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Thank you, Self.

18 Mar

The other night, I noticed that I have a tendency to sit in my chair at the end of each day and offer thanks for something kind of ridiculous. Unlike the profound moments of gratitude that make people teary-eyed, my nightly acknowledgement of thanks usually focuses on something very tactical and that makes me happy in a small way.

I’ve noticed it enough that I thought I should try to document the habit to see what patterns emerge. So apologies in advance, my friends – but since this blog is kind of like a journal – you’re going to get a front-row seat to my gratitude, which will manifest itself in VERY SHORT POSTS capturing my nightly thank you notes.

(Feel free to tell me what YOU are grateful for too – even if it’s just that your tongue has bumps on it. And yes – that’s actually one of my mine.)

So with no further ado, here’s my first note of gratitude:

Image Source: 2014

If a tree falls and no one posts about it on Facebook, does it mean it really fell?

4 Feb

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Two weeks ago, I entered Facebook Silence. Or at least, that’s what I called it when I decided there was no time like the present to tackle the “Two weeks without Facebook” challenge from my 40×40 list.

For people who don’t have Facebook, that entry probably earned an eyeroll. But for those of us who check Facebook multiple times daily and feel like it’s our connection to people outside our immediate sightline? It seemed daunting.

I’ll admit, if I hadn’t deleted the Facebook app off my iPhone, I would’ve blown my resolution the day I started. I posted my intention to go dormant on a Sunday night, then – when I woke on Monday – I started my lazy wake-up routine. I don’t run my furnace at night, so I wake to chilly air and usually spend a bit of time lounging in my bed, reviewing emails on my phone before I can muster the courage to run to the shower. If it’s really cold, I’ll buy more time by flipping over to Facebook to see what people posted while I was sleeping.

That Monday, it was exceptionally cold, so when I finished the emails, I instinctively went to check Facebook. But my smart self had remove the app from my phone before I went to bed. Instead of a blue square icon, my phone simply had a blank space glaring at me. I briefly wondered what I’d committed to. Then I wondered if my Facebook usage bordered on an addiction. Then I showered. Image Source:

That first day was a series of realizations… not only that I used Facebook as a crutch on cold mornings, but also that I’ve become accustomed to checking it quickly as a way of mentally shifting gears between projects at work. More than once, I found myself landing on the login page, catching myself before I entered my credentials.

I hadn’t declared an outright ban on all social media, however, so I’d dip into Twitter daily and post something. I’ve never been much of a tweeter, and this two week period helped me figure out why: Facebook feels like more of a conversation. Twitter seems like a bunch of people just blurting things and occasionally responding to each other. Perhaps a bit like a Tourrettes conference. Also? It turns out I enjoy the photos people post on Facebook – even if they’re usually of children.

So while I bounced over to Twitter periodically, I’d wager that it held my attention for no more than five minutes a day. It kind of makes me wonder why I have four Twitter accounts. (I guess I did a land-grab early on? Beats me.)

I will say that this experiment DID help me reclaim a staggering amount of free time, so I definitely plan to restrict my Facebook usage moving forward. But I also found that I missed out on key events and had to learn about them second-hand, which I didn’t like.

Thankfully, Alan texted me when my friend announced the birth of her baby via Facebook. And it was from overhearing people in my office talking that I realized one of my work friends was stuck on a bus in Atlanta for 24 hours because of the snow storm. Trade-offs, I guess.

In any case, it was liberating to unshackle myself from Mark Zuckerberg’s three-legged race for a week. And it was a stroke of genius that my dormant period coincided with the Super Bowl. Because who has time for that?

My cat is either sadistic or a neat freak.

19 Nov

I bought a new pair of slippers and although they’re super comfortable, they came with two ridiculously huge pompons on each one. Naturally I whipped out some scissors and cut them off.

They are about the same size as Miss Moneypenny’s toys, so I thought I’d toss one to her to bat around. She loved it and scampered through the house with it. A couple hours later when I was putting away laundry, I noticed that the ball was sitting in the bottom of her water bowl, drenched.

“Hmm,” I thought, “She must’ve accidentally swatted it in here.”

I retrieved it and set it in my bathtub to dry.

Tonight when drawing a bath, I reencountered the fuzzball and tossed it out for her to play with. Again, she knocked it and took off chasing it out of the room. A few minutes later, when I was sitting in the bathtub, she returned, carrying the ball in her mouth.

Without even looking at me, she walked in and dropped it in her waterbowl. Then she batted it around until it was soaking and – as if she were bobbing for apples – reached in and picked up, then left the bathroom with it.

About fifteen minutes later, she came back, again carrying the ball in her mouth, and dropped it on my iPhone (which was sitting on the floor). Then she left.

So clearly her dunking is deliberate. If I imagine it’s a mouse she’s playing with, I have two possible explanations for what she’s doing: Either she’s trying to drown it, or she wants to clean it off. I’m not sure which is better.

At least I don’t have this to deal with:

Tip: Your ass is not a parking meter

28 Dec

Image Source: (c) 2012 - pithypants

Sometimes, when we’re having a lazy Sunday, Alan and I like to walk up to The Diner on 18th Street for breakfast.

The other weekend, sitting there nursing a tall Diet Coke, I looked over Alan’s shoulder and did a double-take. “Dude. There are at least two inches of visible plumber crack behind you,” I told him. “Turn around and look.”

Alan – game for anything amusing – slowly turned, his mouth full of egg. Had he been anyone else, I might’ve cautioned him to “swallow your bite” before looking. But Alan has an iron stomach and finds most disgusting things simply “curious.” (Don’t even ask him about watching a caesarean section unless you want to lose your cookies.)

This time, however, he took a big swallow to clear the egg before allowing his mouth to hang open. I took pleasure in watching his eyebrows lift in incredulity. He turned back to face me. “What? The? Hell?”

Exactly. Behind him. perched on a stool at the diner’s counter, was a young woman wearing low riders. Very low riders. So low, that every time she wiggled, her pants would tug down another few centimeters. By the time Alan looked, she was showing more than two full inches of crack.

“It looks like you should slip a quarter in there when you walk by,” I commented.

Alan agreed. “Can you imagine if we were seated directly behind her?” He mimed creating a paper wad out of the straw wrapper and tossing it at her. That line of thought prompted us to assess the people who were seated behind her, right at eye/crack level. Miraculously, no one seemed to have noticed. Yet.

And then our game began… as we wrapped up our meal, we kept surveying the other diners, watching for their reactions as they picked up on their scenic vista. As their lights slowly came on, we were rewarded with some pretty vivid double-takes, elbowing, and smirking whispers. By the time we left, the rear section of the restaurant was filled with tables of strangers all catching each other’s eyes as if checking to see who was in on the joke.

I suppose I should’ve gone over to the girl and – as if I were pointing out a downed zipper or toilet paper trailing from her shoe – alerted her to the issue. Call me shy, but I couldn’t find the words to approach a stranger and tell her her she’d shown her ass to the entire restaurant. Or maybe shy isn’t the word for it. Call me karma.

Maybe I’ll order a bunch of these and hand them out as subtle hints:

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Drunk or tired – what’s your excuse?

19 Dec

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Last year I remember seeing a study that claimed “tired driving” is as dangerous as “drunk driving.” While I certainly didn’t set out to provide another data point for their research, yesterday I helped prove that exhaustion does lead to impaired judgment.

Monday night I went to bed at 11pm, had insomnia and woke up at 2:30am. And never fell back asleep.

Right? You did that math, didn’t you? 3.5 hours of sleep.

Unlike (seemingly) most of the adult population, I do not have children, am not retired and am not in college, so I’m not sure what to do with a night that nets fewer than six hours of sleep.

If you must know, I ended up accepting defeat, grabbing my laptop and plowing through a pile of work from 4-8am. (I’m sure a lot of DC government workers would’ve made the exact same decision. Right.)

But it’s kind of creepy when you realize you’ve already put in almost half of a traditional work day and few of your North American colleagues are even online yet. It’s like arriving at the zoo before they’ve released the animals from their cages. Or even built the cages.

So I was in the kitchen, serving up my second lunch when Alan started striking out blindly, trying to find the snooze button in the bedroom. I felt mildly European, as if I were in a time zone five hours ahead. Unfortunately, Alan didn’t think I sounded even a petit peu French when I tried to greet him with an accent. He was mainly confused. Sigh.

It’s difficult being a morning person. No one gets me.

Anyway, as the day progressed, the “edge” I’d felt by starting my über-early quickly faded. By 11am, I was ready for a nap. (Unfortunately, I was booked solid and am running up against aggressive deadlines, so that urge couldn’t be indulged. Also? I think companies generally frown on mid-day napping.)

At 3pm, I fetched ice for my caffeinated soda from the stacked dryer unit in my kitchen. I was literally standing there with my hand patting around in the empty dryer, thinking, “What did I come here for?” when I remembered: ice cubes. And had to do a 180-degree turn to locate the freezer.

Then later, on my next caffeine push, I caught myself just before I almost poured Egg Beaters in my tea instead of Half & Half. In my defense – the cartons are the same size and similar colors.

So back to that study… while I didn’t get behind the wheel, from my in-home testing, I think it’s safe to confirm that exhaustion leads to poor judgment and impaired function. I mean, you tell me – have you ever gone to a party and looked for ice in a dryer?

Separately, it makes me think we’ve been a bit quick to judge Diane Sawyer, whose face is one of the most common search results when you search Google for “drunk or tired” images. I don’t know… what do you think? Is she drunk, or simply tired: