Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Junior High Diaries

I am now a woman who keeps a journal. Back when I was a young girl, I kept a diary. It's pretty much the same thing, only the word "journal" sounds slightly more mature than "diary". Like the diaries of yesteryears, my journals of today are loaded with self-doubt and worries that I may not be good enough.

Since getting word that an old Jr. High School crush of mine had died of an overdose, I decided to get out my old diary from about 8th or 9th grade when he had such an impact that his name appeared on that particular diary's COVER. He was sort of "Boy of the Year". His name was Chris. Hearing the sad news about him made me want to read my childhood memories of him.

I discovered he was actually one of about 1,000,000 crushes I had. It seemed the main criteria for becoming one of my crushes at that tender and awkward age was to show me the slightest bit of attention, but not too much. Once I had more regular contact with my crush, I lost interest. So even though I went to my diary hoping to read anything I had written about Chris, he only appeared in a few pages.

I called Kelly, my best friend back in those days, and fortunately still my best friend these days. We spent a couple of hours on the phone laughing our way through my diary. All sorts of memories came up. And as I read all my ramblings about everything from pressuring myself to trim weight off of my whopping 98lbs frame, to whether or not the boy I liked liked me back, to why Kelly and I were in a fight on that particular day, to how annoying my parents were, I was struck by how hard it was (and I'm sure, still is) being a teenage girl.

I'd say the bulk of my readings that day on the phone with Kelly were about our love triangle with a boy named Rick who was older than us. He could drive! (IF he'd had a car.) (But I'm not sure he even had parents.) He wasn't a student in school with us. He was instead, a construction worker. Neither of us remember how we met Rick, and the diary fails to reveal this curious bit of information. We also don't know what kind of lies we must have made up to our parents to be able to hang around these type of boys. But in our memories, and as documented in my diary, Rick was Kelly's boyfriend first. I had to hang around with his best friend, Jeff. (Who was my first kiss! Eww. And that first kiss story will be a whole different blog post, coming soon!) But in my diary I wrote daily about how I loved Rick, not Jeff and "Please God, let everyone change places." Well, I ended up "stealing" Rick away from Kelly. It's funny how I sort of glossed over how that might have hurt her. Instead I wrote of my bliss, and how I wished Kelly would just "get over it already".

Paybacks are hell, and Kelly ended up stealing Rick back from me eventually. My relationship with Rick was documented as lasting 3 weeks. I was heartbroken as my longest relationship with a boy up to that point suffered it's demise.

Kelly and I have spoken (and laughed) of the Rick Triangle often over our hundred year friendship. But as we read my diary, we were able to live it thru my 14-year-old perspective. I wish I could talk with my younger self and let her know some things I know now. I'd tell her not to worry about all these boys. And altho 3 weeks can feel long and serious, really, it isn't! She'll eventually meet the right man. Not only will she love him, but he'll love her back. Real grown up love. I'd tell her weighing 98 lbs. is really just fine and to stop obsessing over getting the scale down to 93. And I'd tell her that Rick Zuppa is going to be nothing more than a funny story, but Kelly is going to be her friend forever. But I know this little girl...and I know she wouldn't have listened anyway.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Field Trips

Lately, Zoe's and my favorite thing to do together is get in the car,drive to the lake and go on a long walk. She loves riding in the convertible. And she looks pretty cute I think!
She's been quite the trooper during this whole thing of Scout's surgery, recovery, and rehab. She's managed to stay relatively calm and not doing anything to set Scout off that would would make her run around, or jump and hurt her healing bone.
I spend lots of time alone with Scout. Taking her on those slow 10 minute walks several times a day. Doing her stretches. And I feel like she's really loved the time when it's just the two of us. I have a pet psychic friend who had told me about 6 months ago that Scout wished she had more alone time with me. I don't think having to endure surgery was part of her wish, but that's the way it worked out. As far as I know, Zoe didn't have any such wishes about getting her alone time. But all the same, it ends up that lately, she gets it too.
Since Zoe and Scout are littermates, they have rarely been seperated. In fact, I can't recall a time, other than a few overnight stays at the vet after one of them had surgery. I know how much they love each other. So I never think to spend one on one time with them. But much like children, I think they feel pretty special when they get it.
I think these pictures show Zoe's feelings...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Save Your Receipts

My mom use to always tell me to save my receipts, and rarely did I heed her advice. I'm a girl who hates clutter. And receipts are clutter, aren't they? Well, no. I learned my lesson today.

A month or so ago, my husband was getting something out of the closet in our garage that holds our water heater. He noticed some big cement pipe had blown off the top of it and was laying on the floor. Just today, we finally got around to having our heating and air guys out to check on it.

The first guy that looked at it sort of gasped and said, "Have you guys been having headaches or getting really tired?". Apparently, that pipe on the ground is what keeps the CO2 from killing us. I don't think we've felt the effects, I guess because the water heater is not in our house,but in our garage. But the power of suggestion is so strong, that soon after hearing his words, I became quite headache-y, very tired, and my eyes became itchy. He said he wasn't "the man" for this particular job, but he called in and requested "the men" that are.

When they arrived they went out into the garage. One of the men picked up the pipe on the ground and said, "This is an abestos pipe". HOLY SMOKES. I know that word abestos. And I know that isn't good. He told me those pipes (clearly) haven't been used in years. (and years) When I told him it was his company that installed it only a year or two ago, he called in to find out who did the work.

There records showed that someone at our address had a new water heater put in in 1998. I didn't even live here then. And my water heater has a label on it that says "1998".

I began to feel very Twilight Zone-y. I started to doubt if I had replaced the water heater. But I KNEW I did. But how was I going to prove it anyway? Me, the girl that thinks receipts are clutter...

The A/C men left my house to go "pick up a part". So I walked back to our file cabinet saying my prayers. "Please let that ONE effing receipt be there."

Apparently, God or Mom or both are on my side on this one. I found the receipt! I had my proof. I purchased a water heater from this company 2 years ago. I called the A/C company and they sounded quite surprised by the information I was giving them. Maybe they had a A/C man installing old water heaters and installing them badly. And maybe I just blew the whistle on him.

As I type this, I'm still waiting for the men to return. I'm still waiting for a call back. The problem hasn't been taken care of. My eyes are still itchy, I'm still headache-y, and drowsy. But I've got my receipt.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

This Year I Will...

Okay, I am reading the best self-improvement book. It's called This Year I Will... by M.J. Ryan. I only started the book 2 days ago, and last night I was referring to it and telling friends how great it was, but then realized I had actually only read the introduction and the first little chapter. Perhaps I was jumping the gun. But now I'm a good solid 1/4 the way through the book and it's still worthy of last night's praises.

It's not about breaking old habits necessarily, as much as it is about creating new and better ones. (For example, instead of breaking the habit of smoking, you're creating the new habit of not smoking.) According to the book, inside our heads are 3 brains, not just one. The reptilian brain (instinctive), the emotional brain, and the thinking brain. The emotional brain is all about keeping us comfortable and happy. And sometimes this goes against the thinking brain. And the emotional brain pretty much always wins. So, when you're trying to break a bad habit, or start a good one, things can get a little uncomfortable. And then the emotional brain tries to take over and get everything in a happy state again. Which isn't always the best thing.

The book also states that things we do over an over (habits) are like deeply worn trenches in your brain circuitry. 90% of the stuff we do is routine, and we end up sort of sleepwalking through it all. It explains why behavior can be so challenging to change.

I love it that this book isn't just talking about the discipline of making positive changes in life, but that it talks about the brain and human behavior. It's filled with what I've found to be interesting little bits of information. And I'm only a quarter way through the book!

So it you really want to make some kind of positive change in your life, anything from losing weight, to finding a mate, this book can offer some great information and tips.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Puppy Mills

I watched Oprah's show last week exposing the horrible world of Puppy Mills. I had no idea! I watched the footage with my hand up to my face- It was hard to watch. The puppies are in crowded, uncomfortable and very dirty cages. The poor females that are there to reproduce spend their whole lives having way more puppies than any dog should ever have- They're bred every single heat cycle. And they said these dogs have never been outside of the cages. In fact, when they rescue some of them, the dogs can't even walk normally on grass. They have all sorts of health problems and, I'm sure, emotional problems.

So what can we do? Well, they talked about adopting from rescue shelters. Even if you're breed specific, you can find who you're looking for. (The last place you should ever buy a pet from is a pet store!) Also, spay and neuter you pets- Even if you think, "Well, MY dog doesn't need that because he/she stays inside, or in the yard." Boy dogs will jump fences when they smell a girl dog during that time of the month. And, it's actually good for their health to have that quick and simple procedure done. Bob Barker was right all along! PLEASE,SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS!

I looked at Zoe and Scout- so happy for the life they have, and grateful for the other life they never had to experience. They didn't come from a puppy mill but instead they've always gotten lots of love and attention, they have a big yard to roam around in, pillows to lay on, they go on fun walks every day, and they get regular check ups...The simple things that ALL dogs deserve.

Friday, April 4, 2008

AFI Film Festival

The AFI Film Festival has been going on here in Dallas for nearly two weeks. And being the movie buff that I am, it seems astonishing that yesterday was the first day I actually went and checked out some movies. It's only going on a few more days and I feel sad about what I've missed out on.

My friend and I went and saw 2 films yesterday. They were both shown at a theater I go to all the time. I'm so glad we went to two because it made me feel a little more official. And it made it feel more important than just the average day at a movie. This was instead an above average day at two movies! But apparently, we were not as official as some of our fellow attendees. One lady we talked to had seen 16 films over the past week and a half. She also had brought her little bird with her, so the bird had also seen 16 films. I spoke with a guy who had what looked to be a backstage AFI pass around his neck. I knew he must be important. So I asked. His dad was important- Board of directors or something like that, so there's no telling how many films this kid had been to.

Oh, but next year., year I'm dedicating myself to that festival. I jumped on the wagon a little late this time around. But I'm determined to get to more movies next year than that lady and her bird could even imagine!