The plan was to start meditating today. I did it, but it was wimpy. I lounged in bed and extra 15 minutes listening to NPR. (They were talking about Prince William so I had to listen!) Then, I decided I had to shower first to wake me up a bit. I was not sure if I should sit before I decided what to wear or after I had my work clothes on. (I decided to put on some comfy meditation gear.) I found myself really wanting to get to work because the sooner I get in, the sooner I can leave (I am the opposite of a procrastinator. I am all about delayed gratification,) but I had committed to this so I decided I would just try to sit for 5 minutes.
I turned on my cute little Iphone meditation timer that gongs at start of your session and at the end (nothing like a gadget to motivate you to clear your mind.) The five minutes flew by pretty quickly, but my mind did not stop for a minute. What is that noise upstairs? Should I be doing this now, or when I get home later? What will I write about this in my blog? What should I wear to work today? Oh, right, focus on your breathing. Are my breaths deep enough? I am not very comfortable, maybe I should get one of those meditation pillows to make it official.
Last week I had a revelation that there is absolutely no reason for me to start work at 7:30am. Why in the world am I getting such an early start? (1) I am still in the habit from my old job where the only quiet time I had was before everyone else got to work. This no longer applies, because now I work in almost complete isolation, all day (2) once a week I have therapy at 7am and I am too lazy to change my alarm clock for that one day a week.
As I was fretting about changing my sleep schedule to spend less time working, it occurred to me that I could still get up at the same time, but instead of rushing to the office (or futzing on the computer on work from home days) I could use this time to meditate! I attended 2 of the 4 training classes I signed up for this summer, but never kicked off the actual meditating. This great meditation plan completely escaped my mind this morning, however.
Before I even took a sip of my coffee today, I leaned the wrong way on my not so sturdy desk (which is essentially a counter top delicately perched on two tripod stands) and it came crashing to the floor spilling everything (including my coffee) everywhere. I am sure my downstairs neighbors were very happy to be woken up that way.
Miraculously, the coffee didn’t spill on anything important and nothing actually broke. I had everything cleaned up with a new cup of coffee by 8am feeling grateful but a little frazzled. The last thing on my mind was the meditation plan.
Tomorrow is early therapy day so meditation is not happening, but it is “on like Donkey Kong” for Wednesday.
I have an infection in my head (aka a sinus infection.) For those who have never had an infection in your head, I can assure you it is as un-fun as it sounds. It has also derailed the many non TV-related activities I was planning to participate in and blog about this week. (Sadness) The only activity I did manage to make it to was horribly disappointing, but let me tell you about it.
There is a non-profit I have been stalking for about year and a half. This organization (which will go unnamed for now) teaches teenagers basic financial literacy skills. Although I work in the technology industry, I dabbled with the idea of becoming a financial planner a few years ago and used to teach middle school and miss teaching and working with kids. This organization is aligned with my interests and seems like the perfect way for me to “give back” and make my world bigger while keeping my day job that satisfies my need for financial security.
I have had my eye on this non-profit’s web site for a while but nothing ever fit in my schedule. Finally, the stars aligned and there was a volunteer opportunity that I could attend! I had some weird email exchanges with the executive director that indicated a lack of organization and clarity, but I maintained a positive attitude. It was decided that I could not volunteer until I was oriented/trained, which may or may not be until after this opportunity passes but there was an orientation (that might include training?) on September 30th. It wasn’t really clear, but I maintained a positive attitude! On Thursday, I managed to get myself and my throbbing head up to midtown to attend the long awaited orientation session.
It was the worst orientation I have ever attended (and there was no training.) She flipped through some handouts quickly. Maybe it was the infection in my head, but I could not even follow which page she was on. She seemed to skip the most important things. I have no idea when the group started, how many volunteers that have, how active they are, what types of events are coming up, what volunteering would be like, and what they expectations are of the volunteers. (Crazy right?) It turns out that this orientation was specifically for a mentoring program she wanted to start (that she had never mentioned to me and was not the opportunity we discussed.) Not only did she not cover the basics, it was very clear that she really had not worked out the details for how this mentoring program will really work. There was a lot of “we will see what the group wants to do.” Yeah, that will work well with teenagers and a group of complete strangers that walked in off the street. I am not touching that mentoring program with a 10 foot pole (also because I have already committed to mentor a high school student for the next four years with another group that, so far, seems way more organized and I don’t want to double mentor right out of the gate.)
She ended the scheduled 2 hour orientation after 40 minutes. I finally had to stop asking questions because I was bordering on obnoxious, she was not getting it, and my head was really throbbing. It was established that the next step (for people that wanted to mentor or I assume teach in other mysterious capacities that were not discussed) was training and she would let us know when that would be…”maybe around the same time next month.” I left despondent and discouraged (I think those words mean the same thing but I really wanted to make my point!) I don’t know what will happen next but I am not giving up on my quest to save the world. Maybe I will get trained, maybe I won’t. Maybe I will run out of the training session and never go back or maybe I will stage a coup and take over the whole non-profit. Regardless, I will keep you posted.
This week’s adventures included Puffs Plus by day, NyQuil by night, and way too much television. A nice summer cold kept me cooped up in my apartment all week. I practically cleaned out my TiVo. Least seasons episodes of Medium, The Mentalist, Haven ( which does not normally keep my attention but perfect for a stuffy head) and Real Housewives of New Jersey ( After part two of the RHNJ reunion, no more Real Housewives. I swear!) Completely blew my 10 hours out of the water, but I did pull off some minor accomplishments this week while fighting the mucus.
(1)Wrapped up Season 4 of Dexter – definitely the best season yet (spoilers to follow.) So happy Laguerta and Batista ended up together (I called it!). Nice plot twist with the reporter being Trinity’s daughter. Did not see that coming! Frustrating to watch Trinity continue to get away because Dexter HAD to kill him, but true to character and the ending was perfect. Sad, but perfect. So perfect, I signed up for Showtime so I can see Season 5 real time. I am already stressed out about how I am going to stick to 10 hours with the new fall season so this was a BIG decision, but when they told me it was CHEAPER to change to an HBO/Showtime package for 1 year than keep just HBO, I knew the universe was telling me to go for it.
(2)Finished “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – Loved it. Does take a while to get in to, but once you are in, it is a great page turner. Been a while since I have read a great page turner . I was not a fan of what I call the “outer mystery” (The financial scandal the book starts and ends with.) I guess it was used to get Blomkvist to the “inner mystery” which was much more interesting and unfortunately ended with almost 100 pages left and then we were taken back to the financial scandal I had little interest in. I skimmed those last chapters. I was worried that I had lost my ability read for more than 10 minutes at a time since I am convinced my constant connection to my phone has changed my brain chemistry. I now know that I CAN do it. Not sure when I will do it again. I did buy “The Girl Who Played With Fire” the next day, but the fall TV season is coming AND I am planning to get OUT of the house more this fall. Calendar is already filling up!
(3)Attended my first US Open – I am not a big fan of watching any sports. I wanted to check out this event people are always talking about and am quite glad I did. It was a beautiful day. I was finally feeling better and was very happy to be outside soaking up the Vitamin D. The fans are much more pleasant to be around than baseball fans, which is to be expected from a sport played and watched by the upper and middle class. Maybe I should start playing tennis so I can get those awesome arms I have always wanted. (And wear those cute outfits). I of course had to find out what was up with the love, 15, 30, 40 thing. Fascinating that no one who has ever explained it to me ever has any idea why the scoring works the way it does. Wikipedia satisfied my curiosity by giving some good potential origins for something that seemed completely random. (If interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennis_score)
Still figuring out what this content should be…how much do I write? What do I share? Do I wait to have entertaining, amusing thoughts? Do I write about TV or other things? Who is reading? Who cares? What distinguishes blog entry vs diary entry? Since the intent is really to be an outlet of personal expression, I guess I can do whatever I want! That is liberating.
I had a busy week at work and no time to formulate a good blog post. Reality shows were about all I could handle after my long work days, except the one night when I found myself choosing to watch an old episode of Medium after a few glasses of wine. The episode from last season where she dreams about the pig was fascinating with a few drinks under my belt. Anyway, last night, I was recovering from my hangover and a random event occurred that tied my real life to television (happens to me all the time, actually).
A while back, in a meeting, I noticed the profile of a colleague that looked kind of like this:
I thought to myself, who does he remind me of? Woody Woodpecker came to mind, but I knew that was not quite it. Then I remembered this toy my dad used to have on his desk. A bird with hat that used to teeter over and dip its beak in to a glass of water. That was it! This guy reminded me of the Dippy Bird!!! This realization was too weird to share with my newish work friends and no one outside of work knows the work guy (and most are too young to remember the dippy bird), so I have been living with this in silence, until now. Last night, I was catching up on Mad Men and THERE IS WAS!!! THE DIPPY BIRD ON MAD MEN!!! I was so excited. Here it is? See the resemblance?
I did take a break from my TiVo for a couple of nights this week and stepped out on the town.
On Thursday night, the original plan was to attend a mixer where I knew no one. I was of course dreading that, so when the option of attending a work happy hour presented itself, I quickly jumped on that band wagon. It was still semi- adventurous of me, since I don’t know very many people in my office and had no idea if I would know anyone there. There were a couple of people there I knew and I met some new peeps. No fast and furious friends, but it was mildly entertaining. Nothing like the nights at the Galaxy in Ocean City with my PWC peeps or Coast/Map Room outings with the Fab Four in Chicago, but those are hard nights to live up to (trust me..good times.) I stayed too long, had more drinks than I should have for a “not so fun night”, and regretted it the next day. I did feel a sense of accomplishment for being out and about and meeting new people and I may have networked my way in to some free US Open tickets. Overall, probably more productive than watching Big Brother.
Friday night was much more fun. After a quick nap after work, I threw on a hipster outfit and headed to Williamsburg with my friend LL (who generally frequents Williamsburg when his wife is away or has other plans because she is not fan of the boroughs.) We met up another friend of his for dinner, MG. MG was gracious enough to draw names out of a baggie I brought with me to help us pick our fantasy football draft order of dinner. We barely escaped a moral dilemma when we were not sure the draft order successfully saved on my phone and thought we might have to redo it. I am just now making the connection that LL then “accidentally” spilled hot candle wax all over my Iphone (clearly in an attempt to create a technical malfunction and get a better draft pick), but one of the restaurant employees quickly came to the rescue and instructed us that a Metrocard could be used to scrape off the wax. (Apparently, this happens to the hipsters all the time.) The Iphone was fully de-waxed, and it turned out that the draft order was successfully saved and emailed and we continued on with our evening and kept our horrible picks. (I am 12th which means I have back to back picks in our snake draft. I might have a heart attack during the draft.)
We then ventured on to a beer hall and had fascinating conversations about books, blogs, social climbers, double dates, ambition, TV (of course!), running, beards, and other various topics. It was a fun night with lots of laughing and interesting conversation. The title of this blog post was inspired by LLs theme for the night which was “keeping it real”, and we did! I was definitely a little buzzed on the way home because I remember commenting on the subway that “there are so many people”. My mind was blown that the subway car was full of people that I had probably never seen before and will probably never see again and that that happens to me every day. I likely see repeats more often then I realize, but there are a lot of people in NYC. Deep thoughts on the L train.
So those were my non TV adventures this week. Aren’t you excited you popped in to read them?
I was supposed to go to the office today, but I woke up a tad late, remembered that I have a 7:30am crack of dawn con call and decided to bag the office and work from home. I REALLY wanted a Starbucks Iced Triple Grande Whole Milk Latte (my signature summer drink) so I threw on some clothes and headed to Starbucks pre meeting. I get there and they tell me they have no ice. No ice! In August in NYC? I start to leave and then realize ice is a commodity that I actually own so all I need are the milk and espresso and I can add the ice myself. (No, I did not get a discount, just some really weird looks). I get home 5 minutes before the crack of dawn con call, add the ice and notice right away that they gave me 2% or possibly even worse, skim milk. These variations are NOT part of the signature drink and I am not flexible on this. When I am at Starbucks, I can use my “iced latte super powers of detection” to notice, in an instant (when the drink is fully assembled) when they give me 2% or skim and immediately refuse it and get another. Today, because of the ice issue and the 7:30am crack of dawn call, I was screwed.
What the bejesus does this have to do with Charlie Brown? When I posted this little gem (in much shorter form) in response to a Facebook status update about my Iced Late today, my friend said I sometimes remind her of Charlie Brown. This was directionally correct and it cracked me up. As did this excerpt from Wikipedia: “Charlie Brown is a lovable loser, a child possessed of endless determination and hope, but who is ultimately dominated by his insecurities and a “permanent case of bad luck”……He also has a sense of reality about him, usually making comments of sad realization to the sarcastic jibes or using quick-witted remarks to point out the often ridiculous actions and bad luck he often has”. Kind of me… although I have had much good luck in my life and am blessed in many ways, I am a glass half full kinda person. I also sometimes refer to myself as Chicken Little, which is even more appropriate.
So that was my adventure of the day and I have thoroughly impressed myself with my ability to turn this in to a blog post…
I must admit, I am starting my “10 hours of TV a week plan” on an easy week. SYTYCD and the Bachelorette just ended. (Guilty pleasures that suck up a lot of TV time.) The fall TV season has not started yet so things are pretty quiet on the TV front for my kick-off. Here are the rules:
I am allotted 10 hours of dedicated TV watching time per week. This is 10 hours in actual time which means about 13 hours of scheduled programming. (fast forwarding through commercials of course) Dedicated TV time is time when I am mostly focused on the TV and it is not just on in the background while I am doing something else.
DVD TV shows DO count towards the 10 hour budget. Shoes on Hulu (which I rarely use) would also count towards the budget.
Weeks start on Sunday. Unlike my childhood (Love Boat, Fantasy Island, BJ and the Bear, etc) there is nothing worth watch on Saturday. So in my world, the TV week starts on Sunday.
I get bonus points for ONLY turning the TV on for my dedicated TV watching time. I did it this weekend and it really helps quiet the mind (I suck at meditating so this was as close as I have gotten..silence). Right now the bonus is just a HUGE sense of accomplishment and a quieter mind. Perhaps I should come up with a real reward for myself…..
TV watching at the gym or in a bar does not count. These are clearly social and health related activities where TV is totally allowed.
Until I get bored of it, I will post my selected “13 hours of scheduled programming” in the cool text widget on the sidebar. Notice that this week I am catching up on some stuff I am behind on AND I am going to try to squeeze in Dexter Season 4 (just released on DVD) before the Fall TV season starts. I should qualify that I don’t have Showtime (in an attempt to minimize my TV watching..hah!) so I am behind on Dexter, Weeds, and Californication. All great shows that I hope to catch up on eventually.
I love television and I watch a lot of it. Why is this a problem, you ask? Because I am not living up to my potential as a human being and as long as I am planted on the couch watching Big Brother and Mad Men, I won’t. It would be nice to have a relationship like Tami and Coach Taylor’s instead of just watching theirs. And what am I left with when my friends on the Island flash sideways and leave me? I have a lot to give the world. The Real Housewives of New Jersey do not need my Nielsen vote.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on completely cutting television out of my life. That would be crazy. I love it too much. My goal is to cut back to 10 hours a week and spend more time on other things like interacting with other human beings, learning cool new stuff, and giving back to the universe. This may still seem like a lot of TV for some, but when you have watched every episode of every season of as many shows as I have, this is quite a feat. I need to keep tabs on Sookie Stackhouse and am quite curious to see how Rubicon unfolds, but I also really want to read the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and save the world.
Why am I blogging about all of this? I am hoping that if I share my television reduction plan with all of you, it might help me stick to it. And I have this theory that if I am committed to blogging about my life, maybe it will inspire me to make my life more interesting. I would also love to share my thoughts on the shows that stay in the rotation (because let’s not forget, I do love television), and on life in general. And of course, it wouldn’t be a blog if I was not curious to hear your thoughts on my thoughts, so bring it on….
PS: I have already achieved my goal of not turning the TV on at all today by spending my Saturday night learning how to blog. The momentum is building. Can you feel it?