rich with coupons

I create a heck of a lot of dishes when left to my own devices for a weekend. Roomie is still off on her cruise with the boyfriend (aka the real significant other, the one who is not me), and I did have plans for this weekend (shocking, I know, I have a whole other friend in addition to roomie), but then I experienced a bizarre bout of nausea yesterday and ducked out. It’s okay, I’ve been out of town for the past two weekends anyway.

So what did I do with myself? Amazingly, considering how queasy I felt yesterday afternoon, I apparently spent most of the weekend eating. Or cooking at least, based on the amount of dishes in my sink. This is partly due to the fun kitchen stuff my Mom got me for Christmas and partly to the fact that yesterday was the one day this month that I actually remembered to check my mailbox. Like, my physical mailbox, where I get bills and other super cool stuff.

But THIS time, I really did get cool stuff, like the check from my last freelance project. Whenever I get these, I suddenly feel rich because I have all this “extra” money! In reality, of course, I have already spent about three times as much on “extra” stuff (mostly races I want to run) that I justified by saying, “It’s okay, I’ll pay for it with my freelance money.” Doesn’t matter; I still feel rich.

The other thing I got in the mail was a super awesome grocery-store coupon. It wasn’t for the store that I usually shop at, but seriously, if I can save $20, I’ll shop anywhere. Of course, all these savings, combined with my imagined richness, led to a hefty amount of impulse buying. It’s not my fault they put the dried fruit in the same isle as the candy! Once I was in there, I realized that my life would not be complete if I didn’t buy myself some chocolate immediately.

I’m not sure if it was the time of day I chose to go shopping, the different store I was in, or the extreme excitement caused by the amazing coupon I had in my pocket, but I found the other grocery shoppers to be especially entertaining this morning.

It was like a grocery-store adventure because I didn’t know where anything was, but apparently neither did anybody else. I ran into an old guy who was looking for bacon in the baking isle. A couple of minutes later I saw a store employee who was trying to find “the older guy who wanted bacon.” As I navigated the bumper-cart-zone near the front of the store, I passed one lady driving a motorized grocery cart and yelling up every isle, “Fred, I’ve lost you! Where’d you go? Fred!” as if she knew he was just around the corner every time.

It’s okay, I was being one of THOSE shoppers too, so I was pleased that my peculiar behavior was probably blending right in. Hopefully, nobody noticed the fact that I spent five minutes studying eggs in the refrigerator section, got a dozen out, changed my mind and got the one-and-a-half dozen out instead, put that in my cart, and then changed my mind again and went for the first dozen.

I also had a sticky note attached to my cart on which I was jotting down the price of everything I picked up. In reality, this was to make sure that I spent the minimum amount required by my coupon, but I kept forgetting and having to dash back just to write down a number. I’m sure I looked like I was on some sort of weird scavenger hunt.

The writer in me is saying I need some sort of conclusion for this post. But I’m going to go do the dishes instead.


I clearly enjoy making lists

I found this quote on the internet: (I would link to the site, but, like a caveman, I can’t actually remember how to do links in wordpress. I should probably figure it out.)

“As an opposite to what many believe, the best times in life are not passive, receiving and relaxed moments. The best moments occur in general when a human is stretching her body to the maximum in a conscious exertion in order to achieve something difficult and effort worthy.”  – Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi

I like this. Mostly because I feel weirdly guilty about free time and, thusly, have an unusual need to be busy ALL THE TIME.

Of course, I expect that normal people don’t live under the tyranny of constant, nagging guilt. I don’t know where it comes from (I’m not even Catholic!), but I feel guilty for seriously weird stuff. Like relaxing, for instance. Other ridiculous things that make me feel guilty include, but are not limited to:

1. Sleeping for more than 7 hours a night

2. Staying inside when it’s sunny outside (I feel like I’m wasting it, you know, because there will NEVER be another sunny day to enjoy)

3. Thinking I’m going to do something and then not doing it (even if there is no longer a need to do it anymore)

4. Getting up late (doesn’t matter if I’ve gotten less than 7 hours of sleep, I still find it disturbing to wake up after, say, 8:30)

Ready for the most ridiculous of all?

5. Feeling guilty

Yup, I feel guilty about feeling guilty. Here’s how the “logic” happens in my brain: I have free time. I feel guilty for having free time. I don’t enjoy my free time because I’m feeling guilty about it. I start to feel guilty for ruining my perfectly respectable free time with all those guilty feelings. Yup, that’s me.

Having down time wasn’t really an issue when I was in school (remember, I do school work at a glacially slow pace), but now that I’m a member of the real world, with an 8-5 job, I find myself faced with an alarming amount of it. Now, I’m not saying I can’t think of things I’d like to do, but they usually cost money. Which I don’t have. Also, as much as I like to be busy, I am a wee bit lacking in the self-motivation category. I need to have things with deadlines. I need people (bosses, professors, coaches, any third party will do) standing over me saying, “You must do this,” in order to really get anything done.

A couple of my friends seem to grasp what I’m talking about with the guilt complex; one even has a similar problem, though no helpful advice on what to do about it; and many, many friends try their very hardest to grapple with the non-logic that is my brain and simply lose.

Here’s a sampling of some of the more interesting suggestions I’ve gotten from people who have had to listen to me whine about how weird it is to have free time now:

1. Have a baby

2. Run a marathon

3. Become a drug dealer

4. Become a drug addict (amazingly these two were suggested by entirely different people for entirely different reasons)

5. Write a book

annnd (this one’s from roomie) …

6. “Jesus! Just learn how to do nothing. It’s not that hard.”

Like most of this sample set, other suggestions for things that would take up a large amount of my time usually come hurtling from so far out of left field that I wonder if any of these people have ever actually met me before.

Run a marathon and write a book, however … well. Hmmm. I’ve just started writing a blog, so maybe I should see how this goes before I leap into book publishing mode (besides, I may be a writer, but I don’t write fiction, so said book’s content would take some thought), but running a marathon … there is that.

I dunno, but the idea’s sort of taken root in my head now. More on this later. 

because I don’t get lost in non-embarrassing ways

“You look like a drunk driver! Good thing nobody’s on the road this early.”

I had an adventure taking roomie to the train station at 5:30 this morning (you know, because everything seems like an adventure at that hour). Apparently, I only know how to drive after I’ve had a chance to eat breakfast. In my defense, roomie’s navigation skills weren’t quite up to par either, and I suspect she HAD eaten breakfast.

“But there was a little building in the middle of the road! I couldn’t tell which side to drive on.”

“It was on the side of the road dear, not in the middle.”

“Well, yes. But there were train tracks and sidewalk on the other side, and it looked a little bit like the road. I got confused.”

Amazingly, we mostly arrived without (major) incident and in plenty of time. I insisted on walking around the train station to make sure she got onto the right platform, not because I didn’t think she would be able to find it but because, if anyone drops me off at the train station, I always hope they will do this for me, and I’m trying to pay it forward in advance. (Unlike Kass, I probably WOULD get lost trying to find my platform.)

However, when I got back in my car, my GPS wouldn’t wake up (I can’t blame her, it was really early), so I had to start the drive home under my own steam. No problem! I can use reason and logic to compensate for my nonexistent sense of direction. Since I had turned right to get to the train station, I thought it would make sense to turn left. Right?

But no. When I turned left it just looped me around to the train parking*. So I drove through there and tried again. With the same result.

All in all, I probably drove around the circle about 10 times, but just so we’re clear, I DID realize what I was doing after about the third time; I just didn’t have any idea where else to turn because right HAD to be the wrong direction. I could feel the bus passengers and cab drivers watching me make my laps. “Hey guys, I’m just taking my car out for a little early morning exercise! Just what all normal people like to do at 6 in the morning!”

After a while, my GPS took pity on me and started working again. Turns out we were supposed to turn right. Who knew?


*The train station is actually part of BWI airport, so it was bigger and more confusing than your average train station.

christmas and an identity crisis

I’ve spent the last 48 hours celebrating with several different groups of people, letting them feed me delicious food and ply me with alcohol. I have not had to do any dishes or pay for anything, and I’ve managed to turn the two-hour drive from home to mom and dad’s house into a two-day road trip.

Christmas. is. awesome. 

During my struggle to NOT talk about work while all of these people demanded I tell them what I’ve been doing lately, I may have mentioned that I write a real blog that actually makes it onto the internet now (versus my old blog entries, which were lucky if they even made it off the scraps of paper I jotted them onto). And then I was faced with the completely obvious, though somehow—to me—completely unexpected, question: what’s it about?

I kind of thought that was a given. It’s about my life. Duh. But I couldn’t really say that, so I muddled through some sort of explanation that probably contained a lot of vague pronouns like “stuff.” And the more I thought about it the more I couldn’t really figure out what I usually write about, because I’m still having a real-world-induced identity crisis.

My old, unpublished, jotted-down-on-scraps-of-paper posts had some sort of identity. I wrote about everything, but mostly I wrote about horses because they were the most important and interesting thing in my life. And if I didn’t write about horses, I probably wrote about college.

I’m no longer a horse person or a student. Gah!

I suppose in a couple of years I’ll be able to write about grad school, which is a pretty decent identity. Or maybe, in a couple of years, I won’t be such a bumbling non-expert at crossfit, and I can write about that. But I’m not really an expert at anything that I do at the moment, because it’s all different from what I’ve been doing for the past 22 years (well, technically, 14 for horses, and 18 for school).

I guess, at the moment, I’m just good at figuring new stuff out and not being afraid to look like an idiot. Can that really be the current theme to my writing? Good gravy.

Somehow I thought writing about this would help me hash it out and bring me to some sort of solid conclusion. Like, now I know my identity as a blogger is         . No such luck. I’ll get back to you with an answer to this quandary in a couple of years. Don’t let me forget. 

Bad karma? Maybe.

If I’m still sick on Christmas, I’m going to be pissed. Actually what I’m going to be is sick, which usually doesn’t leave room for many emotions except misery and a bit of frustration. But I will sure be pissed after the fact.

Maybe I can will myself better. It seems to be working slightly so far today, though my marginal wellness may also be due to the copious amounts of caffeine and Tylenol that I’ve consumed so far.

Last night, I finally had to admit that I’m not just tired, cold, and sore; I definitely have the plague. I was forced to accept this fact only because I realized I was going to die if I went to crossfit last night. So instead, I went to bed at 8 o clock like a 90-year-old.

Whenever I’m sick, I feel the need to make it known to everyone around me. This is only very minimally due to the fact that I am an attention whore who wants sympathy and mostly because I want to explain to everybody who must interact with me why I am being so grumpy and apathetic. But it’s kind of socially unacceptable to go around starting every conversation with, “I’m terribly sick today. Just so you know. What were you saying?”

When you have a cold, it’s easy. Everyone steers clear of your sniveling, sneezing, snotty self as soon as you set foot a room. But when all you can boast of is an odd assortment of mostly flu-like symptoms, letting the world know about your condition is a bit more challenging. Sometimes you must employ a few slightly questionable tactics.

So, when I woke up this morning I had a lovely coughing fit and horked up whatever it was that had got lodged in my chest while I slept. End of story. I didn’t have a cough at all after that. But whatever was wrong with me still made it really easy to cough in a convincing manner if I chose to do so, soooo …

That’s exactly what I chose to do when I got to work this morning. I pretended to have a cough. I didn’t have an obnoxious, loud, disgusting sort of cough, just one bad enough to warn everyone I work with not to come too close. There’s nothing wrong with that! I mean, I really AM sick, just not with a cough.

Only, now that I’ve spent the whole morning pretending to have one, I’VE ACTUALLY DEVELOPED A COUGH. And I can’t stop.

Well, dang. I didn’t see anything wrong with my behavior, but apparently the universe is getting back at me for lying to my coworkers.

I wonder how much Tylenol I’d have to take to be able to go to crossfit tonight?

I’d stay a lot warmer if I could think things through

Things that I hate about getting up an hour and a half earlier than usual: it’s colder, darker, did I mention colder, and all around more difficult to get motivated.

I have to go to Crossfit at 6:30 again this Tuesday if I’m going to go at all, and the fact that I did it last week is making me EVEN LESS motivated. Last Tuesday, I made it there in plenty of time, but then I made the mistake sitting down to stretch and spent the first 10 minutes just lying on the floor until our trainer came over to investigate and made me get up.

So clearly, there are certain things that I don’t do well first thing in the morning, and vigorous exercise is one of them. (In my defense, I have spent a fair amount of 4:30am’s in the barn or on a horse, but it was almost always in the SUMMER, when it was WARM out.) Now, this inability to exercise in the cold and dark wouldn’t be a huge deal, except that I’ve, again, fallen victim to my own poor life planning.

“You’re a runner, right? You want to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon with me in April? It’s in DC, it wouldn’t be far.”

Wow, it’s funny that for such an indecisive person (I spent at least 10 minutes in the grocery store today waffling over an almond-butter buying decision), I will agree to sign up for difficult, expensive activities with minimal (i.e. NO) persuasion and no waffling.

“Of course! Does it fill up fast? Should I sign up tonight?”

Within hours of learning that this race existed, I had registered and paid the hefty, non-refundable entry fee. It took a little longer for the major drawback of this decision to creep its way into my head.

Although mid-April is a generally nice time of year for long runs, it occurs to me that mid-February is not. And I can wish until I’m purple in the face that I could run 13 miles with no preparation, but I’m pretty sure that my usual winter routine of only running on the weekends is not going to cut it.

The problem is that, by the time I get home from work and Crossfit, it’s quite late, and quite dark, and (aside from the fact that I SERIOUSLY don’t feel like running) I worry that the creepy night goons are starting to prowl. I live in the boonies; the running options here are not very well lit.

The only solution I can think of is this: I will go through the torturous routine of dragging myself out of bed at 5am a few days a week and run BEFORE work, because, although the cold and dark will seem even colder and darker in the morning, I like to think that at least most of the goons have tired of prowling and gone to bed by this time. So it’ll be safer. Right?

Apparently, I just have to make sure I don’t sit down to stretch when I get there. I’d rather not find out who’s going to come round and wake me up out on the trail.

Running. Why exactly do we do this again?

I swear, I didn’t do it

“I saw you on the internet looking at pictures of barbells even though lunchtime was OVER*.” One of my co-workers was poking fun at me earlier for eating at my desk today.

My first line of defense: “I wasn’t looking at barbells. I was reading a blog; it just has a picture of a barbell on it.”

Great work, Anna. Because reading blogs is totally more related to your job than looking at pictures of barbells. Excellent line of defense.

Another laps in communication between brain and mouth. I swear, I’ve got to get them to counseling or something. Was I afraid he was judging me for looking at pictures of barbells on the internet? That doesn’t seem like me, not when I spent the morning telling anyone who would listen (in an inappropriately loud, non-inside voice) that I can now deadlift 215 lbs.

Subject change! (They sneak up on you so I thought I’d give a warning.)

I wrote a real post last night but was too lazy to put it up, and now I can’t find it anywhere. Hopefully it didn’t get sucked into the gaping black hole that is my malfunctioning computer (my year-and-a-half-old malfunctioning computer—doesn’t matter how long I have ’em for, computers can sense my inability to cope with anything technical and respond by self-destructing).

I may have just misplaced it though. This happens to my documents with alarming frequency (see above comments on inability to use technology), and I am in constant dread of the day when I misplace some sort of top secret government security documents at work. They should really know better than to let me handle that stuff, but I’m not going to be the one to burst their bubble.

I’m going to go eat a cupcake now.

*In my defense, it was like 1:05 or something, and besides, I got to work a half hour before everyone else did. So there.