. I just have to keep my eye on the goal right? Also, maybe it would help if I reminded myself that I’m not quite as stupid as I feel. Sometimes. I feel better. And the urge to run away has passed. This time. Because I think you can run away from your fears sometimes but eventually you have to turn around and face them.

*Twins (sophmores) from China – I impressed them by actually being able to count to ten in Cantonese on my first day in the dorm. It’s one of BFL’s favorite stupid drunken party tricks of mine.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

1 day down…

364 more to go!

Goodbye to 2006 (I hope the door smacked you on the A$$ on the way out) and a warm southern welcome to 2007! Y’all I already FEEL different. It’s going to be a good year… I can tell. I hope like hell I didn’t just jinx myself by writing that.

Because TheBoy has SUCH a stellar job and had to work yesterday on New Year’s Day, we found ourselves having quite the toned-down amateur night. Which really, truth be told, was fine by me with one notable exception and that was the lack of any of my girlfriends! Thank God for cell phones! But you have to love a party that requires the wearing of pajamas right?

One of the things we did at our little New Year’s get together was make a list of 10 things we’d like to improve in ourselves or accomplish in 2007. Then one guest took these lists and is going to mail them to us in December. Scary huh? In totally unlike me character I actually had a hard time filling the list with 10 items. I can’t even remember what all 10 things I wrote down were but I do know it contained such exciting items such as:

1 ~ remember to remove make-up and wash face before bed every night. (I am notoriously bad at doing this!)

2 ~ floss more regularly. (My dentist put the fear of God into me a couple years ago when I had to have oral surgery and I was pretty good about flossing… for about a year. Really need to get back in to the habit!)

So really you can see that my heart was totally in to writing down resolutions at 10 pm at night on New Year’s Eve after a couple martinis… :D I think I did get better at some point because I do recall listing things like:

3 ~ continue to pay-off debt on schedule set up. (Yes I do have a schedule set up – I just signed up to have a ginormous student loan so I figure I should debt free when that bad boy hits 6 months after graduation right?)

4 ~ pay for things with cash. no cash = no buying. bring lunches from home, curtail eating dinner out so much, less going out for drinks, etc…

5 ~ continue saving for house (even if I never buy the damn thing).

6 ~ focus on school work as main priority on evenings and weekends. remind self, “friends WILL understand”.

And also, because this is ME we’re talking about here… You know there had to be a few exercise related resolutions right? Actually, I only could come up with 2 which is shocking… They are:

7 ~ yoga 3 times a week.

8 ~ running again (half marathon with Dawn in September?) and crossing training (stair machine of death) for backpacking / hiking trips.

Right. So I had 8. I was left with 2 little empty blanks staring at me from that stupid piece of paper screaming “you love lists!” and “fill me!” It was painful y’all. Truly painful. To be honest I can’t even remember what I wrote down… Something about being the most “positive and enthusiastic person I know” maybe? I seem to always throw that one in. I should have put one on there about being a better blogger. THAT would have been useful!

I can honestly say that 38 hours in to 2007 I’m doing pretty well on keeping up the resolutions. What do I have? Something like 8,700 hours to go? I think I’m up for it! I hope you all had wonderful holiday seasons and are enjoying the opening days of 2007.