Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Why do we refuse to get rid of our junk?

So, I'm a pack rat. Ok, a hoarder, if you want to be really offensive about it. I mean, I'm not one of those who refuses to throw away ANYTHING WHATSOEVER. I just have certain things that I have trouble getting rid of. But, then again, don't we all? I mean, for me it's things like clothing that may not, fit...I mean, um...currently. Or maybe accessories that aren't in syle right now, but probably will be again at some point in the next 20 which point I'll wish I still had them. And then there are the sentimental things. I have every birthday, anniversary, Valentine's Day, graduation, thinking of you, and random greeting card I've ever received. Why? I have no idea. I just love cards and refuse to get rid of them.
For my husband hoarding is more of an issue of utility. Our attic is stacked with boxes for every electronic item we've acquired since we've been married. He also can't seem to let go of things that he's used for years and considers to still be good, even long after I've bought a new one to replace it...i.e. his travel shaving kit, 3 mismatched dining chairs, and his white Polo shirt that has a salsa stain.
My sensitivity to these traits in us was heightened recently when we helped my parents move. Since they're transitioning to a smaller house with less storage, for now, it was imperative for me to officially take ownership of many Rubbermaid tubs full of memories of my childhood, teenage, and college years, in order to free up more space for my parents' junk. The sheer volume of things my mother, and to some extent myself, had accumulated over the years was quite sobering.
I must admit I have mixed emotions about accumulating "stuff." On the one hand, I see the futility of it all. Having so much "stuff" weighs you down. It requires more space to accomodate its mass. It adds to your "baggage" on so many levels. The mere presence of it limits your mobility. How can we abandon self and leave it all when there's just SO MUCH stuff involved?!
On the flip side, I can easily see how we become so attached. I saw the tears that glimmered in my mother's eyes as we sorted through bin after bin that contained things like my childhood stuffed animals, recipes her mother (my grandmother) had scrawled on index cards, the dress I wore when I was baptized, notes from my piano teacher, and even (surprisingly) the one thing that seemed to have the most emotional attachment of them all...the tweezers and small mirror that had always enjoyed a permanent residence in the sill of my grandparents' bay window...where my grandmother, Helen, could at any time pluck her eyebrows in the natural light. Funny, isn't it? The things we think will serve as reminders of our lives vs. the things that actually do.
On a lighter note, I was able to take advantage of my parents' down-sizing and managed to repurpose several of the items below:

Many years' worth of seashells I collected as a child

A pair of butterfly prints I've always admired

 favorite mother's luggage from the 70's

Who knows if I'll ever carry the luggage? In reality I probably won't. It doesn't have rollers, so it's not that practical. Not to mention, I would hate to see it ruined or damaged by being mishandled by a skycap. Why? I'm not sure. After all, it's been packed away for years. It's not as if its being damaged would be somehow detrimental, since it hasn't been used in quite some time.
That being said, I still can't imagine anything happening to it. The same way I don't want to see anything happen to the large tubs of Cabbage Patch Kids, Care Bears, Little Golden Books, and other memorabilia that my children (if the Lord has enough of a sense of humor to bless me with any) will probably care nothing about. I can foresee a day in the distant future when I will force my children to make the decision whether to save or toss their childhood toys, books, and keepsakes so I can easily transition into my hassle-free retirement. Like my mother, I'll probably realize that my attachment to these items run far deeper than my childrens' ever will...and just keep them myself. I still won't know why. But, then again, does it really matter?
Q: Why do we refuse to get rid of our junk?
A: Because we just can't bear to let go...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

How do you chop an onion without crying?

Ah! Another elusive question! I've heard rumors that there's an answer to this question, but quite honestly I've never had the time or energy to investigate it (or faith in any of the sources). Until recently. The other day, however, I found myself 1.) facing an onion, 2.) presented with a particularly potent specimen, 3.) with only a few minutes to spare. So I did some research.
The articles I found suggested various methods to help you chop said onion with minimal tears. Allow me to endorse/debunk a few.
1.) Place the onion in the freezer for 15 minutes prior to chopping. (You must be kidding. Most of the time when I'm chopping an onion I need it five minutes AGO, not 15 minutes from now. Try again.)
2.) Use a sharp knife. The odor/watering eyes are the result of enzymes released when the onion's cells are disturbed from the physical act of chopping. (My recipe requires that I mince this onion. I seriously doubt this will work. Try again.)
3.) Wear contact lenses. (I can attest that this does actually make a difference. Chopping onions seems to bother me much less when I'm wearing my contacts vs. when I'm preparing something in the early morning to cook in the crock pot while I'm gone to work. I usually end up with speckles of moisture all over my glasses where my eyelashes have slung tears all over the inside of my eyeglasses. However, this is not a viable option for non-contact lense wearers.)
4.) Chew a piece of bread or potato while chopping the onion. (Aaahhhh! Carbs!!!!)
5.) Set a lighted candle near your cutting surface to burn up the escaping enzymes. (This one seemed just crazy enough to work and also required the least preparation.)
Yes! The last suggestion honestly seemed to work! It was the only one I had time for when I was needing my onion, and I honestly noticed no tears whatsoever! (Even though I had teared up slightly, prior to my research, just from peeling the flaky skin off the outside of the onion and cutting off the tip!) recommendation? Forget all the other bogus tips that are out there! Just light the candle and set it next to your cutting board! Chop away!
Q: How do you chop an onion without crying?
A: Place a lighted candle next to your cutting surface!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What actually causes the "stitch" you feel in your side while jogging?

So, I'm a runner...
Actually, no. I'm not. But I am going to begin telling myself that I am, so that hopefully my subconscious mind will begin to believe that:
1.) I am enjoying this torture.
2.) I can actually continue it on a regular basis.
3.) I will eventually be able to run a full lap up and down my street without wanting to just lie down in someone's yard and rest.
So far, it's only barely working. I ran (by the way, I'm using this word VERY loosely) three times this week, which I count to be a great success. I've never been much of a, can I say it...let's see...a, um, person who likes to move very much. At all. I pretty much dislike any activity that is more rigorous than walking, say, from my car into the mall. Or from my cubicle to the printer. Actually, no, strike that. I dislike that walk too. How 'bout...from my couch to the refrigerator?!
It's not that I'm a fat, lazy slob. I've just never really been one of those people who's HAD to work out to keep from blowing up like a blimp. Until now. I am facing the fact that, with the big 3-0 looming on the horizon (the VERY near horizon), I'm going to have to do more than watch what I eat if I want to stay thin.
But so far I can already see that this is going to be tough. Being a beginner, and also extremely unconditioned, I'm no stranger to the piercing pain in my side when I exert myself beyond what's comfortable for me. But today, as I made my last (third) agonizing lap around my cul-de-sac, it was almost unbearable! It felt like someone had jammed that fireplace poker thing with the crazy hook on it into my abdomen...AND TWISTED IT!
So I thought I would look into exactly what causes as to never experience that feeling ever again. I thought this knowledge should come in handy. You know, since I'm a runner now.
The general consensus seems to be that the pain is caused by visceral ligaments (those that support and connect the internal organs) that stretch as a result of all the vertical force and jolting you cause while running (or working out in really any capacity). Since the liver is the largest organ in the abdominal cavity, the pain is most often felt in the right side. As gravity causes the liver to pull down on these ligaments (which hold the liver in place below the diaphragm), the diaphragm is also lifting UP as we take frequent, short breaths.
There are various recommendations as to what you can do to prevent or alleviate this pain. Take deeper and less frequent breaths. (Who are they kidding?) Wait 2-3 hours after eating or drinking before exercising. (Too bad I'm a grazer.) Drink water beforehand. (Wait a minute. I thought you just said...never mind.) Exhale when your left foot hits the ground, instead of your right. (No way can I concentrate that much while running.) Press your hand just below the location of the pain to give the organs a "lift." (Creepy.) Run on soft surfaces. (Good thinking. I'll cover my street in cotton balls before my next jog.) Improve fitness. (Overnight? Yes. Brilliant!)
Although I think they may be on to something with that last one. I'm holding out hope I continue "running" endurance will improve, I'll breathe slower, I'll sweat less, cramp less, swear less, etc. I just hope it's soon! Otherwise, I might have to buy myself some new running attire to keep me motivated. So until my optimum level of fitness is reached:
Q: What actually causes the "stitch" you feel in your side while jogging?
A: Being miserably out of shape!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Disclaimer/What to Expect

So, what exactly am I trying to prove by writing this blog? Hmmm...well, quite frankly, your guess is as good as mine. I have some friends who find my cynical humor and bizarre slant on things to be a bit amusing, and it's they who have convinced me to blog. So, currently, my main purpose is to oblige them. I must say, though, that so far I find blogging exciting, yet very intimidating. Then I remind myself that no one cares, and I just continue on.
For the most part, what you'll probably see on my blog is questions that have occurred to me. The answers to said questions may be ambiguous as you found in my previous entry, or they may be actually informative. However, even if they're informative, I can assure you they will NOT be based on any facts, figures, or expertise...other than my own, which will likely have been the result of 5 minutes of frustrated research that occurred immediately preceding the blog post.
You may also find a variety of random lists (i.e. Things You Should Do Before You Get Married), definitions (wishful thinking: phrase, ), or just total mindless wanderings I'm experiencing on a given day. I promise to try to keep things as cohesive as possible, but...then again...I'm me!
Now...for what you WON'T find in this blog (and I want to be VERY clear on this):
-tips to help you be a domestic goddess
-examples of how to be the perfect wife
-any recommendations whatsoever concerning how to rear children
-secrets as to how to balance a career and a family
So, if you've come looking for answers, you should probably deflect. I have none. What I do have is life experience. And a lot of wit and objectivism to entertain, amuse, or at lease make you feel like you're not the only crazy one out there.

How do you fold a fitted sheet?

So, there it is: my first question. It is only appropriate that it be the one that's haunted me for years and, alas, the one that has prompted me to blog. You see I've always been an inquisitive person by nature. My mother, I believe, secretly curses the day I began to talk, because since that time I've hardly slowed down to catch my breath. But most of my speech in my early days, I understand, was wasted on useless questions that she says I really only posed in an attempt to quiz her. She said it's almost like I knew the answer myself...and just wanted to test her to see if SHE did! I honestly can't say that I remember, but I can also honestly definitely sounds like something I'd do. Since then I hope I've at least put my questioning mind to some constructive use. The 'why' behind so many of life's functions and philosophies has led me on many a search for answers. Some I've found. Some, I've discovered, are best left unknown. Hence the enigma of the infamous fitted sheet.
Ironically, I once came so close to the answer! Sadly, I just didn't value the information at the time. I vividly remember the day one of my sorority sisters proudly announced to me (I believe she was glowing!) that she'd discovered how to fold a fitted sheet! I was apathetic at best. I mean, gee, it was college. My dormroom sheets were twin-sized, so it wasn't exactly the world's biggest hassle to fold them. Not to mention...I only had one set! I was more concerned with finding an available dryer in the laundry facility so I could get them ready to go back on before bedtime! It wasn't until many years later (and until my very gracious friends and family had seen fit to purchase both sets of sheets on our wedding registry) that this information finally seemed relevant. Consequently, I also vividly remember the day that I thought to myself, "Hmmm, I really wished I'd asked about that whole fitted sheet thing."
The whole issue became a rather sore spot for me. For whatever reason, I made it my intention NOT to fold my fitted sheets properly. They usually got wadded up and shoved in my linen closet, at which point I would walk away feeling like quite the domestic failure. That is, until one day. In a moment of illumination (another vivid recollection), as I was engaging in that all-enlightening household activity that inspires us all (folding clothes), I came to a very important realization. It. really. doesn't. matter. It doesn't.
Propelled by my new freedom, I made a very piss poor attempt at the sheet. Which resulted in a shape never before identified by modern geometry. Which I then pretended was my goal! Ha! Problem solved! Question answered! And so the journey begins...with the question that prompted them all:
Q: How do you fold a fitted sheet?
A: However you'd like!

(I would ask the indulgence of my fellow grammar snobs for the phrasing of the above question, as well as the title of the blog itself. I am aware of, and in fact bothered by, the fact that the correct wording should be "How does ONE fold a fitted sheet?". However, in light of the fact that this is not how the general public speaks and also in a conscience effort to avoid sounding presumptuous, I am conceding.)