Monday, April 28, 2008

National amnesia

I'm not the only one who's gotten forgetful lately.

A cursory look at the headlines reveals a very obvious absence: Iraq & Afghanistan. Remember those? Yep, we're at war.

But take a look at the news: Miley Cyrus is embarrassed about some pictures. A sicko has been raping his own daughter for 20 years. There's this election going on, too.

But very little about the fact that we are at war. Unless you remember we are at war: the headline about gas? That's about war. That headline about stimulus packages? That's about war too. Even that whole presidential thing; that seems to have something to do with the war we've been waging for 5 years.

I know some people who served in this war, and they seem to remark on the same thing: when they come home, the war no longer really exists except when we hear of a local family tragedy. That is, we bitch about the price of gas and the price of food, we demand our politicians to promise that they won't raise taxes but that they will give us universal health care, we buy giant cars and think about road trips....

Once upon a time, a president asked his country to sacrifice. To buy bonds to help support soldiers. To go to work in the factories, especially if you're a woman! Now our administration asks us to forget.

I once saw a bumper sticker on the back of a truck that read: "Shut up and Support our Troops!" But shutting up is not how to support the men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, mainstream media seem to agree with that truck driver.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Late-Onset Retardation

I went to get gas today. Not a big deal, really except that it reminded me of a trend going on with me lately.

Two weeks ago, I had $20 and decided I would use it to buy groceries for egg salad and greek salad to make myself all week (oh, and a few amy's meals -- LOVE those). So I was very careful about my grocery list. I had twenty bucks, so I had to be sure I brought the list with me. Now, you may very well know that I have a tendency to be, well, absent-minded. So I made SURE to bring the list. I checked twice before leaving the house: "OK, keys, purse, list. Check."

Got to the store, got my groceries, got in line at the wondrous U-scan express lane, and beeped all my groceries through, very impressed not only with the wonders of technology, but also at my clerking skills. ("Go, Jamie!") But, I realized when I was finished speed-scanning (including knowing the plu codes for tomatoes on the vine. yep, I'm that good) that a sign was hanging on the screen -- clearly meant to be large enough to be seen, but I was really into the scanning. The sign read, "NO cash! Credit cards or check cards ONLY!" (Why do they feel the need to yell, I wondered?) So damn. I had my $20 and I was done scanning -- what to do? I approached the nice lady who stands there waiting for idiots like myself and told her my predicament. She said, "no problem, I'll just check you out here." "Oh, great," I said. "Let me get my cash."

I walked over to get my purse, where I had also left my shopping list (small moment of self-congratulation for not leaving the list in the car), and realized very quickly that I didn't have my money. Damn. My heart skipped. Now what?

So I tell the clerk my dilemma, and she says, "OK, no problem, let's just leave your bags over here and I'll print a receipt that you can take to the customer service desk...." She's so nice! So, cool. I'll just go get my money.

One hour later, after surfing the web, e-mailing, whatever, I remembered the groceries sitting at the store. Oh. my. god. So I jumped in the car, got to the store, went to the customer service desk, told them what happened. ... I forgot my money again. I kinda felt like crying. I eventually did get my damn groceries.

Last week, I went to the store for some Starbucks venti iced green tea no sweetener (daily ritual). It was a beautiful day. I came out of the store, drink in hand, Amy's meals swinging happily in the plastic bag. It wasn't until half-way home that I realized that I left my car at Kroger's.

So, today, all I wanted was to get some gas. Instead, I was on auto-pilot and went to Starbucks and picked up some Amy's meals and turkey bacon. I still haven't gotten any gas.

This is a dangerous disease.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I feel the earth - shake...

I woke up last night to a feeling of trembling. I could hear wind chimes ringing in an odd rhythm. I was flat on my back, hands at my side, and I felt as if someone was holding my arms and shaking me. I was scared -- everything was really quiet, except that wind chime that just sounded strange. I looked at the clock after I calmed down a bit and it was 5:40. I convinced myself I had been dreaming and went back to sleep. Matt got up a little before 7 am, and I heard him rummaging around. I told him about what happened: "I swear there was an earthquake or I had the most vivid dream." Matt gave his usual morning response: "Ugh." Then, about 20 minutes later, the phone rings. I jump to get it because I'm a worry wart. Matt is laughing when I answer the phone -- he couldn't believe it, there was actually an earthquake! Then he got mad that I didn't wake him up. Ha!

I feel oddly happy that I felt it. It was so odd, so earthy.

(Ty and Jaymie: this is my true story contribution to the celebration of Taurivus.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Letting go

One of my favorite stories is a stock Buddhist tale:

two monks are walking back to the monastery together. as they come to a corner, they see a woman in lavish dress who is unable to cross the street because of a large puddle. one of the monks, seeing her distress, picks her up and carries her to the other side, where she thanks him profusely. but the other monk is visibly upset. they continue walking, and once they reach the monastery the other monk, having grown more angry all the while, finally sputters out, "what you did back there was against our laws to never touch a woman. how dare you." but the monk who helped the woman across the street says, "Yes; but I left her on the corner. You've been carrying her the whole time."

I like this story because I need its lesson: to let go, to leave it there where it was, to quit carrying it around -- letting it weigh me down.

So I let go of the things that are back there, not here. Like the interview I had this week. I've been carrying it, going over its details, questioning my own perceptions. No more. I'm done. I did my duty and I'm leaving it there on the corner.

Um. Until I find something else to obsess about....

Friday, April 11, 2008

Walking & Wedding

I am really enjoying the walks Matt and I take 3-4 times a week. We've always been talky-talkersons, but I talk more than Matt most of the time. Well, this week, I've decided to practice listening (I read a horoscope on Monday that told me I would hear something important this week, if only I could stop talking and start listening -- usually I dismiss horoscopes, but this is good advice all the time). So I've been listening to Matt all week, and I've learned a lot. Mainly, I learned that I love him more now than the day we were married. He's so much more thoughtful than I give him credit for. I think we may often allow those stereotypes of men (and women) to get in the way of really getting to know our better halves. So, thanks to whoever wrote my fortune-cookie-like horoscope this week.

Speaking of weddings, I tried on my wedding gown last night. It's a summer ritual usually, to see if I can fit in it. Normally, I can't come close. But LOOK!

Ok, this was a hilarious scene. Matt had to zip me up in it and kept yelling, "Suck it in!" I kept yelling back, "I can't!" Finally, we realized the only way to get it on was for me to raise my arms. But then I couldn't put them back down. So I walked all over the house, saying, I can get in my wedding dress! With my arms flapping like I was trying to fly away. Finally, because I could no longer breathe, Matt had to peel it off. And as you can see, I'm literally spilling out of the top of it, but HEY! I got in the damn thing for the first time in 4 years! Yay! This really motivates me for my swimsuit challenge this summer.

So walking is doubly awesome. I get a little more fit, and I get a little more insight into this guy I've known for over 12 years.

Yep, 12 years. Our first kiss was on May 20, 1996. We first met a year before that. And like I said, it seems if I let my expectations of who I've determined he is to slip away a bit, I realize so much more about him. I guess that's probably true of everyone. In fact, I spoke to my mom yesterday (spoke to my mom usually means, kind of listened while she talked of random, vague things). But then, I remembered my horoscope, so I listened a bit more than usual this time. I learned a lot. Mainly I learned that we can never fully know another person's perspective. We may blame, question, criticize, but there's always something we don't know that could explain it all. So I'm revising my horoscope a bit:

Listen more. Blame less. Assume less. Expect surprises. Remember that breathing is less important than big, pretty dresses if only for a minute.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Yes I can?

I have a new way of getting out of bed in the morning: I yell, "I'll sleep when I die!" until I finally roll out of bed. It really works, mainly because the idea of death is so incredibly disgusting to me that associating sleep with death makes me want to sleep as little as possible.

Aside from that, I have my friend Amy's 8:30 am calls where she berates me on the answering machine to get my ass out of bed (and even that doesn't always work). In other words, it takes fear, belittlement, and angry voices to motivate me.

So... I'm not sure how I'm going to do this unless I hire someone to scream at me about it everyday, but I will get in better shape by August 8, 2008. This is when I am going to Las Vegas -- for the first time ever! -- with Matt, his sister & her bf, and some other friends. I WILL -- let me be very clear -- I WILL lose weight so that I can, for the first time in my adult life, get in a bathing suit and be happy about it.

But let me recap this weekend: An IHOP run for eggs, toast, hashbrowns and study at midnight; an Indian buffet for lunch; WAY too much pizza Saturday night, plus a few too many beers. Hmmm. So, losing weight involves eating less, right? And then on top of that, exercising. Less calories=less pounds. That's it. Very simple.

I am so bad at eating less. I LOVE food. I like lots of food. I especially like hot, cheesy, saucy food. So I'm trying to think of ways to motivate myself to eat less everytime I want to over-eat:

I'll eat when I die! doesn't work...

And while I'm sure Amy would love a chance to yell at me more, I don't think she has the time for another full-time job. So... what to do? I'm just going to try to eat less for the next week, and hopefully as I feel better and lighter from less stuffed full nights, I will be motivated to keep eating less. But right now, I'm thinking of the Indian buffet just 10 minutes away....

I'm also thinking of a nice long walk... It's a beautiful day in Cincy, so I'm going to go enjoy it!

The Voters and their Voting Votes

"There is no such thing as a pledged delegate," Clinton has said many times.

She has also said, "The popular vote in Florida and Michigan has already been counted. It was determined by election results, it was certified by election officials in each state, it's been officially tallied by the secretary of state in each state, and the question is whether those 2.3 million Democrats will be honored and their delegates seated by the Democratic party."

I like Hillary Clinton for all the wrong reasons: she's a strong, intelligent woman, a "fighter" for great things like universal health care. But I don't think she would make a good president. And in many ways, it's because those qualities I just listed. She fights. She imagines every day in the white house as a fight. And this is precisely why Republicans and some Dems in Congress will not work with her or for her, because she will see her work as fighting against them.

And it's this very quality that has caused her to say the above, very contradictory statements. On the one hand, just because the voters voted doesn't mean the delegates are pledged to those voters' votes. On the other, damnit, those voters voted, and they should be counted exactly as those voters voted their votes.

She will fight both sides all the way, and I think this is a very good indicator of how she would be as president. She will make a great Senator during Obama's administration, or even an excellent Secretary of State, cause she's good at fighting. But we don't need a fighter in the white house. We've been fighting everyone for too long. Let's start some healing now.