Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Proximity Paradox

par-a-dox /ˈperəˌdäks/: noun, something (such as a situation) that is made up of two opposite things and that seems impossible but is actually true or possible (

I used to be early for everything. Sometimes I showed up awkwardly early. It was a habit I learned from my parents and I believe it is a good habit. We always lived "in the country" so we left the house early for anything "in town" in order to be on time (meaning early). When talking with a new friend, she came to the conclusion that she didn't have to give me a time cushion when meeting me because I would be there on time or, more likely, early. When I commuted anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour to work, I continued to arrive early. So when I took a job that was a mere 15 blocks from my house, one would assume that I would continue this lifelong habit. Except that I was caught in what I call the Proximity Paradox. My theory is this: the closer you live to where you work, the more likely you are to be late or, at least, not early.

This is how I am sucked into this paradoxical black hole: I'm ready for work and about to walk out, when I see one more thing I can do. It can be putting on another load of laundry or picking something up in the living room and taking it to another room. I think, "It won't take long to do this and it won't take long to get to work because it is just right over there." But the task always takes longer than I think it will and the drive always takes longer than I judged because I get caught behind a bus or car line or have to detour because they are working on the street still, and as a result, I'm squealing in on two wheels to clock in on time.

Thankfully, this doesn't happen every day but it has happened often enough that I noticed. I don't think it happens only to me but I wanted to put my theory out there so that I doesn't have to happen to other people. I have a relatively new coworker who is moving a few blocks closer to work than my house. I have warned her but she may just have to see for herself. I guess this is my warning to you so you won't be fooled, too.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Travel tip

My husband and I recently took an extended weekend trip to my alma mater to celebrate my college homecoming. It was a lovely even and I was able to catch up with several friends I had not seen in years. Along the way we almost made a costly mistake and I hope by telling you about it, you won't make the same mistake.

We stayed at hotels for most of the trip. For comfort, we took our own pillows, four of them to be exact. These are not cheap, flimsy pillows. No, they are the fancy ones that are supposed to help us sleep better. Here's where the problem came in. I love cotton sheets, especially white cotton sheets. Which includes using white cotton pillowcases. Guess who else uses white cotton pillowcases? That's right: almost every hotel and motel in the nation. So when we made our last sweep through the hotel room to check for anything we left, I didn't give a second thought to those white pillows on the bed. It was only later when we were on the road, and I felt a nap coming on, did I realize we had left the pillows there. My husband turned the car around and I frantically called the hotel to identify and hold our pillows. They did find them and graciously held them at the front desk.

So how to avoid doing this repeatedly? My idea was to get some brightly-colored (garish, if you will) pillowcases. I found some lovely fuchsia and orange ones at a local store. At the next hotel where we stayed more than one night, the cleaning personnel laid them out at the foot of the bed to remind us that those neon entities did not belong to them. These will forever be our travel pillowcases. I hope this cautionary tale will help you as well: don't travel with white pillowcases on your pillows unless you want to donate them to some lucky cleaning person.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

In the Middle of a Loss

Saturday was a difficult day for me. My husband petted our sweet cat, Chloe as he left for work early that morning. I woke up two hours later to find that she had passed away. Her body was still warm when I tearfully put her in a box to take to the vet.  I had neither the will nor the strength to bury her myself. 

She wasn't a perfect cat nor was I a perfect pet parent. But she filled a place in my life that is just empty right now. Today when we came home from church, she was not there to greet us and tell us she needed more food, water and a treat. And rub her back while we at it. And my heart broke a little bit all over again. 

Chloe was not a lap cat when she moved in back in May 2001. I adopted her because she did not get along with the senior cats of the family that rescued her. She howled on the drive to my house for the entire 30 minutes. She attacked my feet under the sheets until she understood that it was not a good idea. She saw me through my mother's heart attack later that same year as well as the emotional aftermath of 9/11. She liked to chase lizards that got into the house. I could shake her treat bag to bring her running when I was unable to find her latest hiding place. She slept at the foot of my bed and sat beside me on the couch to be petted. She fussed whenever I was gone for more than the day. I always made sure someone looked after when I went on a trip but she still fussed when I came home. 

When Mr. MoaM came into my life after Hurricane Katrina, she sniffed him out and approved him. She liked him so much that she sat in his lap. In fact after we married, she would fuss at him when he came home from work until he sat on the couch and crossed his legs so that she could get in his lap. He had always been a dog person but she converted him.

I only have a few pictures of her because the camera containing her pictures was stolen back in November. She was black and white and her facial markings made it look like she had a "hair-lip." She liked to look out the window. I have a picture of that. I have good memories and I know she didn't suffer. She was old and was going to die. But I still miss her. As my cousin, Kenna put it so aptly, I have a "kitty-shaped hole in my heart."  I just wanted to honor my friend. Thanks for your understanding.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Good Intentions

There is an old Randy Travis song that runs through my head sometimes that says, "I hear tell the road to hell is paved with good intentions." Good (meaning productive) intentions often run through my mind as well, such as, writing for the blog, cleaning the house, etc. If you look at my published post list, you can see how far such intentions have taken me. That being said, this is not a post about regrets; rather it is a post to jump back into blogging.

So, my health has been slowly improving as my weight has been slowly declining. Mr. Middle of a Mess (MoaM) and I have been experimenting with different low-carb foods. Mr. MoaM had a come to Jesus meeting with his doctor and has been better monitoring his intake and his daily glucose levels. It has been fun to try different foods made in different ways. We have recently made basic Cauli Rice (as in "rice" from cauliflower), Coconut Lime Rice (also from cauliflower) and Broccoli Pesto over Spaghetti Squash. These were all "do again" worthy. We have tried to make exercise a part of our lives but that has yet to take hold.

Mr. MoaM has also started working on the backyard since it is no longer bitterly cold. The backyard is a small bog. I don't say this loudly lest the EPA come and declare it a wetland. We are not sure if the water that it holds is from run off, a broken pipe or possibly a spring. Mr. MoaM is putting down gravel and planting water-loving plants to (1) take up some of the water, and (2) accept that it is not a regular backyard.

I have been making small strides in the house-cleaning category. My motivation at this point is that we are hosting the family Christmas this year. While that might not mean much to you, I need the entire year to whip the house into shape. It's been slow going because of the aforementioned good intentions with the corresponding lack of action.

So how have you been doing?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

No Post November

So apparently I didn't post anything to the blog in November, making it a No Post November. I had every intention of posting. I tried out my witty remarks in my mind and thought of funny catch-phrases. Then my husband called me at work to tell me our house had been burglarized. My priorities then became very narrow and focused to a single thought: secure the house. We have made significant improvements in that direction but I continue to fear that it is not enough. I know intellectually that the fear will diminish over time but emotionally it continues to affect my mood. I have come to a place of serenity that what will happen will happen but I'm not there all the time. Most of the things taken can be replaced in some form, except for my mother-in-law's pearls. These were given to me on my wedding day by my sister-in-law as my mother-in-law passed away many years ago, before I had even met my husband. I like to think that we would have gotten along quite well and that she would have forgiven me for the manner in which the pearls were lost.  

For the sake of accountability, I must report that my chain for scheduled workouts was broken. I was visiting my brother and his family, and actually started well, walking in the bitter cold. Then illness overtook me and instead of stubbornly pushing ahead, I stepped back and took care of myself. When I have been treated and am reasonably well on the road to recovery, I will resume my workouts. I do not feel the need to beat myself up. The chaining idea is to maintain my motivation to work through the boredom. It is one thing to say I didn't work out because I was sick; it is quite another to say I didn't because I was bored. The first is reasonable, the second unacceptable.

So my steps now are to resume my life, perhaps with a bit more vigilance, and to resume my exercise regimen at an appropriate time. What is your next step?