Monday, March 31, 2014

Hind Sight

Sometimes I narrate my daily goings-on to myself in my head to practice describing things even if I never write it down.

This morning when I walked into the bathroom at my studio building, I thought it smelled funny, but I didn't know like what, so I went about washing my coffee mugs before heading to the stall. The first stall, I noticed, had not yet been cleaned (oftentimes the toilet seats are still up when I go in there in the morning) but also had not successfully been flushed after its last use. A #2 was still in the pot from the day before, or perhaps over the weekend, given that it had largely disintegrated and turned the water the murkiest of browns. I decided to be a good lass and go in there and try to flush it. It's the kind of toilet that you have to hold the handle down on, so I could imagine how the remaining turd was an honest mistake. I held my breath and the handle, waiting to see the outcome. Alas, it didn't all go down this time either, but at least most of the brown water had been replaced with clean. The toilet bowl was still really stained and the room still smelled rank, so in a split second decision I decided to leave the turd as an explanation for the custodian, who I had seen in the hall prior to coming into the bathroom. I proceeded to the next stall to make my own deposit, but made sure everything flushed completely down.

I returned the the bathroom later in the morning, and only then did it occur to me that I should not have left a turd for the custodian to find, for he would be as likely as not to think it was mine since he had seen me go into the restroom. And he would think it had been a doozy, too, given the lingering putrid smell! Worse than not knowing that I had done him a small favor, he would now think I'd left him a trap!

"Hind sight," I thought. "Which would make a perfect title for this narrative if I wanted to blog it." So I did. You're welcome?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Another analytical post about friends

When in a group of n friends, where n is greater than 2 and less than or equal to 5, the conversation depth and style often default to the level of the least strong relationship, in order to be inclusive and polite. Topics and comfort levels of the deeper relationships among subsets of the friends are checked at the door, and efforts are concentrated on bringing the newest friends up to speed, or at the very least courteously not conversing only in inside jokes. However, the more established relationships should continue to be nurtured or they will tend to regress. Ideally, this nurturing can happen outside of designated group activities and in a way so as not to exclude or devalue the newer relationships, but they must be given the opportunity to experience their previously attained depth of connection or risk abandoning it altogether.

These are my general observations, at least, and the models fit much of the personal data against which I compared it. Have you notice similar dynamics amongst groups of your acquaintances?

I have experienced these situations at various times from different vantage points. I have been the new girl hoping to join an established group, and I have been the old friend sacrificing a part of my long-held relationship hoping it will expand to include another. My time as the new girl reminds old friend to not be selfish, and my time as old friend reminds new girl to be patient and not so jealous. I am grateful to have had enough friends in my three decades of life to allow for the gathering of this empirical data, and I assure you that my frequent analysis of friendships has not detracted from my enjoyment of them in the least!

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Could the key to the intestinal distress I've been feeling since January be all in my head? A results of too much internalized stress, anxiety, and empathy? Have years of worrying what other people think about me, worrying that I am not helping other people enough, worrying that there will always be something to worry about, and worrying that I worry too much finally caught up with me?

I am afraid of wasting time, wasting resources. I try to care too deeply. What am I trying to accomplish? What am I trying to prove? Am I just trying to get people to care about me back? What if my care is only selfish and I'm doing it all wrong? If I'm not okay with positive byproducts accidentally coming out of selfishness then my whole life may be worthless.

I want to be like everyone else, and I want to be unique. I can't very well be anything but either and both. A paradox. I know this isn't deep, only tortured. I am one of those people who put their feelings on the Internet for others to read. What would compel me? I am ashamed of it myself, why would I want to share it? What does it mean if I can't even figure out my own motivations? I am adrift in a sea of questions trying to hold together a raft made of driftwood answers. (That sounds like it might be a good analogy but it is not. The imagery is mildly interesting, but it doesn't make any sense, does it?)

I've noticed a few times recently that in conversations I've gotten talking and then couldn't remember what point I was trying to make, or what question I was trying to answer. I think people must do this all the time because many people don't make sense when they are talking. I do not really wish to be one of these people, but once, in the moment, I pretended I was and acted as if that was normal. I did not apologize for getting off course like I normally would, and I did not check to see if the other person noticed I hadn't made a point. In each instance, my conversation partner just went with it and found something to say back! How extraordinary! And how gracious. As I do want to be an advocate for sensible conversations, I will try not to make a habit of forgetting my point, but it's nice to know I have options.

(Did you read that last sentence and wonder what "options" I was referring to? A good writer would have made it clear she meant options of how to handle it if I did forget my point, not options of forgetting my point or not. She would also probably not waste your time and call her credibility into question by pointing out her writing foibles. Alas, sometimes you read the blog of the confused amateur writer you know, not the blog of the polished professional writer you don't know. For which, bless you!)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Gluten-Free and Lactose-Free Foods, Part II

I'm now in my 6th week of gluten-free eating. It has gotten easier while remaining difficult all at the same time:
Forbidden double chocolate stout...

But I'm collecting lots of data, so let's get to it!

The Applegate hotdogs were not my thing. I bought a different kind the next time, and the cashier at Trader Joe's said, "Have you tried the Applegate hotdogs? They're my favorite." I had to politely disagree due to their lack of hotdog flavor.

As for the feel good foods egg rolls, have I ever eaten an egg roll from frozen that was decent? No. Not sure why I thought gluten-free ones would be any better.

The Hummuz crackers, like the Applegate hotdogs above, are not strictly marketed to the Gluten-Free crowd. I like crackers, and I like olive tapenade, so I thought why not? My cracker intake has shot up noticably in proportion to my decrease in bread consumption. These, however, will not even be finished let alone purchased again. When Matt first tasted one, he thought it was stale. I just thought it was gross.

The frozen battered cod was legitimately good! I would buy it again, but from Busch's this time where I saw them this weekend ($6.99) instead of Whole Foods where I bought it them first time ($9.99).

I've made Pamela's Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix twice now, with different results, but both delicious. I used almond milk and the vegetable-based butter substitute seen in my last post to make delicious lactose- and gluten-free cookies.

The Bold pizza is one of the best frozen pizzas I've ever had, which is saying something because this one didn't even have real cheese. It wasn't cheap, but it was organic, so you're paying for the alternate recipe crust AND the all-organic ingredients. But I would totally recommend it. Processed convenience foods that are moderately healthy and delicious are hard to find.