Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Five: Favorites Among the Arts

I had a lot of trouble coming up with a topic for today's Five. And so, I decided that, if mish-mash was how my brain was working, then we'd turn that mish-mash into something constructive. And so, I present to you my favorites among the creative arts.

1. Favorite poem: "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot.

I could read this poem 1,000 times over and I get chills every time. I feel as though it's from a time where there was still some structure and integrity to approaching poetry--that is not to say good poetry hasn't been written since--but it's kind of like watching a movie from the 1940s or 50s and wishing that we were still that formal and fancy. Eliot captures the universal conflict between love and bravery (or lack thereof), introspection, and eventually regret. I love this poem for putting on display the darker side of falling in love, the sheer madness and lack of courage, the fear of rejection, and the consequences of letting those fears take over. Poor J. Alfred becomes what we all fear we will become: old, alone, and afraid to eat a peach, lest our teeth loosen and leave us.

Read it here.

2. Favorite painting: "Christ of St. John of the Cross" by Salvador Dali.

I don't know shit about art. That's my sister's department.I don't know what Dali's intentions were, nor his reasons for painting this. I only know this painting has always captivated me.

I love the fact that we are subject to what would be God's view of the crucifixion. Rather than seeing it from the earthy perspective, from below Christ (I get it, we are his servants, so we would be looking up at him as a figurehead), we are looking at it from far above, a place reserved for God. I don't see this as egotistical or blasphemous. I'm not even looking at it as a Christian (because I don't consider myself one). I'm looking at it as a person who has always been exposed to typical renderings of this event. If you look at it long enough, you may even start to feel dizzy. It makes me think about spirituality and how confusing and dizzying it can be. It also makes me think about how so few are willing to look at the same thing from a different perspective, how we're not really encouraged or allowed to, and if we were to try to take the viewpoint of God himself (again, from the Christian standpoint), we would be committing a terrible sin: we are not to ever place ourselves on par with The Big Cheese. But Dali does here.

3. Favorite Song: "Lateralus" by TOOL.

I discussed this song several Fives ago in this post:

Being it's my work, I'll just copy/paste what I said. Because I can. Because it's mine.

This song always connects me to a sense of spirituality. Lyrically, it basically sums up the core of what I believe, and musically it fires up an instinctive connection to universal energy. The drumwork, albeit complex, is somehow tribal in its nature, evoking a sense of ritual, and building to points of epiphany and clarity. I have seen/heard TOOL do this song live, and the energetic reaction is not only palpable, but euphoric and also exhausting.

Listen to it here

4. Favorite Movie: Fight Club

Eye candy aside, I love this movie for a variety of reasons, which I believe count as artistic. First of all, again, I don't know shit about technical movie-making, but I do know that there are elements of this movie that tickle all my fancies. Lighting and color correspond to the narrator's experiences: the sharp brightness of his day job/life that gets progressively worse the further into Fight Club we go. The association of bright but deep colors with Tyler Durden, particularly red, which is associated with passion as well as rage: the two things that Fight Club awakens and encourages to the point of anarchy. The dizzying effects when Tyler and Marla have sex are the same effects used with some of the fight scenes, suggesting that these two things evoke very similar emotions.

Plus the soundtrack kicks ass and the cast is spectacular (seriously, Helena Bonham Carter is so completely underrated as an actress, it's baffling). I love the movie for the same reasons I love the original author's work: it pushes the envelope past where you expect things to end and where you are comfortable. I like being forced out of my comfort zone.

5. Favorite Book: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

There will never be a film adaptation of this story that will satisfy me. Most on-screen renderings mix together Wonderland and the sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass. Props to Tim Burton for getting creative and making the film a follow-up rather than trying to re-render it (like he did and failed miserably with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

I love this book because it's a children's book that doesn't read like one. Yes, Carroll wrote it for a 7 year old girl (who starts as the main character), but Alice goes through some seriously traumatic experiences that take on a whole new perspective when an adult reads it. Some of the characters and places she encounters are outright nightmarish (and no, contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence to suggest that Carroll was a drug addict). Alice is also constantly pressured to identify herself, but she can't. She thinks she knows who she is, but quickly learns that she doesn't, and it's absolutely frustrating and terrifying to navigate an unfamiliar world. Eventually she is forced to figure it out and find her way... aren't we all?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Five: Childhood Fears We Never Grow Out Of

My friends are always so helpful with the Friday Five when I have writer's block, and so, I have asked if any of them would like to guest-spot with their own lists. Jazz hands for my buddy, Leanne!
After spending the past two and a half years living with a roommate who assisted in obtaining things stored up high, killing spiders, and had gym-grown-man muscles to lift things and protect me, I have recently moved out and returned to having my own living space. Maybe he was my mental safety net or maybe I used him as an explanation for strange noises. Either way, it’s only been 5 days of living alone again and I am already experiencing heightened senses combined with a wacked out active imagination.
To sum it up: Strange Noises + Night Time x My Active Imagination = Camping out under a blanket while holding my breath and clamping my eyes shut.
I have come to the realization that I have quite a few fears. Most have been in my life since childhood. I am sure a lot of people have things they are afraid of. Or I just tell myself that so I don’t feel like I’m weird. In no specific order here are my extremely narrowed down top five fears, irrational or not…
1. Clowns – So common there is a name for it… Coulrophobia. Based on a study at California State University, “…clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening…” Well DUH! Some creepy evil person is hiding behind thick, white make-up and polka dot ruffles. There is an urban legend about it too. It comes in many forms, but the basic gist: Baby sitter is creeped out by a clown sitting in a rocking chair in the living room. Swears the eyes are following her and the children around the room. Calls parents asking if she can move it because it’s creepy. Parents say they don’t own a clown. Babysitter grabs kids and runs to a neighbor’s. Creepy clown turns out to be a person who escaped from a psychiatric ward, and to top it off, is a killer. I believe it. Ever seen the movie It or Killer Klowns from Outer Space?? My fear includes all masks. What are you hiding under there?!
2. Monster Under the Bed – As young children, my brother and I played a game in our room that seemingly every child had their version of. The Volcano Floor. We would jump from bed to bed. Only rule: you can’t touch the floor or you die. The only safe haven was being on the bed. This only started it. Little Monsters, the late 80’s movie with Fred and Ben Savage confirmed to me something was under there. I would stuff everything I could under there. I swore if the floor under the bed disappeared for the monsters to come up, all the stuff would fall on them and I would hear that, which obviously meant I would get a warning and be able to run. While I feel I may have mostly outgrown this I do have to confess… I still put lots of things under my bed which I claim is “just for storage.”
3. Boogeyman in the Closet – I have no idea where I got this fear from. As long as I can remember I have sworn there is something in there. The closet door has to be shut. This is not optional. The boogeyman does not know how to open doors. And he only comes at night. And any light is a deterrent. My worst adult incident was because of watching The Boogeyman, FYI, barely even a scary movie. I slept with the lights on in every room of my one bedroom apartment, lights in the closet on, and the door shut – with a chair in front of it. All night (for two weeks) I stared at the door, while trying to be quiet, hearing my heart beat so loud I was sure the neighbors could hear it,  and practically hiding under a blanket like I was 5 years old again. *cough, cough, 24, cough*
4. The Dark – Have you ever noticed that scary stories all start with “It was a dark (and possibly stormy) night”? Thriller and horror movies have all their goose bump moments at night or in a moment of total darkness. Even our favorite childhood channel Nickelodeon had Snick whose final half hour time slot was Are You Afraid of the Dark? …who didn’t love that big orange couch?! We always had to be home before dark. Why couldn’t we go outside to play after sunset? What did all those adults know that we didn’t?! Those same adults made sure we had night lights in our room. Why? If I’m supposed to be asleep, why do I need to see? Except I didn’t fall asleep right away, I was told to sit there quietly and try to fall asleep. So I laid there… with eyes as wide open as possible… looking around the room at all the large shadows on the walls… and those cute dolls, stuffed animals or toys we played with during the day looked completely evil. But now I’ve seen them, I know they are there and I have to keep my eye on them, so the night light must stay. Now the TV is my version of a night light.
5. Windows – I think this one started after I saw the movie Scream. In the first scene the Ghost Face killer was outside Drew Barrymore’s house watching her. He tormented her without even being in the house. She was a fish bowl and couldn’t see anything outside. You know how it is… if it’s dark out and the lights are on in a room, you can’t see ANYTHING out of the window. Sometime after that, I was home alone at night (which I was a lot) and something came over me. All of a sudden at 15 I was completely terrified of being by a window at night. During my junior year of high school I was sitting in my room (2nd floor), on my bed (back facing the window). It was about 11:30pm mid-week and I had just gotten home. Banging noises came from the window behind me. Without turning around, I exited my room and made my mother go check it out. She did, while making fun of me the entire time she made her way down the stairs and out the front door. “What, you think Spiderman is crawling up the house?” Funny. Well, she couldn’t say anything after we found a ladder at my window. Fear now completely solidified.
As Theodore Vail says, “Real difficulties can be overcome. It’s the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.” Maybe that’s why these fears have made their way from my childhood self into the life of my 30 year old self.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents, and only one for birthday presents, you know." ~Lewis Carroll

I am 34 today.

This time last year I was still cruisin' along on my new-found freedom, still trying to figure out what I wanted, what my path was. I was still basking in the glory of singledom, and being a bit selfish in my use of my time. I was in total "me" mode. That wasn't a bad thing. I'd definitely earned it, and I needed it in the wake of the previous few years.

A year later, I find myself with a much different perspective. I figured a lot of things out in the last 365 days. Some intentionally, some by serendipity. I received a lot of gifts. I made decisions that would create a more solid foundation for myself. I fell in love. I excised negativity and drama from my life. I had an epiphanous moment regarding my own creative endeavors. I continued to fight the battle of loose ends of my old life, which at times seemed to want to strangle my new one, but I fought. And the final string will be snipped in a mere two weeks.

I am not in "me" mode this year. I am giving up birthday shenanigans to prepare for a very special event for my dearest friend, and that is a gift. I am overjoyed to be such an intergral part of this event for her, so happy and excited about the plans, the gifts, the day. That is a gift. Our friendship is a gift.

My relationship is a gift--the love, the partnership, the support, the laughs. Those are gifts that I am blessed to indulge in every day. I love and am loved in a way that seemed unrealistic or unlikely, but I learned (and admittedly am still amazed by it) that this type of relationship can and does exist. I smile and laugh every single day because of him. Gift.

My family and my friends are a gift--always there to help, to spend time, to guide, to laugh, to celebrate all kinds of things. These are the people who go out of their way to make sure I'm happy and alive. Some have been doing it for 34 years, others much less, but their intentions all come from the fact that they love and care about me. Gifts.

My health and fortitude--gifts. I am able to do anything I want, to challenge myself, to face adversity, to overcome obstacles. I have a long list of goals that need meeting, and I can't do that without these.

It may sound corny and melodramatic to some, but I blinked and a year has gone by. Being aware of my limited time here, and being aware of the good things in my life is crucial to me. I took much of this for granted for many years. I have spent more time that I care to admit focused on what I did not or could not have. What a waste. And while I cannot change what I've done, I can plan and be more mindful of what I do now and tomorrow.

I have many new goals for the year ahead. But today, among the well wishes, the smiles, and the expressions of care, today I intend to fully enjoy all my gifts.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Five: Old Wives' Tales We Still Believe

It's 2012, and we are in the most technologically advanced century of our time. Yet, there are certain centuries-old practices and beliefs that we still adhere to because we "swear by them." Our grandmothers chased us around with some of these, and our parents may still try to enforce them. If nothing else, they make for a nice jaunt down memory lane.

1. No swimming 30-60 minutes after you eat: I think this is just so parents can have a few extra minutes to not worry about their kids drowning while they aren't looking. Because after a certain age, no one stops you from going in the pool. Hell, I've had parties during which we were eating and drinking in the pool. No one sunk to the bottom.

2. Going out in the cold with a wet head will get you sick: No, it'll just get you cold. What gets you sick are the disgusting other people who cough and sneeze all over and don't wash their hands. Little kids covered in boogers and dirt get you sick. Maybe we should encourage more people to go out with wet heads to ensure a shower before they leave the house and cause chaos. Buncha Typhoid Marys.

3. If a pregnant woman's face changes (and makes her ugly), she's having a girl: The "explanation" is that the little girl steals the mother's beauty. I think this was made up to make ugly pregnant ladies feel better by blaming the kid. And it's a baby, so you're more willing to forgive. But I know plenty of women who were positively gorgeous during their pregnancies, yet gave birth to baby girls. Maybe pregnancy makes some women ugly. Accept it. It's temporary, right? The tale doesn't say that you stay ugly. Chill out.

4. Cats steal the breath from babies: This tale comes from the medieval period when witchcraft was being persecuted, and cats were accused of being witches in disguise, or the "familiars" of witches. Cats were blamed for a lot of shit back then. I kinda get it. Cats are mean and aloof. But they got their feline revenge when the Black Plague spread wildly after they were exterminated en masse. Fleas spread the plague. Fleas lived on rats. Rats were not being hunted by cats because they were all dead from religious persecution. There you go. Fun fact for the day.

Anyway... cats are not going to hop in the crib and suck the air out of a baby. At most, if they were to lay on the child's face, then there could be an issue. But realistically, it's more of a cleanliness issue. There's no need for a cat in the crib. Keep Felix where he belongs, and everyone will be fine.

5. If you want to know how you'll age, look at your mother: While I can hope all I want this is not a myth (my mom's foxy!), the fact of the matter is, there's a ton that goes into what ages you. Sun exposure, smoking, diet, lifestyle (but just a little bit of DNA) all determine what you'll look like when you're a Golden Girl (or...Boy? How does that work?). Skin type and coloring are more DNA-related. And apparently, I get fair skin from my dad... hope that doesn't mean I'll have a grey goatee when I'm 70...

What wives' tales, whether debunked or not, do you "swear" are true?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Five: Fashion Trends that Gotta Go

I am not a fashionista by any means. I don't read Cosmo or Vogue. But I am a citizen of society, and I do shop for clothes in fairly mainstream places. A rule I was taught long ago by my mother and my grandmother was that you should always wear what looks good and flattering on you. Not what is trendy. By all means, be trendy, but only if you don't look like a fool.

Sadly, as you are about to see, there are people who have not been so fortunate in their fashion advice, and thus are the inspiration for today's Friday Five.

1. Boys and skinny jeans: You have to be really tall, really skinny, and really famous to pull this off, and even then, they look kinda dumb. But most guys wearing these look something like this:

Chicks dig guys in stupid pants, right?

There's nothing hot about a square butt, saggy crotch, and bunchy pant leg that leads to giant footwear. It makes you look like you raided Mickey Mouse's closet. This is even worse if you happen to be chunky. Please refer to the shopping scene in Superbad with Jonah Hill. There's nothing wrong with being heavy, unless you're trying to stuff yourself into these ridiculous pants.

2. Open-toe Boots:  Seriously. Someone PLEASE explain this to me. Look, I love boots. LOVE THEM. From short and sassy to thigh-high and sky-high, I'm all about the boots. Leather, suede, rocker chick, riding boots, stilletto... it doesn't matter. Boots are awesome. But this?

Half hooker, half gladiator. All ridiculous.

3. Pajamas in public: We've all been in a situation where we're in our comfies, or it's really late/early, and we have to run an errand. I've been guilty of running out in my jammies and a sweatshirt. However, this fashion trend is baffling to me. I see it most often on my students. They come into class wearing a sweatshirt, makeup, hair is done or at least brushed, boots or sneakers on... and pajama pants. I don't mean plain sweatpants or lounge pants. I'm talking pastel-heart or penguins-in-hats-and-scarves-patterned pajama pants.

Look at how aloof I am pretending to be.

Perhaps I am overthinking this, but 1, if you're going to spend time doing all that other stuff getting ready, you don't have an extra 30 seconds to put on either jeans or just regular sweats? And two, didn't you have to take the pajama pants off to (hopefully) put on clean underpants? Is this an attempt at being "blase" about your appearance? You don't look blase. You look stupid.

4. Eyebrow manipulation: Eyebrows are an integral part of your face. If you've ever seen a picture of someone with their eyebrows photoshopped off, they look bizarre. Eyebrows should look natural. Now, I'm not saying you can't manicure them. Hell, I've spent probably a gazillion dollars ensuring I don't have a unibrow. But some people take it a bit too far.

My eyebrows are like, soooo perfect.

5. Men's "duck feet" Dress Shoes: There are few things sexier than a guy all decked out, smelling all handsome, wearing a sharp tie and a crisp suit. You look him up and down, but suddenly, sexy is stomped on. By these:

Because a man's foot isn't obtrusive enough.

The empty 2-3 inches in the front gets turned up as the owner walks, adding yet another sexy feature to these gems. GQ to goofy in .5 seconds.

Which fashion trends drive you crazy?

*Special thanks to my girl Elisa for helping me brainstorm these!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"We still live and breathe through native tongue and poetry." ~True Nature, Jane's Addiction

Being a concert-goer my entire adult life, I have always really loved the experience of live music. A good part of that experience relies on the crowd: this is not a private show, and the energy and behavior of the crowd can have a significant impact on the show. As of late, I have noticed that impact has been far more negative.

I saw Jane's Addiction last night at a small venue here in New Jersey. Back in December, I saw Clutch at another small venue. These two bands likely have little overlap in terms of fans, and they played two completely different venues and two completely different styles of shows. But one thing they have in common is glaringly obvious:

Concert-goers have become complete assholes.

It seems that short attention spans and the need to be constantly connected to media have completely soiled the experience. At both of these shows (and countless ones I've been to prior to these), people are at the venue, but not at the show. Phones are constantly in the air, horizontally positioned to capture video. God forbid the band/performer play a song the person doesn't know or like, and immediately they turn to texting, tweeting, facebooking...

People also feel the need, for a reason I cannot come up with, to talk throughout the entire show. Not just a comment here or there, but they scream at each other through the entire show. I have, on occasion, completely flipped out on these people. I paid for a ticket to this show. I didn't pay to listen to people yammer on and show each other stuff on their phones. But it's not even about the money. The concert could be completely free. These people are ruining the experience.

Part of me wants to ask them why they are even there. When people go to a show, and they behave in these ways, I want to know why. But then I realize I don't actually care. All I know is that my experience is ruined.

I am not just there to hear songs I know and like. I can do that at home, surfing YouTube for footage of other live shows, or listening to bootlegged tracks. I want to experience the live performance. For some bands, that just means the crew on stage, rockin' it out. And that's great. When you rock out as a collective audience, it's fun. But when it's fragmented and distracted, the energy is lost.

Other bands put on a show that appeals to all your senses--Jane's did that last night with characters who were swinging from the ceiling, dancing in the peripheral, etc. There were videos that corresponded with the music. Lights, smoke... it was theatrical. But apparently, not stimulating enough for the majority of the people there who were watching the show through the back of their phone, or not watching at all while they either texted or screamed at each other.

Music is a universal language. It is something that is supposed to appeal to a very primal aspect of humans. It's supposed to bring people together. One would assume that people bought a ticket because they are fans and want to see this performance. So, why don't they see the performance? I take the opportunity to escape from the rest of the world when I go to a show. A couple of hours of fun and entertainment, without having to be connected to anything or anyone but the music and those performing it. But we can't connect to the experience if we're connected to other things. It makes the point of going to a live show pointless.

And frustrating for those of us who expected to go to a concert.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Constructive Compulsion's First Meme

Happy Lazy Sunday to you all. My lovely friend Charlotte over at My Pixie Blog tagged me in a meme. Part of the idea is to tag other blogger friends at the end so that they may participate, but... *sniff sniff* I don't have any bloggy friends (yet!). So, I'd love to invite you all to play with me. These are fun, and a great way to connect. I suppose this is the bloggy version of bringing a pie to a new neighbor. So, if you are so inclined, play along!

The Rules:
1. Post the rules
2. Share 11 random things about yourself
3. Answer the questions posted to you from your tagger
4. Come up with 11 new questions for the people you tag
5. Tag your peeps on Twitter, Facebook, or on your blog

11 Random Things About Me:

1. I hate new car smell.
2. I eat eggs for breakfast every single day.
3. I would, in a heartbeat, move to Hawaii.
4. Due to a severe bout with the chicken pox and spending days on end in the Aveeno bath, I now have a
major aversion to oatmeal. Ironically enough, oatmeal raisin cookies are my favorite.
5. I love to be silly and crack myself up often.
6. The first records I had were DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince: He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper, and Debbie Gibson's Out of the Blue.
7. The first CDs I owned were Metallica's Black Album and Motley Crue: Decade of Decadence. Guess things changed a bit!
8. Most animated movies will make me cry, even if the sappy part is very short. Dumbo is blacklisted because of this.
9. To this day, I am certain my brother and I would sit in either a laundry basket or refrigerator box together if
we could fit.
10. Sometimes I have to think about my left and my right.
11. I am neither an early bird nor a night owl. I'm a mid-day kinda girl.
Charlotte's 11 questions:
1. If you could do anything with your life, what would you do?
I would write and teach. I'm halfway there. Bonus if I could do it in Hawaii.

2. You are leaving to go on a deserted island and are allowed to bring three CDs. Which ones do you take?
Tool: Lateralus, Tori Amos: Boys for Pele, Clutch: Clutch

3. Who do you look up to most in life and why?
I don't think I can narrow this down to just one person. I admire different people for different things, but
what links them all is that they were risk-takers, and/or chased a dream and persevered.

4. Book that changed your life?
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss. First book I ever read. First book I fell in love with.

5. What are the top three items on your bucket list?
a. Live in either a completely different part of the country or in another country for a time.
b. Get paid to write.
c. Learn to ride and be able to buy a motorcycle.

6. What is your proudest accomplishment?
Walking into a college classroom, a total n00b, and finding it was like a fish to water.

7. Vacation destination at the top of your list?
As a repeat visit, Hawaii. As a new visit, Greek Isles

8. First crush?
The older brother of a childhood friend.

9. The world is coming to an end and you are allowed to make three phone calls. Who do you dial?
I'll assume I'm with my boyfriend, so my parents, my brother, and my sister

10. What’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
I can never answer this question, either because nothing that bad has ever happened or it was so bad I blocked it out.

11. If you could chose one superpower, which one would you pick?
To be fluent (speak, read, write) in every language on the planet.

Questions to my fellow bloggers:
1. What is your favorite way to spend a lazy day?
2. Your first concert?
3. Your biggest fear and how you did/would conquer it.
4. What profession would you least like to have?
5. Do you still draft with pen and paper, or have you gone completely digital?
6. If there were no health repercussions, what one food could you live on forever?
7. What kind of exotic animal would you own as a pet if you could?
8. Three movies you will never turn off:
9. One thing you would change about your life:
10. What is your fondest childhood memory?
11. Worst date you've ever been on?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Five: Biggest Workout Challenges

Happy Friday, Luvs! Today marks the first day back in the gym after a minor hiatus and a battle with a head cold. I am happy to report that I managed to stave off the cold with Zycam and some rest (I think), so I can try to get back into my routine. Again. For the billionth time.

Since November, I've really had difficulty stabilizing my routine, keeping it consistent, and sticking with it. There's a variety of situational reasons, but I've spent some time really thinking about what's getting in my way. Make no mistake: These are not excuses. I'm hoping that by putting them in writing and fully admitting that these are all my own fault, I might actually get past them.

1. Mindset: I feel discouraged a good part of the time. I gained a few pounds that I keep putting a small dent in, and then gaining back, and putting a small dent, filling it back up. But the discourage is compounded by my own frustration with that feeling. I lost 30 lbs and kept it off for almost two years. This is 7 or 8 lbs. Really, Nik? You can't get at it? But I find myself feeling like I'm never going to get back to where I was.

2. Diet: I love to eat. Period. Only lately, I've loved it a little too much. Fortunately, for the most part, we keep a healthy fridge, and even our snacks are pretty healthy. But that doesn't mean you're supposed to eat the ENTIRE box of Triscuits with a vat of hummus. It's not so much what I'm eating, it's how much of it I'm slamming down my gullet.

3. Schedule: Prior to July 2011, I was teaching a full-time course load and editing part-time. So the majority of my time was spent standing/moving in the classroom, running from campus to campus, and spending minimal time in a chair at my desk. Now I sit for 8 hours a day. The previous schedule also made it easier for me to work out at my peak energy time, which is mid-day. Now I'm dragging my butt into the gym after 5pm, when I'm starting to feel run down. That schedule change, though a bit easier on my sanity, has not been as kind to my waistline. The pants that I once zipped with ease and could pair with anything in my closet now beg for mercy and there's a select few shirts and blouses I can wear that mask the muffin top.

4. Impatience: Although I know it's impossible and unrealistic, I want instant gratification. I want to work out for a couple of days and lose 10 lbs. I don't want to wait for the results. But my brother told me that it ususally takes as long to lose it as it did to gain it. So, if I gained that weight over a few months, it may take me a few months to lose it. Well... I hate that.

5. Other Interests: I was originally going to say laziness, but I'm not lazy. I'm constantly doing things. The reality is there are about 500 other things I'd rather do for an hour a day than work out. I don't hate working out, but I don't love it, either. Do I recognize that I feel good after I work out? Sure. I know all of the benefits. But seriously. If I could spend an hour reading a book, while getting a pedicure and eating a pint of ice cream and get the same results, that's where I'd be every day at 5:00.

What challenges do you face in keeping your health/workout routine going? How do you get past them?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

"Mercury the courier, celestial messenger..."

I just received word this morning that, finally, finally, finally, I have a court date for my long-awaited, impossibly drawn-out divorce. When I wrote it down, I noticed something interesting: 4/4/2012.

Now, I'm no math whiz, but I see the number 4 screaming at me here. Obviously, the fourth day of the fourth month.Both 20 and 12 are divisible by 4: which works out to 5 and 3. Which equals 8. Which is 2 x 4. So I actually have four 4s. 

So, I decided to look up the significance of the number 4. There are many systems of numerology, some Biblical, some mystical, others astrological. I found this one, and it makes lovely sense: "The symbolic meaning of number Four deals with stability and invokes the grounded nature of all things. Consider the four seasons, four directions, four elements all these amazingly powerful essences wrapped up in the nice square package of Four. Fours represent solidity, calmness, and home. A recurrence of Four in your life may signify the need to get back to your roots, center yourself, or even 'plant' yourself. Fours also indicate a need for persistence and endurance." It also associated with Mercury, who, in Roman mythology is the winged-footed messenger.
(This explanation appears on several websites, including and

This resonates with me on a number (no pun intended) of levels. I have felt for quite some time that this dragging divorce has prevented me from achieving completely solidity and calmness in my home. Yes, I have moved on, I support myself, am in a phenomenal relationship, and am happy all-around, but it still nags, and there are times, such as when I sign a check, that I feel that uneasiness creeping into my chest. I hate seeing, signing, or saying my married name. I hate hearing it. It bothers me that I can't update my documentation until this is done so I can complete my name and address change simultaneously. It disturbs my ducks. I hate haphazard ducks.

This date will also bring good news, or a message of freedom, finally. It also amuses me that anything that is "mercurial" in nature is something volatile or erratic, which is what this entire process has been.

As far as persistance and endurance...if the past two-plus years was not a test of persistance and endurance, nothing is. I have faced setbacks, delays, confusion, and all of that persistance and endurance will finally pay off on April 4th. It's closure of a chapter I will never have to revisit, the snipping of the final thread that connects me to that part of my past, and a chance to finally get those little quackers in the appropriate formation.