Monday, February 27, 2012

On second chances

I will (usually) try (almost) anything once. But sometimes once isn't enough to give something a chance. Sometimes my initial impression of something is that it's not for me, then later on, under certain circumstances or with certain modifications, I find I do enjoy it after all. So it was with Indian food. I first tried Indian food a few years ago and thought it was awful. Everything was so spicy and I have a very low tolerance for spicy, so I decided Indian food and I should go our separate ways. Cut to this past Sunday, when Mike and I went to the lunch buffet at India House in my 'hood. It turns out a buffet is a great way to try a new type of cuisine. I liked being able to sample a variety of items rather than having to order one thing off the menu and possibly getting stuck with something I hate (I am really bad at choosing and this happens to me all the time). Some of the dishes were indeed too spicy for my liking, but I was a fan of the rice, a potato and peas concoction called Aloo Matar and especially the Naan (of course I would love the bread). Indian food would still not be my first choice, but I can see myself enjoying it on occasion. And I think they sell Naan at Wegmans, which I will probably buy at some point. Or ask Mike to buy, because he does most of my grocery shopping (last time he even organized the pantry after buying all the groceries, which I totally love and appreciate the hell out of).

In other news, my quest to become a tea drinker is progressing nicely. I have a new friend, Earl Grey, who contains more actual tea than chai. And is especially delicious when mixed with honey. I still can't get on board the coffee train, but I did have a half coffee/half cocoa drink that wasn't half bad.

There are still some things I will never acquire a taste for (mushrooms, raisins, brussels sprouts, asparagus, green olives, alcohol) but I'm keeping an open mind about the rest. I would have missed out on a lot of awesome sauce if I never gave anything a second chance.

Lyric of the moment: "I'm just saying it's fine by me if you never leave. And we can live like this forever, it's fine by me..."

Weekend adventures

This weekend's adventures included euchre and dominos night, a 16 mile run on a wintry Saturday morning and a 7 mile treadmill run on Sunday, sushi dinner, hot chocolate and catching up with Chris, staying up late watching DVRed shows and eating snacks, India House lunch buffet, reading and cuddling up under blankets fresh from the dryer (one of my favorite things to do on a cold day) and a failed attempt at making banana bread. Or depending on how you look at it, a successful attempt at making banana bread that was good on the outside but gooey on the inside. No actually, a failed attempt all around. It tasted so good but didn't cook evenly for some reason. This is why I usually avoid the oven. We don't get along very well.

Lyric of the moment: "This shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S..."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Impossible things: sweater tights

If someone else tells me I can't do something, I usually don't care. Because I'm too busy doing it. But if I tell myself I can't do something, it's much harder to ignore. Though I love a challenge, so I'm going to try to do just that. Whenever that annoying inner voice tells me I can't do something, I'm going to be all "I can't hear you over the sound of how epic I am" (from a t-shirt my brother gave me for Christmas one year, which I never wore, for obvious reasons). In reality, I'm not going to say that at all. I'm not going to say anything. Because I have better things to do. Impossibly awesome things.

Round one: sweater tights.
I've had a pair of gray sweater tights for a few years but could never figure out how to wear them. They're so comfortable and warm, but everything I put on over them came out all wrong somehow. Plus I think they make my legs look huge. And my legs are already too big as it is. But whatever. It was time to wear the damn sweater tights or get rid of them. So I wore them. And it wasn't terrible. No one pointed and laughed (that I know of). The Guinness Book of World Records didn't knock on my door and present me with an award for World's Fattest Legs. So I'm going to keep them and wear them whenever I feel like it and stop being so ridiculous about the whole thing.

Lyric of the moment: "This much delight fills columns to new heights. Colors run prime, paint a picture so bright. All these things about me you never can tell..." (I love that this band is called The Joy Formidable.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Why I'm not a Jedi. And other assorted nonsense

Because I don't know where else to put them, here are some of the thoughts bouncing around in my brain...

*Reasons why I would make a terrible Jedi: According to Yoda 1) "Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things." 2) "There is no why. Clear your mind of questions." 3) "I cannot teach him. The boy has no patience." I'm full of excitement, adventure and questions and lacking patience, a clear mind and a light saber.

*Sometimes I notice myself saying I can't (meditate, wear sweater tights, lift weights, give up dessert, etc), when the truth is not that I can't, but that I don't want to or I don't know how or I can but it will take a lot of work, etc. It's time to let go of my assumptions about my own limitations. The only thing that holds me back is me. And the fact that I don't have a spaceship. But mostly me.

*Oprah magazine did a feature on 6 word memoirs. I decided mine would be I ran, I loved, I laughed. Because those are my 3 favorite things (sorry, ice cream), the things that make me the happiest and most fulfilled.

*I had the new hardware installation removed. It was the worst. Decided to go with the software instead. Hopefully my other parts will be happy about that.

*I feel this semi-constant, mostly irrational need to save more money. It's annoying. So out of curiosity, I looked up my savings account statement from this time last year. Between then and now, I somehow put 21% of last year's income into savings. It seems like a significant amount, yet at the same time not nearly enough. I want to get better at saving, investing and all that financial whatnot, but I also want to relax and not worry or think about money. And those two things seem sort of incompatible. My life is ridiculously good. I have everything I need and a vast majority of the things I want. But I still have these moments where I feel completely inept at life, as if sheer luck is the only thing keeping me from living in a van down by the river.

*French proverb: "To believe a thing impossible is to make it so." So I suppose a good start to making a thing possible is to believe it so. Dear brain, hint hint.

*Funny saying: "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." I'd rather ride on an elephant (yes! I must do this someday!) than eat one, but there are some elephant sized goals I'd like to accomplish. And I think small steps, made consistently, could be a good way to get there.

*Maybe I should stop thinking what if? And start thinking so what? Or find a spaceship, go to Dagobah and become a Jedi with a mind clear of questions.

Lyric of the moment: "What kind of paradise am I looking for? I've got everything I want and still I want more..."

Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekend getaway adventures

Hobo Hotel is more alliterative, but Vagabond Inn sounds
way classier.
Mike and I spent the weekend at a bed and breakfast in Naples. I love getaway weekend adventures. Plus I'd never been to a B&B or to Naples before. Two new things at once. Bonus!

The whole bed and breakfast thing is sort of awkward, like staying at a stranger's house with other guests you don't know. But the owners were friendly, the breakfast was delicious and I fell in love with their dogs, one of which is apparently the #1 whippet in the world and wins tons of fancy dog show ribbons. I don't care about all that best in show stuff, but these dogs were seriously adorable and I wanted to take them home with me.
Winter followed us. Apparently he needed to get away
for the weekend too.
On Saturday morning, I ran probably the hardest ten miles I've ever run. Between the ridiculous hills, the snow and the barking St. Bernard chasing after me, it was an adventure for sure. I'm hoping all those hills will turn out to be really good training, though at the time I felt like they were trying to assassinate me. Sunday morning I ran another 30 minutes of hills in weather that I can only describe as "angry snow globe." I didn't see a single other car or person on the road so I pretended I was the only survivor of a snowpocalypse, because it was better than admitting I was the only one crazy enough to be outside running instead of inside eating a nice hot breakfast by a nice warm fire.
Looking at fancy expensive art while sitting on a $2500 chair

Though after the run I did eat a nice hot breakfast by a nice warm fire.

Other than the hills, of which I was definitely not a fan, it was a great weekend. We explored the town of Naples, including a cool art gallery/store and a winery, and spent time relaxing, reading and hanging out.
We rang the pie bell and no one answered!
Tragedy of tragedies.

We also watched Episodes I and IV of the Star Wars movies and I asked a lot of questions. (How does that cute little kid grow up to be Darth Vader? Where are the Ewoks? Who is that ugly hologram guy and where is he really? Why does being a Jedi involve such a terrible haircut? Does Yoda ever fight anyone? So wait, Darth Vader was born of immaculate conception, making him what, like an evil Jesus? Why is "the chosen one" in epic movies always a man and never a woman?)

I am totally going to steal this dog. Or adopt my own
whippet. Since dognapping is really mean.
I do like the Star Wars movies I've seen so far and am interested to watch the rest of them. I like the Jedi quotes the best, especially when Yoda says "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." I think the little green dude is on to something.

Lyric of the moment: "Celebrate we will, because life is short but sweet for certain. We're climbing two by two to be sure these days continue..."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Minor indulgences in irresponsibility

Cupcakes eating cookies. It's
the Turducken of desserts!
Last night I skipped philosophy class. This was not really a conscious decision so much as it was the result of being so tired that I passed out before 8pm. But I will take my irresponsibility where I can get it. I never skipped a class in college. Not a single one. I had a serious responsibility problem, of which I am still trying to cure myself.

Sometimes I wish I was more of a free spirit - flighty, impetuous, carefree, doing whatever the hell I want and not giving a crap what anyone else thinks. I find irresponsibility alluring yet irritating. I'm the kind of person who enjoys being early and doing what I say I will and having an excellent credit score. Though I admit it's fun to indulge in a little irresponsibility once in a while. In an eating ice cream for breakfast kind of way, not in a paying my bills late kind of way. I could never bring myself to make a late payment. The horror! (My idea of a horror movie would involve dance mom hoarders filing for bankruptcy while making their toddlers wear tiaras.)

I didn't feel bad about missing class and I felt great after getting some extra hours of sleep. Tuesday night I ran 11 miles, including some hills, and felt indefatigable. Wednesday morning I woke up early, ran 5 more and still felt fairly tireless. After a good night's sleep on Wednesday night, I got in another 5 miles this morning without too much complaint from the 'ole body parts.

I think if I want to run hard, I'm going to have to sleep hard too. And eat hard. My food choices could definitely be considered irresponsible. I'll have to find another outlet for my rebel without a cause-itis. Even Cookie Monster had to change his philosophy to "Cookies are a sometimes food."

Lyric of the moment: "Take me out tonight because I want to see people and I want to see life..."

Monday, February 6, 2012

Things I thought about while watching football

My last two Saturday long runs were less than stellar. Actually, in and of themselves, they were fantastic. The weather was beautiful (no snow! this is my kind of winter!) and I got through all 14 miles last Saturday and 16 miles this past Saturday with no soreness afterwards. The only problem was the discrepancy between reality and my thoughts/judgments/expectations of reality. Last week I was all congested and this week I had some stomach issues, but nothing that prevented me from running. They were only minor annoyances that I made worse by becoming frustrated with myself for being sick when I wanted to be well. Then I thought, I'm doing it again. I'm lamenting what is not instead of enjoying what is. I tried to stop the parade of shoulds and wants (this should feel easier, I should be faster, I want to be 100% better) and focus simply on the act of running in this group. The motion, the scenery, the conversations of people around me.

And I relaxed. I didn't feel much better physically but somehow it didn't seem to matter anymore. I had been distressed, not so much by the physical discomfort itself, but more so by my thoughts about it.

I watched the Superbowl last night with Mike and his family. Sometimes I wish I could watch my life the way I watch football. I find it interesting and at times exciting but I have no emotional attachment to the outcome. It doesn't matter to me what the score is or who wins. I have no personal investment in the results. I just like the long throws and diving catches and touchdown dances. I wonder what the players are thinking and if they have any pregame rituals. I wonder what their lives are like off the field. I wonder what would compel someone to change his last name to Ochocinco. But I have no expectations or judgments about what happens. I don't want it to be anything other than what it is. As I watch the fans yelling and coaches getting upset when a call is made that they deem unfair, I find myself admiring their enthusiasm but thinking it's sort of silly to get so upset about something they can't control.

And then I think oh yeah, I do that all the time in my own life. I've been that guy in the stands with the painted stomach cursing the refs for making (what I think is) a bad call.

So maybe the key is to have that much unbridled excitement for life without being attached to any particular outcome. Whatever happens, I have no reason not to wake up excited every day. I'm here, I'm alive, amazing things are happening and every day has the potential to be the best day ever.

Lyric of the moment: "But after that the floodgates opened up. And I fell in love with everyone I saw. Please take your time I'm not in any rush. And it's in everything I ever write..."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sick of this

New plan: find a bear family to adopt me and hibernate with them until I can breathe like a normal person again. This cold or whatever the crap it is will not go away. It came on Martin Luther King Day and despite all the Dayquil and Nyquil and cough drops I've thrown at it, I am still coughing up junk like it's my job. And I am getting seriously annoyed. I want to be 100% better at once, immediately, now. Or you know, tomorrow. I'd take that too. Definitely by the weekend.

Bill gave me this medical book from like 1978 and showed me the chapter on respiratory problems. He came back into my office later and said, "Well, did you figure out what's wrong." I replied, "According to this book, I either have a tumor or tuberculosis." He said "I'll call Anthony Funeral Home" and we laughed.

Later he made me go to his ear, nose & throat doctor who gave me a prescription for antibiotics that cost $45. For that price they better be made of magic.

I wish I was full of muffins instead of mucus. On the upside, I am getting really good at spitting. It's very classy.

Lyric of the moment: "Life sometimes seems to get the best of you, like everything just brings you down. Just when you think there's nothing you can do, a friendly face will bring you around. And you'll feel better..."