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Chapter XVII

because you never know someone from the very beginning

Month

February 2007

Random Thoughts

Every once in a while I like to check in one myself, and see how I am feeling.  Generally, how I am feeling.  Today is such a day.  A few random comments:

I have been feeling pretty good lately (knock wood!!!).  Why?  I have regularly been taking a multi-vitamin (as part of my Breakfast of Champions…vitamin with a coffee chaser), I am drinking tons of water, I have been running a lot, and there is a V8 on my desk.  I have been cooking my own dinner more than ordering in and as a result, am eating more fresh good food.   I have not been getting enough sleep but that seems to be ok too.  So maybe I am getting enough sleep. 

Results: my skin looks decent, I don’t feel huge, my pants are fitting well, and thanks to a haircut and a great highlighting job (yes, highlighting.  I hate to admit it, but I started before the wedding and once you start, it’s hard to stop), have not had a bad hair day in a couple of weeks.  I know I am tempting fate here – just watch, tomorrow I will wake up with a crater on my chin that will require a visit to Dr. Madfes for a cortisone shot and my hair will decide to go into TV Commentator mode making me look like a middle aged, high maintenance soccer mom.  Again, knock wood.

I have also found a couple tactics – life strategies – to "supercharge" my ordinary tasks.  I hate paying for hotels and airfare for vacations – especially when there are so many ways not too.  I am now totally loyal to American Airlines, as many readers will recall.  I have also started using a Starwood AMEX card (again, not getting paid here).  I tend to like Starwood hotels (such as the St. Regis brand…yum) and the benefits of their loyalty program are amazing (NO blackout dates!!).   I am sure that given my flying and spending habits, I will rack up enough miles and points for the Big H and I to take a very wallet friendly vacation soon.  All that money we might have spent on hotels we can now spend on FOOD.

I have also discovered books on tape.  Late to the party, sure, but so what.  Now when I run, I can listen to Bill Clinton read me his life story (all sappy hundreds of minutes of it).  I am enjoying it, and it’s unlikely I would ever read the actual book – it’s too big.  When you live in NYC, you have to be very mindful of what you carry.  There is a lot of walking here, no backseat of a car to toss a book onto – and carrying around a heavy book is simply not practical.  Books on tape (on ipod) are a great solution.

We have also planned a long weekend.  We are going to Jamaica in March.  Staying at the Rockhouse Hotel (www.rockhousehotel.com) which looks incredible.  I have learned that in times of crazy cold weather, just knowing there is warmth and ocean at the end of the tunnel is comforting.

I also went to church the other day (yes, Dad, I went to church and actually sat there).  I felt pretty mellow afterwards…as a preacher’s daughter, and as one who went to church every Sunday growing up, I have a lot of mixed feelings about going to church.  But I went, I liked it and would like to make a regular thing of it.   There is probably a bigger, dedicated post around this topic.  For another day.

So all is going the right direction.  Let’s hope it stays on course.

One other thought I am working on is the notion of something being "not personal."  You know how people say "oh it’s not personal"…well…I am beginning to conclude that is a crock and most times that is said you should ignore it and realize it IS personal.  Most things are personal and anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves and living in a world of "it’s not me – it cannot be my fault" delusion.   I feel a Highhorse Post coming on, and will save it for later.   But this idea is on a backburner in my brain and may be moved to the front with lots of explanation (and strong opinionated commentary) soon.

B.E.D.

lying on my couch

9PM saturday night

there is a fight outside underneath our window

people are yelling…lots of horns

today was a Bad Energy Day (everything from a near altercation on the subway to the worst experience we have ever had at what used to be a favorite place in Chinatown)…notice it’s B.E.D.  Lesson:  on a BED, the best thing to do is stay in BED

To recover we are staying in, being as quiet as possible, petting the cats.  My tasks for tomorrow, based on today’s craziness, is to plan a vacation and buy whatever I need to make our apartment a cozy sanctuary.  My mission: slippers, flannel pants, candles, comfy blanket, noise reducing headphones, neck pillow for the bath.

As crazy as it sounds, maybe Outside of the City should be a real consideration (HERESY!).  No, really.  maybe it’s worth at least considering.  Wait, cannot hear myself think, more honking.

Twilight

I just finished a book called Twilight.  See cover at left.  I will make the bold statement and say – this is a must read.  I loved this book. 

Now, as you click on it and head to Amazon.com (no, I am not getting paid for this), you will note that this book is for young adults.  As a 34 year old, I consider myself a young adult, so I read it.

What?  You say young adults are defined as "12 and Up"?  How sad that we push our dear 12 year olds to be Young Adults. 

So ignore all that.  This is a page turner for any age.

It Must Be All That Thin Air

I travel a lot.  People ask me all the time how I deal with it.  Well, except for being away from my cats (and my friends, my husband, my closet, the gym, my own refrigerator, my office, the ability to cook my own dinner, NYC, the East Coast generally), I like it.  I actually like traveling.  What?  You don’t believe me?  Then let me tell you, here is what I like about it:

On the West Coast I can be the morning person I’m sure I am meant to be.  I wake up at 5:30/6 without trouble; I catch up on news feeds, skim the papers (online, the NYTimes and the WSJ), I eat breakfast and I work out.  By 7:30 or 8:00AM, I am fed, in shape, and knowlegable.  I have started my day productively, as opposed to on the East Coast where the start of my day is about as relaxing as being shot out of a cannon.  At home, I get up at the last minute, usually after hitting the snooze alarm a few times (because I always INTEND to get up and work out), rush to shower and throw on some make-up, stand in front of my closet wondering what to wear (and how I EVER get out of the house looking suitable…on this I am improving – I have started picking my clothes the night before).  Then I feed the cats, rush to the subway, buy a paper which I rarely read since my subway ride is only a few minutes, get to the office and once there, help myself to the Breakfast of Champions, coffee and a multi-vitamin.  Doesn’t that sound Zen?  One point for the West Coast.

I also love the West Coast because some of my best friends live there, and I get to see them.  Be it San Francisco or Los Angeles, having dinner with an old friend is always a treat.  And since I don’t live there, friends tend to make an effort to see me when I am in town.  This always surprises me, since I am there nearly every other week, but why look a gift horse in the mouth.  9 times out of 10, when on the West Coast, if I call a friend and say “You around for dinner?” they say yes.  At home, we have to plan for weeks in advance just to get together for coffee.  Score a second point for the West Coast.

Another reason I like traveling is I am great at utilizing airplane time.  I take a stack of magazines, catch up on reading, tear out pages I want to keep, toss the rest away.  I read the paper cover to cover (almost).  I work going west, emailing people I have meant to get back to, reviewing analyses for various portfolio companies, and do all that work-y stuff.  You know, work.  All that stuff you do when you work.  Coming back east, I catch up on play time reading (i.e. fiction, and my first love, magazines!), do the Sunday crossword puzzle (ok…Monday), and write blog posts (like this one here).  I also spy on other people, see what they are reading or writing, and since they are generally less productive than I am, I use this as an opportunity to feel superior.  I of course am not kidding. 

Plane time, to me, is like Minaki.  What is Minaki?  Minaki is a place The Big H’s family has gone for years for vacation, and now I, as part of that family, go too.  It is a place with no phone, no email, no TV.  Just like an airplane – pretty much, anyway.  The idea being that though I can email, there is no connectivity on the plane, just like there is no connectivity in Minaki.  Your choice is to either sit there like a zombie, or keep yourself company.  I like to be with my thoughts every once in a while, out of the land of Always On Connected Distraction (AOCD Syndrome). 

Of course, because I am part lunatic, all that ALONE time can make me crazy.  All that thinking, you know.  Thinking and talking to oneself.  Well, even then, traveling has taught me how to manage.  When I start to go crazy with my thoughts, while in a closed aluminum tube 30,000 feet above reality, I turn to American Airlines once again.  It’s really all about Business Class.  Nothing a nap in a reclining seat, a small glass of wine or an ice cream sundae can’t fix.  See, American Airlines to the rescue.

I also get to learn funny little facts like how duct tape gets rid of warts (shown in the plane, a segment from Letterman) and catch up on pop culture (I saw The Queen and the first episode of Rules of Engagement on a plane).

And there is one other thing I really like about flying – coming through the clouds and seeing the blue sky.  Regardless of how bad the weather is on the ground, when flying you always get to break through the gray yuck weather, and hit God’s Country.  I just love clouds and at the risk of getting all spiritual and goopy, coming through the cloudline reminds me everytime that no matter how bad I might think things are, no matter how upset I might be (for the record, I am not normally in a state of despair when I get on a plane…but if I am…), I get to be reminded that there is always blue sky and beauty somewhere.

And then of course, there is the landing.  As an East Coaster (really, New Yorker), through and through, I love seeing the Big Apple skyline from above.  This image has brought me to tears since I was a child.  It’s always a treat to see the skyline – those glittering buildings that make up the place I call home. 

So there you have it.   I have not even mentioned the West Coast weather, building frequent flyer miles (for cheaper vacations!) or the shopping.  Don’t get me wrong, moving is not an option.  For me, the benefits of the West Coast are very much tied to the fact that I live on the East Coast.   Or, really, on American Airlines.

Things I Would Like to Do More of:

Let me get the obvious out of the way early – sleep, workout, see friends, talk to and see family.  Of course.   Now, on to the topic of the post:

Things I would like to do more of (or, in certain cases, do at all)…

– Rockclimbing (did this once in Utah and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  Never before have I been so in the moment).

– Chess

– Backgammon

– Crossword puzzles

– Watercolor

– Listen to more jazz and classical music

– Read

– Play pool

– Cook complicated dishes

– Dinner parties at home

– Trapeze:  I also did this once here at the Trapeze School in New York.  Trapeze_1 It was amazing – without a doubt, one of the coolest experiences of all time.  You truly feel like you are flying.  It was terrifying (at least to me) but exhilarating all at the same time.  I did it once and in that one day, I hung upside down, dropped from the bar many many feet, and learned to do a catch (I was caught).  If you are able to do this, you must.  If you have a fear of heights, do this.  If you think you cannot, do this.  It’s not like bungee jumping (have not done that).  I think over time you can learn to get really good at trapeze.  It’s one of those things you do and you are totally in the moment.  Here is a link to some video from the school.   Do this.

OCD or Something

I write this blog sometimes to remember things – lists of stuff, things I like, things I want to keep in mind.  Well, I remembered the other day a weird habit I have.  It’s something I have done on and off since I was a kid – I remember specifically first doing it while I was in the backseat of our family station wagon and we were just driving away on one of our road trip vacations.  So I was young. 

It was a compulsion – something I had to do.  I found that when I said something, I actually had to "write" it out.  But not really write it – I had to move my right index finger as if it were a pen, and pretend it was penning my words. 

It goes away and comes back occasionally.  It’s back now.  It’s not irritating, it’s just a weird thing I do. 

Not sure I ever told anyone about that, but I wanted to remember it’s something that I do sometimes; so I am writng it here.

A Week Unobserved

This week has been like a time vacuum.   Walking to work this morning I realized I have no idea what I would write – what have I observed about the world this week…very little, I have not spent time observing or reflecting this week.  Good to know that I felt like something was missing.  It happens sometimes, weeks go by.  What I don’t like is thinking that days or weeks go by and all of a sudden you wake up and say "Oh God, days and weeks have gone by and I have not noticed." 

So time to start noticing.  This writing exercise has become part of my personal fabric, and I started to feel it fray this week.  They say you need to do something for 14 days for it to become a habit – well, I have been doing this for longer than that, but it’s nice for me to know it’s become a habit…a needed ritual.  The noticing/reflecting/observance of life.  Of all things, this habit should not be forgotten, dismissed or allowed to flounder. 

Oh yeah, I decided what I am giving up for Lent this year (starts February 21st).  I am giving up drinking.  I did this a few years ago and it was really interesting – amazing how easily having a drink becomes part of the daily fabric.   I may take something on as well.  Need to think about that.

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