Brain Bombs

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From the moment I get out of bed in the morning, aka the point in which I have used up all of my allotted snooze button hits, I’m constantly on the move.

I put in a full day at the office, generally get in a work out, and then rush home to let my little guy out while I make something for dinner. Needless to say when it’s bedtime I am not one to complain. In fact I am usually happy to curl up under the covers and put in some much needed snuggle time with the fur baby, as I slowly drift off into dream land.

Lately though I am not having much luck in the sleep department…

As soon as my head hits the pillow it’s immediately filled with a thousand different thoughts, all demanding my attention at once. Unbeknownst to me, my brain has decided to go on an all night bender. “You think you’re going to get a full nights sleep? ha ha WRONG!

So then I just lay there while my brain and my body have an all out war. My body is so tired that it aches, meanwhile my stupid brain keeps dropping thought bombs on me.

“Did you pay those bills?”

“You haven’t talked to your friend Courtney in awhile. Maybe she is mad at you.”

“What in the hell are you doing with your life?”

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! They just keep bombarding me.

Now here is where it gets interesting. As I lay there willing my mind to hit pause for the night, the more things I think of the worse my anxiety gets. Not only is my mind racing, but now I am having all the classic anxiety symptoms. Shortness of breath, tightness in chest, dizziness, and sweating. So naturally once all this begins I come to the most obvious conclusion- I MUST BE DYING! 

Congratulations brain you have won! Once the anxiety gets started I am wide awake because I now have to pull up WedMD to find out what type of horrible illness I have. Naturally I determine from the online explanations that I am either having a heart attack or have some sort of tumor. (Why is that what always pops up on that website?) Who can sleep now?

This  is where I have been at the last few nights. The thing that gets me is that I have had anxiety and panic attacks for many many years now and even though I know the symptoms are just a result of my anxiety I still can’t stop myself from letting my thoughts spiral out of control. That is the thing about anxiety no matter how much you try there are times in which you are unable to get ahead of it. It is still scary and at times completely overwhelming. Especially when all you want to do is go to sleep, not ruminate about all the worries you’ve ever had.

Hopefully, this passes quickly so that I can get some sleep again.

The Small Things

Earlier tonight I volunteered at a women’s homeless shelter. A group of other girls and I went to a local shelter in northern Chicago, to cook and serve dinner. While I have been involved in many volunteer opportunities I had yet to set foot in a homeless shelter. I will admit that one of these reasons was that I was afraid off what I might encounter. There are many stereotypes out there about the homeless; they are all drug addicts, they are criminals, most are mentally ill, or they are homeless because they are just too lazy to work. Some of these stereotypes have become so ingrained in our society that it greatly interferes with attempts to help those in need.

While I did have a lot of experiences growing up, in some ways I was still sheltered from some of the realities of the world. I occasionally encountered a homeless individual on that street asking for money, but I never really took much notice. Just went on about my day not even thinking about how difficult life must be for some individuals. I’m some what ashamed at how dismissive I have been to others in the world around me.

Needless to say I had a wonderful experience.

About ten of us arrived armed with bags of groceries ready to cook a feast of sloppy Joes, French fries, salad, and dessert.

Who doesn’t love as good old fashion sloppy Joe? They were always a favorite of mine!

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While I was timid at first, I was greeted by a number of different smiling women, which immediately put me at ease. Back in the kitchen all of us went to work cooking, serving, and then cleaning, all while having a great time. We ended up making dinner for about 40 women, each one coming up to personally thank us for the meal.

While I only spent a small part of my day with these women, this experience gave me a new outlook on certain aspects of life. I definitely plan on volunteering at this center again in the future.

On Passive Aggressive Notes

Sometimes in life you come across things that you simply cannot ignore. These precious moments are like little presents that have been specifically designed to bring an extra dose of joy to your day. In this particular instance, I am referring to the ever-so-hilarious passive-aggressive note.

Let us take a brief moment out of our busy day to discuss the passive-aggressive note.

Today I came home from work took my dog out and as I grabbed my mail on the way to yoga, I came across this lovely note recently posted in our hallway.

passive aggressive notes

First off, let me just say I am almost 100% confident I know who the mysterious note writer is. When I walked through the courtyard with Winston, the woman in the back apartment was standing outside smoking a cigarette. Within a matter of minutes – just long enough for me to change and head back out – this new work of skilled craftsmanship had been proudly displayed in the entryway.

Second, I am pretty sure that this note was directed at me. Not because I let my dog take a dump just any old place without cleaning it up, but because she saw my dog and I guessed assumed that he was the elusive courtyard pooper.

While Winston has made his way to the courtyard to go the bathroom a number of times this winter, mostly because it was too damn cold to go outside for a long period of time or there was so much snow it was too difficult to go any further, I assure you he did not defecate all willy-nilly about the entire courtyard. He always went in the dirt, not in the areas that anyone walks on.

I did pick up what I could before losing it in a pile of snow, since we all know how much I hate when people don’t pick up after their dogs. (The dog poop incident of 2014. I still have some flashbacks). However, sometimes is was a lost cause and I just planned to pick it up once the snow melted and it reappeared. I am sorry, but there is no way I am going turd mining in -40 degree windchill weather. That is absurd, especially since it was buried under a foot of snow and ice. I can see the headline now:

“Girl loses fingers and toes to frostbite while trying to uncover frozen dog-doo.”

Now all that being said, I understand that no one wants a courtyard full of poop. (How many times have I said poop, turd, or doo already? haha) I myself have seen a few lingering piles this afternoon, but the snow has literally just melted so I haven’t even had a chance to go retrieve the snow fallen casualties. But no way around it, the NOTE has spoken!

Here is what I find most humorous about this particular note. The girl who posted it stands outside everyday smoking and then throws her cig butts on the ground. I’m sorry, but if you’re so concerned about keeping the courtyard clean, why in the hell are you throwing shit out there? Yes, dog turd are gross, especially if you step in them, but at least they will disintegrate unlike those cancer sticks you so freely throw around.

The other thing that got to me about this particular note is how cutesy or funny or whatever the hell you want to call it, she was trying to be. She was probably in there at her computer laughing at what she thought was the most cleverly crafted note ever. Everyone knows that snow melts and that dog poo doesn’t, causing it to appear on the ground once the snow is gone. Wow! Your observation skills are truly astonishing. Maybe you should look into a job as a scientist? 

Finally, I wonder how often leaving these little shit bombs actually accomplishes what it was meant to do. Personally one of two things comes to mind when I see a note like this:

1. I must respond in a rather smart-ass passive aggressive manner
2. The note is stupid therefore must be ripped down and destroyed

Neither of which is probably the correct response and would most likely fuel the fire, starting an all out passive-aggressive note war.

So herein lies the big questions:

Why can’t we say exactly what we mean?
Why do we tend to leave anonymous posted notes, that are posted in secrecy in hope that someone will alter their behavior in some way?

I think a note with “Can you please pick up after your dog?” would have worked just fine. Instead I get some cutesy, bullshit note that I have to stare at every time I come and go from my apartment building. I will tell you one thing for sure, it doesn’t make me want to get out there and pick up newly thawed piles of shit. In fact it almost makes me want to send Winston out to take a big dump on her doormat. I’m not sure why other than the idiocy of these type of notes just make me want to rebel in some way.

If something is bothering you, at least have the courage to directly address it instead of tiptoeing around the situation with notes.

Grey Clouds and An Angry T-Rex

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Last week I had one of those days.. You know the kind. The kind where half way through the day you realize your socks don’t match and you’ve been wearing your underwear inside out all morning. Not that this is anything to get fussy about, I’ve done it before. There are many times where mid-day I have gone to the restroom and looked down to notice that my underwear is in fact on incorrectly. I guess in my just woke up, sleepy daze I can’t manage to properly dress myself. Normally, I would have just turned my underwear right side out, pretending that the incorrect placement hadn’t been riding up my ass for the past four hours, and gone about my day. However, that day I would have no such luck. What turned out to be a somewhat cranky morning turned into one of those horrible, crawl back in bed, I’m calling a “do-over” days.

I recall that I woke up that morning after a rather unpleasant dream, which had put me in a slightly perturbed mood. While not the best start to the morning I thought “nothing a large cup of coffee and a spoonful of peanut butter can’t fix”. (In case you are wondering, yes I do eat spoonfuls of peanut butter out of the jar. Quite often in fact, it’s good, don’t judge). Unfortunately, I was wrong. By the time it hit lunch time I was seething, I am talking about T-Rex who just lost his dinner MAD!

angry-rex

Why, you ask, was I mad? Well the honest answer is I have absolutely no idea. Here I was sitting at my desk at work, contemplating who I could send angry texts to with no clue as to why. Does this happen to anyone else? You find yourself absolutely fuming and can’t explain why.

The day only got worse from there, which is funny because nothing bad happened. In fact someone brought in cookies. I’m sure it wasn’t the cookies that set me off… Look here asshole how dare you bring in cookies to share with the entire office. What kind of an animal are you? 

By the time 5 o’clock rolled around I had tears in my eyes as I packed up my belongings to head home. As I made the short walk from my office to my apartment I was no longer a little bit teary eyed, I was BAWLING! Once again I have absolutely no idea why. It’s like my body had given up on me for the day and needed to just release some of the built up tension. I’m sure that individuals passing me on the street surely thought that something was seriously wrong with me.

Anyway, after my brief, out of no where, crying spell I gave up on the rest of the day. I blew off yoga, decided against doing my laundry, and picked up some dinner instead of making something at home. The remainder of my evening was spent curled up with my dog on the couch watching Investigation Discovery and it was exactly what I needed. I went to bed early and woke up in a cheerful mood as if the last 24 hours didn’t even happen.

Thinking about this I realize that we got so caught up in our daily responsibilities and activities that we often forget to take time out for ourselves. I’m still not sure what lead to what can only be described as a temporary break down, but I believe it was my body’s way of saying slow the hell down.

Can anyone else relate or am I just a crazy women who has anger issues? 

On Being 30…

On Being Thirty

A few months ago I turned the big 30 and although personally I don’t feel any different I can’t help but think that I am not quite understanding what this particular milestone in my life means. I am beginning to slowly come to the realization that there is an underlining set of rules or a number of expectations that comes along with being 30 that I am not living up to. I guess I didn’t get the official rule book…

Apparently there are a number of individuals who were presented with the official “On Being 30” guide book on their birthdays. Or maybe there was some sort of seminar that I was suppose to attend, but missed? (If this is the case it was mostly likely held early on a Saturday morning when I am still sleeping in). Either way I am sure that there are a number of individuals who look at me and shake their heads.

For starters I have found myself met with the same questions over and over again:

Are you married? No, I’m not married. Still single in fact, no boyfriend at the time. This question is usually followed up with a “Oh, well don’t worry you will find someone”. Well thank you very much! Up until that little condolence I was seriously concerned that I would never get married, have to take to collecting cats, and after becoming known as the crazy cat lady, would die alone. I feel sooo much better now.

Do you have any children? To the best of my knowledge, I do not. I can still barely take care of myself, how in the hell could I raise a child? My house plants commit suicide on a regular basis. I do have a dog, but he pretty much takes care of himself and if he needs something he sure as hell lets me know. He barks when he is hungry and he barks when he has to go outside. If I don’t pay attention to him, he will promptly leave me little presents on the floor. Not the good kind.

Honestly though, sometimes I can’t match my own clothing, I have to call my mother to remind me what kind of fish I don’t like to eat, and I’m not ashamed to admit there are nights when I wash my sheets, but then am too lazy to remake the bed so will grab a blanket and sleep on the mattress pad.

So then, what are you doing with your life? As if the idea that I am not married and childless is astonishing. Well, currently I am a writer for a healthcare company and a freelance writer, I volunteer, spend time with my amazing friends, enjoy regular workout classes, and relish in the fact that living alone gives me the quiet time I often desire. Tomorrow who knows, maybe I will take up lion taming and join the circus? I have absolutely no idea what I am doing with my life in the future. Is that alright with everyone?

In addition to this fairly frequent barrage of questions I also get the feeling that my movements are being constantly monitored and any inappropriate behavior is promptly reported to the over 30 police. These cleverly hidden eyes are watching me from afar just waiting for me to violate one of the “One being 30” rules so that they can snicker amongts themselves and pass judgment.

  • I still go out drinking with my friends, sometimes I may even get a good buzz going
  • I will still not turn down a chance to shake my booty on the dance floor
  • I probably spend more on clothes and shoes than I do on my rent
  • I assure you that the balance of 3.00 dollars in a checking account does indeed exist
  • Sunday Funday is still amazing, even more so when followed by a champagne brunch
  • Sometimes I have laundry piles that are taller than I am that I will stare at for a week
  • Sleeping through an entire Sunday is perfectly acceptable to me
  • Eating chocolate chips and diet coke for dinner is totally fine

I can hear the committee now. Violation!

So while I am technically considered an adult, I’m not quite sure that I consider myself to be one. Go ahead judge me, talk about me if you must, you can even cast me out of the 30 year old’s club because I am content with the way my life is for the time being.

The Pull of Panera

At least once a week I make the short trek from our office to Panera for lunch. It started off innocently enough – a simple craving for a bread bowl of hot soup and a turkey sandwich on freshly baked sourdough. Before this little tradition started it had been quite some time since I had eaten at a Panera, so it’s hard to say what it was that made me crave it so much.

Maybe it was the inability to eat another meal from Subway? While Subway has agreed to stop using the bread recipe that includes an ingredient found in yoga mats, after hearing they’d previously used this chemical to “stretch their bread” (or poison us) I’m a little skeptical of their products. I use a yoga mat on an almost nightly basis for… wait for it…. YOGA, not as a mid-day snack. I have had this mat for sometime now and while the hot pink color is alluring, I can honestly say I have never had the urge during a class to bend down and take a gigantic bite out of it. 

Was it a desire to eat among shrieking toddlers? Don’t get me wrong I love children, I even want some of my own one day. However, I would prefer to not have the out of control screaming ones as a side dish for my meal.

Or could it have been the fond memories I have from working there in high-school so many years ago? I can say with a 100 percent confidence that this is not the reason. While I did not mind my short stint as a cashier I spent most of my Saturday mornings in a zombie like state, downing Tylenol to subdue my headache, all while trying to not barf all over the bagel bins. To this day I still refuse to eat asiago cheese anything (the smell is bad enough) and I simply will not touch the onion soup (I was fortunate enough to witness a co-worker swat a fly into a fresh batch).

While I may not know where this mysterious urge arouse from, I can pinpoint the exact reason why I return each week. What is this reason you may be wondering?

Is is the wide selection of tasty soups and sandwiches? The sweet smelling baked goods? How about the welcoming ambiance?

The answer is: NO. It is none of those things.

My new weekly obsession with having lunch at Panera is all about the CONDIMENTS!

Every week, usually on a Friday, I walk into this restaurant with a huge smile on my face. I saunter up to the counter order my sierra turkey on sourdough (I always get the same thing) and happily enjoy a short break from work. However, the best part is yet to come. Once we are finished eating I make my way to the condiment station and stuff my to go bag full of all the wonderful goodies they have to offer. Olive oil mayonnaise, salt, pepper, Tabasco, sugar substitutes, yellow mustard, and the best one of all spicy brown mustard. (This stuff is amazing, I think I eat at least six packets on one sandwich. If I thought it was socially acceptable I would probably sit at the table and suck it directly from the packet).

Weird? Some might say so.

Crazy? Probably.

All I know is that as I make me way back to the office with my newly harvested stash, I have a feeling of great satisfaction. As you can imagine after doing this on a weekly basis I must have obtained quite a haul. Well ladies and gentlemen I present to you, the condiment drawer!

Behold the condiment drawer!!

Behold the condiment drawer!!

Nestled among various other food items, napkins, and tampons of course, are the condiments I have procured over the past few weeks. (Note: As you can plainly see there is also a rather sharp knife in there. I use it for cutting my grapefruit in the morning, I assure you it’s not there to shank anyone who tries to steal one of my precious mustard packets.)

Yes, at first glance this may seem like an excessive stock pile. However, the horror of one day glancing down at an empty drawer gives me anxiety as I slowly realize I will have to eat my lunch … gasp PLAIN! Finding an empty drawer would probably cause me to enter a dissociative fugue state which would assure my commitment to a mental ward. As enticing as this sounds, to be on the safe side, I think for now I will continue my weekly hunting and gathering mission.

Call me nuts if you must, but don’t come crying to me when you go to eat a sandwich only to realize you are out of mustard.