Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Schedule Deviation

I thrive when keeping a regular schedule. I REALLY like to get up at a certain time and be at the same place at the same time everyday. I am embarassingly productive when I'm at the "top of my game". But the meaning of "top of my game" doesn't necessarily mean it's the best state for me. It means that I'm insanely organized, stay on my regular schedule, avoid conflict...and to be perfectly honest, avoid interpersonal relationships that would involve or require any exchange of feelings or getting my feelings hurt. It's a state of social sterility and lonliness. I maintain my many relationships but really don't have to risk anything. When I'm not risking anything I feel most comfortable, and I get to the gym more, keep my place clean, and am free of distractions. Schedule deviation, and recognizing these deviations, have become a wonderful surprise for me.

One type of deviation is the type necessary to maintaining a relationship. It's hard to get me REALLY committed to a relationship because I don't want to release myself from my "schedule". My current relationship has caused me to throw my schedule into the wind...blowing away, "goodbye cruel schedule...". I've decided that certain aspects of the relationship outweigh being regimented. The excitement of not knowing what I'm doing and when I'm doing it has taken over. I'm flexible, I go with the flow...I am spontaneous. You might not believe this, but I'm actually quite spontaneous, just not on a regular basis. I might book a trip to Ireland on a whim, or drive to Ste. Genevieve on the way back from Denny's, but my regular weekly schedule is generally set. Or was, now I revel in a fluid and dreamlike schedule that revolves around wonderfully comfortable and usually unproductive weekends.

Another type of schedule devation is the type that inspired me to write today. I got done at the gym early (ironically, I get a little OCD when I have a headshrinker appointment, even though the doc's office is around the corner from my gym...a mere 1.5 minute walk). I had 30 minutes to kill before seeing the headshrinker. I had a brief moment of being lost..."what should I do? Where should I go? WHAT SHOULD I DO?!?" The answer: I don't always have to "do" anything. I can sit. I can watch other people frantically scuttle down the street to work. After less than a minute of being lost, I gathered my thoughts and evaluated my options.

1. Coffee Cartel
2. St. Louis Bread Co.
3. Starbucks

I ran through the pros and cons.

1. Coffee Cartel has donuts that might draw me into eating something that will negate my workout. It's privately owned and the environment is delightful. Their everything bagels make me weep...but their cream cheese is both pre-packaged and there's not enough. Coffee is ok.

2. St. Louis Bread Co. has consistently made me feel like I smell strange after I leave there, which makes it pointless for me to evaluate pros and cons...this one con is powerful enough to rest the case.

3. Startbucks has far superior coffee to either of the above mentioned establishments, but it is a corporate giant and I try not to cave to their delectable vanilla lattes (sometimes I do, and it makes me smile). The main con is that their baked goods are crap.

Coffee Cartel it is. I got an everything bagel with cream cheese and a vanilla latte. I sat at a table by myself and looked out the window. I didn't get a paper, I didn't pretend to work on a project (in my less secure days I would have to look like I had a specific reason for being alone). I ate my bagel, drank my coffee, and sat. I really enjoyed it. I hadn't planned for this moment of serenity, but it felt nice.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Balance - A Poem by Jane Hirshfield

Balance is noticed most when almost failed of -
in an elephant's delicate wavering
on her circus stool, for instance,
or that moment
when a ladder starts to tip but steadies back.
There are, too, its mysterious departures.
Hours after the dishes are washed and stacked,
a metal bowl clangs to the floor,
the weight of drying water all that altered;
a painting vertical for years
one morning - why? - requires a restoring tap.
You have felt it disappearing
from your own capricious heart -
a restlessness enters, the smallest leaning begins.
Already then inevitable,
the full collision,
the life you will describe afterward always as "after".


I do not like poetry. I do not write it. I do not read it. It doesn't make me "feel". I'm not inspired in everyday life to write rythmic or rhyming sentences to express my deep pain or gratitude or observations...blahblahblah.

This blog entry is about my journey to finding a poem that I CAN relate to, one that I get, I feel, I grin a little when I read it. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Let's go back to my first solid memory of poetry having an affect on my life.

Back to 7th grade. Up until this point, I'd kind of dodged assignments that required any sort of poetry writing. I was kind of notorious for not turning in homework, so I'm sure that nobody noticed the pattern of missing poems. At some point I find myself in Mrs. Rinehold's English class and feeling particularly hateful towards Heather Schwartzman (name is SLIGHTLY changed...if anyone from my class reads this they'd know EXACTLY who I'm writing about...and I don't care). Heather was a snotty, two-faced, much more pretty girl that was in my class. She teased me, made me feel small...and I'd had enough. I composed my poetic masterpeice entitled, "Schwartz the Bat". It was not great. It wasn't even mediocre, much less creative. It was merely a device for me to unleash my hurt and anguish over being not as pretty, getting bullied, and not having as many friends as Heather.

The title was not veiled and Mrs. Rinehold told my mother that I was, "going through some sort of phase". I would REALLY like to visit Mrs. Rinehold and let her know that it wasn't a "phase" at all, but the beginnings of a spiral of self-loathing that would ultimately manifest itself in a life of self-destruction and drug abuse. But I'm getting off the topic at hand...I love myself now, I don't do drugs...all is well...back to poetry.

Fast forward to a couple months ago. I've become an adult that loves literature of all kinds...except poetry. I don't even try to pretend to be deep and act like I enjoy it...because I don't.

I borrowed a book from Ellen (her name will not be changed, I have no immediate plans of writing nasty or innapropriate things about her, she rocks). I was going through some "issues" with making bad choices and she thought this book would enlighten me slightly. I'm not sure if she slipped this poem to me on purpose, but tucked into the bound spine of this book (which I'm very much enjoying) was a half peice of pink cardstock with a poem on it. I didn't notice it was a poem until a couple weeks ago. To me, it was simply a pink bookmark because all poems are dead to me...they do not exist in my world.

One night, I opened the book to read and I noticed the poem. "Hmmm, what's this? Did Ellen put this in here for a particular reason?". I read the poem and I liked the flow of it. Could it just be my mood? I read it again the next night and I got it a little more. I've read that poem almost every night since then (it's been almost a month). Each time I understand it more, I connect it to something in my life in some way. It's beautiful, simple, and has come to have deeper meaning with each reading. My next posting will be this poem. I love it. And I'm still not sure if Ellen meant it for me or not, but I'm grateful because it's opened up a part of me that hadn't been there before.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Satan is My Motor...

When I wake up in the morning I'm not always of sound mind. I can have perfectly good intentions and my well-conceived plans go to crap as soon as the alarm goes off.

For instance (ok, not for instance, this entry is mostly about this instance), I go to the gym in the mornings to conserve time because I'm very important. Well, not so much important, as I really want to do other things after work, such as eat, hang out with friends, see my boyfriend, sit on my couch and watch CSI marathons, etc.

If I were to follow this plan and wake up every morning at 5:45, be at the gym by 6:30 am, in the showers by 8 am, and at work by 9 am, I would be a goddess. My legs and arms would be sinewy and my stomach would be rippled and strong. As it stands, the last couple months I've made it 50% of the time. So, my arms and legs are nicely toned, my stomach defined, and my shoulders strong. I am not a Hawaiian Tropics model, but I look pretty good. There are two main obstacles to this plan. 1. I've recently fallen in love with a delightful boy and would rather wake up with him and do the whole giggling at private jokes in bed and eat breakfast together, and 2. My mind does this strange thing where it tries to rationalize and talk me out of going to the gym.

My alarm goes off and the first thing I think is, "gosh, I'm awefully sore from yesterdays workout. I really don't want to push it too far". I hit snooze and sleep for 9 more glorious minutes. When the alarm goes off again I have a new reason...a new personality has taken over trying to blow my plans to be a goddess. "Ok, so if I go in to work at 8 am instead of 9 am, I can take a 2 hour lunch and work out then. Wait, I've got a meeting that will conflict with that...zzzzz". Too late, I've already hit snooze again and the next 9 minutes are heaven. Beep, beep, beep. The process has been going on for a while and it's now 6:18 am (I'm not really sure what time it is because I set my clock 10 minutes fast so I trick myself into being early, when really what happens is I recalculate the time).

Now is when I enter hyperdrive. I spring out of bed, put in my contacts, take my ritalin (for real, and trust me, I need it), put on my workout clothes, grab my lunch, gymbag, sometimes my laptop, shower stuff (all laid out by the door to avoid confusion...except the lunch, that's in the fridge) and purse. I get in my car and make it to the gym by 6:45 am. I feel exhausted after mentally working against myself for the first 30 minutes of my day. A banana revitalizes me and I have a great workout. I'm still getting to the gym enough to feel good about myself and that seems to count for something. Do I really want or need to be a goddess seems like I'm not properly equipped to handle the power associated with it.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Crimes of the Night...

I sometimes have a hard time seperating what happens at night in my dreams or semi-conscious sleep with reality.

I love sleeping with my place, his place...doesn't matter. I will happily vacate my house if I can wake up with him in the morning. Last night, everything seemed normal. We hung out, chatted a little, got ready for bed, and curled up together for the evening. He's been sick and conjested for several weeks and immediately had problems breathing. Being asthmatic, I completely understood the horrible feeling of waking up because you can't breath.

He started snoring a little, then more, then he'd wake up a bit, then he kind of stopped breathing. I was feeling sympathetic until I got the first assault to my upper back with his pointy elbow. Usually I'm thrilled to be snuggled into the covers with him lying behind me, but this death grip of flying elbows seriously rattled me. My back is fairly bony and lean to start with, but a rigorous kickboxing class the previous day had left me pretty tight. After four elbow jabs, I frantically attempted to figure out how to get away...would he notice if I slept on his couch (ok, tiny loveseat)? Could I roll him over? I was trapped, with nowhere to go and not being able to sleep, I started to become a little resentful. I realize he wasn't doing anything wrong, if anything, he's a victim of a respiratory infection and a desire to sleep close to his chick. After two hours of this, I was exhausted, resentful, and became less concerned when he stopped breathing momentarily.

I finally drifted off to sleep and had a dream that he was breaking up with me. Then I had a dream that I was breaking up with him, in this dream he had caused me so much pain that I could not longer be with him (I had translated back pain into emotional pain). These accidental gestures while sleeping had poisoned my dreams, making me resent this delightful, funny, sensitive creature struggling for breath beside me.

I woke up in the morning (my turn to torture him...the alarm was set for 6 am so I could go to the gym). At first the resentment was still full-fledged, then I slowly realized that all that had happened was my experience alone. He looked sleepy, a little sick...and got dressed to walk me to my car at 6 am instead of rolling over and hitting snooze. My boyfriend is so sweet.

Friday, January 07, 2005

World's Fair Donuts is Heaven

This is one of my random life stories that I will write from time to time…have you ever wanted to do something that comprises a tiny part of your day? Someone, or many people, tell you how fantastic something is and you build it up, establish expectations and are eventually
disappointed. There are rare times when I go into something feeling like this and I'm not only NOT disappointed, but delighted. I feel that way about World’s Fair Donuts. I’ve always heard that when you order coffee there it’s perfection…plain, basic coffee…but they put cream and sugar in it for you. I made a last minute decision (and a highly illegal maneuver in my car) on the way to work yesterday to go there. There were old men in line (I adore old men), and even older women working behind the counter (I adore old women second only to old men). I got a glazed donut and coffee with cream and sugar. It cost $1.22 and the coffee was heaven. It came out of a scraggly, ancient coffee maker, the old woman asked how I took it, and it’s as if she read my mind and concocted a perfect ratio of coffee, cream, and sugar. The donut was as if angels had spent their morning making it just for me. It was an excellent start to my day. I then came to work, coffee and donut in hand, and found my co-workers were in similarly good moods. Picture Snow White whistling with singing bluebirds (all are jacked up on coffee and donuts). I sat down at my desk and felt like I would burst with the warm and sunny feeling this start to my day gave me (this blog entry came directly from a bubbly email my boyfriend received on this topic). I'm grateful that these experiences are what make up my life and that I notice them when they're happening. Now, I will struggle against the urge to stop for coffee and donuts everyday...I do not want to gain weight for my donut happiness.