August 12, 2010

Great Aspirations

Posted in Project: Fail, The Happy, The How, the pretty, The Round at 11:58 am by Dagny Taggart

I’m working on something about child-free zones, etc.  But I don’t have time for that now, because work wants me to work, condo wants to be cleaned, friends want to be visited, and pool wants to be played.  And, also, dinner wants to be cooked.

So I’ve been having much success with Trainer, who finally got around to measuring my body fat %.  According to my Evil Scale of Doom, I’d lost only 8 pounds, but about 4% body fat since I’d last measured.  According to Trainer’s (theoretically) more accurate apparatus, it’s closer to 6% since I started working with him (I did not disclose my previous measurement).  All of which makes me feel great.

Though, this percentage?  Does not look like I thought it would.  At least, it doesn’t to me.  I can still see things I’d rather not, still don’t fit into things I could wear 6 years ago.  But the facts are there.  I am in the “athletic” range for my height and age, and this is what I look like now.

It’s not an easy thing for everyone, accepting what they look like even when they’ve done everything they’re supposed to, even when the numbers say they should be thrilled.

So, yeah.  I’m not going to worry about it, and I’ve been enjoying making myself healthier, fresh-food dinners, and working out really hard, and pushing myself farther than I thought I could go.  I’ve been enjoying letting go of my expectations, too.  Aspirations will always be welcome here, but expectations are another animal altogether, I think.

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March 4, 2010

Embracing it

Posted in Nerdiness, Past, Present, Project: Fail, The Happy, The How at 9:08 am by Dagny Taggart

You know, I remember thinking, after my sister had been a litigator for a while, that she was a lot less nice than she used to be.

I didn’t think it was a bad thing, though.  Just… that she was a lot more assertive, willing to say she didn’t like something.  Willing to not go along, even if it meant incidentally hurting someone’s feelings.

Though, that didn’t prevent me from dropping my jaw, just a little, when she mentioned she’d been listening to Korn while working out, lately.  I wasn’t aware she knew that anything harder than Regina Spektor existed.  This is a most entertaining development.

Anyway, so I noticed it.  And I attributed it to her job, mostly, since she was a litigator.  And she did na lot of defense work, which means you’re often dealing with the kind of person who pisses other people off,  and brownfields litigation and oh, yeah, basically took over the stateside operations of a multinational corporation for a while.  So I figured the job had toughened her up.

But lately, I’ve been noticing a bit of it in myself.  And I have to say, caring more about what I actually think and want than I do about what anyone else thinks and wants – having the courage to own those preferences and voice them?  Is SO MUCH FUN.

Maybe this is what they meant by that confidence you get in your thirties, I don’t know.  Maybe it’s just that it’s getting close to spring, and I can see hints of the sun when I leave for work in the morning. And I was about to type that I wish I’d figured this out sooner.

But I think that I’m a lot closer to having a balance that I’m comfortable with now, than I would have if that had been the case.  I know what I want, and I’m willing to fight for it if I have to… but I think I’m a lot less likely to incur extraneous casualties than I would have if I’d found this assertiveness five, even two years ago.

Seriously, though.

SO MUCH FUN.

November 20, 2009

Playing down

Posted in 8-ball - pool not narcotics, Nerdiness, The How, The Why, The WTF at 10:08 am by Dagny Taggart

Not that I have the opportunity all that often, given that I’m of Fairly Low Ranking myself, but last night, both of my matches were played against the same player – who is ranked one level lower than me.

I much, much prefer playing higher-ranked players.  I’d rather play someone in the top two rankings than someone closer to my own level.  And for a while, I thought the reason I tended to play well during such matches was because I wasn’t expected to win, there was less pressure, so I could relax and enjoy myself.

Playing a highly ranked player, I could get on the 8 in 3-4 turns at the table – the downside being that they could normally get on the 8 in 1-2 turns at the table.  But last night, the number of turns it took me to get on the 8 was a multiple of that estimate, and the number of tries it took to actually sink the 8 was laughably high.

So clearly, this is an aspect of my mental game that I need to work on – I should be playing my best game regardless of how my opponent is playing. 

This situation got me thinking about other aspects of my life, too.  Do I subconsciously alter the way I do things depending on context?  And if so, is this a bad thing?

November 17, 2009

Organization? ME??!?

Posted in Nerdiness, Project: Fail, The How, The Process, The WTF at 8:35 am by Dagny Taggart

First of all, I want to bring the interrobang back.  Now.  You know where we can put it?  In the “special characters” space currently occupied by “∂”, which apparently stands for “partial differential”.  I am SURE the interrobang would get more use, if properly publicized.

At any rate, I was doing a little bit of thinking yesterday, puttering around after work and getting ready for pool.  And it hit me.

I need an outline.   The reason I’ve made precisely the same three or four paragraphs of headway every time I’ve tried to write a piece of fiction, without fail, is that I have too many options as to where it could go afterward.  And I can’t decide, while I’m actually writing, what’s going to happen next.  Which characters to introduce when, which backstory should go with whom.  All of these ideas just swirl around, bumping into each other and dropping stacks of papers and generally causing a ruckus.

I’d thought, for the longest time, that I was a NO-OUTLINE kinda girl.  I mean, I’d start 35-page papers roughly 36 hours in advance of their deadline, with a stack of references to my left, Diet Coke, Marlboro Lights and an ashtray to my right, a roommate with a lighter similarly situated on the other side of the room, and emerge with enough time to shower and change before dropping the paper off in the appropriate faculty mailbox.  It was the only way the papers got done (and I did pretty well on them, scarily enough).

But those papers kind of have a built-in outline.  Academic work follows a pretty typical pattern, one that was burned into my brain so thoroughly as to become instinctive.  And thus, a subconscious outline punctuated by smoke breaks and the occasional Lean Pocket guided my thoughts, kept tangents at bay, and wrangled my theses into a submission.

For this, it is not so automatic.  There is no sharply blazed trail through the jungle of my creative brain, and thus… things fall apart.  So, I have to write an outline, I suppose, because these ideas REALLY want out of my head. 

Anyone know how to do that in a way that won’t make me want to stab out my eyeballs?

September 25, 2009

Bootstrap Levitation

Posted in The Angry, The How, The Process, The Why at 9:12 am by Dagny Taggart

I didn’t even know it was possible, until I’d talked to someone who had done it. 

I could say that my ignorance wasn’t my fault, that there was no way I could have known that it was possible.  Who’d have believed it, in this culture?  And nobody had ever sat me down and told me what to look for, told me what should be important when I was deciding where I was going to spend at least a third of most days.

And it didn’t seem like things were so bad, until I talked to someone who’d made a system work for her.  Granted, she had a better system to start with, but she’d done the work and found that system and shown what she could do and earned her way up…

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some hunting to do.

September 21, 2009

Once upon a time…

Posted in *cringe*, Advice I have no business giving, Darth Vaguer, The Happy, The How, The Why, The WTF at 7:41 am by Dagny Taggart

…fairly recently, actually, I was seriously pissed off* at someone who is a relatively new friend.  And while the story behind that may someday be the plot basis for a lovely telenovela**, the principle over which my hackles were raised was something akin to the following:

By the time you are in your mid-twenties, you need to at LEAST take responsibility for your actions, and make choices fully anticipating that people will hold you accountable for having made those choices.  If you still haven’t learned this by the time you’re 30, you’re going to have some serious issues.

So, for example, if you choose to screw someone over, you can’t claim that someone else “made” you do it.  You get to choose which people you’re going to deliberately piss off.

The flip side of that, is that you choose a lot of other things, too.  You choose how you’re going to treat people, how you’re going to react to them.  This weekend, I chose (after a protracted battle with my various gripes and unhappinesses) to change my mindset and behave accordingly, because I remembered that part of getting to be a grownup meant that I get to decide how I’m going to act, regardless of external factors.

As an added bonus, it paid off.

And the way I want to act, is not just in a way I won’t be ashamed of later on down the road.  My new gold standard, is to behave in a way I’ll be proud of, should I happen to remember a situation five years after the fact. 

 

*Quelle surprise, right?  I’m working on a process to inject myself with Happiness Brine on a regular basis, I’ll keep you posted.
**Oxymoron alert!

July 28, 2009

They’re not all insincere assholes, FYI

Posted in *cringe*, Advice I have no business giving, Nerdiness, The How, The Why, The WTF at 9:43 am by Dagny Taggart

I’ve thought it.  I remember thinking it the first time that guy on the metro decided to strike up a conversation, back when my metro ride began at Huntington.  It wasn’t so much that he was a lot older than anyone I’d ever thought of dating, or that he seemed a little awkward. What it was, was that within fifteen or twenty minutes, I’d heard about his house in Old Town, his summer home, his boat, his horses… and he knew nothing about me.  Hadn’t the foggiest notion of whether I was worth impressing… and clearly didn’t know that this wasn’t the way to do it.

And so, when I was out with a friend of a friend a few weekends ago, I was disappointed.  On some level, I consider this guy a friend – certainly someone I’d happily introduce to a girlfriend, if I knew an unattached woman with whom he’d be compatible.  He’s charming, well-groomed and mannered, and devastatingly intelligent.  And he was trying to meet someone.

I think that people can, and do, meet long-term significant others at bars.  I just don’t think they do it by engaging in gratuitous generosity.   You want to send someone a drink as an opener?  Honestly, that’s fine.  If I accept the drink, I’ve indicated that I’m okay with you coming over to talk to me.  But I’d be just as likely to engage in conversation with you if you’d just… come over and started talking to me.  And I’m certainly not going to respond well, if you give the impression that you think you’ve… summoned me for the price of a drink, the way you summon the server with the promise of a tip.  I don’t work for you, no matter how tasty your drink is.  And if all you do is spend, and all you talk about is money, you’re telling me that you’ve assumed I’m superficial and materialistic.

But… let me think that I’m special, that this isn’t just yet another attempt to buy your way past your laziness or nerves, and I’m much more likely to cut you some slack.  Come over and talk to me, or meet me halfway as I move to thank you, and I’m much more likely to engage in conversation.  Tell me something interesting about yourself, and I’m much more likely to keep listening.

What I learned, a few weekends ago, is that it’s not always laziness.  It’s not always an assumption that all you want is a free drink and a ride on a yacht.  Sometimes, what looks like insincerity is really just insecurity.   And that?  That’s an Assateague-summer-house-horse-of-a-different-color.

July 21, 2009

Have I told you about the laundry?

Posted in Nerdiness, The Gnomes, The Happy, The How, The OCD at 8:26 am by Dagny Taggart

I hear it all the time, people complaining about laundry.  And yes, it *can* be a pain sometimes, I suppose, if you don’t have a washer and dryer in close proximity to your abode, and/or if the ones that are available only take quarters and it’s just HARD to accumulate quarters in sufficient quantities for two weekly loads.

But to me, that’s really all background, it’s prep work.  Laundry is actually kind of awesome, at least the tail end.  When you take it out of the dryer and it’s all warm and smelling like fabric softener and then you start folding it, making the towels all the same size, putting them away in the linen closet.  You’re a superhero, battling entropy by restoring order to your universe.

So the next time everything seems all haphazard and you find yourself reenacting some comedic movie scene in which the female protagonist is rendered a sobbing mess who doesn’t know WHY she’s crying but is clearly not going to stop anytime soon, try doing some laundry*.  Because later, you might find yourself getting into a lovely-smelling, slightly warm, clean and comfortable bed, and you might find yourself getting 8 whole hours of sleep for the first time in weeks.

*It’s been suggested that cleaning out one’s car and taking it to the car wash can have similarly soothing results.

June 22, 2009

Something I should know?

Posted in Project: Fail, The How, The Where at 7:56 am by Dagny Taggart

“You should be able to get through a tough time with your confidence and self-esteem intact — no matter what others may say about you.”

This from this morning’s Express horoscope.  But, um… I thought I was having a good weekend, and a reasonably good morning?   Universe, if you’re trying to tell me something, you could just pass it along to Karma.  She’ll deliver the message with gusto, I’m sure.

I think, just maybe, that I’ve found a couch.  I went to the store, saw it, liked it even more than online, and it seems that I’ll be able to get it at a fairly reasonable price.  But answer me this, people.

How do you know if you want a whole couch covered in a color of which you have a 4″x4″  sample?  And here’s an even better question – how do you know you want a whole WALL, or ROOM even, covered in a color of which you have a 1.25″x2″ sample?

Maybe my horoscope is telling me that the “tough time” is going to be living with whatever chaos I create, while my friends whisper that I’ve got absolutely no taste at all.

*sigh*

February 3, 2009

Chronos

Posted in Guilt, The How, The OCD, The WTF at 11:15 am by Dagny Taggart

I want to know what time things are going to happen.   I want things scheduled.  

For a number of people close to me, this is either incomprehensible, impossible, or both.  I have friends who operate on a completely different time system than the rest of the population (and each other), to the point where events have been “scheduled” fifteen or thirty minutes early, to ensure an actual timely arrival for everyone.

I have a problem committing to things that aren’t definite.  Give me a time and a place and I will show up, ninety percent of the time.  Leave it vague, and my extreme (you really have NO idea) shyness and/or seasonal depression and/or PMS and/or tiredness and/or random crankiness will step into the ring and pin me down on my couch without so much as a by-your-leave.

(not that by-your-leaves happen with frequency in the wrestling world, or couches for that matter, so perhaps that wasn’t the best metaphor.  Whatever.)

Also, I have things that I do every week.  Some of which are scheduled, some of which just need to happen at some point during the week.   If I know what my fun!  surprise!  social! plans are at least a day or two in advance, I can be more efficient.  If I don’t, I start to stress about Getting Things Done.  And party people, I am a freaking savant when it comes to stressing myself out.  I can render myself a complete mess in under two minutes if I focus enough on what I’m not getting done.

But what I really like about things that are scheduled?  It’s a way of saying, “I want to see you, and am therefore willing to set aside a specific time to make sure that happens”.  It’s not taking each others’ time for granted.  It’s courtesy and appreciation and doing something more than just haphazardly shoving people into whatever schedule holes need filling.

It doesn’t have to be that way all the time.  Friends can recognize when someone just can’t schedule, and then it’s a kindness to say, “I know you’re busy, we’ll figure it out at some point.” 

But it’s also a kindness, and a compliment, to say, “I want to spend time with you enough to make definite plans for that to happen.”

I should say that to some people more often, in fact.  Is it too late for a resolution?

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