Resolution Do Over & 16 for ’16

I have had on my to-do list for several months “write blog post.” As fantastic as it is to have graduated on a Friday and started a full time job the following Monday, I have yet to re-acclimate myself to that whole work/life balance thing. Heck, Throatpuncher even gave me the book Thrive by Arianna Huffington that spells out the importance of that balance, but I have yet to get to the end of the book.

That isn’t to say I spend all my time at work and sleeping, I know I waste time staring at my cell phone when I could be reading books, magazines, calling friends to catch up, practicing my banjo, etc. Which, as I reviewed my 15 for ’15 list I realized most of my resolutions would be the same for 2016. I may have also realized that I did not do so well on the resolutions in 2015.

Here’s the old List and how I did:

  1. Win the Daily Step Challenge (Most Days): Check! Well, at least I was 1 for 1 going into the resolutions.
  2. Blog more, at least once a week: Well, considering my last post was something like 5 months ago, I’m going to call this a fail.
  3. Share the blog: That one I accomplished immediately…so, current score is 2 to 1. Still not bad.
  4. Limit Facebook time to none-ish. Nope. All tied up again.
  5.  Look at the bucket list I made when I was 21 and do some of the things: I think I found the list…Pretty sure I did none of the things.
  6. Work on my non-confrontational nature: Uhhh, well, nope.
  7. Put myself/my goals first: This is another constant struggle. I am learning from my superiors at work that I need to do this more. Somehow with all of my work hours I have let working out go to the wayside. The executives I support manage to workout almost daily. They make it a priority, and I’ve been making completing their expense reports my priority. Not cool man.
  8. Phone Curfew: I don’t do this, I forgot about this one even. This is going back on the list.
  9. Write down a couple lines about what happened with my day: I do this most days, but often I fill in several days all at once. I’m calling this a win, but also a work in progress.
  10. Complete what I can in the “Story of My Life” book: Yeah, haven’t put one thing in there. Still want to do that.
  11. Practice my banjo, learn 2 new songs that people know: Haven’t picked up the banjo in months, definitely haven’t learned any new songs.
  12. Refine and build my friendships: If anything I have done the opposite here. Throatpuncher went through some stuff and I was too busy doing God knows what to be the helpful, supportive friend I have been for her in the past. I haven’t seen DangerMom in months. I certainly didn’t reconnect with the old friends as I had intended in the original resolution. Except for one who reached out to me, so I don’t know if that counts. I am glad she’s back, and will have to think up a nickname for her.
  13. Read more books/magazines…less internet: Well, judging by the stack of unfinished books and unread magazines I’m looking at across the room from where I currently sit, this one is also a fail.
  14. Get my assignments done at least a week early: This one I actually did for the most part. Made for a less stressful final semester in college. I highly recommend getting stuff done early.
  15. Live more fearlessly: I think I did this a little bit. There were some things I did that would definitely not be considered within my comfort zone. Still something I would consider a work in progress. But, probably something that should always be a work in progress.

My list for 2016 will look a lot like this one. I have two conflicting quotes running through my head:

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. – William Edward Hickson (according to Wikipedia)

Try not. Do or do not. There is no try. – Yoda

I think this is one of those rare times where I disagree with Yoda. Gotta keep trying until I get it right. Sorry Yoda, otherwise you the man. Little, green, man-like creature with cool ears.

Once I decide on exactly what my 16 for ’16 will be I’ll write about it here. Might have to make a call to Cakethrower to see what she’s come up with. Her lists always make me think of a couple of my own.

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The Humiliation Factor, the return of the Diet Bet and a Color Dash

Cakethrower and I almost always have some weird contest going to motivate us to work out/lose weight. Sometimes the winner will earn quarters so to play “the horsey game,” which is our favorite slot machine, other times the payout is more threatening. Usually this involves wearing some sort of humiliating outfit in a public setting.

In my not so extensive research on which is a better motivator, it turns out the humiliation stuff works better than the monetary gains. Case in point: while I managed to avoid having to wear Daisy Dukes and some sort of barely there top during a trip to Spring Training, I did not care about missing weekly goals that cost me $5-$10. It was easy for me to put my shoes on and go for a walk to avoid the discomfort of tiny shorts; just as it was easy for me to say “F it, I’ll pay the $5” in the absence of the humiliation factor.

We are still formulating our next challenge, as our last one was cash only and a complete bust. So far I think Cakethrower came up with a phenomenal humiliation, and to toot my own horn I came up with a good start to the money part. She really wants to go somewhere fun to celebrate the New Year, which sounds good to me. Cakethrower has a goal weight in mind, but another friend suggested using percentage lost instead, which I prefer because we do not weigh the same. I suggested that we do something that puts money aside each week so that at the end of the challenge we can each buy a new New Year’s Eve outfit, which would probably enhance the humiliation factor part. The brilliantly evil mind of Cakethrower came up with this: If the challenger does not meet the weight loss percentage goal, they will have a “wardrobe malfunction” that they must maintain for half an hour during the New Year outing. Further clarification would be that you would need to have your dress stuck into the back of your underwear, and would not be able to fix it even when people point it out during that half an hour. See? Evil. Now I’m thinking about an added bonus humiliation: the winner chooses the loser’s underwear. Will it be a thong? Spiderman underroos?? Granny panties??? I’ll have to discuss this further with Cakethrower.

Not all details have been hammered out, but the prospect of this got me thinking about what tools I have to get me to that weigh loss goal. I immediately thought of the Diet Bet Challenge because I have been successful with that in the past, and it is a great motivator to get back on track. Luckily, that site makes it extremely easy to create a Diet Bet, plus I am able to invite people that are not participating in the Humiliation Factor portion of the festivities. Who knows? Maybe they’ll want to, just to keep them motivated during all of those upcoming events like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. We don’t have to be going to the same party for the humiliation to occur; so long as there is photographic evidence that it happened. Then we can formulate an underwear committee. Who wouldn’t want to be on the underwear committee???

Whilst considering setting up the Diet Bet I was talking to….trying to come up with a nickname….uhhhh….jeez, when they aren’t obvious it is tough….I’m thinking MysteryWoman, because she is at almost every home Pacifics game, but her name remains a mystery to most in the park. She’s either _____’s wife or ______’s mom. Although I’ve known her name before I knew her husband or children, so to me they are MysteryWoman’s husband and/or kids, not the other way around.

Where was I? Right, I was at a baseball game, talking to MysteryWoman**, who made the percentage lost suggestion; when she mentioned that there is a Color Dash coming in October to our very own county. This is a 5k race where they throw various colors on you throughout the event. I have participated in one in the past, and it was a darned good time. Since that particular Pacific’s game was a blow out, I got on my text message machine and went to town. Hopefully my team will be mighty, and will grow swifter than my legs can carry me on race day.

New challenge with a humiliation factor, diet bet, and a 5k race for which to train. These should be all the tools I need to get back on track. If you want to join the Diet Bet or the Color Dash, just follow those links. If you want to join the Humiliation Factor, let me know…I’ll keep you posted on the details.

**I reserve the right to change this nickname if I come up with something better.

My book cover doesn’t include Batman??

The oddest things stick with me sometimes. I have this wallet that I purchased at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. It used to have a card inside that told me about the painting and the painter, but I lost that a while back. Honestly, I bought it because it’s a colorful, funky wallet; not because I know anything about the painting or the artist, which is kind of lame of me.

I was at a deli that I frequent due to its proximity to my office, and when I pulled my wallet out to pay the dude behind the counter thought it was a Batman wallet. As I showed him the detail he said he would have been surprised if it was a Batman wallet because, “you don’t seem like a Batman aficionado.” I very briefly set him straight, something like: “Uh, I actually am;” before moving out of the way so the guy behind me could pay for his sandwich. That did not seem like a sufficient response to prove that I am a HUGE fan of the Caped Crusader, but it would have been super weird to go back and elaborate. The very small exchange made me think about two things: That I can talk for hours about Batman and; although we all know not to judge a book by its cover, I have no idea what my own book cover looks like to other people.

Not that I necessarily want to wear any of my nerdier parts on my sleeve (hmmm, or do I?), but being told I don’t seem like someone who would be into a superhero made me wonder what kind of person I do seem like. What am I projecting out into the world? Should I try to add something that says “Ask me how many times I saw the 1989 Batman in theaters?” (Answer: at least 8, probably more. 1989 was quite some time ago, but I remember telling my best friend I saw it 8 times and her looking at me like the crazy person that I am. There’s a good chance I saw it a couple more times after that. Pretty sure I even had the soundtrack on tape; yes a cassette tape, I am old); or “Which Joker is your favorite and why?” (Answer: My answer is lengthy and boils down to them all having their merits, but the Riddler from the Adam West version of Batman was way better than Jim Carrey). Sadly, I could have lengthier discussions about this crap than I could about actual world problems/current events. I’m shocked I never found a way to work in any comic book icons into any of the papers I had to write in college. I did manage to throw vampire lore into one, which was probably my favorite and most ridiculous paper, but no superheros. Yes, I got an A on my vampire paper. I also managed to bring up things like Planet of the Apes to help me support my arguments in Ethics class. True story.

The comment from the deli guy stuck with me for the remainder of the day. There was a small part of me that wanted to go back in there and drop Batman knowledge on that guy, but why? Who cares? That’s when I realized that it wasn’t totally about his assumption that I am not a bat-geek; but more about what kind of person I do seem like to strangers. When I think about this I eventually came to the conclusion that these people are strangers, so I don’t give a shit what they think of me. This just happened to be one of those times where the particular conclusion stuck with me. I would like to note here that I have no assumptions about the guy behind the deli counter; except that I assume he is one of the two owners of the place.

Maybe next time I go in there I’ll make sure to wear one of the pairs of Batman socks I have (yes, I have more than one pair of Batman socks, I have Wonder Woman, and Superman too). I’d wear my Batman pj’s, but that does not seem work-appropriate.

pow-superhero-clip-art-2461
If I were to wear Batman nerdy-ness on my sleeve, it would probably look like this. photo credit: pow-superhero-clip-art-2461

I feel that I should note that I saw a preview for Batman vs. Superman today; and although I almost cheered out loud at the end of the Star Wars preview that followed, I was pretty stoked about this as well. I’m fairly certain Superman wins that battle unless Batman loads his utility belt full of kryptonite. Or creates a special anti-Superman kryptonite Bat-suit.

See? Na na na na na na na Bat-nerd!

Here’s a trailer I saw today for Batman vs. Superman, in case you were wondering.

The Angry Coma: A User’s Guide

Often, I feel grumpy. Annoyance? Sure. Irritation levels run the gamut between mild and severe. Anger on the other hand, real, fiery red anger, I only experience once in a blue moon. I can go years without getting angry about something. It’s not pleasant for anyone in an approximate ten mile radius when it does happen; so it’s for the best that it takes a lot to get me to that level.

That may be slightly inaccurate. If you are the object of my ire, then the ten mile radius is a good clearance zone. Be sure to follow the “don’t poke an angry bear” policy. I am angry. I am trying to keep it together and not turn into the Incredible Hulk’s meaner, stronger, more rage-y counterpart. To maintain composure I need to be left alone. Or, as I just coined:The Angry Coma. If I tell you, “Don’t talk to me, don’t even look at me,” I suggest you adhere to those instructions. Choose to ignore my warning, and you only have yourself to blame for whatever words loudly come out of my mouth. I promise you the insults will be creative, both in content and curse-word usage. It’s not just road-rage that makes me come up with new ways to say old curses (like my personal favorite “mother of fuckers”), I can come up with some epically terrible things to tell you about yourself when in a fit of anger. If I do start screaming creative profanities at you, describing in great detail why I think you are the worst person ever, I will feel no remorse. You were warned.

Unfortunately, if you are a completely innocent close friend and find me in this state, I would suggest you also maintain that ten mile safety distance. Strangers, acquaintances, heck, even friends, are completely safe. These people may notice that I am not as jovial as usual, but overall I make an effort to behave relatively normally.

See, the reason I have dubbed it The Angry Coma (TAC)* is because when I get angry, I go silent. I imagine if you were the close friend witness to my recent TAC attack, the silence is scary. I do not want to say one word. I don’t want to talk it out. If I’ve gotten that mad, there’s a good chance there is no solution to whatever the problem is, so talking about it right then only feeds the beast. If there were something to be done, that’s what I’d be doing. Asking me questions, especially any that express concern for my emotional state, will guarantee you a look of doom. Admittedly, there is a small part of me that is considering putting your name on the shit list just for asking. It doesn’t happen, because, really…that’s ridiculous…but…well…it gets considered. Seriously, if you ever find yourself in this situation, I get that you want to help. I even appreciate that you care enough to try.

The best option is to step away slowly, or maybe lock me in a messy house somewhere. TAC can also lead to vigorous cleaning. I learned this from my grandmother. Any time she was super pissed she would clean the house while having pretend arguments with the person she was angry with. Now that I think about it, she is probably where I get my TAC condition from. Sure, I remember the floor scrubbing/yelling-at-no-one, but I also have a clear memory of someone not heeding the safety radius, and poking the bear. Suddenly my sweet, beautiful grandmother hurled a HUGE can of Yuban clear across a room with incredible force. Luckily (?) her aim was slightly off, so the projectile smashed into the wall behind and to the left of the object of her anger; who then sent me to the neighbor’s house. Which always seemed silly to me. I never felt in any danger (I knew to shut up and let her be). More than anything I was impressed with the velocity and distance she managed to get out of the coffee. Is it weird that this story makes me feel somehow closer to my grandmother? A touching tale about how we both share a high level of volatility when angered. We share curly hair, and hopefully an incredibly strong yet slightly inaccurate throwing arm.

**WARNING**Do not let this come flying towards your head. Stay away from TAC sufferers.
**WARNING**Do not let this come flying towards your head. Stay away from TAC sufferers.                   image: amazon.com

TAC typically only lasts around 24 hours. So, if you do see it happen and you feel compelled to be concerned, just text me a day later. I knew it was a shortish shelf-life, but it wasn’t until this time around that I actually paid attention to the amount of time TAC lasted. I’m not saying that the people that made me angry are in the clear, as I explained to Dreamer (who was the unlucky close friend subjected to several looks of doom) in a brief moment of conversation yesterday; those people are basically dead to me. Very soon I will never, ever have to lay eyes on them again. This TAC will become a distant memory. At least Dreamer learned first hand a) to never make me angry and b) what to do in the event that I am angry.

There may even come a day when Dreamer will test out a joke about TAC. I should probably practice the doom face, just to mess with him if he does. On the other hand, it’s one of those things I don’t even realize I’m doing at the time, and I don’t think I can fake. Like whatever it is that I do when I realize people are about to hug me that makes them think I am completely uncomfortable with hugging. I’m only uncomfortable with hugging some of the time. People find my supposed discomfort level amusing all of the time. But that’s another post, for another day.

*OMG, it’s amazing when things work out. It’s a long story, but for a while there I had an uncle who nicknamed me TAC, or Baby TAC. I like this new level I’ve just accidentally brought it to.

Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie

Sometimes weird things can trigger a memory. I woke up way too early this morning, and found myself watching TV while trying to convince myself to either get up or go back to sleep. Some random commercial made me remember playing hide and seek with my aunt when we were little. I don’t know if this is a common way to play the game, but we had this rule where whomever was “it” would count to ten, or twenty-hundred or whatever, and then scream at the top of their lungs “APPLE PEACHES PUMPKIN PIE, IF YOU’RE NOT READY, HOLLER I!!” If the hider yelled “IIIIIIIII!!” The seeker started over. I think you got a couple of apple, peaches, pumpkin pies before the “ready or not, here I come;” but I’m not sure. If you have never heard of anyone doing this, it is probably something my aunt made up because it is altogether likely I was terrible at choosing a hiding place.*

Graduation is only a few of weeks away now. A few people I know have a countdown going, but I am not sure about the exact amount of days. I do know I am three presentations, three papers (one is super short, one is all done, and one is…well…not great), and two finals away from being done with all of the coursework. I hope I’m not forgetting anything.

As I procrastinate on focusing on those last few assignments and studying, I am both reflecting back and looking forward. Yeah, yeah, live in the now and all that; but I can’t help but look back at where I’ve been, and nearly hyperventilate as I wonder what the hell I’m going to do next. I have a lot of ideas, some are safe choices, some are terrifying. I have been leaning towards terrifying.

One of the big changes I’m considering seems to be falling into place. Going to dinner at The Future Mrs. Jon Bon Jovi’s house the other night provided me with insight and some help in plan execution. Which is awesome and amazing, but also brings a new level of reality to the changes. What if the plan works out? What if it doesn’t? What is going to happen? How many more questions can I ask myself? What else do I need to put on my massive to do list? What am I not thinking about? Am I thinking about too many things? My tendency to over-think everything might be working in overdrive right now. It is a whirlwind.

Part of me is excited and ready. The other part is hollering “I” and trying to look for a hiding place. Most of me just wants to get those papers finished and presentations all prepped so that I can check them off that massive to do list. But, if I get those done, I will be able to put more focus on the “what comes next.” I think knowing that is adding a whole new level to my regular procrastinator ways. As long as I’m not finished, I don’t move on. Ready or not, graduation day is coming. It is my turn to be the seeker, not the hider.**

*A note: I am fully aware my aunt didn’t actually make up the song, the phrase, or the rule. If she did she was a songwriting prodigy, managing to write this hit for Jay and the Techniques approximately three years before she was even born:

**Holy crap that was insightful! Look at how I tied that all together! I am totally dropping the mic right now. Metaphorically, of course, as I don’t have an actual microphone and there’s no way I am dropping my laptop.

Oh my social disorders…

***Warning, I use the word Asshole and derivatives thereof a lot in this post. If you have delicate eyes or sensibilities please proceed with caution.*****

There is a good reason I imagine myself one day being the occupant of that one house in the neighborhood that children are afraid to walk past. Stories will be told about the witch that occupies the house. There may or may not be cats. When I have the visions of my future self as the scary witch-lady I most definitely have a dog like the one in the Sandlot, to add an extra level of fear. Plus that dog is adorable.

The thing is I suffer from chronic assholitis. Assholiosis? Assholsia? Assholioma? That’s the trouble with made up diseases, it’s hard to decide on a suffix. Like most diseases that drug companies advertise cures for on TV, many of the symptoms are things we all occasionally suffer from: Bad mood, bad attitude, general malaise. Sufferers and victims of sufferers can often times mistake these symptoms with those of PMS, but this particular disease can strike at any time.

Usually when I have an episode, or a bad flare up of the assholiosis (I think that one is my favorite), I am aware it is happening and am able to control my behavior enough to not take anyone down with me. I have been dealing with this ailment for many, many years and like to believe that I am self aware enough to hear when I am letting the bad mood and bad attitude effect my words and actions. Sometimes the disease wins.

Recently, I had a prolonged episode. I think I may actually still be in the throws of it, but the awareness has settled in; which is the first step to getting back to normal. This bout has been so bad that when a friend mentioned the other day the tone of voice I was using to talk to her was…less than desirable…I brushed it off. No apology, maybe a “I didn’t mean to,” but I think I  just thought that in my head. Thinking about it later that evening was a start to the waking up to the assholiosis flare up, unfortunately not the cure.

A couple of days later I was with the same friend. The day was filled with things most women find fun. I find lots of stereotypical women things uncomfortable (makeup, hair-styling, dressing up, etc). I went into the day knowing that I was going to be at some level of discomfort. I really did want to suck it up, have a good time, and make the most of the day. The last thing I wanted to do was take away any of the fun from anyone else.

Looking back, I wonder if maybe I should have called in sick for the fun day. Knowing about the recent bad behavior it might have been best for all involved to cancel. Hopefully I will remember that for my next flare up. Just isolate myself and dream of living in the scary witch house. There will be less meanness that way. I don’t think I realized at the time that I wasn’t completely over the assholiosis at that point.

Instead I went. I can give excuses for why my “suck it up” plan failed, but they don’t matter and are superficial at best. Bottom line is I let my bad attitude and discomfort with the situation get the better of me. My friend had planned a day that was supposed to be fun and carefree. I managed to put a damper on that day. Totally not cool.

I always want the best for my friends. It sucks to know that I caused problems and added stress instead of helping. She didn’t say it directly, but after that day I got the impression she needs a little break. I do not blame her, and completely understand. I am considering sending an ice cream cake with “Sorry I’m an asshole” written on it. I should probably continue to brainstorm apology ideas before finalizing how exactly to make amends.

In the meantime I will give her space, and do my best to investigate a cure for my assholiosis. Maybe I should start a 5k charity race to raise money for research into the cure. Together we can cure Assholiosis!

Last Semester, Introductions

School is back in session. It actually started last week. The first week of my last semester before finally graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree is all done. I was hoping this was going to be an easy semester, but judging by the open books, pencils, and calculator sitting next to me I think reliving the high school “senioritis” days is a pipe dream. On the other hand, I didn’t do that senioritis thing way back in the olden days when I was in high school; so saying that I would be reliving it is a bit of a lie. Instead I finished my senior year of high school a semester early, and spent those fabled carefree days working. They were still mostly carefree days, but I didn’t experience senior cut day, nor did I go to the prom (a sad tale for another day). I did participate in a senior prank, but I’m pretty sure those of us that are completing their college degree later in life do not do that whole prank thing. If you are reading this, and we are in college together, the answer is no. I will not participate in a senior prank.

One thing I will not miss is the beginning of the semester introductions. I hate that part of any class where you have to go around the room introducing yourself. Mostly because I am not a big fan of any sort of public speaking, but also because it seems like a big waste of time. Especially since the college I attend is small, and the classes are even smaller. Now that it’s my last semester I know everyone in the classroom except for the instructor. I wanted to come up with some sort of ridiculous thing to say during intro time, but I both blanked and chickened out. It would have been fun though. “Hi everyone, sooooo… a little about my background…. uhhh…. well, I am a conspiracy theorist. If you want to know anything about the strange connections between Lincoln and JFK please ask (I mean, Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy and Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln! Coincidence? No Way!!). When I am not at home with aluminum foil on my head to protect me from government spies, I enjoy volunteering at the Humane Society. It helps me find cats for the clowder I am building. Someday I want to be like that lady who purchased a house just for her cats to live in. Terrible tragedy that THEY made her give those cats away and condemn her lovely home.”

Or something to that effect. I am not confident I could have said any of that with a straight face, but it would have been fun to try. I might have to keep that little speech in mind next time I have to do an intro session for a work training. At the very least if I had done it the semester would have started on a very interesting note.

Instead I said my name, talked about where I grew up, gave a bit of a work history. Boring. Usual. In one class in particular I think it would have been fun if we all introduced each other. Not that lame way where you have to talk to the other person for five minutes and then introduce them to the class, but completely on the spot. No pre-discussion. “Oh her? I have had 8 classes with her and I cannot remember her name right now. I am pretty sure she works in finance or something. She is a pretty good person to have on a team for a group project, but gets stuff turned in right under the wire which I find a bit nerve-wracking. I think she likes pizza.”

Right now I am not entirely sure what career path I am going to take. Maybe I should be a consultant, lending my ice-breaker wisdom to instructors across the globe.